Sea Gull Century, H2O Conflict Troubling
I am a cycling enthusiast, and for the past two years I’ve combined the Sea Gull Century (out of Salisbury University) with a weekend stay in Ocean City. Having dinner at Ristorante Antipasti was a pre-ride tradition as was enjoying a long beach weekend both before and after the bike ride.
Last year, however, the Sea Gull Century occurred the same weekend as the H2O International conference. While I understand this is not an Ocean City sanctioned event, it has become an unofficial getaway for an undesirable crowd. While some people will argue that this convention brings business and tourism to the area, it really doesn’t. Having spoken with several locals, the people this convention tends to attract aren’t spending a lot of money in Ocean City. The trash observed, the street thuggery (although I’m not apparently supposed to say this word anymore), open containers of cheap beer and booze being brandished in defiance of law enforcement, multiple people in hotel rooms, and the sound of street racing around the clock were enough to make me and my family leave Ocean City a day early after the Sea Gull event. The traffic was horrific — what with the street racing (many of which were illegal) cars taking over Coastal Highway. Sadly, these people were far too much for authorities to handle.
Needless to say, registration for the Sea Gull Century opened yesterday. In cross-checking the dates, I was disappointed to see that the H2O convention is happening once again at the same time as the Sea Gull Century (the first weekend of October). Finding pet friendly accommodations in a desirable location is near impossible now that Ocean City is out of the mix, and it’s likely that I won’t be riding this wonderful event. I cannot stay in Ocean City if this event is occurring. It was that awful.
Generally though, last year’s experience reaffirmed why I choose to spend my beach weekends at other beach destinations — only giving Ocean City a chance during Sea Gull Weekend and during the Maryland State Bar Association conference. Suffice it to say — there’s not much Ocean City offers me anymore. I’d much rather take my tourist dollars and drive a bit further — the Outer Banks or even Isle of Palms, S.C. Rehoboth is even preferred. Given that Ocean City does nothing to deter conventions like H2O from monopolizing the city, I won’t be coming back…for the Sea Gull Century or at all.
Reconsider Budget Move
Academic Team, Acts of Kindness, Art Club, Band, Color Guard, Jazz Combo, Orchestra, Connections, Decatur Lifesavers, Foreign Language Club, Future Educators of America, Hospitality Club, Interact Club, Key Club, Kids Against Animal Abuse and Testing, Legal Interns, Leo Club, Mentor Club, Relay for Life, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Chorus/Show Choir, Student Government Association, United as One, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta (Math), National English Honor Society, Homework Tutorial, Math Help, Spanish Tutorial, S.A.T. Prep Courses, Seahawk Writing Center, Computer Science Club, Gaming Group, Investment Club, Hawkapellas, Homecoming, Graduation, Prom, Cheerleading (Fall/Winter), Cross Country, Field Hockey, Football, Golf, Soccer (Mens & Womens), Volleyball, Basketball (Mens & Womens), Indoor Track, Wrestling, Swimming, Baseball, Softball, Lacrosse (Mens & Womens), Outdoor Track, Tennis (Mens & Womens), Unified Tennis, Bocce Ball.
The above mentioned list of clubs, sports and organizations are sponsored, advised, coached and overseen by the teachers of Stephen Decatur High School. With the exceptions of athletics (which coaches receive a mere pittance and most have volunteer coaches as well), these programs are successful due to the time and effort our teachers donate/volunteer.
These clubs, sports and organizations operate after the school day and will cease to exist if the Worcester County Commissioners and the Board of Education of Worcester County do not come up with a responsible, reasonable and trustworthy plan to ensure that our teachers receive what is promised to them in their contract, Cost of Living Allowance. This is not a raise. This is simply a hike in their pay to counteract the effect of inflation. Our Commissioners should be well versed in planning for these allowances as they propose their annual budget, yet year after year our teachers are left with excuses and blame as to why they are being denied what is rightfully and contractually theirs.
Scores of educators in Worcester County are disgusted, disappointed, angry and tired of giving and giving and giving, out of their pockets, out of their home life and out of their love to teach our children. These programs at Stephen Decatur teach, nurture, guide, inspire, drive, protect, serve and create amazing students. Our teachers are prepared to teach to the school day and that is it.
I am urging you to contact your County Commissioners and Board of Education, be a voice for the children, teachers and the future of the teachers of Worcester County. County Commissioners contact information; Merrill Lockfaw, District 1, 443-614-4846; Diana Purnell, District 2, 443-783-3417; Bud Church, District 3, 410-524-7888; Ted Elder, District 4, 443-783-4265; Chip Bertino, District 5, 443-783-3248; Madison Bunting, District 6, 410-726-2494; Joe Mitrecic, District 7, 410-251-1716. Board of Education contact information; Bob Rothermel, District 7; Sara Thompson, District 3; Barry Brittingham, District 2; Jonathan Cook, District 5; Eric Cropper, District 6; Doug Dryden, District 1; and William Gordy, District 4.
Its time to take a stand.
Weekend Changed Needed
The Mayor and City Council need to address the noise and destruction caused by the cars two weekends ago. I have attached the pictures I took on 87th Street. From looking at the pictures you can imagine the amount of noise the cars made. It was very hard to sleep on 88th Street with the windows closed and the air conditioner on. You need to address the noise decibels allowed by cars during this event.
We, the taxpayer, are stuck with the damage to our streets. The damage should have never happened. It’s not fair to us the taxpayer and resident. You have taken control of the June Bug problems and now it’s time to address Cruisin and Bike Week.
One Councilman Got It Right
What does Councilman Matt James’ solitary vote against the Ocean City 2016 Budget have in common with the new petition from over 1,200 voters seeking to have a chance to shrink the size of city government through a 21% reduction in the real-estate tax rate? Let’s take a look.
First, who are the petition sponsors known as Ocean City Taxpayers for Social Justice (OCTSJ)? Concerned members are residents Herb Pawlukewicz, John Medlin, Mac Balcom, and the undersigned, Tony Christ, a business owner and non-resident. Ninety-seven percent (97%) of the tax dollars received by the Town of Ocean City come from non-residents.
Why are these people so concerned? Ocean City government spending has grown from $35.7 million in 1994 to $149.7 million, or by 419%, in 20 years. Yet Mr. Brown, head of our sanitation department, says the amount of garbage generated over the last 20 years has remained about the same, suggesting the need for services has not significantly changed. We believe the current excessive level of spending is unsustainable. We believe the growth of this government is out of control and encroaches on the lives of everyone in Ocean City. Although this spending is justified by government as needed services and improved public safety, the payment for it is forced on the people by increasing taxes, licenses, permit fees, utility costs, parking expense, bus fees, and Comcast bills. So why do four older guys who won’t be here when the City and County budgets unravel in the future even care?
We are certain that current promises and obligations by local politicians will far outstrip future tax collection. The fact that this is going on in Washington and Annapolis doesn’t mean we need to govern by “Monkey See, Monkey Do.” We think there really is an inter-generational contract and the current governments are grossly violating it through unneeded and unsupportable debts. The young represent the future and everything we consume today without paying for it unjustly saddles future generations with paying it back. Government debt leaves a black hole in the future that must be paid by people who did not directly benefit from the spending that caused the debt.
Maybe Mr. James, the youngest member of the Council, is skeptical over the future obligations caused by the present spending smorgasbord blessed by six of his peers on the Council. When children habitually overspend their allowances, should you give them more or take some back? The Ocean City government makes it clear through Mr. Ayres that they intend to deny the people the right to vote by stopping the Peoples Petition in court. And they announce this before even verifying that the signatures are an adequate number of voters to meet the legal requirement of 20%.
OCTSJ believes that we the people have the right to vote on whether or not the government should go on a diet. We believe we are still the boss of the government and we will fight in court for that important right. Maybe the young will join us in the fight to give the people the right to vote on the Town’s tax bills.
Tax Amount Clarified
I would like to point out an error in the calculation regarding the property tax increase that appeared in the Between the Lines column of the May 22 edition.
The analysis concludes that a couple living in Worcester County with a $75,000 income and a house assessed at $300,000 will see their income tax increase by $282 and their property tax increase by $195. Because of the ridiculously low Homestead Cap in effect in Worcester County, owner occupied properties can have their property taxes go up by only 3% in any one year. So while a non-resident with a $300,000 property will indeed be paying an extra $195 next year, a Worcester County resident would see an increase of only $69.30 if they are currently paying their full tax amount. If they are paying less than the full amount due to prior year’s sheltering due to the Homestead exemption, their property tax increase would be even less than $69.30.
Cruisin Action Required
In light of the documented lawlessness associated with the recent Crusin activities in Ocean City, it may well be time to call for a “time out”, for this and similar events scheduled for our Town in the coming months. While everyone seems to condemn the behavior we witnessed, we also hear the usual excuses by the promoters, the Mayor and City Council members and even police officials. Its’ not the registered participants we are told, but others (they) who take advantage of the situation, who are responsible for the chaos that overwhelms our Town, increasingly, during these events.
You have seen evidence of this behavior on our streets and other public and private property, read the press accounts, letters to the editor and press editorials, all calling for action by our Town authorities.
It is time for the law abiding residents of this Town to appear at the June 1, 2015 meeting of the Mayor and Council, to bear witness to the need for officials to take action to eliminate these affronts to our peace and quiet and restore order in our Town. Your actual presence at the Meeting is critical, proxies don’t count and don’t vote.
Kudos On Event
For 10 years, residents of Ocean Pines, Worcester County and beyond have displayed their patriotism on Memorial Day by honoring service men and women at the Worcester County Veterans Memorial at Ocean Pines.
This past Sunday, May 24, a record crowd (estimated by police at between 3,500 and 4,000) experienced another unforgettable tribute of remembrance and gratitude for those past and present veterans whose sacrifices continue to guarantee the many freedoms we enjoy in this great country of ours.
On a spectacularly beautiful Sunday afternoon, this very special memorial Day event honoring our service men and women elicited frequent cheers and applause interspersed with an abundance of heartfelt tears of remembrance, as tributes to women veterans, military families, local Gold Star Mothers, former Prisoners of War, and those still missing in action.
Throughout the entire 60 minute program the reverence of the day was enhanced by patriotic and inspirational and patriotic music provided by the Delmarva Chorus, Ocean City Pipes and Drums, Frank Nanna & the WWIIunes, Fiona O’Brien, Todd Crosby and Randy Lee Ashcraft. It was a truly a “memorable” event in very sense of the word.
Many thanks to the Memorial Day 2015 Committee and the many participants and behind-the-scene volunteers who made this event so meaningful and unforgettable.