Voices From The Readers

Voices From The Readers

Balance Needed On Street Performer Coverage


I’ve read most of your coverage on this issue and I’m struck by the feeling that it’s very one-sided. Why are you only covering the street performers’ concerns?

I, for one, am very pleased with the council’s attempts to curb the chaos that ensued after the federal ruling against the city.

Reading the comments on your Facebook page, I think you would see that I’m not the only one. The comments are full of other people that do not support the performers or share their concerns. Why are none of these things mentioned in your articles? Surely you could interview one of those people to at least provide a counterpoint.

I am a Worcester County resident (although not inside the Ocean City limits) and I’ve been going to the Boardwalk for over 30 years. The number of “performers” has significantly increased over the years.

Personally I have no interest in most of them. They are not the reason I come to the Boardwalk. While there may be a few budding artists, several appear to be people with little talent just trying to get some tips.

Regarding some performers’ claims that their “freedom of expression” is being curtailed, many of them are doing this for the donations and I have much less sympathy for them when they start “selling a product.” There’s nothing altruistic about that. If they were doing it just for the “art,” I might feel differently. But I also suspect if that were the case, the type and quality of performers that you see might change.

Brian Huffman


Smart Meter Program Violates Protection Rights


Choptank is working in conjunction with the government to herd consumers into passively surrendering their privacy rights – Smart Meters are data collection devices. Congressional Research Service recently prepared a report for Members of Congress and said the following in its opening summary concerning Smart Meters:

“Fueled by stimulus funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), electric utilities have accelerated their deployment of smart meters to millions of homes across the United States with help from the Department of Energy’s Smart Grid Investment Grant program. As the meters multiply, so do issues concerning the privacy and security of the data collected by the new technology. This Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) promises to increase energy efficiency, bolster electric power grid reliability, and facilitate demand response, among other benefits. However, to fulfill these ends, smart meters must record near-real time data on consumer electricity usage and transmit the data to utilities over great distances via communications networks that serve the smart grid. Detailed electricity usage data offers a window into the lives of people inside of a home by revealing what individual appliances they are using, and the transmission of the data potentially subjects this information to interception or theft by unauthorized third parties or hackers….As we progress into the 21st century, access to personal data, including information generated from smart meters, is a new frontier for police investigations. The Fourth Amendment generally requires police to have probable cause to search an area in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. However, courts have used the third-party doctrine to deny protection to information a customer gives to a business as part of their commercial relationship. This rule is used by police to access bank records, telephone records, and traditional utility records. Nevertheless, there are several core differences between smart meters and the general third-party cases that may cause concerns about its application. These include concerns expressed by the courts and Congress about the ability of technology to potentially erode individuals’ privacy.”

As a result of this real and present danger of the erosion of our privacy rights many concerned citizens do not want a smart meter on their residence. But then one discovers the heavy handed fees one must pay forever to Choptank to maintain one’s privacy. And when one compares these cost to those who by default get a new smart meter, then one discovers they, by stark contrast, have to do absolutely nothing and will encounter zero additional cost along the way. This is most telling. The game has been rigged against those citizens who wish to opt out and as such violates our equal protection rights.

I believe that the new billing policy of Choptank regarding smart meters is biased against those who wish to opt out of the smart meter program and as such amounts to legal plundering. It is my contention that this billing policy was designed specifically to punish those who refused the smart meters and as such violates both our equal protection rights and our due process rights guaranteed by the 5th and 14th Amendments of the Constitution.

I am going to ask for protection of my rights by the court, to first issue an injunction against Choptank which would prevent them from installing smart meters against the wishes of any customer opposed to the installation of said smart meter until the constitutionality of Choptank’s one sided and biased billing practice can be investigated. In particular the signing of Choptank’s AMI Opt Out Agreement needs to be adjudicated before an impartial judge at a public hearing. When one is required to sign this form, they are also signing away their right to object to the charges in the future. Please call Choptank today and voice your opinion. A petition is being circulated for people to sign. See a separate ad in this paper for details.

John Abent


Club Recaps Past Year


As the treasurer of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Ocean Pines-Ocean City it’s my privilege to annually let the members know about the year being completed. I hope it would also be of interest to the local public which supports the club, attending our many events and fundraisers.

Annually a new program year begins on Oct. 1 for the Kiwanis Club of Greater Ocean Pines-Ocean City. Kiwanis has important work to do for the community. The officers team will be led by Mark Joseph as president and Tom Southwell as vice president. They, with members help, will build on a very successful 2014-2015 program year.

Club members can be proud of the contributions the club made to the community this current year. This club does “Serve the Children.” Starting with a $1,600 contribution to the Worcester Gold Infants Pantry, the club supports local children from elementary through high School. The school-based clubs supported by the Kiwanis Club at Buckingham Elementary, Showell Elementary, Berlin Intermediate, Stephen Decatur Middle School, Stephen Decatur High School and The Salisbury School provide children an opportunity to learn both leadership skills and the need to help others. Kiwanis also makes a contribution to the schools. In addition to money, members help with their Art Fairs, Science Fairs, and “It’s Academic” programs.

Outside school, the club provides funding for many children’s programs; Ocean Pines Cub Scout Pack #480, Ocean Pines Childrens Theater, McGuffey Readers Program for schools, the Cedar Chapel School, Court Appointed Special Advocates of Worcester County, Ocean Pines Department of Parks and Recreation Summer Camp, 4 Steps Therapeutic Riding School, and Key Club LTS. The club supported both financial assistance and mentoring to the Worcester County Beach Bots Robotics team this current year.

Overall, the club will contribute $12,000 toward children’s activities during the current program year. Then the local Kiwanis Club helps them go on to college. This year, the club awarded 17 college scholarships amounting to $15,500 to graduating seniors to further their education.

The club goes beyond children. Support is provided for many other community activities. The Club contributes $2,700 and many volunteer hours in support for Ocean Pines Association summer Concerts in the Park, Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department, Worcester County Interfaith Caregivers, Diakonia, Worcester Gold Christmas, The Appalachian Service Project through the Ocean Pines Community Church, Companion Dolls for Berlin Nursing Home Alzheimers patients, Bingo for the Nursing Home residents and Meals On Wheels Treats. The Club funds all of this with members volunteer hours and hard work on fund raising events. Yes, it’s a lot of work to gross over $21,000 in sales and contributions to make the commitments, but it’s rewarding and it counts.

So, here, on the brink of 2015-2016, there are still many needs out there in the community needing Kiwanis support. Hopefully membership can grow and the people of the community will take the opportunity to join the Kiwanis Team to continue these services for the next year. Membership is open to all over 21 years of age. Contact Membership Chair Mike Morton at 410-614-6567 or by e-mail at [email protected]. The club also has a website at http://www.kiwanisofopoc.org/ and uses Facebook at Kiwanis Club of Ocean Pines-Ocean City to communicate with the public.

Mark Page

Ocean Pines

(The writer is the treasurer of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Ocean Pines-Ocean City.)