Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – July 1, 2016

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – July 1, 2016

“I’m a 60-year-old, fat woman and there’s no way I’m walking that far.”

That’s what I overheard a woman saying to a lifeguard on the beach in Ocean City last weekend. The comment came after she asked a lifeguard on 22nd Street if she was allowed to smoke and he responded by pointing out the nearest smoking station a half block away.

As the conversation lingered on too long, I nearly bit through my tongue, watching as the woman took a few steps back from a lifeguard’s stand and lit up. From my vantage point, I could overhear her bragging to her family it’s worth the fine not to have to walk all that way every time she wants to smoke.

Unfortunately, this plays out on a daily basis on the beach, and I have no idea what the answer is. I’m not sure anyone does actually. The predictable response would be that greater enforcement is needed, but it’s simply not practical for police or the lifeguards to rule this issue with a heavy hand. There’s not enough resources and there never will be. In my opinion, all Ocean City can really hope for is that the designated smoking locations will draw enough people to reduce the amount of smoke on the beach and cut down on the litter of cigarette butts. Expectations beyond that are simply unrealistic in today’s culture.

Gov. Larry Hogan made his first address at the Maryland Municipal League Convention in Ocean City this week after having to miss the engagement last year due to his fight with cancer. Hogan has quickly gained a reputation since being elected for not mincing words. When it comes to speeches, he appears to favor quality over quantity and that’s refreshing.

In his 10-minute speech Tuesday night before about 700 legislators across Maryland, Hogan stressed cooperation among municipal officials to help him achieve a long-time goal — get transportation funding restored to previous levels. It’s no secret the state’s transportation funding was raided by the Democratic-controlled legislature to help balance the budget during the recession years. Full restoration has been slow, leading to aging problems for roads and stalled projects across the state.

“Unfortunately the legislature this year attempted to kill every single one of these important road improvements and to usurp power of municipal and county governments as well as the executive branch of state government,” Hogan said. “They actually overrode a veto of a terrible bill drafted by special interests which would jeopardize nearly all the road and bridge improvements in nearly every jurisdiction in the state that are most important to you, your communities and to nearly all the citizens in Maryland. We cannot and we will not let that happen … Maryland’s municipalities will continue to grow stronger as we continue this progress together, but to continue on this new path, we will need the help of everyone in this room. No governor can effectively govern this state without a strong partnership between the state and all of our local leaders working together. You have my commitment that with our administration, you will continue to have a friend in the governor’s office, and you will always find a sympathetic ear, a seat at the table and an administration that will be fighting on your behalf each and every day.'”

Although there are exceptions, a common trait among most successful people in life is humility. It doesn’t matter the industry, but a humble approach in most fields, especially when it comes to managing people, is needed. It’s also appreciated. Humble is one of the characteristics I would use to describe Leighton Moore, owner of Seacrets.

In an interview this week, Moore was asked about what has become the “Seacrets Empire” on the bay at 49th Street and specifically could he have ever imagined the day when thousands of people would line up at 8 in the morning to get into his place, as was the case on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. His response would surprise visitors to Seacrets who would likely make unfair assumptions about the individual who owns it.

“It amazes me. It really does. One of the sayings I’ve always said is ‘if I’m in a coma, don’t wake me up.’ Because if I woke up and I was doing anything else, it would be not as satisfying as what I’m doing now, because I would have never known how many people’s lives I could touch.

Sometimes, I’ll stand on the balcony or walk through the crowd around [Seacrets]. I don’t hold up a big sign that says I own the place, in fact, some of the employees don’t even know me. But, because of what I’ve done with [architect] Keith [Iott] and our team here, people have the ability to be able to go out at Seacrets and have fun, and as long as they are responsible, they can stay and play,” Moore said. “It’s very gratifying to be able to be an integral part of the tourist attraction of Ocean City. Would I have ever thought about this? Heck no, not without my team. You can dream all you want and you can build what you want, but that doesn’t mean that you can run it, and this is not an easy thing to run.”

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.