Voices From The Readers – November 18, 2016

Voices From The Readers – November 18, 2016

Acceptance Is Key


Every four years, a large group of people basically go into a state of mourning, and there is no way to be consoling.

After each election year, the best thing supporters of the not-elected candidates can do is be happy for the ones whose candidate did win and then pray that the next four years go by quickly or the upcoming four years prove to be actually pretty good.

The elected candidate’s supporters (I won’t even say “followers” this go around since a good number who voted for Trump do not like the man personally) are not going to feel guilty, and the non-elected candidate’s supporters are not going to jump for joy. So why do we keep wanting that from each other?

It’s wasted personal energy — mentally and emotionally. In my opinion, neither candidate is worth me being upset. Nope — neither one.

Maeke Ermarth

Ocean City and Cheyenne, Wy.

Sanctuary Idea Flawed


I write in response to the recent story headlined, “Fishing Industry Voices Concern With Possible Offshore Sanctuary Idea; Official Provisions Sought Before Designation Considered.”

My husband is a commercial fisherman who used to fish the Straits of Florida. This is exactly the tactics that were used and exactly how the procedure started in Florida.

That area, within six months, became a National Sanctuary, closed to all commercial fishing. I am not sure about the sport or recreational fishing.

The first article about this in The Dispatch noted something about [the National Aquarium] would allow “appropriate” commercial fishing and recreational fishing in the Baltimore Canyon after this designation (if approved by vote on their website).

Who deems what “appropriate” means? They will shut down the entire commercial fishing area regardless. This is the beginning of the end.

Commercial fishermen are already taxed, permitted and regulated to near death. Now they will be evicted from their place of work.

Sport fishermen do not have to endure observers coming along on trips, do not have to have turtle and whale friendly line and hooks, EPIRBS, life suits, nor do they have to claim their catch to anyone.

Sport fishermen are allowed to sell their catch across the dock at commercial fishing ports without having had to get permits, and all the other items, as noted above.

Sport fishermen have lobbyists to allow them to get away with anything and everything. The commercial fishermen have no lobbyist and no voice. I did not see where any of the dwindling commercial fishermen were invited to any of the discussions.

Anyway, I segued into sport vs. commercial, the point is they will close down the Baltimore Canyon to commercial fishing and we will no longer enjoy a fresh piece of fish, lobster, red crab, tile fish, tuna fish, mahi, mako or swordfish from our own waters. Perhaps if a sport fisherman catches it, but they are not known for taking care of their product before putting it across the dock.

The Virginia waterman’s association will stand behind the continued commercial fishing of the Hatteras Canyon and will not let ‘sanctuary’ happen to it. Too bad Maryland doesn’t give a hoot about its watermen.

Renee Kelly


Transparency Critical


Mr. Dare was recently espousing that certain allegations made by Taxpayers for Social Justice on Election Day were “garbage”. Transparency is essential for government. In 2005, Mr. Dare, as city manager, referred to the council a “constant yield” adjustment in the real estate tax rate that was different and greater than the constant yield adjustment referred to you by the state. Mayor Rick Meehan and Council Lloyd Martin approved your erroneous adjustment. In 2006, Mr. Dare presented another purported constant yield adjustment number that was again erroneous. Meehan, Martin, along with others, approved it. In 2007, Mr. Dare did it again: Along with Messrs. Meehan and Martin, Mary Knight approved the bogus constant yield adjustment you changed from the state. Finally, in 2008, for a fourth year in a row, you presented another bogus constant yield adjustment number for approval to the council. By 2009, the Ocean City tax rate was inflated by 80% above the constant yield rate. This inflated rate was then increased every year from 2009 through 2015, in accord with the annual constant yield sent by the state, and has wreaked havoc, along with other increased costs, on the residential real-estate market in Ocean City, from which taxpayers rightly seek relief. All four years, constant yield hearings were held, and all four years, wrongful rate adjustments were wrongly presented as constant yield by Dare. We suspect that the mayor was also aware of these improper changes to constant yield.

The council has a right to raise taxes, but not to misrepresent tax increases as constant yield. If anyone doubts the veracity of these allegations, feel free to call me at 202-641-6166 and I will be happy to refer you to the evidence. The council, from 2010 through 2015, voted to raise tax rates in accord with constant yield every year as real-estate values dropped. In 2016, there was a nominal decline in the tax rate due to a small uptick in values. Therefore, the council, from 2010-2016, raised taxes five out of six years. Martin, Knight and Meehan all supported these increases. Dare chimed in after his 2012 election and supported these latter tax increases through 2015. Yes, Mr. Dare, we agree your acts were undisclosed “garbage”. Transparent government requires full disclosure.

In 2015, the underperforming Art Center opened, another economic boondoggle by the Mayor and Mouncil. First there was Phase I for $9 million, which is still being paid for. It added 32,000 square feet of exhibit space. Phase II, the underperforming center, which cost $14 million, is not yet paid for, and continues to lose operating money. It reduced exhibit space that Phase I increased by over 20,000 square feet. Now, Phase III, for $34 million, will add back the exhibit space that was reduced by Phase II. The bond loan for Phase III of approximately $17 million will be an added lien against everyone’s residence in Ocean City. The costs of these misallocations of capital will be extracted in more declining property values and lost economic vitality over time. Whether intended or not, the ongoing process of government excesses is undermining what used to be a fundamentally and fiscally strong community.

It should be noted that during the last five years when the market kept advancing, rather than leaving the annual excess contribution in the retirement funds, the council every year would pull out the excess and promptly spend it when the market gain exceeded 7% — despite our efforts every year to get them to leave the excess in the retirement fund. Last year they withdrew over $2 million of annual excess from the medical fund which is 35% underfunded and spent it. This would have allowed the pension funds and medical fund to be in a better fiscal position to face lean years that I fear we have before us. Tragically the contribution will increase and the fund will grow more underfunded because of the council’s failure to save during the fat years of up markets from 2009 to 2015.

Ocean City Taxpayers for Social Justice are hopeful. We supported two candidates, John Gehrig and Tony DeLuca, the numbers one and two vote getters. Although we were disappointed by the council’s vote to place Mary Knight and Lloyd Martin back as secretary and president of the council, they, along with Mr. Dare and the mayor, have been exposed to be chronic spenders for a decade or more. Due to their “spendaholic” history that is on record, we believe them to be part of the problem. We obtained verbal agreements from Gehrig and DeLuca not to raise taxes and to meet with us on our ideas of reducing expenses without reducing significant services. We are preparing our list for a meeting and are hopeful. We will put off our efforts to petition for a recall provision in the charter until we exhaust every other possibility to reduce expenses to give some measure of relief to the taxpayers of Ocean City.

Tony Christ

Facility Welcomed


I recently had the opportunity to visit the Richard A Henson Cancer Institute in Ocean Pines, currently under construction on Route 589.It will be a state-of-the-art facility bringing the utmost in care and treatment to the citizens of Worcester and Sussex counties who have had to travel 25 miles or more to Peninsula Regional Medical Center for cancer treatment.

I was one of those patients not so very long ago. While I will always be grateful for the results of my treatment, there were many times that I dreaded having to go to so many different offices to piece together the services I required.

It’s hard to imagine that in 2015 there were more than 1,100 diagnosed cancer patients who received treatment at the Richard A. Hanson Cancer Institute in Salisbury. Of those, nearly 40% reside in Worcester and the counties of Delaware, and we all know how rapidly these areas are growing. The Cancer Institute will provide a full complement of coordinated services.

The estimated cost of this facility is $14.2 million. In order to raise this money, the hospital will depend on contributions from the community that it serves. There are naming opportunities of various amounts. This is a wonderful way to honor or memorialize those who mean a great deal to us. Especially at this holiday season it is worth considering a donation to this important endeavor. Even if you have never been personally stricken by any form of cancer, consider yourself fortunate , and if you have had that horrible experience, the need is sure to hit home.

In any case we should all be grateful for the work that Peninsula Regional Medical Center does and support them in any way we can. I know that I will.

Sheila Zimmer