OC’s Message On Recycling Disturbing
I am once again writing about Ocean City’s lack of a curbside recycling program. I was told several years ago by members of the OC Council that Ocean City pays to have its trash transported to Pennsylvania to be incinerated. I was told that it is cheaper to send all Ocean City trash to Pennsylvania than to provide a city-wide curbside recycling program. Perhaps money isn’t the only issue here.
The Baltimore Sun, on Sunday, Dec. 17, ran a front page article about the city incinerator that pollutes the air with toxic gases and substances like carbon dioxide, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde into the air everyday. That’s what Ocean City is doing in Pennsylvania where we send out trash.
But what are we teaching the citizens and visitors of Ocean City about recyclable paper, plastic, aluminum cans (think of the millions of aluminum cans that are thrown away and the resource wasted) and every other item that can and should be recycled and not incinerated?
What a wasteful lesson you are telling the children who come to Ocean City – just throw away that aluminum can/plastic water bottle//glass bottles, plastic ware and millions of other items that can and should be recycled. Don’t reuse, don’t recycle, don’t reduce your usage of products – just throw them in the trash and we will burn them up. Horrible lesson to Ocean City visitors and citizens.
I have recycled for many years. I carry home to Baltimore all my recyclables from our home in Ocean City and conducted many cleanups in Maryland to pick up trash and recyclables out of Maryland waterways for the International Coastal Cleanup. That is the lesson we should be teaching our visitors and children – pick up every piece of trash and recycle what you can because you are part of this earth and we all need to take care of it. Resources are not limitless.
That is not what Ocean City is tell-ing its citizens and visitors.
Ocean City should and could be a model of how a city can teach valuable lessons about our resources and recycling. Reinstitute curbside recycling in Ocean City.
Ocean City and Towson
Club Seeking New Home
(The following letter was sent to the board and members of the Berlin Lions Club with a copy forwarded to this publication for printing.)
The Berlin Lioness Club has had to find a new place to hold its monthly meetings. The Berlin Lioness Club has been meeting monthly at the Lions Den on Route 113 in Berlin for 33 years. The den is owned and maintained by the Berlin Lions Club, who is our sponsor with the International Lions Club.
In August of last year, the Lions Club decided to start charging the Lioness a $100 fee each month and required us to guarantee at least 15 meals as well as 10 drinks or more. We were notified of this decision by a voicemail left on our president’s cell phone with no room for negotiation and less than one month’s notice.
The Lioness Club, a group of 25-plus active members, work hard, spend a great deal of time and money sponsoring fundraising events throughout the year. All monies raised are donated back to the community to help needy families and deserving charities, including a four-year scholarship.
We tried to renegotiate with the Lions at a recent meeting in hopes that they would understand the value of our community service efforts and let us resume our meetings at the Lions Den. The Lions decided to not renew our standing.
In retrospect, we offer this to our “brother Lions.” Had the Lions notified us of their dilemma regarding the “house expenses” at one of our regular meetings or by a letter requesting our help, we would have honored your “suggestions” and voted to carry it through.
The Berlin Lioness Club
Loss Of Privacy
I’ve always tried to give people helpful information, even if it is painfully personal. I have been called by the editor of a local paper “a provocateur.” Sometimes information can be provocative. Is a local rule allowing regulators to enter any rental property at their discretion lawful? Or is it an unreasonable search without a warrant? A violation of our constitutional right to privacy? An unwarranted intrusion of our private property embodied in the 4th and 14th amendment?
On Friday, Nov. 24, a young man died of a drug overdose on the third floor of Layton’s Loft, in an area the city arbitrarily designated as “storage.” He was one of two heroin deaths that night in Ocean City. The storage area had a history. It was the left side and attic of the house the Layton’s lived in on 16th Street for years, addressed as #208B. The space did not have an occupancy permit. The right side of the old house #208A had an approved four-bedroom apartment.
On or about Dec. 6, 11 days after the death, I got a call from Ryan Whittington, with the fire marshals in Ocean City. I knew Ryan and have opposed his petition, which will be on the ballot next November, allowing firemen to work straight shifts. This would allow them to get a second job, called double-dipping. My opposition to Ryan’s petition was one instance in which I was in agreement with the city. Having a daughter and wife who are nurses, I believe that 12-hour shifts are long enough.
Mr. Whittington was on a mission. He wanted to come up and inspect the storage area where the man had died; then when he arrived he wanted access to two additional approved apartments that were unrelated to the death. Fire marshals carry 9mm guns. You don’t argue with a man with a gun. A carnival of five additional regulators followed him from the fire marshals, building and finance departments. They wrote six citations and letters of violations. They had no warrant but relied on the Ocean City rule to enter at their discretion.
The regulators in Ocean City would not let a tragic death go to waste. Six regulators appeared from each of three municipal government agencies, all with their citation books. I had remodeled four townhouses and a home in Virginia, and remodeled a commercial building in Lewes, Delaware, but never had a problem from regulators until I came to Ocean City.
The codes in Ocean City are biblical in size and subject to different interpretations, dependent on which regulator is reading them. This is not the fault of the regulators – unless the regulator wrote the code, which happens with unusual frequency in Ocean City. Mostly, it is the fault of politicians we elect who layer on ordinances, rules, and regulations year in, year out, and never eliminate or sunset old rules.
These self-proclaimed, well-intentioned politicians overload police, inspectors, fire marshals and others in government with so many rules that they cannot be enforced equally. So, what happens is that the regulators are called and told by someone of an alleged violation, often someone with a grievance – or, as in my instance; there is a tragedy the regulators will not let go to waste. In short, enforcement is arbitrary and capricious, in violation of our most sacred right of equality under the law.
Suzanne from finance, under Mar-tha Bennett, wrote a violation on the downstairs apartment, an apartment that we had worked hard to get a permit on by combining two offices in 2011, when Darren, who has lived there for 24 years, was evicted. He had a history of seizures. The posttraumatic stress, first of Mr. Whittington’s intrusion with his carnival of regulators, then with Suzanne’s entrance and emergence from the bathroom unannounced into his private space, followed by Suzanne’s inquisition downtown to get his phone number, and culminating in his witness of Chief Hartley’s screaming at me, completely stressed out Darren.
Darren has been the short-order cook at Layton’s and lived on the property for over 24 years. Afraid he would be evicted a second time, he had a seizure this weekend while at work, hitting his head on a metal table. When admitted to AGH, he had a second seizure and was transported to Peninsula Regional, where he was in intensive care but expected to recover. He has nine stiches over his eye and a broken neck. He has returned to the apartment now that the bleeding on his brain has subsided after two weeks in the hospital.
This stress intended to punish me wrongly fell on my tenant. Did Darren have a right to privacy? Should we go to court, if so I will ask the judge to have the Fire Marshal’s office and finance department pay Darren’s medical bills out of their budgets.
This arbitrary enforcement of the rules and regulations coupled by the violation of privacy by local rule is frequent in Ocean City and is killing the town. It is like a tax and imposes costs on all who fall prey to it. More concerning is the capricious invasion of private property and homes. Suzanne, in finance, who just started her job, said “I have given out 70 citations since October. A friend of mine in Lewes laughingly says, “That’s what we like to see: more people moving up to Delaware.”
When I got to Ocean City in 1954, my poor immigrant father housed us in the basement of the old Nordica Hotel on Talbot Street. There was a light hanging with a string in the hallway with crates on the concrete floor to an unlit bathroom. There were no windows. Although sparse, we had our privacy. We got along just fine.