The amount of money Ocean City is spending on legal fees for the topless issue is no laughing matter, but I must admit I giggled several times reading through court documents this week.
After the pro-topless women filed a request for a preliminary injunction against the town’s ordinance forbidding breast nudity, the town submitted this week its motion as to why an injunction should not be granted while the court weighs whether the town’s ordinance is legal. The women want the preliminary injunction to be granted so they can go topless this summer as the civil case wades through the court system. The town’s motion reminds the court the females are not being harmed in any fashion by the town’s ordinance.
“The ordinance was adopted to advance Ocean City’s legitimate interests in promoting decency, protecting morals and prevailing moral sensibilities and protecting the order, health, safety and well-being of the populace by prohibiting public nudity,” the responding motion reads. It continues, “There is no hardship necessarily imposed on the plaintiffs as a result of the requested injunction being denied. There are no circumstances that compel or require the plaintiffs to engage in conduct that violates the ordinance during the pendency of this case. Consequently, nothing will impose or create any hardship at all on the plaintiffs vis-à-vis the ordinance and its operation unless they willfully choose to enter Ocean City during the pendency of this case and go topless there.”
On the surface, it would appear the Ocean City Mayor and Council provided some critics of its spending with some additional fodder this week regarding green energy management. A deeper dive reveals that’s not really the case. The city is simply taking some savings and reinvesting it into a program that will bolster its green energy production.
The gist of the situation is the town could save about $186,000 in its next electric energy contract over three years. Councilman John Gehrig suggested choosing the bid that would boost the town’s green energy production by 10 percent even if it came with a price tag of $45,000, which would reduce the town’s savings. Gehrig, who was ultimately supported by six of his colleagues, said the decision made sense with the ongoing war the town is waging against one of the wind farm proposals offshore.
“Especially with the fight we have, every percentage point we add to our green energy portfolio improves our narrative,” he said. “I think by taking advantage of this good news, we can tack on that 10 percent. What we’re going through right now, we can push and push to get that percentage higher. We can show people who come here we’re doing everything we can to get to 100 percent. … We woke up today paying this rate, and here it is at 2:30 in the afternoon and we’ve saved $186,000 without doing anything. We’re not wasting money. It says ‘green’ right in our mission statement. This is the first time we have a choice. It’s not coming out of our pocket. We’ve already saved $186,000 no matter what we do.”
Images of the massive amounts of storm debris and trash floating into the Chesapeake Bay and Baltimore and Annapolis harbors have resulted in cries of foul play by lawmakers.
At Wednesday’s Board of Public Works meeting, Gov. Larry Hogan called it an “economic and ecological crisis” after Comptroller Peter Franchot broached the topic. The comptroller said, “We’re literally drowning in Pennsylvania’s trash.”
Earlier in the week, Franchot posted on Facebook, “The bottom line is that Maryland is now being flooded with Pennsylvania’s trash – and worse. Our homeowners, boaters and watermen are paying the price for another state’s refusal to adopt responsible land use and agricultural practices.”
The debris is a direct result of the Exelon company opening Conowingo Dam gates as a result of water flow 10 times above normal from this incredibly wet summer the mid-Atlantic has experienced. Prior to opening the dam and releasing millions of gallon of water, Exelon maintains it removed debris, but it was clearly not enough to prevent polluting Maryland waters. In a statement to The Baltimore Sun, Exelon officials said, “All 12 major rivers that feed into the Chesapeake Bay experienced higher than normal water flows and debris loads because of heavy rain in the watershed.”
Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell was not pleased with Maryland’s take and seemed to be intimating it was tough talk without any merit sans political ingratiation.
“We are disappointed at these careless and insensitive remarks from Maryland officials that both undermine the tremendous strides Pennsylvania has made in improving water quality in the Susquehanna and Potomac watersheds, and insult the many Pennsylvanians still recovering from the record floods we just experienced, where at least two of our residents lost their lives,” McDonnell said.
Nonetheless, Hogan argued Pennsylvania and New York, “need to step up and take responsibility for the debris and sediment that is pouring into our bay.”
Tough talk among officials that will likely lead to nothing.