Regarding the letter, “Sheriff Needs To Go” from the March 8 issue of The Dispatch, some additional facts are in order.
Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is an outstanding sheriff. As a life-long resident of Wicomico County, Sheriff Lewis strives everyday to provide the very best police service to Wicomico County citizens. He has built on the pgoress of the late Sheriff John W. Baker and his immediate predecessor R. Hunter Nelms in making the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office a first-rate police agency for our county. The citizens of Wicomico County make the decision as to who serves as sheriff.
While I share the concerns of increasing gun violence across the State of Maryland, it should be understood that penalizing law abiding lawful gun owners here is not a workable solution to the problem.
People that hunt, target shoot and possess guns for protection of person or property have long held that constitutional right here in Maryland and across the United States.
Sheriff Lewis is to be commended for understanding this and I thank him publicly for stating that.
Donald L. Lewis
Harris Should Be Ashamed
In October of 2018, an enthusiastic, dedicated and principled 20-year-old progressive student activist named Jake Burdett participated in a peaceable protest at the Salisbury office of U.S. Congressman Andy Harris. Those protesting were taking issue with Rep. Harris’ failure to meet with advocates from Maryland Marijuana Justice (MDMJ) and the congressman’s persistent efforts to block legislation legalizing marijuana on the federal level. The Congressman’s staffer agreed to meet in the Congressman’s district office with a few of the protesters, but told them that they were not allowed to record the meeting.
As U.S. taxpayers publicly fund the office, Mr. Burdett did not believe he was breaking any law. He felt that he was simply defying an unjust office policy rule, and so he allegedly live streamed this meeting. Shortly thereafter Mr. Burdett learned that recording the meeting was against the law in Maryland, one of 12 U.S. States with a two-party consent law. Thirty-eight states do not have this law. When Mr. Burdett discovered that he was in violation of the law, he deleted this posting and apologized. Consequently, the Office of Congressman Andy Harris charged Mr. Burdett with felony wiretapping, a charge as close to keelhauling as the law will allow. I believe that Congressman Harris is inflicting this charge in retribution for honest, democratic dissent among his constituents.
Public affairs conducted in a taxpayer-funded office by elected public officials and their staffs should be on the record and transparent to all, except in such case where public safety and/or national security are at risk and requiring proof that such exceptions were in fact warranted.
The decriminalization/legalization of marijuana is only one of several causes championed by Mr. Burdett. He also advocates Medicare for all, free college education, getting money out of politics, The Green New Deal, and other advances. He is in favor of ending the war on drugs and champions fair and equal voting rights and 100% renewable energy. He managed the 2018 campaign of Dr. Kirkland Hall for Delegate in Maryland legislative District 38A.
Mr. Burdett is in fact an effective, genuinely benevolent, civic-minded individual who dedicates his time and energy to creating what he wishes to be a true civilization, an America that walks the talk. His spirit should be fed and encouraged, not squashed under the heavy foot of a corporate funded elitist politician.
Is there a need to further ponder why Congressman Dr. Andy Harris desires to make an example of this young man?
Adoption Process Concerns
On Friday, Feb. 15, I visited the Worcester County Humane Society shelter in Berlin to adopt a dog. I described what I was looking for and the volunteer brought out the only dog that fit the description saying they had just gotten her the day before. I was so taken with her I put in an application and was told it was the only one submitted for her. Louise came to me and put her front paws on my legs. That’s when I fell in love with her.
On Sunday, Feb. 17, I visited the shelter again to see Louise and play with her.
On Sunday, Feb. 24, as I had not heard anything from the shelter nine days later about my application, I went back to the shelter and was told Louise was not there but was at the Petsmart to participate in a community pet adoption event. I found Louise at the Petsmart in a wire crate labeled, “Please Adopt Me.” A volunteer Board member said several visitors to Petsmart had submitted applications to adopt her. I was very upset as my references and vet had not been contacted by the shelter regarding my application submitted nine days ago.
On Tuesday, Feb. 26, 10 days later, I got a call from the WCHS volunteer telling me that “based on her observation (of me) she did not approve my application because she felt I would not be able to walk the dog myself; the dog was not a good fit for me; the dog would be better off in a home with children, and I should just look for another dog.”
I was in disbelief hearing the volunteer’s discriminatory reasons for rejecting my application. I told her that pet walkers and friends are available who walked my previous dogs and would walk any dog I have. She said that was not good enough. I told her I have a large fenced backyard for a dog to romp around in. She repeated that was not good enough. No effort was made by the WCHS volunteer to interview me, my references or my veterinarian to determine my eligibility to adopt Louise.
My prior dogs brought me loving companionship, much pleasure and affection which I returned. I live alone and having a dog like Louise would be a blessing for me and her. Does the WCHS volunteer understand that her decisions, which seem to be based on her own observations, impact the lives of people looking for special comfort? Does the volunteer have the proper credentials, i.e., a medical background, to be in such a delicate position? If not, the WCHS shelter in Berlin is doing a disservice to me, the community and those in need of companionship with less than perfect mobility and disability.
I was treated unfairly by the WCHS in not being vetted. I will file a discrimination complaint with the proper authorities to bring the situation to light and hopefully improve Worcester County dog adoption policies. I still hope to adopt Louise as Louise and I are a perfect fit for each other.
Beach Fee Worth Considering
One of the time-tested ploys of politicians is to setup a task force or committee to “study” an issue that may be unpopular with taxpayers. The politicians appoint a majority of the committee who support the politicians’ agenda and then selects “experts” to advice the committee. The committee then issues a report recommending actions that agrees with the politician’s agenda.
It would seem to me that the Ocean City parking task force may be such a subterfuge. The City Council and mayor appointed the taskforce members, City Engineer, Terry McGean suggested the expert and the mayor said that “until we have a recommendation from this committee, there will be no action taken.” Three members of the City Council, Mary Knight, John Gehrig and Dennis Dare (the Knight bloc), have already expressed concern that the taxpayers are subsidizing parking spots for visitors. The Knight bloc has made it very clear that something must be done to reduce the taxpayers cost resulting from day-trippers coming to Ocean City. The Knight bloc has a noble goal of looking out for the pocket book of the taxpayers.
However, if they were really were concerned about the taxpayers costs resulting from day trippers visiting Ocean City, they would pass a law establishing a beach tax for anyone who wants to use the Ocean City beach. Councilman Dennis Dare is correct when he said, “Where can you go to the beach for free and have your trash picked up and have a lifeguard watching over you every block? There are very few places like that anymore, but there is a cost associated with that.”
A beach fee will offset that cost. I failed to see why the Knight bloc persist in toying with the nickel and dime parking revenue when the establishment of a beach tax would bring in millions of dollars more than parking meters.
Of course, to obtain the support of local residents such a fee should legally exempt anyone who permanently resides in Ocean City or is a property owner.
Joseph H. Potter