Response To Letter
We are writing in response to last week’s letter “Irresponsible Leadership” where Mr. Chismar noted that Susan Jones comments to WJZ TV were “outrageous and needs to be addressed.” We believe this warrants a bit of background context.
Since the middle of March, we have been meeting regularly to address the effects of COVID on our industry. In April, we submitted safety procedures to the State of Maryland which would allow employees and visitors to be safe in our community. As the industry representing the economic engine of our community, we knew that we needed to lead the effort in order to save hundreds of businesses from closings and to save thousands of jobs from being lost. Additionally, we realized the need to balance the health of our citizens with the potential economic devastation. With that in mind, we included the Chamber of Commerce, Worcester Economic Development & Tourism, Worcester Health Department, the Town of OC, Senator Carozza and Delegate Hartman on our OC Recovery Team. Countless email messages and phone calls have been shared with our hospitality members requesting they follow the State of MD Roadmap to Recovery guidelines. Not every business is a member of OCHMRA and therefore, we do not reach many of the boardwalk businesses mentioned in the letter.
We are appreciative that Mr. Chismar mentions Dr. Birx’s opinion on dining, and as Governor Hogan pointed out in a recent press conference, contact tracing has proven that 44% of cases occurred at family gatherings as opposed to 23% in restaurants. In this day and age, the media spins the story to their liking; we only hear the soundbites they want us to hear. (with the exception of this papers balanced reporting) This is unfortunate as the contexts of comments are often misinterpreted. In fact, allow us to supply the entire statement by Jones as it was not written in Mr. Chismar’s letter. She stated “Restricting indoor dining is not going to do anything to stop the spread, personal responsibility will.” So, we stand by her comments that the “restaurant industry has been unfairly targeted.” Personal responsibility is key.
Yesterday, Governor Hogan provided a mask mandate and this will finally provide clarity on the issue. Our Association has no legal authority to enforce every operator, employee or visitor in wearing a mask. Sadly, when employees have asked guests to wear masks, many have been faced with being yelled at, spit on and in a few cases pushed. Ocean City goes from a sleepy winter town to Maryland’s second largest city at times. Our industry remains committed to doing all we can to keep our visitors safe; which is why so many restaurants voluntarily closed to get all their employees tested and to deep clean.
Finally, Mr. Chismar’s letter noted that we should focus on the countless mask-free workers before blaming vacationers. We can assure you would never place blame on visitors; we would not exist, nor would our community, without visitors and they will always be welcome in our resort town. The divisive finger pointing that has consumed our nation is the exact thing that is tearing it apart.
OCHMRA Board of Directors
Executive Director Susan L. Jones
Mr. Chismar’s attacks on Susan Jones and the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association (OCHMRA) are completely out of line. They have been actively involved with state and local elected officials, government entities, trade groups and numerous businesses all working towards the common goal of reducing the spread of COVID while enabling businesses to remain open and operating safely. I agree wholeheartedly with Susan Jones that the restaurant industry has been unfairly targeted.
Governor Hogan reported in his press conference this week that family gatherings, house parties and outdoor events are the main culprits for the spread of COVID – not restaurants. This is real data from the contact tracing program here in Maryland, not national “modeling”.
I would also like to point out that both California and New Mexico do not permit indoor dining, yet both have continued to see an increase in COVID cases and increases in their positivity rates. The city of Philadelphia is also experiencing these same increases, also without indoor dining available.
OCHMRA, the Restaurant Association of Maryland and numerous other organizations were calling for an expansion of the face covering policy on a statewide level. We are pleased that Governor Hogan took action. Social distancing, wearing face coverings and frequent handwashing are the keys to stopping the spread of COVID. Placing further restrictions on restaurants will not stop the spread of COVID, personal responsibility will.
If you look at how other states have fared against this pandemic, the leadership of Maryland and the leadership of Ocean City have done very well and deserve to be commended, not attacked as irresponsible.
(The writer is the president & CEO of the Restaurant Association of Maryland.)
Ben Franklin once said, “When the people find they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of our Republic.” Our Congress and President have voted $6 trillion — yes, our political class has printed and borrowed, creating a staggering amount of debasement money and loan obligations in a month, March of 2020, creating a greater future obligation on the younger generation then at any time during the brief history of our nation. Undaunted, the political class is ready to “vote themselves money” yet again as if they have found a new fountain of wealth through the failed age-old methods of currency debasement by printing and borrowing with little hope of paying it back. Is this what Ben Franklin said would “herald the end of our Republic”? Why is printing and borrowing greater than ever before risking an end to our Democracy? The key is that simply printing and borrowing money does nothing to address the so-called wealth gap in our country, and that is one of the factors that could contribute most significantly to citizen unrest and the decline of our democratic behavioral norms in this country.
About 25 years ago there was an Op-ed in the Washington Post talking about an elementary school elect ion of a class president. A 10-year-old boy was running against a 10-year-old girl for the privilege of the office. The little boy spoke first. “We can not cut in line for lunch and we must remember to raise our hand before we talk in class and to go to the bathroom.” Next the little girl spoke. “Vote for me and I will give you all free cupcakes and ice-cream.” The little girl won the class presidency by a landslide! No surprise there. Are material gifts by politicians with our assets what liberty and freedom mean?
Thirty years ago, I had the honor of attending a political function in Washington with the Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, the Honorable Paul Tsongas, who was running for president and at the time poling ahead of Bill Clinton. Mr. Tsongas said his greatest fear for the future of our great Country was many people being told that they were entitled to gifts by bad politicians misusing the public treasury for personal attention and political gain. Mr. Tsongas said that a political class promising gifts from the public’s treasury to certain downtrodden Americans in the future would lead to bankruptcy and a currency collapse for all Americans. It would mark the end of our great Country. I supported Mr. Tsongas; he signed my itinerary that day. Unfortunately, he withdrew from the election 60 days latter and died from brain cancer in 1992. What a loss, Mr. Clinton went on to win the Presidency.
Stephen Roach, from the Yale School of Management, talked about the predicament the economy is in last month and why he is so certain that we will suffer from a currency collapse in the next two to three years from our political classes printing and borrowing. Will more be scheduled? Our printing and borrowing have even surpassed the peaks in WWII with more to come.
Stephen Roach says, “In the first quarter of 2020, our National Savings Rate was 1.4%, this compares to a 45-year average from 1960 through 2005 of 7%. The lack of savings has created an extreme current account deficit of (-6.3%). The value of our dollar will have to move significantly lower to offset the current account deficit.”
Disrupting our supply chain through the use of harsh trade rhetoric and real, as well as threatened tariffs, and relocating our supply chain in America will in coming months double or triple the costs Americans pay for goods, adding to the currency devaluation. In addition, printing and borrowing trillions of dollars will further decrease Americans buying power.
Although exporters will benefit from a sharp decline in the dollar, only 12.2% of our economy is due to exports, and 87.8% is not. Worse yet, at least 9 out 10 Americans will suffer from a decline in the buying power of the US dollar. Also, although the debt is payable with minimal interest rates presently, as confidence is lost due to the flood of printed dollars, interest rates will not remain near zero. Roach says this reality is baked in the cake and imminent, and what do our politicians plan to do about it? They are currently arguing over trillions more of borrowing and printing with no regard for the younger generations who will be forcibly saddled with repayments.
Let’s defer to the wisdom of Ben Franklin once again. “They who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
The Washington Post Op-ed never mentioned whether the little girl who won her classes presidency ever gave her classmates the promised cupcakes and ice-cream
At 4 p.m. on July 31, Fitch Bond Rating Service lowered the grade of our country’s debt from stable to negative. Is this really the road we want to go down? Won’t anyone speak to stop it before it’s too late if it already isn’t?
Falls Church, Va.