Hogan Right To Insist Ballot Must Be Requested
With all the hysteria surrounding the U S Postal Service and its potential involvement in our election in November, I thought it might be a good idea to talk to someone with experience, someone “on the ground” so to speak. So I contacted a friend who recently retired from the USPS.
I asked him to tell me the facts and give me his perspective. His first comment was that the reforms Postmaster General DeJoy is trying to put in place are desperately needed – that the system, like most bureaucracies, is bloated and inefficient at the management level and incredibly wasteful with taxpayer money and has been that way for years. He also told me that removing mail receptacles is a standard procedure (several years ago the USPS removed dozens of mail receptacles in Ocean City because they were not being utilized). This happens all the time all over the country. He also said it’s a normal thing to disable mail sorting machines. The Postal Service has, over the last several years, seen its business drop dramatically, almost entirely due to email, and more recently, due to the COVID shutdowns. There is nothing nefarious in removing (or moving) mail receptacles or getting rid of unneeded equipment.
So all of this hysteria is just not based in fact.
I’ll tell you something that we should be hysterical about, though. How many people know that both of the postal worker unions, the American Postal Workers Union and the National Association of Letter Carriers, have donated to the campaign of and endorsed Joe Biden? Don’t you think that would be quite a conflict of interest to have these postal workers handling millions of ballots?
Another issue – no matter what the media says, mail voting is not the same thing as absentee voting. In absentee voting, the voter requests a ballot and it is mailed to him or her. The type of mail voting the Democrats are pushing is having the Boards of Election just mail ballots willy-nilly to everyone on the voter rolls, including all of those dead people and those who have moved. So what happens to all of those unclaimed ballots? I am glad Governor Hogan has insisted that those who do not want to vote in person must request a ballot.
I have no doubt that, by the time this letter hits our local newspapers, this will all be old news and there will be another “crisis” situation that is all Donald Trump’s fault and that we must make sure he is not re-elected or it’s the end of the world.
I wonder if people ever get tired of being treated like little children who can’t think for themselves?
Focus On Restoring Freedoms
The Ocean City Council’s discussions of wearing, or not wearing, masks is growing tiresome. The media’s constant number touting is meaningless. Those who do not question or research information have been successfully and hopelessly frightened. The hospitals, as they always do, are taking care of the ill.
Now the council is trying to decide whether a mask should be worn when a person is exercising on the Boardwalk, because of the “spit and sweat” that emanates.
Isn’t that the purported reason for a mask, to stop that emanation? The mask is not about you, remember? It’s to protect everyone else.
I, for one, have had enough. Anyone who feels threatened because of age or their health issues should stay home.
This is not life in a free country. The easy acceptance of such a draconian measure is truly troubling. Instead of questioning the legality and effectiveness of wearing them, people are searching online to find masks that coordinate with their outfits.
The grownups in charge should be using their energies and power to pressure our governor to restore the freedoms that he so easily took away. Instead, they are scrambling to cancel and revise planned events to suit these unconstitutional restrictions.
Businesses are stressed and dying. People are sinking farther into debt and depression. The fun and spontaneity have been sucked out of our lives, and summer is now over.
I, of course, have to shroud up to be allowed to buy food for my family. Other than that, I go nowhere. I am sure that there are people thinking that I am just being stubborn, and I am not adapting, or maybe I just don’t get it.
Or, maybe I do.
Support Wind Farm Decision
I was pleased to see that Maryland’s Public Service Commission has approved Ørsted’s use of 12 megawatt turbines for the Skipjack Wind Farm. That brings use one step closer to delivering clean energy to 35,000 homes in the region.
Not coincidentally, the Town of Ocean City just committed to pay lobbyist Bruce Bereano $67,000 in taxpayer money to assist their efforts to stop offshore wind (OC Council renews contract with lobbyist Bruce Bereano, 8/20/20).
By this time next year, the Town will have paid Mr. Bereano$267,000 over four years to lobby against offshore wind, according to State Ethics Commission filings. The town has yet to make public how much they have paid Prince George’s County lawyer Tim Maloney or viewshed expert Robert Sullivan in their efforts to stop these offshore wind projects. The Town should make public how much taxpayer money they have spent on all outside consultants in an attempt to stop offshore wind.
There is more good news on offshore wind: the University of Delaware this summer released a study showing that 90% of beachgoers say wind turbines 20 miles offshore would not detract at all from their beach experience and another 10% said the turbines would actually improve their beach experience. The Skipjack Wind Farm would be at least 21 miles from shore.
Maryland wants offshore wind. It means good jobs for the lower shore, clean energy for our homes and businesses, and happy beachgoers.
(The writer is the chair of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus.)
Funding Sources Questioned
In 2009, the Mayor & City Council (M&CC) passed Ordinance 2009-17, stating that the land mass at our Wastewater Treatment Plant on 64th Street was at capacity. It added that any new improvements, increased hydraulic capacity and additional enhanced levels of treatment needed would require additional land. The 0rdinance authorized the M&CC to purchase or condemn a vacant tract of land located at 200 64th Street, adjacent to the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Information available through the Maryland State Archives, reveals a recorded document identified as “CONSENT INQUISITION”, dated 6/15/10. This document found in Worcester County Land Records, with case title “Mayor and City Council Of Ocean City, Plaintiff v. Oceanbay Shopping Center Limited Partnership, Defendant”, states “THAT the parties have agreed on Five Million Dollars ($5,000,000) as the amount of damages which the Defendant will sustain by reason of the taking, use and occupation of said property,…”. The document further states “THAT the purpose for which said land and property above described is sought to be condemned is as set out in Ordinance 2009-17…”.
In 2010, the M&CC passed two separate Bond Ordinances for the acquisition of the property. Both bond ordinances indicate that the bond proceeds were for the acquisition of property being condemned pursuant to Ordinance 2009-17. The first bond ordinance adopted in June of 2010 authorized a bond sale in the amount of $5.1 million. It was passed just eight days before the Court awarded the $5 million in damages to the Defendant. However, that bond sale never took place. Where did the $5,000,000 come from to acquire the property?
In September of 2010, a second Bond Ordinance was adopted authorizing the M&CC to issue and sell $18,105,000 in bonds. Along with the acquisition of 200 64th Street, this bond sale was also to fund a variety of public works projects, along with expansion, repairs & improvements to the Convention Center. However, this bond ordinance was not adopted for at least two months after the property was acquired by the Town; and the actual bond sale did not occur until mid-November of 2010, over four months after ownership transferred. If funds were not available until November, where did the $5,000,000 come from to settle with the Defendant months earlier?
It has been over 10 years since the M&CC acquired this property, and they have never utilized the land for their stated intended purpose of expanding the Wastewater Treatment Plant. And now, as part of the massive, major, and expensive renovation project at the 65th Street Public Works Complex, otherwise known as the “Campus Plan”, the M&CC have recently built a ground level parking lot on the property at a cost of $2 million, of which the Maryland Transportation Administration paid half. With the cost of acquisition at $5 million, and the interest accrued on its assigned debt thru early August, 2020 at over $2 million, and the Town’s portion of construction costs at $1 million; this combined $8 million dollars makes this one very expensive parking lot.
What is also curious is the fact that FY10 Budget Amendment #2 adopted in September of 2010, reveals that a Bond Issuance in the amount of $6,453,899 was added to the Wastewater Fund as a budget amendment. Where did that money come from, when the Bond Sale was not held until November of 2010?
If, in fact, the original intent of the condemnation ordinance was to acquire the land for the Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion; and if, in fact, the Wastewater Fund paid for the acquisition and has financed the debt service with interest all these years, then the Campus Plan should reimburse the Wastewater Fund for the land now used as a parking lot. After all, it is only fair to those of us who pay our wastewater bills.
Vincent dePaul Gisriel, Jr.