Open Boardwalk Restrooms
Twenty-five boardwalk property and business owners attenDed the downtown neighborhood watch meetings on Sept. 27, Oct. 20 and Nov. 11.
One of the issues they were concerned about was the Boardwalk public restrooms need to stay open until midnight during the tourism season. They complained that the Boardwalk stores cannot adequately accommodate bathroom needs of thousands of Boardwalk visitors who become contentious and belligerent when they cannot use the stores’ restrooms.
The town added the public restrooms on the Boardwalk for the specific purpose for the tourist and for relieving the burden of the Boardwalk business community. Keeping the Boardwalk public restrooms open for the tourist would solve the problem.
Newt Weaver and Margaret Pillas
(The writers are the Downtown Neighborhood Watch coordinators.)
Our current political atmosphere is in total disarray. All too often, voters that bother to participate in their civic duty simply check a box because the person has a “D” or an “R” next to their name. And thanks to gerrymandering, some highly qualified candidates from one party will undoubtedly lose to a woeful candidate from the other party simply due to an edge in voter enrollment. While unfortunate, the results under this system are something that I can understand.
However, I am extremely confused about the results of some nonpartisan elections, such as that of the recent election for Mayor and Town Council here in Ocean City. By definition, any victory over an opponent of more than 15% is considered a “landslide”. For example, a 58% to 42% victory would be a landslide. In our election, the top vote getter in the Town Council race received a vote from approximately 75% of voters, while the bottom vote getter garnered support from less than 29%. So, it was a landslide by definition, but much closer than it should have been.
The top vote getter with 1,137 votes is a young, ambitious attorney who is well rooted in the community. The bottom vote getter received 439 votes. This last place finisher participated in the Coast Dispatch’s “Candidates Forum” back in October of 2020, has submitted comments on line during Mayor and Town Council meetings and most recently penned a letter to the Coast Dispatch bashing the Mayor and Council in a letter than can only be described as incoherent babble. After reading it several times, I remain clueless of the purpose of his letter.
The Mayor and Town Council have an extremely important job. They are tasked with determining tax policy, growth initiatives, providing a clean, safe and affordable beach for both residents and tourists. Each decision made effects all of us who care about Ocean City. This cannot be overstated.
It is shameful that only 23% of registered voters participated in this election. We must do better. Of course, we should all vote, but we should also attempt to follow what is going on in town government. Attend the regular meetings if you can. If you can’t, at least watch them online or the rebroadcast on television so that you can become more informed. An educated electorate is healthy for our town. Assuming that the losing candidate for office voted for himself, this means there were an additional 438 people that did the same thing. These people clearly must not have viewed the candidate forum. I do hope they take the time to read the Letter To Editor printed on Feb. 12, 2021 and ask themselves if they took the election seriously. I strongly encourage all voters to educate themselves on the candidates and to vote for the best person for the job.
Crofton and Ocean City
The Death Of A Country
Let me begin with the start of our Republic form of government. It basically started with just three branches of government. They were the Legislative, Executive and the Judicial. I’m sure you who have studied our history realize that it was a unique form of government in that it was different from all other forms of governments at the time of its inception. What was very special about it was that it was a government of, by and for the people.
That’s all part of the Legislative past however, through the past 232 years the government has grown. Presently, not counting the Military, there are 14 Departments that are active. They are the department of State, Treasury, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health & Human Services, Housing & Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security.
Do any of you have any idea of what the estimated number of people and cost of these departments is? Not counting the Military the approximate number of employees are 1,276,000 at an approximate cost of a little over $2 trillion annually. If you want to add into this the estimated number of military personal of 2.86 million at an added estimated cost of $722 billion plus as of 2019 and the approximate number of people presently receiving Social Security of a little over $45 million the amount our government is responsible for is well over $3 trillion annually.
You realize, of course, the chief way our government gets its money is through taxes. We the people pay 45% of this tax thru personal income tax, 39% is through Social Security and Medicare tax, 12% through corporate income tax, 3% through other taxes and 1% through estate and gift taxes. You should also realize that the money the government gets through taxes pays the salaries of all those presently working for the government and those who have worked for the government and are now retired. Also, those on Social Security receive their payments by collected funds deducted from personal workers salaries.
Do you understand now why the debt of our government is almost $28 trillion and counting and that they haven’t placed themselves on a budget for over 20 years? I think it’s time we the people demand a change in the size and number of departments in our government. Also term limits and what they get after serving might be a good starting point. Just a thought folks, think about it.
Paul St. Andre
OC Attempting To Halt Wind
As Maryland lawmakers convene in Annapolis for a new legislative session, they will soon celebrate the two-year mark since passage of the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2019.
They may not know the extent to which the Town of Ocean City is using its tax dollars to halt offshore wind development and, by extension, stall implementation of the Clean Energy Jobs Act.
Documents provided to my organization by Ocean City government under the Public Information Act reveal that more than $300,000 in taxpayer money has been spent on a futile effort to stop offshore wind energy. Here is a partial summary of how Ocean City government reports spending public money:
Ocean City taxpayers have paid more than $120,000 to the Prince George’s County-based law firm Joseph Greenwald & Lacke to lobby Maryland’s Public Service Commission to stop offshore wind projects more than 20 miles off Maryland’s coast. That expense was in vain since the commission unanimously rejected the town’s request last summer.
They paid $92,000 to Annapolis lobbyist Bruce Bereano in an attempt to persuade Governor Hogan to stop offshore wind development. That attempt failed, as Governor Hogan endorsed offshore wind in October and joined a three-state partnership to help Maryland capture offshore wind jobs.
Baltimore PR firm KO Public Affairs was paid $45,000 by city government for what the town describes as “a letter to Ocean City residents.” Has there been a more expensive letter in Maryland history?
They paid more than $15,000 to a viewshed expert in hopes that he would persuade the Public Service Commission to prohibit a particular kind of wind turbine. That effort failed.
They paid $7,500 to an entertainment production firm to choreograph a regulatory hearing held the Public Service Commission in January 2020. I attended the hearing. The majority of speakers were actually supporters of offshore wind.
All told, Ocean City has spent more than $300,000 in taxpayer money in an unsuccessful attempt to stop clean energy’s advancement. They have virtually no results to show for this expensive endeavor. Tax dollars that could have helped close the city’s looming budget deficit are now in the bank accounts of out of town lawyers and lobbyists.
Ocean City government should be trying to reap the enormous economic and environmental benefits of offshore wind – not plowing tax dollars into a vain attempt to oppose clean energy and the jobs it will bring to our community. State lawmakers should do their part to remind Ocean City that the Clean Energy Jobs Act is here to stay.
(The writer is the chair of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus.)