Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – September 17, 2021

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – September 17, 2021

Ocean City Mayor and Council members were right this week to ask Councilman Mark Paddack to take a leave of absence after he posted offensive remarks on a local woman’s Facebook story while on her honeymoon. The request was made by Council President Matt James and supported publicly at the meeting by Councilmen Tony DeLuca, Peter Buas and John Gehrig and presumably the whole council. Paddack refused the request, saying he had hired an attorney and sought an investigation. The probe was confirmed in an odd two-sentence release from the Sheriff’s Office after Paddack reported “unauthorized access of his FaceBook account.”

In response to a picture on the woman’s Facebook story, Paddack wrote at 1 a.m., “Tell the dude to turn his hat back where the white designed the hat to be worn. Where I come from, that is a punk. Immature POS.” Paddack says he was hacked and understandably few people believe him, mainly because he has proven to be a loose cannon on Facebook in recent years. There are serious doubts whether this probe will ever materialize into anything. It’s likely the hack will never be confirmed. Paddack maintained he was hacked once before when he responded to a Facebook comment about Boardwalk violence, saying, “You trolls are amazing and want to bitch when you don’t even live in a prosperous community.”

Last weekend’s disturbing post is just the latest of Paddack’s antics on Facebook. He often comes unhinged and shares his extreme conservative views. Last summer Paddack lashed out at the president of the town’s advertising agency in a comment on a George Floyd post, saying, “You F##$@@ liberals are in denial.” A couple weeks later, in response to a seemingly innocuous Facebook post on a community page wondering who was running for Ocean City mayor, Paddack went after one of his council colleagues, Matt James. Paddack wrote, “They will not announce until September, it’s political. After the BS of summer COVID19 Shamdemic. I know Rick has been there for decades after the City Council. I am here to say the man eats, breaths, and supports OC. No other person other me an independent does what Rick does for this Town. Rick and I have had differences but in the end for 30k a year as Mayor, no one will do what Rick does unless a ‘daddy’ wants to pay it. End of story. Mayor Rick Meehan is the man for the job as Mayor. Not these wisher washy, drag decisions out people who want to continue to be career politicians. Wait til the last minute, try to make a name for themselves when never working a government job.”

Additionally, Paddack has been known to often mix it up on Facebook pages operated by the pop-up rally people. He has defended this in the past, saying he was gagged by the police department throughout his career and will no longer refrain from expressing his opinions. He expressed himself on the topics of bikers on the H20 2019-20 Facebook page, saying, “Been there OC, Sturgis, Daytona and Myrtle Beach bike weeks. Yep combined over 25 times and never had an issue or; confronted authority figures. Adult motorcyclist that act like adults. Yep some problems created by POSs that feel entitled. Overall really great group of people motor cyclists and not because I own a Harley since 1994. As Americans par for the course. Nothing is perfect. Far more of law abiding adults at those motorcycle events that span over a month in each location except Ocean City. You would know if you had life experience and developed some wisdom. Just saying. Not four days of immature acts of adult children showing their asses without pulling their pants down. Stupidity based on the numbers, prepare your self according and don’t whine. You are adults responsible for your actions. Grow up, follow the rules and respect the community. That simple. Those are the facts. End of story.”

No matter what happens with the hack probe, the public will get a chance to decide on Paddack’s future next year if he files for re-election to a second term. For the record, I have been on Facebook for more than 12 years and never once been hacked.

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The Coastal Association of Realtors raised eyebrows with a mailer this month about short-term rentals in Berlin. The mailer read, “Our property rights are at risk. They just won’t take no for an answer. Not again… another scheme to restrict our property rights.” The mailer also included the ability to send a letter to property owners’ elected officials expressing opposition along with a website, adding, “There are already fair, sensible ordinances on the books that allow us to keep our property rights – as Berlin keeps its small-town charm. Now it’s your call … to protect your rights and all homeowners’ rights in Berlin.”

At this week’s town council meeting, Councilman Dean Burrell expressed some agitation over the mailing, believing it was premature as the town is still considering the ordinance and no vote is planned.

“Some of you may have received a correspondence that has my return address. It’s advocating for a no vote on an ordinance related to short-term rentals. This correspondence may imply or indicate that I am against or in support of voting against this ordinance. That is a misconception. I had nothing to do with this correspondence going out,” Burrell said. “I had nothing to do with this mailer nor at this time have I developed an opinion on this ordinance. I am still in the process of gathering information and those individuals who returned to these cards, thank you for sharing your opinion, but be advised I am not advocating one way or the other at this time for this ordinance.”

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.