Opposition Worn Thin
Thank you for the fair and balanced report by Bethany Hooper (May 23 online) on the offshore wind symposium in Dagsboro, Del.
The main objection to the wind farms was presented by Ocean City’s mayor. He presented the argument, heard for several years now, that the wind turbines will spoil the view and hurt tourism and property values, even though they will be built 15 miles offshore, barely visible even on clear days.
This point of view has worn thin over the years as studies and interviews with Block Island, Rhode Island residents and officials, who have lived with their offshore wind turbines for a few years, report that tourism has increased, as evidenced by increased Air B&B rentals. People, like me, travel from hundreds of miles around to see these interesting new technologies. Recreational fishing has increased tourism as the turbine foundation became crustacean-encrusted reefs, attracting fish.
Then there is the cartoon showing ugly rusty cargo ships, buzzing noisy airplanes, dragging airborne advertisements, fat guys with a plumber’s crack showing, and a couple says, “I hope we don’t have to look at ugly wind turbines.”
Tourists come to the beach in spite of all these ugly things because of all the great fun we have at the beach, and they just ignore the ugly factors.
That’s what the OC mayor should do.
Current Events Opinions
Shortages: If this whole sports complex goes as planned and the tax payers are on the hook for millions of dollars, what happens when there is a shortage of fuel? And the complex cannot be utilized as it’s advertised. The tax players are once again paying for the failed leadership in Worcester County and Ocean City.
Shortages Part 2: What happens when fuel becomes too expensive for families to visit the town and enjoy the beach? Who suffers the most? The business owners do. This is worst time to raise taxes. The beach is the only thing in the town that is not run down and from 1970.
Political and greed: Since the politicians could not legally keep the businesses closed with a virus, the political leaders and top CEOs are creating a problem that will eliminate businesses who rely on resources to operate the business. If gas runs out, many businesses in ocean city will fall.
Defending: And since the Mayor and Council did nothing for the businesses of Ocean City during the political virus, I doubt the council will come to the small businesses defense. Why? The city council wants corporate owners vs. family ownership. More money.
Florida: While Worcester County Commissioners, political figures, mayors and city councils are failing, the governor of Florida is making things possible. Grants, reduced fees, reduced taxes. And 118 million people visited Florida and about 40% brought/started a business or brought a home.
Florida Part 2: Another reason why Florida is successful is because they do not have signs coming into resort destinations you will be arrested for violating laws. If someone breaks the law they do not make a broadcast about it And Florida does not have tickets that go from $80 to $3000 either.
Mayor of Ocean City: Richard Meehan likes to put his crown on and he makes sure the rally is broadcasted as all criminals. But forgetting that some have families too. It’s easy for the council and mayor to sit in their castles and make calls vs. actually looking and going out to observe it.
Pop Up Rally: Well Again this week were Cruisers and some very beautiful cars. But nothing like a sign that says you will be arrested and given $2,000 fines. Again more taxpayers money spent on resources for a hype and BS created by the local political leaders who are as useless as a toilet in an empty train station.
Consultant Way Off With Sports Complex Talk
In last week’s article titled “Ocean City Officials Gather To Update Strategic Plan,” by Shawn Soper, Lyle Sumek a consultant hired by Ocean City, apparently to coach the council on the strategic plan and the “rebranding” through a county sports complex, spoke on both. The sports complex has become a petition issue.
The consultant explained what a public voter is to the Mayor and Council. “. . .20% are always negative. . . and 20% are always positive. Then there are 10% trending toward negative and 10% trending toward positive and the remaining 40% don’t even know who their elected officials are.” One can only wonder how large a fee we paid the consultant?
Further regarding the town’s three-year strategic plan, the consultant said, “I have worked with towns that I’ve considered losers.” He then complemented our town’s council and mayor, saying, “True champions sustain success … I see a lot of that here in Ocean City.”
The consultant then went on to talk about the town’s “rebranding” around the proposed county sports complex comparing it to the mammoth sports complex in Round Rock Texas who the consultant claimed to have worked with. When the consultant was asked if that success could be duplicated in Ocean City he said, “From what I have seen, damn yes. They can be wildly successful if they are done right.” Mr. Sumek further said the ones that were not successful didn’t do market analysis. Ocean City has recently paid for a second market study for an additional $50,000. The first study on page 31 concluded that outdoor sports events had declined over the last few years.
I decided to call the Round Rock sports facility in Round Rock, Texas. It is a huge complex strategically located. A two-and-a-half-hour drive from Dallas, Houston and San Antonio and next to Austin. The complex is located on 645 acres. It has 10 rectangular fields, 25 baseball/softball fields and numerous other structures. I had a 20-minute conversation with Mr. David Buzzell. I also spoke briefly with two ladies at the facility. The facility was started 35 years ago and over time the City of Round Rock has amassed over $200 million in debt to develop the complex. The facility loses money to operate it and on debt service every year. It is busy on weekends only, during the year and every day during the summer. The hope is that the business community around the sports complex will generate enough tax revenue to cover the loss.
The Round Rock Sports Complex was started with a 400-acre donation. Maybe someone should ask the Harrisons if they would make a donation of the 95 acres instead of charging the county $7,150,000 — way more than other available sites. There is a free site on Route 13 in Pocomoke and a much cheaper site in Snow Hill. Mr. Buzzell also mentioned a privately-run sports complex that kept its fields filled all week. A private sports complex would not involve our scarce tax dollars.
We should explore all available parcels and all forms of ownership before placing a substantial obligation on the citizens of our county. Maybe we too should start with a large property donation and then seek out a private manager rather then further risk the county’s limited funds.
Bill 22-8 permissions the county commissioners to borrow up to $14,560,000 ($7,150,000 of which will be given to the Harrisons) and an estimate of precisely $15,584,381 to completion, without a bid or a drawing of any expenses. Expenses that some believe will be in excess of $55 million, without an indoor facility on the property. Three commissioners voted against Bill 22-8 and four commissioners voted for the Bill 22-8. We are better than that. We must have better oversight of our money.
Falls Church, Va.
Recognizing Local Youth
The Kiwanis Club of Greater Ocean Pines-Ocean City does many things to support children and the community, but one of the most important things is the support of the student leadership programs it supports in local schools.
On May 11, 2022, membership heard report backs from each of the four Kiwanis club advisors who interface with the local schools and their teacher advisors of each student club. The purpose of the clubs is to teach leadership and give back to the community. Student clubs mirror the organization of the parent club with officers, members and meetings to do the work. Realize that the 2021-2022 school year had to deal with COVID which didn’t initially allow meetings and therefore projects being done. Each club receives $500 from the parent club to help fund their projects.
K-Kids at Showell Elementary: Grades 2-4, Kiwanis Advisor Candy Foreman, Faculty Advisor Evy Collins: Projects – Puppy mats for the Humane Society, wooden Pocket Pals cut by WoCo Vo-Tech and decorated by the kids to sell in support of fellow student Lakelyn who suffers from cancer. Also, a Food Drive collected over 200 pounds of non-perishables for Diakonia and comfort bags filled with items like a small stuffed animal, Popits and child friendly stickers for the police to give to children in stressful situations. Little ones doing a lot.
Builders Club at Berlin Intermediate School: Grades 5 -6, Kiwanis Advisor Doreen O’Connor, Faculty Advisor Jane Slotter: Projects include making 20 fleece blankets for Diakonia for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day accompanied with handmade cards. Also, making doggy pull toys out of knotted T-shirts for the Humane Society. Kiwanis members enjoyed pictures of their work.
Builders Club at Stephen Decatur Middle School: Grades 7 – 8, Kiwanis Advisor Sarah Walker, Faculty Advisor Mindy Ouelette: Projects- Participating in the local. Relay For Life to raise funds to fund a cure for cancer. Also they made Valentines for all the 80 SDMS teachers and did a mental health project for the same teachers. Positive Affirmation Tree to put positive notes on from students and rocks were painted with positive sayings on them and placed around the school outside. They collected $350 for a basket that was raffled off for Lakelyn along with the blanket they made for her. They collected money for UNICEF which is a project Kiwanis International supports. Lots of positive accomplishments.
Key Club at Stephen Decatur High School: Grades 9-12, Kiwanis Advisor Roy Foreman, Faculty Advisors Stella Malone and Wendie Saullo: Projects – Annual Winter Sock Drive to give to the Berlin Nursing Home residents. Also, raised $300 of gift cards for an Easter basket that was raffled off and made $1000 for UNICEF. One huge project they do every year as a part of a schoolwide project is the Blood Drive which couldn’t be done due to COVID.
Local students make a difference at all ages, making the parent Kiwanis Club very proud.
Kiwanis Club of Greater Ocean Pines-Ocean City