Reasons To Vote Against Question A
I am opposed to the use of public funds to build and operate the Worcester County Sports Complex. From its inception, I have seen flaws in the way this project unfolded and was approved by a slim majority of our County Commissioners.
I have tried to pin our county officials down to a realistic cost of this project but without success. The Bond Bill is for $11,198,830. However, within the text of the bill are the figures of $14,560,000 and $15,584,381. I was initially told by the County Finance Officer and the Bond Counsel that $15,584,381 was the total cost to the county for the project; and yet, the Commission President signed a contract to purchase the land for $7.15 million, raising the revised cost to over $20.3 million. What is the real cost estimate? With the economy as it is today, is this the right time to be building a non-essential capital project?
I attempted to have a dollar figure put on the ballot question to give voters who might be unfamiliar with the project some idea of the cost but to no avail. The question of whether to vote For or Against the bond issuance for the Sports Complex will appear on the County ballot as Question A. The condensed statement on the ballot question will read “The purpose of this question is to determine whether the County Commissioners may finance a portion of the costs of designing and constructing a Worcester County Sports Complex by issuing a bond.” Why was I denied this reasonable request?
The public hearing on the land acquisition and the Bond Bill was held on April 19, 2022 to gauge the public’s interest regarding the project. Public notices announced that a hearing would be held on the “proposed purchase of property” and that a portion of the bond proceeds would fund “acquisition”. Yet, the Commission President signed the Contract of Sale one day before the first public notice was printed and two weeks before the public hearing. Why?
We have also learned that not all the Commissioners had a chance to see the contract before it was signed by the Commission President. Why?
The Worcester County Sports Complex appeared in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for the very first time in the FY23-FY27 document. It has never appeared in any CIP going back as far as 2010, and yet it suddenly appeared in the current CIP, and it shows it as an FY23 project. Usually, capital projects appear on a CIP well in advance of their scheduled funding. This project has the appearance of coming out of nowhere. According to an article in the Maryland Coast Dispatch dated Nov. 5, 2021, Commissioner Bertino indicated that the sports complex and a public safety building, “…hadn’t been reviewed or discussed by the commissioners prior to their inclusion in the CIP.” Why?
I urge all Worcester County voters to vote against the use of public funds for the construction and operation of a sports complex. Vote against Question A.
Vincent dePaul Gisriel, Jr.
Family Deserves Answers
Where’s the justice for Gavin Knupp, 14, run over and killed by a motorist whose owners live in the wealthiest neighborhood in this town?
Imagine same situation, black family owned the car, and the car was deemed to be the manslaughter weapon. They would be in jail fast, no time or means to flee to Mexico. Law enforcement – as directed by attorney advice – totally screwed this one.
“Protect the rich, they might sue.” Absolutely sickening.
Offshore Wind Provides Economic Opportunities
The Lower Shore Workforce Alliance (LSWA), which provides job training opportunities to residents of the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland, and US Wind, Delmarva’s leading offshore wind developer, both recognize the need for serious investment in workforce development as the Lower Shore prepares to be a major participant in the U.S. offshore wind industry.
LSWA, a division of the Tri-County Council for the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland (TCC), implements and coordinates training and employment programs operated throughout the Lower Shore that enable eligible participants to become economically self-sufficient and productive members of the community.
Offshore wind presents an unprecedented opportunity for the region, both in the development of a homegrown source of clean, renewable energy and in the development of a local workforce to power this new domestic industry. LSWA is excited to work with leaders like US Wind to train Marylanders on the Lower Shore to build out a regional supply chain.
An important component in this effort is the U.S. Department of Commerce’s $22.9 million award to the state of Maryland for the “Maryland Works for Wind” program. This initiative is focused on training Marylanders for the coming offshore wind industry – removing barriers for those who have been historically left out and preparing thousands of workers for good-paying, clean energy jobs. LSWA, in partnership with Maryland Department of Labor, has received funds to develop the offshore wind workforce throughout the lower eastern shore. US Wind has thrown their support behind this effort and has expressed its intentions to partner with other Maryland employers, organizations, labor unions and minority-owned businesses in developing a local workforce for this 21st Century industry.
Already, US Wind has committed to supporting diverse communities holding several MBE community outreach events with organizations throughout the Eastern Shore. Such engagement will reach more than 8,000 certified Maryland-based MBE firms to inform and encourage participation in their projects and offshore wind development generally. Building on the groundswell of support for this clean energy resource, LSWA and US Wind will be holding an informational workshop this fall that will focus on providing interested businesses and workers on the Lower Shore a pathway for getting involved in the offshore wind industry, including the specific workforce development needs that exist. The meeting will also include discussion on new tourism-related jobs, offshore wind industry trends, best practices, and leveraging community resources. Expected attendees include Arcon Training Center, Crystal Steel, Wor-Wic Community College, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, workforce development experts, local county and municipal officials, and business and industry leaders.
We look forward to supporting workforce development in the offshore wind energy sector for decades to come.
(The writer is the Business Services Manager for the Lower Shore Workforce Alliance, a division of the Tri-County Council for the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland.)
Confederate Flag Concerns
It is disheartening to observe Georgetown Historical Society commitment to flying the Confederate Flag knowing it offends so many people.
The Confederate Flag is symbol of infamy and inhumanity towards Black Americans and others.
The Georgetown Historical Society apparently has no interest in the concerns or feelings about those who find the Confederate Flag extremely offensive.
Rather than find a place to fly the flag that does not offend the Georgetown Historical Society has no interest in any compromise.
The taxes of Black Americans living in Georgetown should not be used to support the Confederate Flag.
Finding a way forward here can’t be that difficult for the Georgetown Historical Society.