Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – March 10, 2023

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – March 10, 2023

Last weekend’s whispers of wet, windy weather forecasted for Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Parade and Festival became roars as the week progressed. For a few days, this week’s scenario mirrored last year’s week leading up to the parade as uncertainty loomed. The difference is this year’s Ocean City seems intent on having the parade even if it’s a little wet. As of mid-day Thursday, when this paper went to press, the parade was on as planned for Saturday in Ocean City. Writing about it here is an attempt to jinx Mother Nature into cooperating.  Though much could change, and the parade could still be canceled for the fourth straight year, it looks like the heaviest rain for Ocean City would be Friday with conditions improving early Saturday. Let’s hope the parade does in fact go on as it has not happened since 2019 due to pandemic cancellations in 2020 and 2021 and bad weather in 2022.

The local skate and bike community has good reason to be excited about a couple initiatives underway.

First in Berlin, the grassroots effort to bring a skate park to town is being led by We Heart Berlin, a nonprofit that has contracted with Spohn Ranch, an international skate park design company. A representative from Spohn Ranch was in Berlin recently to meet with We Heart Berlin representatives, two town council members, a parks commission representative and town employees. The purpose was to discuss the skate park concept but specifically to evaluate potential sites near existing town parks. After reviewing the sites and their complexities compared to potential skate park layouts, the consultant is expected to make a recommendation to the town and We Heart Berlin as to the best spot. Once a site is selected, the consultant will work with the nonprofit and town on designs specific and unique to Berlin. The effort continues to move ahead and this week the Berlin Parks Commission expressed excitement over the early momentum behind the project. There is much to be done, but the process is well underway.

In Ocean City, a major part of the redevelopment of the downtown recreation complex between 3rd and 4th streets is the reconstruction of the old Ocean Bowl Skate Park. In its annual grant request to the county, the city has made an official request for Program Open Space funding of $250,000. Mayor Rick Meehan said it was the first open space funding request in seven years from Ocean City. It seems likely Worcester County will give this much consideration since Ocean City provides much of the .5% state property transfer tax that’s used to fund Program Open Space.

Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan could read the tea leaves. Hogan knew his popularity in Maryland would not transfer nationally. His broad appeal in Maryland to the general electorate was his moderatism. Though a committed Republican, Hogan had enough moderate views to also gain votes from Maryland Democrats in 2014 and again in 2018.

This same centrist philosophy that worked for Hogan in Maryland would not work in national Republican politics. He stood no chance and early polling showed he was not even close to be relevant in what appears to be a Ron DeSantis-Trump showdown. An editorial in The Baltimore Sun Monday put it well this week. It read in part, “Former Gov. Larry Hogan’s Sunday announcement that he will not seek the Republican Party nomination for president in 2024 likely came as no surprise to anyone who has been following national politics. Sure, there was a time when a governor who achieved extraordinary popularity leading a state that leaned toward the opposite political party would get serious consideration. Republican Ronald Reagan’s two terms as governor of California provides the most obvious example; Bill Clinton in Arkansas, the Democratic counter. But any hope that politics might revert to this norm simply are not borne out by polling. The Donald Trump cult-of-personality hold on the GOP is too strong. … Hogan will no doubt have a role to play in 2024, but it might be limited to regular appearances on network TV programs throwing shade at Trump. Some have suggested Hogan run for a Senate seat. U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin has not said whether he is seeking reelection in 2024, but even if his seat opens up, electing a Republican to the U.S. Senate looks like too big a lift even for a popular ex-governor. It’s one thing for Maryland Democrats and unaffiliated voters to send a Republican to the top spot in the State House, where Democrats hold a big majority in the General Assembly. It’s quite another to send one to Washington, where it could tip the balance of power. And Larry Hogan is no Charles McC. Mathias Jr., an authentic GOP progressive from back when such a combination was possible.”

Next week should be an exciting week on the live music front. On Tuesday, March 14 at 11:55 a.m., the lineup for the first-ever Oceans Calling Festival will be unveiled on Ocean 98 radio by Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan, Tourism and Business Development Director Tom Perlozzo and C3 Presents Promoter Tim Sweetwood. Additionally, it was leaked this week that Train will be returning to the Freeman Arts Pavilion Aug. 26 with tickets expected to go on sale soon. More shows for this summer at the Selbyville, Del. venue will be announced in the near future.

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.