Voices From The Readers – August 18, 2023

Voices From The Readers – August 18, 2023

Message To Task Force


Before we discuss the loser’s recent efforts to resurrect the “Sports Complex,” I feel a need to clear the air on some past letters and responses and give credit where credit is due.

I can’t say enough good things about Jim Motsko, whose amazing story reflects everything positive that Ocean City represents. I had occasion to talk to Jim for 30-45 minutes in 2016 and remember clearly his focus on his one event. Last week, as we celebrated the 50th Annual White Marlin Open, he should be applauded for casting a beautiful picture of Ocean City to the world.

Also, I have a couple comments and corrections to make regarding Mrs. Lehman letter (dated June 30) in response to my “School is not about the Money” letter on June 23. First, let me thank Mrs. Lehman for devoting her life (46 years) to our children. In 1969-70 as Mrs. Lehman notes “we had no teachers aids, one vice principle (not four), one guidance counselor … there was no special ed department.” First also “special ed” was handled by the classroom teacher and I can attest they did a better job. Also, there were AP courses in the late 1960s. It’s not only the “71 students” that graduated from Worcester public schools and were deemed deficient in reading and or math on a high school level which should alarm readers, the county overall suffers a deficiency of 37% (hundreds of students) in math proficiency.

In 1970, it is likely you wouldn’t have graduated if you had not passed in math. The reduction in the dropout rate from 9% in 1970 to 7% in 2022 is irrelevant if the schools are graduating many students that would not have graduated in 1970 when basic proficiency in core courses such as Math and English were required. I believe most of your tenure was as a drama teacher, an elective. Teachers pay has never been an issue for me. However, the growth of the teaching bureaucracy has increased costs over 300% higher after inflation since 1970 with a noticeable decline in core course learning.

Yet I have encouraged introducing additional merit pay for teachers and returning more classroom decision making to teachers. Finally, there was a school nurse in 1970 but not four superfluous assistant principals.

Additionally, I want to retract something I published over three years ago calling Mr. Paddack “crazy” over a short-term dispute. Mark has served the town as a career police officer and councilman and for three years was an appreciated help to our children’s concert.

Now on to the petition loser’s “Study Group Created For Sports Complex.”

On a list titled “The Visit Experience” prepared for the Tourism Commission by Baseline Perceptions Research on Oct. 14, 2021, the overwhelming top three reasons given by visitors to the beach were first the beach (87%), second the Boardwalk (74%) and third shopping (70%), next amusements and mini-golf drops to 47% and the list continues down to 7%. We will get back to this with our reveal on the “sports complex” in a moment.

The mayor has pulled up all of his connections in a last-ditch effort to promote one final grandiose scheme before retiring by adding additional people to supplement the petition losers bringing the total to 31 people and calling it a “sports complex study group”. It’s interesting that an unbiased consideration on spending tax dollars will be considered by mostly politicians and workers under them in the local government bureaucracy. In addition, some of the wealthiest men on the Eastern Shore have been appointed to this committee. With all the hundreds of millions of dollars these individuals are worth, one should wonder if a “sports complex” is such a money maker why don’t these multimillionaires pay for it? Why should this group determine how to spend our tax dollars or someone else’s tax dollars, unknowingly, in the State of Maryland?

Let’s take a look at the numbers in the OC Capital Improvement Plan (“CIP”) and then have a quick summary of the three studies on the “sports complex” dating back to 2017 and one additional study from Saint Mary’s County.

The CIP calls for spending on the “Sports Complex” $8,100,000 in FY24 $91,200,000 in FY25, for some reason it skips FY26 and for $67,600,000 to be spent in FY27. Totaling $166,900,000 of which $127,040,000 will come from state grants, leaving $39,860,000 to be funded I guess by bond in Ocean City. This is the way it is written in the Ocean City Capital Plan today; it could change many times in the future. The grandiose largely coronated (not elected) clever politicians in Ocean City by circumventing the will of the county taxpayers will ultimately have to seek OC taxpayer approval for a near $40 million dollar bond.

Now on to the studies. The county spent $75,000 on a study in 2017 and among the comments the county staff said they thought that “the projected economic impact was overly optimistic.” In 2019, Ocean City spent $49,400, on a study and withheld the results for 22 months then paid another $49,400 for a fluff update to the study which was released in November of 2022. The study had placed us in the South Atlantic region, the wrong region, we are in the Mid Atlantic region. The study among other things stated that the participation of all outdoor and indoor sports had declined from 2014 through 2018 except cheerleading. The study warned to be prepared to lose money from annual operations. The South Atlantic region has better year around weather thus a longer playing season than the Mid-Atlantic region.

Then there was the Saint Mary’s study ($52,000) that the Ocean City politicians never talk about. First Saint Mary’s is only one hour from DC, not three, it has a higher per capital income and is located nearer to population centers and has a higher population itself from which to draw. The study concluded that out of 11 sports complexes reviewed 10 were still losing money from operations at a combined annual loss of $6.1 million annually. The study said that the “sports complex” would require a 25% operating subsidy annually.

Now let’s go back to “The Visit Experience” Study last on the list of reasons to come to the beach were trade shows or sports tournaments at 7%. No wonder the rich guys on Meehan’s Committee don’t want to put their own money in and would rather use the public’s hard-earned tax dollars. The Millionaires on Meehan’s new committee will benefit by adding a few more room occupancies to their hotels and a few more dinners sold in their restaurants while the Ocean City taxpayers will be paying the costs of the annual budget shortfall as well as paying for near $40M bond.

Our grandiose OC politicians are circumventing the will of the county petition by using some poor unaware Marylander’s tax money. I feel an obligation to mop up the vomit of these grandiose Ocean City politicians by disclosing the truth, much of which has not been disclosed within the “Sports Complex” fantasy. As if the golf course and the airport aren’t enough, Mayor, here we go again on your final boondoggle.

I will say that Councilman Gehrig’s repeated threat a year ago “if you don’t vote for the sports complex your taxes will go up” would have gotten him thrown out of office if Ocean City had opponents in their so-called elections, or more accurately coronations. I hope these facts shed light on the task force’s decision.

Petitions are hard work for a guy turning 75 but I was honored to meet so many good people and normal politicians in competitive races while working on the County petition. Frankly I am watching and waiting till after the ’24 presidential election and may have one more petition in me if I feel the Ocean city resident taxpayers are ready. That would be to dissolve the Ocean City government and turn it over to the County Commissioners where the political class is humble and respects the value of a dollar. Remember people come to Ocean City for the beach and the boardwalk.

Tony Christ

Falls Church, Va./Ocean City


No One Is Above The Law

A group of everyday Americans, fulfilling their civic duty by serving on a grand jury, reviewed mountains of evidence and determined there was enough proof of wrongdoing to bring four criminal charges against Donald Trump, including conspiracy to defraud our country and impede on our right to vote.

There can be no more serious crime than a conspiracy to overturn the foundation of our democracy itself. It’s shameful how many MAGA Republicans are now rushing to defend Trump instead of standing up for our democracy and our freedom to vote. Many of them are trying to rewrite history, so it’s important to understand what Trump is accused of and why it matters.

According to the indictment, Trump deliberately lied about voter fraud and pressured local officials to illegally overturn election results and manufacture fake slates of electors. When Vice President Mike Pence refused to toss out the legitimate results and count fake electoral votes, Trump incited an attack on our Capitol in a last-ditch attempt to stop the certification of the election and cling to power.

These are serious charges. Our elected leaders of all parties must allow the trial to unfold without political interference and let a jury of everyday Americans do their job. No one is above the law, and Trump should be treated like everyone else and held accountable for his crimes against our country.
Patricia Winkelmayer



Event Support Appreciated


Two weekends ago was the largest annual event held at the Ocean Pines Library. The volunteer organization “Friends of the Ocean Pines Library” sets up a Book Sale that encompasses over 25,000 books, DVD’s, Audio Books and Music CD’s divided into approximately 25 categories. Most are sold over a three-day period with all proceeds going to benefit the Ocean Pines library and is used for buying equipment, sponsoring programs offered at the library and supplementing the budget provided by the Worcester County Commissioners.

This year was the 23rd Annual Book Sale and was put together by nearly 90 volunteers who donated more than 500 hours to make this sale possible. Throughout the year, patrons, estate closings and organizations donate 95% of the books, DVD’s and CD’s that are sorted, evaluated and categorized for the sale. This year’s sale was one of the largest ever with about 1600 patrons attending and spending nearly $16,000.

On behalf of the FOPL and the Ocean Pines Library, we would like to thank all those who donated books throughout the year, the volunteers who assist with the library every day and at the sale, the staff of the OP library who are so gracious with our activities. To all of you who came out to support the sale that benefits the library and its programs – thank you, thank you, thank you. Donations of books, DVD’s, CD’s and audio books are now being accepted for next year’s sale. Donations can be left at the front check-out counter or in the back of the library on the loading dock.

See you all in July 2024.

Jim Meckley & Eileen Leonhart

(The writers are the co-chairs of the annual book sale.)


Disturbing Wind Developments


Does anyone else find it interesting that the Federal agencies charged with leasing our ocean to foreign companies seeking to construct Offshore Wind Power Plants are ladened with former employees of one of, if not the largest, lobbying firm for Offshore Wind Developers; Latham & Watkins? Mr. Tommy Beaudreau, The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, Ms. Laura Daniel-Davis, who signs BOEMs Record of Decisions and most importantly, Liz Klein, the Director of The Bureau of Ocean & Energy Management (BOEM).

I find this particularly disturbing as I read the latest press release from BOEM announcing its plans to lease another 356,550 acres of the Atlantic Ocean off Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. These lease areas flank our fishing canyons.

The Danish company, Orsted and the Italian company US Wind, (collectively, the developers) in their documents, under “Unavoidable Adverse Impacts of the Proposed Action” state in bullets: “Loss of employment or income due to disruption to commercial fishing, for-hire recreational fishing, or marine recreation business. Hindrances to subsistence fishing due to offshore construction and operation of the offshore wind facilities.” Additionally, these OSW Power Plants will be “no fly zones” for boats during construction and as we are learning from Europe, during operations as well, which will increase a trip to the canyons by nothing less than 30 nautical miles round trip.

The three Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) total approximately 356,550 acres. The first WEA (A-2) is 101,767 acres and is located 26 nautical miles (nm) from Delaware Bay. The second WEA (B-1) is 78,285 acres and is 23.5 nm offshore Ocean City. The third WEA (C) is 176,506 acres offshore and is located about 35 nm offshore of the Chesapeake Bay, Va.

  • Areas E and F could put six species of Pterodroma Petrel in peril, per the Audubon Society.
  • Per the Fisheries Survival Fund: The cumulative impacts of offshore wind arrays on the local maritime ecosystem are far more pervasive than previously understood. All of Areas A (scallop and surfclam, summer flounder and black seabass, B (dredge fishery, pot and trap, gill net and trawl), and C (surfclam, pt, and squid/butterfish/mackerel trawling) because of high fisheries interactions. There will be a high economic fisheries exposure risk from wind development for small coastal communities.

With all of the information available regarding the devastating affects offshore wind electrical power plants have on the environment and coastal economies, does anyone else find it curious those who have spent years representing and profiting from offshore wind construction companies have now found their way into government agencies responsible for approving the projects?

Dianna Harris

Ocean City