Ocean City Today

Closed doors and extreme proposals

Nov 09, 2017



printed 11/10/2017


When Ocean City Police Commission members said they went behind closed doors to discuss restricting vehicle events because it was a public safety issue, they weren’t kidding.

It’s not as if anyone could say in an open Tourism Commission meeting, “Here's the plan: We’re going to call in the troops and declare martial law.”

It’s bad enough, as Councilman John Gehrig observed, that the commission tried the infamous mini-council end-around approach to clamp down on dangerous driving during Cruisin’ and other car rallies here.

But much worse were the suggestions that the City Council could force the resort into lock-down: calling out the National Guard, ordering businesses to close early (as if) and kicking hundreds of thousands of people off the streets with a curfew.


Note to mayor and council: Yes, stern measures need to be taken to keep the streets safe during sanctioned or impromptu car events, but the offenders are pimple-faced knotheads, yokels and yahoos, not terrorists.

As for that end-around, Gehrig is correct when he says  the  commission tried an outflanking maneuver when three council members secretly agreed on plans and then reported to the full council — needing only one additional vote to have those plans adopted.

That’s the same ploy that led to the dissolution of every council commission, except the city charter-required Police Commission, after the 2010 election created a  council majority that was tired of that nonsense. A shift in the majority with the 2012 election, however, saw to the commissions’ return.

But here’s what the mayor and Police Commission members do know: the next city election is just a year away and most business owners and operators, as hostile as they are to some of these ideas, no longer live in town and can’t vote.

Meanwhile, the people who are angered and frustrated by the worsening car rally-related problems do live in town and will vote.

Even so, an open discussion, as was promised by the mayor and council in June, is the only way to go about it.

Considering that most people don’t like even a good idea when it’s sprung on them as a fait accompli, doing the same thing with questionable to terrible ideas developed behind closed doors results in nothing but trouble.

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