As it turns out, we are ‘urban’ after all
Posted On: 9/3/15
The question, it would seem, is why the new "Urban Area, Stay Alert" traffic sign on the highway in Berlin employs the word "urban, when it's obvious that Berlin is hardly an urban area. Or is it? First, though, as Mayor Gee Williams said regarding that particular sign language, he doesn't care what it says as long as it causes motorists to drive with care. That's the new sign's purpose and even if drivers do reduce speed as they ponder what's urban and what isn't, that's fine too. As it happens, the use of "urban" serves two purposes, the first of which is that it is a federally recognized description of the area – believe it or not – while the second is that it fits the space allowed. As newspaper headline writers know all too well, it's not easy to find a word that has both a clear meaning and the right letter count to fill a restricted amount of space. That's why, in this instance, "urban" works while, say, "populated area&qu...» Click here for the full story.
In this instance, it’s OK to color outside the lines
Posted On: 8/27/15
Worcester County’s Habitat for Humanity is taking a bold and non-traditional step with its plan to develop a housing project geared toward artists. Although Habitat’s purpose generally is to provide reasonable and affordable housing for families, its proposed 6,000-square foot complex adheres to the nonprofit organization’s principles while also taking an entrepreneurial step that is expected to pay dividends over the longer term. Most artists aren’t exactly flush with money – the struggling artist image is more often true than not – and can’t afford a reasonable place to live. This Habitat venture, however, is going a step farther by providing artists who meet the nonprofit organization’s financial requirements a place to live – and work. In addition to three apartments that will be offered for sale, the project also will have three retail units that can be rented as gallery or studio space, with that rental income helping Habi...» Click here for the full story.
Non-meeting no big deal
Posted On: 8/20/15
The supposedly secret organizational meeting that didn’t happen in Ocean Pines last week before the full OPA board of directors met on Monday isn’t as big a deal as the subsequent mini uproar would suggest. It might, at first blush, sound surreptitious on the part of directors Tom Terry and Pat Renaud, who tried and failed to arrange the gathering, but it is hardly the ethical or legal breach it’s being made out to be. The meeting, which ostensibly was to coordinate a vote for the board’s officers in this new term, failed to materialize after new directors Cheryl Jacobs and Tom Herrick declined to attend. Had the meeting taken place, however, it would have been no different than any other routine political caucus held to establish a possible new majority and its pecking order. Regardless of what anyone thinks about it, it’s a common practice that occurs at all political levels. What these private sessions do engender, however, is interesting political...» Click here for the full story.
Balanced board ahead
Posted On: 8/13/15
Congratulations to Tom Herrick and Cheryl Jacobs, who were elected to the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors on Saturday. The voters themselves also deserve recognition for making a pair of excellent choices. The addition of two people who ran as independent thinkers should bring balance to the board and do well by the community, especially considering that Herrick addressed the need to represent the “unique diversity of our community” while Jacobs ran as a “fresh face” and nonaligned candidate. Judging from what both have said along the campaign trail this summer, both understand how the system is supposed to work. Considering that Herrick is retired from the New York State Police and that Jacobs, following a stint in big business, was an assistant prosecutor in Baltimore City for many years, both know how structured working environments should function and that clear communications are critical. Of interest, of course, will be how the new board sha...» Click here for the full story.
Put aside your agendas
Posted On: 8/6/15
To employ a cliché, it’s all over but the shouting, and possibly that is over as well, as the voting deadline passes in Ocean Pines’ Board of Directors election. The results of the months-long campaign will be revealed Saturday and the two winners will be installed on the Ocean Pines Association’s ruling body. The business of the association doesn’t shift into standby mode during the election process, so the new directors will be wading into the continuously flowing stream of things to do. The most obvious of these are well known: the reserve study, the elusive Sandpiper energy contract and the financial performance of the various amenities. Not quite as sensational, at least in terms of public debate, is the condition of the community’s infrastructure, most notably its bridges, which need attention as well. Whatever the election outcome, this year’s board would best assist the community by putting any differences or agendas aside. The pas...» Click here for the full story.
GM shouldn’t factor in vote
Posted On: 7/30/15
As the voting deadline approaches in Ocean Pines, property owners who have yet to mail their ballots would be wise to keep in mind that this election should not be considered a referendum on the Ocean Pines Association on how the general manager should do his job. It is, and should always be, about which candidates have the ability to think beyond the immediate circumstances, can contemplate the future with an open mind without becoming mired in the day-to-day politics and conflicts, can compromise when that’s needed, but remain an independent representative of the community. Yes, that does sound platitudinous, but the fact remains that all too often the OPA Board of Directors – and every other elected body – focuses more on the process and who’s leading it than it does the objective. Obviously, everyone wants the same thing: reasonable assessments, a financially stable association without piling up money for which there is no real purpose, and solid se...» Click here for the full story.
Hats off to Chamber, Water Resources team
Posted On: 7/23/15
What can we say about last week’s Berlin Bathtub races, except that we came in second to the military-industrial-government complex of Berlin’s Water Resources department. While it is true that its entry was somewhat faster than ours, that’s what anyone would expect when word is that Water Resources called in favors from some of its contacts in the realm of government contractors. We can’t prove it, but it sure did look like the wheels on its highly specialized machine carried the logo of Lockheed Martin, whereas we, in the private sector, had to make do with over-the-counter materials. And although their cockpit might have looked like a washtub, we suspect it was a cleverly disguised “Stealth” washtub made of space age elements, while we had, well, a bunch of old newspapers. Of course, we’re just kidding. Water Resources won fair and square and did a fine job, as did all the other entries that turned out to make last week’s event one...» Click here for the full story.
OP politics embarrassing? No, and here’s why that is
Posted On: 7/16/15
People who cringe at what they perceive to be the negative cloud that seems to float over Ocean Pines Association politics and government don’t realize how fortunate they are. The frequently unrestrained public discussions, disputes and assertions that are viewed by many as a source of embarrassment are actually refreshing as compared to the subtle knife-throwing that goes on in other communities. It’s a fact. Ocean City politics, for instance, have been notoriously, but quietly, vicious for decades, seasoned as they have been by all sorts of chicanery and deviousness. Even Berlin, where one might conclude that everyone loves everyone else and that competitors even vote for each other, has endured its share of political subterfuge over the years. But because these things happen mostly below the surface in these communities, the general public doesn’t see, hear or recognize the real nature of their local politics. Not so in Ocean Pines, where, for the lack of a be...» Click here for the full story.
With Bathtub Races, Berlin just having fun
Posted On: 7/9/15
Ah yes, the annual Berlin Bathtub Races. It’s so nice to have something on which to expound besides local politics, even if it is plumbing related. This also one of the rare instances when we can talk about people pushing each other around without having to worry about a public backlash. That, after all, is what this event has been about for the past 25 years and will be again next Friday, when the 26th iteration of the event takes place. It’s goofiness for fun. One would think, given the strenuous nature of many of the area’s continuing debates, issues and discussions, that something more is going on than mere differences of opinion and that critical balances might be irrevocably upset. The bathtub races, however, put it all in perspective, because they’re just silly … in a good way. That’s one thing that Berlin has maintained throughout its growth and success that many other communities can only wish they had: a sense of humor and a great sens...» Click here for the full story.
Next time, try adding some substance to political forum
Posted On: 7/2/15
The Ocean Pines Association election forum last Wednesday was an interesting exercise in … filling up the allotted time and letting the public see who was running. Beyond that, it offered no new revelations, few, if any, bold visions and no detailed plans for solving whatever problems were identified. That’s hardly the fault of the Elections Committee, which staged the event, but is just the way most politics are these days, whether that would be in a town, a city, a state or a property owners’ association. What candidates generally do everywhere is concentrate on what previous administrations did right or wrong and how their individual personal qualities will enable them to do a good job if they are elected. Little mention is made of exactly what they propose to do and how they will do it. In the OPA instance, the break between candidates at the forum seemed to be who supports General Manager Bob Thompson and who doesn’t. That, of course, has nothing to do...» Click here for the full story.