Letters to the Editor -- June 28, 2013

Sorority thankful for help with tournament

The sisters of Beta Sigma Phi XI Upsioln Chapter would like to thank our community for their support of our 4th Annual Cornhole Tournament held on June 8, 2013.

Through the generosity of our teams, sponsors and local businesses, we were able to raise money for our Russell White Community Fund. This year, we awarded a $2,500 college scholarship to a graduating Indian River High School senior in his honor.

We would like to thank the Millville Fire Hall for their hospitality and the countless donations from our local businesses.

A special thanks to those who played in our tournament. With 40 teams, it was our largest turnout yet!

Finally, to our primary sponsors listed below, we deeply appreciate your support of this tournament and our organization: 1776 Steakhouse, Mickey’s Family Crab House, All about U, Millers Creek, Banks Wines & Spirits, Miranda & Hardt Builders, Bay Club, Oceanova, Bethany Bike Shop, Just Hooked, Bethany Blooms Landscaping, Piperno Landscaping, Big Peaches Bar & Grill, Pitter Patter, Charlie K’s BBQ, Pohanka of Salisbury, Creative Wealth Management, Rent Equip, Debacle, Rickards Restoration, Delmarva Board Sport Adventures, Sea Level Designs, DiFebo’s, Tequila Mockingbird, DJ Hook, the Coastal Point, Fenwick Float-Ors, Treasure Island Fashions, Hoban Insurance Agency, Trick Trucks & Cars, In & Out Tires & Auto Care, Trimworks, Indian River Water Sports and Wilgus Associates.

Sisters of Beta Sigma Phi-XI Upsilon Chapter

Reader: Aquaculture rumors are rubbish

“On rumor’s tongues continual slanders ride.” That is a cool statement. I wish I had said it. Alas, Shakespeare beat me to it by a few hundred years. Oh well, Shakespeare was good at writing nice prose; I’m good at plagiarizing. At least I can claim credit for recognizing good writing.

In truth, rumors do a lot of harm; particularly when the rumors have no basis in fact. Let’s take a look at the latest “hot” rumor: “Aquaculture is going to hurt fishing and clamming in the Delaware Bays.” Aquaculture, for those of you who have not heard, is a safe and economically viable process of commercially growing oysters.

These are the rumors regarding this issue:

(a) Aquaculture will ruin fishing in the bay;

(b) Aquaculture will ruin clamming in the bays;

(c) Aquaculture will damage our tourist industry… because of (a) and (b).

Real or rubbish?

The truth is that these rumors are unadulterated nonsense.

There is a bill due to be presented to the Delaware House of Representatives authorizing aquaculture in our bays. Delaware is the only state on the entire East Coast that does not permit aquaculture.

I’m wondering how aquaculture would hurt our tourist industry. Where else would the tourists go — and why? The areas allocated for oyster cages have been tested and are not clam-growing areas. Most of our bays are so shallow they are not navigable, except for small craft. For the most part they are unfishable.

Only a very small area of our bays is being allocated for aquaculture — a total of about 600 acres between Indian River Bay, Rehoboth Bay and Assawoman Bay. I’m told that those three bays encompass 22,000 acres — about 3 percent to be set aside for aquaculture.

Aquaculture would provide positive benefits for the Delaware economy. Oyster cages would become great fish breeding habitats. Each oyster filters up to 40 gallons per day. What an improvement that would make in the water quality of our bays!

Aquaculture is a $120 million industry. Why shouldn’t Delaware get its share? We certainly need both the jobs and the money.

Oysters Rockefeller? Phooey! Let’s have Oysters DuPont.

Chuck Griffiths
Ocean View

Reader offers opinion on hotel proposal

The Burbage Properties’ letter (written by Jack Burbage) of June 20 to the Coastal Point editor does not adequately address the scope of the issues that have led to the strong opposition to the proposed property rezoning and subsequent building of the two-building hotel complex at our Bethany Beach boardwalk. The following comments are for people who may not already be well familiar with the rezoning/project situation.

In the letter, three “misconceptions” are presented as if they were the only items driving the overwhelming opposition. This is far from true. The multiple and well-considered points countering the need for such a large complex have been noted several times in publications both online and in print, as well as in communications to the Bethany town council. The letter’s commentary and three points ignore this fact.

Burbage Properties seems determined to build the complex despite what so far has been shown to be the clear opposing voice of the majority of those who have stated their opinion. This is definitely counter to what Mr. Burbage said in his Coastal Point interview this past winter, where he spoke of his intention to build the hotel. He clearly said that he would only build the hotel if the town wanted it.

When subsequently asked on March 15, at a meeting with members of the Bethany Beach Landowners Association about what constituted “the town,” he responded that the town council’s response would represent “the town.” On the surface this may sound reasonable, but given his stated rush to begin the project, there would not have been time to find out what the people, who are the town, wanted.

Referring back to the letter’s opening statement, words like “confusing” and “fuss” are used. No one I’ve spoken to is confused about what this project is, and its potential negative impact. They are very well informed, thank you.

And fuss? This is not a fuss. It is an attempt by earnest people to bring to light valid concerns that should be seriously considered by all involved. Bethany could be living with this hotel for decades, so if it isn’t right for Bethany, it should not be built.

As to stated point No. 1: Anyone who has familiarized himself or herself with the project knows that the current town height building limits must be observed — in this case, three stories. And it is a given and understandable that the two buildings will be built to that limit, as well as fully covering the property. Of the dozens of active opposing voices I’m aware of, I know of none that would expect the complex to be built higher than three stories.

As to point No. 2: Just because the hotel guests may have enough parking doesn’t mean that the inevitable guests of the guests won’t have cars that also need parking spaces. And, of course, employees must have parking, and there must be room for delivery and service trucks. The proposed number of parking spaces may conform to town code, but doesn’t guarantee that it will be “ample,” as stated.

As to point No. 3: The Blue Surf has been gone, so its former 35 rooms should not be in the comparison of rooms calculation and therefore makes the calculation invalid. That means the proposed hotel complex would be essentially doubling the current Bethany Arms total units. Maybe not so big of an issue, but how many of us think that the central beach area isn’t already overcrowded during the summer?

If Burbage Properties wants to build a euphemistically labeled “hotel facility” that everyone can be proud of, as is written at the letter’s end, it has already failed. Too many people evidentially do not want that hotel.

Neil Hopper
Bethany Beach

Reader asks: Do federal retirees care?

We read and hear daily about Congress cutting back on federal employees. They have frozen their pay, ordered furloughs, drastically increased the employee contribution to their retirement fund, and they aren’t finished.

Now they have a bill (HR 1780) introduced, which would move federal employees out of their current health plans (FEHBP) and force them to go through the exchanges created by the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA). The result of that action will be to leave the FEHBP pool with only federal retirees. As you can imagine, the result will be skyrocketing premiums for federal retirees.

I bring this up because Eastern Sussex County has over 2,000 federal retirees, yet only about 25 percent have chosen to join the National Active and Retired Federal Employees association (NARFE), which happens to be the only organization dedicated solely to preserving the earned benefits of federal employees and retirees. I wonder: Were the other 75 percent so well prepared for retirement that they don’t need the benefits that they worked years to earn?

I have been around for a long time and remember the last major attack on our benefits. In an effort to shore up Social Security in the late 1970s, Congress passed the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).

The GPO provided that anyone with a federal pension would have any Social Security benefit from a spouse would be reduced by two-thirds of the amount of their pension, thus eliminating a spousal benefit for most federal retirees. WEP provided that anyone receiving a government pension and eligible for Social Security on their own would have their Social Security benefit reduced by 60 percent.

I bring this up because, after passage of GPO and WEP, the NARFE membership jumped nationally from about 250,000 members to over 500,000 members. NARFE has been unable to get those laws repealed, even though there is a bill (HR 1795) in Congress even now to do that. During that time, NARFE has managed to have many actions detrimental to federal employees and retirees killed before coming up for a vote.

My point is that waiting until a bill is passed in almost always too late.

As president of the Delaware Federation of NARFE Chapters, I am asking all of you federal retirees to think on this and join your local Chapter 1690 today. There is strength in numbers. Next week, next month, may be too late.

Walt Berwick, President
Delaware Federation of NARFE Chapters

Steele back in letter-writing form

This information comes from “Inverstors.com,” posted June 18, 2013, written by Betsy MCCaughey.

The title of the editorial is, “Using ObamaCare to Create a Permanent Democracy Majority.”

Here is the lead paragraph, “…the California legislature and the new Covered California health insurance exchange are conspiring to keep secret how they will dole out more than half a billion dollars in taxpayer dollars to contractors. The lion’s share of the money is going for what the exchange budget terms ‘outreach.’ In truth, the money is going to build Democratic Party enrollment.”

The O administration granted a whopping $910 million to California to set up health exchanges. That is enough money for 113,000 people. But, the money is going to bureaucracy, including rich compensation packages for exchange employees, $360,000 a year for the executive director.

The following is a partial list of the organizations receiving the money:

• California NAACP, $600,000 to do door-to-door canvasing.

• SEIU, two grants totaling $2 million, to make phone calls and robo-calls and go door-to-door.

• Community Health Councils, $1 million to make presentation. CHC has a history of political activism against fracking, for-profit hospitals, budget cuts and oil exploration.

These organizations are closely allied with the Democratic Party and are being funded by your tax dollars to conduct “outreach.”

This is along the lines of the Chicago thug politics and Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall.

To quote the article, “The difference is that, back then, politics was local. Now the Obama health law is institutionalizing this corrupt style of politics across the country.”

To the readers of this letter, please pass this on to any and all you know. Then get out your aluminum foil hats and wear them. You will no longer be considered strange.

Harry Steele
Bethany Beach

Hocker, Gray, McLaughlin praised for effort

The Delaware Association of the Deaf thanks Sen. Gerald Hocker, Rep. Ron Gray and Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin for hosting a two-hour forum this past Sunday afternoon. The police department’s meeting room was filled to capacity, and the discussion was informative and productive.

These gentlemen were very receptive to pursuing cooperative efforts with the DAD in addressing issues such as text message alerts and updates during emergencies, best practices for law enforcement when interacting with deaf and hard-of-hearing citizens, equal communication access and the status of the Delaware Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

We left the meeting feeling very impressed with the responses to the concerns that were raised, and we look forward to ongoing collaborative efforts.

Bruce and Barbara White
Ocean View

Burbage responds to previous letter

It is always a pleasure to responds to your readers’ questions about Burbage Properties. Although we are not able to agree with the contents of the letter that appeared in last week’s Coastal Point, we understand that the writer is sincere.

Our goal is to provide as much information as is available to inform resident property owners, non-resident property owners and other interested parties about our new oceanfront hotel facility.

Our new three-story oceanfront hotel facility will be a positive addition to Bethany Beach. In the past, we have developed a number of properties in the Quiet Resorts. We look forward to building a brand new hotel facility that everyone can be proud of, and that will be a benefit to all those who live, work and visit Bethany Beach.

No matter what your point of view, I honestly believe that we can all agree on one basic principle — Bethany Beach, like the world around us, is changing and will continue to change. Although each of us may have a different perspective of the degree of change that will take place, change in Bethany Beach is inevitable.

From what we have witnessed, change in Bethany Beach has been for the better. Just think about all the positive changes that have taken place in recent years. For example, most all will agree that the new dune system is working well, and the first part of the Streetscape project in downtown Bethany is a success. Of course, there are many more positive changes in Bethany Beach that have benefited residents, property owners and vacationers.

Along with these and other examples of positive change in Bethany is the debate whether or not change is good. There has always been a group of people who did not agree with the prospects of positive change. Please understand that opposition to change is also good for our Quiet Resorts. All have the right to make their pleasure or displeasure known.

Those who are charged with making the most important decisions about change in Bethany have always been and will always be respectful and responsive to those who wish to express their opinions about change. This process of debate and correct decision-making is an example of Bethany Beach at its best.

Bethany Beach is a town where everyone accepts their share of responsibility to be sure the town moves forward. In effect, everyone involved with Bethany Beach takes some form of ownership and responsibility for how the town operates.

We accept our responsibility to help Bethany move forward by promising to make our proposed new three-story oceanfront hotel fit in with the character and tradition of Bethany Beach. We encourage others to accept their responsibility to help Bethany Beach move forward.

Jack Burbage
Bethany Beach