Letters to the Editor -- February 15, 2013

Costello discusses Bethany Arms project

Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to the Bethany Beach Town Council and was forwarded to the Coastal Point for publication.

Regarding your Feb. 15, 2013, agenda items IV- D and E, discussions and possible votes on the setting of dates for proposed zoning code and rezoning issues related to the Burbage proposal for a new hotel on the site of the Bethany Arms, I offer the following observations and comments.

(1) Well before whatever date you propose for a public hearing on these items, make detailed information available on the Town Web site well in advance of that date. The texts and contexts of the proposed changes, as well as information explaining why such haste in required for their consideration, will be valuable to Bethany residents. As of this morning, Tuesday, I was not able to find materials related to these two agenda items on the Web site.

(2) Please do not schedule the public hearing minutes before the items are scheduled to be considered by the Council. A significant time lapse between a hearing and Council action will assure Bethany’s property owners that the hearing is not a pro forma exercise, but a serious effort to ascertain views and prudently consider suggestions for change.

(3) Please schedule the hearing at a time and date when larger numbers of Bethany’s non- permanent property-owning residents may be in town and available for participation in the public hearing, should they choose to do so.

(4) Many property owners, especially ones whose homes are in the vicinity of the fault lines between residential and commercial zoning in Bethany Beach, are understandably concerned about any advancements in commercial zoning at the expense of residentially zoned properties, regardless of the existing uses of such residential properties. One only need to walk the alleys behind the 100 block of Garfield Parkway to have a full understanding of why citizen concerns about residential to commercial zoning decisions require extensive and detailed consideration.

(5) Residents will want to know in great detail how recently rezoned commercial property, abutting residential properties, will be buffered to protect and enhance the values of those residential properties, as the value of the commercial property is being enhanced.

(6) Other residents may wish to be assured that the changes under consideration are not spot zoning or special-interest changes and how the proposed changes will affect the common good of Bethany and the property values of all its citizens. Will these decisions set precedents for future request for changes in other areas of town to benefit some property owners at the expense of others?

I hope to be able to attend this Friday’s Council meeting and learn more about the Bethany Arms plans and the meaning and necessity associated with these proposed changes in our Zoning Code and our rezoning policies.

Dan Costello
Bethany Beach

Readers question previous Point letter

We read with great interest the lament from Mr. Charles Griffiths of Ocean View on Feb. 8 about the sad state of our nation. While we certainly agree that our country has its problems (as it has had since 1776), we were astonished by his barrage of allegations of blatant voter fraud in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida in the recent presidential election. It would be useful to know where he got this information and ask that he reveal his sources to your readers.

These allegations struck us as so unbelievable that we did a little research ourselves and found that at least two well-regarded sources have determined that these charges (repeated virtually verbatim by Mr. Griffiths) are found in a new (January 2013) viral e-mail being circulated on the Internet and are completely false.

Each alleged instance of massive voter fraud is exposed as bogus and is refuted at length, citing contacts with the Supervisors of Elections of the various counties involved. Readers may wish to see http://www.factcheck.org/2013/01/voting-conspiracies/ or http://www.snopes.com/politics/ballot/2012fraud.asp.

If Mr. Griffiths has other factual information from legitimate sources (e.g., Federal Elections Commission, state or county Board of Elections, Wall Street Journal) on which to base his charges, we would certainly like to hear from him.

Barbara Schreiner, Beth Kravetz
Bethany Beach

Story shared on tragedy, donations

I write with a heavy heart in light of the tragedy … in Newtown, Conn. We feel lost and helpless at times like these, but these are the times when community strength gives us the resiliency needed to lead forward in a manner that honors those that were lost. Many individuals and communities were touched personally by this tragedy, and, in this case, the Bike to the Beach family was directly affected.

A family member of a multiple-year Bike to the Beach veteran was one of the needless victims and one of the heroes in [the] tragedy. The rider’s aunt was Anne Marie Murphy, a special-education teacher in Newtown.

Anne Marie was an elementary school teacher who specifically aided special-needs students, shadowing and supporting them in their classrooms. She had a very special place in her heart for those students, several of whom were autistic. Her last act was helping and trying to save the students she loved so much. She died doing her job, trying to shield children, including one of her special-needs students.

Her family has asked that, in holding with the passion and spirit of her life, individuals make donations to Autism Speaks in her honor, in lieu of flowers and gifts.

Bike to the Beach is making a portion of its annual donation to Autism Speaks in Anne Marie Murphy’s honor.

As you consider your end-of-year and holiday giving, Bike to the Beach asks that you keep in mind the possibility of supporting Autism Speaks in Anne Marie Murphy’s honor, in honor of all of the students, families, and teachers affected by this tragedy and all the exceptional teachers that try to help our youth.

Details on Anne Marie and how to donate online in her honor can be found at http://events.autismspeaks.org/site/c.nuLTJ6MPKrH/b.7906849/k.BF90/Home.....

Bike to the Beach DC is a one-day, 104-mile charity ride starting in the District of Columbia and ending in Dewey Beach, Del., to benefit Autism Speaks on Aug. 2, 2013.

Robby Walsh, Executive Director
Bike to the Beach Inc.

Reader disputes letter, feels optimistic

I would like to respond to a letter from Charles Griffiths of Ocean View in the Feb. 8 edition. Mr. Griffiths can certainly choose to be pessimistic about the future of the nation. There is always some bad news to cite. However, if he wants to present facts, they should actually be true.

Some of his arguments are true, some are opinions, and some are just lies. All of the voting fraud statistics that he presents are false and are not even in his own words. He has picked up some of the continuous stream of lies that the conservative media pump out and simply reiterated them.

These kinds of allegations are a part of the larger conservative effort to taint the opposition and create the impression that Obama did not win because of his positions or efforts, but because the Republicans did not get their message across and the Democrats stole the election.

Prior to the election several Republican lead states initiated efforts to stop “voter fraud” by individuals. The type of voter fraud claimed by Mr. Griffiths would have been institutional vote fraud, not individual voter fraud. Voter fraud in this country is rather rare, and voter fraud by individuals is practically non-existent.

If I were a Republican I, too, might be pessimistic about the country. But I am not, and I feel that this is actually a great country and that we are bouncing back.

Patrick Williams