Letters to the Editor -- August 24, 2012

BBLA Board urges vote for new water tower

The Board of Directors of the Bethany Beach Landowners Association has followed the proposal to construct a new water tower for the Town of Bethany Beach and the borrowing of up to $2.6 million for that purpose.

The consensus of the Board is that voters should vote “For the Proposed Borrowing” in the September 8 referendum, either in person on that date or by using the absentee voting process.

This conclusion is based on Board members following the issue for some time, reading the engineering reports, attending the public meetings, walking the perimeter of the water plant site and meeting with the town manager on several occasions to ask questions and obtain information.

More information is available on the town’s Web site, www.townofbethanybeach.com. … Board members appreciate the process the Town has used to provide information and receive input from citizens on this issue.

Voters may cast their votes in person on Saturday, Sept. 8, from noon to 6 p.m. at Town Hall or by absentee ballots. Absentee voting may be done in one step by going to Town Hall Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or on three Saturdays, Aug. 18, Aug. 25 or Sept. 1. Absentee voting may be done by mail in two steps. … Fill the [absentee ballot] form out carefully and mail it to the Town at P.O. Box 109, Bethany Beach, DE 19930. When you receive the ballot, carefully complete and return it to the Town.

Voting in Bethany Beach is convenient and easy. Participate in this important civic activity.

John Himmelberg
President, BBLA

Bodenweiser shares his take on issues

I am Eric Bodenweiser and I am a candidate in the Republican primary for the 19th State Senate District on Tuesday, Sept. 11. The 19th District includes Reliance, Cannon, Middleford, Concord, Bridgeville, Georgetown, Long Neck and the surrounding communities.

I have been encouraged to run by people who are tired of career politicians raising their taxes and fees every year and taking newly created second state jobs. Elected office is a public trust, and we should be able to trust our elected officials not to abuse the system. I encourage anyone to call me at 856-9395 and visit my Web site: ericbodie.com.

I’m a fiscal and social conservative Christian. I’m pro-life, and I support property and gun rights. I am opposed to the expansion of gambling in Delaware. When elected, I will work to get taxes and fees lowered. I will work to cut the bureaucratic red tape that strangles our competitiveness. I will work to cut wasteful government spending and to keep government local where it is more accountable to the taxpayer. I will work to bring good paying jobs back to Sussex County and the 19th District and to bring back the jobs that have left here.

I know that agriculture is the No. 1 industry in Delaware, as well as in the 19th District. I will work to stop the politicians and bureaucrats in Dover from telling you how to run your farm and business. Small family businesses are the lifeblood of our economy in Sussex County. We are losing our competitive edge and we cannot afford to lose any more jobs.

Some politicians are more concerned with getting themselves re-elected than doing what’s best for the people. I know that the government works for the people, not the other way around. I will not concern myself with re-election, therefore I will not be afraid to introduce conservative, common-sense legislation that most politicians will not introduce.

I’m a 48-year resident of Sussex County, and a graduate of Sussex Central High School. I’m a retired, honest successful businessman (Bodie’s Dairy Markets), I’m an active member of the Sussex County Bible Church, and I’m a dedicated husband, father and grandfather. I volunteer as a mentor in a middle school, and I’ve mentored for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, as well. I’m active in my community and an outspoken advocate and member of the Delaware Family Policy Council.

I’m not beholden to any special interest groups, because I am not on a board of directors of any company or organization, and I will gladly tell you where I stand on any issue. I do not compromise my principles and values simply to tell people what I think they want to hear.

I became a Republican when I first registered to vote. I share much of the same values of Ronald Reagan, but too many in our party have abandoned conservatism simply to gain favor with liberals. Compromise with liberals has put us in the compromising position we are faced with today.

We must scale down government, promote economic freedom and elect people willing to do it. We are, by far, the most generous and giving people in the world. I believe non-profit organizations and churches could be relied on to help those in need through voluntary giving if the state would stop taking so much of our disposable income by way of taxes and fees. I believe in personal responsibility and that we must move away from welfare and entitlement mentalities.

Please support my campaign and vote for me on Tuesday, Sept. 11.

Eric Bodenweiser

Reader discusses Ryan’s impact

This letter is addressed to all readers, but principally those who are seniors or soon-to-be seniors.

By his selection of Representative Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, Mitt Romney has given his tacit endorsement to the recent Ryan budget plan.

While the Ryan plan would do many things, I want to focus on just two:

First, the Ryan plan, if adopted, would convert Medicare from its current form to a voucher system. Seniors would be given a voucher to use in obtaining health care from a private insurer. Obviously, if the voucher was insufficient to cover the cost of the private insurance plan, seniors would have to make up the difference on their own. Plus, seniors would be at the mercy of the private insurers as to what care is covered (and not).

Since 1965, when the legislation creating Medicare and Medicaid was passed and signed into law by President Johnson, the GOP and movement conservatives have been consistently opposed to these programs. These folks simply have a worldview that looks askance at any government social program that helps others in general.

As my daddy used to say, “Republicans simply don’t like to share.” In fact, history shows that as far back as FDR and the New Deal, the GOP has consistently shouted “No!” to any expansion of government services to the poor and needy. They don’t much like public education, either.

Recently, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform has been quoted as advocating the reduction in the size of the federal government to where “it can be drowned in a bathtub.” Where do Medicare and Social Security fit into his plans?

Second, the Ryan plan would eliminate income tax on dividends, interest and capital gains. These are the types of income that are heavily weighted in favor of dividends, but most earn their income from wages.

Several sources recently evaluated Mitt Romney’s 2010 tax liability as if the Ryan plan had already been adopted. While he has been criticized for only paying an effective rate of 13.9 percent, under the Ryan plan, his effective rate would be less than 1 percent.

The Ryan plan would drastically cut federal spending for many programs, from Medicare to Medicaid to student loans. It would not solve our budget deficit. It would give even greater tax breaks to the rich. Ask Warren Buffett — he doesn’t need any more tax breaks.

Moreover, the AARP in April 2012 contended that the Ryan budget plan would drastically shift costs to older Americans.

It is equally noteworthy that in April 2012, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops condemned the Ryan plan as a “failure to meet [these] moral criteria.” They feel that its adoption would savage programs aiding the poor and disadvantaged.

Sure, we have all heard complaints that the administration has not achieved enough, quickly enough. Clearly, our economy is not where any of us want it to be. Few are satisfied with the progress. Too many folks are still out of work. Even Paul Ryan tacitly admitted on Aug. 10 that President Obama inherited one heck of a mess. Yet the GOP has consistently refused to help him get out of the hole they dug. Early on, they decided to let him “twist slowly in the wind,” regardless of the price to others.

While we are unhappy with where things are, I believe that few of us want the wholesale changes that Ryan, Romney and the conservatives now seek. I do not think that we would be happy with what such changes wrought.

Make no mistake about it, the selection of Paul Ryan is more than just an effort to repeal “Obamacare.” It is an attempt by extremely wealthy movement conservatives, who are spending millions to elect Mitt Romney, to change history and entirely undercut the social safety net that many have come to rely upon.

Seniors, don’t grant them their wish.

Bernard Fensterwald
Ocean View

Reader wants debate between Carper, Wade

I am wondering what Sen. Carper stands for and why Delaware conservatives of either party should vote for him.

As citizens, we are not part of the private club that wanders around the edges of issues… like the $16 trillion national debt and the three-year absence of a budget from the Senate. In what caucus does his club discuss the indoctrination of children in public schools… or the destruction of a 2,000-year tradition of marriage? Where are the hearings on the devolvement of America into moral and financial bankruptcy?

I believe we are ready for an honest debate. Kevin Wade has told us what he believes about building a prosperous America and running a business — he built one. He has a sense of honor and a code of ethics. He has a serious plan for domestic energy production. We know that Alex Pires is successful in business, and we know his stand on social issues and the environment.

What we don’t know: What does Tom Carper stand for? When he talks about jobs for Delaware, where do they come from? Is he still waiting for Fisker’s latest $80,000 plug-in car? What does “smart growth” mean to you, senator?

Let’s have a debate about the future of Delaware in honest terms. Please tell us, Sen. Carper: What kind of future do you envision for our state as we ride our bikes and plug-in cars on the way to market? Assuming there will be markets, roads and businesses after government regulators assign their grand plan.

It’s time for a debate.

Chuck Griffiths
Ocean View

Reader grateful for heroic lifeguard

I hope you will be able to publish this letter, even though this life-saving event happened in June.

I had accompanied my daughter, niece and nephew to Gordon’s Pond, located at Cape Henlopen State Park, on June 15, 2012. It was approximately 4 p.m. On that day, the ocean was turbulent, with a strong rip tide. Not being aware of the conditions, my niece Rorie Rae ventured into the water.

After a short period of time had elapsed, it was evident that she was in trouble. I asked a man sitting nearby if he was a strong swimmer, because she needed help. My nephew Benjamin went into the water, in an attempt to rescue her. The rip tide had him in trouble and he was struggling, too.

Fortunately, a female lifeguard sunbathing there realized what was happening and put on her lifeguarding bathing suit over her regular bathing suit. She calmly went into the water to rescue them. One by one, she carried them to land. It is a miracle. One might call her an angel, that she was there to rescue them. She saved their lives.

I have been looking for her ever since. I called the state park, however, the superintendent reported that there are 18 stations and he was unable to identify her. She had sandy blonde hair, was approximately 5 feet, 6 inches tall, and a young adult with a halo around her head. Whoever you are, my family would like to thank you personally for saving their lives.

Nancy Merryfield

Lions grateful for support with event

The Lord Baltimore Lions Club held their 67th Annual Chicken Dinner Fund Raiser at the Millville firehouse on Saturday, Aug. 11. We would like to thank everyone who came out to support our efforts, as well as enjoy a spectacular chicken dinner and fellowship. The Lord Baltimore Lionesses held a bake sale in conjunction with the dinner.

I would like to thank all the club members and the Millville fire company personnel who labored long and hard to raise funds to go directly into our charities budget. All monies received by Lions Clubs flow directly back into the community for charities including scholarships, Little League, Boy Scouts, vision screenings and vision care, Special Olympics, ramp building for the handicapped and too many other projects to list in this limited space.

We invite anyone with a desire to become involved in projects to benefit our community to join us at our meetings, which take place on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at 6 p.m. at Magnolia’s restaurant on Cedar Neck Road. For additional information, please contact PDG Karl Gude, membership chairman, at (302) 539-3498 for additional information.

Lion Doug Parham, Chairman
LBLC 67th Annual Chicken Dinner Committee

Reader: Isn’t everyone a Tea Party follower?

The welfare state that progressives have fashioned over the past 100 years is breathless in its final analysis, along with the unpleasant and twisted unintended results of their policies. Every citizen is now trapped in a predicament that has turned him into a national liability rather than a national asset, through the forced joining of such programs as Social Security, Medicare, and now the partisan unaffordable Affordable Care Act. I know, as I have lived through it all.

The combined local, state and federal governments are now our largest businesses, maybe the world’s largest, and they control over 50 percent of our GDP. Even so, the recent downgrading of U.S. bonds suggests the precariousness of our financial situation when measured against the balance sheet of a commercial enterprise. We are/would be in junk bond territory, especially if one takes into account the “hidden debt” of the unfunded liabilities.

A recent 2010 IMF journal puts forth estimates of the net present value of all U.S. unfunded liabilities for all of our federal promises; to not include the states, public unions, or the Affordable Care Act as reaching a total of $200 trillion, or about 14 times our current GDP.

It was noted by some “that we should get real … as the U.S. is bankrupt”! The consequences of the IMF’s fiscal fix, a doubling of federal taxes in perpetuity, would be appalling — and possibly worse than appalling. There is no reasonable expectation that we can tax, grow or borrow our way out of such a crushing, unfunded debt.

Our welfare state is mathematically impossible, and during the 20th century it fostered a true dreamtime by fooling the masses. The analysis of such false promises only indirectly speaks to the indiscriminate spending of our moral capital largely caused by the reckless abandon of spending our financial capital. If the vanity of progressives without regard for the final result of their policies is taken as a sin, then cheating at golf only exceeds it.

It may seem odd to the unconstrained utopian thinkers that a constrained view of government was the Founders’ original intent; a view that accepted its citizens’ own private reasoning as appropriate guidance for life’s concerns. That was a major tenet for our revolution, for our Constitution, and for our nation’s guidance until the progressive era began at the turn of the 20th century.

The present irony that seems absurd, if not laughable, is that Europe has long been infected with “the disease of progressivism” in the form of socialism, but they are now running from it just as we seem to be embracing it. Large-scale central planning by those who govern has never been the American approach, and it remains to be seen if our citizenry accepts it as a way of life.

We will soon have a national Republican ticket that will loudly reject the socialist and central planning policies of the present cadre of Democrats who profess an elitist attitude toward an individual and how he chooses to live. This election year will set the future of our country to follow either the progressives’ Faustian model of debt, dependency and default or to return to the fiscal prudence of limited government put forth by our Founding Fathers.

I see that the Democrat elites are presently charging the Romney/Ryan budget plan as a radical ride to oblivion for our citizens. Now, for the life of me, I do not see how a budget predicated upon the theme of classical economics (that means limited government with little debt) can be seen as radical. In fact, I daresay that if any reader has not been following the tenets of classical economics in his everyday personal life, he is in big trouble (or what a Democrat calls a victim of capitalism).

Today, most ordinary and responsible people in the country are doing exactly what Romney and Ryan are suggesting for the nation; cutting spending, paying off debt, assuming little new debt, living within their means and saving for their future. Everyone seems to be abiding by the Tea Party’s fiscal philosophy except our president and his cohorts!

It appears that the GOP nominees who are citing the people’s financial wisdom as the nation’s pathway will leave the Democrats no place to go other than to demean the Romney/Ryan ticket through their “no fact” demagoguery based upon the most egregious economic sophisms!

How would the truth as to the financial state of the nation help Democrats? It seems to matter not to them how destructive they are for the country or how intellectually bankrupt they are with their ideology as they continue to cling to the scourge of wishful hope as their substitute for critical thinking!

However, the past sophistry used by progressives in order to amass political power by persuading the victims that they are being robbed for their own benefit finally seems to be failing as the populace begins to assess the true burden of government taxation, spending and debt — $200 trillion dollars of unfunded liabilities could lead to our nation’s demise.

Citizens fear a national fiscal disaster is in the making as we continually transfer our national debt to our progeny and their personal wealth to us. The wishful hope of the progressives’ ideology is that we can ignore the reality of the history of past world financial catastrophes. Think of the 20th century international upheavals by countries driven by exactly the same blind faith in hope that cannot be, and that we spent freeing with our blood and treasure. Could that be our future?

It is now clear that we have put our progeny at risk with the “New Deal” and “Great Society” policies that have pursued reckless and abstract ideas of “social justice” through the false promise of a “permanence of plenty.”

Social justice of the type that has been pursued is an “empty formula.” It is the risk of a lesser life for those seeking personal and economic freedom; it lessens the possibility for one to be all that he can be; it constrains the path for one to pursue his own happiness; and, it forces all to live with unconstrained federal power touching every part of their personal lives. It truly is “The Road to Serfdom.”

The unique origins of American Exceptionalism do not support these present efforts to degrade the individual and put him under the care of the state. Those who lack faith in American Exceptionalism lack faith in the fundamental principles of our country: Liberty and Individualism.

In the end, when all is said and done, the salvation of the people is tied directly to patriotism, free-market commerce and the Constitution. It becomes our choice to repudiate these false promises of Utopia or become the offending generation that bankrupts the country through selfishness.

How can the Democrats avoid this debate and how can they win it other than through pure demagoguery? The Romney presidential transition teams should be hard at work, as there will be much work to do.

Welcome to the Party!

Richard L. Spencer

Reader: Thank you, DNREC!

Gov. Jack Markell requested the Departments of Transportation, Natural Resources and Environmental Control to research and develop a Trails and Pathways Plan to establish an interconnected network of shared use pathways. The trails will support non-motorized travel and recreational opportunities for Delawareans and visitors alike.

A part of this network has been started along south side of Fred Hudson Road. It is such a pleasure to see so many joggers, walkers and bicyclists taking advantage of this new pathway. We can now safely bike, walk and jog along a shady trail for the greater part of Fred Hudson Road. It links to the Delaware Seashore Fresh Pond trail system, which continues for miles in the wooded park.

The pathway is a great opportunity for families to enjoy the outdoors. You can just park at the Harris Teeter parking lot and begin the journey. Be careful if you attempt to get to the trail from the south. Central Avenue is the only way to cross the Assawoman Canal. Central Avenue does not have a sidewalk or shoulder and has a high volume of fast-moving traffic along its narrow road. Sadly, I highly recommend families coming from the south side of the Assawoman Canal drive and park at Harris Teeter.

Nothing compares with the simple pleasure of a bike ride or walk. The flat-even grade offers ideal conditions that make biking and walking a breeze. Making these activities safer and more convenient will help families, improve public health, increase tourism, give a boost to economic development, reduce congestion, lower emissions, provide recreational opportunities and improve quality of life for all Delawareans. What other transportation projects in Delaware have such an enormous and multifaceted return on public investment?

Let’s all support the efforts to promote a healthy and active lifestyle through continual efforts to provide pathways for walkers, runners and bikers of all abilities. DNREC has given a gift to the community in the form of a recreational trail for all to enjoy. They have expanded our outdoor recreation opportunities giving us the opportunity to enjoy the natural, cultural and historic assets of our area.

We look forward to the development of more miles of useable trail. Hopefully, this pathway can one day connect to the shared-use lanes of Coastal Highway.

We should support DNREC’s efforts to seek additional funding to continue the development of the pathways. For those of us who exercise regularly and enjoy the outdoors, it is exciting to know that pathways will be ours to enjoy and use regularly. The benefits of an integrated non-motorized pathway and recreation trail network will provide opportunities for pedestrians and bicyclists to travel safely and efficiently.

Albert Einstein discovered the theory of relativity while bicycling. Ernest Hemingway said that, “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.”

Of course, it is so flat on the Delmarva Peninsula you will not learn contours or sweat up the hills, but that is what makes it such a breeze. With government figures showing that 64 percent of American adults and 30 percent of children are overweight, it seems there are plenty of reasons to get out there. Cycling, or just walking, is a great way to spend time as a family while burning a few calories. Thank you DNREC for this wonderful, highly used pathway.

George Walter
Ocean View

Beach etiquette seems to be gone

For the past 20 or so years, I have been threatening my friends and family that I would write a treatise on “beach etiquette.” So with a whole lot of time on my hands, the real estate market in my beach town at low ebb, I decided that now is finally the time to actually do it.

Growing up every summer here was idyllic. No shoes and only bathing suits and shorts to wear; riding our rafts on big waves that actually broke far out enough to make it worthwhile; fresh veggies and fruit from the man who came to us in his truck; knowing every person who was on “your” beach; and the only attraction was a bowling alley with six lanes and the two in the middle were so warped that you only had to get the ball in the groove to get a strike. Ahhh, yes, those were the days!

Today, however, is a different story altogether. Gone are the sand streets, the truck farmer, rafts have been replaced by Boogie Boards, and the bowling alley was washed away in the “Storm of ’62.” Gone also is the tightly-knit group of people who were the only ones on “our beach.”

Now, we have “rules!” There are more “No’s” on the signs that guard our walkways to the beaches. We used to get to the beach by walking through the dunes (one of the no’s, by the way). Some of the rules are no brainers, and some are just plain unnecessary. I won’t go there. Suffice it to say, there are some that should be mentioned as conduct, decency, decorum, customs, civilities, deportment, or just plain polite behavior.

Let’s start with #1. Where to sit.

OK — there are those who get up early, schlep all their earthy belongings up to the beach so they can get the perfect spot to lounge the day away. They are on the cusp of the beach where they can see the water, watch the kids and not get washed away at high tide. Perfect. Spread the chairs and towels around so no one can get too close. Next here comes the family from hell who decides that they have to be in almost exactly the same spot.

Uh-oh — beach etiquette #1 — do not sit directly abutting someone else when there is plenty of room at least three feet away! Come on — give people a little bit of room to lean back in their beach chairs without winding up staring you in the face.

I know it gets crowded at times, but it is only a few more steps to the water if you have to park away from the water’s edge. If you can hear a conversation between two people speaking in a normal tone of voice, you are too close. This is the main bane of contention for most of us who think we own the beach. “Why do they have to sit so close to us when there is plenty of space up by the dunes?” we ask.

The next rule of conduct not mentioned on the signs is that of children and their behavior: #2 — Instruct your children on what they should and should not do while on the beach. This includes not running around other people who would rather not have sand thrown all over them, water splashed all over them or food dropped around them to attract the flying rats known as seagulls.

If your child needs to pee, please do not send them up to the dunes for everyone to watch, or sit them on a potty seat and then empty it into the sand next to someone else. Send them into the ocean like everyone else. Pretty soon it is going to be over-polluted anyway. I won’t even mention the other bodily function. Take the kid off the beach and into a public restroom if necessary. I have seen stuff floating around that is really questionable, to say the least.

Another kid thing is the holes they feel they must dig to try and reach China. If they reach the proportions that they obstruct the pathways to the water, they are way too big. I can see maybe digging a moat around your area to keep away the tide, but please, no longer or deeper than needed to protect your own area. And, make sure it gets filled in before you leave the beach. After dark, strollers have been known to disappear in some of these bunkers.

Rule #3 — Boogie Boards and the like. OK, your child feels he/she is the next champion Boogie Boarder, however, being under 10, has no concept of how to control said board. Here they come in on a wave, only to crash into the shins of some poor grandperson who is watching some other grandchild and is knocked down, sprawling, into the sand and surf.

Meanwhile, the crasher is blithely back on his/her board, looking for the next wave. No “Sorry”; no “Can I help you get up?”; no nothing. Manners, conduct, etc. The least you can do is teach your kids how to steer the darned things away from people!

Rule #4 — Flying objects on the beach. Anything that makes noise while in the air should not be brought to the beach. Those obnoxious footballs that whine need to be outlawed, period. Regular footballs are OK, as long as the persons throwing or catching them can do both with proficiency. If you can’t, for the life of you, catch a football, why are you playing with one? This goes for Frisbees also.

By the way, if it is windy, don’t even attempt to control a Frisbee. It’s not going to happen despite all your tries. If you are going to throw or hit anything at the beach, please do it near the dunes, away from people. Remember the “sand” thing from Rule #2?

Rule #5 — Umbrellas and other shade-related items. If you must have an umbrella, please plant it or have it planted, somewhere it will not impact someone else’s sun. Remember, the sun moves and so does the shadow of the umbrella. If you insist on encroaching on a stranger’s sun, you may find your umbrella moved when you come back out of the water. A friend and I once moved an entire compound away from us when the group left to go to the boardwalk.

That’s another thing — one of those 10-by-10-foot tents. If you plan to plant one of those, make certain someone is there at all times to make sure it is used. It may be moved for you to a more convenient spot for someone else.

Rule #6 — Bathing attire. Let’s face, there are those of us who can actually wear a bikini and look great. I’m talking about men also. Speedos are a definite no-no for men at the beach. No man looks good in them if they are… well, they just don’t. They should strictly remain for the swim meets at the pool. Even the male lifeguards don’t wear them, and we wouldn’t actually mind if they did. But I digress.

If you weigh over a certain amount, and in your heart you know you do, please do not wear a bikini. C’mon ladies, if your tummy hangs over the top of your bottom, give it up. We don’t want to see you jiggling down the beach. This also goes for “the girls.” If you are hanging out of a XXXL top, cover them up with a real suit. The kids don’t need to see them, not to mention the goggling men.

As for thongs… if you have any — and I mean ANY — cellulite on your butt, don’t even think about wearing one. You won’t be getting the kind of attention you thought you wanted. Everyone will be saying, “What was she thinking?”

Rule #7 — Cigarettes and cigars. OK—I know you have to smoke, but how about doing it so that the smoke doesn’t blow into the person’s face 10 feet away downwind. They have tried to outlaw it at our beach, but it isn’t really working. If nothing else, please go away from the crowd and please take your butts with you and throw them away. Don’t bury them in the sand. As for cigars: Ugh. Stinky, stinky, stinky, stinky. That’s all I can say.

Rule #8 — Please do not, under any circumstances, feed the seagulls. I know this is posted as a rule on the board, but some children can’t read, and parents think it is cute for their kids to feed them… Wait until one poops on you and it isn’t so cute.

Well, that’s all I can think of for now, so please enjoy our beach, keep it clean and remember, even though you are on vacation, consideration for others is never on vacation. Thanks.

Suzy Schaeffer
Ocean View