Letters to the Editor — March 2, 2012

Reader offers opinion on dog-chaining law

It is the most heartbreaking thing to see. That is the cruelty of dogs being chained or penned 24/7.

Dogs are social animals by nature, yet they are force to live in solitary confinement for life. They lack clean, unfrozen water and suffer from sporadic feeding. They struggle and shiver in the winter and suffer on hot summer days. Many freeze to death, die from heat stroke or not getting enough to eat. Some have died from hanging. Then they are dumped like trash.

By the time it is considered a cruelty case, it is often too late for the dog. Most will contract heartworm and suffer through a painful death. Their limited space is often filthy. People that do this are disturbed, and it is more disturbing that some of our lawmakers allow this to happen.

Statistics show a chained dog is more likely to become aggressive. Many children have been seriously injured or killed because of dogs being mistreated. This is the fault of the caretaker and legislators for allowing this. How many more have to die before something changes?

A local veterinarian told me that many hunters consider their dogs to be tools and they only come out of their tiny pathetic pens when hunting. When they no longer are able to perform on a hunting level, perfectly healthy dogs are cold-heartedly executed and tossed like garbage.

I find these people disturbing, some of which are our state representatives. The vet referred that these people are not compassionate toward these animals and it is disturbing in their treatment of their animals. Their behavior, he says, can be barbaric and is not what today’s rational society would consider to be acceptable.

This vet, who would have gone up to speak at the Senate hearing, backed out after influence from two local state reps. Now, I have heard of dirty politics, but this is ridiculous. I lose all respect for people who try to use their power to play God for their own selfishness and for those that don’t stand up and do what’s right. Regardless, it is cowardly.

Sen. Patricia Blevins agrees that chaining a dog 24/7 for life and confined penning is cruel. I had the pleasure of meeting this amazing, caring, animal-friendly, no-nonsense, strong woman. She is the sponsor of Senate Bill 156, which would put an end to tethering at night. It also offers specific shelter requirements and protection of dogs in severe weather.

Please write, e-mail, or call your state senators and representatives and ask them to support Senate Bill 156. The DVFA Web site, at www.voteanimalsde.org, lists names, numbers and contact information.

Remember, this is an election year. We need positive change. It is important to elect animal-friendly legislators. They tend to genuinely care about people and family and are compassionate of our needs. It is time for a good new change.

Please remember to spay and neuter your pets. We all need to be responsible and cut down population, and remember we save lives by adopting as opposed to buying from a breeder or pet shop, which many times come from puppy mills. By doing these things we can make a better life for our faithful four-legged friends.

Thank you to all that have already showed overwhelming support and thank you to Troop 24. I was touched by all of you. Animal lovers are the best people! Everyone, please join us at Legislation Hall in Dover on March 14 at 1 p.m. to show support and speak out about your personal stories and animal-control issues you would like to share.

Anyone that opposes this bill supports the suffering of animals – what does that say about them? It is our chance to all speak out! A person’s heart and soul has not truly awakened until they have experienced and appreciated the unconditional love that comes from their dog. Please also sign the petition on Facebook, Unchain Delaware Dogs.

Donna Levalle

FOSCL thanks book sale volunteers

The Friends of the South Coastal Library (FOSCL) are most grateful to the more than 50 volunteers who contributed their time and talents to organizing and staffing the Book Sale held on Feb. 17 and 18.

With exceptional logistical support provided by Dick Fox, FOSCL raised over $2,800 to assist the library’s programs. More than 200 patrons purchased the gently used books, tapes and CDs donated by members of our community. FOSCL also greatly appreciates Coastal Point’s ongoing commitment to publicizing such special-interest events as the Book Sale.

The Friends are now collecting materials for its Summer Book Sale, scheduled for Aug. 16, 17 and 18 at the South Coastal Library. Donations will be cheerfully accepted at the library’s main desk.

Lois Rubinsohn and Terry Drizd,
FOSCL Book Sale

Reader offers advice on Bethany parking

Before we actually begin summer parking restrictions this May, I would like to put in a word or two regarding parking for employees of the businesses in Bethany Beach.

It seems there is less and less parking available for those with business passes. Now, while some of the employees are able to use a bike or walk to work or even be dropped off by a family member, not everyone is able to arrange this on a daily basis, nor are they physically able to walk long distances to work.

I believe that each business should be allowed one “resident pass” to use at their discretion for their employees.

More than once, I have seen co-workers young and old struggle to get to work on time because of an accident or temporary problem that inhibits their ability to walk. I know that the trolley is available, and that is wonderful unless you don’t happen to live in Bethany. Also, the trolley stops at 10 p.m., when many businesses are still open or just closing down.

I have observed that, from mid-May through mid-June, a large number of resident spaces remain unused until the peak months of July and August. I feel that these unused spaces should be available to business employees. When you are on a shift that begins at 2 p.m. or 4 p.m. and have to park near Bethany Resort Furnishings, as you pass many unused spaces it feels more than disheartening – it feels unjust.

One resident pass per business for employees would not cause a tremendous loss of parking to summer visitors and seems only fair to me for those business that help to support the town economy.

I hope that the Bethany town officers would consider this prior to the upcoming summer season.

M.K. Kirby
Ocean View

Mitchell gets word in on Ocean View

I write to respond to comments made by Mayor Gordon Wood mentioned in the News Journal and Coastal Point recently.

Since the mayor has by implication mentioned me, I am compelled to respond.

First, let me set the record straight on wasteful or needless spending by the mayor and/or council, which has made the following wasteful and unneeded expenditures:

• $5,000 expenditure for unneeded IACP police staffing study. (This was supposedly approved by the mayor in his capacity as head of the police department.)

• $6,000 expenditure for unneeded IPA study, which was largely ignored by the council.

• A minimum of $40,000 for paying the remainder of the town manager contract, which was totally unnecessary. Additional unnecessary expenses were incurred by council to upgrade the position of acting town manager.

• Town solicitor expenses for attending the many executive sessions regarding the town manager’s termination.

Of course, you will not see these expenses in the budget until the town audit, because revenue appropriated for other uses will be transferred from other accounts to cover them.

The purpose of the letter to the Attorney General by 65 concerned citizens was to obtain an outside legal opinion, which the mayor and council have failed to resolve appropriately despite repeated discussions and comments by community citizens. It was not made to engage the town solicitor or incur expenses.

Here is the record on how the mayor has mismanaged the town budget:

• Regarding the $50,000 dollars mentioned by the mayor – a specialty attorney was hired on Sept. 13, 2007, on the legal issue of overtime, eight months before I was elected to council. The mayor does not discuss his own conduct in the increase of the legal bill, so I will discuss it.

The hiring of this attorney was discussed in council April 23, 2008, and Mayor Wood voted to retain the specialty attorney on April 23, 2008, and I voted against further retaining the attorney. Mayor Wood in September 2008 wanted to invite this attorney to personally travel from Wilmington to answer questions before the council, further increasing the legal costs. I voted against this travel and, fortunately, the council voted this down. The mayor further added complex legal questions, which the attorney said would cause huge a legal bill to research these questions.

Why does the mayor do this? The mayor seeks to create a red herring to distract from unnecessary expenses listed above. The total legal bill paid to the specialty attorney over two years was $13,199.31, and a good portion of it was paid to resolve legal issues regarding overtime.

• Regarding the request to the AG – if the council conducted itself in a democratic mode, instead of the highhanded fashion of summarily dismissing valid citizen requests and complaints, there would be no need of appealing to outside officials.

For example, when a citizen of our town sought to address the council during citizen privilege, the council ignored her and began taking up papers and packing briefcases and computers in a rush to get the meeting over with. This utter disregard for voters and taxpayers is not only undemocratic, but is at the root of citizen dissatisfaction with the council.

• Further, this mayor and council is very late in making budgetary details on the proposed budget for FY 2013 available to its citizens. Our budget process used to begin in November under the long range financial committee and continued until the budget was approved in March. This committee provided a role for citizen input during those five months. Now, it is the end of February and the council has not had a single public hearing on the budget nor has allowed any public input.

The mayor terminated the long range financial committee, which was doing a fine job of reviewing the budget with several citizens serving on it. I lamented this termination and suggested a standing committee on the budget which would report monthly. The mayor rejected this idea, saying I would have too much control over the budget. I offered to step aside and allow the chair be someone else. Still the mayor rejected it.

Democracy has gone awry in Ocean View! There was no citizen input into the hiring of the town manager, and the mayor and council has sought to govern through executive session and special meetings, hurriedly announced on the Town Web site.

The mayor and council have sought to stifle any legitimate citizen dissent in Ocean View. That is why citizens find it necessary to go to outside officials, invoking their First Amendment right of petitioning their government for a redress of grievances. How far has Ocean View gone down the path of autocracy where decisions are made elsewhere and rubberstamped in council?

Say what you want about former Councilman Roy Thomas and me, but the record will show that we always sought reasonable compromise with our fellow council members on important issues.

I endorse Dick Logue’s letter to the editor several weeks ago and that we must make our complaints known to council and attend council meetings.

Perry J. Mitchell
Ocean View

Steele does not agree with Army Corps study
Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to the Town of Bethany Beach and was forwarded to the Coastal Point for publication.

Spending $55,000 for the Army Corp’s study is a two-edged sword.

Spending the money is a waste of taxpayer resources.

Not spending the money to see what the Army Corps comes up with would be an affront to the people in the flood-prone areas of Bethany.

Will the Army Corps find out more than what is in the Comprehensive Plans from the past? I doubt it!

Will the Army Corps find out more than what is in the hydrological study done for the Town when it was looking into an inflatable bladder? I doubt it.

But, that was a few years ago. Maybe technology has changed to stop flooding. I doubt it.

Please read the Comprehensive Plans over the last 15 years and/or the hydrological study to find out what the Army Corps will tell you.

I will tell you what the reports say in as few words as possible: The Town has flooded in the past. The Town will flood in the future. To quote Gerald Hocker’s father: “Unless you lower the ocean or raise the town, Bethany will flood.”

Here are some indisputable facts from those Plans and studies:

• North Pennsylvania Avenue is 4 inches above mean high tide, and so is most of the northwest quadrant of Bethany.

• Route 1’s bridge over the Loop Canal acts as a dam when the Loop Canal is higher than mean high tide.

• North Pennsylvania Avenue drains into the Loop Canal. Those drain lines are broken and filled with groundwater. So, when flooding occurs, drainage is above ground. Ocean View Parkway is slightly higher than 4th and 5th streets, thereby blocking water moving south.

• When you have a dry nor’easter, there is flooding in Bethany because of the tidal waters being blown into the back bays from the ocean and then into the northwest quadrant of Bethany.

Because of the previous stated facts, the water either comes up through the drains or overflows the banks of the Loop Canal or, worse yet, does both.

When you add a rain storm to the winds, the complications explode.

Because of past studies, an inflatable bladder was explored to stop the Loop Canal from overflowing its banks, but it was discovered that the water not flooding Bethany had to go elsewhere. That elsewhere, we found from the hydrological study, was Savannah’s Landing. So, the inflatable bladder was never installed.

The facts are the facts. I hope I am proven wrong with what the Army Corps finds, but I doubt it.

Has the Town of Bethany done as much as possible to get the best bang for its bucks? Yes! They’ve spent a lot of money to improve drainage through out the town so that the flooding that is inevitable will drain as quickly as possible.

I would have voted along side of Lew Kilmer and instead of voting to spend the money, I would have given the Army Corps copies to the Comprehensive Plans and the hydrological study.

Those plans cost a lot more than the $55,000 that is about to be wasted.

Harry Steele, former council member,
former chair of the Flooding & Drainage Committee, former chair of Project Impact
Bethany Beach

Reader upset with Bethany’s decision

Why is Bethany Beach spending thousands of dollars to reinvent the wheel? The issue of flooding on the north end of Bethany Beach was exhaustively studied over the past 10 years by a Town of Bethany Beach flood mitigation committee chaired by Harry Steele.

Several professional studies were undertaken, the causes of the flooding were identified, and several alternative solutions were proposed. None of the solutions were implemented because none of them proved to be cost-effective.

Don Stein
Bethany Beach

Reader takes exception with comments

Regarding the article “AG’s Office: OV citizens’ complaints are ‘without merit’” in the Coastal Point dated Feb. 24, 2012 – on page 3, column 3, second paragraph, “[Bill] Wichmann said this week that he agreed with Walker’s findings in their entirety. ‘These baseless accusations were made by less-than-honorable persons against honorable citizens,’ he said.”

For Bill’s information, let me state for the record: I read the letter, I signed the letter, and I am not a less-than-honorable person. Perhaps Bill should look in the mirror before calling names.

Jimmy Tanis
Ocean View