Letters to the Editor -- October 28, 2011

Reader responds to Steele’s letter

Harry Steele’s letter in last week’s Coastal Point exposed the Americans for Democratic Action as a liberal group that supports Obamacare, the concept of the wealthiest Americans paying their fair share of taxes, the continuation and expansion of unemployment benefits, and equality for all, including the LGBT.

Mr. Steel graciously included the link to ADA. I checked it out, and he is absolutely right. They do support all of the above. He wanted us to understand who these guys were who stood by the entrance to Bethany as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement. He asks us to give them the thumbs-down sign when we drive by, because he does not believe they represent the America that our parents and grandparents fought to support.

Mr. Steele, I do not understand why I should give the thumbs-down to a healthcare plan that will no longer allow an insurance company to deny me health care because I have a preexisting condition, and one that will provide health care for over 30 million Americans who have no insurance today.

Mr. Steele, why do you want me to give thumbs-down to the idea of all Americans paying their fair share of taxes? Just closing one loophole that now allows the wealthiest financiers to pay less tax than their chauffeurs would raise over $20 billion over the next 10 years. Just Google “carried interests loophole” for details.

I will honk my horn for extending unemployment for those who are out of work because of a recession that they did not cause. I will honk my horn for the civil rights guaranteed to all of us by our constitution.

The ADA Web site states that it was founded by Eleanor Roosevelt and other Americans shortly after FDR died to keep “the New Deal dream of an America that works fairly for all alive for generations to come.” I’ll give a thumbs-up to that.

Joanne Cabry, Chair
Progressive Democrats of Sussex County

BBLA asks council to consider all facts
Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to the members of the Bethany Beach Town Council and was forwarded to the Coastal Point for publication.

During the Council’s discussion at the Oct. 17 workshop of the recent request from AT&T to install cellular antennae on the town’s water tower, important information bearing on security concerns became available to the council for the first time.

There is no denying that the integrity and security of the water supply deserves the highest possible priority. Because of the obvious importance of protecting the water supply, we trust and assume that the town administration already has in place appropriate measures to ensure that no vendor delivering water treatment chemicals to the site, or visiting it to service the water treatment equipment, has any opportunity to sabotage or otherwise compromise our water.

No one is given access to the site, presumably, except when responsible town employees unlock the facility. We also assume that responsible town employees maintain close visual observation of these visitors until they depart and the gates are once again locked.

The security concern growing out a possible lease of space to a cellular company such as AT&T is that the company’s representatives (or someone posing as such a representative) while on the site ostensibly to service the cellular facilities, would intentionally or accidentally do some harm to the water or the water treatment equipment.

The assumption underlying this concern is that AT&T representatives would need to have frequent or regular access to the site so that close visual supervision of their visits by responsible town employees would be impractical.

It turns out that assumption is incorrect. Ms. Young reported at the workshop, based on recent discussions she had with the South Bethany town manager and the manager of the Sussex Shores water tower facility, that no one from the cellular companies had ever sought access to the cellular equipment located at those towers since the initial installation of that equipment years ago.

Thus we now know (and we assume AT&T would confirm) that the cellular equipment in the ground-level shed and on the tower does not require any on-site regular maintenance. If no one visits the site to service the cellular equipment, the presence of that equipment does not compromise the security of the water supply.

Of course, if some now unforeseen need for access on the part of AT&T arose after initial installation, the procedures the town presumably follows to supervise other venders at the site should be strictly followed.

Concern for security of the water supply, which seems to be the paramount issue for at least two and perhaps more, council members, is certainly not the only matter that needs to be resolved before deciding to negotiate a lease with AT&T. As Mr. Graviet observed, AT&T’s proposed design and installation process, and in particular both the short- and long-term effects of AT&T’s proposed welding of antennae to the standpipe, need to be thoroughly explored before it would be prudent to sign a lease.

There is also the matter of the space AT&T would need for its ground-level shed. Here, the question is whether a lease provision that gave the town the right to evict AT&T upon reasonable notice would suffice to protect the town’s possible need to use the space in the future for other purposes.

We urge the council to explore these and other pertinent issues thoroughly before acting on the AT&T request. It would be easy enough to reject that request out of hand, saying we considered and rejected use of the water tower by AT&T last January and do not want to bother to revisit the issue.

We believe that the easy course would be a mistake. For one thing, as explained above, the security consideration was based on an assumption, now known to be erroneous, that AT&T would need frequent or regular access to the site after initial installation.

Beyond that new information, rejection carries with it significant costs to the town. One is the loss of potential lease income. The town could earn well in excess of a million dollars over a period of years. Home owners would benefit by having to pay less taxes or by not having to pay increases in their taxes.

Another cost (although not a monetary one) is that each rejection by the town increases the risk that AT&T will eventually be able to erect a new, ugly tall tower somewhere just outside the town limits, either at the Arby’s site or elsewhere.

After the Town several years ago rejected AT&T’s initial overtures for use of the water tower, AT&T used that correspondence in its 2009 application to the Sussex County Board of Adjustment as part of its showing that suitable alternatives to the proposed Arby’s site were not available.

Similarly, in its pending court appeal of the BoA decision of last April denying another application for the Arby’s site, AT&T is relying the council’s decision last Jan. 21 to reject our suggestion that the town offer to negotiate over use of the water tower. A rejection of AT&T’s current overture will no doubt be used by AT&T to support yet another application to put up a tall tower somewhere else just outside the town.

Before rejecting the current AT&T overture, the council should take a long hard look at the facts to determine if foregoing the potential income and incurring the risk of an ugly new tower really is in the town’s best interests.

John Himmelberg, President
Bethany Beach Landowners Association

Men’s Club thankful for help with event

The St. Ann’s Men’s Club would like to thank all the participants and the following contributors for their generous donations to our recent very successful golf outing at the Salt Pond. The Men’s Club will use the profits to continue and add to its charitable work.

Our donors are: Angel Hair Studio, Armands, Atlantic Books (Fenwick), Bayville Package Store, Beam Insurance, Bethany Florist, Bethany Massage, Bethany Wines and Liquors, Café on 26, Cripple Creek Golf, DiFebo’s, Dirty Harry’s, D’Ortones, Fenwick Crab House, Fisher’s Popcorn (Fenwick), Float-ors, Frog House, Giant Foods, Halpern Eyecare, Harpoons Hanna’s, Harris Teeter (Salt Pond), Hocker’s Car Wash, Hudson’s General Store, Jon Emrick, Jules Rest, Lobster Shanty, Mango’s, Mancini’s, Melson’s Funeral Home, Mickey’s Crab House, Millville Pet, Nantucket, Ocean View Diner, Off the Hook, Perucci’s, PNC Bank, Romeo’s, Ruddo’s Golf, Salt Pond Golf, Station 7 Rest, Twenty-Six Salon, Treasure Island and Warren’s Station.

Thank you.

Dick Malone, Golf Committee
St. Ann’s Men’s Club

Knitting Group thankful to Sea Needles

We wish to thank Ginny Borodulia and Elaine McCabe from Sea Needles for providing a social time and area for us to gather and work on whatever we want to do with our yarn and needles.

It is such an enjoyable activity. This summer there was a combination of residents, visitors and drop-ins to discuss or chat about our projects or anything else. We all look forward to Wednesday afternoons.

This activity will continue throughout the winter. Come and join us.

The Knitting Group