Writer has respect for state teachers
Have you heard about the next planned “Survivor” show? Three businessmen and three businesswomen will be dropped in a public school classroom for one year. Each businessperson will be provided with a copy of his/her school district’s curriculum, and a class of 25 to 30 students. Each class will have a minimum of 5 learning-disabled students, three with ADHD, one gifted student and two who speak limited English. Three students will be labeled with severe behavior/emotional problems.
Each business person must complete lesson plans at least three days in advance, with annotations for curriculum objectives and modify, organize or create their materials accordingly. They will be required to teach students, handle misconduct, implement technology, document attendance, write referrals, correct homework/assessments, make bulleting boards, compute grades, complete report cards, document benchmarks, communicate with parents, and arrange parent conferences, while differentiation instruction to meet the needs of all the students. They must also stand in their doorway between class changes to monitor hallways, do bus duty and be a part of committees and leadership teams.
In addition, they will complete fire drills and intruder drills each month, disrupting instruction. They must attend workshops, faculty meetings and attend curriculum development meetings. They need to earn 90 clock hours to renew their license every five years, on their own time, as well as tutor students who are behind and strive to get their 2 non-English speaking students proficient enough to take the DCAS tests. If they are sick or having a bad day, they must not let it show. Each day they must incorporate reading, writing, math, science, social studies and teaching social skills to their students.
Sometimes they have to play mediator between students, nurse for those not feeling well and counselor to students who trust them with their personal problems. They must maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment to motivate students at all times. If all students do not wish to cooperate, work, or learn, the businessperson will be held responsible. The businesspeople will only have access to the public golf course on the weekends, but with their new salary, they will not be able to afford it.
There will be no access to vendors who want to take them out to lunch, and lunch will be limited to 30 minutes, which is not counted as part of their work day, although they will probably have to use this time to work on lesson plans or grading papers, since their planning period is full of meetings, tutoring and contacting parents. The businesspeople will be permitted to use the restroom, as long as another survival candidate can supervise their class.
If the copier is operable, they may make copies of necessary materials before, or after school. However, they cannot surpass their monthly limit of copies. The businesspeople must continually advance their educations, at their own expense, and on their own time. Also, weekends and vacations? Nope. There’ll be spent catching up on paperwork or working part-time jobs to supplement their income due to their already laughable low salary and the governor’s reduction in their pay to “balance the state budget.”
The winner of this season of “Survivor” … will be allowed to return to their job!
This is intended for all the people who think teaching is easy and for those who know it is hard. Thank you, Delaware teachers, for caring enough to teach, regardless of the circumstances!
Resident endorses Wood and Sheeran
I am writing to request all eligible Ocean View residents to vote on April 9 for Tom Sheeran to replace Perry Mitchell on the town council.
I have known Tom for a number of years and volunteerism should be his middle name. Fundraising for Special Olympics, working with the Ocean View and Millville volunteers, and teaching disaster preparedness for RSVP throughout Sussex County are just a few of his achievements for the community. Never has he refused a request for his time and energy.
While Mr. Mitchell is boastful and denies all his actions and responsibility for his erratic behavior on the council for the past three years, Tom Sheeran is a quiet and thoughtful man, diligent and with great integrity. Unlike Mr. Mitchell, Tom will represent all of his constituents, not just a favored few.
With respect to the mayor’s race, I feel current Mayor Gordon Wood is by far the best choice. While I haven’t agreed with all of his decisions the past three years, Gordon has the best interests of Ocean View and its citizens at heart and has worked hard to change council procedures regarding Citizen’s Privilege, in order to ensure that the public has a real voice on issues discussed at council meetings. This represents a real plus for all our town’s residents.
My friends and I therefore urge all residents to cast their votes for Tom Sheeran as council member and Gordon Wood as mayor.
Reader wants Mitchell to lead her town
Ocean View elections are coming soon, and I am supporting Perry Mitchell for councilman. I have known Mr. Mitchell for 10 years, and he has served us well on the council with his integrity, honesty and industry.
He is constantly working for our community on the town council and deserves another term. This council has raised taxes year after year, and it is refreshing to see Mr. Mitchell fighting for lower taxes when many of us are living on fixed incomes.
Reader puts support behind Wood, Sheeran
This is my first-ever letter to the editor. As a retired police officer, I want to express my views on the Ocean View Public Safety Department/
First, we have an outstanding department managed by Chief McLaughlin. I strongly support 24/7 911 coverage. This is important to me, and I support a budget which provides for such coverage.
Second, I support Mayor Wood’s initiative to talk with Millville about the unfair situation of Ocean View taxpayers paying for 911 calls to Millville. Thank you, Mayor Wood. We should be paid when we provide this service. Fair is fair. It should not be on the backs of Ocean View taxpayers.
Mayor Wood’s steps to have discussions with Millville regarding their providing fuller, paid-for services could save Ocean View taxpayer dollars. Does anyone really think it is good for taxpayers to duplicate facilities, chiefs, lieutenants and sergeants in every small town? Any cooperation must be fair to Ocean View and Millville. But, who ever lost anything by constructively discussing issues?
Who knows where it might lead? It could reduce taxes in Ocean View. Our Council certainly is capable of productive discussions and looking into fair-to-all tax-saving possibilities. What are other candidates afraid of?
Join me in supporting the re-election of Mayor Wood and the election of Tom Sheeran to our council. They will maintain our Public Safety Department capabilities.
Reader feels Wood, Sheeran would be best
I believe this town election comes down to one word: character. You, the voter, must decide if you want elected officials who are honest and aboveboard or those who have hidden agendas and may be controlled by others.
I have not always agreed with Mayor Gordon Wood, but I have always known his intentions. With him, there are no hidden agendas and no one is behind the scenes covertly orchestrating his actions. Mayor Wood has always had the best interest for the town as his sole objective.
During the recent budget hearings, he tried to honestly address all the issues surrounding the town’s budget. At these hearings, Councilman Perry Mitchell, who is running for reelection, refused to actively contribute in the discussion and mayoral candidate Pickrell deceived the public by clandestinely placing his document of unsubstantiated budget bullet points on the table containing the authorized town documents. These deceptive and obstructive actions should give you an insight to their lack of character.
Mr. Pickrell, while campaigning, stated that he is supported by Councilman Perry Mitchell and former councilman Leroy J. Thomas. This type of endorsement alone is enough for me not to vote for them.
I know Gordon Wood and know what I get when I vote for him. I also know Tom Sheeran and respect him for his honesty and integrity. Don’t be deceived by the others’ empty political rhetoric. Vote for Gordon Wood and Tom Sheeran for honest representation.
Magill firmly behind Mitchell, Pickrell
“Working together.” It’s a noble sentiment expressed frequently in this year’s Ocean View Town Council races, but at times, I have to wonder who some of this year’s mayoral and council candidates are “working together” for.
I know George Pickrell, candidate for mayor in the April 9 elections, will work for the citizens of Ocean View. He’s already worked together with other citizens to develop an alternative “Plan B” budget that wouldn’t sacrifice services or require tax increases.
Perry Mitchell, the incumbent in the District 3 race, has also proposed a budget that wouldn’t require tax increases.
Originally, the annual 8 percent tax increases under the “Get Well” long-range financial plan were designed to address the $1 million structural deficit between property taxes and operating expenses that has to be made up every year by unreliable revenue sources, like transfer taxes and grants.
The idea was that 8 percent tax increases would be easier to stomach for our citizens than the 100 percent tax increases that Bethany Beach, South Bethany and Millville implemented to “get well” after the real estate bust.
Our current mayor and council, however, have actually increased this structural deficit in fiscal year 2012 with spending increases that include a 14.7 percent increase for the public safety department. They spent the whole 8 percent tax increase and then some.
Working together to raise taxes to pay for unnecessary services, particularly in uncertain economic times, isn’t in the best interests of our citizens.
At the same time, as we wrestle with our structural financial problems, our council and mayor, with the notable exception of Perry Mitchell, worked diligently on improving public safety services – in the Town of Millville.
The mayor and council spent a good chunk of 2010 working together on a plan to outsource our police services to Millville. At a joint meeting between Ocean View and Millville in July 2010, our mayor and council took great pains to assure Millville that we would not try to “profit” from our public safety services, that we would only attempt to “cover our costs.”
Working with other towns in the area is fine, but I can find no details on the supposed benefits for the citizens of Ocean View in what our mayor and council labeled a “win-win” for both towns.
Millville Councilman Richard Thomas, in fact, expressed concerns about the impact of this plan on Ocean View taxpayers in a September 2010 Millville workshop.
As a 26-year veteran of the Montgomery County (Md.) Police Department with an A.A. in law enforcement and a B.S. from American University in Administration of Justice, George Pickrell recognizes that trying to build a regional police force, “at cost,” would amount to Ocean View taxpayers subsidizing Millville while diluting protection in Ocean View. Mr. Pickrell opposes such an arrangement.
His experience in law enforcement also makes him an ideal candidate for the mayor’s primary responsibility now – head of the Public Safety Department. Unlike our mayor, he would “man up” and figure out how to provide 24/7 availability, or 8,700 hours of availability per year, with the nearly 13,000 man-hours we get with six officers.
The other District 3 candidate campaigning as a team with the incumbent mayor has jumped on the “Working Together” bandwagon, too.
But two years ago, when council tried to establish a new operating manual for its growing Citizens Auxiliary Patrol, Tom Sheeran, then the leader of the CAP program, led an exodus of the entire CAP membership from town rather than “work together” with council to address concerns he had about the manual.
Where did Sheeran lead CAP? Millville. I’ve read some nice things about him in letters to the editor, but he certainly didn’t “work together” for Ocean View then.
George Pickrell understands the benefits of working with other towns, but not to the detriment of our own citizens. A board member in two homeowners associations before retiring to Ocean View, he’s attended numerous council meetings in town. When I served on council, he always provided thoughtful and constructive comments to consider.
When you go into the voting booth on April 9, think about which candidates will always work together for Ocean View.
Resident voting for Sheeran, Wood
I probably shouldn’t get involved in politics. However, after reading Perry Mitchell’s [comments] in the Coastal Point, I think I should. Right in the first paragraph about taxes. It was one of his proposals to raise taxes 8 percent a year for five years. As you know, he was in with Roy Thomas at the time.
Everything he talks about is cutting the police budget and still maintaining 24/7 coverage. It is virtually impossible to do this without working our officers to death and paying high overtime.
Most of his article is patting himself on the back. I guess he has to because no one else will. He, along with his crew, has cost this town more money than he would admit. Moving Town Hall, I believe, cost close to $200,000. Every time he has a problem, he goes to the town solicitor. Mr. Schrader doesn’t work for free. He has filed numerous complaints with the FOIA. Who do you think paid for this?
He wants to bring more businesses to Ocean View. Who voted against everything dealing with a new business over the last few years? What he didn’t screw up while on the council, he did so when he was on the planning board.
Like I said, maybe it’s time we started doing something. Let’s support Tom Sheeran for council and get our town back to normal.
By the way, I am also supporting Gordon Wood.
Longtime friend of Wood gives support
While I am not eligible to vote in the upcoming Ocean View town council elections, I am a neighbor of the Ocean View community. As such, I encourage my friends in Ocean View to re-elect Gordon Wood mayor of Ocean View. Having known and worked with Gordon in the Washington, D.C., area, I know that he has and will continue to bring many years of management and leadership experience, as well as a civil and inclusive approach, to the office.
Mary James Legatski
Mitchell makes case against Sheeran
My opponent, Thomas Sheeran, in an email dated June 25, 2008, sent to Ms. Titus, news editor of the Coastal Point, discussed the Citizens Auxiliary Police (CAP). The subject line of the email was, “Ocean View Council aims to slash $2 million.”
I voted for this resolution to slash $2 million from the budget. How can Mr. Sheeran then say that I had done nothing about the budget, when the subject line of an email he himself had sent used the headline of an action taken by the Council?
He is also wrong in his other accusations. For the last three years, I have been deeply involved in budget details, attending long-range budget committee meetings and submitting alternative budgets in 2009 and 2011. I even gave a PowerPoint presentation to the Council on my 2009 alternative budget. I did not see Mr. Sheeran at any of these meetings.
Yes, I voted reluctantly for the 2009 and 2010 budgets, but not before I tried to get some savings approved. I also wanted to vote for other capital project, such as the West View drainage project, and had to vote for the budget ordinance as a whole. I did vote against the 2011 budget. Mr. Sheeran conveniently fails to mention any of this.
Secondly, Mr. Sheeran walked out of a Nov. 18, 2008, council meeting rather than discuss the issues of the new CAP manual. I remember very clearly how he stalked out of the council meeting that evening. Is this the kind of behavior that we want in a future council member? Maybe, because of his past CAP associations, he has a hidden agenda in running for the council.
I wrote to Mr. Sheeran the next day, Nov. 19, 2008, with copies to the council. I said, “I, for one, would not want to see CAP members resign. My suggestion would be to give this issue a 90-day cooling-off period. If problems develop with the new operations manual, the council can always amend the manual. If CAP members truly believe that they are giving back to their community, providing a needed service and enjoy providing that service, why would they want to resign?”
However, Mr. Sheeran had no apparent interest in discussing the matter further with me or the council during the next month or later. He and the other CAP members resigned to make some kind of point, which to this day I fail to understand.
I say to Mr. Sheeran that he will need to learn that council legislation often ends in compromise, but his behavior that week showed no interest in compromising or working together to affect compromise.
I believe that voters of Ocean View need to review the retrospective behavior of one would-be council member before they vote.
Perry J. Mitchell, Councilman
Steele makes case against wind power
Being able to read the Coastal Point online has been great.
I would like to comment on the BlueWater Wind project and the article by Ms. Titus. As someone who, at one time, was a big supporter of wind energy and now has realized my mistake, I would like to comment about the article by M. Patricia Titus, March 18.
A couple of points: When I was on the town council, we considered putting a cell tower on the water tower. The same concern about EMFs, electro magnetic fields, was raised at that time. The research I did came to the conclusion that there is no conclusion. It depends whose paper you read. Here is a great link, it presents both sides: www.skepdic.com/emf.html.
Mr. Fulton Loppatto suggested “the town have a study done to address the perception that this is a risk in being near the lines.” It is not the town’s responsibility to sway the public one way or another. That is the responsibility of NRG to present the information. We, as concerned citizens, should do our own research and decide how we will vote when that opportunity is presented to us.
I have different reasons why I am opposed to wind power. Let me give you a few links and you can decide what to do in the future:
This link refutes a comment made by the presenter at the NRG meeting about saving the emissions from autos: www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,606763,00.html.
The following link mentions the capacity and how wind turbines do not operate at efficient capacity and, to meet the demands, more turbines have to be built. Plus, storage is a big problem since electric companies cannot store the electricity being produced. The biggest product being generated by the turbines and green energy is subsidies: www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/7823681/Does-money-grow-in-wind-farms.html.
So, you should do your own research and something you should Google is “wind turbines in cold weather.”
Here is one more site that I just found prior to emailing this letter: www.caesarrodney.org/pdfs/Where_are_the_Green_Jobs.pdf.
(If you go to coastalpoint.com and view this letter online, it will be easier to get to these links.)
Councilwoman backs Sheeran, Wood
Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to Ocean View voters and was forwarded to the Coastal Point for publication.
I have enjoyed my first year representing the good people of Ocean View. Having had the opportunity to work with Mayor Wood, I truly believe he cares about Ocean View and the citizens of this town. He puts the towns needs first and foremost, and it is staggering the number of hours he spends on town business.
I have also had the pleasure to meet and talk with Tom Sheeran. What a true volunteer! He has attended a number of town council meetings and brought new viewpoints to a number of town issues. His integrity is second to no one, and I know he will come prepared to each and every meeting.
During the many hours of budget discussions, one of the mayoral candidates suggested cutting the Emergency Services Enhancement Funding Program. “Take the fund that you give to Millville fire department and put it back into the general fund. They will just have to do without until we are back in the black.”
The Emergency Services Enhancement Funding Program was set up so that a portion of all building permits is set aside for the emergency services. The funds are generated through building permits. It is not money that you pay toward through town taxes, but only incurred when a building permit is applied for. This money is not a line item that can magically be placed into the general fund for any town. It is meant to be used for local responders, EMS, fire departments and medical services.
As an active firefighter, I can tell you I am thankful for the money that Ocean View has granted our department. It has allowed us to purchase firefighting gear to replace gear that is worn out and has become a safety issue; a new TIC (thermal imaging camera), used during the search of a person that may be trapped in a burning building; rescue gloves used during vehicle extrications; and a number of other items.
I spoke with Bob Powell, the public information officer for MVFC, he explained to me that “The Millville Volunteer Fire Company has been fortunate enough the past couple of years to receive the Ocean View grant. This grant has proved to be very beneficial to the company since the economic downturn has affected our ambulance and fire fund drives in a negative way.
“Because of the grant we were able to purchase replacement turnout gear and other equipment that provides safety not only for our responders, but also maintains our goal of providing the best emergency service to the community possible. We would hate to see the grant go by the wayside and not be available any more.”
Personally, I do not believe that the funding would ever be cut, but I’d hate to think that someone would want funds to be withdrawn that may effect the level of emergency services from our local responders.
Please cast your vote for Tom Sheeran and re-elect Mayor Wood. They are truly the best candidates running for the Ocean View Town Council.
Thank you for your time.
Michele Steffens, Councilwoman
Resident supports Pickrell for mayor
I am voting for George Pickrell to be the next mayor of Ocean View. I have known George for several years – he is intelligent, practical, well informed, and has common sense regarding the issues facing our town. George is a regular attendee at Town Council meetings and is very concerned about the direction our town has taken while Gordon Wood has served as mayor. I share George’s concerns.
I actively campaigned for Gordon Wood when he ran for mayor three years ago. I was hopeful that he would bring sound fiscal management to the Town Council deliberations and decisions. Unfortunately, Gordon has failed to honor his campaign promises about fiscal responsibility and has been a disappointment to me and others in Ocean View.
I was a member of the Long Range Financial Planning Committee (LRFPC) that was established a number of years ago. My specialty area is human resources. Mayor Wood disbanded the LRFPC. The volunteers who served on the LRFPC – especially a very knowledgeable former chief financial officer of a large organization – had a genuine interest in putting Ocean View on the right track financially.
If Mayor Wood was sincere about fiscal responsibility, why did he disband the LRFPC and deprive the Town Council – none of whom have financial backgrounds – of this source of advice? The Town faces a structural deficit, which renders financial management the primary issue to be addressed by the mayor and council and a critical concern of the taxpayers of Ocean View.
I am very concerned about some financial practices that I have personally reviewed which occurred under Mayor Wood’s leadership.
• Questionable purchases: I have reviewed some of the Town’s financial records and question a number of instances where monies have been expended for purchases that were excessive, not related to our Town’s business needs, and which, if known, I believe most taxpayers would not approve for use of our tax monies.
• Gratuitous pay increase for police officers: In May of 2010, the first month of the 2011 budget year, the Council approved a 3 percent pay raise for all police officers – in addition to the pay raise that was already included in the 2011 budget. This gratuitous raise was apparently awarded because one officer threatened to leave for a job that paid more money. Is this the way to manage a work force – give every employee a raise so one employee won’t leave?
• Overtime pay for recruit attending police academy: I question whether paying overtime to a police recruit in training is appropriate and why it was approved without first checking the legal requirement to pay overtime in this situation. Ocean View is the only law enforcement entity that I am aware of that pays overtime in this situation. To date, this recruit has earned more than $4,000 in overtime pay that he may not be entitled to earn. Why did Mayor Wood authorize this payment?
• Extended absence of injured police officer: Mayor Wood has stated that this officer being off-duty, collecting workers’ compensation, is not costing the Town. This is not accurate. We pay a portion of his salary, and we will certainly pay higher insurance premiums in the future for allowing this to continue without determining if the officer will ever be able to return to full duty.
A question also remains about whether this officer’s prior medical condition was known when he was hired. Did we fail to screen this officer’s record when he was hired or did we hire him knowing that he had prior medical issues that would make him vulnerable to injury? Mayor Wood has denied that it was known, but his veracity in this situation is suspect.
Ocean View is a great small town, and we should preserve its character and expect the mayor to honor his campaign promises about fiscal responsibility and to ensure that our Town lives within our means. We cannot continue to spend more money than we collect in revenue.
We also should expect the mayor and Town Council to be responsive to the needs and preferences of the majority of town residents. To date, a vocal minority has been instrumental in getting people elected who have an agenda that is not in the majority’s best interests. We need to come forward now and speak our minds, and make sure that our elected officials honor their campaign promises and do what majority of the electorate wants rather than pandering to a vocal minority.
I agree with George Pickrell that there are a significant number of Ocean View residents who constitute a heretofore “silent majority” who are concerned about the spending of our tax monies but who may have not come out to vote in the last election. This is one election where we need all citizens to vote and clearly express their choice for financial responsibility.
Please hear what George has to say when he visits your community. Please register to vote (no later than March 28) if you have not done so, and please come out and vote for George Pickrell on April 9 to be the next mayor of Ocean View.
Former councilman gives his thoughts
Enough is enough. Perry Mitchell and George Pickrell belong in a carnival sideshow, along with their mentor and campaign advisor Leroy J. Thomas. The political doublespeak that spews forth from them is pure garbage.
The old worn-out tune is the same one that self-destructed Richard Nippes in the previous town election, where he was soundly defeated with 70 percent voting for Michele Steffens. The good citizens of Ocean View rejected his negativity and twisting of the facts, but now they are faced with the same old tune.
First, no property tax dollars were used to construct the Wallace A. Melson building. The entire construction cost was paid with real estate transfer tax monies. These monies are restricted in use and earmarked by law. Enough transfer tax monies were available to totally pay off the building, but Leroy J. Thomas, along with Eric Magill, initiated the vote to take out a million-dollar loan and pay $90,000 a year in interest.
Then, nearly three years later, after needlessly costing the town hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest, Thomas made the motion to pay off this loan with – you guessed it – the same transfer tax monies that we had when we initiated the loan.
Next, these two attack the police department and tout firing two police officers in their quest to save money. Both would like to force out an officer who is on disability, recovering from an on-the-job injury and fire the officer trainee who is in the police academy as soon as he graduates.
In the former, they are asking you for a lawsuit, and the latter is like giving away a new $50,000 vehicle right after you paid the dealer and took delivery. But, with the same breath, they claim that 24-hour police coverage can be maintained and overtime will be greatly reduced. This is an absurd statement. Overtime is a necessary tool utilized by Chief McLaughlin to provide police protection for the citizens of Ocean View.
Perry Mitchell voted for each budget and every tax increase, as well as most expenditures, during his past three years on the council. He chose this year to vote against the budget because it is an election year.
Additionally, his actions have cost the town financially. When he and two other councilmen, Nippes and Thomas, along with the town manager, tried to covertly break Chief McLaughlin’s contract, their illegal antics cost the town’s taxpayers in excess of $20,000 in outside legal fees.
To cleanse themselves of this wrongdoing, these three proposed and voted for a town resolution sanctifying their past covert actions when they should have been censured. Integrity is a concept foreign to these three.
The editorial by the Coastal Point’s editor had it right when that column cautioned the readers to read between the lines, do diligent homework and not take political ranting as the sole truth. Former Mayor Gary Meredith hit the nail on the head when he said: “There is an old saying that actions speak louder than words. In some cases, they scream at you.” Perry’s actions are deafening.
I ask the good citizens of Ocean View to send Perry packing and vote for Tom Sheeran, a vote for integrity, and reelect Mayor Gordon Wood.
Friend of Pickrell offers her support
Have you ever had a friend you could trust, no matter what?
A family member who offered their support when you needed it?
Even a boss who really took the time to listen to your ideas?
What you see is what you get with George Pickrell, for the upcoming election. In the article laying out his platform for mayoral candidate, George reached right to the heart of what residents are seeking in their own town: a sound financial future with the protection and guidance they deserve.
In a sleepy suburban development in the mid 1950’s, two families moved to their respective homes with the promise of friends, community growth and a safe place to raise children. Thirty years later, my family would move to Ocean View with the same hope of all the opportunities that were afforded our parents. One of those families was the Pickrells.
I have known George Pickrell for 54 years. He represents everything I would look for in not only a friend and neighbor, but a leader of my community, as well. George has the drive, the intelligence and the listening ear you are awaiting. If you are on the fence, or have not voted in past elections for your own reason, now is the time to make your voice heard. You will not be disappointed in your choice for mayor of Ocean View. Take a stand and vote George M. Pickrell on April 9.
Formerly of Ocean View