Letters to the Editor -- February 18, 2011

Sorority dance a hit, thanks to many

It is with heartfelt thanks and appreciation to our local community, families and charitable cause foundations here in Sussex County that we give today, in celebration of our Alpha Alpha Annual Fundraiser Dance, held on Friday, Feb. 4, at Mango’s in Bethany Beach. With your support, we were able to raise over $5,200 to help families in crisis or need, local nonprofit organizations, and our local school districts for the coming year.

We would like to especially thank the entire Hocker family, Hocker’s Super Center, Hocker’s Deli Market, and G&E for their continuing support of our cause. Thank you also to The Funsters!; our sister chapters of Beta Sigma Phi here in Ocean View for their support at our event, Anne Powell, Realtor, ResortQuest; Patti’s Hallmark; Seaquels Furniture Consignments; Oasis Body and Bath Boutique; Nancy Warren; Sally Craig; Kathy Goodman, ReMax by the Sea; Lighthouse Liquors; Tara Gates, Mary Kay Consultant; Mona Murray; Shelly and Rick Chamberlin; Barbara Devine for Hook ‘Em and Cook ’Em Outfitters; Denise Beam; Rob Ward’s Gale Force Carpet Cleaning; Mary Ellen Nantais; Tina Pipitone for Bear Trap Dunes Golf; Value Carpet One; and Kathy Lyons, John Eckrich, Diane Hasselo and Rosemary Eskridge; BeadBums; Brian and Tammy Mushrush; Phillips Crab House; Pamela Morris; Silhouettes; Cheryl Carey for Warren’s Station; Pam Webb, Longaberger Consultant; Andi and Jay Hauck; McCarthy Stones; Anne and Dave Rogerson; Debby Evans; Millers Creek; the Cactus Café; Rosanne Shoemaker for Twenty-Six; Debbie Vickers; Sharon Ralph for Northeast Seafood Kitchen; Sue McKone; Cindy Chatterton, Cindy’s; Rehoboth Beach Yoga; Paula Howard for Body Shop Fitness Center; and the entire staff working on our behalf at Mango’s Friday for this event: Alex Heidenberger, John Brittingham Matt and Zach – you all were awesome!

I would like to personally thank each one of the sisters in our chapter for their support to make this new experience in a brand new venue an unbelievable success.

We extend our thanks, and honor each of you for your desire to “Help Us Help the Community.”

Come join us next year for good food, great music, reconnecting with friends and especially a huge cause, right here in your hometown.

Michele Gordon,
Alpha Alpha Chapter (Ocean View)
Beta Sigma Phi Sorority

Reader furious with killing of peacock

What is wrong with people? I was shocked to read that two beautiful swans were actually shot by DNREC! I can’t believe they could not be relocated to another location. Decent people would support the expense of capturing and relocating them before the swans were murdered. Who are they to play God? Swans are God’s creatures also!

Next, I found out that a disturbed resident in a neighboring community in Ocean View actually murdered this beautiful peacock from Hi-Point Farm on Cedar Neck Road because they considered it “a pest.” Not only was it a creature of God, but it was a much-loved pet who was crippled with a club foot.

Can you believe this? People like that are dangerous. Next they will be stepping on the small terrapins that hatch out each spring in that area or poisoning seagulls and other birds because they don’t like their sounds.

Remember, Hi-Point Farm has been a working farm for over 50 years. People moved into this area and expected the local residents to change to fit the newcomers’ wants and desires. They cannot kill a harmless bird because they don’t like them.

All I can say is: Wildlife beware – murders abound in the Ocean View area!

Peggy Milloy
Bethany Beach

Wood sets record straight on his ‘budget’

Somehow or another, campaigning via a candidate’s letters to the editor seems like an unfair imposition on the media. Unfortunately, it happens. Free ink! I hoped to avoid it, because there are other opportunities to air campaign messages, but campaigning accuracy is important to voters, and a response to a letter to the editor of another paper is appropriate.

My opponent and our councilman running for reelection are campaigning against a “Mayor’s budget” straw man that only exists in their campaign rhetoric. Talking and writing about budget issues is appropriate. Using a non-existent “mayor’s budget” as an issue is poor form and unfair to voters. There is no such thing as a “mayor’s budget”!

On March 1, the Ocean View Town Council workshop will address at least 26 issues on a list I developed based upon those suggested by the Council, staff and others. There will be no budget until these, and possibly others, are resolved by the Council. So what budget could the campaigners possibly be talking about?

Answer: The town manager set out his proposed budget and list of highlights based upon department head requests and a past Council plan to increase taxes for the next five fiscal years (through FY ’14). The tax plan was intended to help close the inherited over half a million dollars a year deficit-spending situation from the once high-times of transfer taxes. It was appropriate that a starting framework be set out by the town manager for budget considerations, but it is just that – a starting point. It is not the “mayor’s budget”!

Decisions on the 26 or more budget issues will be made by a Council acutely aware that the national, state and local economic situation has changed since planned tax increase decisions were made over two years ago. Pension income for many of our citizens has not increased and investment income has probably gone down. Budget and tax decisions, including reconsideration of the previous tax plan, will reflect that understanding. A zero tax increase should always be our goal, but it will not be easy!

Only when the collective impact of all the budget decisions is understood, income needs can be determined. Reconsideration of some incremental decisions may be in order. The final budget must reflect the proper level of services and fairness to taxpayers and staff.

I urge you to attend our March 1 workshop, where all details of the budget will be addressed. As always, “citizen privilege” at the workshop includes a timely opportunity for public input. The Council hopes to see you on March 1 at 4 p.m.

Gordon E. Wood Sr.
Mayor, Ocean View

Nippes puts his support behind Pickrell

This is a very difficult letter to write. Three years ago I campaigned openly to encourage residents of Ocean View to elect Gordon Wood as mayor. The campaign promises made by Gordon do not correlate with the reality of his actions and votes of the past three years. I will not support Mayor Wood for reelection.

Mayor Wood continues to support raising our taxes and spending the additional income rather than addressing the structural deficit plaguing the town. The efforts by Town Manager Dr. Conway Gregory to reduce the deficit have been thwarted by Mayor Wood and the Council by spending $1.20 for each dollar of revenue received.

This practice must end or we the taxpayers will continue to face tax increases for years into the future. Can’t the mayor and a majority of the council see what financial disaster looms by the continued spending as evidenced by the budget deficits faced by states like California and the national government of the United States?

Mayor Wood has usurped the power granted to his office by the town charter. The charter designates the role of mayor to be primarily ceremonial. The council is assigned the responsibility to make policy for the town, not the mayor. The police chief’s contract specifies that he report to the mayor. In my opinion, the mayor has interpreted his powers to be equivalent to that of a strong mayoral form of government found in big cities such as Philadelphia and Chicago.

The council hires a town manager to be the chief executive officer and manage the daily governance of the town and oversee the finances of the town. The budget is prepared by the town manager, approved by the Council and implemented by the town manager and his administrative staff. It is my perception that the mayor has attempted to micro-manage the town manager using his law school-trained interrogations skills, and this has generated friction between Mayor Wood and Dr. Gregory.

I can personally testify to being the target of this intimidation tactic a number of times while I served on the Council. Dr. Gregory will not succumb to such intimidation tactics, but after three years he has chosen not to seek renewal of his contract. This is a great loss to the town of Ocean View, since Dr. Gregory is considered by his peers as one of the most effective town managers in the State of Delaware.

Another example of where Mayor Wood has usurped his role is the recent criticism of two members of the Millville Town Council. The mayor made an offer to provide police services to Millville. The first proposal was to provide 911 service to Millville at a cost of $119 per hour. The second proposal was to provide routine patrol service at a cost of $100 per hour.

The $100 figure comes into serious question as to whether it costs Ocean View taxpayers only $100 to equip, train and pay an officer per hour to patrol the town. By this arrangement, the taxpayers of Ocean View would be subsidizing the taxpayers of Millville.

The council of Millville discussed this proposal from Ocean View extensively and two councilmen said that the 200 taxpayers of Millville could not afford this expense at this time. Mayor Wood at a public meeting criticized these two councilmen, and this scolding damaged relations between the two towns.

Mayor Wood is the supervisor of the police department, but his résumé does not include any prior police or criminal prosecution experience. Candidate George Pickrell is a 26-year veteran police officer and is well versed in the issues of policing and well positioned to supervise our police department. Mr. Pickrell has publicly stated that he supports 24/7 police service and that the public safety of the residents will never be compromised while he is mayor. This is just one of the reasons that I support George Pickrell for mayor of Ocean View.

Mr. Pickrell understands that the council hires a town manager to be the chief executive officer and that he/she should be allowed to perform his/her responsibilities without micro-managing from the mayor. If the town manager is not performing his job satisfactorily, then the full council can take appropriate action.

Mr. Pickrell understands that no one individual knows what is best for taxpayers and will seek input from town residents who possess special expertise. George, after extensive consultation, has presented an alternative budget that calls for no tax increases and no reduction in services. He gets the message that times are tough and that Ocean View must live within the means of the taxpayers. This is why I support George Pickrell to be the next mayor of Ocean View.

Richard Nippes
Ocean View

Reader calls for balance from radio stationEditor’s note: The following letter was addressed to the managers of radio station WGMD and was forwarded to the Coastal Point for publication:

On Thursday evening, Feb. 10, at around 6:30 p.m., I was listening to WGMD. I do not know who the announcer was but I was intrigued by his reference to a Common Cause video that allegedly aired hateful messages. This did not ring true to me, given Common Cause’s long and distinguished record of fighting against all forms of discrimination, bigotry and hatred directed at any group or person.

I went to Common Cause’s Web site to look for the “video.” What I found was a press statement issued on Feb. 3, 2011, expressing its outrage “…that a few of those attending the events around a gathering Common Cause helped to organize… voiced hateful, narrow-minded sentiments to an interviewer in the crowd.” The press statement went on to say, “We condemn bigotry and hate speech in every form, even when it comes from those who fancy themselves as our friends.”

This rebuts any assertion that Common Cause authored the alleged hate filled video or that it endorsed the sentiments expressed therein. Common Cause was on record as soon as it learned of the reports recorded by an unidentified interviewer to disclaim the statements made by some of the attendees at the event.

The WGMD announcer also railed against the “liberal” media for not covering and denouncing the contents of the alleged hate-filled video as it has in other instances. This lack of coverage is understandable and not surprising given the media’s knowledge of Common Cause’s long-standing track record fighting for fairness and against bigotry or racism, unlike other organizations with little or no track record or whose policies are unknown. The video simply was not newsworthy.

If that was not enough, on Saturday, Feb. 12, Bill Colley continued the railing about the liberal media’s lack of coverage of the video and made no effort to clarify the fact that Common Cause was not the author. Rather, he derided Common Cause’s denial of any association with the video because, in Mr. Colley’s words, that is “what liberals do.”

A fair-minded person reviewing the video would know that Common Cause was not its author or its sponsor. Rail against the media if that is your wont, but in doing so do not taint an organization that has worked diligently to eliminate prejudice. That is not only unfair to the organization but unfair to your listening audience.

I respectfully ask that the WGMD have its announcers, consistent with the station’s mantra of “fair and balanced” news, use some air time to correct the disinformation that was disseminated about Common Cause. This is the honorable thing to do.

Mary K. Ryan

School grateful for help from Hastings

I would like to publicly thank Hastings Funeral Home of Selbyville for sponsoring Native American storytellers Raggatha Calentine and Odette Wright for our Title I Family Reading Night, held Feb. 2, 2011.

The children were entertained with story and song while their parents attended an information session on helping their children with vocabulary and comprehension skills at home, paid for by a grant through the Reading Assist Institute of Wilmington and Indian River School District.

This well-attended event shows the dedication of both parents and staff in support of the children attending Phillip C. Showell Elementary School.

Thank you.

Debra Buffington, Reading Specialist
Phillip C. Showell Elementary School