Letters to the Editor -- March 20, 2009

Lawless: Protecting town’s fiscal future

In a recessed economy, reasonable minds find ways to conserve finances to preserve the future. A reasonable mind, such as Bob Lawless, who is running for Ocean View Town Council for the 4th District, is precisely the type of representation the residents of Ocean View deserve. Instituting a long-term financial plan to account for Ocean View’s ever-changing infrastructure demands over the next couple decades is imperative now.

It is unreasonable for the Ocean View Town Council to expect its residents to finance unnecessary expenditures, like the $250,000 to remodel the upper floor of the security building to create new offices for town officials currently operating out of town hall.

Furthermore, the Ocean View Town Council was not acting in the best interest of the town when it facilitated the elimination of beneficial grant funds from the CAP program. The town council demanded less than reasonable contract terms of the CAP volunteers, which has left the Town of Ocean View without a program that served an important role in supplementing our local law enforcement. These examples only scratch the surface of a town council plagued with unjustifiable behavior.

Bob Lawless is an individual capable of thoroughly analyzing circumstances rather than rushing to judgment at the expense of taxpaying residents. We need a council member who will seek out opportunities to reduce town expenditures, such as the prospect of merging public safety operations with the Town of Millville, rather than contribute to the ongoing frivolous spending of the sitting town council. Layoffs of town employees should be a consideration only if unavoidable. Bob Lawless is a capable and conscientious individual who is focused on a prosperous future for Ocean View.

Ronald A. Bodine
Ocean View

Cohen puts support behind Mueller

Jerry Mueller would make an excellent addition to the Ocean View Town Council. His business experience and acumen would be a great benefit to the town. I urge the paper and town to support his candidacy.

Neil B. Cohen
Ocean View

Memory Lane inspires and entertains

On Thursday, March 12, I attended the Ocean View Historical Society’s presentation of a “Trip Down Memory Lane,” which was held at the Ocean View Town Hall, where Wanda Willey Powell and Mary Hocker Collins took us on their journey from childhood to the present. Both were born in this area. Their talk was interspaced with hilarious anecdotes that had everyone in stitches. Storytelling at its best!

A large assortment of artifacts were on display for viewing, such as bathing suits, vintage clothing, wooden knitting needles, photos of buildings no longer standing, and many more. Fresh spring flowers adorned a refreshment table of home-baked goodies donated by the committee ladies. It was a huge social success and the Historical Society should be very proud. Those who were not there missed a delightful, fun evening.

Alicia McDermott
Ocean View

Thank you from the Milton Theatre

The Milton Theatre, its Board of Directors and staff would like to express their most sincere gratitude to patrons, volunteers and any other supporters of the theater who made the past two weekends so successful.

Over 1,000 people attended “Gypsy” over the course of six performances. Volunteers logged in well over 200 hours of time, helping prepare for the performances and make them run smoothly.

To our audience – we thank you for continuing to support the arts in these tough economic times. To new supporters, we thank you for giving our theatre a chance and hope that you thoroughly enjoyed the experience. To returning patrons, we hope that you enjoyed the performance and wish to see you all again.

To the volunteers – please know that without you, performances like this would not be possible and that each and every one of you is very important to the theater. We hope that you continue to help with our events and have fun in the process.

Again, to all, we want to say thank you.

John C. Warrener, Executive Director
Milton Theatre

History relived through OVHS event

The Ocean View Historical Society (OVHS) wishes to express its deep appreciation to our neighbors who attended the first in a series of “Trips Down Memory Lane” at the Ocean View Town Hall last Thursday night. The standing-room-only audience had the opportunity to read displays about the early history of the area, examine exhibit artifacts, enjoy great food and listen to stories by two long-time residents of the area who took the audience on a trip down memory lane.

Wanda Powell, who was raised in Millville and has lived in both Bethany and Ocean View, gave a humorous dialogue about her experiences in these communities. She had the audience in stitches throughout her presentation.

Wanda coupled her remarks around the artifacts she used to emphasize specific points. Especially interesting were the feedbags from which she used to sew dresses. People were surprised to see that the feedbags were not burlap but colorful prints. Wanda also told the story of the oldest resident in Millville. When she finished her story, she held up the doll for the audience to see. The audience was captivated by her knowledge and humorous delivery.

Next to speak was Mary Hocker Collins, who grew up in Cedar Neck. Mary used a variety of artifacts to explain how residents of the Ocean View area lived, making use of local materials and produce. She stressed how important the strawberry industry was to local farmers.

Mary grew up in Cedar Neck but attended church and school in Ocean View and considered herself as an Ocean View resident. There were many humorous moments during Mary’s presentation. The evening ended when Wanda reentered the room dressed in clothes from the late 1800’s. It was a fitting conclusion to a highly entertaining and educational evening.

The Society is grateful to the attendees who donated artifacts, as well as those who pledged to give us artifacts that they have in their possession. OVHS hopes to offer additional events of this type. Information about future speakers, as well as the dates, times and locations of the presentations, will be announced soon. A special debt of gratitude goes to our guest historians and the members of the OVHS who provided the publicity, the food and setup for this event.

The OVHS needs your support to achieve its goal of establishing a Coastal Towns Museum in Ocean View. The Society’s dedicated members are determined to make the museum a reality. OVHS encourages your membership and will be happy to accept any help you can provide.

Dick Nippes
Ocean View Historical Society

Steele weighs in on previous letter

Mr. Costello, in his letter to the editor last Friday, indicates that he does not know how a representative government works. He starts with “dead of winter” workshop. This has been the call of the dissidents of Bethany for years. What is the Town Council to do? Just have workshops in the summer? Just in the three months when most of the people are here? Suspend all activity until May through September?

The purpose of going to a term of three years and not a term of two years is so those terms can be staggered and not have a massive replacement of council members. To have term limits is so we do not have people serving for 15 or 16 years, as we have had in the past.

These terms will not stop the town from having elections every year. On the contrary, the town will be forced to hold elections because council members will be forced to leave because of those term limits.

It will require a period of time for this process to work until there is a smooth transition to this new election cycle. Mr. Costello is looking at this through a jaundiced view. He sees deception in everything that does not go his way.

As an example, he thinks that the Communications Committee should be telling the Town Council what and how they should do their business. He thinks the Communications Committee should form surveys as to what they, the Town Council, should do next.

Actually, the Town Council should be telling the Communications Committee when and on what they want to survey the citizens. Then, and only then, a professional survey team should conduct the survey. The reason being so they do not get a skewed answer or a wrong answer because the question was phrased inappropriately.

The purpose of the Communication Committee is to find ways and suggest to the Town Council how to best communicate to the citizens of Bethany Beach. They should not become a quasi-government separate from the Town Council.

Let me finish in agreement with Dan Costello: Tracy Mulligan has worked very hard as a Council member, a committee chair and member of various committees.

Thank you, Tracy.

Harry Steele
Bethany Beach

Thomas has Gregory’s back in Ocean View

Currently, the supporters of Bob Lawless (candidate for Ocean View Town Council) are circulating a survey. It appears, from the survey, that one of the legs of Bob’s platform is the firing of the current town manager, Mr. Conway Gregory. I have to assume this because the survey has several leading questions that are expected to get this response.

Note: I also have to assume that this survey has Bob Lawless’ endorsement, because the people circulating the survey have Bob Lawless T-shirts on and the person who brought the survey to my house said she was out on Bob’s behalf. When I asked her questions about the survey, her answers were intended to get the survey response she was looking for. My observation is that this survey and the intended response to the survey is very misleading.

Recently, the Town Council renewed the town manager’s contract for two years. This passed the Council by a vote of 4 to 1. The combined performance rating for the town manager was the second-highest possible – “Highly Effective” – with only a few percentage points short of the highest rating, “Exceptional.”

Ocean View has been facing deficit spending for the past four years. This year’s budget is the second prepared by Mr. Gregory. Since his arrival in Ocean View, Mr. Gregory has been warning the Council and the citizens of the dire financial situation facing Ocean View. Before starting work on the budget, Ocean View was facing a $2.2 million deficit compounded by planned reductions of transfer tax revenues of $1.3 million, and bringing the total cash shortage to $3.5 million over the next five years. This is not a pretty picture.

The budget prepared by Mr. Gregory has absolutely no “fat” left. His efforts were able to wipe $2.3 million from the deficit but were unable to clear up the remaining $1.2 million of deficit without an 8 percent tax increase for each of the next five years. Nobody wants a tax increase. However, without Mr. Gregory and his staff’s efforts, the tax increase would have been close to 20 percent for each of the next five years.

Another area of accomplishment over the past two years has been the work done to acquire grants for Ocean View. In his first two years, Mr. Gregory has obtained $1.3 million in grants for Ocean View. The most recent and largest was for $800,000 from DelDOT to redo Woodland Avenue. This road is dangerous, has drainage problems and is in bad repair. Without this grant, Ocean View would not be able to do this improvement.

I do not understand where Bob Lawless is coming from with his desire to replace the town manager. Does he have a better idea about how to solve Ocean View’s financial problems or better ideas about how to obtain grant money? Bob needs to clarify his position and repudiate this survey. The citizens deserve to know where Bob stands on the town manager’s position and on this type of dirty politics.

Roy Thomas, Councilman
4th District, Ocean View

Frankford family behind Mueller

We are writing to tell you of our support for Jerry Mueller as a candidate for Ocean View Town Council. Jerry would bring his expertise in business and his outgoing and compassionate personality. We have known Jerry for many years as a friend and our real estate person. We believe he would bring new life to the town council and help the people in Ocean View in these challenging times.

Tom & Nancy Dabkowski

Ocean View resident behind Mueller in race

I support Jerry Mueller for the Ocean View Town Council. Jerry has unique qualifications that would make him an asset to the council. He is rooted in the community; helping, through his real estate practice, it grow to the vibrant size it is today. He understands and can represent the needs of full-time residents, homeowners and seasonal renters. This balance of interests is key to the success of our town.

I have known him to be a fiscal conservative, an attribute that is valuable in this economy. I have also known him as a trustworthy advocate for his clients, another valuable attribute in these challenging times. He would be a positive contributor to the Ocean View Town Council.

Edward Dupcak
Ocean View

Mueller is the man for Ocean View

This message is very important. Why? Because it’s all about professional experience, integrity, dedication, honesty, longevity and absolute change mandated for the Town of Ocean View with transparent new business practices for all taxpayers and community leaders.

Now, how will this be accomplished? Elect Mr. Jerry Mueller to the Town of Ocean View Council. Mr. Jerry Mueller has a “plan of action” in place, proposing new changes to benefit all Ocean View taxpayers through change and streamlining the fiscal year’s budget. His plan is to show how the budget will be changed, managed and expended. Mr. Mueller believes that any downsizing for members of the Town of Ocean View can be accomplished through attrition, as in retirement. Mr. Jerry Mueller will make change based on new “business practices.”

About Mr. Jerry Mueller – he has over 35 years of experience as a successful real estate broker, plus numerous years serving other successful community oriented projects. Mr. Jerry Mueller said, “New business practices and change for the Town of Ocean View will be augmented specifically as a result of [his] platform.”

There will be an open-door policy for the Town of Ocean View taxpayers and community leaders interested in approaching the council members regarding changes and incorporating new business sense policies. Mr. Jerry Mueller’s plan of action is pragmatic and will demonstrate how transparent business practices will be unveiled and incorporated into appropriating the fiscal year’s budget.

Mr. Jerry Mueller’s platform is all about the Town of Ocean View as the people of Ocean View go to the polls and vote on Saturday, April 11. Mr. Jerry Mueller’s plan is to gain consensus and continuity among the Town of Ocean View Council members and prevent unnecessary fiscal year budget expenditures from being appropriated. Mr. Mueller will maintain a personal overview for these fiscal year budget expenditures.

Additionally, all expenditures for the fiscal year budget will be justified and approved with full consensus among the Town of Ocean View Council team. This will be accomplished as a means to prevent any unnecessary budgeting of your monies, the taxpayer!

How do I know all these attributes of Mr. Jerry Mueller? I’ve been very fortunate to watch Mr. Mueller in action over the past many years as a homeowner in the Town of Ocean View. Mr. Mueller’s business practices demonstrate professionalism seasoned with integrity, dedication and honesty.

The Town of Ocean View will experience a significant change through Mr. Jerry Mueller’s capabilities based on his business practices, his dedication to helping the taxpayers and community leaders as demonstrated throughout his career in Sussex County, Delaware.

Everyone has a need to know and Mr. Mueller will mandate that the need to know is for everyone!

This is important!

Sandra J. Kramer
Ocean View

Reader touched by letter — pushes Lawless

We were truly touched when we read Connie Valentino’s letter in the last edition of the paper. To have two sons serving our country, fighting for our democracy and rights as citizens of this great country and representing their town in Iraq is an amazing sacrifice! God be with your sons, Connie.

Think about this – how hard is it going to be for Connie when her two sons return home and she has to explain how the town has changed, and not necessarily for the better? Our current town council has overburdened this town with frivolous spending and total lack of consciousness for what the residents of Ocean View want and need.

To spend our tax dollars on lawsuits, etc., all the while telling us that they know what is good for us, is despicable. Raising our taxes with a huge increase when most residents are retired is unforgivable.

I think Connie, her sons, as well as the people of Ocean View, will be better served by electing Bob Lawless to the 4th District on the town council April 11. Bob is a man of principle and one that listens to what others have to say. He will help to govern this town with respect for the citizens and not let his own agenda take precedence. Let’s make Ocean View a great town for our residents, as well as our sons returning home from war!

Joe and Patricia Rinaldi
Ocean View

Resident speaks on behalf of Lawless

I have known Bob Lawless for several years. He’s very well respected in Sussex County and has dedicated years of management experience to work in the 38th District, as well as other civic organizations. Bob’s like a favorite uncle, the one you know you can always count on to be there for you when things get tough.

Bob will do an “outstanding job” as Ocean View councilman because he “listens” to what people have to say. Today our country is in turmoil; we need leaders to listen to our concerns and find solutions to the issues that confront us daily. Bob has shown strong leadership in getting things done. He reaches out to all, asking their opinions to resolve issues. He always goes the extra mile in his quest to achieve positive results.

Bob will immediately roll up his sleeves and get right to work, not giving delays or excuses, like “wait until the next council meeting.” We are not asking for instant answers. We do appreciate honest effort instead of empty excuses. Bob has no agenda aside from serving his community. He is not beholding to any organizations, nor is he involved in any real estate or development activities. Bob is not into pork-barrel projects and will never take a cent from any lobbyist.

Give Bob Lawless a seat on the Ocean View Town Council and he will give respect and help on the issues you raise.

Toni B. Rogers
Ocean View