Letters to the Editor - August 15, 2008

Resident throws support behind McClenny
This letter is to urge the voters of Bethany Beach to re-elect Tony McClenny to the town council on Sept. 6. There are many good reasons for doing so.

Tony is ending his second term as councilman and has missed only one council meeting in those four years (personal surgery). He has served as past chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, on the Charter and Ordnance Review Committee and served as past town treasurer.

He is, at present, an active member of the Planning Commission and is presently vice mayor of the town. He puts in many hours working on town business. At town council meetings, he is knowledgeable of all the matters coming before the council because he, as a good council member should do, has studied the matters in advance and is ready to make an informed decision.

One unusual service that Tony McClenny performs for the citizens of Bethany Beach is the e-mail newsletter which he sends to interested persons to keep them informed of actions taken at council meetings and of other activities taking place in the town. This is above and beyond the ordinary duties of a town councilman. Thank you, Tony.

Our town of Bethany Beach is a well-managed town, in excellent financial shape, low taxes, attractive in appearance and a place we can all be proud of. When you vote for Tony McClenny, he will continue to work hard to keep it that way.

Dowell H. Anders
Bethany Beach

McClenny, Dorfman get support in race
I would like to express my support for two candidates in the Bethany Beach town election that have done an exemplary job. They are Tony McClenny, vice mayor, and Jerry Dorfman, treasurer.

In my opinion, these individuals work well with the other council members and have so far fulfilled their positions to the highest expectations possible. They are both dedicated and committed to extensive research on an issue before jumping to a decision.

As an individual, you may or may not agree totally with the choice they made but you can be assured that they feel certain that the choice is the best for the continued prosperity of Bethany Beach.

Ralph Brown
Bethany Beach

Dunns throw support behind McClenny
It is my distinct pleasure to recommend Tony McClenny for the position on the Bethany Beach Town Council.

Tony is well known in the community of Bethany Beach through his superior service on the council and various committees and, along with wife, Claudia, as a member of the Bethany Beach Christian Church. He is a full-time resident of Bethany Beach.

Tony demonstrates the leadership, integrity and faithfulness required to accomplish his duties as a member of the Bethany Beach council. He’s willing to listen to other opinions and ideas; a most important quality for council membership.

I sincerely hope everyone has the opportunity to meet and greet Tony in person. You’ll find him intelligent, yet with a wonderful sense of humor. Please vote for Tony in the upcoming election.

Buck and Dale Dunn
Bethany Beach

Reader offers options for canals
Referring to Coastal Point, May 30, 2008, article, “South Bethany canals to improve with tides” — quote, “Our belief is the only way to improve the quality of the canals is to flush them with clean water, and that clean water is right around the block from us — the ocean.”

Isn’t anyone thinking what this expensive quick fix will do? To rephrase this quote, take this clean ocean water and flush this canal swill into it, making a septic tank out of the ocean.

Wouldn’t this affect the federal pollution test for Bethany, South Bethany and Fenwick beaches? Would the EPA condone this method? What would be the public’s response if swimming and fishing were prohibited because of high bacteria counts?

Why not spend the projected “$18,000 per year for maintenance” of this system to clean up the source of the pollution.

A green solution:

• Catch basins for shower runoff;
• Educate and enforce “scoop laws” for animal waste;
• Rain gardens to stop stormwater runoff;
• Severe fines for polluters, and enforce them — especially boaters who dump their toilet waste;
• Build a community boat wash that recycles wash water;
• Ground covers; and
• Add to the proposed canal walkway a sediment catcher for lawn runoff, reducing nitrogen, bacteria and algae formation.

A. Fleischmann
Ocean View

Bethany resident believes in McClenny
Tony McClenny is a great asset for the Town of Bethany Beach, and we need to keep him on the town council. Please remember to vote for Tony on Sept. 6 in the coming election. His clear head and a strong business background provide the “servant leader” we all respect and need. The town is changing rapidly, along with the rest of the country, and only a strong and capable council can provide the sort of government we need.

Cullen Langford
Bethany Beach

Dorfman gets support from reader
With the Bethany Beach Town Council elections coming in September, I thought it was time to talk about a dedicated volunteer who doesn’t take the time to sing his own praises. Jerry Dorfman donates his time and efforts on town council, as well as the Budget and Finance Committee, the Charter and Ordinance Committee and the Recycling Committee.

Lots of people like to talk about what they will do for you if they are elected and then attend meetings irregularly and contribute little.

Jerry, on the other hand, goes quietly about the job of getting things done. On any given day, you will usually find him at town hall working on one of his projects on our behalf. His leadership on budget issues and planning for current, as well as future, needs is what has kept the town’s operating budget in good shape, unlike many of our neighboring towns. His input in the area of internal controls has contributed to the “clean audit opinion” that the town continues to receive each year from our outside auditors.

He has worked with the Charter and Ordinance Committee for years, making rules that help us all to live together as good neighbors and keep the town a great place to live or vacation.

Jerry makes his decisions based on what is best for the town and its electorate, which is what we should expect of our elected officials. Let’s give Jerry a chance to continue his good work by electing him to another term on town council.

Julia Peterson
Bethany Beach

Richardsons convinced McClenny the choice
As the 2008 Bethany Beach Town Council election draws near, we would like to express our support for Tony McClenny, a dedicated and devoted public servant who has spent countless hours in service to our community.

Tony’s efforts, along with others on the town council, directly contributed to the beach replenishment project that provided a significantly larger beach and dune for Bethany Beach. This was a major undertaking that involved vigorous solicitation of the U.S. Congress and close coordination and collaboration with the State of Delaware and Sussex County.

Tony’s knowledge of public policy and administration, gained from his certificate program at the University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration, enabled him to effectively present information concerning this project to the individuals at the state and local levels, as well as understand their budgetary concerns.

In addition to restoring the beach, he and others on the town council were able to gain approval to widen the boardwalk. This has restored Bethany Beach to a prominent position along the Delaware shoreline and will pay dividends to the town’s tourist industry.

In addition to his work on the replenishment project, Tony has been active in a number of other areas. During the last several years, he has served as a member of the Budget and Finance Committee, Charter and Ordinance Review Committee, Communication Committee, Election Board and Planning Commission. He also served on the committee that brought trolley service to Bethany Beach and he served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Friends of South Coastal Library.

Tony is a person with enormous energy and someone extremely active in community service. He is the consummate “team player” who can work well with a variety of individuals and groups to enhance the quality of life in Bethany Beach. He has used his computer talents to also participate in an outreach effort designed to provide computers to senior citizens and students by repairing and providing approximately 200 working computers to Families Connect in Millsboro, Del.

I hope everyone will join us in re-electing Tony McClenny to the Bethany Beach Town Council.

Carol and Bill Richardson
Bethany Beach

Deaver gets support for county council
By all odds, Joan Deaver should be a shoo-in for the Third District Seat, the Sussex County Council just based on her past record and her accomplishments but, today, being right about most things is no guarantee.

That’s why I would like to remind you who you have running for this important job.

I discovered Joan Deaver some eight years ago, when I first came to Sussex County, seeking to work a little and play a lot.

But it didn’t work out that way.

As soon as I landed, I had started asking myself questions about the environment, the local government and energy. I wondered why the decisions for the eastern part of the county were being made in the west. That made no sense to me, especially in light of the fact that the population in Eastern Sussex dwarfed what at the time was the more agrarian West. We were two different worlds, in essence, and the County folks were treating our letters and requests as if we didn’t matter.

One even had the audacity to tell me to go home if I didn’t like it.

Well, I didn’t like their response and teamed up with Joan at the time.

Later on, we formed a group called CBS, which Joan formed and I had named, that conveyed the fact that Joan wanted to initiate new thinking on a number of relevant issues from representation to infrastructure within the county.

At that time, the developers were having a field day and the County was remiss for not holding their toes to the fire. By that I meant that the developers should have chipped in for infrastructure, there should have been “set asides” to compensate for the land being developed. There were land rules about housing density that were being ignored in the rush to development.

Mostly, we understood that a housing boom would have been OK, if at the same time we had planned for roads, water, waste disposal and having green “set asides” so that the people would not be robbed with the quality of life issues that were descending upon us faster than we could keep up.

Joan saw these issues as I did and went all out for the community, to both educate and inform those of us who weren’t paying attention.

In addition, Joan was concerned about clean air and clean water. These were issues that could scramble the Golden Egg that Delaware’s beaches offered retirees. And our failing to observe these concerns did not auger well for the future.

At that time, the power authority was negotiating to have additional coal-burning assets put in place to compensate for the added power demanded by the new homes in the community.

But coal burning proved the least attractive of options. It added to the pollutants in the air and contributed to global warming. The more attractive measure was wind energy, but the people were being influenced against such alternatives.

CBS, Joan’s organization, the “Citizens for a Better Sussex, were to mobilize around the issue. We were going to go all out. That included asking a senior professor of oceanography from the local college to come to address the issue, and we asked others to participate. We also had a film that described how we could conserve energy on a meaningful scale. Eventually, we started holding town hall meetings around Sussex County.

People started to come out. As a follow-up, other organizations started to join with us to promote clean air/clean water, including the Audubon group and other state-wide and national organizations.

We were coming together and people were listening.

Well, we all know the good news: Wind power won when governor hopeful Carney came out for it.

We signed the papers just recently and within two years we should begin seeing the plan executed and shortly after that, the off-shore installation shaping up.

In this, we are the first state in the nation to move toward off-shore alternative energy, and it is a feather in the cap of the First State and its leadership.

For this, I have to credit in large measure the efforts of future county leader, Joan Deaver, somebody I consider a friend and a person who is driven to achieve the best for the county and its people.

Add to this the fact that she has also played a leadership role in promulgating a land-use plan that will accommodate the needs of Sussex people long into the future and has been a force in maintaining our natural environment — something very critical to the plans of those considering moving to this pristine county in Southern Delaware.

I like the fact, too, that she has not rested on her laurels. As she prepares for the future, her goals have not changed. More infrastructure, better planning, clean air/ clean water, less density of housing, green “set asides,” with an eye toward making Delaware’s Sussex County a model for not only the rest of the state but for the nation.

As a neighbor and an activist who loves the outdoors and the promise of Sussex County, I hope that you will vote for my friend and mentor, Joan Deaver, in the coming election.

You can count on her to do the right thing.

Les Aaron Friedlieb

CIB thankful for support with annual event
On behalf of the board, staff and volunteers of the Center for the Inland Bays, I would like to thank everyone who supported our 2nd Annual Decked Out — A Benefit for the Bays, on Thursday, July 31. Guests enjoyed local desserts, festive cocktails and island music on what turned out to be a gorgeous evening at our Indian River Inlet facility.

We are very grateful for the overwhelming interest and support for this event from citizens and businesses throughout the watershed. It truly is an enjoyable night to benefit a cause that is so important to all of us.

Proceeds, which benefit the Center’s Endowment Fund, topped more than $10,000.

I would like to give special thanks to all of our sponsors, who contributed so generously to our success: Gold Sponsors - Artesian Water; Silver Sponsors - Conectiv Energy, Eagle Estimating-Fenwick Island, JCM Environmental Inc. and Ocean Atlantic; Bronze Sponsors – Don White and Pat Campbell-White, Beachteam of RE/MAX Realty Group, Rehoboth, and South Bethany Property Owners Association; Event Sponsors – A.C. Schultes of Delaware Inc., Duffield Associates Inc. and Tidewater Utilities Inc.; Dessert Sponsors - Big Fish Grill, Café Azafran, Catch 54, The Cultured Pearl, Edible Arrangements, La Rosa Negra and McCabe’s Gourmet Market.

Finally, beverage and silent auction sponsors were incredibly generous, and although there are too many to name, we hope you’ll visit our Web site where all of our wonderful sponsors are listed: www.inlandbays.org.

Everyone who contributed to and attended Decked Out had a hand in helping to support our mission to protect and preserve our Inland Bays and ensure that this work can continue. Thanks to all who were involved in making Decked Out a success. We hope you’ll join us at our next event.

Ed Lewandowski, Executive Director
Jenn Jones, Development Coordinator
Center for the Inland Bays

Councilman responds to critics
My inclination after the election was to put aside the personal attacks against me and work for the common good. I even considered adopting one of their issues. After all, we are all Americans and we are all citizens of Ocean View, and I was willing to work with my opponents as the best tradition of our politics dictates.

The election was over and I won with 52.9 percent of the vote (mandate for change), against three opponents, with a 74 percent voter turnout. Elections are what this country is all about. One side wins and enacts its platform. In America, it has been traditional for the losing side to retreat to the sidelines and play the role of the “loyal opposition.”

This has not happened in Ocean View. A very few have made me the object of vicious personal attacks against my character and have created a continuing campaign of personal destruction in the press. They are adept of spreading rumors and lies, and creating an atmosphere of fear and distrust. There are no limits to their opposition.

After the election, I created an e-mail newsletter to inform my constituents. Initially, my private newsletter allowed my opponents to receive it. No sooner than I put Susan White’s husband on the newsletter distribution list, he immediately used the contents of my newsletter to attack me of deceit and trickery. Talk about gratitude. This resulted in his discontinuance.

When Ms. Birkmeyer asked to be put on my newsletter distribution, I denied her request because of her personal attacks against my character and integrity, and also because Citizens For Transparency (her group) is nothing more than a lobbying group to maintain the status quo before the election. Why help your opponents with their campaign of personal destruction?

My campaign platform was no mystery to the citizens of Ocean View, and I dare say that my favored policies were much more clearly stated than the other candidates during the campaign. Now this very small minority is trying to stop the policy that a clear majority of voters voted for.

I ask the good citizens of Ocean View to stand up against this campaign of personal destruction and work for the goals that most of us share. I appreciate your support as always.

Perry J. Mitchell, Councilman
Ocean View

Nippes offers ‘Town Council Report Card’
You have heard from a vocal minority that would lead you to believe that the current Council is dismantling all the accomplishments of the past. This disgruntled group of citizens is generating such negative press that Ocean View is becoming a topic of amusement around the state. This negative image will not encourage people or businesses to move to Ocean View. It is time for Council members who represent the silent majority to set the record straight.

A major criticism of the Council is that it is unresponsive to the voices of the people. To give the people a greater opportunity to voice their opinions, the Council has revised its rules and procedures to allow citizen participation at the beginning of the meetings and at the end.

Some citizens feel that town government should follow a direct democracy format where a citizen can speak whenever they choose and all citizens should vote on every issue. This pure democracy model would produce chaos. Can you imagine the State Legislature of Delaware or Congress allowing citizens to speak at any time in the legislative process? How many other towns on Delmarva allow the degree of citizen participation that occurs in Ocean View?

The majority of the current council were voted into office to ensure fiscal responsibility, maintain current levels of service, provide a secure and proper work environment for employees, and not raise taxes on a heavily burden senior citizen population. What has been accomplished over the past four months since the last election?

The town manager, Dr. Gregory, was assigned the task of conducting a number of feasibility studies to provide factual data from which prudent decisions and recommendations could be generated.

One of the recommendations is to move the administrative staff to the vacant second floor of the public safety building. This just makes sense to provide our employees with security by having them work in a building with the police on the lower level and in a building built to withstand hurricane force winds.

A second recommendation is to build a new public works building costing $350,000 rather than a previously proposed building costing $1.4 million. Based on the police car policy study, a new policy was drawn up that will save the town $400,000 over the next five years. These changes are not significantly different from practices carried out in our neighboring communities.

Dr Gregory has obtained grants to upgrade the John T. West Park and begin preliminary work on creating a walking-bike trail along the Assawoman Canal. This parkway along the canal has the financial support of other communities along the canal. What an amenity for the residents of Ocean View and our neighbors! Dr. Gregory has provided the impetus and leadership for getting this project from the conceptual phase to a working relationship between DENREC and communities along the canal.

In reference to the budget, the town manager and his financial director have set forth a plan of action to cope with the down turn in the housing sector. This down turn has led to a sharp decrease in transfer taxes. Much of the budget process over the next five years was developed around the proposed transfer tax revenue to be generated from the Canal Landing Development. This project appears to be delayed indefinitely thus leading to numerous cost saving measures proposed by Dr. Gregory. These measures will save the town close to $2 million over the next five years.

All of these budget changes are to be accomplished without borrowing money, raising taxes above an inflation figure, cutting town services or laying off staff. Will some projects be impacted or postponed, the answer is yes. Remember Ocean View does not have the luxury of earning over a million dollars in revenue from parking meters. Our neighbor to the east raised taxes last year by 100 percent, but the current Council feels raising taxes would put an undue burden on our large senior citizen population. As a result of the proposed revised budget, Ocean View will remain financially solvent thanks to the work of the town manager and support of the Council.

The Town Council is appropriating $15,000 to replace the roof on a house that it owns in the Park. This is money being spent to prevent the second oldest house in the town from deteriorating further and resulting in significant expenditures in the near future or face demolishing the house. The money is not being given to the Ocean View Historical Society.

Once the roof and other exterior items are repaired, the Council is prepared to lease the building to the Ocean View Historical Society. The Society has plans to turn this building into an interactive museum and in the process saving a historical asset and generating pride among our residents of the great accomplishments of our predecessors. The Historical Society will attempt to raise thousands of dollars through donations, fundraisers and grants to convert the house into an asset of pride for the community.

Based on the promises made during the election campaign is the Council moving the town in the right direction? The vocal minority has made it loud and clear that the town is moving in the wrong direction. We need to hear from the hundreds of you that comprise the silent majority. Please let your voice be heard by attending council meetings or writing letters to the editor of the local papers.

Richard Nippes
Ocean View Councilman

Thomas offers own report card
It is time for a report card on how the Ocean View Town Council is doing. This year’s election results sent a clear message that the citizens wanted changes to the way the Town was managing its resources and they wanted prompt action.

The new Council took office in April. Let’s review their progress:

First, it established a realistic revenue plan for the next five years, stripping $2.5 million out of the planned revenue by projecting lower transfer taxes. For the first time, the Town Council has a revenue plan that makes sense. The citizens recognize that the real estate market is experiencing a significant downturn, thus transfer taxes are down. However, several members of the previous Town Council would not accept this fact.

Let’s look at the five-year spending plan: $400,000 dollars was saved by revising the take-home car policy, $400,000 was saved by reducing questionable drainage projects, with another $400,000 of drainage projects up for review, $285,000 saved through better management of the health insurance program, $200,000 saved by reducing the growth rate of departmental budgets and numerous other small items. In 90 days, the Town Council has reduced spending by almost $2 million over the next five years.

Let’s examine the progress made in the non-budgeted area. The Town Council is progressing along with plans to move the Administrative Staff to the top floor of the of the PS Building, building the Public Works building, implementing a street improvement program, improvements to John West Park and possibly becoming part of the Assawoman Canal Parkway Project.

All of this will be accomplished without borrowing money, laying off employees, cutting employee benefits or reducing town services. On top of this, without significant tax increases. Again, this will be accomplished during one of the worst housing downturns of the last 20 years. The Town of Ocean View is financially sound and the Town Council is taking action that will continue to make Ocean View a town you can be proud of.

Do not be alarmed by letters to editor’s that attempt to scare our good citizens. Do not be alarmed by “rallies in the park” that attempt to paint a doomsday scenario. Do not be alarmed by citizens who cry “wolf” regarding Ocean View’s finances. Ocean View is financially sound and is moving in the right direction, in spite of a lot of distractions by a vocal minority. Please note: Ocean View has a certified accounting firm prepare an audit of all financial transactions. This report is done every year and is available for any citizen who would like to review.

Let’s talk about taxes. There will be no tax increase this year and the next four years will see a small tax increase of about 3 percent per year — less than the rate of inflation. For the record, a town to our west raised taxes 150 percent this year and a town to our east raised taxes 100 percent last year.

What grade does your Town Council deserve? You be the judge.

Roy Thomas
Ocean View Councilman

Killmer gets support for council seat
The community of Bethany Beach is truly fortunate in having seven qualified candidates in the forthcoming election for four available seats on the Town Council. Among these is Lew Killmer, whom I have known for many years and believe especially qualified. His experienced includes serving two terms on the Council. Currently, he is on several committees and is chairperson of the Planning Commission.

He has a well-deserved reputation for working hard to keep well-informed on issues of importance to Bethany residents, property owners and the business community. In particular, he listens carefully to the concerns of constituents before voting. His overall objective is to continue the tradition of Bethany Beach as a family-friendly community.

Bob and Marie Wallace
Bethany Beach

Young writer upset with state party
I’ve woken up every morning of my young political life proud to be a Democrat, but all that is beginning to change. When the Delaware gubernatorial primary began, I looked through the policies of both candidates. I found two good Democrats, fit to lead this state.

One, however, stood out to me as the candidate of real change, a candidate that I could trust to make the improvements average Delawareans need. That person was Jack Markell.

Unfortunately, the Delaware Democratic Party has found it acceptable to run ads on John Carney’s behalf. They have taken an unprecedented step in using money meant to beat Republicans to instead beat a fellow Democrat. It is simply unconscionable.

I decided to call and voice my opinion — five times. Every time, I was told someone related to the ads would call me back. Nothing. Not one single call.

So, until the Democratic Party has enough of a spine to call back a 15-old-kid, I don’t think they should play any role in choosing the next governor. They have disrespected me, and they have disrespected the process. Most of all, they have turned off a young kid actually interested in politics.

Robert Pritchard