Letters to the Editor - March 15, 2008

Nippes endorses Wood, Mitchell for town

Before announcing my endorsements, let me commend the individuals who have offered to run for public office. Having a choice between candidates stirs enthusiasm among the electorate. This is evident in Ocean View with a significant increase in new voters that have registered to vote. This bodes well for democracy in Ocean View.

My choice of candidates is as follows. For mayor, I unequivocally endorse Gordon Wood. The office of mayor is not only to moderate at council meetings, but the mayor is the town’s ambassador at public gatherings and meetings throughout Sussex County and the state. This individual must be familiar with the town’s history and have a deep sense of pride in the community and its people. What candidate best fulfills these roles?

Gordon Wood is a longtime resident of Ocean View. He attended school at Lord Baltimore and has written a published history of the town and the families that made the town of Ocean View. Gordon Wood knows more about this town’s history than any other individual currently living in the town.

Gordon has earned a law degree, used his expertise in doing research and writing for Congressional committees and will use his legal knowledge to run council meetings to ensure proper decorum and will not tolerate any member of council or individual in the audience from disrupting the meeting. Gordon Wood is imminently qualified to be the next mayor and I encourage you to vote for him.

For the District 3 council position, I highly recommend Perry Mitchell. Perry is a public advocate and has worked tirelessly on behalf of people in the Ocean View area to fight the Delmarva electric rate increases, supported building of the wind farm as an alternative source of energy and sent numerous letters and e-mails to our state legislators to get answers to questions and their positions on such issues as open government at the state level. He is a college professor who teaches political science. He has extensive expertise in municipal governing, especially in a town manager form of governance.

The qualification that attracts me to his candidacy is his service on the Planning & Zoning Board of Ocean View. This requires a thorough knowledge of the town’s zoning laws and this understanding will be invaluable to the council. He is a strong proponent of fiscal responsibility. As real estate transfer taxes continue to decline, the council will be forced to consider cuts in programs, services or raising taxes. His first priority would be to look for savings in the budget before considering raising your taxes.

Perry Mitchell would bring to the council qualifications that would mesh well with the other members of council. Thus, I urge you to vote for Perry Mitchell on April 12.

Richard Nippes, Councilman
District 2, Ocean View

Brown asks residents to contemplate issues

We will be voting in April for the position of councilman(person) for District 3. Please, as you consider your choices and vote, remember the following:

• Do you really want others telling you what you have to do and how to do it?

• Do you really want others dictating that you must pay for what they decide?

• Are you really happy with the multitude of problems we now suffer with?

• Would you prefer to tell your elected what you want, then know they will do what they can to make it so, or tell you why it cannot happen?

• What about personal responsibility? Are you happy with the choice you previously made?

• Are there “special” interests being accommodated that do not fit with you ideas?

• At what point will you stand up and state that enough is enough?

• Do you really hate your neighbor, that you would inflict them with paying for your mistakes?

These several thoughts put this whole election into perspective. You have the opportunity to vote that person into office who will do as you say (within reason), or vote for a crony. What you decide here, now, will impact Ocean View for years to come. Is it business as usual, or is it now time to have an accounting?

I have told you why I should be your choice. My agenda is all about your “right” to decide for yourself. As a resident, I know how I feel when my “right” to decide for myself is denied. I can believe others also feel this way. You need to be fed up with the council’s actions. They have acted as king for a day. As an American, this upsets me. As a resident, I can do something about it. I can vote! And so can you!

Remember, this is not about me, except as it applies that in order to attempt to fix the problem I need your support. This is about us. Do we continue to live with a council that does as it pleases regardless of the cost? We need to stand up for ourselves. Take a positive action. Think about the real issues (an out of control council) and vote.

Whatever you decide, thank you for voting!

Wally Brown, Candidate
District 3, Ocean View

Reader: Scare tactics to justify the Taj Mahal

Mr. Wichmann is trying to scare the citizens of Ocean View to believe this is a high-crime area. All he is really doing is trying to justify his $2.3 million Taj Mahal.

Mr. Wickmann, I don’t believe there is any candidate that is running for mayor or council that is against the fine police force of Ocean View, but there are some that want to control the cost of our police force.

Do we really need nine police officers to patrol our square mile town? You try to justify the nine police cars and that take-home policy, but is it true we have two officers patrolling during the day and one at night? You talk about response time for a one-mile-square area with two officers on duty during the day. How long does it take two officers to respond in a one-mile-square area?

You talk about criminals skirting the town limits; there are only three ways to travel inland. If a robbery happens in Bethany Beach, do you think the criminal is going to travel nine miles to Route 24 to escape or south seven miles to Route 50 to escape? I don’t think so, because he would be trapped between the ocean and the bay. I don’t understand your logic!

Do we want to spend millions more to fill the Taj Mahal of Ocean View? This is not Philadelphia or New York, where crime is rampant; this is Ocean View. How many murders have we had in this town or rapes or robberies? The biggest crime we have is speeding! So don’t try to scare our citizens with your antics about people being against the police.

People of Ocean View, it’s time to take our town back and control the wasteful spending that is costing us millions of dollars. Mr. Wichmann wants a $1.3 million Public Works Building. Are you ready to pay for this?

Let your voice be heard and please come to a few meetings to see what is going on in our town. The candidates will present their platforms on March 19, so come and listen for the man that you think will control that out of control spending that has been going on in our town.

Joseph Fedick
Ocean View

Beach project has been bad for many reasons

Another beach problem!

Not only are the dunes too high in Bethany Beach, but there is another problem no one has mentioned, i.e. thousands of sharp seashells on the beach. When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pumped sand from offshore onto the beach, they littered the beach with a minefield of broken seashells. Walking on the beach in your bare feet will be difficult, especially for the children.

The Army Corps of Engineers probably are fed up with the town leadership to the point of saying, “We gave you your re-nourishment program, now just shut up!” How did this project go so wrong?

Jim Hayes
Ocean View

Read Aloud program holding event

Believe it or not, it is that time again! April 4 is the date of the 4th Edition of Sing Out Loud for Read Aloud. The event will be held from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m., with a planned cocktail hour from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. with cash bar and hor’dourves.

As you remember, Kenny Martin was very active as a volunteer reader for Read Aloud. Because of his interest in Read Aloud activities, we decided to make the Georgetown Chapter of Read Aloud Delaware our charity of choice for all fundraising activities in Kenny’s name.

After Kenny’s untimely passing, his friends planned the first musical get-together in his memory at Sydney’s Blues and Jazz Restaurant in Rehoboth. With everyone’s support, enough money was raised through three previous musical events to totally fund one reading location for six years.

This year’s event will be held in the Milton Theater on Union Street. If you have not been there, you are in for a treat. It is a wonderful venue and a magical place to perform and still maintain the intimacy that has been present in previous events.

Although the organizers are still getting confirmations from the groups of musicians that have previously participated, you can count on Big Hat, No Cattle; Eighth Day; Vinyl Shockley; Cliff Hillis; The Eddie Sherman Show featuring Peggy Raley and members of the Cape Henlopen Jazz Band; Regina Aamacha; Matt Barnes and the Big Apple Burlesque; Eddy Dixon; and many more of Kenny’s musical friends, soon to be announced.

Only 225 tickets will be sold for this event. Mark your calendars for Friday, April 4. Tickets will be $25 and are available at the Real Aloud office (302-856-2527), Mid South Audio (302-856-6993) or Mother Fletcher’s Antiques (302-645-5375).

Credit card purchases must be secured through Mother Fletcher’s Antiques. Cash or check purchases may be received at all locations. If you cannot make the show, consider buying a few tickets to donate for our radio giveaway promotion!

Ann Gorrin
Read Aloud Delaware

IRS educates citizens on stimulus checks

The IRS needs your help.

Starting in May, economic stimulus payments of up to $600 for individuals ($1,200 for married couples) will be issued by the IRS based on 2007 tax returns. Parents also get $300 for each eligible child.

People must file a 2007 tax return. That’s it. But here’s where the IRS needs help: Millions of people are eligible but may not know it. These are certain retirees, disabled vets and low-wage workers who normally don’t file a tax return. This year, they must file to receive the payments.

People can help not just the IRS but perhaps themselves, friends or family. Help us spread the word. People who have at least $3,000 from wages or certain benefits from Social Security, Railroad Retirement and Veterans Affairs may be eligible.

They need to file a return. We’ll do the rest. Please, visit www.irs.gov for details.

Gregg Semanick
IRS Spokesperson (Delaware)

Martinez answers Mitchell’s letter

In answer to Perry Mitchell’s letter: “Promises to get tough on town finances” — This is nothing more than a dream! The letter is proof of him being nothing more than another politician. To me, the definition of a politician (used in a derogatory manner) is one who considers his or her beliefs above those of constituents.

Mr. Mitchell’s letter is an indication of a person with a belief, “I know what’s best for you.” In the very first short paragraph of the letter, take note he continually speaks in the first person: “I am a candidate,” “I have met,” “I want to take” and “I am running.” In the fourth paragraph of the letter, Mr. Mitchell, writes, “I view,” “had I been,” “I would have saved.” The letter goes on, “I will demand,” etc. etc. The letter contains about 25 references to the word “I” and perhaps only two of the word “we.”

Should we tell Mr. Mitchell he can demand and continue writing and speaking in the first person but no one elected official alone has the power to bring about change? Is he not aware of the very basic fundamentals of government, the need for citizens input, council deliberation and a majority vote? Only then can an issue be carried. What we don’t need is what we presently have: Individual political gratification!

The majority of Ocean View resident’s believe there is a need to keep our community safe and we refuse to revert back to a “Mayberry” type police force. Years ago, the Town Council decided a part-time police force, closed Saturday and Sunday, was antiquated. A police force operating on a seven-day, 24-hour schedule was initiated, and there is a cost involved. Let’s work to keep our costs down but not, as some have suggested, remove our policemen from the streets between the hours of 12 midnight and 6 a.m. Let’s use common sense and reasonable judgment.

Mr. Mitchell’s letter indicated our Public Safety Department had overspent its budget. Upon a review, we find this department to be within its budget. We were told Mr. Mitchell should have never written this incorrect statement into his letter.

Mr. Mitchell addresses the Ocean View all-volunteer Civilian Auxiliary Patrol as a quasi-government opponent. This unit has been sanctioned by our Town Council and received the Governor’s Award.

Last year the Civilian Auxiliary Patrol, volunteered 3,700 hours, to the town of Ocean View. This equates to, a whopping $74,671. Their non-confrontational duties have been applauded throughout the state. I am a proud member of the CAP unit and never have they considered Mr. Mitchell an opponent. Mr. Mitchell owes the Civilian Auxiliary Patrol an apology.

Mr. Mitchell follows his “party” line to defend the town manager. The facts are the Ocean View Town Manager also serves as a political councilman in Denton, Md. His term as a Denton, Md., councilman doesn’t expire until 2010. Our tax dollars provide him an all-expense-paid automobile for the round trip to his home.

Mr. Mitchell indicates the $12,000 raise and salary of $78,000 paid to our town manager is nothing more than small potatoes. I believe our previous town manager was paid $65,000 and provided the bookkeeping services. Since our present town manager was incapable of providing this service, the Town Council authorized the hiring of an accountant at the additional cost of approximately $65,000. If this is an example of Mitchell’s idea of fiscal responsibility, I suggest we all hold on to our wallets and purses.

Speaking of politicians, some seem to work for their own edification and are unaware of being self-centered, perhaps lacking in reason and common sense. In Ocean View, we have politicians with their own special agenda, they are not working as team players. It appears there is an attitude of trying to “get even” and in some cases, “I will get you the next time.”

If you think our Town Council needs to work together as a team, controlling fiscal matters and improving communications with our taxpayers, then you and I are on the same page. Within this letter you will find the thoughts of a person willing to work in achieving those goals. Please be aware, I am not a politician trying to buy your vote. I have achieved a certain amount of success in the business world and I believe this success can be applied here in Ocean View.

Your vote is needed to begin the process. Thank you for your consideration. You will not be disappointed.

Joe Martinez, Town Council Candidate
3rd District, Ocean View

Mitchell responds to criticism of letter

Since my positions have been distorted by Mr. Wichmann’s and Mr. Keeley‘s letters, I would like the opportunity to respond.

Their letters attempting to paint me as anti-police in this election campaign will not succeed. The tone of Mr. Wichmann’s letter reflects the campaign he has been waging on the council and the tension he has created there.

While I had sought personally to create that rapport with Mr. Wichmann should I be elected to the council, he has preemptively destroyed that rapport. I extend a public invitation to Mr. Wichmann to coffee to restore that rapport. Councilmen should respect each other’s opinions, because they reflect and represent voter opinion. If elected, I will serve the taxpayer and represent the people.

My letter never said that I would not support a take-home policy on police cars, but I do have some questions on the policy. What I said was that I would want a professional study done before I would approve of it. I questioned the study done by public safety because it was not done professionally with objective data.

I still have an open mind on the issue and, if a professional study recommended that this take-home policy was the best course of action, I may vote approval of the policy. However, there are questions that need to be answered before I would approve.

Councilman Wichmann and my opponent finds the term “quasi-governmental unit” offensive. What is offensive about it? The dictionary defines “quasi” as “having the characteristics of.” Certainly CAP fits this definition, and has some of the characteristics of the police. What they are implying is that I have denigrated CAP, which is not the truth. They have no issues to run on and so they have distorted my positions and smear my candidacy!

I commend and thank CAP for their service to the town. Their service does provide savings and does enhance our law enforcement effort. I am in no way selling them short, and anyone who says otherwise is not telling the truth.

Is it a coincidence that Mr. Wichmann and two candidates — one running for mayor and one running against me — are CAP members? Do the research and find out what their platforms are. If they are fuzzy on the issues, watch out!

My other responses include:

I quoted the Coastal Point on the public safety over expenditure and the Point quoted Ms. Schmidt, the auditor, who read from the auditor’s report that was accepted unanimously by the Town Council at their Feb. 5 meeting.

The public safety building has been built, but we need to use its excess space for needed town functions.

Some of the over expenditure in public safety has occurred because of the lack of accountability by the council and the previous town manager. We must provide that accountability in this election.

Three employees of the town had higher salaries than the town manager and this illogic does not fit organizational theory. It doesn’t work in business, nor does it work in government.

If the town had outsourced the salary study and other studies prepared by the town manager, it would be spending tens of thousands of dollars on such studies. These savings alone would have justified his salary raise.

I am not a politician, but a political scientist. If you have read my columns for the past two years, you know the difference.

My opponent’s campaign, in a nutshell, is to attack the town manager’s salary increase and his car, to divert attention from other important issues in this campaign. He has, and will, also attack me personally, and try to divert attention from the other important issues in this campaign. Don’t be fooled by his diversionary attacks. They are not relevant to town issues.

We will strengthen law enforcement if I am elected to Council. One of my proposals will be to give the police the means to interact with other law enforcement in other communities in real time to plan for emergency response and for follow up interaction during an emergency such as a hurricane. The technology is called Centra, which is used by large corporations to conference between coasts.

The same technology can be used for training. OV police can use it to bring nationally known experts in law enforcement to our police through this interactive technology. The training conferences can be saved and law enforcement officers can access it again and again.

We are rapidly becoming a one-issue town and that is wrong. I do have a vision for Ocean View and will provide that vision in a later letter.

Please e-mail your ideas to me at pmitchell@mchsi.com I always appreciate your input. “Together we can make a difference.”

Perry J Mitchell, Town Council Candidate
3rd District, Ocean View