Letters to the Editor — February 5, 2016

Elling voices opposition to death penalty

Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to state Rep. Ronald Gray and was sent to the Coastal Point for publication.

I have noted that you, once again, have voted No to the proposal to delete the death penalty in Delaware. It does not surprise me, but it does disappoint me. Your Christian faith does indeed support the death penalty. The murder of an “innocent” victim is punishable by death, according to your religion’s biblical commandments. Islam and Judaism concur with Christianity on this religious law.

What if the declared “murderer,” after a trial by his/her peers, is put to death and later found to be innocent? Do then the legal processes commit murder by putting to death an innocent person? Do then the trial participants (judge, prosecutor, jury members, witnesses, prison authorities, the person injecting the lethal chemicals and the supportive elected representatives) become guilty of murder? Are they to be put to death for killing an innocent person?

Rep. Gray, I am a 69-year-old man who has lived his entire life as a pacifist. I have never owned a gun or weapon capable of killing another. I have always committed myself to step in front of a person who is being threatened with harm. I have always been willing to die for others. I have not and will not put to death another member of humanity. It is a lifelong expectation of myself, and I am rather near to fulfilling my personal expectation.

If I am ever selected to be a member of a trial involving murder, I will not vote for the death penalty. Most likely, I will be disqualified from such jury duty. I will be rejected by the prosecutor. However, you are included on jury trials for murder, because you are willing to put a “murderer” to death. Our legal process is ripe for error. If you are wrong, should you be judged as an accessory to murder?

Relax — elected representatives are not held accountable for their votes. Your Christian church will embrace you and forgive you. Will your God be pleased with you? I have no idea.

Lloyd E. Elling
Ocean View

HOAs reach out to state, feds

Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to Sarah Cooksey, administrator of the Delaware Coastal Management Program for DNREC; Steve Smailer, program manager for the Wetlands & Subaqueous Lands Section of DNREC; and Edward Bonner of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Regulatory Branch; and was sent to the Bethany Beach Town Council and to the Coastal Point for publication.

On behalf of the undersigned homeowner associations (HOAs), representing over 200 taxpayers, we are writing to oppose and urge you to reject the above referenced applications for the proposed Mews of Bethany (proposal) project in Bethany Beach.

As you know, Mr. Stanley Walcek is applying for evaluation for Federal Consistency under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 for the destruction of 1.92 acres of federally regulated non-tidal forested wetlands for a proposed residential development.

The HOAs urge you to oppose the proposal for the following reasons:

(1) The proposal for the Mews of Bethany threatens degradation of the federal wetlands and the state wetlands.

Post-construction, stormwater runoff is prone to carrying contaminants, such as pesticides, fertilizer, motor oil, herbicides, detergent, etc., thus presenting a threat to the environmental health of wetlands (both federal and state).

(2) The proposal will have an “adverse environmental effect on living resources” and will harm the area’s crucial role as a natural protective system for the absorption of storm wave energy, flood waters and heavy rainfall, thereby increasing flood and erosion damage.

The 1.92 acres of the proposal, as well as all the surrounding land where the HOAs are located, continuously experience standing water that rises and falls with the tides and floods after light rainfall. Heavy storms bring commensurate flooding. The proposal will only make this flooding worse.

(3) The proposal will eliminate a habitat for resident species of wildlife including furbearers, invertebrates and finfish.

The residents of the HOAs regularly observe hawks, snakes, turtles, blue heron, foxes, owls, fish, deer, birds, raccoons and other animals directly on the land in the proposal.

(4) The proposed mitigation site does not address the problems with the proposal.

The proposal does not:

• describe how the mitigation site would impact or handle the impact of additional surface or ground water on the surrounding properties,

• offer any detailed discussion of alternative locations or designs, as required by state law, and

• provide detailed or quantitative analysis or evaluation to adequately compensate for the loss of approximately 1.92 acres of forested wetlands.

In closing, the opposition of the HOAs to the proposal is based on the potential for increased flooding, expected loss of natural resources and the fact that the mitigation plan does not address these concerns.

Based on this, we respectfully request that DNREC and the Army Corps of Engineers reject the proposal.

Bethany Crossing West
Homeowners Association

Bethany Winds
Homeowners Association

The Canal
Homeowners Association

Hidden Harbor
Homeowners Association

Sniders Crossing
Homeowners Association

Stewards Watch
Homeowner Association

Birding Weekend a hit, thanks to many


Birds have economic value, and this was on display again last weekend with the enormous success of the first ever Winter Delmarva Birding Weekend. We would like to thank all of the local businesses, Chambers and conservation groups for their tremendous support.

It certainly paid off, with visitors from all over the U.S. descending on Worcester and Sussex counties to watch birds. While most of us know the inherent value of wild things, it’s important to remember the billions of dollars spent in the country every year from both bird-watching and wildfowl hunting. The modicum of investment we put into protecting land and water pays huge economic dividends.

Thanks especially to our sponsors, Southern Delaware Tourism, the Atlantic Sands Hotel & Conference Center, Worcester County Tourism, the Howard Johnson’s Oceanfront Plaza Hotel, Days Inn Ocean City, the Boardwalk Hotel Group, Fager’s Lighthouse, the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, the Delmarva Almanac, Town of Snow Hill, the Atlantic Hotel in Berlin, Hodges Taylor Art Consultancy, Somerset County Tourism, The Avenue Inn and the Breakers Hotel & Suites.

We’ll see you in three months for the spring Delmarva Birding Weekend, April 21-24.

Dave Wilson Jr.

Editor’s note: Wilson is the former director of the Maryland Coastal Bays Program and the current co-owner of Conservation Community Consulting.