Letters to Editor
Esposito makes his case for mayoral seat
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Vinnie Esposito. A native of Pennsylvania and resident of New Jersey for 47 years, my wife Maureen and I currently reside in Savannahs Landing. We are the proud parents of three children and have four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
I want to share with you the major concerns I have about our town that have compelled me to file my candidacy for mayor of Ocean View. This was not a decision made lightly. Having served as a councilman for nine years in a New Jersey township, I am fully aware of the commitment of time and energy required to effectively represent the citizenry of a community. As a councilman, I became a spokesperson for the taxpayers and that is the role I pledge to continue if elected mayor of Ocean View.
In addition to my past political experience, I have been active in a variety of civic and community organizations since relocating to Delaware, all of which have provided me with the opportunity to witness first-hand the many strengths of our Ocean View community and its people.
Some of these organizations include membership in the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), board member of the Savannah’s Landing Homeowners Association, volunteer solicitor for the Special Olympics of Delaware, and member of the St. Ann’s Men’s Club and an active member of the Ocean View Citizens Auxiliary Patrol (CAP).
Fiscal responsibility and open communications are the cornerstones of any municipality and this should certainly be the case in Ocean View. However, my experience in attending town council meetings during the past year has witnessed serious communication friction among council members and certain council decisions that question the principle of fiscal responsibility.
For example, at a time when we are told Ocean View is facing a fiscally challenging future, the town approved a salary increase of some 17 percent for the newly-hired town manager who had served less than six months on the job. I publicly exposed this increase at a town council meeting last year and informed the mayor and council members that the increase should have actually been passed as a salary ordinance and read at two separate public meetings before it could be adopted.
Regardless, this salary increase would be excessive even in good times and certainly does not measure up to effective fiscal responsibility.
I am also concerned that Ocean View taxpayers are not kept fully informed on other financial issues that impact on our community. For example, in addition to an operating budget of approximately $2 million, there are other separate town accounts which total in excess of $3 million. While a portion of these accounts have specific use requirements, I feel all of these funds need to be openly examined before the town even considers imposing a tax increase on Ocean View residents.
If elected mayor, I pledge to work closely with the town administration, members of the town council and the citizens of Ocean View to ensure that we encourage full and open dialogue on all issues and that we make decisions that are in the best interest of all of Ocean View. Our town and our citizens deserve nothing less.
This is an important election for Ocean View and I sincerely seek your support in my effort to represent you as mayor.
McHugh: Who owns the beaches?
With beach replenishment, it is essential that there be a written agreement between the town and the state of each other’s authority and responsibilities regarding the beach. The beaches are within the town limits as identified in our town charter, which is approved by the state, but the beach is owned by the state. The town has no control over the beach.
The agreement should clearly identify who is responsible for providing the lifeguard service, hours and days beaches are open, cleaning and monitoring the beach area. Who would be responsible for any legal action regarding the beach? Should the town be responsible for the full cost of operating the beach when the state says the beaches are public?
Who has the authority to write regulations regarding drinking, smoking, digging holes, beach sports, individuals abusing the dunes, etc.? These questions are applicable to not only Bethany Beach, but to all beaches open to the public in Delaware. Action should be taken in these situations as soon as possible.
A voice cried out in the wilderness
In response to Mr. Fedick’s letter in the Coastal Point about our town, Ocean View, “The Wilderness,” did anyone hear? Hellooo! Is anyone home upstairs? Wake up people!
My mother always said to us, “It’s easy to spend someone else’s money.” It was a cautionary statement to us. I did not know that the Ocean View Town Council overheard her. They must have and took the statement to heart and their example is Sterling! They are outdoing themselves. Spend, spend, spend.
A chicken in every pot and a car for every cop.
How many prisoners in Alcatraz at Bear Trap? I’m referring to the Taj Mah Hall. How big is the garage going to be?
What is the ratio of police officers to permanent residents? How does that compare with other communities with the same or similar demographics?
It appears to me that somebody sold you a fantastic bill of goods. Like the generator, remember?
A retired police officer from a metropolitan area is brought aboard and she thinks she came to cop heaven. Right?
What about the town manager sweetheart deal for the man from Denton? Wow!
How about the P&Z letting any developer get a variance to build “just a little bit into the wetlands.” That’s a good thing for all our citizenry? Aaaaah, what the heck, the inland bays are dead anyway. Thank you, council.
I am not one who has his ear to the ground and I have never submitted a letter to the editor before this, but it seems to me that the rascals need a wakeup call. For one, they do not appear to have the good of the citizens of Ocean View as a purpose of their service. Release them and scrub the benches they sit on so nothing will contaminate their successors. I remember when we were “bad,” Mama would say, “Go in the cellar and don’t come out until I call you.”
It’s easy to spend someone else’s money.
In the past I tried to address an elected official in this county at an open meeting, but when he sensed the direction my remarks were taking, he with a microphone and me without, he talked me down. I never got to say what I wanted. So much for the “Four Freedoms.” Here, nobody can interrupt me and I have written what was on my mind. Now I am wondering how retaliation works.
Remember the pamphleteer Thomas Paine, “But as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”
Andrew Thomas Seech
Reader getting tired of Bethany ‘whining’
Looks like we’re in for six more months of whining from Bethany Beach folks, now that they’re looking into widening the boardwalk. Does the Army Corp of Engineers do that also?
Republi-crats reminded of March 30 deadline
On Sept. 9, 2008, Delaware Democrats will select the next governor. The decision won’t be official until the general election on Nov. 4, but there is little if any chance that the Republican Party will field a candidate that can defeat the Democratic candidate.
In Delaware, a citizen must be a registered Democrat or Republican to vote in a primary election. I volunteered at a polling site on Super Tuesday and observed a few disappointed Independents who were turned away because of our closed primary system.
Independents (and Republicans, if they wish) can participate in selecting the next governor by re-registering as a Democrat. This has absolutely no bearing on how an individual votes in November for any office from U.S. president to county councilman. We have the right to split our ticket, a practice that seems fairly common in Delaware.
Even though the primary election is not until Sept. 9, the deadline to re-register as Democrat is March 30.
Please consider registering as a Democrat so that you can vote for our next governor.
On Sept. 10, if you wish, you can switch back to your current affiliation.
You can download a federal registration form at www.eac.gov or call the Commissioner of Elections at (302) 739-4277 to find out how you can get a form. There are local offices in each county.
Let’s all have a voice in the selection of our next governor. Register as a Democrat by March 30.
Mitchell promises to get tough on town finances
I am a candidate for the District 3 council seat in the Town of Ocean View. While I have personally met and spoken with many about my campaign platform, I want to take this opportunity to amplify a few of the specific reasons I am running to represent you on the Ocean View Town Council.
Let me begin by stating that the Ocean View budget for the next five years is stretched thin, and continued reliance on transfer fee revenue as we have done for so many years for funding the budget is unrealistic, and fiscally dangerous.
The auditor’s report presented at the Jan. 22 meeting of the Town Council suggested that transfer taxes had dropped 49 percent since last year’s report (down 80 percent from three years ago); cash on hand was down 13 percent from 2006 (down 50 percent from two years ago); the general fund for the first time in the town’s history was in debt (debt will double next year to $1.2 million).
The reason for the Town incurring this debt was to construct a public safety building which many believe too extravagant. In addition to the new public safety building, the auditor’s report also found that the public safety department had overspent its budget, and was the most expensive department to maintain. For the past five years the costs for operating the police force have increased dramatically, and its costs have almost doubled the rate of the other departments. I view the auditor’s report as a wake-up call for the Town Council to implement a tight policy of fiscal responsibility.
Had I been on the Town Council in prior years, I would have saved the Town at least $1 million dollars and perhaps more in costs, by demanding that a more cost efficient and smaller public safety building be constructed, and that police force growth be based on true needs, not wants. If elected to the Council, I will demand fiscal responsibility in all future capital projects and its operating budget. The citizens deserve no less from their elected representatives.
When one studies many of the recent decisions of the Town Council, it is apparent that capital infrastructure decisions were made without determining whether sufficient revenue existed in future budget years. For example, I would have never voted for a take-home police cruiser policy until a thorough, professional study, based on quantitative data collected and analyzed, was completed.
This report completed by the Public Safety Department, without input from the town manager, lacks hard objective data to justify its conclusion that the take-home policy be continued. I would want more than an anecdotal justification to warrant such a policy that would increase substantially the new car expenditures for future years. I would apply the same requirements to all departmental studies, and would demand that all future annual operating budgets be based on sound financial planning and not anectodotal opinion, which is inherently biased.
Please do not misunderstand my position regarding public safety. I know my opponent will paint my candidacy as being anti-police. That is furthest from the truth. I support law enforcement and will endeavor to strengthen law enforcement in Ocean View. While I am pro-police and law enforcement, we must weigh the values of over-funding public safety to the detriment of our roads and drainage projects.
Now, it is time to turn to other un-met needs in Ocean View. At the same time, you may rest assured that I will always be sensitive and responsive to the real and essential needs of public safety for our town.
Recently, one of my opponents announced his intention to enter the District 3 Council seat contest and asserted at last Tuesday’s long range budget meeting that if elected he would bring fiscal responsibility to the Town. However, his platform appears to be one of focusing attention on saving a few thousand dollars by suggesting we reduce the town manager’s salary and take away the automobile he commutes to and from work in.
Unlike my opponent, I am not interested in winning votes by suggesting the town staff is the problem. I am running to save the Town tens of thousands of dollars and not a few thousand dollars.
I challenge my opponents — those who are members of a quasi-governmental unit associated with the Ocean View Public Safety Department, and those who are not — to step up to the plate as I have, and will continue to do, to tell the citizens how they will specifically address and resolve the financial problems we face over the next five years. It doesn’t take much effort to focus on making someone a “whipping boy” as their campaign theme for their election and to mouth words of fiscal responsibility which are empty rhetorical phrases unless they are back up by facts and figures. I challenge my opponents to say what they will cut, if Town revenues fall below 10 percent. I challenge my opponents to say what they will cut, if Town revenues fall below 20 percent.
I will not attack any of our Town staff, who are dedicated, hard-working professionals. The citizens of Ocean View are, indeed, fortunate to have them as employees.
In the coming weeks, I will continue to specify exactly what I will do for Ocean View, continue to spell out what is meant by real fiscal responsibility and in plain talk spell out what Ocean View voters can expect from me, if I am elected as your councilman.
Perry J. Mitchell