How lucky I feel to live in Ocean City as a year round resident. While I know the 100,000 or more renters that come here each summer love our beautiful clean beaches and great boardwalk, they totally miss the opportunity to enjoy the town atmosphere that prevails here for many of the year-round residents. It truly is “small town America“ where neighbors smile and courteously greet each other everywhere you go. Most importantly, this year, we are a shinning example of American Democracy in action!
Currently there is much discussion and debate over the hot-button issue of BYOB. Both sides present compelling evidence as to why they think their position is the right choice for Ocean City. The truth is, as with most issues of this sort where emotions run high, there will always be those who distort or exaggerate the facts to win people over to “their” side. No doubt, each side truly wants the best outcome for the future of Ocean City. How do we let the voice of the people be heard and not just the ones who shout the loudest?
Luckily, our democracy has provided a means to settle such electrifying issues and accommodate the will of the majority of the people on any important yet disputed issue. That is, by putting the question on the ballot on Election Day, [which this year falls on Nov. 8].
This gives all the voters of the town the opportunity to exercise their legal right and moral obligation to make their voices and choices heard in the voting booth. Every voter is given the chance to privately and effectively have their opinion heard without fear of retribution and retaliation. To appear on the ballot, a petition must be circulated and signed by a qualifying number of voters. Voters will want to make that choice for themselves.
Ocean City residents are intelligent and thoughtful people. I feel confident they are able to study the opposing opinions regarding this issue, read the proposed ordinance for themselves and then make their own independent choice.
All voters should understand that signing the petition does not declare a position as “for or against” the issue. It does insure that the population of Ocean City’s legally registered voters will be afforded their right to vote the way of their conscience on this issue. This is not a new issue; it has surfaced quite often over the years. Let’s finally get it resolved.
How fitting that in July we celebrate our Independence Day. Many soldiers have fought and died for our right to vote. Let’s help protect it. I call on all voters, whether you are for or against BYOBs in Ocean City, not to be afraid to sign the petition. Let’s get this issue on the ballot and let each voter have his or her own voice be heard. This is American Democracy in action.
— Joanne Bernardini, Ocean City, NJ