OPINION: Ocean City Needs Regime Change

Public Comment at City Council Meeting 2/13/14

A recent headline in an Ocean City news service shocked and outraged me:  the arrogance and total absence of morality in the conduct of our Mayor, his administration and Councilmen. It is their  misuse of public dollars and indifference to public safety.

“OC pays ex-con $13,131 to end K9 Lawsuit.”

The settlement signed 12/20/13 dismissed Mr. Petnick’s complaint against OC and 4 OC Police Officers: Koob, Fearnhead, Vogt and Campo.

The settlement includes no admission of liability on the part of the city or the officers.

To recount this event took place on 2/26/10. The 4 officers were responding to notification by  the ISP that Mr. Petnick had an outstanding warrant and was likely to be found at his Mother’s home on Simpson Ave. Mr. Petnick says he was apprehended, held at gunpoint, handcuffed then dragged onto the alley where the officers released their K9, Deuce.

Mr. Petnick’s suit claimed that his constitutional rights against the use of excessive force were violated. It also claims that the city routinely tolerates such actions.

“Defendant OC’s indifference is demonstrated by a pattern carried out by officers and the failure of Internal Affairs to investigate and sustain legitimate and bona fide instances of (police) assault.”

The lawyer representing Mr. Petnick was Josph C. Grassi of Wildwood. The release signed by Mr. Grassi indicates that he will be paid $10,868.57, an amount nearly equal to his client. All coming from the citizen’s tax dollars. Who was Mr. Grassi serving?

Other recent settlements show a similar pattern:

1) 3 Sanitation Dept. employees received $83,000 apiece (Total $249,000) to settle a racial discrimination suit against the city and a sanitation dept. supervisor, Keith Washington. Once again no admission of guilt or wrongdoing. No accountability.

2) Deputy Fire Chief Mark McCulley was given $222,633.54 to silence his complaint against the OCFD for wrongful suspension in what the city called “misappropriating funds.”    

3) $60,000 tax dollars paid to another victim of  K9 police dog attack. Reason was the same old boilerplate excuse: “to avoid the cost and uncertainty of a trial involving a lawsuit.”

4) $50,000 to Michael Hamilton who alleged that the beach patrol used a “series of discriminatory and retaliatory acts to drive him and other older lifeguards from the beach patrol.” Settlement includes no admission of guilt from any of the defendants. It instructs all parties to not disclose, either directly or indirectly, any information whatsoever relating to the existence or substance of the agreement to any person or entity, including but not limited to members of the media.”

These non-disclosure terms are routine in settlement agreements but NJ Courts have consistently upheld the Public’s Right to Know in case that involve public entities such as Police, Sanitation and Fire Departments.

OC taxpayers will ultimately pay for all these settlements through increased premiums to JIF which insures the city.

The settlement frenzy must be stopped by the citizens especially when Public Safety is at stake.

Is it reasonable to expect and demand a city government that actually serves and protects its citizens not like the empty words painted on Police cars.

Is it possible to have an OC of, by and for all the people and not just the” insiders.”

The only hope for meaningful change is that citizens start paying attention and good, independent people seek elected office. Then on 5/10/14 people vote their interests and not those of the special interests.

Steven Fenichel, MD

Eric Sauder February 17, 2014 at 09:49 AM
Everyone knows you're an insider Frank and have no regard for public opinion and the citizens of this town. You just take it farther than most and say it. You are a perfect example of the people you represent.
Frank February 17, 2014 at 10:29 AM
Eric - that is the nicest thing you have ever said to me.
Frank February 17, 2014 at 10:31 AM
Eric - Who is "everyone" the vocal minority?
Eric Sauder February 17, 2014 at 12:14 PM
Look I have to head out. I read part of your comment. Its is true that the problem with the beaches on the south end were not caused by Sandy. It was caused by years of neglect. The beaches and dunes were seriously depleted. Sandy only called attention to it. The south end was an accident waiting to happen. And yes the City had to do something to protect the property on the South end. I just object to the assertion that by waiting it won't cost us anything. And frankly Its not a gamble I would have taken. The City promised to dual track it with the State if the Feds didn't come thru. They never did. Hopefully we WILL get beach replenishment next winter. But that's something that should have been addressed long before Sandy. Hey if we survive this it only amounts to the cost of an emergency fix and lost revenue. But I sure as heck feel empathy for the people on the far south end. The problem is what the problem is. We failed to act until the crisis was upon us. And I have to tell you, as far as the future of Ocean City is concerned, we're going to face even bigger challenges once the Biggert Waters act is fully implemented. I'm not going to respond further unless its related to the subject of this blog. I think Dr. Fenichel is making a strong statement and that a course change is in order. All we've managed to accomplish is to paint a bulls eye on our back. These situations keep recurring, the City keeps getting sued, and I can only say that if someone else gets bitten by a police dog I hope its one of you :)
Eric Sauder February 17, 2014 at 12:18 PM
You understand don't you that the people who sued the City over these dog attacks were PERMANTNTLY MAIMED?
Frank February 17, 2014 at 12:20 PM
Eric - I could also accuse you of defamation. Was that discussed in your "meeting"? Heading out to request more ridiculous Opra requests? It's a huge job trying to micro manage all aspects of city government as a private citizen isn't it?
one eye willy February 17, 2014 at 01:25 PM
You sir, Eric Sauder are a fool and every comment you make on the patch makes the community in whole a little more stupid. Here's some advise take your opinions and place them were the sun don't shine.
Eric Sauder February 17, 2014 at 02:00 PM
I think they generally did a good job responding to Sandy although the south end STILL doesn't have useable beaches. Well they say by waiting for a federal project it won't cost the taxpayers anything. The problem is waiting costs money too. It cost around a $mill to truck "sand" down there the first time and since then they've had to rebuild the berms and beaches again and again. And the property owners are paying a cost for it too in lost rental income. The success of this approach depended on sheer luck. A strong nor'easter likely would have submerged the South end again. As that old saying goes, better to be lucky than good. So far we've been lucky. Sandy related ordinances were used as an opportunity to spur redevelopment and build bigger. Just like they used Sandy as an excuse to reward their friends with no bid contracts. They were STILL doing emergent appropriations for no bid work MONTHS after Sandy.
Frank February 17, 2014 at 02:22 PM
Eric - I see you have deleted and changed a few things (again)
one eye willy February 17, 2014 at 05:14 PM
Eric's pregnant ? He's going to be a soccer player yes he is!!!
Eric Sauder February 18, 2014 at 10:36 AM
Frank I left a word to the wise for you and some of the other people who post here that when you resort to personal attacks you are opening yourself up to the possibility of a defamation suit. I deleted it because I could tell from your response you got the message. The first half dozen comments that by now either cycled off or were deleted had nothing to do with the blog but were personal attacks on Doctor Fenichel AND his FAMILY. Its offensive to me. If you're not intelligent enough to discuss the subject or have nothing worthwhile to contribute, it would be better for you to keep your mouth shut. Quite frankly I think there are people who you advocate for would like you to shut up too. You're undoubtedly an embarrassment to them. I can accept that you have a different point of view and you're more than welcome to express it. But not thru personal attacks. If you really want to know what I've been up to I've been out canvasing our neighborhoods. And the response I'm getting has been nothing but positive.
Eric Sauder February 18, 2014 at 10:47 AM
It is you, and a couple of anonymous posters on this site who are the vocal minority. And this is a minority government too. If you made the effort to get out and talk to people, those same people you seem to detest, you would have discovered that for yourself.
Mr. B February 18, 2014 at 10:50 AM
if you believe your words to be true and an opinion, no defamtion. i think it's funny one would even bring that up. c'mon, it's little ole' ocean city, this aint California. guess that gives you and the two other people something to talk about at your next "community meeting"
Frank February 18, 2014 at 10:56 AM
Eric you are one of the most arrogant people I have ever encountered. Defamation works both ways...enough said. I have also given you many "words to the wise" - have you listened? No, you only listen to this who share your opinions.
Frank February 18, 2014 at 10:57 AM
Mr. B like I said on another stream - these people are simply not worth our time.
Frank February 18, 2014 at 10:58 AM
Eric - the only one I detest right now is you!
one eye willy February 18, 2014 at 11:42 AM
Eric I think you've been served High five Mr.B and Frank
Beachy Keen February 18, 2014 at 01:52 PM
Eric, I'm curious, who are Frank and Mr. B.? They sound like older "gentlemen" but post on here as though they are in high school. Why do they keep attacking Dr. Fenichel and you and others? Everyone can say something negative or not nice sometimes but the constant theme with both of them is hostility, anger and negativity. They both seem very worried over these community meetings and the outcomes. I wouldn't even respond to them.
Eric Sauder February 18, 2014 at 02:17 PM
I might know who Mr. B is but I'm not positive. As for people that post using anything less than their full name I wouldn't trust anything they say. If they had any credibility they would stand behind what they say. Those that do use a full name you can Google. I just think other people on this site would appreciate a discussion of the issues. And they could do without the personal attacks. I'm willing to ignore it to a point. And Frankly, I don't have time for it. I do believe there are people on this site that post under multiple screen names too.
Eric Sauder February 18, 2014 at 02:19 PM
The object I believe is to dissuade anyone else from commenting on this site, or even read the posts.
Eric Sauder February 18, 2014 at 02:21 PM
That IS I believe what is happening.
one eye willy February 18, 2014 at 02:33 PM
No Eric everyone just knows you have an opinion (and may I add not a very bright one) on every article posted on this website. The majority of people are tired of reading all your negative post and really could care less what you think. As for the so called Dr Fenicel ( skin doctor) that you defend. You two are meant for each other because your intelligent level is about equal. The fact is this town is a great town to live in whether you agree with who makes the Decision or not .and by reading your posted you don't deserve to live in a great town like Ocean City!
Frank February 18, 2014 at 04:46 PM
Eric your cohort Beechy Keen is not posting under a "real" name. I realize this is an exception because BK shares your views.
Chaz Cochran February 19, 2014 at 06:58 AM
Mr Sauder, thank you for the entertainment the past few years. You've provided many laughs with your conspiracy theories and rants at everyone and everything. Unfortunately for you your facts are not so factual. Your so called knowledge is merely opinion and hearsay. You state above that the southend beaches are unusable. Is that fact? You state that southend owners have lost rents. Is that fact? I could go on and on for pages with your misstatements of facts, inaccurate statements, and false accusations. You have created a persona on patch by sheer volume of blog posts. THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PEOPLE! PLEASE! You are believing your own BS. Aside from attending city council meetings and FIT meetings, you have no involvement in this community and have done nothing for this community. And now you want to run for office? I almost want to see it, like a train wreck that you can't turn away from. Like Mr Hinchman in the last election and Mr Price in the coming election. You have no business representing anyone, despite the encouragement of a few fellow troglodytes. You are not a leader, Mr Sauder, you are, simply stated, delusional. I'm sorry to say that so harshly, but I am trying to save you from the embarrassment you are facing if you don't get a grip. You need to find a hobby and another form of socialization.
steve fenichel February 22, 2014 at 11:42 AM
Our local Klansmen hide their hate-filled venom by using false names. They only don their gowns and hoods on special occasions far from view until they can once again March publicly as in the recent past. When unmasked their members included government officials, police, judges and other "Pillars" of the community. When our local cowards are unmasked no one should be surprised to see the same cast of characters. The energy of this Klavern is as old as human history. Like the Vampire the Light instantly destroys them and their lies.
vic February 22, 2014 at 11:56 AM
on the other hand, it's OK for you, our local communist, to spout your indoctrination and leftist points of view. I'm best recognized in our community as "vic" and that's why I choose to use this handle. I have opposed your opinion on many an occasion, and you know who I am. I am neither a member of the city government nor the ku klux klan. I'm just a concerned citizen who wants what's best for ocean city and that certainly is not you, as was proven when you attempted to run for city council and were totally rejected by the voters of ocean city.
steve fenichel February 22, 2014 at 05:03 PM
Elvis, Madonna, Jesus and now the world should know this special Vic. I don't. Vic are your fellow travelers equally well known as you? (Mr. B, One-Eyed Willy, Frank). Maybe everyone but me knows them around town but again I don't. Sorry if the KKK reference was painful but remove your hoods and it goes away. Strange how calling people Communists that you disagree with is not in the least troubling to you. Lastly your assertion of not being elected by the voters is my badge of shame which should silence me is very revealing of your character. Do you think your ugly personal attacks are justified by saying: " I'm just a concerned citizen who wants what's best for oc and that certainly is not you....." I am proud of my attempt to educate the voters on the health impact of the coal burning power plant. Now I'm doing my best to warn of the terrible health consequences if it becomes a Fracked gas burning power plant. If the citizens don't have an interest in being informed and voting what's in their interest that is their right. But as long as I care about the well being of my community you can expect me to tug on your hood. Like the canary in the mine shaft watch out when you don't hear its song.
vic February 22, 2014 at 06:43 PM
you claimed in your unsuccessful campaign that the number one issue affecting the voters of ocean city was the pollution coming out of the stacks of the coal burning power plant. yet, when a solution was found to allow the plant to convert to clean burning natural gas, you and your wife contested each other in who would show the greater opposition to the proposed gas line. you will not be satisfied until the power plant is forced to close because it will no longer be economically feasible for it to continue to operate. then cape may county will be left without a source of local energy, neither electrical nor gas and you will feel vindicated as you sit in your power outages. your Taliban mentality, opposing modern sources of energy, is not in the best interest of the citizens of cape may county.
Virgil Harris February 23, 2014 at 03:11 AM
you are all to simple to realize that the people of this town just want great services and paved roads, not $150k on Christmas lights. I am tired of the quiet majority to go unheard so welcome me with open arms!!!! OC=small town small mind
Frank Worrell February 24, 2014 at 09:21 AM
Vic you are 100 percent right.Fenichel is a big Bag of sh.. Always looking for a headline .


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