Everyone has an opinion on Ocean City’s car-related events and this week, as the cars rumble up and down Coastal Highway, people will be inclined to voice them. Some are supportive and, of course, some aren’t.
Such was the situation this week, when more than one letter writer harshly criticized city officials for not only permitting such happenings, but also drawing on local taxes to subsidize them.
Although our policy is to run all letters regardless of their content – except for those that are profane, libelous or incoherent – we did not think it would be fair or polite to print them followed by our own editor’ note addressing the misconceptions that were the basis of their complaints.
The major point is that events such as this week’s Cruisin’ Ocean City are not city government-backed functions. Cruisin’, which is celebrating its 25th year in the resort, has always been a privately sponsored operation.
Additionally, it is not subsidized by taxes in any way. Conversely, its promoters pay tens of thousands of dollars to Ocean City for the use of some of its resources.
But neither do city officials invite Cruisin’ here just to collect that income. The fact is, they might as well take the money because any group of street-legal vehicles can come to town and thunder up and down the highway and Baltimore Avenue whenever it wants, whether city officials like it or not. That’s just plain traffic law.
Suppose, for instance, that this or any major car rally set up shop instead outside of town at, say, the Casino at Ocean Downs. The cars will still cruise the beach highways and the hangers on and yahoos who aren’t part of the event itself, but who cause most of the problems, will also be squealing around on the resort’s streets.
The police will still be out en masse on patrol to keep a lid on things and taxpayers will be footing the bill completely, because Ocean City would get no money at all.
Like it or not, Cruisin’ pays its own way and has since the beginning. As has been said many times, Cruisin’ Ocean City is a good operation and fine event. Some of its nonparticipating fans leave much to be desired, and city government and the police are doing their best to control that.