printed 09/17/2021

It’s two steps forward and one step back in Ocean City’s attempt to rebrand itself, with the latest trouble coming via a racist Facebook post.

Although there’s no such thing as an acceptable time for comments of this kind to be made anywhere, much less on social media, this ugly entry comes as elected officials are still trying to convince civil rights leaders that two Boardwalk incidents between the police and Black subjects this summer were not race related.

And then this happens.

City Councilman Mark Paddack says the offensive comments sent from his Facebook account to the Facebook page of a local woman, but were directed toward her husband for wearing his hat backwards, did not come from him.

He says someone hacked his account and he has initiated an investigation to prove it. Here’s hoping he succeeds with that, because if this investigation comes up short, he needs to step down permanently.

Although this posting’s reference to the “white” way of wearing a hat is the primary offense, and an especially egregious one at that, the resort also doesn’t need any representative who thinks it’s appropriate to show up online without provocation and call someone a “POS” (piece of s---). That’s just stupid.

Because this country operates on the principle of presumed innocence, however, the City Council must exercise some forbearance in this matter, albeit with limits.

Paddack has to be given time to conduct his investigation, but not forever, and not even an extended period. As Internet company owner Councilman John Gehrig knows, determining whether an account has been hacked doesn’t take that long.

The council should set a deadline on this investigation and then, depending on what it finds, act accordingly.

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