Letter to the Editor

(Printed 10/11/19)

Editor,

Your commentary emphatically blaming the Sept. 27 weekend’s H2Oi “riot” on the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee for not approving Ocean City’s attempt to increase special events traffic violations and fines shows your parochial views.

If anything, the unruly actions of the H2Oi drivers clearly demonstrates that attempting to use traffic laws to control insurgent behavior has minimal effect. 

Hundreds of police officers, doing an impressive job, gave out at least 1,500 traffic tickets and arrested 151 individuals. Make no mistake about it, the H2Oi drivers were using their vehicles as a form of protest and disturbance of the peace.

I was told that a number of H2Oi drivers who received tickets taped a copy of the citation to their passenger side rear window as a badge of honor. In another case, the H2Oi driver committed violations with a law enforcement vehicle right behind their car. (See one minute into https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmP4Uitotjk). 

It is clear that the special event law did not and will not prevent, even if expanded, the unruly actions of the H2Oi drivers. 

The Judicial Proceeding Committee refused to pass the original special events proposal because it was a typical Ocean City government overreach that covered automotive, entertainment, amusement, recreation, sporting, marketing, or community events, vehicle, boat, outdoor recreation shows, festivals, fairs, carnivals, parades, circus, concerts, and block parties.

That’s right, the Ocean City Council wanted to designate a special events zone if a circus ever came to town. In other words, the original Ocean City proposal would have resulted in any event in Ocean City with large crowds could be designated a special event zone. 

This is why the Maryland General Assembly limited the special events law to motor vehicle traffic violations.

The Ocean City Council needs to move away from its simplistic legalistic approach of trying to use the traffic laws to controls individuals’ behavior and develop other feasible alternatives for all motor-related groups.

Joseph H. Potter

Ocean City

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