Close Menu
Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Second time’s charm for OPA Parke forum

(July 16, 2015)  Although several candidates for the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors voiced their displeasure over the format and moderation style of a previous candidate forum held in June, most seemed pleased with the debate at The Parke last Tuesday.
Six of the seven board candidates, vying for two positions, participated in what was billed as an “ice cream social,” allowing for a 45-minute meet-and-greet period before the two-hour forum.
“It was a huge improvement,” Cheryl Jacobs said. “First of all, nobody was being rude to the people who were attending. It was very well organized and the questions were typed and handed out to the people, so it was far superior.”
Handicapping her own performance, Jacobs said she did well “based on the number of people that came up to me afterwards and said I had their vote.”
“If that’s a barometer, I would say that that’s a good sign,” she said.
Jacobs said the campaign was going well overall.
“I’ve had people calling and saying, ‘we want your signs,’ and I’ve been getting positive feedback,” she said. “I have some very good people working on my behalf – Diane McGraw and Marlene Ott and others, so I think I’ve got a good support team. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”
Bill Zawacki, former board member and current candidate, agreed the typed-out questions were helpful.
“It allowed each person to have the question in front of them, instead of trying to remember what the question was five people earlier,” he said. “A number of things went better.”
Zawacki thought he did “pretty well” during the debate.
“All the questions, the lead-in and the closing were limited to two minutes each, so you always think of things after you’re having to sit down that you wish you had said or you wanted to say, but didn’t have time,” he said.
Former board member Terri Mohr also praised the forum, saying it was well-run and provided “great questions” to the candidates.
“I thought it was very good, and we had a good turnout of people,” she said. “I lived through it, and I did my best, like I always try to do.”
Carol Ludwig said she was happy with the turnout.
“I thought it went well,” she said. “A decent amount of people came out and they had good questions.”
One of the questions, Ludwig said, involved the way Ocean Pines is portrayed in the media.
“I just think that sometimes when people are asked for their opinions, they’re not speaking on their own behalf,” she said. “Any time you hold any type of a position and you’re a voting member and a representative you need to be a team player.
“Some of the newspapers are kind enough to cover us and interview us, but sometimes the information doesn’t make it quite the way it was presented by the person,” she added. “Sometimes it’s not perceived the same way as the person is trying to communicate. None of us are great at public speaking – or politics. That’s what I think the problem is – none of us are politicians.”
Slobodan Trendic admitted it was difficult to perform under the circumstances, given a recent report that he received a DWI near his home in Ocean Pines.
“I tried to do what I could and tried to be true to myself, and hopefully the audience noticed that and appreciate it,” he said.
Trendic differed from Ludwig on the issue of media coverage, saying the actual question aimed more towards the tone of the current board of directors.
“I believe she’s addressing question number four, which read, ‘If I were considering moving to Ocean Pines today and read the local papers I would think twice. What do the candidates plan to do if they [become] elected about all the infighting, backstabbing and pettiness of the current board and get on with the real issues?’” he said.
“I focused on the real question, which was what would the candidates do to stop the infighting and focus on the real issues,” Trendic continued.
“Basically, all I did was state what I would do, if elected, to bring some harmony at the board level.”
Another controversial question, according to Thomas Herrick, involved the performance of General Manager Bob Thompson.
“They basically asked us outright is Bob Thompson’s performance acceptable or unacceptable,” he said. “I’m not a person who likes to criticize or talk bad about someone in public, and I felt like I was put in a trick box with that question. It was very difficult for me and I hesitated, but I realized had to be honest and say how I feel: I think we can do better.
“That’s the reason why I’m running, because I’m not particularly happy exactly how things are going, and I really feel for the people we can do better,” Herrick added.
Herrick admitted he nervous going into the forum.
“I’m not a great public speaker and I thought that that would be a hurdle for me to go over, but I try my best and I put myself out there and I’m hoping what I’m trying to do resonates with the people,” he said.
Former board member Ray Unger was absent during the forum.
“I totally and completely forgot about it,” he said. “I had no excuse. I just had my head up my [rear] and completely forgot about it.”
Otherwise, Unger said, the campaign has gone “alright.”
“I’m really not going crazy on it,” he said. “I look at it this way: if enough people out there remember me, remember my name and want to pull the trigger, that’s fine with me. My world won’t end if I don’t make it, but I enjoyed being on the board. I had a lot of fun with it and still would. That’s why I’m trying to do it again – I like it.”