For the Name's Sake
Though we balk at some of the extremes perpetrated by today's nomenclature-liberators - the people who brought you "personkind," "first base-person" and other abominable acknowledgements of social progress - we do hail one change that you may wish to know about: The Metropolitan Police Boys Club is now the Metropolitan Police Boys and Girls Club. That properly clarifies what has been club practice for some years now. Not only have these marvelous centers been used by boys and girls, they happen to be 10 of the city's most popular and important outlets for constructive youth energy.
But after 43 years of operation, all but the newest one of these centers are in terrible physical shape and are otherwise inadequate. That is why there has been an important campaign under way to raise funds for the construction of eight new clubhouses. If you think, as we do, that it's worth trying to help combat juvenile delinquency while generally promoting good citizenship, perhaps you'll join all the "persons" in building a better Police Boys and Girls Club. On the Beach
Since so much of this community migrates to the shore each summer, it's really local news that Harry W. Kelley, Ocean City's fast-talking mayor, is fighting for his beaches once again. The feisty Mr. Kelley has become well known hereabouts for defending his resort town, over the years, against everything that he sees as a threat - from oil spills to gambling to pornographic T-shirts to the idea that nonresident owners of condominiums should have a vote in local elections.
This time Mr. Kelley has taken on one of his frequent foes, the Army Corps of Engineers. At issue is how much bulldozing should be done to rebuild the beaches in the wake of a recent storm. The Corps and other federal agencies fear that too much sand-moving could hurt marine life. But Mayor Kelley, declaring that "the engineers don't know a thimbleful about beach erosin," decided that the dunes must be restored to protect "our people and their property." So, despite the federal objections, he ordered the bulldozers on - and vowed to go to jail, if it comes to that, for the sake of the beach.
That's Mayor Kelley's style - direct, impatient, passionately protective of the old town full of new money that Ocean City has become. Whether he's right or wrong - and in this case he may well have a point - he brings a definite verve and viewpoint to every argument. Nothing seems to erode his exuberance for very long, not storms or traffic jams or even the possibility that gas shortages might keep some tourists at home. ("A man's vacation is as American as apple pie," he said during the oil embargo. "We can't help but get our share.")
So here's to Mayor Kelley, Ocean City's biggest booster and defender of the beach. He is obstreperous, old-fashioned and outrageous at least twice a year - and the people who trek to his beaches should be thankful that he is. The Citizens Forum
If our mailbag and phone calls are any sample, there must be at least one citizen organization of some kind born almost very other day around town. But more often than not, it seems that the generating spirit fades almost as fast as the volunteers who vow at the outset to keep things going. It takes a relentlessly determined and energetic organizer to keep things going - which is why we continue to marvel at what one unusually enthusiastic and proud group of citizens has been doing for the last three years in Northeast Washington. We refer to the D.C. Citizens Forum, Inc., a wonderfully fundamental block-club program started by Ann J. Wooten, a teacher at Shaed Elementary School at Lincoln Road and Douglas Street NE.
Mrs. Wooten got the inspiration from a similar organization that was functioning in Indianapolis. She then learned from Carl Terzian, an interested management consultant and lecturer, how citizens there had joined to work with juveniles in teaching respect for police officers, cutting down on narcotics, assisting the elderly and generally improving the neighborhood atmosphere. First, Mrs. Wooten, with strong support from school principal Barbara Jackson, mobilized block clubs for a "Helping Hand" program of adults aiding children on the way to and from school. That grew into the Forum, with neighborhood beautification efforts, noise-reduction programs and a set of "commandments" aimed at promoting good conduct by juveniles in the streets and on buses. The program never died. On the contrary, the D.C. Citizens Forum is busier than every today, with hundreds of members of all ages from every corner of the city. At 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6, in the Sheraton Park Hotel, the members invite all citizens to hear how the group has made neighborhoods safer, happier and better looking. It's an envigorating spirit, and we wish Mrs. Wooten and the Forum members every success as they begin another year of civic betterment.