This week has been an interesting one. We were squeezed out of the Ocean City Green Team meetings. If you don't know what the Ocean City Green Team is let us explain. This committee meets every 2 months and the board is represented by multiple local organizations. They make decisions on local smoking ordinances, plastic straw bands or dogs pooping on the beach. When they find an issue of importance they escalate it to the City Council and Mayor for approval.
Let's say you think Ocean City should recycle. Technically, you present your case to the Green Team in hoping they agree. If they find that your issue warrants further discussion, you can be placed on the agenda. With a plan, they will approach the City Council with high recommendation that the City should recycle.
Before the July 11th Ocean City Green Team meeting I sat down with the President of the Green Team, Tony DeLuca. We discussed a number of things from Go Green OC goals to future agendas. He handed me a list of questions and told me to provide him more information about my agenda items (which I did). Most importantly I was told that Go Green OC agenda items would finally be on the September 11th meeting agenda. As some of you know, I moved to Austin Texas but still run the campaign through our volunteers. Tony agreed to Skype me into future meetings to follow progress and be a participant in the meeting.
Since May, Go Green OC wanted to talk about the following items:
1. A West OC recycling pickup center
2. A compost rebate program for Ocean City residents
3. A campaign to reduce the amount of plastic water bottles (source reduction)
4. The introduction of a cardboard recycling program
Seven days before the meeting I received an email from Tony DeLuca. My agenda items were no longer on the Green Team Agenda because it "was too full". I was also not going to be Skyped into the meeting. My question to the Green Team would be, "Why can't we talk about recycling and composting?" The President of the committee, Tony DeLuca, has made it very clear from the very beginning that he refuses to talk about recycling, composting or ending waste incineration. In a public statement, he said he researched waste incineration for "two weeks" and found nothing wrong with it. Tony (not even a born-raised resident), believes that RECYCLING, COMPOSTING, and ZERO WASTE goals are not a high priority. How?
I have had nothing but bizarre experiences with the Ocean City Green Team. The board members let Tony do nearly all of the talking and decision making. The agenda items are very non-green. They talk about items like bicycle lights (spent 40+ minutes), lifeguard coloring books and they hand out awards (lots of photos and press). They have a guy dressed up like a fish make random appearances and once he showed up wearing a tree (not making that up). They never discuss serious issues like rising sea levels, recycling, composting or zero waste goals. Even audience members have sent me messages citing the same complaints.
We were removed from the Green Team agenda for no reason other than "we don't have the time". How does a Green Team whose main focus is "being green" not have the time for recycling, composting or zero waste discussions? Why does more board members not stand up and say "we should be talking about this!"
Not a single board member thought the issue of recycling and use of a polluting waste incinerator was a green issue.
What can you do?
Show up at the Green Team meeting and during public comment tell them you want "recycling, composting and zero waste goals on the agenda"
Email or call Tony DeLuca and tell him you want Go Green OC items on the agenda! TDeluca@oceancitymd.gov 301.526.1946