Ocean City, MD Mayor Rick Meehan issued a statement saying he’ll work hard to make sure H2OI 2020 does NOT happen in his town.
Editors note (Sept 27,2020:) This was posted last year on Sept 29,2019! I am getting a lot of new visitors to this blog post and I hope you don’t assume this was posted in 2020.
Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan watched first hand, again, as his beloved Oceanside town suddenly grew to unprecedented numbers thanks to hundreds of thousands of car enthusiasts coming in for the unofficial H2OI 2019 gathering.
In a statement issued on Facebook earlier this morning (Sept. 29, 2019) Mayor Rick Meehan first thanked his local police force for doing everything in their power to keep law and order then outlined a tentative plan to effectively stop H2OI 2020 from happening.
Read his statement below, you’ll have to “click more” to see the entire statement.
If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that, from thousands of miles away I’ve blogged about a handful of the most important events of H2Oi 2019, often involving police.
Compared to last year’s event coverage, this year’s H2OI 2019 festivities took it up a notch.
All relevant statistics pertaining to this weekend will presumably go up and estimates for how many people arrived, how many arrests OCPD made, the amount of tickets doled out etc. will surpass 2018.
It’s a trend that, if not unchecked, will grow even more in 2020.
But, as a car enthusiast, the Mayor’s statement is an overreaction that sheds a negative light on the car enthusiasts in general.
Looking at preliminary estimates of injuries suffered by OCPD officers, according to Delmarvanow.com,
“At least one officer was struck by a rock,” Miller (OCPD Spokesman) wrote in an email. “One crowd member jumped on an OCPD vehicle.”
There were no injuries to officers, she added.
That sounds like an uneventful weekend in Oakland too me.
Overworked and stretched to thin, sure. But to call car enthusiasts coming this weekend hellbent on just destruction is an overstatement.
Attendees suffered most of the injuries.
Although no local news is reporting significant property damage, I’m sure dozens of Ocean City properties from as small as a fire hydrant to private properties in hotels suffered damage consistent with a sudden influx of people in an otherwise quiet beach town.
I’ve seen at least one video of someone popping open a fire hydrant on an Ocean City street.
Taking a bird’s-eye view, Ocean City is, for most of the year, uneventful with a smattering of artsy beach events, that one classic car show that comes into town, and a handful of wine tastings.
The town only has 7,000+ people when nothing’s happening.
H2OI is a statistical anomaly that throws off the balance of the town, this year’s H2OI being a highlight.
To hint that H2OI 2020 will not happen is probably not a healthy response.
The unsilent majority, business owners in the area, local towing companies, and everyone that enjoys a cash injection thanks to all the ticketing that went on for over 72 hours, won’t be vocal against their mayor but probably won’t support measures to close the town down for one weekend.
I’d bet this weekend probably just put a couple business owner’s kids through four years at Cornell.
Declaring a State of Emergency is for hurricanes, hate-filled riots, and environmental disasters. This is just thousands of 18-24-year-old’s and their cars. To even consider a SOE sounds like a mayor who has no control over his own town.
By cutting off H2OI 2020, Ocean City is potentially missing out on turning something they see as a negative into something positive. H2OI has a known date and the city can prepare accordingly.
H2OI is a part of Ocean City’s history, is probably the best thing to happen to that small town in decades, and to deny people coming in next year is a mistake.
We’ll see how it all plays out on a local, county, and state level as the months go on.