SHORE THING: You Tell ‘Em, Ted

Cape Charles Wave

September 9, 2013

A recurring theme of critics of the Wave runs like this: “We’re tired of all the negativity. Don’t tear down; build up. If you think you can do better, then run for office. Get involved. But don’t spend your time criticizing what others are doing.”

Our critics don’t seem to have much appreciation for what’s known as the “Fourth Estate.” According to Wikipedia, the “networked Fourth Estate” can be defined as “technologies that are associated with the free press and provide a public check on the branches of government.”

Providing a public check on government is the main purpose of the Wave. In a tiny town like Cape Charles, how are you going to know what’s happening at Town Council, the Planning Commission, the Historic District Review Board, or the Wetlands and Coastal Dunes Board? Attend all the meetings as a spectator? For most people that’s just not practical. But to be an informed citizen you need to know what’s going on, and that’s where the Wave comes in. We actually report those meetings. We’re not running for office, but we are involved.

The two “real” newspapers, Eastern Shore News and Eastern Shore Post, from time to time file stories about Cape Charles, including Town Council, but those papers cover the entire Eastern Shore and don’t focus on Cape Charles. Hence the Wave.

The aforementioned papers sometimes are criticized as too “wishy-washy,” afraid to call a spade a spade. So it did our hearts good when we read the fiery opinion column by Eastern Shore News editor Ted Shockley the other week. His rebuke is directed at Accomack County supervisors after they refused to fund a new library. Shockley pointed out that the supervisors waste plenty of money through poor management. Here’s a condensation of what he wrote:


One of the problems for the Accomack County Board of Supervisors that a proposal for a new Eastern Shore Public Library presented was that it is well-conceived, meticulously planned and forward-thinking. But the Board of Supervisors, which spends about $87,000 each year renting office space for numerous county departments, just isn’t accustomed to planning for the future. They would rather waste your tax dollars by renting — renting space for the Department of Public Safety; renting offices for the Commonwealth’s Attorney; renting a building for the Planning and Zoning Department; renting an old pharmacy for the Parks and Recreation Department. There might be more. I know they also rent a parking lot for the public, right in Accomac, a town with plenty of streetside parking. You can’t make this stuff up.

And after some more well-aimed fusillades, Shockley concludes that:

The average age of the six supervisors who voted against the new library funding is something between AARP enrollment and Methusaleh. They won’t have to pay taxes on the cost of all the construction they postponed. You and I will. Start saving.

Go Ted!  And if the Shore’s largest media organization can criticize the actions of local government, why can’t the Wave?

(Click here to read the full article by Ted Shockley in the Eastern Shore News.)

SHORE THING is an occasional feature of the Cape Charles Wave.



5 Responses to “SHORE THING: You Tell ‘Em, Ted”

  1. Bob Meyers on September 9th, 2013 9:59 am

    GO WAVE!
    If you can ever find a government throughout history that could be totally trusted and did not need a method to let citizens know their government’s machinations, I feel confident you will inform your readers of the shining example devoid of all human foibles.
    Your reporting is a valuable and necessary service!

  2. Wayne Creed on September 9th, 2013 2:05 pm

    In the last few months, we have witnessed a Mayor and Town Council that have attempted to quash free speech by stalinizing the rules for public comment, and they are now attempting to limit the amount of time even a Council member can speak. If you are watching closely, you will notice that they also adjust sessions or meetings to avoid public comment, such as the upcoming PSA meeting, where they are conveniently not going release the actual sewer rates for the special business tax district until AFTER the public has had its chance to vent its anger. Of course, if the Wave happens to bring this up, then oh my, they’re just debasing our poor dedicated public servants, being so negative! Rather than being criticized for their reporting, the Wave and Ted Shockley of the Eastern Shore News should be defended for serving the purpose that the Founding Fathers defined by the Freedom of the Press clause which guarantees that people can publish any lawful material without fear of punishment by the government, even if that material is critical of the government: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom … of the press.”

  3. Patricia Lilliston on September 9th, 2013 9:40 pm

    Have been reading the WAVE for a while. Understand your intense feelings about the school, the process, and the Cape Charles town government, but don’t always read those stories all the way anymore. Hope you will start telling your readers what’s going on outside the town, and what the Northampton County government is up to — besides that foolish sewer line. A good local news source is “ShoreLine” from the Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore — you cover the town, they cover the county and the Shore. (, the “Newsletter” )

    The county Supervisors are pretending the sea level isn’t rising, that people don’t care how they spend their tax money, that nobody notices the schools are failing, and that the rules of good government don’t apply to them anymore, because nobody’s watching. I hope the WAVE starts covering some county meetings too — and not just when Cape Charles’ hair is on fire.

    “ShoreLine” is not just a good news source, it’s a GREAT source! Thank goodness for its dedicated writers and CBES volunteers. The Wave has reprinted an article from ShoreLine before (click here), and will request permission to do so again whenever articles deal with Cape Charles. If there is a competent writer out there willing to report for the Wave on Northampton County meetings (including school board meetings), we will gladly print the stories. Over the past year we’ve had some spot reports, but nothing consistent. Any takers? These reports don’t write themselves. –EDITOR

  4. Deborah Bender on September 10th, 2013 12:05 am

    I wonder if anyone will smack Ted down for going after the Accomack Board of Supervisors the way anyone criticizing our fair town council for their wrongdoings gets slapped around?

  5. Mary Finney on September 10th, 2013 1:14 pm

    It would be nice if the ES News would cover Northampton, and especially Cape Charles, administration as thoroughly as it does Accomack County.