The real Friends Of Dewey: Stand up

January 3, 2013

I am writing in response to the letter "Why do they call themselves 'Friends of Dewey'" that was written by former Dewey Beach Commissioner Marty Seitz published Dec. 21. It is very arrogant of Mr. Seitz to address, by name, the few people who have fought to keep this town the way it always has been, is, and should be.

After being a resident in this town for 10 years I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know those you have named in your letter to the editor.  I have met them, worked alongside them, and became close friends with them over the years because these are the people I continually interact with as members of our community and while volunteering at community events.

Here is why I believe they deservedly call themselves Friends of Dewey:

Claire Walsh, daughter of one of the town’s founders and a former commissioner herself. Claire has worked in a family business here in town and now is dedicating her professional career to helping people battling severe illness through her role at Delaware Hospice. She has lived in this town since before it was incorporated and is raising her daughter here. She exemplifies everything Dewey has been and should be. Great friend of Dewey.

Former Commissioner Jim Laird and his wife, Betty.  It is particularly interesting to me that you would single out Jim Laird, since you actually ran for commissioner with him in 2010.  You also were a commissioner when Betty was selected to chair the search committee for a new town manager.  Jim and Betty continue to devote themselves to the well-being of Dewey. Despite watching their gorgeous retirement bayside home flood during Sandy, they  have prevailed, corrected damages, and proceeded with smiles and wishful hope for the well-being of their beloved beach town. Phenomenal friends of Dewey.

Kelly Ranieri, former teacher of the year representing the Cape Henlopen School District. In addition to her full-time teaching responsibilities, Kelly has led countless nonprofit events in town and on the beach to raise funds for local police and lifeguards. She is the executive director of the Dewey Business Partnership that helps generate and promote local businesses year round to boost this economy, including the town’s first arts festival. Kelly also facilitates many kid-friendly events that benefit the few families that live here year round. A best friend of Dewey.

Denise Campbell and Mark Allen, pillars of this community! Both of them also served on town committees during your tenure as commissioner, so it baffles me why you would criticize them now.  So concerned with the future of our little town they ran and funded a campaign to get Denise in the seat she very much belongs in, the commissioner seat. Having nothing but the best interest of town in their eyes, they have dealt with flooding of their home and losing a vehicle because of recent storms and they have overcome, strongly. Taking the high road, they dealt with erroneous stories from Citizens to Preserve Dewey during the election about Denise’s history with companies she worked hard for and the twisted tales they told.

Despite losing the election, they stay strong in their feat to protect Dewey and progress it as an inclusive community that represents all stakeholders. Mark and Denise? Friends of Dewey.

So that, Mr. Seitz, is why they call themselves Friends of Dewey. Because, the difference between a "friend" and "citizen" is the difference between service and entitlement. Friends of Dewey sincerely cares for this community and partners with the Dewey Beach Civic League and the Dewey Business Partnership to make Dewey a better place.

Your organization is full of criticism, but short on solutions. And, when others choose not to agree with you, rather than debate the issues, you resort to personal attacks versus working together to find a better solution for all. Isn’t that give and take what friendship is all about?

I would love to ask the CPD members what exactly is their purpose at our next community event that benefits the town, but if history is any indicator… you (and they) won’t be there. Time for a change.

William Douglass
Dewey Beach

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