Rehoboth Beach, Del. is a vibrant community. After last year’s contentious election its government is moving forward in the right direction and this year’s election on Aug. 11 gives voters the chance to keep it moving in the direction they voted for last year.
For the first time in 30 years, Rehoboth elected a new mayor, Paul Kuhns. Along with him voters elected Kathy McGuiness and Lisa Schlosser, both of whom are committed to ensuring changes were made making Rehoboth’s government more transparent and responsive to the people. This year voters have the opportunity to elect two commissioners to join them and help keep those commitments. I have reviewed the three candidates’ platforms and asked each whether they are committed to working to continue the direction voters chose last year. Two, Pat Coluzzi and Richard Byrne are fully committed to doing that.
There are many concerns voters I spoke with are still raising. They like Main Street being revitalized and want the city to continue to give it strong support. They want more focus on issues relating to the still too many vacant storefronts in town. Some continue to ask why Rehoboth doesn’t have the effective marketing campaign other resorts do and why there is no social media campaign touting Rehoboth.
I have been coming to Rehoboth for over 35 years and have owned a home just outside of town for 20 years. What happens within the city limits of Rehoboth impacts all our lives, including the value of our homes. Having been involved in government and politics during my career it is evident the Commission should be starting the discussion regarding replacing the city manager. That individual is responsible for running the city on a day-to-day basis and should be spreading the word about it to others. They must motivate and direct all city employees. Rehoboth needs a dynamic individual to help modernize Rehoboth’s infrastructure, use staff effectively, and work collaboratively not only with the commission but with every segment of the community, as well as state and local government, to ensure Rehoboth remains the vital beach community everyone living here and visiting wants it to be.
Pat Coluzzi served on the Commission from 2007 to 2013 and is committed to seeing the city move forward. Pat thinks creatively and knows how to bring people together. She began the implementation of the Bicycle Master Plan providing for more bike racks and safety signs on the roads. She instigated the plan for modernizing payment for parking with ParkMobile. She is the founder of the Rehoboth Beach Farmers’ Market and is a former Planning Commissioner. She has a proven record of working with both state and county legislators and identifying and pursuing grants for creative projects like providing solar energy for city buildings. Pat has a 30-year career in information technology and has owned property in Rehoboth since 1994. She and her partner have been full-time residents since 2002. She is committed to developing more public-private partnerships and says, “finding solutions to complex problems requires bringing together all segments of the community including individual business owners and longtime homeowners, the non-profit community and the Chamber of Commerce.”
Richard Byrne and his wife Sherri have been coming to Rehoboth for more than 25 years. They bought their home in 2002 and have lived in Rehoboth full time since 2009. Dick has more than 30 years of experience in education, running university extension programs in Maryland and Minnesota. Those programs required collaboration among citizens, volunteers, youth, community organizations and working with county and state agencies. Dick is currently president of the Sussex Family YMCA Board of Governors, a member of the Delaware YMCA Association Board of Directors, president of the Park Place Homeowners Association and immediate past vice president of the DE SPCA. He chairs the City of Rehoboth Beach Animal Issues Committee, serves on the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Trees, and chairs Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf’s RD Committee.
Dick understands the complex issues of ensuring both business owners and residential property owners can live in harmony. He said, “I want to ensure appropriate short- and long-range planning to preserve and maintain the uniqueness that has made the City of Rehoboth Beach so special for so many decades.” He supports “Rehoboth’s historic neighborhoods and residential housing, its parks, as well as its restaurants, thriving businesses, great theater, and mile-long boardwalk for residents and visitors alike.”
I urge the voters of Rehoboth Beach to complete the transformation they began last year with the election of Kuhns, McGuiness and Schlosser by electing Pat Coluzzi and Richard Byrne to join them on the Commission.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.