Thou Shall Not Put The Ocean Behind A Paywall

Photo by WEEGEE

BY JONATHAN VALANIA FOR THE PHILLY POST As you may have heard, a bipartisan pair of New Jersey lawmakers are sponsoring a bill (S-2368) that offers the Garden State’s dazed and shattered shore towns a Hobson’s choice: Accept public funds to restore beaches from the ravages of superstorm Sandy and forfeit the right to charge beachgoers an admission price in the form of beach tags OR don’t take a dime of public money and charge at will. Also, if you do choose to take the taxpayers’ money, you MUST provide seaside public restrooms, which would put an end to incontinent shoobies doing the barefoot peepee dance for five blocks on a hot skillet of sidewalk only to get to the 7-11 and be told by the obligatory pimply kid behind the register reading Juggs that the bathroom is for employees only, asshat.

This bill has, as you can imagine, ruffled a lot of feathers down the shore. There is a lot of money at stake. Cape May alone pulls in a cool $2 million a year in beach tag fees which is roughly what civic leaders claim it costs to maintain two miles of beach.  A coalition of shore town mayors and public officials have vowed to fight S-2368 to the death. And if they lose, there will be terrible consequences. “If this bill passes, we will probably have to close all our beaches to the public because we just won’t have the money to pay for lifeguards anymore,” Cape May Point Deputy Mayor Anita van Heeswyk told the Inquirer.

My reaction, as a lifelong Jersey shore daytripper — if you call me a ‘shoobie,’ I WILL cut you —  is twofold.

First, you can’t have it both ways. Yes, I know God recently tried to erase you from the face of the Earth — for reasons I don’t even want to know, that’s between you and him. But you stood your ground, and I applaud your dogged tenacity. Like I always say, New Jersey never did know when to give up. Still, you simply cannot take money from the pockets of taxpayers to restore your beaches — on top of the $50 billion in FEMA funds taxpayers are shelling out to fix your beach houses —  and then turn around and demand a cover charge from said taxpayers for the privilege of using the beaches they just paid to fix. MORE