Common Sense For Belmar Liberty Begins At Home

April 24, 2010

Killjoy Beach, 07719

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:56 pm

Summer will soon be upon us. The days are getting warmer and longer, the flowers are blossoming, the birds are busily constructing their nests, and the Pringle administration is busily enacting laws to restrict our freedom, ruin our summer fun and generally take the joy out of life for many of us.
The first item on their agenda is to criminalize the use of any barbecue within five feet of your house if you rent your house and the owner doesn’t live in the same house. I would be willing to wager that ninety percent of the barbecues in Belmar and any other town are within five feet of the house. Mine is three feet and seven inches. I use it several times a week, even in the winter. My house has not burned down even one time. If I were renting my house I would be a criminal. For a great many people, especially apartment dwellers, it is not possible to have the grill that far away from the building. For them there will be no more grilling. What do our wise and all knowing officials recommend for those folks if they want barbecued food? Go to a restaurant. Thanks. Will they pick up the tab? And isn’t the fire in your fireplace (in your living room) even “closer” to your house than your barbecue? I’m sitting within five feet of my fireplace right now. Will we next have to move our chimneys five feet from our houses? 

They have also renewed their unreasonable and mean spirited policy of apartheid for smokers on the beach. I hope someday scientists discover the “smoking” gene so we can prove that we can’t help ourselves and that they should stop harassing us. Those of us with the habit must leave our friends, family and children and walk across the hot sand to a cage next to the boardwalk, then stand in it in the hot sun to enjoy our cigarettes. It’s a huge inconvenience and it’s demeaning as well.  I hope smokers will have the self-respect to ignore this unjust law, just as the renting barbecuers are sure to do with their prohibition.

I would like to offer this challenge to the control freaks at  601 Main St. Let’s do a little experiment in democracy. On the even-numbered beaches allow any activity that’s legal to do in public. On the odd-numbered beaches let the mayor and council enforce any curtailments they desire. We can start with the various restrictions they’ve already enacted, such as those against the use of tobacco, boogie boards, Frisbees, balls (!), radios, and large coolers. And then there’s this gem: ” No person shall model or design in the sand or upon any of the material upon the beachfront, except with written consent obtained prior thereto from the Borough Council. Such consent shall designate where such modeling shall be done and shall be revocable at the will of the Borough Council.”  Are they referring to sand castles?

Then we can add the restrictions that no doubt are coming, such as a ban on plastic bottles, and anything else that could conceivably end up as litter. And just to keep us safe they could outlaw umbrellas, which can fly away on windy days and hurt somebody. To prevent the resultant sunburns and skin cancer, they can require the mandatory use of sunscreen (in a bio-degradable container of course).    

Which beaches do you think will be more popular? My guess is that the even-numbered free beaches will be far more crowded than the odd-numbered repressed beaches, especially if all the laws on the repressed beaches are strictly enforced.  On the free beaches the people who want to use boogie boards will tolerate the radio listeners. The people who want to play with a ball will tolerate the Frisbee users. And we smokers will have to tolerate (gasp!) sandcastle builders.

Americans are by nature a tolerant people. We usually manage to get along with each other quite nicely on our own. It is the politicians who insist on dividing us up into groups and then pitting us against each other, destroying our freedom in the process. We all have a natural right to be left alone. Let’s require the politicians to respect that right.

April 22, 2010

Clarification

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:29 am

On March 1 I posted a column titled “Government Restaurants and  Private Industry Streetlights?” in which I said that the town was building a restaurant on the 9th Ave pier and that commercial property owners were being forced to pay for new streetlights and sidewalks. Regrettably, I had a couple of my facts wrong.

I have been told that the town is leasing the land for the restaurant and that the physical structure will be erected by the lease holder. This is the right way to go. As I’ve said before, I would be more comfortable with the town leasing out the entire marina instead of having the distraction of trying to run it itself. As for the streetlights and sidewalks, I thought they were part of the ” Physical commercial transformation – resulting in clean, aesthetically charming commercial buildings with curb appeal and landscaping that serve as a market brand, while allowing stores to feature their unique goods and services” described on Belmar’s web page about the SID. They are actually being paid for (with mostly borrowed money) by the town (you and I, eventually).  I still believe it is imprudent to spend several hundred thousand dollars on purely aesthetic improvements at a time of great economic and budgetary uncertainty, but if they must do it it should be paid for with public funds.

I encourage my readers to report any inaccuracies they may find in my writings. I will make the corrections cheerfully and without hesitation.

April 18, 2010

Traffic Ticket Camera Debate in Today’s APP

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 8:14 am

Three cheers for Mayor Edward Engelbart of Pequannock Township, who took the “no” side in the “Hot Topic” debate in today’s Press (@ISSUE section). He ended his article with:

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What this will do is separate people from government. And I think that when government becomes too separated from people and too impersonal, it is bad.

Using cameras of any kind to enforce driving regulations is not the way to go. What that will do is exacerbate the individual’s resentment toward law enforcement and government. And it could lead to more disrespect and mistrust of both. That would not be good.

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Mayor Engelbart, when you’re done mayor’n up there in Pequannock can you come down and do some mayor’n for us here in Belmar?

Opining for Big-Brother is Democrat Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, who offers up the usual twaddle about how safe we’ll all be with government cameras watching us whenever we leave our houses. I pointed out in a recent post that there is no conclusive evidence that red light cameras make us any safer. The evidence actually suggests the opposite, an increase in accidents. But even if you accept the arguments of the pro-snooping crowd, is it worth it?

On this issue I am of similar mind to Thomas Jefferson, who said:

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I prefer dangerous liberty to safe tyranny.

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Of course if Jefferson were to run for public office today he would immediately be branded by the establishment as “unelectable”.

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April 15, 2010

4,620 New State Laws

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:23 am

That’s right. 4620. That’s how many new laws are on the dock for the 2010-2011 legislative session. That’s actually down from previous years when the total ran into the 8000s. Obviously not all will be passed. I would like to see none of them passed. See the full list here

Are things in NJ so wild and untamed that we need 4620 new laws to control us? This is insane. I don’t know if I would want a total of 4620 laws in the entire country. We need to start electing people who will promise to not only to not make any new laws, but to start repealing a large portion of the laws we already have.

Think about it. Thirty years ago (which was probably more than 25,000 laws ago) was life so terrible here? Would anyone describe the New Jersey of 1980 as chaotic or ungoverned? I don’t exactly remember it as being like the wild west.

Let’s go back. Let’s hit the re-set button. Repeal every law created since 1980. It was a better state then.

April 10, 2010

Breaking News! First Amendment Respected in Seaside!

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:42 am

Seaside Heights Borough Administrator John A. Camera on the decision by the producers of the show (whose name must never be uttered) to return to Seaside Heights this season:

You can never deny somebody a permit to shoot in your town based on content unless it’s nudity or illegal. It’s the First Amendment; everybody has the right to shoot. The only thing we can do is try to make it the kind of thing that doesn’t cause problems

Smokers’ Rights! My Letter To The State Senate And State Assembly Regarding The Proposed Ban On Smoking At Beaches And State Parks.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:39 am

I submitted this letter to be read into testimony at any hearings regarding this latest assault on smokers’ rights in New Jersey.

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 I strongly urge you to reject any proposal to ban smoking on state property such as beaches and parks. Any such law would take part of the joy out of life for smokers in New Jersey who enjoy the outdoors.

 We are already paying you the highest tobacco tax in the country (and, along with our non-smoking neighbors, the highest other taxes too). I really think we are already being sufficiently punished for our sins.

People are not leaving the state because we haven’t yet banned smoking in parks and on beaches. All of the top states that New Jerseyians flee to happen to be more smoker friendly than our state. People are moving out precisely because of laws like this. They don’t want to pay more taxes and they don’t want  you to seize more control over their lives. Your job as a member of state government is to protect my freedom, not dismantle it. Please concentrate on solving our financial problems and please refrain from dictating to me how I should live my life. We didn’t elect you to be our mommies and daddies.

I live in Belmar and work in Newark. I go through that long commute because I love the beach. What I want to do is relax at the water’s edge and watch my young daughters play in the ocean. And yes, enjoy an occasional cigarette. I never litter (even in Newark) and I stay downwind of any nearby non-smokers. In the course of opposing local restrictions on smoking I calculated that in order to comply with a smoking ban I would have to walk a total of over a mile across hot sand on a typical beach day. I am 53 years old and my knees hurt. Do you really want to do this to me? Please show some compassion. The smoking ban here has ruined one of my favorite things in life. I am still opposing it and hope to change it. If you pass this law I might as well give up and find a friendlier place to live.

I don’t use our state parks much but I am quite sure that smokers who enjoy hiking are similarly distressed. How can you go for a hike if you have to leave the park every time you want to enjoy a smoke? It’s impossible.

The science used in government-funded second hand smoke studies is highly questionable and needs to be further scrutinized. A federal judge actually vacated a 1993 EPA report on second hand smoke because of the corrupt science that was employed. It is my opinion that smokers are the victims of a ruthless propaganda campaign in this country, but even if there were some truth in these reports there is no place on earth better ventilated than the beach. If the wide open and breezy beach is still too enclosed to suit you where is left for we smokers to go? Outer space?

Littering is bad and all littering should be discouraged and, when possible, punished. Smokers could do a better job of not annoying nearby non-smokers, but there is no right not to be annoyed. There are all sorts of activities that people find annoying. I’m sure many people who find smokers annoying annoy other people in other ways. Will you outlaw all activities that someone might be annoyed by?

This law will remove one of life’s great pleasures for a great many of your constituents. You must respect people’s right to pursuit of happiness even if they find happiness in a lifestyle you wouldn’t necessarily choose for yourself.

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Please contact Loretta Weinberg, chairwoman of the Senate Health and Human Services committee here and Matthew Milan, chairman of the Assembly Tourism and the Arts committee here. Our Senator, Sean Kean, happens also to be on the Health and Human Services committee. He can be contacted here. Please tell them that they’ve already done quite enough to make life miserable for residents of the state, smokers and non-smokers alike. Ask them to respect our right to be left alone and to kill this bill.

April 1, 2010

The People’s Marina

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:13 am

We are always being told that the marina lowers our taxes but ask ten residents of Belmar if they know by how much and you’ll have ten people who have no idea. The answer would be difficult to ascertain unless you’re a CPA with some free time on your hands. Sure, we know there is revenue from the slips and other facilities, but there is large debt to service and other expenses. With the pending improvements it will only get more complicated. Consider all the money being invested in the marina, plus the value of the property itself. There needs to be more accountability. I think the town needs to do a better job of informing the residents of just how much they each are benefited. Here is how I would do it:

The marina should be operated as an entirely separate entity from the municipal government. Any profits that are generated after expenses and service on the debt should be distributed in the form of dividend checks directly to the good people of Belmar. Alaska does this with part of the revenues from oil leases on state land. It mails a yearly dividend check to each legal resident of the state. It’s called the Alaska Permanent Fund and it enjoys 100% support from Alaskans. The reason why it was set up was to make sure a sizable portion of the oil bonanza directly benefited the people instead of being spent politically.

With every adult legal resident of Belmar knowing exactly how much they are benefited, they will pay more attention to the marina. This can only be a good thing. If it doesn’t return enough on it’s considerable assets and improvements under it’s current management, maybe we can look at other ways to exploit this valuable resource, such as a giving a private investor a 50 year lease with development rights. Any improvements they make, such as a condos, apartments or restaurants on the site, would increase our property tax revenues without adding many children to our school. The lease revenue, however, should be enjoyed directly by the people.

I never bothered asking ten people if they knew how much the marina saved them. I did, however, ask a lot more than ten people what they thought of my plan to send dividend checks directly to the people. Turns out the idea is as popular here as it is in Alaska.

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