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Killjoy Beach, 07719

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.

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