To the Editor:
I have been a full-time, year-round resident of Wildwood Crest since 2013. I consider the Crest to be well-administered, maintained, served, and proactive in its governance.
One of the outcomes of this governance I appreciate and value is the family-oriented nature of its environment. This is especially true during the vacation season.
The beaches are well-kept, guarded, and policed; the policies of no pets, curtailed smoking, and no alcohol contribute to a healthy, well-behaved, and friendly experience.
I know that alcohol is long known as a social lubricant. It contributes to the joie de vivre (joy of living) of the moment. Thus, I read with close interest the commissioners’ remarks recorded at their Aug. 5 meeting.
I agree with Commissioners Gould and Thompson. It is not easy saying “no” to those who want permission to have alcohol at beach events, even those “after hours,” but I admire their willingness to do so. To me, they are looking at the big picture and not just the interests of special interests, large or small.
These two commissioners, in my opinion, are helping to preserve a social environment that supports a key element in our society, one that is under assault morally, economically, socially, and politically by all kinds of special interests, intended or not.
That element is the American family. Just like the wildlife that we work hard to protect in their natural habitats at the shore, the family deserves its sanctuary where it can relax, be safe, and not be challenged by behaviors brought on by the use of alcohol in large public settings.
I recognize that some are going to “sneak” beer or spirits onto the beach and drink furtively; the ordinance is being violated in some measure every day, but the fact that the ordinance exists is a retardant to open and excessive drinking on our beaches.
It makes it easier to police, when necessary. The no-alcohol ordinance also establishes a social norm that can be pointed to, much like the wearing of masks in public during the pandemic for the public welfare.
I also caution my fellow citizens that a successful referendum allowing our commissioners to issue licenses for the sale of alcohol opens a Pandora’s box. Once such a referendum is passed, the power to control the sale and distribution of alcohol passes from the resident and citizen into the hands of commissioners, who will be subject to pressures and wrangles of special interests that would be economic and not necessarily social-minded.
The issue of controlling sales and consumption becomes a slippery slope. The sanctuary for safe and untroubled American family vacations, a gift that Wildwood Crest provides, will be impacted.
Do we, the ordinary citizens with families, want to remove that restraint? Will the economic interests of the borough really suffer if it continues with its current policy of no alcohol on its public beaches?
Are nearby beverage stores not sufficiently convenient for those who want to consume their spirits privately in their own personal setting? Would not the marketing of Wildwood Crest’s pro-family policies and ordinances be a strong and unique economic incentive if properly advertised?
We have one square mile of publicly alcohol-free community to offer our fellow Americans for the benefit of their families. Is this asking too much?
I like an occasional drink as much as the next person, but I appreciate the pro-family environment Wildwood Crest provides. I would hate to see that put at risk.
For this reason, I will be watching my commissioners carefully, as their public conversation continues on this important subject. I advise my fellow borough residents to do the same.