Good column by St. Augustine Record columnist Bob Tis. I agree wholeheartedly. See my comments, below. Read my 21 questions here: http://cleanupcityofstaugustine.blogspot.com/2018/03/21-questions-for-st-augustine-beach.html
SMOOTH SAILIN’: Beach parking has makings of a Shakespearean tragedy
By Bob Tis
Posted at 2:01 AM
April 9, 2018
St. Augustine Record
Please allow me to shake off my left flip-flop and use my big toe to draw a line in the sand this morning.
Somebody, anybody, must watch the back of the beachgoer in this community. Why? Because it is hard enough to get to the beach already. First off, you have to carve out the time and hope the weather is cooperative. If you have kids and old people in your life, well you might as well be herding cats if you want to organize a beach trip.
So, let’s just say it is you and maybe a friend who want to step out to the beach for some quiet time ... you know, just a quick mini-vacation on the sand in the middle of the day at St. Augustine Beach. Well, if your knees and back are anything like mine you are going to need a chair. And you know what, if you are going to be spending a few hours by the ocean you will be a lot more comfortable with an umbrella. And who doesn’t want to have a little lunch at the beach? And if you are going to go to the trouble of making a sandwiches you will require some salty chips. Which means you are going to have to pack the cooler with some ice cold drinks. I love having my stuff at the beach, so if I know a few friends will be able to join me I usually bring my unwieldy dome tent. You can get crispy out there even with sunscreen on.
One special beach tip from me this morning is to bring a small pit shovel, if you can. It is handy to dig a little hole in the sand for your umbrella. I like to bring my putter and few golf balls to the beach and use the hard sand as a putting green. Digging golf holes is just another of the many jobs your pit shovel will be handy for. It is true I sometimes lug more toys than some to the beach but not as many as others. I don’t go to the beach without my boogie board and a Frisbee in the car. So yes, it takes a bit of planning.
The last thing any of us beach people need is to make this seasonal dance any more complicated. Many of us in the Crescent Beach area noted that Butler Park East parking lot absolutely filled up with cars during a recent Spring Break weekend. This happens on Memorial Day and sometimes on July 4, but this kind of jam up in the lot, so early in the season, was startling. Beware the ides of March the soothsayer warned us.
But that parking kerfuffle was nowhere near as scary as the St. Augustine Beach Commission talking about charging for public spaces by the beach last week. Like I said, it is hard enough to get there already. Even the new mayor, Undine George, spoke in favor of adopting some kind of application for your phone to pay for parking. All I can say is Et tu, Undine?
This is the same local attorney who wanted St. Augustine Beach residents to pay for her health insurance because she goes to a couple of meetings a month at City Hall. And I had such high hopes for this local politician. I thought she was one of the people, for the people. Now she wants us all to get an app for our phone to pay for beach parking?
This may sound dramatic but I think this is worse than Brutus stabbing Caesar. We live by the beach because we want to go to the beach. Make it easier on us, not harder. The tourists will come and money will be extracted from them, please don’t try and nickel and dime us.
Governments are formed to serve and protect the community. At one point the community is going to realize they don’t need a bunch of local mucky mucks meeting once a month to discuss how to tax us out of existence. The St. Augustine Beach city government could be dissolved just like it was in Hastings. St. Johns County could easily fill their shoes and save the locals a lot of money and trouble.
So go ahead, Brutus, cross that line.
Bob Tis is a former Record reporter.