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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Point Pleasant Beach, NJ: A Capitalist Libertarian's Conundrum

The Personal Background You May Not Be Interested In

I grew up about three miles from the Atlantic Ocean in the part of New Jersey people visit to escape the ugly places they come from up north. When I was a little kid people who knew how to behave themselves in public went to Point Pleasant to enjoy the ocean and boardwalk; everyone else went to Seaside, which is a few miles down the road. Of course, when I was a little kid you could win clackers and albums on the boardwalk and we made fun of people like Snooki and The Situation instead of trying to emulate them. But I digress.

As a matter of full disclosure, by my teenage years I went to Seaside instead of Point Pleasant. You kids today have nothing on my generation when it comes to not behaving well in public (we could drink at 18 and we all know how that worked out). And anyway, stay off my lawn.

Point Pleasant Bar Owners Work Overtime to Kill The Fatted Calf

Come on. Why respect your neighbors?
 Everyone wants to be like Snooki.
It's the Jersey Shore for crying out loud.
Taken on Seaside Heights boardwalk.
Courtesy Business Insider.
Point was a nice little town that kept its prices high, to, well, make it hard for the riff-raff to afford going there. But somehow the riff-raff discovered the two main bars on the boardwalk and now Point Pleasant sucks -- at least to the people who live there and have to deal with hordes of drunken fools urinating, fighting and defecating on their properties all summer long. (Yes, that's right, some homeowners have had to clean up human feces from their porches. Still siding with the people you drink with on the boardwalk?)

Meanwhile, the bars rake in tons of money.

The Politics of Behaving Badly

You know how I constantly preach about your rights being sacred until they interfere with mine? Point Pleasant, NJ, is a perfect example of that.

The borough council passed a measure this week mandating bars within the borough close at midnight, effective July 1. A provision within the ordinance allowing bars to stay open until 2:00AM for a fee paid to the borough to provide additional security was tabled until June 12. The affected establishments had offered $800,000 over five years to the borough to pay for security, but they also shot themselves in their collective feet by filing a lawsuit against the borough over a parking matter, negating any goodwill they might have garnered, shutting down goodwill negotiations.
While some employees are worried they might lose their jobs because of the shorter hours, residents in the area are mostly just hoping drunken patrons don't have to pee real bad before midnight.

As much as the owners of the establishments and their patrons may not be happy about the move to a 12:00 AM closing time, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Government becomes necessary when fools and low-functioning adults are not able to maintain a sense of civility and propriety. The property owners in Point Pleasant Beach deserve the same peace and protection people who own homes in non-resort towns deserve. Business owners who earn a profit by attracting people who are not respectful of the rights of others have no reason to complain when they're taken to task for their irresponsibility.
These people, enjoying the Jersey Shore circa 1910,
may seem quaint to you, but at least they
 had the common decency not to poop
on other people's property.

While this was going on, the owners had the collective poor business sense to sue the town to overturn existing ordinances restricting free parking. There is plenty of available metered parking, but the establishments are suing the borough to overturn restrictions that allow only residents to park on borough streets from midnight to 6:00AM. That they turned a deaf ear to the problems being caused by their businesses while at the same time demanding the residents and borough government bend over even further backwards for them is laughable -- and a good example of the complete disregard the boardwalk businesses show the year-round residents.

Finally, A Government Action That Actually Helps the Governed

The people who live near the boardwalk are being asked to suffer the idiotic behavior of people who can't handle their alcohol so a few business owners can profit. I like profit. I like business. I don't like businesses that turn a blind eye to the problems they cause. Generally I would support letting the dollars of the affected do the talking by walking away from these businesses, but the simple fact is neither the patrons nor the businesses have any ties to the community so what the hell do they care how about body functions on private property? The borough government was left with no option other than to step in and lessen the time the behaving public has to deal with the miscreant public. The business owners may argue that they do indeed have ties to the community, but the proof of that is not there -- unless of course they behave the same way in their neighborhoods that their drunken clientele behaves in Point Pleasant Beach.

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