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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Letters to the Editor Make us Feel Good About Ourselves

Make us Feel Good About Ourselves

Dear Editor,
This past Monday our town Council went ahead and made a motion to pass an ordinance that will make certain people feel good about themselves. A no smoking ban on Carolina Beach is a noble attempt at being Politically Correct. When I was Chairman of the North End Committee, learned a lot about people with agendas. When they want to promote a pet peeve or cause of action, they will tell you that they are protecting animals, the elderly, or children. I mean I'm against beating baby seals, keeping fish that you catch that you won't eat, or even, leaving small children in a unattended vehicles. These are all indefensible acts. That doesn't mean I need to rally like-minded people and pressure town council into making laws about them. Why, because its common sense. It’s common sense in today's and age that smoking could be harmful to your health. With that being said, to ban the activity as a whole is pushing big brother down everybody's throat. Here are some of the other REAL problems with this act of tree hugginess. Though I applaud the people that have been out cleaning up the beach after people who are lazy and disrespectful to us the locals by polluting our beaches, why did they not ban soda, beer or drink cans, plastic or paper wrappers or beach toys of any sort.
These are all things found littering our beach as well as many other items. They didn't ask for a ban on those things. That's because that's not their pet peeve, Smoking is.
They probably still want to be able to drink beverages and allow themselves or their children to bring beach toys or even eat something wrapped up from the boardwalk or their favorite restaurant.
So is it really about protecting the beach from pollution or is it that they don't want other people smoking around them. Another thing I found when I was involved with the North End is that people love to control other people and do not want to take responsibility for their own actions or decisions.
When I am at the beach whether it's at hamlet or out at the north end I am surrounded by people. I choose to go to a public beach. That means I have already accepted the fact that I might not enjoy all of their company but they have just as much right to be there as me.
If I don't like their actions, their foul language or their loud music, I get up and move or pack my truck and move. Sometimes I have had my music loud and someone politely asked me to turn it down. If someone is smoking and I don't like it I can get up and move. No one is making me stay there. When I choose to go to the beach, I decide that day what's best for my family and me. Here is another dirty little secret; I don't have to go to the beach. I could go to a pool that's privately owned. I could go to a beach that's privately owned. I could go to a beach at the outer banks and drive to where there are no people.
So what’s happening is there are a group of people that don't like what another group of people are doing and instead of taking responsibility for themselves in which they knew those people could be there enjoying the beach like themselves they are going to force those people to do what they want them to do. That's like if the people that do smoke make the other people smoke. Well you say that behavior is offensive to me but what if the smokers thought that by you not smoking was offensive.
Lets get back to Council about some other REAL problems with this motion.
1. I sat there Tuesday night and listened to the town attorney read the statue that says the local municipalities do no have the authority to make such an ordinance. She also warned them of setting themselves up for a lawsuit if they pursed the matter of passing a ban on smoking.
Let's hope that some deep pocket RJ Reynolds fat cat doesn't catch wind of the newly founded power we just gave ourselves and drag the town of CB into court to squash the ban on smoking like slapping a yellow fly off the back of your leg.
2. So they go ahead a make the motion to move forward on passing legislation that they have no legislative authority to do. Talk about an overreach of govt.
3. If the Council and the small group of activist (many of which do not live here ((which I based on listening to the addresses of the people who spoke for the ban at council Tuesday night)), were really serious about pollution and or smoking they would have banned it the areas that the town council actually has authority to do so. IE; Mike Chappell Park where our children play soccer and skateboard, play basketball and tennis.
The Lake where many people use it for exercise, our farmers market and where our children watch free movies on Sunday evenings, or one of my favorite things to do; feed the ducks.
I can’t tell you how many times we were feeding them and they kept picking up cigg. butts thinking it was the bread we were feeding them. What about the boardwalk? Where our children are there many nights during the week including family night and fireworks. But they didn't because that's not what the activist's pet peeve was.
4. Council sets precedent by making a futuristic law on land that they don't have the authority too. The law has no teeth because they can’t enact it, there aren't any funds for it, and there isn't anybody to enforce it.
What will be the next futuristic law that council will pass to make us feel good about ourselves?
5. This ban is a big deal for many reasons on many levels. This type of decision should go to the people of the beach and should be put on the November ballot. That's what everybody should be lobbying for. This way the decision would not be compromised by people who do not live in our town. If the town’s people wanted it, our council could then lobby our state reps for the authority to enact it.
Instead I believe we are not giving our state representatives the respect they deserve. Basically we are asking for forgiveness by overstepping our boundaries instead of asking for permission. This could backfire and the CB ban never comes to light because we did not follow protocol.
6. It’s easier for the activists to divide and conquer than to deal with Raleigh. Meaning, I am all for them going to Raleigh and lobbying our state reps to get them to pass law that would give our communities more flexibility with our rules and regulations. They would have to get a majority to agree, pass, and have the governor sign it.
That's a daunting task, so it’s much easier to bully small beach towns with 3, 5, or 7 Councilman or Alderman.
7. Here's another question. The space between low tide and high tide. Does that fall under our jurisdiction as well? Because if it doesn't, the smokers will just go down to the water and smoke. It is obvious I have many concerns and opinions about this topic. I applaud council for wanting to be the first to ban something in the State of North Carolina, but lets put the horse before the cart.
Lets slow down and lobby our state representatives for the constitutional right to make such radical decisions. Lets not be hasty, let’s put it on the Nov ballot, and let’s put it to the people of the town. That way the council knows exactly where the people that voted them in stand on the issue so they can then legislate accordingly.
Lets not cut our nose to spite our face. Lets make sure we are making rules that the townspeople want. Lets strengthen our pollution laws. Lets make the fines $1,000.00 for littering on the beach. I bet that will clean up the beach real quick. Lets ask for voluntary family sections that would include no smoking. Lets be creative in our trash receptacle areas. We have doggy waste bags at the lake; maybe we can come up with a similar plan for cigarettes. Maybe we can do a voucher garbage bag thing where people purchase a garbage bag and if they return it with garbage they get their money back with some kind of coupon or free parking pass, etc. I believe, no I know, the people of this town are smart and creative.
We can come up with many options, ideas or plans before we have to go and be more regulated by big brother. Please email the council and tell them to put it on the NOVEMBER Ballot. We don't need Town Council putting themselves in a position of making laws to make us feel good about ourselves. God bless you and God Bless the Town of Carolina Beach,
Bobby McConville,
Resident of Carolina Beach