After attending my second Town Hall Meeting on Fort Myers Beach, I just have to vent. There's an issue before our Town Council that has every tea-toteler and prude on the island up in arms. They are perplexed why our municipal government would even CONSIDER allowing beach businesses to expand the sale and consumption of alcohol onto the beach. At tonight's public hearing on the proposed ordinance, I heard a lot of moralistic grandstanding with terms like "family beach" and "family-friendly island" thrown around as if they were absolute truths with only one possible meaning.
Thankfully, the mayor's wife got up to give an alternate definition to "family time" on the beach. I take my family on the beach all the time and I'd love to enjoy a cocktail or two while out there. Does that somehow make me "family UNfriendly?"
Some of the naysayers lost all grasp of rational thought and began talking about our beach in terms of spring break gone wild, with topless girls splashing into the surf. I've yet to see that happen at the height of spring break and I certainly cannot see how the consumption of alcohol at a beach bar on the beach is going to lead to rampant luciviousness.
What those who throw terms around like "family values" fail to recognize is how many working families on this little island rely on the sale of alcohol at such establishments to make ends meet. That's right, old folks who no longer HAVE to work to make a living, there are families who would actually BENEFIT from expanded alcohol sales on our beach! Families making a living, feeding their children and buying them adequate clothing, those are family values that we should all be able to agree upon.
A patron who takes his/her beverage a few feet onto our sandy shores is not going to be the next star of a Girls Gone Wild video. They might be a mom, dad or even granddad, who is enjoying a tasty beverage with their family at sunset. And there is something morally reprehensible about that??? I just don't get it!
And it's not just working families who will ultimately benefit. Anyone with a vested interest on this island will benefit from increased spending by tourists who come to partake at the establishments who are granted the ability to serve on the beach. Since when is making an honest buck a non-Republican, anti-family value?
I sincerely hope our Town Council puts an end to this madness and votes to approve the new ordinance. The beach businesses deserve to play on a level playing field...tea-totelers be damned!