16 July 2014

The Tourists are Coming! The Tourists are Coming!


Our beloved Montauk is in danger.

The conventional approach is to blame the tourists. They come for the beach, the fishing, the sightseeing, and now, the restaurants.  (It would appear there are no more restaurants in East Hampton or Southampton. I do not know what happened to them.  A Restaurant Rapture?  If he weren't so busy doing very important things like looking for Obama's birth certificate, surely Congressman Issa would be all over this problem.)

No, the problem here now is the Montauk locals.  They are foaming at the mouth. The"Publisher" of the local paper--a "journalist" who worked his way up the ladder and earned his title when his mother retired,-- recently fulminated about the outrageous things the tourists are doing.  First of all, it seems that he has observed that 100% of the "summer people" drive only Mercedes Benzes. This includes both renters and day-trippers.  (Actually, we now have more "night-trippers" than day trippers, but it's difficult to discern automobile models in the dark.)  There was talk of a Montauk "Ban-the-Benzes" ordinance,  but I have it on good authority the Town Attorney hinted at the possibility of a legal infirmity in the legislation, and the matter was dropped from the calendar.

But the matter is more complicated than just Locals v. Tourists. There is a sharp division within the Locals contingent:  there are the "Summer Locals", (hereinafter referred to as the "SLs", though I sometimes refer to them as the Manhattanite Montauketswho are here three months a year,  and the Local Locals, (hereinafter the "LL's') who live here all year round, and work as school teachers, fishermen, and the plumbers, carpenters and grass cutters who maintain the houses of the SLs. 

A strident group of SLs are up in arms over the fact that Tourists and LLs are actually sitting on the very same beach sand that borders their 10,000 square foot beach homes.  They do not mind them sitting there in January and February when the SLs are in Palm Beach, but in JULY?  As we said in the army, "Outfuckingrageous."

The fight between the SLs and the LLs has reached the local legislature.  The SLs solution is subtle:  they want a ban on alcohol on the beach within 1500 feet of the beach road entrance. That's more than a quarter of mile the SLs want the LLs (and the Tourists) to trudge through the sand with their beach chairs, umbrellas, babies, and coolers, before they they sit down on the beach with the family on a Sunday afternoon and crack the Igloo for a cold one.   In tony East Hampton Village, they have such and ordinance.  But in Montauk? They gotta be kidding.  We are talking civil war, secession threats, the whole range of legal and legislative maneuvers. 

This is substantially the same group of SL's that wants lifeguards on their beaches.  No one has exactly calculated how much it might cost to put lifeguard stations (and the state mandated accompanying bathrooms) along the FOURTEEN MILES of unspoiled Montauk beaches, but that has not dampened the SL's determination.  They are extremely vocal and well organized.  And their party, the Democrats, now control the Town Board. We'll see. 

Ahh, there are other hot-button issues:  The wealthier Tourists and SLs have taken to arrive for summer weekends via airplanes, and worse, helicopters.  The people who purchased homes in the flight paths of these machines are on the warpath about the noise and want the Town, which owns the East Hampton airport, to do something drastic, up to and including, selling the whole damn thing to a housing developer!  That'll fix em!  So the war between the LLs and the less endowed SLs who live near the airport vs. the wealthier SLs and Tourists who use the airport, becomes more bitter with each passing summer weekend.

Perhaps the young publishing heir has a solution to all this, but he hasn't shared it with us yet. 

All is not strife:  there is good news on two fronts:  

First, I am aware of zero Shiite v Sunni conflicts in Montauk.  

Second, the NMFS, (local bumper stickers read: "National Marine Fisheries Service: Destroying Fishermen and Their Communities Since 1976") is the federal organization that makes the quota rules for both commercial and recreational fishermen. It has apparently  come to its senses, on at least one issue anyway:  

A sought-after recreational fish throughout the Long Island waters is the fluke.  While non-fishermen frequently are not familiar with the name, it is almost always what they get when the ordering flounder in restaurants during the summer. For years, the NMFS decreed that the Maintenance of World Order was best served by establishing a minimum size of 18.5 inches and a four fish for taking fluke by a New Jersey resident, while fluke from the same area, taken by a boat bearing New York registration, bore a two fish limit, and each keeper had to be a minimum of 21.5 inches!  I am not kidding. You wonder where the Tea Party gets its adherents?   It took years of New York fishermen and their legislative leaders pounding on the table until the discrimination finally ended this year.  I am happy to report that yours truly, while burning his hands to cinders, "limited out" several weeks ago on fluke under the new rules.  Yum.  But the freezer is now almost bare, the burns are healing, the new boat will be delivered soon, and I will soon be able to fish again.  Here's hoping they don't change the regulations before I return to sea next week!

............................................

Now, a serious departure in the conversation.  Lacking a passable segue, I jump right in:  

At every social gathering we attend, there ensues a discussion of what is happening at the Texas border--what should we do with the unaccompanied children.  Whatever your current views, I recommend to you a thoughtful and enlightening discussion of this subject:  It is on the front page of the Sunday Review section of the July 13 NYTimes.  For your convenience, here is the URL:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/13/opinion/sunday/a-refugee-crisis-not-an-immigration-crisis.html?ref=opinion

While the author dealt with the personal crises of the children and their families, she omitted any discussion of root-cause of this tragedy: the abysmal failure of this country's so-called "war on drugs."   In the end, these kids and their families are the indirect victims of the our citizen's multi-billion dollar demand to ingest the shit that empowers the Central American narcos who now own the governments of those failed nation-states and who are terrorizing their populations, enslaving or killing anyone who refuses to serve their ends. 

Bottom line, our effort at drug prohibition in the United States is a calamitous failure. Yet, while there is no doubt of that proposition whatever, you have not, and will not, hear a word about that subject in all the speeches and demonstrations dealing with these refugee kids.

How could that be?  Where is that caped crusader Darrell Issa when we need him? 

A bientot.

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