The answer to the recent article “Big (state) budget question: What to do with the glut of money?” is it:
Free the beach!
It is wrong to prevent people from using public facilities and preventing them from swimming or sunbathing because they cannot afford the beach fees imposed by most Jersey Shore towns.
It is a matter of social justice and personal freedom. It’s time for the New Jersey state government to end the repressive, discriminatory, aggravating and ineffective beach badge system by bearing the cost of beach maintenance and lifeguards.
That would equate to a tiny fraction of the nearly $50 billion state budget proposed for 2002-2023. And this year, with $4 billion in unplanned revenue and an additional $3 billion in unspent federal coronavirus relief funds, there’s no excuse to keep forcing us to pay to sit on the sand.
The resulting increase in tourist taxes could even mean that the switch to free beaches is profitable, when combined with the huge savings on the salaries of badge sellers and checkers. Workers freed from these unnecessary positions can likely find summer jobs elsewhere as wages rise and employers scramble to hire.
The time has come to free the beach!
Neil Vincent Scheck, Belmar
Reinforced battle sites will attract tourists
Just read the timely guest column, “Tweak our Revolutionary War sites for tourists and we can make billions,” by Patrick Murray.
It was particularly timely for me because I recently spent six days visiting Civil War sites in Fredericksburg and Charlotteville, Virginia. Even out of season, there were plenty of tourists like me. These sites and others we have visited have been designed to be informative, with visitor centers, National Park Service staff and tours organized to help people like us get the most out of our visit.
We would love to have the same opportunity to see Revolutionary War sites near our home in New Jersey if those sites were for tourists. As the article mentioned, we certainly have more than our fair share of history. Let’s take our billion dollar share of tourism revenue before the celebration of the 250th anniversary of our nation.
William Wisnewski, Manchester
It’s not enough to give up student loans
A few months ago we started the college application process for my eldest son. Since playing football, he has tried out for several colleges. He was accepted into a team and asked for a quick decision in this school.
Because we knew how much money higher education in the United States costs, I insisted that my son apply to colleges in Europe, since he has a European passport. University in Europe costs about 2,200 euros (currently about $2,300) per year.
Unfortunately, our planned 2020 trip to Europe to show him that college there can also be fun and of good quality, had to be canceled due to COVID-19. My son ended up accepting an offer from a private college in Ohio, for which we will pay $60,000 a year. It is excessively expensive. We all know that.
The reason why college in America is so expensive is, among other things, that there are no government regulations on prices. Education should be a right, not a privilege. Canceling student debt is a good idea, but it won’t solve the fundamental problem. We need leaders in Washington who prioritize education as a human right.
Free and quality colleges exist in many countries, even in some developing countries. Argentina got free higher education for a century. It’s just a matter of who leaders prioritize: people or companies.
Invest in people. Higher education for all.
Maria Eva Dorigo, Montclair
Is it OK if the drugs aren’t illegal?
Regarding “CFA charge against Senator Sandra Cunningham dismissed”, in reference to a March 4, 2021 incident in Jersey City:
The recent article reported that the charge against State Senator Cunningham, D-Hudson, was dropped after 14 months, when prosecutors told a judge there was not enough evidence to prove the case.
A police report said the senator was arrested at 9:30 a.m. on Culver Avenue after ramming two parked cars. Police alleged that she appeared unsteady, had poor slur and believed she had hit a snow bank.
According to court statements, two prescription drugs, but no alcohol or illegal drugs, were found in his system. Prosecutors said they had no expert testimony indicating the senator was “actively under the influence” of alcohol or drugs. Cunningham pleaded guilty to reckless driving and was fined $150.
After the dismissal for DWI, his attorney said, “From the outset, we said Senator Cunningham did not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”
Really? It’s our country’s biggest drug problem: prescription drugs. We have witnessed it time and time again. It’s an epidemic, causing addiction and death. However, if it is legally prescribed to the patient, does that mean that all is well?
What are the consequences for driving and possibly accidents when taking prescription drugs? I did not see this issue raised when driving under the influence of the now legal cannabis was debated.
Christine Calhoun, Cranford
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