Ideas, idle gossip and occasionally important odds ‘n’ ends… by Jack Wright
First of all, stop saying it’s the end of summer. It’s not. The last day of summer is Tuesday, September 21. That’s three whole weeks away. I think it’s important for us to realize this. Especially people (like me) who have all these wonderful, lavish plans in May that involve having a multitude of barbecues, mixing the latest Martha Stewart cocktails and her favorite summer dishes, and spending entire days on the beach with friends and/or family.
And before you know it, it’s Labor Day. And you feel like such a loser for not planning The Perfect Summer. Once again, you’ve let the days and the weeks slide by and you didn’t get your act together.
The good thing? Fall is a wonderful season in Cape May, particularly if you spent the summer waiting tables or working behind a counter six or seven days a week.
So, if you ARE feeling the end-of-summer blues, remember this… there are, like I said, three whole weeks of summer and THEN you will be blessed with the month of October which is, as most locals know, a pretty special time. The weather is still usually lovely and there are a lot of great events – the Cape May Film Festival, Victorian Week (which actually lasts for about 10 days) and, making its debut this year, The Cape May Forum: Chautauqua at the Shore, which I will be discussing in much greater detail next week.
So don’t be sad. You’re lucky to be living in Cape May. And if you DON’T live in Cape May, well, make sure you come back here in October because it really IS a great month. (November and December are pretty special, too – those late fall sunsets are spectacular.)
Anyway, to mark the almost-end of summer, I want to tell you about the two issues I’d like to see addressed once the busiest season is over and we can all dust ourselves down and really get to work.
1. Convention Hall/Civic Center: An intelligent, local person with whom I don’t always agree, but whose opinion I respect, wrote me this week, in a very exasperated mood. “There are at least four groups now, and the crazy noises and bummed-out murmurers about a flawed process and a less than good design… it’s all making me quite nuts and exhausted,” he wrote. “I’m trying to shrug off the whole thing and at the same time try not to get any more invested in what I now have to call CONTENTION HALL.”
I couldn’t agree more. Now is the time for Cape May’s city council to put on blinkers and ear muffs. There are still some folks out there who sense something of a power vacuum after the council vote that overturned the previous plan for a convention hall. And now they all want to bring their pet projects out. Forget it. Forget the Beach Theater. No matter how much most of us love the idea, it makes no financial sense to either buy the existing Beach Theater or to try and develop another cinema from other existing buildings. This is crazy, unfocused talk that will get us nowhere.
And as for the Solarium, again, forget it. It’s a lovely building, I agree. But for it to survive it would have to seriously curtail the potential of the new convention hall and that makes no sense at all.
City council has a plan for the new convention hall. They’ve listened to the people already. No more listening. It’s time to do your job, because there are too many people out there with nothing more to do than swarm around you like a posse of pesky mosquitoes. Ignore them and move ahead. End of story.
2. The Parking Farce: I am not going to comment much on the referendum on September 8 about parking meters in the east end because I have little sympathy for either side. I think city council rushed in to a decision without giving it serious thought, while I think that the folks in the east end are being dishonest when they say that parking meters are historically incongruous. Folks, the SUV in your driveway doesn’t look too Victorian, either. Just fess up and say you don’t want to feed a parking meter outside your house. That, at least, would have been the honest thing to say.
But what I WILL say is that the parking meters the city introduced a few years ago are a serious liability and an embarrassment. City Hall needs to come up with a better solution – Wildwood has become the latest municipality to try out meters you can pay for using your cellphone. It seems to be tried and tested. Let’s look into that, AND other schemes and let’s tear up and throw away what we have now because it’s a joke.
Finally, there are some great events happening in the next few days and weeks – please consult pages 31 and 34 for more information, and enjoy the last 20 days of summer.