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Longboat Key Wednesday, Apr. 21, 2010 7 years ago

Our View


It’s not over until it’s over.

This Yogi Berra-ism can be applied to the Longboat Key Town Commission’s selection of what we’ll call a “mulatto” sand — a dual layer of less white and dark sand — for the town’s 2011 beach renourishment.

Apparently, the commissioners were all about the money. And apparently, they were spooked at some of the figures from the town’s beach engineers, who said a beachwide layer of white sand could more than double the cost of renourishment — from the $28 million to $35 million with mulatto sand to somewhere around $68 million with a white-sand layer over the entire beach.

Since when is money a problem at Longboat Key Town Hall? We’re being facetious, to an extent. But there really must be a new money-conscious group on the Town Hall dais.

No one can argue with the commissioners for being fiscally prudent and stingy. That’s one of our incessant themes.

But as Bob Gault, one of Longboat Key’s new Town Hall watchdogs (with a razor-sharp business mind), wrote recently: “Looks to me to be a penny wise and a pound foolish decision.”

Gault wishes, hopes and is advocating town commissioners rethink their decision. “I don’t understand why it would be prohibitive to put a layer of white sand on top, above the high-tide line to dress our beaches,” Gault wrote to us. “Yes, a storm may come once in a while, but allow for that by putting it a little further back.”

Gault has a good point. You can envision what he’s suggesting — the pure, white sand covering the beach where we have wide swaths of beachfront and in areas where tourists are most prevalent.

We know attracting more tourism is a dirty idea among some Longboaters. But Gault correctly notes one of the great assets that smites many a visitor with a love for the Key has been Longboat’s soft, white beach. Indeed, you can’t find a Longboater who would not agree that the beach and its views are Longboat Key’s top two assets and the foundations of real estate values here.

In short, the white sand is an important economic driver.

What’s more, we all know, there is indeed a price to pay to live in paradise. Ever since 1993, when voters approved the beach-taxing districts, they have accepted the price. And ever since then as well, fine, white sand has been part of the price.

Perhaps our commissioners will reconsider their options.

+ Emperor wears no clothes
In the wake of his veto of Senate Bill 6, it would come as no surprise if Gov. Charlie Crist abandons his Republican Party affiliation and becomes an independent in the race for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat.

That is where Crist has always been — on the fence, ready to shift to whichever side is most politically expedient and most popular. Thus the label: “populist.”

Throughout Crist’s career, the governor has repeatedly shown a high need for approval. He wants to be liked. It gets him elected. So he latches on to the issues that sell. In the 1990s, it was tough on crime.
When he was attorney general, he went after “gougers.”

But this act eventually ends. And now the jig is about up. Republicans have finally said “enough.”

When Crist took the side of the teachers unions on Senate Bill 6, he sacrificed Florida’s students for his own sake. We said it all along, Crist was always a faux conservative.

In Defense of Jerusalem

International affairs typically are not a subject for this page. On occasion, however, there are issues that cannot be overlooked. The Obama administration’s horrendous treatment of Israel is one of them. To that end, we’re reprinting the contents of Eli Wiesel’s full-page ad in last week’s Wall Street Journal. It’s a powerful reminder, and one our president should heed. — Editor

It was inevitable; Jerusalem once again is at the center of political debates and international storms. New and old tensions surface at a disturbing pace. Seventeen times destroyed and 17 times rebuilt, it is still in the middle of diplomatic confrontations that could lead to armed conflict. Neither Athens nor Rome has roused that many passions.

For me, the Jew that I am, Jerusalem is above politics. It is mentioned more than 600 times in Scripture — and not a single time in the Koran. Its presence in Jewish history is overwhelming. There is no more moving prayer in Jewish theory than the one expressing our yearning to return to Jerusalem. To many theologians, it IS Jewish history; to many poets, a source of inspiration. It belongs to the Jewish people and is much more than a city; it is what binds one Jew to another in a way that remains hard to explain.

When a Jew visits Jerusalem for the first time, it is not the first time; it is a homecoming. The first song I heard was my mother’s lullaby about and for Jerusalem. Its sadness and its joy are part of our collective memory.

Since David took Jerusalem as his capital, Jews have dwelled inside its walls with only two interruptions; when Roman invaders forbade them access to the city and, again, when under Jordanian occupation, Jews, regardless of nationality, were refused entry into the old Jewish quarter to meditate and pray at the Wall, the last vestige of Solomon’s temple.

It is important to remember; had Jordan not joined Egypt and Syria in the 1967 war against Israel, the old city of Jerusalem would still be Arab. Clearly, while Jews were ready to die for Jerusalem they would not kill for Jerusalem.

Today, for the first time in history, Jews, Christians and Muslims all may freely worship at their shrines. And, contrary to certain media reports, Jews, Christians and Muslims ARE allowed to build their homes anywhere in the city. The anguish over Jerusalem is not about real estate but about memory.

What is the solution? Pressure will not produce a solution. Is there a solution? There must be, there will be. Why tackle the most complex and sensitive problem prematurely? Why not first take steps which will allow the Israeli and Palestinian communities to find ways to live together in an atmosphere of security. Why not leave the most difficult, the most sensitive issues, for such a time?

Jerusalem must remain the world’s Jewish spiritual capital, not a symbol of anguish and bitterness, but a symbol of trust and hope. As the Hasidic master Rebbe Nahman of Bratslav said, “Everything in this world has a heart; the heart itself has its own heart.”

Jerusalem is the heart of our soul, the soul of our soul.

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