It appears California’s state legislators are set to zero in on yet another critical problem facing its citizens. The article describes the cauldron of injustice: “Visiting the coast has become too expensive for the average family – A bill aims to lower costs.” Assembly Bill 250’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), announced: “I grew up in a working-class family and got to enjoy the beach. There was easy access then. Now people who grow up like I did don’t have that opportunity – it can be cost-prohibitive to enjoy the beach.”
Just like Ms. Gonzalez, I too can recall back to my teenage years when money was hard come by. My job as a drug store soda jerk, paying 67¢ per hour, didn’t enable me to enjoy the high life. As I lived nearly twenty miles from the ocean, the prospect of bicycling there seemed a tough way to go. So, if my friends and I wanted a day at the beach, we figured out how to do it. The Pacific Electric Red Car tracked line, which rattled noisily along from 1901 until 1953, wasn’t terribly expensive and could get us to Venice or Santa Monica. As for grub, it was usually a choice between the almost digestible 5¢ hot dogs from a seaside vendor or the brown bag sandwiches we could whip up and take with us. And a “day at the beach” proved to be exactly that, for we always returned the same day. The thought of plunking out four hard-earned dollars for a motel room was out of the question.
Today’s poor people are better represented than we were, thanks to the political muscle their champions muster. No need to wait for public transportation; just drive there and enjoy subsidized parking. As for food, with millions of our less advantaged citizens on the California Food Assistance Program (CFPA), there are plenty of the finest delectables to go around. And finally, the trip to the beach needn’t end as the sun goes down. Thanks to Ellie Sanders, Vice Chair of the Coastal Commission, there will be more lower-cost rental accommodations available, as “The commission takes this very seriously because it’s getting difficult for even average families to visit our coast.”
A final comment: Neither my friends nor I ever resented the effort we went to for a day at the beach. None of us looked to someone else to provide us with simple luxuries. Whether America is a better place today because of the pandering practiced by our elected and appointed officials is questionable.