“You People” — a Commentary

By Chip Ross, city commissioner

I recently received an email from a local charter boat captain. The e-mail stated in part:

“I am having a hard time believing this is a discussion you people are even entertaining.

“As a business that operates out of the city marina, parking for our customers is an issue. That being said, closing the city boat ramp for parking for the new sterile, boring fish house/restaurant is preposterous. And you can say that isn’t driving this, but be honest…As charter captains, we use the ramp to pull our boats for maintenance, storms and some launch and retrieve there daily… You have already taken enough boat trailer parking away downtown for your privileged petanque crowd. Stop this pandering to the TDC and leave some of regular citizen’s amenities alone.”

My response to those comments.

“You people” are the people who actually live and own land in the city who pay city taxes, as opposed to people, like you, who live outside the city and pay no city taxes.

“You people” are the people who, for the last three fiscal years, paid approximately $780,000 of taxpayer dollars each year to subsidize the Marina, so you have a place to operate your business.

“You people” are the people who expect businesses operating in the city to keep their city business license up to date, which you have not.

“You people” are the people who allow your business to use the boat ramp for free, and they pay for its maintenance and operation of the ramp – not you.

“You people” are the people who allow you to park your boat trailer for free, and they pay to maintain the parking lot.

“You people” are the people who allow your business customers to use the Marina bathrooms for free and provide the building at no cost to the Marina.

“You people” are the people who provide free parking for your customers to park at the Marina.

“You people” are the people who allow your business to be able to put up signage on the Marina boardwalk to advertise your business for free.

“You people” are the people who might want to be able to park in the additional 34 parking spaces that would be available if reserved boat trailer parking were eliminated.

“You people” are the people who pay additional FIND taxes, which help pay for the approximately one million dollar cost of Marina dredging so you are able to operate your business.

Many of the “privileged petanque crowd” live in the city and pay taxes that subsidize your business. The cost of maintaining the petanque courts is less than $300 per year.

The cost of dredging the Marina, so your business can operate, approaches a million dollars per year. Who is really privileged?

What is driving this discussion is the insatiable demand by “charter boat captains” and certain slip holders who want to monopolize a heavily government-subsidized waterfront for the use of their customers and their own use.

A park plan was presented that maintains the current boat ramp, and slightly increased parking for boat trailers, did not eliminate any current parking and allows other groups to also have a place to enjoy the waterfront. I support that plan.

I believe the boat ramp should be maintained as part of the recently presented park concept that provides opportunities for all “regular citizens” to have an enjoyable waterfront experience. Different people find joy in different activities.

Why can’t we all respect each other, work together, and share the waterfront experience?

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4 months ago

Thank you Chip!
We’ve been waiting 23 years for this park, let’s get it done for all to enjoy.

Mark Tomes
Trusted Member
Mark Tomes(@mtomes)
4 months ago

Although slightly ascerbic in tone, Mr. Ross makes a lot of excellent points. I appreciate the information about who’s paying the taxes for whom. Charterboat captains are their own special interest. And, frankly, I’m rather proud that championship pétanque games are played right here in our hometown.

Trusted Member
4 months ago

Well said. There is so much “us/them” today. While I don’t love all of the explosive development happening on the island, the property taxes and tourism income generated support the maintenance of crucial infrastructures that locals and visitors enjoy. Just because you have a business at the dock doesn’t entitle you to disparage the wealthy residents and tourists that fuel much of our economy.

Noble Member
4 months ago

Is there a fee to use the ramp? I imagine that might end some arguments.

4 months ago

Chip Ross makes some good points .
There is space for multiple uses at the Marina. If there is a plan to keep the boat ramp where it is now or in another usable location downtown that should
be implemented. Lots of taxpayer citizens use the ramp as well.

4 months ago

BRB, getting popcorn.

Paula M
Noble Member
Paula M(@paula-m)
4 months ago

Well said and very informative as per usual with Dr Ross. The rather demeaning use of the label “you people” by the captain is unfortunately typical of the divisive nature of our world today. Where has civility and common courtesy gone..??

Betsie Huben
Famed Member
Betsie Huben(@betsie-huben)
4 months ago

Since the city subsidizes the marina and the surrounding spaces, seems fitting the area should be available to all citizens who pay taxes. The current plan before the city is a good one. Let’s finally move forward for the benefit of all – not just a few.

Trusted Member
4 months ago

“…What is driving this discussion is the insatiable demand by “charter boat captains” and certain slip holders who want to monopolize a heavily government-subsidized waterfront for the use of their customers and their own use.”… 

An incredible amount of public subsidy goes into keeping this City marina marginally functional. Stop whining about the boat ramp. It’s a big hole in any completed flood wall, the city budget, and our individual bank accounts.

Bill Fold
Noble Member
Bill Fold(@bill-fold)
4 months ago

Alas, yet another sad story in the dramatic saga of “As the island worm turns”

Albert Pike
Trusted Member
Albert Pike(@albert-pike)
4 months ago

mr. ross seems to be a bit of a bully.

Trusted Member
4 months ago

One can always count on Chip for an opinion. He leaves out the fact he has been part of the problem as commissioner on the subsidized “Enterprise Funds”. Furthermore he is complicit on the use of impact fees which has been well publicized.