There’s always been a healthy dose of class warfare in the debate over maintaining roads to barrier islands like Hatteras. It exploded in letters to the N&O today.
Said one writer: “Why is it that we all have to cater to the rich and their Shangri-Las at the coast? Isn’t it time that we say enough is enough? If the rich and powerful want to have their million-dollar beach houses in a doomed area, then let them purchase helicopters to take them to the edens. I am tired of seeing my tax dollars go to rebuilding an infrastructure in an area made for fish and birds.”
Well, yes. There are some big houses on the island, and they’ve been in all the photos and videos.
But not everybody down there is a millionaire Yankee retiree. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of blue-collar people who build and repair houses, fish for a living and work in stores, hotels and restaurants. Many of their families have been there for generations.
They don’t live in “Nights in Rodanthe” mansions. They’re in trailers and little one-story homes. They support the fishing and tourist industries that generate a lot of business and tax dollars for North Carolina.
There has always been a species of environmentalists who, when it comes to protecting birds and fish, are willing to spend unlimited dollars. But people living on the beach? Let them eat crabcakes!
If you’re willing to tell all those folks “tough luck,” OK. But let’s do a cost-benefit analysis on the road we taxpayers maintain to your house.