Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The second thing we do, let's kill spring break

Right after we kill all the lawyers, and just before we kill the goose that laid the golden eggs -- right?

Spring Break Myth # 53 -- ”Hardly anyone makes money off of spring break.“

According to an article in today’s Monitor, spring breakers are pumping roughly $20 million into town and state coffers.” Do you really believe “hardly anyone” would notice if spring break didn’t happen? Or that the nice families you hope to attract instead are going to pay $300/night during Texas week? Or that huge chunks of the money made from spring break don’t - in large part - stay right here on South Padre Island?

I don’t tend bar or operate a tattoo/piercing business but I can tell you that my rental unit made my April mortgage payment in a single week. And the kids didn’t trash the place and even got most of their hefty damage deposit back. Advertisers on my spring break website paid the rest of my bills for that month. Other business owners who made money during spring break can now afford to pay me to update their websites. And so on and so forth. The only people who are not profiting from spring break - either directly or indirectly - are those who simply don’t have to work for a living, period. And they still benefit from additional services the town is able to offer because of the money those kids spend here. You people can certainly afford to leave town for a week or two -- why not pick Texas week?

I find it really really difficult to understand the energy being wasted attacking spring break when our two most precious resources - the bay and the beach - are in mortal danger. Get a grip, folks: Spring break has been whittled down to essentially ONE WEEK OUT OF THE YEAR! When the beach has eroded out from underneath us, wet t-shirt contests will be the very least of our worries. When the bay is killed and the fishing, ecotourism and watersport industries go belly up, we will all look back on the good ol’ days when traffic occasionally came to a standstill.

I can’t tell you how many of the parental units of the families to whom I give sandcastle lessons tell me that they came here for spring break x number of years ago and the fond memories of the fun they had here caused them to return with their own kids. But it’s a lot. Many people would not even know South Padre Island exists were it not for spring break.

So here are some questions for you: Are you really going to tell a large contingent of paying customers - “do not come here“? Do you really think the majority of the island’s residents would support this stance? Are you really all that eager to pass a bunch of restrictive new ”no fun allowed here“ laws that will have an equally negative effect on attracting new residents as well as the ”good“ tourists?

And where did that goose run off to, anyway?

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Blogger Sam said...

You raise some very good points and rather eloquently, yet it is political season and already the antics have started - your excellent words might be wasted on people with an agenda.

You know me as a short-timer, even though I've been visiting since the 1980's or possibly earlier with my mom and dad. But I've talked with some residents who have been here since the 1970's who they said it was never like this. To a person, they all said that today's political climate ... well OK, I won't use a cuss word you it was a very bad word.

At the risk of being boring, I think we need that cartoonist from THADEUS & WEEZ to stage a mock debate with these folks. One side: "we need to end Spring Break." Other side: "we need to have 1.5 cars per condo."

The satire and humor would be hilarious! What do you mean no Spring Break? last I heard this was a free country. What do you mean half a car? Is that old gas company commercial coming true again where the car can split in half?

Folks, the viewing can't get any better than this. You'd have to pay for such comedy on Broadway, like $100 a pop. The notion that both camps will be having appetizers 'n' booze to woo voters but you CANNOT talk about Spring Break and the 1.5 is merely coincidental.

It's pretty nutty stuff. Enjoy. I actually like it, and have made many friends that way.


7:35 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

I guess I should apologize for my feeble attempt at being a commedian, since folks DO take all this really seriously. My point was that if I addressed all the Spring Break and other politicial issues, in a very serious context, I might as well have committed Hari-Kari. Humor is so much more fun.

I'd be very interested to know how the candidates can save the beach, save the bay, and fix up the budget. Spring Break is way down my list and you're right about that, Sandy Feet.

If there are proposals to limit Spring Break in a manner that is not objectionable or offensive, I'm all ears. Heck, we're already doing a good job because depending on your source of statistics, SB revenue was down 5-15% from last year, and it has been declining since 1998 or so.

And yes, I'll be real interested to know if there are candidates that say they'll be inclusive, work together, and stop the little wars. That would be nice. /sammie

5:22 PM  

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