There is little doubt that Fenwick Island is one of the most desirable places to visit in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Beautiful beaches. Terrific small-business environment. Proud history of being a family-friendly town for both locals and visitors alike. With real estate prices and seasonal rentals both performing strongly, it seems like life is pretty good in Fenwick Island these days.
But there is indeed divisiveness and clear rancor among the citizenry and, in particular, some of the candidates in this current town council election cycle. From disputes over building heights to outdoor bars and dining to inland flooding to, well, just about everything else, the flavor of this election often encroaches upon sour.
And that taste has quite often made it into our pages — through our coverage of meetings, to letters to the editor, to political advertisements. It’s not something we actively solicit, but it is part of being the vessel that shares the current happenings in the community to our readers.
We take our part in defending and celebrating the First Amendment seriously. It allows us to question governmental bodies and officials, and provides us access to information that helps inform the general citizenry. In a free and transparent society, that is critical. We also believe in extending those freedoms to our readers and advertisers, so they can use our pages and digital venues to take part in the election process themselves, through letters or advertisements.
Do we agree with everyone’s opinions? Not a chance. Do we like the temperature of some of the things being said? Also, no. We’re a free paper. There is zero benefit to us to stoke controversy to “move papers.” It only gives us headaches and sleepless nights, and often provides angst with our advertising partners.
But we are obligated to perform as a reflection of the communities we serve, and to be transparent with our readers concerning the climate of local elections. We take that obligation to heart.
That being said, we repeat ourselves from the beginning of this editorial. Fenwick Island is a beautiful resort town that also has the rare distinction of being a lovely small town. There are eight candidates for four seats in this town council election, and that shows that there are a significant people in the town who care deeply enough to absorb the negativity they knew would be coming their way in order to serve the town they love so much.
Disagreement is great. In fact, it is critical to have different views and opinions brought forward to reach the best possible conclusions for the most people, right? Let’s debate these differences passionately, but with some levels of decorum and respect.
The idea should be to help Fenwick Island maintain what has made it so special, and to equip the Town to move forward positively.