Anybody who knows him knows that before Mater Dei Jim Smith always praised his 8th grade English teacher at OLPH, Sister Hilda, for the strong foundation she gave him in grammar. He's got a natural talent for writing which is far better than anything I have. So it is imperative for me,at least this one time, to step back and let him write what makes him wonder. Read it, absorb it, then let him know what you think. I'll be happy to include your comments as well! The main objective of this article was to discuss the fiasco that is Captain’s Cove Marina, the seemingly shoddy workmanship, the sweetheart deals between the Governing Body and the Developer, the hands off, laissez-faire, condescending approach the administration has towards residents’ concerns, the violation of permit requirements, and the improper disposal of dredge spoils containing known carcinogens in the Borough Right of Way. While discussing the outline of my post my objective changed when someone made an innocuous comment made in jest, they called me an idealist. The comment gave me pause and I was reminded of the adage, “There’s a grain of truth in every joke.” Long after the conversation, the comment lingered like a splinter that was beginning to fester beneath the skin. Was I an idealist? That turned into Why do I care? The answer to the first question is simple, in many ways I am an idealist, I am a person who cherishes or pursues high or noble principles, purposes, or goals. I look at most situations not as they are, but at what they should be. Captain’s Cove certainly falls into that category. The answer to the second question, why do I care? is a bit more complicated. I no longer live in Highlands, and I haven’t for many years, none of the “Smiths” live there any longer, and none of my business or personal interests are negatively impacted by the decisions of this new Mayor and Council, so why do I care? It’s a two-part answer, number one, I am an idealist, and I can’t help myself. Firsts, the agreements, the deals, the special treatment of Captain’s Cove Marina are wrong, so I feel a moral obligation to try to right it. And two is legacy. I often refer to my childhood growing up in Highlands as idyllic. The river, the ocean, the woods, the summers, what more could a young boy want? What I never say is that it was easy. I didn’t go to Henry Hudson with the friends I had known all my life. Not because Henry Hudson didn’t offer a good education, but because of my faith I went to Mater Dei in New Monmouth. It was new, it was exciting, and it was an eye opener. Outside of Highlands, the Borough’s reputation is the dregs of society. This is a reality to anyone who has lived there longer than 5-10 years. Highlands, Belford, Keansburg, all the bottom of the proverbial barrel and the “Upper Crust” kids of Middletown weren’t shy about letting you know where you stood. This current administration isn’t doing anything to dismiss those long-held beliefs. This is a Mayor who was elected by one vote. Where 50% of the voters didn’t think she was up to the job, and instead of earning their approval, she alienates them through her failure to listen and consider opposing perspectives, and ideas, dismissive mannerisms, and draconian approach to governance. Why do I care? Because my Grandfather, amongst others, was responsible for this Marina being built back in 1947. He didn’t do it for personal gain, he did it because it was a good thing for Highlands. Now some 74 years later the Marina is in disrepair and in need of substantial rehabilitation. I’m ecstatic that there is a developer willing to invest the money to undertake this project, but the town and specifically the Mayor and Council have a moral and legal obligation to ensure that it is done right. I’m not convinced that is being done. Why do I care? Because it’s the right thing to do.