The yacht club battle presents a debate similiar to that which the country faced last year when the left and right political spectrum argued over whether to bail out the auto industry: The health of the corporate giant vs. the idea that the giant should not and cannot depend on donations from the American people because that idea runs contrary to the free market principles which allowed the corporate giant to exist in the first place. Assisting that corporate giant with handouts does nothing to draw out the innovation necessary to succeed in today's tough finanacial climate.
Likewise, the SYC battle lays out like this:
On one hand:
The folks who don't want any favors given to the yacht club have a specific viewpoint based on principle. That viewpoint is that greenspace is important, the community is not responsible for the financial health of a private club, and that public sightlines to the Sandusky bay are important to the citizens of Sandusky.
On the other hand:
The yacht club is the last remaining draw in downtown. The land acquisition won't cost the citizens anything (no cash out of pocket, not considering resources) and increased tax revenue will benefit the city as a whole. The club is a corporate citizen which provides jobs and economic activity downtown. Ignoring the clubs needs and denying it the little help it's requesting is a gamble that isn't worth taking given the huge financial stake the city has in the club's success.
Indeed, a quick pan of their parking lot reveals that the yacht club is the place to be on a Saturday night. City officials recognize why the city's founders wanted to preserve sightlines to the bay however, the Perry Street right-of-way can't be used for anything more than parking anyway.
Having watched the public debate between Save Our Shoreline Parks and the Sandusky Yacht Club on a DVD ordered from the city of Sandusky, it's tough to take sides because each side has a valid viewpoint. Listening to each plead with city officials to "do the right thing" is pretty entertaining though. What's "the right thing" and how did you become the sole protector and bearer of it? (Can I have some "right thing" too?) For representing the well-to-do folks who (presumably) can afford to pay SYC dues each year, they don't demonstrate proficiency at selling ideas, do they? After hearing the same flaccid points get repeated over and over, Jack Runner stepped up and saved the yacht club's chances by delivering the most persuasive monologue of the night.
The folks who oppose the yacht club sound like haters, and the folks who support the yacht club sound like babies because they're not getting their way. Both sides take it personally when neither should. The commission is stuck because nobody has the ability to generate a compromise, smooth over the opposition, choose a course of action, stick with it and then take responsibility for the fallout if the idea fails.
In short: The city has no answers because the city has no leadership.
This is the letter sent from SOSP to city commissioners. I'm not arguing this anymore. I'll post it for accessibility's sake, I'm actually more interested in the SYC's response to some of these points and ideas...