Wrightsville Beach mayoral election illustrates politics of beach communities
Next week, Wilmingtonians head to the polls to vote for municipal government leaders. Skimming through the news I noted the political complexities of coastal management.
Wrightsville Beach is the main beach draw in the region. It has a longer tradition of wealthy beach goers and land owners than it's Carolina Beach counterpart just to the south. The north end of Wrightsville Beach (WB) provides views of Figure 8 Island, the exclusive domain of some of the nations' wealthiest.
Like many historic beaches, WB has a history steeped in racism and the us-them mindset has bled into it's current outlook on development and governance. Really, I've never been to a beach that does not have this mindset. In any case, those running for WB Alderman reflect the economics of beaches:
- Hank Miller (incumbent) -> Construction supply
- McKinley Dean Dull -> Civil engineer and construction
- Pat Bradford -> Real estate broker
- Pat Prince -> Recreation, oil Industry, real estate
- Sounia Nejad Chaney -> Real estate broker and Small business owner
Notice any commonalities? Real estate and construction is the main link between all of them and thus, we may gather that real estate and development is the future of WB. As such, common campaign concerns among the candidates are water and sewer infrastructure, ensuring continued beach nourishment, and managing future development on the island and in neighboring Wilmington.
The setting could work as a text book chapter.