Let's hear it for Wildwood and Boardwalk Inspector James Nanos - who obviously subscribes to that social-sciences theory of broken windows, in which one broken window can lead to a downward spiral in a neighborhood.
Nanos makes sure that ordinances are followed to the letter on the Wildwood Boardwalk. When a guy dressed like a pizza singing "Wildwood Days" steps onto the Boardwalk in front of the restaurant he's hawking, Nanos is right there to make sure he steps back behind the legal line.
"If I let this guy do it, then that guy does it, and soon there will be 50 pizzas out here dancing," Nanos said.
Wildwood is apparently one of the few shore towns to have a full-time Boardwalk inspector. Some think Nanos harasses merchants - and I don't know whether he does or not - but it sounds as though he certainly makes sure city ordinances are enforced to the letter on the Boardwalk. And in the process, he also encourages merchants to be more family-friendly, asking them to put the most risque t-shirts in the back of the store (even though they have the right to display them wherever they want).
Meanwhile, last month, some Atlantic City Boardwalk merchants were cited for selling such contraband as swords, brass knuckles, knives and switchblades. It came to the city's attention not through routine inspections, but when Councilman Moisse Delgado visited the Boardwalk over the Fourth of July weekend with his 7-year-old son.
Maybe Atlantic City ought to sign Nanos up.