Sand Paper, an Invaluable Asset


Seeing the Light

BLEEP! Bleeping Bleep! Expletive! Curses! and more Bleep!

And those were just some of the things I said when I got the word that the Sand Paper was halting operation.

The Sand Paper has been an invaluable asset to the town for years. They’re the only local publication which has not only kept the public apprised of what was going on, but have taken serious editorial stands about town issues and held both the Council, Town Administration and all the other local governing/taxing agencies’ feet to the fire. I don’t doubt that some of those whose feet got burned are cheering. Keeping the public uninformed has always been their most powerful tactic.

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a great toll on local businesses. Only time will tell how many will be lost forever. Losing the Sand Paper will have the most negative impact on the town of all. Without it, a window into our town is closing at a time when vigilance and transparency could not be more important.

From a personal (totally selfish) point of view, I’m saddened that my primary platform for sounding off about local doings will be silenced, at least for the time being. Contrary to some perceptions, I’ve never been an employee, nor have I ever been paid for my stuff. I’m just a local guy who moved here years ago who loves the place and believes BS should be exposed. Writing occasionally incendiary or satirical commentary just beats the hell out of watching TV reruns or playing Sudoku as a way to keep my mind functioning. The thought that what I wrote gave voice to what some in town were thinking is very gratifying. Going all the way back to the Sand Paper’s beginning through Bob and Missy Layfield’s ownership, probably 98 percent of everything I’ve sent in was printed.

As sad as it is that it’s ending, no one understands better than I that when it’s time to hang it up, it’s time to hang it up. (Homage to Yogi Berra.) When it just isn’t viable any longer, and the prospects of its becoming viable are too slim, and this is blended with family factors, it’s time.

The Town owes a huge “thanks” to Bob and Missy for their service. I’m glad they’re sticking around. I only hope that another very brave person will take up the tiller and keep the ship afloat and on-course with the same integrity, even-handedness and professionalism that they did.

Thanks, Guys.


Jay Light
Fort Myers Beach