I typically avoid fishing during holiday weekends for the exact reasons you describe. I fish more around Aransas versus POC because I don't own a powerboat, and they're more necessary around POC.
I'm quite familiar with the WPP issue, as I personally know both their leader and their most vocal foe. I might fish with Tosh next month. Calling it hotly contested is no exaggeration at all. I lean towards the WPP side, but their opposition has raised some valid issues as well.
I've been brushed by jellys before, but never in water that's less than knee deep. I focus on shallow flats with tailing fish, so calf deep is the norm for me. If I'm going to wade deep water with my plugger buddies, I'll wear pants.
Regarding rays, I'm never without these on my feet-