Vote no on beer and wine
Shall the board of selectmen be authorized to grant licenses, without quota and for seasonal or annual terms as the board shall determine, for the sale of wines and malt beverages to be drunk on the premises of restaurants, including those within inns and hotels, with a seating capacity of not less than 30 persons, to be consumed with meals only and consumed by patrons seated at dining tables? No
We are residents of Tisbury who take an active part in our community and its well being. We serve on town boards, run businesses, and value and enjoy the quality of our town’s life. Some of us moved here recently while others were born here many years ago. On Tuesday, April 15, the voters of Tisbury will be asked to choose between two visions for Tisbury and its future. Many of us who live here have confidence that the unique and independent character of Tisbury will be preserved by voting no on Question 4 for the proposed sale of beer and wine.
The arguments in favor are not compelling. They are flawed, and in many cases, disingenuous. There is no indication that selling beer and wine will result in a better business environment. We enjoy our local restaurants, and encourage that proven formula, which has always been successful, i.e., good food at reasonable prices. We know this works and the BYOB choice is appealing to many. Contrary to certain claims, insurance is available at BYOB establishments at an affordable price, underwritten as a "host" policy. To allow the sale of beer and wine could change the restaurants, and the whole business community of the town, in all sorts of unanticipated ways.
To compare our town with Rockport, Massachusetts, is not logical. Vineyard Haven Harbor is five times the size of Rockport with 730 moorings compared to 25. We are a port of entry with ferries arriving daily from New Bedford, Woods Hole, and Falmouth. The Vineyard Haven waterfront, often described by our town fathers as "our greatest asset," has been supported by the unanimous approval of our citizens at town meetings. The goal of protecting its vulnerable and fragile nature is important for many reasons, and our vital commercial and residential waterfront with its renowned reputation in traditional boatbuilding and restoration, our tall ships, shipyards and marinas, is a popular destination for cruising families, summer renters and day-trippers.
Many of these visitors come to Vineyard Haven because it is a dry town where they and their families can enjoy the clean water, safe environs, tranquillity of our port and family-friendly downtown. If we want to consider what Vineyard Haven would be like with the sale of beer and wine, it would make more sense to compare Vineyard Haven to Oak Bluffs and not to Rockport.
Finally, we have serious concerns about the proposed process of regulating the sale of beer and wine. The question on the April 15 ballot states: Shall the board of selectman be authorized to grant licenses without quota and for seasonal or annual terms as the board shall determine...." Do we want our selectman making these kinds of decisions for us given their ambivalent stand on this issue? We strongly encourage the citizens of Tisbury to ask what would be in the best interest of our children, and grandchildren, who will inherit our legacy. Do we want to risk compromising our wonderful town for the questionable benefit of a few restaurants? The potential negative impacts are too great to ignore.
For the past 200 years the vitality and distinctive character of our town has been nurtured by caring, resourceful and respectful citizens whose primary goal has been to sustain a high quality of life for the community at large. That is something worth voting for! Please vote no on Question 4, and preserve our town. Thank you.
Committee to Preserve Our Town