Editorial : Camille Rose in Aquinnah
Aquinnah voters must choose among three long-time residents to fill one seat on the board of selectmen. All of the contestants have been active in town affairs, but incumbent selectman Camille Rose is our choice.
Ms Rose wants a second term, and she has shown, during the three years just ending, that she is a careful, thoughtful, disciplined chief executive, with a sharp eye for municipal finance. Ms. Rose is part of a three-member executive that has been more progressive, decisive, and clear headed than predecessor boards and board members. It's a good team, and one town voters ought to consider worth keeping together.
Ms. Rose has lived and worked in Aquinnah for the past 35 years, much of that time as a commercial fisherman. Ms. Rose, the chairman years ago of the first Gay Head planning board, has served in various capacities and on different boards including the finance committee, shellfish committee, Martha's Vineyard Commission, and numerous advisory committees over her long residency.
Among her responses to questions posed by The Times to Ms. Rose and her competitors, her suggestion for improving cooperation between the Wampanoag tribe and the town strikes us as a fresh, smart stroke, worthy of a town leader. Ms. Rose suggested, "The town and the tribe should explore the possibilities of a joint master plan. We share one of the most special places in the world; we should share a vision for the future. Pooling our resources and love for the land, we can ensure the preservation of our beautiful landscape while building a thriving and vital community. Exploring how we can save this place for our children would be a wonderful joint venture."
Without making a judgment here as to the probability that such an initiative might be easily accomplished, and acknowledging that a core building block of municipal success in Aquinnah is the establishment of a cooperative working relationship between tribe and town, here is an example of leadership thinking.
And Ms. Rose has in mind those of her constituents for whom living in Aquinnah is expensive and growing more so: "Everyone speaks of affordable housing, but we don't spend enough energy on keeping what housing we have affordable. If we want to maintain a community where the young people full of energy and the elders full of wisdom can afford to remain and pay their real estate taxes, we need to keep expenditures to a minimum while not stinting community services. We must encourage development that fits into the character of the town instead of becoming a summer colony for the wealthy where the average working man cannot afford the real estate taxes. We need to take advantage of grant money and we must increase local revenue sources that will not burden the taxpayer."
And, with an eye on the future, Aquinnah voters may also be asked to consider new, partially formed rules to govern an energy district of critical planning concern, which will be before the Martha's Vineyard Commission for adoption this evening. Here, we advise caution. Voters would be wise to insist on a fully realized slate of regulations that have been carefully reviewed in hearings before all interested parties, including seasonal property owners, who will be affected, as year-rounders will, by the imposition of these new standards, some of which are laudable, but expensive. In addition, the proposal suggests that great discretion will lie in the hands of permit granting authorities, making the path to permits for new construction uncertain, time consuming, and costly.