To the Editor:
You’d never know it from all of the emotional rhetoric, but the beer and wine question facing Tisbury voters next Tuesday is a remarkably straightforward issue. The current reality in town is that people can go to restaurants and have a beer or bottle of wine with their meal. A yes vote on Article 1 would mean that people would be able to go to a restaurant and have a beer or bottle of wine with their meal. If this sounds like there’s no difference between the before and the after, that would be right. Except of course, the restaurateur would make a few extra bucks on the wine he or she would be allowed to provide. In addition, he or she would not be turning away summer visitors who head for O.B. or Edgartown when they find out that they cannot be served a glass of wine with dinner. Is this important? Sure it is. A measure which helps our business community in these difficult economic times and which is as innocous as this one is warrants serious consideration. The argument most often heard from the measure’s opponents is the “slippery slope” or “camel’s nose under the tent” one. They say that a yes vote on Article 1 would necessarily result in further legislation culminating in bars, taverns, dance halls and liquor stores. But does anybody think that the recent town vote to fund the State Road/Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road connector road, for example, is going to result in a plethora of other connector roads all around town as well? Slippery slope may be a sincere opposition argument, but it just does not defeat any factual evidence or precedent. And then there is the fear factor. In the case of beer and wine in Tisbury, it goes something like this: drunks rolling out of the restaurants, our children being exposed to such behavior, the character of the town under assault. Look, take a walk downtown some evening, especially in summer. The behavior you see now is the behavior you’re going to see (which, by the way, is pretty benign). And that’s because, full circle, there would be no change in the availability or consumption of beer and wine in the restaurants.
Like I said, it’s a remarkably straightforward issue. I’m voting yes. Jack StreetVineyard Haven