To the Editor:
In a letter of July 19 [In reply, I'm not wrong], Oak Bluffs resident Erik Albert responds to criticism of his long series of letters against West Tisbury’s Lambert’s Cove Beach policy. Unfortunately, he never gets around to the main point of the criticism, because of his regular inclusion of derogatory remarks about town residents in general and individually by name. He even slips a couple of such cracks into his response.
These remarks are more about the motives of those who support the beach policy than about its substance, suggesting hypocrisy, elitism, snobbery, and even racism (“apartheid”). Nothing actionable of course, but making the letters less enjoyable to read, at least in West Tisbury. Mr. Albert says some have told him they enjoy his letters, but he does not say what they know about the facts.
Mr. Albert always describes West Tisbury’s discrimination against non-residents in present terms, regardless of season. The facts: for the three crowded summer months, passes are required after 9 am for the historic but narrow access path, close to homes, from the parking lot to the beach. The alternative to passes would be to bulldoze a wider path and a bigger parking lot. There are no passes for the beach itself, and state law protects the public’s right to walk freely below the high tide mark.
Mr. Albert says he never heard about tolerating other towns’ by-laws, passed by residents who know local situations best, but perhaps he has never ventured far from home. Most Islanders obey such by-laws, and if they disagree, do so without three years of name-calling.
Perhaps the Editor should edit Mr. Albert’s letters more carefully for “style, taste, sense, and conciseness.” And a little more civility wouldn’t hurt.