In the spirited race among 14 candidates for nine at-large seats on the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC), Christina Brown of Edgartown topped the ballot with 5,075 votes, with all six Island towns reporting results. Tisbury businessman Clarence “Trip” Barnes, an outspoken opponent of the Oak Bluffs roundabout approved by the MVC this year, was the second highest vote getter, with 4,841 votes.
Longtime MVC commissioner Linda Sibley of West Tisbury got 4,577 votes. John Breckenridge of Oak Bluffs received 3,847 votes. Douglas Sederholm of Chilmark was next with 3,844 votes. Eric Hammarlund of West Tisbury was sixth with 3,744 votes. Newcomer Madeleine Fisher of Edgartown won 3,204 votes. Camille Rose of Aquinnah, formerly an appointee to the MVC by the Aquinnah selectmen, was elected with 3,003 votes. Joshua Goldstein of Tisbury was the ninth member elected, with 2,755 votes.
Susanna Sturgis of West Tisbury actually had the ninth highest vote count, 3,114, which was more than Mr. Goldstein’s. But under the MVC rules, no more than two people from any one town may serve as elected members of the commission, and Ms. Sibley and Mr. Hammarlund, both of West Tisbury, got more votes than Ms. Sturgis.
The other candidates and their vote totals included Dave Willoughby of Tisbury (2,398), Fred Hancock of Oak Bluffs (2,349), Jim Miller of Edgartown (1,925), and Joseph Jims of Oak Bluffs (1,629).
Among the incumbents reelected, Ms. Sibley, owner of Vineyard Electronics, has been on the MVC since 1992 and is the longest-serving member.
Mr. Breckenridge, a commissioner since 2004, works in the food service industry.
Ms. Brown, a commissioner since 1997, is retired from her former job as the assistant to the Edgartown Planning Board.
Erik Hammarlund of West Tisbury, a commissioner since 2011, is an attorney whose law office is in Vineyard Haven.
E. Douglas Sederholm of Chilmark, a commissioner since 2003, is an attorney and also serves on the Chilmark Finance Advisory Committee.
Ms. Rose, appointed in 2009, is a former selectman and planning board chairman.
The new candidates bring a variety of backgrounds to the MVC.
Mr. Barnes is the owner of Barnes Moving and Storage on State Road and a well-known Island figure who nonprofit organizations often rely on for his skills as an auctioneer.
Ms. Fisher is an art gallery owner, painter, and licensed real estate broker,
Mr. Goldstein, the youngest candidate at age 33, is the manager of his family’s business, the Mansion House Inn, in Vineyard Haven.
The Martha’s Vineyard Commission was established by an act of the legislature in 1974 as a regional land use planning and regulatory agency with broad powers to oversee and permit developments of regional impact (DRI) and to develop regional regulations for areas approved as districts of critical planning concern (DCPC).
The commission has 21 members. Vineyard voters elect nine in Island-wide elections held every two years, the Island’s boards of selectmen appoint six, the Dukes County Commission appoints one, and the governor appoints five, of whom four do not vote on DRIs or DCPCs.
Residents of one town may vote for candidates from other towns, but at least one commissioner must be elected from each town, and no more than two elected commissioners may sit from any one town.
For example, if the candidates with the three highest vote totals are from the same town, only the two with the highest vote totals will be elected to the MVC. If a candidate with the lowest vote total overall were the only candidate from that town, he or she would be elected.