To the Editor:
I contend, along with formidable empirical and anecdotal evidence, that were the Island to free itself from the plague of tourists, specifically of the wealthy variety, the quality of life enjoyed by its inhabitants would be vastly improved. Every spring as I arrive to work, I discover natives fraught with the prospect of pleasant weather and the oppression it invariably delivers. Ordinary residents and even homeowners are forced from their dwellings to accommodate affluent renters, while shopkeepers, civil employees, and other workers are seldom found on our lovely beaches and parks, as they are pressed into servitude by a vicious cycle which engorges property values and indentures what in the summertime becomes a minority population.
An initial move in rectifying this would be a tax on all nonresident-occupied properties of 85 percent, retroactive to 1776, with confiscated properties returned to the rightful owners, the Wampanoag. Other properties, along with the airport, which consumes a disproportionate amount of public land exclusively for the use of the privileged, should be converted to permaculture and hoop-house organic farming. Our ferry, of course, should be melted down to produce machinery for small-scale manufacturing, while modest vessels are licensed to carry nonresidents to the Island incumbent on a $2,000 environmental excise fee. As trinket shops are returned to their original purpose of purveying locally made goods, services, and provisions, the New England character of towns will re-emerge, a traditional barter-based currency will detach all from indebtedness, and the nature and beauty which is our birthright will prevail.