To the Editor:
A yes vote on Question 1 will create profound changes to the fabric and character of Tisbury. Restaurants will have to hire trained bartenders and create setup areas, and these are financial investments that will soon have them back at the table asking for full bars to maximize those very same investments. Bars will change the face of our town. Many of the proponents of Question 1 have said in the past that they could live with just beer and wine, and would not ask for hard liquor when that issue was being debated, and yet here we are again. I realize that character is in the eye of the beholder, but our town is safe and friendly. Hard liquor and the bars that may follow will start to reinvent the face of Tisbury, cause more law enforcement issues, and create a place that will be unrecognizable compared with the welcoming year-round community we have today. At present most parents would not have qualms about dropping off their 12-year-old with a friend on Main Street at 7 pm to get some pizza and ice cream and watch a movie, and to then pick them up at nine after the movie is over. Our town is safe. Would anyone feel the same about unsupervised kids being left off on their own in the downtowns of Edgartown or Oak Bluffs during the evening hours? Both are great communities, but they have made decisions regarding local identity that are currently different from those in Tisbury.
Addiction and alcoholism are major problems our society wrestles with every day. Adults are free to make choices, but the argument that beer and wine are not sufficient spirits to have with dinner is troubling. If the food and atmosphere of a restaurant is good, does a shot of whiskey make or break that establishment? Are we so willing to sell ourselves out to benefit a few? Will more books or ice cream or clothes or gifts be sold because we now have mixed drinks in Tisbury? Will the modest increased revenue the town may receive from fees offset the additional costs of oversight and enforcement?
Our town is vibrant and thriving, and unique in so many ways. It has its challenges, but it is a place I am proud to call my home. Economic vitality is important, but so are community and safety, and the eclectic character that makes Tisbury stand out. We must be measured when we embrace changes, and look at how those changes affect us in the long run.
Vote no on Question 1.