Of school votes, permit snafus, and ferry fiascos

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Here are some picked-up pieces as we go from winter coats to short-sleeved shirts in the blink of an eye:

 

Hey, Tisbury selectmen, just say no and put the Tisbury School project out of its misery. When you meet Thursday to discuss what to do in advance of the May 8 deadline to respond to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), you should pull the plug on the project. It’s the humane thing to do. You don’t support it, really never have, and your pretend vote in December allowing the project to move forward with the MSBA and then on to voters was faux leadership.

Instead, you worked behind the scenes to undermine the project. You didn’t take a vote at a board of selectmen’s meeting in advance of town meeting, saying you wanted to leave it in the hands of voters, then sent Letters to the Editor to influence the vote just days before the election.

It would be great if the board of selectmen took a leadership role in finding a solution and common ground, but we hold out no hope in that.

Maybe some of the people in the audience at Monday night’s meeting of the Tisbury School Building Committee are “pissed off enough,” as selectman Tristan Israel put it, to run for office with an eye toward uniting this deeply divided town.

 

We were struck by the way Min J. Kim, the owner of Toccopuro, a proposed coffee shop at 45 Circuit Ave. in Oak Bluffs, was treated by the town. Saying Kim was given the complete runaround would be an understatement. He was told he couldn’t have a restaurant with no tables because that would be fast food. Then he was told the two tables he installed would put his restaurant over the flow capacity for the town’s sewer system.

This just shouldn’t happen, and Oak Bluffs officials, as selectman Brian Packish rightly pointed out, need to do all they can to make things work for Kim.

And then they need to make sure a procedure is put in place so no other business owner goes through this.

Speaking of Oak Bluffs, we get that many of the people in the board of selectmen’s meeting room know each other, but it would still be helpful if the chairman did what chairmen in other towns do and ask speakers to introduce themselves. The meetings are videotaped, so it’s a good idea to remember that the audience goes beyond the people in the room, and there might be people at home — or even in the meeting room — who aren’t part of the “in” crowd.

 

It’s a mistake for the Steamship Authority to do a review of its own internal issues after the series of March ferry fiascos. Board member Marc Hanover, who represents Martha’s Vineyard, requested an outside consultant be hired to look at the myriad of issues from communication breakdowns to mechanical issues.

It’s disappointing that other board members, particularly Nantucket representative Robert Ranney, did not support Hanover’s initiative. Even though Hanover presented the board with a proposal just the morning of their meeting, board members should have been on notice that it was coming, as Hanover made very public statements about the need for an independent look at what went wrong while the crisis was in full swing. You’d think if this were happening on the Nantucket-Hyannis runs, that Ranney would want, and expect, Hanover’s support.

General manager Robert Davis should throw his support behind Hanover’s idea, because if the SSA sticks to doing its own internal review, it’s always going to raise questions about how deeply it went and whether it was sugar-coated.

Do the independent review.

And, while we’re on the SSA, there are public officials and paying customers who have requested that the Steamship Authority give more than lip service to a review of fast ferries. Davis has said it’s on the list of things to look at, and we hope he’ll give it serious consideration, and report back to the board on his findings soon.