Salting the wounds

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Picked-up pieces as we waited in line just about everywhere over the past week.

The Steamship Authority has done it again. During a crossing between Woods Hole and Oak Bluffs last Wednesday, the chief engineer on the MV Martha’s Vineyard was pressurizing the sprinkler system on the freight deck. First it started to leak, and then, for a brief period, it rained down on the cars and trucks on the freight deck.

Steamship brass downplayed it, through a spokesman, saying that only a small amount of water leaked out, even though the video showed cars with drops of water beaded up all over them and puddling on the floor in between the vehicles. If you watch the brief video with our story, you can even hear the water. Drips don’t sound like that.

No announcement was made on board the ferry, even though that water sprinkled on the cars was saltwater, which has corrosive qualities that can lead to rusting. (We found out it was saltwater from a Coast Guard official, not the SSA.)

These are the kind of communication issues that the SSA needs to clean up.

The SSA says it has had no reports of any problems with vehicles, which is kind of silly because rusting isn’t instant. Paying customers on the ferry deserved to know that their cars had just been sprinkled with seawater and they might want to clean that off at their earliest opportunity.

Mistakes happen. It’s how you respond to those mistakes that make all the difference.Our editorial last week strongly questioned the actions of the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission with regard to a fence at Trade Wind Fields Preserve and, in the process, may have let the Oak Bluffs Land Bank advisory committee off the hook. While the advisory board had voted to postpone the installation of the fence, an action the Land Bank Commission ignored, it had, in a previous vote, approved the fence.

According to the state statute that created the Land Bank, advisory boards hold veto power over the Land Bank Commission. “Under c. 736, each advisory board exercises advisory duties, as well as binding veto powers over the Land Bank Commission regarding land located in said town. For example, each land acquisition by the commission must be approved by the town advisory board in the town where the land is located, and any disposition of the Land Bank’s interest or change in the use of the land must also be approved by the advisory board of the town in which the land is located and by the Secretary of Environmental Affairs,” according to the statute.

So the advisory board, an eight-member panel made up of representatives of town departments, had a chance to block the fence with its veto power and didn’t. We’re certainly not excusing the Land Bank Commission, but maybe some of the bluster from Oak Bluffs selectmen should be aimed at their own advisory panel.

There’s plenty of blame to go around.

Congratulations to the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School girls tennis team for its fourth consecutive state title. How big was the win? Well, for at least a moment, it brought peace to the Tisbury board of selectmen and Tisbury school committee. The win was announced during a contentious joint meeting between the two boards at Katharine Cornell Theater. The room erupted in cheers. Finally, something the two sides could agree on.

We love it that all of the towns sent fire engines and cruisers to greet the girls as they returned home with their championship banner.

We were also pleased to see so many members of the community out on Sunday night to welcome Laiza Cimeno back to the Island. Reading the online comments, it might be easy for the Cimeno family to get discouraged, but clearly those comments represent a small sample of the Vineyard.

Laiza and her family were welcomed back to the Island with hoots, hollers, signs, and welcoming hugs. We’re glad this ordeal is over for them.