Election 2008 : Martha's Vineyard Commission
The Martha's Vineyard Commission was established by an act of the legislature in 1974 as a regional land use planning agency with broad powers to oversee and permit developments of regional impact (DRI) and 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, Martha's Vineyard'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.
Nine for nine plus one
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 can sit from any one town.
For example, if the candidates with the three highest vote totals are from the same town, only two will be elected to the Martha's Vineyard Commission. If a candidate with the lowest vote total overall were the only candidate from that town, he or she would be elected.
Nine names appear on the ballot for nine slots leaving the only announced write-in candidate, James Athearn of Edgartown, with the daunting task of capturing more votes than someone whose name appears on the ballot.
Only one of the nine, Holly H. Stephenson of Tisbury, does not now serve on the Martha's Vineyard Commission.
Two of the nine candidates, John R. Breckenridge of Oak Bluffs and Christopher W. Murphy of Chilmark are currently appointed members seeking Martha's Vineyard Commission membership at the polls.
The remaining six candidates on the ballot are seeking re-election. Those include the longest-serving member, Linda Sibley of West Tisbury, who has served on the Martha's Vineyard Commission since 1992.
Mr. Athearn, who has served on the Martha's Vineyard Commission since 2000 and is chairman of the Island Plan committee, said he collected the necessary names to put his name on the ballot but then forgot to file his nomination papers before the deadline. As a result he is mounting a write-in campaign.