Letters to the Editor
No help from the AG
To the Editor:
I am glad I ignored the trend and voted for Scott Brown.
One of the incessant ads Martha Coakley aired was about how she helped with health care. You couldn't prove that from where I am standing.
I need help with my health care. Yet calls I have made to her office have been futile. I get the runaround or the old pass the buck.
Considering this is one of the issues she ran her campaign on, one would think she would be only more than willing to get in the trenches with me and help. Sadly, she will not.
My opinion, and I am entitled to it as an American citizen, she seriously lacks backbone and rides on others' coattails. Shame on her.
It's the economy
To the Editor:
Though I may not often understand how the Vineyard works, I think I know why we now have a republican Senator. This was referendum on Obama, not a Senatorial race. As America continues to bleed jobs and mortgage its future with financial debt, Obama has recently opened up too many new fronts. Health care and Afghanistan are not what most Americans want to hear about, or pay for. Having the remains of our tax dollars allow for bank executive bonuses, in the middle of a great recession, is also not the way to get votes. It has always been about the economy. The people simply want a President, or a Party, to recognize that. And the people are right. If the economy is not healed soon, and made a priority, we may soon have neither a Democratic or Republican in office. It happened in Germany in 1933, simply the result of leadership who failed to recognize the necessity of a stable and working economy.
To the Editor:
By now I think we all have driven over the temporary bridge. And I am sure we have all seen the signs that are or should, I say were, hanging on either side of the temporary bridge that read "Overhead Structure." Were these signs meant to stand up to the wind gusts that we sometimes get on the Vineyard? Because it looks to me like the winds have got the best of them and torn them clear off. Perhaps these were temporary signs.
Chief deserved better
To the Editor:
As someone who has had direct access to all of Chief Beth Toomey's experiences while being chief in West Tisbury, I am again let down by the Island media. After 16 years of service, and countless hours after work at the expense of her personal life, we choose to immediately mention overtime, vacation time and pay. I thought the Island was better than reducing someone to their worth on paper. I thought this community was about personality, and something deeper than numbers. So far, everything I have read from the various articles have been less than acceptable, so I can't help but comment.
It takes a lot to retire from a job after that many years, something that was not easy for Chief Toomey to do. Yet instead of a kind word, a pat on the back, or even an indifferent account of her work, we bring up the numbers. How cold, inhuman, and rude.
Sure there's more in the article, but I imagine most people have stopped reading at that point. Imagine leaving a job you loved, a job you dedicated your life to, and the first thing mentioned was vacation time and compensation. Even in these times of economic turmoil, is this really that important in the light of her retirement?
I have seen firsthand how Chief Toomey has rolled with the punches and taken what people have had to say from their comfortable Island pedestals. I have watched her through times when most people would have quit or decided it wasn't worth it. Even on the eve of her retirement, I hear people making statements hoping the next chief would be another Chief Manter. These opinions are fine and completely decent, but in an effort to show some tact and respect, I would have waited to make such statements.
Chief Toomey is the one retiring, and she has been the one bearing the brunt of the West Tisbury Police department's affairs. I myself hope for another Chief Toomey, someone in touch with modern police procedures who can continue to move the department in the right direction.
I think the latest Senate race results indicate the time for the "good-ole-boys" club is over. Policing is not who you know, and who you are aligned with, it's what the public deserves.
Since I have been on- and off-Island for the past decade, I have also witnessed the "Vineyard Bubble" from an outsiders' point of view. I have watched as Chief Toomey has dealt with thousands of Island characters who have attacked her over menial and ridiculous matters. Things so small in the grand scheme of things, I couldn't help but laugh. Chief Toomey, on the other hand, worked on behalf of the people and took their concerns seriously. From small-time farmers to celebrities, everyone got the same fair service. This isn't something anyone will ever write about as its not exciting news and few take the time to evaluate the police department's actions. Instead people complain about parking spaces at Seth's Pond.
I'm glad Chief Toomey is retiring because I'm tired of watching her being publicly beaten up by people who could not fill her shoes themselves. I'm glad she is moving on, because she deserves a break from the harsh treatment of public scrutiny. I don't think anyone has any idea how much her service came at the expense of her personal and family life.
I could write a book about all the great things Chief Toomey has done for West Tisbury, but instead I'll just tell her in person, as I urge others to do.
Now, you may be asking how I know these things, and who am I to make these statements. I am Chief Toomey's eldest son, the proudest son on the Island. Congratulations Mom, you deserve it.
TBA reaches out
To the Editor:
This letter was written to the Tisbury selectmen.
I am writing to thank you for raising the issue of snow removal from sidewalks in town. About one month ago, I wrote to all our Tisbury Business Association members asking them to be mindful of winter coming and to take care of this matter in each of their properties.
Please let me know if the business association can be helpful in other manners in this matter.
I would also like to take this opportunity to invite the three of you to our annual St. Patrick's Day Breakfast, which is scheduled for 8:30 am, Wednesday, March 17. As I'm sure you are all aware, this is the true beginning of spring on all rightful calendars.
Tisbury Business Association
To the Editor:
My partner Jay and I purchased a home on the Vineyard nearly six years ago. I don't think we'll ever forget the words of the listing agent, Rob Kendall, when he first showed us our house. He stood on our deck in the yard and looking out over the valley below and the vast ridge beyond, he raised his arms and beamed, "Welcome to the Chilmark Alps".
Last Tuesday, I was sitting in my kitchen looking out at the Chilmark Alps and I noticed a construction crane rising in the sky. My heart sank. I knew the town didn't allow buildings that were as high as the crane, and I knew that the town hadn't approved a cell phone tower to be erected. I knew it could only be there for one thing, yet another wind turbine.
A trip to town hall confirmed that indeed, an application had been received for a turbine, and this one was going to be big, 149 feet big. To put that into perspective it is nearly as tall as a 15-story building. This turbine is nearly three times the size of the Gay Head Light. This turbine, if erected, would be visible from the neighborhoods near Middle Road, Meetinghouse Road, South Road, and from Abel's Hill. The property that the turbine will sit on directly abuts acres of conservation area and walking trails known as Middle Road Sanctuary, a Sheriff's Meadow property.
We have all heard the arguments against the turbines: noise, light flicker, view obstruction, bird kill, sinking property values. All are debatable.
We also hear the usual reasons for wanting to erect these enormous industrial structures: smaller carbon footprint, lower energy costs, replacing fossil fuels. These too are subject to debate.
What we aren't discussing enough is community benefit and conservation.
This community of Chilmark has worked long and hard to preserve the land's natural beauty. We limit the height of our homes, we have some of the toughest conservation laws, we have laws preventing light pollution, and even laws to quiet noise from swimming pool equipment. Our efforts make this town one of the most naturally beautiful places on the eastern coast of the United States. I, like many others in town, moved here for that community involvement that is found lacking in our suburbs and cities. I moved here because this community cares about this Island, and the Island is all the better for it.
The applications for wind turbines that are being presented to Chilmark and other towns are single use, residential turbines. These structures will serve only the individual who erects them, at the expense to the community. Many more people in the community pay for these structures by seeing them, having their views obstructed, and listening to their noise. That is not community living. And, it is not politically correct.
We may have our priorities reversed here. These structures are so massive and so permanent that they should be used as a last resort, not a first reward because a homeowner says they want to be "green." We need to exhaust all conservation efforts and less obstructive energy alternatives before we sacrifice this beautiful Island that we have worked so hard to protect.
I ask that we all work together and produce an integrated package of legislation for residential consumers that would address all renewable energy methods and technologies, that we create a holistic, sustainable energy policy that serves this treasured Island and the community of the Island so as to reduce our collective carbon footprint, rather than focus solely on residential turbines.
A well-crafted policy will ensure that we have done our best for the Island and its people and that we will not suffer the unintended consequences of otherwise well-intentioned people.
Misinformed on Cape Wind
To the Editor:
I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry after reading Barbara Israel's letter about Cape Wind in last week's MV Times, so I decided to be fair and do both.
Although several of her comments are so devoid of accuracy and so far off the mark that they struck me as funny in a loopy sort of way, I found the bulk of the letter merely sad and misinformed.
The image she invokes of monster turbines "spinning wildly out of control in a heavily populated area" is probably my all-time favorite knee-slapper set against her seamless backdrop of preposterous claims. As a matter of fact, Cape Wind would be farther from any populated area than any other Massachusetts power plant presently in existence, not to mention no onsite storage of nuclear waste (Yankee Pilgrim) or smokestacks belching toxins and pollutants (Sandwich, Brayton Point).
If I can offer her some solace and any hope of ever sleeping at night again, it would be to inform her that the "public safety nightmare" that Cape Wind represents (which she also says has circumvented federal regulations) is the most reviewed, dissected, inspected and debated energy project in the history of the United States. After nine years of wading through a morass of regulations, studies, requests, and applications it has been subjected to review by more state, local, and federal boards and agencies than any other energy project on record. You would think that at least one of those regulatory agencies might have picked up on it by now.
The writer is also terribly concerned that the taxpayers will somehow have to buy electricity from Cape Wind at grossly exorbitant rates yet seems blissfully unconcerned or perhaps unaware that our electric bills have about doubled in recent years due to the rise in crude oil prices. Since electricity is auctioned on the open market, deploying wind-derived electric power is our best hedge against a continued rise in the cost of producing power.
Even without factoring in any of the associated benefits of clean, renewable, non-petroleum based power, at least she might acknowledge that the price of wind will remain at zero forever while oil prices are predicted to climb. The breathtaking rise in the price of crude oil, which at one point more than tripled, has had far-reaching and destabilizing affects on our entire country. Given a choice between the very real effects a petroleum-based economy has on our future and those turbines Israel sees "spinning wildly out of control," I think I would choose the later.
If it is any consolation to Ms. Israel, I am sure that Cape Wind expects to pay a fee for using a portion of federally owned waters to generate electricity. It remains to be determined the exact amount of those fees, but I am willing to bet it will be considerably more than the few dollars per acre that large mining companies pay each year for the right to despoil thousands upon thousands of acres of public lands out west.
Heralding the wind
To the Editor:
The MV Commission's Wind Energy Siting Plan for Dukes County (released on January 11) is a commendable first draft. It strives to "serve as the main reference document in the process of arriving at a definitive plan and set of standards for siting wind turbines."
The body of the plan summarizes a list of 13 important issues: wind availability, turbine safety, noise, flicker, relation to transportation, impact on the natural environment, economic impact, property values, recreational activities, visual impacts, cultural values, electromagnetic interference, turbine construction, decommissioning, and maintenance.
But the list is incomplete. What's more, the document fails to (a) adequately herald wind turbine qualities; (b) explain why we might need to relax or re-think some of our standards or judgments against them; and (c), explain why we might need to take some steps/paths that are uncomfortable or risky, in order to get what we really want.
What issues might justify relaxed standards and/or risk taking? James Hansen, Al Gore, Bill McKibbon, George Woodwell and other experts have identified many: runaway global climate change tops the list, followed by sea level rise, desertification, food shortages, housing shortages, mass human migrations, ecological imbalances, ocean acidification, extinction of species, energy shortages, and severe violence.
Yes, all of these additional (11) issues, to some extent, can be heightened or diminished by the wind turbine decisions that we make during the next few years.
Let's do our best to include them in the next draft of the siting plan, for we Vineyarders need a document that allows us to grasp and prioritize all the issues - local to worldwide - and reach sensible decisions soon enough to secure our children's future.
Trash hauler apologizes
To the Editor:
I want to apologize to the residents of Oak Bluffs for causing any concerns regarding town trash service. It was my misunderstanding from an article I had read regarding the town's budget shortfall. Please feel free to contact me for further information on the offer in the flyer.
Urges president to go to Haiti
To the Editor:
We have seen many pictures out of Haiti. Pictures of the buildings, pictures of the pain, pictures of the devastation and pictures of the people.
Here's the question, do any of the Haitian people look like either George Bush, or Bill Clinton?
The answer for me is, none. None that I've seen. So, why are we sending past, white, ex-presidents to Haiti.
Please, President Obama, get on a plane and get to Haiti. These are your people, they share your country of origin, Africa, and they share your roots and identity.
Please, President Obama, get your feet on the ground in Haiti. Please invigorate the spirits, the hearts and the will of these terribly misfortunate people to be inspired, to find strength, to find hope to carry on. If you are going to make a difference it will surely start here first.
Beware the cynic
To the Editor:
Every day, prejudice and bigotry rears its ugliness into the mainstream of mass media. It is so anti-productive that it rarely surprises me the amount of pain it causes. It only drives people further from true communication and compassionate understanding, and is the most anti-therapeutic human experience. As the Nigerian writer, Chimanand Adichie, says, "If we base our conclusions on a single story about a person or a country or an event, then of course we will always hold one rather incomplete picture, even though it has a grain of truth."
I believe that one of the greatest contributions humans can give to the world is the gift of safety and trust.
Beware always the power of the cynic.
To the Editor:
In response to Jerry Stelle's article in January 7 Letters to The Editor, ("Sold Out") I have several things to say.
First of all, your reply to Michael Scarborough, in the December 31 Letters to the Editor ("Island tradesmen disadvantaged") your statements didn't apply to those that Mr. Scarborough had implied.
Mr. Scarborough was referring to "The hospital and bridge projects..." [ being built] "... by off-Island union builders..." he said nothing about "union contractors hiring illegals or Brazilians..." as you stated.
"Look in the hospital: what do you see? I thought there are fines for such practices. Where is Immigration Services, again?" (As stated in your letter.)
And people wonder why our economy is down, and why the world is the way it is, why we're at war, why racism/discrimination still exists and we can't manage world peace. It is because of people similar to you, people who make assumptions.
Why must you assume that every immigrant worker in the hospital is illegal? Or aside from that matter, every immigrant worker you see. And why must you say "illegals or Brazilians?" You are placing the Brazilian population into a whole other category. Why can't you look at the immigrants with an open heart and a kind smile, as you do to your fellow Americans?
Look beyond one's ethnicity, race or color. We are all human beings, with beating hearts and kind souls. Remember where your ancestors originated from. I hope you can have a change in heart and learn how to respect and accept someone for who they are, not where they're from.
To the Editor:
On behalf of the people of Grace Church, as well as those who were the recipients of the generosity and kindnesses of so many people once again at our Christmas Day dinner, I want to extend our deepest thanks and appreciation.
In spite of the economic challenges that we have all faced during this past year, we acknowledge with our love and thanks those who gave so generously of their time, talent and treasure: Dave at Vineyard Scripts; Sam and the employees of Stop & Shop; the employees of Cumberland Farms; John at Cash and Carry; Adam at I.F.P.; Debbie and Jim at Morning Glory Farm; Marybeth at Chilmark Chocolates; the people of Rickard's Bakery; Sarah at Cronig's Market; the folks at Eileen Blake Pies; and Jim at Big Sky Rentals. You all continually give so much back to our community, not only during the holidays, but all year round. You are amazing.
Our thanks also go to the many volunteers and staff from within the parish and out in the community who organized, picked up donations, cleaned, peeled, chopped, cooked, served, set up and cleaned up following the event. This would not have happened without the work and tireless effort that you all continue to give, no matter when or how often you are asked.
The generosity of the Vineyard community is without equal, and we are grateful to you all.
Grace Episcopal Church
So much support
To the Editor:
This is a copy of a letter to the Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Society.
As the year comes to a close, we think back on all the support we have received in the past year. One of the highlights of our year was arranging for our special riders to have their time to shine during the fair. It really was a very meaningful occasion for them, some of whom are still talking about it.
We thank you for squeezing us into your busy schedule and accommodating our needs. Also, a thank you to the draft horse folks for offering the use of their docile horses so more of our clients could ride. We strive to include as many of our special riders as possible, so all can experience the thrill of being in the Fair. It was a huge success. Hope to see you in 2010.
Rising Tide Therapeutic Equestrian Center