Letters to the Editor
Charms we've missed
To the Editor:
I recently received the enclosed copy of an envelope mailed in 1910. I was interested in both the prices for boat travel to and from the mainland in those days, and in the description of the Vineyard's charm and conveniences. Too bad we don't still have those electric cars.
Letter postmarked Dec. 17, 1910. Postage 2¢. The back of the envelope reads:
"I spend my vacation at Oak Bluffs, Mass, on Martha's Vineyard Island.
Yachting, Fishing, Bathing, Riding
Sea Bathing. Water in July 70°; August 75°
Hot Salt Water Baths.
The Ideal Resort for Rest and Comfort.
A town unique in its appointments, with avenues, churches, hotels, and places of amusement...
Thousands of Summer residents....
People from all States in the Union visit here annually.
Numerous cottages for sale and to let.
Water System, Gas, Electric Cars and Lights and all the modern conveniences of home life. Write for more information.
From New York:
Fall River Line,
Pier 28, North River,
Boat leaves 5 pm
Fare for round trip, $7.25
South Union Station,
Fare for Round Trip, $3.
10 Trip Tickets, $13.
Electric Cars connect all parts of Oak Bluffs, Lagoon Heights and Vineyard Haven."
To the Editor:
Dominion Retail is very pleased The Martha's Vineyard Times took the time to examine our reduced rate of 10.9 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity through December. However, we disagree with estimates that our offer would save only $6 per month.
Based on actual usage for our existing customers on Martha's Vineyard, customers would save an average of $15.30 a month, or $107.10 for seven months. That's based on an annual usage of 8,700 kilowatt-hours.
Of course, everyone's usage varies, especially in the hot summer months. So let's say it another way - our generation rates are 15 percent lower than the Cape Cod Compact rates. Therefore residential customers who switch from the Compact to Dominion Retail will save 15 percent on the generation portion of their bill. No matter what their usage is.
Dominion Retail has, from time to time, considered offering green power to residential customers. We chose not to on Martha's Vineyard, because there are other companies serving those who choose to pay more for green power. Instead, we choose to compete for those customers who otherwise would be paying the highest price for electricity in the state of Massachusetts.
Dominion is one of the nation's largest energy companies and the largest generator of electricity in New England. We have residential customers in eight states, including four million franchise energy customers and 1.4 million customer accounts in deregulated energy and associated products and services.
Dominion is, and will continue to be, a contributing member of the Martha's Vineyard community, partly by providing a choice for customers concerned about high energy prices.
Manager, Media Relation
To the Editor:
I sat in the non-voter section of the Old Whaling Church during last week's annual town meeting. I couldn't help but smile as I spotted former students from the high school participating in the meeting. I was there representing the superintendent of schools, since there were three meetings that night, so we had to spread ourselves around in case there were any questions.
As I walked into the building, Ursula Prada handed me a conservation survey. While I was reading that, Darren Morris took a seat in the row in front of me. When Articles 49 and 50 came up, Gail Gardner (I only know these former students by their maiden names) raised her hand to speak and presented excellent points on why Article 49 should not be withdrawn. I was so proud of her. She was strong, clear, very polite, and yet forceful. Nice job.
Matt Poole jumped up to respond to some of her questions. As I looked around the room, I saw Tommy Smith and Jon Searle, town/court officers, doing their respective duties at the town meeting. I was beaming. Look at these young people, all grown up participating in town meeting. Bravo to each of you.
Finally, I kept trying to identify the young woman who was answering questions from the stage, and I leaned over and quietly asked Darren, "Is that Kim Gibson?" Wow, what a treat to see all of you participating in the history/government that I had the privilege of teaching many of you. Truly, that is one of the great rewards of teaching, to see our students practice what we teach. Thank you for making my evening,
M.V. Public Schools
To the Editor:
In his March 23 letter to the editor, Fred Thornbrugh states that, "religious moderates are, in large part, responsible for the religious conflict in our world."
Poor Fred. He can't tell a religious moderate from a murderous mullah.
A matter of facts
To the Editor:
Mr. Hughes and Mr. Albert of Oak Bluffs have recently written to your paper talking of "the liberal, left-biased media of this country." I'd like to know specifically which news sources they are speaking of.
Is a news provider considered to be left-leaning if it reports news that isn't good, or praising of our government's actions? Actions speak louder than words, and the actions of this administration are very plain to see. More than 100,000 Iraqis have died since the beginning of this regime change (not to discount the 2,300-plus U.S. soldiers). People are incarcerated in foreign jails without charge. Torture is now considered a normal part of how we wage war. Spying on U.S. citizens is occurring un-hampered. Donald Rumsfeld has ordered the assassinations of many. The Geneva Convention has been all but completely brushed aside. These are facts, not feelings. Now our president says that bombing Iran "is an option."
The comparison to Vietnam is valid in that we are fighting a war we cannot win, and the people know that democracy is not what our government really wants in the Middle East. In fact, our government has routinely ousted democratically elected leaders of many countries and backed a U.S. installed dictatorship. (Like the Shah of Iran, to name just one.) Again, this is not conjecture.
I'd encourage anyone interested in current politics to seek out truly alternative news sources, ones that are not owned by right-leaning media mega-conglomerates like Fox. Realize that all major media in this country - TV, radio, and news-print - is owned by just seven large right-leaning corporations. Even PBS is now chaired by a right-wing conservative. So where does one turn?
DemocracyNow.org, Pacifica.org, LinkTV, and Freespeech TV - they are only radical in that they are presenting an alternative view. What's so wrong about that?
Read James Mann's "Rise of The Vulcans," a very level-headed history of the Bush war cabinet. (Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rice, Armitage and Powell have all known each other since the Reagan White House, and Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Cheney since Nixon)
They have documented their desire to control Middle East oil since the 70s.
Find out what "The Project for a New American Century" is. It's astonishing. Basically it was drawn up by the above-mentioned and self-named Vulcans and Richard Perle and others, and states that the U.S. is now the world's military super-power, and we have the right to go anywhere in the world and secure any resources we feel we need to. A version of this document was signed as U.S. policy by President Bush in 2002.
The document also states that in order for Congress and the people of the U.S. to condone such aggressive military actions we'd need a catalyzing event like "A New Pearl Harbor." A book by David Ray Griffen by that name brings very controversial questions about 9/11, and it has been dismissed by most corporate media. But he does raise valid questions that do deserve answers.
"Chain of Command" by Seymour Hersh is a very informative, factually written overview of today's politics.
"American Dynasty" and "American Theocracy" by Kevin Phillips are books for anyone who wants to know how we got to where we are today.
I'm hopeful Mr.Hughes and Mr. Albert and anyone else who feels the president is doing a good job and deserves our unquestioning support will read these books, and watch DemocracyNow. This country was founded on dissent, and we must be very aware of the growing complacency of our media and our population.
I wish our reporters could find good things going on in Iraq, but I don't think an Easter Egg hunt is going to happen anytime soon. Let's all be brave enough and wise enough to look at the facts, and not be afraid to ask hard questions. Let's stop simply dismissing difficult questions and evidence as un-patriotic. I can only hope that if our president decides to bomb Iran, our nation will come out in protest in an even grander scale than we saw this week nationwide over immigration.
To the Editor:
This letter was written to the Oak Bluffs selectmen:
I am a senior citizen on a fixed income. Much has been said on the Island and indeed in Oak Bluffs about affordable housing, but little about affordable living. I am a native of Oak Bluffs, born and bred. As an adult, I attended nursing school in Boston and nursed in various city hospitals until my retirement in 1999 and my return home, a cherished dream.
Throughout this time, I maintained my connection with my family and home. A member of my immediate family has lived in our home for over 55 years. Every year it has become more expensive. Every year town spending increases, our assessment increases, our taxes increase. And this year, the water rate will also increase, and we will all be charged for the improvements to the wastewater system. It has been suggested by some town officials that we need a "town campus," and it sounds wonderful, but all I can see is an additional cost to the taxpayers - a huge cost.
I have asked various town officials about affordable living and was told, (1) If the answer were known, he (a selectman) would be employed by the federal government, and (2) "We must move forward."
The federal government does not, to me, seem to be interested in affordable living, as long as they can point to a "sound" economy without addressing the destruction of the middle class. As to "moving forward," a friend of mine reminded me that when you move forward, you have to be careful you don't fall off a cliff. (Makes you think of lemmings, doesn't it?)
It is not clear to me what our goals are in moving forward. Forward to what? Where are we going?
Affordable living must be dealt with or there will be many more houses inhabited for half a year or less and serviced by people daily commuting from America. Senior citizens on a fixed income will go out to sea.
Not only the rich
To the Editor:
I would like to express my support for the Cozy Hearth group in their quest to secure housing on the Island. Having been a real estate broker on the Island, and with my husband building homes here for nearly 30 years, we have seen the struggles people go through to secure a home with all the rights and privileges that we, who own homes, cherish.
We know that Edgartown has approved sub-standard lots such as those in the Saddle Club area in the past - these concepts are not new to our town. We have voted for another new housing initiative, the Community Preservation Act, and have many advocates of affordable housing on the Island. Our present housing shortage will only get worse unless we continue working together for a solution. If you tell someone from off-Island that you are from Martha's Vineyard, they immediately think you are rich. Unless we do more now, the reality will be that only the rich can afford to live here.
These eight families are the lifeblood of our Island. They have gone through four years of hard work to secure a home, given up many rights that you and I as homeowners take for granted, and have agonized more than you and I can imagine to continue their lives here. We should not deny them the opportunity to raise their families and live in peace.
I believe that even if the zoning board of appeals denies this application, these people will not give up their quest -they will appeal the decision with the state and will be granted their right to live here and own a home as we do. I would like to suggest we not deny these people the right to live and work here. Instead, let's show that Edgartown is thinking about the future of the town. If we don't, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will show us how it is done.
There are other ways besides 40B to solve our housing shortage, otherwise we will need zoning that includes phrases such as, "As long as nobody else lives nearby," or even, "Only the rich need apply".
To the Editor:
I want to report on the passing of Richard J. Shannon Jr.
We should all be blessed that we had Rick in in our lives. He was a very good person, who suffered for so long with his condition. It was very hard for him. We should all remember him and how he touched every one of our lives.
He was was a wonderful person with a wonderful soul. He kept us going. And, as we move on with our lives here, we know that Rick will always be with us in spirit and and in our hearts.
You can help
To the Editor:
I grew up on the Vineyard, and now I've moved all the way across the country to California. I wanted to let the Island community know about an important project I'm working on. I am training for the 2006 San Francisco Half Marathon, which will take place on July 30, 2006. I started my training in February, and until July, I'll be logging nearly 500 miles in this six-month training program put on by the National AIDS Marathon. It's an exciting journey. And even though I'll be getting up at the crack of dawn, and I may have my share of aches and pains, I know it will be worth it.
More than one million Americans, and 40 million others around the world, are now living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Approximately 1 in every 50 San Franciscans is living with HIV/AIDS. The money I raise will benefit the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Donations will support HIV services and prevention programs in the San Francisco Bay Area to help keep people alive until there's a cure. Additionally, a portion of the funds will also support treatment access in the developing world.
This is such a worthy cause, and I would like to ask the Island community for support. I know what a caring and generous community Martha's Vineyard is, and I feel lucky to be able to call it home. I have made a personal commitment to raise at least $1,700 by Friday, April 28, 2006. Any contribution you can make would mean a great deal to me. Contributions are tax-deductible and will make a huge difference in the lives of thousands of people living with AIDS. You can donate online at http://www.aidsmarathon.com/ by clicking on "sponsor a runner" and then on "San Francisco" and entering my runner number, 6444. You'll see my marathon page and can read more about the very important work of the San Francisco AIDS foundation. There is also a link that you can follow to donate. Alternatively, you can send a check (with my runner number on it, #6444) to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation at the following address: National AIDS Marathon Training Program, 2201 Broadway, Suite 103, Oakland, CA 94612.
Thanks so much for your generous support.
West Tisbury and Oakland, California
at the Apollo
To the Editor:
On Wednesday, April 12, Felicia Taylor and I traveled to NYC for her first appearance at the world-famous Apollo Theater in Harlem. The Wednesday Amateur Night series is the longest running amateur talent night in existence - 72 years strong - and set the tone for more syndicated talent performance shows such as American Idol.
Felicia sang Maria Carey's "Hero" to a packed house of nearly 1,000 applauding patrons. She took third place easily as the crowd roared in her support. Only six Vineyarders came along to support Felicia, and God only knows what would have happened if we had more people shouting. Thanks to her mother, Linda Frances, Jeanie, Pat, Brenda, Elaine, Rhonda, and Steve!
Felicia has been invited back to the Apollo to sing in the second level of competition, which will be comprised of this month's weekly top-three winners. Each contestant will undoubtedly bring an entourage of support as they seek to advance to the third level of competition. April 26, Wednesday night, marks her next appearance at the Apollo, and I am heading up an effort to bring as many people as possible. Anyone interested in attending, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 774-563-0905 and leave a message. Tickets range from $17-$34.
Thank you so much, and we hope to see many more Vineyarders in Harlem on the 26th.
Good for the community
To the Editor:
The following is a statement by Bill Meyer on behalf of the Cozy Hearth project to the Edgartown Zoning Board of Appeals, Tuesday, April 18, 2006:
I am Bill Meyer of 44 School St. I come before you to urge quick approval of Bill Bennett's petition for Cozy Hearth, a unique affordable housing project.
The Cozy Hearth project addresses the most critical issue we face in our time: affordable housing for those who make the Island work.
I do not know Mr. Bennett personally. I am here to support what he wants to do.
Section 40B was passed by the state legislature to develop a socioeconomic mix of citizens in communities.
Mr. Bennett, an employer, has taken the initiative to solve the affordable housing crisis for his employees and himself.
It is such a big problem that everyone on the Island must participate. I was so proud of Edgartown when it became the first town to sponsor an affordable housing project.
I ask each member of this board to conclude individually that Cozy Hearth is good for the community. Do not put any more restrictions on this project.
Remember Mr. Bennett is your neighbor. He might even be your electrician.