Herbert Combra in Oak Bluffs
Tuesday, Oak Bluffs voters have a clear choice between good government and good entertainment. That is, there may be for the politically gluttonous among us some entertainment value in noisy disharmony among the town selectmen, but good government and the interests of Oak Bluffs voters lie in cooperation among the five town executives. Herbert Combra, a former selectman with a decade-long record who later led the town department of public works for 13 years, has a demonstrated commitment to the interests of his town. He is a practical and effective leader whose knowledge of Oak Bluffs, in all its human and physical variety, is exhaustive. He is forceful enough to get things done and cooperative enough to work with others whose views may not correspond exactly to his own. His interest in restraining growth of the town budget and consequently the town's real estate tax burden is commendable. And doing so will reward the property owning residents, year-round and summer alike, in the years ahead. The town has taken advantage of steep inflation of property values to invest substantially in its public infrastructure, so that fiscal restraint in next few years may be possible, with determined leadership bent on doing so.
If voters recognize that until recently, even despite the difficult three years devoted to the golf mayhem, Oak Bluffs town government has built a solid record of making sensible decisions and sensible investments in the town's future physical and financial health, and if they recognize that good government depends on spirited but reasonable teamwork among municipal leaders, they will return Mr. Combra to a seat among the town selectmen.
It's in the rates
With the year more than half gone (and summer too) Steamship Authority traffic figures tell a depressing story of slow to no growth. The second chapter of the story is that despite the lack of traffic growth, revenues are up. Which means that chapter three is the tale of an organization that, despite its earnest money saving efforts, is living off fare increases. Overall, as of July 21, passenger traffic was up two-tenths of a percent. Passenger revenue was up 5.3 percent. Auto traffic was down 1.3 percent for the period. Auto revenue was up eight percent. Freight was up 12 percent, but freight revenue was up more, 19.1 percent. The story was the same last year, the year before that, and several years before that. It won't require a literary critic to imagine next year's installment.