Letters to the Editor
On Election 2006 Issues
To the Editor:
If you are thinking of voting Republican, please consider the following facts: The Bush/Republican war in Iraq is costing over $2 billion per week. That is $300 million per day, $12.5 million per hour. Most of this money goes to US corporations (Halliburton, Boeing, General Dynamics, Bechtel, etc.) for services and equipment. These corporations have profited immensely, with stock values having gone up an unprecedented 30-40-50 percent.
Who is paying for this? Some is paid by us - the lower and middleclass taxpayers - not by the rich or the corporations for they hire experts who find tax-avoiding loopholes. But most of all it will be paid by our children and grandchildren as the debt rises to incomprehensible trillions (now over $8.5 trillion, increasing by $1.6 billion per day). And please consider the many scandals among high-ranking Republicans and their associates, like DeLay, Hastert, Norquist, Foley, Abramoff, etc, etc.
And last but not least, please consider this: Can you honestly say that you feel safer now than before the US invasion of Iraq? Al Qaeda and other America-haters have increased 100-fold. They are willing to give their lives in order to stop that greedy US Republican capitalism-without-conscience mentality that is shamelessly enslaving people and destroying health, environments, resources and economies around the world. Words of wisdom: Beware of the military-industrial complex. Follow the money. Beware of immoral Republican greed.
Vote for peace
To the Editor:
Nov. 7 offers us a golden opportunity for change, one that can spur our withdrawal from Iraq, save thousands of lives, block the invasion of Iran, stop torture, regain our rights of privacy, stop the development and use of new nuclear weapons, increase funding for health care and other domestic programs, encourage renewable energy technologies (not fossil and nuclear power), lessen the likelihood of future oil conflicts, preserve Earth's environment, and promote greater international cooperation and harmony.
But Nov. 7 will be a turning point only if we decide to make it one. We need to vote for the candidates who have the courage, determination, and wisdom to bring about the much-needed changes. It's time for us to give peace a vote.
County issues demand your attention
To the Editor:
On Election Day next Tuesday, I hope that everyone, after voting for state and federal officials, will pay close attention to a very important Island issue: the Dukes County Commission.
Everyone, I hope, knows about the costly fiascos the incumbent commissioners have put the Island through in the last few years. The first reaction is: Get rid of the commissioners and junk the commission. The first part is right, the second is not.
Regional county government is important to the Vineyard. It can and, when properly administered, does perform services more efficiently than the six towns separately or together could do. As a working partner with the Martha's Vineyard Commission, it can improve the quality of life on the Island.
Although the county charter, after 15 years in place, needs review and update, the problem with the Dukes County Commission is not the charter, it's the commissioners. When you see a car behaving erratically on the highway, it may need an oil change and a tune up, but in our case, it's not the car, it's the drivers.
There are four open seats and three incumbents running for reelection. I urge you to vote for four new commissioners. The choices of Citizens for Sound County Government, of which I am a member, are Carlene Gatting (Edgartown), Pete Hefler (Tisbury), Tristan Israel (Tisbury) and Rick Lee (Aquinnah). Voters should have in mind that the county charter permits no more than two commissioners from any one town. If you vote for more than one candidate from one town, you are throwing away one vote.
And, perhaps in the long run most important, vote yes on Question 4 to create a Dukes County Charter Study Commission. This commission will have 18 months to study, hold public hearings, and make recommendations regarding the charter including, possibly, its abolition. So, whether or not you support the concept of regional government for Martha's Vineyard, vote yes for the study. A no vote means that you are happy with the way things are - and I doubt that describes any of us.
Finally, you must vote for 15 representatives to the Charter Study Commission. There are 12 candidates on the ballot and five announced write-ins. I hope that you will vote for all the write ins: Steve Bernier (Chilmark), Tad Crawford (West Tisbury), Jeff Kristol (Tisbury), Tom Rancich (West Tisbury) and Holly Stephenson (Tisbury), and candidates on the ballot as follows: Mimi Davisson (Oak Bluffs), Richard Knabel (West Tisbury), Paddy Moore (West Tisbury), Nora Nevin (Tisbury), Jim Newman (Aquinnah), Linda Sibley (West Tisbury), Ted Stanley (West Tisbury) and Woodrow Williams (Tisbury).
I know this a lot to absorb - a lot of voting. But it is important to the future of our Island, and aren't we lucky that we have the right to vote. So just do it.
A horror tale
To the Editor:
On Monday, Oct. 30, the Vineyard Haven Public Library sponsored a spooky "Halloween" non-fiction story hour at the Katharine Cornell Theater. The storyteller - George Woodwell, climatologist from the Woods Hole Research Center - told the story of how fossil fuel burning and de-forestation are changing the world. Already severe weather is becoming more severe. Sea levels are continuing to rise and many other very scary, scary things are already happening to planet earth. Thank goodness the story did not end there.
Mr. Woodwell went on to say that humans had a little time (but not much) to fight the evil-doers and take back control of mother earth. By this time, I was on the edge of my seat anxiously waiting for the answer. Mr. Woodwell ended the spooky story with many great solutions to the grim tale, but the one that was really great that I could do next week was to vote the darn evil-doers right out of office. Oh, by the way, I also heard about this American super hero, Al Gore, who was hired by this British guy, who for a while now has been in bed with the evil-doers, to help with this most important issue facing the planet. What are we willing to do?
No on One
To the Editor:
As the election nears you have probably seen letters and ads for and against ballot Question One (wine in chain stores).
As occurs with many political questions, there is something to be said on both sides. In general, competition in the marketplace is a good thing - it keeps everyone on their toes and doing their best. But on this island there are already a good number of places to buy wine seasonally and year-round. They are all family-owned stores that have big investments, deep roots, and genuine involvement in the community. There is lots of competition for your business now and the public seems to be pretty well served by the mix of package stores we have.
If it seems to be working well, why change the rules and let an enormous, international food chain enter the retail wine business here? Whatever happens state-wide, the voters on Martha's Vineyard could send an important message to their boards of selectmen that we have enough package stores here now.
Making a go of any retail store is challenging on this lovely island. Maybe some communities in this state will vote for Question One in hopes of fostering even greater competition and lower wine prices. But is that really such a great thing if we weaken all of our locally owned and operated package stores in the process?
If you feel that the island package stores have done a good job for you and the island community, we hope you will vote no on Question One and keep the package store business on Martha's Vineyard the way it is now. Thank you for thinking this through before you vote.
David and Ellen Richardson
Vote yes on
the charter commission
To the Editor:
I hear criticism of the County from all over.
The only way to change the system is through the Charter Study Commission. So don't stand there and gripe. Vote.
Yes on Four
To the Editor:
Question 4 on the Nov. 7 ballot asks if there should be a commission formed to study the structure of Dukes County. This is the last item on the ballot. Voters need to be sure to turn the ballot over to vote on this important local question.
A no vote does not mean abolish the county. A no vote means no charter study, no changes in the county structure.
A yes vote means there will be a study. This study must make a recommendation to voters. The commission may propose that we change county government, leave it just the way it is, or abolish Dukes County government. The only way to have any change at the county level is to vote yes on Question 4.
To the Editor:
This letter was written to the chairman of the board of health, town of Oak Bluffs.
My name is Chip Mitchell. I have been a resident of the town for more than 12 years. This past Wednesday, Oct. 25, I was having lunch with a friend in the new Thai restaurant on upper Circuit Ave. The restaurant was busy, as it was about 12:30. Shirley Fauteau, the health inspector, walked in and had a short conversation with the owner's sister, Mei. The owner had just left to go to the Stop & Shop. The next thing we knew, Shirley was directing the sister Mei to close the restaurant immediately.
May I say all the patrons were shocked, horrified, and dismayed. Shirley, while in the dining room, directed Mei to put the Closed sign up. The problem was that the owner, who is on the Serve Safe Certificate, was not present, which is a technical violation. Mei repeatedly told Shirley the owner would be back shortly. All to no avail. Mei was humiliated and embarrassed that this was all happening in view of the diners.
What the patrons saw was a town official out of control and abusing her power and authority with no sense of class or thought as to the scene she was creating. This was again seen after Shirley left, only to return in a few minutes with a large white sign saying Closed by Order of the Board of Health. I can't think of what rumors started to spread after Shirley posted the sign. Unless people are getting sick or other serious violations, only the full board of health, after voting, should have the authority to close an establishment. This time of year, I'm sure most restaurants can't possibly have a Serve Safe person on duty every minute. Shirley needs to be reined in and made to apologize to the owners of the restaurant.
And talk about reining in, Shirley is in a town office yet she has turned her office into a kennel for her dog. What about people with allergies, or the liability if someone is bitten. This is a far more serious problem than someone leaving a restaurant for a couple of hours to go grocery shopping.
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration.
To the Editor:
Since The Times is so often indefatigable in developing those aspects of any story about which the general public might be unaware, I must write to express my disappointment over the short, and un-examined item that appeared this week, reporting the abrupt resignation of one of the members of the Oak Bluffs board of appeals. You accurately cited her reasons for resigning - the thoughtful product of her attendance at a recent seminar offered by the State Ethics Committee. But you made no mention of the disastrous effect her resignation - which rendered the board, now short-handed, unable to do its work - had on the lives, and livelihoods, of a number of local residents.
The board of appeals meets only once a month. Lacking a quorum, or any appointed alternates, the board could offer no answers to those Oak Bluffs residents who are waiting for decisions on projects they had hoped to start, if approved, before winter weather makes the work difficult, or impossible. But, more importantly, not only were local home owners discommoded. Local contractors: carpenters, plumbers, electricians, all the company of hard-working people who make their living (and our homes livable) were also left hanging by a board that, due to that high-minded but abrupt resignation, turned away this month's applicants without offering remedy or apology. That was the story I suggest you should have written.
It is, in fact, of course, no business of mine. I was not at that abbreviated hearing, nor am I involved with the projects the applicants and those who hoped to do the work had hoped to begin before the winter snows. But I care about The Times. We all know that Oak Bluffs bureaucracy, despite the efforts of good citizens who serve, generous with their time and their skills, can sometimes seem to Oak Bluffs-ians a kind of permanent stand-up joke. But I suggest that The Times's job may be to remind us all that the occasional fecklessness of some of our local boards and committees isn't always funny to local citizens who need to get their jobs done. They and look to this paper to report on the eccentricities of our local governing bodies, warts and all. Constructive criticism of non-constructive behavior can make a difference. Will you step up to that plate?
To the Editor:
I was a nursing home administrator for 20 years. Of all the conditions I came in contact with, I feel Alzheimer's leaves the patient the most vulnerable and debilitated and the family most helpless and confused. It's a disease without a cure that gets progressively worse. Alzheimer's knows no limits, and therefore, the effort to support people with Alzheimer's, and their caregivers, is an awesome and necessary task.
When I first affiliated with Alzheimer's Services of Cape Cod and the Islands seven years ago, I never imagined I'd chair the Vineyard Walk, but with able assistance and support from many people, it happened.
The outpouring of generous donations has been impressive - from family and friends of Vineyarders with Alzheimer's; from businesses with a serious commitment to a community need. Latest figures indicate the Vineyard brought in over $8,300. That's amazing.
My daughter asked me why I was still involved with Alzheimer's and I said, half joking, that I was investing in the future so I'd be cared for when I came down with it. Seriously, it is worthwhile to support Alzheimer's Services of Cape Cod and the Islands, where all the funds go to local services. Contributions to this annual walk are a worthwhile venture for all involved.
Chairman of 2006 annual
of Cape Cod
and the Islands
not by magic
To the Editor:
Finally, paths in West Tisbury. I was driving visitors up-Island last week, and they commented on our lovely paths. I could not believe my eyes. Usually with all the red tape involved, I had not expected to see the path put in so soon.
The paths had a well-established look that fit right into the landscape. I seldom see foot traffic in this area, but there were carriages, walkers and bikers, and people generally enjoying these walkways.
I want to thank the Paths by the Roads Committee for not letting the residents wait forever but to be able to use them on these lovely fall days.
Thank you, and good luck with your future paths.
Speed it up
To the Editor:
My son is on a school exchange visit, at West Tisbury School. He is over from England, They had arranged to stand in front of your web cam so all the parents at home could see the kids on the beach. But from England your web cam image takes far too long to refresh itself, so that before I can see the full picture it starts again, I've seen the sky loads of times, but I hardly ever get to see the whole picture, or the kids waving on the beach. I'm on two meg broadband. Can I suggest that you either reduce the image size so that it will that less time to download, or make it so it only refreshes every minute rather than every 30 seconds. Thanks.