Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
After all, it will be almost three months since Comcast became our cable provider. Why shouldn't our rates increase beginning next month? While the transition from Adelphia television to Comcast television has been relatively seamless, the transition to the Internet has been a nightmare. Of course, I should have anticipated that Comcast would not be Internet savvy when Firefox, an alternate web browser used by millions, could not load the Comcast.net web site. But, being naïve, I assumed that this multi-billion dollar company would be able to convert my Internet access easily.
They started out well by sending me a letter in October stating that the conversion would be done in early November; they'd let me know exactly when the conversion would take place. Well, as just about all Adelphia web users found out, Comcast did not let us know when the conversion would occur. One morning I woke up and found that I could not connect to the Internet. Thus began my indoctrination into Comcast customer service. It does not exist. Let me qualify that. It does not exist in the sense that the word "customer" seems not to be in their vocabulary. Nor does it exist in the sense that they provide service. Brian Athearn of MV Tech solved my e-mail problems with Comcast; no one at Comcast could.
In November I wrote to two Comcast vice presidents. I would have preferred to write to Mr. Roberts, the CEO, but his address does not appear on their web site. I have yet to receive even an acknowledgement, let alone a response.
They've really earned this rate increase.
To the Editor:
If Tisbury must play the alcohol card, I'd prefer to see it take the form of a (beer and wine only) municipal package store (as they have in Minnesota, for example). Control over sales to minors would then be centralized and professionally administered; also, revenue generated would more directly benefit the Town as a whole.
To the Editor:
It was quite an experience reading Doug Cabral's At Large "Resolved" in the Dec. 28 edition of The Martha's Vineyard Times. I always thought that the idea behind New Year's resolutions was to assess one's own actions, and to resolve to do better personally in the new year. Little did I realize that one could use those quiet moments of self-reflection to come up with what everyone else needs to do.
Among Mr. Cabral's presumptuous resolutions, he saved the best for last. It is remarkable that this newspaper has elevated the status of the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank to "blessed." According to Mr. Cabral, he resolves that this publicly funded organization should continue to "hunt" and "use whatever means" to acquire property. The very people who in part fund the Land Bank are referred to as "sanctimonious" and having "pretensions." Now, really. Since when are private property owners, the ones who fund the Land Bank, the enemy of the Land Bank mission? Over-zealous, cult-like adoration of this publicly funded agency has gone too far.
Under the direction of James Lengyel, the Land Bank mission has been compromised more and more by deceitful and unbecoming conduct. Abuse of public trust is no way for James Lengyel to accomplish his "visions." Private property is not the enemy of the Land Bank, but if James Lengyel has so little regard for private property, owners' rights, disclosure, and truth-telling, I suggest he move himself and his "visions" to a different island where there are no private property owners for him to deceive. Cuba comes to mind.
As to this newspaper's waxing so ineloquently about the blessedness of the Land Bank, I for one hope that in 2007 this newspaper will resolve to print the truth about the "whatever means" are employed by the Land Bank. Being so disdainful of the good people who have paid their fair share into the Land Bank coffers, only to be deceived by that agency, is hardly journalistically ideal. Sadly, if 2006 was any indication, we won't get the whole story from the Martha's Vineyard Times about the "blessed" Land Bank in 2007, either.
To the Editor:
The Martha's Vineyard Service Unit of the Salvation Army wishes to thank everyone who has donated to our Red Kettles at various Island locations this year. Our unit is supported financially by these contributions. At this time of year, 100 percent of donations to these kettles is designated for local use. Under the guidance of divisional headquarters in Boston, the service unit is responsible for wisely using the funds entrusted to them to meet community needs. Our mission is to make Salvation Army services and spiritual ministry available to Vineyard residents. A fundamental aspect of the Salvation Army's faith is service to those in need, regardless of race, creed, color, sex or age.
We have been particularly blessed this year by the help of our volunteers and the tremendous support of our local merchants. These merchants have been very generous in allowing us to establish "countertop kettles"? in their stores as well as placing the familiar large kettles in front of their establishments during the Christmas season. These merchants include: Cronig's Markets, Stop & Shop, Shirley's Hardware, Reliable Market, DeBettencourt's Gas Station, S.B.S., Woodland Market, Benjamin Hall Real Estate and Mardell's Gift Shop.
On Saturday, Dec. 23, at our kettle location in front of Mardell's Gift Shop, one of our fellow Islanders slipped a donation into the kettle in the amount of five one-hundred dollar bills folded together. This truly exemplifies the spirit of Christmas giving. We intend to use all these donations to the best possible use for our fellow islanders who may be less fortunate than us.
For information, or to volunteer, please contact me at 508-693-4271.
For assistance, please contact our welfare secretary at 508-560-2052. You may also write us at: The Salvation Army Martha's Vineyard Service Unit c/o Capt. Richard S. Reinhardsen P.O. Box 1996, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568. Thank you all once again.
Capt. Richard S. Reinhardsen (USMM-retired)
M.V. Service Unit
The Salvation Army
To the Editor:
Below, please find a letter sent to the Steamship Authority members in reference to the Steamship Authority's preferred spaces buying program.
I have just returned from another frustrating experience trying to secure a preferred reservation at the Vineyard Haven terminal. I arrived at about 7:45 am and began the wait with approximately 7-10 other people. By the time the lines opened for preferred there were about 15 people waiting. Never mind the group that was at the airport reservation building waiting or those dialing furiously on their phones to try to get a spot.
First, when waiting for a preferred space there is no rhyme or reason. You have to hope that everyone remembers who was there first and honors it. While the ticket agents do their best to make sure everyone is taken care of, they are trying at the same time to sell tickets for the boat leaving at 8:15 am. So there we all hover like hungry gulls at a beach picnic, readying to swoop the minute we get the OK that the tickets are on sale.
Next, as we queue up, a sort of panic sets in as we listen to those ahead of: did they say that there were no 8:15 spots anymore? What time do you want to go and come back, the person ahead asks me. Is this person going to take my spot? How many spaces are available? Do I let a customer buying a ticket or picking up a reservation go ahead of me? Will that hold up the ticket agent so that when the preferreds go on sale I loose my chance for a ticket? Numerous scenarios play out in your head as to what will happen when you arrive at the ticket window, all before 8 am.
Today, I needed a ticket for the 2:30 pm boat tomorrow (Dec. 29, 2006) and wanted to return on the 9:45 pm boat tomorrow evening. At 8 am, when the preferred sales opened, I was able to secure the leaving portion but not the return. How can this be? How many spots were allotted to the preferred spaces for the last boat? The ticket agent suggested that I could call during today and hope for a cancellation (can you say harassment of SSA employees because after the tenth call that's what it feels like to me) or take my chances and try to come home standby tomorrow night. Hmmm, standby on Friday of New Year's Eve weekend, what are the chances that I will come home? While trying to maintain a calm demeanor I thanked the person who tried to help me and left feeling frustrated by the system in place for preferred ticket purchase.
It's the middle of winter, and I am fighting for a few spots (a number unknown to most) to try go off and come home. Why is this happening? Are preferred spaces being sold before the day of designation to accommodate the requests of travelers who have the forethought to inquire? If travel has increased significantly among people living on the island why haven't the preferred spots increased as well? It is often difficult for many to know weeks ahead of time what exact plans are for travel and it seems that because of this last-minute travelers are penalized.
Gentlemen, I think that it is time to take another look at how the Steamship Authority runs the preferred program. Not only do you need some sort of system for purchasing at the terminal to save the agents and customers the frustration, but you also need to refigure how many spaces are allotted for the boats. Each year adds more customers to your preferred program; therefore you need to meet the needs of the public that your boatline serves.
End the war
To the Editor:
Since our invasion of Iraq, 3,000 Americans and 600,000 Iraqis have died. While November's election was a clear directive to end the war, many politicians refuse to listen. Some are even calling for deployment of more troops (which is like trying to extinguish a fire by pouring gasoline on it). Delahunt, Kerry, and Kennedy need to hear from us. Their phone numbers and addresses are on green page 35 of The Island (phone) Book. And to send an excellent e-mail, go to www.democracyinaction.org/vfp/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=6434&t=.
Bring the troops home
To the Editor:
It is time to end this insane war, to cut any further funding for it, and to bring the troops (young men and women) home. It is also time to impeach Bush and Cheney, not only for the war based on one calculated lie after another, but also for destroying American values and ethics. World domination is not democracy. (The above was sent to every Senator and our Representatives in the House.)
To the Editor:
I wish we up-Islanders could enjoy our own beaches. Unfortunately, they are closed to even those of us who are the taxpayers in our own towns, unless we go before 8 am or after 5 pm when the guards have quit for the day.
We would have to get an expensive beach permit to go any other time; even the South Shore beaches that we used to frequent as children are no longer accessible due to private property areas with gates across the roads.
Erik Albert, who wrote in a few weeks ago from Oak Bluffs; do you consider this a "selfish letter"? I don't, and really miss the opportunity to go to any of the West Tisbury beaches; without having to have a permit especially when I would like to show summer guests our beautiful spots to swim or just and "groove on the view."
To the Editor:
The ghoulish spectacle of Saddam's hanging apparently delighted many Americans, or so the urban tabloids must have assumed when they published front page close-ups with captions such as "Goose Noose."
We were informed by the media that George Bush watched the proceedings with rapt interest on closed circuit television and we can imagine that he felt satisfaction (or something stronger). Remember Bush had overseen more executions than any other governor in modern times.
The irony of sacrificing tens, or more likely hundreds of thousands of lives, destroying Iraq and bankrupting America in order to kill one man probably hasn't dawned on Bush, but hopefully most of the rest of us see it and are sickened.
Is that all there is? No democracy was delivered to the Iraqi people. America wasn't saved from the nonexistent threat of Saddam's vast weapons supply (Iraq never even got a single airplane off the ground), terrorism wasn't wiped out - new terrorists were created.
Irony: as a small group stood at Fire Corners in the pouring rain on New Year's Day to commemorate the 3,000 Americans killed in the war to date, a cab driver screamed the basic obscenity at them. The company dispatcher explained on the phone later that the driver had served in Iraq, fighting to protect our freedom to protest. Why go to all that trouble to defend something you hate?
But appreciation of irony requires some degree of reflection, and the simplistic catch phrases of the dwindling supporters of Bush's war reveal an absence of reflection. "Freedom isn't free" and such slogans aren't an invitation to dialogue, they're the dismissal of it.
We must hope that the time when questioning our government was tantamount to treason is passed. Americans were so shocked by 9/11 that they allowed their leadership to deliver a horror 200 times as lethal to a population innocent of the attack on us. The rush to war felt good, something like patriotism in fact, and that blindness has caused great and continuing harm and suffering.
The lesson has been humbling. It's time to wake up and take responsibility as conscious citizens and human beings. The "eternal vigilance" that is the price of liberty is more than pointing a gun over the border - it's the obligation to pay close attention to the flow of our normal dialogue, ever watchful of the currents that can sweep us up in mindless and pointless brutality.
Not to be forgotten
To the Editor:
Let's enjoy the last days of the Islander, the boat that carried so many Islanders throughout so many years. My first steps in life were on the Islander, traveling in 1963. And I traveled to Cape Cod Community College with Annie Fisher and Candi Nichols every day in 1981. The best times ever. One look at the history of the Island will include the most famous boats - the Uncatena, the Naushon, and the most beloved boat, the Islander. The last trip of the Islander is soon. Let's never forget the Islander.
Michael J. Flynn
West Tisbury and Bartlett, N.H.
To the Editor:
We'd like to thank the wonderful cooperation of Edgartown Police Officers Tony Bettencourt and Craig Edwards for making the Edgartown School's Annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk so successful on Friday, Dec. 22, 2006.
The first-place finishers were Wesley Haeselbarth (8W) and Shivonne Schofield (7W) with all the students, staff, and parents finishing in record time with their bells jingling all the way. This K-8 event is run in memory of former chief of police George Searle (whose granddaughter Emma was the official starter this year) for his contribution to the town. This year we also ran in special memory of Mebbit Morano, whose passing the school community mourns. Thanks to Mrs. Gina deBettencourt for her tremendous support of all the participants, fueling them with much-needed cocoa, and to all the teachers whose help on the race course made the event a wonderful holiday tradition.
Physical Education Teachers