Jeff Kristal in Tisbury; Riggs Parker in Chilmark
Jeff Kristal in Tisbury
In Tisbury, it's time for change. Leadership in Tisbury is clumsy, short-sighted, and timid. The selectmen hold the reins too tightly. Often, it is the planning board, the finance committee, the DPW, the water department, the harbor management committee - some part of town government that is not the selectmen that presses for change and improvement. Often, it is the selectmen that stand in the way or slow the process.
The selectmen have misunderstood their executive role, choosing to overwhelm town departments and manacle their own town administrator, rather than oversee, encourage, and guide the decision making.
We think Jeff Kristal, the challenger for Tristan Israel's seat on the board of selectmen, can alter this paralyzing course. Mr. Kristal is a business owner who has supported sensible and modest change in Tisbury. He is concerned, as so many others are, over town government's skeptical view of economic development, especially on Main Street and along Beach Road, where poorly conceived zoning rules have contributed to decay and inhibited solid business growth. He is a strong advocate of spreading the government load, of finding talented town government outsiders to fill important appointed posts, instead of selectmen appointing themselves to these key roles.
Tisbury voters have a chance to strike a blow for good government by adding Mr. Kristal to the board of selectmen and loosening the reins, so that good townspeople elsewhere, in elected and appointed roles, can bring their excellent judgment to bear on the problems that beset Tisbury.
Riggs Parker in Chilmark
Sensible, disciplined, and thoughtful leadership, exercised with a welcome degree of restraint, has characterized the Chilmark selectmen in recent years. The selectmen have wisely resisted efforts to push forward the Middle Line Road affordable housing project before a sound plan of action had been made. In doing so, they have, as promised, advanced the initiative significantly toward what promises to be a successful outcome.
They have acted together to create a management plan for the Menemsha waterfront that can be consistently administered according to rules applied fairly to all comers. Recognizing the unique, satisfying, immensely valuable, but difficult to define character of Menemsha, the selectmen have set about examining with townspeople - pleasure boaters, recreational fishermen, commercial fishermen, business people, and townspeople generally - the problem of protecting this remarkable asset from change, even while acknowledging that change is unavoidable.
As a result of the solid performance, of which these are only a couple of examples, voters at the annual town meeting next week will confront proposals to revitalize the town's shellfish resources and a request to revisit the town's definition of a commercial fisherman, which has everything to do with what happens along the shore of Menemsha Basin. Voters will get no nasty surprises from a FY08 operating budget of $6,043,060, up $166,498, or a 2.83-percent from the budget for the current fiscal year.
This record of notable accomplishment is not entirely owing to the selectmen, and it is certainly not exclusively the handiwork of J. B. Riggs Parker, the incumbent selectman running for reelection. But, in every sense, Mr. Parker, a longtime Chilmark resident whose dedication to the careful conservation and prudent improvement of his town is hard to match, has made a significant contribution.
Mr. Parker's list of work left to do includes, as he describes it, completion of the Middle Line Road effort; additional affordable housing; shellfish restoration in town ponds; enhanced cell phone service; a financially viable new firehouse plan, in keeping with the scale of our community; completion of a fiscal policy, procedure manual, and a functioning capital plan; integration of our emergency management systems with the other towns - a long, practical list. Mr. Parker's training as a lawyer and his comprehensive understanding of Chilmark and its government lead him to identify the town's most essential needs and the way to satisfy them. Chilmark voters will benefit from reelecting Mr. Parker and his smart, detailed approach to the challenges facing town government.