Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
I couldn't help but notice those colorful Living Local signs that have sprung up all over the Island during the last week promoting our local economy. I was curious where on the Island the organizers of this event purchased the signs. Upon closer examination, I noticed the trademark and phone number of an off-Island printer. It seems the organizers of this event, though well intentioned, have faced the stark reality that in most instances it just makes economic sense to purchase goods off-Island.
Brian C. Smith
To the Editor:
I awoke on election day, Thursday, April 12, to find that my three children had chosen to dress in blue and yellow, my campaign colors for Oak Bluffs board of health position. This campaign has allowed my young family to discuss ideas and opinions that I never expected possible before I entered this race. In the end, much of their enthusiasm became what I believe was the message in my platform.
These campaign messages were lessons all of us attempt to teach our children every day. They are lessons that I hope to carry through my term, and values that I truly believe in. Respect and decency for others. Cooperation and a commitment to getting things done. When it's all said and done, no matter which road you take or opinion you challenge, we all must understand that living and working in Oak Bluffs means operating on one team.
I don't necessarily think that I'm the only person that will get this task in focus. However, I do believe that the support I received on election day signaled your willingness to accept a different tone in our town government. My family is appreciative of all your support. I am humbled by all the positive comments I have received in recent weeks. And for all of you whom I still must convince that I was the right man for the job, I will work to gain your trust and support.
Linda Marinelli has given herself to the town of Oak Bluffs for years. I have the utmost respect for her passion. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for Chip Mitchell, as he made a commitment to the bigger picture for the future of our town. Thank you all again for your support.
To the Editor:
I read the letter by Doug Goldsmith in the April 19 MV Times. He complimented The Times for the accuracy of their reporting. Unfortunately, Mr. Goldsmith does not enjoy such accuracy in his own reporting. While I will not say anything against Lenny Jason, that's not the purpose of my letter. I wonder that "the woman" in the article is not afforded more respect. She is, after all, an officer of the court and not just a "coat check girl." She was doing her job and unfortunately has no reason to know who Mr. Jason is. She is not an employee of the town but of the state. She has held public service jobs in the towns of Oak Bluffs and Tisbury. She has just won the position of constable in the town of Oak Bluffs. I believe she actually has a day named for her by the town of Oak Bluffs. I wonder that Mr. Goldsmith doesn't know who she is? Doesn't everyone who lives or lands here know who everyone else is?
To the Editor:
I love your web site - it's so nice to have up-to-the-minute news. You are doing a great job.
Disappointed in Oak Bluffs
To the Editor:
I would like to express my sincere disappointment in the people of Oak Bluffs for allowing for future leasing of its property for the annual shark tournament. Selectmen I once respected (friends, neighbors, and former teachers) have done wrong by coaching their constituents into siding with economics and not ethics. The moral imperative - saving the imperiled wildlife surrounding Martha's Vineyard - was ignored, and a grave mistake has been made.
A resident of Oak Bluffs from birth until my early 20s, I was for many years a complicit spectator myself. I stood on those blood-drenched docks and watched the event with a combination of awe and horror. The animals were thrown about like slabs of beef and hung like criminals on the gallows, then unceremoniously disassembled for consumption. I didn't know then what we know now: the sharks' situation is dire; these tournaments affect populations of slow-breeding and ecologically invaluable species, and many populations have declined by more than 50 percent in the last two decades. This isn't propaganda; it's science. If the public doesn't take a proactive stance, these incredible creatures will disappear; there will be no sharks, let alone tournaments.
I ask the people of Martha's Vineyard to be more creative and compassionate in their means of conducting business. If there's one thing the Vineyard doesn't lack, it's money. Ancient creatures of the deep, however, are in short supply. Please boycott the next shark slaughter, July 19 - 21. There are better ways to spend a beautiful summer day than watching glorious, innocent creatures fight for their lives.
Christopher Ryan Jones
To the Editor:
During our annual visit to the Vineyard last summer, we witnessed a grisly spectacle as we strolled past the Oak Bluffs waterfront on our way back from an early dinner. A magnificent thresher shark was suspended from the gallows next to Our Market while a television crew scurried about filming a documentary that was to be broadcast in October on a sports network. After the shark was lowered to the dock, a posse of scientists proceeded to hack it to pieces in full view of the crowd, which included many children. Copious quantities of blood ran into the nearby storm drain. Sickened, we turned away.
Across New York Avenue, a huge tent had been erected for a lavish "celebration" banquet for all the fat cats who came in their gas-guzzling powerboats to participate in the carnage. Alongside the tent was the Monster Shark Tournament trophy, another gas-guzzling powerboat.
Fishing is an integral component of the Island economy and lifestyle. However, the crass commercialism of the shark tournament is a stark contrast to the friendlier spirit of the annual bass and bluefish derby.
(Formerly of Oak Bluffs)
To the Editor:
I am currently an inmate at the House of Corrections here on the Island. The charge I am in here for is operating under the influence of Intoxicating liquor/serious injury. The point that I wanted to bring up is the fact that New England is notorious for alcoholism, according to the general consensus of what people tell me. Which makes me wonder, why? Now I am not from the Island, or even New England. I am from New Jersey, originally. New England is no different than anywhere else in the country as far as promoting drinking. Not in my eyes anyway. Of course, I have not lived here for longer than six months. I have been here long enough to form an opinion about what I see, however. If New England is famous for this, it should be looked for more.
What I see is a lack of effort in the aspect of prevention toward intoxicated people getting into their vehicles and killing people on this Island. Also, the fact that the people who are here and at the bars are not familiar with the Island, seeing as most of the nightlife population does not live here. I am by far not justifying the actions of myself or anyone else for that matter. I am saying that the police as well as establishment owners should take more preventative measures. One establishment, which shall remain nameless, served enough alcohol to one individual that they came out to get their car, pulled out front of the place and passed out in the middle of the street with his doors locked. Police had to be called to get the individual out of his vehicle. I would like to see establishments express concern towards the people of this island, rather than the thinness of their bank accounts during the winter months.
The police are most of the problem in my eyes. Instead of avoiding situations, they wait for things to happen. There aren't any OUI checkpoints on the Island. I have watched people stumble out of bars, say hello to observing law enforcement individuals, get into their cars and drive home. I have a news flash for the police. If there is traffic during the hours of 12 and 2 am, I can guarantee 75 percent of them are drunk. Everyone else is in bed. Everything is closed on the Island, aside from the bars. Just food for thought.
What happened to me was my fault. I blame no one else. Which is why I signed a plea bargain for two and a half years for my crime. Which is exactly what OUI is, a crime. My negligence almost took the life of a beautiful young lady. Something like that is unforgivable. I got off light. I know my mistake was my mistake. So the individual is to blame as well, of course. Unfortunately it took almost taking someone else's life for me to realize. Much worse; some people do kill people. This is a huge issue around here that everyone seems to ignore. The problem is that when the individual is, in fact, drunk beyond rational thought, their needs to be a back up, severely.
To sum this up, I feel as a drunk driving offender, that establishments should pay a lot more attention to how much they serve and to whom. The police, seeing as there isn't a lot going on at 12:30 am, should take the time out to stop people from getting into their cars, rather than peeling them out of them when it's too late. I am a firm believer that this jail wouldn't be as full, or our cemeteries, if police spent more time keeping people from committing this crime when they have the opportunity to.
I take responsibility for my actions, once again, because I knew better. Again though, mine could have been prevented. A lot of people have the attitude of "You can't save them all." I say, at least try. I, for one, took life for granted before I almost took one. It shouldn't have taken that for me, but it did. I wish the Island would spend more time on this matter. Please don't wait until it's too late.
One piece of advice from me to the partier; Set up a safe ride before you go out, don't try to set it up with someone at the bar. Nine times out of 10, it doesn't work out for the best. I am living proof. I, as well as the person I hit, were very lucky. My thoughts are always with her.
Editor's Note: On Oct. 25, 2006, last year, at about 1:09 am, Mr. O'Bryon failed to stop at the intersection of County and Wing roads in Oak Bluffs. His car struck a car driven by Smantha Church of West Tisbury. Ms. Church suffered a lacerated spleen and multiple fractures of the sacrum, hip and pelvis. She required at least two surgeries, weeks of hospitalization, and months of physical therapy.
Truth and justice
To the Editor:
Perhaps Fox 25 should come back and report on quick due process, something that might not be happening in our courthouse.
I have a few questions:
How does a police report seem to change drastically when being transcribed from tape to written?
Why does it take several months to prepare it?
Why did it take 13 trips to court?
Why is a trial postponed twice then canceled the week before the third try?
Why is it that a second deposition is taken when a trial is requested?
Why is it no one questioned how drastically all the accusations changed?
How does one incident become many?
How many times do you have to go to court before probation is decided?
How do you go from offers of probation to a jail sentence?
How can a guardian give permission with accolades of love for an adult to spend time with a young lady and end up being a witness for a friend against that same adult, claiming she knew what happened 26 years ago - then drop it? Was it all a lie?
How did one incident become so many?
Why does a young lady want to invite herself back to the house so many times for two more years (after) where supposedly she was traumatized?
How do people go through life blaming everyone else for their problems?
Why do people think sparing a young lady a day in court is the right thing?
How do children learn to tell the truth?
How do children learn being responsible for their actions?
Who was teaching her what she knew, instead of what she needed to know?
Has she finally gotten all the attention she wanted from her father?
One man is taking responsibility for what happened, and only a few of us know the whole truth.
Remember: Woman of all ages call foul play when they don't get their way. That's learned at a young age. Aren't we better off teaching them what truth is, then justice?
Share the beaches
To the Editor:
I'm going to break my "no long letters" rule. Let's start alphabetically in Aquinnah. I have to make a small apology. I have been wrongly including Aquinnah in my end beach apartheid movement. Turns out anyone can walk on Philbin Beach. So, to everyone who knew that before now, I do apologize. To those who didn't know, like the guy at the Aquinnah selectmen's office who told my wife over the phone on April 13 that one could not walk on Philbin, I don't apologize. Also, if you Google "Philbin Beach," the first three hits all state that Philbin is "residents only." The sites are The Chamber of Commerce, Martha's Vineyard Online, and The Vineyard Gazette.
On to Chilmark. In last week's Times, selectman candidate Karsten Larsen stated that he didn't want Menemsha to "become like Nantucket." It's funny that someone from Chilmark is using Nantucket to play the class card. I don't know what Nantucket harbor is like, but I do know anyone can walk on any beach on Nantucket. Karsten Larsen also wants to get the "job done with common sense and common decency." Sharing the beach seems to me like common sense and common decency. It's strange how nobody up-Island writes in to the paper defending their town's beach policies.
Here is a little help to the selectmen or anyone else if they want to write in. Say that in theory you support anybody being able to walk on the beach, but you won't do anything about because you are just following orders. Also, keep bringing up the lease agreements the town has for the beaches. If you want to extend the times and dates that the beach is "residents only," say it's a "safety issue." Since this would change the lease, make it seem that the lease can only be changed to be more restrictive, not more inclusive. If you are a hunter, fisher, boater, surfer, birder or Democrat, don't mention it, because you will look like a hypocrite.
Lastly, West Tisbury, Lambert's Cove beach. This one is cut and dry. Lambert's Cove is owned by the town of West Tisbury. It is wrong for a town to deny access to a town park. The town should allow anyone to walk or ride a bike to the beach. Day and season passes can be sold for a reasonable fee. This way everyone can enjoy more of our beautiful Island. I highly doubt this will happen though without a little pushing. This is where the freedom ride comes in. We will go to Lambert's Cove this summer en masse without cars. Then the town can send the police to arrest us all. Consider this as notice. Now West Tisbury can start preparing for what they are going to do with all the kids left over after you arrest us. The regional and national media will enjoy covering this one.
We shall overcome. The movement continues. Call if you want to join 508-221-8695. End beach apartheid.
The VCOH mission
To the Editor:
Many people think that the Food Pantry and the Vineyard Committee on Hunger (VCOH) are one and the same. They are not. The VCOH deals with hunger throughout the world. The Food Pantry, which operates in Christ United Methodist Church in Vineyard Haven from fall through spring, is just part of our Island response to hunger. Here is the whole story.
The VCOH deals with hunger throughout the world. We find organizations that give the money to those in need (and do not line their own pockets). Money comes from donations and from our coin jars. It is distributed as follows: 40 percent of our funds go towards the most urgent needs of Island residents. Food is made available on the Island through the Food Pantry, the Council on Aging, and Elder Services. Another 40 percent of our funds go to national and international agencies which promote education and self-help in those countries where the need is greatest. The remaining 20 percent is used for emergency contributions. Recent contributions have benefited Darfur relief, victims of hurricane Katrina, and Afghanistan.
Recently, a new program was added to our on-Island projects, Family to Family. Prior to Thanksgiving, an appeal was issued through local houses of worship. There was a great response. Roughly 60 Island families were provided with a Thanksgiving meal. We hope to do this again this year.
Please send all contributions to P.O. Box 1874, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568, and designate whether you would like the funds to go to world hunger or to support Island hunger programs.
Thank you for all your generous support in the past. Together we can continue to make a difference.
Carole Gerber Early
in offshore wind
To the Editor:
Two treasure chest fuels exist in America, water from melting snow and offshore wind. These two fuels contain enough energy to generate a significant portion of America's electricity needs forever. The lid on the
first treasure chest fuel, water from melting snow, has been unlocked. The lid on America's second treasure chest fuel, offshore wind, is closed and locked tight.
Congress unlocked the lid on America's treasure chest fuel, water from melting snow, when it established the Bonneville Power Administration, BPA, in 1937. Small member-owned electric power cooperatives then started to emerge. In 1938, the Lower Valley Energy (LVE) electric cooperative was formed. BPA sells electricity to LVE In 2006, residents fortunate enough to be served by LVE paid one of the lowest electricity rates in America, 5.8 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). The national average in 2006 was 10.3 cents/kWh and 17.2 cents/kWh in Massachusetts.
BPA is a self-funding agency that covers its costs by selling its services wholesale at cost. BPA markets wholesale power from 31 federal hydro projects. About 75 percent of BPA electricity is generated by hydroelectric projects. Hydroelectric projects use the renewable fuel, water from melting snow to generate electricity. The cost of this renewable fuel is zero. After the capital cost for the hydroelectric projects is retired there is no cost for fuel. BPA is then able to sell wholesale electricity at between 2.57 and 2.91 cents/kWh.
Offshore wind is also a renewable fuel that costs zero. Offshore wind is the fuel used by Cape Wind to generate electricity. Once the capital cost of this project is retired, the cost of generating electricity will drop dramatically. In recognition of this potential, the Cape Light Compact board of directors voted to authorize contacting Cape Wind for the purpose of entering into negotiations for a long-term power supply contract.
When the Cape Light Compact is successful in forming a cooperative and negotiating a long-term power supply contract with Cape Wind, the Compact might just be able to offer carbon-free lower-cost electricity to its members and at the same time help turn the key that will unlock the lid on America's second treasure chest fuel, offshore wind.
Peter Cabana serves as Tisbury's Cape Light Compact representative and on the Martha's Vineyard Commission.
for the planet
To the Editor:
This is a copy of a letter to the Bangkok Post.
Recently I read your feature about some so-called scientist's thoughts on how to deal with global warming by applying more technology, ranging from millions of plastic disks orbiting the planet to artificial trees. Neither are they scientists nor do they think or take responsibility of any kind (that guy Oppenheimer comes to mind.)
Failing to realize that it was exactly that kind of technological science that led to the current situation, or should I call it disaster, these advocates of technology must be most welcome by not only the Bush administration as all they do, of course, is distracting from the real issue by giving false hope that we will be miraculously saved somehow by these eggheads without changing our behavior drastically and cutting back on the use of fossil fuel and our wasteful lifestyle.
In a world where prosperity is directly linked to not only maintaining, but ever expanding production of consumer goods destined for the garbage can, reduction in industrial output is not desired, especially not in the Western or industrial world, where the powers in control will do everything to keep their profit margins from shrinking. Ninety percent of the economy of industrialized countries is based on the energy from burning fossil fuel. Consumerism - good, sufficiency economy - bad. But make no mistake about it, there will be no fresh air from a spray can. Never.
Richard Branson, CEO and owner of Virgin Atlantic, offered $1 million in reward money to anybody who comes up with some safe, reliable and economical method to remove some of the carbon dioxide his numerous airplanes cover the planet with.
I herewith claim the prize. Fork the money over, Dicky.
I have such technology. Not only is it reliable and proven, I even have different models for the various climatic zones of the planet, including all kinds of shapes, sizes, colors, etc.
They effectively not only remove CO2 and dust while emitting oxygen but also absorb heat in the process, cooling the environment and retaining water, thus tempering the climate and, in some instances, even protecting from wind and unwanted solar rays. I can further guarantee delivery of large quantities on short notice should Richard Branson want to shell out some more money and acquire some of these trees, either in the form of seeds or saplings.
I am surprised that in the ongoing debate over cause and effects, our best friend is not immediately called upon, if not to the rescue but at least for mitigation. Here in Thailand alone, gazillions of baht could be saved on air-conditioning, rainmaking, erosion control and so forth. The trick, however, is to plant them and let them grow rather than slashing and burning them. They have to be along every road between fields around the house and wherever else there is room for them. The more the better. Everybody can be part of this by planting and nursing where they seem to fit the model they like the best. Additional benefits are, of course, beautiful blossoms and fruit or nuts of all sorts.
There is another way to help with this global problem. Since it is caused by people, and large numbers thereof, one would think a reduction in these numbers might also help. While this thought is obviously shared by the population of exactly those countries that seem to be most responsible for the bad air quality, as lower and lower birth rates indicate in all industrialized nations, the governments try to sabotage their citizens' efforts by giving incentives to increase birth rates as one can see in Japan, various European countries, or Singapore, to name just a few. If they need more people, all they need to do is to open the borders. Isn't it obvious?
Just as obvious: half the population equals half the environmental impact on the planet. Do we need Einstein for that?
Everybody can help by doing the obvious. Save by being mindful. Grow a tree or two.
Above all: Think. Common sense will do. Don't let others with vested interests confuse you, and don't let them do the thinking for you.
It's your planet. Take charge.