Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
In response to the letter from Naina L. Williams, in the May 10 issue of MV Times entitled, "NIMBY syndrome" meaning Not in My Back Yard, I am already a victim of gross hardship variances granted to a Brazilian property owner in my backyard. As the Islander homeowner before him, a former chief of police for Vineyard Haven, he was not allowed to subdivide the property in order to build an additional home for a family member who could not afford one. The property was sold to a Brazilian who has since subdivided it, put up a monster pre-fab, with gross variances granted. There is minimal frontage, a surplus of cars, floodlights that stay on all night long, several entrances to the basement, and decking that stretches to either side of the property.
This owner, simply from Brazil with nothing more implied, as an Islander is from the Island, proceeded to chop down trees outside the boundary markers of his property, extending into the easement of the cart path we all share. I called the authorities on several occasions before he finally stopped. In addition, I tolerated him yelling at me and bragging about how he could buy everyone's property in the immediate area. So, it is already IMBY (in my back yard), non-compliant, very intrusive, unfriendly, and un-neighborly.
Now comes Habitat for Humanity wanting to build a three-bedroom, 1.5-bath, on a spaghetti lot to the side of me, whereby the land will be purchased from a Brazilian property owner. We had our preliminary meeting with the zoning board last week, next meeting for May 23, at 1 pm. I want to thank all my neighbors who attended.
As in my Letter to the Editor May 3, I do not trust this project. What kind of precedent will this set for other property owners to parcel chop in the name of "Section 40B" and crunch in homes on undersized lots with no regard to the zoning minimum of 10,000 square feet, established in 1972 to protect the environment, land, hazard conditions, safety, and privacy of abutting homeowners? At the meeting, Alan Wilson, the site selection chairman, began with "this is a 7,800-square-foot piece of land." The zoning board quickly corrected the square footage as 6,800 square feet. Also, Mr. Wilson presented plans of a separate home built and had no details on this current plan. My neighbors and I spoke in favor of affordable housing; however this was simply not the appropriate place. The road is very poor, requiring a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Pulling in and out of the proposed driveway, where the row of 12-foot-high rhododendrons lining the frontage will be destroyed with construction, is unsafe. I doubt these plants would survive transplanting, as several landscapers have concurred.
The runoff with regard to drainage is an issue. Andrews Road is already a street of pre-existing, non-conforming houses, needing to be protected at this point. There is an issue of over-used land with regard to garbage, cars, boats, and commercial equipment. The Wastewater Treatment Plant is a stone's throw away. Commercial property with rusted construction equipment sits closer than the plant. Andrews Road is a potential area of critical concern, not a future site for another home, on a lot of 6,800 square feet. I think the Secretary of Environmental Affairs, and DEP need to be involved.
I have met the single parent chosen for this property, and would love her as my neighbor. It simply is not fair. Islanders born here who meet the 80 percent AMI (Area Median Income) required by HFH, look to build a home and are denied by zoning, causing the Islander to purchase extra footage to maintain compliance, further extending their personal financial hardship.
The homes constructed by HFH are beautiful. Most are multiple units, not single family dwellings on undersized lots. The application to Department of Housing and Community Development by HFH notes a 12 percent profit to be gained from this project. HFH will hold the mortgage, and charge a yearly $600 condo fee. The square footage of land is incorrect in the application. The 80 percent AMI is $57,530 for a family of four. How many of us here meet that requirement and fall into this income range? I do, as well as most of my neighbors. How is the town helping me, or my neighbors? By squeezing in a home to the side of me, when they have already squeezed one in my backyard?
What right does Habitat for Humanity have to set a precedent for parcel chopping for the sake of someone who needs an affordable home? And how many will look to follow suit? There are a slew of people in need. Does that mean anyone with an extra 5,000 to 6,000 square feet can parcel chop to sell under the guise of Section 40B with complete ignorance of zoning structure, abutting neighbors, or others who are 80 percent of the AMI and have to comply?
I simply ask HFH to meet zoning requirements for the sake of protecting already compromised land, habitat, existing homeowners, and not radically insult the already hard-working, low income residents, and/or Islanders. To me, it feels more like an assault, than an insult. Also, I request neighbors within close proximity of these proposed projects applying for gross variances have a right to vote on these issues. As it already exists in my backyard, I would like to not have it exist in my side yard.
A terrible thing
To the Editor:
Shame on me.
I could not agree more. My intent was never to defend my crime. Nor have I done any such thing. I did a terrible thing. I will not deny that, nor did I. The basis behind my letter was not to exploit my victim's situation. The point of my letter was not to place blame. If it was taken that way, I deeply apologize.
I must state a few facts about my past. This was my first OUI, as well as my first car accident. The letter writer's facts are incorrect. They are rumors that are not true. There is very good reason why I did not mention my victim's name in my letter. She is involved, but it is not my place to mention her name. I don't have that right. I have apologized to my victim. I chose to not make a public spectacle of that. In my opinion, I made the right choice by not mentioning her name. I stand by that. Above and beyond, apologies will never make up for what I did to her. All I can do is give advice to others and pray to God it doesn't happen to anyone else. Which is what my intentions were when I wrote my first letter. Contrary to what people now think of me, I am not a monster. I have a problem with drinking, yes. I am very remorseful for the fact that I almost took someone's life before I realized that I needed help. I also assure you that AA does not require anyone to do anything. I write these words because I care about saving the next life. Everyone that does know me knows that.
That being said, I ask that the good people of this Island take what I am saying with a grain of salt. I am not trying to make a popularity contest out of this. I now carry a message that could save someone's life. Take the message, leave the messenger.
Daniel H. O'Bryon
Because it's there
To the Editor:
To all those folks in Greensburg, Kansas, think you have it bad? We have a big hole in our beach which will surely disrupt our summer sailing. Oh, the horror.
The recent action by the county manager and the approving commissioners is a desperate attempt of county government to be relevant in the eyes of taxpayers.
Who knew but these trained professionals that there is a 3 pm deadline to fabricate a disaster with millions in damages, carefully tabulated to meet some arbitrary figure to start the whole mess rolling.
I can just see the press conference now. There is the president with county manager Winn Davis, the new opening and other MEMA-ites as a background. Bush proclaims "and Winn ol' boy, you're doin' a heckofa job down here. Davis adds, "I did not...ask...anyone to fill that breach...I did not ask for a culvert...not a single time...and it's time for me to get back to the business of wasting money for the people of this county."
The real disaster here is that so many in government are so willing to spend money just "because it is there." Try to explain this, face to face, with someone from Greensburg.
By the way, it's called Chappaquiddick Island for a reason.
To the Editor:
I am a summer resident who enjoys the beauty and quaintness of Martha's Vineyard, especially the town of Tisbury. During one of my morning strolls into town, I noticed the erection of a hideous monstrosity on Main Street, on the harbor of Vineyard Haven. This eyesore is a huge mansion, probably around 20,000 square feet, situated right on the water. What makes it so offending to me is that this elephant dominates the landscape in an area where the surrounding houses are the quintessential captain and mate houses, which are not tiny, but not so obscuring to the view. This house does not fit the quaintness of the town, and especially does not represent the pristine simpleness of Martha's Vineyard. I would like to know who approved for this eyesore to be constructed and second, the person who would rather show off his/her wealth by the size of the house. I surely hope this is not an indication of what's to come for the Island, more and bigger homes. Soon we will lose the characteristic of an island and become more like the Hamptons or Nantucket, with its protruding mansions and snobby inhabitants with their big SUVs roaring around the island.
What one does with their money is their own business, but how it affects others is everyone's business.
To the Editor:
Now here is a story with a happy ending that I would like to share with you.
On March 3, there was a grand open house for the new ferry, Island Home. For thatfestive occasion, I met my family on the top deck to celebrate. In the midst of ourexcitement, it was pointed out that with the rows of chairs so close to the railing it wouldbe very possible for a child to climb up, stand on the seat, then be above the top of therailing and could easily fall overboard.
However, on reflection, the prospect of such a possible tragedy affected me so stronglythat I decided that I must tell someone at the SSA. I called Marc Hanover, the Vineyardrepresentative. He was away on vacation for a week. I left a message that this was aserious safety issue. He called me back the very day he got home. I did my best todescribe the situation. Marc was off to a SSA meeting the next day and said he wouldinform the right people about the situation. I asked Marc to keep me posted, and he didjust that.
Several SSA people did look at it and totally agreed that something had to be done. Theyhad a meeting to discuss possible corrective measures. Adding height to the railing allaround the boat seemed to be the best solution. The railing would be installed when theIsland Home was due to come off line in April to handle a routine new boat punch list.
For me, April lasted forever. I wanted it fixed soon. I prayed for really cold winterweather to keep every one inside, and we got it. Remember how cold it was in April?
I came home from a trip on May 3 and luckily the 3:45 boat was the Island Home. Iwent upstairs to the upper deck. Just then, a mother and her toddler headed for a row ofchairs. The mom lifted the child up on to the seat of the chair, the child stood up and thenew railing was higher than the child. High five! Well done, SSA.
Starting with Marc, everyone really listened and then took action.Thank you all from all the folks who ride on SSA vessels.
To the Editor:
We, the owners of the Lampost, would like to thank the Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, and Edgartown Fire Departments for the amazing response to a potentially devastating situation at the Lampost on Monday. The fire departments were on scene within five minutes of the 911 call. We would like to particularly thank Oak Bluffs for the manner in which they dealt with the situation. We had a large amount of DJ and television equipment in the area that caught fire. The firemen moved all of the equipment, and not a single item was damaged. Thank you.
This could have been disastrous on so many levels. We are truly lucky on this Island to have so many individuals who volunteer and risk their own safety to protect us and our belongings.
We are told that the fire started on the outside of the building by a cigarette. Somebody discarded the burning cigarette next to the building and it ignited some type of paper. It is amazing to think that one cigarette could have taken down the entire building. What is more amazing is there was a cigarette disposal bin right next to the area where the cigarette was discarded.
We would like to extend an open invite to any members of the respective fire departments to come down and see us so we can show our appreciation. We owe you, big time.
Thanks to Tisbury police
To the Editor:
The following letter was sent to Chief John Cashin of the Tisbury Police Department and the Tisbury selectmen.
The Franklin Street neighborhood would like to thank you for listening to our concerns regarding motorists' high rate of speed on our street. We are grateful for your assistance, which led to the purchasing of an electronic speed-monitoring device for the town. We were thrilled to see the speed monitor set up in early April near the intersection of Hemlock and Franklin Streets, and it has been a hopeful sign to see the sign used at the Tashmoo overlook and near the library on Main Street.
Because we feel strongly that speed is a year-round concern on Franklin Street, we hope that your plans include using the new speed monitor on a regular basis in our neighborhood. We welcome your presence and we thank you for your continued attention to this matter.
Clark Myers, Lyndsay Famariss, Malcolm Boyd, Liz Watkins, Barbara Grant, Joe and Karen Kenney, Mike Ciancio, The El Diery family, Ed "Woody" Schulman, and the rest of the Franklin Street neighborhood.
Doing his job
To the Editor:
Last week, Ray Whitaker wrote you to praise a particular gas station attendant, or "gas jockey" as I like to refer to myself as, at the Airport Mobil. My name is Alex Parris, the "gas jockey" just so mentioned. I appreciate the praise, as I was not expecting to receive such an honor for doing the job the way I feel it was meant to be done. My mom raised me to practice common courtesy and manners, so that's exactly what I did and do. Besides, I just cannot bear to see any car whatsoever going anywhere with bird "paint splatter" all over it. Just can't bare it.
Anyhow, Mr. Whitaker and his wife, along with their adorable daughter, made me feel pretty darn good that day. But, if I write much more, I will venture into the land of rambling, so I'll keep it brief. This 18-year old "gas jockey" greatly appreciates the praise and consideration, as well as time spent writing those kind words. Furthermore, I look forward to seeing the Whitakers again.
Alexander P. Parris
To the Editor:
Hooray for each marvelous Minnesinger.
Even though it was days ago, the memories linger still. What a wonderful performance.
Congratulations, and may all your fondest dreams come true.
D. F. Winnette
Sending the enemy
the wrong message
To the Editor:
I would like to respond to my number one critic, who pointed out that four years ago President Bush uttered these words: "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country."
I believe major combat against the Iraqi regime was over at that time. The battle being fought now is with Islamic jihadists from neighboring countries like Iran and Syria, and from around the world and between the Shiites and Sunnis.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said she believed the hardest work was yet to come in securing Iraq, getting its economy going and providing a stable environment for the new government. "I interpret this as a major statement that the coalition, in fact, will remain until the country is safe and stable, and until a government is elected and able to survive. And that's good news, I think," she said.
At one time, Sen. Joseph Lieberman was pretty much a Democratic partyline voter, except for his support for the war in Iraq. For that reason alone, the Democratic Party kicked him to the curb. But this is part of Senator Lieberman's (Ind-CT) statement he delivered on the Senate floor. "The non-binding measure before us, by contrast, is an accumulation of ambiguities and inconsistencies. It is at once for the war but also against the war. It pledges its support to the troops in the field but also washes its hands of what they are doing. It approves more troops for Anbar but not for Baghdad. We cannot have it both ways. We cannot vote full confidence in General Petraeus, but no confidence in his strategy. We cannot say that the troops have our full support, but disavow their mission on the eve of battle. This is what happens when you try to wage war by committee. That is why the Constitution gave that authority to the President as Commander in Chief. What we say here is being heard in Baghdad by Iraqi moderates, trying to decide whether the Americans will stand with them. We are being heard by our men and women in uniform, who will be interested to know whether we support the plan they have begun to carry out. We are being heard by the leaders of the thuggish regimes in Iran and Syria, and by Al Qaeda terrorists, eager for evidence that America's will is breaking. And we are being heard across America by our constituents, who are wondering if their Congress is capable of serious action, not just hollow posturing. But again, I ask you: what will this resolution say to our soldiers? What will it say to our allies? And what will it say to our enemies?"
This is only a small part of what Sen. Lieberman had to say. You can read it all at http//lieberman.senate.gov/newsroom/release.cfm?id=268503.
There will always be differences of opinions. Those on the left are against the president and the war in Iraq, I support both of them. Those on the left seem to embrace appeasement, while I believe it sends the wrong message to our enemies.
To the Editor:
Hopefully you had a chance to share some memories with your mom on Mother's Day.
Could we have a moment to show our respects to the moms of the 3,000-plus men and women who perished in Iraq. Their Mother's Days will never be the same.
Nor will it ever be the same for the moms of the 50,000 plus U.S. service men and women who were lost in the Vietnam War.
Being 57 years old, I've seen a couple social phenomena. Two that were the most striking, for me, which demonstrated the impact that mothers had on national policy when they united were:
First, the Mothers' March against the Vietnam War. Shortly after that event, the war was ended. I can only imagine some congressman seeing his mom speaking at that rally. I'm sure he had to receive a very uncomfortable phone call from her that night.
Secondly, was MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving. What an impact they too made on this country. Who can guess how many thousands of lives their efforts saved.
One thing is certain, moms have clout. We need to just ask, "How many are too many?" How many sons and daughters must be lost before we admit that this war cannot be won and before moms make the trek to Washington to show their solidarity.
While they are at it, how about, mothers against the oil companies, mothers for national health care, and mothers for tax reform, etc.
Who knows, maybe it is time for a mother in the White House.
Dim political prospects
To the Editor:
Looking back, I must admit that voting for George W. Bush wasn't my finest moment. In fact, I think I know how Mussolini's mother must have felt. Unfortunately it has become an indefensible position, and I just take my lumps as best I can.
However, this doesn't mean that I wholly endorse the other side either. Unfortunately with only two less than spectacular options, I am stuck in a political version of "Sophie's Choice," debating whether to give up Jack Murtha or Alberto Gonzales to the Germans and left with a tepid level of enthusiasm for the future of the country.
However, I can't help but wonder why, when the Democrats have an almost guaranteed takeover of the presidency in 2008, do they insist on nominating the most unlikely candidates that they can find. Oh, thankfully they are limited by certain requirements such as experience and vengeance, because if left to their own devices I can imagine the nominee being a lesbian dwarf from the Sudan and picture the looks of shock on the Democratic faces when she is beat out by Tommy Thompson.
On the other hand, the Republican candidates are about as exciting as a local poetry reading and take pandering to a new level. In fairness, I do like our former Gov. Mitt Romney, but do not believe that the country is ready for a president who wears magic underwear. Sadly, Sen. John McCain has become that uncle we all have who has lost his mind and natters on about nonsense during Thanksgiving dinner.
I also like Rudy Giuliani, but again we may not be advanced enough for a leader who seizes every opportunity to dress up in the latest Dior ensemble. (Plus, we'd run the risk of confusing him with Madeleine Albright.)
Worse than all of this, however, is a president who has lost all touch with reality and defies the will of those who elected him in the first place. I heard Secretary Condoleezza Rice say on television that this war has the lowest casualty rate that almost any other war in our history. It is true that a three percent death rate does sound low, but to the mother who is informed that her son has been killed in action on the streets of Baghdad, the death rate is 100 percent.
Many helping hands
To the Editor:
Thank you for your coverage of Living Local and the model solar car race that took place on April 28, with 160 registered sixth-grade racers. The race was a fun event with schools and community joining together to cheer the racers on. We'd like to thank everyone who supported this race, including parents, the teachers and students in each middle school who studied solar energy and energy efficiency to make cars that worked. Thanks to those who built and took down our fabulous racecourse and thanks to the many volunteers who served as registrars, judges, and inspectors the day of the race. Thanks also to Cape Light Compact and Vineyard Energy Project for funding this event, including the learning materials and equipment necessary for students to build the cars.
Specifically, we'd like to thank sixth-grade science teachers Lynn Gatchell and Alice Robinson of the Tisbury School, Leah Tofte-Dorr of Oak Bluffs School, Gale Meister of Edgartown School, Dan Johnson and Carol Petkus of West Tisbury School, and Anna Cotton of the Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School and their students for building model solar cars and participating so enthusiastically in this event. Thanks also to Gino Mazzaferro for building the racecourse and to South Mountain Company for loaning the materials and disassembling the course when the race was finished. Thanks to Warren Doty and Jannette Vanderhoop for their classroom assistance, in addition to being judges for the race. And thanks to all other volunteers at the race: registrars Bonnie Alexander and Barbara Murphy, Pam Benjamin, inspectors Bart Smith, Chris Murphy, Sandy Alexander, Robbie Gatchell; judges Tom Durawa, Susan Wasserman, Stan Schonbrun, Nat Benjamin, Jon Harris, Ana Sargent, Isaac Taylor, Berta and Vernon Welch, George Hartman, Zee Gamson, Paul Karasik, Janet Weidner, Cameron Alexander, Susan Spence, Jaime, Tim Penicaud, and the flag man at the finish line, Skipper Manter.
We'd also like to thank the students and teachers who made the poster display in the Ag Hall possible. They are Anne Williamson, grade 3, Tisbury School; Jack Regan, grade 2-3, Chilmark School; Gary Smith, grade 5, Edgartown School; Pat Kelley and Sue Miller, grade 5, West Tisbury School; Anna Cotton, grade 5-6, Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School; and art teachers Kathleen Cameron, Chilmark School and Rhonda Hershey, Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School and their students. Volunteers who hung the display are Megan Sargent, Susan Spence, and Pam Benjamin.
It takes a village to hold an event! We appreciate everyone's generosity and commitment that made this event so successful.
School committee thanks voters
To the Editor:
The Up-Island Regional School District Committee would like to thank the voters of Aquinnah, Chilmark, and West Tisbury for approving at their town meetings both the Up-Island school budget and the warrant article adjusting the capital costs portion of the regional agreement. These are difficult times, and we are gratified that a majority of voters in each of the three towns voted to be good neighbors. We pledge to do our best to control costs and maintain high-quality education for our students.
Susan Parker, chairman
All the support
To The Editor:
Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center would like to thank a number of Island businesses that stepped up to the plate to help maintain and improve the outdoorMobility Park at Windemere. This park allows for a safe place for our residents to enjoythe outdoors and the views of Brush Pond.
We want to thank Maureen Gazaille of Moses in the Bullrushes for coordinating anddonating the many hours of spring clean-up and planting that will take place throughoutthe summer. We want to thank Bob Daniels for his ongoing gifts of flowers. We eagerlyawait his dahlias due later this season. We would like to thank Jardin Mahoney fordonating the plants and flowers that our residents will enjoy throughout the differentseasons. We would also like to thank Donaroma's for the donation of mulch for theflower beds throughout the Windemere property.
Once again, our local businesses have come to the aid of our senior citizens. Thanks forall the support of the Island's only nursing home.
Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
To the Editor:
Just wanted to thank the crew at MV Times for relocating the webcam during the Daggett House move.
Bolton, Conn. and Vineyard Haven