Letters to the Editor
No MTV needed
To the Editor:
The Vineyard does not need more publicity. Ted Kennedy's accident on Chappaquiddick and the filming of Jaws contributed to the overpopulation of the Island. The last thing the Vineyard needs is an MTV crew descending on Oak Bluffs to sensationalize the lives of young African Americans. The summer residents of Oak Bluffs and their kids should be allowed to enjoy their vacations in peace.
of a school
To the Editor:
This past Friday, Madeleine, the youngest of our seven children, graduated from the Tisbury School. Brigitte, our oldest, entered the school in 1977. As parents, we are very proud of our children, but we can not take all the credit for them. Over these 30 years, all of our children have been the fortunate recipients of an incredible outpouring of loving care, excellent teaching, and guidance in the safe haven of the Tisbury School.
Hundreds, even thousands of hours of dedicated, selfless service have been provided by the teachers, administrators, nurses, counselors, and maintenance, lunch room, and security staff. Parents of our children's classmates, volunteers, and other members of the community have given of themselves generously. As parents, we have been encouraged, strengthened, and respected.
We would like to thank everyone. Our whole family has been nurtured by all of you, and we have a host of fond memories that we will always treasure. Thank you for all that you do to provide the highest standard of education and to ensure the well-being of all families. Keep up the good work. You are a blessing to our community.
Margaret and Dominique
Pénicaud and Brigitte,
Jon-Eric, Tim, Natalie, Jacques, Nika, and Madeleine
DRI survivor speaks
To the Editor:
Kudos for voicing the feelings of those of us who are DRIS (Developments of Regional Impact Survivors) in last week's Editorial. Although my experience occurred 14 years ago, it appears that not much has changed since then. As I believe that currently there are no requirements to become a commissioner, how about making it a requirement that before you can run for the position, you have to have been the applicant in a DRI.
But, it's good
To the Editor:
I was delighted to see the Editor, in his latest twitting of the Martha's Vineyard Commission (June 15), using the metaphor of "colonoscopic treatment" to describe the MVC's review of plans for the new, $42 million Martha's Vineyard Hospital. I would like gently to suggest (where colonoscopy is concerned, surely gentleness is a virtue) that the metaphor might be more appropriate than he intended.
Life is filled with processes that are unpleasant, even ugly, but have salutary effects and lead to superior outcomes. Studying for a math test, undergoing a medical examination of the lower intestine, and publicly reviewing what will be, as viewed from the roadside, the largest building project in the history of Martha's Vineyard, are three examples that come quickly to mind. In each case, there is the lazy option, which might be summarized as "Ready, Fire, Aim!" It's easy, and it may even avoid some unpleasantness along the way, but the outcome tends to be decidedly worse.
In the case of the Martha's Vineyard Hospital, the ultimate benefits of the MVC review process are significant. At the Commission's urging, the hospital undertook a risk analysis which revealed that its original design was not as safe against storms as it could be. The Commission's analysis revealed that the first hospital parking plan was inadequate, and improvements are being made. Many other, smaller improvements were made along the way, and in the end, hospital leadership has publicly acknowledged that the plan they are going forward with now, at the end of the MVC review process, is better than the plan they took in.
It's easy - it can even be fun - to pick at the process, ridiculing those moments when commissioners get bogged down in details or diverted by pet issues. But in the end, outcomes matter more, and the Martha's Vineyard Hospital joins hundreds of other projects that have been improved in the course of this occasionally ugly public review.
We are fortunate to have the Martha's Vineyard Commission doing this sometimes messy and almost always thankless work. The Island landscape is covered with examples of developments that serve the community better, and hurt the landscape less, because the MVC took the time to insert its regulatory probe and peer deep inside.
By the way, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have done professional work in the past year for all three institutions mentioned in this letter - the Martha's Vineyard Commission, the Martha's Vineyard Hospital and the Martha's Vineyard Times. So if there's a personal bias here, it might be the wish to see all three prosper.
To the Editor:
As abutters to Veira Park, we would like to state why we are opposed to the Vineyard Baseball Expansion Plan. Veira Park is a small park in a busy residential neighborhood. Adding an additional baseball diamond for the purpose of having two games playing at he same time will greatly increase traffic in the neighborhood. The corner of South Circuit Avenue and Circuit Avenue is at certain times of the day a very busy intersection. This is also true if you are coming from Oakland Avenue onto Circuit, or crossing over to South Circuit. Whether in a car or on foot, you take your life into your hands every time you have to cross that street.
A split-rail fence surrounding the park is not a new idea. There is already one on Naushon Avenue, from the corner to the existing field, and there was one on South Circuit Avenue part way down the street. It was taken down by a previous highway superintendent to make room for parallel parking.
A split-rail fence is a great idea, but we are concerned about additional chain-link fences. Since the existing field has two fences surrounding it, we expect the second field will have the same, creating a park full of commercialized chain-link fences. Not a pretty sight for an Oak Bluffs park, especially when you add advertising banners.
As for Phil Regan's statement regarding rumors, the plans we saw on two different occasions showed the concession stand/bathrooms in the area of the park nearer to Circuit Avenue. The location was also pointed out to me by Sam Berlow one morning in April. The concession stand being out of the plan is a very recent development and one that we are glad to hear about. As to the other rumors referred to, they are not from us.
We feel strongly that this is the wrong location for this project. To make the baseball diamond fit in the park, beautiful old oak trees will have to be cut down. Whatever is being planned to replace them will not be sufficient, because you cannot replace one hundred year old oak trees unless you wait one hundred years.
The bigger issue is that this is a town park and should be shared by all who want to use it. The open space that remains is used by kids and young adults to play football, frisbee, wiffle ball, volleyball, catch, and all sorts of other games. Some kids are not interested in organized sports and like to make up their own games. The park is used often in the summer by bikers and other visitors as a picnic area or just a place to rest in the shade on a hot summer day.
In response to Sam Berlow's statement in a recent Gazette article, I just want to add that it is not just residents of this neighborhood who are opposed, but a large number of residents throughout the town of Oak Bluffs.
We would like to see the plans posted either over at the field or at a convenient location for all interested citizens to view. In closing, we want to say our opposition is not against baseball. It is for having an open space for kids to play and for all to enjoy. It is against a plan that will forever change our neighborhood as we know it.
One last thing: we invite any Vineyard baseball proponent to stop at our house the next time you are at a game and listen to our concerns.
Ann and Frank Baird
A matter of
To the Editor:
I have been teaching art, design, and architecture at the Regional High School for 25 years. So it is with some authority, that I take issue with the taste and scale of a new prefabricated home recently erected on Tashmoo Avenue in Vineyard Haven. The design of this structure grossly maximizes the amount of house one could get out of a small, 10,000-square-foot lot. The grade of the lot opens to a basement that creates the appearance of a four-story structure on the back and a garage and apartment adjacent to the main house's box-like structure. It all towers over my own backyard, just 10 feet away. Clearly, the scale of this home shows no regard for the neighborhood and disrespect for all of the neighbors. What's more disturbing is there are three more lots for sale, of equal size, next door. What kind of precedent does this set?
Taste, of course, can be very different from one person to the next, and I expect that some may find this house attractive. But a house of this impact, in a well established neighborhood, breaks a fundamental principle of architecture: a structure should fit into its contextual or surrounding environment. Most Island architects and contractors take great pains to do this. We don't live in inner city Cambridge or a four-acre zoned Duxbury, where a home of this size might be more appropriate.
This is not the first and will not be the last letter addressing the issues surrounding economic development versus the slow, but steady destruction of our unique ecological and community environment. Our town and regulatory officials can only act in accordance with zoning regulations that exist on the books now, but perhaps it's time to rethink some of those rules. After all, Manhattan is an Island almost the same size as Martha's Vineyard. It just has very different zoning. In the end, the Island community needs to decide for itself, to what extent we are willing to let the human economic environment impact the natural one.
Over the years, I have taught several generations of Island students some of the key principles of good design, craft, and the importance of balancing economic reward against environmental and community blight. If you haven't thought about such things, perhaps it's time to remember the reasons we all decided to live here in the first place.
To the Editor:
I am sorry to say that I find it necessary to report to you some initial results of your Dukes County Charter Commission, due to the morbidly slow progress and pace the commission has chosen to follow. Pace of activities is so slow and unproductive that my continued participation has become increasingly frustrating, and I am writing this report to share with the Island constituency who elected me, where things are going. There is very little question in my mind that the Island can find a cooperative means for providing Island-wide governance by taking the following simple steps.
Election (or appointment by selectmen) of county commissioners by district (towns) as cooperative form of government where the towns with their franchised taxing authority would "own" county government for their common need and good.
The county would lease the existing one square mile airport property to an airport commission to be operated according to the FAA and MASS Aeronautical regulations as an "enterprise," subject to the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The county should receive in lease revenue what any fixed base operator would be willing to pay as a fair price to the landlord of the Martha's Vineyard Airport and industrial park, which is easily an amount to sufficiently finance the County's operations.
Adjusting existing county manager model of county government to reflect the above changes, and any further recommendations brought forth by the towns resulting from the questionnaire that is addressed to the towns.
It is my further belief that any further effort beyond those described herein would be of marginal benefit to the county of Dukes County; Martha's Vineyard; and Elizabeth Islands. My participation thus far in the charter commission and the Island Plan has made it abundantly clear to me that the future health of Martha's Vineyard depends on a public-private partnership of all Island interests.
Thank you for your trust in my election, and I hope these thoughts bear fruit.
from The Anchors
To the Editor:
I recently attended a program at The Anchors, which focused on talking to the staff about program ideas I would like the Council on Aging to offer.
As a newly appointed board member, I 've come to realize that many people are unaware that anyone 55 and over can participate and influence programming at The Anchors.
I encourage you to make the center yours; stop in and enjoy the many programs offered, ask about volunteer opportunities, or just sit and relax. The staff is always eager to hear about your program ideas and accommodate your needs.
As we all begin to focus on our summer schedules and the multitude of preparations we ritually make for the summer season, please keep in mind that The Anchors is also available as a unique and special spot to share with your family and friends. How lucky we are to have such an attractive building located in the center of town with beautiful harbor views. Feel free to make yourself comfortable and enjoy the space; bring a book to enjoy or a picnic lunch. We invite you to bring friends, family, and grandchildren to take in the view or simply sit at our outdoor tables and watch the boats sail by.
You too can make a difference.
ECOA Board of Directors