Who would do this?
To the Editor:
Fifteen local people have worked hard for months to bring the community supplies for a traditional Christmas at the Tea Lane Christmas Shoppe located at Eden in Tisbury for the Holiday Season. On Saturday night or Sunday morning, someone felt we were doing such a great job that we didn't need the door lock, the cash register or the money that was in it.
I wonder, doing something like that, can you have a Merry Christmas? After all, even the Grinch brought it all back to Whoville (no...we don't have such expectations). However, it has not down-sized our hearts and they couldn't steal our magic, so we will continue till the 24th and Merry Christmas to all.
Furthermore, it is the theft of the Red Stocking Fund money that has been the most shocking. What kind of person would steal from a charity that gives to Island children in need around the holidays?
Matthew Tobin and Crew
On behalf of 334 children
To the Editor:
The miracle that is Red Stocking has happened again. Through a tremendous effort on the part of hundreds of donors, volunteers, vendors, and Red Stocking committee members, we distributed food, clothing, books, and toys to 334 Vineyard children from 230 families. The piles and piles of wrapped presents that filled Grace Church last Thursday were cheerfully and efficiently sorted and organized into a sea of numbered bags ready for Friday morning's pickup. This represented an increase of more than 50 children compared to last year. But when the word went out that we had such an increased demand, the community's response was truly overwhelming. Contributions kept coming and coming and coming, and we were able to fill all the needs of all our children. This response was a typical example of the Island's taking care of its own.
Because it is impossible to thank the hundreds of people, businesses, and organizations who make this possible, we have tried to focus on one particular group each year. This year we would like to pay tribute to our off-Island supporters. While the bulk of our support is from local Vineyarders, we also receive much support from off-Islanders who have a connection to the Vineyard. For example, there is Louise, a summer resident, who rounded up a truckload of toys in New Jersey and had it delivered to us late one Friday night. Celeste from Scituate arrives each Thanksgiving with a carload of art supplies and assorted gifts. Each year we pick up a van full of toys from the Marines on Cape Cod. Money comes from donors all across the country including the Boston Area Roadsters and the Flemm Foundation in New York. This year our story somehow made it to NBC and we received two large boxes of books and toys from the Charitable Foundation of the TODAY Show. How truly incredible is this unsolicited response.
The bills are not yet all in but we are confident that because of the remarkable generosity of all who have contributed we will pay them all and, hopefully, still be able to provide $10,000 worth of food in March as we have done each year in the past. This year the challenge was greater due to the increase in numbers of needy applicants. However, Our faith in the Vineyard community is strengthened once again when we consider its heartwarming response. We thank you on behalf of the 334 children who will be warm, well-fed, and happy this winter. The entire Island should stop for a moment and think of just what it has enabled us to do on its behalf...and it should be very proud of itself.
Kerry Alley and Lorraine Clark
Red Stocking Committee
What happens next in sports?
To the Editor:
With the release of former Sen. George J. Mitchell's report on the drug culture in professional baseball, a sore that had been festering for a number of years burst forth for the public to see. Baseball now joins other sports, for example track and cycling, that have hit the news with their own drug problems.
In any competitive environment, some competitors feel they need an edge. It was not uncommon for baseball pitchers to throw a spit ball, for a basketball player to grab your shorts to keep you from jumping to get a rebound, hiding the football in your jersey, or stealing a baseball catcher's signs with binoculars. These rule-breakers were nothing compared to our win at any cost culture, be it sports, business, or politics. There are many who play by the rules and should be applauded. Perhaps the Mitchell report is our Pearl Harbor on the drug culture in sports.
Sport heroes have played an important role in my own life. At an early age, my teachers told me to read everything I could find and the sport pages became my bible. Upon learning that my hero, Frankie Frisch (the Fordham Flash), second basemen for the St. Louis Cardinals had gone to college, I thought maybe college was a good idea and when my grandmother told me her favorite player, Christy Mathewson, who pitched for the New York Giants, had gone to college that settled it, I had to go to college - which takes good grades and money. I started to work harder in school and I am glad to say I graduated from college with the help of the GI Bill and a summer job.
I had many sports heroes, but the one I remember the most was Lou Gehrig, the "Iron Horse" first basemen for the New York Yankees who died of the disease that bears his name. His famous words on July 4, 1939, as he retired from baseball, "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth," brought tears to our eyes. Gehrig, a Columbia University graduate, was a ballplayer a boy could admire not only for his baseball skill, but for what he stood for - hard work, durability (2,130 consecutive games played) and honesty. What would Gehrig think of some of his beloved Yankees today?
What concerns me the most is the example some of these athletes are setting for our young boys and girls. Young people are looking for heroes and models to follow - just look at the names on their shirts and tee-shirts.
As a substitute teacher at the High School for several years, I have looked into the faces of many hundred students and hope that they will not be tempted to a momentary high or being cool on drugs to emulate some sports stars who have found steroids a way to bulk up - the long-term effects of which may be disastrous to oneself. Having lost part of my right lung to smoking, I would observe, be careful what you put in your body - you may not be able to get it out.
What can be done to assist our youth in a world where temptation is right around the corner. From my own experience, it was the fall of 1939, my junior year in high school, when our class took a train ride from St. Louis to the Missouri State Penitentiary at Jefferson City. Seeing men in those cells (more like cages) was a horrible sight. One inmate had painted beautiful pictures on his cell walls. He told us he was in for life and painting was his work. He added, "For god's sake don't do anything to get in here." Next we saw inmates with a "T" on their backs and we asked about the "T". A guard told us they were trustees and had more freedom. "Can anybody be a Trustee", we asked. The guard said, "anybody but car thieves and sex offenders." Needless to say, I will never forget that day.
Perhaps, if students visited a drug rehabilitation center and saw the disastrous effects of drug use on men and woman it would dissuade our young people from the use of drugs. A picture is worth a thousand words.
George Mitchell deserves high praise for his 311-page report. He interviewed numerous players and people involved in baseball, over a 20-month investigation. His report included many documents, including cancelled checks telephone messages, to name a few. As would be expected, criticism has begun with a headline from the New York Times, that reads, "Orioles Take Issue With the Inclusion of names in the Mitchell report." What will happen in baseball, our national sport, only time will tell.
To the Editor:
Impressive is the correct word for the Tri-town EMTs. What a tremendous response I had from them last Saturday, Dec. 15, while walking with a friend in the Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary. My visiting friend fell on the ice on one of the paths deep into the sanctuary and dislocated his knee and could not stand, much less walk. It was 27 degrees with probably a 10-knot breeze. Thirteen EMTs, both male and female, three dogs, and an ATV were at his side within 30 minutes of my call to 911. They had my friend on a stretcher and in the ambulance within the hour.
It was an extremely arduous route, over sand dunes, around boulders, and up hard packed snowy paths. Luckily my friend was not in pain, but the EMTs had splinted his knee in place (which was practically at a 45 degree angle), and he had worn a sufficient amount of clothing so wasn't cold.
After arriving at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital, it was determined that he needed to be transported to MGH in Boston. He left the Island in an ambulance on the 6:15 ferry, less than four hours from the time of my call to 911. What an Island. What an impressive group of people. I am very proud of you all and so very grateful. With heartful thanks.
Extra Bridge Housing costs well under $1 million
To the Editor:
This is in response to the letter "Tisbury taxpayers look out" in last week's Times.
Indeed, non-profit Bridge Housing Corp. is seeking minor modifications to the Bridge Commons affordable housing community that the MVC approved in 2003 and the Tisbury ZBA approved in 2004. We are now free of the appeal to the appellate court regarding the Tisbury ZBA's approval of a 40B Comprehensive Permit for the undertaking.
However, no one will be paying $1million or tearing up State Road to install town water or financing this extension with the ferry debarkation fee.
In the four years since the first MVC approval, the design of Bridge Commons has been improved so as to have less impact on its environment and on its neighbors. It is these improvements that we are bringing back to these government bodies for their okay - and they are agreeing.
The voters of Tisbury adopted the Community Preservation Act, and there is now the Tisbury CPC (Community Preservation Committee) that processes applications for spending these funds on open space preservation, historic preservation and affordable housing development.
The Island Affordable Housing Fund is a broadly based Island organization that raises considerable funds to support the creation of new, quality affordable housing Island-wide. It has chosen to partner with Bridge Housing Corp. to help achieve a Bridge Commons that will significantly benefit this Island that we all love so much.
The Island Affordable Housing Fund with Bridge Housing Corp. submitted an application for Tisbury CPC funds to assist with bringing town water to Bridge Commons. Both the MVC and the ZBA asked us to use town water. (This request is expensive; the tab will be about $400,000 - not nearly $1million.) Both have set strict conditions on the installation of the water pipe along the edge of State Road - protecting the public, the roadway, and the nearby trees. Fire hydrants along the extension will add safety, and reduce insurance premiums, for Bridge Commons's neighbors.
If the CPC recommends to Tisbury voters that some portion of the application be funded, and if the voters at next spring's annual town meeting vote agreement, then, yes, Tisbury taxpayer funds will be supporting this urgently needed affordable housing. Alas, if Bridge does not receive CPC funding, we'll need to rely more heavily on the other donors, organizations and state funding.
As the author notes, we are pleased to acknowledge that several MVC commissioners really like the new design and the improvements being planned for Bridge Commons. We have been working for six years to make this undertaking the best it can be and will continue our quest to provide the safe, decent, and economical housing so that Bridge Commons will be a community we would be proud to call our home.
Dick Mezger, President
Bridge Housing Corp.
To the Editor:
In view of the fact that I am already considered by many in the "sport" fishing community as one of those dirty commercial bass fishermen, it will do little to hurt my reputation to shed some light on the history and practice of yo-yoing that has been conveniently overlooked in the knee-jerk and poorly considered reaction to lead weights being found in several derby fish this year.
The Derby committee did an admirable job dealing with the situation of yo-yo weights found in contestants' fish and established the proper rule to deal with this in the future. While probably well intentioned, the petition to the state to ban an ethereal and poorly defined method of fishing by the Derby committee and the Martha's Vineyard Surfcasters displays an appalling lack of knowledge, research, and is indeed, in many cases, a sad display of hypocrisy.
It is difficult to take seriously an appeal to the DMF for a new regulatory law when very many of these same sportsmen and conservationists violate the laws we already have. The use of short scup for bass bait is widespread by Island sportfishermen and is against the law. I have personally observed many derby committee members and other well-known sportfishermen using undersized scup for bait and knowingly fishing for striped bass beyond the boundaries of state waters, a violation of federal regulations. More stripers are killed by recreational fishermen using undersized scup around the Island before the commercial season even starts than are taken by commercial fishermen in the same areas. I started the practice of using scup for bait on the Island many years ago, and let me be clear that I don't care how others fish, where they do it, or what they use for bait. I simply don't like hypocrites, and I hate fingers always being pointed at commercial fishermen.
To briefly touch on the point of lead weights poisoning stripers, this is sensationalism at its finest to achieve a desired goal. It is alleged that yo-yo weights are destroying our precious resource and causing a potential health hazard. Yet, this is the very same fish that our government advises should only be eaten once every two months by healthy adults and never by children or pregnant women, due to the high levels of PCBs and mercury. Yo-yoing has been going on for 40 years, and no actual scientific study has ever shown significant levels of lead in striped bass. Lead is not soluble. A chunk of lead is not going to dissolve and seep into a fish's flesh. A quick search of the Internet will reveal that lead must be in a fine granular or gaseous form to enter our systems. More danger exists from lost lead sinkers being ground up on the bottom and entering the food chain through smaller prey fish than from yo-yo weights in a bass's stomach.
To understand why yo-yoing is so effective, the feeding habits of striped bass must be examined, Stripers actively feed for no more than two hours a day, mostly at night. Optimum water temperature for striper activity is 55-58 degrees. As water temperature increases in summer, stripers get very lazy and less inclined to chase live bait. A group of very astute Rhode Island fishermen realized this back in the 1970s and developed a method of fishing in which the desired baitfish looked alive, yet never swam away from a resting bass. They called it "dunking" and it was deadly. lnitially, spark plugs were used as weights and steel lightning rods for skewers They guarded their secret so well they had it to themselves for nearly 20 years.
I never wanted to be a yo-yo fisherman, as I was able to catch my fish with live scup and eels, and pogies were not readily available on the Island. The problem is that not only does a yo-yo bait catch fish, it completely stops fish from feeding on anything else when yo-yo baits are available. As more people caught on and yo-yoers spread out beyond Quicks Hole and Sow and Pigs Reef to enter areas traditionally fished by Vineyard fishermen, it became necessary to learn or go home. And learning is a long, hard process that no one is going to explain to you. Rigging the bait is only about 10 percent of properly yo-yoing, and that's all I will say on that subject.
Much has changed and evolved with yo-yoing over the years. Contrary to popular opinion, many commercial fishermen are very concerned about the health of our striper population, as we personally have more at stake than most recreational anglers. We bear the brunt of every fluctuation in striper stocks and every self-serving whim of sportfishing lobbies and associations. Yo-yoing has become the commercial fishing target du jour, while sportflshing still accounts for more than 70 percent of striper mortality (DMF estimates). I, and many other commercial fishermen, have developed methods of attaching the yo-yo weight to the hook, ensuring that it is always retrieved. Wooden skewers that soften are now used in place of metal rods. Virtually 100 percent of bass caught yo-yoing are hooked on the upper lip, ensuring a safe release of unwanted fish. Compare this to the high percentage of gut- and throat-hooked fish caught chunking or bait fishing, very often with a treble hook. I am absolutely convinced many more fish die an agonizing death from more traditional methods of bait fishing. I also believe the vast majority of stripers pass or regurgitate swallowed sinkers.
I am not callous, and it bothers me as much as anyone to see a fish with foreign matter in its stomach, but it must be dealt with in a realistic manner. Education is the key, not legislation. Anyone who wishes to practice the art of yo-yoing should use a wooden skewer with a retrievable sinker. How can anyone legislate the term "yo-yoing." If I retrieve my sinker every time, am I yo-yoing? If I use steel or cement instead of lead, am I yo-yoing? If I use a lead with no skewer, am I yo-yoing? Perhaps all lead (jigs, sinkers, tubes, etc.) not just yo-yo weights, should be banned from fishing?
It is my hope that the DMF will realize just how hopeless and unenforceable a law banning "yo-yoing" would be.
West Tisbury and Cotuit
Let down on immigration
To the Editor:
I agree with Jeff Leistyna, who had an article in the paper last week, about illegal immigrants. Where is immigration services: still drinking coffee and eating doughnuts? I hope everyone plans on speaking Portuguese in the next years. They say they are returning to Brazil; I don't see this happening. They should be monitoring them right in Woods Hole. I am not working now, and I don't know how long I can stay on-Island or in Massachusetts, because you are right, our government has let the U.S. citizens down again. People need to stand up. Middle class on Island is going bye-bye.
Why would anyone vote for our former governor? He didn't do anything here.
Preserve Tisbury Town Hall
To the Editor:
The Tisbury Town Hall certainly deserves Community Preservation Act funds. Above the town hall offices, the Katharine Cornell Theatre is a renowned venue for stage and movie productions. This historic building should be restored and preserved for posterity. I have many happy memories of the time when I appeared in "My Fair Lady" in 1984 at the Katharine Cornell Theatre.
To the Editor:
What most people don't realize about surveys is that most people that respond to surveys have an axe to grind. It's a fact that people that are happy with everything aren't as inclined to put in their two cents. Who calls Stop & Shop and tells them "Hey, the tomatoes I bought this week were perfect!" But when that same person gets a bad carton of milk, guess who is making a call to the manager of the store.
In the case of the recent Press Ganey survey of patients that were treated at Martha's Vineyard Hospital over the last year, only 10 percent responded. Don't be fooled into thinking that, because of the lack or response, that the results of this survey are inaccurate. In fact, it's quite the contrary. The 10 percent that responded, being just a small slice of patients that visited the hospital, probably responded to the survey because their experience may have been more negative than positive.
Taking this into consideration, along with the reality that this hospital sees a mostly transient, touristy population, it is nothing short of amazing the enormous and positive leaps and bounds of improvements and changes that have occurred at Martha's Vineyard Hospital in recent years. That being said, I would like to congratulate Tim Walsh and his awesome staff for their 2007 Press Ganey Summit Award.
It must also be mentioned that this award was given to the hospital in no small part due to the extraordinary contribution and commitment Dr. Tim Tsai brought with him when he took the post of Director of Emergency Medicine a few years ago. In my short tenure working at Martha's Vineyard Hospital, primarily in the ER (back when Tim first took this post), it was refreshing seeing his "dive-in-head-first" approach to not only cleaning house, but also consistently looking for ways to make processes and procedures better for the long run.
This is definitely an exciting time for Martha's Vineyard Hospital and its staff. I miss you all, and congratulations.
No to animal ID program
To the Editor:
Regarding your Dec. 13 article about the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), according to "The Hightower Lowdown," Vol. 9 No. 9, Sept. 2007, this program is intrusive, compelling animal owners to register their premises and personal information in a federal database, to buy microchip devices and attach them to every animal, to log and report every "event" in the life of each animal, to pay registration fees and be subject to fines up to $1,000/day for non-compliance.
Rather than focusing on the big agribusiness farms that cause the greatest harm, NAIS is targeting small farmers and organic producers. Every farm, home, and horse stable would have its address and GPS coordinates in the system's central computer along with other personal data.
"Events" would include sales and deaths and any movement of the animals off the premises, including taking them to a vet, going to a horse show, presenting them for judging at the Fair, and trucking them to another farm.
Who benefits? The National Institute of Animal Agriculture is a private consortium of proponents of corporate agriculture and hawkers of surveillance technologies. They conceived the program and want to impose it on us. Industrialized meat producers, such as Cargill and Tyson, endorse this program because they are already computerized and they have engineered a loophole: If an entity owns a vertically integrated birth-to-death factory system with thousands of animals (as they do), it doesn't have to tag and track each one, but instead is given a single lot number to cover the whole flock or herd. For small farmers and ranchers the program is costly (fees, tags, computer equipment, time) and they will be saddled with another reason to go out of business. The Cargills and Tysons will assure Japan, Europe and other export customers that the U.S. meat industry is doing something to clean up widespread contamination without making the corporations incur the cost of a real cleanup. NAIS health claims do not touch the source of E coli, salmonella, listeria, mad cow, and other meat-borne diseases. Such contamination comes from unhealthy practices of mass crowding, growth stimulants, feeding regimens and poor sanitation. Moreover, tracking ends at the time of slaughter and it's from slaughter onward that spoilage occurs.
Chip companies and sellers of computer tracking systems (Microsoft, Viatrace, Aginfolink, and Digital Angel) will benefit from the profits of compulsory tagging. Money interests use fears of disease outbreaks and bioterrorism to make their intentions respectable.
In November 2006, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture declared NAIS would let states implement the system - with a qualifier that NAIS was to be "a voluntary program at the federal level," pushing state legislatures to require participation. Some people are being told they can't take animals to shows or have their kids join 4-H unless they register. In an agency report last year, the Massachusetts agriculture commissioner announced success integrating the records of municipal animal inspectors into a database for premise registration. Once registered, there's no procedure to opt out of the system.
In at least 11 states legislation has been introduced to reject the program. Here's hoping we can reject it in Massachusetts.
Bring some happiness to others
To the Editor:
While everyone is watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer this time of year, there is a more meaningful red nose to feel.
Thirty-five years ago, little did I realize that my lifetime calling was going to be public service in transportation: first at the Steamship Authority, where I recently retired after performing every position at the Vineyard Haven terminal; then to the Vineyard Transit Authority and the high school, as a bus driver using a "Patch Adams" style of happiness and caring.
Unfortunately after choosing to do the route that transports workers to the hospital from the PA Club and having fun with friends and a few relatives I've known for years, I somehow offended some mean-spirited Scrooge-like Grinch who found it necessary to call and complain, ending my (if temporary) public service. For this I'm deeply sorry.
To the many wonderful people both year-round and summer whom I've been acquainted with and brought any happiness to, and who have done the same to me, I wish a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. To the mean-spirited, disheartened few, I suggest reform, watch the movie, put on the red nose, bring some happiness to others and your public servants - they have feelings, too - before the Christmas spirits visit. God bless us, everyone.
Networking for non-profits
To the Editor:
Braving the winter storm, about 40 Vineyarders affiliated with a multitude of non-profit organizations went off to Woods Hole on Thursday to attend a training session on board strengthening. I noticed the sense of camaraderie between these groups immediately in the lunch area of the boat. So much networking and connecting was going on that upon landing, not one workshop attendee stood to disembark. The purser had to come out and ask people to leave.
The workshop was lively and captivating. We all took in a wealth of information that was helpful for both young and established organizations. When the session was shortened due to the storm it grew even more spirited. Being involved with two youthful non-profit organizations, I was stimulated by the quality and accessibility of information the presenter offered and left wanting more.
What most inspired me most was the sense of community I felt on the boat ride home. I witnessed a larger, established group of members eagerly helping out a younger organization with a stock donation. Whether it was networking for volunteers or advice on a 501c(3) status, people shared graciously.
Be it holiday spirit, the camaraderie of being stuck in a snowstorm, or just plain essence of community, I am grateful to the Martha's Vineyard Donors Collaborative for offering this workshop. I look forward to seeing more of these innovative teachings in the future.
Rising Tide Therapeutic Equestrian Center Inc.
Island Grown Initiative
No way to treat a dog
To the Editor:
What is wrong with people who chain their dogs outside 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year with barely any decent shelter?
This is the most inhumane, cruelest, act I have ever seen, living on Martha's Vineyard, where dogs should be able to run through these beautiful woods and chase squirrels and birds, or run on the beach with their families and other dogs. The need to he held and loved and cared for like they were meant to be: as part of the family.
I live on Lambert's Cove and have to drive by and see a beautiful, older golden retriever chained all day and night, never a human touch, never mind a walk, never mind an acknowledgment of being alive. Left to pace in the same area where she urinates and defecates. This has to be very distressing to an animal.
Dogs are social animals and desperately need and seek companionship. Who wouldn't go crazy or mad living like this? They suffer terribly from loneliness, boredom and can develop emotional and psychological problems.
They are not property, like a house or a car. They are living, breathing, sentient beings that feel all the pain and suffering as humans do.
The owner of this dog appears to be clueless and doesn't seem to think anything of this horrific abuse toward their dog, out on the freezing cold ground or with a doghouse the dog can barely get into, left isolated as though she wasn't alive.
If you see this inhumane treatment toward animals, please report it to animal control and the MSPCA. Let's do something to change the laws for the animals.
Comcast hits home
To the Editor:
Your article Dec.13, about the surprises Comcast TV subscribers received at this holiday time, hit home with me. Although a notice or two had been sent us, only when I realized we would no longer have C-SPAN 2 coverage on channel 29 cable did I succumb to the requirement for a digital box.
Electronics are beyond me, for sure, but why C-SPAN's coverage of the U.S. Senate and its weekends filled with interesting authors of non-fiction books should suddenly become more than "expanded basic" can tolerate, I do not understand. Yes, our family can afford the monthly added costs of the "digital starter package" (we haven't added digital classic, more costly), but I regret that not all cable expanded service subscribers may feel they can do so.
There are a number of channels we rarely if ever turn to (and would be glad to give up), but I do believe the powers that be in the cable world should not make it more difficult to have a well-informed citizenry, seeing elected senators and prominent nonfiction authors on weekends, by imposing a digital box requirement for C-SPAN 2, now channel 156.
Pay your taxes
To the Editor:
So if anyone else wants to whine about the Brazilians on the Island, please do me this favor first. Go pay any back taxes you have avoided all these years. You know, for any cash wages, gambling winnings, under-reported income, profits from illegal transactions, undeclared rent, etc. Last time I checked, it was still illegal not to pay taxes, even for an American.
To the Editor:
Attention AMEX card holders. We just received a credit back for $571 that we were charged for magazines we never ordered.
If you receive "Food and Wine" magazine in the mail and "Travel and Leisure" and many other magazines you didn't order, you're being charged for them on your AMEX, plus interest. AMEX tricks you by stating, in very small print, that you have to check a very small "no" box if you don't want the magazines. We expect to get another $1,500 from the magazines themselves, because AMEX will only reimburse us for the last nine months. Is this legal? We only had to phone one person at AMEX, who immediately refunded $571, no questions asked. If it's legal, how come they are refunding so quickly? Martha's Vineyard lawyers, please advise.
RHS assessments regressive
To the Editor:
After reading an article on Islanders figuring out how to pay for the high school in last week's Gazette, one thing left me very puzzled.
I understand that Chilmark and Edgartown are very happy with the old regional agreement. That agreement means they would pay 11 cents and 44 cents respectively while Tisbury would pay 97 cents and Oak Bluffs would pay $1.07. (This, incidentally, is a very clear example of a regressive tax.) With such bargain rates for a high school, why wouldn't they be happy?
Under the Oak Bluffs proposal, articulated as an initial bargaining position by Thad Harshbarger, every taxpayer, whether he's paying on a multi-million dollar vacation trophy house or a two-bedroom fixer-upper, would pay at the same rate - 64 cents.
What puzzles me is that the Tisbury representative likes it the old way.
What's the Steamship Authority's plan?
To the Editor:
My wife and I are residents of Martha's Vineyard, but last night, Dec. 18, we stayed in a hotel, unable to return to our home on the Steamship Authority ferry. Sick grandchildren and heavy traffic caused us to arrive 45 minutes late for our 5 pm boat. About 4 pm, the reservation office reported four stand-bys in Woods Hole. We sat in standby for several hours and then became victims not of Island Home's finicky generator, its shipyard, its designers, or its mechanics, but of the Steamship Authority management's failure to provide a back-up boat, even though this vessel's unpredictable performance is well known. We were also inconvenienced when Island Home's generator failed for the 7 am run a week earlier when we had to be in Falmouth for a medical test.
If Island residents and visitors have safe and reliable ferry service, the Steamship Authority can have board members from New Bedford (and even Northampton); redundant and wise guy employees (especially the one that blew us off last evening in Woods Hole); politicking of all sorts locally and in Boston; high costs and inefficiency (within limits); fuel guzzling vessels with inconvenient support posts to drive around; new boats even bigger than the QEII with hydraulic lifts and the ability to parallel park like a Lexus without human intervention; shuttle buses more uncomfortable and noxious than those in undeveloped countries; remote parking lots in the Bronx; view-blocking canopies in Vineyard Haven and even empty spaces on runs that are shown as sold out. But end up sending us to a hotel when we arrive in Woods Hole at 5:45 pm on a slow, off-season Tuesday night with beautiful weather, and someone needs to be held accountable right now. What is the plan to put this agency back on course, and who is responsible?