To the Editor:
As my grandmother used to say: "You only have one chance to make a first impression."
And what's the first impression when people arrive on the Oak Bluffs ferry? Why, it's the infamous Garage Mahal. It's out-of-code height makes it visible from the ferry, Seaview Avenue, the docks, Ocean Park and elsewhere. Its hideous style, out of keeping with the traditional architecture of O.B., also makes it a standout, noted by residents and visitors alike.
When I've gone to meet guests (driving down from Aquinnah where my family has summered for four decades), I've heard a few choice comments as people note the building for the first time.
"I guess property values on the Vineyard are dropping, eh?"
"Doesn't the Vineyard have any preservation or zoning laws?"
And as we stand there at the ferry in full view of the three-story garage, when I suggest that we head down to Circuit Avenue and eat lunch at one of my several favorite restaurants, I get rebuffed, as in, "Can't we go to a more authentic, less vulgar part of the Island?"
I love O.B. and travel down-Island to eat and shop all the time, but what we do not need is something at our gateway that marks the place (and by extension the Island) as sleazy and in decline. Let's face it, this negative impression impacts not only O.B.-ers but everyone.
The Oak Bluffs town has tried to tear the illegal building down for several years, obstructed by a pile-on of frivolous lawsuits by the garage builder (paid for by our lobster rolls). I say it's time for all Vineyarders to support the town by rallying against this standing monument to a past of dubious governance.
The upcoming Land Use Planning Committee (LUPC) meeting on Monday, March 3, at 5:30 at the Old Stone house on New York Ave. will consider the Garage Mahal as of concern to the whole Island, which it is, and make recommendations to the M.V. Commission. All of us from all towns who are concerned to preserve the integrity of our Island should plan to attend.
Alison Rose Levy
View from a distance
To the Editor:
I was off-Island when the accident that killed Brandy Gibson took place, so my responses come from reading The Times online. Hence the title.
Unless you have the grace to be a full blooded Wampanoag, Cheyenne, Navaho, Inuit, or Seminole, your parents came from somewhere else to settle in the US, and more specifically, for the point of my essay, to Martha's Vineyard. Everyone who has left their homeland and come to these shores did so for a reason, and that reason was almost always to find a better life than was available to them in the land of their birth. The specific names of the reasons vary - religious freedom, the opportunity to make a better life, following a spouse or a loved one, or being carried in the arms of a tired and hungry parent - but they come seeking what they cannot achieve or realize in the place they left.
Every single one of you reading this has a parent or a grandparent who came from somewhere else. And for most of us, our immigrant ancestors had to make their way from the bottom up. It was hard, but they banded together and in one way or another, most of them made it and were able to send money back to the old country so that other family members might benefit and eventually join them. It is a rich and diverse history and tradition, and the very foundation of these United States.
We are one of the richest countries on the planet, and we have so much more than we need, and yet we squander and waste so much of what we have. Just look at what is scraped off the plates in any restaurant, or thrown out of some stores and bakeries, because it is too much trouble to set up a program to give it to the hungry, and there are hungry and homeless and people in this land of plenty, too many of them.
Why has the tragic death of Brandy Marie Gibson turned into a screeching, name-calling, Brazilian, and all immigrants, hating witch hunt? Why has it released such venom? Why would you boycott the Red Stocking Fund because a person wanted a few extra toys for their children, or to send home to nieces and nephews? Why would you deny a family extra food at the food pantry? People ask for food because they need it. Why would you boycott a restaurant, because the owner gave a man a job? Yes, the man should have had a valid license, and yes, they all should have been wearing seat belts, but the, mostly anonymous, vitriolic slander in the comments section after the news story is not about seatbelts, or the speed factor, it is about fear and hate and prejudice, and I find it disgraceful. We can do better than this, and we must if we are going to survive as an island community and as a nation. We need everyone living here to be a community, not just a select few.
We don't have to look too far back in our own inglorious history to find racial and ethnic "cleansing," exploitation of minorities and "NIMBY" (not in my back yard) as a way of controlling how and where people live and work. It is time for a change, and change starts with one heart at a time.
As the inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty reads: "Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she/With silent lips."Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore./Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,/I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Rev. Judith Campbell
MVC must help
To the Editor:
As president of the North Bluff Neighborhood Homeowners' Association, I would like to officially register our community's objections to the massive, three-story, illegally built structure at 10 Seaview, as well as its owners' new plans to redress its offensive nature by repackaging it as an addition to the existing, single-family cottage on the property. This issue is now before the Land Use Planning Committee, which will make its recommendations to the Martha's Vineyard Commission at a public hearing not yet scheduled. Our concerns are as follows. My apologies in advance for the length of this letter.
- This building or "addition" is an out-of-scale eyesore from every angle. It impacts and degrades views from the ferry (one of the Island's main portals), the docks, Seaview Avenue foot traffic and Ocean Park.
- While initially (and illegally) constructed as an "accessory" building, the current structure is far larger than the house it was built to "accessorize."
New plans repackaging the structure as an "addition" onto the modest existing house either exceed or equal the massing and scale of the house, especially in relation to the limited lot size.
- The basic structural elements of the building are, in a word, ugly. The "new" plans may seek to mask certain architectural elements, but from the perspective of sheer height and mass, it remains aesthetically disturbing and inappropriate.
- The current building and its proposed reinvention is out of keeping with the size, shape and feel of the Craftsman-style cottages in the North Bluff neighborhood, destroying its unique architectural character as seen from the ferry. Four of these North Bluff gems were designed by Sam Kidder, a highly regarded designer of Craftsman-style architecture in the early part of the 1900s, and two of these directly abut the Moujabber property.
- Craftsman cottages do not have towers, decks or sliding glass doors. Indeed, on page 2 of the MVC's "Design Criteria for Evaluating Possible Addition." it specifically states "there should not be any projecting decks or balconies".
- This building, as it exists today, is illegal and deserves no special presumptive favor from the MVC. In fact, the initial building permit issued to Mr. Moujabber for the structure was revoked years ago and his appeal of this revocation was dismissed with an acknowledgement by Mr. Moujabber that it existed without a valid permit. (Likewise, it is still subject to a demolition order, which, although vacated by Judge Moses in Superior Court, is on appeal by the town in Appeals Court.)
- This massive, three-story structure was built in dead of winter, in hopes that absent neighbors would not notice it until it was too late. This has been, until recently, the old way of doing things in Oak Bluffs. Positive changes in the town began calling for adherence to the law and proper stewardship of its historic uniqueness and beauty - catalyzed largely by outrage at this very structure.
- We are struck by the ambiguous nature of the newest renderings, which we hope will be evaluated thoroughly by the MVC for both accuracy and impacts. The artist's sketch appears to make the addition look far smaller in depth and height than it would actually be. On the site plan, we wonder for instance, is the square footage of the "rebuilt connector" included in the square footage calculation of the existing house or the proposed addition?
- We have other questions: is the plan, then, to demolish the structure and start over again on a new foundation, as one drawing implies? Or will this be a recycled version of the same building we already have? Why is there no architect's stamp on these drawings?
- If this re-conjured building gets a go-ahead, we believe this will be the tipping point for the destruction of our unique North Bluff residential neighborhood. By crossing over Pasque Avenue with something of this mass, not to mention what we fear is its true purpose, (addressed in our next point), we feel the rest of the North Bluff will fall like a house of cards to an encroaching commercial zone.
- We have it on good authority from various Island workmen that the current building has plumbing and wiring for three kitchens and several bathrooms. This speaks to use, a zoning issue, but also a regional impact issue. We believe this building has always been designed as a commercial property - currently a stack of three apartments to be used as a rental revenue stream by the owner, out of compliance with its R-1 zoning status.
The original, free-standing, illegal structure nakedly and arrogantly reveals this purpose - indeed it looks exactly like a cheap motel; the newest plans disguise this. We would welcome the MVC's investigation of the plumbing and wiring infrastructure of this "addition," to properly assess these usage concerns, because, although the new floor plans depict a single residence, the scale of each of the rooms is suspect, as are the five bathrooms.
(Sadly, these concerns are not unwarranted. Our town is all too familiar with the modus operandi: apply for a little more storage space, get approval, and then switch the plan into something far different and far bigger. You will recall that the massive addition to Nancy's Snack Bar, built by these same owners, also began as a plea for a bit more storage space, and then morphed into two more stories and a full-service restaurant. Islanders are still upset over how this could have happened to their beautiful harbor.)
- From a sheer noise standpoint, the apparent mass of the building with its multiple decks and sliding doors will create an intolerable racket for the neighborhood. Because of the acoustics involved with being so close to the ocean, noise already carries vibrantly from the front porch of the current house, all the way down Saco, Pasque and Seaview itself. Even modest gatherings of young people on the porch at night create enough noise to generate occasional calls to the police.
- Notwithstanding the lower court's decision, which is now on appeal before the Appeals Court, we can attest that area resident views of the ocean have been blocked by this structure, and any interested member of the MVC or LUPC is welcome to visit my home and see for themselves. Other North Bluff residents have the added insult of water runoff flooding their property from the illegal structure, or, as it is now packaged, the proposed "addition".
- Islandwide morale has been affected by the continued existence of this affront. We have been buttonholed by people from every town on the Island, asking what is wrong with our governance, that this thing is still standing.
- An MVC refusal to bless the continuation of this illegal project sends a strong and much needed signal to a very concerned town and an outraged Island, that our portal town of Oak Bluffs - the hub of so much Islandwide activity - is not giving in to thoughtless development; that protections are in place; laws are being enforced; that the aesthetic and historic value of a unique heritage is deemed precious; and that civility and community life are worthy of nurture and respect.
We have spent four years, countless work hours and tens of thousands of dollars trying to remediate this wrong, and protect our neighborhood, our town and our island. This has not been enough, in spite of our combined best efforts. Thankfully, the MVC has the power, the professionalism, the know-how, the integrity and the institutional responsibility to require thoughtful development and to reject veiled efforts to recast this monstrous structure as a simple "addition." We hope they will help us.
President, North Bluff
Neighborhood Homeowners Association
Cleveland and Oak Bluffs
Asks MVC rejection of Oak Bluffs garage
To the Editor:
I am the owner of 14 Seaview Avenue Extension, an abutter to the Moujabber property at 10 Seaview Avenue Extension. Our family has owned this property since 1933.
I strongly object to the continuing presence of a large three-story building constructed on the Moujabber property during the winter of 2003-2004. This new structure occupies a large fraction of what was originally an open back lawn with a modest one-car garage. It looms over the adjacent properties most intrusively and disrupts the historical ambience of spaciousness and gracious land use which has prevailed along the waterfront of the North Bluff ever since its development in the first decade of the 20th century,
The voters in Oak Bluffs in April 2004 expressed their wish that the North Bluff be protected and preserved by declaring this area be included in an Historic District.. Mr. Moujabber's structure is crowded into too little space, even overwhelming the traditional house on the front half of the property. The new structure, even if modified as proposed in recent plans, fails to harmonize with the adjacent waterfront homes with respect to its size, its large number of roof planes, and its style. Whether or not its eventual use would be acceptable in an area zoned R-1 may well be questioned. Simple internal modifications could produce several separate apartments.
It should be noted that Mr. Moujabber's new construction was begun in the winter of 2003-2004 without notification to the abutters. The building permit issued in November 2003 was for a garage with storage space but no habitable space. On May 12, 2004, the building permit was revoked and the building declared illegal. Several public hearings concerning the structure were unusually well attended, and those attending were overwhelmingly critical of the structure.
In November 2004, the Copeland Plan District Review Board rejected Mr. Moujabber's proposal to move the structure to join it to the existing house. Another proposal submitted later was also rejected by the board. On December 1, 2004, the Oak Bluffs building Inspector issued a demolition order. Mr. Moujabber appealed the permit revocation, the demolition order, and the Copeland Board's house moving rejections to the courts. In August 2007, a Dukes County Superior Court judge ruled that the Copeland board should conduct a new review of Mr. Moujabber's proposals because the previous board decisions lacked details and specific reasons for the rejections. He did not, however, rule out demolition but let that remain a possible outcome. These decisions from the lower court have been challenged and are presently on appeal at appeals court.
This matter will soon come before the Martha's Vineyard Commission. I respectfully request that the commission deny approval and do what is in its power to remove this discordant and illegal structure from the North Bluff waterfront.
Albert J. Read
Oneonta, N.Y. and Oak Bluffs
Some pay more, you pay less
To the Editor:
Your West Tisbury tax bill is going down because 28 people are going to pay more.
It is nice to see that the valuations are up for their very valuable properties. This helps all the little people; it helps all of the local people, being priced out of their homes, by reducing their tax bill.
It is hard to be sympathetic for a girl on a Lear jet, as it is hard to feel sorry for a girl with a magnificent view of the ocean and with her own beach access.
If the 28 property owners cannot change the new assessed values that they have received, your tax bill goes down. Your tax assessed value may be the same as last year but your tax bill will be smaller. (What is there to dislike about that?) You pay less since they pay more. Good for the little guy.
You see, the overall cost of running the town does not change; the overall budget for the town of West Tisbury is the same even though the total assessed value of all the properties is increased. The town does not collect extra money because there is a greater total for all the property in town. They adjust everyone's bill so that the total collected is the agreed amount of the budget.
A gentle reminder: The assessed value system used by the town of West Tisbury has been vindicated twice in the Boston tax court.
There is the Graham case, which we all know about. And in that case, the assessors offered a reduction of assessed value, which was rejected by William Graham. The Boston tax court affirmed 98 percent the assessed value of the Graham property, and he paid more than he would have had if he had taken the offer by the town.
Then, to my mind there is the warning of the other case. A beachfront property was assessed for $10 million dollars by the outside firm that does assessments for West Tisbury and several hundred other towns. Eventually the property was sold to an abutter for $7.5 million dollars. The seller insisted that the assessed value should be $7.5 million dollars. The town tried to offer a compromise of a tax bill based on an $8.5 million value. The seller rejected that and went to tax court. The tax court affirmed the $10 million dollar value. The seller thus had to pay their lawyers and had to pay a tax bill based on the $10 million value.
The writing is on the wall, take what the town offers as compromise. Because the tax court ain't gonna give you nuthing.
To the Editor:
I am writing to let you know how hurt I am by these horrible comments written about my husband on the MV Times website. It is obvious that the readers comments are just used as a gateway to send hate messages.
I am tired of all you people who think addiction is a moral problem. If more people were understanding, I don't think people would be so ashamed to get the help they need. If people were more open-minded it would not be so hard for someone with this horrible disease to speak out.
I know that my husband is ashamed for what he has done, and is deeply depressed by this, but there is only one way to move on. And that is to just keep going. He should have never been growing marijuana, but was having such financial problems, the offer was too good to be true. And, he was so depressed over his family issues with his mother and sister that he got drunk and fell into the harbor. Don't you think that he is humiliated enough? He has to live with himself every day, not you. And reading these comments today have just topped him off. I am sure many of you have skeletons in your closets that you would be horrified if they were publicized.
It is horrible that my husband is being targeted by the Vineyard police. He has committed a crime and is going to pay the consequences. But, what you all don't see is that he is a man who gets up every day and goes to work. Comes home and supports his family. He is not out there selling drugs and getting people addicted. Or living off government money. He is a hard-working, loving man who has had a tough run at life. And that is no excuse, but please cut him some slack. He does not deserve hateful comments.
I just wanted to say thank you to the Kelleys for hearing his faint cries. Without them, my son would not have his "Dada." And to AA and NA for always keeping their doors open. As well as Kelly and Marcia at Health Care Associates for keeping an open mind and helping us to stay positive. So sorry.
No place for turbines
To the Editor:
Before I had heard about the Cape Wind project, I had been studying windmills. I had spoken to a man from England who sells windmills. The idea sounded practical. After studying the Cape Wind project, talking to fishermen, wildlife experts and local environmentalists, I feel strongly that Nantucket Sound is not the place for this power plant.
My cousin who lives in Scotland sent an article from her local paper. The wind farm there is radically affecting the migrating bird population. Another cousin in California says the bat population cannot gauge the inconsistent movement of the turbine blades and are being killed.
This proposed wind farm is a giant experiment. If approved, this will be the first in-the-water wind farm in the country. The whole East Coast has been mapped out for future wind farms. Politicians, businesses, and communities are waiting for the outcome of this proposal.
This is not tried and true, works like a charm, low-impact, high-yield technology. This is a "let's take this beautiful, ecologically sensitive, federal land and build an energy plant the size of Manhattan and oh, by the way, we don't know how it will affect the birds and fish and, oh yeah, you'll only get 13 percent of the electricity we produce" experiment.
Cape fishermen have fished the waters around the Cape and Islands for generations. They know these waters as well as anyone can. When these men and women say this wind project will harm the fishing industry, make navigation dangerous and cause massive shoaling, we would be wise to take notice.
We do not know what fish and wildlife will be affected by this project. This is an experiment and a risk we cannot afford to take.
We are talking about a project the size of Manhattan. One hundred and thirty turbines made of steel with concrete bases that will be driven into the seabed. Each turbine will be taller than the Statue of Liberty. Electricity will be used to start them up each time they stop and, like any machine, need oil to run. Each turbine will have to be well lit. I imagine the light pollution will be substantial because of the navigational hazards the turbines would impose and because of the hazards to air traffic. There will be noise pollution as well, both above and under water.
Rather than turning over beautiful Nantucket Sound into a super-big, destructive, and dangerous power plant, I would like to see our elected officials set forth a comprehensive plan to reduce the use and waste of electricity.
Please join me to oppose Cape Wind project on March 12, at 5 pm at the Performing Arts Center. To give testimony online or for more info, go to saveoursound.org.
No reason to change
To the Editor:
Regarding Max McCreery's letter "Bad precedent." The nice thing about living in Chilmark is the compassion we can show and can bend the rules a bit. To say the selectmen are controlled by a few folks who spend time in Menemsha is absurd. The rule to have mooring fees in by Jan. 15 is new to us. In the past, they were due July 1. The new date can be hard for some of us, due to Christmas bills as well as all the bills the New Year brings.
I, as well as most folks, see no reason for the change. The extension the selectmen granted was the proper decision, everyone I've spoken with agrees. Guess Max McCreery and I travel in different circles. He is listed in Edgartown as well as Darien and Chilmark. Did he apply for a permit in Edgartown also? Were the folks who disagreed all from Edgartown or Darien, where he was a selectman? Perhaps he ought to move back to Darien. This is a classic case of wanting to have things the way they were back in the city. Perhaps he forgot why he moved here.
And to our selectmen in Chilmark, keep things simple. While serving as harbormaster myself a while back, I was told by Capt. Roy Campbell, "Son, the harbor was here long before you and will be here long after you're gone".
Say no to Rambo
To the Editor:
Sure, I was disappointed to see that the theater in Vineyard Haven was featuring Sly Stallone's latest killing spree in Southeast Asia. But this is not about censorship, nor is it an indictment of the owners of our wonderful little movie house. Instead, I want to comment on the interesting timing of the return of Rambo's one man death squad and why this kind of mad cowboy sadistic adventurism is just the kind of poison and twisted behavior that, at a time when our government is exploiting our national army in actions many Americans consider crimes against humanity, must, if we have any chance of improving as a nation, be rejected.
I certainly doubt that Sylvester Stallone knows anything about the history, culture or nature of the struggle that plagues impoverished Myanmar. Doesn't seem to matter. In fact, it doesn't seem to matter that even money hungry Hollywood rejected supporting Sly's fantasy; he footed the production bill himself.
Are we not seeing enough killing and brutality on the TV or in the papers to satisfy our apparently insatiable appetite for carnage and madness? Stallone's second "noble fight" in this twisted series dating back to the eighties featured steroid fueled Sly killing Vietnamese in unimaginable ways. I spent the bulk of three years living and teaching in Vietnam and wandered around that same countryside getting to know the farmers and fisherman who fought so bravely against American aggression. I can assure you that what we did there in real time was nothing short of a holocaust.
I guess, and sadly, that we have forgotten everything we were supposed to have learned from that atrocious behavior, because it seems that hate-mongering and bloodlust are back in vogue in America. I hope this changes when we finally get the Republicans out of the White House. Please do not support this kind of ugly racism and bizarre fantasy. Just go away, Sly.
No on cell towers
To the Editor:
I have been living in Aquinnah now for three years and am a native of the Island. My concern about the towers is definitely the location. I have always thought of Aquinnah (Gay Head to some) as God's country. The most beautiful, quiet, peaceful and old Vineyard as it comes. A place were you can see the most serene spots on the Island. No. I'm sorry that your cell phone only works at the top of the cliffs, but what a great way to get the summer people to visit and see the most spectacular view they will ever see. And gee, we're really sorry that you can't have your phone stuck to your ear while driving the twisty roads that you have to travel to get to us (gee, could that be one of the reasons we have less traffic accidents?).
I don't think that it is such a bad thing that you don't have cell service up here, and why does the town have to pay for the engineering to benefit the cell company? If this is something that has to be done, it should be done where it is not visible and of no health risk to anyone.
There are many things the town could be spending money on, such as making the cliffs a more attractive, safer place for the visitors who do come. The handicap access is horrific and there isn't a flower or shrub to beautify the circle and make it more inviting.
Failures on immigration
To the Editor:
To the fine people at the Martha's Vineyard Times, after several weeks of following the discussion taking place on your website, I think I finally have summoned the courage to speak out publicly. Not an easy thing to do, especially from here in Brazil, considering I have many friends and acquaintances there and here of Brazilian heritage. I learned as a youngster a phrase from a poem that I have carried with me throughout my life. It is, "Wouldn't this old world be better, if the people we meet would say, I know something good about you, and treat us just that way."
I think it is important to give just a slight bit of background before I commence with my comments. I am here in Brazil for my fifth time. When I return to the Vineyard, I will have spent more than 11 months in Brazil. The original basis for my wanting to learn the language and befriend the Brazilian people on the Island was to understand more completely the motivation, the history, the methods, the culture, the desires (among other reasons) of this immigrant group to make the move to Martha's Vineyard, a place where my peers were having significant, if not impossible, trouble remaining here. My peers, in this discussion, have deep roots on Martha's Vineyard. We are not the folks who managed to jump on the "caboose" of that valuation train described recently in your paper. In any case, I have learned a lot and experienced much in my home life and here in Brazil concerning this immigrant group, their culture, their motivation, their methods, etc. I feel far more enlightened now than when I began to learn the language some many years ago.
Finally, this discussion has moved away from the subject of the tragic and untimely death of a young girl to the editorial pages where it more rightly belongs. As Nis Kildegaard points out in his latest post to the online comment section "...this community-indeed, this nation-needs to engage in a serious discussion of its immigration policies." No truer words have been written than those. Unfortunately, the Vineyard newspapers have done an incredible disservice to us all by failing to offer honest, investigative, rational and cohesive reporting on the issue which would provide a different place for these comments to be placed.
Our government has failed in every respect to address this issue nationally, regionally and locally. They have failed miserably. In these last 10 years, I have lost tremendous amounts of respect for our government, especially there on the Vineyard. Nationally, our elected officials (I find it impossible to call them leaders) have wooed each side with tremendous bravado only to waffle when it is time to vote. We have raised the hopes and dreams of all the immigrant groups at least twice in the last several years, only to have them dashed at the last minute. What kind of people are we?
Regionally, our state is no better, if not worse. Governors of both parties have taken various positions on the matter, and the legislative arms have done far less. Our judiciary is overwhelmed to the point that they "leave it to the other branches" rather than deal. Locally, the government(s) do not even address the lawlessness that pervades the Island. I mean really, the only murder in our Island history unresolved, other than of course those which decimated our Indian populations, happened only several years ago. It remains an open matter, and frankly, gives an indication of our own local resolve as a community to deal. The other gentleman, whom I knew, who was unfortunately struck down and killed by a local gentleman whom I also know, resulted in no relief for the family whatsoever in the manner of monetary compensation. Not one dime. And far less attention was given than the current vehicular tragedy. The murdered man's corpse, as I am led to believe, still remains refrigerated somewhere in our legal system.
Our police have known for some time now that more than 90 percent of the "illegal aliens" (as if they come from outer space) on the Island are not legally licensed to drive. Our zoning laws mean nothing. Our health codes mean less. Our social networks have difficulty addressing the issues. Our educational system assimilates at our expense and our reimbursement systems (read taxes) continue to be underfunded. I can go on and on. There appears to be a significant chasm between "them" and "us." A double standard, which I had believed to be diminishing since the 1960s, has reared its ugly, racist head and is greatly compounded by the moat which surrounds the Vineyard. The effect(s) are catastrophic both to "them" and to "us". We experience all of the nation's ills on Martha's Vineyard relative to the illegal immigrant issue, and yet our local officials turn the other cheek and fill their coffers with the rewards.
So, what is it I really want to say?
The fourth estate in our country remains. Have they done their job? I think not. Have they exposed the culprits? No. Have they asked the hard questions? I think their allegiances prohibit it. Have they informed the people? Only with a slant which aids their "prize-winning" strategies. And of course, what have we as a society of liberal thinkers done but sit back and watch the show, reap the profits. The honorable Congressman William Delahunt has worked very hard, as he should, to get the Navy man his just rewards and had published for posterity the accomplishments of our fine, able lifesavers at Menemsha in the Congressional Register. Do you suppose he has aided and abetted those who profit from the immigrant matters before our country or has he stood to be counted for the equal treatment mandated by our Constitution. Who do you suppose cleaned up after Bill and Hillary left their summer compound?
We know who lives on Martha's Vineyard, who vacations here. Each and every one of them have looked upon their manicured lawns, finely pointed masonry walls, profited from the double standard which we, the people, have allowed to continue. Who do you suppose cut the grass, painted the walls and cleaned the houses of the elite folks whose "universe" some hope to be the center of? Not me, give me the days when no one knew where Martha's Vineyard was. Remember Mary Jo? How about an Island driver's license? I remember when, once upon a time, our Island had guts. Think secession.
Thank you Al DeVito, for finally getting this subject away from the obituaries. Now, Doug Cabral, start asking the real questions, report on the real injustices pervading our little piece of paradise, condemn our selectpersons, our zoning officials, our legislature. Do something that will create change, that will provoke relevant and rational discussion. Be the fourth estate, with all the force and power incumbent with that responsibility. Do not cower in your cozy offices. This is your Watergate. Will you live up to the challenge?
Yes, I think it will be a very interesting summer. And for all my Brazilian friends, I am on your side. Although, I do not agree God gave you permission to break the laws of a sovereign nation. That just isn't realistic. You did that yourselves. Nor do I concur with the arguments about "lazy Americans." Americans died to provide 40-hour work weeks, time and a half overtime, workmen's compensation, Sundays off or double time, the minimum wage and disability insurance for their families. To rationalize that away is irresponsible and downright disrespectful.
Peter L. Look
In Joao Pessoa, Paraiba, Brazil and Edgartown
Beach access revisited
To the Editor:
Eric Albert and others have repeatedly revisited this sensitive subject of beach access. At the very least, an all-Island comprehensive meeting is warranted to discuss not only the legality of private town beaches, but whether this exclusionary policy is conducive to promoting the intended goals of an apparent liberal community.
I feel that, as an initial compromise, all town private beaches immediately provide limited access to all Island residents, on a first come basis. I find it is embarrassing that I live within a community that still promotes exclusionary measures that restrict access to our shoreline, rights guaranteed by centuries of common law.
Paul D. Adler
To the Editor:
I want to publicly thank The Martha's Vineyard Times and Janet Hefler for the very effective story concerning the LPN Program at Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The headline on the article, "Nurse training program is a 'gift'" says it all. Janet was able to capture the excitement and enthusiasm of the students.
The program will add nine LPN's to Windemere and the hospital employment base. This will provide the opportunity for Island graduates to take care of Island patients and residents.
As a result of the article, we have already had 13 Island residents express interest in the program. Truly, this shows the power of the press in getting the word out on this vital program for the Island.
Again, I would like to thank Janet Hefler for being part of the nurse training program "gift" to the Island.
Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
To the Editor:
The Island electorate, Democrats and Independents, are to be feted for voting those "spotted hogs" ("Dimples" and "Bubba" Clinton) right out of town.
Peter Colt Josephs
Thanks to all
To the Editor:
We would like to take a moment to thank all the people in our generous community for their support of the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School girls hockey teams. We held our annual auction recently at the Grill on Main, and it was an incredible success. We are so lucky to live in a community that supports all of our students.
A special thank-you to Tony Saccoccia at the Grill on Main in Edgartown. He opened his doors and was such an important part of our success. The food was fantastic. Another thank-you to John Stabile, auctioneer extraordinaire who did an amazing job. We would also like to thank all of the Island businesses that donated items, as well as all the community members and parents that attended.
Once again, our sincere thanks go out to you all. We are truly thankful for the community in which we live.
MVRHS Girls Hockey Auction Committee
Time to tighten belts in Oak Bluffs
To the Editor:
Oak Bluffs appears to be facing a budget deficit for the upcoming fiscal year and will be asked to go to the polls this spring and vote for an override. I for one will vote not to support this request from our selectmen. With the economy facing a downturn and the recent growth that has taken place in departmental costs, it has come time to tighten up the belts and not turn to the taxpayer to clean up the mess. It may be time to shrink some services and departments to fit the needs of the community. These are not easy decisions to make, but we hire and elect people to make the tough choices when necessary.
While I support our schools, highway, police and town's men and women, I also look at the struggle that the community is shouldering financially. Our finance committee has been very active and attentive to this budget crisis and appears to be recommending tough love to solve this problem we face.
It is easy to suggest that many of these increases are mandated or contractual, then again, it's time to consider shrinking the size of government. I hope there is a Plan B because to ask the average homeowner to prepare for another increase of $400-plus dollars in tax assessments, in addition to CPA assessments, may not bear the fruits that the board of selectmen hope.
No on beer and wine
To the Editor:
To the voters in the town of Tisbury: if you would like a drink with your meal in a town restaurant, you can do that now.
Why risk the possibility of losing control of the way our quiet, safe town develops by voting to serve beer and wine?
Once Tisbury is not dry, it is not dry forever. After you vote on April 15 to keep Tisbury dry, you can take your beer or wine with you and go to dinner in many of our local restaurants.