Paul Foley, a profile in courage
To the Editor:
We applaud Oak Bluffs resident Paul Foley for having the guts and integrity to set the record straight with real facts, and for presenting an antidote for the stunning amount of disinformation that's been put forward on this pier issue. It took courage and conviction to go up against a well-organized, aggressive group of proponents — mostly from Edgartown, Vineyard Haven and West Tisbury, by the way — who seem to feel entitled to placing a 24/7 public pier right smack in the middle of a year-round residential neighborhood.
His PowerPoint presentation pointed out a surprising shortfall of due diligence with regard to this whole inquiry, starting with a cursory MEPA review, which never took into account the viability of other sites, merely a no-build alternative. That alone is red meat for feeding a legal appeal.
We wonder if, among other things, there's been a serious study of traffic. Counts seem to have come from the shoulder season (September). What about the congestion of summer?
Have the environmental impacts really been addressed, as claimed, in an unbiased, methodical, accurate way? Have competing public trust interests truly been considered, given that the area in question is used as a public swimming beach, by residents and by Island visitors waiting for the ferries?
Why the name calling, drive-by, epithet shouting, and self-righteous sense of absolute entitlement to our living space? The level of incivility is genuinely surprising, as if taxpaying residents had no right to protect their neighborhood by suggesting a sensible alternate location— one with no impacts on homes and swimming, with better parking, less bottlenecked traffic, a public bus stop, a police station and better fishing conditions.
Paul correctly recused himself from chairing this meeting and participating as a staff member, but, unless the First Amendment got thrown under the bus, he has every right as a citizen and longtime resident of this neighborhood to speak his mind.
On a personal note, we admire a guy who won't be cowed by a lot of noise, a profile in courage who stands by his convictions. Sometimes that's hard to find —especially on a small Island where people are known to go to great lengths to avoid overt conflict. Paul Foley sets a great example and has the respect, admiration, and gratitude of his neighbors.