Recommended to Island voters
Charlie Baker for Governor
Vineyard voters, taxpayers statewide, business operators, and ultimately every other constituency, including workers, teachers, and students will benefit from a Charlie Baker governorship. His leadership and experience together promise to move the state to a more stable, progressive economic footing.
Islanders have suffered at the hands of the incumbent governor's forced attempt at a national wind energy splash. Gov. Deval Patrick's Oceans Act plan calls for commercial turbine installations nowhere in the state except in Vineyard waters. Islanders have pushed back against the plan, and a temporary truce appears at hand. But the risk to the Vineyard remains embedded in the Ocean Act, in the state facilities citing panel, and in its disregard for what should be protected ocean sanctuaries.
Mr. Baker, a Republican, is the only candidate who has visited the Vineyard to discuss the prospect of commercial wind and to listen to the concerns about it that Vineyarders have. He says he can't make out the financial wisdom of it — considering the high cost, the need for enormous subsidies, the long payback period, and, despite the subsidies, the high price of the power that wind farms will generate, plus the need for more conventional generation as reliable backup. On the Oceans Act, on wind energy, and on the protection of a valuable Vineyard asset, Mr. Baker makes sound economic sense. Mr. Patrick does not.
Mr. Baker has a significant record of local, regional, and state-level participation in Massachusetts government. He's been a selectman and a school building committee member. He has a record that reflects an understanding of what business requires to flourish in the Commonwealth, especially in high-tech and health care sectors. And, he knows that state spending — what some politicians call investment —when it is not combined with budget restraint, means a growing tax burden.
The balance between necessary and valuable spending by government and tax restraint is one Mr. Baker is more likely than the sitting governor to strike.
Finally, Massachusetts government is and has been firmly in Democrat hands — House, Senate, administrative professionals. It's not going to change anytime soon. Voters are wise to put in place the sorts of checks and balance we've benefited from in the past. That means a fiscally wary, financially astute governor from the minority party. Charlie Baker fits that valuable mold.
William Galvin for Secretary of State
Karyn Polito for Treasurer
Mary Connaughton for Auditor
Democrat William Galvin's long record of fair, meticulous, proactive, and informative management of the state's central office for communication with voters makes him the right choice for reelection as Secretary of State.
Karyn Polito, a Republican, makes a persuasive case for election as state Treasurer. Her experiences in the legislature, on the ways and means committee, the state lottery commission, and before that a selectman, speak to a breadth of local experience and a restrained passion for party politics. Combined with a strong record of support for the sciences, Ms. Polito is a candidate who will be a thoughtful, conservative, and independent state Treasurer.
Republican Mary Connaughton is the best choice for state auditor because she is an auditor. A certified public accountant with a distinguished professional record, Ms. Connaughton will add a vigorous, disciplined and, yes, valuably intrusive professionalism to the Auditor's office.
Jeffrey Perry for 10th District Congressman
Jeffrey Perry, the Republican, is familiar to Vineyard voters. He's hosted a program seen regularly on MVTV. He is also familiar with the Vineyard.
A neighbor, closer to the Cape than to the North Shore, he is a lawyer, in his fourth term as the state representative for the 5th Barnstable District, a member of the committees on education, public safety, and homeland security, a member on the House ways and means and the state administration committees. He teaches at Cape Cod Community College and has also taught constitutional law at Bridgewater State College. Of the two candidates running for William Delahunt's seat, Mr. Perry is the one closest to the issues and concerns of residents of the Vineyard and the Cape. He is education-minded, a spending and taxing skeptic, and a friend to the region in which we live.
He has been the target of a vicious campaign to make this race about events that occurred 20 years ago, when Mr. Perry was a police supervisor. A careful review of contemporary reporting of those events finds the insinuations unpersuasive. There is certainly fault to find with Mr. Perry's behavior at the time, but the charges baldly and repeatedly leveled by Mr. Perry's opponent in the 10th District race are sad, calculated insinuations designed to propel a campaign that has done nothing to address the issues that the Congress and the 10th District face. In fact, they do more to discredit Mr. Perry's opponent in this contest than Mr. Perry.
Daniel Wolf for State Senator
Dan Wolf, the Democrat, is the best choice to replace Rob O'Leary as state Senator representing the Cape and islands.
Mr. Wolf has a distinguished business record that marries a sharp understanding of how to build business assets while serving and pleasing customers, retaining and supporting employees, and doing so in an environmentally responsible way.
He has an extensive record of local community service, both as an individual and as the operator of a business with a high public profile. Mr. Wolf's emphasis on the economy, the environment, and the carefully managed role of government ought to make great good sense to Island voters.
Time for a Change – Neal Maciel for Dukes County Sheriff
The question that Islanders must consider when deciding whether to replace the 11-year incumbent sheriff with Neal Maciel, the former career police officer, registry inspector, and State Police commander, is this: Has the current leadership of the sheriff's department and the jail done its number one job, which is to safely segregate convicted criminals from the law abiding population, in the interest, first of all, of the community's security.
We think that the answer is that, given the slow but steady rise of substance abuse fueled criminal behavior and despite sincere efforts over years, more must be done. We need a change. Mr. Maciel promises such change.
Islanders know very well that they are fortunate to live in a small, interconnected community where safety, personal security, and the infrequency of serious crime are important, comforting benefits. And, they know that this sense of peace and security can certainly change. Indeed, to some degree, it has. Finally, they know that, with luck, if we are smart, tough, and compassionate where compassion may be called for, this community may stanch or at least slow the advance of criminal behavior.
That means treating incarcerated prisoners carefully and sternly, offering help to turn around their demonstrated bad behavior and substance abuse, while being under no illusions that such modification and rehabilitation is generally successful. It means employing effective efforts to guarantee that drugs and contraband do not find their way into the jail, because of faulty procedures or personnel.
It means sending violent offenders away to more appropriate prison settings, rather than enduring their repeated and escalating criminal behavior within the Island facility, or later as unwanted members of the Island community, when their imprisonment ends.
It means refusing the relocation of prisoners sent from off-Island jurisdictions to the Vineyard, on grounds that the Vineyard is a more comfy place to do time.
It means replacing the current facility with a modern one, large enough to do the job we need to have done, including housing women in proper settings, but not large enough to suffer the importation of off-Island criminals.
It means making a change and electing Neal Maciel, whose judgment of the role of the department conforms to these principles, the new Dukes County sheriff.
Yes on Question One, the Sales Tax on Alcoholic Beverages
In their desperate attempt to raise revenues, the Patrick administration and the Democrat-controlled legislature have looked for every possible chance to hike taxes, even to tax what is and has been already taxed, for instance, even when excise taxes were already in place — as was the case with alcohol.
So, the legislature and the governor applied the increased 6.5 percent state sales tax on alcoholic beverages and alcohol. A Yes vote would remove the state sales tax on alcoholic beverages and alcohol where their sale or importation into the state is subject to an excise tax under state law.
In their zeal for ways to avoid attacking the multi-billion dollar state budget problem, the legislature and the governor chose to tax alcohol twice, attacking small business owners and anyone who simply wants to buy wine for dinner or beer to drink while watching the football game on Sunday.
No on Question Two, to Repeal Chapter 40B
Chapter 40B, or 40B, or the anti-snob zoning law, however it's referred to, is a valuable tool to encourage and support development of affordable housing. It's not the best tool. That would be targeted zoning changes that would allow for some small lots, some condominiums, some apartment units, and some of what are known as town houses, common elsewhere.
The Vineyard, despite its professed enthusiasm for affordable housing, is not enthusiastic about smaller lots or denser housing. So, 40B has proven a valuable tool here.
40B is hardly the dangerous and overpowering weapon for developers that its critics charge it is. At least, not here. Here, the courts have held that despite the provisions of Chapter 40B, comprehensive permit applications cannot escape review by the powerful Martha's Vineyard Commission. History shows that in its reviews, the commission has found ways to approve 40B plans, some of which have later foundered in legal challenges by neighbors or because financing efforts failed. The Vineyard needs 40B, and a No vote will leave it in place.
Yes on Question Three, to Roll Back the Sales Tax
Besides hiking fees and taxes wherever it could, the Patrick administration and the state legislature have also increased the state sales tax from five to 6.25 percent. Once again, it was an effort to raise revenue without seriously reforming government spending.
Rolling back the sales tax will not cut money that should be spent on vital services. It will force state officials and political leaders to turn to entitlement and pension liabilities to find ways to reduce the tax bite on wealth-creating private business and on hard-pressed taxpayers. It will help force the state to do what the federal government knows it must do to avoid catastrophe — namely to combine spending discipline with reasonable taxation, in the interest of sound state and household economies.