Dirty tricks


To the Editor:

This is probably a case of too little too late, but I believe there has been an assault on democracy here in Vineyard Haven.

It was disturbing to receive a call from friends in downtown Vineyard Haven who went out on Thursday night around 9:30 and upon returning home found that someone had planted a “Vote No” poster in their yard without their permission. That same night almost all the “Vote Yes” placards were stolen from around town. I know because that same day I had taken a bike ride out to West Chop and noted the many opposing views, indications of a healthy democracy, and on Friday morning all “Vote Yes ” placards were gone.

Just as some people are entitled to their opinion regarding opposition to beer and wine sales, (some, because of their religious beliefs), so are those who would like to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner entitled to theirs, and entitled to advertise that belief in their front yard if they so choose.

This whole controversy is somewhat ludicrous because there already is beer, wine and alcohol being served (BYOB) in Vineyard Haven restaurants with seemingly no ill effects. I had to laugh too at the letter from little Caroline King; obviously, her mommy and daddy are woefully misinformed — adults are already drinking in downtown Vineyard Haven, and I haven’t noticed small children being knocked down in the street by intoxicated patrons pouring out of restaurants.

All this measure will do (or, sadly, would have done) was to allow restaurant owners to make a little bit of money. Having been in the restaurant business my entire adult life, I know how slim the profit margins are on food alone.

I was also interested to read that we have a “healthy and vibrant downtown.” Really? Bagel Authority went bankrupt and left town in the dark of night, Bowl and Board is out of business, and you can practically see sagebrush rolling down the street after 9 pm year-round. Perhaps if restaurant owners were permitted to make a profit on beer and wine, the price of dinner for two would drop below the $100 mark, and everyone would benefit.

“Preserve Tisbury” indeed, but let the hospitality industry prosper and all the downtown businesses will benefit.

The sign stealers should be ashamed of themselves. The vote last time was evenly divided; these Rove-like dirty tricks are reprehensible and should not be tolerated here or anywhere, especially in the name of “Preserving Tisbury.”

I was under the impression that we lived in a free country and that freedom of expression was our Constitutional right. Perhaps some of the populace of the small town I love needs to look a little more closely at its tactics for achieving preservation.

Jaime Hamlin

Vineyard Haven