To the Editor:
This is several letters in one and might ramble a little. It also may be better to read online, because they sometimes link the things in past issues that I mention.
A little background for those who may need it. I write letters often to the paper. I cover a range of topics, but mainly write about public beach access and mainly write about Lambert’s Cove Beach, a town park. I advocate that the general public should be allowed to walk, cycle, or bus to Lambert’s Cove. I also have no desire to go to the beach there. It’s the principle.
So, here is why I write so often on this topic. I grew up skateboarding and listening to punk rock and still do both too. The anti-authoritative nature of both are part of me. Later, I had my tree-hugger stage. I still have it too. I read books by people like John Muir, Edward Abbey, and Aldo Leopold. Aldo Leopold’s land ethic particularly resonated with me. It says, “We abuse land because we see it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
A couple of months ago, Tim Boland of West Tisbury paraphrased that very quote to advocate the removal of the Mill Pond dam, something I also support.
So, I would like to ask Tim Boland or anyone else, does West Tisbury’s exclusive beach policies treat the beach as community or commodity? If anyone has trouble making this call, Google “West Tisbury house rental ” and see how often they mention private access to the beach.
Next, I would like to address a recent Letter to the Editor from John Abrams, also of West Tisbury, regarding a proposed zoning change to house size in Chilmark, which I also support. He writes, “it is our duty and responsibility to protect the commons for all of us.” So, since he is writing about another town, I assume that “us” means at least the Island if not the country or planet. So, does our duty and responsibility to protect the commons for us all end at Lambert’s Cove Beach?
This next one is going to make me some friends in the online comment section of the paper. If you pay people cash or get paid in cash or don’t pay all of your taxes, stop complaining about Brazilians sending money home. For starters, plenty of them are here legally. As for the undocumented workers, plenty of them use the same valid Social Security number, paying into a system for benefits they won’t receive. And before anyone goes online to rant and rave about this, or Brazilians in general, please tell it to the native Americans first.
Lastly, I would like to address a couple of things from the Editor. An Editorial from February 13 [Community character – and we can feel it – is our one true industry], regarding emergency services, said “Island-wide emergency management, coordinated by leadership whose good sense, like that of our neighbors and friends.” As I often point out to you, West Tisbury’s exclusive beach policies are the antithesis of neighborly. If we used West Tisbury’s view of neighborly for firefighting, fire trucks from there would only be available to help other towns in the off-season and before 9 am and after 6 pm in the summer.
Also in a recent At Large [At Large : Saying why and saying it clearly, March 27], the Editor, Doug Cabral, engages a Letter to the Editor regarding house size. I figured if he were going to address a letter it should be one of mine, because I have made so many of his Editorials look ridiculous over the years. If he didn’t feel like addressing my letters, that is fine. Just make the obvious correction, and stop the false narrative that we are a friendly, neighborly island.
I look forward to any printed reply from anyone I mentioned above or anyone reading this. As I’ve written before, I’m not going to close with “end beach apartheid” because I want to mention again what a disgrace and embarrassment the Oak Bluffs movie theaters are.