Local election day recommendations


Daniel Wolf for State Senate

Daniel A. Wolf (D) of Harwich, the founder and CEO of Cape Air, has proven to be a responsive and accessible state senator for the Cape and islands.

Michael O’Keefe for District Attorney

District attorney for the Cape and Islands Michael D. O’Keefe of Sandwich, a Republican, was first elected in 2002. A former front line prosecutor with experience gained in the Dukes County Courthouse, he understands the issues that concern Islanders.

Dukes County Commission

With only four names on the ballot for seven open seats on the Dukes County Commission, and two declared write-in candidates, there is plenty of room for imagination. Former Gov. William F. Weld, who did his best to eliminate county government, would make an ideal write-in candidate.

Short of that, this page endorses the four declared candidates (John S. Alley of West Tisbury, Leon Brathwaite II of West Tisbury, Tristan Israel of Tisbury, and David Holway of Edgartown) and two write-in candidates (Christine Todd of Oak Bluffs, and Gretchen Tucker Underwood of Oak Bluffs) with the fervent hope that they will stop meddling in airport affairs, which is at the heart of a current lawsuit by the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission, and recognize that their ability to influence airport management begins and ends with their power to appoint the best candidates to the airport commission.

Martha’s Vineyard Commission

Unfortunately, for a regional government body that could benefit from some fresh perspectives — evidenced by the recent grueling hour-long discussion over a state request to place solar lights on the new Oak Bluffs fishing pier — there is no contest here. Nine candidates appear on the official ballot, which instructs voters to vote for not more than nine candidates. There are only two new names, Abraham Seiman of Oak Bluffs, and Robert Doyle of Chilmark, on the ballot.

Up-Island Regional School District school committee

The Up-Island Regional School district is comprised of the West Tisbury School, which has an operating budget of $5,912,187 and 290 students, and the Chilmark School, which has an operating budget $1,210,038 and enrollment of 61 students. Total spending this year will total $7,122,225.

That money represents a considerable taxpayer investment in education, in large part by seasonal residents with no children in the school system.

On Tuesday, voters in Aquinnah, Chilmark, and West Tisbury will elect five people to four-year terms on the Up-Island school committee which is responsible for overseeing school spending.

The three candidates, one from each town, who receive the highest vote totals in Tuesday’s balloting will each represent his or her town. The two candidates who receive the next highest vote totals will be elected as at-large members, regardless of where they live.

Only the names of incumbents Jeffrey “Skipper” Manter and Michael Marcus, both of West Tisbury, appear on the ballot. Each deserves to be reelected.

Mr. Manter is a fiscal watchdog who looks out for the interests of the taxpayer.

Mr. Marcus, a businessman, has an understanding of the district’s often complicated affairs. He has three children in the up-Island district and a vested interest in its success.

Additionally, this page endorses the elections of the following write-in candidates.

Kate DeVane of West Tisbury, the mother of nine-year-old twins, is a former elementary school teacher and the president and co-founder of the Island Autism Group.

Robert Lionette of Chilmark is on the personnel subcommittees of the regional high school and all-Island school committees. His son attends Chilmark School.

Theresa Manning of Aquinnah is a co-coordinator for the Dukes County Youth Task Force, a coalition of over 50 community members that promotes community-wide health and wellness for youth and families to reduce substance use and other risky behaviors. Her son attends West Tisbury School.

Yes onQuestion 1

With a yes vote, voters have an opportunity to eliminate the requirement that the state’s gasoline tax, which was 24 cents per gallon as of September 2013, be adjusted every year by the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index over the preceding year, but not be adjusted below 21.5 cents per gallon. In other words, it could go up but not go down.

Islanders already pay approximately $1 more per gallon than their mainland counterparts. The argument that a yes vote would jeopardize bridge and road repair is without merit. Lawmakers need to spend our money wisely. And if lawmakers need more money they should be required to ask for it and vote on it.

No on Question 2

There is no good reason to extend the bottle deposit law to cover all liquid drinks except milk, alcohol, baby formula, and medicines. The proposed law would increase the minimum handling fee and be subject to adjustment to reflect changes in the consumer price index. It would also set up a state Clean Environment Fund subject to appropriation by the Legislature, “to support programs such as the proper management of solid waste, water resource protection, parkland, urban forestry, air quality and climate protection.” It would be another cookie jar. Massachusetts must grapple with ways to increase recycling in a comprehensive manner.

No onQuestion 3

In 2011, Massachusetts lawmakers opened the door to casino gambling to bolster their tax coffers because they were incapable of finding new, creative ways to revive the state’s economy. Casinos were low-hanging fruit. Yes, casinos will create construction jobs in the short term, and yes they will create service jobs. Casinos will also create many problems. Legalized casino gambling is a form of pie-in-the-sky taxation on the most vulnerable. But it is unrealistic to expect that people will not gamble. The two current locations in Springfield and Everett seem well suited to casinos. Hopefully, the economic incentive to build a third casino in southeastern Massachusetts as allowed by law will disappear.

No onQuestion 4

The existing law is sufficient to protect workers. This law would create another layer of regulation and costs for small businesses in Massachusetts.