Island voters go to the polls Tuesday

The Nov. 8 election will feature races for president, Congress, and state office, as well as local elections.

Sign holders at Five Corners. – Stacey Rupolo

Martha’s Vineyard voters will join voters across the state Tuesday to help decide a spirited presidential race and answer four ballot questions. Locally, Island voters will fill seven seats on the Dukes County Commission, nine seats on the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC), and decide races for Dukes County sheriff, register of deeds, and the house and senate.

Dukes County Commission

The seven elected, unpaid members of the Dukes County commission serve two-year terms and preside over a county government led by a paid county manager, who has full control over the administration of county services.

The county commissioners exercise limited control over most county departments and a network of appointed committee chairmen, known as associate commissioners. The county commission is also responsible for appointing the Martha’s Vineyard member of the Steamship Authority and the members of the independent Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission.

Under the county charter, there cannot be more than two county commissioners elected from each town, but there is no requirement that each town have a county commissioner.

Eight candidates are running for seven seats on the Dukes County Commission. Of those, six are county commissioners whose terms expire the first Wednesday in January 2017 and are seeking reelection. They include John S. Alley of West Tisbury; Leon A. Brathwaite II of West Tisbury; David J. Holway of Edgartown; Tristan R. Israel of Tisbury, who also serves on the Tisbury board of selectmen; Christine C. Todd of Oak Bluffs; and Gretchen Tucker Underwood of Oak Bluffs.

Two new candidates in the mix are Norman L. Perry and Robert Zeltzer, both of Chilmark. Mr. Perry, a former West Tisbury personnel board chairman and member of the Dukes County emergency management agency, served on the airport commission for more than a decade. He was airport commission chairman from April through June 2014.

Mr. Zeltzer, a retired business owner, is still involved in the management of an investment company and a retail business. He and his wife have owned a house in Chilmark since 1980 and moved to the Island full-time in 1995. Mr. Zeltzer previously served on the MVC for four years and as a member and vice president of the board for the Vineyard House.

Martha’s Vineyard Commission

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC), a regional permitting and planning body, is legislatively vested with sweeping powers that allow it to influence development across the Island. It exercises these powers by ruling on projects designated as developments of regional impact (DRI) and approving zoning regulations for areas approved as districts of critical planning concern (DCPC).

MVC candidates are elected at large to two-year terms, but there must be at least one commission member elected from each town, and no more than two from any one town.

For example, if the candidates with the three highest vote totals are from the same town, only two will be elected to the MVC. If a candidate with the lowest vote total overall were the only candidate from that town, he or she would be elected.

Eight of the 14 candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot are running for re-election. They include Clarence A. (Trip) Barnes of Tisbury; Christina Brown of Edgartown; Robert M. Doyle of Chilmark; Joshua S. Goldstein of Tisbury; Fred J. Hancock of Oak Bluffs; E. Douglas Sederholm and Linda J. Sibley of West Tisbury; and James Vercruysse of Aquinnah.

Brian C. Smith and Richard J. Toole, both from Oak Bluffs, previously served on the MVC and are seeking a return. Mr. Smith was appointed to the MVC in 2010 by the West Tisbury selectmen and resigned in 2014 to devote more time to his family and the start of a new business. He currently is the co-owner of Vineyard Weight Loss Center and is a real estate agent at Point B Realty.

Mr. Toole works as a carpenter and a property caretaker. He previously served on the MVC as the Oak Bluffs selectmen’s appointee, and then as an elected representative for about 10 years. During that time he also served as the chairman of the commission’s Land Use Planning Committee.

John R. Breckenridge is seeking election to the MVC after serving as the Oak Bluffs selectmen’s appointee to the commission since 2004. He also served as the clerk-treasurer for several of those years. Mr. Breckenridge formerly worked in the food service industry.

Three new candidates on the ballot are Susan Desmarais of Oak Bluffs, and Myron Garfinkle and Allen M. Look of West Tisbury.

Ms. Desmarais is a semiretired counselor who most most recently worked as a bereavement counselor at Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard. A self-described conservationist and environmentalist, she formerly served on the Oak Bluffs wastewater commission and the Dukes County Health Council.

Mr. Garfinkle is a retired businessman and pilot who currently serves on the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission as its chairman.

Mr. Look has worked on-Island as a carpenter, building docks, boats, cabinets, and houses. He ran Burt Marine for a few years, and later became professionally involved in construction administration and project management. He has served as an EMT in both Tisbury and West Tisbury, and as a member and chairman for two years on the West Tisbury Finance Committee.

Other races

The state election also includes candidates for a Ninth District representative in U.S. Congress, Massachusetts state senator and state representative, First District councillor, Dukes County sheriff, and Dukes County register of deeds.

Five candidates for the Ninth District’s representative in the U.S. Congress include incumbent William R. Keating (D-Bourne), Mark C. Alliegro (R-Falmouth), and unenrolled candidates Christopher Cataldo (Norwell), Paul J. Harrington (Chatham), and Anna Grace Raduc (Halifax).

Articles included elsewhere in this week’s issue of The Times feature interviews with candidates for state senator and representative, Dukes County Sheriff, and register of deeds.

All 40 seats in the Massachusetts state senate are up for election in 2016. The Cape and Islands senate district includes the towns of Barnstable, Brewster, Chatham, Dennis, Eastham, Harwich, Mashpee, Orleans, Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet, and Yarmouth in Barnstable County; the six Martha’s Vineyard towns and Gosnold in Dukes County; and Nantucket in Nantucket County.

Julian Cyr (D-Truro) and Anthony E. Schiavi (R-Harwich) are running for Massachusetts state senator for the Cape and Islands District.

All 160 seats in the Massachusetts House of Representatives are up for election in 2016. The ninth district encompasses Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, the Elizabeth Islands, and four Falmouth precincts that include the village of Woods Hole.

The ballot includes Dylan Fernandes (D-Falmouth), and two independents, Jacob N. Ferry of West Tisbury and Tobias B. Glidden of Nantucket.

Incumbent Joseph C. Ferreira (D-Somerset) is the only candidate on the ballot for Councillor, First District.

Robert Ogden (D-West Tisbury) and Neal J. Maciel (unenrolled-Tisbury) are running for sheriff.

Paulo C. DeOliveira (D-Edgartown) is running for register of deeds to fill a vacancy, against Martina Thornton (unenrolled-Edgartown).

Ballot referenda

There are four referendum questions on the ballot, all initiated by citizen petition.

Question 1 would allow the state Gaming Commission to issue one additional category 2 license, which would permit operation of a gaming establishment with no table games and not more than 1,250 slot machines.

Question 2 would allow the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to approve up to 12 new charter schools or enrollment expansions in existing charter schools each year. Approvals under this law could expand statewide charter school enrollment by up to 1 percent of the total statewide public school enrollment each year.

Question 3 would prohibit any farm owner or operator from knowingly confining any breeding pig, calf raised for veal, or egg-laying hen in a way that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending its limbs, or turning around freely.

Question 4 would permit the possession, use, distribution, and cultivation of marijuana in limited amounts by persons age 21 and older and would remove criminal penalties for such activities. It would provide for the regulation of commerce in marijuana, marijuana accessories, and marijuana products and for the taxation of proceeds from sales of these items.