Recommendations to voters


Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine

Hillary Clinton is our unequivocal choice for president. She is smart, experienced, tough, and empathetic. She has the supple intellect needed to grasp and find her way through complex and often contradictory policy alternatives. She is also a consummate pragmatist, and understands that the challenges we face require inclusivity and compromise. Each of these characteristics is essential in an American president, and all need to be present in the calculus of leadership we require and are entitled to demand in exchange for our vote. For vice president, Tim Kaine is a thoroughly decent man who has served as a mayor, governor, and senator. Mr. Kaine’s character is tethered by values too often missing in our elected officials.

Whatever turns up as a result of last-minute email server investigations, still simply speculative, there is no equivalence with Donald Trump’s fundamentally immoral, anti-democratic and nihilistic world view. The disenchantment and anger each of us might feel needs to be channeled into fixing a badly broken partisan system, and not toward spiteful support for a nightmare Trump presidency.

Representative William Keating for Congress

Democrat William “Bill” Keating has represented the state and the Island well. He has been attentive to our concerns, most recently traveling to the Island to hear from veterans frustrated with their inability to access care from the Veterans Administration. A former state representative and district attorney, he understands the Massachusetts Democratic establishment and brings a pragmatic approach to governing at the national level.

Julian Andre Cyr for State Senate

Democrat Julian Andre Cyr is among a new wave of young people seeking to enter the political arena. His experience in state government, most recently as director of policy and regulatory affairs for environmental health at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, has left him well versed in the policy process. Now he has an opportunity to shape policy. This page especially supports his call to fund programs that incentivize the development of rental housing that’s financially attainable and available to residents of all ages, both low and middle income. The housing crisis on Martha’s Vineyard won’t be overcome without expanding overall supply, at various prices, to accommodate Island workers and families, as one would find in healthy communities all across America.

Dylan Fernandes for State Representative

Dylan Fernandes, a native of Falmouth, has close ties to Martha’s Vineyard and a strong grasp of the issues facing the voters of the Cape and Islands district he would represent. He was a tireless campaigner and eager listener on the Vineyard leading up to this year’s Democratic primary. Although this is his first run for elected office, he brings a wealth of policy experience and hands-on knowledge gained from his work in the Office of State Attorney General Maura Healey. The combination of his experience and his energy earn our endorsement.

Robert Ogden for Sheriff

Robert Ogden has worked at the Dukes County Sheriff’s Office for 26 years. He knows the department inside and out, and has the endorsement of the well-respected outgoing sheriff, Mike McCormack. This page sees no compelling reason to call for a change in leadership of this important department.

The Dukes County Sheriff is responsible for the jail that serves the entire Island, the Dukes County House of Correction, and the Communications Center, which provides Island-wide public safety communication services. It is an important job. If elected, Mr. Ogden must redouble efforts to close the existing gaps and deficiencies in radio communication.

This page also urges a reconsideration of the need for a House of Correction on Martha’s Vineyard. Given our small prisoner census, and the relative ease of travel to Barnstable, there is no reason that those sentenced to incarceration could not be housed in the Barnstable House of Correction, as Nantucket now does.

Paulo C. DeOliveira for Register of Deeds

Paulo C. DeOliveira has the enthusiastic support of Dianne Powers, who will retire with two years remaining in her six-year term after 22 years as the elected Dukes County Register of Deeds. A sensible and responsible public official, she supports Mr. DeOliveira as the best person to succeed her, and this page agrees with that endorsement.

The Register of Deeds records property transfers from all seven towns in the county, and also serves as an assistant recorder of the Massachusetts Land Court. Mr. DeOliveira has worked at the Registry of Deeds for eight years, and possesses the intimate knowledge of this department to do the job.

If elected, he promises to using his firsthand knowledge of the office to continue improving its effectiveness and efficiency for its users, with a focus on digitizing records and putting more records online. These are goals that we support.

County Commission

There are eight candidates for seven seats on the Dukes County Commission, an unnecessary political anachronism whose few useful tasks could easily be absorbed by other island arms of government.

While we would prefer that county government simply disappear and the $500,000 or so now drained from county taxpayers in support of this vestige of colonial governance stay in our pockets, until that day we should exercise our voting rights to the best possible advantage. We endorse two new faces — Norman Perry and Robert Zeltzer — along with the reelection of John Alley, whose institutional memory dates back to county government when it was a three-member body devoid of paid administrators and accomplished about as much as it does now, maybe even more.

Martha’s Vineyard Commission

Fourteen candidates, including four new, eight incumbents, and two previous appointees, are vying for nine open seats on the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC). The goal here is to enlist fresh, reasonable perspectives, which are badly needed to support new executive director Adam Turner in his efforts to give new weight to the MVC’s planning responsibilities and rein in its proclivity for dragging out projects and engaging in nitpicking better left to local boards. The commission needs to be more broadly representative and include representatives of the business community and construction trades.

Residents of one town may vote for candidates from other towns, but at least one commissioner must be elected from each town, and no more than two elected commissioners can be from any one town.

Among the incumbents and newcomers, we recommend incumbent Joshua Goldstein of Tisbury, the only young person and and a member of the Island’s important hospitality industry; incumbent Clarence “Trip” Barnes of Tisbury, an authentic Island voice; incumbent Fred Hancock of Oak Bluffs; newcomer Brian Smith of Oak Bluffs, a much-needed new voice; incumbent Ernest Sederholm of West Tisbury, a lawyer who offers important guidance; newcomer Myron Garfinkle of West Tisbury, a successful businessman and pilot who brings a professional approach to deliberations on the airport commission; incumbent Christina Brown of Edgartown; incumbent Robert Doyle of Chilmark; and James Vercruysse of Aquinnah, an employee/owner of South Mountain Co. who has proven to be even-tempered and a commissioner who chooses his words carefully.

No on Question 1

This is a special-interest initiative to allow a slot parlor to be constructed on a particular site in Revere. The virtues of slots parlors are arguable at best, and should be hashed out at the state level. Once settled, yes or no on slot machines in Revere should be a local question.

No on Question 2

The foundational argument for supporting charter schools, and in the case of this ballot question, significantly expanding the number of charter schools in Massachusetts, is that Massachusetts’s public schools are failing our children while a parallel system of public charter schools, not controlled by local taxpayers, would provide expanded opportunity for much-improved outcomes. New and expanded charter school applications are intended to focus on the poorest-performing districts in the state. And since the funding principle — that tuition follows the student — suggests that the conventional public schools and their students are not disadvantaged, this appears to be a win-win proposition.

While pointing to evidence of improved measurable performance, though, most proponents acknowledge that results for charter schools nationally are highly variable and not always owing to “better” schools, especially given the overwhelming concentration of poor results in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods where a myriad of factors affect performance. And moving per-pupil tuition out of conventional public schools without offsetting huge fixed costs doesn’t add up.

No element of American democracy and social and cultural integration is as important as our public system of education. That it is failing and that we are falling behind is a tragedy. The solutions, though, need to lie in funding and bringing excellence to the entire school community, and not to extricating a small percentage who can escape via charter-school lotteries. Let’s concentrate on the laboratory benefits of existing charter schools and commit ourselves to fixing public schools for everyone. Vote No on Question 2.

Yes on Question 3

The humane treatment of farm animals is a fundamental obligation of civilized society, and this question would simply end the practice of forcing animals into cages so small that they can’t so much as turn around. The argument that the costs to consumers of humane standards would be too high simply don’t add up, and depending on voluntary compliance seems to us a pipedream. Vote Yes on Question 3.

Yes on Question 4

Choosing between ignoring, regulating, or banning substance use is a slippery rhetorical and legal slope, especially when placed in the hands of politicians and even the best-intentioned experts and advocates. Decriminalizing, regulating, and taxing the sale and growing of small amounts of marijuana for individuals over 21 is a positive step, as opposed to either ignoring or further entrenching the present criminal enterprise or declaring war on weed and trying to stop its sale and use.

We have accustomed ourselves to the sale and use of tobacco and alcohol, and found reasonable if not perfect approaches to regulation. The revenue consequences, though secondary, could easily be put to good use. And the risks of teenage use, growing more clear as brain science focuses more carefully on effects of marijuana use, aren’t likely to go up if the criminal dealer network is replaced by licensed and regulated retailers.