Where Has M.V. Gone? An Update


To the Editor:

Having owned a home on the Vineyard for the past 50 years and become a year-round resident for the past 6 years, I was surprised to read last week’s editorial. The contents provided a fact-filled, concise and thought-provoking account of what has become the political and attitudinal position on the Island.

Since my wife and I retired on the Island, I have served on most of the committees in Oak Bluffs’ government as well on the MVC (although not at the same time). Having been exposed to the thoughts of many Islanders, I have become aware that many Islanders have expressed similar ideas to those in the editorial, although rarely in public media.

Because I have experienced much of the government’s operation and interacted with a large number of the year-round population, I would like to add my observations of why we have reached the current state.

The governments in M.V. have excelled in the use of misdirection in informing the voters re: what is going on. That is, they have been able to focus voter interest in one direction while making major changes in the more important aspects of the Vineyard’s economy. For example, in Oak Bluffs, more time has been spent at annual town meetings on the “catch and release” fishing tournament, the location of the yet-to-be-built medical marijuana dispensary, and the few opportunities for the public to interact with the police department than on the passage of a $26 million dollar budget and the resulting tax increases.

This has resulted in a lack of interest and participation in the political process. Voters have simply given up on expecting any changes resulting in low voter turnout and lower input from the public.

While the Vineyard is a place that is extremely supportive to its population on a one-to-one basis, its population has rarely attempted to foster changes through combined input on warrant articles, policies, and votes.

This explains why the status quo has remained in place for such a long period of time.

Your editorial (Feb. 15, “Martha’s Vineyard, not Washington”) can be a wake-up call. I hope that people are listening.

Abe Seiman

Oak Bluffs