Kristal wins seat on Tisbury board of selectmen


Updated 8:20 pm

Jeff Kristal is headed back to the board of selectmen where he spent two terms before giving it up to spend more time with his family.

In a vote of 490-462, Kristal narrowly defeated political newcomer Seth Gambino for the Tisbury board of selectmen. Kristal will replace longtime Tisbury selectman Tristan Israel on the board after Israel decided not to run for reelection.

The election drew 28 percent of the town’s 3,489 registered voters to the polls.

Both Kristal and Gambino are Vineyard Haven business owners. Kristal owns Crocker House Inn, while Gambino is the proprietor of La Choza. Kristal is a town hall insider having served on the finance committee and other boards. Gambino billed himself as a political outsider who would listen to the people before casting a vote.

“I’m relieved,” Kristal said. “Happy it’s over. Seems like a long two months.”

Kristal said it was likely his position on Tisbury School that made the difference. “My support of it and my opponent’s non-support,” he said. “Maybe my experience played a role.”

Asked how he planned to celebrate, Kristal, a supporter of the town’s move to allow alcohol sales in restaurants, said, “A lot of food and a drink in Tisbury.”

Reached by phone, Gambino said he would have to call back because he was driving.

There were two other contested races on the ballot.

In the three-way race for Land Bank commissioner, Nancy Weaver defeated Lynne Fraker, 476-205. Nora Nevin, the third candidate, received 171 votes.

“I’m very happy. I’m looking forward to the job,” said Weaver, who eagerly showed up to campaign on her bicycle. “It’s the first time I ever ran for office. It was good competition, which brings out the best in everyone. I’m eager now to focus on Land Bank business.”

Nevin could not be reached, but Fraker congratulated Weaver. “Of course, I’m disappointed, but good luck to Nancy. I hope she’s successful,” she said.

A mainstay at Tisbury meetings of all types, Fraker said there were three solid candidates for Land Bank. “I was looking forward to being part of the commission. I thought it was a good fit,” she said. “I’m not going to give up. I’ll still be around and involved.”

The other race saw Weaver’s husband, David Dandridge defeat incumbent Angela Cywinski for the board of assessors in a vote of 538-388. Cywinksi was deeply involved in a controversy that saw town nonprofits that own land suddenly paying property taxes after being exempt for years.

“We both care a whole lot about this community,” Dandridge said. “That’s reflected by how the community voted today.”

Dandridge took the high road on the reason for his victory saying it had to do with more than the recent controversy. “It’s my pleasure to be back on the board and try to work for all the townspeople,” he said.

In an email to The Times, Cywinski wrote, “Thank you to all that supported me during the campaign.”

There were three ballot questions.

Voters approved Question 1 658-265, which will provide $650,000 for wastewater treatment and collection system improvements.

On Question 2, voters approved spending  $400,000 for costs related to Tisbury School in a vote of 719-224.

And, in a 522-423 tally on Question 3, voters supported $297,656 for the town’s share of costs for feasibility and schematic designs for Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.

Patricia Hand and Gambino received enough write-in votes to be elected to the finance committee, according to results provided by the town clerk. Ian Aitchison got 13 votes to be elected as a write-in for library trustee.

Updated April 25 @ 12:05 pm with official vote tallies, as well as write-in winners. The Times broke breaking the news of the election results at 8:20 pm April 24.