Photo caption was demeaning

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To the Editor:

We are writing to express our sense of disappointment to the picture of our select board in The MV Times last week, with the snarky caption pointing out that they had plastic bottles of water sitting in front of them. The picture was taken at the Tisbury special town meeting moments before the select board unanimously led voters to an overwhelming vote to approve renovation of our original 1929 elementary school. The question of renovation versus a new school has been debated in Tisbury for more than 10 years. In 2018, a proposal was passed for a new school, but then turned down by the voters at the ballot box, all facts The Times is totally familiar with.

An obvious reason voters did not approve the ballot box question in 2018 was that our then select board failed to lead. They rather sat back, taking no position as a board, while individually sending mixed messages. They did so on a subject the result of which should have been clear after 10 years (or more) of study and after seriously impairing the quality of education of our students who passed through the deteriorated and dangerous halls of the school during that time.

This board unanimously and publicly supported the school project since the new campaign started, which led the way for an overwhelming vote of approval at the town meeting, with 237 voting in favor, and only five opposed. Might it have been more appropriate for The Times to applaud the victory (and the select board) for this significant accomplishment rather than to demean them? A more appropriate caption might have been “Thanks to the direction and continuous participation of the select board in a very informative campaign, Tisbury voters were

provided with all the information they needed to make their decision.”

It would also be appropriate to focus on the fact that the Tisbury select board, like all other boards on the Island, are part-time volunteers who put in the time of full-time employees in the service of their community. They, like all of us, are not always socially correct.

They should be applauded and not demeaned. We are all aware of the need for the bottle ban and the diminished use of plastic, but there is a time and place for everything.

 

Elaine and Howard Miller
Tisbury