Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission has another controversial issue to address. Editorials and e-mails to the papers for and against are covering just about every possible angle of the Field Club land versus cash affordable housing swap. From uninformed editorials to a very informed public, the opinions are certainly out there. Opportunities exist to make changes to the way decisions are made and the commission is asking for comment by holding a public hearing on August 28. Anyone with an opinion on this should at least take the time to send in a letter or even an e-mail; don’t be content with an e-mail to the paper.

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission is comprised of members who are thoughtful and careful decision makers who often seek input to help make their decision. A few may not be as well prepared as others to take on these huge and diverse responsibilities and need more support. It is essential that decisions are made with the full understanding of both the basis for past rulings and the impact on commission policies. It is essential that impartial, unbiased input be obtained. The commission has capable staff and could surely retain outside independent experts if necessary. They have the challenge of assuring that decisions are in the best interests of the entire Island not just one town or any particular special interest.

At the risk of again being assailed as being against affordable housing, I want to say that I think the issues here can have a critical impact on Island planning efforts for years to come. It would be a shame to pursue an option which might yield fewer affordable housing units. There are questions that only adequately prepared decision makers can answer removed of politics and emotion. Does the affordable housing policy of the MVC need to be changed? Should developers be allowed to opt out of conditions imposed by previous decisions even when significant changes have occurred (in this case, a subdivision which added a high-end health club facility and then became sewered)? How should the value of changes be assessed for the purpose of considering a cash buyout? Another question that has been asked is why anyone would want to live in this project. Well designed affordable housing projects routinely include housing at all market levels. For the affordable units, this project could conceivably include a townhouse type unit housing two to three families on each lot (five bedrooms per lot) styled in a manner compatible with the market rate units. Maybe the opposite is true and it’s the potential high-end clients who don’t want to live among affordable homes and the developers will be concerned that the affordable housing units would sell out before the market based units? Estimates of what the cash buyout could accomplish vary significantly and the final outcome should consider how many Vineyard families will ultimately be given the chance to own a home.

This will not be the last development project on Martha’s Vineyard subject to MVC review. Commission decisions will continue to have a critical impact so speak up now and give them your opinion.

David Nash



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

It’s late August, near the end of summer. The fair is over. Illumination Night. The fireworks. Off-Island visitors are still anxiously trying to have a vacation. Islanders are waiting for Labor Day, as if it promised salvation.

Meanwhile the busy world spins on. Shiites are killing Sunnis. We’re fighting somewhere. Iraq. Afghanistan. Is Iran next? We hold thousands of prisoners in secret locations. We can’t hear them scream. The FBI wants to spy on everybody. There must be a lot of traitors around. Maybe I’m one of them. Maybe you are. Don’t worry, they’ll tell us if we are.

Enjoy the end of summer, everybody. In spite of everything, the beach is beautiful, the ocean never fails to refresh, the light is clear, there’s a promise of peace in the early morning sunrise.

One question resounds in the stillness, my question, maybe your question: What shall I do with my life?

Steve Levine



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

After a long day of fishing or boating with young children, one of the great pleasures used to be tying up along a pier in Menemsha and grabbing an ice cream, soda or sandwich (okay, maybe a lobster or two). Unfortunately the gentle Menemsha days of old are gone. Twice last week within 24 hours my boys and I were rudely hastened off two different docks with less than congenial statements. In effect we were rudely told that the docks were private and that at some point the rightful boats would return. Heck, all we wanted was a quick soft ice cream — 10 to 15 minutes at most. After those two unpleasant events, we have subsequently decided to moor the boat and drive up to Aquinnah for treats each day. Their gain, Menemsha’s small financial loss (I have six kids, do the math). The point here is that there should be a place for transient small boat dockings. This would certainly help out Menemsha’s businesses.

Fred Meyer



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

If you have to be hospitalized the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital is it.

On Thursday afternoon, August 5, the ambulance with its sirens blaring stopped at the Bend of the Road Beach in Edgartown and collected me, a 72 year old, rather overweight grandmother. I had broken my hip. (I guess some people will do anything to get attention, one of my friends told me)

I was fortunate to have Dr. Monto operate on me and then the slow road to recovery started. All of us who have had experiences with hospitals know what it is to be in one. Here are mine.   

My bed is next to a glass wall that overlooks an enchanted garden. There are bird feeders and bird houses, wildflowers and butterfly bushes, rose of Sharon, wild roses and daylilies. Evergreens and other tall trees (I don’t know their names) lend visual interest to the beautiful scene. I call it my magic window. There is a variety of birds, cardinals, chickadees, redwing blackbirds, all kinds of finches, and the resident red tailed hawk. When it gets very quiet and there are no little birds fleeting about, you know that the resident red tailed hawk is around. The other day he was perched on top of my window, his aristocratic profile silhouetted against the sky as he was staring around for any movement. There is also a small pond, and every once in a while I see a flash of orange; it is the goldfish surfacing. Yesterday a white water lily was blooming. Every once in a while a cottontail will come around and feed to the delight of anyone who sees it. Thank you family Farrow for this wonderful garden.

As for hospital food, all of us will wrinkle our noses at the very thought of it. Well, at the Martha Vineyard hospital you will dine royally, unless of course you have certain dietary restrictions. The food and its presentation are comparable to any good restaurant’s menu.

As the hospital is small, the staff knows you by name, and you are not just a number to them. They take a personal interest in you and your well being.

I would like to thank the hospital and its staff for making my stay a great experience. I feel that my quick recovery was due to the great care I received and the ambiance of my room.

Rena A. Greenup

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The July 18 edition of the Vineyard Gazette reported that Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, congresswomanfrom the 11th district in Ohio was here for afund-raiser aboard a charter catamaran in Edgartown. Tragically this was to be her last visit to the Island followingher sudden death last week of an aneurysm.

Stephanie’s death is a profound loss to her family, friends and to the nation. Her legacy is secure as the first African American woman elected to the House of Representatives from Ohio, serviing five terms with 83 per cent of the vote in her last election.

Stephanie, a longtime friend from Cleveland, made her first trip to Martha’s Vineyard in August 2003 with her husband, Mervyn. I invited her here for a fund-raiser that my mother, Della Hardman, andI hosted. She had just returned from a trip to Iraqand provided guests with a vivid, firsthand account of whatshe witnessed there. During that time we also learned about her love for sailing. Sadly, her husband died sudde nly of a heart attack just two months later.

Her lifetime achievements are an extraordinary model of leadership, service andcommitment to social justice forall. I will miss her deeply as a friend.

Andrea Taylor

Oak Bluffs