Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Just because the country voted for change in the last election, doesn’t mean people aren’t terrified of change, almost any change.

Imagine if there were no public libraries, and our government proposed requiring every town and city in the country to use tax dollars to open a free public library, where all books, magazines, newspapers, audio and video materials were available at no charge to every person. Would Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon and every other book seller unite to wage a media campaign against such an idea? Would they fear being put out of business? Would they scream bloody murder at the idea of having to pay taxes, part of which was used to fund free access to the very products they are selling? It is just lucky for us that the public libraries came first, or I suspect they would be screamed down.

The point is, having options does not threaten businesses who know how to cater to their customer’s needs. Amazon stays in business because it satisfies a need. Local bookstores stay in business for the same reason, but a different need. They don’t fear the public libraries. Does UPS fear the post office? I don’t think so. No well run business fears competition. Competition is what makes everyone better, keeps us on our toes, makes us prove our worth. Let’s give the health insurance companies a chance to prove they can do things better. If they are any good, they have nothing to fear.

Public health insurance options have to be made available to those people who have no other options, including those whose needs are not met by current options. Having new health insurance options will not put the existing ones out of business, if they know how to run a business, that is, if they know how to satisfy their customers, which is a lot more than just knowing how to make a profit.

And to those who say we can’t afford it, I have another question: Why is there always money for war? If the billions spent on war during the last administration had gone to health care, we would have a lot more healthy people and a lot fewer maimed and dead ones. It is time for a change.

Sharon Kelly

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

A plan to provide hospice counseling and other end-of-life advice to patients and their families that is being dropped by U.S. Senate health care negotiators is a mistake.

Opponents believe the language would lead to the development of federal so-called death panels.

I participated in a very private family “death panel” with my two other brothers and sisters concerning end-of-life issues for our mother who was in the final stages of terminal cancer.

The counseling we received prompted each of us to get his/her living will drawn up and not put our families in a similar situation. Each living will clearly explains to each family, physician, lawyer, clergyman, medical facility or any individual who may become responsible for our health welfare or affairs what each of us wants done if there is no reasonable expectation for our recovery from physical or mental disability. We did not get billed for this counseling, so we assume it was paid for by insurance, and Medicare should not be the exception.

Peter Cabana

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I agree with Eileen Kane that the area around Morning Glory Farm is unacceptable and dangerous, but making Mechacket one way will create traffic problems elsewhere. The only safe solution is to add a bike path by whatever means are required, as soon as possible.

Steve Spruance



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The Island Affordable Housing Fund would like to thank the Dukes County Sheriff’s department and probation department for all their help with our Rock the Rock Concert. They supplied the manpower to lay 12,000 square feet of event flooring for our dance floor. Then they showed up on the morning after the event to pick up and pack it all away. We could not have done it without them. Special thanks to Michael McCormack, Kevin Cunniff, Brian Kennedy and Nate Durawa, for they not only brought the help but actually got down and helped install it along with everyone else.

With much appreciation.

Annie Bradshaw

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I am sorry to have missed this panel as I arrived the next day from my home in Los Angeles. However, regarding Gene Rivers’s comments about the black elite reaching back to the black underclass, examples abound. For one, I have documented such work ranging from my 1982 book Cities, Suburbs and Blacks (with James E. Blackwell) to my 2007 book African Americans and the Future of New Orleans. I have also documented my work in Roxbury and South Central Los Angeles that speaks to inner city revitalization. Finally, for five days in September I will be in St. Louis with an Urban Land Institute panel strategizing on how to revive a retail mall in a predominantly African American neighborhood.

Philip S. Hart



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As a resident of Oak Bluffs and a member of the Community Emergency Response Team, I was pleased to read Sam Bungey’s interview with Peter Martell. Many of us in Oak Bluffs are deeply appreciative of the time and effort that Peter contributes to our town in his roles of emergency management coordinator, long-serving volunteer fireman and fire officer, chief fire investigator and officer of the Oak Bluffs fire and harbor security boat, for which Peter and George Fisher were instrumental in obtaining federal funding.

Peter has organized a volunteer emergency management team, which is equipped to assist local authorities in the event of a hurricane, flu epidemic, all-Island inoculation mandate or other catastrophic situations on the Vineyard. He has also developed measures to provide support in the event of chemical or terrorist threats on our steamships.

It is little known that through his many personal contacts at the state and federal level, FEMA, the FBI, the Secret Service and the Southern New England Coast Guard, he has been instrumental in obtaining funding and technical assistance for the town and for the Island.

Many of us know Peter as a valued neighbor of the Camp Meeting Association, which is the location of his Wesley Hotel, which is a Victorian gem. And many of us are pleased to know him as a friend.

Robert A Iadicicco

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

You gave Mr. and Mrs. Diaz over 500 words — more than either of your editorials — to denounce Mr. Rodell’s “mean-spirited” letter alleging that Humphrey’s Bakery is no longer selling bread. For some reason they didn’t have room to address, or even mention, his complaint: so, is their “bakery” making bread?

Christopher Gray



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

While the proposed Chappy bike path discussion seems to be an extension of the affordable housing and DCPC brouhahas, with a few players changing sides, the overall issue is about the number of people residing, visiting and using the amenities that Chappaquiddick has to offer. The reality is that the people are here and we can’t go back to the good old days when safety was not as big a concern. That doesn’t mean we have to roll out the red carpet either. What we should do is see the island as a whole to plan and upgrade the infrastructure that is in constant need of repair. The roads need repaving.( How much black goop can you squirt in the cracks?) The power is forever flickering. Phone conversations crackle in dampness. Cable is nonexistent (who cares?)

I know this is what makes Chappy quaint but all these will need to be addressed soon. Why not bundle all the issues together to share in the expense. Dig a trench on one side and upgrade and bury all the utility lines and get rid of all the poles so they won’t blow over every winter. Imagine coming down the hill by Caleb’s Pond without power lines extending to the harbor. Widen the road six feet. That’s three feet per side. This will allow more space for bikes and cars and you won’t have to hold your breath passing each other.

I understand that coordinating public and private entities is a nightmare. It can be done. I understand that widening the roads will want to make people go faster. But the reality is that cars and trucks (lots of trucks) are bigger and people (lots of people) are here to stay. We need to stop the disagreements and work for the greater good of Chappaquiddick in the future.

Jack Livingston