Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Your Feb. 10 editorial is right in its main point, that the Steamship Authority is essential to the Islands, and any experiments with mainland ports must not jeopardize its economical operation. However, when you say that Vineyarders have always loved their “ferries,” “boats” would be historically more accurate.

No one would have referred so to the steamers of the 1920s and 1930s, two of which were seaworthy enough to cross to Britain in World War II as hospital ships. That was no ferry run!

It’s a matter of associations. “Ferries” suggest only routine connections of slips to similar slips a short distance away in similar neighborhoods. Useful but ho-hum. “Boats” offer voyages to somewhere different, possibly even adventurous.

If you want to attract just more crowds looking for a change of suburb, keep using the reassuring and recently popularized “ferries.” But if you want visitors who will appreciate the historic and different place we believe this Island to be, give us back our “boats.”

And the memory of standing in a real bow where you could see it cut the water, sending wake curling back on both sides, and lift your eyes to view the promise of a different place. At least, don’t call the old boats ferries.

W.R. Deeble

West Tisbury


Editor, Vineyard Gazette:

A referendum asking only whether one is for or against the roundabout cannot provide a reliable gauge regarding the project and, more importantly, will produce misleading information.

In a referendum, people tend to vote based on what they may have read in the newspapers, or heard from acquaintances, many of whom have formed opinions based on little factual information. Reports in the media often feature news-making controversy and criticisms, rather than facts like comparative accident rates. Among acquaintances, vocal critics are much more liable to pass on their views than are project supporters.

A referendum, therefore, is almost always biased toward negative responses.

For the roundabout, it is very unlikely that most respondents will have a good understanding of the differences among alternative improvements, such as the relative costs, appearances, and accident potential. Nor are they likely to understand that all proposed improvements will have formalized bus stops with sidewalks, and will have similar impacts at the ends of theVineyard Haven-Edgartown Road.

In addition, a yes-no referendum on the roundabout has another major problem. What does a “no” response mean?

• Does it mean that we do not need to improve the intersection, and we can live with present and future backups?

• Does it mean that we do not need to improve the intersection at this time, but we should do something in the future when the backups get severe?

• Does it mean that we need to do something now, but there are better solutions than the roundabout?

• If the respondent meant that the intersection needs to be improved, now or in the future, what alternative is preferred to the roundabout?

To make these judgments, the respondents need to be provided with enough information to understand the consequences of their decisions. Without this information, it is not possible to respond reasonably to the question: “Are you for or against the roundabout?”

Dan Greenbaum



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Regarding Mr. Fontes’s opinion piece in last week’s Gazette: Mr. Fontes believes that government is the problem — not the solution. I must admit that may be the case under Republican administrations which have overseen the increase in our national debt, the deregulation of our business sector, the despoiling of our environment, the denying of human-caused global warming, the substitution of faith-based vs fact-based thinking — and on and on. Still, it is our government and it is our job to elect representatives who will represent our interest. One reason why OWS supporters focus on the one per cent vs 99 per cent theme is because inequality of wealth in our country is now greater than any other industrialized nation and slightly worse than countries like Iran. This inequality is no longer the result of hard work and applied intellect, although there are cases of that, but is largely due to fraudulent manipulation of the financial (and other) markets and this has been abetted by the decrease in government oversight due to those who think like Mr. Fontes. Inequality of wealth, in turn, has led to greatly diminished social mobility for everyday Americans, the loss of homes and fortune, and if unchecked will result in the loss of our democracy.

The OWS movement is an attempt to take back our democratic form of government vote by vote from the control of the electoral process by corporations and wealthy individuals. And for those of us who read books and newspapers, watch the news on television or just plain talk politics with friends and neighbors — the movement has been, and I believe will continue to be, an overwhelming success in changing our national discourse and — ultimately — our nation’s direction.

Sam Low

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Although the shark tournament held in Oak Bluffs in July is a town affair, it does represent the whole of Martha’s Vineyard. Therefore, I firmly believe that the responsibility for curtailing it is Islandwide. The Vineyard is a special place, but after some research I have discovered that many marinas in the U.S. have become shark free — that is, no sharks caught by the boaters of that marina are allowed on the docks. This seems sensible to me because as an ex-boater I was spared the sight of dead bodies and the smell of dead bodies when I docked at a marina, and for that I am very grateful.

Moreover, far from being a participant in the conservation of our earth’s diminishing seas, the Oak Bluffs “festival” continues to star massacred bodies of endangered sea life as some sort of reason to celebrate. I find this barbaric and an insult to the beauty of our Island and the integrity of the majority of our citizens. Yes, I realize that the tournament brings income for Oak Bluffs merchants and a certain excitement to young people who like to hunt and kill innocent animals, but my question is, do we need to improve our economy on the backs of tortured sharks?

I, and many, many other Vineyard citizens believe that the message the shark tournament is giving to the world is out of date and far beneath the image of the Vineyard as the home and vacationland of distinguished world figures. We want it stopped and the dignity of our Island restored. Nothing worthwhile will ever come out of hosting this awful display of waste and violence. Between 1999 and 2009, according to statistics from the Humane Society of the United States, fewer than five people worldwide died from shark attacks. Sharks are not a danger to us.

We are proud of our many Island festivals. Please call or write to the Oak Bluffs selectmen and stop this sport and the ensuing bloodshed.

Roberta Mendlovitz

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As we all know, in West Tisbury the Mill Pond originally was nonexistent. It was merely a brook running through the marsh, headed toward the Great Pond and the ocean. Our forefathers, in the 1600s, built the dam across the brook so that the falling water could serve to run the mill. That is all now history.

The mill no longer works for man’s industry. For 400 years we have enjoyed the pond for its scenic value. Yes, it is beautiful but now it is nature’s (or God’s, if you prefer) turn to come back to life again with a beauty of its own. For us, it will be a return to a different loveliness; for the sea run trout and others it will mean a return to life.

Heidi Schultz

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The board of the Edgartown Library Foundation thank all of who made our Tour of Italy event at Lattanzi’s a fun and successful evening. The foundation raises funds and awareness for the needs of the library and its programs and services. The food was wonderful and the wine and conversations flowed.

Thanks to Albert and Cathy Lattanzi and their wonderful staff. We had wonderful sponsors and many raffle prizes were generously donated.

The board honored Felicia Cheney for her dedication to the library with a free pass to all library foundation events and a framed photo. And the Microsoft Table will be installed at the library in her honor. The trustees of the library also honored Felicia with a gift certificate for indulgence at Boucle. While Felicia was a bit speechless, Lisa Sherman, interim library director, ably assisted in expressing thanks for the foundation’s efforts.

Julie Lively, cochairman of the trustees, spoke to those gathered about what the foundation has meant to the library and its role going forward. She also shared the trustees’ work on preparing for the town vote (April 10 and 12) to fund a new library to be built (hopefully) on the site of the former Edgartown School. Grant funding is expected in July 2013. Plan to vote!

Library trustees Herb Foster and Carl Watt offered to meet with small groups to discuss the library project and asked attendees to sign up for convenient dates for these coffee klatches.

Raffle prizes were won, food and wine were consumed and friends and acquaintances chatted away. A great way to spend a February’s winter evening! Thank you all.

Susan L. Cahoon



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

What a lineup we have before us this weekend. The Martha’s Vineyard Ice Arena is playing host to three off-Island boys’ varsity hockey teams for the 15th annual Fairleigh Dickenson Hockey tournament. On Saturday at 5 p.m. Masconomet and Dennis-Yarmouth face off, followed by the Vineyard vs Lynnfield at 7 p.m. With Lynnfield ranked number six and the Vineyard number eight, this should prove to be an exciting event. The consolation game is Sunday at 1 p.m. and the championship at 3 p.m. Our boys are doing the best job they’ve done in years with a 12-4-1 record. They’re in the playoffs and the future looks bright. Come out to support the boys and cheer our team on to victory!

Christine Todd

Oak Bluffs


The writer is development director for the Martha’s Vineyard Arena.



The Vineyard Gazette welcomes letters to the editor on any subject concerning Martha’s Vineyard. The newspaper strives to publish all letters as space allows, although the editor reserves the right to reject letters that in her judgment are inappropriate. Letters must be signed, and should include a place of residence and contact telephone number. The Gazette does not publish anonymous letters.