Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

There were some disturbingly undemocratic elements at last night’s West Tisbury town meeting. I wasn’t able to clearly articulate them as the hour grew late, so I didn’t speak.

This morning I’m able to organize my thoughts and write to call attention to issues raised at the meeting. The first of these distressing elements was evident as citizens questioned the budget and scope of road repairs. It was troubling to have an elected official question our expertise on roads. We are the caretakers of our town and the collective whole body is the expert on both the budget and the scope of work. We use professionals to advise us, but the beauty of our town meeting system is that we get to debate and to decide together.

The more profound assault on our system was the compromise offered by the advocates of dog walking at Lambert’s Cove. While I believe a fair solution can be reached, the use of a private police force hired by a few (“We have money! We have lawyers!”) goes against principles of government and the rule of law. We have now voted to allow dogs to be walked on the beach in the mornings in the summer. That’s fair. Let’s see if that helps resolve the problems. The idea that we would allow a group of people to hire someone to enforce the rules that they like (poop scooping, proper disposal) and not enforce the ones they don’t like (leash laws) leads us down the road of citizen watches and an untrained police force. When the town makes a set of rules, we need to determine how they will be enforced.

I believe the dog advocates were well intentioned. This just isn’t the solution. Some of the issues are bigger than West Tisbury. They include population growth and limited beach access. When the town was smaller, I used to be able to bring my dog to the beach during the day in the summer. There were only 30 or so people there at a time, even on weekends in the summer and no need to keep dogs out. As the population has grown and more and more beaches have been privatized, the parks and recreation committee has had to create rules to manage use of Lambert’s Cove. Solutions to these competing needs must be public and accountable to us all.

Joy Robinson-Lynch

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I have been following the whole controversy over the four-way stop/roundabout at the intersection of the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road.

When construction of the bridges on the Beach Road took place, they used stop lights to let traffic cross the bridges as they were one way. What would be so wrong with putting in a stop light at the intersection instead of a rotary-roundabout?

In Topsfield, at the intersection of U.S. Route 1 and State Route 97 we now have a “smart” stoplight. It counts the cars . . . don’t ask me how, but there must be some kind of a monitor there. In the morning and evening when traffic east and west is heavy on Route 97, the light is green for a longer period and more often. During the rest of the day, the light is usually on for traffic on Route 1 with a random green for Route 97. When a car of a couple of cars approach Route 1 on Route 97, however, the light will change after a few seconds and last just long enough for the cars waiting to get across. There is also a symbol for bicycles to wait at a certain spot to let the light change for them to cross Route 1.

I am sure that the initial installation was expensive, because the road was widened at the time, but unless some major problem develops, it should last a long time. Since Route 1 is very hilly at the site, when we have an icy snowstorm, the light goes on yellow and red caution until the road is cleared.

Perhaps this would be a solution to the intersection on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road.

Dorothy T. Wass



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I would like thank everyone who came to the Celebrating the Art of Stan Murphy slide show on April 1 and made the program a success. Also presenting my father’s art work to the students and staff of the West Tisbury School the following day was a great experience for me and for my son John. The kids were terrific. Big thank yous to: West Tisbury cultural council, the West Tisbury library and the Martha’s Vineyard Museum for their support and, of course, thanks to friends and family who made the event possible. Personally, I would like to give a repeat showing of the program and look forward to working with the library and the museum to make that happen.

David Murphy



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Anyone who reads the Vineyard Gazette and fails to read the Gazette Chronicles, that long single column on the right side of a page, is missing precious history of our Island life. It reminds us or informs us of events in our past or of the past before our time.

I was pleased to read the story of Katharine Cornell’s return to Martha’s Vineyard with her plans to build a “camp” near the opening to Tashmoo. She was a great lady. I am reminded of Stuart’s story of one of her frequent visits to Bangs Market. She was accompanied by her dear friend, Helen Keller, and wanted to introduce her to Stuart and his father. Helen Keller could neither see nor hear. It was an experience Stuart cherished and never forgot. It is too long to relate here but he tells it in More Vineyard Voices, the second book of Linsey Lee, our valuable oral historian. Linsey’s books are treasures. But I digress!

Eulalie Regan wrote out Gazette Chronicle for years. Her stories evoked so many emotions, joy, sorrow, humor and sometimes, “Wow! Did they really do that? or “Wish we could do that now!”

In the last few years Cynthia Meisner took over the reins and is doing it well. Read it! You will surely enjoy it.!

Dorothy K. Bangs

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

After a Senate hearing in 1998, Dr. James Hansen, one of the world’s preeminent climatologists, told a group of reporters “It’s time to stop wafflingand say the greenhouse effect is here and is affecting our climate now.” George W. Bush announced he would abandon a campaign promise to regulate carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants and pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol.

In late 2004, after six years of inactivity and concerted foot-dragging by the federal government, Jim Hansen decided it was time to make another statement: “It seems to me that special interests have been a roadblock wielding undue influence over policymakers . . . the public, if well-informed, has the ability to override the influence of special interests ”

As a civil engineer who spent his entire career developing large energy projects in the United States and throughout the world, I have come to understand many of special interests misleading reported distorted facts and am well informed concerning energy reality — the rest of the story.

I am in the final stages of completing my book manuscript. Up until now, I had been willing to wait and let the book tell the story. But time now is of the essence. Time Magazine’s April 2, 2012 article by Alice Park’s Pollution in Utero explained that moms-to-be by simply breathing New York city’s polluted air could lead to a fourfold increase in the anxiety problems in their children at age six.

My tipping point has been reached. I would like to act now.

My son, who will marry on the Island this June, lives in New York city. The fact my soon to be daughter in law, if she decides to become pregnant, will even have to think about protecting the developing child in her womb by counteracting the potential toxic effects of simply breathing in New York city air is mind boggling and totally unacceptable. If I assume air quality in other large metropolitan cities isn’t much better, I get even more alarmed. My daughter, who gave birth to our beautiful granddaughter two years ago, took every precaution possible for her developing fetus before birth. I know she never took precautions to protect her unborn from the air she had to breathe. She is now pregnant with her second child, and I can’t believe that she should even have to give a single thought to protecting herself from breathing the potentially toxic air in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. My daughter is a lieutenant commander in NOAA.

The gloves have to come off; the public needs to know, and I can provide the ammunition.

In my view, it should start at the local level and then grow. Initiating a Vineyard Gazette energy reality column just might be the tonic, the elixir needed. Who knows, other news sources may choose to join in.

Peter Cabana

Vineyard Haven