Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

We the families of Winthrop avenue demand the removal of the one-way section of Dukes County avenue. This incomplete resolution, to a problem originating from a failure of the town to enforce zoning and parking regulations, has created an unacceptable and unsafe situation for us.

The “trial solution” has routed an unexpected and extraordinary amount of traffic to Winthrop avenue day and night. This traffic has created an unsafe situation for our children, devalued our investment in community and generally lowered our quality of living.

The families of Winthrop avenue will use every resource available to us to restore the way of life for which we have worked so hard.

Deirdre Bohan

Oak Bluffs

This letter was also signed by David Diriwachter, Mary Ellen Rogers, Francis Garvey, Joe Peters, Jason Mallory, Marcie Meuller, Jim Parr, Eve Gates, Tara Corcoran, James Corcoran, Susan Charbonneau and Lynne Howell.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

This coming Saturday May 12 there will be an event at the Field Club in Edgartown. This club is a private club according to the application filed with the Martha’s Vineyard Commission and the town of Edgartown in 2006. The designation as a private club afforded the owners considerable flexibility during the permit process. As stated by their attorney, Sean Murphy, in letters to the commission dated May 26, 2006 and June 20, 2006, the club would not serve as host to any public events (except for certain specific charitable obligations) and also that the club would not use amplified music “that can be heard by neighboring properties.”

The Edgartown Board of Trade is the sponsor for this event.

What should concern all Edgartown residents and especially those within earshot of this facility is that what started out as a private club that didn’t really fit in very well has proven that it wants to be more. As this happens, the unlawful activities impact the quality of life in the surrounding neighborhood, and the facility owners are empowered to continue to take advantage of lax enforcement in Edgartown.

We should all comply with the law and when those laws are deliberately violated we should voice our concern to those who should be helping us. I certainly wish the board of trade all the success they deserve (although they did not return my phone calls), but if this concerns you, call the Edgartown building inspector at 508-627-6115 if you hear music this Saturday night. The Edgartown police diligently enforce our noise ordinance, so if you hear music after 10 p.m. (the town standard for residential areas), call them as well. I have called Mr. Jason several times, and every year I am told to call him if I hear anything (which I do) and nothing happens. So maybe he needs to hear from more people to be encouraged to enforce the law.

David Nash



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to the West Tisbury assessors:

I just received my quarterly tax bill and was shocked to see a 37 per cent rise in my quarterly payment. I have been a 30-year seasonal resident in West Tisbury and am a professional economist here in Connecticut who chaired the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors under Governor Rell.

The town must recognize that double-digit hikes in local property taxes are counterproductive to the town’s long-term economic development and will erode the region’s quality of life if the town chooses to live beyond the means of its residents. I have spoken on many occasions here in Connecticut about how the primary generators of consumer wealth: stocks, jobs, and housing have all consolidated after one of the worst recessions since World War II. I find it highly offensive to tax local residents with these sorts of increases at a time when seniors are earning little in the way of fixed income investments, housing values have declined, and job recovery rates are dramatically lagging prior economic recoveries. In fact, most taxpayers are now seeing growth in consumer spending power that is running one-third to one-half what is normal.

Most importantly, economic research from Moody’s, one of the most respected economic consulting firms in the U.S., shows that 40 per cent of a region’s job growth is tied to the costs of doing business. By adding to the state and local tax burden, the town is in effect undermining long-term job creation within the region, placing greater financial stress on its seniors, and demonstrating a clear lack of fiscal discipline. In effect, a rising tax burden unchecked implies that we become less competitive from an economic development standpoint, which will adversely impact its residents in the long run.

If the town lacks a fundamental understanding of the implications from an economic development standpoint, then maybe the town would do well to reconsider its tax policies and its effect on its aging population base. In the long run, everyone must live within their means. This is a message that seems to get lost in the public sector, while the private sector deals with it every day. It’s time for the town to broaden its perspective!

Don Klepper-Smith

New Haven, Conn.,

and West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

At the town meeting in November, the town of West Tisbury voted to ban dogs from Lambert’s Cove Beach. With that vote came the responsibility of the town, through the parks and recreation department, to enforce it. That meant hiring attendants to cover the additional hours of 7 to 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. to dark, new signage, and whatever else the park and recreation committee does to facilitate their duties.

I believe the budget for the town for the following year (2012) was due in December. For some reason, park and recreation did not submit any request for additional monies to cover these new expenses.

The fact that the town voted to allow dogs in the morning hours at the April town meeting does not change the town’s responsibility to provide attendants to cover those hours. The town is finally, at the last moment, calling a special town meeting to ask the voters for additional funds to cover expenses that were already necessary. Unfortunately, the timing makes it appear to many people as if the partial repeal of the ban is somehow responsible for the extra expense. It’s not. The ban itself is the cause of the extra expense.

What did change is that a group of concerned West Tisbury residents who treasure the beach and love their dogs formed a committee called the Friends of Lambert’s Cove Beach. Their intention is to facilitate safety, sanitation and education. They listened to the concerns of those who don’t want dogs on the beach, and came up with solutions intended to accommodate both sides.

They are willing to provide volunteers in the parking lot in the morning hours to greet dog owners, to educate them on the need to keep their dogs under control, to pick up after their dogs and abide by the rules set up by the park and recreation committee. The committee already has volunteer commitments to cover a good part of the summer schedule.

Friends of Lambert’s Cove Beach have also begun fundraising. These funds will go toward a donation of dog bags and extra disposal containers to supplement what the town provides, and which the group will maintain throughout the summer. The group is also willing to gift the town money to go toward the payroll of an attendant in the morning.

The Friends of Lambert’s Cove Beach want to help the town of West Tisbury and alleviate some of this burden, by providing volunteer greeters and money in the form of donations to help cover expenses during the morning hours. They are showing a wholehearted, earnest effort to preserve and protect Lambert’s Cove Beach.

Karen English

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I was recently invited to the Chilmark School community lunch, and that delectable experience, so perfect in every detail, confirmed for me once and for all times, that the Chilmark School — students, teachers, parents and just us ordinary community members — is a model for the richest kind of learning community. When I walked up Middle Road afterwards, I felt so high in spirits and high in hopes for the well being of our world. Far more than delicious (which it was!), this luncheon was the culmination of the goals and dreams and caring thoughts and energies of many good people working together for our community good. Meg Higgins, Lindsey Scott, Chef Robert Lionette and those many children and parent and teachers and certainly head of school Susan Stevens, and . . . oh, each of you.

I think of my own good fortune in being and sharing some small part of all of this. How you transformed this large utilitarian space into an inviting, aesthetically appealing banquet hall, what sparkling conversations could be heard, softly, but so interestingly throughout the room, and of course the menu of our fresh Island food was inspired.

I hope you can share my thoughts and my feelings of gratitude and delight.

Lillian Kellman



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The nuclear power plant in Plymouth is being relicensed. This is an old plant of the same design and with the same safety issues as the plant in Japan which failed last year. The radiation released in Japan reached far further than the distance between Plymouth and Martha’s Vineyard.

There is a 10-mile zone around the plant that is planned for emergency evacuation. This does not include the Cape or Martha’s Vineyard. The Bourne and Sagamore bridges over the canal will be closed in an emergency, preventing us from reaching safety.

People from the Vineyard and Cape Cod will be demonstrating to draw attention to these problems in the following locations: Sunday, May 13, at 1 p.m. at the Bourne Bridge; and Sunday, May 20, at 1 p.m. in Plymouth near the plant.

Transportation will be available from Woods Hole. For information and to request transportation for May 13, call Chris Riger at 508-560-2019. To request transportation and information for May 20, call Cynthia Aguilar at 508-693-6078. Details are at

Chris Riger and Cynthia Aguilar

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

On May 8, Aquinnah was the final town to pass a resolution in support of Sen. Dan Wolf and Rep. Tim Madden in their effort to get big money out of politics through Senate bill number 772. To celebrate the fact that all the towns on the Island voted to support them, there will be a short ceremony on Saturday, May 12, at 10:45 a.m. at the West Tisbury Library. Senator Wolf and Representative Madden will be there, along with selectmen and county commissioners. The public is invited to attend.

Zee Gamson



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I woke up to the best news in years this morning, when I read that federal immigration officials will activate the Secure Communities program statewide in Massachusetts on May 15, despite strong opposition from Gov. Deval Patrick and advocacy groups.

Last summer when Sen. Scott Brown came here, I told him Martha’s Vineyard is a sanctuary Island and Massachusetts is a sanctuary state for illegal aliens who are taking our jobs and draining our resources; when did he think this will finally end?

Well now I know — May 15.

Woody Williams

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I retired in 1999 with affection for the Island and my hometown intact. I was interested in local politics. I was told why bother, nothing changes, it’s Oak Bluffs politics, ho hum. Oh no, I replied, if you don’t participate, you have no right to complain.

I attended selectmen, town and park commissioners meetings, not aware of the agenda until arrival. It seemed to me, if one did not agree with some town activity, the mantra was, it’s good for business, without explanation or discussion.

In the autumn of 2010, I was assured that the only parking allowed on Lakeside Park would be the antique autos and vendors for the Harbor Fest. The vendors’ cars would be there the day of the festival and all be gone soon after activity ceased. Some sort of stickers would be provided for these folks and police barricades would be put up at entry points. The antique cars were there representing not-for-profit groups. The vendors are profit-making folks. Guess what? The autos were there. Other cars parked the night before, the day of the event and afterwards without stickers. There was an event, so labeled by the police, the night before. All cars were searched. Imagine. Ah well, it’s good for business. It’s Oak Bluffs politics, ho hum.

During a previous administration, a selectman was chosen by a majority of board members to serve a consecutive term as chairman. It was pointed out that this was not acceptable according to rules set out for selectman. This was found to be correct and a new chairman was chosen. The law was discontinued by a majority of the sitting board. Ah well, Oak Bluffs politics, ho hum.

In 2010, the open meeting law was being strictly enforced by the attorney general, statewide. The main tenet being that the agenda of every meeting must be available 48 hours previous to each meeting, excluding holidays and weekends for all to view. At a selectman’s meeting, selectman Gail Barmakian said they could not participate in the meeting as the agenda had not been posted or made available as determined by law. Four other selectmen disagreed. They could not possibly reschedule the meeting due to other commitments. Ms. Barmakian said in all good conscience she could not continue. She excused herself, departed and the meeting continued. Oak Bluffs politics, ho hum.

We thought a fresh wind of changes came over the horizon with results of the 2011 election. The board changed with two new folks on the board and two retired. Selectman Kathy Burton was elected chairman with Ms. Barmarkian as vice chairman. The electorate was pleased. Hooray, Oak Bluffs politics, change is in the air.

Traditionally, she would be chosen as chairman or even vice chairman this year as she is due for reelection in 2013. It would have been a respectful act. Ah well, Oak Bluffs politics, ho hum.

The continuing mantra persists in response to seasonal park activities. It’s good for business, no, is it good for our town. If one does not agree, one is considered a troublesome person. Ah well, change was nice for awhile. Oak Bluffs politics, ho hum.

It’s déjà vu all over again.

Barbara Hoyle

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

We would like to thank all who participated in the recent book fair held at the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore to benefit the Martha’s Vineyard public school libraries. The kickoff party was great fun, with the opportunity to browse the latest releases and meet with guest authors, Kate Feiffer, Greg Mone and Colleen Paratore who so generously donated their time. We’d also like to thank Dawn Braasch and Susan Savory of Bunch of Grapes for being so thoughtful, thorough and helpful from start to finish. It was a pleasure to team with them in this true community effort. All our school libraries were beneficiaries beyond expectations, so on behalf of our student readers and school community, we offer our thanks to everyone at the bookstore and all the children’s department shoppers who contributed to the success of this event.

Whitney Burke

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I would like to respond to a recent letter by May Baldwin and Susan Spence regarding Lambert’s Cove Beach. They wrote: “It would be sad to go the route of locking everything up tight as a drum, as many off-Island communities have done, and become unrecognizable as the special place that this is.” This is laughable because West Tisbury already denies public walk-on access to Lambert’s Cove, a town park. Hopefully they will respond to this; otherwise they will contradict another part of their letter where they state: “West Tisbury is a wonderful community known for its lively debates.” And if the town is so wonderful, why don’t they share the beach?

Erik Albert

Oak Bluffs