Time Out in Tisbury

Following a passionately fought campaign about whether Tisbury should allow restaurants to sell beer and wine, voters have spoken on the matter by the most slender of margins — two votes.

A recount of the historic tie vote decided the matter last week, and Tisbury will remain a dry town.

Backers of the alcohol sales initiative, having come so close, now want to bring the issue back before the voters as quickly as possible.

But the town is weary from this campaign and needs a rest.

Selectmen Tristan Israel and Denys Wortman are right to take a stand against placing a question on the next special town meeting warrant that will relaunch the process, one that would involve getting another home rule petition through the state legislature and a vote at next year’s annual town meeting.

Speaking with the seasoned perspective of a longtime elected official, Mr. Israel perceptively observes that the battle over beer and wine has distracted Tisbury from more important matters. There are other pressing priorities: a master plan drawn by the planning board needs attention and the question of how to consolidate municipal buildings, some of which are outdated, must be resolved.

Backers of the beer and wine initiative can still easily gather enough signatures to place the issue on a special town meeting warrant and force another vote — possibly as early as this fall.

They have a ready ally in newly elected selectman Jeff Kristal, a businessman who worked long and hard on behalf of the proposal to approve the sale of beer and wine.

But Tisbury voters elected Mr. Kristal to represent the broad interests of the entire town, and he would do well at this early stage to not push the beer and wine initiative too hard. As any seasoned politician knows, things are different when you are sitting on the other side of the table.

There comes a time in the electoral process when a community’s members must think of the greater good of that community, even if they’ve come out on the losing side of a vote. That time has come in Tisbury.