Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to the Dukes County Commission:

Speaking as friends of the county, we believe that the manner in which the county commissioners fill the unexpired term of Paul Strauss will be both pivotal and crucial.

Pivotal because an accident of timing thrusts the decision making into a period of flux. Behind us is the history of the county under the charter of 1992, still in force. Also, immediately behind lies the extraordinarily thorough examination and report by the current charter study commission. Ahead lies the electorate’s November action in regard to the proposed changes by the charter study commission. But at this moment, a new charter proposal is on the table. We believe that the commission’s current task in decision making is the pivot between the past and the future.

Crucial because the manner in which this decision is made will determine how the county will be perceived by the citizens of Martha’s Vineyard. It may also determine how the new charter proposals will fare in November. Having in mind the current attitudes of many Vineyard residents toward county government, the interest of voters in the report of the charter study commission and the imminence of the vote, up or down, on its recommendations for change — for all these reasons, the commissioners must know that the public will be watching not only their choice, but the process by which they make it. Public trust and confidence in county government need to be rebuilt on the Island.

We urge you, the commissioners, to assure the electorate that the procedure will be transparent and fair. This would require that criteria for choice be carefully thought through, then discussed in a public meeting and advertised well in advance of the candidate interviews. It is equally important that both the interview process and the discussion of each candidate’s credentials be in open session, and that measures be taken to assure that the entire procedure is eminently fair.

This appointment is a golden opportunity to reassure Dukes County citizens that county government is both important and worth preserving.

Tip Kenyon, Margaret Logue

and Susan Wasserman


and West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

On Sunday, July 27 at the Union Chapel in a surprise interruption of the scheduled guest preacher Rev. Todd J. Williams, the Rev. Elizabeth Walker of Channel 4 WBZ fame introduced herself to the congregation as having spoken previously as a guest preacher, before delivering a thinly veiled stump for Presidential candidate Barack Obama. She did not mention his opponent in her message to the congregation (mostly adults well over the voting age) that it was very important to get out and vote. Reverend Walker’s remarks about the Obama candidacy took place in a church which presumably enjoys a privileged tax status.

Lest the reader think that this was a small matter, I would invite him or her to contact the former rector Rev. George Regas of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, Calif., whose church had to hire legal counsel to defend their tax immunity upon a challenge by the IRS. That process took over two years. Many in that congregation had to wonder what portion of their weekly contributions went to that defense effort.

I wonder why Reverend Walker with her news background would not have paused to consider that using her status as a preacher to endorse a political candidate was at least inappropriate if not ill-advised.

Richard Myers

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The rowing team under the auspices of Sail Martha’s Vineyard owe a huge thanks to Phil Hale and the Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard for donating their time, boat and gas toward the towing of visiting rowing gigs for the Vineyard Cup competition. The towing was well orchestrated, the arrivals on time, and the people involved extremely efficient and knowledgeable. We truly believe that without the generous donation of this service that the Vineyard Cup would most likely not have had competitors from off-Island. Thank you.

Alice Goyert

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I would like to personally thank all the volunteers, the Farm Institute included, for all their spirited and energetic help at our recent Meals in the Meadow at the Farm Institute. We could not have been more pleased with how you served so willingly and with such aplomb.

I would also like to say a heartfelt thanks to all those who stepped up to the plate and gave so generously the items for our auction. You were so easy with your giving, and I loved every one of you for your community spirit — I did.

Al’s Package Store was just as faithful as always, and I thank you, Gary, for donating the beverages and standing right there with us again this year. You are so appreciated.

Jerry Bennett and your band, you were just the best. You engaged the audience like no tomorrow . . . people who don’t even dance, danced. You raised the bar up to the skies.

Trippy, you gave it your all, and that thrilled us no end. Thanks, friend. You raised so much money that we are beside ourselves with joy and gratitude.

There were many who helped us bring great success to the Farm with Meals in the Meadow, but I know these players as people for me personally made it an easier ride as co-chairman. You stole my heart with your willingness and energy and generosity. I just had to say thanks personally — you were so pivotal, and I am sending you a big thanks from my fundraising heart.

We could not have had the success we had were it not for you. Thanks, buddies!

Doris Ward