Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission:

The presentation by Luxury Media Partners to place advertising both outside and inside the airport terminal seems to have some merit in that would generate some income for the airport. There are, however, substantial detriments which it appears you have not considered or discussed.

First, any signs on the exterior of the terminal building would have to comply with the West Tisbury zoning bylaw, which is strict about the sorts and sizes of signs which may be placed on the outside of buildings.

Second, do we wish to be “branded” as a luxury destination? Is this the image of Martha’s Vineyard that we wish to promote?

Third, the folks who travel by private jet seldom pass through the terminal so what is the point? Promoting luxury goods projects a very elitist image to those who do and just reinforces the idea that the Vineyard is, indeed, a very expensive place to visit as well as to live.

It also conveys a message that it is okay to pander to one’s own narrow self-interest, and to wantonly consume natural resources. Is this the message that visitors should receive?

Fourthly, and most importantly, do we wish to promote traveling to the Vineyard by private jet? Is this something that has been openly and comprehensively debated by the community, and is it in the best interests of the Island community? I think not.

Many residents have expressed their concern, and annoyance at the impact that the noise of private jets landing and taking off has on their lives, particularly on summer weekends when there is a yo-yo procession of small jets in and out of the airport. It appears that the numbers have increased significantly in the past couple of years, and there are frequent instances of landings and takeoffs in the middle of the night as well.

If the airport commissioners wish to increase income why not dramatically increase the airport fees (this is presuming that there are fees) for virtually all private jets, the only exceptions to be granted for certified medical flights?

This could create a substantial source of income, and also institute consequences for such egregious behavior. Further, why not limit the hours during which the airport can be utilized (always with the exception for certified emergency flights) and establish graded fees so that those landing or taking off late in the evening, or early in the morning pay a significantly larger fee. Thus, all flights from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. would pay one fee, flights would be banned after 10:30 p.m. and before 6:30 a.m., and flights during other times would pay double.

This would convey all the right messages, substantially increase income, and, we hope, decrease the number of offending flights.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

There is ample precedent for limiting the hours during which any airport may be used. San Diego has a ban and so do many other airports.

Virginia Crowell Jones

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Your Sept. 19 lead editorial made several points:

• There is too cozy a relationship between Big Oil and elected officials, with campaign contributions traded for over-generous subsidies. (Right on!).

• Drilling on Georges Bank would ruin a vital fishing ground. (This seems not to be the case in the Gulf or the North Sea, where oil rigs often work like artificial reefs, and the fisheries do at least as well as in non-rig areas. The technology has come a long way since the ’70s.).

• Even if they hit oil, it would take 10 years to reach production. (In the present crisis the mere news that we have started drilling would lower the world market price. Second, our need for oil will continue a lot longer than 10 years, during the complex conversion of our economy to alternative energy sources.)

• There are some stupid Republicans who chant “Drill, baby, drill” without regard for the environment. (There are also some stupid Democrats who hang “Do not ever disturb” signs on the sea’s bed, without regard for the economy. Fortunately, there are leaders in both parties, including Senators McCain and Obama, who take a more balanced approach.)

• The compelling need is for energy conservation. (Again, right on! Ride the bus.)

• We need leaders who will push energy reform as vigorously as Mr. Bush has pushed his “war on terror.” (But maybe with a better sense of direction.)

W.R. Deeble

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Regarding your Friday, Sept. 19, 2008 story headlined A Textbook Derby Leader? No, Just Professor Ogletree.

One of the reasons I love Martha’s Vineyard is its’ residents’ and visitors’ open and accepting attitudes towards people of all backgrounds, regardless of race, ethnicity, orientation, etc.

In light of my experience on the Vineyard, I do not understand why editors consider it appropriate to describe Professor Ogletree as a “black writer, teacher . . .” (my emphasis). Had I caught a large bluefish, I doubt you would have described me as a white summer resident. I doubt the fish caught by Professor Ogletree gave any thought to the race of the angler on the other end of the line.

I think it is great Professor Ogletree held the lead in the derby, however briefly, and wish him the best for the rest of the tournament.

Every time our society emphasizes race when it is irrelevant, it delays achieving the race-blind society we all so deeply desire. Please stop describing our residents and visitors by their race when it is irrelevant.

David E. Charles

Yardley, Pa.

and Edgartown


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

At the Vineyard Haven Public Library last Monday evening, noted poet, human rights activist and woman of letters Rose Styron read from her works and told stories of her travels to a rapt audience of about 50 people. She spoke upstairs in the lounging area with the garden as the backdrop.

Mrs. Styron opened her talk with a reminiscence of her friend, the recently deceased Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, and then read one of his poems, in her own translation. When she started speaking you could have heard a pin drop. The poem spoke of a sultan, representative of repressive power, and his ineffectual attempts to stifle art and poetry. This led naturally into a story of her travel to the Soviet Union with her late husband, the novelist William Styron in 1968, and how that trip began her involvement with the worldwide human rights movement and Amnesty International.

Reading and storytelling for more than an hour, Rose gave us a poetical history of her work and travels with Bill. Then she told us about the year she spent on the Vineyard after Bill’s death. Some of her verses were light; some, whether the subject was repression in St. Petersburg or the complexities of marriage, brought tears to your eyes. It was a bravura performance by a true humanitarian, poet, and Vineyarder.

Betty Burton

Vineyard Haven