Worthwhile Cause

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

On April 14, at Tisbury town meeting, you will be asked once again to vote on whether or not to place the issue of allowing full service restaurants containing at least 30 seats to sell beer and wine on the ballot in 2010.

After the very interesting result of last year’s vote at the ballot (a tie), it seems that quite a few of the taxpayers feel that this is a worthwhile cause, and rightfully so. Having been closely involved in the recount effort, I can tell you that this was democracy at its best.

I’ve written to the papers before; my husband and I are restaurant owners, but even if we weren’t, the sad state of affairs with this depressed economy makes it abundantly clear that we are all suffering in some way or another and out of necessity, changes will be happening — but positive things can come from change. Greener technology, a larger sense of community, so prevalent on Martha’s Vineyard and our growing appreciation for simply having a job.

Tisbury restaurant owners would love to lower prices to bring in more customers, creating larger community spirit, but they simply cannot do that now. Restaurants in wet towns are able to offer price specials, two-for-ones and major food discounts to entice customers. Tisbury restaurants cannot because receipts depend entirely on food sales. How long can some of us hang on? Can we afford to lay off even more workers in the restaurant industry?

There has been some talk about the warrant article containing issues not previously addressed and the suggestion has surfaced that perhaps those in favor of the issue are attempting to get away with something. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In our efforts to be very specific, some items were mistakenly left out, but be assured that all of this will be corrected at town meeting.

A Web site has been created called preservingtisburysfuture.com. This very well assembled site was designed so that many of the misconceptions expressed by some can be clarified. Looking back, this probably should have been done last year, but we learn from our mistakes. However, none of this will matter if you don’t attend town meeting and have your vote counted among those who know that this will be a great step toward preserving Tisbury’s future.

Laura Barbera

Vineyard Haven

Laura Barbera owns Nicky’s Italian Cafe in Vineyard Haven.

Restore Town Vitality

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Open your eyes voters of Tisbury and let them wander no further than our downtown with far too many vacant store fronts. Voting to authorize the sale of beer and wine in restaurants will give Tisbury a chance to restore the vitality to the downtown area it once had. We will stop losing tourists to Oak Bluffs and Edgartown because they can’t have a beer or glass a wine with their meal.

I say this as a resident of Tisbury and someone who was responsible for rewriting the liquor laws for the commonwealth in the 1970s, was chairman of the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission and who has continued to deal with many cities and towns throughout the commonwealth relative to liquor licensing. It is not a big deal people. No one is going to hell over a glass of wine or beer. Wine is a part of all our lives (whether we drink it or not) being a part of religious ceremonies and diplomatic functions from as early as the Last Supper (and before) to the present; and beer (or lack thereof) bei ng the reason why our forefathers landed at PlymouthRock. It is an historicalfact. Check it out.

There are only 10 towns in Massachusetts out of 351 cities and towns that continue to be dry. Three years ago the count was 14. Three of the remaining 10 towns are on the Vineyard including Tisbury, West Tisbury and Chilmark. The others are Cuttyhunk (officially Gosnold) and bedroom communities without a downtown business community like ours.

Let’s get in step with the rest of the world and bring back the vitality to the downtown area that it once had. Beer and wine is not the only answer, but it is one of the answers.

Howard M. Miller

Vineyard Haven