Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

A functioning democracy requires the participation of its citizens.

That is something which we in the United States take for granted.

But the reality is that very few people actually take the time and trouble to take part in their local political processes, leaving decisions that affect them to be made by the very few activists.

By participation, I don’t just mean speaking up at annual town meeting.

Participation means running for office, joining committees, and attending town committee meetings in which you have an interest.

If you don’t take part, what right do you have to complain?

We have elections coming up soon in Oak Bluffs. Deadline for taking out a nominating petition is Feb. 22. Go to the town clerk for details.

Steve Auerbach

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

It just seems inconceivable that the cell service here is so terrible. Each company has service somewhere but none have it all over the Island. I happen to have AT& T (wasn’t it known as Ma Bell once?). I live and mostly work up-Island so that is the area I am most familiar with. No service up most of South Road, same for North Road in Chilmark. Menemsha is terrible, same with north shore and Lambert’s Cove in West Tisbury. The center of the Island is not much better — no service near NStar in Oak Bluffs, etc. etc.

This is unacceptable. This is the place where many of the rich and famous come and they — and we — deserve better cell service.

The question is, what can be done to get this service? Whose fault is it that we don’t have near perfect coverage? Do we need a petition? Sent to whom?

I would love to see one of the newspapers take this up as an in-depth reporting issue.

Let’s hear from everyone who feels like I do.

Bill Haynes

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I would like to voice my opinion on what Sheriff Michael McCormack did as far as bringing Kelly McCarron home.

I truly believe that Mr. McCormack overstepped his authority in this matter. Miss McCarron was sentenced to serve one year for a crime she committed. She was sentenced by a judge, not by Mr. McCormack. Therefore I don’t think Mr. McCormack should be the one who says whether an inmate should or should not be released from a county jail or state prison. Mr. McCormack says that she aws not eating and was losing weight. Barnstable has mental health workers, so all Miss McCarron had to do was contact one of them for her problems. As far as what Mr. McCormack said about Miss McCarron not being allowed to use a computer, that is false. Barnstable has about 10 computers in the school room. All she had to do was sign up for the computer class. The women sentenced to Barnstable also get to leave their pod and go to the library. And they also get to work in the print shop. (I know all this because I just got done serving 28 months at Barnstable, from October 2007 to March 2010).

I truly believe that Miss McCarron was in a place where she could have gotten all the help she needed for her problems.

Mr. McCormack’s last statement says who do you help? My answer to that would be, how about the victims? They lost a daughter.

I hope that Mr. McCormack realizes that he just opened the door for any Island resident that is serving a state prison sentence the right to come back to the Island to serve the rest of their time at home as well. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander — isn’t that how the saying goes?

Joseph Montesion Jr.

Milton, Fla.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Cong. William R. Keating was among 11 members of the Massachusetts delegation who signed the following letter sent to President Obama this week:

We are writing to express our deep concern about the potential for funding cuts in Community Services Block Grants that may be included in the administration’s budget request for fiscal year 2012. While we understand that the improvement of our nation’s budgetary outlook will require difficult choices, we believe that cutting CSBGs, which are the source of funding for community action programs, will hinder, rather than help, our nation’s economic recovery. Accordingly, we respectfully request that the administration leave intact funding levels for CSBGs when it submits its FY12 budget proposal to Congress later this month.

As you know, community action programs are the federal government’s only comprehensive approach to addressing the needs of vulnerable citizens and helping struggling Americans get the services they need to achieve economic security. Covering 1,065 agencies in 99 per cent of U.S. counties, community action programs last year provided critical supports such as employment, education and housing to 20.7 million Americans facing an array of enormous challenges ranging from extreme poverty, disability, and lack of employment. Community action programs created and retained 18,432 jobs over the past two years, ranking eighth out of approximately 200 Recovery Act federal programs.

In Massachusetts, we have seen firsthand the incredible positive impact of Action for Community Development, a widely respected community services program founded in 1962. ABCD makes a difference every day for 80,000 individuals and their families in the commonwealth every year. ABCD has a network of hundreds of neighborhood offices, Head Start centers, Family Planning sites, fuel assistance sites throughout the city, helping residents get back on their feet, find jobs and pay taxes. Moreover, every CSBG dollar is multiplied 20 times over in private and public funds raised to support community programs and meet needs.

. . . . We respectfully submit, Mr. President, that cuts to CSBG funding would sever the indispensable lifelines that are relied upon each day by our country’s most vulnerable. We appreciate your consideration of our request to preserve CSBG funding in your Administration’s FY12 budget proposal and stand ready to work with you as we confront the challenges facing our nation in the future.

William R. Keating



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I am sorry the West Tisbury Grange is closing. Maybe it could be a small live-in community and members would not have to go out at night for meetings.

Bonnie Green

Atlanta, Ga.