Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I find it embarrassing to reside in a town where the issue of dogs walking on a private town beach is discussed in length, yet at the same time we do not discuss and continue to exclude from our beaches all outside members of our community. The same beach privatization is true for the towns of Chilmark and Aquinnah. I think it is now time a compromise is reached whereby each of these three private beach towns at least allow access to the first 10 to 30 Island-based non-town residents that arrive at their respective gates each morning. The concept of a public government enforcing a natural resource for exclusivity is not a legacy I am proud to leave in the minds of our children or a way to enhance community spirit. We are all proud to live in a progressive and highly educated community, yet this exclusive beach policy seems like it was conceived by very narrow-minded individuals who failed to understand the negative implications of government-sponsored exclusivity.

Paul Adler

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Tisbury voters, please vote yes on question three on April 24. The ballot question deals with funding negotiations between the board of selectmen and the Tisbury municipal workers union for an additional step on the union wage scale.

As it is currently set up, town employees go through a six-step process, or one step per year. After six years, the average town employee has reached the maximum pay on the wage scale. An extra, or seventh step, would provide a modest three per cent increase in pay for those who reach that level.

We, your town employees understand that times are hard and that we are fortunate to have work, but in paying for the increases we face for health insurance, child care and general costs of living our pay-per-hour has diminished. At a time when even a small cost of living increase is questionable, please vote yes on question three, and support your hard-working town employees! Thank you.

Laura Barbera

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I recently returned from a vacation in the U.K.

I was traveling through London and was reminded that in the U.K. there are many roundabouts. Where the traffic on a major road dominates the roundabout, traffic lights are installed to allow traffic from the minor roads to enter the roundabout.

I feel pretty certain that the residents of Oak Bluffs will find it necessary for traffic lights to be installed (at the cost to local taxpayers!) to allow Barnes Road traffic to enter the roundabout at peak times, if the roundabout is built. Why, therefore, not just install traffic lights for peak time use, instead of the roundabout?

Max Skjoldebrand

West Tisbury, London and formerly Dubai


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Casinos will be a blight on the Island. I am opposed to casinos in general, but especially on Martha’s Vineyard. Casinos take advantage of those people who can least afford to squander their money on gambling. Consider the problem of gambling addiction and the many ruined lives that will result. They take away business from existing restaurants and shops. The low-level service jobs they create are not what the Island economy needs. The Wampanoags can certainly find a more wholesome use for their land!

Christine Powers



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As a frequent Island visitor and someone who knows how much my daughter’s family enjoys the Family Center, I am extremely disappointed in the school committee’s recent decision to relocate Family Center. The Family Center epitomizes what the Vineyard represents — a vibrant, diverse place to raise a family; it represents the values of its residents and those that come to visit each season. Their first-rate programming, which served over 650 families last year, will be negatively affected by a move. Island families need their services, now more than ever.

Mike Convey

Longboat Key, Fla.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I read with amusement the letter from Alden Besse in the April 6 edition. He inferred that the majority of wealth is owned by conservatives.

A quick study of Vineyard residents would reveal exorbitant wealth owned and controlled by liberal elitists. A glance across Vineyard Sound toward Hyannisport discloses more liberal wealth. A further study of members of both the House and Senate shows huge amounts of wealth owned among the liberals.

The tone of Mr. Besse’s letter simply furthers class warfare and envy, which is the very topic he claims to oppose.

Richard D. Bates

Jaffrey, N.H.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

On behalf of the board of trustees of the West Tisbury Free Public Library, I would like to extend heartfelt thanks to the voters of West Tisbury for their overwhelming show of support at town meeting and at the polls last week. Expansion and renovation of our library has been in discussion for decades. The success of this project is the result of long years of hard work and generosity from hundreds of year-round and seasonal residents in our community.

What comes next? We’ve scheduled the project so the work will occur mostly during the off-season months. The library will move to temporary quarters when construction begins in November. Construction will take 12 to 14 months, and we hope to reopen by the end of 2013.

Thank you once again for your involvement, your support and your patience during the very exciting year ahead.

Linda Hearn

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

It is time for Edgartown (and perhaps other towns as well) to streamline the town meeting process to reduce substantially the time spent on matters on which no effective vote can be taken or as to which there is no argument and to allocate more time to the discussion of controversial issues. Town meetings that run late into the evening not only discourage attendance but also compress the time for dialogue on important issues.

One suggestion is to create an optional “soap-box” session at the end of the meeting for matters where no vote is required and in which the town has no legally binding role to play, such as the article on the last warrant to support state legislation seeking to impose limitations on First Amendment rights. This suggestion is in no way intended to denigrate the committed citizens who put considerable time and thought into composing moving poems or speeches given at town meetings. Their interest in their town is laudable, but I am sure even they would prefer speaking to an interested audience rather than a captive audience.

A second suggestion would be to handle the articles on the warrant in a manner similar to the manner in which budget items are handled. If we assign to each numbered article a short title describing the general nature of its content similar to the titles assigned to legislation, the moderator could start the meeting by calling out the number and short title for each article in succession, and any voter could reserve any article to be held for later discussion. The town could then vote to adopt all uncontested articles in one vote. Perhaps for legal reasons articles relating to bylaw changes would have to be automatically reserved for discussion and a separate vote, but certainly the vast bulk of articles on the warrant could be passed in a single “batch” vote.

This second suggestion would end the need for reading through, moving, seconding the motion and then voting on each of the numerous articles that do nothing but move money between accounts (except in the rare case where someone had an issue with any such transfer), and would eliminate the need for town officials to defend their department’s proposals or expenditures in lengthy speeches only to find out that no one opposed them in the first place.

By adopting these two suggestions, the bulk of the voters’ time could then be focused on the few articles that require discussion and voters would not feel as pressured to curtail those important discussions because of the late hour at which they are brought to the floor.

Ronald L. Monterosso



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Many years ago I presented a bird unit to my gifted second graders. This came about when we had the opportunity to have a caged owl in the classroom for a week. We covered many birds but my main interest was the owl.

A few years ago I decided to do an owl unit with my friends’ visiting grandchildren. They learned all about the different owls via poems, songs, pictures and stories. At the end of the lessons we decided to visit an ice cream parlor. On the walls of the parlor were displayed photos of Julian’s owls.

When we left the shop we bumped into none other than Julian himself. The children were simply delighted and I don’t think they will ever forget about Julian and all the owls.

Later on I began a scrapbook for all Julian’s photos and poems. Thanks to Julian I renewed my interest in birds and became a passive bird watcher. That is, I view the birds from my windows and deck and keep a journal illustrated with sketches of the birds I view.

Keeping my 18 bird feeders full while repelling the clever acrobatic squirrels is quite a task but oh what a rewarding and fascinating experience.

Thank you Julian, you wise old owl.

Claudia Bowser

Oak Bluffs