Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
As an individual who works in Chilmark within the confines of two stone walls, a split-rail fence and some indefinable wire construction, I know that, as Frost wrote, good fences make good neighbors. And while they may not prevent zoning disputes or Dark Shadows-style McMansion encroachment, not to mention the erosion of Lucy Vincent beach or the occasional American Racer coiling in the outdoor shower, a well-conceived and maintained fence indeed serves the public good, defining and protecting the historic agricultural vitality, extended family integrity and ongoing environmental sustainability of our community. Many are highly attractive to the seasonal species of moped, which veer wildly across the roadway to have a helpless rider snap an iPhoto of said good fencing. So much public good.
And just as I know how well Warren Doty and crew manage the desperate haranguing of democracy at selectmen’s meetings, how Denny Jason (Senior) handles the water-borne Dukes of Hazzard in Menemsha Harbor, I know we need an equivalent high bar of equal parts post-modern intellect and old-school cowboy wrangling to manage the boundaries that define us, contain us, connect us — okay, and separate us when necessary (cf. the Zoias and their not-so-happy neighbors).
With that in mind, I ask my friends and working colleagues in Chilmark to support (i.e., vote for) Sam Feldman who has put himself, his integrity and the limits of his email inbox forward as a candidate for the vital public trust position of fence viewer. Sam is so over-qualified for this job that in fact I urge Edgartown to pick him up for the same position (albeit then including picket fences and Martha Stewart-parsed palettes of the color white) much as Lenny Jason covers zoning issues for both towns, not to mention roundabouts for everyone else.
A vote for Sam is a vote for common-sense mediation in a time of political turmoil. A vote for Sam is a vote for rational fencing (forget the Tortilla Fence to the southwest) in private property and public dialogue. A vote for Sam is, well, a vote for a really good guy who cares deeply about and invests in this community, even without an off-season market and a reasonable wine-and-beer licensing strategy that might help out a number of our nonprofit organizations, not to mention up-Island commecial establishments. But that’s an argument for another day.
Sam Feldman for fence viewer. I dare you to come up with a better candidate (and if you can’t, please forward this message).
David R. White, Chilmark