Ever since the roundabout resurfaced last spring, we’ve all been itching to put the issue to an island-wide vote. Surely if we, the people got to speak, we could kill this thing?

But for better or worse, there’s no such thing as an island-wide vote. Martha’s Vineyard is one island, yes, but it comprises six towns, each of which holds its own town meetings and its own elections. If you want the whole island to vote on an issue, you have to get it on the ballot and/or the town meeting warrant in each of those six towns.

Well, thanks to the persistence of several people, it’s happening. A referendum on the roundabout is going to be on the ballot this spring in Aquinnah, Chilmark, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, and West Tisbury.

True, the referenda are non-binding. If the nays have it, as I do expect we will, that won’t stop the roundabout. Legal action can’t stop the roundabout. It looks as though even the Martha’s Vineyard Commission couldn’t have stopped the roundabout once the Oak Bluffs board of selectmen made its deal with the devil Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

But I still cherish the illusion that “we, the people” count for something. And now we’ve got a chance to say it loud: We don’t want your roundabout!

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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4 Responses to Referenda

  1. Sharon Stewart says:

    Good luck with that! The days of “we the people” are long gone. It’s “we the corporations” now (though I don’t see a connection to a corp in this particular case).


    • I don’t either, unless it’s GPI, the contractor, and as corps go, they’re teeny-weeny potatoes. Smells more like politics-as-usual, i.e., backroom deals and mutual back-scratching. I’m also reminded of the axiom “Don’t attribute to malice what can be easily explained by stupidity” — to which I’d add “and bull-headed obstinacy.” We shall see (I hope) . . .


  2. This is a terribly frustrating issue….could we get the names and addresses of people in Boston who have the power to stop this thing?


    • It’s frustrating all right. The names and addresses are all posted on the No Roundabout at Blinker page on Facebook. They’ve been contacted ad nauseam, by phone, mail, e-mail, and in person, with (so far) just about zero results. Sen. Wolf and Rep. Madden are oh-so-cordial but oh-so-don’t-want-to-get-involved. There’s now a Boston Globe reporter interested in the story — I hope he can find out what’s going on in the State House, because it sure looks opaque from here. 😦


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