Three Elections Down

Election day has come and gone in West Tisbury, Edgartown, and Oak Bluffs. I was off-island most of the day, taking a friend to a medical appointment in Falmouth and getting Malvina Forester serviced in Bourne. West Tiz did a fine job in my absence. I voted after I got home. The car I drove to the polls was much cleaner than the car I left the island in: Atlantic Subaru offers a complimentary car wash when you come in for servicing. You bet I took advantage of it.

Homemade (by me) sign in front of the Emergency Services Building, where my town votes.

Both West Tisbury and Edgartown voted resoundingly against the roundabout. In WT, the nays numbered 505 and the ayes 175, out of 718 voting: 70.3% no, 24.3% yes, 5.3% blank. In Edgartown the figures were similar: 508 nay and 171 aye, out of 706 voting. Percentages work out to 72% nay, 24.2% aye, and 3.8% blank.

The West Tisbury library’s expansion project cleared its last hurdle as we voted for the Prop 2.5 debt exclusion (you’re going to have to ask either the library trustees or town accountant Bruce Stone to explain the difference between this and an override) necessary to fund the town’s share of the cost. The landslide vote, 556-138, was a fitting tribute to the hard and smart work of all involved.

Contrary to some predictions, Question 2 passed handily, by a 2.5 to 1 margin. Now restaurants that seat at least 50 people can apply for a license to serve beer and wine with meals, and nonprofits can apply for one-day licenses to serve beer and wine at their events. Nonprofits have been doing this for years, but no one realized it was illegal. Now it’s legal. Does this make West Tisbury the island’s third “wet” town? Well — we’re just talking beer and wine here, not cocktails or other hard liquor. We’ll still be traveling to Oak Bluffs and Edgartown for the hard stuff, and for any booze we want to consume at home. I doubt we’ll be bellying up to the bar in my town any time soon.

About Oak Bluffs — well, as noted previously in this blog, Oak Bluffs residents were denied the opportunity to express their opinions about the roundabout on a secret ballot, largely through the machinations of their selectmen. The ringleaders, Greg Coogan and Kathy Burton, were both handily re-elected yesterday. This is not as depressing, or as significant, as it might seem at first glance, because their only opponent was a former selectman whose main virtue was that he was neither Coogan nor Burton. OB’s political problems run deep, and one glaring symptom is that when competent people are elected to public office they’re either sucked into the existing morass or wear themselves out shoveling shit against the tide — while being treated like shit by their fellow officeholders.

The roundabout was on Tuesday’s town meeting warrant, a clever ploy by the selectmen. It came up at the end of a long meeting and was rushed through by both the moderator and the lateness of the hour: after no discussion, and on a voice vote, town meeting voted in favor of the roundabout. Very few people were fooled by this, and those who were almost certainly wanted to be fooled. If Tisbury, Chilmark, and Aquinnah follow the lead of Edgartown and West Tisbury by turning in comparable 70+% majorities against the roundabout, the fooled are going to look even more foolish.

Little sign at the end of my road

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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