From the Vineyard Gazette editions of June, 1983
The three Steamship Authority governors, facing a battle with Vineyard commuters that may cost the boat line $25,000 in legal fees, are digging in for the fight.
The last hope for compromise died this week when commuters rejected an offer by the authority to reduce the number of tickets in each commuter book. Thus, the flap over increased commuter ticket prices entered its sixth month and both sides are preparing for a second Department of Public Utilities hearing.
Authority governors voted last week to reduce the number of tickets included in the commuter book from 46 to 40 rides, cutting the price of each book from $69 to $55. The price of each ticket would remain at $1.50. But they agreed to make the smaller book available only if the commuters dropped the DPU appeal.
The offer was rejected by Mark Alexander, head of the Martha’s Vineyard Commuter Association, who called it a “repackaging” of a previous proposal.
Attorney Lawrence Fordham suggested the authority settle with the commuters before the hearing at which Mr. Alexander will be allowed to question the governors. “With the DPU involved you’re not only fighting with the commuters, you’re fighting with the commonwealth,” Mr. Fordham said.
The governors took a hard line on the issue, with Nantucket representative Bernard Grossman calling the commuters “a small, dissident group,” and suggesting the commuter rate be abolished. Vineyard member Alfred Ferro said, “The commuters have always made noise. They have the best deal of everybody.”
The Fourth of July parade is the place for decorum, patriotism and national spirit, and certainly not a place to march for un-American causes, John Farrar told the Edgartown selectmen this week. He’s on the town parade committee and wants to make sure the parade this year isn’t marred by a “Coxey’s Army-rag-tag, hairy-chested, frivolous, frumpy, smelly, half-dressed people who march against the United States, which has always kept us strong.”
Mr. Farrar and his colleagues on the committee alluded to last year’s parade, when a number of people joined the Vineyard Alliance for Peace float from the sidelines after the parade started. Committee members said they don’t want to be “sand-bagged” again this year and asked the selectmen to support their power to determine who marches in the parade. Coxey’s Army refers to several hundred unemployed, led by Joseph Coxey, who marched to Washington in 1894 during a severe economic depression to seek a change in legislation.
Selectman Fred Morgan agreed. “My feeling is you’re absolutely right. I want the parade to be as it has been. It’s not a parade for causes or issues. That’s not what people are coming to watch. This is one tradition I don’t want to see spoiled. It would be a shame to have some diversionary action.”
Someone, somewhere, is kicking themselves for being careless. Among the keys, sunglasses and garments saved for the lost and found by the Oak Bluffs police department is an unusual item discovered last week on the ground outside the post office.
It’s a brown wallet, and inside is a plastic pouch containing an impressive amount of cocaine. Chief Peter Williamson says it’s hard to imagine someone losing such a thing. Because there is no identification in the wallet, its owner is impossible to locate, he says. “Whoever lost it is welcome to come in and identify it,” the chief says with a grin.
Rob Call had a scheme to offer helicopter service between Chappaquiddick and Boston for weekend commuters, and he was ready to go until Friday. He knows of the demand here because he’s been coming to the Vineyard for 10 years and has friends on Chappaquiddick. His company recently bought the right kind of helicopter for the service, and set the price at $158 round-trip. His company already uses a helipad in downtown Boston, and he found a Chappaquiddick helipad listed in the Massachusetts Aeronautical Commission directory.
So Mr. Call began calling some Edgartown hotels to tell them about the new service. That’s when the plan hit a snag. Edgartown executive secretary Peter Bettencourt heard about the service and wondered where Mr. Call thought he was going to land on Chappy. It’s all residentially zoned, and its only helipad is under a temporary injunction imposed by the local conservation commission. Mr. Bettencourt told Mr. Call that Walter Wood’s helipad may have been built without appropriate permits, and also said that local zoning bylaws prohibit business activities in a residential district without a special permit. Mr. Call said he did not know about the injunction and did not know about any regulations. Later Mr. Call said he has just a few problems to work out before he gets the service into operation.
“I haven’t even talked to Mr. Woods yet,” he said. But if Mr. Woods’s helipad doesn’t work out, he said, “I do have friends who live on Chappaquiddick, whose names I won’t mention, who might build a helipad. We’ll get as close to Edgartown as we can get.”
Compiled by Cynthia Meisner