Islander's Blog

Goodman’s Gam

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Is anybody surprised that a board on Nantucket broke the open meeting law? Some members on the Planning Board shared information via e-mails. Because a quorum of board members read said e-mail (and responded), the law was breached. Openly. Normally, what happens (I’m not pointing a finger at any one board, though it takes place all of the time) is that members speak to one another in person or on the telephone.

As long as it’s less than a quorum, the conversation is legal. After two members talk, one or both of them may get in touch with other board members. That way members are telling the truth when they say the open meeting law wasn’t broken. I believe deniability is the word associated with this practice. To my mind there’s little difference when board members communicate in this fashion.

In this case, the offending members made the mistake of putting it on paper, in this instance cyberspace. There may be people sitting on local boards who will say they’ve never done this sort of behind-the-scene disclosure with other members. They are in the distinct minority. I’m not putting people down who sit on boards that speak to one another. It’s natural to do so; therefore the surprise factor was a none out of 10 for me.

The Christmas Stroll was an awfully wet affair, another non-surprise. Just as it always rains after a dirt road is plowed, or we receive gale-force winds once the downtown Christmas trees are decorated. On Nantucket foul-weather gear for celebrations is required. That and waiting for the steamship to run after the February school holiday is over.

Many visitors dislike it when thy get stuck on-island. I enjoy the fact that going or coming here might be delayed. Remember when there were but two steamship trips per day in the off-season, and very few commercial airplanes flew to the mainland? The boat went to Woods Hole, a lovely town whose primary feature when waiting for the return trip was a refreshment at the Lee Side.

I don’t believe I’ve ever left the rock in lousy weather. Normally when it’s time to go, the day is sunny and beautiful. Trying to return on several occasions, I’ve had the luxury of staying in a Hyannis motel, without a bathing suit, preventing me from using the best feature of the hostelry. At least most of the other people staying there overnight were acquaintances often seen in the grocery store, lumberyard or post office.

A sign of the times (and it’s a good one) are the bottles of hand-washing liquid displayed at some local businesses. Three that come to mind are the Stop & Shop, Marine Lumber and Mitchell’s Books. If we’re serious about slowing the spread of flu and the common cold, hand-washing is a great way to begin.

I remember the Stop & Shop used to have wipes at the end of the meat counter for when packages leaked juice on your hand. Now, they have a station right as one enters the store. Thank you, and I include shops not mentioned here. It makes sense for a business to offer the liquid. This is an inexpensive way to let your customers know you’re thinking of them and their health.

I looked askance at the Wilkes Square project at first, and then a nice woman told me to dig deeper. I have and am even more opposed than I was the first time around. We don’t need a hotel, parking garage or more boutique shops in our downtown. I seem to remember that local citizens put the kibosh on a downtown parking garage, and we have a large hotel that isn’t finished yet. Does Nantucket need more shops?

This is being called a Business Improvement District. Maybe it might improve business for lessees of new shops, but in the process it will make local merchants lose customers and their till will be less than full. I’m not looking for more “improvements” such as this. If someone wants to improve things, let’s stick to our crumbling infrastructure.

People visit Nantucket for our beaches, sun and cool summer breezes, and the beauty of a small town preserved in time. If we assent to a faux development a block off Main Street, then this cobbled sand spit has sold out to the almighty buck, and it’s being perpetrated by town planners that our taxes pay for.

You’ll hear that the town isn’t paying for this, and doesn’t own the land there. Development by private entities will still cost all of us in the end. You may be sure that some of our taxes will go to a number of services resulting from this. They say they are responsible for pretty much everything, but traffic problems and trashing the fabric of our community are not in their prospectus. Zoning changes will be needed for this, there’s another mess we shouldn’t have to deal with. It’s reminiscent of the Sherburne Commons (soon-to-be) fiasco.

The worst part of this scenario is our loss of identity. This idea translates to a visit to the mainland. Unfortunately over water transport won’t be needed to see the result of this violation of and to Nantucket’s beauty.

I was pleased to see Martha Coakley run away with the Democratic U.S. Senate primary. The best part of the entire night was to see Steve Pagliuca come in last after spending multiple millions of his own funds for 12 percent of the vote. Money can’t buy you love (of the voters). Unless someone finds a skeleton in her closet, our current attorney general will soon be living part-time in D.C.

There’s an old saying that sums up the Tiger Woods episode: “Time wounds all heels.” I never understand why people cheat on their partners. If you’re unhappy and are unable to coexist with them, get out of the relationship . . . and move on.

Now the Patriots have to move on, and get their act together. At the rate they’re going, they’ll have an early vacation after the New Year.

The Celtics have come together and look solid. As do the Boston Bruins.
– Goodman’s Gam appears weekly in this space and monthly in The Inquirer and Mirror.

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