I am writing this letter as an island resident of over 26 years, and as someone who is grateful for the quality of life it affords. Although I have never held an elected or appointed office, I have been deeply involved in the inner workings of our government on a number of issues. I am grateful for the service these volunteers provide all of us, even when I disagree with them.
I was the volunteer school leader for the rebuilding of SIES, along with many other community members who did not want to see our precious school/asset/resource go away. I personally spent over 1,000 hours working on this issue, working with our neighbors (for and against), our elected leaders (for and against) and many others over an intense four-year period. We worked hand in hand to figure out how to navigate public opinion and two publicly elected bodies in order to get our community school rebuilt. It took a lot of hard work, but I believe we came out of this with a win for our community, even for those that opposed this outcome.
So why bring this up? It is to remind us of the value of coming up with solutions and resolutions so we can implement them. To allow those for and against any issue to come together and optimize solutions in the middle, as opposed to fighting endlessly over the solution.
The accreted land has been mismanaged, or rather unmanaged since it’s inception. Town leadership had the foresight to create it, but not the will to manage it. For over 25 years our leaders have not been able to find the middle ground, until recently. Though some will claim the resolution reached was not fair, those that opposed the school or most issues don’t think results that go against their desires are fair either.
After being litigated for 10 years and then mediated, a solution was reached by our elected leaders. It is time to begin active stewardship and management of the accreted land and stop the expense of precious resources litigating this issue, so we can spend our time executing and not arguing. We have many other issues that need to be addressed, that simply won’t be if we are distracted by issues that have been vetted and resolved, whether you agree with them or not.
Let us work together and help implement solutions – especially when they have been decided. Also, let us recognize the leaders who moved the needle forward. Leadership is precious and should be rewarded. My vote in May will be to support those that want to look forward and not backward. Our precious Island deserves nothing less.