And anyway, out here in the remote beauty of Martha's Vineyard Island, politics is a series of local issues that add up to the idiosyncratic charm of the place. One of the largest (heftiest?) this season is taking form at the far western tip where the town of Aquinnah is being forced to decide what to do about the Gay Head Lighthouse. Without town action, the massive 19th century brick structure will be undermined by the eroding cliffs and slip into the sea.
For summer tourists whose dollars support many locals, even more than the red cliffs at ocean edge, the lighthouse is Gay Head. It is no longer used for navigation (superseded by GPS) and the Coast Guard would happily declare it surplus property. But simply tearing it down would rob the area of its totem. It is not particularly attractive, but it is is there, dominating the landscape. What to do?
Practice democracy, of course. The Martha's Vineyard Times reports:
There's lots more to do. Apparently there is a company that specializes in moving massive brick lighthouses that could do the job. But where to put it? You can't just drop a multi-ton lighthouse on a bog -- and land is Aquinnah is more than expensive. Besides, the lighthouse's fans plan to fundraise for most of the costs.
But all that is down the line, to be argued out in subsequent meetings. For the moment, the town has decided. The lighthouse will live on, somewhere.