2/23/2005

Island Resident, Definition of;

This is in response to "Newbie". It is real easy for me to define who is and is not an Island Resident. It would be somebody like, Dick and Karen Martin, Merrill Slate and Virginia, Martha Smith, Myself and three out of four of my kids. I could go through the phone book and pick out most of the ones who are here 'Year round". Going on vacation for four to six weeks doesn't erase your Islander year round status. But if you are gone for more than that time on a regular basis you are NOT a year round resident. How do you prove that, if you need proof to get a resident pass or ticket? That is the sticking point. One way might be for the boat to issue a card that can be punched or time and date stamped each time you by a ticket, one way or round trip, and then you save them and take it to wherever you have to go to get your resident card, license etc. But we all know that Interstate wouldn't approve of that situation for whatever reason. If you want that card bad enough, I would think you would put up with that inconvenience. An Island address or State drivers license doesn't do it! Witness all the summer time visitors who own houses on BI with commuter boat passes. The thing that gets me about those folks is, if you own a 2-3 million dollar home on BI, just what in hell do you need a pass that gets you a two or three dollar price reduction on the damn boat for?! And if you look up the definition of "commuter" in your Funk and Wagnall's you'll see that none of them and myself included, do not qualify for that card! We do not commute on a daily basis. Call them a Resident's card and I'll go get one. TIFN Everett

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you Everett. One of my pet peeves is when people say "I live here" and I have never seen them before. I have been here for 10 years and I surelly don't know everyone but probably passed you driving once or twice.

Anonymous said...

Who Cares? What bunch of small town nonsense!

Anonymous said...

"Who Cares? What bunch of small town nonsense!"

Ditto, my thoughts exactly!!

Sam said...

Well, it is a matter of local civic pride, for one. I was a regular summer worker on the island for at least four-five years and I never considered myself a "local," although we knew what a "day tripper," "seagull," and "short-timer" was. Oh yea, and the folks with bikes were called "hay burners." These were not derogatory terms, but somehow we felt as being "in-betweeners." We drove delivery vehicles, washed, cooked, waited, tended bars, did construction, and basically left the Island in September with maybe a few hundred bucks in our pockets. I don't care what anyone else thinks, but I'm glad I was once a BI 'Tweener, salt-o-the Earth. -Sam

Anonymous said...

You can always tell who the "islanders" are and who are the "wannabees". The "locals" have this alien look to them, I see it everytime I walk into the Albion. (the best place to observe this phenonmenom)...they give you the evil eye, like "what are you doing here on my island"

I remember my first encounter with that look when I was a kid about 16. I walked into the breakfast place (don't remember the name but it was where the old Eli's was)...and I got the evil eye by everyone...damm I was interupting their private conversations, I was an outsider, not one of "them". I remember that look and recognize it everytime I'm on "their" island.
The "wannabees" all play pool in the back of the Albion and name drop any and all local first and last names and talk like they have been there for a million years..."I remember last winter...when me and (insert local last name)...
Me, I call my residence B.I., I don't care if you all think I am not deserving of the title of resident, but too bad, I am on my 26th year of active duty military, so I haven't been able to spend much time there...but it's a good property tax break for me...and I vote for ya all too...

Sam said...

Hoo-yah, what a laugh! That "alien look." You hit the nail on the head, sir! It must be those long winters and then all the tourists in the summer. We rented a cottage from the Roses back in the 1970's and the old man related how his wife went bonkers one winter and broke all the cutlery and started working on all the window glass, and darned near completed her objective. Well, I'm moving to a warmer island were all the local have "owl eyes" from wearing sun glasses and they're dying for new folks to talk with, have a beer, and share the scuttlebutt. Hey, and a real nice house only costs about $225,000! No wonder the "locals" are so grumpy.

Newbie said...

am not asking to define Island resident for the benefit of those who want a name tag. I want to know so that it is clear who should get a commuter pass, who should vote, who should get discounted rates at the BI Club and pre-school or a cheaper ice cream cone at Aldo's. This is an issue that has been debated for a long time.
I can honestly say I have never lumped people by such demeaning terms as alkie, or pothead. We all have some demon, small or large. And sure, there is a sub-culture of acceptance, it's called compassion. We all live in a small place and get to know one another. Imagine how Rocket or Hacksaw would be treated on the streets of New York or Boston.
Block Island is unique because we do know everyone's story. We know the struggles, the hardships and the sadness as well as the sucesses and joy in these people's lives.
Does a bartender in NYC care if you're an alcoholic? At least on BI there is the chance of someone telling you, that you might have a problem. I think that there is a sub-culture of "it's none of my business" in most other places and even in this place. I also think that when it really counts, there is always someone to put out a hand to help.
Don't get me wrong, I think alchohol is a serious problem just about anywhere. Alchohol causes more deaths than marijuana.
As far as offers for housing etc. It doesn't matter who you are, a single person will get many more opportunities for housing, than a married couple, and then add pets and/or children and you have basically eliminated yourself from 90% of those available housing slots. Why? Because one person takes up less space, and married people (especially those with children tend to require the finer things in life, such as privacy and indoor plumbing. So don't take it personally.
As far as the snide remarks about Islanders looking alien, maybe you should go to one of the other bars, or even (dare I say it?) try visiting any of the Island churches on a Sunday morning. You need to broaden your Island experience beyond the Albion. Take the ferry off on a Saturday morning and you will see the future of Block island, heading to the Y to learn how to swim. Capable mothers and fathers with smart and attractive children expanding their horizons beyong BI. You won't run into these people in the Albion. How narrow minded to judge a community of 1000 people on the 20 people hanging out in the Albion.
(I am posting this twice. Here and in the "talk to me" blog)

Newbie said...

Here is my solution for the Island resident deal.
Anyone seen those gas sation keychain things, speedpass maybe? If you have a BI License, you get one. Then every time you come or go by plane or boat you swipe it. You are given the commuter rate. If you leave in November, and don't return until April you will be fined and charged for the portion of your ticket that you didn't pay for. I would say there could be a port authority or a residency board? (like we need another board) There would be some way of petitioning for exceptions, say illness, or you take that month long trip to Europe you always dreamed about.
I would say a two month leave would be the max.
Interstate would probably increase their revenues enough to make it worth while.
I know this idea will get the "Big Brother" people worked up. If people would just tell the truth (what a novel concept) we wouldn't be talking about this at all.

Catbiri said...

Hey Newbie,
You have valid points, I will not disagree with that. I do wonder though, what about the poor college student. My parents and my sister live out on the island. Currently I live on the mainland from about End of October, until the Middle of May. During the months of September, October, and May I have to commute to and from the island for School and Work. Due to the fact that my legal residence is Block Island, during those times I get to use the commuter rights. When I come over to the island to visit in the winter though (such as this evening until this Sunday), I do not believe I am able to use the commuter rate. I could be wrong though. So in the winter, even though I claim my legal residence as Block Island, I am still paying the full rate, is this a wrong thing?
As a student, there are periods during the winter when I am not able to make it out even once during a two month period, should this penalize me from being able to use the commuter rates when I am still commuting in the spring and fall?
Just curious, I know what you are guys are saying about it being over-used by some people, and I do agree. As a part time resident, with family that still live out there year round, should I still be able to use the commuter rate?

Newbie said...

As a former college student who did some commuting to BI myself, I have first hand experience. I think anyone who lives on BI and then goes off to college should qualify for the commuter pass. Furthering your education should not result in a penalty. Besides, everyone knows, many college students barely have two pennies to rub together. But as a college student, you cannot get the commuter rate currently unless you return to the island every seven days.
(FYI- I'd say if your parents recently moved to BI, but it is their primary residence, and subsequently yours (you don't have a sweet apartment for 9 - 12 months) then BI is your home base and your residence.)

Anonymous said...

If we live here, we shouldn't need a commuter pass, unless you are commuting to the mainland every day or week. We should get a residents rate, like we do by showing a license with a B.I. address. Not all the people with B.I. addresses are residents in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Reading a couple of these posts on who is an islander and who isn't and why the crowd at the Albion will never be, etc. etc. reminds me of Vietnam. Yep, Vietnam. In the early days of the war, the jungle fatigues had exterior pockets with buttons that came through through the flap. By '66 or so, all the new jungle fatigues had pocket flaps covering the buttons. Wow, all the FNGs went nuts trying to get sets of the OLD jungle fatigues. They would give them to the mama sans to bleach 'em out. The more faded the better. All in an attempt to prove that they had been in-country for years. Not to be out done, the guys in Special Forces had their jungle fatigues made in a tiger stripe pattern and the US marine advisors wore jungle fatigues with a black camo pattern on a green backgound. Nobody but nobody wanted to look like a newbie. Everybody wanted to look like they had been in-country since maybe the fall of Dien Bien Phu in '54.

Anonymous said...

This isn't about commuter rates...it is about bitterness. The people who are unable to get off BI for at least some time in the offseason to maintain their sanity are just pissed at the ones who have the ability to socially survive elsewhere and are not caged on a 3x7 rock.

We've all seen it and maybe unfortunatly experienced it...I'm refering to an Islander giving an attitude to a seasonal resident or tourist for no reason whatsoever, and many are even so uncooth as to say; "get off my Island." I love that line, I've heard it used on many shocked tourists and residents (when i say residents I mean the people that own property but don't spend 365 days a year on BI). As if you don't have as much of a right to be on BI because you don't spend the winter there...really it is comical.

"Oh he wants us to get of his Island. Hunny we really should sell the beach house and leave b/c someone can't stand the fact that others enjoy BI in the spring summer and fall and don't come around when the place is destitude."

If the Islander were smart, he'd be super friendly to these people and then try to sell them something...the islander should have the sense to make good from an opportunity. But, instead he chooses to stew at the fact others are on "his" island.


Its truly comical. I wish you all luck out there, and I'll see you when the snow thaws!

Anonymous said...

Hey Newbie "As far as the snide remarks about Islanders looking alien, maybe you should go to one of the other bars, or even (dare I say it?) try visiting any of the Island churches on a Sunday morning. You need to broaden your Island experience beyond the Albion...How narrow minded to judge a community of 1000 people on the 20 people hanging out in the Albion."

It's called sarcasism newbie, you need to broaden your sense of humor...although what I did say has truth to it..

The Phantom Scrawler said...

This is to the "anonymous" who says that defining Island Residency is about "bitterness" and how the Islanders should be nicer to those who are going to spend their money. That's exactly the kind of attitude that most "Islanders" are against. Not the people who live in their homes, recycle, are polite and love Block Island for what Block Island is...but those who come into our community and want to know "why the roads aren't paved" and "why shouldn't I make everybody listen to my cell phone conversation" and "you should be nicer to me cuz I've got mooonnnneeeyyy". Manners are manners. Some grumpy old cuss who says "Get the hell off my island" is rude. So is someone who thinks that all Islanders are here just for the tourist industry. Not everybody here is dependent on the tourist dollar. Not everybody here appreciates the crowds, the congestion, the skyrocketing house prices and taxes. Some of us do honestly enjoy smaller communities of 8 or 9 hundred people instead of the maddening thousands who believe that we're all panting at the bit for their good ol' moolah.

Newbie said...

Just what we all need, more sarcasm. Sarcasm has always been a hard quality to discern in the written word, so here's some advice. Don't make sarcastic comments unless it is plainly obvious. If it's not obvious it just comes across as ignorant and insulting.
As far as my sense of humor, anyone who knows me knows I have a pretty healthy one.

To Anonymous 3:53 am (Can't sleep?): The only person sounding bitter around here is you. I have heard people say "get off my island" before, and while I find it rude, and egocentric, it's usually to people who are real a--holes. I would never say that to anyone because the Island doesn't belong to any one person.
The issue here, as you seem to have missed it, is that someone who owns a home here, but lives elsewhere for 9 months of the year will get a RI drivers license, and subsequently vote on BI due to this supposed "residency." They get the RI license to avoid paying full fare on the BI ferry. If that was where it ended I might not care. It's when they register to vote here, because this is where they "live." Then I get upset. These people love BI as much as I do, but they have no interest in improving the school or library, or, if they live anywhere but, High Street. Their primary interest is in keeping their taxes down. Don't get me wrong I'm all for lower taxes, but not at the expense of the year-round Island population. They also stumble, uniformed for the most part, into the voters booth and vote for people based on their last names or political affiliation, not on the issues.
If I owned a vacation house on Long Island, but I lived in Boston, I wouldn't claim to live on Long Island.
People who own vacation homes on BI shouldn't claim to live here either. It's simple. Honesty is in short supply in this world.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this board is quite a microcosim of the different people from the Block.

Hey Newbie, If off Islanders who don't "care about the school or the library" voting, is such a problem, then why has the library just been rebuilt and the school getting a multi-million dollar expansion?

Maybe you can tell me something that has not happened, which you think would be beneficial to BI, which the off-islanders voting is responcible for (besides Bob Smith)?

Thanks

Anonymous said...

What if someone has four different homes, each that they spend three months a year in. Should they not be allowed to vote in any of the places where they have a home?

Newbie said...

Well I can tell you that when the first vote for the additional funding for the school addition was held in the summer, the crowd that voted was full of unfamiliar faces. The additional funding was rejected by a good margin.
When the vote was held a second time in the fall (after the summer voters were gone), four people opposed the additional funding. (All 4 BI year-round residents.)

As far as the library, yes, we made it bigger and prettier, but would the voters spend more money to keep it open longer and to pay the staff more? I'm not sure.

I would like to feel that when there is an election that people are making informed decisions. I am not sure how informed you can be when you are here for 4 months. I guess I am more afraid of what may happen in the future. As more and more property owners switch residency for monetary gain.
And I have to correct myself, I shouldn't say that none of these people care about the school, etc. I am sure that some of them do. These are usually the people who have had a 20+ year long relationship with the Island. People who bought here before it became stylish to own a "cottage" on the Island. People who bought berger cottages, and one story ranches, or old farmhouses, out of love for what the Island used to be.
I am not putting down change, because change is inevitable, I am just pointing out that there are different philosophies among the property owners.
I don't know how many times I have read the BI Times, or been to a meeting where residency has been discussed. But no one can come up with an agreed upon definition. Don't get "resident" confused with who is an "Islander". That's an unsolvable equation. No one will ever agree on that.
Off-Island voters should not be voting on BI. Why is this such a hard concept to grasp?

Anonymous said...

Newbi
Two points

1, the first vote for the funding was defeated by just 17 votes

2, voter regestration is governed by state laws written to follow specific federal guidelines. But I guess we can change it all for you.

Anonymous said...

Newbi
Two points

1, the first vote for the funding was defeated by just 17 votes

2, voter regestration is governed by state laws written to follow specific federal guidelines. But I guess we can change it all for you.

Anonymous said...

Newbie. Your point on the voting issue is hard to grasp becasue you are not answering the issue.

What about someone who lives out here for five, six or seven months of the year, makes a living, ownes property and then moves somewhere else for the winter.

They spend more time on BI than anywhere else and have a personal, financial stake in what happens on BI.

Should they be allowed to vote on BI or not? If not, should they be allowed to vote anywhere.

Also, you miss the point about the debate this past summer over the school. The town officials really screwed the pooch on that one. They requested $ (around 2 million) in the spring and said "we don't need any more, this is enough." Then several months later they came back asking for more (in the millions also) to finish the project. The meeting in the summer was a legitimate show of disgust for the way the town screwed up the whole school renovation project. Tacid approval should not and was not given to the mess that the town made.

I was proud of the BI community to stand up and call it what it was, BS. In the Fall I was even prouder when despite all the failings of the town, the community understood that although the town messed everything up, the renovation had to be finished...they then voted the last request through.

Lets just hope we are not asked for more cash for this project down the road.

Newbie said...

Anonymous at 12:36
2 points
1. Defeated by 17 doesn't sound like much, but that requires that half of the voters plus 17 voted against it. If 317 voted then 167 voted against it. More than half of the voters.

2. There are strict guidelines that require you to tell the truth about where you live. When you own two homes it's easy to lie about which is your primary residence. I imagine 6 months and 1 day are what is required by law.

I am not arguing this point for my benefit. I can easily prove I live here year round, so I get whatever benefits that affords me. I am surprised how many people are taking this personally. Who are you defending here? Do you really think people who live on the Island for 4 months a year should vote here?

Maybe you all should re-read Everetts' original post for this topic. I am not the only person who feels this way.

As far as the town not coming back for more money for the project, I think it is inevitable. It has been noted several times that the budget did not allow for furnishing the new classrooms etc. I think initially the project went way off track. But in this I blame every person who complained about the plans, yet didn't attend a single planning meeting (myself included). We dropped the ball.
In the meantime our property values tripled, and so did construction costs. If they ask for more money to furnish the school, I'll vote for it. I won't punish the kids for the mistakes of a few.

Anonymous said...

Newbie. I'll try to phrase it in a more simple way.

What about someone who has three homes, one of them on BI and the two others in various locations. Four months is spent at each residence.

Because this person only lives in each place for 4 months, should they not be allowed to vote in any of the places where a residence is located, thus completely disenfranchising them ?

Newbie said...

You be simple, I'll be realistic. Are you serious? I don't care where that one person votes. But the rest of the people own two homes and spend the least amount of time in the one on BI. Give me a break, do you think this is the case for the two home owner crowd. Even if they own three or four.
Where do you rest your head at least 183 nights a year?
You're missing the point. And if this is your dilema, that you own three houses and you live in them each four months a year, then good for you! Vote wherever the law allows you to.

Anonymous said...

And apparently he has chosen to vote on Block Island as the law allows him.

Which is what I have done also. Block Island is the only place I truely care about. I am not an "Islander" but by law I am a resident. And I have chosen to vote. My family has been coming to the island since 1917.

My biggest concern (and this is probably better for another Everett Blog topic) is that some of the best, more qualified, experienced people that live on the island don't run for office. Either they are real smart or don't care. I was shocked that there was no opponents this past election. What a show of apathy. Anyway that's a different topic.

blockislandblog said...

Check out "Is it apathy?" in my blog www.blockislandblog.blogspot.com.
BIB