Say No To Billionaire Bullies

Rebek Duhaime •

To the Editor:

Nantucket has a proud history of saying no to billionaire bullying. Great to see this tradition is alive and well, as evidenced in the clam shack licensing win! Now let’s say no to Article 60. Here’s why.

You might not know this – I sure didn’t -- but billionaire dollars have been stirring up trouble in another aspect of island life. Those dollars are funding smear campaigns and lawsuits against ordinary families.

Why are billionaire-funded lawsuits targeting ordinary families, some of them grandparents in their eighties? Because the victimized families have the bad luck of owning a house in the wrong location. A location where someone with access to $$$ wants to put an end to another part of Nantucket history: traditional vacation rentals.

We’ve all heard about the lawsuits. But did you know that billionaire dollars have been hard at work behind every component of these lawsuits? Their attack dogs sniff out neighbors with even the smallest whiff of complaint about a nearby vacation rental. Then town taxpayers (us) and an unlucky family get slammed with the expense and misery of a lawsuit. Four of these currently and counting. Just because billionaire dollars demand it. Yet the real goal is much more destructive.

The billionaire bullying is aimed squarely at the rights of all Nantucket property owners, both year-round and summer residents. Highly paid lobbying staff, lawyers and PR are trying to confuse and coerce voters into getting what the billionaires want.

Article 60 is the bullies’ latest attempt to summarily halt the operation of hundreds of traditional vacation rentals. The bullies don’t care that Article 60 would strike a major blow to Nantucket’s economy. They don’t care about the impact to businesses, workers, and ordinary homeowners. The billionaires just want the island to themselves. Forget everyone else.

The public has raised honest concerns about short-term rentals (STRs). In response the Town launched the STR enforcement program and the STR Work Group. The Work Group is rapidly approaching consensus on how to sensibly address the concerns, gathering actual data to guide smart regulation. Their recommendation will be up for vote at the Special Town Meeting on November 7th.

Meanwhile, just say no to the billionaire bullies. Please vote no on Article 60.


Rebek Duhaime

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