Letters to the Editor, March 23

Cloth Is The Way To Go


In light of the recent letters to the editor concerning shopping bags, this subscriber's suggestion is to use neither paper nor plastic.  Personally, when I do the grocery shopping, I use cloth bags with handles.  Some are even given away as advertising incentives.  These may be purchased at most (if not all ) grocery stores and easily re-used time and time again.  Perhaps The Cape Cod Chronicle might take on this incentive for your paper in promoting same. Think of the trees one  may help save and of the reduction of plastic in our landfills or blown into trees and shrubbery, as one often sees along highways.  I always carry at least two of these cloth bags in  my car; never know how handy they may be. 

John M. Stevenson

Gettysburg, Pa.


Bag Ban Just The Start


I read with interest Mr. Summers’ letter “Plastic Bag Ban Not a Hit” (March 16). For those of us who had the opportunity to see the documentary “A Plastic Ocean” at the Orpheum and attend the panel at Eldredge Library afterward, this ban should be just the beginning of the process of eliminating many plastic products.

Allen D. Ward, MD

Chatham Board of Health


Selectman Looks Out For Residents


I’ve been a resident of Chatham since 1978, moving here from Connecticut. I am one of those washashores who support the re-election of Selectman Seth Taylor. Selectman Taylor unequivocally and with substantial assertiveness correctly supports the residents of Chatham who live here year-round raising families, operating small businesses, or working within a small business. I am one of those folks who has done all three here in Chatham. Reasonable people can support our year-round residents and commercial fishing industry while also supporting our summer visitors and seasonal businesses, as Seth Taylor does. Citizens want vibrant, forthright debates at our selectmen’s meetings in order to produce good policy and direction to our town manager, town departments and employees. Selectman Taylor’s positions and engagement in those debates have resulted in diverse discussions at our weekly selectmen’s meetings.

Thank you, Seth for serving; I and many of my longtime friends support you in your re-election. Ignore the mean-spirited, negative comments of a few of our community’s (and outside of our community) louder commentators.

Suzanne B. Rocanello

North Chatham


Selectman Guardian Of Rights


I support the reelection of Seth Taylor to the Chatham Board of Selectmen. Seth’s voting record clearly shows him to be fiscally responsible and a staunch guardian of the people’s right to voice their concerns to municipal government. I recall specifically when the most recent charter review committee recommended to town meeting removing the provision of town meeting binding votes from the charter. This was an outrageous suggestion by that committee to thwart the democratic process and the will of the voters at town meeting, our local governmental legislature. The charter, at the time of the recommendation, states that “all town meeting votes are presumed to be binding.” The charter review committee wanted the voters to have less control over their town government and fortunately, Selectman Taylor throughout the process opposed this deletion from the charter and the charter committee’s recommendation was resoundingly defeated at town meeting. The candidate currently running against Selectman Taylor served on the charter review committee at the time and voted to remove the binding vote provision from the charter.

Chatham citizens deserve a selectman who will vote to protect the citizen’s rights at town meeting. Selectman Taylor recognized that, fought to retain it, and won. Thank you, Selectman Taylor, for your diligence and your willingness to serve and for continuing to keep the public informed on this and other important issues.

Nancy DiGesu Bober



Gov. Class Needed Now More Than Ever


James Madison once wrote, "A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.” Unfortunately, Monomoy Regional High School has taken the importance of basic civic instruction out of the required curriculum in a 5-3 vote to no longer make government a prerequisite to graduate.
A Gallup Poll has shown that 43 percent of Americans, when asked what were the three branches of government, answered incorrectly or refused to answer. Another survey question asked, “What were the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution called?” and 53 percent of Americans either answered incorrectly or refused to answer altogether. These are just a sample of questions Americans should know and Monomoy Regional High School has lessened the opportunity for all students to learn.
According to The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), a youth research organization at Tufts University, only 50 percent of eligible 18-29-year-old citizens voted in the 2016 election. In having government be a prerequisite to graduate, the school is showing that it places value on students knowing the worth of their vote.
I sat on the Harwich and Monomoy Regional School Committees as the student representative and I am disappointed to see my alma mater take the importance of basic civics out of the required curriculum. Now, more than ever, we need our students to be excited and knowledgeable about government. Monomoy Regional School Committee has voted to do the opposite.

Alison Donovan


Process Didn't Serve Students


Your front page story of the Monomoy School Committee’s approval to waive the mandated requirement of the high school’s long standing government course caught my attention, and that decision rattled me somewhat. From the article, it appeared that a new “Global Studies” curriculum and a new “science” approach needed some breathing room in the curriculum, and the casualty was the long term mandated “government” course, which was reduced to an “optional” course.

I am not being critical of the administrative process which led up to this decision. Curricula changes periodically in school districts. The internal process which led to presenting this new approach to curriculum appeared to be sound, if one considers the school system as a closed system. It appears from the description of the internal process that most of the give and take was internal to the school, and restricted to the district decision-making protocols. According to the article, no evidence of the external historical impact the mandated government courses have had on lives of graduates was included in process. When education is treated as an open system it takes strength from its environment. When treated like a closed system it tends to atrophy.

I speculate that if the school committee had canvassed its graduates through a mailed survey, it would have found that its grads volunteer in their communities, vote and support veteran organizations and run for office at much higher levels than graduates of other randomly selected high schools both in Massachusetts, and in the nation. Based on the recent presidential election where two-thirds of voters did not vote, or voted for the losing candidate, it is hard to understand why this decision to reduce this mandated “civics” course was approved by the school committee, given our current governmental turbulence.

However, under Roberts Rules, any committee member who voted positively, can request reconsideration to reverse that decision. We’ll see if that happens.

Tom Johnson

Harwich Port