Against Chatham Marijuana Sales
As a citizen of Chatham, I hope no one is interested in having a pot shop in our town. There are enough drug and alcohol problems on Cape Cod. We do not need to add to them.
Sewer Plan Unaffordable.
The question is how much will the Harwich wastewater plan really cost. Harwich Selectmen claim the next two phases of the plan will cost the average homeowner $45 and $160 per year. Keep in mind this is just the next two of eight. What they have failed to address is the recurring costs directly and indirectly related to the plan that last a lifetime, even once the project is paid for. Salaries and benefits for new employees to perform daily operations within a new sewer department. There is also the annual cost to treat wastewater at the Chatham facility and a possible Dennis facility and or a Harwich facility, other state and environmental fees, repairs, regular maintenance and emergencies, new equipment, buildings and maintenance costs. Direct costs to the home owner to connect to town sewer can be in the many thousands. There are usage fees based on water use per household. What happens when there is a back up (clog) in the sewer main and it floods your basement? Road repairs will be much more costly and more frequent. Lastly, what if the nitrogen loading is not cured? What will they say, sorry, or we just need to spend more money to get it right. Harwich cannot afford this project. Once it's in the ground there's no turning back. There has to be a more sensible solution. It would be interesting to see some case studies of other coastal communities who have similar issues that implemented this process maybe 20 years ago and what the results are. Unaffordable.
One of the topics in the recent debate in the Chatham Selectmen’s race was the question of affordable housing. The issues are well known and are not only important for Chatham, but also for the entire Cape. One suggestion was to give a real estate tax break to year-round homeowners, under a certain house value, which constitute about 38 percent of Chatham’s home owning population. Forgetting the implications for the tax code, the unfairness to the 62 percent of other home owners, and the discussion of the users of the services provided by the town, I feel that this idea wrong. Saving all the locals about $1,000 does nothing to address the overall issues.
If the people of Chatham, as well as the Cape in general, really want to address this problem, then we need to come at this from a clean, fresh perspective. The two problems I see are the cost and lack of available land, and a lack of lower cost existing housing stock. A general local tax saving will do nothing to solve these problems, and you cannot artificially control the prices of land and homes. These are the immovable objects in this discussion that need to be addressed.
If our elected officials really want to start to address this problem, they need to take stock of the available land, analyze the housing stock and start with an open mind. Private-public partnerships, revision of zoning laws and yes, targeted tax support. You want to give someone reduced taxes, let’s get serious. Make it around housing costs, income levels and specific cases for those living or working in town. Let’s find ways to support two income local families, those who have seasonal careers, as well as support older people who face their own set of needs.
But this comes at a cost. The competition for available land by builders, the land bank and others makes it expensive. I live off Barn Hill Road and have seen two tracts of land sell and start to be developed. Yes, the land was expensive, and the usual option for a return is to build expensive homes by those willing to take the financial risk. Is this analysis being done within town government, even hypothetically, to address our needs? I greatly understand the need for parking in town, but will there be a back-of-the-envelope calculation on a “what if…” for that tract to use it for the type housing we need for this problem?
To start to solve this issue, all sides of the discussion will need to participate. They will need to concede some of their concerns for the greater good and be willing to accept some of the costs, both financial and other wise, to work as a community to begin to solve this problem.
Sanctuary Policies Don't Follow Law
As our local officials clamor to join the far left resistance movement and enact sanctuary policies, police are restricted from responding to federal requests to hold criminal illegal immigrants. Instead, they will be released back into our community in defiance of federal immigration law. This same policy has lead to disastrous results recently in both Worcester and Newton. Citizens who feel a civic duty that all laws should be followed should reach out directly to federal officials for enforcement support in your community. If you encounter an illegal immigrant, contact our local Immigration and Customs Enforcement office at 800-BE-ALERT. I hear they are staffing up. If you suspect that an employer is hiring illegal immigrants, contact the IRS hotline at 800-829-0433. They are running a special right now, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward. Together we can keep our community safe.
Objects To School Choice Slant
A lack of balance intrudes on the second half of the the May 4 school choice article written by Kat Szmit in which two current Monomoy students whose unfavorable and (in at least one case) untrue remarks about Nauset High School are liberally quoted. First, full disclosure, I’m a Nauset High School teacher who used to teach at Chatham Middle and High School and all three of my sons have choiced out to Nauset. I have friends and former colleagues who teach at Monomoy who are dedicated to quality education. Both Nauset and Monomoy work hard to provide for their students, and each is different from the other in how it provides for its students. It is not healthy or helpful to go down the very slippery and ugly “my-school’s-better-than-your-school” slope. Ms. Szmit’s decision to publish the personal grumbling of two students, especially without seeking commentary from current school choice Nauset students, certainly pushes us in that direction. My sons would have shared a very different perspective, from helping to lead the varsity soccer team to a state championship and national ranking, to the passion inspired by Nauset's dynamic drama program. Another son might have emphasized the love of music that he has developed and the support he has received from friends and teachers after going through a rough period.
Mr. Mazulis' allegation of recruitment by Nauset coaches and violations of MIAA rules is as false as it is slanderous. The reckless rumor of recruitment has surfaced even in my conversations with my Monomoy counterparts. It deserves to die here. There is no seducing of student athletes away from their home districts through surreptitious and unethical means. Many high school coaches, both Monomoy and Nauset, myself included, participate in youth club programs. None of us has “recruited” anyone. Athletic, academic, and arts programs attract students by virtue of their own success.
Women's Club Support Appreciated
The creative writing class and the creative writing club, called Sandscript, of Monomoy Regional High School would like to send a hearty and appreciative Thank You to the Women's Club of Chatham for their generous grant that made possible our recent trip to the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis. Students in the class and the club wrote in response to the wonderful art found in this local treasure. I invite the public to visit our display of writing and art from the trip; we should have our small exhibit up next month. Thanks again, Women's Club of Chatham, we couldn't have done this without you!
Monomoy Regional High School
Correct Shark Misperception
I wish to point out some erroneous information contained in your April 19 article "Southern Sharks Showing Up On Sharktivity App" The article states, "Sharks must be captured so that the SPOT tag can be attached to the dorsal fin, and those sharks then tend to leave the area. That was the basis of a dispute last year between Skomal and OCEARCH, the research nonprofit that tags sharks around the world. OCEARCH came to Cape waters with its large ship that hoists sharks out of the water to be tagged, tested and sampled. Skomal was concerned those sharks would then leave the area and that would skew the sample population for his study."
The false perception that SPOT-tagged sharks tend to immediately leave the tagging area after release was created last year by the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and perpetuated by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. Dr. Skomal himself knows this to be untrue, based on information made available to him and DMF last September. The fact is that of the 13 large white sharks that OCEARCH has SPOT-tagged on the U.S. east coast to date, only three sharks left the area immediately (within one day) after tagging. Another three sharks left the area within about three to four days after tagging, and the remaining seven sharks (54 percent) stayed in the area for weeks to months after tagging. These numbers are not significantly different from Dr. Skomal's own results with his harpoon-tagged sharks. So any concerns about a higher tendency of sharks SPOT-tagged by OCEARCH to immediately leave the area are unfounded.
In addition, OCEARCH's SPOT-tagged animals, unlike acoustic-tagged animals, can be followed in near-real time, no matter where they are in the ocean, on OCEARCH's open-access website (www.ocearch.org) with the Global Shark Tracker, which is also available on smartphones via a free app. This means the 10 white sharks SPOT-tagged in 2012, 2013 and 2016 off Monomoy and Nantucket can be seen and accounted for by everyone, allowing them to be accommodated into any ongoing population study.
As chief science advisor for OCEARCH and a participant in the Monomoy and Nantucket studies, I am working with these data firsthand, and I cringe when I read false interpretations of our science perpetuated in the press. Over my 40-plus year career in professional shark research I have worked closely with the media and for a brief period was a science reporter myself. I know reporters really do wish to get the facts straight in their stories. We hope you will consider correcting this information in your future coverage of OCEARCH activities. The people of Nantucket were incredibly warm and supportive of OCEARCH's mission last year, and we know they read your publication. Together let's best serve the Cape Cod community by giving them real science, not alternative facts.
Dr. Bob Hueter
Mote Marine Laboratory