Letters To The Editor: May 30, 2024

by Cape Cod Chronicle Readers

A Challenge For Chatham


The newly reorganized Chatham Select Board, under its newly-elected chairman, yet again disappointed those voters who tried to send a message to them at the May 13 annual town meeting.

Instead of acknowledging that our call was received for transparency, honesty, and the opportunity to participate in important decisions, several members decided that they need to do a better job in "educating" the voting public, whose responsibility it is to vote for articles the select board supports. The problem is us, not them. We haven't learned to trust them, a topic for another LTE someday.

Incredible conclusion. That's not what we want. We want genuine access to the process. We want to be permitted to speak during a discussion of an issue, not out-of-context at the beginning of the meeting. We want public forums and hearings held before the select board has voted on the issue, and to be heard, not just listened to. We want the opportunity to address issues before they are put on the warrant. And we want fact-driven information — the full story — not just what they want us to know.

The biggest threat to Chatham's character is coming at us. And that is not affordable housing itself, but the frenzy to get as much of it as possible, as soon as possible, with little regard for the need in the area's low and moderate income households for safe and decent affordable year-round housing units.

Please join me in letting town officials know that it is critical to us to hold on to the best of what is Chatham while still dealing with the challenges of the future.

Nicole Stern


Join Team Do It Now!


I am reaching out to ask if you would be willing to support me and my team, Team Do It Now! for Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) and their 25th annual Cape Cod Against the Tide event that will be taking place on June 8. MBCC is dedicated to preventing environmental causes of breast cancer through community

education, research advocacy, and changes to public policy.

To support MBCC's mission towards cancer prevention, I will be participating in the swim component of this event and doing everything I can to help them raise funds as I have for the past 22 years. In 2001 my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. When she told me the news it completely floored me with a panic attack that sent me to the hospital! That year we both made the decision to learn and help prevent breast cancer and other cancers.

One of my driving forces behind being a part of the MBCC is knowing that yes, we can take actions to prevent breast cancer. MBCC and its sister, Silent Spring Institute, have tirelessly dedicated time and effort to make us and our children’s future healthier. My hope is that my niece’s children grow up without this worry.

I dedicate my swim to the women, men, and families who have been affected by this disease and other cancers, especially Vi, ALF, Sherry, Sugar, Judy, Susan, Steph, Kathy, Matt, Heidi, Pella, Sherri, Barb, Wilma, Gale, Brenda, Cheryl, Lucy, Tanya, and so many more who are always in my heart.

If you’d like to join the team to walk, swim, or run we’d love to have you! To donate directly or join Team Do It Now! online, please use the following link: raceroster.com/events/2024/82595/2024-against-the-tide-brewster-cape-cod/pledge/participant/24824609.

Thank you for your support.

Ali Crockett


Applauds Local Service Members


To the local men and women featured in last week’s Chronicle currently serving in the armed services — thank you!

Special congratulations to Damian Bebber for his brilliant high school athletic career and his decision to attend the US Military Academy in West Point. America’s finest, all.

I applaud the commitment and sacrifice by veterans and enlisted personnel to protect our democracy at home and abroad. We need you now more than ever.

Andy Cattano


Reasons Court Not Trusted


I, a retired federal judge sworn to uphold the Constitution and bound by Supreme Court decisions, have written previously, deploring the conduct of certain members of the U.S. Supreme Court, specifically Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. Justice Thomas benefited from luxury private jet and super yacht travel to luxury vacations both domestic and international, accepted tuition for a family member and engaged in at least one questionable real estate transaction, all reported as funded by a billionaire GOP donor, none of which was reported by Thomas. Further, his wife, a conservative political activist, lobbied persons with political influence to overturn the 2020 election result.

Justice Alito was later found to have enjoyed a multi-day Alaskan fishing trip including luxury resort lodging, traveling there by private jet owned by another wealthy GOP donor associated with a hedge fund which apparently had cases pending before the court. Total cost of the trip was estimated at $100,000. This trip was also not made public by Alito.

Now we learn that the American flag has flown upside down, a long accepted distress signal, for several days at the Alito Virginia home. Likewise, an Appeal to Heaven flag has been flown at the Alito Jersey Shore vacation home. Both displays have been adopted by those challenging the 2020 election results, the latter flag having been prominent at the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. Alito blames his wife for the inverted American flag, a rather ungallant and unchivalrous claim, but has declined comment about the shore home flag.

Before the court is Trump's immunity from prosecution claim, a Capitol rioter's challenge to his federal charge and there are surely more Trump-related cases to come. Neither justice has recused himself nor evinced a likelihood he will do so. Is it any wonder that public trust in an unbiased court is at such a low ebb?

Ralph Smith

Harwich Port

Misinformation About Airport Continues


A May 23 letter in The Chronicle contained yet another distortion of the facts and cherry-picking portions of FAA guidance to misinform the public about CQX.

Chatham has had a circling approach for decades and the updated approach map reflects standards that are already in place. The approach surfaces defined in FAA Advisory Circular 150-5300-13B for "Non-Precision and IFR Circling Approach Surfaces" coincide exactly with the map updates in Article 40. The author continues to misinform the public about the safety of circling versus straight-in instrument approaches. NTSB accident data shows a higher number of fatal accidents due to controlled flight into terrain while flying circling approaches. To assert that straight-in approaches are less safe is completely false. It is also not true that the minimum runway length for non-precision straight-in approaches is 3,200 feet. There are plenty of airports across the country with runways shorter than 3,200 feet that have published straight-in instrument approaches, and hopefully CQX will soon be one of them.

Fortunately, he stopped calling the RPZ a “Danger Zone.” However, he falsely states that the RPZ is much larger for straight-in versus visual approaches. According to Appendix G of the AC, the RPZ is the same for visual and instrument approaches with one mile visibility, which Article 40 does not change.

Opponents argue that turboprop aircraft operations are increasing at CQX when in fact they have been declining. They also falsely state that the runway is not designed for turboprop aircraft, when in fact it is the aircraft flight manual that defines the minimum runway requirements the pilot must obey. What is important about Article 40 is that it is a long overdue update to a map that has not been changed since 1958. The updated map reflects what already exists and does not change existing airport operations.

The real underlying agenda, as stated by the 93-year-old opponent who did not identify himself at the town meeting, is to close the airport, ignoring the higher taxes that we all would pay to offset a loss of $14 million in annual economic benefit for the town. CQX has always been an iconic part of Chatham and must be sustained for the long term.

Leo Eldredge


Grateful To Hospice Staff


Recently we endured the devastating final days of a dear friend’s terminal illness. The only relief we all experienced was at the extraordinarily kind, caring and capable hands of the Broad Reach Hospice staff. From our very first interaction, these nurses were amazingly responsive and beyond proficient. The sensitivity shown us, and most especially our friend, provided some desperately sought solace. The special understanding and compassion shared with us all by Maureen and her multitude of Broad Reach angels will never be forgotten. We are so grateful to them.

Barbara Matteson and Terry Bull


Build Trust, Drop Secrecy


I am writing regarding your editorial in the Thursday, May 23, edition of The Cape Cod Chronicle. You have suggested that several articles voted at the recent Chatham town meeting had majority support, but were overturned by a vocal minority. The solution you propose is to break these over-budgeted items into smaller pieces and bring them up again.

First, the “majority” who voted for the articles is only a majority of those capable and motivated to attend a long, seated town meeting. Chatham has the second oldest population in Massachusetts, so until we have absentee voting or online participation, we won’t know if a real majority of eligible voters support articles.

Second, Chatham taxpaying, non-resident property owners number about the same as resident voters, but their voices don’t count (unless enough voters consider their interests in voting). Many of those non-residents will end up as future residents, but may be more concerned now with their property tax increases than the services they cover.

Third, you mention the lack of outreach by the town agents proposing the articles. Remedying that should be the priority before any articles or parts thereof are brought back for a vote. There has been a notable decline in outreach by members of Chatham’s administration. I cite the example years ago of the approach taken by the director of community development and the planning board over re-zoning Main Street. The Cape Cod Commission was brought in to hold public meetings to hear what the public liked and disliked along Main Street. Another public meeting was held to present the results. The director of community development and the chair of the planning board then met with local property owners (resident and non-resident). The meetings in South Chatham over-flowed with more than 100 participants and resulted in collective wisdom detailing how to revise the zoning there. The articles to implement these zoning changes (requiring a two-thirds majority) were voted almost unanimously at town meeting.

The current administration should follow that example and build trust and informed consensus, not operate in secrecy.

John Sweeney

South Chatham

Critical Of Cemetery Maintenance


Once again, Memorial Day has come and gone. Once again, our cemeteries are a disgrace. This happens every year. Where is the cemetery commission? Where is the select board liaison? Church mice, once again.

Residents pay taxes to have our loved ones’ final resting place taken care of. For the past several years this has not been the case. Why do the same people keep getting re-appointed to these positions? Are you aware the commission collects a stipend? We are paying them! This is a disgrace. Many other committees do much more work and do not get paid. Every single one of these folks should be ashamed to associate themselves with being on this committee. They should resign if they don't care to make sure the cemeteries are taken care of. The select board liaison should remove himself. It is the same people doing this — year in and year out — and yet, they still cannot get it right.

I found out the contract for a "contractor" was just signed this past Monday, May 20. Don't the cemeteries deserve to have the grass cut properly before this? Why do we hire a contractor? Where are the high school kids and college kids? This is a great gig for students. I tried to call our town manager yet she was on vacation. The individual assigned to fill her shoes told me they would be done over the weekend. They were finally done by 3 p.m. Saturday. Calls started on Wednesday prior to the weekend asking why the cemeteries had not been mowed. One of my friends noticed this and began calling and received lip service. I joined her and started calling as well. Union Cemetery had been mowed earlier but only in front of Route 28 and the newer back part with hardly any graves. The middle was disgraceful. Grass was up to my knees and ticks were present. Christmas decorations were strewn around and never picked up. Branches were in the road. Why do we have to wait until the actual holiday weekend to get the grass mowed for the first mowing of the season? Other towns take pride in their cemeteries. Why can't Chatham?

Judy Patterson

West Chatham

Disagree With Airport Commission


Don’t be hoodwinked by the airport commission’s lack of transparency. Mr. Harrison never tells you about alternative options for the airport, because the commission’s goal is to encourage turboprops with straight-in and vertical guidance for landings in poor visibility.

He continues to ignore the issue of safety on the ground for residents. There are 12 houses on Great Hill, all on ground under the flightpath higher than shown in and omitted from FAA approved plans. Even more outrageous is the fact that turboprops could fly as low as 30 feet above those homes and still be in airspace above the approach surface. This would become much more frightening in poor visibility especially at night, because aircraft would be much lower before seeing the ground.

Vertical guidance approaches allow poor visibility to less than three-quarters of a mile, for which FAA standards require 79 acre unsafe RPZ areas.The FAA tries to insist that these should be empty of people, but Mr. Harrison ignores the fact that these new areas could include hundreds of people.

Article 40 had everything to do with tree removal with the associated application to the conservation commission to desecrate the wetlands and a vernal pool and the plan to remove trees on 61 acres of town land.

At town meeting a 92-year-old resident received loud applause when he suggested closing the airport. There was an overwhelming 306 votes against Article 40, so it is not and never was just “a small vocal group of airport critics” who object to the airport and its plans. The airport commission continues to reject community input, but the community has learned what the commission is trying to accomplish, and it overwhelmingly disagrees.

Dr. Margaret Tompsett


Roundabout Out Of Character


Bill Amaru’s well written column in your May 16 issue struck a chord with me. My grandfather, Fredrick Rogers, moved to South Orleans in the late 1950s and had his pediatric practice on Route 28 in the building currently occupied by the Orleans Conservation Trust. He lived for many years at Quanset Harbor Club and would have driven by the 28/39 intersection almost daily either to work or to town. He was a friend of Dory Klimshuk. With my grandfather, I visited Mr. Klimshuk and his kids a number of times on Portanimicut Road when I was a young boy.

I think my grandfather would be saddened by the new rotary and I feel many others must be. It is so far out of the character of what brought him and many others to this area. As your reader Donald MacKenzie writes in your latest issue, the Lower Cape is a fragile and beautiful land. We have an obligation to future generations to help keep it that way.

In order that a similar situation might be prevented in the future I wonder if the Chronicle could do an investigative piece of how the rotary came to be designed and built as it is. Whatever your feelings are on the aesthetics of the project, I think that would be doing a great service to the community.

Chris Snow

North Chatham

ArtCast Is Back, Baby!


So very happy to see ArtCast return. Wouldn't it be great to have it run all year? There are so many activities and programs year round, ArtCast would be a valuable asset, even if it ran monthly during the “off” months.

Susan Hawley

Harwich Port

Markets Aided Kindness Walk


Sharing Kindness, a local suicide prevention and grief counseling organization, would like to thank both Stop & Shop and Star Market for their kind donations of water and snacks for our suicide awareness walk on May 18. Both Harwich stores did not hesitate to help, and we are so grateful. Another example of local folks caring about each other. Thank you again.

Lisa Forte-Doyle

Hospitality and Walk Volunteer

Sharing Kindness

Voices Were Heard


Congratulations to the diligent committed people who delivered the facts about Article 40 to Chatham residents at town meeting. Often ridiculed by the airport commission, this group persevered.

Chatham voters want the facts and want to vote on important matters that affect all of Chatham. Case in point: the affordable housing trust's desire to unilaterally make all decisions about affordable and attainable and workforce housing without considering what the public wants. Other towns share the designs and plans received in response to RFPs.

Why not share the plans with Chatham citizens and let us vote on what plans we feel would be best in our neighborhoods before the final decisions are made?

Town meeting is the only place our voices are truly heard and the people of Chatham represented.

Carol Gordon

South Chatham