Letters To The Editor: June 6, 2024

by Cape Cod Chronicle Readers

Revisit Squire Outdoor Decision


Neighbors within earshot of the Chatham Squire or the adjacent town parking lot feel left out of the process that gave approval for the expansion into the parking to the rear which includes a new entrance, fire pit, outdoor seating and a bar.

There had been a temporary permit during COVID to allow for use of the parking area as outdoor dining. The Squire seems to have parlayed this into a permanent use, not for patio dining as originally permitted, but as a bar.

Neighbors were unaware of the first review last May and the select board meeting granting approval on Dec. 19 (a time of year when we have a great deal more to do than attend board meetings). Although this was done by the book, the only announcement was a legal notice in The Chronicle that left out the change of use or the space to an outdoor bar and the extension of outdoor hours until 11 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and federal holidays, and this leaves us feeling blindsided.

We feel that the abutter and neighborhood concerns were not taken into account during the review process and call on the select board to recall their decision regarding the change in use from outdoor dining to outdoor bar and the granting of extra operating hour, and that a timely hearing be scheduled so that the full concerns of the neighbors can be heard and informed decision made with a timely hearing with input from the impacted neighbors.

Chris Craven


Speed Not Bike Trail Problem


It seems irrational that the bikeways and traffic committees would task the police department with speed enforcement on the bike trail. On the state-operated sections of the bike trail in other towns, motorized vehicles are explicitly prohibited, and though e-bikes are by definition "motorized vehicles," this prohibition is not enforced. Why would speeding in our town be any more enforceable?

In my opinion, speed is not the primary problem with the bike trail. The idiocy of bicyclists who erroneously assume the right of way at road crossings is the problem. Riders are a dime a dozen who blindly ignore stop signs and red lights, cruising through cross traffic with impunity and indifference. Last month, I was witness to a 64-year-old man in Harwich whose ignorance caused him to ride his bike through a stop sign and into the path of an oncoming truck. As another motorist and I were tending to the injuries of this bicyclist who was lying supine on a state road, his first words were, "That was stupid. I should have stopped."

I don't care if this is an unpopular stance, it needs to be said: Bicyclists on the Cape have become a public nuisance. If the bikeways and traffic committees want to get serious, forget the speeding tickets, go to the crossings and force the bicyclists to dismount and walk across the intersections.

Jared Fulcher


Real Financial Value Of Airport?


In last week’s issue, a gentleman stated that the Chatham Airport has a $14 million annual economic benefit for the town. He inferred that this offsets higher taxes that we would have to pay. Where did this data come from?

In January 2019, MassDOT published the “Massachusetts Statewide Airport Economic Impact Study Update.” In this report they said that Chatham Airport had a total employment of 156 persons, with a total payroll of approximately $5 million and total output of approximately $14 million. This report is five years old. And, at the time of its publication, a request was issued to MassDOT for the backup data in which they said, the data no longer existed. What?

If this is the information you base your statement on, or if someone told you this, you may want to re-evaluate your source. On the other hand, you may know something we don’t?

Let’s think about this: 156 employees with a payroll of approximately $5 million, who’s paying all those employees? Who are they? How many W2s or 1099s were issued last year?

Perhaps we don’t know the real financial value of the airport. It’s time to find out and put this issue in front of all residents to consider.

Bob Nelson


Misinformation About Chatham Airport


With over 40 years in aviation as a military pilot, ATP, and retired FAA, I am troubled by the continued attempts by the opponents of Chatham Airport to scare the public with misinformation.

In the May 30 Chronicle, an author claims aircraft could fly 30 feet above homes at Great Hill, which is completely false. It seems the author does not understand the difference between obstacle clearance surfaces (approach map) and required obstacle clearance for aircraft flying instrument approaches. The proposed straight-in approaches would align exactly with the existing 3.5-degree visual glide path defined by the existing PAPI lights so aircraft would be flying the same altitudes as they do today. The author also claims the existing RPZ will need to increase in size to support a vertically guided approach with <3/4-mile visibility, which is correct but irrelevant. Increasing the size of the RPZ is not an option nor is it needed because the existing RPZ and approach map will support a straight-in vertically guided approach with visibility of one mile, providing a significant safety improvement over the current circling approaches.

The airport commission is not trying to “encourage” more turbo prop aircraft to use CQX. The goal is to improve safety for all aircraft using the Chatham Airport. The author also seems to imply that the airport commission intends to clear-cut trees from 61 acres of town land, which is not correct. Trees will need to be trimmed to remove obstacle penetrations and vegetation will be allowed to regenerate below the clearance surface. Tree trimming will be coordinated with the conservation commission and the Cape Cod Commission, so why not let them do their jobs before calling foul on the airport commission.

Leo Eldredge


Investigate Roundabout Sculpture


I join in sentiments expressed in the column by Bill Amaru in the May 16 issue that the new South Orleans roundabout is sadly out of character for our community. As a longtime resident of South Orleans, I understood the reasons for a roundabout at this dangerous intersection of Routes 28 and 39. But how did this particular rotary come to be designed and built? Why at such a large scale, more in line with what typically encounters at the outskirts of a city, not in a semi-rural milieu like South Orleans? I don't know the answers — which is why I second the suggestion of Chris Snow, in his letter in the May 30 issue, that The Chronicle undertake an investigative piece to find out. Let's have the full story, whatever it is. The truth, after all, is always instructive. As a Chronicle subscriber, I appreciate your good work.

Paul Starobin


On Olde Cape Cod…


As the song goes "If you're fond of sand dunes and salty air," avoid the South Orleans roundabout because it looks like a nuclear bunker.

Mike Rice

South Wellfleet

Welcome Back, ArtCast!


I want to express my sincere thanks to you and your publication's support of the arts of all kinds on Cape Cod. Our little neck of land is steeped in amazing talent. Bringing back the ArtCast section in each edition helps us learn about all of the "local art happenings."

As director of Galley West Art Gallery in Orleans, in addition to our paid ads in the paper, working with the Chronicle staff and with Jen Sexton-Riley on ArtCast has become a wonderful way for us to promote our gallery and the Lower/Outer Cape Cod artists who show their work there. But, also as a resident of Cape Cod, ArtCast enables me to know about all the venues I can visit and take advantage of each week. It's a great way to plan outings with house guests... theater, galleries, concerts... all outlined in one place and available for review and us to partake and support. I hope ArtCast remains a standing feature of your paper all year.

Susan Sasso


Trees Will Be Cut, Not Trimmed


I just want to make clear that there is no tree trimming proposed for the Chatham Airport. The word trimming has been printed by The Chronicle, used many times by residents that are in favor and even a few times from some that are not. It has also been quoted by town officials.

The proposal is for the flush cutting to the ground of all the trees indicated.

Eric Hilbert


Objects To Continued Misinformation


Michael Tompsett submitted a letter printed in the May 23 edition of The Chronicle which I have read three times. Each time I felt my frustration grow, not because he objects to airport activity, which he does, but because he continues to spread disinformation, fallacious arguments, and fabrications in his communications about CQX.

The letter “Map Didn’t Need Replacing” discusses rules and regulations pertaining to instrument-flight rules (IFR) which have nothing to do with the bylaw map central to Article 40 of the 2024 town meeting warrant. In addition, he wrote: “The airport commission has been advocating poor visibility landings with visibility less than one mile, and Article 40 would have enabled this.” This entire sentence is

False. In the first place, the commission has never advocated either poor visibility landings or landings with less than one-mile visibility. In the second place, adoption of Article 40 would not have had any effect whatsoever on landing rules and operations in Chatham.

The rest of the letter conflates disparate bits of information, all weaving a fantastical tale about runway length, RPZs and straight-in approaches. These have nothing to do with the bylaw’s approach zone map or Article 40.

A week later, a letter from Dr. Margaret Tompsett continued to spread disinformation and falsehoods concerning approaches, again showing a complete lack of knowledge and understanding of the entire subject. She repeats the same false accusation concerning “poor-visibility” landings that her husband erroneously asserted.

Unfortunately, the continued practice of repeating disinformation and untruths, while shouting them at an ever-increasing volume, dissuaded residents from reviewing Article 40 on its merits and factual basis. The map helps enable the airport commission to provide a safe approach path for aircraft and people on the ground. Nothing more.

The airport commission welcomes debate on all issues. It understands opinions differ where airport operations are concerned. Our desire is for everyone not to (wildly) speculate as to motives behind actions, but to rely on factual information in determining their decisions on these matters.

Mike Geylin, vice chair

Chatham Airport Commission

No One Is Above The Law


Donald J. Trump has just been convicted of 34 felony counts for falsifying business records to cover up another crime, an illegal campaign contribution.

If he had written Stormy Daniels a personal check this would not be a crime. It would be despicable behavior (having sex with a porn star while your wife was home with a new baby, and paying off the porn star to keep her quiet) but apparently not illegal. That check would have been a personal contribution to his campaign. In electoral contributions, he would have to declare it and it would be recorded in the federal database, where people would see it and ask questions.

So he wanted to cover it up.

Two of the jurors were lawyers, one an investment banker, one a physical therapist. I don't list their occupations to show they were elitist but to indicate they were probably mainstream folks, and some maybe voted republican. They were not pawns of Alan Bragg, the D.A. Joe Biden didn’t call them up and offer them money, ambassadorships or plum federal jobs.

Anyone who claims this is a “political prosecution” has to show why 12 ordinary Americans took six weeks out of their lives, with great personal risk, sat in a box for eight hours a day, listened to the evidence and decided unanimously that Trump was guilty, in a few hours.

Twelve women and men “good and true” in only nine hours decided this was a felony; no, 34 felonies.

Twelve women and men “good and true” is the classic (since 1200) description of a qualified jury. That is us guys and girls together deciding that the law is written to cover everyone, and a former president cannot skate by.

Trump has to answer to laws written to cover everyone, even former presidents,

(the rule of law) and not claim he is excluded because it is New York, the prosecutor is a Democrat or the judge “biased.”

Trump is unfit to hold office and should be in jail.

Fitzhugh Pannill

South Orleans

Questions Endorsement Policy


I have a concern with the editorial practice of this newspaper, The Cape Cod Chronicle, and would like to ask for comments from other readers.

My issue concerns town elections and The Chronicle’s practice of endorsing specific candidates. As many of you may know, one of the candidates for the Brewster Select Board, Laurel Labdon, lost by just three votes, and it seems reasonable to think that The Chronicle’s endorsement of Mary Chaffee and Amanda Bebrin as best suited to lead our town had some influence on the outcome. Mind you, while I was in support of Laurel, I accept the outcome of the vote and thank the Brewster Town Clerk’s office and the many volunteers who oversee our votes. No, my issue is with The Chronicle’s endorsement practice.

When I called The Chronicle to ask what their policy is for endorsing candidates (“we have always done it”) and how many people on their editorial board were from Brewster ("it seems just one"), I concluded that it is an unfair practice that should be dropped. It is good that the paper keeps us informed about town meetings, etc. but in an election, we are voting for “our” representative on “our” town governance for a period of three years. This should be our choice alone and not be influenced by a newspaper and staff that are from “around” as I was told.

With respect to all candidates, I believe this practice should be eliminated. What do you think?

Mary O’Neil