Letters To The Editor: Feb. 29, 2024

by Cape Cod Chronicle Readers

Powers Should Go


Kudos to Harwich Select Board member Donald Howell for casting a dissenting vote as recorded in the article “Powers Gets a One-Year Contract Extension” (Feb. 15). I won’t belabor the reasons why here, but there’s no doubt that Harwich can do better than Town Administrator Joseph Powers. That has been the case for several years now. The real question is why the rest of the select board is so reluctant to get rid of this guy and then reward his mediocre leadership with a $20,000 raise. We should be outraged! Harwich residents can’t vote on who our town administrator is, but we can vote on who our select board members are. Perhaps we need a new slate of who represents our interests in Harwich.

Jan Raffaele


No More Military Aid For Israel


Ralph Smith's letter to the editor (“Decries Israel’s Actions,” Feb. 22) is spot on. I concur entirely with his thoughtful, insightful statements that Mr. Netanyahu's indiscriminate killing of innocent Palestinian civilians is criminal. Yes, Hamas' attack was horrific and yes, Israel is entitled to protect itself.

Yet, as of today, 27,000 Palestinians have been killed and 67,000 wounded (the majority women and children). Hundreds of thousands of children face starvation and psychological trauma at the hands of Israel's extremist government. This is a humanitarian catastrophe funded in part by U.S. tax dollars. Any one of the victims could be our child or grandchild. Moreover, Netanyahu's actions make it more likely that extremist political views will grow and metastasize among the Palestinian people and others in the Middle East.

Americans should refuse to fund Netanyahu's war machine. We should urge members of Congress to vote against military aid for Israel.

Carol J. Kenner

South Chatham

Affordable Housing Benefits Whole Town


I’m addressing the misinformation about South Chatham's voice on Chatham’s affordable housing trust (AHT) and its invaluable contribution to our community, as stated in a letter (“Beware Excessive Housing Density”) in your publication on Feb. 22.

We, as representatives of Chatham, are duty-bound to serve the entirety of our beloved town, not just its select parts. The AHT boasts a wealth of knowledge spanning building design, development, affordable housing, and sustainable community initiatives, including Karolyn McClellan, a member of the AHT and a proud resident of South Chatham.

South Chatham isn't just a location; it's a legacy that runs deep in the veins of families like mine. My husband's roots in South Chatham stretch back generations; his pride is anchored in the soil of properties like the Twine Field and the historic railroad bed, now a cherished bike path.

South Chatham's tapestry is woven with threads of history and perseverance. Once a haven for tradespeople, fishermen, and small business owners, it is poised to embrace a new chapter with the Meetinghouse Road project. Though their names may or may not echo through the annals of history, these newcomers will be just as integral to the fabric of Chatham. Together, we will cultivate a vibrant, sustainable community where every voice, including those from South Chatham, is heard and valued.

Shareen Davis


Shareen Davis is a member of the Chatham Select Board and the Chatham Affordable Housing Trust Board.

Questions About Conflict


When Bill Marsh tried to get the town to use the Sibley property for a senior center site, select board member Cory Metters recused himself from any deliberations because he owns a business across Route 28 from the land in question. Jeff Dykens, whose wife runs a business 400 feet away in a building owned by Bill Marsh, did not feel pressure for recusal from the same debate. Fast forward to talks on density on Buckley's property. Cory Metters rightly feels Rick Leavitt can carry out his duties without conflict but Jeff Dykens does not believe so? What the hell is going on?

Jared Fulcher


What’s The Point Of Surveys?


Voters attending town meeting and voting for the town to buy the Buckley property in West Chatham neighborhood center to develop much-needed housing for working households priced out of Chatham’s inflated housing market, please pay attention to what Chatham’s affordable housing trust board (AHT) now plans. The majority of Chatham’s working families — police officers, firefighters, department heads, town staff, plumbers, electricians, fishing families and the many others serving Chatham citizens — are out of luck. You don’t qualify for affordable housing. Nothing in AHT’s plan requires a developer to build any housing for you.

Worse still, the AHT ignored voter preference. A year-long community engagement process made abundantly clear that voters preferred moderate development. When it was suggested that a maximum number of housing apartments be set for both the Buckley and Meetinghouse Road properties, AHT refused. Townspeople then complained bitterly that, without a maximum, developers will build just as many lower income rental apartments as they can because the state will pay for them. Under AHT’s plan, the three-acre Buckley homestead with one modest home on it today could end up with 60 or more. Other towns have set reasonable limits on developers to protect their town’s historic neighborhoods from over-development including Brewster, Harwich, Orleans, Truro, Wellfleet, and others.

What is the point of surveys, public forums, and “listening sessions” simply to have the AHT, an unelected body, ignore voters?

George Myers

Venice, Fla.

Put Park Plans To Rest


In the Drummer Boy Park advisory committee meeting held Feb. 20, the results of the Drummer Boy surveys were reviewed and discussed by the committee and several citizens. Quoting Sharon Tennstedt, who presented the survey findings: “Brewster respondents have three predominant sentiments on the park: leave it as it is, keep the park as natural as possible” and “would not prioritize over many other projects the town needs to fund.”

The full survey results and meeting recording can be found on the committee page of the Brewster website, wwe.brewster-ma.gov/drummer-boy-park-advisory-committee. A link is also attached to the preliminary cost estimates for the project the committee reviewed this February.

Further, there was a robust discussion about natural and low-cost rain gardens as a practical, natural and significantly less expensive option for water remediation. The proposal seemed to have strong initial support and interest as an effective non-invasive alternative.

This survey confirms once again what Brewster voters had said very clearly on two previous occasions in the past 18 months. I hope the intensive development proposals can finally be put to rest.

John Depuy


Board Has Too Much Power


At a recent meeting of the Chatham Affordable Housing Trust Board, one member told the consultant that there was no opposition, that they knew the problem and would solve it. But teachers, firefighters, etc. can’t be included in the affordable housing because of income qualifications. Board members went on to say their present plans are just the beginning. Plans include imaginative use of zoning changes and raising present building height restrictions. More disturbing was that by some legal maneuvering, the board has total control of these tax revenue monies and can’t be checked/balanced by the town or citizens.

West and South Chatham have airport noise, danger and pollution, the garbage/trash dump, the sewage treatment plant, and now new high-density neighborhoods, more crowded roads, and important wildlife habitat loss (Meetinghouse Road site).

The board said they would provide the names of those to be interviewed by the consultants in order to gauge public opinion. The legal maneuvering was meant to give the board the ability to quickly buy available land, not to give a small group of people absolute power unrestrained by the democratic process. The town and select board have an obligation to fix this.

Lou Hieb

South Chatham

The Dangers Of Spring


Spring is here in spite of snow and ice. We have a love-sick robin banging his head for days now at his reflection on a back sunny window. I wish I could reason with him before he totally knocks himself out. Nature is so strong, so marvelous, but in this case, dangerous.

I called Diane at animal control and had no resolution except to bring him in if he does knock himself out. I will rish him to Wild Care at the Orleans rotary if that does happen. I have put a fierce open-mouthed nutcracker in the window, and a 15-inch metal Christmas tree in the other window.

Love and passion is so strong. I remember being madly in love and imagining running into his arms for a passionate kiss. That never happened. Fortunately, I did not knock myself out. I wish i could tell Mr. Robin there will be someone else besides his own reflection, before he does knock himself out.

Fleur Feighan Jones


Raise Words, Not Voice


I recently had the pleasure of attending the recent meeting of the Chatham Select Board about “affordable housing” on Feb. 20 at the annex.

I was surprised to see the same four that had opposed the new senior center were also opposing the request to be put forward to any and all interested a) for-profit and b) non-profit organizations, firms, and companies in order to hear their views on development options.

In opposition one actually verbally yelled at and threatened the select board and staff. I was surprised because such faux advocacy ignores the ancient and fundamental rule of persuasion. “Raise your words, not voice. Rain cultivates flowers, not thunder.” (Rumi, 13th century).

I also noted the commonality of arguments and phrasing by the four. Key to their opposition was the use of common terminology with unstated unique meanings within their coven to twist the conversation. But I digress, more about that later.

Tom Clarke

West Chatham