Letters to the Editor, April 26

Election, Town Meeting Deadlines

Letters relating to Chatham's annual town meeting and election will be accepted for publication through the issue of May 3.

Irrigators Should Pay For Water


I am writing in support of the editorial regarding water rates.  We have owned our vacation home in Chatham for 20 years.  During that time we have seen countless number of McMansions built, all with manicured lush lawns, irrigated by in-ground sprinklers, of course.  It is logical for the town to establish separate metering systems so that owners with in-ground irrigation systems pay their fair share.  Plus, in Tim Wood’s page one story on water rates, it appears that water rate increases will not uniformly rise with usage – which is illogical – low users are subject to the highest proposed percentage increase.  How is that fair?

George Jaffe



Tell It To The Marines

It is hard to know where to be amused of dismayed by Katy Jones' recent letter deifying President Trump.
She praised the tax cut that is giving $83 million to America's richest families. This tax cut and Trump's inflated budget are almost certain to balloon our national debt to a once unimaginable level that will rip our economy apart.
The stock market's roller coaster reaction to the twittering Trump may well plummet as far as the polls evaluating his overall performance.
Her claim that Trump has strengthened our overseas relationships and brought respect back to our country ignores reality.
Ms. Jones praises the First Lady's strong sense of moral values. I wish the First lady could transplant those into her husband's mind and body.
Ms. Jones claims that our military was virtually decimated by President Obama. For verification she says, “Ask anyone in the military.”
Ask me. I am an immigrant. Out of a sense of gratitude for my citizenship and love for my country I enlisted in the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps. I was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart. I was retired because of a combat wound that has pained me every day since I was shot on the morning of June 12, 1951. As a retired disabled officer I can and do often visit our military bases to spend time with Marines going to or coming from our current wars. They did not and do not feel decimated.
I know nothing about “Indivisible,” the group Ms. Jones attacked as aiming to tear up our Constitution. If that is true let's all pray they fail, especially because that sacred document will be the downfall of President Trump.

Charles U. Daly


Combating Climate Change With Clean Energy 


The storms we’ve been hit with this winter have impacted many aspects of my daily life, from trying to drive in messy weather to having to pick up my yard after it was covered in tree debris. We are already seeing changes in our local environment due to the storms, like shifts in coastal boating routes that pose a danger to local boaters (“In Wake of Winter Storms, Boaters Will Face Navigation Problems,” March 4). Our emissions of carbon have caused climate change and resulted in serious storms like the ones we have seen recently, and we should make the switch to clean energy for Massachusetts. 

Massachusetts has proven to be a leader in terms of sustainability and environmental protection; today, we’re generating over 300 times as much solar energy as we did just 10 years ago. But we need to do much more in the face of these alarming environmental changes. The time for 100 percent renewable energy is now, and this change is possible; seven detailed studies have concluded that there are no insurmountable technological or economic barriers to making the switch to clean energy.

More than 50 state legislators have signed on to the 100 Percent Renewable Energy Act, which would power Massachusetts entirely with clean energy like solar and wind by 2050. Chatham Representative Sarah Peake and Senator Julian Cyr should sign on as well. The alarming and unstable weather of late should be evidence enough that we need to act now and make the change to 100 percent clean energy.

Eleanor Sultana


Editor's note: The writer is an intern with Environment Massachusetts.


Candidate Walks The Walk


I urge residents of Chatham to elect Peter Cocolis for selectman on May 17.

I met Peter when he was the moderator for the Chatham Men’s Club.  It didn’t take long to realize how passionate he feels about Chatham and its future, particularly with regard to senior citizens, young people, small business people and the fishing community.  A humble person, Peter Cocolis doesn’t try to draw attention to himself but rather to the things he believes are important.  Nevertheless, his achievements in the Air Force, having participated in the Strategic Arms Reduction talks in Geneva; with Boeing in business development and government relations; in local government as chairman of the Chatham Planning Board, helping to spearhead some of the most significant zoning changes in the past decade; and in community voluntary work with the Chatham Ecumenical Council for the Homeless, the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, the Cape Light Compact, etc. speak loudly.

However, Peter will be the first to say that anything he has achieved has been with the help and involvement of others, and he believes this is how you get things done.  He is one of those special persons who not only “talks the talk” but “walks the walk.”  He generously gives of his time, talent and treasure, and Chatham will certainly benefit from his kind of leadership and practical experience.  That’s why I urge you to elect him on May 17.   

George Michael Lane


Is America On The Rise?


This letter is in answer to Kathy Jones (“America On The Rise,” April 12). I truly pray as a Christian American that our "beloved country" is really doing well. What I have been taught over the years is to compare our past presidents with two entities, the first one being Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and the second being my Life Application Study Bible.

Let's look at Merriam's definition of what is integrity. Integrity is 1.Firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values; incorruptibility; 2. an unimpaired condition: soundness; 3.the quality of state of being complete or undivided completeness. synonyms, see honesty.

Next let's look at what does the Lord have to say in my Life Application Bible. Proverbs 6:12-19: What are worthless wicked people like? They are constant liars, signaling their deceit with the wink of the eye, a nudge of the foot, or the wiggle of fingers. Their perverted hearts plot evil, and they constantly stir up trouble. But they will be destroyed suddenly broken in an instant beyond all hopes of healing. There are six things the Lord hates – no seven He detests; haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.

I believe these two references say it all, don't you? Is America on the rise? Is this what the German people believed back in the mid '30s?

Claudette Cameron



No Donations Or Signs For This Candidate


This is the time of year that political signs usually flourish. We are seeing signs for one candidate throughout the town, but the other four candidates made a conscious decision not to use them. Prolific, warring signs lining our roadways have lost the currency they once had.

Jamie Bassett is not using signs because he hoped that “...our streets and avenues can breathe freely for at least one spring.” He has also declined campaign donations so there is no doubt that he is not “...beholden to anyone nor to any special interests.” He wants people to save their money. You won’t see any paid political ads either. The money that goes into local elections is incredible. Jamie refuses “to pay to play.” Last year candidates spent almost $10,000 each. Yes, in Chatham.

What Jamie is doing is promising “fair dealing, honesty, and respect.” A former Eagle Scout, Jamie achieved respect for his outstanding contributions to Chatham and developed qualities such as self-reliance, trust, doing things right and doing the right things. He understands the importance of honor and personal integrity, helping others and caring about them. He stands for the values and traditions of Chatham and for transparent, good government in his town.

As chairman of the shellfish advisory committee, Jamie continues to give to his community through his service and leadership. He has said his goal “would be to make the best possible choices for Chatham and its townspeople” if elected. When you go to vote on May 17, please consider voting for Jamie Bassett for selectman.

Elaine Gibbs



What Makes Us Great At Stake


Regarding the recent letter to the editor “America on the Rise,” I would like to offer another perspective on what is rising in America, and it is sadly not our greatness. With every day that passes there is a sense of the rising peril and danger that this president and those that follow him are putting us in. In America we are experiencing an ever-rising (almost daily) crisis of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government.

What is on the rise is the growing awareness of the oppression that takes place in our culture and in this administration; examples of bigotry, misogyny, violent abuse, sexual assault and harassment of women – along with the loud and empowering response of “no more” – is on the rise too.

To resist an administration that consistently demonstrates a penchant for an authoritarian, ego-driven, “father knows best” approach is a moral imperative. The intensity of our fear, stress, and anxiety continues to be on the rise; due in part to the daily barrage of threats, fear mongering, and ignorance via tweets, media outlets and press conferences. The escalating examples of arrogance and disrespect for the diversity, complexity, and inherent value of the people and countries we share this planet with, are a disgrace to us as a nation.

Ultimately it is we, the voters, who need to rise up, work for the common good, and vote. What does make our country great is at stake.

Dawn B. Tolley



Pet Cemetery, Crematorium A Joke


I live and work on Queen Anne Road in Harwich. I have been here for many years. I was dumbfounded when I saw commercial land being taken off the tax roles for the creating of a pet cemetery. I know of many people who were unaware of this wasteful public spending.

Our selectman again have shown themselves to be completely out of touch and hardly worthy of future votes to be our elected representatives. This year they propose building a publicly financed pet crematorium. It will be the only pet crematorium financed by tax dollars in the country! The warrant article tells us of a dire need for such a service in Harwich. Really? Why don't our elected officials also tell us in this warrant that a private service is easily available and regularly offered through every vet clinic on Cape Cod! It has served Cape residents who desire this service well for many years. I suppose our leaders also don’t mind putting these people out of a job so the town can build a public one.

Does Harwich really not have any higher priorities? Who is going to work at this crematorium? Will they have town benefits as well? Silly me thought that government was only supposed to provide services that were necessary and were not provided by the private sector. This albatross fails on both accounts.

Please, Harwich residents, make a point to show up at town meeting and read the warrant carefully. Not only should this be killed but the cemetery itself should be returned as commercially zoned land so taxes can be collected and hard working business man and locals can have a place to work. Oh, I forgot, who cares about locals, residents and small business men when we have this crisis in the inability to offer cremation services to pets.

What a Joke!

Tom Birch



The Right Choice For Harwich


Tom Sherry is the right choice for Harwich voters. Tom is running for the board of selectman and is the right person at the right time to bring a new and fresh voice to the board. I have met and spoken to Tom regarding the issues facing our community and believe strongly that his background, vision and leadership is what our town needs as we face many important issues. Tom will bring a thoughtful and reasoned voice to the board that will consider the impact of every decision on our working families, veterans, young professionals and our seniors. As a former town manager, who worked with four great boards of selectman over several years, I am confident that Tom Sherry will be an excellent addition to our board of selectman. He is thoughtful, educated, reasonable and will ensure that decisions are always in the best interest of our entire community. Please join me in supporting and voting for Tom Sherry for Harwich Board of Selectman.

Tony Schiavi


Shark Watch Regs Wrong Track


The "nonprofit" Atlantic White Shark Conservancy says ecotourism is  jeopardizing the great whites. Blue Claw Boat Tours does not offer shark tours, but as part of the Cape's Blue Economy felt a need to respond. AWSC plans to keep USCG licensed boats, recreational boats and planes away from what they must view as "their" sharks. Great whites are not an endangered species here on Cape; in fact the population is growing. The AWSC charges $2,500 to take people out with exclusive Chatham Bars Inn boats. The AWSC is fast tracking a proposal to the division of marine fisheries to set regulations about permit fees to be near sharks at unknown cost, payments into an "ecotourism" fund, undisclosed "other fees" and a donation to the AWSC, effectively regulating out competition. The state biologist who harpoons sharks on AWSC boats works for the DMF. This attempt to regulate ecotourism is ill conceived, exclusionary and without merit. They have no local data backing up statements of jeopardy toward sharks or the public. When the time comes that viewing sharks from boats or planes changes the behavior of sharks more than a harpoon in its back (in the name of science), then we can talk.
Captain Rob Wissmann, owner

Blue Claw Boat Tours



Speak Out Against Crematorium


I am so happy that letters in last week's Chronicle voiced all my concerns and more, better than I ever could and did, pertaining to a pet crematory in Harwich.  

Those individuals with what appear to be big ideas and perhaps personal gain, should not bring a pet crematory, etc. to Harwich. I am so proud of our outspoken citizens regarding this subject.

In this regard, please provide an alternative voice option for individuals (for various reasons)  who cannot attend and comment at the selectman's meeting on April 23 nor vote in person at the town meeting on May 7 regarding the possibility of this pet crematory. Hopefully, our townspeople will speak out.

Marilyn Reynolds



Candidate Cares For Town Deeply

In the upcoming town election I would urge people to cast a vote for Seth Taylor. I have known Seth for several years and have always found him to be highly intelligent and well informed. He is also open and honest. He has no private agenda that he will bring to the job.
Seth is a Chatham native and cares deeply about “his” town and wants the best for Chatham. Seth will consider each proposal brought before the board on its own merit, and its effect on Chatham.
Seth will not take the easy or popular position. His position will, after careful consideration, be what he honestly feels is best for Chatham.
Seth Taylor is the type of person we should have on the board of selectmen: intelligent, informed, open, honest and independent. Please cast you vote for Seth Taylor and Chatham.

George W. Fisk
North Chatham


Crematorium, Snack Bar Off Base

New to the Harwich Old Timers Facebook site, I have been enlightened of late. I write to The Chronicle as I believe that two issues discussed at some length on the Old Timers site bear comment on your newspaper. The two issues are very far off what most of us would consider the role of our local government. So far off in fact as to cast a light on those we have chosen to act on the public's behalf. I would like to flesh out the positions held by our selectmen on the two matters.
The issues of concern are the snack bar and the pet crematorium, two warrants before the town at next month's town meeting. Why time has been afforded in Harwich to debate the merits of being a landlord for a local eatery and to be servicer of last rites for one's pet is beyond me. That town management appears comfortable with the prospect of going toe to toe with other establishments, proffering up competition opportunities among already established eateries and crematoria, establishments that have taken risk to contribute to the town coffers. Competing with taxpayers' funds just seems patently wrong. Sadly, local tribal advocacy is waging war with the common good. At its most basic it is so wrong.

Matt Sutphin
Harwich Port


Support Harwich Being A Green Community


At town meeting, Harwich voters will be asked to approve two articles 32 and 33 pertaining to the town becoming a Green Community. Such designation by the state makes the town eligible for grants to make energy efficiency improvements. In other words, the state will help fund money-saving projects.

There are five criteria the town must comply with to become a Green Community, and two of those require town meeting votes. The first article creates a large-scale photo voltaic overlay district in the commercial-industrial zone on Queen Anne Road. A parcel of town-owned land adjacent to the existing solar farm will have as-of-right siting for a solar panel array – a permitted use by a private developer that would lease the land and generate power for sale. This being a zoning article, it requires a two-thirds majority vote.

The second article adopts the state's "stretch" building code for all new residential construction and for commercial construction of 100,000 or more square feet. Additions and renovations are not affected. In the nearly 10 years since the Green Communities program was introduce, the gap between the building base code and the stretch code has narrowed considerably, and will continue to do so, as the state's separate energy code is upgraded every three years. Complying with the stretch code is not prescriptive; it's performance based. There are alternative ways of meeting the Home Energy Rating System target, and the extra up-front cost is quickly recoverable from energy savings.

The Harwich Energy Committee urges voters to approve these two articles. For more detailed information about these, and the other criteria, please visit the committee's section of the town's website, www.harwich-ma.gov/boards, or www.mass.gov/energy/GreenCommunities.

Larry Cole, chairman

Harwich Energy Committee


A Different Impression Of Candidate


I read with interest Ms. Jennifer Buck’s letter (“Candidate Has Strong Local Commitment,” April 19) in support of Mr. Jamie Bassett for selectman. Though few, my interactions with Mr. Bassett have left me with an impression quite different from Ms. Buck’s.

At numerous meetings of the last charter review committee, former selectmen Seth Taylor repeatedly browbeat, harassed and showed his disrespect for the committee and its chairman while Mr. Bassett sat silent.

More recently, Mr. Bassett and I exchanged a number of emails regarding proposed changes to the waterways regulations that I and a group of citizens had submitted for consideration by the waterways advisory committee. As chairman of the shellfish advisory committee, Mr. Bassett assured me that he would get back to me with a “quality and thoughtful response.”

Hearing nothing further from Mr. Bassett, I was later informed that our proposed changes had been on his committee’s meeting agenda for Feb. 15. Mr. Bassett did not notify me in advance of that agenda item and according to the minutes of that meeting, “Chairman Bassett noted that Mr. Myers is a non-voting taxpayer.” The proposed changes were not considered at the meeting.

I do not view those episodes as embodying “fair dealing, trustworthiness and respect.”

George Myers

Chatham and Venice, Fla.


Reasons To Ban Balloons


How well I remember the joy of buying a balloon before the Chatham Band concerts when I was a child. I always held tight to my balloon but followed those that got away and floated off into the sky. That was before I knew that once the balloon landed it could be ingested by sea turtles, birds, and other wildlife and be the cause of a slow death.
The few hours of pleasure from having a balloon are not worth the loss of life and damage that they can create.
As Susan M. Hesse so eloquently stated in her April 19 letter, there are numerous reasons to vote yes on warrant article 18 to ban the sale of balloons in Chatham.

Sherrie Burson

South Chatham


What's The Business Of Harwich?

Voters at the May 7 town meeting will be asked to approve spending taxpayer money on two private business enterprises: the Saquatucket snack shack and the pet/animal crematorium. That’s right. We are being asked to decide if this is the kind of business we want our town to pay for – now and, most likely, for many years to come. Approval at town meeting will authorize; 1) using grant money (recently received) to build a “snack shack” instead of using the grant money to decrease how much we have to borrow for the other buildings and structures at Saquatucket Harbor; and 2) borrowing almost $600,000 for the construction of an animal crematorium. This letter is not to dispute the numbers associated with these projects. There is not enough time or space to dispute the false claims and wrong information being distributed. 

Instead I suggest voters consider some basic questions. Should Harwich be financially involved with these types of projects or are they much more appropriately done by private enterprise and private financing? Do either of these proposed town-financed projects address any town government mission? Is there any benefit to public safety, education, environment, social services, year-round employment or historical preservation?  If there is no “government role” to justify these expenditures, then they should not be approved. In addition to being inappropriate use of public funds, there is a real chance of negative consequences. Town involvement in a restaurant could also hurt other established, local businesses, such as Mason Jar, Buckies, A&W, Georges Pizza, Brax Landing and others. As for animal crematorium services, they have been adequately provided by several private companies that service Harwich. Bottom line: These activities are not the “business of Harwich.”  Please attend the town meeting and vote “No” on Article 26 to finance a pet crematorium and “No” on Article 30 to increase spending at Saquatucket over and above the $3 million authorized last year. 

Richard Gundersen