Letters to the Editor, Oct. 4

Letter to the Editor

Endorses Hughes For Assembly


Your vote for a representative to the Barnstable County Assembly of delegates will be on the November ballot. As the legislative arm of the Cape Cod regional government, the Assembly considers all those complex aspects that will directly impact us: finance and budget, government regulations, public services and more. Your critical vote will shape our future and I suspect you want the best. Please consider Peter Hughes. Peter is our current Assembly delegate serving in a vacated seat. Mr. Hughes was elected to five terms as a Harwich Selectmen, and with past service on our finance committee and school committee he brings experience and an operational understanding. I have attended many board of selectmen meetings and have come to this conclusion. Having served five terms, Peter exemplifies leadership, an ability to listen and be respectful and a commitment to the responsibility of the position including in depth research for complex issues. Mr. Hughes will be the best choice for Harwich and so I’m voting for Peter Hughes to be our Assembly delegate. This decision deserves your thoughtful consideration. Please vote in November.

Sally Urbano



Loves Mondays On Main


Thank you to the merchants for coming together to give Chatham the arts stroll, Mondays on Main Street! What a great addition to the summer. Cities and towns everywhere do this and it is a perfect fit for our community. From one end of Main Street to the other music and art mixed with busy shops and crowded eateries. Children selling lemonade, the League of Women Voters of the Cape Cod Area registering voters, fans selling Anglers swag were all included in the fun. While “strolling” I had the opportunity to meet some of Chatham’s new generation of business owners who are committed to continuing to make our town welcoming and family friendly. Thank you to them and to all the business owners who made Mondays on Main Street another reason to spend summers in Chatham and another reason why year-round residents love living here.

Richard and Scotti Finnegan



Chatham, A Revolutionary Town


In the Sept. 20 Chronicle, Alan Pollock reported Selectman Chair Dean Nicastro's support of a Revolutionary War memorial.  Pollock reported, "Chatham never hosted a large battle and didn't send any local men into the pages of high school history books..."

But in June 1775, Benjamin Godfrey led Chatham's small militia into the bloodiest battle of the Revolution. Bunker Hill, a year before the Declaration of Independence, showed British generals that defeating the Colonials was no foregone conclusion.

Chatham volunteers joined the Navy, Coastal Service, Marines and Continental Army from 1775.  They were with Washington at Valley Forge and his repeated successes.  Near war's end (June 1782) militiamen espied a British ship trying to steal fishing boats from Chatham harbor; they drove off the British and retook every boat.  Chatham's 400 families built their own homes and boats, farmed, fished, and lived off the land; the militia saved lives by saving all the boats.  

So life was hard even without the Revolution, and Chatham men fought from 1775 through 1783.  Their families carried on alone, and helped create the United States. That is worthy of the history books – and a memorial to its Revolutionary War contributions.

John L. Rafuse


Handy Way To Attend Meetings


Citizens of Chatham, on the town's website, you can bring up meetings to get information. Go to official website, on left side column click “On Demand Archive.” A page will come up, click on the Sept. 24 affordable housing committee meeting. If you don't have access to computers, you can call Channel 18TV. They will share the times during the days when this meeting will be played.

As Chairman of CAHC I do want our message to get out there, and I do appreciate that our days are full and sometimes very hard to make meetings and learn about the business conducted.

Shirley Smith



ConCom Volunteers Wanted


The Chatham Conservation Commission has current openings for commissioners. Yes, it’s an appointed position, which demands some time, but it has its rewards. The commission is a civic body that serves to manage our waterfront environment. Being a commissioner is a continuous learning process about the state and town wetlands and coastal regulations, which it enforces; the technology of protecting homes against the sea; the dynamic nature of our coastline; and the issues of dealing with invasive plants, which are increasingly harming our environment.

As a commissioner you get to enjoy visiting many waterfront properties with gorgeous waterviews! Whether you join as an associate or a full voting member, you get to engage in the full scope of the application and hearing process. Reviewing all the input is great exercise for keeping your brain active. The town provides considerable support to the conservation commission to do its job; and with the recent hiring of Dr. Cally Harper, we have two very capable conservation agents.
This is an opportunity to get involved in admittedly a demanding, but most rewarding civic activity. Please contact me at drmikeft@gmail.com or any of our other commissioners to find out more.

Michael Tompsett



Ideas To Encourage More Families


I read with interest your article “Task Force To Focus On Retaining Young Families” in the Sept. 27 issue.   I also watched a portion of the Sept. 24 board of selectmen meeting on Channel 18.  As regards making Chatham more affordable and livable for younger working residents, all we ever seem to do is talk about it, as Mr. Bates pointed out.  Thus, I am skeptical of the creation of yet another task force and the hiring of yet another facilitator to address it.  How we love our committees, but “death by committee” must be avoided this time around.

For many years now, proposals for higher-density housing options have generally met resistance in the planning and zoning review processes.  It’s tough enough for builders to make a profit on such endeavors without being bludgeoned with rules and regulations which favor larger lot sizes, larger structures and on occasion counterproductive historic preservation.  Along with market forces, the bureaucratic process has steadily eroded the housing stock that allows working families to live in Chatham.  If the town’s bylaws and regulations need to change, let’s get on with it and change them in favor of preserving our human capital.

Which brings me to: Who’s going to pay for this when market prices of houses and land are so high here?  One idea: let’s consider redirecting the slush funds that we raise from the community preservation and land bank property tax surcharges into acquiring and creating workforce housing stock.  It seems to me that the well-meaning committees responsible for disbursing these funds strain to spend them.  I like the Chatham Anglers a lot, but a half million dollars for new bleachers at Veterans Field?  Really? We could build two or three perfectly good starter homes for that.  There are other examples; just peruse the last few years’ annual town meeting warrant.  We spend that money as if these were the best alternatives and there were no consequences, but there is always a foregone opportunity cost to any financial decision.

Big talk, because it’s a big problem.  So, let’s start small.  Many of Chatham’s businesses and attractions offer “Senior Discounts” of 5 percent, 10 percent or more.  It’s traditional, expected, even taken for granted.  But how many seniors who are spending their money in Chatham actually need this discount?  There are some, but most of us are retirees or semi-retirees who can afford to live here, and live here comfortably.  It’s a nice gesture, but it’s largely wasted.  I challenge Chatham’s merchants to flip it around and instead give a “Junior Discount” to working folks under, say, age 50.  It shouldn’t cost them any more, they’d just be redirecting their already forgone profit to a better cause.  It might not work during the competitive high tourist season when the high tourists arrive expecting their senior discounts, but it would certainly be a small step in the right direction in the off-season when local families’ incomes tend to drop!  (And, PS, the town could take the same approach with its user fees!  Do I really need to pay $20 less for my shellfish permit than Mr. Bates does?)

Bob Fishback



Beach Cleanup Raises Awareness


I want to thank all of the volunteers that came out on Sunday, Sept. 23 to participate in the first “Sustainable Practices” Cape-wide Beach cleanup. The cleanup was well received across all Cape towns with strong participation in Chatham.

Here in Chatham we cleaned Harding's Beach, which as many know is a beautiful  and very popular beach. We found a range of items, mostly plastics; cigarette buts, nip bottles, wrappers, hats, toys, fishermen’s debris and more.

Our long-term goal is to educate ourselves and others as to how we can  make consumer choices that will sustain our community into the future. There will be other Cape-wide activities up to spring 2019 town meetings with the goal of increasing community awareness and  the significance of consumer choices on the environment. In spring 2019, Sustainable Practices will facilitate a warrant article for each town that will seek to eliminate town government use and distribution of plastic bottled beverages.

The initiative is meant to raise awareness of the plastic issue and the impact of plastic bottle use.  Plastic is the most visible example of a consumption decision that has a short term consumer convenience benefit and a significant long-term environmental impact.

Great job volunteers!

Suzanna Nickerson 



Community Support Benefits Funfest


A big thank you to Kat Szmit for the great article and pictures of the Harwich Pickleball Funfest in the Sept. 27 Chronicle. Kat, you really captured the sense of community that makes this growing event a success.

Celebrating our fifth anniversary with another successful tournament, we are so fortunate to live in a community that provides a venue like Brooks Park that serves multiple recreational activities.  

With all the dreadful news of what is happening throughout our world today, I feel blessed to live in a town that cares so much about its people to provide this public park for residents, that inspires all the volunteers who share the sense of community and come together to keep this Funfest alive and so much fun for everyone.  And The Cape Cod Chronicle who shares the good news.

Dorothy Hurford