Editor's note: Letters to the editor regarding candidates for the May 21 Harwich town election will be published through our May 9 edition. Letters about the May 16 Chatham town election will be published through the May 2 edition. The deadline for letters to the editor is Monday at noon.
End Pet Cemetery Debacle
There is an expression “when in a hole, stop digging.” This expression is quite appropriate regarding the proposed pet cemetery on Queen Ann Road.
This proposal asks Harwich residents to give up a prime million-dollar commercial property and essentially donate the land for a regional pet cemetery. All towns could utilize the cemetery but only Harwich residents would subsidize its maintenance and lost tax revenue in perpetuity. Instead, this land could be sold for commercial use or another town use found which could increase Harwich’s tax revenue rather than decrease it.
This project has been marketed as a money maker just like the pet crematorium was. Harwich residents wisely voted down the pet crematorium proposal. The Harwich Cemetery Department has presented no viable evidence to support the claim that the cemetery will result in a positive revenue stream. There is no detailed business plan for public review. Laws are being presented in the statehouse to allow owners and their pets joint burial sites, a shift that would make a pet cemetery less desirable. In addition, a privately-owned pet cemetery in Sandwich will compete with the proposed Harwich cemetery.
The Harwich Cemetery Department grew from a part-time to a full-time administrator in just a few years. Incredulously, they are asking to hire an assistant in 2020. They have been plagued with misappropriated spending and planning, continually asking Harwich taxpayers to approve poorly vetted projects.
Vote no for additional spending for the cemetery department and vote yes on the citizen petition to return our land on Queen Anne Road back to the board of selectmen.
Looking For Auto Club Space
My name is Karl, from Orleans. I am looking to start a club which would ideally have a lift for auto repairs. The club would also consist of meetings showcasing different people’s work on their vehicles and be a way for people to show their car collection. If enough people were interested, we could form a group – which might rent a garage storage space or find a bay that is not being used.
Although I am an experienced home mechanic, I will get paperwork drawn up by my lawyer releasing any lessor from any liability due to my usage of your space. Everybody would have to sign a release like this, similar to that signed at a road race for runners in case of injury.
Anyone else interested in working on cars or who would like to form some type of club, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A New Face On Board
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. We face challenging times ahead in supporting our schools, maintaining our infrastructure and keeping our community affordable and vibrant. Tom has the right background, vision and leadership to work effectively with all of Harwich’s stakeholders as we face these and other important issues. Tom is a listener who will consider the impact of every decision in a thoughtful and reasonable way while being ever mindful of the impact of those decisions on our working families, veterans, young professionals and our seniors. As a former town manager who has worked directly with 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.
Urges Flaherty's Confirmation In Harwich
The following letter was sent to the Harwich Board of Selectmen:
As a person whom has had the pleasure of working with David Flaherty during his entire time with the town of Raynham I am compelled to express to your board its missed opportunity in failing to confirm Mr. Flaherty, your town manager’s first selection for the position of assistant town manger.
Last night the employees of Raynham held what was originally slated to be congratulations party for Mr. Flaherty after his receiving and accepting an employment offer from his home town of Harwich. It was a standing-room-only event attended by near all employees, a present and former selectmen, the former town manager, the incoming acting town manager and countless others. The words “great guy,” “class act” and “gentleman” filled the air as people shared stories about this man whom we all greatly respect.
It is a difficult job to be the leader, be effective and have the respect of those working under you as Mr. Flaherty has done in Raynham. I suggest the board would be doing the residents and employees of Harwich a great service by reconsidering Mr. Flaherty’s confirmation.
Wrong Homes In Spotlight
As a community newspaper, it seems that The Cape Cod Chronicle ignores reality in its weekly presentation of the "Spotlight Home of the Week." The houses displayed typically cost in excess of a million dollars. Many, or most, are probably sold as second or third homes. There is never a presentation of an actual affordable home.
When we are facing a housing crisis on Cape Cod that impacts all residents, it seems absurd to promote housing that no working family could ever afford. The Chronicle would do a far better community service by spotlighting affordable homes, fixer-uppers, year-round rentals, affordable condos, and other creative housing solutions.
More attention needs to be paid to those contributing to the solution of the housing problem. The typical Spotlight Home of the Week makes no such contribution. Without affordable housing, no one will be available to provide the products and services required by the current purchasers of the Spotlight Homes of the Week.
Seals And Sharks, Take A Back Seat
A philosophy for all to follow is “live and let live.” We have not. We are the apex predator of the planet. We overpopulated, overdeveloped “our” earth, exploit both land and sea. Corals fight to survive a warm acidic ocean. How long till they join past extinctions, and so many to come, because of us? We’re past the “tipping point.”
Culling advocate John M. Dowd, please look at what we have done here on Cape (remember Cod?), what we do here, and far away, before a push to kill seals and great whites. Right whales endangered, humpbacks and others threatened, because of us.
Consider other species. Sharks stripped of their fins for soup. Dumped back in the ocean in untold numbers to spiral into death. If you kill a seal or great white, eat it. “Culls” or “sport kills” from sharks to coyotes are not OK.
You want a meaningful battle? Do something positive for the Cape. Turtles and whales are killed by ingesting plastic. Ban plastic bottles.
Long-term solution, we need to control our own numbers with smaller families. Support Planned Parenthood. Change our attitude of do whatever we want just cause we can.
Let Law Dictate Direction
Thank you Mr. Dowd for bringing a simple and common sense solution to our seal/shark problem. Follow the law. What a quaint idea. Perhaps if those who took oaths to uphold our laws did, our citizens would be protected from all predators both animal and human.
Questions Selectmen's Motivation
Can you believe it?
This week—for the fourth time!—our selectmen are scheduled to try to block in Superior Court their own constituents from presenting professional evidence about the danger and nuisance to the Town of skydiving.
Why this legal trickery? Why this waste of time, energy, and town money? What are the selectmen afraid of? Is it a matter of egos? lobbying? politics? misguided legal advice? Why can’t our citizens just be allowed to have the opportunity to present their case? Why are the selectmen trying so hard to shut them up? And if the U.S. can negotiate with the Taliban, why can’t our selectmen negotiate with Citizens for a Safe Chatham Airport?
J. Denis Glover
Don't Shift Parking To Bank St.
I believe the ad hoc parking committee, put in place to help resolve the parking issues in Harwich Port, needs to go back to the drawing board with a group more diversified. There were only five members on the committee which was to be comprised of seven, not from lack of interest. Two residents from Bank Street applied to the committee, called the selectmen regarding their applications, and were ultimately ignored. One of the committee solutions is to transfer the problem of parking, which is impacting the “village center neighborhoods,” to a “residential neighborhood” a mile from the municipal parking lot. Their intent is to run a shuttle from the old firehouse building at 203 Bank St. to the center of town for the roughly 35 employees of various businesses. But no one is stepping up to pay the cost. This means employees would have to walk a mile to get to their jobs in all sorts of weather on a heavily trafficked road with an inadequate sidewalk. What message is this sending? Also, it was the will of town meeting voters to sell the old firehouse and its surrounds on Bank Street. Certainly the selectmen would not go against the will of the people to build a parking lot. Bank Street is a handsome historic road that can't afford to have the weight of the village center parking issues forced upon it.
A Bit Of Mindfulness Is Needed
I am writing in support of the proposed municipal plastic bottle ban for Chatham. I believe that the ban is a step in the right direction and a very positive one.
In an ideal world, if we could all see the damage being done from the use and abuse of plastics since the mid '50s up until now, we human beings would stop allowing these poisonous gases, polyethylene, and other non-renewable fuels that leach chemicals into consumables and do not biodegrade. The numbers are absolutely staggering on the damage to the ocean and all the creatures that live in and out of our oceans. Our soil is now full of tiny bits of plastic. Just a little bit of mindfulness is all we need, just enough to pay attention to what we are putting in that shopping cart.
Single-use plastics account for 40 percent of the pollution in the ocean. These statistics were given by a sixth grader; let's follow this caring and mindful young lad's advice.
Every single day there are new statistics reporting on the long and lasting devastation and dangerous affects plastic is doing to this amazingly beautiful earth that we have all been so freely given. It is not too late, people.
Take Back The Town
I have been a resident of Harwich for 20-plus years and I am very troubled with the path our town is taking. First of all we have a pet cemetery that was built without any town approvals, just the desires of the town establishment. Although there was a great negative outcry from the town residents that took the crematorium off the agenda at last town meeting, we see that once again they have decided to be back on our agenda as a three-part project so that it won't seem as expensive or unnecessary. The town residents are not that stupid. We see what is happening and our town manager and selectmen seem to be cheering the creators on. Several years ago at town meeting, we had a non-binding question regarding our then-abandoned middle school. The voters responded overwhelmingly that we were interested in converting it to housing. It wasn't a close vote, just a true feel for what the voters wanted. The selectmen decided they were in favor of an art center, and now we are paying our hard earned dollars to make sure everyone can have a hobby and a place to create it.
If you are a Harwich voter, we need to get some new selectmen in office that will in fact respect our wishes and make this the town we want to live in. Not many of us are wealthy and able to pander to the high thoughts (and costs) of our board of selectmen and finance committee. Let's get our town back.
ADUs Will Help Housing Shortage
Saying “no” to housing has consequences. Our choice isn’t between doing nothing and keeping things the same; if we do nothing we go backwards. Our housing problem is getting worse and is hurting our community.
We’ve built a thriving year-round economy along with the seasonal economy. But as housing becomes profoundly unaffordable to even our highest-earning workers, they can no longer afford to eat in our restaurants, shop in our local businesses and pump money into our year-round economy. That means local business owners have less of a consumer base, in addition to having the struggle to attract and retain year-round workers. We who live here year-round will eventually face fewer choices in goods and service along with more year-round traffic from workers commuting.
Accessory dwelling units are the least we can do. They don’t cost taxpayers a dime. They don’t add density because homeowners aren’t building beyond what they’re already allowed to do. They add housing without developing open space. If we can’t pass this, we have little hope of making other changes that will get a handle on our housing shortage, and the quality of life for those who remain will be the lesser for it.
Anne Van Vleck