Letters To The Editor, July 4, 2019

Letters to the editor.

Working To Save Old Buildings


We are an “alliance for combined action to save our antique buildings in Chatham,” the Cape and Islands and nationally. Meet Protect Our Past, LLC, a newly formed not-for-profit organization. Our purpose is to promote education and public awareness of the value of local architectural legacy; to preserve, protect and restore the visual quality and integrity of historic buildings, landscapes, and landmarks; and to honor the values and traditions reflected in them, and thereby, to nurture our cultural and societal connection to the past. Our first project is to produce a documentary with filmmakers Thomas Bena (“One Big Home”), Oliver Becker and Nick Fitzhugh (“Starboard Light,” redfitz films) to address this issue in a way that it cannot be ignored. Our website will go live soon. Until then, please feel free to contact me to learn more at ellenbriggs@comcast.net.

Ellen Briggs


CRC Members Should Resign


I would like to voice my dismay and concern about the behavior of certain members of the Chatham Charter Review Committee.

One member, Seth Taylor, has been so aggressive with other committee members and, recently, a member of the public, that committee members have public expressed that they do not feel safe around him, and further, a report was filed with the police over an exchange.

Exacerbating matters, the chair of the committee, Elizabeth Taylor, wife of Seth Taylor, enables not only her husband’s aggression, but also smothers discussion by other committee members if she doesn’t agree with what they are going to say. Using (or abusing) the power of the chair, she cuts off their remarks.

This is no way to run a town committee. Members should never feel intimidated. They should be allowed to express their views and engage in healthy discussions to reach some consensus. That’s why they are appointed.

This is extremely dysfunctional behavior that must stop immediately.

Seth Taylor has a years-long history of bullying, shouting and demeaning committee members at the previous incarnation of the charter review committee. That continues while he serves on it now.

And why is his spouse on the committee, much less the chair? That appears entirely inappropriate. Spouses should be allowed to serve on the same town committee.

Now with both Mr. Taylor and his wife on the committee, CRC has become unable to perform its function.

Both Seth and Elizabeth Taylor have amply and repeatedly demonstrated their gross inability to work with others in a civil and respectful way. If they will not resign, they must be dismissed.

Lynn C. Van Dine


Hidden Agenda With CRC?


Anyone can file a complaint regarding alleged violations of the Open Meeting Law. If that is truly the issue about which George Myers wishes to be heard, a complaint should be filed with the Attorney General’s office. Bad behavior, lack of civility and the consequences which follow, are not good for Chatham. Decorum needs to be maintained as well as attention to the rules and regulations which committee members have agreed to follow. To do otherwise is counter-productive and embarrassing.

No one has the right to try to continue a town meeting once it has been officially adjourned so long as a quorum is present. It appears that this recent attempt was made by Myers on June 18 after adjournment and it would have been a violation of the Open Meeting Law (OML) had it occurred. The irony of complaining there had been a violation of the OML by attempting to create a violation of the OML seems to have been lost on some.

Some factual history of interference and disruption by George Myers, in the work of the Chatham Charter Review Committee is warranted. I was a full-time resident of Chatham for nearly 25 years, during which time I attended many meetings of various committees, commissions and boards. At a meeting of Nov. 5, 2014 discussion was had as to the appropriateness of publishing on the town’s website a 15-page “analysis” (self described) written by Myers. This so-called “analysis" contained more than 40 examples of personal attacks on two citizens, Seth Taylor and Gloria Freeman, who was referred to as Taylor’s “cohort.” It was a stunning piece of vindictive writing which should never have been made part of any Chatham record. I had never seen or heard of any other person having the temerity to ask for and try to insist that such a personal attack be published on a Chatham website. In fact, at most meetings any attempt to make a public, personal attack on another townsperson is quickly stopped. Myers' expressed animus towards Seth Taylor is well known by many. He has gone to great lengths to attack Taylor.

But there is more to this story in addition to Myers' intense focus on Taylor and Freeman. The five original members of the current committee met the deadline for applying. However, either Selectperson Davis and/or others were obviously not happy with the composition of the appointed members even though they had begun to meet. So two other members of the Board of Selectmen joined Davis in another vote to allow more applications even though the deadline for applying had passed three months before. Is it a coincidence that the four newest members are supporters of George Myers? I think not.

One cannot expect to create a dramatic confrontation at a public meeting without consequences. Since there are differing reports as to what happened after taping had stopped it’s hard to know exactly what happened. Seth Taylor has apologized for shouting. Did others? If anyone engaged in a physical confrontation they should resign. Perhaps the selectmen will decide to disband this CRC, and perhaps that has been a hidden agenda all along.

Judith S. Winters


Move Swimming Lessons To Pond


Your report “Harbormaster to Patrol Oyster Pond During Swimming Lessons” (July 27) was disconcerting. Chatham and all Cape Cod Town officials should be doing more to ensure the safety of swimmers than “scrambling to put in place safety measures at the popular beach.”

Until the scientists get a handle on the interaction of seals and sharks and the migrating  routines and feeding habits  of great white sharks in the area, children’s swimming lessons should be held at local fresh water ponds not in ocean ponds.

Joseph Coffey
East Orleans


President Disrespects Military Dead


My lament herein is from another time, but in my generation a distant but very real time, the Korean "Police Action" of 1951-1953. A time when all 18-year old-males (under UMT) in the USA had to face the draft for required military service. Many served and many never returned.

It is sad but not surprising that our president visited the DMZ this last week, and hugged his dictator friend Kim Jong Un and never brought up the fact that there are still 7,675 GIs from that 1953 "Police Action" still unaccounted for and that efforts to find them or their remains was suspended 14 years ago. He apparently either did not know that, or he knew it, but its public acknowledgment might reduce the importance of his visit to his ego, or might anger his new murderous dictator pal. Therefore, his silence was a stunning disrespect to those who never made it home, and to many of their family members who may still be alive.

I guess he realizes that he is the important one, not those that fought on foreign soil. Despicable!

It is the same behavior he exhibited on June 6 while on sacred ground in Normandy among the remains of 9,400 GIs, whose remains lay in rows of Crosses and Star of David acknowledgments They will never return to their homeland. They sleep there for eternity! During that visit he excoriated his political opponents, in the shadow of Omaha Beach, while his acknowledgments of the GIs sleeping there were muted.

What a sad time for America! Respect for our military dead on foreign soil has apparently become a welcomed standard political dirge for the GOP amid its continued silent acceptance of what has become a bizarre behavioral pattern of its leader. 

Thomas P. Johnson
Harwich Port


Stop The Small-Minded Foolishness


Recently there has been a lot of hoopla about having a food truck for three hours every Monday night for the summer weeks for Mondays on Main.  For context, the Chatham Merchants Association over the past couple of decades has worked tirelessly (and often times thanklessly) to create a vibe year-round in Chatham with an emphasis on Main Street since it is one of our best draws. A few years back as the towns became more successful with adding evening family events to their towns, the CMA once again stepped up to the plate and took this challenge in and created Mondays on Main, a family-centered music festival.  The intent was to draw people back into our town, stroll and hopefully do some shopping.  While this is only its second year, Mondays on Main is building momentum; these events always take time.  A lot of the feedback that was given from last year was having other family-friendly food offerings (and less expensive). The CMA took this feedback and asked a Chatham restaurant with a food truck, Mom and Pops Burgers, to come to town for three hours once a week for nine weeks.  They are, by the way, a year-round establishment in West Chatham.  They were going to be stationed at Cape Cod Five parking lot (a private parking lot). All off this is completely permissible by right.  Oh wait! Until a local sandwich shop owner and the owner of several storefronts on Main Street went to the selectmen’s meeting to cry about it not being fair! 

Really?  There isn’t enough to go around for everyone? So the selectmen tabled it for further discussion.  Now the sandwich shop and property owner argue “we pay more in rent,” it’s more expensive for Main Street shop owners and it is. And they charge more too; my Diet Coke is far more expensive on Main Street then elsewhere.  Look, can everyone just support and be inclusive? We are a small seasonal town, and unlike Mom and Pops, many Main Street shops close in the off season.

I remember several years ago when Dunkin’ Donuts wanted to open a place on Main Street. I was on the board of the CMA then.  Well, you would have thought the world was coming to an end. The argument at the time was that it would drive the seven other small muffin/bakery shops out of business and life in Chatham would never be the same.  They came, nothing changed other than they moved out several years later and all the other muffin/bakery shops remain.  Stop the small-minded foolishness.  To find myself writing this letter is ridiculous, but I can’t stand when seemingly reasonable requests are made and a select few powerful people can flex their muscle and sway the determination of the laical boards.  

The CMA is trying to create a vibe in town, they want a food truck for three hours a week for nine weeks. Be reasonable people, not everyone wants a sandwich or burger.  We have to give our guests what they want and support these local events.

Tony Guthrie