Letters To The Editor: May 21, 2020

Letter to the Editor

Know Candidates' Positions


Within the framework of decisions we are all making these days, determining who to vote for for selectman June 23 in the Orleans general election is an exceptionally important task. When you go to vote, educate yourself on the candidates' positions on matters of importance to the well being of the community both in the present and for the preservation of its character and heritage going forward.

The re-election of Mefford Runyon to the select board addresses those matters of importance on multiple fronts. With his work on multiple boards and his lifelong interest in the quality of life here in Orleans, Runyon's tireless efforts have made Orleans a place of desire for countless families and businesses.

The totality of Meff's work on behalf of the town not only encompasses addressing matters related to wastewater, affordable housing, CPC funding, education, Snow Library, public access to waterways, safety for bikeways, the fire station, our economy, fiscal matters, etc., but with an eye toward the reality of a rising sea level; the heritage of our beaches, roads and buildings are threatened and Meff believes that Orleans has to focus efforts on ensuring coastal resiliency.

William H. Wibel


Have Some Trust


As a self-employed builder and remodeler who has been in business for 30 years in this beautiful town of Harwich, I must comment on an incident that is surely baffling at least.

On May 11, my employee was working on a job site on Courtney Road. My business sign was clearly visible from the street with my name and phone number available. The employee was asked by a Harwich Police Officer if he was working alone and if anyone was at the residence. He responded that he was alone and no one else was on the property. Apparently, there was a complaint from the neighborhood that my employee was not wearing a mask!

An essential employee, working alone at a residence on a one-acre lot, without a mask, harming no one!

How unfortunate that our HPD had to take the time to respond to this complaint. They are far too busy for this nonsense.  I am a responsible business owner. I care about my employees, my clients, my town, our HPD and HFD and their tremendous responsibilities. Please, residents of Harwich, trust in some of us!

John Domos

Help Survive The Pandemic


I want to live! I want to survive this pandemic.

Recently, outside CVS, I observed a resident ask someone in their 30s, “Why aren’t you wearing a mask?” The response was, “I don’t care!”

Since the start of the shutdown, my husband and I have traveled to a Boston hospital weekly. And even though our governor now has made it mandatory to wear masks in public and observe social distancing, we see many still not doing so.

People don’t have a clue who actually has the virus, who they have been in contact with, how to treat or cure it.

Many residents are in the highest risk group, over 55. Like myself, many have additional risk factors. We need to be overly cautious this summer season and implement orders and guidelines which protect our town’s population to the greatest extent possible.

* Do not allow any daily, weekly or monthly beach passes to be given out this year. Restrict beach access to homeowners and summer residents only. Implement mask checks at the gate, limit parking to every other space, and create separate roped off paths for passage onto and off the beach.

* Eliminate large social gatherings like the Fourth of July parade and band concerts.

* Start planning how to safely open our schools this fall, with regular COVID-19 testing of all students and staff.

* Provide proper PPE for first responders, and regularly test nursing home residents and staff.

I recognize this will be a hardship for our town and local economy. But I want to live to see next summer! Please help me do that.

Jane Wilson
West Chatham

Forum Insights Valuable To Board


Last week many of you came together in a Chatham COVID-19 community forum with the board of selectmen via Zoom virtual meeting, YouTube, Channel 18 and emails. The insight you shared on how to best to balance public health and vital economic concerns while living in unprecedented times are appreciated and valuable to us as we navigate discussions on how to deal with the upcoming summer season. I want to thank you all for participating and look forward to hearing more. We are in uncertain times and are a stronger community working together

Shareen Davis
Chair, Chatham Board of Selectmen

Reduce Number Of Visitors


Chatham’s virtual town meeting Monday night was a sobering yet gripping experience. Never have I witnessed a public community meeting in such a pure spirit and with such concern for each others well being. When the meeting was over, I began to think that none of the offered solutions can work unless we are able to reduce the daily volume of visitors. Such an effort can only be achieved with true sacrifices by all of us, whether we are longtime locals, loyal second home owners, retirees, small business owners or the town government itself.

Chatham draws its visitors from area of over 32 million people from Boston to New Jersey, which have 603,000 COVID-19 infected people. Even with a flattening curve those numbers are staggering. Once restrictions in those regions are eased, we can expect the number of visitors coming back up to a typical daily average of 22,000 people. Roughly 50 percent of those daily numbers are day trippers (can’t quarantine those). No matter how numbers flatten, the sheer numbers will bring an immensely increased risk for new infections and the worst may be right ahead, ruining any chance to salvage at least a part of the season and re-ignite the pandemic.

Regulating the movements of 22,000 people can be a nightmare at any day in Chatham, even during “perfect” conditions. Now imagine all the suggested “crowd controls” taking effect. The result will be even more congestion. The town has neither the space to spread out 22,000 people to endure continuous social distancing, nor may we have a large enough police force to enforce, control and manage this volume of people. Last but not least don’t overlook the negative PR effect for our town as strict actions are enforced.

The most effective model to overcome this dilemma means economic sacrifice, which can work only if shared by all townspeople, from retirees to business owners and to the municipal government itself.

To be effective, we must cut down the total volume of visitors coming into the town before they even leave their home. This can be done for example if lodging facilities and rental unit providers reduce their inventory by 30 percent, and summer rentals and private home rentals only rent 20 days per month. Shops and food services have to reduce their hours of operations or numbers of seats by an equally effective measure. Day trippers have to be alerted that the town will only allow a certain volume of cars to enter the town for daytime activities. This can be accomplished via flash alerts on cell phones, digital road side info, radio and TV stations and control checks on strategic access routes.

Decreasing the visitor volume to about 16,000 will give us the means to implement logistics for effective crowd control measures and social distancing, resulting in a substantially decreased risk to our public health. To make such a plan work, the town ought to provide financial considerations to ease the substantial financial downfall which will occur to the participating businesses in town. All that I have described can be done and is already practiced in similar fashion in many of the most important tourist destinations in Europe.

Guenther Weinkopf


Candidate Will Listen To All


I strongly endorse Andrea Shaw Reed for the Orleans Board of Selectmen. I met Andrea years ago when I walked in New York Hair and we discovered a mutual love of the arts and especially the cultural life of Orleans. Since then we have collaborated to promote cultural events in Orleans.

I can say with confidence that Andrea has the best interests of Orleans at heart including small business owners, education and cultural opportunities. Under her chairmanship the Orleans Planning Board has moved forward to provide an improved downtown area and safer streets. Andrea Reed will listen to her constituents and she will work alongside her colleagues on the board to promote improvements while respecting the unique and charming qualities of our town.

Gail Gibson


Candidate Understands Families, Businesses


I’m voting for Andrea Reed for the Orleans Select Board. Andrea brings a longtime commitment to our Town and a skill set that makes her ready for the job.

Andrea moved here with her husband and young children over 20 years ago. Today she can easily relate to young families who value a good education for their children and opportunities for kids after school and during the summer months.

In her years in town, Andrea has been involved with two small businesses, each quite different from the other. She understands the added struggle of keeping a business healthy in a seasonal economy. She’s part of our small business community.

Finally, Andrea has been a contributing citizen in town, paying it forward, serving on the planning board for nine years, the last two as its chair. She’s invested in our town’s future.

She is collaborative, inclusive, and results-oriented. I recommend you join me in casting one of your two votes for the select board for Andrea Reed.

Ken Rowell
East Orleans

Candidate Knows Finances


As a resident of Orleans, I urge a vote for Meff Runyon as selectman. With 30-plus years of experience as a businessman and banker, Meff has experience managing large budgets and has a true understanding of public and private finance mechanisms.

I know Meff personally and grew up with his son. I also serve with him on the Orleans Affordable Housing Trust Board and can tell you he is deeply committed to finding a solution to keeping Cape Cod families on Cape Cod.

Meff’s strong financial background, coupled with his commitment to a vital downtown and dedication to finding solutions for families make him the ideal candidate. He has my vote, and he should have yours.

Matt Cole


An Information Prescription


To the editor and staff – A hardy "Well Done!" May 14th's edition was just what the doctor ordered.

Frances Ballam
East Harwich

Candidate Has Commitment To Community


In these difficult times, it is more critical than ever that we be able to trust our elected officials at every level of government, beginning with our local representatives. As we are bombarded daily with misinformation and empty promises, we must elect representatives who have integrity and tell the truth. 

That is why I urge you to vote for Mefford Runyon for the Orleans Select Board. I have known Meff for many years to be a person of high integrity, who means what he says and keeps his promises. He is conscientious, hard-working, and has a deep commitment to our community going back to 1973. Like many of you, I chose to live in Orleans largely because of our waters, marine life and ocean. Meff has been dedicated to conservation efforts to protect our waters and lands for all of us to enjoy for generations to come. Another important qualification in these uncertain economic times is Meff’s extensive financial experience at Cape Cod 5, as well as positions with our local church. 

Please make your vote count, and support Meff Runyon for a brighter future for all of us who love Cape Cod.

Patricia Tun


Understands Orleans' Heritage


As an Orleans resident committed to the preservation of the heritage that makes our town special, I am pleased to endorse Meff Runyon for re-election to the select board. I worked with Meff for several years on the community preservation committee where I saw his deep commitment to preserving our historic buildings and open space, balanced by his understanding of the need for our community to move forward in the 21st Century. 

The history of Orleans began centuries before our 1797 incorporation with the vibrant Native American civilizations that inhabited the land that became our town. Our land played a significant role in the Mayflower story and the establishment of Plymouth Colony. After our incorporation, Orleans established rich threads of history in various areas as the town evolved. These include maritime, agriculture, civic, education, cultural, ecclesiastical, and an outsized role in our nation’s wars. Some of that heritage is still preserved today in the forms of significant buildings, historic streetscapes, and open spaces.

Meff has a visceral understanding of this, and his reasoned, intelligent approach to municipal governance will help ensure that Orleans remains the special place that we all know and love.

Ron Petersen

Candidate Will Get Things Done


I grew up on Pleasant Bay and love its mix of shellfishing, salt creeks and salt marsh. So does Meff Runyon. Meff first started coming to Orleans in the 1950s, and moved here to stay in 1973. He remembers when access to Cape Cod Bay, Pleasant Bay, and Town Cove was far easier for residents. Improving that access for fishermen, shellfishermen and vacationing residents has been high on his priority list. 

As a Vietnam veteran I was disappointed to find that my name was not included on the town Vietnam Memorial. I mentioned this to Meff, who went to work. The memorial plaque has been redone, and I am grateful. 

Given pandemic impacts we need select board members who really understand public and private financing mechanisms and have long experience managing big budgets. With over 30 years of experience at Cape Cod 5, culminating as senior vice president, Meff brings the qualifications Orleans needs at this time. 

Meff combines his strong fiscal skills with a deep commitment to land conservation and a vibrant downtown center. He wants to make our town safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. He has my vote for selectman.

Mon Cochran

Knows Importance Of Education


Recently I had the privilege of hearing Orleans Board of Selectman candidate, Andrea Reed, via Zoom, and was very impressed. She was informed, warm, engaging, and interested in hearing from the participants. All good traits in an effective leader. 

What stayed with me was her depth of knowledge about all the topics posed to her. As a member of the Planning Board, she has vast knowledge about all aspects of Orleans.

What I especially loved was when asked about the proposed improvements to Nauset Regional High School was her speaking to “value versus cost.”  I believe a community’s commitment to the education of its children says everything about who they are and what they value. Like me, Andrea has now-adult children who went through the Nauset School system. Like her, a big reason I chose to settle in Brewster, and now Orleans, was because of the fantastic school system. NRHS was built in the 1970s and is long overdue for improvements. We need to invest in the future of our community and that begins with providing our kids with what they need to get the excellent education this community is known for. All too often I’ve been seeing people complaining about spending money on this project, and I am thrilled to have found a candidate in Andrea who truly understands the importance of valuing our children.

We need people like Andrea Reed who bring years of experience to the table.

Candace Hammond

Candidate Has Vision, Drive


Orleans residents should celebrate the town’s governance, and the decisions and policies that have emerged from our select board, to advance the town’s agenda for both young and old. But now the challenges demand even more focus, energy and wisdom of the residents who step forward to staff the board.

In that context, I am writing to endorse incumbent Meff Runyon. I have personally witnessed his earnest and successful select board activity. Over the past three years as a selectman, he has applied himself diligently to important matters, whether the issue has been the health of our waterways, wastewater, the acquisition of open space, defense of the unique character of our village community, or the development of community housing for the town’s workforce. 

Meff has a keen sense of what needs to be done, and then does what he can to get it done. As a selectman, he has demonstrated the effort and vision to move the town’s future in the right direction. He has done his job, will do more, and will do it well.

Robert Cunningham
East Orleans