Letters To The Editor: July 16, 2020

Letters to the editor.

Honoring The Right Heroine


I was pleased to learn that Ginny Locke is being honored as a 2020 Commonwealth Heroine by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. About 20 years ago, I attended a Crosby Mansion open house and subsequently signed on as a volunteer with The Friends of Crosby Mansion.  What a great group of people they are and I attribute their successful accomplishments in restoring the mansion to its former grandeur to Ginny’s leadership.

Not one to stand by and just give orders, she rolled up her sleeves and pitched right in with us as we gradually restored Crosby Mansion and the two related beach cottages. Ginny still bears the injuries suffered when early on she fell through the rotted deck of one of the beach cottages. I nicknamed her our “Fearless Leader” because she never backed down from any challenge, no matter how great. One knew exactly where one stood in her view by the tone of her “librarian’s voice.” The Friends of Crosby Mansion look forward to the day when we can gather at Crosby Mansion and personally honor her for all that she has done. Way to go, Ginny!

Al Williams


Time To Be Strict


If John Brooks and George Olsen were walking the downtown beat now, you can be sure everyone would be wearing a mask and wearing it properly. Where are you two when we need you?

Betsy Abreu


On The Right Side Of History


BLM is a Marxist organization looking to overthrow the government? That’s what people said about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to discredit their reasonable attempts to create a country where there is real freedom for everyone. As long as Black men and women have to worry about whether they can trust the police or not, they are not free.

I wonder how many people believed and spread that story about MLK and today wish that, instead, they had supported his movement and even marched with him.

When I’m long gone, I want my descendants to know that in this case, I was on the right side of history. A sign in my yard is the very least I can do.

Jan Sidebotham


Keep The Roads Safe For All


A few weeks ago this paper ran a helpful editorial about our busy roads. I'm not sure how to get people to pay attention or put into action those words of caution, but it can’t be said enough. People need to walk or run facing traffic. Cars and trucks need to slow down. There are more folks out on the roads than I ever remember. There are more trucks, landscapers with wide trailers than I ever remember.

My walking route takes me down Cedar Street, which is a very popular circle route. Thirty miles per hour on Cedar when the road has both types of traffic is too fast. (Cedar is used by many who make the loop from Oyster Pond to Stage Harbor or the Lighthouse.)

People are criss-crossing the street to avoid others, trying to social distance. People are often in groups which makes it difficult to get by. Not all the sidewalks are possible to walk on.

It would be helpful if walkers and runners would wear bright colored clothing. 

I have spent time in Ireland where walkers and runners, on country roads, are required to wear neon green vests. Not a bad idea during these busy days.

Let’s keep the roads safe for everyone.

Christine Sullivan Daly


Followup On Troublesome Incidents


I am glad to see that the issues of racism and white supremacy are finally being given the attention required to start bending the needle in the arc towards justice. Racism is woven into every aspect of our lives. As mentioned in Russ Allen’s column, racism is expressed institutionally or systemically, culturally, and individually or personally. It is not just a problem of a few bad actors, or one to be addressed only by police departments, but a problem requiring the engagement of all citizens.

I’d like to call to attention one item from Tim Wood’s article “Local Chiefs Discuss ‘Serious’ Issues Facing Police.” The story of the innocent young Black man being accused of stealing a wallet or phone at a local retail store has multiple layers to address. Though the police didn’t profile this young man, the person who called the police did.

I am aware of other examples from Cape Cod. Mamadou Sow was confronted at gun point by the Wellfleet police because someone had reported a “suspicious person.” Mamadou’s suspicious activity was walking along the bike path listening to music with his headphones. He was lucky not to have been shot while reaching into his pocket to turn his volume down. What made this young man “suspicious” was his black skin.

A woman driving on Route 6 in Eastham called the police saying she saw a Black man holding a gun to a White man’s head. Eastham police responded with guns drawn only to find a reporter holding a microphone recorder while interviewing Arthur Blessitt.

This situation happens all the time and all too often the story doesn’t end well. The internet is littered with videos of White folks calling the police on Black folks who are just minding their own business. As D.L. Hughley says, “The most dangerous place for Black people to live is in White people’s imagination. Indeed.

What I would like to see happen in these situations is a follow up discussion with the caller regarding their assumptions. This could be initiated by anyone privy to what occurred. Part of our socialization into a system of white supremacy is the idea that Black men are criminal and dangerous. We need to have the courage to challenge ourselves and each other (with kindness please) about these and other assumptions. No one is bad, we just need to be deprogrammed and reprogrammed. Uncovering unconscious racism takes work and it’s work we all need to do if we are ever to form the beloved community that Martin Luther King dreamed of.

Jeff Schwartz


School Could Be Senior Center


After reading an article of our elementary school population I would have thought some discussions on the senior center would turn to the school. I have to believe if the numbers drop low enough then Chatham students would end up in Harwich because they have more students than Chatham does. The elementary school seems like a great place for the senior center. Easy to get in and out of, right next to the rescue squad if needed. I know the selectman want a new piece of property, but I would rather it stay on the tax roll.

John Huether


Remembering Frank Hogan


Frank Hogan was a Provincetown native and noted art and antiques dealer. Frank died earlier this week just shy of his 83rd birthday after a few years battling Parkinson’s disease. His wife Ruth said that Frank did not want an obituary and that his friends would know him.

Indeed, many of us do. Frank was born in Provincetown and moved all the way to Orleans with his wife and partner, Ruth, and took part in many activities including a rich social existence and business in the Provincetown and Cape Cod art and antiques scene. Along the way he was a president of the Monument Museum in Provincetown and Commodore of the Orleans Yacht Club in Orleans. He was always of Provincetown, his old friends and what was going on at any time.

Frank was a pivotal dealer’s dealer of Cape Cod and Provincetown art and antiques for about 30 of the last 40 years. In so doing he helped establish the market for local material and was a go-to guy for information that most all of us relied on.

Many of us were swept into the rich and colorful lives of Frank and his talented and resourceful wife. Their dinner parties featured Ruth’s superb cooking, Frank’s wine and most spirited discussion of everything and everybody on the Cape, in Provincetown and in art world.

My wife, Sheila, and I will always miss my robust friendship and all that went with it.

Roy Mennell
Harwich Port


Chatham Deserves Better


I am very disappointed with the Chatham Board of Selectmen. The failure to reappoint Mr. Hessler to the zoning board of appeals after 10 years service and as current chairman is an act of pure retribution.  

Instead of addressing the justified and constructive criticisms in his letter to the BOS, they chose to get even. Citizens have a right to expect more from the BOS.

What a message this sends to future volunteer candidates. "No independent thought; follow our lead or you are history." Their action is an abuse of and insult to one of the town's greatest assets — the talents of our volunteer community.

Chatham deserves better.

Don Freeman
North Chatham


Color Us Grateful


Thanks to all of the “colorers” in Chatham who have purchased copies of “Chatham Colors and Dines” from Watermark. Your purchases of the book have resulted in donations to the Chatham Coronavirus Relief Fund of $460.87 to date! That’s great! Tell your friends and neighbors!

Marie Williams


Appreciate Boating Response


Thank you, Chatham Fire Chief DePasquale, Captain Silvester, Paramedic McGrath, Chatham Police, Harbormaster Smith and Deputy Holm for your intense efforts to keep our community residents and visitors safe.

On Friday, July 3, pre-holiday errands for my family led me to the post office, dump, Chatham Village Market, drive through at Rockland Bank where a fire alarm loud and clear at the storefronts on Main Street could be heard by all.  A quick glance down to the public parking lot, a few embarrassed millennials on the deck, there was a Chatham fireman in full gear shutting off the alarm in minutes. Chatham police were there, too.

Thank you to Alan Pollock for "A Lesson in Boating Safety" describing in detail the "Four young men lucky to be alive" after their boat capsized in North Cut.  For the second time, I observed our finest to the rescue.  Walking our puppy to the new Chatham Fish Pier observation deck on a windy, foggy, cool summer's afternoon...there for the few to see stood four wet barefoot young men dressed only in their bathing suits.  Looked like a grateful Dad was picking them up. "All's well that ends well,'' commented a pier security member, "except not so lucky for their boat" then floating out to sea. The boat was rescued hours later.

Witnessing two events in pre-holiday real time, this senior wishes to add an expression of gratitude to our finest Chatham Fire and Rescue, Chatham Police, Chatham Harbormaster.

Joan Aucoin


The Sounds Of Summer


Offshore breezes, breaking waves, chirping birds, sizzling grills, and rumbling boat engines are just a few sounds of summer. Another anticipated sound of summer is live music. Sadly, due to the pandemic, most live music performances are cancelled, with many of us resorting to channeling our inner DJ via Bluetooth controls, home audio systems and outdoor speakers. I've even taken a joy ride (or five) just to blast those "go-to" tunes (“Blue Sky,” Allman Bros., “Tripping Billies,” DMB, “Big Top,” Buffett) that instantly recharge my batteries. Music — live or recorded -— can have a therapeutic effect on the mind, elevate the spirit, and relax the body. With my eclectic taste (Sinatra, Grateful Dead, Stevie Wonder, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc), it doesn't take much for an unexpected jam, soulful vibe or catchy chorus to lift my mood, even take me to another place. 

Like many, I will miss "Music on Mains," Melody Tent performances, Porchfest, and of course, the classic summer evening bandstand concerts. However, I am holding out hope that live music may return this summer thanks to local efforts. Truro’s Payomet Performing Arts Center is exploring a "drive-in" live music series. In addition to showing movies, the recently resurrected West Yarmouth Drive-In appears to have lined up bands, some nationally known, for an August run. If social distancing can be maintained, live music may be able to hit us once again. As Bob Marley wrote in “Trenchtown Rock,” "One good thing about music, when it hits, you feel no pain."

Jeff Shaw
West Chatham


ZBA Ouster Chatham's Loss


It was not a great moment in Chatham leadership when the chairperson of the zoning board of appeals was not reappointed.  Robert Hessler was nominated for reappointment by Selectman Cory Metters, but no other selectperson would even second that nomination.  Why?  Because Mr. Hessler led an effort for a location for a new senior center which was not what the selectmen wanted, and he dared to exercise his right to free speech and write a letter to the editor criticizing the selectmen. During Mr. Hessler’s interview, the chairperson referenced “the elephant in the room,” Mr. Hessler’s letter. She now says (Chronicle July 9) that the selectmen are looking for “new blood.” Ten years of service to the Chatham community ignored by all but Selectman Metters. This is not the first time volunteers were not reappointed because their view differed from that of the selectmen. Let’s hope it is the last time.

During Mr. Hessler’s interview, he was repeatedly interrogated about if he personally had recruited, encouraged, and educated ZBA members. How many selectmen search for candidates to run against themselves?  Mr. Hessler was also asked if he had recently purchased a second home elsewhere.  Many board members have second homes, and this has never been raised as a problem before. Mr. Hessler was held to a different standard, and four of the five selectmen were clearly searching for any reason to reject his reappointment. Which they did, and it is Chatham’s loss. Leadership is not an exercise of power, but, instead, should set a good example and maintain high standards of ethics, fairness, and integrity. That’s what Chatham deserves. 

Gloria M. Freeman
North Chatham


Disagree With BLM Statement


In a letter in the July 9 Chronicle Joan Caputo wrote “The Black Lives Mater movement is not a Marxist or terrorist group.”
I strongly disagree with that statement. 

Hank Newsome, Greater New York Black Lives Matter President, said “violence is sometimes necessary. If this country does not give us what we want, then we will burn down the system and replace it.” That kind of talk does not make BLM altar boys. Sure sounds like terrorist threats to me.

Jim Coyle


Reflections On An Unusual Summer


The present. Sitting at home watching 2020 Fourth of July parade of vintage pictures and videos of previous parades on Channel 18. Memories of sitting on the Eldredge Library lawn watching the 2019 Fourth of July parade with our grandchildren, same location every year.

The present. No family reunion. COVID-19. Memories of a trip to North Beach with family and grandchildren, huge waves and shells for collections.

The present. Looking forward to Fourth of July parade, 2021

Earl Hubbard
Southbury, Conn.


Questions Editor Note On Letter


In its July 2 issue, the editor of The Chronicle appended a note to a letter from Anne Broderick opining about the wisdom of citizens' public display of support for the BLM movement. The note refutes one of her assertions. As a regular reader of The Chronicle, I have seen plenty of letters expressing opinions about which I have been skeptical and about which there seems to be little evidence of their veracity. Why has Ms Broderick's letter been subjected to such "fact checking" and not all published letters? The newspaper had already made its opinion on the issue clear on its editorial page, which is its right. Did The Chronicle offer Ms. Broderick space on its editorial page, right at the end of its editorial, to write a rebuttal of her own to The Chronicle's expression of its opinion? I would hate to think The Chronicle does not trust its readers to evaluate Ms. Broderick' arguments on their own without guidance from the editor, and I would hate to conclude that The Chronicle has a policy of manipulating the discourse on its letters page to suppress views it does not share.

Bill Glass


Wrong Move By Selectmen


If you’re on a town committee, don’t ever cross selectmen by exercising your basic constitutional rights of free speech, and to petition government. There's a heavy price to pay. The purported reason Mr. Hessler wasn’t reappointed to the ZBA was to replace experience and competence with "new blood and a fresher approach,” whatever that means.

In my 38 years I don’t recall infrastructure ever being such a mess, projects so badly managed, institutional financial stress warnings ignored, so many town lawsuits, and such blatant disdain shown citizens who disagree with selectmen. The chair can't hide her contempt, Nicastro calls private citizens who disagree with him a “sideshow,” and Dykens has accused constituents of “haranguing” the BOS.

Mr. Hessler had the “gall" to assume a leadership role (because selectmen refused to). Many voters still believe Stepping Stones is a far superior site to 1610 Main for a COA, the location selectmen are inexplicably still trying to ram down our throats. That, and pointing out the obvious governing failures of the BOS, is, in fact, what got Mr. Hessler the axe.

His institutional knowledge and experience are a loss for Chatham. It was a petty and orchestrated decision to “cancel” Bob in this “cancel culture” for not being a “team player.” Any warm body would do as a replacement. No prior interest in the ZBA, or interview preparation necessary to be appointed to the most important and challenging regulatory board in town.

The BOS needs only look in the mirror to see who really "poured cold water'" on potential volunteers, and it’s not Mr. Hessler. Who’d consider applying for any committee now, knowing they're required to do the bidding of selectmen, surrender basic rights as citizens, or be taken to the town square for a public inquisition and banishment? And what kind of town government do we have that actually operates this way, and a citizenry that tolerates it?

Anyone who challenges this board is a threat to their power, treated as an obstacle to be neutralized. The BOS is now concerned their meetings are too long. So what’s next? Use meeting length as an excuse to further restrict public participation/comment. Meetings have been long because of COVID-19, Ms. Davis. That’s the job you were all elected to do. If any selectmen are cracking under the pressure, I suggest they resign.

Elaine Gibbs


Many Contribute To Harwich Gardens


The Garden Club of Harwich is pleased and proud to announce the installation of an extensive irrigation system at four of the 18 gardens in our town maintained by our club: Brooks Academy and Museum, Millennium and Albro Parks, and the Brooks Academy fountain garden areas, all located in the Harwich Historic District, the first such district on Cape Cod to be accepted into the National Register of Historic Places.

We want to extend our sincere thanks to those who helped us make this happen: The folks at The S&E companies, Swavi Osev (owner), Dennis and Ali, as well as Tom Malone, a former HGC scholarship recipient, at SiteOne. Both of these great companies donated almost all of the labor and material for this project. We also want to thank the Harwich Water Department and DPW for their assist with this project.

This is a perfect example of private companies, town departments, and the volunteer members of our great club coming together to make an important and lasting contribution to our community. We thank all of you for helping us make this happen.

Barbara P. Obrig, president
The Garden Club of Harwich


Look Forward To Airport's Future


I am writing this to send my good wishes to the newly appointed members of the Chatham Airport Commission, Ted Burke and Susan Wilcox.  Of course, I must also congratulate re-appointed Mike Geylin whom I have worked with closely, and who has made many important contributions in the past three years.  Although I was not re-appointed, I will continue to support the commission in its mission to preserve and protect the Chatham Airport for future generations.

Our little airport is truly a gem which adds immeasurably to the charm, uniqueness, and character of our wonderful town, while adding a substantial economic benefit that helps to keep our taxes enviably low.  In town meeting after town meeting, the citizens of Chatham have had the wisdom to consistently support the small 5 percent local contribution that leverages the large federal and state grants needed to maintain this wonderful asset.  Just as Chatham takes pride in its fishing heritage, with a character of hardy and adventurous souls who take out to sea, so does it honor the history and adventurous spirit of aviation embodied in the Chatham Airport. 

The challenge looking forward will be to further enhance the safety of all our citizens on the ground as well as the aviators and passengers in the air as we embrace 21st century GPS technology much like almost all the other airports in the country.  In my tenure on the airport commission I have worked hard to answer many legitimate concerns that have been raised by airport neighbors.  However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the hiatus in meetings, many of these answers have not yet been publicized.  I am confident that as we go forward, the commission will develop a plan that greatly enhances safety for all yet considers the needs and expectations of airport neighbors.

Rene Haas