Letters to the Editor: Aug. 13, 2020

Letters to the editor.

Movement Built On Nonviolence

Editor:

The success of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s was due to the principle of nonviolence. “We must not let violence overcome non-violence,” quoted Diane Nash of the Freedom Riders. We met John Lewis and C.T. Vivian in 2015 on Martha's Vineyard.

These heroes and heroines of the Civil Rights Movement knew that they were the precious children of God, despite a world that was telling them otherwise. In the face of church bombings, assassinations, and lynchings, they chose the power of love, sit-ins, marches, taking a knee in prayer. 

Demonstrations are the right and privilege of a Democracy. Looting, breaking windows and rioting only undermines the focus of the demonstration. 

If not for the Abolitionist movement we would still have slavery. Were it not for the C.T. Vivians and the John Lewises of the Civil Rights Movement we would still have segregation! Were it not for the Suffragette Movement of the 1920s women would still not have the vote! 

Praise God we live in America where we can continue to strive for “a more perfect union.”

Pamela Chatterton-Purdy
Harwich

The writer is the author and artist of “Icons of the Civil Rights Movement.”

 

They Brought Joy To The Community

Editor:

Chatham's beloved clowns Kay Cima and Mal Ward served our community with their kind-hearted joy interacting in full make-up and clown costumes with children and their parents, seniors and visitors to First Night.

Sitting together at Liberty Commons last March while Kalifornia Kal, dressed as a good luck leprechaun, brought smiles and songs to all is a lasting memory of their unique partnership and our enduring friendship.  We met as board members for the Friends of Eldredge Public Library during the '90s, and at Chatham Walkers, First Night Chatham and the EPL memoir writing classes.

Personally, how can we ever forget to mention Mal and Kay, Good Friday 1996, insisting on being at Logan Airport with snacks and a stuffed bunny picking us up after a very long journey from China and welcoming home to Chatham our newly adopted five-year-old  daughter Aimee-Rose. Friendship!

Judge Dic Barian, with Jean Young, also shared their intellects, impressive life experiences, wisdom, and retirement years on the same FEPL board during the '90s, voting to fund a computer room for all  to enjoy communicating in this new era of technology and also expanding the Learning Series and FEPL events at Chatham Bars Inn.

Kay passed peacefully July 12, Judge Barian June 4, and Jean Young in 2011. Please re-read their Chronicle obituaries and be humbled at their life's accomplishments.We wish to express our gratitude for their many kindnesses and contributions to our town. They will be deeply missed.

Joan and Jean-Paul Aucoin
Chatham

 

Harwich Selectmen Are The Problem

Editor:

I watched with great disappointment the Harwich Board of Selectmen meeting Aug. 3.

Five elected selectmen could not make a decision in the best interest of the town of Harwich. Instead they appeared to me to be very self-serving and to have their own agenda. I do not understand this attitude. 

If I were Joe Powers I would be insulted.

I can see the future. If Joe accepts this temporary position, some of the selectmen will nit-pick him all year, nothing in the town will get done, and a year from now we will go through the same fiasco.

We are lacking leadership on the board.

We had an excellent committee that went through a process that identified four candidates, and the BOS cannot make a decision. As a taxpayer, I would not serve on a committee in this town. It would be a waste of my time.

It is my hope that the townspeople will recognize how incompetent and unwilling to cooperate our elected officials are and not reelect them. They are the problem.

Hugh F. Drummond
Harwich

 

Willful Ignorance Not Helpful

Editor:

I commend Julian Cyr and all public officials who are up to the task of addressing systemic racism. As James Baldwin said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” To make a claim like that in a July 23 letter, that systemic racism doesn’t exist, requires willful ignorance. Though everyone is entitled to an opinion, an uninformed one isn’t helpful. We are at a liminal moment in our nation's story where we have a chance to address the cancer of racism. Harm to race relations is not done by addressing systemic racism but by pretending it doesn’t exist.

Jeff Schwartz
Harwich

 

A Badge Of Honor

Editor:

I was on a walk and passed a man along the way. I was wearing a mask as I work with elderly people. He was on the phone, but stopped talking so he could pull his mask up. I thanked him, and his reply was, “This is respect.”

Perhaps I might add that wearing a mask is also a badge of honor, as it shows you care.

Betsy Abreu
Chatham

 

Savings From Newspapers

Editor:

Bravo to Tim Wood for his “Speaking For Low-Income Housing” column (Aug. 6)! He makes the very accurate point that the political-pandering, race/class-baiting ploy to degrade the fair housing rule notwithstanding, dearth of affordable housing hurts even the very wealthy because the services on which the latter rely become more costly or unavailable.

And talking of a service to the community that might not exist were it not for the affordable housing in Chatham, can you imagine this town without The Cape Cod Chronicle? Professor of Finance Dermot Murphy calculates that the loss of a local newspaper can increase borrowing costs for a town by an average of .1 percent. Why? Local newspapers keep local municipal officials honest and in the sunlight. When newspapers die, mismanagement goes up along with the cost of borrowing. A tenth of a percent may not sound like much until you consider that just five projects financed for $65 million would cost a town an extra $3 million.

Affordable housing and small town newspapers are a boon and a bargain!

Sean Mulholland
Chatham

 

Lawns Can Be Conservation Lands Too

Editor:

On three occasions this summer, I stumbled upon an Eastern box turtle in the yard. Having read the Chronicle’s article featuring Mr. Michael Musnick, “Tracking the Secretive Box Turtle,” I was ready to report future findings. However, the tracking project is limited to the Robert Smith Brook Preserve, Cornelius Pond and Sand Pond Woodlands in Harwich.

The Eastern box turtle is a state-designated species of special concern. While it is the longest-living North American turtle, the land-based turtle remains threatened by destruction of habitat due to development, pesticide exposure, roadway crossings and predators.

The threats from development and pesticides pairs well with another recent Chronicle article, by Kristin Andres, “Time to Rethink the American Lawn.” While the cultural phenomenon of the bright green lawn endures, I’m encouraged by land design trends focusing on native plants, less lawn, and no chemicals. The Cape Cod lawn is a fine example. Mostly consisting of native grass, moss, and drought-resistant fescues (ours is sandy with plenty of fallen pine needles), these lawns are not irrigated, nor treated. Yet we play on, garden in and enjoy our lawn.

The benefits of the Cape Cod lawn are many. It protects waterways by not contributing chemical run-off (reducing toxic blooms), encourages water conservation (Cape Cod was recently declared in drought), reduces maintenance costs (savings for more plantings) and restores habitat for native species. If you still have a Cape Cod lawn, keep it. Your neighbors may not appreciate your uneven lawn, but the Eastern box turtle will.

Jeff Shaw
West Chatham

 

Time To Say 'You're Fired'

Editor:

Beyond near five months of pandemic denial, using Barr, DeVos, and “his” postmaster general to destroy justice, public education, and the United States Postal Service, with countless lies, actions to benefit him, his family, and wealthy donors, corruption reeks from the White House.

A false patriot, with passionate “brown shirts” to do his bidding, is the source.

D.J. Trump pulled 1,000 of our elite troops out of Syria, to set up a catastrophe. Russian, Turkish, ISIS ranks rushed in, and our allies, Kurdish warrior women and men, and noncombatants, were killed, had to flee, or, in desperation, ally with Assad.

Now “bone-spurs” orders 6,000 of our toughest Army warriors, battle-ready, out of Germany. His petulant excuse: Germany has not spent 2 percent of GDP on defense. “Stable-genius” makes NATO vulnerable, to the joy of his role model, Putin.

Trump honors not democracies, but dictators. He is a traitor to our allies, our armed forces, to we the people. We must vote him out: “You’re fired.”

If this pathetic man steals a second term (with help from Russia, North Korea, and other enemies) democracy ends.

Sebastian Mudry
West Harwich

 

Fear Of Affordable Housing

Editor:

It is becoming fashionable to scapegoat, singling out summer residents for causing Chatham's high home prices. We read and hear accusations in the paper and on Channel 18. But something's fishy. Rising asset prices create wealth for sellers. Raise your hand if you know of a long-time Chatham resident, when selling their home, refusing a lucrative offer, complaining that they want less money.

We all share responsibility for Chatham's affordable housing gap. Public reports that first addressed this challenge date back to the 1980s. In 2003, town meeting approved a plan for more affordable housing, changed restrictive zoning laws to allow lower priced cluster housing in village centers on Route 28 for local first-time home buyers and seniors looking to downsize. NIMBYs successfully scuttled the plan, fearing a drop — yes, a drop — in their home values. Their fears were and still are exaggerated.

Chatham's senior officials, select board and town manager, need to lead on this issue. We all need to show support for maintaining housing diversity and our traditional small town way of life.

Rick Leavitt
Chatham

 

Schoolhouse Should Be Accessible

Editor:

When I bought a house here 34 years ago, I was so impressed by how residents of Chatham were willing to share their water resources with people who might not be able to afford expensive daily passes to the beach. Over the years as Chatham became richer that attitude seem to change. First it was parking on Bridge Street and now the pandemic is being used, in my opinion, to further close options to people whose budget is under more stress now than ever and a day at the beach is an excellent outlet for families and kids to have fun. 

I swim at Schoolhouse pond everyday. I am lucky to be able to get a resident pass. It is about the only activity available to me besides walking the dog that I am physically capable of doing. I feel very badly that free parking was eliminated on Sam Ryder Road. Who can measure the stress that was imposed on people who brought their children there for a wonderful day. This is not the time to make it more difficult and expensive for people to have a good time.

Just as Tim Wood sang the praises of affordable housing, affordable recreation is also a praise-worthy goal. Instead of limiting options for people who have tight budgets, we should expand them and reinstate free parking. If the daily charges at other Chatham beaches were lowered, maybe Schoolhouse Pond would not be such an important resource to people whose budgets have been severely impacted by the pandemic.

Linda B. Devonshire
Chatham

 

Affordable Housing Creates Opportunity

Editor:

Thank you for your editorial about low income housing. You give us a chance to remember that a community can only thrive when people of every walk of life commit their lives to it. This is something affordable housing allows us to do, and has going back to the Levittowns and the vast neighborhoods built by the Campanelli Brothers in the two decades after the Second World War. When I purchased my Campanelli-built ranch on Bishop's Terrace in the early '90s, a full decade before the revolution in home prices around here began, it was clearly a reflection of that idea. You also open the door to an idea that binds us all — that the character of a community is built on the character of the people who live there. Affordable housing  creates an opportunity for people to aspire to a better life and and work hard to achieve it, something we have always the best of who we are as a people.  They used to call this the American dream.  If we are to preserve it, we have to free it from the prison whose walls are built on the attitude that says "I achieved this, but you can't."

Donald Franke
Chatham

 

Best For County Commission

Editor:

The Democratic primary is less than three weeks away. Cheryl Andrews is the best candidate seeking the office of Barnstable County Commissioner on that ballot.

I met Cheryl when she was a member of the Provincetown Select Board and I was a Barnstable Town Councilor. I learned Cheryl grew up in Barnstable and graduated from BHS before she got a degree in dental medicine from the University of Pennsylvania. As a newly minted dentist in the days of HIV, Dr. Andrews returned to Cape Cod, made her home in Provincetown and started her successful business.

I know Cheryl is a kind and compassionate person. She cares deeply about the Cape’s fragile environment. She makes our county better. She currently is Provincetown’s representative to the Cape Cod Commission. Cheryl has previously served this unique and special county as an elected member of the assembly of delegates.

Cheryl is familiar with and committed to the important preparation work that officials need to do. She cares about the people on this peninsula and our critters. She broadly understands science and at the same time, she is a dedicated fiscal conservative. My friend is a great choice who brings to the table just the right combination of heart and skill sets we desperately need during this difficult time.

June Daley
Marstons Mills