Letters To The Editor: Jan. 28, 2021

Letters to the editor.

West Chatham Runway Is Unsafe


What a mess we have been left with in West Chatham. It is unconscionable for town officials and MassDOT to leave the roadway between Barn Hill Road and George Ryder Road in such an unsafe condition. Instead of cleaning it up and making it safe in December, there was a push to rush the job, and then MassDOT retreated, leaving behind an unsafe area that is causing a great deal of concern and accidents.

Even worse is the design by Howard/Stein-Hudson, which Chatham officials and MassDOT approved, and for which $416,000 of Chatham’s local tax dollars were paid, not to mention the state and federal taxes paid for this unneeded and unwanted roadway that forces trucks, fire equipment, landscape trailers, etc. off the pavement just to negotiate the roundabouts. This is the main artery into and out of Chatham. Is this the best “they” can do?

Commercial driveways are not wide enough to accommodate vehicles safely and easily. Big stores and areas got one driveway; at least one little shop, with very short frontage, got two.

This project seems like a shell game. We were told one thing and the result is quite different. For example, plans called for a buffer on the north side – five feet wide as I recall – for the planting of trees. I am not sure that buffer is even two feet wide, indicating there is no room for trees. Another example is that plans showed sloping curbs throughout the roadway. What we got is sharp granite edges, which are like taking a knife to the side of a tire.  Motorists have ruined tires by rolling over the edge or even just grazing the granite when turning or getting out of traffic’s way going in the opposite direction. This list goes on and on. This mess is confusing and – very importantly – unsafe, as well as the worry about the safety and usability of the roadway in the future.

David Burns
West Chatham

The writer is a member of the board of directors of the West Chatham Association.


Who Needs Double Standards?


Predictably, The Chronicle became the self-appointed arbiters of truth and moral superiority in the Jan. 14 issue, for which I'm sure someone is grateful. Thankfully, the Chronicle's staff reminded me that this is No Time to Remain Silent. Reports of red hats and Trump flags storming the Capitol would cause the liberally biased media of all varieties to believe that President Trump enabled this circus to happen. They might even think that if liberal crusaders and members of Antifa donned MAGA attire, that they would spontaneously combust. But if you follow the science, you'd see that any Democrat can put on a Trump T-shirt (or horns and facepaint) and "play the part."

Why not, instead, look at patterns? Would pro-business conservatives loot private business and then burn the real estate, or is that the calling card of disgraceful liberals, anarchists, and Antifa? Did neo-conservatives participate? Almost certainly, and charges should and will be brought. But this invasion of the Capitol was not conceived by the right.
Oddly enough, a newspaper defends the restriction of a person's First Amendment right, only as long it's a person they don't like or agree with, and simultaneously takes to task the "complicit right wing media" while failing to reprimand the much more obvious and powerful mainstream media which has been doing the left's bidding and pandering for generations.
Comical is their claim that Trump "does not care" about you or I. But more deafening is the left's silent insinuation that Nancy Pelosi and her House supporters have our best interest at heart, all the while stalling for a short eternity to approve weak COVID stimulus payments, but expeditiously working to vote on largely symbolic impeachment proceedings with no tangible outcome should it make it to the Senate. Let's face it, the liberals had it out for Trump from his nomination, probably for his unwillingness to listen to the ridiculous garbage they try force on the rest of us. I am, however, grateful for Joe Biden's election to the presidency. It will be refreshing for once to hear Democrats have to blame one of their own for everything that ails them. Fat chance. In the words of the late, great George Carlin, "No need for a double standard; one standard will do just fine."

Jared Fulcher


Language Part Of The Plan


Mary Richmond’s “ When There Are No Words” column kindled the need to take a walk on the beach and to look and listen to what nature offers as a cure to the last several weeks of multi-faceted drama.

She understands that everyone is looking for a meaningful moment away from newsy political clutter and COVID. Sometimes masks and social distancing make an obligatory “hello” seem more like a hasty “goodbye.”

Her recipe is of course nature’s plan — no words, more instinct and intuition. She is right. We are addicted to our cell phones and internet half-truths.

It’s plain: “We have lost our simple truths, our natural ways of knowing.” Perhaps words do “lie and deceive” and cast too many shadows. But words are part of our lives, hopefully for the better than the worse. Words and language are what make us unique in the plan and what secures our common bond without regard to race, religion, or gender.

In these worrisome days, our society is being defined; our community is being tested; and upon each of us rests the responsibility to seek and speak the simple truth.

Joseph Coffey
East Orleans


Combine History And Progress


Your Jan. 21 editorial "Save the Boathouse" and Joshua Smith's letter "To Hull and Back" articulate well Chatham's opportunity to connect citizens and visitors to its maritime history. Those thoughts and the efforts of Protect Our Past started us thinking about the broader need to weave the past into Chatham's future.

When the grandchildren are grown and bring their grandchildren to Chatham, what kind of town do we want them to find? One frozen in time, one stripped of its past, or something else?

We want ours to find a vibrant village that remembers its past but is not frozen in it. Its buildings should embody a combination of history and progress. Just as prior generations bumped out and telescoped their houses to adapt to growing families, we can adapt our buildings to modern needs while retaining and reusing old elements. As our great-great grandchildren walk Chatham's streets, everywhere they look should contain a reminder of what came before. In this way our buildings will connect the generations, rooting us all in place and time.

To this end, demolitions should not depend on some arbitrary delay, and building approvals should depend on creative reuse. Our town officials should cast a cold eye on total demolitions and evaluate construction proposals in terms of how successfully plans incorporate parts of old structures while allowing adaptation and expansion. Celebrate reuse of the old in combination with the new to continue making Chatham better.

Madonna Hitchcock
Tom Hitchner


Disregard For Citizens Must Stop


We continue to be amazed by the behavior of some members of the Chatham Airport Commission – and their disingenuousness.

The airport commission had developed an entire master plan update and discussed it with the state and FAA before most of the citizens of Chatham learned about it late in the summer of 2019.  On multiple occasions since the select board has pushed the commission to set up a citizens advisory committee.  At the last in-person meeting before COVID in February 2020, the commission voted against it, and then did so again this past month.

Full disclosure: we own a property that will be directly affected under multiple versions of the current proposal. An easement will be forced onto our property, dramatically reducing the property’s value, not to mention our quality of life. We and other affected property owners should not be expected to accept this quietly. 

At the February 2020 meeting, when citizen involvement was under discussion, one commissioner commented disdainfully: “What do citizens know about airport operations?”  But that exactly misses the point: the Chatham Airport is a municipal airport owned by the town (despite repeated references to it as a regional airport at commission meetings, perhaps hinting at the intent of at least some of the people involved in the planning).

At the most recent meeting, Commissioner Harrison reported that they solicited public comment but had received virtually no support for a citizens advisory committee. We are not sure how input was solicited, but we, who follow events reasonably closely, were totally unaware of it. And this again is the point: we need a committee in order to make sure that the Chatham community is being kept abreast of what is being planned and has the opportunity to provide feedback and input.

The disregard for the greater public by the airport commission needs to stop.  We implore the select board to play a broader role and to insist that the citizens of Chatham be more directly involved in the airport master planning in order to ensure that the final outcome is a plan that is a true benefit to the town as a whole.

Martin Flusberg


A Suitable Punishment


A great editorial Jan. 13! It recalled to me a book I had read many years ago: "The Man Without a Country." Written around 1863, whatever the crime, his punishment was to sail from land to land on ship, never to step on soil again.

A suitable punishment for Trump! The laughing stock of the world – or is it perhaps pitied? The instigator of the Jan. 6 resurrection.

My hope is that Republicans in the Senate have the guts to convict him.

Juliet Bernstein