Paid Parking Makes No Sense
I would like to respond to the article in the Sept. 8 issue of The Chronicle regarding the intent on the part of the town of Orleans to begin charging a parking fee at Rock Harbor. I was very pleased to see Captain Hap Farrell’s response in the Sept. 15 issue and would like to support his astute observations while including a few of my own.
I am a volunteer with the Centers for Culture and History and the CG36500 so have spent quite a bit of time at Rock Harbor and have observed the folks who come to enjoy the area. As Captain Farrell pointed out, these are not people looking to beach it for the day, rather people looking for a bit of sanctuary and beauty in their lives. Some are people excited to finally see the historic CG36500. Many are senior citizens. Many only come for a short while, but often it’s time they need to recharge in this chaotic world.
I am in a unique position as an employee at a local inn to talk daily with a cross section of people who treasure trips to Rock Harbor during their annual visits. I have brought the subject up to over a dozen guests over the last week, and without exception they all just sadly shook their heads and said they’d have to find somewhere else to go. The four non-Orleans resident Cape Codders I spoke with who love the Harbor said the same thing.
When I bring up the idea of paying with a smartphone app, that is the ultimate deal breaker. Only a few people I have spoken with had any kind of app to pay for parking on their phones at all, and none of them were this app pre-loaded with a credit card or bank info. Mr. Kelly is quoted as saying that his “sense is if you’re fluent in how to use an app, it should be pretty quick.” Are they the only people who deserve to enjoy the harbor? If people arrive at the harbor without this specific app, what are they supposed to do? Do they go somewhere, load the app, load money on it, and come back? Not likely. One of my long-time guests just sadly stated that she “barely knows how to use her phone.” So I guess she can just go somewhere else.
Mr. Kelly also stated that this program of charging people for a site that was previously free for all to enjoy will help the town “better figure out how parking at the harbor is used by non-residents.” Really? How? The non-residents who previously enjoyed the harbor, at least many of them, will not be there anymore. How the parking is used by non-residents going forward will in no way resemble how it has been used for years by people who were grateful for relief from the inflated price tags that had been put on everything they once enjoyed. Now it will just be yet another experience for people who are used to paying for everything and are fluent in using a phone app. If the town really wants to know how the parking at the harbor is used, they should talk to the people who know, the people who spend their time there. Talk to the fishermen, the charter boat operators, the volunteers at the CG36500, they’re pretty darned observant.
The reason for this fee supposedly to raise money for “large capital projects” in the coming years. With the response I’m getting from everyone I’ve talked to, I hope these projects aren’t urgent.
Rock Harbor is a unique treasure, a sanctuary for many. Please don’t take that away.
A Quality Of Life Issue
An article in the Sept. 19 Boston Globe caught my attention because it addressed an issue that is topical in Chatham. In early August, the Newton City Council approved $20 million to replace their existing senior center with a larger modern building. They will replace the existing 11,000-square-foot building with a facility that is roughly triple the size. During the construction period activities will be spread across other locations around the town. A group calling itself "Neighbors for a better Newtonville" is protesting the project with a lawsuit they launched in May 2022. They wish to prevent destruction of the existing building, which is on the national registry, and defund the project. The group clearly has more interest in older buildings than they do in older citizens. I wish we could find a solution to our more modest approach to meeting the needs of senior citizens. The issue has been before us for many years. We provide quality education for our children, we are trying to encourage young adult families to move to our community, can't we add to the quality of life for our senior citizens?
A Perfect Lawn Alternative
This is a shout out to the family with the seagrass front lawn on Champlain Road in Chatham. Way to use your imagination and think outside of the box. The lawn must be gorgeous when the wind turns the lawn into waves of grass. Well done!
Climate Science Has Moved On
It is sad to see that climate change deniers like Bruce Everett refer to science as supporting their statements as he did in his recent opinion piece in the Sept. 22 issue of The Cape Cod Chronicle. The views expressed by Mr. Everett, who does not appear to have ever published a peer-reviewed journal article on climate change, do not represent the consensus findings of the scientific community as published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Refutations of some of his specific statements concerning climate change can be found at: www.desmog.com/bruce-everett/. The science has certainly moved on since Mr. Everett's days as an oil company executive in the 1980s, but court cases brought by state attorneys general, such as Maura Healy, on whether ExxonMobil lied to consumers and stock holders about the dangers of climate change are still pending.
Historic District Celebrated
Thanks to all who attended the 23rd annual meeting of the South Chatham Village Association. It was wonderful to see so many members of the community represented. Many thanks to speakers Eric Dray, Janet Williams, Paul Stuka and Gerry Stahl for bringing important issues and information to our attention. It was especially nice to celebrate South Chatham's national historic designation with friends after the meeting.
As always we ask everyone to volunteer for town committees, stay informed and speak out!
Carol Gordon, president
South Chatham Village Association
Slow Down, Listen And Debate
How enlightening and refreshing to read a thoughtful analysis of climate policy from an educated and knowledgeable professional. I refer to Mr. Everett’s “You Guest It” column in your Sept. 22 issue. The news received on all sides of this issue via the national media and our elected officials is both convoluted and unsubstantiated — very confusing to this mere mortal. It concerns me that many of our politicians and government leaders have never held private-sector jobs, yet bloviate as experts.
Bruce Everett’s article was straightforward, well-documented, and succinct. His explanations of CO2’s contribution to “life on Earth,” consideration of other countries’ priorities, and the ramifications of the US's headlong rush into destabilizing our fossil fuel industry, even as alternate power sources require it, have given me a lot to think about. He appealed to my common sense.
I was also concerned to hear this week on the local news that one of our electric companies has requested approval from the state for an additional 64 percent price increase for its Massachusetts residents.
Perhaps it’s time to slow down, listen to the actual science, debate the issue empirically, and come up with practical and workable solutions.
Still Serving The Kool-aid
A Chatham resident and former oil industry executive’s views on climate policy are no surprise, given his years of service to ExxonMobil Corporation. Thousands of internal company documents from the 1970s and 1980s revealed that Exxon scientists knew that continued burning of fossil fuel could cause substantial climate change. To deflect this unwelcome information, the oil industry coordinated a massive PR job that amounted to Deny, Doubt, and Delay. The industry successfully led the world to doubt the impact of excess CO2 in our atmosphere; they undermined peer-reviewed science, sowed hostility towards climate scientists, slowed progress to safeguard our world, and continue to deny their own role in where we are today. As oil stocks have profit margins over 27 percent this past quarter, the rest of the world pays record-high prices for gas and developing countries suffer from some of the worst effects of climate change. Please become part of the solution. I suggest attending the Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative’s Net Zero Conference on Oct. 28 (register at capecodclimate.org). It will be educational, grounded in science, and forward-looking.
Sarah B. Griscom
Unusual Basement Discovery
Recently, Spencer Gray of the Chatham Historical Society wrote of the era of Prohibition here in this area of Cape Cod. The article brought a big smile to my face as I recalled a story my father used to tell.
My father, George K. Harding of West Chatham, was a young Coast Guardsman stationed here in Chatham during that time. On a free day, he and a friend decided they would drive to Harding's Beach to “check out” a house that had recently been built on the hill above the beach. They drove there, looked around and found that the basement was accessible. Voila, in the basement were many crates of liquor. Somehow, many of them found their way into my father's truck! They quickly loaded the truck and were on their way. You can imaging just how isolated Harding's Beach Road and even Barn Hill Road were in those days. Halfway to Main Street along came an ominous, big, black vehicle. Unsure who it might be, Dad hustled his truck along the road. Fortunately, his family home was at the intersection of Main Street and Barn Hill Road. They quickly opened the barn doors, drove the truck inside and stashed the purloined liquor in the hay loft above. At that time, the Coast Guard did have a telephone system. Each variety of liquor took on an alias: milk, bread and eggs, etc. Thus, several cohorts were able to share in the bonanza by ordering those groceries on the telephone.
A note to Elliot Ness: my vehicle carries the same license plate that was on my father's truck during that time. And a further connection to that home: I was fortunate to have my wedding reception in that home many years later.
Barbara Harding Hill
Honoring South Chatham
Protect Our Past applauds the South Chatham Village Association community for coming together, working hard, and voting to establish the South Chatham Village National Register Historic District. Under the guidance of Frank Messina, chair of the Chatham Historical Commission, and Preservation Consultant Eric Dray, this treasure trove of historic structures is now protected. You may be surprised to learn that the historic fabric of this area of Chatham is comprised of a range of architecture including the half Cape, Queen Anne, Greek Revival, and Italianate styles. Let’s not forget the bungalows! Even an historic mid-century modern house stands strong in this residential area. Bravo! We invite other Cape communities to take notice and follow suit.
May I remind you of this quote from John Sawhill: “In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create, but what we refuse to destroy.”
Protect Our Past