Renters: Another View
To the editor:
I sympathize with last week’s correspondent with an absentee landlord as a next-door neighbor [“Short-Term Rental Costs,” page A2], and I recognize that the sole interest of some property owners here is to maximize rental profits. But there is an entirely different component to Cape Cod’s short-term rental picture. I am part of it.
Year-round residents of the Outer Cape have defrayed expenses by renting rooms and outbuildings to vacationers for more than 100 years. I and many others make it possible for persons of modest means to enjoy an Outer Cape vacation by charging less than they would pay at a hotel or motel or for a full-size home. This time-honored tradition helps me pay my real estate taxes and insurance as I work local, full-time jobs.
I am not an absentee landlord. I rent out a small cabin for periods ranging from three nights to a month, to artists, students, teachers, writers, and empty-nesters on a budget. The cabin is adjacent to my home, and I take care to maintain its appearance and ensure that my guests are respectful of neighbors. The cabin is not suitable for year-round rental.
While I agree that we should try to find a way to limit purely investment-driven activity in our rental market — and while I support (and voted for) increasing the local short-term rental tax, provided the funds are dedicated to affordable housing initiatives — I strongly disagree that I should face limitations in my ability to utilize an income-generating housing unit on my property (other than that imposed by its seasonal nature) due to the unfortunate experience produced by irresponsible ownership of someone else’s property.
Let’s address that issue by targeting those who have no vested interest in the community rather than targeting those who are not causing the problem.
John A. Wolf
Those ‘Keep Out’ Signs
To the editor:
Touché to the Provincetown Independent for printing Sarah Hill’s cartoon “The Things We Worried Would Ruin Truro” [Aug. 19, page A3]. I’ve been a Truro home owner for over 30 years. The proliferation of signs basically saying “Keep out” over the past year and a half has been a sad sight to witness.
Some signage is clearly necessary. But when it starts affecting the feel of public spaces that have existed for many years in our town, it makes me wonder: will we remain a welcoming community, or become more divisive?
Views and benches for solitary reflection can remind us all of how lucky we are. I believe we can be gentle and thoughtful without hostility.
To the editor:
As I started my morning dog walk on Corn Hill Beach on Sept. 4, another walker unleashed a golden retriever. Its owner assured me that it was friendly.
It was so friendly that, as my tiny unleashed dog ran ahead, the large dog body-slammed me from behind, knocking me down on the hard surface.
The dog’s owner was apologetic and offered assistance, which I declined. My foot was cut and bruised. I didn’t realize that I needed medical attention until the next morning, when a cut looked infected and a toe that was swollen had turned black. I drove to Outer Cape Health, where they X-rayed my foot. Advanced arthritis interfered with a definitive conclusion, but it was assumed to be a small break. My toe was taped and an antibiotic was prescribed for the infected cut. When I saw the golden retriever’s owner the following day she offered to pay for any expenses. I declined but asked that she consider better training before unleashing her dog.
The Outer Cape has a large senior population. I am in that population, and I have osteoporosis. This incident could have had a more serious outcome.
We all want to see our dogs run free, but please do what you can to prevent larger dogs from causing injury.
The Veterans Build
To the editor:
The family of a military service member is struggling to make ends meet. They don’t know it yet, but Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod will provide them with an affordable home in Brewster.
Habitat makes houses affordable through donations and because dozens of volunteers, most of them retired, work twice a week year-round to build those houses. The future home owners also contribute hundreds of construction hours. An energy-efficient, safe, and comfortable home is the result.
Planning for this house began in 2019 after the death of longtime Habitat volunteer and World War II veteran Bob Harding. Bob worked with us until just months before cancer claimed him at age 96. We decided to try to raise $50,000 to sponsor a house in his memory designated for a veteran and his/her family. Pedaling in Habitat’s annual Ride for Homes benefit that fall, we raised $55,560 designated for the Veterans Build.
Now Covid has increased the cost of that house by about $25,000. The same group has stepped up again and raised another $13,000. But we need help to reach $25,000. All donations are welcome, but we would like to see strong participation from our Cape Cod veterans. A young veteran needs you now.
This year’s Ride for Homes is on Sept. 26. I will be riding. To donate online, visit
Donations by check should say “Ride for Homes 2021, Ed Ebert” on the memo line, and can be mailed to Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod, 411 Main St., Suite 6, Yarmouth Port 02675; attn: Adrianne Wytas.
Like the veterans this home will honor, Habitat houses are well-built, purposeful, and reflect the spirit of serving others. Thank you for helping.
The Decline of Newspapers
To the editor:
Many thanks for the two recent pieces by Sophie Hills — a book review [Aug. 19, page B6] and an article — both on the newspaper industry. We subscribed to the Independent after reading the book review and wanted to let you know how much we appreciated her analysis of the state of local papers (“While Chain-Owned Newspapers Struggle, Many Independents Thrive,” Aug. 26, page A7).
We have heard from many sources about the decline in newspapers, but until Hills’s article, it was never very clear why (other than because of advertising revenue declines) local papers were having such a hard time or what could be done about it. Particularly illuminating was her explanation of the approach corporate chains take to acquire a successful paper and squeeze the value from it. Hills made these dynamics clear. Having read that, we realize how fortunate we are to have the Independent and the quality of its journalism.
Bill and Nancy James