Elected Vs. Appointed Boards
To the editor:
I was troubled by your March 18 front-page article on petitions that seek to empower Truro voters to elect the town’s health board and zoning board of appeals.
The article quotes health board chair Tracey Rose, who “presumes” that a “special interest” is behind the petitions. Rose cites no evidence for her presumption, yet the article immediately declares — again, without evidence — that Rose’s imagined “special interest” “is most likely opposition to the proposed Cloverleaf affordable housing development.” By using the word “is,” the article validates Rose’s position that petitions seeking to give Truro voters more power should be viewed with suspicion.
According to the article, select board chair Robert Weinstein said several of the signatories to the petitions “oppose affordable housing efforts.” The article names Peter Herridge, Paul Kiernan, John Riemer, Steve Sollog, and Bruce Boleyn. Neither Weinstein nor the article provides any evidence for the categorical accusation that these individuals “oppose affordable housing efforts.”
The Trump years should have taught us the dangers of political discourse couched in presumptions, suspicions, and accusations rather than evidence.
I wish this article had kept its initial focus on the substance of the petitioned articles, which have potential repercussions that go far beyond the Cloverleaf development. Unhappiness with the zoning board of appeals long predates Cloverleaf. What are the pros and cons of electing regulatory boards? How might things be different if these boards were elected? Who would be affected and how?
Instead of probing significant and interesting issues like these, which would help voters decide whether to support the proposed changes, the article made this story into yet another chapter in the corrosive and divisive saga of Cloverleaf. That choice is the readers’ loss and nobody’s gain.
Truro and New York City
‘Chaos in Action’
To the editor:
Joan Holt’s support for making the members of the Truro Board of Health and the ZBA elected rather than appointed [March 18, page 1] suggests that this move is a reaction to these boards’ approving the Cloverleaf in the face of claims that its septic system will be a risk to Pond Village residents. That approved system was reviewed not only by independent experts but also by the Cape Cod Commission and found to exceed established standards.
Indeed, the Independent reported that those who made those claims of risk were relying on junk science. The claims were put forward by a group of M.D.s and Ph.d.s, none of whom had any experience with the issue. Why politicize these boards? Because they paid attention to the science? We are still suffering the consequences of a former president’s rejecting science during the pandemic. Holt’s proposal confounds me.
Parenthetically, I am also confounded by the fact that, currently, the Truro Planning Board is elected. The town elects a select board to manage its affairs and guide its future. The planning board should be an essential part of that process. Its function should be to use the powers granted to it to further the vision that the select board has for the town.
Its function is akin to that of the secretary of housing and urban development, nominated by the president and serving at his pleasure. You can imagine what chaos there would be if cabinet secretaries had independence from the president. If you have followed the actions of the planning board over the last years, you will have seen that chaos in action. It should be changed.
The writer is a former member and chair of the Truro Zoning Board of Appeals.
Respect for the Wampanoag
To the editor:
I very much support the request of the Wampanoag Advisory Committee to change the name of Race Point to Meeshaun Point, Meeshaun being the name of the original tribal village of this area [“Wampanoag Tribe Asks to Rename Race Point,” March 25, page 10].
Efforts to create a Wampanoag memorial at Bas Relief Park unfortunately turned into a bitter situation between the select board and people in support of the project. It seemed only to deepen wounds that desperately have needed to be healed for 400 years.
This request comes directly from the Wampanoag people and is exactly the kind of change we need to make to begin the healing process. Linda Coombs, chair of the Wampanoag Advisory Committee, said “restoring that name would revive the spirit of the land, honor the sacrifices of the ancestors who lived and died here, and inspire those Wampanoag who still live here to celebrate the place.”
In Provincetown, we often hesitate to change the familiar. But we are living on stolen land. Prior to the white man coming to these shores, the Wampanoag lived here for 12,000 years. The changes they have been forced to endure over the past 400 years are not ones we could even imagine, unless we learn directly from the Wampanoag. Even then, with our ingrained perspectives, we can never truly understand.
This is our much-needed chance to begin healing and truly show some respect for the Wampanoag on their terms.
Bright Shining Morning
To the editor:
I would like to add something to the obituary for Sally Jennings [March 18, page 17].
We were friends for all my life. In 1975, she and Louis Killen produced a successful album of Northern England’s folk tunes, Bright Shining Morning. Sally had a beautiful, clear, sweet singing voice that harmonized and blended with Louis’s. The vinyl recording is still available all these years later.
Calling Out Dysfunction
To the editor:
There are times when the news from the world becomes so unbearable that all platforms, even — or maybe especially — small local newspapers like the excellent Provincetown Independent, must be used to shout “Stop!”
For me, this is one of those times. Recent reports of yet more murders of women by men brings me shame for my gender and disgust at its most extreme behaviors. It also shines a spotlight on the entire spectrum of sexist (and racist) abuse committed by men.
As a man among men, I declare that men’s violence towards women must stop. Even the smallest “microaggressions” must stop. Such dysfunction in our culture, certainly a legacy of the patriarchy, must be called out and rooted out — by men. If we men can stand united in no longer tolerating such acts, maybe the needed behavioral changes will come, at long last.
Maybe then the global news will be more bearable, and we on the Outer Cape can return to delighting in all the local good news.
Glyphosate and the Aquifer
To the editor:
Here we go again. Mighty Eversource will resume herbicide spraying and ignore requests from citizens and Cape legislators to return to a method of vegetation removal that worked for decades: mowing [“Eversource to Use Glyphosate on Power Lines,” March 25, page 1].
Why? Herbicides are more “efficient.” Also, more likely to cause harm. In April 2013, I wrote to the Mass. Dept. of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) to oppose the spraying of herbicides under the power lines of Cape Cod, where citizens drink water from a sole-source aquifer. Everyone acknowledges that these herbicides will filter down into our drinking water. Federal guidelines do not take into account sandy soil, nor the vulnerability of a sole-source aquifer.
My objection was totally ignored. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t raise your voice and write to MDAR as POCCA’s Laura Kelley suggests. Glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor. Endocrine disrupters mess with our hormones. Modern science shows even small amounts can wreak havoc with our bodies.
When citizens do their homework, and Eversource goes ahead anyway, it’s a sad, sad day.