Restoration or Sinkhole?
To the editor:
Who could possibly resist a project promising to enhance the environment and restore a vital resource? Back in 2008, that promise won the Herring River Restoration Project immediate support. Fast forward to 2022. Has the project fulfilled its promise? Not even close.
Its proponents have failed to secure full project funding, produce a detailed schedule, or offer a professional line-item budget. Rising labor and materials costs, runaway inflation, the possibility of major lawsuits over potential damage to private property, and the probability that any massive government project will take much longer and cost a lot more (think “Big Dig”) mean local citizens must think twice about supporting what looks more and more like a financial sinkhole.
Who pays if the project encounters major problems? Since the town of Wellfleet owns the Chequessett Neck dike, it must bear accountability for bad results that could cost Wellfleet taxpayers more than a pretty penny. And the potential bad results are breathtaking.
Questions about huge lawsuits over damaged wells, private property, countless dead trees and endangered species, harm to Wellfleet’s shellfish beds and the Chequessett Club (both crucial financial engines for the Outer Cape), and a host of other unintended consequences require clear and acceptable answers. Every local citizen and official should demand those answers before the flooding begins.
The Sheriff and ICE
To the editor:
Thank you for interviewing both candidates running for Barnstable County Sheriff and highlighting their opposing views on the county’s 287(g) agreement [“Two Candidates Announce Campaigns for Sheriff,” March 31, page A9].
I feel very strongly that local sheriffs’ offices should not have these contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). By allowing sheriffs’ officers to interview inmates for ICE without an immigration lawyer present, these contracts deny legal representation and appropriate due process for the undocumented people in their custody.
These rights are guaranteed to citizens and noncitizens alike by the 5th and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. And because these contracts allow sheriffs’ officers to interview pretrial inmates, they also allow ICE to deport people who haven’t been found guilty of anything.
I follow immigrant issues and work to bring justice to those immigrants who are fleeing their Central American countries for asylum in the U.S. This has been a passion throughout my adult life. In Arizona, I interviewed asylum seekers face to face, and will never forget the stories I heard.
I share their hopes for being able to arrive here, live free from danger and persecution, and receive the simple dignity of equal treatment under the law. Having our sheriff’s office cancel its contract with ICE will go a long way to help America make good on its promise of freedom and equality.
Life With the Ospreys
To the editor:
Michaela Chesin’s narrative on the lives and homes of ospreys [March 31, page B7] exposes some of the dark side of avian behavior, such as fratricide and maternal abuse.
Living in a neighborhood seasonally shared with an osprey pair, my wife and I have observed a kinder, gentler side of their home life. Most memorable was the male sharing in feeding the chicks. He and the female alternated tearing off strips of piscine flesh and tucking them into the mouths of their progeny. On one occasion, when no youthful mouth appeared, the mother turned to her mate with her mouth open, into which the male tucked the morsel of fish in his beak.
Another example of apparent spousal affection occurred during incubation, when the female would normally never leave the nest lest a crow or other predator attack the eggs. We observed the male trade places with the female for an hour or so; she flew around and lounged on the marsh for a break, then returned to the nest to resume her maternal duties.
The oft-cited “mating for life” description of ospreys may actually represent a mutual attraction to a nesting site rather than to one another. In support of that hypothesis, osprey pairs do not migrate to South America together but share life and habitat only half the time, in the same northern nest every year.
One of our neighborhood male ospreys succumbed in late fall by tumbling down a neighbor’s chimney while trying to subdue a lively fish he was attempting to prepare for mealtime in the nest. The following spring, we observed an elaborate aerial mating ritual that eventually culminated in the widowed female’s choosing one of several suitors to share her nest and reproductive activity. “Mating for life” is conditional, at best.
Ronald A. Gabel