Parking and Elitism in Wellfleet
To the editor:
Your letter from the editor in the July 2 issue misrepresents the intention and impact of the policy to restrict parking at Maguire Landing in Wellfleet. The select board voted 4-0 to restrict parking to residents and taxpayers from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through the summer of 2020. Lecount Hollow Beach itself remains open to the public at large.
This policy was conceived to increase access to the beach for working people in the community, people who are working doubles, who are interfacing with the public during a pandemic. Access for people who work in stressful, high-risk environments, with no day care for their children. Access for grandparents who are watching those children and exposing themselves to the risk of transmission.
Your narrative likens the policy to a form of racism. The letter states that there aren’t enough African Americans who come here to say the policy is about race, but that there is an elitism that extends beyond race to keep out the “unwashed masses.”
The idea that this policy is meant to keep out the unwashed masses is preposterous. It is precisely for the unwashed masses of shellfishermen, landscapers, and service workers who can find the time to rinse their bodies between tides or jobs. Do others benefit from this policy? Yes, but who cares? Every taxpayer and resident has the same access.
References to racist policies of the past suggest that the parking policy comes from those same dark impulses. Sentiment is important, as is narrative. The narrative that you chose to drive was one that mischaracterized the intent and motive. The sentiment of your piece is the reason that your letter received the response that it has, not just from me but from many in the community.
The writer is chair of the Wellfleet Select Board.
Editorials and News
To the editor:
The Independent shows its dedication to editorial content by placing its opinion section on pages 2 and 3 every week, not burying it in the back pages of the paper. Editorials clearly separated from the news are an important way for our free press to allow thoughtful opinions to be heard. When they spark controversy, they prove that they have made us think. The process of reading, reacting, re-reading, thinking, discussing, and writing responses is a way for us to hear each other and grow as a community.
The pandemic has made us all a little crazed. We are all grappling with more loss and instability than we can really handle. The awareness of and, for many, awakening of the reality of systemic racism would have made us uncomfortable without a pandemic that has seemed to intensify our reactions. I believe this is a good thing, and I hope with all my heart that our intensity continues the dialogue that is necessary to effect change.
Ed Miller’s letter from the editor last week, whether one agrees with it or not, is a bold attempt to keep that dialogue going.
Putting Profit Over People
To the editor:
Last week the Provincetown Select Board refused to protect public safety, citing the protestations in 300 letters from people who do not see the need for clear and mandated mask-wearing. This capitulation to a noisy, selfish few is short-sighted.
Select board members who refuse to heed the warnings of experts or the shocking, hard evidence coming out of states like Texas and Florida about the dangers of returning to normal are trading the lives of community members in exchange for profit. Yes, our livelihoods depend on summer business, and this pandemic is a tragedy on many levels, but putting profit over people is unconscionable.
The sacrifices we have made since March have made this a safe haven — for now. We bought ourselves precious time that has been squandered by stupidity and a denial of facts. There is hard science that shows masks prevent Covid-19 spread and that dining in increases it.
Our tiny health centers, indeed, our entire country, are not prepared for what’s to come. We have not secured supply chains; PPE, tests, and testing supplies are running low again, and only now are some states making modest gestures to require masks or roll back re-opening.
How many lives might have been saved if only they had listened to science? Recent reports say that 33,000 lives might be saved between now and October if we just wear masks. The select board can choose to save lives now. Instead, more people will suffer and die.
Although I want to support Provincetown’s many businesses, I, and many people I know, will not be spending time or money in Provincetown as a result of its officials’ blatant disregard for the health and welfare of its year-round inhabitants and those who live in nearby towns.
Social Justice Reading Club
To the editor:
The June 25 Inner Voices page of the Independent resonated deeply with me. Lee Wotherspoon’s essay, “Racism in My Body,” reflected a conversation I had just had with my brother. And Andrew Hay’s “Keeping Watch” sang to my teacher heart in addressing the reading of literature as a key element in breaking down barriers of otherness and growing empathy.
This summer of Black Lives Matter, with its immense and continuing uncertainties, offers us a chance to make great changes.
A new Social Justice Reading Club invites middle school students (and their parents and guardians) on the Outer Cape to join in reading and discussing When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele. The books are being donated by Sophie Yingling, who, along with Brett Plugis, designed #BLM shirts that have been printed by Rachel Harrington of Mom’s Print Shop in Provincetown.
All three donated their time and resources so that 100 percent of the proceeds will go to local and global #BLM organizations.
Those interested in joining the middle years Social Justice Reading Club can contact me at 774-840-0286. #BLM shirts are available at Spiritus, 190 Commercial St.
This is a community endeavor in educating and activating.
The writer is a middle years resource teacher in the Provincetown Schools.
A Frightful Delight
To the editor:
I was sorry that Marla Perkel spent such a frightening night in the woods, but K.C. Myers’s story about Ms. Perkel’s travails [July 2, page 4] was a delight.
There were many wonderful, vivid details in the piece, from Ms. Perkel’s previous occupation as a mounted policewoman to how she put her shoes on her hands to try to make her way to safety, from the sound of the singing birds to Ms. Perkel’s chattering teeth. Those details made the story come alive, and turned what could have been a dry police-blotter item into a fun and lively read.
My family and I are all enjoying the Independent. Keep up the good work!
Philadelphia and Truro
Letter From the Yucatán
To the editor:
It’s July 4th weekend and for the first time I am not living in the United States on its Independence Day.
Truro seems far away here in Mexico, as I stroll the Paseo Montejo in my newly adopted city of Mérida, capital of the Yucatán state. This old colonial city is very tranquil in these days of the virus. It’s extremely beautiful, but I will never stop missing Cape Cod. Truro will always be home to me, but my health requires that I live in a place far removed from the chill of the New England winters. How sad.
I miss my family and friends, I miss cranberries and fried clams, I miss the sweet smell of the briny Atlantic, I miss my daily walks to Ballston Beach past the brambles of the bog and the flowers of the beach plum and the deer feeding along the pond and river in the early morning.
What a revelation, then, to have my subscription to the Independent. It brings me home in so many ways. It is hard to conjure up Truro in this land of Maya ruins, cenotes, and rich architecture. But your new newspaper brings home a little closer to me, so for that I thank you. Muchas gracias.