Sunday, March 27, 2011

Proposed boardwalk project may be over before it gets started

Guest article by Carl Johansen

We need to have an objective discussion around the proposed boardwalk, Brady's Island, and the abutting marsh in the Town of Sandwich. I will not go into the rationale of the community preservation committee providing some $49,000 of taxpayers' money for a study.
The following information was obtained by researching the historical documents at our town library. A copy of this information has been given to the town manager to be copied and given to each member of the board of selectman for evaluation.
Charles Brady, in 1959, sold his property to Joseph and Helen Bazzinoti.
The Bazzinotis conveyed the island and marsh to the Town of Sandwich in 1967. The town, along with state funding, purchased another parcel of land just to the west and these two constitute the present Brady's Island Conservation Area.
The conveyance assured that this property would remain in its natural state, as I understand the agreement between the state and the Bazzinottis under the Conservation Restriction Act (MGL chapter 184, sections 31 and 32). Purchased by the Conservation Commission in 1967 with state money, it also is protected under the Wetlands Act, by the Massachusetts Historical Society, by the Massachusetts Secretary of Environmental Affairs, and by the Army Corps of Engineers.
I will post only a part of section 31 that relates to Brady's Island and Marsh:
"No structure can go on or above the ground."
Unless the owner places a limitation on its operation as part of a restriction, this property cannot be used for economic benefit, only for conservation use.
A conservation restriction runs with the land and is binding upon subsequent owners of the real estate.  A conservation restriction is valid and enforceable in perpetuity.
Brady's Island and Marsh as it stands now has been given three uses:
  • Road side rest area
  • Town park
  • Wildlife area
Hiking is not listed as a use of this property.
This property includes 6 acres of marsh and 2.9 acres of upland, give or take.
Brady's Island is in a flood zone.
Given the environmental protection granted in perpetuity and all of the potential roadblocks, not to mention clearing the Cape Cod Commission, I ask: How much will it cost to get a permit? Or, more likely, how much will it cost to be denied a permit?
In my opinion, this process has failed before it has even begun just by the nature of all the levels of protection granted under the law to keep Brady's Island and Marsh in its natural state.
What say you, all citizens of Sandwich?
Carl Johansen
A concerned citizen of Sandwich

23 comments:

  1. Want some shocking news to wash down that boardwalk talk with? Read the January 2011 letter to the Town from the State Inspector General's Office(below link)regarding Woodside Village violations...see recommendations starting on page 17. The Town has been embarassingly redressed in many oversights, financial and environmental. Amongst other disturbing mistruths unveiled, it is recommended that sanctions for environmental violations by individuals or business entities be issued by MassDEP for the "non-compliant environmental predicament" created! Folks we have got to wake up! The Peter's Pond travesty (8 enormous docks with impeding structures growing in the buffer area and over the beach, no permits, no enforcement orders issued, the Town Administration absolutely trashed the Conservation Commissioner that spoke up about it and then MassDEP had to step in and conduct enforcement measures to protect the Pond), talk of this truly outlandish concept of a boardwalk in restricted conservation area, and now the Woodside Village mess! TOS we need an environmental SOS. We are not in good shape! The Woodside Village developer has been found (according to the referenced letter) to owe the Town $171,000 for an oversight in 40B profit. That is found money that should be set aside for the lawsuits headed our way as the guardians of our resources looked the other way (whether inadvertently or purposefully we may never know). Damaged water resources are EXPENSIVE to repair; not to mention damages for claims involving property rights of our citizens who are not given truths. The Good Ol Boy Network must close up shop now! This Town seems to have it all backward. Credibility seems to go to the foxes while our citizens are the sitting hens, or worse. Is the Town Administration supporting degradation of our resources? If so, why? If not, why is the State stepping in for these cases? If not, the Town then owes the former Conservation Commissioner an apology. Her request for simple compliance to the environmental laws for Peter's Pond, produced complaints regarding her behavior (complaints by the violators) to the Town. The Town Manager and BOS Chairperson, wrote to her claiming that, due to these complaints, they simply chose to "not renew" her term. There have been, since, unimaginable consequences for that former Commissioner. The Town's action to not renew her term (an environmental professional with nearly 20 years of flawless experience) should be looked at in light of the revelations that are upon us. She was correct in pointing out the violations along Peter's Pond shoreline and over the water. MassDEP confirmed her claims. MassDEP and the State Inspector General is confirming more claims, from another entity, in the case of Woodside Village. Believe it...We are in no shape to take on a project that claims environmental sensitivity. #1 -We absolutely do not have the rights to build a boardwalk in the proposed area #2 -We do not have a proper environmental conscience (thus we cannot trust) amongst our leaders to sustain what we have, let alone add more. The Town leadership will not expose violators and until they do, as now they are being forced to by the State agencies, we are all destined for ruin and endangerment in our beautiful environmentally sensitive portion of the Cape. It's absurd what we are putting up with as TOS Citizens!

    http://www.mass.gov/ig/publ/40b_sandwich_ltr.pdf

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  2. Good Morning Mr. Hunt,
    Given the recent rash of folks who have decided to plan out projects, without the forsite that protect our fragile environment is very alarming. The future development of out town, for economic purposes must stand the scrutiny of also protecting our natural resources that most every one has come to respect and love..

    We here on Cape Cod have been given an extra burdan as to stewardship when it come to all our areas that are enjoyed by the public in general.

    Public resources should not be compromised for private projects that violate the laws in place to protect them, nor should they be abused during this procces.

    We all must remain vigilant or we all will pay the bill in the end for those that have decided to not follow the environmental laws that benifit every one into the future.

    Our natural resources are our best selling point for economic development and we all need to plan for the future, yet keep the natural resources for all to enjoy.

    Carl Johansen
    A concerned Sandwich of Sandwich

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  3. I agree we need to be good stewards of the environment. But just remember Carl, you can't have it both ways. Either we are going to have some economic development or we are going to have to accept a hire tax burden in order to keep the town the way it is. The decision is ours. Duxbury has very little in regards to commercial development but they choose that and they choose to pay high property taxes that give them a great return for their investment. We are certainly no Duxbury but we could be if we make the tough decisions to properly fund our town one way or another. Another thing Duxbury doesn't do is complain about their tax rate being the highest in Massachusetts. By the way Cape Cod is not the 51st state or commonwealth, let us stop saying the highest tax rate on cape cod. We sound foolish when we use that as an example.

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  4. Carl Johansen Stated,

    Good Morning Choices, First off I have not brought up the tax base and where Sandwich stands in the mix around the state.
    I would completly disagree with your analagy that we cannot have it both ways. You are correct we are not Duxbury.

    Smart planning for economic growth as you protect the enviormental impact it may have, is an acheivable goal.

    We just refuse to provide the proper guidance in Sandwich that will protect both the environment and economic development. We talk the walk, but do not walk the talk.

    We can build in parts of town that will provide economic growth, yet still protect the integrity of our towns natural beauty.

    We have in some cases chose to look the other way , because it is easier and less expensive, for the planners to build. This is part of the good old boy network in many towns that find a way to circumvent the laws in place, for the gain off decreased costs at the expence of our public rights to also enjoy our environometal surroundings.

    We do not need to increase Taxes to get the benifits of this smart planning. We need to enforce the laws in place to protect our environment, while we ensure the planners of economic development actually build what they said they would that lesson's the impact on our fragile environment.

    Our Future generations of citizens need to be assured that they can live here and still appreciate the natural beauty, while we have in place more economic development to support our standards of living here in Sandwich.

    We can have it both ways, we all just need to be working towards the same goal's to make it occur.
    Where there is a will, we can all find a way.

    Carl Johansen
    A concerned citizen of Sandwich

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  5. Protecting our environment, adhering to the law, working with government to make choices in a timely and productive manner rather then pitting one agenda against the other, I think stand a much better chance of producing improvement to our commercial tax base, not to mention attract and keep the people who are here satisfied that they live in a place that makes sense. It does not have to be one or the other. We need to move away from the "good ole boy politics and government" even if that is the history and culture of small towns. It is a false proposition that economic development can't exist without not paying attention to environmental laws/concerns, respect for the role of government and and just plain good process.

    I applaud Carl for wanting to protect what is a real regional economic tool, our environment. Carl has always been civically engaged. He is not driven by a group agenda but rather by his honest disclaimer at the end of many public statements, "concerned citizen of Sandwich." He does not imagine that he and a financially interested group have all the answers for the town based on their agenda's which include economic development for their friends and associates. I don't have a problem with that because it is part of human nature. I do have a problem with parading that in the notion, they are the only ones who truly care about the town and that they have the most important ideas for solutions.

    All ideas are good ideas (unless at first glance they are way off mark), But they need careful assessment if they involve taxpayer money, human capital, etc. Perhaps the town currently doesn't have the professional intergovernmental policy it needs to do a better job of this but going forward with the extremely limited resources we have, and the fact those resources will be becoming more limited the next few years, it is crucial that the town not waste taxpayer money. The Harbor walk may be an excellent idea but is this the time to pursue it and invest town resources in it, that is the question I have?

    The things that Carl raises alone will cost the taxpayer money to resolve, not the people who brought this idea to the table with claims that they would not use taxpayer money. This is the kind of thing that bogs down our town government because the hidden costs and escalating costs of such projects inhibit the government staff to do the work they should be generating not to mention cost you and me real money. And of course in our good ole boy practice we risk our staff not only be abused but conflicted. When things get bogged down, staff can always blame the politicians. And the beat goes on.

    When someone proposes a project from the outside of town planning it should be looked at respectfully and accessed for true taxpayer cost. That includes the hours and hours town professional staff have to put in for projects often someone from the outside is controlling. I think it is one of the largest if not THE LARGEST leak of Sandwich taxpayer money going. Transparency, not hiding agenda's, ethics of the players, professional behavior, all these aspects of the creative tensions government in a small town must survive effect success for our town.

    We need a cooperative way When it comes to building our future, but it can't cut corners where resource planning is concerned. With our budgets shrinking this will become even more vital to our survival. Economic Development can and must exist through the true work of a community which is working together for the greater good. Debate must be turned into productive thoughtful dialogue, if we are to move forward. Citizens deserve not to be dismissed but so does government and good process.

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  6. Carl Johansen would state,To From Where I sit.

    I applaud your post as you have uncovered many of the reasons we here in Sandwich and elswhere abuse our town departments in projects that result in wasted dollars being spent that most towns do not have to develope them.

    Before we engage our town departments with any project, due dilligance must be done to see if the project is feasiable in the first place Why expend tax dollars to put in place any project when you do not know the financial outcome to the town's overall long or short range goals as a town.

    The dollars are very tight and we need to address those project that will have a positive impact to the whole town and not just one part of it.
    If the goal is to provide only economic growth to one part of the town at the expence of the whole town then in my opinion we have failed in our obligation to the town to preserve our heritage as a town into the future.

    We need to maximize every dollar we have to work with and get the biggest bang for our dollar that we can. We need to use our valuable town managers time where we can see a positive result at the end of the day and not waste his time on projects that perhaps may be wanted, but are not a top priority to sustain our town into the future during these hard economic times.
    That is where we can make a choice on how the money we do have available is put to the best possible investment of how we manage his time.

    The Choice's we have made over time is one reason, why we, here in Sandwich have failed to get any thing done for the future survival of Sandwich and that needs to be addressed.

    Carl Johansen
    A concerned citizen of Sandwich

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  7. Before we can proceed effectively, we must address that which sets our Town back. We have Town personnel in places that may not be representing our best interests. They tell us they cannot do their jobs adequately because they are too stretched. Yet there is taped and written evidence that they spend TIME (ALOT OF TIME) working to find loopholes to, in fact, BREAK THE LAW!! Why are we are paying for our own Town personnel to break the law and work against us financially and environmentally? Selectmen and the Town Manager have plenty of evidence of this, yet are not recognizing it. Why not? Town Citizens are too busy, nice, naive to recognize what we really have going here. There is a reason for the State Inspector General having to step in. There is a reason for the State Department of Environmental Protection having to step in (on more than one occasion of the Town personnel allowing obliteration of environmental regs). I'll specify what we all need to be concerned about in the next post. If you like clean drinking water and your money going for what it was intended rather into private hands, as has recently been uncovered by the State Inspector General,....read the next post.

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  8. To MoreShockingNews aka StateInvestigationTOS:

    Spare your extensive analysis of the Inspector General's report, which all can read at http://www.mass.gov/ig/publ/40b_sandwich_ltr.pdf

    You are ignoring the fact that the report has been effectively rebutted on a number of points by McShane's attorney and accountant.

    Your villainizing of the parties involved simply doesn't square with the facts.

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  9. StateInvestigationTOSMarch 29, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    Dear Randy,

    My apologies for making the appearance of villainizing any of the parties.

    I had made the assumption that all parties had produced rebuttals and the word issued in the OIG report was final.

    The OIG letter reads, "Prior to finalizing our communication to the town, this Office provided a draft report to the developer for review and comment and we have considered the resulting input in preparing this final account."

    I do not wish to create illwill. My wish is for governmental transparency and efficiencies of which I am concerned for in some of the Town of Sandwich's operations. The limited tax dollars we have MUST go to the most effective measures. It is my opinion, that protection of our current environmental resources should be held as priority over initiation of studies to further impact resources. According to the Cape Cod Commission, State OIG and MassDEP we are lacking in our abilities to protect what we have.

    Before we entertain money toward a boardwalk project we desperately need to be addressing resources that are in place to protect what we have. Maybe money would be better spent on staff to review issues like what fell through the cracks with Woodside Village and to assist the DNR with gaping holes in their environmental protection roles. Having the State step in (in this investigation) is a big red flag to me. Enough said.

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  10. Carl
    Many in town are against economic development for many reasons not just environmental. (Remember the big box store that was going to set up shop in the indusrial park.) My point is that many in town are adamant about keeping Sandwich "the way it is" which is their prerogative. I, personally, am not opposed to that but the town needs to make a decision either raise taxes to pay for services or allow economic development. Yes, I agree "smart development" but any development impacts the environment. It is a trade off that will help if done wisely but in the end hard choices involving revenue must be made.

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  11. Carl Johansen would state to Choices.
    I guess most can agree with your comments in regards to those here in Sandwich that believe we should remain stagnet and not keep up with the times.
    Choices, we all need to consider, will ultimitly determine the future of Sandwich.

    If we just sit and do nothing [which has been the case for a very long time] we can watch our town sink into the water along its Marsh and Coastline.

    Our two main safety buildings sit for the most part on filled land and with out a doubt, when they dissapear from view, we best have another place that we can perform those functions.

    The facts remain that we did not place enough importance on protecting our most impacted beach front. Those responsable looked the other way, failed to impose the regulations in place to prevent further errosion to one of our best economic tools, the beaches here in Sandwich.

    The crown jewels here in Sandwich
    are many, but one must agree the fresh water public ponds bring countless dollars into our economy every year.

    All great ponds are a public asset and need to be protected from illegal private takeover and the only way to do that is to apply the laws in place to do just that.

    Those charged to do that job, must do that if we want to allow the general public to come here, spend hard earned cash and pass on the traditions of Sandwich to others.

    Our Natural Resource department has taken the approach that the importance of the resource is secondary to the job they should be doing as watchdogs our taxes are paying for.

    The policies they have spouted have not worked for the past 30 years and if no changes are forthcomming, we will look at another 30 years of a continued decline in our towns number one asset, its waterways.

    Project's like the Boardwalk need to be looked at with both eyes open, before we put one dollar of Tax payers money into some black hole with no bottom. Let alone the countless hours of our town managers and other departments.

    Carl Johansen
    A concerned citizen of Sandwich

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  12. Carl
    I believe many in Sandwich have made many attempts at preserving not only the beauty but also the town's economic viability. The former Hewlitt Packard estate on Peters Pond, the Golf Course, the (current) boardwalk, even the preservation of Town Hall to name a few are all things that contribute to the charm and beauty of Sandwich as well as the economy or potentially could contribute to the economy. We need to look at the big picture and see that some things have an indirect effect on the town, some negative and positive for sure. I rarely see our elected officials with their heads buried in the sand. Even those I disagree with, I truly believe that they are making every effort to better the town. With that said if we want to repair or build a new public safety building, the town during town meeting will need to raise the revenue. It's not our elected leaders who need to do this but rather the electorate. We have difficult choices to make but I do not believe we can have our "cake and eat it to".
    In closing Carl, I never said that we shouldn't keep "up with the times" but rather I am proposing that we either have economic development or we dig a little deeper into our pockets and pay for it. Yes, we can do a little bit of both but it still requires us to dig a little deeper to improve our deteriorating infrastructure.

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  13. I think it is simplistic to think that the choice here is only to raise taxes or "allow" economic development. The word allow would imply that somehow there is a sign outside Sandwich, on the web, that says please don't bring your development dollars to Sandwich. Economic Development is a balance between the private sector's dollars and investors being attracted to a place and a property. We need people with money who want to invest in Sandwich and they need to feel it is a worthwhile place where their money will be well spent.

    Our SEIC is formed to help with Economic Development which is fine. In terms of the immediate lack of town resources, the increasing and almost inevitable drop in services, the timing of development projects, the environmental and historic nature of our town, (to name a few things to be considered) it seems likely that sustaining economic balance in Sandwich will take an approach that does not overly simplify the situation. That does not help us educate all those who must work together as well as voters whose support we will need. Time to move away from the buzz phrases and into the real work.

    Investors, and granted some are here, have to be sure Sandwich is a community taking care of itself I would think, before serious money is invested here. Public private partnerships are a good model and we need to continue to educate ourselves about such things. Economic development is a given in a community people want to be and one that can be trusted to manage it resources, clearly keeping their priorities straight. Right now Sandwich has to deal with the priorities is has ignored as well as encourage economic development. We have to be realistic and honest about the work ahead. It will be important to consider carefully how we develop, what and where. Those looking at Town Land need to understand the legal complexity of trying to take that away from the town. As in all things that really matter, trust and trusting relationship play a huge role.

    The Harbor Walk is an economic initiative and could spur economic development but not if it detracts and distracts from the limited resources the town has at this point. Then of course we have the complex legal issues raised through Carl's investigations and noted in today Cape Cod Times. And certainly not if it detracts and distracts the government staff and the workings of government from their work, energy, time, and resources they will need in the challenging next few years. We don't need to stir things up to get things done. We need to stay on course. We need to develop plans we can all work on together with respect for the honest circumstances

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  14. To from where I sit
    I am not in disagreement with you except that I do not believe that the "pie" is large enough. I have stated that you can have a mixed approach but at some point we have to face the facts that unless we have massive economic development then we will have to raise revenue, most likely through taxes. This is not a simplification of our choices. These are just hard decisions that need to be tackled. I believe that our elected leaders know this but are afraid to state this openly without "hedging". Which I do understand but do not like. Just look at the "pay as you throw" fee or tax which is a raising of revenue for a necessary service.

    Let's take Congress as an example; They want to lower the debt but refuse to raise revenue through taxes. Now that may be great for votes but it does nothing for the debt. They believe you can cut spending to balance the budget which could have some positive but could also have many negative effects on the economy. When I want to pay off a debt I raise the amount I pay on it. Now granted that is a simplistic example but I believe it illustrates my point.

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  15. Kudos to the current dialogue for doing SOMETHING new in Town. All of our different viewpoints are needed to find the opportunity that awaits with the least resistance and costs. The Chamber has the insight for what might turn the economic engine while the rest of us return comment. The proponent has the tough job. If not a boardwalk (the reality of "making lemons out of lemonade", as quoted in the CCT this morning, will be a harsh reality check as many do not view a natural preserved marsh as a "lemon"), what are other alternatives to achieve the same purpose? A list of ~ 5 +/- alternatives for discussion to achieve the same goal is much more likely to come up with a winner. In addition, is the long gone Costco proposal truly a goner? Is there a way we can solicit it's return. One large contributor to the tax base like this one would potentially (I hope I am correct) do wonders for projects to draw tourism. Let's keep thinking. From Where I Sit 7:37, I agree with you. Businesses will look at how Towns are taking care of resources to determine if an investment in the area is wise or not. We've got some cleaning up to do here. Our Department of Natural Resources really needs to be looked at as one of the Town's key parameters in measuring that quality. It would be nice if we could use Community Preservation dollars for a one year grant position to place a part-time professional, with a proven successful environmental management background, in the DNR department to make changes that will get the Town going in a healthier direction. That is the most efficient use of $49,000.

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  16. There are other ways to talk about the economic realities. That is my point. For example. It is almost inevitable that taxes will go up. In fact they go up ever year. So from where I sit that is a given. Can an override or even a debt exclusion be achieved? It depends on what it is for and if the tax payers support it. The structural deficit is a reality, but I suspect the "live within our means" way will not make people happy, keep them here, bring new tax dollars or development. So timing is critical and resource management. Most critical of all is the BOS, Town Management, Town Departments, and other boards building and maintaining the trust of our citizens so we have their support.

    Hard choices will have to be made and that includes not going after well intentioned ideas out of desperation, but carefully making sure the unforeseen consequences of any decision doesn't ham-string staff, money, and time. The Chamber has done a lot of good for the town, but if you look at even just the Cape you will see there is often a tug between business and government. If an entity has their own money and does not have to use any town resources, go for it. But partnerships have to be two groups coming together and planning what that looks like. This will be crucial going forward with the shrinking town resources including Community Preservation Funding. $50,000 here and $50,000 there just won't cut it now, not with the real prospect of fire fighters, police, and others crucial community staff being cut next year.

    The Board of Selectman will report out at this years Town Meeting with a Long Range Plan. The goal is to map the course for the next few years in realistic terms. I think there are ideas afloat to connect the various areas tourists might be drawn to that would cost less, and not involve expensive permits or legal expenses. We need to get ideas going, but we need to understand we must preserve town resources and plan very carefully. There are many lessons in the past, but in my view time to stop dwelling on things that are past. We have to plan for the future of the town with economic realities ever present in our minds.

    Sandwich is actually in a good position compared to other Cape Towns. The challenge is careful planning at this point. Other towns have stores fronts empty because they over built. Sandwich is ready to grow.

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  17. To from where I sit
    Yes and hopefully the electorate will understand and we won't have "knee jerk" reactions by them. we need to investigate many options and our elected officials sadly will have to sell it to the electorate. The people who pay attention are the proverbial choir. There also are those who vote strictly to keep taxes down and do not give a care what happens otherwise which I understand is their right. Higher taxes don't excite me either but at times it is a necessity. There are many others who do not show up at town meeting because they do not believe that the decisions there impact them. Those are the people that need to be reached for better or for worse.

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  18. Carl Johansen stated,

    Good Morning Choices, with out doubt you have made some good points in your posting.

    The key among all of the ideas being brought forward is to be honest and forthright to the citizens who get to pay the bills.

    Utilizing the town staff for projects we should accomplish is priority one.

    Changes never come easy, but changes are needed to go forward.

    Due dilligance by every committee to what they are charged with, can aid in the trasparency levels of trust that assure the citizen we are looking out for them and not some other force.

    The above mentioned subject speaks to that issue in regards to not following the process that needs to be taken to protect tax dollars from being abused in my opinion.

    We have a short supply of dollars and we need to be very frugal in how we allocate them, no matter where they come from. We also need to be honest about how we present that to the population of Sandwich.

    Carl Johansen

    A concerned citizen of Sandwich

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  19. Choices, I can tell you do care. I can tell you have a thoughtful approach and I can tell you have been paying attention. That is number #1, paying attention. I gave up long ago blaming those who weren't. In my humble view lack of attendance at town meeting exists for a variety of reasons. I don't suppose to chalk it up to any one thing by labeling those not in attendance. I think there is real evidence many just don't think it is worth their time. It's not like we can get the whole town there, so frankly those who are there clearly are at least paying attention.

    It was a new form of town government for me, as I am part of the majority of our population who has only been here since 1990. I truly respect it as a form of government, making citizens the legislative body of town government, but one has to ask, is it the most efficient form of government for our community at this point in the history of the town. I don't know the answer, but as I said, I gave up blaming those who aren't there long ago. It is like blaming the people who don't vote.

    Also, not a big fan of a "sell job" where public decisions and policy are concerned. It can constitute an attempt to manipulate folks and frankly that is not my cup of tea nor have I see good outcome from that. I see government as a process. The electorate needs information, transparency, and trust in the leaders who are making decisions for them. Pitting one group against another, hidden agendas, poor professional behavior in practice (historic I suppose) on many of our local boards, power plays, people trying to get something financial for themselves or for their friends from their involvement in town government, all these attributes of small town government and much more complicate our leaders ability to communicate as trusted persons (and their standing as such,) with the electorate and in my opinion, it convolutes the process. A further complication is our local small town media, which lacks professionalism at times in it's comments and reporting out on government making it personal to a degree that respect continues to erode. The culture of politics in Sandwich and frankly on Beacon Hill, and in D.C. make it so complicated for good work to consistently be done as we all know and are now living in to age that proves it without a shadow of a doubt.

    Civic engagement does not mean joining a political party or school of thought. It means as you have stated, paying attention and getting involved. The ultimate goal is healthy communities and sound financial ground to stand on for the places we call home. Leadership needs to have good practice. Town Meeting is meaningful and entertaining. It is community building. However decisions left to Town Meeting that are flawed through the process, when defeated feel like a failure, and when they have unforeseen consequences (I suppose a good example is the golf course) they bring further financial stress to our expenses. We need to have as much respect for the process as many of us do for our form of government. As always if not, there is a better chance the cost will be wasted time and money, backwards or circular motion and lack of trust.

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  20. I like your thinking process From Where I Sit 8:41. I agree with everything you say here in your posting. Transparency is an issue especially troubling a few of us at the moment. It is difficult to accept the idea that State Departments are seeing the need (and acting on it) to look closer at Sandwich's operations. First we pay taxes for our local government to enact our laws and then we have to pay taxes to the already overburdened state to come in and protect us because our local government personnel isn't cutting the mustard. How do we get our leaders attention? Those that have tried have been proven to run into a kind of soundproof wall. There are proven facts on the table that just get avoided. Why can't we just deal with people that aren't doing their jobs and get on with it in the Town of Sandwich?

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  21. Anon 12:37: You make a lot of sense. It is frustrating when you know people aren't doing their job or not doing there job with the the utmost of integrity. Everyone pays the price when such activity is ignored for any reason. It is kind of a club mentality I suppose. There is loyalty to people in the club and that for some reason gives people permission to act in undesirable ways.

    Then there are the unspoken rules of the work place, the politics. Don't make waves is a popular receipt for lowering the bar. It is tough in government because the bottom line isn't dollars and cents. Like any successful business, successful government needs in their management layer good evaluation tools for employees. Of course management has a lot of human resource hoops to jump through. Supervision is hard in an operation that isn't about people being in one place doing their job. And good supervision to make sure the jobs are being done at a high quality is key.

    The independent spirit of Sandwich and all the Cape towns has truly suffered as they have all struggled to deal with enormous growth. The Cape has always considered itself apart from the rest of the commonwealth but with 250,000 folks roughly year round we now have all the problems of any suburban community plus the unique challenge of keeping the natural heritage of this beautiful place in tact. It is a challenge for all town governments on the Cape. The more professional the operations come, the better. A lot of challenges in government operations that don't exist in the private sector.

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  22. Carl Johansen stated,

    Good Morning Mr. Hunt it would appear that this issue will not be brought forward to town meeting.

    The Sandwich Chamber of Commerce announced at last night's Board of Selectman Meeting, that they will withdraw there request of CPA funds [Taxpayers dollars] until a time uncertan.

    What I find interesting about the documentation submitted by the Chamber was they had plans to come back before the CPC for two more requests of funding from taxpayers dollars.

    The idea of a Boardwalk, has been temporarly delayed.

    We all must remain vigilant whenever CPA money is being granted that the benifactors of this money are able to perform the task they claim they can do, before we grant one dollar of seed money to leverage it for any purposes other then what is allowed under the Community Preservation Act.

    What was also noted at last nights meeting is one of the falicies that Sandwich does not want or need any large retail box stores for economic development. It has been this type of thinking that will stagnate economic growth and once again prevent our commercial tax base from growing.

    All projects that request grant money from CPA funding need to be evaluated for the intended use and feasability of being completed, before any money is granted at all.

    If the burdan is to high, to be accomplished as was the Boardwalk, why invest taxpayers dollars into a bottomless pit? Given another time, another place, where the environmental laws were not understood, it may have been a good project.

    However knowing the full impact of such a project in our fragile marsh area, we would be later spending more actual taxdollars to repair the damage placing a structure like a board walk across it. This does not even speak to the fact that the Brady's Island Conservation Area is completly protected against such structues under MGL 184.

    Carl Johansen

    A concerned citizen of Sandwich

    ReplyDelete
  23. Pie R Squared (pi)April 12, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    Mr. Pare, as you are the only one who seems to want to answer on this blog, I would simply ask if you think that there is any way that some sort of a compromise that will maybe keep Brady's Island out of the boardwalk fiasco, is attainable. Mr. Johansen, who seems to dig in and take a postition does not seem to want to comopromise. What do you think, can it be done?

    ReplyDelete

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