Letters To The Editor: Nov. 16, 2023

November 19, 2023

When Too Much Meets Too Little


What does it mean when we say “That’s too much?” If we were talking about trying to pour 20 ounces of liquid into a 16 ounce glass, it’s an obvious, objective fact; there’s going to be a mess!

But in Harwich, the Too Much/Too Little conversation of late is relative to the question of too much traffic and too little affordable housing and it seems to me that we are into the world of the subjective. What is meant by “too much”? Does that mean it’s more than what we are used to? Does it mean it’s more than the roads can handle? Is it too much traffic in the summer when Route 28 goes into crawl mode through Harwich Port or is that “just the cost of doing business?” Does it mean it’s more than what we want? Does it mean, “These roads are for our cars, not their cars.” Or does it mean “Not In My Back Yard?” I don’t think it does. I think “too much” is about change and how challenging it can be, especially when we don’t initiate it.

Mid-Cape Church Housing, operating as Pine Oaks, is a long established local developer of affordable homes in Harwich. A significant number of Harwich senior and disabled citizens have decent/affordable housing because Pine Oaks has been a servant-visionary in the affordable housing arena for nearly 50 years. As a community I think we owe them a huge thank you for their vision, commitment and service.

Their latest proposal, Pine Oaks IV, will, upon completion (10 to 12 years down the road), provide Harwich with a much-needed boost in the number of affordable housing units we have available for the many who have been priced out of the housing market. Without this housing our ability to survive as a viable community is in jeopardy. Our police, fire, health care, and education systems face significant recruitment challenges today. Our service industry needs include town staff to manage waste and drinking water, maintain our roads and infrastructure, plow and sand during snow storms, work in retail and restaurants, deliver oil, install and repair HVAC, staff our libraries and gas stations, repair our homes, provide elder care for a growing population and day care for kids as well as countless other tasks that often go unnoticed until there is no one around to do them.

Do we care as much about the people as we do the place? Without housing to accommodate the people who fill all these positions (and many more) we will not continue to have the community we love; some of us for many years and some of us just a few. Pine Oaks is offering us an opportunity to prepare for the future, not just suffer it. Given that and given their years of service and commitment to Harwich, I think we owe them a response that says, “In the service of the greater good, let’s find a way to make this happen. Let’s see what adjustments we can make, let’s see if there are ways for us to accommodate this change.” Harwich is a community built on the common ground of the greater good. Look around and you see evidence of that all over, from Brooks Academy to Cape Tech, the community center, Saquatucket Harbor to Red River Beach and Harwich Conservation Trust and the Family Pantry, just to scratch the surface. It seems to me this is who we are, and from what I understand this has been the way for much if not all of our past. Let’s not turn our backs now.

Bob Spencer


Interfaith Statement On Middle East


The Nauset Interfaith Association (nausetinterfaith.org), representing clergy and laity from 24 diverse congregations on the Lower and Outer Cape, has been deeply concerned for all who have ties to the Middle East during these days of terrible crisis. Acting on our commitment to interfaith relationships and justice and equity among all people, the NIA board of directors has unanimously approved the following statement:

We watched in horror on Oct. 7 as Hamas carried out a terror attack against the Jewish people of Israel. We condemn this action, and our hearts are heavy with grief for the many who suffered loss. We stand with and extend our love to our neighbors in Am HaYam Havurah, praying along with those who have loved ones in Israel and for the release of all hostages. We also commit ourselves to stand against those in this country who would pursue acts of antisemitism during these dark days.

We grieve equally for the suffering people of Gaza, recognizing that all of us are children of God. Our hearts tell us that answers are to be found not in violence, and we abhor the deaths of innocent men, women and children on both sides. We pray for a cessation of this conflict, and for peace with justice for both Israelis and Palestinians. We also stand with our Muslim neighbors and deplore the presence of Islamophobia in any form.

We recognize that among our various faith communities, differences of opinion will exist over what is the faithful way forward in this crisis. But let us together at this time affirm the strength of our interfaith bonds, and stand against all hateful words and actions.

“Put away violence and destruction, and practice justice and righteousness.” (Ezekiel 45:9)

The Rev. Edgar Miranda, president

Nauset Interfaith Association