I was completely blown away by the Letter to the Editor written by Mr. and Mrs. Clough, Fields, and Hayward. Are these not the same folks who used their political and financial influence to convince a lame duck state assemblyman from the North Shore to attach an innocuous rider to, of all things, the Assembly Fiscal Year Budget bill, carving out a GPS-only defined parcel in Popponesset Bay, which happened to be the same coordinates for Richard Cook’s proposed aquaculture farm, and are these not the same folks who purposefully did not tell any Mashpee elected officials and representatives at the local or the state levels of their “scheme”?
I have been involved in municipal government in two states both as a professional and as a volunteer for 45 years. I have never seen anyone stoop so low or be so deceitful in an attempt to get what they want. If I read what they said accurately, they now suggest that the newspapers are giving them a raw deal, because they happen to be rich and can afford homes on the water. Wow!
Worse yet, having been exposed as using their influence and contacts at the state level and having been exposed for using deceptive practices, has there been any remorse or contrition on their part? Apparently not. They seem to say that in their way of thinking the ends justify the means.
The writers ask “why is the town using public funds to support Mr. Cook’s project?” In all due respect, Mashpee is not spending public funds to support Mr. Cook. The town is spending funds to administer the laws the townspeople of Mashpee have adopted at Town Meetings and to defend the town against the multiple lawsuits that have been filed by residents opposing the project. I believe Mr. Cook has retained his own attorney.
But now these folks are making allegations which seem to me represent a very serious and dangerous step forward. While their influence peddling was okay, they now allege that Mr. Cook has, over the years, developed some sort of conspiratorial relationship between the town manager, and by extension the board of selectmen and the town attorney, the enforcing boards and officials of the town, and his municipally active sister-in-law, to influence and gain favor for his project(s).
The Cloughs, Fields and Haywards are sure giving Mr. Cook a lot of credit for the influence he is alleged to have. Do they realize how many elected officials, appointed board members and employees he would have had to influence? 20, 30, 40? They, who I suspect have lots of contacts in high places, on the other hand, only had to influence one person—the state assemblyman.
These folks want “The Enterprise” to conduct the investigations to prove their assertions. While I am not an attorney, in my view, the allegations made by the Cloughs, Fieldses, and Haywards are close to, if not in fact, character assassinations on Mr. Cook and our town officials. I think if I were any one of those accused, I would be asking my attorney what my rights are. Their individual character and reputation, not to mention their personal and community pride, are being challenged.
And all this time, negative energy, money and angst are all over a view of the ocean and the theoretical possibility that some oyster cages will break away from their anchored position and travel (how many yards, miles?) in a major storm and “damage their homes” (their words). I’ve never been on Daniels Island, but, folks, if the storm is so bad that the cages are damaging your home, that means the water from the storm surge will have reached your home, and you all won’t be worried about the cages, you will be like the folks in Scituate during some recent storms—in evacuation mode.
Charles E. Gasior