Barnstable County Charter Review Board
Barnstable District Courthouse
Barnstable, Ma 02630
Charter Review Board,
After reading an (open) letter to your commission published in Cape Cod Today earlier in the week, I was moved to also contact you. I believe that it would not be a bad idea at all for your group to explore and debate a bit about the Cape Cod Commission and all that it does.
From my experience, the Cape Cod Commission continues to be excessively, disproportionately and overtly environmentalist while incessantly stifling legitimate economic growth on this peninsula. The lop-sided scope of its regional regulatory function is gargantuan.
Other than the fact that the Cape Cod Commission suppresses reasonable economic growth on Cape Cod, another sound reason to take a deep and serious look at its configuration, purpose and operational character is constitutional. The issue is equal representation as defined under the Fourteenth Amendment to our Constitution. On the Commission, each of the Cape municipalities has equal voting power. In the County Assembly of Delegates representation is weighted by population with the largest town, Barnstable, having the greatest percentage and the smallest, Truro, the least. Funding for the Commission is also based upon population, so the larger towns need to contend they are either underrepresented or overcharged. This type of argument has resonated ever since the original debate on the Constitution in 1787. Both economic and environmental matters, as well as political power, are at stake concerning the Cape Cod Commission.
There are no set answers, but Cape Cod Commission officials, and their fanatical political supporters, have to learn how to discuss things with the citizens of Cape Cod without polarization if we are to preserve our local and regional democratic process related to this particular political arena.
On a separate issue, it is also a good idea to explore the possibility of expanding the Cape Cod Economic Development Council using funds taken from the Cape Cod Commission's budget so that it may become much more of a focal point for business development here on the Cape.
South Yarmouth, MA