My favorite quotable President, Abraham Lincoln said, "Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. He who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or decisions possible or impossible to execute." True, indeed. I have always felt that the "man (or woman) on the street" was the most reliable source to understand the true public sentiment. I grew up learning that the best place for news in Falmouth other than The Enterprise was the barber shop. Armed with that, I have spent the last couple of weekends combing the sidewalks and shops of Falmouth, seeking to understand just what public sentiment is these days, what the pulse is of our community. Here's what people had to say:
"I'm so glad the Selectmen listened to us and voted not to privatize the dump. Now the pressure is on. They said they could make money. Now show me the money." - Ted from East Falmouth.
"What's up with Selectman Mustafa going to the discipline hearing at the Rec Committee for the liquor violation last week? He said he was there as a citizen, but then told the Committee that a harsh penalty would be overturned by the Selectmen. What's up with that?" - Mary from North Falmouth
"I'm so glad the Selectmen gave Chief Riello a contract extension. He's so in touch with the community - and doing a great job. Kudos to all of the Falmouth Police Department." - Sam from Hatchville
"I love that new Burrito Place in East Falmouth! Who knew you could get a touch of Mexico at the Davisville lights!" - Matt from East Falmouth
"I wish that there were white lights in the trees on Main Street. That would make an already wonderful downtown magical." - Donna from Falmouth
"I heard the old Falmouth Ford was going to be a parking lot. Just what we need. Isn't downtown already a parking lot in the summer?" - Ken from Teaticket
"I had the chance to visit Coonamessett Farm the other day. What a gem! They even have a Montessori School based there where the kids learn from the books and the land. It is truly a special place." - Diane from Woods Hole
"I heard the new Selectman was going away for like a month. Bad timing." - Andy from Falmouth
"Ha. Sometimes I wish they would all go away for months at a time." - Andy's friend Ed from Falmouth
"I'm so glad the Commodores are back, I come here every year to see them, but boy I miss those Braga burgers." - Jeff from Maine
"What a relief to have the Woods Hole Drawbridge completed in time for the summer. Town Hall got that one right." - Tom from Woods Hole
"I've been all around the world, even seen the pyramids in Egypt. But I've never seen anything like the views from the new bike path. That just blew me away." - Betsy from Falmouth Heights
"If someone hasn't already said it, thumbs up to the Town Manager and Assistant Town Manager for getting all that stimulus money for the wind project in West Falmouth. Wasn't it like millions?" - Ray from Teaticket
"I heard Joe Studley is retiring. He was the best teacher I ever had." - Ronnie from East Falmouth
"What a great job the School Department did with graduation - and with awards night. That Scholarship Association of Falmouth gave out over $300,000 to Falmouth kids. That's just amazing." - Gary from West Falmouth
"What a shame to see the band shell lose its name. I don't know Oscar Wolfe but I think he got a bad deal." - John from Falmouth
"Don't listen to him. No matter the name, the new band shell is amazing. I can't wait for the first Thursday night concert." - John's wife Martha from Falmouth
"Carey Murphy may get his dander up, but he is surely a voice of reason." - Rob from North Falmouth
"I just went to Menauhant Beach for the first time in years. What a treat! Whoever put all that new sand there deserves a raise." - Cliff from Hatchville
That's just a sampling of the comments received in my travels. Feel free to add your own, because Honest Abe was right. Without public sentiment, without citizens who care enough to stop on the street and provide an opinion, nothing can succeed.
This column is reprinted from the Falmouth Enterprise.