Mrs. Rayport Has Taken Half-Truths And Weaponized Them For Her Own Interest

Joseph Topham •

To the editor: Dear Mrs. Rayport,

Again, you have taken half-truths and weaponized them for your interest.

First, the Town of Nantucket has Civic Ready, a communication service that sends immediate alerts to Nantucket's residents who are subscribed to the system. Look for the "Notify Me" button, so you can stay up-to-date with town information and website news by getting automatic alerts for any and all Town alerts.

<https://www.nantucket-ma.gov/list.aspx?Mode=Subscribe#newsFlash>

I hope this helps to save you time and effort looking for the link. And a thank you to the Town Administrator, and Town Administration for creating these links and alerts.

Let me share the correct facts.

First, you were the former chair of Nantucket Historical Commission (NHC), but more accurately, you are now a former member of NHC. You have been sacked. The current chair of the NHC wrote the following letter: ________________________________________________________________________
March 1, 2023

Mr. Jeffery Shrimpton
Historic Resources Supervisor
MassDOT Cultural Resources Unit
RE: DOT Project 613129: Milestone and Polpis Road
Via email to: jeffrey.shrimpton@state.ma.us

Dear Mr. Shrimpton:

I'm writing in regard to project number 613129, which will construct a bike path and modify an intersection.

The Nantucket Historical Commission has an objective of preserving the rural character of Nantucket's roads, which are part of the context of the Nantucket National Historic Landmark. We would like to contribute our suggestions to the project design.

Nantucket bylaw § 127-19 limits the expansion of pavement area and requires minimum signage. While this bylaw does not apply to the one state road on Nantucket, Milestone Road, we hope the DOT will keep it in mind for project 613129 which involves the intersection of a State road and a local road. We would appreciate the opportunity to comment on the project, from its earliest phases.

The Historical Commission may be reached through our Town Preservation Planner, Ms. Holly Backus. We look forward to further dialog with the DOT, for a successful MassDOT project improving bike lanes and safety on the National Historic Landmark of Nantucket.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Angus MacLeod
Chair
Nantucket Historical Commission
Cc: hbakus@nantucket-ma.govtownmanager@nantucket-ma.gov
________________________________________________________________________

So, the NHC was alerted to the design of project 613129 and discussed the project, and Ms. Holly Backus did send in comments to the state and the MHC on 1/29/24. All of those correspondences were shared with T. Michael Burns, AICP, Transportation Program Manager, Nantucket Planning & Economic Development Commission, and Adam W. Kiel, Senior Project Manager at MassDOT(DOT).

It is also remarkable that a website created by MassDOT will share the information provided for anyone on the World Wide Web!<https://hwy.massdot.state.ma.us/projectinfo/projectinfo.asp?num=613129>

What a country! Shall I share those letters and correspondences? I will gladly do so because a FOIA of the town employees is a waste of taxpayers’ money, but we all know how you like to file them frequently.

The Nantucket Historical Commission had the project on its agenda on 3/17/23, under the heading, "Road/sidewalk projects: letter sent re: Milestone and Polpis." So the proper Boards/Commissions/Advisories have been notified, had two-way correspondences, and even weigh-in. So your statement is a half-truth and weaponizing.

Also, the signs on Milestone Road could not have been prevented as they are essential for safety and required, maybe minimized, as it is a state-run road. The town cannot and will never have the power or ability to remove that signage. I agree, it sucks, and is horribly ugly; but not one person in the NP&EDC posted the signage like they were a foodie posting their delicious meal from a local restaurant.

As a current member of the Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) which advises the NP&EDC bicycle and pedestrian project, it is not a "simple bike lane project has turned into a $2.3 million road widening hairball" as you've described. Good Lord! It has always been much more. So your statement is a half-truth and weaponizing.

I am baffled why someone, mainly YOU, would be opposed to a turning lane at an intersection that was the site of a fatal accident, as most year-round residents are well aware of those tragic circumstances and wholeheartedly support them. And that accident hasn't continued to haunt everyone who knew Mr. Billy Sayle.

As a driver on the island for 42 years, I don't like the change, but it is for everyone's safety. If you disagree please find Mr. and Mrs. Sayle, the Davis family, the Ray family and tell them this is "just a ‘simple bike project...".

#OMGTHEMILESTONESIGNAGE! #SAFETYFIRST

And if anyone has seen an NHC meeting, you have improperly influenced members of the Commission as a member of the public that dominates almost every meeting. It also leads to politicization of issues rather than mission-focused work.

First, the following of Robert's Rules is almost nowhere to be found during a meeting when you are in attendance. You should be following the HDC Guidelines "Conduct of Application Hearings " as a member of the public. Meaning you. The chairperson should open the hearing and announce the item to the NHC sitting board. Next, subject to a time allotment of NHC members to properly discuss a topic, then two to three minutes for the public and one minute per; thereafter, 30 seconds per. You know, like every other local board or commission. But that's not the case. You hijack the meetings to push your agenda.

The NHC commission unanimously voted to write a letter supporting Ms. Abby De Molina and or you, not a member but a self-appointed preservationist, to have a seat on the NP&EDC. For your information, a medical student doesn't graduate from college and starts cutting people open without a minimum five-year Residency. A tradesperson is not a master of anything without becoming a journeyman for many years of knuckle-breaking work first. So, a golden star on the forehead for you for your hard work to soon get a Master's degree, but you are still far behind Holly Backus, Mary Bergman, and Rita Carr -- well-educated women with years of knowledge and hands-on experience in the field.

If you believed so strongly in having representation from the NHC on the NP&EDC, why did you not support the candidate who was from the NHC? Instead, you were backdoor lobbying and trying to backstab the NHC member. So the NHC wants a member of their board on the NP&EDC on the board and you were running a smear campaign? Or is it because the NHC person is not one of your bobbleheads to do what you want when you want? Or do you want the seat all to yourself so you can run amok at the State House pressing your agenda and not what is suitable for all Nantucketers (i.e., natives, seasonal, wash-a-shores, or day trippers)?

Questions to ask are: "Do you respect the people in positions?"

"Do you respect the process?"

"Do the board members serve you and help you push your agenda?"

"Do you call the state, get rebuffed, then have the Chairman of a committee call the state to ask the same question?"

If you have answered yes to these questions, maybe the problem is not Nat, or anyone else on town boards. Ms. Val Oliver asked the same questions of you.
As you know, I voted for Kristina Jelleme, not because of her 40-plus year friendship, but because of what she has accomplished since the day I met her. Nantucket's involvement outside of appointed government positions, and the integrity to speak her mind rather than simply execute someone else's plan.

Dear Nantucket, please start to pay attention to Ms. Abby De Molina. She is intelligent, a critical thinker, and always looking forward, being positive by nature. She has a love for Nantucket. We do not always see eye-to-eye on every issue, but we remain friends because we respect each other's perspective and insight, which gives each of us greater knowledge.
It is sad when we have three strong, intelligent women step forward to the NP&EDC at-large seat, only to have one - YOU - running around covertly undermining another woman for the position. That is not Nantucket, and we don't want that Commonwealth Avenue ugliness here.

Respectfully,

Joseph Topham
Vice Chair of the Planning Board
NP&EDC Member, BPAC, CPC, MADWG
and MAA Scholarship Committee Member.

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