Letters to the Editor

04/29/2010 12:00 AM |


That kind of thinking is what’s alarming

I would think that if Hugh Prestwood wants to argue the case that Tea Party supporters are well-informed he wouldn’t just write a bunch of inflammatory blather based on outlandish rumors.

Mr. Prestwood may have convinced me that the Tea Party supporters are not uninformed. Rather, they are woefully and, perhaps willfully, misinformed. According to the CBS/New York Times poll (uh-oh. I can sense him tuning out already at the mention of these “left-leaning” organizations) 59 percent don’t believe or “don’t know” that President Obama was born in the U.S., despite the evidence. Nearly half, 45 percent of Tea Party supporters, are more likely to trust the information they get from other party supporters than information from television news or newspapers.

Talk about your “triumph of ideology over cold hard facts.” They’d rather believe gossip from like-minded souls than read thoroughly researched reports from reputable sources. When the Tea Party supporters do bother to get their information from the news, they overwhelmingly prefer Fox News (63 percent) to the other three networks ABC, NBC, CBS (11 percent combined).

In his incoherent rant about the health care bill, Mr. Prestwood says he’d “guess” that as much as a third of all health care jobs will be set aside for mandatory race and gender quotas. He’d guess? How scientific. How fact-based. How well-informed. And I suppose this guess is now as good as fact as it travels through the Tea Party rumor mill.

Mr. Prestwood believes the media is maliciously stereotyping the Tea Party supporters as angry. The reality is that 53 percent of party supporters described themselves as angry in the CBS/New York Times poll. His indignation at the use of that word is either misplaced or disingenuous. Mr. Prestwood claims that he and party supporters are “alarmed.” The poll shows 58 percent of party sympathizers are armed and 24 percent say violent action against the government is justified. Let me repeat: 24 percent say violent action against a democratically elected government is justified. That is some scary, crazy stuff. Everyone should be alarmed at that.

Virginia Ludacer


Where’s the civility?

Regarding the Tea Partiers, I find it highly offensive to see any American president depicted as Hitler.

While it’s obviously disrespectful to our president, it also shows a gross disrespect to the victims of the Holocaust. Hitler didn’t raise people’s concerns about taxes or government policies. He committed horrific atrocities and annihilated eight million men, women and children. There’s a terrible disregard for the meanings of some of the words thrown around.

Elected officials and other leaders who attend the Tea Party rallies could be of real service to our country and the message of the Tea Party if they could show by example that civility is possible even within an atmosphere of strong emotions.

Mary Ellen Tomaszewski


Tilting at windmills?

So Hugh Prestwood starts out to write a defense of the Tea Party and it turns into a rant against “sweeping, all-encompassing government-run health care,” which, as Mr. Prestwood seems to acknowledge, was not in the bill proposed by President Obama and passed by Congress.

So what are we to conclude from this? That the Tea Party is “alarmed” about imaginary legislation?

Stanley Brown


Where’ve you been?

After reading your coverage of the tax day Tea Party in Riverhead and comments by participants, I thought it was time for a letter. Many political issues the Tea Party addresses are those I complained about during the Bush administration, so my question is, “Where’ve you been?”

Tea Party activists who complain about government spending watched as Bush took office with a budget surplus and left after doubling the national debt, yet they remained silent. He lied us into war and told us the oil revenue would pay all the bills. This was far from the truth and our present-day Tea Party activists again remained silent. These activists complain about the size of government, but didn’t say a word as Bush created the largest federal government in U.S. history. They talk about protecting the constitution and personal liberties, yet never spoke out as Bush brought us warrantless wiretaps, sneak and peek searches and free speech zones. I always thought the whole country was a free speech zone. They complain about “socialist” policies, yet want to protect their Social Security and Medicare. These same folks don’t even realize that anything we decide to do as a group to benefit the general population could be considered socialist, like the police, fire and highway departments, or even the military. Don’t forget that socialist government arm that Bush created, the Department of Homeland Security. This group complains about government bailouts, but forgets that the first round of bailouts happened under Bush, and with the no-strings-attached approach used back then, it was more like a gift.

So my question is, “Where’ve you been?” When I spoke out during the Bush administration, I was called unpatriotic, un-American and several other names I can’t write here. So what has changed? Is it that the White House is not occupied by an old white man with an (R) after his name? Why is it suddenly fashionable to voice the same complaints that brought me ridicule only a few years ago? At least now our spending may have some return on investment instead of just giving the money away to the already wealthy. At least now, we are no longer shedding 700,000 jobs each month and may even be turning the corner to creating jobs.

Most Americans were asleep while our previous administration drove us off the road of both democracy and economic stability. Now that we have hired or elected a new team to make the necessary repairs, the Tea Party seems to be blaming the guys trying to fix the problem for the crash that happened before they arrived, while complaining about the cost of the repairs and the time it takes to make them.

Glen Sherman


More double dipping

Last week’s account of the recent appointment of Vito Minei as director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County only five days after retiring from the Suffolk County Department of Health Services once again brings to the forefront what is wrong with the state retirement system. Just last week it was reported that next year Suffolk County will have to pay $50 million in additional pension costs, much of this due to abuses built into the system.

Most residents familiar with our local Cooperative Extension may not know that over 70 percent of its funding comes from Suffolk County and the state and, as a result, the employees are under the same retirement system as other county workers. A retired county employee less than 65 years old is normally prohibited from employment at another county or state position where the pay exceeds $30,000 per year.

It’s no wonder that the system remains broken when our leaders and politicians themselves take advantage of loopholes that allow “double dipping,” that is, retiring from a county position with a generous pension and then going back on the payroll to another government-funded agency or elected position. This not only happened with Mr. Minei, but also with our County Legislator, Ed Romaine, when he retired as Suffolk County Clerk with a pension of around $100,000 a year only to be elected to the County Legislature at a salary of over $80,000 a year.

As the state plunges into bankruptcy, our leaders and elected officials continue to feed at the trough by writing the rules for their own benefit. The system can never be fixed as long as the “fixers” have a vested interest in the outcome.

I certainly do not begrudge anyone their right to a guaranteed pension. After many years of county service, I too have earned my state pension, but when special rules and legal loopholes result in costing taxpayers millions in increased costs, then we must stand up and say the system is broken and must be fixed.

Peter Akras


What’s behind the push for public H2O

Despite Suffolk County Water Authority’s legal status as a public benefit corporation, SCWA has not been acting for the benefit or best interest of the citizens of Suffolk County in its attempt to force a water pipeline in Orient without a proper environmental impact statement. On the other hand, SCWA is not providing a pipeline in Calverton, where it is dearly wanted.

County Legislator Ed Romaine recently stated that folks in Calverton have repeatedly asked SCWA to bring a pipeline into their neighborhoods, yet SCWA has denied them water. Why? What better use of federal stimulus funding than to dig a pipeline to areas that want and need SCWA’s water? Everybody wins: Suffolk County continues to have stimulus funds pumped into our local economy, Congressman Tim Bishop has brought home the bacon to his constituency and the citizens of Calverton will get a reduced hookup rate, due to the stimulus funds. Why is SCWA in a frenzy to dig an unwanted, unnecessary pipeline to Orient, endangering wetlands in the initial segment?

Here are two possible reasons:

First, perhaps SCWA has been warned by the bond rating agencies that because of its flat subscriber growth numbers, meaning that revenue has grown at 5 percent over the last three years and expenses at 26 percent, SCWA’s bond rating could be lowered, increasing their borrowing costs,

In addition, SCWA has applied for and been denied permits to mine the Lloyd Aquifer. SCWA is on record as saying that it wishes to use that old pure water to dilute water from compromised wells to meet federal and state standards. Mining the Lloyd Aquifer is only allowed for coastal communities, of which Orient is one. Perhaps SCWA wants Orient water to ship to western Suffolk County, where overdevelopment has compromised SCWA’s water? The cheapest way to bring pumped water up to federal, state and local requirements is to add clean water to compromised water, thus diluting the faulty water. Orient has a few compromised wells, not “the worst water,” as SCWA misstates. It is our opinion that SCWA wants a new source to ship water west.

We want the people of Calverton to know that the great majority of residents of Orient, including longtime landowners, retired folks, weekenders and summer residents, want clean water for them, at a reduced cost. Suffolk County Water Authority clearly doesn’t care about them. SCWA cares only about its bottom line.

So much for public benefit.

MaryAnn Liberat


The wrong name

The so-called Department of Environmental Conservation, the folks who allow deer to starve, and thus block the means of contraception and tick-repellent administration, has issued a permit for the water authority to violate Dam Pond.

The person with whom I spoke said the permit allows some unmentioned contractor(s) to “install pipes under Dam Pond.” To add to the insults bestowed upon us by the DEC, that misnamed group is now frustrating the environmentally concerned baymen with typical bureaucratic inability to implement alternatives to using a biologist the state can’t afford.

Give me a break.

Shouldn’t the DEC’s name be changed to the “Department of Environmental Contamination”? Or maybe the “Department of Executive Coddling”?

Let’s get real. This department is conserving nothing.

Maureen Sanders


‘Truly blessed’

I would like to thank the numerous people who responded on April 10 to the accident that occurred at my home, from the Mattituck Fire Department, Southold Town Police, EMTs, neighbors and personal friends to the lady who came to my aid immediately after the accident.

I am deeply touched by everyone’s kindness and feel truly blessed. As Tracy Chapman said, “I’ve seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives.”

Judy Utter


A cleaner inlet

The Group To Save Goldsmith Inlet recently sponsored a cleanup at the inlet, focused on removing the very large pieces of debris, such as trees and telephone poles. That debris has been trapping many smaller pieces of plastic, garbage and other debris, all adding to dangerously high levels of pollution.

We are happy to report that more than 20 tons were cut into moveable pieces and then removed.

We wish to acknowledge the volunteer help and thank the many people who contributed to this successful effort, including the NJROTC cadets led by Bill Grigonis and Felicity Turner, Peter Dooley and the staff of the North Fork Lawn and Tree Company, Nick Gibbons and the Suffolk County Parks staff and Southold Town staff members Mark Terry and John Sepnoski.

In the face of the growing amount of sand that is entering the inlet and restricting the tidal flow, we will continue our efforts to reduce the high levels of pollution and restore this unique natural resource, implementing the management plan created by Southold Town under the direction of Supervisor Russell, the Town Board and the planning department.

We will be conducting cleanup projects in the future that will be open to the public and look forward to everyone’s continued support.

Hugh Switzer


Way to go, guys

I wish to congratulate the Greenport Pirates Hockey Club’s 8-and-under mites division who participated in an on-ice “shootout” held between periods of the Islanders/Penguins game at the Nassau Coliseum on Sunday, April 11.

Besides skating on the Coliseum ice in full hockey gear, all the kids had the chance to “fist bump” all of the defending Stanley Cup champ Pittsburgh Penguins — including Olympic hero Sid Crosby — as they came off the ice to their locker room. The near sell-out crowd of 14,000-plus cheered them and the public address announcer introduced them, name by name, as the kids from “all the way from Greenport.”

I was personally complimented by former Islander great Mike Bossy and the Islanders staff on their good manners, conduct and ability. I couldn’t have been any prouder of the kids and their ability to perform under such a bright spotlight. A proud day for them, their families, the ice hockey program and the North Fork.

Mike Ryan

president, Greenport Pirates Hockey Club