Letters to the Editor

07/29/2010 12:00 AM |


It’s basic respect

Maribeth Mundell and Gregg Schweitzer are right, music is good.

Ms. Mundell was my tenant when she lived across from the Blue Dolphin, and she is a lovely person and a talented singer. She and Mr. Schweitzer play together in a good band called the Contractors. Support them if you can.

Music is only good, though, when you want to be listening to the music that is playing. No one has the iTunes going 24/7, and we are all pretty specific about our playlists. There is a time and place. But when the music moves in next door to you — which is what has actually happened here, not the other way around — you no longer have the choice.

When my son was 4 months old, the music at the Blue Dolphin used to rage on, Thursday through Sunday, until 4 a.m., at an incredible volume, and would wake him up late into the fall, with all the windows closed. We could never hear our own music; we couldn’t even watch a movie. Everyone I know in the area found it to be a bummer. The musicians are not to blame, though, and Ms. Mundell and Mr. Schweitzer each have my support as artists.

The town has turned a blind eye to motels, restaurants and vineyards that have morphed into music venues, that play amplified music outdoors, for a profit. No other municipality on Long Island — or in the entire metropolitan area, the Catskills, Cape Cod, etc. — would allow this. If you’re going to play amplified music anywhere else you need a building.

I’m not talking about events like the NoFo concert, which is a great thing for the North Fork. I mean places that boost their alcohol sales daily with live music. I’m sure the music sounds pretty sweet when your cash register is singing, too, but your neighbors never signed up for it. It’s just basic respect.

In community meetings, Scott Russell expresses concern, and makes promises to effect noise ordinance legislation. But those of us who have attended Town Board meetings have noticed that Mr. Russell seems much less concerned in that setting. So nothing ever gets done, except more letters to the editor.

Joseph Zizzo



Not about the music

Finally, the town leadership is stepping up to the plate and placing parameters on the NoFo Music Festival.

Thank you. Applause goes out to the Town Board and police department for listening to the residents’ concerns and taking appropriate action. It isn’t about the music, it’s about the location and the limited infrastructure of the hamlet of Cutchogue to handle the crowds pursued by the promoters.

In the spirit of good sportsmanship and working together, now please share the advanced ticket sales to date. I am a proponent of open communication. No need to hide.

Best wishes for a wonderful festival and a happy community.

MaryAnn Fleischman



Keep music indoors

Recent concerns over amplified music point out the increasing need for a noise ordinance, which would allow business owners to provide customers with such music.

To be successful, it would seem that the ordinance should require that amplified music be contained in a building where patrons can enjoy it, musicians can practice their art and neighbors are not bothered by music they choose not to hear. That is how the situation is handled throughout Long Island and elsewhere.

I urge the town to adopt a noise ordinance that embraces the needs and wishes of all, by requiring business owners to invest in structures that keep the music contained.

If revenues are as they are reported to be, proprietors who are serious about contributing to the economy of the North Fork and investing in its future should not have a problem complying and the town will gain on all sides.

Jackie McKee



Alternate universe

In Town Hall on Wednesday night, I found myself in an alternate universe.

After several hours of discussion of paths through phragmites and of proposed additions and retaining walls, the Town Trustees, at about 9 p.m., arrived at what was arguably the most important issue of the evening, involving the future of the entire community of Orient. That’s the Suffolk County Water Authority’s application for the pipeline to Brown’s Hills, which the SCWA’s chairman of the board had previously declared a dead project.

At that point the demeanor of the Trustees and their attorney Lori Hulse changed dramatically. No longer listening patiently to presentations from the floor, they challenged the speakers and told them to hurry up and shorten their comments. When attorney Chris Murray, representing several Orient residents, cited Town Code, he was told by Hulse “not to be so rigid, it is not so black and white”.

When I attempted to address the SCWA application, I was told by Chairman Doherty that the issues I was raising were not in their remit, although I was referring specifically to the documents in that application, which she didn’t seem to have read. We would not have been heard at all if John Bredemeyer, the newest trustee, had not asked to hear us.

The only speaker they treated with consideration was Tim Hopkins, the SCWA attorney, who blithely stated that they would begin digging the pipeline after Labor Day. He later made the statement that if the Trustees approve the permit, they will take that as a show of community support for the project. Do the Trustees represent the community? Apparently not.

Unfortunately, this experience repeated those I had endured so often in attempting to deal with the issue of the Cross Sound Ferry. I appeared before a town panel working in the interest of an outside agency and against the interests of the people who pay them. The Trustees have reserved their decision until August 4 and the decision should be announced publicly. They still have a chance to get it right and to listen to and reflect the interests of the people they are supposed to be working for and of their own supervisor and Town Board.

Freddie Wachsberger



View from a distance

Maybe it can be explained by my observing the Orient water pipeline battle from a distance, but I am at a total loss to understand the peculiar behavior of the Southold Trustees on this issue. Usually the trustees have to choose between two or more sides to a dispute, having to make tough political choices that are seldom easy. Not so with the Orient pipeline.

There is articulate, widespread and fervent opposition to the Suffolk County Water Authority’s proposal to run a water line across the causeway to Brown’s Hills to serve a small fraction of the Orient population. Few, if any, proponents have stepped forward. A survey of Brown’s Hills’ residents produced a strong majority in opposition.

The required survey of all Orient residents has not been done. Moreover, the process for the required wetlands permit is not being followed by the SCWA. To top it off, the chairman of the SWCA has been quoted as saying, “…it makes absolutely no sense for the town and the water authority to continue to fight over this.”

If this isn’t a no-brainer for the Trustees, what could be? But that’s not how the Trustees behaved at the July 21 public meeting. As related by a number of participants, the Trustees treated Orient residents with brusque rudeness, told them to cut off their remarks, belittled their attorney, while giving full and sympathetic consideration to the attorney representing the SWCA.

What in heaven’s name is going on? Have the Trustees collectively lost their capacity to represent the people who elected them? Are there other unstated factors that are determining this bizarre conduct?

Lest your readers wonder why someone from Knoxville, TN is sounding off on this issue, I should note that the Stewart family has been in Orient every year since 1938 (before most of the Trustees were born) and owns property and pays taxes on a home on Navy Street in Orient.

My advice to the Trustees is simple: take advantage of this no-brainer of a decision and tell the SWCA to take their expansion strategy to a community that both wants and needs it.

John Stewart



Our greatest blessing

Music is indeed a blessing, as Gregg Schweitzer said in his recent letter (July 22). But the greatest blessing that the North Fork is endowed with is its traditional farms.

A couple of letters in the July 22 issue had disparaging comments about farm-related activities, including picking blueberries at Wickham’s Fruit Farm. All I can do is marvel at the incredible fruit orchards and fields of vegetables that the Wickham family and other farmers have tended for generations, bequeathing a priceless heritage to the North Fork.

These operations are the inspiration for my own agricultural pursuits on land that has probably been farmed one way or the other since the 19th century.

All I can say is God bless the farmers as they feed the world and make it possible for us to live in a society where other activities, such as music and art, can flourish.

Harry Katz



The facts are lacking

John Kramer says he is “weary” of letters praising Tim Bishop. Well, I’m weary of letters criticizing Bishop, Obama and other Democrats on the basis of inaccurate statements by the letter writers.

For example, Kramer wonders if “anyone asked the reason [Bishop] isn’t going to be using the health care system he so caringly forced upon taxpayers.” But the Affordable Health Care Act which Bishop voted for provides that, when the insurance exchanges required by the act are created, members of Congress will get their insurance through those very exchanges.

Kramer’s question is of the “have you stopped beating your wife?” variety. It assumes something which is untrue and uses it to insult the person questioned.

Stanley Brown



Farmland as flyways

Regarding helicopter noise, for as long as I can remember, the Town of Southold has talked about preserving the Oregon Road farm corridor. Now it seems that the farm corridor has become the East Hampton helicopter runway corridor.

How can so few annoy so many? It is becoming quite easy to not trust either political party.

Tom Maguire



Apology required

Times sure have changed, and local towns need to update their laws based on the growth seen in the last 40 years.

As a summer resident here for that same time period, I find the statements made by Ms. Phillips and others in a recent Village Board meeting false, insensitive and discriminatory.

Sts. Anargyroi, Taxiarhis and Gerasimos Greek Orthodox Church hosts its food festival each year on the grounds of the church. This is a fundraiser as well as a community culture event. Ms. Phillips stated it was “three days of loud music” when in fact, it was only held for two days, Saturday and Sunday.

In addition, it was said that vendors were blocking pedestrians on the edge of the sidewalk. There was only one vendor on the grass in front of the church who was not even near the pedestrian sidewalk.

The issue of an assembly permit is the real issue. These comments made to a community of Greek descendants who have helped build this local economy for more than 40 years deserves an apology.

Anne Pourakis Alexandrou



Reckless congressman

Enough is enough. I’ve just about had it with the ringing endorsements of our left-leaning liberal Democrat congressman, Tim Bishop, which I now find peppered on this page weekly. My favorite however, was last week’s endorsement which labeled the Conservative Republican candidates (which, by the way, are in the middle of a heated three-way primary which is why the roadside signs are appearing at this early stage in the game) as not able to represent CD-1 (the First Congressional District) simply because they may not have resided here as long as Bishop. So, let’s set the record straight.

Claiming that Bishop cares about Long Island and CD-1 is just about as hilarious as claiming that the liberal controlled New York State Legislature knows how to balance a checkbook. Congressman Bishop voted for a $1 trillion spending bill, nicknamed a “stimulus,” which he failed to read. Then, as if that were not enough money spent, about a month later he voted for an $800 billion liberal wish list, called an “omnibus” bill. But the congressman felt that that still was not enough government rammed down the throats of the citizenry of this great nation. He then voted for yet another bill that he did not read, an overreaching Healthcare Bill, which we are currently learning is going to cost billions (yes, with a B) more than the original CBO estimates.

But no, that still was not enough reckless behavior by the congressman; he felt the need to throw CD-1 under the bus yet again, by signing onto Henry Waxman’s “cap and tax” bill, which would undoubtedly cripple our beloved North Fork farms and vineyards to the point of near bankruptcy, a concept that this Congress should know all too well.

So, if CD-1 has the same genetic makeup as San Francisco, then I would wholeheartedly agree that yes, he has done a stellar job of representing Long Island. But, if the electorate of CD-1 envisions themselves as something other than a rubber stamp for the Obama, Pelosi and Reid agenda, then the congressman has been nothing more than a dismal failure. This year the Republicans have a couple of excellent conservative candidates, with some real world experience, like actually working in the private sector in order to meet a payroll. Please familiarize yourself with their platforms and vote wisely.

Brian Mills



Time to move ahead

There are those among us who believe that the First Amendment (freedom of speech) belongs only to them.

In recent months I have seen the political far right, carrying their yellow, coiled rattlesnake flags, engaged in shouting down candidates they don’t agree with and attempting to physically intimidate their supporters. This past weekend I and 19 other Organizing for America (OFA) volunteers spent the weekend at GreenFest in Mattituck registering voters and providing applications for absentee ballots.

OFA is a Democratic grass-roots organization that supports President Obama, but this past weekend we did not advocate for any candidate or issue. Our purpose was solely to register voters or provide absentee ballot requests.

On the second day of the fair, a woman stopped me and asked if we were registering Republicans. I, of course, told her we register all voters of any party or no party. In fact, as it turned out, 28 percent of the people we registered were either Republicans or Independents.

Because our purpose at GreenFest was non-political, we hoped to avoid the usual wrath from the right. But here’s what occurred:

Our booth was identified with a 7 x 15 banner that read “Voter Registration” plus a round, red white and blue OFA logo at either end. Overnight, under the cloak of darkness, someone must have concluded that we had no right to register voters and tore down the “Voter Registration” banner.

What makes these people so angry at us that they turn themselves into vandals doing violence against the First Amendment and our property? Is this defending America?

Did Democrats alone cause the deficit or cause the economic meltdown? Did the policies of the Bush administration, tax cuts for the rich, the Iraq war and deregulation of industry including Wall Street, have nothing to do with our problems? Who in the Republican party will disown this outrageous behavior and stop pandering to those who engage in it?

There have always been loonies among us, but I believe they take their permission to act out this way more routinely because they watch too much Fox TV and, more importantly, candidates who want their votes remain quiet or actually woo them.

Isn’t it obvious? We’re not going to find solutions to our problems by going backward to Republican or Democratic policies that caused our problems. The politics or policies of nostalgia won’t work.

Hey, GreenFest was great. Otherwise, we had a good time.

Mort Cogen



Just as big an issue

I have been on my soapbox for years now about the exploding deer population on the North Fork and the dangers of them darting in front of cars, as was recently witnessed by the premature death of a passenger in a car whose driver swerved to avoid one.

It became even more real to me when at noon on Thanksgiving Day, in broad daylight, one whizzed in front of me without warning, thankfully causing damage only to my vehicle and not to me.

Now I am singing yet a different tune in relation to the deer. For years we have all heard of the dangers of Lyme disease, but there is an epidemic of babesiosis exploding here that no one is paying attention to. All of my reading about this blood parasite, which that causes an illness in the malaria family, states that it is most often deadly unless caught immediately. One of the early onset symptoms is spiking, recurring fever. (Pay attention.)

I had never heard of this illness till a friend encountered it. Then I heard of at least a dozen local people who have been diagnosed with it. Two are dead and most spent time in the ICU for days. If you look online they say it is rampant on the East End of Long Island.

Having said this, I read this week that the federal government is going to euthanize 100,000-plus geese because they “might” cause a plane crash. But here we have a deadly disease that we know is caused by deer and most likely the overpopulation thereof.

Can’t someone at least open a hunting season or devise a plan to sterilize them?

Carol Gillooly

Ms. Gillooly writes the Oysterponds column for The Suffolk Times



Hidden agenda?

I read with dismay your story “Is Block Island-Greenport service in jeopardy?” on the legality regarding the new excursions offered by the Peconic Star Express.

I recently had the privilege of being aboard for the boat’s maiden voyage to Block Island while on vacation at the end of June. Having vacationed on the North Fork every summer since 1974, I felt like I had pretty much seen and done it all in the area. I’d always been curious about Block Island, but the trip just seemed like too big a hassle until I came across the new service out of Greenport offered by the Peconic Star Express.

I came away very impressed with both the spotless boat and the courteous crew, particularly Capt. Spitzenberg. We had a blast over on Block Island, even taking a taxi tour of the whole island. As we were coming back, I thought to myself, “What a great service for both Greenport and Block Island!”

After reading your article, the only thing I can conclude is that there must be hidden agendas involved of which I am unaware. Why else would anyone object to an asset that obviously benefits both communities?

Mark Bast



Bad at the beaches

Last week’s editorial cited the litter around the Village of Greenport but made no mention of the disgusting litter at some of the local beaches. Disrespect beyond belief.

I feel like the Indian with the tear running down his cheek who was featured in the SSRq70s TV ads for that era’s being green.

Joann Tamin



Approve the pipeline

As a year-round resident of the Main Road in Orient since 1968, I believe that a water main would be a good thing.

In fact, it would be about the only beneficial project that has come down the road as long as I have lived here. The true support for these projects comes from the people who sign up when they see the project under way. Until the hole is being dug, all the talk and posturing is meaningless.

I encourage the Trustees to approve the SCWA application to allow for placing a public water main from East Marion to Orient. “Orient” should be defined as wherever there are people who need a reliable supply of clean water. Anyone who chooses not to take part is free to decline.

Unfortunately, previous public hearings on this subject were followed by private meetings of a select group with a politician or two. After the private meetings, broad statements were made to the press about the demise of the project. I was never assured that both sides were equally represented at the private meetings.

I encourage the Trustees to consider the welfare of the people who may want/need public water. Those opposed to it have made their ideas very clear to all.

David Moore



The BP blame game

It’s unfortunate that we seem to find it necessary to play the blame game for every mishap, regardless of the circumstances.

BP screwed up, big time. However, instead of denying responsibility – it could have forced claimants to litigate whether or not it was negligent, which we still don’t know – it bellied up to the bar and took responsibility. BP ponied up $20 billion and gave control to how it’s distributed to the U.S. government. It didn’t duck, like some other companies.

A wise man I once worked for told me that if you’re not making any mistakes, you’re not doing anything worthwhile. That the world will judge you on how you dealt with your mistakes, not whether you made any.

I applaud BP’s efforts to clean up its mess and will go out of my way to patronize its products.

Kenneth Stein



Disgusting to see

On Aug. 19, 2008, a terrible fire occurred at the north end of 2nd Street in Greenport, leaving five families homeless. Thankfully, no one was injured.

Over the next year most of the residents relocated and one of the two buildings was demolished. But the other house remains, ramshackle, boarded up, partly tarped and still reeking of fire on damp days.

It’s disgusting to see and to smell in this humid summer two years after the frightening fire.

It is long past time to demolish this hulk. We taxpaying neighbors feel that if the property was owned by anyone other than the North Fork Housing Alliance it would have been demolished and the bill sent to the property owner.

Isn’t it time to put the taxpayers who still live in the neighborhood ahead of the NFHA, which can apparently afford to keep buying property but fails to maintain what it already owns? Are we to believe there has been no insurance settlement in two years?

For one of the stranger sights in these parts, stop by our block on a Monday morning to watch a hired landscaper clip and prune the yard around this ugly, burned-out building.

Who’s paying for that? Why you are, if you’re a taxpayer.

Steve and Claudia Helinski, Theresa and Ronnie Pringle, Rafael and Francoise Ferrer and six others.



Salt on a wound

While I respectfully understand your job is to report the news, I do not understand why, in reporting, you found it necessary to pour salt in what is still a very open wound for many in the Greenport community.

The recent dirt bike accident was a tragic turn of events in which a beloved Greenport resident was taken before his time and another was terribly injured. Their family and friends are forced to live through this tragedy and do what they can to stay strong. While I expected to open Thursday’s paper and see an article about the accident, I did not expect, nor was I ready, to be taken back to the tragic accident of five months ago when the community was faced with the loss of Corey Freeman, another great man taken from us before his time.

In a headline it states, “Survivor in second fatal accident in 5 months” and then goes on to say, “The fatal accident was the second Mr. Lawrence has been involved in within the past five months. In both cases, the deceased was a 23-year-old man.” Mr. Lawrence did not choose for the past events to happen and unfortunately he will every day have to face himself and the families and friends of those lost.

In a time when a community is crying and aching over the loss of yet another in five months’ time, you could have filled your article with information on Terry Lawrence’s condition or that Jefferson Treadwell was a loving father, not the events of the past or similarities between two tragedies.

Jeannie Jimenez



No permanent berth

The only real clear point in all the regulations pertaining to the Greenport railroad dock is that no vessel is to lay over more then three weeks.

I would suggest that the village attorney address what to any laymen seems a flagrant violation of the village code.

William Swiskey



Not the problem

If Ms. Kerr-Carrington’s letter last week (“Poor choice of words”) wasn’t so unbelievable it would actually be quite comical.

While the Merriam-Webster dictionary lists 11 meanings for the word “fairest,” its origin coming from the word for “beautiful,” she assumed that you were referring to the ninth meaning down the list and were unaware of its “potential to offend.”

Definitions such as “pleasing to the eye”, “clean”, “pure”, and, ironically, “free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism” were ignored. Perhaps as she mentions you were referring to “children’s tales of yesteryear”. Perhaps they are “outdated” because in her opinion, little girls no longer want to be princesses. (Maybe it’s the arranged marriages, the male-dominated hierarchal system, the presence of an unfair feudal system or the lack of governmental programs.)

As the terms “Little” and “Miss” can be offensive to small people and the unwed, maybe they should change the name of the pageant from “Little Miss Mattituck” to “Female Child In Mattituck.” This will also keep there from being any named winners, thus protecting the psyches of the other contestants.

The newspaper’s “lack of awareness” is not the problem here.

Kim McDonald



Grateful to the FD

The Southold Fire Department recently responded to our call and averted potential disaster.

A frayed wire behind our furnace wall switch set off a smoke alarm. The firefighters arrived minutes after we called and assessed and addressed the situation quickly. Had the wall ignited, an electrical fire would have damaged our home and, potentially, our lives.

We are deeply grateful to our volunteer fire department. And we remind everyone to please have working smoke detectors and support your local volunteer fire department.

Joan and Russell Mann



In memoriam

Southold lost a true North Forker recently. Any one who knew Spencer Petty knows that.

Spencer, you’ll be missed.

Tim Wacker



A great evening

Through the pouring rain last Wednesday, a friend and I had the great pleasure of spending the evening at our Southold High School auditorium, a first for me.

The Arts in Southold Town sponsored The Perlman Music Program, consisting of a group of virtuoso musicians ranging in age from 12 to 18. The evening began with students and staff singing in the chorus, conducted by Patrick Romano. The string orchestra followed, conducted by Itzhak Perlman himself. Both conductors immediately put the performers and audience at ease with their professionalism and wonderful sense of humor.

We were thrilled to be sitting in this beautiful local theater listening to the classics, all the while feeling as though we could have been in Lincoln Center. One difference was the cost of each ticket, only $20, and the arts group donated all the proceeds back to the Perlman program. There was a delightful question and answer period following the performance, conducted by the program’s founder, Toby Perlman, who also has a fabulous sense of humor. The 36 students are from the U.S. and seven other countries and spend the summers on Shelter Island studying music and performing in numerous recitals and concerts.

See their website, perlmanmusicprogram.org, for more information on how you, too, can attend a concert of excellence. Despite the weather, everyone seemed to have a very enjoyable evening.

Thanks to The Arts in Southold Town for its generosity and for making the evening accessible to so many of us here on the North Fork, and bravo to all those involved with the program.

Maureen Cacioppo



Festival thanks

The Vail-Leavitt Music Hall board and I would like to thank those who supported us during last weekend’s 12th annual Riverhead Blues and Music Festival. In a year which brought unexpected threats and setbacks to many of us, we are grateful to those who make a positive impact in our community.

Over 5,000 fans and listeners enjoyed great music, food and atmosphere, helping to keep it as one of Riverhead’s most unique events. Although the festival fell short of its financial goal, it was more importantly maintained for the benefit of our charitable local historic nonprofit theater.

To achieve our new fundraising goals, the Vail-Leavitt will be presenting a series of special benefit performances along with other new programs beginning this fall. Meanwhile, “Original Voices at the Vail” enters its third year