Letters to the Editor

09/23/2010 12:00 AM |


Simplistic and spiteful

After reading the latest rantings of the North Fork’s self-appointed left- and right-wing cheerleaders in last week’s edition I must ask this:

Does either of you have any positive, practical suggestions as to how we can dig ourselves out of the current mess we’re in? Or are we to believe everything will be solved by condemning and belittling those who are audacious enough to disagree with you?

What both of you proclaim is so unbelievably simplistic, spiteful and condescending the end result can be blown out of your noses. As an “aged hippie” I don’t need a “sprinkling of fairy dust” to know when I’m reading claptrap.

Patrick Lohn



‘Phony hypocrites’

In a reasonable attempt to show restraint, I’ll try to refrain from the incendiary rhetoric of letter-writer John Copertino.

So if all Democrats are now labeled Communists, I’ll jump ahead to the assertion that he is either an independent or Republican or Tea Partier. One of those labels seems fair in such a divided climate.

My parents were lifelong, active Republicans and I grew up with that paradigm. Believe me, Mr. Copertino is not representative of my parents’ Republican Party, or any other label he wishes to pervert.

He seems to threaten anyone who doesn’t fall for his hate speech and tone, so bring it on. Is he some extremist Imam or Mullah trying to silence anyone who takes issue with his particular beliefs?

My parents were not mean-spirited, they were fair-minded. They were not greedy. They generously gave of their time and resources to the needy and less fortunate. They were vehemently anti-communist, yet never viscerally attacked anyone who had different social agendas. They kept peace in a family of union activists without being angry or slanderous.

They were appalled at the tactics used by a well-known Republican Nassau judge, my first landlord as a new bride, who demanded that my husband and I change our voter registration to Republican from Democratic (I was 21) or else we’d be tossed out of our abode. That sounds pretty un-American to me. Of course, we moved.

My mother loved Ronald Reagan and had his inaugural invitation proudly framed on her wall. But she understood that my ’60s semi-radical, partially formed progressive spirit was a sign of independent thinking. College made me do it.

Mr. Copertino’s letter is a prime example of what is wrong in the discourse today. Blame Obama for the Bush/Cheney debt for two wars, the greed of Wall Street and years of neglect for the regulations needed for civil and safe environment. This bitter tea would not be embraced by my Irish parents because they would not be low-information sputterers of Palin’s cliches or religious fundamental viciousness. They read and stayed informed and listened.

These phony hypocrites proclaim the high ground when they lack substantive ideas, deny the truth, lie about taxes and are hell-bent on improving their own finances, without regard for the 98 percent of the rest of us.

He and his ilk will bring us all down with their selfishness, lack of compassion and sheer hatred. That’s horrifying for my grandchildren and children.

To use his own type of plain old nastiness, I believe he is a pathetic excuse for a human being.

How do you like it, Mr. Copertino?

Elizabeth Comerford Weiss



Give baymen kudos

Good for Nathan Andruski and his fellow baymen for seeding the baby clams in Hallocks Bay.

His efforts, spirit and determination deserve applause, as well as funding.

Looking forward to attending the baymen’s association’s fundraiser on Oct. 16 and enjoying the harvest in 2013.

Donna Campbell



SCWA’s ‘funny math’

The Suffolk County Water Authority is about to play one of its “funny math” games. This time the target is the residents of Browns Hills.

They plan to raise our water rate from $495 per year to $1,500. Could this be for speaking out against the tactics they used in trying to get into Orient?

The authority claims its customer base in subsidizing the Browns Hills system and that this is an extreme burden on them. It is true that SCWA spends more on Browns Hills than they get back. It’s a tiny, antiquated system that no one would want to invest in, except as part of a bigger scheme.

However, SCWA has had the contractual right to raise our rate since 2007. If they were really concerned about these costs or their customer base, why have they not done so before?

And just how big a burden is this on other customers? SCWA has given us the figures. We’ve done the math. It’s 16 cents per year, less than 0.12 percent of their annual operating expenses.

The bigger truth is the SCWA made a business decision to acquire the Browns Hills system for $1 back in 1996 with full knowledge of what they were acquiring. Their intent was to use Browns Hills as a loophole to Orient, without asking all the people if and how they want public water.

This is what happens when an organization thinks it can trample its way over the rights and wishes of the people. SCWA was founded in the days of Robert Moses, with unlimited rights and virtually no oversight. It would never be allowed today.

Some business decisions pay out, some don’t. That’s business.

The water authority needs to remember its mission to provide clean, safe water at the lowest possible cost, in an atmosphere of excellent customer service.

We invite you to join us at SCWA’s unmarked facility at 700 Boisseau Ave., Southold, at 6 p.m. this Friday, Sept. 24.

Venetia Hands



Don’t fence me out

Gosh, I’m as dumb as a post and thicker than two planks. I’m astounded, agape and aghast — but not speechless.

When I first turned up Elijah’s Lane in Mattituck north of Route 48, I thought that this was one of the prettiest country lanes on the North Fork. I have always been overwhelmed by the sense of peace, security and contentment my home gives me every day, all year long. I am blessed to be surrounded by open land and farms. Or was.

What I thought was a farm of vines has become a tasting room with vines. On two sides it is now enclosed by, in my humble opinion, the biggest, ugliest fence New York State grant money can buy.

But am I dumb? Did you know it’s OK to run a tasting room on preserved land and pay taxes as agricultural land? Or that if your cash crop is over the line onto town property, you can just put a fence even farther onto town property?

Did you know that clearcutting trees up to and over your property line, including some of your neighbor’s trees, is called conservation? Or that closing off an access road to adjoining properties that has been actively used for generations is called preservation?

No one denies that the deer problem in our area is real. To erect fences that block the visual access to our green vistas is not conservation. It is privatizing what has been paid for in the name of preservation.

Southold Town was once a land of beauty. It is becoming a bunch of fenced-in places for tourists to see from the inside and the residents to see from the outside. Instead of solving the deer problem for the entire community, the town, in allowing this shortsighted solution, has “protected” a select few. When they go to Florida or France for the winter, I, the lowly full-year resident, can watch the deer come into my yard and look at the sunset through the fence.

Highway Superintendent Pete Harris did say that if there were enough of an outcry, he would revisit this fence placement after harvest season. So if you have any thoughts about land preservation, donation of town property, road safety or good taste (ouch), please drop Mr. Harris a line or a copy of this letter. Or give him a call and tell him what you think.

Mary Anne Coe



Angry taxpayers

Over the last few years the average homeowner taxpayer has been getting angry. They have watched their elected officials totally ignore their concerns.

They have watched the politicians that they elected to represent them refuse to answer questions at Town Hall meetings. The media ridiculed these angry taxpayers and called them Astroturf and radicals on a temporary mission.

I wonder if those incumbents who ignored the angry taxpayers are sweating now. They should be.

Jon Ferris



No new taxes

The Southold Free Library wants to spend over $7 million to build an over-the-top library complex.

If, during this present recession, your income is too low and/or your property taxes are too high, be sure to go to the Southold library on Saturday, Oct. 16 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and vote.

No unnecessary spending. No new taxes.

Warren Knudsen



It’s much needed

Moving to New Suffolk three years ago, after living in Southold for over thirty years, has been a fun change leaving me with very few regrets.

But I do have one and that is that I will not be able to vote for the Southold Free Library bond issue in October. The Southold library is a gem, a very special resource for the community and one that is much appreciated. In fact, it is so successful and popular that it has outgrown the “new” addition that I eagerly helped raise funds for in 1991.

What is now proposed will be a wonderful benefit to the community with more space for books, staff, young adults (who are active patrons even now) and best of all, a large community gathering space that can be used for many events during or outside of the library’s regular operating hours. Southold has long needed a place dedicated to its public offerings such as lectures, plays, musical productions, debates, recitals, even magic shows. In the “olden days” there was Belmont Hall, now long gone.

The community space we added to the library back in 1991 was too small before the paint was dry. So now you, residents of the Southold library district, have another opportunity to enhance your library and bring a much-needed community space to Southold.

I dearly hope you will vote yes for the library on Oct. 16.

Margaret Brown



Widen the focus

After attending the Sept. 20 forum on the “future of Oysterponds School” I could come away with only one observation.

Under the guise of a slick presentation that discounted the more logical but emotional options of combining or reducing the current school operation, much of the time was spent trying to explain the rationale of keeping Oysterponds students two more years and providing a junior high school education.

Where is the logic here? A junior high school of maybe 25-30 students, with part-time teachers, couldn’t even begin to offer the educational and extracurricular experience our maturing students require. And while the idea of establishing a pre-K is a worthy suggestion that should be explored, would we want three- and four-year-olds in the same small building with maturing preteens? It seems an option like this should be researched by an outside consultant, not in the home community where emotions and self-benefits could cloud the discussion.

The suggestion of combining kindergarten, first and second grades to make room for the junior high students was intriguing also. If this is such a good idea, why isn’t it being done now? Isn’t what is best for the students the driving force behind our educational system?

Why not try to establish a true regional middle school of grades six, seven and eight with some of the other schools on the North Fork? Then we can offer a full educational and extracurricular experience. Keeping our children in a controlled micro-environment will only hamper their development later. It is better to allow them to experience life while still young enough to be influenced by their parents, not when entering high school.

Let’s face it, today consolidation is the trend. We all comment on how small Greenport is and how many classes and activities can’t be offered. So this discussion of grades seven and eight is misguided and should be scrapped immediately.

While the BOE should be commended for looking forward, they should widen their focus. Otherwise we are just perpetuating what inhibits our kids now.

Walter Gaipa

Mr. Gaipa is a former member of the Oysterponds school board.



The real story

Regarding Dick Leslie’s letter last week, several issues come to mind.

First, the Oysterponds School does not have a new school board. The quorum from 2009-10 is still there. There are three new members but they are not a majority. Indeed, the Board of Education could do business without the new members, but the reverse is not true.

Secondly, the contract with Greenport this year was about $150,000 less than the 2008-09 contract.

Third, I am still on the BOE, having taken a hiatus for two years and being elected again in May 2009. It is year 21 and counting, and being back after a break enables me to have the energy of a neophyte.

Fourth, this week’s forum, as it was called (actually a forum is defined as “a public meeting place for open discussion,” but that format was not followed), at the school tried to show that Oysterponds is not a viable school in its present form. And yet this year’s tax rate is at the 2007 level.

Ms. Dumont, the present BOE president, is also on a charter school board in New York. After the forum and after reading her papers extolling the wonders of charter schools, and having seen the passage of a motion to accept neighboring district’s children last month, one has to wonder if the future of Oysterponds School is in jeopardy.

Or is Ms. Dumont’s aim her very own charter school on Route 25 in Orient?

Linda Goldsmith

Ms. Goldsmith is a former president and vice president of the Oysterponds school board.



No 9/11 coverage

Is it me or did I miss the published article(s) about the anniversary of 9/11?

I find it hard to believe that a premier paper such as The Suffolk Times would neglect the battle cry of “Remember 9/11.” We remember for many significant reasons.

One of which is no more important than to respect and honor the victims and their families. A published article is just a small part of that remembrance.

I would like to hear a story one day that a young kid asked his parents about 9/11 because he read it in the paper.

Remembering is timeless.

Michael Smith

Mr. Smith is a retired New York City fireman who survived the World Trade Center collapse.



Train wreck coming

When will Greenport trustees get their heads out of the sand?

The electric bid package that was due out in January is coming out in September. But wait a minute, when I ask to see it, well, it’s not really ready. But it will be posted when it is ready. By law there had better be hard copies available in village.

And oh, by the way, the village’s website still doesn’t work.

All this is silly. The real issue here is that besides Trustee Kempner, not one other elected official has taken notice that there are serious issues here and no one is held accountable. Someone is delusional here and the train wreck will be spectacular. It’s sad that our money is paying for the ticket. It’s the reason that tea is becoming popular.

Do your homework, public officials. Please.

William Swiskey

Mr. Swiskey is a former village trustee who also served as utilities department director.



Money is no object

I sit on the Town of Southold renewable and alternative energy committee, and I operate an electrical efficiency business headquartered in Southold. In the last couple of months, I have experienced just how disinterested folks in Southold are regarding energy conservation and subsequently saving money.

In these tough economic times I expect to see more financial prudence townwide, but I don’t. After reading about the 29 layoffs scheduled for the Capital One office in Mattituck (Suffolk Times June 24, 2010), I resumed my efforts of over a year to convince decision makers at Capital One that the facility in Mattituck is an energy hog with a simple solution, which would return enough savings to avoid some of the layoffs.

I wrote to Ellen Weber, SVP and Darrell Dragon, VP about taking a closer look at my electrical efficiency program so precious jobs on the North Fork can be saved. Neither replied to my appeal.

The energy committee hosted an informative meeting by LIPA at Town Hall on Aug. 11. The meeting addressed LIPA’s programs available to residents for the purpose of home energy audits and measures that can be taken to make one’s home more efficient, saving considerable money. These programs are free to qualified customers.

Three people showed up.

Over a year ago I approached the Southold Free Library with an efficiency program that would have saved the library a good amount of money, but I was told that they were not interested because they had plans for an expansion. The three-story glass atrium proposed in the expansion plan (which doubles the size of the current, under-used library) is hardly energy efficient. Heating and cooling the space will be expensive.

At a community meeting held in the library, where only two other community members showed up, I asked if there is a Plan B, should the community vote against the grand scheme envisioned by the library staff. I was told that there is no alternative. With so many seniors on fixed incomes, so many businesses closing, and so few jobs in the Town of Southold, I want to see more of an effort to control costs by taking advantage of programs designed to help with operating costs and environmental pollutants. I have been disappointed in my expectations to date.

Apparently, in Southold, money is no object.

Peter Meeker



Where’s the outrage?

The minister of a tiny church proposes to burn a Koran on 9/11. This very unnewsworthy idea, whose wisdom I do not see, instantly becomes a cause celebre when Hillary Clinton, President Obama and CIA Chief Brennan put aside all the myriad concerns of governing a very troubled nation and focus with laser-like intensity on the misguided musings of one man.

Clinton, Obama and Brennan tell the nation that they are compelled to condemn the burning of the Koran because it will inflame the Muslim world, endanger American citizens and military and serve as a recruiting tool for al-Qaida. Besides, we are told, it is wrong to offend a billion Muslims because of a few crackpots from al-Qaida and its affiliates engage in criminal violence.

My question is, why didn’t the leaders of the Muslim world condemn al-Qaida when it killed 3,000 people on 9/11? I also wonder why more Americans, in and out of government, couldn’t generate an amount of outrage equal to that of, let’s say, the imam who wants to build a mosque over 3,000 mostly American bodies.

I also wonder why far too many Americans agonized over what America had done to provoke the Muslim world (not, curiously enough, al-Qaida) to commit an act of such extreme violence. Why did so many so-called American intellectuals nod their heads in solemn agreement when Reverend Wright said, “America’s chickens have come home to roost”?

Why wasn’t the Muslim world concerned that American passions would be inflamed when al-Qaida beheaded Nick Berg and Daniel Pearl, videotaped the beheadings and broadcast them worldwide? Why didn’t the imams condemn the murder, mutilation, burning and hanging of the bodies of American contractors as an incendiary act which would prove to be a recruiting tool for America?

I have yet to hear a single Muslim leader or cleric wholeheartedly and unconditionally condemn al-Qaida, et al, or apologize for their actions and ask that they not be judged on the basis of the actions of al-Qaida and other Muslim terrorist groups. Why is that?

Whatever the reason, this lack of condemnation cannot help but convince Muslim terrorists that their cause is just. I’m sure they also find American self-loathing absolutely delightful.

Richard Morabito



Take your signs

As soon as the lovely roadside daffodils faded they were replaced by Chris Cox political billboards sprouting everywhere on our gorgeous North Fork landscape. I accept this as part of the election process but the primaries are over. Mr. Cox lost. How long must we see his ads on our beautiful back roads and even on the LIE overpass? Shame on him! I often wonder if a deposit (similar to a soda can) would solve this problem. Let the politician pay $5 per sign to a cleanup fund. After the election their supporters, or anyone else, could collect the signs and redeem them for a refund of the deposit.

Thom D’Angelo



Thanks again to you

Once again, your generous coverage and support of the North Fork Foodie Tour led to a very well-attended and successful event for the North Fork growers and merchants on the tour as well as the North Fork Reform Synagogue, its sponsor.

Kudos as well to Ellen Zimmerman and Kay Freeman, those human dynamos, along with their committee, whose energy and unstinting time and organizational skills were crucial.

How nice to embrace Peconic Land Trust and the slow food movement into this effort to keep the North Fork a greener, healthier, more prosperous area for all of us to enjoy.

While at my post at Croteaux Vineyard I asked all our visitors how they learned about this 4th Foodie Tour. So often the response was your publication group. You do a great job connecting us with the local world around us.

Thanks again to you and the generous community whose sponsorship we received.

Sylvia Pafenyk



Above and beyond

Our family recently experienced the loss of my Mom, my children’s grandmother and my grandchildren’s great grandmother. We put our hearts in the hands of Horton-Mathie Funeral Home in Greenport.

I am truly grateful to Doug, Barbara and Michael for all the loving touches and thoughtfulness experienced by our family. They truly go above and beyond in their caring for a family in their time of sorrow.

I thank them and consider them an extended family.

Lois Manfredi, Edward Wagner and Virginia Wagner