Letters to the Editor: Oct. 28

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10/28/2010 5:35 PM |


Your vote counts

It’s been said who you vote for this year determines who you elect for the next 10 years.
Is anyone willing to go back to conditions as they were two years ago? That seems to be where we will be heading if the progress of the last 20 months comes to a grinding halt.
Let’s stop running scared and commit ourselves to moving forward, not back.

Betty Langhorne


‘The best we’ve got’

I think it was Churchill who said, “democracy is a very bad form of government, but it’s the best we’ve got.”
To make it worse, we need only allow those terrible twins, anger and fear, and their parent ignorance to govern our behavior.
George Kreiling


Time to be heard

There is a crucial election coming up for this country in November.
Are we as a freedom-loving people ready to bring about real change in government to protect our freedom and to preserve our basic God-given natural rights?
America, I sure hope so.
The time is now to stand up and be counted. The growth and power of government and the unrelenting assaults on our liberties must be stopped. If not now, when? Will it be too late when you do decide?
Where do “We the people” draw the moral line? Our founding fathers declared our country’s independence from tyranny and formed a new nation, under God, with a government “…of the people, by the people and for the people”. Is it too late? Is it lost?
As Thomas Jefferson said: “Liberty shall not yield!” So, freedom then, freedom now, and freedom always. Let freedom ring!
So America, let’s vote our moral conscience and take back our country.

Jack McGreevy


Tax Peter, pay Paul

A letter last week by Mort Cogen caught my eye.
He rightly pointed out the fiscal incompetence of the Bush administration. In ending, he cautioned that if elected, the Republicans would surely cut Social Security and Medicare “because that’s the only place the cuts can come from.” Right again.
Looking at the 2008 federal budget (it doesn’t have all the economic stimulus in it, thus serving as a better baseline) if you take out Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and interest on the national debt, you have 36 percent of the budget left to cut. Take out defense (admittedly difficult to cut when we’re cleaning up the mess of two wars) and you have 14 percent of the budget left to cut.
Social Security was created in 1934. In that year, life expectancy was 60 years. Now it’s 78. Over that period, Congress has consistently added to the program without taking anything away. The math is pretty simple here. If we want a government that does anything other than tax Peter to pay Paul, something has to change.
Take a look at Europe. Germany just voted to raise their retirement age from 65 to 67, while Greece allows their citizens to retire on the dole at between 58 and 60. Guess what? Greece is currently asking the Germans for a bailout.
I’m sure some of you recipients out there are adamant that you want every dime coming to you. You needn’t fear. Current retirees will probably be grandfathered. Your children’s generation will most likely take the hit on this. I’d just like to spare your grandchildren.

Tom Wacker


Why all the bile?

I belatedly managed to come across Barbara McAdam’s “Gutless Bishop” letter in the Oct. 14 issue and am gobsmacked at the amount of bile the mild-mannered and productive Congressman Bishop has managed to provoke.
Much complaining about his “terrible” record, but precious few details about just what is so terrible about it. Could it be his support of veterans? Or his assistance in the Mattituck Inlet dredging and the Greenport sewer improvements?
Maybe it was his efforts to mitigate the helicopter noise, or his intervention in the Browns Hills imbroglio? Or bringing in all that school money, helping to keep local property taxes in check?
For whatever it is worth, as the health care votes approached it was almost impossible to reach anyone in Washington. No matter what the staff size, phones were tied up constantly, fax machines were running out of paper and staffs were working serious overtime hours.
That some people couldn’t get through to Bishop’s office for a few days is unfortunate, but try at a less volatile time and find that his staff is friendly, efficient and effective. Might even get to talk to Tim himself.
Tim Bishop has not been running scared for months, but has made many public appearances and has been accessible. After one meeting was hijacked by a large and loud group last year, changes in scheduling were made to avoid that happening again.
Tim has deep roots in the East End and has been serving all of us for years. That other guy running just moved here and has nothing to talk about but platitudes about low taxes and his making a fortune, first on Wall Street and then by outsourcing American jobs.

William Funke



If the people who stole all of the Tim Bishop signs on the North Fork put the same effort into their campaigning, maybe they would be elected instead of being branded pathetic cowards for life.

Ellen and Steve Berger


Keep Bishop

I’m saddened not only by the mean-spiritedness and negativity of the “Dump Bishop” road signs, but also because Tim Bishop has been such an excellent representative for the 1st Congressional District for the past eight years.
I first met Mr. Bishop before he ran for office. In 2001, as Provost of Southampton College, he gave the farewell speech to my daughter’s graduating class. As they moved into the workforce, he urged them to use ethical behavior and cooperation to move forward and to use their talents and education for the benefit of others. Outsourcing would be foreign to Mr. Bishop’s character. Southampton College was thriving then under his leadership, and was still thriving when he was elected to Congress.
Two years ago, a friend mentioned he had never been awarded the medals due him after World War II. When my husband called Mr. Bishop’s office to see if they could help, he told the staffer who answered that our veteran friend was a Republican who probably never voted for Mr. Bishop, if that made a difference. The staffer asked “Does this man live in the 1st Congressional District?” and when told yes, he said “Then we’re here to help him.” That staffer reflected Mr. Bishop’s views on how to serve others.
I think of the rains that flooded Horton Avenue this past spring. Mr. Bishop would not let the people who had been flooded out of their homes stand alone. He backed them, helped them navigate their way through various appeals, and eventually helped win a victory for them with the federal government. Isn’t this what we seek in our elected officials?
Anyone who is on Mr. Bishop’s e-mail list, as I have been for years, will tell you that he never “sides” with anyone. Every decision he makes is thought over from every angle, he requests the opinions of all his constituents through e-mail, letters, phone calls or personal visitsrobocallo to his office. He holds town hall meetings so people can interact with him and others from the district, and does a robocall to alert all who live in the area that such a meeting is being held. He wants our opinions and questions and he answers them, quickly.
Mr. Bishop is an incumbent who stands for and behind the people of the district. On Nov. 2nd, vote to “Keep Bishop!”

Linda Bartunek


Shameful campaigns

For the past six years Tim Bishop and his staff have been unresponsive to my letters and phone calls on many issues, whereas other elected officials responded and addressed my concerns in a positive, proactive way.
After six years, Mr. Bishop finally responded and introduced legislation to have the Riverhead’s Post Office named after Garfield Langhorn, a local hero who gave his life to save others. (Thanks, Mr. Bishop. Better late then never.)
The Republican congressional candidate, Randy Altschuler, was directly involved and made millions in outsourcing American jobs to Asia. He only recently moved here and  never voted regularly until he was 30.
Mr. Altschuler sent me a letter this past June asking me to volunteer in his campaign. His address was a post office box and a phone number for a campaign office.
Both candidates’ past history and actions do not inspire me to vote for them. Their illogical, mud-slinging campaigns alienate and depress me and others. I will vote for one of you and not stay home. But your campaigns invoke apathy and account for lower turnouts each year.
I think your campaigns are shameful.

Warren McKnight


Voodoo economics

George W. Bush came into office with a budget surplus. The economic discussion back then was whether it was advisable to pay off the deficit.  Can you imagine that?  
The supply-siders held sway and we got the Bush tax cuts with the provision they would expire in ten years, unless extended by Congress. It was to be the grand experiment the supply-siders always dreamed of. Cutting taxes would usher in prosperity for all. The rich would be unfettered by paying taxes and they would invest us all into a better life.  George W’s father, George H., described this thinking as “voodoo economics,” but no matter. The result was that Southold’s middle class got poorer during the Bush years and the rich got richer – a lot richer.
Most of the Bush tax cuts went to the richest, so for many of us this was no surprise. In eight years we went from prosperity to near collapse, from surplus to huge deficits and from financial stability to near world financial ruin. The Republican experiment was a failure.
Now we’re told that we can’t afford Social Security and Medicare. We’re again told we should extend the Bush tax cuts to the richest, but there is no money for these programs. We’re again told the rich will invest us all into prosperity and the only security that many of our seniors have is expendable to pursue this madness again.
We’re told to continue this failed policy and that the only problem was that we did not drink enough of the supply-side Kool-Aid.
The truth is, the richest need to pay their fair share and a small number of them tell us this themselves. Social Security and Medicare need to be defended so this one island of security and peace of mind is maintained for our seniors.  
We should take Mr. Altschuler at his word when he says he wants to privatize Social Security and replace Medicare with vouchers.

Morton Cogen


We the people

In this season of expressing one’s view in a palpable way, it is important to reflect on the intent of the Founders and the environment in which our government was conceived. Let us reflect on the most recent heroes that found us moved to explore the very nature of the foundation of Democracy, the Chilean miners.
There in the darkness, facing the blackest of ends, 33 souls formed a more perfect union. Great visions were invested in this union of a most disparate group. There were leaders and followers; there were the holy and unholy, and all joined together in a struggle for survival. There a pact was made to equalize their experience and the proceeds, should they survive. That lasted until the light of day had shone upon them, not unlike this election season.
The pacts of fiscal spending and the expansion of government into every crevice of our daily lives has slithered into dark repositories until Election Day has passed only to emerge once our vote has been cast. This practice of hiding from the electorate, the costs of their choices, has drifted from the federal to the state, county and ultimately to the town level.
Although the lowest increase in three years, the Southold Town 1.84 percent tax increase for 2011 is unacceptable. It sounds like such a meager rise, but in this economy, at this juncture, zero is the only acceptable figure and a reduction would be overwhelmingly lauded. Believe it or not, there are places in this country where this suggestion is wholeheartedly endorsed and placed in black ink before the voting public; and why not?
If the library can place its budgeted increased before the voters, why should the other entities that demand our hard-earned cash not have to follow suit. The school requests our permission to enact its budget. The fire department also is forced to go before the public when contemplating enormous projects. Why not face the music and let the homeowners decide whether an 11 percent increase, such as was proposed by Cutchogue’s fire district, will float. Perhaps it is because the expenditure for docks and boats might not be the way the voting public would prefer to see their cash dispersed.
We, the residents of this idyllic town, have the intelligence and fortitude to take hold of our fate and project our desires upon our government. If this government wishes to continue, it needs to take heed and perk their ears; put their nose to the grindstone and sharpen their pencils, remembering that we the people placed it in their hands.

Carla Rosen


A video on voting

What a great service to the voting public.
Your online video explaining how to vote with new equipment is explicit. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to turn the ballot over to vote on other items.
Thanks for removing the mystery from this latest public improvement.

Sylvia Pafenyk


Proud history

New York’s 1st Congressional District has a proud history dating back to 1789, when it elected William Lloyd, signer of our Declaration of Independence. Since 2003 we have been represented by Tim Bishop, whose family has lived on the East End for 12 generations. Voters in the towns and villages of eastern Long Island know Congressman Bishop as someone who lived and worked among us for decades before his election to Congress, and his deep knowledge of local issues is widely acknowledged.
He has always taken a long-term view toward supporting the health and well-being of his district: he brought funding to improve local infrastructure, fought to keep industrial contaminants out of the Sound, and is a consistent champion of our irreplaceable environmental health. Equally engaged in national issues, Congressman Bishop supported the landmark health care reform bill and deserves both our respect and our admiration for standing up for it.
This election presents a clear choice to voters in a district where trust counts for a lot; Tim Bishop’s opponent has a history in investment banking and job outsourcing that speaks for itself. We have an effective and hardworking representative — let’s keep it that way.

Rob Garber


Anger & ignorance

An opinion is not a truth.
Carl Paladino’s bigotry and short, nasty temper are the only things “true” about him. He doesn’t understand – or cannot accept – the truth that homosexuality is an innate, not a chosen, gender identity.
Anger, ignorance and intolerance are not effective government policies, nor are they traits of courageous leaders.

Teresa Taylor


Concerned with these governor hopefuls

Carl Paladino must be off his boccie ball. Every time he makes a statement, about a day later he retracts it. He wants to be governor? We have enough problems already in this state. Governor Paterson plans to fire 2,000 state workers in December. Where will these people get jobs?
The GOP’s Mr. Paladino and Democratic nominee Andrew Cuomo both say they want to cut taxes, cut spending, etc., all affecting the middle class. These two millionaire lawyers know little about the poor and middle class of our state.
I am concerned about Mr. Cuomo, in that he wants to call a constitutional convention and one of the items on his secret agenda is to control the state teachers pension fund, which is separate from regular pension fund. His father, Mario, tried to do the same but was stopped by then-Comptroller Carl McCall. Former Governor George Papaki tried to raid the teachers pension fund but backed off. Good luck, New York State.

Robert Svoboda


Where the blame lies

One of your letter writers says that the large rise in his health care premiums is an “unintended consequence” of the new health care law.
But premiums have been rising, often by large amounts, for years (actually, decades) and most of the provisions of the new law haven’t yet taken effect.
Something that has been going on for years can’t be a consequence of a law that was passed this year and mostly hasn’t gone into effect. The blame for the large increase rests with the system as it existed before the passage of the law.

Stanley Brown


Too big a budget

After attending the recent Cutchogue Fire District budget meeting, it appears the process of spending taxpayer money without fiscal restraint has spread to the Cutchogue F.D. from both the federal and state governments.
The proposed 9.7 percent tax rate increase is unconscionable in the present fiscal meltdown. We cannot continually be asked to pay for items which are not approached in a responsible manner.
The commissioners exhibited a sense that they presented a reasonable budget even though it was almost 10 times the rate increases of other districts in the town and in the top 10 percent of highest rates of Long Island’s 119 fire districts.
All of the non-F.D. citizens who spoke disagreed with the massive proposed increase. An alternate budget that would reduce the tax increase was presented by one of the speakers.
There were specific items in the budget which were questioned. Why was it necessary to budget $60,000 for a new fire chief’s car? The answer was they always bought a new chief’s car every two years. Why not every three or four years, considering the present fiscal times?
Senior citizens are on fixed budgets, families are having difficulty making ends meet and some are losing their homes. The district has money in a fund for equipment so why not buy the car from that fund?
The issue of needing to buy new turnout gear to replace old and defective gear was discussed. The commissioners seemed to be trying to avoid the purchase. The safety of the fireman who makes an unselfish contribution to the community should be the top priority.
If the district hadn’t secretly bought the land for a new firehouse on Cox Lane and paid to draw up the plans for a new firehouse for a total of $1.5 million only to have the project voted down by a 10 to 1 majority, they would have had enough money to buy 1,500 sets of turnout gear.
It does not appear the commissioners want to practice fiscal restraint. Maybe it is time for the Town of Southold to address the issue of consolidating all of the fire districts in the town by utilizing the capability they have been given by state statutes.
The town should enable a group of citizens to undertake a study to determine if such a consolidation is feasible and what potential cost savings are possible.
Also, since approximately 85 percent of all fire department calls are medical in nature and not all districts have the same levels of expertise, it would make sense to form a townwide ambulance district to provide equal levels of trained personnel and save costs.

Jerry Schultheis


Get the money back

As explained at a special meeting of the Greenport Village Board, it was urgent and essential to approve a $41,000 change order for extra rebar at the sewer plant upgrade.
The way it looks here one of two things has happened. The  people’s money was paid for the contractors convenience and should be clawed back. Or there was faulty design on the part of the design engineers and they should be held accountable and made to pay.
This item was rushed through with some trustees complaining about lack of information and the public denied foiled information under the guise that these were contract negotiations. The board members should take swift action to get the people’s money back or those officials responsible should pay it back themselves.
It just seems to me that this administration is turning any capital project it touches into a mess.

William Swiskey
former village trustee


Save it by Dec. 1

New Suffolk really did “clear a hurdle” in its effort to secure the old North Fork Shipyard as the headline in your Oct. 21 article suggested.
However, it was not the last one. The $200,000 you cited is the amount still to be raised by Dec. 1, in addition to the loan from the Conservation Fund.
We are about to initiate a “close the gap and close the deal” fundraising campaign to raise this amount. Our growing list of donors, over 500 individuals and businesses from North Fork communities, will be asked to help us do this. We are confident that we can meet our goal since the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund board is coming up with a challenge pledge to lead our donors to the Dec. 1 “finish line.”
Your article closed referring to an earlier story about the county’s interest in purchasing the southern part of the property for community open space. For the record, at this point we are in conversations with several potential partners whose presence on the property would be consistent with our mission statement, the county being only one of them.
We are dedicated to securing the New Suffolk waterfront by Dec. 1 and to planning beyond that for appropriate management and development of the site. The Conservation Fund loan and the generosity of our donors over the next few weeks will assure our success meeting the first goal, acquisition, in a process that began three years ago.

Barbara Schnitzler
chair, New Suffolk Waterfront Fund


Fiscally irresponsible

You had to love the irony in the paper two weeks ago.
A full page notice from the town on one side, telling us of another reduction in town services due to the terrible economy. And on the flip side a letter rightfully expressing “outrage” that Town Supervisor Russell has proposed a raise for himself, the entire Board, and the towns employees.
Surely, as a career politician Mr. Russell knows what’s going on in the lives of his constituents. That’s record unemployment, unprecedented stagnant wages for private sector workers, two years with no social security increases, declines in home values and devastated retirement portfolios. Yet under this backdrop he tells taxpayers that his current $100,000+ compensation package is not fair enough. Really?
Maybe Mr. Russell thought a raise was OK given that town employees were promised one too. Oh yeah, it was Mr. Russell who made that promise. What a coincidence.
I don’t blame town employees for asking for raises. Who doesn’t want a raise? But our supervisor is supposed to be looking out for all of our interests and understand that now is not the time to increase the burden on private sector workers and retirees.
Even without raises, town employees will receive an extra $900,000 “bonus” contribution to their retirement plan to offset the devastating results of the stock markets. No such help will be coming to those of us in the private sector.
And how about another coincidence? At the same time he wants to get himself a raise, the supervisor decides to take $2.1 million out of Southold’s emergency reserves, giving him a one time offset to what otherwise would have been a much larger tax increase. The key words being “one time.” Next year we see the true impact of his decisions.
Remember, his last two tax increases averaged about 10 percent over the rate of inflation.
Private sector workers and retirees can no longer afford this N.Y.-styled governance. If we don’t stand up to these types of political self-indulgence, how seriously can we expect other elected officials at the schools, libraries and fire departments to take us? And if we are not fiscally responsible in our own backyard, what can we expect out of Albany or Washington, regardless of the out come of one election.
I hope the paper will report on the Nov. 4 public hearing and help hold each member of the Town Board publicly accountable for a straight forward answer on where they stand.

Vincent LaRocca


No raise for highway superintendent
I hope that you or the public can advise me as to how to get an elected official to return calls or written requests.
Our superintendent of highways, Pete Harris, who currently makes $95,857 a year with a proposed increase of $3,834, apparently has a reputation for not responding, and yet the public voted him back in. Our neighborhood is in desperate need of road drainage, as a large amount of road runoff currently drains into Mattituck Inlet. We also are in need of tree trimming. Many branches are hitting the roofs of all the taller vehicles. Dead limbs are hanging off many trees.
I have been waiting for nine years for all these concerns to be completely addressed. So what does it take for our elected official to respond to the taxpayers’ needs?
Oh yes, let’s not forget how the highway superintendent is saving us taxpayers money by offering limited fall cleanup again.
A pay increase of  $3,834 is out of the question as far as I am concerned. Can you hear me now? I encourage each taxpayer to pick up the phone, contact the Town Board and say no to a pay increase.

Teresa McCaskie


Give the code teeth

In the standards section of the proposed town noise ordinance a clause refers to where the measurement will be taken to determine if the airborne or amplified sound is in excess of 65 dBA from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The place of measurement must be a straightforward procedure in every instance.
It must be measured at the lot line of the property closest to the source of airborne or amplified sound. The wording referring to taking measurements “or beyond any lot line of the offending property” must be deleted.
If the offending property is eight acres, taking a reading from the lot line furthest away from the source is of no use. If the sound measurement is above 65 dBA at the lot line closest to the airborne or amplified sound, the offender must be fined.
This brings me to penalties for offenses. As proposed, the punishable fine/s are ridiculously low and arbitrary at not to exceed $500.
Low penalties will just become part of the operating business expenses. Fines must be set in advance with offenders paying at least $1,000 for the first offense, $2,000 for a second offense and $3,000 for a third offense. For any additional offenses within 18 months the fine needs to be $10,000.
Unless this new law has teeth and substance, it is worthless, useless and a waste of time for enforcement by the Southold Police Department and town code enforcement personnel.

Carole Mavity


A special man gone

Sometime in life I am sure most of us have been in the situation when you are walking down the street and you see someone on the opposite side and you put your head down for whatever reason, rushing or distracted, so you wouldn’t have to engage him or her.
This was not the case with John Bendick of Cutchogue. When I saw him in a distance, I always went out of my way to make sure I said hi. He had a noisy diesel truck and you always knew when he was around and that was good. John always greeted you like you were important and most likely to him you were, since all people were important to John. The North Fork and Long Island suffered a great loss last Wednesday when John left us suddenly.
If John had a dollar he shared 75 cents of it with anyone who had a need. Four days before his death, John and his bride Jackie were honored for their tireless devotion to Mercy Haven, an organization that advocates for LI’s most fragile residents. He was also very involved in the N.F. Community Outreach and the homeless shelter at St. Agnes and so many more things that no one knew about, that surfaced at his funeral.  
John was modest about his generosity. As Jackie said at his wake, the autopsy said he died from an enlarged heart and that it took medical science to confirm what everyone knew all along. John indeed had a big heart.
I saw a sign recently that read “no one gossips about another’s good traits.” That was not true for John. There was many a time that I heard with hushed tones some wonderful deed that John pulled off, followed by “but don’t tell”.
The first vision that popped into my mind moments after I heard of John’s passing was him being greeted at the Pearly Gates with Matthew’s words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant, the kingdom of heaven is yours”. I guess I wasn’t alone in that thought since that passage reverberated from many for the next four days.
At his funeral mass, Father Tom said don’t pray for John, we know where he is. Pray for our loss of such a special man. So true.
God speed, John. You will be sorely missed.

Carol Gillooly


Chamber says thanks

On behalf of the Mattituck Chamber of Commerce, we would like to extend our thanks to all the candidates for taking the time to attend our meet-the-candidates night last Monday evening.
I would like to point out that while Randy Altschuler did not make the meeting, his campaign manager, Chris Maloney, called several times while en route. After I told him we had closed the meeting, I got a call from Randy apologizing for being so late.
He asked that if any members had any questions, he would be happy to answer them personally and left me his mobile number to pass along.
I would like to thank Donielle Cardinale for her help as co-moderator for the evening, Love Lane Kitchen for catering, Jason’s Vineyard for hosting and our members for attending.

Terry McShane

president, Mattituck Chamber of Commerce


All for the animals

I just want to say a great big thank you to everyone who supported the Barktober Fest Open House at the Country Pet Boutique during the weekend of Oct. 23 and 24, as we highlighted locally the national adopt-a-shelter-dog-month program.
We were pleased to welcome the North Fork Animal Welfare League, Kent Animal Shelter, Mureille’s Place and MCM Rottweiler Rescue, who brought their dogs to visit with us on Love Lane for the afternoon, hopefully providing exposure to new potential adopters.
Although no one found a new home during our event, we were pleased to note some serious interest from visitors.
I also would like to express my appreciation to the pet services providers who gave up their time on a busy weekend to present their expertise to our customers. We had great fun meeting everyone and we hope to hold another event to encourage pet adoption through our local shelters and rescue groups.
In the meantime, I ask those of you planning to bring a new pet into your family to consider adoption first. You may be quite surprised to learn that “rescued” may become your favorite breed.

Judy Klipp
owner, The Country Pet Boutique