Letters to the Editor: Oct. 14

by |
10/14/2010 5:38 PM |

Outrageous pay raise
The budget may carry a tiny tax hike but to include a 4 percent pay raise for Southold Town government employees is outrageous. Mr. Russell stands to increase his part-time yearly salary to $90,472, and the part-time board members to $31,270. On top of this, they receive the best medical, prescription drugs, eyeglass, and dental coverage.
Mr. Russell cites promises made last year for driving the spending increase. Only now does a politician’s promise mean something. What the article doesn’t tell you is that the town library may raise taxes $115 per year and school taxes may rise 7 percent, the historical average. This tiny tax hike will mean an 11 percent tax increase for every home in Southold.
Social Security didn’t go up for our senior citizens last year and it won’t go up this year. Our fighting men and women, dying on foreign soil, didn’t get a pay raise last year and won’t be seeing one this year. In Southold, we measure success by paying $339 per night for a deluxe hotel room while we drive out our elderly due to increased taxes and our youth because of no jobs and affordable housing.
We’re all facing a dire economy, a 9.6 percent unemployment rate, the Bush tax cuts not being extended, increases in health care premiums, and over 200 homes in Southold Town are facing foreclosure. Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) has TV commercials stating she’s bucking her own party to not allow Congress a pay raise. But our town government thinks it’s a terrific time.
Did you lose your job this year or last year or know of someone who did? Are you underemployed? Do you work two jobs to make ends meet? Are you financing your college-graduated children? Are you going to bed stressed out about making payroll? Having nightmares about having to lay off your employees? Mr. Russell took this into consideration and has concluded a tax increase could be borne by all Southold homeowners.
Our town government will spend $38.5 million this year. Let’s see what we get for it: A very young and arrogant police force with old vehicles, a motorcycle only used at parades and one dog, a volunteer fire department, private garbage collection, mediocre education in crumbling schools, a too-many-times-painted-over roadway, no trash receptacles at public beaches, no brush pickup (promised for fall), and a budget surplus of $4.3 million. Yup, a surplus.
I’ll finalize with a quote from Mr. Russell: ” … revenues from all sources remain at historically low levels …” Are you living these words?
Vin Ricciardi
Deer fence future
Southold Town.
One thousand homes each encircled by an eight foot fence.
Keeps the deer out of the yard.
Keeps the people inside the fence.
Like in the zoo.
Between all the eight foot tall fences are narrow spaces for roads.
Between all the eight foot tall fences are all the herds of deer.
Each night the cars in the deer-filled roads hit deer.
Eventually no more deer.
No more cars.
No more people.
Just eight foot tall fences surrounding each house.
Like in the zoo.
Ellen Wexler
Gilford, N.H.
Land for hunting
I have been reading regular letters to the editor and articles regarding the deer problem in Suffolk County and Southold Town. This problem was mushrooming when I moved to New Hampshire three years ago. Our tax money was being used to purchase green space at the county and local level and immediately it was off-limits to hunting. At the same time, the numbers of hunters were declining due to poor access. It is only recently I saw the town has opened some of these lands to limited access bow hunting.
What about access to Suffolk County parkland and green space that tax money is used to purchase? These safe havens for deer need to be opened up as well, and will spread out the hunting pressure more evenly.
Here in N.H. it is a legal statute that any lands purchased as green space, park or conservation lands with public funding are open to hunting. Local statutes may negate the type of hunting, but in general access in even more populated towns and cities is assured by this process.
It is time that the sportsmen and -women in Suffolk County guarantee the future of their sport by guaranteeing access in such a manner.
Richard Cappello
Humane culling
Based on the successful efforts of SAVES neutering cats, I’m asking the Town Board to provide a van with appropriate medical equipment to target, sedate and neuter deer on the spot. I appeal to all local veterinarians and marksmen to volunteer their expertise and time to a cause that concerns us all.
It could be done in a weekend campaign or more before mating season, as an annual event. Every buck administered to will make a difference in humanely culling the herd and reducing the birth rate significantly over time. The bow-and-arrow method is cruel, causing suffering and trauma to injured animals, escaping through the brush with arrows stuck in their bodies.
Whoever suggested that in the Sept. 28 meeting certainly can’t count on my vote in November!
Charlotte Droeger
Eliminate ambiguity
I would like to respond to some of the issues raised regarding possible revisions for the proposed noise ordinance.
It was reported in the Oct. 7 issue of The Suffolk Times (“Many sound off on noise”) that Police Chief Cochran expressed concern that if the person filing the noise complaint did not live on the border of the suspected noise offender’s property, the police would have trouble gaining access to the offender’s property line to take the decibel reading.
As I see it, if the noise is coming from a private house, the police would just have to drive down the street the house is on. If it’s coming from a commercial business, the police would just drive down the driveway leading to the establishment.
As a matter of fact, I think we do the police a favor by eliminating the ambiguity in the ordinance. It’s important that the ordinance state that the reading be taken from the point on the property line that is as close as the police can possibly get to the source of the noise. This eliminates potential arguments about where the meter reading is taken and will clearly ensure that the decibel level leaving the property is no higher than allowed by the law.
In response to those who want to expand the hours that allow higher decibel levels, I ask them to imagine how they would feel if they were forced to listen for 12 to 15 hours to something that offended them, in their own homes and gardens.
In an ideal world, we would be able to work out our differences, but as you can see from the diverse and heated sentiments expressed at the noise ordinance meeting, it is sometimes necessary to have laws that can help level the playing field.
Lori Hollander
Paid to preserve
I want to make it clear that the Pine Barrens Society does not oppose construction of permanent greenhouses on farms nor do we discourage productive agriculture. What most folks object to however, is permitting farmers to develop land they were paid not to develop. It follows that you wouldn’t want to buy development rights to land that had already been developed.
When government uses public funds, approved by referendums, to prevent the removal of soil or the construction of permanent structures on a farm, the landowner may not have his cake and eat it, too. He may construct whatever town zoning permits on land to which he holds the development rights, but once the public has paid him not to develop his property, he may not do so. He surrenders his right to develop when he cashes the government’s check.
If, as Southold Councilman Ruland says, industrial development is the wave of the future, then we mustn’t keep paying people not to develop their land if they mean to develop it anyway.
Richard Amper
executive director
Long Island Pine Barrens Society
A ‘rare opportunity’
The time to vote is upon us. My wish was to begin a discussion about the Southold Free Library’s planned expansion and wake the sleeping giant. Indeed, my goal has come to pass, whatever the consequence. Our involvement in the process is so seldom requested and this is one of those rare times when the taxpaying public has an opportunity to voice their opinion. Vote on Oct. 16 at the library and make a difference.
Carla Rosen
Check the facts
Strong institutions are what make our community a great place to live. We have a strong school, an outstanding volunteer fire department, many vibrant houses of worship, many thriving civic organizations, and a strong and vital library.
The Southold Free Library is your library. As trustees of your library, we are 12 community volunteers living within the hamlets of Southold and Peconic. We are committed to responding to the needs of our patrons, our staff, and the community as a whole.
We have done our due diligence with years of analysis and research (by conducting multiple surveys with hundreds of responses, holding focus group meetings, and meeting with numerous community groups) to create a plan to do what is best for this beloved institution. We have done our best to present this plan to the public, through presentations held at the library, as well as presentations made to local civic, recreational and business groups, through our newsletter, website and local newspaper.
Yet with all the facts available, some incorrect information persists. Information is available at the library, on our website, southoldlibrary.org, or by calling Library Director Caroline MacArthur at 765-2077.
We ask you to vote on Saturday, Oct. 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the library.
Southold Free Library
Board of Trustees
Library unknowns
Although it has not been widely publicized, a very important vote affecting us all will take place at Southold Free Library on Saturday, Oct. 16, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. You are urged to study the proposal carefully before casting your vote. And ask yourself one important question: whether at this time and for the majority of Southold residents the proposed construction is a true necessity or not.
We all deeply appreciate and acknowledge Southold Free Library’s great educational and cultural value to our community. It is a fine library in its present state and fulfills all our needs. If passed, the proposal directs the Town of Southold to spend $7.25 million for the construction and enlargement of Southold Free Library, including a $6 million loan from either a governmental agency such as the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York or from a lending institution like a bank. And also to collect sufficient taxes to repay principal plus interest on the loan, any existing expenditures to date, as well as any subsequent additional costs, such as cost overruns.
As citizens, we must answer these questions: 1) Is the project worth the cost, with a real possibility that it could exceed the estimate? 2) In a recession, would a downscaled plan make more sense? Do any alternative solutions exist? For example, reconfiguring the present layout to obtain the desired office space? Or by sharing, redistributing or consolidating collections, staff or services between Greenport, Cutchogue, and Mattituck libraries in order to eliminate duplication or reduce expenses? 3) Given the present uncertain economic climate, is it wise to proceed with such a project and the unpredictable future cost? 4) In the present uncertain economic climate, how wise is it to increase our already high tax burden?
Remember that this proposal authorizes a debt up to $7.25 million to be recovered through additional taxes. It has been estimated that this amount will roughly double our current library tax going forward to pay back the principal and interest (presently unknown) of the loan plus any future unexpected expenses related to the project.
Cost overruns are not unusual for a project of this scope and magnitude. The final interest rate to be paid has not yet been determined. Is this project really necessary? Please be sure to exercise your right and duty to vote on this important matter.
Charles Stringfellow
Consider the facts
Over the past few weeks, Peter Meeker, an “energy consultant,” submitted letters to the editor criticizing our board as “irresponsible.” Mr. Meeker presented a verbal business proposal to our library director that alleged to save your library money. The board of trustees could offer no opinion because Mr. Meeker could not present, in writing, how much his plan would cost and/or how much it would save you, the taxpayers. Is that “irresponsible?” Please consider all the facts before you vote. Southold/Peconic taxpayers have, by far, the lowest library tax with no debt on the North Fork because the library trustees have always been very responsible with your money.
In my opinion, a healthy way to keep taxes down is to help revitalize the hamlet, not by growing the revenue of Amazon and Apple.
David Fujita
board president, Southold Free Library
Gutless Bishop
“Debate: a formal contest of skill in reasoned argument.” As The Suffolk Times so aptly reported, what recently transpired between the incumbent Bishop and challenger Randy Altschuler did not fit this criteria.
Mr. Bishop’s definition of “debate” proves why he should be thrown out of office. His hubris and cowardice were certainly on display. He had neither the decency, guts, nor sense of responsibility to his constituents to honestly and openly discuss, in true back-and-forth fashion, his record as congressman for the 1st District. He owes Mr. Altschuler and all voters an apology for this hijacking of the election process.
This is not the first time Mr. Bishop has shown a disconnect with the people. For example, if you tried to contact him in the days prior to the critical health care vote, either by phoning his Washington office or by e-mail, you would have found that both inboxes were full and would not accept messages for a callback or e-mail response. He has a huge staff — what directives were given by Mr. Bishop to address our inquiries? Or had he merely decided to back Pelosi and vote yes to Obamacare and the hell with what his constituents were trying to tell him?
Since the spring of ’09 when he refused to have Town Hall meetings, Mr. Bishop has been hiding, running scared for the last 18 months. When voters consider his record, they’ll understand why he needs to go — no debate needed!
Barbara McAdam
Stick to the issues, Mr. Bishop
Usually I let the political arena run its course. In all fairness, I must admit I am a Conservative Republican. But in this case, I feel this fact to be irrelevant.
It seems appalling to me that Congressman Tim Bishop can’t seem to stick to any of the issues. His negative ads against Randy Altschuler are very personal. The issues are taxes and big government coupled with the cutting of vital services. It appears that Congressman Bishop has voted on issues contrary to the majority of his constituents, siding with Nancy Pelosi and other liberals.
Mr. Altschuler seems to possess the talents necessary to turn Washington around. It is my profound hope we can elect public officials who can put a stop to our president’s policies before they sound the death knell for small business and working America. Let’s take back our personal freedom, our dignity and return to a way of life we were once proud of.
Frederick Rodgers
Choral tests
First off, I would like to empathize on how I love to sing, which is, of course, the reason why I united with the Cutchogue East Elementary chorus in fourth grade. I have resided in chorus for literally half my life (seven years) but in all my years of chorus class not once have I imagined written tests and essays.
The Mattituck High School music department introduced something new to the student body taking chorus and band this year. We are now required to take written tests every quarter in addition to our individual quarterly singing and sight-reading grades. Besides the new program rules, we also are required to take eight lessons per quarter instead of six.
I understand the reasoning for more lessons because the chorus director, Mr. Jacob Fowle, would like more serious, dedicated students in chorus who realize this is not just an “easy A” class. However, most students have trouble taking lessons because of teachers, especially the math department teachers, although students always have another chance for a makeup or to sing with another class.
Mr. Fowle has dreams of bringing the Mattituck High School chorus to a higher stance in the singing world and, for the Mattituck High School chorus to reach the big goal, Mr. Fowle needs more determined, dedicated, hardworking students with the same dream. However, lessons do affect your grade and if you cannot make lessons your grade goes down, and if no one wants to have a bad grade and dedicate themselves to getting it back up again, then they drop out. In my opinion, I think that is why the new program came into play, to separate the serious singers from the “easy A” class takers.
Shannon Sheridan-Chiaro
Warning on wills
Gentle readers, a cautionary warning to anyone in the process of preparing a will or considering estate planning with your spouse. Especially in the case of second marriages, a “New York State Statute, 5-1.1A, Right of Election by Surviving Spouse,” passed in the early 1990s, can dramatically alter the distribution of assets left to beneficiaries in your will. The failure of a hometown lawyer to mention this to a parent, suffering from a fatal disease and trying to get legal affairs in order, has caused untold resentment and heartache in our family.
To leave assets to one’s children/grandchildren from a first marriage, both parties in a second marriage must agree in the form of a notarized post-nuptial agreement, prepared by an independent attorney of one’s choosing. Distribute these notarized agreements to beneficiaries and include a copy with the executor of your will. This is not a public document, and if not produced after death, one’s former spouse can claim one-third of your estate, or $50,000, whichever is larger.
This law supersedes the rights and wishes of an individual … Right of election is an elective choice, but violating the sacredness of marriage and to desecrate one’s faith in another becomes apparent when selfishness and greed changes one’s perspective. Beware!
Stephen O’Connor
Time for a ‘change’
With the election season now in full swing, I thought I’d share a comment I found on the Internet:
“Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed regularly and for the same reason.”
Damn! I wish I’d thought of that!
Patrick Lohn
Vote them all out
The following has been mistakenly attributed to Abraham Lincoln, but no matter who wrote it, you may agree that it makes a lot of sense.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away men’s initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them, what they can do for themselves.
This Democratic presidency and Congress are dedicated to spending our country into bankruptcy.
We must vote all of them out of office.
John Copertino
When will it end?
Attention, food shoppers!
Where can I buy a pound of coffee? I can buy 10.5 to 13 ounces of coffee for the same high price.
Where can I buy a half gallon of ice cream? I can buy 1.5 quarts of ice cream for the same high price.
Where can I buy a half gallon of orange juice? I can buy 59 ounces of orange juice for the same high price.
When will it end? Do manufacturers think we don’t read labels?
Donald Wagner
You are not alone
On Oct. 2 I attended the Sass Foundation’s annual Breast Cancer Awareness Day in Uniondale. This event brought together local experts engaged in the fight against this disease. It’s headed-up by Dr. Frank Arena, an oncologist from Lake Success and an owner of the Jedediah Hawkins property in Jamesport. He is also my oncologist and I feel very fortunate that he is managing my disease with his vast knowledge of the latest treatments available.
I was also pleasantly surprised to see the East End represented at this event by Mattituck gynecologic oncologist Dr. Hannah Ortiz M.D. and the North Fork Breast Health Coalition. Dr. Ortiz shared her insights into the effects of cancer-fighting drugs, like Tamoxifen, on the uterus, as well as the connection between breast and ovarian cancers.
Kudos to the Sass Foundation, a Roslyn based not-for-profit, for sponsoring this informational event, which was free to all attendees.
The overriding message of the day was “you are not alone.” It’s reassuring to know that many of us battling this disease can rely on each other through entities like the North Fork Breast Health Coalition, for support and reassurance. But most importantly we know that this battle will never be over until a cure is found.
Nadine Faber King
Attitude adjustment
On the Fox Business Network show “Money Rocks” on Sept. 16 there was a segment on the need for the U.S. Postal Service. I will not argue the need for or against the Postal Service because I am a postmaster. However, a GOP strategist on the show named Jack Burkman belittled postal workers as “unskilled labor that should be bumped down to cab drivers.” This man’s attitude needs an adjustment.
The U.S. Postal Service is the largest employer of veterans in the country. These same veterans who ran sonar, learned signal intelligence and radar and to fly helicopters and airplanes, became medics, cooks, navigated large ships, and so much more on very little sleep for very little pay deserve better. They allowed men like Jack Burkman the opportunity to better themselves in the private sector.
A man I knew, a veteran of World War II, drove a cab for a while. He did not see it as “unskilled labor” but it did feed his family and gave him dignity.  What Jack Burkman apparently did not learn in “the private sector” or in all his schooling or life experience that all veterans learn is that no matter what job you do in life it has value. No matter how small the job may seem, if someone did not do it bad things could happen.
It’s easier for Mr. Burkman to spin his talking points rather than research facts and present possible solutions. I would suggest that this is a GOP strategist gone wild. His type of rhetoric belongs on a sleazy infomercial, the kind that can only be seen late at night as you flip channels when you can’t sleep.
He is full of himself and probably never changed a diaper in his life. His assertions that tax money is wasted on a postal service are false. That Congress keeps it around so they can name post offices after themselves is just idiotic thinking.
He probably could not run or repair the machinery that moves the mail because he does not possess the skills. He certainly could not motivate the men and women who move the mail with his recently demonstrated “private sector” communication skills. This man owes the employees of the Postal Service and cab drivers an apology, particularly those veteran employees who gave him the opportunity to better himself while they served our country.
I call upon Fox Business Network to do the right thing and denounce his diatribe and in being “fair and balanced” present an opportunity for the other side to be heard.
Bob Bittner
All about worms
They call themselves “The Cork-Screw Gang,” and Iran is worried.
It could have come right out of a Tom Clancy novel, but it’s true and it’s great news. “Gang” members, experts familiar with industrial control systems, have developed a powerful code to target nuclear plants in Iran and apparently they have done so.
The computer worm that Iran is trying to combat could, if unleashed, attack specific designated sites, rendering these “high-value targets” ineffective, if not completely useless.
“Right now,” according to a top U.S. cyber official. ” … we know it’s not doing anything specifically malicious.” Right now?
The question is, does “The Cork-Screw Gang” know? Yes they do, and when and where.
Jack McGreevy