Letters to the Editor

11/10/2010 5:08 AM |

Apology required
This letter is in response to the article in the Nov. 4, Suffolk Times, titled “Student pregnancy sparks debate.”
As parents of Southold and Mattituck school children, taxpayers and mental health professionals we are appalled at this attack on these young girls. In our opinion the article is a direct written assault on young women who are already experiencing great difficulties in their lives.
We feel that your newspaper was irresponsible in publishing an article that directly targets these young women.
Whatever you, or the parents who prompted this articles’ moral beliefs are, there is no excuse to perpetuate the public discrimination of these children.
We hope that a formal apology to these young ladies and their families will be written by your staff.
Janet Jackowski, John Batterman,
Lisa Bunker, Ann Vandenbergh
and six others
Talk with your kids
After reading the article about the pregnant seventh-grader, I was disgusted.
My anger was not directed toward a young child living with heartache, but for a naïve father. He stated, “You are forcing a lot of parents to have a conversation with their children they’re not ready to have.” Guess what? Ready or not, your children need it.
I was outraged over the “outraged mother” (what happened to her name?) saying, “Why was she allowed to go to school in that condition? This is not what we pay our school taxes for.” Yes it is, to support education for all students.
Our children face daily bombardment of sexual material. Our society has become hypocritical in our acknowledgement of sex. Our children are exposed to it from an early age through various media. Pornography doesn’t make someone decide to have sex, but the curiosity of a taboo subject, a lack of information and poor self-esteem does.
I am sure many of us have questions about this child, but let’s not jump to conclusions, making up scenarios how it’ll negatively impact your child. This young girl is still a child in her own right. She needs our support.
In part, Mr. Lynch reported to have said that school officials give the student 24 hours’ notice to tell her parents or the school will intervene. I’m concerned when a school has a broad policy that can jeopardize the trust relationship between students and counselors. Mr. Wormuth, Mattituck’s health educator, said, “What the educators want students to learn is that abstinence is the only sure way to avoid pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted diseases.” I respectfully disagree.
As an educator, I want students to know as much as feasible as they mature. It’s best to make informed decisions. Parents have to find a way to communicate with our children, support open and honest dialog about morality, judgment and be clear and informative about sex. Sex is just one of the areas I want my children to be prepared to make good decisions about, have enough confidence to walk away or take a stand when needed.
Do as the schools do, which is build on knowledge. Students hear a passing mention of contraception, but no specific information is shared about how it works? I urge all parents, even if you are not ready, to have that discussion about sex.
You do not have to tell you child everything, use your judgment. You do need to keep the communication open so when there is a question or an internal debate over choices, you are one they come to.
We have very intelligent children. We need to trust them, arm them with the information they need to grow.
Sharyn Serrano
Duties and rights
How can you believe Supervisor Russell’s 2011 budget cover letter that begins by claiming that our town is run by a nonpartisan board when there are five Republicans and only one Democrat on the Town Board?
The same cover letter also includes the dueling observations that:
“I am pleased to report that the finances of Southold Town are sound and our outlook for the coming year is good. To be sure, revenue from all sources remain at historically low levels and there is no reason to suggest that we should be optimistic in 2011.”
Those two sentences are blatantly contradictory. It is unreasonable to believe that both are true. In fact, revenues continue to fall while expenses continue to rise. Last year the budget negotiations included a proposal for emergency layoffs. The outlook for next year is uncertain.
Why did the Suffolk Times report those contradictory statements without any comment? And why did only three people speak at the public hearings on the budget?
Last week Supervisor Russell wrote in a self-serving letter to the editor, “Lastly, the town’s fiscal health is good because this Town Board scrutinizes every dollar before it gets spent, pursues all available revenue alternatives such as grants and FEMA aid and follows a strict policy of work force reduction through attrition and re-allocations of the workforce.”
Can anybody explain why raised eyebrows were the only reaction when, during the budget hearing, I pointed out that a sincere approach to re-allocations of the workforce should begin with creation of an organizational chart and operating manual for town government?
American citizens have duties as well as rights to participate in our government deliberations. The message both Supervisor Russell and Highway Superintendent Harris have expressed during Town Board meetings is that I should stop sticking my nose in government business or run for office.
To the contrary, the rights of public officials to make decisions are based on their duty to consider the opinions of the citizens they represent. Public officials are public servants, not public bosses.
Supervisor Russell and Superintendent Harris should either start listening to citizens or resign from public office.
Benja Schwartz
We pay taxes, too
The author of “Lacking Empathy” (Nov. 4) sounds bitter. Another armchair response.
Town employees live in this town too. When taxes go up we pay. When layoffs are threatened we pay, whether in give-backs or losing workers. When we pay more and get no raise and taxes go up we get hit three times harder.
When the town changes work schedules limiting our personal lives and second jobs most need to live here, that’s four times harder. Many did and do contribute to the pension plan up to 10 years. We gave back to save jobs. I hope he has given as much to some in need this year.
I didn’t hear him addressing spending proposals nor cuts in service such as the brush cleanup for two years now. Why?
We don’t have it easy. And percent isn’t much. Gee, how much did the cost of living go up past two years?
I’m sure he thought things through without making a blatant complaint from his chair in the cigar room, right?  
Gregg Schweitzer
Stay informed and
show up in 2012
These are some of the accomplishments of the Democratic-controlled, 111th Congress over the last 21 months:
Fair Pay Act for Women; Consumer Protection bill, preventing sudden interest rate hikes on credit cards; Hate Crimes bill, dealing with sexual orientation; health insurance extended to four million uninsured children; College Loan Reform bill, eliminating millions of dollars in wasteful federal subsidies to banks and passing savings on to students; National Service bill, tripling size of Americorp; Cash for Clunkers; bailout of GM and Chrysler, saving American auto industry from bankruptcy; a federal stimulus bill that amounted to the largest tax cut in history; largest government investment in clean energy in history; largest government investment in education in history; health care reform, including narrowing of doughnut hole for seniors, no denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions, no lifetime caps, no denying coverage if you get sick and allowing children to stay insured on parents’ policies until age 26; expanding access to health coverage to 95 percent of Americans and restraining costs that were spiraling out of control under Republican care; Financial Regulatory Reform, curbing Wall Street excesses; Veterans’ Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act; Caregivers and Veterans Health Services Act; largest appropriation for veterans’ services in history, expanding access to all veterans; creation of Consumer Protection Industry, headed by Elizabeth Warren; largest expansion of federal land conservation in history; first shrinking of federal deficit in eight years ($122 billion reduction for fiscal year 2010).
Republicans are now promising to repeal and de-fund much of this legislation, which they had opposed. Since the election on Tuesday they have publicly ensured leaders in the oil and gas and health care industries as well as Wall Street hedge fund managers that regulations would be rolled back. Mitch McConnell has sworn that his “single most important objective” is to ensure that President Obama is a one-term president. It’s important to base our decisions on information that can’t be fit on roadside signs or even in 30-second commercials. Whether you support or angrily oppose this legislation, I urge voters to follow the actions of the next Congress and show up informed at the polls in 2012.
Jerry Silverstein
A psuedo-Beck rant
In John “I Am Angry” Copertino’s latest tirade, he manages to insult quite a wide range of the populace.
In his pseudo-intellectual, pseudo-Beck rant, he claims that he and his silent majority showed their anger at the polls. Apparently this “majority” did so by electing Andrew Cuomo as governor, Robert Duffy as lt. governor and Kristen Gillibrand and Charles Schumer to the Senate.
Mr. C. assumes that those of us who disagree with his verbose inaccuracies are “spoiled hypocrites who have given nothing, but have taken much from this great nation.” Really? Supposedly, many of us are “over the age of 60, college educated, aged hippies.”
And yet when it is assumed that Mr. Copertino is a racist because of his demonstrated hatred for President Obama, he becomes indignant and condemns those assumptions by stating that he “marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and was spat upon.”
Really? In John’s world, many of us are “pompous elitists,” “non-thinkers” and “blind, misguided.” It’s such a shame so many of us are commie pinkos and socialists and Nazis. It must be truly frustrating for John that so many refuse to see the world through his eyes.
The tiny, self-delusional, self-indulgent world Mr. Copertino lives in is of his own making. He uses The Suffolk Times to inflame and insult and promote his self-righteous hatred. Indeed, he has the right to express his ideas, in part, because he lives in this great nation.
But to assume he knows anything about those of us who disagree with him, well, you know what that makes him.
Tom Spackman
Campaign cash a
big waste
Millions of dollars spent on this recent election and our mailboxes flooded with advertisements galore, signs and billboards popping everywhere. If only 2 percent of the millions of dollars spent on the campaigns were set aside, what wonders it could do for those organizations to help those in need. As examples: Maureen’s Haven, Community Action of Southold Town, North Fork Parish Outreach, The Salvation Army, local soup kitchens, Catholic Charities, etc.
It is a crying shame in this economy with the amount of foreclosures, families that cannot keep their homes, unemployment skyrocketing and millions of dollars spent on paper trash advertisements. Let the politicians get a real grip on life. When all is said and done will they make a difference?
Kathy Berezny
Column shows lack of understanding
Editor and columnist Michael White’s statement that “the American media is dominated by liberals — big-time” reveals that he would be surprised to learn that four corporations own the news networks he watches on television and much of what passes for news reporting on radio. He and the misinformed public should also know that PBS, which we watch on Channels 13 and 21, is also corporately owned. Does Mr. White seriously think these corporations are more concerned with the public interest rather than their financial interests?
He has a lot of homework to do. Journalists used to be concerned with how politicians of whatever party exercised power, and not only concerned with what those politicians were saying. In other words, “Who benefits from the exercise of power?” This job is done by a select group called investigative reporters; the rest babble endlessly about what politicians say. As the wise understood years ago, a person’s best method of concealment was in speech.
Mr. White is also too occupied with polite curse words such as liberal, conservative, leftist or rightist, without informing us of what we’re supposed to understand by these words, when in reality most people can’t be described on all subjects of public interest with just one of these words; they only describe fanatics. He doesn’t seem to understand this and that’s why he justifies what he hears on Fox channels as a response to the “leftist” control of the media.
Sidney Waxler
Michael White’s column last week (“Wrong time for hyper-partisan Media,” Nov. 4) was well thought-out and timely. I enjoyed his intelligent insight and well-balanced presentation regarding today’s media. A free media, well balanced and unafraid, is what we the people of this great country of ours want and rightfully deserve. It is the people’s watchdog. Keep up the good and thoughtful writing.
Jack McGreevy
Don’t go backwards
Park district commissioners Nick Deegan, Doris McGreevy and Peter Zaloom have done so much in the last few years.
The groin on the beach on Peconic Bay Boulevard has needed repair for decades; it’s now fixed. The tennis court on Bay Avenue languished unusable for many years and has been resurfaced. The playing fields on Aldrich accommodate both Little League and soccer and are well maintained.
Go to the meetings. If you want to know what something costs, they’ll tell you. If you have an idea, they’ll listen.
Vote Nov. 11 for Deegan.
Patricia Morgan

Goehringer responds
In response to Stephen Husak’s letter in the Nov. 4 issue regarding my performance as a past Mattituck Parks District commissioner and to correct several points he made: Mr. Husak is not a regular participant in park district meetings and therefore most, if not all, of his assertions regarding past meetings and past commissioners’ management are at best hearsay.
The audit performed during the current term was not the “first audit in 37 years.” The state comptroller performs scheduled audits on the park district every 10 years or when required.
There were not 15 gas cards to deactivate when Nick Deegan took office. We had six gas cards in three vehicles for three commissioners. What Mr. Husak did not mention, however, was that the current commissioners presently receive fuel reimbursement checks from the park district on a monthly basis, and that at least three if not more of the previous gas cards are still in use on a daily basis.
In reference to “lack of record keeping,” every meeting over my 30 years as commissioner was recorded in shorthand and transcribed, and the proceedings became part of the permanent records of the park district after being voted on with or without changes. It appears that the new commissioners refused to utilize these records or give them to the auditors.
Regarding monies being brought home for safe-keeping by the park’s clerk and records not being secured on park premises, the district building was not complete at the time and records were in fact kept in the clerk’s home office. Further, monies collected over the weekend had to be secured there until normal weekday banking hours.
I and other past commissioners at monthly meetings informed the current commissioners where the records were located. In fact, during the NYS Human Rights pre-hearing last month regarding the action brought by the clerk against the park district in response to the clerk’s dismissal, the issue of record-keeping came up. On the record, she and I informed the attorney and commissioners McGreevy and Deegan where they had been.
In response to the “deterioration” of the park and closing of snack bars when the new building was constructed, the county health department advised the previous commissioners that the snack bars did not meet code and that the septic grease trap had to be removed.
As to my “securing a job for my daughter,” she was employed by the district for several years for two to four days a week. She trained the new attendants and served as gate attendant. At the time it was common and accepted practice to hire local persons for these positions.
Although there are a number of incorrect assertions in Julie Lane’s article in the same issue, “Park fight heats up,” I would like to set the record straight in regard to my purchasing five gallons of gas by filling a container several days in a row. In fact, I purchased diesel fuel for the lighting generators at the Aldrich Lane soccer field, which is utilized by children several nights a week. Mr. Deegan, in fact, was a coach at the soccer field at the time and was aware that the generators were running each night and utilizing a large amount of diesel fuel.
No personal vehicle used by park employees runs on diesel fuel.
Jerry Goehringer
A vet says thanks
I would like to acknowledge the beautiful gesture from the girls in Troop 1474 of Cutchogue.
These young Girl Scouts sent a card of appreciation to me, and to many other veterans, thanking us for our service in the armed forces.
The thoughtfulness of Sidney Brewer, MacKenzie Conroy, Cassidy Czujko, Ariel Elmore, Kaitlin Elmore, Olivia Goerler, Maya Hamilton, Olivia Mannino, Emily Nicholson, Faith Ann Shipmen and Cassandra Stevens, on the celebration of Veterans Day, was amazing.
Also, thanks to their leaders, Nicole Brewer and Natalie Conroy.
Dave Allison
Take the signs down
In these rough economic times the town is looking for ways to raise capital and hold down property taxes. At the same time, there are numerous local laws and ordinances to keep the town looking good for the residents and the income-generating tourists.
Here’s an idea to kill two birds with one stone. Have the Town Board enact an ordinance outlawing the barrage of political signs once the elections are over. Create a reasonable date for the candidates to have their signs removed and fine them daily for every sign that remains after that date.
The town would look a lot better and it would create a new source of income.
Jon Ferris
Chekhov as comedy?
With election week going on for a year, I’d like to share the reprieve I needed — and got — from a welcome surprise at North Fork Community Theatre.
The play is “The Three Sisters” by Chekhov, adapted by Peg Murray but still Chekhov. Most of us in the opening night audience did not expect to laugh. We roared. Chekhov funny? Yes. Very.
And he meant to be funny. He fumed as directors from Stanislavski to Strasberg missed the joke. Director/writer/composer Peg Murray got the joke. Producer Deanna Andes also gets it; so does every actor, blending into an ensemble too inspired to separate by name.
Whether familiar or new, they all become as Russian as their mood swings, down in the depths or bursting into Murray’s theme song, “Oh, we must live, my friends.” Even the set is in sync with big, brightly colored, ornate pieces against endless blackness.
For those like me, who had never seen this tragi-comedy done right before, “The Three Sisters” is at North Fork Community Theatre through November.
Ellen Violett
Cherished forest
The move by Riverhead Town and Suffolk County to possibly purchase the many acres of untouched, pristine land known as the North Fork Preserve is real good news; it brings to my mind the wisdom in the familiar adage of the importance in “seeing the forest through the trees.”
The big picture is the forest, home to unusual vegetation and wildlife, valuable in so many ways. In the future, if purchased, we will have the opportunity to visit the new preserve. We will bring our children and grandchildren, whose great gift to their elders has always been to immediately sense and, therein, communicate the real big picture — the sanctity of the forest, the sanctity of our lives here on earth. I feel grateful to our East End elected officials who honor this wisdom and are working toward purchase and preservation.
Nancy Berkowitz



44 Comment

  • Thank you Mr. Tom Spackman for speaking up about Mr. Copertino’s (almost) weekly ranting. He is bias and prejudice specimen who loves to throw mud in the face of anyone that doesn’t stand on his soap box.
    He has accused me of being uneducated and unpatriotic which is absurd since all he does is speak out against our own government.

  • I have never read anything that Mr. Copertino wrote that was directed to any one single individual.
    “Me” should reveal her/his identity and give an example of Mr. Copertino’s accusations of “you” being uneducated and unpatriotic.
    Predjudice -What has Mr. Copertino “prejudged “?
    He writes opinion and fact. . That is not proof of bias or predjudice.
    P.S. I am a practicing Atty. RSVP

  • I would just like to make a brief comment on the parents who are afraid to have their children exposed to a pregnant classmate. When I was in High School one of my classmates became a mother at the young age of 16. Being around a pregnant 15 year- old friend and classmate kept me a virgin for a very long time. Much longer than if I hadn’t been exposed to her trials and tribulations. All of the parents who strongly oppose having this pregnant child around their children may actually be doing a big disservice to their children. Exposure to a pregnant student makes having sex seem much less glamorous. When the harsh reality and consequences of having sex is sitting across from you, believe you me, you will think twice before becoming sexually active. Learn from someone who has lived it. (And always remember, judge not lest ye be judged. We are not perfect and have all made mistakes. Show compassion.)