Letters to the editor

01/27/2011 8:00 AM |

Not ticketing people
Your article discussing the town’s current garbage carting challenges incorrectly states that I suggested issuing summonses to customers of carting companies not complying with town code.
To clarify, at no time did I suggest ticketing customers. The town attorney explained that the town code requires carters who offer curbside service to only pick up garbage that is separated from its recyclable materials. I merely stated that a carter with 160 customers could be issued 160 summonses.
The board and I at no time support that as a tactic to deal with the current issue.
The public needs to be aware that the Town Board has no interest in making people buy or use yellow bags. Yellow bag fees are revenue neutral. If we do not receive the garbage at the landfill we do not need the revenue created from the fee to pay the cost of hauling the garbage away.
The Town Board has only two concerns:
First, to ensure that all carters operate on the same level playing field. When the yellow bags and mandatory recycling program was first adopted in 1993, local carters made the investment in equipment and hired the help necessary to comply. No single carter should enjoy an unfair advantage because he chooses to not follow those same rules.
Our second goal is to maintain the fine record of recycling that the people of this community have established. Not only is that a requirement of our DEC permit but, it is also the right thing to do.
I look forward to more discussion and input from this community as we seek to meet those two goals.
Scott Russell
Southold Town supervisor

It’s a good service
I am afraid I am finding myself caught between my loyalty and my convictions.
The carters of Southold Town have done an excellent job throughout the years with regards to picking up my trash and garbage. I really have no complaints, and it is with regret that I find myself writing this letter.
That said, I am not now, nor have I ever been, a proponent of the yellow bag program. We may have, but I don’t recall us ever having had the chance to put it to a vote.
I believed then, as I believe now, that there were and are better ways to have our garbage recycled that is more friendly to our environment. The entire concept of buying yellow bags and double-bagging goes beyond common sense. The bags only add to our environmental problems.
As I recall, the original push behind the yellow bags was not so much environmental as it was a way to prevent recyclables from filling up our landfill. The landfill is now closed and capped. The transfer station acts only as a middleman and a convenience for our carters. It performs the same functions that Go-Green and Mr. Fischer are providing. He seems to have found a better way.
It’s fast becoming evident that Mr. Fischer is not to be treated fairly by this Town Board. Mr. Russell should choose his words more carefully. His comments have not been very balanced and I am left with the question of his openness.
I understand that our carters have been put at a distinct disadvantage by Go-Green’s business plan and a town ordinance that they have grown accustomed to adhering to. That does not mean that the ordinance should not be changed or that it can’t.
Our community is both cleaner and, in time, probably healthier with Go-Green’s service. Perhaps the land would serve us better as the proposed solar array, a beautiful park or both. It is no longer a dump.
Randy Young

It just isn’t right
Kudos to Don Wagner for speaking out against ever-increasing school budgets and lucrative contracts awarded to district personnel at the expense of the taxpayers and seniors on fixed incomes. (“District mulls cost reductions,” Jan. 20.)
It’s beyond comprehension, and any sense of justice, that in this era of so-called inflation when senior citizens have seen no rise in their Social Security checks, that powerful teacher unions get substantial raises for their members at the expense of impacted taxpayers. That’s on top of benefits that those in the private sector could only dream of.
If I were a senior on a very fixed income, I would be pretty bitter about having to fund salaries and benefits that amount to an average of almost two times the median salary of a Southold resident, not to mention that of a retiree.
Harry Katz

Where the $$$ goes
Does the community know where the increase in school tax was administered?
I’ve deciphered the following from reading the minutes:
It goes toward a portion of teachers’ 24 percent increase in salary.
Oaktree, the school computer company, was paid $100,000 more than the lowest bidder.
In addition to the teachers’ salaries we pay:
21 teachers $20 each per day to cover three 42-minute lunch periods.
10 teachers per day $20 each to watch all the 7th- to 12th-graders 15 minutes before school starts.
$20 per class if a teacher has to cover another teacher’s class.
$30 per hour every school day for teachers to cover two-hour detention.
$30 per hour per teacher to cover Saturday four-hour detention.
Teachers and staff are paid $30 per hour to chaperone at concerts, plays, sporting events, etc.
All teachers’ stipends for directing plays, clubs and intramurals were increased.
All coaches’ stipends were increased.
We pay teachers $1,346 each to design the set for a play.
Teachers and staff get paid additional for any extra service.
What did the students receive? A 4:30 late bus would be nice.
We need new board members. The board approved these increases.
Suzie Lipovac

Money better spent
While The Long Island Rail Road cuts services to an ‘outpost,’ their word for Greenport, we on the eastern edge of Long Island continue to do with little public transportation.
The money however, does seem to keep coming to improve our transportation. The latest was in the fall when the state decided to extend the sidewalks so they would continue all the way west to Riverhead. A very noble idea, but not a very practical use of public funds.
Those sidewalks joined with existing ones that are in a terrible state of disrepair. When I drive along those sidewalks I tend to observe that they are not being used.
To digress from the sidewalks to a more practical use of public money applied to the same roadways, why not make the white and yellow lines visible?
Yes, the ones that help guide motorists as they drive. As of last night those lines were at best faded, at worst nonexistent.  
When one drives at night those same lines help guide the driver. When the fog, rain and now snow fall those lines help deter accidents.
Let our public transportation money be used where it will be most needed.
Joel Reitman

One absurd project
While the Town of Southold will permit the Hess Corporation to construct a convenience store having a maximum size of 800 square feet, Hess is not satisfied, since they want about 1,660 square feet.
They also want the zoning to be changed from marine business to general business. Hess, as well as former owners of the property, knew very well that it was marine zoned when purchased.
If they are so concerned with the eyesore nature of the structure, nothing was stopping them from sprucing it up and doing some attractive landscaping during their many years of ownership. It seems all they did was add green and white paint.
Mr. DeNicola, the attorney for Hess, stated that although the project is about 100 feet from James Creek, it would present neither an environmental problem nor a traffic problem. This is absurd.
I seem to recall that in 2003, when Hess appeared before the Town Board, they presented statistics from a trip manual stating that a person patronizing a gas station convenience store would spend less time buying merchandise than if they were buying gas.
It turns out that this trip manual was published in the early 1950s, when gas pumps pumped at a very slow speed. And although there may have been more gas stations years ago, bear in mind they did not have three or four islands with a total of eight or 10 pumps, as they do today.
Anyone trying to enter or exit Bay Avenue at the corner of Route 25 in Mattituck will note that this is a very congested intersection. To think that an increase in traffic at this intersection would not occur is insane. The locale can in no way support a 24-hour, seven day a week operation.
And why were Hess representatives in our area at the end of January, when many residents in opposition to this project are not present?
Joseph Finora, E.A.

We do grow oysters
I’d like to correct Mr. Meinke’s statement of Jan. 20 that “oystering is no longer a North Fork industry.”  
According to a New York Times article last year, there are currently 56 growers in the Peconic Bay. On my block in Greenport, three families have active commercial plots.  Every year, I sell out and last year I doubled production and have permits pending to double again this year.  
While the current oyster industry pales to its past size and scope, there has been in the last ten years a marked growth in the number of small growers in the area.
With Suffolk County’s decision to release hundreds of 10-acre assignments next year, the area will see a second bloom of oyster expansion. Almost every week, my phone rings with young men and women who want to work for me for free to learn the business.
Oystering is sustainable, beneficial to the environment and profitable. One of life’s greatest joys is to work all morning with your children on the bay and bring in a couple of thousand dollars worth of shellfish to your dock.
We do not need to look to government to solve our financial problems, but ask our grandparents what to do. The oyster industry was our past and I believe it will be a vibrant part of our future.
Michael Osinski
Mr. Osinski is president of the Widows Hole Oyster Co. and a Greenport village trustee.

Dishonest & sneaky
Reading last week’s Suffolk Times, I noticed the first three letters were admonishing Americans to be less threatening when arguing about politics and stating their opinions and views about our government.
This is fine, except I noticed that all the letters blamed the Republicans for the incident in Arizona and chastised them for being disrespectful to our president. Then I read the letters again and found that the letters got me angry.
This is just what the letters were supposed to stop.
I thought about all the respect that was shown to President Bush and decided that no respect was ever shown to him by the left.
I thought about the incident itself and decided that the killer wasn’t political at all, just a lunatic. Why should I change the way I think or speak because a lunatic commits an atrocity?
Why call millions of Americans who are concerned about their country a “fringe group” that carry guns to meetings and are “insane”?
Seems to me that all of these letters were just more of the same rhetoric designed to put forth an agenda. I suggest that cloaking it in sympathetic vitriol is dishonest at best and at worst, sneaky.
Get a grip.
Bob Cavagna

Please give blood
The Southold Town Blood Program has been given new life.
In recent years our donors have been dwindling and we collected only 27 pints at the fall drive. Fortunately, the Southold Fire Department has come to our rescue.  They have offered to host the drives at the firehouse starting Feb. 2. The collection day will change to Wednesday.  The fire department will help recruit donors, host the drives at the firehouse and supply the food for the first drive. We are delighted to work with them.
We are requesting donations to help defray the cost of feeding volunteers and cover the cost of post cards and stamps for reminders and other necessary materials. There is a critical shortage of blood so please consider supporting our program. Kindly send your donations to the Town of Southold Blood Program, c/o Penny Coyle, 314 Atlantic Ave., Greenport 11944.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Town of Southold for allowing us to host the blood drives at the town recreation center. Also a special thank you goes to Bill Zebroski for his many years of dedicated support.
We would be remiss without mentioning support over the years from Mattituck Community Fund. They have been a constant sole source of resources which allowed us to provide this service to our community.
Barbara Klos, Mary Hewitt, Nancy Reeve, Virginia McCaffery, Louise Egert, Penny Coyle
chairs, Southold Town Blood Program



11 Comment


  • Has “Go-Green … found a better way”?

    As the only, or at least the only apparent individual who has spoken up about the need to improve Southold Town’s municipal solid waste practices, I believe Go-Green is green wash. By promoting disposal of the entire waste stream, Go-Green is reversing the environmental and economic progress made over the past 40 years.

    The only things better about Go-Green are the direct cost and convenience.

    The problems with Go-Green are higher life-cycle and external costs.

    It is wrong for Supervisor Russell to take the option of enforcing the Town Code by ticketing carters who are operating illegally off the table. I do not believe that the Town Board has taken such an immoral and illegal position.

    The first thing Southold Town government should do is whatever it takes to find out where the waste picked up by Go-Green is going.

    It would be more convenient and less expensive for Southold Town to simply dump our trash off the end of Orient Point. I don’t think that would be a better way, do you?

  • Hi Benja. We have not taken the violation of the carters off the table. What we do not intend to do is to issue based on customer count. There would be no practical way to determine how many customers any given vendor has. We are approaching this from a larger perspective. Further, town personel have gone to the Medford facilityto determine if the waste is being recycled and the collective judgement is no. It is going to West Virginia. However, to be fair to the carter, I plan on going the the facility myself.

  • In the letter about the garbage and yellow bags the town states that they are “revenue neutral” however in Dec. I read in the Suffolk Times that the town will lose money if people stopped needing the yellow bags and they were not sure how they would make up that money. So which is it?? I’m confused.. Does anyone else remember reading that??

  • I read that same letter and did not agree with the premise made by the writer. He is the manager of the Town’s transfer station and made that based on the assumption that we would still operate at current services/levels. The fact is that if we do not have to “handle” the municipal’ waste at that site, we do not incur any costs for the municipal waste that is not brought there. There is a problem with ‘fixed’ costs there such as debt service, etc. However, I assure you, the yellow bag fee system is only in place to off set the cost of hauling the residential waste offsite that comes in a yellow bag. The costs other municipal waste that is brought there and needs to be hauled are covered by the scale costs collected at the site. Scott

  • I have a problem with the facts I have been reading on this site and north fork patch. From what I have gathered it seems we have a program (yellow bags) that Mr Russel keeps saying is revenue neutral. I have a theory that might be true on the surface. He seems way to interested in fairness to all carters when I believe it might be fairness to his selected carters.I am not accusing anyone of anything but this question haunts me. If we are paying $ 95 a ton to have trash hauled away from our transfer station and the going rate up island ( I checked) is 45 a ton. It seems the company hauling the garbage from the transfer station to wherever it goes ??? Is charging a disproportionate amount.I suspect if that price was brought more in line with what should be charged.Certain people at the town may lose interest in recycling and stop engaging in protectionism.

  • The permit to run the transfer station is under the jurisdiction of the DEC. Please remember that it is State Law and Town Law to recycle. The issue of fairness to local carters is important. They made the changes necessary to comply years ago. This includes hiring local people who need the work. If you have been reading the Patch then you should already know that I have already told a writer that i am looking into how Southampton is able to have both and still keep the DEC permit to operate. I also said that I have no problem changing the rules as long as the rules get changed for everyone. Scott

  • “As the only, or at least the only apparent individual who has spoken up about the need to improve Southold Town’s municipal solid waste practices, ”

    Oh Benja, you’re just so modest.

  • If it is a DEC law they are violating, then let the DEC issue the violation. If it is a town law, then issue the damn violation already, and stop talking about it. It seems like the town is hessitent to move, and to me that can only mean something is wrong. If it was a clear violation, we would not be having this conversation, it would be done already.

  • While you are at it , I suggest you also visit the site where town of southold currently dumps . Follow the local carters trail and let’s see if they are playing by the book . What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. STOP playing favorites , that’s not what we elected you for !

  • Yeah, to hell with focusing on safety, lets put the FAA on noise control! Genius, pure genius.