Letters to the Editor

07/28/2011 4:07 AM |


That’s the choice?

In the July 21 edition of The Suffolk Times, Troy Gustavson writes that Orient is the gayest community on Long Island, and suggests that the lesbian residents were in the forefront to deny clean public water to the people in Orient with contaminated wells.
That would suggest that lesbians would prefer dirty, contaminated water rather than clean public water.
Hmm, who knew?

William Gibbons


People are people

I think Troy’s article is misleading and illogical (“We’re so gay, and we’re better off,” July 21). Frankly, good people are good people whatever their sexual orientation. I have wonderful friends I care about; whatever their sexual orientation is doesn’t matter. I am a better person morally and spiritually for knowing them.

Warren McKnight


‘I’m Pat, fly me!’

A couple of weeks ago I got a professionally prepared advertisement from a helicopter company in New York City offering service to and from East Hampton.
I thought at first I received the ad by mistake, but when I learned others on the North Fork were also sent it I figured the company was just trying to break everybody’s shoes.
Mildly irritated, I decided to take them up on their offer. I inquired about leasing one of their helicopters for a sunny weekend afternoon and fly from Westhampton over the ocean at an altitude of 2,500 feet to the East Hampton town line. We would then change course to fly directly above land at less than 2,500 feet (way less) to cover the entire oceanfront of East Hampton up past the East Hampton airport, cross over to the Gardiners Bay side repeating the process so most of the town’s perimeter is covered, and continue this pattern for five or six hours.
I have sent two requests for information about this but unfortunately have not received an answer. However, if I do hear from them is there anyone who would like to accompany me?
I guarantee a splendid time for all, especially for the people on the ground.

Patrick Lohn


Close the rift

In the vernacular of the kid, OMG, the author lost me at the third paragraph. (“The wealthy already pay more taxes,” July 21.)
Trips to New York and Spain for the president and his family? I guess the president should be a prisoner of the White House.
And the letter to the editor about “divide and conquer?” (July 21.) We have got to stop the divide in this county. Ranting about light-bulbs? What’s next, seat belts and helmets for motorcycles. (BTW, a man protesting the helmet law died in a motorcycle accident.)
The words compromise and consensus seem to be gone from our world. “What’s in it for me?” is the feelings for so many of our people. Do either of the writers know that many of our service people are eligible for WIC and food stamps??

Rosellen Storm


What’s fair and right

In response to the July 21 equal time by George Sullivan, “The wealthy already pay more taxes,” of course they do, usually.
Our country is very good for businesses and as the song goes “They’re coming to America, today!” Warren Buffet claims that he pays less percentage-wise at $46.9 million yearly income than his employees, according to Forbes magazine. That’s because there’s an entire industry of lawyers and accountants working to figure out ways to reduce people’s taxes.
We have no dictator to tell you what to do, so we encourage people by giving them tax advantages. Invest in America and dividends are taxed very low compared to had you not invested and had regular income. On the surface it seems like a good idea, but then we have these money managers who declare their income is all from dividends, which is a real stretch.
Then there are the business perks — a paid-for car, vacations at deluxe places declared to be business meetings, employees doing work for the boss that’s not really business related. It goes on, all reducing the declared income and thus the taxes.
All this is understood by our lawmakers, who many times tinker a bit with the laws for some of their backers. As the latest joke on the Internet says, “business is so bad that Exxon-Mobile had to lay off 20 congressmen.”
Of course lowering taxes should be a goal, but there are essential things that the government does that require income and this must be understood. I read that most Republicans and many Democrats signed a no-new-taxes pledge. And yet taxes are a sometimes essential tool. Do we wish to enforce pollution laws or is it OK to put fishermen out of business? How about sewers in high density areas? It takes money.
I do not feel bad about a person who makes the big bucks to pay big taxes. That’s called paying your dues for living in this great country where you can succeed. The only thing up for discussion is what’s fair and right and what we expect from our government that we need revenue for. Of course, after 9/11 some other priorities become more clear.

Mike Furst


Problems are real

The North Fork Environmental Council board of directors read last week’s letter by County Executive Levy with great sadness. Mr Levy missed the point, as well as some groups that are allies, not enemies.
The Towns of Southold and Riverhead should be applauded for their success in land preservation, both on their own and, where needed, with the help of the county. No environmental organization could argue with the efforts and results. Of course, it doesn’t mean that more couldn’t and shouldn’t be done.
Dick Amper has been an important figure in the environmental movement on Long Island. While his methods may rub some people the wrong way, it doesn’t mean that his message and goals concerning declining water quality should be ignored.
Just because a person or group doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Mr Levy every time doesn’t mean that they’re wrong or don’t have something important to say. We need to put aside personal differences and work together for the greater good, and not just for the next election but for the next generation.
Scientific reports from many groups show that our water quality is on the decline and steps have to be taken to protect not only our drinking water, but also the waters of the creeks, bays and the Sound which surround us. New York State recognizes this problem and issued its MS4 storm water guidelines for towns as well as private property owners.
The Suffolk County health department recognizes the need to bring septic systems into the 21st century in order to protect our waters and is actively looking into these systems.
Why can’t Mr. Levy recognize this same scientific data and the need to take steps to protect our waters?
Let’s stop politicking, cut the rhetoric and end the distrust. Let’s start coming together to discuss and address the problems which are real and endanger our health and wellbeing. Yes, there may be different and better ways to address these problems. So let’s sit together and discuss them rather than ignore them and hope that they go away.
The toxic plume at EPCAL, the former Grumman property, has proven that threats to our waters just don’t fade away.

Bill Toedter

president, NFEC


Some suggestions for Steve Levy

A week after the Pine Barrens Society issued its annual report on the slow pace of land preservation on Long Island, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy held a news conference to say he was doing just fine.
He didn’t refute the facts in our report. He couldn’t dispute that the county, which once preserved as many as 2,200 acres per year, is now averaging just 660 acres per year on Mr. Levy’s watch.
Instead, he said his low numbers resulted from all of the large parcels having been previously purchased, then promptly vetoed a 415-acre proposed acquisition in the Southampton Pine Barrens and suggested the parcel be developed with nearly 100 homes instead.
He implied that three environmental groups represented at his news conference applauded his open space efforts and that our Pine Barrens Society was in a minority of one in criticizing his open space record. Those three groups tell me they attended a news conference intended to extol the virtues of land preservation and not to praise Mr. Levy’s record. Other respected groups who are critical of the Levy record were, not surprisingly, not invited to the news conference.
Finally, Mr. Levy meandered onto the subject of campaign contributions, suggesting coziness between developers and our Pine Barrens Society. Our group is the most vocal of all on the subject of over-development on Long Island. We’ve never endorsed a development project, ever.
Mr. Levy, on the other hand, is leaving office and is forfeiting $4 million in campaign contributions in the wake of an investigation by the Suffolk County District Attorney into his campaign finances. He ought to tell Long Islanders what he did to deserve this punishment and not imply that others are engaged in the same mischief. Then, he ought to go out and buy the land Suffolk residents have put up the money to preserve, and then leave public office.

Richard Amper

executive director,
L.I. Pine Barrens Society


Judge got it wrong

I am writing about your July 21 cover story regarding an early beginning to the political season in Southold this year.
Regarding the time he has been on the bench and his experience, Town Justice Rudolph H. Bruer III is quoted as stating, “I’ve been at it for 15 and a half years, I think I finally know what I’m doing.”
In my case, the justices on the Appellate Term for the 9th and 10th Judicial Districts definitely did not agree with the judge’s assessment of his knowledge of the law.
I was arrested on Dec. 21, 2005, and charged with a crime. The matter was heard in Southold Justice Court before Judge Bruer. He simply refused to decide important issues and a necessary motion saying it was not timely filed. He even refused to hold a required hearing. These issues were clear violations of my constitutional rights to have a fair trial.
On Dec. 3, 2009, an appeals court sent the matter back to Judge Bruer, directing him to decide the motions, conduct the required hearing and report back to the appeals court with the results. After some perfunctory effort, Judge Bruer reported back to the appeals court.
He again mishandled the proceedings and the appeals court finally dismissed the entire matter. I would point out that my appeal was based on several violations of my constitutional rights. The appellate court had to go no further than the first violation cited in my appeal to dismiss the conviction without even having to consider the more blatant mistakes made by Judge Bruer.
On May 9, 2011, the appellate court granted me the justice denied by Judge Bruer since 2005. All of Judge Bruer’s decisions were vacated and my motion was finally decided and granted. Not only was my appeal granted, but the case against me was dismissed in the interest of justice.
It took time, resources and expenses that I can ill afford to attain the justice that was denied by Judge Bruer. Even though I was sentenced to three years’ probation, which I served, I felt the decisions Judge Bruer made regarding my trial were so bad that I had to take a stand. I must wonder how many other cases were handled this poorly.
Your publication briefly reported on this matter, but the facts were not quite as reported. I think it is necessary to get the facts correct in light of Judge Bruer’s recent statements.

Paul Bellissimo


Village Board truth

The village is about to lose its 9/11 memorial, and the mayor changed his story about what happened.
The truth is that in almost a year this board did not even ask the public their opinion on this issue. I guess they know what’s best for the unwashed masses. They’re wrong and they won’t even make their individual decisions public.
Maybe they didn’t notice what went on with the Second Street house, the sewer rate, the osprey at the public meeting. This board is dysfunctional and it’s time our one local paper printed the real facts.
Do you have enough nerve, Mr. Editor?

William Swiskey


It’s all a plus

On the corner of Route 25 and Factory Avenue stands a gas station which has been boarded up, fenced off and overgrown with weeds.
Recently, an enterprising individual saw a potential for converting the structure into a convenience store, which I might add is providing employment to a number of construction people. However, as with any change there are those who are for progress and those who oppose it.
Prior to starting the alterations, the old metallic fuel storage tanks, which contained a residual amount of fuel, had to be removed. Metallic tanks have been known to rust out causing fuel to enter the aquifer. Their removal was an ecological plus.
The new business will provide employment which the abandoned gas station did not. Another plus.
Traffic will be no more or less than when the gas station was a vibrant business.
I see the new business as a betterment to the community and economy.
In these trying economic times, anyone who rejects a new business which pays taxes and provides employment, has to be a sniveling Obama Democrat.

George Dengel


Disgusted & appalled

My family and I aren’t blessed to live in Greenport full-time.
My extended family does and has, in some capacity, for several generations. However, many of us have summered here all our lives. My four grown daughters have continued the tradition making this their summer home, too.
At one time or another we have all partied on the beach after dark with bonfires, drinking and music. While not exactly legal, it was and still is a common rite of passage for summer kids and town kids alike.
But while taking our walks along the 67 Steps Beach at the end of Sound Road in Greenport, I was disgusted and appalled at the condition of the beach. As you walk east it looks nothing short of a garbage dump.
This generation of beach partiers thinks nothing of leaving every bottle, beer can, snack and paper bag all over the beachfront. This stretch of beach is off the beaten path and probably not a location summer kids would readily know about. However, I don’t doubt summer kids, along with the resident teens, are just as responsible for this dreadful mess.
We hope one day to be blessed to live here permanently. But until then, we will continue taking garbage bags down to the beach, cleaning up the mess left by those that are unwilling to recognize the beauty and splendor of their surroundings.

Maura Wood Maschinski


Don’t use animals

I wish to add my protest to the use of animals in circuses to that of Jean Lawless and Stephanie Bucalo in the July 21 Suffolk Times.
Yes, it was lovely to see the picture of the elephants getting a drink, but consider how they got there. Baby elephants are torn from their mothers and families and taken to a foreign environment, totally alien to their nature and by cruel and inhumane treatment are made to do silly, undignified tricks for our amusement.
Consider what it must be like for an elephant to be made to rear back on its hind legs, putting all its massive weight on those bones and joints. Consider being chained, travelling in an airless boxcar from place to place.
If serious consideration were given to the desperate lives of circus animals, I believe we would all boycott circuses that feature animals.
I urge whoever is responsible for bringing the circus to the Polo Grounds next year to engage one of the many that do not use animals.

Marilyn Flynn


A job well done

Sometime during the night of July 21 a very disenchanted and misdirected individual or group chose to vandalize one of our town’s pristine Soundfront beaches with graffiti on both the rest rooms and the lifeguard stand.
Not only did this individual or individuals not possess any artistic ability whatsoever, but more significantly demonstrated a vocabulary with words limited to four letters. Very mature.
However, by 7:30 a.m. the very next day, a Southold Town DPW truck arrived and repainted the offending areas to their original state.
Thank you to the DPW for such immediate and responsive caring for this town asset, an asset that we as an Association also try to care for and protect.

John Betsch


Kenney’s/McCabe’s Beach Association


He’s a Republican

The article regarding my nomination for the position of town justice inaccurately described me as a registered Democrat.
I am a registered Republican who was recruited by my friends in the Democratic Party to run on their line. In addition to the Democratic Party, I enjoy wide support from many Conservative, Green, Working Family, Independence and Republican Party friends.
They value the qualifications, experience and dedication I will bring to the office of town justice. Their broad support helped me garner two times the required number of signatures on my filed positions.

Brian Hughes


Not the bank’s fault

My comments in last week’s paper regarding the unfinished site in Mattituck that is supposed to host a Hudson City Savings Bank (Town Hall Notes, July 21) July may have given people the wrong impression. I should point out that Hudson City Savings is neither the landowner nor the applicant in this instance.
My comments regarding the site were part of a Town Board discussion to identify changes that need to be made to the Town Code to force landowners to comply with the site plan requirements. Hudson City Savings Bank is merely a tenant with a lease to occupy one of the buildings when the site is completed.
The Town Board has asked counsel to draft legislative changes to the code that would give the town the ability to force landowners to complete site plan requirements when they refuse to do so.
The folks at Hudson City Savings and the community of Mattituck have waited long enough. Frankly, the entire community has been staring at an unfinished, fenced off construction site for too long now. The Town Board must and will pursue all legal options available to require the applicant to complete the site and keep the commitments made to this community when the site plan was approved.

Scott Russell

Southold Town supervisor


How can it be?

How can we have a government if half the Congress pledges to vote “no”?
How can we have a democracy if only 1 percent of the people are served?
How can we have capitalism if over 15 million people have no jobs, many are working only part-time at low wages and more have lost all hope?
How can we claim decency if we have children who go hungry and schooling that does not serve them?
How can banks and corporations and their minions in Congress crowd out the caring and compassionate impulses?
How can we have leadership where all look to the next election rather than to the needs of our people?
How can a whole country remain silent and not cry out?

Merle Levine


Voting his opinions

This is in response to George Dengel’s invitation for liberal, progressive, socialist godless communists to respond to his conspiracy theory wherein President Obama is out to deliver the country into some kind of UN protectorate.
I’m not sure I qualify, although I‘d like to think I’m a liberal person. More to the point, reason has overcome my anger and depression at being reminded that there are so many uninformed people out there.
No, I won’t engage in a useless political polemic because such activity changes no one’s mindset. Instead, I intend to express my opinions at the ballot box by voting to protect and preserve our secular society, one in which our president’s concern is for the welfare of all citizens, including the godless.
As an aside, I wish he’d please stop with the “godless” modifier. Are the Taliban “godly” simply because of their religious fervor?

Charles Michel


Painful to watch

The current squabbling in Washington would be funny if it weren’t so serious.
The sight and sound of the babbling Congress makes you wonder is this uproar that sounds like kindergarten when the teacher suddenly left the room really my America?
We have Mitch McConnell pushing a bill with no chance of passing, simply designed to embarrass the Democrats. We have Grover Norquist getting signatures from the tea partiers to swear “no tax increases.”
We have some Republicans pushing a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. This, economists say, would be deadly in that it ties the government’s hands when the inevitable recession hits.
In the background we have some logical discussions going on between a handful of Republicans and Democrats and the president that makes meaningful spending cuts and meaningful revenue increases. But the very sense of this sets off the chorus of “no tax increases” from the tea party.
While General Electric paid no taxes in 2010 and Warren Buffet is in a lower tax bracket than his employees and the big oil companies still get subsidies, the “tax increases” segment is totally justified. The effect of tax loopholes, augmented by clever, legally supported cheating, needs to be eliminated.
With August 2 looming, and serious action needed, the teacher needs to come back to the classroom and make the troublemakers drop their crayons and stand in the corner.
America, the former democratic beacon of the world, is well on the way to idiotocracy. It’s painful and embarrassing to watch.

Howard Meinke