Letters to the Editor

08/11/2011 5:56 AM |


Unfounded attacks

As Paulette Satur noted in a recent rebuttal to unfounded criticisms of their farming operation, it’s time for the community and the media to embrace, not to denigrate, Satur Farms and the blessed work that they do raising vegetables on their 180 acres.

In a nation sapped by greed and a sense of entitlement when it comes to such basics as food, it’s more than adulatory that an operation like Satur Farms exists right here in Southold. The incredible work that goes into this is beyond our understanding.

I always knew that food production in this country is taken for granted but I could never imagine that those who pursue this as a vocation would be subject to libelous and defamatory accusations.

Growing vegetables, albeit on a much smaller scale, has been my hobby for the past 15 years, and I can say that the backbreaking labor often results in heartbreaking results. I have immense appreciation and gratitude for the work the Satur family and other farmers do here.

When I think of the economic parasites out there, from the thieves on Wall Street to the greedy financial institutions that helped take this country down, and a host of other consumers who have fared pretty nicely at taxpayer expense, I am vexed that an operation like Satur farms would come under such criticism.

Would people prefer 180 houses on their land instead of rows of vegetables and refrigerated trucks keeping these perishables fresh until they are shipped to market?

Harry Katz


Falsehoods indeed

With regard to last week’s “Falsehoods not facts” letter from Paulette Satur, we can assure you that the Satur facts include falsehoods.

We have a video of a tractor trailer from another state emptying pallets of produce and being put into their refrigerated trailers. No one is complaining about their old farm trucks going in and out all day, it’s the pollution they cause by spewing fumes and dust into the air.

With regard to trucks going to JFK to pick up produce from Arizona, that was old news from when they started farming. Now they truck in produce from their farm in Belle Glade, Fla., during the winter months.

We don’t know for a fact that drivers are sleeping in trucks along the road, but we can tell you that there was a trailer parked in front of our home and the driver was definitely sleeping in the cab. We were woken up around 4:30 a.m. by noise and were furious. Pat went out in her PJs and pounded on the door until he woke up and told him to move it.

We would be willing to take a lie detector test.

Fifteen years ago our parents were elderly and in poor health. They loved to watch the farmers working the fields.

Everyone was friendly and courteous in those days. Ms. Satur’s statement that they complained about some cauliflower dust and irrigation noise is absolutely false.

No one here wants to stop the Satur farm, only for them to clean up their act, get the forklifts off the road and stop the pollution from dust clouds and diesel fumes. Their arrogance is beyond words.

Pat and Jim McNamara


We respect farmers

The statement in Paulette Satur’s Aug. 4 letter amazed me to find out that it’s a “fact” that the same people who have complaints (and they are legitimate) against Satur Farms are the ones who harassed a farmer who grew cauliflower at that location 15 years ago.

I wonder who the “harassers” were. None of us lived there, and the four persons who lived in the three houses directly across the street are deceased. They were such humble citizens that they would never complain. The farmer, whom we know so well, was not a problem.

Also mentioned is Paulette’s concern that the neighborhood complaints will lead to North Fork suburbanization. Not so.

Did you ever look at all the vineyards around here? The first, the Hargraves’, was on part of my grandparents’ farm and now vineyards exist all around us. The grapes are thriving in our climate and if you notice all the tourists visiting the wineries, it’s certainly a boost to our economy. It’s also good to see that there are still a few farms left where families have farmed for generations.

Yes, we will remain rural.

Having been born and raised in this community we totally support and respect the farmers. All our neighborhood asks for is to clear up existing problems.

Keep forklifts on farm property and not on the road where they dart out into traffic without looking. Find a spot for tractor trailers to pull in so that they are not blocking traffic. Correct the problem of diesel fumes and noise which affect the immediate neighborhood.

Avoid the unhealthy dust by putting down gravel or blacktop, as the dirt from the farm driveway is tracked out to the road and vehicles going by send the dust flying across the street to the neighbors.

We don’t know of another farmer who uses the road like it’s part of the farm.

Give us back our fresh air.

Joan Lademann


Let it be me

I am writing in response to and to applaud the editorial in the July 28 edition, “Seriously, you’re leaving that there?”

I’m an early morning walker along Cedar Beach in Southold, and have often wasted this wonderful walk grumbling over why it should be me who has to pick up after those few folks who insist on enjoying the beauty of this beach, then leaving trash in their wake.

Recently, however, I’ve decided to have a new attitude as I pick up the trash left behind: Why shouldn’t it be me?

Like most people, I love this beach, so why shouldn’t I care for it? It is mine to enjoy and to tend and care for, so why shouldn’t I take a few extra minutes to bring it back to a state that everyone can enjoy?

I know I’m not alone in this, so I think we should form a “Why Shouldn’t It Be Me?” club. Perhaps if everyone in our community, nation, world joined, there would be a lot less homeless people, a lot less hunger, a lot less waste, a lot less war.

Yeah, I know, it’s a crazy idea, but in my personal faith journey there’s nothing better than being the hands of and feet of Jesus. So to those folks who can’t take their garbage with them, I want you to know it really helps when you at least put it in a bag. Thank you.

The next time I see someone picking up trash or doing a random act of kindness, I’ll know you are a part of the “club.”

Caren Heacock


Try the dog park

While visiting California last year, I was amazed at how many dog parks there were. And these weren’t just dog parks, they had incredible features like wading pools, agility equipment, seating areas and gazebos, you name it.

As a dog lover and owner living on eastern Long Island, I am disappointed that all we have is a barren, dusty, uninviting dog run. We are surrounded by hundreds of acres of open land and water, however we have no place to let our dogs run free and no dog-friendly beaches.

After seven months of working with the Town Board, they have agreed to expand the dog run in Peconic to an acre and beautify it. While this is not what we had hoped for, it is better than the current dog park.

The board was somewhat hesitant on a larger park as they believe the old park was never used, although this past year the Girl Scouts did a wonderful job holding dog park parties at our little park and there was a great turnout. I would like to believe they would be even more successful if our dog park was bigger and more inviting for both people and dogs.

I appreciate the Town Board’s efforts and vision on an issue which seemed to be lacking in public interest. However, based on the 550 signatures I collected in local stores and delis in just a few weeks, dog-owning residents are passionate about a better dog park.

I encourage dog owners and dog lovers to please come to the new dog park and let your dogs run free. This is the biggest gift you can give your dog.

Modern day dogs are becoming more neurotic, more aggressive, overweight and exhibiting more behavioral problems than ever. This is partly due to under-stimulation and lack of exercise.

I would caution that while dogs parks are gaining much popularity and are a great for dogs, they are not good for all.

If your dog is not socialized, fearful or showing aggression, it may be best to work on these issues before entering a dog park.

Ideas and suggestions about improving the dog park are welcomed.

Dawn Bennett


What people want

I’m not a beggar and I won’t be happy with just anything. If I were, then the current dog park would be just fine.

I do not comprehend how the part-time, overpaid Town Board can disregard the appeal of the town’s people (via signed petition) by suggesting our request is “unrealistic in any scenario.”

The several millions of dollars the board is sitting on isn’t their money, it’s our money, the townspeople. We have a right to set priorities on expenditures, not to be told what we will accept by the astuteness of the millionaires on the Town Board.

What is the definition of passive recreation? I have an idea, it’s land purchased by the taxpayers they don’t know they own and do not use. Exactly how much land is owned by the town within this category? I would venture a guess and say it’s in the hundreds of acres.

Now the definition of active recreation is land purchased by taxpayers, currently used and not well maintained by the town. Such as the current dog park, town hiking trails and shorelines. Can the town not amend a passive site to an active site? Of course it can, but choose not to for they’re not in favor of setting aside such a large area for dogs.
I would bet if the entire town was polled they would be in favor of a doggy park envisioned by Ms. Bennett.

Vin Ricciardi


Lighten up, Troy

In last weeks paper, Troy Gustavson’s column gave meaning to the concept of “the Peter Principle.“

If only he knew how to open email responses and read them, he never would have commented on my letter in such a silly way. He asserts that I am anti-gay. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It has always been my credo that it’s always better to include, rather then to exclude, and it’s always better to give people rights rather then to take them away

I think it would behoove Mr. Gustavson to stop drinking the contaminated Orient water, clear his head and get a damn sense of humor.

William Gibbons


Why slight Dave?

Regarding the David Kapell insurance issue, the town where I grew up in New Jersey was historic and charming, often written about for its stately homes and surrounding hillside farms.

When I visit now, it is run down, with many vacant storefronts. A debate rages over what to do about the famous block-long hotel that sits empty on Main Street.

Greenport could have been that town, if not for the talent, vision, and sacrifice of David Kapell.

I recognize Mr. Kapell has his detractors, and the details of his insurance claims are complex. But I wonder, in a community where these kinds of decisions seem to be decided — and reversed — whimsically, punitively and inconsistently, how can any community hope to attract officials who will sacrifice their personal lives and businesses to serve for the good of the whole community?

And how can any community with a conscience allow its government to make promises to its servants that are almost immediately rescinded?

Alan Goodman


Wake up, America

Congratulations to George Sullivan for his recent comparative analysis on the payment of taxes by high- and low-income taxpayers.

While some in the White House feel higher income individuals should pay more, no mention is made of the more than 400 Capitol Hill individuals who are delinquent in paying their taxes. I am tired of hearing about Medicare, Medicaid and veterans’ benefits being in jeopardy while members of Congress serve one term and are guaranteed pension benefits and a generous health insurance program. If convicted of any crime, they still get their pension and benefits package — even in jail. To make matters worse, if they are New York residents, they will not pay one cent in state income taxes on their pensions.

I hope our governor, in his long-awaited fair tax reform package, will take care of this as well as the double-dippers who are still getting multiple pensions based on their highest year of pay. Whatever happened to the hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of fraudulent Long Island Rail Road tax-free disability pensions?

Also, while they say that higher interest rates may have to be paid on student loans, no mention is made of the forgiveness of debts of children of members of Congress if they have difficulty paying back their education loans.

It appears that attacking the legitimate Social Security, Medicare and veterans benefits is the point of least resistance for our representatives. Let’s get all the abuses in these systems straightened out and taxes will not have to be raised.

As many of you may remember, two high profile New York government officials were caught evading taxes on non-reported income. One of them is still in office and dealing with the national debt problem. What a joke.

Also, the current crisis in our country is facing didn’t just happen and almost everyone reading this, including all members of our federal, state and local governments, is somewhat guilty of what I consider living in excess for at least the past 50 years.

When Social Security was first put in place, it was meant to put milk and bread on the table of the eligible needy.

Soon after, that was not enough, as recipients, some of whom never contributed a dime to the program, wanted not only milk and bread, but a six-pack of beer.

Having all this is somewhat rewarding for those who are willing to work hard, particularly those having the work ethic of our parents and grandparents. Believe me, they deserve it. However, how long can we export all our manufacturing jobs, buy our oil from other countries and, to boot, ask foreign countries to loan us money so we can continue to live in excess and not legitimately work for it? You can be sure there must be many foreigners laughing at us.

Let’s hope our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will someday share in the great country that we all once knew. Remember, change is sometimes long and hard, but we still have the greatest country in the world and the ability to change things. I think it must start with a thorough cleaning out of the White House.

Joseph Finora


Sullivan responds

I’m writing to comment on Mr. Meguin’s rebuttal [Equal Time, July 28] to my recent article [Equal Time, July 21 and feel he has missed its purpose, which was to provide actual tax calculations to highlight disparities that people might be unaware of, not to argue the fairness of the current tax law or the pros and cons of the Medicare system.

These two issues should be addressed by the current administration; however, it has failed to lead on reform initiatives and would rather continue to divide the American people by fostering class warfare rhetoric that occurs in Third World countries and should not be a part of legitimate political debate in our country.

Mr. Obama also calls for income redistribution and cannot accept the fact that people who have been more fortunate do fund the federal budget. Figures just released by the Treasury Department now indicate that 51 percent of Americans pay no federal income tax, up from 46 percent. To repeat the notion that the lower income taxpayer is bearing the brunt of government spending and the middle and upper class must share more of the burden just does not ring true.

The American people have been generous in the past and will always help the less fortunate, but to call for the confiscation of their wealth is contrary to the ideals of our great nation.

Mr. Meguin is entitled to his opinion, but he is wrong on several points.

First, I made no ad hominem criticisms in my article. As for Mr. Meinke, I merely corrected his inaccuracies. As for the current occupant of the Oval Office, I criticized him for his abuse of military aircraft and for demonizing successful businessmen and corporations and his attempt to further divide the American people. He calls for shared sacrifice but treats himself and his family to lavish vacations and celebrations.

The private corporate jet issue is irrelevant to the overall financial crisis that confronts us, however, the president mentions it in every speech but, fails to mention that the tax benefit (a five-year depreciation life as opposed to a seven-year life for a commercial aircraft) given to owners of these airplanes was written into his failed stimulus bill, which he promoted and signed.

Second, Mr. Meguin cannot refute my tax calculations, but argues that the wealthy have the benefit of tax credits, adjustments and gimmicks (he does not explain what these may be) and therefore are not paying their fair share of tax.

If he had taken the time to review my calculations, they were based solely on the receipt of compensation as stated, the same itemized deductions available to all taxpayers, no adjustments or gimmicks were utilized and perhaps to his surprise, he would find that the taxpayer with the lower income received a $3,000 child care credit while the higher income taxpayer does not, as that credit is phased out as income exceeds certain statutory amounts.

He may also be enlightened to find that there are several refundable credits contained in the tax code that allow refunds to exceed tax liabilities and these credits are not available to higher income earners.

I would have to agree that there are inequities in the tax code, which will hopefully be addressed. However, those should not be used to promote class warfare, as the majority of tax laws were written to promote economic growth or to accomplish a social agenda. Let’s advise our elected officials how we feel the tax code should be revised in order that meaningful reform can be accomplished.

George Sullivan


Bruer impressed us

In May of 2011, I met with a committee of four people from the Southold Town Conservative Party and, as in years past, we interviewed candidates for public positions in Southold Town. Running for the position of town justice were two candidates, one of who was Rudy Bruer. We on the committee has no allegiance to any one candidate, but at the end of the interviews, Rudy Bruer impressed us with his honesty and attitude. His was a voice of reason and understanding of the judicial process, having been doing it for years.

Upon much discussion the committee felt, for our town and out citizens, Rudy Bruer was the best and most balanced person for the job. Rudy Bruer is above all a gentleman!

Robert Goodale

chairman, Southold Conservative Party


About Factory Ave.

After plunking down $1.50 for the July 27 issue of The Suffolk Times, I was dismayed when I read Town Hall Notes.

Nothing is mentioned about Town Local Law No. 2011 regarding Chapter 260, Vehicles and Traffic, in connection with parking on Factory Avenue. Also much space was given on page 1 to “The sound and the fury” concerning Local Law 2011 on noise pollution.

Both laws were discussed rather lengthily, with much input by myself and others, especially an individual from The Cottages, where it is of utmost importance to residents in the area of safety and noise.

Finally, after several years of debate, inquiries and a town corridor study, the residents of Factory Avenue are about to turn the corner on the enactment of an amendment that will benefit the whole Mattituck community, who use this venue to visit the shopping center safely.

As Councilman Chris Talbot stated in your March 25 issue, “Mattituck has been grossly neglected … The problem lies in a lack of code enforcement.”

Not only that, but Factory Avenue in particular seems to be ignored, until another incident happens like the dump truck that overturned by the railroad crossing, narrowly missing a private vehicle in the opposite lane.

I recall your paper giving front page attention to the quality of life issues raised by residents of Sigsbee Road with regard to the truck traffic and noise generated by deliveries to CVS. Don’t we who use Factory Avenue, and the residents there, deserve the same consideration? At least the mention of our presence [to the Town Board], and addressing this item on the agenda should have been duly noted and reported. Don’t take my word for it, just watch Channel 22.

After all, we are all Factory Avenue!

Leroy Heyliger


Not about spending

We can easily imagine all children are excited about going to school in less than a month. Not all will be thrilled, some may be disappointed given that reality can be painful.

School board members may imagine taxpayers willing to pay any amount for education since it’s for the children. A study published in Education Next by a Harvard professor shows 65 percent of those surveyed opt for more spending. But when told per-pupil school spending averages $12,922 annually in the U.S., only 49 percent would spend more. Then when asked if they would opt for higher taxes, only 35% wanted higher taxes.

Really, why would a parent or grandparent choose to spend more on all children when that means less for their own?

Notice that the amount used in the survey, $12,922, is less than half of what is spent hereabouts. If asked that question, what would you say?

Why is local control of schools so important if only 10 percent of the budget is not state-mandated? What do you imagine you control? What in reality do you control?

Reality often differs from what can be imagined. That may be why we prefer entertainment, movies, TV and novels to serious works and critical thinking involving numbers.

By the way, what happened to the survey taken by the Southold schools? I wrote at length about its shortcomings but did not receive the courtesy of a response. The survey results were promised, at school-year-end, by Superintendent Gamberg. Any results yet?

Combining marketing magic and imagination with hubris, the NYC Schools renamed Andrew Jackson High School in Cambria Heights the Campus Magnet Educational Complex. How is that working out for the students?

Gunther Geiss


Payback, please

In reference to the recent article about the injured swan and turtle, it is so nice to see how parents raise their children by teaching them manners, kindness, humility, obedience and more.

Like how to shoot a swan with and arrow or drive a nail into a turtle.

Those people should have the same thing done to them, with no reservations. But in this world, it won’t happen.
Ralph Martin

Editor’s note: Mr. Martin is a former East Marion resident.


We’re not done yet on puppy mills

As your newspaper has reported, I had been working to draft legislation to ban the retail sale in Suffolk County of puppies obtained from substandard commercial breeding facilities known as “puppy mills.” Unfortunately, our legislative counsel ultimately concluded that such a law was preempted by Article 35-D of New York State General Business Law, which prohibits local municipalities from enacting any legislation regulating pet dealers. Because of this state preemption, I had no choice but to withdraw my original bill.

However, I am pleased to advise I will now be moving forward with an alternate proposal that is not preempted by state law. This new resolution will create the nation’s first rating system for pet stores that sell puppies. It will be modeled after rating systems already widely in place for restaurants.

In addition to providing consumers with the information they need to patronize pet stores that provide the best care for puppies on their premises, the rating system will also incentivize stores to obtain puppies from responsible breeders which provide the most humane care for dogs at their facilities. The ultimate goal is to use the power of market forces to reduce the demand for puppies sourced from “puppy mills.”

Over the coming weeks, we will be drawing up a detailed list of criteria that will be used to rate both pet stores and breeding facilities, which will form the basis of Suffolk County’s new “Puppy Protection Rating System.” I invite public input into this process and look forward to receiving recommendations from concerned individuals regarding the specific criteria that should be included in the rating system. Suggestions may be emailed to my attention at [email protected]

Legislator Jon Cooper


Mr. Carey saved us

Those of us who live on the North Fork owe a great debt to former Governor Hugh Carey, who died on Sunday.

Without his active intervention we would all today be neighbors of two 1,150-megawatt Fukishima-type nuclear plants in the hills behind the Hallockville Museum Farm.

In 1974, the Long Island Lighting Company announced plans for two large nuclear power plants on the 500 acres it had recently acquired from Levon Corporation, which had attempted to disguise a huge sand mine operation on the property as an industrial park and harbor. Local opposition, led by the Farm Bureau and other civic groups, began to form almost immediately, although the Riverhead Town Board remained adamantly in favor because of the potential taxes and jobs.

In July 1977, opponents got their most powerful supporter when Governor Carey announced his opposition. He cited the problems and dangers of nuclear waste as his main reasons. However, he was undoubtedly listening to the strength of local opposition.

His stance may also have been strengthened by the fact that his summer house on Shelter Island (where he died) was directly downwind of potential nuclear fallout from the proposed plant.

After several years of raucous hearings, in January 1979 the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission finally gave LILCO approval for the first of the two proposed nuclear plants on the site. This was not a surprise, since up to that date the NRC had approved all applications from other utilities.

However, New York had a parallel process for the approval of nuclear power plants and four out of the five members of state’s Nuclear Siting Board were key members of the Carey administration. In January, 1980, the state board denied the application for both of LILCO’s proposed plants, putting a formal end to the company’s quest to build nuclear facilities on the North Fork.

Richard Wines


Bipartisan culpability

In recent months we have witnessed a government beyond dysfunctional.

The message it sent to the rest of the world by its inability to resolve the debt crisis with an effective, sensible long-term solution has reverberated globally and the United States received its first credit downgrade by Standard and Poor’s. The finger-pointing by both parties during the negotiating was vehement, with each party blaming the other for not being able to come to a bipartisan compromise.

The only thing bipartisan about the U.S. government these days is that each party is equally to blame for our nation’s current downward spiral. One of the biggest flaws in our political system is the lack of accountability by our elected officials. Each candidate enters office with a list of promises that he or she claims to deliver successfully. The only downside to actually not delivering on these promises is the possibility of not being re-elected. In the meantime, he or she will receive full pay for misguiding his or her supporters and getting nothing done.

Even worse than not meeting the expectations of those who have elected a candidate into office is an official being part of a collective group who all blatantly fail together. Perfect examples are those congressmen who have contributed to the mismanagement of government money and have brought us to the debt crisis that we have witnessed as of late. Some of these same congressmen actually suggest taking more money from the American public as a good solution to the government’s irresponsible mismanagement of money. Where is the accountability?

When the banks failed, the president publicly crucified them and alienated the banks’ employees and CEOs.

“Receiving bonuses while taking government TARP money is unconscionable” or “they should give their bonuses back” was all the talk on Capitol Hill during the bank crisis. It’s time our government practiced what it preached.

Members of Congress should be compensated based on how successfully they all collectively run our country and balance our finances. Bipartisanship would take on a new meaning. It would be about the two parties coming together to get the right thing done so they can actually get paid a salary.

It’s time we held our politicians accountable for their performance. Taking taxpayer money to pay themselves while they contribute to the overall deterioration of our country’s well-being is not just unconscionable, it’s criminal.

David Muntner


Tea party’s fault?

Who asked the government to stop spending borrowed money? The tea party.

Who said run the country like a business or household? The tea party.

What is the tea party? Just a bunch of people to had the foresight to see what we were heading for. Just Americans who worried that we were spending more than we could afford.

Most seemed to be seniors, since they had more time to show up for demonstrations than those who work everyday.

But believe it, the tea party people worked all their lives.

Now I watch Democratic politicians blame these people for the current financial problems America is facing. Are they crazy?

They who run the government are blaming the tea party for the market crash? They had nothing to do with it? What a bunch of bull.

Remember when Southold village had three or four mortgage brokers on Main Street? They were providing free lunches for all the real estate brokers in town. They were giving mortgages to anyone and taking their commissions.

Didn’t matter if the buyers had the means to pay.

We reap what we sow.

The people to blame are the politicians, not Americans who were smarter than they were.

Bob Cavagna