Letters to the Editor

08/18/2011 7:02 AM |


Arrogant farmers

Articles abound in this paper praising farmers, yet the arrogance and selfishness of a handful of farmers is destroying the quality of life for many. Let’s support and preserve farms but let’s not do so by allowing the farmers to be bad neighbors.
Some farmers, specifically in Orient, fall into the bad-neighbor category. Their use of propane cannons, an antiquated and ineffective way of protecting their corn crops, is ruining the peace and quiet that all residents have a right to. Yes, I am aware of the Right to Farm Act, but that should more accurately be described as the “We’ll Do Whatever We Please And To Hell With Everyone Else Act.”
It’s this piece of legislation that is perpetrating one of the most ludicrous and ineffective agricultural practices still going strong in Orient, and that is the use of propane cannons to scare off hungry birds. It’s quite beyond comprehension that someone actually dreamed up this idea in the first place; to create a device that generates an ear-splitting explosion — in the case of my local farmer, five times a minute, 300 times per hour, equaling over 3,000 cannon blasts per day and all without concern or care for whoever else is within earshot.
Maybe the inventor was deaf; I know my local farmer is close to it. That doesn’t explain, however, how a legion of farmers not suffering hearing impairment actually seized on this bird-brained tactic and incorporated it into standard practice. But that’s where we’re at.
The lame response from politicians of virtually every stripe? They point to the Right to Farm Act, which shields the sacred cows of agriculture from contemporary common sense. And the farmers’ and farming advocates’ opinion that people who don’t like the cannons ought not to have moved close to a farm is simplistic, arrogant and selfish.
The larger point is this: There are countless regulations that control what private enterprise can and cannot do in the pursuit of profit. Farms are not allowed to pollute waterways, agricultural operations face strident rules such as meat and dairy standards. The health of the public is protected in those respects, but not in terms of stress and destruction of quality of life perpetrated by three months of noise pollution.
Clearly, there are costs to comply with all of those regulations. But when it comes to propane cannons, the farmers’ arguments that they can’t afford the costs of alternatives, or that they are less effective and therefore cut into profits, stand unchallenged by officialdom. I don’t buy it and neither do most residents with any common sense.
And a word to the selfish and arrogant farmers who use these cannons here in Southold Town: Start being a good neighbor and stop the use of your cannons. A very expensive legal battle may ensue for both the town and the individual farmers if some peace and quiet does not materialize.
And to those residents fearful of offending the “saintly farmers” I say this: Rise up, people. Make some noise!

Peter Banc


Quiet the cannons

I have been visiting the North Fork for many years, as the open spaces reminded me of my years growing up on a farm. This summer I was thrilled to receive an open invitation to stay with friends in Orient.
My June weekends were absolutely lovely. Beautiful weather, friendly neighbors and above all quiet and serene surroundings. Thus when my schedule allowed me to once again visit in August, I jumped at the chance. Yet one very key element was now suddenly missing: the quiet and serene surroundings.
It seems that some very rude farmers take it upon themselves to blast cannons all day long in an effort to keep birds away from their corn crops. By employing the use of these horrific noisemakers the farmers also entirely destroy the right of all residents to peace and quiet.
How a farmer can lack common courtesy and decency and use these atrocious devices is beyond me. Just because the Right to Farm Act allows farmers to act in such a rude manner, does it mean that they should? Maybe they should think about netting for their crops or the possibility of growing a different crop.
Surely all farmers on the North Fork don’t use these horrific cannons. I’m sure most farmers realize that tourism has become a major part of the North Fork and creating what sounds like a bomb-testing ground is not a wise way to keep the tourist dollars flowing.
To the farmers who don’t use propane cannons, I applaud you for your dedication to farming and for being good neighbors.
To those farmers who have blatant disrespect for their neighbors, you know who you are and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Vivian Cunningham


They’re just like us

Yes, I am distressed by Troy Gustavson’s column “Underestimating the gay presence.” Why am I distressed? The world now is only slowly understanding the gay presence. Every minute of every day homosexual people are reminded that they are a minority. (I dislike the word gay. Many people are gay, which means happy. I’m happy but not a homosexual.) Adolescents, when they realize they have a libido, homo or hetero, they have decisions to make. If you are a homosexual the decision you make can have you beaten to death, make you kill yourself, live a life of private misery, etc. I have friends who have had this done to them. If you live in Uganda, Africa, you will be put in prison, beaten or killed. Yes, Troy, you underestimate the gay presence. I suggest you live in Riverhead instead, and not the land of Oz.

Warren McKnight


Not up to the state

The Suffolk Times keeps writing about issues that I believe most of the North Fork population does not agree with.
The majority of the people are registered Republican, conservative people who believe in marriage as defined in Webster’s, not by the State Legislature. One of those issues is the new state law legalizing same-sex marriage.
Marriage is rooted in real differences between same-sex and opposite-sex unions. Only a union of a husband wife can make life and connect those children in love to their mother and father. Society — and government — have a unique interest in promoting marriage to further this goal.
I believe gay people are perfectly capable of entering into loving, committed care-taking unions. However, that does not justify government involvement or coercion of third parties to recognize these non-marital relationships as marriages.
Gay marriage is not an increase in liberty, it is a government takeover of an institution that government did not create and should not redefine.
When the government endorses a lie about human nature, there will be consequences .
There are actions in progress to repeal this government involvement. The National Organization for Marriage is targeting those politicians who voted for this bill. Others are saying the bill was illegally enacted, that it should have gone to a public referendum.

Joel Reitman


Better patrols now

In the give credit-where-credit-is-due department, I want to extend my appreciation to the Southold Police for its increased patrol of Route 48 where it narrows to a single lane before Youngs Road and of Soundview Avenue in Southold.
I wrote a letter to the editor about the traffic situation along these roads the other week and, whether it’s a coincidence or not, it’s certainly a welcome improvement.
Now I think it’s time for the Highway Department to step up to the plate.
Soundview Avenue from Mill Lane east to Kenney’s Road is about a mile and a half of twisting, bumpy road with many limited sight distances and hidden driveways. There are no sidewalks, but plenty of joggers, families, dog-walkers and bike riders in addition to a very busy summer camp.
The signage along this strip is poor and contradictory. There is only one 30 mph speed limit sign going east at the Mill Lane corner and not another for over a mile. That sign is hidden by foliage and, only 10 yards past it, there’s another sign that states a 20 mph limit. Likewise, going west from Kenney’s there is only one 30 mph sign for the entire stretch.
Last week the town put a mobile speed limit sign, but it’s placed along the wrong lane and situated past the spot where the worst speeding occurs.
I would ask that the highway department revisit these signs before an accident occurs, but it’s too late for that. This week, in the middle of the night, a car careened off Soundview Avenue (right where the 30 mph sign sits on top of the 20 mph sign) and crashed into a yard, destroying several 12-foot privet hedges and tossing a boulder a dozen feet across the lawn.
The driver sped into the night, but luckily no one was hurt.
Proper and coherent signage along Soundview Avenue doesn’t require the Army Corps of Engineers, just common sense. The money is certainly there for the task. I noticed that the highway department just put up 50 (50!) “Parking Prohibited” signs along the meager quarter-mile of Mill Lane from Route 48 to Goldsmith’s Inlet.
I am sure my good neighbors along Soundview would agree that resident miscreant speedsters are a far greater threat to our community than nonresident fishermen.

Laurence Maslon


He’s most qualified

Regarding Bob Goodale’s letter last week, we know Judge Bruer to be a good and honorable man. Yet, Brian Hughes stepping up to run for town justice has given Southold an opportunity rarely given in recent years.
No one to my knowledge has ever run for this office having the qualifications and experience of Brian Hughes. They include being qualified by the Suffolk County Bar Association for Judgeship, he’s able to practice before The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of N.Y., serving as a former state assistant attorney general, former Kings County district attorney bureau chief and executive assistant district attorney and more.
A read of the weekly police blotter and the increasing problem of drug enforcement indicates the position of Southold town justice demands a candidate with qualifications such as Brian Hughes’. Brian Hughes cannot be matched in being the most qualified and experienced.
Though he has to run affiliated with a political party, Brian Hughes’ character and background transcends any party labels. He, too, is a good man.

Art Tillman

chairman, Southold Democratic Party


Missing the point

“Property ownership isn’t paramount,” says the headline of self-appointed town watchdog Benja Schwartz’s Guest Spot. Really?
He misquotes the Southold Republican platform so that it serves his purpose, creating the impression that Republicans believe health, safety and welfare are less important than property.
Here is the reality, taken from www.southoldgop.com.
“Property rights are inherent in the core Republican philosophy and they are dependent upon the principles of fair government … The fundamental goal of Southold Town (and the Southold Republican Party) should be to respect and embrace this fundamental American right. Any formal need to intrude on this right should require an overwhelming and compelling case made to:
1. Ensure the public health, safety and welfare.
2. Balance the rights of one property owner in relation to others.
3. Exhaust all other options before acting against property rights.
Mr. Schwartz implies that not all people own property. He must have missed the law school lectures on property rights and assumes all property is real estate. He ignores intellectual property, such as ideas, innovations and songs. Even the poorest among us own clothes, shoes or tools, all real property worth protection. (
In fact, the protection of property rights is a major function of government devised to protect each of us from the bullies who would take what they saw and coveted. Sometimes the bully is government.
This whole Guest Spot seems to be created to get to his complaint that “The Town Board is running our government in secret.” Just because he can’t get copies of videos that are posted online, or copies of sound recordings of Town Board work sessions, is hardly supportive of his case. Can’t he FOIL what he wants to know about?
Mr. Schwartz needs to review his instruction on careful reading and accuracy in quotation, analysis and conclusions before he can properly assume the mantle of Frank Carlin. Frank got things right and was rightly proud of that.
In the sense of full disclosure I am a Republican who is not a member or supporter of the Southold Republican Party.

Gunther Geiss


Time for term limits

Over the past few weeks I have been very impressed with the quality of the letters to the editor. I’m not sure, but maybe all my complaining has finally paid off.
Other than a couple of warning shots from the lunatic fringe, these writers, whether liberal or conservative, have produced thought-provoking, well-written letters about the current state of our government in general and the debt ceiling debate in particular.
In most of these letters two themes have been constant; The complete dysfunctionality of the government which has been unashamedly put on display and the total lack of interest on both sides of the aisle in working towards a compromise. Instead, what we and the world have been shown is the behavior of a bunch of name-calling, finger-pointing brats in nice suits who would prefer to take their ball and go home rather than do their jobs.
It’s unfortunate that words which cannot be seen in print are the only ones that do justice to these incompetent megalomaniacs.
Even more important is the matter of compromise. The writer and historian Shelby Foote once said something to the effect that one of our greatest strengths as a people has been the ability to compromise. Our very government, perhaps the best in history, is completely based on compromise and the first time our gift really failed us was over the issue of slavery, which of course resulted in the Civil War.
What this lack of give and take will result in now is anyone’s guess, but I have a strong suspicion many in the Congress prefer gridlock to actually doing anything. After all, what if they really did get their way and history proved them wrong? Would they be able to take the responsibility and the criticism? I doubt it.
What’s the solution to all this? I’m not completely sure, but perhaps our next constitutional amendment should be one that establishes term limits for the members of Congress so the truly incompetent and irresponsible who can’t be weeded out at the ballot box are replaced through attrition. At the very least we would have a more or less steady supply of new energy, ideas and leadership.
After all, with close to 300,000,000 people to choose from we should be able to find a mere 535 who can help us get back on track.

Patrick Lohn


Monthly idiocies

The Berkshire Eagle, a fine daily newspaper in Massachusetts, states the following letter policy:
“Writers are limited to one letter per 30-day period. Letters should be 400 words or less in length.”
We suggest that The Suffolk Times should consider embracing this policy. Doing so would save us readers from endless weekly homophobic polemics and such factual idiocies as, “Why doesn’t our leftist press report the fact that the Fort Hood shooter and the Norway bomber were in fact Muslim terrorists?”
Having to deal with such verbal diatribes on a monthly, rather than a weekly, basis would be a relief to many of your readers.

David and Sara Evans


Keep the osprey here

A serious and historic blunder is being made by the Greenport Village Board in placidly allowing, with seemingly little or no concern, the removal of Roberto Julio Bessin’s osprey sculpture, one of our harbor’s most distinctive icons.
With all due respect to Jean Cochran and the park named in her honor, it seems obvious to me that this magnificent work belongs on the Greenport waterfront, rather than permanently landlocked in Peconic. It is, after all, an osprey.
I understand the board’s desire to keep Mitchell Park sculpture-free, but based on conversations I’ve had with several Greenport-knowledgeable citizens, I understand there are alternative locations that would do the sculpture justice.
There is a parable about hiding one’s light under a bushel, and I believe putting the osprey in Jean Cochran Park qualifies as a similar mistake.
This is a very large and dramatic work honoring America’s determination to rise from the ashes of 9/11. Mounted on a beam from the World Trade Center, it was wrought by a world-class sculptor, one whose works are installed and cherished in many locations stateside and abroad, and it deserves an appropriate home.
Rather than being admired daily, as it has been by thousands of boaters and day-trippers, few visitors are likely to stumble upon the piece should it reside in Cochran Park. I suspect the great majority of those will wonder what on earth such a huge and powerful piece is doing in a local ballpark.
(Yes, I know the park is the home of the Ospreys baseball team.)
I urge the board to act with all possible speed to intervene on behalf of Greenport’s residents, merchants and visitors. We must keep the osprey where it belongs, close by the deep waters of our harbor.

Hugh Prestwood


Take it with you

I have found a considerable amount of tangled fishing line, sometimes containing hooks, discarded on the beach at the end of Pete’s Hill Road in Orient. This trash presents a danger to birds, other animals and children.
I know that the perpetrators are not residents of Pete’s Hill Road.
I ask those who do fish the Sound off this beach, or any other beach, to be courteous and caring enough to take their discarded fishing line and hooks with them.

Maureen Sanders


Guild says thanks

I would like to thank The Suffolk Times and staff for their excellent coverage of Green Project Runway on the Cutchogue Village Green August 6.

We appreciate all the support that you’ve given to the guild. It’s helped us immensely in familiarizing the community with all that we do and in encouraging participation in our events.
Thank you once again.

Bob Kuhne

president, Old Town Art and Crafts Guild


Blast from his past

Reading your article on Jim Christy was terrific (“Christy’s hoops education began at the park,” Aug. 11). It brought back many memories of my past.
Playing basketball in Forest Park in the blue collar neighborhood of Glendale in the 1950s was great. I played many times with and against Jim on the basketball court there. It makes me think of the song Neil Sedaka sings, “If I could turn back the hands of time.”
They are fond memories of my past. Keep up the good work with stories like that.

Allan Kropp


You call this thanks?

We are two of the countless volunteers who worked closely with former mayor Dave Kapell on Mitchell Park and the many other projects he initiated. We can tell you that he was a full-time mayor. He worked night and day to help make what Greenport is today.
To reward him by cutting off the insurance benefit he earned over 20 years of faithful service to the village is not only wrong, it’s an insult to us and the entire community.
We call on the mayor and Village Board to right this wrong by restoring his benefit immediately.

Paul and Chris Dinizio


Life, liberty & quiet

All men are not created equal. If we were, the North Fork would not have to endure the constant noise pollution created by low flying helicopters going to the South Fork.
Our inalienable rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, do not exist when it comes to helicopters. Our quality of life has changed, and not for the better. The once serene North Fork now lives with helicopter noise at any hour, any day of the week. The closer to the weekend the more frequent the intrusion gets.
The dictionary defines liberty as, “the condition of being not subject to restriction or control.” Yet we are being both restricted and controlled by the FAA.
What about the pursuit of happiness? It’s hard to enjoy the quiet and beauty of the North Fork when the quiet turns into an incessant rumble of helicopters going to and returning from the South Fork.
I don’t think anyone on the North Fork would begrudge people taking helicopters to the South Fork to enjoy a special place, but getting there should not be at the expense of our special place.
Why can’t flights go down the Sound around Plum island to East Hampton or the Atlantic Ocean route or both? Why can’t the altitude be raised and maintained? Why do they fly low when it’s cloudy?
They use the excuse they have to follow lands routes. If they don’t have the instruments or can’t use them they shouldn’t fly. If commercial jets did that we’d have a real problem.
The Declaration of Independence goes on to say, “that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.” Haven’t we endured enough, and how long is it going to continue?
We need to put our elected officials on notice. Supervisor Russell, who told me he didn’t foresee any change with the helicopters, Congressman Bishop, who lives on the South Fork, and Senator Charles Schumer. Mr. Bishop and Mr. Schumer have been promising action on helicopters for years with no results. I did not mention Ed Romaine because I believe he is honestly trying to fix the helicopter problem.
If all men were indeed created equal the desires of the few on the South Fork would not out weigh the rights of the many on the North Fork.

Peter Walker


Tea party delivers

Does anyone understand the ramifications of the tea party’s recent actions?
For first time in history politicians were elected on what they promised and then delivered on their promise. The tea party representatives held fast because they were sent to Washington to hold down the debt and that’s exactly what they did.
The Democrats were quick to recognize that the tea party is a force to reckon with. It was the tea party that forced the Democrats to make the concessions which they had no intentions of conceding to and as it turned out were too little and too late to stop the downgrade of our triple “A” credit rating.
That realization and the fact that the Cut Cap and Balance proposal by the tea party would have prevented the downgrade forced the Democrats into a damage control mode.
By the next day a concerted effort by all the screaming liberal Democrats to vilify the tea party gave us their latest mantra, “tea party downgrade”.
As usual, the Republican leaders lost a great opportunity. They should have had a 3.000-page bill containing the Cut Cap & Balance strategy, standing by and then at the last hour proposed it, stating we must act now and pass it before it’s too late and we can read it later.
Had they done that, the onus would have been on the Democrats if they failed to enact the plan.
The fact is, the party of choice in 2012 will be the tea party, which is the people’s party. And while the Democrats recognize this, Republicans ignore and reject it. The latest poll indicates that over eighty percent of the populace believes both parties in Congress are doing a bad job.
It’s time to pass the word to the Republican Party to wake the hell up, and while you are at it, dump the RINO (Republican in name only) empty suit Romney.

George Dengel


Keep it moving

What a great job Suffolk County did repaving and extending Route 58’s eastbound lanes past Doctors Path. I understand the county is now working to synchronize all the traffic signals on that route. If New York State would increase the time of the green light eastbound at the Route 25/County Road 105 traffic light it would help eliminate the backup.

Ken Lebohner