Letters: ‘No’ community raises its ugly head

05/17/2012 5:00 AM |


The land of ‘no’

The “no” community has once again raised its ugly head.

This time the children and community were saved from iPads, a lower budget (much lower then any other district of similar size) and possible school choice, in which few, if any, would not chose beloved Greenport.

In the past we were saved from a better cell tower and better emergency reception, a water pipeline that would help fight a house fire and ferry traffic.

Yes, we are for open spaces.

On May 16 Newsday said more than 93 percent of school budgets were approved. But not the naysayers of Orient. We were one of eight budgets  that failed while 116 passed.

Thank God for the dedicated teachers and principal, administrators and staff and the very happy children. They stay above it all. They love their school.

Bob Hulsmann

East Marion


I read the article in the May 10 issue regarding the town taking Go-Green to court again in an effort to force residents who use their service to continue purchasing yellow bags. I am not a lawyer, so I do not understand the legal rationale for a case like this.

We citizens pay our local taxes that support the town’s services. Scott Russell points out that the yellow bags are to supplement these taxes. People pay extra depending on the level of service they use, that is the amount of garbage we bring to the local dump. By using Go-Green, my garbage is not even going to the Southold Town dump so I cannot understand why I would be paying this progressive tax.

It honestly seems a bit of a strong-arm tactic to keep a competitor out and create a monopoly. I’m a supporter of our local government and think they do a wonderful job on most issues. This, however, just seems an assault on free enterprise and the local business community.

Until we adopt a communist system in America, private companies have every right to compete with government, right? That’s how a capitalist economic system functions.

I switched to Go-Green over a year ago and am so pleased with their service. The company requires that we segregate our recyclables, which of course we do.

I must say on many trips to the town recycle center, the regular garbage area is full of material that was not sorted. I’m not sure how well the town is policing recycling as they accuse Go-Green of not doing.

The company I used prior to Go-Green for garbage pickup continually threw the receptacles that we provided at our expense all over the driveway and broke them beyond repair on more than one occasion. They also left recyclables with no explanation as to why on several occasions.

I was so happy to have the opportunity to choose a company that provided superior service.

Bob Siachitano


Move the generator

It’s been over nine years of sickening the neighbors of Satur Farms with a large diesel generator that burns 150 gallons of diesel fuel a day and nothing has been done because the owners of Satur Farms believe the Right to Farm law means the right to do whatever they want, including poisoning the air we breathe on a daily basis.

The neighbors continue to hide in their homes because they’re not able to breathe the air most days, or open their windows at all most days because the owners of Satur Farms don’t care about the people who live around them.

I must ask if they enjoy punishing the neighbors for something they had no part of from the beginning. Why are Paulette Satur and Eberhard Muller trying to torture and affect the health of their neighbors? This all could be over very fast if they’d relocate the generator — which should have never been placed near any homes — into a field or away from their neighbors’ homes or by installing a filter and stack. I guess when you have money it’s just easier to sue people to shut them up instead of doing the right thing.

Please, just move the generator away from our homes so we can enjoy the North Fork for why our families have lived here for generations — the breathable air and quality of life, which the business has taken from us.

It would not be that hard to correct the problem. All they have to do is conform to the site plan they submitted to the town.

I recently went to numerous North Fork farms and not one operates a generator next to homes. They’ve all been placed in a field away from homes.

If that’s an inconvenience, Satur Farms’ owners can always move it next to their home and see how well they breathe.

Jim Best


It’s all connected

Even the experts seem to be missing a few of the most essential points related to our ground and marine waters.

Connections between source and use:

Private wells should be supported and promoted in shallow glacial aquifers. Piping water should be avoided. Plastic bottles contaminate water.

Connections between faucet and drain:

Our community has one aquifer; we should and can do what is necessary to protect it. Our water supply is connected to wastewater disposal.

Connections between private, collective and environmental interests:

In local estuarian environments, one polluting property damages the owner’s interests as well as damaging the neighborhood’s interests. Private property is connected to public property.

Considering these points, it’s clear that Suffolk County Water Authority, Suffolk County health department and Southold Town must work together. The problem is that none of them are connecting the dots. For whatever reasons, each is working to keep the dots separate.

I love swimming, sailing and sitting on the bluff. Thinking outside the box means considering multiple points of view at once. If we don’t think outside the box the world is impossible to understand.

Benja Schwartz


Behind the numbers

On May 15 Oysterponds voters had a chance to reduce future tax levies by $250,000 a year by voting no on re-establishing a capital reserve fund. Per the proposition’s wording, $250,000 would be taken from this year’s surplus to make the first contribution to the fund.

Despite the superintendent’s claim, it is a tax upon district taxpayers.

As regards to the first two percentages school board member Thom Gray talks about in his “Padding the budget” letter of last week, I had absolutely no involvement in that. Since the 2007-08 school year was the first year of a new and very expensive teacher’s contract, it was imperative to increase the tax Levy by a considerable amount.

The following year’s increase of $661,585, or 13.4 percent, can be easily explained. When the district’s auditors closed the books for 2007-08, they reported a $300,000 revenue shortfall. On the auditors’ advice, we retroactively increased the tax Levy in the fall, as well as a consequent considerable depletion in reserves, to cover the shortfall.

It should be noted that the increase for the year 2008-09 was not $777,260 as implied by Mr. Gray in calling it a 15.8 percent hike. The 2007-08 tax levy was $4,919,358 and $5,580,943 the following year. Simple subtraction yields a difference of $661,585, or the 13.4 percent increase as stated above. Perhaps he would like to explain how he came up with the additional $116,675.

In the interest of full disclosure, he failed to mention that while Ted Webb was president, we were able to reduce the tax levy by $621,750, or 11.14 percent, when we prepared the 2009-10 budget. Over two years the average increase was $20,000, or less than one half of 1 percent for each of the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years.

Therefore, the tax levy increase he complained of was returned almost intact in the subsequent year, not last year as he claimed. The significant returns he refers to were generated by keeping a tight rein on all expenditures over the last few years.

Perhaps Mr. Gray should check his facts a little better in the future. And maybe he should concentrate his efforts on the present board. The past is past.

Walter Strohmeyer

former president, Oysterponds school board


Be careful with kids

This is in response to Cliff Batuello’s May 10 Equal Time.

I would caution parents of young children, namely 5-year-olds, to be cautious about encouraging them to participate in organized sports.

Their bodies are not developmentally ready for vigorous exercise. This means their muscles, bones, etc., need more time to develop. The possible damage may not show up until their teens.

Children sometimes push themselves to gain recognition and attention from the adults in their lives.

Just a word of caution from an early childhood teacher and parent.

Cecilia Loucka


Sound advice

It was nearly a year ago that a motorcyclist died near my road. Let his death not be in vain.

“Look twice, save a life” must be practiced every time we get behind the wheel.

Drive safe, everyone.

Joann Tamin


Theft report erred

Your Southold Police Report in the May 10 issue noted the theft of the catalytic converter from our Volvo, but incorrectly said that the theft had occurred in an Orient parking lot.

The part was stolen in Greenport, in the lot adjacent to the LIRR station and the Hampton Jitney stop. Apparently thieves can sell catalytic converters to scrap metal dealers for $40 or more. But the replacement cost to the auto owner can be $500 or higher.

There needs to be better patrolling of the Greenport parking lot, and better lighting, to prevent future theft and vandalism.

Betty Satterwhite Sutter


Photo appreciated

Thank you so much for printing a photo of two of the “outstanding poets” of the North Fork. This was the sixth year of the collaborative Poetry for Peace project sponsored by Congregation Tifereth Israel and North Fork Reform Synagogue.

All of the submissions were creative and meaningful. The poems reflected the imagination and wishes of the students.

A big thank-you to the teachers, parents and judges Billy Hands, Miranda Beeson and Vivian Eyre, who continue to encourage the emerging poets of the North Fork.

Thank you, too, to Floyd Memorial Library for use of the community room for the April 29 reading. Thank you, too, Martine.

Keep writing, everyone.

Paula Shengold

for Congregation Tifereth Israel and North Fork Reform Synagogue


The wrong source

Last month Mr. Cogen told us his father worked his whole life to send his two sons to college. This month he tells us when he was a kid college was free.

He also told us last month that the pursuit of happiness was guaranteed to him by the constitution. I never went to college, but I do know the pursuit of happiness is a right endowed by our creator, not government. That’s in the Declaration of Independence not the Constitution.

Apparently a free education is worth the price.

Gary Quarty


The wrong numbers

Sen. Moynihan’s classic remark that “everyone is entitled to his own opinions but not to his own facts” implies that it is important to get the facts right. Critics of Obamacare have repeatedly failed to do so. Gunther Geiss’ May 3 letter is another such failure.

In my earlier letters, I cited the fact that estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) indicate that the Affordable Health Care Act (“Obamacare”) will reduce the federal deficit. Mr. Geiss attempts to refute this. However, most of what he says is factually incorrect.

It is not true that, as Mr. Geiss asserts, revenues and savings from the law occur immediately and costs occur later, so the fiscal impact gets worse as time goes on. In fact, under the gradual implementation provided by the law, costs, revenues and savings all increase as the law is more fully implemented. But costs increase more slowly, so the net fiscal impact, more deficit reduction, gets better with time.

It is not true that, as Mr. Geiss asserts, a recent CBO study, or any CBO study, shows Obamacare will add to the deficit at all, let alone by the $1.7 trillion over 10 years that he claims. This number does appear in a recent CBO study, but it covers an 11-year period. More importantly, is an estimate of gross costs, without offsetting savings and revenues. In fact, this study arrives at a slightly lower net cost over a 10-year period for the provisions studied than the previous CBO estimate.

Mr. Geiss, like many opponents of Obamacare, cannot accept the fact that Obamacare was carefully designed to avoid adding to the federal deficit, as judged by the nonpartisan CBO. However, it is a fact.

Stanley Brown


What type of

As an independent, middle-of-the-road voter, Randy Altschuler has to convince me and like-minded locals if we are to support his election bid — one with important national consequences. If he is successful, he would add to the present Republican majority in the House and provide added power to its agenda.

Yes, he announces his support for more jobs and lower gas prices. Do you know anybody who doesn’t? But I would like to hear about a few tougher questions:

Will he sign on to the Grover Norquist pledge never ever to raise taxes … under any circumstance? This stance has produced gridlock, not agreements — not even when a 10-1 plan cutting spending ten times that of increased revenue was offered.

Does he support the Republican Ryan budget — one that will privatize Medicare for my children and my grandkids? The budget also includes the doubling of the present interest rate for college loans as well as the curtailing and/or elimination of other social programs.

Will he support a significant national infrastructure endeavor, one that is desperately needed and a surefire job-creator and yet not supported? And how would he provide the funding for it?

We certainly need a discussion/debate on these and other topics.

Ed Goldstein


Similar concerns

In the letters section of the April 19 paper historian Barbara Ripel takes us on a quick tour of history and then contrasts the historic tea party and today’s tea party. She writes: “Today’s tea party has put their trust in corporate control of the government.” She provides no support for the comment, which seems to be the crux of her letter.

The platform of today’s tea party is really simple: smaller government, lower taxes, individual liberty rather than government intrusion, and free markets. How does that translate into “corporate control of the government?” It doesn’t.

The tea partyers of today are as fed up with government as the colonists were with unrepresentative taxes back then. In short, today’s tea party sees the federal government as coercive now as Britain was with the colonies in 1773.

Don Rose


Sound familiar?

It’s déjà vu all over again.

JP Morgan Chase announced this week a $2 billion to $4 billion dollar loss. Under the cloak of a financial hedge, they actually engaged not in risk management, but in some very risky risk-taking — risk-taking with depositor money.

The banks like this system where they get to keep their profits when it goes well, but share their losses with you and me when it doesn’t. They still know they are too big to fail and operate like they know it.

The Volcker Rule as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, if implemented, would have prevented this type of wild speculation. JP Morgan Chase is one of the most respected and smartest banks, but also is one of the most aggressive in their efforts, working 24/7, to water down the Volcker Rule.

They have the full support of Gov. Romney and Congressional Republicans in this effort. They are wrong.

This announcement is the canary in the mine. This cannot be blamed on Fannie Mae, or cunning poor people tricking unsuspecting bankers. The Volcker Rule and Dodd-Frank defend the interests of the middle class and must be implemented.

This event tells us clearly that Wall Street reform is necessary because it is our economy, our jobs, our pensions and in fact our national security that are at stake.

Mort Cogen


It’s now or never

Grover Norquist is the founder and president of the lobbying organization Americans for Tax Reform. Ninety-five percent of current Republican congressmen signed Mr. Norquist’s “taxpayer protection pledge,” which binds them to never pass a tax increase.

Is Mr. Norquist assigned this job by the U.S. Constitution or the Bill of Rights or by any government action? No, he is simply a right-wing agitator who found a GOP hot button to push. Should this sort of pledge be allowed as a part of government? No. Is this sort of behavior the way Congress should work? No. Congress should respond to constituents and to logic, not to lobbying fanatics.

A CNN poll determined that three-quarters of the public favor the “Buffett rule,” which simply states that CEOs should not enjoy a tax rate lower than the rest of us. And yet, the GOP in Congress will not listen.

In spite of common sense and informed economic analysis, in spite of past history and in spite of their constituents’ polling results, the GOP continues to support a “no tax increase” policy. And we sink deeper and deeper into the financial morass.

With the November elections approaching, we must all pay attention. These wild-eyed zealots must be replaced with thinking legislators who understand basic economic activity and realize that they work for the United States and not lobbyists with narrow self-serving agendas.

When the new Congress is in place we must pass the “Buffett rule.” Then let former president Bush’s tax cuts expire. And then watch the dreadful statistics improve. Common sense in November. It’s now or never.

Howard Meinke


He is a disgrace

Barack Obama is not only a disgrace to the office he holds, but also to this great country, which he is attempting to convert into his socialist empire.

He has nothing but contempt for the country that provided him the opportunity to be an outstanding figure in history. Instead he became a dismal failure.

He has disgraced us internationally and has bribed those who choose entitlement over achievement.

He is committed to converting our nation into a plantation society, which of course he will control.

The truth about this demagogue will come to light, unfortunately, after he leaves office, which a lot of us hope happens after the next election.

He has learned his strategy from Alinsky and Ayres and continues to follow the party line of transforming this country into a facsimile of the failed European countries.

We shouldn’t sacrifice jobs for 99 weeks of unemployment compensation.

We shouldn’t allow his continuous assault on our Constitution.

Mr. Obama’s refusal to open up our own oil fields is a feeble attempt to make us oil dependent on the Middle East countries, especially his pals in Saudi Arabia, so they can control our daily lives with exorbitant gasoline prices.

Instead of relaxing some of the ridiculous environmental laws that handcuff our business sector, he does the opposite, creating more unemployment.

Instead of lowering taxes on all businesses, especially our small to medium-sized ones, he allows them to fail, so that he can exercise more control over the unemployed sector that he creates.

Barack Obama will be defeated and he will live in memory as our worst president, and he will not only have disgraced our flag, but his family as well.

How unfortunate for them and those that trusted him with their votes.

The truth about Mr. Obama will eventually be revealed. I only hope that it won’t be too late to right the wrongs that we have sustained under his presidency.

God help America.

God bless America.

John Copertino


Worse off? Hardly

Mitt Romney has repeatedly asserted that President Obama is in “over his head” and his policies have “made the economy worse” since he took office in 2009. When the president took office, we were losing 750,000 jobs per month, and in this latest month we added 115,000 new jobs. We have had positive jobs growth for the last 26 months, with recent months closer to 200,000 jobs added.

When President Obama took office, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 7,949. On Friday it closed at 13,003, an improvement of 61 percent.

Can any supporter of Gov. Romney write in and explain how it is better to lose 3/4 of a million jobs per month than to have positive job growth, a difference of almost 1 million jobs per month? Does Romney, whose business expertise is supposed to be his strength, really believe this?

The defense that I have repeatedly heard attacking the president’s handling of the economy refers to a prediction made by one of his advisers, Christina Romer, in December 2008 prior to the president taking office. At that time Ms. Romer, who was about to become head of the president’s council of economic advisors, speculated that unemployment wouldn’t go above 8 percent if the Recovery Act was passed, but she was basing that prediction on fourth-quarter numbers from the Government Accounting Office that were later revised downward to show that the economy was much deeper in recession that December than had been previously reported. Contrary to the often-repeated claim, President Obama himself never said that unemployment would stay below 8 percent, though if the Recovery Act had given fewer tax breaks and instead included more investment in our crumbling infrastructure we might have been able to achieve that goal.

Jerry Silverstein