A simple solution
Last week you received a letter from a frustrated reader tired of the angry discourse over the state of affairs in our government. The author asked “(Does anyone) have any positive, practical, suggestions to how we can dig ourselves out of the mess we’re in (that’s not) unbelievably simplistic”.
I do, but it is simplistic.
The federal government’s runaway annual spending now exceeds its revenue (the deficit) by more than its total spending only 15 years ago. Meanwhile, politicians stuff the Social Security “lock box” with IOUs and almost ensure Medicare will never meet the promises made to us, not to mention paid for by many of us.
The solution is simple, not easy. It is time to stop debating what it would be nice or moral for the government to do. It is time to elect officials that first and foremost commit to spend within the means of those who must ultimately foot the bill.
The problem is only 40 percent of us are voting. Our Founding Fathers risked both their personal wealth, not to mention their lives, and our nation has asked 2 million citizens to die in its defense. Is it too much to ask of us to stand up and say politely, but firmly, “No more, thank you,” to a government that has grown beyond our means to pay? And not just to the TV or our esteemed local papers editor, but at the poling booth.
Simple also does not mean idealistic. Remember how quickly the values expressed in the 1994 “Contract with America” were corrupted? And how many people thought “change we could believe in” meant something very different from what they are now seeing? We must make sure the politicians understand we mean what we say.
That will take a principled vote at every opportunity. But it will also require us to use our democracy’s “secret weapon”. It’s the opportunity we get to vote directly on the size and cost of government. It is our chance to directly put a stop to unsustainable spending. And to let the politically ambitious know that we will demand no less from them if they want to keep their cushy jobs.
It is not easy to tell the nice folks down at the library or school, “No more, thank you”. But neither is it easy to see too many families forced to leave our community, or endure hardships at home, because they can’t afford their property taxes any more.
As a recent example, Cutchogue Free Library’s budget vote was approved two weeks ago and the “free” library will now cost each homeowner almost $500 a year. The budget passed with 153 yes votes. And the recent $2 million bond with $200,000 in annual costs was approved with just 258 yes votes. Would the majority of residents really join the library for $500 a year, if given the individual free choice? Maybe we should find out.
Many of us have been convinced by the special interests and their allies that “resistance is futile”. It is not. And we have just the secret weapon to change the unsustainable course we are on. It is that simple.
I vote. No blue ribbon government commissions study required.
Where’s the outrage?
I was surprised that I couldn’t find letters of outrage about the elimination of train service from Penn Station to Greenport weekends and holidays beginning after Columbus Day.
My three grandsons love to take the train and it is affordable. For one adult and three children the cost is about $40 round trip, compared to the Jitney, which is $160.
This option translates into spending zero money in town for the carousel, ice rink, Goldsmith’s toys, Arcade and eating out.
Does this service cost the MTA more than the $2.8 million they are spending to “study” an alternative? I would think the towns, serviced by this weekend train, could enjoy the additional revenues it brings through at least the Christmas holiday.
The jetty facts
For the benefit of your readers, I would like to correct some errors of fact that were printed in last week’s article concerning the Peconic jetty project.
The jetty was built to control the shoreline erosion to the west of the inlet and for that reason only. Also, there were never two jetties on either side of the inlet’s entrance.
During the existence of the old grist mill over 100 years ago, the inlet channel, or “gutter” as it was called, was bulkheaded on either side to stabilize the banks of the inlet channel. These were not jetties, as they did not extend beyond the shoreline.
No additional sand has collected on the west side of the jetty since 1976, over 30 years ago. The town’s own commissioned study on jetty-shortening alternatives states that there would be no accretion of sand as far east as Kenney’s Beach even if the jetty was shortened by 50 percent.
Politics trumps logic
Despite thirty years of scientific study by every state and federal agency imaginable, studies that concluded that the Goldsmith Jetty has significant effect on the littoral drift of sand eastward, the Town Board failed to approve the Goldsmith DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement) at its Sept. 14 work session.
The Goldsmith DEIS addressed the removal of only one-third of the jetty, a significant compromise to the complete solution.
One only need to stand at entrance of Goldsmith Inlet to see the dramatic effect the jetty has to the west and, more importantly, the drastic effect on the shoreline to the east.
Apparently there are more voters west of the jetty to be concerned with. Once again, politics trumps logic.
Mr. Betsch is chairman of Southold Voice, a waterfront homeowner’s advocacy group.
Just say no
Famed author and e-book writer Stephen King recently stated that in five years, 50 percent of all books published will be in e-book format only. As this trend will surely increase, I urge all Southold residents to visit live-brary.com to understand the new role of the local library.
Live-brary.com is the new digital branch of the Suffolk Cooperative Library System. The resources are far greater than any local branch. Virtually all services will be provided direct to library card-holders’ computers or telephones on a 24/7 schedule.
Southold Free Library’s $7 million expansion plan is totally unjustified, as its future will require less floor space, fewer bookshelves, fewer personnel, less parking, etc. This is not the time for frivolous spending or raising taxes.
Be sure to go to Southold Library on Saturday, Oct. 16, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and vote.
Just say no.
A worthwhile effort
The call for “no new taxes” is heard very often these days and while that’s a legitimate matter of concern, I am willing to pay my share of a tax increase that would enable Southold Free Library to achieve its plans for expansion.
I think that the expanded facility would go a long way toward allowing the library to improve the benefits it provides to the Southold community.
While a projected average increase of $115 to $135 per household should not be belittled, I do think that the many free benefits the library offers to our community makes it a worthwhile investment.
Proud of the Porters
I am so very proud to live in Greenport and on my beloved North Fork.
Greenport School’s recent award as a “Blue Ribbon School” is a phenomenal achievement. This federal honor was given to only two schools on Long Island, and to only 304 schools in the entire nation. Wow!
My son attends Greenport School. I know first hand how wonderful our teachers are. Mr. Ron McEvoy was my fifth grade teacher at Sacred Heart School (now Our Lady of Mercy) in Cutchogue. He has always been a dedicated, incomparable educator.
Superintendent Michael Comanda is a positive, dynamic, hands-on, down to earth administrator. Many people probably don’t realize that he recently declined a salary increase. As school board member Heather Wolf so eloquently stated, “Mike Comanda is a prince.”
I truly feel that Greenport School is a great school. My son even went to Union College for a week when he was 10. The PTA contributed money for him to do that.
There is a lot of grumbling lately about Greenport School. That makes me sad. My mother, my three siblings and I all graduated from Mattituck High School. That is also a great school. Both are great schools.
I also wish to mention the Greenport Maritime Festival. There was such a great sense of community. Volunteers were everywhere. The parade was wonderful. Our fire departments and rescue squads are so appreciated. They looked great. Southold Town Police did a wonderful job of keeping us safe. So many people gave us much of themselves.
Greenport Bay Scout Troop #51 had a 50/50 raffle and raised over $1,200 in two days. How heart-warming that our community continually supports these fine young men.
I feel so fortunate to live here on the North Fork. We have a truly unique, wonderful place.
Mary (Missy) McCabe
Today, as the readers of The Suffolk Times sit down with their local paper and their cup of coffee, I can’t help but think that for many of us who frequent The Village Market on Love Lane, it is the end of a very special era in our community.
For me and others, “The Market,” as it’s commonly referred to, is more than just your common deli/coffee store. For me it’s the place I go every morning to check in on the town I love so much to see what’s happening, who’s ill, who’s home from college and who may have good news to share.
The Market has been a special meeting place for so many. My kids grew up in this place, accompanying me there on so many mornings to get breakfast, lunch or just a treat.
My daughter, Nicole, worked there in the summers during high school and college and to this day would still always have to visit when she came home from Denver for the holidays to see Mike, Judy, Cindy, Mario, and the rest of the crew.
The Village Market is a special place because of the people. There will always be a special place in my heart for Judy, who cooked every dish with the special ingredient called “love”.
The community owes a huge debt of gratitude to Mike Bourguignon, the owner, for always opening up his heart and his wallet for any cause that came to The Market for a donation.
You would never know that Mike wasn’t from Mattituck or didn’t live in Mattituck. By his actions, you always thought that this was his home town.
So as you take your final sip of coffee from The Market today, join me in wishing Mike, Judy, and the crew our thanks and best wishes.
Quiet? Not quite
This is in regards to Ms. Wells’ letter advocating the need for a noise ordinance in Southold Town and referencing her great-grandparents’ peaceful, tranquil, bird-listening life on Legion Avenue in the good old days.
Having grown up in the neighborhood and knowing Mr. and Mrs. Wells (very nice people), I beg to differ. At any given time there were 10,000 kids (I exaggerate a bit) running, screaming and playing all over the neighborhood.
No video games. TV, if you were lucky enough to have one, had the news on or Howdy Doody so we were outside.
No cell phones, so if someone got a phone call, someone else was yelling to them to come and answer it. And you better make it quick as we had party lines.
As I recall, we even found a way to make our bike riding noisy by clipping playing cards to the spokes with clothespins.
Dogs barked a lot (no leash laws). They barked at each other, people, cars, kids, cats and squirrels as they roamed around. We told them to shut up and go home. Mrs. Albin’s huge sheepdog “Pal” had to be about 20 years old. I think he was too old to bark.
Let’s not forget the nightly baseball games at the cemetery. The players: Dick Sterling, Edgy Moisa, Charlie Coutts, Paul Duke, Freddy Hasslinger and any others that came by. The girls and the ones who were too young to play, like the Mahaney and Wilcenski boys, cheered all on.
Suppertime was a cacophony of first names yelled out back doors by mothers who were trying to keep the food warm (no microwaves).
After supper, at dark, we looked for bats and also told ghost stories by flashlight (more screaming).
Windows were kept open (no air conditioners), doors were unlocked (no stealing). If you heard music coming from someone’s house, it was Pat Boone, Perry Como or Lawrence Welk.
I remember fondly my parents sitting in our car, in the driveway, trying to get some peace and quiet to read the Sunday papers.
Was it peaceful, tranquil and quiet? No, but nobody seemed to mind, it was the sounds of the neighborhood.
By the way, as for kids and their cars, you should hear the sounds souped-up ’57 Chevys made. I thought I was boss!
Barbara Walgo Sailor
Losing our future
“Where are the jobs? Where can we afford to live?”
Sound familiar? It should.
In Southold Town I’m hearing it more and more, especially from our young folks just graduating and trying to find a good job.
A young lady said to me, “I want to enjoy living on the North Fork. I was born and raised in Southold. But people are moving away. Like me, they’re leaving because they can’t find any good jobs and really make a living here anymore.”
Sad, but true.
Southold is losing its future. And it’s ours to lose.
Without growth the future yields.
Where’s Main Stage?
I have never written a letter to the editor before, but this I could not let go.
The article on North Fork dance studios left out one very important studio, Main Stage Dance in Greenport. My daughter is a professional dancer and actress in New York City and the director of Main Stage, Lucille Naar-Saladino is the only one on the North Fork I trust with my daughter’s dance education.
She runs this studio with so much professionalism that I compare it only to studios in New York City. I think we are very lucky to have such a high quality professional to teach our children dance way out here on the North Fork.
I feel it was a disservice to her and her staff not to be mentioned in the article.
The rich get richer
In the 1970s the top 1 percent of American earners received 8 to 9 percent of national income. By 2007, the richest 1 percent were taking home more than 23 percent of total national income.
In 2007 the richest 1/10 of a percent, 13,000 households, took in more than 11 percent of total national income.
Of the top 500 CEOs in corporate America, the median take-home was $7.5 million. But a male worker earning the median wage in 2007 earned less, adjusted for inflation, than a male worker 30 years earlier. A rousing $36,000. Wow!
Now here we are, trying to lessen the deficit by reinstating the income tax on those families making over $250,000. That 2 to 3 percent of American households and the Party of No argues against it. What the Party of No does want however, is to cut Social Security and repeal the health care bill and eliminate regulation of almost everything.
Economists all agree that ultimately we have to produce and consume our way out of this national distress. Businesses have to make products and banks have to lend and citizens have to consume. And illogically we think this can happen while we let the rich run off with all the money and the consumers are all broke.
When asked why his workers’ paychecks were so large, Henry Ford said, “I need people out there with enough money to buy my cars.” So simple and sensible.
The Party of No, however, sounds remarkably like Marie Antoinette speaking of her famished peasants who were pleading for bread. Famously she said. “Let them eat cake!”
But there is hope. Marie Antoinette was beheaded.
What are we paying them for?
New York State has a budget deficit in excess of $9 billion, while Rhode Island is showing a budget surplus of $17.7 million. From these figures I can only guess which state’s representatives are doing the jobs they are being paid to do and which state’s representatives are just fooling the voters.
If I were to paraphrase a TV advertisement, I would say to my representatives in Albany: “It’s my taxes and I demand that you spend them wisely.” But unfortunately they seem to care less what we, the people, expect for the salary we pay them.
Thomas W. Smith
By what authority?
I am one of the two Greenport Village residents with a legal mooring in Stirling Harbor you refer to in your Sept. 23 article.
My mooring has been in Stirling Harbor for the past 37 years. It was installed by Ralph T. Preston, Inc. in 1973.
It is now and has always been properly federally permitted, with a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency with jurisdiction over navigable waterways.
In spite of the long history of my mooring in these waters and in spite of its legal presence there, Mayor David Nyce is insisting upon its removal. He is doing so based on an unsubstantiated claim that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has no jurisdiction over the navigable waterways around the village.
On Sept. 23 Mayor Nyce’s hired hands, acting illegally, roughly removed my boat from its mooring. They then pulled the mooring ball and tackle out of the water and absconded with it to an undisclosed location. Even if Mayor Nyce’s claim that the Army Corps of Engineers has ceded authority over federal waters is valid, my mooring should not have been removed, it should have been grandfathered in.
It is accepted, traditional and normal practice that upon a change in law or jurisdiction, property that has been legally maintained under the previous law or jurisdiction is grandfathered. It is plainly evident that the grandfather clause applies to my mooring and should be recognized.
Mayor Nyce’s motivation in unilaterally removing my mooring and recklessly exposing the village to the expense of a possible lawsuit is not readily evident.
There are only two legal, private moorings in Stirling Harbor. The additional revenue from the rental of these two moorings will have no discernible impact on the village budget deficit. Furthermore, during the past season there were several empty moorings in the harbor, so there may not even be a market for additional moorings.
I challenge Mayor Nyce to substantiate his claim by making available the documentary evidence that shows the grant of jurisdiction to the village over the navigable waterways surrounding it.
If he does I will remove my mooring tackle from Stirling Harbor if asked to do so.
Until such time, however, I will consider the mayor’s actions in taking my property from the waters of Stirling Harbor an illegal infringement and will insist upon maintaining my legal right to my mooring.
The people’s money
Where is the document? When a government spends $260,000 for engineering, by law there must be a contract which any citizen can view.
Yet the Village of Greenport seems unable to produce it.
Perhaps The Suffolk Times can gain access, since the average citizen is just a joke to this government. Still, the main issue here is the people’s $260,000 and that isn’t giggles it’s money.
Mr. Swiskey is a former village trustee.
At odds with reality
I am glad that someone on the Village Board acknowledges the lack of, and often confusing, information provided to village residents at work sessions, regular meetings, and in general.
Trustee Phillips’ statement that she wants to improve the information flow to residents is commendable, but at odds with the reality of what happens at board meetings. Residents are often told that Village Board meetings and work sessions are not the place for questions or discussion, only comments.
When asked what was the proper venue for questions to elected officials, often the response is to “just call Village Hall.”
I realize that some speakers, myself included, can belabor a point, but the few minutes every month the Village Board allows the public to address them in a public setting should allow a person a small amount of latitude in trying to make a point or properly understand what is being proposed.
I hope the rest of the board will mirror Trustee Phillips’ desire to keep the public informed.
Seniors say thanks
The senior class of Greenport High School would like to sincerely thank the East Marion Fire Department for the use of its grill and the donation of members’ time at our back-to-school night barbecue.
It was a huge success for us and a great community event. The department’s help was instrumental in making the event so successful.
Greenport High Class of 2011
Dodged a bullet
The North Fork just dodged a bullet, but the crisis is by no means over.
Cross Sound Ferry’s project for a larger boat with the capacity to add three thousand 18-wheeler trucks a year to the traffic burden on our small road and all the way to Riverhead is now one of just six approved projects for a major federal grant. And more funding for this initiative is in the pipeline, perhaps imminent. Because the grant includes upgrading engines on two of their other boats, the proposal is being touted as protecting the environment.
But no consideration has been given to our environment in this award or to the safety, health, and quality of life of the residents of Southold Town and Riverhead. It is part of Joe Lieberman’s efforts to get traffic off I-95, traffic in large part generated by southern Connecticut’s huge economic machine of casinos and theme parks.
The project pits that economic interest of Connecticut against the North Forks’ efforts to base our economy on the preservation of farms, open space, and cultural tourism. As part of the I-95 Corridor Coalition, the New York State Department of Transportation is, appallingly, one of the sponsors of this grant application.
Our elected New York State and federal officials must stand up and act to protect their constituents from Connecticut’s rapaciousness. The ferry’s purchase of a residential property next to the Plum Island parking lot, which the government also plans to put up for sale, is additional reason to be extremely concerned.
U.S. Senators Schumer and Gillebrand and Rep. Tim Bishop should be urged to make it clear in Washington that our road is incapable of accommodating additional traffic. And we must insist that our Southold Town government take all available steps to prevent this monster from ever docking in Orient.
This would be Cross Sound Ferry’s most outrageous assault to date and the irony is that we taxpayers would be paying for it.
Freddie Wachsberger and Venetia Hands
Norman Thomas was the socialist candidate for the presidency in six elections from 1928-1948.
When asked as to why he wouldn’t run in 1952, he was quoted as stating the following:
“I no longer need to run as a presidential candidate for the Socialist Party, because the Democratic Party has adopted our platform.”
The two parties in this country are the progressive socialists, who wants to emulate the dismal, failed countries of Europe, and the conservative party that wants to conserve our Constitution and preserve the capitalist system that has made us the most successful society in the world.
Socialism/communism leads to a country of deadbeats who depend on the government to see to all their needs through over-taxation of those who are willing to succeed.
Until Jimmy Carter came along, I voted the Democratic line. Then the Democrats went too far to the left and forgot what this country was all about. That is individual liberty and the guarantee of the pursuit of happiness.
Not guaranteed happiness through chronic welfare and other giveaways, but the freedom to pursue happiness. You make your own happiness through wise choices.
P.S. Beware of those who register voters under the banner of the Organization For America. That organization was formed by Obama to collect you in his database and then inform you of the dubious greatness of this Svengali, the man who would be king.
Sounds a lot like what ACORN was doing.
The local post office will supply you with voter registration forms.