Letters to the editor

Shelve the green
I urge the Town Board to shelve the Mattituck village green project, at least until the local and national economies return to their more normal and robust levels of past years.
Put the $500,000 in a special account that also will assist in balancing the budget in 2012 without having to do quite as much nickel-and-diming with the budget and tax rate. Better yet, donate the site to the Mattituck Park District, which would take over the development and maintenance of the Mattituck village green and free the town of adding those costs to the general budget.
“Town raises trashed” and “Asphalt out, gazebo and grass in” were headlines on articles in the Nov. 18 Suffolk Times that seemed to give opposing views of the supervisor’s fiscal philosophy. In the first, Mr. Russell is reported as scrapping the 4 percent raises for town officials initially in the 2011 budget because it was unfair to give raises totaling approximately $37,000 “at a time when the town was trying to cut back.” The second article reports on his suggestion for a new half-million-dollar village green for Mattituck. What happened to his effort to “cut back” on town expenses?
Although interesting, I found the article about a village green very ill-timed. Interesting because the supervisor makes it appear that the central focus provided by the village greens in Cutchogue and Southold came about by town action. Quite to the contrary, as the Southold green was inspired by the wanton demolition of the landmark Hartranft house.
The Southold green came about when several community leaders, led by George Wells, donated the funds to purchase the site and develop it as the town green now owned and maintained by the town.
The site of the Village Green in Cut­chogue was acquired in 1960 when the newly formed Cutchogue-New Suffolk Historical Council purchased it from the Congregational Church and Society. The green was developed and is maintained for the use of the general public entirely with the council’s funds, without any assistance from Southold Town or any other tax-supported agencies. It should be pointed out that Poquatuck Park, Orient’s village green, is owned and maintained by the Oysterponds Historical Society, not the town, as is often thought.
The Mattituck green proposal is extremely ill-timed. We are living in difficult economic times, locally as well as nationally. Some of our neighbors are without jobs, some are facing foreclosure on their homes and others are going hungry. Even if much of the work could be done by town workers, the $500,000 cost is not, as the supervisor suggests, “more than reasonable to get this done.”
Granted, as the supervisor said, “Let the community decide what it wants there.” Obviously, there are pros and cons about the proposed project.
My great-great-grandfather Andrew Gildersleeve was a pillar of the Mattituck community in the mid and late 19th century. He built the well-known Octagon House, the Presbyterian church and Gildersleeve’s General Store, and served on the school board and as postmaster. So my roots are in Mattituck as well as Cutchogue and I want the best for both hamlets as well as for the entire town.
I am confident that the Town Board will do what is best for Mattituck and the rest of the town by postponing the village green project until the local and national economies improve considerably.
James Grathwohl

Time to move on
As a longtime resident of Mattituck and Captain Kidd Estates, I’ve always enjoyed the charm and beauty of this beach, which changes constantly with weather and seasonal conditions. That’s part of what makes the view from the Mattituck beach a beautiful paradise to be enjoyed by all its residents.
Happily, the town provides several access points to this beach, one on Inlet Drive, one on tiny Sound Beach Drive and the well-equipped larger public beach on Breakwater Drive, all within steps of each other and the Rivera home. These access points provide essentially the same view seen from the Riveras’ and other homes along the beach.
The beach can be easily walked by all who wish to enjoy it, and in front of privately owned residences it can be walked below the mean high tide mark in accordance with state law.
I have always made every effort to respect this when I walk on any beach. It should be noted that the 2007 lawsuit mentioned in your article filed against the town did not give the Riveras ownership of the sand to the mean high tide watermark, it upheld the owner’s right to it under state law. 
There was an important fact omitted concerning the photo that recently appeared in your paper depicting the fence on the Rivera property. It was taken during Hurricane Earl, when tides were abnormally high, causing significant beach erosion.
When legally installing the fence, as confirmed by the town Trustees, the Riveras followed the legal processes required for permission to put it on their property. Unfortunately, it finally became necessary to define their property as theirs borders public beaches and people frequently use their property.
In all fairness, would any of you be happy about people passing by using your front lawn or otherwise using your property?
Sadly, there isn’t enough waterfront property to go around, but let’s get this straight — people make a clear choice to buy on or off the water. Please let’s not forget that wanting something and owning something are two different concepts. For example, is it legal for one to camp out or walk all over a neighbor’s property because it’s nicer, has more shade, has beautiful landscaping, has a view that you covet or has a pool you want to use? I think not.
We are all welcome and have easy access to walk the beach as long as there is no trespassing on someone else’s property. Property is property, and if you own it, you have certain rights that convey with the property you own. This rule protects every homeowner.
Under state law, waterfront property owners own to the mean high tide mark. It’s the law. Get over it. Move on and enjoy all the many benefits of living in beautiful Southold Town.
Carol Anne Witschieben

To fence or not
The fence on the Sound beach article regarding John Cleary’s concerns needs a response.  
Walking on the beach is a healthy and safe activity for people of all ages. Mattituck has a beautiful public beach without fences that residents can utilize.
Why would any adult even think about climbing over a fence to gain access to property that he does not own?
The definition of a fence is a barrier to prevent escape or entry or to mark a boundary.
Elise Calabrese

The right approach
The article entitled “Rethinking the age for varsity” [November 25] seems to cater to the approach that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Merely complaining about the issue without a reasoned review of the facts forwards nothing. To provide some of those facts missing in that article I would like to first point out that the process of allowing junior high students to play high school sports is called “selection/classification.”
In the article one of the people opposed to selection/classification asked, “who are we serving when we do this?” The fact is the state education department has worked corroboratively for over two years with state athletic administrators, the state Public High School Athletic Association and directors of physical education/athletics to develop a guide for allowing junior high students to play. To quote their guidelines, “the intent … is to provide for students in grades 7 through 12 a mechanism allowing them to participate safely at an appropriate level of competition based upon readiness, rather than age and grade.”
The same person is also quoted in the article saying, “we are not doing this at the academic level, only sports.” The fact is that in academics we do have a similar system known as the honors and advanced placement program, which allows select students to progress at a more advanced level.
Exceptional academic students should have an avenue to reach the best of their abilities, as should exceptional student athletes. It’s time the school administration provides mechanisms designed to assure our kids reach their highest potential.
I implore the school board to continue to allow the students at the top levels of both academics and athletics to be challenged. The lesson we should be teaching our children is to not limit the potential of some to create a false sense of accomplishment for others. In such a system both groups suffer and none benefit.
The better lesson for all of our children is that the way to reach their goals is by working hard to overcome challenges, rather than by handicapping others.
A lot of people with expertise in athletics and education devised the recommended guidelines for selection/classification. It seems obvious that we should continue to follow the unbiased recommendations of these experts instead of being bullied by the clearly biased views of mothers and fathers of children who may not qualify for the honors programs in both athletics and academics.
Dr. James Hoeg
Dr. Hoeg is a volunteer coach in several sports, including wrestling, football and lacrosse.

More than feelings
We’d like to thank Ray Penney for his thoughtful appraisal of the divorce situation in our state and country  
[letter to the editor, November 25]. Too often people connect love solely with feelings – a disastrous concept. Lasting love involves an endless series of decisions, most often decisions to put aside personal feelings for the sake of the person you have connected with and committed to.
Putting aside personal stances is difficult, and it helped us to realize that to not decide is a decision in itself. Such lack of action will generally raise the levels of irritation and discontent in each of us.
We both operate considerably better with good times, richer and health, but we’ve managed our way through bad times, poorer and sickness too, and this has invariably brought us closer.
Jerry and Tippy Case

‘No fault’ is needed
[In response to last week’s letter, “A No-fault Tragedy”] For years I have worked with children of divorce and their parents. Whether initiators of the divorce or not, no one enters the process of separation without extensive consideration.  
More times than not it is a decision that takes years to manifest. The change in requirement for divorce in the judicial system will not alter that thoughtful decision-making process. No one wakes up suddenly to say they are seeking a divorce out of the blue.
The no-grounds divorce is designed to remove the cruelty to both parties, where proving grounds requires enduring a brutal fight-for-life trial. Attorneys often were the only ones to benefit financially. This fight left both parties wounded, depressed, enraged and economically drained. Add grief of the lost love, hopes and dreams, and parents have a long way to go to stabilize because of this decision.  
Often their social support network is dramatically affected as married people will steer clear for fear of catching the contagious divorce disease, believing divorced people live to replace their loss by stealing someone else’s spouse.
Children of divorce aren’t traumatized because of the divorce, rather it’s the abandonment from either or both parents. These children get caught in the middle of enraged, hurting parents. Divorce hurts the children when the emotional level of the parent is not adjusting to the transition and even the initiators may struggle.
The children just want to feel safe and loved and live in peace with healthy, strong relationships with both parents. Most of these children thrive after a divorce when their parents are able to transition with healthy emotional behaviors. No matter what age, if traumatic devastation follows into adulthood, a short stop for therapy can help heal old wounds.
Taking away the grounds component in a divorce process has the potential for compassionate marital dissolution. Financial considerations are calculated by pre-established guidelines set up by the court. And if parents are not able to agree on custody or visitation issues, a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation will determine the issue.
Once one person decides they need to exit a relationship, the relationship is over. Why they choose that decision is personal and no one but the couple is truly privy as to how arduous the couple has tried to stay together. If an individual wants to try again and again to find long-lasting love and marriage, who is anyone to put them down for it? No one has the right to throw any stone in judgment.
Perhaps less judgment and more compassion will help everyone. Unless you have experienced the road of divorce personally, you cannot comprehend the journey. Healing often takes years. The potential positive changes may serve as a better way for all.  
I don’t recall the author or the full quote, but we ought to facilitate “creating a heaven of hell” rather than damnation to those seeking a different path.
MaryAnn Fleischman. LCSW-R

Jerry was wrong
Mr. Goehringer’s recent letter to the editor stated that all the info I acquired on the Mattituck Park District was based on hearsay. The truth is that I saw the same receipts and audit results that were shown to The Suffolk Times.
I wrote about his record, for which I had printed material, and then I listed all the current commissioner’s accomplishments.
I’d like to correct Mr. Goehringer’s letter. The snack shack at Breakwater Beach was closed a decade and a half before the new building was even considered for Veterans beach. The closing of the Breakwater shack was due to the greed of the commissioners. They saw the place had a steady stream of customers so they hiked the rent. Andy “Pops” Papadopoulos couldn’t afford it, and they forced him out. The next year the shack was closed for good. The kids lost a place to call their own and seniors lost their sunset view meeting place.
Mr. Goehringer also bought up the future inlet dredging project. He is under the notion that the operation will be illegal. We need to look at why he feels this.
I suspect it’s because he is good friends with and is looking out for the interest of the lady who thinks she owns the beach in front of her house. Who is he really looking out for?
Let’s look at the facts. The beach was historically half the size it is now. The jetties at Mattituck Inlet have been lengthened several times over the past decades. The fact remains that the sand needs to be removed before Mattituck Inlet is choked off from the Sound. The beach along the inlet’s east side needs to be replenished to prevent the Sound from breaching the beach and causing a new cut east of the east jetty.
Take a look at the south end of the east jetty and see the backwashing taking place. One hurricane could wipe our inlet out.
Stephen Husak

Not him again
Again we were treated to a three-column letter from Mr. John Copertino brought to us by The Suffolk Times, which publishes him almost weekly, like a columnist, or a sage.
These letters all personify the ranting of the older, angry, right- wing male, constantly repeating the same masticated talking points in different order.
His beliefs are already well known to readers of this column. There’s nothing new here but the Times publishes the letters again and again.
Always wearing the mantle of a true patriot, the author, straight-faced and completely convinced by himself, reinterprets history. Pointing fingers, profiling people, assessing their behavior and positions based on his own bias and bitterness. His cartoon histories and sweeping looney tune statements meant to “shed light,” but are almost always personal, and are meant to be insulting to many who read this paper.
They show a remarkable disregard for fact but, as with most entrenched ignorance, the facts make very little difference to his arguments. He simply changes them, but his political ravings are not worth arguing.
What makes his letters so disturbing is the way he speaks so contemptuously and disrespectfully of all who disagree with him.
He nullifies his critics by calling them “spoiled hypocrites, pompous, elite, blind, misguided, non thinkers … who have all been schooled by professors enamored of Stalin, studying Saul Alinsky and living in the land of Honah Lee.”
Why would the Suffolk Times publish these ugly bits of personal detritus?
How are these comments valuable to the community?
What do they add to the conversation?
Seeing these screeds published in our principal community newspaper so often is disappointing and puzzling.
Serious newspapers don’t print letters that are simply incendiary rants.
They demean everyone and enlighten no one, and speak to our lowest, most unthoughtful, selves.
Typical of bullies, after years of spewing insults, threats and name-calling freely, this week Mr. Copertino wrote in, incensed that a letter was published that criticized him back
He asked that The Suffolk Times “scrutinize non-factual personal attacks prior to printing them”.
If the Times had ever done that, not even one of Mr. C’s letters would have been published.
Obviously, the Times sees no problem in publishing whatever Mr. C wants to say and have made that editorial choice.
A really good newspaper edits content for its readers. They do “scrutinize non-factual personal attacks prior to printing them,” for all our sakes.
Should the Times take up that issue, I would no longer fear opening the paper to see yet another pontificating and imbecilic screed from Mr. C.
I don’t have much hope.
Jenny Feder

Self-serving speech
Mayor Nyce kicked off his re-election bid at the Nov. 23 village meeting with a self-serving monologue, claiming credit for many accomplishments that weren’t really his.
At this point, I’ll just address two of the most exaggerated.
Point one is that the village has paid down a lot of debt. That’s a political axiom since you have to pay your bonds. It’s not an accomplishment to pay what’s owed. Oh, by the way, they were paid with funds left by Dave Kapell. This group has done nothing in the way of figuring what they will do when that runs out. Guess that means taxes.
Point two, and this I can state as fact: the mayor did not want playground equipment. I rammed that through. Remember when everyone said calm down? Sorry, but that’s what it took to get it done, in spite of the mayor’s opposition.
When it was done someone suggested a dedication ceremony, but I said no, this was not about credit. This was for the people who use these parks. For the mayor to claim credit now… ah, forget that.
Where is the honesty he promised when he was running?
William Swiskey
Mr. Swiskey is a former Village Trustee who has announced his plan to seek another term in the March elections.

You made it possible
On Saturday, Nov. 27, SAVES (Spay, Alter, Vaccinate Every Stray) held its sixth annual Art Benefit for Animal Lovers at Martha Clara Vineyards. The event was a huge success thanks to the support of the entire North Fork community.
We would like to thank our generous sponsors — Cliff’s Elbow Room and Elbow Too, RBC Wealth Management, Island International Industries, Colony Realty, North Fork Imports, North Fork Animal Hospital and Petco.
Over 80 local artists, many of them members of the East End Arts Council, donated wonderful works of art that made our live and silent auctions successful. Sixty-five local merchants donated merchandise and services that were used in chinese auctions and balloon sales.
SAVES would like to give special thanks to Patty and Steve Stampf, Tonic Design House, Marja Ames, TAKE 3, Dave Nyce, Stan Wollmers, Connie Rae Aldridge, Coster-Heppner Funeral Home, Defriest-Grattan Funeral Home, Karen’s Country Deli, Leanne’s Cakes and the more than 20 volunteers who worked at the benefit.
Martha Clara Vineyards is the only facility that can handle an event of this size. Their staff and management are to be applauded for their professionalism, which helped to make this a great success.
Finally, we would like to thank the crowd of over 200 people who attended the event and participated in the auctions and sales, thereby contributing their money to help fund our organization. It is extremely rewarding to know that a not-for-profit animal welfare organization has the support of the community.
As a result of the contributions of so many businesses and individuals, the benefit generated much-needed funds that will be used to fund SAVES’ spay/neuter and rescue/adoption programs. We thank you for your support and can tell you that the felines are very thankful.
Al LaFrance
president, SAVES Inc.