Letters to the editor

Pretty poor example
When will it all stop?
Do our politicians realize the example they are setting for the youth of today?  Perhaps they simply don’t care.
Republicans threaten to block bills until Congress approves the Bush tax cut extension. Some appear more concerned about tax rates for millionaires and billionaires than they are about health insurance for families who are without any. If adjustments need to be made to the health care bill, fine, but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
The killings in Arizona were despicable, but is it just the shooter who is to blame? The lack of respect shown by some to the president of our great country is inexcusable.  This attitude of “we will be in power, and we’ll show you” won’t solve anything.  
The remark by Allen West, that “if ballots won’t work maybe bullets will,” is beyond belief. Hopefully this is not the attitude of too many Americans.  
Nothing will be accomplished until politicians are willing to cooperate and, yes, compromise. Surely there are things we, as citizens, can agree upon and put our energies into to achieve positive action.  
In the long run, everyone will gain.  
The violence has to stop, both verbally and otherwise. We pride ourselves on being a civilized people. Do our actions indicate civility?  
I for one am not convinced.
Julie Alexander

Fringe groups don’t represent all of us
We as a nation are in mourning as the Tucson tragedy has now become the reality of how the effects of endless vitriol can affect those unhinged. When the group who tried to dismantle health insurance reform and the funding of our auto industry to save jobs would come to the “rallies” with guns and pictures of the president as the Joker, Hitler and Stalin, the right-wing media was describing these as regular Americans. They are not. Instead of looking at these issues as being crucial and addressing the needs of all Americans, this group would go to rallies and scream, spit, hate and try to convince America that they represented America. They don’t.
I don’t know about you, but if I was going to a meeting that required some serious debate and discussion, and I knew that people were armed, screaming, spitting and name calling, I might get a bit nervous and consider this situation unsafe. The reality is that some sick individuals see this as a sign that their insane intentions are justified. We must consider our actions and our voices. Our patriotism is built upon that we are one nation with one flag. And it is not yellow.
Nicholas Villani


Foster tolerance

The shootings that occurred in Tucson were horrifying, as are all senseless mass shootings.
We, as a nation of reasonable citizens, need to pressure our leaders to embrace thoughtful speech and embrace positive actions fostering an atmosphere of tolerance and to work together for the good of all, not just the rich and powerful.
We also need to inform the Sarah Palins of the world that we are offended by remarks such as “Don’t retreat, reload,” as they breed a culture of violent expression.
I, as an American, am embarrassed that we have leaders who choose to express themselves in such a fashion.
Diane Bianculli


What’s the real cost?

Recently I observed a trial in federal court concerning a family with a special needs child versus the Mattituck-Cutchogue school district. The case began 2 1/2 years ago when parents of a child with autism asked the district for an independent educational evaluation (IEE) costing $350, as is their right under law. The school district refused and filed for a hearing against the parents, as is its right under the law.
As the two-day trial proceeded, I remembered Ms. Fleischman’s letter (“It’s out of control,” Jan. 6) about how she cried when she got the bill for her Mattituck school taxes. Two and a half years of billable hours, transcription fees, depositions, hearings and a jury trial because of a refusal to grant one $350.00 evaluation?
I agree with Ms. Crosser’s Equal Time column (“School’s errors come back to haunt us,” Jan. 13): “let the administrators and long-standing board members who allowed this to happen to become casualties of their own arrogance, greed and ineptitude.”
I have previously encouraged all boards of education and administrations to use a cost/benefit analysis as part of any decision-making process regarding due process hearings. Alternative dispute resolution is another process I have strongly advocated as it cost the parties nothing.
An estimated cost/benefit analysis considers only the numbers. When the costs get this high, there are no winners.
In this case, numerous mediation and settlement offers to the school district were refused along the way, resulting in a jury trial. I estimate total costs of $125,000. Consider what else could have been done for our children with those funds.
Another cost is the mistrust and ill will this process engendered between the parties. That lead to further disputes and other costly hearings.
I do not know what benefit Mattituck obtained from spending $125,000+.
The first reason a district might choose to go forward with an expensive hearing is that the issues involve a legal precedent that would financially impact the district. That is not the case here. Before, during, and after this case, a parent has and will have the right to request an IEE and a district has and will have the right to deny that request.
Another reason cited by districts for filing for an expensive hearing is the belief that if it grants one parent’s request for an IEE, every parent will make such a request.
Until this case, the district had never denied a parent’s request for an IEE by filing for a hearing. Since this case began, the district has not denied a request for an IEE by filing for a hearing. The “precedent” remains the same as it was before Mattituck filed for a hearing: They grant IEE requests.
Another reason given for denying an IEE is if more parents request IEES, it will bankrupt a district. Simple math shows that denying an IEE for one child at $350 and, in the process, spending enough in legal fees to grant this same evaluation twice to every child in Mattituck with a disability will be what bankrupts the district, not granting the IEE.
In this case, the district prevailed. Is there a taxpayer in Mattituck who considers spending over $125,000 to obtain this verdict a win?
In this economy, having our tax dollars go to pay for a new boat or car for the district’s lawyers when that money needs be spent on educating our children is obscene.
This community can’t afford to spend huge sums of money with no regard to whether the benefits outweigh the costs.
Kathleen Chamberlain

Only a temporary fix
Some clarifications are needed in regard to the recent letter to the editor (“Ugly asphalt,” Dec. 16) commenting on the conditions of the roadside on Main Road where the Suffolk County Water Authority installed water mains for new customers in East Marion.
First, it’s important to emphasize that the conditions the letter-writer responded to are not the permanent conditions of the area under construction. When we install or repair water mains, asphalt is placed over any previously paved areas at the end of every day, but it’s not permanent paving.
We need to allow a period of time to elapse for settlement — generally 30 days — before laying down permanent paving. In this case, the wintry weather has delayed the process longer than we would like. But rest assured, the area will be restored to its prior condition as soon as the weather allows.
Though we certainly strive to make the temporary fix as thorough as possible, we learned that excessive precipitation caused soil to erode on to the asphalt shoulder at the East Marion site. In response, we dispatched crews to clean the catch basins, street and sidewalk and spread mulch to minimize erosion of the soil.
We will continue to monitor the site and, as noted above, we will provide a permanent restoration of the site as soon as possible in conformance with Suffolk County Water Authority and state transportation department requirements.
Tim Motz
SCWA director of communications

Lousy yellow bags
What has happened to the quality of the yellow bags we are required to use for garbage disposal?
Is the Town of Southold using a different vendor to supply the yellow bags? The bags rip immediately upon lifting regardless of the minimal weight of the garbage within.
Every ripped bag increases the cost of garbage disposal.
The poor quality of these bags is an incentive to consider the use of a competing garbage collection service.
Southold Town should correct this problem.
David Judlowitz

Get out, get it done
Journal entry from a Greenport Village plow truck.
Jan. 11, 2011
Just heard it’s time to go to work, naptime over. My main man is starting me up. It’s snowing and time for me to do what I do with a great amount of pride, and that’s clear the Village of Greenport streets so in the morning the village will come alive with activity.
Overheard the village road crews talking about this storm a few days before it arrived. Lots of talking, lots of planning, and lots of old snow-plowing tales. Can’t tell them all, but no matter how old, some are still the same. We clear a street and someone will plow or shovel snow out into the area we just plowed.
Cars are left in the street, and with the blinding snow they are hard to deal with. I take a lot of care to protect my driver. He and the whole village crew have the attitude of get out and get it done.
As with all weather situations in the village, not everyone is happy. We blocked their driveway, the over-spray of snow landed on the sidewalk they just dug out, etc. But just think what it would be like if I and the village employees decided not to work till after the storm had ended. We have a hospital, fire department, electric and sewer/water department that needs to get out in an emergency.
How else can we have the village residents be safe and warm in their homes? This storm, with the anticipated amount of snow, could easily have stopped business owners and residents from getting around for days.
My nickname is MacGyver. My driver and I got the name when he kept me moving throughout the night without windshield wipers. I will tell you, the rope burns that adventure caused took awhile to go away. But the whole snow-plowing crew are all “MacGyvers.” When the equipment fails, it’s not “let’s stop,” but “how are we going to get it done.” Be creative till the job is done, and then hope someone will authorize it to be fixed.
But no matter what the comments, the crews that drive the plows and shovel the snow deserve a great round of applause from somewhere for taking the lead and setting the example of true Greenporters, which is get out and get it done.
Mary Bess Phillips
Greenport Village Trustee

She’s on her way
Thank you to The Suffolk Times, particularly Julie Lane, for the wonderful article with a lovely photo of our Christine Cataldo on the inside front cover of the Oct. 7, 2010 issue (“Stardom waits in wings”).
I once had the pleasure of working with Christine, when she was in high school, at a Greenport marine supply store. I would ask her to sing for me when we weren’t busy with customers and she would talk to me of her dreams to be a professional singer/actress.
Her voice was so beautiful. I would cry with its beauty, sounding like an angel. Her voice is a gift from God to be shared.
Christine sang at my oldest daughter’s wedding. It was so lovely, and she was only 16. If ever there was an up and coming singer/actress in the world to be compared to Barbra Streisand, it is our Christine.
May her success continue and all her dreams come true.
She is so deserving.
Susan Utz

Truly great cars
A recent article in The Suffolk Times by Pierre Gazarian regarding a 1940 Dodge caught my interest and made me nostalgic.
The auto he referenced was in an auto repair lot on the North Road for a period of time and I wanted to stop and see what it was and what year it was, however I never got the chance.
So I was pleased when Mr. Gazarian’s article appeared.
I was guessing that the auto was either a Plymouth or Dodge and that the year was either a 1940 or 1941.
Those guesses have been answered, as it was indeed a ’40 Dodge.
The nostalgia brought back memories of my first car, a 1940 DeSoto 2-door business coupe, followed by a 1942 Plymouth and then a 1948 Chrysler New Yorker.
Great cars and great years.
Thanks, Mr. Gazarian.
Louis Williams