Letters to the Editor

A warm thank-you
I moved here from Colorado, where I thought nobody could do better at snow removal.
But for the past two years I have been really impressed with the Suffolk, Southold and local contractors for their efforts. When I see one of these guys I’ll thank him, but this is a better way.  
The speed and dedication of these guys is amazing. New York City could learn a lesson.  
To all of you that work the long hours in the cold, thank you from a grateful resident.
Bruce Sykes

What a great place
It was the day after yet another snowstorm and I was in Waldbaum’s when the manager’s voice came over the intercom: “No birdseed on the shelves. You need to restock the birdseed.”
What a wonderful place I live in, I thought.
In how many places would we hear such announcements in a supermarket? In how many towns and villages do people worry about how the birds are doing after a snowstorm?
Hazel Kahan

Above and beyond
I love living in Greenport, and especially at Peconic Landing.
Last Wednesday, just before the snowstorm, my wife and I had to go to New York City for a few days. We took the Hampton Jitney, leaving our little car in the bus lot, making sure we could back out of our spot.
We returned by bus on Friday, just in time for my wife to conduct her Buddhism class at PL. But the efficient Greenport snow removal crew had shoveled an enormous mound of snow against the back of our car.
Fortunately, we had a cell phone and called the PL concierge, who dispatched a van to pick us up within five minutes. Then one of PL’s helpful maintenance men offered to take me back to the lot in his truck (with snow plow), and a few minutes later had cleared the mound of snow and I was on my way.
Conclusion: I feel protected and cared for by the PL staff in an emergency.
But why doesn’t the Greenport snow removal crew pile snow in empty, unused spaces instead of against parked cars?
John Speyer

Helping a great cause
I need to take a few moments to say a very special thank-you to some individuals, groups and businesses that have recently generously donated their time, products or establishment to help me with my fight against blood cancers.  
On Jan. 9, I ran 26.2 miles and completed the Walt Disney World Marathon as part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training. This was my fifth event with the team, but due to several personal and professional occurrences, this was my most meaningful event.
On Nov. 15 I hosted a Tupperware party at the Knights of Columbus Marian Council in Cutchogue. Annie Ekster and the Columbiettes graciously donated the space and a wonderful knight donated his time behind the bar. Multiple community members donated their own time helping to make the event a success, by donating gifts, selling raffles or just showing up!
I wish to thank everyone, especially Patty Burns and her daughter Ashley, for helping to raise over $2,000 toward the fight against blood cancers.
The unity of a small town never ceases to amaze me. It is so easy for us to take that for granted on a day-to-day basis.  
The nature of this fundraiser was global, although it most certainly has touched people on a local level. Whether or not the more than 100 individuals that piled through the doors of the K of C that night had been touched by blood cancer in their life didn’t seem important. They came to help a cause. They came because they, like many East Enders, have that community-minded spirit that makes us unique.
It makes our towns wonderful places to live. I am so blessed to live here.
Thank you all again for your continued support. I am doing another season with Team In Training as the East End running mentor. Feel free to donate to this great cause.
Danielle Fogarty

What we’re watching
Did you know that during an NFL playoff game, the ball is in play less than 11 minutes?
To wrap your helmet around that, consider this: The average broadcast of a game lasts 17 times longer — a grinding 285 minutes. Where do the extra 174 minutes of down time go?
Not far, according to a Wall Street Journal study that analyzed last year’s playoff games on four major TV networks. Players spend roughly 75 minutes in huddles or milling around at the line of scrimmage. On average, broadcasters dedicate 17 minutes of airtime to replays. Typically, cutaway shots to refs and coaches total 13 minutes.
By comparison, cheerleaders only get a shockingly scant three seconds of tube time.
Sixty-plus minutes go to commercials, which come to think of it, is the reason a lot of people watch the Super Bowl in the first place, right?
Robert Geehreng

It’s a team effort
The cover story of the Jan. 27 edition (“Envisioning Southold’s future”), on the town’s comprehensive plan economic chapter, was informative and well written. However, I think that it is important to clarify the involvement of the Planning Board and staff during the development of this chapter.
The chapter was drafted with a large amount of input and guidance from a team of Town Board and Planning Board members and staff who worked closely with the consultants to deliver, translate and update the applicable goals and objectives forged by the community during numerous planning initiatives, studies and programs. New goals and objectives were also formulated and proposed.
The remaining chapters will also be drafted by teams comprised of Town Board and Planning Board members and staff. Once a final draft is complete, public comments will be accepted. As we move forward, the Planning Board and I encourage and welcome suggestions and comments regarding any chapter and/or process during this important effort. The economic chapter is ready for comment and can be found on the Southold Town website .
Martin Sidor
chairman, Southold Planning Board

Hold back the gas
Since I’ve been feeling pretty chipper the last couple of days (and I admit my mood probably has something to do with my son Ben’s honorable discharge after five years in the U.S. Marine Corps — which included achieving the rank of Sergeant and completing tours in Iraq and Afghanistan), I’ve been thinking how I could help lift everyone else’s spirits during what I hope is the last month of a dismal winter.
Realizing I’ve complained several times in the past about the vitriolic and sometimes idiotic content of certain letters that have been printed in this space, I now want to suggest a solution to, or at least a truce in, the constant bickering we’re all subjected to on a weekly basis: “Flatulence Free February!”
For the next few weeks, let’s see if all you naysayers can refrain from emitting any more written bilious attacks, no matter how unrelenting the pressure from within.
Imagine everyone else’s relief at not being exposed to the usual scolding negativity, and the relief of the letter writers when sometime next month they’re finally able to relieve all the pressure that’s been building up by again writing one of their trademark missives.
Why, the very thought is mind-boggling. With any luck at all this could easily turn out to be the methane gas release of the century!
Patrick ‘Beano’ Lohn

It’s way out of hand
The website www.seethroughny.net shows how our state and local taxes are spent. Payroll, pension, contract and expenditure information is provided in detail for every municipality, village, town, county, state, school district and police department in the state.
The info is gathered from government sources and if correct we’re in more trouble than we know.
In Southold there are three large school districts. The Greenport, Mattituck and Southold schools serve about 3,200 students. But it’s not the superintendent’s salaries that are sinking the Titanic.
If the data presented in this website is correct, between the three districts there are 111 teachers making between $100,000 and $193,000 as an annual base pay, not counting add-on assignments. Many more are bringing home between $95,000 and $99,000.  
Next, out of 48 police officers listed, 41 have a base salary between $100,000 and $174,000, not counting overtime.
I don’t fault any of these employees. If someone offered me a salary of $193,000 for 180 days worth of work I’d jump on it. Human behavior is such that often when people are in office for extended periods of time their loyalties transfer away from the best interest of their constituency.
Ultimately this debacle is on me and you.   
We stopped paying attention, believing our elected officials were taking care of us, the taxpaying community. They were not. Our forefathers are rolling in shock, proclaiming from the other side “this is not what we intended!” We need leadership who will not only stop this insanity, but turn this around immediately.
Make it legal to pull in the reins on this out-of-control gluttony. The word “decrease” comes to mind.  
Take away, give back. Change the criteria for retirement now. Term limits for all elected officials, from the locals right up to Washington. Let the transformation begin now.
Power to the people once again.
MaryAnn Fleischman

A better mousetrap
Frank Fischer and his Go-Green Sanitation have built a better mousetrap.
First, the use of plastic bags is eliminated. With the present quality of the town yellow bags it is necessary to use other bags to retain the waste.
Secondly, there are many small dumpsters in residential areas that do not use yellow bags or separate recyclables. Sometimes neighbors share these containers so they don’t have to be bothered with all the other hassle.
Thirdly, why is the town still living in the last century? After 17 years, it is time to change.
Frank Thorp

Just enforce the law
I have been following the “garbage carting challenge,” as Supervisor Scott Russell called it (Suffolk Times, Jan 27, 2011). Why is it a challenge?
If the town code is being broken, it’s hardly a challenge, it’s a violation. If Mr. Fischer, the owner of Go-Green “…collects refuse from a residence which is mixed with recyclables or thereafter co-mingles different types of recyclables …” he violates Town Code 233.3 (A)(2)(c).
In his self-serving and self-advertising Equal Time contribution, Mr. Fischer plays the victim card. He feels labeled as an “out-of-towner” and cries, “Southold fears competition.” The only party who attempts to unfairly compete here is Mr. Fischer of Go-Green himself.
He has a choice of simply following the code as all carters do. Then he can start competing. If for whatever reason Mr. Fischer does not like the code or feels he is above it, he can challenge it by the proper repeal route.
Without going into the legislative history of Southold’s waste management ordinance, it’s still safe to conclude that the people of Southold, at one point, chose to recycle.
The people have recognized that conscious living in a beautiful environment includes caring for how and what you discard. Children, whether at home or in school, learn early on not to litter and to pick up and to recycle.
The primary reason why people recycle is that they care about the environment. Another reason is that some people like to leave as small a footprint on the environment as possible.
Recycling is considered a positive step in making less of an impression of your existence and more of a lasting effect on reducing and reusing products. People who recycle also typically take a conserving approach to most things in their lives.
Where is the green in Go-Green? Why should the people of Southold regress and go backwards?
Christa Hildebrand

Here’s an idea
Candidate William Swiskey’s 2011 campaign bumper sticker: “I don’t understand the whole mentality of the village.”
Come share the darkness with me.
Michael Edelson