Letters to the Editor: March 31, 2011

03/31/2011 5:15 AM |

SOUTHOLD

Poor judgment

Your publication had poor judgment when deciding to print the restaurant violations article last week.

It wasn’t about the topic of restaurants having violations, but the decision to allow only some of the establishments’ names to be printed. Of all the businesses from Orient to Mount Sinai, there were only a handful of names listed. I’m sure the owners of these businesses feel attacked and disappointed.

It is public knowledge that one can go online and research places to eat and find out if they had any health violations. It’s a great idea. It gives patrons an idea of where they are going and it gives business owners a way to strive for a better establishment.

But to point fingers at only a few establishments is wrong. Either you print all the names or none.

You were only doing your job of writing an article for the people, but what about the people that you hurt? The North Fork is made up of many small towns and when you decide to target family establishments, you are not only hurting the owner, but their family, friends and the newspaper they should think twice before advertising in.

There is a more tasteful way of writing such an article which does not put specific establishments in harm’s way. You could have easily written the statistics and percentages of restaurant violations followed by the link to the county Department of Health Services website so that people can take a look for themselves. There was absolutely no reason for naming the business you did. What gives you the right to decide which businesses to name?

If you take a look at the health department website and search each of these establishments listed, you will find that some of their last inspections were almost a year ago. I cannot speak for all businesses, but I know for a fact that issues/violations reported from one establishment in particular have been corrected and therefore are a null point in this article.

Even though the information stated in the article was correct, and defamation cannot legally be pursued, there is a thin line that Times/Review crossed. You’ve given those establishments an unfair negative image. I’m sure I speak on behalf of all the owners who were named when I say, please have better judgment on what you print in the future, and think of everyone who you may be hurting.

If you had second thoughts about originally printing the article, which you obviously did otherwise your editorial on page 8 wouldn’t have been there, then you should have followed your gut feeling. I truly hope you have the common decency to write a public apology to the establishments listed in last week’s article in your next edition.

Julie Charczuk

MATTITUCK

Why single her out?

I would like to know why, in last week’s Suffolk Times, only three local establishments were mentioned in the article about health code violations (“Crack down or everyday occurrence?”).

These three establishments were singled out, even though they chose to speak to your reporter. Listing all the establishments cited for violation of health department codes would probably take up too much space in your paper, so why mention any?

Perhaps in your article you should have mentioned that Wendy’s Deli has been owned and operated by the same person for over 16 years. She has been a member of this community her whole life. She has also given back generously to many charities and organizations in the community, too many to list, without a selfish thought and always with a warm smile and kind heart.

People like Wendy are what make Mattituck and the entire East End a wonderful place that we call home. Thanks, Wendy.

Dan Russo

CUTCHOGUE

Time for honesty

For the past three years, Mattituck-Cutchogue School District taxpayers have been assured that the budget they would be voting on was “bare bones” with “no fat”. It turns out that this year there is $900,000 in reserves, and last year $1,200,000. Simply stated, this means that each year the budget was “overbudgeted” in case of unanticipated expenses.

At the March 8 budget hearing the school board president acknowledged that he had no idea how much of the money budgeted last year was actually spent. How can you begin to ask taxpayers to support a new budget when you have no idea what you spent from the previous year?

Every year the district leadership blames someone else for our financial distress. This year it’s Albany and the governor. Another year senior citizens, another year outspoken taxpayers who demanded accountability. The teachers and staff were blamed as well, when “contractual” items were blamed for runaway costs, creating a divide between the community and district employees.

It’s time to assign blame where it belongs — a simple lack of leadership.

Next year’s budget calls for raises for everyone involved in extracurricular activities, for chaperones, club advisers and coaches, totaling $27,371.35. As that action is taken, $23,000 is removed from the budget to cut one section of every junior high sport. Exactly how that is for the kids escapes me.

Another $13,000 is budgeted for everything from uniforms to water bottles. We eliminate the opportunity for junior high students to belong and remain active in both sport and school, yet buy more stuff for fewer players.

If neighboring schools choose to field only one team, this district should show some initiative to either compete against other schools, or get creative in developing intramural, club, or inter-squad teams. Some schools have had only one team due to low enrollment, yet competed effectively in accordance with Section XI guidelines.

Other Long Island school districts are already positioning themselves to be looked upon favorably when funds from Albany are limited and schools must compete for that money. Our leadership offers no solid plan for economic viability.

Before we begin that plan, some changes need to occur.

Time to run the school like a business with a solid financial plan. A superintendent who states “programs drive the budget” has no conception of how a business is run. Students, taxpayers and faculty will suffer the consequences of a budget which does not consider its economic feasibility.

The board and the public should know exactly how much taxpayers’ money has been spent and what has been placed in reserves. Teachers should ask exactly how the district can meet pay contractual raises if the district has no money.

Taxpayers are entitled to know estimated costs of pending litigation, and how decisions will be altered in the future to reduce the potential for lawsuits.

It’s time for some honesty. Taxpayers are entitled to know exactly what they are being asked to fund. Leaving blank spaces on salaries when that information can easily be obtained via SeeThroughNy.com shouts that you simply don’t want the public to know what you have negotiated. The act of omission of information which is not confidential does not inspire trust.

The school’s errors of the past may indeed come back to haunt us. However, inaction and lack of direction and leadership at present will bury us. The time for change is now.

Diane Crosser

MATTITUCK

Just nine miles away

If the people in this town, county, state and country have any concerns as to trying to retain their jobs and their businesses in these already tough economic times, it will be important to consider what an environmental impact such as the nuclear event now taking place in Japan will have on Long Island.

It is incumbent on all of us to protect our interest, as we now understand what this nuclear event has done to the Japanese economy. Who will be looking to buy products from this country? Who will plan to visit Japan any time soon?

Having said that, let’s look at Millstone nuclear power plant, just nine miles across the Long Island Sound. Just nine miles! If a nuclear event takes place there, all of Long Island will be exposed to nuclear radiation, as one cannot live far enough away from a nuclear power plant.

The Shoreham nuclear power plant never came on line because we could not execute an evacuation plan. Do you think when — not if — an event takes place at Millstone (and there have been events that were downplayed) do we have an evacuation plan? The answer is no.

If an event occurs, real estate values will disappear. The tourist attractions like our beautiful farms and vineyards will have no value and they too will disappear. Our choices will be to continue to live here and take our chances with radiation exposure or move away, leaving behind our homes and loss of equity.

By the way, there is one place in the world that does not have a nuclear power plant, and that’s Australia.

One of the biggest problems with nuclear is the spent fuel rods. Currently, there are 71,862 tons of spent rods stored at various power plants, at great risk to homeland security and the environment. The original plan to store nuclear waste at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain has been abandoned.

Alternative energy solutions are the only answer, despite that corporate America would have you believe that nuclear is safe. We now have three nuclear events — Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima — that prove it’s not. Have you ever heard of anyone getting cancer from a solar panel or a windmill?

We must get our elected officials involved and have them attend meetings held by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission when licensing for Millstone comes up for discussion. We must have a voice for Long Island as part of the impact study. The lack of representation at these meetings, usually held in Connecticut, does a disservice to all Long Islanders, our families, businesses, real estate and the environment.

Let’s not be reactive in light of the situation occurring in Japan.

Marie Domenici

CUTCHOGUE

Ban Go Green

Even this paper is not a forum for Go Green’s constant promotion of their false and misleading advertising.

Go Green is facing possible charges because it defiantly breaks the laws of Southold, Southampton and the DEC while insisting it’s not.

Go Green should be banned from the North Fork so that we can go back to our environmentally conscious normality.

Jeff Abrams

CUTCHOGUE

Help the farmers

The North Fork is a truly beautiful, unique place.

Our local restaurants, vineyards, quaint stores and hard-working farmers have made the naturally beautiful North Fork an incredible area, both for the people who live here and the people who choose us as a vacation destination.

Many residents feel animosity towards bigger box stores and chains disrupting the balance of local business and natural beauty, and understandably so. Once local merchants are forced to shut down and bigger chains move in and pavement replaces fields and wooded lots, there is no return to what once was.

Local merchants need our support. In these trying economic times, it’s more important now than ever before to support our local merchants. Our hard-working farmers are no exception. What better way to support them than to have a farmers’ market? Mitchell Park is an ideal location, especially given the high tourism rate of Greenport Village, and the fact that the ice rink is dismantled during these months.

A farmers’ market would not only benefit the ambiance of Greenport Village, but it would give our local farmers the additional opportunity to showcase their hard work and increase the profits they use to earn their living.

Let’s show our support for such an important group of North Fork merchants. These farmers — neighbors and friends to many — have helped us shape the beautiful place in which we live.

Ashley Campbell

Comments

comments

133 Comment

  • Excellent letter Mrs Crosser. Things have been hidden for years by the Masters of Deception. No vouluntary pay freezes, logevity bonus, hidden litigation costs, no textbooks, activities cut, over a dozen local jobs cut ETC, ETC, ETC.
    Where is the accountability?

  • The letter from Mr. Crosser hits the nail on the head. The school board and McKenna think they can do whatever they want and not be questioned! McKenna was given yet another raise this year and next year and he is talking about laying off 13 employees. How is that justified!? He has to go along with most of the board.

  • The letter from Mr. Crosser hits the nail on the head. The school board and McKenna think they can do whatever they want and not be questioned! McKenna was given yet another raise this year and next year and he is talking about laying off 13 employees. How is that justified!? He has to go along with most of the board.

  • Opinion pieces and letters to the editor in this paper have pointed out the ridicoulus special education litigation costs in Mattituck for years- no one paid any attention. It has been noted many times in this paper how the district refuses to particpate in free mediation to resolve such complaints. No one said a word.

    It has been pointed out on the pages of this paper how the Mattituck UFSD started several special education hearing against parents in this district – once over$100 and once, spending 2 1/2 yearsin litoigation and ending up a jury trial in Federal court, to deny a $350 evaluation! Not a peep!

    So, now that people in this town are finally starting to get angry with the way this district has been run, here’s some more info that will set your hair on fire.

    The legal bills for the federal case for the law firm the district hired to represent them, Devitt Spellman are over $43,000!!! That doesnt include the hearing costs and appeals costs before it got to federal court, or the cost of the 2 day trial in federal court .

    All because Mr. McKenna and the board who went along with him, decided that spending that kind of money was worth it to deny paying for a $350 evaluation. For that kind of leadership, the BOE gives Mr McKenna a nice raise while they lay off teachers.

    So, a bare bones budget has room for these sort of legal fees?? This is fiscal responsibility???

    The taxpayers must decide they arent going to put up with this anymore. Mr.Mckenna can start paying the taxpayers back that $43,0000+ by forgoing any raises until the cost of the ridculous hearings he chose to start is paid in full. Our children should not be denied services because of poor decision making on the part of this administration.

  • there are rumors that there will be deeper cuts in programs for the students in years to come.Granted, they are rumors, but how can that not happen in we are on the titanic and
    things look so bad this year. Scary stuff, and parents and teachers need to be aware of what
    we face down the road; the bond for the new building will be with us till 2030!

  • Why is everyone so concerned with three mile island and millstone? We will never get an earthquake of that magnitude and if we did the resulting tsunami will wipe us all out anyhow!!! Stop worrying about nothing!!!!!

  • Why is everyone so concerned with three mile island and millstone? We will never get an earthquake of that magnitude and if we did the resulting tsunami will wipe us all out anyhow!!! Stop worrying about nothing!!!!!

  • Never say never!

    The potential for a sudden nuclear disaster is real. Indian Point has been identified as the most likely nuclear plant in the USA to suffer from an earthquake. You can XneverX YnotY rule out terrorism.

    But, problems with nuclear are not limited to natural disasters, accidents, terrorism and sabotage — Remember Black_Tom and Kingsland http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Tom_(explosion) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingsland_Explosion

    Normal operation of nuclear power plants produce toxic waste for which there is no known safe method of disposal. Nuclear power is planned environmental destruction.

    Your hope that a nuclear disaster will wipe us out is also naive. Fact is that most victims of nuclear disasters endure great pain and suffering for years. And there are new victims decades and centuries after nuclear disasters.

  • UH no! I said that the resulting tsunami would wipe us out, not the nuclear disaster, thanks though. Remember I mention an earthquake on the scale of the one that hit Japan –
    And no I do not remember those events, I must not be nearly as old as you. And comparing munitions to Nuclear power plants? What next comparing it to words of a harsh legislator?

    Did I ever mentioned that the end products of power plants was NOT bad? Then why argue the point?
    I am not worried and they should build more, closing them is the worst option, very soon oil will be gone!

  • I’s talkin bout the byproducts (nuclear waste) not end products, of power plants. You don’t seem to realize the other end products may well be accidents.

    btw the oil is gone. The oil we are using now is harder to get and harder to use. We will never run out because it will never be worth it to get the last drop.

    see http://www.google.com/search?q=peak+oil
    and see http://www.google.com/search?q=end+of+suburbia

  • $43,000 divided by $350 reflects that over 120 students could have had that test for the same amount of money that was spent defending this claim. I am sure Mr. McKenna defends his bull headedness by claiming he was protecting precedent, what comes to my mind is that he has knowingly cut off his nose to spite his face….. and we are paying for the plastic surgeon!

    Don’t forget Mr. McKenna started out as a Math teacher, so presumably he could have done the math on this one……

    What also should be shared about this case is that the school eventually gave the kid the test, the mother initiated the Federal action on her own, without legal counsel (she could not afford it), when an attorney offered to represent her for free all of the sudden the school found a way to meet ALL of her demands. The case continued, the school refused to drop it (spending even more money) and Mr. McKenna was found by the court to have acted in a retaliatory way against the mother and the child, the court did not find that it rose to the level of actionable cause, but make no mistake – its in the public record.

    The budget presented to us in the meeting of March 8th does not show how much money was spent last year, just what was budgeted, this is for all budget lines, not just the legal one. In that same meeting the Business Manager discussed that he in fact has the figures of overage and underspending and so the admin team does know how accurate their budget it, amazingly they have seemingly not shared this information with their bosses, the school board, and in fact us the taxpayers. WTHeck?????

    With this level of opacity, on all matters but especially financial matters, one does start to wonder what is going on there……… despite the claims of transparency.

    Saying it over and over does not make it a transparent accountable organization Mr. McKenna – take your pay freeze, give back your longevity bonus, pay your health costs and tell us the full truth…….

  • That is fact what you say about the court case and McKenna being found to have acted in a retaliatory way against the mother. It is fact it is public record. Why have we NEVER read about it in the papers? Why does he get bonuses? Why does he get contract extensions? Why is he still in his job? Why should we support the budget or the BOE?

  • This is the USA, Innocent,till proven guilty. Why don’t you let the courts decide this case. Go Green has not been convicted of any crime. Due Process will prevail. Summonses and violations are not convictions. GO GREEN!!!!!

  • Janice, VERY interesting about that conspiracy theory! I hadn’t known that about Karina so I must say…HMMM!!! Makes one wonder!

  • Type your comment here. I think Kristie is a disgrace to the show. She looks like a slob, acts like she is
    ;running the show and is the worst dancer I have ever seen. Why are the judges giving her 8 abnd 9,
    she is not professional dancer, a show off and and in noway does she compare to any of the other dancers. I think Bruno and Len should get off this Kristie act, because she is a horror. I have watched
    this show from the beginning, never, never have you taken anyone to this point with these credentials. She is not a dancer, not an actress, she is a drunk and drug addict and should be taken
    off this great show.

  • Type your comment here. I think Kristie is a disgrace to the show. She looks like a slob, acts like she is
    ;running the show and is the worst dancer I have ever seen. Why are the judges giving her 8 abnd 9,
    she is not professional dancer, a show off and and in noway does she compare to any of the other dancers. I think Bruno and Len should get off this Kristie act, because she is a horror. I have watched
    this show from the beginning, never, never have you taken anyone to this point with these credentials. She is not a dancer, not an actress, she is a drunk and drug addict and should be taken
    off this great show.