Letters to the Editor: March 31, 2011


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


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


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


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


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


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