Letters to the Editor


What is a farm?

Public hearings at Southold Town Board’s meeting on July 5th, 2011 on a new noise ordinance and on traffic problems on Factory Avenue impressed in two ways.

People from East Marion have been waiting 10 years for a noise ordinance. Residents of Cutchogue living across the street from Satur Farms on Alvah’s Lane have been asking for Southold Town to enforce our code to stop violations, including unhealthy noise, and many other problems, for 10 years. I’m not sure how long Unity Baptist Church has been living with illegal and unsafe traffic on Factory Avenue in Mattituck, but it has been well over 10 years.

Why has our Town Board taken so long to do anything? And is what is being done now enough?

Jim Best’s July 14 letter to the editor (“State does nothing”) got me thinking. How can we get violators to be good neighbors? Stop hiding behind the title of being a farm. I grew up on a farm. There were no forklifts, tractor-trailers, generators running all day and night, buses full of people, limos clogging up our small farm roads, live music or weddings.

Not long ago, the Town Board approved a law for farm stands to be up to 3,000 square feet. Then a “farmer” growing Christmas trees opened a 10,000-square-foot tschotske (knick-knacks) store. The land preservation department then paid him over a million dollars to preserve his Christmas tree farm. Why is Southold Town subsidizing “farmstands” selling tschotskes made in China?

In the Oxford Dictionary, a farm is defined as a unit of land used for raising crops or livestock. The definition does not include live music, or products from around the world, shipped in to be sold on the farm or to be shipped out.

All the people who live across the street from Satur Farms trucking business should be given a tax break. The changes in their neighborhood caused by Satur Farms and unchecked by Southold Town, merit a reassessment of the values of their properties. The quiet enjoyment of their homes is impossible and they are now worthless.

It’s time for the people of Southold Town to demand that our local government stop using the word “farm” as an excuse for being a bad neighbor.

Nancy Sawastynowicz


An animal in need

I’m writing in response to the article about the noise ordinance in last week’s paper.

David Evans of Peconic wondered if the noise ordinance could help him since his neighbor’s dog was yelping and howling uncontrollably. Dogs bark for many reasons, to alert, to comment, to protect. This dog is in distress and should not be treated just as a noise nuisance, but as an animal that may be being mistreated.

If you find yourself in this situation, call the police first and the North Fork Animal Shelter at 765-1811. They do wonderful work and may be able to help you to resolve the situation so that everyone is happy.

Chrystle Fiedler


Isn’t it ironic?

I find it quite ironic how all the people from the city with all the noise they chose to live in feel it’s the North Fork’s responsibility to give them the peace and quite not available at home.

So for heaven’s sake, all you businesses, farmers, restaurants, marinas, pet owners, parents of noisy children, etc., let’s just follow our locally elected officials and kiss.

Bob Paquette


There’s more to it

The first draft of the community character chapter of Southold 2020 features the historic and visual character of Southold Town.
History has been influential to the development of our community. And visual aspects of our environment are important both as defining attributes and as indications of other defining attributes of our community character.

But the sense of place characteristic of our community can not be described, or planned for, by considering only our history and appearance.

History should not be confused with the present. The first draft begins with the sentence, “Founded in 1640, Southold is the oldest English-speaking colony in the State of New York.” Why antagonize Southampton Town, which also claims to have been the first English colony in New York? Southold Town is no longer an English colony, and has not been since 1783.

The first draft fails to mention significant distinctive attributes of the Town of Southold. Is there any connection between the diversity of geographical features such as the Peconic and L.I. Sound shorelines, the aquifers, fertile earth and topography and the diversity of inhabitants of and visitors to the North Fork?

Whether or not related, both are appropriate subjects of a chapter of a comprehensive plan on community character.
Building an accurate and effective comprehensive plan will take more than the current comprehensive plan team.

To quote from my statements at the public hearing, “We need to respect each other and respect the environment. We need to live together. We cannot ignore or eliminate those who disagree with us. We can build a true consensus only if we listen with open ears, and open minds and open hearts.”

Benja Schwartz


Amper’s way off base

I must respond to Pine Barrens Society director Richard Amper’s inaccurate letter about the county’s role in the open space program.

A few weeks ago, I held a press conference emphasizing the success of Suffolk’s open space program and my call on other levels of government to partner with the county to purchase even more. Numerous representatives from the major environmental groups stood beside me in support of the partnership that my administration has had with these organizations in helping to make the largest investment in open space preservation in our county’s history.

Present were representatives from the Group for the East End, Peconic Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy and Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment. The only so-called environmentalist not appearing, and again standing alone in criticism of the open space program, was Dick Amper.

Why would all these environmental groups be supportive of our efforts while Mr. Amper would maintain criticism? Perhaps it’s because I’ve been one elected official who has spoken out against Mr. Amper’s tactics in the past.

Mr. Amper believes he must constantly be critical and scare people into thinking that their drinking water is poisoned so that they could turn around and donate money to his organization.

Mr. Amper has been critical of elected officials who accept donations from developers, yet he bristled when I’ve often noted that his organization is funded in large part by the same developers he claims to abhor.

In any event, because I called Mr. Amper out on his tactics, he doesn’t like me very much. Consequently, he will never admit that Suffolk County under my leadership has done enough. (The day he admits we’ve done enough is the day he becomes irrelevant.)
He disingenuously tries to compare the number of acres we’ve purchased in my administration with those of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. How can you make such a comparison when all the low-hanging fruit of the earlier administrations is now gone and we’re left primarily only with small parcels that we can close?

But the fact remains that while last year the entire state invested only $5 million on open space preservation on Long Island, and while Nassau County only invested $6 million, we in Suffolk invested a colossal $88 million in 2010 alone and a whopping $450 million to date thanks to the support of the public referendum for open space preservation.

This is the largest investment in a seven-and-a-half-year period in our county’s history. My administration is quite proud of this and is looking forward to working with our environmental leaders and town and state partners to make this program even better.
Perhaps in the future Mr. Amper will lay down his chronic knee-jerk criticism and join in our efforts.

Steve Levy

county executive


Could have asked

Should the osprey leave Greenport? Better asked might have been should the residents have been asked, even just as a courtesy?
After all, the Village Board is elected to represent us and do the will of the people. (In theory anyway.)

Is there really an insurance risk of someone climbing on it? Perhaps we should tear down all flag poles, park benches and Jungle Gyms too.

Would local artists really be offended if their work was not displayed as prominently? Why is it appropriate for the village to accept an antique fire engine, but not a (generally accepted) work of art and commemorative to 9/11?

These are all very heady questions our mayor and board had to wrestle with over the span of one year. And because of their vision for the village and their concern for the villagers, the decision was — drum roll please — send it to Southold.

John Saladino


Slap to Vietnam vets

My fiancé and I are planning to get married next year so when I read the article In the May 29 issue of your paper of Peconic Landing giving away a free wedding to a veteran, I was very excited and told my fiancé we should submit our names.

My fiancé is a highly decorated combat veteran who served one year of duty in Vietnam. He was wounded twice and received two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Navy Commendation Medal, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and numerous other medals.

He has been very active in politics, community, environmental and veteran groups. I thought to myself that he has given so much to his county and community that winning a free wedding would be wonderful way for his community to give a little back to him.

When I excitedly mentioned to him that I wanted to submit our names, he immediately responded, “forget it, it will never happen.” Why? I said. You more than meet all the requirements. He said what they’ll do is pick a young couple, then you’ll see a picture of them in the paper with smiling faces, wrapped around an upbeat article, its all about PR. The last thing they will ever do is pick a Vietnam vet. We were the only generation of vets that was thrown under the bus, betrayed and abandoned by our own countrymen. And the reason you hear and see all this support and vets stuff today, is because of what they did to us and the guilt they feel. Don’t waste your time, it will never happen. I wouldn’t be surprised if half the people making the selection were the ones that were out there protesting and attacking us.

I walked into the bedroom and cried, not because I cared about winning or losing a wedding. But for the first time I thought about how we treated our Vietnam vets, the pain, anger and betrayal they feel. I said to myself, my God he’s right, we sent our young men to war, asked them to take human lives and when they came home, instead of treating them like heroes, we scorned them, ridiculed them and abandoned them. And the sad thing is, we now have a whole generation of young people that don’t have a clue what we did to them.

And for my generation, yes we need to be supportive of our troops, but we cannot forget about our Vietnam vets. No one suffered more than them.

Lets not fail our Vietnam veterans again. We need to be just as supportive to them as we are to our current veterans.

Michele Schor

Editor Tim Kelly responds: When I accepted Peconic Landing’s request to serve on the wedding selection committee I became the only non-veteran on the panel. The other members included male and female veterans, one a retired brigadier general. The unanimous decision on the winning couple was based on the fact that both are current members of the U.S. Armed Forces, both serving overseas.


Play nice, folks

Sometimes I don’t live within my means and I overspend my budget.

Eventually I stop spending until I pay my debt off, before I allow myself to have another spending spree. All the while the basics continue to be paid. It’s a system that works well for me and it is simple.

I implore the Democrats and the Republicans to learn to play nice on the playground. Certainly there is enough collective financial expertise to develop a simple plan to stop spending, pay off the debt then start to spend again, all the while the basics continue to be paid and function.

I suggest the place to start savings may be to stop paying hefty salaries to the children on the playground who cannot play cooperatively together. I take personal offense to incompetence disguised as party-line rhetoric.

By now, has everyone learned whether they pay the same percentage of property tax as the million dollar homes in our area? Once again, get out your calculators and your property tax bill please. Multiply the listed full value of your property by .5 percent. My property, as an example, is $504,587 X .5%, which equals $2,522.94. Wouldn’t that be a nice amount of tax to pay? Actually, my taxes are $6,183.07. How I wish I could afford the .5% tax of the $1.5 million house in Orient with a mere $7,000 annual tax.
The 2% property tax cap is a good start. But who do you lobby for a flat-rate property tax transformation? Maybe then with these small changes I will be able to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in total. Since I was a 15-year-old high school sophomore, I have omitted “with liberty and justice for all” because, sadly, in my heart I believe it’s not true and I try not to speak hypocritically.

The Educated Taxpayer group will meet again Wednesday, Aug. 17 at the Cutchogue library at 6 p.m.  Everyone is welcome, because as you all well know it is going to take the village to effect any change. Until then, you can catch me at the beach.

MaryAnn Fleischman


More than blight

It is with concern and certain sadness I read of the possibility of a potato blight in affecting the potato crop on Long Island.
References to the tragedy that blight in Ireland is often misunderstood. The blight caused the dispossession or death of 1/3 of the population of Ireland. The Great Hunger, or an Gorta Mór in Irish, was caused by cruel neglect, misrule and indifference by the British government to the suffering of the people of Ireland. In the 1840s they were subjects of the British Empire. During “Black ’47” there was surplus of food available, sheep, cattle, barley, oats, and rye being exported to England for profit by absent British landlords.

This blight might cause hardship but not famine, for this is America. Thanks to the patriots who fought and died in the War of Independence for our freedom we are citizens, not subjects at the whim of despots.

For those interested in the facts, refer to “The Great Hunger” by Woodham Smith, “Paddy’s Lament” by Thomas Gallagher and “The Famine” by Liam O’Flaherty.

Forgive but never forget.

Brian Kelly


Lucky to have you

I’d like to thank the members of the Southold Fire Department, as well as the Southold Police Department.

My wife and I live in Peconic but both work up-island. We have four dogs and my father-in-law, who is 82, comes over daily to let them out. While at our house on July 11 he became dizzy and felt like he would pass out.

He called my wife, who called 911 and then called me. While on our way home, the Southold Police and fire department responded and transported him to Peconic Bay Medical Center for further treatment.

It’s comforting to know that we have such dedicated professionals to assist us in a time of need. The EMTs were courteous, professional and responded promptly. We would like to extend our sincere thanks Ed Boyd, George Barry, Bill Gaffga and Bruce Lear, men who took time from their families and jobs to assist our family.

We would especially like to thank Southold policeman Richard Jernick Jr. for his compassionate care, which we felt was “above and beyond.” He not only comforted my father-in-law while awaiting the arrival of the ambulance, he also took care of our four dogs, who, as you would imagine, were terrified at the strangers and lights and sirens at home.

Thank you again for a job well done. We are all fortunate to have you.

Judi and Jose Perez


Not this circus

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and children of all ages — the Cole Brother’s Circus is coming to town.

If you are thinking about attending the show, please educate yourself about the animals used to entertain you. For adults, there are websites that are difficult to view as their content contains actual footage of elephants being trained. If you need to convince yourself that elephants are abused, visit www.helpelephants.com.

We needn’t do without circuses. There are many that are exciting and entertaining without abusing animals. In Defense of Animals recommends Cirque du Soleil, The New Pickle Family Circus, Circus Smirkus, Cirque Eloize, Circus Oz and the Mexican National Circus. All are wonderful circuses that offer family entertainment using only willing human performers.

ASPCA Kids website for kids who love animals provides a page of animal-free circuses at http://www.aspca.org/aspcakids/real-issues/animal-free-circuses.aspx.

Jean Lawless and Stephanie Bucalo


Go to five rooms

I am writing in support of amending the Village of Greenport bed and breakfast code from three rooms to five as per the New York State code.

I see no reason that this should not be amended. If a B&B is large enough, with adequate bedroom space, and can supply adequate parking, they should be allowed the additional rentals.

We are in hard economic times and income is important. Greenport is lovely and we would like to attract visitors to our village. All the businesses in the village would benefit from the expanded room allowance.

The Greenport Business Improvement District and Business Association have been working hard to keep the businesses we have here, and to help them flourish. We also want to attract new small businesses to fill the many empty stores.

We can’t appear to be anti-business. We need codes in place to support local business, protect our quality of life and promote smart growth.

Caroline Waloski


Divide & conquer

And to the republic, which no longer stands as one nation or under god, indivisible with liberty and justice for few.

In a republic the supreme power is held  by the citizens, who elect officers and representatives who serve/govern in accordance with the law. Mr. Obama has usurped his authority and the Constitution when he signed into law Obamacare. Also, he is promoting a stealth amnesty plan.

The nation is divided in two; those who are Godless and those who believe their rights come from God, not Congress, not the State and not Mr. Obama.

We are no longer indivisible as Mr. Obama divides us like sheep every time he insights class warfare.

Our liberties have been systematically eradicated in such minuscule quantities over such a long period of time we no longer recognize what the founding fathers intrusted to us. We are allowing the government to tell us what to buy, such as Obamacare and certain light bulbs. With new legislation on purchasing raw milk what to eat and removing overweight children from their homes and parents. The Obama regime continues to dictate in spite of our constitution.

Lady justice is blind, which Mr. Obama hopes we are, as he continues to bankrupt the country, destroy the economy and the constitution.

His goal, or I should say his backers/supporters goal, is to bring the USA under a one world government.

How could this be possible? Simple. They destroy the economy and the constitution, inflate the cost of food and fuel, create a national emergency, insight riots, suspend the second amendment and use UN troops to restore order.

The ignorant populace will praise the president for what they will see as his saving, not his enslaving solution, to the contrived emergency.

Please let me hear from all those liberal, progressive, socialist, Godless communists squeal to the editor about this conspiracy theory.

George Dengel

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