Southold Dems hold rally to protest helicopter noise

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Greenport couple George Agnew and Linda Mugford with Southold resident Ellen Gomez hold protest signs in front of Rothmans on Saturday where Southold Democrats gathered and called for the preservation of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Southold Democrats held a rally Saturday, calling for the preservation of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, as well as what committee chairman Art Tillman is describing as “a new plank” in his party’s platform: eliminating helicopter noise on the North Fork.

Frank Dalene, vice chairman of the civic action group Quiet Skies Coalition, told a crowd of about 30 people at Rothmans Department Store in Southold that he believes helicopter noise  could be reduced if East Hampton Airport returns to operating as a private airport.

“[The airport] now acts as a commercial hub,” said Mr. Dalene, a pilot from Wainscott. “It’s an aerial assault on our quality of life. The same helicopters that fly over your homes, fly over ours.”

Mr. Tillman said the Democrats decided to join Quiet Skies Coalition’s quest because helicopter traffic has increased over the past few years.

“As the rich get even more money, they resort to helicopters and it seems the public be damned,” Mr. Tillman said.

There will be a public forum on helicopter noise at the LTV PBS television station, located at 75 Industrial Road in East Hampton, on Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m.

Mr. Tillman, along with Town Board challenger Marie Domenici and Town Justice candidate Brian Hughes, hope campaign efforts such as Saturday’s rally will help make up for the party’s decision to forgo the use of political signs.

“Because our candidates agreed to no signs, we are taking one big risk,” he said, adding that his party plans to spread its campaign message through “non-conventional” methods. “If the people would read about our policies online, then we will win.”

[email protected]