Letters to the Editor: Nov. 24, 2011


Why charge at all?

In regard to Highway Superintendent Pete Harris’ article in the Nov. 3 issue of The Suffolk Times asking for permission to issue summonses for taxpayers putting brush along the highway for pickup: Why?

As a resident and taxpayer of Southold Town, it’s my opinion that our transfer station should be open for resident property brush all year long, not for only approximately one month in the spring and fall.

Our property taxes should be sufficient to cover the cost involved to convert the brush to mulch, as is done now.

Mitchell Wilcenski


Give us the numbers

All that has happened regarding the Mattituck High School track is a lot of talk and no action.

The gravel track, one of last remaining gravel tracks in New York State, is in shambles. Grass covers three-quarters of the track, allowing only one lane to be used. This may be a tough time because of the degrading economy, but at least provide cost estimates for the community, which can then become educated on the issue and look at realistic options for the future.

There is a video on YouTube from The Suffolk Times that outlines the track’s problems and features input from MHS varsity track athletes. This video was made in April 2010, the same time that responses flooded The Suffolk Times regarding the “Homeless Tuckers” about how their track was deemed “unfit” to run on. All of last season, the varsity track team had no home meets.

In the spring of 2010, the Board of Education caught on to the disgraceful track. I attended meetings, where a committee was formed that supposedly ventured to neighboring schools to see what would work for Mattituck. After all this, why are we still running on it if it’s “unfit” to run on? Why has no further action been taken than simply talking about it?

Putting in an all-weather track could not only benefit the majority of Mattituck athletes, but also the community, which could use the track daily. Is forming a committee progress? The answer is no. A proposal for a new track has not even been put up to vote for the community to decide. A new track is very costly but the least that could be done is put it into the hands of the community.

The topic was raised again at the most recent board meeting. Board members against a new track said it was a waste of time, while other board members and residents requested factual price estimates. Mr. McKenna, the school superintendent, said that it was put on hold because the budget season had passed and that summer would be a better time to visit this, which is a fair argument.

But this discussion started in the spring of 2010 and since then two summers have gone by with no action. Show us the numbers, allow the community to become involved and see what happens after that.

A track is necessary and a realistic option is out there. During the last track season there were 80 runners on the varsity team and more than half that on the JV team. How can Mattituck’s largest athletic teams not have the basic necessities?

Kyle Freudenberg
sophomore, Mattituck High School


Are you fed up, too?

If you are as fed up with the helicopter noise as I am, please consider joining the “Quiet Skies Coalition.”

Many East Hampton residents are also fed up with the noise and emissions from the helicopters. What effects are all these emissions having on our groundwater and bays?

I don’t have soot on my patio furniture, as does one East Hampton woman, but this is certainly a wake-up call. I’m confident that she didn’t anticipate the helicopter air traffic to explode like it has in recent years.

I also don’t have pictures falling off my walls, but I certainly didn’t think when purchasing my home over 11 years ago that I would be in the flight path from air traffic heading to and from the East Hampton airport.

If I was to attempt to sell my home, I could only show it on a Tuesday or a Wednesday because the helicopter noise is atrocious for the balance of the week. What will happen to our real estate values? My guess is that any buyer would quickly turn away as soon as they were to see the air traffic.

If residents from both forks were to work together, we just might be able to make some changes to benefit us all.

Please visit quietskiescoalition.org.

Teresa McCaskie


More than a clock

So nice to see the Cutchogue clock receiving proper attention. It was donated to the town by Linda Rappaport in memory of her husband, clock collector and restorer Larry Rappaport.

He had a phenomenal clock collection of many sizes and eras. It’s fitting to honor the Rappaport family for their civic-minded contribution to Cutchogue and their active participation with North Fork Reform Synagogue when they opened their home for clock lovers to enjoy.

Sylvia Eisenstadt Pafenyk


Time to get going

Boy, these are getting to be hard times for a lot of people out here. People are losing their jobs and some, now, their homes. Our young people, our best and brightest, are moving out. What’s next?

Something has to be done, and it has to happen quick.

In Southold Town we can do something. We have open, available, buildable land. Make it attractive to business and develop it, like they did out in Omaha, Neb.

They put it all together.

There was no conflict there. They protected their environment, created a new tourism economy and properly developed natural resources, their land and water, into a wonderful world-class zoo. That’s an economic generator, bar none.

We have to create a project to produce good jobs and wealth in our community, and to grow as a town.

Jack McGreevy


Stay home instead

Here we are again. Another original American holiday upon us and all the media can talk about is how WalMart or Target or a number of other retail business are going to open late Thanksgiving night.

How sad that the media reports on this phenomenon as being good for the country. Their slanted outlook presupposes that the public craves this Black Friday nonsense.

They dig up people who are caught up in a shopping frenzy because of the daily media lead up to hype and put them on display via the local news. It does fill up a light news day for the most part.

But really, folks, why do we need to open for business at these ungodly hours? Why shouldn’t we all as Americans be able to celebrate this great nation in a day of thanks, free from the worries of the marketplace? Why take away yet another American tradition from its people developed since that first Thanksgiving so many years ago.

Americans need to stop shopping at these hours and allow all Americans the ability to be more family-oriented. By doing this the marketplace will be talking about “doing the right thing” instead of all going along like sheep fed by executive decisions and media hype.

I can remember being away from home for two Thanksgivings and three Christmases while serving in the Navy. Even on duty we were treated with much greater respect than our retail business now treat their employees.

We need to get this country back on the right track. We need to be making decisions based on doing the right thing and not based on a return on investment.

If it doesn’t feel good in my heart to go shopping Thanksgiving night, or even in the wee hours the next morning, and if it doesn’t feel good in your heart it probably is not the right thing to do. So don’t do it.

Bob Bittner


It’s the Girl Scouts

Regarding my letter of last week that you titled “Thanks, Scouts” instead of “Thanks, Girl Scouts,” you have done the Girl Scouts an injustice.

I understand that you have editorial privileges, but let’s give credit where credit it due — to our local Girl Scouts.

Also, I do not know where you got the idea that the letter came from Greenport as I clearly stated my address as Southold and American Legion Post 803 is in Southold.

John Maino

Editor’s note: We apologize for the error and in no way meant to slight the Girl Scouts or the good work they do.


Generous gestures

Thank you to the residents of Theresa Drive, Donna Drive, Bungalow Lane and Park Avenue of Mattituck for their overwhelming response to helping the homeless.

On Halloween we collected $162 for John’s Place, our community’s homeless shelter located in the basement of Mattituck Presbyterian Church. Even though we are all going through tough times, you still were so generous. God bless all of you.

Just remember, someone you know might need us someday. And thanks to people like you, John’s Place will be there.

Darlene Olsen


Follow a new course

What’s next?

With the current gridlock in Washington and the prevalence of the “cut expenses and lay off workers” philosophy, it’s difficult to see light at the end of the tunnel.

Any economist will tell you that the first sign of breaking out of recession is increased consumption. How can we get there?

Joining hands to support labor unions is a start. With CEOs and management driving down wages we need to reset the system so that labor gets a seat at the bargaining table. Greedy capitalists vs. greedy organized workers. Lockouts, sit-ins and strikes are not pleasant, but equitable. Gov. Cuomo got a good result recently when state employees accepted wage and benefit concessions.

Fair wages equal more consumption. Fair wages reduce income inequality. Fair wages increase tax revenue.

Getting behind a decent minimum wage, currently a weak $7.25 an hour in New York, that rises with the inflation index is another tack. Those who do the very basic, but necessary and generally overlooked, work of our everyday routine should not be assigned to poverty. Since we make fewer and fewer products and offer more and more services, a sensible minimum wage is the right thing to have.

A living wage increases consumption. And more people on a fair wage means less government aid to the needy.

Unfortunately, we do have to pressure government to increase revenue. And we do have to reduce deficits, but not at such great human cost. The logical avenue is to go back to tried and true progressive taxation. This would mine some money from the wealthy and make dollars available for the necessary rebuilding our economic foundation.

In past years, when income was fairly distributed, unemployment was low and poverty numbers were down, our economy was sound and our economic trajectory was upward and the United States was the envy of the world. At that time progressive taxation was our system. It’s not too late to reverse course and get it right.

Howard Meinke


It’s not hard to find

This is in response to Mr. Copertino’s provocative, innuendo-laden letter printed in the Nov. 17 edition of The Suffolk Times.

I recall very clearly Mr. Copertino ruminating how a young “Barrack Hussein Obama” could have associated with the likes of “the terrorist” William Ayres when they both served on a community board together in Chicago.

I clearly remember Mr. Copertino questioning how a young “Barrack Hussein Obama” could continue to be associated with a church whose pastor, Reverend Wright, preached anti-white sentiments.

So, what do we know about the past of President Obama?

These and other stories about “Barrack Hussein Obama” appeared in the mainstream, lame stream, liberal, leftist media.

Does Mr. C. suffer from selective memory?

God bless America.

God bless the free press.

Tom Spackman


How about facts?

John Copertino’s latest letter includes, besides the usual vague rants, some purportedly factual statements about President Obama.

It took me about one minute to check up on one of them: “Not one of Obama’s … college roommates have ever admitted they knew him.” In January 2009, The New York Times published an article based on an interview with one of his college roommates, including photos that Mr. Obama and the roommate took of each other.

I didn’t take the time to check on Mr. Copertino’s other statements, but I have no reason to believe they are more accurate. Doesn’t The Suffolk Times have some responsibility for purportedly factual statements appearing in its pages? Giving free reign to opinions is one thing, but as Sen. Moynihan said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinions but not to his own facts.”

Whatever happened to fact checking?

Stanley Brown


Now they’ll eat ’em

This past week, as our country spiraled downward in debt, joblessness and unpaid wars, our Congress entertained and passed legislation to qualify pizza as a vegetable.

Congress acted at the bidding of lobbyists motivated by financial gain to qualify pizza as healthy food in the subsidized federal school lunch programs.

Kids, enjoy your nutritious pepperoni-sausage vegetable.

Doug Hardy


One giant loophole

The politicians in Albany have lied to us again. After much hoopla and self-puffing PR, the boys in Albany proudly handed us the 2 percent tax cap. They told us what a wonderful thing they did for us and what good fellows they were.

It seems it contains a loophole you can drive a tank through, or rather a tax increase far exceeding 2 percent, and I don’t mean pension costs, their favorite whipping boy. Any local governing body can ignore and blow the cap away with a simple majority vote.

An upcoming example: The Village of Greenport board is preparing to pass a local law (this can be done by a 3-2 vote of the five-person board) that would allow them by another 3-2 vote to ignore the cap. The great state 2 percent cap allows this action.

Thank you, Ken and others in Albany, for nothing.

People need to let their local politicos know that there should be no local law to exceed the cap. And tell the Albany old boys’ club to fix this now.

William Swiskey Sr.


A farewell to Skip

On Sunday, Nov. 20, many people from our community listened to the truly celestial sound of Lark, eight gifted singers who filled Poquatuck Hall in Orient with music of joy.

As we all listened to Palestrina’s “Sicut Cervus,” a gentle man, Skip Wachsberger was leaving us for the “water springs.” After Skip passed, I also read the words of “Ubi Caritas,” sung with deep feeling by Lark: “Where there is charity and love, God is there … Let us revere and love the living God. And from a sincere heart, let us love one another.”

Skip will be missed by many. Geoff and I want to offer our condolences to Charles and Freddie and all Skip’s many friends. “The Lord bless you from Zion! May you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life.”

Helen Proud


I wish him peace

I do not understand John Copertino’s unhealthy obsession with Barack Obama’s past.

Why is it important to know whether the president went to a dance or performed in a play? Was this type of info made public about George W. Bush? (What we know about W’s past is that he attended Yale, received Cs, has a sealed driving record, was in the National Guard and rarely showed up.)

Mr. Obama’s recorded past? It’s all out there, including his working a construction job in New York City and his activities at Harvard. Look it up, unless it’s preferable to cling to the paranoid myths that are regularly printed. It seems the contents of the writer’s letter are a repeated litany of “birther blues” and “biased” media coverage.

If that’s all he can think about, then all I can do is wish him peace.

Teresa Taylor