Letters: FD story deserved better placement; more thoughts on Obama

Winchester, Va.

FD deserved better

It is so nice and thoughtful of The Suffolk Times to include the East Marion Fire Department’s great achievement in the rear of the May 24 edition.

Of all the fire departments in Suffolk County, of which there are more than 100, East Marion was chosen the number one agency of the year. I would have thought that this designation would deserve better placement in the local newspaper.

It appears to me that whenever East Marion does something or appears in a parade, little notice or space is given to them in your newspaper.

It is a great privilege to know [former chief] Greg Wallace and to be made aware of all he has done for the East Marion Fire Department and for the nearby communities.

I was a member, commissioner and EMT in the department until I retired to Virginia in 2003.

Ralph Martin Jr.


You go, Troy

Thank you, Troy, for your “right on” column.

“Good on you,” as they say in the U.K.

Renée Carey


Slanting to the left

We have delayed our renewal of our subscription until now because we were debating not renewing after 20 years of subscribing to The Suffolk Times.

We are concerned about how liberal the paper has become. We want you to be aware that many conservative readers are often offended at the editorials, just as we are. There are many conservatives on the North Fork and the condescending attitude that The Suffolk Times has toward conservatives is unjust.

After much thought, we have decided to renew our subscription because as residents of the North Fork we feel we are entitled to know what is happening in our hometown. We only wish that our local paper would not be so biased.

William and Kristin Von Eiff


‘No’ isn’t anti-kids

I do not advocate a vote of “no confidence” regarding the resubmitted Oysterponds school budget if a five-year contract with Greenport is signed by both school boards prior to the June 19 revote.

However, I do think it would be very appropriate for the public to submit a petition to the Oysterponds board which contains the following resolution:

The school board hereby directs the school superintendent not to institute or commence in any way a pre-K program until or unless compelled to do so by state education law.

To offer such a program now would constitute a reckless disregard for district taxpayers. The present community program is self-supporting and thus tax-free. Further, it is superbly run and is free of “infection” by the state education department.

The capital reserve fund ranks a close second. It’s clearly an additional 5 percent tax. This is especially outrageous since absolutely no detailed information has been provided as to how the money is to be spent.

We should never assume a negative vote on a budget is a vote against the kids. In fact, it may really turn out to be a vote for the kids.

If a district has less money for creature comforts or other frivolous matters, the administration will have more time to focus on the education of the children, as it will not be distracted by determining how to spend the extra funds.

Further, in this case, a contingent budget is not an austerity budget. It’s only $122,000 less than the original.

As a matter of fact, board members must expect the proposed 2012-13 budget to be at least $250,000 over actual expenditures if they intend to salt away $250,000 at the end of June 2013.

Walter Strohmeyer
former president, Oysterponds school board


Not those rabbits

I’d like to make a correction to the May 24 article “What about all the wildlife on Plum Island?”

The New England cottontail, a candidate for federal listing under the Endangered Species Act, has not been recorded from Plum Island, although it was formerly found on Long Island proper.

With its shrubby thickets, Plum Island appears to have suitable habitat for it. With no competing eastern cottontails and few predators, Plum Island could serve as an experimental reintroduction site.

Matt Schlesinger, Ph.D.
chief zoologist,
New York Natural History Program


An angel at the P.O.

I would like to thank the gentleman who left money to pay for my package when I was at the Southold post office several weeks ago.

I’d like to thank him and return the money. Perhaps he could send his name and address to Box 825, Southold. It was so nice of him.

Grace Zukas


Advice for the grads

Congratulations, graduates.

I would like to offer my insights on what lies ahead and things you might be able to do that may save you a lot of unnecessary expense and anxiety in years to come.

The advice could come under the heading, “Don’t do it my way.”

No matter what you’re told, everyone and every institution out there is primarily out for themselves. Unless you’re extremely talented, you’ll be lucky to find decent work at all, never mind the work of your dreams.

The best advice I can give is to pursue any path that leads to any government job at any level. Outside of health care, which is the most rapidly growing field in the U.S., when working in the private sector you’ll make less than those in government.

Do not allow idealism to lead you to forsake such vital concerns as health insurance and pensions. When you reach 60 — my age — you’ll most definitely want health insurance, a pension and to retire. But in the private sector, unless you’ve been very savvy, you’ll be without them and the consequences could be dire.

My friends who worked government jobs are now all pleasantly retired, traveling and enjoying a steady stream of income and health benefits. And unless you stand to inherit a business, why bother starting one when so few are really successful?

There are so many career paths leading to a government job. It’s true, a certain level of mediocrity and inertia often becomes the norm. But all the while you’ll be investing in your well-being.

At the same time, you’ll have the strength of powerful unions behind you, something totally unavailable to a business person or an employee in most private sector jobs.

Do not believe platitudes such as “the stars are yours.” But with a little common sense and education, a good government job can be yours. The rewards will be a steady, dependable income and a healthy, relatively prosperous and guaranteed retirement.

Should you get a government job, hang on to it until you retire. You’ll thank your lucky stars.

All the best!

Harry Katz


Crossing the lines

Double yellow lines are a pet peeve of mine.

There are certain conditions where you’re allowed by law to make turns over, and left turns out of, a driveway, as long as the flow of traffic is not impeded and no excessive speed is used.

If oncoming vehicles must slow or make drastic maneuvers, these are not safe actions. Double yellow lines cannot be crossed in any other situations than those described.

It seems quite simple what the lawful requirement of a driver is when driving on a roadway with double yellow lines, such as on our main roads here on the North Fork, is to keep to the right of those lines. However, every day I experience drivers crossing over for no other reason than not having patience and being in a hurry.

I say “slow down, you move too fast,” especially on the curves, or accidents will happen.

Additionally, just because the car in front of you wants to parallel park in town is not reason enough to cross over that line to go around.

Doing the right thing is always warranted in driving. It will cause less angst and less road rage.

Even if you are slowing down to cross over the double yellow line to legally enter a driveway, you still can’t straddle that line with oncoming cars while in the process. Driving is a privilege that many take for granted. Please keep right of the double yellow line at all times except as stated in the law.

Doing so will make the North Fork a much more pleasurable place to drive for all.

Happy summer!

Bob Bittner


A privileged group

In your March 1 issue, Beth Young wrote an article entitled “Montauk Yes, Mattituck No.” Now, three months later, she can write a sequel: “Shinnecock Yes, Mattituck No.”

With Mattituck, Congressman Bishop is “swimming against the tide here,” as he said. Somehow, the tide is always in the right direction for South Shore folks. He just procured $5.1 million dollars for Shinnecock Inlet.

What we really need is a congressman who represents all his constituents, not just a privileged group.

Ron McGreevy


Pay attention

The upheaval in Europe has been going on for a long time now.

The lead program to stabilize and rebuild the European economy has been austerity, the reducing of debt, the stopping of payments toward as many programs as possible and a general “no spending” mantra.

At the recent G8 summit, attended by President Obama and the European nations, a new approach surfaced. Led by President Obama and France’s prime minister, Mr. Hollande, the continued decline of the European economy was dissected and a changed approach gained headway.

Discarding austerity and embarking on cautious spending to rebuild infrastructure, support education, support social programs and other efforts was discussed and seemed to carry the day. Hopefully it is not too late to turn back a European economic disaster.

This story is current history that we voters need to pay attention to. The current GOP mantra is “reduce spending any way possible” and because of it our recovery is very slow. The Obama direction is to put stimulus spending in the right places to create current employment along with lasting national value.

The president wants investment in our tired infrastructure, bridges and transit systems as well as green energy and a cleaner and healthier environment such as clean air and water and spending on education and more.

This is a program that builds jobs, reduces public misery, upgrades our country, improves our health and reduces our reliance on the oil dictators. This program also grows the economy and GDP. Mr. Obama is logically putting first things first.

When these benefits take hold, and we continue our reduction in military wasteful spending, we will face a manageable budget and renewed quality of American life. Then we tackle the debt.

We voters must pay attention, for this is really important.

Howard Meinke


A real apology

Barack Obama should be apologizing to the American people for things such as the Solyndra debacle and the wasteful prosecutions of John Edwards and Roger Clemens rather than apologizing to the rest of the world for our nation’s strengths.

Edward Boyd


He is a disgrace

John Copertino is very accurate when he writes of the president, “He is a disgrace.”

Addressing the United States Air Force Academy’s graduating class President Obama said the United States is now more respected in the world. But he’s leaving a friend in a Pakistani prison, a friend who assured us that the mastermind of 9-11 was who he was and where he was.

Dr. Shakil Afridi was arrested by our so-called friend Pakistan and jailed for 33 years for treason. His trial was kept secret until an article appeared in Newsday.

To harbor the man behind the killing of innocent civilians is an atrocity. To punish the person who helped us by using DNA testing is also an atrocity. And to allow someone to jail a patriot of their country is also an atrocity.

We should be sending an armada to free Dr. Afridi, just as we sent troops to get bin Laden. Who can respect someone who leaves their friend behind to rot in jail?

It’s an another disgrace by President Obama to proclaim we are a respected country. To do so in front of thousands of military personnel who are going to protect our freedom is a show of disrespect for our country.

Joel Reitman