Letters to the editor: Seriously?



The world is on fire, our beloved country is in chaos and people are sniping about a beach pass? Give me a break!

Elaine Goldman


Thank you for the wonderful story

I write to thank you for the outstanding story by Steve Wick on the photograph of my father, William Kapell, with his good friend and colleague, Leonard Bernstein. It is a treasured memory for me and my family and we’re gratified to share it with your readers. After I posted the story on Facebook, Jamie Bernstein, Lenny’s daughter, immediately liked it! In addition to numerous other responses were comments from the fine young pianist, Hyperion Knight, who commented: “They will both live forever — they represent America and the arts at their best. For many of us, [theirs] is the most beloved recording of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto (referring to their historic recording posted on YouTube that was the subject of the rehearsal memorialized in the photo.) Thank you so much for this.

Dave Kapell


This issue is bigger than one village

In light of the recent action by Greenport and a companion editorial by the Suffolk Times regarding affordable housing, I think certain points may give clarity to the concepts expressed.

Greenport is in some ways a “fictional municipality.” Its one square mile is really the downtown district of a much larger surrounding community which includes unincorporated Greenport, West Greenport, East Marion and others. The core mission of a small village is centered on a code dealing with health, safety, business, quality of life, utilities and the efficient delivery of administrative services. Any effort to address housing may be commendable but tangential to that assignment. Affordable housing is a complex regional concern far above the village’s power and must not be studied to the exclusion of understanding and providing basic services.

Right now the village has several abandoned vehicles on its streets, some empty buildings representing public hazards and the “Arcade,” no doubt with dangerous aging electric wiring, in the center of a largely wooden commercial area. Critical thinking and action might preclude a tragedy. This is the essence of a village’s duties.

Affordable housing on the North Fork is within the province of the towns of Southold and Riverhead. Solutions require significant concessions. For example, a cruise ship, essentially a floating apartment complex, can house 2,500 people because of density. It would take many dense independent structures or sub-structures to reach even that modest number here. Whether any government should even consider a “housing authority” to promote a commodity that is generally driven by market forces adds apprehension. A thoughtful, realistic approach to the problem is necessary.

Michael Butler


Our community is now just for the rich

I read with alarm Ana Borruto’s article “Chamber members convene to discuss key issues facing Mattituck” in the last edition of The Suffolk Times. Of most concern is the drop in enrollment in our schools. As a physician, I see a fair amount of high school seniors (mostly for migraines and concussions). They are all bright and ambitious. Where did they get accepted for college? That would be schools in Florida, North Carolina, but also Tennessee and Massachusetts and many points beyond. Yes, some go to Hofstra and Suffolk Community College. However the big question is: “Will you come back … or stay?”

I worry that our community is becoming a place for rich old people with deep swimming pools (like me) and all the others that take care of us. This conversation needs to continue. I do feel I speak for many on Long Island writ large.

Philippe Vaillancourt


We need your help

Our American Legion Post here in Southold has been working hard on pre-qualifying for a New York State Veterans Grant. Our last piece to this puzzle is a financial audit. Looking at the cost of an audit makes it impossible for us to comply. We are asking if any CPA in town would be willing to conduct the audit pro bono. We have no guarantee of getting the grant even with meeting all the state’s requirements.

We plan, if we receive the grant, to make our restrooms handicapped accessible. This will help our disabled veterans, and also those disabled within the community who utilize our facility. 

We also want to thank the entire North Fork for your continued support of our Post, through your donations and attendance at all our events. Without which we could not support our veterans in need, hand out scholarships to our high school seniors, or complete the mission of the American Legion.

Bob Bittner

adjutant, Griswold-Terry-Glover Post 803


He played a beautiful Chopin

Having heard William Kapell twice in the mid 1940s in Winnipeg, you can imagine what memories the recent article about him brought back for me. I remember his lovely Chopin and also his humility. When he got up to take a bow, he moved to the left, the bass end of the piano. Years ago a dear friend bought his piano, and I have played on it! And I have a nine-CD set of all his approved recordings comprising 81 pieces of music. I trust he is resting in peace. A great loss for all of us.

Marilyn Livingstone Flynn


Thank you!

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Cliff Saunders, owner of Cliff’s Elbow Room and Jackie Buttafuoco, a young lady without whom our wedding there wouldn’t have happened. 

Also, many thanks to Times Review Media and especially Chris Francescani, for the lovely photo and story about my day joining hands with Suzanne in the place where we first met.

It was one of the nicest, most cherished memories in my 15 years since this Queens boy moved to the North Fork. 

With great appreciation and humble thanks,

Vinny Spampinato


Plum Island is worth the effort

It was a privilege to represent Save the Sound and the Preserve Plum Island Coalition in Washington, D.C., on March 7 before the House Federal Lands subcommittee considering the Plum Island National Monument Act, introduced by Representative Nick LaLota. As I spoke, I felt backed by over 125 organizations who agree: Plum Island should be a national monument for the purpose of ecological conservation, historical preservation, and the discovery and celebration of our shared cultural heritage. 

The strength of the Preserve Plum Island Coalition is its broad membership — local, regional, and national organizations who support finding permanent protection for Plum Island. No single organization can do what the PPIC has accomplished together over the years, growing regional recognition of the importance of preserving this unique place and successfully influencing Congress to reverse its previous stance that the island be auctioned off. The Group for the East End, North Fork Environmental Council, the Montaukett Indian Nation, Peconic Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy in New York, Audubon New York, Coast Defense Study Group, Sierra Club Long Island Group, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the New York League of Conservation Voters, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Parks & Trails New York, Orient Association, Trust for Public Land, The Wilderness Society and scores of other partners each have brought their specific expertise, perspectives, and members to this decade-and-a-half-long campaign.

As we continue pressing the President to proclaim Plum Island a national monument through the Antiquities Act, we likewise support H.R. 1584, the bipartisan congressional bill that would accomplish the same. We’re reaching across the nation to get more co-sponsors. Readers with friends and relatives in other states can help by asking their contacts to call their own representatives: Urge them to co-sponsor the bill and preserve Plum Island. 

Louise Harrison

Ms. Harrison is the Long Island natural areas manager for Save the Sound.


Are these really your values?

Imagine it’s 1933 and you’re a Jew living in Germany. You have what you thought is a wonderful relationship with your non-Jewish neighbor. He comes to you and says, “Listen, we’re good neighbors and good friends. I’d like to keep it that way, so I hope that my vote for Hitler won’t get in the way of our relationship.”

Now imagine it’s 2024 and you’re an immigrant, or a Muslim, or a Jew living in the United States. You have what you think is a wonderful relationship with your non-immigrant, non-Muslim, non-Jewish neighbor. He comes to you and says, “Listen, we’re good neighbors and good friends. I’d like to keep it that way, so I hope that my vote for Donald Trump in November won’t get in the way of our relationship.” Do you see the similarities?

Mr. Trump has called fallen warriors “suckers” and “losers.” He says immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country.” He calls his political opponents “vermin.” He’s tried everything he could to ban Muslims from coming into the country. He said there were, “very fine people on both sides” when his followers marched through Charlottesville shouting, “Jews will not replace us.” He’s parroted Mussolini and Hitler time and again and has declared that he wants to be a dictator.

Can you really continue a relationship with your Trump-supporting neighbor given his history of sex, lies and videotapes coupled with his intent to revive every discriminatory aspect of the 1950s in this country? Are those your values too? Because if you can vote for this guy, you’re supporting his worst instincts and you need to ask yourself if you share those instincts. There’s no other explanation.

Michael Levy