03/06/15 12:00pm
03/06/2015 12:00 PM

At face value, Supervisor Sean Walter’s effort to save taxpayers money by consolidating town government offices seems to be a good idea — and it’s good that he’s pursuing such good ideas. Trimming the number of town employees by 12 percent over the last five years has surely saved taxpayers money — and will continue to down the road. However, the need for the town to trim even more personnel to balance its budget next year and beyond is a real problem — one that’s largely of his and this Town’s Board’s own creation. (more…)

02/27/15 1:50pm
02/27/2015 1:50 PM
Sidewalk2

Dallas Wiese walks up Route 58 about once a week to meet his mother after her shift at Stop & Shop ends. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

Many Riverhead taxpayers have made clear from time to time — whether it’s at public meetings, through correspondence or conversations with newspaper staff or even in our online comments section — that they think lots of big businesses in town have it too easy.

Whether the reason is the tax breaks given by the Industrial Development Agency, the terms of a final site plan approval by the Planning Board or — most recently and quite obviously — lax code enforcement over shoveling sidewalks on Route 58, the public’s perception sometimes is that the town overlooks average taxpayers in favor of of business owners.

Related: Riverhead issues $10K in tickets for uncleared Route 58 sidewalks

Those perceptions could be argued: The town’s code enforcement resources are limited and businesses do generate jobs and tax dollars. If they don’t get some kind of breaks here, they will just get them elsewhere.

But for a family earning the town’s median household income of $62,144 — or the 43 percent of families bringing in less than $50,000 — those arguments can understandably fall on deaf ears. And frequently the people walking up and down Route 58 in need of sidewalks are earning on the lower end of the income scale and rely on public transit to get from place to place.

It should go without saying that enforcing the town’s code is the right thing to do. Unfortunately it took nearly until March for tickets to be issued — far too long for those forced to walk along a busy thoroughfare in below-freezing weather, not to mention the drivers who nearly hit defenseless pedestrians.

The fine for failing to clear sidewalks — $250 — is rather paltry in relation to the size of the town’s budget, but the rules are the rules. Hopefully, the town will keep up with enforcement and will press the issue harder next winter should similar circumstances arise.

If businesses continue to choose not to comply, perhaps the fine should be increased.

02/27/15 9:59am

Words such as “crisis” and “urgent” often lose their currency when public officials spend them as freely as sailors on sprees.

But credit Shelter Island Supervisor Jim Dougherty — chairman of the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association — for pursuing an end to a fully realized crisis confronting the region’s future in the form of polluted groundwater and the waters that surround us(more…)

02/20/15 7:00am
02/20/2015 7:00 AM
Governor Cuomo giving his State of the State address the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany Jan. 21. (Credit: Courtesy Flickr photo)

Governor Cuomo giving his State of the State address at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany Jan. 21. (Credit: Courtesy Flickr photo)

The rushed rollout of the Common Core State Standards under Gov. Andrew Cuomo during the 2012-13 school year set off alarm bells in school hallways and living rooms across the state. All of a sudden, teachers and parents in New York were being told that well over half of the student population had failed to make the grade based on the new Common Core-aligned math and ELA state assessments.  (more…)

02/12/15 7:59am
02/12/2015 7:59 AM
The house at 29 Lewis Street remains boarded up three months after the raid. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

The house at 29 Lewis Street remains boarded up three months after the raid. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

Breaking up an open-air drug market might spell relief for the afflicted neighborhood, but it is nothing like ridding a country of an occupying foreign force.

The relief is only temporary, especially in low-income areas.

As long as there are jobless high school dropouts, there will be more gang members and drug dealers ready to take the place of those serving time upstate. Indeed, it seems as if every two to three years the district attorney announces another big bust of a group of people ferrying illegal narcotics from NYC to Riverhead.  (more…)

02/06/15 12:00pm
02/06/2015 12:00 PM

state leadersAlbany is in need of serious reform. It’s been known for years, even decades, and is obvious to anyone who pays the slightest bit of attention to our state government.

There appeared to be hope with the 2010 election of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who ran on a reform agenda. But he ended up shutting down his own highly touted investigative body, the Moreland Commission, when its members began to hone in on the root of most problems in Albany: outside money earned by lawmakers, and specifically lawyers who have long claimed they couldn’t disclose details of their work — including their clients — because that would be a breach of lawyer-client privilege. (more…)