12/17/12 8:00am
12/17/2012 8:00 AM

To the Editor:

I have literally felt sick to my stomach after hearing about the horrific tragedy that has happened in Connecticut. My thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to those parents who are now living a Hell on earth.

Now is not the time for the media to fan a “gun control” flame. Now is not the time to put gun owners against those who don’t support the right to bear arms. This tragedy is not all about guns. In fact, I had this discussion with a close friend. I will go as far as to say that the media is partially to blame for this act of violence.

The manner which the media covers many inhumane acts of terror and violence is creating a new subculture of superheroes. The media indirectly glorifies these maniacs and overexposes them. To those of us who are normal, we just look in disgust and sympathize with the victims. For those who may be mentally ill, a new hero is created. Fame is immediately achieved. Legend is immediately created. And a new copy cat is always watching.

The copy cat is now even getting ideas that may have never entered his mind. The media always gives us all a detailed description of how the psycho put together the master plan. Good food for thought for the next super-villain.

The fact that there have been so many school shootings that we can now actually rank them boggles my mind. What has become of our society? Furthermore, the media can put whatever subject matter it wants out there to the public without any system of checks and balances. Barring foul language and nudity, what content guidelines do they have to follow?

I don’t know the answer or the remedy on how to fix people or better society, but I think if people want to challenge the second amendment, we may also want to take another look at the first amendment as well.

David Muntner, Mattituck

12/16/12 10:00am
12/16/2012 10:00 AM

ABC NEWS COURTESY PHOTO | A sign welcoming visitors to Sandy Hook Elementary School, the site of Friday’s mass school shooting that left 27 people dead.

To the Editor:

It is impossible to articulate the magnitude of the horror of the massacre in Connecticut .

Those who say “guns don’t kill, people do” are so wrong. If that mentally ill young man had a knife, there would have been loss of life, but nothing nearly as horrific.

It is time, for us as a nation of good and decent people, to  band together to have the gun laws changed. Please.

Rosellen Storm, Southold

12/02/12 11:15am
12/02/2012 11:15 AM

This is an open letter to candidates for 1st legislative district, Sean Walter and Al Krupski. Gentlemen, please tell us “on the record” what you intend to do to repeal the 3.25 percent Suffolk county tax on home heating oil.

If you want my vote and respect be specific and intelligent with your plans to repeal this almost exclusive tax on Suffolk county’s working class. To allow this tax to exist is a direct insult to us. We are fed up with excuses and double talk.

Warren McKnight, Wading River

09/24/12 8:09am
09/24/2012 8:09 AM

Randy Altshculer, left, and Tim Bishop, right, will take part in a debate we’re cosponsoring this Thursday at the Vail Leavitt Music Hall in downtown Riverhead.

About two weeks ago, we posted a poll asking our readers to vote on whether we should ban letters on national issues.

We gave readers two options: Yes, letter writers should stick to local topics or No, if the writer is local, so is the letter.

‘No’ won out … barely.

A total of 366 readers voted in the poll and 190 (52 percent) voted no.

When I discussed the issue internally with my fellow Times/Review editors, we agreed that letters on national issues should continue to be printed. There are several reasons for this:

– Like the answer states, any letter written from a local resident is a local letter.

– We want you to dictate what gets discussed on the letters pages, not us. Unlike the internet, where commenting is enabled for almost every story, the letters to the editor section is the only designated place in our print edition where anyone can have their say.

– One of the big reasons some folks, including 48 percent of people who voted in our poll, would like to have national letters banned, is due to the tone of the letters. Many folks told us they believed the letters stretched the facts, were based largely on biased cable TV news talking points and were just plain nasty. While I tend to agree with a lot of these concerns, I also see the value in a letter that gets our readers’ blood boiling a little. When one letter inspires other letters, I think that’s a good thing. Within reason, of course.

– National letters can have local impact. The line on which letters would be acceptable is a little blurry.

As always, we appreciate all the feedback we’ve received on this topic. It’s great to see such an engaged and passionate readership out there.

• Speaking of national issues, we’re co-sponsoring a Congressional debate at Vail Leavitt Music Hall this Thursday night between Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and his Republican opponent, Randy Altschuler of St. James.

The 90-minute debate is scheduled for 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6 p.m. I’d recommend getting their early since seating is limited to 250 people. We will, however, broadcast the debate live on our site for anyone who can’t be there. We’ll keep the video archived on our site, too.

This debate is the first of two we’re co-sponsoring along with The Press News Group of Southampton, publishers of the Southampton Press, Southampton Press Western Edition, East Hampton Press, and 27East.com. The second debate will be held on Oct. 15 at Bridgehampton School.

The first half of the Vail Leavitt debate will be focused on health care and the second half will cover general topics. The first half of the Bridgehampton debate will focus on the economy.

• We’ve received a bunch of emails, letters and web comments on Troy Gustavson’s column about driving drunk and DWI arrests this week. We are packaging many of your responses for an equal time in the paper. Check that out on newsstands Thursday. Subscribers can also access the responses digitally through our epaper.

09/13/12 6:00am
09/13/2012 6:00 AM

AP/DAVID GOLDMAN PHOTO | The Supreme Court is reflected in the sunglasses of Susan Clark, of Washington, as she demonstrates against President Barack Obama’s health care law while awaiting the court’s ruling back in June.

To the Editor:

I emphatically agree with the point made by Diana Van Buren in her letter last week regarding letters to the editor about national politics.

I read the News-Review for local news and views on local issues. There are myriad places to tune into the discussion and shouting about Obama vs. Romney and Republicans vs. Democrats, but very few where one can find opinions about the latest zoning controversy in Jamesport.

I understand that the newspaper’s rationale for printing letters on national issues is based on the “localness” of the points of view expressed, but as far as I can tell these opinions don’t vary much from the steady, mostly mean-spirited stream coming from Fox News, MSNBC and countless other media outlets.

Michael McLaughlin, Riverhead

Below is Diana Van Buren’s original letter on the subject:

GREENPORT

A thought about letters

I’m writing to suggest that Times/Review Newsgroup consider placing a moratorium on publishing letters to the editor related to national politics, at least until the presidential election is over. In my opinion, though, this moratorium should be extended indefinitely.

The tone of the letters to the editor that take the side of one presidential candidate or another tend to be negative and even ugly, at times. Sometimes the writers quote statistics and “facts” that can’t be supported and that the Suffolk Times certainly can’t spend the time to verify.

I don’t think these letters serve the community in any way. (They might serve sales of the newspaper.) They create or increase divisions among neighbors and friends because of the tendency of these letters to be inflammatory, extreme and full of blame, not positive ideas for solutions to the problems faced by the citizens of our nation.

But here is the most important reason: don’t you think it would be better if we focused on the issues and elections that we have on the North Fork?

That’s what a local newspaper is for. Could you possibly keep the politics local, like the news?

I think that you would be doing a huge service to the community.

Diana Van Buren

09/03/12 11:00am
09/03/2012 11:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | A ‘Save Wading River’ bumper sticker.

To the Editor:

At the Aug. 21 Town Board meeting in Riverhead, there was lots of emotion — both pro and con — concerning the proposed development on the Route 25A section in Wading River. Dick Amper claimed those Wading River residents opposed to development outnumbered their neighbors 10 to 1. Could it be due to the fact that the those who are in favor of the development weren’t as well organized as those who oppose it? Taking notice, there was a lack of people under the age of 50 at the meeting. Most in attendance were older folks, and I dare say retired. The development proposed by the Zoumas family and Kenn Barra would bring employment to the younger generation so they too can retire in Wading River.

As has been questioned previously, what good is zoning if someone wants to build according to the zoning, applications are presented to the town, but then opponents of the zoning in place demand a rezoning? The buyer expects to build to the zoning that was in place when he/she bought the property. Perhaps the zoning needs fine-tuning, not a complete change. Those who want to develop their land should be able to do so under strict guidelines in order to maintain the character of the community.

No one likes to see change in land use, especially those who have lived in Wading River for their lifetime. Many of the homes that we live in today are built on farmland. That farmland was sold to a developer who built the home that you live in.

Moratoriums and lawsuits are good for the attorneys but only postpone what can be accomplished by cooperation and compromise. Civic groups and community activists have their place in society. But these groups and activists only represent a small portion of the community. We need to hear from the 18 to 28 age group. They are our future.

Nicholas Dipierro, Wading River

06/07/12 4:00am
06/07/2012 4:00 AM

SOUTHOLD

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

LAUREL

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

SOUTHOLD

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