Letters to the Editor


A sight for sore eyes

As I was driving heading west on Main Street in Riverhead, I noticed a lot of people walking on the sidewalks — and that was around 9 p.m.. I believe the Cruise Night on the river has made this town alive again. Thank you, Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter; it made my heart jump for joy witnessing this! I might hang out in Riverhead one night myself!!

Linda Pillus


Cartoon was in poor taste

Your cartoon published in the Aug. 19 News-Review was not funny. If you printed a cartoon like that about any other ethnic or minority group, it would be considered an insult, “politically incorrect” and totally unacceptable.

As the print media representing the news in our town, you don’t have any consideration for the sensibilities of our Polish-American citizens and their pride in their heritage. We are a proud people whose ancestors have fought many battles to maintain their culture and dignity.

The News-Review prints a booklet about the Polish Fair and uses it to sell advertising. Now you insult the people who run the fair and the thousands of people who visit it. You owe us an apology.

Irene Pendzick


Cartoon was degrading

What a shock that you would print a most degrading cartoon about Polish Americans, who have accomplished and contributed so much for the United States of America. It leaves me very unsettled of how you will portray us in the future.

An apology is expected.

Anelia Kobylenski

Editor’s note: We apologize to all who took offense. In no way was the News-Review cartoon intended to be insulting toward Polish-American people. The intent of the paper was only to draw attention to the Polish Town fair, which was set to kick off two days after publication.


Loose leaf pickup not just a luxury

I wish to weigh in on Riverhead Highway Department Superintendent George Woodson’s desire to end loose leaf pickup and make bagging the only method of leaf disposal,

I live in a home built in 1910 by my great uncle. It existed since before Route 58 existed, and he named it “Oak Ridge” with a sign that no longer exists on the front of the house. To say that I have trees around my home would be an understatement. The burning of leaves and use of controlled burns to keep land from becoming overgrown was ended decades ago by the town. That was my parents method of controlling brush and disposal of leaves. Since that law was enacted the brush has encroached on the house and if there were to be a forest fire or brush fire the house would certainly be in jeopardy. So the fire risk went from the relatively minor one when burning brush was possible to the kind of catastrophic fires we see in California when brush is not removed. I have been able to remove most of the leaves by blowing them onto the overgrown areas around the home, and along the road for town pick up. Not owning a leaf-bagging factory — for that is what such an idea would entail should Mr. Woodson prevail, I would then have to simply add fuel to that future potential fire by leaving the leaves scattered about. I am sure I am not alone in this.

Now, as to cost. I help pay for the new, $15 million firehouse, the generous salary and retirements of some of the nation’s highest paid educators and a whole host of other expenditures in Riverhead via my ever escalating tax bill. So excuse me if I selfishly desire the loose leaf pickup done only one day out of the year in my area and but one week total, to continue. Considering how the town’s policies have caused me to now need a building department approval to clear the brush that endangers my home (land clearing is otherwise illegal) and the expenditure of thousands of dollars when that is done, a once-a-year leaf removal doesn’t seem like much to ask to deal with a problem the town has only ever made worse over the years.

Edward Burke


Strip mall shouldn’t be allowed

As a resident, taxpayer and voter in Riverhead Town, I am incensed by the proposal to build a strip mall on a rural section of Sound Avenue.

The town is on the verge of approving a 40,000-square-foot strip mall on an undeveloped site on the corner of Park Road and Sound Avenue. This controversial project has been tossed about since 2004 shortly after the finalization of the town’s Master Plan. This plot is situated on what is supposed to be a rural corridor and was deemed acceptable for RB-80 zoning allowing for residential building. As if that weren’t bad enough, the town is now considering allowing the additional development of a strip mall with over 14 stores and a 100-seat restaurant as its centerpiece. This is totally in contradiction to the Master Plan as well as the town’s own zoning ordinances!

I understand the need for income-generating businesses as well as the right of a property owner to develop his property; what I don’t understand, however, is the Town Board’s willingness to ignore its own zoning statutes and allow a plan like this to move forward without the Zoning Board of Appeals even looking at or approving this site plan.

With a struggling Main Street area and an overcrowded Route 58 section, why do we feel the need to put a strip mall on a beautiful rural stretch of farmland and allow for the sprawl and density issues that currently plague Route 58?

The facts are clear:

* The property is zoned RB-80 and allows for residential building only, not commercial development.

* Some Town Board members are allowing this to happen for some reasons only they know!

* Major issues exist with regard to proximity to current homes, the ability of this commercial development proposal to undermine our fragile aquifer situation and disastrous traffic pattern concerns.

* This will lead to the destruction of the Rural Corridor designation in the town’s own Master Plan.

I implore the citizens of Riverhead to join with others on the North Fork to stem the tide of indiscriminate and reckless development of our last true bastion of rural splendor and tranquility. Don’t allow our representatives to indiscriminately ignore our own zoning regulations and allow particular builders to move forward on these damaging projects. Let’s focus instead on existing issues such as the revitalization of Main Street, rather than creating new problems.

Tom O’Haire


Report from bus hit home

Staff writer Vera Chinese’s brave bus adventure answered some questions for me. I’ve been wondering what it would be like to take the bus, what the schedules are like and what it costs. I’ve wondered if it was safe, too, not only for me but for my kids. Vera’s right, the perception of public transportation is poor. But sometimes public perception isn’t quite right, and we have to see for ourselves, like Vera did. And if something’s not up to snuff, then we know where we’re starting from to improve things.

Recently, our elected officials fought successfully to have railroad service continue in our area. Let’s focus on the buses, too, and the bike lanes, street crossings and sidewalks. It would make Riverhead a healthier, happier, more dynamic, more accessible, more affordable place to live, especially for our young people. What if our teens could get around more independently on bikes and buses? What if young people starting out didn’t need to add a car payment and insurance and gas to their monthly bills? What if downtown Riverhead became a true blue (green) hub?

Nancy Swett


Races are a real pain

This is about that 10K Run in Jamesport this past weekend. Each of these so-called walks or marathons of one sort or another poses one hell of an inconvenience to other people, not to mention the large police effort needed to reroute traffic around them.

All of a sudden we find ourselves stopped in the middle of our journey and rudely sent off in another direction, with no idea of what is going on (and why) and no idea of how far we’re going to have to go. There’s no excuse for it; on weekends, our roads are already jammed up enough as it is without this added nuisance.

The organizers of such events should be required to post conspicuous notices in the Times/Review Newspapers the previous week stating the exact date and times of the event. There should be maps of the roads that will be affected, the times when they will be closed, and, if possible, alternate routes that would avoid the event altogether. Tourists and motorists from up west might not get the word in time, but at least the locals would know. It’s not asking too much considering we’re the ones paying for the cops and the roads in the first place.

Bob Kaelin


Voters need a choice

I decided to run for state Senate after I went to vote in November 2008 and saw that no one was running against our long-term state Senator Ken Lavalle, who has held the job since 1976. Since Albany’s dysfunction is due to long-term incumbents’ failure to act responsibly, I believe that the long-term incumbents’ not being challenged is what prevents true reform and fiscal housecleaning.

Since the beginning of the campaign, I have been incredibly transparent about my personal life. One aspect of it I shared is that I was honored to be recruited by a firm representing the state of New York Common Retirement Fund (NYSCRF) when it had lost over $300 million in its investment in WorldCom due to the fraud that WorldCom executives perpetrated on the markets. However, the challenge in participating in litigating this suit is that although the clients and courts in this matter were in New York, my firm was based in Philadelphia. Thus that is where the documents and litigation team were, so I had to manage a life between both states, which required me to have dual residencies at times.

I am very proud of the work that I did on the WorldCom case, however the opposing party saw my work in Pennsylvania on that case as a way to prevent me from running against him.

Once the litigation aspect of the case was completed, I left my husband and the house we co-owned in Pennsylvania to be in New York full-time in the late fall of 2005.

Decades of case law in New York allow candidates to run for state office if they have dual residences, even if their domicile is in another state, as long as the candidate can show a constructive residency in New York for five years preceding election. So in question were only six months between November 2005 and the early spring of 2006, six months where I was transitioning back to New York full-time after representing the state pension funds and taxpayers on a substantial matter. When I sought legal counsel on this matter I was advised that decades of precedent are on my side regarding dual residency for state candidates. If I had been told otherwise, I would not have pursued this race.

The stakes in the state Senate races are high. At stake is reforming Albany. If just a handful of outsider candidates were to beat long-term Albany insider incumbents, this would force change in Albany. Those with vested interests in maintaining the status quo are worried. So rather than my former opponent’s battling it out with me at the ballot box, Lavalle and his cohorts took me to court and spent quite a substantial sum of money and resources to prevent voters from having a choice and ultimately prevent a reform candidate from being elected.

One needs to ask: Who hired the attorneys and paid the legal bills and expenses incurred in this expensive litigation?

The first two courts did not rely upon decades of legal precedence in my favor but rather changed the rules in the middle of the game. Within 12 hours of the decision I had to choose whether to appeal or assign my ballot lines to another worthy candidate. I chose the latter. I had to be true to my convictions and the reason I chose to run for state Senate.

Democracy only works when voters have a choice.

Regina Calcaterra