Letters to the Editor

08/05/2010 12:00 AM |


Vision from the rear view mirror

I’m responding to the letter titled “Reckless congressman,” which appeared in last week’s paper. In it a Republican committeeman proposed that having dedicated one’s life to the people of a district you represent in Congress doesn’t matter as long as you espouse Republican talking points.

It’s ironic that his letter appeared in the same issue as a story about the Long Island Sound Improvement Act of 2010. This bipartisan act authored by Tim Bishop and co-sponsored with Congressman Peter King received widespread support of Democrats and Republicans at all levels of Suffolk County government. It deals in incredible detail with the problems of Long Island’s waters, including sewage treatment plants, flooding and damage caused by storm runoff. It especially emphasizes the health of East End and South Shore bays, and is one more example of how Tim Bishop understands our local problems and knows how to get government to work on our behalf.

So let’s look at how those Republican talking points played out last week in Washington. First, Senate Republicans halted action on a bill designed to give tax relief to small businesses as well as supporting community banks making loans available to those small businesses. This bill was even co-written by Senate Republicans who said they supported it right up until they voted no. Their game plan: Obstruct and delay until after the election and hope that the public has amnesia about who got us into this mess.

Then on Friday, the House voted on the James Zadroga 9/11 First Responders Health Bill, which would have provided much-needed support for those first responders at Ground Zero who have suffered continued health problems as a result of their brave service. I say ‘would have provided’ because the bill was defeated overwhelmingly by Republicans in the House when they were blocked from attaching an anti-immigration amendment to this much needed bill. “Country first”?

As President Obama said, when you want the car to go forward you put it in “D” and when you want it to go backwards you put it in “R.” Unfortunately the “R’s” are finding their vision for the future in the rear view mirror, embracing the very policies that left our economy hemorrhaging 700,000 jobs per month and allowed American families to fall into bankruptcy if a family member suffered a catastrophic illness.

Jerry Silverstein


A coded insult

While I disagree with all of the political opinions made by Brian Mills in his letter last week, I’ll limit my comments to one statement that astounded and dismayed me. In his last paragraph he writes, “So, if CD-1 has the same genetic make-up as San Francisco…”.

This intolerant, prejudiced, considered coded insult of anyone of whom Mr. Mills does not approve no longer has any place in American politics. I realize that this is difficult for some to accept.

If this type of coded insult is what the political right means when they say, “Let’s take back America,” then what they really mean is that they want to take America backward. Backward to a past that never served us and that we have now outgrown.

Mr. Mills endorses the two Republican front-runners and recommends them to us. While I seriously doubt that either candidate would make such a hateful statement, in coded or overt form, I recommend that all of us in the 1st Congressional District, right and left, reject the endorsement of someone who would.

Morton Cogen


Think before writing

In baseball, they say the best trades are the ones you don’t make. In public opinion, the best statements may be the ones you don’t make. Unfortunately, Riverhead Chamber of Commerce President Bob Lanieri and BID Management Association director Tony Coates broke that basic rule of thumb, and both were concerning the Riverhead Blues and Music Festival.

In a Letter to the Editor in the News-Review, Bob wrote that he “enjoyed the fireworks.” Had he checked his facts before he hit “send,” he would have known that notice of a fireworks show was printed in error by Times/Review Newspapers in a journal they published for the Blues and Music Festival. That is unfortunate because in spite of his statement that he wrote the letter as an individual, he is still the President of the Chamber of Commerce. Such ignorance reflects poorly on an already struggling organization.

Tony called the Blues and Music Festival a failure on an Internet blog. We would hardly say that drawing about 5,000 people to downtown Riverhead on an unbearably hot summer weekend constitutes failure. It is an awful lot more people than we usually have in downtown Riverhead over the weekend. It may not have been as successful as we would have liked, but failure is not a word we would have chosen. Again, a poor choice of words.

We would hasten to add that the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce has done little on Main Street besides occupy office space in a town-owned building since Sidewalk Sale Days ended years ago. Their sudden interest in the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall and the Riverhead Blues and Music Festival is interesting, to say the least. Perhaps they had visions of making a bonanza through beer and food sales.

Anyone who knows the history of the Riverhead Blues and Music Festival knows that when it was run by the BID Management Association, it consistently lost more than $20,000 a year. That shortfall ended up being filled by the Town of Riverhead through the Business Improvement District. Given their history, we really don’t have any reason to believe they’d run it successfully.

We took it over and made it a fundraiser for the nonprofit Vail-Leavitt Music Hall and have generated some of the money it takes to run this historic venue. Maybe they really saw it as an opportunity to make additional money and are “the woman scorned” now that the event has passed.

Vince Tria

treasurer, Vail-Leavitt Music Hall


Interference will ruin wine industry

The recent story of the Southold Town Board in a legal scuffle with Peconic Bay Winery over a special event in Cutchogue really comes as no surprise. After all, when was the last time a local government gave up an opportunity to regulate a successful business?

The town lost that legal challenge. But the Southold Town Supervisor declared to have a greater control over such events in the future, control that will certainly impede the wineries ability to turn a profit.

Industry officials say that competition with California and upstate New York vineyards has forced Long Island wineries to offer more kinds of these special events. With so many Long Island businesses being forced to close and relocate to other less taxed and less regulated regions, why would the Southold Town Board risk crippling an industry that pumps nearly $300 million into the North Fork economy?

The answers lie in paradoxical complaints from a small segment of the population that complains about traffic, while at the same time complaining of road expansions. A population that screams for farm land preservation yet complains of agricultural tourism.

The answers lie in this motivated big governmental voting block and the politicians that pander to their arbitrary needs by cherry picking regulatory legislation, thereby preventing necessary and vital economic growth to any business that appears to be successful.

Real political leadership does not come from hindering, impeding, and regulating. Real political leadership should instead come from returning economic liberty to the community.

We cannot progress by impeding growth. We can not prosper by hindering industry. We can not survive without a local economy. After all, we all don’t have government jobs.

Ronald Reagan once said, “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

For as long as anyone can remember, that has been our local government’s view of our economy. And that’s one of the reasons why right now there is no local economy. One thing though is certain. If Southold succeeds in regulating winery events, thereby hindering the wineries ability to turn a profit, mark my words we will soon be hearing of the need for winery subsidies and winery bailouts. Southold should leave the wineries alone. Stop big government. Return to free markets.

Frank Seabrook

Editor’s note: Mr. Seabrook is publisher of Suffolk County Liberty Report, a Conservative blog and online news aggregate news.


See ya in November

With August 1 upon us, and with a state budget now four months late, I would like to thank both Senator Ken LaValle and Assemblyman Marc Alessi for the great job they’re doing representing the people of their district, as well as earning the salaries, fringe benefits and pensions that our taxes are providing them. I for one will remember this come the November elections.

Thomas W. Smith


Not a dog’s day at vineyard

I am commenting on the front cover photo of the July 29 News-Review. It was very sad to see the dogs pictured had to endure the oppressive heat for their owners’ pleasure. Dogs have a higher internal temperature than humans and can suffer from heat exhaustion quickly. Watering stations are just not the answer on a day like that. A dog does not have to be beaten or starved to be a victim of animal cruelty. This is an event that should have been postponed or the owners should have done solo. I am sure the dogs would have been grateful.

Catherine Breitenbach


We, and the dogs, thank you

RSVP Inc. — Responsible Solutions for Valued Pets — would like to thank the people of Riverhead for their donations in support of the group’s recent food drive at Riverhead Town Hall, in particular Riverhead Councilman James Wooten, who was kind enough to permit a drop-off point in the main lobby to collect dog food.

Employees and visitors responded with their generosity. In these challenging economic times, your donations make a big difference as RSVP continues to aid dogs in need. Their lives really do depend on it. Your support makes it all possible.

If you would like to know more about RSVP, a nonprofit animal rescue group serving eastern Long Island since 1996, visit www.rsvpinc.org or call 631-219-8529. And thank you again for your kindness and compassion.

Sue Hansen