Letters to the Editor

09/23/2010 12:00 AM |


It’s a shame about Sound Avenue

My parents came to Reeves Park in the 1940s and it was on those beautiful bluffs over the Long Island Sound where I spent all my childhood summers, the pull of it so powerful, I dreamed of returning one day. My husband and I might have done just that this year but for a planned strip mall that would blight this beautiful place forever. Now our plans are on hold because of the arbitrary decision on the part of some town planners who saw fit to override the Master Plan for Sound Avenue and pave the way for this killer of property values. Enough that Riverhead is a ghost town because of this seedy (and greedy!) thinking, but to sully historic Sound Avenue in such a way is outrageous and the antithesis of the kind of planning that made all the other East End towns and summer communities along the same route more beautiful — as they grow and prosper with new money. Sadly, we will withdraw our plans for a home in Reeves Park and instead look in Jamesport or Cutchogue or Southold where a protected ‘North Road’ is valued for its bucolic beauty. I am shocked and outraged that just a few officials can override the wisdom of many. I would not call it ineptitude, I would say, follow the money. How else do rational people justify destroying an area that can only flourish from its rich history and rural appeal?

Jacqueline Peters Lowell


Shoddy work raises concerns

I reviewed the Sept. 16 News-Review story “She wasn’t about to settle” and was rather concerned about the quality of the contractors and subcontractors used by the Town of Riverhead to revitalize homes in Riverhead over the years.

With the complaint of the residents in mobile homes, I really wonder about the safety and workmanship of the homes that were constructed by the town, since there is little oversight and accountability. What would happen during some sort of catastrophe? Additionally, with the work that was done, generally liens are placed upon a client’s property, which there may need to be a system of accountability for not only the work done but also removal of the liens as per the five- or 10-year term, and a review of any payments that were required by the town. Generally, those who need the assistance the most are the least able to protect themselves from inferior work. I am greatly grieved that the town has allowed its great name and reputation to be tarnished in this manner on the back of the elderly and the poor. I pray that no one will be injured, harmed or killed or has had to face the loss of their home due to mishandling of their request for help.

Maryeta Upshur


We can’t afford this

While I can appreciate the home improvement program that helps with much-needed home maintenance for those who can’t afford it, I have to wonder just how much “help” that we, the taxpayers, can continue to afford from big government.

We have a government that guarantees pensions to government workers and also guarantees a return on their pension investments that exceeds 7 percent a year. We have a government that is spending $50 billion a year on Medicaid costs, a program that is more than what the taxpayers of Texas and California combined pay each year. It’s also a program that provides non-generic prescription drugs to its recipients while the majority of taxpayers must make due with the generic variety. We allow a politician to go out on a five-figure, taxpayer-provided pension in the morning while pleading guilty to a job-related felony in the afternoon. We provide housing for sex offenders at a cost of thousands of dollars a year per felon, even while providing them with door-to-door services between where they are living and their place of employment. Then we have welfare and food stamps for people who use taxis to get to and from the supermarket. We also are funding unemployment benefits being paid for 99 weeks at a maximum of $405 per week, and lets not forget the billions of our tax dollars that went to bail out the financial institutions and banks whose greed got them into trouble in the first place.

We, as taxpayers, have an outstanding state debt of more then $9 billion dollars and elected representatives who have no idea how to pay off this debt, representatives who refuse to face fiscal responsibilities and representatives whose ideas for the future stretch no further then the next elections.

I hate to be the one to break the bad news, but we just can’t keep spending like there’s no tomorrow, because one day we’re going to wake up and find that that day has come.

Thomas W. Smith


It’s your move, Mr. Supervisor

A couple of weeks ago it appeared as if Supervisor Sean Walter was attempting to deliver on his campaign promise of lower taxes by presenting a bold plan of action, which called for a 5 percent wage cut. This plan would allow the town to avoid layoffs, continue providing most services and keep the tax increase at a minimum. (If any). Although the staff or their families could not have welcomed the news, they must understand that their cooperation is the only way our town can get a handle on its fiscal mess. They must remember that the Town does offer numerous benefits not typically found in the private sector. With the economy still struggling and touch times still ahead, the request seemed like a conservative and common sense approach. Finally, our town leader was facing the new realities of today. However, after reading subsequent coverage in News-Review, it appeared the plan was either dead upon arrival or a political gesture. So it looks like we are headed for another 7 1/2 percent property tax increase, on top of last year’s 4 percent increase and 12 percent spending increase.

Give us a break. What happened to the campaign promise of lower taxes? Please don’t use the same old tired excuse our president uses, of blaming the former administration. After all, you sought and fought for this job. If you didn’t know the town’s financial realities you should have. Now you have to govern and make the tough decisions, and be that conservative change leader you campaigned as. Could our former supervisor have been right, when he questioned who was the real fiscal conservative? Your next moves will tell.

Steve Romano


Angry taxpayers

Over the last few years the average homeowner taxpayer has been getting angry. They have watched their elected officials totally ignore their concerns.

They have watched the politicians that they elected to represent them refuse to answer questions at Town Hall meetings. The media ridiculed these angry taxpayers and called them Astroturf and radicals on a temporary mission.

I wonder if those incumbents who ignored the angry taxpayers are sweating now. They should be.

Jon Ferris


So long, Riverhead

I’ve lived on Long Island for 37 years, the last 10 in Flanders. I’m leaving to take a new job in North Carolina this October. At first I was hesitant to leave a place I have known for so long. Now I can’t wait to get out of here.

Last Friday I had dinner with a few friends. We decided to take a ride out to Calverton to a little spot off Grumman Boulevard where the light and noise pollution from the overdevelopment of Long Island was far away. Often it was a place to just pull over, roll down the window and stargaze. Many a night I’ve pulled out my telescope to enjoy the view.

We were promptly joined by Riverhead’s “finest” (and by promptly, I mean within a minute of us stopping the car). This officer was rude and unprofessional. His behavior was so typical of what I and others I know have come to expect from Riverhead officials; people who abuse their power for their own personal gain or ego.

Route 58 is overdeveloped, the Grumman site mismanaged and icons like the Suffolk Theatre and, quite frankly, all of downtown are left to rot thanks to 40-plus years of bad government in Riverhead. It’s sad to see a place with so much potential ruined by political nonsense and inability. I won’t miss it nearly enough as I should.

Henry Behring


And take your signs with you

As soon as the lovely roadside daffodils faded they were replaced by Chris Cox political billboards sprouting everywhere on our gorgeous North Fork landscape. I accept this as part of the election process but the primaries are over. Mr. Cox lost. How long must we see his ads on our beautiful back roads and even on the LIE overpass? Shame on him! I often wonder if a deposit (similar to a soda can) would solve this problem. Let the politician pay $5 per sign to a cleanup fund. After the election their supporters, or anyone else, could collect the signs and redeem them for a refund of the deposit.

Thom D’Angelo


Avoid using hatred for political gain

Now that Randy “The Outsourcer” Altschuler and Carl “The Madman” Paladino have won their respective Republican cage matches, it is disheartening to reflect upon how they and their opponents tried to outdo each other in their opposition to what they called the Ground Zero mosque. In a show of blatant political opportunism, they chose to inflame the public hatred of Muslims, in hopes of creating a wedge issue and gaining votes in November.

First, there is no mosque being proposed at the site of Ground Zero, rather a community center with an interfaith board, out of sight and blocks away from Ground Zero. The supposed “hallowed ground” is a former Burlington Coat Factory located on the same street as an adult movie theater.

Second, the imam who has proposed the Cordoba Center has been running a mosque and community center in the neighborhood for years, a block and a half away from the proposed site. His wife went to Jericho High School and they are longtime New York residents.

Third, there were 300 Muslims killed when the Twin Towers collapsed, including Muslim first responders as well as members of the financial community and workers in the building. They prayed daily, alongside thousands of other Muslims who passed through the towers, in a mosque (prayer room) located on the 17th floor of the South Tower. That was the real Ground Zero mosque. They were killed and their mosque destroyed by those despicable terrorists on 9/11, not because they were Muslims, but because they were Americans who shared our values. Now Altschuler and Paladino are telling the world that Americans no longer believe in those values, the same values represented by the Statue of Liberty, who watches in the harbor nearby.

The true heroes on 9/11 were the first responders who bravely entered those flaming towers. When they came upon their fellow Americans, these patriots did not ask whether the people they were trying to save worshipped in a church, a synagogue or a mosque.

In August, Mayor Bloomberg was approached in a restaurant by an imposing young man. The man said that he was a veteran of two tours of duty in Afghanistan and he thanked the mayor for supporting the right to build the proposed community center.

“That’s what we were fighting for” he said and shook the mayor’s hand.

Jerry Silverstein


‘Phony hypocrites’

In a reasonable attempt to show restraint, I’ll try to refrain from the incendiary rhetoric of letter-writer John Copertino.

So if all Democrats are now labeled Communists, I’ll jump ahead to the assertion that he is either an independent or Republican or Tea Partier. One of those labels seems fair in such a divided climate.

My parents were lifelong, active Republicans and I grew up with that paradigm. Believe me, Mr. Copertino is not representative of my parents’ Republican Party, or any other label he wishes to pervert.

He seems to threaten anyone who doesn’t fall for his hate speech and tone, so bring it on. Is he some extremist Imam or Mullah trying to silence anyone who takes issue with his particular beliefs?

My parents were not mean-spirited, they were fair-minded. They were not greedy. They generously gave of their time and resources to the needy and less fortunate. They were vehemently anti-communist, yet never viscerally attacked anyone who had different social agendas. They kept peace in a family of union activists without being angry or slanderous.

They were appalled at the tactics used by a well-known Republican Nassau judge, my first landlord as a new bride, who demanded that my husband and I change our voter registration to Republican from Democratic (I was 21) or else we’d be tossed out of our abode. That sounds pretty un-American to me. Of course, we moved.

My mother loved Ronald Reagan and had his inaugural invitation proudly framed on her wall. But she understood that my ’60s semi-radical, partially formed progressive spirit was a sign of independent thinking. College made me do it.

Mr. Copertino’s letter is a prime example of what is wrong in the discourse today. Blame Obama for the Bush/Cheney debt for two wars, the greed of Wall Street and years of neglect for the regulations needed for civil and safe environment. This bitter tea would not be embraced by my Irish parents because they would not be low-information sputterers of Palin’s clichà s or religious fundamental viciousness. They read and stayed informed and listened.

These phony hypocrites proclaim the high ground when they lack substantive ideas, deny the truth, lie about taxes and are hell-bent on improving their own finances, without regard for the 98 percent of the rest of us.

He and his ilk will bring us all down with their selfishness, lack of compassion and sheer hatred. That’s horrifying for my grandchildren and children.

To use his own type of plain old nastiness, I believe he is a pathetic excuse for a human being.

How do you like it, Mr. Copertino?

Elizabeth Comerford Weiss


Touched by all the fuss

Thank you to Elaine Goode for honoring me at the Miles family reunion, celebrated on Sept. 4th and 5th at Stotzky Park. I am the last one alive of 24 children of Andrew Miles. My thanks to everyone that came from far or near. The food prepared by the people was delicious. A beautiful sermon was preached by Rev. Oliver Miles and his choir sang. A special thanks to everyone who helped arrange every detail with Elaine Goode. God bless you all. Let’s keep in touch with one another.

Rosella Miles-Johnson (Tennie)


How could you overlook Jeanette?

I am a bit disappointed in the article on dog training in the Sept. 9 issue. Why did the reporter for the official newspaper of the Town of Riverhead fail to include and interview the official dog obedience instructor for the town? Jeanette Friscia has been the town’s instructor for many years. She is extremely well qualified and has been training dogs on the East End of Long Island for many years. Her classes include dogs from the very beginner level to the most advanced American Kennel Club competitive obedience levels and rally obedience is a regular part of her program. Her students and their dogs have gone on to earn many AKC obedience and rally titles, others have gone on to be therapy dogs, and even those who are not into those areas now have well behaved and valued pets. While informative in some aspects, I found the reporter’s research incomplete.

Maura Frankman