Letters to the Editor

11/08/2010 7:20 PM |

Dear Riverhead Town Residents,
This public letter is to inform the taxpayers of Riverhead of nefarious actions taken by the Riverhead Town Board and Former Supervisor Cardinale.  Last year on Election Day the voters of this Town, by Referendum, elected to pay the costs (as determined by the Supervisor and Town Board) of the Public Safety Dispatchers employed by the Town and that in doing so, those costs would be added to each household’s tax bill. The intention of this Referendum was to ensure that the salaries and services provided by those employees would be covered in the 2010 Town Budget.
On Wednesday, November 3, 2010 (one year later) Councilman John Dunleavy at the Public Hearing on the 2011 Budget, ADMITTED that in fact, the cost WAS NEVER added to the Tax Roll and further, that the former Town Supervisor instead reduced the Town’s Reserve Fund to cover the costs that were voted on by the Taxpayers of this good Town. Courageously, Councilman Dunleavy further stated that he in fact had been trying, UNSUCCESSFULLY, to convince his fellow board members and new Supervisor that it was wrong to have not added those costs to the taxpayer and deceive the public about what happened.
It is apparent by the comments made by Supervisor Walter at that public hearing that he personally sees nothing wrong with the way the taxpayer’s desires were COMPLETELY DISREGARDED.
The facts are now clear! The 2010 Adopted Budget was DISHONESTLY adopted by the then Town Board which left the budget approximately $800,000.00 short. The same $800,000.00 that the Supervisor has cut in personnel in the 2011 Proposed Budget.
While CSEA applauds the efforts of Supervisor Walter to keep taxes down and cut spending where he thinks appropriate, it is the almost 200 Civil Service Town Employee’s position that those cuts can be painlessly felt by the Town by NOT ELIMINATING ANY CURRENT POSITIONS. The Union representatives have approached the Town Board IN GOOD AND HONEST FAITH with reference to negotiation of our contract and the Members’ contribution to assisting the Town with budget savings (i.e. the same as our brother PBA Union Members (lag payroll). These efforts have been REBUFFED OUTRIGHT by Supervisor Walter. He seems determined to SECRETLY underwrite the former Supervisors nefarious behavior and keep that bad behavior in the DARK.
Union Members of this Town PROUDLY provide services to the residents of this Town. We urge you to contact the Town Board council persons to confirm all of the above and ask that the wishes of the Residents be appropriately addressed. 
Matt Hattorf
Town of Riverhead CSEA Unit President

Campaign cash
a big waste
Millions of dollars spent on this recent election and our mailboxes flooded with advertisements galore, signs and billboards popping everywhere. If only 2 percent of the millions of dollars spent on the campaigns were set aside, what wonders it could do for those organizations to help those in need. As examples: Maureen’s Haven, Community Action of Southold Town, North Fork Parish Outreach, The Salvation Army, local soup kitchens, Catholic Charities, etc.
It is a crying shame in this economy with the amount of foreclosures, families that cannot keep their homes, unemployment skyrocketing and millions of dollars spent on paper trash advertisements. Let the politicians get a real grip on life. When all is said and done will they make a difference?
Kathy Berezny

Developer? Try
landscape molester
I constantly read about “developers” in the area. It seems to be a misnomer. Developers decide to build something for their own profit that, for the most part, would be soundly defeated if put up to a vote by the local citizenry. In other words, most people feel that the town or village could survive very nicely without such a development or project. This “modernization” is then pushed through since there is little that the local governments can or want to do to stop it. Scenic areas are then bulldozed, trees are felled and the greenery of nature is replaced by asphalt parking lots and piles of concrete. Instead of being a developer, which has a positive ring, I would suggest something with a more negative sound, such as “landscape molester” or “scenery thief.” One should also remember that trees, shrubs and grasses help combat the carbon dioxide in the air that is having adverse effects on our lives. There are many abandoned businesses in the area where nature has already been disturbed. Why not redevelop these eyesores instead of inflicting further damage on our beautiful landscape.
Mark Hobson

Freight train
a true milestone
I recently witnessed the arrival of the first freight train to the Calverton rail spur. I would like to share with you some information I feel is important to Riverhead Town, Suffolk County and New York State.
To complete construction of the spur, bluestone, approximately one inch in diameter, must be brought to this location to be used as a support for the tracks. Why is this significant? In the past week, 22 freight train cars, which is equal to 55 to 60 tons worth of tractor trailers, were used to carry this stone, thereby keeping these trucks off major highways and local roads. This is important because it decreases carbon emissions in our area. We have a fragile environment and any action to preserve its quality is necessary. We also protect our roadways by decreasing traffic and huge weights on the roads. This project is an asset to Riverhead Town because it will help the town to expand the industrial development at EPCAL (the former Grumman property) for the delivery and export of products and goods while continuing to protect the environment and keeping excessive weight off the roadways.
John Dunleavy
councilman, Riverhead Town

Keep us abreast of landfill debacle
Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter made a strong statement in his Guest Spot (“Tough times call for tough measures,” Oct. 28) about the pain of cutting budgets, particularly firing staff. He also made a personal pledge to continue to be candid about town finances. I’ll accept his comments at face value. The supervisor also said, in crystal clear language, that our dire fiscal straits can be blamed on the landfill mess. I agree.
What’s wholly missing from the supervisor’s letter and from the discourse in this town, is active discussion of accountability for the landfill debacle. When errors of this magnitude are made, our elected officials must move beyond pointing fingers at their predecessors — whether or not justified — and must make diligent efforts to bring about restitution. I suggest that it’s incumbent on Mr. Walter, in keeping with his pledge, to keep taxpayers informed on this process.
Each Riverhead family is $5,000 poorer as a result of landfill errors. What we deserve, at minimum, is a page on the town website titled Landfill Recovery & Investigation. Obviously, there are restrictions on what information can be disclosed about pending legal matters, but certain basic facts can be readily published, including the names of the defendants and the nature of the charges, as well as a chart presenting the scope and size of the town’s losses. Perhaps some comment on why the lawsuit has dragged on nearly three years with no activity — 15 of 17 scheduled appearances have been adjourned and neither side has filed a single motion — would be most welcome.
As important would be an explanation of which portions of the losses are covered and which are not by the town’s own insurance. Of course, we also deserve to know the status of any internal investigations by the Town Board into how this happened, together with learning what policies and procedures have been changed to prevent recurrence. This might be the single most important fiscal event in Riverhead history. No matter how long it takes, taxpayers deserve answers and action from our council members.
Larry Simms

Cherished forest
The move by Riverhead Town and Suffolk County to possibly purchase the many acres of untouched, pristine land known as the North Fork Preserve is real good news; it brings to my mind the wisdom in the familiar adage of the importance in “seeing the forest through the trees.”
The big picture is the forest, home to unusual vegetation and wildlife, valuable in so many ways. In the future, if purchased, we will have the opportunity to visit the new preserve. We will bring our children and grandchildren, whose great gift to their elders has always been to immediately sense and, therein, communicate the real big picture — the sanctity of the forest, the sanctity of our lives here on earth. I feel grateful to our East End elected officials who honor this wisdom and are working toward purchase and preservation.
Nancy Berkowitz

Stay informed;
show up in 2012
These are some of the accomplishments of the Democratic-controlled, 111th Congress over the last 21 months:
Fair Pay Act for Women; Consumer Protection bill, preventing sudden interest rate hikes on credit cards; Hate Crimes bill, dealing with sexual orientation; health insurance extended to four million uninsured children; College Loan Reform bill, eliminating millions of dollars in wasteful federal subsidies to banks and passing savings on to students; National Service bill, tripling size of Americorp; Cash for Clunkers; bailout of GM and Chrysler, saving American auto industry from bankruptcy; a federal stimulus bill that amounted to the largest tax cut in history; largest government investment in clean energy in history; largest government investment in education in history; health care reform, including narrowing of doughnut hole for seniors, no denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions, no lifetime caps, no denying coverage if you get sick and allowing children to stay insured on parents’ policies until age 26; expanding access to health coverage to 95 percent of Americans and restraining costs that were spiraling out of control under Republican care; Financial Regulatory Reform, curbing Wall Street excesses; Veterans’ Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act; Caregivers and Veterans Health Services Act; largest appropriation for veterans’ services in history, expanding access to all veterans; creation of Consumer Protection Industry, headed by Elizabeth Warren; largest expansion of federal land conservation in history; first shrinking of federal deficit in eight years ($122 billion reduction for fiscal year 2010).
Republicans are now promising to repeal and de-fund much of this legislation, which they had opposed. Since the election on Tuesday they have publicly ensured leaders in the oil and gas and health care industries as well as Wall Street hedge fund managers that regulations would be rolled back. Mitch McConnell has sworn that his “single most important objective” is to ensure that President Obama is a one-term president. It’s important to base our decisions on information that can’t be fit on roadside signs or even in 30-second commercials. Whether you support or angrily oppose this legislation, I urge voters to follow the actions of the next Congress and show up informed at the polls in 2012.
Jerry Silverstein

Column came from lack of understanding
Editor and columnist Michael White’s statement that “the American media is dominated by liberals — big-time” reveals that he would be surprised to learn that four corporations own the news networks he watches on television and much of what passes for news reporting on radio. He and the misinformed public should also know that PBS, which we watch on Channels 13 and 21, is also corporately owned. Does Mr. White seriously think these corporations are more concerned with the public interest rather than their financial interests?
He has a lot of homework to do. Journalists used to be concerned with how politicians of whatever party exercised power, and not only concerned with what those politicians were saying. In other words, “Who benefits from the exercise of power?” This job is done by a select group called investigative reporters; the rest babble endlessly about what politicians say. As the wise understood years ago, a person’s best method of concealment was in speech.
Mr. White is also too occupied with polite curse words such as liberal, conservative, leftist or rightist, without informing us of what we’re supposed to understand by these words, when in reality most people can’t be described on all subjects of public interest with just one of these words; they only describe fanatics. He doesn’t seem to understand this and that’s why he justifies what he hears on Fox channels as a response to the “leftist” control of the media.
Sidney Waxler

Michael White’s column last week (“Wrong time for hyper-partisan Media,” Nov. 4) was well thought-out and timely. I enjoyed his intelligent insight and well-balanced presentation regarding today’s media. A free media, well balanced and unafraid, is what we the people of this great country of ours want and rightfully deserve. It is the people’s watchdog. Keep up the good and thoughtful writing.
Jack McGreevy

In appreciation
We would like to formally thank everyone who helped in the coordination of the tree planting to honor Arnold J. Mott and all of the veterans at Calverton National Cemetery.
Thanks go to Sean Walter, Jodi Giglio, George Gabrielsen, Jim Wooten and John Dunleavy and to Jill Lewis, who coordinated the project with Mr. Picerno, Mr. Conroy, Mr. Williams, “Craig” and the ladies and gentlemen in the administration offices at Calverton.
Assemblyman Marc Alessi’s attendance was greatly appreciated, as was [that of] the two American Legion gentlemen. Whitman Nursery’s donation of the beautiful dogwood tree was a kind gesture to honor all at Calverton that will live on in all of their memories.
Thank you, too, for the coverage of the ceremony by the News-Review’s Barbaraellen Koch.
Sandra Mott and Anne Mott