Letters to the editor

Not the same services
I totally agree that spending should be controlled, but for deputy town attorney James Saladino to say in his Equal Time piece (“Town Board made bold moves with budget,” Dec. 9) that Sean Walter and the Town Board reduced the overall work force while still maintaining the same level of service to the residents, is not true. Since Mr. Walter was elected, he has taken people from one department and moved them to others. In my opinion, the parks department got short-changed losing people to the highway department, which I acknowledge needed the help.
I live and work at the police officer’s park on Bayberry Road in Wading River, and the necessary maintenance used to be done in a timely manner. Since he took office, there has been a big hill of soil dumped in the parking lot that should have been used to fill in the erosion on one side of the hill a long time ago, and it’s still sitting there, now growing weeds.
The drinking fountain pipe sprung a leak under a picnic table and had to be shut down waiting for repair over a year ago. (I believe it may have gotten repaired a few weeks ago.) Adults and children kept trying to get a drink during this past hot summer, and many times I had to explain to residents why the fountain was not working, that we did not have the manpower to fix it. The barbecues are rusted and breaking, some have already been removed. Also, benches by the picnic tables were broken and never replaced.
The recreation department was all set to add some new playground equipment to the park. The department already had money available and the materials had been ordered, but the equipment could not be installed because the department didn’t have the manpower to do the work.
I know times are hard and no one wants to raise the budget, but at least be honest and say that some things will take a lot longer to get done with fewer employees.
Helga Guthy

GOP is packing Town Hall with pals
Isn’t there a law that job openings in town government should be advertised so that anyone can apply? We’ve been told by the current administration that 13 people will lose their jobs next year. I know the economy is bad, but what about the half dozen jobs Town Board members gave to their political friends last year? Are these people staying on?
The all-Republican Town Board has been in office only one year and is filling Town Hall with supporters as political payback, including two deputy town attorneys and a well-paid “assistant” to the supervisor, followed by a secretary (who lost in her bid for public office in the last election) for the councilpersons.
Why lay off established people who make lower salaries when one of these positions pays more than $50,000? I’m not sure of the salaries because the Town Board didn’t advertise the jobs. The employees in government work for and are paid by the people, not the Republican party.
Vasso Patrikis

Trashy cartoon
I have been a long-time reader and subscriber of the News-Review and was very upset by your Paw Print editorial cartoon published Dec. 9 targeting Sarah Palin. This trash has dropped you to an all-time low and causes me to believe your liberal mind has lost it and will stoop to the bottom of the outhouse to discredit Mrs. Palin. It won’t live up to the fact you lost the election in 2010 and with this kind of trash, you will loose in 2012.
Edward Powers

This land is my land
This is in response to last week’s News-Review letter by Jim Dreeben, in which he references the trees on my property.
In May I decided to sell my house, which originally was on 3 and 1/4 acres but at that time had just been subdivided into three smaller parcels. At the time the property was subdivided, the Town of Riverhead, not I, decided where the access roadway to the two one-acre lots would be. The town decided it was to be along the property line which divides my lots and the back yard property of houses on the next block. There was a real estate sign placed prominently at the edge of my property stating two one-acre parcels were for sale. I decided to keep one of the lots for myself, the one on the eastern part of my property, which borders the aforementioned back yards, so I could build a new house. Obviously whether it be me keeping one lot or someone else buying either of these lots, most likely it would be with the intention to build on them. This would involve clearing the land as I did, removing only what was required and absolutely necessary, while leaving a large thickly wooded area for me to enjoy directly behind where my house will be situated.
I can understand being upset as the wooded area Mr. Dreeben and all his neighbors enjoyed looking at as an extension of their back yards for all these years is now changed forever. This was made up of many vines, wild bushes and brush as well as trees, but certainly not the exaggerated “hundreds” as Mr. Dreeben stated in his letter. Yes, it was beautiful, but if this was going to be such an issue, as an option they should have bought the two lots collectively and left the lots as they were to be able to continue to look at and enjoy. Years ago the block Mr. Dreeben lives on was once part of the parcel I now own and also was heavily wooded. In order for his house and all the houses as well as the road on that block to be built, many trees had to be cleared too; that’s just the way it is.
But in the end, this property belongs to me to use in whatever way I want. And I have done only what was necessary to build my new house.
Arline Schroeher

Backward priorities
The most recent turns of the political activity in Washington are mind-bending.
The recently minted anti-deficit Republicans have now forced a total extension of the Bush tax cuts in return for wearing a mask of humanity and renewing unemployment benefits for 13 months. This returns a tremendous amount of money to the 2 to 3 percent of the wealthiest citizens, while giving less costly aid to our most damaged citizens.
The wealthy, already having all the resources they need for daily life, will pour most of the proceeds into the Wall Street casino or hide it away in the Cayman Islands. Hence we will see no kick to the economy, only a more crippling deficit. The unemployment benefit money will get spent and will help the economy, while contributing in a much smaller way to the deficit.
These same Republicans are blocking a renewal of the START Treaty, the nuclear missile reduction agreement with the Soviets. These deficit hawks won’t support START without assurance that Congress will build added dollars into the defense budget for ever more complex weapons.
Since our defense budget is larger than the accumulated defense budgets of the rest of the world, this added expense is patently ridiculous, not to mention unaffordable. This roadblock, coming in the face of approval of the treaty by Defense Secretary Gates, the State Department and the president, is another illogical act by the self-proclaimed deficit hawks.
The deficit is real and it needs serious attention. But unfortunately, as we engage in this kind of political gamesmanship, as we assume that taking over government is the real goal and the health of the country a minor issue, we will descend ever more rapidly into chaos.  
Howard Meinke