Letters to the Editor

Your support helps senior citizens
I want you to know how pleased we were when we read the articles in last Thursday’s Riverhead News-Review about the mobile homes in Suffolk County. People do not realize how many mobile homes there are in the county. Compared to the other counties in the state we have the most homes and the most senior residents than any other county.
When we purchased these homes we did so to live within our retirement income. Now, with many of the park rents being raised while our Social Security benefits and pensions remain the same, it is becoming harder and harder for us to survive. We need the help of our state Assembly and Senate to put a hold on these rent increases that will drive us out of our homes. We need rent stabilization very badly. Let us work and pray toward that end to happen this year. Thanks again for your kind words in the News-Review.
Joseph Kummer
president, Mobile/Manufactured Home
Owners Association of Suffolk Inc.

Kudos to Glenwood Village owners
As a resident of a mobile/manufactured home senior community, I read with interest both the article on rent hikes (“Excessive rent hikes place residents in financial peril,” Feb. 24) and your related editorial. I would like to caution those who are interested in down-sizing to one of these communities not to paint all these communities with the same brush. What has been done to the residents of MacLeods and Thurm’s is indefensible. However, not all owners and managers are this greedy.
I have lived in Glenwood Village for 12 years. The decision to move here was one of the best I have ever made. First, this community is locally owned and managed by the Stark family, and management is very accessible. Second, we have a 49-year lease that includes a provision that rent will be raised only once a year and that raise will be a certain percentage of the previously charged rent. (I will be 110 years old before my lease is up!) In 2010, we were informed by Stark Homes there would be no rent increase that year because there was no Social Security COLA. The management still provided all services, and maintenance of the property remained at the same level of excellence. This year, we will have an increase in rent; in my case, I will pay $7.00 per month more, which amounts to a rise of less than 2 percent.
Every summer, management pays for three picnics in our shady park, picking up the tab for food, beverages and portable toilets. There are many other perks to living here, too numerous to mention in a letter. I just wanted your readers to know that there are great communities here, and they should not let the actions of a few owners taint their view of all mobile/manufactured home communities.
Barbara Van Scoy

Halt ‘unjustifiable’ tax increases
I am writing this letter in response to the News-Review story (“Excessive rent hikes place residents in financial peril,” Feb. 24) and related editorial concerning the rent hikes that are supposedly jeopardizing mobile home residents’ financial security.
The fact is that there are more mobile homes in Riverhead Town than any other Long Island town, so the owners seem to have more input to our politicians than those elsewhere. But mobile home owners, like homeowners, have a choice of moving if the rent or taxes get too high. Likewise the mobile home owners, like any homeowner, have a choice of voting for a representative who will put their best interests first.
What makes the News-Review, assemblymen Fried Thiele and Dan Losquadro and state Senator Ken LaValle think that just because we own homes, we can afford yearly increases in taxes, such as the $500 by which mine increased between 2009 and 2010? Are there bills in Albany that would limit “unjustifiable” tax increases for property owners? Of course not. All our representatives know the homeowners are just rolling in money and can afford any and all tax increases, unlike mobile home owners who apparently need the government to watch out that their rents don’t increase at too great a pace. Although I know mobile home owners receive individual tax bills as well as pay rent, their tax bills are nowhere near what your average homeowner might pay.
No matter that I have not had one increase in my private pension in 25 years. No matter that I have had not one increase in my Social Security in two years. No matter that the value of my home has decreased by over 25 percent in the last 4 years, without a corresponding decrease in property and school taxes. We, the homeowners, are all filthy rich and can afford any and all tax increases, while mobile home owners need Albany to limit rent increases.
Am I the only homeowner in all Long Island who sees and comprehends just what our representatives are doing to the homeowners of Long Island — squeezing us until we have no more money left to pay taxes? Then who will pay their salaries, fringe benefits and pensions, the mobile home owners?
Thomas W. Smith

How preposterous!
We senior citizens who have worked hard all our lives are being slowly pushed off the cliff. If through the years they hadn’t stolen trillions from our Social Security, we would have no problem today – yes, I said trillions.
So that means people only getting $400 to $500 a month won’t get a COLA (cost-of-living adjustment) this year and maybe next and who knows. How can Congress even think of doing this to us? Besides giving us a lame excuse of no price increases. We help these other countries, but neglect our own people who made this great country what it is. Can you imagine how we are trying to survive? I think not.
Now the government is thinking of signing a treaty with Mexico to give illegal aliens Social Security benefits. Yes, I said illegals. I don’t believe how Congress can even think of this. They are here illegally and taking a job away from an American and we are going to reward them with Social Security benefits. Please!!!
Robert Stringham

A call for more welfare reform
It has become apparent to me that push is coming to shove. The taxpayer is being trampled and taken advantage of. Once again, the government is butchering the golden goose, slowly but surely. The starved and wilting services taxpayers are expecting for their hard-earned money continue to dissipate as unnecessary social programs and government waste continue to grow and flourish.
I remember when sales tax was first introduced in New York. It was 2 percent, never to go up, and for education only! It appears that we may have been fooled. What do you think?
All of the financial cuts to the schools by the state or federal government are a fast-track recipe for disaster. Properly educating our youth might be the only way to compete on a global economic stage. Cuts in school activities as well as competitive sports will cause our youth to become misguided and discontented and result in an increase in substance abuse and crime to a higher level than it is today.
The solution is to identify and report all illegal aliens of any nationality and decline financial assistance to those physically able to work or who fail a drug test. There is no logical reason for any person who is healthy to be on assistance.
Other areas should also be examined. We all know the cost to the taxpayer of taking care of those who are imprisoned for criminal activity. Public service work could be performed by some of them, such as repairing roads, rails, public lighting and sanitation. Jobs for which the individual may be suited can serve as an incentive to reduce the term of incarceration of the prisoner performing these services.
We as a people cannot permit government to cause our educational system to be diminished in any way. Quite the contrary — we are compelled by international competition in the marketplace to expand our children’s educational horizons and options.
Yes indeed our hope is for the future, and to learn from our past. Please prevent our elected officials from destroying all we have worked for, all our hopes for a bright future and even more important, all of what we have already funded with our hard-earned money.
Frederick Rodgers

Propane should reign
The North Fork Environmental Council congratulates the Riverhead Central School District for taking the initiative and spending a little extra money for the purchase of two propane-powered buses. Propane itself does not have the characteristics of a greenhouse gas and the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions that result from its combustion are far below those produced by the regular combustion of gasoline. Although diesel engines do produce slightly less carbon dioxide (a major contributor to global warming) than propane-powered engines, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers diesel engine exhaust to be one of the air pollutants that pose the greatest threat to public health. Furthermore, 90 percent of the propane used in the U.S. is produced domestically, thereby helping us to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Using more eco-friendly transportation such as the buses purchased by the Riverhead Central School District helps to make the North Fork a healthier place for all of us.
George Bartunek
vice president, North Fork Environmental Council

Way out of balance
Jumping into the middle of a conversation, I want to comment on the teacher pay conversation.
Teachers deserve to be duly compensated for their educational investment and time spent in and out of the classroom. Where the disconnect perhaps lies is when taxpayers are broke and pressuring their representatives to reduce spending, public employees are the first looked at for potential cuts for future savings.
Taxpayers are not an endless well of dollars and are demanding taxes remain at current spending levels or reduced. Unlike private professionals, taxpayers do not have the ability to debate and influence the amount of compensation they receive, but they do have that ability for public employees’s wages.
Bottom line here is homeowners are feeling the pinch and want spending curtailed.
Teachers are known to have an elaborate pension and health benefit retirement package. These costs are a burden on the taxpayer and cannot be sustained in perpetuity. Teachers need to be realistic to collectively bargain for either more pay now and less pension later, or less pay now in exchange for greater pension payouts.
Privately employed people are angered by the percentage disparity between what they have to contribute to health care and pension and the much lower pay-in and an often greater payout made possible by taxpayer subsidies.
Bottom line here is public sector salary and pension pay-in amounts should be consistent with the private sector.
The argument that East End teachers are paid less than others in Nassau and Suffolk is a non-argument. The tax base is far larger the further west one travels so the percentage per household is minimal compared to the smaller tax base of Southold.
Bottom line here is the financial impact is far greater on a smaller number here.
Vin Ricciardi

More to the story
I was most disappointed to learn of the recent death of Mattituck resident Chuck Adams. He was a renowned, consistent contributor to the Traveler-Watchman newspaper for many years with his sports columns.
It seems his contributions to that newspaper were overlooked in the Jan. 6 Suffolk Times obituary write-up. It would be nice to give Chuck Adams even more credit for his lifetime achievements.
He really was something.
Dan McCarthy

Rock on
What a nice performance we were treated to on Sunday, Feb. 13, at Pulaski Street School. Thanks to all the exceptional musicians who performed. Thanks also to the custodial personnel who set everything up and of course had the heat going. Hats off to all! To Riverhead’s No Doubt World Famous Monday Night Band, you rock.
Shirley Sinclair