Letters to the Editor
Don’t smear the dead for politics
I kind of cringed when I read Helga Guthy’s letter to the editor last week taking a shot at the late Riverhead Town supervisor Joe Janoski (Some concerns with ‘Janoski Fest’). Such posthumous digs really aren’t becoming even from such a partisan writer as Ms. Guthy. I personally sponsored the motion to name the upcoming downtown oldies concert after the former supervisor and the board of directors of the Riverhead BID unanimously agreed. I am a lifelong Democrat; the board is made up of people of all political persuasions and is nonpartisan.
We named the concert in honor of Mr. Janoski because he was a dedicated doo-wop fan and long promoted what are now termed “the oldies.” We didn’t get into a discussion about his health plan and frankly, Ms. Guthy, I think it shows poor judgment that you sought to smear a dedicated public servant in the name of partisanship.
As for the finances of the concert in question, as you should know, being a community activist and campaign supporter of a former supervisor, the finances of the BID are always available to the public for inspection and are outlined in the town budget. The same cannot be said of other organizations that have utilized town services.
There is a time for politics, Ms. Guthy, but trying to score political points off the dead is in bad taste.
Where’s the money?
As we come to the end of another season of saving and enhancing lives by providing a safe and warm place to sleep each night from November through March, we wish to thank everyone who supported this important effort.
To the houses of worship that open their doors to our homeless guests, to the countless volunteers who prepare meals, offer solace and a supportive ear, stay overnight, wash sheets and blankets and coordinate every detail for a particular site.
To the civic organizations, youth groups and businesses and to countless others who give of their time, expertise and resources, we send a resounding and heartfelt message of gratitude and love.
The Maureen’s Haven program would not be possible without all of you coming together as one community in caring and loving service to those in need. This winter season was particularly brutal, with many major storms that could have been disastrous to those without a home in which to seek shelter.
We would also like to take this opportunity to discuss our fundraising efforts this year and to clarify some misconceptions that may have resulted from the Maureen’s Haven name being used by groups and businesses throughout our community.
There have been a number of large events such as The Snow Ball and many smaller ones such as spaghetti dinners, pancake breakfasts and chili cookoffs, that have stated or implied that the funds raised would go to support our work under the auspices of Peconic Community Council.
We’re fairly certain that many attendees of these events were under the impression that a significant portion of their donation was going to us in order to meet the costs of operating the overnight shelter program.
Unfortunately, that has not been the case.
While the coordinators of The Snow Ball advertised in Dan’s Paper and on large signs throughout the community that the event was benefitting Maureen’s Haven, only $1,000 of the proceeds generated were actually donated to our program.
We are very disturbed by this trend of using the Maureen’s Haven name in order to generate interest in particular fundraising events when very little, if any, of the proceeds actually go to support this very worthwhile endeavor.
We want to assure our constituents and supporters that any fundraising solicitation with our name on it is one in which the proceeds are truly going to support the cause to which you are led to believe you are contributing. Any such solicitation should be considered if, and only if, it bears the Maureen’s Haven logo and a stamp of approval from the doard of directors of Peconic Community Council.
The Maureen’s Haven program is a life-saving one. It’s also extremely costly to run, particularly in this stressed economy with the number of adults in need of our services on the rise. Every donation is priceless to us and we do not want anyone to think that our cup runneth over as a result of some promoters who use our name to gain revenue for anything other than our work.
For those who wish to ensure their donation goes directly to fund our work with the homeless, please send your contribution to our office rather than support an event that may not be sanctioned by us. Please feel free to call or email us with any questions or if you know of an event in your community that is using our name. We are happy to answer any and all questions you may have.
We thank everyone once again for your consistent support of our work and your commitment to serving those less fortunate than most.
Chairman, Peconic Community Council
Perhaps skiing will come to EPCAL
Unfortunately, information in last week’s News-Review article about the ball fields at EPCAL gives an overly bright report about the proposed “bike path that runs around most of EPCAL.” The reality is that of the nine miles of passive recreation path that were originally proposed in 2006, only about three miles have been actually been completed. The 8-foot-wide asphalt paved path now only runs along most of the northern boundary of EPCAL along Route 25A and then extends south along approximately one-third of the site’s eastern limits. As originally envisioned, the route of the path would follow the old security road around EPCAL, thereby not interfering with future plans for development of the site.
Also, referring to the trail only as a bike path is somewhat of a discredit to the potential of the project. If and when completed, the passive recreation path will not only offer families the opportunity to bicycle free of automobile traffic, but also provide a great walking, jogging, and cross country skiing trail. Maybe skiing will come to EPCAL after all.
I would encourage anyone interested to take a look at what has already been accomplished through a matching $100,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration (thank you, Andrea Lohneiss) and another $100,000 from the office of state Senator Ken LaValle (thanks to the efforts of Councilman Dunleavy).
What’s that about property rights?
I’d like to set the record straight on two of the four Wading River projects about which many locals have been up in arms: Knightland and Great Rock. It’s so frustrating to keep hearing developers complain their property rights are being trampled on, which they often do, and then hear our town officials echo those same sentiments, which they often do, when you realize that these two developers are not actually entitled to build either of these projects.
First, there’s Ken Barra’s proposed Knightland mall on the western tip of Sound Avenue. The property those 24-30 stores would sit on is currently zoned Business CR and, according to Riverhead Town Code, the purpose and intent of that zone is to allow for the development of small clusters of shops, including eating and drinking establishments and professional offices, geared primarily toward providing daily services to residents in the adjacent residential areas. Now, I don’t think anyone can look at that site plan and honestly claim it is anything other than a shopping mall intended to draw in visitors from around the island. (See for yourself at www.savewadingriver.com.) In fact, Supervisor Sean Walter recently — at a Feb. 15 Town Board meeting, check the minutes — admitted it looked like ‘destination retail’ to him.
And Great Rock’s plans for a catering hall don’t conform to its RB-80 two-acre residential zoning either. RB-80 is the only zoning on that property regardless of claims made by developers and others doing their bidding that an old overlay zone miraculously survived both its extinguishment during the one-to-two-acre rezoning and its subsequent removal by Town Board resolution. In addition, covenants that run with the land (put there by the town to keep the golf course from becoming a nuisance to the surrounding neighborhoods) prohibit a restaurant and bar. And any reasonable reading of those covenants, which is what courts go by, also prohibits a catering hall. While it’s true those covenants were inexplicably disregarded when the town approved the existing restaurant and bar, we have every right to insist they don’t disregard their legal obligation to our neighborhoods again!
So whose property rights are really being trampled here, and why are these projects even being considered?
president, Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition
Three cheers for public bathrooms
Kudos to our town supervisor for reopening the Main Street restrooms. First the beautiful waterfront and Grangebel Park restorations and now public restrooms. I am impressed. I would like to donate the first case of toilet paper to our newly renovated rest rooms.
Now, when will the supervisor do something prudent, profitable and positive with the Grumman property?
What do you want to pay for?
Ben Franklin also said, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for lunch.”
Taxation is not the problem; spending is the problem. Corporations don’t pay income taxes (Economics 101), they pass them on to the consumers. I recently purchased a stove and refrigerator from “GE” for $2,100. If they paid income tax it would have been $2,200, which would have bought more government, not more appliance.
Ben Franklin further stated, “We will cease to exist as a free country when the voters figure out they can vote themselves money.” He was asked after the constitutional convention what they had created, his reply “A republic, if we can keep it.”
I read Congressman Tim Bishop’s “Guest Spot” article last week and remembered why I voted for him.
He is an intelligent, sensible, fair-minded, practical public servant. Thank God he beat back that Tea Party onslaught last November.
The article pointed out the tremendous inequity between what ordinary people pay in taxes to maintain services and infrastructure and what major corporations, such as GE pay. Last year GE made $5.5 billion in profit and paid zero taxes. Over the past five years GE made $26 billion and got a $4.1 billion refund from the IRS.
There are over 100 corporations that pay little or no taxes. Exxon Mobil made $19 billion in profit, paid no federal taxes and received a rebate of $156 million. Bank of America made $4.4 billion in profits and got a $1.9 billion refund plus nearly $1 trillion in bailout money.
The list goes on and on and includes Verizon, FedEx and Citi Group. Goldman Sachs, which paid only 1.1 percent of its income in taxes, even though it made $2.3 billion profit, received almost $800 billion from the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury.
It’s an outrage.
I don’t blame the local hardware store or builder complaining about taxes. But the big guys complain the loudest, pay the least and want their rate lowered.
What can ordinary people do about it? In England, when social programs such as rent and fuel support for the poor were cut, a grassroots group named UK Uncut got together and organized protests in front of local outlets of major corporations that paid little or no taxes.
The signs read something like: “If your company uses the infrastructure, i.e. the roads, etc., pay your fair share!” Other signs showed the amount not paid and contrasted it with the cost of a specific social program cut, and asked the question: “If you don’t think this is fair, pass them by.”
It’s been very effective so far. The American version, U.S. Uncut, has started by picketing corporate meetings, to no great effect so far. But you can check out their website, usuncut.org, to see what else they’re doing.
A review of tax law is coming up before Congress. Mr. Bishop will hopefully fight to make major corporations pay their fair share while protecting small local businesses and ordinary taxpayers.
Once the numbers start coming out, maybe U.S. Uncut can organize local boycotts to influence the national dialogue on tax reform.
Where’s the Levy press release?
It’s been two weeks since the announcement that County Executive Steve Levy would not be seeking re-election and would be turning over his $4 million campaign chest to the district attorney’s office. Yet in all that time the people of this county have not heard one word from all parties concerned of exactly what has transpired to bring these events about.
On a good day, the taxpayers and voters of the county could expect as many as five to six press releases from Mr. Levy concerning events in Hauppauge, so his continued silence can only make us all wonder just what he, the district attorney and the political parties are trying to hide.
Thomas W. Smith