Read this week’s ‘Letters to the Editor’

10/20/2011 5:00 AM |


From the Riverhead school board

Thanks to each and every one of you who took time on Oct. 11 to take part in an important community decision concerning the future of our school system. We are gratified that a majority of voters agreed with us, that our schools are in need of health, safety and modernization renovations that will carry our district forward into the future.

We are also gratified that more than 4,400 residents took part in this election. We created four voting districts with the express purpose of boosting voter turnout by allowing people to vote closer to their homes rather than in one centralized location. The record participation last week has proven to us that our choice worked. We look forward to holding future budget and special elections in the same manner.

We also want to thank the Community Partnership for Revitalization committee members for all their hard work and dedication in presenting to the Board of Education a sensible plan. We were pleased to accept their recommendation. It is the recommendation you, as a community, have approved and it is the recommendation that we will now see carried out over the next four years.

Thank you again for participating in the election and we look forward to your continued participation in the future.

Ann Cotten-DeGrasse, president
Gregory Meyer, vice president
and trustees Jeffrey Falisi,
Tim Griffing, William Hsiang,
Amelia Lantz, Kimberly Lison


Thanks for helping pass school bond

Thank you for passage of the Riverhead School bond to:
• The citizens of the district
• The Community Partnership for Revitalization committee
• The Friends of the Riverhead School District Bond
• The school district administration
And to the school board for inviting the citizens of the district to participate in the bond project.
And to the naysayers, it’s unfortunate that you did not bring your passion and expertise to the CPR committee in September 2010. Perhaps your input would have helped to mold the bond proposal.

Richard Tavano
CPR committee member


A post-surgery struggle

I read with interest the Sept. 29 article in your paper concerning the ribbon-cutting of Peconic Bay Medical Center’s Krauss Center for Joint Replacements.

My husband recently had a complete knee replacement there. Unfortunately, he developed other problems and this facility is not equipped to handle certain side effects of surgery. His knee replacement was their main concern and when things like hiccups for 14 days, anxiety attacks and, eventually, depression set in they did not know that they had to treat these problems just as swiftly and professionally as any infection problem that might occur.

Other replacement patients we know of have suffered from all sorts of reflux, stomach and muscle issues which were not aggressively treated until they went home to their own family physicians. These same family physicians are not allowed to treat the patients in this area of the hospital. Our doctor, Dr. Schaeffer, was one of them.

I know that it was stated in the article that 600 replacements have been done and no infections occurred, but has PBMC studied other issues related to the surgery? Maybe it is time to slow down a little and take more information from patients, both before and after surgery. Thank you for allowing me to give a version of these surgeries that no one had addressed.

Carol Lee


Dog shelter take in owner-surrenders

Something must be in the air in Riverhead because things are getting scarier for the poor animals at your shelter. The location of the kill-shelter at the dump is bad enough. Now, after years of continued bad management and a supervisor speaking out of both sides of his mouth, the talk of not taking in owner-surrender dogs is being examined as a solution to 27 dogs in a 20-capacity shelter. And farming them out.

I can tell you this firsthand, in this terrible economy you will see people who would prefer their dogs be euthanized because they can’t get them help. Worse yet, I’ve seen dogs abandoned on beaches, left to run on the roads, dropped off in wooded places or tied to fences. If you ever saw the face of an abandoned dog — as my Kramer and Jelly were in Southampton — you wouldn’t sleep nights. Daisy, my pit bull was an owner-surrender who was about to be killed by management in Southampton. I took her. They all are great dogs. I walk the walk; I don’t just talk the talk, as Councilman Jim Wooten has been doing lately. Councilman Wooten, five cents, maybe less, added to the tax bill of every citizen in Riverhead and a real volunteer program would turn things around for your animals and the pride of the people of Riverhead. Stop passing the buck. I am your biggest supporter but talk like this is silly and dangerous. Step up to the plate and stop being just a politician!

Pat Lynch


Watch, wait and listen

Yep, silly season comes to a head in Riverhead Town. With the way people attack each other, it’s no surprise that this good old town run by the good ol’ boys has recessed as far as it has.

Maybe what should be done is have the everyday voter actually look, see and understand what these incumbents are really about. I personally don’t listen to the party-backed clichés. I watch, wait and listen. There’s an old adage that goes, “Give someone enough rope and they will hang themselves.” In other words, I plan on sitting back with a bowl of popcorn, making decisions based upon what I have seen accomplished in this town and by whom. Grown-up words and juvenile behavior exhibited by certain people (gee, oxymoron) don’t make an effective voice for our town. Not getting involved in Tom, Dick, and Harry’s lives and focusing on the tasks at hand is what builds a strong leader.

So far, I’ve heard a lot of noise. And I prefer my ear plugs until this cacophony of nonsense ends.

Anne Marie Grossman


Bipartisanship a must for assessors

Last Wednesday at the Riley Avenue School debates, one of my Republican opponents, Mason Haas said the town assessor job was “administrative.” If this were true, then why do we need an election, as the Town Board could appoint the assessors? What he forgot to mention is that the job is very political. In the wrong hands, this could be a very political office with favors silently being done, which is why you need two parties in the assessor’s office.

We need bipartisanship in this all-Republican office. Someone has to check and make sure special assessments do not go to the favored few rich Republicans. Our property taxes are very high in this recession economy.

My other concern about Mr. Haas is that he is the part owner of the M&M Abstract Company in Jamesport and most title searches are done in the courts between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.. How can he devote his full time and energy to an elected position when he has an outside business?

We need open government in Riverhead Town. When it takes eight months for me to get information under the Freedom of Information Act there is something wrong with this picture. We need some positive changes in town government.

Robert Svoboda

Democratic candidate

Riverhead Town assessor


Bellone has proved himself

The recent endorsement of Steve Bellone by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is proof positive that the current Babylon Town supervisor is the right fit to be Suffolk’s next county executive.

Governor Cuomo has had one of the most successful first years of any governor and realizes that in order to continue bringing New York back, we must have dynamic leadership on the county level as well.

Steve Bellone has experience working with political leaders at every level and can use that experience to bring about improvement. Even at the town level, Steve Bellone has crafted plans that have created jobs and improved the community. The public/private partnership he used to create the town’s green homes plan has created dozens of jobs, improved the local housing stock and has served as a model for the rest of Long Island on how to properly tap into the “eco-market.”

An expansion of this program would create hundreds more jobs and show to the business community that Suffolk County is open for all types of businesses.

Vasso Patrikis
Editor’s note: Ms. Patrikis is a Riverhead Democratic Committee member.


Too long for Tim Bishop

Mr. Bishop voted for a border fence and then voted for every entitlement program for illegals. In other words, if you get over the border, he’s got your back. Are we a country? Because if we are, we need borders. Bishop fixed up veterans halls with tax dollars, but voted to defund the troops twice. There is not a spending and tax bill he doesn’t like. Hello, Mr. Bishop, we’re broke!

Let’s not forget that he led Southampton College into its demise over the decades he headed it. You know what he did to try to save it at one point? He fired all the custodians and outsourced their labor. They then had to reapply for their jobs at reduced wages and benefits. Some had been at Southampton for almost 30 years. How much could custodians have made? Mr. Bishop, elitist extraordinaire, picked on the defenseless guys. Firing custodians sure didn’t work.

Here we have a college on the water, with a need for environmental programs, such as oceanographic studies, that could easily make use of the L.I. environment, and Mr. Bishop couldn’t even get that right.

Bishop often sounds like a conservative, but he is a far-left liberal. Last year, I heard him speak in relatively conservative Rocky Point, and he spoke against the cap and trade bill. The bill was poorly conceived and a mistake, he said. Then, two days later, in more liberal Southampton, I heard him rave about it, announcing his intention of getting it passed next go around. He doesn’t care that the health care bill is poorly written either, because he’s a rubber stamp.

Mr. Bishop keeps talking about how he is all about jobs; meanwhile, Long Island’s unemployment and foreclosure rates are on the rise. In June, for one month alone, unemployment in Suffolk went from 6.9 to 7.3 percent. From 2009 to 2010, the foreclosure rate in Suffolk went up 29 percent. We have the second-highest foreclosure rate in the state. Our unsold inventory hit an all-time high in June. Don’t believe me; Google it. I hope people take a good look at Randy Altschuler. He sounds reasonable to me, and he’s businessman, something Bishop is not. We must save our country and Congress is key.

Maureen Dowling


False claims hurting the environment

In his Sept. 29 letter “This is a raid, plain & simple,” Richard Amper of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society falsely states: “The county’s plan to enhance sewers and septic systems would take tens of millions of dollars from drinking water protection to plug holes in the budget.” This is emphatically inaccurate and is another example of Mr. Amper simply lying to make a headline to enhance membership in his organization.
The quarter-penny clean water act passed in prior years was divided into three components. The first dedicates 45 percent of all collected revenue to water preservation. It has not and is not being raided. In fact, my administration has invested more money in open space preservation than any administration in the past.

About 35 percent of the program goes directly to property tax relief, and the third component, approximately 25 percent, goes strictly to a fund that stabilizes county sewer rates. It is this last fund, not the open space or clean water fund, that has been tapped. And for good reason. Environmentalists from the Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment and from The Nature Conservancy agreed with me that it made no sense to keep hundreds of millions of dollars sitting idly in this fund for the purposes of sewer rate stabilization (when in fact the sewer rates have been stabilized through the year 2030).

The Citizen’s Campaign director, who helped craft the bill, said, “This will allow for a meaningful funding stream to upgrade existing sewer plants and to plan for new infrastructure. It is a good day when Republicans and Democrats, developers and environmentalists can all agree that upgrading our sewer infrastructure is good for the environment and the economy.”

At a recent assembly hearing on Suffolk’s water quality, environmentalists were asking various levels of government to start funneling money into more sewer construction. Only Suffolk has come forward to actually commit to sewer construction and for the upgrade of our dilapidated septic systems that lead to effluent pouring into our groundwater.

Mr. Amper has also been lying about the extent of the monies that would be used for taxpayer relief. Of the estimated $250 million to $300 million that will be utilized from this fund over the next 10 years, only about 10 percent will be used for property tax relief and 90 percent will be used for cleaning the environment through the building of new sewers and purifying our septic systems.

It’s time for Mr. Amper to stop his unsubstantiated claims that are actually hurting the environment by stopping the use of this money for the cleaning of our county septic systems which have indeed been deteriorating our water quality.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy


We need to have a say

With approximately 20,450 registered voters in Riverhead, only 4,426 voters thought it worth their effort to vote for or against a $78.3 million school bond to renovate and expand the Riverhead School District infrastructure. Yet with 78 percent of eligible voters in the town not caring how their tax dollars are spent, is it any wonder that we will continue to be in such a dire tax situation as it exists on Long Island?

Pogo, a past comic strip possum, said it best: “I have seen the enemy, and he is us!”

Thomas W. Smith


Building on success

This is in regards to your web story “NYC environmental group wants to ‘green up’ the East End,” by Jennifer Gustavson.

The East End towns do indeed face a series of complex sustainability challenges and Times/Review Newsgroup deserves a lot of credit for prioritizing them in your coverage. That’s a reflection of just how important the environment is to local residents.
The East End truly does stand in sharp contrast with Washington D.C., where the political climate has become increasingly hostile to any suggestion that the air we breathe and the water we drink deserve protections.

It is precisely because of this region’s leadership on the environment that the New York League of Conservation Voters education fund recently issued our 2012-2013 “Blueprint for a Greener East End.” This green checklist was intended to inspire elected officials and residents to build upon their towns’ existing accomplishments, and take in new ideas from neighboring municipalities grappling with the same challenges.

Our green checklist was developed not by our central staff in New York City, but by the Long Island residents who serve on NYLCV’s Long Island chapter board. A number of these members are longtime and prominent East End residents. They know the region and its environmental issues intimately, having focused on them collectively for decades.

We also collaborated with several East End environmental organizations on our green checklist, for which we owe a debt of gratitude to the Peconic Baykeeper, Peconic Land Trust, the Group for the East End, The Nature Conservancy and others.
The East End would not be successful in meeting its environmental challenges without leadership from the many Town Board members and supervisors. We thank them for their achievements and look forward to working with them in the coming months on even greater, greener things.

Marcia Bystryn

president, NYLCV