Read this week’s Letters to the Editor

11/03/2011 5:00 AM |


Taking our landscape back

I realize I’m getting old and crotchety, but does the sight of all these political signs bother you as much as it bugs me? There are stretches of road where the pure number of signs is almost comical. It’s also distracting. While driving, how can one text, eat a Big Mac and read the names on the signs at the same time? You would need an additional arm. I’d like to find out if there is any relationship between the amount of signs and actually winning the elections. I doubt it; the reverse might be the answer.

Maybe we should vote for the candidate with the least amount of these eyesores. I’m starting an “Occupy the Traffic Circle” movement to protest against political signs. Currently, I am the only member. My wife refuses to join. My brother-in-law may show up. I do plan on asking Pat Kelly, the voice of Riverhead High School football, to cover the event.

I plan to take over the median at the traffic circle on Route 24. I’ve chosen this traffic circle just in case some of the scruffy people from Occupy Wall Street or any other Woodstock wannabes show up, then we can move to the park across the street. Please join me. If you have a blue tarp, please bring it.

I also propose the following rules:

• No signs until 30 days before an election
• No signs on public, railroad or vacant properties
• Limit the number of signs to 50 per candidate
• Signs must be taken down on Election Day

Monday night someone destroyed every small Democratic candidates sign and two of the large signs on Peconic Bay Boulevard. Let’s stop this senseless, childish behavior. Let’s ask all major parties to agree to eliminate all signs. One party tried to eliminate signs in 2009 and the other party won. We need all parties to make this work.

James Farrell


Whatta crew!

Recognition should be given to the Riverhead Town highway department for its cleanup after Irene. The employees there gave the residents time to get limbs and debris to the curbside, after which they began their cleanup. In my area of Jamesport, the crews came three different times to do pickups, which enabled us to complete the clearing of our yards in a timely fashion. As I travel to Mattituck and Cutchogue in Southold Town I continue to see the huge piles of branches that are still along their roads from the August storm. It makes me appreciate the efficiency of our town highway department.

Maureen Seaman


It’s about balance

The likely resolution to preserve the four-acre parcel on the east side of the intersection of Park Road and Sound Avenue is a perfect example of what can be accomplished by the coordinated determination of civic groups, environmental organizations and responsive local and regional governments.

The North Fork Environmental Council gives special thanks and recognition to Legislator Ed Romaine for his unwavering determination to help with the efforts to preserve the agricultural, scenic and historic heritage of Sound Avenue. Sound Avenue is truly Riverhead’s representation of what the North Fork of Long Island is all about, and it must be the responsibility of Riverhead’s Town Board, Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals to protect the integrity of the rural character of the corridor.

The News-Review editorial of Oct. 20 was devoted to a recent decision by the Riverhead Zoning Board of Appeals that granted an extreme exemption to the town’s sign code for a future “big box” store along Route 58. Decisions such as this and others recently rendered by the ZBA — one endorsing the expansion of commercial development at the same Park Road/Sound Ave. intersection — indicate a rathser capricious and arbitrary attitude by members of that board that undermine the very zoning that was enacted, as per the recommendations of the 2003 master plan, to protect the quality of life of Riverhead residents.

Hopefully, when the time comes for appointments to the ZBA, the Riverhead Town Board will vote to reappoint Rose Sanders, who understands the importance of finding balance between commercial development and preservation of Riverhead’s relatively rural character.

George Bartunek

vice president,
North Fork Environmental Council


Educate yourself

Robert Svoboda’s continual calls for bipartisanship in the assessor’s office make one wonder. He continues to state the job is very political and dangerous in the wrong hands. He is right — it is dangerous in the wrong hands.

He apparently, once elected, would be seeking out to know your — the property owner’s — party affiliation, as he believes that certain party members are reaping benefits and those of the opposition party are being unjustly targeted due to their party registration. This is not only just plain scary and illegal, it is untrue and an insult to the integrity of all those working in the assessor’s office.

Mr. Svoboda’s time would be better spent learning and understanding how this office works. If he did, he would understand that there already are checks and balances in place. It starts with the public, as all of our records are public information. It follows with the Board of Assessment Review, a bipartisan board chaired by one of his fellow party members. The final check is with the court system, whose decisions we must abide by.

In his News-Review letter last week (“Bipartisanship is key for town assessors,” Oct. 20), he questions how I can be devoting my full time and energy to an elected position when I have an outside business. Well, Mr. Svoboda I spend my entire day, full-time, at the job I was elected to by the residents of Riverhead. I have not worked at M & M Abstract since July 2007. If you had taken time to ask Diane Wilhelm, the town clerk and fellow party member, she would have told you I am at Town Hall working.

Or you could have asked the security guards at the county clerk’s office how many times they saw me. They would have told you they had seen me maybe a couple dozen times over the past four years. Those visits were for town business and for meetings with the county’s office of real property director located within the County Center.

As to your statement about waiting eight months for a FOIL request, that had nothing to do with the assessor’s office. However, I did some checking and found the following facts: Your request was made on April 7, 2011, and receipt of acknowledgement was sent to you on April 15. The results of your request were sent to you on May 26, 2011. That’s seven weeks, not eight months, and probably the turnaround time had to do with gathering the information you requested.

In closing, I have shared my passion for this town through many years of community service (volunteer ambulance, fire department and other civic groups). It is with that same passion that I continue to serve the residents of the Town of Riverhead.

Mason Haas

Riverhead Town assessor


Same old song and dance

I just can’t understand why people don’t see through Phil Cardinale’s tired old rhetoric by trying to convince the voters of Riverhead Town that he’s the only one who knows what’s best for town residents.

His plans for EPCAL never did include anything related to motorsports. One of his first courtships was with Fred Wilpon, who wanted to build houses there. Another one was the illogical plan to build a ski mountain by a Scottish company that couldn’t raise the financing for that screwy endeavor.

Why are peoples’ memories so short that they think that Mr. Cardinale would be any different if he regained a seat on the town board? When someone is a candidate for office, it’s easy to say that you’re in favor of a moratorium, motorsports, more people on the town payroll and against what your opponent is for, as Phil is doing in his current campaign. As Phil likes to quote famous people, let me remind him of what one of our famous presidents said: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

Let us not be fooled by his wisdom of word games and let us continue to move in a positive direction for Riverhead by keeping Mr. Cardinale in retirement.

Nicholas DiPierro


Keep the shelter dogs in mind

It’s amazing to me the Riverhead Shelter mess is not more of a campaign issue. I learned Saturday that only a kennel attendant was on duty today cleaning up the mess, feeding and walking 27 dogs. What a joke. The shelter houses 20. The rest, I’m told, are in offices, a garage, wherever they can find space. Shame on you Supervisor Sean Walter. And where is Councilman Jim Wooten on all of this, the shelter liaison? He told me I’d be back volunteering a month ago. I still can’t enter the shelter. Why isn’t he doing something for the dogs and the expelled volunteers?

Only unpaid volunteer Gina Rizzo — who should be hired and gets nowhere when she asks — comes in once a week to walk and train the dogs. Three have really gone downhill, I’m told: a pit bull puppy of nine months, Morgan, who had a tragic past and no fair start in life; and Julia and Henry who were improving with volunteers Ray and Gina and now are back to where they started. Ray gave up and quit. The few people now working at the shelter are scared of most of the dogs. What are they doing working there anyhow? How can these dogs ever get adopted if they’re not trained and walked?

I was assured by Councilman Jim Wooten that Code Enforcement — not the chief of police, who seems not to care — would be in charge and that the popular and capable Sean McCabe would be in charge of the shelter. Another fairy tale, like Mr. Walter’s medical care program.

Question: How legal is it for a kennel attendant to be running the shelter anyhow? The same thing was supposed to happen again Oct. 30. When you vote Election Day, please remember these stories and the poor dogs who sit and stare at the walls 24/7. And remember poor Julia, Henry and Morgan. They may end up euthanized. Former Riverhead supervisor Phil Cardinale has some very good ideas to improve things for the animals. I wish I voted in Riverhead. I hope Morgan, Julia and Henry don’t suffer the same fate as poor Bruno, dead almost a year because of the total ineptitude and lack of caring of Mr. Walter. Remember, we are the only advocates for these poor creatures who are living terrible lives.

Pay Lynch


Don’t be fooled by Phil

Last week I received a piece of mail from former supervisor Phil Cardinale claiming he was not to blame for the landfill project mismanagement. While I agree that the former supervisor was not in office when the project was approved, he was certainly in office while the project was under way and responsible to manage the town’s finances. At what point does one ask the question, what is the balance in the project fund compared to work completed? It appears this question was never asked and the checks kept getting signed.
Let us not forget that under the former supervisor’s leadership the town water district was nearly taken over by the Suffolk County Water Authority. This was due to the lack of infrastructure improvements to keep pace with development to the point where supply wells couldn’t keep pace with summer demand. Thankfully, during the last two years several new wells have been added and the capacity is nearly 120 percent of the demand.

Lastly, during the last year alone I have read articles in both The New York Times and Newsday with regard to a rebirth in downtown Riverhead. Two years ago Main Street was a ghost town. While there is still much work to be done, strong signs of a rebirth are clearly evident. I am not sure how the former supervisor can take any credit for this. One thing is for sure: This voter will not be fooled by the former supervisor’s antics on Election Day.

Stan Carey

Editor’s note: Mr. Carey is Riverhead Republican Committee member.


Pulling for Dad

For months your readers have heard about Phil Cardinale’s position on town issues. While it is important to know where a candidate stands on the issues, it is more important to know the kind of person the candidate is.

Phil Cardinale is a terrific father. My dad has always been there for me and my two brothers. Whether it was helping with homework, attending our Blue Waves games or talking about college career and life decisions, my dad was there for us.

Phil Cardinale believes in Riverhead. We moved to Riverhead just before my third birthday. My dad chose Riverhead. He has never wavered from his belief that Riverhead is a great place to live and work and that with all of us working together it can be even greater.

Phil Cardinale is smart. He is the smartest person I know. But more important, he has a way of dealing with real world problems that combines technical expertise with simple, practical understanding. He is not only smart, he is wise.

Phil Cardinale cares about regular folks and the struggles of working people. I know it really bothers him to see others suffering in this lagging economy.

Phil Cardinale is a leader. He cares about people and issues and he is a consensus-builder. He works with others to accomplish solutions that require compromise and balance.

Each voter must decide which candidate is best on the issues. But even more important is deciding which candidate is the right person to represent our community. My dad is the right person for Riverhead.

Tina Johnson


Pulling for Grandpa

Hi, my name is Anna Johnson and I am 9 years old. Phil Cardinale is my grandfather. He is a kind, caring and loving grandpa. He takes great care of me and my family. He is a hardworking man and always tries his best. I think he would make an excellent supervisor. I used to live in New York but I moved to California in 2007. I remember I would always come over and play in his backyard. I would swing on the hammock with him and my twin brothers. I would also visit him in his office. I would explore and talk to him. I was only 4 but I knew he loved being supervisor and belonged in that office.

Anna Johnson


Vote differently

Running as a grassroots candidate for any office is incredibly difficult; you are up against the party machine for both parties. In this Riverhead election cycle, Ruth Pollack and I stepped up as non-partisan candidates running on the Riverhead First party, which is at the bottom of the ballot on Row “Z”.

The Riverhead First platform is uniquely targeted to clean up local government and rapidly empower the local economy. Some may question why we have let the thrown “mud” slide off of us like water off the Big Duck’s back; in short, the need for government reform is so urgent that we prefer to focus on the issues. We are government corruption whistleblowers and if you know us, or saw any of the debates — live or online — you will know that we are for real.

As you go to the polls Nov. 8, please remember we are offering to empower you as a citizen and a taxpayer. Here’s how:

• A Riverhead Municipal Power Authority that will really pay for itself while saving you 40 to 50 percent on electric rates and government lots of money too, so we can cut really taxes.
• A new accounting system so Town Hall will no longer fly blind and keep you in the dark.
• Open government with online permitting processes, full tax descriptions and online reporting of your government complaints.
• Non-partisan citizen services and equal protection for all.
• Real Main Street redevelopment plans with a modest commercial vacancy tax to encourage the rental of warehoused commercial properties.
• EPCAL/Grumman development plans that will both create top-paying jobs and protect the Long Island water supply from pollution at the site.
• Real business management skills for Riverhead.
• Recall elections so you can dump under-performers.
• The sensitivity to provide an affordable housing plan, a local farmer school food program, a detailed animal shelter privatization plan and more.

The Riverhead First platform can be found on Facebook at Vote For Greg, under discussions.

You can get your questions answered at [email protected], 631-727-9637 or (fax) 631-727-9638.

It is time for us all to vote differently. Vote for hardworking, smart, fresh, non-partisan, brave, determined, open and fiscally responsible candidates! It is your government; this your chance to get Town Hall under control by electing non-conflicted independent candidates who have the courage to put the people’s interest first.

Would you please vote for Greg Fischer for supervisor and Ruth Pollack for councilperson?

Find us on the Riverhead First party line on Row “Z”.

Greg Fischer


We can do this together

This newspaper has afforded me the space to send a final campaign communication to the people of Riverhead. I don’t want to get into a war of words with my opponent. He served for some time as town supervisor. I think you can judge us by our records. There is too much name calling in politics.

I want to thank you for the warm reception you have given me at your doors, in your homes and in shopping centers across this great town of ours. I believe we have made great strides in changing Riverhead for the positive in the past two years. I see a downtown that is moving forward, even in these difficult economic times. I see events and concerts, fairs and parades and car shows and art shows on our riverfront. I see us balancing our need for tax base and commerce with our desire to preserve our rural character and way of life. We have crafted a new plan for EPCAL that I believe will finally allow us to properly subdivide the land and bring clean, high-paying jobs to Calverton.

Most of all, in the past two years I feel a renewed spirit in our people that is ultimately the force that will move this town forward and make this a place we will be proud to pass to our children. Thank you for your kind words during this campaign and let’s stay “Positively Riverhead.”

Sean Walter

Riverhead Town supervisor

Republican nominee for re-election


What we all want

We all want the same things, don’t we? Open, honest town government capable of civil discourse that is fair and prudent, enforces the law equally, protects our neighborhoods, respects our residents and works full-time.

So why can’t we talk more thoughtfully to each other about what we all want?

Remember when campaigns were about past accomplishments and ideas for the future?

Remember when we respected people and attacked problems?

Let’s look at some ideas for solving town problems.

Continuity is a perennial problem. How about a professional town manager replacing a political appointee?

Revenue is a perennial problem. How about sales tax sharing with Suffolk County so that we can enjoy some of the benefits and not just the burdens of Route 58 development? How about we stop the studies at EPCAL and negotiate some long-term land leases to provide revenue and reduce taxes?

Spending is a perennial problem. How about requiring competitive bidding for professional services?

Focus is a perennial problem. How about requiring our elected officials to focus full-time on their jobs?

Downtown is a perennial problem. How about having the vision to see downtown as it might be, and being bold enough and bright enough to recreate it with a comprehensive redevelopment plan?

A “Better Way for Riverhead” is for us to come together to solve our problems in a spirit of hope and mutual respect. I ask for your vote on Nov. 8.

Phil Cardinale
Democratic candidate for Riverhead Town supervisor


Write in your candidate

I am running as a write-in candidate for Southampton Town supervisor to provide voters with a choice.

Because it is too late for me to get my name on the ballot, I need you to print my name on your Election Day ballot by write-in at the bottom of column No. 15 for supervisor.
Stand up for me, like I stood up for you, the taxpayer. As supervisor, I raised the red flags about the sagging economy, slashed millions in town spending, and worked tirelessly for you, the taxpayer. I brought the past problems to light and I led the corrective actions to address the sloppy bookkeeping errors, eliminate deficits, and present structurally balanced budgets.

Don’t buy into my opponent’s political rhetoric. The facts do not lie. She did not do the heavy lifting; I did. The record reflects that I took responsibility in 2007, 2008, and 2009 to right the ship, institute tighter controls and safeguard our credit rating. That’s the past, let’s focus on the future.

• Who can you trust to move the town forward to a brighter future?
• Who can you trust to provide strong, independent leadership?
• Who can you trust to ensure open, honest government?

Bring back a knowledgeable supervisor who knows how to get things done and done right. Restore integrity and capability to the supervisor’s office.

For proactive code enforcement to address overcrowded housing and quality-of-life concerns, write-in Linda Kabot for supervisor. For more concerted efforts on economic development and community revitalization strategies to benefit the Flanders-Riverside-Northampton area, write-in Linda Kabot for supervisor.

People in Southampton Town know that I am hardworking, honest and have a proven record of accomplishments. As a lifelong resident, property owner and taxpayer, I can better represent the interests of the majority of voters in Southampton Town.

I am grateful for the support of so many people from all walks of life, from all political stripes, throughout Southampton Town.

As a write-in candidate for Southampton Town supervisor, I am proud to offer my strength of character, courage and credentials to the voters. On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, I respectfully ask for your vote of confidence.

Linda Kabot

former Southampton Town supervisor