Letters to the Editor: November 17, 2011


Innocent, are you?

I am responding last week’s cover story (“It’s an Election Day sweep for Riverhead Republicans,” Nov. 10), in which Sean Walter states that the Democrats and civics were “throwing mud, stealing signs.”

Please note that the signs of Democratic candidates were ripped up and stolen, too. I spoke with Republican chairman John Galla about it, to no avail. I put up 150 signs and many of them were taken down, but the Republican signs stayed up. This was not fair on their part. The worst blitz was just two days before Election Day, when many signs disappeared. I have signs of mine that were covered up with Mason Haas bumper stickers and Walter bumper stickers that covered Phil Cardinale’s signs. It is amazing that the Riverhead police did not see anything happening during this campaign period.

Robert Svoboda

Editor’s note: Mr. Svoboda was a Democratic candidate for town assessor.


Celebrate, move forward

Now that Nov. 8 has passed, my congratulations to the electoral winners in the Town of Riverhead. More important, my heartfelt appreciation to those candidates who came in second, their families and their base of volunteers who dedicated the past several months to getting their message out. Their efforts help to drive our political process, whether you like it or not, but hopefully also provide checks and balances to protect the Riverhead taxpayers.

Can our elected officials now move forward in a productive, bipartisan direction? Let’s not forget the contentious political debate, but let’s use it to our advantage to build Riverhead back up. Whether it’s “A Better Way for Riverhead” or “Positively Riverhead,” I hope our elected officials can truly embrace the needs and concerns of all residents so that all can share in Riverhead’s revitalization. Our town, not unlike many other communities nationwide, needs to increase its tax base, control spending, encourage smart growth, protect our global environment, and honor the rights of its citizens. It can be done if we all work together so that the end result benefits all.

Win, lose or draw, and party politics aside, leaders in the Town of Riverhead have to be just that — leaders! Now with Election Day behind us, how many of us actually cast our vote for a candidate based on the road signs we drove by? Besides costing a small fortune to print and ship, I am of the opinion that these small and large political signs are a waste of natural resources and campaign volunteers’ time and energy. Let’s follow the example of other communities, including the town to our east, and demand that our town’s political parties agree to a moratorium in the future to eliminate these annoying, and sometimes dangerous signs and billboards. With some cooperation, we can and should reclaim our bucolic country roads.

Denis Yuen


One structure? Please

The Jedediah Hawkins Inn owners applied in July for site plan approval from the Riverhead Planning Board to construct what they call a breezeway between the inn and the barn toward the rear of the property. They intend to then construct five additional guestrooms and a dining room in the barn. Their claim is that the town’s definition of breezeway would turn these two buildings into one building, thereby allowing this expansion.

Sounds reasonable? Except when you look at the details. The proposed breezeway is over 150 feet long, has a Plexiglas cover and no sides, and must cross over a driveway with a span that is 20 feet wide and over 12 feet high. Can we use a little common sense here? This is not a breezeway. It is a barely covered walkway with a road going through it. To claim that the two completely different buildings at the ends of this walkway would then be one building is beyond reason. Yet the Planning Board is considering this site plan application and will be voting on it at their next meeting on Nov. 17 at 3 p.m.

The residents of the area around this facility did not bargain for anything more than the conversion of this renovated historic home into a country inn with five rooms and a small restaurant to service its guests. Since the Town Board approved this in 2006, the owners have added a sixth guestroom, more dining space, and obtained approval for outdoor catered events. An attempt to change the definition of “country inn” to allow multiple buildings on one site failed earlier this year. Now, we have this attempt to magically create one building from two. The Planning Board needs to say, “enough is enough” and deny this application in the best interests of the surrounding residential neighborhood’s quality of life and property values. Why not attend the Planning Board meeting and see for yourself?

Phil Barbato


There’s still a chance

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And he arrived early in Riverhead this weekend.

The Riverhead Community and Faculty Theatre 2011 production of “Hello, Dolly!” showed all that is right — right here in Riverhead. Under the watchful eye of director Robert Beodeker, RFCT brings to life this Broadway classic. While I could speak of Marion Stark’s heart-tugging performance as Dolly Levi or Philip Centonze’s commanding portrayal of Horace Vandergelder, or the delicate baton work of Laura Nitti, who conducts the orchestra to make a musical a musical, I will not. This is not a review. Lacking credentials for a critic, I can only offer my opinion.

This cast and crew leaves no stone unturned, nor any heart untouched. The only thing missing is you. While others may offer distraction to the gems of Riverhead, RFCT members come to the forefront, offering their collective time and talent to make Riverhead a truly better place. To overhear so many saying how wonderful the production was and to see how happy the cast/crew were to meet the audience afterwards, my opinion is that if you did not see RFCT’s “Hello, Dolly!” you don’t know how good Riverhead can be. There are two more performances left, Nov. 18 and 19.

Performances are held at Riverhead High School. Visit RFCT.com for ticket information or call 631-725-2009.

Gregg Grothmann


I will work for you

I want to thank the voters of the 1st Legislative District for re-electing me as their county legislator with 79 percent of the vote.

I am humbled by their support and I will work each day to represent the North Fork, Shelter Island and all of eastern Brookhaven and be a strong voice in county government for their interests.

Finally, I promise to continue to fight for what is right, to listen carefully to the concerns of all the residents, to promote a higher standard in our political discourse and to meaningfully address the hopes and aspirations of the people of this great legislative district.

Ed Romaine


What a year

This past year — during my candidacy for Riverhead Town Council — has been one of the most rewarding I’ve experienced, regardless of the outcome.

While I wish the results on Election Day had been much different, I consider myself lucky to have had this unique and wonderful experience. So many of you in Riverhead invited me into your homes to talk about issues near and dear to you and your families and gave me the opportunity to discuss my thoughts for this great town’s future.

This experience has only reaffirmed my belief that we are all part of a strong, spirited and concerned community. It has also convinced me that my involvement in Riverhead civic events must continue – as, I hope, it will for many of you. Our town will only benefit by our shared involvement in our shared issues.

My thanks to all for listening to my message these past several months, and good luck to those whom you re-elected last week.

Matt Van Glad