Letters to the Editor: Who will better protect open space?

Misleading ads?

Joann Waski’s campaign ads lead with “no massive warehouses.” However, in her capacity as chair of the Planning Board, she led approval on Sept. 21 of 412,000 square feet of warehouse space, over half the size of the first warehouse construction planned by the Ghermezians on the adjacent EPCAL land.

The warehouse volume was increased by nearly 20% when the Zoning Board of Appeals allowed HK Ventures to violate the 30-foot height limit, granting permission in June for buildings on the site to be up to 35 ½ feet tall. The height variance granted by the Town Board-appointed ZBA amounts to approximately 2,250,000 additional cubic feet.

Perhaps Ms. Waski’s inconsistency can be explained by her tenure as vice chair of the Riverhead Republican Committee when it received $5,000 from Arik Kislin, the principal of HK Ventures.  Readers of the News-Review may recall this from a revealing article on Sept. 15, 2020, that also reported Kislin’s alleged role finding investments for Russians. Does that history explain why HK Ventures is excluded from the six-month industrial moratorium sponsored by Republican Supervisor candidate Tim Hubbard?

John McAuliff

Riverhead an overtaxed ‘hell hole?’

Reckless spending by Riverhead’s all-Republican Town Board will make the town, according to lame duck Supervisor Aguiar, an overtaxed “hell hole.” The board has blown through tens of millions of dollars on the now abandoned Town Square project and Town Hall, for which it paid almost double the price it was offered at just a few years ago. While town officials are now ensconced in their new lavish banker’s quarters, the rest of the town’s taxpayers will have to wonder how we pay for the massive tax hike we get hit with thanks to poor management by Aguiar, Tim Hubbard and the rest of Riverhead’s GOP majority.

Ron Hariri


Who will better protect open space?

The Town of Riverhead must approve a moratorium on industrial development. Coincidentally, it appears that Mr. Hubbard’s proposal for a warehouse moratorium is strategically timed with his run for Riverhead Town Supervisor. For several years, the community has been pleading the Town Board to stop the unbridled warehouse developments that are threatening some of the last remaining farmland on Long Island.

Even though Mr. Hubbard has been on the Town Board since 2015, his record shows that he has done little to prevent the loss of precious open land.

Angela DeVito, his opponent in the race for Town Supervisor, has been consistently outspoken calling for the preservation of the rural character of the area, and is far more involved with the community and active with the local civics. She is truly committed to preserving farms and open land.

Mr. Hubbard’s political tactic is too little and too late and unsubstantial. Ms. DeVito’s words will assuredly be put into action!

Karen Kemp

Sharing diverse opinions

I attended the presentation given by Lisa Votino about the asylum process given at the Riverhead Free Library on Sept. 18 and would like to offer my thoughts on both it and the ensuing article. Ms. Votino is committed to helping people in need and that is, of course, admirable — but at what cost? Her self-acknowledged emotional attachment to this issue and the people involved may be leading her to ignore hard realities while also misrepresenting issues, facts and outcomes of a policy that seems to say that our country’s borders, sovereignty, freedom and fiscal stability do not matter. I disagree.

Early in the presentation she made a point about definitions and labels used — that words matter. She prefers refugee, asylum seeker or migrant while others, including me, believe the term illegal aliens more properly describes the people crossing our border with impunity. Words do matter, as does refusal to be censored. The community facility mentioned in the article was discussed and Ms. Votino made the point that there were rules based on respect that people entering and using the facility had to follow — but apparently there should be no similar rules for entering our country.

She claimed that when people who served in the U.S. military were discharged, they would be deported. If this is true, why was this done? Did the person deported fail to follow the procedures in place to obtain citizenship or other legal status? My father-in-law was a refugee as a child in Europe during World War II. As an adult, he served in the U.S. Army but upon discharge did not follow the required process to become a citizen, so he never did.

Another claim made during the presentation was that U.S. government officials were breaking the law in dealing with the aliens. While that may or may not be true, there was precious little concern in the room for laws concerning national sovereignty and the rights of U.S. citizens. There were other claims made during the presentation that I consider dubious, such as — we know who the aliens are and where they are coming from; that most aliens coming have private sponsors; that aliens are being sent to certain cities only because they are liberal bastions and not because they are self-defined sanctuaries.

I am glad I attended as I brought a perspective to the room that, after I was able stave off attempts at derision and censorship from supposedly tolerant fellow attendees, provided viewpoint diversity and caused at least one person there to tell me she is reconsidering her position.

I will end with a question — why was it necessary for Ms. Votino and her group to “counsel” aliens requesting asylum? If fears of persecution, oppression, etc. are valid, I would think “counseling” would not be required.

Paul Mannix