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Letters to the Editor: Anti-bias Task Force is anything but

Thank you to Riverhead police

Sending many thanks to the Riverhead police for deftly handling the chaos that arrives every fall at Harbes Farm on Sound Avenue. We residents of the Maidstone Landing Condo become virtual prisoners to the hordes of apple pickers, pumpkin lovers and corn maze explorers. I am very aware of the need for business to succeed and bring revenue to our beautiful area. My question is who is paying for the three or more police cars and numerous policemen? Hoping to hear the business owner is paying for this protection and not my tax money.

Second concern is why we lost our one supermarket in Mattituck with no warning? That was quite a surprise and now is an inconvenience for many of us, particularly senior citizens who don’t want to contend with overcrowded roads in Riverhead. Am hoping we could petition Trader Joe’s to fill the void.

Elizabeth Weiss 

Traffic is horrible

I find that the traffic/congestion around Harbes is unbearable. The fact that police have to spend taxpayers dollars to do traffic enforcement for a private company is ridiculous. I know it’s a county road, but shouldn’t Harbes provide their own personnel for this, even if they need some special license? It is an ongoing problem — what the heck if EMS needs to get through?

Maryann McGuillicudy

Your ‘history’ is wrong on this

Your editorial (“History is what really happened,” Oct. 12) in which Columbus Day is now also celebrated as Indigenous People’s Day expresses a slanted historical opinion based on research of two present day historians. Let’s return to the Dutch and English settlements of the 1600s. They didn’t like each other, specifically in the Connecticut area. The Pequot tribe was the dominant Indigenous tribe in the area, often warring with the Narragansetts and Mohegan tribes. The Pequot and the Dutch settlers were allies. The English allied themselves with the Narragansetts and Mohegan tribes. 

The Pequots, with Dutch approval, attacked English settlements, one in April 1637. Westerfield had six unarmed men and three women killed. In May, 200 Pequot warriors left Mystic to attack Hartford. During this time, Underhill, with a combined colonial and indigenous allied force, attacked the Pequot fort at Mystic on May 26.

In real terms it was a massacre. There were 90 colonists and 270 Indigenous allies in the attacking force. Some 400 or 500 Pequot were killed. The Mohegan took scalps as war trophies.

What is the point of your View? I see no reason to remove the historical marker. There were conflicts between the Indigenous tribes themselves and the Dutch and English. It was settled at that time in the way conflicts were settled: violently. Did John Underhill help establish the town of Southold? Did he further kill the Indigenous tribes? In 1960 the Civic Association wanted to mark where John Underhill lived. 

It would appear you want to rewrite history in your terms to fit your narrative. Yes, the Indigenous people were treated cruelly but so were the settlers of that time. We as a nation and people are not perfect, never were. But I venture to say we are the most perfect nation on the planet at present. 

Bob Bittner

Voters need to make smart choices

As a long time member of the Riverhead Republican town committee, Christopher Beattie confirms my point in a recent letter to the editor. Regardless of her personal views, Joann Waski is part of single-party dominance that has distorted priorities in Riverhead for the eight years I have been personally involved in community issues. 

While her campaign rhetoric against mega-warehouses and a jet cargo port in Calverton and for rules-based government is admirable, we have to pay attention to Ms. Waski’s practice as head of the Planning Board first on the Riverhead Ciderhouse and then on HK Ventures.

The Zoning Board of Appeals, like the Planning Board, is appointed by the Republican Town Board. Their accommodation to the special interests of HK Ventures who gave the Republican Party $5,000 is not likely to be coincidental. 

The process of choosing members of appointed committees and task forces is obscure and reeks of cronyism and old boy networks. These important entities in town government contain very few African Americans and Hispanics. Even the number of women is substantially below their share of the population. Voters need to decide which of the candidates want to bring about substantial reform and transparency to the current make-up and appointment process.

It creates suspicion when the Town Board delays action on an industrial moratorium until just after the Planning Board votes unanimously to give preliminary site plan approval to the HK project, then uses that approval as the excuse for exempting HK from the moratorium.

John McAuliff

Anti-Bias Task Force is anything but

With hundreds of Israelis killed and thousands injured by terrorists in that nation’s version of 9/11, the wanton neglect of antisemitism by Councilman Rothwell’s Anti-Bias Task Force evidenced by swastikas on school desks is appalling. Equally distressing is the police department’s (Chief Hegermiller is part of the do-nothing task force as well) and inept school officials’ failure to prosecute this hate crime (or the attack on Black children at a football game). 

This follows Riverhead PD’s failure to alert authorities to a neo-Nazi living in Aquebogue, who fortunately was caught by the real police before he shot up temples in New York City last year despite extensive social media threats. Riverhead’s officials and the so-called Anti-Bias Task Force need to do more than a meet and greet.

The failure to address racism by these town officials is reprehensible and each should resign. Racism and antisemitism like that on display in Riverhead are a potential danger to innocent victims, particularly when inept officials like Rothwell, Hegermiller and Tornatore are too lazy or dumb to see the warning signs.

Ron Hariri