Letters to the editor: Reason needs to guide us all, not the political flavor of the day


Constitutional republic gone wild

Remember the three branches of government you were taught about in school? You know, the ones the Founding Fathers hoped would secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity. Well, it’s not working as they designed anymore.

The legislative branch was to make law, the executive was to enforce the law as written and the judicial was to interpret if the law fell within the limits of the Constitution. 

We now find ourselves with a legislature who can’t make law. Rather they acquiesce to regulations made by agencies under the control of the executive branch by bureaucratic appointees. 

To add further fuel to the chaos we have had several presidents issue executive orders that fail to enforce the law as written by the Congress prior. An executive order, as defined by the judiciary, is a directive by the president on how to enforce the law as written. Now it seems the executive order becomes the law or over rides the law.

Who made the president a king, one might ask. Where is the judiciary at this point? Certainly executive orders that violate the law as written are unconstitutional, no? There is just something going on that does not align with the Constitution and we are all to blame.

No one seems to care that our republic has gone wild. Instead of running the government as designed, the “parties” blame each other for the mess we are in and the media agrees or disagrees based on their interest, thereby enhancing the tension within the nation. 

We need to return to the government of our Founding Fathers, a citizen government, and put an end to partisan politics. Reason needs to guide us all, not the political flavor of the day. Freedom — real freedom — is at stake if we continue in our errant fashion.

Bob Bittner


Congressman LaLota should apologize

On Wednesday, May 23, I received a message from Congressman Nick LaLota on his government-sponsored email under the heading “Fighting for SALT.” In this communication directly from his office, the congressman claims that “Three months ago, every single House Democrat voted against a bill that sought to increase the SALT deduction cap.” (The SALT cap, passed by Republicans during the Trump administration, does cost many Long Islanders thousands of dollars in taxes.) LaLota even showed a screenshot from CSPAN showing every Democrat in the House voting against House Resolution 994!

What he neglected to tell us in this official email (that we all paid for) was the full name of HR 994 that Democrats opposed. Besides raising the SALT cap, the bill provides “for consideration of the resolution (HR 987) denouncing the harmful, anti-American energy policies of the Biden administration.” LaLota could have fought for a clean bill that raises the SALT cap, but instead he put his name on a poison pill that he knew had no chance of passing so that he could misrepresent to us that he was fighting to protect our interests.

Congressman LaLota needs to send an apology to every one of his constituents (of which I am one and he is not because he still lives in Amityville) stating that he intentionally lied to them in an official email. Like the convicted felon that he supports for the presidency, LaLota seems to have no problem stretching the truth for political gain.

Jerry Silverstein


How did it happen?

How did it happen? I used to ask my mother, when, at age 10 or so, I learned she had been in World War II, in the Women’s Air Army Corps. She was stationed at Stout Field in Indianapolis, where she met my dad, a GI medic. Didn’t you notice what was going on? They were burning books! It led to a world war!

My mother, who was in college during Hitler’s rise, would just say: No one noticed, it happened very quickly. How could people follow him, I would persist. To me, watching those 1940s newsreels, I saw a screaming angry man, yet Germans applauded. They thought he was entertaining, was my mother’s answer. Entertaining?

They didn’t take him seriously. Within five months of his presidency he suspended the freedoms of speech, press and assembly. He started arresting people. No trials. He disbanded labor unions, purged the civil service and outlawed all political parties except one. Germany became a one-party dictatorship and police state. Neighbors spied on neighbors.

Very entertaining. What was he shouting about that everyone cheered? Tearing down the rule of law, saying it’s a hoax, rigged. They are bad. Oh.

Like many here on Long Island, my great-grandfather fought for our right to live free, not as subjects to an autocratic, crony-rewarding king. He fought for a new system of government, one of self-rule and democracy, where we vote freely, where we are all equal with the right to trial in our community by a jury of our peers, where we are not subjects, but citizens. Our unique American federal democratic republic is admired by the world and is something generations have fought to protect. It’s something to value and be proud of — let’s vote to keep it.

Mary Foster Morgan


Restricting rentals is arbitrary overreach

The Village of Greenport has just recently updated their code, which increased in volume from 50 to 100 pages. The code defines what qualifies as a family, what constitutes dancing or music, and has several other regulations which deeply interfere in people’s private lives.

The idea to prohibit any rentals shorter than 30 days is another attempt to regulate (in a constitutionally questionable manner) what homeowners are allowed to do with their own private property. I am not aware of any reasonable justification, or a “greater good,” which would justify such a government overreach.

Housing challenges are not unique to Greenport. You will find similar rental prices in Riverhead and Calverton. What makes Greenport stand out is less the rental costs but the shortage of units. Code enforcements (e.g. for renovations and rental permits) in Greenport is notoriously burdensome and slow, which worsens the situation.

It is hard to understand why there is such an aversion to short-term rentals. It is during weekends when there is the largest need for accommodation, for tourists (who bring business) and temporary workers (who work in these businesses) as well. The assumption that prohibiting short-term rentals will bring relief for yearlong housing is naïve, because these are different, not fungible markets, different types of landlords and different real estate.

To make it worse, the village encourages residents to spy on neighbors and to report anonymously whatever they think may be a short-term rental or other suspected code violation. In combination with the code prohibiting “annoyance or disturbance” (verbatim!), this has the potential to allow a bitter and adverse atmosphere in neighborhoods.

It is now time to stop focusing on what is prohibited but to start defining specifically what Greenport should look like in the future.

Manfred Stapff


Kudos to our parks

I must pass on the many compliments I get from those who visit here from up-island and elsewhere. They all rave about our wonderful parks, and they should; we have so many — and even a double set of pickleball courts, a baseball field that accommodates collegiate games, so many beaches and playground too numerous to mention. One of these comments was most recently passed on when we were at Tasker Park in Peconic. The playground there is so well done and the soft, cushiony material, saving small children from hurtful mishaps, is extremely thoughtful. Even the parking is well done. The new gazebo looks great with its all-weather top and the all-weather benches. 

Just a suggestion or two: Perhaps a port-a-potty near the gazebo and a trash receptacle. Also some place to barbecue like the ones at Horton Lighthouse.

Joel Reitman


The rule of law must be respected

Call me crazy but whatever happened to respecting the rule of law? Why are the Republicans not saying they disagree vehemently with the verdict and still support their candidate but respect the jury and the outcome. That’s why we have appeals. I may be simple, but I don’t want to be in Russia where the judicial system does not exist.

Rosellen Storm