Letters to the Editor for the week



Minimal transparency
To the Editor:

After living in the Village of Dering Harbor for 12 years, I decided to see what the micro-village government actually does for the $10,000 in extra annual taxes I pay, so I attended 17 of the last 22 monthly Board of Trustees meetings in order to see what really is going on.

The verdict is, our trustees don’t say or do much. It must be a real inconvenience to trek out in the wintery conditions on Saturday morning for a monthly meeting to fulfill the duties the state places on having a village government. But in the past 89 years the trustees have only passed 12 laws, nine of which are close duplicates of the laws belonging to Shelter Island, which has 133 chapters in the town code. So the trustees of Dering Harbor on average pass one distinct law every 26 years. That is not a typo. Does a neighborhood with 35 homes need a government?

The mayor’s job, however, actually has a lot to do for someone in an unpaid position. He runs almost every aspect of the village and its business along with help from the village attorney. Mayor Tim Hogue has run unopposed for around 20 years. This isn’t because of overwhelming support, but because nobody else, including me, really wants the job of running a village regulatory board of a tiny summer colony. The mayor runs the village with minimal transparency. The Town of Shelter Island has a far more robust and professional approach to governance and its cable coverage shows its commitment to broad participation.

The mayor recently had an opening on the Village Trustees Board to fulfill the terms of a resigning trustee, Linda Adams. The selection of an interim trustee was an ideal opportunity to further reflect on the micro-village government mentality. Mayor Hogue did not even ask Ari Benacerraf or Patrick Parcells to take the job. They both actually expended considerable effort running for the two trustee positions in the 2012 election that had also been seriously uncontested for 10-plus years. The mayor missed a wonderful chance for conveying a sense of open and inclusive government to the rest of the neighborhood.
Shelter Island

New math?
To the Editor:

Regarding the article in the February 13 issue, “H’way Supe: Time to do it ourselves,” I am all for the town saving money, but I am having difficulty understanding the “new math” as put forth by Jay Card.

Our current contract to haul MSW, according to Jay’s figures, will cost us $92,400 to dump 700 tons.
According to Jay, if we haul it ourselves, it will cost us $63,000 plus an estimated $17,800 for labor, tolls, gas, insurance and maintenance, leaving an annual profit of $11,200. For this the town will have to lay out $137,500 after all rebates, etc.

According to my math, it will take us 12.2 years to recoup our investment, by which time the equipment would have had to have been replaced years ago.

The projected revenue from the Recycling Center has nothing to do with the equation.
Shelter Island

Plus ça change
To the Editor:

I just read your editorial (“Living in hope,” January 30) about the [power] line and what a mess it has turned into. My thoughts go back about 25 years ago when LILCO, then the dreaded power company, installed lines from Southhold to Shelter Island and across the Island to North Haven, a huge job at that time that improved the Island’s electric service.

Now years later LIPA is gone and you have another company to service the town and the lines are still waiting to be installed.

I was on the Island last August for a few days and could not believe the lines along New York Avenue then on down to the beach in the middle of the summer.

My, how times have changed.
JEFF SIMES,Former Town Supervisor
Margate, Florida

Lifting spirits
To the Editor:

This is a thank you note to Shelter Island Friends of Music and the talents of David Wechsler, Brian Snow and John Cheek of the Omni Ensemble.

I can’t thank you enough for this bright spark in the middle of an ever so cold winter.
Those of us that donned our boots and scarves to brave this winter’s day were treated to a gift beyond the expected program of classical music at the Presbyterian Church.

Yes, of course, this program contained classics that were beautifully well executed. But the greater beauty lay in the exceptionally well laid out program and interesting combination of works. We were led on a joyful journey from 1685 up through 1955. We smiled and laughed through bright moments of lightness, humor, spoken word, jazz and a much-needed reminder that winter shall soon give way to spring.

When the gift of music is shared with an extra spirit of joy it is evident. The joy and the smiles coming from all three performers was a dead giveaway that we were being treated to something extra special on this cold Sunday afternoon.

Mr. Wechsler delighted us with his composition of “Variations On A Neanderthal Theme.” It was an unexpected highlight of the afternoon. As a spectator who love of the cello and piano, I must say that Mr. Wechsler has given me a renewed delight in the flute.

The spirit of joyful brilliance in the eyes of Mr. Snow was unmistakable as he shared and we gladly took in each note of his cello. And Mr. Cheek’s willingness to brave travel woes and leave the warmer climes of the sunny south to bring us his graceful skill and elegance on the piano leaves me forever grateful.
I do say the doldrums of winter were left behind as we spent the afternoon with this trio. They lightened our spirits and lifted our souls.

To the Shelter Island Friends of Music I say — “Bravo, Merci, Grazie,” with a deep bow of gratitude.
I look forward with much anticipation to your April offering.
Shelter Island

Nothing unnoticed
To the Editor:

You can’t beat Shelter Island for genuine hometown friendliness!

So much snow and nowhere to put it. After the last snowstorm, the town plows had moved so much snow to the end of my driveway that it was impossible for me to move my car out onto the road. As I was hopelessly trying to shovel a path to free my wheels, Chris Johnson’s Tree Service snowplow truck passed down my road. After a short way it turned around, slowly came back and, when alongside me, stopped.

Two young, handsome, strong men jumped out of the truck, shovels in hand and began to shovel and plow the snow behind my car. When they were sure I could move my car, off they went.

How often does that happen elsewhere? On our Island, we take care of and look out for each other in many ways. It is heartwarming every time. Nothing goes unnoticed on our Island; sometimes that’s not so great, and sometimes it is. Thank you David and Adam.
Shelter Island

Thanks to the 6th man
To the Editor:

On behalf of the coaching staff and players, the boys varsity basketball team would like to thank all of its loyal fans for their great support throughout the winter season and especially, during the last two playoff games. The team would also like to thank the cheerleading team as well for their great support. Finally, a special thanks to the Shelter Island Fire and Police departments for their special tribute to the team on its return to the Island this past Saturday.

Your attendance at these playoff games really makes a difference — you are our 6th man on the court! The team also appreciates the great coverage in our exceptional local newspaper, the Shelter Island Reporter and its staff.

The team is very satisfied with earning the Section XI/Suffolk County Class “D” Championship but it now has its eyes on a trip to Glens Falls for the New York State Public High School Championships. In order to do that, we must beat both the Section I and Section IX Class “D” Champions in early March. The team is committed to do its best and to continue to represent Shelter Island and Suffolk County at the highest level.

Thank you for your wonderful support — Go Indians!
Coach and assistant coach
Shelter Island boys varsity basketball team