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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor

REPORTER FILE PHOTO The Center Post Office.
The Center Post Office.

CPF debate
To the Editor:
Last Friday I spoke before the Town Board and voiced my concern about sharing the revenues from the CPF real estate transfer tax between purchasing of development rights and open space with water quality initiatives. Thanks to The Reporter for covering our discussion in the online article, “Resident: Don’t change Community Preservation Fund.”

The following paragraph is from my statement last Friday to the board: “The Reporter this week also has a cover story “Thiele: Use CPF tax for clean water” that does the town a disservice by intermingling the debate about whether or not we have a water crisis on Shelter Island. Preserving the right land can help with clean water, but public works projects should not be conjoined with our discussion of preserving open space.”

I strongly believe that it is imperative that all our governing bodies from town to federal do more to improve water quality. There are significant water issues on the East End. These include wells, aging septic systems, drainage basins, road runoff, overuse of fertilizers and pesticides, salt intrusion, algae blooms and a host of other Peconic Bay concerns.

I expect a majority of the East End towns would agree that the CPF real estate transfer tax has been very successful in producing a modest revenue stream without being overly burdensome to the public. It is easy to understand why our politicians are anxious to find a way to divert the future funds that were specifically allotted to open space.

If we believe that our water quality issues have now become a crisis, then the proposal of taking 10 percent of revenues from the CPF is not going to go very far in fixing these concerns. Let’s properly prioritize our water issues and find a real funding source, not mire the CPF in additional political maneuvering.
Shelter Island

Protest vote
To the Editor:
As a lifelong Democrat, I usually vote the party line. That is, of course, unless the Democratic candidate proves not worthy of my vote. I did not vote at all this past Election Day.

The strategy of the Democrats was to not even acknowledge their party affiliation and to distance themselves from the leader of their party, the president of the United States. The deception was obvious.

In the angry letter from Heather Reylek (“Shame,” Your Letters, November 13), she complains about the complainers and states that we should be ashamed of ourselves for not voting. She suggests that we are somehow less of a democracy than Scotland. While Ms. Reylek expounds on the stats and numbers of voters, she misses the point. The non-vote was a protest vote.

The Democratic Party has always been the party of the people, the working class and the middle class. Own your party and be loyal to its principles.

For all of President Obama’s shortcomings, he has saved us from an economic disaster; the stock market is stronger than ever. More Americans have jobs, health insurance and access to preventive medicine. He pulled the trigger on Osama Bin Laden. Accentuate the positive and don’t make believe that you are “right” of the right wing conservative Republican extremist.

The Democrats need to run candidates that are principled, with the integrity and ability to hold the office. It is the reason why we vote and not just hire bureaucrats to run the government. Let’s start with a town supervisor who respects the Constitution and democracy.

If the Democrats want to win back their base support, then say who you are and own it. And don’t throw the President “under the bus.” If you do, don’t expect me to get onboard.
Shelter Island

Open meetings
To the Editor:

The following are some comments on last week’s editorial (“Let the sunshine in,” November 13) regarding the propriety of voting remotely at a meeting via conference call.
On an advisory committee, if any member attends by phone, I would suggest the following:

1. Record the vote of the members in attendance as the official vote.

2. State the opinion of members who attend by phone.

3. Let the Town Board take into consideration the view of the off-site members as they see fit.

I think that this rule [New York State’s Open Meeting Law] is intended for boards, such as zoning and planning, that have legal standing, and advisory boards were included without forethought. Regardless of whether an off-site votes counts, I think it is positive if any absent member, whether due to health or travel, participates. It can only provide more wisdom to the decision-making process.

Can Shelter Island consider instituting an approved Skype-type system? It may really make a difference in certain future situations.
Shelter Island