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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor


Gorillas and elephants
To the Editor:
Last week’s article, “Politics takes a back seat,” certainly raises serious questions about Supervisor Dougherty’s budgeting process for 2016.

However, my view is that politics remains in the front seat. His budget process reveals that we are facing another budget deficit for 2016. The supervisor’s latest “guesstimate” for a budget increase under 5 percent likely will be achieved by appropriating more fund balances, than the $150,000 shown in his tentative budget, to fill the budget gap.

And, there are more questions. Despite underfunding the current repair of our roads and not planning for future infrastructure, how will the highway fund deficit of $125,000 be rectified? How much should be included in the budget to address the resolution of the police and CSEA (administrative personnel) contracts, for which no money appears to be allocated?

I think that metaphors were confused this time last year when the supervisor stated “the big gorilla in the room is the highway budget.” It seems that the highway budget is the “elephant in the room” that continues to be ignored or unaddressed.

To me this budget remains incomplete. So let’s keep “politics in the back seat” and urge the supervisor to show us the proposed budget and not conveniently delay it until after the election.
Shelter Island
Mr. Williams is the Republican candidate for supervisor, challenging incumbent Democrat Jim Dougherty — Ed.

One voter’s analysis
To the Editor:
Supervisor Dougherty has proven himself to be “penny wise and pound foolish.”

Although New York State had found a $6 billion dollar windfall, Mr. Dougherty decided to fire our grant writer last year. The town is just now in the process of finding a new grant writer.

Other towns have recently received huge grants for local waterfront revitalization. As extra high tides flood Bridge Street, we could have been awarded the money to raise the roadway and buildings and save that business area.

Another grant that nearby towns have applied for is the “NY Micro grid” program. This could pay for burying power lines along Route 114. That could keep government and businesses powered during the worst storms. Solar and wind power generation could also be financed through this grant award.

After many years of study, a 4-poster program was recommended to reduce Lyme disease. Mr. Dougherty decided to only partially fund it. Next time you go to the doctor for a tick bite, tell him that you will only take half the antibiotics that are prescribed.

Instead of dealing with pollution on Fresh Pond, Mr. Dougherty opted for a political solution in order to ignore public health concerns. We now know that cyanobacteria from blue green algae blooms can cause serious health problems, including tumor growth. Fresh Pond has had many such algae blooms in past years and once tested for positive for harmful cyanobacteria.

It seems that such new awareness in medical science doesn’t fit Mr. Dougherty’s image of Shelter Island. His extreme desire to live in the past is at the expense of the future.

It is the next generation that will have to pay for his lack of vision and willful ignorance. Instead of really taking on urgent issues now, we will all pay much more for them after the fact in damage control. And we will pay with our health, income and tax dollars.

From my own experience, Supervisor Dougherty has been just another deceptive, divisive and disingenuous politician. As a lifelong Democrat, I could never vote for him. We need a leader who understands his oath of office and will govern without ever attempting to intimidate any citizen.

Democracy will prevail when more tax-paying second home owners understand that they can legally vote here, instead of their primary residence.
Shelter Island

On the beach
To the Editor:
When I watch Channel 22 I feel like I’m seeing a Frankenstein movie and a monster is being created in there. Generally speaking, Shelter Islanders want less laws, not more, and we particularly take offense to laws that take our rights away.

The proposed legislation banning beach driving from April 1 through September 15 is purely ridiculous. That’s when the fish are here! It’s like making a law that we can’t drive in the IGA parking lot between 8 a.m and 7 p.m.

Almost two years ago I fought for vehicle access to Reel Point. With the Peconic Land Trust we negotiated a gate system where each person with a valid beach vehicle driving permit could get a key. It worked reasonably well the first year, but this year, disappointingly, the key doesn’t work. When inquiries are made they say there is erosion there. Trust me, the only erosion at Reel Point is the erosion of our rights!

What is going on there is that terrible dredging operation they did in 2013 dumped all the spoils on two thirds of the point on top of all that sacred grass that we have been taught to respect. And that is what is falling apart, not the peninsula proper. And that is the truth! It’s the second worst environmental disaster on the Island. What makes it more terrible is the fishing is not the same. They’re all smaller in size. We used to be able to pull 10 keeper bass to 30 pounds in a night. Since the dredging, not a single keeper has been caught by anyone. It makes me so sad that I rarely go there anymore. But I do want to keep my right to do so.

I don’t see any reason to change the existing laws because I don’t see a problem. Did somebody’s spinning tire shoot up some sand into the massage oil at Sunset Beach? Really, has anyone ever seen a vehicle on Crescent Beach? With my permit I am able to drive there, though I almost never do.

But I want to protect that right.
Shelter Island

Blatant misuse
To the Editor:
While it’s noble of our Town Board to keep our taxes down, I do agree with Jay Card that it’s time to recognize the future.

Furthermore, given the constant, under-the-breath Islander grumbling about our reluctance to take our young children to Crescent Beach during the high season, given the anti-family flavor of activity there, I simply don’t understand the lack of inclusion in the budget talks of money for serious policing of that beach as well as more hirees to correct the blatant misuse of our parking spots there through Labor Day!

Did I miss something?
Shelter Island