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Shelter Island Letters to the Editor


A joke?
To the Editor:
Supervisor Dougherty recently spoke at an event hosted by the Shelter Island League of Women Voters (“Supe sees septic as top issue,” April 27). It was reportedly attended by more than 100 people, including high school students.

During his speech, he told a “joke” that featured bestiality, a woman attacked and raped, or as Mr. Dougherty put it, “ravished.” The punch line was the woman being asked if it hurt. “Yes,” she said, “he, [the rapist] never calls.”

Mr. Dougherty’s “joke” suggests that a woman, after being assaulted and raped, must have enjoyed it and was enamored with the rapist. The supervisor and fellow Town Board members are also our police commissioners, who our police chief answers to. How could any woman report being sexually assaulted here if the prevailing attitude in Town Hall is that it is an inconsequential and laughable offense?

There was polite laughter after the “joke” but no one confronted Mr. Dougherty. What would the Suffragettes have done? There was no mention of Mr. Dougherty’s “joke” in last week’s edition of this newspaper. It is newsworthy when an elected official trivializes violence against women.

You might assume the Town Board might have raised this issue at the next work session, two days after the speech. While drafting the recent short-term rental law, members pontificated about their roles as protectors of the quality of life here. Their collective silence is deafening.

My wife was attacked on a beach, at night, when she was in her 20s. She fought back and wasn’t raped. After years of therapy, Elizabeth was still never able to be on a beach at night, not even with a group of friends. That trauma stayed with her until the day she died.
President Trump has admitted to sexual assault.

Icons like Bill O’Reilly and Bill Cosby have sexually harassed or assaulted women. Now our supervisor makes light of rape.

The examples being set by public officials and others are inexcusable. The Women’s March on Washington raised consciousness worldwide. That same zeal is needed right here and right now. Mr. Dougherty’s “joke” about rape is unacceptable.

Any other community would have demanded the supervisor’s resignation. A public apology will not be enough. Silence about this sends the wrong message. Please email the Town Board and this newspaper. Demand that they take action to raise awareness about sexual assault.
Shelter Island

Dialogue or monologue?
To the Editor:
Along with over 200 others, I attended the Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) meeting held in Riverhead on April 23 and was extremely frustrated and disappointed (“Zeldin and constituents spar at forum,” April 27).

Constituents were offered the opportunity to fill out a card stating the issue they would like the congressman to respond to. The questions were read by the moderator, Republican County Controller John Kennedy, who at times added his own interpretation of the question.

There was no opportunity for the constituent to clarify the question.

This was promoted as a “town hall” meeting but did not allow for constituents to ask questions directly from the audience or to respond to comments made by Mr. Zeldin. What was reported as a “fiery crowd” was the occasional shout — “Answer the question!” — which led to Mr. Zeldin admonishing the audience for their behavior.

The time allotted to the congressman was one hour. However, much of the time was spent with Mr. Zeldin using the time to focus on his background, personal history and a litany of his accomplishments, rather than focusing on the questions submitted by the audience.

Do not be fooled. This was not a town hall meeting. This was a monologue that provided no room for constituent input.
Shelter Island

Ticks and T-Ball
To the Editor:
We were a visiting T-Ball team on Saturday at Fiske Field on Shelter Island. I am writing over my deep concern regarding the ticks at the field.

There were three ticks on my family alone and I remember last year it being very bad also. I am not sure who to contact, but I want to strongly advise the field be sprayed with tick repellent.

I am concerned about all the children that will continue to go there this T-Ball season and risk the very many, very scary, tick-borne illnesses. Please, if you have any contact for Fiske Field ask who could address this.