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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Fresh Pond

Reason for animosity
To the Editor:
I question former town Supervisor Jim Dougherty’s motivation for his negative comments concerning the acquisition of my property on Fresh Pond by the town (“Your Letters,” October 25).

Since Mr. Dougherty has decided to insert himself into this matter and is actively advising the Community Preservation Fund Advisory Board, (CPFAB), folks should understand the animosity between us and the reason why. Mr. Dougherty wrote that I wanted swimming prohibited in Fresh Pond. The record, and recordings, will show that I never requested that from the town or county.

Nor did I have the desire or power to demand the health department do so, as Mr. Dougherty suggested. I asked that the pond’s water be tested and that the public be made aware of the risk and precautions to take.

If tests showed unhealthy conditions, then Mr. Dougherty would have had to prohibit swimming. But willful ignorance prevailed. The apparent fear was that this could cost votes, which was much more important than public health and safety.

Ten years ago, I had an issue with then Supervisor Dougherty. I legally recorded my phone call to him after a resident told me to be wary. In the course of our conversation, Mr. Dougherty did not want me to confront the board. He said: “… you don’t want people who happen to be in office for a while harboring grudges against you; even though, they, you know, it’s unfair … until, it, it won’t be nice.”

This was a not-so veiled threat by the supervisor, the one person who can and should protect all citizens from retaliation by elected officials.

The Suffolk District Attorney did a cursory investigation. I was told that Mr. Dougherty was put on “notice.” Mr. Dougherty later said that he was trying to “mollify” me.

Not long ago, I publicly criticized Mr. Dougherty when he disgustingly “joked” about a woman being raped in his speech to the League of Women Voters. I did so only when nobody else spoke up.

Given our contentious relationship, Mr. Dougherty’s comments and advice to the community, the CPFAB and Town Board should be discounted with the skepticism that it deserves.

Fresh Pond is the “Jewel of the Island.” The Town Board must determine if this property acquisition opportunity is beneficial for the people and future of Shelter Island. CPF funding will not affect our budget or taxes. Personalities and politics must not be the deciding factors.
VINCENT NOVAK
Shelter Island

Civil, respectful
To the Editor:
On Thursday, October 25 a large crowd gathered at the Shelter Island Public Library to listen to a distinguished panel discuss “The First Amendment: Cornerstone of Democracy.”

I want to thank our panelists, Barbara Barnes, Ambrose Clancy, Gary Paul Gates, Professor Thomas A. Schweitzer and Councilman Paul Shepherd. I would also like to thank Gary Paul Gates who brought the idea of the panel to us and Mary Dwyer who did so much behind the scenes to pull this special event together.

I am always so impressed by this community that has shown it can come together to address sensitive issues in a civil and respectful manner. I look forward to holding more events on important topics at the library.
TERRY Z. LUCAS
Library Director

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