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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor


To the Editor:

Our elected officials should be commended for recognizing a recent threat to our community and taking decisive action to rectify the problem. I am referring to the recent influx of off-Island visitors to the beaches at Bootleggers Alley (“Beaches, Bootleggers Alley on board’s agenda,” May 21).

Our supreme leader, Supervisor Siller tells us that our island has been discovered by “off-Island working families” and this has become an issue that had to be resolved.

Councilman Colligan reports that these intruders are coming from God-awful places like “Brooklyn and Queens” and are mainly Spanish speaking. They can stay for upwards of 10 hours and use our vegetation as toilets.

Acting under its state of emergency resolution in response to the pandemic, the Town Board enacted strict new emergency parking regulations. This drastic action will most probably scare off any would be unwanted visitors.

In the event that this does not solve the problem, we can be confident our courageous leaders will do whatever is necessary to rid our shores of this potential threat. We have to get the message out that these Spanish-speaking working class stiffs are allowed here to mow our lawns but are not here to picnic on our sacred shores and despoil our precious vegetation.

Where do they think they are? America?

This is Shelter Island, land of the privileged.

If we don’t put a stop to this threat to this influx, soon we are likely to be inundated with their cohorts from The Bronx and Harlem. Then what will happen to our precious life style?

Thankfully we have such courageous leaders.

David Olsen, Shelter Island

No permanent restrictions

To the Editor:

Lately there have been many fishermen and occasionally their families on the beach at Bootlegger’s town landing. I live on Bootlegger’s Alley and walk the length of the beach almost daily.

They are always friendly and it is lovely to see the relaxed good time they are having. I suspect some are without work because of the virus, all the more reason to see them enjoy our waters to fish.

I have such happy memories of taking family day trips from New York City to Long Island beaches as a child, and imagine they are making their own such memories.

I find it upsetting to think of this beach being permanently restricted to Island residents only. I know that parking is limited and social distancing has become an issue, but there must be ways to compromise without pushing out all visitors.

I believe some beaches should be available for the public’s enjoyment, whether or not one lives on the Island.

Lisa Stamm Booher, Shelter Island

Don’t divide us

To the Editor:

I was disappointed to read in the May 22 edition of the Reporter the comments from Supervisor Siller and Councilman Colligan regarding Bootleggers Alley.

Each summer at South Ferry Hills, my husband and I pick up trash left by folks coming ashore from boats anchored in Smith Cove. They are European-American, they are well-heeled, they are English speaking.

Just this past weekend, I saw two young men relieving themselves in the grasses at Menhaden Lane Beach. They were European-American, they were well-heeled, they were English speaking.

Mr Siller, Mr Colligan, this Island has done an amazing job coming together over the COVID-19 crisis. Please don’t divide us over thinly-veiled racist and classist comments. We can solve our problems without stooping to this.

KC Bailey, Shelter Island

Language used

To the Editor:

After reading the article about the debate over Bootleggers Alley, I was struck by the use of language.

We are an island of beaches and I love seeing my fellow community members enjoying the natural beauty as well as making best use of our resources. I’m all for universal rules regarding beaches during this pandemic, but the rules must apply to all people.

To single out Spanish-speaking families is racist plain and simple. If we as a town allow people to come over from Bridgehampton to walk in Mashomack, we need to extend the same welcome to those coming from less wealthy ZIP codes. I’m truly disgusted that there is a “problem” with people feeding their families when there has been such a severe disruption to the food supply chains.

The language we use when reporting these issues is important, as well as the implications made with the use of that language.

Phoebe Clark Shelter Island

Show them the door

To the Editor:

I would like the access to the [Bootleggers Alley] beach and all beaches denied to these large groups of folks who have in a matter of days destroyed a pristine beach and ruined the quality of life for all the residents in the area that use this beach.

Please refer to the short-term rental (STR) law that took the rights of homeowners away because of a phony belief that STRs would cause a loss of quality of life due to the “transient” nature of folks renting a house or room for the weekend.

Now we have the “real deal holy field” transient problem and it’s the town’s decision to reward this abhorrent behavior of adults with bathroom facilities? What’s next a food truck? This is a slam dunk text book transient problem. Literally defecating on us, drinking alcohol, throwing all their trash on the beach, fishing lines and hooks, blood and guts everywhere, and laughing at the police as they walked away. I witnessed that. And blatant disregard of game and fish laws, under-sized catches and over the limit catches. Also, caught fish left on the beach to rot — so many that the seagulls can’t keep up.

I also have a photo of a seagull that was most probably killed by them either purposefully or by their negligence. Does the Town Board need more proof of criminal and anti-social behavior that endangers the residents of the area? Or do we wait for more of it to happen? Please call off the potty and shut them down and show them the door. This is the best solution. We all see it.

Christopher Stehling, Shelter Island

Protect the plovers

To the Editor:

Warm weather and cabin fever has drawn us all outdoors to enjoy our beautiful and special island. One of the beautiful things about this island is that the endangered and protected piping plovers and least terns have chosen Shell Beach this year, as in most previous years, to nest and raise their young. They set their clutch of three or four eggs on the sand in a shallow depression, well away from the high water mark, but close enough to the water that the chicks can feed themselves.

The string fencing found there is just a reminder that this area probably has nests. Once the eggs hatch, the chicks have to find food for themselves and, unfortunately, do not stay behind the fencing or near the nest. They wander around looking for insects and eventually make it to the water to feed. Parents still try to protect them when danger lurks and when weather and conditions threaten. When people are around, parents and chicks alike are stressed and will not feed.

Please be mindful of this when you are at the beach where there are signs and string fencing that indicate bird nesting areas. And, most importantly, when a sign says “No Dogs,” please keep your pets on a leash or let them run free on the inside of Shell Beach where the anchorage is.

Dogs need guidance from their owners because they cannot read signs (yet).

Laurie Dobson, Shelter Island

And once more …

To the Editor:

What is black, white and read all over? The Shelter Island Reporter.

What is black, white and red all over? Signs on Shell Beach that say “No dogs.” And signs that point out there are nesting birds.

Please run your dogs on the inside, and if you walk on the outside or on the road, leash them and pick up their poop and dispose in garbage, not on the grassy sides.

The plovers, and least terns, thank you for your cooperation.

Jean H. Lawless, Shelter Island

Editors note: According to Animal Control Officer Beau Payne, dogs are prohibited by Town Code on all of Shell Beach (not the roadway, though) from Memorial Day to Labor Day. To report an animal incident, please call 631-749-5771.