Shelter Island Reporter editorial: The virtue of persistence

Benjamin Franklin said that “energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We recently saw these ideas in action, with persistence employed by town officials and volunteers to get a track rebuilt toward a future better than the present for Shelter Island.

With the attack on the Community Housing Board (CHB) — charged with creating and implementing a plan for affordable housing — leaving what seemed like nothing but scorched earth, it would have been easy for officials and involved citizens to leave the field and forget the debacle.

But the CHB is back (see “Housing Board moving forward,” Nov. 25), after reorganization from the ashes of having only one member due to resignations and the removal of Bob Kohn from the committee.

In many ways, the committee had to go through this, since it was tossed upside down by the resignation of former councilman Mike Bebon, when Mr. Kohn revealed that the councilman was sitting on the board in defiance of the Town Code.

In the subsequent blow-up, Mr. Bebon was called on to resign not just from the committee, but from the Town Board, which he did, taking the honorable way out.

Now the committee is moving forward with ideas and actions to bring affordable housing to the Island. Those who oppose it say that if you can’t afford to live on Shelter Island (no matter how long you’ve lived or worked here), then go away.

They have a point of view, one which we disagree with. And that’s what this issue should be about, agreement and disagreement, and not World War III.

Whatever happens, the result should be accepted with grace. Those who disagree with a decision, should be expected to persist in their cause, just as those who are fighting for affordable housing have persisted in getting the idea back on track.


Speaking of persistence: A hearty “thank you” to the Friends of the Shelter Island Library for bringing back the Turkey Plunge, one of the most joyous events of the early winter season.

Last Saturday was the 12th annual “Freezin’ for a Reason” — that mad and hilarious dash into the frigid waters of Peconic Bay.

(Credit: Beverlea Walz)

Islanders with their families and friends dressed up for a community event to have fun and raise funds for the Friends of the Library.

This group, through events and contributions, adds to library programs that tax dollars don’t cover.

The Friends are a large part of keeping the Library a vital community center, a source of education and entertainment, a place of information, resources and comfort to Islanders of all ages.