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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor: Aug. 26, 2022

Bad deal for taxpayers

To the Editor:

Your recent editorial, “ One piece of the puzzle,” was poor journalism and uncharacteristic for such a fine newspaper.

The editorial was about a shared equity program being pitched to the Town Board as a possible solution to the affordable housing problem.

According to the example in the editorial, an outside investor would advance a one time payment of 10% of the purchase price. In return he would get a 10% equity position in the property and get 25% of any appreciation in value of the property when the deal is unwound.

What it doesn’t say is the outside investor would get a locked in tenant/partner/caretaker to assume the responsibility of maintaining his investment, and because the construction costs will be subsidized by the government, he would effectively capture 25% of the government subsidy when the deal closes. In addition, the investor can probably depreciate his stake for tax purposes and receive a deduction every year.

The investor would get to own a piece of valuable real estate with a live-in caretaker, his purchase price would be subsidized by the government and he would get more than twice his share of the profits when the deal unwinds. On top of that he would get a tax deduction.

This a very lucrative deal for the investor, a good deal for the owner/occupant and taxpayers get bilked. In addition to being a savvy investor, the gentleman pitching this scheme is a skilled salesman, suckering our editor into writing an editorial promoting his scheme. He tells us “It was an impressive presentation, and if put into practice, could be an opportunity to solving a problem that has been a focus of debate.”

This newspaper should be using its pages to point out the deficiency of the proposal, not be using the editorial to provide free advertising to wealthy investors in San Francisco.

DAVID OLSEN, Shelter Island

The common thread

To the Editor:

I’m writing because it’s been a year, and particularly a summer, of heated political division on the Island. 

We are neighbors. We are not politics. The golden common thread in every conversation I’ve had is that nobody likes the division. We all have a lot to learn, and a lot to do. I hope we always disagree on politics, and always get along as neighbors. 

The world is on edge in so many ways, and yet we stand together here in the most important ways. We have incredibly interesting and loving families and individuals here, our Fire and Police departments and the EMS are the best.

We have beautiful churches, our incredible preserve and the waters and beaches are magic. Birds and flowers abound. Business and charity happens every day here.

There is a pride about how hard everyone works to call this place home .

I’m hoping for more laughter around the things that we used to believe divided us moving forward. Those divisions aren’t real because we are all connected to each other. We are here together because we choose to be. It’s hard for some people who have been here a long time to see change.

I get that, entirely. Some people embrace change. Some people hate it. Either way, changes occur, and we can choose to help change with kind language.

I’m inspired by everyone else who writes and has a position around life and asks with love — How do we navigate it better? How can we act more kindly?  My idea is to not put politics first. Put it second. Neighbors first. Love and kindness first. That’s the actual Shelter Island way.

Love wins!


Hickory Golf Classic

To the Editor:

The Shelter Island Country Club’s Hickory Golf Classic was a wonderful event thanks to the support of so many Islanders and businesses who sponsored holes, the many volunteers who gave their time and energy, and those who chose to play golf in historic fashion.

The club’s 120th anniversary event helped us raise money to continue to support our new Junior Golf Program established this spring in memory of Owen N. Dickson.

My only wish is that the Reporter had honored my plea to print photos of the winning golfers — Jimi Rando, Ron Holmes, Matt Dunning and Ian Kanarvogel — who treated us to a spectacular playoff, and the nine young caddies who walked the course on a hot day carrying each team’s bag of hickory clubs. They absolutely deserved to be the center of attention.

To publish their photos only online is but a small consolation.

MARY FRAN GLEASON, Chair, SICC 120 Committee