Featured Story

Shelter Island Reporter Letters To the Editor: Sept. 7, 2023

A broad spectrum

To the Editor:

As a participant in the most recent workshop on the Comprehensive Plan, I discovered an incongruity which I cannot explain: the presentation by the lead BFJ consultant appeared to raise all the right questions, but at the close of our breakout session (“facilitated” by the same consultant), the “findings” he reported — as described by one letter-writer here who attended a different session — were “almost Soviet-like” in how they misrepresented the participants’ views.

My primary contribution to the workshop was to recall the suggestion I offered publicly twice before: rather than draft a new CP from scratch, take the existing plan — the 1994 Plan — and make line-by-line edits, i.e., creating what lawyers call a “red-lined” version, using Microsoft’s “Track Changes” feature to clearly delineate any changes, additions, and deletions to the 1994 Plan, including an update of the supporting data. (The 1994 Plan is a model of clarity and insight; indeed, the Introduction to that plan could be adopted today without any changes).

By this means, everyone would easily be able to tell exactly what is being changed and ask the question: Why? What effect would the addition or deletion to the 1994 Plan have on, for example, the Zoning Code? By contrast, the current draft (which is so convoluted that any serious attempt at editing it would be time-consuming and fruitless) could provide a carte blanche for anything a future Town Board would like to enact.

None of these comments, nor many by others in my group, were reported by the facilitator. And you wonder why the CP process has lost the public’s trust? It is why our roads are lined with signs calling for the process to “slow down.” I don’t know who placed those signs, but I’m certain they resonate with a broad spectrum of this community.

BOB KOHN, Shelter Island

Student costs

To the Editor:

If the article concerning the cost per pupil in the Shelter Island School District in Sunday’s Newsday article is correct, we pay almost double the average for Long Island’s other school districts for education. It’s time to have a serious discussion about continuing having a middle and high school in this town.

Spending over $70 thousand per pupil is outrageous when most other Long Island schools can do it for close to half the amount.

RICHARD ZAUN,  Shelter Island

From the superintendent

To the Editor:

Re: The cost per student in the Sept. 2 article in Newsday. The quickest way to find numbers is at the U.S. Department of Education website. The numbers may be a year or two old, but are at least comparing apples to apples. Here is a breakdown:

North Fork    

Mattituck — $30,399

Shelter Island — $46,084

Southold — $32,363

Oyster Ponds — $34,273

Greenport — $23,083

South Fork    

Tuckahoe — $50,689

Southampton — $37,383

New Suffolk — $68,091

Sag Harbor— $41,024

Bridgehampton — $61,221

Sagaponack — $56,799

East Hampton — $32,537

Springs — $26,327

Amagansett — $85,068

Average — $44,667

Shelter Island  —$46,084

Source: https://oese.ed.gov/ppe/new-york/

Our district is just above the average for the North and South forks, which, given our size, is a great accomplishment. Looking closer at districts of our size that are K-12, our cost per student is far lower. Look at districts that send their students to other districts, it is even lower. 

I would further note that we were just ranked in the top 18% of all districts in the country by the US News and World Report — the leading index of all major district and colleges. We also just installed a septic project that didn’t cost the taxpayer any additional money and will greatly reduce the amount of nitrates put into the environment.

This has been spoken about for 10 years; we completed it over a summer.

The district has significantly raised our results on all state assessments, Regents, and AP exams. The district offers a wide variety of clubs and athletics. The district tries to assist any community organization that needs our assistance with open arms. We love and want to be at the heart of everything that the Island does. We are not just an organization that tries to care for our parents and children. We try to help the greater Shelter Island community in any way we can.

BRIAN DOELGER, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools

The rule book

To the Editor:

I’d love to see all politics off of social media and zero signs, given that I don’t think either force people to talk to each other, which is what we need to move projects forward. But since those aren’t the times we live in yet, I can’t extinguish neither a candidate’s excitement nor that of their supporters. And I agree, it’s difficult to follow the rule book since it’s constantly changing and apparently written in pencil by one side.

I also agree: There were many unwritten agreements, like you could count on not seeing signs on town property during primaries or any pre-election time; or the assumption that parties would put up candidates who didn’t have felony records; or playing on a field that basically had two teams, not a whole new one when you didn’t like the coach’s decisions; HOAs used to be a political-paraphernalia-free zone; events used to be about the people, not just checking off boxes; and signs didn’t go up every time someone didn’t agree with a concept.

But one thing that has never changed is the ability to pick up the phone and talk to your “opponent,” who is really your “neighbor” working side by side with you. Works a lot better than battling it out in letters to the editor.

I sure am missing those handshakes on the field today.


Ms. Weisenberg is a member of the Shelter Island Republican Committee.


To the Editor:

In response to Cathy Kenny’s letter last week, “Political Yard Signs:” As a newcomer to politics, I am bound to make a misstep here or there. I was not aware of a tradition that no signs were to be placed until after Labor Day. That being said, you can be assured that my signs will not be placed until after Labor Day, as in the unwritten agreement, in my future campaigns.

For the record, every sign that I placed around this island was placed at the request of the property owner(s) and only placed in front of a residence or business of that supporter. Be assured that you will not see my signs on traffic circles, town property, state property or preserved land and certainly will not be posted at a public event or association gatherings as we saw from my opponents during the primary. My signs are supporter-driven only.

The support I am receiving with my efforts to run for Town Board is both humbling and exciting. The number of locals and summer residents, as well as Republicans and Democrats who have voiced their support leaves me feeling truly blessed.

I do have plenty of “TOM CRONIN FOR TOWN BOARD” or “TEAM AMBER” signs left and if you want one, please drop me an email at [email protected]. Now that Labor Day has passed, I will be glad to come and install them. I plan to pick up my support signs right after Election Day. Ms. Kenny, thank you for your advice and I truly appreciate your input and this will not happen again. I am honored to be a part of this process.

TOM CRONIN, Shelter Island

Mr. Cronin is running for Town Board on the Republican line.