To the Editor,
The Independent did an appalling hatchet job on the homeless shelter at the Hidden Cove Motel. You bought into the disgruntled, holdover tenant's fake story hook, line and sinker. His eviction is the result of his disgraceful, disruptive behavior. He will also not be homeless when evicted, and he knows it.
Speaking of children, you can count on one hand the number of children attending school in HB SD. Most children at the shelter are pre-school age, and the families' average stay at Hidden Cove is less than 6 months. Nor is there any septic system problem. Contrary to the snide remarks of the town supervisor, there is nothing wrong with the septic system, which was fully approved when the original motel received its CO for a 32-room, YEAR-ROUND motel, and which has passed inspection consistently by the County Health Services Department ever since.
Before the Hidden Cove became a shelter, it was for a period of time quite the center for police calls for all manner of criminal conduct, and overrun with vermin. The supervisor's silence then was resounding, and speaks volumes. How pathetic for a public official to falsify the situation at a homeless shelter that is staffed with caseworkers and security 24/7, with rules that include a strict curfew, succeeding in placement of these families in permanent housing all over Suffolk County.
Is it really heroic, Ms. Holst, to make political hay over the homeless just to ingratiate yourself with a misinformed civic association? Why not speak to the many residents of the area who have volunteered generously to help the Hidden Cove residents? This is the only homeless family shelter this Department runs in the entire town of Southampton, and you lead the charge as though it were an invasion, when it is primarily temporarily housed, single-parent families whose children are under the age of five.
Ms. Supervisor, if you want to indulge yet again with threats, scare tactics, and prejudice, do so with me all you want, but leave these unfortunate people alone. Try to fit your thoughts into the time of the Season, and reflect on this, if you will: "Whatever you do to the least of mine, you do to me."
GREGORY J. BLASS
EDITOR'S NOTE: Gregory Blass is the Commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Social Services. He did not respond for a request to comment on the article in question. This week we interviewed an 87-year old woman Blass is trying to evict from the same motel so he can give her unit to social services recipients – and taxpayers will pay the rent plus a hefty rent increase.
Lives At Stake
What does it take? If Super Storm Sandy wasn't a wake-up call I don't know what is.
We on the East End, in the Peconic region, just missed the big bullet. Next time, it could be us. Are we prepared?
Now more than ever, for the sake of the people out east, the two airport runways and their supporting infrastructure at EPCAL in Riverhead must be preserved and maintained.
The reality is natural and manmade disasters are an ever-growing serious concern. We must be prepared -- our lives are on the line. BTW I am a retired NYC police officer.
There is a benefit raffle to help a handicapped five year old girl, daughter of a local couple Noah and Francesca Buffo-Zingarelli. She was born with numerous birth defects and was predicted to live no more than a month.
We have also received a donation from Carl Yastrzemski of a signed Red Sox wool jersey which we are raffling off to help this five year old, my granddaughter, Mia Bella Zingarelli, get the much needed handicapped equipped van.
Here are the details of the raffle: it's $10 a ticket. The Yaz jersey has Hall of Fame 1989 and Triple Crown 1967 inscriptions. The funds will be used to benefit: The "Miracle for Mia" Fund, helping to provide Mia Zingarelli, a handicapped five year old, with a wheelchair accessible van.
The drawing will be held on February 14 at 6 PM at the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Church at 2350 Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton.
The winner need not be present to win. To purchase tickets please call: 631-324-7581. Thanks so much!
Wake Up Call
Dear Mr. Murphy,
In an article entitled "Evicted Man Cries Foul" (12/5/12), The Independent highlighted the way the Hampton Bays community has addressed a problem with a great deal of restraint and professionalism, the problem being Suffolk County's use of a motel for temporary housing.
A while ago I referred to an in-depth investigation into an architectural firm that allegedly constructed buildings which deviated from planning documents (The Supersizer of Brooklyn, NYT 3/18/11). This practice was uncovered by a fellow architect who believed it to be unfair and bad for the profession.
In Southampton, however, the business community rarely calls out another business and in truth some businesses argue that calling attention to an unfortunate practice might reflect badly on the community. The unfortunate by-product of this belief, however, is that an entire community can easily become tainted by a single operator and property owners are penalized by a zoning change they didn't buy into. So, in the absence of an in-depth investigation, the Concerned Citizens of Hampton Bays organized to send the message that a motel used by the County doesn't reflect the mom-and-pop business culture of Hampton Bays.
Although one can question whether it's humane for the County to relocate families from familiar neighborhoods and schools to strange motels, the social component of this business is not really at issue. Rather the issue is whether the County is using taxpayer dollars to provide an unfair competitive advantage over the mom and pops trying to hold their own in a difficult economy. I believe this problem could serve as a wake-up call for Southampton. Is it really in the best interests of the business community at large to allow a single operation to risk the success of the whole.
A devastatingly but all too familiar horror took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in an idyllic Connecticut town, Newtown, on Friday December 14. Twenty six were killed; 20 children six to 10 years of age and six adults. The Perpetrator was 20-year-old Adam Lanza.
On another Friday five months and six days prior, July 20, 2012, another mass shooting occurred inside of a Century movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight screening of the film The Dark Knight Rises. A gunman, dressed in tactical clothing, set off tear gas grenades and shot into the audience with multiple firearms, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others. The shooter was 24-year-old James Eagan Holmes, who was arrested outside the cinema minutes later.
The names of the killers and locations of the carnage differ but their weapon of choice does not. It's that same old reliable semi-automatic "hunting" (read: Assault) rifle, sister to the military version minus the "Semi."
The following letter I wrote back in July seems eerily appropriate right now in December:
Since I am not a gun enthusiast my opinions on the subject of guns are personal. Studies have shown that the number of homicides in a country is directly in proportion to the number of guns. The United States has the dubious honor of being fourth in the world in the number of gun related deaths per year only behind such distinguished company as South Africa, Colombia and Thailand. Conversely, all other advanced industrialized countries fare enviably better such as: Germany, Canada, Japan and England.
Hunting is a passion for some. They enjoy trekking through the woods and they kill using their legally licensed rifle to shoot at birds and animals. The same applies to pistols and those wanting to be prepared to ward off home invasions. These rights are guaranteed by the Second Amendment and therefore perfectly legal. But what in the world is the need for military style Assault Weapons with huge repetitive rounds with the mere flick of a finger. If it takes that much firepower to kill a deer or quail or whatever needs killing, that hunter is a danger even to himself.
The AR-15 Semi-automatic assault rifle is a converted version of the military's fully automatic weapon. It utilizes high-capacity magazines with clips holding as much as a 100 rounds which could be fired off in a minute without reloading. One does not need an assault weapon to shoot a deer or protect one's family. No one should own an assault rifle except our soldiers in the military and the law enforcement officers who protect us. In 1994 Congress passed a 10-year ban on assault weapons and President Bill Clinton signed it. Unfortunately, it was allowed to abate. During his 2008 campaign, Obama promised to reinstate the ban, and Romney signed an assault weapon ban as Governor of Massachusetts. It is time to reinstate the ban. Not quite that easy.
One enormous hurdle of course is the omnipresent NRA. They are as much of a danger to the safety of our citizens as are the assault rifles themselves. They will do whatever is necessary to defeat such a common sense ban; they will distort, lobby and spend as much as is necessary as they always have. Their paranoia that the government is going to steal their weapons is idiotic but has rubbed off on a large portion of our citizenry who actually believe it. Let us hope that facts conquer fears.
It is time for the House to work with the President.
John Andrew Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives, should understand that half of America does not belong to the wealthy and half of this great country does not belong to the middle class and the poor; we are all united for the common good and purpose to make this great nation work for all. In this modern world in which we all live, paying our fair share of taxes should not divide us.
In my opinion, it is an insult to the intelligence of all Americans when John A. Boehner made the claim that half of the people in America making over $250,000 are small business owners; and therefore should not pay more taxes. This claim does not hold water; many of the small business owners, Republicans and Democrats, voted to re-elect President Obama.
It is time for Speaker Boehner to stand up to the right wing elements in the House of Representatives. The voters that gave President Obama a second term are very much aware of the stonewalling that existed in President Obama's first term; the right wing elements wanted Obama to fail to prevent a second term. Obama won; and it's time for the House of Representatives to restore some trust by working for the people to avert the "Fiscal Cliff."