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June 19, 2013


Petty Politics

Dear Editor,

Last week's Independent ran an article entitled "Politics Before Progress?" that detailed the bitter exchange that occurred at a Southampton Town Board work session on June 6 when Councilwoman Christine Scalera proposed an initiative for discussion. What should have been a positive dialogue among government officials about a revitalization tool that could be used in Riverside, an area where redevelopment and investment is solely needed, turned into a ridiculous, sophomoric spat.

It is a shame that petty bickering over "who gets credit" is what some of our local elected officials confuse with good governance.

I applaud Councilwoman Scalera for standing up to Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst's and Councilwoman Bridget Fleming's acrimonious attacks on her innovative proposal. Their shameful antics and continual interrupting created a chilling effect at the meeting and turned what should have been a thoughtful and positive discussion into a non-productive squabble.

The Supervisor's inappropriate smirking and pointed accusation that Scalera "lifted the work" from her, once again shows how petty Throne-Holst is. This Supervisor interprets anything not proposed by her, and any disagreement with her, as a personal affront.

The people of Southampton Town deserve better than that.

All voices should be welcome in the "People's Room" – the Town Board Meeting Room. Healthy debate should be encouraged. Ideas and initiatives should be welcomed and explored, regardless of the political affiliation of the person making the proposal.

If I am elected Town Supervisor, I intend to reinstate open and inclusionary government, thoughtful discussions, consensus and professionalism. For me, it's not about showmanship, petty politics, special interests and arguing over who gets credit - it's about working together and getting things done right for the people of Southampton Town.

For more information, please visit my campaign website: www.LINDAKABOT.com. Respectfully, I ask for your vote of confidence on Election Day, November 5.

LINDA KABOT

The Way It Was

Dear Editor,

Down memory lane, growing up, Springs, elections, people trying to run to serve their town, to serve Bonac -- Lyman Babcock, Francis Smith, town leaders of the Democratic Party and Republican Party -- that's all there was back then. (With all due respect to Elaine, no Independence Party, which in today's times really calls the shots.) What a different kind of town I grew up in, my Mom grew up in, and my Dad, whose family was out of Hampton Bays, my Dad saw when he came here. My mother's father, my maternal grandfather was a Miller (family name not occupation), like most people from Springs, if you weren't a farmer he was a fisherman.

My father, my paternal grandfather and his brother were fishermen, too. I would spend a couple of weeks in the summer going out on the water with them, as well.

The Millers lived on Green River Road (Accabonac Highway, does it look like a highway to you?). There was a time and not too long ago that every other mailbox in Springs said Miller. When I was old enough, before my kid brother Leon could come along, I would go bottle fishing with my grandfather Miller in the morning. It was special. We would skin the fish the rest of the day. Leon, my mother, her sister, and my other cousins would help. In the winter, after school in Springs, we would open scallops. Boy are they good!

The landed gentry, the upper middle classes, the doctors and lawyers, shopkeepers and professionals mostly lived up the street or nearby. Up street meant East Hampton Village.

In East Hampton, the way it was, whether you liked the guy or not, whoever it was who might run into bad luck or need help, neighbors were there. They literally would give the shirts off their backs to help a neighbor, any neighbor in crisis, no looking at color or religion, any neighbor in trouble, like him or not. That's just the way it was. Sure, when it was all over, they would go back to not liking each other, not having anything to do with each other, until the next calamity.

What a support system that was, without all the bureaucracy. People just gave a helping hand. Growing up in Springs taught me the value of families, but also taught me that whether people were blood or not we all took care of each other.

There were hamlet rivalries, as well. They ran a little deeper. Forget Montauk and Amagansett, it was good they were separated by the Napeague stretch. The Village, however, was above it all; Springs was Bonac country when being called a Bonacker was a pejorative, a bad name, not a good thing in town. Nowadays everyone wants to be one.

Back then, workmen would actually give you a call if they were going to be a little late. And the first woman Town Supervisor in Suffolk – Judith Hope – was elected in East Hampton – that little, so called small-minded, unsophisticated town at the end of the Island. Sure we were great for tourists in the summer, but that was when the summer season was July 4th through Labor Day and then, like magic, the town would empty out.

High school sports fans filled the Reutershan Park bleachers every Saturday in the Fall, football time, where Ed Ecker's Mom (Ed Sr., not our police chief Ed Jr.) where Ed Ecker's Mom, who ran Trail's End in Montauk, would run up and down the sidelines ordering her son to score. (And families withstood the yellow jackets that came by in droves to feed.)

You saw your teachers in church or the supermarket; people minded their own business; because everybody knew everybody's anyway. There are no secrets in a small town. And a small and wonderful town it was.

The remnants are still with us, folks. We just have to work hard to keep them.

FRED OVERTON

Editor's Note: Fred Overton is running for East Hampton Town Board on the Republican and Independence lines.

That Ain't Rain

Dear Rick,

Wow -- I guess I should consider myself totally reprimanded: Ms. Susan Harder attempted to take me to task, claiming I was guilty of a "ranting letter." Please forgive me, Ms. Harder, for in reviewing your letter I must disagree with many points you attempted to make! Not once, did I refer in my Letter to "Dark Grounds." The proposed law on Shelter Island is being referred to as Dark Skies.

And as to referring to you inventing a "simple shield" to direct light downward? I hold in my had a copy of a patent #6497501 issued to you, on December 24, 2002, that was filed for November 1, 2001. As for "giving these shields away," just visit parshield.com -- It reveals, that they are being sold for $25 plus shipping, plus tax for NY State residents.

Now as to "outsiders" having control of the lighting on my property, I have a good friend, a retired police officer, who claims when he worked for the force in Cincinnati, they requested homeowners light their property for safety and security. This was not to annoy their neighbors - but to assist the police and for their own safety!

I also have another point, I wish to make and I sure don't want to give the impression I am ranting here, but I'm just wondering how Harder got a copy of the draft of the new law before it was made available to Shelter Island residents? For someone who claims to be giving these shields away, Ms. Harder, you seem to have an intense interest in making them mandatory.

This reminds me of my days as a cub scout -- a bad kid with a very questionable reputation was once peeing on my tent. When I hollered at him he told me to shut up that it was just rain!

Ms. Harder, who does not live on Shelter Island, seems to be trying to convince your readers that all I am doing is ranting about the rain.

RICHARD KRAUSE

Potty Talk Policy

Dear Mr. Murphy,

Now that Southampton Democrats have selected their candidates for the fall election, I believe the records of Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor can be reviewed. Since it might be productive to compare Southampton with East Hampton, I'll try to frame my arguments in a larger political context. For the record, I'm not making value judgments, I'm reviewing procedures.

A few years ago an East Hampton Highway Superintendent created a stir by allegedly using strong language. Without assigning blame, the East Hampton Supervisor declared that inappropriate language was unacceptable and, if discriminatory, against the law. On the other hand, Southampton Democrats humorously dismissed the use of coarse language by Mr. Gregor averring that diplomacy was not Mr. Gregor's job. Unfortunately, as a Town employee, it is his job, and the fact that the current East Hampton Highway Superintendent is diplomatic, competent and avoids potty talk proves Southampton Democrats to be mistaken. Ms. Throne-Holst missed an opportunity (and the responsibility) to state that inappropriate language is unacceptable Town policy.

SUSAN CERWINSKI

Never Again

Dear Editor,

"Risk is inherent in our reliance of structure; managing that risk is an ongoing focus for any responsible society." I read that somewhere and noted it for future use, and with the people's trust in their reliance on our government being lost, it is time for we the people to stand up and speak out.

Let your voices be heard. Our Constitutional Rights are being undermined. Both the right to freedom of religion and the right to keep and bear arms are now at serious risk of being lost.

And once lost? Ask the few survivors from the Holocaust in Nazi Germany – they will say, "never again!"

Our God given rights, inscribed and guaranteed in our Bill of Rights, must be protected and forever preserved at all costs.

This is the main issue facing us: freedom, and our belief in ourselves and in the justice of our cause.

JACK MCGREEVY

Whole Hog Economics

Dear Editor,

Chinese companies spent $6.5 billion to purchase U.S. companies in 2012, which broke the previous record of $5.2 billion in 2010. It appears the Chinese acquisitions of U.S. companies could exceed $10 billion in 2013.

In May 2013 Shuanghui International agreed to purchase Smithfield Foods. Smithfield is the world's largest hog producer with 460 farms and contracts with 2,100 others across the U.S. Will the hog supply be diverted from the U.S. to feed China's burgeoning population? Will China's poor food safety record and the manufacture of low quality products impact Smithfield's operations? Hopefully, Midwestern states will be able to block the sale with laws that prohibit foreign ownership of farmland.

A Chinese consortium purchased International Lease Finance Corp. (ILFC), which owns and leases over 1,000 aircraft and has relationships with many airlines. In 2012 Chinese companies purchased AMC Entertainment, one of the largest movie theater chains in the U.S.

The U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment should deny Chinese acquisitions if they impact our national security or our country's economic well-being.

DONALD A. MOSKOWITZ

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