February 19, 2014

Nasty Ugly Business

Dear Rick,

I read and reread your editorial in last week's paper "Putting A Human Face On Code Enforcement."

We in Springs have been speaking and writing to the "illegal renting of single family homes issue" for years. David Buda has organized Springs Concerned Citizens and has attended justice court noting charges and fines for code enforcement cases that have come before justice court for the last four years. The case of Mr. Griffin is indeed sad. He was before the court in 2011 and if I read correctly, only fined $200, if that. That year he was charged with 28 violations as opposed to 29 in 2014. I was with Mr. Buda in court in 2011 and I remember this case and Mr. Griffin.

He was disoriented then and a family member had to travel to East Hampton to sort the mess out, as he was incapable. It took weeks and several court appearances. The bottom line here is in 2011 the judge and the town attorney did cut Mr. Griffin a deal due to extenuating circumstances.

Many of the penalties were dropped and what happened? These code violations were never sorted out. Mr. Griffin continued to again rent illegally.

I think this is called enabling a bad situation to fester and become worse. The man was endangering himself, others, and the neighborhood. There was a failure here by the town attorney, the justice court, the ordinance enforcement department, the family and the social safety net, if that still exists.

The current administration, unlike the previous administration that operated with Eyes Wide Shut has made an effort to deal with the illegal renting of single family residences.

This was not a coup, or a grand slam, or grandstanding . . . it was an example of the town trying to deal with an ugly, illegal situation. It's sad all around as illegal renting is exploitive, dangerous, unsafe and an ugly illegal situation. Mr. Griffin was diminished and disheveled in court in 2011, however, not so diminished as to ignore the court's order, collect rents and not remedy unsafe and illegal situations. The same law that applies to Mr. Griffin applies to you and to me and to every greedy slum landlord in town.

I, for one, applaud the new administration for taking this action and issuing a press release. This is a nasty, ugly, business with no easy solutions. I think one can say that the longer these illegal rentals persist the worse they become whether they be in the Springs or the Northwest. If brought to the light of day, with landlords on notice they will be heavily fined by the court, maybe a message will be sent and the law will be followed. It sends a message that this type of illegal activity is no longer tolerated. Hopefully there is a lesson learned here. Lenient penalties and dismissals only make matters worse. I, for one, hope there are many more messages sent. Thank you.


Editor's Note: We should point out the charges against the accused are allegations that have yet to be proven.

Sneaky Tactics

Dear Editor,

Last week, Republicans, Democrats and independent-minded voters turned their gaze to one of America's fondest 20th Century statesmen, Ronald Reagan. President Reagan continues to live on as a celebrated leader not only for his accomplishments but also due to his leadership capabilities and fervent desire to expand the appeal and inclusive nature of our party. That's a mantle every Republican should desire to embrace, and a lesson that is apparently lost on George Demos, a recurring candidate for Congress in New York's First Congressional District.

 Conservative Republican candidates wear Ronald Reagan's legacy and accomplishments as a badge of honor and the personification of their philosophy. What are equally important however are the life lessons our 40th president espoused through his actions. I found myself awestruck when Mr. Demos was laudatory of Reagan's 103rd birthday, seeing that he is such a dedicated violator of the Gipper's 11th Commandment – the one that preaches, "thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican."

In recent weeks Demos has sought to make up for his apparent lack of grassroots support in Suffolk County by manufacturing misleading assertions to tear down a competitor for the Republican nomination, NYS Senator Lee Zeldin. George's latest attack claims that Lee voted in support of implementing Obamacare in New York. Voters didn't fall for George's tricks in 2010, and they shouldn't now.

The truth is that the State Senate in Albany lacked the ability to prevent Obamacare exchanges from opening – that authority lies in Washington with the US Congress and President Obama. In fact, it was actually Governor Cuomo who unilaterally created the exchange after Senate Republicans stood in his way. This is why it's so critical for us to retire Tim Bishop and take back this congressional seat. Lee is on the record against Obamacare, and thankfully he'll fight to repeal many of its job crushing provisions once he's elected to Congress.

I'm no stranger to George's attacks. I guided Randy Altschuler's bid for Congress in 2010 and witnessed first hand the sneaky tactics Demos clings to on the campaign trail. After both Republican and Conservative Party voters rejected him at the polls in 2010, George resurfaced once again in 2011 to level widely discredited assertions against Randy. Whatever points Mr. Demos lacks in truthfulness he more than makes up for in consistency, because yet again he's back to orchestrating a tired campaign increasingly defined by it's own negativity.

Shockingly, Demos has also taken to branding Zeldin, an honorable veteran who served overseas in Operation Iraqi Freedom, as a "career politician." The assertion is not only wrong, it's blatantly offensive and it has no place in what should be a serious debate over how we can actively achieve job creation for Long Island families.

Republican candidates would be wise to keep their focus trained on the man responsible for perpetrating Barack Obama's failed economic policies: Tim Bishop. The five-term incumbent has served as a career lackey of Nancy Pelosi and remains under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for shady campaign dealings involving leveraging the official duties of his office in return for campaign contributions. According to Congressional Quarterly, Bishop has supported Barack Obama's failed agenda more than 90% of the time over the past five years. Campaign ads grounded in facts write themselves, so why resort to making things up?

The game George is playing is obvious. It's clear that he needs to manufacture these poll-tested attacks in order to make up for his lack of tangible support among primary voters. If Mr. Demos truly wants to be successful, he'll focus a less on birthdays and more on the honorable leadership lessons associated with President Reagan's celebrated legacy. Anything short of that represents an insult not only to the Gipper, but also to committed Republican primary voters in the First Congressional District.


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