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February 26, 2014


When And Where?

Dear Rick,

Whenever politicians are in a big hurry to rush something through, it's time for your antenna to start twitching. Our new Town Board majority seems overly eager to spend $2.7 million of CPF money to purchase a 16 acre property in Springs with almost no discussion or input, even from the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee. As you know, these committees exist to give the town input and guidance on issues relating to their particular community. Now I've been a member of the SCAC for over 15 years, and in that time we've always been strong advocates of open-space purchases in Springs. So what's the beef?

It seems that the owner of the property was willing to cede the back eight acres to the town as reserve in exchange for two building lots in the front, in addition to the already existing house and pool. That's right, there's a house and pool already on the property, which makes this deal more complicated than average and therefore worthy of more discussion and analysis rather than less, right?  The bottom line is that the town can get the rear half of the property, which by the way abuts two other town-owned pieces (thus linking them) for no money, and still have three other properties paying taxes to the town. Sounds like a win-win.

Instead, the Board wants to shell out $2.7 million and then pay to demolish or maintain the house and pool.

Surely the wisdom of such a transaction deserves careful review and discussion. Yet when Mr. Overton suggested just such a discussion, Supervisor Cantwell declared that the board had decided to go ahead. When? Where? Why the unseemly hurry to push this through? Why the reluctance to thoroughly vet this issue in front of the community? 

My skepticism antenna is twitching. If yours is too, David Buda made an excellent presentation on the details of this issue, which can be seen online [on the town's website].

REG CORNELIA

A Slippery Slope

Letter to the Editor,

Presidents have abused their powers by circumventing Congress with executive orders, which could be unconstitutional in many cases.

Presidential executive orders proliferated with Eisenhower starting in 1953, and have become commonplace instruments of presidents. Over the previous 60 years approximately 3200 executive orders have been enacted, 1830 by Republicans and 1370 by Democrats.

President Obama is currently using executive orders to circumvent the Republican controlled House of Representatives. He recently proclaimed, "When I can act on my own without Congress, I'm going to do so." He ordered an increase in the minimum wage for federal contractors and extended the deadline for the implementation of elements of Obamacare for one year. He lifted a ban that automatically prohibited people who provided "limited material support" to terrorists from entering the U.S.

The Supreme Court plans to review the Constitutional limits of executive power, including the unprecedented number of Obama appointments made when Congress was in recess.

Although all presidents starting with Hebert Hoover have used executive orders, Obama is the first president to publicly proclaim this maneuver as an official part of administration policy. The Supreme Court might have to take action to halt our slide on the slippery slope to dictatorship.

DONALD A. MOSKOWITZ

Land Use Ruse

Dear Mr. Murphy,

In my letter, "Zoning Downer," published in The Independent on February 12, I suggested that factors other than political affiliation affect zoning decisions made by Southampton's land use boards. For example, it can be proven, using land-use records and newspaper articles, which I'm happy to share, that contracts are sometimes awarded to board members or their cronies. This practice is legal but can appear conspiratorial when the decision involves an exception. Because it's possible to objectively measure the degree of self-interest, voters might have benefited from hearing this issue debated in the last election by conservative Phil Keith, who serves on the planning board.

That said, let me describe how zoning decisions can impact a business using the example described in the letter, "Zoning Downer." My farmhouse shared a common boundary with property zoned for a subdivision. An exception was granted to operate a horse farm that received favorable publicity in local papers. The farm however was sold to a real estate developer who didn't live on the property and who wasn't a farmer. This sale was not described in the papers. Another exception was granted to allow the new owner to cut by half the land on which a horse farm could operate. The subdivision would be built on the other half of the property.

As part of the reconfigured farm, an easement was created that would allow a house not owned by the farm to use the farm's driveway. An equestrienne who would purchase the reconfigured farm would therefore purchase a driveway with an easement she didn't need, however, as owner, she had to maintain and pay the taxes on the driveway.

Encumbering a business is questionable, and because it was known that a woman would bear a questionable expense, the zoning decision is doubly questionable.

SUSAN CERWINSKI

People In Need

Dear Editor,

Christian Ministry Faro a Las Naciones would like to express sincere appreciation to all the community of the Hamptons for the enormous and generous response received at our church located at 2247 Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton, New York.

In a second visit to New York Cares in Manhattan, on February 12, 2014, members of Christian Ministry Faro a Las Naciones dropped off the total amount of 250 winter jackets and winter essentials for this cold winter, where they will be given to people in need in the City of New York.

KARMEN CHACHO

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