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A Family In Need?

Dear Editor,

I woke up this morning to the grating sound of saws, shredders and bulldozers and watched in horror as the virgin trees next to my property on Barnes Avenue were mowed down and fed into a woodchipper. But this wasn't another builder making room for a new neighbor our Barnes/Mulford/Wheelock Walk neighborhood is just about built-out to capacity, except for a few substandard lots.

I now find out the Town of East Hampton, which owned a tiny sliver of land, forced a private landowner to sell his lot to the town, and then combined them and is now clearing the way for an "affordable" house.

This stuns me. Almost every family in our neighborhood has both spouses working fulltime so we can afford our homes. No one helped us buy our houses. We have slowly over the years put in pools and landscaping and watched with great pleasure as our property values have risen. And now this.

I was told by the housing office that these houses are designed for town workers. Nice for them. But what about the guys at the gas stations, the landscapers, the owners of small businesses, and everyone else? Why didn't the town buy us a house?

What's going on here is a charade, a game of lottery where some local family will be given a $800,000 house for $200,000 because they couldn't otherwise afford to move into our neighborhood. Why then, isn't the town helping us move over to Lily Pond Lane? What's the difference?

The people in our neighborhood have worked hard for years. I worked in Manhattan for decades, able to be with my family two or three days a week, and those days were often spent working on any freelance job that came my way, so that after many years of hard work and saving, we were finally able to build our own home. Then the town comes in, uses MY money, and builds a house for some lucky or connected stiff.

This is grossly unfair.

If you live in our town and especially our neighborhood, please make your feelings known to the town board, whose members are apparently bent on sticking one all over until every neighborhood is downgraded .

And how does this handful of affordable houses, built with our money, help the housing problem of a town where thousands of families cannot afford homes here due to the rising prices? They don't.

The people who are crowded into basements get nothing. The people who earn $10,000 a year fend for themselves. But a small handful of friends and co-workers of town board members (who voted in this pork barrel scheme) get a new house situated where every family member will need a car to get to town, school or work. That's a family in need?

But maybe it was foolish to expect anything more from Bill McGintee's administration.

He has yet to explain the Gull Island obscenity to us. How is it the town spent $3.8 million of our dollars purchasing a useless property, that languished on the market at a far lower price than he paid to the owners, who were related to a campaign contributor?

Can you spell pork barrel? Apparently, Bill McGintee can!

June 20, 2006

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