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Views and comments expressed in Letters To Editor are the opinions of the writer not Smithtown Matters.


Letter To Editor - Senator Flanagan: Licenses For Illegal Immigrants Is Wrong

Senator Flanagan: Licenses For Illegal Immigrants Is Wrong

Dear Editor:

     Last night, the Democrat-led Senate passed and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the so-called “Green Light Bill” to allow illegal immigrants to obtain New York State driver’s licenses.  This legislation is an outrage to law-abiding New Yorkers, as well as to new Americans that have taken the appropriate steps to become citizens legally.

     The overwhelming majority of New Yorkers oppose issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.  And yet, that is exactly what Senate Democrats did. 

     I adamantly opposed this legislation and voted against it.

    Just like their new law giving free taxpayer-funded college tuition assistance to illegal immigrants, providing driver’s licenses to those here illegally creates a strong disincentive for anyone to respect our nation’s immigration laws.  The college tuition provision also left hardworking New Yorkers like you paying the bill.

    Democrats have chosen to reward those who break the law by giving “undocumented” immigrants a key document: Now illegal immigrants can apply for standard driver’s licenses using foreign identification, making it nearly impossible for county clerks and employees at local Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMVs) to verify authenticity.

     Another major concern is that many states, including New York, use their DMVs to enroll voters.  Since New York does NOT have voter identification laws like the majority of other states do, this bill increases the potential for voter fraud.

    The vast majority of other states throughout the nation do NOT issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, and those that do demand substantially tighter proof of identification.  Some also impose requirements designed to encourage immigrants to pursue full, legal citizenship.

     In contrast, the “Green Light” proposal includes no such restrictions or requirements. This means that New York will soon have the most radical, open-ended law in the entire nation.

    Going forward, I will continue the important battle to restore common sense to our state government, and fight against flawed measures like this one that actually give people an incentive to break the law.



                                                                                                            John Flanagan


Congratulations And Advice To Graduates From Legislator Gregory


From the Desk of Presiding Officer Gregory: Congratulations, Graduates!


 In thinking about the important milestones you will be celebrating these next few months, I considered what I would want to hear were I to be graduating – what words might inspire me to think about things in a different way, to try something new, to take a step in a direction that might not be the easiest option, to be the one to identify and then create a path that speaks to my interests and the needs of the world.

What came to me was a simple lesson that takes most of us years to fully understand: Be yourself, first and foremost. If you are true to yourself, the rest will follow.

I believe each one of us begins our journey with some pre-conceived ideas about what our lives should look like, undoubtedly the product of various influences in our lives. I think about my own journey through college to where I am today. It was one filled with twists and turns and not necessarily what I, at a young age, envisioned for myself. I was a scrawny kid from Central Islip growing up in a struggling middle-class family. At many times, it felt like we were poor. Going to college was certainly an aspiration for my parents, and although my mother became a registered nurse, my father became an auto mechanic through on-the-job training. He had no more than a high school education, but he knew he wanted me and my twin brother, Dwight, to obtain a college education. And so, to college I went.

After college, life took an unexpected turn, and I decided to enter the military. It was something I had thought about before, but because of the recession, it became a way for me to gain my independence and serve my country as had so many others in my family. I enlisted and then applied to become an officer through the officer candidate school program. It was great! I loved the sense of purpose that came with being an active member of the military. However, that soon came to an end when it became too much of a strain to be away from my wife and young children for up to six months a year. I left the military and returned to Suffolk County to start a new chapter in my life. I soon got involved in politics and ran for public office in 2008, which led me to where I am today, presiding officer of the Suffolk County Legislature.

When we start out, free-thinking is a combination of the input and intake we have received and absorbed from outside sources – whether it be friends or family members, teachers, counselors, and even work experiences, as well as what we consume in terms of our reading, television watching, and social media interactions.

However, what is missing in the beginning as we craft our early plans for ourselves is the knowledge gained from actual time spent living in the lives you now own – no longer the student, but the graduate. 

And so, I offer you these words of advice:

You have crossed over the threshold and are ready to make your mark. Be brave, because you will never walk this path again. Your contributions to society from this day forward could define the rest of your lives, so dare to dream, and dream big.

Discover who you are. Be patient and kind with yourself, as you will make mistakes, but it will be how you rebound and how much you learn from those mistakes that will show you the stuff of which you are made.

Give your best and care about what you do – always – but remember that perfection is the enemy of innovation. Maintain a balance so that you remain open to change. 

Be a creative thinker. Use your resourcefulness and your unique self to find ways to overcome challenges.

Be adaptable. Listen and be open to a variety of ideas and opinions, as they can be the lights that guide you to the places you have not been before and may not have found without them. 

Most importantly, never stop learning.

As graduates, your responsibility is to alter the landscape, to find ways in which to shift the universe to make the world a better place. If we look around at our world today we see confirmation of the need for compassion, tolerance and acceptance. You will have an opportunity to rediscover the essence of our country; the spirit of goodness that is an innate part of helping others. The need is great. 

You are the future; you are our future. As students who grew up on Long Island or who were educated on Long Island, I am hopeful that you have been drawn to the natural beauty that surrounds us on both shores and that you will consider making this your home. Our economy is dependent on a skilled workforce that can address the critical issues that impact the quality of life and the health and well-being of residents.

You have a blank slate. Write your story wisely, color it with human stories that portray the beauty that is life, and sprinkle in pictures that capture the most significant moments so you never lose sight of where you began and where you are headed.

Go bravely into the future. It is your time to shine. Congratulations!

DuWayne Gregory

Presiding Officer

Suffolk County Legislature


Rest in Peace Supervisor Vecchio

The Smithtown Democratic Committee joins all of the residents of Smithtown in expressing our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of Supervisor Patrick Vecchio during this sad time.

Patrick Vecchio left an indelible mark on our town, and all of our current and future leaders stand on his shoulders. His commitment to the people of Smithtown and to the character of our communities is a legacy that will not be forgotten.

The Smithtown Democrats should be counted as part of the many who are expressing accolades and appreciation for the life and work of Supervisor Patrick Vecchio. 

Smithtown Democratic Committee Executive Board
Edward Maher
Richard Macellaro
Janet Singer
Howard Knispel
Fredrica Berger
Anita Schnirman
Patricia Stoddard 

Letter To Editor - Time To Ticket Speeders On Main St. Smithtown

To Smithtown Matters,

The other day I got out of my car on Main Street in Smithtown in front of Teachers Federal Credit Union.  Three cars and a truck sped by me I am sure going 40 MPH or more based on my perception on how fast they were going and the vacuum sensation I felt as the truck went by.  It immediately brought to mind the three pedestrians struck by autos in Smithtown recently as well as the aging flower memorial on the corner of Elm and Main marking the site of a fatality.

Why do drivers go so fast despite the posted 30 MPH limit?  If there is no enforcement, regardless of what the penalty might be, there is no deterrence.  In the almost 30 years I have lived in Smithtown, I have never seen anyone ticketed on Main St.  On the other hand, I repeatedly see drivers getting tickets on practically deserted side streets for “rolling stop sign violations”.  I am sure that keeps revenue flowing but doubt it provides much safety compared to what ticketing speeders and wrong lane turns on Main Street might accomplish.

Put the police on Main Street and regularly ticket speeders and shortly the word will spread, “speed in Smithtown and it will cost you money and points on your license”.  If this can be done in by Head of the Harbor and Nissequogue, it can be done on Main Street.

Concerned citizen.


Letter To Editor - Thank You Smithtown Water Authority


Coldest Day of the Year Smithtown Water Authority Brought Science to My Door

During the Polar Vortex, a water main broke on the edge of my St. Nicholas Avenue driveway last Thursday.

As the temperature hovered in single digits; the wind chills plummeted.  It drove Smithtown to below zero temps.   

While sipping freshly made hot cappuccino, my own brew,  I peered out the front window of my formal dining room.   I noticed a puddle growing on the edge of my semi-circular driveway.  It caught my attention as I thought to myself – it’s far too cold for two parts Hydrogen and one-part Oxygen to be in a liquid form.  My aging and weary brain registered that the puddle should theoretically or scientifically be ice.   I immediately rang the Engineer husband as I didn’t want to disturb the twenty-seven year old Engineer son who specializes in liquids.   His clock registers three hours behind ours as resides in Hermosa Beach California with his beautiful new bride. 

The husband of thirty-three years had me descend the cold basement stairs to check our sprinkler system gage and house water gage to see if there was activity.  There was none – therefore our hypothesis was that the leak was coming from a town pipe juxtaposed to our property.

One call on the Smart Phone to the Smithtown Water Department and their Supervisor Raymond E. Martinbianco and his team were on the scene.  

They did not accept offers of hot cocoa or coffee but went to work and stayed in the freezing cold for hours until the situation was mitigated.  After decades of living with Bill Nye the Science guy and Son – I had a great interest in the engineering components of the job.  

The engineering feat played out as a roaring fire filled my wood burning stove and warmed the first floor of my modest home to a balmy 74 degrees.  I watched the men as they worked tirelessly in the unusually frigid weather.   In between the minutia of daily chores, I watched the job play out including observing the small crane that lowered a seemingly heavy rectangular part into the newly dug frozen ground.  

Quantitatively, it was quite an impressive feat to witness.  I was and continue to be very thankful for the fast action of The Smithtown Water Department.  

A contention for most Long Island taxpayers is the high cost of taxation.  After twenty-five years in the news business, I know it’s genesis and growth rise from hundreds of micro-governments and municipalities that punctuate both counties.  However, this Smithtown taxpayer is all good with her taxes – because I believe Smithtown is so incredibly well run.  

A terribly efficient series of systems work throughout our bucolic town – from Town Hall to our beaches and marinas to our snow-covered roadways trickling down to the Water Department.  I say we get a great bang for our buck – this aging Disco Queen rallies a big shout out and thank you to the Smithtown Water Department.  

I am not grateful because they fixed a problem adjacent to my home.  I am grateful because they quickly acted to solve a problem that had serious and dangerous potential.  I live in one of the highest points in Kings Park at the top of the Nissequogue River Valley (at the top of San Remo).  It was the coldest day of the year and Sir Isacc Newtons Theories of Motion, which are the basis for modern physics, were at play.       

When water arrives outside my home – it goes downhill – turns the corners and heads down St. Johnsland Road.   That spring of water had the potential to create ice.   It was a dangerous situation that was mitigated and culminated in a few hours on the coldest day of the year.  Thank you Mr. Supervisor, thank you Zach Rogienski, Matt Lush and Mike Iaia.  Efficiency isn’t deemed a Science but outside our humble home on the coldest day of the year – it transcended the vast and behemoth world of Science.  

Maureen Ledden Rossi