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


Letter To Editor - Environmental Future Is At Stake 


I’ve had the good fortune to live in some beautiful places in America, and Long Island is without question as beautiful, and special, as anywhere.  And now, as I get older, what matters most to me is making sure our children and grandchildren continue to have a green and generally unspoiled place to swim, bike, hike, play ball, and raise their own children in. 

This is the environmental future I want for all Long Islanders, and why, among other reasons, this election matters so much.  The overwhelming majority of us recognize that climate change is no hoax — that it’s as real as rain.  Locally, it can threaten our beaches on Long Island, and beach tourism, too.  Left unchecked, there will be more hurricanes with the destructive force of Sandy.  Perry Gershon understands what is at stake here.  He has spoken about the perils of sea levels rising, and not just for the southern portion of New York City, but for parts of Suffolk County as well.  Rising oceans can also bring flooding along with it, which causes erosion and property damage.  For all these reasons, and more, he strongly supports the further development and implementation of clean energy.  Perry Gershon believes in the possibility of a carbon-neutral future.  So he stands steadfastly behind reducing greenhouse gases, increased wind power, and the Paris Climate Accord.  

His opponent, incumbent Lee Zeldin, appears to have other priorities.  He claims to be an environmentalist come election time, but for his first three years in office Mr. Zeldin earned a meager 10% rating from the League of Conservation Voters.  Of 22 bills that came before the House and which impact the environment he took the anti-environment side on 21 of them.  He actually voted for cutting funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, and for preventing the EPA from implementing standards to reduce methane pollution in the oil and gas industries.  Notice the increasing number of solar panels on your neighbors’ roofs?  Read about the innovative wind farm going into operation between Long Island and Shelter Island?  Mr.  Zeldin voted against tax credits for wind and solar energy.

However, with careful planning and placement, New York State is intending over the next ten years to produce about 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind energy and, so doing, create nearly 5,000 related jobs.  Perry Gershon, a successful businessperson before running for Congress, is especially enthusiastic about job creation, and knows that a number of these upcoming clean energy jobs will be here in Suffolk County.

I’m supporting Mr. Gershon for a number of reasons, but I often look first at someone’s environmental record or their intended Green Energy and environmental actions.  Partisan policies, and shifting priorities between Democrats and Republicans, change with some frequency on the state and national level.  But what does not change – and what should not shift — is the enduring importance of our region’s vital soil, water, air quality, beaches and oceans.  More important perhaps than taxes, traffic and affordable housing is our home, which is the land, the groundwater, the woods, and the beautiful shores of Suffolk County Long Island.

Ken Taub, St James

Ken Taub, a former advertising agency president, current copy & content provider, online journalist, and yoga studio co-owner, was raised on Long Island and is a longtime resident of Saint James, NY.


Letter To Editor - KPHS Lights Too Close To Homes


My name is John O’Leary of Lordly Court in Kings Park. Lordly Court is right behind the schools rear parking lot. Recently the high school started construction of the new parking lot with drainage improvements which was sorely needed due to lack maintenance over the years. Recently a neighbor had a fence damaged from the construction and went over to the site to complain, and, was informed of the districts plan to install new lighting right behind our homes. I reached out to Mr Timothy Eagen (superintendant) and he indeed confirmed this. Mr Eagen stated a lot of thought went into the placement location of these lights and they would be directed north as to accommodate us.

In December 2015, the district floated a “bond” for much needed repairs and updates in all the districts schools in which pictures were displayed of rusting lockers, boilers falling apart and alike. After leaning of all this disrepair my first thought was “ why wasn’t anything maintained all these years?. A big part of this 2015 bond was for a new artificial turf multipurpose track and field which would be “Lighted” for the first time”.  I went to a board meeting to display my disapproval an left with the feeling of “this is coming no matter what anybody says”. So, today myself and my neighbors have the pleasure of viewing tremendous light poles towering over our block along with the noise in the parking lot this field created. Two of these poles are so close to neighbors houses that it worries the occupants that it could damage their homes if it came down.

If that’s not bad enough now we have more lighting to be installed right behind the north side of block houses very close to our property lines. Now I can enjoy looking at light poles from the convenience of my kitchen. The district has stated a few times that it wants to be a good neighbor to Lordly Court but I fail to see it. The district could have easily reached out to us for input about their plans to construct new parking lot lighting but did not.

I have lived in my residence my whole life and have been blessed with a lovely neighborhood. I attended Kings park schools.  I have no children in the district and pay a large portion of my property tax bill to the district!, at least notify us!. I am slowly watching our “quality of life” shrinking and our property values drop. This is a public school not a major sports complex/entertainment hub.


John O’Leary


Letter To Editor - Read What Supervisor Wehrheim Wouldn't Allow Me To Say

Letter to Editor 

My name is Amy Fortunato, I live in Smithtown.  Thank you town council for this opportunity to explain my concern for public safety in Smithtown.  Mr. Wehrheim, I called you directly to discuss the news article that quoted you from a transcribed recording during a recent fund raiser on June 28th.  I was disappointed and surprised to read that you would describe anyone participating in a demonstration as being relegated into Jericho Tpke. And then to be taken care of by Suffolk County police.  Bodily harm is tragic.  Human life is precious.  I mentioned to you that my husband was hit by a car at the intersection of NY Ave and Jericho Tpke.  Mr. Wehrheim, we’re friends and we have a developed a working relationship over the recent years.  I assure you that I only hope and pray for your well being and success.

Please be more careful in the future when you are talking about your intention when setting up barricades in Smithtown.  This impacts our freedom to gather.  Those barricades were set up for the first time at the Town Hall to restrict the unity rally;  I have not ever seen such an extensive system of barricades ever before at the Town Hall.  Even when you were sworn into office as Supervisor, we were not restricted from sitting on folding chairs supplied or walking and standing on the lawn.  

It’s disappointing that our safety and freedom to gather peaceable was mocked.  It’s also disappoint that two clearly identified journalists with whom you have a working relationship were ejected from the same fund raiser without provocation.  I would hope that you would defend their freedom of the press.  These freedoms are held dear and I hope that you will defend our freedom to gather peaceable and for the freedom of the press to report the news without restriction.   

Let us be the community and citizens that demonstrate respect and civility as we all work together for the benefit of all Smithtown residents.  Thank you.


Amy Fortunato is a candidate for Smithtown Town Council


Letter To Editor - Zeldin's Fundraiser With Sebastian Gorka Is An Insult

To the Editor:

On June 28th Lee Zeldin will open his general election campaign with a fundraiser in Smithtown featuring Sebastian Gorka as his speaker.  This is yet more evidence that Zeldin, far from being  moderate or representative of his constituents, has cast his lot with the most extremist elements of his party.

Sebastian Gorka has been tied to neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic groups in Hungary, as well as accused of lying on his naturalization application about his connection to these groups.  During his brief time in the White House he was denied a security clearance.  Mr. Gorka denies being a fascist or anti-Semite.  Here are the facts.

Gorka wears a medal and uses an honorific indicating membership in the modern reconstituted group Vitezi Rend.  During World War II Vitezi Rend was a virulently anti-Semitic group established by the Hungarian dictator Miklos Horthy, himself a self-described anti-Semite and collaborator with Hitler. It’s described by the U.S. State Department as “under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany during World War II.” 

In 2007 Gorka co-founded a Hungarian political party, the New Democratic Coalition (UDK), described by the Anti-Defamation League as “openly anti-Semitic” and by the U.S. State department as “extreme ethnic nationalist”.

That year, when interviewed as the head of the UDK, he spoke approvingly of the formation by the extremist right-wing political party Jobbik of a paramilitary militia arm as “a defense of the nation’s soul”.  Apparently he saw nothing wrong with the creation of a black-shirt outfitted, storm-trooper-like Jobbik militia for “protection”.  Once created, this militia, calling itself the Hungarian Guard, staged mass demonstrations in Hungary notable for their violence, leading to assaults and murders of ethnic minority people in Hungary.  The uniform of this group recalled that of the Arrow Cross, the notorious Nazi party of Hungary, which directly participated in the murder of tens of thousands of Jews and others during World War II.

Long Island voters have no control over the views or activities of Sebastian Gorka.  They can however decide whether they want to be represented by Lee Zeldin, who selected Mr. Gorka as a featured speaker for his campaign kickoff fundraiser.  Voters should ask themselves why did Rep. Zeldin chose Mr. Gorka to speak, instead of some other Republican figure without Mr. Gorka’s links to European neo-fascists and anti-Semites.  There were many other choices.  I would submit that the choice of Mr Gorka reflects Rep. Zeldin’s conscious, strategic decision to appeal to white nationalism and anti-immigrant hysteria for his own political advantage, regardless of the long-term consequences for our country.  His choice of Mr. Gorka insults the memory of the victims of the Nazis and the intelligence and common decency of Long Island voters.

David Friedman



Letter To Editor - Zeldin's Letter Burnishes His Non-Existent Credentials

To the Editor:

Lee Zeldin recently sent me a letter that attempts to burnish his non-existent credentials regarding gun control.  He states, “I am committed to pursuing common sense solutions.  That is why I have called for a Congressional hearing and action in light of the tragedy in Parkland.”  Zeldin is a great one for speaking out and calling for, but he evidently is not speaking or calling loud enough because I haven’t heard anything.
If he is truly interested in finding common sense solutions, why does he approve concealed carry of weapons in NY, which have been approved by states with the lowest restrictions?  Why does he have an A rating from the NRA?  Why is he the largest recipient of NRA money in the state?  Why did he fail to attend a recent forum on school safety and gun control hosted by Smithtown students, or at least send an aide to articulate his position?  Could  it be because he would rather serve the NRA than his constituents?
His letter also states, “I have also reintroduced my Protect America Act (H.R.3998) to prevent terrorists from purchasing firearms or explosives.”  How does he suggest we identify these terrorists, and prevent them from buying firearms or explosives?  Anyone can go to a gun show, or to a private seller, and purchase anything without a background check.  Who were the known or suspected terrorists who committed mass murder at Columbine, Parkland, Sandy Hook, Oklahoma City? 
Let us not forget the Florida official who failed to conduct background checks for an entire year because she could not remember her sign-in name for the website, and did not bother to arrange for a new one.  This is for real, and with a Republican governor, no less.  Does the fact that she was recently fired make you feel more secure?

Who is Zeldin kidding?  Only himself and his fellow Republican lackeys.  It’s time for him to get smart, grow a pair, and find compassion. 

Ruth A Cohen
Lake Grove NY 11755