Letter to the Editor: December 20, 2019

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Greatest Challenge

I would like to commend Sag Harbor Mayor Kathleen Mulcahy for bringing transparency and openness to the village. In a short time, she has stimulated important conversations on issues that are crucial to the village, including the environment and public space. I am sure that these conversations will lead to important progress on these issues.

I would ask the mayor, trustees and all players involved in village affairs to concentrate their efforts on an issue that has become front and center for much of the community: affordable housing. With a current median home price of $1.9 million (according to Zillow.com), stable housing is out of reach for anyone but the most affluent.

The backbone of Sag Harbor’s community is its first responders, teachers, tradespeople, retail workforce — working people who inhabit the village year-round. Many have lived here for several generations, others have arrived more recently, but all are an important part of the village’s life.

While extremely high real estate prices make creating affordable housing difficult, there are possible solutions. These may include creating incentives for accessory apartments and structures in the village, progressive (vs. regressive) property taxes, and creating affordable units in the areas that surround the village.

Of all the issues the village faces, housing is perhaps the greatest challenge. I urge the mayor and trustees to use their creativity and dedication to help make it possible for Sag Harbor’s year-round community to thrive for generations to come.

Jonas Hagen, Sag Harbor

It’s Disrespectful

I was absolutely appalled to hear this morning that Dave Pharoah, the commander of the Sag Harbor American Legion, was informed that he would have to pay a fee to obtain a permit for the Memorial Day parade.

As a proud member of the Chelberg & Battle family, a member of the auxiliary, the daughter of parents who served overseas in World War II, and a patriotic American, I am disgusted that the village would dishonor and disrespect the memory of the fallen men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom by charging this fee.

I think the community should be aware of this.

Cathy Santacroce-Worwetz, Sag Harbor

Potential Crisis

With the recent replacement of telephone poles in Bridgehampton by PSEG-Long Island, we understood that Optimum and perhaps other cable operations were responsible for repositioning and hanging the displaced lines. In our neighborhood, we see, at best, unsightly, tangled cable and box arrays in front of residences hanging free and blowing in the wind, and, at worst, a potential for equipment falling on moving vehicles or cables entangling children on bicycles, for starters.

Calls to Optimum yield complete ignorance of the issue (and I personally can pay for the corrective action). PSEG is attempting to get Optimum’s attention, thank you, and Code Enforcement in Southampton Town has no sway at this time.

Before there is a health or safety crisis precipitated by this situation, might the responsible parties step up with the corrective action needed? Thank you!

Norm Lowe, Bridgehampton

Greatest Threats

The December 4 edition of The Press prominently reported on a 1907 local barbaric killing of a female right whale [“Plan Brews To Return Right Whale Skeleton To Amagansett,” 27east.com, November 22]. The killing of that female right whale contributed directly to the current unsustainable right whale population levels, as did the killing of many other right whales in this area. This is nothing to be proud of at this point.

A recent Oceana publication titled “Last Chance for Survival for North Atlantic Right Whales” states that approximately 400 North Atlantic right whales remain, and fewer than 100 of them are breeding females. The publication states that one of the two greatest threats to right whale survival is entanglement in fishing gear. Recently, a right whale named Punctuation that passed away “had been entangled in fishing gear at least five different times. That is five times that she had heavy lines cutting into her flesh.”

The article also states: “… slow brutal deaths from entanglement in fishing gear picked off some of Punctuation’s offspring … the trauma caused by chronic fishing gear entanglements and other stressors has now increased the calving interval to every 10 years.”

The commercial fishing industry has directly (right whale hunting) and indirectly (fishing equipment entanglements) contributed to the right whale threat of extinction.

Shouldn’t the concern locally be contributing to bringing the right whale population back to a sustainable level, rather than spending millions to bring a dead right whale to Amagansett? Doesn’t the threat to right whale survival require the minimization and eventually the elimination of local commercial fishing, not only for right whale sustainability but for the sustainability of all ocean inhabitants?

Randy Johnston, East Hampton

Many Thanks

Despite the foggy morning, the Southampton community came out to support Saturday’s Polar Bear Plunge at Coopers Beach. We’ve held the Plunge every December for 16 years, to raise funds for our local charity, Heart of the Hamptons.

The 16th annual Polar Bear Plunge raised well over our $125,000.00 goal, and counting, and approximately 250 people plunged! All of the money raised goes directly to help local people in need.

Thank you to the local police officers, firemen, ambulance volunteers, EMTs and Southampton Ocean Rescue Team who kept everyone safe. A special thanks to Vinnie McGann and the lifeguards. Thank you to the Southampton Village Department of Public Works: Highway Department, Parks Department, and Building and Maintenance Department, who built our shelter, provided electric power, and cleaned up Coopers Beach.

Thank you to the Express News Group, the Bathing Corporation of Southampton, PSEG-Long Island, the Robins Island Foundation, JAF Foundation, People’s United Bank, Behind the Fence Gallery, Wright & Co. Construction, Old Town Lodge 908, Michael Paez, Richie King, Chris Cuomo and family, Judge Barbara Wilson, and Stony Brook Southampton Hospital. We greatly appreciate the hot food and drinks donated by Golden Pear, Southampton 7-Eleven and Amber Waves Farm!

Special thanks to all of the students, faculty, staff and everyone that came out from the local schools!

Local people helping local people — that’s what it’s all about. Heart of the Hamptons could not do all that it does without your support.

Hilton Crosby, Executive Director, Heart of the Hamptons, Southampton

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