Letters to the Editor: 02/09/17
Beautiful Minds Want to Know
To the Editor,
It is inexcusable that Rep. Lee Zeldin is hiding from his constituents. Not only hiding from them, but insulting them as well. Lee Zeldin, toughen up. Come out and talk to us. All we want is to be heard, to have a civil dialogue about issues that affect our country, our communities, and our daily lives.
After protesters attended an event in Patchogue – Oh, heavens! Protesters! How scary. Run away! — Zeldin canceled his annual trek to Rogers Memorial Library to speak with voters. He commented on his Facebook page that his constituents who supported Hillary have “lost their beautiful minds.” I’m not sure why he inserted the word “beautiful” (does he imagine all of her supporters were women?), or why he thought it was appropriate to publicly insult half his constituents; but the take away is that anyone who disagrees with him is crazy.
In supporting his decision to cancel the April event, Zeldin’s team said that “every single constituent who contacts our office receives a response.” Lee, a pre-packaged, one-sided response is not a dialogue.
Come out of hiding, Rep. Zeldin. Come to Southampton on April 13th, as planned. Let us be heard, and let us hear you. We may have “lost our beautiful minds,” but we still know how to vote.
Want to Hear From Congressman
Today we received a letter from Representative Lee Zeldin’s office explaining that they have cancelled his April 13th upcoming town hall in Southampton. The reason given for this cancellation was the hijacking of the event by individuals who, “just this past weekend chose reprehensible tactics to harass attendees at an event the Congressman was at, including banging on the sides of the cars driving by and jumping in front of cars to stop them. Requiring a police presence just to get cars through into a venue does not reflect well or help their cause.”
As a founder of Time2Care LI, I was one of the leaders of the protest to which Mr. Zeldin’s office is referring. And I would like to offer some clarification.
- I called the police COPE line at 4:18 p.m. on January 23, 2017 and spoke to Anthony Calandrillo, COPE Sargeant of the 5th. In that call, I explained that we would be conducting a peaceful protest on January 28 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Sunset Harbor. I asked that he send police and he agreed.
- To our knowledge there was no instance of the cars being banged on or anyone jumping in front of them. Upon my arrival at 6:32 p.m., I gave instructions to the 200+ attendees to remain peaceful, off of all privately-owned property and out of the street. I encouraged everyone to recognize that we were standing in front of private residences and that the people living there should be disturbed as little as possible. The police did not have to step in a single time to ensure this was done.
Video and pictures were taken of much of the event. I am happy to share these with your reporting team if you would like.
We believe that Mr. Zeldin is refusing to hold public town halls because much of his constituency is frustrated by his refusal to stand up against many of the president’s policies. Mr. Zeldin is our representative, and we are asking that he recognize that his election in our district was not a free pass to vote as he wishes. We are not developing our own “political theater.” We are simply participating in the democratic process, and we were planning to attend the town hall on April 13 as community members with questions for our congressional representative.
Our protest that evening was in reference to this very topic, as he continues to refuse any personal meetings with us. All we want is for Mr. Zeldin to stop hiding from his constituency and be available to hear and respond to our concerns, so that he can represent them adequately in Congress.
I’m at a loss. Two weeks ago, you wrote, “If this country, which is clearly divided on a number of fronts, attempts to come together, it would be counterproductive to dismiss those figures (women’s march), or question what has been a longstanding practice in the United States of peaceful protest in the face of uncertainty.”
I am at a loss because I cannot recall you expressing a similar sentiment as the Tea Party attempted to be heard, yet was met with vilification and disdain.
I ask that you and this newspaper address this question.
Exercise Transportation Options
I would like to commend State Assemblyman Thiele and State Senator Ken LaValle for their recent efforts to improve Long Island Rail Road Service on the East End.
I would also like to encourage local officials to explore the option of coordinating bus service with LIRR trains. LIRR passengers should be able to step off the train and get on to a bus to Sag Harbor, and vice-versa.
Coordinating the bus and train service would be relatively inexpensive but would do a lot to improve mobility for people who use transit in this area.