Letters to the Editor: 3/9/17
Let Them Be Kids
I have been following very closely the events taking place at Pierson middle school and high school. As a life long neighbor in East Hampton, and a graduate of East Hampton High School, I of course, have friends with children who attend Pierson schools. I have always admired the Sag Harbor schools, because they seemed to maintain a feeling of local community and tradition, which is unfortunately something East Hampton schools lost long ago.
It is astounding to me that the school has allowed the clear presence of a feminist club, whose name bears the acronym FU. The Pierson FU club. It is my understanding that this was not initially the name of the club when it was presented to school administrators; and I am sure had it been, the approval would not have been granted. So my remaining question is, why after permission was granted for a club with an acceptable name, is the Pierson Women’s Issues Club, being allowed to operate with a new name, Pierson FU, which is clearly a political thumbing of the nose to both the school and those with opposing views and beliefs?
The cat hats are being allowed to be worn on campus, as I understand. The mere presence of the pussy hats, being called ‘cat hats’, is no more appropriate than allowing children to wear clothing with marijuana prints because it is a botanical, or gang affiliated colors because they are social groups for the underprivileged.
The pussy hats being worn at Pierson are not merely a symbol of feminism. The pussy hats are explicitly, a political response to statements made by a non-politician, years prior to him ever being elected as the President of our nation. Because of the political connotation, and direct affiliation with political protests nationally, the hats do not belong in the school.
There comes a point in time when as an administrator of a school, a decision must be made to preserve the integrity of the district.
Politics do not belong on the school grounds.
It is very disappointing to see this downhill landslide of conflict, which ultimately hurts the students. It seems as though what is important has become lost in a very heated political contest; and let us not forget, the students are what is MOST important.
Going to middle school is about education, athletics and developing friendships. Going to high school is about creating the foundation for college. For neither is it a place to force political agendas.
Parents and children are choosing sides, and some students are left feeling steered, while others are fearful to express their disagreement with the club and the hats. None of their fears, confusion, and social separation would be happening, were it not for the morphing of the women’s club into the Pierson FU Club, along with permission given by administrators, for students to wear what is clearly a symbol of political protest.
I do hope for my friends children, that this issue will be resolved sooner than later. After all, they are just kids. They will lead long lives as adults, free to choose whatever social and political affiliations they desire. But for now, it is my hope that the school’s administration will rise to the task, and return the school’s atmosphere to what it was before; a place for learning, athletics and friendships, and allow them to be kids, and not political pawns.
Support Funds for Library
As a regular patron and board member of the John Jermain Memorial Library, I stand in opposition to Governor Cuomo’s continued and sustained attacks on New York’s public libraries — and therefore, his attacks on all New Yorkers. While Cuomo describes his recently unveiled spending proposals as pro-education and pro-middle class, his cuts to library aid directly contradict that claim.
Libraries are a core component of New York’s education infrastructure. They provide a safe and welcoming space for all New Yorkers, regardless of race or ethnicity, religion, country of origin, income, or education level. Libraries offer free access to educational materials that historically disadvantaged communities would not otherwise have access to. Libraries are the primary source of Internet access to the 25% of New York households whose annual household income is less than $50,000, thereby allowing those individuals to search and apply for jobs and perform other basic tasks that are increasingly only available online. And libraries are the heart of their communities, providing early literacy programs; classes in adult education and financial literacy; health and fitness workshops; technology assistance; English and other language classes; and many other programs and services too numerous to list here.
While NYS Education Law requires Library Aid for FY 2017-2018 to be $102.6 million, and despite his assertion that education funding will increase at least 4%, Cuomo’s Executive Budget cuts state library aid 4%. This is in addition to the more than $110 million in statutory state library aid that has been withheld since FY2007-2008.
This is the tenth consecutive year proposed state library aid is less than what is mandated in education law. This decade of underfunding has withheld more than $110 million in state library aid, decimating library services and ignoring the needs of New Yorkers who rely on the critical services libraries provide. It is the economically disadvantaged communities who are consistently the hardest hit by shifting political tides. Shame on the governor for playing politics with people’s lives.
Governor Cuomo’s $4 million cut to state library aid must be reversed, library funding must be increased relative to any increase in education funding, and the decade of recession-era funding reductions must be retired. Please join me in using the online advocacy system offered by the New York Library Association to write to the governor and the Legislature: nyla.org/advocacy.
President, Board of Trustees
John Jermain Memorial Library
For a Healthy Long Island, Oust Zeldin
Now that Scott Pruitt has been confirmed as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, the onslaught against the nation’s environment is beginning. I join in concerns expressed by local organizations, as reported by The Express on Feb. 22 in the article “Local Organizations Express Concern Over Future of EPA.”
But I have to add that our Representative in Congress, Republican Lee Zeldin, is all too willing to help in the attack. He has already begun, with his recent votes, to undo Obama’s regulations protecting streams from coal mining damage and the atmosphere from methane flaring on federal lands.
Touting Trump’s policy initiatives in his interview with The Express after the inauguration, Zeldin conspicuously left out any mention of climate change and environmental issues — because Trump, Pruitt and Republicans generally deny the science of climate change and want to rip the heart out of environmental protections.
That’s why New Yorkers owe Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senator Charles Schumer and other Democrats a great deal of gratitude for their continued leadership in the face of these climate change deniers and fossil-fuel-funded equivocators. We need to speak up against and then oust Rep. Zeldin and his ilk in 2018. A healthy Long Island and a livable planet for our descendants depend upon it.
I am writing to commend the ARB for its caution in permitting the replacement of the small Cape house at 232 Main Street with a much larger “replica of a Greek revival house.”
If Sag Harbor has a great architectural tradition, it is for integrity. For three centuries the houses built here were—as Mr. Studenroth points out— “of their period”.
We walk the streets and learn the history. This is the powerful truth behind our village’s charm.
Now the streets are filling up with fakes, usually “replicas of Greek revival” houses (often much too big for their sites).
For the first time, Sag Harbor is losing its integrity.
We may not notice the difference right away, but we all feel the chill in the air.
Thank you, ARB, for noticing. Please issue no more permits for fake history on our truly historic streets.
No Faux Greek Revival
Once again I read in the Express Online of another house about to be demolished and replaced in the Sag Harbor Historic District. This time, the house at 232 Main Street. A 1940s Cape which, although in itself true to the style of the time, is not true to the overall “look” of Main Street. And so, it should be eligible to be replaced. But replaced by what?
Now I see a proposal to erect another faux Greek Revival. A safe bet to be approved by the ARB. A house with, in my opinion, a design that will be devoid of any character and imagination. I can sit right here and lean back, close my eyes, and see exactly what this place will look like. A slap in the face to those Greeks who first used the elements the designer of what will be 232 Main Street intended. I am sick and tired of seeing these pseudo antiques popping up all over our beautiful village.
Okay, tear the house down. Build something Mr. and Mrs. SG HBR LLC will be comfortable in. But make it an interesting, attractive, imaginative design. Hire someone to design it who loves Sag Harbor and respects what it is that captures everyone’s heart as they drive down Main Street. Let he or she examine the character of Main Street and design a home that is unique, even if it is contemporary. But, please, not another faux Greek Revival. Ugh.