Letters to the Editor: 6/18/20


Best Equipped

Tommy John Schiavoni of Sag Harbor is running as a Democrat for the vacant New York State Senate seat in our district this year. The primary election is on June 23, and I am convinced that Mr. Schiavoni is by far the best candidate Democrats can choose to go into the November election.

This belief is based on long acquaintance and a close working relationship. Tommy John Schiavoni and I have worked together on numerous campaigns for Democratic candidates.

Upon retiring from a distinguished 30-year teaching career, Tommy John finally sought town office for himself. It was a great pleasure to help his successful effort to become a Southampton Town councilman after winning office for so many others.

Teacher, firefighter, school board member and town councilman, Tommy John Schiavoni is highly qualified by experience and dedication to be our state senator. Before that happens, however, our Democratic candidate must win the general election in November.

Of all the Democratic primary candidates, I’m sure that Tommy John is best equipped to win that election. I say this because he has proven over the years to be one of the most astute and able political campaigners I’ve ever known. If anyone can win the East End’s State Senate seat this year, it’s Tommy John Schiavoni.

I am the treasurer of the Southampton Town Democratic Committee, but this letter comes strictly from me as an individual, and I am not in any way representing the committee.

Vote for Tommy John Schiavoni for state senator in the June 23 Democratic primary, by mail or in person.

George Lynch


He’s Got My Vote

I’m voting for Tommy John Schiavoni for state senator in the Democratic Primary on June 23. There is also absentee ballot voting and early voting. Please go to www.tommyjohnfornewyork.com for details.

There are several Democratic candidates vying for the position of state senator for District 1 (eastern Long Island). The longtime Republican state senator for District 1, Ken LaValle, is retiring, thereby creating a wide-open race for his seat.

As a member of the Southampton Town Democratic Committee, I know Tommy John well. He is a terrific guy, a very hard worker, and he has a strong set of qualifications. Currently, he is a councilman for the Town of Southampton. I urge you to go to his website (cited above) and/or Facebook to learn more about Tommy John’s background and his plans to improve things here on eastern Long Island.

To be honest, I don’t know the other Democratic candidates for this state senator position. I did watch the recent debate, which was sponsored by the League of Women Voters. As you might imagine, I thought Tommy John won.

However, I must say that I was very impressed with Skyler Johnson. He is 19 years old, and he is very smart and very articulate. I don’t think he is ready to serve as our state senator at this point in time … but, I believe that he has a very bright future.

I know Tommy John. I like Tommy John. I trust Tommy John. I’m voting for Tommy John.

Please take the time to learn about the Democratic candidates for state senator and vote for the candidate that you like and trust.

Dick Sheehan

Westhampton Beach

Structural Changes

As an LGBTQ+ activist and queer person, Pride Month is a time for reflection for me.

In remembrance of the work of early queer rights leaders like Henry Gerber, Bayard Rustin, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, I also take the time to make sure that my goals as an activist still align with what our nation’s LGBTQ+ community needs and demands are.

Though federal elections are important, who we vote into local and state offices allows us to feel the immediate impact of our political action.

As New Yorkers, we need to further the progressive movement, steering away from settling for any Democrat the establishment offers. We need to elect better Democrats who are for the people because they are of the everyday people.

We not only need to kick our current conservative state senator out of office, we also must avoid electing a self-interested moderate who does the bidding of their party and special-interest groups.

Queer rights are human rights, and queer policy is progressive policy. I support progressive policy not only because it uplifts the queer community but also because it supports all of us. I have worked with and supported many political campaigns toward a variety of different offices. Until recently, I had yet to see a candidate with both the comprehensive policy detail and the genuine interest in serving the people as Skyler Johnson holds.

Let me make clear the legislative positions of Skyler Johnson that you deserve to know, rather than the blanket, insubstantial statements the rest of the candidates seem to believe is enough:

If you believe New Yorkers deserve the top-quality, universal health care of the New York Health Act, Skyler Johnson is your candidate.

If you believe we need an immediate overhaul of our water infrastructure, because clean drinking water should not be up for debate, Skyler Johnson is your candidate.

If you believe we need a bold advocate in our State Legislature who will make sure that vacant homes are seized and brought up to code for the purpose of affordable housing, Skyler Johnson is your candidate.

If you believe the Hate Crimes Task Force needs to be expanded, because it’s 2020 and bigotry towards immigrants, indigenous people, the black community, and LGBTQ+ people can no longer be tolerated, Skyler Johnson is your candidate.

I strongly encourage you to visit skylerforsenate.com and see for yourself the depth of the plans Skyler wants to make a reality for New Yorkers.

Voting is crucial, especially during stressful times like these. No more inaction, no more Band-Aids on issues that need large reform. Let’s vote for the structural change that we need now and for future generations to come.

Max Micallef

Sag Harbor

Outstanding Students

Congratulations to our four Noyac Civic Council Scholarship recipients: Yanni Bitis, Heidi Bucking, Dylan Hewett and Halle Kneeland. These teens demonstrated superior scholarship, leadership and outstanding service to our community.

Yanni Bitis will attend NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Yanni has dedicated enormous time tutoring younger students in their classwork and homework. He used his theatrical skills to help young actors learn their lines and songs and assisted in many of Pierson’s plays backstage. Perhaps you may get a chance to hear Yanni sing in the choir of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church of Southampton.

Heidi Bucking will be studying ocean engineering at the University of New Hampshire, and she volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Global Leadership Adventures and the South Fork Natural History Museum. Heidi also is a CPR instructor who taught CPR to middle school youngsters.

Dylan Hewett plans to study music and physics at Gettysburg College. Because of his extensive talent as a cellist, Dylan will be part of the Sunderman Conservatory’s class of 2024. Some of Dylan’s service includes playing the cello and bass guitar with the pit crew for several Pierson High School theatrical productions, and playing in the Grace Presbyterian Church’s music team. Dylan had a unique opportunity to help renovate a house in Belize with a mission group.

As a cancer survivor, Halle Kneeland was given a second chance at life and will pursue a career in nursing. Her goal is to work with children in a cancer treatment center and share her story. Halle volunteered at the pharmacy at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, delivering medications to various units, including the ICU. In addition, Halle started the Pierson Green Club, organized Pierson’s recycling system, and participated in Earth Day fundraisers for the Sierra Club. Halle also participated in community cleanups and works with school-age children in the Science and Gardening Club’s greenhouse.

The NCC is proud of these scholarship winners and wish them well in reaching their dreams. These young adults are an inspiration to others.

The NCC was able to give four scholarships this year because of the generosity of those who attended our Holiday Dinner Dance in November 2019, held at the Coast Grill. Thank you to those who donated gifts, purchased tickets and purchased raffle tickets. These youngsters are benefiting from your civic-mindedness and generosity.

Elena Loreto


Noyac Civic Council

Congratulations on implementing your policy of no longer disseminating unsigned commentary at 27east.com, which you announced in last week’s editorial, “Quieting The Noise” [June 11].

As one who always signs all of my letters to the editor and offers to your editors documentary evidence for all statements (usually out of Southampton Village’s own files), I join the Express News Group in encouraging our citizens to have the courage of their convictions.

Furthermore, in the interest of shining light on all lawlessness, from village government and from other sources, and as a former journalist, I also find reprehensible, under guise of cutting length, any attempt to omit from a written criticism the specific references to laws backing up the writer’s contentions. There are many ways to silence political opposition, aren’t there?

It’s true that criticism of the village powers-that-be may expose those like me who sign their commentary to garbage on their lawn, car smashed by a contractor’s truck, basement and house flooded, and other mischief, expressing resentment to a writer for having exposed corruption. But, remember, I put more than my property and my person at risk by signing all my public assertions: I put my law license at risk.

But, then, there is nothing more powerful than the truth. Only, at times, it takes a painful amount of time before the truth is allowed to be disseminated to the public.

Evelyn Konrad

Attorney at law