Community Viewpoint

Village of Mastic Beach

Dear Editor:

The letter writer in last week’s South Shore Press is misinformed and confused about the recent push to dissolve the Village of Mastic Beach. The elections of Maura Spery for Mayor and Trustee Bruce Summa are responsible for the state of the Village today. Previous administrations were taking steps to make absentee landlords accountable for their rental homes, working with law enforcement to crack down on drugs and vandals, and targeting abandoned and unsafe structures for demolition, etc. Fast forward to the current administration which depleted a $300,000 budget surplus by spending over $165,000 on audits and investigations to uncover misdeeds which were unfounded and by giving jobs to their friends at inflated salaries. Add to this the $400,000 overspending of the budget which Mayor Spery took responsibility for and you can see how mismanagement and incompetence have contributed to the current state of affairs. Mayor Spery and Bruce Summa were among a group who were against the village incorporation and committed to its dissolution from day one. By depleting its resources, calling for a 125% tax increase, working against the best interests of the village in a legal settlement for marinas and dockside property, and promoting a hostile environment at public meetings they are now hoping to accomplish their original objective – dissolution of the village and returning Mastic Beach to being a small fish in the large Brookhaven Town pond. We still have a lot of work to do and the residents of Mastic Beach should consider what they hope for the future of their community before deciding how to vote in this important village election – to continue on the path of renewal and restoration with future elected qualified and committed leadership or to throw away this last opportunity for self determination? The choice is yours.

Anne Leonardi
Mastic Beach

Response to Jerry Riebe

Dear Editor:

Once again, a member of the MBPOA chimes in on the dissolution of the Village of Mastic Beach. This person was one of the people who fought tooth and nail to stop the incorporation of the village.
They were beaten in 2010 and will be defeated again. I’ll take this point by point:
1. The article states that businesses are closing one after another due to high taxes. It was his, one time director of the MBPOA who proposed a 125% tax increase and was defeated. The only restrictions put on any business are to abide by the codes, most of which are modeled directly from Town of Brookhaven’s codes.
2. Despite the assertion that the village is responsible for the marinas and the waterfront and has destroyed both, the writer should check his facts. The settlement between the MBPOA and the village HAS NOT BEEN SIGNED and is, in fact, pending in court at this very moment.
Therefore, those properties are still under the custodianship of the MBPOA. It is their responsibility to maintain them until all is settled. So if the marinas and the waterfront are a mess, look at your own people.
3. For five years the village was cleaning the roads and Operation Clean Sweep was attacking the abandoned and blighted homes. But your former director misappropriated monies earmarked for the repavement of Mastic Road and used that money for a forensic audit, investigators, lawyers and hugh raises for certain employees all to try and find malfeasance. All this was wasted, because they found nothing but a few clerical errors, not a hint of wrongdoing.
If some of the basic services that the village usually handles are not being addressed, it is due to the mismanagement of the monies by this mayor. Without the new trustees addressing the deficit with an austerity budget people on fixed incomes could possibly have lost their homes because of their inability to pay a 125% tax increase. When the trustees announced the austerity budget, they did warn that this would be a very tough year. However, they are attempting to rectify some of the errors and believe that with the help of the new treasurer, by this time next year we will be on a much better financial footing. This is not the time to throw in the towel, what needs to happen is to get rid of the current incompetent mayor and deputy mayor and village clerk. Many have called for the Mayor to resign. I do agree that everyone should STOP AND THINK. If dissolution does occur, a 125% tax hike would be a drop in the bucket compared to what Brookhaven would demand in repayment.

Edna Benjamin
Village of Mastic

County Executive Steve Bellone

Dear Editor:

After reading Newsday article: Debris Left At County Park article 8/27/16, and the quote by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone “We will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those who were responsible for any actions that are damaging and destructive to our parks”, I said to myself, I hope you catch them. Question I have though is, who is going to enforce our environmental laws against Executive Bellone and his current park commissioner Greg Dawson? They willfully and knowingly allow the addition of dangerous lead daily to the collection of over 300 plus tons of lead lying on the ground and amongst the forest within their own Suffolk County Trap & Skeet Gun Range located in Southaven Park in Yaphank. Per Suffolk County records their own wells have higher levels of lead than allowed by state law. Why is nothing being done about this dangerous lead pollution to our groundwater alongside the Carmen’s River Corridor? Why does the Pine Barrens Commission do nothing as this pollution factory operates daily within the most sensitive area, The Core of The Pine Barrens? Both Dick Amper of the Pine Barrens Society and Adrienne Esposito of the Citizens for the Environment have expressed their concerns to all officials, and nothing is addressed. I ask, WHY NOT? As then candidate Steve Bellone stated to our South Yaphank Civic Association: “People want to live in communities with great parks and great public spaces. Quality of life issues should not happen. People have a right to live in quiet enjoyment of their property”. I agree.

Doug Steigerwald

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(200-250 words), and will be edited for length, clarity and accuracy. Your name, phone number and address must be included.
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