Like many other people in the village I will be supporting Mike Bromberg for mayor in the upcoming June election, but it is gratifying to know that with difficult challenges ahead for local government Sag Harbor has three citizens willing to stick their heads above the political hedgerow and run for office.Â
I am not acquainted with Jim Henry, but like most other village residents, I do know Brian Gilbride and Mike Bromberg—each has spent years in volunteer service to the community. On a personal note, each on occasion has gone the extra mile to help a member of my family, but I am sure both would be embarrassed by anything more than a private expression of gratitude.
When you get a chance to speak with Mike, tell him what you are thinking, he is a great listener with a wry and sometimes dry sense of humor, even about himself. You might not find him at the Post Office though, he knows most people just want to get their mail and go, but you will find him at most community events.
Mike served with me on the Sag Harbor Board of Education for a short time, but it was long enough to realize that his questions, especially in executive sessions, were thoughtful and productive. He could ask awkward questions that needed to be asked, but do so with humor and a light touch.
As an attorney, I have come to understand Mike’s values as a professional and his personal sense of integrity. He is able to compromise on the opinions he holds, but not on his principles. And isn’t that all we can ask of a fellow neighbor, friend or a mayor?
Thomas Horn, Jr.
I am writing this letter in response to a campaign advertisement paid for by a committee supporting Jim Henry for Mayor of Sag Harbor Village. In last week’s ad, Mr. Henry made the bold statement that he will “Restore Sound Fiscal Management” to the Village. If Mr. Henry had attended a single Village Board or Budget meeting over the last four years he would know that the Village’s tax rate has decreased more than 10% while increasing the level of resident services and retaining a healthy fund balance. The practice of this administration over the past four years has been the epitome of sound fiscal management. For Mr. Henry to insinuate otherwise demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the Village’s finances and management.
Mr. Henry also states that he will “prevent an unfair tax burden for our senior citizens”. Again, Mr. Henry’s ignorance prevails as if he were educated on this subject he would understand that our senior citizens have seen significant reductions in their tax rate due to the current administration providing senior citizen tax exemptions at the highest rate allowed by New York State law.
Mr. Henry states that “current spending is out of control” including the police and fire department budgets, yet he then states that “he would plan to significantly increase the budget for planting trees and developing parks as well as develop more Village programs for music and the arts”.Â Does Mr. Henry really believe that planting gardens and holding concerts are more important than the required basic services of public safety?
Lastly, Mr. Henry has stated, “I don’t think Sag Harbor has had the leadership or imagination to make use of our resources,” adding that the Village “has been run by accountants.” Considering the recent fiscal issues in the Towns of Southampton and East Hampton, I am sure that most Village taxpayers feel confident in its most recent leadership.
Greg Ferraris, Mayor
Confused by Ad
In this election season I was confused by the ad Mayoral Candidate Jim Henry is running and handing out.Â He states that he wants to “restore sound fiscal management to Sag Harbor”.Â The statement is puzzling because Gregory Ferraris as Mayor has provided sound and excellent financial management for the Village.Â Gregory has worked hard and applied his considerable skill as a CPA to help navigate the Village into a solid financial position.Â In fact overall spending was reduced from the prior year which resulted in a tax rate decrease.Â A fact which calls into question Mr. Henry’s other assertion regarding unfair tax hikes.Â As Gregory finishes up his term we all owe him a well deserved thank you.Â
Candidates should campaign and articulate positions.Â However, the use of unfounded accusations and scare tactics doesn’t help.Â I would hope all the candidates for Mayor and Trustee can have a respectful and factually based discussion as we campaign.
Sag Harbor, NY
Flags of Honor
This past Sunday, the day before Memorial Day, I started home down the long common drive to my house to find carefully placed American Flags lining the driveway. Flags of honor for Jordan. No note, no call received, just a wonderful quiet demonstration of what Memorial Day is all about. Remembering, honoring the fallen that fought for our freedom.
You brought me to tears. A heartfelt thank you to the secret neighbor, family or group that was so thoughtful.
Can’t Afford HR 676
To the Editor:
Elaine Fox is persistent if nothing else. She keeps saying the same thing over and over again about HR 676 without any attempt to answer the objections that have been offered in opposition. Tim Bishop said it – the people of the U. S. cannot afford this law. He is correct. Recently the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid advised us that Medicare itself is currently $3 trillion dollars in debt. Peter Orszag, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget said in the Wall Street Journal (May 15, 2009) that current projections for Medicaid and Medicare out to 2050 (only 40 years) shows that these two programs will increase from five percent of GDP to 20 percent – and that’s without a “Medicare for all” program.Â
There are many reasons for these high costs but Medicare’s main effort in controlling costs has been to reduce fees to doctors and hospitals. Finding and reducing fraud, continually under-funded by Congress, costs Medicare over $10 billion annually and Medicaid over $32 billion. Also Medicare makes no effort to control costs by limiting access. How many of us know people on Medicare who go to one doctor, then another and another until they are “reassured”? How many know people who have purchased “durable medical equipment” for home use because the vendor says, “no cost to you because you’re on Medicare”? A system that does not involve the patient in being responsible for his or her own health but makes them “immune from payment” as Medicare does is not a healthy system. Human nature demands incentives and our health demands that we take care of ourselves through diet and exercise and making good decisions about our health. If, as with Medicare, we feel we don’t have to pay for our care, and this is expanded to the whole population, then our health care “system” will bankrupt the country.Â
Dr. Fox, your advocacy requires more than your opinion; it requires that you present all of the facts and be honest with those who listen to you. Congressman Bishop and the Obama administration are right to be working on something better than the single payer system offered in HR 676.
Support HR 676
Congressman Tim Bishop calls to “set aside the stale debates of the past and build a uniquely American approach to health care” in a letter to the editor last week.Â Unfortunately, Congress is moving towards more of the same by allowing private health insurance companies to yet again dominate the discussion.Â
A public, single-payer health plan is not even under consideration despite being preferred by the majority of American physicians and patients.Â Almost every other industrialized country has a single-payer plan –Â remarkably, these other nations spend disproportionatelyÂ less on health care yet generally do better on standard health indicators.Â
How can this be? Profits, marketing, underwriting, and other administrative costs of private health insurance companies run about 30% vs. Medicare 4%.Â
The window of opportunity to build a strong health care plan is not yet closed.Â Support a public single-payer plan such as HR 676 (“Medicare for All”) already supported by 75 congressmen but not Congressman Bishop.Â
John Oppenheimer, M.D.