Next Stop, Baltimore?
To the Editor:
As a long-time taxpayer in the Sag Harbor School District, I just wanted to express my strong support for Superintendent Gratto’s brilliant notion of subjecting all of our school-age urchins to random sniffs by drug-detecting canines — especially since the dogs in question will apparently be provided “free of charge” by the Suffolk County Police.
True, there has only been one rather minor incident reported recently, where a school-ager was allegedly found with a tiny amount of marijuana in his or her possession.
But your editorial is absolutely right. That one incident might very well just be the thin edge of the wedge.
Unless we take firm action now, we might soon be confronted with Baltimore-like vistas all over our community: “shooting galleries,” street-corner dealers, piles of discarded needles, and the inevitable sequel — demands for expensive drug treatment programs and methadone clinics.
I only wish to suggest that we take Superintendent Gratto’s inspired initiative one tiny step farther.
After all, why stop with the schools?
Since the dogs are free, and our new little Village Court could badly use the business, why not sign up a whole pack of doobie-dogs?to roam the streets of Sag Harbor at random, sniffing out the scores of secret adult tokers who are undoubtedly lurking right in our midst this very minute?
Such a policy would help to make not only our schools, but our entire Village, a “drug-free zone” where dealers and users traffic only at their peril.
If the urchin druggies and their adult facilitators want to party hardy, they will simply have do so outside of school hours, or in Bridgehampton.
Of course they are free to take up heavy drinking, a traditional Sag Harbor pastime that only the most puritanical in our bar-laden community have ever sought to discourage.
As a dog lover, I’m also hopeful that this policy will bring a more discriminating, professional class of dogs to Sag Harbor than the rather feckless, indolent lot that we’ve grown used to.
James S. Henry, Esq.
Decrying Trees’ Demise
On October 29, I was surprised to discover that our new neighbor, the owner of 36 Oakland, had taken down approximately 18 mature trees in her front yard sometime during the previous week, leaving a battlefield of stumps on the lawn. Then, an additional six to seven trees in the side backyard were removed later.
The trees taken down were all fine specimens, a few rare, most of them planted 25 years ago (or more), so mature and historic. These trees include a California Redwood (uncommon east of the Mississippi), a Katsura Japonica, a Sand Dollar Prunus, a Hickory, and several other unusual specimens. In size, four of the trees taken down were 25” to 30” in caliper, while some seven others measured more than 15” in caliper size.
Some recurring questions come to mind: Why did the homeowner do this, and did she consult an accredited arborist about taking trees down properly or judiciously pruning them? Did she realize the value of her beautiful trees? And how does she plan to replace them? It appears unlikely that the Village office received her application for a Certificate of Appropriateness, as is customary for any property within the Historic District (see Village Code sections #300-13.4 and 300-13.6). A neighbor opposite said she never saw anyone inspecting the trees beforehand — until she noticed several unmarked trucks in the driveway with workers who proceeded to cut down the trees.
Except for an existing maple (now badly trimmed) on the driveway, all the trees in question had been carefully chosen and planted by the late John Sampson, who acquired the property in the early ‘80s and created this garden. Sampson loved trees, knew a good deal about various species and chose his specimens with considerable care, often going far afield to find what he wanted. Since the house had originally been built over 25 years ago on fill (brought in to raise the grade 8’ to 10’ above the Oakland wetlands), all the #36 trees were those specifically planted by Sampson; indeed John took very good care of his trees until the last few years when he became housebound. He died at 97 years this past year, and his estate sold the property to this new owner.
To cut down trees without due consultation with the Village office or trained arborists sets an unfortunate precedent, for well-grown, mature trees cannot be replaced in a season or two — and those Oakland trees enhanced the whole neighborhood, visually, environmentally and aesthetically for over a generation. We hope the Village can find ways to prevent such a massive take-down in the future, and further to educate homeowners, old timers and newcomers, on the positive values of urban greenery in our community.
Thanks for Being There
The Sag Harbor first responders are awesome people! Each and every one who came to our aid Thursday morning in the pouring rain when my daughter Sophie got in a bad car accident on her way to school
They were there very quickly to help and make sure everyone was OK. A very competent crew.
Sophie and I want to thank you very much.
Get Ready for Fireworks
A majority of Americans believe that our country is “on the wrong track.” I believe that we have been feeling that way for a long, long time. I also believe that underlying that feeling is a tremendous frustration at our inability to solve almost any problem.
I have written often about the need for entitlement reform, especially for Medicaid. I wrote the following in a “Letter to the Editor” in 1993: “The state must institute cost containment in mandated programs because mandated programs are in the process of bankrupting local municipalities and you, the taxpayer.” Almost 20 years and nothing has changed. Actually, that is not true, things have gotten worse.
The Great American Frustration: solutions that never see the light of day It is my fervent belief that most of us are tired of waiting and waiting and waiting for action.? Tired, frustrated, and angry make not for a jolly public mood. Fireworks are coming, fair reader, fireworks are coming.