Last week's column carried a letter from Lee Drucker entitled, "response to Ms. Recine." Mr. Drucker was responding to my earlier suggestion that as a senior citizen himself, it might very well be that Mr. Drucker's extraordinary opposition to the proposed Glengariff Senior Manor and the possible presence of an increased number of seniors in his midst might suggest something about his view of his own mortality.
In his letter, Mr. Drucker muses his surprise that I might know something about him, but that he has unfortunately "never even heard of [me]." He claims to be coming from "almost eight decades of life....and four decades of real estate experience," and he demands to know, "Where, Ms. Recine are you coming from?" Well, I thought this might be a good opportunity to tell Mr. Drucker exactly where I'm coming from.
Let me observe at this juncture that the reason I do know something about Mr. Drucker, about which he claims to be surprised, is because I read the local papers and I have attended a number of planning board meetings and have observed him. The reason Mr. Drucker claims that he has "never even heard of [me]" is because despite the fact that I have previously written in this newspaper, attended meetings and even spoken publicly at one, it is clear that he apparently has an attention deficit problem when it comes to anything other than what he has to think or say. Now, as to where I'm coming from.
First, I'm coming from a formal education and undergraduate degree in history. I'm also coming from a number of years of teaching history. Second, I'm coming from a place where I have studied and observed the kinds of behaviors exhibited by the Lee Druckers of the world who seem to have little to offer that's the least bit positive. I say this because after I read Mr. Drucker's letter, I took the time to look through nearly a year's worth of newspapers and I found that Mr. Drucker is a frequent contributor to the letters column and that virtually all of his letters have the same negative, unpleasant tone as the last one in which he demands to know where I'm coming from. In fact, on the Glengariff issue alone, Mr. Drucker has penned no less than two months' worth of attacks on that project.
Third, I'm also coming from a graduate education in law, a clerkship with a federal judge and years of practicing law, all of which have trained me to observe the conduct of others for the purpose of trying to right society's wrongs in whatever small way I can.
Fourth, I am coming from a place of compassion and understanding, a place in which there is room for everyone, including the elderly and infirm. In the context of this debate with Mr. Drucker, however, I would suggest that what is more important than where I am coming from is where I am not coming from.
I am not coming from a place where one "invents" his own interpretation of a zoning ordinance and claims that Glengariff is asking for "special permission to disobey" the law, instead of reading the ordinance which expressly provides for the special use that Glengariff is seeking from the planning board.
Nor am I coming from an abject ignorance about the NY Public Health Law and the requirements for Article 28 licensing and certificates of need, neither of which are necessary for the project Glengariff is proposing. On this issue, Mr. Drucker makes it clear that he knows not from whence he speaks. The applicable Glen Cove ordinances define what a "nursing home" is under Glen Cove's laws for purposes of complying with its zoning ordinances, and the Glengariff project fits into that definition. The Glen Cove ordinances do not concern themselves with NY State requirements with which Glengariff does not need to comply.
Nor am I coming from even more ignorance over the differences between a senior residential, "assisted living" facility and the skilled nursing facility proposed by Glengariff that does not limit its population to seniors and serves the purpose of achieving wellness so its residents can return home rather than live out their days in the facility.
Nor am I coming from a place where I manifest the kind of "chutzpa" that Mr. Drucker shows with his ignorant statements about the "population mix" that he thinks ought to reside in Glen Cove. I sincerely doubt that he has invested any significant portion of his nearly eight decades of life learning anything about history, particularly about the noxious kind of thinking that produced such theories as eugenics or, most recently, claims of what a "population mix" ought to be so that it is not "over-heavy with elderly" as Mr. Drucker posits.
Nor am I coming from a place where, as one woman stated at a recent planning board meeting, the residents of Glen Cove should not have to look at old people in wheelchairs on their boardwalk once the waterfront is revitalized.
I'm not coming from any of those disgusting places where we judge the quality of human beings by their race, their religion or even their age. But I do know where Mr. Drucker is coming from.
I have noticed that two developments within the city limits of Glen Cove have borrowed the name of a neighboring town to name their communities. They have called them "Lattingtown Ponds" and "Lattingtown Preserve."
What is the matter, your honor? Have the reputation and conditions in Glen Cove deteriorated so much that people do not want to be associated with our city any more? Mr. Mayor, what are you and your new city council going to do during your next term to change things around?
By the "available" signs I see all over it seems that people are in a hurry to get out. Mr. Mayor, do not delay-act immediately. You are very well acquainted with the problems.
By the way, I am on my way out too, and you know the reason.
Regards and Happy New Year.
A. M. Schizas
Kudos to Fred Stroppel for his outstanding letter of Dec. 25 regarding his horrible experience in dealing with the Glen Cove Landmark Commission. This commission is no different than any other commission that is full of pointy-headed bureaucrats who have no concept of what the private property rights of a free and law-abiding citizen actually are. They will just go on their merry way with their feel-good agenda and completely ignore the fact that someone may have his/her entire life's worth, or livelihood tied up in a piece of property. The commission will just condemn the building to a landmark status in the name of preservation and leave the property owner with nothing left to show for his/her work and investment.
These ridiculous commissions that infringe on the private property rights of free and law-abiding citizens are not new to Glen Cove. We also have the Glen Cove Tree Commission. This group of tree huggers has been granted the authority to decide who can and cannot cut down a tree in his/her own yard. Even if the tree is dead and about to fall on your house you had better call the Glen Cove Tree Commission for its blessing before you cut it down. If it determines that the tree has been here since Adam and Eve you may not be allowed to cut it at all. If it is benevolent enough to allow you to cut down your own tree you will have to pay for a permit. I, personally, will cut down any tree I want on my own property with or without its permission.
I wish Fred Stroppel still had his fine drinking establishment here in Glen Cove. I would go down, raise a glass of his best beer and drink to the days when we lived freely without these self-anointed commissions that rule over everyone and answer to no one.
Brian F. Pemberton
The most disturbing phrase in your last edition, (Dec. 25), was the caption under the picture that appeared on page 2, "Knights of Columbus place creche on public property..."
While the message of the season is supposed to be one of peace and good will, this intentional placement of an unadorned religious symbol on public property is a deliberate, aggressive attack on the basic principle of the Separation of Church and State. There is ample room on the properties of the various religious institutions of Glen Cove to accommodate a creche. The Village Square placement was unnecessary. The fact that our city administration did agree to this egregious act is disappointing and casts them and our city in a rather poor light.
Stuart S. Blumner
: The following letter was sent to the Planning Board of the City of Glen Cove and is printed here at the author's request.)
Having attended every meeting of the Planning Board with the Glengariff Proposal on the agenda and having obvious personal interest, as well as the interest of my fellow Glen Cove residents at stake, I submit the following for your perusal.
Before he bought his million dollar estate, why didn't he or his elitist attorney check the zoning laws?
"Let the buyer beware!" writes someone in the local papers several months ago.
I agree, but I did check with the Zoning Board; my attorney checked with the Zoning Board. Tom Suozzi, our "phantom mayor," at least on this issue, assured my wife and me nothing could be built but "other million dollar homes like yours on two acres."
My partners also checked. Who are my partners, you ask?
None of us can buy a house today without partners!
The bank is my partner. The insurance company is my partner. They both did their due diligence and we all received the same answer from the Zoning Board. The area you are inquiring about is zoned R-1A or single-family homes on two acres.
I have been advised should the planning board choose to change and tailor the zoning, and in this particular case without even the opinion of the zoning board, that these changes in zoning laws can and may have an adverse effect on one's ability to obtain a mortgage, maintain a mortgage or refinance a house. This becomes an interesting point with mortgage rates at a 23-month low.
Likewise, I have been informed the same about obtaining and maintaining reasonable insurance rates. This is a particularly sensitive issue should it include any form of restricted police or fire department access.
Furthermore, I've been told these institutions can take a position in any and all legal procedures with properties they are, as I described my partners, in.
If the Glengariff project passes among all this controversy, there is a good chance Glen Cove will be red flagged as a city with irregular and erratic down-zoning and zoning variances, making it a difficult city for a partner, namely the bank or insurance company, to use a regular means of determining value or the ability to maintain said value.
The usual result is either significantly higher insurance rates to cover future possible irregularities and significantly lower assessed value by appraisers, making obtaining a mortgage difficult at best and, ultimately, forcing sellers to take less for their homes citywide.
The spiraling effect lowers property values - tax revenues - school tax revenues in particular, and makes Glen Cove an economically undesirable place to live, not to mention a very difficult place to conduct business.
It has been suggested this project has been slated to pass from day one. Hearsay, I'm sure.
Special Counsel has been retained to deal with this issue. One of the planning board members had to recuse himself. Through it all, our Mayor Tom Suozzi remains conspicuous by his absence in the proceedings.
I would hope the Planning Board is not willing to accept a legal exposure for the City of Glen Cove that may involve banks, other lenders and insurance companies capable of defending their position with far deeper pockets than any of us, by passing the Glengariff project to appease the greed of one man who, I'm told, bought residential property at residential property prices and has had every intention of using this residential property for commercial purposes (commercial property would probably cost 10 times the amount he paid) from the moment he purchased same and with the full knowledge and cooperation of the mayor and other city officials and whose project blatantly violates our cities' zoning laws and leaves us, the entire city of Glen Cove, subject to everything I previously mentioned.
We are all neighbors here. It's time we started acting like neighbors.
Furthermore, if Mr. Minesse or his attorney, Mr. Henderson, based on their closing comments at the last Planning Board meeting are unaware of the feelings of the opposition on this issue, let me go on record as saying should they choose to build one-family homes on two acres as provided for in the zoning code, I will personally drive the welcome wagon. These homes would bring up our property values, provide tax revenues and people to shop in our stores and eat in our restaurants downtown. Nursing home (is that what he'd like to build? I still can't figure it out, can you?) residents would not offer the city those luxuries.
Please support us, the people of Glen Cove and say "No" to Glengariff.
By Victoria Crosby
From the Brookville Church of purest white,
where no-one sleeps on the streets at night,
a Reverend with a Spanish last name
thinks that he can place the blame
on a community not far away,
where homeless people work by day,
but do not have a place to stay.
In a city of diverse population,
a microcosm of our nation,
with coffins in front of City Hall,
the media answered the Reverend's call.
A theatrical protest most bizarre,
but people know his motives are
self-promoting, for if he
cared about humanity
he would not try to humiliate
a community working to create
solutions to problems that are worldwide,
a city he has vilified.
Judge not, Jesus said,
but the Reverend heard not,
the lesson on casting stones he forgot.
At publicity seeking he works real hard,
but house the homeless in Brookville?
Not in his backyard!