Is This the Land of No?

Sometime it feels like we’re living in the Land of No. There are quite a few things in recent memory to which one or another Sag Hampton group has said (or tried to say) NO!

Many folks said no to the NYS Department of Transportation a few years ago when they proposed a roundabout at the wharf end of Main Street.

CONPOSH (Coalition of Neighborhoods for the Preservation Of Sag Harbor) and others said no to the expansion of 127 Main Street by its former owner, Jon Gruen.

The John Jermain Future Fund said no to the idea of a new library building near Mashashimuet Park.

The Sag Harbor CAC (Citizens Advisory Committee) — of which I am co-chair — tried to say no to the new Bayburger Restaurant opening soon on the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike.

More successfully, the CAC said no to the Reid brothers’ plans to expand their service station to include a full-service car wash, and large parking facility for the use of contractors working locally.

Many in the community, including columnist Tony Brandt and newspaper editor Rick Murphy, would very much like to say no the the Sag Harbor School District’s  budget.

The Water Mill CAC, and the Village of Southampton are attempting to say no to LIPA’s effort to run new power lines on immense 60′ metal poles through the Village and parts of Water Mill and Bridgehampton.

Neighbors tried to say no to Wolffer Vineyard’s effort to erect new workforce housing on Narrow Lane in Bridgehampton, adjacent to the vineyard.

Almost everyone on Long Island, except the mayor of Greenport, wants to say a loud no to Broadwater’s floating Liquid Natural Gas terminal proposed for Long Island Sound.

Many, many people, including County Executive Steve Levy as well as the Southampton Town Board, and East Hampton Village’s powers-that-be are vociferously saying no to any kind of hiring hall or worklink center for day laborers wherever they gather looking for work.

Some folks in Sag Harbor want to say no to the new condominiums proposed for the area at the foot of the North Haven Bridge where the Sag Harbor Professional Building now stands.

Back to Narrow Lane where (the same?) residents said no to a bike lane along their street.

Sag Harbor citizenry said a most definite no to the purchase of two properties adjacent to the High School by the school district.

Barnes and Noble in Bridgehampton? No.

Affordable housing Remsenberg/Speonk? No.

Anti-war protesters in Southampton’s Independence Day Parade? No. (Well maybe, now that the courts have spoken.)

How about expanding Sunrise Highway all the way to the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike so that then-Governor Hugh Carey could get to his summer home on Shelter Island more easily? No. (Alright, that was a really dumb idea.)

A nuclear reactor in Shoreham? No way. (Yeah, that one was pretty dumb too.)

I could go on. I seem to have an almost photographic memory for ideas and projects that were shot down by community activists and/or local government. Frankly, I was one of the community activists expressing my disapproval in many (but not all) of the aforementioned instances. While I don’t regret my involvement in those issues, the cumulative weight of all those “nos” has got me thinking that I’m really tired of saying no. I’ve reached the point where I just want to say YES to something. Yes, Yes and Yes. And I’m going to start right now.

I say yes to Mike and Pat Trunzo’s proposal to create a mixed-use affordable housing/office development on their property on the Turnpike.

Yes to Five Towns Rural Transits’ efforts to create a light-rail and bus network here on the East End.

Yes to a new and/or expanded Library, wherever it may be located.

Yes to the Sag Harbor Village zoning code overhaul, and the Mayor’s and Trustees’ efforts to create more opportunities for affordable housing in the village…and yes to accessory apartments.

Yes to cops and cones on County Road 39, whatever the hell it costs.

Yes to more bike lanes, sidewalks and safer routes for kids walking and biking to school.

And finally, yes to acknowledging our common humanity and kinship to each other; to treating all people with dignity and respect; and so, yes to providing safe places where people who want to do needed work can find the work they need to do to support themselves and their families.
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7 Responses to Is This the Land of No?

  1. Anonymous says:

    And finally, yes to acknowledging our common humanity and kinship to each other; to treating all people with dignity and respect; and so, yes to providing safe places where people who want to do needed work can find the work they need to do to support themselves and their families.

    How beautiful a way to regard something as simple as a meeting place for workers. It gets down to the truth of the matter. To other readers: If that statement didn’t reach you, read it again until it does!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sag Harbor has a problem with affordable housing. It has become such a problem that the future of Sag Harbor has to leave Sag Harbor because they can no longer afford to live there.
    New York real estate developer Arnold Fisher, who helped spearhead the project to build the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center, TX, has often been criticized for using private donations to fund the Intrepid Center, rather than the governments funding. He answers his critics with “Why would we want our government to do that which we could do ourselves in half the time, at the half the cost and twice the quality?”
    I applaud Mike and Pat Trunzo for stepping up to the plate and not putting this on the government of Sag Harbor. We need to take care of our own and help these families that are trying to make it. People who can afford to spearhead a project of this nature need to invest in the future of Sag Harbor, before it is too late.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It sure reached me.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Great article! I’m glad that Sag Harbor said yes to the school budget.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I like that quote. I agree with hyou about the Trunzos taking the initiative, but I also think that government can step in and provide incentives for more folks to do the same. Something has to be done and human nature being what it is, most of us will need an outside push.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The last sentence of your comment reminded me of an idea I’ve been kicking around for a while. I think there are lots of generous and well meaning people around who contribute to charities and causes they believe in and make donations when they’re asked who might do well to think outside the box and display their giving spirit in other ways as well. For example:
    What if they also made other gestures, large and small, that would make a difference? Buying from charitable companies even though the merchandise might be pricier, shopping at local stores, even though it might cost more, because it’s good to support the local economy, buying and building ‘green’ for the sake of our environment, using credit cards that are tied to socially responsible causes—ditto for the companies they invest in, not trying to make a ‘killing’ when selling their houses or determining what rent they’ll charge.
    I’m sure there are lots of other examples. I’d love to hear about some of them from other people.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Corinne, Kathryn, Bobbie and anonymous posters for your thoughtful comments. I take it as a good sign that when I write about positive things, I get a strong response. I really enjoy reading what others have to say about the topics I bring up. That’s a big part of the reason that I started blogging in the first place — to start a dialog with other folks who care about our community. Thanks again, and keep writing.

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