Letters To The Editor
May 30, 2011
City’s Job Is to Protect the Health of All its Citizens
Three years ago, in July, I took the five-minute boat ride to South Hen Island with real estate agents. No sooner did we step foot on the island than we were, without exaggeration, set upon by mosquitoes. They covered my bare arms and legs and were in my eyes and mouth. I was there to work; the appalling cloud of mosquitoes made it very nearly impossible.
I couldn't wait to get off the island. I left with countless bites, and the impression that warnings about West Nile Virus and mosquito prevention had somehow failed to travel to Hen Island, with its horse troughs of standing water and peculiar smells.
There persists the idea that because Hen Island is surrounded by water, it’s isolated from the larger community. But it's disingenuous for Mayor French to say he is “more worried about the water line under Purchase Street”, as if the City of Rye begins and ends at Purchase Street (and as though he can’t address two problems at once).
Gone are the days when environmental problems are looked upon or dealt with as though they exist in isolation. Hen Island may be surrounded by water, but it’s a stone's throw from Greenhaven, the clubs with their beaches, and passing boat traffic. It’s still located in the heart of suburbia.
Why would Mayor French be “looking to the County for guidance?” The County has already said that the sewer problem at Hen Island is for the City of Rye to correct, so what kind of handholding does the City need? Bringing basic sewer services, protecting the health and well being of its citizens, is among the essential functions of government, so why does Mayor French (and the mayor that preceded him) treat this as trivial?
And what's really in Rye’s best financial interest: to spend money to hook up a sewer or septic system to Hen Island, or to spend that money on lawyers and court costs for the next ten years, Osborn-style?