Controlled Narrative - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2061075

Controlled Narrative

The Sag Harbor School Board has repeated since September that it will do “community outreach” to get input from the village population on the Marsden lots. At the Sag Harbor School Board meeting this past week, it was suggested by a board member that this outreach would be done solely by way of written questions from the general public, and that those questions would need to be submitted to the board beforehand.

This is not a reasonable way to engage in community outreach. The School Board engaged similarly before the vote in November. It allowed only parents to attend a live meeting at the school, to ask any questions that parents wished and to have a back-and-forth dialogue.

But for those of us in the larger village community, only questions that were written out, and sent to the school and approved by the board beforehand, had any chance of being answered. There was no opportunity for follow up for live conversation or interaction around the issues. It was an unfair set-up, because the School Board so tightly controlled the narrative around the proposed acquisition.

The School Board has been more recently asked by members of the community to set up an actual live conversation, and to include its neighbors and members of the surrounding community to discuss ideas. This seemingly is not being considered at this point.

The School Board has disingenuously repeated that “nothing has been decided,” giving the impression that this land might be used in a less destructive way than the synthetic turf, bleachers, lights, traffic and attendant noise — but if the School Board receives the Community Preservation Fund money, the school will have even fewer reasons to engage with its neighbors and fellow villagers.

The Southampton Town Board members should vote not to allow CPF to be used to destroy land in the center of Sag Harbor’s historical village.

Janis A. Donnaud

Sag Harbor