Gratuitous Swipe - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2246843

Gratuitous Swipe

I’m writing in response to a letter by Craig Catalanotto [“What Are We Doing?” Letters, April 18], with specific reference to his gratuitous and irrational swipe at Southampton Town Councilman Tommy John Schiavoni.

Mr. Catalanotto, a Southampton Town Planning Board member, expresses reservations about multifamily affordable housing, based principally on considerations of tax revenue and traffic, alleging that it results in too little of the former and too much of the latter.

So far, so questionable. I don’t claim to know whether Mr. Catalanotto’s general complaints in this regard are based on fact or not, but I do know an unsupported, out-of-the-blue attack when I see one.

He states that Tommy John Schiavoni has proposed modifying town law “to allow for affordable secondary rental dwellings on half-acre parcels” and calls that “madness.”

Why so? Craig Catalanotto does not favor us with an explanation of why promoting affordable housing in the accessory units he describes is “madness.” He simply makes the accusation and moves on.

The reader who tries to puzzle it out is stymied. An individual accessory unit — garage apartment, guest cottage or interior apartment — does not give cause for either of the complaints Mr. Catalanotto raises about multifamily projects: it doesn’t reduce tax revenue, and it doesn’t increase traffic, at least not to anything like the degree that multi-unit communities do.

If the writer is claiming that a sufficient number of accessory units would have an appreciable negative effect, he is either deceived or trying to deceive us, because as a Planning Board member he must know that accessory apartments take a long time to accumulate.

No, I’ve concluded that Craig Catalanotto just wanted to lash out at Tommy John Schiavoni for reasons of his own, and I’m calling him on it.

Mr. Schiavoni has a record of service as a teacher and public official that is equaled by few in Southampton. He’s running for New York State Assembly in November and deserves to win in the view of very many, including the longtime incumbent, Fred Thiele.

(As I write this, I’m hearing on the news that the just-passed New York State budget includes a provision for accessory apartments, so perhaps the State Legislature is going mad, too.)

Please join me in voting for Tommy John Schiavoni for Assembly in November — and don’t be misled by irrational, unsupported allegations.

George Lynch


Lynch is the communications chair for the Southampton Democratic Committee — Ed.