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Letter: Oyster Bay seems intent on stonewalling

Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto is

Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto is seen in this photo from 2011. Photo Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile

The Town of Oyster Bay deserves condemnation for its handling of a public information request by a Newsday reporter ["Reporter escorted out," News, Oct. 31].

Having Ted Phillips escorted by a police officer out of Oyster Bay Town offices on Oct. 26 after he requested records from the town's zoning board of appeals was an unnecessary overreaction and abuse of power.

The reporter was properly doing his job and trying to provide information for the public, information that is legally available to the press and the public. Robert Freeman, head of the New York State Office of Open Government, confirmed that the information being requested was public.

The town's response seems to be part of its ongoing policy to stonewall and withhold information from the public that it deserves to have.

This is an assault on the First Amendment protection of the press and the public's right to know. The town must take whatever measures necessary to appropriately respond to media inquiries.

Chris R. Vaccaro, Lake Grove

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the Press Club of Long Island.