October 3, 2011
The family of Katherine Myers Penati wishes to thank everyone in this wonderful community for their outpouring of love, kindness, and generosity in our time of grief. We would especially like to thank Mr. Tom Connors, Katherine’s longtime companion, and Mr. and Mrs. J. Bates, for their generous support. Thank you all.
For Katherine’s Family
September 30, 2011
Destruction of the historic farm buildings on the “Stern’s site” is an enormous loss to our community — and an indictment of the current [town] administration.
They should be held accountable on Election Day or, if re-elected, for insensitivity to the nature of this community with subsequent use of the site monitored closely.
Almost all of East Hampton rallied against A&P’s proposed development of this “limited business” site, adjacent to prime residential (2 to 4-acre zoning) into a “superstore.”
The village, for whose central shopping district A&P (Waldbaum’s) was pivotal, offered remodeling to improve efficiency, parking, cleanliness, space, etc.
Instead, A&P pushed for a “superstore” in a hazardous location. The community fought back, led by enlightened prior town officials.
This Montauk Highway site borders already dangerous traffic on Skimhampton Road, Spring Close Highway, Cross Highway, and Maple Avenue. Heavy traffic plus day-and-night lighting would have destroyed residential tranquillity and blighted nearby Two Mile Hollow beach.
Furthermore, the existing original buildings — a farmhouse, stables, barns, sheds, etc., charmingly accommodated first Gertz, then Stern’s, for a limited, dry goods department store. The bustle of heavier commerce — and new buildings — would have removed even more historic character from our community.
Previous town administrations checked preservation of the buildings to avoid deterioration and permit an ultimate tenant to have effective space in the “original character” of East Hampton.
Evan Frankel, who single-handedly preserved most of the Newtown Lane’s buildings — whose character enhances their commerce — conceived the similar farm-cum-low-key commercial use as of essence to our community.
I wrote seven key town officials on July 11, 2011, asking for interim preservation, but received no answer from any of them.
Now too late, and, once again, real estate speculators have a “property” without history, tradition, charm, or natural beauty. Who is accountable?
September 25, 2011
Although I read most of your letters and often have an opinion, I rarely feel the need to respond. Today is different. As I read the letter titled “Choice of Dates,” I couldn’t believe what I was reading. The Montauk fall festival has always been held on Columbus Day weekend; it is not a matter of “choosing” a date.
Paul Monte and his family are the opposite of insensitive, they are truly generous and always there for our community. Paul does not make decisions for our chamber of commerce but all of us, as members, come to a consensus on decisions. What Paul Monte does is donate a tremendous amount of his time to help our town in any way he can.
In addition, the Montauk fall festival is full of fun and activities and “eating” is only one of them. We all respect each other’s culture and religious practices and will continue to do so as we gather to enjoy our fall festival. Thank you to all of our chamber members for all that you do to make Montauk the special place that it is!
Preserve the Name
October 3, 2011
“Time and tide waits for no man.” This is an expression I have heard many times. It seems to relate to the old whalers and fishermen I grew up with. Well, the time and tide has come and gone. At the age of 90, John Cullen died. His funeral was held with Coast Guard honors in Virginia, where he retired, about 1,000 miles, more or less, from Long Island. The city where he lived named a street after him in his honor.
John was a born native of Long Island. It has been more than six decades that this young man, at the age of 21, happened upon a group of four Nazi saboteurs while patrolling Atlantic Avenue Beach in Amagansett on June 13, 1942. John, with his quick wits, got back to his superiors at the Amagansett Life Saving Service and United States Coast Guard station who notified the F.B.I. It took several weeks before the saboteurs were apprehended in New York City but from the explosives found in their possession, it was clear they intended to destroy the city’s subway systems, railroads, bridges, and large buildings.
The Hamptons, especially East Hampton, was always the playground of New York City. New York City was and is the gateway of world trade and the lifeline that saved the British in the war with Germany. Hitler knew he would have to destroy the city in order to win the war.
The Navy and Coast Guard were rescuing hundreds of British ships from being destroyed by Nazi Wolf Pack submarines just over the horizon. The bloodline and artery of the British was being lost. This all took place before the war. Congress would not appropriate money to upgrade our old run-down armed forces.
Although the Germans were at our doorstep, our armed forces equipment was from World War I. We were in full production to keep the British supplied. We gave them our old Navy destroyers and war equipment to keep the Nazi war machine from attacking the United States.
Hitler’s army and armed forces were the most modern of that time in history. President Roosevelt and the armed forces were aware of the threat of war and when it did happen, there was never an issue with Congress or the politicians in Washington as far as funding was concerned; they all banded together.
If John Cullen had been killed and his body buried behind a sand dune, or at sea, no one would have ever known what happened to him. New York City would have been destroyed and it would have affected the whole nation. We now have, after more then six decades, a committee to restore the U.S.C.G. and L.S.S. station. What has taken so long? This building has more historical value than any place in our township.
I am a retired U.S.C.G. and U.S. Navy member with years of service before and during World War II. I feel it is a disgrace to not do more to preserve the name of John Cullen. He will never know, and I will never forget, but I will make this promise until time and tide take me. I will do all I can do, Comrade Cullen, to preserve the Amagansett Life Saving Service and United States Coast Guard station.
CAPT. MILTON L. MILLER
September 27, 2011
We know who they are! We can ID them!
The cats on the roof by the flag in your photo (Star, Sept, 23, B3) are us! The Amagansett Fish Factory Feral Colony!
We loved being captioned “American cats” because Juan is from Puerto Rico, Rita is Ecuadorean, and Trevor is Canadian. I, Fiona — the cutie in front looking into the camera — am the lone local, born under Iacono’s chicken house.
We hope we’re the first to reply, because winter’s coming on and we can really use the prize Star caps and T-shirts! Just leave them for us on the icebox outside the Old Stone Deli, and we’ll come by and pick them up. (Shirt size: SS. Caps: SSSS.)
And thanks again to the man with the camera for the free Tender Vittles that lured us onto the roof. Being fraidy cats, we feared the chow was drugged with knockout powder to wrangle us off to the spaying place, or Deportation, but it wasn’t.
Message sent by:
October 1, 2011
Ginger needs a doggy wheelchair. She is 17 years old and the senior citizen who rescued her so many years ago loves her so much that she walks her with a sling. This is extremely hard on my animal-loving neighbor, as she weighs all of 105 pounds and is in her late 60s.
Ginger had been severely abused during her earlier life before Fusae Shigezawa rescued her. Ginger has a very sweet nature even though she has the scars to prove it, the German shepherd part of her mixed breed is what has made her unable to control her hind legs. Dr. Jonathan Turetsky looked in his garage for his own dog’s wheelchair but it was too big for Ginger. She is only 55 pounds.
Fusae and I unsuccessfully tried to find Ginger a used wheelchair. There was nothing in her size. I finally placed an order for a new one that would be made to her specifications. The chair, with stirrups and shipping, costs $600. I paid a $160 retainer. We need an additional $440 as soon as possible to complete the purchase.
Donations for Ginger Shigezawa’s wheelchair can be made by calling Eddy’s Wheels in Massachusetts at 888-211-2700. Please speak with Carol or Leslie and specify that your loving donation is for Ginger Shigezawa, the lame German shepherd mix.
We thank you so very much for your generosity and kindness to this spirited, sweet old dog who knows she’s loved.
October 2, 2011
To the Editor:
As a parent of a former Ross student, I am very familiar with the history of the school. Mrs. Ross’s misstatements were disturbing at best. It is well known that a trip to the Egyptian pyramids with Mrs. Ross’s daughter and a few friends launched the school, not ventures to China and Japan, as she stated at the meeting.
Making Mandarin Chinese mandatory at the school, beginning in the early years, offers a unique opportunity to the students, but how does a student become fluent in the language if he or she only attends Ross for high school? Her assertion that the economy of China is booming is also incorrect. Their economy is sputtering along with the rest of the world after a dramatic and unprecedented rise over the past several years. Finally, there are very few European schools that require fluency in two languages besides one’s native language in order to graduate.
Apparently, no parents at the meeting would go on record regarding these misstatements, after openly disagreeing with them. The parents seem to be forgetting who is paying the $32,000 tuition.
Infusion of Funds
September 27, 2011
We want to thank the East Hampton community and Springs in particular for graciously hosting the fifth annual Hamptons Marathon and Half-Marathon last Saturday.
We had 1,700 runners show up on a humid, but thankfully rain-free, morning to test the limits of their endurance. These athletes hailed from 28 states and five countries — including runners from Belgium, Germany, Spain, Australia, and two who traveled from Qatar. We had over 400 runners seeking local accommodations, and hungry athletes dining out on Friday night as well as eating and shopping after the race.
We are still running the numbers, but we are estimating the economic impact on the local economy to exceed $150,000. After the end of summer getting washed out by Irene, we are proud to bring this infusion of funds into our community. We should know the size of the donation that we will be making to Project Most, Southampton Hospital, and the East Hampton Day Care Learning Center in the next few weeks.
Till then, we would like to express our gratitude to the East Hampton Police Department for their tireless work, to Michael Hartner and the Springs School custodial staff, and to everyone who volunteered with us. And finally, but by no means last, thank you to the Springs community for your support and patience.
October 3, 2011
To the Editor,
My name is Stephen K. Lynch, and I am running for superintendent of highways in East Hampton.
As I go from door to door and from one meeting to another, I hear a lot of the same thing. I would like you all to know that the Suffolk County Water Authority, when placing new water mains, repaves the roads at its expense. The only charge to the towns is for traffic control. Yes, I said towns. The Suffolk County Water Authority has this agreement with all towns and it is not negotiated by any one superintendent of highways. So please be advised that this is not one person’s doing.
If elected, I will set up an infrastructure plan, mapping out all drainage, roads, and sidewalks with their condition.
The superintendent is only required to keep 10 percent in surplus, but now tells the people he is saving them money by placing more in surplus. In the end this costs the taxpayer more, as many of the roads are falling apart.
Take a ride around Montauk, Amagansett, Springs, East Hampton, and Wainscott; see for yourself. Roads have been micro-paved that should be asphalted. Cracks and spiderweb cracks reappear within a couple of months. This is a big waste of money; he should have been asking the town board to use some of the surplus to do the proper job — in the end it is cheaper.
We can’t forget the cost of equipment upkeep. At this point the equipment is in no better shape than the roads.
With all this in mind you can understand the importance of a plan. I will spend the taxpayers’ money wisely while working at doing a proper job.
If we continue to operate the way it has been going, we will end up with as large a deficit as the town’s $27 million.
With this said, I am asking you to go to the polls on Nov. 8 and cast your vote for me, Stephen K. Lynch.
STEPHEN K. LYNCH
Put on Boots
October 2, 2011
This is a letter to thank Scott King for doing what the three previous Highway Department superintendents promised to do but never did.
I have been a taxpaying, voting resident of East Hampton for 43 years. I built my house in 1968. When we encountered the first heavy rain after we moved in we needed to take off our shoes to get in and when we needed to leave we had to put on boots. Three downhill roads converge on our corner where there is a dry well that could not accommodate the town waters.
The highway superintendent at the time promised to put in another dry well, which he did not do. The previous superintendent, rather than solve the problem, tied together underground the dry well across the street, which was a perennially “dry” well, to our dry well so some of the water would bubble up in the one across the street, lessening the amount of water in our parking area and property.
Nonetheless, in a heavy flash-flood rain, the water would rise up on our property ever so close to the basement steps, leaving me in fear of a basement flood caused by the town waters running down three streets and filling the entire corner with water, which is my property.
A driveway specialist was of some help. He tilted ever so slightly the parking area so some of the water would run off downhill into the woods. It didn’t stop the accumulation of leaves, sand, and other debris from running into the parking area and plugging the dry-well cover with a thick, impenetrable mat. With the threat of 11-inch rains in the New York area I panicked and was prepared to buy sand bags. Fortunately Scott decided to take action.
Scott King is my savior. He is the first superintendent who listened and came over to survey the situation. He made a decision to put in dry wells, and although not yet finished, one could see that most of the water would run off into them prior to reaching my parking area.
Thank you, Scott, for addressing a situation that sorely needed a remedy and that was an endless worry, thus allowing me to sleep peacefully.
Slash and Burn
October 3, 2011
The East Hampton Town Board proposal to amend the site plan review for active farm operations, discussed in your excellent editorial (Sept. 29), and up for public hearing tonight, addresses a desirable goal. Making it easier for farmers to put temporary structures such as hoophouses, tunnels, or cold frames on their farms could help them extend the season, reduce the need for pesticides, and possibly increase the yield per acre of land.
Unfortunately, the legislation takes a slash-and-burn approach to the review process in the interest of the town board’s war on our planning board and professional planners. The resulting changes could allow destruction of farm vistas important to neighbors and the larger community while introducing a corrupted planning process.
The measure goes beyond support for minor initiatives, vesting the architectural review board with authority to approve huge “temporary” structures of up to 8 percent of a farm lot’s square footage and permanent buildings up to a quarter of that size. The A.R.B. could waive current rules against new structures on farms where the town owns development rights. Setbacks for all kinds and sizes of structures would be the same as those normally applied to small residential plots. In the case of a five-acre farm, for example, that could allow for a 16,000-square-foot greenhouse 20 feet from the road and 15 feet from the neighboring property line.
The proposed legislation sets forth no standards — and gives no indication on what grounds the architectural review board could reject a plan or require modifications in it. The board has only 15 days to review an application, and no obligation to notify neighbors or the public. The A.R.B. is a politically appointed body, with no professional planning or environmental expertise required of its appointees. It would not be the right agency for this charge even if appropriate conditions were set forth in the law.
The Democratic candidates for town board and supervisor have developed and publicized a more careful plan for expediting site review for farmers. It has two tiers of review depending on the complexity of the application and the level of potential negative impact on the community.
Applications for small structures would be referred to the Planning Department, but the forms would be simplified, with no fees and no survey required. There would be no public hearing or planning board review absent substantial community and neighbor concerns. Procedures for larger structures would also be simplified.
Deputy Supervisor Theresa Quigley sneered at the Democratic alternative in a public meeting. I urge readers to see for themselves. Check the Democratic Web site, easthamptondemocrats.org, before the town board hearing tonight. Speak up for helping farmers in a way that also works for the whole community.
Jeanne Frankl is chairwoman of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Ed
October 1, 2011
In recent weeks a lot has been said about East Hampton Town’s acceptance of Federal Aviation Administration funding for East Hampton Airport. I would like to offer a more reasoned observation.
Since 1999 Montauk Airport has accepted and utilized hundreds of thousands of federal grant money for airport improvements. Capital projects have included runway resurfacing, installation of navigational aids, inadvertent entry fencing, and runway lighting and demarcating.
Our overall objective in embarking on these projects has been to improve the safety standards of the airport as per F.A.A. mandate, and enhance the aesthetic appearance of the facility. I invite the public to take a ride out to Montauk to see firsthand the transformation of the airport.
Montauk has been designated a reliever airport by the F.A.A., meaning that in case of a major disaster, large aircraft can be diverted here from airports farther west. In addition, we serve as a potential land-evacuation site for major storms and offshore search-and-rescue operations.
Our record of enhancements should be noted in terms of discussions regarding the future of East Hampton Airport. As a larger and more active facility, it would be incumbent on East Hampton to take advantage of funding opportunities before grant tenders expire.
PERRY DURYEA III
Take the Money
October 3, 2011
I have noticed with interest all the concerns expressed over the airport and whether or not the Town of East Hampton should accept money from the Federal Aviation Administration in order to make much-needed improvements, not expansion. I have a simple reply to these concerns. How can we not take the money? It’s a no-brainer.
In this time of severe financial distress, when East Hampton taxpayers can ill afford an additional tax to pay for additional spending, why would we want to turn down federal money? As I understand it, this money comes from a baggage tax already imposed on every traveler and so we have technically paid into this fund ourselves, every time we traveled.
East Hampton just cannot afford the luxury of turning down F.A.A. money for the airport. To do so would be foolish.
Mr. Myers is the former owner of Myers Aero Service which was at the East Hampton Airport. The company is now Sound Aviation. Ed.
October 3, 2011
As an airport-noise mitigation advocate for the past 20 years, imagine my delight to read the Democratic Party position paper on the airport last week! This is precisely what those of us suffering from airport noise have been waiting for: a balanced approach to the airport as the asset it is, endeavoring to make it sustainable without burdening the taxpayers and residents of East Hampton with its care and upkeep. This plan recognizes the tremendous toll air traffic takes on the local community with intolerable levels of noise and air pollution, planning to address that while keeping the airport safe for those few who use it.
Developing a policy that does not value one tiny fraction of the community over another places responsibility for the airport where it belongs — with the town — and gives voice to the thousands of households whose quality of life is so dramatically impaired by aircraft noise.
It’s refreshing to see politicians actually address an issue substantively. The Democrats should be congratulated for taking a bold step, one that might not sit so well with the powers that be, but clearly one that holds real solutions for local control of our airport.
I hope the other political parties will endorse this policy or create a similar one themselves. It’s the right approach.
Declare a Moratorium
October 3, 2011
After interminable debate and dozens of articles, there remains vociferous disagreement regarding whether or not East Hampton Town, as airport proprietor, does or does not have power to control aircraft access to the airport.
Given this disagreeable situation, it would appear to be in the best interests of all to declare a moratorium on expansion, “safety” improvements, or acceptance of any Federal Aviation Administration money until this crucial point has been legally clarified at the state and/or federal level. Without legal clarification, the questions and recriminations will continue, making an already intolerable situation even more disagreeable.
This is the issue making headlines, yet there are many other troubling issues to contend with at East Hampton Airport: the toxic effect of aviation-fuel emissions, no monitoring of air quality surrounding the airport, no monitoring of groundwater quality — all major health concerns for area residents.
It was interesting to read in the article by Joanne Pilgrim (Sept. 29) that all Democratic candidates have stated a position on the F.A.A. funding issue and it is laudable that they have the courage to do so. It would be helpful if candidates running for the Independence and Republican Parties would publicly state their positions on the issue, so voters can base their decisions on statements in the public record and not on hearsay.
Does East Hampton Town simply not want to assert local control and therefore is shamefully using the F.A.A. as an excuse? Residents have the right to know whether or not the town would have the power to exclude aircraft, set curfews, or otherwise restrict airport access in order to control noise if the F.A.A. — and not the Town of East Hampton — is in control of the airport. Voters need the truth, no jargon, no obfuscation, just facts. Thank you.
October 3, 2011
There are unexplored ironies in present airport discussions. Here is one: The control tower will be an effective tool in reducing the negative impact of the airport. The control tower will not reduce noise.
The quantity and severity of noise are dependent on the number and types of aircraft. A control tower will not change the types of aircraft, and a control tower cannot diminish noise. It is not a muffler. It has no authority to limit what aircraft enters the area’s airspace. However, a control tower will effectively increase airport capacity without “expanding” the airport.
Too loud for you now? Wait. If Federal Aviation Administration money is once again accepted (as Bill Wilkinson has promised), your wait will be another 20 years. How old are you?
October 3, 2011
Concerning the ever-increasing noise problem at East Hampton Airport, the Democratic candidates for East Hampton Town Board are to be congratulated for getting it 100-percent right.
By stating publicly that if elected they will not accept Federal Aviation Administration funding until after seeing what effect a temporary control tower might have on the horrendous amount of noise and performing a financial analysis of airport operations to see if it can be self-sustaining, they are demonstrating sound judgment and an ability to lead responsibly.
When compared to the “damn the torpedoes” attitude of our current supervisor and running mates and the ambivalence of the Independence Party candidates, the Election Day choice is clear: The coming election is shaping up as a referendum on East Hampton’s deteriorating quality of life.
Whether your particular problem issue is the Bourbon Street that Montauk has become, beach-access rights in Amagansett, hellish airport noise in the Village of East Hampton, Wainscott, Sag Harbor, Sagaponack, and west, or the soon-to-accumulate leaf piles on our streets, it has become clear over the past month or so that the Democratic slate of candidates: Zachary Cohen, Sylvia Overby, and Peter Van Scoyoc will do right by East Hampton.
October 3, 2011
To the Editor,
Last week, as reported in your Sept. 29 edition, Supervisor Wilkinson and his cohorts at Town Hall attempted to foist upon the public three new fabrications about the airport.
First, they tell us that if the town does not accept Federal Aviation Administration subsidies for airport repair and reconstruction, then East Hampton taxpayers must foot the bill.
There is no basis for this attempt to scare the community. The current town administration, while bragging incessantly about its fiscal reform, has hidden the facts of airport finances every bit as much as the McGintee administration did. Moreover, it has never done a real analysis of how airport revenues, existing airport surpluses (perhaps as much as $1.5 million), and business-like borrowing could make the airport self-sufficient without subsidy from the F.A.A. or the taxpayers. When the risk is that effective noise control, such as curfews, goes out the window with acceptance of F.A.A. grants, one would expect a business-like administration to have carried out such an analysis.
Such a financial analysis is exactly what the Democratic candidates for the town board have proposed, along with a moratorium on F.A.A. funding until the results are in. The Democrats deserve great credit for that sensible, business-like position.
Town Hall’s second fabrication, as per the Star’s report, is that the town would not gain anything by refusing F.A.A. grants. They allege that an aviation lawyer has advised the town that, even without the contractual restrictions associated with the F.A.A. grants, the town would have to seek F.A.A. approval to impose curfews in a process said to be extensive, time consuming, and costly, suggesting millions in legal expenses,
It is hard to believe that those were, in fact, an aviation lawyer’s unadulterated conclusions because the only process for such F.A.A. approval, called a Part 161 Study, is required only of municipal airport owners when they have or want F.A.A. money. Both the City of New York and the Village of Southampton, without having F.A.A. money, have imposed curfews and other regulations on their helicopters without Part 161 Studies.
With no need for a Part 161 study, the town can easily show that curfews and related restrictions on access are reasonable and necessary for the protection of this community.
Much of the evidence already has been gathered by the airport management and outside consultants.
The third new fabrication from Town Hall is the supervisor’s statement in your recent edition that he does not want to expand the airport but that it should be maintained as is.
The trick in that statement is that it refers only to the physical plant at the airport. The real issue, as the supervisor knows, is the expansion of the noise that comes from expanding traffic. Without the town imposing mandatory regulations such as curfews, the expansion of traffic will continue unabated and so will the noise.
It is about time our town fathers started leveling with the community.
CHARLES A. EHREN JR.
October 3, 2011
Study and analyze the problem before committing to a solution — what a refreshing and unique idea. Zach Cohen has suggested just that in relation to the airport noise pollution.
With the probability of a control tower going in and federal grant guarantees in effect until 2014, there are two years to conduct a controlled experiment to determine the extent to which noise could be abated through flight-path control. Further, an in-depth financial analysis (which has never been done) could lead to a variety of changes (e.g., in fee structure, fines, etc.) allowing the facility to become self-sustaining without taxpayer funding or accepting F.A.A. money. It would then be possible to exert greater control over such things as the hours of operation and air-traffic patterns. It’s hard to imagine that this would not help with noise mitigation.
Bill Wilkinson’s solution to this very disturbing problem is no solution. He believes in taking outside money no matter what strings are attached. Those of us who have lived in the flight path have had enough. I sincerely hope that Zach Cohen has the opportunity to carry out the creative ideas he’s proposed.
October 2, 2011
On Saturday, Oct. 1, I attended the most recent meeting of the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee. As the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals liaison to this community, I often go to these meetings as an observer and sometimes as a commentator on matters of interest coming before the Z.B.A. This meeting, however, was simply to meet the candidates running for local office this November.
The presentation was an open forum and it was decided that this year the Democrats would go first for an hour, followed by the Republican candidates and then the Independence Party’s nominees. The intent was for each person to make a brief statement about himself or herself and why they were running, followed by questions from the committee members and also the general public, as it is always an open meeting.
The first presenters conducted the meeting as planned, and I am sure everyone in attendance found it informative. Each speaker had an opportunity to make their case and then answered questions. After that, the next group, the Republicans, made their initial presentation about qualifications and then questions were to be asked by the W.C.A.C. members. Unfortunately, that is when cordiality went out the window.
A hostile cabal from outside the committee tried to take over the meeting on a solitary issue of general interest to everyone — but of particular concern mainly to themselves. The matter in question was about the airport, and it was shocking to see such open vitriol and hostility to the current supervisor, Mr. Wilkinson, who remarkably kept his calm during this unseemly barrage.
Instead of allowing others to ask questions, especially W.C.A.C. members, this cadre of outside people, including someone from Southampton, tried to dominate the meeting to the detriment of any other issue being addressed. Despite brave attempts to call order, the chairwoman, Diana Weir, was at a loss to control an organized group with a mind-set of dominance and control. Her plea for civility and a change of topic to one of interest to others was met with open enmity and derision. Sadly, W.C.A.C. members did not back up their chairwoman.
The vocal mob then decided to hijack the meeting and turn it into one concerned only with their own personal agendas. What should have been a short period of interesting questions everyone might have wanted answered devolved into long, rambling statements of the most personal kind.
Instead of taking their issues to a town board meeting for proper discourse at the right venue, the anti-airport group unilaterally decided this was their opportunity to take over a local group’s regular monthly meeting and just yell at the supervisor in a most uncivil manner. Few other participants were allowed to talk. Finally, when someone was presented with the opportunity to ask a non-airport question, she immediately started by calling Mr. Gaines a liar and ended by hollering at him, too!
What I found most distressing and troubling about this entire unseemly affair was the fact that we can probably expect more of the same. Quite a number of citizens now feel it is their birthright to act in a fascist and domineering manner. Some people are even so desperate to have things go the way they want and everyone else be damned that all courtesy and proper, open conversation is impossible. You must not only see things their way — but you are to be punished if you dare disagree!
I left that meeting with the feeling of dread that some people in our beautiful town will stop at nothing to get what they want. This type of negative behavior is what jeopardizes the social fabric to such an extent that it often cannot be repaired. That is what this coming local election in November will be all about — facts versus opinions — and will we have open dialogue, no matter the topic, or will we all feel the jackboots of oppression on open-mindedness?
October 2, 2011
The Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee meeting last Saturday was advertised as an opportunity for citizens to ask questions of the local candidates. When Bill Wilkinson was asked the inevitable questions regarding Wilkinson Twomey Krupinski Metropolitan Airport (W.T.K. on your ticket), everything quickly went south. Two questions were asked, neither of which was actually answered by the supervisor, and emotions grew a tad testy.
At that point, Diana Weir, longtime Republican operative, and co-chairwoman of the committee, disallowed any further questions regarding the airport, despite the fact that it is of primary importance to many of the people at the meeting, including our 165 constituents in the rapidly growing Quiet Skies Coalition. I am not sure under whose authority Ms. Weir arbitrarily stifled our community’s questions, but that is what occurred. No vote to muzzle us was taken, yet we were muzzled sure enough. If she had a black bag handy, she might have put it over my head —just for trying to ask a W.T.K. Metro question!
At any rate, I would like to (safely) share the question that I expected to ask of Mr. Wilkinson. It is this: In a time wherein you, Mr. Supervisor, specifically acknowledge the severity of the local and national economic situation, and the scarcity of public monies, how do you justify spending millions of F.A.A. dollars (read federal taxpayer dollars, our money, not some donation from Bill Gates) to make improvements at an airport that mainly serves a tiny fraction of the wealthiest elements of our community?
Furthermore, why are you so intent on improving the rich man’s W.T.K. Metro, while local transportation via our dilapidated highways and substandard rail lines slips further and further into a state of dysfunction comparable to that of Myanmar and Mauritania? Isn’t this a clear case of capitalism for the poor and socialism for the rich?
One other question: Is it not an indisputable fact that the vast majority of people in this town derive no benefit from W.T.K. Metro, while many of us suffer continual detrimental effects? (Now that is an easy question to answer.)
Quiet Skies Coalition
October 3, 2011
To the Editors:
I would like to issue a personal apology to the East Hampton Town Republican candidates for a very unfortunate incident that took place at this month’s Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee meeting.
What was scheduled to be an informational meet the candidates forum for the Republican, Democratic, and Independence Party candidates became partisan and confrontational toward the Republicans.
There appears to have been an orchestrated sabotage of this community event with several very vocal Democrats coordinating to attend. Although not residents of Wainscott, they were welcomed by the committee and remained civil when the Democratic candidates made their presentations. They did not, however, show the same courtesy to the Republicans. What a surprise!
I was appalled to see the Republican candidates relentlessly interrupted, shouted down, laughed at, mocked, and insulted by the Democratic cabal. To put it bluntly, the house was stacked, and the event was hijacked.
When the committee tried to stop this disruptive behavior, several of the agitators put on a show by rudely storming out of the meeting in self-righteous anger. This was a farce, and it has no place in civil discourse. This was an informational meet the candidates forum, and it was for Wainscott residents, not a mob of partisan Democrats pushing a political agenda and attempting to embarrass those they see as a threat. Is this the party you want back in power? This charade was disgraceful and voters should keep this in mind on Election Day, Nov. 8. Let’s keep things civilized in East Hampton.
October 1, 2011
Last week’s Star reported that my opponent “has been endorsed by the Working Families and Independence Parties.”
I would like your readers to know, that William (Bill) Wilkinson has the Independence Party nomination, as well as the nominations of the Republican, Conservative, and Opportunities Parties for supervisor, Town of East Hampton.
WILLIAM J. WILKINSON
Town of East Hampton
The Right People
October 3, 2011
East Hampton voters have a rare opportunity to stand up and be counted for good government and to support the right people for the right jobs in the coming town board election. Rarely, if ever, are the choices so clear and it is even more rare that one can make a truly positive statement about the direction of local government.
For whatever reasons, the two major parties have selected lackluster people and party insiders to run for the East Hampton Town Board. They may be nice people who have supported their respective parties or otherwise found themselves in the good graces of their respective parties, but they are not the best choices for East Hampton in the coming election.
Clearly, Marilyn Behan and Bill Mott represent two of the best people we have had running for town board in a very long time, and I urge voters to do the right thing and elect them to office on the Independence Party line.
I find Marilyn Behan to be the kind of person who has the executive skills and experience and the dynamic personality to take on the arduous task of shaping policy in East Hampton. Bill Mott has served with distinction as an East Hampton Town trustee and knows the issues there better than anyone running. Both are popular, articulate, and prepared for the offices they seek.
Marilyn Behan is one of the nicest people I know. That being said, she also commands a personal respect which means people know that they cross her at their own risk. She weighs the issues and speaks her mind and that is refreshing.
Bill Mott is bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh in local terms. He has shown himself to have an understanding and grasp of the issues we face and can be hard-nosed when that is what is needed. In the current political context, both Marilyn Behan and Bill Mott are a perfect fit for East Hampton Town Board.
In opposition to Bill Mott and Marilyn Behan stand people I know in passing or do not know at all. They may hold sway in the machine politics of their local committees, but that is not enough. They may have interesting résumés in and out of town government, but their experiences pale in comparison to Marilyn Behan and Bill Mott’s long-term dedication to the East Hampton community.
I urge East Hampton voters to elect Bill Mott and Marilyn Behan as shining stars in an otherwise lackluster field of town board candidates. Stand up and be counted.
Queen of Mean
October 2, 2011
I have been involved in local politics for quite some time. I can even remember when Sylvia Overby ran the first time for town board back in 2001 and she was called, rightly, the queen of mean. Why was that? Because she fought against the A&P supermarket and when asked where locals could afford to shop without such an amenity, she said they could always buy half-price leftovers at the Amagansett Farmers Market on Wednesdays! Nice touch, huh?
After thankfully losing that election, McGintee gave her a consolation prize to cheer her up, and he put her on the planning board. However, she did not mend her rude ways and instead she bore a grudge and wanted to get even with the people who rejected her. More than once she bullied people or threatened them. She even dictatorially told an attorney she would have him thrown out of the public meeting for defending his client. She went from the queen of mean to the queen of hearts from Alice in Wonderland, screaming, “Off with their heads!” every time someone did something not to her royal taste.
Now she wants to get a promotion to the title of queen of us all by getting on the town board, so she can really tell all of us how to run our lives. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.
Please vote for the decorated war veteran and former detective Richard Haeg, a good friend of mine from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and spare us her royal majesty.
Thanks for your attention.
October 2, 2011
To the Editor,
When it comes down to who would be the best supervisor for East Hampton’s immediate future and who has the leadership that counts, Fred Thiele Jr. believes it is Bill Wilkinson.
My guess is Mr. Thiele checked Zach Cohen’s résumé and found it was a blank page. How else can one explain Mr. Thiele, the born-again Democrat, endorsing Mr. Wilkinson?
I would find it fascinating if a reporter on or editor of The East Hampton Star could point to any pertinent work experience in Mr. Cohen’s life story. When examining Mr. Cohen’s background let’s recycle that question “Where’s the beef?”
Not even beef consommé.
As the campaign gets down to its final days, the public will realize that Mr. Cohen is all mouth and an empty suit.
October 3, 2011
The Montauk community has become increasingly angered and frustrated by the failure of the town board to take effective action against scofflaws, such as the operators of the Surf Lodge, who attract huge and unruly crowds with no concern for the resulting impacts on their neighbors’ quality of life.
Councilwoman Theresa Quigley and Supervisor Bill Wilkinson have said they have done everything they can do, pointing to more than 100 violations charged by the town’s ordinance enforcement officers. The rest, they say, is up to the courts — thus implying that it’s all Justice Lisa Rana’s fault that the perpetrators get off with a few slaps on the wrist.
However, for some months now Councilwoman Julia Prince has been suggesting a simple approach that would go a long way toward resolving overcrowding concerns. Under the town’s noise ordinance no restaurant or bar is allowed to play amplified or outdoor music unless it has a music entertainment permit. Ms. Prince suggested that the town board amend the noise ordinance to provide that no such permit would be issued or renewed in the case of an establishment operating as a nonconforming use in a residential zone.
Did Ms. Prince’s colleagues on the town board adopt her sensible suggestion? No. They did nothing.
September 30, 2011
To the Editor,
Our great enabler, Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, has mounted a challenging offensive against the Democratic candidate, Zach Cohen. Bill is claiming that Zach is guilty of messing up the inherited McGintee fiscal mismanagement by, of all things, having volunteered to help demystify the entire situation. Are you aware of the irony in this? This attack smacks of mudslinging at its worst, more characteristic of a cornered desperado shooting wildly at anything that moves.
What we have every right to focus on at the moment is the series of bonds floated by Bill & Co. to extricate East Hampton from the McGintee deficit, and the implied payback — which we the taxpayers will eventually be hit with. It’s hard to keep a straight face when we hear from Bill how he “saved” us from that troublesome deficit — which, sooner or later, we shall have to deal with, hopefully when times are better for all of us.
In a recent memo, Bill revealed his own eagerness to tout his own financial expertise, as opposed to Zach’s unquestionable qualifications in the world of finance. Just don’t fall for this baloney. Borrowing is lots easier than paying out. As the Fat Lady said, “A debt is a debt is a debt.”
In another matter, if you learned that many votes in favor of the Amagansett firehouse expansion came from people not so much in favor of the firehouse, but, rather, against a possible new nightclub, where the restaurant Pacific East formerly existed, how would you interpret that?
A vote against a continuation of lax oversight of any new restaurant is the obvious answer.
This is a vivid reflection of the eroding trust in the present administration, whose motto seems to be “Like It or Lump It.”
In sincere distress,
Can Buy It
September 25, 2011
I share an unedited version of a recent telephone conversation:
“Is your phone bugged? Horace will kill me if he learns I talk to you!”
“Are you all right?”
“No, I am not all right. I have just learned that the Wilkinson administration borrowed money for East Hampton at 12 percent!”
“They borrowed money at 12 percent?”
“And those horrid people are still on the beach in front of my house. I sent the Republican committee money so that they would go away.”
“It’s a public beach.”
“Diana, this is America. If I can buy it, it’s mine. Oh, hold on. I borrowed the pool guy’s phone. He’s a fireman and he’s getting a text that some little house is on fire.”
“The Wilkinson administration is paid to secure this town for the rich and the shops we like.”
“Aren’t you concerned at all about the people who have less than you?”
“Of course, darling, as long as they’re not overweight!”
“I’m eating a cheesecake.”
“Why isn’t that Zach Cohen a Republican? He’s so good with money.”
“But he cares about ordinary people, Beverly!”
“Well, no one’s perfect, sweetums. Oh, I have to hang up. Whatshisname needs to put out a fire. Bye-bye.”
“And then I’m going to have an apple pie.”
All good things,
October 3, 2011
One of the most far-reaching responsibilities of the town board is the appointment of members to the zoning and planning boards. These decisions have consequences that can last for many years.
Since 2010 the Wilkinson-Quigley administration has seized upon this opportunity to advance their personal anti-environment and anti-regulation agendas. The most notable evidence of this has been the appointment of Don Cirillo, a former Republican committee treasurer to the Z.B.A. Coming in as a complete novice, he was quickly elevated to vice chairman. He wasted no time alienating fellow board members (including its well-respected chairman, Phil Gamble). At the same time, he targeted the town’s planning director and her 25 years of experience. His memo to her earlier this summer (posted on the East Hampton Star Web site) clearly shows his ideological intent.
For anyone concerned about the town’s future, alarm bells should now be ringing. If re-elected, Bill Wilkinson will undoubtedly reward Mr. Cirillo with the chairman’s position. That will happen in January
It is not good news. It gets worse. Zoning board members are appointed for five-year terms with one new member appointed each year. Two more years of Mr. Wilkinson will mean two more anti-environment Z.B.A. members and a majority on the Z.B.A. that will last way beyond two years.
Make no mistake. These are motivated people with a preference for Tea Party philosophy. They will have the power to completely undermine the environmental protections of the past 26 years and change the natural and rural character of our neighborhoods forever. Because of that, this is the most important election for East Hampton in memory.
October 2, 2011
Am I surprised that the Republicans are running scared and playing dirty as they deal with the fact that people are on to them and their “promises kept”? Point for point, there are half-truths and downright lies in what they claim they did, but what they have done is rack up huge disappointments to the citizens of East Hampton.
I’m not going to recount the long list of insults they have foisted on our town; we live with them, from the destruction of Montauk to the loss of the leaf program. It is the lies and rash of innuendos that turn the stomach, starting with the attempt to discredit the Human Services Department (Why wouldn’t the department heads shred personal information dealing with sensitive issues concerning their clientele?) to their attacks on Zach Cohen, who worked with them and for them in good faith and has the e-mails to prove it. Bill Wilkinson even has lied saying that Zach has never had a real job. Beside his entrepreneurial real estate business, he owned and successfully ran a large restaurant in Miami that served a million meals a year.
Then, there is the mother of one of the candidates pleading for us to give her son a job who said in a letter that appeared in another paper that Scott King’s biography on the Democratic Web site claimed he served more terms than he actually has. Well, Mr. King did not write that bio — I did, and I made the mistake from notes I took during an interview with him at an outing. I take full responsibility. I have also corrected my mistake.
Mr. King, too, has borne the brunt of this administration as the highest elected official who has successfully run a vital department. Mr. King even had the nerve during the original hearing on the leaf program to tell the gang of two that the figure of $600,000 for the leaf program was incorrect. His budget called for a reasonable cost in the ballpark of $180,000. The Highway Department budget was then raided, making it even more difficult to maintain the 310 miles of road in East Hampton.
What faces us this November is a clear choice, regardless of who endorses whom. Do we want our town to remain as we know it, or are we willing to witness its destruction — Montauk becomes Atlantic City and East Hampton a town of condos, high-rises, and the big chain stores as the rules to prevent this future are eroded? Or do we take the time to see where we are going and with good planning and strict endorsement of the rules that will maintain the community we all love?
It’s more that your property values that are up for grabs; it’s your way of life.
PHYLLIS I. MALLAH
October 1, 2011
As an avid board watcher for the past two years, I have watched our supervisor and deputy supervisor closely in how they performed their duties. When I read your article regarding the professional qualifications Bill Wilkinson claims to have over the Democratic candidate, Zach Cohen, I couldn’t help but contrast their backgrounds.
As a way to be fair, I Googled many definitions of what companies are looking for in a leader. The essential duties and responsibilities are as follows: A supervisor is responsible for coordinating and overseeing activities and personnel issues, performing various problem-solving duties including studying situations carefully, listening to individuals and deciding on a most appropriate plan for solutions, demonstrating and modeling positive behavior, and adhering to rules, regulations, policies and procedures.
According to this description, Supervisor Wilkinson and Councilwoman Theresa Quigley, his indispensable assistant, have failed miserably as leaders. What were their credentials when they came to office? Mr. Wilkinson was an employee of Disney as a human resources vice president (one of many) whose job was to manage personnel. Yet he wasn’t able to get the endorsement of the town employees’ union, the C.S.E.A.
Ms. Quigley, a real estate lawyer, was a former school board member who didn’t work well with others and didn’t get re-elected to that position. Neither one was able to handle personnel issues (remember the nasty letter inappropriately sent to all town employees), or listen to constituents who came before them (remember the concert in Amagansett, selling the town docks, closing Fort Pond House, Ruschmeyer’s restaurant, etc.?), or decide on appropriate plans after evaluating issues (remember the rewriting of the lighting code, accessory apartments law, and the twice-failed vendor’s law?).
Supervisor Wilkinson never owned a business and never had employees on his own payroll. As for his knowing how to carefully “listen to individuals” who come before the town board, he certainly showed a serious lack of sensitivity considering his human resources background.
Zach Cohen, on the other hand, was owner of Rascal House Restaurant in Miami Beach, a successful delicatessen with 285 employees. He improved customer service and modernized accounting for the business, which he ultimately built up and sold for a profit to a Nasdaq company. He also owns a small company that purchases, designs, and develops approximately 25 commercial and residential properties.
Zach has many skills and a solid background in finances, having received a master’s of business administration degree from the University of Chicago. More important, he has shown himself to have great people skills: He has worked congenially with people of different interests and political affiliations.
Who is better qualified for the job? It’s Zach Cohen for supervisor on Nov. 8.
Ms. Klopman is a Democratic and Working Family candidate for East Hampton Town trustee. Ed.
October 3, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Once again I am compelled to write a letter, in this case in response to Sue Avedon’s letter to The Star last week.
Is Ms. Avedon not embarrassed to use the words “fail to lead” in a public letter about Bill Wilkinson, when she and the entire Democratic power structure supported and enabled the systematic looting of the community preservation fund and watched the financial disintegration of East Hampton take place with nary a word of protest? Failure? Leadership? Again, I ask (as I did Alec Baldwin and the Democratic candidates now running for office), where were you? H-E-L-L-O? Anyone home during that sorry period?
About the Suffolk County Health Clinic, I guess I can forgive Ms. Avedon’s uninformed comments, because she obviously has no experience with municipal budgeting. Oftentimes, the county, the state, and the feds will fund a project so that a locality does not incur the entire direct cost. In this case, Suffolk County funded the clinic at the Accabonac Apartments. East Hampton Town taxpayers, I believe, donated the space.
Suffolk County government being strapped, as most governments are, announced it could no longer continue its contribution and advised the taxpayers of East Hampton they would now have to fund the clinic alone. This announcement came very late in the budget year and so Bill had to act quickly and decisively. Doing the absolute correct thing, Bill went back to the county, in this case to our county leadership, Jay Schneiderman, and said (and these are my words), “Jay, do what your constituents pay you to do, and make sure the county continues its promise, and funds this clinic,” or something to that effect. Guess what? Problem solved, for now.
That, Ms. Avedon, is leadership. Bill Wilkinson didn’t [use] the money from the C.P.F., as did your supervisor.
Now, about some of the other items in your letter. Have you no shame, lying to the readers of this paper? I mean, we know you cannot be embarrassed, but lying too? Bill attempted to sell the docks? Just how did he do that? Was he on the dock one dark night and said to a passing person, “Psst, hey buddy, wanna buy a dock?” In fact, the dock-selling idea, immediately nixed by Bill and Theresa, originated with the Planning Department on a list it put together with many other items that in their opinion were town assets available for sale. So, you might want to chat with them.
Bill has had to make some very tough choices trying to fix the mess that you Democrats left this town in. That’s what leaders do.
A critical factor in regaining our important Aa3 Moody’s bond rating is showing Wall Street that East Hampton Town’s finances are stable and getting better. Bill has done just that, by getting spending under control, refinancing the town’s debt at a better rate (a monumental accomplishment, thank you, Len Bernard), and also giving everyone a substantial tax reduction.
By the way, talk about lies, the deficit borrowing was not done to pay for the tax cut. Shame on Zach Cohen, in particular, who knows better (or does he?) and Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc, who, if they know anything, I am not sure what it is. The deficit financing was spread out, over 10 years, to ease the enormous pain inflicted upon East Hampton taxpayers who have to pay back the $30 million to $40 million you Democrats squandered, leaving the town in financial distress.
When you, Ms. Avedon, and the entire Democratic power structure in East Hampton and yes, this very newspaper, signed on to the corruption and scandal of the previous administration and ignored [allegedly] criminal activity, that my friend, was “blatant disregard for the needs of our community.”
Bill Wilkinson and yes, Theresa Quigley (who by the way is not running for office this year, did you not know that either?) have done an incredible job of rescuing this sinking ship that you Democrats left us.
To vote for anyone but Bill Wilkinson and his extraordinarily accomplished team of Richard Haeg, Steven Gaines, and Steve Lynch would be a vote detrimental to East Hampton’s future.
East Hampton Republican
Mulch Your Leaves
October 1, 2011
I was dismayed when I first saw the Democratic Party’s newspaper ad regarding leaf pickup in East Hampton. “You bag Wilkinson . . . and we will bag your leaves.”
Really, is this the best they have got? I guess we have come a long way in just two years. Back then we were facing financial disaster. We had real issues! The “Wilkinson Republicans” came in and did as they promised. They reined in runaway spending and put us back on the path to fiscal responsibility. In this process, some things had to get cut, the leaf program being one of them. This was a costly program ($450,000) that not everyone benefited from, but everyone paid for.
If you live on an urban renewal road, a trustee road, or in the village, you never had leaf pickup to begin with, but you paid for it under the Democratic-led town board. This was unfortunately just another expensive entitlement program. I rake and dispose of my own leaves, or I mulch them with my lawn mower, just as my father has always done. Why should I pay to remove someone else’s leaves? Even up in Albany, the Democratic governor says we have to make difficult choices. Our local Democratic candidates are making promises to special interests with your and my money.
The Democrats had their turn and they made a mess of the checkbook. Now they are promising more expensive programs we can’t afford if they are elected. Vote Republican and let Wilkinson finish the job! And mulch your leaves; it’s better for your lawn.
October 1, 2011
I took guests out to dinner on Saturday night and we had a fantastic meal at the Grill on Pantigo. The fish was perfectly prepared and delicious. But it concerns me that there is no lighting in the parking lot, and it was difficult to see and find our car.
The town has a very easy process to add lighting that would be dark sky friendly and provide safe light levels (that also conform to professional recommendations which are used to defend against “slip-and-fall” lawsuits). Any reputable manufacturer would provide a lighting plan for free to any commercial establishment to meet the town’s “smart-lighting” law. Additional lighting on commercial properties only requires a seven-day turnaround for a free permit.
LTV is airing a 28-minute documentary, “Dark Skies,” produced locally by the Accabonac Protection Committee, on Tuesdays at 9 a.m., Thursdays at 10:30 a.m., Fridays at 6:30 pm, and Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
I’d be happy to consult for free to any business that wants to add energy-efficient lighting that conforms to “good neighbor” criteria.
Dark Sky Society
October 1, 2011
To the editor,
Warren Buffett brags that he pays less in taxes than his secretary. Note to Buffett: Fire your accountant then, because he’s doing what he’s paid big bucks to do: Save you money on taxes. All accountants search for every loophole in the tax code possible to save their employer money.
I support a flat tax of 10 percent on all income for every individual and company, no exemptions. Ban lobbyists. Ban Congress from insider trading, stuff others would go to jail for. They get a free ride and look how many suddenly become millionaires — and it isn’t on the salary we taxpayers must pay.
Those who have a charitable heart will continue to donate. Maybe we won’t stay at our current $300 billion in donations, but surely the most worthy charities will still do fine. Meanwhile, less worthy charities may not be able to pay their executive officers six-figure salaries.
Stimulus money should not be used to study international ants, give state-of-the-art phones for those trying to quit smoking, or even the astronomical $1 million contribution to house 12 homeless people in a more than $4 million dollar home! Can the government ever find ways to be prudent and frugal with our money? Rampant taxation erodes freedom.
The president’s fraud infested stimulus is a disastrous waste of public funds. The president keeps asking for more and more stimulus money for the same roads and bridges he and the legislators didn’t spend the previous monies on.
We are better able to stimulate the economy if we get to keep more [of what] we earn. The idiocy of the idea that the taxpayer not keeping more of the money they earned is government greed and redistribution of “wealth.”
Country after country is falling due to overspending. We cannot follow the European model. We cannot tax ourselves into debt. We must cut spending — now.
LYNDA A.W. EDWARDS
October 1, 2011
To the Editor,
A man walks down the street, trips, breaks his toe, and has a heart attack. The Republicans pick him up, take him to the hospital, and fix his broken toe. The Democrats pick him up, fix his broken toe, and give him a week of therapy. In a week the guy is dead but neither group is responsible — a simple parable about our economy but a window into the sad reality that we only have one political party. While they battle over broken bones and inconsequential crap, they are united in their overall vision that corporate America and the top 2 percent of the country (our de facto rulers) must be protected under all circumstances.
In Washington, D.C., the conversation goes something like this: The American people are too dumb to understand what’s good for them, say the Democrats. The Republican response is that the American people are blithering idiots and one should simply ignore them.
Take the United States Postal Service as a prime example. It is the best-run business in the country. It is efficient, effective, and serves the entire nation like no other company. It has been profitable, but even when it isn’t, the service it provides is the best in the world at the lowest price. No postal service anywhere compares to ours. It makes our political system look like a bunch of village idiots.
Its primary problem is that it has overfunded its pension plan by more than $100 billion dollars and can’t use any of that money to cover shortfalls caused by the economic turndown. Not touching that excess would require Congress to raise the price of stamps from 44 to 48 cents. The Republican retards in Congress would rather close 2,500 post offices around the country, and the Democratic dunces are sitting on their hands. Closing 2,500 offices could save $2.5 billion to $3 billion, but the cost to the American people who don’t get the services could reach $7 billion.
Even dumber than this bad business plan is the Congressional Budget Office’s rationale for not permitting the Postal Service to use its excess funds. The money is included on the country’s balance sheet as a credit and using it would add to the deficit. So they will destroy part of the Postal Service so that the deficit looks better than it really is.
The Postal Service serves everyone in the country the same way, but it has no one lobbying for it and paying off Congress to protect it. If only the mafia were still active it could come to the rescue.
The last piece of the Postal Service debacle is that 467,000 postal workers are unionized, with the right to pensions, health insurance, and to bargain collectively. Breaking the Postal Service and its unions will go a long way toward destroying the infrastructure for working-class Americans.
So it and we are subject to the idiocy of our elected officials and in this case, the Republicans more than the Democrats. Every nickel they save they can give to the top 2 percent. They can call them job creators and investors but more realistically they should be called our masters. Screwing the masses for the benefit of the few is an age-old practice that is taking deeper root in our country. It’s not quite an amendment to the Constitution, but it’s without question the law of the land.