Acted so Quickly
October 5, 2011
To the Editor,
East Hampton High School was great.
I just wanted to thank the staff and students of East Hampton High School for the way they acted so quickly on Friday, Sept. 23. My son had a medical emergency and everyone impressed me on how well the emergency was taken care of. He is doing much better, so thank you, E.H.H.S. students and faculty, and E.M.T.s who responded. I am forever grateful.
October 4, 2011
To the Editor:
I was amazed to read B.J. Wilson’s letter concerning the scheduling of the Montauk Chamber of Commerce chowder contest and surprised that The Star actually published it. The letter, which responded to a reader’s complaint about scheduling the contest on Yom Kippur, a day of fasting for Jews worldwide, is nothing more than an undeserved diatribe against those who wish to observe a religious holiday and participate in a community event as well.
Beginning with veiled references to “her religious holiday,” the letter goes on to directly separate Jew from gentile, objecting to the idea that “we” should change to accommodate “their” particular needs. Its final sally, hoping “you” enjoy “your” holiday as much as “we” will “ours,” underlines a sentiment that Jews who choose to celebrate their religious holiday are excluded from participation in a Columbus Day celebration. Regardless of the merits of the scheduling decision, certainly no one seriously endorses the belief that a choice has to be made between the two.
Of Black and Red
October 6, 2011
Dear East Hampton Star:
Songs of black and red and red and black, the full hunter’s moon shines down upon reed and weed and an abandoned pond.
October 7, 2011
Irene Silverman’s obituary on Ted Dragon was absolutely stupendous. Best piece of writing in The Star I’ve seen in a long time. They don’t get any better than this.
Farm 12 Months
October 10, 2011
To the Editor,
Last week, I spoke at the town board public hearing on behalf of the Food Pantry Farm. I urged the board to proceed expeditiously in adopting the proposed Active Farm Operation Site Plan law. This law would make it less burdensome, and accelerate the review process, to construct a hoop house, greenhouse, or farm stand on farmland.
Much of the public is unfamiliar with the Food Pantry Farm. We grow organic vegetables on three acres of farmland that we rent from the East End Commmunity Organic Farm on Long Lane across from the high school. We donate all the vegetables we grow to the food pantries of East Hampton, Amagansett, Springs, and Sag Harbor.
This is our third season and this year to date we have donated over 13 tons of fresh, organic produce. We are a tax-exempt, New York State nonprofit corporation and receive all our operating funds through generous donations. We receive no government funding and are not affiliated with any of the food pantries.
Why is this law important to the Food Pantry Farm? We now deliver most of our vegetables between May and the end of November. A hoop house-greenhouse would give us the ability to farm 12 months a year and deliver produce during the winter and spring when demand from the food pantries for fresh produce is at its peak. The law also helps all the other farms and farm stands to extend their seasons, strengthening and growing (no pun intended) the local farming community.
Farming is a low-margin business — whether for profit or, like us, for charitable purposes — such that the cost of an application (certified surveys, site-plan review, water discharge, soil, and lighting studies) would make it prohibitive. And, in fact quite unnecessary, because all we are actually doing is covering a small part of our land that is being farmed with a temporary structure that permits year-round cultivation. Opposition to hoop houses or greenhouses as unsightly is in general subjective at best, and secondary to the stated policy of this state and county to encourage active farming.
Writing clear legislation is an art form, and it may need to be revised and nurtured to get the best product. We are ready to help, but time is of the essence or another season will pass us by which, in the end, will only hurt the less fortunate amongst us.
October 9, 2011
I was amused to read last week’s letters by Don Cirillo and Laura Weir as they attempted to rewrite history on the events that occurred at the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee meeting. The meeting began to deteriorate when the supervisor refused to answer questions, became combative, and was disrespectful to those asking legitimate questions. A member of the Wainscott C.A.C. called Quiet Skies Coalition a derogatory name. I raised an objection to the word used, and he apologized, as the minutes of the meeting reflect.
Instead of a democratic process of asking questions of candidates, the chairwoman became dictatorial and didn’t allow Wainscott citizens to ask pertinent questions, thereby stifling the very freedoms we hold dear in America. As a result, one man became unruly and a handful of people rightfully walked out; for them the meeting was over. The chairwoman could have better served the community by restricting questions to Wainscott citizens; however, she unilaterally and unfairly shut everyone down who wished to ask a question about the airport.
Too much blood has been shed by patriotic Americans to give and maintain our freedoms of speech and democratic process. Sometimes discussions become passionate as is seen by our founding fathers and throughout history. Nothing that was said or done by Q.S.C. members was out of line. Everyone was justified and responsive to the supervisor’s bullying tactics and the chairwoman’s inappropriate actions. In my opinion the Q.S.C. was restrained and justified in their response. It is astonishing that this committee complains about other people when its members are accustomed to having debates end in fistfights as was reported several months ago. Nothing ever came close to that in this meeting. Q.S.C. took the high road.
I have attended meetings at the Wainscott Citizens Committee for several years, reporting about abusive helicopters terrorizing Wainscott neighborhoods. I was there to report about a helicopter that flew over my house that week. The helicopter was confirmed by AirScene (an airport tracking system) at an altitude 10 feet above the roof of my house.
The supervisor has ridiculed me about the videos I take to document helicopters flying “rooftop-level.” In front of Town Hall one day he asked me if I could throw an egg at a helicopter. When I immediately replied “Yes,” he laughed at me. I asked him a very simple and direct question based on the confirmation from AirScene: Will you take the hundreds of videos I shot more seriously? The supervisor never answered the question even when I reminded him.
A helicopter flying 10 feet over a house is reckless endangerment by anyone’s standards. I have hundreds of videos documenting this type of reckless behavior and identified tail numbers of similar helicopters in 164 events in one year. It is government’s duty to protect the people. It is shocking the supervisor will not acknowledge this in the face of documentary evidence and confirmation by the airport’s own aircraft-tracking system, let alone answering a direct question about it. The supervisor’s unwillingness to protect East Hampton citizens appears to reek of political cronyism at best, hopefully not corruption.
If anyone has doubts about who caused the reaction of the crowd at this meeting, please request an e-mail string from Q.S.C. or me. After the meeting I sent an e-mail requesting the record be corrected on a derogatory word that was used to describe the Q.S.C.. I received a venomous and berating response from the chairwoman. My response to her was calm and addressed her vicious attack of me and the Q.S.C. For the record, Q.S.C. is a politically diverse group. I am a lifelong registered Republican but not an ideologue. I am finding libertarian principles expressed in the East Hampton Democratic Party candidates this year. They earned my support; perhaps fellow Republicans should take note.
Quiet Skies Coalition
October 8, 2011
Duplicitous statements emanate from the full-page advertisements in three publications out here the past several weeks, plus the airtime on WLNG from the Pilots’ Association. Imagine, over $7,000 per week spent putting out false information, yet they want to saddle the citizens of this town with the burden of the Federal Aviation Administration so we become indentured servants until 2034.
Their hidden agenda is about to be forced upon us by a town board that dances to the horn that they play. Why is a simple question.
Why does a minuscule minority, most of whom do not even live in this town, take precedence over a vast majority? Promises were made right from the get go.
The blatant chutzpah of the Pilots’ Association, which has spent tens of thousands of dollars each of these past weeks spewing out misinformation, is astonishing. Yet raise the mere mention of increasing landing fees to make the facility really self-sufficient to avoid the burden of 20 more years of Federal Aviation Administration control would cause such an outcry. Deep pockets and short arms would ensue.
There is disruption of daily life by low-altitude flights over family neighborhoods — and it is not just helicopters; it is the local pilots as well. They have the same mantra as the board: “I don’t give a crap,” and have continually disregarded the populace for the 22 years I have lived here.
Gee, I just came back from a trip: $13 for the Verrazano, $10 for the Outerbridge Crossing each way, yet the planes buzz here and there and create what they do for a paltry $7 landing fee — and nothing for the touch-and-gos.
Of course the supervisor and the majority on the board refer to the baggage tax on major airlines as a reason to not have them pay for what they use. The moronic reply, “We already pay a tax and I am not raising fees and adding another tax” is more of the “I don’t give a crap” mantra. I assume that being on the low end of the corporate ladder makes one so superior to the common folk and know what’s best for us whether we like it or not. The “reach” was in a long time ago. Why the sudden rush to the F.A.A.? Are their teeth on fire?
ARTHUR J FRENCH
October 10, 2011
To the Editor:
A letter in last week’s Star accuses Sylvia Overby of bullying and threatening applicants before the planning board during her tenure as chairwoman and alleges that Sylvia “dictatorially told an attorney she would have him thrown out of the public meeting for defending his client.”
During my time on the planning board, I found Sylvia to be unfailingly courteous and solicitous of the requests of applicants and the public. I cannot imagine Sylvia ever telling any attorney that she would “have him thrown out” of a meeting.
In my experience, Sylvia stood for open government, public scrutiny before decisions were made, and compliance with legal processes. Of course, Sylvia had opinions — sometimes strong opinions — about applications before the planning board, but Sylvia was secure enough in her knowledge of the strengths and shortcomings of all applications before the planning board that she never needed to resort to the sort of conduct of which she is accused in the letter.
Very truly yours,
October 10, 2011
The Republicans are sharpening their talons and once again making false claims about Democratic candidates. Their latest diatribe accused Sylvia Overby, past chairwoman of the planning board, of throwing a lawyer out of a planning board meeting.
Really? When did it happen? This would have been big news to the local papers. Can you show me the newspaper report? Plus, all the planning board meetings are broadcast and taped by LTV. Turn to Channel 22 and you can watch the meetings. I have never seen anything close to the events described by the operatives.
What I did see when Sylvia Overby was chairwoman was a polite, respectful chairwoman who appeared genuinely concerned about applicants, affected neighborhoods, open government, public comments, East Hampton Town Code, and the comprehensive plan.
Sylvia Overby is knowledgeable and caring, the right person for the job of town board.
October 9, 2011
Last week I wrote about Sylvia Overby being the queen of mean, but some people have said I was unfair because those comments of hers were made 10 years ago and people can change. In my opinion, Sylvia Overby has changed — she’s gotten worse.
I attended the town board meeting last Thursday (which anyone can watch on the town’s Web site or on LTV) and Sylvia got up during the public comments and displayed an incredible lack of understanding about local farms and how they work. Basically, she called for extra costs that are totally unnecessary (a full professional survey of vacant land) and demanded that local farmers submit plans in advance that tell the Planning Department how they intend to use their farmland. In addition, she called for unbelievable restrictions on the farmers’ ability to grow food. She also opposes farmers having any kind of temporary structures like removable hoop houses, thus cutting short their productive income-producing season.
If her “team that unites” is anything like her and is as ignorant about these matters as she is, then there will just be no more farming in East Hampton. To show how uninformed her running mate Peter Van Scoyoc is, he got up and said he agreed with everyone on the matter. That’s some leadership there.
I am sorry, but Sylvia still wants to be queen of us all and dictate what she wants — or else.
Vote Nov. 8 like your livelihood depends on it, because it does. Elect the Wilkinson team 2011 and save East Hampton from people who don’t know what they are talking about.
Thanks for your attention.
October 9, 2011
While I have refrained from writing any letters during this campaign season for fear of playing into the bogus claims of politicizing by Democratic candidates and the personal attacks on me, I believed it was important to lay out some facts about several of the Democrats’ political advertisements I have seen and heard in the media.
The Democratic advertisement that claims the town is paying 12 to 13 percent for amortizing the retirement incentive costs from the 2010 incentive program is false. The interest rate on the five-year amortization is 7.5 percent (and the real cost is less when you factor in present value). I would be happy to give you the telephone number of the official in Albany who oversees the program and have her tell you that herself.
The reason for amortizing the retirement incentive is that cash flow in the general fund in particular needed to be protected by the town in September 2010 when the amortization decision had to be made. The concern for cash flow was expressed by the state comptroller’s office just prior to the September decision. The McGintee-Democratic deficit had not yet been certified by the state comptroller at that time (so the extent of the deficit was still unknown), the cash position going into 2011 was uncertain, and the potential for a 2-percent tax cap existed with no specifics on how or when it would be implemented. All those factors contributed to the need to secure cash flow and the need to make decisions with that in mind. It is also why the amortization option was chosen.
The other false claim in the Democratic advertisements is that the town borrowed $6 million to finance a tax cut. That claim, in particular, is most egregious. First and foremost, the town cut the tax levy by over $10 million in the 2011 budget, which means not borrowing $6 million would have still produced a $4 million tax cut. That being said, the Democratic advertisement is misleading because of the reason why the town borrowed what it did. The borrowing was to eliminate the McGintee-Democratic deficit created between 2005 and 2008.
At a meeting on Feb. 2 attended by the state comptroller, the town’s financial adviser, the town’s outside bond counsel, the town’s independent auditor, budget office staff, the supervisor, and Councilman Pete Hammerle, it was urged by the town’s financial adviser and supported by the state comptroller and everyone else in the room that the second borrowing to eliminate the McGintee-Democratic deficit contain enough money so as to create a buffer or small surplus to establish greater financial stability for the town. The state comptroller staff added that the proposed 2-percent tax levy cap made a surplus a prudent move.
The town’s financial adviser said that extra amount, essentially the $6 million the Democratic advertisements criticize, was important to shore up town finances and show the financial markets and rating agencies the town was on its way to full financial recovery. In other words, the town was instructed by the pros to borrow that money to create a buffer for the future. I will give you the telephone number of our financial adviser if you want to ask him about the move.
If you look at the 2012 tentative budget you will see almost $4 million in surplus in the general fund (there is about $2 million the general fund may have to write off due from the capital fund due to mismanagement in 2005 through 2009 by the McGintee-Democratic administration).
And despite the dire warning in the Democratic ads about the impact of interest, tax rates are going down again in 2012. In other words, financial stability has been achieved.
One other factor to remember is that when the town was borrowing the so-called unneeded $6 million (according to the Democratic advertisements), Moody’s Investors Service (the credit rating agency) improved the town’s credit outlook from negative to stable and reaffirmed that change in June. The financial community certainly believes we are heading in the right direction and has said so with its upgraded outlook for the town.
Town of East Hampton
October 9, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray,
In the Sept. 29 edition of The Star, Tim Sullivan wrote:
“It is very interesting to see the Democrats now emboldened and writing letters attacking the Wilkinson administration while they were silent as the McGintee administration, with the assistance of ‘Twomey Town,’ raped the taxpayers of East Hampton.”
At first I thought that the use of the word “rape” was an unfortunate one. Rape implies some hideous, demoralizing, and stolen opportunity for pleasure or the debasement of others, neither of which applies to Bill McGintee. As poorly handled as the community preservation fund crisis was by the McGintee administration, I don’t believe there is a sober, uncompromised resident of this town who believes that Bill acted out of malice or sought to line his own pockets during his term in office.
Bill McGintee (or, Old Bill), as I believe every decent person in this town knows, was hit with an extraordinarily difficult task and was overwhelmingly unequipped to deal with it. The mortgage tax fees that gave successive East Hampton Town governments the ability to readily cover their budget shortfalls simply collapsed. Revenues were falling while costs were soaring. As many know, Bill was faced with honoring a new Police Department contract that the Schneiderman crowd had negotiated. By the time McGintee took office, that deal with the police cost him over $1 million he did not have.
Bill McGintee handled these problems about as badly as anyone could have. And he has paid the price for it, over and over again, as people like Tim Sullivan, the Republican hack of all hacks in this town, continues to use the McGintee fiasco to make political hay. Which brings me to the second idea that emerged from Hack of All Hack’s letter: Who is Wilkinson running against?
Naturally, when Bill Wilkinson (Dollar Bill) sought office last time, the sting of the McGintee debacle was still fresh and, therefore, fair game in the candidate’s rhetoric. But the “Wilkinson team,” this elite squadron of crack financial geniuses who have rescued the town from the verge of financial ruin, keeps throwing the name McGintee out there. Hack of All Hacks will play the McGintee card at every opportunity. He’ll blame Mr. McGintee for the Yankees’ loss to Detroit, if he thinks you won’t notice.
Hey, Tim. Guess what? Mr. McGintee isn’t running. The man who is running is Zach Cohen. Someone who is onto the fact that, like the Obama administration, the Wilkinson administration has simply repackaged debt. But, like true Republicans, while borrowing money to cover the town’s debt, actually gave people a tax break because, well, that’s what Republicans do. You cut people’s taxes and hope that the next guy, preferably a Democrat, gets stuck cleaning up the mess.
Dollar Bill ran as a businessman and asserted that he would bring his years of experience running human resources for the Disney Company to Town Hall. If Mr. Wilkinson ran human resources at Disney the way he handles his colleagues and constituents at town meetings, then Disney must have given out a lot of hardship payback in the ’90s. Mr. Wilkinson appears to be a devotee of the Captain Bligh School of Management. And there are many folks in this town who are wondering why we can’t have both experience and civility in town government in the same candidate.
That candidate is Zach Cohen.
I suppose I should go easier on Mr. Wilkinson about his now legendary prickliness and awful bedside manner. We all, to be sure, have our off days. The thing about Mr. Wilkinson we cannot overlook, however, is how he, along with monkeys like Tim Sullivan, keep flogging a dead horse called McGintee. That shows me, and clearly, a disturbing thing or two about the current supervisor. He is a cheap-shot artist and a coward.
Campaign for Dummies
October 9, 2011
With the Democratic Party in East Hampton (I’ll deal with the Republicans later) running its most recent version of “A Political Campaign for Dummies” in which voters are expected to believe that they, and only they, are concerned about open space, clean water, and fresh air, one must ask whether their campaign really passes the smell test on important issues, or whether we should contact the Environmental Protection Agency.
For the last few years, Deb Foster has desperately spearheaded a campaign to say that every financial decision made by Bill Wilkinson has been wrong. A large ad with her name at the bottom of it appeared in last week’s Star and is just the latest salvo in her campaign. The problem is, and has always been, that Deb Foster was on the town board when the McGintee administration ran the town into a financial ditch. Her efforts offend intelligence because she should have, and could have, worked harder for the money we paid her as a councilwoman to prevent the circumstances that we faced. She didn’t. Her efforts are self-serving, too little, and very much too late. Bad odor rating: 5 on a scale of 5.
The Democratic team ran an ad also claiming that they will be the new defenders of the East Hampton Town Trustees in the exercise of their, and our, common rights to beach access and trustee road usage. They seem not to understand why Republicans are repeatedly elected to run the trustees.
The Democrats who controlled the trustees twice in recent memory — once in the 1980s and once in the 1990s — just couldn’t be trusted. They yielded authority to the town board, allowed some access to be closed, and in general did a lousy job. So this new crop of Democrats is seemingly unaware of this history and is not credible as defenders of anything having to do with the East Hampton Town Trustees. Maybe they didn’t live in East Hampton then but that is no excuse and reason enough not to vote for them. Foul water rating: 5 on a scale of 5.
Many in Montauk are deeply concerned, and disturbed, about places with violations wrecking the quality of life in Montauk and dubious decisions that led to the likes of the 7-Eleven. The Democrats are claiming that the town board has not used all of the tools at its disposal to rein in these places. This is correct. But the Democrats also lack credibility on this issue as well. In a previous incarnation, the Amagansett Farmers Market was similarly in violation of the town code and, believe me, no innovative ideas were proposed or used to correct or curtail the situation there — ever. Bad smell rating: 5 on a scale of 5.
I don’t know if the Democrats running are just ignorant of these deficits in their campaign arguments or simply trying to deceive voters with this political campaign for dummies. But some of us who did not drop from the sky to run for office know better. These Democrats, who are largely unknown to me, could have been honest, but they just haven’t been. If they keep this campaign up, we will need the E.P.A. to clean up this Superfund site of deceptions.
October 7, 2011
I just received a mailing from the East Hampton Democrats titled “Happy About the Tax Cut?” My answer is, “Yes, of course I am.” Then, as I thought about this mailing I began to get really angry and insulted. Do the Democrats really believe that the people of East Hampton don’t understand why borrowing $6 million was necessary? Where were Zach Cohen and Sylvia Overby when Bill McGintee was destroying our town finances? How can they be criticizing the professional way the Republicans are cleaning up their mess? They call the two tax cuts the Republicans delivered phony. We have to pay for the Dems’ incompetence. I would rather pay over 10 years than in 1 year. Who do they think they’re fooling with this line of misinformation?
We all know that the only money borrowed was to fix Bill McGintee’s mess. The Democrats would have preferred more huge tax increases instead of borrowing to spread the debt out over many years.
It is amazing to me that the Dems aren’t trying to be part of the solution to the town’s financial situation. It brings back the old saying “Are you part of the solution or are you the problem?” It is mystifying to me that they expect the public to buy what they’re trying to sell.
Cut the Tax
October 10, 2011
The political advertisement by the Democrats that somehow turns the Wilkinson team’s adroit handling of the $30 million deficit and overall financial debacle created by the Democrats and Bill McGintee is contemptible.
The Wilkinson team cut the tax levy by over $10 million in 2011. So even if you buy into the convoluted Democratic argument, the Wilkinson team would have created a big tax cut for everyone with or without borrowing $6 million. The advertisement is simply a political hoax.
Any money borrowed was done only as part of the overall strategy to eliminate the $30 million deficit created by the all-Democrat McGintee town board. And while that was happening, Zach Cohen, Sylvia Overby, and Peter Van Scoyoc sat by and said nothing about the looming deficit that was about to rip the town apart. Ms. Overby in fact contributed thousands to keep Bill McGintee in office.
Bill Wilkinson and Len Bernard were among the few who were warning anyone who would listen about what was happening to the town’s finances. Fortunately, there came a point when the state comptroller and Suffolk district attorney listened. For the Democrats now to attempt spinning the remarkable job done by the Wilkinson team to get the town out of the severe financial mess they themselves created is ludicrous.
The Democrats’ ad asks if I like my tax cut. My answer is absolutely. I also like the one I am getting in 2012 thanks to the expertise and professionalism of the Wilkinson team.
Oh, by the way, I did some research and found that this $6 million borrowing the Democrats are making such a big deal about was actually recommended by the town’s financial adviser and bond counsel to create some cushion at the end of 2011 that would stabilize the town’s financial position going forward and probably lead to a credit-rating increase. I find it more than ironic that when the town went to borrow this money to fix the Democratic mess, Moody’s (the credit-rating agency) improved the town’s credit rating from negative to stable. I guess they think the Wilkinson team is doing something right.
EMIL K. EVERETT
September 29, 2011
I am concerned that an important aspect of the upcoming East Hampton Town Board elections has been overlooked: the candidates’ health.
I come from a background of intense health concerns. I am a good amateur diagnostician, but I called upon an expert from the Royal College of Surgeons, Sir Nigel Kent. I described the symptoms of our current East Hampton Town supervisor.
“It is certainly sociopathic I-T-Y syndrome.”
“Sociopathic I-T-Y syndrome?”
“Sociopathic I-T-Y syndrome sufferers exhibit signs of extreme grandiosity, pomposity, and mendacity.”
“Is there a cure?”
“Raking leaves, honoring your constituents, and stepping aside gracefully. And Diana?”
“Yes, Sir Nigel?”
“I would recommend that you tell this person that they would be helped on the path to recovery by a nice trip to Disney.”
Had Everyone Fooled
October 6, 2011
Ah, the cat is out of the bag. Fred Thiele told us he was no longer a Republican; instead he declared himself a free agent, an independent, and we all nodded our heads believing him and agreed he was a good man. He was for all the right social issues Democrats favor and the environment to boot, our favorite issue — so Democrats welcomed him with open arms and he received our support. At election time we went into the booth (when there were booths), and pulled the lever over his name (when there were levers).
Good ol’ Fred. He had everyone fooled. Even snuggled up to Chuck Schumer on Author’s Night, good ol’ Fred did. But the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing outed himself by backing a man to the right of Eric Cantor — and he will never be believed or supported again.
You know how that the old saying goes about fooling all of the people some of the time? No more fooling anyone, Fred. You are a Republican!
PHYLLIS I. MALLAH
October 4, 2011
I have lived in Montauk for more years than I care to say and I hate to admit how old I am. So let me just say that I have seen a lot go on here. Now, all of a sudden, the big issue is noisy restaurants and out-of-control summer crowds of young people. This is not new. It’s been going on for years. The difference is that people are trying to use this as a wedge issue against Bill Wilkinson and his re-election. When these issues existed under the previous [ . . . ] McGintee administration, there was hardly a peep out of anyone. The noise and crowds didn’t get worse. It was always a huge problem out here.
At least the Wilkinson administration is sending code enforcement personnel to these places and they are handing out summonses and noise violation tickets like they were free candy.
The rules say that an establishment is allowed due process to appeal these fines and that is now working its way through the system. To shut down these places is to kill many local jobs and hurt our local economy. The fact that people come out to Montauk to have fun is exactly what a resort is supposed to do — attract people who stay in hotels, eat in our restaurants, and buy sandwiches, refuel their cars, and buy souvenirs.
Obviously, no one wants a free-for-all, wild-west type of out-of-hand situation, but for anyone to say this whole thing is new or that Mr. Wilkinson isn’t trying to find a middle ground that works for everyone is just plain wrong.
At least the Wilkinson administration is addressing an ongoing issue that others have always avoided.
Unimpressed by M.B.A.
October 9, 2011
To the Editor:
A month ago I wrote to the local newspapers asking Democratic supervisor candidate Zach Cohen to give the voters his résumé. I was looking for information other than the usual list of his East Hampton Town committeeships. I have seen nothing in print back from him.
In a recent LTV interview the same question was posed to him. He was born, raised, and educated in Miami Beach, and by inheritance became an owner of a family restaurant business started by his father. He said there was a managerial hierarchy hired to run the restaurant but he talked with the staff. It was unclear if he was the sole owner or what his actual role was in the business. He did tell us that it was large, employed a lot of people, and that it was ultimately sold to a listed company.
His comment about Miami Beach was telling. He said basically that he “was too much of an academic and more interested in culture” for what was offered to him there.
He graduated from college with a B.A. in math, philosophy, and music, was a student composer at Tanglewood in 1969, and attended graduate school at Berkeley for six years, studying for a special Ph.D. in math and philosophy. He never finished the work required to earn the degree.
His “excuse” for not fulfilling the requirements, or quitting before the job was done, was that he was “too much of a person of the world to sit in a cubicle and ponder.”
Over the years, he and his architect wife have become developers. They buy properties, like a golf cart repair shop in California, and turn them into high-tech offices. A development he still owns today. They continue to do the same in East Hampton. It is interesting that while Democrats in this town constantly bad-mouth Republican candidates, especially Bill Wilkinson, accusing them of favoring developers and development, accusations never proven to contain one scintilla of truth, their lead candidate for supervisor is an acknowledged developer.
Candidate Cohen went on to say that he studied piano “very seriously.” He was also a “serious” bicycle racer until he had a car accident. In fact. he raced in the ’70s with a top United States team and an amateur team in France. He admitted to being influenced by other people’s passions. If someone comes to him and speaks passionately about a subject, Cohen wants to go off and learn all about that subject. After the restaurant was sold in 1996, at the age of 48, he went to the University of Chicago and got an M.B.A.
What does all this say about candidate Cohen? Each voter will have to decide for him or herself, but for me one word comes to mind — dilettante. My Webster’s defines a dilettante as “a person having a superficial interest in an art or a branch of knowledge: Dabbler, synonym: Amateur.” I would add someone who is fortunate enough to have the finances to do what he wants when he wants without worry or need for steady employment.
I am unimpressed by the idea that Mr. Cohen has earned an M.B.A. Having an M.B.A. and not using it in the business world does not say to me that you are experienced in finance, management, or economics. All it says is that you completed the courses required, which is more than he did for his doctorate. To me, simply going to medical school doesn’t make you a doctor and completing law school does not make you a lawyer.
Other than the restaurant, and that was family-owned, I do not see anything in his background that tells me he has real world work experience gained through employment by people other than family or himself. When you work for family or yourself you get to fill out your own job reviews! As interesting as all this may be, candidate Cohen does not have the curriculum vitae of a leader.
Who do we want running our town? Zach Cohen, the dilettante (amateur), or Bill Wilkinson, our supervisor, with 35 years of major corporate business and finance experience.
Bill Wilkinson pulled us back from the brink of economic disaster in his 22 months in office. He deserves the opportunity to finish the job and put this town fully on the road to recovery. A dilettante (amateur) he ain’t!
Cirillo Does All
October 10, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray:
What is with Democrats and fear-mongering? I received a letter from Alec Baldwin and his Conservators political action committee that was so over the top I wondered why Mr. Baldwin hadn’t written it in red crayon. Alec, take a breath, man. I know Democratic policies of big, intrusive government, higher taxes, and out-of-control spending are being rejected by the nation. But, desperation makes people say ridiculous things. Take, for instance, Naomi Salz’s letter in The Star last week.
With nothing else to offer, Ms. Salz trots out the usual blather that Republicans are anti-environment. She targets Don Cirillo, the vice chairman of the zoning board of appeals, for her hysterics. Heck, she doesn’t even know Don, but that doesn’t matter to her.
I wonder how Ms. Salz would answer a few questions to establish her own pro-environmentalist credentials. Alec, you and your Conservators board might want to peek at these questions, too.
Ms. Salz, do you own a house or houses (much larger than you need) with a pool and lawn that gobbles water and fertilizer? Do you have deer fencing or gates of any kind? Air-conditioning?
Or, have you designed your property so that it sustains the area’s wildlife? Do you have a pond or water feature that welcomes all wildlife so on a hot summer afternoon they can quench their thirst? Do you feed the birds all year, providing highly enriched suet in the winter months? Ms. Salz, do you use scrap wood and other recycled materials to build birdhouses to encourage multiple species of birds to nest in and that also provide shelter in the winter? Do you compost all of your kitchen wastes, plant material, and leaves? Here’s a good one — do you plant native species in your gardens to encourage the return of certain insect and bird species? Mr. Cirillo does all of these things. Anti-environment? I don’t think so.
Moreover, not knowing a thing about Mr. Cirillo’s professional qualifications, Ms. Salz embarrasses herself by asserting Don is a complete novice regarding zoning issues. Let’s begin with his master’s in urban affairs that required coursework in planning. Mr. Cirillo has held senior managerial positions in New York City’s housing and transportation agencies, managing staff and major public projects.
Mr. Cirillo has been a municipal bond analyst for over 25 years. He has worked in major financial institutions, advising clients on the finances of large and small municipalities across the country. In order to assess a municipality’s fiscal viability, he reviews (among many other items) planning requirements and zoning regulations and decisions that municipalities make. He has sat on and chaired national boards. At present, he is on the board of the East End Community Organic Farm, not exactly a hotbed of anti-environmentalists. He has mentored staff who years later call him for advice. He knows what makes for a well-run department in both the public and private sectors. Now, Ms. Salz, can you name one other person on the zoning board of appeals, or better yet, one Democratic candidate whose credentials in any way match Don’s? Alienating? Novice? I think not, dear.
Mr. Cirillo and Bill Wilkinson have real résumés, unlike the Democratic candidates, and have proven track records in making organizations more efficient. Supervisor Wilkinson has used the best business practices to encourage East Hampton Town government to become more efficient in its delivery of services to the taxpayers, hence a $10 million budget reduction. Don Cirillo shares those views. Having no ideas on how to make East Hampton a better-run town, Mr. Baldwin, the Conservators, Ms. Salz, and the Democratic Party are reduced to making wild and false accusations about anti-environmentalism. Their motto is “better to deceive than discuss.”
Mr. Baldwin and I do agree on one very important point. This election on Nov. 8 is one of the most important elections for East Hampton. Voters will decide to continue with Bill Wilkinson’s East Hampton of reduced taxes, more efficient government, less spending, and financial security. Or they will decide to turn the town back over to Zach Cohen, Peter Van Scoyoc, and Sylvia Overby (and their Democratic puppet-masters), people bereft of accomplishments and ideas who enabled and encouraged, by their silence, the catastrophic disintegration of East Hampton Town’s finances.
I urge all voters to support and to re-elect Bill Wilkinson as supervisor and elect his highly accomplished team of Richard Haeg and Steven Gaines to the town board and Steve Lynch to highway superintendent.
Ms. Campolo is married to Don Cirillo and is a member of the East Hampton Republican Committee. Ed.
Lay the Path
October 7, 2011
I would like to introduce myself as a Democratic and Working Families candidate for East Hampton Town trustee. I have lived on the East End since 1973 and in Springs since 2000. My bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, with minors in both marine science and sustainability studies, is from Stony Brook University. I am completing my master’s degree at Stony Brook in marine conservation and policy. I like to share environmental information with everyone, so I produce videos for a show called “Keepin’ It Green” that is broadcast on Cablevision, LTV, and YouTube.
I am concerned about marine pollution emanating from wastewater, stormwater, pesticides, and other contaminants. Wastewater-treatment solutions are currently available, but may take time to accept and implement. If we pursue a rapid increase in shellfish aquaculture, not only for commercial and recreational harvest, but also to assist in pollution mitigation until wastewater solutions are implemented, we could stall problems that East Hampton may face in the coming years if nothing is done. The status quo is not going to sustain us; it will be our downfall. Seaweed restoration for habitat enhancement and pollution control should also be a town priority. The trustees have developed an eelgrass sanctuary; we should intensify propagation of this once-abundant habitat-builder and water-cleansing species.
East Hampton is mandated to control its stormwater through a federal program via a town-appointed committee. Stormwater is diverted into our coastal waters and is an issue I believe in which the trustees should be involved. Suffolk Vector Control sprays Accabonac Harbor and Napeague with methoprene, a chemical hormone mimicker that stops the larvae from morphing into adult mosquitoes. This chemical affects many invertebrates and does not distinguish between mosquitoes, crabs, or bees, for that matter. Does methoprene affect fish and birds? What about children and pregnant women? Does it travel through the marine food web? Are there alternatives?
I am interested in solid waste management issues facing East Hampton. Each one of us is part of the problem and can be part of the solution. Conservation of our natural resources through reduction in consumption and enhanced recycling initiatives are necessary for East Hampton’s future. It starts with a desire to promote change, followed by public education and input, and finally implementation of programs that will lead East Hampton on its path to a sustainable future.
You might ask, why do I care about this stuff, as some of these issues are not under the jurisdiction of the trustees? Well, I have studied these issues, and know that everything we do on land ends up in the sea — eventually. It all flows downhill, and everything is connected to everything else. We are connected to everything. Land issues affect our coastal (and ground) waters. We need to have integrated, not compartmental, conservation efforts. We must act on solutions that we know exist. We have an obligation to stop performing harmful actions that we know are detrimental to the planet. Once we know what the problems are and where they are originating from (and pretty much, we do know a lot), there is zero justification for inaction.
The days of doing nothing (until mandated) should be behind us. There is hope and time to do the right thing for the planet and for the future. I feel obligated to work toward maintaining an ecological balance on land and in our coastal and ground waters. East Hampton must become a town that works toward a sustainable future, so that it will be able to enjoy all that our beautiful town offers. This is not our grandfathers’ East Hampton; this is our children’s East Hampton. Please remember this as we lay the path for them to walk on.
I believe that as East Hampton residents, we must retain access to all of our natural resources and we must keep these assets viable for future generations. The top priorities include unencumbered beach access, preservation of our native species, and maintaining hunting and fishing rights. Dredging, shoreline protection, and public education should complement one another, and decisions should be based on what is best for the whole. However, maintaining beach access is just as important as promoting healthy coastal ecosystems. What good is access to waters that are dead, polluted, or deemed impaired and thereby off-limits to harvest or swimming?
If elected, I will be a proactive addition to the historic governing body of the East Hampton Trustees. There are highly qualified people on the ballot this year. The 2012 trustees will include new people who will bring new ideas to our community. Please get to know our candidates and base your decisions on the person and their qualifications.
Please register to vote if you have not, and vote early and often (just kidding; you can only vote once).
Did you know that East Hampton was one of the first places in American society to have a local, albeit limited, democracy? Uphold this unique 325-year tradition and exercise your right to vote on Nov. 8.
Thank you for your time.
October 9, 2011
The nine town trustees are often an afterthought on Election Day, with votes cast on a party line or for traditional local names. Though the trustees go back to when East Hampton was a British colony, after independence New York State replaced the trustees with a town board and they lost most of their power. However, they still own the common lands from the colonial patent in trust for the “freeholders and commonalty” of the town. That would be us.
Our lands include bottoms of harbors, shellfish beds, and coastal ponds, except in Montauk which the trustees regrettably sold off in the late 1800s. Old trustee roads and wagon trails are the backbone of town trail systems. Most beaches are trustee owned, though past trustees sold some of those, too.
What should our trustees be doing now? They should be true stewards of our unique ecosystem. As landowners they should take up their public trust responsibilities and preserve habitats and public access to the water. Since they’re no longer a town government, the trustees should get out of the permitting, planning, and litigation business that has preoccupied them for decades.
There is plenty to do on the stewardship front. We face a rising sea level, which will surely alter our beaches, creeks, and wetlands. We must reduce pollutants entering our harbors and groundwater, sustain our traditional fisheries, and resist overdevelopment. East Hampton Town Trustees could be leading the way, as do trustees of Southold and Southampton.
In November, please consider the Democratic trustee candidates. They are passionate about our local environment and committed to public access. They will be new faces and a change for the better — real stewards of our common lands.
Who do you trust for town trustee?
October 10, 2011
After enjoying a weekend of films brought into town by the film festival, everyone is invited to a locally produced film that will be shown at Ashawagh Hall on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m., titled “Dark Skies.” It is a short, 22-minute film produced by the Accabonac Protection Committee. Refreshments will be served. It is suitable for all ages and is free. I hope you can come.
On another subject, I’ll vote for any Highway Department candidate that will promise to stop the incessant, excessive, and unnecessary mowing. There is no reason to mow 15 to 20 feet off the roadway (e.g., all along Landing Lane) when there are no line-of-sight issues and no telephone wires underneath. It wastes energy, pollutes the air, chops off the tops of turtles, scatters trash, and wastes municipal resources.
Dark Sky Society
Proven His Ability
October 10, 2011
To the Editor,
I have watched the past four years as Scott King has run the Highway Department with a reduction of manpower, reduced budget, and no capital spending. He has been able to accomplish all tasks required, including record snowfalls, a hurricane, and flooding.
Scott has not only managed this department in a recession, he has created a $1 million surplus in the last three years. I believe he has proven his ability as highway superintendent and will continue to maintain safe roads on a budget.
On My Record
October 10, 2011
I would like to respond to a letter written by Steve Lynch last week in which he stated incorrectly how the Suffolk County Water Authority has the same agreement with all towns. The highway superintendent has sole responsibility as to how the roads are repaired after a utility is installed. In the past, we have either received the repair cost, as was the case in the Green Hollow subdivision which was going to be repaved as part of the requirements for acceptance, or done a trench repair, which is more costly and inferior to an overlay. There isn’t a contract with the water authority, and we don’t supply traffic control for their projects, but we do work closely for the benefit of both parties.
I have replaced outflow pipes per the municipal separate storm sewer systems rules and repaired or added drainage as needed before the repavement was completed. All water services are stubbed out, and what we end up with is a newly paved road that doesn’t have to be dug up and will last many years, all at no cost to the taxpayer. I have also had a representative of the Highway Department present on all overlay projects to ensure compliance to specifications.
Mr. Lynch is also mistaken as to the percentage of surplus that is to be carried; it is 20 percent of the budget for the Highway Department, which is town board policy as of 2002.
The real story is how the current town board majority appropriated $1.13 million in 2011 and has proposed taking another $705,000 for 2012 to artificially reduce taxes for two years, despite my objections. (Check the town board meetings on LTV.) We could have purchased much-needed equipment, paved more roads, and done infrastructure work that keeps falling behind every year as costs rise and budgets decline.
As far as micro-pave is concerned, you would be surprised to learn that the State Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Suffolk Department of Public Works use this product regularly as a way to preserve and extend the life expectancy of pavement with a limited budget and low cost per square yard. This is a common practice all across the country.
We could discuss all the issues concerning the Highway Department with a simple debate, but Mr. Lynch refuses to attend them each time he runs for this position with a claim he is too busy to attend.
I will stand on my record of accomplishments with a reduced work force, reduced budget, and no capital spending. For the last three years the Highway Department has always run on-budget and added to surplus. On Nov. 8, vote for a proven track record and experience, not politics and promises — they never get the job done.
East Hampton Town
Give Him an F
Barefoot Bay, Fla.
October 7, 2011
To the Editor:
Contrary to Phyllis Mallah’s belief, when writing to The Star, I am not pleading for her or anyone else to give my son the job of highway superintendent. If this woman knew me she would know better — another mistake on her part. Seems she isn’t really interested in the people of East Hampton, just the party. I am a people person, not a party person. “What faces the residents of East Hampton this November is a clear choice, regardless of who endorses whom” — so true. Had I lived in East Hampton the last election I would have voted for Tom Talmage, as the superintendent of highways had already shown signs of erratic behavior. I also know that the East Hampton I grew up in would not tolerate this and would investigate properly just how great a job he did.
I think that the employees of the Highway Department deserve a medal for hard work under enormous stress, giving their all, day in and day out. We should not leave out the residents who have been subject to his verbal abuse.
This statement is taken in part from a letter on Oct. 6, written by Rona Klopman: “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.”
The superintendent of highways is the supervisor for the Highway Department. How would you, the people, rate this man’s actions regarding all this? I give him an F.
Stephen Lynch will tackle the issues, and I as usual will defend the rights of the employees and residents who have been verbally abused. I may not be living in East Hampton, but it will always be my home. Sorry, Phyllis Mallah, you’re way off the mark when you mention me.
Time for a Change
October 10, 2011
Here in East Hampton it has become increasingly apparent to me that a good number of our town highway employees are terribly unhappy and frustrated with the current leadership under which they work. They feel they are working in a hostile, unfriendly environment fraught with harassment and fear of recrimination. These positions are thankless jobs, and the men and women who do the work earn a hard dollar. Anyone who has had to work in such conditions knows the daily dread and misery such conduct breeds.
I think it is time for a change. Even though I am a Democrat I will skip across party lines this November and cast my vote for Stephen Lynch for highway superintendent. I have known Steve all my life and know him to be honest, kind, and hard-working. He has owned a contracting company that bears his name for the past 30 years and has extensive knowledge about our local roads and highways and what it takes to maintain them. He knows how to get the job done, and, as they used to say on our grade school report cards, knows how to work well with others.
My vote is for Steve. I hope others consider him for the position of town highway superintendent as well. Thank you, David.
JOI JACKSON PERLE
October 9, 2011
To the Editor,
Usually when there are mass protests it’s easy to identify what people are protesting about. In this case it’s not readily identifiable. Lack of employment opportunities are of course a great concern to everyone. However, that’s the responsibility of the federal government and not Wall Street or the banks. Why are these people not protesting in Washington, where the president and his czars draw up the policies that have led to this situation over the past two years?
Many of us had trouble finding employment upon graduating from college. I hate to sound like the senior citizen that I am; however, when I ran into that problem I found a job loading potatoes, which I did for four months until a position finally came along.
I have a friend who owns a temporary staffing service on Long Island. He currently has two dozen positions that he can’t fill in the light-industrial area. These jobs pay from $9 to $11 per hour, and he can’t get the applicants to place with his clients. He feels that the answer is that many of the unemployed have been receiving checks for long periods of time and have no incentive to take these jobs.
Other possible applicants are on welfare rolls and also have no incentive to take these jobs. Perhaps this is a way to get people off government subsidies as there are thousands of jobs at this pay scale available throughout the country. Many of the people protesting are either still in school or have recently graduated and have never held a job before. Lying in the streets of our financial capital and disrupting business only brings negative results.
This bears out the fact that Washington has created a feeling of entitlement and it has led to people waiting for some sort of check in the mail instead of foraging for opportunities, perhaps not to their liking, but that certainly exist.
It’s easy for the administration to lay the blame on the financial sector. It takes the onus away from them as the people responsible for rectifying the lack of jobs. The sad thing is that the demonstrators have bought this displaced blame and actually believe it.
Big Maybe Not
October 10, 2011
To the Editor:
First the good news: Barack Obama has finally put his finger on what ails the nation. The bad news, well, it’s you, America. You, as the president of the United States puts it, have gotten soft. Yes, that about sums it all up in a nice, tidy little way, it is your fault his glorious ascension to deity-hood has collapsed into a stinking mass of pooh. Oh I know, that is a rather simple way to look at things but then again hyper-elites like Barack Obama think you are all rather simpleminded.
It is not really your fault though, enough of you, just enough mind you, bought into his whole “I am a messiah here to save the world, blah, blah” nonsense and were feeling a bit down about how things were shaping up that nifty slogans like “hope and change” and “yes, we can” were all you needed to pin our collective hopes on an untested political nobody who had never done a damn thing of consequence in his life.
Bit of a run-on sentence there but it is really hard to capture the enormity of your stupidity in a smaller, neater way. Oh wait, Comrade Obama did such a thing; you got soft — in the head? The heart? The spine? Anyways, something went awry somewhere along the way and really, you have to ask, are things better after $4 trillion of runaway spending at the hands of President Zero? One moment, Mr. Obama has admitted things have gotten worse under his watch and “yes, we can” has turned into a big “maybe not.”
We know, well, those of us who are self-aware, that hope and change was and is really hoax and blame, a hoax because our incompetent, narcissistic nepotism-practicing blamer-in-chief made you all sorts of promises under the sun and has failed, utterly, miserably, and completely in all measurable respects to a modern presidency. The blame has already been covered; it is you, me, Republicans, Democrats, unions, business, just about every aspect of our society except the office of president.
He has divided this nation more than ever. He seeks class warfare. He seeks race divisions. He wants, no, needs us to be at odds with one another if his fraudulent presidency has any hope of extending his stay in office beyond January of 2012.
The time comes when you can’t run from the things you have done. The time comes when you have to pay for the decisions you have made, and right now we pay a price every day for being soft and electing a man who never should have been president.
MICHAEL D. BOUKER
Effort to Dupe
October 9, 2011
The demonstrators on Wall Street and in other cities are in three successive waves, financed by the likes of MoveOn.org. The first were young people who when asked why they demonstrated could not come up with a coherent answer, other than that they were against banks, oil companies, and tax loopholes. The second wave was labor unions.
In a TV interview of an official of the steel workers union I heard the same anti-business, anti-government, anti-people who had any money, anti-American speeches that I heard on Union Square in lower Manhattan in the ’50s, only in a more sophisticated way. Once a week I bought the Daily Worker to read their latest anti-American garbage. With that it was off to Union Square once a week to debate with their speakers, and it was heated. Now they are back, full of optimism no doubt, with a president in office who publicly sympathizes with them, echoed by Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats.
The third wave is an effort to dupe the public at large to join this movement.
Obama and Co. have wasted $1.2 trillion, including interest, in the first attempt to provide employment and keep the unemployed rate to under 8 percent. It proved a complete waste. Now he wants to do the same thing, just calling it a jobs program. He misrepresents facts, such as saying that the average taxpayer does not enjoy a 15-percent tax rate as do those who pay capital gains taxes, implying they are paying much more. However, the Internal Revenue Service says that 83 percent of taxpayers pay less than 15 percent on average.
Also, 53 percent of households pay no federal income tax, speaking of fairness. O. and Co. not only want to remove the capital gains tax but soak us with reduced deductions on home mortgages and disallow deductions on other than primary residences. That will really hurt the local economy.
It is a shame that our president has given up fulfilling the duties of his office and instead focuses on campaigning for re-election, speaking mistruths, helping to divide us, while munching no doubt on $100-a-pound steaks imported from Japan.
EARLE S. RYNSTON
October 3, 2011
Remember how “soft on crime,” “soft on terrorism,” “weak on defense,” and/or being non-supportive of the military were code used by Republicans against Democratic candidates? Remember how the Republicans jumped onto the flag pin on the lapel as designating their “patriotism” or the “anti-Americanism” of the Democrats and liberals who opposed the Vietnam War and the other senseless wars that followed, or the Bush Iraq fiasco?
Now, fast-forward to the Republican presidential debate and watch these eight clowns stand silently while their constituents boo a G.I. fighting in Afghanistan, risking his life for these fat-cat slobs. Not a word to defend this soldier. Oh, I forgot, he is gay! They want to be president? They should be barred from running for any office, including dog catcher! Chris Christie should change his mind and run; he would blanket the field.
Sorry, suckers, it will be my man Barack for four more years.
And by the way, remember Jerry Della Femina, the guy who worshiped George Bush and the Iraq war? He is still around writing a column in a newspaper he owns (what else?) that nobody reads or cares about, except the beautiful Judy Licht, and in which he is invariably and consistently wrong about everything political.
I guess that comes from being a Republican in Brooklyn, where such species are as rare as wild turkeys and who perennially cluck away but never get heard except on Thanksgiving.
RICHARD P. HIGER