Letters to the Editor 11.03.11

Two Exceptional
    East Hampton
    October 29, 2011
To the Editor,
    This election year the Independence Party has two exceptional candidates running for town board. Marilyn Behan is one of the most sincere, honest, and compassionate individuals I have ever met. Marilyn is full of life and has the attitude that there is no problem too big that we can’t solve together. She is a team player, a good listener, and will make decisions wisely. Her love of our town is her driving force to do what is right for our community and residents.
    Our second candidate is Bill Mott. He is a lifelong resident of East Hampton, extremely well known and liked by everyone who knows him. When Bill says, “Once elected you are no longer a Democrat or a Republican,” he means it. He is a sweet and gentle man but don’t let that deceive you, because he will never go along with anything that is not good for the majority of our people. Knowing Bill on a personal level (our children are friends), I can only promise he cares deeply about the future of East Hampton and will make the right decisions for the benefit of us all.
    Please vote for Marilyn Behan and Bill Mott. You won’t be sorry!

Top-Notch Manager
    Seattle, Wash.
    October 28, 2011
Dear David,
    During six hours on a plane flying across this great nation of ours I had a chance to think about the last 21 months in East Hampton Town Hall.
    I just flew over hundreds, if not thousands, of small towns like East Hampton — all containing the well-to-do and the not so well-to-do, and everyone in between. All of these towns have their local police and their roads, their emergency management personnel and their attorneys, their professional staffs and their maintenance staff, and on and on and on, just like East Hampton.
    I also thought about how many of these towns have faced, or will ever have to face, the type of financial and management crisis East Hampton has just endured. How many of these small towns have had deficits in their general fund that were 50 percent of their entire general fund budget? How many of these small towns have had a discrete, dedicated preservation fund illegally looted to cover up an underlying financial mess created by mismanagement and administrative incompetence that, if exposed, would result in incumbent elected officials being voted out of office and a political party losing its standing and power? Then, when caught, raise taxes by over 30 percent on local residents?
    I would guess not many.
    Then my thoughts turned to Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and the job he was elected to do two short years ago — namely to clean up the financial and management mess and restore the health of the community preservation fund.
    Was Bill Wilkinson elected at least partially because of the McGintee-Democratic debacle? You would have to be a fool to say no. But the fact remains Bill Wilkinson was the person chosen to fix the mess, and Bill Wilkinson was the person who had a detailed plan to correct the problems and make the town whole again.
    Implementing that plan meant following through on some tough decisions — decisions that everyone knew were coming and were needed. Cutting some services, streamlining and reorganizing operations, introducing zero-based budgeting, and doing it all in a way responsible to the residents and taxpayers of East Hampton.
    I have told everyone who has asked me about Bill Wilkinson that he has been exactly the person the Town of East Hampton needed at this point in its history.
     The town did not need a panderer, or a yes man, or someone who would try to make everyone happy or be all things to all people. Rather, the town needed someone with a real plan and the guts to implement it in order to regain the status the town once enjoyed. It needed a strong and honest leader — Bill Wilkinson.
    Bill Wilkinson has used his plan to fix many of the problems created by the previous administration and get the town moving in the right direction.
    With Bill Wilkinson we also got an individual with 35 years of high-level corporate experience. And yes, it was high-level corporate experience, in spite of the viciously false letters written last week and appearing in The Star.
    One of the poison pen writers from last week actually stated a person was hired by Disney to supervise Mr. Wilkinson shortly after Bill went from ABC International to Disney Worldwide (Disney purchased ABC), when in fact it was Bill Wilkinson who hired this person to head up human resources for one of the many Disney divisions. Bill Wilkinson was in charge of human resources for all of the Disney divisions. This bogus letter was apparently written to lessen the sting created by the embarrassment of having the neutral, and Democratic, state comptroller reprimand Zach Cohen for misleading the public on his work credentials. Using new misinformation to rationalize old misinformation does not make for honest and fair political debate.
    For 21 months I have had the honor of working for Bill Wilkinson. Bill Wilkinson is a hard-working, top-notch manager who is extremely intelligent and talented. His goal of making our town as good as it can be has been focused, relentless, and unwavering.
    I just bet all those little towns across the United States wish they had a leader like Bill Wilkinson.  We do — let’s keep him.
    Town Budget Officer

Real Progress
    October 25, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray:
    Bill Wilkinson’s team gets better every week. With each debate, we see the Wilkinson team showing its skills. We see the true colors of a team committed to bringing the town real progress, rather than receding conveniently into the past. Progress requires the kind of analytical thinking that Steven Gaines and Richard Haeg have shown both in their professional lives and in public debate forums.
    Mr. Wilkinson has assembled a team of analytical thinkers who are showing their platforms of how to bring East Hampton into the future. These plans for the future make the most of our traditions and our history to increase year-round prosperity for all. As a young resident and voter, I find this very appealing.
    Vote on Tuesday for Wilkinson’s team 2011, with Mr. Gaines, Mr. Haeg, and Stephen Lynch to brighten the town’s future.

Deserve Better
    East Hampton
    October 30, 2011
To the Editor:
    Let’s talk about Montauk’s Fort Pond House again. In my view, candidates Cohen, Overby, and Van Scoyoc’s continuous, irresponsible statements concerning the house could ultimately cause harm to the community. Clearly they have said and written in their campaign materials what they believe the voters want to hear. They opine about Fort Pond House without a scintilla of proof, evidence, or facts to support their position. How do I know that? I have asked them and listened to their responses.
    At the recent Concerned Citizens of Montauk debate, where Mr. Cohen espoused the candidates’ oft-repeated support for the house, I asked the three candidates if they had ever been inside. Mr. Cohen, to avoid answering, said he would stop fighting the lawsuit (singular) but was not going to open the house. (Oops, Mr. Cohen, do your homework. There are two lawsuits, one each in state and federal court.)
    When reminded of that at the earlier League of Women Voters debate, he said he would “give Fort Pond House back to the Boy Scouts,” implying opening its doors again. He agreed that was the intention. He then finally admitted that he has never been inside the house.
    Ms. Overby tried ducking the question also by saying she was last in it when it was purchased — during the Schneiderman administration (2003!). Mr. Van Scoyoc’s response, probably the lamest, was very telling of how this threesome operates. He said he has never been to the house because he lives in East Hampton, not Montauk.
    I also live in East Hampton, but in May-June 2010, when the issue of Fort Pond House arose and people spoke before the board, I thought it important to go to the house before deciding. Research, I believe, candidates should do before spouting off on a topic and adopting a popular position without facts — that is, if they are simply not pandering for votes.
    After my visit, I reported at a Saturday work session on the terrible, nauseating, and dangerous conditions I found at the house and grounds. In my opinion, the house was structurally unsound, with overwhelming public safety and health conditions and was unsafe for use by the community, especially children.
    I found filthy bathroom fixtures and floors, and a disgusting kitchen with evidence from the food and wine in the refrigerator that people were eating on-site and leaving garbage to accumulate. Numerous pictures were available. I reported on the unsafe condition of the property and accessory structures and the town’s potential liability if anything happened at the house or grounds now that they had been put on public notice by me.
    After my presentation, as a conscientious town official, Supervisor Wilkinson sent the fire marshal to the house. The fire marshal issued a report with over 25 violations, some quite serious. Among the violations, he found active rodent infestation (hantavirus mean anything to anyone?), exposed electrical wires, leaky ceiling with potential remedial mold problems, indicators for serious structural problems, absence of working smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, deteriorated roof, and the possibility of asbestos.
    Are the repeated baseless comments by the Democratic candidates and the statements issued in their widely distributed campaign material glorifying Fort Pond house really the way elected officials should be dealing with serious problems that affect our community, especially our children? They want our votes. We get that, but at what price? The voters and residents of East Hampton deserve better. We deserve a board that will do their homework and come to the best result for all of us, not a board that will rush to judgment to please their friends, the folks who yell the loudest, or the voters.
    A vote for Wilkinson Team 2011 on Nov. 8 will continue us on the road to recovery.

Property Taxes
    East Hampton
    October 31, 2011
Dear Editor,
    Property taxes are a critical part of this campaign season. As property taxes rise it becomes harder and harder for young people to start out or continue to live here. As the younger generation settles in faraway, less expensive locations, the community feels the effects. Police and fire departments, teachers, caregivers, and other energetic new talent all become in short supply. Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and his running mates Richard Haeg and Steven Gaines all understand this concept well.
    If you keep raising taxes for services the community cannot afford, you will price the younger generation right out of East Hampton. One only has to look to Nassau County for the proof. There, years of runaway, reckless spending has driven taxes to astronomical levels, driven down home prices, and has resulted in a “brain drain.”
    Please return Supervisor Wilkinson to office to finish the great job he has started! By keeping East Hampton affordable, our younger generations (and may be some of our older generations) will continue to call East Hampton home.

Bill’s Caliber
    East Hampton
    October 30, 2011
Dear Editor,
    Since Bill Wilkinson took office as our supervisor, conditions have vastly improved. Our financial picture was grim and instead of thanking him for turning it around, we are nitpicking about things like leaf removal.
    We have voted in 50-plus elections in East Hampton and have seen many supervisors come and go. We are very lucky to have a man of Bill’s caliber as our supervisor and that he is seeking re-election.
    As our very dear Democratic, Republican, and independent friends know, we care deeply about East Hampton and pray for her future, a future for our grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and vast numbers of nieces and nephews.
    We urge you to vote for Bill Wilkinson, also to wisely select board members and other town officials and to re-elect our very knowledgeable Justice Lisa Rana. She does an outstanding job as our town justice. Her decisions are always fair and equal, backed by her many years of experience.
    Remember Election day is Tuesday and that your vote is very important.
    Most sincerely,

Righted a Ship
    East Hampton
    October 31, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray:
    Bill Wilkinson has been an outstanding town supervisor these last 22 months. He has kept each one of the promises he made during the 2009 election. He has brought East Hampton back from fiscal bankruptcy. He has begun to make East Hampton government more efficient. He has lowered spending and reduced East Hampton’s bloated budget substantially. And, he has lowered taxes, twice. He brought integrity back to Town Hall. He has righted a ship that was sinking.
    However, reading your editorials and listening to the over-the-top claptrap of Alec Baldwin, reading the outrageously misleading claims of the Conservators’ very expensive advertisements, and listening to the inane claims of the Democratic Party and its inexperienced and weak candidates, one might think that East Hampton was on the verge of Armageddon.
    The groups cited above supported the previous administration’s fiscal mismanagement and illegal shenanigans. Campaign contributions flowed to, and your newspaper endorsed, a corrupt regime that collapsed the budget and economy of East Hampton. A $28 million deficit, or a gap of 40 percent of the entire town budget, was the result. That kind of out-of-control spending and corruption devastated this town. What followed was an obscene 35-percent tax increase to all residents. That is the Democratic legacy and they should be returned to Town Hall? The irresponsibility of it all boggles the mind.
    The Democratic candidates you more than likely will endorse today offer no experience, no real platform other than promising to raise taxes, increase spending, and, increase regulations even more on farmers and small businesses. In short, they will put us right back on the track of a fiscal train wreck. Not one of them understands deficit financing or municipal budgeting and, not one of them has any real management experience that would allow them to make grown-up decisions.
    In all of these months, we have never seen a real résumé from Zach, Sylvia, or Peter. In fact, Zach had to pad his résumé because his experience is so thin. They all tout their appointed positions as proof of experience, yet the problems they say they will fix, like the overcrowding here in the Springs, were caused by them and the policies of their various boards.
    As to Ms. Behan and Mr. Mott, these are very nice people. Both of these individuals, as well as their spouses, give enormously to the East Hampton community and they are owed a tremendous thank-you. They have run honest campaigns. But, at this time, and in this particular election, I believe the breadth and depth of experience of Mr. Haeg and Mr. Gaines is what is needed.
    On Election Day, voters have a real choice. Richard Haeg, a war hero, with 40 years in public safety and small business, has management and budget experience and is a problem solver extraordinaire. His very life depended on those problem-solving skills. Steven Gaines is a thinker and writer whose knowledge of East Hampton is unmatched in this race.
    Steve Lynch, a local business owner, is an honest, hard-working, knowledgeable man who will bring superior management skills to the job and much-needed integrity to the highway superintendent’s office. Bill Wilkinson has proven to be an extraordinary manager and has an outstanding record on which he is running.
    On Tuesdays, East Hampton residents will be voting in one of the most important elections facing this town. Keep the progress of these last 22 months going by re-electing Bill Wilkinson and electing the solid team he has assembled. East Hampton’s future depends on your vote.

    Ms. Campolo is a member of the East Hampton Republican Committee. Ed.

Value of a Dollar
    East Hampton
    October 31, 2011
Dear David:
    Have you heard about Zachonomics? That’s a new scientific field of study where you have to earn a degree in mathematics first and then, after that, you forget how to add. It’s a degree that Zach Cohen, the Democratic candidate for East Hampton Town supervisor, earned in just the last six months and now he wants to spread its philosophy to all of East Hampton.
    Here’s how it works: Usually if you pay off your mortgage early, you will save money on the interest costs on the funds you originally had to borrow, right? Not according to Zach. Pre-paying your mortgage actually costs money. How is that? You pay the mortgage off a decade sooner than it is due and save interest payments for 10 years, no? Unless you have a degree in Zachonomics, you can’t understand it either.
    Now see if this makes sense: Taxpayers take over a small airport and try running it without any federal money to help pay the bills. According to Zach, that is actually less expensive for the town to do instead of taking Federal Aviation Administration money. That’s impossible you say? Bills and other expenses that are not shared will cost taxpayers more money, right? Apparently not, according to Zach. Who knew you could save money by running up bills. So, East Hampton taxpayers get to pay for all the lights and security, buy a deer fence covering about 30 acres, fund a control tower with a licensed air-traffic controller to operate it — and the town saves tons of money! How is this true? No one can explain it — but somehow it works in Zachonomics.
    Look at everyone’s favorite hot-button issue. I am not sure how but Zach and his running mates will bag your leaves for you and take them to the dump — and all for no cost! How can that be? Doesn’t everyone agree there is no such thing as a free lunch because someone, somewhere has to pay? Isn’t that the case with these leaves too? Won’t the town be short the $450,000 cost in another budget line? Won’t there be a shortfall in some budget code somewhere? Under Zachonomics, however, it is all done for free!
    Zach wants to hire a new C.P.A. to do the budgets along with a new town manager. He wants to buy a new dredge (with town staff to operate it), hire a new liaison to the community preservation fund, a new administrative assistant to coordinate all the departments, a new addition to the planning staff, install new catch-basins and drainage facilities he’s promised just about everyone who complains about water in their roads, restore the leaf pickup, etc. — all of which will be free. Amazing, but somehow it all works under Zachonomics.
    I urge you strongly (and your newspaper) to endorse the only candidate running for East Hampton Town supervisor who knows the value of a dollar and watches out for your money the way you want a politician to spend your taxes, carefully, not profligately.
    Please endorse Bill Wilkinson and his entire team 2011 of Richard Haeg, Steven Gaines, and Steve Lynch and save us all from Zachonomics.
    Thanks for your attention.

    Mr. Cirillo is a member of the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals and former treasurer of the town Republican committee. Ed.

Marvelous Job
    October 26, 2011
To the Editor:
    The East Hampton Town Trustees have done a marvelous job of defending and maintaining our heritage and beach rights. With the donations to the winter flounder project set aside to begin research and eventually raising winter flounder to a survivable size, we can trust that the stock will recover. Their qualifications, experience, and efforts on many fronts deserves to be noted and supported with re-election votes.
    The long list of accomplishments by Bill Wilkinson merit our support and vote. We are so much further ahead on reducing the debt from what the last administration left us, the property tax burden reduced, free beach access for residents was restored, and much of the excess eliminated. As a first term, new to politics, town supervisor, Mr. Wilkinson has managed to accomplish much of what we elected him to implement. I’ve met and spoken with, and now support, Richard Haeg and Steven Gaines and believe they will bring a fresh perspective to the town board.
    Cornelius Kelly is the most exciting addition to this year’s race, bringing with him, as a first-time political run, energy, enthusiasm, and a firm grasp of the issues of Suffolk County. I’m voting for him for county legislator because he has shown integrity and determination to end the out-of-control spending in our county that the incumbent has not been able to check.
    With Angie Carpenter as the next county executive we can have confidence that the good-old-boy, free-spending cronyism will end and intemperance reined in.

No Reason to Jump
    October 25, 2011
    Supervisor Bill Wilkinson continues to hit the facts. In last night’s debate, he, again delivered his record of results. These results have clearly defined the benefits to the taxpayers, visible in dollars and cents. However, this job is not finished. The supervisor is not the only one who inherited the town’s fiscal problems; we all did. Until we have a town government that can perform efficiently, there is no reason to jump ship midstream.
    Mr. Wilkinson’s straight talk delivery is repeated again and again. There is no slant or bias and the numbers speak for themselves. Detractors may criticize from afar, but they only do so without understanding the complicated workings of municipal finance.
    Please join me and support Bill Wilkinson and the Wilkinson team.

Pre-Len Appointee
    October 28, 2011
To the Star,
    For the entire campaign season the Democratic literature has harped on removing political influence from the town’s budget office and getting professional management. Not once did they state the town financial officer Len Bernard’s name.
    Perhaps because Len is respected, well known, and capable he was not mentioned. So really, the Democratic attack against the current administration’s financial officer is hypothetical, rather than actual.
    Of course if the Democratic attack ads wanted to really chew on an incompetent appointee, they could have attacked Len Bernard’s predecessor, Ted Hults. Oops, that was their own that pled incompetence to avoid incarceration. They could have picked on another pre-Len appointee from the ’90s, Mike Haran, who left a total fudge of all East Hampton’s capital accounts and made late financial reports an art form.
    The only political and incompetent appointments handling East Hampton’s fiscal affairs in the last 20 years were Democrats. I can see why Mr. Cohen, running for supervisor, and from the Democratic fiscal record, would want to protect himself from his own party. For myself, I would rather have a re-elected Supervisor Wilkinson recognize and utilize the abilities of Len Bernard to save the taxpayer some dollars.

Quick Action
    October 31, 2011
To the Editor,
    Bill Wilkinson has been in office for 33 months, in all respects a political shelf life of limited duration.
    Most newly elected officials have a brief honeymoon period, getting acclimated to the job, prior to contemplating new legislation and plotting a course for the new administration.
    Mr. Wilkinson did not have that luxury of time, as he faced immediate and dire forecasts of financial debacle facing the Town of East Hampton.
    As more data and information was received, by the recently sworn-in supervisor, indicating a $30 million shortfall and with further losses looming, quick action was called for to remedy the situation.
    Let’s give credit where credit is due. Raising money, lowering expenditures, minimizing layoffs through attrition and prevention further hemorrhaging of the budget was no easy task. The entire process required political courage beyond his time on office, as obviously it was an emergency that had to be addressed forthrightly.
    The town could have faced a possible New York State takeover similar to what New York City endured in the 1970s when a financial control board was appointed to govern finances. Thousands of workers were laid off, which took an unimaginable toll on everyone during a tumultuous time in the city’s history.
    It is now known that had those city officials addressed the economic emergency sooner, the magnitude and agony of the layoffs could have been ameliorated.
    Let’s be clear: It is far better to take action in an emergency condition, though checkered with the possibility of failure and the invitation of criticism, than to take ranks with those folks who prefer the status quo while the situation worsens to its inevitable ending, in this case, bankruptcy. Mr. Wilkinson risked failure rather than raising taxes 30 to 30 percent to maintain the status quo.
    The Town of East Hampton is far better off than it was 22 short months ago; taxes have been lowered, the budget stabilized, the bond rating improved, and you get the feeling that East Hampton has righted itself and once again we are that shining town by the sea.
    For these reasons alone, Bill Wilkinson deserves another two years in office.

Only Option
    October 30, 2011
Dear Editor:
    As we approach Election Day and the upcoming vote for supervisor, I have been trying to analyze the various letters by writers to The Star, looking to find a letter written by a Democratic Party supporter acknowledging the wonderful accomplishments by Bill Wilkinson and his team.    They show a total disregard for his success in lowering the budget from by $8 million, successfully combining the town departments for efficiency, reducing the labor force Without any layoffs. With these savings , a reduction in real estate taxes by 17 percent was achieved. Not a good word was ever written, at least not in my copies of The Star. Only a barrage of complaints about eliminating leaf pick-up and closing the recycling center on Wednesdays.

    To oppose the re-election of Bill Wilkinson, the Democrats have endorsed Zack Cohen. A mystery man without political experience, and a vague business background. Mr Cohen claimed to be an analyst. This claim was proven false and was denounced by the New York State comptroller’s office. (See page 1, East Hampton Star, Oct. 27.) So what is his claim of experience now ?
    I urge the registered Democrats to look into their mirror when shaving or putting on make-up and ask themselves honestly, if the Town of East Hampton isn’t financially better off today than it was two years ago . Ask yourselves who has the experience and know-how to continue the job, keeping improving the town’s financial condition .
    Remember, Democrats, the terrible, awful predicament McGintee brought the town into. The total mismanagement of the town’s funds, the large increases in taxes. As painful as it is, I know you remember. Now, the only option is to return Bill Wilkinson to office. Please recall the landslide by which he was elected two years ago. He has done the job as promised. An amateur cannot. Mr. Cohen, in his campaign, speaks of new hirings, additional services, all at cost to the taxpayer. Taxes will surely go up, and we’ll be back to square one when McGintee was supervisor. This would be tragic.
    I’m certain, with the continuing improvement of the financial health of the town’s finances, leaf pick-up will be restored and the recycling plant will be reopened on Wednesdays.
    I.H. PALER

Was That Man
    October 31, 2011
To the Editor,
    I am writing to all residents who are still undecided in regards to whom they will be voting for in the upcoming election for town supervisor. I recently had a discussion with Zach Cohen in which he asked my opinion on the ongoing problems associated with the erosion problems on Soundview Drive in Montauk. He seemed to understand what the problems are and expressed his willingness to help resolve the problem by being open to new ideas and suggestions. Imagine my surprise when I found out that, not only was he aware of the help we got from Bill Wilkinson in receiving town and state permits for four properties after the devastating loss of sand in December, but that he was against giving the permits at all. Funny how he never mentioned that during our discussion.
    Mr. Cohen would have let another three or four houses lose their bulkheads and possibly drop into the water rather than help protect properties that were in peril due to the manmade problems caused by the Montauk jetties.
    One man can make a difference. Bill Wilkinson was that man. Without his support we would have lost, at the very least, our bulkheads, and maybe our homes.
    Yes, the Wilkinson team has made errors. We have problems that need to be addressed before next season, and I hope to see more of you get involved and help make these changes. Zach Cohen and his team have a platform of re-starting the leaf pick up program. That’s it! Let’s give Bill another term — and not just for saving the properties on Soundview Drive; he deserves that just for digging us out of the hole we were in. Just one man’s opinion.

Don’t Get Fooled
    October 29, 2011
Dear Editor:
    A last-ditch attempt by the current supervisor, Bill Wilkinson, to smear Zach Cohen for trying to salvage the McGintee financial mess is pretty pathetic. Was Zach’s misspeak a deliberate hoax? I think not. What other term could serve in this particular situation? Perhaps financial adviser, yes?
    There is a category, I believe, of chartered financial analyst known to Wall Streeters, however, that refers to an accredited individual, one who has taken a series of (up to three) exams in the field of finance. The award is a C.F.A., with grades one, two, and three. That is not what Zach tried to pass himself off as being.
    So much for that. Don’t get fooled by this nonsense perpetrated by the current administration to divert attention from Zach Cohen’s genuinely sincere efforts, on a volunteer basis, to demystify the McGintee budget, and focus instead on his many admirable efforts to reclaim the East Hampton we know and love.
Density in Springs
    October 26, 2011
To the Editor,
    During the past two years, I have been involved with issues that brought me to both planning board and town board meetings. As a Springs resident, I joined with many others to oppose Mr. Wilkinson and Ms Quigley’s attempt to add more density to Springs by expanding the concept of accessory apartments in single family homes, further degrading our single family zoning and quality of life.
     My experience with both the planning board and town board gave me the opportunity to watch several of the candidates in action and as a result I would advise voters to look beyond the rhetoric and watch what they do, not what they say.
    I have been astounded to hear Ms. Overby and Mr. Van Scoyoc campaign as strong supporters of the comprehensive plan or to hear Mr. Wilkinson talk about “density” issues in Springs. Ms. Overby went so far as to say that the comprehensive plan should be viewed as a guide not a suggestion. Really?
    The property that brought me to the planning board was well covered by this paper. The issue was significant because it created several unfortunate precedents which could affect many similar properties in the future. The Springs property, in an urban renewal map area, became one acre as a result of two road abandonments that were part of the professionally planned urban renewal law. For those not familiar, the urban renewal law was created to address areas with small lots that predated our current half-acre zoning. The law created larger lots where possible to balance many quarter-acre and one-third acre lots in order to maintain water quality in an area where septic is the norm, and to reduce density.
    The out-of-state owner first had to go to the planning board for a subdivision. Suffolk County initially rejected the plan since the new lots would be well below the current East Hampton requirement of 150 foot separation of well and septic, but that decision was later overturned based on complicated, perhaps disputable, technical claims of predating the requirements. Having determined that two lots “could” be created, the planning board then had to make a recommendation to the town board as to whether this should be done. Only the town board has the authority to “modify” or overturn the urban renewal law.
    The two proposed lots not only fell far below current standards for well-septic separation, they would both be accessed by substandard, private roads that would never become part of the town road system nor receive town maintenance. Access for fire and ambulance would be poor. Every neighbor adjoining these properties either appeared or wrote to the planning board to oppose the subdivision.
     The comprehensive plan clearly rejects adding density in Springs, yet Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc voted with the other members of the planning board to recommend this subdivision to the town board. Mr. Wilkinson voted to modify the urban renewal law and grant the subdivision. Only [Councilman] Pete Hammerle voted against the modification. He was the only board member to cite the comprehensive plan and the density issues in Springs as a reason to vote against the modification. His voice will be missed.
    Our local candidates are chosen by a very small group of people and some in the community were disappointed with the choices. I was pleased that the Independence Party added two new [town board] candidates into the mix. I took the time to go to a meet-the-candidates party this summer and had the opportunity to meet Marilyn Behan. I was impressed with her intellect, demeanor, credentials, and sincerity. I also attended the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee meet-the-candidates. Bill Mott commented that as a board member it should be irrelevant as to whether one is a Republican or Democrat. Decisions should be based on what is best for the community after listening to the community and weighing the options.
     Zach Cohen also spoke about listening, weighing options, and finding compromise. Mr. Cohen is the only candidate for the board who lives in Springs — a large, significant area of East Hampton that needs and deserves representation on the Board. He has reached out to groups that are active in Springs and shown a commitment to not only listen, but to actually “hear” people’s ideas and utilize the input. We need board members whose first allegiance is to the community, not a political party or its supporters.
    I urge everyone to familiarize themselves with the issues and the candidates, look beyond the rhetoric, watch what they do, not what they say, and vote!

Person of Integrity
    East Hampton
    October 27, 2011
Dear David,
    Over the years I have known Zachary Cohen I have been aware of several qualities of character that make him uniquely qualified for the office of supervisor. His concern for the community is evident in his volunteerism on many town committees: the community preservation fund management and stewardship committee, the budget and finance advisory committee, and his long tenure as chairman of the nature preserve committee.
    His generosity in offering his expertise in untangling the town finances, and the hundreds of hours he invested in that task speaks for itself, in spite of how that very generosity has been used against him in this campaign. He is creative, always thinking of alternative ways to solve community problems. He always works toward forging consensus, evidenced in his ability to listen, be open, and consider ideas from many quarters. He is fair-minded, seeking only to move the town forward while remaining most aware of our financial constraints. Beneath all of these qualities lies a keen mind, able to weave through intricate arguments and numbers, separating fact from opinion.
    Finally, and above all, Zachary Cohen is a person of integrity. Integrity and intelligence, compassion, and concern all wrapped up in one candidate. It makes the choice easy.

Wilkinson Means
    East Hampton
    October 20, 2011
Dear David:
    Supervisor Bill Wilkinson has touted the fact that he was able to trim the town budget without resorting to layoffs or firings. Your Oct. 20 article (C.S.E.A. Union to Vote on Contract) revealed that this claim is, at best, a distortion, if not a total lie.
    First of all, two employees were fired. Secondly, the “voluntary” early retirement packages were offered in such a way as to make many feel that they had no choice but to take them. The letter they received implied that if they refused, they would lose their jobs anyway and possibly sacrifice their pensions and health benefits (no small sacrifice). Even a judge ruled that this fear was justified!
    Another group that was not mentioned in the article was those whose jobs were simply eliminated. For example, in decimating the Human Services department, the Youth Service division was completely cut from the budget and with it five employees who provided services to kids. Is this what Mr. Wilkinson means by “attrition?” Sounds to me like they were fired.
    Mr. Wilkinson claims that his human resources position at Disney prepared him to run our town. The fact is that it prepared him to create an atmosphere of intimidation in which employees fear for their jobs. These are our friends and neighbors and the best way we can support them is to vote for Zach Cohen.

    Ms. Madan is a member of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Ed.

True Community
    October 30, 2011
To the Editor,
    The last days of an election campaign are usually very dispiriting, and this year is no exception. After several years of following the Wilkinson administration’s actions and watching board meetings, I am saddened but not surprised that the Wilkinson-Quigley team closes its campaign with ad hominem and personal attacks.
    As a Montauk resident, this administration’s uncompromising actions to close Fort Pond House, and its glib response to community concern over the code violations of some Montauk clubs, have been the most infuriating but are by no means the only examples of an imperious and arrogant attitude.
    On the other hand, Zachary Cohen’s campaign — and his prior years of public service — display a spirit of true community participation and openness. Electing Mr. Cohen would bring some needed fresh air into what’s been, frankly, a noxious governing style.
    I’ve known Zachary for almost 20 years, since becoming friends with his wife. We’ve talked about environmental, planning, and town board issues during several administrations. I’ve observed Zachary’s increasing willingness to take on all sorts of difficult and thankless tasks on various town committees because he loves East Hampton and feels an obligation to contribute.
    Zachary is a caring, thoughtful, and committed person — and those attributes complement his considerable intelligence and skills. Governing East Hampton in the next several years will not be easy. But Zachary Cohen has the qualities and ethics needed to make Town Hall and the town board accessible and friendly places where citizens can feel welcome and listened to.
    It’s time to end the personal attacks by Bill Wilkinson and Theresa Quigley and bring the thoughtful voice of Zachary Cohen to the supervisor’s position.
    Thank you,

Wilkinson Benefitted
    East Hampton
    October 31, 2011
To the Editor,
    I am disgusted with Bill Wilkinson’s trying to make a scandal out of an innocuous statement on Zachary Cohen’s campaign flier.
    Everyone knows that Zach Cohen worked tirelessly to investigate and work out East Hampton Town’s finances. In his weekly letters to The Star last winter, Zach made a great effort to explain to we town citizens what had happened and how to fix it.
    Without Zach we would know noth ng and have no idea how to proceed. Bill Wilkinson benefitted equally from Zach’s work.
    He should be saying thank you to Mr. Cohen instead of this!

Good Preview
    October 31, 2011
Dear David,
    Supervisor Wilkinson still talks constantly about the debt he inherited and what marvels he wrought to bring us out. True, the budget needed to be controlled and money had to be borrowed to cover the shortfall. And the town board did do it. But it wasn’t a miracle. There is, in fact, some question about how it was done — leaving us paying interest on a 10-year debt that may not have been totally necessary.
    However, that was 2009. We’re at the end of 2011. Can we talk about what Mr. Wilkinson is hoping to do in the future? The administration’s frustrated efforts this year provide a pretty good preview of what he will try to achieve if elected:
    1. Curtail if not eliminate the role of the Planning Department upon which we’re dependent to maintain a sustainable environment here.
    2. Drive our longstanding, fair-minded zoning board of appeals chairman out of office to be replaced with a political appointee who thinks professional recommendations for maintaining the environment are “blackmail.”
    3. Silence the citizen advisory committees, which keep important watch on the government.
    4. Roll back progress we’ve made on limiting in-your-face outdoor commercial lighting
    5. Cut back Highway Department activities not only by eliminating leaf pick-up, but appropriating surplus reserved for emergencies and infrastructure improvements.
    6. Sell out the potential for control over the airport in exchange for Federal Aviation Administration money we may not need.
    7. Continue to move ineffectually against extreme commercial assaults on the peace and quiet of residential neighborhoods
    8. Continue to provide help of one kind or another to friends and contributors who seek exemptions from environmental and historic restrictions.
    If your $16 average tax decrease is worth all of this, I guess you’ll vote for the Wilkinson team. I’m going to vote for the Cohen group for the future of East Hampton.
    Sincerely yours,
    Democratic and Working Families
    Candidate for Trustee

So They Sink
    October 28, 2011
Dear David,
    No matter how old I get, it still shocks my naive brain the lengths that people will go to as they struggle to hold on to power. Bubbling to the surface are the lies, the innuendos, exaggerations, distortions, and the outright mud-slinging as those in power are faced with losing it. Their egos love center stage, hard to think of giving that up, and then there are the other perks that go along with power, perhaps even more seductive. So they sink to tactics like stealing their opponents’ signs and name-calling, a sign of desperation.
    Thugs — Sylvia Overby, a thug? Come on! Where I come from in the Bronx (and according to Webster), she is no thug, sir.
    As for the lies, at the Montauk debate, Bill Wilkinson said that the Surf Lodge’s fines and their costs have been reduced, rattling off a number, but his own assistant town attorney said the Wilkinson numbers were not accurate and no settlement had been reached. (The Lodge has been cited 640 times!)
    He says, in the moment, what he thinks people want to hear, whither it is true or not. Did he support the people who are against the privatization of a stretch of our beloved beach, besides telling us about his drives on the beach, dog and fishing pole in tow? Liar, liar, pants on fire!
    He dares to advertise that he has a real résumé. You mean, he has an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago or has owned his own successful businesses like Zach Cohen? Innuendos and exaggerations.
    First his “team” says Zach lacks experience in business, and then they accuse him of being a big-time real estate developer — more Republican flip-flopping. Distortions! His résumé is as a company man.
    Do we have to go through the litany of the transgressions that Mr. Wilkinson has cast upon this town in just two short years? If you need real hard evidence, drive by the 7-Eleven in Montauk; he betrayed his own town. It’s shocking. And he didn’t notice this? Does he take one of those famous helicopters from Montauk to Town Hall or is he driving on the beach? Could it be him I hear over my house in Springs or some very loud sea gulls?
    Then I heard one of his running mates twice call him a genius. A genius? You mean like Leonardo or Einstein? That’s ground to disqualify Richard Haeg for reasons of insanity.
    More lies! The Republicans have no understanding that the function of government is to care for the needs of the people. Instead, they are driven to take care of themselves and the rich who pay for their means (lots of signs) to tenaciously hold on to the power that belongs to both of them, big business and politicians. Yes, it’s a team (okay, the Black Sox team) bought and paid for by large sums of money.

    Ms. Mallah is a member of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Ed.

Downsized Services
    October 31, 2011
Dear David,
    It was a year ago that Supervisor Wilkinson and his “team” diminished one of the best human services departments in the whole State of New York. They cut out the youth program and counseling, and downsized services for senior citizens. They spent $15,000 to make a “report” targeting the Human Services Department after they had already made the changes, apparently for political cover.
    This election is about better government and quality of life and fairness in our East Hampton. What happened to our humane Human Services is only one of many reasons to vote for Zach Cohen, Sylvia Overby, and Peter Van Scoyoc on Election Day.
    Most sincerely,

    Ms. Mazur is a member of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Ed.