Letters to the Editor 07.07.11

Health Services
    Montauk
    June 28, 2011
Dear Editor,
    After the initial shock of my husband’s death four years ago, it became apparent that my life would be forever changed, not only on an emotional level but because the money was gone. Everyone said in concern, “Life goes on, and you must go on.” However, you must be able to pay for the necessities of life.
    I found myself doing with less, a lot less than I was used to. We were not wealthy. We were working people in the fishing industry from Montauk. So one of the things that was no longer affordable was health insurance. In my mind it was always a possibility that if I became as seriously ill as my husband had been, I would not have access to quality medical care. I tell you this because I thought I was one of those people who believed, “This could never happen to me,” and yet it did.
    And somehow I found the Suffolk County Patient Health Care Services located in East Hampton. Its mission is to provide comprehensive primary care in a dignified and respectful manner emphasizing preventive medicine and providing diagnostic treatment and referrals to all regardless of their age, race, sex, creed, color, national origin, or ability to pay. The mission is no longer valid. And now this facility will likely close the doors to those who depend upon it, those with no other options for health care.
    The East Hampton Town community has saved open space and protected the environment. We have raised money for arts and education. We routinely have opened up our town and welcomed out-of-town fund-raisers held for good causes. Would it not be right to take care of the health of our own citizens as best we can? Is this not a good cause deserving of attention?
    Perhaps someone with the ability and the resources will step up and consider saving the local East Hampton branch of the Suffolk County Department of Health services that so many very local adults and children have come to depend on.     
    Sincerely,
    JULIE EVANS BRUMM    



Fireworks
    East Hampton
    July 1, 2011
To the Editor,    
    If you want to have a great evening, be sure to view the fireworks over Three Mile Harbor on Saturday, July 16. The Clamshell Foundation has taken over sponsoring this breathtaking display since Boys Harbor left the Hamptons. It is a real piece of Americana to enjoy with friends and family.
    We live on the street where everyone parks, but the congestion is okay with us. A cooler with ice cream, a few sand chairs, kids, or grandkids if you have any, or a friend, and memories are made. It is the simple pleasures that make life special.
    By the way, simple also costs money. You can help keep the fireworks going by going to the Clamshell Foundation Web site to donate and get more info.
    Have a great time!
JACKIE FRIEDMAN



Shoreline Is Moving
    Raleigh, N.C.
    June 23, 2011
Dear David,
    As a longtime observer of the interaction of the Atlantic Ocean and the south shore of Long Island and particularly East Hampton, I raise the question of what is the rationale for the expenditure of public money to protect the eroding beaches, or in a more general way the private properties built on the dunes and bluffs?
    There exists, based upon the current knowledge of the interaction between the ocean and the land, the understanding that the shoreline is moving northward and probably has been doing so for a long time in terms of the European occupation of the East Hampton region and even in terms of geologic time.
    Navigational charts dating from the 19th century to the present clearly show that erosion, or migration, of Montauk Point and the shoreline to the west. At least one map from 1901 in the possession of East Hampton Village, when taken along with various property maps of later date as well as 20th-century air photos, provides strong evidence of shoreline migration northward in the East Hampton segment of the shoreline.
    With its regulations related to structures controlling shoreline erosion and long shore movement of sand, the Town of East Hampton has addressed some of the problems. Yet within the context of the broad debate about “managing” the beaches (i.e., the shoreline), structures are sometimes suggested to ameliorate a problem only to cause a problem or problems elsewhere. In the majority of cases it seems that a solution to a local problem does not take into account all of the factors, such as sand source and supply, the overall boundary conditions of the system, both local and regional, and how the new boundary conditions will affect areas other than those for which the structures were originally installed.
    Yet there comes the call for “protection” of the beach and associated private property, and with this call there arises the call for expenditures of considerable capital from tax-based sources to accomplish the protection. In an abundance of cases, the private property has been placed in locations of considerable risk, some well documented from events of the past. So perhaps the question should be asked: What is the benefit in terms of public health, safety, and welfare of the expenditure of public funds for the protection of private property long recognized as lying in places of considerable risk? Should I as a taxpayer in East Hampton be taxed for structures built supposedly to protect private property where historically the shore is moving inland?
    Lest one think that the possible miscalculation alluded to earlier and the effects of structures are not widespread and of little concern to the taxpayers of East Hampton, there is in the East Hampton Town Library a publication from the Geological Society of America that can provide wide insight into shoreline movement inland. The title of the publication is “America’s Most Vulnerable Coastal Communities,” G.S.A. Special Paper 460, 2009.
    One can also derive an understanding of shoreline processes and boundary conditions that affect the response of the processes by observing from an airplane the Atlantic Ocean shore when taking a flight from MacArthur Field to Baltimore.
    Very truly yours,
    CHARLES W. WELBY



Need the Support
    East Hampton
    June 30, 2011
To the Editor,
    The Montauk Boatmen and Captains Association has a 50-year tradition of assisting both the recreational and professional fisherman. It is one of the largest charter boat captains’ associations on the East Coast.
    Our goals are to support the sportfishing industry (charter boats, marinas, tackle shops, etc.) and the general fishing public, who are our customers.
    We have spent our time and resources in achieving our goals politically, usually having an officer of the M.B.C.A. in both state and federal agencies.
    Our resources are acquired in the following manner:
    a. M.B.C.A. members dues
    b. M.B.C.A. shark tournament
    c. Other activities such as annual fund-raising dinners
    d. Support from marine industries, such as marinas and tackle shops
    e. Auxiliary memberships, including marinas in Montauk
    All of our funds go to activities that support our industry and the public’s right to fish. There are no salaries, rents, or other expenses.
    We lobby in Albany and in Washington for appropriate legislation for the recreational and professional fishermen.
    We need the support for these endeavors from charter boat captains who are not members and from the public, who can enter the M.B.C.A. shark tournament on July 9 and 10.
    For more information, call Capt. Rich Etzel, president, at 688-2914.
    Thank you for your support.
    Respectfully,
    CAPT. JOE McBRIDE
    Legislative Representative



Spit in Our Faces
    East Hampton
    July 3, 2011
To the Editor,
    I have been through a lot in my life, and though I may be relatively young, there are only a few things left that can break my heart these days. One of these things was a tacky, full-page advertisement (easily) paid for by the plaintiffs of the current Napeague beach lawsuit. These wealthy vacationers are obviously noticing that they are wrong and are once again using their money to spin this issue somehow into their favor.
    Unfortunately for them, any year-round resident with half an inch of intelligence can do no more but roll their eyes at this. How desperate can they possibly be to try and take over this beach to own it for themselves?
    I’d like to share a short story: I lost my mother not long ago to a rare, bone-eating cancer, known as multiple myeloma, while I was pregnant with the grandson she was never blessed to meet.
    During her last few months in this world, she fought to get out of bed so she could take her well-loved German shepherd to the beach to play catch. At this time, she had to get a steel rod implanted into her leg, which made walking along her beloved ocean impossible. If it weren’t for the beautiful fact that we can drive on Napeague, or if this lawsuit had been won by the greedy few at that time, she never would have been given the blessing of spending her last few days looking out at the same water that my grandfather used to drive her to when she was no older than my own 5-year-old daughter.
    I do hope that the plaintiffs understand this simple fact: You’re not just turning away the families you all consider to be redneck locals. If it weren’t for us, you’d never have your houses to begin with. Another horrific fact is that you’re also spitting on volunteer firemen, emergency medical services, senior citizens, the handicapped, and our brave and selfless wounded warriors.
    Napeague is the only way that most of us can ever see the ocean at all, in the very town we built with our own blood, death, and sweat. We do so much for you, yet all you want to do is spit in our faces and kick sand in our eyes. We have been on these beaches for hundreds of years before any of you have, and none of you will ever respect this area like we do, because none of you actually live here.
    The majority of you are renting your houses for more money anyway. Yes, I know, because I’ve already met your tenants. This is indeed all about money, and none of you can deny it. Sweet Dirk Kuzmier is most likely rolling in his grave. You all have used us enough.
    These second-home owners and all who support them should be ashamed of themselves for these horrific actions all in the name of money. How disgusting. Karma is a terrible thing, and they all will experience it soon whether it’s in this life or the next.
LIZ MERRILL



Fast and Loose
    Montauk
    July 1, 2011
Dear David,
    An interesting ad appeared in your June 30 issue, paid for by the Napeague Beach Owners Inc.
    These residents accuse the town and the trustees of “playing fast and loose” with the facts about the laws of beach access, but a thorough reading of their ad shows who is really doing the political spinning.
     The organization tells us it supports pedestrian access, yet it is seeking a permanent injunction preventing use of the property as a bathing beach. If this is not privatization I don’t know what is. By the way, where are the parking lots in that neighborhood ?
    The N.B.O. says it wants this beach treated as all other beaches are in East Hampton — it is. The only exceptions from full-time beach vehicle access are designated bathing beaches. To qualify for that designation a beach must have public parking, lavatories, and East Hampton Town lifeguards. This area does not qualify. Even those beaches that do qualify are only restricted from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the summer season.
    The N.B.O. says it’s really about safety, but later on in its ad it says there is plenty of room to drive on the beach at Napeague State Park. Is it safer to drive on that beach? They also say it’s a cost-free solution, not so. Town residents must buy a state access permit. We trustees believe the beaches should be free to all East Hampton residents, period.
     The N.B.O. says the trustees are playing fast and loose with East Hampton’s finances on a high-stakes lawsuit, but in reality it sued us.
     As far as the court documents go, the N.B.O. acquired quit-claim deeds from the developers of their subdivisions in 2006, 2007, and 2008, one of which was from a defunct corporation. Residents paid no money for those deeds. Believe it or not, none of the sitting trustees were at the closing of the property in 1882, but we do know something was sold. What was or was not is now something for a judge to decide.
     In closing I’d ask everyone to look at the pictures in the ad. You all likely know a truck or a person that is there. These people are the lifeblood of our community. They are teachers, firemen, ambulance personnel, business owners, and their families. They are on the beach mostly on Sundays. Look again: no one parked in the dunes and coolers and garbage cans abound. Do you see any trash on the beach? I don’t. It looks to me like the N.B.O. should go on down and try to make some friends. They really need to lighten up a little.
    Thanks,
    JOE BLOECKER



    East Hampton Town Trustee
Our Beaches
    East Hampton
    July 4, 2011
Dear David,
    The full page ad sponsored by Napeague Beach Owners Inc. in your June 30 issue is a disingenuous, self-serving diatribe! While claiming in the ad that they are not against pedestrian traffic, this group, through their lawyer, claims land ownership down to the water’s edge.
    The ad implies that they are not targeting beach walkers, sunbathers, dog walkers, swimmers, surfers, anglers, and the like, yet it was reported in several local newspapers that a motion to include trespassing was brought into their suit. A win for them would relegate the public to staying beneath the high water mark, making a fun day at the beach a very soggy affair. Locals and tourists alike would have to invest in some chic wetsuits to make the beach scene if these privatizers get their way.
    Their contrived ad is just propaganda based on a pack of lies or half-truths, just another desperate attempt on their part to fool beachgoers into ceding their right to enjoy our public beaches at the whim of 120 elitists who have no empathy for us or our time-honored traditions.
    They are going to lose this suit, but before that be prepared to see lots of ads encouraging our town board to make a deal based on fabrications. First, the property owners hint that those officials who have the intestinal fortitude to fight for Napeague’s public usage have deliberately politicized the issue.
    The reality is that one of the leading players on the property owners team contributed thousands of dollars to a local political party. The fact is that the town board waited nearly a year and a half before it made any public comment about the case. So yes, we are all well within our rights to assume that this issue is a politically charged hot potato. Wait and see, somehow the legal decision will be conveniently delayed until after this fall’s election.
    Second, when your argument is based on deceit and conjecture, your chances of winning in court are minimal. Locals have been using that beach for hundreds of years without any pedestrians getting injured by oxcarts or vehicles. So the safety element of their argument is very weak, as well.
    Everything about their case is very sketchy, including what sand was actually sold to Arthur Benson and whether or not the trustees’ sale was legal, given their mandate to keep all beaches for public usage.            
    For the 130 years since the alleged sale to the land developer, generations of East Hampton families have used the beach, so evidently no one took the property sale too seriously. And now a reasonably fair judge will most likely ponder how a wrong decision could jeopardize and weaken our trustee form of government. Nobody wants that to happen, except some elitists looking to triple their property value at everyone else’s expense.
    When these beachfront properties were purchased, public access was in place, so why do these owners now think they can change a traditional way of life? So yes, we can sense the fear in all those who are trying to privatize Napeague. Their political chums have already been told by a counselor who specializes in condemning beaches for the good of the public that to do so is not such an expensive undertaking and can easily be accomplished. And public sentiment is growing.
    Nearly 800 CfAR members and supporters, so far, have stated unequivocally that they will only vote for the politicians who pledge to keep Napeague a public beach. I pity the town officials responsible for allowing the theft of this last all-day traditional family beach to occur on their watch.
    To elitists bent on getting rid of everyone and everything they find aesthetically displeasing, that full-page ad probably rings true. But to the rest of us, we see families who must use their vehicles to access the last East Hampton traditional family beach. To the disenfranchisers, we are the riffraff to be sued off “their” beaches.
    There are not enough parking spaces to accommodate beachgoers at Napeague, and there are no convenient paths cut through the dunes to allow senior citizens and young children to safely and conveniently access the beach either, so vehicles play a vital role for families seeking to enjoy this public beach.
    How sad that with all of their legal might, wealth, and wherewithal, the property owners do not have the neighborly empathy or common decency to work with the community to solve this issue amicably. How ridiculous that our town has not made it clear to all would-be privatizers that our town residents and governing officials will always fight vigorously and if need be condemn the beach to prevent land grabs. Such a strategy of setting a strict policy against privatizing is the precedent that the beachgoing public is now demanding.
    The last traditional East Hampton beach where locals and visitors can park on the beach all day to visit with family and friends needs to be preserved with all of its original access amenities kept intact. No false or contrived advertisement will ever convince anyone who respects the local and visiting beach community otherwise. Our beaches are for everybody to enjoy, not just a small group of elitists.
    Sincerely,
    JAY BLATT

Honor the Commitment
    Amagansett
    June 29, 2011
To the Editor,
    Heather Dubin’s article “Hostility Greets Dream of Restoring Views” on the front page of The East Hampton Star’s June 23 issue has misstatements and factual errors regarding the Bluff Road Historic District guidelines.
    The Bluff Road Historic District was first proposed in 2002, then approved in 2005 by the East Hampton Town Board, which at the time was solidly Democratic. As part of the proposal to create the historic district and limit the development rights of the property owners in the proposed historic district, the Town of East Hampton committed to restoring the views to the Atlantic Ocean by clearing the town-owned land on the south side of Bluff Road.
    The town had cleared this land in the past but had not kept up with this in recent years. Despite the establishment of the historic district with the support of many of the homeowners, including us, affected by the restrictions on development, the town has not honored its commitment to restore the views to the ocean, as promised. In fact, since the proposed historic district was first introduced in 2002, the views have become significantly more limited.
    To Nancy Kelley’s point that “. . . areas along Bluff Road [should] remain in their natural state,” as has been noted in great detail by Councilman Dominick Stanzione and others, notably Larry Penny in his letter to the editor on this topic, Bluff Road is not in its natural state. Virtually all of the excessive vegetation growth is invasive, non-native species. And Mr. Penny poignantly reminds us that people used to enjoy Atlantic Ocean views while riding their bikes along Bluff Road.
    To Bob Silverstone’s point that calls the proposed restoration of the views spot zoning, which would benefit only a small number of people, please remember that it was a Democratic-controlled town board that proposed and approved the restoration of the Atlantic Ocean vistas as a component of establishing the Bluff Road Historic District. And one needs only to stand on Bluff Road on any weekend day to see the hundreds of bikers, joggers, strollers, and others going between Indian Wells and Atlantic Avenue to dispel his statement that restoring the views will just permit a few homeowners to “see the ocean from their windows.”
    This stretch of Bluff Road is one of the few easily accessible places on all of the South Fork where everyone could enjoy views of the Atlantic Ocean unobstructed by high hedges and private houses. It is a crime that this jewel of a vista is being denied to all the people of East Hampton Town by the refusal of the town to honor the commitment it made to restore these views as part of the establishment of the Bluff Road Historic District. And I find it particularly disturbing that the Nature Conservancy, of all institutions, appears not to be in support of the restoration and maintenance of these views.
    Respectfully submitted,
    JACK McSPADDEN
    RUTH ANN McSPADDEN



The Clearing Lust
    Amagansett
    July 7, 2011
Dear David,
    Has anyone taken a walk along Bluff Road early in the morning or on a quiet evening? The sounds of wildlife, the sweet calling of songbirds, and the rustling of leaves blowing in the ocean breezes are just a few of the reasons to leave this natural area be. This is a very special setting, abundant with wildlife, and it really is a great example of how humans and nature can coexist when we all learn to give a little.
    It would be lovely if all of us in the Amagansett lanes still had a view of the ocean, as we all did at one time when it was farmland. If the Bluff Road folks who claim that the view from their sofa is not the deciding factor for the clearing lust, then perhaps the restoration they speak of also includes the naked landscape as it was when the Bluff Road houses were built. Let’s first start by removing all of those privet hedges between the houses and return to the original open, cottage community. The next step is all of the tall trees blocking ocean views from the rest of us must be taken down. A garage or two may also have to go.
    If we really believe that returning the land to its turn-of-the-century state is more important than preserving the wildlife that has been forced out of all other areas, then please start with the above suggestions first.
    The complaints of the invasive species are actually comical coming from people who are landscaped to the nines with European and Asian imports. Although the phragmites need to be controlled in our wetlands, the rest of the wild brambles are protection and food for so much of the wildlife in the Amagansett dunes. They also serve as erosion control for those very dunes should we be hit with repeated storms that many say are long overdue.
    Lastly I would like to point out that the real invasive species that has decimated much of our wildlife and forced them into these areas are not of botanical origins at all. The invasive species that has climbed through and strangled our landscape has been at the hands of developers. In our quest to conquer and a desire for profit, we have allowed most of our environment to be turned upside down and the balance thrown totally out of whack.
    So now what I am reading in The Star is that a handful of people wants this last bit of wildlife refuge destroyed for a view? Come on people, how about a little sensitivity training here? 
    If a blind eye hadn’t been turned to the real invasive species, perhaps preserving the Bluff Road habitat would not be so critical. We do not have the $20,000 to $30,000 for this vista-clearing project, nor has the public had a chance to vote on such a wasteful idea. Put the money back into something useful for all citizens like day care and leaf pickup and leave the wildlife alone.
    Sincerely,
    JAMES MacMILLAN




Fat Cat Row
    Wainscott
    July 1 2011
Dear Editor
    Another brainstorm is surfacing: Dominick Stanzione, a champion of eliminating a valuable service to the local residents, has come up with another legislation, a moon shot. He wants to clear invasive species along Fat Cat Row, Bluff Road, so that working people can have a better view. Well I’ll be damned!
    I was unaware that the town workers or independent contractors who will do this are certified botanists who can point out the native species so the foreign plants can be hand-removed, leaving the flora to the fauna. We all know it will be a bulldozer.
    But we have clearing restrictions? No, not when it’s to benefit those who own the mansions as they sip their Crystal so they can look out at the ocean. How convenient. Yet senior citizens, retirees, and ordinary working folks had their leaf program snatched away, causing financial hardships just for the basic maintenance of their property.
    I think he should call it the I Will Increase the Value of Property Along Fat Cat Row legislation. Where will this money come from? I thought we were broke. Duh. Just another “ready, shoot, aim.”
    Yours truly,
    ARTHUR J. FRENCH



Denied Access
    Barnes Landing
    July 3, 2011
Dear David,
    I wish your editorial (June 30) about going to the beach in the summer had a lot more fire in it. Imagine how it feels to own a house for more than 30 years and be denied access to the beach because you don’t own a car. Nowhere in the deed to my property is there a caveat that I must own a car to get a beach permit.
    It wasn’t a problem for 29 years; the town issued us a rental permit, which we taped to the window of our rental car and removed each weekend when the car was returned. If the town has a transient permit for motels, why can’t they issue a special permit for homeowners who rent cars? The driver’s license number could be written on the permit and the actual license could be displayed in the window next to the permit.
    After meeting with Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, I’ve come to the conclusion that the true answer to the dilemma is that the town doesn’t want to find a solution. My husband and I met with him several weeks ago, and he told us to “Buy a car; that’s what people around here do. They buy a car.”
    I asked him how many people actually own houses but don’t own cars. He said “lots, lots and lots, tons.” Has anyone every done an accurate count? How many of us are there?
    It seems to me that most of us in this position are second-home owners who don’t have the right to vote. Clearly, he might consider a new policy if we were voters. After all, if the town supervisor’s office makes the policy, can’t the same office change the policy?
    I would also like to address the issue of misuse of permits and the overcrowding of beaches. I live in a private bay beach community that is often barren of vehicles, yet I cannot park there for fear of a ticket. Doesn’t that sound absurd? I am not inclined to lend or sell anyone a permit. That would be out of character for me. But if someone isn’t using their permit and lets someone else use it aren’t there the same number of cars at the beach? So what is the real issue here? What am I missing?
    It’s time that Mr. Wilkinson and his team make a decent, thoughtful decision regarding this issue and treat second-home owners with respect and equality.
    Sincerely,
    BARBARA J. KRISPEL



What Is Best
    Springs
    June 27, 2011
Dear David,
    I am concerned about the request for proposal by East Hampton to enter into a lease agreement on a Cedar Street property.
    Two bidders, a grass farmer and a grape farmer, made presentations to the town board. The grass farmer offered $200 per acre per year, and the grape farmer offered $150. The grass farmer will grow native species of grasses, perennials, and shrubs. The grape farmer will grow grapes.
    There was no verification of the financial stability of either applicant. The grass farmer estimated a $20,000 investment and the grape farmer, $250,000. The grass farmer said East Hampton would gain a meadow-like view, and the grape farmer did not discuss aesthetics. The grass farmer will not fence in the property. This could create habitat for wildlife and keep a corridor open for wildlife to traverse. The grape farmer will fully fence in the property and stated that he would take a heavy-handed approach in order to open up at least five acres for the grapes. Deer and other wildlife would be excluded from the property and will have to find new ways to migrate in the area.
     The grass farmer will farm organically. He will not apply fungicides, herbicides, pesticides, or synthetic fertilizers to the land. He plans to enrich the soil by adding manure and leaf compost. He would not need irrigation, as long he is able to plant by fall.
    The grape farmer will not use organic methods, even though grapes can be grown organically almost anywhere in the United States. Regular applications of fungicides, pesticides, and, perhaps, herbicides are part of grape growing. Keep in mind that pesticides kill the targeted species and beneficial organisms such as honeybees and earthworms. These chemicals also pose risks to human health, our aquifer, and the long-term health of the land and marine environment. The contaminants will eventually make their way to the coastal waters, as everything we do on the land eventually ends up in the sea. The health of our coastal ecosystems is integral to the culture and community of East Hampton.
    There was some confusion at the town board meeting as to what the term organic means, so I will attempt to clarify. Most commonly associated with food, organic simply means that the food was grown without the input of fungicides, herbicides, ionizing radiation, pesticides, sewage sludge, or synthetic fertilizers, and the crop is not listed as a genetically modified organism. There are certification agencies and other technicalities that must be adhered to in order to call one’s farm organic.
    It is commendable that the grass farmer would choose to farm organically, since this method is most commonly related to food. It is disturbing that the grape farmer would not want to manage the land in an ecologically sensitive manner and enter into the growing market demand for organic grapes.
    One of these farmers will use renewable, sustainable resources and a method that has a low impact while conserving soil and water. One will look toward the long-term health of the land and surrounding natural resources while enhancing environmental quality for future generations. The other will pump a toxic array of chemicals onto a fenced-in piece of land. The more chemicals one dumps onto soil, the less fertile it becomes. Soil is alive. It is teeming with millions of microscopic organisms. Long-term use of chemicals can eventually make soil sterile.
    Speaking of soil, I almost forgot the arsenic argument. Town Councilwoman Theresa Quigley seemed confident that there is arsenic on the property that may become airborne when the grass farmer divides his plants every few years. She showed no concern that arsenic might waft about when the grape farmer clear-cuts the land and tills the soil. When the grass farmer was asked about mitigation of said poison becoming airborne, he replied that it was the first he had heard of it.
    Shouldn’t the town notify a prospective lessee that there is arsenic on a property? Since this poison might pose a public health threat to the community and those working on the land, one would think it prudent that the town would include this information in the request for proposals.
    Ms. Quigley seemed to prefer the grape farmer and thought that we should give it a try-see if it works. No thanks. What if the vineyard fails after years of dumping chemicals on the land? Then what will we have, a piece of barren, unproductive land? And if the grass farmer fails? We will have a meadow of indigenous vegetation.
    East Hampton does not need to re-create itself as a grape-growing community. We should enhance and preserve the beauty and natural resources that makes it so unique. East Hampton deserves to be cherished and protected for future generations.
    The small sum of money the town will gain is a pittance in comparison to the damage that years of chemical-intensive farming can cause if they go with the grape farmer. Why not give the land a break?
    Since no decision as to who will be awarded stewardship of the land has been made (to my knowledge), I hope the board will look at the entire picture and do what is best for the town, its citizens, and the environment for today — and tomorrow. The potential poisoning of our natural resources should not be a board decision — let the people decide. How about a public hearing? If the community wants grapes, then let it have grapes. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work?
DEBBIE KLUGHERS

    Ms. Klughers is a Democratic and Working Families Party candidate for East Hampton Town Trustee. Ed.
 

About the Issues
    Amagansett
    July 4, 2011
Dear David,
    After several days of rain, the sun finally came out on Sunday, June 26, for the Group for Good Government’s meet the candidates get-together. The outdoor event was at the home of Laurie and Arthur Malman. Friends and neighbors gathered to talk with East Hampton Town and Trustee candidates, ask questions, and voice their opinions and concerns about the issues that mattered to them.
    This week we also celebrated our nation’s birthday on Monday. We should all be reminded that participation in the election process is a privilege and a commitment to our democracy.
    My thanks to the Malmans for hosting, to G.G.G. for making this nonpartisan event possible, and to those who took time from their all-too-short weekends to attend.
    Sincerely,
    SYLVIA OVERBY

    Ms. Overby is a Democratic candidate for East Hampton Town Board. Ed.



Major Fraud
    East Hampton
    July 4, 2011
To the Editor,
    It was reported last week that the chief executive of a mortgage firm got 30 years for a major fraud that caused bank failures and cheated investors and the federal government out of billions. Good start!
    The United States attorney’s office promised to continue investigating major financial firms. Too big to jail? 
STEPHEN GROSSMAN



The Choice
    East Hampton
    July 3, 2011
Dear Editor,
    For years I have preached the liberal-progressive political line. I was a great supporter of Hillary Clinton and, subsequently, of President Obama. I made no secret of my support and became financially involved in his candidacy as well.
Many of my friends and acquaintances have in recent months been voicing their misgivings and opposition to the policies of the Obama administration, and I also have been somewhat disappointed with some policies of his governance as well.
    But then I woke up to the very simple fact that Barack Obama became president as a choice.
    What was the alternative the voters had? Another four years of Republican obsessive and failed trickle-down economics? A continuation of the rich getting richer and the middle class being destroyed? A bolstering of the Big Oil and military-industrial complex’s hold on unending war? John (Past History) McCain and Sarah (Russian View From her Porch) Palin handling the economic collapse their cohorts put upon us? Not on your life.
    Add up what this president has done, put pluses against negatives. Look at the mountains he had to climb. Yes, he didn’t do everything everyone who voted for him wanted, but, boy, did he ever accomplish stuff no one thought he could: health care, ending combat in Iraq, restarting stem cell research, killing public enemy number one, ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, resurrecting the American auto industry, rebuilding our 401(k)s, revaluing science and scientific findings, invigorating America’s moral leadership around the world, and all the while having to engage in a senseless battle with the constant use of political expediency of the Republican obstructionist campaign.
    No, Mr. Obama didn’t do it all, but, boy, has he been better than the other choice and will he be better in 2012 than Mitt Romney, Michelle Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, Jim Hightower, or any other candidate the party of the 2 percent can put on the field to oppose him.
    Think about the choice then and make it again in 2012.
RICHARD P. HIGER



Spirals Downward
    Amagansett
    June 27, 2011
To the Editor,
    When our country decides to turn away from our traditional Judeo-Christian based laws and standards to embrace a lifestyle that has never been accepted and without the voice of the people approving the legislation that permits marriage in homosexual relationships, we will reap the consequences of their poor judgment.
    Certainly, there will be court battles over this new law and the lawyers will make lots of money not only in the defense of the marriage but also in the divorce and child custody courts. If you’re in a male same-sex marriage, it’s 50 percent more likely to end in divorce than a heterosexual marriage. If you’re in a female same-sex marriage, this figure rises to 167 percent. These statistics come from Norway and Sweden where 5 out of every 1,000 new couples are same-sex.
    President Obama is choosing not to protect the Defense of Marriage Act, signed by President Clinton. But as our society spirals downward, and to pay back donations to his campaigns, President Obama has signaled his lack of respect for marriage and our societal mores. More to the point, it adds fuel to our enemies who already believe we are the Great Satan, endangering our troops in Arab countries and possibly in our homeland.
    According to United Families International, a study of “male and female homosexuality found that 43 percent of white male homosexuals had sex with 500 or more partners, with 28 percent having 1,000 or more sex partners.”
    In the study of 156 long-term homosexual relationships, they “found that not one couple was able to maintain sexual fidelity for more than five years. Most maintained a monogamous relationship for less than one year. Homosexual theorists respond by redefining promiscuity as normal and healthy for homosexual men.”
    Facts are facts. Laws were laws. One man and one woman were married for the society’s good. But in today’s world we can change what is good for society to appeal to a small group of activists who donate to your political coffers. God have mercy on us.
LYNDA A.W. EDWARDS



Profound Orator
    Amagansett
    June 28, 2011
Dear Editor,
    I read avidly, am open-minded, but I am bewildered at the lackluster indifference about what the media prints and discusses in our newspaper headlines on a daily basis. Their opinions are highly erroneous and mistaken, certainly pointing to a country in distress. It is led by an administration forgetting the solemn motto of “We, the people,” heading in the wrong direction.
    We are blind and full of cowardice. Our government is brainwashing us with false prejudices and socialist thinking toward hatred, nefarious thoughts of values concluding a loss of confidence within ourselves and our children. I divert to this because of Glenn Beck, who is one of the most profound orators who emanates from the media network. Today they speak for the side of unprogressive behavior that stems from Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt  in the 1920s and ’30s.
    Mr. Beck, from Fox News, purportedly reports right-wing philosophy that has substance and correctness, a  staunch right-wing believer. He speaks about truth and believes in the American trend of the right-wing belief. He preaches our foundation on which this nation was founded: the preamble, the Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence. Mr. Beck states that our leaders have wavered, are misinformed, and that leads to deceptiveness. Our truth is buried in false beliefs. Mr. Beck is focused, diligent, sincere, an articulate and literate spokesman rarely occurring in individuals today.
    Our government must be in touch. We must dissolve large government and overspending to change our tenet of indifference. We are out of touch with God. Is this the 21st century? Mr. Beck is a profound orator. He is being cast from a network that is conservative. To be dismissed is spineless, and the network does not have the gumption to stand for its beliefs. We the people must address what is relevant. We are neglectful, valueless. Our leaders must reiterate, reconstruct our values and realign our future and change from bleakness to hopefulness. Save us from liberal progressiveness to our forefathers’ thinking. They dreamed this in 1776. Let us return to refreshedness of pure thoughts.
    Sincerely,
    LINDA PRINCE



Facts Be Known
    East Hampton
    June 30, 2011
Dear Editor,
    Tom Clavin’s article “A Swindling in Sag Harbor,” which appeared in the June issue of Plum magazine, mentioned my name repeatedly based on the biased hearsay supplied to him by my sister, Annselm Morpurgo.
    This is not surprising, as I was informed by journalists covering the Morpurgo saga that they had been unable to interview me because my sister, Annselm, had refused to give them my telephone number. I have been writing for publications under the name Chris Stanley, and very few people knew that the Chris Stanley listed in the telephone book was Helga Morpurgo by another name.
    If the facts be known, I’m still involved in litigation with my sister, Annselm, and I went to trial only last month. No, I have not been living in “a retirement community for 10 years.” I have been renting a one-bedroom apartment with a very large garden in East Hampton for the past 12 years. It’s affordable and happens to be in a senior-housing complex. Please do not mistake it for assisted living, a nursing home, or retirement. Annselm has been trying to misrepresent me as being demented for years now. The judge isn’t buying it. I’m just as lucid and mentally active as my sister.
    Four years ago the notorious house on Union Street in Sag Harbor that had been deemed unfit for human inhabitancy was finally sold at the third auction. The first auction failed because Annselm had announced to the media that the building was tied up with a 100-year lease to the Savant Garde Institute, a not-for-profit organization that actually had never been registered by my sister and therefore did not exist.
    After four failed closings, the building was finally sold on April 3, 2008. Annselm received over $500,000 for her 371/2-percent interest in the building. Because she had been living in the building for decades, she was exempt from paying capital gains taxes. Annselm represented herself in court and therefore paid no legal fees. I received the same amount and paid capital gains taxes as well as three lawyers to defend me against all of my sister’s frivolous motions and purposely extended additional lawsuits that were based on fabrications.
    After the Savant Garde Institute proved to be a nonentity, Annselm immediately attempted to claim the bogus foundation’s 25-percent annuity for herself. My lawyer stopped her from snatching the institute’s entire 25 percent by filing a claim for the return of the 121/2-percent part of that rightfully belonging to me.
    We finally went to trial last month, and the judge should soon be determining the final distribution of the funds that have been held in escrow for the past four years,
    Frankly, the claim of a “swindling” arising out of a partition action and court-mandated auction from which Annselm Morpurgo received over $500,000 is an enigma to me.
    Sincerely yours,
    HELGA MORPURGO