January 1, 2012
I would like to thank all of the talented performers who participated in the Young at Heart concert at St. Luke’s Church on Friday. The night was very successful due to the amazing musicians who sang and played their instruments. The audience that was present, as well as myself, were captivated and in awe for the entire show. It was a great reminder of how gifted our young people are. It was a night to remember and one that made me proud to be a member of St. Luke’s Parish and the East Hampton community.
I send out my thanks and accolades to all of the people who were involved and helped to make the night such a hit, especially my friend John Gibson. Much appreciation also goes to the friends, parents, and community members who joined us for the event.
In all, it was a sensational way to welcome the New Year!
Wrote the Grant
January 16, 2012
To the Editor,
The Star has quoted so many people who are credited with the success of the St. Michael’s affordable housing project. Let us not forget that Cathy Byrnes was the one who successfully wrote the grant for the project.
While fulfilling her duties as the social service coordinator of Windmill 1 and 2, a 24-7 job, Cathy Byrnes stepped up to the plate to give her time, knowledge, and spirit to this affordable housing project.
Thank you, Cathy Byrnes!
January 11, 2012
To the Editor,
Now that the holiday season is behind us, I’d like to take time to thank the members of the Montauk community for the generous showing of concern and caring they exhibited in donating both food and toys this past holiday.
Two members of our department, Dennis O’Reilly and Joe Lenahan, constructed two large wooden boxes that were placed on the circle in town, and this year the amount of both food and toy donations increased over last year by some 40 percent. Kudos to all who took the time to donate and make a more joyous holiday for so many.
CHIEF RICHARD SCHOEN
Montauk Fire Department
Captured the Spirit
January 13, 2012
To the Editor,
Thank you on behalf of the other directors and all of the fourth graders at Springs School for the wonderful coverage of our annual school opera at Guild Hall. It was a huge success. The students performed “The Tale of Sea Womp” to four packed houses. Your article captured the spirit of the program and helped to celebrate this special event.
SUE ELLEN O’CONNOR
Springs School Opera Program
Living in Poverty
January 16, 2012
There are 46 million people living in poverty in the United States. For me, it was just a number until I was in Riverhead the other day and saw about 200 people waiting in line for food being given out by the Lighthouse Mission — something reminiscent of scenes from the Depression. It was a profoundly moving experience.
More than 16 percent of the population of South Carolina is living in poverty and almost 20 percent of the children. In Florida, 18 percent of the population is living in poverty and more than 22 percent of the children. When I hear the rhetoric from the Republican primary candidates, there is not one word about helping people rise from poverty. Maybe the Republicans don’t care since they believe these people don’t vote or may not be able to because of the various roadblocks they have created, photo ID, etc.
It is the shame of our nation that it has gotten to this. We need government that cares.
Out of Touch
January 12, 2012
To the Editor,
It is amazing to me how truly out of touch your newspaper is with the facts surrounding beach erosion in the Lazy Point area. We have a family-owned residence at the end of Bay View Avenue in Lazy Point that was built in 1974. When construction started, there was over 350 feet of beach and sand dune in front of the house. We now have approximately 100 feet of sand and dune in front of the house. The people who are working to save their homes in Lazy Point have lived there for a long time. Your editorial makes it sound like they were built last year.
Instead of scolding the people with erosion problems, why don’t you try to help them out by petitioning the state and federal governments for money to dredge Napeague Harbor and place the dredge spoil back on the beaches from Cherry Point to Mulford Lane? The sand will build up the public beach access that you are referencing in your editorial. They have the money to spend where they want to spend it.
It is also time for the town board to petition for Federal Emergency Management Administration money to try and fund a dredge project for Napeague Harbor. I have personally been on a two-year crusade to try to get this to happen. If Napeague Harbor does not have a major dredging done to it in the next few years, it will become a lake.
In closing, you need to keep in mind that the shoreline is coming to us; we are not going toward it.
Still Burn Bright
January 13, 2012
To the Editor,
One of the “evil” pleasures I enjoy most as a year-round resident of East Hampton is the weekly ritual of perusing the weekly newspapers to get the latest scoop on what’s going on in the respective town halls, Z.B.A. meetings, and political machinations — all fascinating stuff in what I regard as America’s biggest small town.
Without question, fiscal belt-tightening has been the number-one agenda item of late. Selling town-owned properties — or not, suspending leaf pick-up, raising licensing fees, airport-noise issues, these are just a handful of the kind of trial-balloon issues that have been launched by the powers-that-be, and observing how they are responded to is the part I find most interesting.
My little contribution to the pot of unsolicited controversies and suggestions has to do with our beloved Herrick Park. Cold and deserted since Halloween, I can’t help but notice on my nightly walk-throughs that the floodlights illuminating the tennis courts, softball field, and basketball courts still burn bright. Tennis court nets, soccer goals, and portable stands have been stored for the winter, but the lights shine on!
I’m not an accountant, but dread writing my bimonthly contribution to LIPA just like the next guy. As I trudge through the cold night, hands dug down in my pockets, breath coming out in clouds, I find myself wondering where the light switch is — just so I can flip it off!
Am I missing something here?
January 16, 2012
Legislation that is written only by and for those who would benefit financially or politically, to the detriment of the broader public, is unethical if not illegal. This is what Councilwoman Theresa Quigley is attempting to do. She wants to throw out our 2006 outdoor lighting regulations in order to cater to her political donors (and probably her private clientele), and her draft was written by someone with no formal education on lighting terms or experience in writing lighting laws.
How does this live up to a statement made by the supervisor: “We must ensure that competence shapes opinion, not political bias or self-interest”?
The Quigley-Wilkinson team declared that an architect who designed several Disney properties, Jaquelin Robertson, had something to do with writing the Quigley lighting law. He did not. When I met with him, he told me that, to his knowledge, he has never even met Ms. Quigley, or spoken to her. He only met once with Bill Wilkinson and told him (and I have a witness to this quote), “I know nothing about lighting.”
Architects do not study lighting; they turn over that aspect of their projects to lighting designers who are trained by the Illuminating Engineering Society (as was I) to reduce glare and light-trespass, meet professional light levels, and use energy wisely.
We have a good lighting law that, where necessary, can be amended to allow greater time for retrofits where warranted. We cannot allow a few people driven by self-interest to shape the future for our entire town. This would benefit the few to the detriment of the many.
It’s also a travesty to call the Quigley lighting law “dark-sky” legislation. It is not. It will increase an urban-type sky glow, obscuring the stars above, create dangerous and debilitating glare into our roadways, cause light trespass across property lines, result in unsafe light levels, and waste energy.
We cannot let them get away with this.
Dark Sky Society
Alive and Well
January 13, 2012
Last week there were two items published about LTV: Marty Drew’s letter in this newspaper and an editorial by Rick Murphy in The Independent. As both pieces were rife with inaccurate statements, I thought I’d have a go at setting the record straight. Both the writers have a history of attacking LTV by throwing mud just to see if anything sticks. The disturbing attacks on Seth Redlus, LTV’s executive director, are examples of this.
Contrary to what Mr. Murphy writes, the district attorney has no interest in LTV. There is no investigation. Mr. Murphy has been writing for months that “furniture was purchased from the family of Seth Redlus.” That is incorrect. New chairs for Studio 3 were purchased through the Redlus family business because they were able to purchase the items below retail prices, and they passed the savings on to LTV. We paid exactly what they paid, and it was less than the quote we got on our own.
This is a classic case of no good deed going unpunished. I want to thank the Redlus family for helping us afford new chairs. Anything LTV purchased from Williams-Sonoma was bought there because we got a good deal. As for plowing, for years I personally plowed the parking lot for free because LTV couldn’t afford to pay for the service. One snowfall my plow was out of order, and Seth got his brother to plow the lot as a favor. After that I declared I was done plowing. We got some prices and Steven’s was the lowest. All that Seth has done is try to get the best prices he can for work and equipment that the board has approved purchasing.
I don’t know what “I.R.S. filings” Mr. Murphy is looking at, but LTV doesn’t owe anyone $2.84 million for our building mortgage — never did. At the end of 2009 our mortgage was under $450,000; it will be paid off by 2020.
Last August, LTV sent a certified letter to The Independent wherein we agreed to voluntarily comply with Mr. Murphy’s request to look at documentation, even though we are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, as we are not a governmental agency. We said we would organize the paperwork and if Mr. Murphy called in two weeks he could set up an appointment to come to our offices and look over that documentation. He has never called.
Now, as to the building and the rentals, these are incorrect allegations. In 1992 when I was first approached by Frazer Dougherty to give money toward the LTV building I asked why it was so large. Frazer told me, “We are going to rent out space to support public access.” Eventually, that is what we did.
In 2005 I rented Studio 3 and the upstairs space to Mitchell Kreigman, a producer of children’s television shows. Seth was not employed by LTV at that time. That rental lasted for five years, and the income paid for a lot of improvements. With that rental money we were able to purchase equipment for the studios and fund long-overdue maintenance. The kitchen-greenroom was renovated with money from rentals.
LTV has other building tenants and rents studio space for rehearsals (Roger Waters, Jimmy Buffet), theater events, lectures, and meetings. Any income goes onto our books to support public access. Studio 3, dedicated to Frances Ann Dougherty, is available to anyone who wishes to use it, be they a private citizen, a government agency from the Village or Town of East Hampton, or a public access producer. The upstairs offices are currently vacant. We would love to rent the space.
To Mr. Drew: Public access is alive and well in East Hampton. Anyone who wants to make a show to air on Channel 20 is welcome to do so. Equipment and space are available at LTV, which you can use for free. More equipment and space are for rent at nominal fees. In all cases, we insist that you get some instruction and training in the use of our equipment before we’ll give it to you. This is not discriminatory. Most places require that you have instruction and training before you rent their equipment. It keeps the accident rates down. We help producers get through the complicated process of producing a show by giving instruction and training and lots of advice. We do not “help” producers make a show by providing free staff, as he has asked us to do.
The $40,000 Mr. Drew thinks is for additional program taping actually comes directly from Cablevision and is earmarked for equipment purchases each year. The increase of over 100 meetings a year that we tape for the town really has been absorbed by LTV without additional charge.
And lastly, Robert Strada, the chairman of the board of LTV, does not serve illegally. Officers of the board are exempt from term limits by the LTV bylaws. They are elected yearly. Robert is the chairman because the LTV board feels he does a great job and wants to keep him. We vote him back into office every year.
January 16, 2012
The other day on the way to a meeting at Town Hall I passed the airport manager and a group of consultants leaving a work session. Among them was Peter Kirsch, the town’s special attorney for airport matters. What was striking was that, unlike in previous years, Mr. Kirsch had not parachuted in for a once-in-a-blue-moon, top-secret meeting but was participating in an ongoing planning effort to address noise and safety matters at the airport. The implications are enormous. I will explain.
First, some background. During the McGintee administration, those of us who had initiated a noise abatement movement in 2003 (Citizens for a Quieter Airport with 1,500 petition signatures) and who served on the airport noise abatement advisory committee were constantly frustrated by the absence of legal counsel to weigh in on the feasibility of various noise abatement matters. Without competent legal advice, the town board was flying blind. What made it worse was that various consultants who were unqualified to do so were offering their own opinions on F.A.A. law and regulation. Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, their opinions were usually simplistic, misguided, or simply wrong.
Consequently, Charles Ehren, a retired law professor, and I conducted a nationwide search for a qualified aviation attorney with experience in noise abatement. The name that repeatedly came up was Peter Kirsch, who has specialized in aviation law for over 20 years and represented Naples Municipal Airport when it banned stage-2 jets, defended itself from several lawsuits resulting from the ban, and won the right to continue receiving F.A.A. funding despite the ban.
So Mr. Ehren and I recommended that the town consider Mr. Kirsch’s law firm, along with two other law firms, one of which had previously been retained by the Committee to Stop Airport Expansion (a likely conflict of interest), to serve as special counsel on airport matters. Long story short, Peter Kirsch was hired by the town in 2005 but was hardly ever used by the McGintee administration. Most disturbing to us anti-noise zealots, Mr. Kirsch was never tasked to develop even a hypothetical noise abatement program.
Fast-forward to 2011, Mr. Kirsch is being used to help develop a comprehensive airport management plan to address noise and safety. All of the important noise abatement initiatives recommended by the A.N.A.A.C. over the years are included in the plan. Yet the former chairman and vice chairman of the A.N.A.A.C. have now joined the so-called Quiet Skies Coalition and are opposed to Mr. Kirsch’s recommendations. Why? Because Mr. Kirsch has not opposed F.A.A. funding.
I will not bore the reader with the pros and cons of F.A.A. funding and its impact, if any, on airport noise abatement. Suffice it to say that there is a cult-like belief among many that taking F.A.A. funding is like making a deal with the devil. Even one of the most qualified aviation attorneys in the country cannot convince them otherwise. Not even the attorney some of them once recommended. In spite of the fact that virtually all of the A.N.A.A.C.’s recommendations are being actively considered by the current administration. Even though A.N.A.A.C.’s recommendations were never considered by any previous administration, including the one that created A.N.A.A.C.
Many new members of the Quiet Skies Coalition with no knowledge of F.A.A. law and regulation or the town’s history on inaction and neglect by previous administrations have adopted a position that seems like a no-brainer — throw out the F.A.A. and take back control of our airport. They oppose F.A.A. funding without consideration of: (a) The time, cost, and risk of adverse results, e.g., no noise abatement for years to come, or possibly ever, and substantial litigation cost to local taxpayers. (b) The need to repair and maintain airport facilities, and (c) The need for cooperation with the F.A.A. to achieve certain noise abatement goals, such as control of airspace within a five-mile radius of the airport.
The dialogue will continue, perhaps in court, as litigation seems to be the principal weapon of the core F.A.A. opponents. (A moot court, which would be a more appropriate and less costly venue, is unlikely to be agreed to by either side.) To be fair, the current administration has muddied the waters by insisting on applying for F.A.A. funding to pay for deer fencing rather than waiting unil the rehabilitation of runway 4-22 is “shovel-ready.”
Meanwhile, Councilman Dominick Stanzione, who is leading the charge at Town Hall, continues to be advised by one of the best aviation attorneys in the country.
PETER A. WADSWORTH
January 10, 2012
To the Editor,
We cannot express the joy we felt seeing the windmill completed in time for Christmas. Thank all of you who worked so hard to make a promise come true.
Shame on those in the Highway Department who used every dirty tactic, including removing Scott King’s campaign signs when running against Steve Lynch, and smearing his reputation in this newspaper.
Shame on the dirty politics to get rid of Larry Penny, who almost everyone knew has some health issues, having had a few bouts with Lyme disease, but is still functioning at his job. The shame is in the way these two people were gotten rid of.
Thank you, Mr. King, for keeping our roads in tip-top shape and always being amiable to listen to our concerns.
Larry Penny, your ousting is of great concern because of your knowledge of the environment and of nature. They are going to be hard put to find someone with your experience.
January 16, 2012
In response to the letter titled “See the Time Card” in your Jan. 12 edition, some questions were asked that need to be answered.
First: The supervisor is very aware of the trustee clerk’s salary but because of the financial situation the previous administration left, there was no money in the town budget to rectify the gross underpayment of a full-time elected official and department head. The lowest salary for a department head in the town budget other than the trustee clerk’s is just under $60,000. The trustee clerk is paid only $37,530 by the town.
Second: The reason the trustee clerk is paid more than a councilperson is simple, the trustee clerk is a full-time position, councilperson is not.
Third: The reason the new trustees don’t question this is simple. Unlike the author of that letter, the new trustees have done their homework and understand how much time must be put in by the trustee clerk.
Lastly, the taxpayers bear no more burden at all, as the trustees do not have the power to tax. Our income is derived solely from user fees. These are based on allowing an individual the use of public property. The money the trustees have been able to save is needed to continue the fight to keep access to our public lands open to all East Hampton residents, not just those who live by the beach like the author of the letter to whom I respond.
East Hampton Town Trustee
January 15, 2012
Your staggering list of suggested resolutions in an editorial a few weeks ago directed to the supervisor makes incredible sense, which is why I am sure he will ignore them and, frankly, I hope he does. If Mr. Wilkinson were to do the things you suggest, he would be a great deal harder to beat in two years and we would not be able to close the book on his reign. His 15-vote landslide might grow. Perish the thought!
So, William, heed no good advice, continue to take care of your group of high-rollers who support you with their greenbacks, listen not to the voice of the people, continue to pervert codes and laws created by lawmakers of the past of both parties, turn your back on the environment (the environment which is our economy), stack the various boards with clones of your ilk, and so on‚ and you will be cast on the pile of yesterday’s garbage. Then we can get back to the business of caring for our beautiful town. I know I can count on your arrogance and lust for power.
PHYLLIS I. MALLAH
Hunt for Deer
January 12, 2012
I have to laugh at those that chose to stand outside Town Hall for three days in a hunger strike to boycott the start of the annual shotgun hunting season for deer.
Let me examine this hypocrisy for you. I’m willing to bet that most of you will go home after your alleged hunger strike and have a nice filling burger, or some might choose to stay healthy after fasting and simply have some grilled chicken. Are you in any way aware of the suffering that goes on in slaughterhouses? Do you know that there are countless documents of slaughterhouse employees regularly abusing and torturing the animals? Multiple counts of employees stomping on live chickens to watch them “pop,” slicing the snouts off of conscious pigs just to watch their reaction, cattle with hips too broken and mangled to walk being dragged to the slaughter line with chains and forklifts, veal calves being electrocuted in an attempt to get them to walk knowing they are too young and weak. And still you choose to spend your time protesting a necessary and time-honored tradition in this town.
This is a humane and efficient hunt for deer that are forced out of their entire natural habitat by human greed. Humans who erect deer fence after deer fence and force these animals into the only space they have left — the middle of the road. I assume you who boycott this hunt would rather see these animals spend their winters slowly starving to death, getting hit by cars, and eating every last plant left in town.
There is nowhere left for these animals to go. Humans in their infinite wisdom have fenced off all that is natural to a deer. This causes them to congregate in smaller and smaller areas of land, still producing offspring in alarming numbers. If this town had more money and were able to implement the feed through contraceptive hormone, which has been shown to have remarkable results in other areas, and the deer were not quite so populated (again due to lack of space), then maybe there would come a day when the town would have to reconsider the shotgun hunting season. Until that time comes, I would like to hear your ideas on how to solve the deer problem. I assume you have plenty or you wouldn’t have done your strike.
Tell me where these animals are supposed to go. Tell me what they are supposed to eat. Tell me why they are getting hit by cars so often the Highway Department has to make a list before going out to pick up the dead.
I do know that giving hunters the ability to cull the herd in a quick and painless way is the only answer we have right now. Many of our town’s hunters donate their meat to the local food pantries; many fill their freezers and live off of the meat all winter. Many, including myself, consider this a humane, ethical, and environmentally friendly way of eating.
The fact that you stand out there and try to prove a point that you know so little about is infuriating. Possibly you could find something worthwhile to boycott. Perhaps you can boycott the annual Canadian slaughter of hundreds of thousands of baby seals for their pelts. Or maybe you could go find a slaughterhouse to stand in front of and listen for yourself to the suffering that goes on inside. Leave the hunters alone; let them do what is necessary. Do your research.
Bushier Than Bush
January 12, 2012
To the Editor,
The problem for the Republican Party is that it is a duplicitous bag of crap. Virtually everything about it is fraudulent and will be so until Mitt Romney emerges as its presidential candidate. At that point it will shed its faux-conservative, white-blight cover and return to being a normal center-of-the-road political entity. If one examines the non-Romney candidates carefully they are all deeply deranged, even marginally psychotic individuals (John Huntsman excluded) in need of therapy or incarceration or both.
At the root of the problem is coming to terms with just how much they screwed up the economy and the nation. They blew it, shattered the economic tranquillity of the country, and put us into a level of debt and despair we haven’t seen since the Depression.
Only Bush I fully understood the downside of unregulated free markets and the potential havoc of losing control. He caught the junkie mentality of the Reagan revolutionary guard but was powerless to control it. Making money for the sake of making money is like taking cocaine when it no longer gives you pleasure.
The old Republicans would have assessed the situation in 2008 and admitted we really screwed up. We deserved to get our butts kicked and will rebuild the party around a solid base of economic principles. But instead of sitting with President Obama, who turns out to be Bushier than Bush II in his actions and his appointments, they go viral with their deficit-reduction program. They do this, not because it will work, but because it will get them back in power again to screw up one more time. They call Mr. Obama far more conservative than Romney and a socialist, and return to screwing the country one more time.
How many times can the word screw be used to emphasize how deeply we are in the crapper? How many times are Republicans asked to bend over to show their allegiance to their party at the expense of their country? Are they simply stupid or is it a little more venal, like masochism, or even racist? Racist would be preferable to the others. At least it’s honest.
Mitt Romney is their only chance to win back the presidency. Yet Mr. Romney is repulsive to many of them. They know he isn’t conservative like they are, that he lies about everything instead of about most things. That he is spoiled, rich, and not sexually challenged as they are. He really is pro health care, choice, gay marriage, etc. Like most Massachusetts liberals he finds social conservatives repugnant but does it with a smile.
When he is nominated the party will have a serious gut check: support the white liberal against the black center-conservative or run a third-party candidate, which guarantees Mr. Obama the election. Republicans hate Mr. Obama more than they do Mr. Romney and will probably coalesce around him. (Their hatred of Mr. Obama, if seriously analyzed, would bring into question their competence to cast ballots.) At that point the party will become real again and unload its right-wing imagery, and return to the center.
Republicans should be punished for the last years’ misery. They could have manned up and accepted responsibility for their behavior. They could have walked away from the political arena with their heads bowed and their tails between their legs. Instead, they chose to screw the American people one more time. They will probably get slaughtered in November, and we will be left with another Democratic majority that will prove to be as incompetent as the last one.
America always comes last in our political world. Yet no matter how incompetent, how pathetic, how criminal they might be, they walk away with their pensions and health care and a great job lobbying for some corporation, to live another day to screw the people one more time.
January 10, 2012
So Mitt is it, or so it now seems. Mr. Empty Suit will try to convince us that his sharp, insightful business acumen will enable him to be a good president. So where the hell is that written?
Mr. Romney tells us that to accomplish this he will use his business acumen with the welcome addition of being a politician second and thus be in total opposition to the current president, whom he labels a “European socialist.” But this programmed Romney-robot obviously tries to avoid showing us his flip-flop approach to politics, which includes talking out of both sides of his mouth and making gaffe after gaffe when not reading off a teleprompter or index cards. The rosy picture he paints of himself as a successful entrepreneur who has created jobs, and who will use his alleged business acumen to turn around the U.S. Ship of State the same way he did in the venture capital business, is bogus.
A government is not at all like a corporation. There is no bottom line. There is no profit motive. There is no product for sale and no price line for it. His business experience, even if one buys his rosy description of it, is not sufficient to run a country, especially when that approach was tried and failed for the eight years of the Bush administration. You can’t dispose of jobs to increase the bottom line. Free market, laissez-faire government, no regulation control of the greed of corporations, banks, and brokerage firms is exactly what got us in trouble four years ago.
Mr. Romney doesn’t want to discuss his one term as governor of Massachusetts and its 47th place amongst states in job creation, nor the health care plan he helped with, including the much-maligned individual option. Nor does he wish to discuss that during his tenure at Bain Capital. Not only did he not create jobs, he fired staff and employees of the companies they raided to puff up the bottom line. Not that there is anything wrong with that! It’s free market capitalism.
Let us see his income tax returns so his claim that he knows what a pink slip means to a middle-class worker can be judged.
Tell us why he enjoys firing people, even insurance companies. Tell us why he only will discuss certain topics in a “closed, quiet room.” Give us a hint at what his reasoning was when he opposed bailing out the auto industry and saving thousands of jobs, and the stimulus program in general. Give us some hint of his plan to improve the unemployment picture. What is his plan for U.S. foreign policy in Iran? Afghanistan? Iraq? Lebanon? The European Union? Maybe he will just become an emissary to proselytize his market approach, as he did his religion.
Anyway, this half-smiling, flip-flopping, bottom-line phony will join the long list of Republican losers that are strewn along the road of failure in their quest for the presidency.
RICHARD P. HIGER