Letters to the Editor: 06.21.12

Our readers' comments

Help and Support
    Montauk
    June 12, 2012
Dear Editor,
    We would like to thank the East Hampton police, Montauk E.M.T.s and ambulance, and Southampton Hospital for their help and support with our mother, Margaret Urvalek.
    Forever grateful,
    KAREN and BILL URVALEK
    And Family


Bonac Botanicals
    East Hampton
    June 18, 2012
To the Editor,
    Thanks to all the donors, shoppers, and volunteers who helped make the second annual Bonac Botanicals plant sale a big success. The sale raised over $1,700 to support the school garden at East Hampton High School.
    The project has also received a $2,000 grant from Whole Foods’ Whole Kids Foundation, as well as a generous donation from Long Island Compost of two pallets of their organic garden soil mix, and discounted lumber from Riverhead Building Supply.
    Special thanks to the Garden Club of East Hampton for its continuing support, as well as to Wittendale’s and Buckley’s for their beautiful plant donations.
    And finally, big thanks to the East End Community Organic Farm, whose outreach program provides the expertise of a knowledgeable young farmer, and to the EECO Farm stand for marketing the last of the plants.
    At the high school, raised beds have been built, and very soon a sturdy deer fence will go up around the garden. As soon as that’s in place, a planting day will be held to get seeds in the ground. Volunteers are welcome. Bring an herb plant from your garden to get the herb garden going.
    You can keep up with the garden’s progress at bonacbotanicals.weebly.org.
Or just stop by to visit — it’s on the south side of the high school — and see how you can get involved.
    Thanks again to all the supporters.
    ROB SCHACK
    MARIA MAIER


‘Crick-Neck’ Fishing
    Amagansett
    June 14, 2012
Dear David,
    I wish to thank Carl Darenberg, the Montauk Chamber of Commerce, and the Inlet Seafood restaurant on East Lake Drive for a fine program honoring the old-timers, commercial fishermen of Montauk, and the buffet dinner which would rival the best restaurants in East Hampton for excellence. The roundtable discussions were great, as both history and tales of the sea were combined as one.
    When I spoke after the dinner, my comments about our most beloved fish cop and his gun had a very serious foundation. Historically, for decades upon decades, we fished with reasonable and workable conservation laws (not the kill-and-release programs of today) without fear of being chased around, both on land and sea, by fish cops and the Coast Guard, who are all armed to the teeth.
    For most of our fishing careers, when we saw a Coast Guard boat in the area, it gave us comfort, because we all knew if we had trouble, they would be on the scene to help out. Not today; it seems they now have us pegged as potential terrorists or drug runners.
    It is getting so bad in the bay that I began to describe it as “crick-neck” fishing, because you are constantly looking around to see what type of law enforcement vessels are coming across the bay, sound, or ocean.
    The reason for this sad situation has recently been borne out with Paul Lester and Kelly Lester’s row with the Department of Environmental Conservation’s law enforcement last summer. You can be perfectly legal in all respects and still get hammered by fish cops whose “zeal surpasses their knowledge.” They even took the fish Kelly had prepared for dinner. Heaven help you if there’s a small lobster or fish unbeknownst to you caught in the net or an unavoidable situation that’s part and parcel with everyday fishing.
    My everyday concern, for about 12 years, was that a fish cop would plant drugs on my boat, then arrest me for drug possession. Accordingly, as Michael Wright can attest to, when three fish cops were chasing me across the bay I would not let them board my fishing vessel. When I was coming to the dock, I had to go into the wheelhouse, when all of a sudden one of them jumped aboard. I had a fit as I was having hydraulic problems which was why I was coming back in so early in the morning. Therefore, I was in no mood to mux with any fish cops and for a moment I was going to give the command to stand by and repel boarders, even though they had guns and I didn’t. I got the fish cop off in quick fashion, and spent the rest of the day working on the electric clutch and had to change to a larger hydraulic motor on the net reel.
    This whole business of the D.E.C. and the Coast Guard armed to the gills when boarding nowadays amounts far more toward harassment and intimidation of the fishermen than enforcement of its fishery laws. For sure it has soured fishing for all time.
    In a way, I am glad I am not on the water anymore because the stress of crick-neck fishing is not my idea of trying to earn a living from the sea.
    Cheers,
    STUART B. VORPAHL


Vital Part
    Montauk
    June 15, 2012
Dear David,
    It is truly disappointing that The Star was unable to send a representative to the commercial fisheries forum held at Inlet Seafood in Montauk on Tuesday afternoon, June 12.
    Those in attendance heard fascinating stories and anecdotes from the likes of Milton Miller, now in his late 90s; Dave Krusa, a tilefisherman;  Stuart Vorpahl, a bayman, and Jimmy Bennett, a long-time trap fisherman. In addition, there were numerous photographs on display depicting everything from haulseining on the beach to the Montauk fishing village prior to the Hurricane of 1938.
    With every passing year, there are fewer people left to retell the tales of whales cruising the beach in Amagansett, or of brave men almost washed overboard while trawling in a mean sea. Commercial fishing is a vital part of our local heritage and should be chronicled as such.
    Sincerely,
    PERRY DURYEA III


Two-Legged Sharks
    Montauk
    June 15, 2012
To the Editor:
    Every year nearly 73 million sharks are caught to meet the worldwide demand for shark fin soup. The pressure on sharks is so overwhelming that these ancient creatures are in severe decline. But so is something else — the two-legged variety that enters the big-money Montauk shark tournaments.
    Thanks to the ongoing efforts of the Concerned Citizens of Montauk, the Montauk Marine Basin, Star Island Yacht Club and Marina, and the Montauk Boatmen and Captains Association, more and more Montauk shark fishermen are switching over to inline, nonstainless circle hooks. These hooks are designed to catch in the mouth, not in the guts, so sharks that are released have a much better chance to survive. And this summer, the Freeport tournament (which boasts up to 200 boats) contacted us to try them out.
    Unfortunately, two-legged sharks are not on the endangered species yet. One swaggering angler told us, “I’m a money fisherman. I don’t give a fuck if I rip their guts out.”
    If sharks reproduced like codfish, which can lay millions of eggs over a lifetime, perhaps there wouldn’t be a problem. Most large sharks don’t reach sexual maturity until the age of 7, and some not until they’re in their 20s. When they do reproduce they may have between 2 and 100 young. That’s why circle hooks are so important. It’s a way to protect both the future of sharks and the people who love catching them.
    We’d like to see circle hooks for shark fishing become the law of the land (and sea). A level playing field in shark tournaments that require them is a great first step. So hats off to tournaments here in New York that are encouraging their use.
    Let’s get sharks off the endangered species list and get the two-legged variety on it.
    Sincerely,
    APRIL GORNIK
    RAV FREIDEL


Exploitation
    Springs,
    June 16, 2012
Dear Editor:
    I read of the brawl in Montauk last week that you reported on. It’s too bad it happened, and though the police had trouble with this one they seemed to control it in the end. However, what was hidden in the story and was revealing was a question asked by Justice Cahill of some of the defendants. She asked some of them how much they made doing the jobs they were hired for in our local businesses. One said he made $500 every two weeks, and one said $300 each week. If they work only 40 hours per week, one made $6.25 an hour, the other, $7.50. I doubt they get benefits, and living in motels is akin to living in company houses. I defy anyone to say this isn’t exploitation.
    As a boy, I lived in Pennsylvania for a while. Many coal miners had recently won some workplace rights for themselves, and though the company-town era had officially ended, the results of that time still lingered. I met men in their 50s who looked 80, coughing themselves to death with black lung disease, living in poverty, or homeless. Most would die before they could collect retirement, and none got medical or housing assistance from the businesses they slaved for. These people were exploited, used up, and discarded to their deaths. That’s business as it was practiced. Is that how business is practiced in East Hampton?
    Indeed it appears so even to the practice of government as a business. Bill Wilkinson has told us he will apply business practice to government, and he boasts that he’s all for business. Mr. Wilkinson has done a good job of bringing business, rather than governing, to us. He’s used and discarded so many people and exploited us all.
BRAD LOEWEN


    Mr. Loewen is a former East Hampton Town councilman. Ed.


My Idol
    Kauai, Hawaii
    June 12, 2012
To the Editor,
    I want to thank The Star for mentioning Andy Neidnig in its “25 Years Ago in Bonac Sports” on May 31. Many people have seen Andy walking at all the local races the last few years but few realize what a running stud Andy has been for over 75 years. He will always be my idol and I hope I can keep going as long as he has and do it at somewhere near the level he always did (and still does for that matter).
    I first met Andy when I was 31 and he was 58 back in 1977. I had just started running and ran my first marathon in 1978. Andy had been running competitively since the 1930s. I’d see him at races and always beat him, barely — and only because I was the “young guy.” As we got to know each other better we discovered that besides sharing a deep passion for running, we also shared the same birthday, July 3.
    So as we approach my 66th birthday, and Andy’s 93rd, I need to tip my running visor to my old friend Andy. Before I read that “25 years Ago” snippet in The Star I thought I was hot stuff because I am still running marathons in the 3:30s. And in 1981 I ran a 2:37:18, and thought I was even hotter stuff. Yet despite running over 80 marathons and at least one marathon a year for 35 straight years, I’ve still not matched my idol. I’d forgotten just how fast and competitive Andy had been in his long career.
    As Jack Graves wrote in the sports pages 25 years ago, Andy, at the age of 67, had just finished the Long Island Marathon in the time of 3:23:43. While I’m currently still able to run competitive times in my age group, Andy’s time is something I can only dream about now, and I’m only 65.
    There’s such a thing in our computerized age called the Age Grading Calculator. What it does is compute your time at any given age to an equivalent time of a runner in their prime (i.e., around 30 years old). In other words, you’re going to slow down as you age but the effort you put out is compared to a 30-year-old. Well, in 1987, Andy’s time actually equated to a 2:34:43 with his effort. That’s also a time that I could only dream about in my prime.
    So Andy, my friend, my inspiration, keep on truckin’. You are the best runner the East End ever had, and I’m proud to have run with you. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing on my 93rd birthday, but I’m sure you’ll be walking into Sag Harbor for a few pints and walking home to get your miles in. I will have a cold one or two in your honor on July 3.
    And all you new runners, triathletes, and marathoners, when you see Andy at one of the East End races, please go up and shake his hand and thank him for his inspiration. You’ll be in the presence of a legend.
    Aloha Nui Loa,
    RAY CHARRON


Personal Punctuation
    Amagansett
    June 15, 2012
Editor dear,
    I was disturbed to see that someone added commas to the letter I sent you last week. While I applaud The Star’s commitment to printing all the viewpoints of all your readers, I don’t think you show sufficient respect for our personal punctuation choices.
    On another subject entirely, I haven’t yet read the East Hampton Press articles about Jack Graves, but I’m betting that during his interviews the modest Mr. Graves never mentioned that he gave me three tennis lessons in 1975. I’m sure his many fans will be glad to know this.
    Sincerely,
    PAULA DIAMOND


Terrific Tribute
    East Hampton
    June 15, 2012
Dear David:
    All of us associated with the East Hampton Historical Society are grateful for the coverage that our events receive from The East Hampton Star.
    We very much appreciate the recent article by Jennifer Landes, on our exhibit “Moran: A Family Celebration of Home and Place” at Clinton Academy. Her review of this exhibition, curated by Charles Keller and Glenn Purcell, was informative, accurate, and a terrific tribute to the individuals and institutions who lent art and artifacts to the show, making this special project possible.
    I must point out, however, that Ms. Landes neglected to mention that our sister organization, the Thomas Moran Trust, is the co-sponsor and co-organizer of the project. This effort was a collaboration between the Historical Society and the Moran Trust from start to finish, and both organizations assumed equal responsibility for its organization and funding.
    As you know, the mission of the Thomas Moran Trust is the restoration of Thomas and Mary Nimmo Moran’s home and Studio at 229 Main Street. Once restored it will be open to the public on a regular basis. One of the goals of this exhibit was to remind the community of the importance of the studio and the Moran family of artists. The exhibit also sought to highlight the historic development of the early East Hampton summer colony, and the artists who came here to paint and draw the bucolic landscape and the special light on the East End.
    Thank you all at The East Hampton Star for your special respect for art, culture, and history.
    Sincerely,
    ARTHUR S. GRAHAM
    President
    East Hampton Historical Society


Bright Idea
    Sag Harbor
    June 13, 2012
Dear Editor,
    I feel there should be much more blowing of trumpets and sounding of horns with regard to the All-Star awards. Not for the participants, who have been so generously lauded and applauded. But for The East Hampton Star, whose bright idea it has been to recognize students for something other than the usual metrics. Thank you, East Hampton Star!
ROBIN SAIDMAN


Poetry Rocks
     Barnes Landing
    June 6, 2012
To the Editor:
    In my last feral cat poem in The Star, I bury an elderly one (having no social welfare benefits) under an abandoned BMW in “the mini-BMW graveyard on Gerard Drive” to send her off in style.
    This morning a woman calls and asks me is there really a dead cat under one of those cars? Because she just rented the house next door and “there’s an awful smell coming from someplace!”
    I allowed as how my dead cat was imaginary and to direct her inquiries to the owner of the extinct Beemers.
    (She did have the wit to share my gleeful howls.)
    Poetry rocks.
ED HANNIBAL


Left the Bag
    East Hampton
    June 11,2012
To the Editor,
    This morning, on my daily walk on Wiborg beach, I was issued a summons by the East Hampton Village police to appear before a judge to argue the case against me for littering. I had just walked down toward the water, having passed the ticketing officer, cleaned up after my dog, and left the bag to walk down the beach. When confronted I explained that I fully intended to pick up the bag on the return from my walk, which is what I have been doing for the 24 years that I have been dog walking here. I was so surprised my reasonable explanation was not considered and common sense was overruled.
    After much discussion with the police officer it was determined that I littered because I had not occupied a space on the beach. If I had had a towel and left the bag on the towel and continued my walk, that would be considered occupying the space and therefore legal. 
    I am one of the advocates for providing the bags for dog owners to use. On many occasions I have brought back trash and balloons that have been washed up or left behind by inconsiderate people as well as cleaning up after other dog owners. It seems a waste of time and money for three authorities — a traffic control officer, a village policeman, and a judge — to be involved in such a trivial matter. I am not a litterer!                       
VIRGINIA GRAY


New Art Form
    East Hampton
    June 12, 2012
Dear David,
    Out with the old, in with the new! There’s a new art form in Amagansett. The Pamela Williams Gallery, a cultural icon for years and years, has been given the boot (rent all of a sudden doubled) and a monument to greed installed. Hooray for progress!
    Go take a look at what’s in that space now. I sincerely doubt you’ll believe what you’ll see. Words fail me.
WILLIAM KING


Stick It to LIPA
    Amagansett
    June 17, 2012
Dear Mr. Rattray,
    In an article published in The Star on June 7 regarding my application for the necessary permits to situate a wind turbine on my property, East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson was quoted as saying, “What if you live in a community with 400 houses, and 400 houses want a wind turbine?” Although I do see the point that the supervisor is attempting to make, I think it is important to bring some perspective to this situation.
    Wind turbines, like certain other renewable technologies, are expensive. Even the small percentage in our society who are environmentally committed enough to consider such an investment often cannot afford it. Add to that the idea that the zoning laws of many municipalities, towns, counties, etc., do not allow them. The actual number of people who wish to install, can afford to install, and are permitted to install something like a wind turbine decreases the likelihood of an assault of wind turbines, as Mr. Wilkinson suggests, down to negligible.
    My personal desire to have this technology available to me can be explained quite simply. I am a Long Islander. Therefore, my desire to stick it to LIPA and to get off the grid of the Island’s utility is my birthright.
    I grew up in Nassau County. I watched as LILCO built Shoreham, discovered (after it was built) that the facility did not have a proper evacuation plan for Long Islanders. LILCO started up the reactor anyway, raising the cost to customers for any eventual decommissioning and decontamination, should the plant close, in a game of chicken with rate payers. LILCO was eventually granted permission to pass the staggering cost of Shoreham on to its customers, who were already paying the highest utility rates in the 48 states. Then came the sale of LILCO to a state power authority (the Long Island Power Authority), paid for by bonds sold with underwriting from Alfonse D’Amato’s campaign cronies at Bear Stearns. Finally, LILCO chairman, William Catacosinos, one of the greatest villains in Long Island history, left office with a $42 million severance package.
    In addition to the environmental benefits, I want a wind turbine so I don’t give any of my money to this utility, which has a shameful record in serving Long Island.
    Some of my neighbors have complained. In some cases I am surprised and in others, I am not. Some understand that this technology is destined to exist in this area and soon. Others operate from that tired mind-set that anyone who came out here after 1960 is an arriviste and the decisions as to what is best for the town are better left to this old-guard crowd. I really could not care less about their opinions.
    In 2007, LIPA killed a proposed wind farm along the South Shore near Jones Beach after coalitions of residents complained that the gigantic turbines were both an eyesore and too expensive. I always thought that a wind farm, or even individual turbines, symbolized American ingenuity and the willingness to free ourselves from conflicts in the Middle East, wars for oil (and the attendant waste of American lives and tax dollars), and our suffocating addiction to oil and the ever-mounting levels of contamination that come with that. I thought that such ingenuity represented independence, as much as the Statue of Liberty represents freedom in her iconic way.
    I will, of course, abide by the decisions of the town government. If I am turned down, however, I hope that others will keep trying.
    Sincerely,
    ALEC BALDWIN


At It Again
    Springs
    June 17, 2012
To the Editor:
    Well, they’re at it again. The Republican members of the East Hampton Town Board are taking steps to weaken the Planning Department through the so-called reorganization plan. Historically, Republican administrations have expressed frustration at the careful and deliberate process used by the Planning Department to prevent overdevelopment and ensure a safe environment. This department was totally eliminated in 1983 (in the name of efficiency) but was reinstated after the community expressed their feelings by voting in a Demo­cratic board in the following election.
    The fact is that “efficiency” is a smokescreen to hide the fact that Republican supporters are often anxious to get quick approval for development projects and are stopped in their tracks by the Planning Department.
    We who are lucky enough to live in this beautiful community, where real estate values have skyrocketed over the past 30 years, appreciate the fact that careful planning is responsible for East Hampton being the unique and desirable place that it is. And it is no accident that an extraordinary number of town board members through the years have come straight from serving on the planning board. The proposed reorganization plan which would water down and split the department is an obvious ploy by the Wilkinson administration aimed at diminishing the power and effectiveness of this important department. Should that happen, it would be a sad day for all of us.
CILE DOWNS


Follow Its ‘Line’
    Amagansett
    June 17, 2012
Mr. Rattray,
     In golf, if one’s ball is near yours on the green but farther away from the hole, the other player putts first. You stand back of him, study his putt as it slowly navigates the topography of the green, adjust your putt accordingly, and in it goes. I often say to myself, “Thanks for the line.”
    I use this strange metaphor to strongly suggest that our supervisor contrast his attempt to ramrod a massive reorganization of the town structure on less than 24 hours’ notice with the governing philosophy of the East Hampton Village and ask him to follow its “line.” Both of these stories were on the front page of last week’s issue of The Star:
     The village style of business was illustrated by its mayor for the last 21 years, Paul F. Rickenbach Jr., who stressed the key ingredient of balance in the decision process. As he put it, the need to have “good zoning, fiscal responsibility, and quality of life” are key issues. In sharp contrast, we have the irresponsible record of our supervisor and his colleagues, a record clearly showing an indisputable lack of balance, transparency, and respect for the environment.
     Clearly, governing the town is much more complex than the village, but nevertheless I suggest that Mr. Wilkinson stand back, review the village’s approach, and adjust his own accordingly. I guarantee his “handicap” will markedly decrease.
IRVING HIRSCHBERG


Open Meetings
    Amagansett
    June 16, 2012
Dear David:
    Your June 14 editorial regarding the attempt by Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Councilwoman Theresa Quigley to weaken the Planning Department through a reorganization process is spot-on. You make many excellent points and the one that particularly caught my attention was in regard to the violation of the New York State Open Meetings law. This law sets forth specific criteria that municipalities must meet in order to qualify for executive sessions in which town issues are discussed in private outside the eyes and ears of the public. As you point out, these sessions must be called in advance during an open meeting.
    The reorganization plan, which came out of nowhere, was brought up for a vote prior to any public announcements or discussions. Unfortunately, violations of the open meetings law carry no penalties. The fact that it is a “toothless tiger” is no excuse for this board to break the law.
SUE AVEDON


Seek Rather Than Ignore
    East Hampton
    June 18, 2012
To the Editor,
    In an East Hampton Star article from May 25 titled, “Where Were the Planners?” Jeffrey Bragman slams the absence of “teamwork.” Mr. Bragman in discussing the town board’s action regarding the proposed music-entertainment legislation explains that good planning is good business and requires the carrying out of town procedures that include the input of town employees who are trained experts as well as others in order to reach wise conclusions regarding the adoption of town laws. He emphasizes that good planning is good business and that it made no sense to adopt the music legislation without the input of the town planner and the Planning Department.
    Mr. Bragman makes a very important point that all of us, regardless of political affiliation or ideology, should appreciate. By way of analogy, if a person  is advised by a physician general practitioner that he has a medical problem, he does not consult family members to decide what to do about it. First he seeks the opinion of one or more experts in the field, perhaps also uses Google to obtain information, and after obtaining opinions and information then consults with family members to make a decision as to what to do.
    East Hampton has a fragile ecosystem the preservation of which is essential to the survival of its uniqueness. That uniqueness is what attracts people to our town and in turn — and here is the business part — supports our property values. The historic waltz between government and business is not new. Business will always do whatever it can to make a profit, and government will always rein in business activity that is dangerous. Drug manufacturers would sell whatever they could if not limited by the Food and Drug Administration. Would we want to buy medicines not subject to rigorous testing by experts employed by the government? Certainly not!
    In the same way the town board should make use of its experts to advise it as to what action to take to protect our environment. The current majority of the town board has done the opposite. A concerted effort to de-power and ignore the town planner is apparent from a review of the record. See the article in The Star of June 7.
    Mr. Bragman said, “running the town like you’re a corporate executive is a disaster waiting to happen.” This is  only part of Mr. Bragman’s statement that I disagree with; I believe that successful business executives seek rather than ignore the advice of experts. To do otherwise makes no sense and is bad business.
    Respectfully submitted,
    DAVID WEINSTEIN


View of the Voters
    Amagansett
    June 18, 2012
Dear Editor:
    It is disturbing that Supervisor Wilkinson tried to push through a massive reorganization of the Planning Department without public discussion. As The East Hampton Star stated in its June 13 editorial, the New York Open Meetings Law mandates that a restructuring of town departments be conducted in full view of the voters. It is the law. Why was this law ignored?
    Sincerely,
    GEORGE RUBINO


Doing Favors
    East Hampton
    June 16, 2012
To the Editor,
    In the June 14 issue of The Star, there are some typical complaints about the Republican supervisor and the Republican-majority town board.
    For example, the issue of heavy jet planes replacing the old single-engine “puddle-jumpers” flown by sportsmen-pilots. These jet “trucks of the air” roar like crazy and destroy our peace and quiet. But they permit air-charter businesses to charge over $1,000 each way for half-hour trips to New York and make a fortune for the owners.
    Then there is the Republican plan to weaken the Planning Department that protects against high-density development that destroys our natural resources including life-giving water. They will accomplish this by preventing the planners from doing their job, thereby making fortunes for land developers and builders.
    There is also the problem of red tides (and other colors, too), which have destroyed our shellfishing industry (which hardly seems worth mentioning if there is no pure water to drink). It too is aggravated by over-intensive residential development caused in turn by a weakened Planning Department.
    I think there is one cause at the base of these several complaints. The cause is the present Republican town administration. I am reminded of when Supervisor Wilkinson dealt earlier with the anguished complaints of Montauk residents who found their lives unbearable due to laws not being enforced against a restaurant-bar that ran up something like 600 violations for overcrowding. Residents were denied the use of their own homes with drunks parking in their driveways and relieving themselves on their lawns.
    Supervisor Wilkinson took the side of the scofflaw bar and restaurant. He reminds us that commercial establishments are very important to the economy of our town — more so than the health and well-being of our citizens. He thinks that there would be no residents without the bars. He has it backward: there would be no bars without the residents. The bars live off the residents, not the other way round. In fact, it would be even more accurate to say the bars live off the tourists.
    The problem is with the mind-set of people who call themselves Republicans. They feel in their guts that businesspeople are more important to the community than customers. If they have to choose between a rich person and a poor one, they automatically favor the rich, because they are better. They feel that if they weren’t better, why would they have gotten rich? If an issue involves two rich people, they automatically favor the richer of the two.
    Since there are generally more poor people than rich people, Republicans avoid by indirection the unfavorable consequences of this obvious favoritism by drawing attention to difficult moral issues like contraception, abortion, and same-sex marriage. So the voters get all excited over really trivial made-up issues, and the Republicans keep getting away with doing favors for their rich friends (and vice versa). 
ALBERT Z.K. SANDERS


Overheard
    Amagansett
    June 14, 2012
Dear David,
    My houseguest appeared at the breakfast table decidedly bent. Fearing a stroke, I drove him straight away to East Hampton Urgent Care. Nervously awaiting the eventual diagnosis of misaligned suspenders, I overheard the following:
    “Staffers at Town Hall are concerned about the leadership.”
    “Erratic, sneaky behaviors?”
    “Yes, I ordered tests.”
    “And?”
    “And there’s only one brain between the two of them.”
    “Explains a lot.”
    I didn’t hear any more since I needed to find some new suspenders and a two-compartment weasel trap.
    All good things,
    DIANA WALKER


Document These Events
    East Hampton
    June 18, 2012
Dear David,
    As the summer season begins in force, I wish to remind your readers that the town’s noise complaint hotline (537-LOUD) has been contracted to a company called PlaneNoise, owned by Robert Grotell. Of interest is that Mr. Grotell is also the spokesperson for the Eastern Regional Helicopter Council. Go figure.
    Apart from any concerns, which may arise from what could be perceived as the fox guarding the henhouse, the general feedback on Mr. Grotell’s services has been positive. Residents calling or e-mailing with complaints seem, for the most part, to be acknowledged. 
    One hopes the town’s efforts at collecting noise-complaint data are in good faith. These data may provide necessary information to fulfill Federal Aviation Administration protocols for limiting access to our airport, but that is uncertain at this point. What is clear is that noise complaints are not a real measurement of actual airport noise events. Such a system of measurement is founded upon the notion that no airport noise complaint equals no airport noise event. We all know this to be false.
    Flawed as it is, it’s the only tool residents have to influence effective noise-mitigation programs at East Hampton Airport. I urge your readers suffering from disturbing airport noise to document these events by calling in or e-mailing them to PlaneNoise as often as is practicable. The e-mail address can be found on the town’s Web site under “Airport.” It’s important for the town board to understand how frequent and widespread these noise disturbances are and that all complaints are not generated by only a few cranky people or delicate flowers. 
    Aircraft noise ruins the peaceful enjoyment of our homes, properties, and recreational areas. The town board needs to hear from its constituents. They have provided the community with this tool, so let’s make sure we use it. Thank you.
    Best,
    KATHLEEN CUNNINGHAM
    Quiet Skies Coalition


Importance Is Such
    Wainscott
    June 18 2012
Dear Editor:
    Buzz buzz buzz! The town now has a tentative plan to try the control the noise at the town-owned airport. However, it seems as if the only problem is with helicopters and their window-rattling. Nowhere in the proposed plan does it seem to recognize that jets and fixed-wing pilots are also main contributors to the disruption of daily life.
    Every Monday morning there is an inconsiderate pilot whose importance is such that he takes off somewhere between 5:20 and 5:45 a.m. The propeller pitch is so loud that it startles one wide awake. The sound can be heard for as long as 20 seconds after takeoff.
    The constant touch-and-gos on weekends that produce numerous passes at low altitudes add to the disruption of peace and quiet and the enjoyment of people’s properties.
    A real plan would address all these conditions and mitigate the problem for once and for all. Why is this not being addressed as aggressively as the helicopters?
    Yours truly,
    ARTHUR J. FRENCH


My Queen
Her name is Sharon.
Sharon, to me, was the love of my life.
We went through strife, yet we survived.
We planned to become husband and wife.
Sharon, you were such a part of so many lives.
Nan, John, Jackie, Kelly, Jay, Tabitha, Bradley, Vanessa, Patricia, Ashley,
Henry, Elizabeth, J.D., Emily, and your many friends.
Sharon, thanks to you, our thoughts of joy are many.

Sharon, Jenna, Jack, Sofia, Will, Anthony, Keagan,
Aiden, Gabriel, Madeline, and the one on the way;
They have lost the chance to grow up with you.
We will try, I promise, to keep memories of you in their day.

Sharon, you are still a great part of our lives.
I’m sure God is proud of you, as we all are.
Sharon, we are all going to miss you so much
So, so much, unfortunately, from afar.

Sharon, as sad as it is, it is good to know,
that you are going to be in a nice place,
a place that you deserve to be, with Poppy.
Now you can relax and slow down the pace.

Sharon, because of you I became better
You were the one that got me to care.
Sharon, thank you so much.
Sharon, thank you so much for being there.

Sharon, as I end this, I want to say,
You are still the love of my life and always will be.
Life will go on, as it must, as you would want it to.
Sharon, I know you are in heaven with God, as well it should be.

Farewell, godspeed, love you forever my best friend.
Enjoy the journey.
KEVIN STROSS


Spoke the Truth
    East Hampton
    June 17, 2012
To the Editor,
    John Behan spoke the truth about Congressman Tim Bishop. We need him to continue working for us.
    Mr. Bishop has brought local fishermen to Washington to address Congress on our needs on the East End. We are having Lake Montauk dredged through his efforts as well as other needs of our fishermen.
    Mr. Bishop was born and raised in Southampton and knows the constituents he represents. We do not need another millionaire in Congress — we have 32 of them now.
JULIA KAYSER


Shows No Respect
    East Hampton
    June 17, 2012
Dear David,
    “Don’t get me wrong,” says Richard Higer as he takes one of his great leaps backward in discharging his duties as one of the far left’s local propagandists. This time he mouths their anti-women charges against its political opponents. He offers no proof.
    In particular, this entire effort is to divert our attention from O & Co.’s attack on a basic principle of our Constitution and of the right of all Americans, namely freedom of religion. He and his administration’s attempt to undermine this basic right upon which our country was founded should come as no surprise, as Mr. Obama changes our pledge of allegiance every time he recites it. How? By not saying the words “under God.” That some church members do not agree with the churches’ teachings does not reduce any churches’ rights under our Constitution. There can be no bargaining with our government to preserve the freedom of religion already guaranteed by our Constitution, yet O dares to.
    Remember O’s defaming the founders of our country and the Constitution as a “flawed document?” Remember as well the Democrats referring to this as a “living document,” meaning they can change it as they see fit to meet their needs, that if Congress takes too long to approve laws he wants, he can, and will, and does issue his own decrees, unlawful as they are. He warns the Supreme Court not to follow the law in its decisions, which will displease him, even criticizing its members on national TV during one of his State of the Union addresses.
    Mr. Obama shows no respect for the powers of the three branches of our federal government. His latest power play against our Constitution is deciding not to enforce part of our immigration laws as regards 800,000 people here with no legal standing. Just try being an illegal in Mexico, or for that matter any other country on the planet, and get benefits superior to its citizens. That American kids and their parents pay thousands more in tuition at colleges, often state-owned, then this group favored by an illegal government decision (go ahead, Congress, you pass laws and O & Co will not enforce what they dislike, go sue) is another show of disrespect to Americans in these difficult economic times by this administration.
    A New Jersey judge ruled that a Muslim man was within his rights to repeatedly rape his wife after they were divorced, as Sharia law allowed. On appeal, the decision was reversed, stating that only American law mattered. Other states have upheld this standard as other instances of Sharia law have tried to prevail in our country. A related problem is “honor” killings which have been appearing in the news all too often. Yet Neil Hausig sees nothing ominous in Sharia law but does see threats from orthodox Jews, labeling them as threats to Israel, ignoring the basic reason of that country’s founding as the one place of refuge for Jews to practice their religious beliefs not subject to the liking of others such as Neil Hausig. He goes on to assail Christians who preach their faith to others, yet he is silent on those killed for doing so and/or the destruction of churches (not only theirs) in Muslim lands. He makes no bones of his utter disdain for those of us who are religious, preferring that technocrats rule us. We are now seeing firsthand how that works out in D.C., as they try to dismiss American exceptionalism. It exists no matter how hard the left tries to dismiss it out of hand.
    Twenty million of its people were murdered for their religious and political beliefs by the Soviet Union before we caused its collapse, yet Neil Hausig sees no wrong in Communism! This alone reveals the emptiness of his words.
EARLE S. RYNSTON


Sign of the Times
    Wainscott
    June 12, 2012
To the Editor,
    Well, it’s mid-June in the Hamptons. Memorial Day is a distant memory, and our beautiful twin townships are welcoming the usual splash of billionaires, movie moguls, reality stars, and celebrity D-listers. However, the continued proliferation of boarded-up stores along village main streets adds little to that seasonal Hamptons charm. Perhaps this is just a sign of the times. Yup, looks like the private sector is doing just fine.
LAURA WEIR


Our Money?
    Sag Harbor
    June 11, 2012
To the Editor,
    Caption on the front page of The New York Times, June 4: “Intrigue in Karzai Family Clouds Afghanistan’s Fate.” President Karai’s brothers scramble for money and power before he steps down, which can be summed up by: corruption well known to the United States for 10 years. One might ask, where is our money?
    One brother is mulling a run for the presidency; other brothers have been battling over the crown jewel in the family empire: the largest private residential development in Afghanistan.
    Another brother is also said to have imprisoned a longtime Karzai aide in an effort to make him disclose the whereabouts of money and assets hidden from the family. Still another brother, the political boss of southern Afghanistan, was assassinated last year after being accused of benefiting from the Afghan opium trade.
    Many of the Afghan elite have been among the war’s biggest beneficiaries, enriching themselves from American military contracts and government corruption. Also, many of the Karzai family are American citizens.
    This is the same government we intend to turn over to Afghanistan in 2014. All of the Middle East has been destabilized and left in total chaos paid for by the American taxpayer. Peace is cheaper than war.
LARRY DARCEY


Nothing Is Free
    East Hampton
    June 6, 2012
To the Editor,
    When President Reagan busted the air controllers union he accidentally set in motion a process that has accelerated the fall and possible obliteration of middle-class America. By 1983 middle-class Americans had already experienced a loss in income and purchasing power that they were compensating for with the use of credit cards and home equity loans. Yet our economy still worked for 80 percent of the country, and the other 20 percent had hopes that it would someday work for them.
    Jump to the present and the economy barely works for 50 percent of us, and the bottom 50 percent see nothing positive in the future. What brought about this transformation was the obsession with free market capitalism and the destruction of the American union system.
    Free markets have always been a deranged fantasy. Nothing is free and someone always pays the freight. Competition is controlled, manipulated, and works only downward in regard to the labor force. There are always lots of examples of people climbing up the ladder but most of the ladders are either prohibited or broken to the general public. Before 1980 most of us were happy enough with our piece of the pie, but the desire for greater profits and most of the pie became the mantra of free musketeers who were becoming the driving forces behind the economy.
    Skip to the beginning of the 20th century. Pre-union America had no minimum wage, no retirement benefits, no health care, no job training, no workplace rights, 14-hour days, no protection against being let go. Almost everyone who worked in the country was at the mercy of their employers. The American dream, once the country moved from agriculture to manufacturing, was fueled by American workers and the unions. No one advocated for workers in the country until unions came on the scene, and all the benefits that unions acquired through negotiations and strikes were reaped by all the country’s workers.
    In our long history of business cycles and economic ups and downs, wages have never been the reason for our recessions and depressions. Bad investments and excessive greed by the business community have always been the primary causes.
    So the almost imbecilic, suicidal attack on public unions is difficult to fathom. Taxpayers aligned against teachers and cops as if the teachers and cops caused our current problem because they have decent wages and benefits. Because their unions didn’t let them get the crap kicked out of them as most of us in the private sector did. “Taxpayers Against the American Dream” should be the headline for Wisconsin’s recall election.
    How does taking away teachers’ rights to negotiate solve our deficit problem? Why not prohibit teachers from voting, especially female teachers? Take away their Social Security and health care benefits. But once the teachers lose their rights we are all in line to lose ours.
    Skip 10 years to the future: Wall Street has again screwed up and deficits are rising. The teachers have nothing left to take away. So we go after the cops, transit workers, hospital employees. The deficit reduction mechanism is already in place. Just push the button and police benefits are history.
    It’s kind of a guns-or-butter deal. We spend $1 trillion on a military we don’t need, another on Homeland Security that doesn’t work. We subsidize oil companies, farmers, and God knows who to the tune of almost another $1 trillion. We allow all this excess and attack the teachers. Education used to be important. Why?
    First, because the public is too dumb to understand that an attack on the public unions is an attack on all of us. Second, because under the guise of state non-deficit laws they can. Third, because even in a deep recession the drive for even greater profits and a larger share of the pie overwhelms reason and compassion. Fourth, because the new vision for the 80 percent of Americans is Wal-Mart’s cheap, crappy products paid for with low wages and no benefits.
    The new American dream proposed by Scott Walker and his cronies is to strip away all the gains that we’ve made in the 20th century and turn us into El Salvador. Central America is looking a whole lot better these days.
NEIL HAUSIG


Unending Torrent
    East Hampton
    June 12, 2012
Dear Editor,
    The palpable, visceral hatred evinced by those who oppose the president is frightening and deliberately repeated on a highly partisan media network to be sure that it is absorbed by the guys standing at the bar.
    The haters don’t limit their opposition to his policies, because 95 percent of those policies have wide mass appeal and acceptance and have been universally credited with advancing the economic recovery of the country, the upgrading of the social conscience of all Americans, and keeping us free of radical attacks while destroying those who would and have attacked us.
    Mr. Obama’s very being is attacked, as is that of his wife and even his children. The tormented, twisted logic of Mr. Obama’s enemies can be seen in the unending torrent of repetitive criticism, which is never constructive, never specific or detailed, but always a series of choreographed, angry comments seemingly passed along by scheming politicians and their media allies whose motives are obvious and whose finances and deep pockets seem endless.
    Add to this scenario the appearance on the scene of a candidate for president with a total lack of credibility, an obvious failure of vision, and a desire to succeed solely to enhance his résumé. This candidate has presented no compelling reason why he should succeed President Obama and a closer look at his credentials reveals an abject failure in all aspects of his alleged business acumen. He may have been good for his investors when he was at Bain Capital as a venture capitalist, but his espoused plans for America, the few he has revealed, would be a disaster for the country and a return to the failed “trickle-down” economics of the past. He covers his shortcomings with the most advanced use of subterfuge and mendacity ever seen in a presidential election.
    I have deliberately avoided the topic that is the elephant in the room — overt and covert racism of which, I am sure, everyone is aware.
RICHARD P. HIGER


Need a Friend
    Lovelock, Nev.
    May 15, 2012
To the Editor,
    Please really read this letter and consider it. I really need your help in this matter. My name is Jeff Jones. I am incarcerated at Lovelock Correctional Center. I have no family, friends, or any funds. I am originally from the eastern Long Island area.
    I know you usually don’t do this, but I am really lonely. I really need to make some loving friends in my life to help me continue to grow as a positive person. I have made a lot of strides in my life to change who I was, and it would be great to share it with like-minded people. My family doesn’t care about me.
    I have learned, besides family, that friends can be very important in our lives. I hope you can understand how I feel. I would really appreciate it if you would do this for me.
    I am an incarcerated, 42-year-old male with dirty blond hair and blue eyes. I am very lonely. Need a friend right now, will correspond with anyone.
    Thank you for your time.
    JEFF L. JONES
    #25525
    Lovelock Correctional Center
    1200 Prison Road
    Lovelock, Nev., 8941