Letters to the Editor: 07.05.12

Our readers' comments

Taxi Situation
    East Hampton
    June 28, 2012
Dear Editor,
    The death last week of the young man who was struck and killed by a taxi on Old Stone Highway and your editorial “Thoughts After a Death,” provoked me to write you about the taxi situation on the East End.
    Over the years we’ve watched each summer the influx of both taxi companies and individual taxis on our streets in greater numbers. When arriving in East Hampton on the Jitneys, the number of taxi drivers standing at the open door soliciting customers is almost overwhelming. In fact, it reminds me of a recent trip to India, where, when our tour bus would stop, the street peddlers who were peddling everything imaginable were at the door making it difficult to even get off our bus. It’s also obvious that this is a totally unregulated business in the village because even the fares vary from company to company and driver to driver for the same destination.
    My point is, the competition for each fare is tremendous, so many of them are driving our streets in very unsafe ways. I admit that I normally drive three to four miles over the speed limit in the village, and when a taxi is behind me, I’m tailgated without fail until either they or I turn off. Ironically, today, driving from the center of Amagansett to the turnoff for Old Stone Highway, I was driving 35 miles per hour, and I had a taxi with a female driver literally on my back bumper until I made my turn. Fortunately school is not in session when I would have been driving 20 miles per hour, she would have probably been in the back seat! I constantly see taxis making illegal U-turns, passing in no-passing zones, speeding, talking on cellphones, and just generally driving unsafely.
    It is to be hoped that the death of this young man won’t be written off as just an unfortunate situation by the local authorities. Perhaps someone will address the situation?

Very Distressed
    East Hampton
    July 2, 2012
To the Editor,
    I was very distressed with your comments regarding Jeffrey Ahn’s death. Did you actually read what you wrote? “Had Jeffrey Ahn and his friends been walking on the grass instead of the pavement when the Lindy’s van passed he would likely be alive today.”
    Is it possible the taxi driver is at fault, not the young man? If the driver had not hit the boy, he [Jeffrey Ahn] would be alive today!

Loss Is a Call
    June 30, 2012
Dear David,
    The tragic death of Jeffrey Ahn should be a wake-up call to all of us on the East End. The roads are more congested than ever and many drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians are unaware of the danger posed by so many of us sharing the roads.
    It is time for the Town of East Hampton to take action and better allocate its assets to prevent future tragedies like this one. Sidewalks, bike paths, and road shoulders are desperately needed on main arteries where drivers routinely exceed the posted speed limits. Town Lane and Old Stone Highway, where Mr. Ahn was killed, are but two examples of heavily traveled roads with no shoulders or sidewalks and  where drivers routinely travel at speeds in excess of 40 or 50 miles an hour.
    Speed bumps and “share the road” signage, while no solution, could be used in the interim until the town gets its act together and makes this issue a high priority. Let’s hope that this tragic loss is a call to action, so that such a senseless accident never happens again.

Local Waters
    East Hampton
    June 30, 2010
Dear David;
    Regarding the article “Striped Bass War, 20 Years On,” subtitled, “Civic disobedience did not bring back the haul seine,” written by Russell Drumm in the June 28 edition of The East Hampton Star, I feel compelled to write this letter.
    I am writing this as just another church member (not as the clerk of session, an office I have the honor of serving at the church) at the First Presbyterian Church of Amagansett.
    I first attended the healing service at the Amagansett Presbyterian Church — as it was affectionately known — with my husband in December 1991. The service was conducted by the Rev. Robert Beecher Stuart, pastor, who served the church from 1981 to 1998. We were quite moved by the welcome we received. Three weeks later my husband died suddenly.
    Shortly after attending the healing service, some time in 1992, I happened to turn on a local television station which showed local baymen and their supporters on the beach in Amagansett. Then I noticed a man coming toward the crowd dressed in all white. When I looked closely, I could see Reverend  Stuart wearing his white alb. He was there to show his support and our congregation’s support for the baymen.
    I joined the church in December of 1993. Rob is now our pastor emeritus. During his pastorate, Reverend Stuart served as chaplain of the Long Island Association for H.I.V./AIDS care here on the East End.
    The First Presbyterian Church was founded in 1860, and many of the early members, at that time, were whalers and baymen. Many of the present-day church members are direct descendants of Francis Lester, the late well-known bayman.
    Some other members today are descendants of the whaling families who were part of the early history of the church. You will notice as you pass by the church, the weathervane on top of the church steeple is a whale. Stuart Vorpahl, the esteemed bayman, is one of our active members, and he always has a story to tell. Often he has letter in The Star concerning the Dongan Patent, which has to do with fishing rights.
    At present we are very fortunate that our present called pastor, the Rev. Steven E. Howarth, is very involved — not only watching over his “flock,” but serving as chaplain of the Amagansett Fire Department, as well as being a volunteer firefighter and ambulance driver. He also serves as chaplain of the East Hampton Town Ocean Rescue Squad, and he serves on the East Hampton Town Board of Ethics.
    Pastor Steve has been there every step of the way giving support and lending a hand when needed to Paul, Danny, and Kelly Lester throughout their trials and tribulations with the Department of Environmental Conservation, as they try to stick up for their rights to fish in our local waters. Fishing is their livelihood.
    As a church member serving on session, I am very proud of these two men who serve God as Presbyterian ministers of Word and Sacrament. The First Presbyterian Church of Amagansett, an inclusive church, is part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). All are welcome to attend our worship service held at 10 a.m. in the summer months.
    The church will be holding its 99th summer fair on Saturday, Aug. 4, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on the church grounds. The first summer fair was held in 1913.
    On another note, I had the privilege of attending the original version of “Men’s Lives,” adapted from the book written by Peter Matthiessen and produced by Joe Pintauro. It, too, was performed at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor. I found “Men’s Lives” to be a very moving and magnificent production featuring the struggles of the baymen and their families.

Sincerest Thanks
    July 2, 2012
Editor, The Star,
    The Concerned Citizens of Montauk’s sincerest thanks go to Roberta Gosman and her wonderful staff for hosting our successful, well-attended C.C.O.M. member-appreciation forum at Gosman’s on June 21. They were cool, calm, and always professional on a beautiful but blistering evening. Thanks as well to Andy Harris and Sally Richardson of Montauk whose Stonecrop Winery supplied the superb wine served.
    We also thank Lori Newell of Living Well Yoga and Fitness with whom we partnered on June 26 to present a tick symposium at Third House. It featured Montauk’s own Dr. Anthony Knott and our own executive director, Jeremy Sam­uelson. These two knowledgeable and experienced experts discussed how to avoid ticks while still enjoying the outdoors and the treatment options for tick-borne diseases should the need arise.
    Many thanks for your energy, commitment, and concern. We appreciate it!
    Concerned Citizens of Montauk

Changed Forever
    East Hampton
    June 24, 2012
Dear David:
    I was moved by a letter in the May 17 Star by Jim Devine. He said, “I tried to explain in simple terms what is happening to Montauk and that it’s being sold and changed forever.” He also predicts that we should be careful what we allow to happen now, before it’s too late.
    Bill Wilkinson and Theresa Quigley have decided that it is good for the Montauk economy to encourage the development of clubs for heavy-duty partyers from Manhattan. At the very same time this strategy is being pursued:
    The L.I.R.R. has discontinued the sale of liquor from midnight to 5 a.m. on weekends.
    In Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., the local borough council proposed an ordinance closing down bars at midnight because of excessive drinking, parking on nearby residents’ front lawns, and even sleeping on their porches.
    The New York City Health Department has a campaign with posters depicting the ugly consequences of the kind of nightlife that draws young kids to the city.
    In the Chelsea neighborhood of Man­hattan this past year, residents pro­tested the potential opening of a new night spot by the well-known Bungalow 8 club owner Amy Sacco. The mayhem, noise, and garbage were so highly publicized that the residents feared the impact on their street.
    And now it has come full circle. The New York Times June 5 Styles section focused on Montauk as the new destination for high-end party-seeking New Yorkers. The Surf Lodge, Rushmeyer’s, and Sloppy Tuna were featured. Cyril’s was probably overlooked because it’s in Amagansett and casual.
    Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley have no qualms condoning these clubs. After the outcry last year from neighbors living next door about the trespassing, urinating, fornicating, and more, the town justice negotiated $100,000 from the Surf Lodge for ordinance violations. The supervisor touted this as a great accomplishment. Has he changed any town codes? Has he created a police drunken-driving checkpoint? It does not appear so. And where in the town bud­get is the $100,000 going to be allocated?
    Montauk is in a state of play‚ and as Jim Devine fears, may be changed forever.

Wonderful Vision
    June 30, 2012
Dear David,
    With the recent surge in the number of seasonal visitors and the rapid cultural metamorphosis of Montauk into Hipster Heaven (I say this only after viewing numerous men with those silly straw hats and three days of beard growth acting like Masters of the Universe while berating local hard-working waiters and bartenders), I would recommend some changes to the traffic and pedestrian infrastructure of downtown Montauk.
    I would suggest that our visitors would be best served  if the Plaza were turned into a pedestrian mall from Memorial Day to Labor Day. This could easily be done by installing a couple of those anti-terrorist concrete barriers at the east and west end of the Plaza across Montauk Highway. Local artists could be encouraged to paint the barriers with beach murals.
    I realize that this will displace all of the taxis that park there, but perhaps they could be relocated to the soccer field next to the Montauk movie theater. I was thinking that if the field were paved over, it could accommodate at least another 200 vehicles for our summer visitors.  I do realize that this would be an inconvenience for the people who play soccer there, but perhaps they could be encouraged to take up surfing, paddleboarding, and beach volleyball.
    On the very north end of the Plaza, I think it would be pretty cool if a huge all-weather movie screen be installed. A Cablevision link could be set up to show reruns of the Food Channel, “House Hunters,” “Fawlty Towers” (for those who appreciate silly British humor), and “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show” (my personal favorite and a great primer on the evils of the cold war).  In front of the screen, I would recommend the installation of a small bleacher for viewing pleasure and the placement of 20 picnic tables for the use of our visitors while they munch their gluten-free muffins and sip their lattes.
    I wish I could take credit for this wonderful vision, but I was actually inspired by a recent visit to Times Square.

No Apology
    July 1, 2012
Dear Editor:
    I’m a bit taken aback that Bill Grimm should demand an apology from me because I believe certain employees of whatever restaurants are paid a wage and live a life that makes them victims of exploitation. I’m basing that belief on observation and a recent article in The East Hampton Star that spoke of pay and accommodations for some workers in Montauk. I used as examples two people who were named in the news article.
     To determine the wages the workers are paid I did some simple math using the figures reported in The Star. I said if they worked 40 hours a week they earned $6.50 and $7.50 per hour, respectively.
    Mr. Grimm claimed that one he knows works three days per week and actually makes $12 per hour, which is the standard.
    I said it was reported the workers were housed in local motels at, no doubt, a cost to them. I said it’s unlikely they get benefits. I also wonder if there is any job security. If an employer decides to end their job, is the worker both penniless and homeless?
     I’m sorry but I’m not convinced these workers aren’t exploited, even at the revised figures offered by Mr. Grimm. Low wages, company housing, no benefits, and tenuous employment — even if that’s the standard —  amount to exploitation. I believe he should spend his time and explain how the standard is fair, not exploitive, and how my assumptions are wrong, rather then get in a snit and demand an apology.
     Mr. Grimm also thought I blamed Bill Wilkinson for what I believe are exploitive practices in some East Hampton businesses. Not so. Mr. Wilkinson doesn’t exploit restaurant workers in Montauk. However, I believe Mr. Wilkinson runs the town as his business, rather then as our government, and his business is exploitation.
    No apology from me, Bill or Bill.

High Sticked
    East Hampton
    June 30. 2012
Dear David:
    I watched the [East Hampton] Town Board work session of June 19 in plain disgust. As a taxpayer, I was horrified that the agenda consisted of 14 items and most of them were months old and went unacted upon. However, my main disgust was for the behavior of the Dem­ocratic members, Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc, and their out of control supporters in the audience whose behavior would have been more appropriate at a Rangers-Islanders hockey game.
    I began to wonder how it was that the previous town board, which had the exact political makeup as this board (two Democrats and three Republicans), accomplished as many great things as they did — all while saving East Hampton from bankruptcy. They all worked together and got along. What has changed? What is different now?
    Well, the two newly elected Dem­ocratic board members are entirely different. They are clearly obstructionists. They are egged on by the rowdy bunch in the audience but they really take their marching orders from behind-the-scenes party hacks. But, so what? Overby and Van Scoyoc are still only two board members out of five, and thus a minority.
    What has also changed, I realized, was Councilman Stanzione, who is now looking out for himself and his friends and not the taxpayers. On all but one item out of the 14, Dominick sat silent. He was noncommittal or he deliberately did not support his teammates, Wilkinson and Quigley. When his teammembers were high sticked by the rowdy players in the audience, he did not come to their defense. He ran as part of the Wilkinson team but now he wants to run the show his way.
    Strong, cohesive teams are champions and winners that can accomplish even the most difficult tasks. Rogue teammates, however, spell defeat and disaster for the entire team — including themselves.
    Without a strong, adult, and committed board majority, it will not be long before East Hampton sinks back into the abyss and disasters of the previous administrations.

Seems Impossible
    June 25, 2012
Dear David;
    Kudos for your editorial in last week’s edition “Town Leaders Must Work Together.” Unfortunately for us, it seems impossible to accomplish this. The autocratic (or shall I say, dictatorial) style of Bill Wilkinson with his nastiness and the condescending demeanor of Theresa Quigley toward the public and other board members (whom the people elected) are astonishing.
    Week after week it seems to get worse. Of course our emperor (or shall I say dictator) has a propensity to demean all. After a valid question by Peter Van Scoyoc concerning a “satisfaction survey” sent to all departments to be returned to a phantom Internal Audit Division in town government, Mr. Wilkinson responded with a sophomoric attitude and sent his résumé to Mr. Van Scoyoc so he could learn to “try to understand management.” Mr. W. never learned anything (see letter enclosed in paycheck fiasco) Some management skills — learned in the Magic Kingdom, I guess.
    I guess Wilkinson doesn’t remember the countless times he had to exhort his “Mr. Used to Be” to let us know how important he thinks he is. Well, he did win by a 15-vote landslide.
    Ms. Quigley, so quick to draft legislation, states that she is 100 percent for business. Well, what percentage is left to do “our” business? Her legislative accomplishments cost us money.
    Her wanting to make illegal rooming houses legal and throw the residents of Springs under the bus for raising quality-of-life issues. This benefits whom, I ask.
    Of course I wonder if the pro-business has anything to do with the alleged feud with the planning director? She then makes a remark, “I am pro-business, not pro-destroying the town.”
    Mr. Wilkinson makes a threat to move the meeting to a smaller room and “the entire audience will be left out!” Gee, the sham Federal Aviation Administration funding meeting where the deck was stacked with out-of-towners brought in to overload the space while real citizens who came to listen and maybe voice their opinions were forced to stand outside out of ear range in the hallway and on the lawn. A gentleman pointed this out and requested a larger venue to accommodate all. “No!” was the answer.
    These two with their nasty attitude toward anyone who has the temerity to ask questions makes your editorial statement of request impossible. It is like trying to clap with one hand. Shame on them.
    Yours truly,

Forum on Planning
    July 2, 2012
Dear David,
    The negative public reaction when Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Councilwoman Theresa Quigley introduced a resolution to reduce the size of our Planning Department may have offered an opportunity to increase open communication and trust between the town board and the residents they were elected to serve.
    The board has previously set up informational forums on such town-wide issues as business needs, sewage waste treatment, and deer management.
    Perhaps a public forum on planning would be beneficial and appropriate. A title to consider could be, “Planning for East Hampton’s Future: What’s Next?” A discussion of town needs, are we headed in the right direction, and does East Hampton need more commercial and residential development are areas that could be explored.
    Recently, Councilwoman Quigley publicly announced that, “We don’t have the proper zoning in this town. We don’t have the proper planning.” A forum would be an opportunity for her to explain to her constituents just what she means.
    Does she mean the comprehensive plan goals of keeping our drinking water and harbors healthy, providing affordable housing for our year-round citizens, encouraging sustainable economic opportunities, and putting a cap on ultimate build-out in our community should be changed?
    When Supervisor Wilkinson stated that “we only have 6 percent of land devoted to commercial use,” does he mean we need more land zoned for business and, if so, where?
    It was disconcerting to read that Councilwoman Quigley’s list of things to do while she is in office (in last week’s Star) includes a proposed law to allow up to 10,000 outdoor patrons at a restaurant on a three-acre parcel and plans to overturn our dark-sky law in favor of a draft law that allows light trespass on your home and excludes and/or exempts 92 percent of our property owners from complying.
    Although summertime is the busiest time of year for many of us, this forum should be organized soon so that our many second-home owners and taxpayers can be educated and allowed input.
    Hopefully, the town board will step up and organize this important and timely forum. If not, then I am sure someone else will.

Light Pollution
    July 5, 2012
Dear David,
    A terrific film will be shown on Channel 21 on July 11 (8 a.m., 2 p.m., and 7 p.m.) called “City Dark.” Anyone with an interest in the dark-sky issue and light pollution will enjoy this film.
    Thank you,
    Dark Sky Association

Real Progress
    June 22, 2012
Dear David,
    It would appear that with the long awaited seasonal control tower approaching operational status, the airport opposition is gearing up to ensure that the tower fails in its intended purpose to provide noise relief to those affected by airport operations.
    In the latest letter by opposition spokesperson Kathy Cunningham, she is apparently advertising for more noise complaints to be filed by individuals not previously heard from to show that “all complaints are not generated by only a few cranky people or delicate flowers.” Her words, not mine!
    She requests that individuals file noise complaints “as often as is practicable,” in other words, flood the noise complaint hotline to be sure there are as many complaints as possible, real or imagined.
    No doubt once they manage to overwhelm the hotline, they can prove their absurd claim that the “tower will increase traffic.”
    I would go as far as to say that the variously named groups opposed to the airport do not have the support that they claim if one looks at the poor turnout they have shown at town board public meetings and the limited number of individuals expressing their views in local media.
    The airport is owned by and serves the entire Town of East Hampton and for a handful of individuals to claim that they represent all town residents is patently false and misleading.
    To give credit where credit is due, the previous and current administrations under Supervisor Bill Wilkinson are the first town boards to actually produce any real progress in meeting the challenges posed by operating East Hampton Airport in spite of the well-organized and well-funded opposition of David Gruber and his seemingly endless lawsuits.
    Should the East End face a disaster such as the Hurricane of 1938 or a catastrophe such as the events of Sept. 11, 2001, we should be thankful there is a facility like East Hampton Airport to provide relief and support.
    While the opposition denies wanting to close the airport, it moves to limit the utility of the airport to that of single-engine light planes, which can’t possibly serve the needs of the town.
    Obviously once this is accomplished, the next move would be to close the airport as “not serving he needs of the town.”

Monumental Efforts
    July 7, 2012
Dear Editor,
    As a pilot and resident of the East End community, I welcome the East Hampton Airport’s seasonal control tower. The East Hampton Town Board should be commended in their efforts to keep public safety and commerce as their one priority. I would particularly like to thank Dominick Stanzione, the town board’s airport liaison, and Jim Brundige, the airport manager, for their diligence and monumental efforts in making the control tower a reality. The pilot briefing held on Saturday provided valuable information about new airport operations and procedures regarding arrivals and departures.
    I would also like to welcome Robinson Aviation to our community and to East Hampton Airport.
    East Hampton Aviation Association 

Truth Was Revealed
    East Hampton
    July 2, 2012
Dear David,
    I am a full-time resident of 30-plus years. I raised my family here. We know how it feels to be under the aircraft as they fly in and out of the town airport. We have endured it for three years since the flight pattern was changed, and we are directly impacted. I was taught to fly by my father. My brothers both hold their pilot’s licenses.
    The Town of East Hampton administration has long been advising our communities that the temporary tower to be installed would help to mitigate noise pollution caused by the ever-increasing arrival and departures of helicopters, jets, seaplanes, and other winged aircraft.
    On Friday morning the truth was revealed at a meeting held at the airport with Dominick Stanzione, Jim Brun­dige, and others affiliated with the Federal Aviation Administration and tower personnel.
    It was expressed to those in attendance that the tower is not intended to help control noise and never was meant to be used for that purpose. The representative of Robinson Aviation, Charles Carpenter, confirmed the sole purpose of the tower is for safety and efficiency, but not for noise abatement purposes. This was affirmed by the representative from the F.A.A.
    The tower has nothing to do with flight-pattern control or anything related to the community’s cries for peace and quiet. From this meeting, I would have to surmise we have been misled by our town officials, in particular Mr. Stanzione, the liaison to the town board for airport matters, and the members of East Hampton Aviation Association and respective counsel as to the veracity of their statements regarding the tower and F.A.A. funding as it pertains to the Town of East Hampton having control over the airport as legal proprietors.
    This meeting exposed the flagrant deception of our town, and I believe, the public, both on the North and South Forks and Shelter Island, deserves to be made aware of the truth. Our elected officials have misled us with the aid of the E.H.A.A. and their own counsel, and in their attempt to assuage those citizens who endure the aircraft noise pollution, they used the tower as a means to stave off the inevitable: the truth.
    We need to understand that, if the town accepts the F.A.A. funding, we will see and hear and feel a greater volume of air traffic. Plans to open a third runway will only serve to exacerbate the problem. If our town is to survive the onslaught of increasing aircraft, the town must stop catering to the 1 percent who prefer the convenience of helicopter, jet, and seaplane air traffic to expedite their travel time to our towns.
    There was a time not long ago when we worked to purchase tracts of land to preserve the rural beauty of our community. And now, those same people want to eradicate those efforts by spoiling those lands with aircraft noise pollution. What has changed? Why is the town selling off the only true asset we have? The inherent beauty of our historic towns is the distinct rural beauty that cannot be replaced once lost and destroyed by excessive aircraft noise pollution. 
    The Town of East Hampton owns the airport and therefore has the right to operate it. We do not need F.A.A. funding to do so. Let’s keep the airport what it should be: a small-town airport that does not burden the residents but adds to the community.
    Contact quietskiescoalition.org. Send your complaints to PlaneNoise.com. Contact the Town of East Hampton board members and let them know your concerns. The future of all our communities is at stake.

Noise Tax on All
    July 2, 2012
    The air traffic control tower at the airport went into use on Friday. One stated argument for the control tower was that it was an integral part of noise-abatement efforts. Here is a quote from The Star, Sept. 15, 2011: “A control tower has long been envisioned as a way to provide relief to residents affected by noise from aircraft, especially helicopters.”
    There was a Federal Aviation Administration informational meeting at the airport on Saturday about the tower and all officials (including Councilman Dominick Stanzione) made the unequivocal statement that the tower’s purpose was solely for safety. So, there is a case for East Hampton Town misrepresenting the purpose of the tower.
    It is time once again to disabuse anyone of the opinion that the tower’s goal was to be effective in any noise abatement. Redirecting existing air traffic can only redistribute the noise.
    The only effective way to reduce the intrusion of aircraft noise into the lives of the citizens of the East End is to limit aircraft activity, including helicopters, jet planes, seaplanes, and other commercial aviation endeavors that impose a noise tax on all with the economic benefits resulting from this activity going to a (often, non-local) select few. One would think that the Republican majority of the board would cringe on imposing any kind of tax on its population.

Not About Noise
    East Hampton
    July 2, 2012
To the Editor,
    The seasonal control tower is now operating at East Hampton Airport. Flights into and out of the airport will now be safer, a clear benefit to the both the aviation and noise-affected communities. Safe is good.
    However, it must be said that many in the noise-affected community supported the addition of an air traffic control tower to airport assets not only for safety, but because of assurances that some noise-mitigation protocols could be implemented by air traffic controllers. We were assured that pilots could be required to fly at altitudes specified by the air traffic controller — higher altitudes make less noise on the ground. This could provide some relief. We were assured that aircraft could then be directed into and out of the airport with consideration for the noise-affected on the ground.
    As a longtime airport noise abatement advocate, and chairman of the now-defunct town board-appointed noise abatement advisory committee for five years, a control tower always felt counterintuitive to me. More opportunities to land could mean more traffic and more traffic means more noise. But, over time, I was convinced by Jim Brundige, the airport manager, that, apart from the obvious safety benefits, a seasonal control tower could minimize attempted landings in bad weather; better manage ­takeoffs and landings and, in that respect, provide some relief. A tower could also manage altitudes, a helpful noise-mitigation tool. Pilots are required to follow any directions provided by an air traffic controller. So, if the controllers dictated altitude and approach, that too, could provide some relief.
    I and other noise-affected community members were quickly disabused of that notion, when it was revealed at an informational meeting on Saturday at the airport that the air traffic controllers had no noise abatement policy in place. Interestingly, the only noise-abatement questions fielded from the audience came from some local pilots who seemed genuinely concerned about how the tower would implement noise-abatement procedures. The answer, over and over, was clear — this “is not about noise.” Safety and efficiency are the air traffic controllers’ only goals.
    How does that reckon with Councilman Dominick Stanzione’s stated goals that a control tower would contribute to the town’s noise-abatement policy? What is the town’s noise-abatement policy? Bruce Miller, an air-traffic controller, explained to me that, even with a control tower, pilots are still not obliged to follow any noise abatement protocols. Noise-abatement routes are arranged individually by a company with airport management and are still completely voluntary.
    Town residents were led to believe that an airport control tower following Federal Aviation Association protocols could have some beneficial noise-mitigation impacts. Did I believe these impacts would make a profound difference? No. But, I did believe that noise-mitigation goals would be incorporated into control tower procedures and implemented by air traffic controllers.
    Feels like a bait and switch to me.
    Quiet Skies Coalition

Simply Duped?
    Sag Harbor
    July 2, 2012
Dear Editor,
    The million-dollar control tower at East Hampton Airport has been in operation since Friday. At an information meeting held at the airport the following day, Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione explained at length to an already knowledgeable audience how difficult it had been to bring the tower to the airport, and he extolled the “historic” occasion and his role in it.
    Yet Councilman Stanzione did not admit that earlier claims by town officials and aviation proponents that the airport’s control tower would bring about noise abatement were, at best, disingenuous. Instead, at the meeting on Saturday, the councilman stated that noise abatement was not a primary control tower concern. His statement was reinforced within minutes by Charles Carpenter, chief spokesman for the Robinson Aviation control tower operators, who said that the tower’s purpose is solely safety and efficiency, not noise abatement. A Federal Aviation Administration representative present at the meeting nodded his assent and members of the East Hampton Aviation Association present at the meeting smiled in unison.
    Star readers may recall dozens of costly advertisements paid for by the aviation association prior to November’s town board election. Some E.H.A.A. ads appeared in the form of questions and answers (The East Hampton Star, Oct. 27 and Nov. 3, 2011), challenging assertions made by residents troubled by noise and/or airport expansion projects. Several of the E.H.A.A. ads stated that a control tower would alleviate neighborhood noise over a 10-mile area. Other E.H.A.A. ads went on to laud the virtues of several of the town board members, Mr. Stanzione in particular, and supported him and the two other town board members at the time seeking re-election.
    In light of what we now know the tower will and will not do, several questions arise: Was the E.H.A.A. ignorant of the facts, or were they simply duped by town and airport management? Or did they deliberately misinform the public and conspire to re-elect town board members who would continue to support the desires and wallets of special aviation interests (many from Southampton Town) over taxpaying, noise-weary East Hampton residents?

Will Do Nothing
    East Hampton
    June 30, 2012
To the Editor:
    The East Hampton Town airport control tower is now operating.
    But today (Saturday) the control tower operators expressly stated that they will do nothing to relieve the East End of the aircraft-noise plague.
    At a 10 a.m. technical seminar for airport users at the airport, the chief controller, Charles Carpenter, advised the large audience of local pilots that the controllers’ purpose was “solely safety and efficiency” and “not to mitigate noise.” One of his colleagues agreed that their work “is not about noise,” both statements to the great satisfaction of the audience.
    Present at the time were Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione; Jim Brundige, the airport manager; an official of the Federal Aviation Administration, and the leadership of the East Hampton Aviation Association. No longer will Mr. Stanzione or any of the airport propagandists be able to say, as the aviation association has said, that the control tower will “reduce the noise over our neighborhoods” (advertisement, The East Hampton Star, Oct. 5, 2011, page A9).
    It always has been obvious that Mr. Stanzione’s other plan for rearranging helicopter routes would do nothing to limit noise but only reshuffle it. Now we also know that the highly touted tower will do nothing to control aircraft altitudes or in any other contribute to airport noise mitigation.
    The East Hampton Town Board must now reject all the prevarications and concentrate on policies designed to limit noise. That is, it must develop policies to limit the traffic that causes the noise — including nighttime and weekend curfews.

Quieter Skies
    East Hampton
    July 2, 2012
Dear Mr. Rattray,
    I am a pilot who flies out of East Hampton Airport and a full-time resident living in Northwest. As both a pilot and local resident, I am very grateful to the town board and airport manager for the tremendous effort they put in to complete the Federal Aviation Administration review process and construct our town’s first control tower in 76 years of airport operations.
    The tower is staffed with highly experienced professionals who met with local pilots and started up tower operations this past weekend. While the primary purpose of any control tower is, of course, safety, its noise mitigation benefits became clear over the weekend.
    From my personal observations on Saturday and Sunday, the town’s traffic controllers have already significantly reduced the noise from helicopter operations. It appeared that only a few stray flights that were unfamiliar with the new tower made low approaches to the airport.
    The tower and our new controlled airspace have not yet been shown on F.A.A. sectional charts covering East Hampton, and it will take a while for everyone involved to get fully integrated into the new system of higher altitudes and approach controls, but the tower clearly is going to be a terrific advance in managing traffic and reducing aircraft noise in our neighboring communities, as well as enhancing safety.
    By taking control of our airspace with its own tower and professional traffic controllers, the town has made a significant contribution to quieter skies over our town. I am pleased as both as a pilot and a homeowner.
    Very truly yours,

Vital Step
    July 2, 2012
Dear David,
    I was disappointed by your editorial titled “Air Traffic Control” (June 28). You seem to have adopted all the arguments of the Quiet Skies Coalition without providing a counterpoint from those with a more moderate or opposing point of view.
    For example, the editorial states, “Bets are that [the control tower] will not make the noise problem any less, though it may move it around a little bit.” But there are plenty of counter bets that were not mentioned. The air traffic control tower is a vital step toward more effective noise abatement, but it is just one of the first in a series of necessary steps.
    No one thinks the air traffic control tower is a silver bullet that will solve the noise problem. But it could help provide justification for stronger measures later. One of its most important purposes is for aviation professionals to understand what is really taking place in the skies above the East End. (Hotline complaints are useful measures of community sentiment but are notoriously unreliable when it comes to gathering objective data.) Feedback from the traffic controllers can help develop a long-term program for reducing the noise impact on residents.
    Whether or not Federal Aviation Administation funds are ever taken again, noise control is necessarily a step-by-step process that will take several years to complete. Anything less will fail to prevail in court.
    And let’s be clear, we’re talking about helicopter noise only. Jets and other fixed-wing aircraft are going to continue to use runways, which define their flight tracks until they reach sufficient altitude. So there is very little latitude to reduce noise from fixed-wing aircraft short of curfews or volume limits, neither of which could be implemented for years to come, if ever, and not without compelling documentation that will stand up in court.
    There are those who argue that noise has gotten worse over the past several years even though helicopter traffic has declined by over 25 percent since 2007. The only possible explanation for this paradox is that flight paths have become more concentrated. So I have to ask, what is more fair than spreading the flights out over a wider geographic area? Why should some East End neighborhoods be afflicted by repeated, excruciating helicopter noise while others are noise-free?
    Your editorial also states that the tower “is being paid for with money from the town budget.” While literally true, this statement seems to imply that the tower is being funded with money that could be used for other, non-airport purposes or that taxpayer money is being used to subsidize the airport. Neither is true. Federal law and regulation prohibit use of airport revenues and reserves for non-airport purposes. And no other taxpayer or other town funds are being used for airport purposes. Although there used to be a line item for the airport on every tax bill, that is no longer the case. If you don’t believe it, consult the 2012 town budget or your 2012 tax bill.
    As the most widely read local paper in East Hampton, The Star has a responsibility to provide fair and balanced coverage of important community matters like airport noise. Thank you for printing my counterpoint.

Chicken Fight
    Eagle, Idaho
    June 28, 2012
To the Editor,
    It seems it was only a matter of time before the national backyard-chicken fight, which we have witnessed among would-be chicken keepers and their municipalities, made its way to homeowners associations, as in the case of Janet Rojos and the Hands Creek Farm community in East Hampton. The fight to keep backyard chickens began in 2004, when the people of Madison, Wis., took on the city for the right to legally keep hens. Now, the fight is moving into homeowners associations.
    Why are so many people keen on backyard henkeeping? Aside from the superior eggs, natural pest control, and nitrogen-rich fertilizer, people keep backyard poultry for three main reasons: economics, property rights, and food security.
    Last summer we had food recalls of strawberries, ground turkey, beansprouts, cantaloupe, apple juice, and lettuce. Additionally, two summers ago, we witnessed the largest recall of eggs in United States history. In August 2010 the Food and Drug Administration recalled 550 million eggs. They were contaminated with salmonella and sickened countless consumers. As a result, people want to know from where there food comes. Currently in the United States, there are 9 million people keeping backyard chickens. That number is expected to double this year.
    But, what about the noise? The possible spread of disease? The smell? Those are all valid concerns. Through my national research, I have found backyard chicken keepers to be good stewards of the environment. They maintain very clean coops, and there is little smell when you keep three to six chickens. When I teach beginner henkeeping classes, I advise: “If it smells worse inside your coop than it does outside your coop, clean it!” It is plain, common sense.
    Cleanliness will also abate the spread of disease. As for the noise, within the backyard-chicken movement, roosters are a cock-a-doodle-don’t! The male species, with his endless crowing, generally maintains an outlaw status. And, yes, you still get eggs from hens without a rooster around.
    Many people like Ms. Rojos live in neighborhoods that years ago wrote restrictive covenants that don’t allow the keeping of poultry. These days, chickens are pets, with tangible benefits. Times have changed.

    Ms. Anderson is the author of “The Backyard Chicken Fight,” which was released by Mill Park Publishing in 2011. Ed.

Economic Claims
    June 28, 2012
To The Star:
    As former chief economist to three New York City comptrollers, I have been following the economic claims of the newly confirmed 2012 Republican candidate for Congress from the First District.
    He describes our incumbent congressman, Tim Bishop, as having chased thousands of jobs away from Long Island. That is manifestly unfair, and out of date. During the last year, Long Island jobs have grown 1 percent, i.e., by 12,000 jobs. The job losses occurred when the entire country and world were reeling from the financial catastrophe bequeathed by the prior G.O.P. administration.
    Not only are jobs growing, but despite the deflationary campaign of the Tea Party, the average weekly wage of Suffolk County workers has held up better than three-quarters of other United States counties as of the latest available quarter.
    This is all the more remarkable because: Suffolk County has more jobs than any other county in New York State except Manhattan, and it is only one of three of the largest 16 counties in New York State to have an average weekly wage above $1,000.
    Michael Bloomberg successfully ran for mayor of New York City as a business leader right after 9/11, when the city’s economy was in trouble. The difference is that Mr. Bloomberg’s company created and retained thousands of jobs in New York City, the community where he was seeking office.
    Randy Altschuler is asking to be elected in Suffolk County based on his plan and on his claim to have created jobs before he sold his outsourcing company, Office Tiger. But the jobs he says he created were west of Long Island and overseas in Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Magnificent, but not Suffolk County. Compared with Mayor Bloomberg, that is a world of difference.

Time to Change
    Sag Harbor
    July 2, 2012
To the Editor,
    Twenty years ago I wrote this quote in The Star: “In the developed countries there is a poverty of spirit, of loneliness, lack of love. There is no greater sickness in the world today.”
    A time for reflection. For me a time for healing the wounds of humanity. A time for prayer and meditation. A time for reconciliation. A time to change the way we think. Not them. If we change one person our life has been a success.     Seeking scapegoats, I believe, does an injustice to ourselves and prevents a pathway to our true selves. Finally, a time for your reflection. Certainly I don’t have all the answers for a sick world.
    In peace,

False Headlines
    East Hampton
    June 27, 2012
Dear Editor,
    Even after the “60 Minutes” Dan Rather foul-up, CBS, it seems, has not learned its lesson. This network, it seems, likes bogus individuals and their false stories.
    This time CBS’s gullibility has resulted in the nation and the ever-ready Republican mendacity machine to spread false headlines about the conduct of the attorney general’s office and its Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms subsidiary in selling guns to Mexican drug dealers.
    Leaping at any opportunity to smear the Democratic administration and the president, Congressman Daryl Issa, with the urging, support, and backing of the National Rifle Association and his cohorts in Congress and the Senate, commenced a totally politically motivated investigation into the nonexistent Fast and Furious scandal operation.
    This phony investigation has now resulted in the wholly unprecedented holding of the attorney general in contempt of Congress. Economy? Who cares? Jobs? We’ve got ours! Immigration reform? Not now! Want to vote? Sorry, not this time.
    Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, Muslim extremists, Middle East? Sorry country, we’re busy trying to embarrass the president. Just keep paying our salaries and allowing us to trade stocks with insider information.

Health Care
    East Hampton
    June 29, 2012
To the Editor,
    The Supreme Court upheld the health care plan. This will pave the way for all citizens to have health insurance. Those of us who already have such insurance may continue to keep what we have or choose another plan. This will open the way for those who do not now have insurance to obtain it.
    The members of the House and Senate who are against this plan have the best insurance in the country — all paid for by us, the taxpayers. They have this for life, even if they only serve one term; this includes their family as well. It is good for them but not their constituents.