People Who Care
August 13, 2012
There are caring people in this town.
Last Sunday our sheltie, Misty, who is 141/2 years old and deaf, got out of the yard and decided to take herself for a walk. After a couple of hours, which felt like forever, a wonderful couple with a white car was waiting by our house with our Misty. The couple found her over by Glade Road and brought her home. Thank you so much for caring to return Misty to us. Many thanks to the gentleman, his son, and daughter, who just dropped everything to help with the search.
My husband and I are so thankful for the return of Misty. We are so thankful for those people who care enough to help others in our Town of East Hampton.
JOYCE and HENRY FLOHR
August 12, 2012
I could not believe my eyes when I saw the photo of Blue Skies (a k a Mary Lloyd) in The Star. That lovely wooden powerboat was formerly owned by Richard Heitmanek, a dear friend and one of the nicest people you could ever meet. When he got her in the mid-’80s, Blue Skies was quite a dilapidated vessel, but Richard meticulously worked on her at the East Hampton Marine Museum’s Boat Shop on Gann Road. (In those days Ralph Carpentier was the museum’s director and Redjeb Jordania, the director of the boat shop.)
Richard’s day job was decorating Bloomingdales’ showrooms in the city. But out here he put just as much effort and care into the restoration and furnishing of his boat as he did into those showrooms. I remember wonderful meals on the back deck and beautiful sails in nearby waters.
Richard diligently worked on Blue Skies until he was too weak to do so. He died of AIDS during that horrible period when no one understood the disease, and the powerful medicines that we have today were not available. Later, according to his wishes, Richard’s ashes were scattered at sea on Gardiner’s Bay.
Today the song Blue Skies still brings tears to my eyes, as I remember our dear friend and the boat that he loved. Thus, I was so pleased to see that the little yacht Blue Skies, though now existing under a new name, has caring owners to take care of her and enjoy her as we did those years ago.
August 13, 2012
Every man (not women for some strange reason) has a collection of stories from the past which grow better as they age — you know the ones that cause your wife to quietly groan and look away. Well, one of my all-time favorites took place at that marvelous musical treat, the annual Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival with that ageless, beautiful, talented lady, Marya Martin.
Well, one evening over 20 years ago after a great first half, there seemed to be an unusually long intermission. As we got seated, a seemingly perturbed Ms. Martin announced that the Strad owned by the violinist, Ani Kavafian, had a problem and, “If anyone in the audience had a Strad, could they go home quickly and help Ani out.” Whereupon several people jumped up, and sure enough, in a little while, a violin appeared and the piece was performed, at which time I would pause and say, “Only in the Hamptons!”
Last Sunday as my friend Irving drove me and my friend Frances to the festival, I couldn’t resist telling that story. Sadly, my wife, Phyllis, died a few years ago and was not around to shut me up. After telling the story followed by the traditional laugh, I wondered whether after all these years it was true. I am 85 and stranger things have been happening recently. I decided, if possible, I would ask Ms. Martin if she remembered it as I did.
After an exciting evening, featuring an amazing two-flute, one-piccolo solo by Ms. Martin, there she was chatting with two friends. I decided now was the time, and I asked her if she remembered the event. She said it was really a coincidence, as she was recalling that scene with the musicians backstage earlier that evening. I then asked her the key question, she smiled and said the part with the request for a Strad was true and she received an excellent violin for Ms. Kavafian, but it was not a Strad.
I’m sorry I asked.
August 9, 2012
How does the East Hampton School Board justify shutting down the district’s venerable continuing education program?
By claiming they are “faced with yet another 2-percent budget cut!”
But, as I understand it, all students paid their own way to attend the consistently rich array of courses offered, at rates that covered faculty fees and whatever other expenses the classes incurred.
So what is the board saving by eliminating this unique community service — fuel and electricity? Any time that I taught an evening class at the high school, the place was already up and running for some sporting event, club meeting, or other school-sponsored activities.
I can’t speak for other instructors, but if anyone ever complained that my classes were costing the district excess money, we would have gladly met by flashlight and Coleman lamp.
And when did this heinous murder happen, anyhow? If it was announced as an issue for consideration at a school board meeting, I missed it. Did The Star hear of this being in the works? Who knew, and when did they know it?
The community has lost one of its oldest and richest educational resources, not with a roar or even a whimper, but in dark silence, like a thief in the night.
What’s going on here?
August 6, 2012
To the Editor,
Suggested solution for an East Hampton driver’s test. When passing a cyclist, do you:
a. Speed up and veer into opposing traffic.
b. Maintain your speed and veer into opposing traffic.
c. Slow down and carefully pass cyclist, staying in the right lane.
August 9, 2012
I have been living in East Hampton for three years, and I have just about had it with the rampant racism toward the local Latino immigrants here. Why is it so acceptable for whites to badmouth Latinos to other whites? Why is it assumed that it is okay to give voice to the most vile slurs toward the people who come here to work for us — often at abysmal wages and under odious and unsafe working conditions?
I finally went off half-cocked the other day to a white guy — a carpenter — who is no doubt a sweet, considerate, well-meaning person — as long as you are anything but Latino. (He even said he has no trouble with “the blacks” or other races.) But the Latinos are taking all the jobs, he said.
I tried to tell him that people came here from Mexico because their livelihoods were destroyed by the North American Free Trade Agreement — the Mexican peasant has been hammered by free trade policies — the same policies that, with the famous “giant sucking sound,” sent good U.S. manufacturing jobs to Mexico to pay rock-bottom wages under (what else?) odious and unsafe working conditions.
Hating Latinos is not going to bring good jobs back to America. (But it will lead to violence against innocent people.) It just distracts us all from the real culprits — the multinational corporations and their toadying politicians who are destroying good jobs here so they can pay next to nothing there. While the 99 percent hate other subsets of the 99 percent, they are laughing all the way to the bank.
August 8, 2012
We have just completed our annual junior lifeguard program at Main Beach. It culminated in a junior tournament at Indian Wells Beach. This tournament was something to behold. There are well over 100 kids, ages 9 through 14, competing in many tests of ocean water and beach activities and skills, all the while having great fun. John Ryan Jr. and Sr., with tremendous help from Ocean Rescue, run a great show!
The fun and games are wonderful, but the true value of this program is dead serious. Unfortunately, every year the local news reports drowning deaths in the ocean. Many of these deaths could be prevented with a bit more knowledge and experience. That is exactly what this program provides. Kids are taught to feel more confident and taught to be more competent in the ocean. They learn to enter and exit the surf safely and successfully. The kids experience riptides and are shown how to escape them rather easily without getting into a deadly panic situation. They are taught to respect the ocean and, during more dangerous conditions, to stay out. Most important, they are made to understand they should always swim at guarded beaches. We will never know how many lives this program has or will save, but surely it will have a positive impact.
Again, we had a very successful program at the village’s Main Beach. Special thanks to Emily Ward and Brian Hensler for directing the program. Also, thanks to the lifeguards who voluntarily assisted in our sessions: Zack Puglisi, Morgan Tracey, A.J. DiRosa, and Katherine Hess. Finally, we’d like to express our thanks to Steve at the Hampton Market for supplying all the kids with delicious watermelons every week of the program.
The Village of East Hampton wishes all a safe, happy end of summer.
August 12, 2012
To the Editor,
Two weeks ago I was at Georgica Beach in East Hampton and noticed at the foot of the lifeguard stand an eyecatching, whimsical piece of construction in the form of an oversized sandcastle or fort. It had presumably been made by the lifeguards and was constructed out of large pieces of driftwood and various stones gathered from the nearby erosion groin. It was an ingenious and amusing design, very much in the tradition of an architectural folly.
When I returned last week the fort was gone. I went over to the lifeguards and asked them what had happened to it. Why wasn’t it still standing? Well, the local authorities had ordered the removal of the structure because it made the lifeguards “look unprofessional.” Also, the fort was considered a “public danger”; someone might climb it and get hurt!
As you can imagine, I felt only gratitude that local government was at work protecting me from these problems.
August 7, 2012
To the Editor:
The Town of East Hampton Lifeguards and East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue are to be commended for saving a man’s life at Atlantic Beach on Aug. 4. For the past two summers we have been making a documentary to tell their story. With some support from the community we are following the lifeguards, the training, and the water safety programs Big John Ryan and his son John Jr. started with a group of awesome men and women.
On Saturday all the work, years of training, and the right guards in the right chair brought a 77-year-old man back to life.
The Town and Village of East Hampton and the community have a devoted, committed group of men and women who at any moment can risk their own lives saving another.
August 13, 2012
Yay! Sunday afternoon at the family beach of choice and no drunken hordes. There was, however, an unprecedented policing of the crowd, which allowed women with children to quietly enjoy their time together at the seashore without fear of violent or carnal displays.
Congratulations and thanks to the press, police, civic organizations, and private citizens who made so drastic a change in so short a time. The problem at Indian Wells Beach and its delightful resolution serve as an example to village police and ordinance enforcement agencies that the apparently insurmountable heartaches and aggravations plaguing our villages are also an easy fix.
Since education seems ineffective to date, consistent, aggressive enforcement will teach and correct. Thanks again for the great job everyone!
August 12, 2012
I am puzzled by the discussion of building a major public beach on the preserved parcel on Napeague. At the time the town made that purchase, I was the co-liaison for land preservation with then-Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. The town board fully supported a careful effort to permanently protect that parcel from negative impacts on the dunes and wetlands, with an important exception.
The town bonded part of the purchase price, borrowing nonpreservation funds, money specifically applied to an identified small section of the property adjoining the Lunch/Lobster Roll restaurant close to the highway. This area was intentionally not covered by restrictions, and intended for a fairly modest public parking lot. Plans were prepared by McClean Associates and approved by the town board, and were part of the public hearing record.
The board agreed that a boardwalk could be built through the dunes to the beach, and possibly an unpaved trail could be established for emergency vehicles. The intention was to treat the area as fragile parkland. The vision was absolutely not for an Atlantic Avenue or Indian Wells-type of facility. I would be surprised and disappointed if such a construction project is legal under the community preservation fund program.
Mr. Potter is a former East Hampton Town councilman. Ed.
August 13, 2012
I am a Montauk resident and employee at the Montauk Beach House so I couldn’t help but respond to Bill Akin’s letter in last week’s Star. In that letter he not only appears not to have all the facts but sadly felt a need to disparage our owners’ reputations and staff by innuendo for no apparent reason other than political blood sport. I am glad that Mr. Akin is financially secure and does not have to live paycheck to paycheck like many of our over 70 employees whose very financial survival is dependent on the paychecks from the hotel.
But for those of us who worry about how we’re going to pay the mortgage and put food on the table for our children, job opportunities are limited. I think all our local employees at the Montauk Beach House are grateful for having this opportunity to work at this wonderful hotel.
The transformation of the Ronjo property is good for the community, and if Chris Jones and Larry Siedlick hadn’t bought it we would be facing another Montauk motel falling into an unhealthy residence with all the associated problems.
Everyone knows this is a political game that is all about the political enemies of the town supervisor trying to score points. It is truly sad to see Mr. Akin be hoodwinked into becoming part of this game where if some local people are hurt and lose their jobs that’s just too bad. No need to think about how many of us are hurt.
This political game goes well beyond the hotel because it will have an effect on the many local merchants who supply products or services to the hotel. A few of which are: the Montauk Bake Shoppe, whose pastries we buy every morning, Marshall’s, whose services we use, Chris Pfund at Quantum Sound, Beckers’ Hardware, Quackenbush Cesspools, J&P Pools, Jim Grimes Landscaping, Riverhead Lumber in Montauk, Wolffer Vineyards, Headquarters, Rain Dance Irrigation, East End Awning, Ocean Graphics, Otto Glass, Revco Lighting, and East End Gutters. But those people don’t matter either because these vigilantes don’t care as long as they win.
Everyone agrees that the former Ronjo was a distressed property in desperate need of a cleanup and it has been turned into a wonderful place that we can all be proud of. The small group of political vigilantes who oppose any change and are willing to sacrifice other people’s livelihoods has to stop. And with all due respect to the town building code it’s not so clear that a bar and retail shop are not permitted uses. And what is the harm in that anyway? This is a resort hotel in a central business district, not a residential neighborhood, and it’s lovely to be able to have a drink by the pool and listen to some music. I thought music was part of Bill’s own passion in life since he founded Music for Montauk.
The East Hampton Town Code is not the Ten Commandments. Instead, much of it is outdated, imposes unrealistic requirements, and has vague language that unfairly forces town inspectors, as well as taxpayers, to do their best to interpret. When an interpretation is rendered it is every citizen’s right to follow the legal appeal process which is what we are doing. Having been involved from the beginning I know Chris and Larry were very open with all town departments even before they purchased the property. It was only after they got dragged into the political fight between the political parties that anyone had a problem with the project.
There are numerous sections of the town code that are vague and subject to interpretation. For example, while I agree our community needs to have things like noise standards, they need to be realistic. If you stand on the plaza in Montauk on any given day the background noise generally exceeds the limit before you turn your car radio on. I attend and love the free concerts we have on the green but they almost always violate the noise standard. Yet I don’t hear anyone asking the police to issue a violation. Is it fair for our town to hold others to a standard it regularly violates itself?
With regard to selective enforcement, I also read in The Star that the town is facing a lawsuit relating to another matter where the town’s zoning or building enforcement is being accused of exceeding their legal authority, and worse, conspiring with some politicians to deny people their civil rights. If that case is proven then I expect we, the taxpayers, will have to pay the bill.
This vigilante crusading should not be allowed to disguise itself as protecting our community when in fact it is a blatant campaign to oppose certain stores or businesses.
The truth is the people of Montauk do not need stores that sit empty for years and rundown properties as part of our future. We need places where we can get a cup of coffee and make a purchase in the winter after 6 p.m. And yes, we need a nice hotel where locals can mix with visitors, have a drink, and hear some music.
If this small group of political vigilantes has their obstructionist way, Montauk will soon have the look of Riverhead with a lot of dead buildings complete with the unraveled social fabric that comes with them. Why have the well-meaning, environmentally conscious people of Montauk been hoodwinked by a bunch of political zealots from Amagansett and East Hampton with a dilettante, who has already been exposed for making false claims, as their spokesman?
It’s time for all of us in Montauk to demand that this nonsense stop, that politics be put aside, and we start acting like human beings working together for a better Montauk.
By the way, the dictionary defines “resort” as “a place frequented by people for recreation and relaxation,” which is exactly what the Montauk Beach House is. I guess that makes us a resort just like the Four Seasons in Punta Mita that Bill referred to in his letter. But most of us can’t afford the Four Seasons, so we ordinary working folk will have to be happy at our Montauk “resort.”
To Star readers, and to those who write letters, I ask everyone to remember that these are our friends and neighbors who are being hurt by all the political games and innuendo.
Lastly, Bill, I think if you took the time to know the owners and see all they’ve done to restore and preserve the unique Montauk environment, I’d like to think you wouldn’t have written that letter.
Disservice to Voters
August 13. 2012
The reason that the scavenger waste fund budget is in deficit this year rests squarely upon Supervisor Bill Wilkinson. It is his flawed 2012 budget, as well as his flawed process for finding a solution on operating the plant in 2012, that has led to the deficit we now face.
The 2012 budget included no operating expenses or revenues for 2012. It only included $54,000 for debt service and $52,000 for “other.” While the budget officer has claimed in recent months that the $52,000 of “other” was for two months of operating expenses, his claim contradicts the budget and his own statements of last year. Page ii of the 2012 budget says, “. . . the 2012 tentative budget for the scavenger waste fund designates the money needed to pay outstanding debt and cover the cash deficit in the fund.” Period. That is all that the Wilkinson budget allocated.
There is also an admission in the budget that the $52,000 of “other” could be greatly insufficient to cover deficits caused by uncollected debts owed to the town by carters who used the plant and did not pay their bills. It was not announced to the public, but the tentative Dec. 31, 2011, audit gives this amount of uncollected debt as $319,000. So not only was any operation of the plant in 2012 not funded at all, the scavenger waste fund also faced a huge deficit that was being pushed to a future year.
The only budget statement that might explain why no money was allocated for operations or repair is: “This budget contemplates the leasing of the scavenger waste facility.” But this statement does not hold up when examined.
At the time Mr. Wilkinson took office in 2010, it was known that the contract to run the plant would expire on Nov. 30, 2011. Thus, at the adoption of the budget on Nov. 17, it was known that there was no agreement about how the plant would operate and what it would cost. The R.F.P.s [request for proposals] to find a short-term operator were not even prepared and sent out until December 2011, after the budget was adopted and could not be changed to reflect the reality of the bids received, all of which included the town having to pay monthly fees.
I and my running mates, Councilwoman Sylvia Overby and Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc, saw that the budget was bogus. It was an election-year budget designed to hold down taxes before an election, but that would lead to deficits the following year. We formally submitted, on Nov. 10, comments at the public hearing on the budget, including:
“We question the reality of the budget for the scavenger waste fund which operates the septic waste plant. . . . Since no other option has been formalized and presented to the public other than a month-to-month operation by the current operator, Severn Trent, that is what should be assumed as the expense in the budget. A prudent budget would include at least six months, and preferably one year, of that expense. . . . In sum, it is a disservice to the voters, the taxpayers, and next year’s publicly elected board and supervisor to leave this fund facing large deficits.”
So, Councilwoman Overby and Councilman Van Scoyoc bear no responsibility for the deficit; and, if our criticism had been followed, there would be little to no deficit in the fund.
To find solutions for 2012, it was certainly irresponsible to wait until the end of 2011. But a letter that came to me from a former town board member may provide the reason for Supervisor Wilkinson’s apparent tardy actions.
On Aug. 15, 2011, Mr. Maccio, who was interested in buying the plant, sent a letter to the Town of East Hampton thanking Supervisor Wilkinson for meeting with him and discussing, among other topics, selling the plant to him. Mr. Maccio was the only respondent to the request for proposals, sent several months later, that sought a long-term operator for the plant. Nowhere and at no time did Supervisor Wilkinson or any town document indicate that the town was considering selling the plant. Leasing the plant — yes; hiring a management company — maybe; but the R.F.P. and corrective action plan submitted to the Department of Environmental Conservation never contemplated the sale of the physical asset and the land.
Mr. Maccio’s response to the R.F.P. was shrewd. He gave the town a choice: either he would lease the plant where he would be paid $18,500 a month for up to 24 months, and then he would only pay $1,000 a month for the next 18 years, or he would buy the plant and land outright for $300,000, a price way below land value.
There was no money in the 2012 budget to lease the plant to Mr. Maccio, and doing so would cause a deficit in 2012. Supervisor Wilkinson and Councilwoman Quigley chose to advocate the sale to Mr. Maccio for the absurdly low amount of $300,000. That was the only course of action consistent with both their bad budget and their desire to avoid a deficit of their own making.
August 13, 2012
East Hampton Democrats have received many comments from people troubled by a recent NBC News 4 broadcast focused on complaints of overcrowding in Springs. The commentators are outraged at Deputy Supervisor Theresa Quigley’s reaffirmation of her suggestion after a recent town board meeting that the complaints were motivated by racism.
East Hampton Democrats believe that suggestion was inappropriate and should not have been repeated, even eliminating the earlier offensive reference to the complainants as “Nazis.”
There is substantial basis for Springs residents’ complaints about unaddressed illegal overcrowding in rental houses, and its impact on property values, school taxes, and school overcrowding. This problem, as well as underlying factors that contribute to it, including the shortage of workforce housing and exploitation by absentee landlords, deserves our serious attention.
Members of our government should not respond to demands for action on public issues by impugning the motives of the speakers.
Had the Gall
August 13, 2012
I will give Theresa Quigley two compliments. A bright Harvard lawyer I know from New York and East Hampton has had some business dealings with her on Long Island and he thinks that she is smart. My observation is that she appears to work hard and is informed on the issues. Actually, I believe she does most of the work of two, herself and Bill Wilkinson, who seems to be well versed in bottom-line catch-word phrases — and little else.
Throughout the discourse regarding the illegal overcrowding in Springs, Ms. Quigley has continuously lost her temper. You would think that as an elected officer who is a community representative, she would uphold East Hampton’s established laws and ordinances. You would think that as an elected officer, she would seek out all those who disobey and seek justice. But, indeed Ms. Quigley does not. Instead she blasts those who seek her leadership, especially as the official town board liaison to Springs taxpayers and residents (taxpayers and residents being a favorite Republican description of the community).
What would cause Ms. Quigley to call Springs residents Nazis at a recent town board meeting?
After calls for her removal from the board, she would not apologize. I remember the pleas in her defense in the local papers‚ “She really didn’t mean it,” “A terrible slip,” “The context was wrong.” She even had the gall to repeat herself when the story was picked up by The New York Times and now, for millions to hear, on the Channel 4 local 5 p.m. news last week. An obvious smokescreen, “racism,” was added to her tirade, with absolutely no sign of regret from Ms. Quigley.
Theresa Quigley may be good at her legal real estate job, but she is lousy at governing. Theresa Quigley may work hard, but no matter the facts, she always comes up with the same point of view. She has told the community, “I don’t give a crap,” and that she “is there for business.”
It’s almost as if she is saying, “You fools, I’m not here for you,” the 99 percent: the workers, farmers, small-business operators, artisan entrepreneurs, fishermen, and, yes, even the second-home owners who collectively contribute so much in tax revenue. She is there only for the 1 percent: big-business donors that can clearly be seen on the New York State Board of Elections Web site (look for Campaign Finance and View Disclosure Reports). Do you think that could be the reason she doesn’t want to put a stop to all the illegal over-crowding, ordinance violations, and building violations? Do you think that could be the reason she throws around such inflammatory verbiage? Do you think that she and Mr. Wilkinson believe that they can deflect our attention from the real issues?
Frustration and Anger
August 12, 2012
Will someone please tell Supervisor Wilkinson and Coucilwoman Quigley to grow up! Mr. Wilkinson is “frustrated” and Ms. Quigley “angry” that the county has stopped their drainage project on county-owned land. Well children, you did not do your homework, known in the responsible grown-up world as due diligence, and the teacher has not accepted your excuse. Many of us would be enjoying their frustration and anger if their mistake were not costing the taxpayers a good deal of money.
Frustration and anger is what residents of Montauk have felt over unenforced noise and crowd codes. Frustration and anger is what East Hampton homeowners have felt about drinking on beaches. Frustration and anger is what environmentalists have felt about permissive building variances. Frustration and anger is what taxpayers have felt about selling town land at a bargain-basement price. Frustration and anger is what homeowners who found a commercial treatment center on their street have felt. And certainly frustration and anger is what anyone who attends town board meetings feels at the nastiness of Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley, who continue to act like the school bullies.
The Back Burner
August 4, 2012
Ten years ago I bought a house here, a perfect little house surrounded by beach on three sides only seven-tenths of a mile away. Two years later I was forced to give up a job I loved as an educational administrator, because I could no longer leave my house and East Hampton. I was too happy here. Even my voice mail told people that they were calling me in Paradise.
Fast forward 10 years. The town I fell in love with has changed and not for the better. The village itself no longer serves the needs of the people who live here. Only White’s, BookHampton, and a few other stores are left that are about the community and its needs. It seems as though the shift, particularly in the last three-and-a-half years, has been to favor the 1 percent who would rather shop on a hot day than go to the beach.
The airport crisis is an example of this shift. Let’s face it. Only a handful of people ever use this facility. It’s nice to know it’s there if I ever need it. I could be in a car collision and need to be airlifted to Stony Brook Hospital, an unlikely prospect, but one never knows. However, the price I pay for that knowledge is the sound of loud aircraft all hours of the night and day — and I live in Springs. Didn’t happen 10 years ago, even 3 years ago.
Our beaches, always pristine, now have been degraded — dog feces, urine stains from dogs and people, trucks parking on the most fragile of beaches, drinking to excess, and the most egregious of all, the possibility that our bay could become like western Shinnecock with deadly algae bloom because the town is not taking care of the scavenger waste facility (which is a subject of a letter of its own).
And God help Montauk. Isn’t the [. . .] Ronjo affair, no matter what name it goes by, just the tip of a huge mountain of turning a blind eye to rules and codes that made East Hampton the place we wanted it to be?
This summer has proven to be an abomination. We have been sold out (for the plucked out of the air $35,000 or maybe more). [. . .] Stupid politicians who would rather spend thousands on legal fees for Fort Pond House and an airport lawyer, a meaningless air-control tower, managing the waste of a few residents at a group of trailers located in the environmentally sensitive area of Three Mile Harbor instead of providing alternate housing for those people, attempting to correct a flood plain without proper clearance ($35,000 for engineering fees), and on and on. Wasting taxpayer money for their friends’ projects, but the leaf pickup program, strong code enforcement for the struggling Springs residents, police checking on beach stickers for cars at public parking at bay and ocean beaches, ensuring the health of our fishing industry, and on and on, are on the back, way back, burners because these issues are for the people.
Let it be a lesson to you East Hamptoners, 15 votes is the difference between a dying community and flourishing way of life. We need to make the right choices whenever we vote. Paradise slipping away becoming hell.
PHYLLIS T. MALLAH
Like Amateur Hour
August 13, 2012
With Councilman Dominick Stanzione’s recent denial that he was the source for the helicopter route change to a route previously deemed unsafe, I trust that you and your staff are actively pursuing who authorized the change, when, and why.
Mr. Stanzione should schedule a press conference with the airport manager and controllers in attendance to address why his controllers reported otherwise, and how the airport controllers, using binoculars, can determine whether a safety issue is at stake over Noyac. All said, with new revelations coming out weekly about the new airport control operation, it appears more and more like amateur hour over there.
Regarding the much-referred-to noise complaint hotline, beginning Friday afternoon through Sunday, it was nearly impossible to get through. One complaint line clearly cannot handle the volume of calls, as it took up to 12 repeat calls in some cases to finally leave a message. By that time three more choppers had come through at 200 to 300 feet. One must ask how many concerned citizens simply give up after 3 or 4 attempts, as no one wants to spend their entire Friday or Sunday afternoons pushing the redial button on their phones.
East Hampton Town should enter the 21st cent0ury and set up a Web site for noise complaints and allow photographs of the offending aircraft to be posted. This would provide a much more accurate assessment of the noise problem and also showcase the most egregious offenders. Otherwise the accumulated noise data cannot be considered anything close to accurate.
Lastly, when does a low ceiling and poor visibility suddenly provide an opening for flying even lower and faster? Since the new tower’s operation began, helicopters once denied the opportunity to fly in are now risking everything to get in under the cloud cover, flying just above treetop level, strafing homes from North Sea to Wainscott. This must absolutely stop. If safety is in fact the reason for the tower’s existence, East Hampton Town’s management of the skies cannot allow such irresponsible behavior to continue.
PRESTON T. PHILLIPS
August 12, 2012
To the Editor,
East Hampton voters should be tired of Representative Tim Bishop refusing to hold town hall meetings for constituents, and the reason he is ducking them? Bishop is afraid to field questions about the unpopular Obamacare law.
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Obamacare includes at least $1 trillion in tax increases. What do you say about that, Tim Bishop?
The C.B.O. finds the cost of exchange subsidies going well over $1 trillion while the cuts to Medicare to fund these subsides are already above $750 billion. What do you say to that, Mr. Bishop?
The C.B.O. says the the subsidies for the exchanges have been increasing at $50 billion a month since March 2012.
What do you say to that, Tim Bishop?
The C.B.O. found that the tax increases in the president’s health care law total $1.058 trillion, including $106 billion from the employer mandate tax, $55 billion from the individual mandates, and $165 billion through taxes on everything from wheelchairs to prescription drugs to health care premiums. What about that, Tim Bishop?
The C.B.O. also concluded that many states would find the law’s Medicaid expansions unworkable. Specifically, the C.B.O. said states may fear that the federal government will ultimately reduce the federal matching rate due to the federal government’s own budgetary deficits. What do you say to that, Tim Bishop?
What I say, and we all should say to Mr. Bishop: “You’re fired,” and elect Randy Altschuler to be our next congressman.
August 6, 2012
To The Star:
On June 28, I wrote protesting the economic data coming from the Altschuler campaign, which said that Congressman Bishop has “chased away thousands of jobs” from Long Island. I noted that during the past year Long Island has in fact gained 12,000 payroll jobs.
So now I see a press release dated today from this campaign. It now takes a longer view. It says that “Long Island has lost more than 30,000 jobs since Tim Bishop became the Congressman.”
There was a time at the end of the George W. Bush presidency, when the deregulated financial system was shedding jobs. But this is 2012. I checked the record. The latest number for payroll jobs on Long Island is June 2012, 1,275,000 jobs. This is from the New York Department of Labor. Subtract the base of 1,238,200 in June 2002, when Congressman Bishop was first elected.
The difference is a 36,800-job gain, while Congressman Bishop’s opponent reports a 30,000-job loss. That’s a gap of 66,800 jobs.
As the late great Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” Or, he might have added, his or her own arithmetic.
One can understand a rounding error or a seasonal adjustment mistake. But when the direction of the data is reversed for a number that has already been publicly questioned, it rises to a reckless disregard for facts. If the previous error deserves two Pinocchios, this one deserves five.
JOHN TEPPER MARLIN
Hoax and Blame
August 12, 2012
To the Editor,
Over the past six months President Obama has not met with his much-touted jobs council once but has had the time to attend over 100 fund-raisers. His staff has told the press he is “busy” — doing what, who knows, but our economy continues to struggle, and some fear it is lurching back toward recession while millions are still without jobs. The promise of hope and change has turned into a distant memory in less than three years and been replaced by hoax and blame. It is becoming increasingly clear that the economic policies embarked pon by this president and his administration have failed, and the only job he is worried about is his own while blaming anything and anyone for his multiple failures.
Two months ago Mr. Obama told us the private sector was doing fine, and the country looked at him as a man out of touch. June’s jobs report was only 85,000 jobs added and he called that a “step in the right direction.” July saw 165,000 jobs added, but 155,000 people left the work force, a net gain of only 10,000, and Mr. Obama hailed it a sign things were getting better. Our economy needs to add, at a minimum, 140,000 jobs a month to keep up with population growth and that does nothing for the millions who have been without jobs during Mr. Obama’s time in office. Did he not promise to have unemployment below 7 percent when he passed his stimulus plan and burned through almost $1 trillion?
Unemployment is holding steady above 8 percent for all of his term and recently jumped up to 8.3 percent. Mr. Obama has created gross uncertainty throughout every sector of our economy, causing businesses to cancel orders and hold off on new hiring.
Mr. Obama’s singular achievement, the Affordable Care Act, has seen its cost estimate balloon from $900 billion to $1.6 trillion and rising even after he and Tim Bishop robbed Medicare to the tune of $700 billion. Most recently, the president told the business community, “You didn’t build that.” Is it any wonder why doubts are rising over this man’s ability to address the issues we face? This is a colossal failure of leadership by any measure and at any level.
The simple truth this year is that there is no choice; our next president must be Mitt Romney. We have the choice of a proven winner, a successful businessman, a leader in his community, a man who can provide real hope and real change for millions of Americans rather than the empty, bumper-sticker rhetoric we have come to expect the past three years. The country needs stability and certainty across every sector and segment of its fabric and we will have that under the leadership of President Mitt Romney. Now with the capable Paul Ryan at his side to work through the tough issues we face, America has a chance.
We can do more if we send Randy Altschuler to Washington. We can turn things around. We can begin the restoration of this great nation and restore hope to a people.
MICHAEL D. BOUKER
August 9, 2012
I admire her candor but I must admit I was startled to learn that Helen Rattray, the publisher and longtime former editor of The Star (and a group of her upscale friends) was ignorant of a vital element of America’s government, that the House of Representatives serves only two years between elections. That was a key element in our Constitution guaranteeing that the House members would always be responsive to citizens who could throw the rascals out (or throw them in, as the case may be) after one term. The elitist Senate, of course, was originally elected by state legislatures and not by popular vote as a brake on the vox populi.
JOSEPH D. POLICANO
August 12, 2012
To the Editor,
The essential conundrum for Mitt Romney will be whether his mouth and foot sizes will remain compatible. Foot-in-mouth disease is Barack Obama’s best hope for re-election.
In England the bloggers made the tabloid press look gentle, excoriating Mr. Romney as the newest U.S. village idiot to capture a presidential nomination. The commentary was vicious and mostly deserved.
Israel was another story. Showing no awareness of historical precedence, cultural proclivities, and human kindness, Mr. Romney extolled the virtues of Jewish culture compared to the culture of the Palestinian people. Israeli bloggers debated whether Mitt was a schmuck or a putz. Putz won the day because there is nothing good-natured and humanistic about a putz.
Mr. Romney seemed not to know that in the Semitic world (consisting of Jews and Arabs) the Palestinians were considered second to the Israelis in their business acumen and education level. That they once had a country and a national pride and that, like the Jews throughout history, had the crap kicked out of them on a daily basis. Israel is a unique and amazing place but it is a gross misconception that the economic differences between Israel and Palestine are a product of their cultures. He seemed not to notice the millions of non-Jews who live and work in Israel.
Mr. Romney seems unaware about the occupation and the suppression of the Palestinian people. It is beyond his simplistic observation that these are important factors in the economic and political development of anyone. And Jews who have experienced the same treatment for 2,000 years may approve of Romney fawning and fumbling all over them, but underneath they are aware that if the tables were turned he would have little problem observing them as he does the Palestinians.
Inability to contain his dislike and enmity is not the goods from which great politicians spring. It’s one thing to be a putz. It’s another to wear a sign on your back saying “practicing putz.”
Jews, especially Israelis, see the fascist in all of us. They have experienced the love of their Christian brothers and will not easily let down their guard to their Mormon counterparts. And well they shouldn’t.
To Americans the Palestinian people have no real value: no oil, armies, other natural resources. Yet, history tells us that the world is a complex place and that events and situations change in a blink. Twenty years ago the Soviet Union had 1 million nuclear missiles pointed at our cities, 1 billion Chinese were at the borders, 700 million Indians preferred the Russians.
But perhaps the most disturbing piece to Mr. Romney’s puzzle is that after more than a year of running for office his learning curve is nearly flat. He appears to learn nothing and grasps very little. By all accounts, he is not a village idiot but he does virtually nothing to disprove that belief. We are still paying for the last village idiot we put into office and would be seriously remiss if we ventured down that path again.
August 9, 2012
To the Editor,
Unfortunately, we live most of our lives in an illusion through the eyes of corporate powers, namely the corporate-controlled media. We call ourselves a superpower, which has destabilized the Middle East. Any war entering into its 11th year borders on insanity. Can we give up the largest embassy in the world, employing over 100,000 people?
These wars have cost trillions, paid for by the American taxpayer and the credit cards of our children. Over 80 percent of us are now against these wars. Has this become extortion of some kind since corporate welfare and its legal loopholes pay little? General Electric, the largest corporation in the world, pays no taxes. After years of corruption, G.E. abandoned Iraq with 50 percent of its normal electricity in a hell-like desert. Ask one of our combat veterans.
One might also ask why are we still occupying these countries. Because corporate powers don’t like to lose out on their huge investments, but have no concern about spending our money. As a nation, I think we can all agree, money is the bottom line. Therein lies our illusion.
Hills of Paran
August 9, 2012
To the Editor,
Re: The family homestead C.P.G. 15. “The Man of Bronze,” Kenneth Robeson, “North of Fifth Avenue mountain air and Farmwell streets” 1933.
Dear student of the riddle of the sphinx, the knuckleheads of 15 years before 1776, Daniel 7:4. The coming and goings-on in the hills of Paran obed-edom.
America on the road with the widow Roosevelt.
Putsches also come and go.