Recent Stories: Editorials

Editorial
October 12, 2017
The question on Election Day will be whether Albany could get any worse. New York voters will be asked on Nov. 7 to approve or reject a proposition that would trigger a constitutional convention, which could potentially revise state government completely.

The question on Election Day will be whether Albany could get any worse. New York voters will be asked on Nov. 7 to approve or reject a proposition that would trigger a constitutional convention, which could potentially revise state government completely. Support for the measure is divided along party lines, with conservatives generally urging against it and liberals saying yes. But thinking about the proposition in terms of ideological goals without considering the realities of how the process would work would be a mistake.

Editorial
October 5, 2017
On the eve of the Hamptons International Film Festival, a rumor that the East Hampton movie theater was going to be no more tore through town with notable speed. Facebook was alight with variations on a story that a developer had plans to remove the screens and turn the site over to retail. Calls to the theater, now owned by the Regal Entertainment Group, as well as to the corporate office, were answered by plausible denials.

On the eve of the Hamptons International Film Festival, a rumor that the East Hampton movie theater was going to be no more tore through town with notable speed. Facebook was alight with variations on a story that a developer had plans to remove the screens and turn the site over to retail. Calls to the theater, now owned by the Regal Entertainment Group, as well as to the corporate office, were answered by plausible denials

Editorial
October 5, 2017
A well-attended formal dedication of a pollinator garden at the East Hampton Historical Farm Museum on Sunday was a fitting tribute to the late Matthew Lester, the East Hampton High School student and Eagle Scout candidate who conceived it. But the event, which included lunch for 300 people, live music, speeches, and a brief ceremony, demonstrated that a new and important town square is available here.

A well-attended formal dedication of a pollinator garden at the East Hampton Historical Farm Museum on Sunday was a fitting tribute to the late Matthew Lester, the East Hampton High School student and Eagle Scout candidate who conceived it. But the event, which included lunch for 300 people, live music, speeches, and a brief ceremony, demonstrated that a new and important town square is available here.

Editorial
October 5, 2017
In the aftermath of the horrifying gun deaths and hundreds of injuries in an attack at a Nevada music festival on Sunday, one question for those of us in New York’s First Congressional District is what to make of the $9,900 Representative Lee Zeldin took from the National Rifle Association last year. In receiving that sum, just short of the $10,000 limit on aggregate contributions, Mr. Zeldin was tied with an upstate Republican as the member of the New York delegation receiving the most from the group.

In the aftermath of the horrifying gun deaths and hundreds of injuries in an attack at a Nevada music festival on Sunday, one question for those of us in New York’s First Congressional District is what to make of the $9,900 Representative Lee Zeldin took from the National Rifle Association last year. In receiving that sum, just short of the $10,000 limit on aggregate contributions, Mr. Zeldin was tied with an upstate Republican as the member of the New York delegation receiving the most from the group. 

Editorial
September 28, 2017
Two recent high-profile incidents involving Montauk party-fishing boats have drawn attention to a problem on the water in which paying customers take too many or too small fish, while the crews, captains, and vessel owners evade responsibility.

Two recent high-profile incidents involving Montauk party-fishing boats have drawn attention to a problem on the water in which paying customers take too many or too small fish, while the crews, captains, and vessel owners evade responsibility. 

The first of the busts happened aboard the Fin Chaser at the end of August at Star Island in Montauk Harbor. State Department of Environmental Conservation officers approached as the boat reached the dock, and customers were seen dumping hundreds of fish overboard despite orders to stop, then shuffling to their cars empty-handed. 

Editorial
September 28, 2017
Incredible devastation has been the story of the 2017 hurricane season. With two Category 5 storms making landfall in the Caribbean, the period has been improbable, at least in terms of the historical record. Yet researchers have been saying for some time that years like this were possible, if not likely, as the oceans rapidly warm thanks to climate change.

Incredible devastation has been the story of the 2017 hurricane season. With two Category 5 storms making landfall in the Caribbean, the period has been improbable, at least in terms of the historical record. Yet researchers have been saying for some time that years like this were possible, if not likely, as the oceans rapidly warm thanks to climate change.

Editorial
September 21, 2017
The East Hampton Village Trustees appear willing to listen to ideas about how to lessen leaf-blower noise. However, as the board considers what primarily is an annoyance, it should also think about a safety problem on village streets — massive landscaping trailers parked in the lanes of travel as workers tend to adjacent properties.

The East Hampton Village Trustees appear willing to listen to ideas about how to lessen leaf-blower noise. However, as the board considers what primarily is an annoyance, it should also think about a safety problem on village streets — massive landscaping trailers parked in the lanes of travel as workers tend to adjacent properties.

It seems as if the number and size of landscaping trucks and trailers have grown with every season. Officials look the other way when they are left on narrow streets, often in no-parking zones, forcing passing vehicles into the oncoming lanes, especially in the estate sections of the village. 

Editorial
September 21, 2017
While we were thinking about leaf blowers, we learned that East Hampton Town’s elected officials may be about to reinstitute free leaf pickup service in some form or other. This is an exciting prospect for residents, many of whom sorely missed the old program after it was eliminated in 2011.

While we were thinking about leaf blowers, we learned that East Hampton Town’s elected officials may be about to reinstitute free leaf pickup service in some form or other. This is an exciting prospect for residents, many of whom sorely missed the old program after it was eliminated in 2011.

Taxes were the explanation when the town board did away with leaf pickup, though there was also a bit of politics at play as well. Up until then, Highway Department workers had made regular rounds in the fall, vacuuming up piles of leaves left at the roadside. Positions for and against the program were generally divided along party lines, with Democrats urging that pickup continue and Republicans, pushing personal responsibility and fiscal restraint, saying it should be ended.

Editorial
September 21, 2017
“The Affair,” a cable television series mostly set in and around Montauk, has been back in town lately, shooting scenes for its fifth season. For the most part, the filming has drawn little notice.

“The Affair,” a cable television series mostly set in and around Montauk, has been back in town lately, shooting scenes for its fifth season. For the most part, the filming has drawn little notice. 

The exception, so far, occurred last week, when the town police shut down a roughly mile-long section of Cranberry Hole Road in Amagansett at the behest of the production company for an entire day. Tempers flared, including, we heard, that of one police officer, who was fed up with irritated residents and others, among them a UPS driver delivering frozen soup, who needed to reach houses down that way. 

Editorial
September 14, 2017
Called the most important fish in the sea, menhaden, or bunker in local parlance, put in a great show this summer. Bluefish and striped bass feasted on their rich and oily flesh. Several species of sharks took wild swipes at their schools. And whales, dolphins, and osprey got in the act, too, putting on spectacular shows within easy view of the ocean beach.

Called the most important fish in the sea, menhaden, or bunker in local parlance, put in a great show this summer. Bluefish and striped bass feasted on their rich and oily flesh. Several species of sharks took wild swipes at their schools. And whales, dolphins, and osprey got in the act, too, putting on spectacular shows within easy view of the ocean beach. 

But all is not entirely well with menhaden. They remain an important commercial catch with at least one industrial-size company targeting them all along the Atlantic Coast and into the Gulf of Mexico. Fisheries managers, noting their abundance, are considering revising harvest rules that would allow greater harvests. This is a risky proposition.

Editorial
September 14, 2017
Conventional wisdom might be that a bitter primary only benefits the opposing political party, but following a surprisingly lively battle between supporters of Zachary Cohen and Jeffrey Bragman for a Democratic slot on the East Hampton Town Board ballot in November, that assumption could use some rethinking.

Conventional wisdom might be that a bitter primary only benefits the opposing political party, but following a surprisingly lively battle between supporters of Zachary Cohen and Jeffrey Bragman for a Democratic slot on the East Hampton Town Board ballot in November, that assumption could use some rethinking. 

Judging from many letters to the editor and even more sharply worded road signs calling him out for this or that, Mr. Cohen clearly irritated some of the people on the political scene here. The barroom brawl was hardly one-sided: Mr. Bragman took some hard hits of his own, aimed at his role in the long-ago Shadmoor development deal and in arguing against the construction of a children’s wing at the East Hampton Library. 

Editorial
September 7, 2017
Tuesday’s primary for two Democratic Party ballot slots in the forthcoming general election for East Hampton Town Board and for nine town trustees on the Independence line is a rather rare event: There have been few primaries for local elected offices here over the years.

Tuesday’s primary for two Democratic Party ballot slots in the forthcoming general election for East Hampton Town Board and for nine town trustees on the Independence line is a rather rare event: There have been few primaries for local elected offices here over the years. 

The main event is among Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, who is hoping for a second four-year term, and Jeffrey Bragman and Zachary Cohen. Mr. Bragman is the East Hampton Democratic Party’s other official nominee, having been formally selected in May. Mr. Cohen had sought the Democratic nomination and petitioned to force a primary after being passed over. Whomever of the three emerge as the top two vote-getters will face the Republican candidates for town board on Nov. 7. 

Editorial
September 7, 2017
And so it has happened again. A major American city is inundated after a hurricane, and officials claim they could not have anticipated how bad it might be. They have then used their lack of foresight as an excuse for inadequate planning, little evacuation preparation, and failure to obtain emergency supplies. This, of course, is complete nonsense.

And so it has happened again. A major American city is inundated after a hurricane, and officials claim they could not have anticipated how bad it might be. They have then used their lack of foresight as an excuse for inadequate planning, little evacuation preparation, and failure to obtain emergency supplies. This, of course, is complete nonsense. 

Editorial
August 31, 2017
East Hampton may one day look back and realize this was the summer that the internet changed everything. Just as online advertising took the strength out of many newspapers’ bottom lines and Uber cut a hole in the taxi industry, so too may the web and smartphone apps be changing the way people vacation. If so, it is likely to have long-term implications for East Hampton, where a new, highly transient resort scene appears to have had an underappreciated ripple effect.

East Hampton may one day look back and realize this was the summer that the internet changed everything. Just as online advertising took the strength out of many newspapers’ bottom lines and Uber cut a hole in the taxi industry, so too may the web and smartphone apps be changing the way people vacation. If so, it is likely to have long-term implications for East Hampton, where a new, highly transient resort scene appears to have had an underappreciated ripple effect.

Editorial
August 31, 2017
Last week’s revelations in a lawsuit brought by a former East Hampton Village police chief and his wife bring to light the distasteful truth that some local officials have long traded their influential positions for lucrative side businesses.

Last week’s revelations in a lawsuit brought by a former East Hampton Village police chief and his wife bring to light the distasteful truth that some local officials have long traded their influential positions for lucrative side businesses. 

It is no secret that Jerry Larsen, the former chief who is now a candidate for the East Hampton Town Board, has for years had a security business, though since about 2009 he has insisted the business was his wife’s, Lisa Larsen’s, not his. That is splitting hairs; he always remained a company officer, and it is clear that it was at least a joint effort.

Editorial
August 24, 2017
A multiagency exercise conducted in Gardiner’s Bay and several other East End waterways over two weeks this month had a sobering premise, but it had at least one important benefit, too.

A multiagency exercise conducted in Gardiner’s Bay and several other East End waterways over two weeks this month had a sobering premise, but it had at least one important benefit, too. 

Editorial
August 24, 2017
Things move fast these days, so fast, in fact, that Americans are getting accustomed to radical change almost overnight. The country’s lightning speed acceptance of same-sex marriage is one recent example of how public opinion can shift in what seems an instant.

Things move fast these days, so fast, in fact, that Americans are getting accustomed to radical change almost overnight. The country’s lightning speed acceptance of same-sex marriage is one recent example of how public opinion can shift in what seems an instant. 

In that context it is interesting to think about suffrage and the struggle for the right of women to vote. Today, at a time when one of the leading advocates for the disenfranchisement of Americans of color enjoys a prominent role in the Trump administration, the fight for access to the fundamental act of democracy continues.

Editorial
August 17, 2017
East Hampton Town is taking on restaurants that turn into nightclubs in a newly invigorated push. Focused on Montauk, this is an important effort to tamp down a party scene that has grown out of control. It is the end of the season, but the effort is nonetheless worthwhile since it sends a message for next year.

East Hampton Town is taking on restaurants that turn into nightclubs in a newly invigorated push. Focused on Montauk, this is an important effort to tamp down a party scene that has grown out of control. It is the end of the season, but the effort is nonetheless worthwhile since it sends a message for next year.

Editorial
August 17, 2017
As East Hampton Town prepares to go all-in on water quality, there is one place it is decidedly ignoring: Fresh Pond in Amagansett. According to tests done for Concerned Citizens of Montauk, Fresh Pond creek has as often as not been contaminated with fecal enterococcus bacteria. And this is not simply at mildly elevated levels: In a water sample last month, the bacteria count was almost 60 times higher than the federal standard for safe recreational contact.

As East Hampton Town prepares to go all-in on water quality, there is one place it is decidedly ignoring: Fresh Pond in Amagansett. According to tests done for Concerned Citizens of Montauk, Fresh Pond creek has as often as not been contaminated with fecal enterococcus bacteria. And this is not simply at mildly elevated levels: In a water sample last month, the bacteria count was almost 60 times higher than the federal standard for safe recreational contact. 

Editorial
August 10, 2017
If your garden is anything like that of a friend of ours, your status with the neighbors, who often receive its ever-increasing overage, must be skyrocketing. This summer has produced one of the most bountiful home vegetable harvests in years, and the wonder is that it’s happening after an unusually cold spring, with temperatures in the 50s halfway into June.

If your garden is anything like that of a friend of ours, your status with the neighbors, who often receive its ever-increasing overage, must be skyrocketing. This summer has produced one of the most bountiful home vegetable harvests in years, and the wonder is that it’s happening after an unusually cold spring, with temperatures in the 50s halfway into June. 

June was so cold, in fact, that memories of sixth-grade history lessons about 1816, the Year Without a Summer (also known as Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death), returned to haunt the chilly nights. But then came deliverance, a seemingly endless succession of glorious sunny days, with just enough rain in between to postpone that purchase of an automated sprinkler system for yet another year. 

Editorial
August 10, 2017
East Hampton Town will start accepting applications on Sept. 1 from homeowners who want to replace their septic systems or cesspools with state-of-the-art low-nitrogen alternatives. However, lacking even the most rudimentary test data and without a science-based plan for rolling out the new program, the effort could end up with a lot of money being spent with few results to show for it.

East Hampton Town will start accepting applications on Sept. 1 from homeowners who want to replace their septic systems or cesspools with state-of-the-art low-nitrogen alternatives. However, lacking even the most rudimentary test data and without a science-based plan for rolling out the new program, the effort could end up with a lot of money being spent with few results to show for it.

Editorial
August 3, 2017
There is painful irony to the message that President Trump delivered Friday in Brentwood. Speaking to a group of police that included members of all of the East End departments, Mr. Trump ostensibly addressed the violent MS-13 gang. But he also told the officers and assembled police brass that they should feel free to rough up suspects. A White House spokeswoman has said that he intended the off-script comment as a joke. If it were a joke, it showed unfathomable insensitivity; if Ms. Trump was being serious, it showed what seems like criminal depravity.

There is painful irony to the message that President Trump delivered Friday in Brentwood. Speaking to a group of police that included members of all of the East End departments, Mr. Trump ostensibly addressed the violent MS-13 gang. But he also told the officers and assembled police brass that they should feel free to rough up suspects. A White House spokeswoman has said that he intended the off-script comment as a joke. If it were a joke, it showed unfathomable insensitivity; if Ms. Trump was being serious, it showed what seems like criminal depravity.

Editorial
August 3, 2017
A minor accident in which a Bridgehampton fire truck responding to a call struck a passenger car near the intersection of Montauk Highway and Sagg Road on Monday should be a reminder to all motorists here to yield to emergency vehicles.

A minor accident in which a Bridgehampton fire truck responding to a call struck a passenger car near the intersection of Montauk Highway and Sagg Road on Monday should be a reminder to all motorists here to yield to emergency vehicles. It is not obvious from what we know so far who was at fault in the incident, but no one was hurt. Nonetheless, that something like this could involve so visible a piece of fire equipment suggests that other vehicles, like the personal ones used by fire and emergency medical volunteers to respond to a call, are less visible still.

Editorial
August 3, 2017
A recent analysis by a private group has found that human and animal wastes were reaching the South Fork’s bays, beaches, and harbors at an alarming rate. The eastern Long Island chapter of the Surfrider Foundation took data taken from its Blue Water Task Force project and from the Concerned Citizens of Montauk and looked for trends. What it found should be alarming to anyone who cares about clean water and a productive environment.

A recent analysis by a private group has found that human and animal wastes were reaching the South Fork’s bays, beaches, and harbors at an alarming rate. The eastern Long Island chapter of the Surfrider Foundation took data taken from its Blue Water Task Force project and from the Concerned Citizens of Montauk and looked for trends. What it found should be alarming to anyone who cares about clean water and a productive environment.