Recent Stories: Editorials

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.

Editorial
July 27, 2017
Fasten your seatbelts, here comes our annual editorial about beach bonfires. If you are among those who think it is still the 1970s, when the population was 9,000 and the number of summertime visitors maybe twice that, read no further. However, if you are among the majority, who understand that times have changed and that the pressures on public spaces have increased exponentially, and that the old rules no longer work as intended, we ask that you pay attention to what we have to say.

Fasten your seatbelts, here comes our annual editorial about beach bonfires. If you are among those who think it is still the 1970s, when the population was 9,000 and the number of summertime visitors maybe twice that, read no further. However, if you are among the majority, who understand that times have changed and that the pressures on public spaces have increased exponentially, and that the old rules no longer work as intended, we ask that you pay attention to what we have to say.

Editorial
July 27, 2017
Breitbart News, the arch-right website, helped set the tone some years ago when it posted a story headlined “Ten Reasons Why People Who Support Wind Farms Are Deluded, Criminal or Insane.” Brietbart is not alone; opposition to wind power is common among many on the right, who cite turbines’ wildlife-killing blades as a top concern, though at the same time they back gutting the Endangered Species Act and dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency.

Breitbart News, the arch-right website, helped set the tone some years ago when it posted a story headlined “Ten Reasons Why People Who Support Wind Farms Are Deluded, Criminal or Insane.” Brietbart is not alone; opposition to wind power is common among many on the right, who cite turbines’ wildlife-killing blades as a top concern, though at the same time they back gutting the Endangered Species Act and dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency. We noticed an op-ed this week in Newsday from a right-wing think tank decrying turbines’ blinking red lights at night and “harmful” noise levels. Would that were all we had to worry about as the planet rapidly warms.

Editorial
July 20, 2017
With for all the world what looked like an eye on 2018 and a bid for higher office, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone went for a bicycle ride recently in Southampton Village. The camera-ready event (Mr. Bellone eschewed his usual jacket and tie for a T-shirt) was to promote a countywide bike-sharing program, like the ubiquitous blue bicycles in parts of New York City.

With for all the world what looked like an eye on 2018 and a bid for higher office, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone went for a bicycle ride recently in Southampton Village. The camera-ready event (Mr. Bellone eschewed his usual jacket and tie for a T-shirt) was to promote a countywide bike-sharing program, like the ubiquitous blue bicycles in parts of New York City.

Getting more people on bikes is a good idea, particularly in tandem with improved rail service that could help link workers with jobs. However, given lackluster efforts in the past for bike lanes and other safety measures, Mr. Bellone is getting out ahead of his handlebars.

Editorial
July 20, 2017
East Hampton is in a crisis in which young adults, year-round workers, and ordinary residents struggle to find adequate housing they can afford. But the most recent town board discussion about housing involved temporary, portable units intended for Montauk’s seasonal, resort work force. Taking the proposal seriously is an unfortunate case of skewed priorities.

East Hampton is in a crisis in which young adults, year-round workers, and ordinary residents struggle to find adequate housing they can afford. But the most recent town board discussion about housing involved temporary, portable units intended for Montauk’s seasonal, resort work force. Taking the proposal seriously is an unfortunate case of skewed priorities.

Editorial
July 13, 2017
About a year and a half ago, Jay Schneiderman was able to convince East Hampton Town officials that a mothballed restaurant at his family’s Breakers Motel in Montauk was, in fact, operational and that in any event the clock had run out on a neighbor’s attempt to prevent its reopening.

About a year and a half ago, Jay Schneiderman was able to convince East Hampton Town officials that a mothballed restaurant at his family’s Breakers Motel in Montauk was, in fact, operational and that in any event the clock had run out on a neighbor’s attempt to prevent its reopening. 

Editorial
July 13, 2017
A stunning juncture occurred Tuesday afternoon when Representative Lee Zeldin broke with the Trump administration over links between the president’s family and individuals with ties to the Russian government who were thought to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

A stunning juncture occurred Tuesday afternoon when Representative Lee Zeldin broke with the Trump administration over links between the president’s family and individuals with ties to the Russian government who were thought to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton. 

Following the release of an email chain in which the Russian connection was made clear, Mr. Zeldin’s remark, on Twitter, called a meeting that Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, attended a “big no-no.”

In an email, the younger Mr. Trump was told that “high level and sensitive information” came from “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

Editorial
July 6, 2017
The East Hampton School Board will want to carefully consider a residents’ group apparent offer of $2 million to help the district buy a parcel on Springs-Fireplace Road for a school bus parking and service facility. It should also try to be more flexible about the bus depot question in general; so far the board has been somewhat inexplicably attached to a plan for a site it already owns at Cedar Street.

The East Hampton School Board will want to carefully consider a residents’ group apparent offer of $2 million to help the district buy a parcel on Springs-Fireplace Road for a school bus parking and service facility. It should also try to be more flexible about the bus depot question in general; so far the board has been somewhat inexplicably attached to a plan for a site it already owns at Cedar Street.

Editorial
July 6, 2017
The path forward for owners at the Montauk Shores Condominium at Ditch Plain, better known as the Trailer Park, got clouded recently when East Hampton Town took a hard line on wastewater there. The problems underscore a growing belief that our current environmental laws are inadequate and, in some cases, have not been enforced or were ignored with impunity for a long time.

The path forward for owners at the Montauk Shores Condominium at Ditch Plain, better known as the Trailer Park, got clouded recently when East Hampton Town took a hard line on wastewater there. The problems underscore a growing belief that our current environmental laws are inadequate and, in some cases, have not been enforced or were ignored with impunity for a long time.

Editorial
June 29, 2017
Politicians in Albany and Hauppauge find it easy to promote shrinking government when it is not their own government they are shrinking. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has long tried to squeeze local municipalities and school districts through a formula capping the amount that taxes can be raised from year to year. This dictate has come from on high with little in the way of state aid or guidance. Do it or else, the governor seems to say.

Politicians in Albany and Hauppauge find it easy to promote shrinking government when it is not their own government they are shrinking. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has long tried to squeeze local municipalities and school districts through a formula capping the amount that taxes can be raised from year to year. This dictate has come from on high with little in the way of state aid or guidance. Do it or else, the governor seems to say. There is a planned dollar-match program in the works for 2018, and perhaps it should be no surprise that next year is when Mr. Cuomo may begin his long-anticipated bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. As a governor from a high-tax state, he may well plan to point to his signature tax cap for political cover.

Editorial
June 29, 2017
A bicyclist was struck and seriously injured Saturday evening in East Hampton Village. According to someone who was nearby, the bike had been weaving unsteadily before it came into contact with a passing vehicle, and the cyclist was thrown to the pavement.

A bicyclist was struck and seriously injured Saturday evening in East Hampton Village. According to someone who was nearby, the bike had been weaving unsteadily before it came into contact with a passing vehicle, and the cyclist was thrown to the pavement. This is just one of the recent incidents here in which someone was hurt. And, as we hurtle headlong into the Fourth of July weekend, it is important to think for a moment about how all of us can help make the roads a little safer and saner. Bicyclists and pedestrians are especially vulnerable.

Editorial
June 29, 2017
Now that the United States Supreme Court has refused to review a lower court’s decision on local control of East Hampton Airport, the big question is what will happen next. This is a delicate moment; public outrage after another summer of aircraft noise could lead to a confrontation that could, in the end, most hurt the aviation industry itself.

Now that the United States Supreme Court has refused to review a lower court’s decision on local control of East Hampton Airport, the big question is what will happen next. This is a delicate moment; public outrage after another summer of aircraft noise could lead to a confrontation that could, in the end, most hurt the aviation industry itself.

Town officials are pursuing Federal Aviation Administration approval for the restrictions the lower court rejected, but this may be difficult to achieve. Meanwhile, helicopters and other loud aircraft will come and go, infuriating residents, irritating visitors, and adding to pressure on officials to do something about it once and for all.

Editorial
June 22, 2017
Early morning. The sun just up. The heat warming the pavement. A box turtle, drawn by the warmth or going from one place to another, creeps forward and settles on the center line as a hurtling truck approaches.

Early morning. The sun just up. The heat warming the pavement. A box turtle, drawn by the warmth or going from one place to another, creeps forward and settles on the center line as a hurtling truck approaches.

Long Island is box turtle country, and June is one of the peak months for the vulnerable reptiles to be on the move, seeking sandy spots in which to lay eggs. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation advises motorists to be vigilant for small, domed shapes, especially near marshes and other wetlands. To move a turtle from a dangerous position, the D.E.C. says, always try to place it on the side of the road in the direction it appears to have been headed.

Editorial
June 22, 2017
What may have seemed impossible following the fiery destruction of much of the Sag Harbor Cinema in December now appears, if not a sure thing, then increasingly likely. The prospect is exciting.

What may have seemed impossible following the fiery destruction of much of the Sag Harbor Cinema in December now appears, if not a sure thing, then increasingly likely. The prospect is exciting.

Editorial
June 22, 2017
Here’s hoping that the free shuttle bus set to begin in Montauk next week with $100,000 in state funding finds enough riders to justify its operation. Acting on concerns about traffic and complaints about fare gouging by some taxi drivers, East Hampton officials have announced that the Hampton Hopper will operate a route that includes stops at the Montauk railroad station, the docks, Hither Hills State Park, and the downtown business area.

Here’s hoping that the free shuttle bus set to begin in Montauk next week with $100,000 in state funding finds enough riders to justify its operation. Acting on concerns about traffic and complaints about fare gouging by some taxi drivers, East Hampton officials have announced that the Hampton Hopper will operate a route that includes stops at the Montauk railroad station, the docks, Hither Hills State Park, and the downtown business area.

Editorial
June 15, 2017
East Hampton Village residents will be asked Tuesday to select either Philip O’Connell or Arthur Graham as a trustee or member of the village board. The winner will face re-election in 2018. In recent interviews, the candidates differed little about how the village should be run, so making an endorsement is tricky, as it comes down to intangibles more than any one thing.

East Hampton Village residents will be asked Tuesday to select either Philip O’Connell or Arthur Graham as a trustee or member of the village board. The winner will face re-election in 2018. In recent interviews, the candidates differed little about how the village should be run, so making an endorsement is tricky, as it comes down to intangibles more than any one thing.

Editorial
June 15, 2017
Lost amid all the attention to Russia’s election meddling is the fact that the Trump administration is considering reducing the number and scale of the national monuments across the country as well as 55 million acres of Atlantic seabed off the East Coast. Separately, a suit by a coalition of fishing organizations challenging the Obama decision to create the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument is making its way toward trial. If the Trump administration eliminates the seamount monument, their suit would become moot.

Lost amid all the attention to Russia’s election meddling is the fact that the Trump administration is considering reducing the number and scale of the national monuments across the country as well as 55 million acres of Atlantic seabed off the East Coast. Separately, a suit by a coalition of fishing organizations challenging the Obama decision to create the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument is making its way toward trial. If the Trump administration eliminates the seamount monument, their suit would become moot. For those concerned about the long-term health of the marine environment this is a very bad prospect indeed. 

Editorial
June 8, 2017
The funny thing about Memorial Day’s being considered the beginning of summer is that it is not really the beginning of anything, at least not as far as the weather goes. The calendar tells us almost a month of spring is yet to come by the time the big weekend crowds arrive and the season plays along, frustrating those who would want the weather to behave otherwise.

The funny thing about Memorial Day’s being considered the beginning of summer is that it is not really the beginning of anything, at least not as far as the weather goes. The calendar tells us almost a month of spring is yet to come by the time the big weekend crowds arrive and the season plays along, frustrating those who would want the weather to behave otherwise.

Because of rain, spring has been notably strong. Grass seems in need of perpetual cutting. Trees and roadsides became almost jungle-like overnight. Pollen covered everything, and then we were thankful that it washed away. Birds seemed to rejoice in the abundance of it all. The ponds are brimming. 

Editorial
June 8, 2017
With the assistance of hired consultants, East Hampton officials are taking one of their periodic looks at aspects of how the town is regulated and how they might balance growth and residents’ needs in the future. Changes certainly are necessary, but whether the process embodied in the current set of so-called hamlet studies will be adequate remains to be seen.

With the assistance of hired consultants, East Hampton officials are taking one of their periodic looks at aspects of how the town is regulated and how they might balance growth and residents’ needs in the future. Changes certainly are necessary, but whether the process embodied in the current set of so-called hamlet studies will be adequate remains to be seen. 

In a nutshell, the problem is that though East Hampton Town occupies a narrow, environmentally and infrastructurally challenged isthmus capable of being home to a limited number of people, the actual peak population reaches well beyond the capacity. How land-use regulations are crafted — and in whose interest — has been a largely unsolved riddle since at least the 1960s and the birth of zoning.