October 16, 2011
To the Editor,
In 1999 it was my good fortune to meet Ted Dragon. I went to his home to look at furniture for reupholstery. We ended up reupholstering all of his living room furniture. He chose beautiful velvets in different jewel tones. We even reupholstered the unusual tete-a-tete Texas longhorn love seat that I later learned was left to him by Lee Krasner. (He chose a beautiful shade of purple velvet for that.) Everything accented the vibrant Chinese red walls decorated with many works of art by Alfonso Osorio. He was very pleased and never forgot us at Christmas.
Every year since then Dainis, one of his elves, would appear at the shop with a tin filled with delicious homemade cookies. I was so touched by his thoughtfulness.
Ms. Bennett included with her letter a poem thanking Mr. Dragon, which she wrote and had published some years ago in these pages. Ed.
Sense of Loss
October 17, 2011
It is with much sadness and a great sense of loss that we note the untimely and sudden passing of Laurene Silvani. Laurene worked at the Wainscott Post Office for six years. She was incredibly warm and friendly. We were always glad to see her behind the counter. We would greet each other by name, ask about each other’s lives, share some news or story. The atmosphere she created was as special and unique as she was.
We only hope that Laurene knew how valued she was and how much she touched the lives of others. She will be greatly missed. We extend our condolences to her family and to her co-workers.
Rest in peace, friend.
October 14, 2011
To the Editor:
Oct. 15 marked the one-year anniversary of the passing of our cousin Albert Peter Trages. We have traveled to East Hampton several times in the past year, attending to his affairs, and have met many people who shared their stories of Albert, and his mother, Sophia. Since an obituary was not provided at the time of his death, we would like to share this remembrance of his life.
Born in Brooklyn, Albert grew up in and around two food establishments owned and operated by his parents, Sophia and Albert Anthony Trages, in Bayside and Flushing, Queens, the Cricket Caterers founded by Sophia in 1941, and the Crystal Dining Room, founded in 1950.
In the late 1950s Albert headed to Cornell University, and Sophia and her husband, Albert, headed to East Hampton, opening the Cricket Caterers and Crystal Dining Room at 250 Pantigo Road in 1959. Both businesses have been well known to the East End community for the past 50 years.
Albert attended the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1961 and his master’s in business administration in 1962. Having served in the reserve officer training corps at Cornell, he went on to serve as director of training and logistics at the Army Quartermaster School Army Support Center in Niagara Falls, N.Y., from 1963 to 1965. Lt. Trages distinguished himself with the award of the Army Medal of Commendation.
Upon completion of his service in 1966, Albert joined his parents in East Hampton, assuming the position of assistant manager of Cricket Caterers. Concurrent with this, Albert embarked on a teaching career in science at the Bridgehampton High School. He retired from teaching in 1984. In addition to the catering service, his other business interests included owner-proprietorship of the Harvey House and 21 House guesthouses in Amagansett.
Albert’s interests were diverse but special attention was paid to the world of finance, cooking and dining, and animal welfare. He spent many recent years caring for his mother, Sophia, who predeceased him by three months, at 102, in July 2010. His father, Albert Anthony Trages, passed away in January 1986. Albert is survived by many cousins of the Trages and Dragunas families who remember and pay tribute to him on the anniversary of his passing.
October 5, 2011
Our trip to LongHouse was quite exciting. They removed some things and put in new things. For instance, they put in this little boat with beautiful red and blue blown glass. We saw lots of frogs on the lily pads in the pond. The red garden wasn’t red at all! When you go to LongHouse, you feel like everything is calm and you see how nature and art blend in. LongHouse is a nice place to go with your family.
Montauk Public School
October 5, 2011
Last week the fifth grade of Montauk Public School went to LongHouse. Everything there was so divine. Everything was gorgeous, especially the new things that LongHouse had, like the endless drip, the sculptures on the boat, and the nude lady. The teachers and kids liked everything so much that we decided to make LongHouse poems.
I think it was very thoughtful of the people there to give us free passes to go in. I think how artists from all over the world just choose to give their sculptures to LongHouse is really nice of them. I can’t wait for the spring to come because the fifth grade is going back again!
Montauk Public School
Lack of Response
October 10, 2011
Fall is in full swing and so are the access and boundary issues along our shores. We are looking forward to a great fishing season and hope that the public will also get out and enjoy our beaches this fall. Hurricane Irene gave the erosion of our shorelines a jolt, uncovering jetties and hardened structures many of us have not seen in our lifetimes.
Irene’s aftermath is also being viewed as an opportunity by some. Some homeowners have retained attorneys to dissect longstanding legislation pertaining to ownership property lines. A fence has been erected on Georgica Beach in East Hampton. This fence is an attempt by a homeowner to protect their property, but we at Citizens for Access Rights fear that the fence may impede access along the shore to both the public and emergency services.
We believe this fence is subject to both local zoning laws and D.E.C. regulations. CfAR has been keeping a sharp eye on this developing front, and we plan to continue to monitor the situation and any others that arise that pertain to access issues.
On the Napeague beach issue, there is good news and bad news. First the good. The East Hampton Town Trustees, in short order, have adopted a resolution CfAR presented that reaffirmed their steadfast commitment to defend the Napeague lawsuits. There is a link to the adopted resolution on our Web site. Thank you, trustees!
Now the bad. This will take a bit longer to explain, so please bear with us. The CfAR cause began back in February of 2011 when a group of concerned citizen-beachgoers learned that there were two lawsuits matriculating through the court system. When our founders realized there was a motion for a summary judgment on the matter, which would ban access to a 4,000-linear-foot stretch of beach that many of us know as truck or family beach, an “all hands on deck” call was made.
One question of immediate concern was why had the East Hampton Town Board been so quiet on the issue since this is such an important issue for the local community? CfAR began to hold meetings and organize supporters. Representatives from the town board attended one of our first meetings in March 2011. It was at this meeting that the town board representatives said that they viewed the lawsuit as “unwinnable” and said that the trustees were going against legal advice by defending the lawsuit. They continued by stating that a settlement should be considered and pursued.
This was alarming news to our organization, and we responded by penning a resolution and presenting it to the town board in April 2011. The purpose of the resolution, similar to the one adopted by the trustees, was to ask the town board to formally commit to vigorously defending the lawsuits, take no defense options off the table, and not consider a politically motivated compromise.
The board responded soon after with concerns over certain wording in the resolution. CfAR presented a revised version of the resolution to the town board in August. The town board did not respond to our resolution and shelved it for months. On Sept. 17, CfAR sent the town board members a letter by certified mail asking them to respond to our resolution by Oct. 1, 2011. An identical letter was sent to each town board member individually via e-mail. We have heard that representatives from the town board are claiming they did not receive our letter, neither the hard copy nor the electronic.
The Oct. 1 deadline has come and gone. The certified letter was delivered and signed for by an employee of East Hampton Town at 11:22 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 19. CfAR members would like an official written commitment from the current town board supporting all forms of public beach access. The board up to this point has been unwilling to do so.
As of the date of this letter, CfAR considers the town board’s lack of a response a rejection of our proposed resolution. The current board has had months to work with us and has chosen not to do so in a timely manner. CfAR will view any further belated attempt by the town board to address our resolution as political theater. CfAR is retracting the proposed resolution and will repropose it again after Jan. 1, 2012.
As stated earlier, there are many more access disputes developing. CfAR will be sending a questionnaire to the town board, supervisor, and trustee candidates asking for their position on issues important to our group. We encourage all voters to ask questions relating to beach access and other issues facing the town of all candidates during this election when they are out campaigning.
Now get out there, catch some fish, take a walk on the beach, and remind yourselves why this battle is worth fighting!
Don’t Blow, Mow
October 15, 2011
This autumn, don’t waste time blowing leaves. Mow your autumn leaves into the lawn. It’s environmentally better, easier, less costly, and results in healthier lawns. Do what horticultural experts, master gardeners, Larry Penny, East Hampton Town Natural Resources director, and Brian Frank, East Hampton Town chief environmental analyst, recommend: Just mow autumn leaves into your lawn. Do what smart and thrifty landscapers do: Don’t blow, mow.
Old habits die hard, but horticultural science has advanced our knowledge of lawn chemistry. Getting rid of your leaves by just mowing them into your lawn is now clearly recognized as the best solution. Virtually no amount of leaf litter is too much. Visit leaveleavesalone.org for more information and tips on mowing not blowing.
This autumn, try it. You’ll wonder why you ever went to the trouble of blowing them into piles to be picked up and carted away.
Public Has to Say
October 17, 2011
Why the rush? The speed and manner in which the East Hampton Town Board made the decision to sell its share of the Poxabogue Golf Center is disturbing. This is a facility that is enjoyed by a large number of East Hampton residents who should have been given the opportunity to weigh in on this decision. There were no public hearings because, according to the article in the Oct. 13 Star, Mr. Wilkinson does public hearings “. . . when we are obliged to do public hearings.”
It seems to me that the reason for public hearings is to hear what the public has to say about decisions that directly affect them. Sounds like the supervisor simply doesn’t want to hear it.
Brevity of Notice
October 17, 2011
To the Editor:
At a work session on Tuesday, Oct. 4, with little or no notice to the public, the [East Hampton] Town Board decided that two days later, on Thursday, Oct. 6, it would vote on a resolution to sell the town’s share of Poxabogue golf course. As a result of this brevity of notice, hardly any discussion was had with the public regarding the sale of a valuable town asset.
Whether the sale is a good idea or bad idea seems beside the point. What is important is that, with no meaningful opportunity for public scrutiny or comment, the town board placed on its agenda a resolution that was financially significant and has the potential to decrease the quality of life for many town residents, especially those who cannot afford membership in a private golf club.
Poxabogue is a wonderful asset, which is used by hundreds of East Hampton families; it includes not only a nine-hole golf course and driving range but also a pro shop and, of course, the Fairway restaurant. I’m not the most talented golfer out there (some days I make more use of the sand trap rake than any of the clubs in my bag), but I value the town’s ownership of Poxabogue. And I know that there are many in Wainscott who appreciate the fact that, by purchasing one-half of Poxabogue, the town permanently decreased density immediately adjacent to its western border.
There are myriad, serious issues associated with the proposed sale, and the purported financial benefits to the Town of East Hampton — which appear to be questionable, at least — should have been the subject of greater study. In a deal in which the selling price is $1 million — less than the amount that the town paid, East Hampton taxpayers deserve better than the town board’s unilateral assertion that they struck a good deal for us. Moreover, the terms and conditions of the contract, including the protections alleged to be afforded to East Hampton residents and information regarding the manner in which Poxabogue will be operated going forward, should have been presented to the public with sufficient time for comment and possible suggestions.
Instead, the town board has — yet again, and rather cavalierly — circumvented any possibility that an opposing voice might be heard. We can only hope that, in the fullness of time, future taxpayers and town residents, not to mention those who might want to enjoy nine holes, will not come to regret the town board’s precipitous action.
Very truly yours,
October 17, 2001
Councilwoman Theresa Quigley announced that she developed a completely new lighting code after consulting with an engineer, an architect with expertise in lighting design, and a dark-sky expert. However, how could this be true if she has no correspondence or documentation at all to support her claims, in response to my Freedom of Information Act request?
I would like to have had the opportunity to examine the actual (not hearsay) claims made by the people who want the smart-lighting code thrown out in favor of Ms. Quigley’s draft. In case anyone would like more information, I have documentation for every assertion that I have made about the advantages of dark-sky lighting design.
Ms. Quigley proposes to completely eliminate the time-tested process for reviewing lighting plans, as well as the process by which poorly implemented lighting would be changed out in favor of safe, energy efficient, and environmentally responsible night lighting in East Hampton.
Ripping the review process out of the Planning Department is completely unwarranted. They have a simple, quick, and free permit process for new lighting.
We would also end up with a lighting code that would be unworkable (and unenforceable) since Ms. Quigley’s draft is technically incorrect, demonstrating her lack of knowledge of lighting terms and lighting design.
The current lighting code provides safe light levels on the ground (according to the Illuminating Engineering Society), a reduction in dangerous and debilitating glare, reduction in sky-glow, along with energy savings.
Any concerns that are confirmed to be true can be made in the current code and, I hope, in consultation with real experts, including the town’s own energy advisory committee. An engineer and certified lighting design expert worked on the original code. That person also wrote the lighting design guide for the Department of Defense. She was not consulted, nor were the town’s energy advisers, nor any nationally recognized dark-sky expert with experience in writing lighting codes.
Dark Sky Society
October 17, 2011
As we knew it would, our volunteer citizens organization, quietskiescoalition.org, continues to grow, having just added a North Fork Chapter to our now over 200 South Fork members. Not bad for less than two months in operation. And we are just warming up. Our congratulations to Bill Mott, who has taken the pledge, if elected, not to accept any Federal Aviation Administration money for the next two years. He joins Zach Cohen, Sylvia Overby, and Peter Van Scoyoc in having done so.
It turns out that advocating for local control of our way-out-of-control Wilkinson-Twomey-Krupinski Metropolitan Airport (WTK on your seaplane ticket) is rather popular in these parts. It turns out that lots of people somehow cannot see the value of subsidizing the very destruction of their own quality of life, environment, and property values.
Maybe Bill W. ought to pony up some more of our tax money to get his boy, Peter Kirsch, to come back east. Then he can send him over to Southold to wisely and patiently explain to the thousands of irate North Fork folks just how “difficult” it is to control an airport. Oh and how helicopters and jets and seaplanes are “good for you,” if you just hold your ears. Sort of like rat poison, if you just hold your nose.
Quiet Skies Coalition
October 16, 2011
Your editorial last week about people willing to vote for tax increases was off point.
No one argues that public safety is not important and something that should not be supported. People do not mind paying for their own safety, and a proposition to spend $2.8 million for improved ambulance service is a no-brainer — as was the case in Amagansett.
To compare that with the willingness to pay higher town, county, state, and federal taxes is more than a little ridiculous.
Let’s take the town budget, for example. The town budget fully funds and supports the Police Department, beach safety, and emergency management. The fact that those activities need to be fully funded is why trimming is required in other areas, because I do not believe people do indeed favor higher taxes and spending over all as we move forward in time.
The Democratic governor and assembly of our state certainly don’t believe taxes should be going up, as witnessed by the tax levy cap they instituted with overwhelming support this past year. Now I would guess that a state bill to limit tax levies on emergency services, if proposed, would have been voted down the same day that the general tax levy cap was passed.
The art of government in these difficult times is to balance the public’s safety and protection with the desire to keep taxes under control.
The elimination of the leaf program has been turned into a political football in this election. The elimination of that service, not an easy decision I’m sure, was one action that could be taken in an effort to keep taxes stable while maintaining the vital safety and public protection services that cannot be compromised. I have never seen anyone drown in a pile of leaves.
Ms. Norrby is a member of the East Hampton Republican Committee. Ed.
Favor Long Term
October 15, 2011
My name is Kevin M. Byrne, and I am a 38-year resident of Springs. I am running for East Hampton Town trustee on the Republican, Independence, and Opportunity Party lines.
My parents, Thomas and the late Barbara Byrne, settled in East Hampton with our family upon my father’s retirement from the United States Navy. My father still serves the community as the commander of the East Hampton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 550 and was a past commander of the American Legion Post 419. My wife, Nancy, and I continue to reside in Springs and plan to raise our family here.
I attended Most Holy Trinity, Springs School, and East Hampton High School. After graduation, I earned a B.A. in history from the State University at Plattsburgh in 1991. With my degree came the monumental choice so many local young people face: Do I stay and continue to make East Hampton my home or do I leave? I chose to stay and I have never regretted that decision.
I constantly strive to enrich the community. I am proud of my involvement with the Sons of the American Legion Post 419, where I serve as its second vice commander and have sat on the executive board for 10 years. I take pride in the good works our small but devoted post has accomplished. Legion members, including the Ladies Auxiliary, aid such wonderful causes as Toys for Tots, Meals on Wheels, the Wounded Warrior Project, and our annual book scholarships.
Hard work accompanied my decision to make East Hampton home. I spent several years in the local hospitality/service industry, including working at East End Hardware, then one of the oldest established businesses in town, owned and operated by Edward Tillinghast Jr.
For the last nine years I have worked for the Suffolk Department of Social Services Child Protective Services. Initially my work entailed investigating allegations of maltreatment, abuse, and neglect of children — no easy job. My team’s area encompassed all of eastern Long Island, which enabled me to cover East Hampton Town and develop a close working relationship with local service agencies, school districts, town and village police departments, and local courts. Being from this area allowed me an understanding of my clients which helped put them at ease during stressful moments and helped me better serve and protect East Hampton’s most precious resources — our families and children.
The last four years I have worked in the Child Placement Bureau Foster Care Division, covering the East End, including East Hampton, helping children to be reunited with their families, to be formally adopted, or placed in safe and suitable living situations. There is no question that my work has served to reinforce the wisdom of my decision to continue to make East Hampton my home, and given me an appreciation of my town’s unique character. Through my work I have developed skills that will serve me well as a trustee, including my familiarity with extensive fieldwork, making fair and accurate assessments, working within a team dynamic, and dealing with the general public.
Although I do not make my livelihood from the water, my enjoyment of the local beaches and bays is both recreational and educational since first learning to crab, fish, and clam as a boy. I am a long-term resident committed to preserving our rights to public beach access, for leisure, educational, and recreational uses, while at the same time continuing to support the vital environmental measures needed to protect our delicate ecology. I support the use of natural materials wherever possible and am always open to any and all suggestions geared toward improving East Hampton. I favor long-term solutions, considering what will be the effects of today’s decisions not merely a decade or two but a century from now.
My career has taught me the meaning of the word protect. It is my chosen profession and has been my daily work to protect local residents. Now I am prepared to continue to protect the residents and their rights as an East Hampton Town trustee.
The trustees have a proud history, and I would consider it an honor if the residents of East Hampton were to allow me to serve their interests, as well as the interests of those lands entrusted to the trustees, by electing me an East Hampton Town trustee on Nov. 8.
KEVIN M. BYRNE
October 17, 2011
Last week while reading The East Hampton Star, I saw that a good friend was running for East Hampton Town trustee. I have known Loretta Sears as a co-worker, as an avid fisherman, and most important, as a friend.
Many will claim that they work hard. No one will be able to keep up with Loretta. As a co-worker, I saw her do the work of three, maintaining higher standards than directed.
It is not in Loretta’s nature to say “I can’t” or “I won’t.”
Loretta is a third-generation East Ender, and a product of the East Hampton education system. When she allows herself some free time, you will inevitably find her surfcasting.
I will be voting for the Wilkinson team.
More important, I hope you join me as I will also be voting for my friend, Loretta.
They Can Sing
October 17, 2011
I would like to thank the community members of Montauk, Amagansett, and East Hampton for coming out on a rainy weeknight this past Wednesday at Stephen Talkhouse for our trustee karaoke party meet-and-greet. What a fun time we had!
Most of all, thanks to all who attended for proving that “a small group of caring, concerned citizens can change the world. It is the only thing that ever has.”
Slainte, grazie, skal, cheers.
NANCI E. LaGARENNE
Ms. LaGarenne is a candidate for East Hampton Town trustee. Ed.
October 16, 2011
What do Democrats have against free speech and private property?
Up until yesterday, I had Wilkinson and Haeg election signs on my lawn showing my support for these very fine candidates. Some unknown, narrow-minded person snuck onto my private property in the middle of the night and removed those signs.
I am a veteran of the United States Navy and I served our country during the Korean War. I fought for your right, David (and the right of the thug who stole my signs), to express your political views freely and openly. Yet I’m not allowed to express mine? What next, a rock through my window?
I have heard that this sign stealing of only Republican candidates is going on all over town. Why doesn’t your paper address this serious free-speech problem with either a news story or an editorial? I would think that a newspaper (whose stock in trade is the First Amendment) would be as outraged and offended by this loutish behavior as my friends, neighbors, and I are. Moreover, stealing or defacing another person’s personal property, in this case my signs, is against the law. So is criminal trespassing.
I call upon the Democratic committee and its fascist operatives to cease and desist their thuggish behavior. But we have seen this obnoxious practice before from Democrats in recent past elections. And now they expect us to return them to Town Hall? We can only hope that never happens!
I have just replaced those signs and I expect that they will remain through Election Day, Nov. 8, when I will voluntarily take them down myself. Until then, here’s a warning for the thief: You better not try that again because if I catch you in the act, it won’t be pleasant!
Mr. Schrage is a member of the East Hampton Republican Committee. Ed.
October 13, 2011
To the Editor,
On Monday afternoon, Oct. 10, we put up a re-elect Scott King for Superintendent of Highways sign in a tree beside our driveway. Upon awakening the next morning, the sign was gone. This sign was 30 to 40 feet in on our property and up in the tree approximately 25 feet.
In order to get to the sign, you had to enter our property, open a closed driveway gate, and climb a ladder or use a long pole. This is a case of trespassing, destruction of property, and theft.
I am positive I know who did this cowardly, dark-of-night deed.
This is the faction that Scott has had to deal with at work, a small group that wants someone else to pay for their laziness. You know, the little boy stuff — “I won’t play if you don’t do it my way.”
Scott is a terrific leader. I have personally watched and heard him work with his men. Never once did I see any meanness or unfairness from him.
Both Scott King and Steve Lynch themselves are running a fair, sociable campaign. This small group presently employed by the town is degrading the whole process.
As of this letter-writing, approximately 100 of Scott’s signs have been stolen from along the highways. All this from a small group of disgruntled employees.
I live on Ocean View Avenue in Springs, and I know who trespassed on our property. If it continues, I have no recourse but to contact the authorities.
EVELYN S. BATES
September 22, 2011
As an old time friend and neighbor of Stephen K. Lynch, I am asking my long-lost friends and acquaintances to vote for Stephen Lynch on Election Day in November, as he is running for superintendent of highways for East Hampton Town. I have not been around East Hampton for 30 years as I dedicated myself to military service (U. S. Navy, retired) and am asking folks to vote for Stephen Lynch.
Stephen is an honorable East Hampton citizen, husband, father, grandfather, and volunteer fireman. Born and raised in East Hampton along with his ancestors, who date back to early East Hampton, Stephen graduated with me at East Hampton High School in 1978, and has run successful pool building and excavating businesses that developed his leadership and management and financial skills. Everything Stephen starts he gives it 100 percent. Stephen has well-developed management skills, financial experience, and has the leadership required to lead the Highway Department in the right direction for years to come.
I have read in The Star online about all of the unfairness, bullying, racial statements, and fighting with current employees of the Highway Department, of whom most are people I know personally. They should not have to work under these harsh conditions, and take it home to their families after a long day at work. Stephen Lynch will treat his team with absolute fairness and respect, and they will come home at the end of the long work day to their families with a big smile on their faces.
Please vote for Stephen Lynch on Election Day.
Job He Wants
October 15, 2011
Will someone please give Steve Lynch a job? His agent, oops, mother, keeps telling us what a nice boy her son is. Here is the extraordinary part of this scenario, Mother Lynch, who gave a low grade to Scott King’s performance, doesn’t even live in East Hampton; she lives in Florida. The woman has incredible eyesight. From her Florida residence she watches the way the snow and ice is removed, the roads repaired, cleanup after storms like Irene, etc., or is little Stevie telling his mommy? Every time she pleads for her boy, we wake up to 20 more signs spread over town like a disease.
The problem boils down to the fact that the job he wants is presently occupied. There is someone at the helm. Scott King is doing a fine job at maintaining the Highway Department on less and less manpower, equipment, and operating money. Mr. King, also a Bonacker, doesn’t need his mother to plead for him. It’s a hard job and you need a strong man like Mr. King to do it.
Mr. Lynch also needs to be aware that not all roads in East Hampton are under the jurisdiction of the town; some are state roads. And the leaf-pickup program in East Hampton did not cost $400,000; that’s just another Republican lie. Mr. King can do it for less, which is the way he runs his department: more for less.
PHYLLIS I. MALLAH
Ms. Mallah is a member of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Ed.
Dumb and Dumber
October 14, 2011
Last week I characterized the Democratic campaign for town board as a typical cookie-cutter campaign for the politically impaired that is intended to deceive. But the Republican campaign can be characterized also as “Dumb and Dumber.” This might be in some ways amusing if the issues were not so serious and the strategy weren’t so dangerous.
Clearly, the vast majority do not want a return to the fiscal atrocities, and near financial ruin, of East Hampton, served up to us by the last Democratic administration. But the Republicans have nominated two candidates who will surely lose and that guy over there with the albatross around his neck is none other than Supervisor Bill Wilkinson.
When Bill Wilkinson took office the town’s finances were in tatters, the Colonial Town Hall was incomplete and bleeding money, layoffs loomed for town employees, and every other day some new fiscal atrocity was discovered. For righting the fiscal ship, Bill Wilkinson deserves re-election even if you don’t agree with his methods or have to stop him from selling some piece of property.
But running parallel to the fiscal accomplishment has been a ham-fisted administration that seems too often to listen too closely to too few people, making friends and foes downright angry. It is a fact that election to public office can very often bring out the very worst kind of ego-fueled bullying in people you thought you could trust to do a good job while respecting certain boundaries. The record of this administration on the way it performs in public and behind the scenes is particularly onerous and requires change. We are not amused.
When Sylvia Overby ran for town board 10 years ago, the shocking things she said showed an utter contempt for regular people that was a new low in a local election. And no, you don’t change those views even in 10 years. But Bill Wilkinson’s albatross is Theresa Quigley, who seems to be shooting for a new record in open contempt for the people who elected her.
The Republican Party nominated two town board candidates who, in my view, never had a chance and passed over two more popular and better qualified people in the process — Marilyn Behan and Bill Mott. It would not be the first time that the Republicans have shot themselves in the foot, but you go figure that out. I, for one, cannot.
But perhaps Marilyn Behan and Bill Mott dodged a bullet by not being nominated as part of the Wilkinson team and being nominated instead on the Independence Party line. They don’t have the albatross around their necks nor do they have to carry any Wilkinson team baggage. Finally, I can only imagine the confrontational chaos of Sylvia Overby and Theresa Quigley on the same town board as a nightmare. It’s a nightmare brought to possibility by a Democratic Party and a Republican Party that “don’t give a crap” about the people they are supposed to serve. But there is a solution. Vote for Marilyn Behan and Bill Mott and get back the respect you deserve!
October 16, 2011
When a town can pay down operating deficits without raising taxes, then it makes good financial sense to do that. But Supervisor Wilkinson chose to give the taxpayers a bigger tax cut in 2011 rather than pay off the $6 million that he had borrowed just the month before.
Here is how it worked: In August 2010 the town borrowed about $6 million in short-term debt to fill in operating deficits from prior years. In the next month, the 2011 budget was revealed with its $7.7 million tax cut. The budget did not pay down any of the $6 million deficit debt.
Prudent finance would have paid off all or most of the $6 million and given the taxpayers a smaller tax break. But we now have to pay back that $6 million over the next nine years — and with interest. That is what I call a “credit card” tax break, and it leaves the taxpayers with a big chunk of unnecessary debt.
Mr. Cohen is the Democratic and Working Families candidate for East Hampton Town supervisor. Ed.
October 16, 2011
To the Editor:
Those Democrats and others writing letters to The Star condemning the Wilkinson administration for using long-term borrowing have no understanding of municipal financing or the history of municipal financing.
When New York City was on the brink of bankruptcy following the terrible budget and financing practices of the Lindsay administration, Gov. Hugh Carey, in 1970, appointed Felix Rohatyn, a partner in Lazard Freres, as head of the Municipal Assistance Corporation to save the city from financial collapse.
Here is how Rohatyn described the situation in a lecture at Columbia University: “In the 1970s, the city had no ready access to credit. In fact, New York created MAC in the ’70s to issue bonds backed by a dedicated portion of the city’s sales tax. The ’70s city planners lacked accuracy and transparency in accounting methods which made it difficult to navigate.”
This resembles the financial condition the Wilkinson administration faced when it took office. Fortunately, East Hampton’s finances, in terrible condition, were not required to be under the control of an outside agency.
The Wilkinson administration chose to model itself on the actions of the Municipal Assistance Corporation and borrow long term to stabilize the town’s finances with a minimal reduction of services.
This borrowing, combined with employee buyouts, early retirement, and minimal layoffs, has embarked our town on a path to speedy fiscal recovery and allowed for a small but significant reduction in taxes.
The Democratic candidates and their supporters who fail to understand the importance of prudent long-term municipal borrowing are unworthy of administering the long-term future of our town.
Doing the Repair
October 16, 2011
A letter sent to The Star, June 14, 2010, stated: “After reading Joanne Pilgrim’s article last week, ‘Debating Old Accounts’ and your editorial, ‘Details Needed Before the Governor Signs,’ I cannot help but wonder why The Star would take the word of one man, Zachary Cohen, no matter what his credentials, when the town is having a forensic study of all the accounts.”
A very interesting observation made about Democratic supervisor candidate Zach Cohen.
The letter went on to say: “Is it possible that there is more to this than meets the eye? Could it be possible that Zachary Cohen, who seems to know everything, is working with perhaps Debra Foster or Janet Verneuille or Democrats to really sabotage the help from Albany at a time when it is crucially needed? The senior citizens and the young people in East Hampton do not need any new taxes. It will be the final blow for them.”
Does anyone else remember this letter? Such an interesting comment about Mr. Cohen! It was a clear show of support for the Wilkinson plan to handle the McGintee-Democratic Town Board $30 million deficit without breaking the backs of local taxpayers. Why would anyone believe that Mr. Cohen has changed his position from June 2010 to now?
The really interesting fact concerning these quoted comments is that they were written by Elaine Jones. That which Ms. Jones criticized Zach Cohen so vehemently for in June 2010 holds true today. Mr. Cohen has not changed his tune one bit.
The Wilkinson team is fixing the McGintee-Democratic mess. They are doing it “without breaking the backs of local taxpayers,” as Ms. Jones implored a year ago. But Ms. Jones has inexplicably turned her back now on the Wilkinson team and for what possible reason?
I cannot entertain a conversation about layoffs, since the Wilkinson team has achieved consecutive tax cuts while eliminating only two positions in the town (and there are none in the proposed 2012 budget). In contrast, Southampton is looking at several dozen layoffs in its 2012 budget. Supervisor Wilkinson is doing the repair job with very minimal fallout on jobs, which is unlike what we observe in almost every town in Suffolk County, the county itself, and the state. Just ask the police officers and union workers in Southampton, the park rangers in Brookhaven, or the hundreds of county workers.
One of the greatest achievements of the Wilkinson administration has been to avoid “the final blow” (i.e. heavy tax increases), as Ms. Jones expressed it, specifically for senior citizens and young people. Along with many others in East Hampton, I do not understand why there is not more gratitude expressed to the Wilkinson team and recognition of a job done well.
Ms. Duryea is chairwoman of the East Hampton Republican Party. Ed.
October 15, 2011
To the Editor:
During the town’s fiscal crisis, we elected a supervisor who promised to help solve it. That supervisor was Bill Wilkinson. Through the combined efforts of Mr. Wilkinson and the citizens, we made sacrifices to start getting the town back on track.
Some of the fruits of those sacrifices included a reduction in taxes and providing government services proportionate to the size and needs of the town. Sure, special interest groups have complained when their pet projects were reduced or eliminated. Like anyone else, when they get something for free, they protest when the party is over.
Continuing special interest benefits is unfair to the other taxpayers of this town, especially when municipalities and citizens are struggling through tough economic times. Please don’t be distracted by complaints after Mr. Wilkinson has shown integrity in following through with his promise to reduce taxes and get us back on track.
The current fiscal crisis affects local governments and taxpayers alike. It has been protracted and will continue until governments stop spending money they don’t have. Such uncertainty requires pragmatism and long-term financial planning. Continuing to address the fiscal stability of the town is critical to all.
Fiscal stability is important because without it, town services will fail. This is no time to stray from the good results of the Wilkinson administration and go back to the financial disaster of the McGintee administration.
Bill Wilkinson has earned your vote and mine.
LYNDA A.W. EDWARDS
You Work for Them
October 16, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray:
I’m having a great deal of difficulty writing this letter in spite of the fact that I’m sitting on your lap, completely focused on getting it done. Yes, your bony knees are a distraction, but at least you’re chewing your gum with mouth closed. Thank you for that.
Several acquaintances in the community have asked me recently why they haven’t seen one of my letters in the paper. I did not want to appear condescending by saying, “Uh, because I haven’t written one?” Instead, I said, “Yes, I’ll have to get to it!” So, to the 31 readers (up 3) waiting patiently for the next letter — good news: Here it is.
I felt reluctant to re-enter the local political discussion because the individuals involved — the ones running for elected office — are people I see at the post office or the market or on the street. They’re our neighbors, so it’s easier to be, well, neighborly than to start slinging it. If you spot me at the other end of the bar and say to your friend, “There’s that wiseass Greenfield with his sissy Chardonnay and ice, what a jerk,” and I don’t hear you, it’s like a tree falling in the forest, right? But if you get up in my face with that remark, then there’s hurt. Even if not physical.
I’ve spent time in Bill Wilkinson’s office discussing town affairs, personality quirks, personal affronts. We’ve laughed. We’ve cried. I like Bill. I’ve also spent time in Theresa Quigley’s office. There was no laughing or crying, but respect nonetheless for ideas and the will to accomplish them.
Still, I’m just going to lay it down (stop fidgeting, Mr. Rattray): I’m going to vote for Zach Cohen for town supervisor, and Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc for town council seats.
With all due respect for balanced budgets and other bullet-point achievements, it’s clear to me that you can’t run a democratically elected town government like a corporation because, implausible as it may seem, the “boss” in a democracy is the collective body of people who elected you, and thus, you work for them — not quite the opposite of what happens in the corporate world, but close.
So, if you’re turning a deaf ear to that boss — the people — then there’s a problem. That problem can’t be handled by some human resources department, so it’s dealt with in an election.
I believe the Town of East Hampton is looking for “employees” who will listen to its people and understand their longstanding desire for preservation of the community’s character, of its precious natural resources and environment, and still find the way and the will to improve its educational infrastructure, create affordable housing, and encourage business and job growth.
The approximately 1,000-word balance of this letter, on several subjects unrelated to the Nov. 8 election, will appear in a future issue or issues. Ed.
October 5, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray,
When running for re-election, president Franklin Roosevelt said, “Don’t change horses in midstream.” I feel the same way about Bill Wilkinson and his team.
Why would we want to go back to the old ways under Bill McGintee? Everyone currently running for office on the Democratic line is a crony of Mr. McGintee and hung out with him. They owe their appointed jobs and taxpayer-financed salaries to the fact that they were party loyalists who supported Mr. McGintee. Not one of them issued a comment about the ongoing corruption and community preservation fund stealing. Their silence was support, in my book.
This guy Zach Cohen has no real experience. He claims he worked for his dad in running a restaurant for years. Everyone works for their dad. So what? What kind of qualification is that? And Sylvia Overby sat on the planning board while half our current problems took place, thanks to her allowing special sections of town to be upzoned into large estates. Same thing with Peter Van Scoyoc. What did he do to encourage local jobs after sitting on several boards? Almost every business had issues with him.
I call upon my fellow citizens to give Bill Wilkinson a chance to really clean up the McGintee mess and don’t support people who want to go right back to the same old ways of favoritism.
Beyond the Bounds
October 17, 2011
Honest people must be outraged at the continuous lies initiated and perpetuated in the campaign literature spewed off the presses by the Democratic machine and its puppets: Zach Cohen, Sylvia Overby, and Peter Van Scoyoc. Character assassination of Supervisor Bill Wilkinson is totally unwarranted.
Certainly a campaign can politic against its opponents’ policies when done with facts and without personal attacks. Bombarding an opponent with flagrant and repeated lies about his supposed thoughts and actions concerning beach access goes beyond the pale and beyond the bounds of acceptable political conduct. Such “winning at all costs” behavior should not go unnoticed or unpunished by the voters of East Hampton.
The latest Cohen-Overby-Van Scoyoc campaign mailing to sully our mailboxes unashamedly states as fact that “when one of Wilkinson’s largest campaign contributors sued the town to privatize the ocean beach in Amagansett, the administration refused to hire counsel to defend public access to our beaches.”
First, what does “largest campaign contributor” mean? Democratic candidates know political contributions are published, and the fact is that it was, I believe, a $1,000 contribution in mid-2009, and that other contributors gave much more. Published also were many contributions given to the supervisor by beach drivers.
Next, because of this “largest” $1,000 contribution, the [Wilkinson] “administration refused to hire counsel.” The facts are that well before Wilkinson had even been elected supervisor, lawsuits were commenced in September 2009 against the town and the trustees. The 100-percent Democratic town board in place at the time, including their beloved Supervisor Bill McGintee and the trustees, set the legal defense path.
McGintee opted to use the town attorney and the trustees, their regular counsel. After taking office in 2010, the Wilkinson administration continued the use of the town attorney’s office, supplementing them with condemnation counsel; while the trustees added land-use counsel. All the attorneys have actively participated in the town’s and trustees’ defense and remain in place today. How does that amount to refusal to “defend public access to our beaches?”
The Democratic candidates should take any complaints about defense of the lawsuit to McGintee and the Democratic board members, in power in 2009, because the Wilkinson administration has continued defending public beach access nonstop.
Finally, the five-member board decides jointly whether or not to hire counsel. Assuming belief of the outrageous accusations against Wilkinson — and the Dems throw Quigley into the mix, because they have made her a political lightning rod for Democratic campaign politics — how does the minority of Wilkinson and Quigley get the rest of the board to go along with their “insidious plot” to sell the beaches for $1,000?
Councilpersons Stanzione, Prince, and Hammerle should be insulted by the accusations lodged against them by the Democrats in their attempt to destroy Wilkinson and Quigley. Please tell the Democratic candidates that Quigley is not on the ballot!
You may not share Supervisor Wilkinson’s vision for East Hampton, but you can’t believe he would sell his and our heritage to full beach access for a few dollars — actually very few in the context of political contributions. Look at how much the Democratic PAC, the Conservators, have contributed to the Democratic campaign. Under their theory of “contributory” politics, one can only guess what the Conservators will get in exchange for their many thousands of dollars? The Wilkinson contributor upon whom the Democrats cast aspersions is a piker by comparison.
The Democratic candidates say do “whatever it takes” to defend the beaches. Bravo! However, the entire board — Wilkinson and all its members, including Quigley — have said the exact thing since CfAR [Citizens for Access Rights] first raised this issue in April. In fact, Diane McNally, clerk of the trustees, appeared at a board meeting and confirmed the Wilkinson administration’s work and support for public access to our beaches. The Democratic machine and its puppet candidates do not want to hear what Mr. Wilkinson, Ms. Quigley, the board, and the trustees are saying because then their hot-button issue for slick campaign literature would disappear.
Cohen, Overby, and Van Scoyoc may need a word with Democratic trustee candidate Sima Freierman. She differs from their “total defense” mantra on beach access. Her campaign blog speaks of compromise and conciliation. She questions the trustees’ tough approach, then adds: “To my knowledge, a Bubs-to-Billionaire conversation was never initiated. The problem is not about management style, but the solution often is.” Is Freierman’s approach the real Democratic machine mantra?
It is clear that for the Democratic machine and its puppet candidates, there is no line beyond which they will not go to win. Throw their machine politics campaign materials in the trash where it belongs and vote for Team Wilkinson 2011 on Nov. 8.
October 16, 2011
To the Editor:
The Wilkinson administration has been consistent throughout: Consistent in doing all possible to deny its citizens the chance to discuss and, God forbid, refute measures imposed upon them. Phony executive sessions head the list, where decisions are made without further debate. No transparency except when cloaked with spurious explanations.
In reviewing this administration, it becomes all too clear that Bill, the Great Enabler, has succeeded mainly in stuffing his campaign chest with contributions from business interests and the wealthy in general who are not remotely affected by the meanspirited measures established to date. Starting with his revoking the leaf pickup in the name of saving money for the town, eliminating one open day of the dump, canceling altogether the “Caldor East” drop-off of furnishings at the dump, ceding control of vital airport actions to the Federal Aviation Administration — and for what? Their taking over various maintenance costs? Instead of our levying higher, more realistic landing fees on the pilots and air carriers involved? Something’s very wrong with this picture.
Next, we go to the matter of the aborted rock concert. One can only wonder at the reason for promoting it in the first place. A party for the people? Hardly that, as the hoped-for number of attendees, around 9,000, would benefit the promoters first, then the backers, whoever or whatever they may be, and we’ll never know for sure, and Lord knows what or who else, with the result that our cherished hometown would be mercilessly trampled and trashed in the doing.
A major component of the official attitude of late is found in our officials’ heartless disregard of the myriad complaints from the people against a number of popular restaurants and bars for their violations of all manner of sensible laws regarding noise and, worse, for the disgusting behavior exhibited by the revelers. No additional description necessary.
Okay, so McGintee and Co. fooled us all, including, it’s worth noting, the Republicans. We all slept through the good times, never looking deeply enough into how things were being run — until it was way too late. But it’s not too late to opt for a totally new management, a guaranteed clean sweep by the Democratic candidates Zach Cohen, Sylvia Overby, and Peter Van Scoyoc. Now go vote. For them.
Needs a Valet
October 2, 2011
The East Hampton Town employees’ union does not want the current town supervisor as their boss. The East Hampton Town employees’ union wants Zach Cohen.
You have to give the current East Hampton Town supervisor credit for trying. He was elected as the least-objectionable object. But governance has not proved to be his thing.
Environmental advocacy is not within the current East Hampton supervisor’s “thing” either. Public relations definitely isn’t, and his tax “cuts” will come back to bite us. What might be a happy occupation for the man?
My friend Betsy needs a braider for her growing dog-toy business. My friend Noah needs a valet, and I need a lot of leaves picked up.
All good things,
October 17, 2011
To the Editor,
Charlatans have always used distraction to sell their worthless goods. But slippery Zachary Cohen takes the prize for changing the subject of the East Hampton election.
His countless mailings give no hint that the real issue in East Hampton is restoring financial control and business-like decision-making. Bill Wilkinson’s team has dealt with the many problems created by the McGintee administration (which all the Democrat candidates served in some way).
The Zachary distractions include: airport noise (over which have no power), one beach access lawsuit (which has already been handled by lawyers for the trustees), and leaf pickup, a necessary economy that was much less painful than the alternatives. Zachary has promised that he and his running mates will pick up the leaves — with no clue about where they would get the money.
Their smoke-and-mirrors campaign is proof of the Goebbels strategy — that if one says a lie enough times the truth will be obscured. The truth is that the accomplishments of the Wilkinson team have been impressive. Their deeds need no distraction:
• Balanced the budget for the first time in years
• Reduced local spending by $10 million
• Initiated emergency dredging of two major harbors
• Repealed the Democrats’ beach parking fees for residents
• Negotiated deer fencing and a control tower to make the airport safer
Bill Wilkinson and his team have been working for the entire town, not just the loudmouths and the special interests. See a more detailed and complete list at ehnygop.com.
Don’t let the politicians reclaim Town Hall. Vote for Bill Wilkinson and his citizen running mates — Richie Haeg, Steve Gaines, and Steve Lynch on Nov. 8.
Twisting the Facts
October 16, 2011
With the upcoming election just a few short weeks away, the letters to the editor by the Democratic ideologues have started to increase in intensity, lies, and distortions. These are the very same Democrats who have apparently forgotten completely the incompetent McGintee administration that nearly put the Town of East Hampton into bankruptcy. Now, for a lack of a campaign issue with some meat on it, they are ranting about what they consider the most vital issue of 2011, leaf pickup.
The other day I heard a radio ad by the Democratic candidate, Zach Cohen, promising leaf pickup if elected. Is this all they can campaign for? Is this really a legitimate issue or just a branch to hold on to?
Mr. Cohen, who claims to be an experienced administrator, proposes to hire a town manager to handle the town affairs and a certified public accountant to add up numbers. This unnecessary expense I’m certain would cost the taxpayers a minimum of $300,000 annually. Bill Wilkinson, along with Len Bernard, has successfully brought the town’s finances into a much-healthier condition than what existed three years ago. Remember the incompetent McGintee administration? This also includes a 17-percent tax decrease for our homeowners — all this without a manager or a C.P.A.
As for the Democratic letter-writers, stop with the exaggerations, lies, and twisting the truth, especially one of my favorite actors and aspiring politicians, Alec Baldwin. Mr. Baldwin, probably one of the finest masters of make-believe (I’ve seen practically every one of his movies and TV shows), stop twisting the facts. You brought Sam Zell into a comparison with Bill Wilkinson. This comparison is just as ridiculous as comparing you to John Wayne. Your last letter, a mixture of Bill McGintee, Mr. Wilkinson, and whatever else, had me completely baffled. I read it twice without understanding what you were campaigning about. I’ll probably have to send your letter to the C.I.A. or F.B.I. for decoding.
A team that has been so successful during the last term has earned the right to be re-elected. Everyone, even the Democratic ideologues, will be better off with the re-election of Bill Wilkinson.
Who is and what has Zach Cohen accomplished to be the supervisor of East Hampton?
Still Trying to Blame
October 16, 2011
To the Editor,
What did I just read in the Republican political ad about Bill Wilkinson? He said what? That the Planning Department told him to sell the Montauk docks? Come on, Bill, this is just another example of misinforming the electorate.
Everyone knows that the Planning Department could not and would not tell him to sell anything. That was his decision and only his (and perhaps Theresa’s) call. He asked the Planning Department to assemble a list for him of town-owned parcels, and they did. Then Bill decided that he would like the docks sold.
The fishermen said, “Are you kidding? No way.” Bill then backtracked as quickly as he could in his best efforts at damage control. Mr. Wilkinson is still trying to blame others for his wrong and unpopular decision. Still trying to blame, in this case, defenseless town employees, who really can’t tell the true sequence of events that led the supervisor to his first but not the last bungle of his administration.
That is typically “corporate” thinking, but this is a town of neighbors and he owes us at least the honesty of admitting when he makes mistakes. Hey, Bill, we are all human; you do not need scapegoats to take your blame.
This election will give us a new choice for real, open, and courageous leadership. Zach Cohen, Sylvia Overby, and Peter Van Scoyoc can and will lead our community to responsible, compassionate, and open town government.
Lawrence S. Smith
October 14, 2011
To The Star,
How come the dreadful record of the ex-planning board members on the East Hampton Town Board in the last 10 years has not been examined? Every councilperson on the board during Democratic Supervisor McGintee’s tenure (with the honorable exception of Julia Prince) was an alumnus of that club. Why did they all fail to safeguard the financial health of the town in their zeal to work on their pet projects?
Loewen, Foster, Mansir, and Hammerle, former political appointees to the planning board, apparently regarded their duties as council members as hypothetical and spent the town into the ground. They never understood that they had to balance the town’s budget and ensure that the infrastructure of government was sustainable.
While “planning board” makes for a nice line on the résumé, the track record of the above-mentioned Democratic Party planning board graduates on the town board in the last 10 years was horrid. My point is obvious:
Do we need two more club members on the town board? Is appointee Sylvia Overby an exception to the cast mentioned above? Is appointee Peter Van Scoyoc?
Being a political appointment to a citizens board does not entitle one to a post on the town board. Recent town history would indicate the contrary would be desirable. A wider pool of candidates would have led to a better government and eliminated our town’s need for drastic belt-tightening. For wider perspectives untethered to their party loyalties, look to Richard Haeg and Steven Gaines.
Resent Attack Ads
October 14, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray,
I am writing to wholeheartedly support the candidacy of Sylvia Overby for town board. As a longtime resident of Amagansett, I have known Sylvia both as a neighbor and as chairwoman of the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee. She served as chairwoman before I did, and I could only hope to emulate her clarity, conscientiousness, and her respectful listening to the full range of our community’s points of view.
I appreciate the peacefulness and quasi-rural environment of our town, and, therefore, I am fully in support of the way in which Sylvia functioned as a planning board member and as its chairwoman. She insisted on faithful adherence to the comprehensive plan, and while standing up for her principles, she always showed respect for all sides. She never acted with anything but complete integrity, and I resent attack ads and letters that, without any documentation, label her as “mean” or lacking in integrity.
As a town board member, Sylvia will stand up for her environmental and preservationist principles, and for local small businesses, as well as for openness in government, while always conducting herself with the utmost respect for others’ points of view and with the utmost integrity.
October 17, 2011
Since not everyone has time to attend town board meetings or watch them on LTV, it’s all too easy to put one’s own spin on an opposing candidate’s statements and present a version that is wildly far from the facts. Don Schrage’s letter in your paper last week, mischaracterizing Sylvia Overby’s comments on proposed farm legislation on Oct. 6, is an example.
If you watched the public hearing on LTV, you would see that Sylvia did not oppose; she supported farmers having hoop houses to extend the growing season. She implored the town board to change zoning in commercial-industrial zones to allow commercial greenhouses. She stressed the importance of farming in our community and the need to support our local farmers, exactly the opposite of what Mr. Schrage says in his nasty letter.
The vendetta against Sylvia Overby should not be allowed to obscure the real problem in getting legislation to help farmers. This was the second draft and second hearing on the legislation. The first was in March. Sylvia and others pointed out that the new measure still did not ensure appropriate review of major installations or adequately comply with New York State farm and planning law requirements, and the measure was recalled.
The slow pace at which the town board has proceeded illustrates the administration’s persistent incompetence in legislative development. The farm measure stands with the proposed new lighting law as an example of inadequate research and analysis, wasting the time of the public and the resources of town government.
Ms. Frankl is the chairwoman of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Ed.
October 17, 2011
One of the Republican candidates for the East Hampton Town Board claims that the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee denied him the opportunity to screen for office, alleging that he was ignored because he was openly gay. I served on the Screening Committee during 2011, and at no time did Steven Gaines ask to be considered for nomination. We did, in fact, interview another openly gay man seeking nomination to the town board.
Furthermore, if Mr. Gaines is attempting to suggest the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee is biased against openly gay people, I would like to remind him that I have several times since 1983 been a member of the committee, and that in 1984 the committee endorsed my candidacy for the New York State Assembly. A year later the committee again endorsed me in my run for town trustee. From 1986 through 1992, the Democratic majority on the town board appointed me chairman of the town’s zoning board of appeals. In 2004, I was elected co-chairman of the committee and served for three years in that position.
It seems to once again be a case of making accusations and issuing misinformation, hoping that voters will vote on the basis of lies. Is that what Mr. Gaines means by the Opportunity Party?
October 18, 2011
I find it hugely ironic that a Star interview with a candidate for town board, Steven Gaines, is placed directly above a Republican political advertisement headlined in super-bold letters, “Can You Handle the Truth?”
It is sadly obvious that this candidate cannot handle the truth. In this interview, Mr. Gaines tells an outrageous, unmitigated lie: He falsely states that the East Hampton Democratic Committee wouldn’t even interview him for a spot on the ticket because they didn’t believe that a gay man could win the race in East Hampton. This is a lie. And as chairwoman of the Democratic screening committee, I will expose this lie.
In January, I placed several ads in The Star and other East Hampton papers, inviting all residents interested in screening for local offices to contact me. The ad included my name, my telephone number, and my e-mail address. I received many responses to this notice through the winter and spring months, and I called each one and set up appointments.
The screening committee interviewed over 35 people from February through May. At no time during those months did I or any member of the screening committee or the Democratic Committee receive any e-mail, any phone call, any letter, any sign of interest from Mr. Steven Gaines. His statement to The Star is pure fiction.
The other half of his lie — his fictional characterization of East Hampton Democrats as prejudiced against the gay community — reveals how little he knows about this community, which he aspires to represent. To suggest that we are anti-Jewish and anti-gay is beyond preposterous. A few minutes of research into our rosters of members, candidates, and leaders past and present prove the opposite.
And by the way, just at the time when Mr. Gaines was venting his imagination last week, the Suffolk County G.L.B.T. [Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender organization] was endorsing the East Hampton Democratic slate.
Check Their Ads
October 15, 2011
Reports that the Repubs are outspending the Dems are not too surprising to Star readers. Just check their ads: half-page biggies with color and mega-headlines. But size isn’t everything. What do they say?
Look at this one: “Lies! Wilkinson didn’t crack down on Montauk club noise. Truth! Over 600 violations were issued and the club owners are now in court.”
Over 600 violations? And they’re still in business? How many violations does it take? And this is a “truth” to brag about?
Am I missing something?
October 13, 2011
To the Editor,
Many of my letters the last few years often ended with: “This government heading toward self-destruction will not change until the American people demand it.” How can we remain silent?
A dream came true when we occupied Wall Street, which ignited a fire across the nation. Millions have taken to the streets, the only democracy left in the midst of a dysfunctional government riddled with corruption.
Martin Luther King Jr. also had a dream. Prophets rise up from the dead and hit you on the head — a wake-up call. King’s memorial was dedicated on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., a reminder of his legacy.
Finally, as for the economy growing worse when the poor, middle class, and upper class have been empowered, radical change lies ahead. We shall overcome, King’s dream has never been this close to reality.
October 15, 2011
To the Editor,
This week a group of conservative economists called for an enormous infrastructure expenditure program to shake our moribund economy out of its doldrums. After carefully analyzing the state of our country, they concluded that deficit reduction, while admirable, was detrimental to the growth of the economy. They also concluded that government would have to initiate the program because the private sector will remain on the sidelines until demand for goods and services increased.
For the first time in 12 years reality trumps ideology. We are in the crapper and political maneuvering is pointless and seriously unpatriotic (see treason). The simian behavior of our politicians, who, like bonobo apes, are obsessed with screwing each other, figuratively and literally, which renders them useless and counterproductive.
The rejection of the neoliberal, free-market mantra is simply reality analysis. The betrayal of the principles of personal responsibility and not rewarding failure have eviscerated conservative ideology. Affixing blame finds its relevance in understanding what needs to be remedied rather than in imposing punishment.
What went wrong in America is the belief that creating wealth, not prosperity, was the essential goal. Prosperity has a universal perspective based on production of goods and services. Creating wealth, when unregulated, allows for massive inequality of distribution, doesn’t need to generate goods and services, and doesn’t necessarily lead to prosperity. On a corporate and financial level, wealth was generated by acquiring and breaking up businesses, not creating new ones. Financial products were created by repackaging older ones with ribbons and bows. For homeowners’ home equity loans, refinancing properties and fantasy mortgages provided huge amounts of wealth derived from manipulation rather than hard work.
The American golden cow and the basis for our twisted concept of exceptionalism were derived not from the creation of wealth but from its distribution. As long as wages increased with the gross domestic product there would always be an increase in demand for the goods and services of our corporations. But when wages began to fall and demand followed suit, the built-in consumer demand mechanism began to disappear. Middle-class Americans bought into the concept of wealth that corporate America created and took on enormous debts in lieu of missing income and buried themselves.
At this point in our history the magnitude of our problem replicates the Depression but differs in one essential way. The level of debt incurred by middle- class Americans is so enormous that an infusion of money into their lives would probably be used to pay off this debt rather than increasing demand.
Obama is certainly at fault for not realizing the severity of the problem and acting accordingly. Health care should have been put on the back burner and the stimulus, while effective, was five times too small to kick start the economy. But the real fault lies with the neoliberal free market ideology of conservative Republicans (abetted by Democrats) and the stupidity and negligence of the entire Bush II government. Its failure to recognize and begin remedying the problem in the face of masses of data is government at its very worst.
One can look at the 2010 election as an act of serious masochism and the attenuating gridlock has furthered that belief.
So we are in the crapper. Possibly for 5 to 10 years. We are given the choice to realistically assess the problem or to remain impotent behind ideological idiocy. Perhaps this plan to invest heavily in our decaying infrastructure will shake our politicians into action. If not, we will have to dope up their ration of bananas and send them to South Carolina, where they will feel more at home in a friendly environment.
October 9, 2011
0.00003 percent of the 300 million voters who cast ballots from 1997 to 2002 were charged with and convicted of voter fraud. Total convictions? Eighty-six! These statistics come directly from the United States Justice Department investigation of voter fraud instigated and carried out by the Bush Justice Dept.
There is no voter fraud in this country even when the Republicans try to justify their blatant attempt to suppress the vote with the phony claim that ACORN promoted such fraud.
So, using the false claim that they were trying to prevent voter fraud, which doesn’t exist, 32 Republican-controlled legislatures are trying to pass restrictive legislation requiring photo ID for voting rights, and six have actually passed laws.
A classic right-wing tactic, proposing a solution where no problem exists. They tried the same thing proposing legislation to stop the use of Shariah law in our courts when there was and is no such use. They failed to suppress black and minority voting rights with Jim Crow laws, with property ownership requirements, so now, with oceans of money provided by the Koch brothers and corporate PACs run by Karl Rove, they try again and hope to suppress millions of votes.
Putting together voter suppression laws, gerrymandering favorable voting districts, huge cash outlays for media ads flooding the voters, and huge right-wing coverage as well as the lies and distortions of Fox Noise and what do you get? A right-wing, evangelical, religious candidate that looks like Mitt Romney or Herman Cain or Rick Perry being shoved down your throat!
We’ll see how you all react when faced with these realities!
RICHARD P. HIGER
October 16, 2011
To the Editor:
Remember when President Obama was on his bus tour this summer, the Magical Misery Tour, and he told us all he had come up with a plan to jump-start the economy? The country faced such dire economic times and the plan was just so good he was going to unveil it to the entire nation right after his vacation to Martha’s Vineyard.
Lo and behold when he finally did show us his plan, his “Jobs Bill,” it was just the same as the old plan that had failed so miserably; it was simply Stimulus 2.0, a glorified money-laundering scheme that simply put money into the pockets of his fund-raisers.
The sad thing is that President Obama knew from the start that his plan had no chance; there was broad skepticism even among his fellow Democrats that his “Jobs Bill” was anything of the sort. Republicans scoffed at the proposal though there were parts they liked. In fact, they proposed that rather than try to pass the whole bill, which would not happen, that the president break it down and pass the parts that everyone liked, pass them and put people to work and debate the rest afterward.
Oh no, that was not good enough for President Ego. No, his Stimulus 2.0 bill had to be passed as one single thing; it was just so awesome coming from him that it just had to go through.
Guess what? After over two months of wrangling, worthless rhetoric, and the inability of the Democratically controlled Senate to pass Obama’s bill, his idiot advisers announced they are going to break it down and try to pass it in pieces — just as the Republicans asked in the first place. Two months wasted so our president could stand in front of useful idiots and blather on and on for Congress to pass his bill, two months of him continuing to perpetrate a hoax on this nation and lay the blame for his failures at the feet of others, two months of him wasting precious time and money all so he could play politics and games with the country’s future at stake — all for the sake of saving his own sorry ass.
Newsflash for those a bit behind the curve: The bill was never meant to pass in the first place, it was simply a tool for our idiot leader to use against his opponents. President Zero is already in campaign mode and since he cannot run on his record he needs to fabricate something to run on.
The “jobs bill” was just that, a prop, an excuse for him to go around the country to talk tough, to demand Congress pass his worthless bill, and begin campaigning 14 months before the election and all at the taxpayers’ expense. I guess he needs to save all that dirty Wall Street money he has collected for later in the race or to flee the country once his Occupy Wall Street friends figure him out.
MICHAEL D. BOUKER
October 17, 2011
To the Editor,
After watching the Nature Channel I had the strong urge to go big game hunting. Since I don’t own a gun and there are no cape buffalo locally, I grabbed my baseball bat and went into Northwest looking for that beaver that showed up here a while back.
After six hours in the woods, I went home and assessed my adventure.
I sprained my ankle jumping over an old log. I had two Band-Aids on my forehead from a low branch. I had a tick stuck in my leg that has doubled in size, and the pharmacist says those bumps that itch are chiggers. My feelings now are the hell with big game hunting. I’m going to play tennis.
October 13, 2011
Dear David Rattray,
Head and hand and heart off to a brand new start. Yet, after all that running, wow, how the people fart.