October 28, 2011
To the Editor,
Tom Lawrence, East Hampton Village’s chief code enforcement officer and building inspector, is an outstanding citizen and public servant.
Knowledgeable, organized, community-oriented, and dedicated, he goes about difficult work with little recognition or thanks. You’re appreciated, Tom!
Surprise and Amaze
October 31, 2011
To The Editor,
The Bridgehampton Lions Club held its annual pumpkin carving contest last week at the Community House. It was another special evening thanks to the generosity of over 100 local businesses and the many, many wonderfully inventive and enthusiastic pumpkin carvers who continue to surprise and amaze us each year with their entries!
Thanks also to Liz Joyce, whose puppet show once again delighted the little ones, to the Milk Pail for donating cider and donuts, to La Capannina for bringing pizza, and to the Bridgehampton School marimba band who joined in this year and played beautifully.
Finally, thanks to the many good folks who came out to enjoy this truly great event! Your participation and interest allows our club to continue with our mission to help the blind and deaf by supporting the training of guide dogs. Your help also enables us to invite Santa to the Bridgehampton Library, to be a sponsor of Little League baseball, and to contribute to the local food pantry, to name but a few of the ways that our club endeavors to serve this great community.
Again, many thanks and Happy Halloween!
Bridgehampton Lions Club
Community of Friends
October 28, 2011
To the Editor:
I knew Ted Dragon for over 20 years. I started working for him at the Creeks around 1989, shortly before Alfonso Ossorio passed away. After the yard sale, he sold the estate to Ronald Perelman and moved into a new house, and I continued with him. I was the painter, then housekeeper and assistant, and later a friend and confidante. He had a new life and persona, freed from the obligations of running 67 acres and a huge house he lived in for over 40 years.
He was a generous man and gave a lot to the community. He made lots and lots of donations and delivered Meals on Wheels food to the needy for many years. Ted was religious and gave a lot to the church. He built up a community of friends with whom he shared many a good time.
His sudden departure leaves many of us in sorrow and loss. He died on Oct. 2. I remember one of his favorite sayings: “To get through life you need nerves of steel and a good sense of humor.” Good advice for all of us. According to his wishes no ceremony took place. His ashes were buried in Green River Cemetery next to his life partner, Alfonso Ossorio. I respect his privacy and wish everybody to remember the goodness he brought out in all who knew him. They and I will miss you forever.
And, yes, we made our Christmas cookies for many years and gave them to friends and people who were close to his heart.
Are As Law
October 28, 2011
On Oct. 26, upon the conclusion of my testimony at Paul Lester and Kelly Lester’s fish trial, their attorney, Daniel Roger, asked me if the Dongan Patent was a valid document. When I answered, “Yes, absolutely,” the prosecutor was shouting out, “I object to this question.”
Herein lies the problem. This prosecutor from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office violated her oath of office when she objected to Daniel Roger’s question about our patents. By virtue of being the successor to the King of England, the patents are as law against New York State — no different than when they were declared law against the King of England in 1691.
Our grants and charters have been upheld by the United States Supreme Court several times. All inferior courts are legally bound, according to the federal Constitution, to recognize and uphold our Nicholls and Dongan Patents, because of these United States Supreme Court decisions.
This happy horse feathers suppression of our patents by prosecutors and judges in mainly the Towns of East Hampton and Southampton has to cease and desist now and forever.
Here’s some food for thought: On Tuesday we will vote for nine East Hampton Town trustees. These are the same government officials that were first appointed to office March 13, 1666, by Governor Nicholls when he issued the Nicholls Patent for the inhabitants of the Town of East Hampton.
STUART B. VORPAHL
October 25, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray,
I read your editorial “Reining in Citizens’ Voices” in the Oct. 20 East Hampton Star. You mentioned that the town board “apparently has asked its lawyers to tighten controls” on the citizens advisory committees, especially “to vet all external communications.” You said that this is unfortunate because “recent events have shown that when committee positions are at variance with those of the town board, what the committees’ members have to say is dismissed.”
As a long-term member of the Amagansett advisory committee and its chairwoman for three years, I am very much concerned by those prospects. The C.A.C.s are organizations through which residents can learn about actions of the town board and other parts of town government, and, historically, the C.A.C.s have been able to transmit their views back to any town board or official. This has always been encouraged by the town board as a way of the C.A.C.s giving feedback from their members on issues that affected their hamlets or the entire town. The town board should always be kept informed of communications to other branches of town government by the town board liaison, but the town board should not attempt to censor or waylay those communications. The constructive working relationship between government and citizenry would be jeopardized by the town board abrogating some of the C.A.C.s’ traditional powers.
I would hate to see the necessity of new, stand-alone replacements or additions to the C.A.C.s. The C.A.C.s’ official positions encourage many valuable interactions with town officials to our mutual advantage.
October 27, 2011
Lisa Rana is a true asset to our town! For the last eight years she has been dedicated to the professional and courteous operation of the East Hampton Town Justice Court. She has done this during a financial crisis and a reduction of staff. Lisa is fair and reasonable. Because of this she enjoys wide support from voters across party lines.
Please join us in supporting Lisa Rana for East Hampton Town justice. She has the same drive, dedication, and enthusiasm to her job as she did on day one!
JOHN and CAROLINE DUNNING
October 27, 2011
To The Editor:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the residents of East Hampton who have supported me in my campaign for re-election as East Hampton Town Justice. I have enjoyed visiting with so many members of our wonderful community over the course of this election season. I adore East Hampton and I hope that I will be provided an opportunity to continue to serve you as your town justice. I would appreciate your support and your vote on Tuesday — Election Day.
LISA R. RANA
East Hampton Town Justice
October 25, 2011
It has been a great pleasure knowing and working with Steve Lynch for the past 20-plus years. Steve Lynch has a proven track record with people of the community and local businesses. His record speaks for itself. He has owned and successfully operated his own excavation, driveway, and site work business for nearly 30 years. He has earned a reputation as an honest, hard-working gentleman who can get the job done efficiently. This reputation did not come easy. This reputation was earned with hard work, determination, and the ability to listen and make good, sound decisions.
As we all know, the Town of East Hampton Highway Department more than ever needs a person with these credentials and proven history.
PATRICK BISTRIAN III
October 30, 2011
I would like to comment on your editorial “Highway Headaches.” Scott King and some Democracts keep touting that it’s just a few disgruntled employees that can’t work to Scott’s standards. In fact, it is a few employees standing up for the rights of the whole department; in addition, my complaint of Scott King’s unlawful video surveillance of me included his falsification of a payroll document and what may be considered theft of services.
You also stated that a settlement in the Human Rights cases was reportedly reached. None of the cases have been withdrawn. In fact, I have just received documentation that my case filed with Human Rights for harassment and retaliation is now active.
KEVIN L. COBB
Labor Crew Leader
Town Highway Department
October 26, 2011
To the Editor,
I find it strange that anti-Scott King supporters won’t let their failure rest. The fabricated complaints against Mr. King were dropped and squashed as soon as the word perjury was made more clear. I sure hope those who assisted the accusers will be equally as helpful if Mr. King decides to file charges against them. Then all that talk about taxpayers’ money playing a hand in the legal proceedings will be from the burden made by those that were less than honest.
I wish to ask Elaine Jones a question: Would you back these guys if they were proven to be in the wrong? If you would, I need to say no more. But if your answer is no, which would be the answer of an honest, well-respected American citizen, then I will continue with some very interesting information that will shake up your entire objective.
You see, I worked with those same people last winter and more recently during the road resurfacing this past summer. My first day I was approached by a foreman and an attempt was made to get me on board with their anti-King agenda. That same foreman had no problem discussing many issues with me, including their real agenda, the union representative, and even you Ms. Jones.
For exactly one hour and 47 minutes this guy rambled on about everything, including former Highway Superintendent Chris Russo pulling the same crap with him and purposely holding him back from a confession that he initially offered to be an ally to Mr. King, because “I knew how ruthless he could be.”
At that point a vehicle pulled up and one of the two young ladies in it asked this foreman when they could use the newly paved side street. He replied, “For a few kisses” he would “let them through.”
Visibly uncomfortable, they drove up the paved road anyway. I also felt uncomfortable, as I actually knew one of the ladies. They were both Hispanic, which the foreman must have known because when they returned and sped by us he yelled, in his best Hispanic impersonation, “Where’s my keess? I want my keess!” I was completely surprised that the very person who claimed misconduct against Scott King had just committed misconduct at a much more serious level. Even more bizarre is that it was racial misconduct. In fact, he may have also committed a sexual harassment offense.
He continued to whine about being worked too much by Mr. King and how he missed the days of “ride and hide,” a practice of either driving around wasting town fuel keeping out of sight or hiding in various locations (like the cul de sac at the end of my road), both to avoid actually working. This guy was throwing out names and information like I was his psychologist and he needed to get things off his chest. When we left the site, it was clear Mr. King had his hands full, although I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the majority of Scott King’s crew that were hardworking, dedicated to their jobs, and enjoyed their employment.
By day three, the disgruntled employee finally caught wind that I was a good friend of Mr. King’s. From then on the gabby foreman and his slim following didn’t give me the time of day. He probably figured that everything he said to me the day before had only our ears listening — but that’s not the case.
Now, you notice I’m not using names. I don’t believe I need to. Nor will I mention the name of the other foreman who I was flagging with when a gentleman from a pool company pulled up and asked if the resurfacing would be done by the following week. The foreman began using extremely abusive language with replies that included, “Do I look like fucking information?” and, “Do you think I’m enjoying doing this fucking shit job?” This tirade went on for a full minute. Both the driver and I were shocked at his behavior. The driver drove off while I stood shaking my head and then continued to listen as this foreman berated the public for another 30 minutes.
I also won’t mention the third foreman who when Scott King directly told him not to let anyone travel east on Albert’s Landing, he let three cars pass immediately after Mr. King left and it almost caused a serious car-and-truck collision. Mr. King immediately returned and explained it to the foreman again, then left. The foreman let the next car pass, looked at me and said, “Fuck him anyway.” A collision was once again narrowly avoided, but the car driving in the right direction screamed at both the foreman and me for not staging the area correctly — clearly sabotage attempts but at the cost of the communities safety. Does that bother anybody? It sure bothers me as my wife travels every day down that road for work 365 days a year.
It’s a dark feeling knowing your loved ones’ safety and lives are jeopardized because these foremen don’t get along with their boss. This behavior is pathetic and borderline criminal. Yet I still won’t mention names, but meanwhile my name was eagerly printed in the paper labeling me a “friend of Scott King” in a most notorious fashion. There was no point in doing this as I’m friends with hundreds of people and all I was attempting to do was the job I was hired to do.
Scott King has done a magnificent job at his post even with those few disruptive employees. Imagine the job he could do without them, replacing them with employees who aren’t afraid to do an honest days work for a fair wage — a crew that concentrates on teamwork, not mutiny.
And for all those that are led to believe that the worker bees do all the work while the queen sits back and watches, you are giving the bees way too much credit. Sure they do a fine job, but there’s a reason the highway supervisor position exists. Would those same workers exclude Stephen Lynch from being part of the overall picture if he was voted into the position, or does that only apply to Mr. King? Do you really think this community is that stupid?
I asked foreman number one why he didn’t run for the position and he clearly expressed the hard work and “smarts” that it involved and that Mr. King was “perfect for the job,” but that he himself didn’t have that quality. In fact he also states that the people in his little faction “aren’t all that smart.” He even bad-mouths his fellow accusers behind their backs. Need I continue? I can, but I think you all get the point. Do you, Ms. Jones? How do you feel about these guys now? Are you still compelled to back them with your support? Tell the people now, be honest. Unfortunately, I already know the answer, but I want the community to hear it from you.
What about the stolen campaign signs belonging to Mr. King? If none of the foremen are responsible for this childish and illegal act, I will personally apologize to her in public at Town Hall in a pink tutu, and that’s my promise. If in fact a foreman is responsible and it is proven, what would you be willing to gamble? Not a thing, I’m certain, as I’m sure you know the responsible party is one of those you’ve fought so diligently for. Looks like she backed the wrong people. It’s clear that her agenda is not for the benefit of this town but rather a personal attack on Mr. King. Everyone will soon see the same. The reason I wouldn’t vote for Mr. Lynch is because if there were ever issues, I wouldn’t want to count on Ms. Jones’s erratic behavior in trying to solve them. I think she has done more harm than good, but that’s not my problem, just my opinion.
You see, she won’t be able to spin this story, as I’ve taken careful precautions. It’s 1 perfect hour and 47 minutes of continuous betrayal. The majority is too embarrassing to even discuss, but I’d love to indulge you. Maybe I’ll take the transcript and have it published in a real paper like The Star or Newsday, etc., not some low-grade, biased, babble-rag like The Independent. How does that trash even exist? I suspect it won’t as their carelessness and amateur reporting is becoming quite boring. Personally, I would lose great fish-wrapping material if they ceased to exist. An exclusive story like this would certainly open the eyes of many voters, as well as a community that needs to know the real truth about everyone involved, from their own mouths. Well here it is, plain and clear. I look forward to an adult response, but don’t really expect it.
I will suggest Ms. Jones choose her words carefully if she cares to comment at all. The big ball is in another court now and I’m just looking for an excuse to start bouncing it. That’s all for now. But the best is yet to come. Meanwhile, I strongly advise you all to re-elect Scott King for East Hampton Town highway superintendent.
a k a Friend of Scott King
My Money’s Worth
October 31, 2011
During the recent windstorm, I saw our highway superintendent, Scott King, cutting a large branch that had fallen across the road. I was kind of surprised to see someone at work; it was 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.
I don’t know his opponent, who is supposed to be a nice guy, but it seems to me Scott King is one of the hardest-working managers in town.
Road safety is very important to me. I don’t particularly like driving at night in the rain and wind. Just seeing our highway superintendent at work during the storm made me feel that that I was really getting my money’s worth as a taxpayer. With this kind of dedication, I can’t believe he would ask his crew to do anything he wouldn’t do himself.
His is a big, important responsibility, but I believe he has the experience and drive to get the job done right. I don’t know if his opponent will be as competent, so I’m not willing to risk the safety of our roads because someone is a nice guy. Scott King has my vote.
Competence Should Win
To the Editor:
I am writing in support of Scott King. When we have sought his help or advice, he has always been accessible, knowledgeable, and responsive. I was surprised that in your recent editorial you seemed to equate the importance of Mr. King’s competence with the pleasing personality of his opponent. To my mind, when filling such a demanding and important job, proven competence should win, hands down.
More than once your paper has published complaints against Mr. King of a personal nature made by a few employees of the Highway Department. And now in your recent editorial you suggest that he is generally unpopular with his department. Taskmasters are rarely popular. We need a smart, tough, financially responsible, dedicated superintendent of highways who works hard, gets results, and expects no less from his staff. Scott King deserves to be returned to office.
October 30, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray,
I see on the television today that you are having some real tough weather — storm winds, sleet, maybe even snow. I’m in the sun down here in Florida, but I know what it’s like.
From your editorial this week I can see you and your readers have reason to feel secure with Highway Superintendent Scott King watching out for you. That is some great record you wrote about, his performance on the job in hurricanes and winter storms.
Yes, well, there is no substitute for experience when the going gets tough to keep roads safe and clear. Hope it ends well for you.
Barefoot Bay, Fla.
October 27, 2011
To the Editor:
I don’t need anyone to tell Phyllis Mallah what I think of her. I think that she may have been the one who gave Scott King lessons on arrogance. It is sad to think that someone of her supposed stature would lead this poor guy down a path of self-destruction. For someone with her background I would have expected more. Thinking she had to stoop to attack me for supporting my son is pathetic.
Ms. Mallah, Stephen Lynch will give his all to the job of superintendent of highways, he will study the cost of the leaf program and work diligently to have it on the 2012 ballot for all to vote on. That’s the American way!
Stephen Lynch will work with the police, ambulance, fire departments, and the marine patrol in emergencies. Stephen Lynch will work with the town board to institute a plan to get the town roads back as they should be and equipment up to standards and will work with the village, county, and state.
Stephen Lynch will institute a safety program for employees, he will gain their confidence and expect a mutual respect. Stephen Lynch will have his door open to the residents for their concerns. Stephen Lynch will do the job well and treat even you, Ms. Mallah, with respect.
Stephen Lynch has proved himself a hard worker without losing his ethics. Stephen Lynch is a gentleman and yes, I am proud to say, I am his mother. Have I mentioned his name enough for you? So without further ado, I ask you all to remember: Vote Stephen Lynch for superintendent of highways. You won’t go wrong!
October 31, 2011
We want voters to know a few examples of our experience with Scott King. He was the only highway superintendent to solve the problem of Lake Woebegone that appeared at the corner of Neck Path and Old Stone Highway that would submerge half of our parking lot at the Old Stone Market. Prior to Scott, we were always told nothing could be done about it. He not only solved the problem but did it expediently and inexpensively. He also responded quickly to help retrieve our cat from the bottom of a dry well where we found her after she had been missing for four weeks.
He is the only Democrat I am voting for, most probably because he has demonstrated that he believes municipal workers should actually put in a full day’s work.
The Republican slate has proved they deserve another term. They haven’t wasted taxpayers’ money (we’re not all rich out here). It’s been a pleasure for the last few years not to have an arbitrary, sanctimonious, and devious town board. For the same reasons, merit and integrity, Scott King also should have another term as highway superintendent.
Knew His Record
October 30, 2011
I read with interest your thoughtful editorial last week, a dilemma I understand well.
Four years ago Steve Lynch asked for help in his election campaign. I met with him and interviewed him — after all, it’s not just the money, Marty and I live here, my children live here, my grandchildren live here. A very sweet and caring man, I learned, so I did the work he asked for. We lost that one.
This year Scott King — the fellow who had beaten us four years ago — asked for my help.
I met with him, same procedure. Not as sweet a guy I thought as Steve was — I mean you don’t want to hug him — but I knew his record through storms, hurricanes, keeping roads safe and clean, was impeccable. I knew he didn’t squander taxpayers’ money either, always coming in below budget with surplus money saved for that rainy day — which unfortunately the town needed to borrow from him. At least Scott had it there. So, I worked for Scott’s re-election.
Where I come from you don’t punish a guy for doing a great job, the job he was hired for. I wish I could vote for both men, but I really think Scott King has earned my vote and those of the people in East Hampton.
October 31, 2011
To the Editor:
As the campaign draws to a close, I would like to thank the citizens of East Hampton Town for considering my candidacy for town trustee. It has been a great privilege to meet so many voters — at public meetings, in private homes, and in front of delicatessens and groceries all over town — and to discuss matters of concern to them.
I appreciate having had the opportunity to speak with baymen about the ever-increasing difficulties of earning a living from our local waters; I hope to learn more from them. I have enjoyed meeting townspeople who value deeply the recreational uses and natural beauty of the beaches and common lands within the trustees’ purview, and I have especially been privileged to join a great group of fellow Democratic candidates, with whom I hope to serve.
I believe that, in addition to my professional background as an attorney for nearly 30 years (including over 15 years with an office in town), my previous experience as co-chairman of the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee, and as a member of the town planning board will prove to be valuable assets once in office.
It is said that a candidate for office cannot get the votes of others unless he or she presents a reason for running and asks for their votes. So, with that in mind, I respectfully ask to be elected as town trustee.
October 31, 2011
Just a short note to let the East Hampton voters know some of what their town trustees have been up to: We defeated New York State in the recreational fishing suit allowing all Long Islanders to fish in the bays and the ocean without a fee.
We have excavated the inlets to Fresh Pond, Accabonac Harbor, Three Mile Harbor, and the culvert on Gerard Drive. We support the county dredging the channel at Three Mile Harbor.
We have won the first decision in the all-important battle for the Napeague ocean beach and await a trial date.
The approval of the new Pussy’s Pond Bridge was granted after thorough environmental review. We are working with the Village of East Hampton to expedite the repair of the Georgica Beach parking lot, and finally, we are ready to approve the first two trustee-owned duck blinds in East Hampton to open up more access to this traditional activity.
Thanks for the opportunity to share these things with our constituents, and allowing me, Joe Bloecker, to ask for their vote for myself and the rest of the Republican trustee candidates.
East Hampton Town Trustee
Don’t Forget Angie
October 30, 2011
Please don’t forget Angie Carpenter when you’re in the voting booth on Tuesday. She never forgets us. She was the lady in the know when we were fighting the good fight at the Suffolk County Legislature to keep the medivac East End helicopter at Gabreski Airport. She was the guiding hand we needed.
Emergency services needs have always been near and dear to her as well as her genuine respect for county employees. She proved to be a gracious hostess to folks from “out here” when we approached the Legislature in need.
Ms. Carpenter is running for Suffolk County executive on the G.O.P. line, against a well-funded Steve Bellone. She went from the Legislature (which is term-limited), to country treasurer. She knows how to get things done in county government, and remains dedicated to the East End. She is fully qualified and confident and can handle whatever situation is presented to her.
A Single Community
October 31, 2011
This campaign has been one of the most wonderful experiences in my life. I thank the gracious East Hampton residents who have told me about their concerns and their hopes.
By listening to these many residents, of all political parties and who live in all parts of town, my ideas for East Hampton’s future can be fair and beneficial for the largest number of people possible.
I ask all voters to go beyond the negative campaigning and the party politics, and to see that we must become a single community that respects diverse views.
While campaigning, I saw time and again that East Hampton is a community where neighbors care for each other. Often when I knocked on a door, it was answered by a neighbor who was helping someone who was old or ill.
This bond among us makes me optimistic that East Hampton will remain a caring, family community, and that it will not slip into becoming simply a resort town.
The wisdom of the town lies in its people, and I have learned important lessons from each person I have met. If I am chosen to be the next supervisor, I will never forget that East Hampton is not just my town, it’s our town.
Mr. Cohen is a candidate for supervisor on the Democratic and Working Families Party lines. Ed.
October 31, 2011
To the Editor:
It’s hard to believe that it was only four years ago that I was campaigning for a seat on the town board. When I took office in January of 2008, I was proud and grateful for the support I received. I was eager to get to work and filled with ideas about how to make our town even better.
Little did I know that within months we would be plunged into a financial scandal the likes of which were hard to imagine. I was determined to get to the bottom of the mess, but it was not easy to obtain and analyze the volumes of fiscal documents. I was joined in my efforts by a handful of elected officials, town employees, and volunteers with the stamina to strive to clear the hurdles erected by former Supervisor McGintee.
Zach Cohen was one such individual. He spent untold hours — at no expense to the town — attempting to unravel the books, focusing in particular on the community preservation fund. It is hard to express the gratitude I have for the time he spent with me, working to help me understand incomprehensible town accounts. His contribution to the resolution of East Hampton’s financial morass was unparalleled, nonpartisan, and amazingly selfless. It is with great sadness that I have observed recent political attempts to diminish Zach’s contribution.
I have been in the trenches. I am well aware of the frequent meetings with auditors from the state comptroller’s office and our independent auditing firms, which Zach participated in. Despite politically motivated statements to the contrary, Zach provided valuable assistance to the state and our auditors. When I think back on my term in office, his presence and help will always take a top spot on my gratitude list.
I began my service on the town board grateful for the support of the voters. Since then, my gratitude has only grown. My time in office has, at times, been a nightmare. But the encouragement, help, compassion, and support I have received from my fellow residents of this great town has been beyond my dreams.
A Single Dollar
October 25, 2011
East Hampton Airport, having previously accepted grants from the Federal Aviation Administration, remains subject to F.A.A. grant assurances that prevent the town from controlling use of our own airport to protect the community from aircraft noise. The F.A.A. policy is unrestricted access for all aircraft types 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
A proposed seasonal tower will not change this. It would be operated by the F.A.A., not by the town. It can impose some control over the route and altitude of approach or departure, but it will have no power to restrict airport access or hours of operation.
If our town government is to perform its normal function of balancing the desire of a handful of airport users for complete freedom and the desire of the rest of us for the quiet enjoyment of our homes, it is essential that East Hampton regain local control over airport access. If East Hampton stops taking F.A.A. money, this will occur on Dec. 31, 2014, by a settlement agreement with the F.A.A.
Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Councilman Dominick Stanzione do not want this to occur. They propose to apply as soon as possible for more F.A.A. money for trivial improvements, such as deer fencing, that the airport has more than enough money to pay for by itself. And it only takes a single dollar of poisoned F.A.A. money to tie the town’s hands for 20 years. Once a grant is accepted, there is no means to shorten the term of the grant assurances, even by repaying the grant.
With local control a relatively short time away, Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. Stanzione are sparing no expense to mislead the public about what the town can and cannot do if it regains its freedom. To that end, they brought an aviation lawyer, Peter Kirsch, to a board meeting to tell the public that, even if the relevant grant assurances expire, there is little or nothing the town can do to restrict airport access.
Let’s cut to the chase; here is what the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the highest federal court in our jurisdiction, has permitted the City of New York, not subject to F.A.A. grant assurances, to do to prevent its municipally owned 34th Street Heliport from blighting the city with noise: impose a curfew, close on weekends, exclude particular aircraft types based on how noisy they are, and restrict the total number of aircraft operations, cutting them in half.
In California, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed Santa Monica Municipal Airport to impose a curfew, ban weekend touch-and-gos, ban helicopter training flights (on the ground that helicopter noise is particularly noxious), and impose a specific limit on the level of noise that a single aircraft could produce.
In neighboring Southampton, the town, not subject to grant assurances, imposes a curfew on its municipal heliport.
When he appeared before the board, Mr. Kirsch was asked why East Hampton, once freed of the F.A.A. grant assurances, could not do just what the City of New York, the City of Santa Monica, and Southampton have done. Mr. Kirsch gave six different answers, all of them wrong or misleading.
First, he said that only four of the grant assurances expire on Dec. 31, 2014. Yes, but the ones that expire are all of those that bear on the airport proprietor’s power to restrict access to control noise. That’s how the four were chosen.
Next Mr. Kirsch said that the East Hampton Airport is part of the F.A.A.’s National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems while Southampton is not. Yes, but both East Hampton Airport and the 34th Street Heliport have the same N.P.I.A.S. status, “general aviation” airport, the lowest status of four. Santa Monica’s airport is a designated “reliever” airport, the next highest in importance to the system. The Ninth Circuit still approved extensive restrictions by Santa Monica to protect the community from noise.
Then Mr. Kirsch claimed that the 34th Street Heliport is different from East Hampton because 34th Street has never received F.A.A. money. There is nothing in the law, not a case, not a statute, not a regulation anywhere, that so much as hints that an airport proprietor’s powers to control noise after grant assurances expire is any more limited than the authority of an airport proprietor never subject to grant assurances. Mr. Kirsch made this up.
Next Mr. Kirsch claimed that there is no difference between what an airport proprietor can do whether subject to assurances or not subject to assurances because the authority of the town is as limited by the Constitution as it is by the contract with the F.A.A. But the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has spoken. That court, not Mr. Kirsch, is the final arbiter of federal law in our jurisdiction, including the Constitution, until the United States Supreme Court says otherwise.
Mr. Kirsch then claims that, since the passage of the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990, access restrictions are all but impossible to achieve, only one airport, Naples, Fla., has successfully imposed them, and only at great expense. Untrue. The New York City heliport case was decided in 1998, well after the enactment of ANCA. ANCA is in any case irrelevant if East Hampton stops taking F.A.A. money.
From a presentation by Daniel S. Reimer, another member of Mr. Kirsch’s firm, we learn that, if an airport imposes noise restrictions without complying with ANCA, the “Penalty is loss of AIP and PFC.” A.I.P. refers to F.A.A. airport improvement grants. But we are talking about East Hampton deliberately not taking F.A.A. money in order to regain local control. Who cares then if it is ineligible for grants from the F.A.A.? That, Mr. Kirsch, is exactly where we want to go. P.F.C. are per passenger charges. We don’t charge such fees at East Hampton as we have a trivial number of passengers. The bottom line is, no F.A.A., no ANCA.
Finally, Kirsch trots out the bugaboo of litigation expense. He claims, based on Naples, that defending airport access restrictions would be hideously expensive. But Naples, heavily litigated by the F.A.A., was about defending access restrictions under ANCA while remaining eligible for A.I.P. grants. But, see above: no F.A.A., no ANCA.
There is also a huge difference between litigating against the F.A.A. and litigating against private citizens. Let us assume that, if East Hampton imposes a curfew and noise limits, local pilots and the helicopter companies will sue. They don’t have a fraction of the resources to waste in litigation that the federal government does. Even more important to us is that the federal courts will only overrule a federal agency when it considers the agency action to have been, “unreasonable, an abuse of discretion, arbitrary and capricious.” If the agency’s position is even “reasonable,” it will prevail.
In contrast, when the town is sued by private litigants, the shoe is on the other foot. The municipality is accorded deference and its action will only be overruled if the court considers it unreasonable. The difference between litigating against the F.A.A. and litigating against private complainants is vast.
If we stop taking F.A.A. money, we in East Hampton can do what New York City, Santa Monica, and Southampton have already done.
Quality of Life
October 30, 2011
The Hamptons are not immune to hard times; many families are feeling the pinch with budgets stretched to breaking point. But at East Hampton Airport it’s business as usual. Some folks appear to be impervious to hard times and to the suffering of others. Transient commercial aircraft operators flying people to and from the Hamptons in commuter jets, helicopters, and seaplanes are enriching themselves at the expense of local residents’ loss of quality of life.
Air traffic reports provided by East Hampton Airport for January to July 2011 registered 9,494 transient flights (77 percent) and 2,890 local flights (23 percent). If 77 percent of flights in and out of East Hampton Airport are nonlocal, who is pocketing the profits from these flights? Obviously, it’s those non-locally based operators; their profits are not staying in East Hampton, but go where their companies are based — in other counties and states.
It’s difficult to see the benefits to East Hampton, as claimed by Wilkinson and Stanzione, especially when we know exactly what non-local companies do leave in East Hampton — unrelenting noise throughout the season and increasing carcinogenic emissions from jet fuel over our homes, playgrounds, protected wetlands, and nature preserves.
The tranquil Hamptons are fast becoming a distant memory and will further deteriorate if Wilkinson is re-elected as supervisor because he will, as he has frequently stated, accept Federal Aviation Administration money for airport “repairs and improvements.” Urgently required “safety” work (according to Wilkinson) is deer fence installation, yet over the past 10 years, the F.A.A. recorded only five incidents of animal strikes at East Hampton Airport — two were birds (they’re up in the air, Bill, no fences there) and three were deer, two of which caused no significant damage.
How then does 1 incident in 10 years become an urgent need for “safety work” requiring F.A.A. dollars? Deer strikes are far more frequent and dangerous on roads than they are to a few aircraft whose owners likely contribute to certain campaign coffers, could probably buy and sell the entire region, and surely can afford insurance.
If East Hampton Town votes to accept new F.A.A. money, then new F.A.A, “grant assurances” that East Hampton Airport must adhere to will be in effect for 20 years. This is a fact, confirmed Oct. 26 by Sheila Jones, a nationally recognized attorney, despite claims made in ads by East Hampton Aviation Association and other Wilkinson supporters.
If air traffic continues to grow at an annual rate of 9 percent — projected annual average based on 40,878 flights for January 2010 to July 2011 (figures provided by East Hampton Airport manager) — then by 2014, when current F.A.A. assurances expire, traffic will have increased 27 percent. Ten years later, in 2024, the traffic increase will be 90 percent over current rates.
If predicted air traffic growth continues at these rates, how could East Hampton Airport cope with such whopping increases without expanding facilities? It clearly could not. Expansion would have to be considered in order to fully comply with F.A.A. grant assurances that East Hampton Airport remain open 24/7 to receive any aircraft capable of landing on any runway. So, despite what Wilkinson and cohorts say about “no expansion” and only “repairs and safety improvements,” it seems likely there exists a very different agenda behind the smoke and mirrors.
East Hampton voters must carefully consider how important quality of life issues are to them, and take action now to ensure the airport is controlled locally, not by a federal agency based in Washington, D.C. If quality of life issues are important to voters, they must vote only for candidates who will not take F.A.A. money. There is no other option.
October 31, 2011
The Quiet Skies Coalition put on an impressive show at LTV Studios on the night of Oct. 26. It renewed my sympathy for those who live directly under the helicopter flight path. And I agree with their ultimate solution — to impose curfews and limit helicopter traffic — exactly what the Airport Noise Abatement Advisory Committee has recommended. Their anti-Federal Aviation Administration strategy, however, is another matter.
Quiet Skies has adopted an anti-F.A.A. strategy long articulated by David Gruber, a longtime airport opponent and leader of the Committee to Stop Airport Expansion with support from Sheila Jones, who specializes in environmental (not aviation) law. Their strategy is to “take back control of the airport” by never again taking F.A.A. money. They are counting on being liberated when four F.A.A. grant assurances expire on Dec. 31, 2014, and the other 35 in 2021.
Quiet Skies’ strategy requires waiting until Jan. 1, 2015, or later, then spending millions of dollars and many years in litigation with the F.A.A., the helicopter operators and anyone else who joins the fray. In the intervening years, there will be no control tower or other noise-abatement initiatives and no repairs to the airport facility. Can we really wait that long?
Even if and when the litigation is settled, the outcome is highly uncertain and the stakes are high. Should East Hampton lose litigation with the F.A.A., like Santa Monica, it could lose its rights to impose any noise abatement restrictions, including existing ones.
Quiet Skies hangs its hat on the National Helicopter case, wherein New York City successfully imposed a curfew and a limit on the volume of helicopter traffic. But unlike East Hampton, the N.Y.C. dispute was contractual. National Helicopter was a fixed-base operator whose rights were limited by the contract, New York City never received F.A.A. money, and the F.A.A. was not involved in the litigation.
Contrast that with Naples Municipal Airport, which received F.A.A. money before and after successfully banning Stage 2 (noisier) jets. Since helicopters are stage 2 aircraft, arguably East Hampton could follow the same process as Naples without abandoning F.A.A. funding.
Like New York City, Naples spent several years and millions of dollars litigating what a plain reading of the law says they had a right to do. East Hampton should expect to spend more time and money litigating because of its much higher visibility with the F.A.A. thanks to the prior C.S.A.E. lawsuit brought by Mr. Gruber and two others.
As founder of Citizens for a Quieter Airport in 2003 motivated by helicopters flying low and loud over my house, I support responsible methods of reducing noise, including imposing curfews and limiting air traffic.
I question the wisdom, effectiveness, and cost benefit of the Quiet Skies Coalition’s anti-F.A.A. strategy. More could be accomplished sooner with much less taxpayer expense by working cooperatively, as the current administration has, with the F.A.A. and by preparing an F.A.A.-sanctioned Part 161 study using local noise ordinances (single-event noise measurement) as prescribed by the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990.
PETER A. WADSWORTH
October 28, 2011
I thought the last election for the town board in 2009 was of overriding importance after six years of Bill McGintee. This election, I think, is of equal or greater importance for both East Hampton’s economic health and its well-deserved reputation for beauty and peace and quiet.
East Hampton is under assault on two fronts. The first front is the suit filed one and a half years ago by wealthy oceanfront property owners to claim title to the beach on Napeague. The town trustees, bless their souls, immediately jumped into the fray and have mounted a vigorous and well-conceived defense against those property owners. Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and the town board, on the other hand have shown little interest. Even worse, Supervisor Wilkinson attempted to convince the trustees’ attorney to settle the litigation. The settlement would have preserved the beach for the exclusive use of the property owners during the summer months.
Only in the last week has the town board, presumably for political reasons, come to its senses and passed a resolution indicating its support. It still has contributed no money to the trustees for the cost of the defense. That speaks volume about Mr. Wilkinson’s real opinion of the importance of the ocean beach to the rest of us.
The second front concerns the East Hampton Airport. The Wilkinson-dominated town board has adopted an airport plan that calls for significant expansion in the future. The board, of course, denies that there are any plans for such an expansion, which begs the question of why the plan envisions it. Moreover, the Wilkinson-dominated town board has stated repeatedly that it will accept federal money to repair the perimeter fence around the airport.
I will take it at face value that that repair is necessary. What is crucial is how the repair is paid for. The Wilkinson town board wants to accept federal funding for a job that will cost less than $400,000, even though the dedicated airport account has a surplus of between $1.5 million and $1.8 million. In so doing, the town board will cede control of the airport for 20 years to the Federal Aviation Administration. This will take attempts at noise abatement and control of expansion out of local hands and pass them to the F.A.A.
There is no conceivable reason that the town board should accept federal money for the fence other than to ensure that, on behalf of the 1 percent of the East Hampton population that utilizes the airport, there will be no interference by other town residents in airport operation and expansion for 20 years.
The Wilkinson-dominated town board agreed to an alternate flight path over Georgica Pond (to the detriment of Sagaponack, Wainscott, and Georgica). This will have no discernible effect on noise abatement in Northwest. The board has indicated no interest in any noise abatement studies or action; indeed, Councilwoman Theresa Quigley has recently said, presumably on behalf of the town board, that she favors a “scalpel” approach, which translates, in my opinion, to doing nothing.
Do not for a moment think this is inconsequential. Not only are thousands of homeowners affected and the value of their homes drastically reduced, but also the beaches from Sagaponack through Wainscott to Georgica will be rendered unusable by helicopter noise.
I swore to myself two years ago that I would never vote for a Democratic town board candidate again. I intend to break that oath this election. I will vote only for supervisor and town board candidates who have pledged not to accept federal money for the airport and who will fight the Napeague property owners’ lawsuit with vigor: Bill Mott and the Democrats. I do this not based on political party but because they have shown respect for us with their concern about these issues. There are plenty of good Republicans out there. Lisa Rana, the town trustees, and Steve Lynch immediately come to mind.
Very truly yours,
DANIEL G. VOORHEES
October 31, 2011
Thanks for your editorial last week.
I’m a voter like many in East Hampton who votes across party lines. I’m thrilled to live in a place with fair-minded people from both sides and I love to debate the issues with my friends. Political diversity is good for East Hampton — assuming someone’s not throwing sucker punches.
Unfortunately, the Wilkinson people appear to be throwing plenty at the moment. They haven’t been conducting their campaign with any sense of fair play. It’s been slick, negative, and designed to whip up fear. Whoever has been crafting their snide brand of advertising has gone so far over the top that it disgusts me and will affect how I vote.
People say both sides are guilty of this and I have no argument with that. But from what I can tell the Cohen team has not been resorting to this sort of garbage by any stretch and they deserve credit for it.
Not so with the Wilkinson team, which has been running ads calling both Democratic board candidates “thugs.” The ads go on to say that the same Democrats have been running board meetings like dictators, the way meetings were run back in “Soviet Russia.” Both these candidates are honest, hardworking folks with families in this town and kids in school. You don’t have to agree with them, but there’s a way to disagree with their positions without trashing them around in the press like they’re criminals.
It’s sad that this sort of sleazeball electioneering is common these days in state and national elections, but when you run into it in small towns like ours, it’s utterly distasteful.
Furthermore, when you resort to maliciously dragging the names of former board member into the discussion, you are doing something which is unnecessary and unfair. These people have been off the scene for two elections. It’s time to get over it and stop the fear mongering. A few years ago, you may have been fed up with their mistakes and voted them out of office. At this point you owe them (and their families) the right to get on with their lives. At the very least they deserve some privacy. The huge negative billboard-style signs the Republicans put up last week were so far out of line that it made me wonder how far they’re willing to push the envelope.
Enough is enough. This year, the Cohen team gets my vote.
New York City
October 31, 2011
I was extremely distressed to read electoral campaign ads — in appallingly bad taste — in support of Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson. One of the ads referred to opposing candidates as “thugs,” another portrayed opponents as monkeys and, shockingly, both ads were paid for by the East Hampton Town Republican Committee! If these are the public tactics of the East Hampton Town Republican Committee, one can only shudder at the thought of what will go on behind closed doors at Town Hall if Mr. Wilkinson is re-elected as supervisor.
The Republican Party was once a very effective, highly principled, and very dynamic party. Not so today. I am deeply saddened and thoroughly disgusted by the dirty tactics increasingly used by the G.O.P. to defame their opponents. Not visible in the Republican campaign this year are the qualities we have been led to seek in our leaders — those of fair play, decency, and respect for the opinions of others.
In difficult times we need principled leaders at both local and national levels, leaders whose actions become benchmarks for excellence in public service. The hallmark of such leaders is always based on integrity, on truthfulness, on upholding the principles they swear to when taking office. Unfortunately, the East Hampton Town Republican Committee has no such candidate this year.
If a candidate is bereft of basic moral principles and cannot win an election based on merit alone, then such a candidate has nothing to offer the electorate. If Bill Wilkinson, who obviously approved the ads calling his opponents thugs and portraying them as monkeys, is the best candidate the G.O.P. can support for town supervisor, then East Hampton Town has fallen into a very deep moral morass. One can only react with trepidation for the future of the town and the country.
To the Editor:
I would like to thank The Star for pointing out that both candidates made wrong statements. Mr. Cohen in his handout brochure and Mr. Wilkinson on selling town docks. I hope voters will not make their decisions on these statements.
The Republican Committee should not be calling opposing candidates thugs. This not what we expect in East Hampton.
October 28, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray:
I am so weary of campaigning by character assassination.
The latest disgusting ads maligning Sylvia Overby are no more than that — disgusting. When someone is disrupting a meeting, preventing it from taking its course, all judges, all chairmen, must and do threaten that person with ejection from the room.
Her words, taken completely out of context . . . but enough of that. The real point is that anyone who has taken any time to have a look at Sylvia Overby’s dedication to our environment, anyone who has listened to her at a planning board meeting or town board meeting, who worked with her when the comprehensive plan was being developed, who has asked her questions and heard the depth of her knowledge about our town, knows what we will be missing if we don’t put her on the town board on Nov. 8.
So I’m begging anyone out there who has seen the slime thrown at her in ads and who doesn’t know the history of her dedicated work for the town, to do a little work of your own. Please find a way to learn something about her history of working for us, consistently for the last decade, without any compensation except that of seeing our town keep a tenuous hold on who we are.
Watch and Decide
October 30, 2011
I must say that I was somewhat saddened to read your biased second editorial last week falsely claiming, once again, that the Republicans have hit a “new low” in local politics. If memory serves, I believe you have made the exact same outrageous and uninformed claim every two years since the 1980s. Go back and look in your archives and you will see I’m right.
This year you are in an uproar over the headline to an ad that simply states “The Wilkinson Team 2011 — We are problem solvers — not thugs!”
I find it interesting that you infer from the ad that this headline automatically applies to our Democratic opponents. Does any one have a guilty conscience here?
Below the headline are only two examples of bad behavior on the part of [Peter] Van Scoyoc and [Sylvia] Overby, so the readers can judge for themselves if they are acting like thugs. The printed word, of course, doesn’t do justice to the actual apes which are on YouTube. You can go and watch Mr. Van Scoyoc literally get out of his seat and threaten a lawyer at the podium. On the other tape, Ms. Overby reverts to her Queen of Mean status by trying to throw the public out of a public meeting! What part of the open meetings law doesn’t she get? Is that thuggish behavior? You watch and decide for yourselves.
What about the people who stole our signs (right off our private property) or defaced them with red paint? Would you call them thugs, David? Not one word out of you about it, though. On the other hand, how about the Democrats claiming if the voters “bag the Republicans,” the Democrats will reward them with free government goodies — paid for by other taxpayers. When I was a young hunter, to “bag a deer” meant that you killed it. The designer of that ad also knows that old use of the word “bag” in this context. Yet, not a peep from you, David, about those ads hinting at violence — so I guess you’re okay with them.
Furthermore, what about the Dems taking Deputy Supervisor [Theresa] Quigley’s quotes totally out of context and applying them to an entirely different situation she hadn’t even mentioned? Okey-dokey by you too, huh, David? No new low being reached here?
Finally, we have Zach Cohen puffing up his résumé and giving everyone the false impression he had a close working relationship with the New York State comptroller’s office. Instead, he gets a rare cease and desist letter from the comptroller threatening further action if Zach continues to lie in his campaign material. Simply another minor, unimportant issue to The Star, though — nothing to see here, so keep it moving, folks.
When I worked for the telephone company, if you lied and said you were a lineman in another state, and you really weren’t, you got fired. Instead, Zach wants us to hire him with his phony credentials.
Just for the record, I looked up the word “thug” in my dictionary and it says that in Hindu the word “thug” literally means a “rogue or a cheat.” Sounds like some local Democratic candidates to me! If the shoe fits, you should wear it.
I urge all of your readers to vote Nov. 8 like your future depends on it. Elect Wilkinson Team 2011 and save East Hampton from people who looked the other way while McGintee practically robbed us blind. Thanks for your attention.
October 26, 2011
Zach Cohen, supervisor candidate, whose indefatigable and undecipherable letters analyze the town’s finances, now finds himself the recipient of a Sept. 30 letter from the New York State comptroller telling him to stop calling himself a financial analyst [for the comptroller’s office] in his campaign literature.
And there is more to the saga of Zach Cohen, alleged financial analyst. The Oct. 25 Star had this story:
“On June 27, 2010, Ira McCracken, chief examiner for the Office of the State Comptroller, responded to Mr. Cohen’s accusations that Nawrocki Smith had botched some of the figures in the audit of town finances rather severely. ‘As you know when we certified the debt, we worked with Nawrocki Smith, we had no issues with their work.’ ” Mr. McCracken wrote.
Clearly Zach Cohen severely botched his analysis of Nawrocki Smith’s work.
Not only is Cohen not an financial analyst, he has never been paid by anyone to be financial analyst. After reading the above, we now know why.
On Election Day, East Hampton voters will chose whether to continue on a path of financial soundness or turn over control of our town board to those same Democrats who have destroyed our town finances and plundered the community preservation fund for the benefit of a select few Democrats.
Will the voters of East Hampton turn the town’s finances over to this self-proclaimed financial analyst and watch the town sink into the typical Democratic town board financial morass?
The history of the financial incompetence of Democratic town board is not a matter of legend but of fact. Tony Bullock sold town-owned open space in 1991 for about $400,000 to close a budget gap. Cathy Lester left office with $20 million of unfinanced capital projects, forcing the Schneiderman administration to borrow in order to fund them. Newsday accused Lester of running the town as if it were “a mom and pop candy store.”
The Republican-controlled town board, inheriting a financial mess, using prudent long-term financing and careful fiscal management, raised the town’s bond rating from an A1 to an Aa2, the highest on Long Island, and left a $10 million surplus.
The McGintee administration took this surplus and with Democratic magic turned it into a $20 million deficit, not counting the hole in community preservation trust fund while having the town’s budget director arrested. The Democrats not only illegally used community preservation fund monies to fund town operating expenses but used the funds to buy properties owned by favored Democrats or represented by favored Democratic lawyers, and these abuses have been well documented in the pages of this paper.
The Star is outraged that Republicans call Overby and Van Scoyoc thugs because of their behavior on the planning board. I have seen the videos cited and so can the reader by going to the LTV Web site. The video of the Sept. 17, 2008 meeting shows David Eagan, a respected local lawyer, asking Sylvia Overby for a statement, on the record, on why a decision was made. Ms. Overby tells him to put it in writing. As Mr. Eagan persists, Peter Van Scoyoc gets up from his chair, goes to the back of the room, and then suddenly appears next to Mr. Eagan demanding that Mr. Eagan leave the room. Reader, you watch, you decide.
The other meeting folks are talking about is the Dec. 10, 2008, meeting, which shows an out of control Ms. Overby conducting a planning board meeting. Reader, you watch, you decide.
I am not sure that I would call Ms. Overby or Mr. Van Scoyoc thugs, but I would say they are rude, crude, and most unattractive.
The Democrats, as usual, offer no financial plan for the town because they do not have the ability make one.
If past is prologue, and with these Democratic candidates, we can look forward to an other town board unable to manage town fiances, a town board as rude and more quick tempered than McGintee and the C.P.F. funds once more being plundered for favored Democrats and Twomey town lawyers.
October 30, 2011
As a life-long Republican and 30-year town employee (retired) in East Hampton Town, I am very disappointed with the direction of the Republican Party. The 2011 campaign has been the nastiest campaign in my memory. The present town board as it seems has done everything possible to hurt not only the employees, but the senior citizens and young people of the community.
After watching the Town Board meetings for the last year and listening to all the fighting, I will not be voting on the Republican line. I will be supporting Bill Mott and Marilyn Behan for town board and Zach Cohen for supervisor.
October 31, 2011
Why is there so much confusion about the community preservation fund being exchanged during the election debates? Not much is being said about the $20 million currently in the fund waiting to purchase open space while land prices are at an all-time low.
We almost get the feeling that some board members could be trying to quietly kill the program through inaction. Our supervisor promised to get us back on track with land preservation but he’s done just the opposite. It appears he and the deputy supervisor, Theresa Quigley, don’t want to use the preservation fund for its intended purpose at all.
There was a political ad several weeks ago that I was unclear about. It claims that Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley have preserved 130 acres of land since 2010, yet the town’s Web site lists only 40 acres. Where are the other 90 acres?
By the way, 28 of the 40 acres listed on the town’s Web site are the Boy’s Harbor property that was already a done deal by the previous administration; Bill had no choice but to go through with the purchase. I hope he is not claiming that. The two most recent purchases were a practically unbuildable parcel next to a high-use marina and the other was acreage with the dog kennel next to Ms. Quigley’s house.
It appears that he agrees with the Republican myth voiced by such “experts” as Trace Duryea and others back in 2008 during the preservation fund budget and management public hearing. They have a misinformed idea that purchasing land with C.P.F. money is bad for the town’s economic well-being. Meanwhile, it has been proven many times throughout the country that open space prevents tax increases while at the same time increases property values. As everyone knows, the beauty of East Hampton’s protected natural landscape is the backbone of our economy!
On the Brink
October 28, 2011
To the Editor,
There is an adage that says, “Those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them.” It would seem that the current administration in East Hampton Town is determined to disregard that adage.
In the not too distant past, a previous administration chose to ignore the importance that planning and zoning has in a rural community such as ours. They even had the temerity to abolish the Planning Department at the behest of those who would benefit most from such an egregious act. The resulting backlash from the residents of the town resulted in a dramatic change in town government that is still felt today.
In light of the attitude of the current administration that the planning process is nothing more than an annoyance to those who would circumvent the zoning and planning regulations, I am led to believe that town government may be on the brink of making the same mistake again.
If ever there was a maxim that should not be ignored, it is that the people of the Town of East Hampton have the right, indeed, the responsibility, to ensure that the quality of life we all enjoy here is preserved through responsible planning and zoning regulations.
At a time when huge numbers of people across the country are losing their homes to foreclosure, it is evident that development in the affluent Hamptons continues apace. It is now that planning is more important than ever and that we not be fooled by the powers that be into believing that disregarding these regulations is in our best interest. Anything less I fear will lead to a situation where we will, as the old Joni Mitchell song says, have “paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”
Dragged Their Feet
October 31, 2011
Next week, our votes for town supervisor and board members will seriously affect the future of East Hampton. Many citizens are disappointed with our current town officials in the way they have handled multiple issues including loss of town jobs, noise from the airport, violations at Montauk bars and clubs, proposed sales of town properties, discontinued leaf pickup, etc. However, in my opinion, the most blatant fault of the sitting supervisor and his “team” has been their lack of support for the town trustees in their efforts to protect beach access on Napeague.
East Hampton is first and foremost a beach town. The majority of full-time residents, weekenders, summer residents, and visitors alike come and stay here because they love our beautiful beaches. Our livelihoods and quality of life all revolve around our natural environment and our freedom of access.
Many citizens have risen up over the last year or so in protest over a “land grab” lawsuit which threatens to privatize a section of Napeague beach, traditionally a haven for local families. Although town trustees have been putting up a good fight, East Hampton’s current supervisor and board have dragged their feet to take a stand or get involved. Some of us resorted to a letters-to-the- editor campaign and local media worked hard to keep public focus on the beach access issue.
At least one organization, CfAR — Citizens for Access Rights, was started to support public access issues and to encourage town leaders to take a proactive stance in supporting the trustees. When town board members attended one of CfAR’s first meetings in March, they said they viewed the lawsuit as “unwinnable” and said the trustees were going against legal advice by defending the lawsuit. They continued by stating that a settlement should be considered and pursued.
When asked about the town’s position and the possibility of beach condemnation as a response to the Napeague lawsuit, Bill Wilkinson was quoted in April in The Star, saying it would be cost-prohibitive. He thereby took a valuable bargaining chip off the table, weakening the trustees’ position instead of fortifying it.
To clarify the position of town government, CfAR then presented a resolution asking for the supervisor and board to declare their support. Months later and despite numerous appeals, the sitting town government did not sign that resolution or react until about two weeks ago, coming out with a watered-down resolution saying they would use the power of eminent domain “if appropriate,” which is not the same as “if necessary.” It appears their 11th-hour resolution may be nothing more than political theater.
On the other hand, the Democratic ticket of Zach Cohen, Sylvia Overby, and Peter Van Scoyoc have publicly and repeatedly stated they will do everything necessary to ensure continued public access to our beaches, including condemnation as a last resort. They have my support, and I truly hope that everyone who cares about the future of East Hampton and public beach access will vote in a new supervisor and the rest of his team so that those who legitimately support public beach access will hold a voting majority on the town board.
October 31, 2011
This election will have a lasting impact on East Hampton. The elected officials and their appointees to the planning and zoning boards will be making fateful decisions on the last remaining unprotected open spaces and the ultimate buildout of the town. The land available for development and redevelopment along Montauk Highway, for example, could change the character of East Hampton from the existing intimate, small-scale developments to a congested strip auto mall.
Some have complained that regulations have blocked our freedoms, are too costly and time consuming. We should examine these statements critically as serious issues of flooding and drainage, water quality, and infrastructure challenge our ability to develop land without proper regulations.
Natural resource-based programs are far cheaper than engineered solutions. They are a worthy investment; they require continued commitment, constant vigilance, open debates, and strict planning standards. We cannot afford to relax our standards now.
It is no coincidence that many of the natural and cultural features no longer evident in other places on Long Island are protected here. With all the talk about budgets, I can’t help but feel that our long-term financial security will depend on the investment in our natural resources, our unique character, and our citizens.
Ms. Liquori is a former East Hampton Town planning director. Ed.
Only Takes Three
October 28, 2011
The town board candidates with hands-on experience with the current outdoor lighting code are supportive of it (Sylvia Overby, Peter Van Scoyoc, Zach Cohen). Those who have had no experience or who have an overriding ideological bias against zoning codes (Bill Wilkinson, Bill Mott, Richard Haeg), are not in support.
The majority on the board are now poised to throw out our code in favor of one written by Theresa Quigley that will only add to excessive, unnecessary, misaimed, and unshielded night lighting known as light pollution, resulting in glare, light-trespass, energy waste, and sky glow that obliterates the stars. It only takes three people to change our good zoning codes.
I would like the opportunity to educate more people about this issue. There is a 22-minute video airing on LTV on Mondays at 10:30 a.m. I have an informative PowerPoint presentation that I would like to deliver to any group, including the Business Alliance (which has not yet accepted my offer).
Legitimate concerns of those few businesses that require longer periods of time based on return on investment for retrofits to control glare and light trespass could easily be accommodated by permitted extensions.
Dark Sky Society
Republicans Go Wild
October 31, 2011
In the heat of the campaign, it is interesting to recall the frustration of Trace Duryea, chairwoman of the East Hampton Republican Committee, at a town board meeting some months ago. She stood up and demanded that the people present be more “civil,” “not so political” about everything! This obviously meant that no one should disagree with Bill Wilkinson or Theresa Quigley or even argue their point of view. Then she went so far to declare that we should all act “like Christians” (I guess, even if we weren’t.)
The end of the campaign has seen the Republicans go wild in their advertising. Most shocking was Trace’s decision to permit her team to call two Democratic candidates, “thugs” for calling for order in their respective meetings.
Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc are two outstanding citizens of our community, whether you are voting for them or not. They have brought up their children here, have volunteered in the community, and have and are holding important positions. They are the kind of citizens who any community would be proud to have. To call them thugs, when all Mr. Van Scoyoc said was, “Sit down, sir” is abominable.
October 31, 2011
The Wilkinson team likes to brag about its accomplishments, so it was interesting to read in Joanne Pilgrim’s article last Thursday that its latest boast, the 2011 “tax cut,” amounts to $8.12 for the owner of a $1.8 million market-value house and $2.32 for a wage earner with a $500,000 property. The claim far exceeds the achievement.
This disparity is not surprising to those who compared what the Wilkinson-Quigley board (hereinafter, W.Q.) said it would do and what it actually did over the past 21 months. Here’s what they promised and what actually happened:
• Permit a paintball contest on a nature preserve. Permit withdrawn after public protest.
• Scrap and replace our lighting law. Proposal withdrawn because didn’t make sense.
• Transfer control of site plan review from planning board and professional Planning Department to politically appointed building inspector or architectural review board. Blocked by legal objections and public protest.
• Replace current zoning board of appeals chairman with political representative. Thwarted by respected chairman’s right and commitment to stay.
• Cut expense without layoffs. Promise breached: Two people laid off and others, per judicial ruling, “coerced” to leave.
• Sell town docks. Proposal withdrawn after fishermen protests and negative legal opinion.
• Permit a 9,000-person rock concert on Amagansett public highway. Permit transferred after public outcry and litigation.
• Turn historic Coast Guard station into a wine bar. Dropped after public protest.
• Rezone Amagansett landmark for commercial use. Outvoted.
• Control disgraceful Montauk club scene. Situation unchanged.
W.Q.’s failure to achieve their avowed priorities is the community’s good fortune. However, if we re-elect Mr. Wilkinson with Ms. Quigley still there, we may not be so lucky. They will be back at their old tricks, and if they do their legal homework and ignore public outcry they may succeed where they’ve failed so far with even worse to come. We need to stop them in their tracks. We must elect Zach Cohen, Sylvia Overby, and Peter Van Scoyoc to keep the public in the picture and preserve our town.
Ms. Frankl is the chairwoman of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Ed.
October 27, 2011
As the fall season descends upon us again the stealth tax heaped upon us from the “I don’t give a crap” majority on the town board rears its ugly head. Senior citizens, fixed income residents, and working families will bear the brunt of this cost to save a paltry $14 per household — smoke-and-mirror-trick tax cut on paper but up to a 40-percent increase in the out-of-pocket expense paid to pick up leaves. Of course Disney World, where he worked for a few years, is a fantasy place, not real life as we live it every day. The Magic Kingdom surely knows better than we do what is best for us.
Fuel oil for heat is bordering at $4 per gallon. Food costs are up 26 percent. Energy costs are up 12 percent. Gasoline is $3.89. School taxes are up and now this burden in these troubled economic times. We need a government to help us calm the financial hardships, not heap this burden upon us year after year to save a measly $14 per household.
Two years of Wilkinson’s financial wizardry will cost me $1,136 — some tax cut! That’s why I gave the town the check to refund the bottom line that has still not been cashed.
Well, we can lower the thermostat to 50 and wear insulated underwear in the house, fast one day a week, and let our properties decay to look like the South Bronx.
The lack of interest commonly displayed by Mr. Wilkinson is evident. However, that decision was already made in Montauk where he holds court knowing that working families cannot attend and he slides in his hidden agenda where Dominick Stanzione and Theresa Quigley rubber-stamp his wishes. Boredom with the lowly us is blatant.
Then the dog-and-pony show held last year: An overflowing crowd came to voice its displeasure. Mr. Stanzione pats me on the back and tells me to present only “facts and figures.” He didn’t have the backbone to tell me it was already a done deal and that all of us were wasting our time. So much for transparency.
The proposed fire sale of the town docks, Fort Pond House, and now the golf course at a $1 million loss, the failed concert, well I guess the self-anointed C.E.O. of East Hampton thinks he was elected emperor. And yet he kisses the feet of the special-interest groups that he is indebted to. He left Montauk out to dry with the club scene. His teeth were on fire to move the disastrous MTK concert to Wainscott with no public hearing — nothing except his arrogance and know-it-all attitude.
The stealth tax last year cost me $568. Then I was given the wonderful opportunity to donate to the party in question. In May I sent a letter requesting that my name and address be deleted. The reply letter I have reads, “If you paid that much you got ripped off. There are plenty of ‘popup entrepreneurs’ who would have been cheaper.” I thought contractors had to be licensed and have insurance. The licensed and insured are the only ones allowed on my property.
It is bad enough that we already have a troika that disregards us. Can you imagine if there were no possibility of checks and balances? Then for sure the “For Sale” sign would go up at the entrance to the town.
To the Wilkinson team: No vote for you!
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
October 31, 2011
I believe that it is important for Springs residents to be made aware of how the value of our homes is being downgraded by the current Wilkinson administration.
My wife contacted East Hampton code enforcement several times in the past five months regarding a nearby house where there are four to five commercial, oversize dump trucks parked in the driveway overnight with assorted commercial machines, such as cement mixers, wood chippers, and other various landscaping and masonry devices.
Code enforcement followed up on our concerns by sending an officer to our home to state that it is perfectly legal to have commercial trucks in a residential area as long as they were under the weight requirement. We were told by the code enforcement officers that these enormous trucks overflowing with debris could possibly be used for personal use and that the people living at this home were very nice.
My wife and I met with four officials representing code enforcement and the Planning Department. After showing them photos of the property we were told that even if they got rid of the trucks the house would still be a mess.
Since the meeting several weeks ago even more power equipment has been brought to the property. Not only is this property a safety issue for the children living there, it grossly depreciates the value of all the houses surrounding it.
We are so disappointed by the disintegration of Springs. We bought our house here because of its quiet, provincial beauty and quality of life. I was once proud to say I live in Springs, but not so anymore. We will both be voting for Zach Cohen on Tuesday.
Listed as $0
October 29, 2011
The newly released 2012 Wilkinson budget has again targeted the Human Services Department. Part-time salaries in the amount of $66,836 in the 2011 budget are listed as $0 in 2012. This means that these lines have been eliminated, along with the services that these workers provide.
The adult day care program and in-home services program have been drastically reduced — adult day care by 74.8 percent and in-home by 68.9 percent. Further, the mission statement for Human Services includes only senior services. In the past, the department had included programs for individuals and families of all ages. Likewise, the transportation mission statement indicates that transportation for disabled people under the age of 60 will no longer be provided.
The Star article of Oct. 27 (“Budget 2012: Last Year’s Cuts Here to Stay”) quoted [Councilman] Dominick Stanzione as saying that in-home services and transportation for the handicapped “will continue as before but with a higher degree of efficiency.” How can this be true in the face of these huge cuts? Taking away services that so many frail and disabled people count on is heartless. What is also heartless is the fact that I know of at least one worker who learned that her job is being eliminated by reading the new budget: No one bothered to mention it to her.
Your readers may recall that Nicole Kopf, an East Hampton resident who recently passed away, willed $367,000 to the town to be earmarked for the seniors programs within the Human Services Department. What happened to that money? It was nowhere to be found in the 2012 budget. It stands to reason that Ms. Kopf so valued these programs that she wanted to ensure that others would continue to benefit. How ironic, rather than bolstering services, the current administration is cutting them.
Mr. Wilkinson has applied his human resources mentality to his management of our town. In spite of what he claims, people are losing their jobs, and East Hampton residents are suffering the consequences. Mr. Wilkinson brags about cutting taxes. Let’s look at what else he’s done: abolished the leaf pick-up program, allowed the Montauk nightclubs to make life miserable for their neighbors, failed to vigorously fight for public beach access, attacked the Planning Department through his most recent [East Hampton Town] Zoning Board of Appeals appointee, and cut even more Human Services programs.
The time has come to send the message that enough is enough! Electing Zach Cohen, Sylvia Overby, and Peter Van Scoyoc on Nov. 8 is the only way to stop this dangerous runaway train.
October 31, 2011
Campaigning for East Hampton Town Board has been filled with rewarding experiences. The six months between accepting the nomination and Election Day have passed much faster than I imagined they would. During this time I have received kind words and encouragement from so many people and made many new friends and acquaintances. I am reminded that greatest aspect of living here is community.
You may know me as the owner of a residential construction company and a seasonal charter fishing service or as a coach for Little League, girls softball, or youth soccer in Springs and East Hampton. This is my sixth year on the town planning board, and I also served five years on the town zoning board of appeals, my last year as chairman.
I have worked hard to protect and preserve our quality of life, promote and strengthen local businesses, and balance the needs of the community and our environment. Having attended over 700 public meetings and hearings in the last 16 years, I have gained experience in working effectively and fairly with the public.
There are many challenges that we face. We all have been forced to make difficult choices and figure out how to get by with less. While knowing the cost of something is important, understanding its value is crucial.
We have the best beaches, viable estuaries and bays, fields, farms, woodlands, and a caring community that has existed for over 350 years. If we protect and take care of what we have, East Hampton will continue to sustain us. If you elect me to serve you as town councilman, that is what I will do. I urge you to also vote for Sylvia Overby for town board and Zachary Cohen for supervisor. Their knowledge, experience, and hard work make them well suited for service on the town board.
PETER VAN SCOYOC
Mr. Van Scoyoc is a candidate for East Hampton Town Board on the Democratic and Working Families Party lines. Ed.
Love and Passion
October 31, 20011
In everything she does, Sylvia Overby shows her love and passion for the Town of East Hampton.
Sylvia’s knowledge of East Hampton, her expertise as a planning board member, and her ability to articulate issues make her one of the best candidates for the East Hampton Town Board.
Vote for Sylvia. I know I will!
October 31, 2011
I am writing this letter because I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who have helped with and contributed to my campaign. If elected, I will use the knowledge I have acquired while consulting with the business community over my lifetime to work on fixing the night club problem in Montauk. The skills I have learned as investigator I hope to use to relieve some of the density in Springs.
I will listen to what the community is saying and do my best to resolve their issues. I have been a protector of people’s rights and I will continue to fight for them as their councilman.
I will bring common sense to the board in order to eliminate nonsense in our future.
Mr. Haeg is a Republican and Conservative Party candidate for East Hampton Town Board. Ed.
A Town in Need
October 31, 2011
Asking each of us to cast a ballot on Nov. 8, 2011, six candidates compete for the two open [East Hampton] Town Board seats. Seeking to persuade us by talking about the issues and their personal lives, the candidates compete against their own party running mates as well as the opposition.
There is a rigor and discipline necessary to open yourself up to the general public and generally the candidates have a respect, begrudging as it may be, for their fellow candidates.
This family’s thanks go to Bill Mott and Peter Van Scoyoc for running and giving us an opportunity to vote with enthusiasm on Election Day. Common sense, dirt under their fingernails, Bill and Pete have each known a job where lives are at stake when a decision is made. Bill and Pete understand responsibility and now ask us for the authority to help a town in need. There exists a sense to repay this town for all it does for them.
Whatever happens to Bill and Pete, Abby and I are pleased to know the quality of their effort in this campaign offering us the opportunity for sharp, calm, common-sense representation.
Mott and Van Scoyoc will give gravity to the deliberations of the town board, and Mott and Van Scoyoc sound like a great team.
Very truly yours,
WILLIAM J. FLEMING
Honor to Serve
November 1, 2011
If elected to the East Hampton Town Board, I will work to ensure a level playing field. No games, no favors, no political litmus test. Everyone will be treated with respect, their concerns taken seriously, and their input valued.
I will continue to work for the protection of our environment. Our environment is our economy. East Hampton’s community character should never be put up for sale or legislated away.
Through thoughtful legislation, I will work to protect our local businesses from the invasion of chain stores with deep pockets that could price local entrepreneurs out of the market. Our fishing heritage, commercial and sport, is a sustainable industry that needs proper assistance to remain viable. Farmers need vigorous support with real planning reform legislation as proposed by the Democratic candidates in July.
The elimination of the leaf-pickup program has cost many, particularly seniors, more out-of-pocket money than they realized in any tax cut. With my running mates, Peter Van Scoyoc for town board and Zach Cohen for supervisor, we will reinstate the leaf-pickup program.
A dialogue that draws in those affected by an issue will result in the best results for the town. This was certainly true in producing the 2005 comprehensive plan and the local waterfront revitalization plan. These guiding documents took many years to produce with volunteer help and ideas of hundreds of local citizens. A transparent government is one that listens and responds, not produces and dictates.
My husband and I raised our two sons here. They graduated from East Hampton High School and I credit their friends and families with a positive and encouraging influence on their lives. East Hampton is a close-knit community, one piece of cloth with many patterns.
If elected to the East Hampton Town Board, it will be an honor to serve this community that has given me and my family so much.
October 29, 2011
To the Editor:
I grew up in East Hampton and despite the fact I am no longer a year-round resident, I feel a deep connection to the town, its people, and the community’s well-being. My parents still live in Springs and over the past several years I have seen and heard about the town that I still consider home experiencing some tough times, affecting the quality of life for all residents.
The time has come to bring new leadership to our town board. For this very reason, I support Sylvia Overby for town board. Growing up, I had the opportunity of being around Sylvia and her family. Over the years, I was able to see Sylvia’s deep appreciation for our town, commitment to land conservation in order for all to enjoy the natural wonders of the East End, her deep interest in bettering our school systems, her caring nature of helping others in need and a clear understanding of fiscal priorities.
As the first in my family to apply to college, Sylvia helped me understand the process, worked with me as I filled out applications, and most important explained to me the arcane and complex system of financial aid. The best piece of advice I received during that process was to learn how to save, don’t borrow more than you need, and make a commitment to repay whatever you owe as quickly as possible in order to get ahead in life. To me, these are lessons our town could learn from.
In order for our town to regain its footing and begin moving in the right direction, we need individuals to get involved and make a difference. Sylvia is a great individual who brings great leadership qualities and a deep understanding of how our town works. We need Sylvia Overby on our town board so that we — as a community — have the right advocate who will fight to better East Hampton for us, and future generations, to enjoy the place I consider home.
October 30, 2011
To the Editor,
There is nothing new or shocking about political slander on signs or in the local newspaper a week or so before an upcoming election. Minions of political adversaries run about busily pulling up signs, disparaging their friends’ views, and writing abusively to local papers about candidates who dare to run for public office.
In this, the last week before our local 2011 election, I wish to rebut all of the derisive comments made by those who have not taken the time or trouble to acquaint themselves with the Democratic candidates, particularly Sylvia Overby. She is an extraordinary woman and a born leader. She also, quietly and with no fanfare, has helped a number of East Hampton students achieve a college education, a master’s degree, and a bright future.
From the days of her first arrival in East Hampton, Sylvia has worked to make her adopted town a better place through the schools, community action, and volunteer work. She deserves all the praise we can give her and, on Election Day, everyone’s vote. Our town needs her intelligence, experience, and compassion.
AVERILL D. GEUS
October 26, 2011
I couldn’t think of voting for a Republican these days (or any days since at least Roosevelt, T.R., that is). I like the idea, however, of voting for someone locally on a local party ticket.
That’s why I’m voting for Steven Gaines, whom I’ve known and respected for many years, on the Opportunity Party ticket. Perhaps in future elections for town board, all candidates can dissociate themselves from national party labels.
RICHARD M. DUNN
October 27, 2011
Steven Gaines for Town Board: Mr. Gaines continues to outshine other candidates in public debates. His lifetime of communication skills gives him an advantage in the debate format, but aren’t these the communication skills a board member needs? The answer is yes.
Steven Gaines shows his skills more and more with each debate, and I encourage everyone to listen to him on the LTV replays or online.
Steven Gaines, in those debates, outlines a vision for the town where we break our bad habits that perpetuate our seasonal economy. He astutely states that only by breaking this cycle can we bring a 12-month economy that can sustain young families and keep our citizens from leaving.
This trend affects the entire region, and it is once again time for East Hampton to take the lead, as we did in the early stages of local environmental regulations. We need to embrace Steven Gaines’s vision and make East Hampton a paradigm for other communities to follow.
Steven Gaines will bring this to the town board. Please join me in his support.
October 30, 2011
In the election on Nov. 8 we have choices that may not seem as obvious to others as they do to me. I agree with Fred Thiele that the Independence Party candidates for town board, Marilyn Behan and Bill Mott, are simply the best candidates in the field. I have been critical of both Republicans and Democrats, and now it is time to sum up.
The Democratic candidates for town supervisor and town board have tried and failed to make a case on a lot of issues. But their parties’ record on budget matters is abysmal, their record on trustee matters is poor, and they just seem like the wrong people at the wrong time.
The Republican candidates for supervisor and town board have run a vapid campaign which was at first based on team advertisement — “the Wilkinson team.” These ads implied that one should vote for people you barely know, or haven’t heard of, because they are part of the team. They also suggest that the voters want a whole lot more than what we have been getting. I don’t think that either the implication or the suggestion is valid.
We are fortunate that we can reject both the Democratic Party’s candidates for town board and their Republican counterparts and restore some balance and integrity to Town Hall by electing Bill Mott and Marilyn Behan. We have no third choice in the supervisor’s race. But I believe Bill Wilkinson is the better choice anyway. My criticisms of Bill Wilkinson will not be quickly forgiven or forgotten, but they were things that had to be said — and forcefully. We can only hope that Bill Wilkinson makes the needed changes in tone, style, and substance in response to these criticisms.
With regard to the Highway Department race, I cannot at all agree with your statement that “voters should not be swayed by the unpleasant allegations by some workers.” We are not talking about boorish behavior like a winning candidate parking a truck on his defeated opponent’s lawn. No, we are talking about allegations of racial bias, racial discrimination, alleged physical abuse, and unfair hiring practices alleged by a union.
How much voters take these matters into account is their business and based on what kind of people they are. If the voters are not to take seriously such allegatons, just where and when, in the East Hampton Star’s opinion, should they be taken into account. Whom you choose to endorse is your business, but you do a disservice to the community by saying nothing happening here, don’t pay any attention to what you’ve seen and heard.
Finally, your editorial about truth in political advertising gave another reason to vote for Marilyn Behan and Bill Mott. You scolded the Democrats and the Republicans for their conduct, but Bill Mott and Marilyn Behan have run a clear, clean, and positive campaign. It is people like this we need on the town board.
PS. I really want to know who in the Democratic Party in East Hampton destroys and vandalizes signs on public and, in the past, private property. This person, if acting alone, or this party, if an organized political “activity,” needs help.
What It Takes
October 30, 2011
This is my first time speaking out for a political candidate, but I feel very strongly about one of this year’s candidates. I have known Marilyn Behan for 24 years and was part of the team that hired her as executive director of the Montauk Chamber of Commerce. During that time I came to know her as an employee who performed her job with the utmost professionalism.
During her tenure she was extremely organized, she did her homework, and she was the consummate multitasker. She balanced home and career and at the same time supported her husband, then-Assemblyman John Behan, in his political career. She has lived the political life for many, many years and knows what it takes to get the job done.
Now as her friend, I have watched Marilyn over the past eight months as she began her campaign for town board. She has worked tirelessly and endlessly during her campaigning. She’s doing her research. She’s networking. She is reaching out to everyone she meets listening and weighing opinions. This is exactly what to expect once Marilyn is elected to the town board. She will be working for each and every one of us as hard as she can.
Marilyn is truly an independent person. She loves this community, and she will protect our rights, our accessibilities, and our quality of life working for all of us to ensure that we remain protected.
I urge you to cast your vote for Marilyn Behan on Tuesday.
DIANE M. HAUSMAN
October 29, 2011
To the Editor,
This election year the Independence Party has two exceptional candidates running for town board. Marilyn Behan is one of the most sincere, honest, and compassionate individuals I have ever met. Marilyn is full of life and has the attitude that there is no problem too big that we can’t solve together. She is a team player, a good listener, and will make decisions wisely. Her love of our town is her driving force to do what is right for our community and residents.
Our second candidate is Bill Mott. He is a lifelong resident of East Hampton, extremely well known and liked by everyone who knows him. When Bill says, “Once elected you are no longer a Democrat or a Republican,” he means it. He is a sweet and gentle man but don’t let that deceive you, because he will never go along with anything that is not good for the majority of our people. Knowing Bill on a personal level (our children are friends), I can only promise he cares deeply about the future of East Hampton and will make the right decisions for the benefit of us all.
Please vote for Marilyn Behan and Bill Mott. You won’t be sorry!
October 28, 2011
During six hours on a plane flying across this great nation of ours I had a chance to think about the last 21 months in East Hampton Town Hall.
I just flew over hundreds, if not thousands, of small towns like East Hampton — all containing the well-to-do and the not so well-to-do, and everyone in between. All of these towns have their local police and their roads, their emergency management personnel and their attorneys, their professional staffs and their maintenance staff, and on and on and on, just like East Hampton.
I also thought about how many of these towns have faced, or will ever have to face, the type of financial and management crisis East Hampton has just endured. How many of these small towns have had deficits in their general fund that were 50 percent of their entire general fund budget? How many of these small towns have had a discrete, dedicated preservation fund illegally looted to cover up an underlying financial mess created by mismanagement and administrative incompetence that, if exposed, would result in incumbent elected officials being voted out of office and a political party losing its standing and power? Then, when caught, raise taxes by over 30 percent on local residents?
I would guess not many.
Then my thoughts turned to Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and the job he was elected to do two short years ago — namely to clean up the financial and management mess and restore the health of the community preservation fund.
Was Bill Wilkinson elected at least partially because of the McGintee-Democratic debacle? You would have to be a fool to say no. But the fact remains Bill Wilkinson was the person chosen to fix the mess, and Bill Wilkinson was the person who had a detailed plan to correct the problems and make the town whole again.
Implementing that plan meant following through on some tough decisions — decisions that everyone knew were coming and were needed. Cutting some services, streamlining and reorganizing operations, introducing zero-based budgeting, and doing it all in a way responsible to the residents and taxpayers of East Hampton.
I have told everyone who has asked me about Bill Wilkinson that he has been exactly the person the Town of East Hampton needed at this point in its history.
The town did not need a panderer, or a yes man, or someone who would try to make everyone happy or be all things to all people. Rather, the town needed someone with a real plan and the guts to implement it in order to regain the status the town once enjoyed. It needed a strong and honest leader — Bill Wilkinson.
Bill Wilkinson has used his plan to fix many of the problems created by the previous administration and get the town moving in the right direction.
With Bill Wilkinson we also got an individual with 35 years of high-level corporate experience. And yes, it was high-level corporate experience, in spite of the viciously false letters written last week and appearing in The Star.
One of the poison pen writers from last week actually stated a person was hired by Disney to supervise Mr. Wilkinson shortly after Bill went from ABC International to Disney Worldwide (Disney purchased ABC), when in fact it was Bill Wilkinson who hired this person to head up human resources for one of the many Disney divisions. Bill Wilkinson was in charge of human resources for all of the Disney divisions. This bogus letter was apparently written to lessen the sting created by the embarrassment of having the neutral, and Democratic, state comptroller reprimand Zach Cohen for misleading the public on his work credentials. Using new misinformation to rationalize old misinformation does not make for honest and fair political debate.
For 21 months I have had the honor of working for Bill Wilkinson. Bill Wilkinson is a hard-working, top-notch manager who is extremely intelligent and talented. His goal of making our town as good as it can be has been focused, relentless, and unwavering.
I just bet all those little towns across the United States wish they had a leader like Bill Wilkinson. We do — let’s keep him.
Town Budget Officer
October 25, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray:
Bill Wilkinson’s team gets better every week. With each debate, we see the Wilkinson team showing its skills. We see the true colors of a team committed to bringing the town real progress, rather than receding conveniently into the past. Progress requires the kind of analytical thinking that Steven Gaines and Richard Haeg have shown both in their professional lives and in public debate forums.
Mr. Wilkinson has assembled a team of analytical thinkers who are showing their platforms of how to bring East Hampton into the future. These plans for the future make the most of our traditions and our history to increase year-round prosperity for all. As a young resident and voter, I find this very appealing.
Vote on Tuesday for Wilkinson’s team 2011, with Mr. Gaines, Mr. Haeg, and Stephen Lynch to brighten the town’s future.
RICH GHERARDI JR.
October 30, 2011
To the Editor:
Let’s talk about Montauk’s Fort Pond House again. In my view, candidates Cohen, Overby, and Van Scoyoc’s continuous, irresponsible statements concerning the house could ultimately cause harm to the community. Clearly they have said and written in their campaign materials what they believe the voters want to hear. They opine about Fort Pond House without a scintilla of proof, evidence, or facts to support their position. How do I know that? I have asked them and listened to their responses.
At the recent Concerned Citizens of Montauk debate, where Mr. Cohen espoused the candidates’ oft-repeated support for the house, I asked the three candidates if they had ever been inside. Mr. Cohen, to avoid answering, said he would stop fighting the lawsuit (singular) but was not going to open the house. (Oops, Mr. Cohen, do your homework. There are two lawsuits, one each in state and federal court.)
When reminded of that at the earlier League of Women Voters debate, he said he would “give Fort Pond House back to the Boy Scouts,” implying opening its doors again. He agreed that was the intention. He then finally admitted that he has never been inside the house.
Ms. Overby tried ducking the question also by saying she was last in it when it was purchased — during the Schneiderman administration (2003!). Mr. Van Scoyoc’s response, probably the lamest, was very telling of how this threesome operates. He said he has never been to the house because he lives in East Hampton, not Montauk.
I also live in East Hampton, but in May-June 2010, when the issue of Fort Pond House arose and people spoke before the board, I thought it important to go to the house before deciding. Research, I believe, candidates should do before spouting off on a topic and adopting a popular position without facts — that is, if they are simply not pandering for votes.
After my visit, I reported at a Saturday work session on the terrible, nauseating, and dangerous conditions I found at the house and grounds. In my opinion, the house was structurally unsound, with overwhelming public safety and health conditions and was unsafe for use by the community, especially children.
I found filthy bathroom fixtures and floors, and a disgusting kitchen with evidence from the food and wine in the refrigerator that people were eating on-site and leaving garbage to accumulate. Numerous pictures were available. I reported on the unsafe condition of the property and accessory structures and the town’s potential liability if anything happened at the house or grounds now that they had been put on public notice by me.
After my presentation, as a conscientious town official, Supervisor Wilkinson sent the fire marshal to the house. The fire marshal issued a report with over 25 violations, some quite serious. Among the violations, he found active rodent infestation (hantavirus mean anything to anyone?), exposed electrical wires, leaky ceiling with potential remedial mold problems, indicators for serious structural problems, absence of working smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, deteriorated roof, and the possibility of asbestos.
Are the repeated baseless comments by the Democratic candidates and the statements issued in their widely distributed campaign material glorifying Fort Pond house really the way elected officials should be dealing with serious problems that affect our community, especially our children? They want our votes. We get that, but at what price? The voters and residents of East Hampton deserve better. We deserve a board that will do their homework and come to the best result for all of us, not a board that will rush to judgment to please their friends, the folks who yell the loudest, or the voters.
A vote for Wilkinson Team 2011 on Nov. 8 will continue us on the road to recovery.
October 31, 2011
Property taxes are a critical part of this campaign season. As property taxes rise it becomes harder and harder for young people to start out or continue to live here. As the younger generation settles in faraway, less expensive locations, the community feels the effects. Police and fire departments, teachers, caregivers, and other energetic new talent all become in short supply. Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and his running mates Richard Haeg and Steven Gaines all understand this concept well.
If you keep raising taxes for services the community cannot afford, you will price the younger generation right out of East Hampton. One only has to look to Nassau County for the proof. There, years of runaway, reckless spending has driven taxes to astronomical levels, driven down home prices, and has resulted in a “brain drain.”
Please return Supervisor Wilkinson to office to finish the great job he has started! By keeping East Hampton affordable, our younger generations (and may be some of our older generations) will continue to call East Hampton home.
October 30, 2011
Since Bill Wilkinson took office as our supervisor, conditions have vastly improved. Our financial picture was grim and instead of thanking him for turning it around, we are nitpicking about things like leaf removal.
We have voted in 50-plus elections in East Hampton and have seen many supervisors come and go. We are very lucky to have a man of Bill’s caliber as our supervisor and that he is seeking re-election.
As our very dear Democratic, Republican, and independent friends know, we care deeply about East Hampton and pray for her future, a future for our grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and vast numbers of nieces and nephews.
We urge you to vote for Bill Wilkinson, also to wisely select board members and other town officials and to re-elect our very knowledgeable Justice Lisa Rana. She does an outstanding job as our town justice. Her decisions are always fair and equal, backed by her many years of experience.
Remember Election day is Tuesday and that your vote is very important.
BETTY and GEORGE CAFISO
Righted a Ship
October 31, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray:
Bill Wilkinson has been an outstanding town supervisor these last 22 months. He has kept each one of the promises he made during the 2009 election. He has brought East Hampton back from fiscal bankruptcy. He has begun to make East Hampton government more efficient. He has lowered spending and reduced East Hampton’s bloated budget substantially. And, he has lowered taxes, twice. He brought integrity back to Town Hall. He has righted a ship that was sinking.
However, reading your editorials and listening to the over-the-top claptrap of Alec Baldwin, reading the outrageously misleading claims of the Conservators’ very expensive advertisements, and listening to the inane claims of the Democratic Party and its inexperienced and weak candidates, one might think that East Hampton was on the verge of Armageddon.
The groups cited above supported the previous administration’s fiscal mismanagement and illegal shenanigans. Campaign contributions flowed to, and your newspaper endorsed, a corrupt regime that collapsed the budget and economy of East Hampton. A $28 million deficit, or a gap of 40 percent of the entire town budget, was the result. That kind of out-of-control spending and corruption devastated this town. What followed was an obscene 35-percent tax increase to all residents. That is the Democratic legacy and they should be returned to Town Hall? The irresponsibility of it all boggles the mind.
The Democratic candidates you more than likely will endorse today offer no experience, no real platform other than promising to raise taxes, increase spending, and, increase regulations even more on farmers and small businesses. In short, they will put us right back on the track of a fiscal train wreck. Not one of them understands deficit financing or municipal budgeting and, not one of them has any real management experience that would allow them to make grown-up decisions.
In all of these months, we have never seen a real résumé from Zach, Sylvia, or Peter. In fact, Zach had to pad his résumé because his experience is so thin. They all tout their appointed positions as proof of experience, yet the problems they say they will fix, like the overcrowding here in the Springs, were caused by them and the policies of their various boards.
As to Ms. Behan and Mr. Mott, these are very nice people. Both of these individuals, as well as their spouses, give enormously to the East Hampton community and they are owed a tremendous thank-you. They have run honest campaigns. But, at this time, and in this particular election, I believe the breadth and depth of experience of Mr. Haeg and Mr. Gaines is what is needed.
On Election Day, voters have a real choice. Richard Haeg, a war hero, with 40 years in public safety and small business, has management and budget experience and is a problem solver extraordinaire. His very life depended on those problem-solving skills. Steven Gaines is a thinker and writer whose knowledge of East Hampton is unmatched in this race.
Steve Lynch, a local business owner, is an honest, hard-working, knowledgeable man who will bring superior management skills to the job and much-needed integrity to the highway superintendent’s office. Bill Wilkinson has proven to be an extraordinary manager and has an outstanding record on which he is running.
On Tuesdays, East Hampton residents will be voting in one of the most important elections facing this town. Keep the progress of these last 22 months going by re-electing Bill Wilkinson and electing the solid team he has assembled. East Hampton’s future depends on your vote.
Ms. Campolo is a member of the East Hampton Republican Committee. Ed.
Value of a Dollar
October 31, 2011
Have you heard about Zachonomics? That’s a new scientific field of study where you have to earn a degree in mathematics first and then, after that, you forget how to add. It’s a degree that Zach Cohen, the Democratic candidate for East Hampton Town supervisor, earned in just the last six months and now he wants to spread its philosophy to all of East Hampton.
Here’s how it works: Usually if you pay off your mortgage early, you will save money on the interest costs on the funds you originally had to borrow, right? Not according to Zach. Pre-paying your mortgage actually costs money. How is that? You pay the mortgage off a decade sooner than it is due and save interest payments for 10 years, no? Unless you have a degree in Zachonomics, you can’t understand it either.
Now see if this makes sense: Taxpayers take over a small airport and try running it without any federal money to help pay the bills. According to Zach, that is actually less expensive for the town to do instead of taking Federal Aviation Administration money. That’s impossible you say? Bills and other expenses that are not shared will cost taxpayers more money, right? Apparently not, according to Zach. Who knew you could save money by running up bills. So, East Hampton taxpayers get to pay for all the lights and security, buy a deer fence covering about 30 acres, fund a control tower with a licensed air-traffic controller to operate it — and the town saves tons of money! How is this true? No one can explain it — but somehow it works in Zachonomics.
Look at everyone’s favorite hot-button issue. I am not sure how but Zach and his running mates will bag your leaves for you and take them to the dump — and all for no cost! How can that be? Doesn’t everyone agree there is no such thing as a free lunch because someone, somewhere has to pay? Isn’t that the case with these leaves too? Won’t the town be short the $450,000 cost in another budget line? Won’t there be a shortfall in some budget code somewhere? Under Zachonomics, however, it is all done for free!
Zach wants to hire a new C.P.A. to do the budgets along with a new town manager. He wants to buy a new dredge (with town staff to operate it), hire a new liaison to the community preservation fund, a new administrative assistant to coordinate all the departments, a new addition to the planning staff, install new catch-basins and drainage facilities he’s promised just about everyone who complains about water in their roads, restore the leaf pickup, etc. — all of which will be free. Amazing, but somehow it all works under Zachonomics.
I urge you strongly (and your newspaper) to endorse the only candidate running for East Hampton Town supervisor who knows the value of a dollar and watches out for your money the way you want a politician to spend your taxes, carefully, not profligately.
Please endorse Bill Wilkinson and his entire team 2011 of Richard Haeg, Steven Gaines, and Steve Lynch and save us all from Zachonomics.
Thanks for your attention.
Mr. Cirillo is a member of the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals and former treasurer of the town Republican committee. Ed.
October 26, 2011
To the Editor:
The East Hampton Town Trustees have done a marvelous job of defending and maintaining our heritage and beach rights. With the donations to the winter flounder project set aside to begin research and eventually raising winter flounder to a survivable size, we can trust that the stock will recover. Their qualifications, experience, and efforts on many fronts deserves to be noted and supported with re-election votes.
The long list of accomplishments by Bill Wilkinson merit our support and vote. We are so much further ahead on reducing the debt from what the last administration left us, the property tax burden reduced, free beach access for residents was restored, and much of the excess eliminated. As a first term, new to politics, town supervisor, Mr. Wilkinson has managed to accomplish much of what we elected him to implement. I’ve met and spoken with, and now support, Richard Haeg and Steven Gaines and believe they will bring a fresh perspective to the town board.
Cornelius Kelly is the most exciting addition to this year’s race, bringing with him, as a first-time political run, energy, enthusiasm, and a firm grasp of the issues of Suffolk County. I’m voting for him for county legislator because he has shown integrity and determination to end the out-of-control spending in our county that the incumbent has not been able to check.
With Angie Carpenter as the next county executive we can have confidence that the good-old-boy, free-spending cronyism will end and intemperance reined in.
LYNDA A.W. EDWARDS
No Reason to Jump
October 25, 2011
Supervisor Bill Wilkinson continues to hit the facts. In last night’s debate, he, again delivered his record of results. These results have clearly defined the benefits to the taxpayers, visible in dollars and cents. However, this job is not finished. The supervisor is not the only one who inherited the town’s fiscal problems; we all did. Until we have a town government that can perform efficiently, there is no reason to jump ship midstream.
Mr. Wilkinson’s straight talk delivery is repeated again and again. There is no slant or bias and the numbers speak for themselves. Detractors may criticize from afar, but they only do so without understanding the complicated workings of municipal finance.
Please join me and support Bill Wilkinson and the Wilkinson team.
October 28, 2011
To the Star,
For the entire campaign season the Democratic literature has harped on removing political influence from the town’s budget office and getting professional management. Not once did they state the town financial officer Len Bernard’s name.
Perhaps because Len is respected, well known, and capable he was not mentioned. So really, the Democratic attack against the current administration’s financial officer is hypothetical, rather than actual.
Of course if the Democratic attack ads wanted to really chew on an incompetent appointee, they could have attacked Len Bernard’s predecessor, Ted Hults. Oops, that was their own that pled incompetence to avoid incarceration. They could have picked on another pre-Len appointee from the ’90s, Mike Haran, who left a total fudge of all East Hampton’s capital accounts and made late financial reports an art form.
The only political and incompetent appointments handling East Hampton’s fiscal affairs in the last 20 years were Democrats. I can see why Mr. Cohen, running for supervisor, and from the Democratic fiscal record, would want to protect himself from his own party. For myself, I would rather have a re-elected Supervisor Wilkinson recognize and utilize the abilities of Len Bernard to save the taxpayer some dollars.
October 31, 2011
To the Editor,
Bill Wilkinson has been in office for 33 months, in all respects a political shelf life of limited duration.
Most newly elected officials have a brief honeymoon period, getting acclimated to the job, prior to contemplating new legislation and plotting a course for the new administration.
Mr. Wilkinson did not have that luxury of time, as he faced immediate and dire forecasts of financial debacle facing the Town of East Hampton.
As more data and information was received, by the recently sworn-in supervisor, indicating a $30 million shortfall and with further losses looming, quick action was called for to remedy the situation.
Let’s give credit where credit is due. Raising money, lowering expenditures, minimizing layoffs through attrition and prevention further hemorrhaging of the budget was no easy task. The entire process required political courage beyond his time on office, as obviously it was an emergency that had to be addressed forthrightly.
The town could have faced a possible New York State takeover similar to what New York City endured in the 1970s when a financial control board was appointed to govern finances. Thousands of workers were laid off, which took an unimaginable toll on everyone during a tumultuous time in the city’s history.
It is now known that had those city officials addressed the economic emergency sooner, the magnitude and agony of the layoffs could have been ameliorated.
Let’s be clear: It is far better to take action in an emergency condition, though checkered with the possibility of failure and the invitation of criticism, than to take ranks with those folks who prefer the status quo while the situation worsens to its inevitable ending, in this case, bankruptcy. Mr. Wilkinson risked failure rather than raising taxes 30 to 30 percent to maintain the status quo.
The Town of East Hampton is far better off than it was 22 short months ago; taxes have been lowered, the budget stabilized, the bond rating improved, and you get the feeling that East Hampton has righted itself and once again we are that shining town by the sea.
For these reasons alone, Bill Wilkinson deserves another two years in office.
October 30, 2011
As we approach Election Day and the upcoming vote for supervisor, I have been trying to analyze the various letters by writers to The Star, looking to find a letter written by a Democratic Party supporter acknowledging the wonderful accomplishments by Bill Wilkinson and his team. They show a total disregard for his success in lowering the budget from by $8 million, successfully combining the town departments for efficiency, reducing the labor force Without any layoffs. With these savings , a reduction in real estate taxes by 17 percent was achieved. Not a good word was ever written, at least not in my copies of The Star. Only a barrage of complaints about eliminating leaf pick-up and closing the recycling center on Wednesdays.
To oppose the re-election of Bill Wilkinson, the Democrats have endorsed Zack Cohen. A mystery man without political experience, and a vague business background. Mr Cohen claimed to be an analyst. This claim was proven false and was denounced by the New York State comptroller’s office. (See page 1, East Hampton Star, Oct. 27.) So what is his claim of experience now ?
I urge the registered Democrats to look into their mirror when shaving or putting on make-up and ask themselves honestly, if the Town of East Hampton isn’t financially better off today than it was two years ago . Ask yourselves who has the experience and know-how to continue the job, keeping improving the town’s financial condition .
Remember, Democrats, the terrible, awful predicament McGintee brought the town into. The total mismanagement of the town’s funds, the large increases in taxes. As painful as it is, I know you remember. Now, the only option is to return Bill Wilkinson to office. Please recall the landslide by which he was elected two years ago. He has done the job as promised. An amateur cannot. Mr. Cohen, in his campaign, speaks of new hirings, additional services, all at cost to the taxpayer. Taxes will surely go up, and we’ll be back to square one when McGintee was supervisor. This would be tragic.
I’m certain, with the continuing improvement of the financial health of the town’s finances, leaf pick-up will be restored and the recycling plant will be reopened on Wednesdays.
Was That Man
October 31, 2011
To the Editor,
I am writing to all residents who are still undecided in regards to whom they will be voting for in the upcoming election for town supervisor. I recently had a discussion with Zach Cohen in which he asked my opinion on the ongoing problems associated with the erosion problems on Soundview Drive in Montauk. He seemed to understand what the problems are and expressed his willingness to help resolve the problem by being open to new ideas and suggestions. Imagine my surprise when I found out that, not only was he aware of the help we got from Bill Wilkinson in receiving town and state permits for four properties after the devastating loss of sand in December, but that he was against giving the permits at all. Funny how he never mentioned that during our discussion.
Mr. Cohen would have let another three or four houses lose their bulkheads and possibly drop into the water rather than help protect properties that were in peril due to the manmade problems caused by the Montauk jetties.
One man can make a difference. Bill Wilkinson was that man. Without his support we would have lost, at the very least, our bulkheads, and maybe our homes.
Yes, the Wilkinson team has made errors. We have problems that need to be addressed before next season, and I hope to see more of you get involved and help make these changes. Zach Cohen and his team have a platform of re-starting the leaf pick up program. That’s it! Let’s give Bill another term — and not just for saving the properties on Soundview Drive; he deserves that just for digging us out of the hole we were in. Just one man’s opinion.
Don’t Get Fooled
October 29, 2011
A last-ditch attempt by the current supervisor, Bill Wilkinson, to smear Zach Cohen for trying to salvage the McGintee financial mess is pretty pathetic. Was Zach’s misspeak a deliberate hoax? I think not. What other term could serve in this particular situation? Perhaps financial adviser, yes?
There is a category, I believe, of chartered financial analyst known to Wall Streeters, however, that refers to an accredited individual, one who has taken a series of (up to three) exams in the field of finance. The award is a C.F.A., with grades one, two, and three. That is not what Zach tried to pass himself off as being.
So much for that. Don’t get fooled by this nonsense perpetrated by the current administration to divert attention from Zach Cohen’s genuinely sincere efforts, on a volunteer basis, to demystify the McGintee budget, and focus instead on his many admirable efforts to reclaim the East Hampton we know and love.
Density in Springs
October 26, 2011
To the Editor,
During the past two years, I have been involved with issues that brought me to both planning board and town board meetings. As a Springs resident, I joined with many others to oppose Mr. Wilkinson and Ms Quigley’s attempt to add more density to Springs by expanding the concept of accessory apartments in single family homes, further degrading our single family zoning and quality of life.
My experience with both the planning board and town board gave me the opportunity to watch several of the candidates in action and as a result I would advise voters to look beyond the rhetoric and watch what they do, not what they say.
I have been astounded to hear Ms. Overby and Mr. Van Scoyoc campaign as strong supporters of the comprehensive plan or to hear Mr. Wilkinson talk about “density” issues in Springs. Ms. Overby went so far as to say that the comprehensive plan should be viewed as a guide not a suggestion. Really?
The property that brought me to the planning board was well covered by this paper. The issue was significant because it created several unfortunate precedents which could affect many similar properties in the future. The Springs property, in an urban renewal map area, became one acre as a result of two road abandonments that were part of the professionally planned urban renewal law. For those not familiar, the urban renewal law was created to address areas with small lots that predated our current half-acre zoning. The law created larger lots where possible to balance many quarter-acre and one-third acre lots in order to maintain water quality in an area where septic is the norm, and to reduce density.
The out-of-state owner first had to go to the planning board for a subdivision. Suffolk County initially rejected the plan since the new lots would be well below the current East Hampton requirement of 150 foot separation of well and septic, but that decision was later overturned based on complicated, perhaps disputable, technical claims of predating the requirements. Having determined that two lots “could” be created, the planning board then had to make a recommendation to the town board as to whether this should be done. Only the town board has the authority to “modify” or overturn the urban renewal law.
The two proposed lots not only fell far below current standards for well-septic separation, they would both be accessed by substandard, private roads that would never become part of the town road system nor receive town maintenance. Access for fire and ambulance would be poor. Every neighbor adjoining these properties either appeared or wrote to the planning board to oppose the subdivision.
The comprehensive plan clearly rejects adding density in Springs, yet Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc voted with the other members of the planning board to recommend this subdivision to the town board. Mr. Wilkinson voted to modify the urban renewal law and grant the subdivision. Only [Councilman] Pete Hammerle voted against the modification. He was the only board member to cite the comprehensive plan and the density issues in Springs as a reason to vote against the modification. His voice will be missed.
Our local candidates are chosen by a very small group of people and some in the community were disappointed with the choices. I was pleased that the Independence Party added two new [town board] candidates into the mix. I took the time to go to a meet-the-candidates party this summer and had the opportunity to meet Marilyn Behan. I was impressed with her intellect, demeanor, credentials, and sincerity. I also attended the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee meet-the-candidates. Bill Mott commented that as a board member it should be irrelevant as to whether one is a Republican or Democrat. Decisions should be based on what is best for the community after listening to the community and weighing the options.
Zach Cohen also spoke about listening, weighing options, and finding compromise. Mr. Cohen is the only candidate for the board who lives in Springs — a large, significant area of East Hampton that needs and deserves representation on the Board. He has reached out to groups that are active in Springs and shown a commitment to not only listen, but to actually “hear” people’s ideas and utilize the input. We need board members whose first allegiance is to the community, not a political party or its supporters.
I urge everyone to familiarize themselves with the issues and the candidates, look beyond the rhetoric, watch what they do, not what they say, and vote!
CAROL SAXE BUDA
Person of Integrity
October 27, 2011
Over the years I have known Zachary Cohen I have been aware of several qualities of character that make him uniquely qualified for the office of supervisor. His concern for the community is evident in his volunteerism on many town committees: the community preservation fund management and stewardship committee, the budget and finance advisory committee, and his long tenure as chairman of the nature preserve committee.
His generosity in offering his expertise in untangling the town finances, and the hundreds of hours he invested in that task speaks for itself, in spite of how that very generosity has been used against him in this campaign. He is creative, always thinking of alternative ways to solve community problems. He always works toward forging consensus, evidenced in his ability to listen, be open, and consider ideas from many quarters. He is fair-minded, seeking only to move the town forward while remaining most aware of our financial constraints. Beneath all of these qualities lies a keen mind, able to weave through intricate arguments and numbers, separating fact from opinion.
Finally, and above all, Zachary Cohen is a person of integrity. Integrity and intelligence, compassion, and concern all wrapped up in one candidate. It makes the choice easy.
October 20, 2011
Supervisor Bill Wilkinson has touted the fact that he was able to trim the town budget without resorting to layoffs or firings. Your Oct. 20 article (C.S.E.A. Union to Vote on Contract) revealed that this claim is, at best, a distortion, if not a total lie.
First of all, two employees were fired. Secondly, the “voluntary” early retirement packages were offered in such a way as to make many feel that they had no choice but to take them. The letter they received implied that if they refused, they would lose their jobs anyway and possibly sacrifice their pensions and health benefits (no small sacrifice). Even a judge ruled that this fear was justified!
Another group that was not mentioned in the article was those whose jobs were simply eliminated. For example, in decimating the Human Services department, the Youth Service division was completely cut from the budget and with it five employees who provided services to kids. Is this what Mr. Wilkinson means by “attrition?” Sounds to me like they were fired.
Mr. Wilkinson claims that his human resources position at Disney prepared him to run our town. The fact is that it prepared him to create an atmosphere of intimidation in which employees fear for their jobs. These are our friends and neighbors and the best way we can support them is to vote for Zach Cohen.
Ms. Madan is a member of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Ed.
October 30, 2011
To the Editor,
The last days of an election campaign are usually very dispiriting, and this year is no exception. After several years of following the Wilkinson administration’s actions and watching board meetings, I am saddened but not surprised that the Wilkinson-Quigley team closes its campaign with ad hominem and personal attacks.
As a Montauk resident, this administration’s uncompromising actions to close Fort Pond House, and its glib response to community concern over the code violations of some Montauk clubs, have been the most infuriating but are by no means the only examples of an imperious and arrogant attitude.
On the other hand, Zachary Cohen’s campaign — and his prior years of public service — display a spirit of true community participation and openness. Electing Mr. Cohen would bring some needed fresh air into what’s been, frankly, a noxious governing style.
I’ve known Zachary for almost 20 years, since becoming friends with his wife. We’ve talked about environmental, planning, and town board issues during several administrations. I’ve observed Zachary’s increasing willingness to take on all sorts of difficult and thankless tasks on various town committees because he loves East Hampton and feels an obligation to contribute.
Zachary is a caring, thoughtful, and committed person — and those attributes complement his considerable intelligence and skills. Governing East Hampton in the next several years will not be easy. But Zachary Cohen has the qualities and ethics needed to make Town Hall and the town board accessible and friendly places where citizens can feel welcome and listened to.
It’s time to end the personal attacks by Bill Wilkinson and Theresa Quigley and bring the thoughtful voice of Zachary Cohen to the supervisor’s position.
October 31, 2011
To the Editor,
I am disgusted with Bill Wilkinson’s trying to make a scandal out of an innocuous statement on Zachary Cohen’s campaign flier.
Everyone knows that Zach Cohen worked tirelessly to investigate and work out East Hampton Town’s finances. In his weekly letters to The Star last winter, Zach made a great effort to explain to we town citizens what had happened and how to fix it.
Without Zach we would know noth ng and have no idea how to proceed. Bill Wilkinson benefitted equally from Zach’s work.
He should be saying thank you to Mr. Cohen instead of this!
October 31, 2011
Supervisor Wilkinson still talks constantly about the debt he inherited and what marvels he wrought to bring us out. True, the budget needed to be controlled and money had to be borrowed to cover the shortfall. And the town board did do it. But it wasn’t a miracle. There is, in fact, some question about how it was done — leaving us paying interest on a 10-year debt that may not have been totally necessary.
However, that was 2009. We’re at the end of 2011. Can we talk about what Mr. Wilkinson is hoping to do in the future? The administration’s frustrated efforts this year provide a pretty good preview of what he will try to achieve if elected:
1. Curtail if not eliminate the role of the Planning Department upon which we’re dependent to maintain a sustainable environment here.
2. Drive our longstanding, fair-minded zoning board of appeals chairman out of office to be replaced with a political appointee who thinks professional recommendations for maintaining the environment are “blackmail.”
3. Silence the citizen advisory committees, which keep important watch on the government.
4. Roll back progress we’ve made on limiting in-your-face outdoor commercial lighting
5. Cut back Highway Department activities not only by eliminating leaf pick-up, but appropriating surplus reserved for emergencies and infrastructure improvements.
6. Sell out the potential for control over the airport in exchange for Federal Aviation Administration money we may not need.
7. Continue to move ineffectually against extreme commercial assaults on the peace and quiet of residential neighborhoods
8. Continue to provide help of one kind or another to friends and contributors who seek exemptions from environmental and historic restrictions.
If your $16 average tax decrease is worth all of this, I guess you’ll vote for the Wilkinson team. I’m going to vote for the Cohen group for the future of East Hampton.
Democratic and Working Families
Candidate for Trustee
So They Sink
October 28, 2011
No matter how old I get, it still shocks my naive brain the lengths that people will go to as they struggle to hold on to power. Bubbling to the surface are the lies, the innuendos, exaggerations, distortions, and the outright mud-slinging as those in power are faced with losing it. Their egos love center stage, hard to think of giving that up, and then there are the other perks that go along with power, perhaps even more seductive. So they sink to tactics like stealing their opponents’ signs and name-calling, a sign of desperation.
Thugs — Sylvia Overby, a thug? Come on! Where I come from in the Bronx (and according to Webster), she is no thug, sir.
As for the lies, at the Montauk debate, Bill Wilkinson said that the Surf Lodge’s fines and their costs have been reduced, rattling off a number, but his own assistant town attorney said the Wilkinson numbers were not accurate and no settlement had been reached. (The Lodge has been cited 640 times!)
He says, in the moment, what he thinks people want to hear, whither it is true or not. Did he support the people who are against the privatization of a stretch of our beloved beach, besides telling us about his drives on the beach, dog and fishing pole in tow? Liar, liar, pants on fire!
He dares to advertise that he has a real résumé. You mean, he has an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago or has owned his own successful businesses like Zach Cohen? Innuendos and exaggerations.
First his “team” says Zach lacks experience in business, and then they accuse him of being a big-time real estate developer — more Republican flip-flopping. Distortions! His résumé is as a company man.
Do we have to go through the litany of the transgressions that Mr. Wilkinson has cast upon this town in just two short years? If you need real hard evidence, drive by the 7-Eleven in Montauk; he betrayed his own town. It’s shocking. And he didn’t notice this? Does he take one of those famous helicopters from Montauk to Town Hall or is he driving on the beach? Could it be him I hear over my house in Springs or some very loud sea gulls?
Then I heard one of his running mates twice call him a genius. A genius? You mean like Leonardo or Einstein? That’s ground to disqualify Richard Haeg for reasons of insanity.
More lies! The Republicans have no understanding that the function of government is to care for the needs of the people. Instead, they are driven to take care of themselves and the rich who pay for their means (lots of signs) to tenaciously hold on to the power that belongs to both of them, big business and politicians. Yes, it’s a team (okay, the Black Sox team) bought and paid for by large sums of money.
PHYLLIS I. MALLAH
Ms. Mallah is a member of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Ed.
October 31, 2011
It was a year ago that Supervisor Wilkinson and his “team” diminished one of the best human services departments in the whole State of New York. They cut out the youth program and counseling, and downsized services for senior citizens. They spent $15,000 to make a “report” targeting the Human Services Department after they had already made the changes, apparently for political cover.
This election is about better government and quality of life and fairness in our East Hampton. What happened to our humane Human Services is only one of many reasons to vote for Zach Cohen, Sylvia Overby, and Peter Van Scoyoc on Election Day.
Ms. Mazur is a member of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Ed.
There Is No Joy
October 24, 2011
To the Editor:
The news that America is finally withdrawing its troops from Iraq brings joy to the thousands of families with loved ones at risk in that country. Sadly, there is no joy for the families of the 4,478 American servicemen and women killed there or the 33,169 Americans wounded. They have paid a price for which there are no refunds.
We saved the country from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, at a cost of over one million Iraqi deaths, as estimated by the Opinion Research Bureau, and the dislocation of millions more as they escaped the fighting
by fleeing their homes and escaping to neighboring countries where nearly all of them live out their lives one or two steps above destitution, indicators of suffering far greater than anything Hussein inflicted on his people.
And what of the American war mongers and their foreign allies who wanted this war? President Bush lives in peaceful retirement, Vice President Dick Cheney is on the tube pushing his new book, as is Donald Rumsfeld. Paul Wolfowitz and the other neocons have all landed in plush jobs in the groves of academe or think tanks, Nathan Sharansky, whose influential 2004 book justified the Bush Doctrine, continues as a welcome celebrity in this country and Israel, the disillusioned Colin Powell still wields influence in the media. Their reputations are tarnished but they are alive and free and happy unlike the victims of their actions.
The suffering these men and their ilk inflicted on Americans and the Iraqis is immeasurable, and to what benefit? Who is better off now after all the pain and bloodshed and hundreds of billions of dollars spent on this war? Perhaps future generations of Americans will know if there were any the real winners in this war. They certainly are not Americans or the Iraqis.
JOSEPH D. POLICANO
Back of the Bus
October 23, 2011
Herman Cain and his father have been exposed by certain black leaders as not true enough blacks because neither were in any black freedom marches. I thought those civil rights gains were for those who marched or not. So do those who did not now have to sit in the back of the bus, so to speak, while the charlatans like Al Sharpton are on radio and TV peddling their anti-white messages to those who are followers of Democrats, progressives, and other hate-America believers as now gathered in Lower Manhattan?
MSNBC has a series based on what goes on in U.S. prisons, and uses a lot of their broadcast time for what may be their best programming. Hiring Al Sharpton might be a shrewd move. He may be thought of as a kind of bridge between prisoners and those outside. Read his record of anti-Semitism, alliances with Louis Farrakan, the Tawana Brawly faked-rape charges, involvement in the 125 Street demonstrations leading to the burning to death of some eight store employees, the shooting of several others, and his riling the crowd at a synagogue in Brooklyn after a car returning from a funeral veered onto a sidewalk and fatally injured an 8-year-old boy. Mr. Sharpton, a man of the cloth, charged that the driver of the rabbi’s car was drunk from drinking wine at the Jewish cemetery, where alcohol of any kind is prohibited. Oh yes, a Jewish student from Australia was knifed to death by one of a crowd whipped into a frenzy by Al and company. That Al Sharpton, a frequent White House visitor, and is held in respect any where other than by his followers is a travesty.
Meanwhile, moveon.org. has been joined by the teachers union of New York, who donate use of their warehouse in Manhattan as a distribution center for those 99-percent occupiers of Wall Street. Most are college grads; they have the low unemployment rate of 4.2 percent. Why are they not working? A guy interviewed Saturday bragged that he, a welder working five years for the same employer in Ohio, informed his employer that he was taking a leave to join in this contrived movement. Is this movement the nucleus of an Obama shockwave of unionists, far-left zealots and the like working semi-sub rosa, testing how far they can go in a power grab?
Meanwhile O. and Co. has brought us into a 20-year war in Central Africa where we have no national interests whatsoever, while he weakens us in the Mid East, against the advice of the military.
EARLE S. RYNSTON
Need to Invent
October 29, 2011
To the Editor,
My nephew is a political and economic conservative. Not a social conservative (they tend to be one small gene away from dementia) whose vision marginalizes any serious conversation. He is chief financial officer of a California oil company. He makes a lot of money, and we consider him a mensch. He is smart, funny, and worldly. He would have been a great leftist if I had gotten to him sooner. But he is embarrassed, mortified by the behavior of “true” conservatives, not of the seven would-be presidential candidates; 8 out of 10 pols are brain dead, so 7 out of 7 is within the margin of error; not by the decimation of the middle class because of unregulated market phenomena; not by corporate America’s massive profits and the greed and avarice of the financial sector and the banks; not by the idiocy of Fannie and Freddie and the conservative mortgage geniuses who produced bad loans and then had the temerity to repackage them again.
What pisses him off and embarrasses him enough to stay away from family functions is the refusal of conservatives to face the economic reality of the country; to admit that our recession/depression is way worse then we claimed it to be; that it is a product of conservative, free-market ideology gone amok; that more-of-the-same dose of unregulated business combined with lower taxes and deficit reduction will only drive us deeper into the crapper; that the economy has been structurally altered and requires unusual methods to fix it; that the private sector has refused to create new jobs since 1999, despite enormous profits, and that the cash infusion which corporate America and our banks are holding on to will not be used to kick start the economy, patriotism, and American exceptionalism to the contrary.
The old system is kind of kaput and we need to invent an alternative reality to cope with a different world. Hating President Obama is insufficient because it won’t create jobs. Furthermore, Mr. Obama is way more conservative than left-wing, and many of his policies, mostly misguided, are conservatively respectable. Forty percent of his stimulus plan was tax cuts and, along with the Bush tax cuts, added up to $1.5 trillion since 2004, creating zero jobs.
Cutting regulations — or not enforcing them — is what has allowed the economy to collapse. Letting the markets work out the problem, which they caused, could take 10 to 15 years.
Conservative depression comes from acknowledging that what worked before no longer is applicable, that spewing homilies and sound-bites is counterproductive. It’s the realization that red meat turns your stomach and rice and seaweed looms on the horizon. Smart conservatives adjust and begin restructuring. The rest talk about small government, abortion, and deficit reduction.
Empires collapse because they refuse to recognize and adjust to problems. Conservative thinking is an essential ingredient to solving our problems. Not because the other side is lame and incompetent but because only a united political front can deal with the influence of confluence of wealth that controls and manipulates our political process. So conservatives need to step up, but first take their heads out of their butts, then to get rid of the lobbyists who keep their heads company and, finally, to accept the reality that we need a new reality to emerge from the wreckage of the old one.