Letters to the Editor 11.17.11

Positive Campaign
    Montauk
    November 13, 2011
Dear David,
    I would like to take this opportunity to thank the community for making my first venture into seeking an elected office a very positive experience. It was an honor and a privilege to meet all of you and spend some time with you, however brief.
    Many of you welcomed me into your home or took time out of your busy schedules to stop on the street and share your thoughts and concerns regarding this paradise that we call home.
    I thoroughly enjoyed working with my running mate, Bill Mott. We both ran a very positive campaign, and I am grateful to have been able to work side by side with him.
    Congratulations to Peter Van Scoyoc and Sylvia Overby. I wish you both the best when you take office and hope that you will both work hard to ensure the quality of life that we all deserve.
    Sincerely,
    MARILYN J. BEHAN
    Independence candidate for
    East Hampton Town Board



Honored and Proud
    East Hampton
    November 14, 2011
Dear David,
    I want to thank everyone who supported my candidacy in the recent election. I found the experience to be very rewarding, and I am extremely honored and proud to have been selected to serve all the residents of East Hampton Town as councilman.
    I look forward to working on the many challenges we face and doing my best to support all that is special about our town.
    Sincerely,
    PETER VAN SCOYOC



Reaffirms the Value
    Wainscott
    November 14, 2011
Dear David:
    Please allow me to take this opportunity to thank East Hampton voters for considering my candidacy for East Hampton Town trustee, and especially those who gave me their votes.
    I’ve never run for public office before, but, even if the result was not quite what I would preferred (for myself, at any rate), I found the experience to be invigorating, educational, and thoroughly rewarding. Election Day reaffirms the value and meaning of our democracy like no other event.
    My very best wishes to those who prevailed.
    Thank you,
    SAM KRAMER




Team Effort
    East Hampton
    November 14, 2011
To the Editor,
    Election Day is over, and I would like to thank all who supported me in my campaign for East Hampton Town superintendent of highways. I would like to give a special thanks to my wife, Gina, and family who are always there in my time of need. There are so many who went out of their way for me and there are no words to express my appreciation. My win was your win. It was a team effort and one that wouldn’t have happened without you. I am proud to be a Bonacker and will do my best for all.
    Thank you,
    STEPHEN LYNCH SR.



More Signs
    Springs
    November 11, 2011
Dear David,
    The election is over, and Mrs. Lynch’s little boy won — not exactly fairly because Scott King was relentlessly smeared with the help of Stephen Lynch’s aunt by marriage, his mother, and more signs than you can shake a stick at.
    Loretta Lynch talks of my reputation; how would she know of my reputation if she resides in Florida?
    As a retired teacher and school administrator, I know what is decent and honest and fair. Did this election possess those qualities? I think not. Not one sign of Scott’s was allowed to stand for even a day. If they really had a case that was true there would have been no reason to destroy every sign put up on Mr. King’s behalf. Mr. Lynch’s group acted in an unscrupulous fashion, and we the people of East Hampton are the losers who will bear witness to this egregious error.
    As a school administrator, I would run across the rare teacher who was a reluctant worker, as anyone who heads an organization has experienced. Mr. King ran a tight ship, which made some people angry. But mother to mother, if I were Mrs. Lynch I would be more concerned about my son’s health, as highway superintendent is a strenuous job, mentally as well as physically.
    Sincerely,
    PHYLLIS I. MALLAH



Corporate Greed
    East Hampton
    November 14, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray:
    In typical fashion, when liberals such as your paper don’t like something they want it banned, the First Amendment be dammed. I refer to your editorial “If they Can’t Behave, Take Away their Toys.”
    While you lump all “lawn signs” into this editorial, political speech appears to be your intended target and this coming from a business that makes its living off the First Amendment. I believe, though, there are both political and self-serving reasons for you to wish to see a ban on this type of political speech.
    Banning lawn signs weakens minority party candidates. In this past election, if Marilyn Behan and Bill Mott had been banned from putting their names on lawn signs, they probably would have received fewer votes than they did. Mr. Mott had very attractive and numerous signs in Springs that reminded voters every day they drove by them that he was a force in this race. Ms. Behan’s signs were fewer and later in coming, but when they appeared, there was no mistake that she was a participant in this contest.
     Banning signs would increase The East Hampton Star’s advertising dollars, since campaigns would have to spend extra dollars taking out more ads in your newspaper to get the names of their candidates in the public’s eye. It is clear that your corporate greed takes precedence over the First Amendment. Even bankers are not that crass. Hey! Occupy Wall Street! The next time you are in the Hamptons, your real target should be The East Hampton Star, not the banks.
    Furthermore, many local sign businesses benefited from the production of these signs. I hope the additional revenue helped them as much as I know the advertising dollars your paper received added to your bottom line in this brutal economy. The same goes for the radio stations. In light of this revenue, I wonder how the sign businesses feel about banning lawn signs.
    You claim political signs bring out bad behavior in boorish individuals. Because criminals take down and deface private property, individuals and campaigns should be denied their First Amendment rights, in your opinion. By your logic, Mr. Rattray, we should ban all cars (especially expensive cars) because doesn’t the very existence of cars bring out the human failings of car thieves? Shouldn’t we also ban wearing expensive jewelry in public, because doesn’t that help to bring out the failings of human nature in jewelry thieves and muggers? Cars and jewelry, the toys of the Hamptons. “If They Can’t Behave, Take away their Toys.” Get my drift? How far does this go?
    After you have successfully banned all signs, what’s next? Radio ads? I mean radio ads are so déclassé, for East Hampton, no? Noisy and brash, as much of an affront to the ears as those hated signs are to the eyes. Then after radio ads, candidate mailings? Robo-calls? What is more annoying than a robo-call? So, I guess, when this musical chairs of banning gets finished the only outlet for campaign speech will be the print media, especially the very objective and nonpartisan East Hampton Star.
    What happens when your newspaper is no longer in vogue and government decides to do as you say “put a stop to the silliness now?” I will bet you one of those offending signs that you defend the First Amendment rights of so-called artists to put a crucifix in urine or smear elephant dung on a picture of the Virgin Mary while you demand candidate signs be banned.
    Another election season in open-minded East Hampton comes to a close and the first thing we talk about is banning political speech. You gotta love these newspapers, the very bastions of journalistic integrity and the First Amendment. Our founding fathers are rolling over in their graves right now.
    Sincerely,
    CAROLE CAMPOLO

    Ms. Campolo is a member of the East Hampton Republican Committee. Ed.



Their Vote
    Springs
    November 13, 2011
Dear Editor:
    I would like to take this opportunity to thank my supporters for casting their vote for me on Nov. 8. I truly appreciate being given the opportunity to serve the community for another four years as their town justice. I would further like to express my gratitude to The East Hampton Independent and The East Hampton Press for their endorsements.
    Wishing everyone happy, healthy, and safe holidays,
    LISA RANA
    East Hampton Town Justice



The Most Votes
    East Hampton
    November 14, 2011
Dear David,
    After reading your blatantly biased and subjective endorsement favoring East Hampton Town Justice Lisa R. Rana’s opponent, published days before the last election (and knowing that you did not even find it necessary to interview Justice Rana when making your personal choice), I guess it is just par for the course that you barely mention her race in The Star’s post-election coverage. After all, she only received the most votes of any other candidate in all of the Town of East Hampton’s contested races. But, of course, that fact doesn’t even warrant a line in any of your stories. Your paper is laughable!
    Sincerely,
    JOHN DUNNING


Save Ink
    Wainscott
    November 8, 2011
Dear Editor,
    How completely predictable you are in endorsing the Democratic candidates for town office once again. One would have thought that after the disastrous financial stewardship of the last Democratic administration you might have approved of the Wilkinson team’s actions to stabilize the town. My suggestion is to change the name of the paper to The East Hampton Democrat. It will save ink on the editorial page since the name will say it all.
    Very truly yours,
    FRANK MORGAN



Not a Majority
    Montauk
    November 12, 2011
Dear Editor,
    In your editorial titled “Mandate Questioned” you are correct that the Wilkinson mandate was one purely of a financial nature, but Mr. Rattray, it does not mean that the Democrats in East Hampton won some great victory. On the contrary, they faired rather poorly.
    As of election night, of the 14 contested races the Republicans had won 10. Of the 4 races won by the Democrats only 1 was won by a majority vote (Steve Lester) compared with 9 of 10 won by majority by the Republicans. Peter Van Scoyoc, Sylvia Overby, and Debbie Klughers won by plurality, meaning they had more votes than their closest competitor, but not a majority of the electorate had voted for them.
    Even if you throw out the results of the last election as an aberration it seems our town has made a vote to the political right. So, Mr. Rattray, do not gloat about your Democratic town board victories, because most of East Hampton did not vote for them.
    Thank you,
    BILL CAMPBELL



Express My Empathy
    Amagansett
    November 14, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray,
    I did not believe it was possible to hate The East Hampton Star as much as Tina Piette hates The East Hampton Star. I myself have tried to hate The Star — over and over again for 35 years I have tried — but never have I come close to the mark that Tina has set for hating The Star.
    Tina is a brilliant woman and a deeply caring member of our community with beautiful twinkling eyes and a disarming smile. But she crossed a line when she said “bless his heart,” referring to Lyle Greenfield’s letters, as if I were some challenged ward of the state, strapped into my high chair, being fed porridge with a plastic spoon, puréed vegetables drooling from the corners of my mouth. Still, I can take a little patronizing.
    Yes, The Star would seem to have something of a liberal bias — I suppose I take comfort in that as someone who has always been soft on democracy. (My biggest objections to your “news” paper, Mr. Rattray, have more to do with the tens of thousands of words devoted annually to gardening, but I don’t want to start slinging mud in this time of our East Hampton spring.)
    What else is there to read? The Independent? That thing makes the K-Mart catalog seem like a literary supplement. The East Hampton Press? It’s nothing but The Southampton Press with an East Hampton hood ornament slapped on.
    I’ll bet Elaine Jones has no great love for The Star, but that doesn’t stop her from expressing her passionately held views in its pages. Elaine is the very definition of citizen engagement!
    Ms. Piette, I have purchased for you a small gift certificate to The Star, which you may pick up at their charming headquarters on Main Street at any time. True, it’s no Times “Weekender,” but try this little subscription with no obligation whatsoever. See if you don’t enjoy relaxing at home with your own copy of The Star and a hearty cup of joe. Read the letters while driving to work! Find out where the big stripers are hitting, and who they’re hitting! Read Laura Donnelly’s re-review of Brent’s! Learn to grow heirloom tomatoes in the basement! Cheers.
    But I digress, Mr. Rattray. I am writing to express my empathy with another writer’s lament over the loss of character and charm on Main Street, East Hampton. The sudden departure of so many high-end boutiques has left a sense of emptiness now that our seasonal booty has been plundered. Yesterday, in front of Dylan’s Candy Bar, I fell to my knees and pounded my fist on the sidewalk till blood was shooting from my knuckles. “Why?” I cried. “Why? Why? Why?” And so forth.
    And then I had an epiphany. Or possibly something less sacred. What if, as a budget-cutting measure, Town Hall could close for the winter? (With the exception of important emergency and enforcement offices, of course.) The giant, hand-painted sign out front would read: “Thanks for a Great Season! See You in the Spring!”
    Six months later the savings from that little shutdown would be ample to finance the leaf pickup again. You’re welcome!
    To the eventual winner of the town supervisor ballot count, I offer my congratulations and best wishes. The race will have been so close that I dare say your “mandate” will be to listen well — and act thoughtfully.
    To the East Hampton spring,
    LYLE GREENFIELD



‘Mandate’ Overreach
    Wainscott
    November, 13 2011
Dear David,
    Thank you for the insightful editorial last week titled “Mandate Questioned.” Bill Wilkinson, Theresa Quigley, and Dominick Stanzione were swept into office two years ago by voters angry at the financial mess. Faster than you can say “pride comes before a fall,” the Wilkinson team, which included Len Bernard, shifted the anger onto themselves when they fueled their “mandate” overreach with an unbridled arrogance that disregarded the town’s values and sense of community.
    Just take a look at the reporting in the various news outlets right after the election, which shows the haughty disconnect continues. What does Mr. Wilkinson say he has learned from the close voting results? That we wanted him to “smile more.” Huh? Nice bit of condescension. Then, on the front page of The East Hampton Star last week, Trace Duryea, chairwoman of the local Republican Party, blasts the voting public of East Hampton: “I’m really disappointed in the community in which I live.” Sound familiar? Remember when Wilkinson blamed us for the collapse of the misguided concert that no one had ever wanted to begin with?
    The Star goes on to quote someone else at the Republicans’ election night party. When learning they had no sweeping victory to crown their dubious achievements, here’s the reaction: “You got to be kidding me. They’re all brain-dead out here.” That’s what Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley and their supporters think of the town’s citizens and taxpayers.
    As I write, I know that Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc, two of the town’s most accomplished, forward-thinking planners, have deservedly won seats on the town board. I do not know if Mr. Wilkinson has been reseated or replaced by Zach Cohen. No matter how the whole election has turned out by the time this letter is printed, the message in your editorial remains salient: There was no mandate to destroy the town’s character and aggressively belittle anyone who disagreed with the majority on the town board.
    Mr. Wilkinson, Ms. Quigley, Mr. Stanzione, and their extended team lost sight of one of the more meaningful lessons in life when they squandered their opportunity to fix the financial mess and still keep us all proud of the town we cherish and wish to pass down to future generations.
    Like Mr. Wilkinson, many of us have been in business all our lives — quite successfully — and we have come to know that money is important, but it is not everything. What does it profit us to gain a town that is all and only about money and lose our soul as a community? Luckily, we can get our town back.
    DAVID DOTY

    Mr. Doty is the treasurer of the East Hampton Conservators. Ed.



Failure of Judgment
    East Hampton
    November 14, 2011
Dear David:
    In the Nov. 10 article about the election results, Trace Duryea, the Republican committee chairwoman, is quoted as saying “. . . I’m really disappointed in the community in which I live . . .” because “it’s incomprehensible to me that people could make this type of judgment.” She’s referring to the fact that Supervisor Bill Wilkinson did not win an outright victory in his bid for reelection.
    It seems to me that the failure of judgment lies not with the citizens of East Hampton but with Mr. Wilkinson and his Republican colleagues. They do not understand that the people of this town are not fooled by a bogus tax cut paid for by bonded money, nor do they appreciate the loss of town services that many people have counted on for years. They realize that things that have been traditionally valued could be jeopardized by a second Wilkinson term.
    As you noted in an editorial, this administration has failed to listen to its constituents and has turned a deaf ear to quality of life concerns such as noise (coming from the airport and nightclubs), awarding a permit for a huge rock concert, discontinuing the leaf-pickup program, and selling town property that can never be replaced.
    This community has proven time and again that we will fight to maintain what is important to us: a clean, quiet, and beautiful environment sustained by a careful planning process and a caring and committed citizenry.
SUE AVEDON


All Not Happy
    Sag Harbor
    November 14, 2011
Dear Editor:
    Perhaps Bill Wilkinson’s campaign motto should have been, “I’m not happy until you’re all not happy.”
    Unsure of his future, this past week Mr. Wilkinson, along with Dominick Stanzione, introduced a resolution to accept Federal Aviation Administration money to fix a fence at the airport. What is at stake here is not just fixing a fence, but their leaving a 20-year permanent liability to East Hampton. Once done, no budget hearings or a reduction in town spending will ever be able to undo a pact with the F.A.A.!
    Both of them are well aware that the East Hampton electorate have tired of their brand of back-room politics. Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. Stanzione have reached a new low with this 11th-hour attempt to force 20 more years of uncontrolled noise and environmental pollution on the Town of East Hampton.
    Candidates in last week’s election from both the Independence and Democratic parties called for a slower and reasoned approach to the colossal mess that is the airport. Even though voters quite obviously embraced the common-sense ideas of their opponents, Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. Stanzione are brazenly reminding the town’s citizens that they don’t care what the public thinks.
    It is my understanding that a public hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 1 on this issue. If you care about peace and quiet in the skies over East Hampton, please attend and remind these two shameless individuals that East Hampton cares about its future, its quality of life, and its commitment to the democratic process.
BOB WOLFRAM



No Need to Rush
    Sagaponack
    November 14, 2011
To the Editor,
    Bill Wilkinson and company, representing the 1 percent, have called for a hearing at the Dec. 1 town board meeting to consider requesting Federal Aviation Administration money for deer fencing at the airport. Acceptance of this new money will subject the 99 percent to continued and increased noise and air pollution for another 20 years.
    Mr. Wilkinson and company have not yet won the election (at the time of this letter). Nevertheless, they are calling this hearing in an effort to get approval for the F.A.A. grant before the new board is sworn in.
    There is no need to rush. This is not honorable, nor is it democracy in its intended form. The town airport account has accumulated more than enough money to pay for this improvement without taxing local residents or going to the federal trough.
    If enough citizens attend the hearing and demand to be heard, the 99 percent will prevail and the 1 percent will have to pay their own way.
STEPHEN LEVINE




Infamous Four
    East Hampton
    November 14, 2011
Dear David,
    The current administration claims to be seeking public input for a decision it plans to make to take Federal Aviation Administration funding to replace the deer fence at East Hampton Airport.
    One could construe this as an attempt to strangle the opportunity for local control for an incoming town board on Jan. 1, should Zach Cohen’s bid for supervisor ultimately place him at the helm.
    Len Bernard, the East Hampton Town budget officer, has confirmed a $1.5 million surplus in airport revenues. Revenues generated by the airport, as required by currently active grant assurances with the F.A.A., must be spent on the airport. Why not use that money for a deer fence, if a fence is needed?
    Our elected officials must recognize the burden carried by the local community because of unreasonable hours of operation (24/7), intolerable noise levels from helicopters, jets, and seaplanes, and carbon emissions. These emissions are discharged not only into the fragile ecosystems of the Peconic Bay estuary and surrounding communities, but right onto the homes, decks, and lawns of thousands of residents. And, they extend to the entire East End.  
    Our elected officials must recognize the diminished value of local real estate due to egregious quality of life impacts this airport causes residents. Our elected leaders must decline to cater to powerful political interests in the community, who have, for decades, dictated town policy on the airport.
    The only option available to improve quality of life conditions is to return East Hampton airport to local control by allowing the infamous four critical grant assurances to expire at the end of 2014.
    Taking any F.A.A. money, whether $1 or $1 million, will push local control of our airport for noise-mitigation purposes out of the lifetimes of most of East Hampton’s current residents.
    A responsible town board would hold off on this decision until an actual cost-benefit analysis of the airport’s ability to be self-sustaining can be conducted, which is actually required by our town code. Why not do that first and then make decisions about which improvements are necessary for safety and how they might be funded?
    Thank you,
    KATHLEEN CUNNINGHAM



Even One Cent
    Sag Harbor
    November 14, 2011
Dear Editor,
    Although the final result of the election for East Hampton Town supervisor remains unknown at this time, the current town supervisor has rapidly pushed the agenda of his supporters to have town board accept new Federal Aviation Administration funding for East Hampton Airport and yet again relinquish local control of that facility for a further 20 years.
    Under the guise of urgently needed repairs and safety improvements at the airport, Bill Wilkinson, two days after the election, inveigled the current board to hold a Dec. 1 public meeting at Town Hall to discuss repairing a deer fence at the airport. This despite records that there have been only five animal strikes at East Hampton Airport reported to the F.A.A. over the past 10 years, only one of which caused significant damage.
    The town has sufficient surplus airport money, $1.5 million, relaxing comfortably in a bank. That money was derived from airport operational income and, by law, can be expended only at the airport. If money is available, and repairs will cost less than a quarter of the dollars available to the airport, then why is the current town board pushing so vigorously to prevent local control by accepting F.A.A. money that will again put control totally in the hands of a federal agency in Washington for 20 years? That is what will happen if even one cent of F.A.A. money is accepted by East Hampton Town. And that is what the mysterious but well-funded aviation group, the airport alliance, has been advocating to residents through thousands of advertising dollars prior to the election.
    The alliance is a group whose leadership apparently prefers to remain behind the scenes, has no known e-mail address, no known telephone number, no known Web site, and no known published list of principals; I attempted to find them, but failed. The only contact possibility printed on their advertisements is a post office box in Wainscott. I also found a reference to a law office in Southampton when I did an Internet search. Southampton? This is a curious situation for a “local” East Hampton group. Who are the members of this association? What could possibly be so valuable to the aviation alliance members that would motivate them to spend thousands to intentionally mislead residents with such fervor — to ask the town to pursue F.A.A. dollars, which can be had only with so many strings attached and handcuff the town completely for two decades?
     The answer could be as simple as maintaining low-cost landing fees and parking rates for the alliance and Airline Owners and Pilots Association at East Hampton Airport, or it could be increased income for the very small number of businesses operating out of the airport. I sincerely hope there is a far better reason, one that would benefit the 99 percent of residents who do not use the airport, but that reason is not apparent today.
    What is apparent is that no reasonable person will argue about the importance of safety at the airport, but this “urgent” meeting to push for F.A.A. dollars is certainly not about a fence or about controlling deer.
    If residents want the town to take back local control of East Hampton Airport in 2014 and not allow it to remain in the hands of the F.A.A., then they will attend the meeting at Town Hall on Dec. 1.
    Thank you,
    PATRICIA CURRIE



Lame Duck Board
    East Hampton
    November 14, 2011
To The East Hampton Star:
    Within 48 hours of the election that has left us uncertain about who will control the East Hampton Town Board in the new year, the lame duck board audaciously rushed its first step toward eliminating local control of airport noise for another 20 years.
    The lame duck board desperately hopes to obtain Federal Aviation Administration money before Jan. 1 to repair the airport’s deer fence. But the airport’s confirmed existing surplus is $1.5 million.
    Obviously there is no need for F.A.A. money to repair a fence. But the lame ducks need the F.A.A. subsidy in order to lock in for another two years the subsidy conditions that bar local airport noise control. That way, local leaders will have no ability for 20 years to impose curfews on helicopters or jets or to limit touch-and-gos, that is, no ability and no responsibility to the voters to do so.
    The lame ducks are afraid that after Jan. 1 a new town board might carry out campaign promises for a comprehensive analysis to determine whether F.A.A. money is really needed in the long run.
    Shame on the lame ducks. But their first step is to call for a hearing to be held on Dec. 1 for public discussion. Whatever the election results, the citizenry should rise up at this Dec. 1 hearing and demonstrate that the public wants local control and effective noise abatement.
    Sincerely,
    CHARLES A. EHREN JR.



An Urgent Matter
    Sag Harbor
    November 13, 2011
Dear Editor,
    I have been writing letters to The Star since I retired to Sag Harbor in 1985 — for well over 20 years, including the brief competitive interlude when the proprietor established an office in Sag Harbor and published The Sag Harbor Herald.
    It was a pleasure in those years at the beginning, when the printing and publishing craft was flourishing, along with proofreading. Sadly, with the advent of new technology — computers and e-mailing replacing old-fashioned typewriters and fax machines — I have watched the decline of editorial and journalistic standards. Proofreading (even with spell check) has become a disaster — if it is done at all; fact checking seems bothersome; a history-be-damned attitude makes history begin after World War II or whatever the editorial office decides it is. In short, an “anything goes” American exceptionalism has run loose in the journalistic profession. Content of letters is meddled with — in time or courtesy to check with the writer. (Why require the writer’s telephone number, given so much father-knows-best editorial certainty?)
    This was when I decided to quit writing letters to the editor a couple of years or so ago. I had had my fill of editorial ignorance and editorial E. and O.E. (errors and omissions excepted). No more “printer’s devil.” If a letter was printed to read like the utterings of a moron, the writer was expected to accept this under the rubric of “editorial privilege” as evidence of the editorial staff doing its job and earning its keep.
    If, at first, I thought that my letters were singled out for this privileged treatment I now see from complaints by Lyle Greenfield in his recent letters to The Star that the mud-bathing of letters has become an equal opportunity treatment.
    I am here breaking my silence — this once, at least — to deal with an urgent matter of public and environmental health facing residents of East Hampton Town. Professing concern for the environment, the preservation of agriculture, and the benefits of open spaces free from the clutter of overdevelopment, the New York State Legislature, with strong support from the towns, passed the Community Preservation Act. A community preservation fund was established, nourished with a 2-percent transfer tax to be levied on all land transactions. This move to “let the Hamptons be — and remain — Hamptons” was widely lauded. (Jaundiced cynics, like me, did not buy much of the hoopla, knowing that population growth, if unchecked, would put pressure on preserved land that would eventually be sold to developers for housing and other projects. So much for preventing overdevelopment.)
    Other challenges have cropped up, and government being what it is has tried to meet them in typical free-enterprise fashion. One is the ban on plastic bags below a certain size (the size approved for disposal of household garbage in town garbage dumps) in both East Hampton and Southampton Villages. This in the interest of marine life (fish die attempting to gobble plastic bags floating in town waters). Unless the manufacture of small or all plastic bags is banned — hardly possible — this does nothing about small and large plastic bags being windblown, as now, all over the land, and large plastic bags floating in town waters — a political gesture but hardly a clever one.
    Another problem is the East Hampton Town Board attempt to cover its budget deficit by disposal of preserved land — a violation of the Community Preservation Act. Blame the sad state of the state and national economy. (Why not request a state and/or federal bailout? Banks and businesses have received federal bailouts with less justification.)
    Yet another problem — leaf pickup and disposal by the town — is targeted for elimination by the East Hampton Town government. This “see no evil” proposal adds leaves to the floating debris of plastic bags all over the land. (Some environmental consciousness!)
    The silliest of silly actions taken by the East Hampton Town Board is the closing of the home-exchange area (“Caldor East” — like Caldor, no more), purportedly in order to keep children from accompanying adults to that part of the dump and getting into accidents that endanger their safety, which has happened previously. Chalk this one up to the brilliance of government in action. Since a dump sticker is required for cars entering the dump, what could be easier than denying entry to cars with little children? What beats this silly action is the additional cost of carting away some stuff that would have been recycled if left at the home exchange area. Is the reason for closing it true?
    Sincerely,
    DAVID CARNEY


Challenges
    East Hampton
    November 10, 2011
To the Editor,
    When President Clinton left office, we had a prosperous country with a surplus budget. President Bush and the Republicans followed and are responsible for:
    • Tax cuts that included the wealthy.
    • Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan resulting in deaths of approximately 6,000 servicemen and women at a cost of over $3 billion and destruction of Iraqi and Afghan life.
    • Real estate, banks, and the stock market cost the public an estimated $15 trillion, due to nefarious schemes, greed, and an administration that tied the hands of federal agencies that had power to prevent it.
    President Obama, a Democrat, has proposed job-plan legislation to the Republican Congress for financing continues employment of teachers, police, and firefighters, plus putting people to work repairing bridges, schools, transportation — all rejected by Congress. In whose hands should we place the welfare of our country, based on the challenges we currently face? Two thousand twelve is almost here, and he who forgets the past is doomed to repeat it.
MYRNA and SAM KLEIN



Vaudeville Act
    East Hampton
    November 13, 2011
Dear Editor,
    In the evening on Saturday, I was home alone resting a bad case of sacroiliac back and leg pain. While channel surfing, I fell upon the umpteenth Republican presidential debate.
    Knowing the comedic talents of the candidates, I immediately settled in to watch. I was anticipating the hilarious answers given by the vaudeville act of Michelle Bachmann, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, and the rest of the troupe, Smitten Flip-Floppin’ Mitt, Sanitized Unsafe Sex Santorum, Newt Spend the Loot Gingrich, and Not Hunting Huntsman, would be so mind-bending and ridiculous I would forget my back pain even while subconsciously dreading the disaster if any one of them, with the aid of an unknown virus, stumbled into the presidency. I wasn’t disappointed.
    There they stood on that stage, like kids at a spelling bee (only half as smart), giving answers to questions never asked, avoiding answers to those that were; bravely sending the country to war with Iran, of course while not volunteering to serve therein; destroying relations with Pakistan and probably the rest of the world with nation-building and super egoism; prolonging an endless war in Afghanistan, and promising all-encompassing acts of aggressive leadership in the event of their implausible election thus fulfilling the dreams of the Koch brothers, tea baggers, “viable at conception” anti-science nuts, and “born afar” Trumps schlumps.
    Anyway, while not repeating his recent, “God spoke to me, and told me I was selected to run” and calling Nancy Pelosi, Princess Nancy, Herman Cain did abandon his then and now assaults on women and stuck mainly with his nine-nine-nine even though it’s an asinine plan.
    Rick Perry followed up his memory loss exhibited in the last debate with a plan to antagonize Pakistan. Mitt of Romney presented firing the Fed chairman as the solution to all the nation’s problems and flip-flopped every time he opened his mouth. Of course he was strong on declaring that only he could stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons capability and just plain out saying that re-electing Barack Obama is to give the bomb to Iran. That one really made me remember how his claim to fame is firing 1,700 employees of one of his take-over ventures.
    Now right after every interesting question came a totally nonresponsive and pre-planned, sound-byte answer, and not one of these wannabe leaders gave even a small hint of any plan or solution to the problems that they all said were and are caused by President Obama, along with his being the cause of measles and whooping cough.
    Nowhere did any of them deign to reveal their secret plans to solve all our financial and political problems, or tell us what they would do to create jobs, although some of them said whatever Mr. Obama was doing was wrong. So what else is new? And the audience applauded.
    “Facts? We don’t need no dirty facts.” Just blame everything on Mr. Obama, say he curtailed our space program, a most disastrous error (actually it was George Bush). Mr. Obama’s withdrawal of troops from Iraq in January is a catastrophic mistake, they say (but truthfully, it was Mr. Bush who set the withdrawal date), and on and stupidly on as if the audience never saw a videotape of each of them professing a different point of view before a different gun-toting, “let ’em die” audience.
    By the time the “debate” was half over, not only did I forget my sciatic pain, I was in a severe battle with myself: take a nap while pain-free, or continue to use up all our Kleenex to wipe away the tears of laughter. Sleep won out.
    Now I will have to wait for The Times, Newsday, NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox for the reviews of this unmemorable event.
    There are 10 more of these pain-relieving, sleep-inducing alleged debates scheduled for the future. I hope my back will improve so I can get out and shovel all their horse crap in heaps to be remembered on Election Day!
RICHARD P. HIGER



Their Future
    Sag Harbor
    November 10, 2011
To the Editor,
    The United States is officially committed to what is called “low-intensity warfare.” That’s official doctrine. Low-intensity conflict includes training of others to fight our wars. This was made very clear in our wars with Iraq and Afghanistan. The purpose of this doctrine is to keep our body count low so as not to arouse the American people against these wars. Furthermore, we have trained the militaries in over 150 countries and continue to sell 60 percent of all the world’s weapons.
    The bottom line in both war and Wall Street is money. We are a warrior nation. So where is the hope? Anyone reading my letters for the past 10 years of war has heard my response. When government has become dysfunctional and in the grasp of corporate powers only we the people, over 300 million strong, can bring about real change.
    I believe there is a transformation in process. This time the poor, so-called middle class, and even some of the rich have become victims — the reason why Occupy Wall Street has spread across the nation so rapidly. I’m impressed with their approach of nonviolence and going beyond fear. I have a firm conviction that our young generation will not tolerate what they have inherited. They are not only brilliant but creative and know this is their future and ours. Therein lies our hope.
    In peace,
    LARRY DARCEY