Letters to the Editor 11.24.11

Near Disaster
    East Hampton
    November 14, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray,
    Just a public note of thanks to the folks at Spring Close restaurant on Pantigo Road in East Hampton: While enjoying a scrumptious repast and delightful dining experience, one of our family members found herself choking on food. Due to the loving kindness and quick responses of an owner, Colin Keillor, three people who happened to be there as well — an emergency medical worker, Ms. Field, Dr. Brower, and Lt. Francis Mott, and the quick response of the crew of the East Hampton ambulance, the near disaster was averted.
    So many people, so many friends: another reflection of our wonderful small-town community.
    Most sincerely,
    LEE LAWLER



Of Interest
    Lehigh Acres, Fla.
    November 14, 2011
Editor,
    I do get The Star here in Florida, so I manage to keep up with the East Hampton doings, even if it is one week later.
    I recently tried to contact a friend of my late husband, Len Schaefer, only to find out this friend had also passed. This might be of interest to the remaining members of East Hampton class of 1942. Bill Venegas died on Oct. 20 after a yearlong illness. He lived for many years in Sayville with his wife and son. His wife, Herma, sends greetings to all in East Hampton who remember her.
    MARILYN SCHAEFER



Look Forward
    Amagansett
    November 20, 2011
Dear David,
    A heartfelt thank-you to the voters of East Hampton for their support of my candidacy in the Nov. 8 election — the best part of campaigning is meeting and talking with the people of our community. Their positive response was uplifting and encouraging.
    I look forward to representing and serving all of the people of East Hampton.
    Sincerely,
    SYLVIA OVERBY



Moral Issue
    Montauk
    November 18, 2011
To the Editor:
    Your November 17 front-page article “Hunters Offer Help for Hungry” provides hunting groups with great publicity. How benevolent to donate deer meat to food pantries! As one food pantry executive is quoted as saying, the donations will garner support for hunting.
    But while food pantry donations are admirable, we also need to consider the moral issue of killing animals. Are the lives of animals worthy of our respect? Are the deer who suffer and die our concern? Should we care about the does who lose their babies, or the orphaned fawns?
    Albert Schweitzer emphasized that our ethical concerns need to extend beyond our own species. “Ethics,” he said, “are complete, profound, and alive only when addressed to all living beings.”
    So yes, let’s do what we can to help needy humans, but let’s also ask whether we must kill other sentient beings to do so. People can donate many non-meat, protein-rich foods to pantries.
    Your article also quotes people who say that hunting helps control the deer population. But research evidence doesn’t support this statement. In fact, researchers have found that deer give birth to more babies after a hunt than they normally would. The reason for the greater birth rate, known as the “rebound effect,” is not fully understood. One major hypothesis is that deer reproduction is associated with food resources, and there is more food for the deer who remain after a hunt.
    Many residents are concerned about the size of the deer population. But let’s get all the facts and then explore the most ethical ways of approaching problems. For example, we can explore non-lethal means such as immunocontraception and deer-resistant gardens. Let’s do all we can to peacefully co-exist with all living beings who share the planet with us.
    BILL CRAIN



    President East Hampton
    Group for Wildlife
Feral Cat Poem #32
Now that everywhere
has turned calico
Where’s a feral cat to go?
Anywhere she pleases.
 
In catdom
did you know,
Only females
are calico?
 
For sure.
It’s why she isn’t called
Father Nature.
ED HANNIBAL



Shopping Local
    Great Neck
    November 19, 2011
Dear Editor:
    Please join me and your neighbors on the second-annual national Small Business Saturday, this coming Saturday. Skip the national chain stores annual Black Friday madness, which now starts late Thursday night. Stay home and enjoy your Thanksgiving meal with friends and family. Get a good night’s sleep, and instead come out and support small business by shopping local. In these difficult economic times, it is especially important to patronize your neighborhood businesses. There are so many great options to choose from.
    My wife and I don’t mind occasionally paying a little more to help our local businesses survive. At your favorite local neighborhood restaurant, don’t forget your cook and server. We try to tip 20 percent against the total bill, including taxes. If it is an odd amount, we round up to the next dollar. If we can afford to eat out, we can afford an extra dollar tip. When ordering take out, we always leave a dollar or two for the cook. It is appreciated.
    Remember, these people are our neighbors; they work long hours, pay taxes, and provide local employment. If we don’t patronize our local community stores and restaurants to shop and eat, they don’t eat, either.
    Please join me and your neighbors in continuing to support The East Hampton Star. Patronize its advertisers; they provide the necessary revenues to help keep it in business. Let them know you saw their ad. This helps keep our neighbors employed and the local economy growing.
    Sincerely,
    LARRY PENNER



Pot Shot
    East Hampton
    November 18, 2011
Dear David,
    As editor and a minority owner of The Independent, I can’t for the life of me understand why Lyle Greenfield would take a pot shot at my wonderful newspaper. The only people who don’t like our paper are a few assholes we’ve exposed for being the schmucks they really are.
    Oh, jeez. Now I remember.
RICK MURPHY



Support Our Military
    East Hampton
    November 19, 2011
To the Editor,
    Each and every year John M. Marshall Elementary School and Springs School welcome all veterans to attend their celebrations. On the 4th of November, 57 veterans attended John Marshall School. The mother of Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter and the father of First Lt. Joseph Theinert, who lost their sons in the conflict we are now in, also attended.
    On the 9th of November, 30 veterans attended the Springs School, including 6 Coast Guard personnel, who showed the children the proper way to fold the flag and presented it to the school. Only 87 veterans total attended these two events.
    On the 11th of November we had our Veterans Day parade, followed by the 11th Hour Ceremony at the American Legion, which only 40 veterans attended.
    In all these events it seemed veteran attendance was far less than hoped for. More veterans went out to do their duty and vote on the 8th of November, with the main issues on their mind of leaf pickup and why the dump has to be closed on Wednesdays. Such a hardship. Such a shame.
    Veterans Day should be a day that we all turn out to support our military who are in harm’s way and to set an example to future generations that this is how their freedom has been preserved. This freedom is what we all fought for and fight for today.
    It’s time for us all to step up, support our troops, take the children by the hand, and teach them that freedom is not free. We are the greatest nation in the world and we must remember those who served and sacrificed so much.
    TOM BYRNE
    Commander
    Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 550



 Mathematical Error
    East Hampton
    November 18, 2011
Dear David,
    In the “Top Job’s Outcome” article on the front page of the Nov. 10 East Hampton Star, there is a mathematical error.
    In paragraph two, The Star gives Bill Wilkinson a 170-vote lead over Zach Cohen, but in paragraph four the vote count is given as Mr. Wilkinson 3,066 and Mr. Cohen 2,899, a difference of 177 votes.
    This error has the potential to confuse voters if Mr. Cohen were to surpass Mr. Wilkinson by 168 votes and so win the election.
    Very truly yours,
    STEPHEN F. WALSH



An Utter Failure
    Wainscott
    November 18, 2011
Dear David,
    Regarding the hearing on the deer fence planned to take place next Thursday, I would like to address the absurdity of spending money on a deer fence rather than talking about the political suicide of accepting Federal Aviation Administration money in the 11th hour after the people spoke clearly in the election.
    I am a pilot, and I successfully bow-hunted deer for 20 years around the airport. To be a successful bowhunter, one needs to become very familiar with deer behavior and deer patterns. One needs to study where deer feed, where they bed down, and patterns of deer movement.
    When the original deer fence was installed, I laughed so hard, that I almost fell down. Whoever designed the fence had no clue about the behavior and patterns of deer movement. I knew the fence would not keep deer out and it never did.
    Every evening 30 to 40 deer would come out of the woods and graze in the fields around the runways. Airport personnel would chase deer away from the runways with golf carts. My golden retriever, Dusty, was the airport mascot and would ride shotgun on the passenger side of the golf cart. One day he came home with a baggage ticket tied to his collar that said, “Places I Visited Today,” and it was signed by the fixed-base operators, pilots, and people working at the airport.
    As pilots, we took special care if we landed an airplane in the evening or at night. We would make a low pass run down the runway to scare the deer away, circle around, and then make a safe landing. Pilots who were not familiar with the airport or the deer problem sometimes would strike deer upon landing. I don’t recall anyone being injured; however, damage would occur to the airplane that would be covered by airplane insurance. It is similar to what people on the roads in East Hampton deal with every day, so, why all the hysteria?
    After realizing the deer fence was an utter failure in keeping deer away from the airport, the town made a very smart decision to hire a guy to kill all the deer around the airport. This was done very quietly so the Bambi-lovers and animal rights groups didn’t get wind of it. As a bow hunter, the results were obvious, and I eventually gave up bowhunting.
    The East Hampton Lions Club coordinates cutting up venison when the state culls the deer herd on the East End. A refrigerated meat locker was installed at the East Hampton Food Pantry. If my memory is correct, about 1,800 pounds of venison is donated per year to the food pantry. Wouldn’t it be smarter for our town board to hire a guy again and coordinate with the East Hampton Lions Club to donate the venison to the East Hampton Food Pantry? Certainly it will be much cheaper than to waste $450,000 on a deer fence that will never work.
    Supervisor Bill Wilkinson is a lion; certainly he should understand the service such a decision can have on the needy in East Hampton. It is good stewardship of town assets and taxpayer money.
    FRANK DALENE
    Vice Chairman
    Quiet Skies Coalition



Is a Trap
    Sag Harbor
    November 18, 2011
To the Editor,
    The proposed Federal Aviation Administration funding is a trap!
    The airport generates a budget surplus and the possible loss of local control to the F.A.A. is real. We don’t need the money right now and we do need to keep Washington out of East Hampton. Haven’t they screwed up enough things already?
    The East Hampton Town Board should postpone the Thursday meeting until the newly elected board members can participate in this important discussion in 2012.
    Is there some hidden urgency for a December meeting, perhaps that the votes on the F.A.A. funding have already been tallied by the lame duck town board?
    Hmm.
PETER ROBINSON



Controlled Airspace
    East Hampton
    November 21, 2011
Dear Editor:
    Advertisements from airport opponents said “stop taking F.A.A. money” in the final weeks before the local election. But the fact is that East Hampton stopped taking Federal Aviation Administration funding in 2001 and, moreover, general airport policy has been pretty much dictated by airport opponents since that time, up until the local election two years ago.
    During that time and under that policy, the noise pollution generated by the airport has deteriorated dramatically. The town, having opted for an adversarial relationship with the F.A.A., the federal agency that regulates air traffic, has been powerless to remedy the situation. During the past two years, due primarily to East Hampton Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione’s ceaseless efforts, a remedy was finally taking shape in the form of a seasonal control tower and the designation of a controlled airspace over East Hampton airport. A consensus in a positive direction emerged that would replace the endless name-calling, mutual suspicion, and do-nothing status quo that has paralyzed progress for the past decade.
    The controlled airspace would, finally, give the town some control, for the first time ever, over landing patterns, altitudes, and other crucial factors that effect noise generation. Airport opponents now want the town to abandon that promising approach, one that has brought meaningful noise relief in other communities, in favor of a far more costly and much less certain pursuit that might pay off some years down the road.
    That would be a shame. In my personal experience, as an East Hampton Town supervisor for a period of six years in the early 1970s and ’80s, the F.A.A. is not the heavy-handed bogeyman that is being depicted. The F.A.A. is willing to work with the community to help make the airport a welcomed asset. If a new town board determines to maintain the decade-old policy of rejecting F.A.A. funding in favor of an adversarial relationship with the F.A.A., my prediction is that we will never get a controlled airspace that would give us the ability to mitigate noise.
    East Hampton needs effective noise-abatement immediately. Accepting F.A.A. funds is the best way to achieve the controlled airspace, reduce airport noise, and get essential runway repairs completed in the next few years. This direction should not be abandoned in favor of a gamble that we might get control years down the road and only after extremely risky and costly litigation.
    Sincerely,
    JUDITH HOPE

    Ms. Hope is married to Tom Twomey, a lawyer and pilot who keeps a small plane at East Hampton Airport. Ed.


Sneak Attack
    Wainscott
    November 16, 2011
Dear Editor;
    A sneak attack is being perpetrated upon the citizens of this town by Bill Wilkinson, Theresa Quigley, and the two-faced puppet on a string, Dominick Stanzione. It’s an obviously sneaky end run to attain Federal Aviation Administration funding despite the wishes of the majority of residents, thereby eliminating any chance of local control of the horrendous noise burden that has grown worse each season. This could be Mr. Wilkinson’s parting shot at the town residents if he is voted out of office — just in case, to fulfill promises made.
    All this is despite a $1.5 million surplus in the airport fund that can only be spent at the airport. A mere $350,000 is needed, and we won’t cede local control. Mr. Wilkinson would rather force us to become indentured servants to the F.A.A. for another 20 years rather than offend the aviation association. This is so obvious that a dead body can see it: a precursor to expansion — that is the plan.
    This fence has been in place for 15 years, since the Bullock administration, and nary a concern was ever expressed until now. Never even a concern with the failed MTK concert. There have been three incidents with deer over the past 10 years — hardly a chaos. See the collisions on the roads; maybe they ought to fence the entire town?
    The bum’s rush is obvious considering the cozy dinner at Cittnuova a week ago Wednesday. There was Mr. Stanzione, huddled with the chief lobbyist for the East Hampton Aviation Association, Tom Twomey. Maybe they they were doing college football picks or got a job at The Independent as food critics?
    I guess Mr. Stanzione wanted Mr. Twomey’s nod and applause for the sham hearing being scheduled for Thursday. I wonder who picked up the tab?
    I say it’s a sham because of all the other sneaky deals made in secret. Just like the leaf program meeting, the MTK concert, and a host of others, a done deal and a sham, a dog and pony show to have us believe they will listen to our concerns and do what is right for the majority, not only here but in surrounding towns also. Yeah, and a fat guy will come down my chimney on Dec. 25.
    The big question is why. A handful of pilots, most of whom do not even live in the town, lead the administration by the nose. A visit to Board of Elections explains it all: Sacrifice the many for the few. Look at the age demographics of the aviation association, most will not be here in 20 years but the ball and chain will.
    A wonderful Christmas gift to the citizens of the town. I hope you get coal in your stocking. Shame on all of you.
    Yours truly,
    ARTHUR J. FRENCH



Up to the People
    Wainscott
    November 18, 2011
Dear Editor:
    As I read with complete amazement your last week’s lead editorial: “F.A.A. Cash Is Short-Term Gain,” I couldn’t help but think you missed making the most important point in this ongoing debate in your headline.
    It’s really quite simple: Two camps disagree and common sense dictates that further study of the issue is needed. It’s up to the people of East Hampton to look at all the facts and decide whether or not the consequences of the indenture outweigh the benefits.
    Voters seemed to agree as candidates backing a more cautious approach to this important decision were victorious while the “my way or the highway” crew suffered a pretty serious beat-down.
    Think about it. If the pro-Federal Aviation Administration people want their money, they can get it at any time. The F.A.A. is not going to ever say no. Not next month, not next week, not next year. That’s its job. The worst-case scenario here is that we wait a few years while well-intentioned measures such as a seasonal control tower are implemented and tested. No big deal.
    But consider the brutal alternative that is all but guaranteed if this last-minute, back-room ploy by Councilman Dominick Stanzione and Supervisor Bill Wilkinson is permitted without the people of East Hampton knowing all the facts and repercussions.
    Picture what the skies over our villages, our bays, our beaches, and our beautiful open spaces might be like 20 years from now if helicopter, seaplane, and jet noise continues to increase as it has over the past 20 years. There will be no peace and quiet anywhere in East Hampton or eastern Southampton.
    Perhaps your headline should have read: “F.A.A. Cash Is Long-Term Disaster.”
    Respectfully submitted,
    TOM MacNIVEN



The Only Solution
    East Hampton
    November 18, 2011
Dear Editor:     
    The Northwest Alliance has, since 1981, been working to preserve and protect the natural environment in the area of Northwest Creek. It is the second largest preserved area in East Hampton and its preservation came at a cost of more than 10 million pre-community preservation fund dollars.
    We have, for several years, actively opposed the policy that directs almost all of the incoming helicopter traffic directly over this very sensitive area that is home to endangered and threatened species. We fought for the introduction of a control tower to assure that altitude guidelines would be more strictly adhered to. Unfortunately, we have since discovered that pilots are currently complying with altitude requirements about 80 percent of the time, so we must accept that a control tower will be of little benefit to our area.
    We also fought to have a southern route over the Atlantic and Georgica Pond to take some of the traffic away from our area. We realize, however, that while we feel strongly that traffic levels must be greatly reduced in our area, it is certainly not fair to the wildlife or the people in that area to foist our suffering onto them.
    We have concluded that the only solution that will meaningfully address our concerns is one that actually reduces airport noise pollution in East Hampton and prevents its expansion in the future. After some investigation, it has become clear that reductions in traffic will only be possible if we are relieved of the relevant “grant assurances” that come with the acceptance of Federal Aviation Administration funding.
    There are conflicting arguments as to what extent local control will become possible if we allow those assurances to lapse in 2014, but there is no disagreement that if F.A.A. funding is again accepted that the only redress we will have will be through a control tower and rerouting. As we’ve concluded above that neither of these methods offers an effective response to the noise pollution problem, we must urge the Town of East Hampton, in the strongest possible terms, to reject the proposal to accept further F.A.A. funding for the airport.
    We strongly support developing a positive relationship with the F.A.A., but we feel that doing so only becomes possible if both the agency and our airport are no longer bound by the open-access rule that comes with grant assurances.
    Regardless of any financial implications of this airport policy issue, it is unacceptable to us that the town board would foreclose on our only opportunity to reduce air traffic and its intolerable pollution in our area and in our town. We will resist any such initiative at all costs.
    Sincerely,
    Angela Bernet Ortenzio
    VINCENT COVELLO
    ADELAIDE DE MENIL
    CAROL MANDEL
    T. JAMES MATTHEWS
    JANET SCHNEIDER
    Northwest Alliance Helicopter Committee



Many Millions
    Sagaponack
    November 19, 2011
To the Editor,
    I do understand that editorials are not journalism in the sense that what is written is opinion and does not have to be vetted and factually accurate. They can be and almost always are slanted in any way the writer wishes. But then again, I also understand that most readers are not truly aware of this and can be unduly influenced to believe what is written as true news and fact.
    Your editorial on the airport in light of a million words printed in your paper over the past years as letters, articles, and very factually informative advertisements is quite disturbing. Your “disclaimer” in the third paragraph where you call a statement from about 2 percent of residents near the airport “accurate from what we can tell” does not absolve you from the fear mongering and a false impression of what dealing with the Federal Aviation Administration means.
    You do know that taking F.A.A. money will not really affect control in any way that the F.A.A. does not already have. The deer fence is only a small part of the many millions the F.A.A. will pour into the airport for the tower, maintenance, and improvements (without expansion), millions that will not come out of taxes and be paid for by the residents.
    Regardless of what the so-called 99 percent want to say about the airport being for the 1 percent, the fact is that the airport has put East Hampton and a great deal of its allure and prosperity on the map. The people who use that facility bring jobs, support for all stores and businesses, real estate values, and a gigantic share of taxes to the town. It is also an emergency medical evacuation facility. The plusses vastly outnumber the one minus, which is some noise, particularly for some who knowingly bought less expensive property near the takeoff runway. My house in Sagaponack is directly under the downwind approach and not far off the takeoff runway. Never bothers me.
    The State Department of Transportation reported this year that East Hampton Airport generated 91 local jobs and more than $12 million for the community. Also, Peter Kirsch, the town’s aviation attorney, says that even if a couple of the grant assurances expire in 2014, which is not at all settled, many others won’t expire until 2021, and even if all grant assurances expire the town will still not have “local control” of the airport, as it remains subject to federal regulations, if not contractual agreements.
    Reminds me of how the same kind of people bought land around the Bridgehampton race course and eventually raised their property values by getting one of the great American courses shut down on noise complaints. A facility that could be bringing literally millions to the Southampton economy, but that was about recreation and amusement.
    No one is ever going to eliminate East Hampton Airport, a major asset and necessity. So you should be advocating taking the money and having a tower, which will definitely be able to alleviate a good deal of the noise, particularly the helicopter disturbance.
LOUIS MEISEL



Down the Tubes
    East Hampton
    November 18, 2011
To the Editor,
    Freebasing and money were the two grand addictions of the past 30 years. They are one and the same in the carnivorous consumption that characterized them. Cocaine as a drug gave people an incredible sense of power and energy, while money did almost exactly the same thing. And the madness for money mirrored the coke fiends’ madness for freebasing.
    Freebasing, for those that don’t know about it, is rich people’s crack. You take a gram or two or three of coke and you cook it up to extract the impurities and are a left with a small rock that is smoked. It gives an incredible rush that overwhelms the senses; but there is a catch. The rush only happens one time in a night or a day, and no matter how much crack someone consumes or how much coke they snort, they never feel the same rush as from that initial hit.
    The accumulation of wealth, the great American pastime, is just like freebasing. Only that initial hit lasts a lot longer. But like freebasing, after a certain point, accumulating wealth in itself provides no pleasure, no excitement. It’s just more money and more huffing and puffing about someone’s net wealth. Another deal and other scheme.
    But addiction is a serious matter and the effects are often disastrous. So the cokehead, searching for that amazing first hit, consumes more and more of the drug, becomes obsessed in buying, cooking, and smoking it despite not getting any real pleasure. Consumption becomes ridiculous, and the physical and mental deterioration, in search of the unattainable, takes an enormous toll. The cokehead only thinks about himself, so friends, family, work, and society can go down the tubes while he continues his pursuit.
    Addiction to money has the same deleterious effects. How much money does someone need to live really well in the world? At what point are there no more pleasures that are purchasable? Yet, the addiction to wealth drives people to create insane mortgage swaps, to bet against the economic well-being of the society, to debilitate an entire class of people in order to fleece them of their wealth; ultimately, the willingness to destroy a society in pursuit of accumulating more wealth. (See slave labor, sweat shops, colonialism.)
    Occupy Wall Street is screaming out this message, but the cokeheads running the country are tone deaf. We spend $20 billion a year on our drug problem. We’ve beaten, battered, abused, and imprisoned drug users to the detriment of the country’s well-being. Maybe it’s time to get the Drug Enforcement Administration to focus on Wall Street and corporate America before its addiction to money drives the country to complete ruin.
NEIL HAUSIG