Letters to the Editor - 05.05.11

This Year’s Cleanup
    May 2, 2011
To the Editor,
    I would like to extend thanks to the many, many volunteers who turned out at the Montauk Movie Theater on Sunday to collect trash throughout the hamlet. We were able to put more than 70 bags of trash into the Dumpster, along with wheels, tires, life jackets, car seats, and other unidentifiable objects from the beaches, roads, and parking lots of Montauk. The cleanup was followed by an informative presentation inside the theater focusing on the importance of burns as a management tool for environmental stewardship in the county parks.
    Special thanks go to the Surfrider Foundation members who combed the beaches and loaded almost 30 of the bags that were collected, to the Rutkowski family for the use of their movie theater, and to Mickey’s Carting for his continuing support, including the sparkling-clean Dumpster, which we managed to soil quite a bit with our debris.
    Many thanks to all the people who gave their time and effort. This year’s cleanup was dedicated to the memory of Carol Morrison, one of our founders, who would have been right there picking up trash, or at the least, telling someone else what needed to be picked up. We miss her.
    Concerned Citizens of Montauk

Call the Police
    East Hampton
    May 2, 2011
To the Editor,
    As of Sunday, May 8, it will be illegal to have a dog on the village beaches from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Police are asking for your help apprehending violators. If  you see a dog on the beach, call dispatch at 324-0777. Calls can be made anonymously. It may be helpful to give a description or license plate number. If you are confronted, threatened, attacked, or urinated on (yes, it happens) by a dog any time of day or night, call police.
    There is still no intention to address the problem of urine and feces on our beaches but we can all help police fulfill their promise of strict enforcement of dog control by reporting violators.

    East Hampton    
    April 30, 2011
To the Editor,
    It is Saturday, 2 p.m., sunny and warm. I pull up a chair on my porch and pick up my East Hampton Star crossword puzzle. All I hear and can focus on is the incessant drone of leafblowers!
    Please, let’s rake, pick up, and dispose of our leaves (I do). It is such good excercise, not to mention better for the life of our hearing. Please, let’s enact respectable guidelines for the use of leafblowers.

Elegantly Done
    May 2, 2011
To the Editor,
    On behalf of the senior citizens and myself I would like to thank Michelle and the staff at the senior citizens center for the pre-wedding portrayed by the many volunteers in a successful attendance for the royal wedding.
    The queen, king, and her subjects made an entry so elegantly done, to welcome and thank us for coming and to attend the wedding of her grandson and Kate. We felt we were actually in London. She was an elegant queen!
    To begin with, we were served tea and tiny cucumber sandwiches, followed by a wonderful lunch and wedding cake. We had a delightful time.
    The ladies attended the affair in their decorated hats, both colorful and beautiful.
    The room was decorated very festively with a flower for each of us at our place settings.
    The waiters were dressed in their black attire and always attentive.
    It was wonderful to have the many hard and efficient workers at the center. They treated us like royalty and make us feel ever so wanted.
    Michelle, you gave us such a beautiful day. We will treasure our memories of the wedding of Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, held in East Hampton.
    Many thanks to you and your staff. We love you all.
    Thanks again,

Sweets and Carbs
    April 29, 2011
Dear David
    No doubt your readers have observed the changes in the  aisles at CVS, in particular the stocking of more shelves with sweets and carbs. What an ironic turn for an organization still associated with health by way of providing pharmacy service and health care products just as  the country is reeling from continuing reports about a staggering increase in obesity among schoolchildren, especially in poorer regions of the country. The  new policy is thus patronizing, as well as medically unsound.
    CVS executives, of course, know what they’re doing. A friendly store clerk assured me that the junk food is selling. But CVS customers — I, a card-carrying member among them, pleased to take advantage of promos — should protest. As taxpayers we all foot the medical bill for those whose overweight problems make them vulnerable to obesity-related diseases, thus straining medical services even  further and fueling increases in health insurance premiums. No  doubt, some of  the vaunted “100,000 dedicated people” who work in CVS stores, regional offices, distribution centers, and headquarters are among these potential medical victims.
    Well over two months ago, I wrote a protest letter to the national director of marketing for CVS at the corporation’s headquarters in Rhode Island. I also noted that the introduction of checkout machines at a time of continuing high unemployment did not sit too well with me, either. Did I have the courtesy of a  reply? Needs an answer?

I Believe
    East Hampton
    May 2, 2011
To the Editor,
    Regarding my candidacy for a seat on the East Hampton School Board, here are some of my beliefs.
    I believe in board transparency, not just in pronouncing to the public the items on the meeting agenda, but in an open process of decision-making and disclosure of the facts behind the decisions.
    I believe that fairness with regard to taxpayers and other school districts can go a long way toward promotion of trust. I believe in thinking through all possible ramifications of a decision before taking action.
    I believe that tax dollars should be spent on the students, and that every cent that does not go directly toward education of the students must be carefully and openly discussed.
    I believe that the tasks and issues before the board should be shared among its members and not balkanized or assigned to one “expert” board member.
    I believe that a former teacher can bring valuable insight to board deliberations. I believe that a board of education meeting is not merely a spectator sport, where the taxpaying onlooker gets to watch the gavel being brought down on previously determined decisions, but rather that the bill payer is invited to present suggestions and opinions. I believe in full and fair disclosure.
    I believe that differences of opinion can be negotiated in a civil and polite manner. I believe that all administrators should get to know the student body up close and personal. I believe that the school facilities should be promoted to be of the greatest possible use by the community that paid for them.
    I believe in clarity.

Educational Goal
    East Hampton
    May 1, 2011
Dear David,
    On Saturday at the Group for Good Government school board candidates forum I outlined my proposal to make computer literacy by ninth grade an educational goal for every student in the East Hampton School District. The vehicle for achieving this goal is a program called Google Apps.
    Last October, the State of New York and Google signed a contract that gives every school free use of the Internet-based software that forms the core of this program. The program gives students, parents, and teachers free use of word processing, spreadsheet, graphics, collaboration, database, presentation, and web applications which they can use at home or at school. There are lesson plans for kindergarten through eighth grade, which can be used to complement the curriculum (not replace it!).
    The purpose of adopting this program is to give students the basic computer literacy they need by the time they enter high school to approach the subject matter areas they are interested in with 21st-century tools. This will also help them with employment because it gives students actual skills that employers need.
    Several parents came up to me after the meeting. One wanted to know where they could find out more about this program. The East Hampton Library has a book “Retool Your School” put out by the International Society for Technology in Education. You can find out more about this organization at www.iste.org.
    Another parent offered to pay for a teacher to teach software programming at the high school. His company needs engineers. That is the type of enthusiasm for results-oriented education that I hope to stimulate if I get elected to the school board.
    To get such a program off the ground you must also have enthusiastic faculty members and administrators involved; I’ve spoken to several. If the school board made this a priority we could get a pilot project off the ground by this fall.
    The beauty of the program is that not only is it free but it can replace our use of license-based software that costs the district tens of thousands of dollars and cannot be used outside of the classroom. We can do what we are already doing better and with less cost.
    When I first encountered a computer it was 1967. I was making documentary films, and I was interested in animation. Stan VanDerBeek told me that he had used a computer to make a film at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I went up there and discovered computer programming.
    Today our students routinely use computers to make and edit movies. Tomorrow we want our students to be able to use computers as a tool in every area of the arts and sciences to improve the quality of life on our planet. It is not beyond their capabilities.
    I’m running for East Hampton School Board. The election is May 17. I need your vote.

Excellent Candidate
    East Hampton
    May 2, 2011
Dear David,
    The election for East Hampton School Board is fast approaching! As a parent of children in the district and as a committed member of the community, I am so glad to note that Jackie Lowey is running for school board and so glad to write this letter in support of her.
    Jackie Lowey is a strong, articulate voice for parents and kids in the community. With two children in the district, she has a commitment to public education and believes that we can and absolutely should strive for excellence in our schools.
    Intelligent, committed, and aware of the bigger picture, Jackie is an excellent candidate for our school board. She will work to ensure money is spent to benefit our students, she will keep the goal of excellence in education in mind, and she will represent us. I hope fellow parents and concerned East Hampton residents will join me in supporting Jackie Lowey for East Hampton School Board.
    Yours sincerely,

Out of Line
    May 1, 2011
Dear Editor,
    The Montauk School District is very unique in the fact that a very large number of homeowners, taxpayers, do not have the right to vote on the school budget. Second-home owners are second-class citizens who just pay your school taxes. Ironically, people who rent and have a driver’s license with a Montauk address and pay no school taxes are allowed to vote on the school budget. This is New York State law.
    The second-home owner has carried a large part of the school tax burden over the years. This has allowed the Montauk School District to provide teacher salaries and benefits that are among the highest on Long Island. The cost to educate a student in the Montauk School exceeds $30,000 per child. This figure is way beyond the state average of $10,250. The student-teacher ratios are also way out of line from the norm in most every school within New York State.
    The Montauk School District budget increased 10 percent for the 2010-11 school year. The projected budget for the next school year, 2011-12, is estimated to increase 2.5 percent. That amounts to an average of 6.25 percent over two years. Inflation has average 2.3 percent for the last two years. Something is wrong.
    Look at teacher salaries and benefits: 29 teachers earning over $100,000, 10 teachers earning over $90,000, plus 95 percent of medical and dental insurance paid for by you, the taxpayer. You keep on paying the same percentage for insurance when a teacher retires.
    Send a message to the Montauk School Board. Vote no on this year’s budget.

Difficult Time
    May 2, 2011
Dear Editor,
    My name is Arthur Goldman, and I am running for the school board in Springs. This is a difficult time for taxpayers across the country. School taxes, the only tax we are able to vote up or down, often become the focus of taxpayer frustration. However, I urge all Springs voters to try to cut through the half-truths and distortions that are being told concerning the Springs School.
    Any reasonable person visiting the Springs School quickly realizes that this school does not throw money around without regard for the taxpayer. This is not a school with bloated, excessive teacher salaries or a plushy furnished building.
    This letter does not contain a barrage of crying, wheedling, demanding, temper tantrums, emotional blackmail, threats, promises, and excuses. This letter does contain some simple requests to each voter: Check out the facts for yourself before you vote, understand that the same lie repeated long and loud does not become truth, understand that those who want to de-fund the Springs School have no solution other than “Vote down the budget.” A no vote means an end to the programs in Springs that make kids feel competent, capable, and connected.
    Please turn out on May 17 and cast a yes vote for the budget and a vote for Arthur Goldman for school board.
    Thank you,

Should Be Passed
    May 1, 2011
Dear Editor,
    I am a senior citizen of Springs on a fixed income. Yet I feel strongly that the school budget should be passed on May 17. Voting no would have an insignificant impact on property taxes while causing a major adverse effect on the quality of education, reduction in advanced programs, larger class size, and loss of high quality teachers.
    The risk-to-reward quotient of the nega­tive action demanded by the Home­owners Alliance (whoever they are) is both shortsighted and narrow-minded. The statements they are distributing reflect lack of understanding of the complex process of education and the significant responsibility we have to prepare our children for the challenges of today’s world. Their rhetoric is reactionary and misleading.
    In addition, I endorse Arthur Goldman and Tim Frazier for the open positions on the board of education. We are fortunate to have two professional educators willing to commit their time to this school district. They have the insight and experience to know how to reduce costs responsibly. We need this kind of trained guidance.

Quality Education
    May 2, 2011
To the Editor,
    My name is Liz Mendelman. I am currently the president of the Springs School Parent Teacher Association. I am running for a seat on the Springs School Board because I am passionate about my school and community.
    I moved to Springs in 2003 with my husband, Peter, to raise our two children and serve our community. As the Springs School PTA President, I have had the privilege of working with our school board and administration, our parents and teachers, and our community and business leaders to create a sense of community and commitment to our school. Thousands of hours have been invested to foster an environment in our school community that encourages learning for every child no matter what their heritage, legal status, or economic background. I am proud of what the Springs School has accomplished, and our test scores show that our investment is paying off.
    I am fortunate to have had a successful career for 20 years and then have the opportunity to take leave to raise my children in the special community of Springs. I spent 12 years in General Electric human resources, primarily leading and facilitating teams comprised of management, union leaders, and employees to solve problems and improve results. Today, I continue to manage facility improvement projects for our local family business.
    During my career, I have had to deal with very difficult business situations, so I am not afraid to work through issues and take leadership. Our current school board has already worked through some of the sticky issues and has successfully reached an agreement with East Hampton High School on tuition and an agreement to study consolidation. Unless changes are made in Albany, school boards are limited to control costs and forced to be over-reliant on tax dollars as the source of funding for schools. Our community needs to take charge and advocate to Albany to change the outdated state funding formulas, remove costly mandates, and to address sharp increases in medical benefits and pension costs.
    Our budget facts speak for themselves. The numbers are the numbers. Albany has created a system that drives unnecessary cost and limits local control. We all know that a tax cap won’t accomplish a thing until we cap costs. If we do nothing we will be cutting critical programs, increasing class size, and reducing staff every year to meet our budgetary challenges.
    Locally, we have to vigorously pursue district consolidation, shared services, and collaboration on programs to be able to continue to deliver a quality education at the right cost for our district.
    We have community groups with specific agendas that we do need to address. I will work hard to find solutions to assure that our children receive a quality education that our taxpayers support and demand — make every tax dollar do more to meet the goals of our district.
I ask that you do vote yes on the Springs School Budget on May 17 and vote for Liz Mendelman on the school board ballot.

Respect Teachers
    April 25, 2011
Dear David,
    Where did this denigration of the most honored profession, teaching, begin? When I was young and wanted to do something with my life that was worthwhile that contributed to the world, yet was intellectually challenging, I chose teaching.
    Children are the future of every country and the world. Through the education of our children we pass on our culture and our values. At the same time we also secure tomorrow’s economy by producing the next generation of proficient workers. The socialization of children fosters constructive communities. Teach­ers — and parents — create this. Parents do the job of raising their children in their family life, though sometimes the families can be dysfunctional. Sensitive teachers also serve as safety nets for children with special needs.
    Teachers in their daily work with children provide a safe, positive environment in which the accumulated knowledge of the world is presented for their learning. Besides the grueling work teachers diligently engage in, they are also the most-educated people in our society. All teachers in New York State must have at least one master’s degree to earn certification. Many have more than one master’s degree and all continue to take classes. It’s what we do. Educators continue to be educated.
    Though teachers have the summers off, which so many people begrudge them, the truth is that many teachers actually go to school for part of the summer and/or work. All I keep hearing from people who have never spent a minute in a classroom working to present a lesson to children who would rather be outside playing is that teachers make a lot of money.
    I know real estate agents with only a high school education who make scads more than teachers. Doctors and lawyers all make more money than any teacher with usually a lot less education. What about contractors, builders, electricians, plumbers, etc., and the money they make? An electrician came to my house recently and worked for about an hour. Do you know how much money he made for that hour? More than a teacher does, and he doesn’t have the life and future of a child in his hands.
    Is it because teachers are a solid group, members of a union, or maybe because they appear to be recession-proof or perhaps people have encountered a teacher they secretly resented? Or is it because most teachers are women?
    Whatever the reason, people should look to the real culprits in our present economic catastrophe: the Wall street robber barons and bankers who acted like cowboys. Anyone know a teacher who lives in a McMansion south of the highway?
    In other countries of the world people respect teachers and compensate them financially. In little old Finland, ranked the number-one educational system in the world, people who qualify to become teachers are given a stipend while they are attending school and their education is paid for by the state . . . just like the United States!
    We lose many teachers in their early years of teaching to the lure of jobs that pay more money or other reasons, like the workload, their own inadequacies, etc. Isn’t it time we learned to respect teachers and the work they do for us, even if we don’t have children in school. But then again somebody taught you while others paid for your education.

    Ms. Mallah is running for Springs School Board. Ed.

A Positive Approach
    April 28, 2011
Dear David,
    When I picked up The Star today I immediately read the article about Pete Hammerle withdrawing from the Demo­cratic ticket in November. Joanne Pilgrim wrote a deserving piece about a fine person.
    He was on the town board before I became a permanent resident of Montauk. Soon after moving here, Carol Morrison became my friend. She was more than a friend, she was a teacher who taught me about the environment, code, and zoning issues important to the town. Pete’s name came up often in many conversations. She respected highly his ability to understand the need for open space and work on projects to preserve hundreds of acres of land.
    In my time on the Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee, Pete supported the purchase of the Fort Pond house, the Montauk Playhouse community center, and the upgrade of Lions Field. When the committee presented an issue to be taken to the board, he always took a positive approach. He had knowledge about the code enforcements and followed through on letters its chairwoman, Lisa Grenci, wrote to the board.
    He worked as a collaborator in other parts of East Hampton on the Green Hollow subdivision and the Springs-Fireplace Road apartments. He expressed great concern about the condition of the beaches when people would walk away and leave their garbage.
    Pete should be congratulated for eagerly serving four terms as an official in the Town of East Hampton. As he graciously walked away, he said, “It is time for the Democratic Party to have a fresh start. I certainly hope that the Demo­crats take back the majority in this election, because I think they would be the best protectors for the good things that have been done for this town over the years.”

Way of Life
    May 1, 2011
To the Editor,
    Friends, and fellow Springsters, lend me your ear. It’s May and that time of year. The Springs School budget vote is upon us and almost here. Get off your boat, put down your tote, and go out and vote. If you are not here, but registered in Springs, don’t fear. Get your absentee ballot in. Let common sense win.
    The Springs school budget is up for approval. Its important to us and to the nation to discuss it at Barnes and the Springs Country Store. Listen to all opinions and discuss it some more.
    We love our hamlet; it’s unique. There’s Lions Head and Clearwater Beach, and within reach, Louse Point and Accabonac Harbor, Maidstone Park and Ashawagh Hall. We even have a dog park. That’s not all: Gardiner’s Bay, Gerard Point, Hog Creek. It’s north of the highway, far from Main Beach. There is Pussy’s Pond with its road-crossing ducks and lots of labs in pickup trucks.
    Not to forget Three Mile Harbor, those foolish flocks of wild turkeys that make your driving a little bit harder. The ospreys at Maidstone, the beach and the park. Sunning by day and barbecuing in the dark
    We love Springs a lot; you can’t live here and not. We want to persevere and keep it possible for all of us to live here.
    We agree our way of life is special. We are a salad bowl of people with many different occupations and professions. And it’s my impression we are all hurting from this awful recession and in a state of major depression — artists and fishermen, farmers and landscapers, teachers, firemen, second-home owners, retirees, and volunteers. We, and all moms and dads, must make a decision, and a revision, by doing some division.
    For perspective, we have a school superintendent who makes more money than the governor of New York State — how does he rate? Yes, a superintendent who makes more than the governor. On May 17 please go to the Springs School and vote. The hours are between 2 and 9 p.m. Just be clever, pull that lever.
    All you have to do is get on Fireplace Road, make a turn at Barnes Country Market and Springs Auto (School Street), and get to the school. Remember the issues. Don’t be a fool. It’s about salary increases, the additional bus, un-mandated programs, and Springs School Inc. It should be about the children and teaching them to think.
    At the school you will meet your neighbor. Think about our Garden of Eden. No need to remind you, we don’t live in Sweden!
    Get irate, educate, work to consolidate.

Vote Twice
    East Hampton
    May 2, 2011
Dear Editor:
    “If the budget is not approved by the voters on May 17th, the Board can put the same, a similar, or an entirely different budget up for a re-vote.” — Springs Public School
    True. We may well have to vote twice to kill the proposed 2011-12 Springs School budget of $24.8 million to educate 946 students. That’s the dirty little secret of voting down a school budget. No one benefiting from a bloated bud­get wants defeat of that budget made simple or easy.
    Let’s see how responsive the board of education is when the budget is not approved on May 17. If the board puts the same, or a similar, budget up for re-vote, that will send a loud, unprintable message to the community that voted down the budget. If the board puts up an entirely different budget — one that acknowledges the demands of the majority of the community — then we will know the board got our message and responded appropriately.
    Did you know the Springs School actually schedules a spring concert at 7 p.m. at the school on the night of the vote to bring parents out en masse, and, of course, to frog-march them to the voting machines before, during, and after the concert? So if you are wondering why you can’t find a parking space in front of 48 School Street after work when you want to vote, now you know.

Tax Bills
    May 1, 2011
To the Editor,
    My wife and I have owned a house in Springs for over 20 years and have purchased two more in the interim. When I pay our tax bills, I’m reminded how much of these taxes reflect the Springs School budget. The tax burden to fund the school’s operation has fallen disproportionately on Springs homeowners. Admittedly, every child deserves an education, but many families whose children attend the Springs School live “under the radar” and pay no taxes at all.
    This year’s school budget is bloated beyond reason. By paying my taxes, I am making my own sacrifice for the students. I think the people who drafted the proposed budget should sacrifice equally. They should neither seek nor approve large pay raises. This would certainly help in trimming several million from the ridiculous budget they propose now.
    Very truly,

Are in Question
    East Hampton
    May 1, 2011
Dear Editor,
    At its second budget work session, the Springs School Board provided all of the community members in attendance with current spreadsheet salary information for every school district employee. Why then, in a letter from last week’s Star, did Gerry Keating refer to outdated and inaccurate salary information?        Additionally, irrelevant information about a retiree and an employee of another district was included in the mix. Could it be that this multi-degree Ivy Leaguer did not attend this work session? It makes one question many of the underlying assumptions espoused by the Homeowners Alliance.
    At this same meeting, the Springs School Board spent four hours patiently listening to the thoughts and input of community members. Why then does the Springs Homeowners Alliance still demand that significant programs be cut? Could it be that they were not present or did not understand the community members’ concerns about the negative impact that these proposals would have on students?
    To learn more about the goals and perspectives of this group, I decided to visit the Web site, only to be highly offended by the language used by a number of the site’s bloggers. Once again the validity and reliability of the alliance’s positions are in question.
    Finally, it’s been said that too little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Could it be that representatives of the Springs Homeowners Alliance need to attend and participate in school meetings to gather as much information as possible before drawing conclusions about what is best for the students of Springs School?


Channel Our Objections
    April 30, 2011
To the Editor,
    The music festival boondoggle continues: According to the latest East Hampton Star article, several actions have been taken to ensure the Music to Know festival will get clearance from the powers that be. If one reads between the lines, however, nothing at all has been resolved. In fact, the confusion has metastasized, at least according to my reading.
    It seems the Federal Aviation Administration has been contacted for permission to hold the festival at East Hampton Airport, following the failure of MTK management to secure support from people objecting to the Amagansett location. Good for Amagansett, I say. However, we are then informed to contact a certain person at the F.A.A. who, in turn, tells us no, he’s not the person.
    What we should do, this F.A.A. officer advises, is channel our objections to the town and airport, who will then refer these comments to the F.A.A. Are you following so far?
    Now I quote directly from the newspaper article: “Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and the members of the board did not reply this week to an e-mail asking if public comments had been solicited and submitted to the F.A.A., or if that would occur.” To continue, “Whether or not public opinion will actually be a factor in the federal agency’s decision is unclear, however.”
    Does that tell you something, other than that our elected leaders are abysmally slow to respond to a very basic, simple but crucial question?
    My own questions and objections continue, however. We should certainly have an outline of the preparations planned by our town. I guess I have to repeat these questions — those especially of concern being security arrangements. Do we use our own police, at a probable time-and-a-half rate for weekend duty, or an outside firm to supply the know-how and muscle required? And what, please, would that cost? Also, and equally important in terms of cost, who gets the job of cleaning up the mess left by the many thousands (a hoped-for 9,500 souls!), left all over town, the beaches, and venue grounds in particular?
    Would these and other costs related to the dreaded festival exceed the $600,000 estimated (and probably incorrect) costs “saved” by our leaders’ mean-spirited elimination of the fall leaf pickup? Huh? And the chopping off of one day at the dump, or God knows whatever other nickel-and-diming edicts are issued?
    And oh, does everyone realize that if the F.A.A. says no to the airport venue, guess where we go next? Back to Amagansett, that’s where.
    Regardless of the location, however, it’s the festival itself that should not be allowed to take place. It was approved by a skeleton town board, with one member absent and another abstaining. Is this a fair choice? And why have there not been any hearings where this issue was the headliner?

Pants on Fire
    April 28, 2011
Dear Editor;
    The current (Taliban) town board has stuck it to the residents of this town once again. The sheer arrogance of their agenda surfaces every day. One cannot fix stupid!
    Now they have become shills for the promoters of an ill-conceived concert and their harebrained scheme to allow it at the town-owned airport defies logic.
    When does a governing body make decisions that fly in the face of residents to facilitate a profit for promoters of a concert with the promise of a few pieces of silver? Has the promoters’ experience been vetted as to their qualifications to run such a venue?
    Once again, “ready, shoot, aim” and the bobble heads that rammed through the approval so quickly should be held to task. Of course the question is, why were their pants on fire to grant permits without even taking the residents’ concerns into account?
    First, the entire town-owned airport (625 acres) is unfenced, and there is no way to stop anyone from entering at any point on the compass to avoid entrance fees. One only has to use Google Earth to observe surrounding residential areas to park and walk through the woods, or across the railroad tracks, to gain entrance.
    All the streets are only a short walk from the airport, and they will be parked all over the place. I can just see them wandering in and running across runways as planes are trying to come in and out. This cannot be prevented!
    Second, the board said no environmental impact. Well, does clearing 2,000 feet of trees for a fire lane have no environmental impact? Replacing trees with ornamental grasses is not returning the land to what was there.
    Third, Route 27 at the intersection by the Wainscott Post Office is a traffic nightmare as it is. The summer months exacerbate this to a horrendous level. Now add thousands of cars. That will cause residents of Wainscott to be held hostage in their own neighborhoods, unable to get out. Emergency response time will be hampered.
    An Article 78 was filed by the residents of Amagansett, which the town will automatically lose. So this lame-brained scheme was devised behind closed doors? Why is the board acting as quasi-agent for the promoters, and will this pass the smell test?
    I urge all residents of this town to stand up for each other and send a message that this town is ours and we know what is good for us.
    Call the Federal Aviation Administration at 516-227-3860 and voice your objection.
    E-mail the F.A.A decision-maker at Andrew.Brooks@faa.gov and demand that he end this debacle immediately. Deny the request!
    Take back our town from the sheer arrogant town board who disrespects us daily!
    Yours truly,


    East Hampton
    April 26, 2011
To the Editor,
    Two things: Tom Twomey’s piece on the East End nuclear issue was brilliant.
    Two: I was at Woodstock in 1969; 500,000 people cheered when it was announced (by Arlo Guthrie) that the New York Thruway was closed. I walked for hours for a glass of water. I walked five hours round trip to the ladies’ room. There was a large field or two where many of us slept; thousands of others had no place to go. My husband and I were lucky enough to have pitched our tent next to a couple with a station wagon full of food; they fed everybody in our area for two days. Otherwise, no food.
    Now, I can imagine only one thing worse than sitting in traffic on Route 27 in summer and that’s sitting in a 30-mile traffic jam for a day because too many people decided to go east for a music concert too ill advised even to contemplate.
    If this thing is hugely publicized, it will be a total nightmare (as Charline Spektor and others have rightly pointed out).
    Did I mention — young and stupid as we were, most of us cheered to think we had shut down the thruway?

New Pagan Religion
    East Hampton
    April 30, 2011
 Dear David,
    This year’s coincidence of Earth Day occurring on Good Friday (with Passover overlapping) brings into focus an interesting dichotomy. Two solemn events of this world’s great religions collided with two interrelated great hoaxes, the notion that communism is a force for good and Earth Day. The comparison is particularly stark because it is juxtaposed to the greatest forces for good this planet has ever known.
    Good Friday is Christendom’s most solemn day, remembering Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, suffering, burial, and resurrection. This event can be summed up as giving mankind a lesson in consequences, redemption, and true hope for us all.
    I’ll leave it to the local rabbis to speak for Moses and the Old Testament.
    For The Star to mourn the lessening enthusiasm for Earth Day events, while not mentioning Good Friday or Passover, strikes me as an arrogant display of stupidity, irreverence, and a complete lack of humility.
    Earth Day glorifies a new pagan religion. It is the only religion not bound by the usual suspects, in their ridiculous and lame assertion of Constitutional separation of church and state.
    What was actually surprising to me was that there was no editorial celebration of Vladimir I. Lenin’s birthday. Perhaps it was better left to another red-diaper baby who used the occasion of Earth Day to celebrate Margaret Mead, the eugenicist, in the letters section. Gee, where was Rachel Carson in all this nonsense?
    Could it be that, we, the Great Unwashed, are becoming less and less easily fooled by the ridiculous notion that mankind can have any great or lasting effect on this planet.
    Or, could it be that, as we now know that Michael Mann’s infamous hockey stick graph purporting to show manmade global warming conclusively, conveniently left out the Little Ice Age? (The story of Hans Brinker would not have been possible without it.) Other than that, it was perfectly accurate nonsense.
    Two catastrophic events over the last year or so have shown us how truly insignificant we are, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the massive Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
    Here it is a year later, Mother Nature has dealt with the spill to such an extent scientists can barely find any remnants of it to study. As for the other catastrophe, the Japanese nuclear reactors functioned as they were designed to and G.E. will learn from this experience and design even better reactors. But the major problem, in this instance, was the onsite storage of spent nuclear fuel rods. Yucca Mountain ring any bells? Doubtful.
    Earth Day can be summed up as an increasingly lame excuse for elitists to mind everyone else’s business because it’s good for you! And we’re so much smarter than you! You know, tell us what kind of lightbulb to use, how bright they should be, what toilet to use, how many children we should have, how many cups of coffee are good for us, transfats, Twinkies, etc. This list is as endless as the list of natural occurrences blamed on the man-made global warming hoax.
    But wait, there is a glitch. All of them were, curiously, previously blamed on man-made global cooling in the late 1960s and early ’70s with exactly the same remedies.
    Don’t worry — we know what’s good for you!
    What is striking is that the experts on The Star’s editorial board are never correct or right and never factor in the unintended consequences of their green policies. To wit: Solar and wind power will never be cost-effective or clean for the simple reason that the sun doesn’t shine all the time (here or anywhere else on Earth), and the wind doesn’t blow at 30 knots all the time. Therefore, these projects require almost 95 percent of the fossil fuel infrastructure as back-up and/or require heavy metal batteries which create more pollution than the combustion of fossil fuels.
    It’s the energy density, stupid, to paraphrase James Carville. This is why the green projects are losers and must rely on big government bureaucrats for their sustenance.
    In Earth’s time frame, mankind has been here less than the blink of eye. We could simultaneously detonate every nuclear weapon and device ever built by man — Mother Nature (supreme being) will have it all cleaned up and will have moved on to whatever she has in mind to follow mankind. The next master species will be off and procreating faster than we would all like to admit.
    Get over yourselves. There is, after all, redemption, which is what Good Friday is all about.

Slight Concern
    May 1, 2011
To the Editor,    
    To start off, I cast a hopeful vote for Barack Obama in 2008 and was happy he was elected. And then:
    The bailout happened. I know the trouble started before he got there, but I expected a miracle and it didn’t happen. A slight concern emerged.
    Then there was health care. I didn’t know that he destroyed Medicare, and that children, no matter how  poor, got health insurance. Seems un-American, kinda socialistic, don’t you think?
    Then I heard many times that President Obama may be a Muslim terrorist plant or an alien born in Africa or both. I know it’s not been proven but, you know, where there’s smoke there may be fire.
    At this point I stopped to review my feelings about the president. Since the above events were not clear and proven and being a responsible citizen I decided, reluctantly, to continue to support him.
    But now, after reading last week’s issue of The Independent, where Jerry Della Femina in his weekly column, “Jerry’s Ink,” clearly wrote that the election of Mr. Obama resulted in his decision to sell his wonderful restaurant and simultaneously make my gift card worthless, I decided that I’m outta here!

Exclusive Affair
    New York City
    May 2, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray,
    A few weeks ago, we traveled to Boston for a Democratic fund-raising dinner with President Obama at the Museum of Fine Arts. It promised to be a fairly exclusive affair, with no more than 150 guests seated in the great hall off the rotunda.
    I suppose the extensive security clearances beforehand heightened our excitement for the event. And the e-mail memo proclaiming “cameras permitted” raised my confidence that we would indeed meet the president.
    I found a great photo of my grandson and daughter and had an 8-by-10 print made. I would ask the president to autograph the print: “Joseph — I’ve got your back, and I hope you’ve got mine, Barack Obama” (in that crazy left-handed scrawl of his).
    I think it still bothers a few of my acquaintances that the smartest guy in the room could be a black man. But it makes me smile and I hope my grandson, who is biracial, finds it inspiring.
    Mary took the day off from teaching at the Southampton Elementary School. I played hooky once again from my New York City company, and we drove to Boston in plenty of time for the in-person clearances, the security sweep of the museum, and the gala itself.
    Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres were served in the rotunda as the guests awaited the arrival of our leader. After about an hour, leaning against the marble balcony railing overlooking the first floor of the museum, I noticed seven very tall black men and one or two very tall white men in suits enter the building and make their way quickly to another room. “I assume that’s the Boston Celtics,” I said to anyone near me, “And I assume they are about to meet the president.” A security agent confirmed that that was the case.
    As time passed, I grew restless and a bit concerned that the real meet-and-greet was taking place elsewhere, and that the B-listers would be treated to no more than a wave and thumbs-up from the podium. That the president would not be aware of or sensitive to the fact that this dinner was supposed to be about me and getting the autograph.
    But soon we were ushered into the great hall, and the excitement returned. There were perhaps no more than 40 round tables, set for a banquet. We found our seats as a small army of servers began pouring wine. Democratic political luminaries took their tables at the front of the room. Moments later, Speaker Nancy Pelosi entered and immediately started working the hall, walking table to table, pressing the flesh. A woman at our table said, “I’d love to know who did the work on her face — it’s fantastic!” Brilliant.
    The dining commenced, and along with it the speeches, all of them political, Ms. Pelosi, of course, Rep. Steve Israel, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and others whose names are lost in the entrees.
     “We have in this room the power and the will to save our country from those who would turn the clock of progress back 50 years!” (Wild applause . . . well, for a bunch of Boston bluebloods.)
    Finally, President Obama was introduced. (Much wilder applause.) He looked somewhat tired, having toured several schools that very day to promote his education initiatives and what with weighing our country’s options in Libya. And meeting the Celtics, of course.
    His somewhat extemporaneous speech was also political in tone. It was a fund-raiser, after all. He thanked everyone responsible for this magnificent evening personally. He called out their names. He thanked the rest of us for our valuable, continued support and tireless efforts. “We have made progress on our commitments. . . . The job is far from complete. . . . We can never lose sight of the principles that made us a great nation to begin with. . . .” Then he God-blessed us, God-blessed America, and waved farewell.
    I looked at Mary and said, “Let’s get out of here.” No handshake with the president, no autograph. And now we’re driving back to New York City in the middle of the night. Mary will wake up at 5 a.m. the next morning and drive to Southampton to teach the first graders.
    And what do we learn from this event, Mr. Rattray? I believe we learn that I have a self-perception disorder. Or introspection dysfunction. I somehow convince myself that the president’s fund-raising dinner is about me, when it is not. Not even the dinner rolls.
    And in the weeks since that auspicious evening at the Museum of Fine Arts? Our president has signed a bud­get agreement, produced his Hawaiian long-form birth certificate, visited the sites of the Alabama tornado devastation, killed Osama bin Laden, and had a friendly conversation with George W. Bush. High five!
    And me? I’m still trying to get the beach fire mess under control. Would you like to have your picture taken with me, Mr. Rattray? Not a problem.
    God bless Amagansett, and God bless America.


Pay What Back?
    May 1, 2011
To the Editor,
    Sue Avedon must have been born with a silver spoon in her mouth, or she never worked. If she did she would notice on her paystub F.I.C.A., which is a government deduction for future Social Security (letters, April 28). The philosophy of Social Security is it is an entitlement, except you must pay into it in order to receive it.
    My husband and I have worked for over 40 years and paid plenty into Social Security, so who is Sue Avedon to make statements such as we should refuse to accept the entitlements that is holding our money and pay it back. Pay what back, the money they already raided? Her observation is that the attendees at the Tea Party rally consisted of some senior citizens, because they seem to care the most which way the country is going and have deep concern for their children and grandchildren.
    Before you start calling me racist, I hope and pray that Alan West changes his mind and runs for the Republican nomination, or that John McCain’s ideas rub off on the future candidates.

Dear Donald
    Water Mill
    May 2, 2011
To the Editor,
    Dear Donald: I cannot believe how good you were on TV last week. You certainly are the go-getter at any cost. Go ahead, tell all your fabrications and lies; you are dealing with dummies, anyway. So lie, lie, lie. On that count, you are terrific.
    I hate to keep beating a dead fox, but your head looks like one. Do you agree? I mean, deep down, do you love your dead-fox hair? What does it matter? You are one good-looking and sounding guy.
    So there are five congressmen in New York; you said one. Pound it home, you old lying son of a bitch. Keep going. When you are president, you will show them how to lie and cheat, etc.
    I am solidly behind you, as are millions — they love your bullcrap and lies. Keep it going, Donnie, you are the best ever, and I mean you know how to treat the scumbags.
    All the best,

To the Brink
    Sag Harbor
    April 28, 2011
To the Editor,
    Our former empire seems to be in a state of mass confusion. Multiple pre-emptive wars in the Middle East have led us to the brink of World War III. Wars are unpredictable; we can no longer win or end wars. Our foreign policy has become a loony paradox. This is what we want to do but may not be able to do. Uncertainty has been our basic strategy; no one has the answers. So maybe the questions are more important.
    A few that come to mind: Why do we kill for peace? Has war ever ended in peace or the next war? Has war become an addiction? Why have we destroyed villages to save them? Why do we destroy nations to rebuild them? With this warped thinking, is the planet next? Why do we continue to develop new nuclear weapons? Strangely enough, in the past national election, why was war not on the agenda or even discussed as an issue? Where is the reverence for life, anyone’s life? Finally, I believe the most basic and important question today is, is war the solution or a delusion?
    In peace,