Letters to the Editor - 06.09.11

This Season
    East Hampton
    June 3, 2011
Dear David,
    Just a quick note before the golf team heads up to the state tournament. We would like to express our thanks to certain members of our community. First, the East Hampton High School athletic department for its organization, dedication, and care for our extra season, especially Pat Hand and Joe Vos.
    Second, to our principals, Mr. Fine and Ms. Mondini, for meeting us at 6:15 in the morning to wish us good luck for the Long Island championship.
    We could not have accomplished what we did this season without the graciousness of the South Fork Country Club, the Maidstone Club, and Poxabogue, and the use of their facilities.
    Thanks to Jack Graves and your newspaper for the coverage of our extraordinary season.
    Thanks also go to those at the Springs Athletic Awards ceremony, for holding up the program to greet us as we exited the bus in front of the high school after we won the Long Island championship, and to the team members’ parents and families who have dedicated and sacrificed many aspects of their lives to help us succeed.
    Last, and we will never forget this, we’d like to thank the East Hampton Fire Department (Ray Harden and volunteers) and the East Hampton Village Police Department (Jerry Larsen and his staff) for escorting us into the village of our hometown. We were over the moon with our reception, and one of us yelled as we entered the village, “This is why we won! It makes it all worthwhile.”
    We are fortunate to live in the community of East Hampton, and this experience made us appreciate the area and its people even more than we could have ever imagined.
    Sincerely,
    CLAUDE BEUDERT
    For the East Hampton 
    High School Golf Team



Never Forget
    Montauk
    June 6, 2011
Dear Editor,
    We would like to thank all who participated in making the first annual Montauk Memorial Day Parade a huge success.
    Thanks to the United States Coast Guard Montauk Station, Montauk Troop 136, Cub Pack 136, the Girl Scouts, Little League, Montauk Public School, Strawberry Fields, Montauk Fire Department, Town of East Hampton Police Department, the Patriot Guard, Uihlein’s Marina, Richard Val­cich for his military vehicles, and of course all of the veterans who marched. We shall never forget the sacrifices that our military has made to keep America free.
    BOB LAMPARTER
    Montauk Memorial Committee



Best Last Chapter
    Springs
    June 6, 2011
To the Editor,
    Last week I lost my friend Susan Mannes. After many surgeries and months in Stony Brook hospital, the doctors delivered the sad news there was nothing left they could do. Susan was sent to Good Shepherd Hospice in Port Jefferson.
    It was a very difficult and painful decision for Susan’s elderly parents to keep her there for the last chapter of her life. As I walked through the doors of Good Shepherd for the first time, my anxiety melted away. I knew her parents had made the right decision.
    The outpouring and support of the community went above and beyond the call of duty. Through her entire illness, Susan was not at a loss for love, comfort, and the company of all her friends and loved ones. Her exhausted parents made the drive back and forth almost daily.
    From her days spent in Stony Brook to her last days in Good Shepherd, holidays, birthdays, sleepovers, movie nights, and good old-fashioned family time were spent with Susan, Her room was always filled with love, joy, and laughter.
    I am so grateful for the support of our local community that allowed Susan’s friends and family to give her the best last chapter of her life and to the employers, who let her friends spend all the time they wanted with her, and the local businesses that helped the family get through this very difficult time.
    It is not in nature to take a daughter from her parents. I want to thank from the deepest depth of my soul all the wonderful people of our community. I feel so proud to have had Susan as a friend and equally as proud of all the wonderful local people who put their own lives on hold to be there for a very special woman who touched all of our lives.
Thank you and God bless,
VICTORIA MAGLIARO SIMMONS



Leo the Barber
    East Hampton
    May 31, 2011
To the Editor,
    Leo is back.
    Bridgehampton once again has a barbershop.
    But Leo the barber has reappeared in a little subterranean shop down the alley beside the deli on Main Street. (Call 875-7373 if you get lost.)
    It’s nice to see a local businessman survive.
    DON HUNTING



Name of the Game
    Shelter Island
    June 6 2011
Dear David,
    Last week, a “Little Bit of Pixie Dust” by Bridget LeRoy gave readers a wonderful taste of turn-of-the-century Shelter Island. When Shelter Island was populated in season by the era’s industrial business tycoons, opulence and grandeur were the name of the game.
    Visits by elegant steam yachts, many over 150 feet long, were so common that the New York Yacht Club created station number five in Dering Harbor so its members would have a base of operations way out east.
    In that time period, coined the Gilded Age by Mark Twain, the rich were not burdened by income tax, and those leaders of the pack were way out in front of the rest of the population. On Shelter Island, there was more than one “gentleman’s plantation” among the large spas, hotels, and sprawling summer cottages on the island. The idea of actors flying from Westmoreland’s high chimneys and towers for a private invited audience of theater folk and locals makes for an intriguing story. The word history contains the word story, and Frances Row Kestler’s book is filled with them.
    “Never-Never Land: The Saga of Westmoreland Farm” by Ms. Kestler is available for sale at the Shelter Island Historical Society, as are other books and images of the period, including portraits of the Montauk Steamship Company’s large paddlewheel steamships that ferried New Yorkers directly to and from Shelter Island in comfort and style.
    Best and cheers,
    PAT MUNDUS
    Executive director
    Shelter Island Historical Society




Exuberant Musical
    East Hampton
    June 6, 2011
Dear David,
    The Studio Playhouse community theater at LTV is about to present its first production next week — the musical comedy “Destry Rides Again.” In the movie, James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich played the classic roles of Destry and Frenchy. That was back in 1939. The musical comedy with music and lyrics by Harold Rome and a book by Leonard Gershe, played on Broadway in 1959, with Andy Griffith and Delores Gray in the starring roles. The great Michael Kidd won a Tony that year for its choreography.
    For the past two months, under the amazing leadership of Anita Sorel, an intrepid group of East End citizens has been preparing to perform this exuberant musical comedy for you. Our Destry and Frenchy are your neighbors and friends, Nick Lynn and Lee Michel. And there are about 20 more  East End thespians singing and dancing their hearts out. The show has it all — saloon girls, shoot-outs, bad guys, good guys, romance.
    We do hope you will join us at LTV next Thursday through June 18, at 7:30 p.m. at LTV Studios in Wainscott, right near the East Hampton airport. We hope to see you there!
    Best,
    VIVIAN R. TREVES
    Board Member
    Studio Playhouse at LTV 
Save Sharks



    Montauk
    May 31, 2011
To the Editor:
    Seven years ago an amazing thing happened in a cave in northern Arizona. At Salt Creek, in the Grand Canyon National Park, high up in the red wall, the first California condor in 100 years was born in the wild.
    You can imagine the joy at the Peregrine Fund, the San Diego Zoo, and the National Park Service. In 1987 these birds were 22 away from extinction. It was their joint efforts, including a captive-breeding program, which ultimately resulted in 70 condors being reintroduced into their ancestral habitat in the Grand Canyon.
    How do we know the canyon was once the home of the most endangered bird in the world? Condor bones dating back 10,000 years were found in that Salt Creek cave.
    There was also another discovery. The chick had died.
    I don’t know if parent condors mourn their loss, but I did. I had seen 13 of these birds with their nine-and-a-half-foot wingspans on one of my winter Grand Canyon treks. Four were so close I could read the numbers on their massive wings.. Hunters had killed the baby condor and they didn’t even know it.
    When a hunter dresses a deer or elk, the wounded part of the animal is left in the field. Condors are vultures. The parent birds found the carrion and brought it back to their baby. The infant died from lead poisoning from bullet fragments in the meat!
    The National Park Service was faced with a dilemma: how to allow hunting, which is important for maintaining healthy herds, and how to protect the condor? The decision was to give out free copper bullets for hunters to use instead of lead. Copper bullets cost twice as much but they don’t harm condors. This was a small price to pay. Today, 87 percent of the hunters in the park now use copper bullets instead of lead.
    This program was so successful that the State of California has now banned lead ammunition from certain parts of their state just to protect these birds. The California condor population now stands at 381.
    I have no idea how many sharks are left in the world. But I do know this. Every year 100 million of them are killed for their fins to make soup. The Chinese, and those who just see dollar signs, have done everything in their power to prevent international efforts to protect sharks.
    Eleven of the largest species of shark along the East Coast of the United States have all but vanished. Many sharks don’t even reach sexual maturity until the age of 7 and some not until they’re in their 20s. When they do reproduce they may have between 2 to 100 young.
    Soon this year, Montauk will again hold the first of its four annual shark tournaments. Kill the biggest one (a potential breeding fish), and you could win up to $500,000!
    Taking a page from the preservation efforts of the condors, the Concerned Citizens of Montauk and April Gornik, an artist, are once again providing in-line circle hooks to shark fishermen to use in these tournaments — free.
    Sharks swallow everything. Circle hooks catch in the mouth, not in the gut. Traditional J hooks can rip a shark’s internal organs apart.
    Since only one fish may be kept per boat a day, when the leader is cut on a shark caught with a circle hook, the hook rusts. Over time, it dissolves away. The odds that the fish will survive are greatly improved. When the leader is cut on a J hook, even if the hook is seen in the mouth, it may have already been mortally wounded and the fisherman doesn’t know it.
    Nobody is trying to stop fishing. We are trying to save sharks by replacing one kind of hook with another, just as the Park Service replaced one kind of bullet with another. Carl Darenberg of Montauk Marine Basin, Rich Etzel of Montauk Boatmen’s and Captains Association, and Rich Janis of Star Island Marina get it. They have been working with C.C.O.M. and April to bring about the use of circle hooks.
    We’re taking baby steps together, but they are steps in the right direction.
    For C.C.O.M., I thank them all.
    Sincerely,
    RAV FREIDEL
    Director
    Concerned Citizens of Montauk



One-Sided Treatment
    East Hampton
    June 1, 2011
To the Editor,
    Having read the article “Children’s Wing Wins Approval” by Carissa Katz and Bridget LeRoy, I am struck by what an unbalanced piece of reporting it is.
    This is a seven-year-plus story in the making and the only side of the narrative that is presented in this article is that of the library. I would think that a good newspaper would seek to present all sides in this complex and historic controversy and include interviews with members of the zoning board, voices from the village government, and citizens in the community who have been opposed to this excessive expansion, including most of the past chairwomen of the board of the library.
    Anyone reading this story would have no idea that the Z.B.A. pursued genuine concerns (most of them cited in the village comprehensive plan) with the increased congestion and traffic in an already-difficult intersection of the historic district, the need to preserve green space in the village, and the unresolved issue of the additional parking spaces that will be required, just to name a few of the most obvious issues.
    Your article presented a one-sided treatment of the debate between the library and the Z.B.A., as if all the issues were black or white, good guys vs. bad guys, and finally the good guys won! That is simply not the case and anyone who attended those hearings knows that. Carissa Katz was often there and in earlier articles reported fairly despite the tones of editorials to the contrary.
    This most recent article doesn’t even begin to present the whole story.
MARY JANE BROCK



Better Placement
    Montauk
    June 3, 2011
Dear Editor,
    Tucked away on page A12 of the June 2 East Hampton Star was an article revealing the 2010 town budget surplus, as announced recently by Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson.
    This piece of news deserves better placement in your paper, considering the economic woes of the town when Bill Wilkinson took office 18 months ago, and in light of the added news that the town has managed to restore $4 million to the community preservation fund.
    Sincerely,
    PERRY DURYEA III



Critical Issue
    East Hampton
    June 6, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray,
    Once again, I am deeply disappointed by The East Hampton Star’s lack of journalistic integrity to its readers.
    The article “East Hampton Ended 2010 With Surplus,” was placed on page A12 of last week’s paper, while “A Little Bit of Pixie Dust” rated front-page placement with a box around it. Now really, as an editor don’t you believe that informing your readers about the critical issue of the town’s finances would merit better placement in your newspaper than the third-to-last page?
    Where would you have placed the article if the town had ended the year with a $5.9 million deficit? I think, perhaps, that would have merited the front page. No?
     I know it must gall The Star and many of its readers that the Wilkinson administration has so successfully turn­ed the tables on East Hampton’s serious fiscal situation. Are you not even pleased that the administration has returned to the beloved community preservation fund $4 million looted by the previous Town Hall occupants?
    Additionally, $5.8 million went back into the capital fund, while the overall town budget was reduced by some $10 million.
    Oh yes, let me not leave out the 17-percent tax reduction all East Hampton Town residents received. Not a bad track record in 17 months. But, that kind of success doesn’t merit front-page attention at The East Hampton Star.
    Sincerely,
    CAROLE CAMPOLO



‘New’ Town Hall
    East Hampton
    June 1, 2011
To the Editor,
    I have just paid my first visit to the “new” Town Hall buildings. I think they are great and what a wonderful statement they make about East Hampton. If you are like me and needed a reason to visit Town Hall for the first time, I would suggest you forget the need to go there and just visit them as a destination in themselves. I am sure you won’t be disappointed.
    I am, of course, aware of the controversy surrounding those buildings and find it hard to believe that voices were actually raised to sell them to private interests. That would have been a huge mistake. Future generations of East Hamptoners will appreciate the sacrifices we made during these difficult financial times to keep those buildings. I just hope they are as pleasant to work in as they are to visit.
JOSEPH D. POLICANO
 

Tradition
    East Hampton
    June 6, 2011
Dear David,
    I read with great interest Russell Drumm’s article titled “Historic Homestead Uncovered,” which discussed some of the history of Northwest Woods, and the Isaac Van Scoy homestead in particular.
    I first became interested in this story in 1982 when my grandfather published the first volume of his book, “Descendants of Cornelis Aertsen Van Schaick.” This year is the 375th anniversary of Cornelis’s voyage from the Nederlands to New Amsterdam (Manhattan). Isaac, born in 1731, was the 5th generation to live in New York. I am an 11th-generation descendant, living on part of the Van Scoys’ original farmland. I feel blessed to be able to live and work in East Hampton and I am honored to be chosen as a Democratic candidate for East Hampton Town Board.
    What is so special about where we live? It is the quality of the people and the place. Everyone has their own story, where they come from, what they do. Everyone also has something special to offer, a skill, a talent, an insight, or experience, and a contribution to make to our community.
    Think of the similarities between our community and the natural ecosystems around us. Like any ecosystem, a broad, diverse, and balanced community is stronger, more resilient, and more productive. We are intimately connected to our surrounding lands and waters and dependent upon one another for our quality of life.
    East Hampton’s most important tradition is public access to — and ownership of — our beaches, docks, harbors, bays, ponds, and woodlands. Our local businesses, property values, and life­style depend on protecting our traditional rights of access, and the health and vitality of our waters and woodlands. We should give no quarter to those who would take or sell our public holdings or diminish our quality of life for the benefit of a few.
    I am pleased to see the ever-increasing numbers of residents voicing their opinions and concerns about beach access on Napeague, the proposed sale of Fort Pond House and the town dock, the concert in Amagansett (now Wainscott), and the peddler legislation. Good government, in a democracy, depends upon citizen participation and involvement.
    I ran for town trustee in 1991 because I was concerned with issues of beach access, water quality, and fisheries. In 1995, I was appointed to the zoning board of appeals and served five years, the last year as chairman. I am currently serving my sixth year on the East Hampton Town Planning Board. After attending over 700 public hearings and meetings that require balancing the needs and desires of individuals with the future of the town at large, I feel that I have the experience and ability to carefully listen, weigh proposals, and make difficult decisions. If elected, I will strive to serve the town to the best of my ability, drawing upon my experience and yours.
    Thank you,
    PETER VAN SCOYOC
    Democratic Candidate for
    East Hampton Town Board



Choked Out
    Montauk
    May 31, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray:
    I agree with you and Councilman Dominick Stanzione in regard to restoring old views.
    I grew up in Montauk in the 1940s and ’50s, and even then, Montauk was mainly grass in the cleared areas. We could see the ocean from our front porch on Dewey Place; the hill behind us was all grass (except for the wild blueberry bushes) and that extended all the way to Hither Woods. One could park on East Lake Drive and walk through grass to visit Indian Field Cemetery, which was visible from the road. All that is gone. All those views and clear areas have been choked out by invasive brush, trees, vines, etc.
    I’d like to see one area in particular returned to grassland: the area south of the Fort Hill Cemetery, which includes Massacre Valley. I believe the town owns that land. If cleared, one may be able to find the location of the Indian fort, Indian grave sites, and possibly the Indian village, and other artifacts. It could be cleared the old-fashioned way: with sheep and goat herds kept penned in with portable chain-link fencing. Give a local farmer the right to use the property for fattening his herd; when completed, move the herd onto another property.
    Sincerely,
    TIM GILMARTIN



List of Devastation
    Amagansett
    June 6, 2011
Dear David,
    Reserve, preserve, parkland, or sanctuary? What does it all mean? Not all that much to some and yet a matter of life and death to others. In a nutshell, much of it was put aside as a buffer from ever-increasing development. It was and is a way to differentiate a place like ours from no-name suburbia. We are still lucky enough to have rare birds, turtles, peepers, foxes, and other species that most Long Island communities have not seen for years, and the only reason why is because these buffer zones were set aside as natural areas where wildlife can forage and breed.
    Where do we take our youth to see and understand the value of nature? Could it be a drive to a park, zoo, museum, or perhaps to rent a DVD? In the name of progress, it looks as if this is what will happen to East Hampton if we don’t speak up.
    The majority of East Hampton taxpayers never asked that $20,000 to $30,000 be borrowed and spent on clearing these wildlife habitat areas, and yet, without notice to the taxpayers, the town board has begun this expensive project.
    One example on the target list of devastation to wildlife would be the Amagansett double dunes, extending from Indian Wells to Atlantic Avenue. Here we have acres of land left untouched for 60 or more years and it is now an abundant home for wildlife. While development and clearing throughout Amagansett south has forced most wildlife away, including insect-eating songbirds, the trees and shrubs on the roadside of this pristine area have provided them with shelter and food for survival. Again, without notice, the town wants to go in and clear out one of our last shoreline habitats.
    There is talk that this is a request of some Bluff Road property owners looking to increase their property values by opening up a bigger ocean view for them to enjoy from inside their houses. The initial thought of big ocean views while driving on Bluff Road is very appealing at first until one realizes that this is a life-or-death situation for those animals. It still is easy enough to park in one of the lots and take a walk on the beach for the best view anyway.
    At a recent quiet architectural review board meeting, a town board member was trying to tell us that the guidelines in the Bluff Road historic code mandate that they clear these dunes but neglected to say that these are only guidelines, which have not been followed since their inception.
    Is it fair that a handful of people can force taxpayers to spend money on a clearing project which only benefits a few but will change the rural landscape of East Hampton for a very long time if not forever?  Who asked for this Project Open Vista anyway?
    Sincerely,
    JAMES MACMILLAN
    East Hampton Democratic Committee



Open Access
    Amagansett
    June 6, 2011
Dear Editor:
    Citizens for Access Rights recently held a fund-raiser at the Stephen Talkhouse to raise money and awareness for our newly formed group, which supports open access for all to the East End beaches. We would like to thank all the supporters and community members who attended the May 21 event and contributed to CfAR.
    All money raised will be used to further CfAR’s efforts to raise awareness of the lawsuits seeking beach privatization and will be donated to the town trustees for stewardship and protection of the local beaches.
    CfAR would also like to thank everyone who helped make the event a success, including the Stephen Talkhouse for lending the venue, all the musicians who donated their time to perform, and especially all the local businesses who donated items for the auctions. The night was a huge success.
    We appreciate the show of support. Please remember to check our Web site, citizensforaccessrights.com, and our Facebook page for further information regarding beach access and details of future fund-raisers. Please help spread the word. We hope to see you all at the beach.
    TIM TAYLOR
    Citizens for Access Rights



Broadview Dock
    Barnes Landing
    June 5, 2011
Dear David:
    Some of us in Barnes Landing had mixed feelings to read (Star June 2) that the town zoning board may rule against the rescue of the badly decayed Broadview dock.
    Certainly none of us wish to see the thing become anything elaborate enough to attract fat-cat yachts such as those that glut Sag Harbor each year. And yet, the prospect of losing it altogether isn’t pleasing.
    As long as some remnant of it remains, for instance, we can tell our grandchildren the story of how rumrunners used it during Prohibition to smuggle illicit booze into thirsty Bonac. Under cover of night, they’d moor their hooch-laden boats in the bay, row the contraband in to the pier, and then carry it, case by case, up the steep steps that still climb the face of the Bell Estate bluffs. (Yes, in case you were wondering, that is why that graceful, shingled roof covers the staircase — to keep the feds or Coast Guard from spotting their nefarious nocturnal activities.)
    Who knows? It may even be true.
    In any case, we see the dock as a landmark, not an eyesore. And hope a way can be found to allow nature to continue dismantling it without making it too dangerous a site in the process.
ED HANNIBAL



Will Disappear
    East Hampton
    June 6, 2011
Dear Editor:
    If the Bell Estate dock is removed, 50 years of sand buildup to the north, including the Barnes Hole Association’s beach, will disappear shortly after.
    The Albert’s Landing town beach to the south is protected by the groin on the north side of Fresh Pond, which Dr. Bell insisted be installed before turning over Fresh Pond and the surrounding land to the town and town trustees circa 1944.
    LARRY PENNY
    Director
    East Hampton Town
    Natural Resources Department



Tips the Balance
    Barnes Landing
    June 6, 2011
Dear David,
    Your Broadview Dock editorial last week was too broad in scope. It is true the local waterfront revitalization program is against perpendicular structures such as the dock. However, the document also looks closely at actual conditions within each local reach of the shoreline.
    In the case of the Bell dock, the L.W.R.P. notes significant disruption of the sand supply along this shore by the groins and revetments north of the Barnes Landing road end. They prevent sand that used to come from the Accabonac cliffs from reaching the public beach at Barnes Landing, a beach used by many more people than indicated in the misleading letter by Neal Gabler (June 2), who claims it is the provenance of only a few rich folks.
    The Bell dock holds the Barnes Landing beach in place. If it goes, the beach goes with it. With that in mind an exception for maintenance of the Bell dock was inserted in the L.W.R.P. erosion map, which I believe was continued in the local erosion protection law of 2006 implementing the policy.
    Ideally shorelines throughout the town should be restored to a natural condition. However, in areas where sand supply and shoreline mechanics have already been disrupted, we need to consider the consequences of further change.
    In this case maintaining the beach tips the balance to keep the dock. I hope the zoning board sees it the same way and grants the permit.
    Thanks for listening.
RAMESHWAR DAS
 

Annual Event?
    Wainscott
    June 3, 2011
Dear Editor:
    It is with great dismay that I find no commentary regarding the upcoming MTK concert at East Hampton Airport. Why is this so? Aren’t there any readers concerned about the two-day production? Have we all slipped into an apparent apathy at the idea of contesting its venue? Does making an effort seem futile?
    And what about the Animal Rescue Fund? Are there any provisions being made for the defenseless dogs and cats at the center, which is located too close to the airport, not to be disturbed by the noise, by the traffic, by the people?
    Can it be possible that we residents of Wainscott have accepted the probability of this MTK concert becoming an annual event at the airport?
    Oh, those fortunate plovers! They have inconvenienced our summer visitors every Fourth of July to the point of a possible end to the Main Beach fireworks since funding has declined over the annual postponement of the dec­ades-old event. What would it take, then, to bring this potential howling success of a music show to a screeching halt?
    Sincerely,
    MARY LICATA



Match That Record
    Springs
    June 3, 2011
Dear David,
    Recently Supervisor Bill Wilkinson complained that previous Democratic administrations only cared about open space protection and failed to provide affordable housing. That simply is not true.
    Yes, the Democrats have always understood the importance of protecting our natural resources. However, providing realistic affordable housing opportunities for local people has always been a priority. For example, from 2005 to 2009, the previous Democratic administration created 240 affordable housing options while adopting the 2005 comprehensive plan — including ready-to-move-in affordable houses and apartments! That is a potential average of 60 dwelling units per year.
    The list is long:
    • Green Hollow subdivision
    • Springs-Fireplace Road Apartments
    • Re-sold affordable houses in Whalebone Woods
    • Partnering with Habitat for Humanity
    • Public-private funding
    • Affordable apartments over all commercial buildings
    • Accessory apartments on residences
    In addition, a creative development rights transfer program for septic flow, which takes the development rights off of preserved land and transfers them to increase clustered affordable housing potential, was adopted and applied.
    In other words, every time the town purchases open space land, an equal number of affordable housing opportunities become available for our local people.
    The 2005 comprehensive plan was taken to court six times. Each time the judge ruled in the town’s favor because East Hampton has provided a broad range of affordable housing opportunities to our residents who cannot afford higher property values.
    In 2009, before the Wilkinson administration took office, 77 new dwelling units were built in East Hampton. With an average of 60 affordable opportunities per year under the Demo­crats, that is an outstanding ratio of about one affordable apartment or house for every 1.5 residential building permits.
    I challenge any other Long Island town to match that record. Yes, the town needs to continue to provide housing opportunities to our local people that do not overpower our neighborhoods, schools, and services. All the Wilkinson administration has done is propose an over-the-top disaster scenario with a potential of 10 people per lot in a multi-family house in residential, single-lot neighborhoods throughout town.
    Sincerely,
    DEBRA BRODIE FOSTER



Health Needs
    Springs
    June 6, 2011
Dear David:
    Hasn’t Steve Levy had his wings clipped in the recent accounts of his having awarded contracts to potential campaign donors? It seems he still feels empowered to sell county properties and services to the highest bidder. He was thwarted in his attempt recently to sell the only county-owned nursing facility, the John J. Foley in Yaphank.
    Undeterred, he has hired a consulting service to do a cost-benefit analysis of the value of the County Home Health Care Agency, which provides home health care to the county’s elderly and to others who are confined to their homes due to severe health conditions. They also have a teaching function, working with new mothers, insulin-dependent diabetics, and homebound patients who need instruction or supervision in self-care. Simultaneously he has prepared a request for proposals for publication setting a $50,000 price for the sale of said County Certified Home Health Care Agency.
    He always had a line in his budgets for the public health nurses, but year after year failed to hire a sufficient number of nurses to cover Suffolk’s needs. I read in the papers that he now has a plan to close two of the five county health clinics as well. They are the first line of defense for those who cannot afford health insurance.
    My question is why is he still in office? If you agree, contact County Legislator Jay Schneiderman and let him know how unacceptable the attitude of Mr. Levy is toward the health needs in our county.
    Sincerely,
    HELEN FITZGERALD



Barefoot Season
    East Hampton
    June 6. 2011
To the Editor,
    Barefoot season is upon us, and the practice of “walking” dogs on the beach continues. If you go to the beach, you’ll be walking in urine — barefoot.
    In a couple of weeks, school will be out and children will be playing in urine. We’ve learned to step carefully to avoid the big piles of poop, but by now all the sand has been tainted.
    People who sit in pooped-on sand and track urine-soaked feet to their cars and plant fecal-fouled fannies in them will wonder why the car takes on a funky smell each summer.
    If they’ve had a particularly active day at the beach, they’ll go home to find sand in their hair and have to wonder: Is it sand of the dried, crusty remains of un-policed poop from a season ago?
MATT NORKLUN



Trust No One
    Amagansett
    June 6, 2011
To the Editor,
    Beware of renters. Check their references. Ask for more than one reference. Don’t trust anyone, no matter how charming.
    My house was trashed, and my studio, shed, and property were trashed with five overflowing garbage cans on the road. Broken glass was all over the grounds, around my house and studio.
    I rented only my house, but my tenant broke into my studio. The floor was covered with papers and magazines, cigarette butts, cans of beer, and old dirty blankets. He went into my papers and threw them around; he took unknown papers. I’ve changed my bank account.
    The legal system is not equipped to deal with people like this. I tell everyone about his treatment of my house (I only rented my house), my studio, and my shed. It was a total disaster, like photos of a tornado. Trust no one renting.
    He took an English officer’s canvas chair, two wire cafe chairs, plus unknown household objects (glass, scissors, books, dictionaries, etc.), and broke the cane bottoms of four dining room chairs. A large plywood board from my shed is missing. He left a huge car seat and trash galore.
    I called the senior center and told a social worker to tell all there to beware of renters.
JOHANN VAN DER BEEK



Seen Their Ad
    East Hampton
    March 27, 2011
Dear Editor,
    My husband, Tom, and I live in Landfall and frequently enjoy a jaunt to Montauk for a walk on the beach under the bluffs, a cocktail at the wonderful old Montauket, and often dine at Gosman’s, Dave’s Grill, or the Harvest on Fort Pond.
    Although Asian is not one of our usual choices, we had heard good things about East by Northeast on Fort Pond, and decided to try it with our handsome, smart grandson when he visited while on a break from his architectural studies at Cornell.
    We arrived at abut 6:35 and were not seated until near 7. On the way to our table, our waitress notified us that the prix fixe was only in effect until 6:30 p.m. and so we were not eligible.
    Since I had seen their ad in The Star week after week, I was reasonably sure that there was no such stipulation and said so to the waitress. We were told that as of this weekend, this was the policy.
    In The Star on May 26 the original ad was there, $15 prix fixe, Sunday to Thursday. Enough said. We will not dine at ENE again.
    Yours,
    BONNIE M. WALTERS



Die Young
    East Hampton
    June 2, 2011
To the Editor,
    If everyone in the United States died at 70 we would have no budget deficit and a great profitable health care system for those who can pay the freight. Die young, or if not young, sooner than later is the mantra of the health care industry and its Republican allies. There are two concepts that drive this thinking. One is the historical belief that no debt exists to previous generations that built the country. The other is the utilitarian value of non-working people in a capitalist system.
    What do the elderly do for America besides drain its resources? Imagine how rich we would be if we didn’t have to pay out Medicare and Social Security? Why is the country paying such a high price for the social and medical innovations that we initiated?
    Philosophically, we suck compared to the rest of the world. Something in our capitalist-Christian ethic has turned the country against its parents. It is a uniquely American phenomenon, a kind of Jesus on steroids or crack. Is it simply the money that drives us or some psychological disconnect that’s a function of too little breast-feeding and too much Coca-Cola?
    Take any European single-payer universal health care system and implement it in America and we would have better care for less money and not worry about the deficit. Take the philosophies of Europe, Asia, or the Middle East, where the elderly are revered and respected and the question of usefulness disappears. Families accept responsibility for their parents, but these governments also  understand the contributions of previous generations and celebrate their contributions rather than debating the debt.
    Perception of obligations and debts are a function of a less-evolved people who live only in the present with no sense of the past. Universal health care and taking care of our parents is no different than food, shelter, and education. It’s a natural instinct when not blocked by dollar signs. If we thought differently there would be no deficit debate. It would flow naturally in some genetic human channel that the cost of caring for our parents is non-negotiable.
    So the question posed is who are these cretins that hold such deep animosity for their parents that they would not implement a just, all-encompassing health care system, would propose a plan like Paul Ryan’s, which would seriously derange Medicare, to save a few bucks, would insist on someone making a few dollars (or many dollars) even if it puts our parents at risk?
    David Cay Johnson, a conservative economist emeritus, makes the case that Mr. Ryan and the Republicans are incompetent boobs whose program would substantially raise health care costs while it tears apart the system; a nastier vision harks back to 1930s Germany and its utilitarian purity obsession. A third perspective is that health care is a risk to the continued prosperity of America’s top 1 percent and every dollar for the cause helps.
    Greed, lack of humanity, or stupidity — do we really want any of them in our government?
NEIL HAUSIG



Common Ground
    Sag Harbor
    June 2, 2011
To the Editor,
    We called it democracy and freedom after we destroyed the countries of Iraq and Afghanistan but it really meant brutal capitalism. Many Americans failed to truly understand, manipulated by the corporate-controlled media that also runs our wars. Now we ourselves are experiencing as similar kind of oppression, of course to a much lesser degree. Our economy has been destroyed, our government also destabilized. Soon we might have some empathy for even our so-called enemies.
    In contemporary wars using weapons of mass destruction, 90 percent of the victims are innocent civilians just like us. Have we found common ground with our enemies?
    In peace,
    LARRY DARCEY