Letters to the Editor - 06.30.11

Gentle Soul
    June 20, 2011
To the Editor,
    The lights of Main Street appeared dimmer this weekend when the news spread about David Hartstein, a gentle soul who left us all too soon.
    It’s funny how life works. Although David and I worked and lived in the same community, it had been some time since we had seen each other, but about a month ago our paths crossed again and it felt as though time had melted away, as if it had been just a few days since we saw each other. That’s how David made you feel, he was caring and loving and listened when you spoke.
    We caught up on our children, our spouses, and our day-to-day lives. His dedication to Heather and their three children was clear as he spoke of them.
    I am so grateful that for the last month we saw each other, and I was reminded of his wonderful spirit and bright light that will forever shine.
    What a true loss to our community. David’s presence will forever be etched in my memory. Being around him made me want to be a better person. Thank you, David. I will miss you.
    Your friend,

Healing Quality
    Sag Harbor
    June 24, 2011
To the Editor,
    To paraphrase H.L. Mencken, the great cynic: “No matter what a man may accomplish in his life the number of people who turn out for his funeral depends largely upon the weather.”
    Well, Mr. Mencken would have been astonished then by the outpouring of people at the memorial that took place on Thursday in Montauk for David Hartstein — a day the skies opened up with torrential rains, replete with thunder and lightning, as if to mourn along with the 300 to 500 souls who turned out to pay respects to a true healer from our community.
    David brought a healing quality to all the relationships in his life, be they personal or professional. That became so apparent under the tent on Thursday, as the rain played drum rolls, and one, after one, after one, spoke of the beauty that was David. God bless his extended family, and God bless this community.
    I will always keep fast to the gentle friendship we shared, which was both personal and professional. We all lost a good one in David Hartstein, and way too soon.
    May he rest in peace. Shalom.

Loving Memory
    June 27, 2011
Dear David,
    In loving memory of Bertha Gladstone, who died last week early on the summer solstice. She would have turned 99 on our shared birthday in August.
    A dear friend, neighbor, and mentor, we would visit often over bourbon on the rocks or one of her simple, delicious meals.
    She read voraciously and was well known at the Amagansett Library. Until recently, she volunteered for Meals on Wheels and RSVP, calling homebound people once a week. She loved cats and fed many strays. She donated regularly to Elsa’s Ark.
    She is finally at peace with her darling Irving, who died eight years ago.
    Also, loving memory to David Hartstein, who fixed me many times after an accident.

Our Friend
    June 25, 2011
To the Editor,
    We just learned that our friend and neighbor Bertha Gladstone has passed on.
    She was a wonderful woman who reached out and helped a lot of people.
    God bless Bertha. She will be happy because she will be with her beloved husband, Irving.

My Home Port
    June 22, 2011
To the Editor,
    This month the Montauk Chamber of Commerce organized an event honoring my family and the Viking Fleet, for our contributions to the Montauk fishing community.
    A special evening was held at the Montauk Yacht Club, where over 100 people sat together, talked fish tales, and enjoyed a wonderful meal. I was delighted to share stories and reminisce with friends, colleagues, and employees both past and present.
    The Viking Fleet has grown since its inception. Today I am proud to say my son and grandsons are taking the company forward and I am trying to step back and enjoy more fishing time! This year we are celebrating our 75th year in business, and it was really enjoyable to hear how many lives this family business has touched.
    A lot of my time is now spent challenging unfair fishing regulations. This work, though tiresome, is important for the future of recreational fishing. I was moved and indeed honored to have this work and my life’s work acknowledged so publicly.
    As I mentioned on the evening, I have recently begun writing my memoirs. There are many tales to tell! I would be delighted to hear from anyone who has a story to contribute. Any old photographs or documents would also be gratefully received. Please contact my office in the harbor if you would like to participate.
    I am proud that Montauk is my home port. Montauk harbor is dear to my heart and will always be my home. The new Harbor Information Center in town celebrates the boats and businesses of the harbor. The staff of the chamber did a spectacular job putting together this wonderful resource for all of us harbor folk. Thank you.
    The Montauk Chamber does great work on behalf of our town. Thank you to all of the staff and volunteers who make the chamber as strong and successful as it is.
    I would also like to extend my gratitude to Laraine Creegan, the director of the Montauk chamber, and Carl Darenberg, a board member, for organizing the evening in my honor. Laraine and her dedicated staff put a huge amount of work into the evening, and Carl acted as a very gracious master of ceremonies, overseeing all of the festivities. Thank you also to Paul Monte, the president of the chamber board, for his continued work on behalf of us all.
    I hope Montauk enjoys a successful 2011 season.

‘Destry Rides’
    Sag Harbor
    June 25, 2011
Dear David,
    On behalf of Studio Playhouse, the Community Theatre at LTV in Wainscott, the board of directors, LTV Studio, and the entire cast and crew of our most recent production of “Destry Rides Again,” we offer our sincere thanks for your wonderful assistance and support in promoting our first play, which ran to full houses from June 16 through 18.
    By all accounts, this ambitious musical and theatrical endeavor completely supported by tireless volunteers was a success. With the written word and fabulous photos in The Star, we were able to provide evenings of enjoyment to those of the East End, and none of that would have been possible without your support.
    Again, thank you.
    Studio Playhouse

Fine Send-Off
    East Hampton
    June 27, 2011
Dear David,
    I just wanted to take a moment on behalf of all the staff and students at the East Hampton Middle School to thank the middle school PTA and parents for all their support this year.
    The decorations for the class of 2011 graduation were spectacular and it was a fine send-off for our eighth graders.
    The Middle School is a great place to educate a child, and the devotion of the PTA is part of that process.

Material Support
    June 27, 2011
Dear David:
    This past weekend the Bonac Amateur Radio Club, or BARC, held its annual emergency preparedness event at Theodore Roosevelt County Park in Montauk. It was an outstanding success.
    On behalf of all of our members, we would like to take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge and thank Jim Grimes and his crew at Fort Pond Native plants for their ongoing logistical and material support given to our club. We are truly grateful for all they have done for us, and look forward to their continued involvement in our future activities. Thank you, Jim!
    Bonac Amateur Radio Club

Of the Boards
    June 25, 2011
To the Editor,
    I don’t know who to thank first, David Rattray and Janis Hewitt, for seeing the potential of the blessing of the boards, or the Lobster Roll. A Wall Street Journal writer, Jo Piazza, happened to read the Blessing of the Boards flier (created by Carey Riege) at the Lobster Roll after biking from New York City to Montauk. Her coverage peaked CNN’s interest. CNN called to ask if it could run a story. I did not see this coming. Thank you.
    Thanks to all this unsolicited press, CNN wants to possibly bring their camera crew next year. Next year it will be a fund-raiser! Several days before the blessing of the boards, a local surfer, David Hartstein, suddenly died. He left behind a widow and three very young children, one of whom has special needs. Dr. Hartstein was only 35 years old.
    Next year the Rev. Mike Reider will bless the boards at the Ditch Plain lifeguard stand located nearest East Deck and the Ditch Witch. Mark your calendars. I am in the process of seeking a mass-gathering permit (not mass in the religious sense but mass as in massive gathering of people) for 7 a.m., the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend 2012.
    Father Mike is willing to be there before St. Therese’s 8:30 Mass, and I wanted it early in the morning so as not to take away beachgoers’ parking spaces. My hope is that local surfers, like Jimmy Buffet, Bill Atkins, etc., will show up next year and that restaurants and shops will sponsor the cause. Solé East is on board to help me make this a reality next year for the Hartstein family. In the meantime, this July 15, Sole East will host a fund-raiser for the Hartsteins.
    Again, everything is in the working stages, and I thank The East Hampton Star, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and the Lobster Roll for making me see its true potential. If anyone is interested in sponsoring and/or helping next year, please feel free to contact me by telephone, 646-734-6035.

Larger Than Life
    New York City
    June 24, 2011
To the Editor:
    For Father’s Day, Bridget LeRoy wrote a poignant ode to her brilliant father — a late Amagansett resident — Warner LeRoy. His many friends also remember Warner’s, literally, larger-than-life personality, size, creativity, and accomplishments.
    In East Hampton’s artistic tradition, Warner created many breakthroughs, i.e., the restaurant as art. The bonhomie of food was enhanced by visual splendor — unique experiences that ranked with seeing great paintings, hearing marvelous music, or enjoying the natural beauty of our seashore.
    Maxwell’s Plum, Tavern on the Green, and the Russian Tea Room were three of Warner’s original and thrilling creations. In his attire, his rose gardens, and the Great Adventure amusement park, his creative fearlessness also created new standards.
    When his neighbor, the Oscar, Tony, and Emmy-winning Peter Stone, and I were enlarging Guild Hall’s Academy of the Arts’ salute to the many literary, visual, and performing artists who are our neighbors, we rarely had to look further than Warner’s salon to find similarly creative forces.
    Thanks, Bridget, for reminding us of Warner on Father’s (or friend’s) Day.

Super Addition
    East Hampton
    June 23, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray
    I love The East Hampton Star and have had the pleasure of reading it over my 51 years of living here part time.
    I now love it a great deal more thanks to the addition of Bridget LeRoy to your editorial staff. She is fun to read, interesting in her reporting (e.g., the real estate column of June 23, and dear as in the devotion to her father, Warner, whom I was privileged to know.
    Congratulations on the super addition to your staff. The Rattrays indeed have good taste and class.

Seriously Injured
    East Hampton
    June 27, 2011
Dear Editor,
    On June 22, a seriously injured cygnet, which was obviously attacked by snapping turtles that live and prey on our innocent wildlife, was seen at Town Pond. He was severely injured; however, due to numerous concerned citizens he was picked up by the Wildlife Rescue Center out of Hampton Bays and currently is being nursed back to health with surgery planned to repair the damage to save his life.
    Each year we all enjoy the nesting of our beautiful swans, which give birth and raise the young cygnets on our Town Pond, and surely there is a way to eliminate this predator. On June 22, a mallard gave birth to nine tiny ducklings, which are in danger.
    Thank you, and hopefully this will help find a way to protect an important part of our village and heritage.

Fortunate We Are
    East Hampton
    June 21, 2011
Dear Editor,
    One only has to watch the evening news and realize how fortunate we are to live in the Northeast and especially East Hampton.
    Forest fires are going wild across the southern half of the country. Florida has been badly hurt by fires. It is no wonder we see so many Florida plates in town these days — snowbirds fleeing what was the good life there for the good life up here. Texas and Arizona are in a state of emergency with drought conditions feeding enormous forest fires. People are forced to flee, often only to return to homes that are now burned-out shells.
    The Midwest and South have been ravaged by staggering tornadoes and raging rivers. The loss of life and homes is unbelievable. Farmlands have been flooded, washing away precious topsoil. And it is still going on. The human cost is incalculable.
    How fortunate we are.
    Whatever your faith or nonfaith, look up when you get up in the morning and say thank you.

Gaudy Bright
    East Hampton
    June 22, 2011
To the Editor:
    East Hampton Village was once vigilant about signs. Along Main Street and Newtown Lane, each store had to be similar in lettering, coloring, and size to the other nearby stores. By requiring approval of signs, the village maintained a consistency and a serenity; it never looked tacky, random, or gaudy. When did the village stop caring?
    One striking example is Big Drop: New York City on Newtown Lane. Matching nothing, using gaudy bright colors, the sign is loud, offensive, tasteless, and ugly. If every store were to follow suit, could neon and electronic signs be far behind?

Natural Wonder

    New York City
    June 27, 2011
To the Editor,
    The title of your front page article “Hostility Greets Dream of Restoring View” is both accurate and inaccurate. Restoration is the goal of some of us, but hostility isn’t anyone’s approach. There is a difference of opinion and perspective with all sides using available channels to voice their ideas and expectations. It is not meanspirited, threatening, or hostile.
    I have lived in and loved, for more than 20 years, a historic summer cottage on Bluff Road. It is a house my husband purchased four decades ago. We are strident keepers of this piece of history, taking our duty to the house, our neighbors, and the community very seriously.
    Bob Silverstone is not correct when he states my motivation is so that I can see the ocean from my windows. I can see the ocean just fine. It’s not the point.    Rona Klopman’s concern for the use of all too few town dollars is fiscally responsible but assumes the only source of money would be the town.
    According to the East Hampton Town Board Bluff Road Historic District Guidelines Manual’s Overview, what makes the East End of Long Island unique to almost anywhere else in the world are the verdant lawns and gardens abutting the dunes and ocean. The document continues by specifically mentioning “the relationship of these summer cottages to each other and to the Atlantic Ocean is a defining feature of the historic district.”
    After years of neglect, nonindigenous vegetation and trees have been allowed to grow — uncontrolled — in the dunes. The public’s view is all but blocked.
    I invite everyone to visit the back area of the Marine Museum or, better yet, the classic-boatbuilding facility, to see just how spectacular the view can be and how invasive the growth has become.
    Easier still is to sit on one the benches west of these public buildings. What can you see — acres of invasion. When the first bench was placed you could view the ocean. Now, even if you stand on the seat, you can’t see past the plants. Strollers, beachgoers, and area residents can no longer take in the water as they walk along the path that was built not only for their safety but their enjoyment. Left to her own devices Mother Nature will take more of the dunes pushed by plant life never meant for the area.
    The town has many responsibilities to its citizens and the land. There are few more historically and ecologically important places in the Town of East Hampton than the Bluff Road Historic District. How can we say we are maintaining the integrity of the area if we allow our greatest natural wonder to be invaded?
    Nancy Nagle Kelley, a woman I respect and admire for her intelligence and dedication, appears to be offering a first step, a good test, when she suggests the grassy areas be addressed.
    I ask all concerned to support her recommendation and consider my perspective.
    Yours truly,

Catch a Glimpse
    June 25, 2011
Dear David,
    It is hard for me to understand how anyone can greet the good news that some citizens of our town dream of opening up, “restoring,” some views in and around East Hampton that have too long been obstructed by hideous jungles of no beauty whatsoever, in addition to being the home of invasive species that are a blight on the landscape and a danger to our native species.
    I’ve been complaining for years now about the mess that sits directly across from my house, and have been told, somewhat self-righteously, that it’s really a nature preserve, home to all sorts of wildlife.
    Rats are about all I can imagine inhabiting that dreadful place — rats and some of our youth, choosing to build fires there, drink beer, and engage in sexual pursuits. The signs of all this wildlife are everywhere — or were, the last time I dared go in there to investigate.
    When last summer’s tornado-like storm raced through Springs, hitting my beautiful old maples hard, killing one and crippling another, it went on to cross the street into the wilderness, adding a bunch of fallen limbs and trees to the already ugly view. Summer or winter, there’s nothing lovely about this patch. I know there are other spots like that, and I can’t for the life of me see how anyone can cherish them and want to protect them.
    And it wasn’t always like that. Once upon a time, the area around Pussy’s Pond was meadow, beautiful meadow, itself a home to various kinds of wild creatures. I have a photo taken at a time when there was already color film that shows my house as seen from School Street, clear as can be, taken by Kelly King from his house. It gladdens my heart every time I look at it, for I know I could probably catch a glimpse of Accabonac Harbor, if there were still meadow around Pussy’s Pond. Certainly I could see the open heart of Springs: Ashawagh Hall and the Presbyterian Church, the pond, of course, the library, and the General Store, which was once Dan Miller’s store in the time of Jackson Pollock.
    I would give anything to be able to see all that every time I go out the front door, to pick up the mail or retrieve the paper, and am thrilled to think that — thanks in part to Councilman Dominick Stanzione — I might yet be able to do it. Just don’t be too long about it, because I won’t live forever, and I’m getting there, day by day, week by week, month by month, and year by year.
    The iconic views we have of East Hampton, as portrayed by countless artists, all manage to show our shingled houses nestled in a landscape that lets the sun and the wind and the beautiful light off the sea penetrate the grand — even as it is homely — place where we live. Of course there are trees. (I think of my grand maples and other copses and small woods, shading a small cemetery perhaps, or a pond.) We’d see the harbor again as we traveled along Fireplace Road and come face to face with a past that serves to be recalled.

Deer Fence
    East Hampton
    June 27, 2011
Dear David,
    As full-time residents of the area located at Roberts Lane and Cedar Street, we strongly oppose the Town of East Hampton’s leasing the acreage to the people who want to start a vineyard and put up a deer fence. (“Grass or Grapes,” June 23).  My fellow residents and I will be much happier if the town follows the Purchasing Department’s proposal to rent the acreage to Aidan Furlong. It sounds like Mr. Furlong will make fine use of the land and will not need to fence in the property, nor will he infect the land with awful herbicides and pesticides.
    If Theresa Quigley wants to help the vineyard industry grow in East Hampton, surely there are other places where tall fences will not be a problem and where the deer population is not the nuisance that the neighbors in this immediate area feel it is.
    We suggest the town board members park their cars for a few hours on Roberts Lane near Cedar Street and observe the frequent comings and goings of the deer.  If forced off this land, deer will be roaming more than usual onto neighboring properties (which includes jumping over four-foot-plus fences to find some grub — tasty hostas, hydrangeas, geraniums, impatiens, among other goodies). Many more deer will also be darting into the roads and intersections, unsafe at most times in this area because of careless and/or drunken drivers. Young and old, our deer will be dead meat.    
    Have a heart, Ms. Quigley and town board. Go with Hamptons Grass and Bamboo.
    BAMBI and the GANG
    (As Told to Eileen Obser)

Denied Access
    East Hampton
    June 26, 2011
To the Editor,
    Is it really reasonable that I must renew the lease on my car simply to have a back window on which to affix that parking sticker? I had always believed that as a resident of East Hampton, I was entitled to park at the town beaches. Not so, says the clerk at Town Hall.
    I have been using Mint Car (a competitor to Zip car). I rent as needed, by the hour, and no longer need to pay for insurance, gas, maintenance, or a garage. For me, it’s a much better solution than owning and keeping a car in the city.
    However, in the infinite wisdom of small-thinking government, I was refused a beach parking pass. They explained that a pass needs to be registered to a specific vehicle. When I told them I secured the same vehicle every weekend, they countered with, “The car gets returned at the end of each weekend and, until you pick it up the next Thursday, someone may rent the car during the week, drive out and park at the beach.”
    This is absurd.
    I am the resident, not the car. As an East Hampton homeowner, I should be entitled to a beach parking permit. It should not be contingent on whether or not I own a car! I should be able to address my own transportation to and from the beach — whether I rent, borrow my dad’s car, or invite my friend Robert for the weekend and use his car. I, me, the homeowner and resident, should have the right to park at the beach in whoever’s car I choose. I own. I pay taxes. That should be enough!
    This hourly car rental service is a major shift in how urban people address their transportation needs. It lowers their expenses significantly and aligns with their eco or green values — and is expected to grow by 15 to 25 percent over the next five years. There is no reason that residents who exploit this service should be penalized and denied access to beach parking.
    This car rental concept needs to be addressed by the town board. There needs to be a reassessment of the criteria that qualify one for a beach pass — and one without a double standard (little secret here: Even though the passes are “nontransferable,” hotels in town are permitted to let guests use them temporarily).
    Thankfully, for me, I was able to speak to Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, who was able to secure me a pass. The condition? I must stick the pass to my window, scrape it off after every weekend then bring the pieces back to Town Hall each and every week to get a new one. Really?


Carefully Planned
     East Hampton
    June 27, 2011
Dear David:
    At a recent East Hampton Town Board work session it was announced that the town is panning to enter into an agreement with the Family Service League in which Podell House, a town-owned building, would be leased to that agency. This was touted as a “win-win/public private partnership” because the town will collect the rent, which will be less than the League presently pays. This is supposed to make up for ser­vices that were lost as a result of budget cuts to the town’s Human Services Department.
    Although this seems like a good idea at first blush, there are some problems. The most glaring is the fact that the Human Services Department provided free mental health services to any town resident regardless of income. The Family Service League charges an income-based sliding-scale fee. The last time I checked, no free services were offered. Thus, those who cannot afford to pay (in this economy there are many) must go without, and those seeking reduced fees must lay bare their personal finances (which many people find embarrassing).
    A word about Podell House. This is a town-owned building that until recently housed the adult day-care program. Clients in this program often suffer from serious physical and/or mental disorders (including Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia) and require special care. Podell House was well suited to their needs because of easy access to bathrooms with showers and a physical layout that would make it difficult for clients to wander away. The adult day-care program has been moved to the town’s senior center and is housed in the area that had been previously been used by Youth Services (another program that was discontinued due to budget cuts).
    Would it be too cynical to believe that all of this was carefully planned? In the town’s quest for additional income, important free services (i.e., mental health and after-school children’s programs) were eliminated to make room for paying customers? It doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch to me!

Six-Figure Position
    East Hampton
    June 27, 2011
To the Editor:
    There is a perverse comfort in knowing that the Democrats’ idea of running the Town of East Hampton has not changed. If their first press conference is any indicator, they apparently have learned nothing from the budget-bloated past years of the McGintee administration.
    The campaign has barely begun and I read in all our local papers that at their first press conference last week, the Demo­cratic candidates, Zachary Cohen, Sylvia Overby, and Peter Van Scoyoc, believe this town needs more municipal employees! (“Democrats Call for a Comptroller‚” June 23) For openers, if elected they would hire a “nonpartisan” (whatever that means) comptroller for a six-figure salary, plus benefits and pension. They seem to ignore the fact that, thanks to the McGintee debacle, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli already sits as a watchdog over the town’s finances for free.
    In fact, maybe we can find ourselves a “nonpartisan” comptroller like Mr. DiNapoli. Remember when in the middle of auditing the town because then-Supervisor Bill McGintee and his hand-picked budget officer were under criminal investigation, Mr. DiNapoli chose to endorse the Democratic candidate for East Hampton Town supervisor? Call me cynical, but I don’t believe such a nonpartisan creature exists in a town government setting, or, if he does, then he is busy protecting his own self-interest.
    I think Mr. Cohen is in error when he blithely speaks of replacing the budget officer position with a comptroller. It is my understanding of town law that as a second-class town with a population under 40,000, the East Hampton Town supervisor cannot just go out and create the position of town comptroller. In addition, an East Hampton Town comptroller, if there were one, would not save the costs to the town of outside auditors. It is unimaginable that any town employee, no matter what credentials he or she possesses, would be allowed to do an independent audit of the very financial books and records he or she created for the town. No outside agency would accept such a document.
    The Democratic candidates would also like to hire a town manager or administrative officer. I don’t really understand what this position is because they seem to use the titles interchangeably.
    From what I have read elsewhere about these positions, they would appear to be diametric opposites on a management flow chart, with the town manager at the top and an administrative officer filling an administrative assistant-type role. Nonetheless, if hired, the town would add another high five-figure or low six-figure position to the payroll, along with benefits and pension.
    Not quite finished, the Democratic candidates at their press conference also spoke of hiring more attorneys with different, specialized areas of legal expertise. They tell us that by adding these new hires to the payroll the town will save money. Where have we heard that before? Are there data to support the premise that taking on additional full-time legal staff is less expensive than hiring outside counsel with the required expertise on an as-needed basis? What happens if the candidates are wrong? Do we just fire all the new people? The salaries, benefits, and pensions for these new hires will be paid for by the taxpayers for years to come.
    Democratic watchwords continue: grow, government grow. Pay, taxpayers pay!

Makes Sense
    June 27, 2011
Dear David,
    The announcement by Zach Cohen that, if elected, he will add a comptroller and an administrative officer to East Hampton Town government is a step in the right direction toward maintaining financial and operational stability. Perhaps the cost of these new officers does not have to be completely additive, as suggested.
    The League of Women Voters has pointed out that the operational workload for elected officials would shift to these new operational officers. Consequently the compensation structure for the town supervisor and town board members could be scaled back as their workload is reduced. This makes sense to me and was endorsed by Julia Prince at a Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee meeting.
    I hope that other candidates for election consider adding this to their platforms. As the voting public becomes more aware of the benefits of this type of structure, it may become a deciding factor on Election Day.

    June 26, 20111
To the Editor,
    I would like to thank Joanne Pilgrim for publishing my piece, “Becoming Galileo,” in last week’s Star. As it was a tongue-in-cheek memoir about the frustration of not being taken seriously for what I know as a high-functioning person with Asperger’s syndrome, when I opened the page and saw the error of it being identified as fiction, rather than memoir, I’m sure that any reader of it will appreciate that my loud, verbal response may well have been heard as far away as Shelter Island.
    Thanks again for publishing the piece.

Dog’s-Eye View
    June 21, 2011
Dear David,
    To date, I’ve had various husbands and numerous dogs; I still have a dog. If there were a Hamptons dog training for husbands, I might risk another marital adventure, but there isn’t, so I won’t.
    Thanks to Nikki Wood of Hamptons Dog Training, my 8-month-old mixed breed, Aya, is gearing up for service to children, with all of the love and acceptance that she can muster.
    I am newly learning the world from a canine perspective. I newly respect a dog’s-eye view. If only I had figured that out about the husbands.
    All good things,

Cash Reserves
    East Hampton
    June 27, 2011
To the Editor,
    Many corporations have huge cash reserves that they show no sign of spending. Many of these same corporations have billions overseas which they refuse to bring home without huge tax concessions.
    In an era of 9-percent unemployment, I see more automated checkout lines, clearly a method to avoid hiring and paying workers. No matter what they say in their million-dollar ads, they are not our friends. 

Economic Crisis
    East Hampton
    June 19, 2011
To the Editor,
    The call of Republican leaders to get out of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya should be applauded and viewed as a harbinger of possible practical political action in a time of crisis. One shouldn’t think for a second that they are not the same hypocritical scum that they have always been, but who cares? They seem to have grasped the ridiculous nature of our war mentality and the knee-jerk mechanism that gets us into, but rarely out of, these conflicts. While they have rarely wavered from their strict warmonger philosophy, they seem to have left their philosophical rigidity behind and have moved to a saner, more logical approach.
    Now, if they could exercise the same level of suppleness in their approach to the economic crisis this could be a major achievement. Karl Marx understood and repeated incessantly that capitalism will cannibalize itself, that greed and stupidity will overwhelm fairness and intellect as long as governments keep their distance. Marx believed that governments, owned and operated by the capitalists, were incapable of serious regulation. The United States proved him essentially wrong except for the depressions of 1929 and 2009; both crises a function of failed governmental oversight and philosophical rigidity in economic policies.
    So, it is understood that the roots of our current malaise are the heart and soul of free market capitalism without regulation, or Republican orthodoxy. We also know that the Republican Party has had an anti-labor, anti-working class position as a basic tenet: Screw the poor and reward the wealthy. Tax the middle class, not the wealthy, etc. It totally supported the transfer of wealth from the middle class to the top 2 percent.
    So, is it possible, given the shift in its pro-war mentality (stupid and irrational), that the same kind of shift could take place in its economic growth vision? It rails about the deficit because it is clueless about job creation. It blames government regulation and high taxes for economic stagnation when U.S. corporations pay the least amount of taxes than any industrialized country. The U.S. is considered the best and safest place for corporate investments, and they babble stupidly about creating a positive environment when profits and demand are all that matter.
    Could winning in 2012 be enough of an inducement to come out with a plan to rebuild the country’s infrastructure, redo the tax code to shift income into the middle class, and let corporate America fend for itself? Instead of whining about President Obama, provide programs and alternatives. Be positive, not negative. Accept that growth is a function of demand and demand can’t possibly exist without jobs and credit. Stow the crap about deficit reduction, which will result in hundreds of thousands of lost jobs (450,00 so far this year), and support economic expansion through public works and government spending. (The private sector has already bailed on job creation.)
    Alternatively, we will be facing another five years of economic stagnation and pain, and even if the Republicans win next year they are certain to be thrown out the next time around. So, a little courage could put them back in power for another 15 years or they could do what they’ve always done: cleave themselves to the corporate nipple and screw the 98 percent of the country who are suffering from the mess that they created by their old policies.

War Powers
    East Hampton
    June 18, 2011
To the Editor,    
    President Obama’s decision to use drones to attack Qaddafi’s forces fighting  the rebels in Libya is a violation of the United States Constitution. Article 1 section 8 gives Congress the exclusive power to authorize military force. For the president to say as ground troops are not engaged in the fight he does not need Congressional approval, is misleading. There is no difference between using drones to attack those forces and firing ballistic missiles at them. Both are forms of military force.
    As a Republican, I saw it as my duty to constantly e-mail the Bush White House condemning that administration every time it violated Article 1 section 8 of the Constitution.
    Presidents and their staffs, like George Bush and Dick Cheney, and now Barack Obama and the White House staff, become obsessed with being commander in chief. The office of the president has the power to determine how military action is conducted but not the power to instigate military action.
    Congress passed the war powers act to give the president time to react to a military crisis but after 60 days, the president must seek Congressional approval.
    It seems to me that use of the war powers act in the case of Libya is a perversion of the intent of the that act. In initiating drone attacks, President Obama was not reacting to a clear and present danger to our national security.
    Members of Congress have taken the administration to court to halt his action or force him to seek Congressional approval. Most legal scholars believe the Supreme Court will duck the issue.
    I will be interested to see if Demo­crats like the East End Veterans and other critics of the Bush administration will step forward and demand that President Obama seek Congressional approval for his actions in Libya.
    It is time for the public to demand Congressional approval for our engagement in Libya.

Run Amok
    Sag Harbor
    June 16, 2011
To the Editor,
    Capitalism is held up by four pillars: competition, profit, greed, and power, which breeds violence perpetrated by the white collar criminals run amok with no controls. Corporate lobbyists call the shots and write their own loopholes, assisted by members of Congress. You must have made that observation when Wall Street collapsed.
    War is merely an extension of this violence. There is so much money to be made from war and its built-in corruption. Most of those who benefit from military buildups are already rich. In wartime the few make huge profits at the expense of the many.
    What I detest is our soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder sent back to combat as many as five times with pockets full of mind-altering drugs. These are crimes against humanity, slaves of capitalism. Many sources are raising the question: Have we entered a post-capitalist era?
    In peace,