July 22, 2011
To the Editor,
On June 20 we suffered a serious fire at our home on Woodbine Drive in Springs. Fortunately, no one was home at the time and there were no injuries.
But for the outstanding efforts of the volunteers of Springs, East Hampton, and Amagansett, our fire loss would have been much more severe. It took an emergency like this to make us appreciate the selfless efforts of our neighbors in the volunteer services.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank them for the professionalism, efficiency, and consideration they showed us during this stressful time.
MARTIN and MARJORIE CONLON
July 20, 2011
We all know what a great guy our beach manager, Ed McDonald, is, but last week he really proved it. I was about to leave the beach and realized my car keys were missing, and then remembered I had forgotten them in the locker room, which by then was locked up.
A call to Ed had him rushing back from Sag Harbor to rescue me. Rather than scold me, he teased me. I hope everyone understands how hard he works to make our summer safe and enjoyable. We can help out by picking up our trash and leaving things clean and neat and being courteous to each other. Thank you, Ed, God bless you.
EILEEN FUCHS BRODY
July 24, 2011
To the Editor,
On Saturday the Friends of the Montauk Library held their 32nd annual book fair on the green in Montauk. Once again it was a huge success, raising over $20,000 for the benefit of the Montauk Library.
Congratulations to all of the volunteers who donated their time to make this event possible. I want to thank all of the people who came to the library on Friday evening, and to the green on Saturday, to move and set up the books and all of the items that are sold at the book fair. I also want to thank all of the local businesses that donated prizes and the people who donate books and items all year long.
Thank you to everyone who supported the Friends of the Montauk Library by coming to the book fair to purchase books, plants, “white elephants,” jewelry, baked goods and hot dogs, T-shirts, and raffle chances.
I also wish to thank Julia Prince and the East Hampton Police Department for their special help.
The board of the Friends of the Montauk Library deserves special thanks for all of their continued efforts in support of our library. They give their time and energy all year long.
Barbara Metzger, chairwoman of the book fair, has been donating her time and effort toward this event for all of its 32 years. Without Bob-E’s dedication and hard work, the book fair would not be possible.
Congratulations to the Friends on another successful Book Fair.
Friends of the Montauk Library
July 25, 2011
To the Editor:
I’m confused! The headline on last week’s front page exclaimed “Z.B.A. Vice Chairman Blasts Planners.” Does Don Cirillo actually understand the role and responsibilities of this committee he is serving on? Zoning laws have the purpose of protecting the property values and quality of life of all homeowners in a community. The job of the appeals board is to consider the legitimate needs of particular homeowners for a variance. These variances are not intended to cater to people who simply want a bigger or higher house than permitted on their lot or to help an owner clear more land or get closer to the wetlands. They are supposed to be granted in cases where the zoning creates a particular hardship for a homeowner.
A recent case that has appeared in this newspaper illustrates the appropriate role of the Z.B.A. A family with a disabled child had built a deck and pergola in violation of zoning regulations. The situation went to the Z.B.A. when a neighbor complained that these structures had not been approved and affected his property. The appeals board listened to both sides and issued a Solomonic decision which allowed the family to keep the deck that their child needed, but to remove the pergola. In addition, the structure that violated the zoning would not be “grandfathered in” to another owner.
It sounds as if Mr. Cirillo would like to skip the time-consuming but necessary process that leads to the fair and sensible zoning that protects us all. If this is true, then perhaps he should not be serving on this committee.
July 24, 2011
To the Editor:
Peter Van Scoyoc should resign his seat on the East Hampton Town Planning Board.
In last week’s article, “More Angst Over Access,” Mr. Van Scoyoc stated that “None of us have anything to do with this [Snyder family] application.” Was he speaking as a longtime planning board member or as the Democratic candidate for town councilperson? We will never know for sure. Which hat he is wearing while sitting on the planning board and passing on residents’ applications could conceivably make a difference in the decisions he renders.
Mr. Van Scoyoc reportedly felt the need to point out that none of the sitting planning board members sat on the board when the application was first discussed and approved. The import of his remark mystifies me. It can only serve as his cover-your-ass statement. With such a long history on the planning board and involvement in town government, surely Mr. Van Scoyoc understands that government boards and agencies are “living” entities, existing unto themselves. The decisions they render are not reliant on who the members are at any particular time. If that were not the case, chaos would rule when it came to board and agency decisions and the constant turnover of personnel.
When a board makes a decision contrary to law, as in the Snyder application, it is incumbent upon the board members, sitting at the time of discovery of the mistake, to correct the error. It would be unfair for the current board to put the financial, time, and emotional burdens resulting from the mistake on the applicant by forcing them to correct the board’s error. How could board members, in good conscience, make an applicant, under these circumstances, go to court for relief, when it is clearly within the board’s powers to correct its own mistakes?
As a planning board member and candidate, Mr. Van Scoyoc’s refusal to hold the planning board accountable for its own error is unreasonable. His ostensible reason for voting against correction reportedly is that he did not like being given a directive from the town board. He says this, even though the error was discovered by applicant’s counsel and verified by his own planning board attorney. Assuming for argument’s sake that Mr. Van Scoyoc is correct and it is a directive from the town board, then his fight is with the town board and not the unlucky applicant who finds herself and her family in the middle of Mr. Van Scoyoc’s perceived government turf war.
Should not Mr. Van Scoyoc put the validity of the process and the applicant first and his disagreement with the town board second? I submit that a board member would do that, but a candidate for public office would have a harder time putting politics aside. Mr. Van Scoyoc does not seem interested in doing what is right, but instead prefers what is politically expedient for him.
In my view, when an appointed member of a town board runs for public office, he or she should resign the appointed post immediately. To continue in both positions, one as board member and the other as candidate, is rife with potential for conflict of interest, or at the least, the appearance of impropriety.
As a concerned East Hampton resident, I call for the town ethics committee to look into the matter and to report its findings to the town board and the public. I do not believe Mr. Van Scoyoc can ethically continue to hear applications before the planning board while simultaneously running as a Democratic candidate for a seat on the town board.
Won’t Happen Again
July 25, 2011
I find it impossible to believe that Bill Wilkinson didn’t know why a town employee and Theresa Quigley (neither members of the Independence Party) were carrying nominating petitions for the Independence Party line for him in November. If he wasn’t going for the line, why the petitions? He was quoted in the paper that he only wanted to “reach out to party members.” Once again, why the petitions?
As a matter of fact, while I was getting signatures on my petitions, I was told that Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley had already been there together, and they didn’t sign his, they signed mine. He had to know that he needed a Wilson-Pakula signed by Frank MacKay. I had been told repeatedly that Mr. MacKay was going to sign a Wilson-Pakula for our screening committee’s candidates.
I was told by a party insider UpIsland that Mr. Wilkinson asked Mr. MacKay for both Richard Haeg and Steven Gaines, his Republican running mates on his petition, to knock out Marilyn Behan and Billy Mott, but was told no by Mr. MacKay, that Ms. Quigley and the town employee could only carry petitions for Mr. Wilkinson. I find that amusing, since it looks like Mr. Wilkinson threw his running mates under the bus to get the nomination for himself.
The East Hampton Independence Party was started in East Hampton in 1994 by 13 of us. There have been many attempts over the years to upset decisions made by the many different screening committees. The Independence Party is not and never will be a rubber stamp for the Republican Party. This time many of us were fooled by a back-room deal. It won’t happen again.
For those of us who still wish to support Zach Cohen, there is still the Democratic line and the Working Families line. I am going to vote on the Working Families line for Zach because I don’t think Bill Wilkinson cares about any of the working families in East Hampton.
East Hampton Independence Party
Must Be Desperate
July 24, 2011
Poor Elaine Jones! An honorable East Hamptoner, who is an active member of our community and local head of her party, to be a victim of such a coup, to be so publicly humiliated, overruled by Rocky Point, governing East Hampton from afar, in the choice of a candidate for town supervisor, whom her party wished to support.
Bill Wilkinson must be desperate and feel the fire of Zach Cohen at his heels to have stooped to such a despicable, underhanded last-minute act, which didn’t even allow for an honorable primary.
The Independence Party, not to be confused with those who label themselves Independent on their voter registration, did not endorse Zach Cohen lightly since he is also the Democratic candidate. They carefully examined his impressive credentials before giving him the nod, especially since they so wholeheartedly endorsed the Wilkinson group two years ago, aiding his election.
Betrayal and ingratitude are to be laid at Mr. Wilkinson’s doorstep. Can we sleep at night while this unpopular snake in the grass is running our town‚ not to mention his partners, Frick and Frack? Remember, when you elect him, you are enabling her. Sounds like an apt campaign slogan!
PHYLLIS I. MALLAH
July 25, 2011
It’s deja-vu all over again! Don Cirillo’s recent attack on Marguerite Wolffsohn for simply doing her job (July 21 issue) feels like the beginning of a plan to chip away at the Planning Department, and by extension, the planning process.
It’s reminiscent of the 1982 debacle when the Republican town board (Mary Fallon, supervisor) decided to abolish the Planning Department. Then, as now, it boiled down to a conservative philosophy that espouses the belief that everyone has the right to do what he wants, where he wants without government interference.
In 1982 the people of East Hampton did not passively stand by and allow this travesty to go on. There was a groundswell of community reaction, including legal challenges, and within a year the Planning Department was restored. The Republican Party discovered it made a big mistake and the Democrats won the following election on a platform of good planning, including the updating of the comprehensive plan.
Mr. Cirillo was appointed to zoning board of appeals by Supervisor Wilkinson and was awarded the position of vice chairman even though he’s had no experience on any board related to planning or zoning. He was, however, actively involved in Mr. Wilkinson’s campaign in 2009 and has held the position of treasurer of the East Hampton Republican Committee. This Z.B.A. appointment, which was obviously based on his politics rather than his expertise, places him in a position to undermine the vital work of the Planning Department and to promote Mr. Wilkinson and Theresa Quigley’s agenda through intimidation.
This administration seems to forget that our beautiful community draws visitors from all over the world because of its history of careful planning. Those of us who are lucky enough to call this our home owe a great deal to Ms. Wolffsohn and her department for ensuring that East Hampton retains its special character for years to come. An attack on this department is an attack on all of us.
July 24, 2011
Is something rotten in the Town of East Hampton? Newspapers carried stories last week about the peculiar circumstances surrounding the last-minute elbowing out of the East Hampton Independence Party’s own choice for town supervisor, Zachary Cohen, by the current Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, a Republican. When all the local press uses headlines like “Boss Pulls Switch,” “Republicans Snag the Line,” “Local Committee’s Vote Nixed,” a reader might wonder.
What really happened? How come a new crop of petitions for the Independence line was hustled in at the 11th hour, some of those petitions herded by Teresa Quigley, a Republican town board member?
It seems obvious that some kind of coordinated planning was necessary to ensure that only one authorization in the form of a Wilson-Pakula would be awarded to Mr. Wilkinson instead of to Mr. Cohen, who had already been endorsed by the local Independence Party. The operative word here is “local.”
But Supervisor Wilkinson, who benefits from this under-the-radar maneuver, says he didn’t know anything about it. Is that really possible? “I don’t make deals,” says the supervisor. If so, then why was the Wilson-Pakula awarded to him alone, thereby cutting off any possibility of turning to all of East Hampton’s Independence voters and letting them decide through a primary election? And why, why, why were some of the registered Independence Party voters told the falsehood that by signing they were making it possible to have a primary?
Shouldn’t the citizens of this town who belong to the Independence Party expect fair play from the local Republicans? Or don’t the leaders of that party understand — let alone respect — the meaning of “independence?” Too many disturbing questions. Wonder if we’ll get any straight answers.
Ms. Mazur is a member of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Ed.
More Than Shocking
July 25, 2011
Not all politics is about the local neighborhood, but in East Hampton the saying “all politics is local” has had particular resonance. East Hampton voters select town leaders on the basis of performance in office and commitment to the community and its values, often disregarding their own political affiliation. This year the local Independence Party and its leader, Elaine Jones, lived up to their name and followed that practice in their party’s convention. In a break from two years ago, when they endorsed Bill Wilkinson, a Republican, they chose Zachary Cohen, an unaffiliated voter already selected by the Democratic Party, as Independence Party candidate for supervisor. They believed, in Ms. Jones’s words, that Zach Cohen “will be an independent thinker and represent all the people of East Hampton Town.”
Democrats welcomed the Independence Party selection as an affirmation of our intent in choosing Mr. Cohen for supervisor of our town. A fiscal expert whom we can count on for good management, he is an independent thinker with important qualities that have been absent in the current administration: a listening mind, a commitment to the natural environment, and a demonstrated respect and appreciation of all the people in our community.
Thus it was more than shocking that the leader of the Independence Party at the state and county level should insult his local party by thrusting their endorsement of Mr. Cohen aside in favor of Mr. Wilkinson. Independence Party members, Assemblyman Fred Thiele and County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, both expressed surprise that he did not even authorize a primary for the line. Perhaps they should not have been surprised; it appears that local Republicans can easily make deals with Frank McKay.
We are confident that in the voting booth, local Independence Party voters will choose their candidate, Mr. Cohen, on the Working Families or Democratic lines for supervisor. It is a travesty that they could not do so on their own line in accordance with the vote of their convention.
Ms. Frankl is the chairwoman of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Ed.
July 21, 2011
Unique in the annals of small-town governance may be this excuse for neglecting the complaint of local citizenry: “I was spending considerable time with the pole.”
Willy Wilkinson, the current seat-warmer as supervisor in East Hampton Town, has every right to be proud of said pole. In Montauk, atop a tall rod, is a proud flappy flag. It may sing.
I hope that having come to satisfied terms with this new pole, the quality-of-life issues that are part of Willy’s brief will also be addressed.
All good things,
July 25, 2011
I regret to report that the East Hampton Town Zoning Board meeting concerning the possible Empire gas station convenience store on North Main Street has been postponed. We had sent official notice to all parties concerned and posted signs. And we met with the neighbors and encouraged them to come and speak. We had even put up printed signs on North Main Street: “Tired of this traffic? Think a busy convenience store here would make it worse? Please come and express your opinion at the ZBA meeting. . . .”
The response was sensational. But late Friday afternoon, Empire claimed that they had forgotten to invite their lawyer for the Tuesday meeting; she had a conflict, and they would like to postpone. The date they agreed to is in the fall — when, of course, the summer traffic has abated, and the population dips dramatically. Hmm.
As research to pen this note, I visited the 7-Eleven in Montauk at 10 p.m. on Saturday. I’m sure everyone is aware that driving through Montauk at night has become an obstacle course of heavy-drinking yuppies with a death wish who step out into traffic near the many over-serving clubs. Surf Lodge and Ruschmeyer’s street parking make getting through town a harrowing trip, with revelers also wading into traffic at a spot marked by orange cones in front of the Memory Motel.
I decided to see what kind of traffic the 7-Eleven had, in case we end up with a similar convenience store on North Main, where we also have a throbbing nightclub, SL East, nearby.
Of course, the 7-Eleven on dreamy Fort Pond has a good amount of parking. Empire on North Main would have few spaces. The 7-Eleven is one of the first stores on the road into Montauk, in much the same way that Empire in East Hampton, on North Main, is the gateway to the Springs as well as a major route to the Northwest Woods.
In the 7-Eleven lot, as I counted car 23, a pickup truck began backing up in my direction at high speed and then screeched on the brakes. “Buddy, stay alert,” yelled the driver.
“Gee, I think I’m a pedestrian,” I mentioned in passing.
“I nearly killed you,” he cautioned.
Inside the 7-Eleven, there was a rapid-fire team behind the counter. Patrons were whirring in and out of the venue. The shocking revelation was the stacks of variations of beer-pong games available in great numbers — not to mention the ferocious supply of beer to go with them.
This is no ordinary 7-Eleven; it was a supercharged version catering to the fratmosphere that has overtaken Montauk.
If Empire runs a convenience store on North Main, I must admit, judging by the way they run a gas line, there will be no flurry of activity. But there will be a good amount of extra traffic fighting to get on and off North Main. And should they ever rent this space to a 7-Eleven franchise, which they would have every right to do, God help our community.
Neighbors were not properly notified about this project. To have my lawyer’s voice heard even once by the Z.B.A., it required us to go to a State Supreme Court judge who agreed with our belief that the new certificate of occupancy for this site doesn’t jibe with state zoning law. He placed a restraining order on the project and required the Z.B.A. meeting before Empire can proceed.
Our neighbors are saddened that Empire requested to cancel the Tuesday meeting on Friday afternoon, after three neighbors wrote The Star last week to alert the community.
But rest assured, we will write again, when the meeting does take place, and welcome all opinions.
We have all waited in that traffic in the heat of summer; it speaks for itself.
July 22, 2011
Your editorial in the July 21 issue, “Compost Happens,” provides the basis of a compelling argument in favor of composting. Even if we disregard the environmental benefits, the town could save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually by composting food waste instead of trucking it out of town at a high (and increasing) cost.
The town’s attempt to do this in the mid-1990s, however, was neither an experiment nor a failure. The $3.7-million composting facility at the Recycling Center was built and was working well until successive administrations — both Republican and Democrat — refused to provide maintenance funding. The result: Like any piece of machinery that is neglected, it eventually ground to a halt. Instead of saving taxpayer dollars by maintaining it, they found it easier to go back to the bad old days of trucking compostables out as municipal solid waste.
Because the facility was built by a Democratic town government, the Republicans saw political advantage in letting the system fail. Later Democratic town boards failed miserably to reverse the decline, in part because they never took the time to understand garbage management. Like many members of the public, all they cared about was that garbage “go away” — where it went, and at what cost, was not considered important.
What was a partial failure with what you term the “experiment” was getting homeowners to separate food waste from the rest of their waste and recyclables. Too much plastic, glass, and other noncompostable items spoiled its usefulness. However, when I was the town’s recycling information officer (1994-1996) I had about 20 restaurants, stores, and farms from Wainscott to Montauk willing, even eager, to benefit from a slightly lower disposal fee by separating their food waste. What was then A&P (now Waldbaum’s) bought a huge and expensive compactor so it could participate. Gurney’s Inn bought its own brand-new garbage truck for food waste because its waste hauler (a Republican committeeman) refused to participate.
What is difficult in a home is much easier in a commercial kitchen. When a chef tells his staff how he or she wants the garbage separated, it happens, or else, and it has virtually no contamination from glass or plastic. Mixed with yard waste, it makes great compost. Currently, thousands of tons of commercial food waste are being trucked out of town as solid waste.
The town’s compost facility should be brought back to usefulness, not turned into a parking lot for commercial vehicles, as the current town board proposed. If the town can’t or won’t do it, it should write a request for proposals and get a contractor to spend its money and then profit from using the facility to make compost. The town would benefit, too, by reducing solid-waste trucking costs and gaining thousands of tons of brown gold — compost.
Waste Into Life
July 25, 2011
Thank you for pointing out to your readers the benefits of composting.
As for East Hampton Town’s municipal composting, that is a fascinating story of the innovative decisions of a town board in the early 1990s. In response to state-mandated landfill closings, a mandatory recycling ordinance went into effect, and long-hauling of garbage began. A state-of-the-art recycling and compost facility was built and functioned beautifully, and benefited the local restaurants and food retailers by saving on their costs of removals.
Resident education was done extensively through group tours, an East Hampton Star weekly recycling column, and fliers. An area environmental organization, Group for the South Fork, was so impressed with East Hampton’s approach to solid-waste management that it made a professionally produced 13-minute video program, “Composting: What’s It to You?” that aired regularly on Local TV, and at schools, libraries, community groups, and was in video stores at the time. Its proud success was touted in respectable magazines such as BioCycle and Resource Recycling.
Now the compost building sits empty, with discussions of it being used for storage or some-such use, rather than be the pride of the community serving as a model and inspiration to other communities. I have requested that the town board consider utilizing it for the purpose that it was proudly built for, whether by renting or by town use. It could be of great benefit in savings to the local businesses that handle food. Municipalities across the country are recognizing the dollar and environmental value of food-waste diversion, and the town could still be a proud leader of organic waste diversion. Maybe a public hearing should be held?
I am personally passionate about backyard composting because it is so much fun and because of the thrill of watching the organic material return to earth matter. I love that I am not contributing to the methane emission in a landfill and am reducing the number of trucks and fuel used driving to a landfill, and simply doing as nature intended — waste into life.
Sharing ideas, techniques, equipment information, and worm count(!) with my composting friends is so quirky and fun. It reminds me of cooking in its personal diversity of methods and styles and ingredients. I bring my food waste from New York City every week to “feed” my hungry pile the nitrogen it needs even though I could drop it off at various collection sites there. You don’t have to be a science geek to love the millions of those cute, little creepy decomposers and their decomposing journey.
July 18, 2011
Back in February 2010, I met with Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and presented to him a 35-page document outlining the need for what I called public-place recycling. In essence, I was asking the town to place recycling receptacles at our public places, such as beaches, parks, and streets. In the document, I outlined other areas where the town could improve its recycling efforts as well.
Concerning public-place recycling, I included a cost-benefit analysis, conservatively estimating the savings to the town to be between $20,000 and $50,000 each year, with the added benefit of conservation of natural resources and other advantages if they were to implement my new public-place recycling program. Since then, I have discussed this issue at board meetings, in person, and via e-mail with all town board members.
Apparently, my pleas for recycling receptacles have been ignored. I wondered what I would have to do to turn my grand idea into legislation, so I started to read the town code. To my delight, I found that East Hampton Town Code does, in fact, have legislation relating to this very issue. Chapter 204 of the East Hampton Town Code reads: “204-30 Recreational Area Recycling Program established. There is hereby established a program for the separation of designated recyclable materials from solid waste at the town’s recreational areas. Participation in said program is mandatory. Failure by a person using the recreational area to participate may render that person liable to penalties set forth in Article IX.”
I informed the town board of my discovery months ago and was confident that they would place recycling receptacles at said recreation areas. This has not happened. At the July 12 town board work session, the town code was being discussed and Supervisor Wilkinson asked if anyone had any other comments concerning the town code. I once again brought up the issue that the town code states we are to place recyclables in receptacles at recreational areas, but that the Town of East Hampton does not provide said receptacles.
Pete Hammerle told me that we do have recycling receptacles at major areas that generate a large amount of trash. I disagreed, and said I would check it out. That afternoon, I went on a mission to locate said receptacles. I visited (and photographed) almost every area in the town that has garbage receptacles. I targeted the major areas that Pete mentioned at the meeting. To my disappointment, I have not found one receptacle in our entire town that is designated for recyclables.
Just to clarify how this will save the town money, let us think about the contents of trash. In 2007, it cost East Hampton about $80 per ton to dispose of mixed trash and about $20 per ton to dispose of mixed recyclables. East Hampton crushes its glass and stores it on-site, so there is no outside cost associated with glass disposal.
The average amount of potentially recyclable materials in household trash is about 30 percent. Recreational areas would most likely have a higher percentage of recyclable items, as most people are throwing away single-use beverage containers and other recyclable food containers while visiting recreational areas. Therefore, if the town were to allow its citizens to recycle while at recreational areas, 30 percent or more of the trash would be recycled.
The Parks Department collected over 1,000 tons of trash from said recreational areas in 2007; 1,000 tons of mixed trash would cost about $80,000 to dispose of. If separated, (and 30 percent were, in fact, recyclables), it would only cost the town about $62,000 to dispose of the same trash. This is a conservative estimate of savings, as most recreational area trash contains a much higher percentage of recyclable materials than basic household trash. All numbers aside, it is in the town code. So why won’t the town implement this important legislation?
The legislation was designed to reduce the amount of solid waste entering the waste stream, preserve valuable natural resources, and keep our community litter-free. It might also lessen the amount of marine debris that pollutes our waters. It is cost-effective, simple to implement, and requires basic management. The town could even subcontract out the pickup of recyclables if it cannot figure out a way to collect it itself. Receptacles for recycling throughout public places are a necessary addition to this community and may increase compliance with the Solid Waste Management Act of 1988.
East Hampton can have a large environmental impact, both locally and globally. Our small town is lagging behind other municipalities across America, and the world. I have visited many areas of our great planet, and have found that East Hampton and South Caicos are the only places where receptacles for recycling are not provided. For your information: South Caicos is a small island located about 100 miles north of Haiti with about 1,000 residents. They do not recycle and burn the community trash in an open area, as do many undeveloped areas of the world.
Hello? This is East Hampton, a town located in a fully developed nation where its residents and visitors have no place to dispose of recyclable materials except in a trash can? This is an embarrassment.
There is no valid reason why the town cannot allow its people to recycle, especially since it is mandated in the town code. Most basically, this is simply the right thing to do. East Hampton should join the quest toward global sustainability and place recycling receptacles at all recreational areas throughout our town.
Supervisor Wilkinson, for the sake of our environment, taxpayer dollars, and the natural beauty and the reputation of East Hampton, you must join other municipalities across the country and the world in making the earth a cleaner, greener planet. Please place recycling containers throughout East Hampton’s recreational areas.
Reduce, reuse, recycle, repeat.
Ms. Klughers is a Democratic and Working Family Party candidate for East Hampton Town Trustee. Ed.
July 20, 2011
To the Editor:
I stopped counting when I reached 50. No, not my age, but the Wounded Warrior signs. At issue is the proliferation of signs that are all over, everywhere. East Hampton Town has laws, ordinances, and rules, but only enforces them when it chooses to.
Would the town allow one real estate agency to put up that many signs? I don’t think so. Would the town allow anti-racial signs all over? I don’t think so. Because the town likes the message of Wounded Warrior, the many, many signs are permitted to remain for weeks.
The town should not play favorites; the laws must treat all signs equally.
July 25, 2011
To the Editor,
Reading your editorial on “truck beach” in the July 21 edition of your paper, I noticed a statement that was not correct. The error that you made was the time frame that you used to describe how long people have been driving to truck beach. I personally have been using truck beach since 1976. There were quite a few trucks on the beach at that time, and I can assure you that I was not the first one to use it. It has not been “under the radar” as you put it. This section of beach has had truck traffic on it for a very long time.
The homeowners fighting this issue might be residents, but they are far from being locals.
Did Not Read
July 22, 2011
In summarizing my comments at the July 15 meeting of Sagaponack’s Architectural and Historic Review Board (“Beach Cottage to Grand ‘Cottage,’ ” Star, July 21), Bridget LeRoy made a number of factual errors which invite correction. Firstly, I did not read the resolution approving the application to demolish the beach cottage, the board’s secretary did. More important, I never stated that the cottage had been “historically maintained.” Nor did I state at this meeting that the cottage met any of the village code’s criteria for “historic.”
I voted against this particular demolition resolution, as I explained at the meeting, because I preferred a resolution that included an additional paragraph to provide an option for any third party to work with the applicant and hopefully reach an agreement to relocate the cottage. This is far different from Ms. LeRoy’s quotation that “I would have preferred a third option. . . .”
For those interested in the entire context, please check the minutes of the meeting at the Village of Sagaponack Web site.
Feral Cat Poem #27
Fashionistas strut down catwalks
and catwalks abound in ships’ rigging
but a Cat Walk out here is what us ferals
stage every year around now to call attention
to the homeless everywhere.
We start at the Shinnecock, padding east
like gypsies, tinkers, hoboes, hippies, refugees,
like all the nomads of the earth,
traveling only by night so as not to frighten the
Hamptons’ summer colonies of hedge-funded
fat-cats (no relation) who mistake us in the dark for neighborhood strays and look away, as we pass through.
Growing in numbers,
we stop at Montauk Point:
a cat atop each and every rock,
bolder ones on boulders, cheek-by-jowl across the bluffs,
even atop the lighthouse itself and the rooftops below
of the gift shoppe-museum and radar hutch
we turn our backs to the fish and we pose, for free.
O, what a sight to see by the sea,
a thousand uncollared cats caught for one glorious moment
grinning ear to ear, we mew our brief hurricane of meows,
knowing any snapshot taken will be dismissed as photo-shop,
except by you, who, now that you know we’re here,
think you might have heard something.
For everything else there’s MasterCharge.
Hide the Buildings
July 20, 2011
To the Editor,
My two favorite buildings that continue to stand out among many are the Verizon building on Pantigo Road in East Hampton. Suggestion: buy some Leyland cypress and hide the building.
The other is the beer distributor in Bridgehampton on the four corners. What’s up with that?
Probably a few more but these are in the elite category.
More Than a Whiff
July 24, 2011
To the Editor:
What would possess a person to write such a meanspirited and ugly letter as that from Lorna Salzman (“Distrust of Reason,” July 21)? What concern is it of hers that people seek meaning and purpose in religion? It is clear from her description that she did not attend the lecture she so vituperatively attacks, yet she claims to know more about it than the participants.
I consider myself a rational person, a scientist by training, but I recognize that there are questions that science cannot answer — now or ever. The origin of the universe and the mystery of why there is existence at all are two that immediately come to mind. Ms. Salzman clearly misunderstands that the Torah is not a book of natural history, but rather, a guide to life. Whether or not the chronology of creation in Genesis agrees with modern scientific findings misses the point (although there are interpretations that are consistent with what is known about astrophysics and biological evolution).
It is also peculiar that she attributes a biblical understanding of the Earth’s history exclusively to Muslims and Orthodox Jews. We all know that members of other faiths share similar, though not identical, beliefs. Is there some unstated subtext here?
From her attack on religious belief, Ms. Salzman proceeds to assert that such faith is inexorably linked to an absolute rejection of an enlightened appreciation of freedom and human dignity. Perhaps it is Ms. Salzman, rather, who displays intolerance and an irrational fear of those who do not share her worldview.
“One would think,” continues the writer, as she enumerates her list of appropriate Jewish thought and behavior. Actually, “One would think (if one were rational and reasonable) . . .” that there is more than a whiff of anti-Semitism here (and that is true whether or not Ms. Salzman is, herself, Jewish).
Ms. Salzman saves her most grotesque comments for the end, in somehow associating religious belief with “ideologies such as Fascism, Communism, and Nazism.” These words do not even deserve the dignity of a response.
July 20, 2011
To the Editor:
It was about 20 years ago when the media ran a small article reporting the death of a nun in Africa from hantavirus. Until then I had never heard of the virus. The nun was brushing mice feces from kitchen shelves. She inhaled the airborne virus and died.
The warning in the article was: Do not vacuum or sweep dry mice feces. Spray them with water and wipe up with a wet rag, then dispose of the rag.
Owning a small summer cottage at Maidstone, I have to clean up after the winter residency of mice and have always heeded that warning. So far, so good: I’m still alive to write a letter to the editor.
JULIANA C. NASH
July 21, 2011
I call your attention to the actual and legal existence of the Savant Garde Institute despite my sister’s best efforts to destroy it in the courts. It is most unfortunate that she continues to engage in Munchausen in a desperate attempt to prolong her 15 minutes of fame.
Please be advised that I had very little directly to do with the content of Tom Clavin’s recent article on the family in another publication. I merely supplied photos, and the rest was gleaned from my Web sites. Mr. Clavin never asked, and I saw no reason to include, my sister in my interview on my individual life’s work as an established artist and writer. We are two very different people and further still diametrically opposed on all the facts and expectations of ongoing litigation.
A review copy of my memoir is available to you upon request.
July 20, 2011
To the Editor,
Are you happy with his intelligence? Are you happy with his truthfulness? Are you happy with his economic knowledge?
Through Our Fingers
July 23, 2011
To the Editor,
Who builds the hospitals? The wealthy are the huge donors to those charity drives. Who donates to scholarships so the poor can attend college and medical school? Who supports the homeless, the charitable giving of the average Joe and Jane.
Who employs the Main Street job seekers? They are the entrepreneurs who see that there is room to make a profit, to support their own families, grow their business, and give to charities, if unceasingly new regulations don’t block the way. The only real growth in employment has been in union government jobs. What happens when we can no longer afford to pay them?
What happens when the charitable donation deduction is taken away? What happens when mortgage interest deduction is eliminated? What happens when the interest on debt to foreign countries reaches $3 trillion a year, which is scheduled to happen in the next few years if spending isn’t cut and a cap is put on spending?
I don’t know about you, but knowing that each American owes over $500,000 to the government to pay for their irresponsible spending sprees, sends knots to my stomach.
It is time to cut out the confiscatory taxation before there are no workers left to pay the taxes that support the poor and elderly and our country falls into default and ruin.
What is going to happen to our children and grandchildren when our country falls into default and cannot pay even the interest on the national debt? This generational theft leaves it on their backs to pay for decades.
Economic prosperity is why we are the most generous nation on Earth, donating over $330 billion each year to charities. Economic prosperity is slipping through our fingers through confiscatory taxation, over-regulation, and mounting debt.
LYNDA A.W. EDWARDS
Elixirs of Blame
July 25, 2011
Most commentaries by Republican columnists I’ve read dredge up the Unabomber’s Luddite, extreme, anti-industrial, and corporate environmentalist ideology as the liberal equivalent to the right-wing Christian killer from Norway. Yet it is the right that dismisses scientific evidence on climate change and the Earth’s sustainability for nourishing life being diminished by pollution and wasteful destruction of habitat. It is an absurd leap to say the right here should no more disturb their stated values of self-sufficiency or point of view than should liberals lose their values of compassionate inclusiveness or point of view because of a punishing infliction of suffering by a deranged Unabomber.
Granted, the Norwegian killer is no conservative Rush Limbaugh or any other radio shock jock or Republican anti-government theorist like Grover Norquist, however much they espouse shared ideas of the far right. Yet, the leap to defend anti-immigrant palaver as mainstream political rhetoric shared by Anders Breivik is mistaken just as much as ambitious politicians here, who use anti-immigrant rhetoric, like our Republican Suffolk Executive Steve Levy, for its apparent facile, instant political dividends. Because it is shared by conservatives of most every degree of right-wingedness here and in Europe in no way establishes legitimacy or reinforces national well-being or brotherhood on either side of the pond.
I recommend Phillipe LeGrains’s book “Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them” for the overwhelming evidence that rich northern nations benefit economically from immigration, authorized or unauthorized; from the economic vitality immigrants add, outweighing their costs against the balance sheet from their contribution to the productivity and the economy of their host countries or to deficits of national unity and cohesiveness putatively attributed to immigration there as here by the right.
Nationalism and nativism can brew up nasty elixirs of blame, resentment, and violence, as we have seen here as well as in Norway. The economy of both Europe and America would go into a vicious tailspin if immigrants could be made to disappear by wishful bias. Yes, we hear the same here out of the nativist ideologues, among the many other conservatives who follow the Republican party line as unswervingly and irrationally as any House and Senate Republican, opposing almost any bill brought before them by this administration, no matter the harm or unwanted consequences to our nation by their collectivist recalcitrance.
The correspondence between American right-wing extremism and European is undeniable. Tim Phillips, president of the Tea Party group, Americans for Prosperity, spoke at an event of the anti-immigrant, anti-tax, anti-government Norwegian Progress Party just last year. Mr. Breivik may or may not have heard him speak, but he is, or was, a member.
According to The Guardian newspaper, this Christian fundamentalist killer wrote, “Today’s Protestant church is a joke” in an online post in 2009. “Priests in jeans who march for Palestine and churches that look like minimalist shopping centers. I am a supporter of an indirect collective conversion of the Protestant church back to the Catholic.”
More shocking, one of Breivik’s intellectual influences is a Dutch right-wing activist, Joshua Livestro, recently hired by Sarah Palin to advise her on monetary policy. Among his published views: The Netherlands should close its borders to immigrants.
Mr. Breivik posted on the Atlas Shrugs Web site run by Pamela Geller, a Republican activist, Tea Party leader, and anti-immigrant extremist, who wrote shrill articles on Norwegian Muslims and attended anti-immigrant rallies in Oslo. You can see Mr. Breivik (or could) under the name of Anders Behring (his middle name) posting links to Ms. Geller’s site.
The links to her articles on her Web site today no longer work, but you can be certain somebody copied them and they will be reposted before the day is out.
Yet, we have been told that Mr. Breivik acted alone. In truth, he had ideological and communication links with organized far-right networks in England, Northern Ireland, Holland, the United States, France, Germany, Poland, and Russia every bit as solid as the comparable Sept. 11, 2001, Islamic terrorists’ connections to many now incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay naval base.
The anti-immigrant hostility and hate espoused to varying degrees from the hard American right, from Tom Tancredo to Michelle Bachman to Steve Levy, have contributed to an atmosphere of fear and meanness that rivals any European anti-immigrant bigotry from right-wing British, German, and French politicians, who despise multiculturalism much as their counterparts here. Hate kills and the anti-immigration and anti-Islam hate has caused much violence here, far more victims killed here than in the gun-drenched culture of the Norwegian right wing.
Young Norwegians, too, hear the shrill anti-immigrant bellowing made by American nativists and neo-Know Nothings from CNN broadcasts 24/7 and other American media that reach Europe, feeding a very old European nativist nationalism with its predictable horrific hate crime that we have seen overtake Christian nations of highest civilization and culture, made abundantly clear in the last world war.
In the Bathtub
July 23, 2011
Record 100-degree temperatures, motel rooms too expensive for working class family, so man and family sleep in their air-conditioned car. Man sleeps in the bathtub at his mother’s air-conditioned home. People ignore health warnings about sewage in the Hudson River and south to swim and cool off. Bill O’Reilly and Fox News say poor people have TVs and cellphones and microwave ovens, thus they are not really poor, so what are they complaining about?
Let’s ask Bill O’Reilly whether his house is air-conditioned, whether his car is used as a bedroom for his family. Does he have a cellphone? Does he have children who don’t get enough to eat unless schools feed them?
And so Republicans and their tea-bag controllers want to cut trillions from programs meant to help the poor and middle class with no revenue increases, and they threaten that unless they get their way they will not vote to renew the debt ceiling, causing potential massive damage to the public and economy. Aren’t they just wonderful, these sanctimonious, arrogant, ignorant dirtbags?
July 24, 2011
To the Editor,
For Tea Party members there is a simple political axiom to follow: “Being stupid is not an excuse.” Its mindless obsession about the size of government and taxes has no historical validation and violates the primary premise of the Constitution.
Our system was set up to engender compromise and equality, not demagoguery and fascism. Everyone has a say but not all says are equal. The natural imbalance in nature required a system of counterweights that would rectify the imbalance. Stupidity has no counterbalance, it only has consequences.
Government has a primary role to protect the well-being of the population. It is not its size but its effectiveness that is critical. More often than not it is what it doesn’t do than what it does that has the most serious consequences.
George Bush is generally considered one of the stupidest leaders of the 20th century. Yet it is not the two wars and the huge deficits he engendered that are most significant. It is his administration’s unwillingness to pay attention to what was happening to the country and to take the necessary actions to protect the country.
Tax cuts: Based on the bad economy he inherited, the tax cuts were designed as a present to his supporters on the top and a hoped-for jobs stimulus. The jobs creation never happened and the deficit grew. He never adjusted to that reality.
Regarding the 9/11 attacks: Repeated warnings about imminent attacks and a history of these attacks were completely ignored and, in this case, turned out to be brutal.
Prescription drugs: a boon to the pharmaceutical industry and a bigger hole in the deficit, badly designed and never rectified.
Job creation: In eight years only 1 million jobs were created. Meaning that 11 million new entries into the job market didn’t find work. Real unemployment was probably 12 percent. He never recognized this problem and never did anything about it.
Mortgages: While the mortgage business went out of control and Freddie and Fannie went ballistic, his administration crowed about homeownership, ignoring the red flags that came in droves from different segments of the government.
Financial crisis: His administration refused to listen to the warnings around this potential problem and was shocked and unprepared when it happened.
Private sector: In 2000 the private-sector large and small businesses bailed on the country. They refused to invest in the country and create jobs. Perhaps the most important economic factor in our current mess and President Bush totally ignored it.
Middle-class decline: Since 1980 the middle class has lost purchasing power and amassed huge debts. This trend has been the major reason why the economic recovery is so limited. Middle-class demand is no longer the engine that drives companies to create jobs. President Bush ignored the trend.
Living in the real world hopefully allows for real solutions to problems. The Bush administration essentially destroyed the economy, as much by inaction as by specific policies. With our heads in the ground we can only be lucky or stupid. Unfortunately stupidity rules, as our luck seems to have run out.