August 22, 2011
This letter is an expression of our deep gratitude to Leif Hope for his steadfast commitment to the East Hampton Artists and Writers Annual Softball Game, which supports three important local organizations: East Hampton Day Care Learning Center, East End Hospice, and Phoenix House. Leif, Debbie McEneaney, and Dave Johnson have worked tirelessly to continue the long-standing tradition of the game, now in its 63rd year, making it more successful each year.
On behalf of everyone at the East Hampton Day Care Learning Center, thank you to all of the players, volunteers, and spectators for bringing the community together this past Saturday and supporting our mission to provide early learning and care for the children and families of East Hampton.
East Hampton Day Care
August 22, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray:
Three cheers for the Amagansett Fire Department!
On Sunday the department made available delicious barbecued chicken dinners for delivery to clients of East Hampton Meals on Wheels, our homebound neighbors who were unable to attend the dinner at the firehouse.
These gallant men and women cooked wonderful dinners, that included chicken, sweet corn, potatoes, coleslaw, and watermelon to raise money for their own much-needed community service. Despite the heat and the humidity, they took the time to prepare 50 extra dinners free of charge so that volunteers from East Hampton Meals on Wheels could take the meals to our clients.
This service filled a tremendous need in our community, because the people who received these meals are homebound and unable to cook special meals for themselves or for their families.
We are thankful to live in a community in which so many organizations and individuals are concerned for the needs of their neighbors.
Thank you again, Amagansett Fire Department.
Very truly yours,
CYNTHIA P. KABACK
East Hampton Meals on Wheels
My Two Weeks
August 17, 2011
While a hip replacement is not something to look forward to, I do know that a postoperative start in a good rehabilitation facility does go a long way, which brings me to the point of this letter.
I had heard very uncomplimentary comments about the Hamptons Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Southampton, but being the closest to home, I chose to check it out. I’m glad I did. In my two weeks in rehab, I found its physical therapy department very good, with a caring staff that understood each patient’s needs and limitations. The rooms were clean, spacious, and airy and the nursing staff polite and pleasant. The menu, while very adequate, gave one an incentive to look forward to graduating and going home.
I thought your readers might like a little firsthand insight into this professionally run facility that we have serving our community.
DINAZ BOGA KAPRIELIAN
August 22, 2011
I am writing as chairman of a new environmental organization, the Quiet Skies Coalition, quietskiescoalition.org. The group has been organized to save this community, and many surrounding ones, from the accelerating onslaught of aircraft to and from East Hampton’s airport.
Due to the machinations of a few, and the negligence of a few others, the airport is now essentially a rogue enterprise. Created as a small, regional airport for local, recreational pilots in single-engine planes, it now functions as a major metropolitan and international air transport hub, with volume comparable to Islip, and all seemingly beyond anyone’s control. In a single three-hour period last week we recorded 98 operations (takeoffs or landings), or one every 1.8 minutes.
Though serving just a small minority of individuals, aircraft operations are damaging this town in powerfully destructive ways. These include:
• Relentless, earsplitting noise from aircraft (primarily helicopters, sea planes, and jets), in violation of ground noise-ordinance levels, and in increasingly widespread areas that include beaches, woods and trails, wildlife sanctuaries, villages, neighborhoods, golf courses, bicycle paths, fields and gardens, bays and harbors, ad infinitum, and this occurring at all hours of the day and night, day after day after day.
• The potentially toxic and largely unmonitored impact of the metric tons of aviation-fuel emissions settling on, and being absorbed into, sole-source aquifer watershed lands, especially the hundreds of acres adjacent to the airport. Fuel particulates and fallout are settling on peoples’ yards and community gardens, with fumes so thick one can taste them.
• An imminent threat of accident, and the resultant fear in families, engendered by dangerously low flights in continual violation of established altitude levels over populated areas, often arriving simultaneously from multiple directions.
• Property values that are soon to be crashing and will require a huge downward reassessment by the town, potentially causing the airport to become as great an economic deficit as it is an environmental one.
• Wasteful levels of fuel consumption in an era calling for conservation and stewardship of dwindling resources.
• Needless acceleration of carbon emissions proven to be contributing to global warming.
• Degradation of natural habitat, including documented destruction of bird sanctuaries.
• Degradation of overall quality of life in one of the special places in the nation, if not the world.
The Quiet Skies Coalition is a group of citizen volunteers dedicated to getting our airport under control — and to do so immediately to whatever degree possible. We are intent on returning the airport to its original use as a managed, small, essentially recreational facility. And we especially welcome the involvement of local pilots, who are now being forced to fly under increasingly crowded, dangerous conditions.
Ours is already an Island-wide network. We are pledged to work tirelessly to solve what has become a major local and regional environmental and safety problem.
Quiet Skies Coalition
August 21, 2011
We need to put this in perspective: Helicopters to and from the Hamptons are by no means an essential form of transportation. Helicopters are rich folks’ toys used for the sole purpose of saving one hour’s travel time. They choose the most wasteful (and environmentally destructive) form of transportation at a time when our country is deeply concerned about our dependence on foreign oil and greenhouse gas emissions. Is this responsible behavior? Are these good leaders?
These people graduated from limousines to helicopters, while they continuously torture and torment innocent residents on the ground — residents who once enjoyed peaceful, quiet, healthy use of their properties. Do they believe harassing the voting, year-round citizens of the East End will keep this form of transportation sustainable? Are these people smart?
The majority of the noise burden is on the residents who live north of the airport, because pilots choose the northern route to avoid the passengers’ own weekend houses south of the airport. This reminds me of the muscle car era when teenagers installed loud glass-pack mufflers on their hot rods. They drove very carefully in their own neighborhoods fearing neighbors would complain to their parents. They terrorized other neighborhoods at wide-open throttle. Are these pilots and helicopter owners as recklessly immature as teenagers during the muscle car era?
If the reports are true, and indeed East Hampton Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione’s tenacious hard work sees results in the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval of a southern route, folks north of the airport may get some relief. They will need to acknowledge appreciation for the councilman’s efforts. He cannot stop here, because easing up on torture doesn’t end it.
Folks south of the airport will have no one to blame for helicopters shattering their peace and quiet, or decimating their real estate values except themselves and their peers. Will helicopter transportation be considered smart and chic then?
The problems at the airport have reached critical mass. People on the East End and Long Island have galvanized to form an environmental civic organization called Quiet Skies Coalition, quietskiescoalition.org. The group is highly active, energetic, and is seeing membership explode. The goal is simple and easy to attain; actually the goal can be attained by the town board doing absolutely nothing.
The Q.S.C. seeks to return East Hampton Airport to its citizens’ control. It wishes to have the federal government’s control (due to East Hampton Town accepting the F.A.A. grant assurances) eliminated. This goal can be attained by the town board doing nothing — simply not accepting one more dollar from the F.A.A.
Let the people who use the airport and profit by it maintain it, if necessary. Why should any taxpayer subsidize something that is now contributing to the environmental degradation of the East End? If the town board does nothing, in 2014 control of the airport will return to the people of East Hampton. The Q.S.C. is seeking pledges from local candidates to do nothing, to not accept one more dollar.
Quiet Skies Coalition
Taking the Money
August 22, 2011
The three wizards of the town board have suddenly become Christopher Columbus. It is amazing that they just discovered that there is a noise problem that disrupts the quality of life here. It must have just started within the past few weeks.
Where have they been the past 20 years when the then town board mysteriously and illegally turned a rural airport into a jetport? Questionable leases and lawsuits emerged. They forget that there have been noise abatement committees consisting of dedicated members of this community who worked tirelessly for the past eight years and several administrations — I myself was on one — to no avail.
Unfortunately, we labored under the pretense that the town board, which appointed us, would listen to the recommendations to help mitigate these disruptive conditions, not only here but in surrounding communities as far away as eight miles. It got so bad even Senator Charles Schumer got involved.
Comprehensive reports were presented, yet were ignored. Sound monitors were strategically placed throughout the town, and data were compiled confirming a disruptive pattern that was damaging to health. Nothing was done. Nothing will ever be done because of a relatively small special-interest group, many who do not even live here, that has more influence than the thousands who actually live here.
When this administration took office, I had a personal meeting with the supervisor to discuss his campaign promises about Federal Aviation Administration money. The grant assurances are to expire in 2014, and the town could take control. His answer shocked me: “I’m taking the money!”
“You are going to again make us indentured servants to the F.A.A. until 2034?”
“You will be gone and many of us will no longer be here either. That will be your legacy to leave us with this burden?”
I knew right then that he catered to a special-interest group and that the committee was spinning its wheels.
Then, several months ago, Bill Wilkinson displayed his administrative skills by not even notifying the committee that it was being dismissed. Not even the basic common courtesy of a letter or, at least, a phone call. We had to read it in The Star. Such arrogance to demean the committee and the countless hours spent.
Now the gang of three rushes out like the 7th Cavalry to “punish the violators” because the fort is under attack and their behinds are sticking out the window. Surely not because candidates of another party are getting media attention?
Have no fear, the double talk of F.A.A. regulations cover their feeble, bombastic attempt to blow smoke in our faces. The bottom line is they bow to a certain master and not the populace they were elected to serve because of promises made.
I am sure that if they shame someone they will sell their G-4 jet, take the Jitney, and wear a disguise. Of course he can turn off the transponder and no one will ever know.
Maybe the board should be shamed for its latest dog and pony show. It is an insult that it continues to think that we are all stupid.
ARTHUR J FRENCH
August 20, 2011
As a former East Hampton Town supervisor, I have struggled with the noise and safety issues arising from of the East Hampton Airport, an important and financially beneficial town resource. As the wife of a pilot and owner of a small single-engine airplane, I enjoy firsthand the convenience of having a town-owned airport. And lastly, as a homeowner under the path of low-flying helicopter traffic, I understand from personal experience the need to get these noisy helicopters under control.
With that said, I thank all the East Hampton Town Board members over the last 20 years who have spent so much time and effort to arrive at a sensible method to have a quiet and safe airport. After so many years of hearings and hard work, the current town board is on the cusp of finally getting a new airport layout and master plan approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. Included in this plan is a new airport seasonal control tower (which is actually a house trailer with an antenna).
This control “tower,” staffed by the same F.A.A.-certified traffic controllers who staff the Westhampton airport, will have full authority to control all aircraft that enter a column of air 10 miles in diameter to an altitude of about half a mile.
Any helicopter or other aircraft that wishes to enter this airspace will need to communicate with the tower and must follow precisely the heading and altitude commands given by the controllers, or otherwise lose his or her pilot’s license. Helicopters will no longer be able to fly low and noisy over our neighborhoods.
It will be the first time that the Town of East Hampton will have control over the airspace above surface land. The 10-mile zone will stretch westerly from the airport to the Watermill traffic light; northwesterly to Trout Pond in Noyac, northerly to the Shelter Island ferry, northeasterly to Cedar Point Lighthouse and the middle of Three Mile Harbor, and easterly to Amagansett.
It is a vast control zone that can only be created by the F.A.A.’s approval of the airport layout plan. Once the plan is approved, federal airport fuel trust money can be secured to properly maintain the airport so town taxpayers can be relieved of that burden.
While the control tower will not eliminate all noise and safety issues, it will provide a much-needed tool for the town to effectively mitigate these concerns.
Here in Freetown
August 19, 2011
What is Tim Sullivan smoking?! Holy Hannah, is he for real? The Webb property is not suitable for any mass building, let alone “cluster housing and affordable condominiums,” because the land is in a special groundwater protection area, number one. The Suffolk Water Authority drinking water wells are located there. These must be protected. It is stated so in the town’s own comprehensive plan for good reason. That is why it was upzoned for one house, two, tops, not a cluster.
Number two, the neighborhood is already dense with all the affordable housing, a mobile home park, and affordable apartment complexes. Traffic and safety are issues that the town board was made aware of, and the town police have assigned traffic patrols to Middle Highway numerous times. Adding to the problem by building more houses is a disaster waiting to happen.
Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, Councilwoman Theresa Quigley, and Councilman Dominick Stanzione were all down here to see the land in question before they were elected. They met with the neighbors. They saw the property for themselves. All agreed that nothing should be built there. They witnessed the ridiculous traffic on Oakview Highway on a weekday, not even in season, and said that adding to that would not be safe. Besides the fact that environmentally it is wrong to put a complex of houses there. Sewage treatment? Criminal.
We do not have any open space in this area of town. What Mr. Sullivan refers to as the town’s vast open space being preserved is not happening here. This is not an unreasonable request to include this neck of the woods in preservation. This is certainly not a Nimby issue. That statement is so out of bounds, it is ludicrous. Many of us live in affordable housing; we have never been against that. There just is no room here. That is fact, not emotion.
It makes no sense to put a neighborhood in danger, damage the water supply, and add to the already-jumbled mess of speeding cars cutting through from Cedar Street to Oakview Highway, and now Miller Lane East to Three Mile Harbor. There are families and children and it is dangerous.
Middle Highway is not the dirt road it once was. We are trying to have a safe neighborhood; we work hard to maintain a community where one can wheel a baby stroller without getting mowed down by speeding cars and work vans and trucks. This is a working-class neighborhood. We’re dug in, and we care. Last I checked, that was a good thing in America.
Where does Tim Sullivan live? Maybe Budd Webb can build him a condo village in his backyard. Perhaps that would be the perfect place. Oakview and Middle is not, and was never meant for more than the one farmhouse that was there to begin with.
We happen to think this neighborhood is beautiful and worthy of preservation. Are you saying we are beneath such a distinction, Mr. Sullivan? Sounds like it. And frankly we resent that here in Freetown — very much.
We will continue to fight for open space and water protection and quality of life as it states in the comprehensive plan. The town board has wisely listened to our plea and the preservation fund committee is addressing it. As Councilwoman Quigley said, “I am all for preserving that land. I grew up here. I get it. There are other places more appropriate for affordable housing complexes where there is less density.”
Mr. Webb would be a wise and richer man to accept the town’s offer.
Maybe, Tim, he can build you a duck pond.
Thanks for the space.
NANCI E. LaGARENNE
August 22, 2011
Last week’s “Safe to Swim” editorial and your previous “War for the Lake One Dock at a Time” editorials highlight the increasing pressure that the Lake Montauk watershed area is under. Increased development, boat use, and other factors are contributing to the degradation of water quality in this sensitive marine ecosystem. It is critical that there be a moratorium on the construction of docks in the lake and that we identify the causes of water-quality contamination. Toward that end, Supervisor Bill Wilkinson has taken the initiative to establish a joint public-private committee to accelerate activities that will benefit the watershed.
As a member of the Lake Montauk Watershed Committee, I appreciate your efforts in highlighting these issues. We have to gain control of the watershed if there is any hope of preserving it.
August 21, 2011
To the Editor,
The trashing of the Hamptons got a big boost today in The Sunday Times. In its forgettable Styles section, The New York Times devoted an extensive report on the young promoters of the Hamptons nightclubs who apparently wield lots of power in deciding who is allowed entry into the area’s various clubs. These promoters, with their designer stubble and incredibly sloppy attire, seem to enjoy their calling mainly for the easy availability of today’s smart young things, as well as for their chance to play God to all those would-be revelers who want to get in.
Meanwhile, the mayhem relating to certain very noisy Montauk bar-restaurants remains unnoticed by all but the unfortunate neighbors. Fines for offenses are laughed off, regarded only as the cost of doing business. Complaining is useless, it seems, because of the business such establishments bring to our town’s welfare; this seems to be our elected leaders’ contention.
We can now thank Bill for being the Great Enabler of the year.
August 22, 2011
When people move to East Hampton, most of them truly appreciate what is here and what makes this place special. There are a few, though, who want to change it. It is becoming increasingly clear that Supervisor Bill Wilkinson is trying to change this town to make it become what he knew in his past career as an administrator for the Disney Corporation: an amusement park.
Just think about what Mr. Wilkinson has supported, starting with ignoring our zoning codes and planning process. He is trying to pack the town with as many people as possible to enrich the concessions (businesses). Maybe this benefits his political coffers, but it does not benefit the residents of this town. They are being treated as employees, given a small increase in minimum wage (their slight tax decrease), while services deteriorate and they have to pay more on their own.
Our town is being changed from a magical place with a protected environment to an unruly resort with an exploited environment. We need to ask why and for whose benefit.
If we don’t like the direction that this administration is taking, we need to change it. We cannot allow this supervisor to turn East Hampton into his amusement park. We are residents, not his employees.
August 22, 2011
Oh yeah! Summer’s here, almost.
I guess I should preface this note. Heck with it. I’ll do it later.
This is our town; we should all start acting like it is. Mostly disrespectful people invade our town in the summer, their summer. When they leave it’s our summer to enjoy. So what? They spend their money here. We don’t owe them anything; they owe us. Let’s all remember that.
Oh yeah, people riding expensive bikes with expensive Lance Armstrong suits on?
Oh yeah, people crossing haphazardly across streets while talking on cellphones, telling others they’re in Shangri-la. Are they?
Oh yeah, people jogging our streets but yelling at us for driving our cars on our roads. Is something wrong?
Oh yeah, people asking us if we’re on line waiting to pay, but we say, “No, go ahead.” Are they really that rich? Maybe monetarily, but in all other ways so poor. Is it us? It’s our town.
Oh yeah. Those people leaving all their shoes behind at beachfronts as in their closets at home. I apologize; I drive around and throw them in the garbage cans, our garbage cans. Their shoes stink and so do they. Is something wrong here? No! Nooo! This is our town.
Oh yeah. Expensive cars with terrible drivers, no signals, no common courtesy, double-parked, waiting for others to do their shopping but I receive tickets for an unattended vehicle? Nooo. Nothing, odd about that, isn’t it?
I forgot about the people from Bay Shore stopped in the middle of the Napeague stretch, watching (in the driving lane) a seagull dropping clams on the road, for the gull was hungry. What’s up, bub? This is our town, isn’t it? Call National Geographic with an odd sighting. Nooo.
Oh yeah. I have more. Let me know if you’re interested. I’ll write right again! Something’s wrong here, or is it me? Please, please let me know. I also have oh yeah stuff for the Town of East Hampton, if anyone is interested. Oh, oh yeah! Let me know.
I’m tired of this place, but at the same time still love it. Let’s all take back our town — now — or at least start.
Not a Bond
August 18, 2011
Is this town board just naive or incompetent? When the Music to Know proposal was first made, I urged that a bond be secured by the town to make sure that the food pantry and other charities receive the $100,000 that was promised by the promoters. The bond would also cover expenses and time involved by the board and town employees in preparing for the event.
Bill Wilkinson’s office told me on several occasions that the bond was being processed, and about a month ago the town clerk’s office informed me by phone that the bond had been issued.
It was a big surprise to learn that the board had negotiated an escrow agreement — not a bond. This escrow agreement did not protect us in the event that the concert was canceled. Thus, the food pantry loses out again.
It was shocking to hear that Mr. Wilkinson blamed the people in town for this debacle when he could have saved the town and the food pantry by demanding the bond.
Isn’t it the duty of Mr. Wilkinson and the board to protect the citizens from promoters who make pie-in-the-sky promises without backing them up with a bond?
Sigh of Relief
August 14, 2011
Perhaps I should direct this letter to the whiners and sore losers who feel we “faux locals” missed our golden opportunity to benefit from the music extravaganza of the century, Music to Know, when it was canceled for the weekend of Aug. 13 and 14.
Well, with community and weather not permitting, the peaceful retreat that makes the Hamptons most desirable was preserved. What did we really miss?
Talent of world renown? My invitation to a hip 18-year-old to attend was met with a “Vampire . . . who? Bright . . . what?” reply.
Scores of music lovers? An overflow crowd and snarled traffic was averted and credit should go to the L.I.R.R. for putting contingency plans to work with an 11 a.m. train for attendees without hotel reservations.
Animals from the nearby Animal Rescue Fund crooning to the tunes? ARF can heave a sigh of relief that the routine environment of their dogs and cats was left undisturbed.
Generous donations to charities hurting from cuts in local funding? Some agencies might have felt pressured by the promoters’ notes of urgency to hold their show and make them the recipients of their profits, thereby having them depend on the kindness of strangers.
It seems the massive ad campaign and media coverage were a ploy of super-hyping a lackluster lineup of talent to put one over on our current town supervisor, who passed it by the board and the Federal Aviation Administration without involving residents, then hoodwinked schools for the use of their parking lots (for a fee, of course).
How naive do the promoters think we locals are? How gullible does our supervisor, Bill Wilkinson, expect us to be? The cliché “This is the Hamptons,” means more than what it superficially conveys: Its residents are fine, upstanding citizens who seriously safeguard the integrity of their community. Nothing faux about them at all.
Why not take the show to the Jersey Shore, Las Vegas, or Hollywood, where these acts would receive deserved rave reviews? Our community is not eager to be overrun by commercial interests, especially those portraying themselves as socially aware of our needs, while really seeking the coveted Hampton validation to gain acclaim.
Mr. Wilkinson claims the blame is on us for not being receptive to their well-intentioned attempts to perform generous acts of kindness by having a two-day festival of music, fashion, and food at the East Hampton Airport, of all venues. Au contraire, the outcome demonstrates that it’s obviously the reverse.
And look! Even Mother Nature put the kibosh on the event . . . and let that be final.
Not Real Life
August 22, 2011
I can’t stop shaking my head in disbelief at the brouhaha and finger-pointing over the canceled concert. I come from a long line of entrepreneurs and know full well that some businesses succeed and others fail. Isn’t the official reason for lower taxes on capital gains that people who take risks need incentives and rewards for their risk-taking?
I understand the unhappiness of the promoters, and that of the charities that thought they would be receiving a windfall from the proceeds, but “If you build it they will come,” was a movie — not real life. It seems to me that what really happened here is that wishful thinking replaced solid market research.
Well on the Way
August 21, 2011
To the Editor:
Well, the local left-wing wolf pack is in full howl. The letters page is once again chock-full of distortions, fabrications, lies (called “misstatements” when made by those on the left), and character assassination. It’s no wonder they’re bursting with venomous energy: They’re well-rested. They snoozed through the six years of the McGintee-Hammerle-Foster disaster, seeming not to notice or care about the incompetence, mismanagement, and duplicity that characterized the Gang That Couldn’t Spend Straight.
This failure to acknowledge the mess that was unfolding right before their eyes extended right up to the three candidates they have chosen to run for supervisor and town board, two of whom were appointed to positions by the Gang and therefore could not have been unaware of the ineptitude and chicanery going on around them.
This election, the choice is really quite simple: You can vote for a return to the follies of the McGintee era, complete with wild promises and even wilder spending, over-regulation, bogus bookkeeping, and all the other fiascos that befall us when we choose high-sounding rhetoric over competent management.
Or you can vote for Bill Wilkinson and his team, as he likes to call them. Mr. Wilkinson has run the town the same way you like to see your business run: making tough decisions in a tough environment and doing so with honesty, clearly stated goals, sober business practices, and a realization that he’s spending real money — your money.
So let the wolf pack howl all it wants. Their caterwauling can’t drown out the facts—they have a terrible record to defend, while Mr. Wilkinson already has us well on the way to cleaning up the mess they left.
A ‘Leaf’ Candidacy
August 22, 2011
To the Editor:
Let’s be grateful for common sense! We now thankfully have a “leaf” candidacy — the Democrats.
It cost me $450 to just cart away my leaves last November, and I did all of the raking. The statements coming out of the town board’s leaf pickup “public” hearings on the mulching, the financial analysis of the savings, etc., were positively ludicrous. It was just another setting for Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Councilwoman Theresa Quigley to expound about their views of life in East Hampton — as they see it.
I skipped the leaf meetings, because many months prior I was very rudely treated at a town board “public” hearing on the Boys Harbor property, wherein we expressed our concerns about the property being utilized for a Suffolk County park, among other things. Ms. Quigley had considerable contrary views on all of this and very forcefully indicated that her philosophy was that she wanted “everyone in all of Suffolk County to have access to East Hampton’s beautiful beaches and environment.” Just what we need — more people.
It was interesting to note again Ms. Quigley’s personal philosophy and comments during the meeting on the rude behavior and rowdiness of the young party set in Montauk, which you mentioned in an editorial last week. For whatever reason she said, “I enjoy seeing young single people. They come out to enjoy what the community has to offer.” Not a great comment to assuage the frustrations of our Montauk folks.
In a recent article The Star noted that the Republican Party has a considerable campaign fund for this year’s election. Relative to the past few years of Supervisor Wilkinson and Councilwoman Quigley’s quotable statements on many controversial issues, campaign money for the Democrats should not be an issue.
As one who has voted Republican in the past, I am keeping in mind what the venerable Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil once said, “All politics is local.”
August 22, 2011
I have conducted a preliminary review of the draft prepared by East Hampton Town Councilwoman Theresa Quigley to “revise” the outdoor lighting code. However, it is not a revision by any definition of the word. Her plan is to entirely throw out the 2006 enacted “smart-lighting” law and replace it with a law that will not achieve its stated goals. Instead, decades of regulations and proper reviews will be eliminated in favor of an inconsistent, inaccurate, and incorrect code that will be impossible to understand and enforce. It will be as if there is no lighting code at all.
There is no law for a town like East Hampton enacted anywhere that is even similar to this one, and it is far worse in regulating light trespass, glare, and sky glow than the laws enacted west of us, including for Brookhaven, Riverhead, Southampton, and even Patchogue. All of these towns have some redress for pre-existing problems associated with dangerous glare, intrusive light trespass, and excessive lighting resulting in sky glow, obliterating the stars above. We will not, if this goes forward.
Executing lighting plans according to the current code is not expensive or time consuming. In most cases, it is free to have a manufacturer develop a lighting plan to meet our code. There have been few, if any, legitimate complaints by applicants to the guidelines issued by the Planning Department. If lighting plans are not reviewed prior to installation and only subject to Building Department inspections, it will be much more expensive for the developers and for the town itself. At the heart of this draft is the desire on the part of Councilwoman Quigley to eliminate reviews of development plans by the Planning Department.
Dark Sky Society
August 22, 2011
I was at the Thursday evening East Hampton Town Board meeting of Aug. 18 and left with several other people and reporters. We all thought the meeting had been adjourned. Once again, the town board secretly adjourned to executive session, violating the Open Meetings Law.
Not until I watched the tape did I discover that there had been a hushed call for an executive session. The discussion was to be the board’s response to the 28 Department of Environmental Conservation violations for its scavenger waste plant.
Human waste is the culprit here, discharging nitrogen into the groundwater, and ultimately into the bays, lake, and oceans. Aren’t the residents entitled to hear the town’s response to this contamination issue? It affects us all and is not a topic for secret, illegal discussion.
Executive sessions are supposed to be held for individual privacy of personnel, or the value of a proposed sale of property that would be substantially affected by public awareness. The public is entitled to know about health and welfare issues.
The same waste plant problem was brought up on March 26 at a town board meeting by the chairman of the budget advisory committee, Arthur Malman. He reported on the scavenger waste plant and Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Deputy Supervisor Theresa Quigley tried to close down the discussion because they were fearful of a lawsuit.
So now, five months later, they are responding to the D.E.C. violations secretly. What’s wrong with this picture? Transparency does not exist with this town board.
Ms. Klopman, a Democratic Candidate for East Hampton Town Trustee, was misidentified in an editor’s note as the chairwoman of the East Hampton Democratic Committee in the Aug. 18 issue. Ed.
Lack of Transparency
August 21, 2011
After last week’s town board meeting, the board went into executive session. According to the town attorney, it was to discuss the response to the notice of violations from the Department of Environmental Conservation in regard to the scavenger waste facility. Is this a violation of the Open Meetings Law? Isn’t this private discussion something the public has a right to know about? The lack of transparency by the board concerning the public’s right to know how the board will respond to D.E.C. violations and the activities at the scavenger waste facility is alarming.
Where is accountability for a taxpayer-funded utility, costing around $1 million a year, that may be polluting our soil and groundwater? Is the health of our public water supply at risk or already damaged?
The budget and finance advisory committee recommended environmental testing back in March. Upon review of records, violations, and known contaminants, a prudent board would have begun full environmental testing. Why hasn’t testing commenced?
Supervisor Bill Wilkinson was not present at this executive session. Were minutes taken? If so, they should now be available for public review. Just saying.
On another topic, I wasn’t planning to write about the scavenger waste facility, but rather wanted to address Theresa Quigley’s switcheroo of recycling subjects at a recent work session. She discussed the bag program, which is something the former supervisor of the recycling facility presented to the board in the past, as did I. Additionally, at a March 2010 work session, Waste Zero presented its bag program to the board. Bag programs are efficient waste-reduction and disposal methods that are widely used with great success.
Here is the switch: How about those code-mandated recreational area recycling containers I have been asking for? Ms. Quigley reported that the town now disposes of mixed recyclables for free. However, we are paying over $80 per ton to dispose of mixed trash collected from trash cans located at all town recreational areas. Shouldn’t we be collecting recyclables from these areas and dispose of them for free instead?
Don’t get me wrong. Dialogue is good, but let’s not change the subject. Lets implement code we already have in regard to recreational-area recycling before we discuss another long-overdue recycling program again. Does anyone else want recycling receptacles at recreational areas throughout town? Just asking.
August 21, 2011
To the Editor,
I had hoped not to revisit the issue of the Don Cirillo memo to the head of the Planning Department but the knee-jerk responses printed in The Star made me change my mind.
It seems those Democratic voices that were quick to attack the memo and defend the Planning Department’s environmental assessment forms have not read the documents but simply mouthed the opinion of others. This is an ongoing practice by the supporters of the Democratic Party in East Hampton.
It should be stated repeatedly that Mr. Cirillo’s memo was an internal document and a follow-=up to a meeting he had with the head of the Planning Department.
I repeat my suggestion that in order to know the facts in the matter, folks should visit the LTV Web site and view the zoning board meeting discussed in the memo. I think viewing the video will give the residents of East Hampton a chance to view the demeanor of Phil Gamble and others serving on the board. It will be quite a revelation, at least it was to me.
The Z.B.A.’s job is to make decisions based on the town code and to resolve disputes without being a captive to either the Planning Department or builders or their clients.
Anyone who has taken the time to read Mr. Cirrillo’s memo will realize it is not a partisan blast and not meant for public consumption. Clearly, whoever leaked the memo hoped to have the media and the public believe it was just that.
So, I ask the question The Star should have asked itself: Who on the Z.B.A. had the partisan interest in leaking the memo? By watching the Z.B.A. meetings on LTV, I believe the answer will become obvious.
What Money Can Do
August 17, 2011
To the Editor,
In a recent letter I took off on the public’s inability to know about and curtail lobbyists who buy our legislators, making us all pawns of big business.
It was therefore of great interest when a New York Times investigative reporter, Eric Lichtblau, wrote an in-depth article about Representative Darrell Issa of California who epitomizes what money can do in another way to defeat the democracy we all believe we live in.
Mr. Issa has a business empire worth hundreds of millions of dollars that he actively oversees and spends his time at, while serving as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in Congress whose personal activities also deprive us of control of our government. Why is he collecting a paycheck as a congressman when he only works part time at the job?
Talk about conflict of interest; Mr. Issa has personally slanted legislative investigations and obtained millions in earmarks of federal money to further his own businesses and those of others. So what the lobbyists accomplish with money to corrupt our system, Mr. Issa does as a member of Congress in a critical position by favoring his own interests.
The ethics of what lobbyists do is hard to investigate but what people like Darrell Issa do is not, and while investigations of Mr. Issa’s activities are ongoing, I sincerely doubt we will ever hear about any action taken.
Oh, the hullabaloo about the misdeeds of Representative Charles Rangel, the terrible activities he pursued, not one of which affected his role as a public official.
But here we have a man of immense wealth and power in Congress and the halls of our government, with personal ties to automakers whom he is charged with investigating, to Merrill Lynch which lends him millions of dollars in business deals, working hard at his personal business, which allowed him to double his personal wealth in one year, and leaving zip for his job as a congressman — and this is representative government? So The Times wrote about it, and other media mentioned it, and I wriggle in frustration. So what? It goes on and we, the put-upon public, get screwed.
Let’s see what follows this story as the so-called Tea Party rages about nonsense and picayune baloney, I’ll bet nothing good or remedial does.
RICHARD P. HIGER
August 22, 2011
Was it last winter that consumers in England were enjoying ice cream made out of human mothers’ milk at gourmet prices? It seems that motherhood has always been exploited in almost every culture known to humanity. The dairy industry is a prime example.
Try to envision this scenario: A cow is born into slavery. Her body is owned and treated as profitable property. She starts to earn her living by giving birth to at least one calf a year — and more likely, two. Her calf is taken away from her almost immediately after birth. If it was born a male, its flesh is kept tender through immobility. Prevented from walking or even turning around, it longs for its mother. Its mother also suffers the deep emotional pain of separation. She looks for her young while her udders are being milked for human consumption until they can no longer surrender another drop. Then she is forcibly impregnated again, gives birth again, has her baby stolen from her yet one more time and the pattern goes on until she can no longer produce offspring and milk. Sometimes her babies are killed in earshot of the barn she is being milked in. If she hears their cries and eventually rebels or resists exploitation, a heavy brass ring is forced through her nose with razor sharp appendages that cause such pain as to render her submissive.
If she gives birth to a female, her offspring receives a very long slit in at least one of her ears to make room for a tag giving her a name. I saw one such calf with a wide, long tag saying: T-Bone Fancy. Her plaintive eyes were sad and she had a beautiful face created by a power higher than mankind. She had been born into slavery and, like her mother, destined to give birth over and over and over again to offspring she would never mother until, when her body would no longer serve her human “master” she would be slaughtered and sold piecemeal to consumers at a negotiated price. All her daughters would suffer the same heartbreak, the same exploitation of motherhood, and the same final curtain.
I visited a family farm earlier this year thinking it was a kinder situation than the horrors of factory farming. It was not kind. The cows’ backs were covered with large black flies. Their eyes were tragic. Their offspring were being kept in tight stalls, unable to move, separated from their mothers. The thick, brass ring in the nose had razor sharp appendages purposely made sharp to inflict disciplinary pain. The nipples of one of the cows were blood red. It’s a known fact that blood and pus often comes out with the milk in overused nipples. Cows are no longer being milked by hand, you know. Automation and machinery has taken over.
Compassion has made me a vegan. I enjoy almond milk and cheese made of cashews and other nuts. I will not indulge in the luxury of human milk ice cream and stand firmly against the exploitation of animals. Slavery still exists, and someone must speak out for those who have no voice.