Choice of Dates
September 12, 2011
I just became aware of the 30th annual Fall Festival, supported by the Montauk Chamber of Commerce, being held on Oct. 8 and 9 in Montauk. Paul Monte, owner of Gurney’s Inn, heads the chamber.
Friday evening, Oct. 7, through Saturday evening, Oct. 8, is the most holy of the Jewish holidays, Yom Kippur — a day of fasting! This festival has scheduled its chowder contest on that day.
It’s hard to believe that Mr. Monte, the owner of a prominent hotel and restaurant, does not check the calendar for holidays before scheduling such an event. Thus, I would assume that Mr. Monte was aware this day is Yom Kippur and he obviously just did not care.
I will be sure that all my friends are aware of Mr. Monte’s insensitivity in his choice of dates for this year’s chowder contest.
September 16, 2011
Last week, the New York Power Authority and Long Island Power Authority announced that the Long Island-New York City Offshore Wind Collaborative has submitted an application to lease areas for an offshore wind farm about 13 to 17 miles off the coast of the Rockaway peninsula and western Long Island.
This took a while but is an encouraging sign that under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s leadership the state is now taking steps to move ahead with tapping offshore wind power and beginning the transition to renewable energy sources.
New York has a tremendous potential for generating clean electricity from offshore wind power. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that developing wind off the Atlantic and Great Lakes coasts of New York could generate enough energy to power 44 million homes.
The proposed 700-megawatt Long Island-New York City Offshore Wind Collaborative project could supply clean power for up to 210,000 households, and, according to a state study, create 4,700 jobs in construction and installation and 170 jobs in operation and maintenance.
LIPA has also received proposals for two offshore wind farms that would be built even farther offshore and combined could provide 1,200 megawatts to the Island, enough to power almost 600,000 homes, or 20 percent of Long Island’s power needs.
One of the wind farms would be located approximately 35 miles south of the western end of Long Island, and another one is to be built in Rhode Island Sound, approximately 30 miles east of Montauk. Given the distances to land, the turbines will be virtually invisible from shore.
Offshore wind projects have no fuel cost and provide effective insurance against volatile fossil fuel prices, but they have high initial capital costs. That’s where our representatives in Washington come in. Senators Gillibrand and Schumer can help make offshore wind development less costly by co-sponsoring the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act, S. 1397, a bipartisan bill that would extend key investment tax credits for offshore projects.
Harvesting the tremendous wind resource off of our coasts is critical to meeting our energy needs in a clean, responsible way, while helping renew our ailing economy. Tapping this abundant resource will make us less dependent on imported fossil fuels and help us meet New York State’s goal of getting 45 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements by 2015.
We have little time to waste in making the transition to a carbon-free 21st century economy powered by clean, renewable, and local energy sources. Let’s hope that Long Island and New York State will do their part and move these and other clean energy initiatives forward without delay.
Renewable Energy Long Island
Ran Him Down
September 15, 2011
A couple of years ago a beautiful peacock showed up on our property. We tried, to no avail, to find his owner. He took up residence, and we all fell in love with him. Soon after, we found him a mate, and here they’ve lived peacefully with the other fowl.
On Sept. 14 at approximately 6:30 p.m. he wandered out onto Fort Pond Boulevard and someone with a dark S.U.V. purposely ran him down. We brought him back to the yard to examine him. He was badly injured and his mate was calling to him in distress. He died that night.
Needless to say, our entire family is so upset. Who would want to harm an innocent creature who, as many animals do, wanders into the road? If anyone can identify the person who is responsible for this inhumane act of violence, please call 907-0930 or 324-8177. There is a reward for information.
In reverence for all creatures,
September 17, 2011
I am very grateful for the dedication and sacrifices of the men and women in the Amagansett Fire Department and the volunteer services they provide to our community.
The Fire Department has a unique opportunity to purchase the neighboring land for future expansion. The property is the site of the old Pacific East restaurant. With ever-increasing numbers of summer visitors and an aging year-round population, the already-high number of ambulance calls in particular, will only increase in future years.
There will be a vote on the referendum on Oct. 4 at the Amagansett Firehouse for the purchase of the property in order to expand the number of ambulances in service. I will vote yes, and I hope other Amagansett residents will, too.
Ms. Overby, who said she wrote this as an Amagansett resident, is a candidate for East Hampton Town Board. Ed.
Tell the Truth
September 19, 2011
The Republicans for the 2011 election seem to have the money for their full-page ads, and good for them. I only wish the ads would tell the truth. Bill Wilkinson seems to think he can re-write history.
“Promises Kept,” the ad states, “Eliminate the Beach Fee for Town residents.” The true fact is that Pete Hammerle, Pat Mansir, Julia Prince, and Brad Loewen eliminated the beach fee income from the 2010 budget.
“Make East Hampton government functions and transactions transparent.” In fact, many decisions were made without transparency, including the concert, whatever happened with Dan Adams, the thought of selling the fishing docks without discussion by the people, and how many lawsuits have resulted from hasty decisions, and how many times were Julia Prince and Pete Hammerle left out of discussions?
“Hold open Town Hall meetings to encourage citizen participation.” I would like to know how many citizens won’t go to Town Hall meetings because Mr. Wilkinson and Theresa Quigley run the show and don’t let too many people get a word in without an argument. Many people ask me who is our supervisor, Mr. Wilkinson or Ms. Quigley. Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley would get feedback if only they would let people talk.
“Reduce the number of town employees through attrition.” The ad fails to continue with “through attrition and the first layoffs in the history of East Hampton Town.” We should ask Stephen Lester why he was laid off on LTV without having been notified — not even a day’s notice. Mr. Wilkinson promised in 2007 and 2009 to the Independence Party committee that there would be no need for layoffs as the employees would be his ambassadors.
“Support our trustees and their values.” Why did Mr. Wilkinson suggest at a Citizens for Access Rights meeting that the trustees should meet with the lawsuit people for a settlement? Does Mr. Wilkinson really support the trustees or is he telling them the same rhetoric he told the town employees to get elected?
Other promises Mr. Wilkinson made but didn’t keep: He promised to try to get back the employees’ health insurance with Island Group at no additional cost. His decisions in cutting the budget have affected those who can least afford it. The senior citizens’ programs and the children’s programs were some of the first cut. He has indicated that there will be more layoffs.
What is really going to happen if Mr. Wilkinson gets re-elected only Mr. Wilkinson knows, because he has shown that we cannot believe what he says.
East Hampton Independence Party
September 18, 2011
I wanted to find out what comments could possibly warrant throwing out our entire zoning code, along with decades of successful review procedures for all outdoor lighting in East Hampton Town, and which documents were referenced and what professionals were consulted. I filed a Freedom of Information Act request and only received a copy of a letter from Councilwoman Theresa Quigley to other board members (outlining what they were not required to deliver) along with a memo to/from the East Hampton Business Alliance and Sean Heaney (he sells landscape lighting equipment). There was one letter from a marina owner who had questions that could have been answered with some educational information about “lumens” (listed on lightbulb packages).
I did not see any correspondence or documentation from the consultant Ms. Quigley referenced who had designed lighting on a Disney property, nor can I find qualifications for him through professional lighting design organizations.
The draft that the board is considering would eliminate regulations that have been in effect for decades and in 2006 were refined for easier enforcement and to meet professional guidelines for safety and greater energy efficiency. The 2006 code was checked by Nancy Clanton for technical accuracy. She is a certified lighting designer and an engineer that sits on the boards of the Illuminating Engineering Society and the International Dark Sky Association and she wrote the interior and exterior lighting guidelines for the Department of Defense.
While there may be some justifiable amendments to our current code (e.g., longer retrofit periods for some businesses where warranted in order to achieve a reasonable return on investment), there is no justification to throw out the entire code and replace it with one that decidedly does not reflect our community’s desire to cut glare (bare lightbulbs!), light trespass, and sky-glow. I am compiling a (long) list of the many problems that will result if our code is so radically altered, as reflected in Ms. Quigley’s proposed draft. There are many technical errors as well, and I have circulated her draft to other lighting design professionals who will weigh in on their concerns.
By the way, no member of the town’s energy and light advisory committee was consulted. If we had been, we would have been able to amend the current code to meet any concerns in the community.
Since my credentials and motives have been questioned, next week I’ll post them for your readers so that they can make their own determination. For now, I am simply a volunteer member of the community who hopes to help preserve what we love about East Hampton.
I’m happy also to report that LTV will be airing a show on light pollution and protecting our nocturnal environment, sponsored by the Accabonac Protection Committee.
Dark Sky Society
September 18, 2011
In very expensive full-page ads last week, the Republicans made a surprising number of factually untrue claims.
For example, they did not eliminate the beach permit fee; that was done by the previous board in the 2010 budget. They did not implement the budget advisory committee that existed for a year before they took office under the leadership of Bob Kaufman, an attorney. They did not approve the town’s first wind energy turbine; there have been at least two in the past: Don Miller’s on Accabonac Highway, and the Hotchkisses’ at Stony Hill Stables, both approved by the town at the time.
Many of their claims are highly debatable. Particularly surprising is the claim that they have supported the trustees in the fight for beach rights. We strenuously disagree and feel the Wilkinson administration has been nearly useless in this critical fight.
It will be quite an election season! If you see our candidates, Zach Cohen for supervisor and Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc for town board, on the campaign trail please talk to them. They are eager to meet and know the concerns of our citizens.
East Hampton Town
All About Money
September 18, 2011
“Promises, Promises‚” that’s the song Bill Wilkinson is singing now as he points to his accomplishments, and they’re all about money. We are aware of the mess the cop and the hairdresser made of the town’s finances and it should not be dismissed lightly. But it didn’t take a genius to fix the problem (if it is truly fixed). Mickey Mouse could have done it, and Mickey Mouse did, on the backs of the town’s workers and residents of the community — those of us who live here.
The famous tax cut for me amounted to $26, but it cost $300 to have my leaves picked up and carted away. Where does Mr. Wilkinson mention in his full-page ad his other accomplishments and promises kept, like the threatening letter he sent to all the employees of the town, the attempt to sell the docks at Montauk, the closing of Fort Pond House (a place where I happily took writing classes), attempting to truss down the throats of Springs residents a housing program that would make multiple dwellings legal, benefiting landlords, subverting East Hampton Airport to cater to the rich at the expense of those of us who must bear the sound of aircraft overhead, failing to stand up for beach access, attempting to change the goals of the planning board and the zoning board of appeals, the mess that has become Montauk including a huge 7-Eleven, and so on, and on?
Mr. Wilkinson is so lusting to continue his power that he stooped to going to the state head of the Independence Party to make sure Elaine Jones’s Independence Party was emasculated and unable to support Zach Cohen’s candidacy. He has chosen to deride the Human Resources Department, which took a beating from him earlier, thus engendering the sympathy of the many people who benefited from their work. Better besmirch their reputations then, too.
I could list so many other failures of the terrible three, but the most egregious is the lack of support for the environmental issues that are paramount for our town.
If Mr. Wilkinson is successful in his bid for re-election we will lose the East Hampton that we know and love. He and the developers who support him will turn us into Nassau County. Look around you. There is so little left of open land now. What will happen to our traditional farming and fishing industries? Can you see the future for us? I can and it makes me sick!
PHYLLIS I. MALLAH
September 19, 2011
To the Editor,
There’s no free lunch, folks. Our troublesome town deficit we now “own” has been resolved — but only temporarily — by the current magician-in-residence, our own Bill W ilkinson. His solution is anything anybody with a sixth-grade education could have figured out.
The Town of East Hampton has issued a bond for payment of the deficit. Payment will be gradual, over the future years, but it is nonetheless something that has to be eventually reckoned with. So don’t please go round thinking this debt is anything but debt.
More details are forthcoming, so don’t rest easy just yet.
Surf Lodge Elite
September 16, 2011
Editor, The Star:
For months, The Star has reported that some business promoters and town officials are upset and resentful that community residents haven’t embraced sacrificing the property values, quality of life, and precious summers of the many to assure the profits of the few. Apparently, these resentful feelings remain. (“Councilwoman Makes Tearful Exit,” Star, Sept. 15, 2011).
The few high-impact, heavy-intensity businesses in question include noisy, overcrowded, code-violating night clubs in residential zones and, at the height of this summer season, the MTK festival that proposed cramming many thousands of people into an already jammed town.
One of the promoters, the Surf Lodge’s Rob McKinley, makes the case that it is “unfair” to cite his “successful” business for code violations. And what is the basis of that “success”? Business volume made possible by repeated overcrowding, environmental risk-taking and neighbor abuse. In short — code violations.
In 2009, his chef bragged about that “success” in The New York Times, as the Surf Lodge was serving over 600 meals a night in a facility permitted to seat a maximum of 68 people. And that has to represent just a fraction of the traffic at their bar. Mr. McKinley’s “success” has been overwhelming, particularly for the Surf Lodge’s septic system located in close proximity to the environmentally sensitive shores of Montauk’s Fort Pond, designated by New York State as a significant coastal fish and wildlife habitat.
Did town officials sound the alarm and complain to the relevant state or county officials about the risky situation? Nope. Instead, they chose to enable it by offering the Surf Lodge something other Montauk businesses hadn’t been able to get: the use of a large piece of public land on the cheap for valet parking.
As reported in The Star, Mr. McKinley presents a remarkably oxymoronic defense of his business model: that his “success,” while repeatedly violating code, should immunize him from being cited for repeatedly violating code. If that defense holds as a matter of fact or policy, an inevitable question arises. What specific level of gross profit should officially qualify a person or business as “successful” enough to become a member of a new privileged elite — those enabled by official endorsement or inaction to repeatedly violate codes that cover everyone else?
Fortunately, we have many people and businesses in our community who are good neighbors, treat each other and the environment with respect, employ local people, and make charitable donations. Unlike Mr. McKinley, they don’t seem to think that this entitles them to a special exemption from regulations that protect the public interest.
Concerned Citizens of Montauk
September 19, 2011
I attended the Thursday East Hampton Town Board meeting on Sept. 15. Anne Maegli, a Montauk resident of the Ruschmeyer’s neighborhood, addressed the board, once again, about the board’s failure to shut down this nightclub because of its many violations. “It’s interfering with the neighbors’ quality of life,” she stated. Ms. Maegli, to her credit, stood her ground when the board tried to convince her that the Ruschmeyer issue was “not in their jurisdiction” because the violations were now in the Justice Court.
Ms. Maegli implored them to look at the safety and health issues that exist: public urination, septic system weekly pump out by the club owners, littering, nudity, and fornication of drunk customers on her property. These were only a few things mentioned. She implored the board to look at the destruction of the quality of life for the residents of this area.
During the public comment section, Sylvia Overby addressed the same issue. The town attorney, Mr. Jilnicki, was asked by Supervisor Wilkinson to give Ms. Maegli and Ms. Overby answers to their pleas for action. Our town attorney stated that there was nothing the town could do except issue violations. Mr. Wilkinson stated, “We pay our lawyers a lot of money to tell us what to do.”
As I see it, the town attorneys seem to be getting paid to tell townspeople that they can’t seem to do anything. The power to act is in the hands of this Wilkinson-Quigley administration and they are using it to instruct their attorneys to delay any action to help the people. This board is passing the buck to high paid attorneys and what we are getting is inaction. Everyone has an excuse to do nothing and nothing is what the citizens are getting.
There is something that residents can do. It’s to change this “do nothing” administration. So on Election Day, Nov. 8, vote for Zach Cohen, Sylvia Overby, and Peter Van Scoyoc.
Ms. Klopman is a Democratic candidate for East Hampton Town Trustee. Ed.
Using the Beach
September 19, 2011
To the Editor:
I read with interest The East Hampton Star article about the exasperation of East Hampton Town Board member Theresa Quigley at the latest citizens’ committee in Montauk. Yet there was no indication in your article that there was any rudeness on the part of the participants. Perhaps Ms. Quigley should sit in the audience at a council meeting from time to time. We in the community also feel a bit worn down.
The town’s inability to enforce town codes regulating the clubs in Montauk confounds me. (Newcomer establishments are not necessarily the only offenders.) The codes are set up for a reason, and citizens of Montauk are entitled to the same consideration from summer visitors as residents are in other areas of East Hampton. Yet it would appear we are forgotten by the board, at least until election time.
I am aware of one instance where the management of the Surf Lodge would appear negligent. A female relative who was a patron of the outdoor section of the club was prevented from entering the club to use the bathroom because, per the bouncer-enforcer, the indoor capacity was at limit. My relative saw others using the beach as a toilet. No club personnel discouraged this practice. If you are looking for health code violations. . .
It seems any neighbor of an offending facility should just get a camera and point and shoot. Maybe photos will make it more difficult for the town board to turn a blind eye to clubs flouting the law.
On another matter, early in 2011 the residents of Seaview Avenue petitioned the town to eliminate parking on Seaview Avenue in Montauk, trying to keep beach visitors from parking on our lawns and to keep our narrow street safe for local residents to come and go. Wider streets in our neighborhood are “no parking” zones on both sides of the street. Sometime in March we were granted a restriction on parking, yet still no signs.
Albany has been tagged as the villain here, but my understanding per actual Albany spokespeople is that this is just an issue of getting the regulation published. Our street is not a state road.
So East Hampton Town Board members, do we have a chance of getting our signs by Election Day? I fear that once summer guests start arriving in 2012 we will be pushed to the back burner again.
September 19, 2011
The ability to calmly react to citizens dissatisfied with policy choices and job performance would seem to be a vital prerequisite for any person seeking elected office. That’s why it was so disturbing to read in The East Hampton Star (Sept. 15) about Councilwoman Theresa Quigley’s latest outburst, this time to unhappy citizens at the Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee: “I’m not running for office, so I don’t give a crap.” She then made a tearful exit.
This follows hot on the heels of other repeated disquieting outbursts from the lady as reported in The Star over the past two years. They include shutting down public objections to parkland sales (“Save it for your lawsuit”), her take on her election (the conservationists “lost”), and her opinion of open government (“Transparency is a fake word”).
Those who run for elective office must be emotionally ready, willing, and able to accept the challenging nature of the job.
It appears that both Ms. Quigley and the community will suffer for the remainder of her term unless she grows up or steps down.
East Hampton Town
Full Four Years
September 17, 2011
“I’m not running for office so I don’t give a crap,” a rather shocking declaration from an elected official of the East Hampton Town Board.
Does this pronouncement mean that Councilwoman Theresa Quigley will continue to collect her salary checks without giving a crap until, say, June of 2013, when she may indeed be running for office?
As I naively understand it, town board members take an oath of office, as well as a nice salary, to serve the public for the full four years of their term.
Perhaps Ms. Quigley might reflect on the advice of a former president of the United States: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”
Raise the Fines
September 16, 2011
Labor Day weekend, two young ladies came to visit us in Montauk. Saturday night about 9 o’clock they left for the Surf Lodge and Ruschmeyer’s. Sunday they reported that they had a good time, but that the toilet facilities at both places were horrible. The line for the ladies room was discouragingly long, the porta-potties were disgusting, and many of the guests, female and male, were peeing in the bushes. (The town board says there is nothing it can do except issue violations, which are treated as a cost of doing business.)
It’s time to raise the fines to meaningful levels.
September 16, 2011
Beverly Bond, the East Hampton Republican Party cheerleader and Trace Duryea cohort, is out of control. She is preaching ethics to those in the community who are independents, Democrats, and/or Independence Party members. In the context of the town board elections in eight weeks, her rantings are hypocritical, partisan, and disingenuous.
Ms. Bond is hysterical that a planning board member is running for a position on the town board. What is troubling is the Republican Party’s acceptance of a sizable donation from Ken Silverman, one of the litigants against the people of East Hampton and against our rightful ownership of our beaches.
Gone to Help
September 15, 2011
The mistress of the impolitic in our local East Hampton Town government is Councilwoman Theresa Quigley. Ms. Quigley was asked to advocate for her Montauk constituents in their attempts to improve the quality of life situation vis-a-vis certain local nightclubs. “I’m not running for office so I don’t give a crap!” was her response.
Might I suggest that her soul mate, Supervisor Willy Wilkinson, “I’m running East Hampton like a $70 million corporation,” think on outsourcing her. Their henchman, Len Bernard, the budget guy, who is a skilled political opportunist, could spin it that she’s gone to help Greece!
Who are these people? They don’t like us much. Nope, not at all.
Well, come on, November.
Voters, let us wall them off with people who do care about East Hampton and what’s important out here: the environment and each other.
All good things,
Stop the Abuse
September 15, 2011
To the Editor,
I would like to start by saying thank you to all the emergency services workers, the fire departments, the emergency medical technicians, and all other workers and volunteers who helped keep the roads open and safe for us all during Hurricane Irene. Only five men from the Town Highway Department were at work during the storm. I have worked for the East Hampton Town Highway Department for more than 25 years and was not called in for work. I would also like to thank the extra help we had from the Sanitation Department and Parks and Recreation Department for doing the hurricane cleanup.
We at the Highway Department have endured physical and verbal abuse, harassment, and intimidation for more than a year. We followed the complaint procedure, hoping someone would help us make the abuse stop. So far, still nothing!
There was an investigation done by the town, and there is now an ongoing investigation by the New York State Human Rights Commission because of all the allegations. We at the Highway Department should not have to work under these conditions. The morale is suffering. Our families are suffering. Time and time again we do our jobs: snowstorms, flooding, hurricanes, etc. Please help us stop the abuse and aggressive style of mismanagement and vote for Stephen Lynch for East Hampton Town highway superintendent in November. Thanks for all your support.
Labor Crew Leader
East Hampton Town
Vote for Steve
Barefoot Bay, Fla.
September 7, 2011
Even though I don’t live in East Hampton now, to me it will always be home, and I want to express my support to Stephen Lynch for the office of superintendent of highways in East Hampton this November.
Steve is a fine, honest, caring person, a wonderful son, husband, father, and grandfather. I have known him for many years. He comes from a family of Bonackers and they are faithful to their Bonac heritage. I have lived in Florida for 20 years and still consider myself a Bonacker. So let’s get out and vote for Steve, another true Bonacker, a man who can get the job done.
September 15, 2011
I am writing to urge East Hampton Town residents to support Stephen K. Lynch for superintendent of highways.
Stephen K. Lynch has demonstrated his leadership skills over the last 28 years in his own excavating, drainage, and building business and has done so in a positive and respectful way. He has strong ties to the community as a resident with family ties back to the 1850s.
As a past member of the community, I have watched the morale of the highway crew diminish dramatically over the last few years. I believe that Stephen K. Lynch will be able to effect a positive workplace atmosphere, which will bring a much needed breath of fresh air to the Highway Department.
We have a very good group of employees who are fully capable in their jobs, if treated with the consideration and respect they deserve.
I am no longer a local resident of East Hampton and cannot vote, so I encourage you to get out in November and vote for all those of us who love East Hampton but can no longer cast a vote.
September 15, 2011
To the Editor:
This letter is written out of complete and utter exasperation in feeling that workplace bullying is tolerated by the Town of East Hampton. It is vital to the health and culture of the community that Stephen Lynch be elected in the upcoming election for highway superintendent. In the Oct. 31, 2007, edition of The Independent, the following statements were written about Mr. Lynch as the opponent of incumbent Scott King: “Lynch, the Republican challenger, has the pedigree to suggest he will be able to handle the job and, like King, has strong local roots. But King already works for the department, and with Russo gone we believe continuity is important.”
Okay, continuity of what? Repeated accusations of workplace harassment and bullying? King of the Highway self-promotion? Unemployment at a high while an elected official believes he may mistreat employees without any fear of repercussions? Why is Mr. King still there, not to mention up for re-election? Would you re-elect Mr. King if your son or daughter was subjected to the continuity of this behavior? Despite being under the scrutiny of the public, Mr. King still has no intention of behaving in any fashion other than that of an intolerable tyrant. This is egregious. If he gets the job done, at what cost? Historically, slaves and concubines got the job done as well.
The Highway Department workers are people, with families, who deserve to be treated fairly and professionally. In cases where disciplinary action may (or may not) be needed, are there no proper channels to utilize other than name-calling and alleged physical abuse? Just how many so-called “disgruntled employees” are there in the Town of East Hampton looking to smear Mr. King’s name? And why?
Now read this statement by The Independent in the same Oct. 31, 2007, edition referenced above: “King has the advantage of already working for the Highway Department. He has been criticized of late for over-trimming trees that grow onto town property, and we wish he had been a little more understanding and a little less authoritative to those who complained. People love trees more than tar, Scott, but The Independent supports Scott King.”
So, it has been determined that Mr. King is “authoritative” to those who complained. It sounds to me that that may be his modus operandi for anyone who complains, employees and town residents alike. Does that render him an equal opportunity authoritative bully? This whole approach reeks of poor management and a dire lack of emotional intelligence. If East Hampton Town wants a steamroller elected, why don’t they e-mail Eliot Spitzer and see if he’s interested in running?
In closing, the good old definition of insanity comes to mind here in expecting things to change by re-electing Mr. King once again. Please put yourself in the shoes of those who have been at the receiving end of his “authoritative” King of the Highway routine.
With a plea for positive change,
For Scott King
September 18, 2011
To the Editor,
Scott King — King of Our Roads! Kudos to Scott King and his Highwaymen for resolving a dangerous situation ignored by mighty LIPA and our local police.
Live wires went down across our road [Bon Pinck Way] during Irene’s visit. Calls from surrounding neighbors were continuously ignored by LIPA and even the Police Department. So we took it upon ourselves to try to block off the street to prevent cars, pedestrians, and bikes from going over the live wires. But cars just maneuvered their way through, intent on getting to the other end of the street, no matter the danger, even though there was another way around.
In exasperation, I finally called the Highway Department. I got right through to Mr. King, and when I explained that our pleas to LIPA and the Police Department had been ignored, he said he could have cones put out for us to help block off the road, but that was all he could do. Twenty minutes later, his highwaymen were out there and strategically placed enough cones to prevent any vehicles from getting through. His response was immediate, and the cones were enough to turn cars away, enabling all of us to breathe a collective sigh of relief. Then we continued to wait for LIPA.
Two days later, LIPA came to replace the downed wires and said they had been dispatched to our street by the Highway Department, which had alerted LIPA to our dangerous situation. Clearly, putting up the cones was not all that Scott King did for us. He accomplished what none of us were able to do no matter how many calls we made. His involvement resulted in LIPA expediting a crew out to us and returning safety to our little street. If it were not for Scott King, we might still be waiting for LIPA. Our gratitude goes out to Mr. King and his highwaymen. They step up when others are nowhere to be found.
September 12, 2011
I don’t know what time Highway Superintendent Scott King and his crew got up last Monday, but when the storm cleared and I ventured out of my house, I was pleasantly surprised to find that all the main roads were open and trucks and men were busily removing debris from the side streets. Too bad LIPA was not as efficient, but thanks to the Highway Department at least those without electricity or water could get to a friend’s home to shower and cook.
I will certainly remember the team’s great effort when it comes to Election Day. Why in the world would we want to change a leader who has proven his value? Thanks Scott. Thanks guys.
Expands the Noise
September 19, 2011
To the Editor,
The propaganda campaign currently being waged against local control of East Hampton Airport noise is startling in its intensity and its misrepresentation of reality. I am referring to the East Hampton Aviation Association’s full-page advertisement in The Star’s Sept. 15 edition. That ad and related radio advertising endorse and amplify the blatant airport noise-control disinformation emanating from East Hampton Town Hall.
The obvious purpose of all this propaganda is to suppress the public’s understanding that the town cannot achieve real control of airport noise if it continues to seek Federal Aviation Administration money for airport capital needs. After 2014, when key parts of the town’s past cash-based obligation to the F.A.A. expire, East Hampton will be able to impose mandatory curfews and other enforceable noise-limiting rules on aircraft accessing the airport. Southampton Village has done that for years at its heliport on Meadow Lane because it never took F.A.A. money.
The smokescreen began when, in mid-2010, Town Hall began to make believe that helicopters are the only source of its aircraft-noise problem. Forget low-flying jets over East Hampton Village. Forget 2 a.m. jet takeoffs thundering through the whole area.
Now the Aviation Association’s cleverly drafted but highly misleading advertising tries to thicken the fog. It is predicted that the establishment of a seasonal control tower, together with the addition of a southern helicopter route along the ocean and crossing Georgica to the airport, “will mean quieter neighborhoods for all of our residents” — a totally insupportable assertion.
Consider the rerouting of helicopters. While lessening the helicopter noise over some UpIsland communities, rerouting in the local area will only spread the noise around. It will give initial partial relief to the current noise victims under the present Northwest route, while increasing it over Georgica. And it will do nothing to prevent ever increasing future helicopter traffic over both northerly and southerly routes, much less reduce such noise generation.
Turning to the seasonal control tower, while its creation is undoubtedly a quite worthwhile safety development, its noise control effects are speculative at best. For instance, since jets and other fixed-wing aircraft can land and take off only to and from specific runways, the controller’s power over their approaches and takeoff patterns and altitudes will be constrained even within the five-mile radius. And helicopters, while not restricted by runway patterns, must employ glide paths to the ground, and their controlled approaches inside the five-mile radius will be heavily affected by their self-chosen northern or southern routes outside the perimeter, thus here again constraining a controller’s options to prescribe altitudes. Also, the tower is not likely to be manned 24 hours a day, and a control tower cannot impose any policy of limiting the number of, for example, evening or weekend aircraft landings and takeoffs. Only weather or other safety considerations can justify such controller restrictions.
In sum then, Town Hall and the Aviation Association’s pie-in-the-sky narrative would allow a 365-day, 24-hour airport with only a seasonal and likely non-24-hour control tower, with a rerouting and rearrangement of East Hampton area helicopter noise patterns, and with only some speculative control tower noise diminishment. There are no mechanisms for nighttime or weekend curfews or limiting the endless expansion of helicopter and jet traffic, whether daytime or at 2 a.m. While it is said that there will be no further expansion of the physical airport, it is the expansion of traffic that expands the noise.
Finally, now, in light of the fairy tale that East Hampton is about to take control of airport noise, Town Hall has announced, according to The Star’s Sept. 15 report, that it shortly will seek F.A.A. funding to repair fencing around the airport for security and anti-deer purposes. And our officials would do this in full knowledge that doing so will prevent the town from exercising effective airport noise abatement for another 20 years.
But why should the Aviation Association so strongly endorse the town’s fairy tale and who are the people behind the association and its extraordinary advertising campaign? The fact is that the association is made up of a narrow band of wealthy airplane owners and airport business interests, many of them nonresidents. At this point, it should be noted that last Thursday’s full-page ad spoke one significant truth: These matters are bipartisan. The association’s leadership money is contributed to both Republican and Democratic local parties.
Again, why should these people with all their wealth wish, for example, to have federal dollars subsidize the building of a fence when they know that the first dollar the town accepts from the F.A.A. will prevent local airport noise control for another 20 years?
Part of the answer is that, without F.A.A. subsidies, proper future airport maintenance of runways and other physical facilities costing much more than a fence would have to be paid for out of airport revenues, including, perhaps, a revenue bonding program. In other words, the costs would have to be covered in important part by money from airport users. These people do not want to pay for their airport.
Additionally, these people do not want local officials, answerable to local residents, empowered to impose curfews and other mandatory restrictions on the use of their airplanes. And, of course, some politicians prefer to hide behind F.A.A. rules to avoid having to choose between the interests of the general public and the interests of this narrow band of significant financial supporters.
That then brings us to the coming local election. The newly formed Quiet Skies Coalition, made up of area residents and victims of aircraft noise, is asking candidates for town supervisor and town board seats to pledge not to take any further federal aviation subsidies. But, as noted, the present town administration already has announced its plan shortly to seek such money for the fence repair project, which would make the F.A.A. issue moot before the election.
We soon shall see whether the current Town Hall occupants succeed in selling out the 20-year future quiet enjoyment rights of local residents for the price of a fence — and for the benefit of that small group of moneyed supporters.
CHARLES EHREN JR.
Were Sold Out
September 15, 2011
The airport! Hallelujah, we are saved! For the past 22 years each town administration danced around this issue and nothing was done except to cater to the small special-interest group. A sneaky transformation from a small rural facility to a jetport took place and a heliport mysteriously appeared overnight. The resulting lawsuit explains all.
This current administration had one objective, that is to bow to that special interest group. A comprehensive plan was presented to the board. The front rows were filled by this special-interest group. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that we were sold out. Their hidden agenda may not come to fruition.
For the past 10 years a dedicated group of concerned citizens were appointed to a committee that worked very hard and unselfishly gave of their time and effort. It may be fair to say that the special-interest group didn’t like the plan of recommendations it submitted, and the end result was that the committee was unceremoniously disbanded without so much as a notice.
Could it be that the heavy political contributors that populated the front row whispered on the ears of those in power that they weren’t happy with what they read? Gone with the wind, not even a common courtesy of advisement. I guess that is the way he operated at Disney.
Now we face the administration’s grandiose plans to seek federal funding to extend the soon-to-be-expired grant assurances until 2034 — another 20 years — and make us indentured servants once again. No relief in sight. The so-called tower and the rest of the misinformation attached is a another dog and pony show — it will not solve the disruption of the quality of life here. To the contrary, it is 2014 that will allow local control.
The pilots have a specific agenda and that is not to mitigate a disruption of daily living but to have an abandoned runway opened. Here is the Federal Aviation Administration’s verbatim quote buried in the massive 1989 master plan. They all hide behind the F.A.A. regulations . . . “Oh, you cannot do that, the F.A.A., etc.”
According to the F.A.A., the 1989 master plan and airport layout plan, one of which is still in effect, the F.A.A. stated, “4-22 was in such poor condition and since 16-34 was the better cross-wind runway, 4-22 was designated to be abandoned.” Has the earth tilted on its axis? Nothing has changed.
Verbatim: “We recommend the elimination of runway 4-22 from use as a runway and that the plan designate 16-34 as the secondary runway. 4-22 does not provide significant additional coverage based upon historical wind conditions. Its intersections with other runways are dangerous.” What is this, pick and choose?
Hide behind the F.A.A. when convenient but ignore it when it doesn’t suit your agenda — you cannot have it both ways. The pilots for years ranted about the poor conditions yet continued to use it. So much for their concerns about safety.
That runway poses the most danger to those on the ground by the low-altitude early turning and landing, often less than 100 feet over people’s houses. Of course when one looks at the ages of some of these pilots, it is apparent their skills are not those of a 25-year-old. The chutzpah of the pilots. Some of them turn off their transponders to avoid landing fees. They have the unmitigated gall to scream that we the residents of this town be kept under the boot of the F.A.A. Why don’t they pay for what they use like the rest of us? If they had to pay the rightful use fee they would shrink into the weeds.
The full-page advertisement in The Star is filled with misinformation, especially the headline. Bill Wilkinson made promises to take F.A.A. money, and he owes the pilots, plain and simple.
The general population whose quality of life is severely affected — not only in this town but in surrounding areas — takes a back seat to the special-interest group. Tail shakes the dog.
Look, he told the Montauk citizens affected by the nightclubs, “The season is almost over.” His actions speak volumes. Pilots who don’t live here over those that do. He should stand tall like Theresa Quigley and just state, “I don’t give a crap.” It is obvious he doesn’t and we will return the favor in November.
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
Feral Cat Poem #30
Last day in August
Gardiner’s Bay is slate
Accabonac Harbor a jigsaw-curved mirror
laid flat under a robin’s egg blue sky
Woods crowd around the shoreline
jostling and shoving to get into the picture.
It’s time for the Feral Cats Picnic
We gather from all over
on the leeward hook of Louse Point
Having hit Zabar’s on the way, Old Stone Deli
and Springs General Store for chow
Gulls donate shellfish mostly conch
airlifted in and dropped onto the tar road
to crack, for our convenience
After Irene, corn went up to a buck an ear.
(How ancestral pirates got their name.)
After the feast, sated, we lick our paws
wash our faces and watch our kittens
boxing up on hind legs or somersaulting
down the dune cliff. Basking in the sun we
wonder about winter but don’t dwell
on who’ll likely not be here next year
For the Feral Cats Picnic.
Go No Further
September 19, 2011
I would like to respond to the misinformation contained in last week’s letter to The Star from Rick Murphy.
Mr. Murphy said “. . . Arthur Goldman likens our criticism of Mr. Vas [East Hampton’s athletic director] to the extermination of the Jews.” Mr. Murphy then goes on to describe what I said as outlandish and a cheap shot. Had that been what I said, I could not agree more. But that’s not what I said. Mr. Murphy needs to sharpen his reading comprehension skills, even if he is very important, as he eagerly points out, with a wall full of awards and a secretary who makes his appointments.
The Star article that Mr. Murphy is referring to quotes me correctly as saying, “What you do not challenge becomes true. The [Independent] editorial claims that Joe Vas is forming his own Gestapo. When you compare a coach who values student and spectator safety to the extermination of the Jews — the language is just so egregious, it cannot go unmentioned.” These comments of mine were directed toward Mr. Murphy’s use of the word “Gestapo” in his newspaper to describe members of our community who chaperone at public school events. If Mr. Murphy wants to find outlandish statements and cheap shots, he need go no further than his own editorial page.
Mr. Murphy wonders how his paper became part of the story. Well, when he — in his own words, an “award winning reporter” — dares to suggest that the local school board is allowing the athletic director to hire people to act, in Mr. Murphy’s words, “as his own Gestapo,” that says more about Mr. Murphy than it does about the director. (Hint to Mr. Murphy: If you want a story covered your way, perhaps you should send one of your reporters to a school board meeting. Better yet, ask your secretary to fit one into your own schedule.)
When I spoke at the school board meeting it was not to defend the athletic director, nor was it to comment on the district’s decision to hire or not hire chaperones, nor was it an attempt to eliminate dissent. My words were a response to the inappropriate, unsuitable, and unnecessarily provocative language used by Mr. Murphy to make his point. It is a sign of immaturity to claim “foul” when people respond to his language. Mr. Murphy, grow up.
September 14, 2011
I note in last week’s editorial you state: “These three houses were built at a time when local laws were lax with regard to potential erosion and allowed them to be sited where none should be.” I represent Young and Lemieux who own the house now before the [East Hampton Town] Zoning Board of Appeals. When that house was built, there was a road in front of it to the north and another house and lot in front of that. So there was a house lot and road between what is now my client’s property and the water.
As has been testified to at the Z.B.A., erosion in this area accelerated at five times the previous annual rate after 2004, not because of house construction in the area, but because of the decision made by the trustees and the county to dredge the west channel of Napeague Harbor and deposit the dredge spoil on Hicks Island, taking that sand out of the littoral system, depriving the beach in this area of natural replenishment. The aerial photos taken over the last 50 years or more are evidence of this fact. My client’s proposal, which includes a revetment, is to move the house as far back on the lot from the water as zoning allows and to make it Federal Emergency Management Agency-compliant as well as upgrading an old septic system to current standards.
September 19, 2011
Although the film “Not In Our Town, Light in the Darkness” was shown on PBS, Channel 13 on Wednesday, you can still see it on its Web site if you missed it. It is a documentary on the killing of an immigrant by six teens out “beaner hopping” in our Suffolk County community and its aftermath, which still reverberates here, as around the nation.
Just last week, the Department of Justice released its long-awaited report on the negligence in our police department and indifference from our elected officials toward hate crime. It is a must-read by everybody as it makes practicable suggestions for better policing and prosecution of hate crime. I especially hope our elected officials and candidates will read the report and initiate clearer protocols for investigation here in East Hampton of hate crime, which has gone largely unchecked and ineptly prosecuted.
September 9, 2011
Place names are often a subject of debate. I was a member of the Springs Community Advisory Committee at the time when we requested the “Welcome to (The?) Springs” signs. Our authority for the use of “The” was the venerable librarian, also from an old East Hampton family, who oversaw the East Hampton Library ‘s Long Island Room.
Another controversial place name has been Sammy’s Beach, formerly referred to in The Star — and on some maps — as Sammis Beach. Sammis was the name of a family from Huntington, Long Island, with no known ties to East Hampton. Sherrill Foster, a local historian, insisted that the beach was named for Samuel (Sammy) Sherrill, a young man from Connecticut who was the skipper of a trading sloop. Family history has it that he moved to East Hampton after he landed on what later became Sammy’s Beach, where he delivered a chest to Elizabeth Parsons, the local lass who became his wife.
So is it Springs or the Springs? Sammis Beach or Sammy’s Beach? We may never know for sure. I admire your daughter’s spunk.
Jeannette Edwards Rattray, in her 1953 “East Hampton History and Genealogies” wrote, “Samuel Sherrill, first of that name in East Hampton, was the survivor of a shipwreck in about 1665. There is an old story that a Miss Parsons who was among some girls on the beach to look at the wrecked vessel remarked that she had seen the handsomest young man she had ever laid eyes on, among the survivors; and that if he should ask her to marry him, she would.” Notably, Mrs. Rattray referred to Springs as “the Springs” in the book. Ed.
September 18, 2011
To the Editor,
So the Obama administration is getting the word out that Warren Buffet’s secretary pays more taxes than her boss. What they fail to say is that he paid $7 million last year and she paid approximately $30,000. They just keep harping on the tax brackets they are in.
The administration continues to think up ways to drastically increase the taxes of people making over a million dollars per year. I’ve been in the employment sector for many years and know that these are the individuals who create jobs. What a “great time” to deincentify the very people that are responsible for the establishment of the vast majority of jobs in America.
So it again all comes down to political motivation by telling 99.6 percent of us that the rich aren’t doing their part. Then he says the Republican majority in Congress continues to side with the rich. What he fails to understand is they understand that you can’t continue to punish the true job creators when millions of people are unemployed.
Instead of looking for votes to win re-election, why doesn’t he come up with a plan to put people back to work instead of continuing to divide the American people by turning them against each other? With the administration’s half-truths he’s getting close to accomplishing his goal.
September 18, 2011
Did you know that while we here in our country were honoring those who died or were injured as victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, including rescuers who went into the buildings to die as those in them fled to safety, our government was officially downplaying, diluting if you will, this American tragedy? Our State Department instructed its people abroad to state that on Sept. 11 it would honor all victims of terrorism in every nation. A list of about 90 was issued. One report says Israel was omitted, no surprise coming from our government.
I wonder if the Mau Mau terror attacks in Kenya count. Those terrorists forced their countrymen to kill whites under threat of death to them and their families. Instructions included playing down Al Qaeda and its followers as becoming irrelevant.
The information contained in the State Department directive has been closely guarded; The New York Times was treated as an insider and used as a conduit. In other words, our government was speaking out of both sides of its mouth about America’s day of mourning, telling the world we were honoring not those who perished in the 9/11 attacks on us that day, but rather all victims of terrorists in every country over several years. Something very wrong is happening within our government that has succeeded in reducing our country’s security abroad and stateside by diluting our power and turning on our friends while trying to curry favor with our enemies.
President Obama has become the Arab-Muslim negotiator with Israel. He has, by his actions and speeches, told the world that he and our country are not the friend and close ally of Israel, as have been our presidents going back to Harry Truman, so do not hesitate in your moves against Israel out of fear of us as their ally.
We and the world are being duped by the Palestinians and their fellow Arabs and Muslim supporters. You want proof? “We are going to complain that as Palestinians we have been under occupation for 63 years,” said by no less than Mahmoud Abbas the other day. In other words, Israel started its alleged occupation by becoming a country, and therefore must be destroyed.
Their negotiations with Israel have been a pretense, their real goal being Israel’s destruction. It is interesting that Muslims consider the Middle East as their land alone, prohibit other religions to exist, as in Saudi Arabia, harass Christians, Jews, Druids, and those of other minority beliefs, yet in Europe and even here press for Shariah law to replace existing justice systems at the peril of the countries where they live, threaten and even murder those who “insult” their religion. Read some of the bile in their newspapers about us.
There is a country-wide movement on our college campuses to harass and intimidate Jewish students by the schools and faculty and well-financed Muslim groups. The United States attorney general should immediately investigate this and stop all federal funding upon discovery of this activity at any school. You often hear that this is an anti-Zionist movement, not anti-Semitic at all. Read some of the local peddlers of this blatant lie in their letters. The American Civil Liberties Union should be at the forefront of fighting this assault on our religious freedom. Unfortunately, the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers more hope of cooperation in this matter.
Earle S. Rynston
Jokes of Candidates
September 17, 2011
Somehow, some way, juries infallibly come to the right verdict after being presented with totally biased, one-sided versions of the facts and evidence in a trial. I have always believed that these decisions are invariably correct because, after all the verbiage spewed by the lawyers representing each side has ended, the 12 jurors finally get a chance to talk to each other and listen to versions of the facts and evidence that is a consensus and different than their own.
To our total loss, the voters of the country never get a chance to interact the way juries do. The lies and nonsense spewed by candidates and magnified by a media interested only in headlines and sound bites never gets to the “jury” to get a reality check and be sifted through the strainer of truth.
Right now we are being force-fed total nonsense by 10 or 11 unqualified dodos (you can call them candidates) and it comes at us on TV like some sort of reality show, like entertainment produced by those who each want to influence the voters regardless of how they do it or what they say, and we all never get the chance to sit together and review this garbage using our own unique talents of discerning what is truth and what is spin and lies.
So these 10 or 11 jackass Republican presidential candidates and their highly paid staffs of enablers conjure up outrageous exaggerations that they believe will put down their opponent.
So, suddenly they attack and denigrate Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, as an indirect way to attack the president. They say he is a “traitor” (Rick Perry), rant that he is the “most inflationary chairman ever” (Newt Gingrich), “I’d be looking for someone new” (Mitt Romney), and scream that he is one of the main causes of inflation and unemployment when the facts show the exact opposite.
Of the past six Fed chairmen over 60 years, Mr. Bernanke, on the two issues of unemployment and inflation, had a close, second-best record among them.
This same pattern of posturing and speechifying about issues that don’t exist continues throughout this Republican “say anything” campaign, from scare tactics about Social Security, to stupid comments about climate change, to false allegations about socialism, to outright lying about one’s record, they just lie about anything, any issue, from golf to vacations to fiscal policy, but never explain the sound bite and never, ever offer alternative solutions. That, of course, would diminish the weight and purpose of the misuse of facts and get people to think, as juries do, and that must be avoided.
Anyway, the public, while sometimes referred to as a jury, is, unfortunately, not one, and will probably, once again, swallow whatever bull these jokes of candidates like Mr. Perry and Michele Bachmann put out there. We just have to hope that saner heads will prevail.
RICHARD P. HIGER
September 18, 2011
To the Editor,
The debate about the size and role of government is perhaps the most disingenuous, spurious, and blatantly stupid conversation that we have in this country. On the bench on Newtown Lane, when the question of the collapsed economy is raised, the response is small government is the cure. Nothing about tax reforms, income distribution, or hiring incentives for companies manufacturing outside the country.
Why did the moron cross the road? To join the Tea Party.
The essential role of government is to protect the well-being of the population and recognize threats to the country and deal with them. Sept. 11 was a perfect example of a threat that wasn’t dealt with. Al Qaeda is a threat that we did deal with. Katrina we blew completely; Irene we dealt with.
When Lyndon Johnson looked at the condition of America’s elderly population he passed Medicare. Social Security was a response to senior citizens living in poverty when they were no longer able to work. None of this came from the private sector. If we left it up to the free market to provide retirement plans, health care, disease control (smallpox, for example), we would have none of the above.
The current condition of the economy is a prime example of where government has failed. Our deficit is a function of two wars, tax cuts, and drug plans that were unfunded. The financial crisis, the mortgage breakdown, the collapse of the middle class happened while the government slept. The private sector churned along during these last 12 years, making huge profits, paying low taxes, and hiring nobody. The private sector bailed on the American people except for those invested in the stock market. The free market is great but not for everyone, not unsupervised, not left on its own to determine the economic solvency of the country.
The nightmare we are living is Milton Friedman’s free-market dream. Implicit in Friedman’s thinking is that the mass of the population is significantly less important than the investor class and consequently, significantly more disposable. If we could cut the minimum wage in half and dispose of environmental and workplace regulations we could bring manufacturing back to the country and create millions of jobs. Corporate profits would be protected. The stock market would continue to rise. The gross domestic product would expand and deficits would disappear. Sixty percent of the country would live below the poverty level. The distribution of wealth would be more equalized among the bottom 95 percent of the country. The burden of ending the recession or depression would fall on the middle class, but they don’t really count anyway.
So let’s have small, ineffectual government that allows the private sector to run amok and have its way with the rest of us. Bend over, America should be the new national motto, at least for the Tea Party.