Letters to the Editor 09.29.11

Vote Yes
    Amagansett
    September 26, 2011
Dear David,
    Amagansett residents are fortunate in this day and age to live in a community that has a volunteer fire department. These professional and dedicated volunteers respond to fires and medical emergencies that put our lives at risk.
    The Amagansett Fire Department has an opportunity to purchase the adjacent Pacific East property for future expansion, when needed. As we all know, the population is growing here and the calls that the fire and ambulance respond to in the summer have increased drastically.
    The property behind the fire department is used for training and is a critical location because it is also used for a medevac helicopter site. Therefore, the fire department cannot consider it a viable expansion area.
    These volunteers go through countless hours of rigorous training. They willingly give up time with their families and friends so they can respond to our community’s medical and fire emergencies. Now they are asking us to help them to ensure that they are prepared for the future, if expansion is necessary. Is that a lot to ask for? This purchase will benefit the entire community. Time is of the essence because the property can be purchased at an extremely reduced price and this opportunity will never present itself again.
    My family has always supported the Amagansett Fire Department, as it has saved our lives many times. I hope you will join me and vote yes on Tuesday to allow the Amagansett Fire Department to purchase this property.
    Sincerely,
    VICKI M. LITTMAN



Entitled to Know
    Amagansett
    September 23, 2011
Dear Editor,
    As residents of Amagansett, we have long appreciated our volunteer Fire Department and its dedication to its work. We believe the department should have adequate facilities. As The Star notes in its editorial of Sept. 22, the entire process of making the purchase seems very rushed.
    The residents of Amagansett are entitled to know not only the purchase price of the land, but also the costs associated with building and operating this new ambulance facility. In addition, it is important for residents to know the estimated impact of the entire project on the tax rate. We are also curious to know whether other options have been explored that might meet the needs of the department in a most cost-effective way. As noted in  your editorial, the East Hampton Fire Department, which also includes ambulance and police facilities,  operates in a far smaller space (2.1 acres) than Amagansett’s current 4.7-acre lot.
    A Sept. 27 informational meeting to discuss the purchase and referendum scheduled for Oct. 4 does not give adequate time for the residents to properly consider such a significant financial commitment.
    JUDI and PHILIP HAHN



To Serve Us Better
    East Hampton
    September 24, 2011
Dear David,
    Amagansett Fire Department hustles when it comes to an emergency but when it comes to something they know they will need in the future, it is the future before they actually set down their pencils and protractors and long sweat over plans and say, “Let’s ask.” These are not kids just turned loose in a toy store, these are adult men and women who work very well with less for years before they admit they need more in order to serve us better.
    Keep in mind individual fire departments seem to serve only their communities, but there exists a very intricate plan among them that works very well. This plan involves filling in for other districts when and where (could be en route) needed, in a moment’s notice, I might add.
    Amagansett struggled with their old small firehouse until it was bulging at the seams, then worked tirelessly to construct exactly what it absolutely needed and not a nail more.
    In the interim they erected a tower to facilitate communication and it was also a revenue booster. Now they’ve put solar on their building, no small project, to minimize the use of fossil fuels and save money. Keep in mind these are volunteers, working all day and dedicating time to these projects after work.
    We cannot possibly know what the future will require, but they do. They have had the use of the Pacific East parking for years, but if the business goes back to another nightclub, that opportunity will be lost. So will the possibility of using the site for ambulance needs (and as I say these volunteers don’t even mention cramped spaces until it becomes a real necessity). They are ever conscious that it is taxpayer money they will need. What will happen in the maybe not so far future if paid and volunteer have to work side by side? Where will new people be placed between calls?
    Fire and ambulance volunteers think ahead even if it’s something they don’t like to think about. They face it and plan for it — good thing for us!
    The holdings of a fire department are used by the public when possible, along with the fire department’s generosity and cooperation and support. The location of the old Pacific East would be an asset to the community of Amagansett. The site planning — looks, esthetics — I would venture a guess, would be handled with that same generosity, cooperation, and support.
    Respectfully,
    PAT MANSIR




Ambulances
    East Hampton
    September 24, 2011
To the Editor:
    As a resident of East Hampton, I agree with Sylvia Overby’s letter last week in support of expanding Amagansett’s Fire Department and volunteer emergency medical services to the eyesore that was once the Pacific East restaurant.
    It was very unsettling to learn that one of our high school football team members “lay motionless on the field for about 20 minutes” until an ambulance finally showed at last week’s home game. One would think that it would be mandatory to have an ambulance stationed at each game.
    Considering how far away our nearest hospital is, I believe it would be beneficial to all if we can expand these life-saving support services in our town.
BETSY PETROSKI



Carol Hit Hard
    Tubac, Ariz.
    September 18, 2011
To the Editor,
    The summer of ’56 my parents rented a little cabin below Mrs. Tilley’s in Maidstone Park. Hurricane Carol hit hard and the place “rock and rolled.” We survived and the next morning was the most glorious, clear blue skies over the bay, and a sailboat was parked keelwise on the street. It had worked its way from a mooring in the harbor through Jim Taylor’s fishing business off the harbor flats.
    We needed some groceries but Mrs. Tilley’s was closed. My mom grabbed the wagon and we hotfooted it over to Dan Miller’s general store in Springs. An adventure. Past Jungle Pete’s, past the Pollock house, then the Ice Man’s place by Ashawagh Hall. He also delivered milk for G&T Dairies.
    But the best memory was of Mr. Miller giving away all his perishable food for free. That included all the ice cream for the kids. Those indelible memories have helped me to overcome the many storms that man encounters in one’s life.
    Sincerely,
    BART SCHNEIDER



Fastest Eroding
    Lazy Point
    September 26, 2011
To the Editor,
    I read with interest your editorial about Lazy Point a few weeks ago and found it to be good except for one thing you either forgot or didn’t know: Lazy Point does not have erosion; we long for erosion. That we could handle.
     What we have is a highly accelerated form of erosion that was manmade. A few years ago, under the guise of helping us, this erosion was greatly increased.
    We are the fastest eroding spot in East Hampton, and we are on the bay not the ocean side.
    Let me explain this again as clearly as I can so everyone can understand. Fifty years ago, a gut was cut into the west side of Napeaque Harbor so boaters could save on gas getting into Gardiner’s Bay. This gut created a change in the flow of water in and out of the bay that causes our sand to be pulled off the beach  faster then normal erosion would do.
    A few years ago the town finally noticed something was wrong down here and they decided to help us. They opened the gut wider and told us this would slow down the current. Instead, it created a tremendous current that now pulls 5 to 10 times more sand off the beach with every storm. To date, Mulford Lane has lost 150 feet of paved road and beach. The town, the trustees, and the state all signed off on that permit and it was the exact opposite and wrong thing to do.
    Now you would think that three entities who are charged with protecting the shoreline would jump at the chance to fix it if they found out that they were the ones causing the accelerated erosion and destruction, but instead they all bury their heads in the sand and say, “Well, we don’t know.” They also have made no effort to find out.
    Then, to add salt to the wound, these same entities tell these same homeowners that they don’t have the right to protect their homes from such incompetence and should just let their homes sink gracefully into the sea.
    What they did down here is wrong, and until they can get their acts together and fix what they did wrong they should be allowing the homeowners to do whatever is necessary to protect their homes. Hell, they should be helping them to protect their homes.
    Of course in the end it will be the taxpayers who end up paying for the incompetence and inaction of others.
    You cannot destroy the property under people’s houses and tell them they can’t protect their homes without being held liable.
    What they are doing in Lazy Point is not just legally wrong, it is morally wrong. They should all be ashamed.
VIRGINIA BENNIS



A Neighborhood
    East Hampton
    September 26, 2011
Dear Editor:
    Heather Dubin’s article on Sept. 22 “Plan for North Main Street Store Is Challenged” was superb. The reporter did an excellent job capturing the complexities of the issue. One important additional point: I was recently told by a learned local lawyer, who simply cares about the history of North Main, that the board can’t interpret a statute that isn’t ambiguous.
    There was some discussion at the recent zoning board meeting concerning whether or not Empire Gas is a filling station. But legally, there is no ambiguity — Empire is a filling station. It serves gas. Whether or not they fix cars there does not affect that fact. They are asking for a retail store.
    There have previously been minor retail uses at this site, but never a legal retail store. The current building inspector mentioned in his original report that if the buildings existed before the zoning code, the uses are unaffected by code. Not true. My house is old. Can I open a strip club?
    I was enormously disappointed that he called out the word “bullshit” while my lawyer was making a legal argument. His lack of paperwork (he seemed to find it difficult to express how and why he had interpreted the codes; his report had the wrong year on it) and his inability to express exactly what he was up to has created a great deal of expense for my legal team ($35,000 to date). There was no paper trail to follow. By making this decision himself, by allowing Empire to not ask for a variance (retail stores, expressly ones that sell food, are not allowed on same lot as a filling station in the town code), he circumvented public interest and involvement.
    When the matter came up before the planning board, the then-chairwoman said the matter had already been decided (by the building inspector) and they couldn’t discuss public safety or traffic issues. And last week, the Z.B.A. claimed that such matters were up to the planning board.
    So in effect, one man, the building inspector, has decided the future of a uniquely historic, primarily residential neighborhood. He has interpreted the code incorrectly. A Supreme Court justice in New York has sided with my lawyer on these interpretations and put a restraining order in place on the project. This building inspector then went against that order and put a new certificate of occupancy in the file. That is the only reason we were able to meet with the Z.B.A. and ask for its interpretation on this matter.
    This has been an attempt to make an end run around the voice of a neighborhood that is historically known to fight to protect itself — and rather forcefully. We are hoping this project can be stopped. We had enormous public support at the televised Z.B.A. meeting. I was impressed by the Z.B.A. — the members of the board were enormously respectful and thoughtful and we had a lively discussion (they were not dismissive).
    That said, the building inspector had a combative tone and turned to me personally during this meeting and said, “It’s not what you want; it’s what you’re going to get.” This was likely picked up on video.
    This is apparently why Montauk now has a 7-Eleven on Fort Pond that sells Beer Pong in great quantities (same building inspector approved that project; we were later told that was an accident). It is why many hundreds of revelers are now urinating in Fort Pond near Surf Lodge. It is why sites that already have several uses have been allowed to have several more. And it is why Empire, which already has several uses in progress, is attempting to add a convenience store at a terrible traffic bottleneck. This is a matter of public safety.
    After a lengthy traffic study, experts consulting on the East Hampton Town Comprehensive Plan were clear about this — more traffic at this bottleneck location might dangerously impede the time needed to get rescue vehicles to Springs. Summer traffic on North Main is already stifling. It already takes residents on our access road next to the location 10 to 15 minutes to get out onto North Main. If Empire rents to a 7-Eleven, perfectly legal if the plan for a convenience store is approved, we are sunk. A toddler lives next door to this site.
    Do we really want to approve a possible 7-Eleven catty-corner to the Selah Lester House, where four generations of the Dominy family made clocks and cabinets in the 1700s? Would this be allowed in Colonial Williamsburg? We can still visit the tools of the Dominy Brother’s at Winterthur, but do we want to be able to buy a Slushee or a Slurpee across the street from the original site where they toiled?
    And if you have a heart issue in Springs and North Main is your lifeline, is it safe to add a busy convenience store here? The 7-Eleven in Southampton draws more traffic than nearly any location on the East End. Voters obviously do have a voice in November. But for the future of North Main, we are only hoping that the law and codes will be followed accurately.
JEFFREY SLONIM



Fail to Lead
    East Hampton
    September 26, 2011
Dear David
    I was happy to read in last week’s Star that through Jay Schneiderman’s efforts, the county clinic at the Accabonac apartments will continue to be funded for at least two more years. The community owes Jay a big thank you for making this happen.
    What disturbs me is the fact that our town supervisor, whose job it is to represent and act in the best interests of the residents of East Hampton, did not lead the fight to keep this important facility open. Mr. Wilkinson did nothing to ensure that those people who count on the clinic for the health care they could not otherwise afford, continue to be treated.
    Not only did he fail to lead this fight, he simply walked away from it. This blatant disregard for the needs of our community has typified the Wilkinson-Quigley administration. A few more examples include abolishing the leaf pick-up program, cutting many human services, attempting to sell the town docks, and ignoring the neighborhood problems associated with the Montauk night clubs.
    East Hampton cannot afford two more years of this administration. We have a chance to change this next November.
SUE AVEDON



Wrecking Ball
    Springs
    September 25, 2011
To the Editor,
    Councilwoman Quigley has not shown the temperament, maturity, knowledge, skills, or talent to remain on the East Hampton Town Board.
    Having the close ear of our supervisor, she is in the position of being a wrecking ball to our town’s needs, values, and cultural heritage.
    Supervisor Wilkinson, you don’t need her; she can, will, and has hurt you!
    Her dismissive comment, “I’m not running for office, so I don’t need this crap,” says it all without going through the litany of her bad judgments, bad decisions, thoughtless acts, and self-serving confrontational attitude.
    Really, Ms. Quigley, if you don’t need this crap, avoid the necessity of a recall election and just grant yourself and the Town of East Hampton a noble favor and graciously resign.
FRED J. WEINBERG


Montauk’s Misery
    East Hampton
    September 25, 2011
To the Editor,
    The letters from the Montauk residents about their community being taken over and destroyed are heartbreaking. Nightclubs (nominally restaurants) are coining money by serving 10 times as many customers as they are entitled to, who relieve themselves out of doors because restrooms are hopelessly overcrowded. The noise and congestion, including illegal parking, are unbearable.
    Yet our supervisor, Bill Wilkinson, and his Republican majority say that there is nothing they can do.
    This is ridiculous. Codes are being broken right and left. Obviously enforcement officers are following instructions to take it easy on offenders. What Wilkinson means is that there is nothing he wants to do.
    Further, the town has the power to pass local laws. Wilkinson could fine the nightclubs $1,000 a day with the fine doubling every day the offense continues. Then the fines would be too large to be treated merely as a “cost of doing business.” Signs saying “No Parking” and “Tow Away” could be posted and enforced. Drunken partygoers who have to figure out where to stay while waiting to reclaim their vehicles the next day would soon disappear.
    I am afraid the problem is much worse. Wilkinson is a Republican. Republicans are noted for their concern for business, and the hell with people.
    If Republicans can promote the interests of pollution-spewing power plants over the health of our citizens, why should Republican Wilkinson worry about some trivial complaint like a community’s life being destroyed? Their concern with business interests and moneymaking to the detriment of people reminds me of the legend of King Midas. The part I really can’t believe is that they think that only other people’s children get asthma from pollution; their own children are exempt. Only other people’s children are poisoned by mercury in the air from burning dirty coal. Do they think their own children don’t breathe?
    There may be a simpler explanation in the case of Montauk’s misery. You have seen full-page ads in The Star promoting Wilkinson and the Republicans’ campaign. Who paid for these expensive ads? Is it possible that the same people who are coining a fortune out of the residents’ distress, the people who treat Wilkinson’s token fines as a cost of doing business, are paying for full-page ads as another cost of doing business? Can Mr. Wilkinson explain?
    ALBERT Z.K. SANDERS



Applaud the Efforts
    East Hampton
    September 26, 2011
Dear David,
    I am writing this in response to Claire Pasternack’s letter printed in your Sept. 1 edition.
    • Dark sky law: The town law is very difficult to interpret, expensive to implement, and does not provide sufficient light in many public and business locations. Ms. Pasternack, I strongly recommend that you take a drive around at night. Not almost everyone is in compliance with the law. It needs to be revised and it needs to be enforced. In fact, it is my understanding that this revision will soon take place and will be in compliance with the new dark sky recommendations.
    • Accessory apartment amnesty clause: An amnesty clause has always been in the law. Debra Foster drafted it, and the former town board signed off on it. Springs property owners certainly should be concerned about more population in their area. The current town board listened to the voters and opted not to move forward with the accessory apartment proposal.
    • The peddler law: Pete Hammerle suggested revising the law because of all the complaints he was receiving about peddlers in Montauk. Julia Prince volunteered to spearhead this issue. The peddlers strongly complained, and Mr. Wilkinson and the board listened with an open mind and, in fairness to all, decided to leave the issue status quo until it could be addressed more clearly.
    • Town dock fueling: This discussion has not been shelved; it has been postponed until the fall at the request of the people most affected by it. They are less busy in the fall and more able to actively participate in the hearings. This has nothing to do with the board “not doing their homework” and everything to do with listening to the public,
    • Contractor licensing: This is a work in progress. The village asked for an opportunity to review the proposal.
    So, in the end, Ms. Pasternack, you are entitled to your opinion, just as I am entitled to question where you obtain your information. However, to represent your opinion as fact is misleading to the readers of this paper.
    I, for one, applaud the efforts of the Wilkinson administration to take steps to change issues that, for the most part, were inherited. I applaud the fact that they can admit, in some cases, to “do better” and try to do so. In my opinion, to paraphrase your own words, during the current administration the interests of the favored few are finally being put on the back burner to advance the interests of the community as a whole and the quality of life for the many.
    Just trying to keep the facts straight.
JOANN GOLDBERG



Raped the Taxpayers
    East Hampton
    September 25, 2011
To the Editor,
    It is very interesting to see the Democrats now emboldened and writing letters attacking the Wilkinson administration while they were silent as the McGintee administration, with the assistance of “Twomey Town,” raped the taxpayers of East Hampton. The silence of these Democrats made them enablers of the budgetary fraud perpetrated by the previous administration.
    One letter writer, in the past, accused those attacking McGintee of being guilty of McCarthyism and another, who needs no introduction, assured us McGintee was going to be a great supervisor and now claims the East Hampton Republicans are anti-environment.
    The East Hampton Republican evironmental record is outstanding. The East Hampton Republican controlled trustees introduced the free pump-out boat to service boats moored in Three Mile Harbor. The East Hampton controlled town board created the following nature preserves with community preservation fund monies: Sammy’s Beach, Jacob’s Farm, Marina Lane, Fresh Pond, Louse Point, the Cox fishing station, now the Terry Ganley Nature Preserve, Cathy Lester Soak Hides, Shadmoor, Turtle Cove.
    The McGintee Twomey Town team took care of their buddies by using C.P.F. funds to buy Keyes Island, the Marvin Hyman property, and the Amsterdam property. Keyes Island had been on the market for years with no buyers, the Hyman property was an agricultural reserve, and the Amsterdam property could not be built on as it is mostly marsh.
    The purchase of the last named property was vigorously supported by the Group for the East End. One of the Democratic letter writers boasts of his donations to that Twomey Town front group — how’s that for McCarthyism?
    Prior to the McGintee administration, the nature preserve staff was paid from C.P.F. funds, but when McGintee took office, that staff was paid from tax levy and those C.P.F. funds were used to pay part of Job Potter’s salary.
    East Hampton residents forget about the attempt of the Central Pine Barrens Commission to take over about one-third of East Hampton, a move supported by the Nature Conservancy and the Group for the East End.
    Shortly after the Schneiderman administration took office, there was a meeting at East Hampton High School at which the Central Pine Barrens Commission and the Long Island Pine Barren Society made a presentation to the public on the alleged benefits of large portions of the town being placed under the control of the Pine Barrens Authority.
    The maps of the proposed area to be part of the Pine Barrens were posted in Town Hall. The land grab was so egregious that even the most devoted environmentalists were shocked. The plan went nowhere.
    When East Hampton became part of the Community Preservation Fund, the Nature Conservancy and the Group for the East End tried to promote a town-wide referendum that would have restricted the use of C.P.F. funds to buying only water recharge areas. The local Democrats staffed tables outside of the post offices urging folks to support that idea.
    Again, it went nowhere. If these folks had their way, we would not be enjoying our great trail systems, wonderful and diverse nature preserves, or traditional hunting and fishing properties.
    The Schneiderman administration instigated the “pure program” urging folks to avoid using pesticides on their lawns and properties. As a result the Town and Village of East Hampton do not use pesticides on their properties.
    But, the McGintee administration dropped that program, because clearly they had other interests, like creating Mansir’s navy and using the Parks and Recreation Department as a final resting place for friends of Peter Hammerle.
    It will take a few years to rescue East Hampton from the fiscal depredations of McGintee and Twomey Town. But at least we have a supervisor and a budget director who can do the job.
    Respectfully,
    TIM SULLIVAN
Personal Day
    Southampton
    September 21, 2011
To the Editor,
    On Aug. 31 it became clear to me that I would need to utilize a personal day to attend to a family matter. Following standard procedure, I called into the foreman’s office.
    On the morning of Sept. 1 I received a phone call from Kevin Ahearn, the deputy highway superintendent. He stated that I could not take a personal day without written permission from Scott King.
    I told him to read the contract, which has no such provision. In the real world a personal day is one in which an employee gives no reason for its use and no prior notice is mandatory.
    At 10:30 on Sept. 1 I was backing out of the driveway of my second job when Scott King pulled up and began to videotape and photograph me, in my personal car with my 9-year-old son in the backseat. I immediately called Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and informed him of what had taken place.
    I returned to work on Friday and asked Kevin Ahearn what kind of day I was given. He replied, “You called in a personal day; that’s what I gave you.”
    The following Tuesday I was given my overtime sheet to review and sign. I noticed it stated straight time, which would denote sick time. I went to Carol Bennett, Scott’s secretary, and asked her why I was given sick time. She stated that Scott told her to change it. I went to Pat Breen at Human Resources to file a complaint and she informed me that Scott told her I had called in a sick day and he caught me working at my second job, which is grounds for disciplinary action.
    When Scott was told by the Civil Service union he cannot change a personal day to a sick day, he replied, “I don’t care what the union says. File a grievance.”
    I have filed a grievance, which requires the town to pay outside counsel for resolution. Taxpayers will pay a lot for me to end up getting the $125 I am owed. If an elected official purposely files a false payroll document is that considered malfeasance? If an elected official uses taxpayer money to finance personal harassment or retaliation schemes, is that considered malfeasance?
    I have filed harassment and retaliation charges with the Town of East Hampton. I have filed retaliation charges with the New York State Division of Human Rights for my role as a witness to the open and ongoing investigation. The Town of East Hampton’s anti-harassment policy states that harassment is a form of misconduct. The New York State highway superintendents handbook states that misconduct and/or malfeasance is grounds for removal from office.
    KEVIN L. COBB
    Labor Crew Leader
    East Hampton Town
    Highway Department


Get to Know Steve
    Barefoot Bay, Fla.
    September 23, 2011
Dear David,
    I keep reading letters about how great Scott King is. His employees are really the great ones. I know many of the men and can’t understand how the Town of East Hampton can allow such abusive behavior.
    Some say it is a political ploy — not true. The court has decided that these men have a case against him. There have been more grievances filed by men working in another department. Seems he spreads it around.
    It is said that Mr. King doesn’t care who or how many grievances are filed, he gets paid anyway. Is there proof of the accusations? I am told yes. The East Hampton I lived in would never accept this behavior from anyone, especially one in an elected position. How much will this cost the taxpayers?
    I read Barry Forde’s letter telling about the storm cleanup. Thanks, Barry, for your honesty. I feel your years working for the town should speak for itself.
    A quote from a letter last week by Mary Miller of the Democratic committee:
    “Those who run for elective office must be emotionally ready, willing, and able to accept the challenging nature of the job.” I don’t think Mr. King comes under that qualification.
    If the voters and taxpayers condone Mr. King’s behavior, I will be greatly disappointed. It would prove that the moral standing of that once great town has diminished drastically.
    Yes everyone, I am Stephen K. Lynch’s mother. I have also been known to stand up for the rights of others and speak the truth. Anyone who went through the school system from 1970 till 1995 will attest to that. Get to know Steve and I am sure you will support him at the polls. He is greatly qualified for the job.
    Thank you,
    LORETTA LYNCH



Dead Oak
    East Hampton
    September 23, 2011
Dear David,
    This letter is being written to thank Scott King and Kevin Ahearn of the East Hampton Town Highway Department for being so proactive in removing a tree from the town right of way at the entry to my driveway right before Hurricane Irene came to town. As soon as I asked them to take a look at the huge dead oak that was hanging over the power lines, they jumped into action. They immediately contacted the Long Island Power Authority to remove everything above the power lines and then two days later, a town crew arrived to take the rest of the tree down.
    I can’t even imagine the potential problems that we avoided thanks to the tree removal. My kudos to them for a job well done!
SHEILA ROGERS



Reject the Opportunity
    East Hampton
    September 26, 2011
Dear Editor
    The Northwest Alliance has for many years complained about the longstanding practice of routing incoming helicopter flights over Northwest Creek. The creek is part of a large, estuarine nature preserve that is home to a variety of threatened and sensitive species. As helicopter traffic has increased, the number of piping plovers nesting in the area has decreased, as has the fecundity of their efforts.
    After years of observing this worsening situation, we have come to the conclusion that the current level of helicopter traffic is simply unacceptable. Further, the certain prospect of increased traffic as the economy recovers is incrementally more unacceptable.
    In an attempt to understand how to pursue a reduction in helicopter traffic over this nature preserve, we have met with town and airport officials and we have followed the arguments of the many groups and individuals addressing this issue in these pages. We are very pleased that the town board and the airport management have recently convinced the Federal Aviation Administration to encourage some pilots to approach and leave East Hampton Airport over the Georgica Pond area. The F.A.A. has not agreed to pursue a formal route requirement, but it will apply informal pressure on the pilots to choose the Atlantic route. This will almost certainly afford the Northwest area some relief, though at the expense of increasing traffic over Georgica Pond. There are sensitive wildlife populations there as well, but this result would at least be more equitable.
    We are also pleased that the town has taken concrete steps toward the installation of a seasonal control tower. In addition to the safety benefits of such a facility, the tower will strengthen the pilots’ compliance with altitude requirements within a five-mile radius of the airport. We understand, however, that aircraft customarily descend or ascend through about that same distance, which limits the relief from low-flying helicopters that the tower can provide.
    Unfortunately, neither of these steps can address what we see as the primary problem: excessive airport traffic and the resulting noise pollution. Because accepting F.A.A. grants for capital projects incurs “grant assurances” that require 24/7, 365 access to all aircraft that can safely land at the airport, neither the control tower nor more distributed routing can reduce traffic.
    It has become clear to us that if we want to reduce airport traffic, we can only do so if we reject the opportunity to partially fund the airport through F.A.A. grants.
    With relief from grant assurances we will be entitled to establish and enforce a variety of policies that would reduce noise. As was done in New York City, our partner in most of the helicopter traffic, we could preclude access by aircraft on the basis of the amount of noise they make. We could set enforceable curfews and could limit access by auctioning landing time slots. We, therefore, ask our town board, which has worked so hard and effectively to achieve noise-abatement at our airport, to take the next step and reject F.A.A. funding.
    Sincerely,
    ADELAIDE De MENIL
    T. JAMES MATTHEWS
    ANGELA ORTENZIO
    JANET SCHNEIDER
    Northwest Alliance Helicopter
    Subcommittee


Money to Spend
    East Hampton
    September 26, 2011
Dear David,
    It is not surprising to see full-page ads by the East Hampton Aviation Association perpetuating the airport propaganda machine and exclaiming the residents of East Hampton should celebrate. Not! The ads are replete with false, self-contradictory, and unsubstantiated forward-looking statements.
    The association has a long history of creating misleading advertisements. Its membership is thought to be mostly out-of-town posers seeking to pollute East Hampton residents with noxious spent jet fuel, unrelenting noise pollution, and expanding the environmental ticking time bomb at East Hampton Airport.
    Little is known of the association except it has a lot of money to spend on full-page ads. That should not surprise anyone since owning a jet or helicopter is a rich man’s sport. The association has no Web site and its membership is unknown.  The ad states an address at a Wainscott Post Office box, however a search reveals a physical address at 33 West Second Street, P.O. Box 9398, Riverhead. This is the same address as the law firm Twomey, Latham, Shea, Kelly, Dubin and Quartararo. This is shocking and makes no sense since one of the partners has been extremely active in the East Hampton Democratic Committee during a time when they were strong proponents of environmental protection. Another partner taught environmental law and owns an ultra-green home. How does this law firm square such conflicting and divergent environmental positions?
    Barry Leach, a former East Hampton Democratic committeeman and East Hampton Airport manager, had this to say about the association in 1999, “It’s not the airport itself that’s the problem (although some people may differ); it’s the incapable airport management that is largely to blame along with the East Hampton Aviation Association whose only goal in life has been to support expanded airport operations at every opportunity under the guise of flight safety. The East Hampton Aviation Association is composed mostly of Southampton Town residents who base their aircraft at East Hampton.” I published the owners of the helicopters tormenting East Hampton residents on ehhelicopternoise.com. Almost all are from New York City and Westchester and Dutchess Counties.
    An article by New York magazine in 2006 included these quotes about prior ads from the association, “The ads are completely misleading, and they’re frightening people.” The East Hampton Aviation Association, a group of local pilots fighting the town for airport upkeep, is behind the ads. “Tom Livinio, E.H.A.A. president, says, ‘Well, we didn’t do the wording of the ads, but it doesn’t matter anyhow. We think they’re correct.’ ” It doesn’t matter anyhow? You think they’re correct? Are you serious? Nothing has changed except Harold Levy is now president of association.
    Here is the truth:
    • The airport layout plan and airport master plan address an entire airport makeover that will allow for extensive expansion. Expansion is already occurring at an alarming rate. In response to a recent freedom of information request the airport manager, Jim Brundige, discloses an almost 20-percent increase in aviation fuel sales from 2009 to 2010 with sales on track soon to approach 1 million gallons per year.
    The answers confirm that airport management does not perform groundwater monitoring, does not monitor air quality surrounding the airport, and they have no information regarding the toxic effect of aviation-fuel emissions. At minimum this is a federal violation since safety data sheets are required to be present to protect town workers from potential harm. What about the potential harm to residents surrounding the airport?
    • The airport layout plan increases federal control of a 10-mile area around the airport in both East Hampton and Southampton Towns when the F.A.A. control tower is operational. The town will then cede control for routing and noise responsibilities to one F.A.A. air traffic controller, like a dictator, as the association ad says, “The tower will have full F.A.A. authority to control the arrival and departure routes as well as the altitude of all aircraft that enter the airspace.” Two paragraphs later, a self-contradictory statement of, “East Hampton will for the first time have control of its airspace.” 
    • The control tower is “seasonal” to be operational only three months during the year. What happens the other nine months? It is uncertain, at best, to know the real impact of a seasonal control tower.
    • East Hampton Airport is not quieter; it is noisier than ever and every resident within the 10-mile area of the airport will attest to that. Nothing can make helicopters quieter except for nonexistent helicopter technology. Jet noise became quieter with the incorporation of “whisper jet” technology.
    • The Atlantic route may reduce impact from helicopter noise on folks living north of the airport but at the same time it may increase impact from helicopter noise on folks south of the airport. According to Southold’s aviation representative, Joseph Fischetti, who said in a Newsday article last week that special equipment is required on board helicopters flying the Atlantic route and he predicted less than 15 percent of traffic will be able to fly the southern route.
    With an almost 20-percent increase in expansion at the airport, the net result of the Atlantic route may be less than zero. It is much too soon for the association to make such a definitive, forward-looking statement. It may be a lot of hype over nothing.
    • There is no bipartisan solution at the moment. It is only the present Republican administration that is railroading airport expansion initiatives, publicly committing to take F.A.A. money, and wishing to saddle our town with another agreement that will cede control of the airport to the federal government for another 20 years. What kind of fuzzy reasoning brings one to the conclusion there is local control?
    The only way for airport expansion proponents to succeed is to continue to give false information and mislead the public by such ridiculous ads.
    A local election will be held this November, and a message needs to be sent by the folks living in East Hampton who are concerned about the biggest polluter in town, East Hampton Airport. When that environmental disaster is fixed we will indeed celebrate.
    FRANK DALENE
    Vice Chairman
    Quiet Skies Coalition



New Mantra
    Wainscott
    September 24, 2011
To the Editor,
    Et tu, Brute! One only has to look at the full-page advertisements in The Star to really see what is going on. The Pilots’ Association has put forth a smoke screen of misinformation, or shall I say, outright lies, to the citizens of this town. The press had a full page that was obviously written by the Pilots’ Association board: Twomey, et al.
     They hold a cloud over the administration for obvious reasons and the town board majority folded like a cheap suit. One only has to look at the board of elections to find the truth.
    The banner of “promises made?” Yes indeed, Bill Wilkinson promised to take Federal Aviation Administration money and render this town indentured servants for another 20 years until 2034. He made promises to the pilots for their support, and the chickens have come home to roost. He “doesn’t give a crap” — the new mantra of the board majority. He has shown this time after time.
     He totally ignores the majority to lick the boots of a few and continue the disruption of daily life that we are entitled to — sheer arrogance to ignore what is beneficial to the entire town and surrounding areas and force us to be constantly woken up in the early hours interfere with enjoyment of our properties and wonder when one of these low-flying planes often under 250 feet may come down.
    All of a sudden this whole saga that has dragged on for decades comes onto the front burner. One has to ask why.
    He then makes an end-run and arrogantly disregards the wishes of thousands of people to favor a few from a special interest group that has one hidden agenda: Keep us under the heel of a federal agency until 2034 by taking a few pieces of silver from the F.A.A. As they say, “The reach is in.” Of course they want the taxpayer to foot the bill and suffer from the disruption they cause on a daily basis.
    Integrity at Town Hall? What a joke. Secret, back-room deals disregard the wishes of residents. There are sham public hearings where the decisions have already been made behind closed doors. Then this is his own hidden agenda combined with sheer arrogance and a condescending attitude toward those he is supposed to serve and a bum’s rush to shill for a concert, the sneaky saga of the town docks, the hot dog vendors in Montauk, not to mention the historical house.
    Now all of a sudden his teeth catch fire to fetch F.A.A. funds to complete a fence that has been up for years. That alone will open the floodgates and destroy a plan to allow the town to take control and mitigate the problem — a problem he wishes to continue far in advance. This is an “I don’t give a crap” attitude for sure — a problem he consciously ignores to bend to a few.
    The airport has a surplus that can be used for this, and that can increase by increasing the decades-old fee schedule in which the users pay for improvements. A mere parking ticket costs eight times more than the landing fee.
    Mr. Wilkinson pulled the trigger immediately to loot the Highway Department surplus. He cost all the residents hundreds of dollars by eliminating needed services after a dog-and-pony-show hearing where he sat as emperor and blew smoke in our faces.
    He blatantly refuses to stand up to a handful who have him by the collar but has no problem with punishing the resident majority for another 20 years.
    Considering what happened years ago with his majority on the board, there will be no checks and balances. I expect to see a “for sale” sign any day posted at the entrance to the town. He has sold us out.
    Time to send Bill Wilkinson packing back to the Magic Kingdom, the fantasy world he came from. Maybe then he will listen to the majority.
    Yours truly,
    ARTHUR J FRENCH


Poison Money
    Wainscott
    September 20, 2011
Dear David:
    Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione has been advocating shifting helicopter traffic from north of the airport to south of the airport to spread the pain around. He describes this as “burden sharing.” It would indeed be burden sharing, but it seems not to occur to him or the rest of the board majority to ask why the community should bear this burden at all. What community purpose is served by allowing a very small number of wealthy people to commute by helicopter while depriving not hundreds, but thousands, of the peaceful enjoyment of their own homes? And not just anywhere, but in East Hampton, a refuge, a place justly regarded as one of the most beautiful on Earth.
    What are the numbers? We don’t know for sure because the town board has failed to perform either the cost-benefit analysis or the single-event noise analysis that are specifically required by our own town code in connection with any new airport master plan. These provisions were written into the town code more than a decade ago just so that future decisions about the airport would have to be made on the basis of a public factual record rather than upon the unsupported claims of parties on both sides.
    Apparently, this town board prefers to decide in ignorance. Given that the town board continues to do nothing, at least nothing effective, to mitigate noise while proposing yet more airport upgrades, the suspicion grows that an honest cost-benefit analysis and honest accounting of the burden of airport noise would not be very favorable to airport interests and that the town board knows it.
    Even though the town board refuses to gather the information required by the town code, we can make some pretty reasonable estimates. There are a bit fewer than 100 “based” single and twin-engine propeller-driven aircraft at East Hampton Airport. There are approximately 6,000 annual helicopter operations and approximately 3,000 annual jet operations. Most of these operations are not by aircraft based in East Hampton. Then there are 7,000 to 8,000 annual operations by “itinerant” propeller aircraft not based in East Hampton, visitors.
    An operation is either a take-off or a landing. So, for landings, divide all the operations numbers by two. Helicopters tend mostly to ferry passengers. They drop off or pick up, and leave again. We can assume therefore that each week-end arrival by helicopter requires four operations in all. That is 1,500 arrivals per year. The jets are more likely to land and remain until the passengers depart. 3,000 operations is therefore also about 1,500 arrivals per year.
    Of course, if some of the helicopters remain in East Hampton waiting for their passengers, then helicopter arrivals would be a bit higher. And if some of the jets ferry passengers, then the number of jet arrivals would be a bit lower. But these are reasonable estimates given the failure of the town board to do its job and gather the actual data.
    Let us assume that each household that uses jets or helicopters travels to East Hampton 15 times a year. We then end up with about 100 “based” propeller-driven aircraft used for recreational flying, 100 households (including guests) commuting by helicopter, and 100 households (again including guests) commuting by jet. That totals 300 households that make consistent use of East Hampton Airport.
    However, the airport is literally right on the Southampton line and is as close or closer to a Southampton population twice that of East Hampton, even ignoring a third of the population of Southampton that is too far west. To be generous, we can therefore assume that not more than half of the consistent airport users are East Hampton residents. Probably the real number is between 30 and 40 percent. Thus, the East Hampton Airport serves approximately 120 to 150 East Hampton households.
    On the negative side, airport noise adversely impacts 114 square miles and a resident population of 39,000 (including residents of Southampton). The areas most heavily impacted, with more than 1,000 noise events exceeding East Hampton’s own noise standard per year per household, include an area of 31 square miles with a population of more than 6,000. Households impacted between 6,000 and 25,000 times per year cover an area of 18 square miles with a population of more than 3,000.
    Even if we assume that two-thirds of the adversely affected households are in Southampton, the number of East Hampton residents who must share the burden of East Hampton Airport is many times the number of people who use it. And the number of residents of Southampton who are forced to bear the burden is likewise many times the number of Southampton residents who use it.
    That brings us back full circle to the original question. Why do we need to bear the burden of the airport at all? It is a nice amenity for a very few who save a bit of time commuting at the expense of many and a hobby for an even smaller number.
    Those who are burdened are not invading the homes and yards of the people who use the airport. It is they who impose themselves on the rest of us.
    When the airport served only small aircraft, it wasn’t much of an issue, hardly noticed. The airport became an issue because of money and technology, the introduction of jets and helicopters (with noisy seaplanes the latest nuisance) as a means of commuting. We can go back to an airport limited to relatively unintrusive small aircraft if we stop taking money from the Federal Aviation Administration. F.A.A. subsidies do not save money for the taxpayers; they save money for the airport users, making it cheaper for them.
    If the airport were supported by its users through landing fees and fuel taxes, then, when the current covenants with the F.A.A. expire on Dec. 31, 2014, the town board would regain the power to control its hours of operations and the numbers and types of aircraft that use it in order to protect the community from intrusive noise.
    The only thing standing in the way is the refusal of airport users, thus far, to pay their own way. They like their toys and they want the public to pay for them too. It is only their addiction to the subsidy of F.A.A. grants and the willingness of the East Hampton Town Board to pander to them that makes them an affliction for the rest of us. There is no rational reason for them to continue to make themselves our burden to share, in the mind of Mr. Stanzione, unless you consider greed and lack of regard for other people to be rational reasons. I don’t.
    We have an election in East Hampton in a few weeks. If you are among those forced to share the burden of the airport, consider casting your vote for those candidates who are willing to get rid of the F.A.A. and its poison money in order to return local control of the airport to East Hampton.
    Sincerely,
    David Gruber



My Credentials
    Springs
    September 23, 2011
Dear David,
    Since my credentials and motives were questioned by some members of the town board and the public, I wanted to clarify my qualifications regarding outdoor lighting design and dark sky criteria.
    I decided to study lighting design about eight years ago because I wanted to find out the how, since I was already aware of the why, we need to deal with light pollution (glare, light trespass, wasted energy, and sky glow from unshielded, excessive, or unnecessary night lighting). The courses are given in New York City by the Illuminating Engineering Society, and I studied with the president of the New York chapter. The courses were held over a six-week period and involved using computer software to lay out foot-candle renderings on a site plan and evaluate the photometrics (light distribution) of fixtures.
    It is an unfortunate circumstance that most lighting plans are prepared (for free) by the manufacturers for engineers, architects, land planners, and builders because there is a vested interest on the part of the manufacturers to sell more light. The manufacturers (most of them) will also work against lighting regulations because they will simply sell less light.
    With regulations, these same manufacturers can provide good quality lighting. I helped design the exterior lighting at the Springs School in order to provide enough light for good visibility at night and to use energy wisely. The sky glow above the school has been greatly reduced.
    As a result of developing this expertise, I have given presentations (for free) to town planners, environmental and civic groups, and town boards. Lately I have been delivering an illustrated presentation to East Hampton’s citizens committees. I have helped author several dozen lighting regulations (locally enacted in Riverhead, Southampton, Brookhaven, Southold, East Hampton Village, and pending laws for New York State and New York City).
    I have no financial interests in lighting design or selling lighting equipment in East Hampton. To avoid any perceived conflict of interest, I provide lighting plans, retrofit floodlight shields which I designed, and educational presentations, for free.
    Sincerely,
    SUSAN HARDER
    Dark Sky Society



Feral Cat Poem #31
Isis
    coming back from breakfast at the
Barnes Country Store Dumpster
    paused at the Springs Library bookshed
    to peruse a paperback on The End of Days

A longhair
    and more curious than some about
    such metaphysical matters
    Isis continued on her way in an agitated state,
    reached Gerard Drive, looked across the bay
    saw the rise of Gardiner's Island black on the horizon
    took it for a tsunami coming fast
    and had a Lady GaGa moment:
    every strand of fur on her body freaked out
    like lightning struck her and sent her running
    to hop the first train west

Later
    Isis tweeted us from the Great Salt Lake
    saying she feels much safer there
    where everything is already dead.

Can't say we miss her.
ED HANNIBAL



Bridge Season
    Montauk
    September 21, 2011
To the Editor,
    With the end of the summer season and the departure of many part-time resident bridge players, the Montauk Bridge Club can accommodate and would welcome new members who are experienced duplicate players and are free one or two afternoons a week.
    Our games are held on Mondays at 1 p.m. at St. Luke’s Church on Main Street, East Hampton, and on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. at the Montauk Library. Each session lasts approximately three hours. The table fee is $10, to cover rent and refreshment expenses. Our nonprofit group donates any extra proceeds to local charities. The club is American Contract Bridge League-accredited and members can earn master points at regular and premium games.
    No reservations are needed, but players are requested to arrive punctually for the game, starting promptly at 1 p.m. Those seeking to be matched with a partner have been asked to phone Florabel Mulvaney, 668-3216. The club’s Web site is montaukbc.com
    We look forward to a busy, enjoyable fall-winter bridge season with new players joining our year-round regulars.
    Sincerely,
    DUKE MORELL
    FLORABEL MULVANEY
    BARBARA SULLIVAN
    Charter Members
    Montauk Bridge Club



Coincidence?
    Montauk
    September 24, 2011
Editor:
    Is it a coincidence that Paul Monte, who happens to be Italian, has chosen the Columbus Day weekend to host the Montauk Chamber’s chowder contest?
    The Montauk Youth-Concerned Citizens of Montauk field day is being held Oct. 2, the same day as the St. Francis of Assisi blessing of the beasts. I will be sure that all my friends are aware of these organizations’ insensitivity in their choice of dates for this year’s field day.
GEORGE WATSON



Lack of Respect
    Montauk
    September 26, 2011
To the Editor:
    Is anyone else as highly agitated as I am by the letter written in last week’s Star from Jill Danis?
    To belittle Paul Monte and the Montauk Chamber of Commerce for scheduling the chowder contest on Columbus Day weekend, as they have done on that weekend for 30 years, because this year it conflicts with her religious holiday takes a special type of person.
    The type of person that believes the world should revolve around them and their beliefs. We should all change to accommodate their particular needs and wants regardless of the needs of, or consequences to, others.
    Ms. Danis, we won’t miss you. And while you are making sure that “all [your] friends are aware of Mr. Monte’s insensitivity,” please be sure to inform them that if they share your attitude and sense of self-importance, while we are enjoying pots and pots of all that delicious, practically free chowder, we won’t miss them either.
    However, as this is a fund-raiser and not a political event, feel free to send a generous contribution to the Montauk Chamber of Commerce as a way of apologizing for your complete lack of respect for those whose beliefs don’t match your own.
    Hope you enjoy your holidays, as much as we will ours.
 B.J. WILSON



Lied Under Oath
    Springs
    September 23, 2011
To the Editor,
    I can’t help but wonder if our justice system killed an innocent man.
    In 2008, I received a tip that the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife was killing black bears. So I took my camcorder to videotape them doing so.
    When I pulled into Mountain Creek South parking lot, I saw several of their vacant trucks and knew I was in the right area. As I walked on a path I came to the top of a crest that led to railroad tracks. When I looked toward my right, I saw someone holding a rifle or shotgun aimed in my direction. Instinctively I yelled, “Don’t shoot!” Just as I said that, a bear ran between us, and I heard a shot, which hit the bear.
    It turned out the division was tranquilizing the bear so they could change the batteries in the bear’s radio collar. It was after that when I turned on my camcorder. The division told the police I jumped between them and the bear so the bear wouldn’t get shot. It was in the newspaper the next day that I did that. The police confiscated my camcorder and after viewing what I taped, they must have realized I was too far away to do what the division claimed. Then their story changed, and they said I prevented them from shooting a second dart (which wasn’t even necessary, because the first dart worked).
    I was arrested and charged with interfering with a governmental agency and hunter harassment (no, they weren’t even hunting).
    I am a breast-cancer survivor and had surgery done under my right arm to remove some of my lymph nodes. My arm hurts since the operation, and doctors told me to be careful not to injure it for the rest of my life. When I was being handcuffed, I asked the officer to please put my hands in front and not behind my back because of this. The officer then took my arm, threw it up in the air, and twisted it behind my back. I yelled and pulled my arm away from the pain. Well, guess what? I was then charged with resisting arrest. Now I had three charges against me.
    I knew I was innocent, so I hired a lawyer and went to trial. It amazed me how the police and other officers lied under oath so they could get me convicted, which they did. I felt completely helpless. Since this experience with the court and justice system, I always wonder how many innocent people are convicted for a crime they didn’t commit.
    My incident is trivial compared to Troy Davis’s case, and we’ll never know what really happened. I don’t believe in the death penalty because one day we will all meet our maker. We cannot play God.
SUSAN KEHOE



Islamist Jihad
    East Quogue
    September 23, 2011
To the Editor:
    In reading the many tributes and memories connected to 9/11, I was struck by the absence of any reference to the fact that this crime was committed by Muslims in the name of Islam. Not one word about Islamist terrorism or Islamic jihad has appeared in the mass media. Either people’s memories are short or there is something else going on; I support the latter view.
    Despite assurances from various “credible” sources that the backbone of Al Qaeda has been broken, this is far from the case because the ideology and objectives of Al Qaeda have been picked up by numerous groups across the world, in a kind of terrorist metastasis. While the list of these groups is too long for this letter, one of them stands out because it is by all accounts the most serious terrorist threat to the United States: Al-Shabaab. Its recruitment efforts in this country continue unabated, despite the several successful attempts to uncover and disrupt them.
    Al-Shabaab became infamous when it was organized in Somalia to defeat the government there but it has widened its terror aims to not only nearby countries but to places like Uganda, where two bombs set off at a rugby stadium and a store killed 76 people in 2010. It continually issues threats to the world, with special attention to the United States, which has the distinction of being at the top of its list.
    The Department of Homeland Security found that Al-Shabaab-related indictments “account for the largest number and significant upward trend in homegrown terrorism cases filed by the Department of Justice over the past two years,” with over 38 cases since 2009. The committee stated that the group “has an active recruitment and radicalization network inside the U.S., targeting Muslim-Americans in Somali communities.” One member of this community testified at Representative Peter King’s hearings last spring because his nephew had been recruited by radical Islamists and was later killed in a suicide bombing abroad.
    More significantly, when he approached his local mosque imam to discuss the radicalization that had recruited his nephew, he was told to keep quiet and was treated as a traitor to Islam.
    Dozens of Americans have joined Al-Shabaab and at least 15 were killed while fighting in the group, with at least 21 more American members at large. In Canada, 20 Canadians of Somali descent have disappeared, probably to join the group abroad. A Saudi cleric who denounced Al-Shabaab in Minneapolis was attacked and beaten by an angry mob chanting “God is great,” and the attack was posted on jihadi chat rooms across the world.
    One of Al-Shabaab’s rising leaders is Omar Hammami, a native of Alabama, a Muslim convert designated as a terrorist by the Treasury Department and indicted for providing material support for terrorism. Tapes he made urging jihad inspired two terrorist defendants, Betim Kaziu and Saujah Hadzovic, to go to Europe to seek violent jihad opportunities. Al-Shabaab has direct ties with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and one of its leading operatives, Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, was indicted recently for receiving explosives training from A.Q.A.P. and trying to organize a weapons deal with them.
    However, it is important not to let terrorist threats overshadow the other threat: nonviolent jihad, sometimes called “stealth jihad.” This is the deliberate and organized effort, inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood and its hundreds of affiliate groups and mosques in this country, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Council of North American, and the Muslim Students’ Association, famous for harassing campus speakers and disrupting meetings and lectures by critics of radical Islam.
    In addition, there is an unrelenting campaign of lawfare, using existing laws and civil liberties to harass anyone critical of Islam, and also to overturn those same laws and replace them with shariah law. This campaign has focused on the United Nations and its Human Rights Council, which is now dominated by Muslim nations and which continues its efforts to criminalize all speech critical of Islam. More quietly there are efforts, many successful, to obtain special treatment and privileges for Muslims and exemption from civil law.
    Getting footbaths in gyms, forcing public swimming pools to separate the sexes, obtaining special vacation leaves for religious purposes, and many other such attempts are routine today. In the United Kingdom, the archbishop of Canterbury supports the use of shariah law, and in eastern London, lampposts are blanketed with signs reading “Shariah Law Rules Here.” Three trials, one in Denmark, one in the Netherlands, and one in Austria, charged the defendants with blaspheming religion only because they had opposed or clarified aspects of shariah law. All three were dismissed, but it was by no means a foregone conclusion that they would be.
    Add to this the Muslim insistence that criticism of Islam constitutes Islamophobia and the refusal of the mass media to print anything critical of Islam, including but not limited to honor killings such as the beheading of a woman by her husband in Buffalo and the murder of two daughters by a Texan Muslim, and the dishonorable refusal of the mass media to reprint the Danish cartoons, and you have an epidemic of political correctness that is actually preventing Americans from recognizing the increasing threats to our Constitution and freedom of expression — even as Muslims assert their right to vilify and threaten death to Jews and Christians.
    It is unfortunate that liberals and the left have recused themselves from this battle for civil liberties and our basic freedoms because it has allowed the right wing to step in and raise these issues. Consequently, many people will dismiss what they say as not credible because of their right-wing associations. But this is folly, not to say suicidal. What is truly inexplicable is the fact that liberals are quite ready to attack our government for its invasion of privacy and incursions on our freedoms, yet will readily ignore Islamist atrocities or make excuses for the self-censorship of our media, and most tellingly continue to ignore the oppression and enslavement of Muslim women, who are completely excluded from their own societies by Islamic law and patriarchy.
    When will the precept of universal human rights be implemented? It now exists in a U.N. declaration, but apparently Muslims are being given a free pass and not expected to comply — not even in this country. It is high time that the liberals and the left joined the movement for human rights, starting with the rights of Muslim women, secular Muslims, and ex-Muslims, all of whom continue to be victimized and doomed to live under the sentence of death.
LORNA SALZMAN



Precious Ink
    East Hampton
    September 23, 2011
To the Editor,    
    I was unable to answer criticism of me in a letter in the Sept. 15 issue concerning my statements on the Palestine-Israel issue since I was traveling to New Orleans. Before I do respond, some readers may be interested in my travel experience.
    Since I cannot afford the ridiculously high first-class airfares and I am tired of the cattle car treatment airlines now provide in economy (to say nothing of the long lines and wearying but necessary removal of shoes, suspenders, emptying of pockets, etc.), my wife and I succumbed to Amtrak’s blandishments and made the 30-hour (actually 33 with delays) 1,200-mile trip by train. The only other times we had traveled overnight by train was from Madrid to Paris on a Spanish train that was wonderful and a Czechoslovakian train (as the Communist country was then called) from Prague to Venice that was not so wonderful.
    As senior citizens, we could secure Amtrak’s premium accommodation, a compartment with private shower and commode, sink, bench seats that convert into spacious bunk beds (thank God for my wife’s agility!) and an additional parlor chair at a reasonable price. The compartment was actually much smaller than portrayed in the literature, reminding me of the old gag: You had to step outside to change your mind. But it was comfortable enough for two people and certainly affordable.
    The entire trip one way with meals (which weren’t too bad) for the two of us was about $500. The dining car and staff were pleasant enough, but the combined bar/lounge car was barren and uncomfortable. American trains are old and creaky and the luxuries of yesteryear are just that, gone. Am I glad I had the experience? Yes. Would I do it again soon? Not too likely.
    I return briefly to the subject at hand: Palestine and Israel. The American government supports Israel unhesitatingly (Earle Rynston’s remark that Obama heeds the Arab line is really laughable) and the American people, by and large and incredibly, really don’t care to hear criticism of Israel, so why should The East Hampton Star, in this day and age of tight budgets, waste precious ink printing palaver about it? It shouldn’t.
    I see that Pumpernickel’s, a wonderful deli, is closed. Another popular local spot gone to be replaced by God knows what.
    JOSEPH POLICANO


Gauzy Haze
    East Hampton
    September 25, 2011
To the Editor,
     As time passes it is becoming clear that all the nonsense vomited forth by Barack Obama leading up to his triumphant election and in the years since then amounts to little more than garbage, lies, and deceit. As promise after promise is broken or left unfulfilled, those who mindlessly flocked to his banner are beginning to awaken from the stupor which has clouded their minds for the past 36 months or so. They have broken through the gauzy haze of hope and change to come face to face with the brutal reality of hoax and blame.
     It is clear that the time of empty rhetoric and bumper-sticker ideology has passed as our nation has taken a disastrous turn for the worse under the stewardship of Barack Hussein Obama. After all the spending, after all the promises, after all of his fiery, well-read words, millions are left with a bitter taste of disappointment in their mouths. They look to a man who promised so much, who embodied such hope, only to see their dreams turned into a twisted nightmare.
    What happened, where did it all go wrong? How can a man who had all the unchecked power he possessed, claiming a mandate from the people, fail so utterly and miserably? He’ll tell you it is the Republicans’ fault, the Tea Party’s fault, his own party’s fault, Japan’s, the Arabs and the Jews’. Barack Obama would even lament that Mother Nature herself was conspiring against him with floods, fires, earthquakes, and droughts. Doesn’t she know that the neo-messiah has his hands full enough? He barely has time for golf anymore.
    Scandal has rocked the Obama regime; Fast and Furious, Solyndra, and now LightSquared. Respectively, people are dead, millions of taxpayer dollars wasted, and an Air Force general pressured to change his testimony to help out an Obama friend. As we move closer and closer to Election Day next year, how many stories will the left-wing media bury to shield their chosen candidate? To what lengths will they go to ensure the re-election of President Zero?
    The finger can be pointed at those who bought into the colossal lie that is Barack Obama, to those who bypassed a reasonable and experienced candidate with a proven record and chose to make “history.” Too bad they chose poorly when they passed on Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, too bad they chose New Coke over the proven formula of Classic Coke and now a nation suffers on the yoke of incompetence and nepotism forced on us by a man who should have never been put in the position to be president of the United States. Too bad that such opportunity to bring this nation together was wasted by a man who held so much promise.
MICHAEL D. BOUKER



True Job Creators
    East Hampton    
    September 18, 2011
Dear Editor:
    So the Obama administration is getting the word out that Warren Buffett’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 that 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.
MARTY ORENSTEIN




Cold War Warriors
    Sag Harbor
    September 2, 2011
To the Editor,
    A few months ago I wrote a letter on the arrogance of a superpower. At that time these quotes were made public. While aboard a plane headed for China, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said, “I will request China to privatize their government.” In the midst of a total collapse of Wall Street and the economy growing worse, former Secretary of Defense Gates responds with, “Since China may become a threat in the distant future, we need to produce more bombers equipped with nuclear weapons.” The start of another arms race by the same cold war warriors of the past. Insanity.
    Here is a follow-up in The New York Times Sept. 17. European leaders emerged from a meeting in Poland dismissive of Mr. Geithner’s ideas, even the idea that the United States was to offer any advice. Geithner should listen rather than talk. Obama, are you listening?
    In peace,
    LARRY DARCEY