October 15, 2012
I was shocked to read of the suspension of Linda Norris, our indispensable adult day care supervisor, in The Star last week. I have no knowledge of the reason for this action but I (and many others) have direct and unforgettable knowledge of her dedication and sensitive service to people like me with a wife or husband suffering from a long-lingering disability.
In my case, my wife had a multiple set of physical and cognitive problems associated with “water on the brain” (hydrocephalus). Linda came to our house, and carefully evaluated the possibility of her going to the excellent Adult Care Day Center in Montauk. She set up a visit to the center. Sadly, she was not strong enough to participate. This could easily be the end of the story, but Linda called me up and invited me to participate in her group counseling meetings, where the attendees talked about how they were coping with their problems. With Linda carefully chairing the session, we all left feeling less alone.
I, in one way or another, have been coming to and living in East Hampton for over 50 years. When we bought our house on Bluff Road, Atlantic Avenue Beach was called Asparagus Beach because all the people on the beach were standing up, all in their 30s, and all, like at the infamous Cyril’s these days, looking for their next date. Now we see a different scene on the beach and in the town, a large and growing senior citizen population. Now is not the time to damage this critical need.
Linda Norris is one of a kind, and I and many others like me want to see her remain at her post.
October 15, 2012
I am writing this letter in regards to the recently announced decision to suspend Linda Norris, supervisor of the East Hampton Town Adult Day Program, for 30 days without pay. I am deeply saddened by this decision and would like to offer a few words about my experiences with Linda and a reference on both her character and her competence.
I had the privilege of meeting Linda approximately four years ago when we moved my elderly mother to East Hampton. At the time, my mother was 87 years old and could no longer live in her home of the past 50 years due to a rapid decline in her memory. We had received a diagnosis that Mom was suffering from dementia and although she was quite physically fit, could no longer live alone. A friend directed me to the East Hampton Senior Citizens Center and from there, I was introduced to Linda.
Linda Norris is by far the most compassionate and knowledgeable woman I have ever met when it comes to the painful decisions that families must make in caring for their elderly loved ones. Linda came to my home and evaluated my mother and deemed her a good candidate for the adult day care program.
Linda provided my family with insights on how to manage my mother’s dementia and how to keep her safely at home and in our community. She told us about various resources within our town, Suffolk County, and New York State. Not only did she provide information on resources in the public sector, she passed along information on everything from doctors, physical therapists, home health aides, nursing homes, and in-home nursing care in our community. Linda also ran a caregiver support group as a resource to family members that I found invaluable as a way to connect with other families who were also dealing with similar challenges.
I have also had the privilege of watching Linda work with the group of people who regularly come to her program. She has an innate ability to understand and engage elderly men and women who are physically frail or suffering from cognitive decline. I have learned a great deal just from watching Linda in action.
Two years ago I attended my first Town Hall meeting and spoke publicly in support of the adult day care program. At the time, the town was considering budget cuts in many departments, and I wanted to stress the importance of this program to our community. I mentioned that there are no comparable programs anywhere on the East End. The nursing homes only provide skilled nursing care and the private-pay programs UpIsland pale in comparison to the quality and caliber of our town’s program under the leadership of Linda Norris. The same holds true today.
I have always believed that this was much more than a job to Linda. It has been truly a vocation and a way for her to use her talents for the good of the community. I can’t think of a better description of conduct and competency for a civil servant.
Open Meetings Law
October 14, 2012
Thank you for the article in the Oct. 11 Star regarding the New York State Open Meetings Law and what appears to be a misuse of executive sessions by the East Hampton Town Board.
The law requires that the vast majority of business conducted by a governmental body be open to the eyes and ears of the public. The exceptions to this rule are clearly spelled out and include such things as medical, financial, and employment histories of specific individuals, information regarding current or pending legislation, or matters that would imperil public safety if disclosed. Further, a motion to enter into executive session must be specifically detailed so as to enable the public to know that there is a basis to conduct a closed-door session; vague descriptions such as “personnel matters” are considered inadequate.
Some examples of the town board calling for executive sessions over the past two years include discussion of the scavenger waste plant, the possible sale of Fort Pond House, the reorganization of the Natural Resources Department, the airport master plan, the Amagansett life-saving station, and the 2011 MTK concert. None of these matters warranted executive session.
The Open Meetings Law was enacted as a means of promoting the greatest possible degree of transparency in government. Adherence to such guidelines is vital to a democratic society.
October 9, 2012
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Since I wasn’t able to attend the town board meeting in Montauk on Oct. 9, I’m taking advantage of your helpful Letters to the Editor column to address my concerns about their agenda that day.
The board majority has been very vocal about wasting time, studying issues before acting on them. Their agenda of Oct. 9 looks a lot like serious wasted time on two issues.
We have a perfectly good lighting law which took a long time and a lot of effort to pass and which addressed the bulk of our concerns. Instead of simply updating it to include new technologies and address business concerns, they have already spent a lot of time working with a committee on a new law, which, if passed, will take a lot more time to put into effect. Time we should be spending to move forward with darker skies for our health and the health of our local flora and fauna.
Then we have the plan to scramble the Natural Resources and Planning Departments. I compliment them on their choice of a new director of Natural Resources. She is already implementing a number of positive actions. Let her do her job. And you must know from past history that your constituents want their Planning Department to remain as is. We fought for it years ago and we will fight for it again.
So, if you are concerned with “wasting time,” take advantage of two areas where you can save some.
Should Have Access
October 15, 2012
Deputy Supervisor Theresa Quigley made an announcement at a recent town board meeting that she would be sending out the town board work session agendas to anyone who wished to receive one by e-mail. At that particular meeting I voiced the fact that I had not received any agendas and that I would like one. Supervisor Wilkinson commented that I should receive one. I never did receive an agenda!
At the Tuesday, Oct. 9, Montauk work session there was quite a long agenda. I decided to send an e-mail to Ms. Quigley requesting that I be sent the agenda. I received an answer back, and I quote in full that she “had to add several hundred names which I can’t as I don’t have the funds to pay for the service and the Republican Party does not support this for me.” In this e-mail the deputy supervisor also stated, “I am limited to sending it to 1,000 names, the maximum allowable under the g-mail account.”
I checked out the Gmail site and found that its limitations for sending messages was as follows: “500 messages per day (i.e., you can hit “Send” a maximum of 500 times) or 500 unique recipients per message or 2000 total emails per day.” So I’m not on the Quigley e-mail list!
Everyone in town should have access to town board agendas. In fact, I had been looking for the agenda on the TownClerk.com site and they aren’t to be found there, neither before the meeting, let alone the night before the meeting. This is not transparency and is unfair to the public.
I do understand that the deputy supervisor wants to encourage people that she thinks will support her to come to meetings, but this is a selective group of friends. Not sending it out to all is not the way of running a town board.
Is this how our town councilwoman functions? Ms. Quigley seems to have stated that she can only send 1,000 selected people the agenda. How are they chosen? When I Googled in other towns I found that a minimum of 12 other towns publish their agendas online. Why can’t East Hampton put it on its Web site? I also understand that the town board people get the agenda about the same time it goes out to e-mail recipients. How can they possibly be informed about the issues before the meeting?
Reduce Air Traffic
October 18, 2012
Residents of the East End who were hoping that Labor Day would mark a return to tranquility are seriously disappointed. The “end” of season has not seen a significant reduction of intrusive aircraft noise and pollution.
Every representation by those responsible for East Hampton Airport, that they are “working” to reduce aircraft noise, has proven false. The control tower, according to Dominick Stanzione, would reduce noise; it has not. It has smeared the noise pollution over a larger area and has cost East Hampton Town over $600,000. His instruction to redirect helicopter traffic over disenfranchised Southampton residents has created a firestorm reaction in Southampton and other East End towns. Improving economic conditions have and will continue to make air travel to East Hampton Airport more accessible.
The desperate attempts to diffuse responsibility for noise were always hidden behind the need for safety and sparing East Hampton Town from taxing its residents for the cost of maintaining the airport — ignoring the deeper pockets of those who actually use the airport. So the East Hampton Town Board pursues Federal Aviation Administration money, denying East End residents local control of their environment. (F.A.A. money is accompanied by prohibitions on restrictions of types of aircraft, on limits of number of operations, and of restrictions on time of day, week, or year of operations.)
The only way to re-establish quiet is to reduce air traffic, establish airport curfews, and deny the noisiest aircraft access to the airport. The East Hampton Town Board has the responsibility to act in the interests of all East End residents and not take any more F.A.A. money. Then, at the end of 2014 (when the F.A.A.-imposed rules expire), peace can return.
Carousel on the Green
October 12, 2012
To the Editor:
Words like disgraceful, reprehensible, insensitive, disbelief, and disgusting don’t come close to describing my stomach-turning anger at those who permitted the desecration of our new and beautiful Memorial Garden by demeaning it with a carousel. That small corner of the Montauk Green is a dedicated site for honoring and mourning those military servicemen and women who made the supreme sacrifice during our nation’s wars so that people like me could return home to live out our lives.
There are many spaces on our green where a carousel could have better served the Columbus Day celebration than on that very special area.
The thoughtless placement of a carousel to intrude on that site was a disgrace. Where are the voices of all of you who lost shipmates and other service mates, who lost children, parents, and other relatives, street-corner buddies, and any other American who in some way is memorialized by our Montauk Memorial Garden?
October 11, 2012
With the rumors and speculation that young David Hernandez may have killed himself amongst allegations that he was tortured by classmates for being gay, I am heartsick for his family and his loss.
It is beyond comprehension that this is still going on, with the image of new, widespread welcoming of gays into mainstream society. The press makes giant festivities of our gay celebrities marrying and having children. We forget those who still cringe and cower in fear and isolation due to an off-handed joke about the “two gay uncles or aunts.” These seemingly insignificant, often innocent, asides are heard and taken to heart. They are felt as a betrayal, a lie.
I warn all parents, families, teachers, and friends that much like the “token black” from the ’50s and ’60s or “tolerated” Hispanics, gay youth hear these comments and are programmed with a lifetime of sorrow due to bigoted thoughts. “Some of my best friends are. . . .!”
Each infant that God or nature entrusts to our care is born with an innate dignity, joyous nature, and deep need to feel loved and respected. From birth on, every comment, every joke chips away at their sense of security and trust. Imagine the betrayal of being tolerated or accepted as the “token” gay in any group, much less one’s own family. Make fun of the two gay uncles and a decade later your child realizes her or she is gay. With the outside world pounding them this child will be less likely to come home for help.
As a child I heard the jokes and the outright insults. No one realized it affected me, and so it went on for years. Gay uncles? I had them. Fat pig? I was one! People, including teachers, classmates, and family, threw them around and somehow did not mean me — just other folks. I threw them around myself. It was a way of hiding. Never did I feel it was safe to expose my pain.
I pray we can all learn from this and watch our mouths, rejoicing and celebrating who our children are, not just tolerating or accepting them; I really dislike those two words when dealing with the differences in our children. Better to rejoice and celebrate!
Building a Community
October 15, 2012
To the Editor,
It’s true that East Hampton High School has to make improvements in trying to find ways to address bullying — one of the most challenging issues facing both public and private schools across the country today. And yes, improvements in community outreach also need to be made to try and bring together all factions of our changing and diverse district.
But we’re incredibly fortunate to have won the trifecta in having a new principal, new vice principal, and new superintendent who, long before the tragic suicide of David Hernandez, had already begun to actualize their vision of building a community in which each and every child is valued.
Although our inclination is to want to find “the cause” for David’s suicide so we can address it and not worry about it ever happening again, as Adam Fine told students, and as he informed parents immediately following David’s death, it is a tragedy that unfolded in the context of great complexity.
Bullying in the high school is only one variable in this complicated narrative. Even as there are students who report bullying within the Hispanic community, so are there Hispanic students expressing profound sadness and anger at what they observed as the role of family and religion in the loss of their peer. And even as outrage is being directed at the high school for having been unable to prevent David’s death, so are students of all stripes openly reaching out to their administrators, teachers, counselors, and each other, expressing their grief by coming together in the service of human compassion and growth. They feel safe and welcomed in doing this because a climate of mutual respect was already in place for them.
In an effort to work in partnership, in his first year Mr. Fine tried to recruit members for a PTA, but parents weren’t interested. So instead, he started a monthly 8 a.m. parent-principal breakfast to which all parents are invited, as is announced each year in paper mailings in English and Spanish, as well as by English-as-a-second-language teachers at each open house.
There’s a mix of parents who attend, including Hispanic parents who are active participants in the dialogue. He also began a parent Google group that now has a roster of almost 700 participants and through which parents receive all manner of pertinent information on what’s happening in the school. Through both mediums parents are given direct access to Mr. Fine, and in the breakfasts, Ms. Mondini, the vice principal, and Rich Burns, the superintendent, are also often in attendance and parents are free to talk about anything they like. In addition they have explicitly stated to the parent body that their doors are always open to them and their children.
Along with many other parents, I’ve attended almost all of these breakfasts, and, while not every situation has a simple solution, there hasn’t been one in which a parent’s concern went unaddressed. The spirit of the meetings is collaborative. Mr. Fine and Ms. Mondini have repeatedly made clear their objective is not only the education of, but the well-being of all students — from the achievements of special needs students in the life skills program to the accessibility of rigorous courses.
It’s also of note that one of our regular topics is kids at risk or kids going through difficult times. No children are ever named, and great care is taken to not share the specifics of issues facing them, but salient themes are discussed. Subjects covered have included (sometimes even with professional guest presenters): cyberbullying, bullying, tolerance, and support for all sexual orientations, alcohol and substance abuse, cancer, bereavement, accommodating the individual learning styles and needs of all students, protecting alternative learning programs, protecting the arts curriculum, fairness in athletics, and most important, building a school community in which every child can flourish.
An E.S.L. program is in place to help mainstream Spanish-speaking students. And the school has an admirable open enrollment policy for AP and honors courses so that any student who wishes can take them, and Hispanic students make up a good percentage of these classes — in fact, last year’s salutatorian was Hispanic. Teachers play a hugely significant part and are incredibly generous in their availability for extra help. The school has an active Gay-Straight Alliance, Hispanic Leaders Committee, and Justice League — all full of kids invested in co-creating with their administration a school culture they can be proud of.
Students are encouraged in their self-expression. Last year a Hispanic student won best in show in a regional art competition for her compelling painting “Violence Will Not Silence Us.” Just this week, a student was named runner-up for student advocate of the year by an organization that focuses on ensuring that schools are safe places of tolerance. And it was two brave high school students, one Hispanic, one Caucasian, who saved the lives of two members of our extended community this summer, pulling one from the ocean and the other from a plane about to burst into flames.
The administration has spent the past two weeks bringing in experts to support students and staff and to process their experiences. They’ve courted and listened to the concerns and suggestions of individual students, small groups of students, and the entire student body, and continue to plan for long-term ways of addressing factors in play during the lead-up to this crisis. Students, faculty, staff, and families combined efforts and within two days raised close to $5,000 for David’s funeral, which Yardley and Pino kindly accepted as payment in full.
At some of the players’ suggestion the football team in conjunction with the Justice League dedicated last weekend’s game to the fight against bullying and raised hundreds of additional funds for David’s family, even collecting $50 from a parent from the opposing team.
The Gay-Straight Alliance is coordinating with Mr. Fine to discuss bringing in programs and speakers that focus on the particular needs of gay and at-risk kids. And he is coordinating with the Justice League to evaluate which programs might be implemented to combat bullying. There’s been an outpouring of parents eager to be of help in any way we can. And Ms. Mondini has established a reputation among students as a non-judgmental presence and a soft place to land, no matter the child’s issue. Her office is their haven.
The diversity of the high school is one of its greatest assets. A public school system is the nucleus of a community, and the healthier the school the healthier the community at large.
It isn’t only the high school for which David’s suicide has been a call to arms. It has presented each of us with the challenge to be more empathic and to take a stand when safety and tolerance aren’t respected.
We as a community now find ourselves in the position to consider changes we need to make to ensure our kids are safe, happy, and free to thrive. In order to do this we need to remember that it isn’t in our schools that bullies or compassionate kids are created. They are created in our homes.
In Harm’s Way
October 15, 2012
To deal with the traffic caused by the school’s inability to afford the busing of children who live close to the school, the Springs School Board, spearheaded by the ambitious Liz Mendelmen, who seduced the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee and, finally, the East Hampton Town Board and Suffolk County to go along with her plan to have children walk to school along Springs-Fireplace Road and its tributaries, are teetering on very dangerous waters.
Not one of the people who attended the meeting has any background in elementary education. None are steeped in the behavior of these young children, wonderful, spontaneous individuals who want to run and jump and play — oh, do they love to play.
As a longtime teacher and school administrator in elementary education, I am so familiar with their energy and their inability to recognize danger. Isn’t that why we call them children and not adults? Yet the misguided Liz is willing to put them in harm’s way in order for them to walk and get exercise. If exercise and walking is her goal, alas, that can easily be done by having teachers and aides organize recess time so that children can benefit from such feats, i.e., President Kennedy’s Fitness Program. But walking on dangerous lonely streets with wild drivers and other dangers, I will leave you to imagine, is not the answer to fitness.
In reference to elementary school children, it is safety first and safety always.
Besides, it may not even alleviate the problem she seeks to solve, because wise parents are not going to risk their children and will continue to drive them. The first time the unimaginable happens, who will take responsibility for this misguided plan?
PHYLLIS I. MALLAH
No Flu Shots
October 10, 2012
To the Editor,
The Suffolk County Health Department is not giving flu shots to senior citizens. We always received them at the senior center every October.
The county gets paid through Medicare and Medicaid, so it is not free. They get the medication without cost. They have not said why they are not giving them.
What are we paying them taxes for? We get nothing in return and now no flu shots.
Violence Against Women
October 15, 2012
The horrific shooting on Oct. 9 in Pakistan of a 14-year-old activist advocating education equality for girls has roused international outrage. The day before, in Indonesia, another 14-year-old girl seeking education was kidnapped and brutalized for a week, then expelled from her school for “tarnishing the school’s image,” wrote Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times of last Thursday, quoting Indonesia’s National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. Ironically, as he pointed out, on that same day, the United Nations and the world marked the first International Day of the Girl, stating that the global struggle for gender equality is the paramount moral struggle of this century.
This struggle against the prevalence of violence against women and girls doesn’t happen only in far-off countries. It happens and is on the increase here in the United States, including right here on Long Island’s East End.
Marilyn Fitterman’s important and original points of view in her op-ed article (The East Hampton Star, Sept. 26) emphasized that many women must flee their homes to escape the violence of their husbands or male partners. In our country these women are often sheltered in a network of undisclosed “safe houses,” their lives disrupted. They have to change locations, leave their jobs if they are employed. If they have children, their children must often leave the familiarity of their communities, their schools, and their friends. Ms. Fitterman, the former president of New York State NOW and current president of NOW’s East End Chapter, empathizes with the unfairness that uproots the victims while permitting the perpetrators to remain in their homes. She proposes that a major and logical reversal of this practice be implemented — stating that it should be the perpetrators rather than their victims who should be forced to leave.
In response to her article, Jeffrey Freedman, executive director of East Hampton’s Retreat, cites the statistic of a staggering 96-percent increase, 3,162 calls, to their domestic violence hotline in the last two years (The East Hampton Star, Oct. 4).
It should also be noted that, as Mr. Freedman also states, the Retreat in East Hampton is the only such establishment, not only in Suffolk County, but on all of Long Island, which in itself is obviously a shocking statistic.
In confronting this problem, the Retreat has initiated the Suffolk County Fatherhood Initiative — a project in collaboration with Stony Brook University and the Suffolk Department of Probation that seeks men who are at risk of committing domestic violence to participate in a program which teaches parenting skills, offers couples’ counseling, and guides in finding employment opportunities. The Retreat hotline is 329-2200.
Mr. Freedman states that as Ms. Fitterman’s proposal emphasizes, “abusive men should be held accountable for their actions, period.” Both her proposal that it is the men who should be removed from their homes, and the Retreat’s outreach-to-men program, deserve strong community support and promotion.
Many Americans, both women and men, realize the importance of this issue. Hopefully Ms. Fitterman’s article will attract a national publication with wide circulation to expand upon her proposal that the thoughtful and necessary change be made — that it is the offending men who must leave, and their families remain in their homes.
October 11, 2012
Dear East Hampton Star,
Auguries gust October embers as ghosts of yore rib us beneath a cloak so gibbous. And as you row toward Elysium’s locks, it was hope that opened Pandora’s box.
Feral Cat Poem #42
I put it up, she puts it down.
I put it back up, she puts it back down.
The uncollared cat, my front-porch chair cushion, and me.
The seat is a flat pillow of some heft, hinged to the back.
Each night I stand it up vertically, against rain.
Each morning I find it back down flat, warm to the touch
and feathered with fur like a nest.
This little filched sleepover game of hers has gone on
all summer. Now it’s fall, and I still don’t know how she does it.
Tomorrow the chair goes to the basement, seat and all.
Maybe come spring and I’m back sitting in it she’ll come
and nap on my lap in the sun, like house cats do.
But I doubt it.
October 11, 2012
To the Editor,
Deborah Klughers responded to my letter in favor of continued spraying of methoprene to combat West Nile disease. She felt my quote of a portion of her letter by leaving out the statement that followed was unfair. In reviewing her letter she has a valid point. She is not against spraying but rather would prefer what she sees as safer alternatives (then methoprene) be utilized.
I don’t agree with Ms. Klughers’s conclusion but apologize for not using more of her quote so that her position could have been presented more accurately.
I suspect the intensity of her feelings about helping the environment led to her wonderment because “he is a psychiatrist and likes to play head games” implied something not sincere in my motives.
Ms. Klughers and I disagree on this issue. Her name has come up many times on a variety of issues involving the East End and I have never seen her as other than an honest advocate for the good of the community. I too want what’s best for my family and neighbors. Constructive exchanges in The Star are important.
September 24, 2012
Dear Mr. Rattray:
The town trustees held the 22nd annual Largest Clam Contest on Sept. 23rd. Once again, we believe it was a huge success and wish to offer our sincere thanks to all those who assisted us, beginning with former Trustee and Town Clerk Fred Overton, who made approximately 30 gallons of his world-famous Bonac chowder, with his cousin and former trustee clerk, Tim Miller, happy to lend a hand. All the chowder was ladled out by Trustees Tim Bock and Lynn Mendelman and consumed by the public in attendance. And, speaking of consumption, 2,000 clams were opened for a raw bar by Trustees Joe Bloecker, Stephen Lester, Sean McCaffrey, and Nat Miller, along with the help of Adam Mamay and Brian Pardini, while Mia Pardini put the clams on plates for the waiting crowd.
We were very pleased to offer educational opportunities to those in attendance as well. As always, Barley Dunne, East Hampton Town’s director of aquaculture, along with Katherine Rossi-Snook presented information on our local shellfish-seeding programs. Additionally, Kent Miller and two colleagues from the Classic Boat Society brought over two beautifully handcrafted sailboats for the public to admire. They offered information on the organization and raffle tickets for the boats. New this year were Kim Barbour and staff members representing Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Marine Meadows Program, who were enlisted by Trustee Deb Klughers to teach both children and adults how to weave eel grass for restoration efforts.
We thank all of these participants for their time and ability to provide educational information on the benefits of protecting and restoring our towns’ natural resources in a relaxed and enjoyable manner.
In the conference room of the Lamb Building, the now-famous “wanted” T-shirts available only at the contest and raffle tickets for a 41/2-pound lobster donated by Gosman’s Dock were sold by Stephanie Clark and Bridget Stonemetz, with spontaneous jovial company and conversation offered by Colleen.
We were honored to have Bill Mott, a former trustee; John Aldred, a former director of the shellfish program, and Kim Shaw, East Hampton Town’s natural resources director, as judges for the clams harvested for the contest. With guidance from Trustee Stephanie Forsberg, they weighed and measured 38 contestant clams. Additionally, Russell Drumm, the reporter for the trustees from your paper, along with his wife Kyle Paseka and Town Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc, judged the local clam chowders submitted for tasting. They sampled 11 variations of both white and red chowders.
We were delighted by the large quantity of clams submitted for judging this year. The largest overall clam was harvested from Napeague Harbor and weighed in at 2 pounds, 9 ounces. It was submitted by Linda Calder. Also among the winners in the adult category were Henry Flohr with a clam weighing 1 pound, 1.5 ounces from Accabonac; Nancy Peppard with a 2-pound, 8.8-ounce clam from Lake Montauk, and Cliffton Keys with a 1-pound, 10.5-ounce clam from Three Mile Harbor.
The winners in the junior category are Avery Charron with a 1-pound, .7-ounce clam from Accabonac; Edward Hoff III with a 2-pound, 5.4-ounce clam from Napeague, and Joe Hawkins with a 1-pound, 6.7-ounce clam from Three Mile Harbor. There was no junior entry from Lake Montauk. All the 2012 contestant clams were released alive at the end of the contest so they can produce future generations of clams.
This year we asked the chowder judges to choose their favorite of each type: a red and a white, and then to choose which of the two would be their choice for best overall chowder. Amazingly, the chef for both the red and white chowders chosen was Jim Sullivan. His red chowder was selected as the best overall of the day.
Prizes awarded for all winners are donated by local merchants, whom we cannot thank enough for their generosity. The items and gift certificates donated this year were truly exceptional and we felt very fortunate to be able to give them away.
Before the awarding of prizes, a very special presentation was given by several members of the board of directors of Citizens for Access Rights. They donated $5,000 to the trustees to use toward the legal expenses incurred defending ownership of beaches in East Hampton. This is the second donation toward legal expenses CfAR has given to the board of trustees, and we are extremely grateful as well as humbled.
As trustees, our goal is to protect and preserve the natural resources available to all residents of East Hampton, which includes management policies for boating, bottomlands, shellfish, and beaches. Therefore, to be the recipient of funds which have come from the pockets of those same residents, those for whom this board attempts to manage the natural resources, provides assurance we are acting appropriately on their behalf.
All the above activities were going on, yet in the span of two hours all the food and drinks had been given away, the prizes awarded, the presentations complete, and the crowd began to disperse. However, we hope to post pictures on our Web site on the “What’s New” page. Look for yourself, your friends, and to see something of the presentations and judging.
We want to acknowledge and thank our secretary, Lori Miller-Carr. She keeps track of all the things to do to prepare for the contest, including the mass-gathering permit, paper goods, T-shirts, plaques, posters — the list goes on. And, she gives up her day off to come help keep things organized during the event. We also want to recognize the employees of the Parks and Recreation Department for their help in getting the Lamb Building and grounds ready. Many people worked to get everything set up for the day, from ensuring there were plenty of towels in the bath to bringing several (very heavy) picnic tables for seating. The day would not be a success without their help.
There are so many individuals, organizations, and businesses which have lent support to the board of trustees and the Largest Clam Contest. We sincerely hope we have not overlooked anyone in this letter. We’re already planning for next year and look forward to seeing so many of East Hampton’s residents again.
For the Board of Trustees
October 15, 2012
To the Editor,
To all of my conservative friends out there, I want to offer you some simple and easy therapy: First, turn off Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and stop reading the Drudge Report and the right-wing mass e-mails. Wait a few days and soon an amazing feeling will come over you. Things will seem clearer and reality will come into focus. You will be more positive and have more energy.
As the fear and paranoia further subside you will develop a sense of compassion for your fellow man and a desire to help others. You will grow tolerant of people of other faiths, color, and sexual orientation. You will see that journalists, scientists, academics, economists, and professors are not a part of a conspiracy to brainwash you and your family — that they are not here to make you feel like you are being lectured to but are trying to help you understand the complex world we live in.
As you dabble in other sources of information it will become clear that President Obama is not a Marxist, socialist, or a communist; that he did not raise your taxes and is not going to take away your guns, and that he did not create any policies promoting government-funded abortions. He is not a terrorist, racist, or secret Muslim, and he is not, by any reasonable measure, the worst president we have ever had.
He has helped grow our economy out of the mess that he inherited, despite relentless opposition and unprecedented roadblocks in the Republican-controlled House and Senate. We had a net gain in jobs, despite the fact that the Republicans blocked the American Jobs Act, because he wouldn’t throw in their oil pipeline. He negotiated with the Republicans to avoid their brilliant threat of defaulting on our debt for the first time in history.
So when Barack Obama is re-elected next month, take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay. The world will most likely not end on Dec. 21 and since Mr. Obama is not the Antichrist, he will not bring about Armageddon. And unlike the past four years, let’s try getting behind our president and rooting for his success — as patriotic Americans should.
Let’s vote for Barack Obama. You wont get a free phone (that was bull@#$%& too), but you will get a president that believes in science.
The Attack in Libya
October 15, 2012
To the Editor,
It is becoming increasingly clear that when a large band of men affiliated with Al Qaeda assaulted the American consulate in Libya on the anniversary of 9/11 that it was a terrorist attack. In fact, officials in the Obama administration had real-time intelligence that this was so. Within 24 hours government officials designated this event just what we all knew it was, a terrorist attack.
If so, you have to ask yourself why for over a week the Obama administration insisted this attack was a random occurrence, a spontaneous result of protest over a terrible and shoddily made Web video. Why did U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice go on five different Sunday shows insisting the attack was spontaneous? Why did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continue to blame a stupid video? Why a week later on the David Letterman show did President Barack Obama keep lying to the American people by repeating this nonsense? Even the president of Libya was telling the American people it was a terrorist attack.
Call it incompetence, call it negligence, call it arrogance, or maybe a bit of all three, but there is no doubt something terrible happened on the streets of Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. Four Americans died through no fault of their own but due to some twisted sense of political correctness run amok and the failed policies of appeasement. All the signs were there and repeated requests for more security were denied by the Obama administration.
We will not know what really happened until well after this coming election; the Obama administration is doing everything it can to stall any investigation, to hide every fact, and continue to mislead the American public over the senseless and needless tragedy. What we are witness to are two crimes, the first of which is the murder of our ambassador and three other men, and the second is the scandalous cover-up by Barack Obama to save face just weeks before the election.
MICHAEL D. BOUKER
New York City
October 15, 2012
To the Editor,
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have explicitly stated they will work to overturn Roe v. Wade — or send the issue back to state legislatures. The women most affected would be too poor to travel to states where the procedure would be legal. Who do you think will pay for these unwanted children’s education and welfare?
Republicans call those on welfare “takers” and want to curb welfare.
Where is the logic?
October 14, 2012
To the Editor,
I am a Vietnam veteran, and I find Mitt Romney and his family un-American.
Mitt Romney keeps most of his earnings out of the United States for some reason unknown to most Americans.
When he married Ann, his church would not allow Ann’s parents into the church to attend the ceremony. I find this very peculiar. It sounds like a private club or something else.
Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comments about Americans cannot be forgiven. He twinkled-toed around his remark for over a week. He said it was not eloquent. Come on now, he is a Harvard graduate — who is he trying to kid? He didn’t make a mistake; he said what he meant.
Our country has been at war for the last 10 years, and not one of his five sons volunteered service in any of our armed forces or even joined a National Guard unit or Reserve unit. I definitely think that there is something wrong here. Even Prince Harry is on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Mitt Romney is running for the highest office in the land, and he and his sons have not shown that they are true patriots.
No Longer Works
October 15, 2012
To the Editor,
The pathology of U.S. politics was never clearer than the last week, including the presidential debate. Mitt Romney, as is his nature, made major deviations from positions, which he had adamantly adhered to prior to last week. His tax-cut proposal was no longer valued at $5 trillion and was now directed toward the middle class (even though they are not job creators). It remained intact even though there was no viable way to fund the cuts without substantially increasing the deficit. The unholy 47 percent made up of blood-sucking victims are the newly anointed middle class that he is fighting for. On abortion he has gone from totally banning it to stating that there was no abortion legislation that he would support (after promising to help overturn Roe v. Wade). On health care he has shifted from supporting Romneycare, which is virtually identical to Obamacare, to abolishing Obamacare and now back to Romneycare.
While I am happy to see him return to his old moderate Republican roots it is distressing to believe that someone who has no core values, outside of getting elected, should be our next leader. Watching him during the primary debates, he was extreme, uncompromising, and ideologically stupid.
But the pathology of Mitt Romney goes deeper than lacking core values; it’s the fear of believing things that have little basis in reality. Kind of like the child pornographer who just can’t get over how adorable the little ones are.
But Mr. Romney’s (and our) biggest problem that he somewhat shares with President Obama is a nearly total lack of understanding about the economy. He replays everything that President Bush tried that didn’t work. He doesn’t understand that the economy has transitioned into a different place, that we experienced a depression from which we have recovered but are still feeling the effects, that he had advocated for and protects an economy that no longer works for 80 percent of the population. In essence, this so-called experienced man of business is an economic moron.
George Bush understood that the economy had changed, that the private sector stopped investing and hiring. He cut taxes and regulations but it didn’t work — doesn’t work except for a small part of the people.
But Mr. Bush was as dumb as Mr. Romney when it came to foreign affairs. Bravado, bluster, war debt, and death — we haven’t recovered psychologically, financially, or morally from his two wars. Mr. Romney said he’d attack Cuba in the debates and is threatening the same with Iran. The world is not only about us. Someone has to tell him.
So, the pathology of politics is when we believe our own [lies] despite all the evidence to the contrary. Dishonesty, criminality, and treason are all acceptable in the name of getting elected. We allow it because we are delusional. But no matter how much we deny the depression, Iraq, and Afghanistan, they are still there, and the pain doesn’t go away even though we are told that there isn’t any.
October 14, 2012
Barack Obama deserves another term. He has done a creditable job against horrendous odds and opposition. He has shown energy and resolve in attacking the multifaceted problems that face the nation. He has ended one war and is in the process of ending another. He has attacked, reduced, and overcome one of the many thorns of terrorism that threaten our democracy and has not shied from the hard decisions of war. He has rescued our industrial complex without bowing to the threat of that military-industrial complex warned against by President Eisenhower and steered us away from catastrophe and, with some modicum of Congressional cooperation, he will do even better in the next four years.
He has the instincts of the people and fights for them while not barring wealth and position. He risked his presidency to solve the health care crisis that five presidents before him wanted to do but could not. And he did it without hesitating in the face of political foes determined to destroy him. He has raised our national image to the heights to which it belongs and has the respect of our allies around the world. He has avoided bullying and saber rattling.
No president serves without mistakes. But this one doesn’t repeat the ones he has made, and he has kept the homeland safe. He is smart, resourceful, and resilient.
On the other hand, the opposition has railed and ranted against the president and tried to create an image of him that is false and untenable. They now present the country with a really questionable alternative, who, they say, will be better in every way. Really? Let’s look at this proposed candidate’s record.
No doubt he is smart. No doubt he is presentable. No doubt he is white. Much doubt that he is of strong and honest character. He offers weakness in fighting for the beliefs he states he has. He offers no proof of his love of country and his dedication to independent governance. He panders to each voting group. His service as governor was a patchwork of incompetence. He was out of the state he governed for 419 days, or more than a year of his four-year term, setting up a race for the presidency. He was not, as he now says, able to work with the Democratic majority, but was involved in passing a health care law that they wanted as much as he did. He was considered aloof and indecisive by all and that is why he is not even campaigning to win Massachusetts. His financial dealings left the word patriotism out and put personal wealth at the top of the list. He sneakily used every loophole in the tax code, and now refuses to own up to what he did.
He avoids commitment to an ideology but flits back and forth to satisfy his base. He nuances policy and fabricates positions. Above all, he is a man who just hasn’t had contact with the people. He doesn’t understand the basic needs of those he seeks to govern. In other words, he doesn’t have a clue. So why elect him? Has he offered any plan that shows he grasps the needs of the country or does he just mouth banal inanities and criticize the president?
Criticism alone is not enough; how about some constructive ideas? How about filling in the blanks? How about at least showing us your tax returns to prove your vapid claims of patriotism and citizenship, rather than the tax avoidance and dubious tax activities all suspect?
In other words, Mr. Romney, sir, who the hell are you, and why should we replace a good president with an empty suit?
RICHARD P. HIGER
Not About Abortion
October 15, 2012
Dear Mr. Rattray,
It is now less than 20 days to Election Day and the race is shaping up to be a doozy.
In a new poll, in the First Congressional District, Randy Altschuler has taken the lead over Tim Bishop, and that is a good thing for the voters of the district.
Randy Altschuler, born in New York City and raised by a single mom, had a distinguished educational as well as business career. Graduating from Hunter College High School, he worked his way through Princeton as a short-order cook and security guard. Graduating with honors, he then went on as a Fulbright Scholar to study at the University of Vienna. In 1998, he graduated from Harvard Business School, earning an M.B.A. with distinction. He started two global companies, creating nearly 1,000 jobs in the United States.
This weekend I spoke to a number of women voters, who said that they were being bombarded by Mr. Bishop and Democrats with phone calls about abortion. As a Roman Catholic, abortion is a vitally important topic. But this election is about the economy and creating jobs for women and men and securing a better future for our children.
Like Obama, Tim Bishop has no record to run on so he and his party have to change the subject and it looks like abortion is it.
Tim! Voters, and in particular women voters, are way too smart to fall for that tactic. They know “it’s the economy, stupid” and the polls thankfully are beginning to show it.
On Election Day, Nov. 6, vote for Randy Altschuler and Mitt Romney, who for years have been creating jobs and putting people to work when no one was looking.
October 14, 2012
I recently had an opportunity to walk my neighborhood as I was handing out political literature. I met people from all the different parties and some who are in no party, but are registered to vote. I even talked with a few individuals who insisted they don’t vote party lines at all — even though they are in one — but they do vote “for the individual” instead, thus crossing party lines. After talking to them, I was convinced they do exactly that.
What struck me the most, however, was the level of understanding many had about the issues and how informed many were about the candidates and where they stood. Nevertheless, something else struck me too. When I reminded people that Tim Bishop had been in office for 10 years, many not only said that time flies but no one knew how long he had been in office representing East Hampton in Congress.
Then I asked them the most important question: “Can you tell me what Congressman Bishop has done for the East End?” Not one person could point to anything and few had kind words for him. I ended my quick contact by saying: “If you believe Congress has made matters worse, remember that Tim was part of that problem for 10 years. In fact, he voted for Nancy Pelosi’s agenda about 97 percent of that time.” That point really makes people think — and I’d like your readers to remember it too.
It’s time for a change. Randy Altschuler will be an energized new member of Congress who takes the job seriously and will not just be putting in time toward a pension. He wants to help the East End, its farmers and fishermen, its small businesses, and all its unemployed.
I believe Randy Altschuler will be a welcome addition to Congress and on Nov. 6 he can be voted for on any of three party lines: Independence, Republican, and Conservative.
Find a Real Job
October 9, 2012
It seems some writers are using the word neo before a political party, what’s up with this? I’ve stated many times I am not a Republican or a Democrat; I am an American citizen that takes the time to think, read, research, and listen to all sides of the political strategies, I have a thinking brain, and I am appalled at the garbage coming out of people’s mouths, which they actually put in writing and admit their stupidity.
This letter doesn’t have to be four pages long. If you think Tim Bishop can run on his record, then vote for him, but I suggest you research his record, read the letters from the farmers, fisherman, and local people, and, while you are at it, read Newsday and The Post. Tim Bishop was voted one of the most-corrupt congressmen. He has voted on the Nancy Pelosi line every time; how nice of her to come and campaign for her puppet. His time has to come to go find a real job, or join the unemployed on the East End.
Reminder: The unemployment rate in January 2003 was 5.4 percent, today it is 8.3, oh wait, last week it dropped to 7.1, now how did that happen, less jobs created than in July and August and it drops?
For Michael O’Neill, who seems to be so worried about Karl Rove’s funding of money into Randy’s campaign, I am extremely concerned about the foreign money on credit cards going into President Obama’s campaign, legal or not, because it’s Obama, the new emperor, it’s perfectly okay. I am also concerned about the leader of the political action committee, James Simons, a Long Island businessman and the nation’s largest individual donor to Democratic groups. No, no, no to the Koch brothers, but yes, yes, yes to anyone donating to the Democrats. Do your homework, look at all the complaints against Mr. Bishop. His unkept promises, his lies, and most of all his “me and my family” as he made sure they had jobs.
October 14, 2012
To the Editor,
Our congressman, Nepotism Tim Bishop, is becoming a one-horse shay. Have you seen his ad? Just a recycle of his ads from his last run against Randy Altschuler. Randy the Outsourcer. But Nepotism Tim never opens his mouth about our government outsourcing defense work to China, which could endanger American security.
We do not want a $12 million defense interceptor’s reliability compromised by a $2 counterfeit part, Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, said. And those parts are supplied by a Chinese company, Huawei Technologies, with known links to the Chinese army. Oh, why art thou silent, Nepotism Tim, when our military defense systems are compromised by outsourcing defense parts to China?
Did you know our Nepotism Tim seems to be something of a wine enthusiast? He is a member of the Congressional Wine Caucus. No doubt he and his fellow lawmakers sip and taste wines from each other’s district, some, no doubt, happily supplied by Suffolk vintners. But when it comes to our fishing industry, well, according to Capt. Joe McBride of the Montauk Boatmen, that is another story. When it comes to fishermen, who do not have the cachet of vintners, Nepotism Tim takes their campaign donations, prepares a bill to promote their interests, and voila, to use the term of a sommelier, Nepotism Tim withdraws the bill when it’s about to be voted on. And we fools in East Hampton thought Montauk landed more fish than Sheepshead Bay. What wine would Nepotism Tim suggest that the Montauk Boatmen drink to drown their sorrows — a Bordeaux, hearty Burgundy, or a choice Suffolk white wine?
Ever mindful of the changing times, Nepotism Tim serves on the Congressional Arts Caucus, which brings delight to the heart of Alec Baldwin and gives our fearless congressman the chance of hobnobbing with the folks at Guild Hall, the Bay Street Theatre, and the Parrish Art Museum. Somehow, that arts caucus he belongs to did not prevent Guild Hall from furloughing folks for two weeks without pay during the holidays last year. Yes sir, he was right on top of the arts in East Hampton.
As our world of the arts has grown and our farmland vanishes, Nepotism Tim does not belong to any caucus benefiting our historic traditional farmers and yet we read letters to The Star from Democrats lauding our rural life, not wise to the fact it does not exist.
As for more serious matters, Nepotism Tim is co-chairman of the Democratic Budget Group. We East Enders are waiting to hear from Nepotism Tim about the fiscal cliff our nation’s finances face and why our national debt was downgraded. What’s that you say, Nepotism Tim?
I think Nepotism Tim should be warning the middle class in his district about tax increases and increased fees they will be facing next year when the Obama heath plan starts to bite. Of course you and your Democrat colleagues on your budget group have prepared a synopsis of the bill and what it will cost the middle class. Right? It’s in the mail right after the election. Every registered voter in East Hampton should visit Nepotism Tim’s Web site. Maybe they can explain why he is a member of the congressional caucus on Armenian Issues.
Should Be the Job
October 12, 2012
To The Star,
This year, the East End luckily escaped being impacted by a major hurricane. For how many years this will continue no one knows.
We can predict that the Army Corps of Engineers’ study of the impacts, and advance planning for them, will be incomplete and in process when or if we are hit. The federal government instituted its Fire Island to Montauk Point Reformulation Study in 1994 and has not managed to focus attention in the ensuing 18 years on any potential breaches of beaches east of Shinnecock. While in process, studies can offer valuable information even without formal completion, they are not much use if they don’t even look at half the study area.
Being from East Hampton, I am more than a little slighted at the short shrift Napeague, Georgica, and Montauk have received thus far. A map accompanying the study shows that East Hampton has no area vulnerable to breaching and one, downtown Montauk, as a location of potential concentrated storm damage. I suppose that complaining about content is churlish if the study itself, conceived to deal with emergency storm damage, erosion, and flood risk, will never be completed and is no one’s serious priority.
Whose responsibility should it be to address this important and ongoing public concern directly impacting three towns? Obviously, it should be the job of our federal representative Tim Bishop. It is hard to make any argument for the bureaucratic delays that he has permitted on this substantive matter when he found the opportunity to facilitate a fireworks display on the very same beaches.
He has not pushed this project to completion, but has rather chosen to appear at photo sessions reacting to emergencies.
No study is a panacea, and the problems of storm damage go well beyond anything the Army Corps can propose, but this is not the way to represent our district. We need something beyond the inertia that Tim Bishop accepts as the norm.
The Fire Island to Montauk Point Reformulation Study was authorized by Congress on July 14, 1960. Ed.
October 9, 2012
To the Editor,
When Tim Bishop signed on to the stimulus package, also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he outsourced jobs to overseas companies. A quick check as to who is building the San Francisco Bay Bridge will show you that job went to the Chinese, as have many road and bridge improvements.
If our taxpayer money was to follow the government’s mandate to create new jobs and save existing ones, why wasn’t our money used to employ our taxpayers? What happened to Southampton College while Tim Bishop had the opportunity to save it?
Most of the $2 billion in “green” industries went to countries like China, Spain, and India; the U.S.A. got a couple hundred new jobs. About 40 percent of the money used was borrowed! I can hardly wait to pay the interest on those foreign loans. Where are the jobs for Long Island? Meanwhile, welfare has increased by nearly 20 percent. Thanks, Mr. Bishop.
Randy Altschuler has indeed created hundreds of jobs on Long Island. He knows how to create jobs, how to make payroll, how to balance a budget. He believes Congress should abide by the same laws and ethics as the public. That is the man I’m voting for.
Thanks, Mr. Bishop, you’ve shown your interest is not for those who elected you but for currying the favor of the Washington, D.C. insiders. Hint: you’re fired!
LYNDA A.W. EDWARDS
Focus on Building
October 15, 2012
To the Editor,
Four years ago Tim Bishop held on to his very profitable congressional seat by labeling his opponent, Randy Altschuler, the “outsourcer.” This sounded sinister and worked to scare voters who don’t read carefully. It sounded like he was an “out-sorcerer,” or worse for some of us, a chef who ran out of gravy — an “out-of-saucer.” Boo! These do sound scary.
Years before he ran for office, Randy did build a business which B.O. (meaning in good times, before Barack Obama) was one of many serving companies who were unable to fill telemarketing and similar positions needed to take orders and provide customer service. These jobs required more applicants with technical proficiency and extreme customer-service attitudes than could be found in many parts of the United States. Without these functions many U.S. companies could not build their business and thus could not add better-paying positions here.
Compare this “scandal” with Mr. Bishop’s dirt pile, which began when he was provost of Southampton College — putting 10 family members on the payroll, giving free rent on the campus for his wife’s business, and eventually running the college (which was one of our area’s biggest employers) into the ground. And, to bring his record up-to-date, this paper and others reported on a “favors for sale” scandal just this summer! How many others never made the papers?
Suffolk needs a congressman who will focus on building our county’s income, not his own. We need more jobs here, more new businesses, more reasons to live here. Mr. Altschuler has already started the planning that Mr. Bishop failed to deliver in three terms. Let’s give Randy a chance to “in-source” what our towns need today.
September 28, 2012
To the Editor,
Re: “Diary of an Early American Boy,” “An Age of Barns” — Eric Sloane, “On the Road” — Jack Kerouac, “Confidence Men” — Ron Suskind. Dear driver at 200 miles per hour, dear driver at “Buck 10,” dear driver with or without moral hazard.
Power steering, modern highways, suspension, modeling mental plasticity.
In a fair based economy, one bit, President Dwight David Eisenhower experienced mental plasticity, placed “In God We Trust” on silver certificates.
While equilibria dancing ions-atoms, a free market in held by men in confidence (is not nice to fool Mother Nature, of marg the Lord God furious) movie discrepancies as the ark is hand-carried as a bond issue goes through mountains as Petra inner valley through water is not transported for matter, day and light, do not exist to Lord God. By men in confidence, not confidence. Handshake. Call back. Talk. Handshakes.
Hill of Paran. Obed. Edom