December 4, 2012
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the East Hampton and Springs community for their prayers, thoughts, and help during the recent passing of my sister Tara Loper Mansir. Tara was an amazing woman and the help we received during this difficult time was amazing.
Thank you Susie Roden and the Coalition for Women’s Cancers, Theresa and Abby Roden, Vickie Durand, Terry Hickey, and all the people of St. Luke’s Church, Yardley and Pino Funeral Home. Without your help this time would have been so much more difficult.
Tara was always looking for a way to help someone else, so the way everyone wanted to do for her was great. She will continue to help others with the foundation she founded, Nana Cares.
Thank you again,
TERESA LOPER SCHURR
Seniors for Linda
December 9, 2012
I had been anxiously awaiting the outcome of the charges leveled against Linda Norris, the supervisor of the town’s Adult Day Care Centers in Montauk and East Hampton. Linda had been a great help to me and my wife, and I was shocked to hear of her suspension without pay.
When I heard that she had opted for a public hearing to be held last Friday morning at Town Hall, I decided to attend. Arriving a few minutes after 10, I found, much to my delight, almost all of the 80 or so seats filled. I asked my neighbor about the situation and she said, “It looks like the unexpected large turnout of clearly sympathetic folks made the town postpone the hearing and immediately begin negotiations with Linda and her attorneys.”
There we were, a group of interested citizens from all walks of life, quietly sitting in our chairs knowing that our very presence was helping the person we had come to respect. The last time I felt this kind of rush was over 40 years ago, when my wife and I participated in peaceful demonstrations against the war in Vietnam.
It wasn’t until three hours later that people started to leave, after being told by Linda’s attorney that the negotiations were going favorably.
The final result, I believe, is the transfer of Linda to the town’s housing department. While I am happy that she is still working for the town and that the stress of the charges is gone, I am saddened that she has not returned to her position at the center, an activity, for over 17 years, that she essentially created and expanded.
It is important that this incident not result in any dilution of a service critically needed to address our ever-increasing senior citizen population. In the past, programs like the excellent Youth Care Program were canceled for “economy reasons.” This can not happen with the Adult Day Care program.
Take Down the Dune
December 5, 2012
To the Editor,
The man-made dune at the end of Napeague Road and Marine Boulevard, created in advance of Hurricane Sandy, needs to be taken down. Like many drive-up beaches in the Hamptons, it is a spot where one can drive to gaze at the beautiful beach and ocean. We are a year-round beach and tourist community. To block the views is to take away a critical asset of the community, leaving the view only for those with homes on the beach, but not for anybody else.
To think that a few drive-up areas, which represent a very small percentage of the Hamptons beachfront, would stop hurricane waves from entering all the remaining land fronting the beachfront areas, is not logical. With all due respect to those with homes in low-lying areas near the ocean, those homes were bought or built with knowledge of the flooding risks and with taxpayer-subsidized flood insurance.
I know that, because for 23 years I owned a house in a low-lying area in the Amagansett Dunes, not far from Napeague Road and Marine Boulevard. That home remains in our family to this day. That was a risk that I, as well as my family, accepted. We would not have thought to detract from our community in order to minimize our flooding risk.
THOMAS N. TALLEY
The Right Course
December 10, 2012
The erosion committee being formed by the town board is ill-conceived. Its mission seems narrowly drawn to consider hard structures for the motels in downtown Montauk, which are contrary to the town’s policy as expressed in the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and against the local law that implements it.
The right course would be to use the revitalization program or amend it. It is not only the coastal component of the town’s Comprehensive Plan, it is also the mandatory guideline for state and federal agencies whose aid the town will need to finance and build any large-scale project. There are erosion solutions proposed for Montauk in the L.W.R.P., such as an erosion protection district which could help leverage that funding.
Characterizing erosion problems as “retreat” versus hard structures, as some board members have, oversimplifies the complexities of coastal dynamics. A decade of thought and community input went into the L.W.R.P. policies. Preserving our precious beaches is their highest priority. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
December 10, 2012
In last week’s Star Zach Cohen attempted to draw parallels between the 2009 capital budget (the last of the troubled McGintee administration) with the recent recommendations of the budget and financial advisory committee.
Knowing Zach as I do, I’m sure Zach was well-intentioned. But his letter left readers with an incomplete understanding of the BFAC’s recommendations and too many important differences unstated.
The BFAC may decide on a more complete response when it has had a chance to meet and discuss this matter. However, I personally deplore any attempt to politicize the effort to rebuild the town’s infrastructure and protect its environment. We are all in this together regardless of party affiliation.
PETER A. WADSWORTH
December 5, 2012
I am writing in response to an editorial‚ “Off Season Boost, At Uncertain Cost,” that appeared in your Oct. 10 edition. Sadly, it did not come to our attention until today, but even at this late date, we would like to clear up some of the inaccuracies and set the record straight.
The Hamptons Marathon has, for the past six years, hosted approximately 2,000 runners on the last weekend in September. We fill hotel rooms from the Panoramic to the Southampton Inn. With most hotels mandating a two-night stay, many runners are enjoying the Hamptons for the weekend, eating in restaurants, shopping, and providing a boost to the economy on an otherwise quiet weekend.
You stated that we “collected at least $300,000 in registration fees.” This is simply wrong. Our runners of the marathon and half-marathon pay between $65 and $100, with over two-thirds paying between $65 and $75 to run. Your numbers do not make sense.
You stated that “the East Hampton Town Board waived all the usual fees it could otherwise have assessed the marathon organizers‚ including $20,000 in police overtime.” This is simply wrong. I cannot speak for other events held in the town, but as a precondition of our securing a mass gathering permit, we are assessed an up-front charge for police overtime. In fact, we were charged $20,000 in August, long before the race was run. Any overages will be returned to us and any excess charges paid by us. This is one of the most expensive items in our budget and we are happy to pay it — the town should not have to and does not lose money on this event.
Finally, you state that we give “a portion of” our yearly profit to charity. This is simply wrong. We are a 501 (c)(3) and we give our entire yearly profit away after each race. We operate on a tight budget and have no paid staff but rely entirely on the generosity of volunteers, friends, and family to pull this off each year.
We are thrilled to say that this week we made combined donations totaling $60,000 to Project Most, the Springs School, the East Hampton Day Care Learning Center, and Southampton Hospital. This is down from the $65,000 that we gave away last year, but we are proud that we were able to do it, since our operating expenses, most notably police overtime, increased substantially.
Thank you for letting us set the record straight.
According to Hamptons Marathon 2012 results, there were 1,657 finishers: 325 in the marathon and 1,332 in the half-marathon. Published rates for the races are between $100 and $200 for the marathon and $75 and $175 for the half-marathon. If the lower figures are used, this gives an approximate total of $132,400 in 2012, not counting those who registered and did not finish or were unable to participate.
In a unanimous vote on Sept. 20, the East Hampton Town Board agreed to waive “all fees” associated with the Hamptons Marathon. These were a $100 application fee, a $100 daily use fee, a $250 clean-up deposit, and $20,000 in police overtime. Ed.
Drop Cartier Lawsuit
December 5, 2012
To the Editor:
Many East Hampton residents, including my wife and I, who are longtime homeowners, are deeply upset with Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. and the entire village board, which just denied John and Susan Cartier a permit to build a second house on their property.
It is particularly upsetting since about a month ago the zoning board approved the Cartiers’ request to move their primary residence and construct an accessory dwelling on their property, and ruled that they did not need a variance. Now, in what seems like a sudden reversal, to lay groundwork for the mayor’s agenda, the mayor, with backing of the village board, is suing the Cartiers to stop the construction.
The Cartiers’ plans, properly submitted to and approved by the zoning board, fully conform to the East Hampton Village Code, which allows second residences for families to be built on large pieces of property. The Cartiers have over two acres of land and meet all current requirements for these buildings. The combined square footage of the two buildings is well below the maximum size allowed.
The suit appears frivolous, and a waste of taxpayers’ time and money, in seeking an injunction in this case. The village board is trying to impose a change in the code that it hopes will pass retroactively later this month, on a matter that had been settled.
The Cartier family have been long-time residents and benefactors of East Hampton. Mrs. Cartier’s father, Lionel Jackson, generously donated to the town the original three-fireplace, six-bedroom, 1735 building now used as the East Hampton Historical Society on Main Street. This house had been on part of the same original Jackson family property.
In return for their generosity Mayor Rickenbach and the town board are certainly treating them poorly.
We respectfully ask The East Hampton Star and all other town residents to encourage Mayor Rickenbach and the East Hampton Village Board to drop this shameful suit and allow the Cartiers to continue their construction, as approved by the zoning board.
JOHN W. McGRATH
PATRICIA P. McGRATH
Which Is Worse?
December 4, 2012
To the Editor,
Regarding the town budget and deer survey:
I’ve been a tad distracted by the holidays, so I’m a little late with this letter. The board, I see, has already voted on the first step in a deer management plan. But I figure this issue won’t get resolved soon, so I have time to put in my 2 cents’ worth on that $40,000 plan.
If you could look out my window right now, oh board, you could save yourself the money (which is partly mine, since I vote here). There is a large extended family of deer moms, dads, kids (including at least one new baby), cousins, aunts, and uncles who have eaten everything they can reach on my lawn. This is because I, unlike most of my neighbors, do not have a deer fence.
My yard is about the only place in the neighborhood the deer can still get a decent meal (though, with everything else gone, they’ve had to start in on the — ouch — holly). My concern is not only that my plants are disappearing (and with them the habitat for small animals and birds) but that, with winter approaching, this deer clan, having eaten everything there is to eat in my yard, will starve. Or get hit by cars. Or starve. (I hate the car accidents, but it’s the starving that really gets to me.)
I ask you, fellow animal lovers, which is worse for the deer? Starving or being “culled?”
And if you think shooting is cruel, I’d better not find out you have a deer fence.
ALICE HENRY WHITMORE
Jack the Pheasant
December 6, 2012
To the Editor,
Way back in the ’50s when I was just a kid . . . this event took place. On the lead-up to an election, after 200 or so of us exited our local little Catholic church one Sunday about 11 a.m., here he was, a political hopeful climbing onto a battered little trailer hooked to a very old Massey Ferguson gray tractor. As usual, it was pouring cats and dogs. We huddled briefly to listen and of course get ammunition for our later laughs. We were a farming community.
There he stood, windblown and enthusiastic. He wished us all God’s blessings, greeted the parish priest and all the farming community, sons, daughters, etc. He had his speech planned for us. He was going to be at one with us all. Be it if he himself was not a farmer or indeed a farmer’s son, they had one acre of land.
Off he went: “I’m a pheasant, me father before me was a pheasant, his father before him was a pheasant. . . .” All too much for Paddy at the back of the crowd, who shouted up, “Jaysus, Jack, will you come down out that and stop making game of yourself.”
Well, Jack gave us ammunition for over 50 years so far!
Tonight somehow, I strayed into an East Hampton meeting about the deer population problem, I believe?
We all know that everything in the U.S. is bigger and better that the rest of the world, but honestly in my naivety I believed we Irish held the record in making game of ourselves. Alas, it was not so. The U.S. won again, the game was much, much bigger than Jack’s pheasant.
Jackie Mason and/or Jon Stewart could do justice to the politicians and speakers. Politicians nodded and smiled at all sides of the debate, if it be so called, hopeful like Jack that they’ll get their next vote.
One of my 10 million pet peeves is the lack of mathematical ability in our community in 2012. The U.S.A. is now 26th in the so-called developed world at mathematics, therefore — or “ergo,” as Mother Catherine used to say — logic is not there. Logic was certainly missing at tonight’s meeting.
Get the picture now? Most of the humans in the building (the building is an example of a total lack of logic, another letter some day) had, like myself, at least one leg in the grave — some one-and-a-half legs in the grave. A lot mentioned “science,” obviously never hearing, reading, or heeding George Bernard Shaw’s words: “Science never solved one problem without causing 12 more.” There were the “Don’t get me wrong, I’m an animal lover” people who wanted the deer “culled,” another word for killed or slaughtered. I’m a self-professed expert on the “Don’t get me wrong, I’m an animal lover” people. At least 20 a day call Elsa’s Ark to dump their pets.
The empathetic man from Gerard Drive who enjoyed watching six deer or so sun themselves on or near his property for the summer and fall season but whose heart will break as he sees them all starve to death in the cold freezing winter he forecasts soon. Jaysus, couldn’t he buy or beg an auld bag or box of half-rotten apples or vegetables and throw them out nearby if it means his heart won’t be in need of repair? More lack of logic, he also believes to prevent this terrible tragedy these creatures should be slaughtered.
There was the gynecologist who for some strange reason (totally illogical) announced that — hoping, I suppose — that bit of useless information would lend credence to her opinion on the reason for the so-called “deer problem.”
Another female of the species was in no doubt that ASAP the deer should be exterminated. She, it appeared, had at least one-and-a-half legs in the grave and wanted to make sure the deer went before her. After all, they may eat one of her plants after she has departed East Hampton and this planet.
There was, of course, the Montauk contingent, too near dear old Ireland and, as the stickers on the backs of their vehicles say proudly “The End.” They did themselves justice.
What they call passion was absent in all the waffle that went on. One elderly gentleman spoke about the painful, slow death a deer would suffer from being shot with an arrow. Who did he think gave a damn?
In a country where they execute their own people, send off their own children to die in their presidents’ wars not noting that the senior Bush, Clinton, or Obama ever went into the services themselves, or indeed, even though the rules were changed to accept them, the little Bush girls, little Clinton girl, or little Obama girls will, like their parents, never ever go to war!!
Logic/mathematics. Learn it, and stop making game of yourselves, even though I admit it, you are better than Jack the pheasant.
Music of the Heart
December 7, 2012
So we carry away fragments of the mirror of Plotinus. Sages, leave for the moment at least, your contemplations, smile for a while at the child and join the music of the heart of Christmas.
A Distressing Painting
December 8, 2012
Dear Mr. Rattray,
I am very grateful for the excellent letter sent by Lance Corey (Nov. 29). I too have suffered a lifetime from childhood sexual abuse. Many years in A.A. and 17 years with an excellent therapist have enabled me to have a semblance of a normal life. I must agree with Mr. Corey that it is time to stop concealing this hideous crime, its perpetrators, and its silent accommodators.
Yesterday when I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art I could not believe my eyes when I saw a painting by Balthus of allegedly a prepubescent girl of about 13 (as the wall plaque stated), painted sitting with legs spread and knees up in order to focus the viewer’s attention on her underpants, etc. For years there has been talk of Balthus having been a pedophile. Why would the Met exhibit such a distressing painting, why would it be so thoughtless toward the victims of pedophiles?
For those of us who go to art as a relief from suffering, it is terribly painful to come across such a painting in a museum.
Spreading it Around
December 8, 2012
To the Editor,
I was amused by Phil Tritt’s letter in your current issue finding a fine description of our partisan Washington infighting in the lyrics of the Broadway musical “My Fair Lady” — an example of what a late friend of mine used to call “wisdom from strange places.”
I have had a line from “Hello Dolly” bouncing around in my mind for some time. I suspect it has its ancestry in the source material, Thornton Wilder’s “The Matchmaker.”
No matter who said it first, in the words of Dolly Gallagher Levi: “Money is like manure. It doesn’t do any good unless you spread it around.”
Real and Fraudulent
December 7, 2012
To the Editor:
In 1969 I worked in a New York City drug treatment program and subscribed to all the theories and ideas around the nation’s drug problem. In 1973 I met a sociology professor in Paris who explained why the essence of our drug problem was manufactured and that the only real solution was legalization.
Forty years later we still haven’t come to terms with the problem and the only real solution. Hundreds of billions wasted, millions of lives ruined, our prison system destroyed, etc., etc. We always asked the wrong questions about drugs and played at “the emperor’s new clothes” at a staggering cost. Are we addicted to stupidity, or is it something more sinister?
The Fiscal Cliff and its fearful consequences, whether reality or fantasy, raise a question about how we envision the economy and the country over the next 20 years. Unlike the Senate debate regarding the filibuster, which is purely partisan (all the Republicans supported filibuster reform in 2005, while all the Democrats were against it; now they’ve completely reversed their positions), where the consequences are relatively minimal, the economic consequences are enormous.
The question that needs to be asked, but isn’t because it would require a serious response, is, do we want the United States to have a vibrant, growing middle class? Or are we willing to sacrifice the bottom 80 percent for the well-being of the top 20 percent?
Factual reality tells us that the economy is growing slowly and adding jobs, mostly low-paying. At this rate of growth we will have an economy that works for 30 percent of the population (current level is 20 percent) by 2032. If this scenario is acceptable, then we can continue debating the deficit and major tax reform and let the market take care of the rest. The current growth level is more than satisfactory for the top 20 percent.
The country is not run by the bottom 80 percent of the population. Consequently, everything that is proposed and instituted is directed at the self-interest and well-being of the top 20 percent. Pacifying the bottom as we move from one electoral cycle to another. So how do we move forward?
Our deficit is both real and fraudulent. Reducing it will not stimulate the economy, create jobs, or grow the middle class. Avoiding a run on our national wealth relates only to those people who are holding the wealth. Deficit reduction is a function of revenues from economic expansion. Expand the economy and the deficit will fall into line. Unfortunately, the reverse isn’t true.
Tax reform is both real and fraudulent once again. It would be great to simplify the system and it might generate some job creation and growth in the next 10 years by redistributing wealth. Estimates of an additional 100,000 jobs per year will have a minimal effect on unemployment.
What to do? That isn’t real and fraudulent. Rebuild our infrastructure and redesign our education system. Cut military spending, legalize drugs, rework health care to take advantage of European-type systems and economies of scale. Get rid of Homeland Security, eliminate arms sales to other countries. Raise taxes to Clinton-era levels or higher, with provisions to lower middle-class taxes as a method of addressing wealth inequality.
The country needs a full-size plan with real, defined goals. No more criticizing ideas without presenting alternatives. Dismissing ideology in favor of reality.