December 17, 2012
Dear East Hampton Star,
I would like to thank all of the people who donated toward Toys for Tots at the One Stop Market this past season. With your help and support, this has put merry smiles on children’s faces.
With much gratitude,
CAROL L. BENNETT
On behalf of all Santa’s helpers
We Can’t Wait
December 24, 2012
The time for platitudes is past. It will do us no good to wring our hands and curse the gods. Global warming is here. You want to spend time arguing over what to do about the shoreline and if this is a creation of man’s doing while totally disregarding the Blue Planet, so be it. I want to get ready for the next Sandy in all the practical lifesaving ways possible. We can’t wait for the East Hampton Town Board to appoint committees of people whose only interests are self — which is what got us where we are in the first place. We not only can, but will be the Rockaways, Staten Island, or worse, Fire Island.
As someone who went to Fire Island for 35 years, a place no Native American ever lived, I have heard the stories of how Gus Pageals, the owner of ferry boats, gathered the handful of residents in 1938 on one of his ferries and ran it aground when the island was washed over by a surge of the sea.
I, teaching middle school science in late ’80s, read in The New York Times Tuesday Science section of the rise of the seas and the prediction of massive storms, and told my friends to move off the island and sell. I also watched my brother-in-law move his oceanfront house back twice. Finally in the spring of 1995, I walked the beach in a northeaster when the shoreline was littered with houses that had been plummeted by the great Atlantic and taken down. In 1996 we left Fire Island behind.
But it’s not property we should be worried about — it’s how do we take care of our residents, especially since many are aging. Each hamlet needs a place for people to go that is safe, secure, and ready to minister to people. Of course, schools are the best places since they are all equipped with multiple bathrooms, large areas for the safe set up of cots, and kitchens.
We need coordinated lists of people with extraordinary needs and people who can check on them in a massive power outage, able-bodied volunteers who help oversee the care that will be needed to see to the needs of the people and a full-time emergency manager (no slight intended to Bruce Bates) who can work on this preparation. We need to hold meetings, educate people on what to do, and a town board that understands, not one out to protect the businesses in Montauk.
Are you up to the task, Mr. Wilkinson, or would you rather argue with a citizen who dares to question how you lived in L.A. working for a corporation like Disney for 10 years and spent your entire summer in Montauk?
The role of government is to take care of the needs of the people. You don’t need a committee to begin to mobilize. You need staff. This is serious and the time is now.
PHYLLIS ITALIANO MALLAH
December 21, 2012
Army Corps of Engineers Fire Island to Montauk Point study: B.J. Reynolds, a technician with the United States Geological Survey, Jordan Raphael, National Park Service, Cheryl Hapke, a geological survey scientist, Christopher Gardner, Army Corps, New York District, and Chris Soller, superintendent of the Fire Island National Seashore.
East Hampton Town erosion-policy committee: a Montauk motel owner, another Montauk motel owner, a third Montauk motel owner, a Montauk real estate broker, a surfing organization, a dredging company, president of the Group for the East End, and a program director at the Nature Conservancy.
What’s wrong with this picture?
December 24, 2012
To the Editor,
Just a short note to Alec Baldwin concerning his recent altruistic offering to the libraries of our East Hampton township. It’s a wonderful gesture and one we all appreciate, but, unfortunately, it seems that the Springs Library was left out.
Just as a reminder, the Springs Library and historical society are completely volunteer. The library staff is there solely to help the community, and no one gets paid. It seems that the Springs and the Bonac community got the short end of the stick again.
December 15, 2012
Please stop changing the Hamptons! The deer, raccoons, and squirrels were all here before us — so why kill them by driving too fast at night?
So be careful of the animals, humans. Appreciate the natural beauty of the Hamptons; let us preserve and respect it.
Where Deer Live
December 21, 2012
With regard to the deer, I believe we should count them, have an expert assess what population our area can sustain, harvest the excess, butcher every deer we harvest and store them in freezers, and distribute them to local food pantries.
Deer should be looked upon as an asset, not a liability. Anyone going to the woods should spray themselves with tick repellent. Pets should have Frontline or some other insecticide. Property owners should design their landscaping to include plants deer do not eat. Plantings that are vulnerable to deer should be sprayed with deer repellent (Tony Minardi boasts a particularly effective new brand) or enclosed behind deer fence.
Drivers can buy deer-warning devices from hardware stores to affix to the bumpers of their cars to ward off deer. Drivers can choose routes that are not in the middle of the woods where deer live. The can drive slowly in areas where there are deer warning signs.
I love the deer and find them beautiful creatures. I never cease to thrill when I catch sight of them grazing in herds or moving through the woods. Yet I live in the woods and have felt like murdering them when they eat buds off my long-awaited lilies and ravage carefully nurtured roses. In the end I put up a deer fence: boxwood, ferns, and daffodils on the outside, hydrangea, geraniums, ivy, and coleus on the inside.
Gives Us a Chance
December 20, 2012
To the Editor,
The Newtown incident strikes at the heart of everyone. It’s not just about the children; it’s about all of us. It has taken away our innocence! Whether you are 7 or 70, there is that child inside every one of us. That’s why we can all relate. Nothing in a long time has galvanized the same emotion inside each and every one of us.
The Newtown tragedy is also about to bring front and center where we are as a nation, as our attention now turns to what can be done about this. Are we so politically impotent right now that we can’t come together and save our own children? Newtown gives us a chance to effect change, and we now sit at a crossroads as a country.
Politics get in the way of our politicians and there is a growing movement to change the system. America is already giving away the greatest home court advantage in the history of the world because of our inability to act in a changing world. Countries like China have longterm goals and realize a country’s stability and position in a global economy, which we created, ensures its growth and a better life for its people. We have lost sight of our own creation.
Can we maintain our freedoms, yet come together for the greater good? That’s the challenge looking forward. If anything good can come out of Newtown, let it be that we are politically willing to act collectively for the sake of all of us.
This is a benchmark moment for the U.S., and Newtown may tell the tale. We all know our government can’t agree on a budget, or how and where to use our military, or even how or if to monitor our money on Wall Street. All of which would mean protecting the American way of life! Let it start in Newtown with gun control.
There is a growing sentiment in this country for political reform, like changing term limits for elected officials. After all, congressmen start running for re-election the day after the election, due to a two-year term. Presidents have little time to accomplish anything since two years into a four-year term they start running for office again, in the form of not accomplishing anything so as not to offend anybody. If you were the most powerful man in the world, wouldn’t you want to maintain that position above all else? Senators have a six-year term, but no term limits.
Now imagine if none of that were true and everyone had a single six-year term. Six years is long enough for stability and decisive action, but short enough for cleansing and change. This would partially paralyze special-interest groups like the N.R.A., and gun control could be addressed.
I am not anti-gun and I don’t think any of us are — it’s part of the American culture. I have been firing weapons since I was a child, from .22-caliber rifles to trap shooting with shotguns. But did the single mother of this monster in Newtown really need an assault rifle to protect herself? Wasn’t a single handgun or two enough? She loved guns and it killed her, along with everyone else who died that day.
The argument has been the same for a long time now. Guns don’t kill people, people do, and that it is a changed society that has led to all of this. Also there have always been a lot of guns around and it is the fault of a more violent and less moral world. Well if that’s true, isn’t that making the case for the other side? You can’t regulate society, but you can regulate guns. If you can’t change morality, then change the mortality rate from some of these weapons by changing the laws.
Let us also stop using the Second Amendment as a shield. If some guy thinks the arsenal in his basement is going to protect him against the government and he can rise up against a corrupt one in this day and age, then he is probably also ignorant to the smart bomb that’s coming down his chimney. The point is, an antiquated Second Amendment, which states the right to bear arms, was meant for a time of muskets, not madmen killing children.
This tragedy also obliterates the argument that if not for a gun, then a knife or another deadly instrument would be used. You could not inflict that kind of carnage in that short of a time. Also, adults would somehow have intervened. At worst you would have had a hostage situation. At best the coward who did this wouldn’t have even tried.
Let some good come out of this tragedy. Newtown can save us all from political ineptitude. If we can come together on gun control, the third rail of politics, then we can come together on other issues as well. Let the lessons be learned and lives not lost for nothing.
RICHARD C. ILSE
Guns in America
December 24, 2012
To the Editor,
Every year in the United States, 1,200 to 1,500 children 15 or younger die from gun-related incidents. Newtown is tragic but a small piece of the problem. Most of the other kids were not killed by deranged, unstable people. They were the collateral damage of a society that struggles to deal properly with the huge amount of arms in circulation. There is a problem around the gun debate. The fabricated hype distorts reality. Money and political scheming overwhelm rational thought and drive the emotional idiocy.
There are many ways to look at the issue of guns in America, but first and foremost is that the proliferation of guns is an enormous business with enormous profits. Second is that the U.S. has always had a culture of violence that is different from every other industrialized country. Third, the relationship to Americans and arms is similar to an alcoholic with alcohol. (Statistics seem to bear out this belief that our inclinations to killing each other have a serious socio-pathological derivation that needs to be examined and probably treated.) Fourth is the so-called lack of clarity regarding the Second Amendment regarding arms for protection that has little relevance in the 21st century. (We have a larger security apparatus today than we had a population in 1776 — 2.5 million.) Fifth, the National Rifle Association’s original mandate was hunting and conservation. Today, conservation is a nonstarter, and automatic weapons are for killing. Sixth is that the only freedom having a gun gives us is the opportunity to commit suicide.
The gun scam by the N.R.A. and the arms industry is only about the sale of weapons. If the response to Newtown is more arms in the schools or threats to leave the state if new controls are instituted, nothing else needs to be said. All the bullshit about protecting our freedoms, the Constitution, and protecting our homes is really about getting people to buy more guns. Add the political component of gun ownership to the equation and people are voting for guns over butter. The N.R.A. is asking gun owners to stand up and bend over. We used to buy bonds to help the country, now we buy guns.
We are great at mourning. We grieve, hold vigils, plant trees, empathize, sympathize, have clergy give speeches, pray, and shed tears. We feel the pain of the victims and with heads bowed and hearts broken we go back to our regular lives, waiting for the next tragedy.
We have a problem that demands a national debate. Up to now we’ve accepted as collateral damage the deaths of 1,500 kids every year. It’s obviously not a big enough deal or we would have done something about it. It seems not worth the effort for our politicians to sit down and figure this one out. Is it not a big price to pay for a culture that insists on embracing violence as part of its God-given heritage?
The Critical Issues
December 19, 2012
The liberal media is so in the tank for Obama that during the run for re-election the liberal elites left out all of the critical issues. They are as follows: out-of-control debt, Obamacare’s trampling of the Constitution and religious liberties, sky-high gasoline prices, massive unemployment, fragile housing market, rampant illegal immigration, and the Middle East is about to explode.
Benghazi is bigger than Watergate. Will he stall the investigation for the next four years? Hillary Clinton can’t go before Congress to testify; she has a concussion. Tons of excuses, and the media ignores, ignores all of it.
This president ignores destruction by the union protestors. Why? Because he owes them. He promised in his photo-op with the citizens of Staten Island, New Jersey, and the Rockaways that he would cut the red tape and help. These people are still wondering when is the help going to come, as they guard their homes, oh yes, the homes with no electricity.
As he prepares to vacation again in Hawaii these families are going where for Christmas? The so-called bill to help them is now filled with pork, yes, pork. The money is going everywhere but to New York.
Oh yeah, you voted for him. Good luck. And toast Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand — they loved the photo-op also, where is their help? Politics talk and bullshit walks.