Letters to the Editor: 02.09.12

Tears of Joy
    Burnsville, N.C.
    February 6, 2012
To the Editor,
    When we lived in East Hampton we knew it was one of the most beautiful places on earth. But the physical beauty is just the tip of the iceberg.
    We wanted to thank our friends and neighbors for supporting us. Robert Curtis, who owned a leather-goods shop in East Hampton that eventually was known as Billy Martin, was in a devastating motorcycle accident last May.
    On Nov. 18 the Stephen Talkhouse generously hosted a benefit and auction organized by Cindi Ceva, Sarah Hubbard VonFrank, and Lynn Blumenfeld to help us get back on our feet. It’s going to be a long road to recovery and we’re taking it one day at a time, but we want to thank all the people who came out to support Bob, and thank the generous local businesses and artists for providing fantastic auction items and a handful of wonderful chefs for providing food!
    If not for the generosity of such a loving community, our hardship would have been unbearable. There were countless times we cried tears of joy over the compassion shown by everyone. So for Valentine’s Day we send all the love in our hearts out to all who have participated in Bob’s recovery. We want you to know that as hard as it has been, you have shown us there is indeed a silver lining. In the end, love is the only truth.
    BOB CURTIS
    MARY CLARE GALVIN

    A list of contributors to the Nov. 18 event can be found in The Star’s Card of Thanks classifieds category this week. Ed.


Loved This Town
    Amagansett
    January 30, 2012
Dear Editor,
    To the readers of The East Hampton Star: Our family would like to thank the East Hampton Town police and all the emergency personnel who tried to save the life of our father and husband, Richard Threlkeld, who was killed in a tragic automobile accident on Jan. 13.
    Dick really loved this town and he would wish that all of you continue living a wonderful life here, keep working for the betterment of the community, and be sure to be good and kind to one  another.
    Thanks for everything,
    BETSY AARON
    SUSAN PAULUKONIS
    ROB PAULUKONIS
    ANNIE PAULUKONIS
    JOE PAULUKONIS
    JONATHAN SUMPTON
    BOB THRELKELD


Locate Paintings
    Brooklyn
    January 29, 2012
To the Editor:
    I am trying to locate paintings made by my father, Kenneth B. Walsh (1922-1980). After running a commercial art studio in New York City through the 1960s, during which time he also exhibited at his Bonart Gallery at Gosman’s Dock, he moved to Montauk full time.
    The mid-1970s were a prolific period. While he painted many watercolors in the 1960s, mostly of the natural environment of the East End, the mid-1970s saw creation of dozens of paintings in a modern style. At least one, called “Montauk,” was recreated in poster format and sold locally. Some of these modern paintings were sold. I believe others were exhibited in local galleries. One of his watercolor paintings hung in Montauk Public School throughout my childhood, and I believe another was displayed for decades in Salivar’s restaurant.
    It is my hope to catalog, restore, document, and ultimately exhibit the most comprehensive collection possible. My family presently has in our possession approximately 25 of his works. I have slides and photos of several others that are unaccounted for. Further, I would like to contact any of his contemporaries on the East End.
    I know little about the business of art and would be grateful for any information, recollections, or guidance from any artists that knew him or were creating art in the same period. I would be most appreciative if any who knew him, and especially anyone in possession of his work, would kindly contact me at chrisink@live.com.
    With gratitude,
    CHRISTOPHER WALSH


First Sight
    Springs
    February 6, 2012
Dear Editor:
    With Valentine’s Day upon us, I would like to share a poem I wrote many years ago the first time I saw my now wife. It was my mother who had encouraged me to write down my thoughts because I would talk about this girl I met morning, noon, and night. Twenty-five years later, it is still like the “first sight of you.”
    Thank you much, and happy Valentine’s Day.

First Sight of You
Love is like shy stimulating Jasmin for the first time that wakes while others sleep.
A blind sparkle of piercing diamonds in black darkness readying for an adventure with no direction.
A heartbeat so loud and intense
the world can hear it as they go about.
It is the most ordinary of all miracles
so fashioned of feathery clouds with a secret meaning of emotions never so strong.
It is but a handful of stars tossed
into the night sky ever so shining.
For love has bloomed in the innocence of desire.
RUSSELL J. CALEMMO


Have This Jewel
    Springs
    January 30, 2012
Dear Editor,
    Last week, fifth-grade students in our school were given some inside scoops about Jackson (born Paul Jackson in Cody, Wyo.) Pollock from the dynamic Ruby Jackson, who has worked at the Pollock-Krasner House for years. She agreed to pop over to clue our kids in about some interesting tidbits of Pollock’s life as we marked the century since his birth on Saturday, Jan. 28.
    Most Springs School children have visited the studio and house on Fireplace Road over the years. In the future they will hopefully realize what a treat that is. As historian David McCullough advises, teachers should try and “put flesh and blood on the bones of those people who have made their mark on the world.” Pollock made his “marks”— and he worked right in the neighborhood!
    With her hands flying in the air, Ruby captivated her audience for over an hour, telling stories about his four older artistic brothers, his mom, Stella, father, Leroy, and his wife, Lee Krasner. She showed paintings and photographs, one of Lee and Jackson clamming right in Accabonac Harbor next to Gerard Drive 65 years ago. Helen Harrison, the director of the P-K House, had found that photo in the American Art Archives in Washington, D.C., and printed out a copy for us.
    The students seemed shocked at the news that Jackson was kicked out of high school for punching his teacher. An animated storyteller, Ruby filled them with new information about this important American painter. In art classes all week, Colleen McGowan had students work on projects inspired by Pollock’s life and style.
    We would like to thank Ms. Jackson for her knowledge and for donating her time. It made the 100th birthday celebration memorable for us all. I write this to remind readers how we have this jewel of a museum right in our community. Exciting shows are on the calendar for the upcoming year. Make sure to check it out.
    Sincerely,
    IRENE TULLY
    Fifth Grade Teacher
    Springs School


A Trained Seal
    East Hampton
    February 1, 2012
To the Editor,
    I was invited by a friend to attend a taping of “The Martha Stewart Show.” I happily said yes and looked forward to the day. Little did I know I was going to get a lesson in how to be a trained seal.
    We were requested to wear jewel tones. The day of the show we were lined up, checked, and passed through a metal detector. Inside, we were asked to read a form, sign, and initial it, and then told to use the bathroom. Soon after, the moment had arrived. Yes, the so-called lucky women (the V.I.P.s!) were called and taken up first by elevator to the studio. The rest of us sat there looking like the last kid picked for the kickball team.
    We were then called by numbers and led to the stairs. Inside the studio set we were told how to behave: Sit up straight and smile! All the while we were looked over by the Secret Service. Then we were instructed by the nice warm-up man. He said, this hand signal means this, and this signal means that. If I rub my tummy, you say, “Mmmmm!” Whoever makes the biggest, loudest sound gets an extra gift. That’s right, gift! Clap your hands and win a prize.
    The audience was ready to give its all.
    Then out came Ms. Stewart and she never so much as looked at the audience, not once. Of course, we all resembled trained seals by then. We had only waited an hour for her to appear.
    She had long legs and tall high heels. She was like a well-oiled machine wearing a blue silk shirt, not a hair out of place. Very much the professional. When her hour was up, off she ran without a word for us seals, who, by the way, had been clapping on cue and m’mmming and shouting when prompted to hoot and holler.
    Not a wave from Martha, not a thanks for coming, not a photo opportunity for the lucky elevator people, not a nod. Then like magic, the shade closed on the kitchen set, but not before Martha threw a small tantrum. Thank you, Martha, that made it all worthwhile. I just loved it.
    Sincerely,
    MARY LLOYD


Produce Buyers
    East Hampton
    February 2, 2012
Dear David,
    Today my colleague Jen Wilson and I went to the East Hampton Village Board meeting in the firehouse to weigh in on the discussion of the size of real estate signs. The mayor said this was not the forum in which to be heard. Therefore, there would be no opportunity to express any thoughts.
    We found this quite disconcerting. Particularly since I am not only a property owner in the village but an owner-operator of a business on Main Street. Furthermore, Town & Country has offices in two other villages where sign sizes are restricted, and I could have given valuable input firsthand. Still, the board did not want to hear from anyone. Most unfortunate!
    Regarding the size of real estate signs, I had planned to express that, while Town & Country will gladly comply with whatever the residents of East Hampton Village choose, I have not heard or read where any residents have commented on whether they are happy with the existing size of real estate signs or if they would prefer to have a much smaller and highly restricted sign policy. By the way, this new law will apply to contractors signs, too, and we didn’t hear from that contingency either.
    The restrictions the board was discussing included not only the 18-by-18-inch size, but where and how the sign would have to be placed parallel to the street (thus, only one-sided signs) and inside the property line with a possible setback to come.
    There was further discussion about all signs being the same colors (black and white) and the requirement that each small sign have two wooden posts. Even in Westhampton Beach and Southampton Village, where Town & Country has offices that comply with the reduced sign size, neither require two wooden posts (or two metal posts for that matter). Two posts are overkill for such a tiny sign.
    The mayor said that he had heard from real estate companies that signs are not a significant source of inquiries — absolutely incorrect. As a broker who has been monitoring statistics for over 25 years‚ including the origin of leads and sales‚ signs most definitely produce buyers for the property and in fact have resulted in the sale of said property.
    East Hampton Village residents should be heard; it affects them most and, professionally speaking, such restrictions affect them negatively.
    But above all, David, I’m curious as to why the village is not addressing the 10-ton gorilla in the room: Our Main Street is suffering and we need to band together to save it now! When is the village board available to open dialogue about the real problem in our community, empty stores most of the year?
    Thank you,
    JUDI A. DESIDERIO
    Town & Country Real Estate


Work Rules
    East Hampton
    February 2, 2012
To the Editor,
    I saw a young woman pushing shopping carts from North Main Street to the Waldbaum’s store. These were carts that people took from Waldbaum’s and left in the I.G.A. lot. They should be picked up by Waldbaum’s with a truck or other vehicle. The manager of Waldbaum’s should try pushing eight carts from Main Street. I wonder how he does it.
    This must be against the company’s work rules for employees.
JULIA KAYSER


Ready to Assist
    East Hampton
    February 5, 2012
Dear David:
    We would like to thank East Hampton Town Councilwoman Sylvia Overby and Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc for attending the East Hampton Group for Good Government’s most recent living room round-table meeting. Over the years we have had Bill Wilkinson, Ben Zwirn, Dominick Stanzione, Jeanne Nielson, Jay Schneiderman, Steve Levy, and others. For a February weekend, we had a good turnout and active participation.
    Perhaps the most interesting question of the day was a query from the audience to our guests as to how effective they could be on the town board being in the minority. Peter’s response, with Sylvia’s concurrence, was positive, suggesting that they hope to be able to achieve a consensus on many of the problems affecting the town. We at the G.G.G. support all such efforts by all our officials and stand ready to assist in any way that we can.
    Sincerely,
    STEVEN SCHWARTZ
    ARTHUR MALMAN
    Co-chairmen
    East Hampton Group for
    Good Government


Doesn’t Cut It
    Springs
    January 30, 2012
To the Editor,
    We in Springs have a school tax rate that is 1.9 times that of the East Hampton School District and 4.8 times that of the Wainscott School District. We know several factors contribute to this, such as high density, low numbers of commercial and industrial properties, and illegally overcrowded single-family houses. On Jan. 23, at a Springs citizens advisory committee meeting, Assistant Town Supervisor Theresa Quigley presented a set of demographics that minimized the impact of the illegally overcrowded single-family houses.
    Schools on Long Island are closing due to diminishing student populations, while the Springs School is bursting at the seams. How could this be? Illegally overcrowded single-family houses, which also represent a public safety risk, are the answer.
    Ms. Quigley’s argument “We’re just the town board and we can’t do that much” is either a lazy cop-out or a situation where the board is unable to reconcile its own interests with the needs of the Springs community.
    “We can’t do more” just doesn’t cut it. And you can bet if Ms. Quigley lived next to one of these crowded, neglected houses you’d see exactly what they could do!
    Supervisor Bill Wilkinson has stated that evicting people feels immoral to him. True or not, no one is suggesting putting people out in the streets.
    It is important to mention these crowded rental properties are neglected and become eyesores in our neighborhood. Not only do they diminish the value of our homes, they diminish our quality of life.
    We have laws. They should be strictly enforced to the fullest extent. They’re not to be minimized, dismissed, or ignored. There is always more that can be done and here are some suggestions:
    1) Adopt a rental registration, require rental permits, and inspect properties frequently — as Southampton has successfully done.
    2) Adopt higher minimum fines to deter the landlord, as well as the tenant, from violations.
    3) Do not create new affordable housing and accessory apartments in Springs.
    4) Post zoning ordinance violations, fines, and resolutions in the newspapers weekly.
    5) Use community preservation money to buy vacant developable sites in Springs.
    6) Do not issue further subdivisions where limits have already been decided.
    7) Set specific, objective criteria that would permit and require safety inspections by the Ordinance Enforcement Department, such as number of vehicles or condition of property.
    8) Support the election of Springs residents to the town board. One board member from each hamlet is a good way to go. It is naive to expect nonresidents of Springs to represent us with the necessary concern and vigor.
    Often, town board decisions and actions have resulted in anger, resentment, and disappointment. Helping resolve Springs’ problems will result in gratitude and support. That would be a welcome change.
    Abe Lincoln said, “If you fail to favor the people they will fail to favor you.” (As evidenced by the narrow margin of the last election!)
FRED WEINBERG


Current Reality
    Springs
    February 5, 2012
Dear David,
    I would like to mention that I, too, attended the Springs advisory committee meeting on Jan. 23 where Theresa Quigley explained the results of a two-year study the town has done regarding housing and population density in East Hampton, and where we heard from an attendee that some landlords in Springs are renting beds for $800 a month. I have also heard, but have no proof, that drive­ways are being rented as addresses for families who live outside of Springs but wish their children to attend Springs School.
    The citizens of Springs are happy the current town administration has created a code enforcement department that is more active than the previous dysfunctional code enforcement department. It has become more active in citing landlords for health and safety violations, violations like no fire alarm, illegal sheet rock walls, no certificates of occupancy, double kitchens, locks on bedroom doors, however there is no code enforcement and/or laws enforced for illegal renting by landlords.
    Areas of Springs are becoming blighted. There are landlords who do not live on their property who rent to multiple persons making their house a flophouse or a dormitory. These houses are overcrowded, create a burden on the ecosystem (think cesspool and water), and there seems to be no enforcement to prevent this. Maybe we should have higher fines. Maybe we should rewrite some laws to address the current reality.
    We do have zoning laws on the books for single-family houses. Maybe we should do what Southampton does and require landlords to register with the town when renting. Maybe code enforcement laws should be rewritten.
    The population of Springs doubled in the last 10 years; construction did not. Illegal housing is not affordable housing — maybe the town should realistically address affordable housing and you don’t do that by rewriting the current accessory apartment law. Maybe code violators should be reported and printed in the newspaper with a local reporter attending Justice Court. If you make illegal renting financially unattractive by raising the fines on the slum landlords, the situation might abate or become less severe.
    Most homeowners in Springs are very upset with the overpopulation of the hamlet. This is the immediate problem. It affects our lives, our taxes, our property values, our quality of life, and it strains what few services we have. Current code enforcement policy is not dealing with the problems at hand. It is not getting the job done.
    We currently have a horrid problem with the Springs School budget, where programs, services, and staff are facing an estimated $1.09 million budget gap! This is a whole other problem, but not unrelated to illegal housing.
    We in Springs pay the highest school taxes on the East End. I urge all residents and homeowners of Springs to attend the Springs School budget community forum being held Saturday at 9 a.m. at Springs School.
    Thank you,
    BETSY RUTH


Wilkinson Is Back
    Montauk
    January 30, 2012
To the Editor,
    As a follow-up to a previous letter of a few years ago, I would like to point out that the 7-Eleven in Montauk has caused financial hardship to a number of our delis and small groceries. As we all know, the 7-Eleven was approved by the town board in the “dead of night.”
    Bill Wilkinson is back, unfortunately, with his re-election mandate of 15 votes. Amazingly, he still has the same arrogant manner. I sincerely hope with new members on the board they can excercise some control so we don’t have to turn each meeting into a free-for-all.
    Mr. Wilkinson’s rants about his big job at Disney fascinate me. When I worked at large corporations — NBC and J. Walter Thompson — the personnel department (now called human resources) did not do much more than hire the clerical help.
    Anyhow, Bill, lighten up!
GLORIA PRAGER


True Colors
    Springs
    February 5, 2012
Dear David,
    It seems that Mickey Mouse has run amok again and his true colors have been revealed to be more to the likes of Frankenstein. 
    First, there is the reign of terror that created the retirement of Bay Constable Kevin Maier, forcing him out without the usual benefits. But the court recently ruled in favor of the constable, reinstating his benefits and, I dare say, his pride. This whole episode went on quietly in an almost underground fashion so that the townspeople only got hints of the goings-on when Bill Wilkinson started to clean house and pressure folks out the door.
    In the case of Larry Penny: Pushing out a man of science (but what does Frankenstein know of the workings of science, probably less than he knows of government, which isn’t much), while the whole town’s stomach does a 45-degree turn, demonstrates once more that human resources is probably not the best training to make a man human.
    Sincerely,
    PHYLLIS I. MALLAH


Surf Lodge
    East Hampton
    February 6, 2012
To the Editor,
    There are two reasons the issues with the Surf Lodge have not been resolved. The first reason is the utter failure of the town board to act.
    I know that the town attorney’s office advised them that they couldn’t prevail, but that was not necessarily the case. From what I have read in the papers and heard from Montauk residents, there is no reason the town could not have joined with residents of Montauk to move in State Supreme Court to shut down the offending nightclub. It’s called abating a nuisance.
    Of course, this type of action is fact-sensitive, so the best way to find out if the accusations have any basis is to test them in court. Whether or not the multiple code violations are a basis for injunctive relief should also be a matter decided by the court. You don’t always bring an action because you are absolutely certain you will prevail, but by authorizing litigation, the board could show the residents of Montauk that they support them.
    The court has also been responsible, in part, for letting these matters go on so long. As many of the charges against the corporate entity are criminal in nature, New York’s Code of Criminal Procedure authorizes courts to enter guilty pleas and assess fines when a corporate defendant fails to appear to be arraigned. The court missed this opportunity twice.
    More important, courts are not required to grant adjournments. They have the authority to say “no adjournment” and set the matters down for trial. There are two courtrooms and lots of days when they are not used.
    These issues can be resolved, and all it takes would be to put some pressure on.
    STEPHEN GROSSMAN


Indescribable
    Amaganstt
    February 3, 2012
Dear David,
    I am planning to open a local gathering place. It will have excruciatingly loud music and be in an inappropriate location, with insufficient parking. The place will be a fire hazard, access will be impossible for the handicapped, and restrooms will be inadequate.
    My clientele will be youngish émigrés in overwrought clothes. The waitstaff will have room-temperature I.Q.s. The gift shop will celebrate poor taste.
    The food promises to be indescribable and let us not even discuss the negative impact on the environment.
    I am committed to this project, warmed by the “any-business-will-do” environment created by the Republican members of the East Hampton Town Board. They will overlook my estimated 800-a-season code violations, and steer me to the proper adjudication of the East Hampton Town justice, wife of the local Republican Party boss.
    I’ll see you at the grand opening of “Disaster,” now, won’t I?
    All good things,
    DIANA WALKER


Have No Intentions
    Montauk
    February 6, 2012
Dear David,
    It is Thursday again, and the front page of The Star again gives us “The Surf Lodge Strikes Out.’” Here we go again! The public has been excluded from changing the out-and-out defiance of the Surf Lodge from its intrusion into our lives four years ago.
    The clients and their attorney, Colin Astarita, have used ways to get what they want in our community. Organizations like the Concerned Citizens of Montauk and Group for the East End have met with the planning board to oppose the Surf Lodge’s expansion, as well as the 689 variances brought against it for safety and zoning regulations.
    It is an ongoing commitment for all in our town to protect the water quality of Fort Pond, the second largest fresh pond on Long Island.
    The fact that this nightclub has postponed court appearances to correct what is wrong should result in not allowing it to open again in 2012. After the season ended, the Montauk L.L.C. submitted site plans to the East Hampton Town Planning Board to legalize a hot dog cart and a covered wait station on the deck. This tells us they have no intention of complying with present codes. Spring will come and the Surf Lodge will open again to wine and dine the “outsiders.”
    At this time they are to appear in Justice Cahill’s court on Monday. Let us check it out, and all be there if it happens.
    Sincerely yours,
    MARY MILLER


Engaged In Secret
    East Hampton
    February 6, 2012
Dear David,
    Supervisor Wilkinson frequently speaks of his respect for jurisdictional boundaries. When asked why he wasn’t doing more to protect the public’s beach access rights, he responded that beach access was a trustee issue and beyond his jurisdiction, going so far as to imply that it would be improper for him to bear influence on the case. On two levels this was untrue, first because the town was also named a plaintiff. Second, Supervisor Wilkinson met privately with the beachfront landowners bringing the suit, which certainly constitutes a breach of jurisdictional boundaries. (We can only speculate what his secret agenda might have been.)
    Now, on to the Surf Lodge. During the summer and into the autumn, Supervisor Wilkinson again raised the issue of jurisdictional separation when asked by Montauk residents and opposition Democratic candidates to tackle the mounting code violations at the Surf Lodge and other nightclub operations — namely to shut them down if the owners did not bring their business into compliance. He contended that the issue was up to the town’s Justice Court.
    According to Heather Dubin’s excellent article (The Star, Feb. 2), sometime during the summer, Supervisor Wilkinson authorized a meeting between the Surf Lodge attorney (Colin Astarita), some or all of the plaintiffs, and town government members (town attorneys, Police Department, fire marshal, and building inspector) to privately work out the plaintiffs’ problems. Evidently this meeting was so successful from the plaintiffs’ standpoint that their attorney determined nobody needed to return to the court.
    Authorization of a private meeting such as this certainly tramples the jurisdictional boundaries that our supervisor purports to honor. More important to me, however, is that Supervisor Wilkinson has once again engaged in secret negotiations with special interests and tells the taxpaying public a wholly different story.
    Supervisor Wilkinson’s persistent dishonesty is a disgrace to town government and an insult to us all.
    Yours truly,
    NAOMI SALZ


Made Monkeys
    East Hampton
    February 5, 2012
To the Editor,
    After an extended absence, I looked forward to my return to the peace and quiet of winter in East Hampton. Instead, I find our judge and court and residents being made monkeys of. People of Montauk are still crying about restaurant-bars violating the town code left and right, making residents’ homes unlivable. Six hundred meals are claimed to be served daily by just one establishment instead of the 60 that are authorized. Patrons are relieving themselves in public because the sanitary facilities are overwhelmed.
    Just one establishment has been cited 687 times (once for fire-code violation) during the summer months — as many as 13 citations per day! Only after shutting down for the end of the summer did the violations stop. During the entire summer, the establishment’s lawyer and owners didn’t even bother to appear in court in response to summonses. Anyone reading between the lines can see that the establishment probably made a small fortune during the summer at the expense of the residents’ rightful safety and health.
    How could this be? Supervisor Bill Wilkinson claimed to be introducing modern, businesslike methods. The town pays attorneys, who, I assume, are directed by the supervisor to take some sort of action to deal with establishments who make fools of the town and the courts. What else are lawyers for?
    It seems that either one of two possibilities is occurring. One is that the supervisor and his Republican team are hopelessly incompetent.
    The other is suggested by Mr. Wilkinson’s remarks during the summer when Montauk residents begged him to take some action. I seem to recall that he replied that retail establishments like restaurant-bars are important to the town’s economy and should not be hampered in any way. Did he actually suggest that he was elected by retail businesses and not by the residents of the town? Who remembers?
    If Mr. Wilkinson did say that all regulations, even of the most necessary kind, are evil, as is the claim of the most extreme Republicans, then I suppose the people of Montauk will just have to get used to tourists relieving themselves on their lawns and parking in their drive­ways — at least until we elect a more understanding supervisor.
ALBERT Z.K. SANDERS


Done Nothing
    Springs
    February 6, 2012
Dear David,
    We need to separate fact from fiction when it comes to changing our zoning code for exterior lighting. Simply stating that it is “unsafe,” “expensive,” or “difficult” does not make it true. With education, these myths can be dispelled.
    In the last two years, the East Hampton Town Board has done nothing to educate people about the advantages of dark-sky lighting. Instead, they are fostering misconceptions.
    Theresa Quigley is proposing (again) to repeal our law with no evidence that it is necessary to throw it out. She has also demonstrated that she is unable to write legislation that makes sense for our community.
    I have identified only three verifiable and legitimate areas in the current code that could be included as amendments. This would improve the code, not destroy it. It is completely unprecedented for a community to weaken a zoning code especially with no verifiable evidence to do so.
SUSAN HARDER


Inherent Conflict
    Springs
    February 5, 2012
Dear David
    It’s disturbing that Diana Weir sees no inherent conflict of interest between her appointment to the East Hampton Town Planning Board, where she serves the general public, and running Randy Altschuler’s campaign for U.S. Congress, where she serves the Republican Party specifically.
    She has already stated half-truths about Mr. Altschuler’s active participation in our community. Where? When? How? He may live in St. James, but his new business is in Georgia, not Long Island. That’s where he hired 300 Americans.
     How will Diana Weir remain objective and trustworthy serving East Hampton and promoting Randy Alt­schuler at the same time? I think she should resign from the planning board now.
    Sincerely,
    ANN SCHAFER-WOLF


Will Hail Down
    Springs
    February 6, 2012
Dear David,
    Last week our federal government made adjustments to the bill that reauthorizes and funds the continuation of the Federal Aviation Administration. The F.A.A. is an agency of the Transportation Department and exists only by authorization of Congress. Its very existence, as well as its funding, is dependent upon the consent of Congress that it continue. A final vote is expected this week in the Senate.
    This is important to East Hampton residents for a very specific reason. Senator Chuck Schumer, in a laudable effort to seek relief from helicopter noise for his western Suffolk constituents and ill-advisedly following the recommendations of our current administration, included two fixed routes for helicopters traveling to and from East Hampton Airport in this reauthorization bill.
    The mandated routing of helicopters along the Atlantic Ocean (southern route) and Long Island Sound (northern route) will hail down on the residents of the Town of East Hampton more helicopter noise than ever. The suggested routes will send approaches and departures of helicopters coming to and from East Hampton Airport only over East Hampton lands and waters. Departures that used to occur over Jessup’s Neck will no longer be available — good news for eastern Southampton Town residents, but not so good for East Hampton. The removal of this route, by simple mathematical calculation alone, increases helicopter travel over East Hampton and, consequently, increases noise.
    The town’s plans for a seasonal control tower can only direct and police these flights during its months, days, and hours of operation. Tower influence over air traffic is limited to its seasonal nature, and while appropriate for our area, necessarily limits the opportunity for control. The seasonal control tower would likely spread the disruptive noise around more equitably, which may provide some relief for those living under the most frequently traveled routes. But its real impact on noise abatement is unknown at this time. The tower cannot reduce the number of flights, which is the only meaningful noise abatement tool.
    Additionally, the town’s grant application for F.A.A. funding for planning of a deer fence will proceed as soon as the reauthorization bill passes. This grant is for $100,000, nearly the same amount the town board resolved to pay its aviation attorney, Peter Kirsch, at last Thursday’s town board meeting.
    While one supports any and all efforts to mitigate noise, the rejection by the 2011 lame-duck town board of the least-expensive and most-obvious course toward real noise mitigation gives one pause when attorneys’ fees of this magnitude are presented. Allowing the applicable grant assurances to expire in 2014 while pursuing available noise mitigation procedures, such as a seasonal control tower, has always been the most practical way to proceed.
    Georgica and Northwest residents take note — the summer’s going to hurt.
    Thank you,
    KATHLEEN CUNNINGHAM


Standing Firm
    Boston
    January 31, 2012
To the Editor,
    Re: South of Cambridge and the fathomless tidewater.
    Dear student of the last two chapters of “The Last of the Mohicans,” in a chance meeting with a red from Geppetto-Pinocchio, asked about the whale C (corporations, cathedrals, Congress, the Abraham-Moses land grants) was reminded, “If your heart is in your dreams no request is too extreme,” and real boys are not discouraged with woodenness and strings.
    Ulysses reminded me of the percentage decade interest that bonded “those long talks with God.”
    During the 12 days of Christmas, after the holy family had finished up in Bethlehem, turning the page so to speak, fulfilled the law at the temple in Jerusalem (relative to football field or seraphim heights), scooted to Egypt, short time afterward together having a fine dinner since they’d returned to the building trades with the assets, waited for regime change in the shining city on the hill.
    By standing firm it doesn’t take a hero for an American journey even if you don’t have a reinstated horse cavalry because Psalm 147.
    Yours,
    GEORGE RICHERT


Only One Man
    Montauk
    February 6, 2012
To the Editor,
    As America falls another $1 trillion-plus debt and continues its downward spiral toward destruction, President Obama will be the first to tell you what a great job he is doing in the White House.
    In an interview, the song-and-dance man had even stated that he was the fourth-best president of all time. If wasteful government spending in the trillions of dollars with corporate subsidies, government regulations, socialized medicine, foreign aid, and involvement in foreign wars that are none of our business are the criteria of a great president, then I believe Mr. Obama may have underestimated himself.
    Our respect for individual liberty, free markets, and limited constitutional government is what made this country the strongest nation in the world. If we continue down this road, driven by Barack Obama, America will become a socialized welfare state, with our Constitution in jeopardy.
    The Obama administration, once freed from the political restrictions of a first term, has clear intent to assault the Second Amendment. The president and his bag-of-garbage attorney general, Eric Holder, and the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms agency sold thousands of guns of all types to Mexican drug cartels, paid for by your and my American tax dollars. Yet nothing has been done to fire or jail these criminals. A U.S. Border Patrol agent was even killed with one of the purchased weapons.
    America has drifted far from our founding principles, and we are in crisis. There is only one man capable of getting this country back on track. And that man is Ron Paul. Dr. Paul is a proven leader who is consistent and will confront these problems with the common-sense solutions of freedom and adherence to the Constitution of the United States of America.
    Restore America now. Be a part of it.
    Sincerely,
    JAMES BRZEZINSKI


Was a Danger
    New York City
    February 3, 2012
To the Editor,
    One of the characteristics of the lowlife is venom and name-calling spewed by letter writers. For example, Neil Hausig, whose comments Jan. 23 say more about the writer’s lack of character than the same about his targets.
    One can disagree with politics and policy, but then we have Japanese wisdom: Those who raise their voices first lose the argument.
    In Mr. Hausig’s mind all the Republican candidates, except Ron Paul whom the left has endorsed because he shares their worldview almost in its entirety, are “douche bags” and “ignorant.” In that context, then, we can examine Mr. Hausig’s “intelligence.”
    The U.S. embargo on Cuba was initiated by John F. Kennedy for the purpose of eventually deposing a dictatorship that has kept the Cuban people subjugated for over a half a century. Under the Iraq Liberation Act of October 1998, signed by Bill Clinton and every Democratic senator, we called the same policy in Iraq regime change. Evidently J.F.K. was of a similar mind-set as George W. Bush and the Bay of Pigs proves it.
    The Cubans are not suffering because of American policy, sir, but because of Cuban policy. And because of a Cuban dictator who you seem to think is our — or the Cuban people’s — friend. This is not my opinion. It is the opinion of just about all the Cubans living in the United States who escaped the Communist paradise.
    Regarding Mr. Hausig’s observations concerning the Cuban issue, the only person I see spewing “spasms of aggressive vitriol and hatred” (using Mr. Hausig’s own words here), is Mr. Hausig himself.
    And, incidentally, Congressman Paul is just as misguided about Cuba as he is about everything in domestic and foreign policy, garnering barely 5 percent of the national conservative electorate.
    Contrary to Mr. Hausig’s and Mr. Paul’s analysis, Cuba indeed was a danger to the United States, once having harbored nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles aimed at our continent from just 90 miles offshore. It still is, because Cuba is politically still closer to Russia than to us. Another danger is Venezuela, which has close ties to Iran, and even to Al Qaeda. Iranian Guard forces are known to be training in Venezuela. That is a fact reported in the National Intellegence Estimate.
    Is Castro worse than Batista? Of course he is. Cuba had a real economy and a middle class, and Havana was a dynamic world-class city under Batista. None of these exist under Castro. Was Batista perfect or a great person? No. However, that has nothing to do with Newt Gingrich’s or Rick Santorum’s analysis of Castro’s Cuba. Lastly, to answer Mr. Hausig, indeed, Batista was far better than Castro. For us and for the Cuban people. You see, Mr. Hausig, I don’t have to guard the beaches of Miami to prevent Cubans from paddling back to Cuba on inflated rubber tires.
    And contrary to Mr. Hausig’s utterly twisted worldview, it is not Newt Ging­rich who enslaved the Cuban people. It was Castro. And yes, Mr. Hausig, Castro is also a worse person than Newt Gingrich. In other words, Castro is a worse person than Batista, Mr. Gingrich, and Mitt Romney, and believe it, even me.
    Then, Mr. Hausig educates us about American domination of Cuba pre-Castro as standard reading for every Cuban junior high school student. That Castro and the Communist Party of Cuba control and censor junior high school textbooks is of course not an issue for Mr. Hausig. Surely, Castroite Communist “scholarship” should never be questioned.
    Mr. Hausig’s “logic” takes on an added dimension as he explains that Rick Santorum’s lack of speaking Arabic makes his concerns over Al Qaeda’s presence in Venezuela illogical. In other words, if you get an Arabic bullet in the head, your head won’t mind because it only understands English bullets, and if you can’t say Allah Hu Akbar in proper English as you’re being decapitated but only in Arabic, your head won’t mind whether it lands in Cuba or Venezuela.
    Mr. Hausig, Senator Santorum’s lack of Arabic language skills has nothing to do with the facts on the ground in South America, or the Islamic infiltration of the continent. It has to do with the factual and determined goal of the Islamists to do harm to those who are not Islamists. It is, I regret to inform you, a global war that will be with us possibly for a century. Whether we like it or not. Not because I say so, but because Osama bin Laden said so and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says so by his actions. I ask, what part of mass murder and intent to commit genocide don’t you understand, Mr. Hausig?
    Incidentally, the Islamists won’t care if you’re a leftist and an Islamist sympathizer when they part your head from your belief system.
    Meanwhile, remember to call your American political opponents every name in the book while reminding us that 9/11 never happened and that anything other than Islam had something to do with it. After all, Al Qaeda is not a danger, Mr. Hausig. The Republican “douche bags” (your words) Newt Ging­rich and Mitt Romney are.
ANDREW BENJAMIN


Finally Woke Up
    Sag Harbor
    February 2, 2012
To the Editor,
    The 99 percent. Can you remember any president in recent time mention the poor? The emphasis has always been on the middle class and the rich.
    In the present economy politicians finally woke up when they realized the middle class disappeared. Even many of the rich have become poor. Now the poor must be addressed. They just might determine the outcome of the next election. Another major reason is the occupiers of Wall Street, etc. They have changed the conversation. Wheth­er you agree with them or not we are the 99 percent.
    Keep the faith,
    LARRY DARCEY


Keep the Receipt
    East Hampton
    February 4, 2012
Dear Editor,
    I was reminded this past Friday of the joy, glee, and confidence exuded by the right wing as it sets about its obstructionist, demeaning disrespect of the president and the caricature it has created to depict a false picture of President Barack Obama.
    Oh, how they strode through the talk shows with such confidence that they had the winning theme against this straw man they had created, as they alleged the bad economy and the loss of jobs, etc. And now, suddenly, the Labor Department issued new job figures for January, far exceeding the expectations, the Dow Jones average jumped past its 2008 high, new manufacturing jobs exceeded 50,000, a level not seen since 2008!
    Woe is me, what will they now campaign on? Same-sex marriage? Abortion restrictions? Income tax reform? Maybe a sudden caring for the poor?
    As my 8-year-old granddaughter said to my wife, who was bemoaning the many electronic controls on a complicated coffee maker she was buying at Costco the other day, “You want some advice, Grandma?” she said, knowing the lack of electronic sophistication of her grandma, “Keep the receipt!”
    Well, you Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, Paul clowns, you, too, should “keep the receipt,” so to speak, and come back in 2016 to try again!
RICHARD P. HIGER
 

Comments

In response to Ms Prager's letter re: The 7-11 in Montauk, I would like to add that there are two sides to every story...even those that some take as clearly one-sided. Ms. Prager asserts that: " As a follow-up to a previous letter of a few years ago, I would like to point out that the 7-Eleven in Montauk has caused financial hardship to a number of our delis and small groceries." How can anyone overlook the obvious fact that the economic situation has been bad for everyone, so it may or may not be the case that 7-11 is the most significant reason these stores are having trouble. Even so, while I can imagine that competing against 7-11 would be problematic for some stores, a free-market economy doesn't work by purposely limiting competition. Rather, economies thrive and in general, consumers benefit by such competition. In any case, I've never seen delis that compete against chains on a price basis anywhere. People expect to pay a little more at a deli to get "deli-quality", over say a McDonalds meal, and yes...a 7-11. Having been to the Montauk 7-11 for the first time, I was pretty surprised (actually "stunned" would be more like it) at just how nice a place it is. It's easily the nicest 7-11 I've been to, and I think it fits rather well with Montauk. More importantly, it will and does serve the community...because I've seen an awful lot of satisfied people in there every time I've gone there for something. Presumably, a good percentage of those are "locals" who have just as great a stake in the matter as the nay-sayers. I know I won't stop going to Barne's Deli for their super breakfast sandwiches, and the friendly staff I know by name just because the 7-11 is there ...albeit not exactly around the corner for me. It's bad enough we live in a town where it's A-OK to have a Main St. shopping district where regular people simply can't shop. Should we purposely make it difficult for folks to run out for a jug of milk or a six pack? While it may not be PC in some circles to say so, I wish the other local businesses in Montauk well AND appreciate what the 7-11 brings to the table. I only wish there were more realistic shopping options in East Hampton Village. As it stands, the Hardware store (may it never close!)is pretty much the only store I shop in. I just felt it necessary to present "the other side", and it's a "side" that many many locals gripe about all the time. -John Havlicek
re: Gloria Prager - Your statement that "As we all know, the 7-Eleven was approved by the town board in the “dead of night” is woefully uninformed. The Town Board plays no role in deciding to issue any such permits. In 7-11's case, it is my understanding that the use of that property for a convenience store is allowed by our zoning laws. Therefore no permits, from either the Town Board, or any of the boards that actually issue these permits, was necessary.
Can anyone please explain to me ;what George Richert is saying?