Had the Pleasure
March 5, 2012
On behalf of the East Hampton Day Care Learning Center I offer my sincere congratulations to the director, cast, and orchestra of the East Hampton High School production of “Anything Goes.” I had the pleasure of attending the Sunday matinee performance. It was an excellent production and well supported by an enthusiastic crowd of students, their families, and community members.
As I watched the cast deliver a number of memorable songs and scenes, I was reminded that many of them who first expressed their creativity inside the classrooms of the East Hampton Day Care Learning Center are now flourishing on a bigger stage.
East Hampton Day
Care Learning Center
According to the F.A.A.
March 4, 2012
Thanks to the efforts of Congressman Tim Bishop and the Quiet Skies Coalition, we now have confirmation from the F.A.A. that the expiration of certain grant assurances in 2014 will give East Hampton more control over our airport.
The F.A.A. statement — the best possible authority on the matter — conflicts with the single option that the Republican majority of the town board presented to the taxpayers last year. Supervisor Bill Wilkinson hired Peter Kirsch, an aviation attorney, to support his own position and the position of the East Hampton Aviation Association. The association’s agenda is to take as much money as possible from the F.A.A. in order to minimize costs associated with the hobby and the business of flying, and to minimize local control over their operations.
Attorneys are not paid to educate but are paid to advocate, which Mr. Kirsch did, and did very well. His numerous, well-compensated presentations were treated as gospel by the town board. We, the public, were supposed to accept his pronouncements without question. Once again, truth fell by the wayside as Supervisor Wilkinson and Councilman Dominick Stanzione tried to push through their secret agenda.
I find it insulting that Supervisor Wilkinson and Councilman Stanzione would pretend that Mr. Kirsch’s presentation was a dispassionate and factual one. Since last year, we have had to pay Mr. Kirsch $119,000 to perform the functions of a paid lobbyist — under the guise of truth. I am also worried that the town board, which continues to have a Republican majority, might squander the opportunity that we will have in 2014 to finally exert some reasonable controls over airport traffic in our community.
In the meantime, let’s install the seasonal control tower and ascertain how well it works before we take any more F.A.A. money. And let’s perform a financial study of the airport operation. Both are needed and both were proposed by the Democratic candidates last September. In October, in Joanne Pilgrim’s fine article presenting the Democratic platform on the airport, Councilman Stanzione roundly criticized the Democratic position, stating that it was based on “untruths.” Not according to the F.A.A.
Only Legal Route
March 5, 2012
I write to applaud the efforts of Congressman Tim Bishop, who succeeded in getting answers from the Federal Aviation Administration about critical access issues for East Hampton’s airport, where so many have failed before. These answers reinforce the town’s ability to impose reasonable, nondiscriminatory access limitations, the only real noise abatement tool. We are grateful for our congressman’s efforts on behalf of his East End constituents.
Many in the noise-affected community have long held that the town may assert its rights as proprietor when applicable grant assurances expire in December 2014. Imagine our relief to receive confirmation from an unimpeachable source — the Federal Aviation Administration — that this is, indeed, the case.
The town board must now take this opportunity to withdraw its application to the F.A.A. for a deer fence. The F.A.A. clearly stated that accepting further federal subsidies relinquishes to them, once again, the ability to determine reasonable access limitations to our airport, our only real noise mitigation tool. Accepting more federal funds renders useless the very advice from the F.A.A. that East Hampton can impartially employ these restrictions for noise abatement purposes.
It cannot be overstated that the only true noise abatement tool available to us is to reasonably limit access to our airport. This means imposing a curfew, setting hours of operation, limiting numbers and concentrations of flights, and other meaningful noise mitigation techniques. That is the only legal route toward managing aircraft noise.
And, we are obliged to implement reasonable, nondiscriminatory use restrictions. That is fair to the aviation community and the noise-affected concede the point. Fair is fair.
But, everyone deserves to be treated fairly. Currently, the noise-affected community is not treated fairly. An expectation that one may sleep through the night undisturbed by jet or helicopter noise is reasonable. An expectation to conduct a conversation in one’s home or on the phone, uninterrupted by the roar of helicopter rotors, is reasonable. The ability to work in one’s garden, sit on one’s deck, and enjoy one’s family in the peace and quiet of one’s property is reasonable.
Reasonable means not flying too close to our homes. Reasonable means not flying in the middle of the night. Reasonable means aircraft not flying in, one after another, creating battlefield-like conditions.
Unlimited access — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year — to East Hampton Airport is not a reasonable requirement. In fact, it is out-and-out unreasonable. Excluding emergencies, one wonders — why is this too much to ask?
March 5, 2012
To the editor:
It seems clear that if the Town of East Hampton takes Federal Aviation Administration money to build a deer fence, then we are allowing control of our airport to be lost again.
The aircraft noise in the summer has reached an intolerable level for those living anywhere near the airport. This is especially true for helicopters, which are very noisy and land all night long, I am told. The quality of life for all should be more important than convenience for a few. The town should not give over control of our airport to the federal government.
Time to Rescind
March 5, 2012
We have learned recently that the members of the board of East Hampton have a unique opportunity right now to join the ranks of celebrated local area citizens who have helped to save the East End environment from rampant or poorly conceived development. Board members can help preserve our internationally recognized, very special and precious environment for the healthy enjoyment of residents, visitors, and wildlife for generations to come.
Michael P. Huerta, acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, in a letter to Representative Timothy Bishop, put to rest forever the false claim made by some town officials and aviation special interests that the F.A.A. will always control air traffic in and out of the East Hampton airport. In the letter, Mr. Huerta reaffirmed the position that the Quiet Skies Coalition, among others, has advocated since an earlier agreement was reached with the F.A.A. that grant assurances that impact the “local” control of the East Hampton airport will expire on Dec. 31, 2014. As of January 2015, the town will be legally within its rights to control air traffic in and out of East Hampton Airport — to limit the type, size, and numbers of aircraft, and to establish curfews, making the airport once more a good neighbor. But Mr. Huerta clearly states a caveat to this local action — the town must not accept new F.A.A. funding for any airport project.
For the recently elected board, now is the time to rescind the vote taken by the lame duck board last December (a decision taken even before election results were fully determined), requesting F.A.A. funding for planning a deer fence. The board can immediately make use of available surplus funds ($1.5 million) to begin deer fence planning and follow up with installation within the year since it is, I understand, an urgent safety matter to protect the airport from deer.
With a mobile control tower becoming operational during the summer of 2012 at the airport, there will be ample opportunity for the town to document any positive impact the control tower may have on reducing noise over our homes, beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, and nature preserves before requesting F.A.A. funds that will forever change the peaceful nature of the East End.
Consider this carefully please, board members. This is a unique opportunity that most certainly will have a large impact on the decisions of many voters in the coming months and years.
Put the Pen Down
March 2, 2012
As spring approaches and the incessant roar of helicopters, jets, and seaplanes begins anew, is East Hampton Airport poised to become our “Surf Lodge of the Skies”?
Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Councilman Dominick Stanzione have put an absurdly expensive Washington lawyer on the town payroll with a job description that would seem to read: “When it comes to airport noise tell them to take their medicine and like it because we need the F.A.A.’s money.”
As with the bar in Montauk, our supervisor would have us believe that there is nothing we as a town can do about it short of letting the proper authorities deal with it.
Small problem, fellas!
It seems as if the “proper authorities” don’t agree with you, your hired gun, or the disingenuous $100,000 ad campaign financed last summer by out-of-town aviation interests.
With Supervisor Wilkinson poised to sign away the next 20 years of East Hampton’s peace and quiet, the Federal Aviation Administration has verified what the Quiet Skies Coalition has been saying all along: When particular grant assurances expire on Dec. 31, 2014, the Town of East Hampton can impose reasonable noise mitigation measures.
Put the pen down, supervisor, there’s no rush here. Let’s get that tower you said will reduce the noise up and running this summer. Let’s see if it helps. Let’s wait and see if the new and perhaps prematurely praised southern helicopter route does anything other than disturb a whole new section of our town. And after those results are in let’s decide as a town if taking F.A.A. money is a good idea.
When it comes down to it people really don’t care who pays for the airport. All they want is for it to be a good neighbor.
March 4, 2012
To the Editor,
If ever there was an outrageous example in our community of the tyranny of the 1 percent over the welfare of the 99 percent, it is the long egregious matter of the management of East Hampton Airport.
There is absolutely no justification for a tiny minority of self-interested operators and operatives (this includes off-area aircraft leasing and charter companies) to continue to harass the vast majority of our community’s population with uncontrolled, invasive noise from early morning until late in the evening.
To regain a peaceful and equitable use of our airspace that does not intrude upon almost everyone in East Hampton, it is imperative that links to the F.A.A. be diminished and eliminated as soon as legally possible.
How and why the democratically elected town board, whose mission is representation of the majority of the people (no matter what their political affiliation), can continue to promote specious schemes to perpetuate the iron grip of the federal government over our community’s well-being is a mystery that I’d like unraveled.
This is a cutting-edge issue. Our elected representatives should be held accountable. Our citizens should speak out in significant numbers. Our well-being for years to come hangs on this.
PETER M. WOLF
Cleared for Takeoff
March 4, 2012
The Federal Aviation Administration has cleared for takeoff the ability of East Hampton Town to manage its airport noise problems more closely.
Does the town board have the maturity to modify its flight plan, now that the public has called for more local control over the airport, and the F.A.A. has said okay?
The pending application for F.A.A. funding should be withdrawn immediately. Pushing through this application last fall before the new board members were sworn in was reprehensible enough. Let’s not compound the error by being obstinate and insensitive to the new crosswinds on the runway.
The winds of change are in the air.
PETER B. ROBINSON
March 5, 2012
To the Editor:
Regarding East Hampton Airport operations, we urge the town board to withdraw the application for an F.A.A. grant. Rather than giving airport control to the F.A.A for the price of a deer fence, we now know the town has the right to set reasonable rules to control airport safety and noise. As residents of the Northwest Woods who enjoy the beauty and calm of Northwest Creek Harbor, the surrounding trail system, and our own backyard, we don’t want to be subjected to thundering helicopters and increased flights.
We attended the town meeting in December and were more than dismayed that the citizens who came to voice opposition to the F.A.A. grant were kept from speaking. It’s heartening that we have an opportunity to weigh in on this decision now.
Application for the grant will benefit the few who use the airport, and reduce the peace and pleasure of the many residents who live in the vicinity of aircraft routes. We urge the town board to reverse its previous vote to apply for the F.A.A. grant.
SHARRY and ARTHUR LUKACH
Affect the Majority
March 5, 2012
I am writing in support of those who are asking the East Hampton Town Board to rescind its application for Federal Aviation Administration funding for deer fencing. If the town does not enter into a new contract with the F.A.A. we will be able to exert greater local control over noise levels, curfews, hours of operation, and other policies when the present contract expires in 2014. These are quality-of-life issues that affect the majority of town residents, and failure to act now will have serious consequences.
March 1, 2012
I am writing this letter because of my firm belief that decisions are being made using information that I believe is quite tainted in regard to the controversy about the use of the Montauk green for the Memorial Day weekend. An organization calling themselves the Montauk Veterans Association has been trying to get the Montauk Artists Association to vacate the green in the center of town so the so-called veterans can have a bigger local observance.
I believe the town board, the artists association, and the general public have been misled on who the Montauk veterans are. I have been a resident of Montauk my whole life (since 1925). That qualifies me as a resident. My landing craft hit Omaha Beach in Normandy at H-Hour on D-Day. After that I was sent to the Pacific on another landing craft for the invasion of Okinawa. My next landing would have been Japan with hopes of survival not good.
Because of the “guts” of President Harry Truman ordering the use of the atomic bomb, many lives were saved. Okay, I am a resident and I guess I qualify as a veteran. I am a member of V.F.W. Post 550 in East Hampton, of which Montauk is a part.
The post has a parade every Memorial Day with a very solemn memorial at the monument for those who have perished. At this ceremony citizenship and scholarship awards are announced, which includes all students in the Town of East Hampton. They also put flags on the veterans graves at the cemeteries, and in Montauk they are assisted by Alan Burke and the Boy Scouts. The post also sends care packages to servicemen and women overseas. They have a van that transports veterans to the Veterans Hospital in Northport and to other facilities.
Most times I am the only veteran from Montauk at the meetings, services, and parades since health issues often prevent others from attending. I think it would be great if more Montauk veterans remembered we are still part of East Hampton Town and would support the V.F.W. and the American Legion in Amagansett. Why doesn’t this organization (of I don’t know how many members) observe the memorial festivities on Memorial Day with the rest of the town rather than on Sunday? They say they don’t want to conflict with the observance in East Hampton Village. It is not a village observance; it is a town observance.
There are many Montauk residents on the rolls of the V.F.W. and the American Legion, even though they might not show in attendance. I don’t want the real veterans in Montauk to be the villains in this matter. I question when and how the Montauk Veterans Association was formed and how they were recruited. The artists association has been holding this fund-raiser on the green for many years and it gives a very large boost to the economy in Montauk to begin the new summer season.
February, 26, 2012
A lousy situation has loomed up and is needlessly bouncing off the walls in East Hampton’s Town Hall because a misguided Montauk memorial committee with good intentions I respect and am pleased about is trying to stretch out and thereby diminish the meaning and the observance impact of our Memorial Day.
Decoration Day, now called Memorial Day, from when it was first declared on May 5, 1868, and first observed on May 30 of that year, has never been a celebration. Celebrations are for birthdays, not deaths! And you don’t need parades or a carnival atmosphere to mourn our dead heroes.
It’s always been a one-day affair and should remain so. This one-day observance was originally established to honor and to reflect upon the deaths of Union and Confederate soldiers. After World War I, the day became a memorial tribute to all who died in military service to our nation, no matter what war. Today, Memorial Day is officially observed on the last Monday in May.
This should always remain an important and very special one-day pause in our lives. Along with a solemn program of speeches, testimonials, and remembrances of those who died fighting for our country, the committee can set up other appropriate events for such an occasion. Most important is that we find our own way to observe this testimony to individuals who gave their lives, which allows us to be where we are now.
The board shouldn’t be ducking the issue. Only it can straighten out this mess.
March 5, 2012
Last week the Town of East Hampton announced that it is considering certain changes to Chapter 198 (Peddling); Section 198-11 “Exceptions” to include the dirt parking lot at Ditch Plain as a
permanent vending location available for lease under it’s revised 2012 vending location bidding process. Last season, this dirt lot was used as a “consolation prize” to one vendor when the vending location bidding process was found to be deficient.
The announcement identifies the dirt parking lot as “South Otis Road.”
There are a few problems with this;
1. South Otis Road doesn’t exist.
2. The location used last season sits atop a sensitive oceanfront bluff.
3. The use of a 200-foot-long extension cord through the dunes to power the vending wagon is an electrical code violation.
4. Lack of sanitary facilities violates Suffolk County Health Department codes.
5. Overcrowding in the dirt lot is already a problem.
Let’s hope the town realizes that this is a bad idea.
March 4, 2012
Who elected Carole Campolo to run the town board, decide on its agenda, and insist on who votes for what? It’s my strong personal opinion that it’s time for an investigation into improper influence over the town board by local Republican operatives.
According to your story “Stanzione Under Fire” last week, Ms. Campolo, secretary of the East Hampton Town Republican Committee, sent an e-mail to an inner group of the party that stated, “As per the resolution voted on at our committee meeting . . . please find listed below the agenda for Tuesday’s town board work session.” What? It is the Republican committee that votes via resolution on the town board’s agenda? That certainly seems like a clear violation of New York State law.
Moreover, Ms. Campolo’s directing that Dominick Stanzione, a duly elected representative of the people, change his votes to align with those pre-approved by her and her Republican committee, is just the kind of cynical, we-control-all attitude that nearly got the town supervisor booted from his job.
From out-of-control nightclubs snubbing the town code with seeming back-door support from the supervisor to undue influences of unknown businesses on our “dark skies” law, the citizens of East Hampton are tired of sensible ideas — and even our laws about the environment — being dismissed out of hand by political hacks who insist on a mindless loyalty to a small group of profiteers.
This town belongs to its citizens, and it is not a business owned and operated solely for a few major shareholders who believe they should be able to threaten our common environment, the most valuable asset we possess.
It is time for a county or state-level investigation into this illegal party influence-peddling.
March 4, 2012
I was amused to read Carole Campolo and Lynne Scanlon’s letters to the editor last week, since I read them after I read the front-page article in The Star by Joanne Pilgrim, “Stanzione Under Fire.” Ms. Campolo seems to accuse anyone who disagrees with her or Bill Wilkinson or Theresa Quigley of hating the supervisor and Ms. Quigley.
I would first like to say that I worked hard to help get both Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley elected, and they were both endorsed by the Independence Party during the 2009 election. I may be disappointed by some of their actions, but Ms. Campolo’s use of the word “hate” is hysterical rhetoric, and she should be the one to take a deep, deep breath. Her hateful e-mail seems to have said it all.
I have always said that Mr. Wilkinson did good for the taxpayers with the money and helped get East Hampton Town back on track, but somewhere along the line he and Ms. Quigley became so focused on the money, stopped listening to the people, and forgot about the people and the needs of the community as a whole.
East Hampton is not a corporation, it is a municipality; yet Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley seem to want to privatize and sell assets that are so important for the community and the way of life that has existed for years. To some, our children, senior citizens, fisherman, etc., are more important than a few percent lower taxes, which does not necessarily mean a savings for the people.
Cutting the leaf program means us paying landscapers more money. And how much will it cost kids to play tennis or basketball if they give the tennis courts to Sportime?
Raising dump fees means more money, yet it is not truly a savings for the people, but simply a transferring of who pays for it, and always ends up hurting the lower-income people who can least afford it. The sewage treatment plant is one of the most important issues at present, and yet Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley have made up their minds and don’t seem to want to listen to the people.
It seems that Ms. Campolo and her group are not in step with the moral standards of how decisions are made in the community. Ms. Scanlon and Ms. Campolo, in their missives, seem to attack not only Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc because they don’t necessarily agree with some members of the board, but the news media who write articles about the town board. In the infamous e-mail sent by Ms. Campolo she even attacks Dominick Stanzione.
What is most disturbing is that environmental groups have over the years fought to keep East Hampton Town as it is today. There are groups begging today to solve so many of the problems that exist, such as housing in Springs and issues in Montauk.
Are the new appointments for the zoning and planning boards really going to continue to support good planning for the future? I think it is time for us to watch these groups to make sure they do. The memo that Donald Cirillo, the new vice chairman of the zoning board, sent to the Planning Department is not a good sign.
It is probably time for Supervisor Wilkinson to take a good look at some of the past town board meetings. It is the supervisor and Ms. Quigley who have set the tone for the meetings. When someone speaks and they agree with the supervisor they are treated with respect. When someone does not agree, the tirade begins with Ms. Quigley over the top.
Listen to Others
March 5, 2012
Dear Mr. Rattray,
I was going to refrain from writing further letters for reasons I believe you fully understand, but recently, at a meeting of the Amagansett Beach and Safety Advisory Committee, John Ryan Sr. said to my wife, “Why hasn’t Lyle written any letters to The Star lately?”
Mr. Ryan had inadvertently “come out,” if you will, as my letter reader number 45. I am honored.
I’ve observed John Ryan in community meetings over the years and he has a powerful presence — not because of his commanding physical stature, but because he is a careful listener whose pronouncements are measured. That is what commands attention.
Why can’t our public discourse be more like that? Why is it so often deeply partisan when the majority of our goals for the community are shared goals — protection of our natural environment, the quality of our schools, economic growth and opportunity, affordable housing, fair taxation? Are those Democratic issues? Republican?
Recently Olympia Snowe, a Republican senator from Maine, announced she would not seek re-election. After serving for 17 years she felt increasingly disheartened by the extreme partisanship that has made governing with open mind and common sense nearly impossible. Democrats and Republicans alike are already mourning the loss of this remarkable, independent woman.
Of a somewhat tangential nature, Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione has reportedly been castigated by the secretary of the East Hampton Republican Committee, Carole Campolo, for not “standing up for the principles that we as Republicans believe in.” Meaning, he questions the party line on certain issues and would encourage community participation before decisions are made unilaterally. Ms. Campolo, I suggest you take Mr. Stanzione cupcakes from Mary’s Marvelous and apologize. Don’t make me do it for you.
Speaking of Mary, the other day I said to my teacher-wife, “Why does the town even need political parties? Why can’t we just encourage the most qualified people to seek office, evaluate their platforms and credentials, then vote?”
She shook her head. “Never happen. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.”
Okay, in 1943 a professor of psychology, Abraham Maslow, published “A Theory of Human Motivation,” which describes the stages of human development in terms of a pyramid-like hierarchy of needs. At the bottom of the pyramid are the most basic: food, water, sex, excretion (a personal favorite), etc. At the top of the pyramid is “self-actualization,” where creativity, morality, and lack of prejudice come into play.
In the middle are other touchstone layers that include needs for physical safety, family, security, love, a sense of belonging. What Mary was suggesting is that political parties fulfill the need for a sense of belonging. They serve as “families” of like-minded people, secured by the things they believe in.
The problem, however, is that rigid belonging to the belief system of any institution can prevent personal development into the upper strata of the hierarchy, where confidence, self-esteem, and respect for others reside.
What to do? Easy. Join an ocean safety committee. Listen to others. Keep it to 500 words.
From the pyramiddle,
Issues Are Here
March 4, 2012
Every Thursday I dash to my mailbox to fish for The Star. I skim the first section, returning to it later, but first I read the best — the letters, the thoughts of my neighbors. But lately there seems to be so much rancor that I wonder if I am witnessing a microcosm of the federal government in those pages. Sifting through the slings and arrows of the Democrats and the Republicans with a mix of Tea Party (it’s so easy to spot them), I have been struck that there are some gargantuan problems facing our small but highly significant town (at least significant to me).
The web of life in East Hampton begins with Debbie Klughers’s lengthy rambling plea that we finally grasp that water, water, water will be the gold, the oil, the diamonds, the treasure of the future. The scavenger waste facility and what to do with it is a big part of the tale. Brad Loewen’s cry for us to understand the sea and its products and what they mean to this town is another strand. The entanglement is further complicated by Betsy Ruth’s account of Springs and its dilemma with housing and the suffering it has caused for everyone in the hamlet, except the avaricious fat-cat landlords.
All these issues are here, related, complex, and they are not going away soon. Intelligence and information, patience, problem-solving skills, honest dialogue, and acting like a community are the elements needed to work on these problems if we are to be able to drink our water, swim in our bays, eat our fish, and keep our towns from becoming places people can’t and don’t want to live in anymore. Stop being petty!
Government — why do you exist if not to exert leadership, solve problems, and protect the future? Do your duty!
PHYLLIS I. MALLAH
March 6, 2012
It is disheartening to see that not yet three months into the new year the supervisor’s brave new words promising collegiality and cooperation with the new board members are ringing hollow.
The business of town government has rapidly descended into suspicion and name-calling. The two Democrats on the board do not receive their agendas for meetings on time; one is attacked for (!) speaking to a town employee whose job is not in her area of liaison. Most seriously, there seems no room for a difference of opinion or for anything resembling an open dialogue, an exchange of ideas, or a meaningful discussion. This is sad.
East Hampton has important issues to address. It cannot afford to be distracted by one-sided partisan warfare or to get bogged down in the national Republican playbook of a “our way or else” mentality.
March 2, 2012
Last week Supervisor (by 15 votes) Wilkinson was caught red-handed with an e-mail direct from the Republican Committee with “their” agenda for “our” Feb. 14 town board meeting. When Jeanne Frankl, chairwoman of the Democratic Committee, and Elaine Jones, chairwoman of the Independence Committee, responded accordingly, Mr. Wilkinson denounced them as being “silly”! Silly is so 1960s, Bill. That’s when women like Jean (a corporate lawyer) and Elaine (a business owner) entered the business world, went on to graduate from schools, marched in Washington for choice, and demanded equal pay for equal work,
Along the path to empowerment, women came across many men who were self-important, duplicitous, and scheming to exclude women. Apparently Supervisor Wilkinson and the Republican committeemen, unhappy with their fall from high two years ago to a mere 15-vote win, have silenced the Republican women. Chairwoman Trace Duryea and co-chairwoman Beverly Bond are gone and replaced by men.
Supervisor Wilkinson has insulted all
East Hampton women when he refers to Jeanne and Elaine as silly. We are no longer just the secretaries of his era. I think it would be wise to apologize . . . Some of us are still sensitive and we vote in greater numbers than men.
March 4, 2012
Okay — let me get this straight. The local Republican Party wants to rally around Bill Wilkinson, our standard-bearer (and the highest-ranking Republican in town), in order to show him and the public that we still support him and his agenda. To that end, the secretary of the party sends out an e-mail telling only the local election district leaders to get involved and support the town board Republicans (which is her job, by the way). Finally, in the same leaked e-mail, the party’s secretary also tries to counteract the vitriol and coordinated attacks from the chairwomen of the other local parties by encouraging the district leaders to get involved in the process, and somehow this is a front-page news story? Wow! Republicans actually support their fellow Republicans. What a shock to you and many of your readers! In the meantime, the previous Democrat majority robbed us taxpayers blind and saddled us with $30 million in debt and not a peep out of your paper while it was happening.
Here is an easy-to-follow guide for future reference: Which local political party stands for and supports higher taxes, more government spending, paying for social programs that don’t work, invasions of your privacy, anti-job and anti-business policies, and busybodies telling you how to run your life and use your property? That would be the Democrats.
On the other hand, which local political party stands for fiscal responsibility, cutting taxes, more transparency, more local jobs, more individual freedoms in using your property, and less interference in running your own life? That would be the Republicans. I find it amazing that this is a news bulletin to you and some of your readers.
Thanks again for your attention.
March 2, 2012
I would like to recommend “Behavioral Reminders for the Politically Tactless” to anyone interested in East Hampton Town governent. I think the following chapters are particularly pertinent:
Chapter 3: Never rant in public session.
Chapter 8: Never share your low opinion of anyone.
Chapter 24: Do not throw colleagues under the bus.
Chapter 25: Do not assume colleagues are capable of bailing you out.
It has lovely illustrations and the deluxe version is leather bound.
All good things,
Seniority and Respect
March 5, 2012
All East Hamptoners cherish our unique natural environment for the pleasure it gives us and as the town’s main economic resource. So I can’t understand how our town’s elected majority, Bill Wilkinson, Theresa Quigley, and Dominick Stanzione, could endorse Randy Altschuler’s bid to defeat Tim Bishop for Congress.
Announcing the endorsement, Mr. Altschuler’s campaign chairwoman, Diana Weir, said he has been engaged in the environmental concerns of East Hampton Town and South Fork residents “since the last election.” She added that when in Congress he would “attend hearings” on these issues.
Since the last election? Attend hearings? Representative Bishop has exercised leadership on environmental issues during eight years in Congress. The New York Water Environment Association awarded him the Nelson A. Rockefeller Award for Environmental Stewardship in 2012. The League of Conservation Voters has awarded him a perfect score for his voting record on environmental issues since 2007. No Republican legislator from New York has even come close.
Mr. Bishop doesn’t just attend hearings, he makes policy as the top Democrat on the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee. He has led the opposition to efforts by Mr. Altschuler’s party to cut environmental reviews and clean air programs nationwide. He is lead sponsor of the Long Island Sound Improvement Act Amendments of 2011. He defeated a plan to dump dredge spoil and led the opposition against a plan to industrialize the sound. He has worked effectively with colleagues to bring federal support for dredging to Montauk.
Mr. Bishop will continue to use his seniority and respect in Congress to work on East Hampton’s environmental issues. That credential should have trumped party loyalty by the leaders of our town.
Ms. Frankl is the East Hampton Democratic Committee chairwoman. Ed.
March 2, 2012
To the Editor,
In the public comment section of Thursday evening’s town board meeting, I heard stories of distrust, and even fear, from Springs residents who used to let their children bike around the neighborhood unsupervised. They don’t trust the neighborhood anymore.
Before anybody rushes into accusations of racism and paranoia, we should try to understand: These people, many hard-working and themselves away at work all day, who now don’t know their neighbors, whose neighbors even avoid being seen by them, may have some feelings you could call paranoid. As we know from the drug world, where illegal things are going on, some people will be living in the shadows, avoiding discovery. Some might be criminals. Who knows?
But there are real criminals in this story and they can be found. One of the speakers mentioned, in a soft voice, a very good description, her experience of such things being in New York City: slumlords. We have people who are making incredible amounts of money by exploiting poor and desperate immigrants (legal? illegal? who knows?) for outrageous rents. They are housing them in inhumane quarters, sometimes many to a room. Nothing could be kept in order, or even clean, in this sort of place. The yard outside may be piled with trash, offensive to the neighbors; the septic system is pumped out continually. If there were a fire, there could be a tragedy.
Nobody claims that our town code enforcement officers are not working hard, within the very confining limits of what they have been told is permitted legally. But there are no laws here to support what they’d have to do to really find out what is going on. And there are not enough of them. Julia Prince, a former town board member who knew from having done it what code enforcement was and should be, said we needed many more enforcers.
I have another idea though: What happened in Southampton that caused a great many tenants from there to suddenly rush over to Springs? What does Southampton do that we don’t? The town board is equipped to find out. If it was a registry of rental house owners that requires, 1. a stated limit on occupancy, and 2. a promise to permit inspection, why can’t we do that? In fact, why can’t we do it even if it isn’t what Southampton did? I have a rental property, and I would be happy to register and even to pay a small fee to support the record-keeping involved.
After due notice, failure to register would automatically bring you to court. Discovery of violations would involve serious fines, big enough to wipe out that cost-of-doing-business nonsense. How do we know that some crooks haven’t even bought houses in order to run this sort of cruel and dangerous operation?
The town board should know this: When a large group of citizens cries out to you for help, and you ignore them or make excuses for inaction, their cries for help may turn into cries for your heads.
March 5, 2012
The last sentence of your editorial “Housing Dilemma” (March 1) aptly captures one but only one of the many issues paralyzing our government’s response to the overcrowding of Springs. Of course, there can be no excuse for not enforcing the town’s laws. But we are human beings and we worry about the range of constitutional, moral, and empathic concerns that make code enforcement difficult and perhaps potentially heartless to some people in the absence of alternate housing.
So what’s a town to do? One thing is clear. Both the Springs complainants and the minority council members have asked the board to hold a meeting in which proposals for dealing with the problems can be fully and thoughtfully discussed. What is holding that up? Could it be the same disinclination the town board majority always shows to using community views in making decisions?
Well, the town board should get over it. Let’s get some serious discussion going of proposals from all concerned, including the offending residents and their neighbors, the housing department, the businesses who reply on cheap labor, representatives of Springs School, as well as code enforcement, and see where it takes us. As we’ve seen on the scavenger waste matter, as well as other fiascoes, the answer is not in holding government’s head in the sand.
March 5, 2012
Springshomeownersalliance.com has booted up again to follow the negotiations of the 2012-13 Springs School budget. Yes, we know the Springs Teachers Association has agreed to salary freezes and benefit concessions in the amount of about $500,000, but what about step and class freezes for the teachers making over $100,000 per year with 30 percent more in benefits? And what about salary reductions for those earning well over $100,000 to show they really do feel it is all about the children? And where is the reduction in the administrative portion of the budget? And what is the status of negotiations with other contracts tied to the school budget that might include capital improvements that are not part and parcel of the 2-percent property tax cap?
Last year, despite a huge outcry from Springs residents who wrote to local newspapers, spoke on public TV, knocked on doors, and took to the voting booths in unprecedented numbers, we were sent an unprintable message from the teachers, parents, and school board. We are asking that this not happen again.
Anyone wishing to join our group, please drop by our Web site.
LYNNE W. SCANLON
Springs HomeOwners Alliance
March 5, 2012
As young women who have grown up with birth control as an integral component of women’s health, we are very grateful to the work of Margaret Sanger, who dedicated her life to fighting for women’s reproductive rights. Although it is important for The East Hampton Star to publish opposing points of view, we were disturbed to see responses to Bridget LeRoy’s article that relied on inflammatory and slanderous personal attacks to dispute public policy.
Given the political valence of birth control issues today, we fear that men and women with more moderate views who see sexual equality as the status quo don’t feel compelled to speak up in affirmation of their beliefs or in validation of a figure who fought for a struggle that that they believe is over.
If there was ever a feeling that women of our generation have begun to take reproductive rights for granted, the letters from Ms. Oliverio and Ms. Flynn indicate that women’s reproductive rights still need to be fought for. If we do not speak up to protect them, they will be taken away from us. This includes recognizing that Margaret Sanger, who is responsible for the invention of effective oral contraceptives and made it legal for millions of women to plan their families, is a hero. Thanks to Sanger, we are confident that we will become mothers only when we are fully prepared to support a child emotionally and financially.
Certainly, Margaret Sanger is a controversial historical figure. From a historical point of view, we should very well be aware of the context and rhetoric surrounding her policies. At the same time, as difficult as it may be to believe, the narrative of Sanger as a pioneer of women’s rights is the side that is rarely portrayed today. For every person speaking up for Sanger’s work, there are a half-dozen like Laura Oliverio and Pat Flynn who, armed with a handful of out-of-context quotations, are determined to delegitimize the work of Planned Parenthood and women’s reproductive rights more broadly in order to advance a patriarchal and misogynistic worldview. Sanger is a complicated historical figure, to be sure, but that in no way undermines the value of the battles she won for women around the world.
March 4, 2012
To the Editor:
The media and a predictable array of politically correct watchdogs go all a-shriek when Rush Limbaugh makes a tasteless remark about a clueless 30-year-old law student who wants the government to pay her $3,000-a-month bills for contraceptives. Apparently she’s unaware that you can go to Wal-Mart and get a month’s supply of birth control pills for $5 to $10. Limbaugh, gentleman that he is, apologizes.
Yet when Bill Maher and Jon Stewart repeatedly spew far more vile and disgusting attacks against conservative women like Sarah Palin, Michelle Malkin, and Ann Coulter, using words you can’t print in the newspaper, it elicits not even a yelp from these self-anointed guardians of American womanhood. In fact, Limbaugh and other talk-show hosts were the only ones to speak out against these cretinous remarks.
C’mon, guys, this level of hypocrisy and selective outrage doesn’t do much for your credibility.
The Real Fun
March 2, 2012
To the Editor,
It’s fun to watch this year’s G.O.P. primary race. You know, the one that started on the day Barack Obama beat John McCain back in ’08? It’s been a long race, with many twists and turns and interesting moments, from Herman Cain’s alleged affairs to Rick Perry’s memory lapses.
Tina Fey’s favorite, Sarah Palin, started out as the popular front-runner just by default of the last campaign, her sex appeal, and her momentum. Then, thinking better of things (presumably after considering the impact a presidential run would have on her family and the ability of tabloid news to keep up with the avalanche of ensuing content), she has since contented herself with the role of offstage pundit and influence broker, leaving the field of contenders with only one quasi-real female possibility, Michele Bachmann, another subsequent flash-in-the-pan fleeting favorite now gone by the wayside.
The size of the field has been amazing, and reflects the diversity of opinion within the Republican Party as to what is the best way to lead our country going forward, something none of the contenders seems to be able to explain convincingly, except that it shouldn’t be in the direction the Obama administration is heading us.
And although it is quite entertaining to watch the opponents take each other apart in front of a national audience in the debates televised almost daily — a situation that usually affected the Democrats in the past — the real fun is watching the invested powers that be behind the scenes flex their muscles and manipulate the facts and circumstances as best they can to get their Obama replacement elected. The real competition in this year’s G.O.P. race it seems is not between the remaining possible candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich, but between the opposing ideologies of who runs this new world — the old guard and conservative old money, or the new democracy of the 99 percent and the new money power of media and social networking. It’s old manners and control versus new aggression, for all the marbles.
On one side are the Koch brothers and their right-wing conservative view that wants to keep the old order intact to continue to fuel their financial empire, pushing their boy Mitt, and on the other Rupert Murdoch, who continues to make life difficult for them with the power of his news media, keeping alive the hopes of the 99 percent with Rick Santorum. Newt is of course, the spoiler for both of them, but without any real support from any back-room power brokers anywhere thanks to his maverick personality, so not a real contender.
While the Koch brothers hold fund-raisers and put together a $100 million-plus war chest to beat Mr. Obama and his socialist threat to their wealth, Mr. Murdoch tweets his feelings to the masses and runs headlines in his newspapers designed to make Mr. Romney less desirable to the average guy — Murdoch’s demographic for his advertisers — by contrasting Mr. Romney’s financial success against today’s bleak financial reality experienced by many Americans. Yellow journalism at its best.
Who will win? Will the old guard power and money have its way and get Mitt on the ticket, or will Murdoch incite the discontented masses enough to entangle the Koch contingent’s hugeness like many knot-savvy Lilliputians prevented Gulliver’s movements until he agreed to their terms? Stay tuned. It’s 2012. We can watch it all go on in real time in high definition on big, flat-screen TVs, tablets, and smartphones. Just be careful whose channel you’re watching. Some of these guys are sly as Fox.
March 5, 2012
For years I have refrained from writing letters on national politics and economics, which I follow closely, to local papers. However, I feel compelled to respond to the inherent contradictions in Louis Meisel’s latest letter after reading it and the related letters that were part of the dialogue.
Like Mr. Meisel, I deplore “sarcastic, knee jerk, leftist . . . diatribes.” I also deplore sarcastic, knee jerk, rightist diatribes, like the one Mr. Meisel has applauded. More important, there are two statements in Mr. Meisel’s letter that are strangely self-contradictory.
Mr. Meisel states that although he voted for Barack Obama and probably will again, Mr. Obama is “one of the poorest [presidents] in my memory.” Apparently Mr. Meisel does not remember George W. Bush, the president who turned the balanced budget handed to him by the Clinton administration into the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression and handed it to Mr. Obama. Who started two wars that cost over $1 trillion and didn’t even try to pay for them. Who tried to segregate Social Security funds into individual accounts to be invested in the stock market just before it tanked. Who was caught flat-footed when we were attacked on 9/11 because he ignored the warnings of the prior administration’s national security adviser.
All Mr. Obama did was take the helm of a sinking economic ship (the Titanic?), refloat it, and begin to bring jobs back to the economy despite the efforts of Republicans in Congress to prevent it. Most economists agree that Mr. Obama’s economic stimulus package substantially ameliorated the economy resulting from Republican policies. Even George W. Bush should get some credit for initiating TARP (most of which has been paid back), which has since been demonized by the right.
In addition, Mr. Obama righted the most serious social injustice of our time — our inability to provide health insurance to over 40 million Americans or adequate coverage for many millions more, the reason we spend almost twice as much per capita on health care yet have poorer health outcomes than most of those countries with “socialized” medicine. Despite the criticisms of “Obamacare,” most of them bogus, he accomplished what no previous president had been able to do, although many have tried, and figured out how to pay for it as well. Yet every Republican presidential candidate claims he would repeal Obamacare.
One of the reasons the president doesn’t get higher ratings in the polls is that many of his supporters deplored his silence while the Tea Party hijacked the national economic dialogue, convinced that the national deficit was a more urgent problem than the floundering economy — it isn’t. Now that Obama has awoken from his midterm slumber, I don’t think that travesty will be repeated in 2012. Every incoming president makes rookie mistakes — Bay of Pigs, 9/11. So let’s withhold judgment on Mr. Obama.
Later Mr. Meisel also opines that the Republican presidential candidates’ “views on the important things, economy and defense . . . are no better or worse than the current administration’s.” Anyone who has studied economics and foreign policy in real life knows that this statement is flat-out wrong.
The Republican candidates’ responses to every economic problem has been to cut taxes and regulation. We tried that under George W. Bush, and we saw how that worked out. When Mitt Romney was asked recently about his economic policies if and when elected, he stated that everything Mr. Obama did, he would “do the opposite.” How’s that for rational middle-of-the-road thinking?
A while back all nine Republican presidential candidates were asked how they would cut the deficit. Every one of them declined even a dollar of tax increases for every nine dollars of budget cuts. If they’d applied simple math, they would know that you couldn’t balance the budget even if you cut federal discretionary spending to zero. Those who have studied the Great Depression recognize the importance of economic stimulus and know that it was the Republican Party’s efforts to cut spending that drove unemployment back up in the mid-1930s and prolonged the Depression. Lesson learned: economic stimulus first, deficit reduction second.
As for defense, saber rattling on Iran, as the Republican presidential candidates have urged, certainly isn’t going to get us to any better place than invading Iraq. Probably much worse. Consider that the 2012 National Intelligence Estimate believes that Iran stopped all efforts to build a nuclear warhead in 2003! The nonviolent confrontation with Iraq has already driven up oil prices despite a substantial increase in domestic oil production since Mr. Obama took office. Imagine what any armed conflict would do.
So here’s the problem. If you can’t remember your history you’re likely to repeat past mistakes. And the Republican presidential candidates are counting on our collective amnesia to return one of them to office to repeat the mistakes of the Bush administration and the Great Depression.
PETER A. WADSWORTH
New York City
February 24, 2012
The most recognizable characteristic of the Occupy movement is its blatant dishonesty. For example, as reported in The Star, a few mentioned that the problem is government. And Wall Street of course. On Feb. 24 as I write this, and as reported in Bloomberg, Eric Holder, Obama’s minister of justice, in a speech at Columbia University stated that Wall Street did not commit crimes. Consider this: When Eric Holder opens his mouth you will hear Barack Obama exhale.
On that “problem,” does O.W.S. mean Barack Obama’s government, in power for almost four years, or the Democrats’ government that seized Congress seven years ago? If government is the problem (and Wall Street that gave the Democrats three times as much money as to the Republicans), why do these people keep voting for Obama and the Democrats? Trust me on this: They will continue to vote exactly the same way.
Of all the cities with the highest poverty and foreclosure rates, Detroit, Los Angeles, Camden, Newark, Chicago, and many others that have been run by Democrats for over a half century, why do the poor keep voting in the same Democratic Party that will continue the process of undereducating the children, promoting dysfunction in the family, and financing every social program that will continue the poverty and the dependency?
Why is it that after 40 years of the War on Poverty the poor are still poor?
I can answer that. What you think is who you are, your values, and your values determine your future. As Mark Twain once noted, “They make much of feeling and mistake it for thinking.”
Laura Perotti of Montauk says, “We are the 99 percent and we have a voice.” Ms. Perotti. You are not the 99 percent to begin with. [ . . . ] You may be the 47 percent who don’t pay taxes at all, asking for a tax refund, and we, and I speak for myself as well as for the 53 percent of other Americans who do, are the ones who pay your fair share. And we are not asking for a tax refund.
Since yours may not be paying taxes at all, my question is: How much more of the taxes that you don’t pay do you want the 53 percent of us to pick up? Ms. Perotti says that she takes her little daughters to O.W.S. meetings so that they will understand the world.
Which world is that, Ms. Perotti? The one you wish it to be or the one that is? The one where you can have free lunches just for the asking? Or is it the world that owes you for your mere existence? How much do I owe you, Ms. Perotti?
Is that the world where government takes care of everyone and no one has to pay for it? Let me ask Ms. Perotti: Where do you think the money that government pays out comes from? From you? For example, when President Bush left, gasoline was under $2 a gallon. Today it is $4 a gallon. Who will pay for that difference, Laura, you or the government that you had voted into power? Who is the government, Laura, and who pays government?
Is that the world that your daughters should familiarize themselves with? Is that world Mr. Bush’s fault too, or, as far-fetched as it may seem to you, possibly yours? I am sorry for your daughters, Ms. Perotti, for they have learned from you that they should expect a better world that owes them something, instead of learning that their lives might be better spent making a better world that won’t need to owe them anything. A world where an honest human being gives back, instead of expecting to take from. A world where one healthy man or woman doesn’t expect another to support them and goes to work instead of hanging out in tents on Wall Street protesting against our billionaire, Rupert Murdoch, who employs tens of thousands, while bypassing the home of their billionaire, George Soros, a Wall Street parasite, a man who employs no one but other Wall Street parasites. But that didn’t matter, after all, Mr. Soros is Mr. Obama’s billionaire and Murdoch isn’t.
And that pretty much sums up the difference in values between O.W.S. and honest folk, and the religious left and the religious right. The next item.
Ann Katcher of the Lutheran Church thinks that the only way to counter the religious right is with the religious left. After all, the O.W.S. consensus is that the problem is government and Wall Street and the religious left don’t vote or invest or own stock, the religious right does. The religious left don’t have pensions that invest in the markets, right, Ms. Katcher?
Thinking about it, was it not the religious left that voted in this government, not the religious right? The government that received three times as much bribes from Wall Street as their political opponents? Is this the government we have, Ms. Katcher, or is it not? Was it not you and your Lutheran friends that voted it into power? Now you don’t like the bed that you had made for all of us, yet you scapegoat the other political party for your troubles. You do have an option coming this November, but it has been said that stupid is as stupid does. Stupid always chooses the wrong option. The poor are still poor and those cities are still run by Democrats.
Ms. Wenzel says that O.W.S. is a nonpartisan and tolerant group.
I propose a test for Ms. Wenzel and any other O.W.S. fan who would repeat this misinformation. Take a poll at the next group’s meeting and ask the people to raise their hands: How many voted for Mr. Obama in 2008? Then ask them how many will vote for him in 2012? Lastly, ask how many will vote for the Republican candidate? Do you see any hands? I rest my case.
So much for the O.W.S. members’ honesty and credibility, nonpartisanship, and tolerance. These people are tolerant all right, demanding diversity across the board, except for a diversity of opinion.
March 5, 2012
To the Editor,
What are your thoughts on the questions presented here? The Defense Department said it would open about 14,000 combat-related positions for women. The change will take effect in spring unless lawmakers intervene. Are they already too busy shooting at one another depending on party label? Have we the people been left out of the equation? Are we political pawns owned by corporate powers? The U.S. Supreme Court just said that.
The next question is, how do you feel about the 31,000 soldiers who have been classified as having personality disorders and fired by the Pentagon? They lose all their benefits and are asked to return their bonuses. Have we ever asked chiefs of giant corporations to return their multimillion-dollar bonuses? Some veterans are now asking, what happened to the classification of post-traumatic stress disorder or is that classification becoming too expensive for the Pentagon?
My last question, are you prepared to enter the military and give up your life for your country, whether men or women?
March 5, 2012
To the Editor,
Perhaps the most disturbing characteristic of our political system is the viral nature of behavior that courses through it in an almost irreversible process. Like speed freaks with a pocket full of meth waiting for them in the bathroom, our politicians careen wildly and blindly through the administration of the country to the detriment of all of us. Especially when the behavioral pattern is negative and in the current situation its stupidity — rampant, undiluted, mind-boggling stupidity.
It is not a hard case to make that George Bush II, by his behavior and policies, was the stupidest president in the nation’s short history. Almost everything he did was wrongheaded. Yet Bush wasn’t ideologically or intellectually deficient; he was lazy and uninterested. So the typical conservative question posed, were we better off before Bush or after his reign, requires little reflection.
Mr. Bush is gone, yet the legacy of profound stupidity which he passed on to us remains strong. So, when President Obama inherits an economy that is sinking into depression, he follows the crisis management doctrine of his pal Rahm Emanuel (never let a good crisis go to waste) and launches into health care instead of the economy, which attains the level of Mr. Bush’s war in Iraq on the dumb-dumb meter. Not only is it the wrong time for health care, but his bill was so misdirected and poorly conceived that it breathed life into a Republican Party that had both its feet in the grave.
The stupidity of the health care timing gave birth to the Tea Party, which engendered a mass of idiotic actions that drastically impeded our economic recovery. It also altered the perception of conservatives from intellectual ideological competitors to village idiots (see deficit reduction theory).
The Tea Party is now reflected in the Republican primaries, which provides for a collection of twisted airheads to discuss religious freedom and sperm banks instead of immigration and end economic policies.
Finally, with the stupid meter reaching its maximum, Mr. Obama’s advisers have figured out that the less said the better. You never look bad with your mouth shut. Will this behavior reverse the cycle of negativity? Will Mitt Romney let go of his conservative Halloween costume and return to the center? Will the Republican leadership rebuke its lunatic fringe before the Democrats take complete control of the government again? Has the stupidity cycle bottomed out and is a new thoughtful consciousness taking hold? Momentum doesn’t appear to be on our side. Something valuable to pray for.