Letters to the Editor: 03.15.12

Sing Its Praises
    Amagansett
    March 8, 2012
Dear David:
    On Feb. 1 I was floored (literally and physically) with a heart attack. I wish to thank, via The Star, all those who were instrumental in saving my life:
    The person manning 911 when I called who gave me encouragement and explicit instructions as to what to do and what not to do.
    The police officer, who arrived before the ambulance, who was good enough to go to my desk, find my nephew’s phone number, and call him.
    The Amagansett ambulance crew, who administered T.L.C. and kept me comfortable and conscious to South­ampton Hospital.
    The doctor and staff at Southampton Hospital, who worked tirelessly (and miraculously) to keep me alive (attaching a pacemaker to my neck) before getting me off to Stony Brook.
    The doctors and staff at Stony Brook, who were waiting for me when we arrived and in a matter of minutes had me in the operating room, performing surgery to open the blockage and insert stents.
    Finally, my family who were in the recovery room when I woke up, thanks to the police officer who had called them.
    We too often find reasons to gripe about our community. What a pleasure to sing its praises, thanks to the professionals and volunteers who are our human infrastructure.
    Sincerely,
    VINCENT LARDO


Scouts Dinner
    Springs
    March 12, 2012
Dear David,
    Last July, my Dad, friends, and I rode 28 miles from East Hampton to Sag Harbor for Soldier Ride. Even though it was a very hot day, we had an awesome ride and got the chance to support the Wounded Warrior project. I rode with East Hampton Boy Scout Troop 298, and we raised a few thousand dollars to help our American heroes.
     A couple weeks later, I spent six nights sleeping in tents outdoors with the scouts at summer camp near the Delaware River, where I earned my orienteering merit badge and the Boy Scouts of America Mile Swim Award. This fall, we helped Maureen’s Haven serve people who needed a hot meal and a good night of sleep in a warm place.
    Thanks to generous neighbors all around East Hampton, we are able to have a great time in the Boy Scouts. Our 13th annual spaghetti dinner is this Sunday, March 18, at the American Legion Hall in Amagansett from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Please come enjoy a delicious spaghetti dinner served by all the scouts and help support our troop again this year. Thank you, East Hampton!
    Sincerely,
    ANDREW WILSON


Fantastic Job
    Amagansett
    March 5, 2012
Dear David,
    I would like for our community to know what a fantastic job the East Hampton High School cast and crew of “Anything Goes” did this past weekend.
    These young men and women practice for months, four days a week, to put on these shows for their audiences and their hard work truly showed. Broadway couldn’t hold a candle to how amazing the shows were.
    More important, I am writing to thank Debbie Mansir and Serena Seacat for what they do for our kids. These unsung heroes have devoted their time and expertise year after year and at the high school twice a year, to put on these performances. These ladies have earned the love and respect of all who know them. What they mean in the lives of these young students through their work will never be able to be measured.
    So, although I am writing this letter, I know that I speak for the parents of the children whose lives you have changed through your patience, love, devotion, discipline, etc. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    A word to our community: Come out and support the work of these students. Having our kids involved in activities such as the plays, sports, etc., keeps them healthy and productive. Please support their efforts.
    Sincerely,
    Jacqui M. Candemir


For Kids
    Bay Shore
    March 12, 2012
Dear David,
    I am writing this letter to highlight the importance and the positive impact of the proposed triathlon to be held in Montauk on June 23 by Tri-ing For Kids!
    Since 2007 T.F.K, a 501(C)(3) charitable organization, has been raising money to benefit sick and injured children on Long Island through athletic and endurance events. T.F.K.’s amateur athletes compete for a cause greater than themselves, ultimately raising money for many worthwhile children’s causes. 
    Over the years, T.F.K. members have consistently supported events in the Town of East Hampton. It was actually the recommendation of local business people that T.F.K. develop an event in Montauk this year. The proposed 2012 event will have a significant economic boost on the Montauk economy and has been endorsed by many local businesses, including the Montauk Yacht Club, Montauk Manor, the Surf Club/Dune Resorts Management Company, and Snug Harbor, and has received the support of the Montauk Chamber of Commerce and many others.
    In addition, T.F.K. has pledged a minimum of $20,000 in donations from the 2012 event to local charities that serve the Town of East Hampton at the recommendation of the town board.
    We hope the Town of East Hampton Board will recognize the positive impact of this event on the community, local businesses, and local charities and rule favorably on our application.
    Respectfully,
    DOUG RABIN
    Founder
    Tri-ing For Kids!!


Hall of Fame
    East Hampton
    March 12, 2012
Dear Editor,
    I, and all committee members, am very excited about the formation of the East Hampton High School Athletic Hall of Fame. In my 40-plus years at East Hampton High School, first as a student and then as a coach, I have been fortunate to witness some amazing athletes and teams in many different sports. In talking with many of the old timers in town, I have heard stories of some of the outstanding athletes of the ’50s, ’40s, and even earlier. With the recent renovation to our now beautiful high school we feel it is time to start recognizing the stars of our past.
    As a committee, we realize that it will take several years to catch up and induct all the worthy individuals and teams into the Hall of Fame. We also realize that we need you, the community, to nominate those who you feel deserve consideration to be honored. You can pick up a nomination packet at any of the schools or public libraries throughout the Town of East Hampton. The packet can also be downloaded from the ehufsd.org Web site. All instructions are included in the packet, which must be submitted by March 30 in order for the nominee to be considered for induction with the first class.
    We look forward to recognizing and honoring the individuals and teams who have helped to form the long history and the rich tradition of our athletic program.
    Sincerely,
    JIM NICOLETTI
    President
    Hall of Fame Committee


‘Jane Eyre’
    Littleton, Mass.
    March 8, 2012
To the Editor,
    In your Feb. 23 issue you had a well-written and well-researched book review of Hal Holbrook’s new book. I used to see a younger Hal Holbrook riding his bike in Amagansett and steadying a beginning rider, who I think was his son. Now it’s time to read how this actor became Mark Twain — but, below the review came the credits of the woman who wrote this book review. To say it left me with questions is putting it mildly. I am bothered by it. “Jennifer Hartig left England in 1958 to star in “Jane Eyre” on Broadway opposite Errol Flynn.” This is something that, to my knowledge (which is plentiful on this subject), never happened.
    Huntington Hartford did produce “Jane Eyre” that year and Errol Flynn rehearsed for two days and was fired — drinking and misbehaving at rehearsal. He was instantly replaced by Eric Portman and a newcomer named Jan Brooks played Jane though Blanche Yurka got billing above Jan. Also in the cast were Francis Compton, Adrian Foley, Douglas Wood, Jane White, Adelaide Klein, and Ann Stanwell. But no Jennifer Hartig. Nor was she a replacement later.
    I do hope you can clear up this matter for me as I have all sorts of “Jane Eyre” theater memorabilia and, frankly, I am baffled! Further research, Jennifer wasn’t even Jane Eyre’s understudy, Ann Stanwell was!
    Sincerely,
    EMILY COBB



    Jennifer Hartig went by the stage name Jan Brooks. Ed.


Blacktop
    Springs
    March 10, 2012
Dear David,
    I was appalled after reading the article in the Feb. 16 East Hampton Star, “Pitch New Parking Lot.” It described an idea to destroy 40 acres of pristine fields on historic Old Stone Highway for another Springs School parking lot, to house 100 cars. I would think that the officials we elect into public office would exhibit common sense and a reverence for the beauty, history, and rural quality that is East Hampton.
    The previous school board populated with incompetent bureaucrats left as a legacy the infamous school-bus parking lot on Old Stone Highway, equipped with a black chain-link fence, barbed wire, and topped with hideous bright lights, perched on tall aluminum poles. This bus lot should have been placed at the recycling center adjacent to Mount Bonac, where there are many unused, open acres, and road access from Accabonac Highway. Perhaps, there should be a staggered pick-up schedule, by grades, to alleviate the congestion.
    It appears that Michael Hartner and the current school board are following the ill-conceived path of the previous administration by proposing this new parking lot. Mr. Hartner and his school board appear to be enamored with the destruction of open space, overdevelopment, and the look of blacktop. I am certain if Mr. Hartner and his cohorts owned a home near the proposed site this ridiculous parking lot idea would not exist.
    Yours truly,
    MICHAEL HASTALIS


Life-Saving Stations
    Springs
    March 11, 2012
Dear Editor:
    While rummaging through some miscellaneous articles that I had stored away, I came across a paperback book titled “Long Island Unit of the League of Coast Guard Women” that had been given to me by my mother. The wife of my father, Captain Russell Miller, she was known by her friends as Nettie Russ. The book was written in 1935 and there has been very little known about the subject in its entirety.
    My mother belonged to the league and it was first established by Frederick C. Billard, the commander of the United States Coast Guard, at a meeting in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 22, 1924. The honorary president and commander, H.G. Hamlet’s wife, took on the task as head of the league and “carried on in a highly efficient manner” (as quoted by Commander Eugene T. Osborn of the Fourth District), recruiting wives of Coast Guard servicemen on Long Island. My mother took a very active part in the league and got involved organizing the wives of the servicemen at Amagansett Life-Saving Station and United States Coast Guard Station, and also the stations at Napeague, and at Hither Hills and Ditch Plain in Montauk.
    Many of these men had joined the Life-Saving Station after World War I and were transferred to the U.S.C.G. stations. Like everything, without leadership, there is nothing; and like a lot of things they fall by the roadside. This book is part of the Amagansett Life-Saving Station.
    S.O.S. Save Our Station.
CAPT. MILTON L. MILLER SR.


Misreading Documents
    New York City
    March 5, 2012
To the Editor,
     In reading the letters from Laura Oliverio (Feb. 17) and Pat Flynn (Feb. 21), I note that they both make the same mistake of trusting sources that contain and spread false information about Margaret Sanger. Usually taken from the Web, these sources rely on quotes taken out of context, attributing statements to Sanger that she did not make or write, and deliberately misreading documents in the service of an alternative ideological agenda. Their goal is to undermine women’s reproductive rights.
    For example, Ms. Oliverio’s final quote regarding large families, a quote from Sanger’s “Woman and the New Race” (1920), page 63, is taken completely out of context. Sanger’s statement about infant death being a “merciful thing‚” is taken from a longer paragraph on the high infant mortality rate “due directly or indirectly to malnutrition, to other diseased conditions related to poverty, or to excessive childbearing by the mother.”
    There is nothing in this passage about race, the weak, disabled, or the disenfranchised. Instead, she followed the quoted lines with: “The same factors which create the terrible infant mortality rate, and which swells the death rate of children between ages 1 and 5, operate even more extensively to lower the health rate of the surviving members.” Her goal was to shock readers into understanding why birth control was so important.
    Similarly, the statement about “more children from the fit,” is not even Sanger’s. It has been incorrectly attributed to Sanger in several early biographies and numerous Web attacks. The actual quote comes not from Sanger, but from a 1919 American Medicine editorial reprinted in the Birth Control Review alongside Sanger’s rebuttal. And the Negro Project to which Ms. Oliverio refers was a project intended to bring contraceptive services to blacks living in the rural South, a group which had been ignored by most public health efforts.
    Sanger sought to bring those same services to whites in the rural South and other groups who did not have the same access to women’s health care as did most white, middle, and upper-class women.
    As to Ms. Flynn’s claims, Margaret Sanger did not run abortion clinics. She believed that equal access to birth control would eliminate the need for abortions. In fact, for most of her career, Sanger did not support abortion, convinced that with more widespread contraceptive use it would become irrelevant. Most alarming, Ms. Flynn’s letter reflects the anti-reproductive rights movement’s attempts to conflate abortion and birth control in order to make both inaccessible to women. Certainly this is what her support of the Blunt Amendment indicates. I am curious about the Library of Congress pamphlet to which she refers. We indexed the entire Library of Congress collection of Sanger’s papers and found no such item.
    I do not deny that Margaret Sanger allied herself with the early eugenics movement, in part to give her own birth control movement more professional and scientific legitimacy, and because she advocated for the birth of healthier babies of all races that could be adequately cared for and supported. I do not seek to mythologize Sanger; nor do I seek to tear her down. Rather, the goal of the Margaret Sanger Papers Project is to ensure that Sanger’s words are made fully and accurately accessible. Truth and accuracy are the only effective tools to having an open and fair debate.
    Finally, as a child of survivors who lost hundreds of relatives in the Holocaust, Ms. Flynn’s analogy about the silence of clerics during the Holocaust, and the freedom of women to use birth control, is not only specious, it is offensive.
    ESTHER KATZ
    Editor-Director
    Margaret Sanger Papers Project
    New York University


Owe the Residents
    Springs
    March 10, 2012
To the Editor,
    I am a retired World War II veteran. I earned two Bronze Stars and numerous other medals for bravery. I and other veterans fought our way through France, Holland, Battle of the Bulge, etc., liberating prisoner of war camps and fighting Nazi and Gestapo armies.
    We have earned the right to call people Nazis and Gestapo. We paid our dues.
    What right have Tina Piette and Theresa Quigley to accuse the Springs Concerned Citizens of using Gestapo and Nazi tactics and to apply the language to the residents of Springs, when they have not seen what I visually witnessed at Nazi prisoner of war camps?
    They should be ashamed of themselves. From what I gather, the Springs Concerned Citizens people are only trying to maintain the housing conditions and property values of their homes. Homes are a major investment for people and they do not want to see their property lose value due to uncaring landlords and an ineffective town board. The people of the S.C.C. are taking time off from their busy lives to attend meetings to try to get the town board to enforce the zoning laws and end illegal overcrowding.
    Ms. Piette and Ms. Quigley owe the residents of Springs an apology.
    Sincerely,
    CHET GREEN


Held Accountable
    Springs
    March 12, 2012
To the Editor,
    The illegal-housing crisis in Springs revolves around one simple issue. We have zoning laws in place to protect a community and those who invest and reside there. The single-family zoning law in Springs is not being adequately enforced. There are only two sides to this issue; either you believe that laws must be followed and enforced, or you don’t. Town board members swear an oath of office in which they swear to uphold the laws of the community.
    The Republican-controlled board has voiced sympathy and support for those who break our laws, but has ignored the voices of the law-abiding Springs community. Why has the town board majority not responded to the united voice of the Springs community asking for more effective code enforcement? Some say that one should look at the business community that supports their campaigns as to why they are not being more responsive to Springs citizens. One thing seems obvious: Some businesses, landlords, lawyers, and homeowners are profiting from illegal rentals at the expense of communities like Springs that are being stuck with the bill, can’t afford it, and shouldn’t have to.
    I am proud of the manner in which my husband and other members of Springs Concerned Citizens have conducted themselves when presenting our just concerns to the town board. S.C.C. has continued to state that the landlords, homeowners, and tenants who violate our laws should be held accountable regardless of who they are or where they come from. We do not single out any race or ethnic group. It is Bill Wilkinson, Theresa Quigley, and Tina Piette who show bias by continuing to raise the specter of “those people” and “illegal mmigrants” because it serves their purpose to distract, divide, and continue to allow the illegal overcrowding to persist. If Mr. Wilkinson is “disturbed and embarrassed” by this language, he should stop using it. His frequent usage is all on tape for anyone to hear.
    Last week’s meeting turned ugly when Ms. Piette accused people in Springs of using “Gestapo tactics.” Ms. Quigley concurred and after the meeting was overheard to opine that “this is Nazis.” This appalling accusation trivializes the atrocities suffered by more than 6 million innocent people. My husband is the son of two Holocaust survivors who experienced and witnessed numerous atrocities perpetrated by the secret police of Nazi Germany, lost most of their family and friends, and barely survived their time in concentration and death camps. We are offended and appalled by the inappropriate use of words used by Ms. Piette and Ms. Quigley. When they express fear that our town employees have acted and will act like the Gestapo when they request consent to conduct a safety inspection, we can only say, shame on you!
    Ms. Quigley’s statements are particularly troubling given her paid position on the town board and in light of previous inappropriate behavior while engaged in town business. There was the unfortunate incident in Montauk when Ms. Quigley stormed out of a meeting, announcing that “I don’t need this crap.” Last week’s work session was another unpleasant display of nastiness and rancor from Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley when both new board members, Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc, politely raised substantive issues for the board to consider, but reason and the town’s best interests were not to be served.
    No amount of nasty, inappropriate, and heinous name-calling will change the facts or deter an ever-growing group of concerned citizens from demanding that the town board do its job. If anyone in Springs had any doubts as to where Ms. Quigley stands on illegal overcrowding in Springs, one need only listen to the work session discussion when she states that she supports the idea of legalizing basement bedrooms. Perhaps a time-out is in order for Ms. Quigley to reassess her statements.
    Councilwoman Overby has stated that she will work to set up a forum to discuss illegal housing. Councilman Van Scoyoc has spoken against increasing density in Springs and against changing the town code to allow basement bedrooms. S.C.C. applauds their responsiveness to our concerns.
    Dominick Stanzione spoke to me after a meeting and was dismissive of the presentation we had just made. He suggested that we attend school board meetings in other districts to encourage them to merge with our district, thereby showing a complete lack of understanding of our problem and ignoring the code enforcement issues brought to the town board. We are paying careful attention to each town board member’s actions or inaction regarding illegal overcrowding in Springs.
    As for Ms. Quigley, she complained at the last work session that she was tired of taking it . . . whatever “it” is. I suggest that she does not have the requisite temperament to sit on a town board. Her comments were reprehensible. She owes the town an apology and should consider resigning.
CAROL BUDA


Complete Disrespect
    Springs
    March 10, 2012
Dear Editor:
    Councilwoman Quigley might think about apologizing for her insensitive “Nazi” comment, spoken during the town board meeting concerning the housing crisis in Springs, held on March 1, comparing the Springs Concerned Citizens group to Nazis.
     Ms. Quigley showed enormous disregard for the plight of six million plus, tax-paying, law-abiding, legal citizens slaughtered by the Nazi government, as a product of their racist agenda. She demonstrated complete disrespect to Holocaust victims, Holocaust survivors, and their families.
     Quigley said quietly, “These people giving us maps . . . this is Nazis.” The Independent, March 7, 2012.
    Thank you,
    SHERYL HASTALIS


Has to Resign
    Wainscott
    March 10 2012
Dear David
    Theresa Quigley has to resign. Immediately!
    Concerned citizens from Springs were present at a board meeting to exercise their rights and present facts about the deteriorating conditions caused by single-family dwellings being turned into illegal boarding houses by unscrupulous landlords. Ms. Quigley wants to legalize illegal dwellings that are not supposed to be there in the first place. For whose benefit, I ask?
    Serious conditions concerning overloaded septic systems endangering the environment and water quality. Requesting strict enforcement of zoning laws and an assortment of valid questions concerning their hamlet. Valid concerns that require answers from the town board. What follows is mind-boggling, to say the least, and I do not shock easily!
    As I read the article, one speaker, Tina Piette, referred to the residents as using “Gestapo tactics” — concerned citizens presenting evidence of deplorable existing conditions that violate existing laws that lessen the quality of life in a section of our town is a constitutionally given right. She and Ms. Quigley are lawyers — did they have a brain pause?
    The Gestapo was headed by Heinrich Himmler, who orchestrated the murder of millions of people. How deplorable to even mention that dark day of human misery. To compare our concerned neighbors to this atrocity is beyond belief. What warped mindset causes this?
    Now we have the deputy supervisor, Theresa Quigley, blurt out a more egregious statement of, “I agree with Tina.” She reportedly leans over and whispers to councilman Peter Von Scoyoc “people giving us maps . . . this is Nazis.” “Imagine this was your home?” etc. This is quoted in the paper.
    Ms. Quigley, famous for “I will draft legislation,” should draft her resignation forthwith. She is not fit to serve the people of this town who pay their taxes and pay her salary. She must resign immediately. Just go back under the rock you crawled out from. There is no room anywhere for this rhetoric. You are an absolute disgrace.
    Her ready-shoot-aim mantra has been heard many times, and what comes out of her battleship mouth and rowboat rear end is beyond belief. I thought “I don’t give a crap. I am not running for election” and storming out of a meeting was bad enough. So is it apparent from her support of Tina Piette’s vicious comparison with the Gestapo that she is of the same mindset? Her agenda to alter what we cherish is evident. One cannot fix stupid with duct tape!
    She has shown contempt for those who attend board meetings condescending to other members of the board and the public in general. She has come up with more hare-brained schemes than the character in “Alice in Wonderland.”
    Now we have Bill Wilkinson, our “emperor in chief,” elected in a 15-vote landslide. Where is he on this? Is he not aware of this deplorable, horrendous situation? What the heck, he doesn’t have the ability or desire to listen to the public here, just special interests?
    I have yet to hear him publicly denounce, rebuke, and condemn her and demand her immediate resignation. He has had a week to do so. I hope he has, but if not he should resign also. Mr. Wilkinson should be called out on this.
    Silence of this nature if true cannot be tolerated, and the message sent screams loudly of what is going on here.
    Yours truly,
    ARTHUR J. FRENCH


A Done Deal
    Amagansett
    March 12, 2012
Dear David:
    It appears to me that Fred Thiele and Sylvia Overby are a little late to the issue regarding chain stores and more than a little hypocritical in their suggested applications for limitations. Ms. Overby, in particular, strikes me as more than a little hyperbolic when she proclaims we don’t want to “lose our soul” to such enterprises and become “suburban.” Really? Lets go town by town.
    Often these concerns emanate from those upset at the existence of the 7-Eleven store in Montauk and the proposed, though not effected, location in Amagansett. As I recall, the current 7-Eleven location in Montauk is located in a commercially zoned area, previously occupied by a gas station that went out of business, leaving the lot empty for some time. Does Ms. Overby think the previous gas station was more in keeping with the “soul” and “distinctive, historic character” of main street Montauk than the current occupant?
    Now, if the citizens of Montauk are so upset at the presence of the 7-Eleven, no one is forcing them to buy their products. As far as I am aware, few if any other stores in Montauk are open 24 hours, as is the 7-Eleven, so I fail to see the competitive impact on local competitors. In fact, given the heavy preponderance of driving while under the influence and driving while intoxicated citations that dominate the police blotters in Montauk and East Hampton, I would think the community well served to have a location where a hot cup of coffee in the early morning hours might get some numbers of travelers home safe!
    As for Amagansett, the objections are patently silly. This is another difficult location, where a number of businesses have tried and failed to survive, resulting in that location being unused for some time. Also, this is another commercially zoned area, a strip mall that houses an I.G.A. market, a liquor store, a fish market, and the post office. What “distinctive and historic” character do those facilities represent to Amagansett, I would like to know? As for East Hampton, I think Mr. Thiele and Ms. Overby are somewhat late to the problem they seem so concerned about.
    J. Crew has a number of store locations, as does BCBG, Ralph Lauren, Scoop, Catherine Malandrino, Tiffany, even Waldbaum’s, that might come under the “protective guidelines” to protect against “formula” stores. East Hampton is a done deal with formula retail operations, including the recent addition of Restoration Hardware, but it might be that these stores are not as déclassé as 7-Eleven and only add to the distinctive historic character of East Hampton and so no one, especially the landlords that gather some outrageous rents, seems to mind these particular outside elements.
    The concerns about “speculative rents” seems not to enter into the comments of Ms. Overby and Mr. Thiele when we focus on East Hampton. So it is when such politicians bend their outrage to the McDonald’s and 7-Elevens and blithely overlook the mall-ization of East Hampton, with little or no comment, I wonder why they have too little time to notice the rows of empty store locations on Main Street and why they are so overwrought by the possibility of a 7-Eleven replacing a deserted ex-garage location in Montauk and another on an out-of-town-center location in Amagansett when East Hampton’s distinctive and historic character has already been permanently compromised.    I, for one, am hoping that we see a Cracker Barrel restaurant located here soon — over 500 locations, serving the best value breakfast and dinners you’ll ever see and a lot more character in tune with the Hamptons than the Catharine Malandrinos and Restoration Hardwares of this world.
ROBERT CONTI


Draft Legislation
    East Hampton
    March 7, 2012
To the Editor,
    Ms. Overby is correct in working to draft legislation to prevent chain stores from expanding in East Hampton. 7-Eleven, a formula store, was able to open in Montauk without a site plan review. Where was the Building Department as there was no lighting plan, etc.?
     Mr. Thiele drafted such legislation when CVS wanted to build in Sag Harbor. We would not like East Hampton to have McDonald’s, Burger King, etc. Mr. Wilkinson compares our Ben and Jerry’s ice cream store and Ace Hardware store, which are owned by our neighbors, to 7-Eleven, which sells food. I like shopping in our I.G.A., which is not a chain store but individually owned. They deliver to people’s homes, which is helpful for people who need this service.
    This is why we need people of opposite parties on the board to dialog on the issues.
JULIA KAYSER


More Affordable
    Springs
    March 8, 2012
To the Editor:
    Here are a few comments on the efforts of local politicians to investigate the possibility of creating legal obstacles to the presence of chain stores in East Hampton. Let me note at the beginning that many of the stores in the village business district sell expensive high-end products that are not affordable to many middle-class, working-class, and poverty-class citizens of the town. Many of us will travel long distances to find products we can afford. (Not too long ago, I visited a number of local stores in order to buy a button, without success, until a friend mentioned that perhaps I could find one in a local cleaning establishment.)
    Many chain stores offer products and services whose quality is just as good as those already offered by businesses in the area and whose prices are more affordable to ordinary folk. It is well known to economists and political scientists that local businesses everywhere like to keep competitors away in order to keep prices high, and organize business alliances to lobby local politicians to make it more difficult for new stores to come into the area. Local politicians tend to favor businesses that already exist in their districts and to impose obstacles on those who have not yet arrived. On the other hand, the majority of working people would like to have lower prices and improved quality, and the only way to achieve these goals is to encourage competition and a greater variety of products and services.
    Many of us are concerned to maintain the traditional look and atmosphere of the business districts and other parts of the town. This can be accomplished by regulating the external appearance and signs and lighting of new establishments without creating obstacles to their very existence.
CHARLES LANDESMAN


Taking the Lead
    East Hampton
    March 11, 2012
Dear David,
    Kudos to Councilwoman Sylvia Overby’s leadership for taking the lead in researching legislation to restrict chain stores from blighting our neighborhoods! (She actually went to the planning board for assistance.)
    It is no surprise that Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley had a fit when they learned Ms. Overby had already passed on her information to the press, before they saw it. This from a supervisor who has the Republican Party vote, yes vote, on what the town board’s agenda should be each week. Then they hold the information back from the Democrats until a day before. They labeled her behavior “political,” unlike themselves.
    We should not be surprised that Ms. Quigley (“I don’t give a crap! I’m not running for re-election.”) declared that, without even knowing what Ms. Overby researched, she did not see a need for it!
    Yours truly,
    NAOMI SALZ


Stated Mission
    Amagansett
    March 12, 2012
Dear Mr. Rattray,
    As a former member of Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee (ACAC, or ‘Yak-Yak’ as our Supervisor Bill Wil­kinson was fond of calling it), I read with considerable interest about the supervisor’s recent admonishment of the town’s C.A.C.s for overstepping their bounds. They have been “advocating” for their points of view as opposed to “advising,” which is their stated mission. These C.A.C. people have gone too far and it’s got to be stopped, for the good of the town.
    It is one thing to advise, meaning to give a recommendation about what should be done (see Merriam Webster’s free online dictionary). It is quite another thing to advocate, which could actually involve participating in bringing about social change, raising issues of fairness, questioning the way policy is administered, etc. These things, Mr. Rattray, are not the given rights of the advisory committees, and committee mem­bers should not attempt to usurp these rights. They should simply attend meetings and come up with advice. For example, always wear sunscreen. Even in the shower.
    As we know, the supervisor of the Town of East Hampton was once responsible for executive compensation at the Walt Disney company. In this capacity we can assume that he did not advocate for one executive’s bonus, another executive’s raise. He must, instead, have advised on such matters. “Sir, I advise that we give Mickey a substantial raise — his contribution to our bottom line is immeasurable.” Or, “If anyone deserves a bonus, it’s Goofy. No one in the organization has a better attitude. Check with human resources.” That sort of thing.
    That same kind of scrutiny-reward should apply to our advisory committees, which is exactly why they are not being paid for their hours of “service” to the community. Of the nearly 100 committee members representing the five villages-slash-hamlets of the Town of East Hampton, not one dollar has been given in wage or bonus as compensation for their nearly 300 hours of combined service monthly.
    That’s 3,600 hours yearly — roughly the number of hours it would take to paint a bike lane on Route 27 from Manorville to Montauk.
    What can be done, Mr. Rattray, when semantical nuances can prove more of a roadblock than fallen tree trunks in a nor’easter? Here is one solution, for which I ask no compensation: I propose that all the members of all the C.A.C.s meet together in one location. Possibly an undisclosed location (like the Amagansett Fire Station one week from Saturday at 10 a.m.). There should be refreshments, though I am not advocating for that. The purpose of the meeting will be to come up with some advice for the town. The advice might be in the form of a resolution, as follows:
    “We, the members of the Citizens Advisory Committees of the Town of East Hampton, hereby advise the town and its elected officials to advocate diligently, honestly, and passionately on behalf of our community and our people in accordance with our advice, which we give freely and free of charge.”
    Just advocating,
    LYLE GREENFIELD


Fire Sale
    Springs
    March 13, 2012
Dear David,
    Did I miss something? Is the Town of East Hampton for sale? Is everything up for grabs at reduced prices? Or are there just special prices for guys like Chris Jones? He wanted to turn a quick profit, putting the whole town through intense time-consuming aggravation and expense, and now the supervisor thinks he needs a consolation prize? (Don’t forget the lawyer hired by the folks in Amagansett who didn’t want to see their town overrun for three days in August.)
    Can anyone get in on this fire sale of the town’s possessions? Or do we have to hope the king (by 15 votes) can pull a sum “out of the air?” I’d like to buy Maidstone Park. I need a reward for loss of the beloved leaf program.
    Anxious to buy,
    PHYLLIS I. MALLAH


Cavalier
    Springs
    March 12, 2012
Dear David,
    Near the end of Tuesday’s town board work session, in a walk-on resolution, Supervisor Bill Wilkinson brought up the proposed sale of a town-owned alley that runs between the two Ronjo Motel buildings. He had no survey and no appraisal; he had no description of how much of the alley the town will be selling; and he was unaware that the alley continues between other buildings for some distance. He had no interest in finding out whether or not privatizing this alley will harm the property values of the other property owners who front it, and he never researched why the alley even exists. (One reason that it exists is to provide rights of way for future utilities, for instance, in the event that this fragile section of Montauk becomes a sewer district.)
    But no matter! Our supervisor pulled a number out of the air — $35,000 — and seemed content because the buyer is willing to pay that amount. The three Republican town board members — Mr. Wilkinson, Theresa Quigley, and Dominick Stanzione — passed this resolution over the nays of the Democrats, Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc.
    Mr. Wilkinson frequently speaks about wanting to run the town like a business, but I can’t imagine any business selling off an asset in such a cavalier and unresearched manner. While it may be in everyone’s best interest for the Ronjo Motel to acquire this strip of land, I do believe that a price for the property should be duly researched and presented to the board and the public, and that some consideration should be given to the town retaining certain easements over this property for the future.
    Sincerely,
     MARY MILLER


Terry King Park
    New York City
    March 12, 2012
Dear David:
    I am writing in response to your editorial of Feb. 9 and in an effort to get some facts out to your readers. Your portrayal of the town’s issuance of a request for proposals for the renovation and operation of the tennis courts at the Terry King park as some kind of class warfare, while consistent with the politics of the day, is, nonetheless, ridiculous. Further, several of your statements are completely inaccurate.
    I would agree that there is a long list of important things that the government needs to do and ought to do in the public’s interest. But there are some things that the government ought not do. And I am not sure that it makes sense for a municipality to operate a highly specialized business, or to allow individual town employees to do so, and to have taxpayers fund substantial associated losses, when there are local third-party operators who can do a better job and pay for the privilege.
    This was the case when the town issued an R.F.P. for the operation of the multisport arena at the Terry King park, to which Sportime responded, which led to our being chosen to operate the Arena as a licensee starting in January 2011. And it was this license to operate the Arena that led to the town’s interest in having Sportime, or another tennis and sports facility operator, renovate and operate the tennis courts adjacent to the Arena. In our first year operating the Arena, a partial year, Sportime paid the town a total of $26,760 in license fees. In our first full license year, ending August, 2012, we expect to pay the town approximately $50,000 in license fees. Historically, the town had been funding roughly $100,000 in operating costs, so the Arena license has created a positive swing of roughly $150,000 a year for the town. And, as you will read below, much more.
    You stated in your editorial that Sportime effectively ended several community programs, which is a 100 percent erroneous statement. Sportime did not end a single community program and we did not dramatically change the pricing of any programs. Currently, the Arena’s schedule is jam-packed with youth and adult programs that are offered at reasonable rates (between $2.50 and $16 an hour), which are comparable to if not lower than those offered by the previous operators or by our current competitors.
    The 90-minute youth basketball clinic running for 10 weeks is $95 a session; the 2-hour youth soccer league running for 10 weeks is $150 a session; men’s adult hockey league is $175 for 12 weeks; open adult hockey costs $10 a person for 2 hours; open men’s basketball is $5 for 2 hours, or $2.50 an hour. Sportime works with the town Recreation Department to develop new roller hockey players, offering beginner inline-skating and roller-hockey instruction ($125 for 8-week sessions). Local sports teams and leagues receive discounted or complimentary practice time; full and partial scholarships are also provided based on need. Late-night at the Arena is active; over 25 soccer teams (400-plus players) participate in leagues or rent soccer time.
     Sportime is not aware of any successful programs run by the former operators to have been diminished or eliminated under our management, but some continuing programs have grown under Sportime; most specific, the adult hockey league, which now features six teams with enough players to soon add a seventh team. Sports that were never offered before, and could not have taken place prior to the renovation, which added basketball and volleyball capacity, are now thriving, with the Arena now home to East End Waves, a local girls high school travel volleyball team, and with youth and adult basketball slowly growing.
    Regarding your stated opinion that Sportime got a “pretty sweet deal” and that taxpayers are getting little in return, again, this does not reflect any reality of which I am aware and does not seem to be a carefully researched opinion. In fact, it doesn’t seem to be researched at all. Town residents now have a safe and professionally run facility operated in the public interest. The facility has a year-round manager and a dedicated program director. Sportime has made more than $450,000 of needed capital improvements at the Arena, including refinishing the interior of the building, correcting numerous safety violations, adding secure changing areas for players and officials, adding air-conditioning, adding basketball and volleyball capacity and motorized divider curtains for same, and, finally, adding bathrooms, a snack bar, and a pro-shop, of which the final phase will be completed in the next month.
    Yes, the town-owned facility operated without bathrooms for more than five years. The above improvements, which exceeded Sportime’s minimum capital improvement requirement by more than $300,000, were done 100 percent at Sportime’s expense using private funding and immediately became the property of the town. The arena facility should generate roughly $250,000 a year in revenues when fully occupied, with about $200,000 in expenses, borne solely by Sportime, leaving about $50,000 in annual profits, and making Sportime a roughly 50-50 partner with the town. So, assuming the use of the Arena increases over time, and the business grows, it will certainly take Sportime the length of its license to see a reasonable return on investment at the Arena, and it won’t be an exciting return. At present, the risk is all Sportime’s. Our goal is to make the Arena a more vital part of the local community, with a more diverse cross section of local residents using it. Sportime provides the town with audited financial statements each year so that the economics of the license remain transparent.
    A similar long-term opportunity would be created if the town decides to license Sportime to rebuild and operate the tennis courts at the Terry King park. Sportime has been transparent with the town that the underlying economic opportunity for us, in conjunction with the long-term investment in the Arena, and also in conjunction with the possible tennis license, is to be able to use the Arena, and the other facilities at the Terry King park, in conjunction with our summer youth programs. Like many others on the East End, we generate virtually our entire profit each year over about 12 weeks in June, July, and August, so the prime business value of the opportunity at the Terry King park for Sportime is during those weeks, during weekday hours, which is not when the year-round community uses those facilities. The other 40 weeks a year, and on the weekends all year long, it is all about community and grass roots programs and it always will be.
    Regarding your presumption that the town board thinks that “only the rich play tennis,” I can assure you that the folks at Sportime, who make our living bringing tennis to a diverse range of players and communities, are well aware that not only the rich play tennis, and I can only assume that the town shares our view. The general manager of Sportime Amagansett and of the Multi-Sport Arena, Sue de Lara, many of our employees, and I, are not rich, are raising families in East Hampton, grew up playing tennis on public courts, and learned to love the game through community-based programs. I actually grew up playing every summer on the courts at the Terry King park, and on other public courts in East Hampton, for which the town then charged $7 per hour during the outdoor season. That was in the 1970s. In our tennis R.F.P. response, Sportime is proposing to charge town residents $10 per hour for the courts at the Terry King park during the outdoor season in 2012, so I do not think it is fair to opine that we are trying to make tennis a sport for the rich.
    While not every community resource benefits from privatization, some can, if such a deal is carefully crafted and fair to both parties. Based on your editorial, on this, apparently, we agree. Sportime is an expert at managing municipally licensed tennis and sports facilities. We currently operate licensed facilities in New York City and in Mamaroneck, N.Y., with a new licensed facility under construction and opening this fall in Eastchester, N.Y., and a licensed facility currently in development in Greenburgh, N.Y. In Mamaroneck, we are currently paying the municipality over $350,000 a year more than the previous operator paid in license fees. We are paying N.Y.C. over $1 million in license fees annually, where we have brought 20 new courts into a market that had been losing tennis courts and players for decades. At all of our facilities, we develop high-quality tennis and recreation programs customized to the needs and resources of the communities where we run them. And we do so in the context of seeking a reasonable return on our investment. The Sportime Amagansett Multi-Sport Arena is an excellent example of this.
    The possibility of expanding Sportime’s license to include the reconstruction and enclosure of the tennis courts adjacent to the Arena is a natural outgrowth of our good work to date, and the dramatic need for capital repairs in the park; an opportunity for the town to shift substantial capital and operating costs, while improving town-owned property, delivering new and better services to town residents, and creating more year-round employment in the hamlet of Amagansett.
    Sportime is the ideal partner for this, as we are a local company, founded in Amagansett by me in 1989, with a unique interest in seeing more local residents playing tennis year-round. We are already licensed to operate the Arena adjacent to the tennis courts for the next 14 years, and we have been operating almost 25 acres of tennis and day-camp facilities in Amagansett since 1989. Sportime promises, with the specific detail of such promises already a part of our R.F.P. response, to make the tennis courts available to the local community year-round at reasonable prices, to offer low and no-cost programs for new players and junior players, to offer no-cost facility use to local school teams, and to offer need-based scholarships to children that cannot otherwise afford to participate.
    Sportime responded to the town’s R.F.P. with two proposals: one to create a year-round tennis facility; the other to renovate the courts for outdoor use only. Either proposal will take an unsafe and dilapidated facility that would not entice anybody to want to play tennis, and that could injure anybody who tried, and transform it into a modern, tennis-positive facility serving the eastern end of the town. It happens that the hamlets of Amagansett and Montauk do not have any indoor courts, with both existing indoor facilities near the airport, so we certainly hope to be able to operate four indoor courts in Amagansett. An 8-court indoor and outdoor tennis facility was recently opened at the town-operated SYS facility in Southampton, utilizing the R.F.P. process, and awarding the license there to an existing licensee. And similar licenses have been issued in municipalities all over Long Island and New York. So, this is certainly nothing new. But, whatever the town board decides, I can assure you that Sportime, if given the chance, will do a great job for the town and for its residents.
    David, I can only wish that your interest in hearing and reporting the facts was as evident as your desire to politicize an issue that, while personal to me, as far as I am concerned, ought not be political. It would seem that such fact-based discussions are no longer possible in virtually any public forum. And this is truly a shame.
    CLAUDE OKIN
    Chief Executive Officer
    Sportime Clubs
    N.Y. Sportimes


Big Teacher
    Wainscott
    March 12, 2012
To the Editor,
    Bill Wilkinson seems to relish his role as Big Teacher; however, it’s time he stopped scolding and started listening.
    Sincerely,
    JOAN TRABULSI


Will Not Win
    East Hampton
    March 10, 2012
Dear Editor Rattray,
    You have done a disservice to the public in your recent reporting and editorials on the Federal Aviation Administration responses to Representative Tim Bishop’s questions about East Hampton Airport. As the F.A.A. said, regardless of whether or not the town takes grant money to carry out the necessary safety and noise control measures at our airport, if the town were to try to adopt legislation restricting aircraft operations, it would have to develop a massive record, meeting numerous statutory conditions, including proof that 1) The restriction is reasonable, nonarbitrary, and nondiscriminatory; 2) the restriction does not create an undue burden on interstate or foreign commerce; 3) the restriction is not inconsistent with maintaining the safe and efficient use of navigable airspace. . . .”
    The F.A.A. stated, “In the opinion of the F.A.A., should the Town of East Hampton propose any restriction that denies access on fair and reasonable grounds, or is unjustly discriminatory,” then “the aforementioned federal and constitutional law would provide a basis for aircraft operators to prevail in seeking a declaratory judgment and injunction. This basis is independent of grant assurances.”
    East Hampton will not win that fight against the F.A.A. or the air carrier companies that would sue the town.
    Instead, the town must pursue lawful and effective controls over aircraft noise through the master plan it has developed and the installation and operation of a seasonal control tower, which will be able to dictate — without any fear of lawsuits by the Justice Department — the precise altitudes and maneuvers of helicopters over our town.
GERARD BOLEIS


Nonsense Fear
    East Hampton
    March 11, 2012
To the Editor:
    Thank you for your March 8 editorial calling for East Hampton, itself, to finance its proposed deer fence at the airport. Without the town incurring a new 20 years of additional dominance by taking Federeal Aviation Administration grant funds for this project, town officials and the airport interests still will have almost two years of the F.A.A. “protection” they seem to desire because the town’s current grant obligations to the F.A.A. do not expire until Dec. 31, 2014.
    The town board should use that two-year period to develop a comprehensive plan for running the airport on a business-like basis. They should immediately rescind the current application for F.A.A. money. As a soundly run business, the airport ought to be able to use its variety of income sources and prudent revenue bonding to cover all operating and capital financial expenditures. That would eliminate the need for federal funding and the opportunity for politicians to threaten local taxpayers with the burden.
    That two-year period also would allow Town Hall and the public to evaluate the soon-to-be established seasonal control tower’s results and other noise-related ideas our officials have talked about.
    The local pilots’ fear that the airport might one day be closed without the F.A.A.’s expensive “protection” is clearly irrational, as your editorial may be suggesting. Certainly, it is used as a propaganda tool by the leading airport interests for selfish purposes. In any event, such a nonsense fear provides no reasonable basis for the town board’s application for F.A.A. deer fence money now that the F.A.A. has told us that they would not attempt to enforce the current grant assurances after 2014. The town should go about serious business planning for the airport.
    Sincerely,
    CHARLES A. EHREN JR.


Noise and Access
    East Hampton
    March 7, 2012
Dear David,
    Now that Representative Bishop has received information from the Federal Aviation Administration confirming the opportunity for the town to control airport noise and access, once the guarantees are lifted in 2014, the town board should rescind the application for F.A.A. funds for the repair of the deer fence.
    I have lived on Wireless Road for 26 years and have experienced personally the huge increase in aircraft traffic barely clearing the rooftop of my house. The
noise is unbearable and safety is a huge concern.
    The residents of East Hampton are entitled to peace and tranquillity in their own homes. There is absolutely no justification for applying for new funds that would extend by many years the grant obligations that restrict the town’s ability to control noise and access.
    A small minority (pilots and aircraft owners and operators) should not control the lives and health of our residents and environment.
    I urge the members of the town board to reverse their prior decision so that we can get on with the important business of restricting noise and access to our airport.
    Sincerely,
    SHERYL GOLD


Serious Threat
    East Hampton
    March 12, 2012
Dear Editor,
    According to the new information made public through Representative Tim Bishops’s office, Federal Aviation Administration authority to mandate airport regulations in response to the town’s growing air traffic expires in December 2014 with the end of those grant assurances applicable to the town’s rights as airport proprietor.
    At present, F.A.A. mandated regulations route helicopters to East Hampton Airport over water along Eastern Long Island’s north and south shores. Helicopters are now flying low, hugging the dunes separating the East End shoreline habitats and beaches from the ocean, threatening the sustainability of these natural resources.
    Hook Pond is an 80-acre New York State designated wetland and an important East Hampton Town natural resource. In addition to the noise and pollution creating a serious threat to the Hook Pond waterfowl, wildlife, and native plant vegetation, these helicopter routes threaten beaches valued for their pristine seaside condition. Surely, the town board can find a more creative solution than an F.A.A. grant with assurances which will deny the town the opportunity to work collectively to arrive at a plan on noise abatement inclusive of the residential as well as the aviation community. But let’s not forget in these deliberations the sustainability of the town’s valuable natural resources.
LINDA JAMES


Emphatically No
    East Hampton
    March 10, 2012
Dear Editor,
    The town board should immediately adopt a resolution authorizing the application for grant money to build the new fencing around East Hampton Airport. The arguments that have been put forward by the opponents and, unfortunately, also by you, are either uninformed, illogical, or deliberately deceptive.
     If the town forgoes Federal Aviation Administration money and instead spends its own resources on the necessary safety and noise control features at the airport, will that allow the town to then ban certain helicopter operations, as you and others have suggested? The answer is emphatically no. The F.A.A. has made that clear. The recent statements by the F.A.A. that you and others have touted simply do not support your arguments.
    The town cannot discriminate against any type of aircraft. It cannot do anything that might interfere with interstate commerce. That is regardless of whether or not the town accepts grant money. The F.A.A. specifically said so in its answers to Representative Tim Bishop’s questions.
    Taking F.A.A. money does not reduce the town’s powers. And rejecting F.A.A. money does not increase the town’s powers under federal and constitutional law. If the town proposes any restriction that discriminates against any particular group of air carriers, those laws would provide a basis for air carriers to sue the town, and as the F.A.A. has stated, to prevail in seeking a declaratory judgment on injunction.
    What you and others are urging the town to do would simply cost the town hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars, in legal fees over the course of years of bitterly fought federal litigation.
    I urge you to stop your campaign in support of that policy. The town should take F.A.A. money wherever it can to save the town taxpayers further financial burdens. The town needs to carry out the noise abatement and safety measures at our airport now, instead of following the urgings of a handful of people to delay, delay, delay, and possibly throw us into massive federal litigation.
HAROLD LEVY


Their Methods
    Amagansett
    March 12, 2012
Dear Editor:
    With all due respect to David Gruber and his group, which is genuinely concerned with the protection of the East Hampton community against aircraft noise, we believe their methods to do so are incorrect. The East Hampton Aviation Association can be helpful and actually be an ally to Mr. Gruber and the many other concerned citizens who have expressed such concerns. Of course, it must be based upon a reasonable “peace agreement” that can be forged for the common good.  It depends upon the recognition that East Hampton Airport is a valuable resource to the community.
    The East Hampton Aviation Association has worked closely with the town and fully supports its actions with respect to the airport, especially safety and controlling noise emanating from helicopter operations, namely:
    • Support of the airport layout plan, which defines and limits the mission of the airport.
    • Support of the master plan, which deals with specific safety and noise control measures, namely construction of deer fencing; repaving of the crosswind runway, 4-22, to allow its use for light aircraft only, not helicopters; implementation of the seasonal control tower, which will enforce all aircraft altitude and routing to and from the airport, including helicopters, and prevent the expansion of the airport while allowing improvements designed to enhance safety, leading to quieter, smoother, more efficient operations which use federal dollars rather than community resources (F.A.A. funding).
    Finally, we note that all of the legal moves initiated by Mr. Gruber’s group have failed, causing needless taxpayer money to be spent in the town’s defense and leading to the conclusion that their motives are harassment instead of seeking cooperative means of achieving what we all want: peaceful coexistence with the airport while preserving its important mission to the economy of our community and its reputation as one of the nation’s most desirable places in which to live, work, and visit.
    Sincerely,
    MICHAEL L. MARGULIES
    Member
    East Hampton Aviation Association 


Costly Attack
    Sagaponack
    March 12, 2012
To the Editor:
    Airport opponents continue their futile and costly attack on the town’s duly authorized and well-considered actions to make the airport safer and quieter. They continue to mislead the public about their intentions and the legal issues.
    Though the Committee to Stop Airport Expansion sued the United States Department of Transportation over the grant assurances that the Town of East Hampton agreed to when it accepted federal funds for airport improvements, and settled with the Federeal Aviation Administration agreeing not to enforce three of many assurances after 2014, the committee didn’t have standing to; the town wasn’t a party to and isn’t bound by the settlement; the F.A.A., as a federal agency, doesn’t have the authority to amend the law pertaining to the assurances; federal laws other than the assurances can and will be enforced by the U.S. if the town violates the laws pertaining to public-use airports, whether or not it accepts federal funds or is subject to grant assurances.
    Sensible and immediate action to mitigate helicopter noise is available now by implementing a summer control tower and regulating airspace around the airport within which helicopters can be routed and kept at a higher altitude, which attenuates noise.
    Ask yourself what the opponents’ true agenda is when they’ve brought at least six unsuccessful lawsuits, been turned down three times in the last three months for injunctive relief, spent hundreds of thousands of their own money, cost the town a comparable amount in legal costs, and deprived the town of grants of millions of dollars available for safety and noise-abatement improvements based on an intentionally false representation that this regional problem will go away in 2014 if the town doesn’t accept federal funds.
    The F.A.A. was clear that aircraft operators would prevail if the town restricted access discriminatorily even in the absence of grant assurances. The opponents’ strategy would simply lead to more expensive litigation and delay effective noise abatement.
ELLIOTT MEISEL


The True Agenda
    Southampton
    March 11, 2012
Dear Editor,
    I sincerely hope that the town board ignores the demands by certain airport opponents that the town abandon all of the noise abatement and safety efforts the town board has been working on for years and instead try to unilaterally ban certain helicopter operations. If the town follows that strategy, it will be slammed with massive federal litigation that will cost the town millions of dollars. And in the meantime, nothing will get done about helicopter noise. The effort would be futile, as well as a complete waste of time and taxpayer money. Our neighbors, who now have to endure helicopter noise, would continue to suffer for years to come.
    We can lawfully and quickly abate helicopter noise with the full support of the Federal Aviation Administraion through a seasonal control tower. A seasonal tower will keep the helicopters high and, most important, under town control, and the town will have full F.A.A. license to do so.
    In contrast, if the town attempts to legislate a ban against helicopter operations, it will, without a doubt, throw the town into a black hole of endless litigation and confrontation with well-funded commercial operators and the F.A.A. Your paper should stop urging the town to embark on such a self-destructive course of action.
    The only conclusion I can draw from the arguments put forward by some of the airport opponents is that they have a different agenda in mind. What they really want is to shut East Hampton Town Airport down. It is the only possible explanation for opposing safety repairs on the town runways and urging a delay in the installation of a seasonal control tower. That is the true agenda of those who oppose taking F.A.A. money to carry out the safety and noise abatement programs our airport needs.
    If that is your true agenda, then just come out and say so. Then this public debate will finally be an honest one.
    MARGIE SAURENMAN
    Vice President
    East Hampton Aviation Association


Federal Money
    Springs
    March 11, 2012
Dear Editor,
    Your editorials and articles about the Federal Aviation Administration’s recent responses to Tim Bishop’s questions are rather selective in reporting what the F.A.A. has said about the town’s ability to adopt legislation regarding aircraft operations. One is led to believe that control of noise at the airport would require expiration of grant assurances.
    But instead the F.A.A. said specifically, “Independent of grant assurances‚” that means whether or not the town takes F.A.A. grant money, “any restriction must, consistent with federal and constitutional law, be reasonable, nonarbitrary, nondiscriminatory, establishing acceptable noise levels for the airport and its immediate environs. Any other conduct by an airport proprietor would frustrate the statutory scheme . . . .”
    The F.A.A. stated specifically that violation of federal and constitutional law “would provide a basis for aircraft operators to prevail in seeking a declaratory judgment and injunction,” i.e., any effort by the town to ban certain aircraft operations would result in litigation, which would impose additional financial burdens on the town taxpayers. This is in addition to the millions that the airport opponents have already cost town taxpayers.
    The airport opponents offer their “guidance,” while at the same time litigating to force the airport’s closure. Applying those conflicting interests is no way to run an airport. The town board should stick to its guns and lawfully control helicopter noise through a control tower, which can set the altitude and route of helicopter flights. That can be done now rather than waiting until 2014. And the town should accept federal money as deserved compensation for the expense of these nonsense suits.
BRUNO SCHRECK


Flight Paths
    Noyac
    March 6, 2012
Dear Editor:
    We do not want flight paths over the Noyac area.
    Please don’t enter another agreement with the F.A.A.
    There are too many helicopters and planes now.
    Thanks,
    MADELYN SIMON
    President
    Rawson Road Association


Flexibility
    Wainscott
    March 12, 2012
Dear David,
     After reading The Star’s article titled “F.A.A. Sheds Light on Airport Control Queries” I read the Federal Aviation Administration’s response to Representative Bishop in its entirety. I then saw the full-page ad from the Quiet Skies Coalition, as well as several letters opining that the town board should rethink its position on F.A.A. funding.
    Representative Bishop’s first question was: In the absence of F.A.A. grant assurances, are municipal restrictions to mitigate or reduce noise impacts on the surrounding community permissible? The F.A.A.’s response to this question is what the anti-F.A.A. forces were cheering about.
    The F.A.A.’s agreement not to enforce means that as of Dec. 31, 2014, unless and until the F.A.A. awards a new grant to the town, the F.A.A. will not initiate or commence an administrative grant enforcement proceeding in response to a complaint from aircraft operators under title 14 CFR, part 16, or seek specific performance of grant assurances 22a, 22h, and 29.
    In light of the following excerpts that I have taken from the original communication from the F.A.A. to Mr. Bishop, however, I find myself wondering if anyone read past the first page or two. The F.A.A.’s responses on pages 3 through 5 do not appear to support the proposition that the town can only control airport noise, or at least to a greater degree, by giving up F.A.A. funding forever:
    “Question 2, p. 3: Barring emergency situations, in the absence of F.A.A. grant assurances, is it correct that a municipal owner of a general aviation airport may do the following things for the specific purpose of protecting the community from noise? If not, please clarify. Limit hours of operation, including imposing curfews or closing on weekends; limit the number of airport operations per day; exclude particular aircraft types based on associate noise levels.”
     F.A.A. response: “Any restriction must, consistent with Federal and constitutional law, be reasonable, nonarbitrary, and nondiscriminatory, establishing acceptable noise levels for the airport and its immediate environs. Any other conduct by an airport proprietor would frustrate the statutory scheme and unconstitutionally burden the commerce.”
    The above language in the F.A.A.’s response tracks, almost exactly, Peter Kirsch’s (special aviation counsel) advice and testimony to the town board. Mr. Kirsch, it should be remembered, was originally retained by Supervisor Bill McGintee, not by Supervisor Bill Wilkinson as one anti-F.A.A. letter has suggested, and recommended by the Airport Noise Abatement Advisory Committee. The F.A.A. response continues:
    “. . . should the town of East Hampton propose any restriction that denies access on fair and reasonable grounds or is unjustly discriminatory at [East Hampton Airport], the aforementioned Federal and constitutional law would provide a basis for aircraft operators to prevail in seeking a declaratory judgment and injunction.”
    Should the town and the F.A.A. have a difference of opinion concerning whether proposed restrictions exceed this limitation, it is an open question whether the United States could and would initiate affirmative litigation after grant assurances 22a, 22h, and 29 expire in December 2014. The issue in any court proceeding, whether brought by private parties or the United States, would be the same: whether the noise restriction adopted by the town is reasonable, nondiscriminatory, and justified. The assurances, which reflect limitations in applicable Federal and constitutional law, do not allow the F.A.A. to substitute its view of the need for noise restrictions for that of the town as proprietor.
    In short, restrictions imposed by East Hampton would be subject to the same legal considerations whether or not the grant assurances are in effect.
    Question 4, page 3 and 4: “Should the town of East Hampton apply for and receive additional AIP funds, would the town be restricted by a new set of grant assurances that would prevent them from implementing noise reduction policies, such as those that are currently in effect.”
    F.A.A. response: “By law, any future grant executed by the town must include all grant assurances in effect at the time of the grant. In proposing restrictions, just as it does in proposing measures to increase airport noise compatibility under title 14 CFR, part 150, the town would have the flexibility to supplement day-night average sound level with other noise analyses.”
    In other words, the F.A.A. has gone on record that other noise analyses (single-event noise measurement?) could be considered in addition to the F.A.A. noise averaging method even if F.A.A. grant assurances are in effect, just as Naples Municipal Airport did while being advised by special aviation counsel Peter Kirsch.
    Consider the following question. Under which of the following scenarios would a future town board and its taxpayers be more willing to risk incurring millions of dollars in litigation costs?
    a) certain grant assurances have expired and the town has spent down its reserves on much needed and long overdue repairs; or
    b) the town has built a war chest of airport reserves by using F.A.A. funding to make necessary repairs?
    Consider further that the biggest club the F.A.A. has is denial of future funding, denial they lost in the case of Naples Municipal Airport. Naples bears many similarities to East Hampton Airport, including retaining the very same special aviation counsel, Peter Kirsch. This is no accident.
    So it is possible that the anti-F.A.A. forces may have declared “mission accomplished” prematurely.
    Sincerely,
    PETER A. WADSWORTH


Raised Your Rates
    East Hampton
    March 12, 2012
Dear  Editor:
    In connection with the following articles: “The Greening of the High School,” The East Hampton Star, “$28M and Rate Raising for Efficiency,” Long Island Business News, as you know, in 1906, the New York Public Service Commission was formed to prevent companies like the Long Island Power Authority from giving rebates. Why? Discrimination, among other things like price fixing. Rebates are used to strengthen the firm’s position against competitors. Enron reminder: They are no longer regulated.
    So, East Hampton Star editor, when are we going to work together on having them drop the efficiency charge and close down that operation or, at least, get the public service commission to enforce these old laws? By the way, they just raised your rates to pay for the East Hampton school project from 58 cents to 62 cents per kilowatt hour. Thanks for nothing, LIPA.
SCOTT LEWIS


Singled Out
    Sag Harbor
    March 12, 2012
To the Editor,
    I never respond to letter writers who disagree with me. This holds true for this letter, too. I’m referring to a letter by Andrew Benjamin titled ‘“Which World,” three columns long, on March 8.
    Andrew wrote a passionate letter and took aim at the article on Occupy Wall Street on the front page of The East Hampton Star a few weeks ago, which related to a meeting of occupiers of Wall Street in Water Mill. He singled out almost every member present with harsh criticism. I went unscathed but made a number of comments to the group; for that I give much thanks. So maybe we do have some common ground? Quotes excerpted from his letter follow:
    Andrew said “a few of you mentioned that the problem is government. And of course Wall Street.” He disagreed, and I’m with him. The basic problem is we the people are held tight in the grasp of corporate powers. Are they not the ones with all the money who control politicians on both sides of the aisle? You seem to agree with me. Politics can drive you crazy. I know, I’ve been there too.
    Then he moved on to a quote from Attorney General Eric Holder, “Wall Street did not commit crimes,” which upset him; I agree. Wall Street committed many white-collar crimes. Not one C.E.O. has been sent to jail, yet what used to be crimes are now legal, so to speak.
    Here you offer me a lot of trouble when you asked, “Why is it that after 40 years of the war on poverty the poor are still poor?” A few years ago I asked a similar question to a United States congressman. Why are we so afraid of the poor? I felt a bit naive when he answered, “Because there are so many of them.” To blame the poor for being poor may be a way of relieving one’s conscience. I’m not sure. Another cliché built into our minds is “pick yourself up by your own bootstraps.” Can’t be done. Try it some time.
    Furthermore, he opened the letter by saying the occupy movement is blatantly dishonest. Does he remember what Alan Greenspan said when called by Congress to testify? I believed these guys on Wall Street had honesty and integrity and disappeared in the fog of the economy.
    In his letter he complained about paying high taxes. I agree and feel the same way. But this time around the economic bubble was the biggest ever. For the first time the poor, so-called middle class, and the rich got hurt. The reason why the recovery has taken so much longer.
    Finally, Andrew Benjamin, hang in there. With this downward spiral of the economy you may someday be one of us, the occupiers of Wall Street and the Hamptons. Everyone is invited and there will always be diversity as he seems to imply in the end of the letter.
    In hope, not fear,
    LARRY DARCEY


Nasty Conduct
    East Hampton
    March 8, 2012
Dear Editor,
    Rush Limbaugh is a serial misogynist of long standing.
    He has demeaned women for years. His “femme Nazi” characterizations are well known; his “soccer mom” disparagement of women and mothers is stock and trade for the man. All those hours upon hours of snide remarks about Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and women officeholders from the United States Senate to the Congress have just poured out from him over the air from his mean-spirited, snide, and arrogant persona.
    And all these years he has prospered, earning an estimated $50 million a year and being the leader of the conservative Republicans in the country. Now the other day on his three-hour daily radio show he comes to once again try to disparage a young law student, not a political figure, not newsworthy at all, prior to her testimony before Congress, totally unaware that this media monster was about to pounce on her and call her a “slut” and a “prostitute” after she testified that contraception should be covered in her school’s medical insurance, not for sexual proclivities as Limbaugh and our local letter writer mistakenly said, but for cervical cancer victims and to treat ovarian cysts — and also to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
    She never mentioned sex in her testimony; she never alluded to her own sexual activities if she even had any. But Limbaugh just blasted this woman as if she were a piece of dog poop on his shoe. It was one of the most outrageous breeches of broadcast commentary anyone had ever heard. The outrage was instantaneous around the country from women, from men, from doctors and nurses, and political figures, advertisers, and even people like Bill O’Reilly.
    With all this pressure building, Limbaugh makes a supercilious, insincere apology, and goes right back to demeaning the woman for nine more hours, as if using more acceptable adjectives makes it all okay. If I were related to her, Mr. Limbaugh would face other problems.
    Now we have, here in East Hampton, people who obviously have not thought the matter through. People who want to defend the indefensible and who blandly write letters to the editor without checking their facts. Making ill-advised comments over the airways is not uncommon. Nor are full and complete apologies like those of Bill Maher and Ed Schultz, who spent nine minutes over the air on his show apologizing to Laura Ingraham, and then took himself off the air for 24 hours.
    What is uncommon is to call a young, innocent student a slut and a prostitute because she testified before Congress, and follow that by saying she is looking to be paid for sex by taxpayers (naturally totally untrue; she supported only the continuation of insurance coverage for contraceptives, which is already provided throughout the country) by a man who does not even have an under=standing of how contraception works. Maybe Limbaugh, having had four wives and no children, believes female birth control is taken per act, like Viagra, but, in any case, it was not the subject of the testimony.
    There is no double standard here, only the horrendous, nasty conduct of this man, condemned by all, and defended only by a few misled, uninformed people, and the total lack of concern by Republicans in general, and their candidates in particular.
    What a crew! Keep ’em pregnant and in the kitchen should be the Repubs’ campaign motto.
RICHARD HIGER


Water Quality
    Springs
    March 12, 2012
Dear David,
    In a period when environmentalism is seen as a political football, I find it heartening that Representative Tim Bishop is the lead sponsor of the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2011. His stand to invest $13.8 billion over five years in infrastructure upgrades and in a clean water trust fund to provide long-term financing would have been a bipartisan bill before the Tea Party began to dominate the Republicans in the House of Representatives. Now the House Republicans cannot wait to get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency in order to placate the industries that profit from pollution and their millions in campaign contributions.
    For those of us on the East End of Long Island who want to keep our water supply free of pollutants and the Long Island Sound free from dredge spoil, I can think of no one better qualified to do so than Tim Bishop.
    Sincerely,
    CHUCK HITCHCOCK


True Oppressor
    East Hampton
    March 12, 2012
To the Editor,
    We are gazing upon the “chimes of freedom flashing.” Bob Dylan’s interpretation during the 1960s has been reprised by the Obama administration and successfully contorted so as to point the finger away from themselves and big government as society’s true oppressor. In its gallop to intrude upon all aspects of American life, this administration is singing a distorted version of Dylan’s original.
    Many Americans sense the “walls of freedom tightening,” but there are still others unable to recognize the tolling chimes through the hypnotic mist. This administration’s constant verbal spritz blurs the long view toward a bloated Washington and aims the focus on successful neighbors. At least Dylan was decent enough to not provoke controversy through citizen rivalry; instead he focused on an overbearing government intent on imposing its will. That’s what governments tend to do and big governments tend to do it better. This administration has become arrogant enough to want to determine our health care professional, sponsor chosen auto manufacturers, decide the appropriateness of our food selection, selectively choose whom to apply the nation’s laws to, and, just recently, redefine basic religious doctrine. And all the while we hear from Washington the chorus for the need of more money and something about everybody’s fair share.
    When will those shrouded in the mist observe the existing wastefulness of our oppressive government and realize that they too will be swallowed before all the tolling ends?
ALEX PICCIRILLO


Should Refuse
    Springs
    March 6, 2012
To the Editor,
    It seems that all I keep hearing from the Republican National Committee is, “Keep the government out of our lives.”
    Well, there are over 15 million registered Republicans over the age of 65 receiving an average Social Security payment of $1,177 per month, plus God only knows how much they are costing us in Medicare, another socialist program. If they really don’t want the government in their lives, they should refuse to accept Social Security and Medicare, thereby saving this country a minimum of $15 billion per year that we could put towards the deficit that George W. Bush and his cronies created during his administration.
    God bless America,
    CAPT. KEN RAFFERTY SR.


Haunted
    Amagansett
    March 10, 2012
Dear David,
    My house is haunted. I ignored it until recently, when I distinctly saw what looked like a shadow version of Newt Gingrich in drag upon the stair. On the other hand, I have been dosing up on Rescue Remedy.
    Assuming I have a ghost, I am hoping it will be amenable to the following hauntings:
    Ants, ticks, deer, crabgrass, oil prices, people who don’t control or pick up after their dogs, distracted drivers, oblivious cyclists, Republicans or Democrats who see the other as the enemy.
    I don’t think I should overload my apparition until I see some results. Do you?
    All good things,
    DIANA WALKER