Letters to the Editor: 04.05.12

Readers' comments

Those Who Served
    East Hampton
    March 25, 2012
To the Editor,
    It is time to start thinking about Memorial Day and what it truly means. At the end of February, in The Star you read about the Montauk artists and veterans associations in dispute about Memorial Day weekend. Someone stated that they represented 100 veterans; whether true or not I do not know. For the fact is this: That each and every year on the day before Memorial Day the members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 550, along with the veterans of American Legion Post 419, go to all the cemeteries in East Hampton Town to pay honors to veterans buried there.
    Last year we arrived at Montauk cemetery, approximate time of 10:30 a.m. Alan Burke was there working on one of the gravesites with two women. First vice Augie Bouker invited them to stay for the ceremony, which they did, as we honored all our veterans who have passed on. Sadly no one else was there from Montauk, the only veterans there were the color guards from the Veterans of American Legion Post 419, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 550, the rifle squad, the bugler to play taps, members of both organizations who rode the bus to participate in the ceremony.
    This year on the 27th of May, we will again, at approximately 10:30 a.m., be at the Montauk cemetery to pay honors to all those who served our country but have since passed on. We invite Ken Walles to round up those 100 mentioned in The Star to join us for this ceremony — they matter, and their presence is important and needed.
    Meet your fellow veterans in Post 550 Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion Post 419, for there is unity in numbers and maybe we could work together to preserve the memory of all those veterans who have passed on.
    On Memorial Day, Monday the 28th of May at 9 a.m., we will be at Main Beach to honor those buried at sea. At 10:30 a.m. our parade will step off from Guild Hall to the village green for our Memorial Day ceremony. All veterans are welcome.
    TOM BYRNE
    Commander
    Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 550


Was Delighted
    East Hampton
    March 30, 2012
To the Editor:
    A screw-on nut doesn’t cost much, but I was delighted a few days ago when I took a floor lamp that needed one to the Lamp Hospital, on Three Mile Harbor Road. “Dr. Russ,” who in his other life is a licensed master electrician, replaced the nut without charge. He even threw in a finial. East Hampton neighborliness at its best.
CHRIS CORY


Community Support
    Montauk
    April 2, 2012
Dear David,
    Those of us who worked on the Montauk Indian Museum float for the Montauk St. Patrick’s Day parade would like to acknowledge the support of some really amazing members of our community.
    The float conception and construction really did take a village to make a village; many hands helped us realize our vision of what a local Native American village might have looked like before Europeans settled on Long Island. We are thrilled and humbled that the judging panel for the Friends of Erin event acknowledged our efforts by awarding us Best Float. The $500 first prize has gone into the Montauk Historical Society’s Indian Museum capital fund. Thank you, Friends of Erin.
    Our sponsor for the float was the East Hampton Rotary, which helped underwrite costs, lent us the flatbed, courtesy of Joe Hren, and towed us during the parade. A special thanks to the Rotary’s Andy Pessalano, who braved the tick-infested wilds to help collect some of the natural materials we used on the float. Jimmy Grimes and his Fort Pond Native Plants were invaluable resources. Not only did Jimmy allow us the use of his yard during construction, but he helped with manpower, inspiration, and lots of material donation. James, we couldn’t have done it without you!
    Then Dalton Portella and Nate Best donated their considerable photography and videography skills to record the event. Dave Brown, who created and then donated our signage, deserves a very special mention. Our own museum committee, led by Lawrence Cooke, worked tirelessly for about a week on the project, during the course of which we were joined by members of the Montauk community who had no prior relationship to any of us. These were folks who just saw what we were doing, got caught up in our enthusiasm, and ended up doing terrific work. Nice going, Meg Nye! And a huge thanks to Lois Gareau and Kathy (Miss Melody) Maguire, as well as the ladies at the Montauk Playhouse senior citizens lunch program, who helped tag our shell necklaces.
    Thanks also to Robert Wyandanch Pharaoh, Chief of the Montauketts, for his support of the float as well as for our planned museum. Dick Cavett, our honorary chairman of fund-raising, was an honored addition to our entourage on parade day, and we thank him for working the crowd so charmingly on our behalf. As always, we owe a debt of gratitude to our “mother ship,” the Montauk Historical Society, for its continued enthusiasm about our new Montauk Indian Museum project.
    We look forward to continuing community support now that we have completed the planning phase and are beginning fund-raising for the museum construction. We would like to invite you all to two exciting upcoming events. The first will be a very special fund-raiser in July, details to follow. The second will be our highly-anticipated archaeology festival, Seeing Montauk Through Ancient Eyes, a hands-on day of demonstrations of primitive technologies that will be held on Saturday, Oct. 13, on the grounds of Second House Museum. Mark your calendars and save the dates!
    Yours truly,
    JESSICA JAMES
    Float manager


Still Survives
    Lazy Point
    March 29, 2012
To the Editor,
    Not all of the houses mentioned in the article “Montauk: An Early 20th-Century Village” (March 29) were demolished by the Hurricane of 1938. One still survives and was moved to Lazy Point. The “little house,” as it is known here at the Mabel and Victor D’Amico Studio and Archive, has been preserved along with the D’Amicos’ studio-house and the “oyster-watchers hut.” All are available to view by appointment starting in May.
    The house was originally owned by a man named Jenkins. It was moved by boat from Montauk Village on Fort Pond Bay soon after the hurricane to Lazy Point, by the time the D’Amicos arrived in the 1940s. Jenkins sold it to Alexander Brook, the painter from Sag Harbor, who used it as a seaside getaway to entertain his New York City celebrity guests, Peggy Bacon, Robert Montgomery, etc. He also embellished the inside of the house with architectural accents and color details creating an artist-fisherman interior.
    Brooks sold it to Mabel in the 1950s, who further enhanced the interior. The D’Amicos used it as their guest cottage for many summers with Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and Broadway notables visiting. They asked me to move in full time during the 1970s to become their assistant.
    The sand-blasted panes of glass from the ’38 Hurricane were still in the windows, and the kerosene heater was the only source of warmth during the snowy winters of the 1980s. It and I have survived some fierce northeasters and hurricanes without another scratch. However, the little house was and still is the most wonderful example of eastern Long Island seaside living. They don’t build them like that anymore!
    CHRISTOPHER KOHAN
    Victor D’Amico Institute of Art
    And Art Barge


Some Coverage
    East Hampton
    March 30, 2012
To the Editor,
    For some time I have felt that The Star is no longer a local East Hampton newspaper.
    However, I do think there should be some coverage of what has happened to Georgica Beach. Why it happened and what will become of it.
    Sincerely,
    MARILYN LUKASHOK



    The Star’s most recent story about the conditions at Georgica Beach appeared in the Jan. 12 issue. East Hampton Village has set a tentative date of May 15 to complete repair of the parking lot. Ed.


Growing Crisis
    East Hampton
    April 2, 2012
Dear David,
    I applaud your editorial, “The Time Is Nigh” (March 30). Local governments must assume the responsibility of planning, with a sense of urgency, to meet accelerating climate change challenges including rising sea levels, temperatures, and extreme weather events. These weather events are increasing around the world,  escalating the impacts on people, natural resources, and econo­mies. Yet it is we the people who have reacted either with a “collective shrug” at the science of climate change or written it off as a political hoax.
    The Internet has become an invaluable educational tool in raising the public’s awareness of climate change. From national and international government and private science agency Web sites to the global nonprofit sector, the science supporting climate change is accessible. The argument that the growing crisis in climate change is linked to human activities has become a consensus in the scientific community.
    The Internet is my resource in preparing reports on climate change for the Garden Club of America as the vice chairwoman for the National Affairs Legislation/Conservation Committee. These reports are posted on the Garden Club Web site for the 18,000-plus members in 220 clubs nationally who can share this information in their communities, encouraging local governments, as you have in your editorial, to include climate change on their planning agendas, A.S.A.P.
LINDA JAMES


Time to Act
    Montauk
    April 2, 2012
Dear David:
    Between the date that Bill Wilkinson was elected to his first term and when he took office in January 2010, he attended a meeting of the Concerned Citizens of Montauk. During that meeting, Mr. Wilkinson was asked if he believed that a community should plan in advance for a natural disaster such as that which might occur if a storm similar to Hurricane Katrina were to strike eastern Long Island. He responded that such planning would be appropriate.
    He was then asked if he would be willing to lead such a planning effort once he assumed office as town supervisor. He indicated that under his leadership such planning would occur. However, as your editorial on March 29 indicates, “East Hampton should be at the forefront of planning. But there has been little, if any, preparation.”
    Since Mr. Wilkinson was first elected supervisor, eastern Long Island dodged a bullet when Hurricane Irene veered 100 miles to the west and spared the Town of East Hampton a direct blow. We were, in effect, given more time to undertake the development of a post-storm recovery plan. As you point out, “The time to prepare for the worst is now.”
    Mr. Wilkinson and the rest of our town board should take the bold step to lead the Town of East Hampton through a comprehensive post-storm recovery planning effort that is based upon scientific data and rational thought. I am confident that community organizations such as C.C.O.M. and Surfrider, among others, would energetically participate and lend their technical expertise to the development of a contemporary post-storm recovery plan for East Hampton.
    The time to act is now — before we have to pick up the pieces without a logical plan to guide the post-storm recovery process.
    Thank you for focusing a light on this critical topic in last week’s edition.
    Sincerely,
    JAY LEVINE


Standard Is Arbitrary
    Springs
    April 3, 2012
Dear David,
    Theresa Quigley and Bill Wilkinson want to schedule a public hearing now on a new lighting law that:
    Allows lights (floodlights, etc.) to shine off your neighbor’s property onto your lot and residential properties next to businesses if the property owner with the offending light feels “unsafe or insecure.” This standard is arbitrary, unenforceable, and provides no consistent protection for neighboring properties or roadside safety due to glare in drivers’ eyes.
    Allows searchlights, neon lights, strobe lights, blinking, pulsating, flashing, laser, revolving lights. Allows lights on the sides of utility poles, mercury vapor and neon lights, whether stationary or permanent.
    Allows lights that could be confused for traffic lights, permanent lights to outline a house, structure, or business. Permits upwash of floodlights on the sides of homes in historic districts and on museums.
    Removes the existing requirement to point shielded lights downward so that floodlights cannot shine in our bedrooms or create glare for drivers and only asks for voluntary compliance in residential neighborhoods and business zones.
    Homeowners on shorelines will be cited by the chief harbormaster if their lights impair navigation and boats approaching docks, but no standards for safe acceptable lighting are proposed.
    Pre-existing lights do not have to conform to this new law, even if they shine off property into your eyes.
    Adds another layer of government by appointing a citizens advisory board with no lighting experience to make determinations concerning the Planning Department and planning board requirements for lighting on commercial properties, yet the law states this citizens’ board determinations carry no weight and are nonbinding.
    Costs the taxpayer more money by forcing an enforcement officer, harbormaster, or building inspector to work at night (for overtime pay?) with a special light meter to monitor foot-candles. Note: The current law can be enforced day or night by simply observing if the light-emitting part of the lightbulb (filament) is visible below the light shield at the property line.
    The findings and definitions are not up to the standards of the East Hampton Town code and honestly would be an embarrassment for the town if read by all the other Suffolk County towns from Southampton to Brookhaven, which have strict lighting laws. An example: Light trespass is defined as “light that is not needed or wanted,” yet the Quigley-Wilkinson law allows for light trespass. How do you objectively measure “not needed or wanted”?
    This arbitrary law would allow nightclubs to have outdoor strobe and pulsating lights and pits neighbor against neighbor.
    It is possible to tweak the 2006 lighting law to help meet the financial concerns of some businesspeople, but to trash it completely and replace it with the Quigley-Wilkinson version is simply not what the residents of East Hampton should tolerate.
    Sincerely,
    DEBRA FOSTER



    Ms. Foster is a former East Hampton Town councilwoman. Ed.


Basic Values
    Amagansett
    April 2, 2012
Dear David,
    By the time you go to press, East Hampton citizens will have collected many more than enough signatures to compel a referendum on the sale of public property in Montauk for a price the Supervisor “plucked out of the air.” The response to this initiative by East Hampton Democrats was a striking expression of nonpartisan concern about the direction of our present town board majority.
    The drive for a vote on the hasty sale of the alleyway in Montauk — without an appraisal — to the Ronjo motel’s new owners had almost universal nonpartisan support. Well-known members of the Republican and Independence Parties, as well as unaffiliated voters, carried the petitions. We believe it likely that as many non-Democrats as Democrats signed.
    People reversed steps as they started to enter grocery stores and post offices and then waited on line to sign the petitions. They grasped the issue immediately, expressing concern and astonishment, saying, “What, no appraisal?” and, “What will they sell next?” They voiced their sense of responsibility, pleased to know that if we achieved enough signatures to entitle the public to vote yes or no on the sale, the town board would have the alternative of saving the cost of a vote by rescinding the sale and handling the matter legally.
    East Hampton is a community where basic values trump our differences. One of them, clearly, is the common belief of most of us that government must follow the law. We can only hope that our current government will heed this message.
    Sincerely,
    JEANNE FRANKL


Sad Saga
    Amagansett
    April 1, 2012
Dear David;
    The headline “Surf Lodge Is for Sale” is probably not much of a surprise to those of us who have become cynical watching the Surf Lodge saga. After racking up a wildly successful season of summer 2011 and making a mockery of East Hampton’s laws, the owners are ready to “move on.”
    And what about the 687 [alleged] violations that remain unaddressed and unpaid since the summer? And the badly compromised septic system there on the shore of Fort Pond? And what about the residents of Montauk — and all of East Hampton — who pay their fines and apply for their permits and obey the law? How will this sad saga end? Will justice be done or will these scofflaws just take their money and run?
    It is hard to maintain an optimistic view about the conclusion of this case when one of the principals is quoted as stating (apparently with a straight face!), “The Surf Lodge has and always will work with the town and community to become a better member each day we are open. We have a commitment to Montauk and its residents and guests to provide a good honest product and maintain the natural beauty of Montauk.”
    What hubris! What chutzpah! What gall!
    Sincerely,
    BETTY MAZUR


Vile Example
    Wainscott
    April 1, 2012
To the Editor,
    The Surf Lodge, blithely ignoring its 600-plus citations for numerous and mostly disgusting [alleged] offenses, now tells us they are getting out of the business by selling their property to another.
    If the Town of East Hampton doesn’t tighten its rules for the likes of the Surf Lodge and any other establishment misbehaving in like manner, we have every reason to initiate a recall on Supervisor Wilkinson for aiding and abetting such offensive horrors. Such behavior is definitely not “good for business,” as he once claimed it to be. It is, rather, setting a vile example of catering to the business boys without a thought to the values East Hampton citizens want and deserve.
    Enough already!
JOAN TRABULSI


Are the Backbone
    Springs
    April 2, 2012
Dear David,
    Once more I feel compelled to remind the supervisor that his job as the leader of the town board and the Town of East Hampton is to work for the good of the community. He does not “own” the town. When he asked Len Bernard a question about the budget in a recent meeting he said, “How much is this gonna cost me?” Cost me? Cost me? Not even cost the board, or cost us. When it really is, what’s it gonna cost the town and the taxpayers?
    When he expresses, “I’m for business growing,” with his so-there attitude, we wonder what businesses does he want to see grow? If he is referring to the desecration of Montauk with more Surf Lodge-type businesses, he is not serving the town or its people. Those are transient people populating those places who come for a weekend to raise hell. The money they spend is minimal.
    The businesses that local people make their living from are serving the second-home owners and the year-round residences — that includes the electricians, plumbers, construction workers, landscapers, shop owners, restaurant folk, farmers, fishermen, and, our last real shop in town‚ BookHampton, etc. These people are the backbone of our community and the most important aspects of their businesses being able to flourish are the pristine beaches, clean, clear water, open vistas, a peaceful, orderly town, and all the other facets of our magnificent area. These things can be summed up in one word, the environment. As Tim Bishop says, we are all environmentalists.
    The business experience the supervisor boasts of dealt with product, and his position in the Walt Disney Studios really didn’t even have much to do with the films Disney produced. Anyone with any knowledge of the workings of show business knows that studios (what is left of them) decide what project they think is worthy. After the financing is accomplished, it’s the creative people and technicians who go to work on the production. Finally the product (film) is back in the hands of the marketing-type people. From what I have been able to garner, the supervisor did not work in any of those capacities. And even if he did, what in God’s name does that have to do with government?
    In primary grades one learns that the reason governments were created way back when was to serve their mission: to take care of the needs of the people in an organized society — or why have them? It’s the old adage, by the people and for the people, with people being the most important word. Maybe he and she need to go back to third grade.
    Sincerely,
    PHYLLIS I. MALLAH


Plain and Simple
    East Hampton
    April 1, 2012
Dear Editor:
    Jeff Bragman is to be heartily thanked and congratulated for his “Guestwords” column last week explaining the East Hampton Airport conundrum in plain and simple English that anyone can understand.
    It is now crystal clear that we as a town will have the ability to enact regulations to limit excessive noise and make the airport a better neighbor after certain Federal Aviation Administration grant assurances expire at the end of calendar year 2014.
    The recent letter to Congressman Tim Bishop from the F.A.A. explaining its stance on grant assurances and airport regulation will no doubt bring forth a new blitzkrieg of fearmongering, expensive advertising, junk science, and threats of litigation from ultra-luxury commuters, big money aviation interests and their minions.
    The real question here is whether our local elected officials have the guts and decency to be the protectors of our future to ensure the peace of thousands of East End homeowners and summer visitors or whether they will sacrifice the calm and well-being of the many for the benefit of a few aviation interests and ultrarich commuters.
    I am hoping they will see the light in this issue.
    Yours truly,
    KATHI S. GOLDMAN


Access Limits
    East Hampton
    March 31, 2012
To the Editor:
    Three cheers for Jeffrey Bragman and his “Guestwords,” “Some Simple Airport Talk,” in your 29 March edition. Mr. Bragman set forth so clearly the good sense about airport-noise limitation that the aviation interests wish to obfuscate.
    The fair-minded citizenry now can see the bright truth that, without Federal Aviation Administration obligations after 2014, the town board will have unhindered authority to impose reasonable, nonarbitrary, and nondiscriminatory regulations that establish acceptable noise levels for the community. The F.A.A. has said so. The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals so held for the City of New York in 1998, and the Village of Southampton has been doing it for years at its heliport.
    That means that if the town omits taking further F.A.A. airport subsidies, it will be able, beginning in 2015, to impose unfettered, reasonable aircraft access limits at the airport. They can include nighttime and weekend curfew limitations on the overall number of flights, and prohibitions of the noisiest aircraft. And such noise-protective rules can apply to all aircraft: helicopters, jets, seaplanes, and touch-and-gos.
    Again, such reasonable noise regulation would be unfettered by any federal law or by the F.A.A. If any private aviation interests were to challenge such noise limitations, they would have to go into federal court where 1. they would have to demonstrate unreasonableness, ­2. they would have the heavy burden of overcoming the court’s presumption that an elected local government’s action is reasonable, and (3) the rule in the National Helicopter case controls.
    By contrast, if the town takes more F.A.A. money and grant assurances, the reasonableness of any town attempt to limit aircraft noise would be reviewed and controlled by the F.A.A. To start with, the F.A.A. will apply its own arbitrary measure of noise. That measure is the 65-decibel standard that averages noise events. The town’s own airport master plan environmental impact statement asserts that, by that standard, the F.A.A. will find no noise outside the airport itself.
    In addition, in the F.A.A. process, any theoretically allowable noise limitations may apply only to “Stage II” and, perhaps, “Stage III” aircraft, not to all aircraft.
    Can anyone think that the F.A.A. would find any effective East Hampton noise limitations on all aircraft “reasonable,” given those F.A.A.-imposed strictures?
    In any event, history is our guide. In the over 20 years that the F.A.A. has had that authority over grant-obligated airports, it has never once found noise-protective access limitations reasonable and granted approval. In only one case, that of Naples, Fla., was there an F.A.A. grant. There a federal court ordered the grant after Naples had spent about $6 million in litigation against F.A.A. control. In such litigation, the heavy burden is in challenging the presumed correctness of the “expert” federal agency’s action — just the opposite of the municipal proprietary situation in a court without F.A.A. participation.
    Until December 2014, we can watch and judge whether rearranging unlimited numbers of aircraft flights can give noise relief to the East End. That is all the planned seasonal control tower and helicopter rerouting will do. In the meantime, the town must not take on new F.A.A. money and grant obligations because they would foreclose reasonable noise limitations on airport users.
    Sincerely,
    CHARLES A. EHREN JR.


Leads to the Loss
    East Hampton
    April 2, 2012
Dear David,
    Jeff Bragman sums up the difficulties and problems with, what was, our small municipal airport. He also puts to rest the claim about the use of the Federal Aviation Administration money, 99.9 percent of us really don’t want it. F.A.A. money leads to the loss of local control.
    It is also amazing that our supervisor wants the money. Here’s a guy who claims to mistrust big government but obviously will take government money to help the few of big business. I don’t understand that inconsistency at all.
    I live in the flight path that has gotten busier and busier over the last 10 years. It is the choppers that wreak havoc, and for any of us who served with air cavalry the choppers evoke eerie memories of long-ago days. They are the noisiest of aircraft, with the blades propelling the raucous noise down to the ground.
    It is very important that this municipality retain our municipal airport and set a reasonable quota to stop the willy-nilly expansion and the consequent loss of the quality of life in our town.
    Thanks to Jeff for “Some Simple Airport Talk.” Let’s see which members of the town board read this prescient “Guestwords.”
    Very truly yours,
    WILLIAM J. FLEMING


Contradictory
    Sagaponack
    March 27, 2012
Editor,
    Peter Kirsch, aviation attorney for the East Hampton Town Board, gave legal advice concerning Federal Aviation Administration restrictions on aircraft activity relative to the existence of grant assurances or not.
    The F.A.A. responses to Tim Bishop’s questions on this subject are contradictory to this advice, which has cost the town in excess of $100,000.
    Bill Wilkinson wants to go back to Mr. Kirsch for clarification. I cannot imagine Mr. Kirsch’s response to this request other than minimizing his misstatements. Clarifications, if really needed, should come from a source that does not have possible compromised intent.
    Citizens and good governing demand no less.
LAVERNE DAGRAS


Responsible Course
    Amagansett
    April 2, 2012
    
Dear Editor:
    Kudos to Jeff Bragman for explaining in simple terms the often-confusing issues surrounding the F.A.A. and East Hampton’s airport in last week’s “Guestwords” column.
    If the whole dialogue surrounding this issue could be as simple, truthful, and direct, perhaps our elected officials would be able to see that they were elected to govern in the best interests of the entire town and not give away 20 years of residents’ and visitors’ peace and quiet so quickly.
    Unfortunately, plain speaking like Mr. Bragman’s and the equally illuminating letter from the F.A.A. in response to direct questions from Representative Tim Bishop explaining their interpretation of our expiring contracts with them will soon be drowned out again by a well-financed campaign of distortion, diversion, spin, and “Gruberitis” from a small but powerful aviation group who seem to care less about East Hampton’s future than their own.
    Now that we know for certain that the town, as proprietor, can act to control airport noise without threat of expensive government-financed litigation, the responsible thing for the town board to do is to rescind its request for further F.A.A. funds. There is simply no urgency here.
    An equally frank discussion of who should pay for our airport — and why —would be a far more responsible course for East Hampton’s elected officials to pursue.
    Respectfully,
    TOM MacNIVEN


Their Only Mantra
    Bridgehampton
    April 2, 2012
Dear David,
    It rather surprises me that Jeffrey Bragman would be invited by The Star to write on the airport, considering the fact that he is the attorney representing the Committee to Stop Airport Expansion in its numerous lawsuits against the town.
    He has been given a platform to express his views using the same misinformation and out-of-context quotes that have consistently failed in court, and he does so with the apparent support of The Star.
    Thanks to the ongoing efforts of David Gruber and his ever-changing committees, groups, and “coalitions” for over 20 years, the airport infrastructure has been allowed to deteriorate to the point where conditions that would have required maintenance now require major repairs that the town cannot afford to pay for.
    Federal grant funds available to municipalities require grant assurance to guarantee that the funds are spent for their intended purpose and are not wasted by abandonment if a municipality has a change of mind after the fact.
    The misconception that “we can get our airport back” if the grant assurances are allowed to expire was clearly exposed by Peter Kirsch, an aviation attorney, at a December town board meeting.
    Mr. Kirsch is an aviation expert who was originally hired by the McGintee administration, who buried his report and ignored his advice when it didn’t agree with its agenda.
    Subsequent to the December meeting, the board voted unanimously to request F.A.A. funds.
    The board’s decision was based on the fact that the town can implement the same noise mitigation measures wheth­er the grant assurances are in place or not.
    To characterize those who used the  airport as “the few” who benefit at the expense of “the many” is both untrue and provocative. Those who used the airport pay for that use by either landing fees, fuel flow fees, property taxes, lease fees, or any number of charges collected by the town.
    The airport serves the town in the same manner as any other town facility, whether or not everyone uses it, and deserves to be maintained and operated safely and efficiently.
    Not long after Sept. 11, 2001, the airport became the focus of concern as to whether it was secure as well as its importance as a facility for evacuation and relief in the event of another catastrophe.
    As an aviation professional associated with East Hampton Airport for more than 30 years, I find it particularly insulting to be described as a hobbyist. If the term must be used, why not describe the airport opposition as hobbyists, since they have made a hobby of filing frivolous lawsuits that have cost East Hampton taxpayers millions of dollars to defend against and driven up the cost of long-overdue repairs.
    Noise mitigation needs to be addressed sooner rather than later, and waiting until the grant assurances run out only postpones the possibility of relief and encourages yet more legal wrangling by airport opposition.
    It is puzzling that airport opposition is so strong in their belief that managing aircraft traffic by the seasonal control tower and routing approaches offshore will not work that they condemn it as not worth trying.
    Their only mantra is to restrict traffic by curfews and limits to size and type of aircraft.
    The F.A.A. has already stated that the town can only implement “reasonable, nondiscriminatory, non-arbitrary” measures that do not unduly interfere with national air transportation.
    I don’t belief the term “reasonable” is one that interests Mr. Gruber and company.
GENE OSHRIN



    Submissions for the “Guestwords” column come in “over the transom,” so to speak. They are not solicited or “invited.” All are welcomed. Ed.


Half-Mile High
    Southampton
    April 2, 2012
Dear Editor,
    I encourage the town board members to approve the airport resolutions to begin the rehabilitation of runway 4-22, approve the five-year airport capital improvement plan, and construct the airport perimeter deer fence. A public hearing is the best way to continue the debate on these issues.
    The F.A.A. provided the funds to build the airport about 80 years ago and has financed its many repairs ever since. It now needs about $7 million in repairs. Continuing repairs at the airport with additional F.A.A. funds will not change a thing and certainly does not turn control of the airport over to the F.A.A.
    In fact, just the opposite is true. By cooperating with the F.A.A., the town is getting local control for the first time in 80 years of a column of air above East Hampton 10 miles in diameter and a half-mile high. The higher aircraft are required to fly, the lower the noise on the ground.
    The airport opponents say no to F.A.A. funding so they can close it.
    MARGIE SAURENMAN
    Vice president
    East Hampton Aviation Association


Uninformed Elitism
    Amagansett
    March 24,2012
Dear David,
    It appears that in the worldview of the current East Hampton Town supervisor and supervisorette, everyone who isn’t them is a “subordinate.” (Staff meetings must be real cozy. Wonder if they’ve hired a food taster?)
    My father, who lived in East Hampton for over 50 years and who ran what was, at one time, the world’s largest industrial holding company, never ever, ever would have described an employee as a “subordinate.” My father, George Walker, would have considered such insensitive, uninformed elitism as an extraordinarily poor management tactic.
    If I were either the East Hampton Town supervisor or supervisorette, I’d wake up to the fact that we don’t need them but we cannot do without their “subordinates.”
    All good things,
    DIANA WALKER


Bashing Me
    East Hampton
    April 2, 2012
Dear David,
    Larry Koncelik, Theresa Quigley’s brother, wrote a letter to you last week bashing me for “calling for Theresa’s resignation.”
    Mr. Koncelik must have a reading comprehension problem, because he also wrote a letter to my newspaper, The Independent, taking me to task for defending Larry Penny. The trouble is, I did no such thing; I merely mentioned the name of Mr. Penny’s attorney in passing.
    We strongly endorsed Theresa, and I have used her personally as an attorney. In fact, we specifically stated that Theresa had done nothing to warrant tendering her resignation.
    Mr. Koncelik, who claims to be an attorney, wrote in his letter to you about a case involving his land he had before the East Hampton Planning Board, and it was evident his criticism of the local Planning Department director stemmed from that case. I have a suggestion for him: Next time hire an attorney who can read.
    RICK MURPHY
    Editor in chief
    The Independent


Tim Bishop
    East Hampton
    March 29, 2012
To the Editor,
    It blows my mind how people can vote for Tim Bishop. During the debate on the health plan he was not available. He is tied to the hip with Barack Hussein Obama, our first socialist president, who has proven himself incompetent. Two incompetents.
    God bless America.
DAN GEELAN


Full Employment
    East Hampton
    March 29, 2012
To the Editor,
    Ron Paul’s libertarianism takes on a whole new meaning with the disclosure that he has paid out more then $300,000 in salaries and fees. These salaries and fees went to his daughter, brother, grandson, his daughter’s mother-in-law, granddaughter, and grandson-in-law.
    There is no Congressional ethics rule against family members in pursuit of public service. Eighty-two lawmakers paid family members through their office payrolls, campaign committees, and political action funds. The Citizen Responsibility and Ethics, an independent watchdog group in Washington, disclosed this information in a 346-page report. If nothing else, the report is a measure of creativity quietly at work in Congress when it comes to hearth and home. If only this could be applied to something other than achieving full employment in the halls of the Capitol. (Reported in The New York Times, March 25.) They should be working on jobs for their constituents.
JULIA KAYSER


Health Care Choices
    Southampton
    March 30, 2012
Dear Editor:
    When the League of Women Voters fought for suffrage in the 1920s we began a process of fighting for people’s rights. One of those is our belief that in a society as diverse as ours, all individuals have the right to make their own reproductive choices. We are very concerned about the recent controversy surrounding some employers and health plans that discriminate against women by blocking access to contraceptive services.
    In the United States Senate an amendment that would limit access to contraception for women if any employer or insurance plan has an undefined “religious or moral objection” to it was recently narrowly defeated. If such legislation would pass it would turn back the clock for women in our American society. Institutions that receive substantial federal assistance and that serve the public at large should respect individual decisions of each person in their employ and not limit their health care choices.
    We support quality, affordable health care for all U.S. residents. Discrimination to exclude contraceptive services is discrimination based on sex, and it’s wrong.
    Sincerely,
    JUDI ROTH
    GLORIAN BERK
    Co-presidents
    League of Women Voters
    Of the Hamptons

Inclusive Idea
    East Hampton
    March 31 2012
To the Editor,
    The Supreme Court ministrations on the Affordable Care Act (the term Obamacare is repugnant racism) have quickly left the real world and deteriorated into a strange political circus. None of the justices, congressmen, newscasters, or legal scholars have actually read the act, which, at 2,200 pages, according to Justice Scalia, is senseless fodder. So the court will make a decision on the constitutionality of the individual mandate and the remaining pieces of the legislation in almost complete blindness.
    Would it not be simpler to flip a coin and save all the cost and blather?
    Not until I read several pieces by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel and several hundred pages of the act did I get a grasp of what it was really all about.
    We needed a new health care law for three reasons: The costs are skyrocketing out of control with no basis for bringing them under control. Fifty million people were uninsured, and their medical expenses, emergency room costs, etc., were borne by the taxpayers. The quality of care has enormous variations and is often a function of wealth and is often inferior to other countries. (The World Health Organization ranks us 18th.)
    There are many reasons why we needed to overhaul our health care system, but at the root, it was not complicated. People were living much longer and dying later. The monies they paid into Medicare weren’t close to covering the costs, since they stopped working and paying in. Mathematically, it could no longer work. We have known this since the 1980s and done nothing about it.
    In response to the severity of the problem the Obama administration proposed a well-thought-out comprehensive plan, which provided care for everyone but didn’t solve the cost problem. He was personally against the individual mandate, an idea floated by the Heritage Foundation and championed by Newt Gingrich in the late 1980s, because of the burden it put on individuals. The Heritage idea was what the Europeans had implemented, providing similar care for almost half the cost.
    Mr. Obama was ultimately convinced that the mandate was the only way to control costs without drastically reducing benefits to senior citizens and the disabled. If the Heritage proposal had been implemented in 1990 we would not have been dealing with new health care legislation today.
    While the mandate was the central fulcrum of the bill it had nothing to do with the focus. The bill clarified the essential problem: 15 percent of the population required 80 percent of our health care expenditures: senior citizens, the poor, and the chronically ill. Focusing on these 15 percent and figuring out how to keep them out of hospitals was the goal. For example, a home-care aide costs $300 to $600 per day, while a day in the hospital is $3,000 to $6,000. Preventive medicine was another aspect of the bill, providing analysis and treatment in order to head off major debilitating illnesses.
    Two thousand, two hundred pages are the complications of giving everyone their piece of the pie while actually providing benefits for the general well-being of the population. It’s who we are. The law was written by brilliant health advocates, not only by politicians and their lobbyists. Much of it is filled with superb ideas for providing more effective care. In truth, it is an amazing document.
    The bill is the government’s response to an enormous problem that has no alternative proposals. It is an inclusive idea that makes everyone responsible for themselves and improves a system that is failing. Imagine if Medicare and Medicaid went under. We already have dozens of mandates and taxes that ensure the health of the country: Social Security and car insurance, a tax policy that shares federal outlays on a need basis, taxes on gasoline and food that pay for roads, etc.
    The best case for an inclusive approach to health care is our volunteer military. Placing the burden of the two longest wars in our history on a tiny part of the population and then treating them like hired mercenaries when they return home without respect, gratitude, a job, or long-term care.
    The constitutionality of the mandate is the smallest part of the equation. While the justices are divided intellectually and politically, they understand that the benefits far outweigh the costs. That the Republicans are violently against the mandate and the Democrats support it, changing positions because of political idiocy, justifies their proceeding on a reality-based decision.
    The logic of Justice Scalia’s observation works only for the true believers. If you don’t know what you’re making a decision about logic says that recusal is the only judiciously honorable option.
NEIL HAUSIG


Immigration
    Southampton
    March 29, 2012
Dear Editor:
    Bravo to Dennis Lynch for making his documentary, “They Come to America,” about illegal immigration.
    I, too, was inspired by the scene at the 7-Eleven store here in Southampton where undocumented men stand around for hours in hopes of finding work. My efforts to showcase the situation in a warm and sincere manner led me to write a picture book titled “A Happy Day” about a girl who, repeatedly, asks her mother to tell the story of how “Mama and Popi” came to live in America, a story filled with images, like: the winking stars in the Mexican night sky, the “coyotes” who led them across the border under a shield of darkness, the hoot of the owl, sounding “como triste,” like sadness.
    Unfortunately, no one wanted to publish my book. Several editors returned it with negative comments, i.e., “I am sorry we are not looking for a book on this subject,” and, “I wonder whether a manuscript that essentially celebrates one family’s illegal immigration is the best choice in the current political climate.” After receiving more than 10 rejection letters, I stopped sending it out.
    Illegal immigration is a pressing problem that won’t go away just because we wish it to. There are no easy solutions, but we are a nation founded by immigrants. We must continue to welcome all those who seek asylum here with open arms, open hearts, and open minds.
DIANNE MORITZ


Stalin’s Playbook
    Amagansett
    March 28, 2012
To the Editor,
    With shouts of “Occupy Montauk!” during the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and the Occupy meet-ups in Bridgehampton each Sunday, the organization is preparing the training of leaders on the East End starting this spring. May 1 is International Workers Day, co-opted from the Communist Party’s celebration, hence you will see banners and posters of the American Communist Party, American Socialist Party, Service Employees International Union, and other groups. Union dues are being used to support this protest.
    Class warfare will reach the boiling point across the country, indeed the world, this summer. Their “bill of rights” is right out of Stalin’s playbook. They claim there is no platform, but their demands are truly communist and everything is a “right”: free college education, food, medical care, redistribution of wealth, legalization of drugs, etc. Yet there are some “antis”: no home schooling, no private property rights, and on and on. While some demands are the same as most Americans’ (end bailouts, outsourcing, the Fed), the radical proposals negate the good.
    Generating conflict to mobilize the dispossessed was the creed of Saul Alinsky. His most oft-quoted rule is “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. . . . One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.”
    National homeland security has stated there is an “increased potential for violence.” Chaos, violence, and force will be the norm, graffiti on buildings warn “only the blood of the rich will stop Occupy.”
    Note to Occupy Spring: There is no such thing as utopia. Every time communism or socialism has been tried millions have died, either from warfare or starvation. You are not being virtuous in your misguided attempts to change America. We have a system for changing — and that is certainly happening with this administration. Be patient, if our president is re-elected, you’ll have your way.
    Most sincerely,    
    LYNDA A.W. EDWARDS


Act Contrary
    Sag Harbor
    March 29, 2012
To the Editor,
    As you may know, many weeks ago Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis broke the silence and told the truth about the Afghanistan war. “It was going disastrously, and senior military leaders, including General Petraeus, have not leveled with the American public.” Then he said, “If our soldiers are fighting, dying, and living in hell, they deserve respect and the truth from military leaders.”
    When leaders act contrary to their conscience, we should act contrary to our leaders. I’m involved with the East End vets, and we have been telling the same story told by Colonel Davis for eight years, and are frustrated because the people just don’t get it. However, now there is a light shining in the darkness; 11 years of perpetual war, almost 70 percent of the Americans are now against the war. They got it! What a crime perpetuated upon the American people — 300 million dragged along by a handful of people in power.
    For so many, the war was not worth it. Our country has paid a high price, the dead, the wounded, and millions suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder. Leading economists have predicted the aftermath of the war in the future will add $5 trillion to $7 trillion, paid for by our children’s credit cards. What a way to start off life.
    My questions are how much longer will the American people tolerate perpetual war, which sounds like insanity?
    How long will it take for a superpower to save face?
    Remember Vietnam and how long it took for corporate powers to admit they made a bad investment?
    In peace not war,
    LARRY DARCEY


Financial Aquifer
    Boston
    March 22, 2012
To the Editor:
    Dear student of Powell’s “An American Journey,” given the submerged wetlands of New York-Poughkeepsie and the hints in “A Civil Action,” explain in laymen’s terms the hydrogeology of the American financial aquifer. Extra credit will be mentioned for highlighting the sleeper characters, those who knew Silas Marner as a young man, or Mr. C.
    A confessor (ibid, “A Civil Action”), one in need of completion representing wood and pine!
    Yours truly,
    GEORGE RICHERT