April 11, 2012
To the Editor,
And to think I never believed the paradise of Cartwright Shoal would ever be taken away. Mrs. Rattray (“Connections,” April 5) and I have shared some glorious memories . . . and never even knew it! But she brought it all back to me with floods of remembered joys. Not only did I grow up in those kind, round Beetle cats but my more adult years included many picnics on Cartwright.
My friends Sarah and Bill Lewis not only lived on the Barge at Louse Point but also gave us delightful picnics on that tiny island. Bill brought the martinis and Sarah big, black pots of delicious beans. They are both gone now and with them Cartwright Island.
How very sad.
Is a Jumble
April 15, 2012
I am John (Jay) Bennett, the son of Karin Bennett, whose obituary appears in this week’s Star. I am, to say the least, disappointed at the wrong information which appears in this obituary!
My mother’s parents names were John and Lilla, not Lisa, as you stated. Your information was totally wrong when you stated that my parents met one another when attending St. Luke’s Church. My parents met one another when my mom came out to East Hampton to visit my dad’s sister, whom she had met prior to meeting my dad! My mother, if the writer knew anything about her, not only made cakes for children but baked wedding cakes, cookies, and all sorts of sweets.
My mom began working for the William Ford family in 1957 here in East Hampton and worked washing laundry as well as preparing the house for the family’s arrival each summer.
It is true that I am an only child and live here in East Hampton, as do my wife, Shelley, and her two grandchildren, Kristofer and Courtney.
Might it have been better said that my mom’s sister pre-deceased her, rather than “. . . . is no longer alive”?
My mother lived in East Hampton for more than 60 years of her life, and her obituary is a jumble of misinformed facts and poorly worded paragraphs. Perhaps if she had been someone that you felt was more important, you might have called me to research things a bit further; to perhaps inquire as to whether I had a photo to publish as well. This is what I expected, as you did so when my father died, and it was also what I expected when I spoke to the funeral director.
Obituaries are so very important to the families of those who are deceased, perhaps the person writing obituaries currently should be writing the want ads instead!
Angry and very disappointed,
Along the Roads
April 15, 2012
To the Editor:
I have never before written to a newspaper, but a nagging grievance compels this letter. Where are the sanitation workers who are supposed to remove trash and litter along Route 114?
We live near the intersection of Route 114 and Swamp Road. My husband and I pick up unsightly litter when we are out walking or driving. I realize that one cannot demand a spotless stretch of highway, particularly a heavily traveled road like Route 114, but is it too much to expect a moderately clean one? Last I checked, people pay taxes for this service, among others. Volunteers do a fine job of picking up litter several times a year, but volunteer effort is inadequate. Are there salaried workers who do this; if so, are there enough?
Trash along the roads is not only unsightly but also attracts rodents. Perhaps our local leaders should drive along Route 114 and see for themselves. It may be that some of them do, perhaps every day, but they have become so used to the sight that they fail to notice. Too bad for the community!
Feral Cat Poem #36
rockets off my porch without looking
to see who touched the door latch.
crawls commando-style along my fence
and never glances once in my direction.
sits just inside the woods, still as stone,
awaiting unwary prey.
I never name them.
it would feel like baptizing pagans
without their consent.
April 15, 2012
This past weekend I was honored to be invited to the Group for Good Government’s meeting at the home of Steven and Lauren Schwartz in East Hampton.
There I met concerned citizens who asked honest, tough questions showing their commitment to our town. An overriding theme was how we on the town board can get past the acrimony which permeates our meetings. Constituents, they told me, are as frustrated as we are by how such rancor brings the business of running our town to a standstill.
Suggestions and ideas that could move us away from the petty bickering of politics, which impedes the town board’s critical mission to keep our town the beautiful and comforting place we all call home, were raised that are worth pursuing.
Thank you, Steven and Lauren Schwartz and the G.G.G., for providing the forum and thank you to the constituents present for their questions and ideas.
East Hampton Town Councilwoman
April 13, 2012
Pat Breen, who has been the director of human resources for East Hampton Town for the past 12 years, was suddenly advised that her position is being eliminated. She was quoted as saying that she was totally surprised when the decision was announced to her — she never saw it coming!
The irony here is that Bill Wilkinson, whose background, training, and expertise are in the field of human resources, went about this in so callous and insensitive a manner. Ms. Breen, who says she was looking forward to learning from him, never had the opportunity to do so because he never stepped foot into her office.
This is not the first time East Hampton employees lost their jobs without warning. Employees of the Human Services Department suffered the same fate. One such employee was never even told her job was being eliminated; she figured it out when she read the new budget — which did not include her job title.
It has always been my understanding that the Human Resources Department goes beyond hiring and firing of personnel and deals with issues relating to employee welfare. Losing one’s job is a traumatic experience. Mr. Wilkinson should know this because it was only by a margin of 15 votes that he managed to keep his. One hopes he won’t be so lucky next time.
April 13, 2012
Your article, map, and editorial on the Montauk Ronjo (Beach House) situation went very far in doing something that others, including myself, have failed to do. You outlined the situation, gave us vital details, assessed blame without rancor, and proposed solutions.
The article seemed to indicate common ground among political adversaries that could lead to a solution if egos and territorial aspects can be put aside. It may be difficult considering how far afield the town board has gone in the direction of personal and political attacks, but at least the article gave some small reasons for hope.
Your editorial presented a valid case against the current state of process and procedure and how both failed here. You encouraged a pragmatic approach, and your advice should be heeded because we don’t need another lawsuit. But a saner discourse must take place.
Together with the map, the article and editorial made the situation clearer for me. I had thought the alleyway to be a narrow strip similar to those odd lots found on some old filed maps. It is not. I had thought the encroachment was inadvertent and discovered at or near closing. That does not appear to have been the case. I had thought the situation was potentially benign. It seems quite a bit more than that. Your work altered all of these perceptions.
I believe a solution can be found but at a price somewhat higher than $35,000 and somewhat substantially lower than $184,000. Your fine work should be used as a starting point for a quick and acceptable solution within the context of full disclosure, proper process, and proper procedure.
April 15, 2012
I commend you on your editorial this past week regarding the Ronjo motel. You did a great job of looking at the whole situation without injecting a political view of your own. There is no secret to which way the paper of record leans, but you truly took a step past that in explaining what the problem was and offering solutions.
As a side note concerning the two appraisals that were commissioned: One of those appraisers should lose their New York State license.
Average the Two
April 14, 2012
To the Editor,
Gee whiz, children, average the two appraisals, cut a check, and move on! That’s $103,250, chump change to unify a $4.2 million property. The definition of a good negotiated settlement is when both sides are somewhat unhappy with the result.
Perhaps Bill Wilkinson will start learning from his political blunders (Fort Pond house, MTK concert, town docks) and count to 10 before making unilateral decisions that may be wildly unpopular.
Interest of Fairness
April 15, 2012
To the Editor,
Poor “Dollar” Bill Wilkinson! Every time he endorses a sale of town-owned property, his loyal opposition (how dare they?!) request an examination of the given proposal, but according to his team’s objections to further discussion, it’s a time-waster, not conducive to smooth-flowing management.
Well, many of his constituents want a fuller examination, especially where lowball sale prices are involved. Of course, the Town of East Hampton needs to swell its meager coffers, but not at the prices he’s been setting. And not so incidentally, Dollar Bill is at the same time catering to his donor constituents in the hopes that his party’s coffers will be increased as a result of his largess. It is standard business practice among the big-city pols: mutual back-scratching. Nothing to be surprised about.
Such objections to a virtual one-man rule are not delaying tactics. They are made in the interest of fairness to one and all. Someone should remind our leader that we are not living under a dictatorship, that he must learn to listen, and, above all, to be impartial. A “mandate” of 15 votes is not a license to lord it over us.
April 16, 2012
Dear Mr. Rattray:
To the astonishment of many, the East Hampton Democratic Party continues the antibusiness mantra of Barack Obama with its nonstop assault on the Montauk Beach House (Ronjo). Not content with making this a local spectacle, they have ratcheted up their excess to the national media. Bogus claims of “two guys getting together and making a deal” are stunning, coming from the Democratic chairwoman, whose party endorses the back-room deals of their party leader, State Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver.
I suppose there is some integrity in this assault, since East Hampton Town Democrats ran on an antibusiness platform and are now making good on those campaign promises. Campaign promises made, campaign promises kept, Democratic style. Today it is the Montauk Beach House. Tomorrow, who knows which business or small business owner will be in their crosshairs.
Their antibusiness message, that East Hampton is unfriendly to local, state, and national businesses, is being sent loud and clear. Hang on to your hat when Sylvia Overby gets going on her so-called “formula store” legislation. Their message is practically begging private entities to take their money and business to other Northeast areas like the Jersey Shore. And who suffers from that — our locals seeking jobs, our kids looking for summer employment.
Every day the Montauk Beach House cannot proceed is a day that business and employment are lost for all East Hampton Town residents. Uncollected tax revenue, generated from private businesses, forces East Hampton taxpayers to reach further into their pockets.
The Democratic chairwoman says she and her cohorts want this project to continue, yet they throw every obstacle in the way. Their continued assault may have already doomed Montauk’s vital summer season. Enough is enough. All residents should demand an end to this war. And businesses remember, today it is the Montauk Beach House; tomorrow it could be you.
April 16, 2012
Having owned and operated the former Shepherds Neck Inn and Shepherds Beach motels for over 40 years, and during the same period actively engaged in numerous real estate transactions that involved valuations of many properties in the Montauk business district, I would like to comment on the Ronjo issue.
The business district is shown on Map 174, which was drawn and filed in the county clerk’s office in 1926 and continues today as the defining reference for all the properties in the district, including the Ronjo motel and the disputed alley within its perimeter.
The Ronjo motel has existed on the same site for about 55 years. When the motel was built, the alley portion of the Ronjo property was terminated permanently at the Ronjo western property line and eliminated possible the block through use from Elmwood Avenue to Edison Street.
The Ronjo derived its land title from the Montauk Beach Company or its successors back in the 1950s, at which time the deed may or may not have included title to the alley (as Beach Company owned both properties) or made other provisions for rights to the alley. If the rights to the alley were not defined, then the motel eventually acquired the rights through the operation of an easement by prescription that effectively granted the Ronjo a perpetual easement over the alley portion of the property.
In view of the foregoing, it seems that the appraiser engaged by the property owners, who is unequivocally qualified to value the town’s interest in the easement, has arrived at a figure acceptable to put the matter to rest. That is if there is a general realization that the 20-foot-wide, dogleg strip has no conceivable use by the town or anyone other than the one that already controls it.
Very truly yours,
GEORGE A. HAMMER JR.
April 16, 2012
Some local officials apparently need to be reminded that they have a fiduciary responsibility to be the steward for public assets, not to sell them off for the benefit of obviously well-capitalized outside promoters. As well, they need to be reminded that the businesses that really need their help are the local, year-round merchants and service providers. Evidence? Just ask any hard-pressed merchant struggling to keep a business afloat.
If our local officials really want to help local business, instead of grandstanding for big shots, they could be proactive in promoting a way for local taxpaying merchants to get contracts providing the town with goods and services paid for by the taxes these same businesses pay. Think local!
Begs the Question
April 16, 2012
This week the town board will, again, hear from its aviation attorney, Peter Kirsch, regarding the town’s contractual obligations with the Federal Aviation Administration once the relevant grant assurances that limit access to the airport expire in 2014. Access limitation — limiting hours of operation, establishing enforceable curfews, and concentrations of flights — is the only real noise mitigation tool. This tool will be available to the town in two short years, no matter what may be said to the contrary.
Mr. Kirsch’s claims that the F.A.A. will sue the town for violating the part of its contract with the F.A.A., which prohibits the town from limiting access, have been refuted by the agency itself earlier this year.
Mr. Kirsch also asserts that the town will be able to impose access limitations at the airport even with the contractual obligations that taking more F.A.A. money will bring. This contradicts a recent ruling in Burbank, Calif., where the F.A.A. denied that municipality these very same rights precisely because it had taken F.A.A. funding and was obliged, under contract, to surrender access limitations because of it.
This town board is being responsive to the public need for meaningful noise mitigation at our airport. It has an inalienable right and responsibility to protect its citizens from noise. But it needs clear information on its rights and ability to act.
Oratory and PowerPoint presentations have their place, but legal advice to the town should be submitted by traditional means and available in such a way as to be subject to meaningful peer review and critique. Mr. Kirsch’s presentations seem to obfuscate rather than inform, confuse rather than clarify, and leave all participants scratching their heads in wonder. What was that all about? To indicate the town can just as easily and successfully proceed with access limitations once it renews its contractual relationship with the F.A.A. is misleading. The only successful noise-mitigation program enacted by an airport proprietor was in Naples, Fla., and only after an extremely expensive legal challenge by that community and, ultimately, the court had to order the F.A.A. to allow that community to exert its rights as proprietor. This appears to be the approach that Mr. Kirsch is suggesting. It begs the question — is it possible that is because he was the lead attorney on the Naples, Fla., litigation?
No Easy Solutions
April 9, 2012
Upon reading Jeff Bragman’s column titled “Some Simple Airport Talk” (“Guestwords,” The Star, March 28), I was impressed by the way he articulated the case for noise abatement. He made an excellent argument, as have many others, for real noise abatement. In fact, I found myself wondering where Jeff had been since we founded Citizens for a Quieter Airport in 2003.
I was also impressed by Jeff’s recently acquired knowledge of aviation law. The forcefulness and lack of qualifiers with which Jeff stated his case made me question special aviation counsel Peter Kirsch’s advice to East Hampton Town, even though Kirsch has 20-plus years of aviation law experience and won a case that enabled Naples Municipal Airport to ban stage-two jets and continue to receive Federal Aviation Administration grants despite the F.A.A.’s opposition.
So I had to remind myself that Jeff is a paid advocate of the Committee to Stop Airport Expansion, which has opposed F.A.A. funding forever. It is no wonder, therefore, that Jeff does not mention that the language in the F.A.A.’s response to Congressman Tim Bishop’s questions tracks almost exactly the advice Peter Kirsch has given the town on several occasions, i.e., that provisions in the Constitution and federal law contain the same prohibitions on discrimination among classes of aircraft as the grant assurances. That is the basis for Mr. Kirsch’s opinion that the expiring grant assurances will give the town very little, if any, additional freedom to restrict access to the airport by the “ultra-luxury travelers,” as Jeff described some of the commuters and visitors who help sustain the local economy.
And I could not help noticing that Jeff characterized proponents of F.A.A. funding as the “airport lobby” and “powerful political insiders,” terms that carry negative innuendo far beyond their literal meaning. He did not refer to the airport noise advocates or their financial supporters in similar terms.
In nearly 10 years of noise-abatement advocacy I have learned that there are no easy solutions to the noise problem and that both sides tend to oversimplify. I would like to hear both noise abatement advocates and F.A.A. funding advocates answer some of the following questions:
What portion of the $7 million of proposed airport repairs would you fund and how?
If you would issue bonds, would you sacrifice the control tower in order to generate an operating surplus to pay debt service? If not, how would you generate additional revenue?
What specific noise-abatement measures would you implement and when?
What noise-abatement initiatives would you enact during the next three summers prior to Dec. 31, 2014, when key F.A.A. grant assurances are due to expire?
How would you pay the cost of litigation that would surely result from trying to limit hours of operation and-or volume of flights?
Since most of the noise abatement recommendations in the 1989 Airport Master Plan were never implemented, what assurances do we have that future town boards will ever implement effective noise-abatement initiatives?
What are the implications of being exempt from the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990, and how would it affect the town’s noise-abatement strategy?
What assurances can you give that the airport facilities will not be allowed to continue to deteriorate through financial neglect?
How would you balance the rights of noise-afflicted residents with those of pilots, owners of, and passengers on aircraft, including commuters to and from New York City?
Neither side has answered most of these questions, especially those related to finance and fairness. Isn’t it time we had some civilized, mutually respectful discourse on the subject? How can a real noise-abatement program be implemented in the absence of a financing plan? Isn’t it time this community came together to agree on an airport master plan that addresses the rights and needs of all stakeholders in a fair and balanced manner?
PETER A. WADSWORTH
April 16, 2012
Yesterday was the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic. No sooner was it over than several Republican commentators began their fevered spin against Barack Obama and Democrats, lest anyone might dare think the example of the Titanic is a prime example of class warfare. We’re not in steerage.
Cal Thomas, the Republican commentator, knows Mr. Obama and the Dems are the real class warriors, not the example of the Titanic sinking, which was really a tragedy, yet in fact was also a class leveler, he believes.
True, death hardly discriminates against those with money or without, excepting, perhaps, the wealthy with finest medical care to enhance their longevity, no matter 45 million Americans went without. If only 45 million Americans without coverage before Obamacare, permitting them, at long last, basic health care, could realize what a nuisance they are, they might get off the couch, turn off the TV, and go out and get a job. We wouldn’t have so much deficit spending in the first place.
Oh no, Republicans tell us, raising taxes on those who could best afford it is socialist redistribution of income. Never mind corporations and the 1 percent don’t mind having money redistributed upward so they could trickle it down once again with even more creativity, while selling out more jobs. There’s more money where that came from. “We don’t engage in negative class warfare,” the Repubs tells us, which agitates the angry and those without. Oh, politics of envy! We needn’t bring up we’ve all saw whose taxes were reduced under the Republicans, while the middle class picked up the tab, but having their income fall or stagnate as prices rise. You don’t hear the Repub argument that it would then be the middle class who are the real job creators, since their money is given to their betters, who would know best just how many jobs were created by the Bush tax cuts that proceeded a crescendo of unemployment with the near collapse of the world economy.
And it is the Bush depression, not a recession, we are slowly, falteringly moving out of. So why not give tax incentives to enrich a few, even if they would sell out our neighbors’ jobs to the lowest bidder in the world and still call for even more tax breaks? Why diminish their creativity?
Why reduce the American entrepreneurial spirit by stopping 83 of the largest 100 U.S. corporations from registering their headquarters and incorporation in the Cayman Islands to reduce their taxes? Why protest the very richest from laundering money into a myriad of banks in Switzerland, Monaco, Panama, etc., just to make them pay their fair share on the estimated (Deloitte) $3 trillion to $4 trillion they have parked tax-free in these havens, when a lot more middle-class people cheat Uncle Sam too? Is that fair, don’t middle-class people also abuse our tax system?
Cal Thomas went on to say liberals seldom mention the heroic sacrifices made by many decent, first-class wealthy and privileged passengers, so that women and children could climb into lifeboats. I suppose he didn’t know the captain brandished his pistol, yelling he would put a hole in any man who climbed into a lifeboat. Why mention locking exit doors, so those in steerage would not threaten women and children able to get into lifeboats? Why bring up the negative? What’s all this chatter about fairness? Can’t we all get along? How stupid can Republicans be to try to make Americans believe that if only the privileged were left alone to their enormous capitalist creativity and entrepreneurial spirit we would become a more competitive, better nation?
The bottom of the sea is cruel. (Hart Crane, Voyages, 1)
April 15, 2016
Let’s be sensible about who we should be voting for as our next congressman.
Randy Altschuler, a businessman, chooses to run against Tim Bishop again. Has he gained any experience as a governmental official since the last election? No; he is still a millionaire businessman who is living off of his companies’ work he has outsourced, denying American workers employment.
On the other hand, Congressman Bishop has continued to be faithful, productive, and fight for us all. He is responsive to our needs (try calling his office, no matter what your party, and see if you don’t get help), protects our turf, and legislates for our needs.
One of the areas of great concern to all Americans are the important benefits of health care reform. The Affordable Care Act required health insurers to permit parents to retain coverage for their children until they reach the age of 26. The result has been a significant increase in health insurance coverage for young adults. If you have children, this is probably extremely important to you and it is to Congressman Bishop also.
Think again, if you think Mr. Altschuler will fight for these causes.
April 14, 2012
Several weeks ago I wrote a letter to you regarding Agenda 21 and how it affects us. In that letter, I explained that Agenda 21 is a globalist attempt to impose United Nations environmental regulations aimed at controlling our local cities and towns through the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, which was created in 1991 and includes many member cities and towns in the United States and around the world.
This agenda promotes anything from controlling the size of your family to government control of fishery and farm harvest to increased tax on gasoline and government setting prices on goods.
If you are unaware of this program to dismantle our constitutional government or in denial that this could not happen here, please feel free to attend an informational meeting being held at the Southampton High School auditorium on Friday at 7 p.m. The guest speaker, John Anthony, will address the topic of “False Choices: How Sustainable Development Is Transforming Your Community.”
April 11, 2012
To the Editor,
Is Barack Obama responsible for George Bush? I don’t think so. But it was George W. Bush who started our misguided wars in the Mideast. Barack Obama was stuck with Mr. Bush’s folly.
We cannot accept the legacy of George W. (War) Bush. You might say G.W.B. did it for our country. We needed oil. Well, suppose we did not rely on one source. Supposing we found natural gas as a substitute for oil — and we have supplies of natural gas in the U.S.A. to last a century and possibly more. Dig, dig, dig — for natural gas.
All the best and then some,
Fight Our Wars
April 13, 2012
To the Editor,
I have been involved with the East End vets for many years. I spent 30 years in the New York City Police Department on the streets of Manhattan and Harlem. But most important I learned the history of the Vietnam War firsthand — 58,000 dead! Now we have returned to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Before I begin I would like to explain the Pentagon policy called “low-intensity conflict,” which has been in place for as long as I can remember. The basic purpose of the policy is to train others, whomever, to fight our wars to keep our body count down, a lesson we learned in Vietnam. Fifty-eight thousand was unacceptable to the American people.
Let me proceed ahead to Afghanistan. Under current plans, Afghan security forces trained by our military will reach a peak of 352,000 by late this year. However, corporate-controlled contractors, also known as our private armies, will be left behind to protect corporate interests, paid for by our taxes, a grave injustice perpetrated upon the American people, which obviously leads to the question, has our government been privatized? I believe most people in our country already know the answer.
But there is one serious flaw in the alleged lower body count. Hundreds of thousands of our soldiers are returning from combat with post-traumatic stress disorder, while tens of thousands have already committed suicide. I’ll leave the math to you.
There is a light appearing in the tunnel of darkness — 70 percent of the American people are now against the war. The time has come for everyone to speak out. The alternative is death, not life.
April 13, 2012
Wow, how desperate can you get? In a campaign to be elected president of the U.S., the before-and-after candidate, Mitt Romney, has found an “issue” of great gravitas, a more important issue than his economic blueprint for America; more urgent than his views on Afghanistan, his plan to reduce the deficit, his views on civil rights, women’s rights, individual freedom, immigration reform, mortgage foreclosures, war and peace, et al. His pivotal issue is, “I will prove my wife, Ann, was a stay-at-home mother of five and thus a valid expert on the agenda of women’s economic and social rights.”
Listen, while Mitt Romney was at Harvard for four years, and his father was governor of Michigan and the chief of American Motors, his wife learned the benefits of a stay-at-home mom. Mr. Romney’s business courses showed him the importance of: no need for paid nannies or housekeepers, save money on diaper service, eat home-cooked meals, allow hubby to concentrate his time on making 100 million bucks!
Yes, folks, Mitt Romney is fit to be president because his wife worked to raise five boys! Oh, and by the way, he, himself, took time from his busy business schedule to help with the dishes and strap the family dog to the top of the car when the family drove to their vacation home, where Ann would resume her duties as a mother of five. Now, those are the necessary qualifications for the job as president of the United States!
Mitt Romney, husband of a stay-at-home mother, move over nanny, housemaid, we need the space for the comedy writers.
RICHARD P. HIGER
April 10, 2012
To the Editor,
Re: Misplaced or lost footnotes in contemporary text books too streamlined to find old books in deep storage or in light-year-away clouds.
Dear student of Washington-Hancock deep mining interests (Reed and) “Mulligan still regarded Woburn as a potential ‘Gold mine,’ but he had done little work on the case.”
— A civil action, J. Harr.
Yours, on a second reading,