Letters to the Editor: 05.24.12

Our readers' comments

A Special Day
    East Hampton
    May 21, 2012
To the Editor,
    Memorial Day is a special day on which we honor those who died in service to our nation. We see Petty Officer Michael Monsoor, Lt. Michael Murphy, Lance Corporal Jordon Haerter, or Lt. Joe Theinert, all of whom  sacrificed their lives in the ongoing hostilities in the Middle East. We also see the faces of military nurses, who through many wars and conflicts provided care amid chaos. And we see the faces of those men and women who died in Vietnam and Korea, whose sacrifices went unrecognized because of the unpopularity of the conflicts they found themselves in. We see the young men who perished with their ships at Pearl Harbor. We mark this special day by celebrating the legacy given to us by their service while grieving their absence from our lives.
    Today is our day to say thank-you to those past generations who footed the bill, to those who stood tall (and paid with their lives), and to remember families and friends whose lives were forever changed and to whom we owe an enormous debt. We must ensure that the legacy of our heroes endures in what has become a sound-bite culture. These dedicated men and women are worth more than a 20-second sound bite; their history deserves telling and retelling.
    Our military is the world’s most powerful yet. We are also one of the world’s greatest instruments of peace. We serve today in countries all over the world, as well as in Irag and Afghanistan. We defend the world’s waters from piracy. We provide food, medicine, and comfort when natural disasters strike. We provide protection, deterrence, and assistance whenever and wherever needed. In the course of these duties many fellow servicemen and women have lost their lives serving our country, and we are never free from our obligation to remember and honor them.
    The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 550 and the veterans of American Legion Post 419 will be there, and we ask you to join us.
    God bless our troops, and God bless America.
    TOM BYRNE
    Commander
    V.F.W. Post 550


Continue to Remember
    Montauk
    May 20, 2012
To the Editor,
    Time never dimmed the Memorial Day parade’s meaning for me. Reviewing the Memorial Day activities being arranged for Montauk, I’m struggling with these words from a letter published last week: “This also lets everyone appreciate and view the parade rather than rushing home on a Monday, where they find other parades west of Montauk an inconvenience at the close of their holiday weekend.”
    I have attended the East Hampton Memorial Day parade for several years, and as I return home to Montauk, I wonder to myself as I view the westbound traffic whether or not these people even know why there is a Memorial Day parade.
    Waiting for the East Hampton parade to begin, veterans and auxiliary members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion walk amongst those at the parade with cans of poppies. For a small donation, those who choose can wear these handmade poppies symbolizing the poppies that blow in Flanders fields, between the crosses, row on row, in remembrance for those who sacrificed their lives, so we can live in freedom. As the parade begins, children are riding their bikes, waving their flags, while some adults struggle with their emotions, trying to explain and hoping with all their hearts that these children will somehow figure out how to achieve peace.
    Until such peace is achieved, and even thereafter, many of us will continue to remember and honor those who have tried. That’s what this parade means to me — time never dims that meaning.
SIMONE MONAHAN


Not Been Approached
    Montauk
    May 21, 2012
Dear David:
    I didn’t think I would be writing another letter to The East Hampton Star, but would like to clear the air on statements that have been made about the information given in various publications leading up to the Memorial Day events. It was important enough to be mentioned in three publications of Newsday and various local papers.
    These publications always used the term Montauk Veterans Association. They began with this group lobbying the East Hampton Town Board to refuse a permit to the Montauk Artists Association for use of the downtown green, which they have had for many years. One publication named Thomas Bogdan as president of the Veterans Association. In another publication it was stated that the committee asked the town board to guarantee that they would get an exclusive permit next year if they made concessions this year.
    The information that I received from Supervisor Bill Wilkinson is that Thomas Bogdan, claiming to represent 100 members of the Veterans Association, requested, what I believe, a mass-gathering permit.
    I have only become involved in this situation because it gave the veterans in Montauk bad publicity. At the time any veterans of my acquaintance whom I asked told me they had not been approached to be a member of this organization.
    I am not writing this to cause any divisiveness in this community. I am proud to have lived in this community all of my life and have observed the way people join together when needed.
    Ken Walles should not have questioned my ability to recognize what is going on in Montauk or anywhere else.
    I try not to be reminded of what happened almost 69 years ago on Omaha Beach at “H hour” minus 2 minutes when eight L.C.T. landing crafts, each carrying four tanks each, approached the beach. The L.C.T. 590, which we regarded as our sister ship when in port, had three men killed in action. The third tank in line on our L.C.T. 587 was hit by a mortar as it approached the ramp to hit the beach. More than likely the exposed tank commander is one of those we are honoring this weekend.
    We then loaded two light planes from a transport to go ashore for reconnaissance. We were delayed quite some time from delivering them due to the massacre on Omaha Beach. I am relating this not to claim I am a hero any more than any other person who defended our country and our lives, whether in combat or not.
    I hope all of the members of this group and other Montauk residents enjoy this season-opening weekend while honoring our fallen comrades.
    I was happy to read that the Boy Scouts will be involved in placing the flags on the graves of the deceased veterans. Alan Burke, our very appreciated caretaker of Fort Hill Cemetery, has done this with the Boy Scouts for many years, while the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion have been placing the flags at the other cemeteries in the town.
    It seems somewhat strange to me for the Montauk group to have a rifle-firing ceremony possibly minutes before the experienced members of the V.F.W. and American Legion arrive by bus from East Hampton at Fort Hill to honor our deceased comrades. Surely it would take very little communication to coordinate this ceremony into one and still not interfere with the start of the planned parade at noon.
    In closing, I would like to add that I was happy to see the Artists Association poster mention that there would be a parade and a ceremony at the memorial site on the green for everyone to enjoy as part of the kickoff of another great season in Montauk.
    Respectfully,
    GENE BECKWITH


 Containing the Blaze
    Montauk
    May 14, 2012
Dear David,
    I would like to thank the Montauk Fire Department for its efficient response to the devastating fire at Montauk Fish Dock early on Friday, May 11. Considering the wind conditions, the department did an excellent job in containing the blaze, and not allowing it to spread to other structures or fishing vessels.
    I would also like to thank Supervisor Bill Wilkinson for his support during this misfortune. Mr. Wilkinson was on the scene shortly after the fire was extinguished and personally assisted in the preliminary cleanup Saturday afternoon.
    I am so grateful to live in a community where others are willing to give their time and assistance.
    Sincerely,
    PERRY DURYEA III
    General Partner
    Montauk East


Totally Misrepresents
    East Hampton
    May 21, 2012
Dear David,
    I was both dismayed and discouraged by the inaccurate reporting by The Star of some of my comments at the May 11  East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals meeting regarding the proposed Maidstone Club irrigation project. For example, the thrust of my comments relating to compressor noise was pretty much the opposite of what was reported in your newspaper.
    To be specific, your article quotes me as saying that the compressor installation at Atlantic Golf Club “creates a tremendous amount of noise in an insulated and Sheetrocked structure.” Even allowing for some journalistic license, this quote totally misrepresents the substance of my comments. Since at the meeting I read from prepared remarks, I can offer below, verbatim, the relevant portion of my comments:
    “I was concerned about the noise of the compressors and the club arranged for me to visit a similar facility at the Atlantic Golf Club. The Atlantic compressors make a tremendous amount of noise, noise which, if not moderated by careful enclosure and sound insulation, would be totally unacceptable to the community at large. At Atlantic, the compressors are enclosed within a shingled and Sheetrocked structure, a structure that goes a long way to deadening the compressor noise. Maidstone plans to enclose its compressors in a similar structure. . . . Based on my experience at Atlantic, I believe that, given proper care with enclosure and sound insulation, the noise from the proposed compressors could be reduced to a level that should not disturb neighbors.”
    Thank you for this opportunity to set the record straight.
JAMES SYKES


Feral Cat Poem #38
feral,
she lived, suffered and died poorly

never a lick of medical or old age care

ineligible for Green River Cemetery
but too beloved for a recycling bin

in the end we laid her to rest in the
small BMW graveyard on Gerard Drive

sent her out in style
under an equally expired 318i

figure, what’s a dead cat to someone
who can let a beemer rot?
ED HANNIBAL


Cruel and Unimaginative
    East Hampton
    May 14, 2012
Dear David,
    I was happily surprised by the ad in last week’s Star placed by the East Hampton Group for Wildlife condemning the cruel and unimaginative plan that the East Hampton Town Board is considering as a means of managing the exploding deer population.
    I am not oblivious to the problems of the deer intrusion into our developed areas. Gardens are decimated. There is an increase in the possibility of Lyme disease. And there are many more collisions with deer, ending in their deaths and sometimes critical injuries to the drivers, as well as serious damage to vehicles. I would like to address these problems one at a time.
    First, the collision problem: I believe that we can do a better job of finding a real solution. One idea that we might consider is enlisting the help of science teachers on Long Island, asking them to promote this dilemma as a possible subject for their students’ research. Every year Long Island high school students receive prestigious honors and grants for their science projects. I do not recall any that dealt with devices on cars that would keep deer off the roads while cars are passing. Insurance companies might also be interested in this.
    In the meantime and until we find significant solutions, there are things that conscientious drivers can do to minimize risks. We can try to identify favorite deer crossings for ourselves. Deer travel in familial groups and are creatures of habit. Going slow in these areas and using our peripheral vision will also help. High beams at night (when you can use them) really show the sides of the road.
    Second, I don’t pretend to know a lot about Lyme disease, but I do know that mice are the primary carriers of the infected tick and that they pass it on to deer. Spraying your yard and avoiding overgrown areas will help, as well as checking yourself and your animals when you come in. I believe that making the deer the sole culprit of Lyme disease is inaccurate and at best only one part of the story.
    Third, the destruction of our gardens: I love nature and spend a lot of time and money on my gardens. The only way I can keep the deer out is to fence in special plants and to spray the rest. I also like to plant native plants, which seem to tolerate some munching by the deer and rabbits, etc., or simply are not the preferred diet of these animals. I am against deer fencing unless it is only on part of the property. It is especially harmful when used close to the road, thereby further worsening the car-deer problem.
    I think we have a moral obligation to try to find solutions to these real problems that do not simply rely on increased hunting and slaughter. It is nice to think that the homeless and poor will benefit from this additional meat supply, but I sincerely doubt that many people have developed a taste for venison.
    Deer are innocent creatures; they are not aggressive nor do they kill other animals. Like all living things they want to live. In a time when we daily witness so much bloodshed in much of the world, wouldn’t it be refreshing if we could come up with a solution to a problem that did not involve bloodshed?
GINNY R. SCHMIDT


Hunter-Oriented
    Montauk
    May 21, 2012
To the Editor:
    I have read “A Proposal for Management of the White-Tailed Deer Population in East Hampton Town” from cover to cover. I believe everyone in East Hampton should read it. It is available on the Internet.
    Here is my opinion: The document has two major flaws: It uses expressions like “uncontrolled explosion” and “emerging emergency” and “Dire Emergency,” which give a feeling of, “Help! The sky is falling,” and it presents a clearly hunter-oriented view that only hunting can solve the problem.
    The introduction of the document states, “In East Hampton, the uncontrolled explosion of the deer population has reached an emergency level.” But a few sentences further it states, “While scientific methods have yet to confirm these observations, it is the consensus of most people living in the Hamptons.” And at the bottom of the page it goes on to state, “Cumulative negative economic impacts to town residents, businesses and tourism have not been formally assessed. However, common sense and anecdotal evidence strongly suggest economic and cultural damage far exceeds potential budgetary cost (which we have not fully identified).”
    But way down on page 24 the document states, “Based on 2009’s reported mortality from hunting and vehicle collisions, the statistics imply that a herd size of around 4,000 might have a stable population. The herd size in East Hampton may be close to that size.”
     So according to most people living in the Hamptons and common sense and anecdotal evidence, deer are now a dire emergency. But according to statistics cited in this proposal our deer might have a stable population. “Dire emergency” and “stable population” are direct contradictions.
    In the document the word compassionate is used several times. Yet it proposes opening additional land to bow  hunting. It is well documented that 50 percent of the deer hit by arrows are wounded and left to die a slow agonizing death. That is not being compassionate.
    The document focuses almost entirely on reducing the deer population by hunting. Nonlethal methods of deer management are mentioned only in passing, and even then as part of a long-term process. Deer contraception works. It’s no longer in the experimental phase. Many communities have used it successfully. There is no reason to put it off for five years.
    The first step in any deer population-control program is counting the deer. It should be started immediately. Since there are questions about whether the deer population has reached an “emergency level” I urge the town board to hold off on the drastic steps stipulated in the document and have a hard look at deer contraception.
ROBERT SILVERSTONE


‘Wipe ’em Out’
    East Hampton
    May 15, 2012
To the Editor:
    As a taxpayer and homeowner for over 33 years in the Town of East Hampton, I wish to voice opposition to the recently issued draft deer management plan and proposed massive cull of deer, until a fully compliant and thorough environmental impact statement, as required by New York State’s environmental laws, has been completed by the East Hampton Town Board. In addition, the full cost to taxpayers involved in the preparation of this document and all the steps that follow must be made clear to the public from the outset. This is a lengthy and costly process that has met with opposition, legal challenges, delays, and even failure in recent years, in places like Ithaca and Binghamton, N.Y., and must be taken into account by the town board before embarking full steam down this road.
    The draft deer management plan, the result of complaints by disgruntled individuals and special interest groups, does not address many other important concerns or necessarily represent a consensus of a majority of East Hampton taxpayers. In fact, the highly-charged and all too transparent alarmist tone of the draft (words are used such as, “emergency,” “public health crisis,” “uncontrolled explosion,” “threats to public,” etc.) and the proposal of drastic and extreme measures involving mass slaughter, changes to our legal code, and an increase in hunting areas and hunters is most disturbing and raises many questions about the bias and soundness of this plan.
    It is unfortunate that many have seen fit to jump onto the “let’s wipe ’em out” bandwagon, envisioning this as the quick-fix solution which, based on past history, has proven time and again to be a total failure. Hunters kill over half a million deer each season nationwide; others are killed in accidents and die natural deaths, yet there continues to be a deer “problem,” for which once again, mass killing is proposed as a “solution” that solves nothing.
    We are not speaking about 9/11 or another terrorist threat! The report itself states: “While scientific methods have yet to confirm these observations” and not everyone is in agreement with the so-called facts as outlined in the draft, most of which appear to be largely based on the same fear-mongering anecdotal evidence, observations, generalizations, and misinformation that are used to justify every other deer “plan” and slaughter.
    Those concerned about today’s wildlife management find it has evolved into an industry dominated and controlled by special interest groups with policies that many people disagree with. Few are aware that our nation’s wildlife is controlled almost entirely by state agencies, which have undoubtedly provided input for the information and proposals given in this draft. These state wildlife management agencies do not function in a democratic manner representing all interests such as wildlife watchers, hikers, citizens concerned for animal welfare, and environmentalists. Our state agencies create policies that almost exclusively further the interests of the hunting public because of the revenues generated by hunting licenses and equipment, ammunition, guns, bows, and other related paraphernalia.
    The input and proposals offered by members of the Deer Management Working Group, which appear to be heavily and unduly weighted by those who favor hunting, including those who are also employed by and represent a number of state agencies, are thus suspect, as are their opinions, statistics, and suggestions. Also indicated on the list of members of the Deer Management Working Group are members of the East Hampton Group for Wildlife. It is my understanding that they were not participants in the formulation of this draft, and they are, in fact, opposed to the expansion of cruel bow hunting and lethal methods of deer control. Their erroneous listing as “members” of the working group is therefore at best disingenuous, at worst intentionally deceptive, because their input and approval were not sought or included before issuing this draft.
    Moreover, at no point has any consideration been given to the danger posed to a child out playing, to residents who are out hiking, walking a dog, bird-watching, etc., minding their own business, and who may be subjected to bodily harm and possibly death when hunting is permitted on publicly held lands. This should be of great concern to the board and every taxpayer in East Hampton. Criminal and civic lawsuits resulting from injuries or death could amount to millions of dollars in damages. An errant arrow or bullet could very well result in a senseless tragedy which would then become a hideous nightmare for taxpayers having to pay for the town board’s failure to protect its citizens. Please see “How Safe Is Hunting? See the Statistics” at all-creatures.org if you think this is not a serious matter.
    Many questions need to be answered. Why does this plan propose in such great detail the ways to expand hunting and reduce deer population as a foregone conclusion before an actual current scientific study has been completed and a determination of the numbers or need for a mass kill has even been ascertained? And what indeed will be the total cost to taxpayers for undertaking each and every aspect of this plan, start to finish, including a contingency for possible lawsuits? This information must be made fully known to the public, because we will be footing the bill into the distant future, long after this town board is history.
ZELDA PENZEL


Muddy His Office
    Wainscott
    May 20, 2012
Dear Editor,
    Now that the battle over the appraisal of the Ronjo strip has been calculated to be between $ 30,000 and $40,000, as Supervisor Bill Wilkinson had determined originally, and not the $184,000 that an appraiser selected by the Dem­ocrats came up with, will they now declare a cease-fire and move on to a new complaint? In addition, I personally think they will come up with something to disparage Ronald Paradiso, the new appraiser, and brand him as incompetent, biased, and unfamiliar with the geography and business of Montauk.
    Now a suggestion of a vending cart by Councilman Van Scoyoc has been brought up for Ronjo. Since when have the Democrats ever been interested in putting vending carts anywhere in downtown Montauk?
    The anti-administration battle never stops. Rather than give the supervisor the credit he deserves, every anti-Wilkinson sniper will try to find a new item to muddy his office. These are the same people who are against the funds for the airport, and were against the sale of the Poxabogue golf course. I’m betting they will start writing to complain about the settlement of $100,000 paid by the Surf Lodge to the town. A little reminder, future complainers: Federal Agencies, e.g., the Internal Revenue Service, state governments, tax departments, usually settle these types of cases to avoid litigation, which is extremely costly and time consuming.
    The underlying problem however, is that the complainers are are a very organized group, who by some remarkable coincidence are always Democrats, and will not stop writing their nasty and snide letters to demean the supervisor. These are the same writers who never wrote anything contrary about former Supervisor Bill McGintee, who during his tenure in office came very close to flushing East Hampton Town down into the toilet of bankruptcy.
    Bill Wilkinson has a very difficult job. He should be supported for the financial successes he accomplished. Try writing an occasional compliment. It will show how fair-minded you can be.
    Sincerely,
    I.H. PALER


Good Reason to Pay
    Amagansett
    May 21, 2012
Dear David,
    When the town board majority ordered an appraisal of the Ronjo alleyway “to confirm” the reasonableness of  the price it had put on the property in its prior Resolution 2012-259, one had to wonder if they wanted an unbiased assessment of the property’s value or an after-the-fact blessing for a decision already made. The recent report provided by Ronald Paradiso of New York City makes clear that they simply wanted approval for the price “plucked out of the air.” 
    Mr. Paradiso’s analysis uses “assumptions” to belie the facts on which a local appraiser, Cindy Marshall, based her conclusion that the alleyway was worth $184,000. Agreeing that the prices of comparable local property sales should be averaged to determine the value of the Ronjo alleyway, he excludes from the average a property bought by the town, making an assumption contrary to facts he should have obtained, that the town “may” have gotten the property for less than fair value. 
    He accepts Ms. Marshall’s premise that the alleyway was being sold with full rights and that use of the property in an “assemblage” with the wrap-around Ronjo properties was its “highest and best use.” 
    He says that since there was only one buyer and one seller, the usual competitive market forces that enable an appraiser to discern the value of property don’t prevail. He then remarkably concludes that the town, as the owner of the alleyway, “has the weaker position in the negotiation, a take it or leave it scenario” with “no alternative use of the property” and “if the owner of Lots 24 and 43 played hardball, and refused to increase his offer, the owner of the alleyway would have little recourse.” Therefore the price based on comparable sales must be discounted by 50 percent!
    Can anyone in East Hampton believe this? Some of us applaud the idea of using the Ronjo alleyway as an outdoor adjunct to a new bar in the motel. Some fear it will replicate the Surf Lodge in central Montauk. No one fails to believe that to the owners, an indoor-outdoor gathering place at the Ronjo will be worth its weight in gold. As seller of the alleyway, the town is in the driver’s seat, and the Ronjo has good reason to pay.
    Mr. Paradiso evidently told our town leaders what they wanted to hear. But I can’t understand why they would want confirmation that a lowball price at which they’re selling the public’s property is the very best they can do.
    Sincerely yours,
    JEANNE FRANKL



    Ms. Frankl is the chairwoman of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Ed.


But a Fraction
    Amagansett
    May 23, 2012
Dear David,
    The long-delayed settlement by the Surf Lodge with the town for its record-breaking violations of town code is done.
    Town Justice Catherine Cahill, resisting outrageous attempts by Surf’s attorneys to remove her from the case, persisted and last week finally achieved closure of this shocking episode. Helping to add pressure were the many good citizens of East Hampton who showed up at the courthouse over and over to show their concern for the handling of this important quality-of-life issue. Of course, many question the final fine, touted to be such a good deal for the town; they believe that the $100,000 represents but a fraction of Surf’s cost of doing business.
    It remains to be seen if the new management will hold to their promise of turning over a new leaf. And ultimately, it will be up to our good citizens to continue to demand conformity to the laws for everyone.
    Sincerely,
    RONA KLOPMAN


That’s Governing
    Springs
    May 21, 2012
Dear David,
    I thought I had seen it all, but the Tuesday, May 15, town board meeting sank to a new low. Councilwoman Theresa Quigley’s attempt to ram new laws down our throats was slapped down rather firmly by the townspeople. She also seems hell-bent on changing the laws we have had that serve us well, i.e., the lighting law.
    Somehow, she had difficulty understanding what the people of the town want. We want the laws we have to be enforced. Is that rocket science? No, that’s governing.
    Because her law has been forcefully rejected, she wants to try again for an entertainment law that would still allow one person every seven square feet. This would be impossible to enforce even if we had more than two and a half people in the Ordinance Enforcement Department. Yelling at Pat Gunn from the podium doesn’t help.
    In her hysterical tirades, which happen too often (I honestly fear she may have a stroke someday), she accused the minority of not proposing a law. How can the minority attempt to craft a law when Ms. Quigley is always coming up with some new harebrained revision to existing laws that needs to be dealt with? Really, who is going to measure the seven square feet per person and what if a person moves around, does one then re-measure the seven square feet they move to?
    Ridiculous law aside, their attacks on the opposition are repugnant. Phrases like “emotional embellishment,” “Miss Overby,” “Give me a break,” and “What would you know about staffing?” are demeaning and downright rude. So adolescent!
    The supervisor wishes for the opposition he had before Peter Van Scoyoc and Sylvia Overby were elected to the board, because they did little to oppose them. The “astonishing things” he fantasizes the past board accomplished included doing away with the leaf-pickup program, voting for Chris Jones’s dreams of making a pile of money with a concert (talk about your one person per seven square feet), selling the docks in Montauk and Fort Pond House, doing away with the home exchange, closing the dump on Wednesdays, eliminating the Homework Club for school kids in favor of Project MOST (which has also been emasculated), spending more dollars on lawyers’ fees, and so many more stellar moves that have crippled the orderly functioning of the town. The one accomplishment they managed to make was to pay off the debt by borrowing money. But the disrespect is shameful and embarrassing!
    By the way — surprise, surprise — the outside, “independent” appraisal in the Ronjo saga came in at about the same as the picked-out-of-the-air number. Unfortunately, the appraiser’s calculation is based on the erroneous premise that the buyer has the upper hand? Now the poor fellow has besmirched his own reputation. Ah, the company one keeps.
    Sincerely,
    PHYLLIS I. MALLAH


Lo and Behold
    East Hampton
    May 21, 2012
Dear David,  
    Last week the East Hampton Town Board talked about a resolution for the Highway Department. It was a request from the Republican highway superintendent to have a budget modification made, whereby the board would move specified dollars from materials to personnel. The resolution was put on the agenda. The Democrats received their agendas the usual 4:55 p.m. the day before the meeting.
    Lo and behold, when it was time to discuss the matter publically, the three members of the board interested in pursuing this request searched their packets for the information that had been put in the day before. No paperwork was to be found. Indeed, it had been removed by someone unknown.
    No action is too sneaky for the supervisor to bar discussing or hiring badly needed personnel in our government. Pretty soon phones will be answered at the board in a public telephone booth. (Think of the money Bill Wilkinson can save.)
    Yours truly,
    NAOMI SALZ


Abatement Has Failed
    Wainscott
    May 21, 2012
Dear David,
    In airports around the country noise abatement has failed. Airports that have spent millions of dollars in taxpayer money, and after over four decades of noise abatement strategies are reporting noise problems worse than ever with the only relief in sight being for residents and municipal leaders to call for airport closure.
    Public-use airports, heliports, and seaplane bases totaled 7,192 in 1969. In 2007 that number was reduced to 5,221. In 38 years, 1,971 airports, heliports, and seaplane bases were closed. The main reason cited was zoning and land-use issues. One such issue is airports located in residential neighborhoods, such as East Hampton Airport. This should make crystal clear that operation of public-use airports is a political issue. The people will continue to “throw the bums out” until the airport is closed or until a political leader takes action like Mayor Richard M. Daley, who unilaterally ordered the midnight bulldozing of the runways on Meig’s Field. He was quoted, “To do this any other way would have been needlessly contentious.”
    Contrary to false statements about my intentions regarding East Hampton Airport, I don’t want to see the airport closed. I am a pilot and am considering flying again someday. I believe decisive action needs to be taken now to reduce activities at the airport so it is not eventually closed. Now is the time to save East Hampton Airport. Noise abatement is not the answer.
    Our current administration (and Peter Wadsworth) need to study history, so history does not repeat itself in East Hampton. Human nature will excuse history by stating that things are different in East Hampton. This is not the case. The truth is, continuous expansion of use as we have seen in the past 5 to 10 years is not sustainable and threatens the very existence of the airport.
    One needs to study Naples Municipal Airport. Under grant assurances Naples spent 3.4 million taxpayer dollars to exclude Stage 1 and Stage 2 jets under 7,500 pounds. Naples spent $3.2 million to lengthen the runway as a noise-abatement strategy. The airport still has voluntary curfews and noise abatement procedures; however, it is reported that the noise problem is worse than ever. In fact the Federal Aviation Administration still fails to enforce noise mitigation procedures. With $6.6 million spent on only two initiatives with no relief in sight, it is a wasteful use of taxpayer money. In East Hampton we are willing to take a few hundred thousand dollars from the F.A.A. so we can spend $3.4 million later to exclude Stage 1 and Stage 2 aircraft under grant assurances. This is foolishness.
    One needs to study Santa Monica Airport. After decades of complaints from residents surrounding the airport it has one of the most stringent noise ordinances in the nation. Two anti-noise organizations recently formed a coalition. Even after enforcement with strict fines attached, noise abatement ordinances such as maximum noise level, night-departure curfew, and operational limitations on touch-and-go and low approach on weekends, holidays, and within certain hours during the week, the problem is worse now than ever before. It has been reported that after the airport grant assurances expire and all leases expire in 2015, the city will close the airport. The city is now entertaining a competition for future use of the airport property. Even though the F.A.A. and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association have weighed in to oppose the closure, the proponents of the airport still believe the city will close the airport after 2015.
    Will the same hold true for the future of East Hampton Airport? Noise abatement has clearly failed in other municipal airports. Only the reduction of activities at East Hampton Airport will save it from the same outcome we see at Naples and Santa Monica. Reduction of activities rolled back to 10 years ago is the answer. It also makes the money being spent by this current administration unnecessary.
    FRANK DALENE
    Co-founder
    Quiet Skies Coalition


Extreme Noise
    East Hampton
    May 21, 2012
To the Editor,
    As residents of the Northwest Creek area, we feel strongly about our special guardianship of the creek’s natural beauty and pristine waters. New York State lists Northwest Creek in its top-10 “most scenic” areas.
    Our concern naturally extends to the protection of wildlife; endangered piping plovers, threatened least terns, as well as great blue herons, common egrets, willets, oystercatchers, and ospreys, among others that return to the creek each spring and summer for breeding and nesting purposes. Sadly, we are reduced from seven to just one breeding pair of piping plovers.
    Local wildlife experts confirm other scientific studies suggesting that this is due to the extreme noise and vibrations from the unremitting summer helicopter traffic and probably also due to the unhealthy engine fuel emissions.
    With the advent of the Jitney-type helicopter with transportation being sold by the seat, the frequency of these larger, louder, more-polluting behemoths is only going to increase due to the lower ticket cost that will induce more ridership.
    Due to the foregoing, we are naturally opposed to the realliance of East Hampton Airport with the Federal Aviation Administration. We believe this will hamper any efforts to ameliorate environmental conditions over the creek with the airport’s having to comply with F.A.A. rules of any and all aircraft able to land within the size constraints of the airport.
    The airport could be made financially viable by increasing landing fees from the small amounts now collected. Local recreational aircraft could have a lower fee structure, since they are usually small planes and create less of an environmental impact.
    Since the town has declared a substantial surplus from the annual collections, there should certainly be sufficient to provide funds for any initial capital expenditures needed to improve conditions at the airport without having to submit ourselves to F.A.A. control.
    The optional rerouting of helicopter traffic over Georgica Pond is, in our opinion, an insufficient solution. Although we would prefer to see an outright helicopter ban, except for emergency or governmental use, an approach that would help balance the environmental interest with human transportation needs would be a reduction of helicopter traffic of 50 percent, as was done at the 34th Street Heliport in New York City.
    Sincerely,
    T. JAMES MATTHEWS
    ANGELA BERNET ORTENZIO
    JANET SCHNEIDER
    Northwest Alliance


Deception
    East Hampton
    May 19, 2012
To the Editor:
    Last Thursday’s Star reported on the “million-dollar tower” at East Hampton Airport that the public earlier had been told would cost $400,000. You reported that the town budget officer advised that the additional money would come from the airport surplus and that one board member objected to that “piecemeal” approach.
    That approach to the control tower actually is consistent with the town’s overall approach to airport financing and airport noise control: deception of — and disinformation to — the public.
    The deception and disinformation approach is founded on longstanding (but for a long time secret) advice from the town’s aviation lawyers. In their Jan. 8, 2008, memorandum recommending airport noise control policy, Peter Kirsch’s law firm urged, on pages 20 and 21: “strict confidentiality of the strategy.” They went on to say that “the publicly stated purpose of various steps in this program may not be consistent with the confidential or strategic objective.”
    The piecemeal approach to this million-dollar tower obviously sought maximum public approval of the tower. But it also served a confidential and strategic objective of draining the airport surplus. And that would support the argument for seeking Federal Aviation Administration funding for other airport capital needs.
    It is apparent that East Hampton has confidentially sought to extend its F.A.A. grant obligations for another 20 years. With that extension, local politicians could continue to hide behind F.A.A. strictures preventing effective local airport noise abatement. Deception and disinformation.
    This episode demonstrates anew the need for the town to carry out an honest, open, independent, and comprehensive financial planning process for designing and carrying out airport improvements, operations, and management without F.A.A. subsidy and without taxpayer burden. Any soundly run business would have done so long ago.
    Sincerely,
    CHARLES A. EHREN JR.


Big Word
    East Hampton
    May 20, 2012
To the Editor,
    One of the most important points that Barney Rosset made — and that Mia Yun repeated from the podium at Barney’s memorial — was unfortunately not in my letter to The Star last week. He often said, “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small people; impossible is temporary, impossible is nothing.”
    That clearly explains who Barney was.
CLARE HOOTON


Fracking
    East Hampton
    May 20, 2012
Dear Editor,
    New York has some of the best drinking water in the world. New York has some of the most beautiful beaches and swimmable water in the world. Let’s not frack it up!
    Our country is in the midst of an unprecedented gas-drilling boom — a process called hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Fracking is a dangerous energy strategy for getting oil and gas. Fracking, that is, drilling to access deep shale formations, requires millions of gallons of fresh water, acres of land per well pad, and the use of undisclosed toxic chemicals. Fracking is poisoning our air and water and it’s jeopardizing the health of millions of Americans. We can find a better way — one that protects our health and gives us clean, safe energy sources that never run out.
    We are being lied to just as we were lied to with regard to the development of the nuclear industry. The scientific facts have shown that just like the nuclear industry, this new technology isn’t safe, isn’t regulated properly, isn’t protecting people, isn’t cheap, and isn’t handling the waste properly.
    The technology of fracking is being forced upon the people of America as the new technology that will answer all our energy needs. What they aren’t telling us, however, is that this new industry is denying problems, just like the nuclear industry. Fracking and its impact on public health, in particular, our children’s health, is a serious issue that calls for swift action — action that the gas industry has repeatedly tried to block.
    As I write this, in the state of New York the industry is fighting against a legislative proposal for a public health impact assessment in which hundreds of medical professions have joined community activists and environmentalists in supporting.
    The frackers can spin the issue all they want, but the public isn’t buying it. Fracking has been associated with many health issues. In the Dallas-Fort Worth region of Texas, the latest estimates of air emissions tell us that oil and gas operations emit more smog-causing volatile organic compounds than all cars, trucks, buses, and other mobile sources in the area combined. Ozone, a corrosive gas that can exacerbate asthma and other respiratory diseases, is created when V.O.C.s like petroleum hydrocarbons mix with heat and sunlight.
    In Texas, it has been found that “children in the Barnett Shale region ages 6-9 are three times more likely to have asthma than the average for that age group in the entire State of Texas.” The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality found many gas fields with extremely high levels of benzene.
    According to a 2012 study done by the Colorado School of Public Health, cancer risks were 66 percent higher for residents living less than half a mile from oil and gas wells than for those living farther away, with benzene being the major contributor to the increased risk. This same study reminds us that chronic exposure to ozone, prevalent at gas production sites, can lead to asthma and pulmonary diseases, particularly in children and the aged.
    In 2011, a Duke University study proved that drinking water wells near fracking sites had 17 times more methane than wells not located near fracking. Fracking operations have generated billions of gallons of radiation-laced toxic wastewater that we can’t manage properly and have forced families to abandon their homes because of dangerous levels of arsenic, benzene, and toluene in their blood.
    The state of Vermont has taken a stand to become the first state to ban fracking. Former Gov. David Paterson put a temporary ban on the process, but once again the industry has reared its head and is being considered for use in various parts of the state of New York.
    It’s important for everyone to contact our governor and representatives and let them know how you feel about fracking. We need our representatives to pass legislation that will protect New Yorkers’ health, safety, and environment.
    Last year, my husband and I visited various places along the coast of California. We took long walks on several of its beaches. There were times that the air smelled so bad that we had to go inside. What was the smell? Oil. As we sat on the beach, we stared out at the oil rigs. When we got back to our hotel room, our sneakers were covered in tar and oil. The top layer of the ocean had an oil slick on it. Surfers came out of the water with tar all over their wetsuits. I don’t think we want that in New York. It’s bad enough that private industry and the government have already ruined many beautiful places in our country. Let’s not let it happen here.
    Write Gov. Andrew Cuomo and let him know how you feel. Governor Cuomo has insisted that science will determine if New York State allows industrial gas drilling by means of hydrofracking. But he is breaking this pledge by failing to gather all the facts before making a decision. Urge him and our representatives to take advantage of the opportunity to slow down this process and pass legislation this session to protect New Yorkers’ health, safety, and environment.
    It’s up to each one of us to make our voices heard. We don’t want fracking in New York!
    Here is the contact address for our governor. Let your voice be heard: Governor Andrew Cuomo, State Capitol Building, Albany, N.Y. 12224.
    Sincerely,
    HELENE FORST


Mandates
    Montauk
    May 21, 2012
To the Editor,
    In order to be informed about the mandates in Obamacare regarding religious freedom, Barbara Samuels will be addressing this issue at St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church in the upper room of the school next Thursday at 7:15 p.m.
    Cardinal Dolan has called on the laity of the Catholic Church to be his advocates on this issue. All are welcome to attend to find out how these mandates affect each of us no matter what religion we practice. The Constitution of the United States First Amendment guarantees that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
    On this Memorial Day weekend, let us remember those who sacrificed their lives for us to practice our freedoms.
    Sincerely,
    PAT FLYNN


Illegitimacy
    East Hampton
    May 21, 2012
To the Editor,
    John Boehner is an obnoxious buffoon, the leader of a group of even more obnoxious buffoons. They seem not to have a real understanding of how the political system works and misconstrue their positions in the government as some kind of divine intervention. They threaten to shut down the government again on the issue of raising the debt ceiling, based on the results of the 2010 midterm elections that swept them into power and gave them a mandate.
    The legitimacy of electoral systems is always a function of who participates and who doesn’t. In its simplest form, nonparticipation means you don’t have a say in who represents you. So the concept of electoral mandates has an enormous asterisk attached to all those elected officials.
    Legitimacy is always the essential political question — what defines the legitimacy of a winner and what are his or her obligations to the people they represent.
    In presidential elections voter turnout rarely reaches 70 percent of eligible voters. Unlike many European countries and Russia (where voting is obligatory), 80 to 90 percent is the norm. In our midterm elections voter turnout drops precipitously and rarely reaches 30 percent. Elected officials have always been aware of these turnout numbers until two years ago with the rise of the Tea Party. This awareness has served as a leveling factor in the governing process that has allowed it to function in its own chaotic manner.
    So, from a simple numerical analysis, if Ronald Reagan got 60 percent of the voters who turned out, and 70 percent of the electorate actually voted, then 58 percent of the country didn’t vote for him. In 2010 when turnout rarely exceeded 40 percent (if it ever did), 60-percent support translated to 24 percent in favor and 76 percent not. In the off-term elections getting 100 percent of the voters didn’t come close to even a simple majority. No one ever gets a real mandate in our political system.
    Humility, deference, and a desperate need to work together in compromise is the only possible route to real legitimacy for our politicians. Otherwise, they are little more than brain-dead cretins masturbating to false icons in underwear. When they lose sight of these political realities the system turns to crap. The chaos that is produced allows for the country to have its debt rating lowered and its economic solvency put at risk. In good times the country absorbs the chaos and moves on two years later, but in crisis, as we are now, the damage will take decades to repair.
    Illegitimacy is a trickery slope for politicians. In truth, they are all illegitimate until proven otherwise. They are the bastards of an imperfect system, who can’t succeed at their jobs without understanding that they represent all of the people, not just the tiny group that voted for them.
NEIL HAUSIG