Letters to the Editor: 06.28.12

Our readers' comments

Our Appreciation
    East Hampton
    June 21, 2012
Dear David:
    We wish to express our appreciation to village residents who availed themselves of the opportunity to vote in the most recent election cycle.
    We acknowledge your affirmation of our conduct in the governing of village business, pledging continued openness, transparency, and inclusiveness as we look to the future.

Weekend Truckloads
    East Hampton
    June 19, 2012
To the Editor,
    I am one of the taxpayers who live on Hand’s Creek. For as long as I have lived there (30-plus years), it has been a quiet refuge. A place to sit in your car, watch the clammers and the birds, take a walk up and down the beach with your dog, take a leisurely swim, or even a paddleboard ride.
    Last year all that changed. Every weekend, truckloads of Paddle Diva boarders, the commercial paddleboard enterprise, invaded the premises, to the discontent of many homeowners in the area, including myself, parking their cars (without permits), blocking the jetty, and overwhelming those of us who live
there. What is next: the hot dog stand and ice cream truck!
    Small creeks and quiet beachfronts are not commercial properties where commercial businesses’ activities should be allowed to take place.
    We must protect our quiet sanctuaries from commercial enterprises.

On the Beach
    Sag Harbor
    June 21, 2012
Dear David,
    The exquisite photos of the beach at Sagaponack in today’s Star (from an article about a book of photos called “Sand, Sea, Sky: The Beaches of Sagaponack” by Tria Giovan) was especially poignant to me, as I had walked over to Wiborg’s Beach at sunset the previous evening.
    What a shock. One used to arrive at an uninterrupted view of East Hampton’s sand, sea, and sky. Now the foreground is occupied by a line of four metal-grille garbage cans with black plastic liners flapping inside. Right on the beach.
    There were a lot of people with dogs there. So presumably the ugly cans were to give the owners a convenient place to dispose of dog droppings.
   Would it be too much to ask that the garbage cans be moved 100 feet back to the parking lot?
    (There is now a lifeguard’s stand too. That is also in the view, but it looks fine to me; things that make sense usually do.)

We Came Anyway
    East Hampton
    June 21, 2012
To the Editor,
    I understand before I arrived in East Hampton 35 years ago, there was a huge controversy about a bypass — a four-lane limited access highway between Southampton and Montauk. Intense opposition killed the plan centered around the belief that a bypass would flood the Hamptons with hoi polloi from New York City.
    Well, we all know what happened: The bypass was never built, and we came anyway. The result is, depending on the day and time, long lines of cars waiting to get into or out of the Hamptons.
    Is there a solution to this traffic mess? I am not burdened by any expertise in traffic management, but I can think of two: Finally build the bypass, but at today’s land prices and restricted government budgets that is a pipe dream, or build toll-free bridges connecting Shelter Island to the mainland, a solution that would certainly have the residents of Shelter Island seceding from the Union.
    This problem does not bother the deserving rich since they simply fly over the mess, but I guess we others will have to do what we have always done: grouse and go along with it.
    This letter was occasioned by a traffic jam — without an accident or stalled car — that extended from East Hampton Airport to the last traffic light on 27 in Southampton with just a few patches of open space in between.

No Opportunity
    June 25, 2012
Dear David:
    The Wilkinson-Quigley plan to reorganize the Planning Department was thrust upon the community with little discussion and no opportunity for public review. At last Tuesday’s work session the supervisor insisted that this is no different from personnel shifts between the Planning and Natural Resources Departments that occurred in the past, and he noted that no one got upset then, so why is everyone up in arms now?
    Although Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc tried to explain the difference between simple personnel changes of the past and the structural changes called for in the current resolution, his words fell upon deaf ears; Bill Wilkinson seemed determined to push the plan through.
    In its present form the resolution calls for the creation of a new Environmental Protection Department, which combines the functions of the Planning, Aquaculture, and Natural Resources Departments. This is a major change which, from what I understand, requires an amendment in the town zoning code. Code changes trigger a public hearing, and thus far, none has been scheduled.
    Careful planning and environmental protection have made East Hampton the beautiful and desirable place that it is. To adopt a plan that could potentially impact upon this without giving the public the opportunity to weigh in is unthinkable.

Nothing But Abuse
    East Hampton
    June 25, 2012
Dear Mr. Rattray:
    Your latest editorial “Town Leaders Must Work Together” is so off the mark, I don’t know where to begin.
    First, Bill Wilkinson ushered in the most transparent, open government this town has ever seen. Moving the work sessions out of the small, cramped, and intimidating-to-the-public conference room at the old Town Hall into the spacious and expensive new Town Hall hearing room was opening the doors of a closed, secretive government to the residents of East Hampton. Unfortunately, this new, open government initiative has been met with nothing but abuse from some members of the audience, as well as The East Hampton Star.
    The latest reorganization of the Planning and Natural Resources Departments is brilliant, if it ever happens. Bill has shown his organizational acumen with the successful restructuring of the East Hampton Police Department. As any smart and professional public manager should do, Bill is looking to build on that success.
    The reorganization, originally spearheaded by Councilman Dominick Stanzione with the recruitment of Kim Shaw as the new director of natural resources, seeks to provide taxpayers with the best talents, tools, and expertise of two accomplished East Hampton Town employees.
    Marguerite Wolffsohn has been described as a brilliant planner. Kim Shaw, one of many Larry Penny protégées, is a great natural resources director. The restructuring of the two departments allows these incredibly accomplished women to focus their strengths and talents on what they do best; planning on Ms. Wolffsohn’s part, and environmental, natural resources on Ms. Shaw’s part. At present, their expertise is being squandered and taxpayers are not benefiting from an efficient functioning of their departments. After being gutted by the previous administration (without any public hearing that you and others now wail is missing in this reorganization), the Natural Resources Department will be reinstated to its full operational strength and once again will be an effective and strong agency presiding over East Hampton’s precious environment.
    Additional restructuring of East Hampton government is a continuation of putting the town’s fiscal house in order. Efficient and smart government costs less and saves taxpayers money.
    Unfortunately, as in the Groucho Marx song “Whatever It Is I’m Against It” (from the fantastic movie “Horse Feathers”), many in this town (including your newspaper, Mr. Rattray) sing that song. You are all against any idea that makes government more efficient, if it originates within the Wilkinson administration, specifically Bill or Theresa Quigley.
    I find it incredibly interesting that you lump Councilman Stanzione in with Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc (because their mission is to stop any forward movement of this government at enormous cost to the taxpayers). You call the three of them “measured,” but Councilman Stanzione recently took the lead on this government reorganization. I cannot understand the councilman’s sudden reluctance to vote with Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley, to affirm the reorganization. His work has been terrific in this effort. So, what has changed and why is he now not casting a vote for the taxpayers?
    Moreover, Ms. Overby and Mr. Van Scoyoc have been lamenting for many months that they were not sure what the information technology issues were that necessitated a request for proposals. So, it appears that Bill decided to ask for employee input. Now, in a normal town, this kind of management initiative would be met with hosannas. Not so in East Hampton. All sorts of conspiracies are being offered and your newspaper, Mr. Rattray, decries the use of anonymous opinions regarding informataion technology issues. I thought you would have rather liked anonymous responses, for if the administration asked for names, you would find incredible fault with that as well. “Whatever it is, I’m against it.”

Appalling Behavior
    East Hampton
    June 25, 2012
Dear Editor:
    As a lifetime resident of Long Island, I have witnessed its enormous growth, much of it poorly planned and environmentally disastrous; therefore, my warning bell went off when I read the editorial and letters in your June 13 issue concerning changes to East Hampton’s Planning and Natural Resources Departments. I was not sure exactly what effect the proposed changes would have, so I decided I would attend the town board meeting and learn the pros and cons of the resolution for myself. What I witnessed at that meeting was the appalling behavior of Bill Wilkinson and Theresa Quigley. It seems they have not only succumbed to the national epidemic of “We’re right. You’re wrong. And don’t bother us with conflicting facts,” but have discarded basic courtesy.
    Mr. Wilkinson acted as if he were addressing an assembly of reform school students, berating members of the audience and threatening to disband public hearings (which I believe is not legal). After listening to members of the public express their concerns about the proposed changes in these departments, his main argument was that the public had not complained when Democrats changed these departments, therefore, they had no right to complain when a Republican did. There was not even a pretense that he might consider alternative points of view or even legal ramifications.
    In front of half a dozen speakers who had just expressed concern about the changes, and in spite of editorials and letters expressing concern, he proclaimed that there was no public concern. I sat there wondering if he would need a mass demonstration with signs and bullhorns to acknowledge that the public wanted to know more about these changes before they were enacted.
    On several issues, when his fellow board members suggested they needed more information and time to study a proposal before voting, Mr. Wilkinson complained about “kicking the can down the road.” Well, sometimes if a can is full of worms, it is prudent to kick it down the road until one has a plan for those worms.
    While Mr. Wilkinson was smarmy and sarcastic, his behavior was exemplary compared to that of Ms. Quigley, who delivered a nasty lecture to a member of the audience who called out for her to let Peter Van Scoyoc finish speaking. Totally oblivious to the irony, Ms. Quigley proceeded to interrupt her fellow board members through the rest of the session.
    At one point, when a member asked for more information, Ms. Quigley cried out, “I can’t take it anymore,” and announced that although the position was paying her $60,000 a year she had better things to do with her time. She demonstrated her impatience and disdain for other speakers by putting her face in her hands, rubbing her neck, rolling her eyes, and making sure we could all see her exasperation with a system that forced her to listen to other people.
    I cannot be the only observer who thought, “If you can’t take it, then why are you doing it? Why not resign and let someone patient and open-minded do your job?” It’s not ethical to take the paycheck and complain about the job.
    We are a relatively small town. Board members are elected by very small majorities, particularly small this past election. They have an obligation to listen to all their constituents and to respond with courtesy. In fact, knowing how to disagree without being disagreeable should be a prerequisite for public office. Sylvia Overby, Dominick Stan­zione, and Mr. Van Scoyoc are to be commended for maintaining their composure and tempers under trying and provoking conditions. It could not have been easy.

Board in Action
    June 24, 2012
Dear David,
    Watching the town board in action has become an excruciating task. In the past, I regularly attended meetings. When that became too difficult, I would watch on LTV. Eventually, that, too, became torturous. Now I record the “shows” and watch a little at a time — as much as my viscera can take before they begin to revolt. And I know I am not alone in my reaction to the antics of the supervisor and his deputy. Letters to the editor and comments made by the townspeople at board meetings and talk around the town bear witness to this. They have tried to tinker with every law that has passed their way and always to the detriment of the citizens, never realizing that the trickle down would also severely hurt business, and some shortsighted businesses are not smart enough to realize they would also be hurt if the look and beauty of this town were to change.
    Their attempt to reorganize a few departments under one huge umbrella without the proper presentation of this radical move to the citizens of the town was really the last straw. (Some poor camel is still running around with a broken back.) But when the public rightly objected in a reasonable way, those two showed their true colors. Now we know. They are bullies pushing their power around, like the kind of behavior school administrators deal with frequently in their offices.
    I am so sick of hearing the supervisor tout on one hand his 32 years in business and on the other hand his 62 years of being in Montauk. There is a conflict there. Are we to believe that he commuted on a daily basis from Hollywood and his business career in Burbank to Montauk? Or was he actually living for 32 years in L.A. with perhaps brief trips to Montauk? Which version of his life are we to believe? And where his sister played the organ means squat!
    He is so anxious, as is Theresa Quigley, to keep the children of East Hampton living out their lives here. They may be fine for some young people, but others may have dreams of a different life experience, as apparently the supervisor did.
    But the bottom line is, through all their shenanigans, that they have never grasped the two most critical fundamentals of serving on the board. One is that it is not a corporation; it is a government. No product is involved. The second lesson they never learned is one that Tim Bishop says time and again, “The economy is the environment, and the environment is the economy.” No one would want to come here if the town no longer had clean water to swim in and to drink, and our beaches and towns were not as lovely as they are today with its quasi-rural character.

Important Decisions
    East Hampton
    June 23, 2012
Dear David:
    This week the town board had a presentation from the Army Corps of Engineers on plans for Lake Montauk. They set forth two proposals for the lake, one focuses solely on navigation and the other on both navigation and shoring up the shoreline to the west of the jetty. Regrettably, the plan has been in the works since 2003. One of the engineers told me his gray hair used to be black when he first started on this project.
    But that’s government: lots of studies and input, often needed, lots of talk, sometimes not so needed, causing delays and little forward movement.
    This year, to my surprise, the town board has been unable to make many important decisions necessary to make our town work. It is to my surprise, because two of the board members have extensive experience, dating as far back as 1996, in planning and zoning work in our town, and it was my expectation that that experience would give them the background to jump in and make decisions.
    I am frustrated, disappointed, and upset by our failure to move forward. When our constituents pay close to $700,000 a year to have a functioning town board (including pension costs), it is unacceptable that we can’t make decisions when needed. It is not only harmful; it is wasteful.
    The decision on what to do to ensure safe navigation and protection from erosion for Lake Montauk is only one critical issue we have discussed and studied, without any decision. There are so many more. Issues such as the following remain undecided: fueling at town docks, contractor law implementation schedule, scavenger waste facility and what to do with septic waste, trailer park at Three Mile Harbor and its septic system, sale of 300 Pantigo Place units, Natural Resources reorganization, outdoor dining, housing needs, farm legislation, smart lighting, outdoor gatherings at commercial spots, town building code inconsistency with state building code, commercial use of town property and beaches, deer management plan, information technology request for proposals, audit committee, cell towers, commercial and mass-gathering permits, and the use for the old Town Hall.
    Despite what might appear to be silly bickering, I will continue to do my job and fight to get through the muddle and help make those decisions we were elected to make. This is my perspective on my service and job for my fellow residents and for our town. Thank you for the opportunity to share this with your readers.

    Ms. Quigley is an East Hampton Town councilwoman. Ed.

Industry Standard
    June 25, 2012
To the Editor,
    Last week, former East Hampton Town Councilman Brad Loewen, in a letter titled “Exploitation,” commented on two workers who stated that they made $300 for one week and the other, $500 for two weeks. Through some process of interpolation he determined in his mind that the workers worked at least 40 hours for those weeks and came up with the figures of $6.25 and $7.50 per hour. Somehow, he was able to blame Supervisor Wilkinson for this!
    Had Mr. Loewen taken five minutes to contact the restaurant owners he was trying to slander, he would have found that for at least the one worker (I’m not sure about the other), he gets paid $12 per hour, which is about the industry standard for his position. It just so happens that during the pre-season, the restaurant is only open three and a half days per week, hence the $500.
    Mr. Loewen could have contacted the owners, but then the facts would have gotten in the way of his indignation and his ability to blame Mr. Wilkinson. I wonder if he was as indignant when his supervisor put us taxpayers $20 million in the hole? I don’t recall seeing those letters, but I will be looking for a letter apologizing to the restaurant owners he is attempting to slander.

Fund-Raising Effort
    June 17, 2012
Dear Editor:
    The East End chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society just completed its first man and woman of the year fund-raising campaign. The campaign was an intensive 10-week fund-raising effort in which three men (Robert Almeraz, Richard Zbikowski, and I), and two women (Cindy Aronstram and Karin Immerman) vied for the title of man or woman of the year by attempting to raise the most funds while also raising awareness of the organization and its mission. The campaign came to an end last Thursday, and collectively the five of us raised over $60,000.
    Tennille Treadwell encouraged me to join the fund-raising campaign, and I did so because so many of us have lost loved ones as a result of cancer. This was especially true for me, as my mother, Mary Lou Wootton, died prematurely at the age of 69 from pancreatic cancer and missed being a grandmother to my children.
    I wanted to personally thank all of you who made my campaign so successful. Including Ms. Treadwell, who had the confidence in me to nominate me for the fund-raising campaign, and Ms. Immerman, who was supportive of me throughout the 10-week campaign, and who forever will be a close friend.
    I would also like to thank Laura Grenning, who was always available to listen, exchange ideas, and help me with emcee duties, as well as Jennifer Keller, whose help and support were invaluable.
    I was also touched by how local vendors and retailers made significant contributions when asked for silent auctions items. Their contributions raised over $3,000.
    My evening fund-raising event held at the Page at 63 Main Street restaurant would have been impossible without the help and support of the management and staff of the Page, as well as the great music of the band Second Shift.
    Thank you again for all your support!

   Additional thank-yous from Mr. Wootton appear in the Card of Thanks category in the classifieds pages. Ed.

Lucky Organization
    East Hampton
    June 25, 2012
Dear Editor,
    This past Saturday LongHouse Reserve held its fifth Planters: On+Off the Ground Invitational. It was a wonderful event, highlighting the very best of horticultural talent on the East End. Our team of volunteers worked tirelessly and enthusiastically with the staff here at L.H.R., ensuring that all guests enjoyed the afternoon. We are a very lucky organization to have such a dedicated group to rely on to facilitate these large gatherings.
    We would also like to extend a very warm thank-you to Lucy Kazickas of the wonderful cheese shop, Lucy’s Whey, located on North Main Street in the village. Lucy graciously donated four magnificent platters for the event and worked with us at cost on another four. Her beautiful cheeses were appreciated by everyone in attendance.
    On behalf of Jack Lenor Larsen and all of us here at LongHouse Reserve, many, many thanks to our volunteers and to Lucy’s Whey!

Lost its Roots
    New York City
    June 25, 2012
Dear Editor,
    I have been coming to Amagansett every summer since 2007. I enjoy coming out to the South Fork of the Island because the beaches are beautiful and clean, there are local shops and restaurants, and people are down-to-earth. One of my favorite spots was the Surf Lodge. I use the past tense because I think this establishment has lost its roots and is catering to a snotty crowd and consequently, staff and management are behaving that way as well.
    My friends and I have been going to Surf Lodge since the club first opened in 2008. We loved it! It was right on the water, the drinks were good, music was great, and staff was friendly. I have been a loyal patron; I encouraged my friends and family to go there for dinner, for drinks, for a good time. Now, fast-forward four years. It’s a very popular spot, which is great; they deserved the success. But I understand that success can bring frustrating effects: overcrowding, noise, traffic.
    Now, they are trying to keep it under control, and I understand how it can be a challenge. In fact, in the May 24 edition, there was an article about Surf Lodge, “Relaxed, Ready to Stay” reassuring the community that they are good neighbors.
    The article begins with Jayma Cardoso, the maitre d’ of the hotel saying, “We’re not cool.” And she is correct. Because the way that I was treated this past weekend, Saturday, June 23, was completely not cool. Three of my friends and I arrived at the Surf Lodge around 9 p.m. We wanted to have a few drinks and meet up with other friends. We parked our car and approached the line. We were queuing up when a woman representing Surf Lodge came up to us, waving her finger, and said, “Get back in your cabs. Because this is not happening.”
    We were confused. “What is not happening?” “Does she mean we cannot get in?” “What is going on?” we said to one another. She continued her belligerence. “Yes, you four. I am talking to you. Not happening.”
    Then, a couple walks up behind us. They ask us what’s going on and we told them that they weren’t letting people in. Then, the woman who told us we couldn’t­ go in walks up to them and says, “You a couple? Come over here. We are letting couples in.” I was stunned. I could not believe what just happened. We joked to her that we were two couples (there were four of us) and she said again, “Not happening,” and waved the bouncer over to get rid of us.
    I was appalled by such behavior. Besides the obvious — line discrimination — there was such belligerence and lack of customer service. All she had to say was the following: “We are very sorry but we are filled to capacity and must limit the number of guests. But we hope you come back another time.” As for letting others in after us? There is no excuse for that.
    As I mentioned before, this was line discrimination. It made no sense; we were polite and dressed up. The latter, though, shouldn’t matter as there is allegedly there is no dress code at the Surf Lodge. In the May 24 article, Ms Cardoso states, “No high heels. It’s a place where you can come in your flip-flops and sarong.” The misrepresentation of themselves is staggering; they claim to be so laid-back and low-key yet the behavior exhibited on Saturday night was high-maintenance, rude, and discriminatory. Hardly the Surf Lodge I remember — and the reason I won’t ever go back.
    There is no way I would go back to the Surf Lodge again. And I would not recommend it to any readers or any of my friends, either. 

Feral Cat Poem #40
At first, it felt like sighting Bigfoot:
There, in broad daylight,
in the shallows of Accabonac Harbor.
Stood the creature the Indians called
Beast with Two-Heads and Six-Legs!
We stared in awe until the creature began
its ridiculous pushme-pullyou rhumba
and looked so silly we had to hoot
and laff, figuring someone told it
what it could go do with itself and
being a dog it went and did it.
It’s in the nature of dogs to obey.
Unlike cats, who don’t and won’t
and have the decorum, thank you,
to know what night is for.

Changing Composition
    June 25, 2012
To The Star:
     Helen Rattray’s report (Connections, June 14) on Chris Cory’s 50th reunion at Yale prompts me to compare a couple of her comments to last month’s 50th reunion at Harvard, which I attended with my wife, Alice.
    It is instructive to watch in the parade of alumni/ae the changing composition of the classes before and after 1962. The 1960s saw a huge disruption in college admissions. In the 1950s there appears to have been a modest push for more Catholics at Harvard, but this is not so visible in the parade. The push in the 1960s for more minorities and in the 1970s for more women caused much more consternation.
    I attended a small Catholic prep school, Portsmouth Priory (now Abbey), having spent three years already at another Benedictine school in England. The Class of 1962 at Harvard included seven graduates of Portsmouth, two of them via advanced placement. Given that the Portsmouth senior class numbered 35 students, the school was pleased.
    Meanwhile, while Yale had two (some say three) African-American students in the class of 1962, Harvard had 11, with a slightly larger class than Yale’s. The 50th reunion attendance in Sanders Theater was 100-percent white, as far as I could tell. One of the Harvard 11, W. Haywood Burns, was elected a 1962 class marshal and went on to become dean of the City College of New York Law School at Queens College. However, he died at 55 years of age in a 1996 Cape Town car crash.
    Once the civil rights era of the 1960s took hold under President Kennedy, affirmative action in admitting minorities became the new goal. But within a few years, the search for gender equality hit Harvard Yard. In 1970, the 50th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving U.S. women the right to vote, was celebrated with a huge parade in New York City that featured both Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan. It had taken 50 years between the 15th Amendment enfranchisement of black males until the 19th Amendment. Young women in 1970 were not going to wait that long again to press for equal opportunity in college admissions.
    The story of the struggle at Harvard over Radcliffe admissions during the years before and after 1970 was told in April 2012 by Helen Lefkowich Horo­witz, a college dean, who received her Ph.D. from Harvard in 1969. Students and the National Organization for Women campaigned for an equal male-female ratio at Harvard when the ratio of men to women at Harvard was fixed at 4 to 1.
    To understand what the women were up against then, here is what the dean of freshmen, F. Skiddy von Stade, no doubt exhausted by the implications of a rapidly changing composition of the freshman class, had to say about the idea of admitting equal numbers of men and women:
    “When I see bright, well-educated, but relatively dull housewives who attended the Seven Sisters, I honestly shudder at the thought of changing the balance of males versus females at Harvard. . . . Quite simply, I do not see highly educated women making startling strides in contributing to our society in the foreseeable future. They are not, in my opinion, going to stop getting married and/or having children. They will fail in their present role as women if they do.”
    Ms. Horowitz comments: “I’m sure his niece, the great mezzo Frederica von Stade, would have shaken her head at this, if her schedule permitted.”
    The dean of admissions in 1970 issued a report that opposed changing the 4-to-1 ratio. But five years later the Strauch Committee recommended gender-blind admissions and this seems to be, formally, the rule now.
    Are there still quotas at Harvard? Formally, no more. But the admissions office would doubtless be forgiven for keeping on eye on the composition of the class to avoid surprise imbalances at the end of the process.
    The unconfirmed scuttlebutt is that the anti-merit quotas that used to keep out New York City Jewish kids are now most likely to be keeping the numbers down on admitting so many talented Koreans applying from overseas or Korean-American families in the United States. I am pleased to say that a Korean-American from the Harvard Class of 1962 was very much present at the 50th reunion.

At Last, a Road
    June 25, 2012
To the Editor,
    For the past 15 years, I have had the privilege of tutoring selected Latino students at East Hampton High School. They were having difficulty passing the Regents exams necessary for graduation. These were all hard-working, serious students — almost all with after-school jobs —  anxious to get ahead with their lives.
    Over the years I was assigned several undocumented students, so-called “illegals,” brought into this country by their elders. Living with this burden clearly caused great insecurity and a lack of ability to plan a future. They were caught up in a web with no evident escape. We talked about this problem, and all I could do was tell them that one day this country would wake up and pass a law to help them.
    Well, after years of unsuccessfully trying to pass his Dream Act (the Republicans in Congress primarily the problem), President Obama, by executive order, mandated that if they entered this country before they were 16, lived here for five consecutive years, had no criminal record, and graduated from high school or served in the military, they would no longer live under the curse of potential deportment and they could go on with their lives.
    Our Congressman Tim Bishop strongly supports this measure, believing in the need to introduce fairness in our immigration policy. His Republican opponent, Randy Altschuler, opposes this action and supports deporting this young talent.
    If you feel that this difference in policy approach as well as many more — the environment, heath care extension to the uninsured adults and children, to name a few, give your support and your vote to Tim Bishop this November.
    I know and love these kids; give them, at last, a road to happiness.

Greater Potential
    June 25, 2012
Dear David,
    East Enders can all be grateful for President Obama’s initiative, and Congressman Bishop’s support of his initiative, to enable young immigrants brought to this country as children to remain here legally if they have met certain conditions and apply for the privilege. As the president said, doing it now is the “right thing to do.”
    The premise that we should not penalize hard-working, law-abiding young people who got here through no fault of their own is one on which most good people can agree. Caring for the futures of innocent children who’ve grown up here, learned to value the American way, and been friends of our own children is part of our neighborly tradition.
    This is not an “amnesty.” There can be no amnesty unless a crime is committed; children aren’t responsible for the crimes of their parents. This measure is an element of the debate on broader immigration reform to which Congress would probably agree if it weren’t keeping the point as a bargaining chip on more controversial issues. The kids should not be hostage to the Congress’s inability to reach a compromise.
    This policy also looks like good sense for our community. Dr. David Posnett has done some research. Using Springs census data, both because he lives in Springs and because so many of our local immigrants live there, he estimates that about 243 individuals in Springs could get a legal work permit based on the president’s order. Those of that group who take advantage of the president’s offer will not have to function in the shadow economy. They will get driver’s licenses and be subject to the training and scrutiny that entails. They will have bargaining power for wages and benefits, perhaps having a positive effect on wages in general, using those wages primarily in the community, limiting public expense for emergency room visits by getting health insurance. With greater potential for becoming citizens some day, comfortable that they are accepted and respected in the larger community, they will have reason to feel responsible and play a role, to the same extent as the rest of us, for the common welfare of our town.
    President Obama and Congressman Bishop support the new policy because it’s right and makes sense for everybody. Those two premises drive their politics. That’s why they support affordable health care for everyone, fair regulation of business, the right of people to marry whom they want, taxation based on ability to pay, and the right of women to plan their childbearing. Those will be my premises, too, as I go to the polls and vote for President Obama and Congressman Bishop in November.
    Sincerely yours,
    Jeanne Frankl

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

On the Wrong Side
    June 21, 2012
To the Editor,
    I find it quite humorous that Tim Bishop is calling for backup from his supporters at his BookHampton events, fearing Tea Party protesters. While the East End TEA Party had no plans to boycott or infiltrate his events in Mattituck or Sag Harbor, I’m sure one or two well-informed constituents might show up to ask about this congressional district’s impending $4,703 average tax increase, per tax return, in 2013 (which is about $1,000 higher than the rest of the state), or why he supports giving driver’s licenses, “in-state” tuition, and amnesty to illegal immigrants.
    In the meanwhile, we, his constituents, are the problem? Yes, we have a problem, we can no longer afford our homes, jobs are gone, and taxes are far too high and about to get higher.
    We get condescending replies to our letters asking him not to support gender-selection abortions or the Agenda 21 sustainable development movement in our county. He is on the wrong side of what the locals want. By the way, could he please explain his part in the subprime mortgage mess?
    I support Randy Altschuler, who has a great 10-point plan to bring relief to the local fishermen, who knows how to create jobs, and is fiscally conservative. It is time to throw out the old and bring in the new, someone with business acumen, enthusiasm, and energy.
    East End TEA Party

Big Solutions
    Sag Harbor
    June 22, 2012
To the Editor:
    Everyone agrees that we are in a financial mess. However, there are big solutions out there to get us going again, which should have bipartisan support. I will list just two big ones, and believe me, there are plenty more that politicians could address.
    First, taxes and regulations: Businesses large and small are sitting on lots of cash but are not expanding their businesses or hiring people. Why is this? The answer is uncertainty.
    For the time being, let’s leave the burden of new regulations aside. Take the Bush tax cuts, for example. Once again we have to go through all the drama and posturing in D.C. about whether to extend the cuts or not. It appears what most likely will happen is they will be extended for a finite period of time.
    From a business standpoint this is the worst thing that could happen, because it extends the financial uncertainty of running a business and therefore hiring at small businesses, which drive this country’s economy, will be kept to a minimum. Either stop the tax cuts, or make them permanent, so businesses will know how to manage into the future. The only sensible thing to do is to make them permanent and then stand back as business invests and expands, unemployment drops, and overall government tax revenues will increase.
    The second thing that our government could do (and it is big), is to create a targeted stimulus that would create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, lower the cost of energy, give the consumer more money to spend, increase automotive production, while also providing new income and jobs to cottage industries that support automotive production and the construction industry. Sound too good to be true? Well it can be achieved by transitioning our automotive industry to engines driven by natural gas.
    Natural gas engine technology is here today and powering vehicles on the road. The problem of convenient distribution of natural gas is stopping the acceptance of more natural gas-powered vehicles. This can be easily solved. Remember in the 1950s, the government invested in the Interstate Highway System? Well this time the government could do something similar but with a much better return on investment.
    The government could focus the stimulus money on constructing 10,000-plus new natural gas stations across the U.S.A. The stations would tap into existing or new natural gas pipelines across the U.S.A. In some instances, adapter kits could be built for use at homes that already have natural gas going to the home for heating, so cars could be charged up at home. This approach would lower or eliminate our need for oil from foreign countries, thus improving our strategic position around the world. And, depending on the drop in demand for oil in the U.S.A., we could be a net exporter of oil versus what we are today.
    Now, here is the best news: The government could recoup all the stimulus money by privatizing the natural gas stations to get the stimulus money back with interest, and then return the money to the taxpayers or use it to help fix some of our entitlement programs. Naysayers will no doubt come up with easons why this will not work, but I submit that with the same type of ingenuity that we used to put a man on the moon and bring him back, we could overcome any obstacles, if given a chance.

Change Everything
    East Hampton
    June 24, 2012
To the Editor,
    In the most critical of times the coming election has become an exercise in political idiocy that exceeds anything we’ve ever witnessed before. The disconnect from reality and the fear of change and imminent social disruption have made this election into a senseless free-for-all. There is, however, a body of evidence, a factual history that defines and identifies the condition of the country. We are, it says, in the crapper and sinking slowly, more deeply and darkly.
    The gravity of the situation would, under normal circumstances, generate a plethora of ideas and possible solutions. An avalanche of American ingenuity and creativity. But, because our body politic no longer functions (Where’s Richard Nixon when we need him?), we are inundated with pathetic, hackneyed, failed concepts that are little more than recycled garbage. The existing gridlock, however, while detrimental to 80 percent of the country including our children, is not a negative for everyone.
    So, if given the choice between Mitt Romney’s quasi-retarded (given the last 11 years) lower taxes, cut regulation ideas and President Obama’s mini-stimulus deficit program, we would logically chose neither. We could stand fast and do nothing and hope that our children’s (if they have the courage to procreate) children will profit from our sacrifices and that the economy will turn itself around by 2030.
    In an alternative Democratic system we would declare the government a failure and change everyone. Let the free market govern performance and make it responsible. Stop rewarding failure. We supposedly hated welfare, but aren’t our pols all on support systems?
    Nasty pols say that the difference between Mr. Romney and Bush II is two pounds of cocaine and 100 hookers. They say the difference between Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama is the $50 million he had hidden under his baby pillow. The problem for the 80 percent is that they are both wedded to their corporate donors who believe that betting on both horses in a two-horse race is a win-win situation.
    Consequently, for the first time in our history our children will not do as well as we did — breaking the American dream as we once believed it to be. Instead we have Mr. Romney’s dream, in which wealthy people will create masses of Wal-Marts and Targets, and we will find affordable products in sync with our meager incomes. Mr. Obama, sadly, has a recurring nightmare that he is sharing a tent with House Speaker John Boeh­ner and that Mr. Boehner’s false teeth are slowly peeling the skin from his body, making dreaming impossible.
    The simple narrative of the broken dream is that wages don’t rise, debt gets heavier, the piece of the pie grows thinner, consumption decreases, and more people get laid off. People lose jobs, people lose benefits, people lose their homes, but they aren’t the people who benefit from gridlock. They don’t make $10 million contributions, can’t afford to buy politicians, have no one to stand up for them except themselves. The narrative requires imagination, courage, and action. Instead we get immigration, gay marriage, and phony voter fraud. None of what we are offered is edible, bankable, or digestible.
    Yet unloading all our politicians wouldn’t resolve the problem. Only when we hit the streets and demand our piece of the pie will anyone sit down and recognize the problem and rework the narrative.

Who the Heck?
    East Hampton
    June 18, 2012
Dear Editor,
    Who is Mitt Romney? What does he believe? What is his vision for America? Why won’t he tell us before the election what he stands for? What are his principles? Where is he on the issues of the day? What programs will he cut to pay for the tax cuts he advocates? Why won’t he release all of his tax returns?
    We know horses can be trained to dance; it’s called dressage and owning a horse trained that way makes for a good tax deduction, ask Mr. Romney. So why can’t Mr. Romney be trained to tell the truth? Does he ever take a stand on anything that matters?
    The Romney campaign is just getting away with repetitive, massive calumny and mendacity because of a recalcitrant media, spread thin by the many, many issues of the day, leaving truth trains to do the job of telling the truth.
    Mitt Romney is an empty suit who just wants the job of president only to enhance his résumé and certainly not to bring any beneficial ideas to the country.
    So the main question is, who the heck is Mitt Romney?

Our Present Demise
    Sag Harbor
    June 25, 2012
To the Editor,
    Why are we asked to vote for a president; the majority no longer votes? Does JP Morgan Chase seem to run our country? Are we not already in the grasp of corporate powers? These corporate powers call the shots in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why has Chase begun commercials on public television recruiting soldiers for further wars? Is there a connection between Wall Street and the Pentagon? Has our broken economy and military, which spends 50 percent of our taxes, caused our present demise? Only 4 percent is spent on our children’s education. Our kids can’t vote, and have no hope.
    Why have we started training 14,000 women for combat? Why has the R.O.T.C. returned to college campuses and junior R.O.T.C. programs in high schools? Is that immoral? Where is the reverence for life? How many bodies do these powers want from the American people? Body bags are hidden from sight. Compassion puts a threat on endless killing. The suicide rate of victims of post-traumatic stress disorder is on the rise as never before in war. Damaged souls are at risk. What really disturbs me about war is money, the root of evil.
    In peace,