July 1, 2012
To the Editor,
To whom the rules do not apply: At the beginning of every summer season for at least the last 15 years, I’ve told myself I should write a letter to the editor reminding people about the rules of the road. But I never have. Until this year. The death of that high school student on Old Stone Highway was the catalyst. I was diverted both going to, and hours later, coming from Atlantic Avenue Beach that day because of that particular accident. You didn’t have to ask the young cops to know it was serious. (I read later that he and his buddies were walking three abreast when they were hit by a taxi that may or may not have been going too fast.)
I know Old Stone Highway very well, as I know most of the roads in the town. I’ve been running on them, biking on them, and driving on them for 30 years. And I’ve never had an accident. Yes, I’ve come close to being clipped, doored, and just mowed down lots of times. I attribute the fact that I’m still in one piece to luck and to the fact that I obey the basic rules of the road. This doesn’t make me an angel. It’s just helped keep me alive during the summer killing season.
The rules are simple. Until I came to the East End, I thought everybody knew them from childhood:
1. If you’re on wheels — in a car, on a bike, or on rollerblades — you stay on the right. If you’re on foot, walking or running, you stay on the left, going against traffic.
2. If you’re in a car or a truck, you yield to everybody not in a car or a truck.
3. If you’re on a bike or on foot, you ride or run single file, especially when cars are trying to use the road or if you’re in a section with blind turns, like Old Stone Highway.
We all want to use the same roads. And as one writer pointed out in The Star last weekend, there are more of us out here during the summer months than the roads can safely handle. So following the rules becomes even more important.
But I forgot: This is the Hamptons, the playground of the high and mighty, the personal domain of those special people to whom the rules do not apply. They make so much money back in the city, they make such big decisions, and they’re so important, they don’t have to obey the rules. And they certainly don’t have to obey those silly rules of the road when they’re at play in East Hampton. Rules are for wimps. Rules are for losers.
I rode road bikes on these roads for years, often with groups of 10 to 15 riders. Yes, we often filled the whole lane. But when a car came up on us, there were always shouts of “Car back,” and everyone quickly and safely moved into a single file so the car could pass. Not anymore. People blithely ride on the left side of the road. They ride in the middle of the road, arrogantly ignoring the line of cars behind them waiting to get around.
Just this past weekend on Old Stone Highway, I came up behind a pair of bikers riding side-by-side while at least six cars backed up behind them. When it finally was my turn to pass them, I shouted as politely as I could, “You guys should ride single file when there are cars around.”
For my trouble, I was called a name The Star won’t print. Ah, another master of the universe for whom the rules do not apply.
I’m no goody-goody. I’ve ridden through stop signs when there are no cars around. I’ve probably driven faster than the local constables would like. But I am aware that the rules of the road exist so we can share and coexist on the roads. It’s just a matter of common sense — and life and death.
July 6, 2012
Your recent editorial about ticks and the cover story about the controversy over culling the herd both entirely miss the most important point: Nymphal deer ticks — about the size of a poppy seed, so you can skip all the nonsense about how easy they are to detect if you just feel for them in the shower — can carry up to three parasitic diseases. Two of them, Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis, are non-fatal; however, the third one, becoming increasingly common on the East End, is babesiosis, also known as Northeast malaria; it is fatal in up to 20 percent of the infected (50 percent in Europe), and is particularly lethal for the very young and senior citizens.
I have spent the last month getting over babesiosis. A week of flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, sleeping up to 20 hours a day) that didn’t get better, led me to the Wainscott Walk-In clinic, which urgently sent me directly to the Southampton Hospital emergency room.
They can diagnose babesiosis in a few hours, since the parasites, which invade and kill red blood cells, are visible with a high-power microscope. However, since it takes several days to determine if you have one or two of the other diseases, they dose you with intravenous antibiotics; one of them, quinine, has particularly nasty side effects, including significant weight loss, almost total loss of appetite, and temporary hearing loss. You suffer from severe anemia (since the parasites kill red blood cells far faster than the bone marrow can replace them), and have no energy for anything. They calculate the percentage of infected red blood cells; I got up to 8 percent, only 2 percent away from having to have a complete blood-replacement transfusion either at Brookhaven or in New York City, but after five days of intravenous antibiotics, the count dropped to under 1 percent.
My wife drove me to the city; I was so weak that I needed to borrow a walker just to get into a cab to go to my internist’s office. By then, they knew that I only had one of the three diseases, and my internist and consulting infectious disease specialist were able to prescribe different antibiotics, targeted specifically at the babesiosis. After a week, my blood test showed no discernible parasites, and I am slowly recovering. I have been unable to work for four weeks, but at least can stay awake for most of the day.
It is bad enough that we have to live in cages while Bambi and friends roam free. It is bad enough that we have to spray vile-smelling materials on every annual not protected by a cage. It is bad enough that supposedly deer-resistant plantings frequently turn out to be tasty salads to them. It is bad enough that they cause thousands of dollars of automobile damage with each collision. However, their ability to actually cause the death of human beings is really the last straw.
I won’t bore you with more facts. Just search for “deer tick borne parasitic diseases” on the Internet, and there is an overwhelming amount of frightening information. Suffice it to say that deer are the crucial host on the East End, not birds, nor raccoons, nor squirrels, nor chipmunks, nor mice, nor turkeys.
We are inundated with deer; to argue against culling of the herd is to, in substance, argue in favor of the deaths of human beings. All I can say is that if you have flu-like symptoms that just won’t go away, get over to the Southampton Hospital emergency room; they probably see as many tick-borne diseases as any hospital in America, and they know exactly what to look for and how to treat it.
I urge that it is time to bring this life-threatening scourge into the deer-culling discussion.
Offenses and Abuses
July 9, 2012
I recently had a brief exchange with one of our town board council members. It was pleasant and informative with no hint of the acrimony witnessed at town board meetings or hearings. My main concern in addressing him was the proposal being offered to deal with our deer population. While I do not support the direction the board is headed in this matter, we both agreed on but one point: Illegal, extensive overclearing of woodlands in preparation for the construction of preposterous, behemoth faux-mansions on woodland lots is a major factor in the consolidation of our deer herds. We are literally driving them into the streets with the total annihilation of their habitat and food source. They are fat and sassy, so nature has no purpose in the culling. The number-one complaint I hear from humans calling for their deaths is, “They ate my hydrangeas!”
For some reason Ordinance Enforcement and Building Department officials have chosen to turn a blind eye on offenses and abuses of overzealous builders and homeowners. Despite efforts to save one new street from this type of destruction, a major local builder has opened five lots in less than a year utilizing “atomic bombs” to clear the way for excavation so massive that the leftover sand (which is then bulldozed into the surrounding woods) could rebuild many a beach along our destroyed coastline. The sand chokes out underbrush and cover for wildlife, destroying wild laurel, blueberry, and many other food sources for ground birds, critters, and deer alike. This blanket often spills onto scenic and natural easements and preserves designated for the sole purpose of saving space for nature’s continued well-being and peace. They are destroying land which they do not own.
I urge those concerned to visit Peach Farm Lane in the Northwest Woods section of town. It is off Old Northwest Road, from Cedar Street, three-quarters of a mile out on the right. Take note of the local developer who has destroyed an entire neighborhood with his disregard for legal ordinance and the natural beauty of the area. A few strategic trees and hedges, while hiding the truth from the street, do not replenish cover for groundwater retention. Acres of sod over sand need unnatural amounts of irrigation and chemicals to survive. This one street is a perfect example of exactly what judicious planning 30 years ago was implemented to prevent. Time and dollars created conspirators of the officials paid to enforce and protect.
To murder deer with impunity due to man’s selfish and hateful nature is criminal! A few more debacles like Peach Farm Lane and the deer can all come live at my place.
July 4, 2012
To the Editor,
Deer are our wildlife, just as elephants are East Africa’s wildlife. Deer are a grazing animal as elephants are. If East End contractors and homeowners would leave a ring around the property of natural vegetation we call hedgerow, the deer will munch raspberries, bittersweet, and honeysuckle.
Springtime rhododendron snacks will grow back. And even if they snatch a flower or two, we could be celebrating their beauty, their mammalian characteristics, which are shared with our own species: the nursing and education of their young instead of whining about them, threatening to call in sharpshooters to exterminate them. Deer are peaceable animals and should be respected as such.
Man has wiped out most of the large species. Where herds, flocks, schools, and pods of thousands of animals existed on this country’s land and in its seas a mere 60 years ago, populations have been reduced to hundreds in many cases, barely a breeding population.
To Our Door
July 1, 2012
During a brief visit to New York from Sydney, Australia, my cousin Dr. Bruce Solomon, his wife, Lara, daughter, Drew, 14, and son, Noah, 12, came to East Hampton to spend an afternoon with us.
They arrived by Jitney, armed with a tourist map of East Hampton and, since they had some time on their hands, they decided to walk to our house on Squaw Road. Little did they know that their map was not to scale and that it would be a five-mile hike. But, resolute walkers that they are, they kept on walking, and walking and walking, notwithstanding the 90-degree heat. After more than an hour, they reached the Pig Pen farm stand on Three Mile Harbor Road, exhausted and bedraggled.
They asked the saleswoman how much farther to Squaw Road. She told them about a quarter-mile, and on they trudged. Within a few moments, the same woman pulled alongside them in her sport-utility vehicle and invited them to hop in. She had taken pity on my cousins and drove them to our door.
All four Australians were not only immensely grateful (as were we) but most impressed with the friendliness and helpfulness of the first East Hamptoner they had ever met.
Makes It Look Easy
July 8, 2012
To The Editor,
The Friends of the Montauk Library held its 33rd annual book fair this past Saturday. As always, it was a big success. We raised over $24,000 to support the programs and activities of the Montauk Library.
Thank you to our many, many volunteers who give generously of their time. Some set up tables or took them down. Some carried books on and off of trucks. Many gave up all or parts of their day to help while spending time with family or going to the beach would have been a wonderful alternative.
We want to thank the many people who donated their books, jewelry, baked goods, and attic treasures for us to sell and-or recycle to others in the community and those many just visiting. Let’s not forget the businesses that donated raffle prizes and supplies to give us a hand. Thank you to those who came to buy things: our T-shirts, bags, and hot dogs as well as the books. Thanks also to the Town of East Hampton and the East Hampton Police Department for facilitating our event.
The backbone of the event is the executive board of the Friends of the Montauk Library, who work on this event all year. Sorting, cleaning, pricing, storing, and at the end, baking to have everything ready to put out to sell.
We are led by Barbara Metzger, chairwoman of the book fair, who has led us on this endeavor for all of the 33 years it has taken place. Bob-E makes it look easy but we all know it is not. Congratulations to us all.
President of the Friends of the
July 8, 2012
To the Editor:
In reviewing Thomas McNamee’s recent biography of Craig Claiborne, “The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat,” The Star, July 5), Eric Kuhn recalls the meal he had at Mr. Claiborne’s house in 1989.
What caught Mr. Kuhn’s attention was the Simi Valley chardonnay that Mr. Claiborne served. Mr. Kuhn had expected a “knock-out” brand and a dollar-rich wine: After all, this was the Claiborne hugely famous for spending $4,000 on a meal he and Pierre Franey shared in Paris, with American Express doing the courtesy of picking up the bill.
Mr. Kuhn, then a Star reporter, realized that “the crisp Californian [wine] was a sign of Craig’s egalitarian appreciation and respect for what was simply good.”
I’ll join in that assessment of several modestly priced wines in Mr. Claiborne’s wine rack in his home off Hand’s Creek. About 40 years ago, as a summer visitor to East Hampton, I signed on for a tour of homes and studios of famous people in East Hampton and Amagansett. Guild Hall had organized the tour to raise funds for the museum. I recall that Hyman Bloom’s studio was one of the places we visited. Who could forget the grisly carcasses hanging from meat hooks? Strangely juxtaposed with these were paintings of rabbis. Mr. Bloom’s paintings had tremendous strength and simply thrust themselves on viewers.
But the star of that tour, for me, was Craig Claiborne’s house. I remember three things about it:
One, his wines. Many of them had a Sichel label. When I went back to the city, I learned that many of them were in the under-$15 range. I thought: “Wow. If these wines are good enough for Craig Claiborne, that’s what I’m going to buy for myself.”
Second, a set of the 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. It had a public library binding. I knew that the 1911 had long been considered “the last of the [great] scholarly editions.” It showed a side of Mr. Claiborne that he valued knowledge well beyond the confines of cuisine.
And, third, a Mongolian grill — this magic, inverted stove, with enough coals underneath it, can take a piece of lamb and, with its intense heat, rid the lamb of its fattiness and have it taste as lean and fat-free as a cut of sirloin.
For me, Mr. Claiborne’s triumph of writing was not the description of his $4,000 meal but a column titled “Last Meal on Earth.” I read it not too many years after the visit to his house,
What an intriguing idea! What would you have for your last meal on earth? He listed dishes and their accompanying “liquids”: caviar and Stolichnaya vodka; steamed striped bass and a white wine, if I remember, steamed squab, etc.
I tried out the invitation to several of the people I had come to know in East Hampton. Sumptuous dishes were often not mentioned; instead, some responses were as plain and straightforward as a great “farm” tomato, a good bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, and an onion in the meal.
I left reading that column with an invitation I and my wife took from it to steam some striped bass. What a lasting treat that firm, delicate flesh has been for us all these years.
One of the Stars
July 8, 2012
Dear Mr. Rattray,
I am very honored to be featured in last week’s sports section by Jack Graves. About three weeks ago I was on my way to a fund-raising event in New Jersey. While waiting for my bus, I saw Jack walking toward the town. We exchanged greetings, and he casually asked me if I was still playing tennis tournaments. I indicated that I was still very active in tennis and that, as a matter of fact, I was soon traveling upstate to SUNY Cortland, where I was planning to compete in the Empire State Games and would be trying to qualify for the nationals, which will be held next summer in Ohio.
Jack wished me “good luck” and promised, “If you win, I’ll write about you.” Confidently, I told him to start writing and that I planned to win the state championship. It was one of those things that, when I do something, I give it 100 percent, as my good friend Barbara Mueller stated in Jack’s article. However, I did not promise to blank my opponents.
Jack and I occasionally played doubles in the men’s league when a substitute was needed at the East Hampton Indoor-Outdoor Club. He is an aggressive player, and, no matter what, he’ll come to the net while I’m at the back, boringly retrieving the ball forever.
After returning from Cortland, I saw him at the tennis club and informed him that I had won my tournament. He immediately arranged for an interview and a photo session. While that interview could have been featured the next Thursday, he decided to wait one week to write a larger story.
Finally, I’d like to thank Jack for his amazing and accurate writing ability, and The East Hampton Star for giving me space in the paper because we, the unknown people, sometimes do not get much attention even though we may have done things comparable to what celebrities do. Sometimes the difference is simply famous versus not so famous. I have a dream that someday I will own a newspaper and that I will concentrate on people that do not get exposure but quietly contribute a great deal to the community doing good deeds and humanitarian works.
Thanks again for making me one of the stars of the week. My family and I truly appreciate the celebrity status, if only for a short time, and I will try to remain humble.
July 5, 2012
To the Editor:
This week’s Star shows why the two-page spread on the newspaper and its editor in the August issue of Town and Country is amply deserved. The front page was journalistically meaty, with unique stories on the fast operator who put giant teen parties in rented houses, the surprising cons of shooting deer, and the lighthouses for sale. But the paper shed its usual sparks throughout, with a subtle essay-review on the ironies of Craig Claiborne’s achievements, another of Durell Godfrey’s witty shopping guides, a sweet, new Robert Dashism (porch rockers “tittup” gently back and forth, breeze or no breeze), landscaping how-tos, more understated but tough editorials and reviews, and all sorts of other well-written and useful listings and news.
The recognition The Star gets is no fluke, or perhaps better, is the aquatic kind it consistently reels in.
CHRISTOPHER T. CORY
July 8, 2012
To the Editor,
I’d like to let your readers know about the wonderful job that Tony Littman and his staff at the East Hampton Parks and Recreation Department have been doing at Springs Park. Thank you, thank you. It’s beautiful in the park now, and their work only adds to it.
Friends of Springs Park
Helping Them Forget
July 8, 2012
You report that, at the recent opening of the ex-Ronjo, new Beach House, our supervisor said, “When women give birth, people say they soon forget the pain. This baby has been delivered today,” pointing out that the Beach House will attract customers who will spend money in the hamlet’s gas stations, delis, local bars, shops, and restaurants.
I’m sure that the “champagne and other libations” to which he and our police chief were treated at the opening party, along with the complimentary stay for our police chief’s mother, went a great way to helping them forget whatever inconvenience they may have felt in the process of giving birth to this project.
July 7, 2012
To my good friends of the Montauk Citizens Voice, per the ad in last week’s Star: Would you, as you said, rather live in “Dodge City?” Interesting concept.
You guys really didn’t get it, or you are just taking my remarks out of context. Either way, what a waste of money.
My “Dodge City” comments were directed to the town board to encourage them to replace the code enforcement officers, who for various reasons would not be working this summer season — our busiest time when our sleepy hamlet becomes “the new Hampton.”
We need to either enforce our laws, protecting our environment and way of life, or in the best tradition of democracy, change them. We undermine our democratic process by trivializing the laws that have been passed by our duly elected town government.
We must ensure that we are responsible stewards of our community by protecting our environment and quality way of life to ensure that our children and grandchildren will still have this very special place for as long as possible.
Change is not good or bad, it is inevitable. But it is vital to manage that change, in ways that will enable us as a town and as good neighbors, to be the best that we can be.
Let us not kill the goose that has laid the “golden egg.” When our waters go unprotected, when our quality of life is subordinated to the quick buck, we will not be the vacationland that made our town such a wonderfully attractive and desirable place to live and visit. Short-term gain versus long-term planning is what makes every decision that we make critical — whether as an individual, family, community, or nation, we must realize that we are responsible to plan for the future of our life, and for those that follow us.
Dodge City was known for its lawlessness, and Boot Hill was filled with the victims of that carnage, most of whom died “with their boots on,” i.e., unsavory individuals who were so-called “quick-buck artists.”
I, too, applaud and appreciate all the businessfolk in our community who invest responsibly and in conformity with our existing codes. We would not be a community without them. It is to all our advantage to be good neighbors.
By the way, Mr. Supervisor, has the board hired temporary or permanent replacements for the absent enforcement folks? Either way, we should know.
LAWRENCE S. SMITH
Shocked and Offended
July 4, 2012
To the Editor,
I was both shocked and offended by Theresa Quigley’s comments as reported in a New York Times article about problems in East Hampton on July 3. Her linkage of these problems to the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany is so absurd and ridiculous that I would suggest that Ms. Quigley review her history. The East Hampton Library has stacks of volumes that will facilitate this.
Suffice it to say that the Jews in Nazi Germany were never in violation of any laws. Individuals referred to in the New York Times article may be in violation of federal laws (illegal entry into the United States) and local laws (building codes). I do hope that Ms. Quigley’s linkage was not brought about by the possibility that two activists mentioned in the article may be Jewish. If this is the case, it has traces of classic anti-Semitism and offends me so greatly I would participate in a campaign to call for Ms. Quigley’s resignation.
Is it possible that Ms. Quigley is attempting to divert attention from either her reluctance or failure to do her job?
Conflicts of Interest
July 9, 2012
In Supervisor Bill Wilkinson’s proposal for an audit committee, he has selected his closest allies as members: elected public officials (Councilwoman Theresa Quigley), town employees (Patrick Gunn and Charlene Kagel), political appointees (Len Bernard), and private citizens (Stanley Arkin and Carole Campolo).
As you mentioned in your editorial, one of the important functions of an audit committee is “to give the residents comfort that East Hampton’s management has operated in their best interests.” For an audit committee to succeed in this critical role, it must both act without conflicts of interest and also appear that it has been formed without any inherent bias.
Avoiding not only actual conflicts of interest but even their appearance is an important rule for elected officials to follow. The proposed audit committee would have difficulty functioning without conflicts of interests, and it would never be able to avoid having the appearance of such conflicts.
July 8, 2012
The charms of the quiet lanes of Amagansett are disappearing at an alarming speed.
Used to be, there were nice houses with well-tended gardens on the small half-acre lots, surrounded by pines, maples, wild cherry, and apple trees and such. There were neighbors’ dogs appearing for unexpected visits, since there were few fences. Some homeowners even had horses in their backyards — now mostly subdivided as flag lots and built on.
Things have changed, as real estate values have soared, and yes, I know, change is inevitable. We are now more likely to have deer visiting the front lawn than dogs, and more people have put up fencing for this reason, which is understandable.
The changes that are less welcome have been abruptly brought about by developers, who, it appears, have no problem still getting building permits for 5,500-square-foot “spec houses” for these very small lots. I had the impression, apparently mistakenly, that around 4,000 square feet was now the maximum allowable?
What is even more outrageous is the heavy-handed manner in which these lots are almost completely cleared of all existing trees and vegetation — stripped naked, really, before construction starts.
Again, I thought there were rules for a set percentage of clearing allowable set by the Natural Resources Department?
The new emerging landscape of the Amagansett lanes is one of massive-looking, oversized mini-mansions, placed as close to the street as permitted, straddling the lot from side to side, often behind electric gates, and, alas, only occasionally occupied by their owners.
Are there any plans to preserve the landscape of these lovely little one-block streets lined by massive hardwood trees, bordering Bluff Road and the ocean?
July 7, 2012
When Homo sapiens first settled down into communities, they instituted governments. At first, it was regimes based on the “strong man” rules that emerged. Time passed, and governments became more sophisticated as the needs of their societies grew more complex. Leaders crafted laws that were designed to protect and provide for the general welfare of the citizens. But a law can only address a need when it is enforced and lawbreakers are subject to consequences.
In present-day East Hampton, a town that has seen tremendous growth in the last 30 years, there are laws that are not being enforced, from the simple rule of no parking at town beaches without a beach permit sticker to the when, where, and how dogs are allowed on beaches to the most egregious flaunting of the law that permits only a certain number of people occupying a bedroom in a house.
The classic case of the breakdown of an orderly society is the housing dilemma that exists in Springs. So much has been said about this difficulty that the Springs situation made The New York Times last week even though the article did not present the problem in the usual Times standard for accuracy and fairness, making it a bit thin and one-sided. (Oh, those Hamptonites!) But the town has chosen, thus far, to give a minimal response to the people of Springs, the most densely populated area and housing many of 99-percenter ilk.
If the law exists, and the code enforcement people are well-staffed, the problem should slowly begin to resolve in an equitable fashion for all. Or will it? And if it doesn’t, the next question is: Why doesn’t it? Why does the town lack the will?
A law must be enforced to be a law; otherwise it’s only words on paper.
PHYLLIS I. MALLAH
Airports Are Noisy
July 7, 2012
To the Editor,
There are hundreds of airports throughout the world that have noise problems and fully staffed control towers. Why would any horse’s ass think that a control tower in East Hampton is going to solve an international problem? Airports are noisy; who’s kidding whom? The main reason for noise is the slow-moving, pounding helicopter. Jets pass quickly; noisy but tolerable.
There would be no helicopters if there were no passengers. It all started when the bypass highway was defeated, as proposed by the state assessment of highways. Stimulating the local economy, a film festival, along with class programs at Guild Hall, the Bay Street Theatre (add another dozen), draw attendees whose time is more valuable than money. For the time it takes to get to Southampton by vehicle you can be in Manhattan by chopper — cost be damned.
Don’t blame the airport for doing its job. Put the blame someplace else.
DONALD T. FOLEY
July 9, 2012
No sooner did East Hampton Airport’s new control tower begin operation than a Greek chorus of anti-Federal Aviation Administration acolytes declared it dead on arrival. If Steve Jobs and Bill Gates had been subjected to such a hair-trigger evaluation, we might still be communicating by Selectric typewriter and fax.
All this fuss, presumably, because an F.A.A. spokesperson in a meeting that was supposed to be for pilots only declared that the control tower was all about safety, not about noise. We’re all grown-ups here, I hope. What was he expected to say? One has to wonder what motivates the control tower’s most vocal opponents, especially those who supported it all through the development of the airport master plan, and who is pulling their strings.
As if the flood of letters to The Star and other papers were not enough, a few members of the Quiet Skies Coalition turned Thursday night’s town board meeting, for a few minutes, into a three-ring circus. An earnest and reasonable plea by Pat Trunzo III wanting to know what had gone wrong was bracketed by two theatrical performances by Quiet Skies followers.
The first was a comically misinformed mock-indictment of Councilman Dominick Stanzione, demanding his removal based on wildly inaccurate allegations. The last was a cute but largely irrelevant declaration of independence from the F.A.A. that started out “we, the people” but more accurately should have started out “we, a few people who have bought into David Gruber’s anti-F.A.A. theology. . . .”
Since the town cannot rid itself of any F.A.A. grant assurances until 2015, the control tower and other noise-abatement initiatives deserve a chance to succeed rather than being gonged into oblivion after just a few days. Noise is the responsibility of the airport manager, Councilman Stanzione, and the town board. If they can’t deliver before 2015, it will shed doubt on the compatibility of F.A.A. funding and effective noise abatement. But they deserve more than three days, three weeks, or even three months to do it. And it is important to remember that the control tower is just a necessary first step in a multi-step noise-abatement process. If it doesn’t work, more aggressive measures will be justified.
In the meantime, I urge the Quiet Skies leadership to dispense with its politically motivated hypercriticism and offer up a realistic post-2014 noise-abatement plan that could withstand the inevitable litigation that will challenge any meaningful noise abatement not sanctioned by the F.A.A.
PETER A. WADSWORTH
Not on the List
July 9, 2012
Incredibly, it would seem, in hindsight, the noise-affected community supported the addition of a seasonal air traffic control tower at East Hampton Airport. We supported this improvement because, while we understood its first priority would be safety, we had strong reassurance from Councilman Dominick Stanzione, airport management, and even the East Hampton Aviation Association that noise-mitigation protocols would be a major factor in operations.
Quiet Skies Coalition members learned differently at the June 30 information session at the airport, where those present were informed of the protocols established by the Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers for the operations at the tower. Noise mitigation was not on the list.
My guess is that now Councilman Stanzione and the East Hampton Aviation Association are fast away devising their disinformation campaign insisting that the tower is addressing noise abatement, in complete contrast to what was publicly and authoritatively stated at that informational meeting by the air traffic controllers themselves.
The truth is: as if by sleight of hand, we’ve all been tricked by Councilman Stanzione and his supporters in the East Hampton Aviation Association. We’ve been fooled into believing an air traffic control tower would improve safety and address noise-abatement concerns in affected communities by enforcing altitudes and distributing flight paths more evenly.
It is a short leap in logic to think that aviation interests and their champion, Councilman Stanzione, will now be flooding the public with propaganda that they, in fact, do support noise-control measures as a control tower function. Aviation interests may actually insist that Quiet Skies Coalition members who attended the June 30 meeting muddled what was said by the air traffic controllers and Jim Brundige when they declared the tower is “not about noise.”
But, here’s one thing we have that they don’t have: Quiet Skies Coalition has an audio recording of this meeting that will prove we are correct in our understanding. The tape demonstrates beyond a doubt that the controllers told the audience that they were not there to mitigate noise. It is proof against what is likely to be another round of propaganda from the aviation community that they support noise-abatement policies.
One wonders why this important informational session was not televised or otherwise recorded, as the implementation of this tower at our airport, one of the town’s prized public assets, is a historic event for the town. But, that’s another topic, isn’t it? At least the coalition has an audio file of it.
How the controllers plan to address noise abatement is right there on the recording, for all to hear: They won’t.
Quiet Skies Coalition
Watch Your Change
July 9, 2012
To the Editor,
Rushing to the beach, hungry, I stopped off at the convenient Luz’s Deli on 27 just east of the center of Amagansett. It looked like a dump, but I thought a sandwich couldn’t be too dodgy. Boy, was I wrong!
I ordered my grilled chicken sandwich for $8.50, along with nothing else. I approached the register that boasted a clear sign demanding “Cash Only.” The guy who took my order behind the counter was now in the kitchen making my order.
The woman at the register rang up $10.77. My $10 bill already pulled out and ready to hand over, I took a double take. “$10.77? My sandwich was only $8.50,” I said, already starting to wonder what was going on.
The lady behind the register stated, matter-of-factly, “That’s tax.”
Well, I happen to know exactly what tax is on $8.50 and it isn’t $2.22.
I told her so, now ripe with suspicion that this woman was counting on a steady influx of wealthy patrons unconcerned about their change. As long as the bill ends in some odd cent denomination, then the customer will just assume it’s tax.
I wasn’t biting at all. I told her that tax on $8.50 was about 73 cents.
She gave me my change and said that she had made a mistake.
Sorry. If she had made a “mistake” she would have admitted to it before she defended her overpricing with a taxation excuse.
I turned to the two women in line behind me and said, “Watch your change.” The woman behind the register upended herself promptly and went into the kitchen, where I was able to watch her go whisper something into the guy’s ear who was making my sandwich.
When she came back I asked her what she did that for. She said, “You told those people that I was ripping you off.”
I asked again what she said to the cook; I had now put myself in a position wherein the people in control didn’t like me one bit for calling them out on their apparent little scam.
She said, “I don’t do nothing to your sandwich. I am the owner. I don’t need to mess with your food. You said to those people I am ripping you off.”
I repeated, “I told them to watch their change, as your ‘mistake’ was ridiculous, and now that I know you are the proprietor, then I am quite certain you know what tax on $8.50 should be. I don’t like this situation anymore. I don’t trust the food will come to me clean. I would like my money back. I don’t want that sandwich.”
She said calmly and with a sardonic smile to kill, “No, I will not.”
I said, “But I don’t want the sandwich, you need to give me my money back.”
She declined again with a smug smirk.
I simply can’t remember a time when a salesperson acted with such a nasty attitude. I took my sandwich, finally, and left. Needless to say, I threw it out.
I was the loser. I felt very pissed off and dejected. I [suspect] this woman is ripping off customers with regularity. If this is published, there may be some justice. Perhaps she will have to stop what appears to be her scam, due to the public notoriety. I wonder if this is common amongst small proprietorships in our midst. I recommend that we all watch for the “Cash Only” signs, know generally what a tax should come to, and count our change. Please don’t go to Luz’s Deli. Yuck!
July 9, 2012
The goal of the Obama campaign, hypocritically, is to define Mitt Romney by August as an out-of-touch millionaire financed by other millionaires. They are working hard on this to overshadow the fact that the Democrats, and Barack Obama in particular, have been financed by the likes of Warren Buffett and George Soros, who are billionaires, for years now.
One should question why we never see 99-percenters protesting in front of the homes of Mr. Soros and Mr. Buffett. One would think that these so-called protesters at Sunday’s unseemly display in front of a private house in Southampton were bought and paid for. Mitt Romney must adopt a better campaign strategy than the one he’s using or he will be easily overcome by these charlatans.
July 9, 2012
We on the East End are extremely fortunate to be represented by our outstanding Congressman Tim Bishop. He has local roots and has demonstrated his commitment to his constituency by bringing more jobs into Long Island and introducing bills that would penalize companies that outsource. He has been attacked by his opponent for supporting the Affordable Care Act, which is ironic because this legislation is designed to help ordinary people. It closes the Medicare “doughnut hole” for prescription drugs, protects people from being denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, and allows young adults to stay on their parents’ plan until age 26.
His opponent has made his fortune through outsourcing, would work toward privatizing Medicare, and would join those Republicans in Congress who are committed to repealing the Affordable Care Act. This seat is one that is being targeted by the national Republican Party, and untold funds are being poured into their campaign.
Losing Tim Bishop would be a great loss to our community, and I urge everyone who believes that their congressman should represent the public, rather than private, interest to vote for him in November.
Fought for Her
July 9, 2012
This weekend’s highly-publicized political fund-raisers here in East Hampton and Southampton made me think about their purpose: to elect government representatives for the people. But when I look at the credentials (or lack thereof) of one of these candidates — Randy Altschuler — a newcomer who is running for Congress, I want to remind him that one of the most important requirements of the office he’s seeking is to help the people in the district. And this is the reason why the voters in Congressional District 1 — Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and others — continue to elect and re-elect Tim Bishop to office: He has a proven record of constituent service.
Here’s one example: Carol J. from Nesconset was unaware that her Aetna Healthy N.Y. insurance rates had been increased. The company canceled her policy despite her long history of paying on time and she was unable to reinstate it. Her appeal was denied. A healthy 55-year-old, she was terrified of suddenly being without insurance. She called her congressman, Tim Bishop, and unlike the insurance company, was immediately connected to a real person. Mr. Bishop’s office fought for her and within weeks was able to reinstate her coverage. “I always thought that to get help from the government you really had to know someone. It turns out that all you have to know is Congressman Bishop’s phone number,” Carol said.
Another example of constituent service is from Frances M. of Blue Point, who, at age 66, went through an eight-month period when Medicare somehow refused to pay her doctor’s bills. Several visits to the Social Security office did not help. Someone suggested that she contact her congressman. She called Tim Bishop’s office and was told they would look into it. And two weeks later, she received a phone call from the office and was informed that the issue was resolved and that Medicare was indeed paying the bill.
Said Frances, “I recommend to anyone who’s getting the runaround to give Congressman Bishop a call for help.”
Multiply these cases many times and it’s obvious that Tim Bishop understands the frustration when a constituent needs help from the government but is “put on hold.” And that he knows what to do and makes sure, through his efficient and experienced staff, that it is done. Cutting red tape is one of his priorities. There are many Long Islanders who have benefited from his skill at this and his caring.
Think you’ll receive this from Randy?
July 6, 2012
To the Editor,
In 1539 Marcos de Niza, a Spanish explorer, explored what is now the state of Arizona. What he found were Indian tribes scattered throughout the territory, just as in what is now the rest of the United States. The first Spaniards to settle in Arizona were, by any measure, illegal immigrants — strange, dark-skinned creatures, speaking an indecipherable language, carrying guns. They never made a deal to buy or lease the property. No money was exchanged; no trade took place. The territory of Arizona, like every U.S. state, was essentially stolen and then retrofitted into a distorted narrative of discovery and settlement.
The original story of American immigration is only about illegals. And if the original settlers were illegal then logically everyone who followed them was as well. One can make fertilizer out of horse shit but without the seeds it’s still horse crap.
It is hardly unusual that we beat the crap out of Latino immigrants; we beat the crap out of every immigrant group that comes to America. The issue has always centered around business interests. Cheap labor, no benefits, no rights. Hire and fire. Get hurt get killed. No work no pay. (See Wal-Mart.)
The Arizona law is simply frustration and stupidity. Needing someone to bash on because life is tough, and illegals are defenseless. While illegals pose a problem, it is minor compared to the more serious economic problems that they are a part of. The concept of taking partial truths and extrapolating them into major issues is the underlying problem: anger misdirected and ultimately futile.
Mr. Obama’s latest move was smart, humane, and political. Mr. Romney is simply an immigration cretin. The problem is without solution until business interests, which are the main beneficiaries of illegal immigration, decide to seriously address the issue.
Legality is an economic conundrum. It mandates minimum wages, benefits, workplace regulations, and rules. It obligates business owners to follow the rules that protect workers in the country. Inherent in the process is if you can mistreat one group of workers you can mistreat every worker. Why pay anyone a living wage if you don’t have to. More profit.
If business observes the laws, illegal immigration doesn’t exist. If restaurants and farms and poultry factories have to pay higher wages to attract “legals,” then we have to pay more money for their products. If there’s no work for illegals the problem starts to disappear.
The country profits from illegals in the form of slightly lower costs, but suffers from a deterioration of the economic system. It reorients the American dream from hard work, good pay, and security to cheap products of questionable quality.
Connected to the issue of immigration lies the more serious problem of the distribution of wealth in the country. As Wall Street increases its share of the nation’s wealth, the need for cheaper goods and services becomes critical in order to keep the rest of the country functioning. The cheaper the goods and services the less money middle class Americans need to survive. Wal-Mart becomes the safety net for Wall Street, and illegal workers provide the cheap labor.
There is a substantial body of laws on the books to deal with hiring practices, wages, etc. Enforce the laws and all the other crap disappears.
July 5, 2012
Anyone remember the great comedian Jack Benny’s delayed response to an armed robber who demanded, “Your money or your life?” Faced with that question, Benny, the notorious tightwad, blurted out “I’m thinking, I’m thinking!” Well, Mitt Romney’s responses to questions concerning the issues of the day are the opposite of Jack Benny’s — he either doesn’t think or, more likely, is incapable of thinking.
Now we know that Mr. Romney must await the answers given him by his campaign advisers and consultants, but then when he blurts out something they tell him to blurt out, he never, ever precedes that blurt with some Jack Benny thinking! We all see the results, they are formal, humorless, and have none of the warmth of a Barack Obama.
Ole Mitt has no feelings for the common man so his responses are stunted and cold, and not thinking makes for the following scenario: First, there were the answers and responses this cigar store Indian made when he was governor. Then there was the different set of answers and responses he gave when he was running for the Senate. Then there was the third set of answers and responses he gave during the recent Republican primary campaign. And now there are the answers and responses he gives as a candidate for the presidency, all different, all wishy-washy, all baloney, and all changeable at a moment’s notice.
Mr. Romney is just what we need as president in these days fraught with international and national danger, a president who cannot think, a “tell me what to say” president. Whew!
RICHARD P. HIGER
July, 9, 2012
To the Editor,
I place occupiers in two categories. The first I refer to are the powers that be, the status quo, unable to change, namely a dysfunctional government. The other a sign of hope rising from grass roots.
The powers that be have occupied almost every country in the Middle East, starting with Kuwait after the Persian Gulf war. Our superpower and the British were the key players in destabilizing the entire Middle East. When in trouble they called on NATO, all developing nations preying on poor third world countries defending themselves with suicide bombers in large numbers, but far less than our soldiers committing suicide — 6,500 — after being sent back to combat many times with pockets full of drugs. Victims of post-traumatic stress disorder and damaged souls as we entered the 11th year of war. The military strategy has not changed since 9/11, the war jargon “the momentum is in our favor” is all we have heard, much like a mantra used well by meditators.
In only nine months occupiers of Wall Street have spread across the nation, changing the face of our nation along with the 99-percent victims of injustices of every kind. Their agenda was clear: Corporations and their money have bought America in violation of the United States Constitution. Of the people, by the people, and for the people has become an illusion. Yes, there is hope in grass roots, we the people, we occupy our country. Here at home.