Best Show Ever
July 22, 2012
Last night we saw fireworks over Three Mile Harbor hosted by the Clamshell Foundation. The fireworks were unique and colorful. This was the best show ever. We were lucky to be able to enjoy such a display in such a beautiful setting. We hope the community will support the foundation so it can continue to give us such amazing shows in the future, as well as support the local needs of people in the community.
CARSON PATRICK KELLEY
Always Been There
July 21, 2012
When the power was off last week, with no computer, no land phone, but luckily the most minimal of cellphones, I was able to reach the East Hampton Town Police Department for help. You know we’re old now, have more physical frailties, need especially to know where to turn and to whom in an emergency.
The town police have always been there for me, for us, the Rubenstein family, over the last 47 years or so. So I called and reached Officer Michael Seitz. (Forgive me, I am not sure of his rank.)
Officer Seitz went far beyond a simple response, immediately grasping the situation and my anxiety (no phone service because tied into cable, no cable service, no power, no connection to outside world). He instantly offered to call the right place for us and to get back to me. Really, it just took Officer Seitz a couple of seconds to size up the situation and know exactly what to do. And make that call he did. And call me back he did.
I cannot tell you, but I am trying, how much better and safer I felt because of Officer Michael Seitz. Using my trusty cell, I called into Chief Ecker’s office to let him know how his force had come through once again — we have, you see, been steady customers — and about Michael Seitz.
So God bless you, Michael Seitz; thanks, Ed, for having such a fine force and officer working for our community.
July 22, 2012
To the Editor:
Letters about airport noise. Boring.
Letters about how Indian Wells Beach is being ruined. Boring.
Letters about Montauk nightlife ruining The Old Montauk. Boring.
Letters about how horrible traffic and parking is. Boring.
Poems from Feral Cats. Really, really boring!
It would be nice to read a letter every once in a while from someone who had a happy, positive, and delightful experience somewhere in the Hamptons this summer and wants to share it. Maybe a letter from someone who is thankful for enjoying the summer in such a wonderful, pristine environment? This would be a refreshing change every so often.
July 23, 2012
Your food critic’s recent review of Sotto Sopra in Amagansett was harsh and inaccurate. In fact, this new gem of a restaurant offers a simple and congenial atmosphere along with an inventive menu of skillfully and wonderful prepared foods served by a most professional staff all too willing to please. My wife and I returned last Thursday for the fifth time since its recent opening and have enjoyed many of the dishes your critic panned.
May I suggest your critic return as her first try was sotto sopra (upside down)?
Ban on Drinking
July 23, 2012
Thanks for clarifying the confusion over alcohol bans and local law 24-1979. I am intrigued with the concept that our East Hampton Village officials and police have evolved so much higher than their town counterparts governing over the same issues. At some point in time, the village recognized the dangerous, aggressive behaviors that allowing the consumption of alcohol in public spaces breeds. How odd, the town has not reached that place in its thought process and legislation.
This past Saturday as I approached the beach at Indian Wells, Amagansett, a small coupe approached at inappropriate velocity and began to float across the divide toward me. I altered my course and was half off the road in avoidance. I was grateful that the other driver snapped to attention and swerved his car back into its lane.
As we passed I noted three people in the two seats in front and four crammed into the back seat. The third person in the front seat was a young woman sitting on a lap with her top half fully out of the window. She and the others were waving wildly, singing, and having a delightful time. We passed without further incident.
Continuing south, I noted a police cruiser parked in the center entrance to the parking lot. It was facing north, as if in preparation to catch and stop cars exhibiting the behaviors just described. He made no effort and did not move.
We looked for a spot to park and, finding none, began our exit from the lot. Near the comfort station I noted (just a few cars from our policeman) a one-gallon bottle of vodka on the back hood of a car. I came to notice this as a line had formed much like the line of kids waiting for ice cream at the truck. The halfdozen 25 to 30-year-olds blocking my exit were paying this woman to fill their water bottles with the vodka she possessed. I passed and left with disgust.
Your editorial championing a ban on drinking before 6 p.m. is a perfect and fair solution to this problem. As with other more aggressive uses of this public facility, the ban allows the community as a whole the opportunity to enjoy it in safety and peace. It also forewarns of dangers in the evenings. As with fires, dogs, and trucks, the drinking taking place is also a more aggressive use and should be held to a higher degree of control and a better opportunity for policing. Good job!
Friends have asked why this issue riles me to this extent. I have been there and done that. I was blessed by a protection that let me leave that behind without hurting anyone. It also turns out that years ago, I was the passenger in a car victimized and forced into a tree by a drunken driver. I was left with a broken neck and a lifetime of pain. My companion sustained cuts to her face which have left lifelong scars. The drunken driver suffered no injuries. That’s the story!
Our Tax Dollars
July 23, 2012
On Indian Wells Beach last year, my husband and I were quietly sitting on our chairs, with our leashed, 10-pound, 14-year-old toy poodle sleeping curled in a ball in the shade of my chair, as he had been since our arrival, when out of the blue, a beach enforcement officer walked over to us and gave us a ticket for having a dog on the beach, and not sitting the required number of yards away from the lifeguard (we were pretty far away).
Apparently, someone had called to complain; they had been bitten by a dog at a beach at some point in their lives, and now their mission was to rid the beach of our little sleeping Luigi. Seriously. I kid you not!
Things have changed this year; little Luigi is not allowed on Indian Wells Beach at all between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Instead, what is allowed are herds of nonpaying, noisy, littering, alcohol-guzzling adults, gushed at by our elected officials as prospective future East Hampton homebuyers and renters, and catered to by adding additional lifeguards and clean-up crews — all with our tax dollars.
Seriously. I kid you not!
From the Top
July 23, 2012
I swim every day, twice a day at Maidstone Park at the end of Flaggy Hole Road, with my grandchildren. The water is shallow and very safe. I cannot tell you how many times there are cars parked at the limited available spots that do not have East Hampton stickers. Rarely if ever is there a cop to be seen and even when one spies a cop and tells him (mostly hims) of the infractions no tickets are written.
In 12 years of living here and swimming at Maidstone and Napeague beach never have I seen an officer write a ticket or spied a car with a ticket on it. Only 90 tickets were given out at Maidstone the entire last summer. I ask myself why is this so? Surely, those same cops who park on the sides of roads waiting to catch a motorist breaking the law must also understand that there is a fistful of revenue to be garnered by ticketing those who take up the space of those who have paid their tithe to the coffers of East Hampton. This was suggested recently by Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc.
My only thought is that (like all organizations) word from the top is, “Don’t bother the tourists who come for a short time and spend money.” Haven’t we all heard the man who sets the tone for the town all too often say he is all for business? Though he has never factored into that thought what the taxpayers want or the overall impact on the beaches. That is the name of this place — beach! Oh, for the want of 15 votes, would we have a different town.
PHYLLIS I. MALLAH
Checkpoints on Beach
July 17, 2012
To the Editor,
Long Beach, being about 45 minutes from Manhattan by train, is inundated with city beachgoers every summer. Unlike East Hampton, however, Long Beach got smart decades ago. You want to get on the beach? You have to pay for a beach pass. In fact, the Long Island Rail Road sells a train ticket-beach pass combination to make it easier to fill the coffers of both the railroad and the town.
May I suggest that if thousands of “stockbrokers” and others are going to descend on Indian Wells Beach every weekend all summer, the town should charge $20 per person for the privilege.
What Long Beach has done is make it physically impossible to get on the beach via public access areas without going through checkpoints. No pass, no access.
So what East Hampton could do is simply fence off all access to the public areas at Indian Wells, install a checkpoint, and there you go, huge money for the town. Locals can get a free pass and show that.
I do wonder, though, how safe it is for thousands of people to be drinking until drunk on an ocean beach and, apparently, in the water. And I know it isn’t fair to anybody who lives nearby if music can be played at whatever volume desired all day long at what is supposed to be a natural setting. You know, birds, not birdbrains.
Anyway, the town should capitalize on its popularity. We need the money. How much could a fence and a couple of cops cost, relative to what can be made? If these weekenders are indeed from the city (do they even live in East Hampton part time?), they can afford the freight.
July 19, 2012
To the Editor:
Please accept my thanks for your editorial “The Party’s Over.”
Your solution, to ban the consumption of alcohol where there are lifeguards between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., seems fair to everyone, locals and partygoers alike.
I vote and pay taxes here. Besides writing and/or calling the town board and the trustees, what can I do to help get this rule enacted?
I am tired of dodging the crowds, smelling the urine, and, most of all, like the young mother you cite in your piece, feeling unwelcome at “my” beach.
ALICE HENRY WHITMORE
July 19, 2012
To the Editor,
I attended the brown bag meeting at Town Hall yesterday and agree with Councilwoman Theresa Quigley that we need more beaches in East Hampton Town.
We have many more guests and vacationers coming to East Hampton, which is good for business. This creates more employment for our citizens. There are times when residents cannot get parking at Atlantic Avenue Beach. Another residents-only beach could cure this situation. Even our lifeguards support adding another beach. They are there to protect us.
Our year-round population has increased over the years with all the new houses that have been built. The land in question is owned by the town and can be used for a beach. People who own houses facing the beach do not own all of the beach. We would not be taking anything from them, yet they all yell, Nimby!
July 23, 2012
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Mr. Gruber, the leader of the airport opponents, has stated that the reason he lost the litigation against the new airport master plan was because the attorneys defending the town lied to the court.
In fact, this past winter, Mr. Gruber’s attorney appeared at four different times in three different courts to argue their case. They were represented by highly capable counsel who argued for several hours that the town was not truthful in its briefs submitted to the court.
The airport opponents repeatedly made the assertion that the town was lying about the airport.
On these four occasions, a total of six different New York State Supreme Court judges heard the arguments of the opponents and reviewed their voluminous documents to support their allegations against the town.
All of these judges concluded that the allegations of the airport opponents were “without merit.”
The Same Pattern
July 18, 2012
Have you ever noticed that virtually all of the letters you receive complaining about airport noise come from the same few writers?
An analysis of the complaints received by the airport shows the same pattern. Of the last 1,100 complaints, 610 came from just five households. Five — that’s all.
These are the same chronic complainers who are involved with David Gruber and the two organizations he has funded (the Committee to Stop Airport Expansion and the Quiet Skies Coalition), both of which are determined to do everything they can to close the airport.
These are the same people who have brought a half-dozen lawsuits against the town, and they have lost every one, but in the process have caused the town to spend a couple of million dollars of taxpayer money.
A huge waste of public funds — and all basically for the benefit of five households. Sinful!
July 21, 2012
It is an undeniable fact that helicopter noise has been significantly reduced, with most of the problem areas experiencing much quieter skies with helicopter operations holding higher altitudes than ever before. The airport control tower has only been in operation a few weeks and it already has had a beneficial impact on reducing noise in our neighborhoods while ensuring safe flights for all aircraft utilizing East Hampton Airport.
The airport is in need of essential repair as outlined in the new airport master plan that can only and rightly involve Federal Aviation Administration funding.
The fact is that the East Hampton Aviation Association, select town board members past and present, in particular Councilman Dominick Stanzione and the airport manager, Jim Brundige, F.A.A. officials, and countless local pilots have strived for decades to solve airport problems and to preserve and protect a valuable community asset. Today, those efforts have brought to the community the benefits of the new control tower for pilot and neighbor alike.
Instead, David Gruber seems to only be able to file frivolous and costly lawsuits that inevitably fizzle, costing taxpayers several million dollars so far, the most recent being his Article 78 proceeding, which the New York State Supreme Court rejected last week —in its entirety.
Gruber’s legal schemes have only delayed sensible solutions like the control tower, which, although tasked with safety first, has proven to also be an unquestionable tool at keeping helicopters at higher altitudes and needed rerouting.
The only true sound I anticipate hearing now is that of David Gruber grinding his teeth, unable to silence the fact that noise has been appreciably reduced this summer. This obviously doesn’t jibe with his agenda of closing the airport, but facts are facts and irrefutable.
Congratulations to all who made the control tower a reality and a special salute to the airport controllers for their exceptional expertise and contribution to safer and truly quieter skies.
East Hampton Aviation Association
Bought the Con
July 23, 2012
The decision of Justice John J.J. Jones Jr. of the New York Supreme Court upholding the town’s airport environmental impact statement is disappointing, to say the least, but not surprising. Why not? Because the Town of East Hampton has long since figured out how successfully to thumb its nose at the courts: simply utter brazen falsehoods and assume that it won’t get caught, or at least not caught in time. Here is the sorry record of official falsehoods about East Hampton Airport.
When the town was pressing its 1998 main runway-widening project, in violation of the duly adopted airport master plan, it falsely told the Federal Aviation Administration that the 1994 airport layout plan providing for the project was duly adopted by the town board. Knowing that the plan had never in fact been adopted, the town simultaneously told the New York courts that it was not implementing the plan at all, so that it did not matter whether or not it was adopted. But of course, the town could not qualify for F.A.A. money unless it was in fact implementing the non-adopted plan. I am not kidding. This really happened. The court bought the con job, and the project went forward.
As part of this subterfuge, the town assured the court and the East Hampton public that the runway-widening project would not lead to any increase in air traffic. In fact, immediately following completion of the project there was a 25-percent increase in jet traffic. Not even an apology!
In 2001, for its project to upgrade a parking apron to business-jet standards, also in violation of the adopted airport master plan, the town altered the actual adopted 1990 airport layout plan to increase the pavement design weight, submitted the altered document to the F.A.A., and assured the F.A.A., the public, and the New York Supreme Court that its altered document was the real thing. It took a federal grand jury subpoena to find the true 1990 plan and show that that document submitted by the town had been altered.
Because of these two false submissions by the town, the F.A.A. ultimately agreed with the Committee to Stop Airport Expansion to shorten the term of F.A.A. control of our airport by seven years. F.A.A. control will end on Dec. 31, 2014, unless the town takes new money from the F.A.A. If the town takes more money, then F.A.A. control will continue for 20 more years, rendering any solution to the noise problem vastly more difficult.
In the latest environmental impact statement, the one now upheld, the town applied the F.A.A.’s 65 day-night average sound level noise standard, or DNL, that averages noise with periods of quiet, in order to conclude that there is no significant noise outside of the airport itself. Again, I am not kidding. That’s what the impact statement says: no significant noise outside the airport. Of course, this is patently absurd.
It is quite apparent to residents that there is significant noise outside the airport, and it is getting worse. The town did this even while it acknowledged in the statement that this standard is “insensitive” to the conditions at a rural airport like East Hampton. That’s putting it mildly. The method is so insensitive it finds there is no noise at all.
Before the court, the town defended this as scientifically justified. Yet, even while the town was telling the court that analyzing noise using a method according to which there is no noise is acceptable environmental analysis, the town’s own aviation law expert, Peter Kirsch, was publicly telling the town board, on April 17, this:
“If the town did a study using just that [DNL] metric and just the 65 DNL threshold, you will learn that, under that metric, you have no noise problem. . . . Any competent noise expert would tell you that that would be a waste of time and you shouldn’t do a study just using that metric.”
Yes, of course it would be a waste of time, and money, but that is exactly what the town did in its environmental impact statement and then defended to the court as being justified. Mr. Kirsch went on to say, “[At] small airports like this measuring noise is a lot more complicated . . . than La Guardia where you can use an average. . . . It requires a much more refined analysis.”
Yes, it does, which is exactly what the Committee to Stop Airport Expansion argued to the court. Sadly, the court bought the town’s falsehoods even while the town’s own expert, outside of the courtroom, was basically making the committee’s case. Clearly, the town knows that its noise analysis in the impact statement is nonsense. Its own expert says that it’s a “waste of time.”
The East Hampton Town Board considers it a great victory to defraud the courts and the public by concocting a nonsense environmental impact statement that does not merely hide the problem, but denies that it exists altogether, and then defend it successfully with claims that the town clearly knows to be false. Victory in court — defeat for honest government and for the public.
Most recently, the town has spent something like $500,000 on an airport control tower that it has claimed would address the noise problem. This is another falsehood. On June 30, Charles Carpenter of Robinson Aviation, the company providing the traffic controllers, told the pilots at a public meeting about the tower that, “It’s not about noise. We’re about separating you guys, and making it safe for you.” That’s because the tower, although paid for by the town, is still an F.A.A. facility operating under F.A.A. rules. And its mandate under those rules is air safety, not noise. I guess the town forgot to tell Mr. Carpenter what he was supposed to say, so the guy just told the truth.
My father used to say that “justice triumphs only in theatrical productions.” I had hoped to show that American local government can work properly, that when our public officials resort to brazen falsehoods in order to persist in a policy of unrestricted airport access that is damaging to the people of East Hampton and their peaceful enjoyment of their homes, the system is capable of correcting itself if someone is willing to spend the time and money pursuing justice. I am afraid, however, that my father was right.
The town can apparently deceive the courts successfully just by being brazen enough in what it will say: that there is no significant noise. But the fact is that for 30 years it has done nothing but further improve the airport while the noise problem exists, is real, and growing. We know this, because we can hear it. Without a dramatic change of course, it will only continue to get worse.
There is no solution to the airport noise problem unless the town will exercise its authority, recognized by the federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals, to control the hours of airport operation, the aircraft types that may use the airport, and the number of airport operations permitted. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either ignorant or lying to you. That means that, ultimately, the only solution to this problem is political, the use of the ballot box to vote in town board members who truly are committed to protecting the public from airport noise and will exercise the town’s power to control airport access.
Both Supervisor Wilkinson and Councilman Stanzione are up for re-election next year. Both are committed to unrestricted airport access. They profess their concern about noise with huge crocodile tears, but the reality is that they have done nothing and will do nothing other than keep talking. If they wanted to act to control airport access, they would be taking action, not trying to get more money from the F.A.A. while publicly touting the phony noise benefits of an airport control tower that the chief controller has already admitted in public will not address noise.
Councilwoman Theresa Quigley has demonstrated by her questions from the dais that she seems to understand and have genuine concern for the problem and also seems to understand that taking F.A.A. money will make any solution much more expensive to achieve. But she has so far shown no willingness to buck Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. Stanzione. In the end, it is Quigley’s deeds that will count, not her words.
To my friend Ed Gorman, wherever you are, I did my best to carry on the work you began. I have tried to obtain for the people of East Hampton an honest environmental accounting of the problem and the ways in which it can be addressed. I have failed. The town’s falsehoods and deceptions have won. This is, however, still a democracy. If enough people are tired of having their homes invaded by helicopters and jets at all hours, then they are going to have to organize and get themselves and enough like-minded people to the polls next Election Day. If they do, they can elect a town board majority that is willing to exercise the town’s powers to control the use of its own airport. There is no other way forward.
Committee to Stop Airport Expansion
Subjected to More
July 23, 2012
When the decision was made to install an air traffic control tower at the airport, the community was told that the purpose of the tower was not only for increased safety but for noise mitigation. Now that the tower is in and some routes have been changed, some of us now are subjected to more noise than before, particularly from helicopters.
We are now being told that the installation of the tower was never meant as a tool to reduce noise, a claim that is patently untrue.
The Republican majority on the town board has made it clear that they plan to seek additional grant money from the Federal Aviation Administration, in spite of the fact that Len Bernard reported a significant airport surplus for last year and this. If the town stopped accepting F.A.A. money the current restrictions (on airport operations) would be retired in 2014, and we would have greater local control of such things as hours of operation, number of touch and gos, etc.
During last year’s campaign for supervisor, Zach Cohen suggested that the period between 2012 and 2014 be used to scientifically evaluate whether the tower could effectively reduce noise. The board ignored this sensible suggestion, and I expect that nothing will change. At the last work session Kathy Cunningham, the head of the Quiet Skies Coalition, asked the board to spell out their noise abatement plan; no response was forthcoming.
This is another example of how a mere 15 votes has impacted the quality of life in our town.
Has No Role
July 23, 2012
Many people who choose to live in East Hampton do so because they value peace and quiet. They value open spaces, nature preserves, and farmland. They value the natural environment where ambient noise levels are low enough that birdsong, ocean waves, and wind passing through the pines can be heard.
As incongruous as an airport may be in such a peaceful, bucolic setting, East Hampton Airport wasn’t always the noise source it now is today. But it has become a serious source of noise pollution for many members of the entire East End community, not only East Hampton and Southampton residents who own homes nearby.
So how, one wonders, did we end up with an expanded airport, and a plan for further expansion?
The recently installed seasonal control tower has no role in noise mitigation. At an informational meeting on June 30, Federal Aviation Administration controllers and airport management made it abundantly clear that control tower operations were “not about noise.”
One might ask, well, what about noise? What is the town’s noise abatement policy? If the control tower is not a part of that policy, then why was it publicized as such?
This morning at 3:57 a.m. a helicopter flew so low over my home that the flashing navigation lights illuminated the interior of the bedroom. It was loud, but it was also terrifying, as it seemed a crash was imminent. As if that weren’t enough noise for the middle of the night, it went on from there: 3:59, 5:14, 5:16, every few minutes right on through 9 a.m. or thereabouts.
When do the needs of the community of taxpayers who pay the salaries of the town board members to be held safe from these kinds of intrusive sounds, lights, and other disturbances become priority number one? When will our town board, sworn to protect the health, welfare, and safety of the entire community, begin to appropriately prioritize our welfare over the desires of a tiny percentage of people who use this town asset?
No Longer Credible
July 23, 2012
To the Editor,
In last week’s edition of The Star, the East Hampton Aviation Association again paid for a full-color page of sheer nonsense in their ongoing disinformation campaign to support airport expansion for the financial gain of a handful of charter operators.
We do not know who is tallying the copters flying the higher altitudes as the association claims in its ad, but clearly no person is tallying the copters flying lower. The E.H.A.A. claims copters are flying higher because they knew the tower was coming! If not so serious an issue, that statement would be amusing.
The tower was constructed not to help abate noise but to enhance efficiency and safety — that means only directing the growing numbers of aircraft in and out of the airport. At the June 30 introductory meeting held at the airport the controllers themselves said they do not control altitudes and noise abatement is not a concern. The only purpose of the tower is safety and efficiency; the tower is of no help whatsoever to residents suffering from noisy and dangerous low-altitude intrusions over their homes.
Helicopters are an unregulated industry. They are permitted to fly at whatever altitude they want as long as they don’t pose harm to people or structures. Video has captured them at frighteningly low altitudes over homes. If copter pilots do not comply with the recommended altitudes, which, in any case are only voluntary, they may at worst get a phone call from the Federal Aviation Administration. That’s it: A phone call. Maybe. Some big stick that is.
In its most recent ad, the E.H.A.A. failed to mention fixed-wing aircraft, many of which fly well below the F.A.A. altitude of 1,000 feet. Most fixed-wing craft that are violating F.A.A. altitudes are seaplanes, whose pilots totally disregard the F.A.A. law. Obviously no aviation official or group is even trying to regulate them.
Will it take a major accident to stop this onslaught? Probably. Because some on the town board and their aviation supporters are actively seeking to induce even more traffic to East Hampton Airport by accepting F.A.A. money to upgrade (expand) the airport. The tower is part one of expansion. The money from the dedicated surplus fund, which should have financed the urgently required deer fence, was used to finance the obviously more urgently required control tower. This is a fact.
The E.H.A.A. ad states that complainers are “jamming the noise complaint hotline.” However, callers must have a legitimate incident, place, and time in order to place a complaint. Why would people bother to drop what they are doing to call the time-consuming complaint call center, if there is 34 percent less noise than last year? They simply would not.
The E.H.A.A. is no longer credible. Whoever they are supporting, it is not the community, not the local pilots, but apparently those making big money out of the East Hampton Airport facility: the fixed-wing jet, seaplane, and helicopter operators.
July 23, 2012
Again, I am shocked and appalled at another Peter Wadsworth letter. Last week, he shamelessly continued to personally attack leaders of the Quiet Skies Coalition. The letter was patronizing and dripping with sarcasm.
Mr. Wadsworth has his facts wrong again. He hurls baseless accusations against the only organization addressing noise at the airport that has accomplished significant results in less than one year of existence. Mr. Wadsworth wasted many years of his time at the East Hampton Airport Noise Abatement Advisory Committee, that failed miserably, just as noise abatement, as a strategy, failed miserably at airports all over this country. Perhaps it’s just sour grapes.
Please allow me to try this again by addressing Mr. Wadsworth personally. He doesn’t seem to get it. Helicopter noise is “torture and torment” for the folks on the ground. Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Tim Bishop coined this term. Mr. Wadsworth, if you were beating me with a baseball bat and you reduced the number of hits 50 percent, am I supposed to be happy with those results? Or, will I be happy when you stop beating me altogether?
Please allow me to approach this from his noise-abatement perspective, which is similar to Councilman Dominick Stanzione’s “share the pain” strategy. Mr. Wadsworth, instead of just beating me on the head, suppose you wish to spread the pain around by hitting me on my back, hitting me on my stomach, hitting me on my knees, then hitting me on my feet. Is that supposed to make me feel better? Or, will I be happy when you stop hitting me altogether? Don’t you see how silly the “share the pain” strategy is? Don’t you understand why the advisory committee failed miserably? Don’t you understand why noise abatement failed miserably at airports all over this country? If it weren’t so silly, it would be crazy.
I, not all Q.S.C. members, wish to eliminate helicopters from landing at East Hampton Airport. I also wish to see stage-2 aircraft, which includes the noisiest aircraft and helicopters, excluded from the airport. I offered a solution to the East Hampton Town supervisor and members of the town board that solves the problem so simply and completely it’s mind-boggling it hasn’t been implemented yet:
All helicopters must take the northern route, offshore along the North Shore of Long Island, until a waypoint between Plum Island and Gull Island, then turn south and head directly into Montauk Airport. Montauk Airport is situated on Block Island Sound. That route doesn’t cause helicopters to fly over any residential properties on Long Island or on the East End, thereby eliminating the problem and solving the noise issue completely, forever. Montauk has an expanding and thriving business community with awesome restaurants, shops, stores, and even a new brewery. Why wouldn’t the Montauk business community love to have the wealthiest people in the world, who fly helicopters, drive by their fish markets, restaurants, shops, and businesses on their way home? If the 20-minute drive is too long for some helicopter passengers, perhaps they would relocate their summer home to Montauk, thus driving real estate prices through the roof. Perhaps a Montauk estate section will develop.
Perhaps the supervisor and the two town board members just aren’t smart enough. Perhaps they would rather play the silly games of failed noise abatement, as Mr. Wadsworth is suggesting. If it weren’t so silly, it would be crazy.
July 16, 2012
To the Editor:
The bigger the lie, the greater the effect, and the more it is repeated, the more it will be believed. That has to be the motto of the East Hampton Airport control-tower promoters.
Just before the tower began operating, Councilman Dominick Stanzione, as has already been pointed out, told the public that “it is hoped and anticipated that having professionally controlled airspace will make a real contribution to noise mitigation, through radius and altitude restrictions and enforcing what are now voluntary rules” (The Star, June 28, page A11). And, for months the aviation association has placed ads in all the newspapers pronouncing that the tower would “reduce the noise over our neighborhoods.” (Their ad in The Star, Oct. 5, 2011, page A9.)
But then on June 30, at an official F.A.A.-sponsored seminar at the airport, the controllers themselves, speaking authoritatively and decisively, pronounced that their purpose is “solely safety and efficiency” and “not to mitigate noise.” While not covered in the newspapers, the symposium discussion, including those statements, is available in a recording of the entire session made by the Quiet Skies Coalition.
On June 30, the controllers were simply characterizing the F.A.A. standards that prescribes their duties, which the airport management and the East Hampton Town Board do not control.
After this, however, the disinformation campaign was enhanced.
First, there came a couple of disingenuous letters to The Star. One came from a pilot who claimed, after a couple of days of tower operation, that the aircraft noise in Northwest already had been reduced. Then came the Stanzione apologist’s letter attempting to change the subject by denigrating the Quite Skies Coalition.
Soon thereafter, Councilman Stanzione, himself, told another local newspaper that he “heard” the controllers at the June 30 seminar say that while safety is their first concern, “noise is an obvious motivation for the tower.” (The Independent, 11 July 2012, page 12.)
Next came a press release from the airport manager blatantly denying the reports that “the control tower is only concerned with safety” and asserting that “as a result of the control tower, noise reduction is under way.” He went on to say that “there is no question that our controllers are working hard to mitigate noise in the neighboring communities.”
And now, we can expect a major escalation of the public cover-up in a renewed advertising blitz in local newspapers by the aviation association. Their spin will undoubtedly outdo the previous efforts to befog the truth. The truth is that the control tower, sold to the community for noise mitigation, was a bill of oods. It was another in the series of phony “steps” that Mr. Stanzione continues to blather about.
The bigger truth, however, is that the town’s “steps” should rather be: planning for the further operation and improvement of the airport as a local business without need for F.A.A. or taxpayer subsidy; eschewing, therefore, further applications for F.A.A. money that would continue for 20 years the effective federal prohibition of local airport noise regulations, and beginning the accurate measurement of community aircraft noise impact as part of a solid record to justify the curfews and other aircraft access limits that the town may impose as airport proprietor after Dec. 14, 2014, when the current F.A.A. strictures expire.
CHARLES A. EHREN
July 20, 2012
The East Hampton Aviation has again plastered full-page advertisements; “Sheer Nonsense” is their new title. That is the sheer nonsense, plain and simple.
Looking at the prior lobbying they posted most of last year, they had the tower as the second coming of Christ. According to them, it was the fixer to all the problems, even the ones they created. Scrape the egg off your face.
The sheer nonsense is their claim that “opponents want to close the airport.” I have been on noise-abatement committees since the Lester administration and never heard one person involved say that they want to close the facility. It is only the pilots themselves who cry fire in a crowded theater every chance they get. Stop beating that drum.
Sheer Nonsense is really sheer arrogance and the gall to demand that we become indentured servants to the Federal Aviation Administration solely to subsidize their hobby. There is another word, one that starts with B, but this is a family paper.
Of course they fail to mention that they contribute to the problem with the touch and gos, including on weekends, and altitudes under 500 feet over residential areas. They fly the same route repeatedly over and over again disrupting conversations, never once thinking, “Hey! Let’s be good neighbors and vary the route so we will not disturb the residents.” Their attitude: “Screw them!”
They aren’t smart enough to be good neighbors and that is all we ask. How many of them even live in the town?
They fail to mention the arrogance of those who take off between 5 and 6:30 a.m. with prop noise that lasts as long as 18 seconds.
I know the cost of full-page sheer nonsense that they put in the papers here and it runs into the thousands for each publication.
Mention raising the fees, and they will demand a hearing and rig the audience, like they did the last time so the real residents have to stand in the hall and out on the lawn and are prevented from speaking.
Times are changing, and it is the majority who should be given priority. Looking at their age demographics, many of them are all long in the tooth.
They don’t get it. We are tired of the disruption caused, not only with transient aircraft, but by theirs as well. So, stop moaning and filling the air with outright lies and misinformation. The leaded fuel they spew is bad enough.
Let us not forget the hangars. I ask, do some have illegal bathrooms that lack Health Department and building permits? My friend Sheetrocked the bathrooms and other additions. Say it ain’t so, Joe.
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
July 23, 2012
This letter is written to voice a complaint about the gross inconsideration exhibited toward the residents of Springs by the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee.
Many residents have raised serious concerns about the annoyance and disruption caused by allowing roosters to be housed in residential zones in our community. This issue has fallen upon the deaf ears of the committee.
I have been a resident of Springs for the past 15 years as a second-home owner, and am hoping to move here permanently after retirement. The other evening, while at a neighbor’s house, I was startled and awakened at 3 a.m. by the crowing of a rooster who seemed to be right outside my window. The crowing persisted for the rest of the night and throughout the next day. If I had to live next to this on a daily basis, I would be extremely angry, as well as sleep-deprived. While we each may not experience this problem on our own property to date, we should consider this issue for those it affects.
I have been unable to attend most town meetings, as I still work full time in the city. However, I was able to attend the Memorial Day Springs Citizens meeting and raised this issue for consideration. When voicing the complaint of sleep disturbances and constant daily rooster crowing, I was told by one of the advisory committee members that she “was raised on a farm, and doesn’t object to the sound of a rooster.”
When many of our residents bought their homes here they considered it to be a respite from an overly hectic city environment. We did not buy our homes in designated farmland, and feel it our right to enjoy peace and restful sleep when in East Hampton. While I can well appreciate this committee member’s fondness for roosters, we in this community would appreciate reciprocal consideration with regard to the seriousness of this noise problem!
We are already aware of the overcrowding of houses in Springs, where some of the residents have chosen to offend their neighbors with garbage strewn along the streets and masses of cars parked overnight. With the presence of roosters crowing all the time, our constituents are being deprived of their right to quiet enjoyment.
Why did the committee ignore our pleas? Sag Harbor has a new ordinance prohibiting roosters. Why can’t we? I was told that one of the members is a resident of Sag Harbor and has voted against the citizens of Springs by rejecting our request to call upon the town board to adopt an ordinance against roosters. The only committee member who has listened to our complaints has been David Buda, who has raised the issue before the committee and the town board, to no avail.
I strongly object to the smug arrogance of those advisory committee members who have acted inconsiderately toward the rights of all residents in Springs, by rejecting our request to prohibit these offensive barnyard animals from residential zones. Apparently, if the problem does not exist in their own backyard it is not considered a problem for all!
I respectfully implore the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee to reconsider this matter and ask the town board to adopt an ordinance prohibiting roosters in residential areas throughout the Town of East Hampton.
Nature of the Owner
July 22, 2012
Well once again, Springs School taxes have gone up and so has my mortgage, year after year, the same thing.
I wonder, year after year, why the school doesn’t make mandatory checks of housing and addresses to make sure that all children live year round in Springs and if not, make the neighboring hamlets pay their fair share to Springs. I have heard from an East Hampton High School student, who used to live in Springs, going to the high school and making Springs pick up the tab when they had moved to East Hampton Village.
It is also time, once again, for the landlords of multifamily houses to be taxed as such, thus easing the burden on the rest of us. It is the only fair and equitable thing to do.
On a change of subject: front page this week, “Pit Bull Kills Lapdog.” How come when it’s a German shepherd or a Labrador, it doesn’t read the same way. I hear people are trying to get pits banned from East Hampton — give me a break! It is not the nature of the dog, it is the nature of the owner, and I speak from experience.
When you look at the owner of the dog and the way it has been treated, you can see how the nature of the dog evolved. Any dog becomes a potential killer, even a small dog, when it is not raised correctly, and I’m not only talking about love and affection. There is right and wrong. No, I do not let my dog run after a cat, rabbit, possum, bird, or snake (maybe a squirrel who keeps eating all my birdseed, but that’s beside the point).
Put the blame on the owner, not on the breed.
July 22, 2012
To the Editor,
Shocking and appalling, the cruel story of Lola, and while all our sympathies are with Lola and with her owner, Wendy Marks, the true villains of the case would appear to be the East Hampton Town Animal Control Department and [. . .] Christine Hawkins: Animal Control for ignoring 24 complaints about the conditions “Thunder” and a golden retriever were kept in, and Ms. Hawkins for being a cruel and irresponsible owner. One does wonder what possessed this [. . .] woman to keep dogs in the first place.
Thunder did not ask to be mistreated. Thunder should not have been euthanized; his owner should be. And let us hope that the golden retriever is instantly removed from that garage, to be ehabilitated and cared for, never seeing that [. . .] Hawkins woman again.
And no, Dawn Flagg, a leash law is not the answer.
July 20, 2012
This letter is in regard to a story you published on July 17 about Lola, a Shih-Tzu who was killed by a pit bull.
Allow me to preface my commentary by stating that as a former resident of East Hampton (I grew up there), I regularly check on the local news via The Star’s Web site. Furthermore, when I was a child, I was sent over to G and T Dairy (which is now Hampton Marketplace) every Thursday afternoon to purchase a copy of The Star (in those days, the paper cost a mere 35 cents). Your paper was a part of my youth and my upbringing, as it was for many others who have lived in East Hampton, for many generations.
As a young child, probably at age 7 or 8, I would read The Star once my parents were finished with it. At that age, I would have been horrified to see a photograph in the paper depicting the graphic image of a poor, lifeless dog that had been viciously attacked by another dog. (In making this point, I’m only assuming you’re socially responsible enough to be aware that youngsters do read your paper.)
Also, imagine the reaction of poor Lola’s owners when they saw that photo as a tasteless reminder of exactly what happened to their beloved pet. If the decision to publish that photo was to somehow make a statement with regard to the fact that the dog that attacked Lola had potentially been abused and displayed an aggressive temperament, the person who made that decision made a gross error in judgment.
It is the responsibility of the media to report the news, whether or not said news is considered savory for the general public. However, using graphic images with the intent to add shock value or sensationalize the news is entirely inappropriate in a newspaper of your particular genre — especially one with such a longstanding existence and nostalgic perseverance. That photo of Lola was nothing short of a visual cussword, which I would never expect from The East Hampton Star (at least, not in the days of Helen Rattray).
Leave the job of tastelessness to Howard Stern and The New York Post.
BRIAN D. JACOB
July 17, 2012
Rarely am I roused from my chaotic work schedule and slumber to take the time to convey my feelings toward a matter publicly, but congratulations to you for your inept ability to disgust me enough to draft this letter.
Your decision to publish in your July 17 issue of The East Hampton Star, a photo of the mangled lapdog, Lola, who was killed on July 12, reflects your complete lack of taste and class, not to mention discretion. Since you are in the business of collecting stories and using words to convey them, here are a few words you seem to have forgotten the meanings of in the process as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: consideration: careful thought, deliberation, a matter taken into account, thoughtful attention; sensational: arousing an intense and usually superficial interest or emotional reaction.
By publishing the disgusting photo of the mortally injured Lola, after the vicious attack by a pit bull, you showed a total lack of consideration to the family of the animal, and or to any sensitive person or child who may be disturbed by this type of image. Additionally, you begged to the lowest and saddest of sensational depths by publishing the image of the poor mangled Lola.
I am quite a fan of police investigative television programs, all of which include brutal attack and murder investigation practices. Never have I watched this type of program without first seeing at the beginning of each segment, a warning to sensitive viewers, and the disclosure of content inappropriate for children. Where was your disclosure to the sensitive, and to guardians of children due to your inappropriate content?
I remember some time back, the decision by this newspaper was made to publish articles questioning the practices and morals of my personal friend Don Sharkey within his position as East Hampton Town’s chief building inspector, only days after he had passed away. The scathing articles continued for weeks after he left us. It was evident then, and evident now, that The East Hampton Star exercises no consideration or discretion when reporting an event, whether fact, or in the articles relating to the business practices of my friend Don Sharkey, complete fiction.
I want you to know that I, as well as others, can see the big picture of your newspaper’s operating practices. The East Hampton Star has slowly shifted over time from being a journal chronicling the local happenings in our township, to a trashy, exploitive gossip rag, no different from the National Enquirer, except for the paper stock it is printed on. I want you to know that I will never again read this newspaper, because it is both a waste of my precious time, and an insult to my intelligence. The East Hampton Star did not grab me with its disgusting photo of a mangled family pet, to cause or gain my interest in its publication. All that was accomplished was this: I am encouraging all of my friends to boycott The East Hampton Star for its inappropriate, tasteless, classless, and inconsiderate reporting and publishing practices.
‘Instruments of Peace’
July 22, 2012
At today’s service of the Springs Community Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Anthony Larson selected a poem by Constance Cherry written in 1986, set to a tune by C. Hubert H. Parry composed in 1897. With the world in the condition that we have now placed it I found this poem to be particularly poignant.
When will people cease their fighting?
When will armies wage no war,
nations conquer not their neighbor,
weapons idle, used no more?
When will guns and bombs be silent?
When will captives be set free?
All creation groans in longing
for the world’s true liberty.
Floods and earthquakes, drought and famine
plague the world with awesome ill,
but far greater is war’s horror
caused by human, stubborn will.
Blest are those who, working, praying,
purpose in their hearts to be
instruments of peace, committed
to the nations’ harmony.
July 17, 2012
Is it me, or am I living in one of the most polarized times in my relatively long life?
As a nation, Republicans distrust the left or extreme right even within their own party. Democrats are the enemy of whatever faction of the Republican Party you speak with.
Poor people feel that they are victims of the exploitative rich, and the rich, although in control of the nation’s wealth and resources, feel the need to be protected from draconian regulations and government.
Citizens feel threatened by the hordes of immigrants who are taking those jobs that they don’t even want, and minorities are in fear of each other and those in power. Religions are torn apart by their fundamentalists, seeking to wrest power and control over their brethren, who they feel do not believe enough.
Marriages and families are falling apart, fractured by love that has turned into hate. Even beautiful and idyllic East Hampton, our unique place of refuge, in one of the most naturally desirable places in our land, is not free from those feelings of distrust, envy, and hostility that permeate the very air that we breathe.
Is this the natural state of our civilization and culture? Is there no other way that we can still differ, and do so with respect for those differences and the fellow human beings with whom we differ? Are we only at war, constantly and with each other and ourselves? Is this as good as it gets? Is this what they call human nature? Is there no better way to bring out, not the worst but the best that is in us as a nation, family, community, and as a human being?
LAWRENCE S. SMITH
July 20, 2012
To the Editor,
Bravo, Walter Donway! Nice to see the occasional commentary that speaks the truth and enumerates facts, with no distorted, illogical, or irrational ranting, which we see from our two weekly letters contributors!
The 1 Percent
July 21, 2012
In his lengthy defense of David Koch in this past week’s Star, Walter Donway does not make as much of a case for this particular Koch brother being a good guy, as he uses the issue to attack the “left-liberalism . . . and in-your-face dogmatism” (“mostly imported from New York City”). I point this out as a genuine left-liberal, though not actually a born and bred New Yorker, nor someone likely to get in your face.
What he does tell us about David Koch in no way disavows that he is attempting to buy the 2012 election. The amount of money he has unleashed in trying to defeat any and all Democrats makes this clear enough. To say that he is a philanthropist of the first order is not news — very rich people mostly are. They give to museums and to the opera, to cancer and M.S. research, and perhaps even to The New York Times Neediest Cases. He does not, apparently, support such groups as the Southern Poverty Law Center or even the American Civil Liberties Union (let alone Jewish Voice for Peace). But if he gives to the Cato Institute he is giving to a very conservative think tank, and this makes it quite clear where his sympathies lie.
Mr. Donway claims David Koch is not a traditional conservative, and cites some of his more liberal (or should I say “libertarian”) views, but we are not told whether he supports more radical conservative causes as well, nor is there the hint of a possibility that he is putting out all this money to ensure the election of Republicans who will look out only for him, his brother, and the rest of the 1 percent.
If that is his intention, the policies that a President Romney would pursue would do nothing to help the middle and working classes and would continue to increase the accumulation of wealth by the already wealthy. (Is it news to him that middle-class people have been made homeless?)
Studies have shown, again and again, that to escape a recession the federal government must invest in infrastructure that helps the 99 percent of Americans to get jobs, must try to keep jobs here, not overseas, and keep the social safety net alive as well — if not by direct federal aid, then by aid to the states, so that they do not have to lay off teachers, firefighters, cops, and others who keep the economy moving.
If, as in Scranton, Pa., these working people are reduced to earning a minimum wage, they will cease to pump money into the economy. They won’t be able to afford it. This is not an idea that you need a Ph.D. to understand. Nor do you need such a degree to understand that Republicans (even moderate ones) have — in well-executed lockstep — stopped any such remedies President Obama has proposed. They would rather deny relief to suffering Americans than to see this president gain a second term!
If David Koch really thinks Barack Obama is an “out and out socialist, the most leftist president the country has ever had,” he is certainly not a traditional conservative, but he errs on the side of the extremist right, not the progressive left. He may give tons of money to the Metropolitan Museum, which gives him entree into certain social circles, but it does not save him from the anger of people like me, who see him as supporting a system that is no longer a democracy but an oligarchy.
As concerns the unbridled nastiness of some of the anti-Koch demonstrators, it is deplorable. But if you have ever been to an event, as I have, at which elements of the Tea Party showed up to protest, you would see far more vileness, more threats, and more disgusting (unintellectual and uninformed, as Mr. Donway has it) rhetoric than any Republican affair has ever attracted.
Choice to Outsource
July 17, 2012
To the Editor,
The quality of our American heritage has always been beamed with pride and thought to be the best of the best. Ralph Lauren’s choice to outsource our Olympic uniforms to China puts to the forefront an even greater debate. As a businesswoman I comprehend outsourcing as a viable tool for expanding a brand. But the fact still remains that our Olympic games are to influence national pride. The admirable American designer Ralph Lauren was a great choice in my opinion, as disappointing as this debacle has turned out. Though he has persisted that in future events he would ascertain that the uniforms are made in the United States, it is unfortunate and with great detestation that we will enter in the Olympics in such fashion. It is also befuddling that a man with such authority would not be able to correct his wrongs this year.
Like It Is
July 16, 2012
Every one of us knows two things: 1. A miracle occurred four years ago (a person of color was elected to our highest office) and 2. Racism is our number-one problem.
Now listen: This is how we will cure our problems in November: We will re-elect President Obama and by the time he weathers another four years, just look: America has gotten used to the idea of color as a main ingredient, now, and we’re well on our way to a citizenry — just what was planned from 1776 onward! Okay?
Simple as that. All this foolishness regarding Obama (read “color”) is just camouflaged racism. You know it, I know it, Democrats know it, and, yes, Republicans know it. See it like it is and let’s Move It.
Road to Plutocracy
July 15, 2012
While the media may be focusing on the presidential election, it would be wise for voters to look closely at our local race for the House of Representatives.
The House, heavily populated in 2010 by Tea Party conservatives, has blocked every job proposal the president has made. It has threatened to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act that we have needed for decades. This would once again endanger patients with previous health conditions, leave older children uncovered by their parents’ insurance, reopen the doughnut hole in senior citizens’ prescription coverage, and leave millions of Americans uninsured. The Republican party does not have an alternative to this program, which was based on a proposal of their own American Heritage Foundation. They simply don’t care about Americans without health insurance.
Tim Bishop, who has served the interests of the East End of Long Island well, will support the health care act, not vote for repeal, as his opponent, Randy Altschuler, has declared he will.
Mr. Bishop supports a jobs bill and an economic package that favors tax cuts for the middle class rather than tax advantages for the wealthiest Americans, who are already being taxed at the lowest rates in 80 years.
Randy Altschuler is another Johnny-come-lately, self-made businessman who has decided his next business will be government. He supports the Paul Ryan budget which would grant further tax cuts to the “job creators” at the expense of education and Medicare. He is against regulating the banking and securities industries that led America into the current economic depression, and is an advocate of the same policies that got us where we are. His election would be one more step on the road to plutocracy: government by corporations.
Must Rise Up
July 23, 2012
To the Editor,
Some things are crystal clear while drowning in a sea of lies, complexity, and violence. We are in the tight grasp of corporate powers who rule over a dysfunctional government divided among itself. In my opinion, nothing will change from the top down. The powers that be are too far removed from we, the people.
Seems like we continue to seek scapegoats: President Obama, Mitt Rommey, George W. Bush, or for that matter, politicians whether Republican or Democrat. None of whom are messiahs.
While still free we the people must rise up from grass roots. When empowered we are three million strong. If there is a missing link it may be solidarity. Divided, we have fallen, but we are responsible to take back our government, which has been bought from us. There is hope. Money and power are nothing but false gods already tumbling in our midst. The opportunity is ripe. The solution is ours.
July 22, 2012
I just can’t understand why John LaValle could not back a fine young man, Jeremy Brandt. As of now, I have no one to vote for. I cannot and will not pull the lever for Fred Thiele. He is so wrapped up with the extreme left with his dealings with Agenda 21 and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, a k a economic development, smart growth, etc.
Some of the ways that Agenda 21 will affect us are the abolition of private property, the education of our youth in preparation for global citizenship, and control and ultimate reduction of the human population.
Is this what you want for you, your children, and grandchildren?