July 3, 2012
We recently attended the lovely and moving memorial service for Nancy Kane. She was such a vibrant person and one of our library’s first and most loyal supporters and volunteers. We will miss her greatly, as will all who knew her.
Director, Springs Library
July 29, 2012
As a person who still works in New York City, I don’t get to spend as much time as I would like on the beautiful East End. But when I do, I am always struck by the riches of the environment, and also by the cultural opportunities.
On a rainy day this week, I stopped by Guild Hall to check out the excellent show, “Escape: Video Art.” Kudos to Guild Hall for putting together this exciting exhibit that focuses on the East End artists who were pioneers in the early days of the medium. The work is so fresh and so current.
William Wegman’s “Wake Up” made me laugh out loud. Keith Sonnier’s “Channel Mix,” created in 1972, could have been made today. Laurie Anderson’s shrunken visit to the shrink is a real treat.
The show’s 10 artists delight and inform. Thank you, Guild Hall.
July 24, 2012
To the Editor,
Thirty years, 32 years, who is counting? They simply get better. May they continue forever!
Thank you so much for a most beautiful display of light over the water this year again.
July 26, 2012
To the Editor,
I find it hard to get the murder of Wendy Marks’s beloved Shih Tzu, Lola, out of my mind. This incident stinks to high heaven. It’s clear that the women themselves could have been maimed or mortally wounded as the mad dog tried to get at them too.
What kind of government are we paying for out here that failed to prevent this? The culpability of the abused and savage pit bull’s owner is one thing, but what of the so-called East Hampton Town Animal Control Department? What is their excuse?
I quote from T.E. McMorrow’s vivid account of the incident in The Star: “According to neighbors there had been more than two dozen complaints registered with the East Hampton Town Animal Control Department about the animal. . . . The Animal Control Department did not return calls for comment.”
The criminal negligence of this department’s personnel is appalling. They could have prevented Ms. Marks’s nightmare of witnessing her little dog’s bloody death. Surely it won’t be hard to find competent people to take their jobs.
July 26, 2012
To the Editor,
I applaud East Hampton’s efforts to address the rampant problem of people driving while intoxicated. Unfortunately, many people believe they should be allowed to drink and drive in the Hamptons for a variety of reasons (i.e., expensive and unreliable taxis, “everyone does it,” etc.). I find this unfathomable.
The articles in The Star today read a bit like you and T.E. McMorrow think there is a witch hunt going on by the police. To me, this is irresponsible.
LAURA LAZARUS GOLDSTEIN
Stories of Woe?
July 26, 2012
To the Editor:
Not my husband. First of all, compliments to the East Hampton Town police for cracking down on possible drunken drivers with as much diligence as their manpower permits. These crackdowns do make a difference.
Page 1, The East Hampton Star, July 26, “Aftermath of a D.W.I. Arrest,” first of all, quite interesting to see the newspaper’s decision to highlight this situation. An apparently somewhat well-heeled couple is stopped for possible D.W.I. How it usually works: Step one: stopped for suspicion; step two: driver does road test; step three: if breathalyzer refused, one would think that a refusal on the breathalyzer mandates that for public safety reasons possibly drunken drivers should be held.
I am sure this isn’t the first time things got complicated because of a language difficulty. We have a variety of nations represented year round on the D.W.I. list; where are those stories of woe? Does this matter enough for page 1 because of the otherwise fortunate circumstances of this couple?
Lots of questions here: Internationally traveling couple has as its resources only a $500 debit card? And they ate at the Surf Lodge? And had only one beer? The article is so one-sided. Why did the wife have to wait in her car all night? Is that the fault of the police? I don’t think so. She could have driven to a motel. Her husband, I am sure, would have wanted her to be comfortable; he apparently had a bed for the night.
I really have no clue if there is a message here, except to possibly inhibit the police from stopping a car for D.W.I. if its occupants appear to be likely to merit a page 1 sympathy article in The Star.
Now, not my dog. To the woman who was legally ticketed for having a dog on the beach after hours permitted: Should the town set up with taxpayer dollars a pet trainer who can screen all dogs for proper demeanor prior to the dogs’ being on the beach in the hours the beach is most likely to be crowded? That is insane. Clearly what you mean is: “The laws are for others, not for me.” While this attitude isn’t, sadly, limited to just summer people, the up-tick gets tiresome in July and August.
Middle of the Road
July 24, 2012
To the Editor,
I would like to make a simple suggestion that may save a life. We all know how popular Montauk is getting and how dangerous that dark stretch of highway between Amaganset and Montauk can be. A simple rumble strip in the middle of the road would keep drivers from veering into oncoming traffic.
July 30, 2012
East Hampton’s Republican leaders tout their “business skills,” but one legislative goof-up after another bespeaks at least the administration’s incompetence.
The latest example dates to 2011, when the board accepted a “gift” of “privately owned” land in order to create a drainage basin. The “deputy supervisor,” who sponsored the matter, claimed to have personally investigated the title, but failed to reveal or discover that “taxpayers paid to preserve [the land] as farmland” in 1985. The county-owned agricultural easement they bought precluded removal of soil except for agricultural purposes, but ignorance is bliss.
Making no requests for permission from the county, the board went on to pay a consultant $35,100 for an engineering design, put the dig out for bids, and selected its usual earth-moving contractor to do the job at $293,000. His deal included taking away the soil for his own use, but skipping an essential step: The board failed to obtain a Department of Environmental Conservation mining permit as the project went forward.
Former Republican Supervisor and current County Legislator Jay Schneiderman thinks he can save his feckless fellows from $5,000 a day in fines for despoiling county property. He opines that there was no action in bad faith. Certainly there was a wholesome purpose to end the flooding that burdened property owners across the road. Still, we have to wonder why Councilwoman Theresa Quigley reputedly undertook to investigate the title of the property and need for permits herself, a job for which she was evidently unqualified, rather than delegating the task to her planners and attorneys. Was there something about this earth-moving project the administration didn’t want to share with the professionals they call “subordinates”?
What can explain a government’s failure to follow the laws? Ignorance? Ineptitude? Or an arrogant disrespect for public service and the due process it requires?
July 30, 2012
Tucked into your paper last week was a brief report noting two noise violations issued to the Montauk Beach House because of loud music. Town Clerk Fred Overton stated that the Montauk Beach House had never even been granted a permit to play music.
This is the most recent offense committed by the Montauk Beach House team, Chris Jones and Larry Siedlick. Not only are these operators playing outdoor music with no permit, they are operating a private members-only club, a retail clothing store, a food and beverage operation, and have a liquor license that allows them to sell alcohol not only to motel guests but to the general public. They also appear to be operating a nightclub on the weekends. All of these uses can be verified on the Internet, including the motel’s Web site and reviews on Trip Advisor.
Every single one of these changes of use would normally require site-plan review from the East Hampton Town Planning Board. But in fact, they have opened for business with only a temporary certificate of occupancy. By town code, a temporary certificate of occupancy is only granted when a project has satisfied all the building, planning, and zoning code requirements but still needs to complete its installation of sidewalks and landscaping.
On this temporary certificate of occupancy, not one of the actual functioning operations is listed. Not one of these new uses has been reviewed by the planning board or zoning board of appeals. They appear to be invisible to everyone down at Town Hall (though not to the public at large).
The creation of all these new uses without proper review is unfair to other businesses. It also puts the environment at risk if there are inadequate septic facilities.
There was never any proper review for quality-of-life issues, such as noise, or whether there was adequate parking to support the new uses. While the updating of the old motel deserves support, everyone should be asking how plans for a motel renovation grew into so many new uses without any town employee or official requiring their review. This establishes a dangerous precedent.
July 30, 2012
Five a.m., a warm, steamy mist hangs over the Old Montauk Highway. The white-tailed coneys of the Hither Hills sprint back and forth across the pavement, then pose sweetly on Ralph Lauren’s lawn, and dart into the bushes. A mourning dove cries, woo-OOO-oo-oo-oo. The fragrant, blonde honeysuckles climb the shad bushes. An almost imperceptible lapping of the ocean gently resonates in the calm air. It’s the time of day when you can feel if things are going good or going wrong, and all the signs and omens point to going good.
I’d been two years away from Montauk, except for a few hours in the bleak of winter. So, on my first longer visit a few days ago, I took a three-mile walk from the Yellow Bucket House into town to get the drift.
There were, of course, the usual chicken-coop clucking that I’d gleaned from far away. Montauk has gone to wherever is worse than “the dogs.” The iPhone and iPad generation, with their hedge fund luxury cars, are blatantly starting new businesses all over town and even buying houses. Their spoiled, besotted, trust-fund siblings are getting rowdy in the streets after midnight, and their Wall Street friends and associates have tested the townfolk with their laughable snootiness and annoying arrogance. The meat-market singles bars are way too big for their septic tanks, urination is rampant on private lawns and foliage, a few dangerous morons from East Hampton are advocating parking meters and traffic lights.
My early walk and subsequent observations during the adjacent 48 hours recorded a different vision.
The Old Montauk Highway is as beautiful as ever. On both sides of the two-lane road there is some serious plutocratic beach house construction going on. The masters of the universe will be able to see the sea from their bedrooms, and perhaps, like Garibaldi, will choose to die looking out at their maritime view.
Yet, there is always local hope that another supremely expensive and soulless mega-manse will not emerge. The gardens and lawns of the older houses along the way are growing more luscious and better manicured with time. The semi-secret paths through the bushes from the sidewalks down to the beaches are still mysterious and tunnelly. As 6 a.m. arrives the morning trucks and taxis and a few private cars hiss past only a few miles an hour above the 30 miles-per-hour speed limit, which is respectful.
The vista of the creamy Montauk beaches, the blue-gray Atlantic, and the high platinum sky as seen from the summit of the highest of the highway’s hills, is as awesome as ever.
Once you reach the I.G.A., the small amazements of Montauk are evident. Flowers, shrubs, grasses, and fir trees are well tended without being showy. It is also clear that whatever mischief and mayhem happened the night before, the town’s unsung (but ought to be sung) clean-up crews are on the job and have cleaned up almost all of the messes. A few beer cans tossed by visiting cretins are still laying about in a bush or under a tree, but mostly the town looks tidy and ready for another deluge.
John’s Pancake House, the Montauk Bake Shoppe, Herb’s Market, and nearly a dozen more kitchens and bakeries around town are prepared for the crowds, which this summer are reputed to be huge and hungry. There is sense of entrepreneurial energy in all but the saddest shops, and there are the comforting sounds of money exchanging hands.
A few surprises that popped up as the hours went on: Ronjo, the polychromatic Polynesian pipe dream of a quirky motel that for years added a certain tacky spice to the town, changed hands. Over last winter it was morphed into the Montauk Beach House, which boasts black, white, and gray Euro-chic rooms, chaise lounges around a Viagra-shaped swimming pool, and a tasteful room or two that (when the landlord’s stars are properly aligned) rents for almost $700 a night. There is the usual local belly-aching about making any changes at all in Montauk but, in truth, very few people will miss the Ronjo’s pungent charms.
Bespectacled Tom, the soft-spoken, unopinionated owner of White’s liquor store, got married. The deftly censored story of this marriage is worthy of an off-Broadway comedy.
The Inlet Restaurant at the far end of East Lake Drive has matured into one of the best fish joints on the Atlantic Coast. Whoever is cooking the Montauk striped bass is a genius: perfectly crispy and spicy skin, flesh that is snow white, caught-today firm, yet juicy. Other seafood was equally mouthwatering, including the sushi, which was both artful and scrumptious.
Rick’s Crabby Cowboy’s pulled pork sandwich and corn-kernel hush puppies are as sinful as ever, and Rick is happily telling even taller tales.
The corner where the Plaza restaurant once moldered is now under new management. It is now clean, fresh-faced, and serves Latin-style food either at booths inside or at outdoor tables under the trees. That location is alive again.
John Keeshan’s roses are not nearly abundant enough, but each blossom is exquisite.
On the plaza, on Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., arise the tents of the Montauk Farmers Market, which brings locally grown and produced food to town. Many cooks plan their week around buying there. Not so long ago, the market was just the Fat Ass Fudge lady and a few local gardeners. Now it’s a bigger and much-beloved tradition.
The Concerned Citizens of Montauk are still gimlet-eyed watch birds of many political persuasions. They won’t be shut up about un-neighborly (or felonious) excess and abuse, from any commercial or governmental quarter.
The only sour note: the flock of taxis. There are far too many cabs with drivers who don’t know where they are going, drive rudely and too fast, and who are instructed by their dispatchers to charge fares that are well above what honest, local taxis charge.
Did I forget the beaches? No. But when you are away from Montauk for a long while, the ocean and the beaches are what one’s spirit and soul misses the most. One or two walks on the strands do not suffice. The magical intimacy of the Montauk beaches is not restored quickly or easily. That kind of love needs more time.
With warm regard,
For a Picnic
July 24, 2012
I no longer buy The Star due to your pro-7-Eleven position. So I guess that’s why I missed the Montauk Chamber of Commerce ad that says, “Come to MTK for a Picnic.” When did Montauk become the picnic-table Hampton?
Montauk, founded in 1660, picnic tabled in (fill in the blank).
Montauk: still more picnic tables than people. Montauk: a small, drinking village, a picnic-table problem.
Yes your 5,000-square-foot shingled cottage comes with a big picnic table. What size fedora do you wear?
It’s that way now.
July 29, 2012
Recently I read a letter to the editor from Alex Kogan regarding the life-threatening health risks posed by our area’s expanding deer population. I’d like to echo Mr. Kogan’s conclusion that inaction in culling the deer population is a life-and-death issue.
In his letter, Mr. Kogan told of the three parasitic diseases carried by ticks. Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and babesiosis are all very serious conditions and are all exploding on the East End. Like Mr. Kogan, I was unfortunate enough to contract babesiosis. The condition is fatal in over 20 percent of cases, and was very nearly fatal in my case because of delays in identifying the bacteria.
The New York City hospital that I went to simply didn’t have much experience in diagnosing babesiosis, and my ondition became worse day after day, necessitating a series of blood transfusions. The transfusions luckily bought time, until the babesiosis was diagnosed and treated.
While I was fortunate enough to survive this experience, in a very dark coincidence, a business associate of mine was not so fortunate. Soon after my experience, this gentleman contracted babesiosis and ehrlichiosis. He went to his local hospital, but passed away within 24 hours.
Inaction by our political leaders in addressing the deer problem is beyond irresponsible, and is tantamount to putting at risk the lives of our children and loved ones. It really is a matter of life and death.
When I read, as I did, in a letter to the editor that “deer are our wildlife, just as elephants are East Africa’s wildlife,” I can only say “Enough!” With all respects to the writer, this is nuts! Beyond the various considerations related to our quality of life, we have a public health emergency that is critical and is getting steadily worse. The time for action is long past.
July 23, 2012
At last week’s town board meeting several people made presentations against the proposed East Hampton deer cull. One of the purported justifications for killing deer is to curb Lyme disease. This reason is completely erroneous, and the board must stop pushing this misinformation.
The blacklegged tick that transmits Lyme disease feeds on approximately 50 species of mammal and 70 species of birds. The bacteria is passed through the bite of a tick. But deer do not get Lyme disease nor do they pass it along. Rodents, on the other hand, particularly the white-footed mouse, do contract the disease and pass it along to other ticks that feed on them. Rodents are called “reservoir hosts” for this reason. Deer are not reservoir hosts, they are called “dilution hosts” because, even though a tick can feed on a deer, as one of the many mammals offering blood meals to ticks, the disease is not spread through the deer-tick relationship.
A book published last year by Oxford University Press called “Lyme Disease, The Ecology of a Complex System,” by Dr. Richard Ostfeld, analyzed and synthesized just about every study to date on this topic. Well over 100 studies are examined in the book, and the conclusion is crystal clear and accessible to the general public: There is little to no correlation between deer and Lyme disease. The only studies that found any correlation between tick numbers and deer abundance were done on islands off the coast of Maine and Massachusetts. On those islands, where it was possible to totally eliminate deer, a reduction in tick abundance was found; however, this did not lead to a reduction in Lyme disease. Remember, it’s not just about the existence of ticks, it’s about ticks carrying the disease.
According to the book, only about 30 percent of ticks are infected with Lyme disease. There are, in fact, no studies that correlate a reduction in deer numbers with a reduction in Lyme disease. When deer numbers are reduced, ticks crowd on whatever deer remain and more importantly, ticks simply switch to other hosts like mice, chipmunks, opossum, raccoons, shrews, and birds.
I was sorry to read Mr. Kogan’s letter last week about his tragic bout with babesiosis. Unfortunately, even though Mr. Kogan would like to believe that killing deer will keep him and others safe from contracting such a disease, he is wrong. The ecology of babesiosis is very much the same as Lyme disease. Anger and frustraton can cloud our thinking, however, the scientific literature is clear: Lyme disease is not linked to deer abundance. Each member of the East Hampton Town Board was given a copy of the recent Lyme disease book by a generous and concerned resident. Perhaps now accurate and helpful information will be disseminated.
July 28, 2012
To the Editor,
After reading the editorial commentary, “Beach-Driving: Can We Talk?” I’ve come to the conclusion that your nameless editorialist is using factual misstatements not to engage in a legitimate conversation, but rather to sway public opinion to oppose daytime vehicle use on the beach at the western end of Maidstone Park.
It’s true there was a time in the not too distant past when I’d park my vehicle on the beach along with only a couple others. This has never really been true during the busy summer months when there’s numerous vehicles parked on this beach. The author goes on to state as an erroneous fact: “Because of the traffic, the beach has become so pounded down that four-wheel drive is barely necessary.” The truth, in fact, is the hard sand is dredge spoil from when the channel was dredged about two years ago and the spoil was dumped at that location. After an attempt to “restore” the beach following the dredging, most of the dredge spoil was hauled away to another location. A significant portion of the dredge spoil fell back into the channel immediately following the dredging project, leaving behind a beach of significantly smaller size and composed of coarse, hard spoil. The smaller beach is more crowded now that most of the natural beach is gone.
I am at the beach at the western end of Maidstone Park most evenings, even in January, when I assure you, I’ve not encountered your nameless editorial writer. Even now, in the middle of summer — and even on the busiest day at the park when the Bonac fireworks take place — I’ve never seen anyone denied their rights as freeholders under the Dongan Patent. Even on a beach severely damaged by a dredging project, there is still room for free passage, and every person I’ve seen with a vehicle on the beach is respectful of the right to pass.
Your nameless editorialist goes on to say that cries of a total ban on beach access are “hogwash.” As far as I know, the extreme western portion of Maidstone Park is the only part of the beach where vehicles are permitted. There’s about 3,000 feet of bay beach on the north side of the park (between the jetty and Flaggy Hole Road) that’s not at all accessible to beach driving at any time, day or night, and is reserved solely for beachgoers. If people wish to spend time on a beach without the “line of vehicles . . . unpleasant to the eye, [and] inappropriate in a natural area,” all they need to do is walk a few hundred feet along one of several paths from the several parking areas to the area of beach where vehicles are never permitted.
Your editorial proposes what a “reasonable answer” might be by suggesting able-bodied people park on the pavement and reserve the daytime right to drive on this beach for people with handicaps. I have often parked my vehicle right next to the vehicle of a close friend who is handicapped in this very location. It’s one of the few places where our access is truly equal.
Since we’re “talking” about this, perhaps enforcement of the current beach driving rules would be a more appropriate place to start. On any given evening in the summer, I see numerous vehicles parked on the sand that don’t display a proper town beach driving permit. I even see out-of-state vehicles, and now that the beach is composed of dredge spoil, even regular passenger cars without four-wheel drive parked on the beach. Occasionally, Marine Patrol will show up during the daytime or early part of the evening and ticket a few, but more often, they’re not around as the sun is going down.
The freeholders of the town have been driving on beaches here since cars were invented. Vehicles have already been either restricted or banned on most beaches. Each new regulation erodes the right of beach drivers just as the dredging eroded the beach. If it keeps going, there’ll be nothing left of the beach or the driving and your ill-informed, unnamed editorialist can relish the “natural” world he or she has “helped” preserve. Hogwash!
Spreading the Noise
July 25, 2012
Dear Mr. Rattray:
I have read recently that Jim Brundige and Dominick Stanzione are claiming whatever noise reduction from aircraft using East Hampton Airport is a result of the new Dominick Stanzione’s million dollar (and counting) tower. In support of this position they allege that helicopters are flying higher on average than they have in the past. They also claim that there are fewer helicopter flights in 2012 than in 2011.
I live in Wainscott. I can assure you that in Wainscott (and probably Sagaponack, Bridgehampton, and the Georgica section of East Hampton Village) there is significantly more noise from helicopters and all other types of aircraft this summer than in any prior summer. This despite the fact that the so-called southerly route over Georgica Pond to and from the airport has not yet been approved by the powers that be. In addition, I have heard from people in Amagansett that aircraft are making the beaches noisier there, and, of course, making them less enjoyable. It seems to me that the only thing that Brundige and Stanzione (and their partner in crime Wilkinson) can claim is success in spreading the noise caused by aircraft. This argument brings to mind how a doctor attacks a cancer. He attempts to remove the cancer; he does not spread the cancer in the patient’s body.
Think of the impact on the local economy and property values if the airport and its use continue unabated. There are multiple adverse economic consequences:
1. Assessed value decreases. The lost revenue by reason of that decrease to the town and county is made up by the other property owners paying taxes to the town and county.
2. Assuming the property can be sold at all, brokers’ commissions would be significantly reduced (in some cases, by hundreds of thousands of dollars), which reduces revenue flowing into the local economy.
3. Other fees and services will be reduced.
4. Equally important is the impact the airport traffic has on our neighbors. I suggest that nearby municipalities will be pressured by their constituents to force East Hampton to get the airport noise under control.
It amazes me that Wilkinson, Stanzione and Brundige, and the East Hampton Aviation Association Pilots and Friends of the Airport, are quick to point out that there are fewer aircraft. I don’t see that that proves that there is a noise reduction by reason of the tower or higher-altitude flying. All it proves is that there are fewer flights. I am not in a position to test that claim for Wainscott, because Wainscott has just been recently anointed by them as the newest depository for airport noise.
Stanzione and Brundige also argue that there are only a few people complaining. I don’t doubt that that is the case because most people are not aware that there is a complaint line and most people don’t want to spend their time making complaints. My guess is, however, that as the traffic increases when Georgica Pond is put on line complaints will multiply from that area.
That may happen even before. This past weekend my family was unable to carry on a conversation in the backyard on Saturday evening because of the aircraft noise. On two occasions we were unable to carry on conversations during dinner in our kitchen with the door leading outside and the windows open because of the helicopter noise. I think the best omen of things to come, however, was the helicopter that circled twice over the area defined by Wainscott Main Street, Town Line Road, the Dankowski farm and Sayre’s Path; I assume that that helicopter, which was flying at roughly 300 feet, was on a hold pattern. I can just imagine helicopters on hold patterns over Wainscott once the southerly route comes on line.
If Dominick Stanzione can find Wainscott, I suggest that he spend time here on a Friday afternoon or all day Sunday. The last time I talked to him about airport noise in Wainscott, he thought Wainscott Main Street is Montauk Highway. So much for the town board member in charge of impacts on Wainscott resulting from airport traffic having any knowledge of the affected area.
Speaking of which, during a recent tour of the airport control tower by members of the public, the host told his guests that Stanzione had directed them to abandon the northerly route to and from the airport over Northwest Creek in favor of the route over the power line to Jessup’s Neck in Southampton Town. If this isn’t political, I don’t know what is; people affected by the Northwest Creek route include Theresa Quigley, Tom Twomey, Judith Hope, and John Shea, all politically involved and proponents of giving control of the airport to the Federal Aviation Administration.
With respect to Jim Brundige’s statements, Jim told me, in a telephone conversation last October, that people in Wainscott were spoiled because it was a quiet and peaceful area of the town, and presumably it should, therefore, suffer airport noise. Mr. Brundige also seems to have lost his way in other respects: On at least two recent occasions he has implied in public that there is no deer fence on the airport’s easterly boundary. I would suggest that he take a walk to that boundary, where he can see for himself that there is indeed a deer fence that is in fine shape.
The East Hampton Aviation Association’s latest advertisement says that the airport opponents want to close the airport by eliminating the control tower, rejecting F.A.A. repair funds, and jamming the noise complaint hotlines; that is utter nonsense. I am an opponent of the noise generated by the use of the airport, not the airport. The control tower, according to the association, improves safety; the association and Stanzione previously asserted that it would also reduce noise. I would reject F.A.A. repair funds because that takes control of the airport and the noise problem out of our hands.
As far as jamming the noise hotline is concerned, frankly I doubt if most people have the inclination to call despite their discomfort and objection to noise. In any event, I guess that there will be more and more people calling, especially from Wainscott, when Wainscott is officially invested as an alternate route.
It is too bad that the East Hampton Aviation Association and the Republican town board members cannot engage in a meaningful dialogue to correct what everyone concedes is a problem. It is not going to help one iota to have the F.A.A. involved in that dialogue as Stanzione, Wilkinson, Brundige, and the East Hampton Aviation Association well know. The simple fact is that Stanzione etc. do not want to be bothered by mere property owners trying to enjoy their property and the general public enjoying the beaches it maintains through taxes. Stanzione and his fellow travelers are so self-absorbed that they cannot do anything but put up misleading advertisements and put Dominick Stanzione and Jim Brundige onstage to make false statements about efforts to reduce noise at the airport.
The proof is in the pudding. If there are, in fact, fewer aircraft landing this year it is not a result of their efforts. It is because of the economy, and perhaps in some measure because of the noise generated by airport traffic. If so, we are well on our way to killing the goose that laid the golden egg.
Very truly yours,
DANIEL G. VOORHEES
Placing the Blame
July 26, 2012
Over the weekend, David Gruber has been issuing statements blaming various individuals for his devastating loss in the litigation against the new town Airport Master Plan.
He blames the town experts who he says collected faulty data for their noise analysis, despite the fact that he recommended these very same experts to work for the town.
He blames the town attorneys who he says lied to the court, despite the fact that six New York State Supreme Court justices said his allegations were “without merit.”
He blames the town’s special airport counsel for advising the town it can continue to receive Federal Aviation Administration funding while at the same time curbing helicopter noise in our neighborhoods, despite the fact that the town hired this counsel at the insistence of Mr. Gruber.
He blames the judges who are in collusion with all levels of government.
He blames the entire judicial system, from which no justice can be secured.
But the only person who deserves the blame is Mr. Gruber himself, for conjuring bogus legal theories that have no merit according to the courts.
East Hampton Aviation Association
Little or Nothing
July 28, 2012
The recent ads by the East Hampton Republican Committee chirping in to take Federal Aviation Administration funding is just another attempt to cater to the special-interest groups that dump money into their coffers. Of course they fail to mention what they are hiding: Make us indentured servants to the F.A.A. for another 20 years!
Note the realignment of Daniel’s Hole Road (for obvious reasons). Note the clearing of 10 acres of wooded watershed recharge areas north of the airport valuable to our drinking water for possible industrial development. Shh! Don’t tell anyone. Note the deepest part of the federally designated sole-source aquifer lies beneath the airport — our drinking water source.
The pilots, the town board majority, and now the E.H.R.C. further their specific agenda. Not to mitigate a lowering of the quality-of-life issues that they contribute to but to have an abandoned runway opened to cater to a limited special-interest group. (Of course political contributions and promises made are not the reason.)
According to the F.A.A., the 1989 master plan, and airport layout plan, the F.A.A. statement, verbatim, is such: “We recommend the elimination of runway 4-22 from use as a runway,” and the plan designates runway 16-34 as the secondary runway. Four-twenty-two does not provide significant additional coverage based upon historical wind conditions. Its intersection with other runways are dangerous, and the airport manager was quoted as being in agreement. What part of “elimination” do you not understand? What changed? Did the Earth tilt on its axis?
In addition, our majority on the town board has battered us with arrogance and demeaning attitudes towards the citizens of this town, condescending remarks against anyone who questions them. Their backroom deals and dog-and-pony show hearings shout loudly. The “deputy supervisor” calling Springs residents Nazis.
Where were the ads from the E.H.R.C. condemning that disgusting remark? No apologies from the offending board member or her boss. Her “I don’t give a crap” remark, well, that is stating the obvious.
The remarks about being 100 percent for business leaves little or nothing left for “our” business. Proposals to expand business districts that will add quality-of-life issues with noise, traffic, and whatever else. The cure to overcrowding: give the unscrupulous landlords amnesty and allow up to nine unrelated people to inhabit a single-family home.
The “dark sky” controversy, the elimination of a valuable service to pick up leaves at an annual cost of $18 a household, and they slammed us with a stealth tax of several hundred dollars instead. The letter from them, which I have in my hand, advocating bypassing licensed contractors to hire “pop-up entrepreneurs” to assist in maintaining my property. The list goes on and will get worse unless we speak up and demand that we get preferential treatment over the special-interest groups. Given some more time they will destroy what little remains. What a disgrace!
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
A New Approach
July 23, 2012
This past Saturday morning a jet aircraft flew over my home at 5:20 a.m. That same night I heard four loud aircraft operations between 11:35 and 11:55 p.m. Of course, every Friday afternoon and evening and Sunday afternoon and evening remain especially horrific, with constant, intrusive operations.
The use of East Hampton Airport, as presently constituted, is both a right and a privilege. Rights and privileges entail responsibilities. Although our airport is used by a tiny minority of people in this community, it negatively impacts thousands who gain nothing whatsoever from its existence. Unfortunately, some of those who use our airport see it as a private club, rather than as the very public entity it is. They enjoy the privilege, and claim it as their right, but abdicate the responsibility inherent in such.
With this in mind, I am suggesting a new approach, one based on civility and community, rather than on wrangling over federal aviation law. I suggest that Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, as the preeminent town official, draw up a document and present it to all airport users on a monthly basis. This document would remind airport users of the responsibilities that accompany use rights and privileges.
These responsibilities would note that aircraft noise and pollution related to East Hampton Airport is a serious problem in East Hampton, Southampton, and well beyond. It would insist on cruising altitudes of at least 1,500 feet over residential areas (even near the airport). It would delineate appropriate daily, not nightly, times for flight, say 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. because our breakfasts and cocktail hours should be pleasant. It would insist that hell-icopters [sic] approach and depart at altitudes of at least 2,500 feet, and spiral down over East Hampton Airport, rather than use long and loud glide paths. It would expect that all aircraft would adhere to appropriate flight patterns. It would remind users that unnecessary and wasteful trips for them and their entourages are unnecessary and wasteful.
Obviously the approaches taken heretofore have not worked to any great degree, and East Hampton Airport remains an ongoing aggravation for far more people than it serves. Let’s put the onus of responsibility where it belongs, while reminding our aviation friends that use of the airport is not a god-given right, nor a privilege that cannot be revoked.
July 29, 2012
Once again, The Star’s front page betrays the perpetual “big government” idiocy of your editorial page(s). The fundamental problem with progressive leftism is that it is never grounded in reality. This is clearly illustrated by two events, one hysterically funny and the other not.
“Plover Population Plummets” is a case in point. Despite the best efforts of the town’s planning board (an oxymoron, if there ever was one) by keeping taxpaying humans off of the beaches because their presence is detrimental to the mating and chick rearing habits of the piping plovers. Apparently, the planning board forgot to tell the foxes and the crows, which are now fat, happy, and rapidly multiplying because of the excess supply of their favorite food, piping plover and their eggs.
How great is that if you are a fox or a crow? Stupid collectivist human tricks!
Not so fast. I am quite sure the wizards at the planning board are coming up with a remedial reading program for the foxes (attendance mandatory, of course). This will necessitate the (re)hiring of a fox-truancy officer (Larry Penny?) in addition to the untold number of bureaucrats who will be charged with developing the new “Fox/Crow Curriculum.”
Who knows, we might find out if the old Bub saw is true: “Does piping plover taste like chicken?” Once they can read we might get the answer?
The not-so-funny results of earlier similar “thinking” by the “well meaning” officials of the towns of the early 1970s and the erroneously named Group for America’s South Fork, were on full display, when they killed the Sunrise Highway extension (more plover mentality). Earlier this week a nearly fatal car-garbage truck accident up by the Lobster Inn tied up traffic in all directions for hours and hours. So long, in fact, that more than a few cars ran out of gas on the approach roads, further complicating the 15-to-20-mile snarl. This event prompted a key question that finally dawned on someone: “If one car accident creates this mess, what happens in a coastal emergency?”
Forty years after their creation, it is apparent to me that these boards are dismal failures on all levels.
Here is a 200-year-old novel idea (spirit of 1776). How about our elected officials actually make the decisions for which they were elected and not insulate themselves from the consequences of these expensive, idiotic “solutions” and self-created problems by these unaccountable fiefdoms. The concept used to be public service, not public masters.
It may not matter. Obamanomics will probably make the decision for us.
OTIS A. GLAZEBROOK IV
To the Contrary
July 27, 2012
In your paper last week, it was reported that upon Steven Gaines’s being nominated to run for town board, he was disinvited to participate in the East Hampton Library Authors Night event. To the contrary, he was asked to sign his book at our cocktail party under the tent and listed as an author to be hosted at a dinner thereafter. He declined to sign his books, and no one signed up for the dinner party, so it was regrettably cancelled.
The library is strictly nonpartisan. In fact, Rudy Giuliani has been a dinner party host, and Ed Conard and other Republicans have been featured authors.
Authors Night Committee
July 30, 2012
To the Editor,
The Penn State scandal became about football because apparently the former leadership was in fear of reprisals to its program. Not to say their actions were in any way appropriate, but let’s face it, the N.C.A.A. is big business, huge TV contracts, and major sponsorships. Any blip in the news creates a loss in revenue to any Division One school, no matter what sport, and the N.C.A.A. is more than aware of this.
The very sad part is that the crimes that were committed were not about sports at all and they did not involve anyone on the Penn State football staff or team. A sick, perverted man used his position as a former coach and then head of a children’s charity to abuse young boys. Time and again, we learn of sexual predators positioning themselves within organizations where they have influence on children.
Those now being punished by the N.C.A.A. are just another group of innocent victims who had absolutely nothing to do with the crime or the cover-up — the entire student body at P.S.U., those 100 current players, those future scholarship candidates, those previous players, the entire town of State College, Pa., whose livelihood is based on the revenue generated from those football weekends and the P.S.U. alumni.
Yes, an educational institution that was supposed to protect children did not — and there should be consequences. I am not sure what the correct punishment for their lack of action should be but certainly hurting more innocent victims is not the right solution.
Let’s hope that some good can come from this tragedy. Let this be a wakeup call to every organization. Let’s hope that better internal channels are devised to report any abuse without hesitation, fear, or consequence throughout all educational institutions — and where our children are concerned may we find ways to better protect them from the predators that continue to exist.
July 28, 2012
To the Editor,
Representative Tim Bishop is against outsourcing work to foreign companies, and to prove it he has funneled $250,000 of campaign funds to a Southampton company, MCB .Consulting.
Hey, sounds great, but here is the catch, MCB consultants is owned by his daughter Molly.
This, Bishop’s all-in-the-family policy, was exposed by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and OpenSecrets.org.
According to their records Bishop funneled to Molly’s firm $120,000 in 2008 and $130,000 in 2010.
If you check out the filings at the Federal Election Commission, Bishop has funneled $56,000 so far this year. More to come on the Bishop campaign trail?
I received a call from Bishop’s campaign asking for money, and I told him it is okay for Congress to spend my money on food stamps and unemployment benefits for those suffering in the recession. But it is not all right to send my hard-earned dough to his daughter.
Well this is one Molly who won’t have to earn her money by hawking and crying: “Cockles and mussles, alive, alive, oh!”
July 30, 2012
To the Editor,
I’d have more faith in “Pandering” Mitt declaring war on Iran if a couple of his sons were in the military.
Affordable Care Act
July 30, 2012
The Republican super PACs, the insurance industry, and parts of the medical profession have outspent the Democrats and those who support the Affordable Care Act, which they call Obamacare, by upward of $200 million and counting, as compared with one-third of that amount by those in favor of it.
The result has been a significant majority of Americans not understanding and against the act, notwithstanding the fact that it benefits them hugely whether or not they presently have some form of health insurance or Medicare.
The Affordable Care Act will enable 30 million more to get medical care when they need it. For some, this will come through an expansion of Medicaid; for others, through a state exchange that provides a marketplace where one can compare benefits and costs of different insurance plans, with subsidies available if needed to help pay for coverage. (The cost of subsidies is cheaper than paying for emergency room care and emergencies are less likely when people have preventive care.) And for men and women under the age of 26, it means remaining covered under their parents’ policy.
For those of us with health insurance, he act ensures that no insurance company can withdraw coverage when we become ill, and coverage won’t be denied because we have a condition that existed before a policy took effect. No lifetime caps on coverage will be allowed, and women will no longer pay a higher premium for the same coverage as men.
The Affordable Care Act reduces barriers to accessing preventive services. Health plans must provide for an annual wellness visit and no co-payment for preventive care, including Pap smears, screening mammograms, flu shots, screenings for diabetes and, very soon, birth control, without co-pays or deductibles, as part of women’s preventive care.
For those seniors fortunate to have health insurance coverage through Medicare, the act will be eliminating the so-called “donut hole” and there will no longer be a lapse in coverage for prescription drugs. Greater protections will be in place against elder abuse, and pilot projects will be created to better coordinate care from hospital to home.
The Congressional Budget Office analyses of the financial impact of the Affordable Care Act on our economy are being misstated and misconstrued, in an effort to distract people from the positive impact of this legislation. The truth, as confirmed by the Congressional Budget Office, is that the act will reduce health care costs over the next 10 years while delivering better care.
This law takes aim at the rising costs of health care and puts in place serious reforms that will increase quality, slow growth, and make sure health care remains affordable without increasing the deficit.
Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop voted for and supports the Affordable Care Act. His Republican challenger, Randy Altshuler, is against it and has said that he will work to defeat it if elected.
Whatever our political persuasion, we need to help drive the success of the Affordable Care Act in order to meet what should be our common goal in the greatest nation in the world: affordable health care for all citizens.
DAVID J. WEINSTEIN
July 30, 2012
To the Editor,
One might wonder where is the compassionate patriot, flag raised high and spirit alive with values once believed? No torture, no drones aimed at civilians, both women and children, body parts in burned pits, the Agent Orange of the Vietnam War.
War is ugly and Americans should know about it beyond the filter of the corporate-controlled media. I long for the compassionate patriot. How many wounded warriors will we tolerate in war without end orchestrated by corporate powers?
How many more veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder will commit suicide, their number now over 6,000? Women veterans are three times as likely to kill themselves as men. Where is the compassionate patriot?
Why is the Pentagon training 14,000 women for combat? How many more bodies do they want, including poor blacks, whites, and minorities, soldiers to young to die and not know why?
Presently over 80 percent of the American people are against the war, compassionate enough to bring our soldiers home. Where is the alleged democracy we’re so proud of? Where are our patriots?
July 27, 2012
To the Editor:
I suppose I must defend my honor by replying to Silvia Tennenbaum’s letter (July 26 Star), which responded to mine of the previous week that scolded demonstrators who badgered and insulted guests at David Koch’s fund-raiser for Mitt Romney. First, though, I thank Louis Meisel for his support in the same July 26 Star.
Ms. Tennenbaum writes that I do not disprove the allegation that David and Charles Koch are trying to “buy the 2012 election.” I did not dispute that the Koches are contributing substantial sums to this year’s candidates; that is in the public record. No total documented, however, comes close to what would overwhelm the $100-million-plus war chests of the candidates.
The Koches also support groups that advance their ideas and their candidates; those contributions do not have to be made public, but, as with the candidates, the total sums given to political action committees and advocacy groups overwhelm the contributions of any individual. Let us say simply that the Koches are rich, have passionate views on the direction of America, and exercise their right to try to advance their views. All chatter on this question, including outrageous charges and exaggerations by a few senators, are attempts to explain why the country — especially the most energetically committed young people, in droves — are turning from the statist policies and deflated promises of Barack Obama.
No, my intention was not to dispute that the Koches are supporting their long-standing views, as they have for decades, with large political contributions. My points were that their contributions are not “buying” protection for the “1 percent,” but continuing decades of principled political commitment expressed in support for research, education, and advocacy, and that their outstandingly generous support for New York’s finest organizations in the arts, medical care and medical research, and education makes sadder and more churlish the shabby insults and rude behavior of the demonstrators.
Groping for David Koch’s position, Ms. Tennenbaum refers to “radical conservative causes” and “the extremist right.” These terms are intended to obfuscate that what she is attacking is liberalism, the genuine liberalism of John Stuart Mill and Thomas Jefferson. I say genuine because liberalism means “liberty,” as against government power and control. The terms also are intended to obscure that the liberalism she is defending is the opposite of liberalism; it is statism.
Today’s liberals advocate ever-accelerating government power and control n one area after another — health care, education, finance — that limit individual liberty in the name of supposedly urgent and greater goals. The Koches, quite simply, are genuine liberals, consistently making the case for government limited to the functions defined in the U.S. Constitution.
Only strict and principled limits on government can cauterize from our body politic today’s oligarchy of preposterously wealthy individuals and corporations who thrive on crony capitalism, on government favors, subsidies, special privileges, tax breaks.
I have written elsewhere on “ ‘Making Money’ Versus Crony Capitalism.” It is easy to Google. I will say only that crony capitalism is the opposite and enemy of true liberalism — and capitalism. The solution is to strip government of its ability to subsidize, its ability to decree by regulation the fate of businesses and whole industries, its ability to stimulate, to favor, to “encourage.” The solution that the left-liberals hate and fear is laissez faire. They should not call it “radical conservatism” or “rightist extremism.” They should admit that they oppose the principled advocacy of freedom: freedom in the economy as well as the press; in trade and production as well as religion; in the use and disposal of property as well as in political advocacy.
My guess is that today’s left-liberals know, or sense, that the statist ideal is exhausted, near to collapse in much of Europe, not far behind in our country. I think they sense that the credo that more government will solve problems that keep getting worse — and are blamed on the remnants of capitalism and individual responsibility to justify more government — has run its course. And that is why they hope to blame the defeat of Barack Obama — if he is defeated just four years after the promise of a crusade for national renewal by means of unrestrained government activism on the dark machinations of capitalists.
July 27, 2012
To the Editor:
“Cash or credit” reads the sign at the gas pump: $40 for 10 gallons cash, or $41.50 with a card. What can anyone buy for $1.50 — a few Good n Plentys at Dylan’s candy shop on Main Street? How much better does it feel to have cash in your pocket than plastic in your wallet? A sense of substance of value, real money has so much more meaning than plastic. Credit is irresistible.
Before 1980 credit wasn’t really an option; every loan was backed by something real. Then Ronald Reagan drank the Kool-Aid that promoted free markets over the values of middle-class Americans. He bought and helped promulgate Milton Friedman’s concept that free markets, unfettered, would create growth.
Four major points: Government’s role was to be diminished or disappear. Deregulation was essential. Supply, not demand, was the key to growth. American workers were not the driving engine, and wages and productivity were marginal. Having watched so many old films where the mining companies gave credit to workers instead of wages, he bought the servant-economy concept that is the prevalent condition for United States workers today.
Instead of paying workers like we did for 180 years, we embarked on a program of credit swaps. A brilliant concept that allowed our middle class to spend like crazy and allowed companies to enhance profits by lending as opposed to paying wages. While purchasing power increased by barely 2 percent between 1980 and 2008, personnel debt increased almost 20 times.
The third piece to the cash-credit scenario is bullshit. When the credit disappears, as it has, we give the public bullshit to keep them moving forward. No longer able to consume like before and working two jobs to survive the bullshit sustains us.
We are great, exceptional, the best country in the world. The best economy, political system, health care system, etc. Unfortunately none of that feeds our kids or lets us ride the subway.
But profiting off middle class debt was hardly sufficient. So, in 1998, only eight years out of the last financial bailout, Robert Rubin, Sandy Weill, and John Reed convinced Bill Clinton (who had experienced the Kool-Aid ) to abolish the Glass-Steagall law. Citibank had already been bailed out three times but President Clinton saw no problem with letting it into the hen house.
Two days ago Mr. Weill, marginally contrite after the last financial crisis and Citi’s fourth bailout, said that we should go back to Glass-Steagall. For the financial health of the country. Bravo.
Yet none of these great politicians and captains of industry take any responsibility for the current state of the nation. No one talks about Mr. Reagan’s stupidity, Mr. Clinton’s jittery intoxication, or Mr. Weill, Mr. Reed, etc., as greedy pigs who sold the country down the tubes. But the biggest bunch of cretins are Republican conservatives who pushed the supply-side snake oil, battled regulating the financial system, and sold out the middle class.
The scary part is that they may soon be in power again and they will shaft us like they did for the past 30 years. “Keep the government’s hands off our Medicare” is not the definition of stupidity. Stupidity is not knowing that you’re stupid.
Whatever criticisms one may bring about President Obama, and many are valid, he is not the evil empire, not the reason we are in the crapper.
We need to overcome our ahistorical obsession. We need to recognize that there are causes and effects. Politicians who have aided, abetted, and profited hugely from selling the country down the tubes. Rewrite the rules about national responsibility. The solutions aren’t complicated.
July 28, 2012
Hey Star readers, we now have a virtuoso editor, a cognoscente in our midst, one who tries to be a critic without portfolio. He has made himself the sole judge of what are facts in letters to the editor and what are not, what letters are accurate and factual and which are not, which are acceptable and which seem to irk him.
But it seems he is afraid to state his own opinions, so he writes letters applauding some letter writers and smearing others based upon some set of beliefs which he never spells out. He hides them, I guess. Like Mitt Romney, he fears that putting his name on a set of opinions would give people like me a chance to see what he stands for and even respond. That is what Mitt (the Twit) Romney says about why he is not releasing his tax returns, that they would give his critics things to criticize him for. Really? Wonder what those would be.
Come on, Mr. Meisel, let us know where you stand on health care, tax reform, cutting food stamps, cutting education budgets, privatizing Social Security, diminishing Medicare and Medicaid, and how about a woman’s right to choose? Tell us your views, then we perhaps can understand why you laud letters in favor of the billionaire Koch brothers but put down others with opposite views and make personally insulting attacks on their authors.
My own liberal and progressive views are well known because I put them in letters to the editor and would argue for them if anyone cares to do so.
What about you Mr. Meisel, do you have any, and if so, where do you espouse them?
RICHARD P. HIGER