Letters to the Editor: 10.03.13

Our readers' comments

Prevent Kitchen Fires
    East Hampton
    September 24, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray:
    The Town of East Hampton fire marshal’s office would like to remind everyone that Oct. 6 through Oct. 12 is National Fire Prevention Week. This year’s theme is Prevent Kitchen Fires.

    Many families gather in the kitchen to spend time together, but it can be one of the most hazardous rooms in the house if you don’t practice safe cooking behaviors. Cooking equipment, most often a range or stove top, is the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. The leading cause of those cooking fires was unattended cooking. Cooking equipment is also the leading cause of unreported fires and associated injuries.

    • Keep appliances serviced, clean, and in good repair. Dump the crumb tray and clean out the toaster crumbs periodically from the toaster or toaster oven. Wipe out the microwave. Clean the oven. Unplug any appliances that start acting funny, then have them repaired or replace them.

    • Unplug electric appliances when not in use. Toaster ovens, mixers, coffee-makers and so on continue to draw electricity even when they’re not turned on. So if the wiring is old or faulty, or if the thermostat overheats, a fire could break out.

    • Install a smoke detector near, but not in the kitchen. You don’t want the small amount of smoke or steam that cooking sometimes generates to constantly trigger the alarm — but you do want it to sense an actual kitchen fire.

    • Use caution when lighting the pilot light or burner on a gas stove. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

    • Don’t use metal in the microwave. The sparks can turn into fire or can seriously damage your microwave.

    • Don’t overfill pots or pans with oil or grease. The hot oil or grease can splatter and cause a fire.

    • Wipe up spills and don’t cook on a dirty stove. Grease buildup is flammable. A clean stove is a fire-free stove.

    • Always roll up long sleeves and tie back long hair when cooking. Most clothing and everyone’s hair is combustible and may burn easily.

    • Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen, especially if you’re cooking in grease or if the oven is at a very high heat. Turn off the burner or oven if you need to leave the house or get caught up in a phone call.

    • Keep dish towels, potholders, and paper towels away from the stove. You might have left a burner on by accident, and built-up heat could ignite combustibles left near or on the stove or oven.

    Keep a lid nearby. If you have a grease fire, slide a lid over the pan. Turn off the burner and leave the pan covered until completely cool. Never attempt to put out a grease fire with water.

    Chief Fire Marshal

My Best Friend
    September 25, 2013
To the Editor,

    This morning, someone said to me, “You look like you lost your best friend.”

    My reply: “I did.”

    Today I lost my best friend. After 12 years of unconditional love, a mixed four-legged female named Charlie died in my yard taking her morning walk. With a hole in my heart and tears in my eyes, I promise I will never fall in love with another dog. . . .

    But deep down, I also know another dog will come sniffing for love, a good home, and a happy life.

    I would like to thank Dr. Moley, her staff, and all of you out there that fed her cookies, making Charlie’s life a good one.

    Rest in peace, Charlie.

    I miss my best friend.


Clicking Away
    September 29, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,

    To the list of things that seem to have changed the character of our area recently, such as land for sale at $3 million an acre and gypsy cabs bringing massive hordes of unwashed revelers to Indian Wells to clog the shoreline and leave behind overflowing mounds of beer cans, I would add the aptly named Jason Gutterman. At least that’s the name he gave me when I asked his name today on the streets of Amagansett.

    Gutterman has been staked out in front of Mary’s Marvelous most weekends, beginning this summer, and has marauded up and down the village’s Main Street in search of photos of my wife and/or our newborn child. I am told he works somewhere in the vicinity. On more than one occasion, Gutterman has brought his son along with him, “on the job.” A young boy stands, oddly, to one side while Gutterman secrets himself behind a tree or parked car, clicking away, hoping to catch someone in mid-bite or otherwise behaving in a way that pretty much everyone else going in or out of Mary’s behaves.

    When Gutterman is finished, he puts his equipment into a bag, and strolls right into Mary’s, gets in line with his son, and assumes the demeanor of any other neighbor seeking good coffee and a muffin.

    Fifteen or 20 minutes of separating himself from every other person in the vicinity by seeking to casually invade the privacy of people out in public and attempting to live their lives in peace; by insisting that he has a job to do and that public figures are never, ever entitled to normal consideration, even in small-town East Hampton; by lying in wait, like kidnappers and home invaders do, then abruptly popping up to find the desired moment to take advantage of. Then walking into a place of business, standing 10 feet away from his “target,” acting as if nothing happened.

    I have never seen this before.

    There’s another guy out here. Stands in East Hampton Village, out in front of Ralph Lauren. Tall, middle-aged, slov­enly, he has the unmistakable air of a grown man who still spends serious time on a couch watching “South Park” while his mother makes grilled-cheese sandwiches and Campbell’s tomato soup. I asked him once not to photograph my wife. He replied, “You people brought this out here. I’m just trying to make a buck off of it.” I never got his name, but I suppose Sewerman will do for the time being.

    What has gone wrong with our society that this vermin has spawned in East Hampton? These are not New Yorkers that have slithered out here. They are home grown. They are locals. And they obviously have no idea about how to live in a community like ours.

    I hope that our local government will address this issue, which has nothing to do with freedom of the press and everything to do with criminal harassment, abuse, and authorizing the intimidation and stalking of one group in our society while protecting the basic rights of all others. That’s remarkably like a bill of attainder. And that’s unconstitutional.


Ticks Going Away?
    September 29, 2013
To the Editor:

    Re: “Nature Notes: Ticks Take a Holiday.”

    I respectfully suggest that Mr. Penny run his tick-catching white towel over my husband’s legs. He would have found a deer tick just yesterday, getting ready to chomp behind his knee. And last week he would have seen one of the little guys feasting on his calf. That one we found two days after it had latched on for a meal, so the poor guy (my husband, not the tick) had to hit the doxycycline.

    I certainly hope that Mr. Penny is right and that the ticks are going away. But I also hope that proposals for tick control, whatever they entail, are taken seriously. It only takes one little tick bite to do big damage.


Lights! Camera! Action!
    September 30, 2013
Dear David,

    I received a beautiful, caring, and considerate letter from Fred Overton the other day. He said he was a friend of mine. He talked about how he “preserves our community‚” and he “vows to protect the natural beauty” of “the community we all cherish and live in.” He further explained that he has “implemented dozens of initiatives that have allowed the Town to serve all of its residents‚” that “I love the community that we all call home.” Mr. Overton claims that he has done all of this “by listening to individuals and their concerns.”

    Well, Mr. Overton, I hope then that you listen to this.

    Last Thursday night I arrived at my home on Marine Boulevard to find a lovely policeman stationed in front of my home. Nervous as to why he was there, I inquired and he courteously explained to me they were shooting a movie, and then mentioned that everyone on Marine Boulevard was being “paid off so that they could shoot there.” (At that, I wondered why I wasn’t being paid, and even asked the location manager if I could be included in the kitty too.)

    I then strolled down our beautiful Marine Boulevard — Lights! Camera! Action! Filming was to go to the wee hours of the morning. Marine Boulevard was lit up as if Elizabeth Taylor was about to walk down the red carpet. There were cameramen on high poles looking into your windows, catering trucks (they were not even patronizing the local restaurants), and other trucks all over. Cigarette butts galore‚ and noise.

    While I was strolling and speaking on my phone, I was accosted by another policeman, Officer Trotter, who mistakenly thought he was directing mass crowds in Times Square and 42nd Street during rush hour. This etiquette-lacking officer quite rudely told me to get off my cellphone because I was disturbing the filming and “making a scene.” As I proceeded to walk, he continued to follow me down the street, listening, interrupting, and loudly harassing me while I was trying to enjoy my own private conversation. I finally had to call the police station to ask them to tell this officer to stand down and leave me alone. (I was later told that I could have been arrested for talking loudly and disturbing the shoot.)

    We were told that Fred Overton, the town clerk, issued them a permit to do all this. Does that mean the town board sold our streets? I didn’t even know our community was zoned for commercial enterprises such as this on such a massive scale.

    Yup, Fred, “my friend!” I guess you forgot who the true residents of Marine Boulevard and Beach Hampton are. Many of us vote here and many are registering to vote here just because of incidences like this which disturb the quality of life. I guess you thought we’re not that important. But I bet you might have guessed wrong in this regard when you tried to bring Hollywood to our tranquil beachfront community. Maybe you thought no one would be there to notice. Obviously you felt that these movie people were more deserving to walk on Marine Boulevard than the people that actually support our community and pay taxes here (or, as you refer to them‚ “residents that love this community and call it home”).

    Well, Fred, you sold us out!


Blocking Marine
    September 30, 2013
Dear David,

    The lights and sounds of a Showtime pilot series, “The Affair,” have come to Beach Hampton. Each night for a total of six, so far, two stadium lights have been illuminating Marine Boulevard for day and night filming. As president of Amagansett East Association, I have been receiving complaints and letters from neighbors — working people and students kept up by noise and lights shining in their windows until 2:30 in the morning, when a crew of 60 noisily pack up their trucks to leave for the “night.”

    The production company has closed access to the Napeague town beach, and at night police are blocking Marine Boulevard between Dune and Napeague Lanes. Seventeen trucks line Jacqueline Drive, so that a fire truck could not get through. They beep all night, and the cast of 60 adds their voices to the melee. The town’s sole benefit from this imposition on the community appears to be the statutory fee of $250 a day.

    The production company is paying a handful of residents to use their driveways for trucks and Porta Potties. One resident neighbor refused because she needed her parking space, and I declined an offer of $1,000 not to write this letter.

    Town Code section 138-10 requires that holders of film permits comply with all other town local laws, ordinances, and regulations during the duration of the filming or photography. How could the town clerk issue a permit that on its face authorizes violations of the lighting law, the law prohibiting noise after 11, and the rights of the public to access our beaches?

    Town clerk and town board candidate Fred Overton issued the permit for the filming operation six weeks after receiving notice of the application without, apparently, having informed anyone in the public or any members of the town board. This project is slated to continue into October at sites all around Amagansett, East Hampton, and Montauk, sunset to sunrise. Surely the application called for a conversation with neighbors and the board.

    Sincerely yours,

    Rona Klopman
    Amagansett East Association

Inconsiderate Use
    September 27, 2013
Dear Editor:

    I am all for the arts and do not want to stifle creativity, but the inconsiderate use of our neighborhood has my husband and me furious. It started last week when a woman came by to ask to rent our driveway for trucks and equipment. We told her she could have the use of half (for two cars). She responded that she needed the whole driveway, so we could either leave our two cars blocked or could park down the street. We told her that was unacceptable, and she wasn’t too pleased.

    We just learned that they will be shooting for the next three nights, as they did last night. They started setting up midafternoon and did not finish shooting until after 2 in the morning. In addition to the crew running back and forth and yelling all night, the lights were shining into our bedroom, the machines were beeping as they closed down, and the trucks, which were parked in front of our house and down the block, were enough to keep the entire neighborhood up.

    To make matters worse, the property next door to us is being redeveloped and the workmen and cement mixers were here at 7 in the morning. The dunes is a beach community, but more and more people live here off season. I have no problem with filming in the area — the town should reap the benefit of the publicity and money earned. But there should be limits to the hours of filming and the intrusion on the population.

    Thank you for your attention.

Banging and Beeping
    September 27, 2013
Dear David,

    This week the Showtime cast and crew treated the year-round residents of Beach Hampton to front-row seats at their latest movie-making endeavor. The viewing lasted three nights and was free for everyone. Some of the residents even got paid for their houses, yards, driveways, and silence. One resident even pocketed a fistful of cash and turned his driveway into a public toilet. Two roads were blocked, as was beach access.

    Did Showtime sneak into the area without permission? Not at all. Their money was welcomed, and the permit for 14 trailers and vehicles and a gathering of 60 people promptly provided. Did Showtime lie in the application about the bright spotlights on cranes that turned the dark lanes of Beach Hampton into Broadway? Not at all. The permit gave them permission to film both day and night, and, specifically, from sunset to sunrise. Just think about it. Sunset to sunrise means they had permission to film all night long. Apparently the individuals who signed the permit don’t require sleep themselves, so they probably didn’t realize that some residents do occasionally indulge.

    I suppose I owe Showtime a big thank-you. After all, the cameraman who directed his blazing spotlight right into my daughter’s bedroom only worked until 2:30 a.m. And the trucks and trailers that had been crashing and banging and beeping all night left about the same time, carrying away the approved gathering of 60 and all the other spotlights. Three and a half hours of sleep. What a luxury.

    The ordeal is over now for the tired and frustrated residents of Beach Hampton. But beware, Showtime has just begun its whirlwind tour of our area. The permit — yes, the same permit — includes many other locations where select residents will be honored with front-row seats. So keep your eyes open, and if one night you notice that there is more than one moon shining into your living room, take a closer look. You and your family may be getting Showtime beamed in directly. And you don’t even have to subscribe; it’s all free!


Nowhere to Go
    East Hampton
    September 30, 2013
Dear David:

    Last week the Rev. Katrina Foster spoke before the East Hampton Town Board about the lack of affordable mental health services for children in our community. The only emergency psychiatric facility is at Stony Brook Hospital, and for those who are uninsured or underinsured there are no follow-up services available.

    This was not always the case in East Hampton. The town’s Human Services Department offered mental health services by licensed practitioners at no cost. These services were eliminated as part of a cost-savings program by the Wilkinson administration. This administration has received high praise for its fiscal management but we must ask at what price.

    Ironically this comes at a time when increased violence (such as the mass shootings of the past few years) has been linked to the need for increased mental health services. Adam Fine, the East Hampton High School principal, estimates that about 30 students a year can be characterized as “in crisis” and have nowhere to go locally for on-going treatment. The Family Service League has a long waiting list, and clients are charged based on a sliding fee scale which may not be affordable to many members of our community.

    At a recent “listen-in” meeting, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, a Democratic town board candidate, made reference to Ms. Foster’s concerns and suggested that a public-private partnership between the town and local civic groups and agencies might be one way of improving the delivery of mental health services. That she acknowledges this problem and is considering ways of addressing it is heartening. The worst thing we can do is bury our heads in the sand and pretend that it doesn’t exist.


    Ms. Avedon is a certified psychologist. Ed.

Our Own Destruction
    East Hampton
    September 29, 2013
Dear David,

    Once again we see that the world’s foremost scientists are decrying man’s indisputable influence on global climate change. (Please see New York Times aricle of Sept. 28, “U.N. Climate Panel Seeks Ceiling on Global Carbon Emissions.”)

    The gist of it is that 1. climate change is real, it is accelerating, and it is bad, and 2. man-made carbon emissions are the major factor in this. Therefore, why is it perfectly all right for one person in a jet or helicopter to dump tons of carbon on us merely for the sake of that person’s convenience?

    There are fines for littering the roads, for goodness sake. There are fines for dog poop. But in East Hampton, once in the forefront of environmental awareness, we subsidize our own destruction via the unbridled expansion of East Hampton’s municipal — now regional, soon to be metropolitan — airport.

    Thanks for the pollution, Mr. Twomey, Mr. Stanzione, Mr. Krupinski, Mr. Brundige. Your dirt is real.


Groundwater Quality
    Raleigh, N.C.
    September 26, 2013
Dear David:

    It is with some interest that I read The Star’s stories about the concerns for water quality in East Hampton. With the increased population in East Hampton over that of years past, concern about water quality, both as drinking water and as water’s surface and subsurface flow to the various water bodies, is truly appropriate.

    I do wonder how many of the so-called “septic tanks” are truly septic tanks and not cesspools. If a septic tank is in place with its drainage field, often it is possible to recognize the position of the drainage field in that the grass grows greener over the drainage field. I know of one basically public place where the wastewater from the facility goes directly into the cesspool behind the bathroom, as one can hear the fluid movement.

    The most obvious concern in most cases with domestic waste is with the nitrate that is added to the subsurface water which eventually flows to the surface water bodies. However, those of us who have and are working in the general field of hydrogeology have moved some of the thinking about groundwater quality from nitrates and related chemicals to the occurrence of pharmaceuticals that are consumed for various health-related reasons and which pass through the human body into the wastewater. These chemicals are showing up in groundwater and other water bodies.

    Somewhere in the historical records of the Village of East Hampton (perhaps at the Clinton Academy museum) there is a set of plans for a sewer system for what is now the central core of East Hampton Village. They were prepared sometime in the late 1890s or early 1900s. Just one of the fun things to know about East Hampton.

    Sincerely yours,

Protecting Your Home
    September 28, 2013
Dear David,

    Quality-of-life issues got a lot of exposure in The Star this week. I would like to thank The Star and I would like to congratulate Carol Buda, who has been involved with these issues for years, and Constance Kenney, who was able to work with Pat Gunn and code enforcement and take down volleyball nets and prevent games that were being played in residential backyards on a regular basis.

    Springs has been ignored for far too long. For me, the issue of quality of life is the one issue that will determine whom I vote for in the upcoming town election. I like Carol’s quote, “I am for team Springs.” We are very much of a community and our neighborhoods are important to us.

    There are many other important issues on the line in this election, and they also must be considered. If you live in Springs, protecting your home, your single-family residence, your property value from noise, traffic, excess persons and vehicles, trash, high school taxes, and a general deterioration is primary. At least for me it is. We all are listening.

    Thank you.

Strong, Competent Team
    September 30, 2013
To the Editor:

    When Jay Schneiderman punked out as the Republican candidate for East Hampton Town supervisor, he left us with no candidate for that position and not enough time to recruit anyone else. It takes time and lots of preparation to gear up for a political race, especially one as important as supervisor.

    Some are saying that this leaves the Republican ticket adrift, but nothing could be further from the truth. In every other position we are fielding a strong, competent and experienced team. From Fred Overton and Dominic Stanzione on the board, to Steve Lynch (highway), Carol Brennan (clerk), Joe Bloecker (assessor), Carl Irace for justice, and our remarkably talented and well-qualified team of trustee candidates, the Republican ticket is strong from top to bottom. And we feel that we can work with Larry Cantwell on quite a few of the major issues facing the town. In fact, we tried to cross-endorse him after Jay dropped out, just as we accepted the Democrats’ cross-endorsement of Steve Lynch and Carol Brennan, but the Democratic Party bosses said no (so much for their interest in “helping to bring the town together”).

    And since Mr. Schneiderman has clearly indicated that he doesn’t really want to serve in the County Legislature anymore, we have in Chris Nuzzi an experienced, competent candidate who does want the job and will devote his energies to the task at hand. This will leave Jay free to pursue whatever it was he had in mind when he quit the race.


Public Advocates
    September 30, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,

    At last week’s trustee meeting where Diana Walker continued her campaign for the currently open position of public whipper, albeit quietly, a short discussion among the trustees regarding notice of public hearings before other town boards that affect properties adjacent to trustee holdings was indicative of the need for that long vacant post’s reinstatement.

    The discussion centered around the mistaken contention of the other (appointed, not elected) board’s new attorney, although one who has practiced in East Hampton for some time, that notifying the trustees of their right to comment on a proposal for a permit or variance request as adjacent property owners was unnecessary. This was brought to the group’s attention by Trustee Deb Klughers, who supplements her $20-a-day annual trustee stipend with video work at night for LTV, as well as other jobs. Full-time trustee effort is compensated at what would be illegal wages anywhere else in America. (Fortunately for us, and unusually in my experience, it is a case of getting far more than we’re paying for.)

    I believe not notifying the trustees is callous disregard of the freeholders and commonalty’s rights: in other words, the property owners and residents of East Hampton’s collective rights, vested in their elected trustees, to participate in decision making that directly affects us, our property values, and the quality of our lives.

    Every voter in East Hampton, including those in Montauk where the trustees’ property holdings are minimal, but whose citizens benefit from the trustee’s efforts on behalf of our town’s environment and the public’s right of unrestricted access to our beaches, waterways, bottomlands and their bounty, elects the nine trustees who serve us all. The fact that any town body would think for a minute that ignoring the public’s right to know and appropriately weigh in is insulting to us all, and might in fact be a whippable offense, and as Ms. Walker and Ms. Klughers have previously pointed out, would be at the whippee’s expense. Worse, and far more seriously, this procedural error actually makes the hearing itself illegitimate, even as it relegates the oldest continuously serving body of democratic representative government extant in our nation to a quaint anachronism.

    Your trustees’ invaluable services as stewards of common property and guardians of your rights, the largest landholders in East Hampton, are not another museum, civic club, or historical group, but instead East Hampton’s original, and still existing, government. Your trustees are duly elected officials charged with protecting the public’s traditional rights. I often describe them as the conscience of East Hampton.

    I believe that the trustees need to reinvigorate their efforts to ensure that the public knows them for more than the impending and much to be enjoyed Largest Clam Contest with its attendant festivities, or a necessarily burdensome hurdle in the way of waterfront property development, all about trucks on sand. Instead, I think that your modern trustees have an opportunity to be strong public advocates for our quality of life, and in particular, the environment that makes us all want to continue to be local by choice, owning homes and living in our beautiful town.

    Having spent a couple of years personally observing many of their meetings, I believe that it would serve the trustees, and that means to enable them to serve us all better, to develop a more collegial, less adversarial relationship with other government entities in the town, and on the county, state, and federal levels. I want to help that happen as one of them, among other goals to achieve, if elected.

    While the trustees’ authority on our behalf has been upheld in the Supreme Court, their actual authority has been steadily eroded, though your incumbents have slowly and steadily worked hard to educate the public on the trustee’s vital role. Over time, this can and has been effective as both the estimable trustee attorney, John Courtney, and their current, dignified and long-serving clerk, Diane McNally, pointed out that evening.

    This is true, but trustee rulings have the force of law in our town code, though not the enforcement power or monitoring capabilities. Neither have they the budget, nor apparently in some cases, the public respect they once had. We seem to like our trustees, from what I can tell campaigning for a position in their number, but we as a community need better to support them and their efforts as they strive to maintain our collective concept of East Hampton for us all.

    Persistent politeness is great as far as it goes, but if the state put up a traffic light, would it take a couple of years for the cars to get used to stopping? Would our worthy police delay ticketing in the interim? Why then do people think it is no problem to ignore our elected stewards regarding docks, beach fencing, illegal structures, walkways, and revetments on our public beachfront property, shellfishing, permitted beach driving, and the like? Speaking softly is fine, but without the big stick, it’s a tough position to be in as public officials.

    Vote for me, and with the majority vote of your other elected trustees, Ms. Walker may have to limber up on future liars with mass-gathering permits on our beaches or apply for a job as a bay constable if we can get the budget and the public’s support to reinstate some form of trustees’ ability to enforce your rights for all our benefit.


The Whipper’s Catapult
    September 21, 2013
Dear David,

    In my quest to become the next East Hampton Town Trustee common whipper (a job made redundant a few hundred years ago), I have had to face financial reality. The post of common whipper is funded by the whippees, but there is equipment.

    Whips and canes and strange spiky things have been flying in the door, but I need a catapult. I would estimate a good catapult at, oh, a lot.

    I received an overture of financial support from a gentleman who wanted fireworks set off on his roof for a party and would I supply crowd control. Is he nuts?

    I received a sweet note from a person really concerned about the purity of our local drinking water and would I deal with the naysayers to a wastewater study (on this I would whip for free).

    I received an inquiry from a gentleman who thinks $500,000 for a 647-square-foot apartment is “affordable” and would I whip up support. (No, not, no, nope.) For an Amagansett affluent aging ghetto. (No, not, no, nope.)

    The common whipper’s catapult must be red, easy to move, and deliver no pitch. I see it as a cross between a wood chipper and a small cannon.

    All good things, as in “Walker for whipper!” (Donations may be sent to East Hampton Town Trustees Enforcement Dept.)


Force to Reckon With
    September 30, 2013
Dear David,

    For the last four years I have worked closely with Kathee Burke-Gonzalez on the Springs School Board, as Kathee was the board president and I was the board vice president. I can say from personal experience that Kathee is a force to be reckoned with in any setting. Kathee has always impressed me with her knowledge of the facts, her tireless dedication, and her sharp insight. Her professional background always proved useful in communicating complex issues and her institutional knowledge and ability to recall past events were unmatched. It is safe to say that no one ever outworked Kathee.

    While on the school board, I have seen Kathee in action on all types of issues, ranging from union contract negotiations, setting higher academic standards, auditing East Hampton High School’s tuition bill, and tightening the school’s residency/registration requirements. Her direct involvement in these and other issues has resulted in improved academic performance at the school and taxpayer savings totaling millions of dollars.

    One measure of this success is the fact that Springs Middle School outranks East Hampton, Sag Harbor, and Southampton middle schools on the New York State math and English combined scores, yet Springs has a per-student cost which is significantly less than surrounding districts. Yes, David, it is possible to do more while spending less!

    These are just a few of the reasons why I am so looking forward to voting for Kathee on Nov. 5. Our town will be well served electing such a highly qualified woman to the town board. If elected, she will bring her keen intellect and deep respect for the voters to the table. From what I have witnessed, we need both on our town board.

    I trust the voters will see what I have experienced, firsthand, these last four years and elect Kathee Burke-Gonzalez to the East Hampton Town Board.

    Best regards,

For Kathee
    September 30, 2013
Dear David,

    I am excited at the opportunity to vote for Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for East Hampton Town Board this Election Day.

    Let’s start with the fact that Kathee has had nine years of leadership and decision-making experience on the Springs School Board, the last two as board president. People tend to think that schools are small affairs (perhaps because their “customers” are small). Anything but. The Springs School has a budget of $25 million each year. That’s 25 percent larger than the budget of the Village of East Hampton.

    Kathee will not be bogged down by the old ways of the town board. She brings a fresh, new perspective to the serious issues plaguing our town, and a very participatory style of leadership. She listens with an open mind, seeks out necessary expertise, and gathers all the facts, finds common ground and collaborates with colleagues and constituents. She builds trust and communicates effectively to create a deep understanding of the issues within the community. As a direct result of her leadership, the two budgets she built as board president (in tough times) received more than 75-percent voter approval — in politics, that is a landslide and more.

    Most important of all, she’s not afraid to make difficult decisions. She is courageous enough to do what is right, not what is easiest.

    I hope all will join me in voting for Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for town board on Nov. 5.


Solid Management
    September 30, 2013
To the Editor:

    As an independent voter, I have watched both the Democrats and Republicans respectively run the town boards over the past two elections. Each board has failed miserably to work together, one putting East Hampton in economic hardship, the other allowing the quality of life to degrade enormously.

    There are significant decisions that will need to be addressed by the new board. We need a board comprised of people who can work together and are experienced in communication, compromise, and common sense.

    Kathee Burke-Gonzalez has these qualities and has shown this during her nine years on the Springs School Board. As an independent voter, I will be voting for Kathee and solid management and decision-making.


‘I Understand’
    September 29, 2013
Dear David:

    I participated in my very first candidate debate organized by the Group for Good Government this past Saturday. Thanks, G.G.G., for hosting the debate and giving me an opportunity to express my views to the voters.

    As a former town assessor for 10 years and a lifetime Springs resident, I understand tax issues. As a former town trustee, I understand the environmental concerns that Montauk has and that they may be faced with oblivion if action is not taken by the current town board. As a Springs Fire Department volunteer, I witnessed, firsthand, possible code violations. I understand that code enforcement must have the tools it needs to fully enforce our laws. As someone who for 48 years has responded in emergency situations by stepping up and volunteering my services to help keep this community safe, I understand the needs of our citizens.

    As your town clerk for 14 years I know I can work together with my fellow board members for a better East Hampton. I ask for your vote on Nov. 5 so I may continue my service to the town on the East Hampton Town Board. Now is not the time for on-the-job training.

    Republican, Independence and
    Conservative Candidate for
    Town Board

Basic Star Exemption
    September 30, 2013
Dear David,

    To all fellow residents in East Hampton: An important opportunity exists to continue to receive the Basic Star Exemption in 2014 and the following years.

    New state legislation now requires homeowners to register with the New York State Department of Finance in order to continue receiving their Basic Star Exemption in 2014 and beyond. Once registered, homeowners do not need to then reregister every year.

    Importantly, senior citizens receiving the Enhanced STAR exemption are not affected by the new registration requirement. However, in order to receive Enhanced Star, seniors must continue to apply annually or participate in the Income Verification Program.

    Registration has already begun and will continue through Dec. 31, 2013. The New York State Tax Department will be mailing instructions to all homeowners currently receiving the Basic STAR exemption in the next few days. The letters will include a STAR code that homeowners will need to register.

    The fastest and easiest way for a homeowner to register is through the state tax department’s Web site, tax.ny.gov. Homeowners unable to renew online should call 518-457-2036.

    As one of the town’s three elected assessors, I look forward to continuing to provide timely assessment advice to our residents and bringing the benefit of my 12 years of experience and training to this position. 

    Democratic and Working Families
    Candidate for
    East Hampton Town Assessor

Work and Commitment
    East Hampton
    September 27, 2013
Dear Editor,

    I am pleased to support Steven Tekulsky for East Hampton Town justice. Steven is the most qualified candidate, based on his extensive legal experience and record of public service to the Town of East Hampton. His work and commitment as the volunteer legal advisor to Citizens for Access Rights has been one of the reasons that this organization has been so successful in raising public awareness about beach access rights.

    I believe Steven possesses all of the traits to be an excellent town justice. I will be voting for Steven Tekulsky for town justice on Election Day.

    Citizens for Access Rights

Years of Experience
    East Hampton
    September 23, 2013
Dear David,

    I write this letter to you from the perspective of a now-retired lawyer who practiced law in New York City for 35 years.

    The office of town justice is not a political one, although the candidates who seek it run on the lines of and are endorsed by the political parties of our town. The position is not about politics or policy, rather it is about administering justice, the importance of which is captured in words emblazoned on the facade of the New York County Supreme Court building as follows: “The true administration of justice is the strongest pillar of good government.” This statement is as true for the town court as it is for the Supreme Court of the United States.

    The jurisdiction of the town justice court includes traffic violations, town code violations, and minor criminal offenses. The town justice also sets bail at arraignments for serious criminal offenses.

    All of these matters impact the lives of the people who are brought before the court as well as the community at large which is impacted by their behavior. The disposition of charges of driving while intoxicated affect the accused and the safety of the community. By way of example, a beloved member of our community was struck and killed on Montauk Highway in Amagansett by a man with a long history of D.W.I. convictions. Perhaps a different disposition of his prior offenses might have prevented this tragedy.

    Tough administration of the town code can improve the quality of life in East Hampton. Likewise with minor criminal offenses. The administration of justice must of course take into account the rights of the accused as well as the concerns of the community at large. The scales of justice must always be evenly balanced.

    Although my party, the Democratic Party, nominated Steven Tekulsky, I would not write a letter supporting his election for that reason alone. Accordingly, I personally interviewed Mr. Tekulsky and his opponent, nominated by the Republican Party, Carl Irace. I attended a barbecue at Maidstone Park made by Mr. Irace’s supporters and spoke with him at length on that occasion. The group of more than 100 people was clearly enthusiastic about his candidacy.

    Personal popularity, however, is not a relevant criterion. Each man received the approval of the Suffolk County Bar Association, which found them “qualified.” My own impression of each of them was a good one.

    How then, did I reach my conclusion to write to you and share with you and my fellow East Hamptonites my decision that Mr. Tekulsky is more qualified than Mr. Irace?

    The answer is a simple one. Mr. Tekulsky has almost three times the years of professional experience — 35 years — as a lawyer, as opposed to Mr. Irace, who has 12 years of professional experience. In addition, Mr. Tekulsky has by virtue of his age much more life experience.

    Years of legal and life experience do not guarantee a fine judicial temperament: the ability to know and apply the law, judge the character and truthfulness of witnesses, and make decisions without bias does. However, there certainly is a greater likelihood that years of experience will result in a more mature and finer judicial temperament. For this reason, which is based on my own observations practicing before judges for 35 years, I recommend that Steven Tekulsky be elected town justice.


An Open Mind
    September 30, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
    I have been enjoying accompanying my son-in-law, Carl Irace, on the campaign trail these past few weeks. Some highlights include the Montauk Seafood Festival last Sunday and the Montauk Fire Department Big Bucks Bonanza the week before. Carl has an incredible ability to approach and engage people (even the reluctant), and always seems to have the ability to wow and surprise people with his résumé and depth of knowledge about our town and our courts. Given how young he looks, his experience is truly impressive.

    He also has an exceptional and rare quality that I think will serve him well as East Hampton Town Justice — he takes criticism well, and listens to other people’s ideas without getting defensive, because he is open-minded enough to do so. A judge needs to be able to listen to people with an open mind.

    Carl is the man for the job and I hope your readers will join me in voting for him on Nov. 5.

    Very truly yours,

Endorse Carl
    Sag Harbor
    September 30, 2013
Dear Editor:

    As a Sag Harbor resident and local musician, I’m writing to publicly endorse Carl Irace for East Hampton Town justice. I’ve known Carl for seven years, and he has proven himself to be a friend in all weather as well as an excellent attorney. Carl is not a career politician but rather an honest man looking to do good work for our community. For these reasons, I think he will make a great justice and be a tremendous asset for our town.


Ideal Candidate
    Sag Harbor
    September 26, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,

    I would like to add my voice to the many others who have expressed support for Steven Tekulsky for East Hampton Town Justice.

    Like so many others, I have known Steve for almost 20 years, both as a friend and as my attorney.

    His judgement is always fair and balanced; he sees the issues clearly and will provide experience and knowledge in dealing with what comes before the town court.

    Steve’s people skills, sense of humor, and community spirit make him the ideal candidate for town justice.

    As Assemblyman Fred Thiele stated in his endorsement, “Steven Tekulsky will serve with distinction and has the perfect mix of qualifications.”
    I couldn’t agree more, and as the sign in my front yard says, Local Experience Counts!


Defenseless Animals
    East Hampton
    September 26, 2013
To the Editor:
    Culling! Shooting with gun and bow and arrow! Is seeing animals on the side of the road, with bullets in their heads and bleeding to death, going to improve the quality of life in East Hampton?

    I will never forget walking with my dog on Hand’s Creek Road one morning and seeing before me a baby deer with a bullet in its head and its eyes wide open! It is an image that will plague me for life.

    At what price do we need to protect our lawns and flowers? Painless sterilization is the only admissible solution. Lyme disease is here and we have to deal with it. To kill and to maim defenseless animals is barbaric!


Feral Cat Poem #60

I catch a U.S. Air puddle-jumper
out of Islip, switch planes at Philly.

from Charlotte, take 85W to 321N to 40W at Hickory,
then two hours up thru clouds past Black Mountain
to Asheville and smack into a veritable dog’s breakfast
of road signs: 19N/23/ Future 26W/ 25/70N/251
Jesus, no wonder Lee lost.

finally find Alexander and kinfolk
newly settled in woods on steep mountain hillside,
and what’s the first thing I see from their back deck?
smirking out at me from the wild rhododendrons?
the same Calico cat I left behind in Springs!

oh, yeh, sez my son,
the ferals hate to drive,
and fly direct from LaGuardia.

The Health Care Act
    East Hampton
    September 27, 2013
Dear Editor:

    After the 41st attempt by the Republican congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, there is no language vile and grotesque enough to describe this group of deranged politicians. The fervor and obsessive attention to the act gives one the impression that our way of life is being threatened by 3,000 Soviet missiles aimed at our cities. That something strange and bizarre has entered our universe and is putting us all at risk. Pathetically, all the bullshit aside, it’s about the color or perceived color of Obama’s skin.

    Virtually no one has read the health care act. Has any real idea what’s inside of it. But in essence it is thousands of pages of ideas and possible rules to lower the cost of our health care system and provide a sense of universal coverage.

    The pre-Obama complaint by virtually every politician was that our health care system was driving us to bankruptcy and needed to be fixed. Only Medicare, the government-run portion, was run cost effectively. The Affordable Care Act, not yet started, was designed to do exactly that. Yet before it sees day one, there have been 41 attempts to repeal the legislation.

    The outrage of most of the bill’s detractors is that it obligates everyone to buy into the system in order to provide sufficient funds to run it. They say it is socialist, un-American, and dangerous. The assumptions are simply greed-based, and completely erroneous.

    In our economic system we are always paying or subsidizing each other. The government runs off the tax revenues generated from the East and West Coasts. New York and California support half the country by themselves. Every red state in the country is on the government nipple. Half of them would be bankrupt if not for the enormous infusion of tax dollars to keep them afloat. It’s how our system operates. We cover each other’s asses because we are one country, not 50 little fiefdoms.

    Our country has always acknowledged the contributions of previous generations. The debts we owe to our parents and grandparents. We have Social Security and Medicare to help cover the load, but no one’s individual contributions are enough to foot the bill. The country’s infrastructure and business systems were built by previous generations. If we started from scratch like many of them did we would be living at half of our lifestyles. When we entered the world our contribution was zero until we started to produce something. Do we call that a free lunch??

    We are not a nation of bloodsuckers, but our Congress wants to suck the community life out of our system. The cult of the free market and individual achievement has always been mindless bullshit. We depend on, support, and sustain each other. If we are all in it together it is logical that everyone participates in the health care system, because it makes the country stronger.

    Defunding the heath care act is really about defunding the American people. Sticking one more pin into the middle class and telling 30 million uninsured people that they don’t count. The threat to our way of life comes not from the Affordable Care Act, but its fervent detractors who want to make it disappear.


Nonsense and Premature
    East Hampton
    September 27, 2013
Dear Editor,
    While millions of Americans now have insurance for their medical problems for the first time, and others get insurance at greatly more affordable cost, and the benefits of medical insurance accrue to citizens of all ages and pre-existing conditions, still some in our country, who opposed the law and lost that fight in the Congress and at the voting booth, feel they cannot be inconvenienced for the benefit of all and can change the result with lies and bullying and money, big money!

    The extreme, constant, and very expensive opposition to universal health insurance cannot be allowed to become the model for minority opposition to majority rule. The entire industrial world has universal health care for their citizens. The United States now has it also.

    Our country provides a constitutional means of passing laws that benefit and protect us all. There is a Congress which passes laws, a Supreme Court which certifies that each new law is within constitutional boundaries, and local and federal enforcement of the laws.

    Any other means of governing becomes onerous, fascist, and unwieldy and unfair.

    The United States is a republic which proudly stands for liberty, equality, and justice for all.

    We cannot have a minority group, be they ordinary citizens or elected officials or both, seek to destroy our system, our tranquility, and our faith in our constitutional government by undermining that system, no matter how just they feel their cause is.

    Prohibition was passed in 1920. It was the law for 11 years, but failed to gain continued support and was repealed. It was not destroyed in a ploy, nor was it ended by subterfuge or defunding. It was the law, and in full force and effect for 11 years. It was a law overturned by vote of the Congress that passed it with the consent of the people.

    To defund and gut a lawful piece of legislation because it may, when implemented, be bad for the country, or it may cost too much, or it may kill jobs or do this bad thing or that bad thing is not how our system is supposed to work.

    All this negative speculation, by those opposed to the law for various reasons, is nonsense and premature. There are no facts in support of their claims and they have no right to change the law.

    The Affordable Health Care Act is a genuine law that must be implemented, and only then, after its pluses and minuses are viewed in the prism of time, while it is in use, evaluated. If the law is bad the people can direct their elected legislators to change or repeal it. That is the way the system is supposed to work. The will of the people prevails. Elections have their consequences. The people voted and a law was passed.

    This health care act was lawfully passed, constitutionally approved by the Supreme Court, and is already, partially, in effect.

    We must not subvert our 300-year-old, well-ensconced, and workable (like no other in the world) legislative process by the use of threats, propaganda, or bullying, because those a gainst the bill lost the popular vote and the election and still seek to alter the will of the people by improper means even at the expense of the welfare of the country as a whole.

    The Affordable Health Care Act is presently the law of the land and must be obeyed even if you are vehemently opposed to it, for whatever reason.

    If not, where will it end?

    What laws will not be subject to post-passage destruction by minority opposition backed by small, powerful, interest groups with financing and persistent negative media support?

    What good will public votes do if the results are negated by a minority of deep-pocketed losers with selfish motives ?

    How will our republic proceed then?

    So, you bullies in the House of Representatives, bolstered by the likes of Limbaugh and Fox News, and you sheep who follow them, go gnash your teeth, wipe your tears, put your ratty tails between your legs and leave us alone. We’ll see you at the next general election.


For Old Investors
    September 26, 2013
To the Editor,

    Re: The Middle Class’s Jack Screw

    Dear student of “It took the Mayflower Sixty-five days to cross the Atlantic. (Sixty-five days from the primary to Thanksgiving with an election somewhere in between),”

    Mayflower — N Phil Brick

    Mayflower Web site

    For old investors and what’s left of their holdings (example: Alden Rowing Co. — The New England Shirt Co.!) All Soul’s Day,