Letters to the Editor: 09.26.13

Our readers' comments

Fishing on the Favorite
    East Hampton
    September 20, 2013

To the Editor:
    I enjoyed seeing news on the fishing smack Favorite in “The Way it Was‚” 125 Years Ago, column this week.

    My great-grandfather Oliver Sayre Osborn went to work on the Favorite in 1874 at the age of 21, making $30 a month. We have family letters that Oliver’s mother, Adelia, sent him while he was fishing on the Favorite.

    Adelia wrote: “I see you have been enjoying yourself. You must not lose your heart to more than one girl if you can help it. Be careful of the company you keep, you are young and as you form your character now, so will it remain with you to old age. Don’t lay a foundation for a lifelong regret. Do your duty and come home as soon as you are satisfied.”
    Best we know, Oliver followed his mother’s advice, and now I know what became of the Favorite, meeting its demise running ashore off Ditch Plain, Montauk, in 1888.


Community Touchstone
    East Hampton
    September 23, 2013

Dear David,
    This week a local business will reach a significant landmark. The East Hampton Business Service will celebrate its 35th anniversary of service to our community.

    This is noteworthy for a number of reasons and it is not only because Mary Croghan and her professional, courteous, and intuitive staff provide excellent administrative services to all comers, but also because it is one of the few remaining businesses that can truly be considered locally owned.  

    Mary’s welcoming presence and genuine interest in our community makes coming into the store a pleasant experience and also gives one a sense of connectedness to one’s neighbors. Especially in the summer months, when most of us are pushed beyond the normal bounds of tolerance, there is a certain esprit de corps there, which makes room for the stress and strain of the summer crowd, as it acknowledges the toll that seasonal chaos takes on us locals. Mary has made the East Hampton Business Service a kind of touchstone of the community.

    Congratulations to the East Hampton Business Service, Mary Croghan, Sandy, Francois, and all the many other fine people who work and have worked there, helping us all with the variety of fine services they offer to our community.


Sincerest Thanks
    East Hampton
    September 23, 2013

Dear David,
    On behalf of my family I would like to send my sincerest thanks to the following individuals, organizations, and community groups who supported me so graciously during my husband, Jo­seph Olszewski’s, illness and through his ultimate passing.
    Specifically, Dr. Ralph Gibson, the East Hampton Ambulance Association and Town Police Department, the doctors and nursing staff at Southampton Hospital’s intensive care unit, East Hampton Veteran’s of Foreign Wars Post 550, American Legion Post 419, East Hampton Color Guard, the friends and family of Round Swamp Farm, and the many friends and community members who showed their love and support during this difficult time.
    In addition, I praise all those who have contributed in honor of my husband to the East Hampton Baymen’s Association Medical Fund.
    Please accept this small token of our appreciation that words alone can only go so far in describing. 
    CLAIRE, KATIE, and
    For the Olszewski family

Medical Advantages
    September 20, 2013

To the Editor,
    I wish to thank The East Hampton Star for its sense of public service in printing Richard Rosenthal’s accurate and touching article on our lifelong relationship and its association with my decision to employ marijuana rather than pharmaceutical opiates to relieve the unrelenting pain that consumes those of us who are approaching death with late-stage cancer.

    It is especially important that local communities and states engage in an evidence-based consideration of the medical advantages of marijuana, rather than adhere to the reflexive dismissal of it that has characterized the response of medicine and government for more than 80 years.

    I hope that New York State legislators will hasten their consideration and acceptance of medical marijuana so my many friends there will have the option to use it and share my good fortune here in Washington.

    Marijuana must be lifted from the street and legalized so the strength and content of the cannibus can be prescribed. The process of doing so must not only engage the medical profession, but uncredentialed individuals who can establish that they have the knowledge to contribute to its safe and effective use.

    My deepest thanks to The East Hampton Star and my longtime and dear friend Richard Rosenthal for bringing my story to light.

    Dean emeritus
    School of Nursing
    University of Washington, Seattle

Piping Plover Problem
    Sag Harbor
    September 22, 2013

Dear David,
    Ambrose Bierce once defined politics as “the conduct of public affairs for private advantage.” I think that Congressman Tim Bishop illustrates this perfectly.

    The House Ethics Committee recently released a 177-page report that detailed how, during the summer of 2012, Bishop and his office busted a hump to solve a rich beachfront owner’s piping plover problem. Bishop then parlayed this regulatory mining into a $5,000 donation, which was somehow backdated and otherwise altered to avoid a new $2,500 donor limit.

    Bishop says there’s nothing “illegal” about these shenanigans. A D.A. might disagree about the backdating, but our Democratic D.A. will undoubtedly give his friend a pass.

    However, legality is not the point here. This petty plover episode is a great example of how our current campaign finance system distorts the way elected officials spend their time.

    It also makes us nostalgic for the good ol’ days when the First Congressional District had a truly distinguished congressman. For example, Otis Pike, who served for nine terms before retiring in 1979. Brilliant. An ex-Marine. A leader of national stature, highly regarded even by his opponents. Cared deeply about civil liberties. Never a lemming or a party hack. Never afraid to take on tough issues, the opposition, his party, or the security bureaucracy. Led a path-breaking investigation of the C.I.A. A terrific sense of humor, music, and fun.

    And perhaps just because he was so outstanding, he didn’t have to spend well over half of his time begging for money for his next election.

    JAMES S. HENRY, Esq.
    Chairman, Global Alliance for
    Tax Justice Coordinating Committee

Tiny Montauk Icon
    September 21, 2013

Dear Editor:
    I am writing about the loss of a friend. An old friend, at that. A tiny Montauk icon that made her home on Main Street.

    She first came to Montauk around 1995 and watched all the changes, both positive and negative, taking place in this great seaside community. In recent days, due to her age, she spent hours sunning herself on the bench in front of Whoa Nellie or sneaking over for a snack from the Shagwong restaurant.

    Winters were tough. When those winds begin to blow, both man and beast must lay low. Fortunately, the community provided her with a warm and comfortable house behind Whoa Nellie, and the dedication of Sheila Ray and her husband kept her fed and happy all these years.

    Who is this little icon? It isn’t a person. It is “Baby” the cat. A feral cat with the sweetest disposition. Many times she would come into Whoa Nellie on cold days to get me to come out and sit with her in the sun or just to cuddle in my lap. I often wanted to bring her home but she was happy and well cared for here.

    I began to call her the mayor of Main Street, and she played the part well. Drawing all the tourists and locals, both young and old, to give her a pet. The happiness she brought was great. People who come to Montauk each year always asked me about her, too. I could see they really cared. Who couldn’t?

    So thank you, Baby, for all your love. You will be missed.


Seafood Festival
    September 23, 2013

Dear David,
    A quick thank-you to all who attended the first annual Montauk Seafood Festival, but especially to these volunteers: Ray Giannantoni, Greg Mansley, all the wives of our club members, and most of all to Carl Darenberg and his staff. A great weekend would not have been possible without them.

    Montauk Friends of Erin

Burgeoning St. Tropez
    September 15, 2013

To the Editor,
    Visits to the home of an elderly friend, drives around the Hamptons, my own observations of economic “recovery,” and a recent op-ed piece by Paul Krugman in the Sept. 13 New York Times prompt this letter. Mr. Krugman concludes his comments with these words: “For extreme inequality is still on the rise — and it’s poisoning our society.”

    I’ve seen a bit of the poisoning in the mega-structures that are now cramming lots out here in our “fishing village” and elsewhere in this burgeoning Saint Tropez. Houses whose square footage (thanks to footprint and multilevel magnitude) seem to equal the square footage of the lot on which they are constructed now distract from the charm that previously existed. Not only that, these houses block views and breezes. In some instances they present environmental hazards, with chimneys that pose a threat to houses on adjacent lots. They change the scene.

    Frequently, one can drive by these new “homes” and see no sign of life — no kids running on manicured lawns, not even a bike angled against a tree — no one sitting on the trendy Adirondack deck chairs. No large families reside in them; their use apparently is for entertainment — maybe something else. Seldom is it the neighbor or local who is the “entertainee.”

    All year round rarely inhabited glitz, flexing in all year-rounders’ faces.

    The frightening statistics that Krugman cites reveal the inequity in the economic advances since the “Great Recession.” A part of that inequity is embodied in much of what has been “erected.”


Second House Road
    September 22, 2013

Dear Editor,
    I am writing this in response to an article on Sept. 19, “Riled on Second House Road.” I am writing on behalf of friends, family, neighbors, and myself about the situation on Second House Road.

    Second House Road is a residential neighborhood. Ninety-five percent of all homes are occupied year-round. We are a working-class neighborhood. Families occupy many of our homes with small children.

    Second House Road is a winding, narrow, residential road that is home to an elementary school, a school crossing, a school and public playground, a day camp, a nature preserve, Fort Pond House, and a highly used workout and bicycle route.  Many children walk this road to get to and from school on a daily basis.

    Second House Road is also home to large Dumpster trucks, heavy industrial equipment trucks, hazardous waste material container trucks, propane tanker trucks, tractor-trailer trucks, 18-wheeler trucks, and many building material trucks heading to and from Industrial Road.

    This is an equation for disaster!

    Second House Road has also become a major artery, a cut-through street, and a road to take to get out of town quickly if you’ve been drinking.

    Second House Road has no sidewalks running along half of it, yet has a 30-mile-per-hour speed limit. On parts of the road with a sidewalk, the speed limit is 20 m.p.h. This does not make sense.

    The other morning I was leaving for work at 4 a.m. and was appalled to see a huge tanker truck full of propane speeding so fast down Second House Road that it shook my car. Could you imagine the devastation if this tanker had crashed?
    On summer nights and weekends the road turns into a speeding taxi parade.  All night long my neighbors and myself are awakened by beeping horns and pedestrians screaming at the top of their lungs for cars and taxis to slow down!  These are usually patrons walking from the hotels to the clubs, sometimes three deep, or people on their bicycles. Taxis speeding to their next fare will stop in the middle of the road to pick up a passenger, sending all cars around him over the double yellow line into the oncoming traffic lane. This too is causing more speeding, beeping, and yelling all night long.

    In the early hours of the morning starting at 4 to 5 a.m. the downshifting of trucks and tankers, and then the rumbling and noise they make when passing our homes, awakens us. During the day, I and my neighbors can no longer walk our dogs, cut our lawns, or trim our bushes, out of fear of being hit by a speeding car or swept over by the wake of a speeding large piece of industrial equipment.  

    As I stated before, Second House Road is a residential neighborhood of working-class people. With all the new changes taking place in Montauk, we feel it is time to give Second House Road homeowners a change.

    Second House Road has always been a frequently used road. It was never like this, never this dangerous. I have personally called every business and taxicab company and have asked them to slow down or to please take the alternative route down Industrial onto Edgemere. This has not worked. If anything, it has gotten worse. Obviously the owners of these businesses cannot control their drivers, curtail their driving habits, or just do not care about our quality of life and safety.

    Some of us believe that a speed limit of 20 m.p.h. from Montauk Highway to Industrial Road would help our situation. We ask for 20 m.p.h. because 20 m.p.h. will mean 30 m.p.h. for those that do not obey speed signs.

    We would also ask that all trucks, propane tankers, hazardous waste material containers, and building supply trucks be diverted onto Edgemere, then down Industrial Road, or vice versa. This would not affect the heavy traffic problem in front of Surf Lodge since most of these heavy equipment trucks are home by 8 p.m.

    We are asking that these companies take a few minutes out of their day to bypass our road.

    We would also like to ask for a no-through street on the weekends for taxis in the summer and during the weekend. Some of us believe this would keep the children safe in the day and our homeowners and visitors safe at night.


Farmland for Farming
    September 23, 2013

Dear David,
    Your editorial “Farmland on the Brink,” published on Sept. 11, had the right title, but the wrong information. The farmland on the brink is actually thousands of acres of productive soils on the South Fork that have been “protected” by Suffolk County and the Towns of Southampton and East Hampton through the purchase of development rights (P.D.R.) beginning in the mid-1970s, rather than the 14 acres owned by the South Fork Land Foundation in Bridgehampton. The land foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt conservation organization that derives its charitable status from the Peconic Land Trust.

    Millions upon millions of public dollars, some from the Community Preservation Fund, have been spent to conserve a critical mass of farmland on the South Fork so that agriculture, an important component of our local economy, can continue. The corollary benefits include the preservation of our agricultural heritage, the opportunity to have access to fresh, local produce, and open vistas that help retain our community character, to name but a few. Unfortunately, all of this is very much at risk even though a tremendous amount of farmland has been “protected” — the question is, protected for what?

    When P.D.R. programs began on Long Island over 35 years ago, no one anticipated that nonfarmers would purchase protected farmland at exorbitant prices (nearly $200,000 per acre) as amenities to adjacent development, equestrian facilities, or for other uses. Today such purchases have driven its average value on the South Fork to $100,000 per acre. Indeed, it puts protected farmland well beyond the reach of most new and established farmers who want to acquire farmland to grow food. Ironically, not only can most farmers not afford to buy it, they may not be able to keep what they do own, given the escalating inheritance tax burdens on even protected farmland.

    In an effort to help address this issue, the foundation’s farmland was added to Southampton Town’s C.P.F. priority list in 2011. It was generously donated to the foundation by Ronald Lauder in 1978 without any restrictions, enabling him to realize the highest charitable gift at the time. There are no limitations in the C.P.F. legislation regarding purchases from nonprofit organizations, nor should there be, as long as the land in question qualifies for protection (which the foundation’s property does).

    Almost a year ago, the foundation received a letter from the town expressing its interest, and the process began. The funds will be plowed back into more conservation by replicating projects like the trust’s Hopping acquisition in 2010 and its resale to the Pikes in 2011 with additional restrictions that will assure that the farmland will stay in production and be affordable to farmers in the future. The town is unable to play this important role given restrictions upon resale contained in the C.P.F.’s enabling legislation.

    Neither the Peconic Land Trust nor the South Fork Land Foundation has ever threatened the Southampton Town Board with the sale of the property to developers if it does not purchase the development rights, precisely for the reasons outlined in your editorial. There is no bluff to call, only an opportunity to be lost for the trust and the foundation to further our charitable purposes and those of the C.P.F. — to preserve community character, with farmland as its highest priority. Opponents to this effort, a local real estate broker and an environmental lobbyist, have distorted our efforts beyond recognition. 

    We have a great working relationship with Southampton. We are about to close on a farmland acquisition in Eastport with the town, very similar to the Hopping-Pike transaction wherein both the trust and the foundation are bringing resources to the table, and we are currently negotiating on farmland in Water Mill to do likewise. These types of partnerships with the town are precisely what is needed to assure that at least some protected farmland is not on the brink, but actually farmed. But this requires capital so that we can buy high, add additional restrictions to farmland to ensure that it will be farmed, and then resell it to farmers at lower, affordable prices.

    Needless to say, protecting farmland for farming is far more complicated than we ever imagined. As such, it provides plenty of opportunities for mischief by those who do not want to see additional resources dedicated to farmland protection or further restrictions on protected farmland that limit its marketability to the highest bidder. Nonetheless, we remain steadfast in our efforts to conserve Long Island’s working farms, natural lands, and heritage, as we have over the past 30 years. To date, we have protected nearly 11,000 acres in concert with landowners, local government, partner organizations, and communities. There is more to be done!

    President, Peconic Land Trust

Property Tax Inequity
    September 23, 2013

Dear David,
    In a democratic system, citizens expect to be taxed fairly and equitably. I wonder if many homeowners understand how profound are the structural inequities of the current East Hampton property tax system, and why we need townwide reassessment. For some time now, many wealthy homeowners have been getting a substantial discount on their property taxes, at the expense of the less well-to-do.

    Just how unfair is our system? I used The Star’s Aug. 1 list of recorded deeds and then went to the current year’s tax roll, which is posted on the town’s Web site. I compared the sale price of each property against the market value as assessed by the town. The results are even worse than I expected.

    Of the houses that sold for less than $1 million, all five are over-assessed, meaning that their owners are paying more than their fair share of taxes. Of the houses that sold for more than $1 million, 12 out of the 13 are under-assessed, and their owners are paying less than their fair share of taxes.

    Some examples are dramatic. A house on Further Lane sold for $62.5 million, and is assessed at less than $9.3 million. In Springs, a property on Waters Edge Road, which sold for $4.9 million, is assessed at $2.25 million. A vacant parcel in East Hampton Village sold for $7.5 million, but is assessed at under $650,000.

    These assessed values will not change unless the new owners take out a building permit for renovation or construction. And then, only the value of the improvements will get added to the existing assessed value.

    These incorrect assessments place a disproportionate burden, most egregiously, upon those who own less valuable property. These same incorrect assessments are also used in determining each homeowner’s obligation for school taxes.

    New York State’s tax and finance Web site states: “The fairness, or equity, of the real property tax depends on whether similar properties are treated alike . . . Municipal-wide reassessments are the best way to ensure that assessments are fair and accurate.”

    Our neighboring towns, Southampton and Shelter Island, have both performed townwide reassessments, and it is time for us to do the same. I understand that a townwide reassessment will cost money, but the continuing inequity of our current system is already exacting a painful price on those who can least afford it. The situation is morally unacceptable and needs to be changed.


Remain Unanswered
    September 17, 2013
    East Hampton

Dear David,
    I’m so sorry about this. I do so dislike Dear Editor letters that go on and on and on. I’ve tried to limit my comments and make sure that they do not express such anger and hostility to my co-community members as so many letters to the editor do these days. This is rather a “what do I do now?” situation.

    Perhaps I’ve begun to understand what made Edward Snowden choose the path he did in dealing with the United States federal government’s bureaucracies and policies. We now know that our every word spoken over a public device can and probably is surveyed by a federal government agency. Even the e-mails we send and receive are examined using as an excuse whatever some person in a high position of executive power chooses to use as an excuse for prying.

    The Internal Revenue Service sees fit to exact as much of our well-earned moneys as possible for the executive branch to dole out in quantity to those select individuals who continue to be shuffled into position after position without seeming to do very well, but never get fired.

    In the last several weeks I have personally discovered how little we as individuals have any control of our “donations” or are even considered by the administration when we try to learn why tax refunds are not sent out when due.

    I have used the I.R.S. Web site many times, inserting whatever information the computer-generated voice asks for and after several minutes of this “computer intimate” conversation am informed that my queries must remain unanswered, but of course please be sure to “try at another time.” There is no way that it is possible to speak with a real person through the Web site.

    The same holds true for the New York State Tax Revenue Office. There are many telephone numbers for several branch offices throughout the state but, having tried most of them, they all state quite clearly that there is no person who will ever answer the call, nor may an e-mail message be left.

    For the I.R.S., I tried calling Congressman Bishop’s Washington office. A friendly voiced man there listened to my story and said he would look into the matter and get back to me. When he returned my call it was to tell me that is seemed that even someone from a Congressional office could get no information from the I.R.S. He did find a representative, Donald Trent from an office in Brooklyn, who called me and asked me to fax a copy of my return to him. I did, but of course there has been no return call from Mr. Trent.

    As for New York State, I was able to leave an e-mail message on Senator LaValle’s Web site. I did receive an automated e-mail response stating that my e-mail reached wherever it went and that it would be responded to. But that has been the extent of his concern, or perhaps it’s just that his staff somewhere discovered that I am a registered Democrat and do not deserve to have a response from him. Of course it also might be that state senators’ offices are unable to reach state tax offices either.

    Whatever their reasons, it seems quite a shame that these elected officials who are forever asking for our funds to return them to office seem not to be interested communicating with those who have not any resources to line the pockets of those running for office.

    We do however keep sending the same people back, so perhaps we get what we deserve.


Little Boxes
    East Hampton
    September 22, 2013

Dear David:
    Well, they’re back again, with a revised plan to suburbanize our town. Take a ride and have a look at that beautiful spread of land we used to call the Principi property, just past the Amagansett I.G.A., a wide-open view from the highway back and up to a spot from which you can view the ocean.

    Now owned by the designers of 555 Montauk Highway, their “revision” gives us 10 fewer units, from 89 to 79. It allows for a big eight supposedly “affordable” housing units — $550,000 for a 647-square-foot box (the price for a nice small house in Springs), the remaining 71 covering the property with big boxes, a spread for affluent senior citizens to help us become a look-alike town to those large-scale planned communities consuming Florida. Reminds me of a song I used to sing with my young daughter: “Little boxes, on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky-tacky.”

    All it requires is to gut the Comprehensive Plan, a plan we who live here worked on for years to define what we want for our town. What the Connecticut owners want, and have already applied for, is to create a new zone for the property, called “senior citizen housing district.” Makes it sound like we really care about our senior citizens, right? Wrong — they’re not “ours‚” and they’d better be affluent.

    Hard to believe that our planning board members, who presumably exist to keep our town the special place it is, are almost ready to give it away. I’m particularly fascinated by the comments of the chairman, who seems to believe that it’s the town’s responsibility to make the applicants whole because they chose to spend $10 million for the property.

    Please, everyone, keep your eyes on this one. Don’t let them slip it past us. If the town board takes it to a hearing, let’s all be there to tell them what we want.

    Sincerely yours,

Not Necessary
    September 23, 2013

Dear David,
    Amendments are being drawn up right now by the town attorney that will address the legitimate changes that are warranted in the 2006 “smart-lighting” code for East Hampton.

    It is not necessary to repeal our current code, as is being proposed by Councilwoman Theresa Quigley. She wants to replace it with one that would increase light pollution (glare, light-trespass, wasted energy, and sky glow). Her draft has not been reviewed by either the town attorney or the Planning Department and is not a reflection of the wider concerns of the residents and civic groups in the town.

    The committee that Councilwoman Quigley assembled produced a draft that was not reviewed by an independent lighting design professional. On the other hand, the 2006 smart-lighting code was reviewed by the lighting design professional that wrote the guidelines for (indoor and outdoor) lighting for the Department of Defense. Therefore, the claims that our lighting law is unsafe are simply untrue.

    Support for the 2006 code included many civic and environmental groups. The support for the repeal effort is narrow and misguided.

    Dark Sky Society

Not in My Checkbook
    September 16, 2013

Dear David,
    I am a little bit behind in catching up with newspaper reading, and I am just reading your editorial “Water Quality Plan Needed and Overdue.” You stated critics suggested, wrongly, that it was a clandestine effort to force scores of property owners to undertake expensive, unnecessary improvements. Also questioned protecting the health of the aquifers, relying on drinking water, etc.

    You are entitled to your opinion but here’s mine: Mr. Lombardo was invited to do this presentation and expected he would walk through it with no one even asking questions. He was very surprised by the questions asked, as he was not ready to answer them.

    I felt Mr. Lombardo decided he was going to ram this project down the town’s throat with no one opposing it. You knocked the town supervisor — why? As a taxpayer and as an overtaxed citizen of Springs, I wonder why the town paid this company $189,000 to do this study, hence I was not informed ahead of time. Mr. Lombardo states he will receive no royalties from this project and wouldn’t tell the truth about how much it will cost each taxpayer. Notice I say taxpayer, not residents, as renters do not pay taxes. We could be talking $20,000 to $30,000 per household.

    Your opinion is this is okay. Not in my checkbook, and if the town board thinks they can push this through, I think they best decide otherwise. The county and state should step in.

    You also point out the Koppelman comprehensive plan. Well, wasn’t that a big throw of money all over the place? First Mr. Koppelman did the plan, the people didn’t like it and we paid him plenty, so then the town hired some associate firm, they redid the plan, citizens still not happy. We paid again, revamped the plan and paid some more. Are the Democrats in business just to spend money? Do they care whose money they spend, and are they so willing to put their hands in their own pockets dig deep and pay up this kind of money, because Mr. Lombardo said so.

    Drinking water is of the utmost importance, but let’s not have one company dictate to us.


Closed Games Down
    September 23, 2013

Dear Mr. Rattray,
    I write with extreme gratitude and wish to congratulate our head of code enforcement, Pat Gunn, for relieving the Springs community of a plague. For years we have been besieged by a group who cares nothing for its neighbors, and has continually broken the law by organizing weekend sporting events in our residential neighborhood.

    With research done by David Buda, and a public statement made by Sylvia Overby, our unified group of Springs residents has exposed the people who play organized sports on residential property as breaking the law.

    Ordinance #255-1-20 states that any playing court in our town must have 50-foot setbacks from adjacent property lines, no matter what type of playing court is under consideration. I don’t believe that any home on a half-acre piece of property can meet these stated requirements.

    Pat Gunn has held meetings at Town Hall to address this and other violations of code, and he valiantly sent officers to close these games down. Kudos to you, Pat, and many thanks again for hearing our pleas.


Irritating Eyesore
    September 21, 2013

Dear David,
    My husband and I have just been informed that consideration is being given to adopting a code revision allowing every residential property to have up to two contractors’ dump trucks (up to 14,000 pounds) parked overnight. We view the consideration of such a code revision as an unconscionable action on the part of the town board.

    For many months the residents of Springs have been crying out for the town board to take steps to abolish commercial activities in Springs. Instead, it appears that the residents of Springs are now being punished by the town board for speaking out about this commercialization of their community. The board is unwilling to address the illegal activities taking place in Springs and chooses instead to spit in the faces of their constituents by destroying the character and essence of the community.

    The town board has the obligation to maintain the high standards and quality of life that has long been synonymous with the concept of home ownership in East Hampton. If the town board thinks that having up to two dump trucks parked on each resident’s property illustrates the good life in East Hampton, then let them not only talk the talk but walk the walk. This would mean that each town board member would encourage the parking of these types of trucks on the streets where they live. These vehicles are called dump trucks because they belong in a town dump, not at someone’s home, unless the town board is implying that Springs is a dumping ground for commercial equipment.

    When we bought our home in East Hampton our hope was to enjoy the ocean and contemplate nature in a peaceful environment, not to marvel at the engineering advancements of one of G.M.’s new dump trucks. Aesthetically, this is an example of a particularly irritating eyesore.

    At the very least, any consideration of this proposed code change should be deferred until after the new town board’s members are elected and seated.


Doing What’s Right
    September 21, 2013

Dear Editor,
    My last letter to The Star was primarily supportive of our code enforcement department and Patrick Gunn. I stand behind that, strongly.

      However, I realize I mispoke when I said, “As a Democrat, I cannot support the party’s slate. Neither can most of my neighbors.” I actually intend to support candidates, regardless of their party, who propose doing what’s right for our community. I should not have implied that I speak for all of my neighbors. They are all capable of determining what is good and right.

    I also intend to fully support those who place the welfare of the Town of East Hampton over party loyalty and personal interests.


The Drive to Act
    September 22, 2013

Dear David:
    Last week’s letter by a “knowledgeable” Springs resident about the lack of concern for effective code enforcement by the Democratic slate left me both amused and angry. To say that the slate, after the Springs “listen-in” meeting, missed the point when five of the eight published clear policy points dealt precisely with this issue is misleading. Comparing this action with the complete silence of the Republican candidates on this key issue or, in fact, on any other issue, leads me to believe that his lack of support of the Democratic slate is unwarranted.

    The blatant disregard for clear, active, code enforcement for the last 31/2 years can only result from a lack of concern of the Republican (Dominick included) majority. If there is a feeling that “business” is the major priority at the top, the notion that one can get away with anything in East Hampton has been a sad fact of life. What other issue has found its way in all three editorial pages of our local newspapers and, amazingly, even on the front page of The New York Times (Indian Wells beach). Is this the party the writer wants to return to office?

    In addition to clear published policy positions, I feel it is important to look at an actual event that illustrates the performance of the Democratic supervisor candidate, Larry Cantwell. As the village administrator, he was informed last summer, that a single-residence house in the village had been rented to a group that was clearly to use it for business purposes. He immediately informed the village board, recommended that they threaten them with a court-ordered injunction, and the impending violation was quashed. Here we have a demonstrated understanding of the problem coupled with the drive to act forcefully.

    It is this combination of respect for our town and the ability to stay alert and active that we need to get our town back.


Airport Budget
    September 23, 2013

Dear David,
    Any hope to watch a productive endgame of the town board was dashed at the last two meetings, on Tuesday and Thursday. According to Town Councilwoman, Theresa Quigley, Dominick Stanzione has been doing financial shenanigans with the airport budget. No one on the town board has been a part of seeing any bills, no less passing on them.

    At Tuesday’s meeting, Len Bernard, Charlene Kagel, and Neide Valiera, an accountant, came before the board to discuss an overage of $300,000 in the airport budget, plus an additional bill from Kaplan-Kirsch, the Washington airport attorney, for $56,000. Some of this last bill was for phone calls at $440 per hour made by Mr. Stanzione in his role as airport liaison.

    At Thursday evening’s meeting Theresa Quigley raised the possibility of a $6 million overall airport budget. How can this be?

    Councilman Stanzione has much explaining to do to the taxpayers of this town, and blaming Jim Brundige, the airport manager, is not the way to do it.


    Ms. Klopman is a member of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Ed.

A Complete Nonissue
    September 16, 2013

Dear David,
    Here we are facing serious issues in town with the potential for far-reaching consequences to all of us.

    The scavenger waste plant is out of commission, threatening our drinking water supply. Climate change and serious storms can cause major damage to our fragile coastline. What is to be done? Quality of life issues and code enforcement are being neglected. The peaceful enjoyment of residential neighborhoods is being undermined. Just to mention a few.

    And yet, Fred Overton, Republican candidate for town board, wants to discuss beach parking fees for residents as if they were a pressing issue. In fact they are a complete nonissue because no one is proposing beach parking fees for residents. Not Fred and not anyone else.

    Fred says he has attended hundreds of town board meetings in his job as town clerk. (Who knows, maybe it’s thousands by now.) The question is, was he paying any attention to what was being discussed? If beach parking is what is most on his mind now, one has to wonder.

    Taking minutes at town board meetings and issuing beach parking permits, both responsibilities of the town clerk, may not be the best preparation for actually sitting on the town board.


Agendas in Advance
    East Hampton
    September 22, 2013
Dear David,
    As East Hampton Town clerk for 14 years, I am in the unique position to understand the problems and to make the changes you point out in your editorial of Sept. 19. I agree that it is important for the agendas of board meetings, work sessions, and even special meetings to be published on the town Web site (townclerk.com) in advance of the meeting. Telling the people what is going on is vital to encouraging the public’s participation in their government.

    The key to the process for generating a timely agenda is requiring that all agenda items, including resolutions, be in the town clerk’s hands by the Friday before the next scheduled Thursday board meeting. In my experience, the most important part of any agenda rules put into effect is the enforcement of the deadlines set for board members. As a member of the board I will be in a much better position to see that the rules are enforced.

    Throughout my 25 years in elective office I have always believed that it is the public’s right to be informed about what is happening in their government. Transparency seems to be the word everyone likes to use. For me it is simply letting the public know far enough in advance of a meeting so they can be present and make their views known to the board and the town.

    Republican, Independence and
    Conservative Candidate for
    East Hampton Town Board

Eminently Capable
    September 23, 2013

Dear David,
    Fred Overton has more knowledge about what is necessary to succeed at the East Hampton Town Board level than any other candidate this year. He will improve what needs improving while protecting our wonderful way of life.

    As town clerk for the past 14 years, Fred has been a part of several administrations and participated in how many board meetings — 800, 900? He has been present for numerous public hearings and votes on resolutions. Fred knows firsthand what the fiscal and governance issues of our town are. He is one of the best prepared candidates to represent us.

    No one else running for town board today has 14 years of on-the-job training when it comes to East Hampton Town issues. This includes town supervisor candidate Larry Cantwell, who’s worked at the East Hampton Village level.

    I have known Fred for decades. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to vote for this eminently capable man. We need him on the East Hampton Town Board.

    Yours truly,

Management Experience
    East Hampton
    September 22, 2013

Dear David:
    Over the last few years I have had times when I needed to go to the town clerk’s office. I can say without a doubt, that I have always been treated with respect. The people in the office are pleasant and helpful, even during the summer and under the most trying of circumstances.

    Fred Overton has been a very good town clerk for the residents and nonresidents alike of East Hampton. It is lucky for the people he serves that he runs such an efficient office. There is no question that he is a good manager and knows how to treat people, including town employees and the public at large.  Unfortunately, other parts of our government do not run as well.

    When elected to the town board, Fred will be able to put his 48 years of management experience to work. I know Fred Overton’s low-key, friendly and matter-of-fact manner will be a welcome change on the board, and a real plus toward improving the interaction between the town board and the public.

    Thank you,

Fiscally Responsible
    East Hampton
    September 21, 2013

To the Editor:
    The Wilkinson administration has been applauded by the State of New York and awarded $500,000 for its admirable work in getting East Hampton out from under the economic fiasco caused by the all-Democratic town board of the McGintee administration. But now I worry that their hard work will be undone if we are not careful to select fiscally responsible people for the board in November.

    Fred Overton agrees that we must stay within the 2-percent cap mandated by law, while dealing with the pressing problems facing our town today. Not an easy task. I have heard him talk about the quality-of-life issues plaguing his Springs neighborhoods and the good people of Montauk. He has voiced his concerns about the potential for environmental disaster in downtown Montauk and his desire to help the residents and business owners there before they are hit once again with another Sandy-like storm.

    For 14 years he has sat through many town board discussions about yearly budgets, inadequate code enforcement, the airport, sewage plant operations, protecting our groundwater, land preservation, providing affordable housing for our young people, our seniors, and our veterans. He knows the problems inside-out, and he knows that we must deal with them in a thoughtful, intelligent way, but most of all, in a fiscally responsible manner.

    He believes it can be done if everyone on the board works together and partisan politics are checked at the door, before the beginning of each town board meeting. In his 25 years as an elected official in East Hampton, Fred Overton has proven that he is able to work in a constructive way with everyone from across the political spectrum.

    We need Fred Overton to be sitting on the town board on Jan. 1, 2014. For that to happen we must vote for him on Nov. 5.


Efforts Are Noticed
    September 23, 2013

Dear David,
    In an Aug. 15 editorial, you commented on Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione’s strong backing of the restoration of the Amagansett Life-Saving Station. I am so glad to hear that his efforts are noticed. I have known and worked with Dominick for many years now. Also I happen to be a member of the town-appointed Life-Saving Station Committee and would like to acknowledge Councilman Stanzione’s contributions to the restoration work. Now I write solely as a private citizen, not expressing any opinion of the committee or of any members of the committee.

    Dominick as our first town liaison was crucial to our early success. He understands the big picture, and guided us through the early steps like seeing the necessity for a Historic Structural Report to validate the restoration. He is energetic and full of ideas, and likes to motivate and stimulate. Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, our new liaison, has stepped right in and continued his work.

    Dominick Stanzione still attends our meetings, and still assists our restoration any way he can.

    We are fortunate to have Dominick Stanzione as a town councilman still supporting our cause.


Not Clear at All
    East Hampton
    September 20, 2013

Dear Mr. Rattray,
    Kathee Burke-Gonzalez’s defense of the unguarded remark she made at the Duck Creek Association annual meeting about imposing beach fees is an interesting moment in the campaign. It appears she made a mistake and is trying to cover her tracks. She keeps insisting now, after the fact, that she was clear at the meeting and that she was merely talking about this hidden tax applying only to “nonresidents.” She was not clear at all.

    Larry Cantwell is writing letters saying she only meant this tax would apply to nonresidents, when she didn’t say that. If that is really the case, why didn’t he correct her right then and there at the meeting? Others are conjuring scenarios claiming after her blunder the room became a raucous scene and so it was difficult to know what she actually said. If Kathee was so clear about taxing only nonresidents then why would the room erupt into raucousness? Perhaps there would have been a discussion about how to accomplish such a thing, but erupt into chaos? I think not. So what is really going on here?

    Springs residents already know Ms. Burke-Gonzalez cares nothing for taxpayers, as she raised our school taxes each and every year of her tenure. But people should rightly worry about their beach access rights being eroded. Did her slip of the tongue prematurely signal the Democrats’ actual plan to begin tightening up beach driving and access and that’s why they are desperately trying to counter her remarks? If so, then beach restrictions should be discussed in the campaign.

     But if not, Mr. Cantwell is the presumptive East Hampton Town supervisor, thanks to the Wizards of Smart— that is, the local Republican Party leadership. Their spectacularly bad decisions have resulted in denying East Hampton voters a choice of candidates in the race for town supervisor. There is no election for him to lose. He has a real opportunity to show leadership here and allay our fears about restrictions on beach access. So, I would challenge him to say to the public: “Look, Kathee made a mistake. We admit that. What Kathee said is not what we intend to do. We intend to increase beach fees but only on nonresidents, and we’ll probably do it with some sort of a daily pass, as is done in other beach communities. We believe in free and open beaches for all of our residents.”

    If Larry said as much, and just got it all out of the way, then this murky he said-she said stuff would be over. It would not be a campaign issue and we could all move on to discuss the town board candidates and their actual experience and performance in their professional positions. Showing this kind of leadership would signal strength and integrity. It would also show that Larry will be straight with the voters on all matters, big and small. Unless, of course, they actually do intend to curtail beach access.    

    Voters deserve the truth. They understand that candidates make mistakes. So candidates should not insult their intelligence by making things up. I encourage Mr. Cantwell to make a clean break, admit Kathee’s gaffe and then assure East Hampton residents that their beach rights will not be eroded. How he handles this issue can be a real insight into how he will manage his incoming administration. So far, it is disappointing.


    Carole Campolo is a member of the East Hampton Republican Committee. Ed.

A Puzzlement
    East Hampton
    September 22, 2013

To the Editor:
    I did not think my disappointment in Larry Cantwell’s behavior toward the grassroots registered Republicans who wanted him to run on their line could get any deeper. But that is not true.

    When last week I read in your newspaper that, according to the East Hampton Democratic Committee, Larry’s decision to turn his back on over 4,000 Republican voters was all his own, my disappointment multiplied tenfold.

­    How can East Hampton Republicans believe Larry when he says he will work for all the citizens of the town, when, by his own choice, he refuses to be associated with them. The red herring of supporting his fellow Democratic candidates, Potter and Burke-Gonzalez, doesn’t fly, since he is already on the Independence ticket with the Republican town board candidates Overton and Stanzione.

    Was it Yul Brenner, in his role as the King of Siam, who said, “This is a puzzlement”?


Experience in Court
    East Hampton
    September 23, 2013

Dear David,
    Carl Irace has the experience that our town needs to make our justice court a better resource for our community. He served the public as a trial attorney for 13 years. For 13 years, Carl has been in court protecting the rights of victims, the accused, and the community. He has been in court three to five days a week, sometime three or four courtrooms per day, for over a decade. Courtroom experience is the type of experience that our court needs.

    His experience in court is rare in our community. He has handled over 3,000 cases in his career. The value of his experience is not only in the quantity of cases, but also in the types of cases he has handled. Since August 2001, he has arraigned thousands of cases, from Vehicle and Traffic Law infractions to homicide, as both prosecutor and defense counsel. Since August 2001, Carl has tried nearly 60 cases, done hundreds of pre-trial hearings and grand jury presentations, sat on over 200 zoning and municipal hearings, and conducted countless judicial conferences. Carl has practiced law in 21 different jurisdictions, including the justice courts of all five East End Towns, and all five Suffolk County courts in Riverhead. He knows the best practices and knows how to implement them here, at home.

    Local experience counts? Yes, it sure does. On a recent work day, Carl handled six felony cases — all local East End defendants. These are indicted felonies, they are heard in Suffolk County Court. The stakes are high, and the competition is fierce, and the allegations can be quite serious. Every case, for every defendant is serious, and every case prosecuted is important to the community. The people of this town know that, and deserve someone dedicated to using his skills as a trial attorney, to make our court a better resource.


Mr. Thiele’s Conversion
    East Hampton
    September 22, 2013

To the Editor:
    Just read Assemblyman Fred Thiele’s endorsement of the Democratic town justice candidate in the newspaper. How interesting:

    1. Fred Thiele, as a registered Republican, left his party a few years back because he heard the call of the Independence Party.

    2. His Independence Party is endorsing the Democratic candidate’s rival, Carl Irace, for town justice.

    3. Earlier this year, Fred Thiele became a partner in the law firm of Twomey, Latham, Shea, Kelley, Dubin & Quartararo, a powerhouse in the local Democratic Party.  

    4. Finally, Fred Thiele ignores his Independence Party candidate, Carl Irace; and, without ever even speaking to Carl, endorses the Democratic candidate for town justice. 
    Are we really supposed to take Thiele’s endorsement seriously?  Can Mr. Thiele’s conversion to the Demo­cratic Party be far behind?


A People Person
    East Hampton
    September 19, 2013

Dear Editor,
    I have known Steven Tekulsky as a parent of students whom I have taught, as a counselor, and as a friend. During these many years I have found Steve to be a dedicated, caring member of our community who has always shown himself to be a “people” person. As a candidate in this year’s election for town justice, I believe Steve possesses the qualities of fairness and integrity which will serve the residents of East Hampton well.

    Please join me, on November 5, in helping to elect Steven Tekulsky to the position of East Hampton Town Justice. Every vote counts.


Fine Character
    East Hampton
    September 17, 2013

Dear Editor:
    I am writing this letter to show my support for Steven Tekulsky, who is running for East Hampton Town justice.

    Steven is an experienced lawyer and has represented many local families, for little or no fee for those in need. He is also well known and respected in the community for his many contributions to East Hampton. His legal background, knowledge of East Hampton, and fine character will make him an excellent town justice.


Excellent Communicator
    September 22, 2013

Dear Mr. Rattray,
    I had a great time at Carl Irace’s campaign event at Maidstone Beach on Friday evening. The weather was beautiful and the event was well attended. It was especially nice to see so many young people with their children at the event.

    I am encouraged by this because it fortifies my belief that Carl has the ability to get his message to all of the residents of East Hampton. I may be slightly biased because he is my son-in-law, but not everyone likes the people their children marry, and certainly not as much as I like Carl. He is an excellent communicator who is not afraid to reach out to people. These skills will serve him well as our next East Hampton Town Justice. I hope your readers have an opportunity to meet him and will join me in voting for him on Nov. 5.

    Very truly yours,

Walker for Whipper
    September 21, 2013

Dear David,
    I have made it my mission to learn about the whys and whats of the East Hampton Town Trustees. Just because they have been around since 1686 does not mean that I have been keeping up. Sorry.

    The beautiful Ms. Deborah Klughers has alerted us to the East Hampton Town Trustee position made redundant a few centuries back, the East Hampton Town common whipper. I am proceeding with a campaign for the job. It is late in the local political season and I may have to rely on write-in votes (Walker for whipper!), but I will surely win.

    The East Hampton Town common whipper meted out justice (and was paid by the whipee) to miscreants whose selfish insensitivity toward our local environment warranted the lash.

    I am totally qualified for the cost-effective job of East Hampton Town’s common whipper. I have the indignation, the arm, the wardrobe, and I can get the whips.

    All good things,

Time for Self-Reflection
    Sag Harbor
    September 23, 2013

Dear David,
    Re: An essay on the op-ed page of The New York Times, Sept. 12, 2013, by Vladimir Putin, captioned “A Plea for Caution From Russia” on the chemical weapons controversy.

    A few highlights excerpted from the article which woke me up: “a time of insufficient communication between our societies” — and, I would add, superpowers capable of destroying each other must pause for self-reflection.

    “No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage.” “Potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syrian borders.” As we approach World War III.

    “Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “You’re either with us or against us.”

    Sound familiar?

    “I carefully studied [Obama’s] address to the nation . . . And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States policy is ‘what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.’ It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.”

    Especially in a world heading toward diversity in many aspects.

    I strongly believe this is a time for self-reflection.
    In peace,

Feral Cat Poem #59
Summer’s gone
and that’s not all.

Looks like it’s down to
just me and the one cat,

a Calico, and I’m not that
sure about her.

She might only be a housecat
taking the odd walk on the wild side,

experimenting in lifestyles
for vicarious kicks,

or researching an idea she has
for a reality show about true ferals

and the way they were.

Fast and Furious
    East Hampton
    September 21, 2013

Dear David,
    Fast and furious, in this case, is not a B movie with Vin Diesel; it is about the Obama administration engaging in gun-running to at least one Mexican drug cartel.

    Briefly, someone in government thought it would be a good idea to trace the arms that went to the Mexican crime cartels. Some few were arranged to be sold to the cartels, and an attempt was made to trace them in Mexico. The operation was running when Mr. Obama took office. No end result, so someone in the Obama administration decided that more would be better.

    So as quickly as they could, the Obama administration enabled the sale of thousands of AK-47 look-alikes (no full-auto capability) to be shipped through intermediaries, including at least one convicted felon, to a Mexican drug cartel. There is no possible way that this could come out well, especially when one considers that the Obama administration failed to keep track of any firearms. One assumes they thought these would show up eventually — they have.

    Well, the first showed up in a border firefight between Mexican criminals invading into Texas. An American border marshal some months ago was shot dead in the encounter. The shooter and his rifle, one of two recovered then, were captured. Ballistics showed that the captured rifle was the murder weapon and that it was one sold in Operation Fast and Furious. More recently, more rifles were captured in Mexico in another firefight between the Mexican Army and a drug cartel. The total killed by these AK-47-lookalike rifles exceeds 150 people and is rising.

    In the recent Congressional hearings on the matter we were all informed that nothing the administration had done, or anything the individual had done, was illegal. More recently Secretary of State John Kerry stated with some heat that these questions were answered and he was not there to discuss the matter. It seems that the matter is not to be discussed anywhere or at any time. Still, this is a subject that needs open air to clear it up. That transparency Mr. Obama promised when running is nonexistent. We have the most closed administration that I can recall. They refuse to discuss anything. What answers they give have proved to be false or misleading political speak.

    Since then, we have had incident after incident that involve the F.B.I., N.S.A., I.R.S., and answers are still almost a blank page. Now we are on the brink of a shooting war with Syria. The problem is a tough one. Assad, a brutal murderer of a “leader,” might be less a criminal than any likely successor. The Muslim Brotherhood are ever ready to murder non-Muslims as well as any different sect of Muslim there. The propensity of these radicals is clearer than ever with the Sept. 21 murders of 24-plus men, women, and children.

    What are the president and the Obama administration doing to be sure these sorts of things stop? He promised that the Benghazi terrorists would be identified and brought to justice quickly. So far, nothing done.

    That Mexican drug cartel, responsible for murders from Mexico to Chicago, nothing. Chemical war red line he, in fact, said his administration would not tolerate, nothing. Mr. Obama said his government would be transparent. It is the most closed in my lifetime. History will not judge him favorably. Frankly, I think he will be judged more harshly than President Jackson, whose government was corrupt, but personally, Jackson was honest.


Take Senator Cruz
    East Hampton
    September 16, 2013

To the Editor:
    The president of the United States has, in 41/2 years, faced more crises than were ever confronted by another president in our history. He has worked through each of them with patience and foresight and with varying degrees of success, but with no wars and while stopping two of them. He has done this with the total opposition of the Republican Party blocking his every step. The people elected him twice.

    And with it all the president has retained the dignity of the office and he remains personally unbowed, and fighting on. He is our leader. The country as a whole supports him.

    Even the stupidity of the likes of Donald Trump, Congressman Steve King of Iowa, Louis Ghomert of Texas, Bachmann of nowhere, Palin, the dodo of the north, are all basically an ignorant, totally classless group of nerds. These people are out for personal gain and notoriety.

    Meanwhile the despicable mewing and crazy bellowing of the class of 2016 Republican candidates for the presidency is beginning to appear and make their own ignorant and stupid remarks, which of course are never condemned by the leaders of the party or our local conservative apologists.

    So take the Canadian-born jackass Senator Ted Cruz (“please,” as the great comic Henny Youngman used to say) — Harvard Law grad, former clerk to Mr. Justice Rehnquist of the Supreme Court! This fugitive from some deep hole in Texas now seeks to raise the support of ultraconservative right-wing Republicans — who hate the color of the president’s skin, hate his wife, hate his children, want him gored by a bull or just plain dead — by wrapping himself around the memory of the biggest racist ever to walk the floor of the Senate, Jesse Helms.

    Have you heard or seen any condemnation of Senator Cruz or his remarks, either from Republican leaders or our local Obama haters? I haven’t. Guess they are too busy trying to close down the government or defund the Health Care Act, or forcing abortion clinics to close, or shutting down voter registration.

    Well, condemnation or not, at least Cuccinelli in Virginia, while taking bribes, is a dead duck in that state’s governor’s race, trailing in the women’s vote by 18 percent. And that is good!