Letters to the Editor: 10.10.13

Our readers' comments

Always There for Us
    East Hampton
    October 2, 2013

Dear Editor,
    Recently, for the third time in the 36 years I have lived in East Hampton, I had to call on the emergency services of our volunteer ambulance corps, and for the third time in 36 years, I found them efficient, professional, caring, and consoling. We are blessed to have a group of such dedicated volunteers here in East Hampton who are always there for us in emergencies.

    They deserve our eternal thanks and support for the work they do.

JOSEPH D. POLICANO

Town Was Gracious
    Loveland, Ohio
    October 2, 2013

To the Editor:
    For the past three years, my husband and I have visited your beautiful town and each year we grow to love it more. I have an autoimmune disease, scleroderma, necessitating  that I see my longtime physician in New York City yearly. After my visit, we head to East Hampton for an entire week of bliss. (Sept. 7-13).

    Each time we visit, we are impressed by not only the beauty of the town but also by the graciousness and friendliness of the people. We travel with my two service dogs, Madigan and Lily. Madigan is our older dog and Lily is in training. We were overwhelmed by the sincere interest in the girls and by the level of concern and caring exhibited by so many residents. We spent a lot of time explaining what my service dogs do and also about scleroderma. I am always happy to educate anyone that is interested; many have never heard of the disease.

    Everyone was very respectful and understanding when asking if they could pet them. We explained no, they are working when their vests are on.

    Without fail, the entire town was gracious. We understand that there may be patrons in a restaurant that do not wish to eat a meal with two dogs lying beneath a table next to them. I try to be very respectful of others and we always requested a table outside, in a corner, away from other diners. Every restaurant accommodated us and we enjoyed meals at Nick and Toni’s, Cittanuova (best burger ever), Cafe Crust, La Fondita, etc.

    After hearing Ina Garten talk on her show about the meatloaf at the 1770 House, I was determined we were going to eat there, and, since space is tight in the tavern, we ordered takeout dinners. Every restaurant worked with us and every store owner without hesitation invited us in with the girls when they saw my husband standing outside with them.

    We did a lot of takeout meals at Anna Pump’s Loaves and Fishes in Sagaponack, because I am addicted to her food and her raspberry scones. Special thanks to Anna for changing the menu of blueberry scones and going with raspberry because I had been waiting an entire year for them! And yes, they were as good as I remembered.

    This trip we found Goldberg’s Bagels and were thrilled to start each day with fresh-squeezed orange juice and one of their magnificent bagels.

    We live in southwest Ohio and while we have a farmers market each weekend, it is nothing, nothing like the farm stands all over in East Hampton. I wanted to stop at each farm stand and buy, touch, smell everything! No wonder all the food tastes great, so fresh; you have these amazing farms everywhere. I come home to Ohio inspired and renewed each year.

    All the restaurants and the Starbucks in East Hampton were so kind and brought out cups of water for our girls. Thank you, thank you.

    Special thank-you to the East Hampton House resort. We stay there each year. Our room is spotless, the staff is amazing, and they were very welcoming to our service dogs.

     We had another lovely visit and hopefully I have enough of the ocean breezes to sustain me until next year. Unfortunately, we just found out that Madigan, our oldest service dog, is now in kidney failure. I am comforted by the fact she was with me, working daily while I was out and about and got to enjoy the ocean with us.
    Thank you, East Hampton, for embracing my family and my service dogs.

DEBBIE and JIM GIBSON

An Important Omission
    East Hampton
    October 4, 2013

Dear David,
    I write to correct a photo caption that appeared in last week’s issue. East Hampton Business Service is owned by Mary Croghan and Barbara Passy, who joined the company 29 years ago to develop its accounting and income tax practice. Our longstanding stability as an organization is due in large measure to Barbara’s attentive stewardship.

    Thank you for the opportunity to correct this important omission.

    Best wishes,
    MARY CROGHAN

Eleanor Whitmore
    East Hampton
    October 7, 2013

Dear David,
    This past Saturday, Oct. 5, the official renaming celebration of East Hampton Day Care Learning Center to Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center took place, and the event was one that will be remembered fondly by all in attendance.

    Included in the festivities was a proclamation by Mayor Paul Rickenbach that Oct. 5 would be Eleanor Whitmore Day for years to come; thoughts and anecdotes from family and friends, and remarks by Alec Baldwin, who noted that that the gathering, celebrating not only the renaming of the center but also Eleanor’s birthday, was “the real East Hampton!”

    The evening was attended by family and friends of the center, representing a cross-section of our East Hampton community.

    Our center has been serving the needs of families since 1969, and while our name has changed, our mission remains the same: to provide young children with exceptional learning opportunities in a safe, nurturing environment. On behalf of the entire board of directors and the families we care for, we thank all of those who support our mission and the work that we do.

    Sincerely,
    MAUREEN WIKANE
    Director
    CONNIE RANDOLPH
    LINDA CALDER
    Co-Chairs, Board of Directors

Bad Behavior
    East Hampton
    October 7, 2013

David Rattray:
    In an effort to avoid a quid pro quo status with Alec Baldwin, this was a letter that I had planned on not writing. However, after having had several days to consider the content of his letter, I realized that this was a response which begged to be heard. Upon careful review of Mr. Baldwin’s outrageous behavior, blatant lies, and mudslinging flurry of insults, I offer the following in reply.

    Mr. Baldwin: Although you may detest the fact, you and I are first and foremost neighbors. As you stated, we eat and drink coffee at the same places, walk the same sidewalks, and drive on the same roads. For the record, I have lived within the town borders of East Hampton for over 40 years, of which close to the last 30 have been year round.

    Having just realized the 20th anniversary of your famed line in the movie “Malice,” “I am G-d,” it is becoming quite apparent that this opinion held by your on-screen character has transcended into your real-life persona and is still going strong to this day. Whether it be a case of undiagnosed bipolar disorder or just a manifestation of your skewed reality, I must say that your sentiments are, to say the least, bizarre. You make mention of $3 million-an-acre parcels when you live on an 8-acre estate. You deem those who cannot afford such luxuries “unwashed revelers.” This coming from a man well known to leave his mansion each morning with hair uncombed and sporting a pair of socks and sandals to complement a disheveled look.

    As for the beer cans, I would ask, have you ever picked one up and thrown it out? My family and I make it a regular habit, as many locals do, to pick up as much of the garbage that you mentioned as we can when we leave the beach and dispose of it properly. You also question whether or not Jason Gutterman is my real name. This must stem from your dishonesty causing you to expect everyone else to be dishonest. Not the case here.

    My career began over 20 years ago when, after attending the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan with a major in photography, I spent several years working in Miami and New York as a photo assistant to some of the most well-known fashion photographers in the world. I was also a staff photographer for The New York Times. I now freelance for a highly reputable worldwide news agency.

    You also state that I am “staked out in front of Mary’s Marvelous most weekends” and “have marauded up and down the village’s Main Street in search of photos of your wife and/or newborn child.” I am a “paparazzo,” Mr. Baldwin, doing a job. You failed to mention however the countless times that we saw each other when I did not as much as take my camera out of the bag in the interest of civility. You then continue your pugnacious deposition by bringing my son into the ring, while mentioning that I “secrete myself behind a tree or parked car clicking away.” In an effort to remain unobtrusive, I do in fact take my photographs with a long telephoto lens and try to remain unseen in the best of scenarios. I do this in an effort to avoid interfering with your day-to-day and to avert the possibility of a confrontation, fully aware of your disposition.

    You then quote me as saying that “public figures are never, ever entitled to normal consideration.” That statement is in fact a barefaced lie, and something which I never said. What I actually did say to you was, “now because you have asked me not to, and because I respect you, I will not take any more pictures of your wife.” You replied by telling me, “I don’t give a fuck what you do, I don’t care if you choke to death, just don’t take any more pictures of my wife.” You then continued your celebration of ignorance by telling me that you “have no respect for me or what I do” and compared me to kidnappers and home invaders. For the record, I have never been arrested or in jail. I have not even received a traffic ticket in the last 20 years.

    Your remarks are nothing more than designed to bait a half-cocked response, such as you would offer given the opportunity. As for the guy you refer to in East Hampton Village, your comments are even more pugnacious than those made about me. I would suggest that you might further your recovery by focusing more on the man in the mirror in an attempt to determine where all of your anger comes from, because it is most certainly not coming from either one of us. You have single-handedly amassed a long history of verbal abuse, including against your own daughter; physical assault, racial slurs, being thrown off a commercial airliner, and an all-around tendency toward bad behavior. Most of us have tried to learn from our past mistakes in an effort to create a better future. Your anger problem has obviously made this an uphill battle for you.

    I know the rules, Mr. Baldwin, both legal and moral, and, although as the rest of us, I am not perfect, I strive to govern myself by both. You are not above the fray. You are not above the law. My grandmother used to say, “Give ’em enough rope and they’ll hang themselves.” You shall certainly be the cause of your own undoing. I only hope your young and seemingly innocent wife realizes what she is facing.

    By the way, my beautiful bride and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary this year, and next year will mark 30 years since we met registering for high school. I only hope that you and yours will stand the test of time.

    In closing, I would suggest that next time you decide to vent your issues, that you stick to the hard, cold facts and avoid the temptation to extrapolate on your false perception of reality. And remember, I am not the only one out there with a camera, and an image speaks a thousand words, a video even more.

    Respectfully submitted,
    JASON GUTTERMAN

The Showtime Pilot
    New York City
    October 7, 2013

Dear Editor:
    I’m Sarah Treem, the creator of the Showtime pilot “The Affair,” which shot in Montauk for the two previous weeks. I was upset to read the letters and articles in this paper describing our production as some sort of exploitative Hollywood operation that had come to take advantage of the peaceful communities of eastern Long Island. I don’t consider myself an outsider and the last thing I want to do is despoil the towns of East Hampton, Amagansett, and Montauk.

    My grandparents bought their house in Amagansett in the early 1960s and lived there until they died. I spent every summer growing up on these beaches. The highlight of my week was a dinner at Lunch with my extended family. My grandparents were friends of the founders. My brother grew up with a large painting of the original Lobster Roll hanging above his bed.

    As I got older, I would come out to Montauk every chance I had, to rejuvenate after working the incredibly long hours required to create television. One of the best days of my life involved a long winter run from Amagansett to the Lighthouse, back to John’s for pancakes, and spending the rest of the day reading the paper by the fire. When I decided to write this television show, I came back out and wrote the first draft in the Montauk Library, because I’ve always found a sense of peace and creative space there. This pilot (what we call the first episode of a TV show) is a love letter to my childhood.

    However, I realize it may not have seemed like that last week if a bright light was shining in your window while you were trying to sleep. Hopefully I can clear some of that up and we can establish a better way to do this moving forward.

    I’ll tell you a little about the show, since I know that is hard to glean from just driving by a production. It’s been reported that the story is about a local girl who has an affair with a summer visitor. That’s true in the same way the movie “Titanic” is a story about a boat crash. The story is much more complicated and hopefully compelling than that tag line. At its core, it’s a story about memory. How everything we remember is filtered through our own individual prisms. How relationships are living, moving organisms that are never entirely known to either of their principals. Montauk, with its changeable weather, its secret beaches, its lonely roads, was the perfect place to set this elegy.

    I’d also like to correct some of the things I’ve read in the press over the past few days. While we clearly weren’t perfect neighbors, and we will work on that (more on that later in this letter), we weren’t as bad as has been reported. I read that our production had over 400 people involved, with a cast of 60. That’s simply not true. We weren’t shooting “Ben Hur”! In total, we have 150 employed in all aspects of production, with a cast of 12. At any given time there were about 60 people on set, which is perhaps how that number started floating around.

    It’s also not true that we were filming from sunset to sunrise. Most nights we wrapped production by 1 a.m. It then took our crew another hour or so to dismantle the equipment. We distributed flyers to all local residents before filming. We hired local policemen specifically to make sure the needs and rights of the local citizens were being respected and enforced. I read that we illegally built a bonfire on the beach — that was a special effect created with electric lightbulbs!

    I’m not trying to be combative, I’m just hoping to make clear that we love and appreciate your towns and we were intent on celebrating, not destroying them.

    I’d also like to cover a bit of the economics of filming. In total, our production spent about $750,000 in Montauk, Amagansett, and East Hampton. This number includes production days at the Lobster Roll, Deep Hollow Ranch, hotels, housing, and per diems for the cast and crew, the East Hampton stage, filming permits, local police, etc. Whenever possible, we employed local electricians and contractors. The film industry can and should be a job-making machine.

    If we are lucky enough to receive a season order from Showtime, we would love to return and continue to generate business, but we would like to do so as a valued and trusted part of the community. We won’t be able to eliminate every annoyance, but we can do a better job, and we can start by communicating more clearly with you. For instance, we believed that shooting at night would minimize nuisance in the town because we wouldn’t be blocking traffic. Knowing otherwise will help us plan our schedule more efficiently. I’d like to hold a town hall to hear your concerns and answer your questions in person and hopefully put a face to “Hollywood” for you. We can talk about how to increase communication between our production and your residents, so nobody will again be caught off guard by our filming there and everyone will feel like they have a voice in what I hope is a long and productive relationship.

    Please accept my personal apology for the inconvenience our presence caused in Montauk, Amagansett, and East Hampton. I hope this letter has helped elucidate our project and marks the beginning of a more positive, open dialogue between our production and your towns.

    Sincerely,
    SARAH TREEM

Obvious Distress
    Amagansett
    October 7, 2013

Dear David,
    Town Clerk Fred Overton, running for town board on the Republican ticket, writes, “Telling the people what is going on is vital to encouraging the public’s participation in their government” (Star, Sept. 26). In the same letter, he adds, “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.”

    As both a longtime resident of Amagansett and a producer who is an active member of the guild, it is disturbing that the appropriate and accepted standards of location protocols, meant to protect all parties during film production, seem to have been overlooked. It is customary for a production company to post a public notice prominently, several days before filming, and offer a location manager’s contact to call with any questions.

    Since a film permit was issued to allow access to several locations, including residential Amagansett streets, a town cemetery, town beaches resulting in blocked beach access, clogged streets due to the parked production trucks, nighttime filming, and, of course, disturbing noise levels from “sunset to sunrise” it led to obvious distress to residents in the neighborhoods affected. This did not have to be the case.

    How is it that a permit of this nature seems to have been issued without telling anyone in town except the one person — Bill Wilkinson — who will seemingly host any out-of-town business without a nod to public concerns for quality of life?

    When I read of the confrontation of the board by neighbors, I was disturbed by the nature of the dismissive comments and admonition by the board to those affected. Surely a revenue-producing commercial venture that can put money into our town coffers and businesses can and should and could be a win-win for all concerned if properly managed. This did not have to result in this kind of negativity.

    While I support the board’s initiative to bring in revenue, I would certainly have welcomed the opportunity to tell the town board what I think before any such permit was issued. At the very least, restrictions to protect the community would have been appropriate. Why were the proper channels to inform the public ignored?

    Sincerely yours,
    BARBARA MOSS

A Positive Experience
    Columbus, Ohio
    October 5, 2013

To the Editor,
    Our family was lucky enough to stay in the Amagansett dunes for the month of September. In addition to the wonderful surroundings, we were excited to experience the production of “The Affair.” What an opportunity! We know it was a little inconvenient and a little noisy, but we were willing to exchange a few days’ disruption to see it all.

    We were totally dismayed by the reaction of some of our temporary neighbors as written in last week’s East Hampton Star. Their recollections were rife with inaccuracies and overexaggerations.  Their intolerance for the greater good was shocking. Our house was right next door to one of the night filming sites and we still saw it as a positive experience. The crew was very considerate. We saw the location manager personally sweeping the street. We even learned some things!

    Hopefully the town will have another chance soon to bring in some income and have some fun at the same time.

    Sincerely,
    ERICA BOWN
    For the Bown Family

Political Hit Jobs
    East Hampton
    October 7, 2013

Dear Mr. Rattray,
    On Tuesday Oct. 1, I sat in the audience at the town board work session and watched a Mafia-style hit take place on a pillar of the East Hampton community.  The target was East Hampton’s own Fred Overton, veteran of the United States Navy, 48-year member and ex-chief of the Springs Fire Department, an E.M.T.-first responder, past president of the Lions Club, member and commander of the East Hampton American Legion Post 419, past town trustee and town assessor, current town clerk, graduate of East Hampton High School, husband, father, and grandfather. Mr. Overton is also the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Party’s candidate for town board.

    The assassins? Democratic town board members, Democratic Party officials, and local Democratic gunslingers.  This coordinated attack on Mr. Overton happened because he is running for town board and is exponentially more qualified than either of the Democratic candidates running for this office. So Democrats, who are running on a platform of bringing a “new civility” to town government, set out to destroy him.

    I watched mesmerized as Councilman Van Scoyoc used his taxpayer-funded position, on taxpayer-funded time, to set up the shot. In a coordinated attack, Mr. Van Scoyoc advanced a pre-placed agenda item listed as “film permits‚” setting the scene as he mischaracterized a conversation about the permit process he had with Mr. Overton. (Mr. Overton firmly corrected Mr. Van Scoyoc’s rendition.)

    Then the actual shooters got up and berated Mr. Overton because he followed the law and the 20-year permit process that resulted in a permit being granted to Showtime. That company is filming a TV series in the Hamptons. A grand total of three people complained of the cameras, the lights, the noise, you name it. 
    
    Perhaps the most interesting moment came when a Democratic Party official claimed she turned down $1,000 from Showtime who offered this compensation (bribe?) in exchange for her not writing a letter to your newspaper about the horrors of her experience. This party official gave an absolutely stunning performance that I hope the producers of Showtime were watching, because her acting skills are worth at least $1,000. You never know when a new TV star will emerge from the sand dunes of Amagansett. It’s just one of those things that make living in East Hampton so special.

    But I digress. The most important takeaway (as they say) from this hit attempt is that the Democratic Party is positioned to take over Town Hall. The last time they were in the majority on the board they fleeced East Hampton taxpayers of $27 million and members of their administration were frog-marched from Town Hall in handcuffs. They aren’t even in office yet and already they are abusing taxpayers by using town board meetings for very heavy-handed political hit jobs. Indeed, our newest Showtime Democratic star said as much, when she reminded all that Mr. Overton was not just the current town clerk but was also running for the town board. 

    The treatment of Mr. Overton at the hands of the new “civil” Democrats is despicable. It is unfortunate that Larry Cantwell, the head of the new civility party, sat in the audience and did not say a word, as members of his party tried to assassinate this good and decent man that has so admirably served our East Hampton community for decades. We can only hope that Mr. Cantwell’s integrity, of which I hear so much and believe to be true, will start to show through, especially in incidents like this. 

    Sincerely,
    CAROLE CAMPOLO


   The writer is an East Hampton Town Republican Committeewoman. Ed.

What Is Most Desirable
    East Hampton
    October 5, 2013

To the Editor:
    The disruption caused by the major filming of a television pilot would not surprise anyone who has worked in that industry, as I have. Few who have ever actually worked on these productions would ever consider having their own home used as a film location. Filming is based on a 12-hour work day and can often go beyond that. A large crew and a vast amount of trucks and equipment is involved. There is usually an attempt at care and good behavior, but the goal is what is on the film.

    Be aware that as a “pilot,” this show is essentially pitching itself to a network which has already spent a lot of money on the pilot, to pick up the show for a full season, whether it be another 8, 12, or 22 episodes. (A single episode generally takes from 8 to 10 or more days to shoot, not including weekends. You can do the math.) Ideally, from their point of view, this would then run into a good number of years’ worth of seasons.

    The look of the show, a big part of what they are selling to the network, is now set as the locations they have used in East Hampton Town. If they are picked up, they will much more than likely want to continue filming here. Successful location managers tend to be very engaging and to have a way of talking people into just about anything. Their job and their livelihood is to find and secure the locations, and to keep the cost as reasonable as possible.

    All of this should put the town in a position of seriously questioning what is most desirable for the town, its resident taxpayers, and its second-home owners. And frankly, beyond location fees, filming does not bring much revenue along with it. They bring caterers with them, they bring all of their equipment with them. Their production offices and staff are elsewhere. The pay scale for extras is less than minimal.

    Now to the deer. Am I the only one in town who finds the deer population this year is noticeably reduced from last year and a number of years before that? My range of frequent travel is East Hampton Village, mostly the southern part, on through Amagansett, the Old Montauk Highway, and going the other direction, Route 114 to Sag Harbor. Last year I was guaranteed at least a half dozen or so deer visible from the roads every time I left the house. This year I see them occasionally, even often, but more than not I don’t see any. Various tasty shrubs in my neighborhood, which have been decimated in past years, don’t seem to have been browsed at all this year. The large field north of Further Lane at dusk last year had a herd which numbered most often close to 40 (I count!), but this year the number was in the 12 to 20 range, and sometimes, as lately, there are none at all.

    When as fine a naturalist as Larry Penny cannot find a tick anywhere in the town, and the deer population is clearly down, it would seem wise to back off the sense of panic. I suspect the “cull” was the more than 500 deer bagged in last year’s hunting season. In any case, given the tameness of our deer we hardly need “sharpshooters.”

    The East End was a hot spot for Lyme disease long before our deer population exploded. It might be time to protect our turkey population. That might be the best place to turn our sense of urgency, the turkeys, and film production!

FRED KOLO

‘I Hope the Deer Win’
    Amagansett
    October 4, 2013

Dear David:
    How I explain to astonished out-of-towners: We have here in East Hampton a long-standing raging debate between those who want the local deer slaughtered versus those who don’t. Really, it’s a contest between local hunters and residents who’ve had their (some wildly expensive) gardens eaten and those who respect and love our deer, like us: they can have our garden.

    One of their suggestions is to have “sharpshooters” to “cull” them, and others who treasure their beauty and nobility: how often do we get this gift of a close personal view of wild animals? Certainly not in very many places. I do hope the deer win out.

    We have many old-time family residents who love their hunting, and one of their arguments is that they give the meat to the food pantry. I’ve worked there: most clients are not familiar with venison. I’m here to tell you they do not choose the deer meat, as they do not know what to do with it. Hence, the hunters keep a big freezer there to pile up the unwanted meat. This is also a sub-rosa political issue, as the local town government members want to be re-elected and need hunters’ votes.

    Hidden issues abound and saving the deers’ lives hangs in the balance.

    Yours in fairness,     
    A. NOONAN

Caught Up
    East Hampton
    October 7, 2013

Dear Mr. Rattray:
    I would like to urge everyone to take down any hammocks, tennis nets, or other similar items now that the summer season is over. Not only will it lengthen the life of those items, it will also ensure that deer or other animals will not get caught up in them.

    This past weekend my wife and I were able to successfully tranquilize a young buck and then disentangle his antlers from a hammock, only to see him die later from the stress of his encounter. Who knows how long he had been struggling to get free? The hammock made it impossible for him to even lie down to rest, which is the saddest irony of all.

    Thank you.
    CHRIS PLOCK


   Mr. Plock is a wildlife rescue volunteer. Ed.

Oh, We Got Trouble
    East Hampton
    October 2, 2013

To the Editor:
    Trouble, oh we got trouble. Right here in East Hampton! With a capital T, that rhymes with D. And that stands for deer.

    Somewhat new to the area, my husband and I attended the Village of East Hampton community meeting on Sept. 30 about deer.

    The meeting began with a reading of the definition of “epidemic” and it was all downhill from there. Deer, apparently, are running rampant in East Hampton causing a litany of woes, spreading a myriad of diseases, costing uninsured residents thousands in medical bills, causing accidents, ruining gardens and swimming pools, and overall detracting from the beautiful gentrification of East Hampton by causing residents to put up unsightly fences. Yes, there’s trouble, right here in East Hampton, and it’s time to do something about it! Where is Robert Preston when you need him?

    As people spoke out, it was soon obvious that there was no agreement on anything — not even the facts.

    • Studies show deer cause Lyme disease. Studies show there is no correlation between deer populations and Lyme disease (mice seem to be the culprits).

    • Village officials rely on estimates of the deer population. A private citizen paid for a survey — apparently the only survey ever taken — that shows that the actual counted number of deer in the village is substantially lower than estimates, but elected officials do not believe it.

    • Village officials maintain there is an overpopulation of deer. If you don’t know the population of deer, you can’t say there’s an overpopulation.

    • Deer cause auto accidents. No, speeding drivers cause accidents.

    • Immunocontraception would lower the deer population humanely. Naw, that won’t work. (Honestly, that was the response.)

    • New York State law governs wildlife management and requires killing (culling). Who knows? If that’s true, what’s the point of all these local meetings?

    It became clear that a pivotal issue divided those in the room: those who advocated for nonlethal efforts versus those who advocated culling.

    When a representative from the East Hampton Group for Wildlife suggested numerous nonlethal remedies to the deer problem, a gentleman behind me mumbled in a snarly tone, “he’s never killed anything. He’s not a man if he won’t kill something.” (Actually, one might argue that he is more of a man. A HU-man. But that is a discussion for another day.) Bottom line, village officials indicated that they had heard all these ideas before and weren’t interested.

    A Food and Drug Administration expert who admitted to having zero knowledge of any studies referenced that day that did not involve killing, pointed out the financial benefits to the village coffers that killing the deer would yield, as well as the human kindness of donating deer meat to the homeless-poor. (I don’t know about you, most meat eaters I know are not fond of game meat, but, as the saying goes, beggars can’t be choosers.)

    To his credit, the mayor did allow that killing deer was a sensitive issue. But at the end of the meeting, town officials all but spelled out that due to the crisis situation, even though no one had a handle on the facts, the mishmosh of confusion was not going to stand in the way of a decision, and it would almost certainly include killing deer. (Does this remind anyone of how we rushed into Iraq? I wondered if maybe Cheney has a home here.)

    And there, residents of East Hampton, is the rub. Your village leaders have apparently decided to move forward with plans to kill deer before having tried any nonlethal methods!

    It is mystifyingly abhorrent to me that educated, civilized people would choose this brutally repugnant path as a first step.

    I do believe many in the community are weary of the discussions that lead nowhere, weary of the inaction of past officials, and would welcome some intelligent action regarding the deer issue. But by arbitrarily raising an issue to the level of crisis, village leaders assume this gives them a mandate to move ahead with actions that I believe many in the community do not support. Sort of like a coup.

    It is a question of ethics: Do we take the civilized and humane approach — curbing the deer population through immunocontraception and other nonlethal means? Or do we stoop to the barbaric action of killing?

    I beg you to search your hearts and make the effort to write and let your officials know that you are against this bloody, brutal solution. There may still be time.

KATE SORENSON

555 Montauk Highway
    Amagansett
    October 6, 2013

Dear Editor,
    Francis P. Jenkins III, pitchman for the 555 Montauk Highway plan, is quoted in The Star as saying that East Hampton “needs” this plan, which calls for 71 units to be built at the eastern edge of Amagansett. He says that eight of the units would be “affordable housing” at $550,000 per 647-square-foot unit. The Mad Hatter would agree that $550,000 is “affordable.”

    Does Francis P. Jenkins III think that we are country rubes who can’t see through his arithmetic and his plans? Would he please explain why we “need” his 555 plan?

    In 1995 a survey was taken of Amagansett residents who almost unanimously said, in a documentary entitled “Amagansett Speaks,” that they are most concerned about quality-of-life issues. Just how does a 71-unit development improve our quality of life?

    Sincerely,
    ROBERT WEISBERG

Underwater Avenue
    Springs
    October 7, 2013

Dear David,
    Federal funding to mend the beach in downtown Montauk is a great opportunity. It is also an opportunity for a colossal mistake if a seawall or other structural option from the Army Corps of Engineers is chosen as the solution. A rush to judgment without considering the long-term consequences will prove that haste makes waste. Last Saturday, the Concerned Citizens of Montauk’s panel of coastal experts established beyond doubt there are better alternatives.

    The Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan, the coastal component of the Town Comprehensive Plan, prohibits hard structures on the ocean, and with good reason. The elemental power of the Atlantic moves gargantuan quantities of sand around, far in excess of the four to five feet covering the seawall proposed by the Army Corps. Once exposed to raging storm surf, a seawall’s fronting beach will disappear. Far better to build a sand dune with a maximal beach in front that will at least interact harmoniously with natural forces.

    The Army Corps is telling town officials it can make an end run around the L.W.R.P. policies by declaring Montauk an emergency or “exigent circumstance.” If Montauk is an emergency, it is in slow motion. The original downtown oceanfront street, South Edgewater Avenue, went out to sea half a century ago. Now it is South Underwater Avenue.

    If sea level rises 1 to 3 feet this century as predicted, the town’s shoreline will move inland. Think about where that leaves a seawall. Or shall we call it a fishing reef?

    With appreciation for The Star’s open forum,

RAMESHWAR DAS

Coastal Erosion
    Montauk
    October 5, 2013

Dear Editor,
    Today I attended the Concerned Citizens of Montauk forum on coastal erosion and potential remediation. While I appreciated the opinions expressed by both panel members and those in the audience, I came away with a disquieting feeling that this issue may be discussed to a point where it becomes too late to do anything meaningful at all.

    To put my personal sense of urgency in perspective, one must only look at the history associated with major East Coast hurricanes. Eastern Long Island has not had a Category 3 hurricane since the Great Hurricane of 1938. Hurricane Carol in 1954, in which a wave came through the dunes and broke where the Montauk I.G.A. sits today, was a Category 2 storm. Hurricane Gloria in 1985, and Hurricane Bob in 1991, with its 6-foot storm surge, were both Category 2 hurricanes. Even Hurricane Sandy in 2012, with 90-mile-per-hour winds and a 9.4-foot storm surge in New York City, was a Category 2 event.

    In the event of another Category 3 hurricane, simple replenishment of sand on south side beaches (a concept put forth at the forum) will do little to hold back storm waters that are fueled by tides considerably higher than those of 70 years ago. As relates to Montauk, it is conceivable that during such a catastrophic event, ocean flood waters would push across Fort Pond and into Fort Pond Bay, thereby isolating Montauk village and points east from the rest of the township.

    I agree, as was discussed at the C.C.O.M. meeting, that it would be prudent to include Ditch Plain in any discussion of federally funded beach restoration. Yet I would caution both elected officials and townspeople alike from becoming overly immersed in looking beyond immediate alternatives for more unique and time-consuming approaches. The federal money that has been allocated for Fire Island to Montauk erosion abatement can easily go further west, and if so we will be left with a severe case of “what if.”

    No one wants groins sticking out perpendicular to the coast all the way from Montauk Shores to Georgica Beach. But we do need, in short order, a consensus on a practical approach that will preserve the beauty of our beaches, while protecting houses and businesses bordering the dune line. I can only hope that the C.C.O.M. presentation I attended today will yield speedy and fruitful results. If not, we have only ourselves to blame.

    Sincerely,
    PERRY DURYEA III

Beach Erosion Threat
    Montauk
    October 2, 2013

Dear Editor Rattray,
    I reviewed The Star’s Sept. 26 front-page article “Army Corps Montauk Beach Options” with significant interest.

    I represent all owners of real property in Montauk and significant federal dollars are on the table to deal with the beach erosion problem/threat. None of the proposed solutions are in the interest of Montauk property owners.

    I propose drawing a setback line from the mean high tide mark and buying and removing structures using the federal money. Prices are currently high and the buildings are still up.

    Yours,
    BOB FICALORA

Cannot Act Hastily
    Springs
    October 7, 2013

Dear David,
    At the last town board work session, Supervisor Bill Wilkinson pushed the board to reduce down to two the Army Corps of Engineers options for the beaches in downtown Montauk. Both Supervisor Wilkinson and Councilman Dominick Stanzione strongly stated that the board has only a month to make its final choice. If an ultra-short time frame is the reality, then financial risk management clearly points to choosing the option that will construct an all-sand dune with a wide beach in front of it. 

    The risks that sink the other main option, a rock-cored dune, were strongly argued by Stephen Leatherman and Orrin Pilkey at last Saturday’s Concerned Citizens of Montauk presentation. Both men have had a long history with Army Corps projects and both counseled that the Army Corps could not be counted on for timely maintenance. My readings support their negative view.

    The Army Corps admitted in their presentation that a single large storm would expose the rock wall. A rock wall could cause severe environmental damage if it was not recovered in sand before the next storm. Additionally, a rock wall would economically damage the very motels it was there to protect if it was still uncovered when the tourist season began.

    The other major problem of the current rock-cored dune option, which is not well understood by the public, is that the beach, after replenishment, would only be 35 feet wide at mean high tide (versus around 90 feet wide for the all-sand option). A narrow beach is not a good tourist attraction, especially when it becomes only 20 feet wide a couple of years later because of erosion (maintenance replenishment will be at best every four years). A narrow beach is also a problem for the lifeguards as the people they need to watch and protect are spread further away from their tower. Thus, this option is also less safe.

    I have not heard any other officials involved in this project say that we have only a month to decide. With diligent work for the next couple of months, the town might improve the cost-benefit analysis of Army Corps’ all-sand option and also move toward a more consensus choice by incorporating suggestions from other proposals.

    First, the use of one-ton sandbags or sand-filled geo-tubes as the core of the dune, as suggested by Dr. Leatherman, might give extra protection to the motel owners and frontline businesses in Montauk. These semisoft cores are much lower risk than a rock core because they can be removed (or replaced) easily and with moderate expense if the Army Corps fails to perform its periodic sand replenishments (or if sea level rises so that either the dune core provides no significant protection or is almost constantly exposed).

    Secondly, extending sand replenishment to Ditch Plain, as was presented in Supervisor Wilkinson’s January 2013 proposal to the Army Corps, acts like a “bank” for sand that will drift toward the downtown beach. At the same time, the sand replenishment protects valuable property in that area. It also has the positive value that Ditch Plain will retain its reputation as the premiere surfing beach on the East Coast.

    We cannot act hastily, but the town board must act swiftly to educate itself, to educate the public, and to have dialogue among us all.

ZACHARY COHEN

New Lighting Law
    Springs
    October 6, 2013

Dear David,
    Suffolk County (unanimously) enacted a new night lighting law, sponsored by Legislator Jay Schneiderman, that will further control the spread of light pollution. The county already requires that all new night lighting be “fully shielded,” and now, with this new law, “blue rich” light sources are prohibited. Night lighting that is high in “blue rich” light results in more glare, more sky glow, and disrupts circadian rhythms, impacting human health.

    Unfortunately, this law does not apply to the purple-blue headlights on cars that reduce visibility due to adaptation problems, especially for older drivers.

    And, unfortunately, the replacement draft proposed by Councilwoman Quig­ley will not limit “blue rich” light sources, as is presently the case with our current Dark Sky code. Let’s hope her legislation does not see the light of day.

    SUSAN HARDER
    Dark Sky Society

Equitable Taxation
    Springs
    October 7, 2013

Dear David,
    Held two Saturdays ago, the Group for Good Government’s Meet the Candidates event was well organized and informative. One question asked of the candidates was whether or not they would support townwide property reassessment. All five candidates agreed that our current system is archaic. However, only one candidate stated that the town should move forward with townwide reassessment now.

    The others gave various reasons for holding back. More than one candidate said we need the money for other capital projects. If the town bonds for more debt before it rebalances our property assessments, people with less valuable homes will continue to pay disproportionately more, not just for current debt but for future debt. The unfair burden on those with less valuable homes will grow even heavier.

    School taxes are the real problem, said another candidate. Yes, school taxes are a painful reality, particularly for residents of Springs. I want to remind this candidate that our school tax obligations are calculated in each school district using the same unfair assessments, so it is yet another strong reason for townwide reassessment.

    Another candidate stated that reassessment would merely “shuffle things around,” with one-third of the homes paying lower taxes, one-third paying more, and one-third paying around the same. If two-thirds of our properties are currently incorrectly assessed, then it is definitely time for townwide reassessment. However, I suspect that significantly more than a third will receive reductions, and that less than a third will receive increases.

    I took a quick look at the recorded deeds posted in your newspaper on July 4. Of the 15 properties listed that week, four were overassessed, three were properly assessed, and eight (all at the high end) were underassessed. In other words, for that week at least, more than half the properties sold, all at the higher end, are not paying their fair share of property tax.

    From within that list, here is one rather dramatic contrast: A house that sold on Hedges Lane in Amagansett for $2.412 million is assessed at $698,630, while a house that sold on Maple Lane in East Hampton for $450,000 is assessed at $750,000. The new owners at Maple Lane can [file a grievance] to lower their assessment, which will bring it closer to its true market value. But even if the home on Maple Lane becomes properly assessed, without a townwide reassessment it will still pay too much in taxes because the Hedges Lane property is not paying its fair share.

    This situation extends to hundreds of high-value homes that are underassessed by millions to tens of millions of dollars. Correcting those assessments in a townwide reassessment will bring down the taxes for thousands of lower and middle-value homes. Many more homes will receive tax reductions than will receive tax increases.

    In January 2009, John Wolham (head official for property tax issues for the southern region of New York State) gave a presentation to our town board. He said, “People are paying too much on the lower end and too little on the higher end.”

    I think that statement may be even truer today, and I urge all town board candidates, as well as our sitting town board members, to consider this issue with the importance that it merits. Good governance arises from the application of basic moral principles, and one of those is the principle of equitable taxation of its citizens.

    Sincerely,
    PAMELA BICKET

Looks Menacing
    East Hampton
    October 7, 2013

Dear David,
    I truly liked Barry Raebeck’s (and friends’) full-page ad in The East Hampton Star, published Oct. 3.

    That rotary wing aircraft, although it appears unarmed, certainly looks menacing at such close range.

    I was just wondering, where was the picture taken?

    Clearly it was not at the East Hampton Airport.

    Perhaps it was published for “illustrative purposes only.”

GERARD BOLEIS

Something Was Off
    East Hampton
    October 6, 2013

To the Editor:
    After attending the Group for Good Government debate I tried to critique it in my mind. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed something was off. I wasn’t quite sure what was bothering me but then as I went over it again and again in my mind I realized what the problem was, at least for me — Larry Cantwell’s presence as a “debate” participant.

    Before you read any further, yes, I am a registered Republican and the person who tried unsuccessfully to convince Larry Cantwell to accept the Republican endorsement. Those facts have nothing to do with my view of the makeup of the debate panel.

    My thought is that if this is supposed to be a “debate” between the contested town board candidates, then that is what it should be. I want to hear the views and responses of the Democratic candidates, unfiltered through their leader, the unopposed supervisor candidate, Larry Cantwell. 

    Whether meaning to or not, the panel comes off as three against two, with an unfair (in my view) advantage going to the Democratic candidates, Job and Kathee.  We have all heard and read Mr. Cantwell’s views on the issues and his proposed role in leadership; now it is time to listen to Fred, Dom, Job, and Kathee tell us what they will do if elected to sit on the board and help run the town. If Mr. Cantwell’s earlier statements reflected his true beliefs, then even he agrees that one of the results of running unopposed is that he will be excluded from debates. In fact he offered this as one of the reasons he would not accept the Republican endorsement — because he was hoping for an opponent with whom he could debate the issues.

    I do not begrudge Mr. Cantwell an opening and closing statement, but when he enters the actual debate, I believe he alters the dynamics. Who is there to straighten out a “slip of the tongue” made by Fred or Dom, if they should need it — no one.

    There are other candidates running unopposed in this campaign, I don’t see them on the dais. There are even candidates in this campaign running opposed, and I don’t see them up there either.

    If the sponsors of the next debates — the League of Women Voters and the Concerned Citizens of Montauk — do not see fit to remove Mr. Cantwell from the mix, I think in all fairness to the other candidates, and to inquiring voters, Mr. Cantwell should simply stay true to his prior statements and recuse himself as a debate participant.

BEVERLY BOND

The Grievance Form
    Montauk
    October 7, 2013

Dear David,
    My name is Eugene DePasquale and I am the incumbent Democratic and Working Families Party candidate running for re-election as one of three members of the East Hampton Town Board of Assessors.

    Last week I informed homeowners of the state’s requirement to register with the Department of Taxation in order to continue receiving the Basic STAR exemption in 2014. Exemptions can help eligible homeowners reduce their real estate taxes.

    Another way homeowners can potentially reduce their real estate taxes is through the grievance process. If a homeowner believes their property is overassessed they can print a copy of the grievance form, which can be found on the town’s Web site, and submit it to our office beginning the first day of May. We accept the grievance applications until the third Tuesday in May, which happens to be Grievance Day.

    Although the form isn’t very long, it can be challenging to fill out. That’s where my office can help. We have much of the information a homeowner needs to complete the form. A homeowner can visit our office to get their Suffolk County Tax Map number, their assessed value, school district number, the uniform percent of value, and other pertinent information. Also, all of this information, including value, can be found on your most recent real estate tax bill.

    The town’s Web site has a link to the assessor’s office. After a homeowner clicks the link, they need to click “grievance forms.” They should print out “What to Do If You Disagree With Your Assessment.” That is the instruction booklet supplied by New York State. They should also print the grievance fact sheet, which we update annually, and the New York State Board of Real Property Services Complaint on Real Property Assessment, which is the grievance form, officially known as RP-524.

    Page 3 of the grievance form is the reason most homeowners call our office. One of those reasons is that East Hampton does not assess properties at 100 percent of market value. Much of the information needed to complete page 3 can be found on the grievance fact sheet. There is some math involved but it is easily explained, and quick to do. In fact, we have a guide to filling out page 3 and homeowners will be able to find that guide on our Web site this year.

    After the form has been filled out it should be brought in or sent to our office no later than the third Tuesday in May. The Board of Assessment Review meets on the third Tuesday of May, during which homeowners can appear before the board in person to present their case. An appearance before the board is not necessary to be considered for a reduction. The board sends out their decisions no later than 45 days after Grievance Day.

    In these tough economic times homeowners should take advantage of every resource to keep their hard-earned dollars in their pockets. Filing a grievance application is one way to potentially do just that.

    In addition to my 12 years of daily experience as an assessor, I am certified as an advanced assessor by the State of New York, as well as being a licensed real estate broker and a certified residential appraiser. I believe I have the education, training, and knowledge that uniquely qualifies me for this elected position. On Election Day please vote for me, Eugene DePasquale. Please vote for experience, education and knowledge.

    Thank you.
    EUGENE DePASQUALE
    Democratic and Working Family
    Candidate for Assessor for the
    Town of East Hampton

Be Better Off
    Amagansett
    October 7, 2013

To the Editor,
    Read an interesting letter to the editor a few weeks ago on the subject of balance on the town board, addressing what the writer called the “peculiar theory” that voters should not vote for all the Democratic candidates because that would unbalance the board.

    Anyone who has been watching town board meetings these past few years — or even the past few weeks — has seen clearly that simply having both political parties represented on the board does not guarantee a smooth-working, collaborative, effective governing body.

    A smooth-working, collaborative, effective governing body is surely what East Hampton desperately needs now. So I would repeat the message of that letter because it is worth repeating: If the Republicans cannot field top-notch candidates, wouldn’t we be better off to elect a town board comprised of really competent, proven, experienced people — albeit Democrats — than a board with one or two token, mediocre Republicans slowing down the work we need to do to restore our quality of life, protect our environment, and plan wisely and well for the future?

    Sincerely,
    LARRY MARCUS

By Which He Lives
    Amagansett
    October 5, 2013

To the Editor,
    The alarmingly dysfunctional state of our federal government has convinced me that there is considerable merit in focusing on tone and temperament in our next town election. It is hard to beat civil discourse that is mutually respectful. It appears that that has been lacking in our town hall of late.

    To those who know Job Potter well, he is an ideal candidate to help create a more appealing and productive governance. Job’s message, “Clean water, open spaces, quality of life,” is not just a stream of political platitudes. It is indeed a creed by which he lives.

    Over the years raising our children in Amagansett, I have had the opportunity to observe Job closely as he raised his children and, while so doing, contributing in many ways to improve and safeguard the quality of life in our town. Because of my firsthand knowledge of his character and commitment to our community, I support Job Potter for town board and urge that you vote for him on Election Day.

    Thank you,
    VINCENT VIGORITA

The Core Traits
    Springs
    October 6, 2013

Dear Editor,
    I am pleased to support Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for the East Hampton Town Board. Kathee’s dedication to the Spring School Board and her open-minded view was a blessing to the taxpayers of the Springs community for the past nine years. She is a proven problem solver, having worked closely with the Springs community on several emotional and difficult issues the school has faced. Her perseverance and unbiased approach will be an attribute the town board has been missing for a long time.

    I believe Kathee possesses the core traits essential for a true leader. I will be voting for Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for East Hampton Town Board on Election Day.

    Sincerely,
    NICOLE CASTILLO

Short Memory
    Springs
    October 7, 2013

Dear Editor,
    I am responding to the letter sent in last week authored by John Grant. He is touting Kathee Burke-Gonzales for the Town Board by telling us she possesses “knowledge of the facts, sharp insight‚ professional background that always proved useful in communicating complex issues.” Are you kidding me?

    I would not cite accomplishments while being on the Springs School Board of Education. Sharp insight? How did the principal, Eric Casale, get hired? Or, who did hire him? He had a past. Was this overlooked by the board, or did he neglect to tell them or maybe they chose to ignore it?

    What about the junior high sports program. I believe Ms. Burke-Gonzalez was instrumental in not allowing our students to participate so we parents of the junior high students spent their summer fund-raising so their kids could play. Would this have happened a year prior, when Ms. Burke-Gonzalez’s son was preparing to participate? Think about it.

    At the first meet with Springs sponsored by the Democratic candidates for the town board, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez could not comment on many issues, particularly those with overcrowded houses, stating the learning curve. These issues originated with the Springs School Board and proceeded to the town level. She was aware before any other candidate running for the town board.

    People seem to have a short memory. The issues at Springs still exist because of lies and trying to fool the public. I trust the voters will see what has been left to the imagination. We need transparency, yes, and professionalism, know­ledge, understanding, etc. But most of all we need honesty.

NANCY GROUDAS

Mr. Nice Guy
    Amagansett
    October 7, 2013

Dear David,
    I met someone just over four years ago who comes across as the nicest guy — always a big hello, a big smile and handshake. Overall, he seemed just swell. Soon he had his eye on a town board seat and was asked to run. He still managed to be fun and pleasant after he won the position on the East Hampton Town Board. I soon learned that his vision for East Hampton was not the same as mine, but we still respected each other’s views. Despite it all we were on a very friendly basis since I, like many others, enjoy his great sense of humor.

    As time progressed, I watched as his political tactics were evolving from simply skirting an issue to telling half-truths. It is hard to keep a positive opinion on someone when you can never be sure if what you are being told is sincere.

    Let me tell you what happened recently at the local gym between Dominick Stanzione and me on the subject of honesty.

    Looking through the local paper while on a treadmill, I came across a big, expensive ad of Dominick’s talking about how he fought to keep big McMansions from ruining the character of a neighborhood. What? He did just the opposite in order to win the support of the local Tea Party group and the spec builders who went on to fund his campaign, as they did two others on the board. He proclaimed that the “big house on small lot” law would be overturned once he was elected and that is exactly what he did.

    So Dominick comes walking into the gym (it was the last time I saw him there), and I went right over to him with his ad and said “What the heck is this? You did not fight to restrict McMansion size on small lots but did exactly the opposite.”

    Mr. Stanzione started laughing and with his big, mischievous grin stated, “look at the wording, it doesn’t really say that!”

    I replied that it gives the impression to the public that you did something that you did not do. He just thought it was funny and just kept smiling.

    I guess misleading the public for political gain is funny. Somehow I don’t get it.

    It often is problematic for good government when a nice guy can get elected by having a fun personality but, in reality, he is just not right for the job.

    I hesitated to write anything negative about Dominick because I do like him, but what he did was very bad.

    Running a town has become so complicated and time consuming that we need sharp, straightforward people who will tell the truth and not mislead the public for votes. If you would like proof of how special-interest groups won over the local taxpayers and the community character, then please go over to Old Station Place, which is located off of Atlantic Avenue in Amagansett and see what Mr. Stanzione’s first act of business was when initially elected: Those 5,600-square-foot houses on half-acre lots are his “workable solutions” (as per his ads). That’s embarrassing!

    This is just one of many examples showing his poor judgment and lack of long-term planning.

    At this point it is too damaging to even think of re-electing Mr. Nice Guy Stanzione to the town board. As much as I like him, the future of our town is too important.  

    Sincerely,
    JAMES MacMILLAN

Don’t Know Fred
    Wainscott
    October 6, 2013

Dear Editor,
    I am appalled at the accusations and untruths being said about Fred Overton by the Democratics. It is despicable! Obviously they don’t know Fred and didn’t bother to do their homework before attempting to belittle him and malign him.

    I have known Fred for over 35 years, and he is one of the most honorable, upstanding individuals that ever lived. The amount of volunteerism and public service Fred has given to this town is amazing and puts most of us to shame: his many years with the Fire Department as secretary, treasurer, assistant captain, and captain. Fred was instrumental in forming the Springs Fire Department and ambulance service for East Hampton residents. He has been an active member and volunteer at the American Legion for over 20 years. Fred is a 20-year member of the Lions Club. He was elected a town trustee, elected tax assessor (for 10 years!), and elected our town clerk since 2000, a position he still holds today. As town clerk, Fred Overton runs a professional, efficient office. Shame on Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for saying Fred Overton has no experience.

    In the same ad, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez uses her tenure as a member and president of the Springs School Board as experience and reason why she should be elected. Springs School has the highest taxes, escalating every year, ignoring the cries from struggling families. The same Springs School Board that cut from the budget and refused to fund several after-school sports activities for the kids. If it wasn’t for the parents soliciting donations from the community there would not have been any. This was done while Ms. Burke-Gonzalez sat as president of the school board.

    I don’t know Ms. Burke-Gonzalez. She may be a very nice person, but she is no match for Fred Overton. Fred has worked hard and continues to work hard for every resident of this town because he cares, regardless of politics. Fred Overton will be an outstanding councilman.

    Thank you,
    MICHAEL MYERS

Good Example
    East Hampton
    October 7, 2013

Dear Editor,
    If there are any East Hampton residents who are not yet familiar with our town clerk, Fred Overton, then they have not lived here for very long. Fred is one of the most recognized and respected citizens of our town. He is best known for his approachable demeanor, his genuine concern for his neighbors, and his service to our community and our country.

    During this election season I am pleased to be a part of the Fred Overton team for his election to the East Hampton Town Board. I urge every voter of our town to stand by Fred and the good example that he has set forth within our town government. When elected to our town board he will continue to serve us well.

    Sincerely,
    DEBORAH ANN SCHWARTZ
    Secretary
    East Hampton Town Republican
    Committee

Another Great Day
    Springs
    October 6, 2013

Dear David:
    It wasn’t a good day weather-wise but it sure was a great day, judging from the turnout at the Largest Clam Contest, hosted by the East Hampton Town Trustees.

    First, I made my Bonac chowder and brought it to the event, where along with Lynn Mendelman and other trustees we served it up to the many people who came to look at some very large chowder clams. I guess the chowder was a success because there was very little left at the end of the day.

    While the large clams are good in chowder, the contestant clams get thrown back into their home waters in our harbors and bays. That’s the trustees’ way — preserving and protecting our natural resources.

    After being replaced at the chowder line, I went over and shucked clams and oysters for the crowd. They were so fresh and delicious that we almost immediately ran out of oysters. After the largest-clam judging, where the winner weighed in at around 2.4 pounds (the clam, not the clammer!), there was still a line of hungry clam lovers.

     I have been participating in this event for the last 23 years, and it’s no wonder that it just gets more popular each year. I almost forgot to mention that each year people are invited to bring their homemade chowders, which are then judged for prizes. The clams and oysters can’t be any fresher than from our local waters to the table, with just a few minutes out for opening.

    It was another great day in our community and nice to see so many people out supporting our local fishermen and the trustees.

    FRED OVERTON
    Republican, Independence, and
    Conservative Town Board Candidate

At Full Throttle
    Amagansett
    October 7, 2013

Dear David,
    As you know, I am running to reclaim the enforcement position of East Hampton Town Common Whipper. (Voto Walker por Comun Flagelar!) This much needed deterrent to environmental malfeasance was phased out a few centuries back.

    The 2013 “Walker for Whipper” campaign is at full throttle! We have hired a teeth whitener. A medical advisor (constant whipping could tear a rotator cuff), and a horse.

    Here’s the rub. My financial advisors, led by the fearless Mavis, who has been known to bring T.J. Maxx to its knees, remind me that East Hampton Town is $96 million in debt. With a $96 million mortgage, there may not be a lot of taxpayer enthusiasm to fund the common whipper expenses that are not covered by the whipees. I may have to take in private whipping, or I could offer semiofficial East Hampton Town psychic readings (weather forecasts, traffic warnings, sale days, etc.).

    Wish me luck.

    All good things,
    DIANA WALKER

For Town Justice
    Barnes Landing
    September 30, 2013

To the Editor,
    Thank you to the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce for hosting a charming event at the Blue Parrot on Sept. 19. There were many of our local candidates at the event. I got some interesting insight into a position that I hadn’t given much thought: East Hampton Town Justice.

    I overheard a conversation between one candidate for town justice and some partygoers. They asked him if he had many criminal cases. The response: I have a D.W.I. case. I didn’t realize the importance of this answer until I asked the same question to the other candidate.

    Carl Irace introduced himself to me as a candidate for town justice. I asked him, point blank, if he had any criminal cases. His response: I had six felony cases today alone, all East End cases pending in county court.

    I went home and did some homework. I saw a couple of letters and other endorsements from people talking about unique qualifications. These people clearly have never spoken to Carl Irace. There is nothing unique about an attorney in East Hampton handling one D.W.I. case. On the other hand, there is something unique about having a local East Hampton attorney protecting the rights of East Enders in county court, representing locals against top, veteran prosecutors, among seasoned Supreme Court judges.

    Carl Irace is, after this conversation, my choice for town justice. If you see him around, say hello. He is very approachable. Then you can see for yourself.

ANNE BUTLER

Stop By the House
    Springs
    October 7, 2013

To the Editor:
    Yesterday I got a visit from a candidate for East Hampton Town Justice, Carl Irace. We had a nice conversation on my front porch for about 10 minutes on the court, and what he would do as judge. He is a nice guy, and very intelligent.

    I’m very impressed with the way Mr. Irace is campaigning.  He’s going door to door. The old-school way: shaking hands and meeting the people. In 14 years living in East Hampton, I’ve never had a candidate walk up to my door to want to discuss the issues with me. I told my friends about it last night at a barbecue, and the majority of them said Mr. Irace had visited them as well. It seems Mr. Irace has gone from Montauk to even Sag Harbor doing this style of campaigning all summer. Five Democrats and three independents at last night’s barbecue said they would vote for him.

    I appreciate and welcome this style of campaigning. Don’t bombard my mailbox with ads. Just stop by the house, we’ll drink a cup of coffee on my front porch, and I will listen to your ideas.
    I hope more candidates take this approach, because regardless of party lines, it seems to be working very well for Mr. Irace.

MARCUS BUTLER

Kindness Is Essential
    Montauk
    October 7, 2013

Dear Mr. Rattray,
    I’ve been writing a lot about why I think my son-in-law, Carl Irace, will be a great East Hampton Town justice. The most important characteristic for any public servant to have, in my opinion, is kindness. Perhaps Kurt Vonnegut said it best (though I personally could live without the profanity), “There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’ ”

    I’m sure many of your readers will scoff at this, touting the need for a fair and just judge, and I assure you Carl possesses those qualities in spades, but as someone who deals with the greater public, kindness is essential.

    As a parent, I would take comfort in knowing that if my child made a mistake, our town judge would treat them with kindness and take the time to be concerned about their present and their future.

    As a citizen, I would take comfort in knowing that if I received a parking ticket I wanted to challenge, or a violation for something I was unaware of, that the judge would treat me with kindness, because the court is a scary place for most people.

    Carl is a genuinely kind person. He is never too busy to help a friend in need, or anyone else for that matter.

    I hope your readers will join me in voting for him on Nov. 5 for East Hampton Town Justice.

    Very truly yours,
    BOBBIE GAIL COOLEY

Know the Law
    East Hampton
    October 6, 2013

Dear Editor,
    I am pleased to offer my unqualified support for Steven Tekulsky as East Hampton Town Justice.

    I grew up in East Hampton and have lived here all of my life. I served as East Hampton Town Chief Fire Marshal for almost 30 years. During my career, I had many occasions to bring cases to the East Hampton Town Justice Court involving public safety issues such as overcrowding and other fire code violations. These are serious health and safety matters and they certainly impact upon the quality of life for all residents of the town. As with all other cases in the justice court, they need to be heard by a town justice who knows the law and understands this community.

    I have known Steven for almost 25 years and have had many occasions to see him work as an attorney and to work with him as a firefighter and as chief of the East Hampton Fire Department. In all of my dealings with him, it is clear that he has the legal experience and common sense to best serve as our next town justice, to properly enforce the laws for the benefit of all of the people of East Hampton.

DAVE DiSUNNO

An Ideal Choice
    East Hampton
    October 4, 2013

Hello, David:
    In 2007 I chaired the committee searching for local legal counsel to represent the Thomas Moran Trust before local and state agencies and in our communications with our supporters and donors in the Hamptons community. We interviewed both regional firms and sole practitioners, and were impressed by the number of highly qualified and capable lawyers serving clients in our end of Long Island.

    The criteria guiding our selection process were: having a wide understanding of our diverse community; in-depth knowledge of local, state, and national (think FEMA) regulatory standards; substantial practical experience in navigating the application and compliance procedures of those agencies; and a quiet, judicial, and nonconfrontational personal style.

    We recommended that our Moran Trust board retain Steven Tekulsky. His performance in that capacity amply justified our decision.

    In the years that followed I have enjoyed a personal friendship with Steve, and have seen up close the thoughtful, friendly, and astute way in which he interacts with both friends and strangers. This combination of personal qualities and professional competence, in my opinion, makes him an ideal choice to serve East Hampton as town justice.

    I encourage all of your readers to support him with their votes on Nov. 5. They will not be disappointed.

    With high confidence and enthusiasm, I am sincerely yours,

WILLIAM A. DREHER

The Life Experience
    Springs
    October 7, 2013

Dear David,
    It is very upsetting to see a young 38-year-old man want to become a justice in our town court system. Carl Irace simply lacks the legal and life experience, not to mention the maturity that comes from living a few more years.

    Steve Tekulsky has all those assets, as well as an impeccable reputation. Steve has a breadth and depth of a longtime varied legal career, plus he has raised children and has had a great deal of experience with young people. Those of us who have raised children know that kids make mistakes. How those mistakes are handled, including consequences as well as guidance, can have severe effects on the lives of young people as they grapple with issues of emerging into adulthood and finding their place in the world. They need help, not just punishment. Mr. Irace has boasted of his time as a prosecutor, which could be problematic.

    I think this young man should come back to run when he has established a successful legal career and not look to retire to a relatively nonaggressive position instead of struggling to build a career as Mr. Tekulsky has done. If he applied the energy to building that legal career as he has to politicking, he should be ready in 10 years or so. And please don’t tell me that either one of the present female judges were that young when they ascended to the bench. We all know a woman of 38 and a man of 38 are not equal in maturity.

    Mr. Irace must be running scared, because two of the four Tekulsky signs I put out in strategic locations disappeared the next day. Only Republicans would stoop to taking down an opponent’s signs.

    Sincerely,
    PHYLLIS ITALIANO


The writer is a Democratic committeewoman. Ed.

The Person He Is
    East Hampton
    October 7, 2013

Dear Editor:
    To pick one candidate over the other for town justice merely because he is older and by dint of age would of course have been in practice longer is no more valid a method of choosing than drawing straws (Weinstein letter, Oct. 3).

    After reading the long analysis put forth by the writer (an avowed Democrat), I thought he would surely come to his final endorsement at least based on facts elicited from discussions with each candidate. What a disappointment. Not necessarily that he chose the Democrat over Carl Irace, but that his whole analysis culminated in the utopian (but irrelevant) conclusion that there is a “greater likelihood that years of experience will result in a more mature and finer judicial temperament.” His conclusion seems to have discarded all the facts garnered from the candidates, except one: the Democratic candidate is older than the Republican candidate, ergo he must be better.

    Since age is his deciding factor, that tells me that in his view, each candidate on the facts is equally qualified to be our town justice. Obviously the writer, a retired attorney, is entitled to his opinion. However, I would hope that in his law practice as in his life, his opinions are based on facts rather than some ethereal ideal that may apply only in a perfect world, hardly the one we live in today.

    If we were all to look at a candidate, ask his age, and assume that only with age comes mature experience, and then fail to look at all the other important factors and philosophies that make this candidate the person he is, then we are shortchanging ourselves and our community when it comes to the people we elect. It is like hanging a sign outside that says: only old people need apply. You young people with your ideas, enthusiasm, but “limited-by-youth” experience must wait until you get much older to be elected and help the community you live in and love.

    I reject the writer’s method of picking my town justice. It is just as valid for me to say that I pick youth over age every time because the “old” are locked in to beliefs set in stone; and their too many years of experience do not allow them to see things with a fresh eye or to understand the problems of the youth of today.

    The bottom line is that, without a look at the actual facts about each candidate, picking just one factor, such as age, is not a solid foundation upon which to base your decision. I believe that after reviewing all the relevant factors, you will support Carl Irace when you vote on Nov. 5.

RICHARD O’CONNOR

An Asset
    East Hampton
    October 6, 2013

Dear David,
    I am writing you today to voice my support for Steven Tekulsky for East Hampton Town Justice.

    Steve is an honorable and fair individual who has proven he cares about this community and the people in it through his volunteer work for organizations like Citizens for Access Rights, the East Hampton Sportsman’s Alliance, and The East Hampton Fire Department, where he served as a two-time chief. with one or two token, mediocre Republicans slowing down the work we need to do to restore our quality of life, protect our environment, and plan wisely and well for the future?

    Sincerely,
    LARRY MARCUS

By Which He Lives
    Amagansett
    October 5, 2013

To the Editor,
    The alarmingly dysfunctional state of our federal government has convinced me that there is considerable merit in focusing on tone and temperament in our next town election. It is hard to beat civil discourse that is mutually respectful. It appears that that has been lacking in our town hall of late.

    To those who know Job Potter well, he is an ideal candidate to help create a more appealing and productive governance. Job’s message, “Clean water, open spaces, quality of life,” is not just a stream of political platitudes. It is indeed a creed by which he lives.

    Over the years raising our children in Amagansett, I have had the opportunity to observe Job closely as he raised his children and, while so doing, contributing in many ways to improve and safeguard the quality of life in our town. Because of my firsthand knowledge of his character and commitment to our community, I support Job Potter for town board and urge that you vote for him on Election Day.

    Thank you,
    VINCENT VIGORITA

The Core Traits
    Springs
    October 6, 2013

Dear Editor,
    I am pleased to support Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for the East Hampton Town Board. Kathee’s dedication to the Spring School Board and her open-minded view was a blessing to the taxpayers of the Springs community for the past nine years. She is a proven problem solver, having worked closely with the Springs community on several emotional and difficult issues the school has faced. Her perseverance and unbiased approach will be an attribute the town board has been missing for a long time.

    I believe Kathee possesses the core traits essential for a true leader. I will be voting for Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for East Hampton Town Board on Election Day.

    Sincerely,
    NICOLE CASTILLO

Short Memory
    Springs
    October 7, 2013

Dear Editor,
    I am responding to the letter sent in last week authored by John Grant. He is touting Kathee Burke-Gonzales for the Town Board by telling us she possesses “knowledge of the facts, sharp insight‚ professional background that always proved useful in communicating complex issues.” Are you kidding me?

    I would not cite accomplishments while being on the Springs School Board of Education. Sharp insight? How did the principal, Eric Casale, get hired? Or, who did hire him? He had a past. Was this overlooked by the board, or did he neglect to tell them or maybe they chose to ignore it?

    What about the junior high sports program. I believe Ms. Burke-Gonzalez was instrumental in not allowing our students to participate so we parents of the junior high students spent their summer fund-raising so their kids could play. Would this have happened a year prior, when Ms. Burke-Gonzalez’s son was preparing to participate? Think about it.

    At the first meet with Springs sponsored by the Democratic candidates for the town board, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez could not comment on many issues, particularly those with overcrowded houses, stating the learning curve. These issues originated with the Springs School Board and proceeded to the town level. She was aware before any other candidate running for the town board.

    People seem to have a short memory. The issues at Springs still exist because of lies and trying to fool the public. I trust the voters will see what has been left to the imagination. We need transparency, yes, and professionalism, know­ledge, understanding, etc. But most of all we need honesty.

NANCY GROUDAS

Mr. Nice Guy
    Amagansett
    October 7, 2013

Dear David,
    I met someone just over four years ago who comes across as the nicest guy — always a big hello, a big smile and handshake. Overall, he seemed just swell. Soon he had his eye on a town board seat and was asked to run. He still managed to be fun and pleasant after he won the position on the East Hampton Town Board. I soon learned that his vision for East Hampton was not the same as mine, but we still respected each other’s views. Despite it all we were on a very friendly basis since I, like many others, enjoy his great sense of humor.

    As time progressed, I watched as his political tactics were evolving from simply skirting an issue to telling half-truths. It is hard to keep a positive opinion on someone when you can never be sure if what you are being told is sincere.

    Let me tell you what happened recently at the local gym between Dominick Stanzione and me on the subject of honesty.

    Looking through the local paper while on a treadmill, I came across a big, expensive ad of Dominick’s talking about how he fought to keep big McMansions from ruining the character of a neighborhood. What? He did just the opposite in order to win the support of the local Tea Party group and the spec builders who went on to fund his campaign, as they did two others on the board. He proclaimed that the “big house on small lot” law would be overturned once he was elected and that is exactly what he did.

    So Dominick comes walking into the gym (it was the last time I saw him there), and I went right over to him with his ad and said “What the heck is this? You did not fight to restrict McMansion size on small lots but did exactly the opposite.”

    Mr. Stanzione started laughing and with his big, mischievous grin stated, “look at the wording, it doesn’t really say that!”

    I replied that it gives the impression to the public that you did something that you did not do. He just thought it was funny and just kept smiling.

    I guess misleading the public for political gain is funny. Somehow I don’t get it.

    It often is problematic for good government when a nice guy can get elected by having a fun personality but, in reality, he is just not right for the job.

    I hesitated to write anything negative about Dominick because I do like him, but what he did was very bad.

    Running a town has become so complicated and time consuming that we need sharp, straightforward people who will tell the truth and not mislead the public for votes. If you would like proof of how special-interest groups won over the local taxpayers and the community character, then please go over to Old Station Place, which is located off of Atlantic Avenue in Amagansett and see what Mr. Stanzione’s first act of business was when initially elected: Those 5,600-square-foot houses on half-acre lots are his “workable solutions” (as per his ads). That’s embarrassing!

    This is just one of many examples showing his poor judgment and lack of long-term planning.

    At this point it is too damaging to even think of re-electing Mr. Nice Guy Stanzione to the town board. As much as I like him, the future of our town is too important.  

    Sincerely,
    JAMES MacMILLAN

Don’t Know Fred
    Wainscott
    October 6, 2013

Dear Editor,
    I am appalled at the accusations and untruths being said about Fred Overton by the Democratics. It is despicable! Obviously they don’t know Fred and didn’t bother to do their homework before attempting to belittle him and malign him.

    I have known Fred for over 35 years, and he is one of the most honorable, upstanding individuals that ever lived. The amount of volunteerism and public service Fred has given to this town is amazing and puts most of us to shame: his many years with the Fire Department as secretary, treasurer, assistant captain, and captain. Fred was instrumental in forming the Springs Fire Department and ambulance service for East Hampton residents. He has been an active member and volunteer at the American Legion for over 20 years. Fred is a 20-year member of the Lions Club. He was elected a town trustee, elected tax assessor (for 10 years!), and elected our town clerk since 2000, a position he still holds today. As town clerk, Fred Overton runs a professional, efficient office. Shame on Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for saying Fred Overton has no experience.

    In the same ad, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez uses her tenure as a member and president of the Springs School Board as experience and reason why she should be elected. Springs School has the highest taxes, escalating every year, ignoring the cries from struggling families. The same Springs School Board that cut from the budget and refused to fund several after-school sports activities for the kids. If it wasn’t for the parents soliciting donations from the community there would not have been any. This was done while Ms. Burke-Gonzalez sat as president of the school board.

    I don’t know Ms. Burke-Gonzalez. She may be a very nice person, but she is no match for Fred Overton. Fred has worked hard and continues to work hard for every resident of this town because he cares, regardless of politics. Fred Overton will be an outstanding councilman.

    Thank you,
    MICHAEL MYERS

Good Example
    East Hampton
    October 7, 2013

Dear Editor,
    If there are any East Hampton residents who are not yet familiar with our town clerk, Fred Overton, then they have not lived here for very long. Fred is one of the most recognized and respected citizens of our town. He is best known for his approachable demeanor, his genuine concern for his neighbors, and his service to our community and our country.

    During this election season I am pleased to be a part of the Fred Overton team for his election to the East Hampton Town Board. I urge every voter of our town to stand by Fred and the good example that he has set forth within our town government. When elected to our town board he will continue to serve us well.

    Sincerely,
    DEBORAH ANN SCHWARTZ
    Secretary
    East Hampton Town Republican
    Committee

Another Great Day
    Springs
    October 6, 2013

Dear David:
    It wasn’t a good day weather-wise but it sure was a great day, judging from the turnout at the Largest Clam Contest, hosted by the East Hampton Town Trustees.

    First, I made my Bonac chowder and brought it to the event, where along with Lynn Mendelman and other trustees we served it up to the many people who came to look at some very large chowder clams. I guess the chowder was a success because there was very little left at the end of the day.

    While the large clams are good in chowder, the contestant clams get thrown back into their home waters in our harbors and bays. That’s the trustees’ way — preserving and protecting our natural resources.

    After being replaced at the chowder line, I went over and shucked clams and oysters for the crowd. They were so fresh and delicious that we almost immediately ran out of oysters. After the largest-clam judging, where the winner weighed in at around 2.4 pounds (the clam, not the clammer!), there was still a line of hungry clam lovers.

     I have been participating in this event for the last 23 years, and it’s no wonder that it just gets more popular each year. I almost forgot to mention that each year people are invited to bring their homemade chowders, which are then judged for prizes. The clams and oysters can’t be any fresher than from our local waters to the table, with just a few minutes out for opening.

    It was another great day in our community and nice to see so many people out supporting our local fishermen and the trustees.

    FRED OVERTON
    Republican, Independence, and
    Conservative Town Board Candidate

At Full Throttle
    Amagansett
    October 7, 2013

Dear David,
    As you know, I am running to reclaim the enforcement position of East Hampton Town Common Whipper. (Voto Walker por Comun Flagelar!) This much needed deterrent to environmental malfeasance was phased out a few centuries back.

    The 2013 “Walker for Whipper” campaign is at full throttle! We have hired a teeth whitener. A medical advisor (constant whipping could tear a rotator cuff), and a horse.

    Here’s the rub. My financial advisors, led by the fearless Mavis, who has been known to bring T.J. Maxx to its knees, remind me that East Hampton Town is $96 million in debt. With a $96 million mortgage, there may not be a lot of taxpayer enthusiasm to fund the common whipper expenses that are not covered by the whipees. I may have to take in private whipping, or I could offer semiofficial East Hampton Town psychic readings (weather forecasts, traffic warnings, sale days, etc.).

    Wish me luck.

    All good things,
    DIANA WALKER

For Town Justice
    Barnes Landing
    September 30, 2013

To the Editor,
    Thank you to the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce for hosting a charming event at the Blue Parrot on Sept. 19. There were many of our local candidates at the event. I got some interesting insight into a position that I hadn’t given much thought: East Hampton Town Justice.

    I overheard a conversation between one candidate for town justice and some partygoers. They asked him if he had many criminal cases. The response: I have a D.W.I. case. I didn’t realize the importance of this answer until I asked the same question to the other candidate.

    Carl Irace introduced himself to me as a candidate for town justice. I asked him, point blank, if he had any criminal cases. His response: I had six felony cases today alone, all East End cases pending in county court.

    I went home and did some homework. I saw a couple of letters and other endorsements from people talking about unique qualifications. These people clearly have never spoken to Carl Irace. There is nothing unique about an attorney in East Hampton handling one D.W.I. case. On the other hand, there is something unique about having a local East Hampton attorney protecting the rights of East Enders in county court, representing locals against top, veteran prosecutors, among seasoned Supreme Court judges.

    Carl Irace is, after this conversation, my choice for town justice. If you see him around, say hello. He is very approachable. Then you can see for yourself.

ANNE BUTLER

Stop By the House
    Springs
    October 7, 2013

To the Editor:
    Yesterday I got a visit from a candidate for East Hampton Town Justice, Carl Irace. We had a nice conversation on my front porch for about 10 minutes on the court, and what he would do as judge. He is a nice guy, and very intelligent.

    I’m very impressed with the way Mr. Irace is campaigning.  He’s going door to door. The old-school way: shaking hands and meeting the people. In 14 years living in East Hampton, I’ve never had a candidate walk up to my door to want to discuss the issues with me. I told my friends about it last night at a barbecue, and the majority of them said Mr. Irace had visited them as well. It seems Mr. Irace has gone from Montauk to even Sag Harbor doing this style of campaigning all summer. Five Democrats and three independents at last night’s barbecue said they would vote for him.

    I appreciate and welcome this style of campaigning. Don’t bombard my mailbox with ads. Just stop by the house, we’ll drink a cup of coffee on my front porch, and I will listen to your ideas.
    I hope more candidates take this approach, because regardless of party lines, it seems to be working very well for Mr. Irace.

MARCUS BUTLER

Kindness Is Essential
    Montauk
    October 7, 2013

Dear Mr. Rattray,
    I’ve been writing a lot about why I think my son-in-law, Carl Irace, will be a great East Hampton Town justice. The most important characteristic for any public servant to have, in my opinion, is kindness. Perhaps Kurt Vonnegut said it best (though I personally could live without the profanity), “There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’ ”

    I’m sure many of your readers will scoff at this, touting the need for a fair and just judge, and I assure you Carl possesses those qualities in spades, but as someone who deals with the greater public, kindness is essential.

    As a parent, I would take comfort in knowing that if my child made a mistake, our town judge would treat them with kindness and take the time to be concerned about their present and their future.

    As a citizen, I would take comfort in knowing that if I received a parking ticket I wanted to challenge, or a violation for something I was unaware of, that the judge would treat me with kindness, because the court is a scary place for most people.

    Carl is a genuinely kind person. He is never too busy to help a friend in need, or anyone else for that matter.

    I hope your readers will join me in voting for him on Nov. 5 for East Hampton Town Justice.

    Very truly yours,
    BOBBIE GAIL COOLEY

Know the Law
    East Hampton
    October 6, 2013

Dear Editor,
    I am pleased to offer my unqualified support for Steven Tekulsky as East Hampton Town Justice.

    I grew up in East Hampton and have lived here all of my life. I served as East Hampton Town Chief Fire Marshal for almost 30 years. During my career, I had many occasions to bring cases to the East Hampton Town Justice Court involving public safety issues such as overcrowding and other fire code violations. These are serious health and safety matters and they certainly impact upon the quality of life for all residents of the town. As with all other cases in the justice court, they need to be heard by a town justice who knows the law and understands this community.

    I have known Steven for almost 25 years and have had many occasions to see him work as an attorney and to work with him as a firefighter and as chief of the East Hampton Fire Department. In all of my dealings with him, it is clear that he has the legal experience and common sense to best serve as our next town justice, to properly enforce the laws for the benefit of all of the people of East Hampton.

DAVE DiSUNNO

An Ideal Choice
    East Hampton
    October 4, 2013

Hello, David:
    In 2007 I chaired the committee searching for local legal counsel to represent the Thomas Moran Trust before local and state agencies and in our communications with our supporters and donors in the Hamptons community. We interviewed both regional firms and sole practitioners, and were impressed by the number of highly qualified and capable lawyers serving clients in our end of Long Island.

    The criteria guiding our selection process were: having a wide understanding of our diverse community; in-depth knowledge of local, state, and national (think FEMA) regulatory standards; substantial practical experience in navigating the application and compliance procedures of those agencies; and a quiet, judicial, and nonconfrontational personal style.

    We recommended that our Moran Trust board retain Steven Tekulsky. His performance in that capacity amply justified our decision.

    In the years that followed I have enjoyed a personal friendship with Steve, and have seen up close the thoughtful, friendly, and astute way in which he interacts with both friends and strangers. This combination of personal qualities and professional competence, in my opinion, makes him an ideal choice to serve East Hampton as town justice.

    I encourage all of your readers to support him with their votes on Nov. 5. They will not be disappointed.

    With high confidence and enthusiasm, I am sincerely yours,
WILLIAM A. DREHER

The Life Experience
    Springs
    October 7, 2013

Dear David,
    It is very upsetting to see a young 38-year-old man want to become a justice in our town court system. Carl Irace simply lacks the legal and life experience, not to mention the maturity that comes from living a few more years.

    Steve Tekulsky has all those assets, as well as an impeccable reputation. Steve has a breadth and depth of a longtime varied legal career, plus he has raised children and has had a great deal of experience with young people. Those of us who have raised children know that kids make mistakes. How those mistakes are handled, including consequences as well as guidance, can have severe effects on the lives of young people as they grapple with issues of emerging into adulthood and finding their place in the world. They need help, not just punishment. Mr. Irace has boasted of his time as a prosecutor, which could be problematic.

    I think this young man should come back to run when he has established a successful legal career and not look to retire to a relatively nonaggressive position instead of struggling to build a career as Mr. Tekulsky has done. If he applied the energy to building that legal career as he has to politicking, he should be ready in 10 years or so. And please don’t tell me that either one of the present female judges were that young when they ascended to the bench. We all know a woman of 38 and a man of 38 are not equal in maturity.

    Mr. Irace must be running scared, because two of the four Tekulsky signs I put out in strategic locations disappeared the next day. Only Republicans would stoop to taking down an opponent’s signs.

    Sincerely,
    PHYLLIS ITALIANO


    The writer is a Democratic committeewoman. Ed.

The Person He Is
    East Hampton
    October 7, 2013

Dear Editor:
    To pick one candidate over the other for town justice merely because he is older and by dint of age would of course have been in practice longer is no more valid a method of choosing than drawing straws (Weinstein letter, Oct. 3).

    After reading the long analysis put forth by the writer (an avowed Democrat), I thought he would surely come to his final endorsement at least based on facts elicited from discussions with each candidate. What a disappointment. Not necessarily that he chose the Democrat over Carl Irace, but that his whole analysis culminated in the utopian (but irrelevant) conclusion that there is a “greater likelihood that years of experience will result in a more mature and finer judicial temperament.” His conclusion seems to have discarded all the facts garnered from the candidates, except one: the Democratic candidate is older than the Republican candidate, ergo he must be better.

    Since age is his deciding factor, that tells me that in his view, each candidate on the facts is equally qualified to be our town justice. Obviously the writer, a retired attorney, is entitled to his opinion. However, I would hope that in his law practice as in his life, his opinions are based on facts rather than some ethereal ideal that may apply only in a perfect world, hardly the one we live in today.

    If we were all to look at a candidate, ask his age, and assume that only with age comes mature experience, and then fail to look at all the other important factors and philosophies that make this candidate the person he is, then we are shortchanging ourselves and our community when it comes to the people we elect. It is like hanging a sign outside that says: only old people need apply. You young people with your ideas, enthusiasm, but “limited-by-youth” experience must wait until you get much older to be elected and help the community you live in and love.

    I reject the writer’s method of picking my town justice. It is just as valid for me to say that I pick youth over age every time because the “old” are locked in to beliefs set in stone; and their too many years of experience do not allow them to see things with a fresh eye or to understand the problems of the youth of today.

    The bottom line is that, without a look at the actual facts about each candidate, picking just one factor, such as age, is not a solid foundation upon which to base your decision. I believe that after reviewing all the relevant factors, you will support Carl Irace when you vote on Nov. 5.

RICHARD O’CONNOR

An Asset
    East Hampton
    October 6, 2013

Dear David,
    I am writing you today to voice my support for Steven Tekulsky for East Hampton Town Justice.

    Steve is an honorable and fair individual who has proven he cares about this community and the people in it through his volunteer work for organizations like Citizens for Access Rights, the East Hampton Sportsman’s Alliance, and The East Hampton Fire Department, where he served as a two-time chief.     In my position as president of Citizens for Access Rights I have had the opportunity to work closely with Steve and have seen firsthand that he is an asset to this community and that he has the experience and intellect necessary to fairly and accurately uphold the law if elected judge.

    I ask everyone voting in the upcoming election to vote Steve Tekulsky for East Hampton Town justice.

    Yours truly,
    TIM TAYLOR

Willingness to Listen
    Amagansett
    September 29, 2013

Dear David,
    The town justice race, this time, has two new candidates: Carl Irace and Steven Tekulsky.

    Both are, in Bonac lingo, “from away,” but this is where the similarities end.

    I fully support Carl Irace to be our new town justice. I’ve had several discussions with Carl when he was our town attorney, and found Carl to be well thought out and on the mark when he spoke. Carl is also a good listener who can comprehend what he is hearing. Both of these attributes are serious qualifications in order to be a competent fair-minded town justice.

    It’s my view that Steven has little regard to giving thought to his actions, and his willingness to listen is zero minus.

    When Steven was fire chief, on his watch the “No Parking — Fire and Ambulance Only” signs were placed on the north side of the beginning of Cedar Street. The unintentional, not thought-of consequence of Steven supporting these no-parking signs resulted in the shutdown of Mike and Sharon Bistrian’s small farm stand, which they had on this site for many years prior to the placement of these signs. This location for their farm stand was ideal, because the road is wide so that the customers could park out of the way of traffic.

    When the no-parking signs were erected, Mike and Sharon tried to set up at a new location on Spring Close Highway, just south of the railroad tracks. Parking at this new site was extremely poor and they now were not on a main traveled road.

    After the no-parking signs were up, I asked a couple of firemen if the signs were needed at all. Their response was no, as they park wherever if they have a call. For years there never were any signs and no problems for the fire and ambulance personnel.

    It is my view that Steven had no concern at all for the Bistrians, as he caused them serious economic hardship for no good reason.

    The following year, Mike and Sharon Bistrian moved back to their original location across from the firehouse on Cedar Street with everybody, including myself, totally ignoring the no-parking signs in order to buy our vegetables from the Bistrians.

    Last Sunday, at the Montauk Seafood Festival, Steven came to my table of photos and we chatted a bit. I told him (with the Bistrians in mind) that I am supporting Carl Irace for town justice, but not much else, as I was busy explaining my fishing photos to other people.

    It irked me that he was talking about “his court” more than a month before the elections. Southampton’s former judge Ted Sharretts explained to me many years ago that the town justice courts are the “people’s court,” not what Steve is stating as he is campaigning.

    Steven asked if I would take a picture with him. I agreed, wondering what in the world do I have here, as I told the man a few minutes prior that I do not support him running for town judge.

    Common sense and political logic would dictate that a candidate would not want his or her picture taken with the opposition.

    What we have here is a candidate running for town judge who clearly does not listen to what he is being told, or worse yet, from the prospect of being a judge, cannot comprehend what he is hearing, and does not, in my view, give any thought to unintentional consequences, which one has to be ever mindful of with any political deliberations.

    Please cast your vote for Carl Irace to be our next East Hampton Town Justice.

    Cheers,
    STUART B. VORPAHL

Some Sort of Hell
    Sag Harbor
    October 7, 2013
Dear David,
    At this moment in time when our nation appears to be falling into a black hole, things never looked this bleak, the American dream now resembles a nightmare. I wonder if Martin Luther King offered us a warning as prophets do.

    Not long before his death King wrote his mother to share with her the title of his next sermon, “Why America May Go To Hell.” A special insight in that he already went through hell. A short time earlier he said that “any nation that spends more money on weapons than social uplift is headed toward spiritual death.”

    Surely I could not presume what Rev. King had on his mind in 1968. Today one in four of our children lives inhumanely under the poverty level. Is that some sort of hell? When they grow older they face a monstrous student debt for many years. The poor can no longer afford education. The cost of perpetual war will be paid on debit cards before some are even born, trillions of dollars, never a cap on government debt but our taxes. Not a way to start off life. Blessed are the poor, now a curse perpetrated by the 1 percent. Now they need food stamps, an insult to humanity.

    None the less we take pride in being the richest nation in the world. Shame on America. Maybe King was onto something. A radical sermon, “Why America May Go to Hell,” may sound similar or worse than what appears here.

    In peace,
    LARRY DARCEY

Prudence
    East Hampton
    October 3, 2013

Dear Editor,
    In these trying days of confrontation and frustration and gridlock between our two major political parties leading to a virtual standoff between them and shutdowns of our government, perhaps it behooves us all to recall the words written at the founding of this great country explaining the very reasons why the existing government had to change, and warning against trivial causes resulting in that change of government. Remembering will, perhaps, prevent the unthinkable “going over the cliff” as a result of a failure to proceed within the bounds of constitutionally approved means of change.

    Declaration of Independence: “. . . Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. . . . “

    Certainly no such absolute despotism” is in anyway present in our modern dispute and so prudence must be exercised in resolving it under the admonitions and rules of our Constitution and not by the seat of the pants conduct of righteous, wild-eyed Congressmen.

RICHARD P. HIGER

Collapsing Middle Class
    East Hampton
    October 6, 2013
To the Editor:
    There are approximately 270 million Americans who are extremely nervous, scared about their economic and social futures. They’ve observed their incomes dwindling, their style of life slowly disappearing. All around them middle-class Americans are becoming part of the working poor. The phenomena of a collapsing middle class in the face of rising profits is one we’ve never experienced. The downward shift of an economic class, outside of a depression, is extraordinary.

    The level of anguish and fear renders every other issue irrelevant. Health care, immigration, and the deficit are piddling and trivial in the face of this economic collapse. In crisis people naturally turn towards their government for support and direction. But today’s government no longer functions. It is incompetent, inept, and substantially fascist.

    Yet, while the country awaits the debate of the fate of the middle class the government remains silent. Do we still believe in a middle class, the American dream? Is Henry Ford no longer relevant? Is Walmart the future as well as the present? The silence from our government reflects its unwillingness, its inability to deal with the most pressing problem in our history.

    There’s a story about a guy who has a heart attack, falls down, and breaks his toe. At the hospital they put his toe in a splint and send him home. He dies two days later.

    Enter the Tea Party. Initially seeming to represent a disenfranchised part of the population that needed a voice, today it is a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of the Koch brothers and other conservative investors. Its primary goal is to derail the government as we know it. Dismantle the entitlement programs that it operates and pare it down to a bare minimum.

    What better way to avoid dealing with our harsh reality. A shut-down government doesn’t have to deal with anything.

    The evidence for the collapse of our middle class is staggering. Fifteen percent of the country on food stamps, 80 percent of them employed. Job creation that pays mostly minimum wage. Profits and wealth accruing on to the top 2 percent of the country. Limiting downward mobility is the new dream, or is it a nightmare.

    Yet the Tea Party rages for debt reduction. Eliminating food stamps, unemployment benefits assistance to farmers, school lunches, etc. But nothing for the middle class. No jobs programs, infrastructure programs, educational job training programs. Just lower the debt.

    They believe fervently, are convinced of their rightness, no matter the damage, like Russia’s communists, fascists in Germany and Bin Laden’s fundamentalists . All convinced of their rightness until they were proven wrong.

    The fraud perpetuated by the Tea Party is that reducing the deficit will get the economy back on its feet. That a revived middle class will be a positive consequence. The fantasy has no basis in reality. It is, in truth, demented, even criminal. But it precludes the debate that our politicians refuse to engage in. Do we need a middle class in our society? Do 270 million Americans have something to aspire to if their business and political masters don’t need to sustain their life styles?

    The Tea Party, by its absurd posturing, deflects the focus from the real issue. Who cares if the government shuts down, the Affordable Care Act goes away, or the deficit gets smaller, if in the end we are all relegated to living in the crapper?

NEIL HAUSIG