Loss of Beach
October 13, 2013
I was relieved to see your editorial regarding the proposal to armor and replenish the beach in Montauk. The Army Corps’s proposal has the potential to waste a lot of taxpayer money, but more important for local residents, it has the potential to destroy any possibility of having a sandy beach in Montauk. One only need read the first chapter of Cornelia Dean’s book “Against the Tide,” which describes the history of the growing sea wall and loss of beach in Galveston, Tex., to get a picture of Montauk’s future if a sea wall is built.
I’m assuming that you’re encouraging us, the general public, to make our views known by writing letters to the town board. Is there anything else that we should be doing?
It’s clear that a proper study of the beach movement over time hasn’t been done. Is anyone working on a town master plan showing what a controlled retreat would look like? It seems that visuals showing the two options (a hard wall, no beach, or an expanded dune, relocated hotels, and a wide beach) over time could be very useful in educating the public.
Wall Saved Us
October 12, 2013
As the Montauk coastal erosion issue brings forth more heated debate, I have heard numerous statements ranging from “I don’t care what happens to downtown Montauk — I never go there” to “If someone runs a business too close to the water and it falls into the sea, they deserve it.”
While everyone is entitled to an opinion, it is worthwhile noting that one of the primary responsibilities of local government is the protection of our unique way of life on the East End. This means not only adhering to established environmental standards, but also providing the safeguards that allow our commercial sector to thrive and flourish.
Of all the resort communities from Westhampton to Montauk, only Montauk offers a destination where beautiful beaches are but a short walk from shops, restaurants, and motels. One could literally come to Montauk for a summer weekend without a car, and sleep within hearing distance of the Atlantic Ocean.
It is within this context that the issue of preserving our beachfront becomes contentious. If the stretch from Ditch Plain to the Old Montauk Highway did not encompass substantial businesses and summer residences, the rather facile approach of periodic sand replenishment may suffice to keep beaches usable and storm-protected. The problem, however, is that Montauk as a beachfront community has businesses, both large and small, within striking distance of an oft-menacing sea.
The mandate for such operations to retreat and relocate in the face of storm threats sounds nice in theory, but downtown Montauk is too compressed from north to south to allow for such a grand plan. Besides, what is the incentive for an ongoing business to vacate the dune line, when that ocean view is what makes the operation successful in the first place.
The notion of a rock retaining wall protecting the center of Montauk from northeasters and major hurricanes has some people spinning, but in light of the ramification of “doing nothing,” is periodic sand replenishment really going to hold back another Category 3 event? If the idea of a hard structure on southside beaches is so distasteful, would we prefer giant dredging operations shooting sand on our beaches from offshore locations, and will this practice be anywhere near successful?
I know for a fact that were it not for the hurricane wall separating our lobster house from Fort Pond Bay, Hurricane Bob in 1991 (a Category 2 hurricane) would have taken down a large portion of our building. It was bad enough that our 200-foot dock was cut in half, and that the southwest portion of the lobster house was destroyed.
Our hurricane wall saved us, and the businesses in downtown Montauk near the water deserve similar protection. All of these people work hard in a shortened season, and pay substantial town property taxes. They deserve the proper stewardship from the town in return, even if that means a preventive barrier running parallel to our shoreline.
PERRY DURYEA III
October 14, 2013
An archaic system of school funding has created the regressive situation where Springs, the hamlet with the lowest median income per household, pays the highest school taxes, and the hamlets with the wealthiest residents pay the lowest school taxes. Many town residents, even some who live in Amagansett and Wainscott, support school consolidation because they believe it is the fair and just policy.
On the other hand, there are people, even in Springs, who believe that the residents of each hamlet should control the education of their children and bear that cost. This, too, is a defensible argument. It is the only argument other than financial self-interest that an Amagansett or Wainscott resident can give against school consolidation. But our current school tax system does not even meet this standard.
I believe that combining the principles of fairness and local control of education implies that the high school should be paid for by townwide taxation, and, secondly, that property taxes from nonresidential properties should be shared in some manner between school districts.
There may be more students at the high school from the sending hamlets than there are from the East Hampton school district. Yet, the students from Montauk, Amagansett, Springs, and Wainscott are there as paying guests. The parents of these students, in fact all residents from the sending district, are taxed without having any say in the educational standards or cost of the high school. This violates every principle of taxation and fairness that our country has supported. It also puts the residents from the sending hamlets into opposition with those from the East Hampton School District. This harms political unity and community spirit.
Whether the high school should be managed in a new townwide school district or remain as part of East Hampton’s is a separate, difficult, and more technical question. My concern is that the high school should be paid for equitably in a townwide manner, and all taxpayers should be able to participate in its budget process. Proponents of the consolidation of all school districts already support this. Those who support separate school districts to retain control by their hamlet’s taxpayers, should, by extension of their own arguments, support townwide financial control of the high school which educates students from the entire town.
The second point of fairness is based on the economic reasoning that school taxes for commercial property are really paid for by those who do business with that establishment. The customers pay the business owner, who pays the landlord, who pays the taxes. The multitude of shoppers from Springs who spend money at the North Main I.G.A., Village Hardware, and other East Hampton businesses are subsidizing the school taxes of the East Hampton school district. Even more galling is that none of the property taxes from the One Stop shopping area go to the Springs School.
Businesses do not send children to school. The owners of the business and the landlord might have children in school but they could be in a different school district in East Hampton or even in another town. The principle that the hamlet’s properties should pay local school taxes to gain local control of the education of their children only makes sense for residential properties. It makes no sense for commercial properties.
The town boards created the situation long ago with their zoning decisions. The school boards could resolve the situation by creating a mathematical system that shares all or a percentage of each commercial property’s school taxes with one or more neighboring school districts.
In 2011, I analyzed what would happen in the Springs and East Hampton School Districts. If these two districts fully consolidated their commercial tax base, the taxes in Springs would have gone down by 11.4 percent and the taxes in East Hampton school district would have gone up by 3.7 percent. This can be tweaked in many ways, such as not fully consolidating the village commercial taxes. The result would be less improvement in Springs taxes and less increase in East Hampton taxes.
Changes along these lines are the minimum needed to create fairness in East Hampton school taxes.
Dimension of Absurdity
September 5, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray:
As a 29-year resident of Springs not aligned with any political party, I write to say that I am appalled by the political theater acting of our elected town officials while our community degrades at a geometric pace. As I view their performance, it is with a sense that I have followed Alice down the rabbit hole into a dimension of absurdity.
Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Councilwoman Theresa Quigley obviously are only biding time until they depart from office, so it appears that little, if anything, might be expected of them before the forthcoming elections. Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc and Councilwoman Sylvia Overby appear to be stricken with a paralysis of analysis that restricts their inclination to take any positive action that might curtail deterioration in Springs. As a consequence, we are experiencing government functioning within the principle of four Is: inaction, indifference, inability, and ineptness.
The one elected official willing to offer any initiatives to extract us from this morass is Councilman Dominick Stanzione. His proposal regarding parking of commercial vehicles in residential neighborhoods deserves discussion as a step in reducing the abuses foisted on the community by commercial enterprises functioning illegally throughout Springs. His proposition for a rental registry also has merit as a means to curtail the illegal housing causing a plethora of problems in Springs related to taxes, reduced property values, safety, and quality of life. Other Suffolk County townships have effectively introduced such legislation, along with other measures, to alleviate illegal housing. The emphasis on the part of our elected officials should not focus on what we can’t do but rather on what we can do.
I urge all elected members of the East Hampton Town government to work with Councilman Stanzione to advance his proposals regardless of their tenure in office. For those who take comfort in not running for office this year, be assured that I, and my neighbors, have long memories. They will carry over to the polling places in subsequent years. For those seeking elected public office for the first time, I trust you will be mindful of the concerns expressed in this letter.
ALEX M. SNEDDON
Pale White Roads
October 13, 2013
To the Editor,
Just after Labor Day 2013, the residents of Barnes Landing discovered that their roads had been covered by a quarter inch of gray dust. We were initially told that the dust was the first phase in a project to improve the roads. So we ignored the filth that covered our vehicles, and the scratchy feeling in our throats when the dust was whipped up by the wind.
The second phase of the project never occurred, and we have now learned that the material is cement dust, which the Town of East Hampton simply dumped on our roads to get rid of it (dumping in the water is against the law). This is to say that the Town of East Hampton waited until after most of the seasonal residents had left and threw their garbage on our streets.
Doing so is not only disgusting and insulting, it is also a threat to our health. As I look down Captain’s Walk, toward the bay, I see nothing but pale white roads (they look like what is left of the salt runoff after a particularly severe winter), and swirling clouds of dust. I returned from my morning run hacking and coughing.
Cement dust is very dangerous. It can impair our lungs and stomachs. Studies have shown that cement dust may enter into the systemic circulation and thereby reach all the organs of body, and can affect tissue including heart, liver, spleen, bone, and muscle.
The cement dust needs to be removed immediately, and there must be an investigation into how the decision was made to dump it in the first place.
ROBERT S. BOYNTON
Outraged and Appalled
October 7, 2013
To the Editor:
The mayor of East Hampton Village likes definitions. He began the meeting at the firehouse on Sept, 30, where concerned citizens once again came to discuss issues concerning the deer “problem,” with the definition of an epidemic, tailored to fit his view of an overabundance of deer in the community. I would like to offer two other definitions of words that apply to what is going on with this hot-button issue: hubris, the characteristic of overbearing pride or presumption, excessive confidence or arrogance, which leads a person to believe that he or she may do no wrong.
The overwhelming pride caused by hubris is often considered a flaw in character. While these hubris feelings are often considered justified, they can cause irrational and harmful behavior, and venison, the flesh of slaughtered deer, most often killed because of hubris and then “generously” donated to soup kitchens for the poor, because no one else will eat the tainted meat from animals presumably diseased, carrying ticks, and poisoned by lead from gunshot, etc. Nevertheless, this allows those suffering from hubris to pretend to feel justified when deciding to kill these gentle, beautiful, innocent creatures, loved and enjoyed by so many residents, second-home owners, and visitors to our area.
It is clear that the mayor and board, who have heretofore failed to seriously consider timely and appropriate nonlethal methods to control the deer population, now feel under the gun (no pun intended) to take quick, decisive action, as there is nothing like a truck filled with dead bodies, to show the alarmists and those nagging complainers that you’re listening and responding, that, right or wrong, you’re doing something about it.
On the other hand, taxpayers and citizens concerned about how we deal with and treat wildlife should be outraged and appalled. This is not going to be cheap, at $40,000 to start with and lots more to come, because this is not a one-shot deal (again, no pun intended).
The mayor made no pretense of his intention to silence dissension and has rejected appeals by the East Hampton Group for Wildlife and others to take killing off the table, and to change the terms of the debate. He and others apparently do not want to hear or acknowledge that hunting and killing as a means of population control is not only barbaric and inhumane, it is in the long-term ineffective and futile, as evidenced by the fact that after hunting and killing deer for hundreds of years, they are still all around us.
An undisputed fact, recognized even by the Department of Environmental Conservation, which would never want to see all deer eliminated because they depend almost entirely on the revenue from hunting licenses for their very existence, is that this would at best be a temporary fix that simply will not work because of the “rebound effect.” Deer will exhibit higher productivity (i.e., more twins and triplets are born, higher survival rates, and earlier onset of sexual maturity) when there are fewer deer and more food is available. In other words, they bounce back.
The bottom line is that trying to keep deer at a certain low level can be an expensive and futile battle.
The mayor is apparently not interested in hard evidence, studies, and facts. He refused to allow members of the public to speak to this issue at the recent board work session, because he had heard it all. Really? I think not, because if he had, what is the purpose of the kill? The village, it seems, is prepared to support an outside group, the Long Island Farm Bureau, which will hire the United States Department of Agriculture to do the killing. The loud voices of those with regressive, uninformed mindsets appear to be prevailing when it comes to dealing with wildlife. We are facing ignorance, naiveté, and betrayal, with the usual players deciding on a quick fix and the unconscionable mass slaughter of deer.
Mr. Mayor, you have not done your homework. Where are the scientifically based studies to justify the killing, immunocontraception plans, and a serious discussion of alternatives to slaughter? Where are the measurable goals, monitoring system, etc.? This mayor is not one to consider even his own facts, which he read from a police report indicating that, compared with previous years, the number of people-deer-vehicle incidents is down considerably in 2013. And what about the town’s costly aerial survey, which has shown a decrease in the number of deer, or studies by the leading Lyme disease expert, Richard Ostfeld, which confirm that human risk of exposure to Lyme disease is correlated with the abundance of immature (rodent) hosts and their food sources, not deer numbers?
So, the mayor intends to go ahead with a vague plan to slaughter deer which is objectionable from the get-go, in every way, by every measurable standard, because we need to shell out money to the U.S.D.A.? We need to keep the ignorant complainers happy? We need to show solidarity with those with a bloodlust for killing who want to shoot first and ask questions later? Only he knows. But let’s place the blame, if there is any to go around, where it squarely belongs: on those who are refusing to do the right thing when there exist life-saving alternatives which they simply refuse to implement.
Deer can’t read, so please observe deer crossing and speed limit signs. Deer eat certain flowers and plants, so please try planting a beautiful garden with deer-resistant plants, such as those suggested by the East Hampton Group for Wildlife. And if you want to avoid Lyme disease, please wear appropriate protective clothing and repellants when hiking or walking in tall, grassy areas. It’s the rodents, birds, raccoons, and every creature that lives in our wooded areas. It’s time to take responsibility for our own behavior! It’s time to stop using killing as a solution and to act on other possibilities like immunocontraception.
Deer were here long before we were, have committed no crime, and have just as much a right to enjoy their life and freedom as we do. Shame on the mayor and the board for not setting an honest and informed agenda for dealing with this issue.
October 13, 2013
On Sunday I took my little dog, Lollipop, to the blessings of the animals at Most Holy Trinity in the tradition of St. Francis of Assisi. Since then, I can’t help thinking about the town’s plan to solve our deer problem by killing. I started to magine what God would say about this. The following is a letter that I composed for him:
Dear Beloved People of East Hampton,
I know that you are troubled by what you term as the “deer population explosion,” but I would like to point out that the deer have always been with you, much like the poor. Due to the destruction of a lot of their habitat, you are now seeing them frequently and coming in contact with them. I understand that you are worried about the dangers they pose on the roads, Lyme disease, and the destruction of your gardens.
However, when I gave you dominion over the lesser animals, I also gave you responsibilities. To aid you in fulfilling those responsibilities, I gave you the biggest brain in creation. Don’t you think that with this big brain you could come up with a better solution than shooting my poor, defenseless creatures?
Why does man always seem to think that violence is the answer?
GINNY R. SCHMIDT
Hook Pond’s Struggles
October 7, 2013
On Sept. 27 the Zoning Board of Appeals resolved that the board extend its time to review the Maidstone Club’s draft environmental impact statement for an additional 45 days. On Aug. 14, the club submitted a 1,277-page D.E.I.S. to the Z.B.A. On Sept. 20, the Z.B.A. consultant submitted a seven-page memo to the board. The consultant report “provides a review of the D.E.I.S. and identifies specific adequacy issues for consideration by the Z.B.A.” With the consent of the applicant, the Z.B.A. has resolved to extend the time to determine the documents’ adequacy for a public review. The consultant’s report, the Z.B.A. resolution, and the 1,277-page D.E.I.S. are available for review in the village office.
In spring 2012, the Maidstone submitted a project application requesting 14 variances, including the conversion of a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation-approved well into a third irrigation supply well, a .42-acre, 10-foot-deep lined reservoir with a capacity of 700,000-plus gallons, and an 850-square-foot pump house constructed on .02 acre adjacent to the reservoir. The D.E.C. has permitted an increased pumping limit from the three Maidstone Club wells from 9.3 million gallons a year to 25 million gallons a year. The project plans the addition or replacement of 90,500 of linear feet subsurface irrigation piping and approximately 1,046 sprinkler heads. In December 2012 the Z.B.A. adopted a resolution requiring the club include a D.E.I.S. pursuant to the provisions of the state Environmental Quality Review Act.
Hook Pond has been my front yard for the last 45 years. East Hampton knows the pond as one of the most appreciated of the village’s many extraordinary natural resources. I expect changes in nature, but not the accelerated challenges the pond is experiencing. I now watch waterfowl slog through the shallow muddy water and the silt collecting on the pond’s bottom. I miss the ospreys circulating above the pond. Anyone driving, walking, jogging on Dunemere looking north to the pond as it winds its way from the Nature Trail shares with me this experience of the existent environmental challenges to Hook Pond. This summer’s extreme heat and erratic rainfall have exacerbated the pond’s struggles.
I applaud the Z.B.A.’s vigilance in reviewing this irrigation application. Hook Pond deserves it.
Feral Cat Poem #61
Hear ye! Hear Ye!
Yesterday was National Feral Cat Day!
It was also National Boss Day.
Bedlam broke out when some villagers
confused the events:
Scores of secretaries called ARF, who
came and Trapped, Neutered and Returned
their bosses, free of charge.
Others sat stymied, trying to figure out
how to suck up to outdoor cats.
October 12, 2013
I don’t know Rebecca DeWinter or where she worked, but I was disappointed to read she was terminated because of her East Hampton Star column, “Tales of a Hamptons Waitress.”
Anyone in the service industry who read her column would agree she was spot on and very funny. Not surprising, though, in this suck-ass world, people who speak the truth are punished rather than rewarded.
Having been in the restaurant industry for 40 years, I always stress at staff meetings the importance of being friendly, courteous, and treating everyone the same. Far too many places force their servers to grovel before so-called celebrities and rich folk — “Oh, thank you, sir, for blowing your nose in your napkin and handing it to me, my pleasure.” This only encourages rude douche bags to become more intolerable.
If Rebecca can waitress half as well as she writes, there will always be a job for her at the Dock in Montauk.
October 12, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Regarding Jason Gutterman’s letter (Oct. 10), in response to my own, in the last issue of The Star, I believe he is as bad a writer as he is a disgrace to the reputation of the School of Visual Arts.
Mr. Gutterman offers a tired rehash of some of my past reversals and egregious public missteps. I would like to address just one. In February of this year, a New York Post photographer accused me of calling him a racial epithet. Soon afterward, I was invited to appear at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which informed me that they were investigating the incident as a hate crime.
In that meeting, I proposed that G.N. Miller, the one-time New York City police officer turned paparazzo, had a camera which, like most equipment favored by his profession, was capable of both still and video shooting. Was there a tape in existence? The answer was yes. On that tape, there was no recording nor any other proof whereby I uttered any such word.
The Manhattan D.A. did not charge me with anything. Mr. Miller either lied or was the victim of some auditory hallucination. For me, the only silver lining in the entire situation was to walk the streets of New York in subsequent weeks and hear people, African-American and otherwise, assure me that they would not believe that I could ever do such a thing.
To be falsely accused of something is indeed painful. That noted, I maintain that Mr. Gutterman is a fool and a coward. As proof, I offer both his letter and his occupation.
I don’t think giving money to charity or posing for photos defines anyone, but I’ll take my contribution to this community over Mr. Gutterman’s without hesitation.
P.S. Throughout his letter, Gutterman never answers the only relevant question: Why? Why bring that out here?
Standard for Privacy
October 11, 2013
To the Editor,
I read with interest Alec Baldwin’s letter to the editor and the response from the photographer involved in the conduct depicted in Baldwin’s letter. As the attorney for Thomas Ferreira in the federal civil rights action against East Hampton Town detailed in an earlier East Hampton Star article, I was intrigued by Mr. Baldwin’s use of the term “bill of attainder,” which is a key component of the Ferreira federal civil rights action.
A bill of attainder prohibition was contained in the original Constitution, even before the Bill of Rights was set down. The revulsion which the colonists had as to the British government being able to “taint” a homeowner and seize his property without court action is evident in the sharp declaration in the original document. The prohibition against bills of attainder ensured that no level of American government would have that specific power. The ability to taint someone’s privacy by devaluing that right for certain individuals seems to be Mr. Baldwin’s complaint.
The photographer does not appear to be a government operative, so the prohibition against government exercising a bill of attainder, as was so devastatingly executed by the previous East Hampton Town government against Mr. Ferreira, does not appear relevant to Mr. Baldwin’s situation.
But there is a section of law which I previously argued successfully in the New York Court of Appeals which may provide Mr. Baldwin and his family some solace. New York civil rights law sections 50 and 51 provide for a right of privacy. Under Section 50, a person, firm, or corporation that uses for advertising purposes or for the purpose of trade the name, portrait, or picture of any living person without having first obtained the written consent of such person, or in the case of a minor that minor’s parent, will be guilty of a misdemeanor and will also be subject to Civil Rights Law Section 51 action for injunctive relief and damages. Although a “photographer” has certain rights to practice his trade (and some are outlined in the Civil Rights Law), once the photographer receives a written notice objecting thereto, the language of the stature would suggest he is on notice that such use of photographs would put him in peril of the consequences of the statute.
In the balancing of equities, then, New York State has provided a legal method, especially for the spouses and minor children of those in the public spotlight, to live normal lives. In the trial more than two decades ago in Queens Supreme, the court awarded my adult client $50,000 in compensatory damages and $25,000 in punitive damages for the use of a photograph by the defendant without my client’s written consent. Both the compensatory damages and punitive damages were affirmed through the state’s highest court.
The use of the misdemeanor statute and the local town justice court to enforce a right of privacy under criminal law would be an interesting follow-up on this issue. East Hampton Town does have the ability to use state law to enforce a community standard set out in the Civil Rights Law. The use of unauthorized photos of spouses and minor children for trade purposes may be big business, but it deprives those minors of the opportunity of living a normal life. In the balancing of equities, the best interests of the children do not include helping a photographer make an unauthorized buck on their backs.
The statute contains exceptions for public interest, newsworthiness, and public figure categories, but as the Court of Appeals held in the case I argued, wrapping actions in the cloak of public interest may not neutralize or override the longstanding and significant statutory privacy protection.
East Hampton Town has a poor history of objective prosecution, as outlined in the Ferreira federal action. But if they straighten out their general problems with political influence, lack of statutory authority to act as prosecutors, denials of speedy trials, and their excusing court calendar congestion, the Civil Rights Law misdemeanor provisions may provide an option for establishing and enforcing a community standard for privacy limits.
October 14, 2013
The title to last week’s article in The Star “Not Just Any Landowner” explains that the New York Supreme Court has recently declared that the Zoning Board of Appeals must respect the town trustees and their jurisdiction. I am both a former vice chairwoman of the Z.B.A. and a current candidate for trustee, and I agree with the decision.
All the town’s governmental bodies need to respect each other, which is why I have a lingering concern that was not touched on in the article. The lawsuit brought by the trustees asserted that the trustees had jurisdiction over a privately constructed revetment when it would be constructed on and would affect trustee land. The action on the part of the town attorney against that lawsuit was a direct attempt by the town government, and not just by the Z.B.A., to remove the authority of the town trustees.
This is of great concern to all members of our community because the town’s action questioned the standing of the public’s right to use and preserve our beaches and bottomlands. The trustees hold these rights in public trust. The town was attempting to weaken our rights through judicial intervention. This lawsuit confirms that the trustees will continue to have an important role as we go forward to deal with the problems of sea rise and erosion.
Please take a moment to get to know the trustee candidates and what experience we each can bring to the table to best serve you, protect your rights, and sustain our resources for the future.
My name is Cate Rogers and I am running for town trustee on the Democratic and Working Families lines. I believe my experience as vice chairwoman of the zoning board taught me how to work cooperatively and respectfully while protecting the public’s rights.
October 14, 2013
In a week filled with news of the spiteful, dysfunctional, and childish behavior from the Beltway there were two bright, encouraging notes.
First, Mike Bottini is a candidate for trustee. I can’t think of anyone in this town who has a better knowledge of our waters, beaches, the environment, and recreation than Mike. Do yourself and this town a big favor and vote him into office.
Second, I am overjoyed with the very wise decision to have Capt. Michael Sarlo as the successor to our old friend, Chief Eddie Ecker. From personal experience I have found him to be very intelligent and informed with a deep feeling for the problems of all our communities.
HOWARD JOHN LEBWITH
October 14, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
The abiding authority of the East Hampton Trustees was again upheld in court last week as Christopher Walsh reported on the front page of The Star. There’s no need to rehash this case or its outcome. However, it is important to note that, once again, your trustees had to use their town-provided limited budget, our money, to enforce the public’s rights against another entity of the town, the zoning board of appeals, also defending itself with your money. Does that sound like common sense to you? Worse, as Diane McNally, the trustee clerk, put it speaking for the elected trustee’s relationships with both the appointed town and village zoning boards, “We feel like we’re always swimming upstream.”
The trustees are the traditional, elected, and legally authorized stewards of the public’s rights regarding free public access to our trustee beaches, waterways, bottomlands, and their bounty, and are the largest landholders in East Hampton. One of my goals when — if — I am elected as your trustee this November as one of the nine is to work to make trustee relations with all other governmental entities in the town, county, state, and federal governments more collegial and less adversarial. This will not only save us all money in internecine lawsuits where we taxpayers foot both sides’ legal bills, but will also ensure that the property rights of our town’s citizens are regarded with the respect and consideration legally upheld yet again, as they have been previously, right up to the Supreme Court.
Further, by virtue of their authority as your elected representatives, the trustees, I believe, should be taking a more activist role in what may be controversial environmental matters, even those that are beyond their immediate jurisdictions. The fact that our current trustees’ predecessors made a historical misstep by relinquishing control of Montauk beaches does not mitigate the natural process of erosion that will ultimately affect other town beaches. Jurisdiction does not change the negative effects of seawalls, jetties, revetments, groins, and other attempts forcibly to intervene in a process that is clearly beyond prediction. Our ability to exert effective long-term control over erosion given climate cycles and sea-level rise, whatever their causes may be, is limited at best.
Our Montauk neighbors need assistance (and this may be a golden opportunity for helping ourselves at little immediate cost), but with fiscal implications far beyond the opportunity to name benches on a boardwalk. And is not federal funding ultimately our money, too?
I believe that the rush to adopt a one-size-fits-all solution, such as has been discussed, with solitary input from those most directly affected, as opposed to the community at large, hardly sets a precedent for good planning, regardless of who may control those beaches. I believe our trustees need to weigh in on important issues like these, and many others. It’s not public relations; it is public responsibility.
I have often described the trustees as the conscience of East Hampton. As an elected member of their board, with my colleagues’ consensus, I would propose that the modern trustees better fulfill that description. Trustees have the bully pulpit and the people’s support but seem to shy away from using it on our behalf except within self-imposed boundaries. Unfortunately, air and water pollution, the environmental effects of increasing density, summer crowding and all its corollaries, and wastewater, septic, unsustainable pesticide usage’s effect on ground and surface-water quality don’t respect those fences, whatever the composition of the fence posts.
I believe that the trustees’ authority should be reinforced for our collective benefit, that their full-time work be better recognized as such, that their enforcement abilities in some fashion revert to their traditional powers (not sure about public whipping, ducking, and building stocks, but perhaps banishment of some offenders would be okay), and that their deliberations be appropriately telecast to the public as are the other elected town boards, and some appointed ones.
The trustees should, I believe, be in charge of granting and enforcing the conditions of mass-gathering permits that affect the public’s rights of access, and certainly weigh in on all decisions which virtually give away our beaches to commercial purposes, whether films, media and music events, classes, camps, or parties, for far too little recompense to the taxpayers, who all too often pay to clean up the mess left when the party’s over. As a town, our resources are worth a lot more. What do you think?
I guess this could be called a “platform” if I were a politician, but I am not a member of any party, though running on the Democratic ticket. Whatever these views are called, and there are more, it seems to me no more than common sense given that like all the rest of the freeholders and commonalty, I’m local by choice, and what happens here to us all matters to me. I want your vote to work for you, but we all need each other to have a viable community.
CAPT. IRA BAROCAS
October 14, 2013
To the Editor,
Referring to the letter written by Capt. Ira Barocas (Oct. 3), regarding trustees and their burden of responsibility.
First let’s address Deb Klughers’ $20-a-day annual trustee stipend. He is right; it’s just a stipend, paid for performing a civic duty. I know she has the qualifications to get a real job, but Deb has never been happy (East Hampton Press, letter to the editor, June 5).
The trustees are a civic-minded organization elected to oversee and protect laws established by the Town of East Hampton regarding our natural resources. What his letter insinuated is that our present trustees are not doing their job (except for a few — guess who).
His letter indicates that some of the trustees want to be a greater source of power in making decisions for the town. They are going to “develop” a more collegial, less-adversarial relationship with other government entities in the town, county, state, and federal governments, and last but not least, the ability to enforce rights for your benefit. This is all for $20 an hour. It sounds like our trustees have not been doing a good job. It sounds like another group of individuals want things for their benefit. What are the individuals’ personal agendas?
I believe that before electing some trustees, ethics and quality-of-life issues should be revealed. Résumés are not enough.
By the way, I would love more fishermen as trustees. They are honest and are really concerned about protecting the environment and quality of life in East Hampton.
October 14, 2013
Theresa Quigley, the retiring East Hampton Town Board member, is the perfect fit for the East Hampton Town Trustee Common Whipper’s Advisory Committee. Start preparing the positions now. But I will miss La Quigley’s rants at East Hampton Town Board meetings. I think that she is uniquely unqualified for most public service, but she will make one heck of a whipper. Her Joycean thought processes married to that temperament, oh my, will we have fun!
I will solicit Ms. Quigley’s colleague in frequent tactlessness, William Wilkinson, the retiring East Hampton Town supervisor, to be our budget chairman. The East Hampton Town’s Common Whipper is mostly funded by the whippees, but there are other costs.
I will ask Dominick Stanzione to serve on the common whipper board. (He may be available.) Dominick will take credit for everything, but that’s okay. Theresa and I will have explosive, fun lunches. Bill will settle the bill. And Dominick will toot the horn.
All good things,
October 12, 2013
As Election Day fast approaches I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words about a person I have known, loved, and respected for the past 22 years, Joey Bloecker.
Joey and my daughter Cheryl were married 22 years ago this past week and have had many years full of love, commitment, and friendship. Joey has worked very hard in the community over the years, both as a volunteer (i.e. Montauk Citizens Advisory, Montauk Friends of Erin, original member of Nature Preserve Committee, Little League coach for 21 years, co-chair of the East Hampton Town Cancer Task Force, etc.) and a three-term elected East Hampton Town trustee. He brought to these positions the same commitment and enthusiasm that the Ecker family has enjoyed through the years.
I know that Joey will make an excellent East Hampton Town assessor and I urge all of my friends and family to vote for him on Nov. 5.
Very truly yours,
A Record of Support
October 14, 2013
To the Editor:
The Montauk Boatmen and Captains’ Association would like to support the following candidates for town government in November:
1. Larry Cantwell, town supervisor
2. Fred Overton, town board
3. Dominic Stanzione, town board
4. Carl Irace, town justice
5. Chris Nuzzi, Suffolk Legislator
6. Joe Bloecker, town assessor
7. Carol Brennan, town clerk
8. Steven Lynch, highway supervisor
These individuals have a record of supporting the fishing industries in the town of East Hampton, both sport and commercial. They are looking to do what is best for the citizens of this town and have the words to prove their policies.
We respectfully request your support for these candidates for a better town government.
CAPT. JOE McBRIDE
Truth and Transparency
October 19, 2013
Thank you to Jim MacMillan for telling the whole truth about Councilman Dominick Stanzione’s half-truths in last week’s Star letters column. While Jim focuses on Stanzione’s misrepresentation of the building boom in the Amagansett lanes, I’d like to focus on his complete and total disregard for those of us who live in Wainscott and the Northwest Woods.
In both cases the old saw that you don’t have to be a weatherman to know when it’s raining outside applies. You can simply drive down any of the Amagansett lanes and count the new McMansions Mr. Stanzione lives alongside but can’t seem to see.
And over here in Wainscott-Northwest you can sit on any of hundreds of patios and decks and literally not be able to hear what the person you are sitting with is saying as helicopters and seaplanes fly low, constantly coming and going from Stanzione’s “smaller, quieter” airport.
Yeesh! Remember Joe Isuzu?
Four years ago in the wake of the McGintee disaster it was possible that even a gerbil running as a Republican might have won a seat on our town board. Instead, we got Dominick Stanzione. Four years later I’ll admit I should have written in a vote for the gerbil. Thankfully, we have far better choices this time around.
Half-truths and puffery may be acceptable in the financial world Stanzione came from, but the whole truth and transparency are what is needed now on our town board.
Stanz Up for Springs
October 13, 2013
Councilman Dominick Stanzione is the only person of either party on the town board or off the board to stand up for the Springs community. He stepped into the “ring of fire” and proposed a rental registry, which most towns in Suffolk have, i.e., Huntington, Brookhaven, Riverhead, Islip, Babylon, and Southampton. He proposed limiting the parking of commercial vehicles in residential communities. He’s taken the lead on deer overpopulation, potability of our drinking water, and tackled airport safety and noise issues.
He has shown more initiative than any other member of the town board. He faced the abuse of misleading, untruthful charges leveled against him by the opposing party, while enduring the misplaced wrath of the supervisor without responding in kind.
Soon-to-be supervisor Cantwell has a heavy load to lift. Councilman Stanzione’s experience, knowledge, and disposition will benefit the supervisor greatly in his efforts.
The Real Stanzione
October 6, 2013
There are many advantages to being an incumbent candidate — voter recognition, media access — but there is one potential liability, i.e., a legislative record, which in the case of Dominick Stanzione, shows that he unpredictably serves the people, has not consistently voted to preserve our fragile environment, and, lastly, has not fought for our neighborhoods. I selected these three topics since a huge ad in last week’s Star claimed just the opposite.
Let’s look at these alleged accomplishments one at a time. First, he voted three times to sell Fort Pond House, a precious community resource with unique access to the pond. He maintained that unjustified position for three and a half years, costing the taxpayer and the Concerned Citizens of Montauk close to $50,000 in legal fees. His reversal of this position a few months ago seems to me to be influenced by the upcoming election this November. If this demonstrates preserving our environment, I am confused.
Furthermore, in the same vein, his failure to lift his voice and demand a major strengthening of code enforcement to stop the utter disregard of, for example, hundreds of citations by the “business interests‚” have resulted in many of us feeling our town’s roots are being threatened.
My major cause for cynicism, however, deals with the claim in the ad that he led the fight to “prevent McMansions on small lots in town.” This is truly preposterous. If you go back to 2006, you will note the generation of a thorough, professionally researched proposed legislation titled “Smaller Houses on Small Plots.” It was a major issue since it was seen that without the new law, the character of the town was in danger. The worry then, now seen sadly justified, was that these overbuilt McMansions would loom over their neighbors and ruin the unique quaint character of, for example, the lanes of Amagansett.
At a key public meeting concerning this proposition one of the most forceful opponents of the new law was Dominick Stanzione, an Amagansett home and property owner, not yet a member of the town board. Reviewing an article in The Star that week, you see that he “warned of the serious economic impact of the law,” if adopted, and that it would result in his being reduced to “a second-class citizen.”
Interestingly, at that same meeting, Larry Cantwell, the village administrator, congratulated the town on proposing the law, commenting that the village had similar legislation with no discernible negative economic impact. Once again, as it has many times, the village was way ahead of the town.
So what can be deduced from this diatribe? I, for one, truly wonder who the real Dominick Stanzione is and what he stands for. The one I see is not principled, adequately informed, or sufficiently consistent to warrant your vote in November.
Exaggerate Her Skills
October 12, 2013
The letter writing committee of the Democratic Party says Kathee Burke-Gonzalez’s school board experience is criteria enough to seek a position on the East Hampton Town Board. Their letters exaggerate her skills, accomplishments, and abilities. Let’s take a closer look at her record.
School taxes have gone up every year for the past nine years, meaning they’ve doubled under her tenure on the school board.
She claims she saved the school $3.9 million through some miracle. Where’s the money and why wasn’t it reflected in our tax bills?
Eric Casale, the principal, is still under investigation for a cover-up of tampering with test scores in the Bronx, which resulted in his being banned for life from ever working for the New York City Board of Education. Coincidently, the Springs school is also currently being investigated for recent testing irregularities and its test scores, particularly in third grade, were terrible.
In “listen-ins” Ms. Burke-Gonzalez has failed to convincingly demonstrate an understanding of the town’s problems, and she has been unable to express a vision containing any solutions.
The Springs School continues to ignore state education law by hiring double-dipping, part-time superintendents and then finding a cockamamie way of skirting salary rules by supplying one of them with a $3,000-a-month subsidy for living expenses.
The Homework Club is a puzzlement: If a student has homework let him or her go home and do it. That is a student’s responsibility. The already overtaxed Springs residents should not be paying for what sounds like a babysitting club.
Ms. Gonzalez recommends a taxpayer-funded prekindergarten. Pre-K is not mandated by the state, and we cannot afford it. Residents at a recent listen-in said they preferred that any such funding, when available, be dedicated to kindergarten through grade 8.
In her nine-year board of education tenure, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez had only two years when the budget was passed with a greater-than-70-percent approval. No other years approached that figure, nor does this reflect how many people are feeling about the financial burden the community of Springs bears today.
Kathee Burke-Gonzalez seems to be a nice person. Perhaps after she gains more experience and becomes engaged in town issues (which, so far, she has not done), she may be more prepared to realistically seek a position on the town board. All the letters of the letter writing committee of the Democratic Party cannot validate her readiness for the board — at least not at this time.
FRED J. WEINBERG
A Voice of Reason
October 14, 2013
We in East Hampton are fortunate to have Kathee Burke-Gonzalez running to serve on our town board. She is a person with a proven track record of consistent commitment to fiscal responsibility and meeting the needs of the community she served as a member of and then president of the Springs School Board. Doing so required reaching what I call a fine balance, exactly what is needed in the years ahead in the governance of the town of East Hampton. When I listened to her respond to the questions posed at the debate held by the Citizens for Good Government at the meeting room of the East Hampton firehouse a little over two weeks ago, I heard a voice of reason and certainty not clouded by hyperbole or attacks on her opponents.
Kathy was elected and re-elected to the Springs School Board over a nine-year period, capped by its presidency for the last of those two years. This history speaks loudly for her ability to work well with others and achieve good results. The last school budget under her tenure received 77 percent approval from her constituents. She is committed to keeping taxes at a level that will not exceed the 2-percent cap mandated by New York State.
Her nine-year tenure on the school board demonstrates that Kathee will not pander to special interests and tilt her vote to the political winds in order to remain popular. Rather, she will do her homework around whatever issues are at hand and support the taking of action that is in the interest of the community rather than her own political interests.
We have seen this in the actions of one of her opponents, Dominic Stanzione, where he wiggled back and forth initially proposing the privatizing of the scavenger waste plant, apparently favored by some of his big financial supporters, and then, as that tack became unpopular, supporting a study to determine what to do. Likewise with the Fort Pond House, which he originally voted to sell, and then, as it became apparent that that action would not bode well for him in Montauk, he, after testing the political winds there as the election loomed, ultimately voted against the sale and had the chutzpah to take credit for the plan as if it were his own from the beginning.
Kathee has made it clear that she will not support Federal Aviation Administration control of the airport and will insist upon that amount of local control that will assure noise control before accepting F.A.A. funds.
Fred Overton, certainly an affable man, cannot match her qualifications. His role as town clerk did not require the hard work of meeting the needs of a diverse community and creating a budget. The town clerk position is ministerial in nature and mainly involves carrying out the orders of the town board. From my perspective, Mr. Overton’s statement that the town needs to engage in a reassessment of all real property was refreshing, but not shared by any of the other candidates including his Republican colleague Dominic Stanzione.
With Kathee what you see and hear is what you get. And that is what we need for good governance in the Town of East Hampton at a time of intense budgetary pressures and pressures on the environment, whether the groundwater, noise pollution, or code enforcement to ensure the safe and peaceful ambience that we all desire.
DAVID J. WEINSTEIN
Voting for Fred
October 14, 2013
There is a business adage that says, “A man’s judgment is no better than his information.” Well, we have a new candidate for the East Hampton Town Board who happens to have an immense knowledge about East Hampton and its workings. This is Fred Overton, who has admirably served as the town clerk for over 15 years. He is conscientious, diligent, thoughtful, fair, low-key, honest, and has always treated the citizens of this town with respect.
In these complex times, knowledge is power, and Fred Overton has the knowledge to guide this community forward. I am voting for Fred Overton, and I hope that you all will consider voting for him also.
He Knows Firsthand
October 14, 2013
The clerk’s office is East Hampton Town’s face to the outside world — for some, the first and only interaction between our government and the public. For almost 14 years, Fred Overton, as town clerk, has been in charge of an office that today generates over $1.2 million yearly, about 20 percent of the non-tax revenue collected for the town’s coffers. No other department is single-handedly responsible for directly collecting that much nontax income. Absurdly, Fred’s opponents question his qualifications for town board, despite the hundreds of fiscal and policy decisions he has made in and out of government.
Briefly: Fred is custodian of all the town’s books, records, and papers. A town clerk is mandated to attend board meetings and keep complete records of the proceedings and all resolutions adopted. In essence, Fred is the curator of the town’s history of governance.
Fred knows intimately what permits, fees, and licenses are required under our extensive town code, which regulates all licensing and permitting laws. To assure accuracy and consistency, Fred has initiated systems and policies of procedure to guide his staff.
Fred is responsible for reviewing all bills and supporting data for correctness, prior to payment. He creates abstracts and draws warrants. Municipal bill-paying must meet state law requirements, and that means that Fred has a total familiarity with procurement rules and policy. He knows firsthand how town funds and accounts operate.
In short, Fred knows the town’s history, its code, and relevant state regulations — he understands checks and balances!
During his tenure, Fred has attended more than 800 board meetings and heard all sides of every issue. Often, sitting board members ask him for advice or information on procedure and policy matters. Fred possesses invaluable “institutional knowledge” — something no other board candidate can match.
Fred has participated in preparation of 14 town budgets with 7 different administrations and prepared 14 budgets for his own department. As a department leader, the management policies he introduced into the clerk’s office resulted in dozens of initiatives, allowing his staff to serve the public in a more efficient, effective manner.
Finally, since 1965 Fred has been committed to building a better, safer community. As a charter member of the Springs Fire Department, he rose through the ranks to chief. He’s a member of the Board of Fire Commissioners, commander of American Legion Post 419, and past president of the Lions Club. During those same 48 years, Fred spent 25 years as an elected official. Unquestionably, Fred Overton has performed with honesty, efficiency, and dedication to the town and to the people he serves. As in each of his other elected positions, trustee and assessor, he has succeeded in keeping politics out of the job.
Through Fred’s public service and volunteer experience, he has gained a vast knowledge of government operations, has working relationships with state, county, and local officials, hands-on experience writing legislation and developing budgets, is involved in policy-making for organizations and government entities, and knows government employee contracts.
If elected, Fred will continue working to serve the residents of East Hampton with fairness, civility, and the respect they deserve, regardless of party affiliation. Fred is the most qualified candidate running for town board. Vote for Fred Overton on Nov. 5.
A Great Choice
October 11, 2013
The Nov. 5 local election is very important for East Hampton. The candidates elected need to be smart, honest, and have common sense. Kathee Burke-Gonzalez is a great choice for town board. She is smart, capable, and gets things done. Just look at her record on the Springs School Board for nine years and her ability to pass school budgets. She has proved herself to be a good listener and she works hard.
The Town of East Hampton has many important projects to deal with over the next four years. The town’s majority have lacked the vision it takes to understand how to govern this town and they don’t have the ability to reach a common agreement. It takes rationality, hard work, and commitment to be successful in dealing with town problems like long-term planning for facilities and water quality, issues of code enforcement, beach erosion, lighting, and noise laws.
I’m voting for Kathee Burke-Gonzalez on Nov. 5 because we need a new vision for the town board and someone who will move this town forward. That person is the choice that you should make on Election Day by voting Kathee into office.
October 14, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Kathee Burke-Gonzalez as a town board member on Jan. 1, 2014? Really?
As the Springs School Board president, Gonzalez never met a tax increase she didn’t like. Her stewardship of the Springs School finances was abysmal. As a Springs resident, I have had a tax increase every year during her tenure, even as my East Hampton Town taxes were reduced by the Wilkinson administration. But, in addition to her penchant for increasing taxes, Gonzalez has a test-cheating scandal swirling about her tenure.
Principal Eric Casale, whom I met when I was part of the Springs School Key Communicators group, seems to be a nice guy. However, as reported in local newspapers as well as The New York Post, Mr. Casale was involved in a cheating scandal when he was principal of P.S. 91 in the Bronx. According to the Post, students’ written statements alerting officials to this cheating scandal were destroyed after they were turned over to Principal Casale. The reader can reference the New York Post and other articles online for all of the facts. As a result of this rather sordid affair, again according to the Post, Casale abruptly resigned his position before an official probe was completed. In a city known for its coddling of education officials that run afoul of the law and school regulations, Casale “has been barred from future employment in the New York City public school system” (New York Post, June 10). That fact alone is a pretty extraordinary thing.
So, what has this to do with Kathee Burke-Gonzalez? In a shocking example of a total lack of any kind of professional standards and judgment, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez hired Eric Casale to be the principal of the Springs School knowing of his extraordinary past with the New York City Board of Education. “The events associated with his employment with the New York City Board of Education were made known to the [Springs School Board] before he began his employment at Springs” (New York Post, June 10). Casale’s past was uncovered as charges of a similar cheating-type scandal surfaced this year at the Springs School.
There are a number of questions that need to be asked of Ms. Burke-Gonzalez regarding Mr. Casale’s hiring. How extensive was the job search to fill the vacant principal position? How many candidates were interviewed? Was there no other candidate in the State of New York that would have qualified for this position? What were Mr. Casale’s special professional qualifications that made him the winning candidate for this position? As she and the Springs School Board made their decision to hire Mr. Casale, was there no thought given to the reputation of the Springs School if and when the Casale scandal surfaced, as it has? But the most important question is, was Ms. Burke-Gonzalez ever concerned with how the children of the Springs School would be affected if and when this scandal surfaced as it has?
Some will cry this is campaign mudslinging. It is not. Campaigning for office is a long job interview process. As with any professional job search for an important position, a thorough vetting of the candidate should be conducted. Particularly where taxpayer money is involved, voters should know all of the facts and weigh a candidate’s past job performances before making a final decision.
Four years ago, East Hampton Democrats lost their majority on the town board amid a scandal that fleeced taxpayers of $27 million. Democratic town leaders and town board members sat by silently as the town spiraled into near fiscal bankruptcy and chaos. East Hampton taxpayers are still paying dearly as the fiscal year 2014 town budget has three million taxpayer dollars appropriated for principal and interest payments to pay back that disaster.
Given the Democrats’ dismal track record, I wonder how East Hampton voters can ever put into office someone that already has a history of scandal attached to her professional actions?
In this coming election, voters unfortunately will not have a choice for town supervisor. But, we do have a choice for the town board. Remember the film “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”? Indiana Jones is advised before he selects the sacred chalice to “choose wisely.” Given Ms. Burke-Gonzalez’s past performance of raising taxes and her total lack of professional judgment, I advise all voters to “choose wisely.”
Fred Overton’s commitment and service to his country and East Hampton over these years is unquestioned. His experience is enormous and his integrity and judgment, impeccable.
Voters, choose wisely. Run, do not walk to your polling place on Tuesday, Nov. 5, and vote for Fred Overton for town board on either the Republican, Conservative, or Independence lines.
The writer is a member of the East Hampton Town Republican Committee.
Kathee Gets It
October 14, 2013
To the Editor:
Kathee Burke-Gonzalez is one of the hardest-working people I know. That’s no election-year hype — she worked for me for 14 years. Unfortunately, the financial crisis took her away from me. But my bad luck is the town’s good luck; because now everybody has the opportunity to have Kathee working for them.
Kathee gets it. She knows that what’s good for the environment is good for business. She knows that food doesn’t come from the store and tuna doesn’t come from a can — and that our farmers and fishermen must be protected. She knows our drinking water and surface waters are seriously stressed and require major attention. She knows the needs of the working families; she’s been working since she was a kid. And she knows the needs of our children.
Kathee served on the Springs School Board for nine years and developed and managed its $25 million school budget. Win or lose, Kathee is an exceptional choice for East Hampton Town Board and an exceptional person. I hope she wins.
An Independent Voice?
October 10, 2013
These past months we have been witness to the onslaught of political advertisements that can leave one scratching the side of one’s head over who wrote them. One continued saying is “an independent voice.”
I will share an experience that stunned me during a private discussion with that town board member, Dominick Stanzione, and I will be kind and just say he was totally disingenuous.
It was minutes before the open public hearing and one of the topics was the elimination of the leaf program that was a beneficial service to the town residents.
I spoke to Dominick Stanzione and presented printed researched facts on the rapid increase in the cost of living: food, heating oil, electric, taxes, gasoline, etc. I pointed out the minimal cost to the taxpayer.
I then asked him point blank, “Dominick, is this elimination a done deal?”
His reply was, no, present your facts just the way you just did. The board will listen.
The dog-and-pony show presented by Wilkinson, Quigley, and Stanzione made me realize that Dominick just blew a ton of smoke in my face. That deal was already signed, sealed, and delivered well before this meeting. What a sham, to waste the time of the citizens of this town who came to overwhelmingly voice their protest. So he and the other two burdened us with a stealth tax.
Mine amounted to almost $600. Surely more than the $18 it cost the town. That is why I gave Wilkinson a check for the $12 reduction. I know he really appreciated that by the way he looked at me.
It gets better. Mr. Stanzione, as airport liaison, has had a hidden agenda, catering to the special-interest groups. One only has to see the full-page ads that appeared with the testimonials, all members of the local pilots’ association. Look at his campaign contributions. His cozy relationship with the consultant Peter Kirsch. Outlandish fees paid for telephone consultations and other things that are mind-boggling. “An independent voice?” Oh, did he have an epiphany? Or was it the constant attacks by Wilkinson and Quigley?
I at the time liked Dominick Stanzione, but his ability to blow smoke grew, and his friendly demeanor I deemed to be hollow. If he could not be truthful when directly responding to my question, how can anything he said ever be believed? I am voting for Fred Overton for all the obvious reasons.
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
Different from Everyone
October 12, 2013
I had the opportunity to interview Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, Democratic candidate for town board, on my LTV show. I found her to be knowledgeable and acutely aware of the many problems facing our town. Kathee has the experience to seek solutions that will work and is committed to our East Hampton values. The quality of the lives of the people who live here, known as residents, will be a priority for her. Won’t that be refreshing? She is also keenly aware that our environment drives our economy and will seek a balance between the two.
When elected, Kathee will be the only person with children in our local schools, which will give her a point of reference somewhat different from everyone else. She will be aware of the needs and problems of our young people. Wise lawmakers need to be concerned with the children to whom they have a responsibility. After all, they are the future.
As a Springs resident, she has an innate understanding of our struggles, i.e. the highest school taxes, eroding property values, and our housing difficulties, to name a few. Kathee served on the Springs School Board for many years, thus she has experience with budgets, decision and policy-making. She had to weather the cuts that New York State made in money allotted to the school, and stand by watching while special programs and sports activities were cut because the school did not have the money to pay for them.
As a teacher and school administrator, how many times have I witnessed cuts made by the state Department of Education to schools and the consequences of those cuts. The best job I personally ever had was as an enrichment teacher whose charge was to facilitate the language development of all the grades in my school through media. The job was cut two days before school opened in the budget crunch of ’92, though I had taken yet another course and put a month’s work into the preparation of my curriculum for the coming school year.
And by the way, just to set the record straight to the woman who wrote a letter blaming Kathee for being responsible for the hiring of Eric Casale, she was on the school board for two months when he was hired.
A young woman, a non-politician, with energy and a fresh point of view will be a welcome addition to our town board. Bet she’ll never scream at anyone!
He Is Unflappable
October 15, 2013
Fred Overton just has that gift of being able to see right through a problem while all else is in turmoil. A few words from Fred, and the problem is pointed in the right direction and on the path to solution. He’ll be so good for all of us as a councilman. We can do ourselves, and the town as a whole, a favor and vote for Fred Overton on Nov.5.
For the last 48 years Fred Overton served this community as a volunteer with the Springs Fire Department. He has run his own business, was a trustee for many years, our town assessor for 8 years, and for 14 years has been the town clerk. In all of his positions he has been presented with difficult and confidential situations that were handled with finesse and genuine kindness. He is unflappable.
As town clerk, when his office was located near the council offices he was known to tactfully approach a councilperson who was under siege‚ politely and respectfully, and then calm and solve the upset constituent’s problem.
Former East Hampton Town
October 14, 2013
There is one name that should be on everyone’s list for East Hampton Town
Board, and that is Fred Overton’s.
Fred Overton exemplifies that steady professionalism we always view as the ideal we desire in our political people, but rarely see. In Fred, we have seen a person who has met, and exceeded, our expectations of him in every single political position to which he’s been elected. We trusted in Fred, and Fred has
always rewarded us with good service.
There are some candidates running this year who tout the longevity of their experience with no reference to the quality of that experience. That’s probably because the quality of the experience is somewhat spotty and questionable.
Fred Overton has not only put in the years of service, but he has put in years of excellent, unassailable service as well.
There is a degree of apprehension about the administration to come. That’s due to mystery money going to consultants who openly suggested that they helped suppress the voter’s choices in this election. And there are some people running for office who have let us down in the past, which does not bode well for the future. Fred Overton does not provoke this apprehension, nor has he ever let us down.
In the political mumbo jumbo of this political campaign someone is using a line something like “How Could We Lose East Hampton?” We lose East Hampton when special-interest money floods into a campaign and none of the local newspapers dares write about it. We lose East Hampton when people who have let us down in the past have the audacity to run again for offices they disgraced. And we lose East Hampton when we keep silent and do not stand up for ourselves and people like Fred Overton.
October 14, 2013
I am a resident of Springs, and, like many other residents, I have not been happy with the current elected town board and the current state of Springs. We have urgent quality-of-life issues that have not been addressed. The residents feel ignored and forgotten, like the bad stepchild. Springs residents are very eager to elect a new board, one that is responsive and civil and one that will acknowledge problems, not deny them. We look forward to a board that will work actively with us to better the quality of our life. We desperately need a board that will not alienate the community, but one that will work with it.
Kathee Burke-Gonzalez is running for the town board, and I am supporting her. For me, Kathee’s major accomplishments so far have been as president of the Springs School Board. She headed a board that negotiated tenaciously with East Hampton High School on the Seneca Falls formula — this was the formula that set tuition rates for high school students who attended East Hampton High School from Springs. After hard negotiations on this, and other adjustments with East Hampton, the result of the negotiations saved the taxpayers of Springs approximately $4 million. No small accomplishment!
I also commend Ms. Burke-Gonzalez for keeping the Springs School budget under the 2-percent cap for the last two years even though there has been an increase in the Springs School population. This year alone there are 21 more students than last year, and this school is bursting at the seams, but that is another conversation for another time. Kathee and the board had to make some very hard and tough decisions. She and the board were very aware of keeping the budget in check due to our high property taxes. She was on one side maintaining academic standards for the school, and on the other side staying within the 2-percent cap.
Based on past performance, I feel Kathee will work hard for Springs as well as for East Hampton. She is aware of the current issues. She lives in and has worked hard for our community. She has involved herself in difficult fiscal issues, and she cares about what is happening here and elsewhere in East Hampton.
If you read the testimonials of those on the school board who have worked with her, there is no question she will bring integrity, diligence, and leadership to the town board. She is exactly what is needed, not a bomb-thrower, not a screamer, not a hysteric but a consensus builder and a worker bee. Springs needs representation on the town board, and Kathee has proven herself.
Kathee Burke-Gonzalez is a breath of fresh air. She has put herself out there. She has worked hard for our community and accomplished much, and she gets it. She realizes we have some major problems to deal with, and she is intelligent, civil, and eager to get involved. I urge all to consider and vote for Kathee Burke-Gonzalez.
On Oct. 28 at Ashawagh Hall, 7 p.m., all candidates in the November election will come and address the Springs citizens advisory committee meeting. Please try to attend. It’s important!
Asset to the Community
October 12, 2013
To the Editor:
What factors should be considered in the election for town justice? It seems to me that a candidate should have the legal knowledge and the life experience to enable him to apply the law in a manner that best serves the interests of justice. That might be a firm, unyielding verdict to punish repeat offenders one day and a more understanding and compassionate decision for a youthful or first-time offender the next. What life and legal experience would then qualify a candidate to so thoroughly know the law and understand the community?
Steven Tekulsky worked as an assistant district attorney in the Manhattan district for four years, trying serious felony cases. Then he worked for seven years at a New York City law firm trying complex civil cases. Steven and his wife, Stephanie, bought a home in East Hampton 27 years ago and moved here full time in 1988. Steven opened his own law practice and for the past 25 years has represented untold numbers of local residents in every type of case that is heard in East Hampton Justice Court.
Over the years he has also volunteered legal advice to many groups (including Citizens for Access Rights, East Hampton Sportsmen’s Alliance, and the Pediatric Dental Fund) and to many, many individuals.
Steven and Stephanie raised two children here who went through our public school system and graduated from East Hampton High School. After going away to college both have returned to live in East Hampton. Alexander is a small-business owner and Kylie is teaching at the John M. Marshall Elementary School.
Steven spent 10 years as a Little League coach. When his son was on the high school wrestling team, he volunteered to be the announcer for East Hampton’s annual Sprig Gardiner Wrestling Tournament, and 12 years later he still is manning the microphone. Steven is a 25-year member of the East Hampton Fire Department, has been an officer in the department for 13 years and a chief for 2 years. He is also a member of the “White Knights,” the fire department’s heavy-rescue squad.
I have known Steven for more than 20 years, as a friend, as a member of the Fire Department, playing a variety of sports with him, as a fishing partner, and through his law practice, both as a real estate broker and as his client. As an 11th-generation East Hampton descendant, former teacher for 15 years, and member of the East Hampton Board of Education for three terms, I think I know the community and its needs pretty well. Steven has been and continues to be an asset to the community and its residents.
Steven Tekulsky has both the legal acumen and the life experience, 25 years of which have been immersed in the fabric of East Hampton, which would enable him to make judicial decisions that are in the very best interests of his community. He will be an exceptional town justice.
October 14, 2013
To the Editor:
Phyllis Italiano’s letter in The Star last week was an insult to men by insinuating that “a woman of 38 and a man of 38 are not equal in maturity.” She must have known that Lisa Rana and Catherine Cahill were both in their 30s when they were elected to be judges in East Hampton Town, so the excuse that Carl Irace is 38 upsets her. To have accomplished so much at his age, shows Carl Irace’s dedication to his profession.
He has a 13-year career as a trial lawyer, and 9 years as a New York City assistant district attorney, two years as East Hampton Town assistant attorney. He does pro bono work for the Retreat and the L.V.I.S., just to name two.
Does Ms. Italiano know that you also don’t have to be an attorney to be elected as East Hampton Town Justice. She should have called the Board of Elections to find the rules before writing the letter.
Ms. Italiano also stated in her letter that Mr. Irace must be running scared because two of the four of his opponent’s signs she put out in strategic locations disappeared the next day. “Only Republicans would stoop to taking down an opponent’s signs.” I guess Ms. Italiano didn’t read the news during the last election when someone witnessed a Democrat taking down their opponent’s signs. Carl Irace’s opponent must be running scared if he thinks the voters are stupid and would believe such political rhetoric on the part of the Democratic machine.
East Hampton Independence Party
October 7, 2013
I received a prescription and when I filled it the pharmacy said $54. What it should be: $5. I was then told since Obamacare creeped in prescriptions have doubled and some tripled. Thank you for Obamacare. To the left-wing liberals, try to understand this so-called affordable care is not affordable, it has nothing to do with the color of the president’s skin, get off that accusation, it’s too old.
Business in droves are dropping their employees to part time in order to not pay for their healthcare. This means what? There will be millions more that will not have health care, the United States of America will be a part-time country, all because the president, who gave unions and the fools that work for us in the House and Senate a big pass. The king will not negotiate, only those who backed me get the pass, screw the people.
One-year delay is not the biggest request being asked and besides you can’t even get onto the sites for Obamacare, which shows they are not ready. But this president is so arrogant, it is his way or the highway. The House is passing bills left and right and sitting around waiting for the Democrats to show up to negotiate. Eighty-three percent of the government is up and running, so let’s not keep repeating that the Republicans shut down the government. It seems the president and that idiot Reid are picking and choosing what should stay open and what should close.
The debt ceiling is another story, how much can you spend? If you bring in, say, $5 billion but you spend $3 trillion you think this is okay? Do the math, it doesn’t work. We will be broke, we will not be able to afford the interest on these loans. Wake up, stop spending, lower taxes, get rid of the I.R.S. and look closely, you will find four or five departments with exactly the same cut as them. Work for the people, yes we the people, the citizens.
Sincerely for God and country,