Letters to the Editor: 10.24.13

Our readers' comments

Thank You All!
    East Hampton
    October 19, 2013

To the Editor:
    Necrotizing fasciitis, also called flesh-eating disease, is a life-threatening skin infection that according to the Centers for Disease Control, and in reviews of various studies, has a fatality rate of 25 to 35 percent. This is our story of how a small community hospital did its part and helped to potentially save my wife’s life.
    My wife and I had just returned from a vacation to the West Coast and Pacific, where she had sustained a laceration to her foot as we were leaving the Fiji Islands. Over the next week this appeared to be healing well and was only mildly problematic. The day before we were to return home from San Francisco, she developed an infection with fever and redness extending up her leg to the lower thigh. This is called lymphangitis (blood poisoning in lay terms). It is a sign of a severe infection, and she was started on appropriate antibiotics immediately.
    This was followed by injectable antibiotics as soon as we returned home to East Hampton. She did well, and the redness and fever resolved within 36 to 48 hours. We were elated, and thought that we were on the road to recovery.
    However, two days later, while she was still taking the antibiotics, the foot became more painful and blisters started forming. She visited our family doctor, Dr. Anthony Knott, in Montauk, who contacted Dr. James Brady, a surgical specialist in Southampton. After discussion, he immediately agreed to see her in the emergency room and actually met us in the waiting room and ushered us in to an exam room to complete his evaluation. He was extremely concerned and attentive and stated that my wife needed immediate surgery.
    Ruth was in the O.R. within one hour of arriving at the hospital. When Dr. Brady talked to me following the surgery the news was not good. He had opened the infection and it was necrotizing fasciitis. He had removed dead and decaying tissue, started new intravenous antibiotics, and had her immediately scheduled for Southampton Hospital’s hyperbaric chamber (a tube that is pressurized with pure oxygen).
    Unfortunately, she only tolerated the chamber for a short time that night and was rescheduled the next day for early in the a.m., where she completed the full two-hour treatment. This was followed by a return to the operating room for further exploration. The 18 hours between the first surgery and the second were the critical hours to truly start the healing process and, hopefully, a road to recovery.
    Following her second hyperbaric chamber encounter on Saturday she was back in surgery for further cleaning and re-evaluation. As with everything that occurs in a hospital, you fear the worst and pray for the best, and when Dr. Brady came out of surgery with a smile on his face we were elated. He stated that it appeared that the debridement and hyperbaric chamber use had turned the tide and with a little luck the healing process, while long, should be without further complications.
    A third treatment on Sunday with re-evaluation had him convinced that we were on the road to recovery. Ruth is now home and after three weeks of therapy is doing well and able to ambulate. The wound will take many more weeks to completely heal, but it should do well.
    We are writing this letter for several reasons, first and foremost to thank Dr. Knott and especially Dr. Brady for their expert evaluations and professional care. We also would like to thank from the bottom of our hearts the staff at Southampton Hospital who cared for Ruth during her stay. But most of all we would like to thank the staff in the Southampton Hospital Wound Center, one of the few, if not the only, in Suffolk County with hyperbaric oxygen capabilities. These professionals rose to a patient’s need and came in on their days off, Friday night, Saturday morning, and Sunday morning, to provide the hyperbaric treatment so vital to my wife’s care and cure.
    Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.

Outpouring of Love
    October 21, 2013

To the Editor,
    Recently, our mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, and aunt, Ellie Prado, passed away of old age. Although she lived a full life and was 89 years old at the time of her passing, it is a very difficult time to go through.
    As always, the outpouring of love and support of the Montauk and East End communities resulted in a heartwarming response that was thoughtful, sincere, and generous. So many people provided kind care towards the end of her life, including Gearlyn O’Brien and Maria from the Playhouse. Thank you to all that helped.
    We would like to thank Susan Grimes, who carefully followed the example Ellie had set for so long and never broke tradition, organizing the gathering at Ellie’s house as the original Grey Ladies would have. It was such a comfort to know things were done as she would have done them herself. Along with her, we would like to thank Roxanne Ecker, Kathy Keller, Lexa Tuma, and Kathy DiFalco for their tireless work, as well as everyone who brought food up to Ellie’s house, which was filled to the brim and sustained us all for days.
    We would like to thank Father Mike for presiding over a very emotional and personal ceremony. Thank you as well to Eddie Ecker and Billy Fitzgerald for speaking during the service, and to Tommy Grenci for helping our children as pallbearers. Thank you to John Erb and everyone at East by Notheast for providing a beautiful reception, where we finally relaxed. Thank you to Mary Persan for all of the work that she did. Thanks to the Montauk Fire Department and the Ladies Auxiliary for their show of support. Thanks to the East Hampton Town Police Department and traffic control for their help in keeping our family together on our way to the cemetery. Thank you to the Yardley and Pino funeral home for a professional response.
    We would also like to thank the employees of Marshall and Sons, who all certainly worked more often and longer than usual to make up for so many of us being absent at the same time. Your hard work and dedication is appreciated.
    Thank you to all the local businesses for their donations and gifts, and for all of the flowers, cards, and comforting words that came from so many of our friends and associates.
    With heartfelt appreciation,
    For the the Prado Family

Responsible Stewards
    October 20, 2013

To the Editor:
    East Hampton Town has engaged in a de facto deer management program for decades. Predators were eradicated (nobody wants a cougar in the back yard), open space was preserved, building setbacks increased, deer habitat was secured. The results, we now see, are two fawns in every litter. This, by the way, is the definition of exponential growth.
    There is some culling of the herd. Hunters do it. Motorists do it. You can see the results littering the roadside most every morning. However, putting herd management into the hands of motorists is a particularly cruel and dangerous practice.
    Let us not forget, these are not God’s deer. These are our deer. We made them. And as responsible stewards of our deer herd, we must undertake culling, or if you prefer, slaughtering, selected members of the herd. This is how herds are managed. To do anything less would be inhumane and irresponsible.

Stop This Plan
    October 20, 2013

To the Editor,
    On Saturday night, my wife, Ellen, and I were driving on Huntting Lane when we saw a deer standing in the grass. We stopped the car, and the deer looked at us a few seconds. Then she walked into the woods, disappearing so quickly that it seemed like magic. “How beautiful!” Ellen said. Then sadness entered her voice. “But she will probably be killed in the cull they’re planning.”
    Let’s all tell the village officials to stop this barbarous plan, and tell the town board to refuse to support it.
    East Hampton Group for Wildlife

These Turkeys
    October 17, 2013

Dear David,
    Thank god we have decided to get rid of our deer.
    Now could somebody do something about all these turkeys. They are ugly, very non-chic, and bad for our international image.
    Plus they are scaring my dog.

Operation Cat
    East Hampton
    October 17, 2013

Dear Editor,
    On Oct. 16, 2013, we celebrated National Feral Cat Day here at ARF. Shelters and rescue groups all across the U.S. also joined in.
    ARF has been managing feral cats on eastern Long Island for 16 years through its Operation Cat program. On National Feral Cat Day, volunteers humanely trapped 33 feral cats from Speonk to Montauk. These cats were neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped (the universal symbol of a neutered and vaccinated cat), and safely returned to their colonies.
    ARF provides this T.N.R. (trap, neuter, return) service free of charge. Operation Cat has successfully reduced the reproduction and suffering of feral cats in our community. A big thank-you to all the volunteers and veterinarians who participated.
    Executive Director

Many Were Stellar
    October 21, 2013

To the Editor,
    The Hamptons International Film Festival offered over 100 films in this, its 21st, year. Many were stellar. I’ll mention three, starting with “Oh Boy,” which swept the “German Oscars.”
    “Oh Boy” followed a rather noncommittal male main character of today’s Generation Y, drifting through life in his late 20s, who we meet in the morning bedroom with a lovely very short-haired girlfriend, who wants to see him again tonight, but he has to go back to his apartment, where he finds a letter waiting, informing him he has an appointment (concerning a driving while intoxicated case) that he forgot about. He arrives late, is deliberately contemplating the answers he tries to give to questions posed by a severe, unsympathetic psychiatrist, and from there the tragi-comedic cascade continues, wherein he meets/is confronted by interesting contemporary Germans of today. Shot in black and white.
    Then there was The New York Times tale of Jayson Blair, the manic-depressive, plagiarizing young black reporter who was involved in the disgrace of the “greatest newspaper in the world” just as it was celebrating its receiving seven Pulitzer prizes for its 9/11 reporting. Insight into the journalistic world and its fragile trust is portrayed and how Mr. Blair”s shortcomings and disease were minimized by The Times’s bureaucracy.
    “God Save Uganda” is a very frightening film showing the infiltration of this unfortunate African country by white missionaries from, not the International House of Pancakes, but change the last word to prayer and it is still abbreviated IHOP. Birthed in America (Kansas City, Mo.) in 1998, it has already established vast connections on six continents and intends to visit every town on Earth by 2020.
    Its brand of evangelist fear-mongering and ultra-conservative gender preference-intolerance has spawned extreme homophobia in Uganda, to the point of having a parliamentary bill (not yet passed) specifying the death sentence to repeat “offenders” committing homosexual acts or sodomy. Members of the gay community have been murdered due to ihop and the intolerance they have instigated. This movie should be seen by anyone concerned about gender and offensive religious crusades occurring today, as IHOP spreads its version of “the word” across our planet.

Truth in Humor
    October 21, 2013

Dear David,
    As the representative of the Truth in Humor Party, I plan to ask the town board candidates the following 10 questions at the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee debate at Ashawagh Hall, 7 p.m. on Monday (Oct. 28).
    1. Would you support a safe-motorcycle-to-school  program?
    2. To stop summer share houses, should there be a limit on the number of foreign-made cars per house?
    3. Do you support a helicopter cull? If not, would you support nonlethal methods to reduce the helicopter herd?
    4. Since the town board will not hire an expert, should Springs School students study Montauk’s coastal erosion and give the town board guidance?
    5. Would you support roving volleyball games if the court is built on a flatbed truck? Would it depend on where the truck is parked?
    6. Since baymen are a vanishing breed, would you permit off-shore gambling boats to fill the empty slots at town docks? If not, could party boats be converted to worker housing and allowed to dock there?
    7. To increase town revenues, should the town lease their 324  phone numbers to summer renters who pretend they have been here for generations?
    8. Would you support developing half of Gardiner’s Island into a tax-paying luxury resort and giving the imperiled motels in Montauk the first chance to move there?
    9. Could the other half of Gardiner’s Island become Lester-Miller Village, a tourist attraction with affordable housing for our 12 remaining local families?
    10. To lessen the burden to the taxpayer, should board members be fined whenever they violate the noise ordinance?

Taxi Commission
    East Hampton
    October 19, 2013

Dear Editor:
    I want to thank Councilman Dominick Stanzione for coalescing the much-needed taxi commission of East Hampton. The town will do well to have the input of the industry owners and workers as well as that of the business community.
    We also need the input of the general citizenry and those who can provide informed guidance and overview, address best-practice methods‚ and offer workable insights to update the current taxi law on its intent to better serve the community.

Walk-On Resolutions
    October 21, 2013

Dear David,
    Thursday night’s town board meeting had multiple public hearings, and it seemed like there was congeniality and rationality among the board members until the resolution discussions at the end meeting. Dominick Stanzione, Theresa Quigley, and Bill Wilkinson had already made a decision to add several walk-on resolutions that the minority members of the board and the public had not seen before.
    At the very end of the meeting Mr. Stanzione introduced three walk-on resolutions for the airport. The first one was to pay an outstanding unbudgeted bill for $56,000, which he had never presented to the board for approval. The second was another unbudgeted bill for $80,000 to design a fence for the airport, which he had never presented to the board.
    Mr. Stanzione joined his Republican colleagues, Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley, to bail himself out by a three-to-two vote to pay those bills. Then he introduced a resolution for a public hearing for Nov. 21 on a five-year airport capital improvement plan. Needless to say, this plan was never put before the entire board until the last minute. It, too, was passed by the majority.
    The last walk-on resolution was sponsored by Ms. Quigley. This eliminated one of the options that the Army Corps had presented to the town. The Montauk citizens advisory committee recommendation for additional sand replenishment for Ditch Plains was completely ignored by the majority and left out of the resolution. Not only had Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc not seen the document beforehand, the public had to demand that it be read out loud so that they could understand it. The supervisor seemed to be reluctant to let the public in on it.
    How much more damage can the Republican majority do before the end of December? Just look at what’s happening in Washington! Citizens must really pay attention to everything that goes on in East Hampton government between now and the end of the year.

Trucks Next Door
    October 21, 2013

Dear David:
    Your editorial last week “Sanitizing House Lots” correctly concluded that commercial vehicles having a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds should be barred from parking on residential lots. However, in doing so, you muddied the waters and fell into definitional quicksand. You cited an overly broad federal truck classification scheme that describes as being light-duty those trucks having a G.V.W.R. between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds (i.e., Class 3). This nomenclature is disingenuous, inaccurate, and, more importantly, irrelevant to the purpose of establishing proper zoning criteria for residential areas of the town.
    Contrary to your use of the label light-duty for any commercial truck up to 14,000 pounds G.V.W.R. (i.e., Classes 1, 2, and 3), there are authoritative classification systems that identify trucks having a G.V.W.R. between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds as being medium-duty (e.g., the U.S. Department of Transportation Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey). Light-duty truck should not be used to describe any weight class greater than a Class 2b truck, one having a G.V.W.R. between 8,500 and 10,000 pounds.
    The New York D.O.T. requires all trucks having a G.V.W.R. of more than 10,000 to obtain a U.S. D.O.T. registration number, which is required to be posted on the cab of the truck, even if it is only used in intrastate commerce. The same rule applies to a truck and trailer combination having a gross combination vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds. Unfortunately, this rule appears to be ignored by the owners of many of these trucks. Moreover, in another context, the definition of a light-duty truck is even more restrictive. To control highway emissions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines a light-duty truck as one “rated at 8,500 pounds G.V.W.R. or less.” (40 CFR 86.082-2).
    But the question now before the town board, one that has been raised on numerous occasions over the past two years by Patrick Gunn, the administrator of the Public Safety Division, and by legions of the Springs Concerned Citizens, is one focused solely on the exclusion of “nonresidential activity” from residential zones. This is the sine qua non for preservation of residential quality of life and protection against the erosion of property values caused by creeping commercialization. In this context we are not interested in what limitations on truck weight, size, and number are necessary for safe travel on highways and passage over bridges. The pertinent question is what weight, size, and number of trucks on your neighbor’s property will cause irreparable damage to the quiet enjoyment of your home and the collapse of your home’s value.
    One thing has somehow been totally overlooked during the months of back-and-forth discussion by members of the town board, during which they have managed to erroneously turn less into more, and set an ever-increasing maximum weight rating for what constitutes a light-duty truck, going from 10,000 to 12,000 and now to 14,000 pounds. The board has simply ignored the availability of expert planning advice from its planning board with guidance and analysis to be provided by the Planning Department. In fact, it is a legal obligation to refer any proposed change in the zoning code to the planning board (town code section 255-9-30C).
    After nearly four years of berating and marginalizing the work of the Planning Department, the majority of the town board has apparently forgotten the basic rules. Seeking expert advice and comment from the Planning Department via a referral of this proposed zoning change to the planning board is long overdue.

School Taxes
    East Hampton
     October 21, 2013

To the Editor,
    I think Mr. Cohen gave true explanation (Letters, Oct. 17) on how high school taxes are paid. The districts outside of East Hampton should be taxed the same as East Hampton residents are. They send most of the students that are enrolled in the high school. It should be a central high school. They also shop in the food stores in East Hampton, contributing more money to the East Hampton School District. It is time for Springs and East Hampton to consolidate.

    Shelter Island
    October 20, 2013

Dear Editor,
    With Election Day around the corner, it was no mere coincidence, I’m sure, that there were two headlines on the front page of your Oct. 17 edition relating to housing and development issues. One article reported on the LTV forum titled “Preservation: Have We Gone too Far” and the other, Debra Scott’s “Affordable Conundrum.” What alternatives are there for people like me, who spend up to 40 percent of their income just to keep a roof over their heads? Can our politicians provide the answers? Do they feel the insecurity of the capricious rental market like many of us do?
    I think the answers will come from people who need the change the most. My personal quest for an affordable home has led me to a type of housing that could really use some front-page exposure. A plan that not only addresses affordability issues, but preserves open space and remedies the isolation often experienced in suburban living; the solution lies in the creation of co-housing villages.
    I am not fond of the idea of government doing for me what I could do for myself. However, East Hampton Town could take a leadership role in helping solve the housing situation. With affordable 99-year leases similar to those the town had offered in the past to individual home buyers, certain properties could be made accessible to privately owned and financed co-housing groups. These cooperatively owned communities could be models of sustainable living, using the latest in energy and water conservation technologies and effectively reducing traffic on the roads by localizing sources of food, socialization, and recreation. Most co-housing communities have a “common house,” which can be designed to include features like a commercial kitchen, large dining area, meeting rooms, gym, media room, bicycle and kayak storage, maintenance shop, and professional offices.
    A certain number of units could be designated as affordable for persons who need subsidized housing. Co-housing communities encourage all residents to share responsibility for maintaining and improving the common areas. Whether working together in the community garden, preparing and sharing meals in the common house, caring for elderly neighbors, sharing childcare, etc., neighbors support each other and contribute to the cohesiveness of the village. The low-income families are not marginalized, working and playing alongside their more fortunate neighbors.
    There are several green builders and architects in the Hamptons who have been applying their skills locally to high-end housing projects. Any one them could be called upon to design a 20-30 unit plan sited on five acres or less, which they would then market to co-housing groups in formation. I imagine there would be many families interested in buying a three-bedroom home for under $300,000 or singles interested in a one-bedroom apartment for under $100,000. If the cost of purchasing land was eliminated through the town issuing affordable long-term land leases, housing that better meets the needs of the working class may become a reality.
    I first learned about co-housing online at cohousing.org, and my research into the possibility of forming a community on the East End is chronicled on my blog, ecoliving4eastenders@wordpress. com.

Townwide Reassessment
    October 21, 2013

Dear David,
    During the past few weeks there have been a number of letters addressing the issue of a townwide reassessment. It is clear to anyone who has taken the time to read those letters that there are many inequities in East Hampton, where we have not updated our assessment roll cyclically.
    According to the guidelines for cyclical reassessment, published by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, the first reason for a reassessment is assessment equity for taxpayers. I quote, “The longer it has been since a municipality has updated assessments, the more likely it is that some taxpayers are paying more or less than their fair share of taxes.”
    First of all, there must be a clear understanding on the town’s part. In order to ensure that it can successfully meet the demands of conducting a reassessment, there needs to be a clearly defined plan. The actual plan is a local government record which analyzes, among other things, physical inventory, staffing and manpower to conduct a reassessment, funding needed for such an undertaking‚ and the understanding, willingness, and commitment on the part of the town’s stakeholders. In other words, there needs to be support on the municipal level, and from taxpayers alike, for a townwide reassessment to occur.
    The plan can help alleviate taxpayer fears and improve their understanding of the process. This is accomplished through public meetings to help raise awareness of the assessment/reassessment process. “It also helps to demonstrate that the municipality values the importance of providing equitable assessments to its property owners. The value of this public awareness and municipal support cannot be overstated.” Furthermore, “while the plan is intended to serve as a roadmap for a reassessment, it is important to acknowledge that no one can accurately predict the movement of the market for all property types in advance.”
    Reassessment does not happen overnight. No one snaps their fingers and all of a sudden everything changes. It is a lengthy process which begins with open discussions leading to a well-thought-out plan on how to best begin, complete, and maintain a townwide reassessment. From state and regional agencies we can expect support, guidance, and aid.
    According to the Department of Taxation and Finance there are further benefits to reassessment. Improved bond ratings, again I quote: “In addition to state aid, many municipalities are receiving improved bond ratings as a result of efforts to keep assessments current. These municipalities are saving tens of thousands of dollars each year (and in some cases, much more than that).” Furthermore, “there will be fewer court challenges to assessments. By keeping assessments up to date, municipalities are likely to have fewer tax certiorari cases.”
    There could potentially be increased state land assessments, because “state land assessments are frozen at the year of the last municipal-wide reassessment conducted after 1990 [East Hampton has never conducted a reassessment]. Reassessments allow municipalities to make changes in market value that could not otherwise be captured.” Finally, there is the issue of transparency. A reassessment will lead to “improved taxpayer understanding of the process.”
    There is no doubt that a reassessment will level the playing field. It will ensure that everyone is paying their fair share of the real estate tax burden. There needs to be open and sincere discussion throughout the town concerning a decision to reassess. It is a lengthy and detailed undertaking. A well-thought-out and implemented plan needs to be in place long before the actual reassessment occurs.
    It should be noted that there have been successful reassessments and continued updates in two of our sister towns, Southampton and Shelter Island.
    If re-elected, my 12 years of experience, education, and training as one of your assessors will be invaluable to such a large townwide project. I will be fully integrated in the process. I will be closely involved from inception to completion. I will make sure that continued maintenance of the reassessment and the ensuing assessment equity won’t erode; ensuring that the effort and expense invested in the initial reassessment won’t be wasted.
    Thank you.
    Democratic and Working Family
    Candidate for Assessor

Perfect Example
    East Hampton
    October 21, 2013

Dear David,
    I had some matters to attend to Friday of last week and made a visit to the hub of town business in the offices next to Town Hall. While there I had a chance to spend some time with Eugene DePasquale discussing the New York State School Property Tax Relief, or STAR, program. Eugene is a great source for information on many subjects, and I have found him to be super in his position as East Hampton Town assessor. We could not ask for a more professional individual. As the incumbent for the position in the upcoming election he has a great advantage thanks to the hands-on knowledge gained through his years as assessor.
    I came away thinking what a treat it was to speak with him and found myself thinking of some other town employees, who forget that they are town employees and see fit to yell, scream, rant, and rave at the very people who have elected them. Eugene is the perfect example of the kind of intelligence and professionalism that I feel all of our elected officials, both local and national, owe to their constituents.
    Thanks to Eugene for the past, and hopefully future, services he has provided to this town.

CfAR Questionnaire
    East Hampton
    October 21, 2013

To the Editor,
    Dear freeholders and inhabitants of the Town of East Hampton,
    The board and members of Citizens for Access Rights would like to give a public update on the state of public access to East Hampton’s most treasured asset, its beaches.
    The current lawsuit against the Town of East Hampton, trustees, and others in the area of Napeague, which we feel is a blatant attempt to privatize the ocean beach, is progressing through the New York State Supreme Court. This lawsuit, started in 2009, is projected to go to trial within the next year. It is CfAR’s position that anything less than a rigorous defense of this case, by all defendants, will only weaken the public’s right to access all beaches in East Hampton and will embolden other waterfront land­owners to wage litigious lawsuits to privatize beaches and land in front of their houses. We have recently seen cases of other lawsuits in the area of Georgica to privatize the beaches.
    With the known recent and current litigation, and possibility of future beach-grabbing lawsuits, Citizens for Access Rights is following this year’s election race closely. Our group of concerned citizens is very interested in this year’s candidates’ positions on the current lawsuits that the town and the trustees are facing regarding beach access and the attempts to privatize some of the beaches in East Hampton.
    We realize that these and future lawsuits will be litigated and dealt with by future elected officials from the upcoming November elections. For this reason, we have reached out to the candidates vying for local and countywide positions in government, and sent questionnaires asking them about their thoughts ranging from public beach access to coastal erosion and management. We invite you, the freeholders of the commonalty of the Town of East Hampton, to visit our Web site to read their answers: citizensforaccessrights.com.
    We truly hope that everyone enjoyed a wonderful time at the beach this summer, making lasting memories with family and friends. We ask you to give consideration to the continuance of public access to the beaches of East Hampton and to the direction that we as a town take when confronting the erosion taking place along East Hampton’s shores when you cast your vote this November on Election Day.
    Citizens for Access Rights

War for the Shore
    East Hampton
    October 21, 2013

Dear David,
    Kudos to The Star for having the guts and wisdom to support the town trustees in their quest to assure public beach access.
    Your editorial “Digging In on the War for the Shore” was so right on! At every turn there seems to be a lack of support for the trustees from certain segments of our local government. The trustees are our last hope — a group that will never sell out to wealthy individuals or business interests seeking to privatize our beaches or pass regulations that take away the right of common passage.
    The town board, all those who answer to them, and the village government had better get their acts together and realize the importance of protecting beach access. Giving some beachfront property owners, their beach-usurping lawyers, and the money-grabbing beach restoration companies that they hire the final say about how to best maintain our beaches for the public good is akin to letting the lunatics run the asylum. Extremely bad governance beach-wise will ultimately usurp the public’s right to access the sand.
    We simply can’t set harmful precedents by having individual homeowners decide what they can erect on public beaches. Last year, when one landowner erected poles all over Georgica Beach, it made it impossible on certain tides to even walk the beach, let alone legally drive on it. And now we may have similarly-thinking individuals given carte blanche to experiment with different anti-erosion technologies without the approval of the trustees. The end result may be that this poor strategy will create problems for other properties located miles down the beach due to upsetting the natural drift of sand. This will affect all of us for decades. It will be a huge drain on our resources, and we’ll have to use hard-earned tax dollars to fix it, over and over.
    As a voter, I for one will be watching very carefully whether or not town and village officials speak up in support of the East Hampton Town Trustees. Let’s get rid of the enablers when election time comes around. Let’s re-elect those officials who don’t sell out to big-money interests. Let’s make a point of exposing those who don’t value the public’s right of free passage on our beaches.
    Thanks, David. I don’t see any other local newspapers taking the stance for our beaches and trustees to the extent that The Star does. I am sure that thousands of public beach users, fishermen, and surfers truly appreciate your coverage of this important issue. Please keep reminding us just how important it is to support the East Hampton Town Trustees, allowing this nonpartisan group to be involved in all decisions when it comes to governing our beaches.
    Best regards,
    Communications Director
    Montauk Surfcasters Association

Lands and Resources
    October 18, 2013

To the Editor:
    My first term as East Hampton Town trustee is coming to a close. I want to continue representing you. My name is Nat Miller, and to do that, I need your vote on Nov. 5. You can vote for me on the Republican, Independence, or Conservative lines.
    I have spent my life on the beaches and waters of East Hampton. It is no surprise to anyone who knows me and my heritage — that as a 13th generation Miller from East Hampton and Springs and a 4th generation Vorpahl from Amagansett, I am one of the last full-time baymen and surfmen left in town. My life has always been connected to the environment from which my family always has earned its living.
    Since my election in 2011, I have worked with my fellow trustees on a variety of projects — beach clean-ups, ensuring trustee roads are passable for all, and that all East Hampton taxpaying citizens are granted access to trustee beaches for their enjoyment. We work diligently to guarantee that the Dongan Patent will not be forgotten.
    As a long-time resident who wants to stay and raise his family here, including my 14th generation son, Jack, and as a fisherman and a trustee, I feel a personal role in continuing to protect our trustee lands and resources for our present and future generations, including all user groups.
    The trustees work closely with Marine Patrol and code enforcement to ensure enforcement of the laws that have been on the books for years to protect our valuable resources and that have proven to be successful in the past. As a trustee, when I am on our beaches and on the water daily, I am there not only as a fisherman, but as the eyes and ears of the people I represent. Now, more than ever, I am on the alert for things that need to be done to help improve or protect what we are so fortunate to have around us. From what I see each day, I worry that our fragile environment is in danger. If we are not vigilant, we all run the risk of losing or even destroying that which makes our town so unique.
    As a bayman and surfman, I have seen first-hand how all of our many user groups can co-exist in the same town, on the same beach, whether they are a resident for generations or a few weeks. The best way to maintain our pristine, beautiful environment is to all work together. It is vital that the many treasures of East Hampton remain open to the public, and, as your trustee, I will work toward that goal.
    Please re-elect me for East Hampton Town trustee on Nov. 5 on the Republican, Independence, or Conservative party lines.

How Many Lashes
    October 21, 2013

Dear David,
    Election Day in East Hampton Town is close upon us. My campaign for common whipper, an East Hampton Trustees corrections office, mislaid a few centuries back, is strong. I am initiating talks with good government groups about how many lashes to inflict on those who do not vote.
    The East Hampton Town whipper campaign has a crackerjack, all-volunteer staff. We meet after school for a productive half-hour. I cater.
    Rita: “The only thing that people care about out here are the beaches. What if we dump sand on oceanfront buildings?”
    Me: “Interesting.”
    Ken: “My mother, who is a lawyer, says whipping is corporal punishment.”
    Me: “So?”
    Jessica: “I don’t think it’s ladylike!”
    Me: “Wait until you see the boots!”
    Tony: “My father says some people may like being whipped.”
    Me: “They won’t like my fee.”
    Hailey: “We could whip up a crowd, with cheering, like before a soccer game.”
    Me: “I love you back. God bless the East Hampton Town Trustees and God bless America!”
    Remember to vote.
    All good things,

An Issue of Fairness
    October 21, 2013

Dear Mr. Rattray,
    Me again. I was taken aback by a letter that appeared in last week’s Star regarding a mistaken impression that I was “insinuating” the incumbent trustees, including those friends of mine on the sitting board who have chosen not to run again, haven’t been doing a good job. The contention of that letter is neither true nor accurate if one reads what my Oct. 3 letter says.
    I also hope the writer more carefully reads the letter I wrote that you published this week above the disparaging diatribe. I think I make it clear that I believe the trustees’ role is ever more important as our town grapples with the serious quality-of-life issues that are well covered in every week’s editions of all the local papers, and, to the credit of all our local editors, in many of their own columns.
    I do believe that change is necessary and inevitable. History and common sense reinforce that contention. Trus­tees of only a decade or two past, let alone over three centuries, could not have imagined some of the issues our current trustees need to consider, from evident climate disruptions and erosion issues, wastewater management, septic issues, pesticide usage, air pollution, and all their collective effects as they impact our ground and surface waters, fishing, and other aspects of our lives.
    Further, given the documented reluctance on the part of some other town entities to say no to personal interests that potentially impact the rights of public access to our beaches, bays, and waterways, our common lands, bottomlands, and their bounty, the trustees are ever more necessary to our future conversations. 
    Aside from the writer’s confusion over the trustee stipend of $20 a day, even at his (possibly?) proposed $20 an hour, they would be underpaid. They are not volunteers but elected officials, dedicated public servants whose duties are time-consuming, and we as a community are getting a tremendous bargain from their efforts on our behalf.
    It is mostly an issue of fairness. There’s an unfortunate tendency among some people to equate what they spend for something with its quality. Maybe that’s why the trustees are apparently less respected, though thankfully not by the courts, as we learn again and again. In any event, I am certain that they know how much I applaud their work.
    I often describe the trustees as our conscience. By that I mean that your trustees are constantly trying to do what’s right based on their knowledge, the public’s trust, and in light of their vital connection to our town history as its original governing body, and their status as East Hampton’s largest landowners. It is appalling that they who are elected to represent us all, are ever sidestepped or marginalized, as too often seems the case. Sadly, those snubs wind up costing us all money in lawsuits in which the taxpayers are forced to fund both sides.
    I intend to work to change that if I am elected to join the trustees, and, yes, to do so collaboratively with my eight other elected colleagues. I would also work appropriately to restore to the trustees the powers and budget that they need, better to fulfill their historical mandate as our town’s authentic environmental stewards, and steadfast champions of the public’s rights to free access.

A Good Laugh
    East Hampton
    October 21, 2013

Dear David,
    As a former campaign treasurer, charged with complying with New York’s very strict campaign finance laws, I had a good laugh when I read the rather hysterical accusation by the East Hampton Republican Committee that the East Hampton Conservators, an independent political action committee founded by Alec Baldwin, may have committed a felony.
    It appears that the Conservators may have neglected to file a Form CF-03 that lists candidates that have authorized the Conservators to provide direct support to them (none that I am aware of) and candidates the Conservators support directly who have not authorized the Conservators to do so. It is no secret as to who those candidates are, which is why the Republicans are so hot and bothered.
    Otherwise, as far as I have ever read or know, the Conservators have been diligent about disclosing their receipts and expenditures, much more diligent than the Republican party that had to be publicly reminded to do so.
    It seems that our zealous Republicans don’t bother to look up the law when they have to comply with it, and they don’t bother to look it up when they accuse others of not complying with it. They like to make it up as they go along to suit their accusation of the moment.
    This, you will recall, is the same Republican committee that “forgot” to file its mandatory campaign finance report last July and did not do so for more than a month. Then there is Councilman Dominick Stanzione, who filed a false campaign finance report claiming no expenditures after he had spent thousands of dollars on newspaper ads, including in The Star of course.
    For the record, a felony violation is possible in only two cases: The first is evasion of the campaign finance limits. That has nothing to do with the Conservators’ error. The second is willfully filing a false statement.
    Councilman Stanzione filed a false statement saying he hadn’t spent any money. But he said it was an innocent mistake. The Republicans failed to file at all for a period of weeks, but that was not a felony violation, although a violation it surely was.
    It is not hard to find the relevant law. One can just go to the New York State Board of Elections Web site to do so. It seems too difficult, however, for the East Hampton Republican Committee.

A Balanced Board
    East Hampton
    October, 15, 2013

Dear Editor,
    Is it wise to elect more than one Demo­crat to the town board at this time? Doing so may take away the voters’ power to evaluate the board’s performance in two years’ time and take corrective action if necessary.    
    Have the Democrats done such a great job in managing the town in recent history that they should be given total control extending for four years?
    The election of Larry Cantwell alone would give the Democrats majority control of the board. We hope that good things will happen.
    We hope that quality of life such as illegal overcrowding, overcrowded noisy clubs, out-of-control summer rentals, lack of beach access and parking, and a total lack of respect for our single-family residential zoning code will all be rectified. But what if the Democrats do not deliver on issues of importance to the residents of East Hampton? Voters need to retain the power to change the board majority in two years.
    Let’s make the next town board accountable to the voters and residents of East Hampton, not just those who support and control the political parties.
    Let’s elect a balanced board with Demo­crats and Republicans.

What a Fiasco!
    East Hampton
    October 21, 2013

To the Editor:
    What a fiasco, and three hours to boot! I have been to other Concerned Citizens of Montauk forums, debates, whatever they are, but this one was so out of line that the concept of fair discussion never entered the room.
    Before I go any further, this is not a knock at Larry Cantwell. Larry was delivered a plate of morsels too delicious to pass up — and I don’t blame him for taking advantage of the meal put before him. The problem was with the C.C.O.M. or the moderator, or both. They did not know how to compensate for the fact that there was no supervisor candidate on the Republican side of the table.  Apparently, to them, that meant that Larry, as the only supervisor candidate, had free reign.
    Picture this: A question would come from the audience to Larry, and Larry would answer it; or a question would come to the Democrats as a whole, and Larry would answer it while his town board candidates sat quietly. Whenever Larry answered a question and someone from the Republican side of the table — often Dominick Stanzione — would want to respond, the moderator would not allow it.  Finally, Dom was heard to say, “Well isn’t this a debate?” and the moderator said “No, it is a forum.” 
    Seemingly, under C.C.O.M. rules, a “debate” is when both sides get to respond, but with a “forum” only one side (Larry, most often) gets to answer and no response is allowed from the other side. If that is so, then the C.C.O.M. should have called their forum, “An Afternoon with Larry!”
    Larry did an admirable job of talking and shielding his town board candidates from having to get into the fray and reveal where they stand on the issues. On the other hand, without a supervisor candidate for cover, the Republican board candidates were out there answering whatever questions were put to them. I argued against just such a situation in an earlier letter to this newspaper.
    It is disappointing that the C.C.O.M. was not able to adapt to the situation at hand because an excellent opportunity for give and take from the candidates was wasted.

Build Consensus
    October 21, 2013

Dear David,
    The Independence Party says (advertisement) that the “Democrats Have Already Won a Majority” so that’s a reason to elect Dominick Stanzione and Fred Overton to the town board.
    If the East Hampton Democrats have already won, it’s because of the high quality of their candidates. It’s also a repudiation of the anti-environment, forget-our-quality-of-life perspective of the current Republican administration and their nasty, ineffective governing style.
    Republican Dominick Stanzione was a consistent player with his fellows on the Republican team for more than three years. Only the prospect of rejection for a second term led him to equivocate on their positions. As town clerk, Fred Overton filled an important post, but he was not and is not a policy maker. Until recently, he offered no positions on issues, and during the campaign his positions have changed from day to day.
    The outcomes of government are determined by the integrity, skills, and energy of members and their respect for community concerns, not their political parties. The job of a party and its voters is to elect people with the determination and ability to build consensus and get things done, not to carve up a turf. Anyone watched Washington lately?
    Sincerely yours,

    Ms. Frankl is the chairwoman of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Ed.

Consider These Answers
    East Hampton
    October 18, 2013

Dear David,
     All five candidates for town board responded to the questionnaire prepared by 13 local environmental groups. This questionnaire was prepared with assistance from the New York State League of Conservation Voters.
    The questionnaires can be accessed through the website NYLCVEF.org (East Hampton), and I recommend to your readers that these answers be considered prior to casting our votes.
    For the comprehensive plan update, a survey was conducted and the results showed that the environment was at the top of the list of priorities for the town.
    Thank you,
    Dark Sky Society

Not Over Yet
    October 22, 2013

Dear David,
    This campaign has given me an opportunity to meet so many people who have given me support in my bid for election to the East Hampton Town Board. It makes the long days worthwhile.
    I am always amazed at how generous people are when they contribute their time and money to help my campaign. There were supporters who took time away from their families to walk with me in the many communities from Montauk to Wainscott. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet voters face-to-face and learned a lot listening to their concerns about life in East Hampton; and I was able to get my message out to them.
    Those letters in the newspapers about my 25 years in office and the volunteer jobs I have performed for the community for more than 40 years were great to read.
    Friends opened their homes for a “meet and greet” so I could introduce myself to new voters, and I appreciate their hospitality. People worked to put my message into radio and print ads, something very important in a political campaign.
    To all the people who help and support me I say, thank you so much for all your efforts.
    We all worked hard, but it is not over yet. The next step is actually the most important. If my supporters and those voters out there, who believe in my message of open, efficient, nonpartisan government, do not vote on Nov. 5, it will all be wasted. There is no getting around it, you must go to the polls and vote for me. You can find my name on the Independence, Republican, and Conservative Party lines.
    Good wishes or hard work do not equal success. If you stay home on Nov. 5, there may be nothing to celebrate at the end of the day.
    Please encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to go to the polls on Nov. 5 and vote for me, Fred Overton, for East Hampton Town Board.

Down Off the Dais
    October 21, 2013

Dear David,
    We have seen public hearings in recent years on matters like overcrowded housing, noise, farming, and nightclubs, which have not led to new legislation, but only gridlock and inaction. The board majority has not known how to close the deal.
    There have been several underlying problems: an understaffed town attorney’s office and a failure to hire and keep experienced lawyers (excepting John Jilnicki), a disdain for the Planning Department, and a general failure to actively engage the public and the stakeholders before coming to hearing.
    Members of the majority have the mistaken idea that half-baked pieces of legislation should be brought to a hearing “to see what the public thinks.” That creates a lot of tension and chaos. It is much more productive to have full public discussion in work sessions, reported by the press, and hold a hearing on legislation that represents the best effort of the board and then be flexible and responsive to public comments at the hearing.
    With a new administration taking over in January, I want to make a specific suggestion: Not too long ago, when a public hearing was held on a proposed zoning law, the first speaker was a member of the Planning Department, who would read a memo describing the proposed action, and weighing the pros and cons of the change.
    For other hearings, it was standard for the town attorney or the responsible councilperson to introduce the subject, and explain to the public in plain English what was being done and why. The reading of the notice by the clerk is not sufficient by itself, and too often leaves the public confused.
    Lastly, I would get the town board down off the dais for work sessions, and let them work around a table (as they used to), where they can see each other, and reach consensus with more normal dialogue. Successful communication between board members is critical.
    This seemingly small step would cut down on the posturing and performing. As was done in the past, the work sessions would still be on LTV, and, of course, open to the public.
    Yours sincerely,

    Mr. Potter is a Democratic and Working Families candidate for East Hampton Town Board. Ed.

Three Candidates
    October 21, 2013

Dear Mr. Rattray,
    As Election Day draws closer I hope voters are researching the candidates running for local and county offices. 
    In East Hampton, while it is unfortunate that there is no Republican Party candidate for supervisor, there are races for other offices, including but not limited to county legislator, town justice, and town assessor. Three outstanding candidates are running for these offices.
    Chris Nuzzi is running for county legislator on the Republican and Conservative Party lines. Born and raised in East Hampton and a Southampton Town Board member for two terms, Chris will bring much needed change to the Suffolk County Legislature. In a recent report, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli warned that Suffolk County was one of the most “fiscally stressed” counties in the state. Careening toward the same financial disaster that plagued East Hampton four years ago under the last Democratic majority, taxpayers need look no further than the offices of the Suffolk County Executive and the Suffolk County Legislature for the culprits of the county’s impending disaster. Change in this government is critical now. Chris Nuzzi will bring this much needed change with his fresh ideas, government experience, integrity, and well-known work ethic.
    Carl Irace is running for East Hampton Town Justice on the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Party lines. Graduating with a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Villanova University School of Law, Carl was an assistant district attorney in Bronx County, New York, for over nine years. Prosecuting society’s toughest criminal cases, Carl was on the front lines of the criminal justice system, protecting citizens while working within a complex judicial system. Steeped in the rules of evidence, organizing witnesses and testimony, appearing before Bronx County juries and judges, Carl is one of the most qualified candidates ever to run for town justice, and certainly the most qualified town justice candidate in this race. Carl has been walking the streets of East Hampton for several months meeting with voters. Those of you fortunate enough to have met him know in addition to knowledge of the law, Carl Irace has the temperament and integrity to be a great town justice.
    Joe Bloecker is running for town assessor on the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Party lines. Joe has been a fixture in the East Hampton community for over 30 years. He is a small-business man working as a carpenter and former commercial fisherman. He is a current town trustee. Having volunteered for decades in a number of organizations, Joe, at present, is the president of the Montauk Friends of Erin, as well as the president and co-chair of the East Hampton Town Cancer Task Force. He is a former member of the town’s nature preserve committee and a 21-year Little League volunteer. With deep family roots in, and an unmatched knowledge of East Hampton, Joe will bring a unique understanding of our community to this increasingly important position of town assessor. 
    On Nov. 5, 2013, I hope all voters will vote for these three great candidates that will be outstanding elected public servants. 

Fair to All Involved
    East Hampton
    October 21, 2013

Dear David,
    Steven Tekulsky is clearly the best candidate for town justice in East Hampton.
    I have known Steven for over 20 years, worked with him on many local issues, and have observed firsthand his dedication to the people of East Hampton. He and his wife, Stephanie, have raised their children, Alexander and Kylie, here, he has coached Little League, volunteers as a firefighter and served as chief of the East Hampton Fire Department, serves on the East Hampton Town Board of Assessment Review, and so much more.
    He is an experienced attorney of 35 years who has donated his services to many local organizations and to local working families in their time of need. When it comes to helping the people of our community, Steven Tekulsky is one of the most dedicated people I know. He is an important part of the fabric of the community.
    At the Concerned Citizens of Montauk debate on Sunday, I watched Steven and his opponent make their presentations and was not surprised that Steven so clearly had the advantage in the way he presented himself and his views of how the East Hampton Town Justice Court could operate in a more efficient and professional manner. His maturity, temperament, and common sense were on display and will serve him well on the bench.
    Finally, and as I have said publicly on several occasions, Steven’s finest quality may be his integrity and his insistence on making the right decision, fair to all involved and consistent with other decisions made under the same circumstances.
    For all of these reasons I am voting for Steven Tekulsky for town justice and I ask voters of all parties to do the same.
    Democratic, Independence, and
    Working Families
    Candidate for Supervisor

Disturbing Facts
    East Hampton
    October 21, 2013

Dear David,
    After reading Carl Irace’s endless boasting of his “stellar” career accomplishments and the repeated sugar-and-cream letters to The Star from his mother-in-law and others, it is finally impossible for me to remain silent and neglect to disclose two disturbing facts about this man.
    First: That he is running for East Hampton Town justice is amazing. Did he really think it would remain buried, that he left his former position as East Hampton Town attorney under questionable circumstances? We will be very interested to hear the spin he puts on this matter — the truth that many know is the reason for his sudden departure after only two years there.
    Second: Even more troubling is his involvement in the handling of an estate of a good friend of mine. He was brought in as attorney by a disbarred lawyer who was named executor of the estate. Mr. Irace was named as alternate executor. After my friend died, the beneficiaries of the estate hired their own attorney because Mr. Irace had failed to promptly probate the will, and the executor’s daughter and grandchild were living in my friend’s house and studio without paying any rent to the estate.
    After unsuccessfully trying to resolve these serious issues with Mr. Irace, the attorneys for the beneficiaries brought an order to show cause to disqualify the executor and Mr. Irace as the alternate executor on the grounds that “. . . they do not possess the qualifications required of a fiduciary by reason of dishonesty and improvidence and are otherwise unfit for the execution of the office, and specifically upon the grounds that they have unreasonably delayed the proceeding for the probate of the Decedent’s Last Will and Testament during which time they have engaged in self-dealing by utilizing the Decedent’s real and personal property for their own use and benefit.” The executor and Mr. Irace did not oppose the motion but simply resigned.
    This is a matter of public record in the Surrogate’s Court for the Estate of Albert F. Sharp.
    These are not the qualities that we want in a town justice.

Ability to Listen    
    October 21, 2013

Dear Mr. Rattray,
    It has been a pleasure, and I sincerely regard it as an honor, for me to have known Steven Tekulsky for the past few decades in multiple facets: for the past three years as a fellow member of the East Hampton Town Board of Assessment Review, in legal matters pertaining to real estate transactions with him representing either the seller or the purchaser and, most importantly for me, in his position as an active member, officer, and chief of the East Hampton Fire Department.
    In all of these interactions with Steven, he has shown many of the qualities that will make him an excellent town justice. In assessment review matters, he has the ability to listen to applicants and their agents, to review applications, appraisals, and other documents submitted in support of their positions, and to reach determinations that are fair and impartial, based solely on the standards under which we, the board, operate.
    Steven also has an excellent reputation as an attorney, and his many contributions to East Hampton, especially to the Fire Department, are well known. He is cool, calm, and collected in real-life emergency situations, with me never seeing him flustered. I have been fortunate to watch and interact with him at work and have had the chance to appreciate firsthand, on very many occasions, in all these capacities, and always consistently, his intelligence and common sense, an outgoing and engaging personality, and a unique sense of humor.
    I believe that Steven is by far the most qualified candidate for town justice, and I fully support him without reservation.

Great Common Sense
    East Hampton
    October 4, 2013

To the Editor,
    I am pleased to have known Steven Tekulsky for the 15 years that I have been a member of the East Hampton Fire Department.
    I served as a member and officer of the department when Steven was chief and can attest to the professional manner in which he ran the department, which is no easy task. When I became chief a few years later, Steven was just as dedicated to the department, and the public that we serve, as a firefighter and captain, as he had been when he was chief.
    I have also used Steven’s professional services as an attorney and have found that he deals with legal matters with the same approach: intelligently, reasonably, and with a great deal of common sense.
    He will make a terrific town justice and I hope you will join me in voting for him on Nov. 5.

Dedicated to Serving
    East Hampton
    October 21, 2013

Dear David:
    With Election Day on Nov. 5 fast approaching, and while campaigning continues, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the following:
    The East Hampton Democratic Party and the Working Families Party for their endorsements, Larry Cantwell, retired East Hampton Town Justices James R. Ketcham and Roger W. Walker, and State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. for their endorsements; and everyone who has written a letter on my behalf, put a bumper sticker on their vehicle, a lawn sign on their property, “liked” my Facebook page or any of my posts or who has otherwise expressed their support for me, and everyone who I have met while campaigning throughout the Town of East Hampton. I know that the public gets tired of candidates and campaign mailings, and I have tried hard to be respectful with everyone I have met.
    For anyone who I haven’t met or who hasn’t seen my ads in The Star or heard my radio spots or received a mailing from me, allow me one last opportunity here to summarize my qualifications for East Hampton Town justice and my views for the town court:
    I have been a practicing attorney for over 35 years, with much of that time spent in the courtroom. I spent the first 12 years of my career exclusively as a trial attorney, starting with my service as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan. For the past 25 years, I have been representing local families in every type of case that comes before justice court, as well as other criminal and civil matters.
    My wife, Stephanie, and I have lived in East Hampton for more than 25 years, and have raised our children, Alexander and Kylie, here. They went to the East Hampton public schools, graduated from East Hampton High School, went away to college and have returned here to live and work.
    I have been dedicated to serving East Hampton in the 25 years that I have lived here as a former chief of the East Hampton Fire Department and 25-year member, an appointed member of the East Hampton Town Board of Assessment Review for five years, in pro bono representation of the Citizens for Access Rights, East Hampton Sportsmen’s Alliance and the Pediatric Dental Fund, and many other groups and individuals, and as a Little League coach for 10 years.
    The first requirement of a town justice is the ability to be fair and impartial, and you can be assured that I am up to that task. I have made it clear that, if elected, the one thing that I can promise is that if you have to be in court at 9:30 a.m., I will be on the bench at 9:30 a.m. That is a different system than is now in place, but I believe that improving the efficiency and professionalism of the court starts with that simple courtesy.
    I have other ideas as well, understanding that the court system must work within the existing budget. These are to reduce unnecessary adjournments and dispose of cases as quickly as reasonably possible; make jury trials more available for all cases that require it; standardize the time for arraignments on weekends; take full advantage of resources that are currently available to us, such as drug court in Southampton and the county’s veterans court and mental health court.
    I would like to bring youth court back and, knowing that it is not in the budget, would look for private financing to get it started again. I would also fight for the budget necessary for the court and take advantage of all grant opportunities.
    With over 35 years as a practicing attorney and 25 years of proven community service to East Hampton, I have the legal background and life experience — with the maturity that comes with it — to best serve this town as your next town justice. Please remember on Election Day, Nov. 5, that local experience counts — and vote for Steven Tekulsky for town justice.

Drug-Treatment Court
    October 21, 2013

Dear Mr. Rattray,
    I attended C.C.O.M.’s Meet the Candidates debate on Sunday to support my son-in-law, Carl Irace. Carl did really well and I don’t think there is any room for debate on that subject. Carl spoke about how he would use his extensive experience in so many courts to improve efficiency in the administration of the justice court, bringing back youth court, and starting a drug-treatment court.
    I was rather surprised that Carl’s opponent didn’t even respond to the statement that Carl has three times as many cases this year in East Hampton Justice Court alone, despite the fact that his campaign slogan is “local experience counts.” If it counts so much, where is he if not in the court where he seeks to be justice?
    What shocked me the most was that Carl’s opponent denied the need for drug court when your paper wrote that the East Hampton School Board is considering deploying drug-sniffing dogs in the high school because of the ever-increasing drug problem. Drug-treatment court is a basic service that is available in every other East End town.
    I was a teacher and a registered nurse for 34 years. I was a high school teacher working with young adults, many with learning disabilities, on a daily basis. I know what addiction does to young people and how it can rip families apart. I had a sweet, intelligent student that constantly found himself in trouble because of his obvious addiction to drugs. He ran into trouble with the law because of his addiction, and he was treated like a criminal instead of a troubled youth or addict. He ultimately died of a drug overdose. I believe he could have been helped by the consistent interaction and rehabilitative methods employed in a drug-treatment court.
    Vote for the candidate that has new ideas to make our court a better place. Vote for Carl Irace on Nov. 5 for East Hampton Town justice.
    Very truly yours,

Duly Qualified
    East Hampton
    October 21, 2013

Dear Editor,
    East Hampton Town Trustee Joe Bloecker is now running a tireless campaign for your vote as an East Hampton Town assessor. What makes him duly qualified is his business acumen and experience working in the real estate and building trades.
    When elected, Joe may be a new face, so to speak, in the assessors office, but he is certainly well known by his involvement in his community of Montauk, as well as in our town.
    When elected, Joe will be a welcome addition to the assessors office, and as a taxpayer I am confident that he will be the best candidate for the position.
    East Hampton Town
    Republican Committee

Doing Favors
    October 21, 2013

Dear Editor,
    I had a disconcerting experience a few weeks ago. I approached the Amagansett Post Office. As I got out of my truck, a man approached me and identified himself as Steven Tekulsky, candidate for town justice. I guess he noticed the “Irace for Town Justice” sticker on my truck, and he next said, “Don’t expect any favors from me.”
    I thought that the comment was a poor joke in bad taste, especially for a candidate for judicial office.
    However, at a recent campaign committee meeting another committee member shared several similar reports from others to whom Mr. Tekulsky stated, “Don’t expect favors from me with that Irace sticker.”
    This is the difference between a bad joke and impropriety. For any candidate to make a joke about favors is one made in poor taste. For a judicial candidate, it is beyond that. An independent judiciary is one of the pillars of our society. The very notion of owing favors, doing favors, or that someone would expect favors is the opposite of judicial temperament. On the contrary, such a comment, and its repetition, demonstrates immaturity at best, corruption at worst.
    I have known Carl for his whole life. I am proud to be his campaign treasurer, and I am proud to give him my vote. As I walked from the Post Office, I said to Mr. Tekulsky, “I don’t expect favors from Carl, either.”

Excellent Justice
    October 20, 2013

Dear David,
    Our upcoming town election is historically unique. The good news is that Larry Cantwell will be elected town supervisor. We all believe he will bring positive change and fairness to town government. As responsible voters, we also need to look at all other candidates and not reactively vote on strict party lines.
    Over the last year I have come to know Carl Irace through two not-for-profit organizations that I am involved in, the Surfrider Foundation and East End Science and Technology Initiative. At Surfrider, he has held chapter leadership positions and currently acts as the chapter secretary. At EESTI, he has assisted us with the legal requirements of establishing a 501(C)3 not-for-profit corporation. He generously donates his time and organizational skills to both organizations and we have benefited from his participation.
    In my opinion, he will make an excellent town justice and I encourage other voters to consider him when they go to the polls.

Proven Track Record
    East Hampton
    October 21, 2013

To the Editor,
    The dysfunction and total disregard for quality of life and environmental issues over the last four years by our Republican-led town board has caused irreparable damage to our wonderful community. The time has come to put a stop to this and start to prioritize the things that have historically made East Hampton a beautiful place to live.
    Job Potter has the experience and a proven track record of focusing on environmental and quality-of-life issues through his tenure on the town’s planning board and as a councilman for eight years. Central to his platform is a refocus on code enforcement that has been deprived of the resources and political will to adequately enforce the codes that we have, especially in Montauk, Springs, and Northwest Woods. Job has an easygoing manner and will bring civility back to the town board. He has a deep love for nature and is a fierce protector of the environment.
    The East End faces many difficult issues regarding clean drinking water, erosion, land use, and protection of public spaces, and I trust Job to preserve and protect our biggest asset.

Asset to the Town
    October 21, 2013

Dear David,
    I’ve enjoyed working with Kathee Burke-Gonzalez this past year. She’s proven to be highly professional, intelligent, honest, and resourceful. Kathee comes to the table prepared. Of course, she has opinions — but she is respectful, open-minded, and easy to work with. I think she’ll be an asset to the Town of East Hampton.
    Best regards,

Where Has She Been?
    October 21, 2013

To the Editor:
    I couldn’t disagree more with the glowing opinion of Kathee Burke-Gonzalez’s candidacy in one of the letters in last week’s Star. My conclusions are based on my experience, not partisan rhetoric.
    Ms. Burke-Gonzalez’s qualifications for the town board are almost totally lacking. Her school board tenure is seen as a negative by many. Some see the school in disarray as they now have the third superintendent in three years, the second assistant principal in two years, and a school and principal still under investigation by the state. I am one of a very few community members outside of the school community who have actually attended school board meetings and was part of the Key Communicators group, which included Ms. Burke-Gonzalez and Mr. Eric Casale. Additionally, I was one of many Springs citizens who attended the school’s listen-in as the new 2-percent tax cap loomed. The result of that was that the board ignored the majority opinions on key issues such as creating a taxpayer-funded prekindergarten and expanding the administration.
    I have more questions regarding Ms. Burke-Gonzalez’s candidacy. Apart from her school tenure, which ended months ago, where has she been on any issue of great concern to either the Springs community or the town? She hasn’t attended any town meetings, hasn’t publicly advocated for any non-school issues that I am aware of except her own candidacy. Ms. Burke-Gonzalez has been unable to answer questions on many topics, claiming that she is on a “learning curve” and hasn’t formed an opinion yet. If elected, I guess the learning will come on the taxpayers’ dime.
    More troubling is that Ms. Burke-Gonzalez has no track record of involvement at the town level for voters to judge what her positions might be. We can surmise that she will serve the needs of the Democratic committee, but will she serve the needs of town residents?
    The Springs resident in her letter last week expressed unhappiness with the current board and I share her disappointment. The Democrats are asking us to trust that they will now do the right thing even though they haven’t in the past. I don’t want to be surprised. I want to know a candidate’s positions based on a proven record of engagement with the issues that are of great concern to me and my neighbors. Where was Ms. Burke-Gonzalez when Springs residents appealed to the town board for new laws to address our problems? Where was she when others were speaking out about how overcrowding, mass volleyball gatherings, and out of control commercial truck and equipment parking were degrading our residential neighborhoods? I do not believe that Ms. Burke-Gonzalez has yet earned the trust of the greater Springs community or the town at large to deserve a seat on the town board.

What Kathee Has Done
    East Hampton
    October 20, 2013

Dear David:
    Come Jan. 1, we have a chance to have a town board every member of which will be working toward improving the quality of life we’ve been losing. The three candidates Cantwell, Burke-Gonzalez, and Potter, who already work so well together, will switch their cooperative effort to that end.
    Right now, I want to talk about Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, whom I’ve seen working for our town over the years. She was such an effective activist that those of us watching her wanted her to run for town board then. But she, being the responsible person she is, said not now, when my kids are old enough so I can really give my time to the job. Now they are.
    But no time wasted meanwhile. She became a member of the Springs School Board, and then, when people saw how good she was, she was chosen president of the board.
    Finding ways to improve the education experience for Springs kids. Working with New York State to lower the cost of sending Springs kids to East Hampton High School, thereby reducing the Springs tax burden. That’s experience.
    Some people say, oh, Fred Overton has the experience, he’s listened to hundreds of town board sessions. So have we all. Listening is not experience. Doing is experience. Fred seems like a nice guy and his office seems effectively run. Managing an office is not what town board members do. Finding ways to answer constituents’ needs, working cooperatively with other government agencies, is what they do. That’s what Kathee has done.
    Over the years, when I’ve had a substantive question for the town clerk, I often found that Fred was not available; Carol Brennan was always there with the answers.
    Those who are afraid of a one-party town board and just want to fill one seat with another party, will probably vote for Fred or Dominick.
    Those who want the most effective government will vote Gonzalez, Potter, Cantwell.

    The writer is a member of the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee. Ed.

A Special Person
    East Hampton
    October 20, 2013

Dear David,
    This election year I feel compelled to write about a special person in this community and friend of mine, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, candidate for East Hampton Town Board.
    I am a candidate for East Hampton Town Trustee and have been campaigning with Kathee all over town. We have been at the I.G.A., Waldbaum’s, One Stop, Hampton Market, and the post offices in Wainscott, East Hampton, Amagansett, and Montauk. Maybe you or your readers have seen us. Or better yet, maybe some of you stopped and chatted with us.
    I’ve learned a lot more about Kathee as we have stood together for hours greeting town residents and listening to their concerns. When Kathee says she is a public servant, not a politician, you can believe it. She cares deeply about East Hampton and has no use for political games. And when she says that she is determined that East Hampton remain a beautiful, healthy, and extraordinary place to live, work, and raise our families, you can count on it.
    I urge everyone to cast their vote for Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for East Hampton Town Board on Nov. 5. I would also greatly appreciate everyone’s vote for East Hampton Town Trustee. If any of your readers don’t already know Kathee or me, I hope they will take the time to meet us as we campaign throughout town.
    Warmest regards,

Vote for Kathee
    October 20, 2013

Dear Editor,
    As we decide who to put on our town board this November, we need to appreciate the need for public servants who know how to strike the balance between what we can afford and what we can’t afford to do without.
    The town board candidate Kathee Burke-Gonzalez has demonstrated that she has that capability. She has built and managed prudent, responsible budgets for the Springs School during her nine years of service there.
    While it is difficult to achieve this record in good times, it is even more difficult to do so in tough times.
    Therefore it is to her credit that when the governor laid down a 2-percent cap on the tax levy, she managed the challenging task of cutting $800,000 from an already lean budget in a very public and deliberate manner, while improving the quality of education. In fact, Springs Middle School is now ranked 69th out of 1,100 middle schools in New York State.
    Kathee also helped save over $4 million for Springs taxpayers with relentless attention to detail. The two budgets she sent to voters as board president totaled $25 million each year and received 76-percent and 77-percent voter approval.
    I urge you to vote for Kathee. If elected, she will be dedicated to providing an effective government tuned to the voice of the people, and one that we can all afford. Thank you.

Willingness to Step Up
    October 19, 2013

Dear Editor,
    I have known Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for over 15 years. I have seen her commitment to her family, her willingness to step up and do the work for our wonderful Springs School, and I am delighted to see her step forward and run for a place on our town board. Her good sense and consideration and her willingness to listen to all opinions (not just the ones she agrees with) are truly commendable. I have always admired her dedication to her job, her family, and the school that my children grew up in, as do hers. She has never shirked from the tough decisions that she has had to make for the Springs School, and she has gladly and with great grace met the challenges of representing the diverse community that I am grateful to call home. I hope to have her represent me and my family on the new town board, and I encourage East Hampton to give her their vote.

Has the Qualities
    October 21, 2013

Dear David,
    I have a confession: I am a retired school teacher who never had a good word to say about any school board member. Those I met in my school district were would-be-bureaucrats, mostly uninformed, and uninvolved with the community who had seriously undeveloped people skills and did not know how to work with staff.
    But now I have met and observed a school board member and leader who has made me eat my words. Kathy Burke-Gonzalez has the qualities that were so missing in my past experience. She has energy and intelligence, people-skills in abundance, the willingness and ability and disposition to negotiate. Add to the mix a strong commitment to the community. Ms. Burke-Gonzalez is a doer. These qualities, I believe, will make her a way-above-average town board member.

Highest Confidence
    October 20, 2013

Dear Editor,
    I first met Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, a candidate for East Hampton Town Board, when I served as president of the Springs School PTA. After I was elected to the Springs School Board in 2011, Kathee and I worked together very closely, balancing what is best for our kids with what our community can afford.
    Kathee served the Springs School District in very challenging times for both public education and the Springs community. The board faced a diverse set of challenges in managing our school finances, including ones unique to the Springs community.
    During her tenure, the board grappled with how to meet the educational requirements for our Kindergarten-through-grade-eight students during a time marked by economic decline, continued enrollment growth, shifting demographics, and rising costs to tuition students to high school. Despite the financial challenges, Springs School middle school is now ranked 69th out of 1,100 middle schools in New York State.
    What impressed me was Kathee’s astute sense of business, especially when it came to negotiating a fair high school tuition rate. Through careful analysis and sound management she helped Springs taxpayers avoid $4 million in cost.
    Kathee listened to what parents and the community valued so she could understand our concerns and priorities. She communicated the issues facing our school and offered up solutions. Her leadership style was instrumental in passing our budgets with a three-to-one voter approval.
    I have the highest confidence in Kathee’s judgment. Her strong moral values serve as her guide. Kathee never shied away from taking on difficult problems, confirming to me that she possesses the integrity and the passion for community that we need on our town board.
    On Election Day, I ask that you vote with me for Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for town board.

Leadership Style
    East Hampton
    October 18, 2013

Dear David,
    I heard Kathee Burke-Gonzalez’s ad on the radio this week. I’m glad she is stressing her budget acumen in her radio ads, because most people have no idea of the scale of a school as an enterprise. They imagine that it is a piddling affair when, in fact, the Springs School has a $25 million annual budget — 25 percent larger than that of the Village of East Hampton.
    The management of a school district is also considerably more complex and difficult than that of either a town or a village. School boards have to face the public in a manner that village and local government do not, because local governments have the absolute power of taxation. In contrast, the school district has to make its case directly to the voters.
    During Kathee’s tenure on the Springs School Board, all nine budgets that Kathee was responsible for were voted on and passed by the Springs community. And the two budgets that Kathee developed as board president received 76 percent and 77 percent voter approval. That is no doubt a direct result of her participatory leadership style.
    Finally, there are not many things that people care more about than their kids’ education. If you think town government is tough, try facing parents; it’s like nothing on earth.
    That is why I am supporting Kathee for East Hampton Town Board. She has the tact, diplomacy, and skills to tackle the serious issues facing our town. And when she says, “We’ll get the government we need, at a price we can all afford‚” you can believe her.

Strange Man
    October 21, 2013

Dear David,
    So who is this guy, Fred Overton, who has emerged from the shadows? I know he used to be listed on the East Hampton Democratic Web site as the town clerk, a Democrat. So what happened? Now he is running as a Republican? Having read it, I know that he has been the town clerk for years, but before he stepped into the role of candidate, I didn’t know who he was or what he looked like.
    If you’re thinking I have never been to the office of the town clerk, think again. Like any resident, be it part time in 2002 to 2004 to my full-time residency thereafter, I have been in that office dozens of times for all sorts of reasons. Never saw Mr. Overton. Never! Where was he? Only Carole Brennan or one of the other women helped me and my and family to fulfill our needs.
    I have gone to and watched board meetings since about 2006. It was Carole Brennan who sat in the seat and acted as town clerk. Suddenly weeks ago, in the election season, a strange man with a different voice appeared at the board meetings. “Who is he?” I wondered. It’s the real, elected town clerk, Fred Overton. Where has he been all these years? And now he has surfaced as a Republican again, as he was earlier in his career — obviously, a man of convictions.
    I have heard Mr. Overton talk, and he loves to say how he will work with the Democratic majority, implying that the Democrats already have the majority so therefore we should elect him. Why? To be clear, as town clerk, and the other positions he has held, he has never worked as a legislator or made policy.
    I heard him say that Larry Cantwell should have someone on the board who is not a Democrat, so he is not overwhelmed by Democrats. How silly is that? Larry Cantwell is running with two worthy candidates as his team. As a matter of fact, that is their slogan, “a team that unites.” Never is there a mention of Fred Overton as a member of the team. And if he knew Mr. Cantwell, he would know he is a strong-minded man who will serve as a leader and is never overwhelmed by anyone.
    Watching the proceedings of the town board at last Thursday night’s meeting when a walk-on resolution was handed to the two Democrats about the Army Corps of Engineers’ method of securing the shore of Montauk, maybe the most important decision the members of the board would make during their tenure about the most crucial issue facing the town, I was appalled that the two Democrats had not even been given the courtesy of the time to read the resolution. Nor was their request to have the Army Corps give them the free data about the cost of moving things back from an ocean, which will surely devour the coast of Montauk anyway in years to come, an unreasonable one.
    How many times do we have to live through Republicans running rough­shod over the needs of the people to protect their interests?
    Town or federal government, Republicans are shortsighted and willful, like petulant children. No thanks, Fred.

Nothing for Springs
    October 16, 2013

Dear Editor,
    Many registered Democrats will go to the polls and automatically check the D column for “the team.” As both a Demo­crat and Springs resident, I urge voters to consider the consequences of such an action.
    The Democrats have done nothing for Springs and its residents, who have been traipsing repeatedly for two years to town meetings to ask for help. When Dominick Stanzione became the swing vote he publicly announced that he would work with the Democrats to enact laws to help the people of Springs. The Democrats refused, and, behind the scenes, they admitted it was more important that they do nothing to help Mr. Stanzione look good. Politics before people! “Vote for us, and we’ll help you when we get in” was the message they sent out. Getting their lackluster candidates to the board was their primary goal.
    If Larry Cantwell is the only Democrat elected, the current Democratic council members on the board, Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc, will be accountable to the voters in the next election in two years. During that time, conscious of their political future, they will weigh their accountability to the voters against the dictates of their party (re: illegally overcrowded houses and a rental registry).
    If Job Potter and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez are elected, voters effectively lose their power for four years. Anything more than three Democrats on the board is a bad thing for East Hampton. If future Supervisor Cantwell’s plan on an issue differed from the Democratic party line they could vote him down and stick to the decrees of the party bosses. Larry Cantwell is his own man, and we’re hoping he will choose to do what is right for our community. It would be unfortunate if the political interests of an unbalanced board were to stifle his efforts to bring about change.
    Increasingly, our local politics is controlled by a small group who finance the campaigns, pull the strings, and the soldiers who do their bidding.
    The voters are not well served by this system.
    Both Councilman Stanzione and Fred Overton have years of experience working on town issues. They have already shown the capacity, temperament, and willingness to work well with the supervisor and other board members.
    A board with representatives from both parties is what is best for the town at this time. Neither party has earned the right to total control. Voters should keep their power and not relinquish it to those who haven’t earned it. Let’s protect ourselves: three to two is the way to go. Beware if any party has complete control.

Bring Civility Back
    East Hampton
    October 21, 2013

Dear David,
    Well it’s that time of year again. Who should you vote for?
    The supervisor contest is fairly well settled, and Larry Cantwell will be a great supervisor, a supervisor who will lead in a bipartisan, or truly nonpartisan, way, guided by what he sees as best for the town. He will do what he believes is best for the town, not just what is best for a few supporters. It would be wise to elect to work with Larry the board members he has endorsed: Job Potter and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez. The Republican candidates are just not up to the task.
    Fred Overton is a candidate running for the wrong job. With a great staff he was okay as town clerk, but with Fred running for the board his policy-making decisions come into question. A well-known local, he has been on the town payroll a long time, although never in a policy-making capacity. In fact the only decision I remember him making was to throw out the petition for a permissive referendum, signed by 630 East Hampton citizens, depriving the town’s voters of the chance to vote on the Ronjo mess. To me, that was the day he joined Team Wilkinson and lost my vote. Remember: A vote for Fred is a vote for Team Wilkinson.
    Dominick Stanzione, who was elected four years ago as a charter member of Team Wilkinson, recently tried acting as though he had developed an independent streak. He started running away from Team Wilkie and toward re-election. That illusion of independence was shattered on Thursday night when the gang that couldn’t collaborate straight crammed through a batch of walk-on resolutions, with Dominick casting the critical votes. Remember a vote for Dominick is a vote for Team Wilkinson.
    Job Potter and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez are running with Larry Cantwell to do something about the illegal over-occupancy of single-family houses in Springs, the overcrowded nightclubs and the out-of-control public intoxication in Montauk. Team Cantwell, Potter, and Burke-Gonzalez will bring civility back to the town we all love.
    Kathee has a wonderful and relevant record as a school board president, which is unpaid public service dealing with multimillion-dollar budgets. Job was a pioneer in the land preservation and environmental protection policies that have made East Hampton one of the last great places in the world.
    A vote for the Democratic team is a vote for an East Hampton we all can all be proud of.
    Please cast your vote for the Democratic team. Vote row A.
    Truly yours,

    Mr. Taylor is a Democratic candidate for East Hampton Town trustee. Ed.

Good Team Player
    East Hampton
    October 21, 2013

To the Editor,
    Some of the people who write you about favored candidates seem to be unable to promote their choices without denigrating (oh, let’s call a spade a spade, badmouthing) another one. I wish they would grow up.
    I am so grown up that I am a really old lady, and this is my promotion: I think experience that prepares you for a job is very important, and Joseph B. Potter has just the right sort of experience. He knows all about being on the town board. When Job finished his last stint, we of the Accabonac Protection Committee felt he had served with such distinction that we gave him a Friend of the Creek award, and we don’t give many of those. He was a specialist in open-space preservation, and in guarding the quality of life in our town by small-lot acquisition. He was concerned about pollution of groundwater and its impact on creeks and bays; all these issues are even more important today than they were then.
    Another thing everyone should think about is what an extremely good team player Job is. He is a gentleman, and can listen to what his constituents have on their minds. But he can also work well with fellow board members, some of whom have been languishing for lack of collaborators.
    Job’s qualities have been in short supply lately, and we need them! I think we’re all very lucky he’s willing to have another go at it!
    Ever hopeful,

Back to Work
    October 20, 2013

    Job Potter served two terms on the town board, from 1998 to 2005. As coordinator for open space, he managed the purchase of more than 2,000 acres of new publicly owned beaches and beach access, forest for wildlife and groundwater protection, beautiful, rich farmland now dedicated forever to agriculture, and historic buildings. It is a legacy for East Hampton that we can all be proud of.
    Where are we today? Listening to the current town board majority is like taking a long, hot drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic with three cranky children in the back seat. Rather than protect or expand this policy, we saw a decision by the Republican majority to sell Fort Pond House and its precious acreage.
    Our great tradition of being a national environmental leader, of adding to and protecting our natural spaces, creating affordable housing for working families, as a compassionate government committed to helping local youth and senior citizens — what happened to that East Hampton Town government?
    I urge you to return Job Potter to the town board, and he, with Larry Cantwell as supervisor, will get town government back to work in a fiscally responsible way. We can then return to forward-looking, positive, and creative government, with a town board that sets aside personal squabbling and name-calling and puts the town and its people’s interests first.

Sycophantic Comments
    East Hampton
    October 24, 2013

To the Editor,
    After 15 days of a government shutdown, a complement of the Republican Party and their radical Tea Party members, my attention is now on our local elections. Mr. Stanzione is running for re-election, but this time as an Independent. I saw his full-page ad in The Star and on the bottom were the sycophantic comments by local citizens urging voters to re-elect Mr. Stanzione.
    I suppose Mr. Stanzione’s party switch is an acknowledgment of his original party’s destruction and degradation of this town and country. This was a smart move on Mr. Stanzione’s part.
    However, those local citizens touting Mr. Stanzione’s upstanding political record may not have been such a smart move. I know one of them and have had the unfortunate experience of witnessing his sophomoric and self-ingratiating style. Mr. Stanzione’s choice of local endorsements makes me wonder if he is anything like the people who endorse him. If he is, well then, I’ll use the word my little boy uses when he sees something distasteful, “Yuck.”

Lame-Duck Session
    East Hampton
    October 21, 2013

Dear David:
    I attended the debate held by the Concerned Citizens of Montauk at the Montauk firehouse on Sunday, at which candidates for supervisor, town board, and other positions were present. I came prepared with a question for Dominic Stanzione, the objective of which was to see whether he would agree not to vote without the concurrence of the new Demo­cratic majority that will take office on Jan. 1, on three matters now pending that will permanently affect the future of the town of East Hampton. I use the term Democratic majority because with Larry Cantwell running unopposed he will, together with the two currently sitting Democrats, constitute a majority even if no other Democrats are elected.
    I’m talking about the lame-duck session, between now and the time that the newly elected supervisor and town board members take office in January.
    The three matters now being considered by the town board are the rezoning of prime agricultural land to allow for a 79-unit condo project at 555 Montauk Highway in Amagansett; an agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers to revet the Montauk shoreline, and an arrangement with the Federal Aviation Authority regarding the East Hampton Town Airport.
    Mr. Stanzione knows that the Democratic incumbents and Mr. Cantwell have a different position than he does on these matters, and so for me it is a question of whether he has the integrity to allow the will of a majority of the voters of East Hampton, through their representatives, to decide these matters — the resolution of which will have permanent effects, i.e., despoiling the landscape of Amagansett, preservation of the shoreline of Montauk in the most efficacious way so as to preserve that shoreline and assure that the town will not be saddled with future undefined financial obligations, and retaining control of noise levels emanating from the airport.
    Mr. Stanzione responded in the most cavalier way. He said, “I will not sit on my hands for the next three months.” I believe that means he will follow the agenda of his Republican colleagues, which is to enable the owner of land zoned agricultural, and a real estate developer, to make a windfall by building small apartments and small houses for prices starting at above $1 million and up, way up; rushing into an agreement with the Army Corp of Engineers (he said the funding will be lost, and that is a falsehood), and accepting F.A.A. money in exchange for giving up control of noise.
    His anointment of Mr. Wilkinson as the savior of Montauk is laughable. What supervisor wouldn’t have reached out to Senator Schumer and Congressman Bishop for help?
    What we learned from Mr. Stan­zione’s response is that he does not have the interests of the people of East Hampton in mind. He continues to cater to narrow special interests, regardless of the harm that he may do to the quality of life of most of us.
    What we the people of East Hampton should do is not vote for him.

Lack of Compliance
    Sag Harbor
    October 20, 2013

Dear Sir,
    I am a resident of Northside Hills in Sag Harbor and am concerned that aircraft operators using East Hampton Airport do not seem to respect either the rights of homeowners or prescribed flight routes.
    It has been widely reported that aircraft should maintain an altitude of at least 2,000 feet, with a flight path over Jessup’s Neck. This past summer, residents in our community found continuing lack of conformity with these rules, with serious consequences to the quiet enjoyment of property in the Northside Hills community.
    These rules were put in place to afford a workable solution for all. They allow aircraft operators to pursue their activities, with minimum disruption to the rights of homeowners. A win-win to be sure. Thus, the current lack of compliance is a needless disruption to the well-being of affected homeowners.
    The failure to comply with these common-sense rules is a clear demonstration of lack of good faith by aircraft operators.
    Those elected to represent us must realize that these issues literally affect us where we live. We implore them to act accordingly.
    Yours truly,

Noise and Air
    East Hampton
    October 21, 2013

Dear David,
    Once again, policy and decision-making regarding East Hampton Airport has generated controversy. Things would be so easy with that place if it were simply run like the business that it is, instead of morphing into a perennial political football.
    At last Thursday night’s board meeting, Councilman Dominick Stanzione introduced a resolution to pay for engineering projects that had either already been performed without first receiving town board approval or that have yet to be performed without first receiving town board approval. Frustrating, to say the least.
    Based upon this, the East Hampton Aviation Association, led by Tom Twomey, has artfully contrived a report to their members congratulating Councilman Stanzione on finally wrestling town approval for another 20-year contract with the Federal Aviation Administration. This is patently untrue and clearly a tactic to stimulate contributions to Mr. Stanzione’s campaign from this wealthy cohort, as aviation association members are asked, in this same message, to financially support the councilman’s campaign to ensure his re-election.
    Why would Councilman Stanzione propose this project at this time? One might surmise that his re-election campaign needs funding and what better way than to promise Tom Twomey and the other well-heeled members of the East Hampton Aviation Association unhindered access to the airport, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for the next 20 years?
    I remind your readers that the impact of unmitigated aircraft noise destroys the peaceful enjoyment of our homes and properties, lowers our property values, spoils precious environmental habitat, and creates a negative impact on community character that will last for decades to come. In spite of aviation association assertions to the contrary, the trend at East Hampton airport is growth and with that growth comes unwanted and unmitigated aircraft noise and air tainted by poisonous jet fuel.
    The upcoming election presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the outcome will determine airport policy going forward for the next 20 years. Never have we come so close to airport management based on values the community holds dear, rather than the mercenary vision the F.A.A./Twomey/Stanzione machine and aviation interests wish to unleash on our airport.
    I urge your readers to be sure to make their voices heard and insist that candidates embrace the peaceful quality of life that underpins our economy, as well as our neighborhood character.
    Our elected officials must recognize and embrace the interdependency of quality-of-life issues like airport noise and its influence on the environment, both natural and economic.
    Life as we know it, not only here in East Hampton but on the entire East End, is completely dependent upon the vision of our elected leaders to appropriately assess what is truly valuable and the strength of character to prioritize the needs of the great majority over the desires of a precious few.

Stanzione’s Deceit
    Sag Harbor
    October 21, 2013

Dear Editor,
    The extent to which an elected official like Dominick Stanzione will attempt to deceive the community is astounding in the face of irrefutable video evidence of his deceit at town meetings. Equally astonishing is the extent to which big spenders, including the East Hampton Aviation Association, remain resolutely complicit in Mr. Stanzione’s deceit by funding deceptive advertising endorsing him for re-election citing “progress” Mr. Stanzione purportedly made on airport issues.
    The reality is that Mr. Stanzione has consistently misled the community and fellow board members on the extent of animal strikes at our airport in an effort to secure Federal Aviation Administration funding for a deer fence, yet the F.A.A. records only five animal strikes occurred over an 11-year period at our airport, none fatal to humans. On the control tower, stating throughout 2012 that the mobile control tower was to be a temporary structure for two years until its effectiveness could be evaluated; less than 8 months later, he spearheaded the demand for the permanent structure now in place. On costs of erecting the control tower as well as its annual operating costs, which far exceed budgeted allotments.
    He also falsely promoted the tower as a noise-mitigation measure — to the day the F.A.A. publicly announced that the tower was for safety and efficiency (to cope with increased traffic), and at no point could the tower to be considered a noise-abatement tool, yet both Mr. Stanzione and the airport association continue to imply the tower is a noise-abatement tool, and they have proposed no other noise abatement protocol.
    He directed flight paths be changed, sending 80 percent of in and outbound traffic over a single route, away from the homes of his wealthy puppet masters. He did so without consulting other board members or seeking board approval. He consistently denied — from the podium of Town Hall — that he did so. He authorized work on other airport issues without consulting fellow board members, then submitted for payment invoices for work that had been completed even before purchase orders had been prepared.
    He worked behind closed doors with the F.A.A. and aviation interests to have our already noise-problem airport designated a “regional” airport (is noise more acceptable to the F.A.A. if an airport is designated “regional” not “municipal?”)
    Recent letters to the editor in The Star indicate that Mr. Stanzione has misrepresented other issues of great concern to the community. The man behind the ingratiating smile has proven he cannot be trusted to defend the public interest. He has demonstrated a persistent devotion to deception while serving on the town board. His supervisor and fellow party member, Bill Wilkinson, stated, “Dominick’s track record, which has included unauthorized letter signings representing the town, pandering to certain interest groups, reneging on organizational and recruitment strategies, personally rerouting incoming and exiting aircraft, misrepresentations in general — has led to an atmosphere of distrust, by me. . . .” (The East Hampton Star, March 14). At a town board meeting a few months later, Theresa Quigley, a fellow party member and deputy supervisor, said he was “running rogue” on airport issues.
    Voters beware. Mr. Stanzione recently responded to a questionnaire from the local environmental coalition that he believes that “F.A.A. grants should proceed expediously.” (His poor spelling, not mine.) Based on past actions, he will use whatever nefarious means available to appease his aviation masters and will push for board acceptance of F.A.A. funding before the end of the current board term. Such action will result in another 20 years shackled to the F.A.A. while that agency funds the expansion projects so desired by profiteering aviation interests and which will ensure the airport remains open 24-7, 365 to even more helicopters, seaplanes, and ever-larger aircraft. That has happened in small local airports around the country, to the chagrin of residents who too late realized that the touted economic benefits do not outweigh the increasing noise over broader flight paths, from additional flight schools, plummeting property values, increasing noise and toxic air pollution, and horrendous consequences on health exposed in recently published studies. We will not be exempted from those horrors. It will happen at our airport — now an F.A.A.-designated “regional” airport — if even one dollar of F.A.A. money is accepted.
    Do not be deceived by the airport association’s flashy advertising in a well-crafted campaign of deception by those with deeply vested interests in expanding our airport.
    Mr. Stanzione is far from an independent voice on the town board. His record of compliance to all demands of the aviation interests demonstrate he will not serve the best interests of our community. If voters do not hold accountable elected officials, those officials with personal agendas will continue to run rogue. Mr. Stanzione must go.

Airport Poster Boy
    October 20, 2013

Dear David:
    Has anyone else noticed that as our “smaller and quieter” airport gets busier, dirtier, and noisier the East Hampton Aviation ads get larger and more frequent?
    And, at the same time, campaign ads for smiling airport poster boy Dominick (Joe Isuzu) Stanzione are appearing on almost every single printed newspaper page and local Internet site. Meanwhile, a careful review of Mr. Stanzione’s four-year stint on the town board reveals a record almost completely opposite from the claims in his advertisements.
    The disingenuous airport ads are so eerily similar to the disingenuous Stanzione campaign ads, is it possible that the same people are responsible for the message in both? Oh wait, they are the same folks!
    If you can’t blind ’em with brilliance, I guess you can baffle ’em with bullshit.
    A vote for Dominick Stanzione is a vote for louder helicopters in Wainscott, larger houses in Amagansett, more all-night parties in Montauk, and, most important, less transparency in East Hampton Town government.

Outrageous Amounts
    October 21, 2013

Dear Editor,
    It was frightening to watch Dominick Stanzione, a current town board member and candidate for re-election, push through two airport-related town resolutions with the help of Bill Wilkinson and Theresa Quigley. 
    Why was it frightening? One resolution had never been discussed at a town board work session before its surprising appearance at last Thursday’s town board meeting. The other resolution did not follow town financial policy, touted by Len Bernard, the budget director, as absolutely necessary in order to ensure fiscal responsibility. That resolution did not have a funding source from the current budget. Where will the $80,000 come from for engineering services for a deer fence or security fence? It is not in the budget, and the airport has already overspent engineering services and attorney fees by $160,000 this year without the addition of the new $80,000.
    Frightening, too, is that all of the overages at the airport were not authorized projects voted on by the town board. Mr. Stanzione, with cover from Ms. Quigley and Mr. Wilkinson, has been allowed to spend outrageous amounts of money on nonessential airport projects, including an unauthorized trip to Washington, D.C., with the high-priced airport attorney to ostensibly speak with Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Tim Bishop — all at taxpayer expense!
    Mr. Stanzione is repeating the phrase that four years ago, Mr. Wilkinson “plucked” him out of all the people in East Hampton to help him right the financial ship, but now shows his true abilities and interests by overspending for his pet project, the East Hampton Airport, and having taxpayers pay expenses for airfare, hotels, and expensive dinners. 
    Mr. Stanzione smiles and feigns surprise that anyone would call his financial dealings slimy or lack of public discussion unnecessary. He works for others, not the people of East Hampton. We cannot afford four more years of his behind-closed-door dealings and mishandling of town airport money.

Present Form?
    East Hampton
    October 20, 2013

Dear David:
    Ask anyone in this community: “If East Hampton Airport did not exist and someone proposed that it be created in its present form, what are the chances that this community would allow it?” Of course it would not be permitted. Repeat: it would not be permitted. So, when anyone (Dominick Stanzione, Ben Krupinski, Tom Twomey, Fred Overton) talks of taking Federal Aviation Administration funding to perpetuate something that is clearly not in the overall best interest of this community, an informed citizen would have to say, “No. That would be stupid. That would be selfish, shortsighted, harmful to thousands of innocent people — and stupid.”

Reject F.A.A. Funding
    Sag Harbor
    October 21, 2013

Dear Editor,
    I am a resident of Sag Harbor and I am concerned that aircraft operators using East Hampton Airport do not seem to respect either the rights of homeowners or prescribed flight routes. The proposed step to accept Federal Aviation Administration funding for the security fence at the airport would immediately indenture all those suffering from aircraft noise to another 20 years of misery.  We strongly urge our elected representatives to reject all such F.A.A. funding.
    It has been widely reported that aircraft should maintain an altitude of at least 2,000 feet, with a flight path over Jessup’s Neck. Recently, residents in Sag Harbor find continuing lack of conformity with these rules, with serious consequences to the quiet enjoyment of their property.
    These rules were put in place to afford a workable solution for all. They allow aircraft operators to pursue their activities, with minimum disruption to the rights of homeowners. Thus, the current lack of compliance is a needless disruption to the well-being of affected homeowners.
    The failure to comply with these common-sense rules is a clear demonstration of lack of good faith by aircraft operators.
    Those elected to represent us must realize these issues literally affect us where we live. We implore them to act accordingly.

Meant to Mislead
    East Hampton
    October 20, 2013

Dear David,
    Once again, the East Hampton Aviation Association has chosen to make false statements regarding our airport and Federal Aviation Administration funding in its recent full-page advertisement.
    I feel my friends and neighbors should be made aware of the real facts, especially as we approach Nov. 5 and vote for a new town board. It is imperative for the public to remember that the F.A.A. is in the business of the promotion of aircraft flight and not noise control.
    Last spring, during a meeting held at our town-owned airport, Dominick Stanzione and a representative from the F.A.A. stated to the members of the East Hampton Aviation Association that the installation of the tower was never intended to assist in the mitigation of aircraft noise. However, prior to that private meeting, Mr. Stanzione continually asserted to the town board and the public that the function of the tower was to assist in diminishing noise pollution. Furthermore, the first temporary air tower employees confirmed that the sole purpose for the tower was to assist in communication with pilots as they approached or departed, but was not for noise mitigation and never had been.
    The function of an airport tower is not to assist in minimizing aircraft noise. On the contrary, the tower was installed for safety because the airport is heavily trafficked. In past years when air traffic was nominal, there was no need for a tower.
    We personally own a radio that picks up communication between the air tower and pilots as they enter a two-mile radius from the airport. There is no mention of noise control from either ground or pilot, nor would we expect there to be. For the association and Mr. Stanzione to insist the tower helps to mitigate noise is absurd and, frankly, insulting to the public. 
    Therefore, the statement in the ad that says the tower assists in noise mitigation is 100-percent false and purposefully meant to mislead constituents.
    Question: To what expense have we, the taxpayers, unwittingly paid for this tower? Ask Mr. Stanzione since he authorized the tower installation and purchase. The cost was far more than he originally quoted to the town board.
    Airport traffic has increased, not diminished. Again, the installation of the tower is proof of the increase in aircraft traffic. In fact, by mid-July of 2012, amidst a high volume of complaints citing intolerable noise pollution by helicopters, seaplanes, corporate and private jets, and other winged aircraft, Mr. Stanzione arranged to have all traffic diverted over our Southampton neighbors, thereby creating a false perception of fewer aircraft in East Hampton.
    Soon, the residents of Southampton complained bitterly to their representatives, and this past summer, once again, the disruptive aircraft traffic reappeared over East Hampton residences. This maneuver by Mr. Stanzione and his friends is dishonest politics.
    Traffic Map: East Hampton Airport has a map that colorfully illustrates the actual flight paths. Most of us would be shocked to see it, perhaps even horrified, as so much of East Hampton is now under a flight pattern. With far more flights to our airport, the risk for a serious accident has greatly increased and that is cause for the tower installation.
    Real estate: As a licensed real estate broker, I can assure your readers that with the increase of aircraft traffic and noise pollution over various areas of our communities, real estate investments are being negatively impacted. The market value of any property that is under a flight pattern is considerably devalued.
    Buyers and renters now ask about the notorious air traffic and want to steer clear of properties that are impacted. Sale and rental prices reflect the growing problem as the routes for incoming and outgoing traffic multiply. This affects our local economy. Should taxpayers begin to reassess their annual taxes?
    It would seem the real goal of the East Hampton Aviation Association is to support the expansion of our current airport, despite their denial. In fact, the association spins the truth so the public believes they are just a bunch of private pilots enjoying weekend pleasure flying. However, the “front bunch” is just a ruse. The real effort is that of far bigger and profitable business.
    By insisting the town commit to F.A.A. funding, we commit to 20 years of its total control. The association is clear in its motive: With the town tied to the ball and chain of the F.A.A., expansion is a natural progression and so is the potential for great profit. In essence, East Hampton would surrender ownership to the F.A.A. and the business expansion of the airport would commence.
    As owners of the airport, the town and we, the people, will effectively lose control of reasonable and sensible rights to protect and preserve our community from egregious aircraft pollution and noise. Twenty years is a long time — plenty of time to destroy our environment and the peace and quiet we cherish.
    The veiled approach by the East End Aviation Association to sell our community members on false assertions assumes that we are factually ignorant or worse, complacent. The facts are available to any person who wishes to know what the law permits and what the F.A.A. is entitled to do if we accept F.A.A. funding. (The town board is actively pursuing F.A.A. funding as I write.)
    Deer Fence: We do not have to “sell out” to the F.A.A. to build a deer fence. Fear-mongering by the association and Mr. Stanzione would like us to believe it is safety alone that motivates their call for F.A.A. funding and if you oppose F.A.A. funding you oppose safety. We know better. With proper fees assigned to aircraft owners there should be enough funding to provide for the deer fence. Therein lies the ruse.
    The airport is a town-owned asset. As responsible citizens and leaders, the airport must and should be properly maintained for safety for all pilots and passengers. However, it is a small community airport and it should remain as such.

Blindfolded We Go
    Sag Harbor
    October 21, 2013

Dear David,
    I just bought a book of stamps and am once again confronted by the waving American flag, an image embedded in the American psyche. My questions: How many times have you seen what I have seen? Are these flags becoming a hollow ring for freedom and democracy manipulating the way we think, or, worse yet, what we believe?
    One final question: When was the last time we have seen flags flying over a nation so extreme? A time for self-reflection, or blindfolded we go in the darkness below.
    In peace,

A Little Presumptuous?
    East Hampton
    October 18, 2013

Dear David,
    Re: A Better Solution? God asked me to respond to Ginny R. Schmidt:
    A little presumptuous, don’t you think?

Greed and Stupidity
    East Hampton
    October 20, 2013

To the Editor:
    Complicity without responsibility has been the mantra of U.S. capitalism since the early 1980s. From the time that Reagan ascended to the presidency and Chicago became the ideological beacon of our economic growth we have removed ourselves from the mantra of personal responsibility and focused on greed and stupidity. From Reagan, Chicago, the NeoCons, Clinton, and the Tea Party, the relentless rape of the American people was always accompanied by an asterisk stating don’t blame us.
    The acceptance of fraud as a way of life instead of a repugnant criminal act colors our political and economic existence. Fraud, not always obvious, but filled with grains of truth that are then exaggerated and distorted, is the accepted M.O. of the past 30 years. Once initiated, the fraud takes on a life of its own and moves from spurious inference to accepted reality.
    The Iraq war became an irrepressible action despite the absurdity of the acquisitions and the idiocy of the aluminum tube scam. Saddam was a threat to someone, but certainly not to us.
    The 2008 financial collapse, highlighted by derivative schemes, packaging bad mortgages, and the insanity of betting on failure, could have been averted at dozens of points in the process. Yet, knowing that underpinnings of the financial boom were doomed to collapse was not sufficient to overcome the obvious fraud that had been perpetuated. The ride was worth the result and while Wall Street has been chastened and slapped, the punishment never came close to justifying the crime.
    The Tea Party fiasco around the government shutdown is the grossest fraud of all. It’s betrayal on the cusp of treason. Obsession and delusion presented as rational and reality-based. Racism aside, but unquestionably racist, the Tea Party program was not to improve on the Affordable Care Act and fix the budget deficit, but to diminish the government. Hendrik Hertzberg writes in The New Yorker that the Tea Party goals don’t match the Confederacy’s but are essentially the same.
    So, if Obama caved and pushed back the health care act, what difference would it have made? If the deficit disappeared or was programmed to, would it alter the basic economic decline of 270 million people?
    What does it mean to diminish or remake the government in their imagery? Is it “get the government out of our Medicare?” Or something more logical, less stupid?
    Is it simply a case of impotent white men whose tools no longer serve a purpose, taking their frustrations out on the rest of the country because they are unable to beat their wives?
    Our system functions when the middle is the clearing house for social and economic development. When we live on the extremes we realize only dysfunction. Because of its obsessions and its intransigence, the Tea Party has rendered itself a useless bag of crap. Hopefully it will fade away sooner than later.

Thoughtful Dissent
    East Hampton
    October 16, 2013

Dear Editor,
    While lying flat on his back in bed in a military hospital with IV lines and life-support assistance and obviously in pain while recovering from the almost-fatal wounds he received in Afghanistan, Cpl. Josh Hargis awoke and raised his right hand in a salute to his commanding officer who was there to present him with a Purple Heart.
    The photo of that effort by Corporal Hargis has been seen by hundreds of thousands on YouTube and led me to think that this brave young American hero was the epitome and model of the thousands of American soldiers who have given their lives and bodies to protect our way of life, while today we have other Americans at home, acting, out of the line of fire, to destroy it.
    To watch one Larry Clayman, of some self-styled group called Judicial Watch, stand with a megaphone, before a gathering of American veterans, with two United States senators, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, on the podium, at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington and denounce the president of the United States with scathing and insulting words, and call for the president to leave and for a nonviolent revolution‚ with not a word of dissent a la Senator John McCain during his presidential run, from the two elected U.S. senators standing by, made me angry and almost sick to my stomach.
    It is our presidents’ almost-sacred duty not to lightly put our soldiers in harm’s way. But President George Bush, after being convinced by the warped cajoling and false intelligence and conjecture of neocons like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and others, commenced a horrible, unprovoked war in Iraq.
    Barack Obama, once he was elected, stopped that war in Iraq, ended our participation in the fighting in Afghanistan, avoided entering the Syrian or Libyan conflicts, refused to precipitously attack Iran, and kept our kids, like Corporal Hargis, out of danger.
    Barack Obama may have his faults and may have made mistakes while in office, but what man in that job wouldn’t? This president adheres strictly to the aforesaid principle not to put our armed forces at risk unless absolutely necessary.
    President Obama is not responsible for the deaths of thousands of our young men and women in that unprovoked and unnecessary war in Iraq nor for the hundreds of thousands of civilian lives and casualties, the so-called “collateral damage” of a war. He seeks peace through nonviolent means, using force only against those that seek to harm us and he has done that over and over again.
    Hand in hand with those sentiments, let me say that one may and should, if that is your bent, disagree with any president, his policies, his legislation priorities, and his legacy, but do not disgrace and degrade the history of this great republic with vile, meanspirited, seditionist comments while attempting to garner political advantage, and certainly stop avoiding longstanding constitutional principals by shutting down the government to gain a contrary, minority point of view. In other words, strengthen our democracy with thoughtful dissent but don’t weaken it with thoughtless and destructive venom.