Letters to the Editor: 11.07.13

Our readers' comments

To Serve All People
    East Hampton
    November 5, 2013

Dear David,  
    I want to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone for the warm and generous reception I have received as a candidate for supervisor.
    When I announced my intention to run seven months ago I fully expected a competitive campaign. Even though this did not occur, I have worked hard attending many public events, campaigning in public places and in candidate forums. I know how important it is to listen to the concerns and opinions of voters and how it helps mold a candidate for public office.
    There are tough issues the town board must address over the next two years and I know there will be some different opinions about how best to resolve them. I will use my lifetime of experience living in East Hampton and 37 years of experience as a public official listening to different points of view and finding reasonable solutions.
    I am grateful for the encouragement you have given me and look forward to the opportunity to serve all the people of our town.    

    Thank you,

Man of the Year
    October 29, 2013

Dear David,
    Isn’t it good in these troubled times to see that some good deeds do not go unpunished.
    The Montauk Chamber of Commerce’s choice of Chip Duryea (Perry Duryea III) as its Man of the Year is encouraging and heartwarming for this courageous man who quietly gives a helping hand to folks who have run into bad luck, devoting time, the other stuff when he can, but always there for his community and for someone in need.
    I know the love of his life, his wife, Wendy, must be so proud, as well as Amy and Erica.
    Thanks for the feel-good, Montauk Chamber of Commerce.


Here For You
    Sag Harbor
    October 31, 2013

To the Editor,
    The East Hampton Lions Club is here for you.
    When our family was in need of a wheelchair for our dad, the East Hampton Lions Club provided us with one.
    We would like to thank the East Hampton Lions Club for taking on this service to the community.

    For the George Family

In Memory
    November 4, 2013

To the Editor,
    In memory of the three men from the Montauk-based fishing vessel Joni Renee — they lost their lives 35 years ago, after a collision with a Japanese tanker.
    Captain Dick Vigilant, Claude Maillet, and Ray (Whitey) Banks. These men died doing what they loved. Still thinking of you.


Chilean Sea Bass
    Sag Harbor
    October 31, 2013

Dear Editor,
    The menu at Sen said “sea bass.” When the dish arrived, it was obviously Chilean sea bass. The server insisted it came from the Atlantic Ocean, but the chef later acknowledged it was sea bass from Chile — which is on every respected list of fish to avoid because of mismanagement, excessive by-catch, and heath issues.
    Chilean sea bass can live to be 50 years old, and mature rather late, so fishing them in an unsustainable fashion endangers their existence.
    The Blue Ocean Institute says Chilean sea bass has mercury levels or P.C.B.s that may pose a health risk to adults and children. It recommends using Alaskan sablefish or black cod instead.
    Monterey Bay Aquarium advises the public to avoid sea bass from Chile and South Africa.
    Greenpeace too has Chilean sea bass on its red list.
    While Japan may ignore international guidelines and common sense, a Japanese restaurant in Sag Harbor ought not.


Feral Cat Poem #62
You never start a poem
with flying monkeys,
says Billy Collins, you lead
with tamer stuff.

Unless, I say,
the road you’re going down
leads to an Oz where the skies
darken with winged feral cats.

Explaining why oh why
the bluebirds fly
over the rainbow.


Bait and Cull
    East Hampton
    November 3, 2013

Dear David,
    I want Mr. Stanzione to know the reason why I did not vote for his re-election to the town board this past Election Day. It is not only that I disagree with most of his positions or lack of position on major issues facing our town.  
    My main reason is that he is in agreement with the outgoing administration about a proposed bait-and-cull operation of deer throughout our town this coming winter. By not voting for Mr. Stan­zione, my hope is that our newly elected officials who profess to be pro-environment will be more inclined to protect our wildlife with sound-minded conservation methods when necessary.
    Much to my surprise and from what I understand, the East Hampton Village administration is also working toward a bait and cull of deer this winter. I live full time in the village and try to follow local issues as closely as possible.  How did this get by me? Where and when was this reported, other than in an article that ran in this paper two weeks ago? Was there a debate or open discussion put forth to the residents? In which neighborhood of the village is this slaughter going to be carried out? How many doe are to be killed? Is this legal?
    Whether this takes place in our residential neighborhoods of the village or in more remote wooded areas in our town, I believe this is wrong. This issue has not received the necessary attention this election season in order for our residents to have a say in something as important as our taxpayer money being used for setting up bait stations and paying hired hit men to sit in cars all night waiting for a female mama doe with her family to be lured in for the kill.
    Can you image the horror for this family to see their mother being blown away right in front of them while foraging for food as they do at night!
    There have been facts presented based on counts performed over the last six or seven years that show the deer population in our town and village has decreased. It seems to me that these bait-and-cull proposals are extreme, based on these counts and the number of deer proposed to be killed. Do our government officials plan to wipe out the entire whitetail deer population?
    If there is a true need for a population adjustment, there should be a process in place that would include informal and ongoing dialogue with interested groups, and then a very formal process which would include public hearings and the incorporation of verbal and public comment. All of which has not taken place.
    I believe a more humane method would be to use birth control darts, then bullets at these bait stations if it is determined that this reduction is truly necessary, or to possibly expand the take limit and the hunting season, which could then also bring in much needed revenue to local businesses during our cold and off-season months.
    I am hopeful that our newly elected officials and our village board will study the facts carefully and include our residents in this determination process before proceeding with this cruel and inhumane proposal. “It’s a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done.” — Harriet Beecher Stowe.
    So in closing, Mr. Stanzione, if you do wake up on Wednesday morning and find that you have been re-elected, I promise to nominate you to be the first candidate to go before the newly appointed East Hampton Town Whipper.


Airport ‘Apology’
    East Hampton
    November 3, 2013

Dear Editor,
    Our town’s collective problem-solving record seems to have dealt another blow. It appears that the Eastern Regional Helicopter Council has commissioned a study of the economic impact of the East Hampton Airport by New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management. Despite the bonafide status of N.Y.U., the report is a not a scientific analysis of the economics of the airport; it is a desperate apology for the airport. Those of us who would like to see the airport run in a neighborly and responsible manner would have hoped that the expertise of the Rudin Center could have brought light and balance to this complex and controversial issue. Sadly, both the information in it and the conclusions it implies are baseless.
    The core argument of the report is that though few in number, the users of the airport contribute significantly to the East Hampton economy. The report is careful to detail exact numbers about the airport operating budget, distribution of town employment patterns, the number of year-round and seasonal homes, etc. But the report doesn’t identify how many of our citizens actually use our airport, this despite the fact that the airport could certainly have provided these numbers.
    Instead, the report turns our attention to the impact these uncounted passengers might have on the local economy. Using completely undocumented statistics such as average occupancy of flights (3), the average duration of stay (3 days), and daily per-passenger spending ($500), they calculate that these imaginary passengers contribute $48 million to the East Hampton economy.
    Point by point, these estimates fail according to numbers presented elsewhere in the report or by common sense.
    First, the report states that there are 571 incoming flights of all types on a typical peak season weekend and each carries three people who stay for three days. It follows that the number of aircraft passengers in East Hampton on a typical weekend day would be 1,713. But this is just 2 percent of the 80,000 people commonly reported to swell our ranks at that time of year. Wealthy or not, this cannot be a significant margin for our businesses.
    Second, the report’s assertion of three passengers per inbound flight is contradicted by the common experience of airport-watchers that a significant proportion of the inbound flights arrive empty. They are there to pick up departing passengers, not to deliver arrivals. Although it is a significant error that all inbound flights bear passengers, it would not be wrong to say that all flights bear noise.
    Third, it is completely implausible that each passenger, some of whom are children, spends $500 per day on all three days of a long weekend visit. Previously published reports have said that as many as 50 percent of the passengers live in Southampton and don’t spend any money in East Hampton at all. And for those who have second homes in East Hampton, even with the generous median annual income that the report identifies for East Hampton households, residents could only spend $69 per day. Do aircraft passengers really spend seven times more than the maximum the average resident could possibly afford? This seems highly unlikely, given that East Hampton is about beaches and water, and they’re free.
    There is an unstated assumption in the report’s analysis that if flight restrictions were imposed, all affected travelers would immediately go elsewhere and take their $48 million with them. This assumption is certainly false. East Hampton has been a fabulously popular place for the wealthy for well over a century, and it’s only relatively recently that they’ve had access to aircraft as a way of getting here. The report provides no basis for the assumption that with reduced access to air travel, air-traveling East Hamptoners would not simply revert to the means by which they got here just a few years ago. In short, East Hampton is what brings people here, not aircraft. The argument that restricting air travel to East Hampton would remove $48 million from our economy is unsupported.
    The Rudin report has been presented as supporting evidence in debate in our town about values. As such, it is vital that the discussion be conducted honestly. Disturbingly, the report’s bottom line of a threatened loss of the $48 million donation to the town economy is a fiction that calls into question the integrity of the Rudin organization. As a serious research group, why would they put into print completely undocumented assertions about an issue of such importance to our community? Why would the center’s director, Professor Moss of the Wagner School of Public Service at N.Y.U., submit a letter to a local newspaper, The East Hampton Star, posing his report’s imagined statistics as a response to those who would close the airport? Does he not know that none of the several organizations protesting aircraft noise calls for closure of the airport?
    And why would a serious review of the economic impact of airport operations not include the very countable number of dollars of real estate value lost by those whose homes are located under the noise-polluted flight paths crossing the East End? Is it that the Eastern Regional Helicopter Council is one of the Rudin Center’s supporting affiliates? Is it that the center’s board of directors is made up almost entirely of representatives of the transportation industry and its allies? Or is it just that they didn’t take the time to do it right?
    Absent a credible excuse for its contents, the report should be withdrawn.

    Very sincerely,
    Chairman, Northwest Alliance
    Professor Emeritus of Psychology
    And Neural Science
    New York University

A Reason to Go There
    East Hampton
    November 4, 2013

Dear Mr. Rattray,
    On Oct. 31, 2013, the so-called “Quiet Skies Coalition” published yet another inflammatory ad. “Airport propagandists” they call us, no less!
    There are many things totally wrong with their own “propaganda,” and I am not going to counter them point by point.
    So for the sake of brevity, one item only.
    I quote: “Creating a seasonal control tower that will invite more air traffic.”
    Pure and simple logic dictates that an aircraft operator, whether it is an individual, a flying club, a corporation, an airline, or the U.S. Air Force, shall not fly to any specific landing site on this planet simply and only because there is a control tower in operation there. Stating so is idiotic.
    They are flying there because they have a reason to go there.

    East Hampton Airport Association

A Judge’s Role
    East Hampton
    November 3, 2013

To the Editor:
    As an experienced criminal defense lawyer familiar with the state’s Criminal Procedure Law, I was dismayed by the statements about a judge’s role in setting fines by one of the candidates for town justice (“Two for Court Seat,” Oct. 24, 2013).
    I am a part-time resident who does not vote in East Hampton. I realize that this letter will appear after the election and will affect nobody’s vote. I do not know either candidate and have no “dog in the race.”
    Carl Irace, according to the article, said it was a “bad habit in our court” for a judge to set fines on dispositions negotiated to lower counts than the counts charged, adding — incorrectly — that, according to the C.P.L., the judge has the ability to set fines only when there is a plea to the top count. Steve Tekulsky countered Mr. Irace’s statement in an e-mail, essentially stating — correctly — that when the prosecutor does not require a specific sentence as a condition of a plea to a lesser count, the sentence was “completely up to the judge.” Mr. Irace said that East Hampton was the only court with which he is familiar where the justice wields such discretionary power.
    A prosecutor may, and often does, insist on a particular sentence (including jail time and fines) as a condition of his required consent to a disposition by plea to a less serious offense than charged. The judge, according to case law, must either accept the plea bargain as a whole, even if he feels that the agreed-upon sentence is too harsh or too lenient, or decline to accept the deal, an option rarely exercised.
    The reason for that rule is that the parties have negotiated a total deal, and the judge should not be able to interfere with that agreement by accepting and rejecting parts. When the prosecutor offers a lesser plea with no required sentence as a condition, or a guilty plea is taken to the entire accusatory instrument, the judge, however, has discretion to impose any sentence allowed by law.
    To allow the prosecutor to determine the sentence when it has not been agreed to by the defendant is contrary to the traditional roles of the judge and prosecutor, and most likely a constitutional violation of separation of powers, as well as due process. It makes the judge a rubber-stamp clerk. It is fortunate — and not “a bad habit”— that East Hampton judges have been able to exercise sentencing discretion in cases where there is a plea-down to a lesser offense and not yield the sentencing power to prosecutors. The judge should determine the sentence after giving due consideration to the arguments of the district attorney and the defendant or his counsel. That is why we have judges.


About Lame Ducks
    November 5, 2013

Dear David,
    I have missed the cut to foster an East Hampton Town Town Board “therapy” duck for the months of November and December 2013. I have been certified to oversee a “lame” duck. I know the following about “lame” ducks:
    1. You must watch where they poop.
    2. They will drink wastewater.
    3. They have no problems with rocks on the beaches.
    4. They will take money — from the Federal Aviation Administration.
    5. They support glitz over “dark” skies.
    6.  They remain confused about quality of life issues. . . . and there is more . . . May you not step in it . . .

    All good things,

Don’t Pay Attention
    East Hampton
    October 22, 2013

Dear Editor,
    Quoting Senator John McCain, Gail Collins, in an op-ed piece in The New York Times on Oct. 19, wrote that when asked about the insulting, outrageous remarks about him by Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas, McCain replied, “If someone has no intelligence I don’t pay attention to his malicious statements.”
    I certainly wish I had Senator McCain’s ability to shrug off repetitive, malicious, and stupid statements, sans intelligence or not, made by anti-Obama and anti-Obamacare individuals; however, they cannot be allowed to fester and stand without reply, for fear that they may gain traction, change perception, and induce believability.
    Here’s one quote from a not-so-smart letter sent to The Star last week: “I went to fill a prescription and it cost $54. It should have cost $5 . . . someone said that since Obamacare has rolled in‚ the cost of prescriptions has doubled or tripled.”
    Right, and this week, as Obamacare has “rolled in” (which it only partially has), it surely has resulted in increased cost of toilet tissue, toothpaste, and peroxide.
    Obamacare, like the president, has entered the “blame it for everything” phase of its existence.
    This without-a-clue letter writer went on to describe all the other negatives she has learned about Obamacare from unnamed sources. You know, like job loss and reduction in full-time jobs. And she slightly twisted history by totally misstating the facts that Republicans had only asked for a few simple changes in the Affordable Care Act or else they would shut down the government. Yeah, very simple little things like defund it, delay it, gut it. And imagine that, she said, the president wouldn’t negotiate.
    Must be getting all this negativity info from that same “someone‚” probably originating on Fox News or the repetitive, untrue, talking points of those right-wing Tea Party people who oppose the act because it is Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment as president. Can’t have that, can we?
    Personally, I like the law. It surely needs amendments, which are easily accomplished if they are proposed and done in the way that laws of the land have always been amended — by the votes of the Congress that passed it. Threats and intimidation by minorities who don’t like the law accomplish nothing, as they did in this instance.
    And now that these Tea Bag jerkoffs and their intimidated Republican leadership didn’t succeed, they carried out their threat, shutting down the federal government for 16 days, at a preliminary loss to our economy of approximately $16 billion. This is the same group that constantly talks about deficits and runaway spending. I guess burning money in the flames of stupidity doesn’t count in calculating the deficit.
    Now, I am sure this letter writer never checked the fiscal facts, but if she did, she would find that the deficit has actually dropped under President Obama, since he hasn’t started any unnecessary wars and his administration has caused less of an increase in the $16.7 trillion deficit than the total of all the presidents preceding him.
    So folks, John McCain is certainly right. If someone has no intelligence one should just not pay attention to them. Unfortunately, some do, hence this rebuttal.