Letters to The Editor 12.05.13

The Best of Bonac

       Hampstead, N.C.

       November 26, 2013

Dear Editor,

       Last Saturday (Nov. 23) we experienced the best of Bonac. Because of the generosity of the East Hampton Historical Society, the support of the local press, and gifts from many backers, we were privileged to meet with our friends at the premiere and book-signing event for our historical novel at the East Hampton Town Marine Museum in Amagansett.

       “A Fine Day for Fishing” (the death of a centuries-old way of life played out on a sandy beach) was signed by me, Capt. Dan King, and Cynthia Loewen (amazing illustrator), over 300 times! Personalizing the books, not our signatures, however, was a highlight for us. What a privilege to write so many names, knowing full well how much each means to us.

       We enjoyed watching and listening to Billy Joel’s “Downeaster Alexa” video again‚ and the men and women around us laughing, crying, and calling each other names (yes, this can be a good thing in Bonac!)

       Thank you all for a wonderful premiere!

       Many are now asking for more books, especially with Christmas coming. They can be obtained through Marsha’s website, marshaking.com (there’s a link to the Billy Joel video there as well!), or by email to marshaking324@yahoo.com, or by visiting One Stop Market on Fireplace Road in Springs or calling Sandy Vorpahl or Jimmy Lester of Amagansett.

       Finest Kind, Bonac!



A Vanishing Breed

       East Hampton

       November 29, 2013

To the Editor:

       Do your readers appreciate how lucky we are to still have merchants like Village Hardware of East Hampton in our community?

       The other day I stopped in there to look for an improved hanger hook for a bird-feeder baffle I had just purchased online. Bernard and Ed both hunted for a screw-on replacement hook, but their large stock of hardware didn’t seem to include an item fitting my model.

       What then? With a pair of pliers, they simply yanked off the obstructing piece from my existing baffle hook. Voila! The perfect solution — which took about three minutes (and cost me zero).

       Of course I was delighted — but hardly surprised. In 37 years as an East Hampton homeowner, I’ve never failed to receive helpful, supportive, and resourceful service from Bernard and his staff. If they don’t have exactly what I’m seeking they’ll try to special-order it, or suggest an alternative source. They’ve performed any number of skilled repairs on my tools and household equipment. They epitomize a vanishing breed of local mom-and-pop business that provides a trustworthy, comfortable, neighborly

shopping environment that no big-box discounter or Internet retailer can ever hope to match.

       East Hampton Village used to have many such merchants when I first came here. Today, except for food markets, the stores selling anything anybody needs can almost be counted on the fingers of one hand. So let’s do our best to help the few surviving gems like Village Hardware stay afloat — and thrive! — amid a sea of soulless storefronts with zombie displays.


Festive Thanksgiving

       East Hampton

       November 26, 2013

Dear Editor,

       Sunday evening the 24th, Barbara Layton and her staff at Babette’s hosted a festive Thanksgiving dinner for the senior citizens of Windmill Village in East Hampton and St Michael’s in Amagansett. From all accounts, the evening was an unbeatable combination of great food and good cheer! The seniors were truly delighted!

       On behalf of the seniors, I’d like to express my heartfelt thanks to Barbara and to Babette’s for opening their heart and doors, and for exemplifying true community spirit. Thank you for a wonderful start to the holiday season!



Golden-Egg Hens


       November 30, 2013

To the Editor:

       The Good Government Group is a welcome and needed force in East Hampton. Fiscal mismanagement, and efficiency, is an important issue in small towns everywhere.

       The corruption and stupidity of local politics can never be overstated.

       But the long-term forces that power our local economy have been “the hens that lay the golden eggs,” and they must not be neglected for the short-term goals of lower taxes.

       These economic hens are historic buildings, open fields, a vibrant downtown, control of overdevelopment, pleasant highway vistas, happy and well-paid workers, and a clean environment. The economic underpinnings of our town must not be compromised.

       The south shore of Long Island is littered with one deteriorating beach-weekend town after another that fell out of favor because of overdevelopment and neglect of the ever-so-fragile factors that make one village desirable and another village not.

       The long-term goal is to keep those golden-egg hens happy, so they don’t fly away and take their riches with them. That would not be good for either the rich or the poor.


Instructions to Swim

       Oakland, Calif.

       December 2, 2013

Mr. Rattray:

       I don’t believe in God. If I did, though, I’d urge it to extend all courtesies and a very long life to Stuart Vorpahl.

       When he spoke at the East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals about misled property owners who once came over the dunes to try and chase away haulseiners, it brought to mind an old story. Juan Trippe, the airline pioneer who owned an oceanfront estate in Georgica, once ran down well below the southerly edge of the beach grass line and demanded that a man named Jerry Gagne, whom some called Dick the Bishop, stop surfcasting and leave immediately. Mr. Gagne responded by throwing Mr. Trippe in the ocean with instructions to swim to “*%^&ing Portugal.”

       Perhaps current members of the gentry should be similarly introduced to the role of the town trustees.


Very Bad Benchmark


       December 2, 2013

Dear David,

       Thank you for being my conduit to Mr. Walter Heyser of the local office of Landscape and Urban Design.

       Walter, I am not buying your argument for the glories of the proposed 555 project in Amagansett, but let’s give you your say:

       “Proposed reforested hedgerows at the community’s perimeter create a wooded connection between the two long-standing native forests.” Walter, I have a hedge about which I could say the same.

       “The site is planned so that the cold winter winds from the north are buffered by the thick reforested hedgerow.” Oh, good for you, Walter. A nice hedge by the railroad tracks!

       “The streets and open spaces funnel cool summer breezes from the sea.” Do you have a special deal with “cool summer breezes”? I live closer to the ocean than 555 and it can be hot as hell.

       “In the event of a power outage, garage charging stations can be reversed, the stored battery power from the cars can be used to power up circuits within the buildings. This development, unlike any other that has ever been built in the U.S. . . . .” Oh my God, Walter. They said that about my new dishwasher. Backed up, suds everywhere. A nightmare!

       “Multiuse paths for electric carts. Biking, walking . . . .” It’s going to be a geriatric roller derby, Walter. Will you have soft-foods dispensers?

       “We see the 555 Montauk Highway community as a new benchmark for development on eastern Long Island.” Walter, it’s a very bad “benchmark” to try to rezone what is already a viable project. Tell your employer to build “as of right.” We need your input on sustainable, affordable housing. Perhaps a vineyard, relevant commercial properties. We do not need the 555 project as proposed.

       All good things,


Egregious Action


       December 1, 2013

Dear David,

       The Republican majority on our town board has virtually guaranteed that there will never be another Republican majority on the town board, ever again. They have promoted an ideology that is completely out of place in East Hampton.

       As to the new zone they are attempting to enact in order to increase density at 555 Montauk Highway (referred to inaccurately as Ocean View Farms — not to be a farm and not within view of the ocean): This is an egregious action on every level. Who in this town supports this project that is not on the payroll of the developers?


Listen to the People


       December 2, 2013


       I am trying to think of who, other than the developers and their friends, could possibly support the proposed 555 development, a large Florida-condo-type mini-village in Amagansett. The list of those that oppose this plan is impressive, namely the town planning board, the East Hampton Zoning Board, the Amagansett Advisory Committee, and The East Hampton Star for starters. I could be wrong, but I believe no elected official or recognized civic group has supported the plan. Combined with the fact that the concept is in direct opposition to the town comprehensive plan, it causes one to wonder how it is sadly and frighteningly possible that on Dec. 19, the three lame-duck members of the town board may elect to ram this plan through as their final act of refusing to listen to the people.

       There is, I am afraid, a group of voters who, independent of the nature of the proposal, decide issues solely on whether or not their tax bill goes down. Well, at the initial presentation of the 555 proposal, a large positive economic impact on the town’s revenue would result due to the large number of housing units involved. Well, that turned out to be completely wrong. The impact of this proposal would be less than 10 percent of the number initially promised. So even on a purely dollar-and-sense basis it makes no sense to go forward with this plan.

       What is sensible is to decide that the “senior housing” issue, one of the so-called benefits of 555, needs to be addressed using the proper processes to do so.

       Finally, I believe that if enough of us, independent of party affiliation, attend the Dec. 19 meeting as a sign of opposition to any underhanded immoral action on the part of the lame duckers, we will avoid the beginning of the dismantling of Amagansett, to start with, and of East Hampton in the future.


Increase and Expansion

       East Hampton

       December 2, 2013

Dear David,

       As of this writing, the East Hampton Town Board is expected to amend and adopt the East Hampton Airport five-year capital improvement plan, the subject of a November 21 hearing reported in last week’s Star.

       The public hearing gave voice to two sets of concerns. The noise-affected community came out in force requesting more time for a considered review of the plan as the final version had only been submitted to the town clerk the evening before the hearing. The noise-affected community also expressed concern that the plan did very little to address aircraft noise.

       Noise monitoring and studies that anchor the town’s goals to limit access to helicopters are essential to one of two directions the town may choose to do so. The first and now preferred method, according to the town’s aviation attorney, Peter Kirsch, would be for the town to exert its legal proprietary rights after December 2014, when the applicable grant assurances encroaching on those rights expire. The second method, with less likelihood for success, would be for the town to pursue a Part 161 administrative procedure with the Federal Aviation Administration, a direction its own aviation attorney is advising against. In either case, noise studies, actual readings in the field, are essential. We need noise data to demonstrate a noise problem.

       The line item in this plan for a noise study represented a town fraction (.0157 percent to be precise) of the nearly $10.5 million in proposed improvements over five years. Given the enormity of the aircraft noise problem generated by this facility, this is not only insulting, but also a disservice to the thousands of East End residents whose property values and quality of life are severely diminished by East Hampton Airport activity.

       Additionally, while aviation interests alleged it was not so, the plan as submitted calls for rehabilitation and reconstruction of Runways 16-34 and 4-22, bringing the total number of active runways to three. It may not be the intent of airport management to have a three-runway airport, but there was no other way to understand the expenditures listed in the plan. A three-runway facility will bring more traffic, creating even more noise impacts and is, in fact, an increase and expansion of this facility.

       Local pilots through the East Hampton Aviation Association, which originally requested a postponement of this hearing, also voiced understandable concerns about maintenance issues that affect airport safety. But, exactly how the plan addressed pilots’ concerns was unclear as projects most would consider regular maintenance were mixed in with a wish list, including the aforementioned runway reconstruction yielding a three-runway configuration.

       There is no question that the airport needs maintenance, but how these maintenance projects are to be financed is the real issue. And, one wonders, with $1.5 million in airport surplus and annual revenues lingering under the $2 million mark, how is it possible that improvements necessary for safety have not already been accomplished? One might reason that aviation interests in support of taking F.A.A. funding for any and all projects support that position because it reinforces their continued unlimited access to the airport. One might also reason that aviation interests were unwilling to allow a real-time demonstration of what many have suspected all along: The airport can be financially self-sustaining, able to finance important safety and maintenance projects from airport generated revenues, not the taxpayers.

       Why all the fuss? Likely because yielding this point would force aviation interests to admit that, after all this time and finger-pointing, the noise-abatement community has been right. We can run a quiet and safe airport, satisfying all the needs of the local hobbyists and nearly all of the needs of the commercial interests, save, perhaps the helicopter industry.

       It’s time to make a sensible business plan that addresses important maintenance issues at the airport while adequately addressing real noise mitigation for surrounding communities.

       Once more I say operating an airport that is safe and run as quietly as possible, with respect for neighbors near and far, are not mutually exclusive goals.



       Quiet Skies Coalition

Feral Cat Poem #65

after the Judith Lieber ladies handbags

museum in Barnes Landing,


the tour bus showed us Boys Harbor

where poor city kids no longer come summers.


next, on to Sterile Feral Farms,

where well-fixed outdoor cats spend


their latter lives in peace, except for

the Saturday night dog fights


violent, gory and illegal, still, they raise

the loot that keeps the colony self-supporting,


except for the free chow provided by the nice

lady who lives down the lane


and doesn’t want to know about the dog fights,

or the three-grand pocketbooks, either.


Respected and Valued


       December 2, 2013

To the Editor,

       I rise to defend Alec Baldwin. Recently a TV talk show host called him “an unhinged lunatic.” Why? Because his privacy was being invaded by hordes of the media at his home in New York. They were harassing him and his family (anything for a buck), and he confronted them about it.

       The Alec Baldwin we know, who lives out here, is a highly respected and valued member of our community, who cares about protecting our groundwater, open space, environment, and other issues facing us in our town. He also shows a quality of his character by his generosity to local cultural institutions by donations to help build the new library children’s wing, contributions to Guild Hall, paying off the mortgage of Ashawagh Hall in Springs, and his support at many charitable events.

       He’s hardly an unhinged lunatic, but a champion of people’s rights and, incidentally, a great theatrical artist. He should be respected, appreciated, and esteemed, not maligned in our town. We are proud to have him as a neighbor and fortunate to have him as one of us. Lay off of Alec Baldwin.



Automatic Opposition

       East Hampton

       November 28, 2013

Dear Editor,

       After the elections of 2008 and 2012, when President Obama took office, it became apparent that even with the very large margins of victory there were millions of voters who had not supported his candidacy.

       In the past, after the votes were counted and a winner declared, the country united behind the elected candidate but there remained what the Brits call the loyal opposition.

       There were some excellent presidents, some not so good. Some were more loved than others, but all received the respect accompanying the office. The conduct of the opposition was never meant to destroy either the man or the office. It was, mostly, on differences in policy, beliefs, or approach, and to influence as much of it as they could while out of office.

       Of course there was criticism that became heated and out of proportion, and some became more personal than objective, but it was scattered and not serially organized or focused.

       From 2008 until today, we see a quantum increase in all types of opposition to this president, almost all of it delivered with malice and disrespect for the man and the office. Why are there such unprecedented, constant, repeated, coordinated attempts to diminish him, and continued automatic opposition to each and every attempt by his administration to govern the country as the voters had directed?

       Certainly it was not because of his record in office, which has more than equaled and satisfied his campaign promises to the voters who reelected him.

       Yet there was and still is this cadre of vehement obstructionists, a group of conjoined Monday-morning quarterbacks who have managed, with the clarion call and support of a managed and twisted media outlet, to keep the catcalls going on an almost daily basis, continually trumpeting false calls of scandals; making positive advances into negatives, and failing to acknowledge credit where it is due.

       Locally, here in East Hampton, several letter writers screech and wallow through outdated, untrue facts as if they were manna from the truth god. If it isn’t Middle East policies it’s health care, if it’s not unemployment it’s the deficit, and on and on. Never any support with a display of facts, on national or international policies.

       Now an attempt is being made to use unheard-of political blackmail to overturn a law that has been passed and constitutionally upheld. Even some on the right, like The Wall Street Journal, Charles Krauthammer, and others try to put on the brakes to this activity, to no avail.

       I write this letter after reading the latest claptrap in The Star about alleged missteps by the president in Benghazi, Syria, and the Middle East in general. Nowhere do I see a pat on the back for the president’s unilateral and fiery response to the use of poison gas by Syria, which response caused allies of the Syrian dictator, like Russia, to finally stop supporting genocide and get involved in the weapons-of-mass-destruction conversation.

       This president went after terrorists. Got the big one, kills others with concentrated drone attacks, yet there is no surcease in the attacks on him, no accolades for jobs well done. Everything is twisted by these people to subvert the president, make him disappear, make his term in office invisible.

       Yeah, okay, I haven’t used the word racist. I haven’t done so because there will then be an attempt to negate the foregoing with the brush-off that everything is racist.

       Well, it won’t work. He is stalwart in his beliefs of what is right for the country and there is nothing these perverted vermin can do to change the fact that President Obama is the right man for the right job at the right time.

       No other president in our history has had the organized vitriol used against him as has President Obama. Now he has fulfilled another campaign promise and started peace negotiations with Iran — rather than war.

       Oh, he’s black. You think that might be important?


Sun and Earth Cycles

       East Hampton

       November 27, 2013

Dear David,

       Anthropogenic global warming has been struck another, hopefully fatal, blow, this time by the sun. The sun has entered a low in sunspot activity. Science has recognized these cycles for up to 1,000 years, and the fewer sunspots, the cooler the weather.

       There are several sun and earth cycles that affect the climate and weather. Most have a time reference of tens of thousands of years to hundreds of thousands of years. Sunspots, however, have short 11-to-12 (24 years warm-to-warm) year cycles interspersed within the longer cycles. Fewer sunspots, less energy reaches earth, cooling starts. This current cycle has still fewer spots than were expected or had been observed before. We can expect a slight but regular annual drop in temperature.

       Maybe instead of making useless activity limiting carbon dioxide, we should generate more, increasing the “greenhouse” effect? Well, no, because there is no greenhouse effect whatever. Infrared heat is not trapped in the atmosphere. It radiates out into space, just like all energy received here from the sun. Carbon dioxide absorbs energy until a point is reached, then it gives up that excess all at once in all directions, including out into space.

       There are limiting factors. CO2 only absorbs in the low-energy range of the spectrum, vibrating harder and harder as it absorbs that energy, until it is released as noted. High energy wave lengths, ultraviolet range up, pass through CO2 as if it were not there. As it radiates out, frequency lower, the CO2 only slows the radiation back into space.

       For the anthropogenic global warming people, there is worse information. Carbon dioxide has a saturation point, and at 400 parts per million in the atmosphere we’re nearly there. That is the point at which CO2 can no longer absorb more energy because all the infrared-range energy has been absorbed and re-radiated. As the absorption is non-lineal and the curve flattens rapidly, more CO2 has no effect, except to make plants and blue-green algae grow and free the oxygen back into the atmosphere. A nicely self-regulated system in which we had no say in the formation and will have no effect on in the foreseeable future.

       As there is no anthropogenic global warming, and CO2 has in essence absorbed all the energy it can and the earth is not warming, and finally, humanity has nothing whatever to do with the currently moderately warm period, spending time, money, and government interference on a nonexistent problem should stop. Unless power is and was all the global-warming folks were after from day one.