Letters to the Editor: 02.07.13

Our readers' comments

Need for Road Repair
    January 31, 2013
Dear David:
    I want to compliment Joanne Pilgrim on her excellent article on Highway Superintendent Lynch (“And Miles to Go Before He Sleeps”) and the need for road repair on the front page of last week’s Star. It properly captures the imagination and hard work that Steve has devoted to his job since taking office, as well as the need to address the deterioration of the town’s roads over the past several years.
    Last year, the Budget and Financial Advisory Committee under the guidance of Arthur Malman, chairman, and the town board liaison, Councilman Dominick Stanzione, studied this problem for several months before recommending to the town board that it incorporate a significant increase into its capital budget for road repair. Consultations with Superintendent Lynch and a pavement management firm were an integral part of that process.
    Although the article might have left the impression that issuing bonds is the only way to pay for much needed road repairs, surplus is an equally permissible, albeit much more limited, source of funds. The most important consideration for taxpayers is that the cost of road repairs does not have to be borne in one year but, like a home mortgage, can be spread out over the useful life of the road, which may range from 10 to 30 years depending upon the amount of usage and the quality of maintenance.
    Acknowledging the need to invest in the town’s roads is but the one step in developing a realistic capital plan that addresses all of the town’s infrastructure and environmental needs. The budget committee is currently advising the town board on requests for proposals for town-wide wastewater management and telecom plans. The latter is intended to fill the holes in the town’s cellphone coverage and accommodate the rapid growth of cellular data services. Looking ahead, the committee will take a broader look at the opportunities to utilize information technology more effectively.
    So once again, thanks for recognizing the substantial contribution of Highway Superintendent Lynch and the need to address the past neglect of East Hampton’s roads.

Authority Over Airport
    East Hampton
    February 2, 2013

Dear Editor:
    Airport noise control options can be simply explained.
    If the town accepts further Federal Aviation Administration funding, the F.A.A. would control the airport. As a condition for accepting F.A.A. funds, the town must follow restrictions called grant assurances. Those assurances require unlimited airport access, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
    The F.A.A. has never willingly consented to limiting hours of operations or curfews at an airport it controls, much less excluded noisy helicopters at a grant-obligated airport.  
    If an FA.A. refusal to consent to local restrictions were challenged in court, the F.A.A. would be upheld unless its decision were found arbitrary and capricious, a very difficult standard for the challenger. A successful challenge to the F.A.A. has only been accomplished once, at the airport in Naples, Fla., and then only at tremendous expense, millions of dollars.
    In the absence of F.A.A. funding, the town, not the F.A.A., has the authority over airport access. Case law is perfectly clear that limiting hours, noisy aircraft, and the total number of takeoffs and landings is permitted. These restrictions were upheld for New York City’s heliport, a facility not subject to F.A.A. control because it did not take F.A.A. grants. 
    If a town restriction were challenged, the town would be upheld unless its rule were found arbitrary and capricious; again, a very difficult standard for the challenger. The same sort of legal challenge to the town’s restrictions on a Montauk ferry terminal failed completely. Likewise, a federal lawsuit challenging New York City’s heliport restrictions failed.
    Whether the town or the F.A.A. has the authority over the airport makes all the difference in the world.
    Thank you,

Runway 4-22
    February 2, 2013
Dear David.
    Just like the crocus, popping their heads up every spring, the avalanche of letters from the pilots’ association, often filled with wild and inaccurate statements, are surfacing. Just to promote their  selfish agenda. Disregard for the quality-of-life issues created by the noise problem they alone create.
    Now we have Mr. Boleus, president of the East Hampton Aviation Association, clamor for the taxpayer to foot the bill for the essential runway to be repaved. I recommend he read the verbatim statement from the Federal Aviation Administration in 1989.
    “We recommend the elimination of runway 4-22 from use as a runway and that the plan specifically designate runway 16-34 as the secondary runway. 4-22 does not provide additional coverage, based upon historical wind conditions. Its intersection with other runways is dangerous. 16-34 actually has marginally better crosswind coverage than 4-22 and though both exceed the 95% coverage as required . . . the F.A.A. will not share in the cost of a tertiary runway, considering  it abandoned and unnecessary.”
    Now sir, what part of that do you not understand? I will lend you a dictionary to look up the definitions.
    The use of that runway exposes those on the ground to danger from the low altitude, as low as 50 feet above inhabited  homes. Early turning off the heading was a daily occurrence. One plane tipped a branch on the corner of my deck, knocking a branch into the pool.
    So, sir, be a good neighbor, and use the runways that offer the best safety, not only to you but to those on the ground. Stop the misinformation you spread. Three runways are not needed and certainly not critical as you cry.
    It takes considerable chutzpah to clamor for us to spend and feed your ego, while you disregard our concerns regarding our safety and quality of life that you disrupt.
    Yours truly,

One Well-Placed Shot
    East Hampton
    February 4, 2013
To the Editor:
    Well, I guess it’s time for me to take another whack at the shrill voice of the anti-hunters and “bunny-huggers” of our community. In this past edition, Kerry Baker wrote a [letter] entitled “Hoofprints in the Snow.” In it she talked about the idyllic sight of deer peacefully grazing and munching away on her property, contented as can be. That’s what deer do. She speaks of waking up to the sound of gunshots early in the morning, wondering, as she asked her husband: “Have you seen signs of our deer?” Interesting. I didn’t know that private citizens could actually “own” deer, since they collectively belong to all the people of the State of New York.
    Those rapid-fire gunshots she heard are bird hunters, who shoot with semi-automatic shotguns, not deer hunters blazing away like rabid maniacs, “like machine gun shots,” in their, as she puts it, “bloodlust.” In answer to her question, “How many shots does it take to put down a deer,” the answer is: One! On occasion, a deer hunter must put a finishing shot in a deer to put it down, but as the old Native American adage goes, “One shot, one deer; two shots, maybe one deer; three shots, no deer!”
    Only a bozo or nimrod hunter blazes away like Rambo at a deer. Responsible and ethical hunters wait for the right opportunity and positioning of the deer, then take careful aim at a spot on the deer, and it is done. As to seeing hoofprints in the snow, I too enjoy seeing them, for then, I can truly hunt, and stalk my game like a true predator, and put one single and well-placed shot in it. Then I take it home and process it to feed my family.
    I suppose my letter of last week, when I gave the Crains, those dubious cityslickers who would pontificate and dictate to those of us who are more honest about our food consumption, choosing to take it ourselves, and using skills honed over many years, wasn’t enough. I suppose there will always be another who wants to jerk the tears of the public, and  appeal to those gentle, doe-eyed creatures that we hunting barbarians in our “bloodlust” kill and eat. Unless Ms. Baker is a true vegan, who eats no meat, no cheese, no eggs, or animal products from animals held in bondage, uses no cosmetics that employ animal testing, and wears no leather at all (the only truly credible people who put their actions where their words are when it comes to criticizing hunters), then if she consumes meat or animal products of any kind, she has no credibility whatsoever, just like the Crains.
    But my advice to Ms. Baker is the same as what I dished out to the Crains in my last letter: Bulldoze your home, allow the land it sits on to revert back to a natural state, and deed it to the town, with a restrictive covenant that forbids hunting of any kind on it. Then we will not only have Crain-Haven, but Baker-Haven, where the deer can be safe. That is, of course, until some oblivious yuppie from Manhattan pummels one with their BMW.
    Hunting season for big game is now over, which I am sure will come as a great source of relief for Ms. Baker. Now the real slaughter begins as feral dogs and cars rack up a kill tally that makes the number of deer taken by lawful hunters look like a pittance. Well, I’d like to go on, but I smell the delightful scent of venison stew that my wife is preparing, so I have to go and have dinner.
    Most sincerely yours,

Guns and Automobiles
    East Hampton
    February 1, 2013
Dear David:
    I write to throw in my two cents on the gun safety debate. It is remarkable to me that we regulate automobile ownership and driving more than we regulate gun ownership and usage. Perhaps it makes sense to treat them similarly. Under such a scenario, all guns would have to be registered just as cars are, and gun usage would have to be licensed with the same type of education/training program a new driver goes through.
    Also, a gun owner, similar to an automobile owner, would have to obtain insurance. This insurance would cover damages caused by his negligent use of the gun and include damages to person and property. By setting an insurance requirement, the free market would then come in and judge who was insurable and who was not, who would pay higher rates because of their gun usage history and who would pay lower rates, based on their gun safety record. This way the free market would help regulate gun usage, and it would be more expensive and thus a disincentive for people with bad safety records to own guns.
    Just a thought.
    P.S. Fifteen minutes after I dictated this letter, I heard a story on NPR where a University of Michigan economics professor is espousing the insurance for gun owners requirement.

Collective Gun Guilt
    East Hampton
    January 28, 2013
Dear Editor,
    Before we all strap on a collective American gun-nut guilt for Sandy Hook, the act of entering a school and murdering children was the tragedy. How it was accomplished is inconsequential.
    Proof of fact: In China several years ago a grown man did the same heinous crime, but with a knife or hatchet. Soon after, a copycat did the same. As I remember, no one in China thought to hold the hatchets or knives responsible. Also, no one thought their country would be a better place if the knives or hatchets were eliminated or controlled or regulated.
    Are the Chinese that much smarter than we are and able to seat blame finitely rather than accept the notion of hey, whatcha gonna do, we’re just a buncha knife nuts? Maybe as they prepare to accept custodianship of the 21st century they don’t have the luxury of time to indulge in self-flagellation.
    Anyone accuses us of being wild-ass cowboys, we immediately deny same, but then we get hit with Sandy Hook and we start to roll over. Life is hard. It goes a lot smoother when we all adhere to the sanctions and mores of society. We are not wild-ass cowboys. You and everyone you know tries hard as hell to be the best citizen possible. Except the nut jobs.
    So when the powers that be inform us that this year they lined their pockets so deeply that there is not enough money to continue the managing of the mentally ill and are now closing facilities and allowing the patients to enter the general population . . . that don’t work, does it?
    Most sincerely,

Feral Cat Poem #46
a cat in Daytona
ran away from her owner
no gator ate her
so two months later
she showed up 200 miles south
sore of paw and dry of mouth
but otherwise a-okay
on New Year’s Day

a chip in her fur
proved it was her
leaving science astonished
by what she accomplished
and us with some wish
that we might still see
even one returnee —
any colony member
snatched last November
in The Big Fix Feral Round-Up

Wind Damage Claim
    East Hampton
    January 31, 2013
To the Editor:
    This letter is to make other homeowners aware of our experience dealing with Cook Maran & Associates, insurance brokers in East Hampton, regarding Superstorm Sandy.
    We put in our homeowners claim for damage, after we were told we had a $2,500 deductible on our policy with Lexington Insurance. All went well and an independent adjuster came to our house on two occasions. He also mentioned we had a $2,500 deductible on our policy. Since we had at least $5,000 worth of damage, all caused by wind, we were ready to pay out of pocket the difference.
    When we received the letter from our insurance company documenting all of the damage, they told us since we had a wind deductible for a percentage of our house’s insured worth, we now have another deductible for over $14,000 and will get no money.
    We think this is outrageous and our insurance broker should have been looking out for us. They said they could do nothing.
    Everyone should check their policies themselves, as the brokers really don’t care. We are in the process of changing brokers and insurance companies.

Let’s Talk, Let’s Live
    East Hampton
    February 3, 2013
Dear Editor,
    I am writing this letter because, as a cancer survivor, I have found there are not many resources out there to join cancer survivors, and those going through it, together. I would like to invite those of you who need a place to vent, to draw on another’s experience, to be with people who have something other to say than “Oh, don’t worry, you’ll be fine,” to come to my house for coffee, tea, cake, or cookies (special diets will try to be accommodated!).
    Age or “stage” makes no difference — cancer is cancer is cancer. Unless necessary, I would rather caregivers not come to the first few meetings — but that will be one of the many decisions we will make to take control of our lives back from this disease. I am not “trained,” but I don’t think you need training to meet and share and relate with others, gaining strength from each other and knowing you are not alone. After all, training is not a requirement when you get cancer. Learning how to survive it, is.
    If you are interested, please e-mail me with your name (first name is fine, if you like) and contact telephone number or e-mail address. My e-mail address is BearMountain54@gmail.com.
    Come. Let’s talk. Let’s cry. Let’s laugh. Let’s live. We deserve it!
    Thanks, and I hope to hear from you.

What a Surprise
    East Hampton
    January 31, 2013
Dear Editor,
    Here’s a news flash: The unions are looking for exemptions, as they can’t afford to pay for their members’ health care, what a surprise. They helped push for this monster plan which no one read, and are finding out that they can’t really keep their doctor and they just can’t afford it. We were promised that the cost of health care would go down; it has risen by $2,500.
    The president has refused to renew his jobs council. Guess the economy is just not that important to him. The Governor of Nebraska has rerouted the pipeline to fit in his state and the president hasn’t budged on signing on, which would create jobs.
    And to Mrs. Clinton, you have my vote for an Oscar for your appearance in front of Congress. Your answers on Benghazi, pitiful.

Stop Overspending
    February 1, 2013
Dear Editor,
    Who said this: “The budget should be balanced, the treasury should be refilled. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of officialdom should be controlled . . . assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest [we] become bankrupt.”
    Yes, Cicero in 55 B.C. That was the warning that wasn’t heeded by Rome and the result was their fall.
    The people of this town, county, state, and country are crying out with the same demand — to the unhearing ears of our president and legislators.
    Isn’t it time we finally curtail the overspending, balance the budget, and live within our means? Why should we, the taxpayers, pay nearly 50 percent of our income in some form of taxation? Everything except the air (so far) is taxed, the layers upon layers of taxation and fees are suffocating the taxpayers. When all those wealthy leave the most highly taxed states, that will leave the middle class to support the many who cannot find work, cannot or will not work.
    Our pension systems are underfunded and the union members wail when they’re asked to contribute more. Social Security is underfunded and may soon collapse, even with the restoration of that two-year tax cut.
    Town supervisors, county legislators, governors, and state legislators: Please be responsible and stop overspending. The golden goose is drying up.

Minority Beliefs
    East Hampton
    January 31, 2013
Dear Editor,
    Every once in a while one sees or hears a voice that is in that group that makes up the lesser percentage in polls of the questions of the day.
    Do you ever wonder, like I do, who makes up these lesser percentages in polls about Roe v. Wade or same sex  marriage or was Pesident Obama born in Kenya?
    Who are these people? What is the basis of their minority beliefs? Where do they get their information from?
    I’m sure that some of these people who believe “real rape” theories, climate change nonexistence rants, and that Obama is a tax-and-spend guy, born in Kenya, are just totally brainwashed by deliberately corrupted news and media.
    Do they buy the baloney handed out by Limbaugh when he says things like, “Studies show that most immigrants come to this country because they believe the government will support them and their families with handouts”? He never cites which studies, what studies, he just says these things and his listeners swallow it, hook, line, and sinker. Has this fat blowhard ever driven past the East Hampton Railroad Station and seen the men waiting for hours to obtain day work?
    Has that runaway lying slob ever seen the farm workers, the immigrant gardening workers, the factory workers who are supplementing the “handout” from the government with 10 to 14-hour workdays? Even if he did he would still make his money sounding the clarion call of right-wing nonsense.
    People echoing Paul Ryan say they believe Obama doesn’t know or understand money or the economy. Where they get that stuff is a mystery to me. The president has at his disposal some of the finest economic minds in the world. The guy who believes the president doesn’t understand the economy and money has as his experts Limbaugh, Hannity, their right-wing “guests‚” or Fox News, hardly an even matchup, more like Roger Federer vs. Jerry Della Femina.
    Anyway, I will still remain startled about where these 10, 15, 25, 35 percenters come from and who they are.