Letters to the Editor: 02.28.13

Our readers' comments

Woodland Words
    Northwest Woods
    February 13, 2013
To the Editor,
My dear Robert Dash, how eloquent your woodland words. It brought tears of joy for these memorable recollections of my lovely cool Northwest.
    I shall keep a copy of your prose close at hand for joyful reading to remind me that nature is our friend, always.
    Thank you,

Rita Has Been With Us
    Darien, Conn.
    February 21, 2013

To the Editor:
    Ten years ago this month, Montauk lost a little piece of its heart with the unexpected passing of its most loved resident, Rita Gosman. I wrote a letter that September after a painful first summer without Rita’s contagious smile and sparkling eyes, and I truly believed that Montauk would never be the same.
    In many ways, I was right. She will always be missed, and nothing is the same. But I was also very wrong. Rita has been with us. She has looked upon us from Heaven as we have joyously celebrated several beautiful family weddings on the docks of Gosman’s. She has rejoiced with us as we’ve welcomed new additions to the family. And she has embraced her own mother into Heaven’s care. Each summer since her passing, the grandchildren she never met or did not have enough time to enjoy laugh and skip, and giggle over rainbow-sprinkled ice cream in the courtyards of Gosman’s. Each summer I have seen Rita’s friends and family return with hugs and kisses on the cheek, offering the generous embraces we all wish she were here to give herself. I feel her sprit everywhere — in the shining sun, blue sky, and peaceful, rhythmic roll of the inlet. But mostly I feel her in the goodness of others who are inspired to keep her generous spirit alive.
    Ten years later, she continues to remind us to love wholeheartedly, give generously, and live tenderly. Rita, you will never be forgotten. This is a reminder to all of the magnitude of your legacy.
    Thank you,

Snow Season
    February 25, 2013
To the Editor,
    I would like to thank Stephen Lynch and the staff of the East Hampton Highway Department for making the roads very usable during this year’s snow season.

An Embarrassment    
    February 18, 2013
To The East Hampton Star,
    If your recent article “Battle Over Phone System” is accurate, the statements attributed to Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley (“What do you know about business, Peter? I tell you I have no respect for your background in business or anything else” and “I feel as if I’m in grammar school because that’s your [Ms. Overby’s] level of intellect”) are an embarrassment to our community.
    Shouldn’t elected officials in public meetings treat each other with a certain measure of courtesy and respect? If your readers agree, maybe they should make an effort to so inform our town board.

Reasonable Limitation
    East Hampton
    February 23, 2012
To the Editor,
    I was quite amused to read in your Feb. 21 edition, a letter from the president of the East Hampton Aviation Association attacking me. But I was also disappointed. You know the adage that one should not be concerned about a malefactor’s public accusations as long as he spells one’s name accurately. Well, he misspelled my name.
    That misspelling, however, was the least of the president’s inaccuracies or fabrications. He accused me “a few weeks ago” of expressing “outrage” that town consultants were applying the Federal Aviation Administration’s aircraft noise-measuring standard to East Hampton Airport and of “suing the town” for using the standard. While, in the past, I have challenged the application of F.A.A. noise measuring more appropriate to J.F.K. and O’Hare than to the quiet East End, I have not done so recently. Nor am I suing the town. As it happens, over my entire life, I have never personally sued a single person or entity.
    In addition, the association president labeled me an “airport opponent.” I am not an opponent of the airport, but only of the excessive and expanding aircraft noise resulting from current airport operations — the interference by a few with the peaceful and quiet enjoyment of the many in their homes and businesses in this area, to the detriment of our quality of life. Those of us who oppose that ever-increasing noise plague seek only the fair and reasonable limitation of that noise by regulating airport operations, such as by appropriate curfews, limiting the total number of takeoffs and landings, and banning the noisiest aircraft.
    Beyond the attack on me, the association president’s rant went on to assert that an alternative airport noise-measurement formula, which he fantasized, would prohibit trains, construction equipment, and lawn mowers from being operated in East Hampton. In whatever imaginary universe such a wild standard may apply, the only alternative posited for East Hampton of which I am aware is keyed to the existing town code noise standard. 
    While I have not done what I was accused of, I did in fact write a letter that you published in the Jan. 31 edition of The Star, which may have caused the association president’s attack on me. In my letter I suggested that prior airport interests’ attacks on airport noise abatement proponents smacked of group paranoia. Also, I questioned who and what financial interests might be behind this little, local airport association’s extraordinary efforts to deny the existence of the noise plague and to frustrate its mitigation. After all, the problem is predominantly helicopters, jets, and seaplanes.
    The association president’s letter last week suggests that mere group paranoia may have advanced to the wacky stage. That is the amusing part.

Has Got to Change
    East Hampton
    February 24, 2013
Dear David,
    I believe that there are definitely two valid sides to the dogs on the beach debate, and, as a dog owner and a sometimes beachgoer, I think that each needs to be considered thoroughly and carefully before any rules or laws are changed or enacted. Maybe a townwide vote would help to bring a clearer perspective on how all of our fellow townspeople feel about this issue instead of just a few voices being heard at a meeting or two.
     My letter today is not about the beach rights for dogs. It is about a serious problem we have townwide, and the unfortunate, selfish, and ignorant mentality of some of our local dog owners.
    As a village resident and a daily walker with my dog through the village neighborhoods, bay beaches, parks, parking lots, past local schools, and, yes, occasionally on the beach, it saddens me to report that some of our fellow neighbors just don’t pick up after their dogs.
    I found that this winter there was an extraordinarily large amount of dog matter wherever I walked. So much so that I started to take the whole roll of bags with me on my walks, instead of just a few for my own dog, so that I could clean up what my neighbors had left behind. Sorry to say, that I found after a few walks that not only was this changing my pleasant walk with my dog into a dirty job, it started to get me really mad, as I was picking up quite a bit and having to haul it along with me.
    At first I couldn’t understand why there was so much around; there were hardly any visitors or tourists this time of year so can’t blame this one on them, and I wasn’t seeing any dogs running loose and unaccompanied as I went about my day either driving or walking. It wasn’t until I really started to pay attention that I realized and saw with my own eyes that our own townspeople are allowing their dogs to do their business wherever they are and they are not picking up after them.
    This culture has got to change, and all dog owners must realize that they have a responsibility to clean up their mess no matter where they are — whether it’s on the beach, sidewalks in your neighborhood, or along the side of the road at our bays and parks, schools, and parking areas. Period. End of story. No excuses like, “I forgot a bag,” “I’m having a bad day,” “My dog’s not feeling well,” or “I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t see him do it,” or “I’m too busy,” tired, or too old, or whatever!
    The same responsibility that comes with owning, feeding, caring for, training, and making sure your dog is not a threat to other animals and/or people — it is your responsibility (not mine or the village’s or town’s) to pick up after your dog.
    Part of me feels that sending this letter is like preaching to the choir because usually the people that read the local papers are the people who care about the town and support local activities. It is the others that don’t give a damn and don’t care that they are soiling the town for the rest of us, and really only care about themselves — or maybe they wrongly think that it is okay to leave the matter behind and either someone will take care of it for them or it will just disappear in time.
    So how do we fix this problem?
    You can’t just ban dogs altogether because it is not the dogs’ fault, and responsible owners are then punished because of the ones that don’t play by the rules or show courtesy for others. Somehow we must educate, change the “me” mentality, and make it mandatory that all dog owners are responsible for picking up after their dog(s) no matter where they are, and to not do so is unacceptable behavior in our village and town. Litter is litter in any form.
    Can our elected friends somehow accomplish this without having to put up signs reminding owners to “pick up” as more signs will also litter our roadways and streets?

Potty-Train Dogs
    February 16, 2013
Dear David,
    I am in complete accord with restricting dogs that are not potty trained from our beaches.
    I support hiring lots of animal control officers and allowing them to keep most of a large fine levied on caretakers who bring their dogs to the beach without appropriate potty gear.
    The Animal Rescue Fund will love to rethink its beach walk.
    I also have issues with undiapered children relieving themselves at the beach, but that’s for another day.
    All good things,

Surprises and Mishaps
    February 25, 2013
Dear Editor,
    A day at the beach can be full of surprises — and mishaps — all in the name of fun and joy of life: children running sometimes spray others (and their lunches!) with sand; an out-of-bounds Kadima ball lands on a head; a missed football knocks a book out of one’s hands; water gets sprayed from rambunctious wet passersby waking up a sleeping sunbather, and occasionally, a dog is allowed to misbehave by his negligent owner.
    As a respectful dog owner, I see firsthand the big smile and laughter, usually along with an endearing comment, that emerges from the majority of onlookers when they regard my little pooch, and other pooches on the beach. Until I got a dog, I had no idea of what joy they bring to others — as well as me and my family!
    Mr. Bruce Siska, who states that he “would hate to see his 3-year-old grandchild sit where one of the dogs had been” must be oblivious to the increasing amount of filthy unorganic litter that has been left behind by humans. Our grandchild got hold of a used condom while playing in the sand. Mr. Siska also must be in denial about the fact that humans urinate and defecate in the sand, for example during their nighttime bonfires (it is a natural bodily function, after all). Deer, birds, and all wildlife that visit the beach are all contributors!
    The toxic and nasty litter strewn by humans on the beach is a far greater danger to all wildlife and humans alike.
    I implore that East Hampton will rise above the other communities of banned dogs on beaches, and recognize that a day on the beach for many, many people (dog owners and non-dog owners alike) are more joyful because of the quirky and personable dogs that are there! Please prove that we are intelligent and sophisticated enough for that entitlement.

Dog DNA Registration
    East Hampton
    February 22, 2013
Dear Editor,
    I was so relieved to read the letters addressed to The Star with regard to dogs on the beach. I was heartened to read that I was not alone in my quest to retain my right to take my dog to the beach.
    I have been an East Hampton resident for over 30 years. During that period, I have walked and swum on, and in, our bay and ocean waters with my Alex, my Lili, and my Ms. Lucie to the delight of many onlookers. I have always taken them only where permitted and have always picked up after them.
    I have tried to educate those who do not follow my example but in many ­cases to no avail. I feared that it would eventually come to this. I have now realized that I cannot regulate bad behavior. It has to be instilled in us at a very young age at home and in school. Until we do, no matter how many laws or restrictions we draft on the books, those people will not change. Those persons will always find a way to circumvent them. Whether it is dog feces, garbage, a fire on the beach, or a car, there will always be that someone who will make it difficult for the law-abiding citizens such as myself.
    However, why should I have to have my rights curtailed because of the malfeasance of others? Why should I lose my right to walk on the beach with my pet?
    More enforcement of the existing laws, of course. However, my suggestion is the following — I think a good one, albeit an expensive one, and I challenge the town to do it:
    Every dog owner should submit a piece of their dog’s feces for DNA registration. The next time someone fails to pick up what their pet leaves behind, on the beach, on the road, or anywhere, I am sure that many of us (if the town constables do not wish to do it) will be happy to pick it up and take it to the nearest lab for identification.
    Once the offender is identified (and I do not mean the dog!) a hefty fine should be levied. That hefty fine will pay for the expense of setting up the service. I venture to say that there will be less dog gifts left on our beaches then.

Good Job, Fido
    East Hampton
    February 20, 2013
    Just wanted to comment on the East Hampton “famous” male model who reports to a local publication that he was “head butted in the crotch, knocked to the ground, and urinated upon.” Good job, Fido!
    All the best,

The Pope’s Move
    February 18, 2013
To the Editor,
    Pope’s unorthodox move raises questions!
    The year was about 1983 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Pope John Paul II had arrived for a three-day visit to the poorest country in our hemisphere. He arrived in the Vatican’s luxurious jet. I was there for an exhibition of my paintings. The Pope said Mass and for three days he blessed the people and the country and then flew back to Rome.

    The country continued to decline, and was eventually hit by a devastating earthquake!
    Do you still think the Pope is infallible?
    Sincerely yours,
    P.S. The Dominican Republic was not visited by the Pope and was spared, very little damage.

Feral Cat Poem #48
She’s back!
The golden one.
She finds the one small circle of green
in our otherwise snow-covered lawn,
sits in the sun to preen,
throws me a satisfied yawn.
As pregnant as Prince William’s Kate,
either ARF’s Big Fix missed her
or they snatched her too late.
What buried thing gives off the heat
that melts that lone spot of snow
I’d rather not know,
and neither, I guess, would she.

Reality for America
    East Hampton
    February 24, 2013
To the Editor:
    When Bill Moyers interviews Junot Diaz it is a breath of incredibly articulate lucidity. Diaz talks about an America that is bilingual. Bilingual in the sense that young people speak a different language amongst themselves, which is essentially a foreign language to much of the older adult world. Why certain groups turned out to vote hugely against Mitt Romney and the Republicans was that they thought them to be crazy. They listened to the multitude of loonies and then Romney’s mindless drivel and voted in droves for Obama, or against the madness. The politicians didn’t get it because they don’t speak the dialect.
    The relentless assault on reality and the casting of blame on masses of people like Latinos and Asians and women and the ever-present reference to the good old days (when white people were in total control) created an atmosphere of ideological distortion that was impossible to relate to.
    When in the shit and unsure, unwilling, or simply unable to figure out what to do, raise the patriotic flag of bullshit. It provides neither food, jobs, nor housing but at least you know that you are better than someone else. When self-esteem can’t be measured by individual accomplishments, because most of the country is in the crapper, we bring out collective greatness. We are highly moral, God-fearing, exceptional. None of which have ever been true.
    There are two measures of self-esteem in the logic of success and failure. The first is a function of achievement or accomplishment relative to one’s abilities. It’s not about doing better than your neighbors, because your life isn’t a function of their success. The second, more venal, measure is the denigration of others, either individually or in mass, and by definition of their inferior situations yours is acceptable and maybe even laudable. By adulating the one percent and the individualism of the population, we tell the rest of the country to screw off. The 47 percent is really 80 percent, and it sucks.
    So we talk about gun freedoms, birth control, deficits, immigrants (weren’t we all, once), gay marriage, right-to-work laws, voter fraud — all of which separate us from each other over issues that in the context of our national collapse are essentially bullshit. The issues of white America serve to divide and enfeeble, because it is the large mass of middle-class white people who have been screwed the most and whose future is grimmer and scarier. Their fall into the new category of people who barely survive is really the failure of government to protect and provide for them.
    Conservatives blame our problems on government, which is partially true. But it’s not government that caused the economic collapse (it’s private-sector greed and avarice) but government’s failure to prevent the collapse due to a lack of vigilance and incompetence. Government exists to protect the population from threats both external and internal, and its inaction and complicity in the economic transition and collapse is unmistakable. The size and influence of government is a spurious argument aimed at deflecting real solutions.
    The need for a real conservative conscience and intellect instead of the Tea Party idiocy is critical to putting the country back on its feet. Diaz understands this from his travels around the country. Reality for America, white and nonwhite, is all the same. Separately, we have little chance of recovering our economic juju. If minds were logical and rational Obama should have won by 15 million votes.
    If there is a hope for the country it’s in people taking to the streets. Occupy was clearly the answer. Our failure as people was to not climb on board that movement and let our leaders know that they will no longer be allowed to screw us around. The issues haven’t changed and our government is going nowhere. What other options do we have?

Consider Term Limits
    East Hampton
    February 23, 2013
To the Editor:
    The sequester. This will require the dismissal of 700,000 government employees in all branches of the government. There will also be unpaid days off for other employees. This past week all members of Congress went on a recess vacation. I guess they know we do not face a deficit now or in the near future. As government employees, they will not forfeit any pay loss in their salaries, as they wrote the law that exempts them.
    They have only been in session in 2012 for 126 days. That is why nothing has been done to get us moving forward on all the issues confronting our country. I think it is time to consider term limits. This is the worst Congress I have seen in my lifetime.


Weekly Mr. Hausig has harranged us with his "hates" ' dislikes and other complaints. Too bad he cannot ever write about what he loves about America. Why has he confined himself to such a small world? Most of us are friends with people with differing political views, religions, stright, gay and so on. Why the anger, Mr. Hausig? Every day I count my blessings,starting with having been born here. We have our faults, but having a government based on The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution with the Bill of Rights is not one. Rather this too is to be celebrated! We owe quite a lot to our founders, and should pay them honor by learning about them and their writings. Peter O sborne