Letters to the Editor: 04.11.13

Our readers' comments

A Fitting Tribute
    East Hampton
    April 7, 2013
To the Editor,
    I had the special privilege of attending a Holocaust Memorial ceremony at the Jewish Center of the Hamptons on Sunday. The proceedings were dignified and captured the feeling of sadness and renewal. The speaker was very effective in telling stories of survival and defiance. It was heartwarming to see young children who participated, which gave a sense of hope that the cause of remembrance of the horror of that genocide won’t be forgotten.
    I have been to most of the national ceremonies in the Rotunda of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. This experience at the Jewish Center was poignant and brought home the meaning of Holocaust remembrance to the local level. That was a fitting tribute.
STEVEN A. LUDSIN
    The writer served on the President’s Commission on the Holocaust and the first U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council.


Get Off My Tail
    Amagansett
    April 6, 2013
To the Editor:
    I can’t take it anymore. People, please get off my tail. I’ve been a year-round resident on the Napeague stretch in Amagansett for almost seven years. The downward hill on 27 East (passing Surf Drive) is not a 60 mile-per-hour zone. Nor is it 55 m.p.h. Or even 45 m.p.h., as it was until a few months ago. The speed limit heading down that hill is now 35 m.p.h. So please stop riding my bumper trying to get me to speed illegally. It’s really, really annoying. And it happens to me nearly every single day.
    I know, forever and a day it’s been the cultural norm to zoom along 27 East past the deli and Cranberry Hole Road, then down that hill (people would do it at 55 m.p.h. because that speed limit used to be just ahead, but even then the town got smart and moved the 55 m.p.h. sign even further east to try to ward off the speeders), but trust me, I’ve seen the cops lying in wait, and I don’t feel like getting a speeding ticket. By all means, the honor is yours.
    To the Town of East Hampton: Serious gravy money in speeding tickets is waiting for you, I suggest you help me make my point.
CINDI CRAIN


Escaped Punishment
    Amagansett
    April 7, 2012
Dear David:
    An article appearing in The Star (April 4, page 1) headed “Cases That Made Defendants Happy” would have curled my hair if only I had some. The defendants, two in number, were arrested for driving while intoxicated. Both escaped punishment.
    In case number one, the accused refused to take a breathalyzer test. Most states, including New York, impose an implied consent rule, requiring those arrested for D.W.I. to take the test. Refusal results in an automatic suspension of one’s license, and, at trial, an inference is drawn of consciousness of guilt.
    Not in East Hampton Town Justice Lisa Rana’s court. An accused refused to take a breathalyzer test. Her refusal was videotaped and subsequently taped over. Ms. Rana ruled the videotape may constitute “exculpatory” evidence, which the police wrongfully erased. Result: The accused was acquitted.
    The Department of Motor Vehicles is responsible for enforcing the rules governing the issuance of licenses; ancillary to its jurisdiction is the right to propose rules for the revocation of the very licenses it issues. The D.M.V. proposed a three-strike rule: three convictions for D.W.I. and your license is suspended for five years.
    In the second case, a driver was convicted for the third time of D.W.I. The accused pleaded guilty to his third D.W.I. conviction. Ms. Rana allowed him to change a guilty plea for an earlier D.W.I. conviction to a traffic violation. The result: The defendant was allowed to keep his license.
    Study after study has shown that most likely D.W.I. violators are repeaters. Apparently, Ms. Rana is unaware of the studies. She seems more concerned with keeping D.W.I. violators behind the wheel than protecting the public.
SIDNEY B. SILVERMAN


More Light is not Safer
    Springs
    April 7, 2013
Dear David,
    Regarding the gunpoint robbery at the I.G.A. parking lot. That lot meets every single definition of light pollution: excessively bright, blinding glare, redundant lighting, energy-inefficient, light trespasses property lines, upward-directed lighting, and very expensive to operate. The robbery proves that more light is not safer.
    Safe night lighting is energy-efficient, meets professional light-level recommendations, uses fully shielded (zero up-light), directed to areas needed for safe pedestrian passage, and turned off when not needed.
    If the I.G.A. would conform to the Planning Department’s guidelines for exterior lighting, its lot would be safe, well lit, and efficient, and would meet the 2006 Smart Lighting Law. For free, with one phone call, LIPA would change out the utility pole-mounted Powerflood fixtures that send most of the light over the building, to a full cutoff fixture that directs the light down onto the ground.
    SUSAN HARDER
    Dark Sky Society


Shifting Noise Around
    East Hampton
    April 8, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
    What is being referred to as the War Between the Towns began last July when Dominick Stanzione directed 80 percent of air traffic to fly over the Jessup’s Neck-power line route. Residents of Southampton and the North Fork reacted vociferously and demanded their officials confront East Hampton Town about East Hampton Airport noise being deposited over neighboring towns. Predictably, the fight has now moved to East Hampton, and fallout from Stan­zione’s decision has ignited a battle between the hamlets in East Hampton.
    In Northwest, a small group of residents (some of whom have aviation interests) has started a petition to protect themselves from airport noise. How will that impact the residents of other parts of East Hampton if this group can influence Stanzione to protect one small area (and past actions indicate that Stan­zione can indeed be “influenced”)? Which area of East Hampton will get the noise next? Will each hamlet have to begin a not-in-my-backyard campaign to protect its residents?
    Shifting noise around is not the answer, as any temporary relief to some comes at the cost of loss of peace and quiet to others. The only way to reduce noise is to reduce the numbers and types of craft using the airport and the hours they may access the airport. This will be possible if the airport is under local control.
    Those pushing the town to accept Federal Aviation Administration money are not publicizing the fact that federal money comes with grant obligations that will handcuff the town to F.A.A. control for as long as 20 years, with the airport obligated to remain open day and night, 365 days. Those urging the town take F.A.A. money are, for the most part, those with special aviation interests. They are insisting a third runway be repaved for their convenience; they want three functional runways instead of the current two. Will a fully functioning third runway reduce traffic? Of course not, but it will increase capacity.
    In a speech given on March 6 in Washington, D.C., Michael Huerta, head of the F.A.A., stated that steady growth is projected for air travel over the next 20 years and that the choices made today will have impacts for decades to come. With such a promise from the mouthpiece of the F.A.A., no hamlet or town will be spared. The environment on the entire East End of Long Island will be impacted.
    Our airport is no longer a local airport, it has been designated an F.A.A. regional airport. It is expanding.
PATRICIA CURRIE


The Right Direction
    East Hampton
    April 8, 2013
Dear David,
    East Hampton is in the throes of an identity crisis, a crisis created by the law of unintended consequences, propagated by the choice to ignore the obvious results of poor planning and strengthened by a complete failure to act both strategically and preemptively. A few examples:
    The tourist industry, hostelries, restaurants, real estate, and related businesses which have sprung up around our beaches, essential to the town’s economic health, are seriously threatened because of coastal erosion, particularly in Montauk. The longstanding failure of the town to implement appropriate safeguards, provided by our Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan, and institute practical solutions to the inexorable push of the ocean into the downtown area have caused this crisis. Coupled with the increasing frequency and intensity of storms along with unpredictable rises in sea level, what becomes of this essential asset? The ocean and our beaches literally define our existence, economically, recreationally, and metaphorically. What now? 
    The purity of water in our sole-source aquifer and the surface water bodies it ultimately feeds are fast declining. Water quality is threatened and with it the attendant impacts on our fisheries, our farms, our entire ecosystem, and human health. Sea-level rise, severe storms, and associated saltwater intrusion into drinking water supplies are occurring. Respected scientists and environmentalists are sounding the alarm, but who in a position of authority is taking action?
    Loss of habitat, restrictions by the state, and our need to safeguard our growing communities has led to record numbers of vehicular deer strikes, an unhealthy herd, and increased incidences of associated tick-borne illnesses. Lack of policy makes fences ubiquitous, diminishes scenic vistas, and underscores yet another level of separation between and among neighbors. Even with a plan of sorts in place, no action has been taken to date. No significant controls are in sight.
    Former environmental champions like Tom Twomey and Judith Hope promote policies to increase capacity at our airport, have no interest in reasonable curfews, or limits on numbers and concentrations of flights, and are eager to shackle the town’s ability to control access to it by accepting Federal Aviation Administration money for expansion projects. With their stated support, Councilman Dominick Stanzione hopes to push through F.A.A. funding and another 20 years of indentured servitude to the F.A.A. with it. What next — Islip MacArthur?
    These are a few symptoms the patient is exhibiting, but they are physical problems with physical solutions. We need new ideas to cure the afflicted.
    I know, I know‚ my hat’s in the ring, and this may appear self-serving. But, make no mistake, powerful forces are being exerted to influence the slate for each party and in some instances, specifically derail candidates who may put forward innovative plans and/or effective management for some of these problems because they challenge the status quo.
    Those of us (me, in particular) who have taken firm positions on specific issues are particularly vulnerable to these forces. My question to the decision makers is, when we know we have the talent, the skills, the leadership capabilities in so many individuals, why must we continue to honor the achievements of the old guard, substantive and useful as they were, at a time when those perspectives are no longer relevant?
    A metamorphosis is actually underway and it would be wise to acknowledge and support it rather than interfere and suppress its development for one more election cycle. We must move on with a new identity, rooted in the time-honored accomplishments and historic objectives, but refreshed with new blood. And, while I know I can make a meaningful contribution, I know in my heart it doesn’t have to be mine to move us in the right direction.
    With the election of 2013 comes an opportunity to shape this community for the next 20 years. To paraphrase Pete Townsend, let’s hope the new boss is not the same as the old boss. And I will get on my knees and pray we don’t get fooled again.
    East Hampton can’t afford that. None of us can.
    Sincerely,
    KATHLEEN CUNNINGHAM


An Easier Target
    East Hampton
    April 5, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
    It is now clear what she has been up to. Kathy Cunningham, the leader of the Quiet Skies Coalition, is seeking the Democratic Party nomination to run for East Hampton Town Board against Councilman Dominick Stanzione.
    Last summer, Stanzione carefully coordinated the realignment of helicopter flight paths to match what an earlier $266,000 town noise mitigation report recommended in that regard. This resulted in a summer of peace and quiet for the first time in seven years for the homeowners in Northwest Woods and the area north of the airport in Wainscott.
    [On April 2,] Cunningham attended a meeting of East End town officials and argued for the return of the helicopters to the old Northwest Wainscott route. If this occurs, it will undercut Stanzione’s accomplishment and make him an easier target on Election Day.
    Such cold political calculation at the expense of the residents in Northwest and Wainscott is vile. Using the Quiet Skies Coalition to further her political ambitions is worse. She should resign.
    Sincerely
    GERARD BOLEIS
    President
    East Hampton Aviation Association


Regarding the Dunes
    Springs
    April 8, 2013
To the Editor,
    I think it is time for me to publicly provide you and the community with the facts that led up to the creation of the Dunes and what brought about the reversal of the building inspector’s original determination that we could operate at 26 Bull Run.
    Over three years ago I met with Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Councilman Dominick Stanzione to discuss my plans for opening an executive retreat in East Hampton for people suffering from addiction.
    I told Supervisor Wilkinson exactly what I envisioned regarding the Dunes. He said the next step would be to speak to John Jilnicki, the town attorney. I met with Mr. Jilnicki and described what we intended to do. He advised me to meet with Tom Preiato, the building inspector.
    I made an appointment to meet with Mr. Preiato at 26 Bull Run, East Hampton, the property we were going to use for the Dunes retreat. When Mr. Preiato and I met I told him exactly what we intended to do and the services we intended to provide.
    I wanted to open an executive retreat for addiction at 26 Bull Run where our residents would live as a family. We would be licensed by the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services and would provide services to help people recover from addiction. All of our residents would be evaluated to ensure they would be an appropriate fit for the Dunes and the community. We would use outside services to provide treatment that was not within the scope of our license.
    We discussed how long our residents would be at the Dunes. Length of stay is a critical ingredient to achieve a successful recovery outcome. I told Mr. Preiato that while we could not enforce it, we would recommend a stay of up to 11 months. I told Mr. Preiato we were attempting to mirror Alina Lodge, which is reputed to have the most successful recovery program in the country. The Lodge has a success rate of 85 percent, and the average length of stay is 11 months. Mr. Preiato knew exactly why we would suggest an 11-month stay and he also understood that we could not enforce it.
    I told Mr. Preiato we would be applying for a state license, and I gave him a full description of what services we would offer. To this day we provide those same services under our O.A.S.A.S. license and just as I described those services to Mr. Preiato.
    Mr. Preiato, like everyone else I spoke with in the town government, thought opening an executive addiction retreat was a great idea and was definitely needed in East Hampton. Not one town official we spoke to had an objection to its opening.
    In March 2010 we received the building inspector’s approval. With the town’s permission and licensed by O.A.S.A.S. we opened in November of the same year.
    Ten months after we had opened and a year and a half after we had received the building inspector’s approval, an article about the Dunes appeared in the New York Post.
    A few days later we received a call from a town attorney stating that he had received a complaint about the Dunes. We were told that a competitor from Westhampton had read the article in the Post and insisted his attorney call to complain about us being given permission to open in East Hampton. We find it odd that the town attorney would respond to such a complaint.
    That competitor’s complaint was the only complaint the town had ever received about the Dunes. There is no record of any complaints about the Dunes anywhere in the town’s files.
    Quite suspiciously, we then began to receive a series of letters from Mr. Preiato stating that he had changed his mind and that we would have to apply for a special permit due to the transiency of our residents and the services we provide. We still don’t know what pressure was applied to Mr. Preiato to have him flip-flop on his original decision.
    To protect our rights in 2012 we filed a discrimination suit against the town in federal court.
    Our federal complaint prompted a series of letters and discussions with the town’s attorneys. In the summer of 2012 we met with two of the town’s attorneys, as well as Mr. Preiato, to determine the basis of his reversal. He could not really articulate the basis for his belief that the Dunes was a semi-public facility. As such a determination was not supported, we appealed his determination to the town zoning board of appeals, and are awaiting its decision.
    During the Z.B.A. hearing, a board member asked Mr. Preiato to identify the determining factor that made him change his initial decision. His answer was that our residents are “transient.” When asked what he determined to be transient, he responded, “any stay less than four or five months.” Under this analysis, all residents of East Hampton who rent out their homes during the summer season or who reside in the town on a part-time basis would be considered transient.
    Trevor Yoder, our landlord, spoke at the hearing and told them that he witnessed the discussion that took place between Mr. Preiato and myself at the property. Mr. Yoder is an attorney and he assured the board that he would never have entered into a lease and option with the Dunes if he was not absolutely certain that we had followed every step required by the town to open the Dunes.
    While we await the Z.B.A.’s decision we will continue to do our work and live ogether as a family.
    However, if we are to live as a family, we have the right to be treated like every other family in the community. We are entitled to the same rights and privileges. Any restriction imposed on residents of the Dunes and not on other East Hampton families can be attributed only to discrimination.
    In the two years and four months that we have been helping people there has not been one legitimate, substantiated complaint about the Dunes. We have not broken any laws, we did not mislead any of the town officials, and we are in full compliance with our O.A.S.A.S. license.
    Those opposed to us are fond of saying that they are not against what we do, but where we have chosen to do it. This is an artful way of saying, “not in my backyard.”
    We have endured constant harassment since our existence was made public. In direct violation of the law and placing our residents in extreme danger, the town trustees used a fence to close one of the roads to our property. They wouldn’t take it down until a judge in Riverhead made them remove it. With the urging of neighbors, our landlord has been harassed by different departments of the town government. We have neighbors leaning over our fence taking pictures of our residents. Nails have been thrown into our parking courtyard, which have caused more than 15 flats in the last few months. My character and truthfulness has been questioned in a moronic ad that ran last year in local papers. It’s an ad filled with inaccuracies and flat-out lies.
    Much has been made of the cost for services at the Dunes, all the while ignoring the millions of dollars that are flowing into the East Hampton economy by the Dunes. Also ignored is the hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships we have provided to area residents in an effort to help them with their addiction problems.
    We will continue to provide help to those with addiction problems. Discrimination is insidious by its very nature and cannot continue.
    JOE MCKINSEY
    Founder and Chief Executive Officer


Weather Forecasting
    Stamford, Conn.
    March 26, 2013
Dear Editor:
    We all know that the weather can wreak havoc, change plans, and affect the bottom line. It can be priceless in its nature and effect or put fear into our hearts. That is why we pay attention to forecasts on a daily basis.
    But weather forecasting and its terminology are changing. Until recently only hurricanes had names; now snowstorms do as well. We have also added a numeric value to them, something that used to be reserved only for tornadoes. So when Sandy hit we knew that was a hurricane, and if an F2 tornado on the Fujita scale blew through we knew what they were talking about.
    Recently “Tor-Con” (tornado conditions) was added into the language as well. This is a number, zero to 10, assigned to conditions favorable to the possible formation of a tornado. So now tornadoes have two numbers attached to their existence.
    Then this winter, that phrase morphed into Storm-Con (storm conditions), referring to a snowstorm’s effect on an area. Why the growing terminology? With far greater information available and more dedicated outlets, both on TV and online, new terminology was felt to be needed by the National Weather Service, with the Weather Channel leading the way.
    However, has the accuracy in our ability to forecast the weather kept pace with our ability to disseminate the information? The answer lies in where the information is coming from. New to the past year is the great divide in computer forecast models. How many times have the European models shown one storm track and the American models another? This brings up two points. Had anyone even heard of the European computer models before the last 12 months, and why are they proving to be more accurate?
    The answer to both questions, according to the Weather Channel, lies in dollars and sense. More money is being pumped into the European super-computers tasked to this than their American counterparts. Therefore accuracy has proven to be greater and it makes sense to put their projections front and center.
    For all the computer power that we have available, when a storm actually hits, each has its own personality. Just look at the February blizzard in the tri-state area. Variations in snow totals are usually associated with a north-south boundary, meaning where the rain-snow line is. This blizzard had an east-west twist to it, with the Bridgeport to Port Jefferson ferry route being the Mason-Dixon Line. Fifteen miles to either side meant the difference between getting one foot of snow or three, an unheard-of distinction! But then again, the weather has been anything but normal the past three years.
    Forgoing computer models, let’s plug back in the human equation. Sometimes to view Mother Nature we have to look back through Father Time. So now that spring has arrived and we wonder what’s next, let’s start by taking a look back at what is now three winters ago (2010-2011). We got buried! It started snowing New Year’s weekend and did not stop until President’s Week at the end of February. Depending on exactly where you live, we came close or broke all records. Either way, your back or wallet knew what had happened.
    Two winters ago (2011-2012) we had that October snowstorm and then a funny thing happened — nothing! Has there ever been a winter where the biggest snowstorm came in the fall? There were no three-dog-nights that winter, or mornings where the car was hard to start because the thermometer was flirting with the only two numbers a computer knows, zero and one. That lack of cold led to the warmest year on record in 2012, and that was accomplished without a major heat wave last summer.
    We had Hurricane Irene in 2011 and of course Sandy in 2012, which, oddly, struck near the one-year anniversary of the October snowstorm the year before. Hurricane Sandy was literally a freak of nature on so many levels. Common knowledge says that cold water kills hurricanes coming up the East Coast in October. Sandy rode up on the warm waters of the Gulf Stream far out to sea, then made an unheard-of turn west because of a blocking high-pressure system that is not supposed to be there at that time of year (again, the European model got it right). It was a hurricane that produced a snowstorm in some areas. What do you even call that? So leaf-peeping got blown away early last fall, as it looked like January in October.
    It all makes you look forward to those sunny five-day high-pressure systems that come along each summer. They start off warm and dry and then, as the wind swings around to the south, end up hot and humid. Will they start to name those too?
    What can be learned here is that for all of our improved technology and changing terminology all we have to do is look at what man and beast alike predicted for last month. The long-range forecast was for warmer than normal temperatures, yet we averaged 10 to 15 degrees below normal and were still shoveling. Also, an Ohio prosecutor filed charges against the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania for misrepresentation of an early spring.
RICHARD C. ILSE


Campaign Against Dogs
    East Hampton
    April 8, 2013
Dear Editor,
    In response to Matt Norklun’s feeble attempt at writing fiction in last week’s Letters pages, I would just like to say, Matt, that is just silly! To the rest of us who just don’t believe a word out of his fiction-conjuring mouth I say, just boycott his sponsors. One thing an advertiser doesn’t want is to be in a scuffle with haters of children or dogs.
    Mr. Norklun’s odd and disproportionate rage, combined with the fabrication of silly lies about his experiences of being “headbutted in the crotch, knocked to the ground, and urinated upon,” must be disconcerting to the advertising industry and the numerous accounts they must represent. I imagine he has not gained the notoriety of the nature he had hoped for when he started this campaign against dogs. Despite his intent to remain marketable and relevant in the waning of his career, he has alienated a huge cross-section of the market his sponsors are attempting to corner.
    I often find that people who have traded on their looks for a lifetime often end up hateful and destructive when their golden years fade into the distance behind them. It is probable that his sponsors are dwindling due to the embarrassing nature of his recent behaviors. I really pity him.
    Fiction: I was walking through Georgica one day last week when my golden retriever stopped to speak with a young couple of spring toads and a charming and lovely orange and chocolate painted box turtle. Of course it turned into quite a little gossip session. It seemed a well-known male model in the area had been urinating in the bushes at the beach, in the ocean itself, and, most horribly, he had urinated in the neighbor’s swimming pool. Of course I knew who they were speaking about but chose not to partake in this silly exchange. It was, however, exactly the behavior I would have expected from this man and as I led my dog away she commented, “Humans, how they can disappoint one!”
    Just fiction! Just for fun!
MICHAEL DICKERSON


Smart Meters
    Amagansett
    April 7, 2013
Dear Editor:
    This last week we met up for another informative presentation on sustainable development. This United Nations-implemented program is worldwide, though it does seem to concentrate on the United States, with goals to do away with private property and return most of the land back to wilderness. Thus, dams are to be destroyed, regardless of the effect on fish or people’s property downstream; land trusts that can be sold from the trust to the government; transit villages, where all housing is around buses, trains, no cars; high-occupancy apartment buildings under the direction of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and so on. Town boards usually don’t know what they’re really signing up for, and paying dues to these “sustainable development” organizations. Private meetings are held that are not open to the general public, bringing in people they want, excluding others (which we have already experienced via last year) for votes.
    You will usually recognize who they are by their many names and projects, which they frequently change to keep as low a profile as possible, such as U.N. Agenda 21 has changed to ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives) and Sustainable Development, or Growth. Other projects are public-private partnerships, conservation easements, mixed-use housing, alternative energy, smart growth, transit village. Also, green jobs, land trusts, green codes, future earth, permit banks, green communities, stretch codes, smart meters, and permacultures are within their purview.
    Smart meters are already causing a lot of trouble in many states, as they are actually two-watt radio stations, reporting energy usage, and affecting the health of sensitive occupants. The energy company can shut off your power if you’re using too much. A woman was arrested when she tried to block the installation of one in her locked yard. Some companies allow for an opt-out but with an extra monthly charge.
    Look for terms like visionary sessions or charettes — these are meetings to set up a sustainable community, in which they can control all development, not the voters of the community or their town boards. They usually have facilitators to neutralize troublemakers (those of us who have researched this). Usually they invite just who they want. Check out sustainableLI.com, rggi.org/rggi, which is unconstitutional under Article 1 Section 10. Also, Agenda 21 for public (or elected) officials, John Anthony has a 15-minute YouTube, Democrats against UN Agenda 21. Please do your research and start by writing letters to the editors and your town officials.
    Southampton is already part of ICLEI. Democrats like their private property as well as Conservatives and Republicans, so if we can wake them up we can stop this from further infiltrating our towns. Cash-strapped towns want the money being offered through these programs — but “whoever feeds you has control over you” and town boards need to be aware. Many towns that joined previously are waking up to the dangers and renouncing their membership. This will no longer be America if this goes through.
LYNDA A.W. EDWARDS


Social Security Payments
    East Hampton
    April 7, 2013
To the Editor:
    Now that the cat is out of the bag, all the cretins who believed Obama was a socialist, on the right or the left, can shut their holes and deal with the real world. Like Bill Clinton with welfare and Glass-Steagall, a Democratic president does the bidding of the conservative business elites. Obama’s plan to regulate the cost-of-living adjustment on future Social Security payments is a huge kick in the groin for every American living on a fixed income. Senior citizens, the disabled, veterans, our most vulnerable, will get screwed. If one extrapolates the logic the plan would be to let them die sooner than later.
    Fake Christian piety aside, Obama’s Social Security plan will open the floodgates for privatizing and dismantling the only safety net that exists for a large part of the population. The thinking, as F.D.R. presented it, was that the debts we owe to our parents for their sacrifices in building the country should not only be recognized but rewarded. Our parents weren’t always old. Our soldiers weren’t disabled before we sent them to war.
    In our free-market capitalist model, where the wealthy get bailed out no matter how much they screw up, we take a utilitarian approach to our population. What is the market value of a senior citizen who doesn’t produce anything or a soldier who can’t go to war. Zero, not true. Negative. Why pay for them when we can use all that money from Social Security and Medicare to buy bigger properties or make even more money with. What an incredible waste of capital.
    It took about 35 years from the time that Friedman talked about privatizing Social Security to Obama proposing to adjust the COLA. Bush was shot down when he talked about privatization because coming from a conservative it was too nasty and obvious. But from quasi-socialist Obama, a man of the people, it’s kind of sugar-coated. It forces us to acknowledge that there is only one political party in the country and to accept the harsh reality that that party genuinely sucks.
    Bill Clinton savaged welfare, proudly and triumphantly. He allowed for the complete debasement of millions of single mothers because they weren’t white or successful enough. He did the same with Glass-Steagall, with his head so far up his butt that he had no real sense of the potential consequences. Welfare and Glass-Steagall were conservative targets for 25 years before they were put to bed by a so-called liberal.
    The conundrum for most Americans is that they don’t believe they will ever be old. Might need Medicare and Social Security to survive. Might need their kids to take care of them (which most refuse to do today). Respect their parents and elders enough to think that they shouldn’t be abused by the government for the benefit of people already too wealthy to spend what they have.
    The primary difference between socialism and capitalism is that one has a soul and the other has a calculator. Our government is designed to keep the machines at bay. But one party is soulless and the other can’t quite find out where it is. Obama coming out of the closet clarifies the problem. We no longer need to ask who’s on our side. We know the answer is no one.
NEIL HAUSIG
 

Comments

Dear David, It strikes me as unfortunate and disappointing to see that people who are affected by operations at East Hampton Airport find it necessary to continually use misinformation and gross exaggeration to try to make their case for addressing noise issues. There has been no effort to increase or expand airport capacity now or in the future and this is clearly spelled out in the Airport Master Plan which took over ten years of planning and study before being approved by the town board. According to data collected from airport records, since 2008 airport activity has continued to significantly decline. As for the runway proposal part of this plan, the reality is that one runway is designated to be closed, leaving only two active runways , not three. I have mentioned before that no previous town board has shown the conviction to follow through on promises to address airport noise concerns and the current board is no exception. The only person on the board to ever commit themselves to seriously get involved in noise mitigation initiatives has been Dominick Stanzione and he did so with little or no support from the rest of the board ,and surprisingly not even his own party. The fact that the efforts he put in place have drawn criticism from airport opponents should not be used to abandon any and all attempts to address the problem. No matter how many times it is explained that airport operations are under the authority of the FAA because East Hampton Airport is public use facility and not because there are grant assurances in place, there are still some who believe that the only answer to noise problems is to attempt to restrict traffic. Attempting to restrict aircraft traffic is something the FAA has historically refused to allow at public use airports. So, where does that leave us? Will there ever be a consensus on the town board to address the problem and fix it , or will there be a continuation of unreasonable demands that can never be met to anyone's satisfaction and no one's relief? Respectfully , Gene Oshrin