Take Note of This Date
April 15, 2013
To the Editor:
At any point in time, for whatever reason — a fall, a stroke, that scary pain in your chest that doesn’t go away, perhaps an automobile accident you hadn’t planned on, a boating accident, even the fishhook or knife incident gone astray, whatever — you do the 911 call, and within minutes the flashing light of an ambulance, the siren cutting the quiet air, and help is there. And you’re relieved, because someone is there to help you.
Did you ever wonder who these people are? Where do they come from and why? It’s no secret. They are your neighbors! They are volunteers who give of their time to train, refresh, and answer the call when and where it comes.
You could be one of them. Yes, it’s hard work, long hours of training, and lots of time away from home and loved ones, but ask any of them and they will all say the same thing. It’s worth it, 100 percent it’s worth it.
If you have the inclination to help your neighbor, your friends, even your family in time of emergency medical need, please take note of this date: Wednesday, May 8, 7 p.m. at the firehouse. It’s the annual informational meeting. There is no commitment, no obligation, none. It is purely for you to learn what it means to become an emergency medical technician. I can promise you the only thing you will feel is good.
Please, if you have any idea of joining this select group of special people, show up and learn. This very special town we call Montauk needs all the help we can provide. You just might be the one that makes the difference.
Montauk Fire Department
The Hitfest Hour
April 17, 2013
I sometimes forget how much creativity and talent we have here in East Hampton, but last night at Guild Hall The Naked Stage put on an old-fashioned radio variety show which was a true gift to the community.
“The Hitfest Variety Hour” was a combination of four short skits interspersed with original music by the duo Hopefully Forgiven, Telly Karoussos and Brad Penuel. The Hamptons-related skits were hilarious and reminiscent of the old radio programs of yesteryear. The musicians and actors were wonderful — as good as if not better than “Prairie Home Companion.”
I applaud Josh Perl for his keen direction and writing. I look forward to the next episode of “The Hitfest Variety Hour.”
April 22, 2013
Thank you for posting the Art Group event in your publication. Due to your support, it was a tremendous success attended by nearly 300 people. Everyone enjoyed an incredible musical performance by Out East, the East End’s newest band, featuring Brian LeClerc on guitar, John Jinks on bass, and Brian Beyer on drums. Several paintings were sold, creating some very happy artists.
Over all, this was a wonderful event for the community, enjoyed by all. With some luck, we will do it again next year. Thanks again.
April 19, 2013
Please accept this letter of thanks on behalf of my family to the many people who walked and ran in the third annual Katy’s Courage 5K. We appreciate their participation and smiles. It takes a village to organize a 5K, and in our case, we benefited from the support of many people from the East End and beyond.
With our organization, we have goals and a desire to continue scholarships for local students, contribute to the Katy’s Courage Fund for pediatric cancer research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, and the creation of a children’s bereavement center on the East End. Funds donated and collected through the race will help to realize these goals.
It has been said many times: We live in a wonderful community. It is at once beautiful and generous, supportive, and caring. We experienced the evidence of this completely throughout our journey. We believe Katy’s life had a greater purpose, and all the love you have shown us is a testimony to this.
Thank you all again for your interest, participation, and love. Thank you to all of our sponsors!
JIM, BRIGID, and
Additional contributing individuals and businesses are listed in this week’s Card of Thanks section. Ed.
Earth Day Appreciation
April 22, 2013
To the Editor:
Concerned Citizens of Montauk held its annual Earth Day cleanup on Saturday and once again managed to fill a Dumpster with trash gathered by many, many volunteers, both young and old. Special thanks to Mickey’s Carting for donating the Dumpster again this year.
Thanks also to Missy and The Group for the East End and Maureen and her Playhouse people for the time, effort, and space they provided at the bird event for the children.
We also want to thank Matt at Fort Pond Native Plants for his informative presentation, “Living With Deer.” In spite of the changing diet of the deer he showed there are still many options available to allow for creative landscapes and gardens.
Thanks also to the volunteers who participated in the Big Reed and the Walking Dunes hikes in the afternoon. The Surfriders also deserve a great big thank you for their help removing a lot of heavy trash from the beaches.
As always, it’s great to see the schoolkids dragging bags filled with assorted roadside junk to the Dumpster. Thank you! Thank you!
Filling the Blanks
April 21, 2013
To the Editor,
Last week’s Star reported that I was running for the East Hampton School Board saying (paraphrasing) that I am 73, taught science for 30 years in Sag Harbor, and have four grandchildren in the district.
All true, but doesn’t sound too impressive for 73 years’ worth. I would like to fill in the blanks for those residents who don’t know me.
I had to start working at 14 years, working nights while in high school. I paid my way through college by life-guarding summers, washing dishes early a.m., moving heavy equipment for General Electric on weekends, and baking donuts in a bakery at night.
Out of college, I worked as assistant manager for the Hertz Corporation in New York City for approximately five years.
I came to East Hampton permanently in 1968, and starting teaching in Sag Harbor, met and married my wife, and we were lucky enough to have three good kids. Along with teaching and going to Stony Brook for a master’s, I tended bar at night, sold real estate on weekends, and lifeguarded at Main Beach.
My wife and I owned and operated the Village Toy Shop on Main Street for about 18 years, and then expanded to open ROBOtech in Amagansett Square, where we taught Lego-Mindstorms robotics. During this time our three kids went through the East Hampton school system, which served them well as they all went on to college and successful careers, which brings me to this: I am running for the school board because I want to be part of making sure all of East Hampton’s students, along with my grandchildren, are prepared to be successful when they enter an increasingly complex, technological world.
I have been working on several education initiatives to ensure this, which I will detail in subsequent letters.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Pond is ‘Borderline’
April 22, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray:
In the spring of 2012 members of the East Hampton High School Environmental Awareness Club began periodic testing of the waters of Hook Pond in East Hampton Village. The goal was to learn more about the process of testing natural environs for different compounds and see how different environmental factors affect change from one reading to the next. Tony Minardi, a marine biologist, joined the club to assist in testing and evaluating the water samples. Students who have been instrumental in testing the waters include Tess Talmage, Dana Cucci, and Chris Rivera.
On Jan. 10, members of the Environmental Awareness Club, along with Mr. Minardi and myself, met with the village administrator, Larry Cantwell, to discuss the present condition of Hook Pond. Mr. Cantwell expressed his concerns and stated that the village board was also aware of water quality issues and drainage issues from various entrance locations. Due to this, the village board is considering a monitoring system of the pond, which should be in place in the very near future‚ according to Mr. Cantwell.
Presently, the water quality is being tested by Mr. Minardi and two students of the Environmental Awareness Club. The group is collecting water samples from six selected entry points, once per month. The samples are tested at Mr. Minardi’s lab for total nitrogen, phosphates, pH, dissolved oxygen, and temperature. To date, analysis of the data indicates a low oxygen concentration and above-normal nitrate concentration — the pond is close to an anaerobic phase.
Nitrates, phosphates, and other compounds generally enter Hook Pond via the following:
Possible septic drainage from septic system bordering the pond.
Road drainage in the form of runoff.
Lawn fertilizers in the form of runoff.
Fecal matter from waterfowl, caused by the excessive public feeding of the ducks.
Signs should be posted saying No Feeding the Ducks or Do Not Feed the Ducks. Recently, signs were installed at the entrance of the East Hampton Village Nature Trail (a k a the Duck Pond) that list better alternatives to feeding waterfowl items such as bread. Bread and other such items increase fecal matter in the water, which, in turn, increases nitrogen levels and eventually decreases oxygen levels. We believe that discouraging feeding the ducks will assist in promoting better water quality and lead to natural feeding habits by waterfowl.
In addition to the preceding findings, Hook Pond is demonstrating ecological succession. The borders of the pond are migrating toward the center of the pond. Leading the migration is our common invasive species reed, phragmites. It is generally the pioneer or first to start the migration process. The reed, as it migrates, will be followed by grasses, then shrubs, then the mixing in of cedar and/or pine, and ultimately species of oak would probably be the climax of the pond. Couple the succession event with decreasing water depth, plus addition of nitrates from runoff, the time frame of ecological succession will shorten. A good example of succession in our area is Two Holes of Water. Please understand, ecological succession is a long-term event.
In conclusion, after a year of water quality monitoring and four months of testing, the club feels that Hook Pond is a borderline body of water. The testing equipment and the faculty presently conducting the testing are not New York State-certified. If the village board is to consider continuing monitoring of the pond, we recommend the assistance of a certified water-testing agency. We are quite sure that the results will be close to our data, but the data will be certified and can be used as a legal document for assessment.
AUBREY H. PETERSON
Student Assistance Counselor
East Hampton High School
Environmental Awareness Club
April 22, 2013
At the recent dog leash law public meeting, from the podium, I offered a scenario: something to the effect that someone calls the mayor up and says, “I just spent $20,000 on a party on the beach only to have a dog ruin it. What are you going to do about it?”
I would’ve expected the mayor to express that that doesn’t happen.
What that suggested to me is there is a plausibility that he receives such calls and feels the need to take action for those types of citizens.
Is this the reason why the village board is pressing for dog leash restrictions?
Later at the podium I said something to the effect that we have several hundred people who were against restrictions, and I asked the mayor how many people did he have that wanted restrictions on the dogs. The mayor, after being pressed, said that he had 20-plus complaints. At the previous meeting he said that he had two complaints. Was this an attempt to bolster his position and force upon us a dog leash restriction law?
The people have spoken! We have several hundred people against restrictions and we have either 20-plus or two people, depending on which public hearing you went to, who want restrictions.
It seems that the village board is moving in the right direction. They are retreating and are not going to enforce any laws now until at least July. Best thing that they can do is wave the white flag. I hope they don’t consider it surrender. They can just consider it moving over to the winning side.
Feral Cat Poem #49
Wait for it,
wait for it,
my first sighting
of a feral cat
since last fall.
Think it was some anti-feral
with a gun?
New York City
April 18, 2013
I’m writing this letter to advise you and your readers about some very serious lapses of safety on the Hampton Luxury Liner, and to issue a warning to all bus users to beware of their service.
I’m writing now because just a few days ago I received an e-mail from the Luxury Liner that was very misleading, and I feel it is my duty to speak up and to set the record straight. The e-mail that I (and presumably many others) received was headlined “Voted Best Tourist Transportation in NYC for 2010” and went on at great length to discuss their safety program. Interestingly, they never mention the fact that their buses are now the orange BoltBuses — since January 2013 BoltBus/Greyhound is the new non-luxury owner of the Luxury Liner! Frankly, I was appalled by their e-mail and the marketing ploy it was trying to be.
My experience with the Luxury Liner has been unpleasant and upsetting. Several months ago a dear friend of mine was severely injured in a fall on a Luxury Liner trip from New York City when the driver did not wait for her to sit down but instead abruptly lunged the bus forward. My friend fell to the floor and feared she had broken her back or her ribs, as well as twisted her knee. The driver eventually did stop and helped my friend up and into a seat. She endured the ride out to Amagansett in pain and stunned silence. The next morning she had to be taken to Southampton Hospital’s emergency room and then by ambulance to Peconic Hospital in Riverhead for X-rays and M.R.I.s. My friend was diagnosed with severe contusions of her back and ribs and with a torn miniscus in her knee, and was told it would take months for her recuperation.
By the way, it turns out that this bus was a bare-bones orange BoltBus! I was incensed about the carelessness of the bus driver. So the next day, on behalf of my suffering friend, I called the Luxury Liner to report the seriousness of this accident and to voice my concerns about their poor safety program. I was told the person to speak with regarding this accident was their safety director, John McHugh. In spite of my calling every day for the next 10 days, Mr. McHugh never once called me back. Several people I spoke with at their Bridgehampton office assured me that they would personally make sure that Mr. McHugh called me back, but he never did. How can a purported “luxury” bus company have such an irresponsible and unresponsive safety director?
I then wrote a letter to Michael Schoolman, the president of Hampton Luxury Liner. He had his vice president of operations, Anne Downard, call me to discuss what happened to my friend. Anne told me that several rules had been broken by Luxury Liner employees, especially by the safety director, and that she would remove some of these individuals from the company. Yet the only person fired was the bus driver. Mr. McHugh, their absent safety director, is still there. How can this be?
I am a regular bus-riding commuter between New York City and Amagansett. I stopped taking the Luxury Liner several seasons ago, in favor of the Hampton Jitney/Ambassador Line, which I consider far superior in terms of safety issues and of customer service. The unfortunate experience my friend had a few months ago finally got her to switch her commuting to the Jitney group. I hope no one else has to learn this lesson the hard way.
555 Montauk Highway
April 22, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
With deep reverence for The East Hampton Star, I would like to address a few points raised in last week’s editorial. It was our intent with the project at 555 Montauk Highway in Amagansett to engage in an open dialogue and one that is formulated in the public process. To that end, we have expressly requested public comments and feedback as well as making ourselves available to provide clarity on our project as it is envisioned. Integral with the true understanding of our proposal is a brief review of the history of the property, what the current zoning yields, and the 2005 East Hampton Town Comprehensive Plan.
The property was last actively farmed in 1953 with the construction of the “new” Montauk Highway. The property was then effectively dormant until 2005, when it was 100 percent cleared. For the past decade, developments were proposed ranging from 36 affordable housing units, an equestrian development, a winery housing project, and finally a multiple-lot residential development. These projects were all abandoned due to various factors, but at no time has the land been seen through the lens of anything but development.
The current, in-place zoning for the three contiguous parcels ranges from one-acre residential, Affordable Housing Overlay, Limited Business Overlay, and three-acre residential zoning. This would yield 36 affordable units on the western lot and seven dwellings on the central and eastern lots for a total of 43 units. These 43 units would yield approximately 172 residents, having a much greater impact on existing community infrastructure than our proposal at hand.
The comprehensive plan presents an outline for the town, including the need to provide housing for residents of all ages. This is expressly stated in Goal Four: “Provide housing opportunities to help meet the needs of current year-round residents, their family members, and senior citizens, seasonal employees, public employees, emergency services volunteers, and other local workers.” Of the 11 goals of the plan, our project satisfies 5 of them. Additionally, we will provide 10 percent of our housing as affordable. These units would not be a separate development but in and amongst the project.
As designed, this project will be LEED certified, net-zero energy, zero wastewater, and will be one the greenest residential projects in New York State. East Hampton does not have one senior citizens housing project outside of the ones federally restricted to lower incomes. It is a bold project which factors in the market value of land in Amagansett, the services required for an aging population, and facilitates senior citizens engaging in the vibrant community of Amagansett, all while having a positive impact to the school district, fire district, and local economy.
We have spent a great deal of energy studying this proposal from many angles and have commissioned traffic studies, housing studies and design exercises to build both socially and environmentally responsibly. We are more than willing to review any of this in greater detail and welcome a collaborative discussion on this future community asset.
Their Own Airport
April 22, 2013
As long as the Town of East Hampton takes Federal Aviation Administration grant money to subsidize the airport, we will remain subject to F.A.A. rules. Those rules make it impossible for East Hampton to control use of its own airport. If we stop taking F.A.A. money, we can regain local control at the end of 2014 and finally do something about the hideous noise. That’s not much longer to wait. We have been waiting for more than 20 years already.
Former supervisor Judith Hope wrote about the airport last week. Her husband, Tom Twomey, owns a private plane that they use to travel to their second home in Nantucket. She tries to scare us, saying that if we don’t continue to take F.A.A. subsidies the town will be bankrupted by the airport. That is ridiculous. The only ones who will have to pay more if we stop taking F.A.A. money are the users of the airport. East Hampton taxpayers do not get so much as a dime from the F.A.A. All of the benefit flows directly to airport users by making their airport cheaper for them.
There are 20,000 airports in the United States. Only 3,000 of them are even eligible for F.A.A. subsidies. Seventeen thousand manage without. The East Hampton airport serves one of the wealthiest communities in America. Are we to believe that the users of 17,000 local airports can support their own airport, but the wealthy of East Hampton and Southampton, flying off to their second, third, or fourth homes, cannot afford to do so? That the poor private-aircraft owners of the Hamptons must be subsidized by the taxpayers? That supporting their airport, their pleasure and convenience, would bankrupt us if we don’t take F.A.A. money?
Of course they can afford to pay for their own airport. Fifty dollars per landing would pay for $7 million of capital projects, vastly more than the airport requires to be the safest in America. They are just too cheap to pay. They like their F.A.A. subsidies and they like not being subject to any local restrictions, because F.A.A. money makes local control impossible. Our community suffers with uncontrolled airport noise because of their unyielding greed and self-interest.
Southampton is currently fighting to direct East Hampton-bound helicopter traffic that now flies over Southampton back over East Hampton, where it used to be. Sooner or later, they will inevitably succeed, because it is absurd to suppose that the noise pollution that we in East Hampton create with our airport can be solved by dumping our problem in a neighboring town.
The absolutely incredible irony of this situation is that Tom Twomey, private aircraft owner, the same Tom Twomey who opposes local control over our airport at every turn, has written to his local neighborhood association urging that it fight any Southampton effort to redirect East Hampton helicopter traffic back to Twomey’s neighborhood, where it used to be.
Whenever Mr. Twomey publicly advocates for an F.A.A.-controlled airport, he insists there is no noise problem, just a handful of disgruntled people. What he means is, there is no noise problem so long as the noise is over your house, not his house, and not Judith Hope’s house. Mr. Twomey gives new meaning to the phrase Not in My Backyard. He wants his noise in your backyard, not his own. The man wants your money and your house.
The answer is simple. No more F.A.A. money. Local control. Let Tom and Judith and their fellow airport users pay for their own airport. They can afford it.
April 21, 2013
Have you noticed the incredible-shrinking-airport information we’ve been getting lately?
First there are the letters informing us that the airport should just be a nice neat package for the Federal Aviation Administration to run. They’ll take care of us. Next, we are presented with the ads for Dominic Stanzione for re-election. Nowhere do they even mention that he is the [town board] liaison to the airport and that he has been stalling until he can approve the F.A.A. coming in to control every aspect of noise, hours, helicopter traffic, etc. Lastly, there are the costly ads running every week now telling us that the airport is shrinking.
Yes, shrinking. So, if you have time, do go over and check out your airplane, and then spend some time watching the airport shrink. Let us know how much it shrinks in front of your eyes.
April 20, 2013
To the Editor:
Predictably, Councilman Stanzione’s war between the towns on the East End has now ignited a battle between the hamlets — in East Hampton.
A group calling itself Northwest Preservation Society recently mailed a letter and petition to residents in Northwest in an attempt to gain signatures to prevent routing of noisy helicopter traffic over their homes, thereby implying all traffic should be routed over other parts of East Hampton and neighboring towns — destroying other residents’ peace and quiet and property values in order to protect theirs.
What is particularly egregious in this divisive act of Nimbyism is that two of the leaders of the Northwest group (Tom Twomey and John Shea) are on the board of the East Hampton Aviation Association, the group representing only aviation interests, and which, during the last town board election, spent thousands of advertising dollars urging the town to accept Federal Aviation Administration money which would keep the airport open 24/7, 365 days per year, and permit expansion plans to move forward.
Now, yet another new group, Friends of Dominick Stanzione, features in its advertising glowing quotes of their favored candidate, an aviation proponent. Several of the quotes are attributed to yet other East Hampton Aviation Association board members (Scheerer and Boleis). It appears that the same hands are guiding these advertising campaigns and they are willing to spend thousands of dollars, under various guises, to protect their aviation interests and their peace and quiet. The advertising is intended to mislead readers into believing the airport — recently designated an F.A.A regional airport, and proposed soon to have a new permanent control tower, which will increase capacity, is becoming “Smaller, Safer, with Less Traffic.”
Nothing could be further from the truth.
April 22, 2013
For the second time in the last couple of months, the town board’s leaders have tried to stack the membership of a committee tasked to address a town issue. Councilman Van Scoyoc saved the erosion subcommittee from total partiality to the interests of shorefront property owners and their consultants only by insisting on joining it himself.
Last week Councilwoman Quigley moved to create a committee to consider changes in the zoning law precluding expansion of pre-exsting, nonconforming businesses in residential zones. When Dominick Stanzione nominated C.C.O.M. leader, environmentalist Jeremy Samuelson as an addition to Ms. Quigley’s list of nominees, the leadership backed off the whole thing and tabled Ms. Quigley’s motion.
Excluding diverse opinion from policy discussions risks bad decision making. As evidenced by the town board’s failed efforts to legislate on lighting, farm structures, and affordable housing, it can also block action.
A balanced committee has a better chance of progress, though it may be forced to compromise or defer some contentious issues. Compromise is democracy. Through compromise we resist tyranny, either of the majority or the minority.
A grown-up administration listens to all the voices, stays until the job is done; it refuses to pick up its marbles and stalk away.
Get a Second Opinion
April 21, 2013
Editor of The Star:
[East Hampton Town Supervisor] Bill Wilkinson’s demand last week that the town board accept the Army Corps of Engineers plan to address the serious Montauk beach erosion before the request for funds has been submitted was like agreeing to brain surgery before making an appointment with the doctor. Sure, you may be in danger, but there are many questions, right, Doctor? Side effects? Long-term complications?
As the consortium of environmentalists’ letter submitted to the board last week stated, it is clear that we need a study by a nationally recognized firm specializing in this area to address the beach erosion issues of East Hampton Township independent of the need to request a federally funded Army Corps project to provide an “engineered Montauk beach.”
We know that artificial means (rocks, jetties, etc.) to modify the behavior of the oceans, while they may have a desirable effect on the site employed, also have an impact, benign or deleterious, on the neighboring beaches. This is not a “drop rocks” world.
In summary, I believe we should proceed with the request for the Army Corps approach and, in addition, obtain “a second opinion” from a respected, proven, unbiased, “specialist.”
April 22, 2013
What an irony! Support of Cyril’s request to rezone has driven our town leadership to vote for their worst-case scenario: an environmental review.
April 22, 2013
East Hampton Town is in a groundwater crisis. The latest Suffolk County groundwater study shows that Suffolk County’s groundwater is polluted with nitrates, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, antidepressants, and other toxins. Yet neither the county nor the town is doing what it should to protect groundwater, the source of our drinking water.
The town comprehensive plan states clearly that the town should buy all available land in the Stony Hill woods to protect the Stony Hill aquifer. The Stony Hill aquifer provides drinking water, public and private, to residents of Springs, Amagansett, northern East Hampton, and most of Montauk.
The high moraine of the Stony Hill aquifer is being destroyed by the town’s indifferent attitude toward groundwater protection. The Wilkinson administration, like the McGintee administration before it, has issued building permits to developers and builders allowing them to destroy the land over the aquifer that should be protecting it.
This is not just an environmental problem. Once our groundwater is polluted, it will in turn pollute our bays and harbors. With polluted drinking water, bays, and harbors, East Hampton will no longer be a desirable place to live and real estate values will plummet.
The people of the town must demand that our government representatives follow the comprehensive plan and protect our aquifers and pure drinking water. There is $20 million available in the Community Preservation Fund for this purpose. There is no time to waste.
Go to groundwaterprotection.org today and sign our petition to government officials to protect our drinking water.
Amagansett-Springs Aquifer Protection
April 20, 2013
Two particularly thought-provoking columns this past week. Your “Mast-Head” piece on your father-in-law, Karl Heilbrunn, celebrating his 80th birthday with the story of his father in Germany in the ’30s. Very touching, and a reminder of little decisions and the difference they make.
Russell Drumm’s “Relay” column, “The Earth Doesn’t Care,” reminded us that we have to care, but in a different way from our usual approach.
If they didn’t at the time, I hope folks go back and read these two columns. Actually, the whole paper this week deserved a full read. I am sure you believe that should happen every week!
Outpouring of Kindness
April 17, 2013
Attached please find a picture of a small memorial that was set up in the middle of the Boston Public Gardens after the bombing at the Boston Marathon on Monday.
As a former East Hamptoner, the outpouring of kindness and compassion makes me realize no matter how large or small your town is, you must all pull together as a community.
Act of Violence
April 17, 2013
We are students from Springs School in fifth grade and members of the Journalism Club. We have been following the terrible story of the anonymous striker who planted bombs at the Boston Marathon. President Obama said it was an act of terror. We feel specifically bad for the little boy who was killed.
Why someone would do such a horrible act of violence?
April 22, 2013
The wording of the entire second amendment reads: “A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
This should be read and reread until each of us realizes that the “well-regulated Militia” does not mean psychopaths, criminals, or those who would not contribute to the well-regulated part. In 1970 I fired an M-16, a killing machine, and could pick off a target at 300 yards. I earned the highest rating of expert and learned to be close to and proficient with that weapon.
It is not a toy to be given by a fawning mother to an inadequate son. The weak well-regulated militia laws need to be heard along with strong right to bear arms laws. After all, first words of the Second Amendment speak to a well-regulated militia. Pay attention to that capital M.
Recently, the rule of reason is stifled by a group that was founded after the Civil War to improve marksmanship of the citizen soldiers to a state of readiness when war came. The National Rifle Association’s noble beginning has been completely bastardized to such a point that members of the United States Senate are afraid of the consequence of proposing reasonable legislation to create and keep the “well regulated” part of the amendment.
The N.R.A. needs some new blood, and I think each of us need to consider joining the N.R.A. to give voice to reasoned legislation necessary to remove the stupidity of our current system. We should all talk about this and seek to set a date or month for a new membership drive.
I think October, in the fall before the election, should be slated the month to join. Your ideas are welcome.
Very truly yours,
WILLIAM J. FLEMING
The Gun Industry
April 22, 2013
To the Editor:
When we were kids the term dickhead was applied to anyone we didn’t like for almost any reason, from the color of one’s socks to the grossness of one’s character. It was an all-purpose term that had no real meaning, while marking someone as outside the group. The collective consensus identified some threat to the well-being of the group. It had a scatological sexual connotation in a world where these things existed only in our minds. It was essentially unreal and really dumb, and should have identified the user of the term as being a jerk. But the more one used the term the cooler we became. Before it faded into obscurity it had a period of intense popularity.
It seems like its time has come again, but with more relevance and more bite. No longer a teenage idiocy but a clear and focused evaluation of our political system and parts of our population.
The rebirth of the term resonates throughout the halls of Congress and falls squarely on the senators who weren’t capable of passing even the most innocuous, pathetic gun control law. We call them dickheads emeritus and the condoms they proudly wear are a sign to all of us that these congressmen can be found bent over in the basement of the National Rifle Association.
We all know that the most hallowed place that corporate America occupies is in the rectums of our politicians. More than for their families, lovers, religious leaders, etc., our politicians bend over for the powerful and the rich. But only on the most extreme occasions is public opinion, the national welfare, and simple logic rejected in favor of corporate avarice. The mindless ideology has earned the gun lobby and its supporters the title of America’s biggest dickheads.
To better understand the worthiness of such low esteem it is necessary to look at the relationship of the auto industry to the country. More than 45,000 people are killed in auto accidents each year, about three times more than by guns. Our auto industry is worth multiple times the gun industry and employs millions more people. Yet, there is a minimum age to be able to drive a car (18 in most places, except in Texas, where it’s between 13 and 15), and a permit process, including written and practical exams, to get a driver’s license. Mandatory insurance to be able to get on the road. Registration, license plates, annual inspections, emission standards, et al. Add on the tolls on highways, speed limits, parking fees, gas information and taxes and parking and speeding tickets, and it’s more than a mouthful of regulations and controls.
Everyone is touched by the auto industry, from every level of government to manufacturers to the oil companies. A thousand times more clout and money than the gun industry. Yet they accept and thrive with the controls and regulations that are aimed at keeping our roads and people safe or at least safer.
Why is it that this enormous piece of our country can live with being regulated and thrive while the gun industry can’t? No one is being told they can’t own a gun if they aren’t bonkers or a criminal and no one’s guns are being taken away from them.
Solving a problem that includes too many guns in the hands of a population that has a propensity for shooting each other is not simple. Controlling the diffusion and demanding responsibility on the parts of owners and sellers is simply the American way. Yet neither the will of the population nor the severity of the problem will get our Congress to take the necessary measures. Calling them dickheads is a childish, pointless gesture, but for lack of a better term it will have to do.
Death by Gunshot
April 18, 2013
Once again the ugly side of politics rears its disgusting head.
Ninety percent of the American people want background checks on gun sales to be the same no matter where the weapon is purchased.
Ninety percent of Democrats in the Senate voted for it!
Ninety percent of Republicans voted against it!
Every lame excuse that could be imagined was used by opponents. They lied, they hid, they squirmed, and they voted against protecting the citizens of the country from death by gunshot. They should be ashamed of themselves.
Sixty-eight thousand will die from gunshots until the 2014 elections, when, hopefully, we can get rid of at least some of these weasels!
RICHARD P. HIGER
Waste and More Waste
April 9, 2013
This president has run up $17 trillion in debt and now he wants to tell you that if you have substantially more money than he thinks you should for your retirement, he’ll be doing something about it. He also states there will be a cap on your private pension plan. We are the United States of America and someone should tell Barack Hussein Obama.
Some people write into The Star clearly with foul language, so I figured this shows their mentality and lack of self-esteem. For your information, all of the previous administration put in place has been continued by Obama, nothing on his part is new, the community organizer just followed through with everyone who put plans together.
What moves the Dow is buyers, not the president.
Obama has brought the unemployment up to 11 percent. Now most citizens can’t find jobs and are no longer looking, therefore by being off the radar brought the percentage down to 7 percent.
Since when does a corporation need permission from the president? He strengthened the auto industry by giving most of it to the ownership of the union. President Obama saved A.I.G. with taxpayers’ money.
Obama fought two wars? No, our soldiers fought these wars with our generals and admirals while the president played golf.
At what cost is he going to remove health insurance for our soldiers? Oh, sorry. Make them pay their fair share for their insurance.
A 50 percent win in the election is not a large margin of popular votes.
The Republicans ruined their own reputation and Obamacare is going to cost this country dearly. The only loyalty he does have is to the Chicago Bulls.
Harry Reid used pure political posturing on the backs of the fallen marines. He had to backtrack and apologize. Can’t we think before we try to be heroes?
Last but not least waste, waste, and more waste, the government spends $1.5 million to study why lesbians are fat. They also spend millions to study duck behavior, shrimps on a track — oh, this list goes on and on, and he promised to stop the pork. Instead he golfs, campaigns, and takes vacation, all on our taxpayers’ money.
From my lips to God’s ears, please, Dr. Benjamin Carson, run for the presidency in 2016.
The Governor’s Partner
April 16, 2013
So, the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics board appears to recognize Sandra Lee, the Food Network star, as a “semi-home” partner of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Because she is the governor’s girlfriend and shares a Westchester County home with him, she can receive the taxpayer-paid perks of being his wife. In a separate ruling, it states that live-in girlfriends like Lee don’t have to disclose financial data required of spouses. Only legally married spouses need to provide financial data as part of a public official’s annual financial filing — so says JCOPE’s 2013 ethics filing instructions.
So let me get this straight: If you shack up with the governor, you get taxpayer perks (does that include armed bodyguards)? Just what perks is the ethics board referring to? Here we are, the day after tax day, and I find out that I am paying for the governor’s partner’s upkeep.
I thought New York State didn’t recognize common-law marriages. Let them eat cake, indeed.