Letters to the Editor: 05.16.13

Our readers' comments

Seacat Scholarship
    East Hampton
    May 13, 2013
Dear David,
    This past Saturday evening, current and former students of East Hampton High School staged a legendary performance as a tribute to their famed theater director, Serena Seacat. In honor of Serena’s achievements and tremendous generosity during her tenure with the district, this event helped to establish a scholarship fund in her name, the Serena Seacat Theater Arts Scholarship. Thanks to the remarkable generosity of our many supporters and sponsors, we have raised over $5,000 as a cornerstone endowment for this fund. Such an outpouring of support exceeded even our wildest expectations; this is a fitting tribute to Serena and serves to commemorate the passion for theater that she has instilled in the students and families of our community. 
    The newly formed scholarship will celebrate two graduating seniors of the high school who demonstrated talent, commitment, and leadership in the stage productions during their high school careers, with an individual grant of $1,000 each. We will work to continue these grants every year and we look forward to the future support of our local families and businesses.
    The tribute show was an excellent showcase of the many skilled performers and technicians Serena has coached over the last 12 years. We admire the dedication and energy that these students brought to the stage in such a spectacular way.  They have made the community and the district proud, and we give them all an enormous amount of credit. It was truly a night to remember.
    We send out our sincerest praise and accolades to all of the people who were involved and helped to make the event such a success. What a sensational way to acknowledge the skill and the immense creativity, professionalism, and camaraderie Serena has inspired in students of all ages. We wish her well as she moves on to the next stage of her life, and we will always cherish the fond memories and experiences made during her time with us.
    Bravo!
    BRIAN NIGGLES


School Under Control
    Springs
    May 12, 2013
Dear Editor,
    This letter is in regard to the article in the May 9 paper about Springs School. As a parent of students that attend Springs School, I was highly offended by the article. The misleading report had readers believing there was utter “chaos” and that the administration “went missing,” which is not the case at all.
    The staff, including Mr. Mucci, has done an excellent job keeping things under control while Mr. Casale is recovering. They have also done a fine job of keeping all the parents involved via e-mail and letters that were sent home. The students have not had any interruption to their week, and school has been running very smoothly.
    As far as Dr. Byrne’s resignation, we are sorry for the loss, but Mr. Casale has done a wonderful job in the past without the second hand and he will continue to do so.
    The East Hampton Star owes Springs School and its staff an apology for its extremely one-sided and inaccurate reporting.
    Springs School has been amazing and I am proud to say my children attend.
BROOKE CHAPMAN


School Board Election
    East Hampton
    May 11, 2013
Dear David,
    On May 21, taxpayers in the East Hampton School District will not only be voting on the school budget, but will be electing three members to the school board to represent them for three years.
    “The East Hampton School Board is the corporate body that oversees and manages the affairs, personnel, and properties of the East Hampton Union Free School District at East Hampton,” as stated in the booklet “Welcome to a Meeting of the Board of Education East Hampton Union Free School District 2012-2103.” The booklet also lists the responsibilities of the board of education which include: hire a superintendent, establish policies for the operation of the district and maintain a balance between needs and resources, build community support and promote understanding of public education, set goals and develop vision for the district, develop academic standards based on high expectations, attract and retain excellent staff members, and take action on matters only after consulting with the superintendent.
    Being on the board is probably the most time-consuming, unpaid, unappreciated, and thankless job one will ever undertake. So why would I, Mary Ella Moeller, want to be on the board?
    • I have the time. I became a widow a year ago January.
    • I have regularly attended school board meetings, and I ask questions. One former board member recently told me I ask the “right questions.”
    • I understand the budget process and will pursue fiscally a responsible bud­get, while ensuring the highest quality of education is maintained.
    • Familiar with the education system and district policies.
    • Will represent ALL taxpayers.
    • I’m open-minded.
    • I’m a good listener.
    • And last but not least, I want to give back to my community.
    Please mark on your calendar: May 21 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the high school as the day you can vote on the school budget and the members of the school board.
MARY ELLA MOELLER


Intelligent Questions
    East Hampton
    May 12, 2013
Dear Editor,
    As an adjunct professor at Suffolk County Community College I teach English to many of the parents of the students in the East Hampton School system. My experience in teaching goes back over 40 years. There is one quality in a candidate for the East Hampton School Board that is more important than any other — the ability to ask intelligent questions.
    Anyone can serve on a school board if all they do is turn to the superintendent and ratify his or her decisions. To do the job effectively you need to be able to question what you are being presented with.
    In this regard the East Hampton School Board has failed repeatedly. School board members have lacked the necessary life experience, and, more specifically, the academic experience with education, that they need to make policies that positively affect the future of the children of this community. They blindly wandered into a lawsuit that has cost the district over $3 million in legal fees and they are still paying out over $500,000 a year, not to teachers but to lawyers. They endorsed a bilingual program for teaching immigrant students that has resulted in a significant decline in student performance and future prospects for those students. Few candidates for the board bother to attend school board meetings. Even fewer ever spoke up to question wasteful spending or failed educational policies.
    There is, however, one candidate for East Hampton School Board who stands out as an exception to the rule — Mary Ella Moeller.
    Mary Ella knows what it is like to be a real teacher. She has attended school board meetings for years and has had a real and positive impact on education by forcing those at the top of the system to account for their actions and policies. Several years ago she pointed out to the board that what they thought was a 6 percent budget increase was actually at least 14 percent. One board member told her that her math was wrong and she should go see her husband, a former math teacher, and ask him to correct her numbers. Overnight, the financial advisory committee which Mary Ella had lobbied for reported back that she was right. Several board members then changed their minds about rubber-stamping the superintendent’s budget and instead demanded he cut back any waste in the budget. The result was $2 million in cuts to nonessential spending. That is the impact having someone who asks questions can make.
    Next year will be a difficult one for the school district. The board will need members who can tell the difference between a dollar spent on student education and a dollar spent on sending a successful coach to an academic conference at Foxwoods Casino.
    You can trust Mary Ella Moeller to know the difference.
CHARLA BIKMAN


Will Work Tirelessly
    East Hampton
    May 13, 2013
Dear Editor,
    My name is Alison Anderson, and I am running for re-election to the East Hampton School Board. As a parent of three children who graduated from East Hampton High School, I am deeply committed to our schools and community. I have had the opportunity to serve as a religious education teacher for eight years at Most Holy Trinity Parish. I have served many years as a class parent and seven years as president of the parent-teacher association in the East Hampton Middle School and East Hampton High School. As I am ending my first term as a member of the board of education, I am confident that my service has had a positive impact on the children and taxpayers of this community.
    As a current school board member, I advocated to improve the middle school building conditions. With the support of the wonderful custodial staff, the school is now a brighter, healthier, and safer learning environment. I was also instrumental in helping the district receive a Long Island Power Authority rebate in the amount of $213,573. This rebate has benefited the district and taxpayers. My passion is to focus on the education and academic achievement of all children in our school district while being mindful of the cost to our taxpayers. I am proud to have participated in the appointment of Ana Nunez, our new bilingual, Spanish-speaking community liaison. Ana’s position is funded by a grant and is a valuable asset to our district and the Spanish community.
    In today’s economy, it is not an easy task to create a budget that considers the students’ educational needs and the taxpayers. More then 75 percent of the budget is unfunded state mandates and contractual obligations such as implementation of the State Common Core Standards and Annual Professional Performance Review. As a board member, I feel confident that in the past three years our district has presented a responsible and respectful budget. In the past two years we have stayed within the 2-percent tax cap. Although the budget reflects some very difficult cuts, it was established with the best interest of our children and taxpayers in mind.
    I have worked many long hours and days with my colleagues and administrators to make sure that the budget also focuses on the improvement of educational programs. Balance Literacy and Go Math are two new programs that have been introduced in the elementary school. Growth in the world of technology will continue in the East Hampton School District as we implement the new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, or STEM, program. With an awareness that students will soon be taking state tests requiring the use of computers, the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers assessments, new computers are needed. To assure a rate of success, it is essential that our school district provides strong academic opportunities. Shared services, such as transportation, special education and professional-development day, are currently being practiced with our neighboring districts. This service will raise the quality of existing services while lowering the cost to the taxpayers.
    Transparency is not only important to myself but also to my fellow board members. I assure you all that only confidential issues are discussed in executive sessions. All other information is discussed in public board meetings.    
    Communication with the board of education is always available to all community members. Through our new Web site (still in progress), one may e-mail their issues, concerns, or opinions. With the convenience of community members in mind, board meetings now start at an earlier time. Attendees are given two opportunities for public comments. Google groups have been established in all three schools so that administrators can continually update parents with needed information. A new mass-calling system has also been effective in keeping parents informed.
    Revising the hiring process to include involvement from staff members, parents, and community members is also a positive change. With the understanding of the importance of communication, I pledge to move forward providing the most information in a transparent process.
    As another school year approaches, it promises to be a very critical year. Attempting to work within another 2-percent tax cap is going to be crucial. Having the knowledge of state mandates, academics, and school programs, I will be able to continue as a proactive and productive member of the board. Should I be re-elected, I promise to continue to ask many questions and research all issues before making decisions. I do not have a personal agenda and will work tirelessly for the children and taxpayers of our community.
    Please vote for Alison Anderson, East Hampton School Board.
ALISON ANDERSON


A Good Neighbor
    Springs
    May 13, 2013
Dear David,
    Hello and good day to you.
    As our local editor of the official newspaper for the Town of East Hampton, you probably already know I have thrown my hat into the election for one of the two seats being vacated on the Springs School Board.
    I was humbled and honored to realize local people who know me and my decades of civic activity would approach me to run for such a position in such a great learning place — the place I grew up in as a K-8 student: Springs School.
    Many of my friends have children in the district. Many of my friends do not. I do not have children in the district at this moment.
    I was asked to run by supporters for a seat to attempt to cure many known issues that surround the wonderful school I attended as a youth that now has become a blight on our historic district.
    As adults now making financial decisions we owe a responsibility to the homeowners as well as to the students in these decisions. The tax base in Springs for this school district is rising at a rate disturbing to most.
    I have no political party debt or agenda that comes with me being elected. I will make decisions based on common sense and fiscal responsibility, and of course with the interest of the children on the forefront of these factors of finance that have gone unchecked by an outsider for too long.
    I became involved in this election over the continuing arrogance of the current school board and administrators to continue to be a bad neighbor to our historic district.
    My focus was on the namesake street in our community, School Street, which has been turned into a de facto parking lot for teachers, while appropriate space for staff and teacher parking is indeed available on campus.
    The blight that has been made of our School Street in a historic district of Springs has school employees and administrators alike proving themselves bad neighbors by continuing to allow this known situation of convenience, not law, to continue.
    This is ongoing and an embarrassment to our historic community. Teachers are student role models and are expected to lead by example, not be role models for breaking the law.
    I have a solution to this problem of the de facto parking lot on School Street coming to a end.
    My interests in becoming a board member are also now motivated by the following:
    To establish Springs School as the good neighbor it used to be in our historic district.
    1. Fiscal responsibility to taxpayers.
    2. Change registration policy to determine student enrollments are justified.
    3. Re-evaluate the pre-K program.
    4. Need of capital improvements that may be on the horizon.
    5. Second-home owners’ desire to vote on budgets that directly affect them as the party required to pay the taxes levied.
    6. Compliance to area designations.
    7. Staff compliance to known parking laws determining the need or not for more parking or just enforcing the law as is.
    8. Parent pick-up creating area congestion; what is the purpose and need?
    9. Bus uses and need.
    10. Athletic fields use policy.
    Also:
    A. Educate the children of our district.
    B. Keep pace with advancing technology and security protocols to keep the children properly equipped and safe.
    C. Prepare for growth in student population while the Town of East Hampton contemplates solutions for the housing growth needs of our district due to increases in  population and numbers of households with children.
    D. My construction background will promote solving the parking blight issue and keep future projects on budget.
    E. Investigate accusations by employees that the current administration is failing to keep the children safe by allowing out-of-job-description repairs to occur by unqualified staff covering up thefts abuse by management.
    F. Harassment in the workplace and issues of security problems and violations of civil rights.
    In closing I ask for your vote with the confidence to bring accountability and transparency back to this great institution of education.
    I promise to act appropriately in all areas of concern, keeping taxpayers and children in mind in every decision.
    There are many social issues in play that affect this district and this election.    Think global, act locally. Vote for a local — show support for DREW in this year’s election. I was raised by this institution and can attest that things are not now the way they used to be.
    As a lifetime local I know the difference.
    I have a good working knowledge of town government and will learn the problems to be considered at Springs School and promise to tell the public as it is when it comes to the business of Springs School. Like it or not.
    This current administration could learn a thing or two about transparency and being a good neighbor.
    Time for accountability and community to come together as one and solve these sensitive issues before us.
    I can be reached at MartinDrewShow@gmail.com  with any questions or comments. Thank you for considering me as your candidate of choice.
    I look forward to hearing from Springs residents about any and all concerns at Springs School. I ask for your support Tuesday May 21, 2103. Vote Martin Drew (b).
    I remain your lifelong neighbor,
MARTIN DREW


Dogs: Displaced Anger
    East Hampton
    May 8, 2013
Editor,
     I felt it prudent to take a week off and let the village board and this mayor mull and make an appropriate, equitable decision regarding their intentions to further restrict dog owners and their universally charming pets.
     Sadly, you have chosen to add fuel to a fire that already draws oxygen from a pool of rage-a-holics who never had an issue with dogs in the past. I have witnessed this syndrome before.
    Free-floating rage, looking for a place to explode, festers in the persona of many citizens who have legitimate gripes elsewhere. Now, with your editorial of May 2, 2013, these people will no doubt feel, “Hooray, now I can rage!” I’ve seen it most recently with the vilification of our local deer community and as far back as the Salem witch trials. The anger is not about the deer or those accused witches but rather a cranky husband, a nasty boss, or the sense that someone got something they didn’t get. Displaced anger has done more damage to the tranquil and neighborly character of our community than overflowing tourists or undocumented aliens in our midst.
    The recent dog issue has opened the door to restriction and banning of beach vehicles, beach fires, and alcoholic gatherings. Will children screaming, kicking sand, playing ball, and throwing Frisbees be caught next in the crosshairs of these selfish, mean-spirited haters?
     There once was a beach culture here. It was based in sharing, tolerance, and acceptance. The owners of “those” mansions on the beach came down and joined in our fun. We all accepted the intrusions of others as an acknowledgement that everyone had a right to use the beaches. We did not call the police or call the mayor when trucks created life-threatening situations. We did not call the police or mayor’s office every time a roaring conflagration forced us to pack up our stuff and relinquish our territory. We did not call the police when aggressive drunks, children, or dogs intruded on our right to quiet enjoyment of the beach. We retained responsibility as citizens to either take charge and correct the problem or made a conscious choice to simply move to another spot on the miles of long, open space. We now whine and shrink from the mature, immediate action available to us. Our own action!
    With this attack on dogs as a beach-going population, the village and town boards, our mayor and police, can expect a tsunami of complaints about all the more aggressive uses of public space. Dangerous, abusive activities by trucks, fires, drinkers, music, and children will be subject to the same persecution and restriction that dog owners and their charming pets suffer now. I hope your phone lines are open!
MICHAEL DICKERSON


Waiting to Impale
    Amagansett
    May 6, 2013
Dear David,
    I have just come from a beach walk in the Amagansett-Napeague area where Superstorm Sandy has exposed some really dangerous rusty iron stakes ust waiting to impale. These really dangerous rusty iron stakes are on the beach, no longer part of the dunes.
    I gather the East Hampton Town Trustees have no enforcement power. If not, Marine Patrol or perhaps CfAR could pull them out?
    There are a very few children that I would willingly impale on a dangerous rusty iron stake but I think even they don’t deserve the experience.
    All good things,
    DIANA WALKER


Candidate for Trustee
    Amagansett
    May 13, 2013
To the Editor,
    Hi, my name is Dennis Curles. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a lifelong resident of Amagansett. When I was 11 years old my mother took me clamming for the first time and with that experience, I knew how I would spend my summers. At age 12 I was able to acquire a commercial shellfish permit and for the next six summers, until I joined the U.S. Navy, I would spend every summer clamming and selling my clams to the local seafood shops. After my four-year tour in the Navy, I returned home and worked for the next 33 years at the East Hampton Recycling Center. I retired as crew chief.
     I still spend as much time as I can on the water as a recreational shell fisherman and do it with the same passion as I’ve felt for the last 50 years. It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe.
    I would like to thank the East Hampton Republican Party and the East Hampton Independence Party for their endorsement as a candidate for East Hampton Town Trustee. At no time in our town’s history has there been greater pressure and more challenges for the trustees to preserve and protect our sacred rights to our beaches, harbors, and bottomlands. Our trustees work so hard to support these rights and privileges. I want to be part of this effort, making sure future generations will have the same opportunities to enjoy what I and so many others have enjoyed.
    The trustees now have several new vacancies in the upcoming fall election and I am campaigning to fill one of those vacancies. After 33 years of public service, I am now retired. I have the time, energy, and passion to be part of the trustees’ tireless effort. As the time draws closer to Election Day, I hope to have an opportunity to meet all of you and also to have you get to know more about me. I ask for your support and I hope to gain your trust and your vote on Election Day.
    Thank you,
    DENNIS P. CURLES


Where’s the Expansion?
    Bridgehampton
    May 9, 2013
Dear David,
    It’s unfortunate that the residents of East Hampton must be subjected to so much misinformation, exaggeration, and distortion of facts in connection with East Hampton Airport by airport opponents.
    The airport master plan, passed by the town board after over 10 years of study, public meetings, and deliberations, clearly spells out what kind of airport town residents want, and expansion is very obviously not what is planned.
    Currently the airport consists of approximately 475 acres, down from 675 acres in 1989. There are now two runways, down from the previous three.
    Airport operations since 2008 have declined significantly by as much as a third and yet opponents claim the noise situation is worse than ever.
    So, where is the expansion?
    If it were not for over 20 years of opposition and lawsuits by the coalition of airport opponents, residents would be a great deal closer to having their legitimate concerns addressed, and the airport infrastructure would not be in such dire need of financial assistance.
    The so-called “permanent control tower” that opponents insist on vilifying at every opportunity is a summer season tower only and is paid for out of the airport budget. Renewal of the control tower contract rests with the town board and no one else.
    The first responsibility of a control tower at any airport is safe operations of air traffic. Secondary to safety is noise mitigation, as long as it does not impact safe operations.
    Almost from the start, airport opponents have done their best to make sure that tower operations were subject to as much criticism as possible to ensure that the public majority gets as little accurate information as possible, giving the impression that the situation is out of control.
    Townspeople have been misled into believing that after December the Federal Aviation Administration has jurisdiction over air operations because East Hampton Airport is a public-use airport, not because of grant assurance obligations, which actually do not completely expire until 2021.
    The F.A.A. has never allowed restrictions to airport operations to be imposed by municipalities and is highly unlikely to set a precedent with East Hampton.
    If town residents are ever going to see their concerns addressed, a town board is needed with the determination and integrity to resist the intimidation and meddling of the well-organized and well-funded anti-airport coalition, which seems determined to assure that the airport gets nothing it needs and noise issues are not seriously addressed, short of closing the airport completely.
    Cordially,
    GENE OSHRIN


Airport Finances
    Sag Harbor
    May 13, 2013
Dear Editor,
    In a stunning admission at a town board work session on April 30, East Hampton Airport manager Brundige stated that the town has been undercharging landing fees for the largest classes of helicopters, those which represent 80 percent of helicopter volume at the airport!
    There have been no increases in landing fees since 2008, so for years the airport has been massively subsidizing 80 percent of helicopters using it. No wonder the airporters want Federal Aviation Administration money! Not only do shameless Nimby airport proponents like East Hampton Aviation Association members want no aircraft noise over their neighborhood in Northwest, but they also want federal money to help subsidize cheap landing fees for themselves, and for helicopter and other income-producing air charter operators.
    The airport manager stated that it is his intention to rectify this under-charging of fees, and for 2013 increased landing fees will apply for all craft. For the largest classes of choppers, the increase proposed is 100 percent.
    F.A.A. guidelines stipulate that general aviation airports should be as fiscally self-sustaining as possible, so regularly increasing landing fees commensurate with those in the metro area seems a no-brainer. That landing fees remained static for five years at East Hampton Airport, and for choppers in 2013 will still remain well below the $250 landing fee charged in New York City at the 34th Street heliport (according to Brundige), demonstrates poor business practices at East Hampton Airport and an appalling lack of administrative and fiscal oversight by the airport liaison for the town board, Councilman Dominick Stan­zione.
    Such troubled issues lead to further questions. Is the airport administration simply inept, or merely lax at monitoring aviation fees charged at metro-area heliports, or was this undercharging deliberate in order to appease those with aviation interests? Making it cheap to land is hardly the way to make the airport either a “smaller” or “safer” airport. That assertion by the aviation association is simply ludicrous in view of recent events.
    Only a few weeks ago, also at a town board session, we learned of a number of problems with leases at the airport, which also had negative financial implications for the airport budget. How many other lapses will be uncovered at the airport?
    At this same April 30 session, Mr. Stanzione complimented the airport manager for doing a great job — this despite the above revelations and despite the deficit in the 2012 airport budget, which the manager blamed on the control tower and the legal fees associated with it! Golly gee, did neither the airport manager nor Stanzione as airport liaison realize there would be costs associated with operating a seasonal control tower for 12-plus hours per day for months at a time?
    Others have called often for a full accounting of airport finances. With these recent revelations, such a review clearly is overdue, and it should not be undertaken furtively behind closed doors like some recent actions on airport operations. A full accounting is essential and in full public view.
PATRICIA CURRIE


Helicopter Routes
    Wainscott
    May 12, 2013
Dear David,
    NOMBY (Not Over My Back Yard) is the divisive tactic used by helicopter proponents and certain members of the East Hampton Town Board to change helicopter routes, intended to divide and conquer helicopter opponents by instigating disputes between various community groups. The leadership of these community groups has fallen into the trap of deception, wasting precious energy and political capital to relocate helicopter routes over their neighboring communities. Clandestine secret meetings and closed meetings held by invitation only to members who toe the line of helicopter proponents’ propaganda are used to create an appearance of cooperation and consensus, when in fact it is a deception created by elected officials to force disruptive helicopter operations down the throats of the residential community at large.
    The belief that transparent, open government exists, allowing for full participation and debate by all citizens affected by helicopter noise abuse, is a fantasy. The belief that local elected officials have an obligation to serve the people, a duty to keep people safe and protect people from harm, is a fantasy. Noisy, dirty helicopters flying dangerously and recklessly low over residential neighborhoods are permitted to land at a town-owned facility. That facility is in the care and control of the East Hampton Town Board, no one else. The town board ignores the problem. It fails to act, based on the insane reasoning that the use of the facility by a few trumps the thousands tormented by noisy, dirty, and unsafe helicopter operations.
    This town-owned facility can be shut down any time, solely by an act of the town board. These operations appear to exist due to the dereliction of duty and nonfeasance of certain elected officials. This is an outrage. People should rise up to demand change and exercise their rights on Election Day. This should serve as admonition to all candidates seeking elected office. The slogan for concerned candidates or parties could be “Government For the Many, Not the Few.”
    NOMBYs are silly to believe changing routes will solve the problem. The NOMBYs under the Jessup’s Neck route saw helicopter traffic relief for a couple of years, then it returned with a vengeance last year. It is silly for these NOMBYs to waste precious resources by changing the route over Sag Harbor and Northwest communities, believing it will not return again some time in the future.
    Quiet Skies Coalition wisely withdrew from the secret negotiations, because it understood it was silly to help some members while at the same time causing torment to others, thereby dividing the group. All NOMBYs unite! This is an election year and an excellent opportunity to make meaningful and transformational change. If it wasn’t so silly, it would be crazy.
    Sincerely,
    FRANK DALENE


Professional Manager
    East Hampton
    May 9, 2013
Dear Editor,
     Those who attended [a recent forum] were given a very good understanding of how a town manager could improve our town government. All but one panelist said our town should have one. This would free up the time our elected officials now have to spend on nitty-gritty details of town government. They would have more time to focus on big-picture initiatives. He or she would be a professional in town management.
    This was sponsored by the East Hampton Group for Good Government, East Hampton Business Alliance, and the League of Women Voters. It was recorded by LTV. Check their calendar for viewing.
JULIA KAYSER


Feral Cat Poem #52
the morning fog moves
through the still-bare trees
nothing like a cat.

likening fog to cats
is a dickens of a simile
but it limps.

fog obscures all,
cats hide nothing
but themselves.

when this fog lifts
the woods are still empty
the cats are still gone.

if they’d ever even been there.
ED HANNIBAL


A Woman Ambassador
    Sag Harbor
    May 11, 2013
Dear Editor:
    I have spent many years working in the Middle East and most recently, I lived in Saudi Arabia for two years doing management consulting. Arabs work by a different set of rules than we do and after many years of experience with the Middle East, I am shocked that our government is so ignorant as to nominate a woman to be the next ambassador to Libya.
    I have absolutely nothing against women. I am sure the current nominee is very qualified. However, in the Middle East, Arabs look down on women, no matter how nice they appear to treat them. The ambassador position in Libya and other ambassador positions for the Middle East should be given to qualified men, so at least the Arabs will treat them with more credibility and respect.
    Make no mistake about it, we are hated throughout the Middle East in Arab countries, and as soon as we become better educated by the mainstream media, as if they even had a clue, we will start doing the right things to gain Arab respect. Political correctness is not a concept that Arabs understand. In their case, it is all about power and money. So, in our case, the most politically correct thing to do is to send a qualified man to Libya. Our government should have the courtesy to respect the Middle East Arab culture. The current environment in Libya with all their problems and the despicable acts in Benghazi against our embassy people scream for us to do the correct thing.
THOMAS METZ


You Tell the Truth    
    East Hampton
    May 12, 2013
To the Editor;
    Some time has passed since the election of 2012 and the past week has seen some interesting facts come to light. Yes, I am talking about the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, and the unfolding cover-up of the events. Now I know that many of your readers are of the Hillary Clinton train of thought; what does it matter?
    To be perfectly honest it matters a great deal. It matters to the friends of Ambassador Chris Stevens. It matters to Sean Smith’s mother. It matters to the family of Glen Doherty. It matters to Tyrone Woods’s two sons and daughter, who will never see their father again except in fading photographs. Yes, Hillary, it does matter how these fine Americans were left to die.
    We know now that the story that was put out by the Obama regime was a fabrication, a fib — oh, why not call it what it is: a lie. There was no protest about a video; there was nothing spontaneous about a horde of terrorists showing up with RPGs and mortars, and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton knew this was a terrorist attack within an hour.
    So one has to ask a simple question. Why did the Obama White House change the story? Why did they make up a fairy tale about a nonexistent protest? Why is it that when those flag-draped coffins landed, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had the nerve to tell this lie to the families of those courageous men? Why did Hillary Clinton tell them they were going to get the man who made a YouTube video? Why did Barack Obama go before the United Nations and blame the idiotic video when he knew that was not the truth?
    This is a lesson that has been taught time and time again; you tell the truth. We saw that in Watergate, Iran-Contra, and the Lewinsky affair. You tell the truth. So tell me, liberals, what happened to Obama’s claim that he was going to be different, that his was going to be the most transparent administration ever. Oh, yeah, he lied, but then again what does matter?
    It matters because the American people always hope that their president will tell them the truth, in good times and bad. It is one of the wonderful things about our republic, that we have the expectation that our elected leaders will tell us the truth, the God’s-honest truth. Why did Barack Obama lie? Well, I think we all know the answer. Election day was two months away.
    I will leave you with this thought; when the terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center on 9/11/01, President George W. Bush was widely criticized for sitting in a classroom for seven minutes and reading a book to children. On 9/11/12, when our consulate in Benghazi was attacked, the ambassador missing and people dying, Barack Obama went to bed for seven hours because he had a fund-raiser the next day. Chew on that for a little bit and then tell me how great Barack Obama is.
    Sincerely,
    MICHAEL D. BOUKER


Benghazi Hearings    
    Amagansett
    May 9, 2013
To the Editor:
    The media have ignored the Benghazi hearings. (You know, it is old news.) This whole episode is an outrage. This administration allowed four Americans to die without military aid, though it was available at Tripoli and with air support within two hours. There were multiple stand-down orders, not just one. Who issued those orders? That didn’t stop a couple of heroes from trying to save the ambassador’s life, honoring their oath to defend with their lives.
    Ambassador Stevens’s reason for going to Benghazi has been cleared up with revelations of gun-running to the Syrian rebels via Turkey (is this similar to the attorney general’s gun-running to Mexico drug cartels)? Clinton was briefed at 2 a.m. on the night of the attack, was never told that a movie had anything to do with the attack by those on the ground in Libya, yet blamed the bogus movie anyway. Why did she contradict the official statement from Libya, embarrassing him? And where was the president after his 5 p.m. briefing? Did he need a good night’s sleep before his fund-raiser and elbow-rubbing with celebrities the next day? An attack on one of our embassies isn’t important enough to be at least a little involved? Documents were changed, the media were compliant, and there was no real investigation for weeks.
    Whistleblowers were intimidated into silence, one even demoted for challenging the official story. Democrats were not interested in getting the facts, but were very interested in destroying Mark Thompson. Why was a CBS female journalist censored for investigative reporting? Would it have anything to do with the head of CBS being the brother of President Obama’s speechwriter, who is responsible for those talking points and changed documents?
    “What difference does it make,” Hillary? Let me tell you what difference it makes, (then) Secretary of State Clinton: four Americans were left to die, dozens of others were wounded and lost limbs, children were left orphaned, wives widowed, friends and families left to grieve the senseless loss, sensitive documents left without security — all because you withdrew security and refused repeated requests for more security. This is a bigger cover-up than Watergate, tampering with evidence, arming the Muslim Brotherhood, and letting good men die. All those complicit in this gun-running-gone-amiss, from the president to the secretary of state to the state department, should be ashamed of their lies and run out of office. We need real leaders to protect Americans.
LYNDA A.W. EDWARDS