Aspects of the Story
June 3, 2013
To the Editor,
Will your next article be on how the Long Island Rail Road allows overcrowding to the point where there is no way to pass through an aisle or stairway in an emergency?
Or their liability in over-serving and setting drunk and/or underaged passengers out to kill the rest of us on the roads later?
Or will you cover how code enforcement is allowing share houses?
Readers will definitely be interested in these aspects of the story!
Biking to the Beach
June 3, 2013
I am not a resident of East Hampton, nor am I a rich “summer person.” I am just a brother from Monterey, Calif., visiting his sister, who is a year-round resident of East Hampton.
I would like to bring to your attention a disturbing incident that occurred a few days ago. I was biking to the beach, approaching the right-angle turn where Main Street turns right toward Bridgehampton. The light turned green, the light said “walk,” and I slowly pushed off to cross the road, when a black Humvee came barreling around the corner, screeched on the brakes, and stopped three or four feet from me. That I could forget and forgive, but the thing I will remember till the day I die, is that this guy starting laughing, as did his three female companions. Then he gestured for me to get out of the way, shouting, “What are you so upset about, I didn’t hit you, did I?” as he revved his engine menacingly.
Quite a reaction from someone who’d nearly killed someone!
Still shaking, I hurried across the rest of the road and the safety of the shaded sidewalk while he screeched off to Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor, or wherever.
The sheer lack of any empathy or kindness in this individual is what keeps eating at me. I couldn’t help but wonder what the outcome would have been had he, in his carelessness and obliviousness, traveled a mere handful of feet farther. Would the only witnesses, his three amused companions, have told the truth? I seriously doubt it.
And I ask, too: Would a child or even smaller adult have been so lucky? I am 6 feet tall and was wearing a bright-red T-shirt and even then could probably barely be seen over the vehicle’s grill.
Incredibly, at the exact same intersection, less than 90 minutes later, it nearly happened again! Again the light was green and the sign said “walk.” This time it was a woman in an Escalade, who never even slowed down as she turned right onto the road heading west. I guess she saw a green light and simply didn’t think to check for pedestrians.
In both instances, I wish I had gotten the plate numbers, but of course that’s the last thing that occurs to one at such moments.
And at least she didn’t laugh.
‘We Have Returned’
June 3, 2013
We talk to birds, plants, and the spirits that tail our shadows. We dance the mambo with the swaying beach grass of Indian Wells, Asparagus Beach, and the Napeague Stretch. Our heart lines crash the skin of our collective drum. We orbit the fire like wolves mid-trance. We howl at the moon as it waxes and wanes. Our shadows take on giants against the cliffs of Montauk. Aliens watch over us with fear of the unknown.
We mine our sandbars for their big wave food. Diving beneath the sea, mermaids know us by name. We take residence in the greenrooms off Georgica’s jetties. We take flight over the bursting air pockets of yesterday’s groundswell. We inhale the sequestered oxygen from the breast of our Mother.
We have returned from months at sea to take back what is ours and free the blind from the sterilized florescence of what has become of our village.
Our souls are callused. Our skin is salty. Our hearts are pure.
We are blessed with vegetables and barley that have spawned from our earth. We swim with the fish that carry us through the winter. Our fields team with life and the birth of young game.
We pioneer and create just like the generations before us. We are the reincarnated Jackson Pollocks, Stephen Talkhouses, Pharaohs, Lion Gardiners. The deceased carry our messages through to the Creator.
Our message to you is simple. Tread lightly and respect one another. Respect the gifts our Mother, the Creator, and the spiritual realm have provided. Be creative and spread love through the higher levels of being. Just be. We are beautiful. We are one.
We are The Amagansett Collective, 208 Main Street, Amagansett, Amagansett.co.
Climate Action Now
June 2, 2013
We in East Hampton have much to lose from climate change. All of our businesses are at risk.
As the ocean absorbs CO2, it becomes more acidic. Coral reefs are dying, and even more alarming, phytoplankton, the basis of the marine food chain, declined 40 percent since 1950. As the world’s largest source of protein, that decline, in conflict with the world population rising to 8 or 9 billion hungry souls, is global bad news. Locally, Montauk’s fishing fleet and surfcasters have a major stake in stopping that process. No fish, no fishing.
We might look nervously to the west and ask ourselves how the local economy will fare if the next coastal superstorm hits us instead of the Rockaways. A wiped-out power grid and a crumbled pile of rubble on the waterfront will not attract many tourists or vacationers or prospective second-home buyers. Whether you run a shop or drive a backhoe, climate change will put you out of business. Are we relying on our selfless guardians, politicians in Washington, to save us? Or should we be the initiators of change?
A small local group, East End Climate Action Now (eeCAN.org), would like to foster an open conversation about what we as a town could and should be doing to avert this disaster. We think the conversation should go beyond who pays to pile sand where sand dunes used to be. We think we should be talking about what we can do to reduce the onset of climate change, rather than passively waiting for it to overwhelm us. There are solutions, if we begin now.
Many towns around the world, including most of the towns on Long Island, are taking action to reduce their carbon footprint, but we have done little. We don’t know all the answers, but we know that nothing will happen until the town has the conversation and understands that climate change isn’t just a minor change in the weather. The science says the temperature does not change a little, then stabilize. The planet will keep getting hotter, and the water will keep rising, until coastal cities are inundated, and the underpinnings of modern society crumble. Only when that is understood and accepted will we find the will to change.
If you care to join the conversation, eeCAN’s next meeting is June 9, 6 p.m., at Neoteric Fine Art in Amagansett. Our community is at risk, but all of us working together can make a difference. If we do not lead, who will?
Long Live the Dream
May 27, 2013
I read with interest T.E. McMorrow’s story in your May 23 issue: “Planning Board Weighs In on Condo Complex,” covering the presentation of a plan to build 89 units on 24 acres of open, prime farmland in Amagansett, known to many as the Principi property. I was heartened to read the comments from the Planning Department and the planning board members questioning essentially everything about this proposal.
The developer proposes a zone change to allow 89 units where 7 are permitted under current zoning. He proposes no open space set-aside, despite a long-established requirement here to protect between 50 and 80 percent of prime agricultural soils on parcels of this size. I can only assume that when the architect, Mr. Robertson, said that protecting the town’s prime farm soils is “a dream,” he meant that it is an annoying dream for him and his development team, a dream that is in the way of their 89-unit condominium dream?
I agree that saving the town’s and the region’s agricultural lands, heritage, and economy is a dream, but to me it’s a great dream, supported by a majority of voters in this region in referenda many times over, and for good reason: Suffolk County has some of the best farmland in the country thanks to the last glacier which deposited prime soils here. Glaciers don’t come around often enough to squander that gift.
Suffolk remains the top agricultural producer in New York State, based on the value of its crop each year. It is difficult to separate our agricultural, open space, and fishing sectors from our healthy second-home and tourist economy and the value of our real estate.
There is also good evidence that agriculture has a future here, even in East Hampton Town, which probably ranks fourth out of the five East End towns as far as the importance of local agriculture to its character and economy. East Hampton Town, Suffolk County, and private land conservation organizations have already protected some 700 acres in East Hampton, including riding stables, nurseries, and land in food crops.
There are experienced farmers still growing potatoes, rye, and corn here, but there is also a new generation of growers who may or may not be from local farm families, making money in the locally grown food movement, the nursery, flower, and landscaping business, the wine industry, and equestrian businesses. To see the 250-acre Sylvester Manor property on Shelter Island be protected and return some of its lands to food crops, or to see a herd of dairy cows in the fields at Mecox Farms in Southampton, are only some examples of the long life of agriculture here.
The Principi property in Amagansett has great soils for growing crops and for pasture. It also provides scenic vistas to people passing. We have a healthy community preservation program, and cutting-edge cluster zoning in East Hampton, to help find fair ways to protect lands like these. I can’t imagine why we would agree to a zone change that allows all of that land to be sacrificed to an 89-unit condominium project for the well-to-do.
I don’t know about anybody else, but I say long live the dream embodied in our comprehensive plan and zoning. It has been a great joy to see so many of those dreams come true. Instead of putting an “iconic windmill” structure on a proposed 89-unit condominium project for the wealthy, how about protecting 50 to 80 percent of the prime soils, providing housing opportunities for the local work force and middle class, and going back to the drawing board on density. Of course, if someone pays more for land than its value under current zoning, it is not the job of the town to make the numbers work by changing zoning to increase density by more than 12 times what is allowed at present.
Decent and Aboveboard
June 2, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray:
While campaigning for their positions of Supervisor and Councilwoman, Bill Wilkinson and Theresa Quigley put improving the financial status of the Town of East Hampton at the forefront of their goals. When they came into office, the town’s debt rating was at an all-time low and the finances were a mess. Bill and Theresa, together with Len Bernard and the rest of their team, worked diligently and honestly to restore our town’s financial status and they have been able to achieve that goal. Our debt rating is no longer in jeopardy and the town’s finances have been restored. Also, their concern for the needs of small businesses that contribute so much to our way of life and make it so lovely to live here, is greatly appreciated.
Let us thank the current administration for its decent and aboveboard approach to the many difficult responsibilities it has faced and hope that its successor will be able to do as well.
STAN and BARBARA ARKIN
The Price Paid
June 2, 2013
Your May 30 editorial “Time to Go, Folks” echoes what many of us have been feeling for some time. I congratulate you on saying what needed to be said and saying it so well.
Although you place the restoration of town finances on the positive side of Mr. Wilkinson’s record, let us not forget the price East Hampton residents paid to bring about this so-called “Wilkinson miracle.” Services formerly provided by the town have been cut to the bone. A few examples: leaf pickup was eliminated, programs provided by the Human Services Department have been watered down, and code enforcement, which directly impacts on our quality of life, lacks the personnel to do the job.
Sadly, it is unlikely that the supervisor and his deputy will willingly resign, and your prediction that “little to nothing will get done at Town Hall” is probably correct. We can only hope that in the time that remains, no more damage will be done by this administration.
June 2, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Well, you have finally outdone yourself with your vicious editorial attacking, yet again, Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Councilwoman Theresa Quigley.
If there was a law against journalistic malfeasance, prosecution of The East Hampton Star would be a slam dunk. As a mouthpiece and political hack for the hate mongrels of the Democratic Party, any pretense of journalistic integrity and professionalism has long been abandoned. You have no standards or ethics.
Your journalistic dishonesty supporting and hiding from East Hampton residents for years, the corrupt policies of the previous Democratic administration, put this town and each one of its residents in a financially catastrophic position. That position saddled each taxpayer and their children with a $27 million debt that must be repaid with their precious tax dollars for the next 20 years. Corrupt Democratic policies became The Star’s corrupt policies. So, of course, there were no calls for resignation of that supervisor. Your spectacular double standard has diminished any credibility you might have had as a so-called news organization.
And now, with no real platform other than increasing taxes and the size of East Hampton’s still bloated government, you and the Democrats are desperate to rewrite the extraordinary history of the last four years. Hence, the start of the campaign to try to destroy the Wilkinson administration’s stunning successes.
On Memorial Day we remembered the bravery of our fallen heroes, who with their lives defended our blessed Constitution and its First Amendment that allows you and your newspaper to write the drivel you do. Your dishonesty flourishes on the graves of those fallen heroes. How pathetic.
Faithful Public Servants
June 2, 2013
To the Editor,
Informed people realize and accept the fact that all newspapers have a bias of some sort in their editorial writings, leaning either to the left (like The New York Times does) or to the right (like the New York Post). However, your latest Star editorial is so full of half-truths and plain outright lies that it is beyond journalism. Your favorite pastime of casting slurs and throwing mud on Bill Wilkinson and Theresa Quigley is so lacking in any fairness, balance, or objectivity that it is impossible to categorize it as being merely slanted. Instead, it was an insult to (and an abuse of) the privileges guaranteed by the First Amendment. Your editorial wasn’t witty or whimsical or merely inept — it was just vicious and filled with vitriol and no facts. It wasn’t an example of free press, it was libel.
So please tell us: Has anyone on the supervisor’s staff been taken away in handcuffs? Have millions of taxpayers’ dollars been misappropriated? Has the town budget been overspent? Is there any evidence of wrongdoing — of any kind — by anyone? No — but that didn’t stop you from your infantile tirade and trying to deny significant numbers of our citizens of their duly elected representatives and thus their voices. In your opinion, Mr. Wilkinson is the worst East Hampton supervisor ever? My goodness, this just shows what poor judgment you really have!
Supervisor Wilkinson and Deputy Supervisor/Councilwoman Quigley don’t meet with your personal approval, so they should resign? Excuse me? Exactly who do you think you are, some sort of dictator? Who died and made you king? Neither of these faithful public servants is intimidated by you or your little newspaper and because they refuse to kowtow to your political agenda, they should step down? This town should then have to suffer with only a three-member board — made up of Democrats and a wannabe Democrat?
How convenient for your personal agenda. Talk about presumptuous gall and delusions of grandeur coming from a newspaper editor! What an outrageous example of the whole world revolving around little old you.
I urge strongly that both of these elected representatives continue to do the jobs they were elected to do and resist any kind of thuggery or intimidation on the part of the local media. I think it’s great that by doing what they were elected to do, it drives you nuts. Napoleon once said, “I judge a man’s character by his enemies.” If Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley tick you and your cronies off that much, then they must be doing a good job.
Your self-centered take on the facts was pernicious and wholly inappropriate and says more about your solipsistic views than it does about anything Mr. Wilkinson and/or Ms. Quigley may or may not be doing that is to your personal liking.
Very truly yours,
Mr. Cirillo is the vice chairman of the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals. Ed.
June 2, 2013
Reading your editorial “Time to Go, Folks,” I try to understand where you come off. You wrote an editorial last week about a pig and your first statement was apologies to Sarah Palin — this and your new editorial shows how biased you are. Was it necessary to mention Sarah Palin? Is it necessary for you to make demands that the supervisor and Councilwoman Quigley walk from heir jobs? Your opinion states for all intents and purposes they already have. How can they get anything done when automatically from the Democrats comes “No, No,” and “Let’s have a plan for study impact,” which of course means spend money.
Have you noticed that Councilpersons Van Scoyoc and the screamer Ms. Overby have an attitude about every and all plans that the supervisor would like to put into place? You never have an article concerning their no no no attitude. I am not saying the supervisor and his way of talking to people are right, but something has to be done to change attitudes on all sides. Fairness counts. The town meetings are a joke, and you put all blame on the supervisor and his deputy. Perhaps you need to really listen to the voices that are rising.
As far as the Cyril’s situation, who’s to say who is right and who is wrong — you?
Constitutional rights say the press has the right, but opinions sometimes should be kept to themselves. I guess the I.R.S. will never shake down The East Hampton Star, as they are far far left.
June 1, 2013
To the Editor:
David, your recent editorial “Time to Go, Folks” is, in my mind, reprehensible.
Both Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley are devoted servants of the community and have successfully worked to “right the sinking ship.”
They have many supporters in East Hampton and you can count me among them.
Where Credit is Due
May 31, 2013
Your May 30, lead editorial suggests that Bill Wilkinson and Theresa Quigley should close the door on their way out. Yet the same edition of The Star highlights, front page left, the work these two officeholders did to bring fiscal stability to our town.
You don’t have to love either Bill or Theresa — but they are not the ones who mount personal attacks during town board sessions, as do some of our erudite concerned citizens. Rather, give credit where credit is due, and let the loyal opposition pick on someone who is actually running for office in 2013.
PERRY DURYEA III
If They Abdicate
June 1, 2013
I can hear footsteps coming down the hall, so I better make this quick: If Supervisor Frick and Council Member Frack heed your advice and step down, I stand ready to take their place.
I’m no lawyer (a qualification in itself?) and I never worked for Disney, but I’m off my meds and back to my upbeat self.
So, like when board meetings bog down? Instead of haranguing? I’ll read aloud from “A Trace of Red,” my spellbinding cold war espionage novel the Authors Guild has just brought back into print as a new e-paperback, online everywhere, order yours now.
I mean it. Call me if they abdicate. I’m in the book.
June 3, 2013
To the Editor,
There is no question in my mind that the Town of East Hampton has benefited from the recent epiphany of our Republican Councilman Dominick Stanzione — voting with the Democratic minority and registering abstentions on key issues — that has contributed to the effort to derail the Wilkinson-Quigley Express to Disaster. One wonders, however, whether the lamentable record of his party in the past might suggest distancing oneself as far as feasible in running for re-election.
The decision to alter one’s image to get re-elected is far from new in politics, just look at John McCain last year. He campaigned attacking his own immigration bill and it worked. Incumbency has many advantages — name recognition, for one. But it also, as in this case, has an important liability — namely one’s voting record over the past four years.
For those of you who have not read the unprecedented Star editorial last week calling for the resignation of Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Councilwoman Theresa Quigley, I suggest that you do so. One of the reasons justifying this request to leave A.S.A.P. is their record of bad legislation, demoralizing town employees, weakening zoning and code enforcement, and blatant cronyism, to mention just a few. It is vital to remember that with little or no exception, Councilman Stanzione in lock-step fashion supported his colleagues during this period.
So one can only wonder whether this epiphany, if he is re-elected in November, will disappear as mysteriously as it appeared earlier this year.
Right on Target
June 3, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
East Hampton residents owe you thanks for the bold suggestion that Supervisor Wilkinson and his cohort Theresa Quigley resign from office. Your descriptions of their behavior and attitudes are right on target. They both disdain the public and are given to unseemly and unprofessional temper tantrums directed at their colleagues and members of the public who dare to speak up at a meeting.
Ms. Quigley has stated more than once that she hates her job and has threatened to leave. Mr. Wilkinson cannot disguise his disdain of everyone except Ms. Quigley. If officials are so unhappy at their jobs, they are cheating the public by staying in office and collecting significant salaries.
One could say, oh, what the heck, they’ll be gone in six months. However, considering the harm they have been able to inflict on the town in the time they have been in office, concerned citizens can only tremble at the thought of what harm they might still inflict when they drop all pretense of having to answer to their constituents.
How many more ecological problems, nightclub violations, and illegal building and zoning decisions can they push through before they close the door behind their ill-conceived administration? The sooner they are gone the better.
The McGintee Years
May 31, 2013
To the Editor,
I was stunned by the self-inflicted amnesia of the individual who wrote last week’s editorial, “Time to Go, Folks.”
Any resident who lived through the McGintee years knows his was, arguably, the worst administration in our town’s history. McGintee as supervisor managed in his short tenure to turn the town’s $10 million surplus into a $30 million deficit. McGintee’s budget director was arrested for illegally shifting community preservation funds to the operating budget. McGintee managed to sail off into a disgraced retirement unscathed, although he signed off on all those budget documents.
Under McGintee, C.P.F. funds were used to buy properties from Democratic cronies; Keys Island for one, and the unbuildable land from a now-deceased local attorney. During the entire McGintee administration’s incompetent, illegal, and morally bankrupt administration, not a word of criticism appeared in the pages of this paper.
I am not a vociferous booster for the Wilkinson administration or the tone he and Mrs. Quigley often display at town board meetings. The Wilkinson administration had one primary task to perform, and that was restoring our town’s financial solvency and its former outstanding bond rating.
The Wilkinson administration has achieved that goal, and that is due to the supervisor’s sound judgment in having Len Bernard return to his duties as town budget director.
The East Hampton Star is the newspaper of record in this town. Perhaps it should check the record of the McGintee administration, which it has so long ignored, before making the kind of editorial claims last week which are irresponsible and historically inaccurate.
More in sorrow than in anger,
Ban All Helicopters
June 2, 2013
Let’s face it, of the 20,000 taxpaying residents who live here full time and part-time year round, how many have ever used the airport? And it’s unlikely we ever will. So why should a few very successful local businessmen, some billionaire summer visitors, and young revelers destroy East Hampton? These people are the 1 percenters who feel they can do whatever their money can buy, regardless of the consequences brought upon others, the 99 percenters.
Ironically, today’s New York Times has an article (“Finding The Route to Happiness”) about the terrible problems with national air travel. There is a Web site called Hipmunk which has “agony” ratings for the frustrations of the variables of price, delays, etc. Why should we have to experience the agony of helicopters and jets?
At a recent town board meeting, there was talk of spreading the pain by expanding the routes to the airport. Let’s stop the insanity and put an end to the pain. Let’s demand that the town board ban all helicopters. Then we can start to get this public nuisance (private indulgence) under tight local control before it is too late. This is the only way to find a route to happiness.
June 2, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
I am writing to you as the vice president of the East Hampton Aviation Association on behalf of our many local pilots, who are also full-time residents of East Hampton and Southampton Towns and local villages.
Your recent editorial about the airport stated that local pilots have supported the helicopter companies during the ongoing controversy over helicopter noise.
That statement is incorrect.
We strongly supported the installation of the seasonal control tower, which the helicopter companies did not want, because we thought it would not only increase safety at the airport, but it would also give the town greater control over helicopter routes, operations, and noise.
In the face of opposition by the helicopter companies, we have supported the establishment of the ocean route for helicopters set forth in the letter to the Federal Aviation Administration, dated Oct. 9, 2012, and signed by all East End towns, villages, and other elected officials. The helicopter companies oppose that route, even though it would drastically reduce the noise impact of their operations on our neighbors and friends in East Hampton and Southampton. It would be helpful if The Star joined us in support of this solution to the helicopter problem.
Our association has long sought the repair and reopening of runway 4-22 for safety reasons, due to prevailing winds in our area. That runway is useful to only small fixed-wing airplanes, not jets or helicopters. But due to the ongoing problems caused by the helicopter companies, our simple safety goal and request for the repair of runway 4-22 has been thwarted.
On the issue of restrictions on helicopter operations, we support Councilman Dominick Stanzione’s initiatives to complete the necessary data collection so that town restrictions on helicopter operations would pass F.A.A. review and survive legal attack by the helicopter companies.
We hope that in the coming months the work that is needed to adopt restrictions on helicopter operations will finally be completed.
Very truly yours,
East Hampton Aviation Association
Pilots’ Worst Fears
May 28, 2013
Your lead editorial of May 23 concerning East Hampton Airport was right on the money.
Unfortunately it seems as if airport manager Brundige and Councilman Stanzione are using a dartboard and a direct line to something called the Eastern Regional Helicopter Association to determine whose summers are ruined below. Why aren’t they listening to taxpayers?
Meanwhile, small pilots’ worst fears are being realized. People, taxpayers, and voters really are talking about closing the airport.
Back when the East Hampton Aviation Association originally decided to cast their lot with noisy helicopter and airborne commuter interests instead of their neighbors, their battle cry was, David Gruber wants to close the airport!
Well, Mr. Gruber is nowhere to be found. But he has been replaced by angry people from all of the Hamptons, the North Fork, and even Riverhead, who attend East Hampton Town Board meetings to complain about the increasing assault on the quiet enjoyment of their homes. I guess the “if you don’t like noise you shouldn’t have bought near the airport” argument has flown west and away.
The year-over-year increase in noisy commuter helicopter, jet, seaplane, and hobbyist use is way past acceptable to a huge segment of the East End.
East Hampton Airport: It’s time to shut it up or shut it down.
On Dec. 31, 2014
June 3, 2013
As usual, local pilots, this time in the person of Gene Oshrin, are publishing falsehoods to prevent the town from exercising control over aircraft operations at East Hampton Airport. In two letters to the editor, Mr. Oshrin claims that even if the town allows the relevant Federal Aviation Authority grant assurances — contractual promises between the Federal Aviation Administration and the Town of East Hampton — to expire on schedule on Dec. 31, 2014, the town will still not be able to assert its authority as airport proprietor to control airport access and use.
His explanations for this vary. He claims that F.A.A. control is due to East Hampton Airport being a “public use airport” and not due to grant assurances, that the grant assurances actually expire in 2021, and that “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.”
It would be difficult to overstate Mr. Oshrin’s ignorance of all of the relevant facts and law. Indeed, the blizzard of falsehoods that constantly emanates from airport users is such that Mr. Oshrin seems not to realize that he is flatly contradicting the latest line of propaganda from the local aviation association, that “cooperation with the F.A.A.,” rather than regaining local control, will enable East Hampton to implement effective noise mitigation. The F.A.A. has never willingly permitted this and is not going to in East Hampton.
However, a municipal airport owner not subject to F.A.A. grant assurances does have control over the use of its own airport. This so-called “proprietor’s exception” to the general principle of federal control of aviation is well established by U.S. Supreme Court cases. The relevance to noise control was specifically affirmed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of National Helicopter v. City of New York.
The federal court of appeals, which includes East Hampton in its jurisdiction and is the highest court below the Supreme Court, held that the city, as owner of a municipal heliport not subject to F.A.A. grant assurances, has the power to control the hours of operation at its own heliport, close the heliport on weekends, limit the number of aircraft operations in a given time period, and exclude aircraft types altogether based on how noisy they are, all for the explicit purpose of protecting the community from noise. These powers more than suffice to control airport noise in East Hampton if we will but use them.
The word of the Second Circuit is the law in East Hampton, because we are in its jurisdiction, unless and until the United States Supreme Court says otherwise. The F.A.A., like the entire executive branch of the federal government, is subject to the superior authority of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Thus, there can be no doubt that East Hampton will have the same municipal authority as the City of New York if we allow the relevant grant assurances to expire on schedule on Dec. 31, 2014, and do not take more grant money from the F.A.A.
On one point, however, Mr. Oshrin is correct: The F.A.A. has never, ever consented to local municipal control over airport operations at an airport subject to grant assurances and is not likely to set a precedent by doing so in East Hampton. The only municipality that has asserted local control over F.A.A. opposition while subject to grant assurances is Naples, Fla. But Naples first had to win a federal lawsuit against the F.A.A. that reputedly cost $6 million. Thus, the current propaganda line of the local aviation association, that cooperation with the F.A.A. will enable the town to implement effective noise control, is, to be polite, hogwash.
Mr. Oshrin’s claim that F.A.A. control is due to East Hampton Airport being a “public-use airport” rather than to grant assurances, is baseless, the worst sort of baloney. New York City’s heliport is also a public-use airport. Every municipal airport is open to public use. Public use is completely irrelevant to the scope of municipal authority. The F.A.A.’s control over the town’s powers as airport proprietor comes solely from the so-called “grant assurances” that the F.A.A. requires airports to enter into as a condition to receiving F.A.A. money. If the F.A.A. didn’t need the grant assurances to usurp municipal authority, it wouldn’t bother with them. East Hampton has such a contract with the F.A.A. because it has previously accepted F.A.A. subsidies.
In the case of East Hampton, most of the grant assurances will not expire until 2021 as Mr. Oshrin claims. However, by agreement between the F.A.A. and the Committee to Stop Airport Expansion, the relevant F.A.A. assurances, those that give the F.A.A. control over the use of the airport, do expire on Dec. 31, 2014. That agreement with the F.A.A. was entered into in settlement of a lawsuit arising from the town having submitted falsified documents to the F.A.A. in 2003. In a letter to Congressman Tim Bishop, the F.A.A. has confirmed that it is bound by that agreement, contrary to false claims by the pilots that the agreement is unenforceable. You see, nothing happens at East Hampton Airport that is not draped in falsehoods, a pattern of deceit that goes back decades.
“Something magical,” as Oshrin refers to it, will indeed happen on Dec. 31, 2014! If we do not accept any more F.A.A. subsidies and allow the relevant grant assurances to expire on that day as scheduled, the authority of the F.A.A. over East Hampton’s exercise of its proprietary powers will lapse, except as regards safety. There will then be absolutely no legal obstacle to the town controlling airport operations for the purpose of protecting the community from noise, exercising the same broad powers as the City of New York.
Local aviation interests don’t want the community to know that. They have done their best for several years now to deceive the community into believing that this is not the case so that the town will take more poisoned F.A.A. money and lose this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to regain local control.
Local control is within our grasp soon. That is the established law. The pilots will do or say anything to induce the town to help itself to another slice of poisoned F.A.A. cake, and the F.A.A. control that comes with it, before the grant assurances expire on Dec. 31, 2014. Expect more falsehoods between now and then.
Counsel to Committee to
Stop Airport Expansion
June 3, 2013
NOMBYs (Not Over My Back Yard) have been working overtime attempting to influence routes dirty, noisy helicopters use to transition from the northern route of Long Island into East Hampton Airport. NOMBYs are wasting time and energy instead of working on the obvious solution to eliminate helicopters. They selfishly push the torturous, life-altering, hellish barrage of noise to their neighbors. Quiet Skies Coalition applauded these antics in their newsletter — ooops, so much for their members and supporters in Wainscott and Sag Harbor.
It appears the clandestine secret meetings by Southampton Town, East Hampton Town officials, special-interest groups, and people that are specifically approved to participate in these meetings have had an impact. The noise pattern has changed. The important question is, who is making these decisions and approving these changes? Conversations on two separate occasions with town board members have had fingers pointed in opposite directions, shoulders shrugged, as they denied the town board approved any routes. So, who is making the decisions?
Fingers then point to the airport manager, Jim Brundige. Really, an employee of the town is making decisions on who will live in hell this summer? The next question was, what about the people? Any private business in East Hampton having as astronomical expansion of use as the airport would be subject to public review. This has not happened with the airport, yet the public continues to have its lives turned upside down.
Come this November the people will again have their say; it is an election year. The airport is a political problem, and there is a political solution. I’m afraid Councilman Dominick Stanzione’s political career is over, done. So much of the airport is stuck on him, he won’t be able to come clean by November. As the airport liaison, he is attempting to wash his hands, yet he is the instigator of the clandestine secret meetings that encouraged the Noyac NOMBY group to shove the torture back to the Sag Harbor folks. He personally controlled who could attend and participate in these secret meetings. It’s not so secret any more, is it? This is exactly why noise abatement is a failed policy. It is a waste of energy on counterproductive temporary fixes meant only to infuriate a new group of people. It is unfortunate, since the councilman is a good man who will give the shirt off his back to anyone in need.
For new candidates vying for a position of supervisor or town board, it will be silly not to clearly and passionately express viable solutions for the airport problems. It will be silly to take a position of more of the same, failed noise abatement as a solution. It will be silly to be silent on the issue, since it is now the number one problem facing this town and many other neighboring towns. If it wasn’t so silly, it would be crazy.
The Color of Survival
June 1, 2013
To the Editor:
What is the color of survival? Green has been suggested.
Last week I attended a very interesting meeting of the Southampton Town Board, to hear public comment respecting a proposal before the board to add a document titled Southampton 400+ Sustainability Element, to the Town of Southampton Comprehensive Plan.
First, high praise for the town board and the town supervisor, who listened to all comers with patience, dignity and — kindness. And believe me, there were some trying moments. (I thought Southern California had a lock on the John Birch Society, but apparently there is a chapter alive and well in Southampton.)
Those who spoke at the meeting were the people who feel that any proposal that recommends guidelines, much less requirements, that reward economic, social, and environmental actions based on the necessity of a future that is carbon-neutral, must be the work of a governmental (global) conspiracy to wrest private property rights from individuals. Another point of view was expressed by the people who feel that prosperity, well-being, and stability will result from taking action now to prepare for and hopefully mitigate a future in which the climate is changing radically, and with a rapidity in the last 100 years that is impossible to attribute to normal variations.
There will be another opportunity for public comment before the Southampton board votes on the proposed addition to their comprehensive plan. There is a great deal that East Hampton might learn from the Southampton 400+ Sustainability Element, and from these public meetings as well.
My personal feeling is that in order to get our carbon footprint below the disastrous 400 p.p.m. that we reached a few weeks ago, we should be mobilizing with the kind of zeal that pulled us together in the days of World War II, a zeal that enabled us to win, to survive, and prevail.
JANET Van SICKLE
Same Old Story
June 2, 2013
To the Editor:
Memorial Day weekend was a real washout and on Sunday my company and I decided to visit the artist show in Montauk. At 4 p.m. we hit the Napeague stretch and came to a dead stop just before Cyril’s. Traffic was stopped in both directions because approximately 500-plus people were standing and drinking there. Cars were parked on the highway for almost two miles in each direction. This is the same old story that has been going on and on for years. With all the violations accumulating, what is this town waiting for?
The majority of the town board voted 3 to 2 to not do an [environmental study] for the additional parcel. Cyril’s attorney, Tina Piette, stated at this meeting that Cyril’s would open this season no matter the various violations the restaurant has gotten. Our supervisor and deputy supervisor could have taken a stand at that meeting but chose not to do so. They actually stated that they wanted to vote to rezone the area, despite the Planning Department’s recommendations.
If this business is allowed to continually operate, there does not appear to be a rule of law in this town, and Napeague stretch will continue to be an unsafe road.
Indian Wells Beach
June 3, 2013
Those folks who would label the local residents who are dismayed by the hordes of young people arriving by bus to party at Indian Wells beach as snobs, politically incorrect, undemocratic, or the 1 percent trying to keep out the 99 percent are missing the point.
This beach is supported by local taxes. Homeowners foot the bill for the lifeguards and the maintenance; yet, when the weekend arrives, they cannot get into the parking lot because of the out-of-town taxi and bus traffic.
Good luck trying to use the ladies room, which is used by nonresidents as a changing area. Waits of half an hour are not uncommon late in the day, when women enter the stalls in bathing suits and come out dressed and made-up for the evening while little girls do the waiting-for-the-bathroom jig. Eventually, locals give up and go home, often deciding that they will not even try the beach next week.
This is not a matter of keeping the beach exclusive; the majority of local residents are not millionaires (who often have their own really private beachfront). They are ordinary people who pay the taxes and support the town whether they reside here year-round or only during the summer. The food and beverages they bring to the beach or eat at home does not come by way of bus or Long Island Rail Road. It is purchased locally.
The partiers arriving via out-of-town taxis and buses are necessitating extra personnel to clean and guard the beach; they are not contributing to the economy, they are taking from it. It is imperative that the town find a fair way for those who pay for the beach to enjoy it.
To Know Whalebone
June 3, 2013
Many thanks to Amanda Fairbanks for shining a light on the work we do at the multicultural Whalebone Village Apartments. Through the parenting program, I have been afforded the good fortune to be part of this wonderful community. To know Whalebone is to know what it means to be part of a community of loving and supportive neighbors. I have been welcomed with open arms; being at Whalebone is one of the highlights of my week.
I often draw on the wisdom of the parents at Whlalebone in discussing how best to manage the parent-child conflicts that are known to all parents everywhere.
To the Whalebone board of directors, the property manager, Gerry Mooney, the staff at Whalebone, and all the residents of Whalebone Village Apartments, thank you for allowing me to be part of this wonderful community.
VIRGINIA ST. JOHN
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Beach Leash Laws
May 30, 2013
My dog Bowie, a chocolate Labrador-Doberman mix, passed away this winter, after many years on local beaches. What would he have thought of beach leash laws? Well, probably something like this:
‘I’m what they call a rescue dog. I used to live in New York City, where I was tethered to my human on a leash whenever we left the apartment. Those walks weren’t much fun. On East Hampton beaches I could run free up and down the shore, splashing through lapping waves while my human took dozens of photos of me. She’s pretty nice, for a two-legged animal, feeding me and picking up after me and taking me to the dog park to see my friends. According to her, watching me race along the beach was pure beauty. I know it felt great. I wish that feeling, the sheer joy of being free, for all my friends, both the two and four-legged variety. Sincerely, Bowie.’
June 3, 2013
Sue Seidman’s letter last week takes issue with ARF’s use of the words “rescue” and “high-kill shelter.”
Millions of animals brought to high-kill shelters across the country can hardly be considered rescued; in fact, they face the prospect of euthanasia. That is why ARF “rescues” them, with help from our high-kill partners, who are cooperative and delighted to see us because they know the animals we rescue will find loving homes.
Animal Rescue Fund
Thomas Moran House
June 1, 2013
Many thanks to The Star and Irene Silverman for her excellent article on the Thomas Moran House.
Many people have asked and been concerned about the status of the house, and I am sure are relieved to learn more about the detailed care of, and future plans for, the house.
It was also fun to learn more about the artist’s special ways of building his house.
Their Time to Shine
June 2, 2013
To the Editor:
I read the article on the boys championship game and I have to tell you that I was extremely disappointed in the fact that you used a picture from last year’s team. It was very strange.
Then you spent three-quarters of the article talking about a college player whom I believe you should do a separate article on at another time. It was these boys’ time to shine, and you didn’t even mention the pitcher who pitched was a knuckle-baller or the fact that Foerrest Loesch went 2-3 or that Fitzpatrick had a great day or Sturman made great plays at second.
To talk about last year’s team and Kyle McGowan did not serve those boys who played their hearts out and won the class championship; I am sorry but after speaking to other people in the community we felt it was their time to shine. And you turned the light off on these boys, which I am sure you didn’t mean to, and shame on our coaches if they chose to talk about another player other than their own.
Thank you for taking the time to listen to me. I was very proud of these boys and was very excited to read the paper, and when I say this I felt as bad as the kids did, and I felt you should know. Thank you for your time.
June 3, 2013
To The Editor,
The officers and members of the Amagansett Fire Department would like to thank our sponsors, volunteers, The Blue Collar Band, and all automobile enthusiasts that attended our car show on May 26. It is through your hard work and generosity that makes this event a success.
We look forward to seeing everyone at next year’s show.
Car Show Chairman
Invite the Coast Guard
June 3, 2013
To the Editor:
Congratulations to Navy Beach restaurant for hosting a successful fund-raising cocktail party for the Navy SEAL Foundation. People interested in supporting the foundation can visit the Navy Beach Web site or speak to any of the wonderful staff at the restaurant, on Navy Road in Montauk. Navy Beach restaurant is continuing the fund-raising campaign through July 4.
On Saturday, Jim O’Connell, a retired Navy SEAL commander, thanked local supporters, including Navy Beach and the veterans John Behan, Bruce Winchell, the Ecker family, and Ed Keeshan.
Navy Beach also moved to break down the barrier between local business and the military post in town by inviting Coast Guard personnel from the Star Island station in Montauk to join the festivities as guests. Based upon the positive impact of their presence, I would suggest that every organization in town holding one of the many fund-raisers to be held this summer reach out to the Coast Guard station and invite some of the young men and women serving the country away from their homes to join them for an afternoon. On Saturday at Navy Beach, the Coast Guard officers had the benefit of some good food and they all provided an added element of excellent company to the event.
It was telling to hear Navy veterans, including Commander O’Connell, discuss the courage and intrepid actions of Coast Guardsmen in the waters of the Middle East over the last decade, particularly the actions of a Long Islander who joined the Coast Guard and lost his life in one of the actions. But why not invite the Coast Guardsmen as guests to your next benefit and hear the story for yourself?
A Pig Market
June 2, 2013
To the Editor:
In the 1960s we mindlessly called the police “pigs.” Taking our anger out on the messengers rather than their bosses. But the level of transparency was so small in those days that it was difficult to really know who was responsible for what. The only thing we were sure of was that we were being scammed.
Fifty years later we read about a Chinese company buying Smithfield. Smithfield is the largest pork-producing company in the world, the “king of the pigs.” The Chinese need more pork to service their growing middle class and we need less because our middle class is shrinking. A great deal for Smithfield — most countries won’t accept U.S. pork because the products have been doctored with muscle-growing steroids that raise a serious issue about contamination. The Chinese don’t mind because their own pork products meet almost none of the sanitary and health standards required by the rest of the world. Bad pork is better than horrible pork (an old Chinese proverb).
A great example of how our free market works. Selling bad products to needy people and not giving a rat about the side effects. But our free market is really a scam. It’s really a pig market, where we are led to slaughter, shot up with truth serum, and sold to the highest bidder. And the Republican Party, purveyors of the free market scamology and its leading proponent, should appropriately chuck the elephant symbol and replace it with the pig.
The free market is really a rigged market. When big companies like General Electric or big banks like Citi get in the crapper because they made bad deals, stupid deals, illegal deals, the government steps in and bails them out. Citi gets bailed out every six or seven years, or so it would seem. When the financial crisis hits why are the banks bailed, and not the general population? The banks don’t elect our politicians, they simply own them. While we elect them, they only need us to believe that they are serving our interests.
My dentist is an inventor. Every year a new and wonderful dental invention. For 10 years he tried to patent his ideas. Not one ever got a patent with him and every one was stolen by a larger, more connected corporation. Once he figured out that the market was only free for those who had tons of money and connections, he went directly to the companies with his ideas. Better to make two cents on the dollar then to lose money.
We believe that our condition is a function of the free market, globalization, etc. Why pay U.S. workers $20 an hour when Chinese workers only get $1 an hour and the cheap products we get from China allow us to pay our workers $7.50 an hour? The government facilitates the process by not taxing the overseas profits, or lowering rates to 5 percent and not protecting our industries with tariffs and taxes. Yet before the deluge of the free market, companies paid $20 an hour and still made substantial profits.
Wal-Mart, Amazon, and Apple didn’t build our highways, airports, bridges, and tunnels. Didn’t create our school systems, build our hospitals employ our cops and soldiers. The quadrillions of dollars to build the country came from and is maintained by tax dollars. No one asks Apple to pay its share of the country’s infrastructure. Just to pay its taxes. And maybe to think that hiring U.S. workers might lower its bottom line but it would create an idea that the country is run by flesh and blood instead of computer printouts.
Working at Wal-Mart means no union representation. Every individual negotiates for himself. Free markets means the freedom to organize. Vacations, benefits, overtime are not gifts. They are all part of the free market system that has been negotiated and standardized because it’s better for the country. They are the price of doing business in the U.S. They are the universal costs, call them tolls, for the use of our massive infrastructure that they all use but that they didn’t pay for.
The free market as it is doesn’t work for most of the American people. We don’t need cheaper products, just higher wages. We don’t need bigger profits because it doesn’t mean more jobs. We need a market system that benefits all of the population, not just the top.
So when the Smithfield deal is consummated and the biggest pig producer in the world will be owned by the Chinese, can we ask them to include the Pig Party in the deal? We may have a shortage of pork, but at least we’ll be rid of the real pigs.
No One Covered Up
May 23, 2013
In the history of United States’ foreign diplomacy and policy there have been hundreds of attacks on U.S. embassies and embassy personnel around the world. In 1984 alone there were 100 such attacks.
Between 1979 and 1983 there were 300 such attacks. There have been kidnappings, hostage-taking, assaults, murders, and other acts of violence against our flag, many of them resulting in the deaths or serious injury of Americans in the diplomatic corps serving their country!
And yet, never in all those instances has the administration, the secretary of state, or a United Nations ambassador become the targets of politically motivated attacks from their political opponents attempting to use the latest and most tragic incident of these, occurring in Benghazi, Libya, for political gain.
Never has our own Department of State been accused of collusion and lying about the deaths of our ambassador and three others in a surprise attack by a terrorist group. Never, as now, have there been charges that the deaths in Benghazi were caused by a lack of security and incompetence by the State Department and then covered up by the White House.
Amateurish statements about help coming from Tripoli fly in the face of the practical sworn testimony of security experts and Air Force commanders who testified before Congress that such help, even if it could be effective, was too far away and would arrive too late to be of any assistance.
So these Obama and Clinton-haters jumped onto the perceived vulnerability of the administration on national security grounds with fraudulent and untrue allegations about the “truth” and changing “talking points” and appearances on national TV, all of which fell by the wayside when C.I.A. personnel testified that it alone, with some State Department oversight, had altered the talking points for national security purposes and did so without White House involvement and knowledge, and that the White House message to the public was, to the best of their knowledge at the time, correct and truthful.
Ambassador Stevens was dead — killed in a vicious, unprovoked attack, along with three aides. No one lied, no one covered up anything, except the C.I.A. for national security purposes.
Only a harebrained conspiracy theorist and dedicated Obama-hater would believe a motive existed to cover anything up. There was no motive. Obama’s opponent spoke of this alleged cover-up in the Presidential campaign and got his comeuppance in November 2012.
Keep searching, G.O.P., maybe someday you will stumble onto some Democratic cover-up to match Iraq or Watergate or outing a C.I.A. agent. But Benghazi ain’t it!
RICHARD P. HIGER
June 3, 2013
To the Editor,
In these present times of utter confusion with still no strategy, only tactics, sending drones killing innocent people and our own citizens. President Obama has found no way out of war yet.
Another perception of reality was offered by the Nobel Peace Prize winner Bishop Desmond Tutu. He recently warned us that “the world has never been more destabilized in its history,” and I would add, what nation in history has ever pursued perpetual war? Maybe the time has come for America to look at its dark side.
If you have trouble looking at your dark side, recall when we invaded Iraq, which was no threat to us and had no weapons of mass destruction. Do you remember the huge demonstrations around the world against our preemptive war? Even our allies joined them.
Finally, projecting our evil on others has put us on a path to self-destruction. Our dark side.
“The greatest prayer for humankind is not victory but peace.”— Dag Hammerskjold, former head of the United Nations.