New York City
July 6, 2013
Thank you for your inspirational, informative, but incomplete article on the 10th anniversary of Soldier Ride the Hamptons.
Certainly one of the reasons Soldier Ride is a sacred day for those of us who are fortunate enough to live on the East End, is that it is named for a true Sag Harbor hero, Navy Cross recipient Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter. Soldier Ride is a day to remember the sacrifice that Jordan made so that we on the East End, all over our great nation, and throughout the world can live in freedom.
Looking forward to a great ride,
JESSICA MUKASEY BARKOFF
July 8, 2013
We would like to thank everyone who has been of such unstinting support in the community drive to restore and renovate the 1902 Amagansett Life-Saving Station so as to be able to invite the public in to learn about the history of the U.S. Life-Saving Service, the Coast Guard, and the various heroic deeds each entity performed in Amagansett as well as elsewhere.
The East Hampton Historical Society has been generous enough to act as the interim receiver of donations earmarked for the Life-Saving Station, until we can set up a 501(c)(3). We would not have been able, as an advisory committee appointed by the town, to accept these donations ourselves, and so are indebted to Richard Barons and the society. In addition, Robert Hefner cannot be thanked enough for his thoughtful overseeing of the exterior restoration as well as the comprehensive historic structure report he composed for the committee.
In the wake of the June 13 re-enactment of the Nazi saboteur landing not far from the station, we would also like to thank Riverhead Building Supply, Jack Whitmore Masonry, Michael Reilly Windows and Doors, Platinum Framing, Peconic Sheet Metal, as well as Bonnie and Ben Krupinski, with the help of their contacts, and all the other people who have helped so far.
Please, don’t stop helping! On to the inside of the building!
Amagansett Life-Saving and
Coast Guard Building Committee
July 5, 2013
To the Editor,
Atlantic and Bluff — the accidents begin.
Here I am on Friday, July 5, and it’s a totally beautiful day at Atlantic Beach. As is customary this time of year, on one hand you have the cars flying in either direction on Bluff Road, between Indian Wells and Route 27, and, on the other hand, you have the cars, pedestrians, bicyclists, baby carriages, etc., on Atlantic Avenue on their way to the beach — risking their lives trying to cross Bluff Road. But then, yes, you knew it was coming, the big crash.
Only 1 p.m., cars banged up, drivers and passengers shaken up, all sorts of Amagansett first-responders in all their impressive emergency vehicles rush to the scene.
It is the first (well, to my knowledge, the first) of the many accidents occurring each season at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Bluff Road. Oh yes, I should note that this intersection does not have a four-way stop sign. The folks headed east to west and west to east have a straight shot — all others beware.
I watch this from my front porch on Bluff Road from season to season and try to keep track of the not-quite accidents, real accidents, and shouts of road rage from drivers and (mostly) bicyclists alike. Between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. the trick is not needing to cross Bluff Road if you are coming to the beach via Atlantic Avenue as, clearly, it is a life-endangering experience — but, alas, there is no alternative route.
Then, of course, there are the other times of day — the cars, trucks, and vans in the early morning, folks in their cars leaving the beach starting at 3 to 4 p.m., and, later, those on their pub crawls — for them, all bets are off — Bluff Road is their speedway.
Just yesterday, on the Fourth of July, I was tooling down Bluff at 35 miles per hour (the speed limit is only 30 miles per hour, so this is quite the admission by me), however, it didn’t stop the Porsche that was behind me from down shifting, pulling into oncoming traffic, and blowing right by me, cutting back in front of me only moments before it would have collided with an oncoming car. And why not — the Indian Wells-to-Route 27 stretch rivals any NASCAR speedway.
So what about a four-way stop sign at Atlantic and Bluff? Hey, a couple of years ago the folks on Further Lane got a four-way stop sign at Cross Highway; has anyone ever even seen a car coming south on Cross Highway on to Further Lane? Not me. Guess if you have the big houses you can get a stop sign to slow down traffic almost anywhere.
So what about Atlantic and Bluff with its not-so-big houses? Yes we have the occasional police car sitting on the side of the road, but mostly the constables are catching up on paperwork. I didn’t know you could do paperwork through cellphones, but the technology is getting way ahead of me. And of course the town occasionally tows those neon speed bulletin boards to Bluff Road; however, I believe most drivers use them merely to verify the accuracy of their speedometers.
It’s only a matter of time before the lack of a four-way stop sign ends in the most tragic of ways. The town is on notice that this is a treacherous intersection (Bluff and Atlantic). Perhaps the folks in today’s accident should consider naming the town as one of the parties responsible for their misfortunes.
JOEL D. ZYCHICK
July 7, 2013
I was smiling and shaking my head in agreement as I read Randy Parsons’s excellent letter on the frustrating history of and need to address the problem of bicycling in our town. Like a number of other issues facing this town, it rises to the surface every once in a while, gaining public voice and energy, only to recede, tabled with lack of results and by inertia. Only to rise again when the need becomes apparent. Tragically, it comes at this time with the death of a beautiful child.
To deal with the entire spectrum of bicycling and bike safety would take pages and pages of this newspaper. However I would like to offer a number of factoids that you may or may not be familiar with that will broaden the scope of the problem, and a few suggestions that may be helpful.
Every bicyclist going for a ride in this beautiful town should do so with joy but also the knowledge of palpable risk. That need for awareness has dramatically grown with an increasing census of automotive traffic on roads designed for horse and buggies.
Bicyclists are governed by rules of the State Motor Vehicle Department. Signaling, stopping at stop signs, obeying traffic signals, giving way to pedestrians as examples. Biking single file is a town ordinance and riding on the sidewalk not to be allowed. The latter unfortunately is seen too often on the crowded sidewalks of East Hampton Village. The state law defines “bicycle” as having operable brakes, front and rear lights, and a horn or bell.
Several months ago Paul Fiondella and I presented to the village board eight general precepts for bike lanes and shared streets so that bicyclists could travel around to important destinations within the village. We were greeted with great courtesy and a committee was formed consisting of Paul, myself, Larry Cantwell, the new village administrator, the village superintendent of highways, and a representative of the village police. The precepts were slightly altered, re-presented to the board, which approved of them. It was agreed that a bike plan for the village should be done by planners who had successfully accomplished plans in other communities. We suggested a couple and we hope that the village can find the funds to go forward with the project.
There have been two town bicycle advisory committees. One chaired by me when Cathy Lester was supervisor, which made a report in six months that is probably sitting on a shelf gathering dust, and the second extant committee that seems to be losing membership due to the frustration of whether the task at hand is viable and will fall on sympathetic ears that will take it forward.
The League Of American Bicyclists is the principal governing and lobbying body for bicycling in our country. All bicyclists and towns such as ours should be members. Formed in 1880 as the League of American Wheelmen, it has amassed a very large database on bike safety and techniques to bike safely in a wide variety of circumstances. It offers courses to train teachers, who in turn will bring this safety information back to the young and interested adults of their community.
A couple of years ago the Old Montauk Athletic Club paid for the training of two such teachers and they have been available and willing to conduct classes in our schools or other places of assembly. I can’t help feeling if Anna Lytton had been trained properly how to move left in traffic perhaps she would be alive today. These dedicated teachers should be paid as part-time employees of the town, school system, or the police.
About seven years ago I wrote a pamphlet on all aspects of how to bike and bike safety. It was printed in-house on the cheap and never was distributed properly and could be updated, printed professionally, and distributed widely.
The final method of education is road signage. The phrase “share the road” really is a non-evocative platitude. What should be said is, approach and pass bicyclists with increased awareness, in case they fall or do something untoward. Signs for bikers should remind them to follow traffic regulations, picture bike hand signals tell them to use them repeatedly and early when changing lanes and making turns.
I realize that this letter is much longer than I originally planned. Bear with me for one more thought. There is a need for you to get supportive and bring our town and village officials, our state legislator and senator, our county legislator and our congressman to work in concert to solve this issue and others. It was exactly how we got the state Department of Transportation to change their plan and put bike lanes on Route 114.
HOWARD JOHN LEBWITH
Mad dogs and Englishmen
are in the Hamptons July Fourth weekend
Dowagers find it shocking
New York yuppies keep flocking
The traffic is horrendous
Bicyclists and runners worry
So do pedestrians!
Please take my advice
Don’t be a fool
Stay home and stay cool
Practice Good Manners
July 8, 2013
I wasn’t born on the East End but my husband and I chose to move here over 23 years ago, build a home, and raise a family in the beautiful hamlet of Amagansett. One of the main reasons, though there were many, was the amazing beauty of the area.
I am sure that most people who choose to summer in and around our area come here for that same reason; yet I am utterly confused and saddened by the lack of respect that has been shown. I frequently walk through the Amagansett village in the mornings, circling to the beach and back. Our community is littered with red Solo Cups and discarded beer cans and bottles, refuse is thrown into our forests, takeout containers and used pizza boxes are strewn in back parking lots and on the sides of the road.
I was so disenchanted that I decided to write in to The East Hampton Star to remind people to practice good manners and common sense. This may not be your home, or it may just be your summer getaway, but it is losing its charm quickly and won’t be where anyone wants to reside if we don’t respect the land and each other! Clean up after yourselves, bring a trash bag to the beach and throw the garbage you create away. If you are walking or biking, the woods is not a trash dump, please clean up after yourselves.
On another note, last year we tragically lost a younger adult walking along the road to his home, just this past month we lost another beautiful young lady to a biking accident. Please slow down, there is nowhere to go fast and planning a few minutes more of travel time is not going to harm anyone. Just because there are no highways and many country roads does not mean that we should all not obey traffic laws. This weekend driving along I noticed that there was signage strategically placed on a few back roads near my home that stated “Drive Like Your Kids Live Here.” Please think about that statement as you might just save a life.
Let’s all practice good manners and enjoy the beauty of our East End area respectfully. I thank you.
MARY A. LOWNES
Shop in an Icebox
July 7, 2013
To the Editor,
Yes, I live out here year round. And yes, my house is air-conditioned. (I live near water and wetlands and would have horrible mold and mildew if I didn’t use AC. I keep it at 80 in rooms not used and 76-80 in places we use all the time.) We have an energy crisis in this country; people and businesses should try to conserve. It’s time the village of East Hampton followed New York City’s example (Oh horror! That I should even think such a thought!) and pass a regulation making shopkeepers keep their doors closed when the AC is on! It’s shameful!
The clerks say their bosses say no one will come in to shop if the doors are shut. They say the village won’t let them put up signs in their windows that say “We are open! Come in and get cool!” They’d say, “Why should we care if they can afford it?” Ridiculous.
Everyone should do what they can — and certainly do what’s easy — to conserve energy, and how hard is it to close a door?
People aren’t that stupid; if they want to go into your store to browse or buy, do you really think they will walk on by because your door is closed? And how freezing is it inside your establishment if it blows like a freezer outside your door? Who wants to shop in an icebox?
Why don’t all the stores try it together for one weekend and see if it really chases their customers away? Nonsense. Do the right thing. And if the merchants can’t use common sense, then the powers that be need to step up and tell them they have to.
July 8, 2013
I’m wondering how many of our neighbors saw the article in The Times last week? Apparently Amazon, having chased down most of America’s independent bookstores by selling books below cost, has now decided to raise their book prices. And why not? In many (too many) communities Amazon is now the only game in town. Only Amazon is not in town. Real bookstores — and yes, BookHampton is one of the very few remaining real bookstores — are not only in town, but are deeply committed to their neighborhoods and communities.
Actually, there is another far more insidious aspect to the Amazonation, or monopolization, of book sales: When the keys to the indie bookstores have all been wrenched away, the keys to intellectual capital will have been stolen as well. Do we really want to live in a world (local or global) in which Jeff Bezos or some other chief executive officer gets to determine which books are offered, which books can be sold, and ultimately which books we are “allowed” to read? Seems Orwellian? Not really. Perhaps it’s more Keynesian: The guy with all the goods is going to offer out only what he needs to offer to turn a profit. And who’s going to stop him?
BookHampton is still standing on Main Street. We’re reading, recommending, listening, and participating in the life of our community.
This Saturday alone we are presenting two of the country’s greatest authors.
James Salter, recipient of the PEN-Faulkner Award for Literary Achievement will be our Author in Conversation this Saturday at 5 p.m. And Saturday evening at 8 p.m., Tom Reiss, the recipient of the 2013 Pulitzer for nonfiction, will be our guest speaker. Everyone is invited.
One small summer note: BookHampton has long been committed to growing great readers, and this summer on every Monday night in East Hampton, we’re welcoming our youngest neighbors to come listen at the Classic Story Hour. P.J.s are acceptable, parents, siblings, and teddy bears are welcome.
July 6, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
It is difficult to know where to begin to respond to Rebecca DeWinter’s (nomme de plume) opinion pieces describing the Hamptons clientele and directing them how or how not to behave in restaurants. How dare she mock the cars, shoes, clothing, and children who come here? The writer’s column (“Tales of a Hamptons Waitress”) is as condescending and offensive as the behavior she decries.
I wonder why asking about an off-the-menu item is a crime. Several establishments are willing to make adjustments for diners; some do not. I wonder how customers are supposed to be considerate about vacating tables in a timely way when food items are not delivered to the table, and several requests bring no response. Perhaps a “wave” in that circumstance will bring results, and patrons will finish their meals and move on so the writer can receive her next tip.
As all restaurateurs know, finding and training staff and adjusting the kitchen for the onslaught of summer diners is a real challenge. Some meet this challenge, but many struggle. The vast majority of us understand and are patient, but a few are not. The writer chooses to highlight those few and stereotype them. I suggest she keep an eye on the other staff rather than the jewelry and clothing of the diners.
The writer is the rude one here. Were it not for taxpaying, spending, part-time residents and visitors, this waitress with student loans would not have an establishment in which to work. Someone needs to give her a lesson about reverse prejudice and how to behave. The restaurant is the ultimate customer-service establishment. Servers with her contempt for the customer are the ones who make us cross the street and eat somewhere else.
ALICE JARCHO and
A Special Preserve
July 6, 2013
To the Editor:
Abby Jane Brody’s lovely article on our house in Broadview, the former Bell Estate, made a very good point when she wrote “East Hampton Town zoning restrictions were a blessing in disguise.”
That was certainly true in locating this house on its lot, but it was also true in providing for the open spaces that define Broadview and the covenants that re the field she so much admired.
I recall that Ramesh Das, our neighbor and friend, was significantly involved in the plan approval process for the subdivision of that historical property. And the town’s then natural resources director, Larry Penny, and his staff were deeply involved in the plan for that open space. And the ongoing maintenance of the field according to the subdivision’s covenants has been under the supervision of Jack Kirkwood, on behalf of the board of the property owners’ association, for about 20 years.
Our house is very fortunate to be located in a blessed area, with a town and a community that cares about the beauty that is its heritage. Larry once said that the field was a special preserve of some of the seaside grasses that used to cover this area from Montauk to Southampton. If that field and this part of our town helps achieve some link to our area’s past, I’d like their names to be included in the list of credits in your report. Thanks.
Use of Larvicides
July 4, 2013
To the Editor,
Hooray for Debbie Klughers! I’m sure by now the county vector control considers you a real pain in the a__! One of the reasons Rhode Island banned the use of larvicides is because they were linked to reduced production in their hard-clam industry.
Shellfish, crab, and finfish larva remain suspended in the water column for days if not longer before settling to the bottom of our estuaries. They hatch dependent on water temperature. Which coincides with warming waters and the mosquito hatch and the spraying that follows.
The Peconic Baykeeper linked juvenile finfish kill to larvicides several years ago and was beat in court by the Department of Environmental Conservation. Because, as I understand it, the lab he used wasn’t D.E.C.-certified.
Between the county spraying and the harmful effects of algae blooms it’s a wonder there are any shellfish or finfish to harvest at all!
I personally sent info to state and county officials after the 1984 decimation of our scallop industry. Also absent on the bottom that year was any sign of juvenile finfish.
The info was based on studies done on the Chesapeake Bay. Cause and effects of algal blooms. Done by the federal Fish and Wildlife Service.
Our county officials have almost 30 years of studies and no remediation plans in sight!
The county and D.E.C. should take our lead and try some remedies that are less harmful to our environment regarding mosquitoes.
And as for the five sewer plants that probably still continue to be in violation of the clean water act on any given day: Well, they should begin by removing the nitrogen and phosphate which all studies show to be the cause of algae blooms. Those are sources that can definitely be pinpointed. Just as the larvicides being used pinpointed to killing not just mosquito larvae.
The biggest problem you have, Debbie, is the D.E.C. condones these violations on our environment. D.E.C. doesn’t even care.
They would rather write a fisherman a ticket than stop the county from killing a billion fish and shellfish larvae. Hope the public gets behind you on this.
What to Do Next
July 1, 2013
It is now over three years since the town board held its deer summit, and no new deer management programs have yet been initiated in the town. We do have a newly adopted deer management plan, but that plan is no substitute for two lost years of inaction.
Despite the good coordinating work of Marguerite Wolffsohn, the head of the Planning Department, the plan is dominated by a single idea — to “contract with a professional deer culling organization.” The recent inaccurate aerial survey of the deer herd did not substantiate that need. The town board must decide what to do next.
I fear that more procrastination is to come. It has been announced that the next steps will be to contact the Department of Environmental Conservation to discuss what to do next, and to form yet another deer management committee — the third deer management committee formed since 2010. Pushing all the needed and sometimes politically fractious decisions into next year is not what we need to do. Similarly, doing more aerial surveys next winter with the same flawed technique will just waste more time and money.
The town employees, the nature preserve committee, the Sportsmen Alliance, the East Hampton Group for Wildlife, and other residents have the knowledge to advise the board on what can and should be done now. The same people have the ability to implement any locally based initiatives that the board adopts. For example, because the recent deer survey was flawed, we need to be working with people in the field beginning this September to establish records of deer activity and location.
The town could also begin the program that the Nature Preserve Deer Committee recommended in January 2011, which was adopted by the town board but never implemented. That program would aid and advise private landowners on how they can join together to have local hunters reduce the number of deer on their properties without need for special permits from the D.E.C. It would include information on donating deer meat to food pantries.
The town board needs to begin discussions in July and initiate programs by early September, or another autumn and winter will pass with virtually nothing accomplished.
At Beach Lane
July 8, 2013
To the Editor:
Wainscott beach at Beach Lane now has two more major problems in addition to the problems pointed out in previous letters (parking too close so no one can turn around, 15-minute sign in the sand, broken wood on beach, etc.).
On July 5 at 2 p.m. the beach was filled with children playing, adults sitting quietly while reading, and others walking about. A huge S.U.V. came barreling onto the beach and drove east as fast as he could across the sand. I tried but was unable to flag him down.
I was leaving the beach, so I don’t know exactly where he went or how long he stayed. But I do know cars are banned from the beach from May 24 to Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. except crabbers after 4 p.m. This car was clearly illegal.
There is never anyone patrolling to catch these inconsiderate people. Not only do cars ruin the beach, but it is dangerous on a crowded beach, it is illegal, and it is disturbing to the peace.
The second problem is that almost every day a masseuse sets up a bench, towels, umbrellas, and a sign for business on the beach. He even goes around and solicits. There is no town signage that says no business activity on the beach — perhaps there should be! Can anyone set up services on the beach? Is this legal? I hope not. If not stopped now, how many more businesses will set up?
Where the Money Is
July 6, 2013
Your editorial of two weeks ago concerning your thoughts about illegal short-term rentals and how they affect local businesses, tax revenues, and the quality of life in the neighborhoods was — I’m not sure. You also bemoaned the flaunting of local laws on the Internet, lack of enforcement, and generally just felt awful that short-term rentals and the overcrowding that’s part and parcel with such activity could cause such havoc. I can only imagine the hours of sleep lost and rivers of tears shed in sympathy for those who must suffer through a short-term rental from the residents of Springs who experience it year round.
You also made the inane suggestion the town should send a polite e-mail to the offenders informing them they’re bad. I guess you have no idea what’s behind any of this. Well, it’s the money.
Willy Sutton, the old-time bank robber, when asked why he robbed banks, said, “Because that’s where the money is.” Everywhere in East Hampton the money is a house with a swimming pool and four bedrooms. In Springs the money is a house with two bathrooms and a full basement. Elsewhere in East Hampton it’s a few weeks. In Springs it’s forever.
They took the money away from Willy by putting him in jail. There’s not a chance anyone will go to jail for anything in East Hampton. In fact all this harping about enforcing the code will get us nothing because it’s a person’s home, after all, and short of housing an Al Qaeda terrorist cell the courts will throw out every offense. So if the code is no help you need to go where the money is.
No house may be occupied without a valid certificate of occupancy. No C of O may be issued unless standards are met and maintained. It’s not a stretch to realize a house occupied by 10 or more people exceeds the sanitary standards that protect the health of the community. It’s all in the numbers, folks. All one has to do is invalidate the C of O. It’s not a question of hearth and home or the intent of the town code, it’s a question of public health. In order for the landlord to get a new C of O, what needs to be done is upgrade to an adequate sanitary system at a cost that no doubt eats into the profits. That’s where the money is, and no change to any law is needed. There are many ways to get this job done, but the most important need is a real commitment from the town board, and that’s the problem.
I’ve served this town in a number of capacities for 23 years, spanning every administration from Bullock into the WilkQuig years. In all that time I’ve heard constant complaints from Springs, and every board member and candidate has promised to “make it better” to your face while behind your back: “They should have known better then to buy in Springs‚” or “We need workforce housing somewhere” or “They’re just a bunch of racists.” And that’s God’s truth.
We don’t need a promise to make it better when we know they don’t care about Springs. We need a plan, commitment, and action. Which candidate is willing to go there?
July 7, 2013
To the Editor,
Dollar Bill’s mantra has been heard far and wide apparently. It’s now being heeded by a broad constituency of despoilers‚ vandals, burglars, pickpockets, noisemakers, and troublemakers alike, all responding to the call of, “Come, bring your business to us. It’s good for business.” They are having a field day.
Have a look at the police blotter in the paper to see what mayhem surrounds us. It wasn’t always like this, and it won’t always be like this once a new administration is in place.
Why haven’t we been able to stop this mismanagement?
Surf Lodge Situation
July 7, 2013
To the Editor,
East Hampton Town should be ashamed of itself. The situation with Surf Lodge has gotten worse this summer despite the alleged new owners and better arrangements with the town. The traffic on Edgemere is worse, the crowds are larger and more obnoxious than ever. On Saturday night three fashionably dressed women were caught urinating in our front yard.
What classy people! The crowds park anywhere they please with no reprisal for parking violations. For East Hampton to allow this disgraceful situation to continue, the Surf Lodge must have made some great deal with the town.
It is only a matter of time before there is a severe car accident or a pedestrian getting killed on Edgemere. I am sure then there will be the wringing of hands and the cry, how could this have happened?
The police seem either overwhelmed or powerless to control this near-intolerable situation for the neighborhood, Fort Pond, and the town of Montauk. In the neighborhood, the cars left parked on the street overnight and the trash left on the street and in the yards from the classy patrons will no doubt add to property values. Perhaps the town could make a deal with the neighborhood and lower our property taxes as a conciliation for having to endure the travesty known as the Surf Lodge.
July 8, 2013
Once again the town board Republican majority has put business interests ahead of community interests. They issued a mass-gathering permit for a party on Star Island for 3,900 revelers during the July Fourth weekend. This decision was outrageous on many levels. The police services required cost East Hampton taxpayers $4,000. The potential for traffic nightmares, drunk drivers, and disturbance to local residents was obvious. Unfortunately, Councilman Dominick Stanzione followed the lead of his Republican cohorts allowing this ill-conceived event to take place.
Thankfully change is coming but not soon enough to prevent more Shark Attack-type parties to take place this season.
Spheres of Understanding
July 7, 2013
Wow, how lucky we are! According to your article last week on the last-minute political acrobatics necessary to secure the Shark Attack party permit, Lawrence Kelley, lawyer for the Montauk Yacht Club, said that the “3,900 party-goers are people with national and international connections who will bring Montauk into their sphere of understanding.”
Really now! That’s got to be the most self-serving, egotistical suggestion I have ever heard. Please, Mr. Kelley, keep your spheres, and tuck them neatly under the one you’re sitting on.
Endorse Larry Cantwell
July 8, 2013
To the Editor:
Several months ago I wrote you suggesting that, in the best interests of East Hampton Town, all three political parties endorse Larry Cantwell for supervisor. After that letter appeared, the Independence and Democratic parties endorsed Mr. Cantwell. As of the writing of this letter, the Republican committee has not named a supervisor candidate.
I stand by my support of Mr. Cantwell, with one caveat. I am told by good authority that Mr. Cantwell was invited to screen before the Republican committee and that, although he had earlier expressed a interest in a Republican endorsement, when asked to appear, he refused the invitation. The unspoken or off-the-record reason given, being that the Democratic heads of the local party — those people one would hope would be looking out for all the residents of East Hampton — made refusal of Republican support the quid pro quo for their endorsement of Mr. Cantwell.
If this is true, I am disappointed that Mr. Cantwell acceded to their demand. It is clear that by setting such a requirement, the local Democratic bigwigs do not have the best interests of the town at heart. Coupling that demand with statements made by their leaders in connection with Mr. Cantwell’s appointment, once again shows that for the local Democratic party, it is partisan politics above all else.
My caveat: I like Mr. Cantwell as a candidate for supervisor, but I am disappointed that right out of the box he allowed himself to be used by the Democratic leadership. I can only hope that what was at play on Mr. Cantwell’s part was a lack of self-confidence and a heap of political naiveté, since Mr. Cantwell is apparently not used to swimming in the politically shark-infested waters of East Hampton Town politics.
In my view, the local Democratic party needs Mr. Cantwell far more that he needs them — and hopefully he will soon come to realize this fact. Over many years, Mr. Cantwell has proven himself an extremely able administrator and someone who can ingratiate himself with people of all parties. Not an easy feat in today’s East Hampton political scene.
For me, the basic issue at this stage is whether or not the Republican committee can, if it chooses, endorse Larry Cantwell as its candidate for supervisor. I hope it can and does.
I think the Republican committee should endorse Mr. Cantwell, whether or not he participates in the screening process — unusual but probably not unheard of. The committee does not need to worry about what the local Democratic party thinks about such an endorsement. What are they going to do — withdraw their endorsement of the most popular candidate to come along in many years? The Republican committee certainly does not need Democratic approval when it picks its candidate. In all likelihood the committee probably does not even need Mr. Cantwell’s permission for the endorsement. It may be unconventional, but we live in unconventional times. What candidate would not like to have the endorsement of all the local parties? He or she would be a fool to turn down such an opportunity — and Mr. Cantwell is no fool!
I believe that once endorsed, Mr. Cantwell will do the right thing and campaign in all locales and for all the people of East Hampton. It would only be practice for when he becomes supervisor of all the residents, and not just the Democratic and Independence party voters.
Another important point for the Republican committee is that once Mr. Cantwell becomes its candidate, his name goes on the ballot on the Republican line. This is an important factor for the other Republican candidates running for office in November. As it stands today, if Mr. Cantwell remains on the Independence and Democratic lines only, Republican voters wishing to vote for him (and I believe there are many) will have to leave the Republican line. The important question being, will they return to vote for the other Republican candidates on that line?
I realize that since I am not an election maven, there may be rules and missed deadlines that preclude Mr. Cantwell from being named at this late date, but I hope not. Is it true that where there is a will there is a way? I am sure there are many registered Republicans who would carry petitions and vote for Larry Cantwell on the Republican line.
I honestly believe that it is in the abolute best interests of the town that Mr. Cantwell be endorsed by all parties. The only losers in such a situation would be less revenue for our local newspapers in the absence of a knockdown, drag-out political contest for supervisor. Frankly, their loss is not a factor for me.
It is a red herring to be concerned about a so-called loss of discussion of the issues if there is no opposition candidate. Nothing keeps voters from raising their questions and issues and discussing positions with Mr. Cantwell. It does not necessitate the presence of another candidate to foster discussion. In addition, all of the candidates for town board seats are well qualified and able to raise and discuss the issues facing the town — and should! The supervisor is but one vote out of five when it comes to dealing with the many problems faced by our town today.
My hope is that Mr. Cantwell will learn as the political season comes into full swing the importance of remaining an elected official of all the people, instead of becoming just another politician who puts the people in the middle (where their needs are lost) between the ongoing partisan politics of our local political parties.
Well now that I have this off my chest and out of my head I can go back to enjoying summer in the Hamptons!
July 5, 2013
To the Editor,
Larry Cantwell is a uniquely qualified candidate for supervisor of East Hampton. He is experienced, accomplished, and exudes character and good judgment. At a recent “listen in” meeting in Springs his running mates failed to convey these same characteristics.
Job Potter referred to his past poor fiscal decisions claiming these purchases “seemed like a good idea at the time” — buying Keyes Island for $3.8 million and Poxabogue Golf Course with Southampton and the town each paying $3.2 million. (East Hampton subsequently sold its share back to Southampton for a $ 1.2 million loss.) He seemed remote, time-worn, and unenthusiastic. Why did the Democrats disturb his years of hibernation, during which time he was never heard from regarding serious town issues?
Now it is time, based on population alone, that Springs should be represented on the town board. Kathee Burke-Gonzalez should not be our choice. When asked for any ideas she might have on resolving Springs’ issues she replied, “I’m a newbie.” Really? It’s hard to vote for a self-proclaimed newbie who has lived in Springs for many years, nine of them as a member and president of the school board. She said she is “still doing her homework” and had no comment.
Meanwhile in reference to the problem with Eric Casale, there is substantial testimony on his past cover-up and transgressions at P.S. 91 in the Bronx. For this he has been barred from ever being employed by the New York City Board of Education. Similarly, at the Springs School, testing irregularities have arisen and are being probed by the New York State Department of Education. This seems just too coincidental.
Whether he is a good principal, as some claim, is irrelevant to this issue. What is not irrelevant is the judgment of the school board and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez. They never acknowledged that they should have done a better job vetting Mr. Casale, instead doubling down on someone who is deceitful, lies, and was involved in well-documented scandalous behavior.
While some may have thought it a good idea to mail from the Springs School (First Class, at taxpayer expense) what felt like a campaign letter to Springs residents and then have a rally to preserve and protect the principal and their candidate for the town board, it has had the opposite effect. They doth protest too much!
Further evidence of poor judgment is that they are considering promoting Mr. Casale to superintendent. Instead of looking for resolution with Mr. Casale’s detractors, they choose a poke-in-the-eye strategy that will not unite us, but divide us. There is no logic in these judgments.
Ms. Burke-Gonzalez appears nice and well-meaning, however, she is in need of sound political advice: Dismiss your backers, counselors, and promoters. They are leading you down the road to obscurity.
No one party should be allowed to dominate our town board; we need some checks and balances. The Democrats’ choice of Mr. Potter and Ms. Burke-Gonzalez provides a wonderful and unexpected opportunity for Dominick Stanzione and Fred Overton to prevail.
FRED J. WEINBERG
Friend of the Creek
July 4, 2013
To the Editor,
The recent Meet the Candidates program at Ashawagh Hall in Springs would have been the best place to tell this story, but I had to leave early and here I am. Candidate Job Potter was a very good town councilman the last time, but he’s way too modest about it. When he left office, in 2004, my organization, the Accabonac Protection Committee, gave him a Friend of the Creek award. The F. of the C. award is not easy to get; we give very few of them, for very solid services in our area. Some years, we don’t give one.
Job’s award was particularly due to land acquisition, and this is one way it happened: our steering committee colleague, Nancy Kane, was a specialist in land use. She would patrol up and down Gerard Drive, for instance. If she spotted a For Sale sign on a marshy lot, she’d take down the information and write a letter on our letterhead. It would say something like: “In our opinion, your lot can never be developed. We suggest you contact Job Potter (East Hampton Town Board) and see if the town might be interested in acquisition.”
Probably that person was in Florida and had never seen the lot. In any case, the town was able to buy it for a low price.
That’s how some of that green color on the map came to be all around our beloved creek. And incidentally, that old motto “Open Space is the Best Buy” is absolutely true. Every house built costs the town (taxpayers) a lot more than it ever brings in in taxes. We lose space and beauty while all our taxes rise on account of the increased demand for services.
Accabonac owes you, Job, so brag a little!
July 8, 2013
A letter in last week’s Star lumped in Job Potter with the misdeeds of the McGintee administration. In point of fact, Mr. Potter was not on the East Hampton Town Board when those misdeeds occurred.
Mr. Potter served on the town board for two years with Supervisor Cathy Lester, four years with Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, and only the first two years of Bill McGintee’s nearly six years in office. Mr. Potter left the town board in 2005. The illegal transfers of community preservation fund money occurred in 2006 and 2007.
Job Potter had a distinguished record as the C.P.F. program liaison for the first eight years of that program. During his service in that capacity over 2,000 acres of open space were protected, including forests, farmland, wetlands, beaches, beach access, and historic properties. These achievements came about because of Mr. Potter’s talent in enlisting the cooperation of all the crucial participants, including his town board colleagues of both parties, key conservation organizations, and Suffolk County and New York State officials. Job will bring the same abilities and commitment to the town board of 2014.
Letter From the Board
July 7, 2013
Last week there was a letter to the paper suggesting that a letter from the Springs School Board to Springs residents, signed by the five trustees, including me as its president, was some type of campaign maneuver for my benefit. That is pure spite. It has no basis in reality.
On June 14 the Springs School Board decided that a letter should be sent to the Springs community. We have sent letters in the past when we needed to communicate with our community, as press releases posted on the school Web site tend to reach the parent community and not the greater Springs School District residents. Every effort was made to expedite sending the letter out. The holdup was that mailing labels had to come from the Board of Elections. That delayed the mailing by two weeks.
Getting accurate information to the community in a timely way (and it was timely, even if not to the satisfaction of that letter writer) is an indispensable part of the responsibilities of the board. If that results in scurrilous attacks in the press, so be it. The job will be done regardless.
Democratic and Working Families
Candidate for East Hampton
July 8, 2013
I have known Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for many years. She is a wonderful mom and a caring friend. Having had many conversations with her, I am always impressed with her knowledge of education, her compassion for children, and her commitment to the community.
Kathee has always struck me as a person who researches everything she does thoroughly before making a decision. Her commitment to the Springs School Board for nine years shows dedication and courage. As a longtime resident of East Hampton Town, I think she has a good grasp on the issues in our community.
I hope that Kathee gets a chance to put her knowledge, integrity, love of learning, and commitment toward the good of our town.
My Full Support
July 8, 2013
I have worked closely with Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for almost four years and I am expressing my full support of her for East Hampton Town Board.
I remember in several past job interviews being asked this open-ended question, “What women do you admire the most and why?” If I was asked that question today I would have to say I truly admire Kathee Burke-Gonzalez.
I first met Kathee at a Springs School Board of Education meeting when I served as the president of the Springs School PTA. Kathee was the school board vice president at the time. I was impressed with Kathee’s professionalism during some very difficult board and budget meetings. It was clear she always did her homework. Kathee always placed the kids of Springs first and supported the programs that would benefit our kids the most.
I was amazed how active she was in the school and community. With a career and two young children, Kathee always made it a priority to attend school and community events. I was impressed by her astute sense of business, especially when it came to negotiating our high school tuition rate with the East Hampton School District. During board meetings, she keenly listened to everyone’s viewpoints. She never shied away from taking on difficult problems facing the Springs School or our community.
After I was elected to serve on the Springs School Board in 2011, I worked closely with Kathee on a number of challenging projects. Again, what impressed me most is her willingness to take the time to listen — important to building relationships in our town. She is willing to work hard and has the ability to balance a diversity of projects. She is a good communicator and has good instincts. She has very strong moral values that will serve as her guide in making the best decisions for our town.
Kathee is very adept at taking information in from all sides before she decides on a course of action to solve the problem. But once she decides on a course of action to solve the problem she is very tenacious and persistent.
On a personal note, Kathee is a good friend, a wonderful mother of two great kids, and a supportive, loving wife.
I am very confident in Kathee’s judgment. She possesses the integrity and passion needed to lead our town and make sure that Springs residents’ concerns are addressed. Let’s give Kathee the opportunity to serve on the town board.
On Election Day, I respectfully ask that you vote with me for Kathee Burke-Gonzalez as one of your two votes for town board.
A New Direction
July 8, 2013
I would like to voice my support for Kathee Burke-Gonzalez as she runs for the East Hampton Town Board in November.
I’ve known Kathee the past seven years, as our children are classmates at Springs School. As a fellow parent at Springs School as well as a school board member and president, Kathee has been patient, dedicated, fair, and productive. She helped usher us through a difficult time of struggle and growth in our Springs School. She is a listener who is open to hearing all perspectives and a person of integrity.
Considering the adversarial tone of politics lately in our town, I trust Kathee to bring a new direction and tone to support our community and all the issues that we care about.
Does Not Pretend
July 7, 2013
In last week’s Star’s letters to the editor section, there was a complaint that at a forum for candidates to listen to voters in Springs, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez “admitted to a lack of knowledge.”
Oh my God! Someone, a town board candidate no less, who actually does not pretend to know everything about everything and says she needs to spend more time studying an issue before suggesting solutions.
Perhaps some find it impressive when candidates pretend to have knowledge about everything that no real person possesses. I don’t. I would much rather vote for someone who is prepared to take the time to study an issue and educate herself before acting.
We in Springs have benefited enormously from Kathee’s kind of problem-solving when she has thoroughly understood the issue. This is why Kathee has my vote for the town board in November.
Kathee Gets It
July 8, 2013
Last week’s unwarranted attacks on Kathee Burke-Gonzalez really infuriate me. These attacks are outrageous, unjustified, and downright unfair.
Kathee Burke-Gonzalez has served the Springs community with distinction. She has managed to balance the needs of our students while always being mindful of the taxpayers’ ability to pay. She has been unyielding when it comes to matters pertaining to East Hampton High School tuition (which accounts for one-third of the district’s budget). In fact, under her leadership, Springs taxpayers have recouped $3.9 million in savings since 2011 alone.
Our town would be fortunate to have Kathee Burke-Gonzalez on the town board. That’s because Kathee knows firsthand how challenging it is to earn a living and raise a family here. She knows firsthand the issues facing Springs residents that have gone unaddressed for too many years. Kathee gets it. She has demonstrated her strong leadership, been fiscally responsible with taxpayer money, listens intently to diverse perspectives, and then rolls up her sleeves to build a consensus.
The results she has achieved have been a huge benefit to our kids. We in Springs are grateful. And that’s why I’ll be voting for Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for town board.
July 7, 2013
To The Star,
This year’s campaign for elected office in East Hampton has started with a steady drone of nasty attack ads on radio sponsored by the local Democratic Party.
The gist of these ads is, an incumbent councilman running with Republican-Conservative-Independence endorsements is not to be trusted.
I am sure that it is very original and clever that his adversaries say bad things about the person they want to replace.
What the public might not know is that if a candidate inserts their name into these radio advertisements (a tagline), it gets less expensive airtime. Accordingly a Democratic candidate has sold his name and soul to get cheaper bullets for a nastier East Hampton.
Remember the name of that candidate, and as you select your representatives in East Hampton, skip the ones that lend their name to gutter politics when you vote.
Access to the Court
July 8, 2013
As the Democratic and Working Families Party candidate for town justice, I am pleased to see that the East Hampton Town Justice Court is going to be open to the public again on Tuesdays, starting this week. This is a benefit to all those who are served by the court.
Whatever the reasons were for closing in the first place, Judge Cathy Cahill and Judge Lisa Rana are to be commended for restoring full access to the court.
Torture and Torment
July 8, 2013
East Hampton Airport has expanded its use to that of a large metropolitan airport. It is out of control. This is unacceptable and must change immediately.
Early Monday morning, July 8, the peaceful still morning air was rudely and abruptly shattered at 4:38 a.m. by a continuous barrage of noisy, dirty helicopters ferrying inconsiderate, selfish people from East Hampton. Mixed in with noisy, dirty helicopters were a few inconsiderate, selfish airplane and jet owners. The data for the operations are as follows:
4:38 a.m., helicopter; 5:41 a.m., helicopter; 6:11 a.m., helicopter; 6:18 a.m., helicopter; 6:27 a.m., helicopter; 6:32 a.m., helicopter; 6:38 a.m., helicopter; 6:43 a.m., airplane; 6:49 a.m., helicopter; 6:59 a.m., helicopter; 7:05 a.m., airplane; 7:11 a.m., helicopter; 7:18 a.m., helicopter; 7:20 a.m., helicopter; 7:26 a.m., airplane; 7:27 a.m., helicopter; 7:28 a.m., helicopter; 7:29 a.m., airplane; 7:30 a.m., helicopter; 7:32 a.m., jet; 7:33 a.m., jet; 7:35 a.m., airplane; 7:40 a.m., helicopter; 8:45 a.m., helicopter; 8:48 a.m., helicopter; 8:54 a.m., helicopter; 8:56 a.m., airplane; 8:58 a.m., airplane; 9 a.m., helicopter; 9:02 a.m., airplane; 9:03 a.m., airplane; 9:05 a.m., airplane; the barrage continued.
This flight schedule is greater than a large metropolitan airport hub! At large airports, Federal Aviation Administration regulations impose a two-minute separation between aircraft. It obviously does not exist at East Hampton.
Thousands of folks living in residential neighborhoods were tortured and tormented from 4:38 a.m. and throughout this entire morning with no relief. The Maidstone Gun Club has a mandated curfew imposed by the town, operations begin at 9 a.m. How can the town discriminately operate a facility on the property adjacent to the gun club at all hours with no restriction?
The town is presently considering its noise ordinance. Really? Before the town considers imposing restrictions on others, shouldn’t it impose restrictions on itself? When will the town board understand noise abatement is a failed policy? It is about restricting use. How silly is this?
Sunday is no longer a day of rest in the Hamptons. It is entirely a lost cause. The barrage of dirty, noisy helicopters is relentless. The East Hampton Town Board liaison to the airport, Councilman Dominick Stanzione, is hoping to get re-elected this November. How is that possible if the voters continue to be tortured and tormented as we see here? Won’t the voters hold him accountable? How can any candidate hope to be elected unless their campaign rebukes the current status of the airport and they commit to make changes for the good of the people?
To Gene Oshrin and all the other good folks at East Hampton Airport Pilots Association: You must realize from the above, the helicopters are ruining the airport for you. If implementing restrictions at an airport operating under F.A.A. grant assurances is so easy as you say, then why haven’t you done so already? You have been given much too much time. It is silly if you are doing nothing to restrict helicopter operations. It is silly to believe this torture and torment can continue without severe consequences. If it wasn’t so silly, it would be crazy.
July 7, 2013
Gene Oshrin is back, writing about the airport and aviation law again. One paragraph, one falsehood. It is marvelous that Mr. Oshrin doesn’t think he actually needs to know one single thing in order to write long letters dripping with sarcasm. What he doesn’t know he freely invents.
Mr. Oshrin claims that I filed a lawsuit in December 2011 when the town board voted to apply for more Federal Aviation Administration funding. This is a fiction, invented by Mr. Oshrin. There is no such lawsuit filed by me or anyone else.
Mr. Oshrin “stands by his statement” that, “Mr. Gruber . . . has never won in court. Never! Ever!” Leaving aside Mr. Oshrin’s personalization of legal matters, that is because Mr. Oshrin doesn’t know, or doesn’t care, what the meaning of “to win” is. As former Town Councilman Pat Trunzo, co-founder with Ed Gorman of the Committee to Stop Airport Expansion, wrote a couple of weeks ago, we successfully established by legal proceedings, both judicial and administrative, that the main runway expansion was in violation of the town’s duly adopted 1989 airport master plan and that the town’s claims to the contrary were false.
We successfully established that the 1996 airport layout plan on which the town was relying for the main runway project had never undergone State Environmental Quality Review Act review, had never been adopted, and that the town’s claims to the contrary were false. As a result, the never-adopted 1996 airport layout plan was thrown out.
We also successfully established that in 2003 the town retrospectively and illegally altered the duly adopted 1990 airport layout plan in the manner necessary to support its project to strengthen the parking apron to jet standards. As a result, the phony version of the 1990 plan was thrown out too.
It is now a matter of public record that the town’s representations to public agencies were falsehoods — we proved that in court. Still, Mr. Oshrin scoffs at the notion that the town has achieved both the main runway expansion and the strengthening of the parking apron to jet standards by lying to the courts and public agencies. But you cannot simultaneously tell the New York Supreme Court that you are not implementing the never-adopted 1996 airport layout plan, in order to evade SEQRA compliance, while telling the Federal Aviation Administration that you are implementing the very same plan in order to obtain money from the F.A.A. That’s called lying — blatantly.
Is Mr. Oshrin unaware that a federal grand jury was convened to investigate the town’s misdeeds, and that it was because of the grand jury’s subpoena that the town was caught submitting a falsified document to the F.A.A.? Is Mr. Oshrin also unaware that it is precisely because the town was finally caught red-handed that the F.A.A. agreed to shorten from 2021 to 2014, the term of the F.A.A. assurances that tie the town’s hands?
I suspect Mr. Oshrin really does know these things. He just likes his fantasy version of reality better and continues to publish falsehoods to his taste. What has been won in court, at great cost, is East Hampton’s freedom from the F.A.A. on Dec. 31, 2014, provided it does not take any more F.A.A. money.
And now to the heart of the matter. Mr. Oshrin has taken the bait and finally dared to assert a legal position rather then limit himself to falsehoods, sarcasm, and misdirection to impugn others (like me). He says, “So here it is David, you are wrong, the town will not have any more powers to regulate the airport when grant assurances expire than it has now!”
Mr. Oshrin states his claim without legal support or citation of any kind, because there is none. It is therefore trivial to demonstrate that it is Mr. Oshrin who is wrong.
The power of a local municipal airport to regulate traffic to limit noise is explicitly limited by a federal law called the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990. That is indeed the entire purpose of the law. In its letter of February 2012 to Congressman Tim Bishop, the F.A.A. stated:
“The F.A.A.’s agreement [with the Committee to Stop Airport Expansion] not to enforce [specific grant assurances after December 31, 2014] also means that unless the town wishes to remain eligible to receive future grants of Federal funding, it is not required to comply with the requirements under the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990 (ANCA) . . . in proposing new airport noise and access restrictions. . . . ANCA applies to restrictions affecting operations by any Stage 2 or Stage 3 aircraft (including helcopters) if the restriction was not in effect on October 1, 1990. . . .” (Legal citations omitted.)
Accordingly, contrary to Mr. Oshrin, there is no question that the town will be free from F.A.A. control and able to regulate helicopter use once it allows the assurances to expire on Dec. 31, 2014, and will not be free of F.A.A. control or of ANCA if it accepts more F.A.A. money in the future.
Once the assurances are gone, the F.A.A.’s opinions about controls that East Hampton might adopt on the use of its own airport are no longer relevant. The F.A.A.’s specific authority is derived entirely from ANCA and the assurances. The F.A.A. would not even be a party to any lawsuit that might be brought to contest the town’s regulations. In the seminal case involving New York City’s restrictions on use of its own heliport, the F.A.A. did not participate.
Contrarywise, while the F.A.A. has control under the grant assurances, local control over use of the airport is either prohibitively expensive or impossible. East Hampton’s own 1989 airport master plan required a curfew on jets and a ban on summer weekend touch-and-gos. Those access controls were never implemented because of F.A.A. objections under the assurances.
In Burbank, Calif., the airport asked the F.A.A. to approve noise controls, citing the N.Y.C. helicopter case. The F.A.A. refused its consent and specifically stated that the standards approved by the federal court in N.Y.C. did not apply to an airport subject to grant assurances. Only one airport, Naples, Fla., has beaten the F.A.A. in court, at a reported cost of $6 million.
Mr. Oshrin either doesn’t know what he is talking about or doesn’t care.
Finally, Mr. Oshrin falsely states that the town cannot proceed with “long-overdue maintenance that the town cannot afford in part due to delaying tactics of airport opponents.” If Gene Oshrin uses a comma in a sentence, one should immediately wonder whether it is a falsehood. By law, the F.A.A. cannot pay for maintenance. Nothing involving any dispute about the airport has anything to do with maintenance. Ordinary maintenance is exempted from SEQRA compliance. There has never been any dispute concerning maintenance. The town doesn’t pay for maintenance; the fees paid by airport users pay for maintenance. So, go ahead, Mr. Oshrin, pony up and maintain your airport instead of allowing it to fall into disrepair or holding your hand out to the public.
Seventeen thousand out of 20,000 airports in the United States are ineligible for F.A.A. subsidies; they manage. We live in one of the very richest communities in the United States. The notion that aircraft owners of the Hamptons are too poor to pay the costs of their airport is absurd. They are just too greedy to be willing to do so. Instead, they want the town to take F.A.A. money so that their airport is cheaper for them. The F.A.A. will not consent to airport-use restrictions. The result is that our residents suffer from uncontrolled noise. It is just that simple.
Committee to Stop Airport
June 29, 2013
I want to begin this letter by thanking the Springs community, the Springs Board of Education, and the superintendent of schools, Dominic Mucci, for their support of our principal, Eric Casale, and his family over the past eight weeks.
I can tell you it hasn’t been easy to watch Mr. Casale go through what he has gone through, ranging from his health issues to having to report a testing irregularity at the Springs School to dealing with issues in the media. I have seen each day what it has done to him. I also want to let the Springs community know that as a parent of four children in the Springs School, I am honored to have a Mr. Casale who cares so much about kids and has devoted his life to making their lives better. However, I am fed up with the recent onslaught brought on by a particular publication.
For the better part of the last eight weeks I have sat silently as our principal has been attacked for something that happened in his past and that was made known to the Springs School when he was hired. When I read the recent article, I became infuriated.
I have sat silently and watched as Mr. Casale’s heart episode was reported in the local media and to have someone insinuate that it was because he was afraid of his past coming back. That is not news, folks, that is trashy reporting on someone else’s misfortune with their health. We are not reading the National Enquirer about Lindsey Lohan’s latest issues; this is supposed to be a local paper. I have sat silently as some staff and the former assistant principal tried to slander his name because he did his job and reported a cheating situation to the New York State Department of Education. That is his job, and he followed protocol. How many of these issues go unreported in schools because of exactly what has taken place here? I am tired of sitting quietly and allowing this crap to destroy lives.
Did Mr. Casale make mistakes along the way — haven’t we all? I’m sure he will admit he has and he did admit them. Did he and does he push his former staff at P.S. 91 and probably his current staff at Springs a bit hard? I hope he does and knowing how much our school has changed for the better since he got here, as a parent I applaud him for it. However, getting to know many of the teachers at Springs over the years and just at the last board meeting hearing how our science teacher spoke of his leadership, I know they believe in his vision, which is to get kids to learn. Isn’t that what principals should do — get the teachers to teach and kids to learn? Those that do not see it that way at P.S. 91, or maybe even Springs, may have an axe to grind and it’s clear to many parents they are still trying to grind it and the reporter is just buying into it.
I’ve seen my share of administrators at Springs. I can tell you that none of them have been as dedicated to making sure kids are getting a quality education as Eric Casale.
How about looking at insideschools. org when they did a visit of P.S. 91 in 2005? I would suggest taking the time to read it. In one part of the article, The Independent writer stated the following:
“Every teacher we spoke to said Casale had proved a welcome addition to the school. And he is apparently the type of principal who spends a lot of time outside his office: we encountered him numerous times throughout our tour of the school — doing everything from meeting teachers to picking up stray candy wrappers from the floor. About half of last year’s graduating class went on to select middle schools, the principal said, a percentage he said that he believes will increase.”
I think the same would be true today.
I respect the Springs School Board of Education, administrative team, the superintendent, and Mr. Casale for their professionalism in not sharing all the details as to what took place at the Springs School so they could protect the individual who cheated. As a community we shouldn’t allow this to take its toll on our school, our children, or the Casale family any longer.
After this past week of heartbreak and sorrow for losing one of our own eighth graders, this school community really stuck together in support. We have real things going on in the world of the Springs School and it is downright disgraceful that The Independent chose this article as a pure repeat of the first story at a sensitive time like this. It’s old news now. We have kids to care for and a principal that cares about the real things here. I’m sorry to inform The Independent that its bogus reporting at such a sensitive and hurtful time is just heartless and ignorant.
Do you want facts? Facts are easy — in conversation it has been shared many times that folks are pulling their advertisements over this, so they are now going to make the school suffer? That rag of a paper has been removed from some local establishments, and many of its advertisers were contacted. They continue to get paid to make up nonsense and lose money for the company they work for. We have to ask ourselves: in this economy, is that acceptable to the owners of The Independent? I’m sure the Enquirer could use the “journalist” if he finds himself looking for a job. I question the publishers: Are you a community paper or is your publication about defaming citizens of the East End who do their jobs?
The bottom line is that the real story was missed. The story as was shared and seems to be common knowledge among Springs families is that the assistant principal was caught helping a student on the state exam. The child shared this, and the school acted. From what was gathered, the school reported the incident and the assistant principal was asked to resign, which in fact happened.
From there it seems this person has decided to contact various members of the Springs staff and members of the community, including the media, to try to slander the administration and share how the district treated her unfairly. From what we as parents know, the assistant principal kept telling community members and staff that the child had “issues.” What happened to keeping confidential the needs and issues of students? That person should be ashamed of herself for throwing a child under the bus and using what she knows about a child to save herself. I know she even contacted the parent of the child and asked her to get the child to change his story. Period. That’s the story. Anyone who thinks that is fine to do and defends this person’s actions, well, shame on you!
Feral Cat Poem #55
I haven’t been so choked up since
I was seven and saw my first movie,
“Lassie Come Home”:
The Calico came home!
At least I think it’s the same cat
that used to use our yard
as a short-cut to whoever was feeding
the ferals hereabouts,
before the Big Fix.
She sits by the birdbath, glaring at me.
My heart hardens.
Did they wire her?
Implant a tiny cat-cam in her nostril?
How did Roddy know Lassie was the same collie?
And not a clone
with cameras for eyes?
Left to the Bankers
July 6, 2013
I have just read John Tepper Marlin’s colorful and informative “Guestwords” article on his grandfather, William H. Wooden, a Republican who was Franklin Roosevelt’s first — and a very successful — Secretary of the Treasury.
If I understand him correctly, Mr. Marlin is saying that his grandfather proved that the health of our financial system is too important to be left to the bankers. I couldn’t agree more.
Not Going to Happen
July 8, 2013
Once again you have climbed onto the mistaken “global warming” bandwagon! Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, but water vapor accounts for 97 percent of the greenhouse effect. Looking at this and adding to this the knowledge that of this 3 percent humanity adds only about 3 percent of that, we are not adding anything significant to the earth’s current “warm” period.
Further, our industry accounts for only 3 percent of our portion of the CO2 in the atmosphere. CO2 is consumed by all green plants and algae. They need the carbon for their growth and release the oxygen for us to breathe.
Even if we were capable and we intentionally doubled the CO2 in the air we would suffer no ill effect, Earth would not overheat, the poles would not melt away, but there would be tremendous plant growth with far better crop yields. Would that be so terrible?
Over the next few thousands of years, Earth will start to cool. Then head into a new period of global glaciers and plummeting sea levels, perhaps as much as 350 feet, making Long Island part of the mainland once again.
It would be great if we could cause Earth to skip glaciers in Central Park, but we cannot.
You need not worry about a two-foot rise in ocean levels over the next 37 years, it is not going to happen. Sea walls are both unnecessary and destructive.
Making the false “science” into a political issue is, well, Kafkaesque at best.
East Hampton needs what the nation needs, efficient affordable government that lives within a taxpayer-affordable budget. Would the nation do as well as the town in that regard, we’d all be far better off.
No Bar Too Low
July 7, 2013
To the Editor:
The fall of the Morsi government after 12 months in office is a difficult omen for the Egyptian people. Democracy, one learns, is really about behavior and performance, so we are told. Except, of course, in the United States. “Fear not,” say the contingent of U.S. politicians who come marching to the rescue, led by their newest rehabilitated hero. Riding a gelded (taking precautions) white stallion. Is it Marc Antony, Anthony Quinn, or Susan B. Anthony? None of the forementioned. It’s our own New York born-and-bred Anthony Weiner.
When conservative-leaning friends tell me that Weiner is the best candidate for mayor and might consider voting for him, I get a startling insight into the true nature of U.S. politics.
Weiner at some point in his political career became a devotee of the Greek god Priapus. Cursed with an enormous erection that he carried around day and night, he was considered the god of impotence. Sexual impotence has always been the purview of conservative Republicans, (see the U.S. Congress), but Weiner was obsessed with cracking the C-Street cabal and showing that he was as big a schmuck as they were. Schmuck is too gentle a term to apply to the C-Street group but Weiner, growing up Jewish in Brooklyn, has to be at worst a schmuck.
It is difficult to understand why someone of Weiner’s stature would expose himself on the Internet. What was he hoping to accomplish? Did he pull an Eliot Spitzer and think he was invisible? Impervious? The word schmuck resonates over and over. Growing up in New York City we learned to live with schmucks on 173rd Street. He would get smacked around and go away. But in today’s political world the bar is set so low that Weiner’s transgressions were more the norm then not. If the Congress gets a 12-percent approval rating and 92 percent get re-elected democracy becomes a farce.
Morsi will have Weiner to thank if his turn to get rehabilitated arrives. Next time around he will make the case that he was following the American democratic model. No bar is too low, too deranged, too repugnant to render someone unelectable. If Bloomberg buys a third term, exposing the frailty of term limits and the power of money, what standards does our system operate on?
It wouldn’t be surprising if Morsi was put in prison and then executed. Would it be a great loss for Egypt? Maybe the lessons of democratic governance should flow from Egypt to the U.S. instead of the other way around. It might be the only way out of the mess we are in.