Sense of Community
July 12, 2013
For almost 40 years we lived peacefully in Springs until July 7, when we returned from the beach to find our house on fire. It was a terrifying experience. The house was pretty much destroyed, but, thankfully, nobody was hurt.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the firefighters from the Amagansett, East Hampton, and Springs fire departments — our neighbors and friends. Not only did they fight the fire under terrible conditions, but they risked their lives to rescue our dog, Cooper, and items from the house that they thought would have personal meaning for us, like paintings. In addition, they went out of their way to retrieve, under extremely difficult conditions, important things for us like medicines, with graciousness and no complaints. They were a huge support for us at a time of horror.
While everyone from the three departments worked as a team to put the fire out as quickly as was humanly possible, and we are enormously grateful to each and every one of them, we would like to express our special thanks to Tom Baker, an East Hampton Town fire marshal, who, once the flames were out, labored in tremendous heat over two days to discover the source of the fire.
We also would like to give special thanks to Amagansett Fire Department Second Assistant Chief Allen Bennett Jr. for his bravery in rescuing Cooper, and to Second Assistant Wayne Gauger for his ready willingness to help search for critical things like our son’s medical residency certification documents and other badly needed items that would otherwise have been lost as wet drywall, cinders, and ash continued to dissolve and fall everywhere.
To a one, every member of all three fire departments and volunteer rescue workers, from the chiefs on down, were helpful, sympathetic, and kind, as we tried to come to grips with the loss of the house we loved and souvenirs of so many happy years spent in it.
People who are concerned about the future of America should look at these firefighters and rescue workers in our town — and the sense of community that they represent — as a sign of hope. As long as there are individuals like them here, the country will remain strong.
Thank you all!
Annual Book Fair
July 11, 2013
To the Editor:
It is 34 years now that the Friends of the Montauk Library has held its annual Book Fair on the Green. We are happy to report that this year, on July 6, we raised over $20,000 to support the programs and activities of the Montauk Library.
We have so many to thank. Volunteers gave their time to set up tables, carry books, cashier, and help at the booths. It was hot, but the cool breeze kept us going.
Many generously made donations. Businesses donated raffle prizes and supplies to make it possible. All year, people brought their books, jewelry, and attic treasures for us to sell and recycle. Our great bakers supplied items for our farmers market. Thanks also to the Town of East Hampton and East Hampton Police Department for their help in facilitating our event.
Karen Rade, the library director, and the staff of the Montauk Library accepted and sorted through donations all year. Let’s not forget the crowds that came to shop. They bought not only books, but also T-shirts, bags, hot dogs, soda, and watermelon.
I would personally like to thank the executive board of the Friends of the Montauk Library, who, under the leadership of Bob-E Metzger, the book fair chairwoman, prepare all year for this big day. We could not do it without all of you.
Friends of the Montauk Library
July 8, 2013
To the Editor:
For years every June there would be letters in The East Hampton Star castigating the Montauk fishing fleet over the shark tournaments. Now we’ve got a new all-release tournament coming up. It will be held July 27 and 28 at the Montauk Marine Basin. It would be interesting to see if any of those letter writers will support the concept by entering.
CAPT. GENE KELLY
For Town Board
July 14, 2013
To the Editor:
My name is Fred Overton and I am running for the East Hampton Town Board. I have been endorsed by the Republican, Independence, and Conservative parties. Actually in my long political career there have been elections where my endorsements have included the Democratic party, and I have also run unopposed at other times.
To vote for me you need to know something about me, including the more than 45 years I have spent in public and elected service to the East Hampton community.
As I look back, it is not surprising that such a large part of my life has included public and elected service, since giving to the community was common when I was growing up. It made no difference if you liked a particular person or not, if he or she needed help, neighbors and the East Hampton community were there. Usually after the calamity passed, everyone went back to whatever feelings they had before the need for help arose.
What a wonderful support system that was, with no government bureaucracy getting in the way. You lent a helping hand, without giving it a second thought. I believe that growing up in Springs taught me the value of family and the need to take care of each other whether we’re blood relatives or not. When I look back I can see the effect this upbringing had on me, how it molded my ideas, taught me the importance of public service and what it means to “serve the public” when holding an elected position.
It is hard to believe that I was only 18 years old when I became one of the first members of the Springs Fire Department. I went on to hold a variety of positions with the department, some of which were treasurer, commissioner of the Springs Fire District, and as a member, secretary, and president of the department’s Active and Exempt Benevolent Association. I served as chief of the department for three years.
As a lifelong resident of East Hampton, it came natural to develop a love of the water. My father, grandfather, and uncle were fishermen. Every year I would spend a couple of weeks in the summer out on the water with them. So it is not surprising that I served my country with four years in the U.S. Navy.
I first stepped into the political area in 1988, as an elected town trustee. With my hands-on experience I understand and support the work our trustees do to keep East Hampton the beautiful, user-friendly place it is. I served the community as town assessor throughout the 1990s. After holding that position from 1990 to 1999, I was successful in becoming your East Hampton Town Clerk, a position I have held from 2000 to the present.
I am proud of our town clerk’s office and the people who serve our community daily. Together we have introduced many innovations which help to make the day-to-day services run more smoothly. A small example of the accomplishments we have had are: upgrade of the clerk and townwide computer network; creation of a town Web site; addition of bilingual clerks in recognition of our changing residential population; computerization of office records, including in billing for town rentals and charges, and addition of a Web site (townclerk.com) to make town board meeting dates, agendas, minutes, resolutions, videos, and public hearing notices available to the public online.
As a candidate for town board, I know that the positions of responsibility I have held over the past 45 years will make me an effective, strong leader. I have accumulated a vast knowledge and understanding of government operations.
For the past 23 years I have worked with state, county, and local officials in developing budgets and writing local laws. During my 14 years as town clerk I have heard all sides of issues discussed by the town board, and am extremely familiar with the current three-year CSEA contract and the town budget process.
I know that I can continue to work with the staff in Town Hall because I have done it successfully for the last 14 years, regardless of which political party held power. There is no question in my mind that one of my primary responsibilities as a town board member is to serve all of the residents of East Hampton Town with the fairness and respect they deserve. I strongly believe that the guideline for an elected official when fulfilling his duties should be “people before party.”
About Mr. Stanzione
July 15, 2013
Tom Knobel, vice chairman of the East Hampton Republican Committee, wrote to complain that Democrats are on the air declaring that Republican nominee for re-election to the town board, Dominick Stanzione, is “not to be trusted.” He calls this “a nasty attack ad.” But these are the words of Mr. Knobel’s own party. They quote accurately what Republican leaders have said publicly about Mr. Stanzione.
As quoted in The East Hampton Star on March 14, Republican Supervisor Bill Wilkinson said that Mr. Stanzione’s “misrepresentations in general . . . has led to an atmosphere of distrust.” Carol Campolo, the Republican committee secretary, wrote to the Republican committee saying, “His own political interests and fortunes have become more important than the interests of the taxpayers and voters he vowed to serve.”
The public has a right to know what some of Mr. Stanzione’s Republican colleagues who have worked most closely with him think about his fitness for public office.
What Is Scurrilous
July 15, 2013
To the Editor:
If elected, will Kathee Burke-Gonzalez bring more of the divisive decision-making that characterizes the current Springs School Board? Reported comments by Ms. Burke-Gonzalez that the board hopes to make the controversial principal, Eric Casale, superintendent next year leads to that conclusion and shows contempt for those in the community who are very troubled by the ethical issues surrounding Mr. Casale. Mr. Casale was barred from ever working again in New York City for a reason and his current statements are contradicted by not only his previous testimony to the N.Y.C. chancellor’s Office of Special Investigation, but also his former superintendent’s testimony. Clearly, both of Mr. Casale’s statements can’t be true.
Ms. Burke-Gonzalez referenced a letter in last week’s paper from the previous week concerning a letter the school board mailed to the Springs community, writing that the board felt a “need to communicate . . . accurate information in a timely way.” However, the letter not only reiterated comments previously made by the board to the newspapers and posted on the school Web site, but more troubling, the letter was sent despite the fact that the board had evidence that the information was disputed and discredited by the N.Y.C. chancellor’s Office of Special Investigation. The dissemination of misleading information seems more like propaganda to defend the board’s favorable view of Mr. Casale. Ms. Burke-Gonzalez calls the letter writer’s questioning of such behavior by the board‚ “pure spite‚” and having “no basis in reality.” The reality is that the facts speak for themselves and her attempt to obfuscate the matter is ill conceived.
Despite support for Mr. Casale from the school board and some parents, there are many community members who are sincerely troubled by Mr. Casale’s continued denials of wrongdoing when his recent statements refute not only his own testimony to the O.S.I. but also his superintendent’s testimony. What kind of role model can Mr. Casale be to the students and teachers? The community is divided on the subject. Is this the kind of listening Ms. Burke-Gonzalez will do if elected; listen to her friends and turn a deaf ear to others? Promoting Mr. Casale to superintendent will enrage some and please others. Rather than choose a unifying candidate for superintendent that everyone can embrace, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez chose to drive a wedge in the community and stir controversy.
Her campaign would be better served by answering some of the serious questions asked of her concerning how she would address illegal and overcrowded housing, complaints that Springs is often overlooked, and her inexplicable 100 percent support of Mr. Casale’s integrity rather than trying to distract by referencing “spiteful” and “scurrilous” accusations. What is scurrilous is that the board sent a letter to the community knowing that the information they were sending was disproven by testimony to the N.Y.C. chancellor’s Office of Special Investigation.
The East Hampton Town Board does not need more controversy. We need people who will seek consensus, not animus.
Ask the Taxpayers
July 12, 2013
Why is the airport such a headache? Why are so many people complaining about the noise? Why has the town surrendered to the hordes of locusts who have descended upon us? Why are the beaches a mess? Why are the roads clogged — more than ever? Why has the quality of life in East Hampton, Amagansett, and Montauk declined markedly? Why won’t the appliance repair guy call you back? Why has the town given up on real enforcement of the existing laws and regulations?
The local businesspeople are thrilled that we have a new generation of free-spending visitors. The cab drivers are having a party driving these entitled monsters from party to party. The Surf Lodge and the other Montauk gin mills are thrilled. The Wilkinson-Quigley-Stanzione troika are happy that the businesspeople are happy. They are happy about the airport. They are happy about the shark fest. They are happy about the Surf Lodge. They are happy that their guys are happy. Why enforce anything? In Mr. Wilkinson’s words, “The summer is almost over.”
The taxpayers have given up. Complaining is useless — no one listens.
Why not close the airport, ban drinking alcohol on the beaches, never give a mass-gathering permit for more than 250 people, auction the taxi franchise to responsible parties who will obey the rules, enforce the multiple dwelling rules, etc.? You get the drift.
I don’t want to go back to 1962, but even the 2000s look quaint today.
Ask the taxpayers what they want, and force the politicians to obey the will of the people. The taxpayers and the voters have to take back their town.
RICHARD S. ZIMMERMAN
July 14, 2013
Truly, the end is near. Beaches overcrowded. Taxis overcharging. Visitors overspending. To read the July 11 edition of The East Hampton Star, you would think the East End is about to drown in a sea of humanity and commercialism.
Before we man the lifeboats, however, let’s take a look at the dynamics driving this summer extravaganza. First, for better or for worse, we are only three hours away from one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world. Second, we still have, thanks to previous town Democratic and Republican administrations, vast areas of open space available for passive and active recreation. Third, there exists a New York City media machine that ranks a night at the Surf Lodge right up there with the fast track to heaven.
What’s the result of proximity to New York City, beautiful beaches and park lands, and glossy P.R. (much of which we locals never see)? People, and lots of them. From families to fashionistas to fedoras, everybody wants to be here now (remember that phrase from the ’60s?).
Personally, I think it is kind of cool. I was born and raised here, but contrary to some others in town, I would not trade Montauk for Montana. Yes, the infrastructure of our town is not designed for the current influx of visitors, and it is something that local officials could take a hard look at. But to lament a hugely successful Fourth of July business-wise (remember the rainout Memorial Day weekend this year?) really does a disservice to those who have to make 50 weeks of income in 10 weeks.
I see that downtown Montauk now has, next to 7-Eleven (oh, thank heaven), a spiritual retreat where one can get their aura cleansed. If you agree to go, David, I’ll go with you, and then we’ll see if we can view the summer of 2013 in a different light
PERRY DURYEA III
A Greener Montauk
July 14, 2013
To the Editor:
I watched the East Hampton Town Board meeting of July 3, with great interest on television (it was a quiet night channel-surfing). You could see the Republican board members straining, straining, to get good news out of those testifying, just so the Shark Attack party could happen. Even if, after listening to some testimony, you have to wonder where they found the good news in this hastily held work session. Just amazing — must have been several wrenched backs on that board with all that squirming. Talk about pandering board members.
Re: last week’s letter about the homeowner who continues to be plagued by the visitors of the Surf Lodge, and the ensuing uric acid damage to the greenery, there is no town law (yet) that I know of that would keep you from watering your lawn whenever the mood strikes. And should you accidentally water a passer-by on your property in the darkness of, say, partying hours — oops.
In support of a greener (foliage-wise) Montauk,
July 15, 2013
A big sigh of relief that the July 5 mega Montauk Shark Attack party went off without any dire effects. The East Hampton Town Police Department and town personnel were deployed en masse to ensure the safety of the 3,900 ticket buyers and to maintain order for the people who live here. Which was an object lesson that when the town does focus its attention and pressure on a problem, it can indeed provide the necessary service to the community.
Which now brings up the question of priorities. Did this super-coverage at Montauk’s Star Island subtract from other police assignments that night or was it an “add-on,” for which we know the town paid extra? At what point does the town turn its attention to other areas in East Hampton where enforcement is so badly needed? And when will the enforcement needs of all residents receive the same care and consideration that now seem to be monopolized by commercial interests?
July 15, 2013
To the Editor:
People tell me change is good, so I’m accepting the fact that Montauk has a 7-Eleven and a tattoo parlor. One thing I don’t think I’m able to come to terms with are the psychic reading signs on the building at the entrance to town.
Personally, I hope Montauk is now ready for a massage parlor with a Happy Ending.
Code Enforcement Issues
July 14, 2013
I had not planned on writing a letter to The Star this weekend. I have other things to do like attend the Clearwater Beach Association’s annual beach party. But then I received an article in my e-mail sent to me by David Buda of the Concerned Citizens of Springs group. This article, titled “Hampton Bays Targeted” by Michael Wright, appeared in The Southampton Press on July 11. I must say, reading it has sent me straight to the moon.
The article explains how the Concerned Citizens of Hampton Bays presented the town with detailed information at a meeting on quality-of-life issues in the winter and the Town of Southampton, with seven full-time code enforcement officers, has acted and issued over 120 violations, and are still working on violations of the law concerning rental permits, illegal occupancy of homes, lack of certificates of occupancy, and anecdotal evidence of violations such as the number of students attending local schools from a single address and the number of cars and trucks in a home’s driveway. The offenses ranged from overcrowded and unsafe living conditions to a wide variety of other infractions of the town code and the state’s fire and safety codes.
I have tried to remain calm, objective, thoughtful, and comprehensive in understanding the code enforcement issues in Springs in particular and East Hampton at large. For four years I have attended town meetings where residents and citizens have gotten up to speak to the issue, shown pictures of major violations, usually quite eloquently asking the town board to act on the problem of code enforcement and overcrowding. Residents have asked to have meetings with members of the town board, to have a meetings with Mr. Pat Gunn, the head of public safety and code enforcement; also with the East Hampton Town police, and fire departments and town attorneys and other departments that are affected by our overcrowding. We have been rebuffed, ignored, insulted, called names — and not one member of the current town board has taken up this issue and/or even tried to get a comprehensive grip on the problem. Evidently quality-of-life issues don’t get much play in East Hampton. Or maybe it is quality-of-life issues in Springs that get short shrift.
In Southampton, the town attorney, the head of code enforcement, the town supervisor, and the town council all agree that property owners (landlords) who are breaking the law by renting illegally create dangerous and unsafe conditions that threaten the lives of residents, and those landlords should be prosecuted and the practice should be stopped. I agree with them and for the life of me cannot understand the East Hampton Town Board. It has not even made an attempt to get a handle on the problem. We live in the same state, same country, same island, same county. Why don’t we have elected representatives who will act on the problem?
In East Hampton we can issue special permits for mega-parties and celebs, or just plain parties and/or businesses in need, in a New York minute, and yet the problem of overcrowding and illegal renting has been ignored and allowed to fester and manifest itself because this board refuses to deal with it. We should not have to wait for an election in the fall to get this problem recognized and acted upon. It is a disgrace.
On a lighter note, the Clearwater Beach party was a grand success and as wonderful as ever. Thank you Clearwater Beach board, and candidates Cantwell, Potter, and Tekulsky, who attended. I know they got an earful from me and I noticed many of my neighbors and friends speaking to them.
July 15, 2013
We should be considering the impact private events, overcrowded beaches, traffic, etc., are having on our infrastructure. We are living on a small island with only one main road leading to the very end of Long Island. At some point we must question whether the cost of large events (4,000 people, thousands of cars, hundreds of buses) is worth the cost of damage to our water, scavenger waste facilities, roads, etc.
The Comprehensive Plan calls for a lower level of density with good reason. Permits for such enormous events conveniently appear at the very last minute, so no questions can be asked or answered. To call these events charities is a farce. When someone is making hundreds of thousands of dollars, and gives $3,800 to charity, it is a bad joke.
Should businesses, especially large enterprises from outside the community, have the right to hold large private events that serve no purpose but to make them money and affect our infrastructure negatively? There seems to be no thought given to these concerns by the Republican board members, including Mr. Stanzione.
July 14, 2013
I am eagerly awaiting a follow-up article from Joanne Pilgrim regarding the East Hampton Town Board’s conclusions on beach attendance based on the aerial survey.
I hope that after the town’s spending $2,800 of taxpayers’ money on the survey, we, who funded the survey, would hear the results. Once the results are tallied, what does the board plan to do with them?
I can hardly wait to see the results.
July 14, 2013
To the Editor:
So at the behest of a certain councilwoman, we spent $2,800 cash plus uncounted staff hours only to find out that the town’s beaches were crowded for three days on a hot, July Fourth weekend!
That’s like measuring New York City’s population by sending a research group to Times Square on New Year’s eve to count the people. Or the New York Mets projecting future attendance by hiring a group to count the attendees on opening day.
What game is being played here?
July 14, 2013
To the Editor,
Those new signs are great, but to wake up and shake up those who need the reality check, please amend the signs to read:
“Drive Like Your Kids Live Here!” (Not merely ours.)
The Local Bathroom
July 11, 2013
Since when did Hand’s Creek become the local bathroom!
This morning, after cleaning up the garbage left by the nighttime scavengers, I went for my daily morning swim with my dog (whose waste I always pick up). On my way back I saw a woman get out of her white van, dressed in a white top and black skirt, squat, and proceed to defecate on the beach.
If that was not bad enough, as I walked by after she left, I noticed that she left her solid waste behind! Shame on her!
Perhaps the town should add a new ordinance on their signs: “No human defecating on the beach!”
To Ban Pesticides
July 15, 2013
Please join me in my gratitude to Deborah Klughers for her goals to ban pesticides and promote integrated management for mosquito control (Letters, July 4).
We may think that spraying chemicals is the only solution, because we are not given choices. If everyone were asked if they prefer a natural solution that would enhance our lives in many ways (in addition to reducing unwanted mosquitoes, in this case), along with the facts of costs and effective rates documented from other locales, I wonder if they would still choose to support an industry that is profiting from our lack of knowledge.
Listen to the little voice inside of you that questions how a pesticide can kill mosquitoes without disturbing an ecosystem that sustains, and encompasses, humanity. “Silent Spring” (Rachel Carson) was published in 1962 and exposed the chemical corruption of the globe and called on us to regulate our appetites for self-preservation.
“It seems reasonable to believe,” she wrote, “that the more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race. Wonder and humility are wholesome emotions, and they do not exist side by side with a lust for destruction.”
Duck Creek Farm
July 15, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
This evening, July 18, there will be a public hearing at the town board meeting on the final draft of the Babes Lane Preserve Management Plan, which is the first Community Preservation Fund purchased property to be adopted under the town’s fledgling Adopt-a-Preserve program. Duck Creek Farm Association, a group of concerned neighbors and friends, is proud to be involved as the responsible group. We believe this program can become an effective example of public-private partnership for the benefit of our town, its visitors and residents, and the public enjoyment of preserved open spaces.
The preservation fund has purchased many hundreds of acres over the course of its existence, and has acquired historic sites, as well development rights on many parcels to preserve and protect ground and surface waters, farming and scenic vistas and our town’s heritage, and to reduce density. As written, however, the C.P.F. law offers only minimal support to maintenance of most of these acquired properties. The Adopt-a-Preserve program seeks to address the weakness in the extant law so that, as in the case of Babes Lane Preserve, “protect” does not really mean neglect. The Duck Creek adoption proposal, championed by the town board’s Springs liaison, Councilwoman Theresa Quigley, on the heels of Councilman Stanzione’s unfortunately stillborn Open Vista proposal, was passed unanimously by the entire board. Importantly, it began with a neighborhood petition from the homeowners of Babes Lane over two years ago.
Tonight’s hearing on the Babes Lane final draft management plan will, if adopted, include seeking a D.E.C. permit for “clearing‚” which is, in fact, a misnomer. The plan, which has been available online for the past month, includes historical perspective on what the 2.7-acre waterfront parcel was, and, in the 10 years since its acquisition, has become. It is not the intention of the Duck Creek association or the residents of Babes Lane to return the property to the beach it was in the 1950s as the result of dredge sand being dumped on it, nor to any of its later or earlier iterations, save one: the original Duck Creek Farm from which our larger organization takes its name.
Duck Creek Farm was a 200-acre natural maritime meadow and wetland owned and utilized as pasturage for its salt hay and thatch by John Edwards and descendants onward from 1795. It was eventually sold off, with the original homestead going to John Little, a member of the Springs artist colony, in 1947. The old farmhouse and a barn today comprise another C.P.F. preserved property on the northern arm of Squaw Road at its intersection with Three Mile Harbor Road. The farm stretched along the Three Mile Harbor waterfront from about a quarter mile north of Copeces Lane to Gann Road, bounded more or less on the east by Three Mile Harbor-Hog Creek Road.
Once the board approves the plan, and the D.E.C. issues the permit, C.P.F. funds will be authorized to remove the heavy invasive species that have overgrown the preserve, and begin what is actually a “re-scaping” of this parcel of East Hampton’s traditional agrarian community, allowing it to return to its historical natural state. The residents along the preserve, myself included, and our larger organization of homeowners, friends, and neighbors will then assume responsibility, under the town’s professional‚ active stewardship to continue the process of revegetation with appropriate native species, and ongoing maintenance as required, including fighting phragmites incursion and expansion.
Instead of an overgrown mess, with ad hoc pruning as has happened over the past 10 years and long prior, our goal is to restore this area to a native meadow that any of the original families of East Hampton would have recognized, understood, and appreciated. The Duck Creek Farm Association sincerely hopes that our efforts can set a precedent for other communities and groups throughout our town to truly preserve, protect, and enhance the beautiful place we are all fortunate to call home. Many such groups of course exist and have worked diligently, some over generations, but more of us can certainly help. Again, it is our home, and we are responsible for it, and to the future.
Finally, this plan, 10 years waiting, two years in process, planning, and preparation, is the result of the efforts and approval of many individuals, elected officials, volunteers, and town professionals alike. There are too many to mention here now, besides which‚ it ain’t over until it’s over.
Duck Creek Farm Association
Advocates of 555
July 11, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
My wife and I have been Amagansett residents for over 30 years and her family for another 20. Suffice it to say we love this beautiful town and recently began spending about 90 percent of our time here, as our children have grown up and moved on with their lives.
We are lucky enough to live in one of the old Victorian homes built over 100 years ago that make this place so special in our view. However, therein lies our future conundrum and the reason we are unequivocal advocates of the 555 senior citizen housing project.
Being of the age that would qualify us for this project (reluctantly admitted, by the way), we are looking down the road, and down the steep narrow stairs leading from the bedrooms in our home, and are wondering how we will be able to live out the so-called golden years here. My creaky knees and increasingly bad eyesight, common to my age group, make those stairs an adventure at times or worse. The bedrooms that used to be filled with kids are now mostly empty and the small pool is now just for show.
I think you and many others reading this can see where I am going. Sooner rather than later, this home will be more than we can handle in many ways. We are not Florida people, nor does the prospect of retirement in Scottsdale excite us very much. We love our little town and want to stay here until somebody tosses my ashes into Gardiner’s Bay.
I have had the chance to look at not only the plans for 555 but, more important, the amenities, which are perfectly suited for active retirees. Athletic facilities, year-round swimming, tennis, on-call nursing, educational lectures, etc., and all beautifully planned by the eminence grise of master planning, Jack Robertson. If one does not know his immense body of work, visit Charleston, S.C., and while admiring its incredibly preserved town, think of Jack. He is responsible for all of it. The gorgeous landscaping implemented by Ed Hollander, a local legend in landscape architecture, will be a case study far into the future.
All of this in a net zero carbon footprint, ostensibly one of the greenest projects ever built anywhere. The developers, whom I am personally acquainted with, are of the highest quality and integrity. They are also extremely well capitalized, and, I am told, will build the project without debt.
Argue if one must about density, vistas, and views, but this town needs a place for people like me. And there are a lot of us. Just visit any restaurant, private party, charity event, or main street, and there we are in droves.
I make no apology for being able to afford to live at 555. Frankly, looking at the weekly closings in your fine publication it would seem that most people selling and buying homes on the open market can as well. Of course the moguls who live here spending many millions on huge McMansions are not the target market for 555. It is us, in the middle. The jobs created and taxes to be paid are gravy for this town.
Let’s recognize that there are no alternatives for those of us who want to live in an active retirement community on the East End and get a reasonable and well-executed plan approved. We need it.
JOHN B. MANNIX
Can No Longer Wait
July 15, 2013
To the Editor,
Tick-borne diseases are increasing dramatically in East Hampton, and no one is doing anything about it. As a resident in this community, I am outraged.
Despite the low incidence of West Nile virus in the area, aggressive measures such as monthly spraying for the mosquito vector for the disease are being implemented throughout the town. Yet despite the Centers for Disease Control statistics, which confirm approximately 1,000 cases of Lyme disease per year in East Hampton, nothing is being done to prevent it.
The C.D.C. only keeps records for the human contraction of diseases, so every animal inflicted with one of 17 tick-borne diseases is not included in their statistics. And, there is a much bigger problem. The statistics for tick-borne disease for the Town of East Hampton only include cases diagnosed in East Hampton. What if one of the 100,000 tourists that come through our town gets a tick bite and then goes back home?
Only cases that are diagnosed in East Hampton count toward the statistic that the C.D.C. maintains. So, anyone who gets a tick bite here, but gets treated elsewhere, is not considered to be part of the East Hampton statistics, even though they contracted the disease in our town. This greatly alters the true number of tick-borne disease cases acquired in our community.
Tick-borne diseases are a direct result of our environment. We live in an area where this has become a major problem that affects our health and our pocketbook. According to the C.D.C., each case of Lyme disease costs the patient approximately $500. This is due to doctor’s visits, diagnostics, medications, time, and lost wages. With approximately 1,000 cases per year, East Hampton Town loses $500,000 per year. This number does not include when your animals get sick or the money you spend trying to control ticks on your property.
Action must start immediately! We can no longer wait on this emergency. We need help and we need it now. Four-poster feeders could be set up within weeks and begin to battle back against years of tick overpopulation. Without starting this now, we will have several more years of tick-borne diseases increasing exponentially within our community.
The health of the residents of our community is paramount. And until the leaders of our town put our health first, we must continue to let them know how important our health is to us.
I urge you to contact our town board and let them know that your health and the health and welfare of your family should be the most important thing they work on, especially if you or a family member has ever had Lyme disease.
Information on Deer
July 14, 2013
To the Editor:
Your July 11 editorial on deer compounds the error of the town board: It ignores scientific evidence. You refer to “what appears to be an exploding deer population‚” but you fail to mention the recent aerial study that showed a surprisingly low number of deer in East Hampton. Perhaps the study was flawed, but the best way to find out is to do what scientists generally do when they encounter unexpected findings. They replicate the study. An initial replication might focus on a subsample of town land. In any case, let’s keep our eyes on the evidence.
Your editorial also refers to the “problems caused by deer‚” without mentioning the role that humans play. Humans contribute to vehicle-deer collisions by speeding down roads, especially during the hours when deer are feeding. People complain about damage to their gardens, but they insist on planting species that deer love to eat. When it comes to ticks, the town allows hunters to kill large numbers of the ticks’ natural predator, the wild turkey. In addition, the town board needs to recognize the complexity of tick-borne illnesses; many other animals are involved. And the board should pilot methods such as 4-Poster, which seems to successfully destroy ticks through a pesticide. As to forest damage, the board needs to launch a careful study that assesses the extent of the problem and the role humans may play through pollution.
In 2006, our group commissioned a ground-based sample that estimated 2,923 deer in East Hampton. The 2013 aerial survey counted only 877 deer. The two surveys, using methods that produce comparable results, suggest that there may have been a significant reduction in deer. Have hunting and nuisance permits contributed to this effect? Hunters have killed increasing numbers of deer over the years, and my guess is that nuisance permits have led to increasing deaths as well. I hope that the town’s deer population hasn’t been decimated, but we need research to make sure.
For nine years, the East Hampton Group for Wildlife has called attention to humane, non-lethal methods for living in harmony with deer. Despite all the “problems” that some people see, many residents find the deer a source of beauty and wonder. This month we have produced a brochure that provides information on deer. To receive a copy, send a mailing address to the East Hampton Group for Wildlife, P.O. Box 2651, Montauk 11954.
A final note: Hastings-on-Hudson in Westchester County just made headlines in The New York Times (7/6/13) by its decision to control and reduce the size of their deer population through immunocontraception. Since 2005, the East Hampton Group for Wildlife has provided the town with similar immunocontraception proposals. If research suggests that our deer population size is a problem, there are non-lethal strategies available.
East Hampton Group for Wildlife
Show Me the Numbers
July 12, 2013
To the Editor,
Another raise-the-red-flag, alarmist, fear-mongering editorial (“Deer Solution Stymied,” July 10) about “the deer problem.” So what else is new? I guess we’re tired of talking about political corruption, beach erosion, traffic, and robberies. It’s time again for that clarion call for everyone to get onto the bandwagon, demanding more culling and killing despite the town’s recent $13,000 taxpayer-funded aerial study of deer population that found a major decrease in the number of deer.
Naturally, that does not jibe with those invested in culls and kills, the special-interest groups, the boards and state agencies whose members are all hunters, and those who love to complain when their flowers are eaten; so that official report has got to be disputed, disregarded, and discarded, because it does not go along with the concocted and unsubstantiated claims of the Invasion of the Understory Snatchers, the spread of Lyme disease, the increase in deer-caused collisions.
“The problems caused by deer are more or less agreed upon . . .” Not so! Show me the numbers and scientific evidence, and make sure that they take into account the relevant and tremendous growth here in human population and car traffic, as well as the decrease in habitat and the effects of climate change! Show me the studies that prove that there is any correlation with killing deer and a decrease in Lyme disease. In fact, a book published last year by Oxford University Press called “Lyme Disease, The Ecology of a Complex System” by Dr. Richard Ostfeld, analyzes and synthesizes just about every study to date on this topic. Well over 100 studies are examined in the book and the conclusion is crystal clear and accessible to the general public — there is little to no correlation between deer and Lyme disease.
Personally, from my own observations (as good as anyone else’s), as I drive through the local areas and look out into the reserves surrounding where I have lived for over 30 years, the density of trees seems better than ever, as does the growth of understory, while the number of deer, thousands of whom have been shot, maimed, and killed by hunters over the past number of years, seems fewer than ever; and by planting a garden filled with colorful, native plants and flowers, I have a beautiful sight to enjoy, with few deer, if any, coming to eat at my “salad bar.”
I would suggest that it behooves us all to become better informed; contact the East Hampton Group for Wildlife and request their brochure “Deer and You — Learn to Appreciate and Live in Harmony with White-Tailed Deer” (easthamptongroupforwildlife.org). It could very well change your heart and mind about deer.
July 11, 2013
In January 2011 the nature preserve committee recommended that the East Hampton Town Board “obtain more accurate estimates of the current deer population and the size of a sustainable herd.”
The deer management proposal acknowledged the need to “obtain the most reliable baseline survey of the current deer herd.” It offers the town three possible means of obtaining an estimate of the current deer population: distant sampling (the method used in the 2006 survey, which estimated a deer population of 3,293); aerial survey (according to Brookhaven National Laboratory and the U.S.D.A., the aerial survey provides the most accuracy — 85 to 95 percent — of the extant deer population, or no formal assessment. “To some in the [deer management working group] the need to scientifically verify the number of deer is unnecessary. The emergency is already obvious.”
The town board chose the aerial survey. When the results of the survey were delivered they showed a current deer population of 877. This number was much lower than expected and created a real problem for the board. Should they accept the new numbers as being accurate because of higher numbers killed by hunters, deer-car collisions, and under the authority of nuisance permits? Or should they regard the aerial survey as flawed and authorize a new survey? Or should they accept the working group position that the emergency is obvious?
The town board has passed the proposal by a 4-to-1 vote. So now the question is what action will the town board take? Let us hope that they will not get carried away by proclaiming an emergency and enforcing the extreme measures of the proposal by expanding bow hunting, bringing in nonresident hunters, opening more land for hunting by bringing in professionals to cull the deer. Even though it would require additional funds, a new survey is a better answer than an unnecessary, bloody massacre.
Missing a Coyote
July 9, 2013
We seem to be missing a coyote up here in Sedgwick, Me. Have you seen him? Word is a coyote was spotted in Wainscott. His name is George. We need him back.
Ever since he left, the deer population has exploded. Ticks, traffic, and tourists are getting out of hand.
Please send our coyote back. We miss George.
July 15, 2013
In last week’s East Hampton Star, Joanne Pilgrim wrote an informative article on the East Hampton Airport manager, Mr. Jim Brundige’s, report to the East Hampton Town Board this past Tuesday, July 9. In that report he stated only one aircraft operation was reported early Monday morning before 7 a.m. on July 8.
Coincidentally I wrote a letter to the editor published in the same issue of The Star citing data from a log I kept on aircraft operations that very same Monday morning on July 8. I reported 10 aircraft operations before 7 a.m. In fact, when you read my letter you will get a completely different picture of the oppression brought upon residents of East Hampton and Southampton by dirty, noisy helicopters and other aircraft operations at the airport than what was reported by Mr. Brundige.
Did Mr. Brundige lie to the town board? I don’t think he is lying. I believe he simply wasn’t present at East Hampton Airport and he has no firsthand knowledge of what was going on. I am sure he was just reciting data received by the machines, systems installed at East Hampton Airport to track aircraft operations. I am sure it is safe to say no employee of the town was present before 7 a.m. I assure you I was present in my home, and each aircraft operation I logged is a real event.
Last week on July 12 I wrote a letter to the East Hampton Town Board giving notice to this anomaly. Since I received no response to the letter, I am assuming it is true that the machines utterly failed. If it is true, then the data collection system tracking operations at the airport, that town taxpayers paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to install, is grossly flawed. Then no data originating from the airport can be trusted or used in any manner whatsoever. Then all installed systems at the airport are a total waste of money and someone needs to be held accountable. Then the town is missing massive amounts of income relying on this data for landing fees. As a businessman, knowing this, I would immediately throw out all systems, demand my money back, and install a responsible person to collect data during airport operating hours, which seems to be 24/7 as reported by Mr. Brundige.
Since Mr. Brundige cited statistics in his report to the town board it would be silly not to conclude this letter with statistics based purely on logic: Since the error of machine-collected data at the airport versus actual human data collection is 10 times what Mr. Brundige reported for a specific period of time, then the town board must correct all data in Mr. Brundige’s report by multiplying the figures by 10. All findings and conclusions should be revised accordingly.
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” — Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881); Mark Twain (1906).
If it wasn’t so silly, it would be crazy.
Contrary Legal View
July 15, 2013
If The Star is not embarrassed by its article on page 10 of the July 11 issue, entitled “Grants, No Grants, No Difference,” it ought to be. First, The Star reports as news a letter written by the attorney for the East Hampton Aviation Association, David Schaffer, telling his client that which is most advantageous to it. That is news? Why not dog bites man?
Rather more surprising is that your reporter did not bother to ask anyone known to have a contrary legal view for so much as a comment. As a result, The Star has published a piece of partisan propaganda as if it were both newsworthy and accurate, getting nearly everything wrong in the process.
Withal, the conclusion of the article, that the town’s powers to regulate airport access in order to control airport noise are the same whether or not it accepts more Federal Aviation Administration money, are absolutely wrong. Had your reporter asked for comment, I would have been pleased to furnish her with the primary source materials that make that clear.
“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has held explicitly that a local government can limit helicopter traffic in order to address local noise or environmental concerns. In National Helicopter, the court upheld New York City ordinances that: 1. limited helicopter traffic to certain times during the day or the week; 2. limited overall levels of helicopter traffic; and 3. regulated helicopter noise levels directly.”
Guess what? I didn’t say that, although I agree with it. Those are the exact words of the town’s aviation counsel, Peter Kirsch, taken directly from his memorandum of law, dated Jan. 8, 2008, to Laura Molinari, the town attorney. Mr. Kirsch goes on in his memo to say, “Since the proprietor in National Helicopter was not subject to grant assurances, the court did not need to address the considerable case law and F.A.A. [Federal Aviation Administration] legal opinions which severely limit the ability of an owner of a federally-assisted airport to impose use restrictions. The Town is subject to grant assurances.”
Grant assurances, synonymous with federally-assisted airports, are the contractual promises made to the F.A.A. in exchange for F.A.A. subsidies. They give the F.A.A. significant control over a local airport, as Mr. Kirsch has repeatedly made clear. In his memo, Mr. Kirsch went on to add that along with grant assurances come the significant restrictions of the Airport Noise and Capacity Act that also severely limit the town in the exercise of the powers recognized by the court of appeals in National Helicopter.
The claim in your article is that none of these restrictions makes any difference to the town’s powers. Why then do these substantial bodies of law, the sole function of which is to restrict local authority’s ability to control noise, even exist if they are of absolutely no consequence, as would have to be the case for your article to be correct?
The F.A.A. has itself taken the position that the local authority recognized under National Helicopter does not apply to an airport subject to grant assurances. In requesting F.A.A. permission for use restrictions, Burbank Airport specifically cited National Helicopter. In denying Burbank’s application, the F.A.A., in its letter to Burbank dated Oct. 30, 2009, said, “National Helicopter can be factually distinguished. First, the heliport at issue was neither a significant air carrier airport like BUR [which East Hampton is not], nor was it a federally funded and obligated airport. . . . In addition, the cited cases do not address the criteria for federal approval of restrictions on operations by Stage 3 aircraft proposed under ANCA and Part 161.” “Federally funded and obligated” is a synonym for grant assurances.
The town’s airport environmental impact statement also specifically declined to consider use restrictions on the grounds that they are not possible so long as the grant assurances remain in effect.
Mr. Kirsch, the F.A.A., the town’s environmental impact statement, and I all agree! Grant assurances, and the provisions of the airport noise act that go with them, “severely limit,” in Peter Kirsch’s words, the ability of the town to exercise the powers recognized by the Second Circuit under National Helicopter. If they “severely limit,” how can it also be the case that they are of no consequence, as your article claimed?
Your article repeatedly states that, even without grant assurances, the town must obtain F.A.A. permission for airport use restrictions. Thus is unequivocally false. Without the assurances, the F.A.A. has no specific jurisdiction and no authority to say yes or no. The opinion of the Second Circuit, not the F.A.A., would control. The F.A.A. could take the town to federal court if it thought that the town’s restrictions exceeded the bounds of what is permitted by National Helicopter. But what is clearly permitted by National Helicopter is ample to the task of controlling noise.
The bottom line? If you take the F.A.A.’s money, you play by the F.A.A.’s rules. If you don’t take F.A.A. money, you play by the Second Circuit’s rules. The Second Circuit’s rules are much more favorable to the town than those of the F.A.A. — just ask Burbank Airport. It asked the F.A.A. for what the Second Circuit permits. The F.A.A. said no.
If we don’t take any more F.A.A. money, the key grant assurances, and the requirement that the town comply with the airport noise act, will expire on December 31, 2014. If the town takes more F.A.A. money, it is stuck with grant assurances and airport noise act for another 20 years. To induce the town to take more F.A.A. money now, the East Hampton Aviation Association has been mounting a propaganda campaign to persuade the town that it can have F.A.A. money and use restrictions too. Fine. Let’s find out. Test the F.A.A. by requesting its consent to the same sort of restrictions that the Second Circuit permitted and see whether the F.A.A. will consent, as it would not do in Burbank. Then we will know.
The aviation association doesn’t want to wait for that answer. Eat the poison cake now, they say. You will be fine. It wants the town to tie its own hands for 20 years on the strength of the opinion of the aviation association’s lawyer. But if he and they are wrong, we will repent their error for 20 years. That’s nuts. They don’t care.
Committee to Stop Airport Expansion
Use of the Airport
July 11, 2013
I would like to introduce David Gruber to one of his colleagues, attorney David E. Schaffer, who has been retained by Anthony Pasca, Esq., local counsel to the East Hampton Aviation Association.
Mr. Schaffer’s opinion to E.H.A.A. is based on his experience and knowledge of federal aviation law and on an extensive survey of more than 30 cases spanning 40 years touching on the topic of local powers to impose restrictions. His experience includes serving 20 years as senior counsel and staff director for the House Aviation Subcommittee, 6 years as attorney-adviser for the Civil Aeronautics Board, and the past 9 years in private practice representing both governmental and private aviation clients.
Without quoting Mr. Schaffer’s entire opinion, I will mention those issues with which Mr. Gruber and I disagree.
First, currently the town has local control of the airport as the airport “proprietor” through its airport master and layout plans. As proprietor, it has flexibility in fashioning its noise regulations. There are no instances where rejecting Federal Aviation Administration funding gave a town additional control in this regard. Accepting F.A.A. funding does not diminish the town’s authority to adopt reasonable and non-arbitrary restrictions regarding the use of the airport.
Second, under federal law, any restrictions on helicopter operations (whether F.A.A. assurances have expired or not) must be reasonable and not make unjustified restrictions between operators or types of aircraft.
Third, regardless of whether F.A.A. assurances have expired or are extended, in order to justify restrictions on helicopters, the town must undertake technical studies to establish that East Hampton is a quiet community and that helicopters are noisier or more bothersome than fixed-wing aircraft.
Fourth, if such studies demonstrate a justification for restrictions, curfews and limits on the number of flights could be upheld, even after taking F.A.A. funding and extending grant assurances.
Last, and certainly of interest to Mr. Gruber, is reference to National Helicopter Corp. v. City of New York, that has been cited to support his proposition that, by rejecting F.A.A. funds, a municipality can secure the ability to regulate helicopters as it sees fit. Just the opposite is true.
In that case, New York City had taken no funding for the heliport and had not agreed to any grant assurances. Nevertheless, the federal court rejected three regulations the city had imposed on helicopters as being unreasonable. Thus, National Helicopter confirms that, even if a municipality has taken no F.A.A. funding and is not subject to F.A.A. grant assurances, its regulations must still meet the same federal standards for establishing noise restrictions as at an airport that has accepted F.A.A. funds.
Mr. Schaffer finishes with: “rejecting F.A.A. funding does not enhance the ability of the town to regulate helicopters arriving at and departing from East Hampton Airport. Conversely, accepting F.A.A. funding does not prevent the Town from adopting restrictions on helicopters. With or without F.A.A. funding, the regulations must be reasonable and must not treat helicopters and other types of aircraft differently without justification.”
So, as I’ve said before, the F.A.A. funding issue is not the key to noise mitigation and since there is a serious desire on the part of the town board to finish the work already begun to get the data necessary to successfully regulate helicopter traffic, the town should continue to pursue its options and finish the required studies as soon as possible.
July 6, 2013
I am grateful to Capt. Ira Barocas. His letter about the mission of the East Hampton Town Trustees was most informative. I am still not sure what they really do, or not.
Last night, at a gathering, I fell into conversation with a beautifully dressed lady, a leader in the arts, who appeared to be the recipient of recent, enthusiastic, facial reupholstery.
Me: “Do you know what the East Hampton Town Trustees do?
Her: “That’s who handles it when you don’t have a will.”
Me: “I thought they managed the beaches on behalf of the public”
Her: “Do they own the sand? I pay a lot for sand.”
Me: “I think they control the periodic cut to the ocean from Georgica Pond.”
Her: “I know. A trustee is when you’ve been very good in jail!”
Me: “The East Hampton Town Trustees manage our natural resources.”
Her: “I love natural resources!”
Me: “They collect fees for certain usages.”
Her “I’m sure they are very, very nice, keep in touch Darling. . . . “
Please let Captain Barocas know that I am trying.
All good things,
Feral Cat Poem #54
I knew a woman who kept a feral cat she
named Mittens for its double paws, each
of which could have suffocated an infant
in a crib and would have if she ever let the
mad cat up out of the cellar which she didn’t
except nights when it was just the two of them.
This in a town where men tended traps and
dug clams to live and hers died on her too soon.
July 14, 2013
I do not know Peter Osborne or from whence comes his authority on the subject of global warming. His confident statements in a letter last week suggest he may be an experienced climate scientist whose research on climate change is published and groundbreaking. However, if that is the case, he is among the 1 or 2 percent of climate scientists who believe man’s emissions are not involved and the problem is a hoax.
He disagrees with the international panel on climate change. He disagrees with the World Bank. He disagrees with every national science board in the industrialized world. He disagrees with Bill Gates, who is spending some of his billions to address what he thinks is the most pressing issue the world faces. You remember Bill Gates: the guy when computers were taking over the world, people said he was “the smartest guy in any room if he was there.” See his TED talk on the topic here: ansnuclearcafe. org/2013/01/10/bill-gates-on-nuclear-energy-and-terrapower/.
The next time I see a long black limousine entering the Hamptons, I’ll wonder if it is Bill Gates, perhaps the most technologically plugged-in, and the richest man in America, coming to consult with Peter Osborne, to see what breakthrough Peter has made to show that the science establishment, all over the world, is wrong.
July 15, 2013
On June 25, President Obama delivered a historic speech addressing the impending threat of climate change and what his administration plans to do about it. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, East Enders should be pleased that the commander in chief has pushed to get climate change mitigation on the national political agenda.
The president proposes an “all of the above” energy strategy which includes both carbon-emitting fuels such as coal and tar sands oil as well as renewable, carbon-free wind and solar power. In the short run, “all of the above” may stimulate economic growth and lead to greater energy independence, but the policy makes no concrete commitment to reducing carbon emissions to safe levels, and therefore will do little to prevent the storms that threaten our homes and businesses.
The climate crisis demands new public policy that protects our health and natural resources first and foremost, putting the safety of our own and future generations above politics and corporate influence. That’s why Renewable Energy Long Island and 130 citizen organizations in 34 states endorse the American Clean Energy Agenda, which outlines the steps needed to lead our nation toward a truly clean energy future. Among these steps is the rapid replacement of “dirty” energy, such as coal and natural gas, with carbon-free renewable energy.
Fortunately, the technology needed to implement the agenda is already available to us. A recent study, the Long Island Clean Electricity Vision, has shown that 100 percent of Long Island’s electricity needs could be met by renewable energy sources. In another study it was shown that New York State could meet all of its energy needs within a few decades by utilizing wind, solar, and water power combined with energy efficiency updates. Such a transformation would cost us a fraction of the expenses that are estimated to accompany unmitigated climate change.
East Enders, as frontline community members, have unique leverage to demand more stringent climate policies on every level of government. Numerous citizen organizations, as part of the Long Island Clean Electricity Vision, are already working to reduce Long Island’s carbon emissions and advance renewable energy technologies. In the spirit of Independence Day, let us settle for nothing less than true energy independence, which can only come from an energy policy that stops climate change at the root, entirely replacing fossil fuels with clean, carbon-free energy.
Renewable Energy Long Island
July 13, 2013
The immigration reform bill passed by the Senate 68 to 32 is a bizarre, eerie piece of legislation that addresses a wide range of illusory problems and does little to deal with any of the issues surrounding immigration. Remarkably, House Republicans, the largest political gathering of white trash excrement in our history, may be doing the country a service by opposing the bill. Their opposition, genuinely demented, is only about their hatred of Latinos who might be given a free pass to citizenship.
Is it possible to address the problem of illegal immigration in a rational, logical way? According to immigration authorities, more than half of our illegal population enter the country legally, mostly by air with visas or as tourists. Net immigration along the Mexican border is zero. In fact, more Mexicans are returning home than are coming here. Historically every American citizen has immigrant blood. The amazing number is that more than 20 percent — and possibly 50 percent — entered the country illegally. When Jews and Irish were considered undesirable they came through Mexico and Canada. Almost all of them found a pathway to citizenship.
So the illegal immigration issue on its face is really about bullshit. We have a long tradition of legal and illegal immigration that has always been dealt with in sane, rational ways. Militarizing the border, as Lindsay Graham has achieved with the Senate version, will cost billions of dollars for no good reason than to masturbate defense companies. The provision is so fraudulent that specific companies are identified as suppliers of these special-programs hardware.
The 12-percenters (Congressional approval rating) are against the bill except for the border militarization part. Even though every one of them comes from immigrant stock, maintains their offices as a direct offshoot of affirmative action (racist and incompetent yet acceptable because of their whiteness), which they unanimously oppose, and the bill provides $900 billion in savings over 20 years (their only claim to sanity as deficit freaks).
The bill needs to differentiate between reality and fantasy. Let go of the fantasy of our immigrant history and deal with the problem as it really exists. We always used immigrants for abuse and exploitation. When our capitalist system didn’t meet expectations we could always raise our self-esteem by looking down on them.
Companies hire illegals because they are cheaper and have no basic rights. While it may be illegal to be here without papers the real crime is employing them. Employers know that they aren’t paying taxes and that they are undercutting the job market and lowering everyone else’s ability to survive. The downward spiral of a low-wage economy is accelerated by this process.
Everyone here was once an immigrant. We all had a path to citizenship. The country has always been racist and anti-immigrant. None of this is a big deal. It’s just another diversion from dealing with our economic transformation.
Congressional cretins may be right about the overall bill but wrong about the system. Yet, we are happy for whatever small gestures our government can muster to deal with our so-called problems. A step in any direction is an improvement on the paralysis that has become the new normal.
It Could Get Worse
July 9, 2013
Since, as I have said many times, everyone is entitled to my opinion, here is one about the last presidential election and Republicans in general, including the dummies who live in and around East Hampton, some of whom continually vow to leave and go to Italy.
The fears and trepidations of the liberal-progressive supporters of Obama were palpable. They kept looking over their shoulders for the coming of the right-wing Cossacks with their sharp attack press releases and heavy bags of money. They were inundated with the rants and raves of every conservative meathead that could be dragged to a microphone to berate the current government, its leader, and philosophy.
The specter of long-deceased, anti-progressive, objectionist Ayn Rand was waved around like a call to duty every time the Republican numbers boy Paul Ryan was touted as the epitome of fiscal correctness, a genius with numbers, as solid a conservative as there was, a follower and longtime advocate of the philosophy of the aforesaid Ayn Rand.
But a strange thing happened on the way to the polls. Not happy with their predictions of doom and gloom under the Democrats’ rule, the stringent right wing went further and further. Mashing women’s right to choose, attempting to suppress minority voters by changing registration dates, requiring nonessential pre-abortion steps, failing to address the rights of 11 million undocumented immigrant workers, etc., ad nauseam.
And they continue to try to eviscerate the right of a woman to choose her health and life patterns, opting instead for forced ultrasounds and stupid lectures to pregnant women and then having unadopted, abandoned babies with no financing for their care. They are a sick joke!
So is the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance] Court, nine Republican judges, two Democrats, all appointed for life by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court without oversight or review. No wonder why e-mails and phone taps are rampant in the United States.
Stick around folks. It could get worse, if and when these vultures get control of the Senate or White House.
RICHARD P. HIGER
A Sea of Complexity
July 15, 2013
I’m motivated by our history and the next generation of our children to write this letter while still embedded in the American experience or experiment for four generations. Now a nation with a broken economy and a military trying to dominate the world, have the powers that be abandoned us here at home over 300 million citizens? Drowning in a sea of complexity I search for a root cause.
I’ll begin with George Kennan, who was a U.S. State Department official known as the architect of the Cold War. He said, “We are 6 percent of the world’s people and we have over 50 percent of the world’s wealth. That’s going to make us an object of envy and resentment.” Kennan said the United States must develop a pattern of relationships that would enable us to maintain the disparity. And we’re still doing it.
We’ve broadened out to include the Group of Eight, the world’s top industrialized nations, but we’re the leaders. The Group of Eight is one-fifth of the world’s people with 87 percent of the wealth. Herein lies the root cause: the fast-growing gap between the rich and poor fueled by capitalism. Recently Pope Francis was more blunt, using the term “savage capitalism.” And said, “Yet worse, we have started a throwaway culture using human beings as consumer goods.”