Memories of Jim
July 22, 2013
To the Editor:
We want to thank Abby Jane Brody for her beautifully articulated memories of our friend Jim Jeffrey. Her words captured our memories and thoughts which we will continue to have about Jim.
On our most recent visit with Jim a few weeks ago, we did the grand tour of the garden, enjoying his incredible knowledge of horticulture, the specifics of his collection, and all the wonderful stories that went along. And of course, we did not leave empty-handed. He gave us the latest addition to our camellia collection. Typical of Jim, when I asked him to jot down the name of the camellia (so I would remember), he instead made a stick for it, with the date and name.
Lucky for us, our clivia seedling from Jim a few years ago is now big enough for us to share with others.
We were all blessed with Jim’s friendship, which we will enjoy every time we walk through anyone’s garden in the future.
So thanks, Abby Jane, for your beautiful words, and thanks, editor, for sharing them with your readers.
BRIAN CRAIG and
Helping to Beautify
July 21, 2013
I’m writing to give another shout-out to Tony Littman and his crew in the East Hampton Town Parks Department, for not only their great maintenance of the Springs dog park but also for the new benches, lawn care, and cleanup of an old bush at the marina park at the head of the harbor, just in time for the Clamshell Foundation’s fireworks display last Saturday night.
Thank you for helping to beautify Springs.
More Than an Art Store
July 16, 2013
It is a symbol of the dilemma facing East Hampton’s future that the owners of the Golden Eagle have been forced out of their store space. Is East Hampton going to be an outpost of profiteers to the very rich, or a community?
Selling expensive wall coverings to 1-percent developers and home purchasers in pricey retail space can never replace the wonderful community created by the owners of the Golden Eagle over 12 years. It is far more than an art store; it is a place where artists, would-be artists, students, and children can find a democratic and welcoming art community. Excellent artists and teachers provide the best art instruction I have ever found in the Hamptons. And it offers instruction year round, not just catering to summer crowds. The store provides imaginative and inviting merchandise all year long which promotes creativity and fun for everyone.
It would be a terrible loss if the Golden Eagle cannot find affordable space to continue. And it should be everyone’s business to help them, whether they consider themselves “artistic” or not. Because what happens here sets a precedent: Will greed and profit making drive out the institutions which make East Hampton unique, as has happened in many other South Fork communities, or will the people of East Hampton decide to try to determine their own future?
BARD ROGERS HAMLEN
Rowe’s Soda Fountain
July 15, 2013
To the Editor,
Dr. Casper Rowe, in 1928, built the most modern drugstore he could think of on the corner of Main Street and Newtown Lane. But there was one early 20th-century tradition he could not get around. The new venture had to have the obligatory soda fountain. It was not a lunch counter — hot coffee and hot food were not served, nor were sandwiches on the menu. It was a traditional soda fountain. Milk shakes, sodas, sundaes, ice cream cones, and dishes of ice cream in any flavor. It was a summertime operation, since many of the fresh ingredients required were only available during the warm months, like bananas, strawberries, and peaches. The local grocery did not have those things during the winter months.
The fountain did do business year round, but it was the 12 weeks of summer when it made its money. The daily store volume was about $600 per day during the summer. The fountain contributed $400 per day, and that was a lot of 10-cent Cokes and cones. We really worked hard, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. The minimum wage was 25 cents an hour. The minimum work week was 48 hours.
A Coca-Cola could not be served with anything but shaved ice, so every morning the ice house on King Street delivered a 50-pound block, which we had to shave before 9 a.m. Carl Dordelman, the Railway Express agent, would deliver a crate of fresh oranges once a week during season, and we would prepare fresh juice on request.
Things were different during those depression and pre-war years. Hortons, out of Brooklyn, was our ice cream brand, delivered once a week by refrigerated truck, which was a curiosity by itself since most places did not have electric refrigeration, much less freezer capability. The drugstore was unique in this respect, since most homes still used iceboxes.
I started on the fountain as soon as I got my working papers at age 14 and was still there until I got out of college. It seems like it was just yesterday. I could not stand the sight or smell of ice cream for years afterward.
(A memo to us before Mr. William (Bill) Peer Bain passed away.)
ERIC and LISA DORTCH
July 18, 2013
I had several reactions to your “Tales of a Hamptons Waitress” column so prominently placed on the front page of the arts and living section for July 11. I thought at first that it was designed for amusement, but then I realized that the writer was quite serious in her thinking and had a more than grand concept of her value. It set me to doing a bit of math.
Using an example of a waitperson with four tables to attend at one time, I put together the following: I have found that in the Hamptons during the summer, a table of four having a main dish, drink, and a dessert can expect to be charged at least $250 for the delightful experience of being crowded together with as many other diners as possible for an hour of noise and chatter. Eighteen percent of that is $45, times four for number of stations is $180 an hour. Times five for number of hours worked in an evening is $900 per night, times six for number of nights per week is $5,400, times 10 for number of weeks worked in a season is $54,000 for the summer. Not a bad salary for a summer’s worth of time. I’m 73 and though it has taken me a number of years of work, I certainly never earned that much in a summer in my life. Of course, none of my jobs required me to fill water glasses promptly or suggest what diners might especially enjoy from the menu they were perusing.
And I never had the awful task of trying to figure out what to do with the other 42 weeks of the year to make up for that “mean annual wage for waiters and waitresses in the State of New York of $20,710.” Oh, wait, they have already made twice that, much of it in cash and not on any books. It really is a difficult life. I don’t know how some folks are able to manage.
I’d better stop writing this letter before I even think about tipping someone a percentage of the tax that has been added to my bill. It seems there is no doubt that the old-fashioned idea of taking on a job knowing that I would be expected to give my best at all times without considering what’s really in it for me has become passé.
In the Wrong Business
July 15, 2013
To the Editor,
Ms. DeWinter, as a fellow waitress who has been at it for over 25 years I have just one thing to say to you: Please stop! You may find venting very therapeutic, though you appear to be getting more hostile each week, and you may think that you are enlightening an ignorant, thoughtless public, but you are not. You are instead making the diners who read your rants feel as though we in the hospitality industry (remember?) are actually their adversaries, which is precisely the wrong way one should feel when entering a restaurant.
You are clearly a very angry woman, which probably stems from the fact that you do not understand this industry and your role in it. Frankly, I think you are in the wrong business, which does neither you nor your patrons any good. Not only that, your column is actually making things worse, not better, for the rest of us waiters who have to undo the damage you have done to our image as welcoming providers of the comforts of food and drink.
You are a server, which is the public version of a servant. That means that while diners should be, and usually are, courteous to us, it is nevertheless a non-egalitarian relationship, so if they aren’t always polite, patient, or understanding, too bad. That’s how it works. Right or wrong, a servant does not scold or correct the behavior of those whom she serves.
Your column won’t do anything to change people who are thoughtless and nasty to begin with. It will only insult the vast majority of people most of us enjoy waiting on. Don’t forget that people are spending a great deal of money when they dine out, so they have a reason to expect their experience to go well. When it doesn’t, they hold us accountable, because we waiters are the agents — the middlemen — between them and the kitchen or bar. Like it or not, that’s the way it is. Some people counter that it’s just food, so why get upset, but food, though a commonplace thing, is one of the sublime comforts and pleasures of life, therefore it is important.
Lastly, it’s just downright vulgar for you to complain about tips, and pretty telling, too. Wherever I have worked, I and my fellow waiters have gotten whatever the standard acceptable tip has been, 15 percent years ago to 18 to 20 percent or more nowadays, probably 99 percent of the time. The lower tippers, downright cheap tippers, and foreigners who are unfamiliar with the American tip system (who are far more aware than they once were) are few and far between, so it doesn’t really skew the overall percentage we earn by very much.
It sounds like you get a lot of bad tips, so you are either a terrible waitress or your attitude comes smoldering through. I’d like to know where you work so I don’t make the mistake of being seated at one of your tables.
Also, demanding that people tip on the tax is purely selfish. The tax is not part of the food or service, so if people do tip on it, thanks, but if they don’t, it’s understandable. It’s like expecting people to tip on food or drinks that were gifts from the chef or manager, or on the full price of a discounted menu. It’s very much appreciated when they do, but to expect people to calculate a tip based on things that don’t appear on their check and were not ordered by them is totally self-serving.
My advice to you is to stop dwelling on the occasional negative and look at the big picture. Most waiters will say that while our job can be very stressful for many reasons, including some customers, the overwhelming majority of encounters are pleasant and enjoyable. We like our customers and we genuinely enjoy serving them. Being a waiter is like being a teacher or nurse. It’s not just a job, but almost a calling — you have to have a feel for it and truly like doing it. You have to love welcoming people, making them comfortable and happy by providing them with some of the basic pleasures of life in what is often a home away from home, just as if you were welcoming them into your own home.
It’s the hospitality business, not the hostility business. Change your attitude and you’ll see your customers’ attitudes change — and your tips as well. Otherwise, find another line of work. I suggest lighthouse keeper.
CHRISTINE DE PONTE
July 20, 2013
To the Editor:
Summer’s 10 weeks away from school often translates into 350 hours missed exposure to literacy skills. Teachers lament that September and October are often spent remediating what was taught in May and June. The “summer slide” can be a competitive disadvantage.
Add to this that American fourth graders are not proficient grade-level readers when compared internationally, and it can be said that summer ought to be a time for reading skills boot camps. Too often, children in the primary grades memorize the sounds of words without actually knowing how to sound them out (a real hindrance in fourth grade when most of a student’s vocabulary is acquired from reading, and reading to learn from social studies and science texts becomes the norm).
Too often the schools minimize a child’s reading challenges because of fear of repercussions. Yet, without private testing by a reading specialist, a parent might never know how far behind his peers her child is. Remediation is easy with a trained specialist, using phonics to teach reading through spelling. Once the child knows the code, he can flourish. It’s a matter of a proper diagnosis and a highly trained specialist intervening during summer to raise a child’s skills to grade level.
The Blower Method
July 19, 2013
I have never heard anything more ridiculous than what you report “landscapers” are saying about why they use leaf blowers. Believe me, I have made quite a study of this, being in the midst of several leaf-blower-user-employing neighbors, and the din is perpetual in leaf season. The neighbors, incidentally, are usually out of town at the time.
But the blower method of gathering leaves into a tight pile is utterly inefficient; one neighbor’s leaf blowing goes on for up to two full days. As I am a leaf-rake user, I guarantee that an area that size shouldn’t take more than half a day. You see, you have little control over where the leaves go when you blow them. They don’t stop when they reach the pile location, they go way beyond it. You blow the leaves from the north end of the yard to the south end, then you have to blow them back again. At length, you use a leaf rake to make a neat pile and coax it onto a tarpaulin.
I’ve watched this happen over and over again, the waste of fuel, the air pollution (worst of all for the wielder of the blower), the ear-wrecking noise. The correct tool for gathering fallen leaves was invented, doubtless in the Orient, centuries ago. Cheap to buy. Works every time.
Enough of this madness! The Accabonac Protection Committee has a film, “American Lawn,” that goes into this pretty thoroughly. The DVD is available in the three local libraries. See it.
July 22, 2013
Many thanks to you and Chris Walsh for his excellent front-page article about banning leaf blowers. Bill and I have joined Bob Casper, James Matthews, and many others in this effort and would like to add a few points that may be of further interest to local residents.
Banning leaf blowers is not a unique concept. Across America communities are organizing and succeeding in having these noise monsters eliminated. In California 40 cities have instigated a ban, and over 300 cities and towns across the country have done likewise. The overriding reason is the noise pollution.
No one can deny the high, grinding whine of the leaf blower that translates to 70 to 75 decibels of noise — noise that clearly exceeds the levels already allowed by town ordinance. While the crews who do this work wear protective headsets, we who are required to tolerate the noise, don’t. Nor can we protect ourselves from the whirlwind of environmental hazards such as exhaust fumes and airborne debris blasted into the air we breathe.
One landscaper quoted in the article declared that it took his crews 10 to 15 minutes to blow leaves on most residential properties. Here in Springs, where properties are not large, a neighbor’s blower can be at full blast for over an hour. And the town allows this from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The landscaping business in East Hampton provides a great deal of work to many people, but would it affect jobs if a rake were put into their hands instead of a gas-powered machine? If a ban can be adopted then all will be at the same competitive level.
In the meantime, the best way to start the process is to speak to your neighbors. If they employ crews to remove leaves, they can request that no leaf blowers be used. Simple as that. Does it take longer? Perhaps, but at what price do we trade speed for sanity. We once watched a man blast a single leaf the full length of his lawn to a pile by the road.
GENIE and BILL HENDERSON
P.S. For more information go to bantheblowers.org.
Oh I own a home where billionaires roam
And the stars all come out to play.
But seldom is heard the song of a bird
Due to landscapers’ racket all day.
Oh the clatter and roar right here by the shore.
Is enough to drive us away.
Home, home by the sea.
Some quiet again is my plea.
Applaud Every Aspect
July 22, 2013
I am referring to the letter Betsy Ruth wrote in last week’s Star. Betsy wrote about many things, like the lack of code enforcement violations, quality of life issues, and the fact that we have been virtually ignored with all of our requests.
I applaud every aspect of the concerns she expressed.
On a different note, a thank you for the great Clearwater Beach party.
July 21, 2013
To the Editor,
Having been involved in designing signage for a very well known business not too far from Psychic Readings many years ago, and remembering all the difficulty in getting approval for it, I too am appalled at the multiple signs on the building as you enter Montauk.
Seems like anything goes now.
JANE Da ROS
One Man’s Meat . . .
July 22, 2013
Contrasting your report of Montauk business owners’ concerns about taxis using their customers’ parking spaces during rest times, with Perry Duryea’s statement that complaints about the heightened July 4 traffic does a disservice to local business, makes an arresting point: Whatever measures we consider to serve some of our residents’ business interests may have a downside for others.
Having taxis hanging around is evidently a drawback to having them available for the late-night commercial traffic Mr. Duryea touts for bringing business into the community. Noisy groupers often provide a source of revenue to local homeowners and local food and wine shops, but they may drive away second-home owners, who perhaps bring even more money to a more diverse group of local enterprises. Big nightclub events may bring in heaps of cash, but there’s reason to believe that much, if not most of it, is not for local business. Those noisy and undisciplined events may also eventually drive out affluent second-home owners, with their major purchasing power. And let us not deprecate damage to the infrastructure that Mr. Duryea acknowledges “is not designed for the influx of summer visitors.” Some day, maybe not too far in the future, replacement may cost us much more than we earn.
So what to do? The old saying one man’s meat is another man’s poison can’t end a discussion about serving the various interests in a democratic community, business or otherwise. I think some sophisticated research about the relative contributions that different economic activities make to our community is long overdue. In the meantime, though, we need to work on compromises to some enterprises’ largest ambitions, so that everyone’s needs are acknowledged, and nobody’s are poisoned.
July 22, 2013
The time has come for this Republican trio — Wilkinson, Quigley, and Stanzione — to quit playing their childish games. At last Thursday night’s meeting (July 18), Councilwoman Quigley exploded in rage because Councilman Van Scoyoc, rather than she, introduced an important resolution, intermunicipal agreement with the Peconic Estuary. This is an agreement in which nine East End towns cooperate to maximize the protection and improvement of the Peconic Estuary, a vital ecosystem to this part of Suffolk County. Because Ms. Quigley had been absent from several board meetings, at which this issue was discussed, Councilman Van Scoyoc moved the resolution.
Ms. Quigley seems to have difficulty allowing either of the minority Democratic members to speak. Instead of reasonably discussing the content of the resolution, she angrily and at high volume questioned Mr. Van Scoyoc’s authority to do his job as a councilman, loudly declaring a state of “absolute anarchy.” Needless to say, Supervisor Wilkinson supported her stand.
When the vote was taken on the resolution, it was no surprise that the vote was a tie. And again, no surprise, Councilman Stanzione abstained. But at the same time, he twice repeated that he was in favor of the resolution. This is the same Dominick Stanzione, a candidate for re-election, who claims to be an independent thinker. The question for Mr. Stanzione is: If you are in favor of something, if you do really support it, how/why can you abstain? To placate your fellow Republicans, Wilkinson and Quigley, is not to be an independent thinker.
Vote of Confidence
July 22, 2013
It is perfectly obvious by now that one of last week’s letter writers, Carol Buda, who, by the way, doesn’t have any children in the Springs School, is using phony complaints about the Springs School as a political attack on Kathee Burke-Gonzalez. Kathee was president of the Springs School Board for two years until the end of last month and is now a candidate for East Hampton Town Board.
A couple of weeks ago, the same letter writer complained that correspondence from the school board to the residents of Springs was intended to benefit Kathee’s campaign. When that clunker fell flat, the writer returned this past week complaining that Kathee has been “divisive” for supporting Eric Casale, a principal credited by parents and teachers — as well as the school board — with many beneficial innovations in the school.
Previously, the same letter writer appeared before the Springs School Board to ask for the elimination of pre-kindergarten. A couple of years ago, she campaigned vigorously against a school budget that passed with a wide margin of support from Springs residents. It is evident that the writer is one of those retired people, a minority, but still far too many, who got a public education paid for by a prior generation and now resent paying taxes to support the children coming behind them. If anyone is trying to sow division — over nothing but her own complaints — it is the letter writer.
Kathee Burke-Gonzalez did an outstanding job on the school board, keeping costs in Springs down to fit our budgets while overseeing consistent improvement in education. The two budgets taken to the voters while Kathee was president of the board were approved by margins of 76 percent and 77 percent. That’s a tremendous vote of confidence by Springs residents. If our town board were half as dedicated and successful as she has been, we would consider ourselves very lucky.
The Trustees’ Role
July 22, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Please inform Diana Walker that as a year-round resident and taxpayer of East Hampton, I much appreciate her efforts to spread the word about the work of our town trustees, especially since I am a candidate to become one in the 2013 election.
Given midsummer madness and enervating weather, a good laugh was most welcome. Walking around town, I keep wondering who her friend might be, since there seem to be so many that would fit her description as particular fans of fashion and cosmetic surgery on both sides of the increasingly blurred gender gap.
Ms. Walker is indeed trying, no pun intended, and has gotten the misconceptions about town trustees absolutely right. As a matter of fact, however, our town has a very capable unelected professional as the director of natural resources, Kimberly Shaw, whose accomplishments on our behalf continue to mount. One of her latest is working toward consolidating our town’s widely respected shellfish hatchery program into a single location from its current spread-out and inefficient arrangement. The new zero carbon-footprint facility would be built largely with grant funds.
Shellfishing, as Ms. Walker knows, is for the most part a trustee-managed, traditional East Hampton occupation, and local pastime.
The Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonalty of the Town of East Hampton are elected officials who are the representatives of the home and property owners (freeholders), residents and the general public (commonalty) of our town. Trustees, representing you, are the largest landowners in East Hampton. Trustee holdings, your common holdings, and the value thereof to us all, dwarf the hedge and ocean-bordered estates of any, if not even altogether, of those privately held by Ms. Walker’s charmingly clueless friend, perhaps, and others.
Trustees are also in many aspects the original idea of representative democracy in America, predating the State of New York and our federal government. The trustees’ role in East Hampton history is the subject of numerous books and articles available to anyone with access to our fine libraries. A good place to start learning about it would be Stuart B. Vorpahl Jr.’s essay “The Persistent East Hampton Town Trustees” in Volume 1 of “Awakening the Past,” the five-book set of the East Hampton historical collection, edited by Tom Twomey. (It would look really tony hanging out of your friend’s D-G beach bag, Ms. Walker, and set off the Persols, Cartiers, even Guccis, nicely, too. Intellecto-chic, ooh?! Cachet max! or is that Cafe? Whatevah.)
As a group, and unlike too many other elected officials on any level of government, your trustees work out of all proportion to their pay or prestige to ensure your continuing rights to access the natural beauty and bounty of our town, whether born here, or, like me, “local by choice.” Yes, trustees do have a lot of sand, and a lot of water, and most of our beaches, too. More important than the size of their holdings is their active and proactive stewardship on our behalf to make sure that our town’s resources will be there for future generations, as they have been for generations past.
I believe that the trustees are the conscience of East Hampton, and look forward to working on your behalf as one of them, helping to add to their over 6,000 pages of continuous records. Thanks again, Ms. Walker. Keep on, or not, I will.
All good things to you, and hope to see you on the road sometime.
CAPT. IRA BAROCAS
July 17, 2013
My wife, Kathy, and I have lived in East Hampton for a long time and we have four boys, three of whom were born and raised in East Hampton.
I am currently the foreman superintendent for three wonderful senior citizen housing projects: Windmill I, Windmill II, and St. Michael’s.
I am deeply committed to this community and make it a point to get involved as much as possible. I am a member of the East Hampton Disability Advisory Board, as well as a volunteer at the East Hampton Food Pantry.
I think being endorsed by both the Democratic and Independence Parties this year shows my commitment, and I promise, if elected, I will be an advocate for our community and a truly dedicated trustee.
Justice for All
July 21, 2013
I urge town residents to vote for Mr. Carl Irace, for East Hampton Justice. His record as a prosecutor in the Bronx shows he is the most capable of the candidates.
A vast experience in the criminal justice system, in dealing with such a vast demanding case load, allows him to be fair yet capable of providing justice for all involved.
I knew of his father, who, as a bureau chief, in the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, was a highly regarded prosecutor. As they say, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!” We need a justice with this experience to be elected, here. Vote for Carl Irace.
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
July 21, 2013
To the Editor:
It takes courage to go against the social mainstream. In his July 18 “Nature Notes” column, Larry Penny has done so. Conventional wisdom holds that deer are damaging the underbrush in our region’s woodlands, but Penny says his observations fail to support this view. He states his conclusion openly and directly, without equivocation.
Penny’s conclusion undercuts a major rationale for the town’s proposal to kill more deer. I admit that I was happy to read his article because I oppose the proposed killing. But I have admired Penny’s insights with respect to a wide range of subjects for many years, even when his points have challenged my personal views. I have long considered him to be one of our country’s finest naturalists. And one of his admirable qualities is that he says what he thinks.
East Hampton Group for Wildlife
Smooth the Way
July 22, 2013
To the Editor,
I attended the Deer Forum that the Village Preservation Society (VPS) sponsored. I was appalled by the one-sidedness of the discussion, and thought that the only reason that these two gentlemen were there was to try and smooth the way for the slaughter to begin.
The only highlight was that Dr. Tony DeNicola openly admitted that a reduction of deer will do nothing for the Lyme disease epidemic that has crippled our town.
Joshua Stiller, from the Department of Environmental Conservation, spoke first. I was able to speak to him for a few minutes prior to the event. He confirmed that he was not consulted on the Deer Management Plan for the town, nor did he have any knowledge of the tick problem in East Hampton that the Tick Management team of Suffolk County was working on.
Mr. Stiller, a deer biologist, should have done his homework before coming to East Hampton. As the second largest community for Lyme disease in the country, I would have hoped that he knew something about the current study that the CDC is conducting in Colorado. He also did not know any information on Dr. Rick Ostfeld of the Cary Institute and the ongoing deer and Lyme disease research being conducted there, or the book, “Lyme Disease: The Ecology of a Complex System.”
Dr. Tony DeNicola was at least somewhat informed. I asked him to explain to the audience what the research that was going on at the Cary Institute was and how Dr. Rick Ostfeld’s philosophy differed than the information he was providing the audience. Although not happy about his methodology, Dr. DeNicola did allude to the fact that Dr. Ostfeld was correct.
In a New York Times article, Dr. DeNicola was called the “Deerslayer.” I believe that this was the kindest nickname that I could locate. Other nicknames included “Face of Evil” and “Murderer for Hire.”
What both experts neglected to mention was the use of four-poster feeders. These would help both the tick overpopulation and keep the deer at acceptable levels, and could be put in place immediately.
“If you manage deer, you have to do it forever,”DeNicola said. “You can’t do it on a one-time basis and expect results.”
The following quote came from cayugadeer.org/news.htm. This references why Dr. DeNicola had to use the sterilization in Cayuga Heights.
“A judicial injunction is what blocked the killing from taking place last winter, based on a legal challenge that included a scientific critique from national-level experts at Harvard, Tufts, Yale, and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. These leaders in their fields roundly rejected the rationale for the killing plan, characterizing it as ‘misleading,’ ‘deeply flawed,’ ‘commits a serious oversight,’ and having “‘insufficient evidence,’ and ‘no site-specific data.’ ”
Dr. DeNicola does “research” on these kills. If you are truly interested in the type of person that we have invited into our town, please go to youtube. com/watch?v=nxe8Qn7lToM. This will give you insight into what kind of person the VPS asked to lecture you on “humane management.”
Finally, town board member Dominick Stanzione named a long list of people who helped create the East Hampton Town Deer Management Plan, including planners, zoning experts, and natural resource employees. However, he did not name one health expert, why, because the town did not consult one!
I urge every person who reads this to look up these people and places for themselves. Google it! Educate yourselves on this problem. It is only with education that we can come to a healthy solution.
West Nile Fever
July 17, 2013
To the Editor:
Today’s Newsday featured an article that spoke of the alarming rise of West Nile fever. First diagnosed in this hemisphere in Queens in 1999, it has swept “across the country with uncommon speed.”
Since 1999 there have been reported 780,000 illnesses and 1,549 deaths (“in 16,196 cases the virus invaded the central nervous system causing meningitis, encephalitis or polio-like paralysis”). It reports the hotter the weather the faster West Nile viruses replicate in mosquitoes, with record-breaking heat causing an elevation in infections.
On Long Island and in New York City, Newsday reports aerial pesticide spraying has helped reduce mosquito populations, and further reports today’s American Medical Association Journal suggests pesticide spraying to have negligible human health effects.
We should be careful not to take away our most successful pesticides in the fight against West Nile.
July 21, 2013
To the Editor:
Can the Town of East Hampton stop our airport’s East End noise plague by imposing weekday and weekend curfews? Eliminating weekend operations? Reducing the number of takeoffs and landings? Excluding the noisiest of aircraft?
Recent news and letter columns in The Star have contained an endless series of false assertions by the East Hampton Airport interests and Councilman Dominick Stanzione, designed to totally confuse the public about that issue.
Their common theme is that there is no difference between the town’s power to limit aircraft noise and access to the airport, whether or not the town takes more Federal Aviation Administration grant money with the restrictive contractual grant assurances that last another 20 years. That is the basic misinformation.
All sides agree that the town’s proprietary rights to control and reduce aircraft noise and access to the airport are “limited” to aircraft restrictions that are reasonable, nonarbitrary, and nondiscriminatory. That is the basic federal law “reasonableness” standard. And we all know that, in order to meet that standard for mandatory airport access restrictions, the town must do technical studies to show the level of the noise problem and the appropriateness and fairness of the imposed restrictions to meet the demonstrated need.
The issue is who will hold the town to the federal law standard and how the standard might be interpreted and enforced against the town.
All sides agree also that while the town operates the airport under current F.A.A. contractual grant assurances, the law now requires the town to apply to the F.A.A. for prior approval of any such mandatory access restrictions. But the F.A.A. interpretation of the reasonableness standard is so complex and arbitrary that in 18 or more situations over the last two decades the F.A.A. has never voluntarily approved a municipal proprietor’s application to impose mandatory airport access limitations where the proprietor was subject to grant assurances.
Following the current requirements, Mr. Stanzione, as airport liaison, says that the town is doing the technical noise and other studies needed to meet its burden of proving to the satisfaction of the F.A.A. the reasonableness of any proposed curfews and related aircraft restrictions. In light of the F.A.A.’s past history, the likelihood of Mr. Stanzione’s “cooperation with the F.A.A.” succeeding on this score is, at best, doubtful. But it certainly provides a test of the potential F.A.A. “cooperation.”
The applicable grant assurances for East Hampton, however, will expire at the end of next year. And the F.A.A. has written that “unless the Town [East Hampton] wishes to remain eligible to receive future grants of Federal funding, it is not required to comply with the requirements . . . [for prior F.A.A. approval] in proposing new airport noise and access restrictions” (F.A.A. Response to Questions from Rep. Tim Bishop, East Hampton Airport). The F.A.A. wrote further that “as of December 31, 2014, unless and until the F.A.A. awards a new grant to the town, the F.A.A. will not initiate or commence an administrative proceeding” to apply the reasonableness standard. (“F.A.A. Responses. . . .” above.)
That means that after next year, unless East Hampton wants or takes more F.A.A. funding, it will be free to impose mandatory curfews and related noise control aircraft access limits without F.A.A. involvement, so long as those restrictions can meet the reasonableness standard of federal law. Only the federal courts will be there, if necessary, to interpret the standard and hold East Hampton to reasonableness.
The controlling judicial interpretation of that standard was set forth in the 1998 case National Helicopter v. City of New York. There the city had not taken any F.A.A. money and was not subject to grant assurances. The court accepted the city’s noise data and expressly allowed the city to impose curfews, eliminate weekend landings and takeoffs, and reduce their total numbers. The court’s interpretation of the reasonableness standard was far less arbitrary and repressive than the F.A.A.’s interpretation.
And that is the fundamental truth that Mr. Stanzione and the airport interests are trying desperately to obfuscate.
Most recently, they have trotted out in support of their disinformation effort a new letter from an aviation lawyer who, however, has stretched his zealous advocacy to a surprising limit. The airport interests’ lawyer asserts that “there are no instances where rejecting F.A.A. funding gave a Town additional control. . . .” Then he concludes that “rejecting F.A.A. funding does not enhance the ability of the Town to regulate helicopters arriving at and departing from the East Hampton Airport.” That is despite the specific F.A.A. statement, quoted above, that, absent further F.A.A. grants, after next year East Hampton would not need to seek F.A.A. approval for reasonable takeoff and landing restrictions.
There is the level of crude political legal advocacy on which the airport propaganda is based.
We shall see whether Mr. Stanzione’s “cooperation” with the F.A.A. will have achieved real airport noise control under F.A.A. procedures by the end of next year. If that effort shall not have succeeded, then the town will be able to initiate a new effort to gather adequate data and impose reasonable curfews and other airport restrictions without F.A.A. involvement. Any interest challenging such restrictions would then have the burden of proving them unreasonable to a federal court under the interpretation of the National Helicopter case.
East Hampton will have that opportunity, however, only if it does not take more F.A.A. money in the meantime. To take such money would be a betrayal of the East End public’s right to peace and quiet for 20 more years.
CHARLES A. EHREN Jr.
July 15, 2013
I write to inform your readers of a significant ruling last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, on July 12. This ruling denied a request by the Helicopter Association International Inc. to nullify the Federal Aviation Administration’s ruling last summer mandating helicopter pilots fly a route one mile off the north shore of Long Island, N.Y., for the purpose of noise abatement in residential areas.
The helicopter association maintained that the F.A.A. should not use aircraft noise abatement as a basis to issue rules for aircraft, maintaining that the only function of the F.A.A. is aircraft safety.
The ruling’s relevance to residents suffering from aircraft noise is significant in a variety of ways, but very much with respect to aircraft noise complaints and the important role they played in this ruling. Particularly with the report in last week’s Star that noise complaints were down over the July 4 holiday.
As anyone who has filed aircraft noise complaints knows, this is a flawed policy for measuring noise incidents. It implies that if there is no complaint, there is no noise. But, unfortunately, it’s all we have.
With last Friday’s ruling by the court we now we see how important noise complaint numbers are.
The court explains how the F.A.A. was compelled to mandate the north shore route in direct response to noise complaints from Long Island residents. The ruling cites the “Federal Aviation Act requires a delicate balance between safety and efficiency and the protection of persons on the ground.” It is part of the F.A.A.’s mandate to also protect their right to the peaceful enjoyment of their property.
The helicopter industry maintained that public complaints about noise are not evidence enough to demonstrate a noise problem. The court also found the F.A.A. was justified in mandating the route change to protect the public from noise because it relied upon “a host of externally generated complaints from elected officials and commercial and private residents of Long Island.” Southampton Town Supervisor Throne-Holst, Assemblyman Fred Thiele, and Congressman Tim Bishop, in particular, played significant roles in moving this issue to the fore, with local noise abatement champion Councilwoman Theresa Quigley in support.
Further, even as the industry claimed that a large percentage of the noise complaints were generated by a few individuals, the court ruled that this “cannot demonstrate these individuals are the only ones disturbed by the existing noise levels.”
These are very important legal findings, which set precedent and encourage our community as we begin the process of data collection to reduce aircraft noise. Clearly, this ruling demonstrates the need for citizens to continue to report noise complaints.
This data is essential if we are to properly demonstrate that reasonable-access limitations on noisy aircraft, including setting curfews, hours of operation, numbers and concentrations of flights, are necessary.
I urge your readers disturbed by aircraft noise to continue to register their complaints by calling the noise complaint hotline at 800-376-4817.
Slowly but surely.
Quiet Skies Coalition
Seems Simple, But . . .
July 13, 2013
To the Editor,
It is with a heavy heart that I write this. It seems that we have gone too far with catering to the minority groups than to the people. We are always saying that education is the key to success and I agree. If this is true then why do our college students have to pay more for their education than you do for a used car or a house mortgage. There is no reason to burden our young men and women with such debt. We had no trouble giving large corporations interest-free money. It is time to support our students with 2 percent money so that they don’t have to think about debt but can concentrate about their chosen studies. We could forgive a portion of the loan if the person decides to serve in the military or the Peace Corps.
Gay Rights: Love is love and this should not be denied to anyone. You can’t decide who you fall in love with, it just happens. I for one think that people in a committed union should have the same rights as any heterosexual couple. This goes for retirement, Social Security, health insurance, and anything else that is involved with loving couples. The only problem that I have is changing the dictionary description of marriage. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Simple. All other relations should be binding civil unions. The key is “binding.” If you get to a point of separation then a magistrate should settle the matter and possibly one person will get support from the other. If it is equal rights that you want then I am all for you, but if you just want to change the dictionary then I do feel that you are losing the larger issue of equal rights.
Immigration: The intent of this proposal is to document all illegal aliens and to provide the labor that we deem necessary for the economy of this great nation, without burdening our United Sates citizens.
Only those who have jobs promised and/or are paying taxes with pin numbers will qualify for temporary work status. If employment is promised and not provided, a fine would be imposed on the employer and the temporary work status suspended after 30 days. If new employment is found within the 30 days, temporary work status suspension would be reversed.
All temporary workers would have to return to their country of origin, or any other country of their choice, for a minimum of 21 days each year and they would be guaranteed a return visa prior to leaving the United States of America.
As temporary workers they would not be entitled to Social Security retirement, but they would qualify for disability if hurt while working. The portion of [the federal employment tax] that is paid by the employer and the employee totals approximately 15 percent of the gross salary. Of this, one third would stay in the hands of the Social Security system to pay for their disability insurance and administration costs. The remaining two thirds would be returned to the now documented workers minus the cost of a round-trip air fare on a carrier of their choice to the country of their choice and all of the documentation for their return. This would not only provide the transportation money needed to return to their home of origin, but will provide the system with funds to bolster Social Security and help pay for the medical expenses that are being abused today.
Any and all convicted felons would not be permitted to stay in this country. Any person born to illegal parents who is a convicted felon will be stripped of his citizenship and deported. All illegal immigrants who do not become documented will be deported.
Employment would have to be a minimum of 32 hours per week.
If a once illegal worker becomes documented and follows the law of the land for 10 years he or she can then apply for citizenship.
I know this seems simple, but look at what it does. It will provide the airline industry with millions of flights per year. It helps the failing Social Security system. It will take a burden from our public schools. It will help relieve the health cost burden. It will provide freedom to millions of people who cannot leave this country for fear that they will not be able to return. Finally, it will spread democracy without bloodshed when these return to their natural homeland.
Thank you and may God bless you, your families, and America.
JAMES F. SULLIVAN
Is This the Best?
July 17, 2013
There’s an interesting political agenda coming up soon. New York, the great state of New York, will have personalities running for positions of great importance and power. This is what New York has to look forward to: hypocrite Eliot Spitzer running against the madam (who served time for serving client No. 9) running for comptroller of New York. It’s a shame. I thought he was a great attorney general, what happened when he became governor?
Next we have Anthony Weiner and his weiner running for mayor of New York City. Is this the best New York can do? Both made mistakes, but really, I’m sorry, is this supposed to cut it? These men are power-happy and want full control; citizens, please don’t fall for their song and dance.
And now Obamacare, yeah for Obamacare, it’s soooo good that the heads of the unions are writing letters that something has to be done to fix it. I hope Pelosi and Reid read these letters. Plenty of it needs to be fixed, not delayed for a year. This affordable act is just a great big tax bill on the American people.
Passion for Killing
July 21, 2013
To the Editor:
This week George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin and Texas passed an expanded restrictive abortion law. Both events exhibit the same level of denial and regression of the American psyche. Zimmerman shouldn’t have had a gun, but since he did it was okay to kill the black teenager. More of a problem if the kid were white (he might not of tracked him), but in the grand scheme of American life a small, regrettable, unmemorable blip. Remember those kids in Connecticut. (What kids.)
Texas, under the leadership of its almost brain-dead governor, passed another bill to limit abortion. In a state where shooting your mother is only a crime if she didn’t deserve it, protecting the unborn gets the highest priority. The sanctity of life or some fake Christian bullshit about not killing is unadulterated garbage. Laws never stopped people from having abortions. They made them more dangerous to the women.
We have a passion for killing or is it death. We don’t enjoy death like the Irish but we pursue it wildly. We’ve been in a constant state of war since our inception as a country and when we can’t find real enemies we invent them. Even the Constitution can’t protect U.S. citizens from drone attacks. The American teenager killed in Yemen and his teenage friends can’t even find out why they were killed. Compared to the rest of the Western world our gun deaths are epidemic. From the statistics, one has to conclude that if you will give an American a gun he will shoot someone with it.
Killing is never openly acceptable as a societal trait. No society accepts that definition. But the simplest test of society’s norms is its memory. How quickly we get over events and how little they affect our daily lives.
We lived World War II with unbelievable intensity and everyone alive then remembers it well. But ask any teenager about the Korean war or Vietnam and they can’t tell us why we were there. Our only memories of the Iraq war are our crippled soldiers (whom we’d like to disappear), not the half million Iraqis who died there. The 12,000 people shot every year, not counting suicides, are a distant memory. Yet, our response to the war drive is the War on Terror or perpetual war. And our response to the Sandy Hook kids and the other thousands is more guns to protect ourselves with. Hiroshima isn’t a sushi restaurant.
We have a problem. Trayvon Martin’s death is business as usual. Columbine wasn’t just a Michael Moore film. We can’t resolve it until we accept its reality. Accept that America the beautiful is often America the bloody. Normally, we should embrace abortion as a way of legally fulfilling our need for violence. Loving the unborn but not the living is a psychoanalyst’s wet dream.
In more advanced societies people have learned to let nonviolence and abortion coexist. They talk about problems and solutions. They respect privacy and choices. They prefer their bartenders not to be alcoholics.