Letters to the Editor: 08.01.13

Our readers' comments

Support Our Fishermen
    Montauk
    July 25, 2013
To the Editor:
    Yesterday in Montauk, while many vacationers were enjoying our beaches, restaurants, and clubs, locals were holding their breath. One of our own fishermen was missing at sea. I was doing my morning swim when eight Coast Guard helicopters flew overhead. I got a very bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. Fortunately there was a happy ending to this story as the helicopters actually found our man after he was in the water for 12 long hours, 43 miles off the shore of Montauk, having drifted many miles. The concentrated efforts of this very cohesive community that included private and commercial fishing boats had one sole purpose in its heart — to bring John Aldridge home alive.
    This terrifying incident brings up yet another question that is on the minds of all fishermen and their families. Every day these men and women risk their lives to bring food to our tables. And yet, they are treated abysmally. The government is burying them with ridiculous regulations and paperwork that have been developed by people with zero understanding of the nature of our waters. The waste of millions of fish that have to be thrown back into the sea because of these regulations is criminal. They are treated like second-class citizens by our so-called Department of Conservation and given excessive fines. They are paid a pittance by wholesalers whose markup is shocking when one considers the cost of their boats’ constant maintenance, the cost of fuel, the cost to their health, and the cost to their families emotionally.
    Our local farmers market is thriving. One pays $5 for a small handful of locally grown kale. Our wonderful local farmers’ time and efforts are being honored by the community that supports them. And yet our fishermen continue to go out day after day, risking everything, only to be shorted on the weight of fish sold, sent a check for far less than promised per pound. And finally these fish turn up in our markets and fashionable restaurants at very high prices.
    What will it take for us to rally and support our fishermen? They need our voices. They need our politicians. They need to be paid a fair price.
    Personal disclosure: My husband, many years before I met him, was also thought to be lost at sea, in the month of November in the Gulf, with four other commercial fishermen. Their small craft was hit by a Japanese tanker that was in our waters illegally and left these men to die as they saw the boat was sinking. And indeed three of the men did die. My husband and one other Montauk local survived. My husband was in the water for 18 hours and lost 25 pounds due to his efforts to stay alive. The ship that hit them, while found, was never prosecuted as our then President Carter was involved with negotiations with Japan. And as impossible as it sounds, the son of the captain that died was also lost at sea several years later.
    It takes a very strong mind to survive something like this. It takes a very strong mind and body to be a fisherman. Let’s see if our community is strong enough to stand up to the injustices our fishermen and women have to tolerate. If we don’t, our local fishing industry will end.
    John Aldridge, you are a brave and strong fellow. Welcome home.
    Respectfully,
    DONNA HADJIPOPOV


A Huge Success
    Springs
    July 28, 2013
To the Editor:
    As Commander of American Legion Post 419, I want to express my thanks and gratitude to the East Hampton and Sag Harbor Boy Scouts, the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, the Sons of American Legion Post 419, and the many friends of Post 419 who worked so hard to make the American Legion breakfast for our wounded warriors, their families, and supporters a huge success.
    I am proud to say that we served 140 meals, which energized everyone before going off and participating in the Soldiers Ride on Saturday, July 20.
    Thank you all for caring.
FRED OVERTON


Uniquely American
    New York City
    July 27, 2013
Dear David,
    On Sunday morning, July 21, I attended Guild Hall’s lively panel discussion of the Artists-Writers softball game. The event, held in conjunction with Guild Hall’s recent celebratory exhibit of the Games’ 65th anniversary, featured several game stalwarts: Ed Hollander, Lori Singer, Walter Bernard, Eric Ernst, Leif Hope, Mort Zuckerman, Juliet Papa, Carl Bernstein, and Fred Graver. Regrettably, despite their extensive research, the show’s planners made one key omission, and this was reflected in the panel’s discussion.
    Someone asked Leif Hope, the noted Artists manager, who has a painting in the show, which year the game opened its ranks to pinch runners. Mr. Hope and several panelists guessed the practice dated to the ’60s or ’70s. They were wrong. The man who was the first player to need and use such a ringer was Harold Rosenberg, the late art critic.
    Harold, towering and charismatic and said to have coined the term “action painting,” had moved with his wife, May Natalie Tabak, to Springs a year before their friends Lee and Jackson Pollock in 1944. He was the magnet who drew countless Abstract-Expressionist artist friends of his to the area. But although Harold was inexplicably omitted from the hundreds of players listed in the Guild Hall exhibit, he pitched in the first Artists-Writers game in the early 1950s, when it was still an informal, pick-up, Sunday afternoon preliminary to cocktails, played in Wilfred Zogbaum’s (an artist) Springs-Fireplace Road backyard. And around 1954, Harold became the game’s first Writer’s team captain. He was also one of the original instigators of the scheme to paint, shave, and pitch the now fabled grapefruit and coconut to a player. The first designated victim, Philip Pavia, the sculptor — the players wanted to bring him down  a notch because they thought he’d grown too conceited about his hitting prowess.
    Harold himself could pitch, hit, and catch, but he couldn’t run because his right leg had been left permanently rigid from a near-lethal bout of osteomylitis in his early 20s. (Mr. Pavia and my companion, David Slivka, an artist with whom I spent 30 summers in East Hampton, now both deceased, along with the actor Eli Wallach, were honored as the then oldest surviving players from those first years during the game’s 50th anniversary. All three were represented in the Guild Hall show.)
    While never fund-raisers during the years Harold and his Abstract-Expressionist artist and other area friends played in the games, in later years he loved to reminisce about their quirky highlights, just as players still do today — a remarkable 65 years later. Anecdotes about the games invariably made their way into Harold’s lectures to college students and art collectors alike. He always pointed out something similar to the statement cited in the Guild Hall exhibit by his close friend Willem de Kooning, “I feel sometimes an American artist must feel like a baseball player or something, a member of a team writing American history. . . .”
    Harold thought it significant that he and his friends on the rival teams — at the time, still young, not yet rich or famous, many of whom were immigrants like de Kooning, or the sons of immigrants like Harold — had formed a tradition of playing this uniquely American game of baseball. It was as if their Artists-Writers softball games, begun as a kind of lark, had transformed them into American artists, American writers — identities they prized for the rest of their lives.
JOAN ULLMAN


Forced to Close
    North Sea
    July 28, 2013
Dear Editor,
    I am an 11-year-old girl living in the Hamptons. I have lived here my whole life and am now appalled by what is happening in my beloved home.
    Ever since I was 3 and my dad taught me how to read, I’ve loved every book I could get my hands on. BookHampton in Sag Harbor served as my main source for material. I could read there for the better part of hours, then stagger over to the counter with a stack of books that was all but obscuring my face. Of course, my father never let me get all of them, but I’ve accumulated enough over the years to fill my bedroom drawers, the coffee table, and all the bookshelves. I found my favorite books there; I got my first copy of “Harry Potter” there.
    At the very start of summer, all lazy beach days and ice cream cones, my dad and I were sauntering around Main Street when a notice in the huge, grand window of my favorite store caught my eye. The white piece of paper informed me that BookHampton was closing next weekend, and that they were having a 30-percent-off sale. I could hardly believe what I was reading. I stormed into the store, my dad on my heels. Kate, a bookseller who knew us from our many ventures there, confirmed the news: BookHampton was being forced to close. The rent was too high, and hopefully they would find another place to go in Sag Harbor. I still haven’t given up hope that they will.
    A culinary store. That’s what it was turned into. Gone were the cozy striped couch and huge, oak bookshelves. Every little thing that wasn’t there caught my attention. The spot on the empty counter where the jar of lollipops stood. The magazine rack that never had MAD magazines. The patterned carpet. Instead there were cooking utensils and stark white shelves. I’m very sorry to any cooking fans out there that may be reading this; I have nothing against culinary stores. But that beautiful bookstore — the place where I spent most of my childhood, the place that was like a second home to me — gone. What had happened?
    Then today, my mom read to me the headlines in The East Hampton Star: “The Golden Eagle to Close Its Doors.”
    I nearly flipped out when I heard that. The Golden Eagle, closing? No way. Those landlords couldn’t be taking that away, too, could they? My books. My art. What next, my songs, my games? Is it perhaps National Torture Me Month? That store, it had a wonder-load of art there: pens, markers, notepads, kits, paper, and that’s just the tip of the drawing board. Rent. I keep on hearing that word, bouncing around like a basketball. They can’t pay the rent. The rent has been raised. The rent is too high for them. They have to move because the rent is huge.
    I may be making a mountain out of a molehill, but honestly, we’ve got a problem here. What will close up next? You, editor, and you, reader, you can fix this mess. Join me. Why not give it a shot? At least try. Try for me, an 11-year-old girl who’s worried about the future of her town.
    Signed,
    CHANDLER LITTLEFORD


Occasions to Mark
    Amagansett
    July 29, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
    I can already hear your sigh of relief at seeing this letter and I’ve barely started writing it. Well I’m happy for you. It has been awhile. In recent days several people have asked about my “silence” in these pages, thinking something must have happened. I was flattered at their interest, of course. And then, when you and I encountered each other in your historic offices a few weeks ago, I sensed a doleful longing in your eyes — possibly a hint of regret that you and your mom had declined my generous offer to write a weekly column for The Star. For no money.
    But I hold no ill will. Clearly, the recent addition of new writing talent to the paper’s roster has improved the content many fold. In fact, I’ve found that reading The Star during my periodontal surgeries effectively replaces the need for Novocaine and keeps me numb for up to 18 hours. How can I thank you? By finishing this letter, of course.
    Writing a letter to the editor usually requires a triggering event for the author. For example, if summer renters have left a bag of their pet shih tzu’s toy poop at the foot of your driveway you probably want to write a letter to the editor. If you are Rona Klopman, and you attend a meeting of the East Hampton Town Board, you absolutely want to write a letter. And if you are me (don’t you wish?) you would write a letter just to have something to read in the next issue of the paper. So you can thank my selfish triggering event for this. You’re welcome.
    Actually, there was an incident — something that would never make the police blotter but nonetheless was a blot on my consciousness for weeks, stuck in my cranium like a tick. It took place on Main Street in Amagansett. Specifically, at Jack’s Coffee joint in the Square. I’d gone in there for a small cup ‘o joe and a bite to kill some time while the professionals at Amagansett Mobil were doing something with my tires.
    At Jack’s, the food selection was limited, extremely limited, so I decided to keep it simple. “I’ll have a small coffee and that sugar doughnut, please.”
    “Could I have your name, sir?”
    “Sure . . . but why do you need my name?”
    “So when your order is ready we can call out your name.”
    “Oh, cool. It’s Lyle.”
    “Okay, Lyle, here you go. That’ll be $6.85.”
    “Excuse me?”
    “$6.85.”
    “I’m sorry, forgive me, but how much is this doughnut?”
    “That’s $3.50. It’s organic and gluten-free.”
    “Got it, thanks.”
    Mr. Rattray, it was difficult for me to put something in the communal tip jar, but I did. I am a generous and loving customer, even after being forcibly subjected to a lunar probe. To self-help deal with my shock I decided to call the staff at Scoop Du Jour in East Hampton to find out what they charge for a Dreesen’s doughnut. (As Alec Baldwin has famously stated, “Why do you think everyone comes to the Hamptons? The ocean? The fishing? The gracious living? No. It’s Dreesen’s Famous Doughnuts.”)
    Are you ready for this? Are you sitting, Mr. Rattray? Are you sweating with anticipation? 90 cents — 90 cents — for one, fine, high-quality, all-possible-relevant-ingredients doughnut, not $3.50.
    Okay, I feel better now and so do you. This letter is like a free cleansing at Naturopathica. You’re welcome again.
    As you know, I turn 66 this week. Sixty-six: 792 months. And yet, when you gaze at my chiseled frame (I’ve seen you staring, Mr. Rattray), you’d think I was maybe 64 at most. In honor of this special occasion I’m inviting all of my readers for a complimentary beverage at Rowdy Hall tomorrow at 7 p.m. To qualify, you must say to Joe, the bartender, “I read Lyle,” and you’ll be good to hoist one with me.
    But there are more occasions to mark, so let’s keep those Sharpies out. My beautiful grandson turned 18 this year and graduated from Miami Beach Senior High in June. In just days, after visiting us in Amagansett for the summer, he’ll be heading south and getting ready for his first year of college. In honor of his leap into a new life chapter, I’m giving him my now-legendary yellow Ford Focus. With the Obama 2008 sticker on the back. Sweet. (You’ll miss that car, readers. Offer me a lift now and then.)
    I once wrote in these pages that when Jess was pregnant with Joseph, almost 20 years ago, my mother said, “Now I’ll have to stay alive another 10 years to see how this turns out.” She did — and then some. And it turned out pretty well, thank God. I’d like to make it another 40 myself, and see how it turns out for Joseph’s kids. What are the chances? Bet you a dozen Dreesen’s I do it. See you Friday.
    Till then, avoid the ramp.
    LYLE GREENFIELD


Shopping Experience
    Bronx
    July 24, 2013
To the Editor,
    Since arriving in Montauk in early July, I, as usual along with the year-round residents, visit the I.G.A. I need to tell you it is probably the worst shopping experience anyone can encounter. The aisles are inundated with all types of obstructions which make it virtually impossible for people with carts to get by each other. The crowded aisles force you to wait and let the other person pass or vice versa. The deli counter is a joke with usually four or five people waiting because there’s only one person behind the counter. Finally, when you’re ready to pay you are punished again because the lines are long with understaffed checkout cashiers.
    I approached the management and asked wouldn’t it make sense to unclog the aisles and make it easier for the shoppers and they said No, that would mean less products that we have to sell.
    So in a nutshell it amounts to the I.G.A. first and the customer can kiss my ass.
GINO FAVA


A Hamptons Waitress
    East Hampton
    July 28, 2013
Dear Editor:
    My husband and I love “Tales of a Hamptons Waitress”! As residents of East Hampton for over 25 years, we’ve seen the type of customers Ms. DeWinter describes many, many times. Ms. DeWinter is witty, funny, and a wonderful writer.
    I wouldn’t wish more irate customers upon Ms. DeWinter, but if it means she’ll keep entertaining us with her tales, well — every dark cloud has a silver lining, doesn’t it?
    Rebecca DeWinter, my husband and I wish you well. You show everyone that humor can diffuse many a tense situation. Bravo to you.
CAROL GRIFFIN


Persnickety People
    East Hampton
    July 24, 2013
To the Editor,
    These commentaries on human behavior should be a television show.
    Self-important, persnickety people should be asked to leave a restaurant if they cannot show proper respect to other human beings.
    I must admit though, I enjoy reading these witty articles.
    Respectfully submitted,
    LINDA KAYE


A Line of Trucks
    East Hampton
    July 29, 2013
Dear Editor,
    I must agree with Loring Bolger and others that trucks be banned from parking on the sand on the crescent of Maidstone Beach closest to the road and along the inlet. On my drive to find a spot to swim recently, I was appalled to see vehicles parking in the area where families spread out their beach towels and chairs to watch their children swim and wade in the shallow waters. When I saw these S.U.V.s parked there, I thought, are you so lazy that you can’t carry your chair 20 feet to the water’s edge?
    I don’t personally care for the non-fishermen parking along the deeper part of the channel; however, they are not endangering small children and are a greater distance from swimmers.
    Now the portion of Maidstone Beach along the mouth of Three Mile Harbor is becoming a parking lot. Will we soon see a line of trucks parking along the beach facing Gardiner’s Bay? Next will they pave the beach to make it more convenient for trucks and S.U.V.s?
    Once upon a time, only fishermen were seen driving along on the beach to cast a fishing line. It was a lovely spot to come to with families and enjoy the water — once upon a time.
    Sincerely,
    SUSANNE KATZ

Traditions and Uses
    East Hampton
    July 29, 2013
Dear Editor,
    Citizens for Access Rights board members have recently had members of CfAR reach out to the board to express their views on some issues pertaining to East Hampton Town beaches. The inlet beach at Maidstone being one of those beaches. CfAR would like to express its support for the continued “as-is” use of this section of beach. Our group does not support any change of use or banning of any users groups from this area. CfAR believes that this beach is used in a safe and respectful manner, and in compliance with the town code. We strongly urge anyone who witnesses any misuse of this beach, or any of the town beaches, to contact the proper authorities. CfAR understands that not everyone agrees with the traditions and uses associated with this beach and we would like to take this opportunity to remind the public that the town provides approximately 2,200 feet of protected bathing beach just yards away.
    East Hampton’s beaches are a desirable place to be and are at times very crowded. CfAR asks that all user groups respect one another as well as the beaches themselves, and that when it comes to garbage, if you carry it on, please carry it off.
    Some of our members, who specifically enjoy chasing fish along the beach, have also reached out to our board with questions about the piping plover fencing restricting access along the shoreline that was put in place by the town. Our group understands and fully respects the need to protect the nesting areas during nesting season. However, it is our understanding that nesting season is over, and all fledglings are gone, and that the fences are no longer necessary. CfAR has checked with the state and it was communicated to our group that all plover fencing restricting access on state lands has been removed. CfAR does not believe that the town is leaving the fences up as a means of restricting access and we understand the town is busy during the summer months, but we are asking the proper agencies to take down the plover fencing that is restricting access along the shore.
    CfAR wishes its members and the public a safe rest of summer enjoying the beaches in East Hampton. If you are interested in finding out more about our group or if you are interested in becoming a member please visit our Web site at citizensforaccessrights.com and be sure to join us for our family outdoor movie night at Maidstone Park on August 15.
    Thank you,
    TIM TAYLOR
    President
    Citizens for Access Rights


Ban the Blowers
    Amagansett
    July 28, 2013
To the Editor:
    Applaud your July 25 editorial on the need to quiet use of unneeded leaf blowers!
    As one more vexed East Hampton Town homeowner assaulted by gasoline-powered leaf blowers often in the hands of compulsive users in spring, summer, and fall, at all hours of the day, there’s got to be a way to reduce these ear-splitting and unpredictable intrusions before users begin outfitting blowers with headlights.
    East Hampton Town should legislate laws like Southampton and Yonkers, which ban blowers from June to September. Such laws would greatly reduce choking dust clouds and gasoline fumes from floating across neighborhood lawns. Overzealous homeowners and lawn care companies are the key focal groups for tailored regulations. This could be a decisive step toward helping to restore a condition called tranquility.
BRYANT MASON


Something Must be Done
    Amagansett
    July 22, 2013
Dear Editor:
    Six-fifteen last steamy Monday morning. Windows open in the bedroom to catch what few breezes there were (we have no air-conditioning.) Instead, what comes blasting through the windows? The whrrrrrrrrr (make that wrrrrrrrrrrr!) of our no-doubt absent neighbor’s yard guy’s leaf blower.
    I hopped into the car and drove over there (we live in a part of Amagansett where it’s nearly impossible to approach neighbors’ houses on foot), pulled into the drive, rolled down the window and said to the guy “Notice my jammies? I was asleep till about five minutes ago. I know you have a job to do, but 6:15 is way too early to be doing it.”
    To his credit, he apologized and put the darned blower away. But another neighbor had his yard guy’s going from 7 in the morning till 8:15 one night. It’s gotten so you can’t sit on your deck (or, in some cases, sleep) during the week. And sometimes not on the weekends, either. I agree that something must be done.
    Thank you for listening. Reading, anyway. If you were trying to listen, you probably couldn’t hear me over the blowers.
ALICE HENRY WHITMORE


Deer, Fireflies, Bees
    East Hampton
    July 26, 2013
To the Editor,
    After the summer, two years ago, I gave in to a certain lethargy and hired someone to do my fall cleanup in my small-by-local-standards yard and garden. It was done in a flash, with spinning string trimmers and leaf blowers. While I was glad to see it finished, I had a certain uneasiness about the final product. It was a kind of scorched-earth result, with the soil in the garden beds absolutely devoid of organic material. Leaves, dried flowers, small twigs, all was gone.
    I tossed on some fertilizer and forgot about it. But the following year when the same landscaper came looking for work, I passed. I did the cleanup myself, with pruning shears and rakes of various sizes, hauled the material I no longer wanted to the dump, but ended up with richly dressed beds, material that would over the course of the winter be incorporated into the soil and make it richer and more fertile in a thoroughly natural way.
    It seems to have paid off, as everything looks splendid this year, but perhaps the bigger change was the installation of fencing to keep the deer out, and I am seeing daylilies which I haven’t seen in eight years. Still, the mild increase in fertility seems a solid plus. So, to me at least, the intolerable noise and the air pollution are not the only reasons to avoid the leaf blowers. 
    Today I saw someone using one to clean off Hither Lane. I don’t know if it was just the lane in front of a particular property, but there didn’t seem to be a dead leaf the whole length of Hither Lane. But I have also noticed that the small field at the corner of Amy’s Lane has been overflowing with fireflies in the hour or two after sunset. Yet one sees none in the adjacent properties with their fine houses and carefully trimmed yards and hedges.
    When I arrived home I found them still very active, beautiful, and entrancing.  But again, I see very few on neighboring properties. I strongly suspect it is because I do not use pesticides, and I have every evidence that most of the south-of-the-highway properties are sprayed on a regular basis with a variety of pesticides. And let’s not even bring up the subject of bees, whose population has diminished in my estimate by 95 percent since I located here 25 years ago. 
    And a thank you to Larry Penny for absolving the deer from the accusation that they had denuded the forest understory. Frankly, I never believed that the deer had been responsible. And in addition to Mr. Penny’s very clear explanation, I wonder if the near-drought conditions we had been having over a considerable amount of time (ask anyone who gets into the soil with their hands) had anything to do with it. I suspect so.
    And one more note on the deer. When I read last fall that the infrared deer count by air had begun, I said to a friend, “They’re not going to find many deer, because the deer aren’t around anymore.” Just about that time there was a very noticeable decline in their numbers, at least in the areas I frequent. I think we have to regard more than 500 deer “harvested” (such a quaint euphemism for killed) in the hunting season as our cull. No one wants to admit it for some reason, but their numbers are very reduced this summer compared to last.
    Mr. Penny’s column also called to my attention something called a nuisance permit, which I had not heard of before. Who can get such a permit? What does it allow? Are the results of such a permit documented and recorded? I, for one, would like to know. Perhaps nuisance permits are more responsible than the hunting season for the relative paucity of deer in the village on the south side of the highway. After all, could they all have simply marched off to the forest to be harvested? 
FRED KOLO


Leaf-Blowing Two Cents
    East Hampton
    July 26, 2013
Dear David,
    Ah, now I can hear myself think; the blower our landscaper uses has ceased for the day! I asked my husband to ask the guys to not blow, but they cannot seem to stop. The argument you get from most or all landscape company workers, is, “We can’t rake the lawn-clipping up. Not time-efficient. And we can’t sweep the deck of leaves in autumn, or sand-debris in summer.” My retort has always been, “Then leave the clippings, I’ll rake them up, and there is nothing on the deck, no sand, nothing but two acorns that I can pick up. In autumn, I can also (and did for years) sweep up the deck and porch leaves and acorns and rake the yard.” B.L.P., before landscaping perk due to husband’s job.
    I have a nice garden (which by the way is available for weddings, ceremonies, divorce parties, poetry readings, “tea with Mussolini” gatherings, book clubs, for a rental fee). My garden, so big and lovely due to courtesy of landscaping-perk job. I call it “baby Friar Park,” a nod to my favorite Beatle’s gorgeous estate in England. Oh, I kid you not, it is quite impressive. Modest home, in the ’hood, with huge garden. Nice, yes indeed.
    Well, that’s my leaf-blowing two cents. I say “Bah, no!” They say, “We gotta.”
    On another note, I loved George Watson’s brief letter last week stating how downtown Montauk now has a tattoo parlor.  Really it is called a tattoo studio. The tattooists are artists, and the place is quite tasteful and spotless. The owner and artists are professionals. All true, though I remain tattoo-less myself. Imagine me choosing just one word in, say, Sanskrit or Gaelic, to have inscribed. Impossible. So I let myself be. And yes, Montauk now has an astrologist, upstairs in the building across from the I.G.A. Nothing wrong or sordid about getting your palm read.
    George mentioned a future Montauk with a massage parlor with a happy ending. Only if it’s unisex, George.
    And finally, may I say there is also a rumor spreading that there is a floating brothel somewhere off Montauk. Well, that is true. But only in the fictitious sense. People who have read my novel have asked where this boat is and how they may book passage. I kid you not. A man in a fish store, of all places, asked me. He was dead serious.
    Well, enjoy the rest of summer! And try not to sweat the small-minded. Not all are, thankfully. Soon we will be beach walking and spotting seals on an empty beach on a quiet winter day.
    Visitors recently shared their dolphin photos with me. Many pods of dolphins hung out by their small boat in dolphin play, making it quite a day to remember out in Montauk, for their whole family. That is what we can hold on to, the Montauk we all remember and love.
    The bay water was fabulous the other day. I was a mermaid. All was right with the world under the clear cool water in that small space of time. And speaking of mermaids,
    Sea dreams and peace,
NANCI E. LaGARENNE


Obsessive Leaf Blower
    Amagansett
    July 29, 2013
Dear Editor,
    Hear ye, hear ye. Come see the daily leaf blower act on Atlantic Avenue, Amagansett. It has consistently run for nine years, even through the snow, in the rain, during hurricanes and northeasters, on any holiday and even on Sundays at 7 a.m.!
    The definition of insanity on Merriam-Webster.com clearly defines what may be happening here. Meanwhile, the thought of one stray leaf in the area keeps this clown act fueled up with no end in sight for the other homeowners.
    Nine neighbors have signed a petition objecting to the daily noise intrusions. It was then given to the police lieutenant, the town attorney, and several board members, but they refuse to help our besieged neighbors who only want the peaceful use of their properties restored.
    Since this obsessive-compulsive element took full-time residency here on Atlantic Avenue, there is daily disruption to what had been a peaceful street. This activity frequently occurs more than once a day, and he even does a blowing just before his lawn service companies arrive, in addition to his daily activity. In the fall and winter, he is often found out in the street 50 to 100 feet away from his home, blowing debris onto the neighbors’ property and onto public right-of-ways for the entire day! This obsessive blower claims that East Hampton laws allow him to do “whatever he wants” with his noise machine and “that’s just too bad.”
    It only takes one selfish, inconsiderate person to upset a whole neighborhood, and this guy has done it! Since no help resulted from numerous inquiries to town officials, the only escape is a set of noise-canceling headphones, which I must wear inside of my house just to be able to read, work, or relax. His machine is so loud that having a pleasant phone conversation or watching the news is impossible while he obsesses over the next leaf appearance.
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says noise degrades quality of life by impairing communication and social interaction; reducing the accuracy of work, particularly complex tasks, and creating stressful levels of frustration and aggravation that last even when the noise has ceased.
    Acoustics experts say blower noise is especially irritating because of its particular pitch, the changing amplitude, and the lack of control by the hearer.
    Otolaryngologists have this to say: “The ear is exceedingly delicate. It evolved over hundreds of millions of years to warn us of encroaching danger. The ears cannot automatically close or look away. The rip of a gas leaf blower engine induces a startle response if one is nearby. The natural protection instinct is that of ‘fight or flight.’ However, even if one is at a distance, the varying whine of the two-cycle gas engine is more distracting than the ‘white noise’ produced by a lawn mower or other equipment.”
    East Hampton used to be a progressive town greatly concerned with its quality of life, but lately it seems that the gatekeepers who were here to protect that quality of life and our property values have walked away from the job. What happened? Is East Hampton now the “wild, wild west” where the one with the biggest shotgun wins?
    The fact that your editorial appeared and that people are finally speaking up is obvious proof that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Preferably not by a board member who lives on acres of property and is protected from this, but from one who is on less than an acre property and is greatly affected. A touch of compassion and fairness would not be a bad thing either.
    How about it, town board, can you walk back to the job of protecting the taxpayers who hired you to do so? Can we please come home after working all day and enjoy hearing the birds, the breezes, and the ocean instead of an Armageddon of gas leaf blowers? Many towns throughout the country have banned the use of these machines, and hundreds of others have enforced tight regulations on the hours of use. (Yes, I used the “r” word.)
    Come on, East Hampton, let’s stop killing the goose that laid the golden egg — that is, if she hasn’t already fled from the noise!
    Sincerely.
    JAMES MacMILLAN

Shared rentals and Code enforcement
    Amagansett
    July 25, 2013
To the Editor,
    For those of us who still believe in the American justice system, the belief that the laws which are enacted to protect are rights as homeowners and our security will be upheld, when they are not, lead to disillusionment with the system.
    I live across from the Hantz property at 15 Gardiner Drive, Amagansett and have resided here for thirty-three years practicing dental medicine and surgery. For two seasons I have been subjected to a group rental. On two occasions in 2012 I have called the police complaining about the noise emanating from the stereo speakers. I have also complained about the partying at the ungodly hour from 3 to 5 in the morning. As many as twenty young adults descend from taxis at two-thirty a.m. and continue their raucous behavior until five a.m. Dead drunk they have barfed over the railing of their porch, urinated in front of my widowed neighbor whose backyard faces their backyard on Devon Road, defied me to call the police if I did not like the noise.
    I have substantiated my claim to code enforcement that there is a group of unrelated adults by photographing several license plate numbers including a Jeep from Silver Springs, Maryland, a Lexus from Maryland, two Jeeps from New York, a Toyota Jeep from Connecticut, BMW from New York, a Land rover from Darien Connecticut, a Land cruiser from New York, Honda from South Carolina, a A4 Audi from New York and another Audi from Connecticut a Mercedes Benz from Connecticut and a VolksWagon from Virginia. My conclusion is that theses unrelated young people occupying the summer share house. The main tenant is a young twenty something year old who seems to the coordinator with her boyfriend of this summer shared experience.
    Since Mary Hantz Greenfield who is acting in her mother Jeans behalf renting the house for 36,000 dollars for the summer with a 3,600 dollar security check, seems to be indifferent to my complaints, I am informing the community of my plight. Last weekend her only advice to me is to call the police when they make noise. I have started counting people who were present this weekend. They use the Hantz credentials to gain access to Gardiner Drive walkway beach access. I have notified the Amagansett East Association that the group share house is in the violation in the dune community.
    I partially blame the Corcoran real estate agency whose representative Arlene Reckson knew about this groups behavior last Labor Day weekend and did not do diligence investigating Mr. William Artz and Ms. Janet Joyce from Greenwich Village, New York, who should be the sole occupants of this rental.
    My family is directly affected by this group’s noisy behavior. Last weekend when my sister Maureen Lolonis who is a two time stage IV melanoma cancer survivor came to visit from California with the intention of resting before her visit to Sloane Kettering this week, Friday nights partying on the porch turned to a disrupted sleep and a disturbance at four a.m. in the morning. I warned the group at four thirty that I was calling the police and they scampered quickly inside carrying their ice cooler with their alcoholic beverages. Since the group disappeared I did not call the police. Later in the day when I confronted Ms .Joyce with her ten friends about the morning behavior she snippently remarked that since there was no phone call there was no evidence that there was a disturbance.
    As I mentioned I have been a dentist in this community thirty three years. I had taken care of Mr. Jack Hantz the original owner who passed away more than a decade ago from cancer. Because he had complications from his radiation treatment I cared for his dental needs until two weeks before his death. I know that he would have been disturbed by knowing that his house was being rented by such an inconsiderate group of young people, and that my sister whose health is as fragile as his once was, was greatly affected by their behavior. My only question to the Hantz family is 36,000 dollars worth a 33-year neighborly relationship based on trust and respect?
    Sincerely,
    JUNE O'REILLY, DDS

Surrounded
    East Hampton
    July 27, 2013
Dear David:
    It is about 1:30 on Saturday afternoon, an absolutely gorgeous day, clear skies, sunny, yet mild.
    It ought to be a perfect day to enjoy sitting quietly in the garden. Instead, I am surrounded by what can only be described as a cacophony, even though I have only six houses proximate to me.
    Since 9 a.m., one neighbor has been operating a table saw in their driveway, a few feet from my property line. They are milling the materials for a deck. Construction is a permitted exception to our noise law, seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., 365 days a year. But should that include milling materials that can easily be cut offsite? Why should hundreds of boards of identical length need to be cut with a table saw operating in the open air in what is supposedly a residential neighborhood?
    Then, about 15 minutes ago, the neighbors on the other side began their incessant grooming with a leaf blower. Two or three times a week, they blow off the entire lawn and empty their garden of so much as a stray twig — in the middle of summer! I have no idea why anyone would even want to do this, but they are typically not home to listen to the racket they create and don’t care. A leaf blower there on Saturday, there will be another across the way tomorrow, and another the day after.
    When a plane flies overhead, it is almost a relief. At least there is a beginning and an end to it.
    In Montauk, they are beset by clubs operating in violation of site plans and a variety of other laws. In Amagansett, by share houses and boozy beach parties. In Springs, they are becoming a vast commercial parking lot. In the village, you can shop for designer clothing and designer clothing.
    I have been here for nearly 30 years, not long perhaps by the standards of East Hampton. But long enough to observe that the place is being lost to creeping urbanization. Is this inevitable because, needless to say, someone or other is always making a buck by destroying a bit here or a bit there of the environment?
    Buying open space is not enough. The built environment matters too. Our town board is indifferent.
    Sincerely,
    DAVID GRUBER


Noisy Traffic Above
    Sag Harbor
    July 29, 2013
Dear Editor,
    The helicopter industry recommends pilots “Fly Neighborly.” Based on this past weekend’s activity, many aviators obviously interpret that recommendation to mean fly over the widest number of neighborhoods to impact the largest number of people.
    No assault has been closer to roof level this year than that by seaplanes. For every helicopter flying at a higher altitude (some pilots are indeed attempting to fly neighborly), there is a seaplane testing the limits of just how low they can go. Commuter operators Fly the Whale and Standard Air are the worst noise offenders. The complaint hot line obviously has recorded a growing number of complaints against these noisy low-flying craft as the hot line now has dedicated a fourth option for seaplane complaints. What is it that airport administration does not get? Residents are seeking a solution to noise, not additional options for reporting complaints.
    Following visits to numerous ocean and bay beaches and other waterways, one trail, and several private homes this weekend, we can attest to a large volume of noisy traffic in the skies above a broad area. Residents can thank aviation puppet Dominick Stanzione for the ever broader flight paths, as he continues to support the industry interests, no matter what, in their desire to ensure more aircraft access the airport and the airport remains open 24/7 to any craft able to land on its runways. Visit the airport and take a look at some of the huge jets and helicopters now landing there. If the town accepts additional Federal Aviation Administration grants, as urged by Stanzione, his friends the East Hampton Aviation Association, and the air charter industry, that action would ensure that for the next two decades the aviation industry can continue, largely without restrictions, to send ever larger and more numerous craft over our homes at any hour day and night.
    Today, Monday, the industry’s version of Flying Neighborly began well before the “voluntary” curfew of 7 a.m., and throughout the weekend “voluntary” northern helicopter route recommendations — inbound east and outbound west — were ignored by some, while other operators failed to adhere to the recommended flight paths, and many more strayed miles left or right from recommended paths. Voluntary “fly at higher altitudes” also met with limited success as some operators — most often the large white and also the black helicopters, the most egregious offenders — thumbed their noses at residents.
    The plan to “voluntarily” curtail aviation noise has been an abysmal failure; there has been no noise abatement after decades of growing numbers of complaints, yet every opportunity to work together with community representatives has been afforded the airport and aviation industry. Despite erroneous claims by Stanzione’s friends in the East Hampton Aviation Association, the F.A.A. has indicated — in writing — that the airport can impose restrictions as of end of December 2014, that is if no additional F.A.A. funds are accepted by the town. It is time for the community to bring about a solution to airport noise. The first step will be not re-electing Dom­inick Stanzione, who will continue only to work toward fulfilling the dreams of his masters, the aviation industry.
    Thank you,
    PATRICIA CURRIE


Refuse F.A.A. Funding
    Sagaponack
    July 28, 2013
Dear Editor:
    The East Hampton Star pages have been lately filled with many arguments about the value of East Hampton Airport. The arguments have been waged by two opposing camps, one critical of the negative impact of the airport and the other praising the airport as an asset to the town. I think it is instructive to understand the motivation of the various players.
    Those arguing in favor of the airport have, by and large, vested economic interests in the continued existence, if not growth, of the airport. For them, the fact that the airport has negative noise consequences matters little. Aviation interests almost all admit to the noise problem, but for almost 25 years this admission has resulted in only increased noise disruption. Their claim rings false. The aviation interests have to be reminded that economic interests are not always aligned with the greatest public interest.
    Those protesting the adverse impact that the airport has on our community do not have economic interests to protect. They are providing public service in trying to re-establish quiet enjoyment of our homes. So, David Gruber, Pat Trunzo, members of the Quiet Skies Coalition and others, arguing for local control of the airport (no more F.A.A. funding), should be lauded for their public service efforts.
    The arguments center on legal opinions having to do with the consequences of acceptance of F.A.A. funding and what that means about the town’s ability to exercise local control over types of aircraft, hours of operation of the airport, and frequency of flights. Many citizens, concerned about the noise, who want to understand the issues can be puzzled by the details and complexities of these arguments.
    It is hard to leave all the legalese behind: Refusing additional F.A.A. funding is critical. New F.A.A. funding will legally bind East Hampton Town to keep the airport open 24/7/365, with no restrictions on aircraft type, hours of operation, or frequency, for 20 more years. Existing funding restrictions end Dec. 31, 2014. The fact that the aviation interests are so single-minded in supporting F.A.A. funding should alert everyone that they understand that the demise of these “funding restrictions” would mean return of local control to East Hampton and some restrictions to their activities. Most important, peace and quiet would return to all our neighborhoods.
    A new election in the fall will be pivotal in determining whether the town decides to take back local control of the airport and acknowledge the total lack of progress in controlling the increasing degradation of our neighborhoods from airport activity. The residents of East Hampton Town are enfranchised to vote and choose candidates who commit themselves to the preservation of the environment. The Republican Party has a pro-airport history. Dominick Stan­zione, the only Republican Board member running for re-election, is clearly aligned with aviation interests and should be rejected in favor of someone else more sympathetic with tranquility. Unless the new candidates for town board, whatever party, openly state that they will refuse further F.A.A. funding, they should be rejected in favor of candidates who commit to refuse any more F.A.A. funding.
    Disenfranchised residents living elsewhere will be most thankful.
STEPHEN LEVINE


Support the Position
    Bridgehampton
    July 26, 2013
Dear Editor,
    I find it rather curious that David Gruber and Jeffrey Bragman, attorneys who have never practiced aviation law, would be so quick to attack two of the top aviation lawyers in the country who independently came to the same conclusion that the town could accept Federal Aviation Administration funding and still institute mandatory curfews and access limitations on helicopters at East Hampton Airport.
    Peter Kirsch, an aviation attorney, was hired by the Town of East Hampton during the McGintee administration, in part at the urging of Mr. Gruber, in order to advise the town on matters concerning the airport, in particular the possibility of imposing flight restrictions on aircraft, specifically, helicopters. The report of recommendations he made to the town, which, not surprisingly, did not support Mr. Gruber’s position, was not made public and mysteriously disappeared, only to reappear again early in the Wilkinson administration.
    Mr. Kirsch had been involved in the lawsuit between Naples Municipal Airport and the F.A.A., which took several years and cost Naples upward of $6 million.
    Unfortunately Mr. Gruber did not do his homework or he would have realized the only result of the lawsuit was the restriction of stage-two jet aircraft, which rarely used that airport and have rarely used East Hampton Airport, and will be banned from U.S. skies at the end of 2015 anyway. I wouldn’t consider that as a practical use of municipal resources to essentially accomplish nothing.
    David Schaffer, an aviation attorney with over 20 years of extensive experience as senior council and staff director for the House Aviation Subcommittee and an attorney and adviser for the Civil Aeronautics Board for six years, and over nine years in private practice, representing government and private aviation clients, was retained by the East Hampton Aviation Association on the recommendation of Anthony Pasca, its attorney, and came to the same conclusion as Mr. Kirsch, that accepting F.A.A. funding does not change or inhibit the town’s ability to impose reasonable and non-arbitrary restrictions.
    As one would expect, Mr. Gruber and his supporters are already trying to manipulate and inhibit the gathering of the data necessary to start the process of requesting restrictions for noise abatement.
    To date, the town has paid $265,000 for the original Harris, Miller, Miller and Hanson noise study in 2004 and will be spending at least another $50,000 to start the most recent noise study and expended additional money for a ground monitoring system, an airborne monitoring and tracking system, a noise reporting hot line, and a seasonal control tower, all totaling several million dollars in a serious attempt to address noise and traffic issues of concern to town residents. None of these expenses are paid out of town taxes, they are borne entirely by the airport budget.
    The most recent articles in local papers concerning air route changes and lawsuits involving helicopter operators only go to support the position taken by the town to work toward properly applying for restrictions through the F.A.A. process, and not by trying to force the issue with lawsuits.
    (And, David, watch out for those dirty, dangerous commas that I like to use!)
    Cordially,
    GENE OSHRIN


Smart Lighting Code
    Springs
    July 29, 2013
Dear David,
    I have read the draft prepared by [East Hampton Town Councilwoman Theresa] Quigley’s lighting committee. While there are a few amendments that are needed to update the current 2006 Smart Lighting Code, it is not necessary to repeal the code and to replace it, as they recommend, with a code that renders the current code null and void. That would be the result of enacting the committee’s recommendation. It makes it impossible for building inspectors, code enforcement, and the Planning Department to assure compliance.
    The building inspector (who is now able to perform checks during the day to assure compliance) would need to walk the perimeter of a property (at night!) and then check each lightbulb (an unlimited number of bare bulbs is allowed) to see if they are under a certain lumen amount. (What happens when the bulb is changed?)
    Commercial-grade lighting would not be checked (currently with an administrative permit) prior to installation. If it does not meet the code, the business would have to pay for lighting equipment twice. Who does that benefit?
    There are many problems with this draft, but it meets Quigley’s unending quest to get rid of the 2006 Smart Lighting Code. The primary authors of Quigley’s lighting committee’s draft are a lighting equipment salesman and the lobbyist for the business alliance.  No independent lighting professional was consulted.
    In the new administration, I believe that any and all legitimate updates to the code can be addressed. In the meantime, citizens need to be on alert in case a repeal-replacement law advances to a hearing.
    SUSAN HARDER
    Dark Sky Association


Little or no Action
    Amagansett
    July 28, 2013
To the Editor:
    About 10 years ago, I drove my family to Albert’s Landing beach, parked the car without rolling up the window to show my resident’s permit, and after 10 minutes of setting up the umbrellas, etc., found, on my return, a parking ticket on my windshield. I must admit that this brand of code enforcement might be a little too robust, but what we have now, throughout the township, is a code enforcement function that is understaffed, underencouraged, and in a state of neglect.
    Throughout our town we have disregard for construction codes, illegal setbacks, absence of building permits prior to start of construction, verbal okays, all in direct violation of existing rules. Many houses rented as party houses‚ with 30 to 40 people being bussed or taxied in for weekends of 24-hour noise and debris — reported to police with little or no action to contact the owner or warn the partyers of the existing rules of conduct . . . . [Also], many years of the Springs residents’ complaints of the wholesale abuse of the housing code, with no action.
    It is sad to recall that last year, in several establishments in Montauk, we found that there were over 600 violations issued which were routinely disregarded. Still, with this inexcusable record, the need to strengthen our enforcement activities seemed to be of little or no interest to the current Republican administration.
    This across-the-board neglect of following the rules can only exist if the leadership at the top is missing or if its priorities are elsewhere. If the prime aim is to be business first‚ town second‚ that would explain it.
    Despite the expensive newspaper ads, the absence of leadership in demanding adherence to existing codes was practiced by all three Republican members of the board. With a change of administration in the fall, it is clear there will be a return to a sane policy. But it is a long time between now and Jan. 1.
IRVING HIRSCHBERG


Sleep-Deprived People
    Amagansett
    July 23, 2013
Dear David,
    I am somewhat certain that the young summer inhabitants of the house to the west of mine are perfectly lovely, in their sobriety. I have only experienced the 17 or so occupants in complete, incredibly loud, inebriation.
    The noise pollution issue gets little attention from local code enforcement (they have no enforcers). The local police warn me against delicious retaliation. The realtor, A.R., who works for C, is past caring.
    But sleep-deprived people make mistakes: You can dole out the wrong medication; the dental drill can slip; the nail gun can find the wrong target, etc.
    Think about it.
    I am beyond testy, but still,
    All good things,
    DIANA WALKER


Timid Approach
    East Hampton
    July 29, 2013
Dear David:
    It has come to my attention that the code enforcement division of the Town of East Hampton has adopted a very timid approach with respect to the circumstances under which it will seek an administrative search warrant from the town justice court in order to authorize going into homes to investigate violations of the town code. I am aware of a specific instance in which the enforcement division has refused to seek such a search warrant, notwithstanding the fact that a homeowner in a waterfront community has submitted photographs showing a bus arriving on a Friday night and discharging 30 passengers who proceeded to go into the house in question. Photographs were also taken on Sunday night showing a bus arriving to take this large group of people leaving this house.
    While on the one hand a lawyer (here, the town attorney) should not go to court when there is no basis for doing so, as this is professionally irresponsible, on the other hand a lawyer does not need a “slam-dunk case” in order to justify going to court. As a practicing lawyer I am now retired, I undertook many cases in which I advised my client that I could not guarantee achieving the client’s desires. Similarly the town attorneys office may not be able to guarantee that a judge will issue an administrative search warrant but certainly would not be acting irresponsibly in seeking one under the facts presented in the case of the bus with 30 passengers photographed entering and leaving a house.
    There is another case pending where a resident documented 14 cars, many with out-of-state license plates, parked at another beachfront house. In both cases the resident has informed the code enforcement department that there is loud music and loud noise coming from the voices of the residents into the wee hours of the morning. Clearly, these facts point to illegal overcrowded occupancy, which can only be proven by entering the house in question. An administrative search warrant permits such entry. The town of Southampton has six code enforcement officers and has sought and obtained administrative search warrants.
    I believe that the timidity of which I speak is part and parcel of an abandonment of code enforcement in general whether it be by allowing vehicles without parking permits or dogs not on leashes on our town beaches, or failing to stop beer parties at Indian Wells Beach carried out by people who are brought there by bus or taxi to obviate their need for a town parking permit. There is no reason why the Town of East Hampton should not beef up its code enforcement staff, seek administrative search warrants in cases like the ones I have discussed, as well as take action on the other abuses I have mentioned.
    I wonder whether all of what I have described emanates from the pro-business policies of the Republican town board majority, as exemplified most recently by that majority’s granting of a permit for the gathering of 4,000 people at the Montauk Yacht Club over the objection of the two Democratic town board members. Last week’s edition of The East Hampton Press featured a story that belied the claims that this event was charitable.
    It is time for change, which can be accomplished at the polls this November by electing a slate of Democratic candidates who will put the quality of life of the residents of the Town of East Hampton before the narrow business interests that the Republican majority has catered to. I believe that those narrow interests have been funding the huge outlays of money necessary to pay for the unending advertisements of Dom­inick Stanzione.
DAVID J. WEINSTEIN


Shark Attack Event
    Springs
    July 28, 2013
Dear David,
    Who’s lying? Watching the recent East Hampton Town Board meeting when the Shark Attack event was being discussed and the details worked out — parking lots, transportation to and from the event, and whatever would serve the promoters best. It was heartening to hear Peter Van Scoyoc talking about the people who live here and caring about the imposition this event would have on us on the most special weekend of the summer season. He spoke poignantly about what the townspeople might be doing and how the influx of all these people would affect their needs and plans for the weekend.
    I was on Route 27 that Friday afternoon trying to meet with a friend at Wolffer. The parking for the event that afternoon was Route 27. The cars literally were moving an inch a minute. I had to get off the road as quickly as possible and drive north to meet my friend in Sag Harbor. 
    What happened when that concert ended and almost 4,000 folks descended on Montauk had to have been a nightmare. One can only commiserate with the people of Montauk. But the lying happened when Patch and other media declared the Shark Attack a success and that the event was going to benefit Montauk Playhouse. Personally, I think the shark ate some peace from many lives.
    Oh well, as long as money was made, the promoters walked away with a satchel of cash, and those from the west had a good time, who cares what price the citizens of the town paid in the quality of their lives and the cost of town employees who provided the necessary support? Business first at any price to the community.
    Sincerely,
    PHYLLIS ITALIANO


We Need That Hunt
    East Hampton
    July 23, 2013
Dear David,
    One of the members of the East Hampton Group for Wildlife recently wrote that “we should all slow down” so as to avoid deer-car collisions. This is a ridiculous statement. The vast majority of these accidents occur in a split second when the driver has no chance to make an evasive maneuver. The speed of the car does not make a difference. My friend just told me yesterday that he was going 25 miles per hour on Dunemere because it is a speed trap and he was whacked broadside big time.
    As for all their talk of birth control; even if successful it would not reduce the herd now. And how in the world could a good number of bucks be shot with a dart? Hunters hike or wait for hours to spot just one.
    I drive a taxi and topic number two (after the weather) in conversation with my customers is the deer problem. I would say 24 out of the last 25 discussions I’ve had with people favor a professional cull hunt. One lady from Grant Avenue even said to me, “My Bambi days are over.”
    We need that hunt, and we need it soon. 
CHIP DAYTON

A Smarter Choice
    Springs
    July 29, 2013
Dear Editor,
    In response to a letter last week quoting a Newsday report that “aerial pesticide spraying has helped reduce mosquito populations, and the American Medical Association Journal suggests (italics all mine) pesticide spraying to have negligible human health effects.
    I envision a future report which states that ecological management (as Deborah Klughers briefly outlines in her July 4 letter) has reduced the mosquito population with no human health effects (and no ecological effects in which humans are intricately interrelated).
    Isn’t that a smarter choice going forward, rather than harboring fear of a removed pesticide which is only a temporary solution that needs to be repeated over and over and the fever has still “swept across the country with uncommon speed” since 1999?
ROBIN BARTON


Feral Cat Poem #57
a hermit crab plays peekaboo
on my open palm

a swift red fox aesops across
my treeline

but nary a feral cat in sight
since the “Big Fix.”

Spooky.
ED HANNIBAL


Partisan Rhetoric
    Springs
    July 29, 2013
To the Editor:
    Larry Mayer is certainly entitled to his opinion as expressed in a letter in last week’s East Hampton Star. However, as a Democratic committeeman he should get his facts straight. I am not retired. Mr. Mayer knows nothing of my education and is in no position to know my thoughts. I have never seen Mr. Mayer at a school board meeting, which is most likely the reason why the rest of his letter contains erroneous and misleading statements.
    Calling the ethical issues surrounding the Springs School principal “phony” is as silly as the president referencing the scandals at the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Justice, and Benghazi as phony. The sad purpose of such silly pronouncements is to distract from unpleasant issues, in this case issues surrounding Ms. Burke-Gonzalez’s candidacy for town board. There is evidence to back every statement in my letter. Can Mr. Mayer say the same?
    Mr. Mayer is trying to shoot the messenger‚ rather than address the message. The public wants an informed discussion on the issues and mudslinging is not likely to cut it with the voters. I am not running for any office and have no agenda other than a desire for open, responsive, and good government. Demo­crats would do well to follow the leadership of Larry Cantwell, who has taken a positive approach, stating his plans and goals and reaching out to people throughout town to discuss relevant issues.
    As for the pre-K issues Mr. Mayer raises, the question is not whether pre-K programs are good for children, but the content and purpose of the programs and who can and should pay for them. During Ms. Burke-Gonzalez’s  eight years on the Springs School Board our school tax rate has increased 69 percent (from $536.14 to $906.45 per $1,000 of assessed value), with 4.71 percent increases in each of the last two years. If Mr. Mayer can stop the partisan rhetoric, I would be happy to discuss these issues with him when I am not at work.
CAROL BUDA


Finance Report
    Amagansett
    July 29, 2013
Dear David,
    The Democratic campaign has called attention to published statements by Supervisor Wilkinson and Republican Committee Secretary Campolo, describing Councilman and candidate Dom­inick Stanzione as deceptive and untrustworthy. If anybody thought those comments were exaggerated, or just blowing off steam, they should check out Mr. Stanzione’s recent false campaign reports with the Board of Elections.
    New York’s election laws require regular reporting about campaign contributions, including the amounts, names, and addresses of donors, as well as an accounting of campaign expenses. Councilman Stanzione’s authorized re-election campaign committee is Friends of Dominick Stanzione. Councilman Stanzione is the treasurer of the committee with responsibility for the contents and filing of the report.
    On March 28, April 4, April 11, and June 6, 2013, a full-page advertisement in support of Councilman Stanzione’s re-election bid appeared in The East Hampton Star. The same advertisement appeared in other local newspapers and on the East Hampton Patch Web site. The ad is attributed to Friends of Dom­inick Stanzione. Councilman Stan­zione has also run radio ads on WLNG.
    Someone must have paid for these ads, and Mr. Stanzione must know who it was. Yet for the reporting period ending on July 11, Councilman Stanzione filed a campaign finance report with the New York State Board of Elections, claiming “no activity,” neither receipts nor expenditures — for the six months since the last filing in January 2013. The East Hampton Town Republican Committee failed to file any report at all for the period ending July 11.
    Intentionally filing a false campaign finance report can be prosecuted as a Class E felony under [the] New York Penal Code, “Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree.”
    As a town councilman, Mr. Stanzione makes local laws that all of us are obliged to follow. That he so blithely ignores laws that apply to him should raise serious questions in the minds of the voters about his fitness for public office.
    Sincerely yours,
    JEANNE FRANKL


For Town Justice
    Amagansett
    July 29, 2013
Dear David,
    Usually, I enjoy reading Arthur French’s letters to the editor, but his letter endorsing the Republican candidate for town justice doesn’t have his usual supporting facts. His only stated basis of support is that the candidate was a former prosecutor, as was his father before him for whatever that is worth.
    Steven Tekulsky, the Democratic and Working Families Party candidate for town justice, started his 35-year legal career as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan, but has done so much more since then. After several years as a partner in a civil law firm, Steven has spent 25 years representing local families in East Hampton in every kind of case that appears in Justice Court. He has been found “qualified” to serve as town justice by the Suffolk County Bar Association’s Judiciary Screening Committee. Steven is also well known in this community for having raised his family here and for being a respected public servant in many ways: former chief of the East Hampton Fire Department and longtime member; member of the East Hampton Town board of assessment review; pro bono attorney for Citizens for Access Rights and the East Hampton Sportsmen’s Alliance; Little League coach, and in many other ways.
    Steven is without a doubt the most experienced candidate for town justice and I hope you will join me in voting for him on Nov. 5.
RONA KLOPMAN


Candidate’s Record
    Amagansett
    July 29, 2013
Dear David,
    A recent letter to The Star gave an unqualified endorsement to a candidate for town Justice, Carl Irace. Apparently the writer was not up to date regarding the candidate’s East Hampton record.
    Mr. Irace worked in the Town Attorney’s office for two years. In that time, he was the Zoning Board of Appeals’ own lawyer, but failed to check out an Article 78 filed by a resident in the Beach Hampton section. This resident had tried for 10 years to obtain four significant variances (one of which was to install a septic system too near to the wetlands on this property that contained two ponds and wetlands). These requests were unanimously denied by the Z.B.A. As the current attorney for the Zoning Board, he received the court papers filed by the resident to appeal the ruling of the Z.B.A.. But he failed to show up in court to represent the Z.B.A. for the town, and as its attorney to fight to uphold its decision. As a result, the resident won the appeal by default.
    One would hope that a candidate for this important position, town justice, would at the very least show up in court.
    Sincerely,
    LARRY MARCUS


For Or Against
    East Hampton
    July 29, 2013
Dear David,
    Once again Councilman Stanzione failed to take a decisive stand on an important issue that affects the health and safety of our community. When the vote to join with other East End towns in a regional effort to protect the Peconic Estuary came to the floor, wishy-washy Dominick abstained. An abstention is in effect a “no” vote. He attempted damage control by claiming that he would vote for such a resolution in the future.
    It seems to me that you’re either for it or against it — unless of course you want to placate your political cronies whose support you seek in the upcoming election. If Mr. Stanzione really cares about protecting our environment he should have simply said, “Yes.”
NAOMI SALZ


Straight to the Top
    East Hampton
    July 29, 2013
To the Editor;
    Wow, talk about a bitch slap of reality right here on the front cover of our local newspaper: “Waldbaum’s Reduces Work Force.” All you have to do is thank that marvelous gift that will keep on giving for years, Obamacare. Is this not exactly the type of thing Democrats were told was going to happen when they rammed through this idiotic bill and shoved it down our throats? No, no, they said, don’t be ridiculous.
    Well liberals, tell that to the people who are losing their care and losing their hours. We read about the people who are suffering because of this, the union rep who wants to stop it. Hey, here is an idea union guy, why don’t you call your good friend of the union Rep. Tim Bishop (D) who voted for this stupid bill. Or maybe you can give union friend Chuck “You” Schumer (D) and his sock puppet Giggly Gillibrand (D) a holler and they can sort this out for you.
    Heck, why stop there, go straight to the top and the head union boss of all union bosses; Barack Hussein Obama (S, socialist). Maybe you can get good old Barry to explain again how you were not going to lose your coverage and keep your doctor. You can also ask him why, if his plan is so good, he is putting off full implementation of it for one more year for big businesses — companies like the one that owns Waldbaum’s — again.
    It could not be for crass political reasons, the fact that if all of these big companies started to shed employees and reduce hours for the ones they keep because of Obamacare that it would have a negative impact on the economy and that would look bad for the president and his Democratic pals in the run-up for the 2014 mid-term elections. Not possible, not with Barack Obama, he told us the economy is improving — if you think historically high unemployment rates, record low work force participation, and declining middle-class income are great.
    Say, don’t Democrats keep babbling on and on how they are here for the middle class. If so, why does Barack Obama exempt Big Business for another year but stick it to the middle-class again. For such a friend of the little guy he certainly has no problem raising your taxes and then making you obey his law but letting the evil corporations off the hook. If this is standing up for you, I would hate to see what old Barry would do if he wasn’t in your corner.
    Nope, you get what you deserve America. Just enough fools voted for the Clown Prince of America, Barack “It’s not my fault” Obama, to give him four more years to complete the destruction of the country. Just think about this, Obama told us all in the 2012 election he saved Detroit. He did such a good job that the city is filing for bankruptcy and now he is going to save America. God help us all.
MICHAEL D. BOUKER


By Design
    East Hampton
    July 29, 2013
To the Editor,
    On the day that President Obama mildly chastises the Republicans in Congress for screwing the American middle class, and the same group votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act for the 40th time without proposing an alternative plan, 80 percent of the population goes to bed a little poorer and a little more desperate.  What Mr. Obama didn’t say in his economy speech is that the fairest, most realistic description of this Congress is scumbag universe.
    Cloistered in the inner recesses of our Democratic government is a group of mostly men whose negativity and fanatical zeal is reminiscent of neo-Nazi and religious fundamentalist movements. While lacking in any functional philosophical rationale besides shrinking the size of government, this group obstructs and destroys every attempt to salvage our middle class from its current malaise. The fates of 280 million Americans have no bearing on their machinations and objective.
    Every morning when 250 million Americans take stock of their situations they see the trajectory of their lives trending downward. They feel a sense of utter helplessness in the face of an economy that leaves them alone without representation. They see a government doing nothing to change the transformation of the economy. They see despair and darkness, and are absolutely right.
    What they seem not to understand that inside our government a group of politicians works diligently to guarantee that the economy grows only at the top and that the economic transformation to El Salvador continues. It is not caused by the mindless drivel of globalization, the recent recession/depression, or the mortgage crisis, but by long-term policies and short-term intervention that have been carefully put in place since the early 1980s.
    Scumbag universe exists not to propose alternative routes to redesign our failing system but to obstruct any programs that might get that process moving.
    When you ask a member of scumbag universe about raising the minimum wage, he says it should not be raised but abolished (not based on productivity, which would put it at $22 an hour, but on corporate profits).
    When you ask them about creating good-paying jobs (virtually none have been created since 2000), they say, “Get the government out of the way, and the economy will boom.”
    When you propose rebuilding our infrastructure and improving our education system. The response, “Duh,” “no spending without deductions” or, “Let’s keep the status quo.”
    When you ask scumbag universe how long it will take before the middle class comes back to life, they say we have to reduce the deficit.
    They are not incompetent. They aren’t stupid. What they do is by design. They are destroying our homes and our lives. Maybe the country needs a national stand-your-ground law that allows us to protect ourselves from the real terrorists that are threatening our existence.
NEIL HAUSIG
 

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