'You Are My Hero’
August 12, 2013
To the Editor,
I would like to share my experience yesterday.
I was helping at a brunch here in East Hampton and one of the guests was Gabby Gifford. Just to see her I was full of emotion. I helped her up two steps and said to her softly, “You are my hero.” She held on to my hand very tightly. I gave her a glass of O.J.
Later, about two hours passed and everyone started to leave. I was busy cleaning up and she came up the two steps, smiled at me, held my hand and gave me a kiss on the cheek.
I had a hard time to control my emotions. It was fantastic to me to see this incredible, brave woman, and to have had the opportunity to get close to her.
August 12, 2013
It has been my joy and privilege to be part of the Ellen’s Run group for 17 of the 18 years that it has become such a powerful agency for the health of the East End. In that time it has helped create the Ellen Hermanson Breast Cancer Center, Ellen’s Well, untold supportive services, and helped to provide equipment that has made Southampton Hospital into a major oncological center.
This year with our Pink Apron party on this Saturday and the Ellen’s Run race on Sunday, we hope to pay for a state-of-the-art 3-D imaging system that will greatly improve the diagnosis of breast cancer and help save lives. I hope that if your readers cannot attend either of these events that they will go to the Ellen’s Run Web site and contribute to this truly vital local charity.
HOWARD JOHN LEBWITH
The True Star
August 8, 2013
To the Editor,
A correction to “Giovanni Is Found” (Aug. 5).
Dina Vamavakis and Leonard Frankel were correct that it took a village to find him. There were many heroes and heroines involved that day in trying to find and get Giovanni home safe. It was very much a team effort of everyone in the community, and our small group, which consisted of the producer Cary Woods and his 8-year-old son Jack, who was visiting from London; the actress and model Missy Hargraves, and myself.
But in fact it was Missy Hargraves who was the true “Star” that day as it was Missy, not me, who ran barefoot for miles and was finally able to rescue Giovanni.
I Say ‘Get Out’!
August 12, 2013
To the Editor,
As parents we encourage our children to join the group, play nicely, and make new friends. We also encourage good manners, following norms, and obeying rules. Don’t yell, don’t hit, respect each other, respect each other’s space. “Play nicely in the sandbox, children.” If they didn’t, any good parent would remove their child from the sandbox.
To all the visitors of Montauk I urge the same. Please play nicely or get out of the sandbox. To the customers that relentlessly harass our hard-working, dedicated, diligent, and exhausted employees I say “Get out!” To the patrons of the local grocery who complain of the lack of selection, long lines, and overpricing, I say “Get out!”
To the drivers that disregard traffic signs and use unwarranted handicap spots I say “Get out!” To the joggers, cyclists, and pedestrians that feel they are more entitled to the road than my 5,000-pound vehicle I say “Get out!” To those pedestrians that refuse to cross in the pedestrian crosswalk I say “Get out!” To the customers that don’t even try to understand that they are one of thousands waiting to dine in the same three-hour time frame and ignore the fact that because of this they will have a two-hour wait, I say “Get out!” To the same patrons that then insult, berate, degrade, belittle, and harass my daughters and your sons and daughters, I say “Get out!”
And if the residents (locals) of Montauk think me crazy for not wanting to just take money from these visitors with a great big smile on my face, I say shame on you. Has everyone discarded their self-respect, morals, and standards that make this blood money worth this rudeness, madness, and insane behavior bestowed upon us? Doesn’t anyone else miss being able to go anywhere without a line or a wait? Doesn’t anyone else miss going to our beautiful beaches, finding a parking spot or perhaps even going out to dinner without encountering rude and dismissive behavior? Doesn’t anyone else miss the Montauk we all once knew and loved? Is their money really worth the sacrifice?
And to all the visitors that can’t tolerate the change in Montauk — the lines, the waits, the crowds, the oversaturation of what used to be our lovely little beach town, with understanding, patience, kindness, and humanity, I say “Play nicely or find a new sandbox!”
Zip On By
August 11, 2013
To the Editor:
“The indoctrination and education of both disciplines to ensure the safety of everyone using our scenic roadways.”
This was part of a statement by East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. regarding the safety of all who use our roads.
I have lived on Fireplace Road for over 40 years. In the ’70s and ’80s it was pleasant and quiet, but then it opened up and now Fireplace Road is a superhighway. Thirty miles an hour, that’s what the signs say. Forget about that! Not only the cars zip on by but large dump trucks and long trailer trucks zip by, bicycles are on the wrong side of the road, people of all ages walk on the wrong side of the road, cellphones glued to their ears, all completely unaware of the vehicles looming up behind them.
Walk facing the traffic. Ride with the traffic. These rules have been in force since my children learned them in Springs School over 40 years ago. So why are these rules which have been in effect for over 40 years not being enforced? How many children must die before action is taken?
I offer my driveway, right on Fireplace Road, to any member of the police department or to our mayor to come and sit in the shade of my old oak tree and to stop and ticket all cars, walkers, and bicycles, etc., who zip by them, ignoring the rules.
I’ll even give them coffee and a baklava.
Sidewalk to Nowhere
August 6, 2013
After reading the Aug. 1 article in The East Hampton Star titled “Safer Route to Springs School‚” outlining the proposed road safety improvements along Fireplace Road stretching from School Street to Woodbine Drive, I cannot help but wonder how this ill-conceived idea will both balance the safety issue yet maintain the beautiful and rural quality of our Springs hamlet.
The proposal includes tearing up homeowners’ front lawns to lay concrete sidewalks and curbs, moving power lines to who knows where, and erecting numerous electric poles with flashing yellow lights and radar screens. Of course, these “improvements” will be accompanied by a multitude of redundant road signs, informing you of the visual pollution you will see in the next 1,800 feet!
Homeowners in the line of fire of this sidewalk to nowhere should be aware of the negative environmental impact they will incur, unless they enjoy living in a Nassau County-type setting.
Remember with caution the incompetent bureaucrats on the previous Springs School Board, whose legacy is the school bus parking lot on scenic Old Stone Highway, featuring glaring spotlights and a barbed-wire chain-link fence.
Once again, you can bet that anyone associated with this proposal does not live anywhere near this proposed sidewalk area.
August 5, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray:
Your sportswriter, Jack Graves, made me famous again last week when I sat for an interview regarding my recent National Tennis victory in Cleveland, Ohio. I have been inundated with phone calls and congratulations everywhere I go. As I promised Jack, I do not plan to compete again in the Nationals but will continue to play at the state level.
I thank you, The East Hampton Star, and Jack Graves for the very flattering write-up you afforded me. Winning the Nationals was an event I will always remember and Jack’s article will be a part of that memory.
As I routinely do, I will compete extensively in the summer months, while in the fall, winter, and spring I will turn my attention to humanitarian works that help those less fortunate than I. Thanks again for the fine article.
Ban the Blowers
August 10, 2013
Thank you for your editorial on July 25 with reference to leaf-blower abuse in East Hampton Town.
The road to political change is long and full of potholes. I’ve achieved some success in my Northwest Landing neighborhood by simply asking my neighbors to instruct their landscape people to not use leaf blowers on their property. Eight out of ten homes have done so. I encourage everyone in town to do the same.
For Ban the Blowers East Hampton, peace.
Art ‘Road Show’
August 12, 2013
As someone who has grown up out in Springs and attended East Hampton High School, I had the typical teenage desire to run off someplace else upon graduation. It wasn’t until I was nestled away in a small town at a small college in Pennsylvania that I realized how desensitized I had become of what “the Hamptons” meant or even was.
When I began to study art communities of the Lower East Side of Manhattan of the 1940s and ’50s I became fascinated at how the smallest of locations (i.e., the Five Spot Cafe at 5 Cooper Square) were frequented by eccentric poets, artists, and musicians, all sharing a common worldview and aesthetic. It wasn’t long until I realized that the tiny little Pollock-Krasner House that I had grown up right around the corner from was an example of how that community had found a similar foothold here in Springs.
It turns out I wasn’t only desensitized by “the Hamptons” as a teen, I was also naive to its rich artistic and cultural history! I was delighted to see on my drive home from work this past Saturday (Aug. 10) a sign sticking out of the side of Three Mile Harbor Road saying there was an art “road show” event currently going on that was being hosted by the Parrish Art Museum of Southampton. I hopped on my bike and rode over there to discover a gem of a location that had belonged to the late artist and textile designer John Little. The event must have been a huge success, because there were people everywhere enjoying this space perfectly suited for public events that had been under the radar of even someone who lived literally down the street.
It is exactly these kinds of events that we need more of to share with the local community and outsiders alike, so that the rich artistic history can be revealed to those wanting to listen. There’s something special about sharing new art on the grounds of past legends. What better way to continue the passing of the torch throughout the generations? I’d hate for someone like me to grow up out here only to be blind to the culture nestled among the quiet woods of our beautiful hamlet.
For all of this, I want to thank the Town of East Hampton for allowing such an event to take place, as well as the Parrish Art Museum for picking Sydney Albertini as the artist to showcase in such a space. I’m grateful that there are those out there with the means and voice to make events such as this a possibility. Don’t stop!
The Right Balance
August 12, 2013
Last Saturday night, several hundred people attended an art opening in the 19th-century barn of Duck Creek Farm. This property, with its rich history, was purchased by the Community Preservation Fund in 2005.
In the past, I have been a critic of the misuse of C.P.F. monies. However, I have also commented that not enough money was being allocated to maintain the properties which the C.P.F. had purchased, and not enough thought and effort were being devoted to making appropriate properties available for public use. This event shows that the right balance can be found if one keeps in mind both the rules and intentions of the C.P.F. law.
The event was an unqualified success! Special thanks go to Councilman Van Scoyoc, who spearheaded the repair work that was needed to make the barn available and safe; to Tony Littman and the parks and building maintenance crew who pursued the work with diligence and enthusiasm; to Loring Bolger, the chair of the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee, and to the Duck Creek Farm Homeowners Association and its president, Ira Barocas. Of course, much appreciation is due the artist, Sydney Albertini, who put on a visually exciting and fun-loving display.
In March 2010, I ended the preface to my analysis of the financial history of the Community Preservation Fund: “We must keep in mind that the goal [of the fund] is expressed in the name Community Preservation Fund. Yes, we are to preserve farms, and land, and historic buildings. But most of all, the fund was created to preserve our community.”
This event’s success heralds that the C.P.F. program can foster and preserve our community spirit.
The Mirror Test
August 12, 2013
Whether we are politicians holding public office, professionals, or just ordinary people, we all have to make decisions. Wise decisions are usually made after investigation of the facts in play with regard to the issue at hand. Sometimes, following such investigation, the making of a decision is not clear-cut. That reality does not let the decision-maker off the hook. Most important, decisions cannot be put off forever, albeit at times there is wisdom in putting off a decision when there is good reason to believe that delay will help in reaching the best decision.
Joanne Pilgrim, reporting in a front-page article in the Aug. 8 edition of The Star, set out the facts succinctly and included the sentiments expressed to the town board by the Montauk resident Larry Smith, to the effect that the [Fort Pond House] property should be kept by the town to afford residents the opportunity for access to Fort Pond as well as community use of the house, as opposed to being sold so that another McMansion can be erected.
Concerned residents of Montauk brought a lawsuit to prevent the town from selling the property. The pending lawsuit has cost the town many thousands of dollars in legal fees which would be better spent rehabilitating the house itself for safe community use. Bars and shopping venues should not be the only places available for people to gather together.
I have written to you before about other examples where the Republicans on the town board have put business interests and money ahead of interests of the people of the town of East Hampton, i.e., shutting down youth services, granting a permit for 4,000 partygoers in Montauk which resulted in big profits to the maker of the party, a disturbance to Montauk residents, an expenditure of $1,800 for police oversight, and an ambiguous arrangement concerning a charitable donation to the Montauk Playhouse; failing to rigorously enforce the town code thereby allowing drinking on Indian Wells Beach and gross overcrowding of rental houses, and contemplating selling the scavenger waste plant as opposed to seriously evaluating its rehabilitation so as to protect our underground drinking water supply.
At last week’s town board meeting Mr. Stanzione said he needed more time.
What does he need more time for?
What facts could he uncover that are not already apparent over the three years during which the property has been up for sale?
I believe the answer is that he needs more time to measure the political winds and decide whether voting for or against the sale will create winds that will enhance the likelihood of his re-election. I suggest that instead of measuring the winds he should use the mirror test. If he does, as he gazes at himself and abstains from listening to the winds, he will no longer abstain from voting to take the Fort Pond House off the market, and instead will come to the conclusion that preserving this property for public use for eternity is more important than adding $1.5 million to the town coffers which already enjoy a surplus. He will think of the smiling faces of children and adults enjoying activities at the Fort Pond House and in the pond.
I hope he chooses the interests of the people over his narrow interests and those of his Republican cohorts, who all too often take only dollars into account so as to reduce spending or, even more banally, increase dollars that come into the Republican campaign coffers from people whose narrow business interests rule the day, as I described in past letters to you.
DAVID J. WEINSTEIN
David J. Weinstein is a member of the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee. Ed.
August 9, 2013
Contrary to the characterization that our town’s Dark Skies code is only a nuisance regulation that does not aid in safety and security, as characterized by a letter last week from Mr. Dickerson (and recently on LTV by an agent for developers), the opposite is actually true.
We have a right to privacy and security in our homes, and safety on our roads and walkways. One of the best and easiest ways to assure safety and security is to enact and enforce outdoor lighting regulations to control debilitating and distracting glare into our roadways, and to use night lighting sensibly to reduce excess energy use.
As to home security, who does it benefit to have all the exterior lights on all night long (when no one is home)? Lights by themselves do not secure a home or business; they make them more vulnerable to break-ins and vandalism. Ask the school systems in California when they not only saved millions of dollars on energy, but their Lights Off policy reduced vandalism, break-ins, and even graffiti (they have to see what they are doing).
Glare reduces visibility and causes accidents. Our Dark Sky code reduces glare and conforms to all recommendations by the organization that sets safe light levels. It’s not a benign concern to regulate glare, light trespass (due to health implications according to the American Medical Association), energy waste, and sky glow.
Dark Sky Society
About Beach Parking
August 12, 2013
To the Editor,
I applaud The Star’s recent editorial regarding cars on Baby Beach in Maidstone Park. This little inlet was a haven for our children when they were in diapers and on through toddlerhood. The water is shallow and calm, perfect for the littlest swimmers. We spent many a golden beach afternoon there back in the day. It was a place for families who wanted a safer place for their babies to frolic.
Life has moved on and we now have grandchildren. We were so looking forward to their vacation visit and taking them to Baby Beach. Imagine our shock to find that this beach is now a parking lot! It’s the tiniest little crescent of beach yet S.U.V.s were lined up on the sand blocking our sightline to the water. This is so unnecessary, as there is an ample cement parking lot mere yards from the sand. People drove through the nearly empty lot right onto the sand, parked their cars near the water blocking the view, and then proceeded to live out of their cars for the afternoon. Apparently carrying a cooler or beach chairs a few hundred feet from the parking lot is too much to ask.
A recent letter from Tim Taylor (President of Citizens for Access Rights) indicates that CfAR supports allowing this phenomenon to continue as part of their overall commitment to public access. This might make sense at other beaches where there are no parking lots and folks have no choice but to park on the beach to use the beach. However, there are multiple parking lots in Maidstone, and the largest one of all abuts Baby Beach.
Mr. Taylor’s letter deftly avoids the word “parking,” referring instead to championing “traditions and uses associated with this beach.” Given that its traditional name is “Baby Beach,” the traditional use we recall has nothing to do with parking S.U.V.s and everything to do with babies.
This recent trend is disturbing, since those with memories of beach experiences at Baby Beach will attest to the fact that, other than the odd fisherman now and then, in the past people didn’t feel the need to bypass the parking lot, drive through the sand (literally driving past blankets and chairs) and plop their car in front of other families where it sits all afternoon. Note that the people we observed doing this were simple beachgoers, just like us, not fishermen, artists, or scientists at work.
Mr. Taylor’s suggestion that families with babies and toddlers who wish a car-free beach experience should move to other parts of Maidstone misses the point that this part of the beach is especially suited for babies and toddlers since it is so shallow. Why can’t the cars simply move back a matter of yards to the parking lot? This is not about beach driving, since there is no driving involved. It is about beach parking, and the absurdity of parking on the sand instead of in the perfectly functional parking lot mere yards away.
Thank you to The East Hampton Star for nailing this issue in your editorial: “A slippery slope it is not; common sense and respect for others it is.”
JOANNA MANGAN PALUMBO
August 12, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Diana Walker seems to have lost her sense of humor in her last letter, though I agree with much of what she says is necessary to be done at the trustee beach south of Three Mile Harbor inlet, and many others. But blaming the trustees for the problems is a mistake, despite the accuracy of her quotes from a meeting she did not attend. Frankly, nine underpaid and overworked trustees, without enforcement powers, can do little about it. And making rules does not ensure compliance.
Nat Miller’s comment on “every beach,” and the unfortunately true presence of bottles and trash on most of our beaches, town or trustee, is a question of residents and visitors ensuring that whatever they bring to the beach, they bring from it when they leave. That’s just common sense and decency. It’s not happening. The beach in question, all of our beaches, in fact, should certainly be cleaner, but the responsibility for keeping it clean lies first with the users, all of us who frequent all of our beaches, and then the town, whose employees we pay through our taxes to keep it so.
Further, town employees work hard, but are seriously shorthanded in the ballooning summer crush of day trippers, share house short-termers with shorter wits and less concern, and no stake in our town’s beauty or its residents’ pleasure in it, and some of our own, too. Indian Wells and Atlantic Beaches have become places many of us avoid on the weekends. Friends of mine would no longer be so if I mentioned places I like!
It’s also clear that some of the beach driving and parking in that and other areas is done by those with vehicles that could use a little better maintenance and less leakage, driven by people who might be better off slowing down, letting the air out of their tires a bit, and not digging ruts, or even voluntarily not being on that section of beach at all. It may also be time for the town to limit, if not eliminate, nonresident beach driving permits.
Beach fires are allowed on all the trustee beaches, so long as they comply with the size limit (36 inches maximum diameter), wind restrictions (20 miles per hour), and are cleaned up by the person who lights it, rather than left for someone else to pick up the debris and put the sand right. “Fire pox” is unsightly at least, and ungroomed sites may injure people, especially the children Ms. Walker’s letter mentions. Lighting it and leaving it is unacceptable, but likely the result of a visitor’s checking off another thing to do in the Hamptons — “Beach fire: done! Next?” Local residents know better, I hope.
Diane McNally, the trustee clerk, made it clear to the person registering the reported complaints, who did not want to identify herself, that it is about enforcement, which is the purview of the town, not the trustees, since the town at large voted about 90 years ago to take most enforcement power from the trustees.
Our able harbormaster, Ed Michels, and dedicated East Hampton Town Police Capt. Michael Sarlo have pointed out at various times that there are only four officers on patrol duty overnight townwide. Four. Is it any wonder then that enforcement is lacking? Maybe it is time to bring back bay constables, under trustee direction, to help out? They could even be summer positions, and need not include arrest or armed response, just observation and reporting, and the cooperation of police who understand that a trustee’s report is not an inconvenience, but an imperative for timely action.
It also seems that we’re making a big mistake by allowing commercial entities freely to profit from our community beaches without benefiting strained town coffers. Parties, classes, camps and the like are granted mass gathering permits without end, and apparently relatively little scrutiny. Why isn’t there a fee commensurate with the event’s gross fee, and a substantial bond posted to cover the cost of cleanup and restoration in case it doesn’t happen to the standards we expect as the owners of those beaches, the Freeholders and Commonalty of East Hampton?
Trustees or their representatives could be at the event at the end to ensure compliance. If the posted bond were sufficient to make the permitee want to get it back, not just write it off as cheaper than a real cleanup, that beach would look as we expect it to for all of us the next day.
As for my own comment about neighbors, we are, and need to act like it. Surrounded by water, we can pull together or continue to be pulled apart by the incessant strain of an increasing barrage of visitors. So yes, Ms. Walker, neighborliness is necessary. Your trustees are not your referees in squabbles and misguided attempts at restrictions to others’ rights.
The town trustees are the conscience of East Hampton, and have been for nearly 400 years. We need to examine our own consciences and decide what kind of future we want in East Hampton. The trustees are integral to that dialogue, and I want to be one of them.
CAPT. IRA BAROCAS
Avoided Proper Review
August 12, 2013
Thank you for your detailed editorial (“Town Eased Way for the Panoramic”) in last week’s Star. Were it not for the federal government’s actions against the owners of the Panoramic, and your own diligent research, we would not be taking a fresh look at this questionable situation.
The case has been covered in national news as well as local, and will continue to generate interest as more details are revealed. On the local front, and of particular interest to our citizens, is the manner in which this property circumvented the Town Planning Department, planning board, and Zoning Board of Appeals. One must wonder why the legitimate claims of Sylvia Overby, then chairwoman of the planning board, and Tom Talmage, the town engineer, were ignored.
You suggest that “ . . . . Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota must take a close look at whether local officials might have acted improperly.” I agree wholeheartedly. It is also essential that both Mr. Spota and our current town board thoroughly investigate all aspects of this project and other properties that have seemingly avoided proper review.
As The Star pointed out in 2009, the transformation of the Mill Garth Inn in Amagansett into the Reform Club would typically have required review and site plan approval from the East Hampton Town Planning Board. Under circumstances similar to the Panoramic, only the building department reviewed the project. Since then we have seen several businesses, most notably the Montauk Beach House, expand operations without having to go through proper channels. The pattern is as clear as it is ominous.
What can be done to protect our town in the future? One simple change to the process could require any property that is pre-existing and nonconforming to initially submit an application to the Planning Department for site plan review, prior to an evaluation by the Building Department. In this way, projects like the Panoramic and the Montauk Beach House cannot fall through the cracks.
The Dark Shadows
August 12, 2013
I signed Beverly Bond’s petition for a Republican supervisor’s race primary because I thought, and still think, that East Hampton voters deserve a choice other than unanimous consent for such an important office.
At first I was reluctant to help an inept Republican Party out of a jam that I thought was of their own making, but I finally signed. I am convinced now that there are dark shadows that have fallen over this year’s election.
After I signed the petition, I could almost hear Etta James’s sultry voice belting out her legendary hit, “At Last.” At last, someone was doing something!
I asked Beverly Bond specifically not to disappoint me, and yet she has. What Beverly Bond has proposed is a Hobson’s choice of Larry Cantwell, where there will really be no choice at all — take it or leave it.
Though I may eventually vote for Larry, I, for one, will not write in his name as Beverly Bond suggests. I have known Larry Cantwell for a very long time and think he has done an excellent job as village administrator. Besides joking with him that I thought he made too much money as village administrator, I have had, until recently, only two concerns regarding Larry.
The first concern is a promise made to Mayor Ken Wessberg about Larry staying completely out of town politics while village administrator. Ken Wessberg told me personally that this was a condition of Larry’s employment. Though not openly engaged in town politics, I believe Larry has violated the promise many times by acting behind the scenes, and through others, in East Hampton Town Democratic politics. Whether that promise was voided by subsequent administrations of the village board, I do not know. All I know is what Ken Wessberg told me and it concerns me.
The second concern is the false comparison made between a village administrator and a town manager that bespeaks the good job Larry has done, but is problematic. The village is nonpartisan, with the current administration re-elected unopposed on the Hook Mill Party line — very quaint and apolitical. They can entrust a great degree of responsibility to an administrator, with a level of confidence not possible in town government.
It works in the village because the village board and its village administrator work together, listen, explore options, and act. Kudos all around. But this will not work in the town.
The town board is an openly partisan, often hostile and contentious body. In recent years, we have seen a town supervisor resign in disgrace, a budget director hauled into court in handcuffs, a misuse of [Community Preservation Fund] funds, and a $27 million deficit. We have also witnessed the hostile dramas of the current town board with distaste, distrust, and disgust. A town manager, in this kind of environment, would, in my opinion, be torn to shreds.
But the dark shadows over the current election are the persistent rumors that people acting with or without Larry Cantwell’s knowledge hired a consultant and commissioned a poll to convince Jay Schneiderman to get out of the supervisor’s race, thus depriving people of a choice in the election. The poll is dated March 4, and it was allegedly conducted by a firm called Diversified Research Inc. at a cost of $30,000 to $35,000. It consists of 49 tables, 44 questions, and runs 472 pages about various possible town races.
Where such a huge sum of money could have been procured and the legality of the whole matter is not for me to address. But polls are not created for free, and these political consultants do not work for nothing.
Jay also commissioned his own poll, perhaps using the same consultants, but I don’t believe he ever knew they were possibly working for the other side.
So before anyone writes L-a-r-r-y C-a-n-t-w-e-l-l in, or votes for him, he must answer whether anyone associated with him, or his campaign, had any knowledge of this poll and how it was used to deprive the voters of East Hampton of a real choice and a real race for East Hampton Town Supervisor. And if he cannot answer the questions, or owes this person, or these people, more than he owes the people of East Hampton, then he should do the only honorable thing and withdraw from the race.
P.S. I have the poll. I received it in May. I did freelance political consultation and research with a political consultant from June 7 to July 7. Had I received the poll during this period, I would feel duty-bound to keep it confidential. But it was not sent to me during this period or under any conditions whatsoever.
All by Himself
August 11, 2013
To the Editor:
Poor Dominick Stanzione. According to a recent filing of his committee, Friends of Dominick Stanzione, to the New York State Board of Elections, no one, not a single person, has contributed to his campaign for town board. Dominick has paid for all 14 expenditures himself.
Accusations Are Baseless
August 12, 2013
Carol Campolo, the Republican committee secretary, wrote a long letter last week accusing the Democratic committee of filing a false campaign finance report.
Its purpose is to draw attention from the fact that a Republican nominee, Dominick Stanzione, filed a patently false report for the period ended July 11, claiming no activity despite months of advertising, and the East Hampton Republican Town Committee has still failed to file anything at all, even a no-activity report, although, as a “constituted committee,” it is required to do so.
Her letter is long on surmise and speculation, for example, her speculation that we have run opinion polls without reporting them. We have conducted no polls. She also complains that vendors are not billing us as quickly as she would like. The Democratic campaign has neither sought nor received any special accommodation from vendors. They bill us in accordance with their normal practices.
In one respect, Ms. Campolo is correct: Schedule N of the finance report should disclose estimates for expenditures as to which bills have not yet been received. The estimates for the Democratic campaign as of July 11 are $1,000 expended for radio ads, $8,000 for newspaper ads, $2,500 for printed materials, $500 for postage, and $1,000 for print production. The filing will be amended accordingly. Otherwise, Ms. Campolo’s accusations are baseless.
Needless to say, neither the Stanzione campaign, nor Fred Overton’s campaign, nor the Republican committee made any estimates for unbilled expenditures. We are sure they will now do so, as Ms. Campolo has brought this to the attention of all of us — or does Republican compliance consist entirely of Ms. Campolo lecturing on the subject of public integrity without actually making any effort to comply?
Speaking of which, will the Republican committee ever file its required report?
Jeanne Frankl is the chairwoman of the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee. Ed.
Tekulsky for Justice
August 4, 2013
When I first met Steven Tekulsky, he was the legal representative for the “other side.” The room was filled with self-important, adversarial types. Only Mr. Tekulsky’s easy intelligence and pinpoint knowledge of the law diffused things. The conversation became sensible negotiation. Money was saved on both sides. I was mightily impressed.
I have recommended Steven Tekulsky to anyone who wishes good legal advice and execution.
Steven Tekulsky is a candidate for East Hampton Town Justice. He will be a great judge. He doesn’t waste time. He is fair and empathetic. He knows the law.
I will vote for Steven Tekulsky for East Hampton Town Justice. I wish the dog could.
All good things,
Not Anywhere Else
August 10, 2013
To the Editor,
Talk about a mixed message! The Republican nominee for East Hampton Town Justice is driving a truck covered with his campaign signs and stickers, but it has Vermont license plates!
There are two possibilities:
He is also running for town justice in a town in Vermont, or he claims that his vehicle is kept in Vermont so that he can pay less in insurance. Neither explanation is acceptable, in my opinion.
I am supporting Steven Tekulsky for town justice. His 35 years of legal experience is almost three times as much as his opponent and he has always shown his commitment to the Town of East Hampton and not anywhere else.
Very truly yours,
JAMES W. BROOKS
It Had to Go
August 2, 2013
Well, it is confession time for me. I have been living with the guilt for more than half a century now. Well, I need to get this out, it is now or never.
It was October. A friend was discussing what we needed to do on All Hallow’s Eve. We had been seeking some new and impressive trick. The Halloween tricks of generations past would get us arrested, spectacular though they were. Destructive vandalism was out.
We were walking past Robert D.L. Gardiner’s house. The idea hit us both like a thunder bolt from a clear blue sky — that awful campaign sign! Big, ugly, intruding on the peace of my walk home, it had to go. It was big, an exercise in futility, as not even the Democrats who knew him would vote for him.
A quick look showed it was held up by guide-wires tightened by turnbuckles. A screw driver and two minutes would take it down! Halloween night had arrived. It was dark, and we approached the Gardiner house from the rear. Dressed in dark clothes, fully armed with one each a driver, screw, ready for action. Carefully, we loosed the turnbuckles and gently lowered the sign to the ground. Eyesore gone, Halloween trick complete on a resident who never offered a treat.
The sign lay there for days, then weeks, eventually one day it was gone. I thought, “Well, no one noticed. They probably thought the wind knocked it over.” Disappointed, my friend and I never spoke of it again.
Then Bob Gardiner did that interview — he remembered it! He stated that it was the great right-wing conspiracy and its dirty tricks department that did it! My gosh, the trick had made an impression and branded my friend and me members and operators in the right-wing conspiracy. Well, I was pleased, and I would mention my friend’s name, but will leave it to him if he wants to add his brand to the little adventure.
Now you know, David, you know the originator of the vast right-wing conspiracy and the dirty tricks department. Oh, I am really unrepentant, but let’s just keep that between us.
PETER C. OSBORNE
‘It Is a Nightmare’
August 12, 2013
By 9:12 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 5, we had already had 35 aircraft fly directly over our home, beginning by waking us up at 6:15 a.m. and continuing wave after wave, every three to five minutes, aurally akin to the Luftwaffe over Poland in 1939.
I am not making this up. It is a nightmare, not a dream.
This spring the airport manager, Mr. Brundige, and his henchman, Dom Abstainzione, actually asked East End residents to “share the pain” of helicopter routes. The thousands of us experiencing the pain of helicopters, seaplanes, and big jets would rather eliminate it.
August 11, 2013
In his letter last week, Gerard Boleis, president of the East Hampton Aviation Association, opens by claiming, falsely, that “For some years airport opponents have been vociferously arguing that on Jan. 1, 2015, the Town of East Hampton could regulate helicopters at the airport as it sees fit.”
First of all, there are no “airport opponents” that I know of. There are plenty of airport noise opponents. The “airport opponent” is the invention, the bogeyman, of the aviation association to try to discredit the effort to control airport noise. I have long said that it is perfectly possible to have an airport we can all live with if it is well regulated. But local regulation has been impossible while the town remains subject to “grant assurances” that give the Federal Aviation Administration control.
That is indeed the significance of the Jan. 1, 2015, date that Mr. Boleis refers to but does not explain. On Dec. 31, 2014, the existing grant assurances, that give the F.A.A. control and pre-empt local town board authority to regulate airport noise, will expire, provided that the town does not take any more money from the F.A.A. If the town takes so much as one new dollar from the F.A.A., the grant assurances and F.A.A. control will be extended for 20 more years, the term of any grant agreement with the F.A.A. That’s 20 more years during which local regulation of airport noise would be a practical impossibility.
Make no mistake: airport users, including Mr. Boleis, advocate, lobby, and maneuver ceaselessly to have the town eat another slice of poisoned F.A.A. cake so that he and his fellow pilots can then avoid for 20 more years the local regulation they have fiercely resisted. They claim that if the town does not take F.A.A. money, East Hampton taxpayers must subsidize the airport. That is not true. The only effect of not taking F.A.A. money, and the F.A.A. control that comes with it, would be that airport users have to pay more for their airport.
Mr. Boleis then shares with us what he thinks is a revelation, that even without F.A.A. control local laws must comply with federal law, and thus must be reasonable and “not unjustly discriminate between categories of aircraft such as rotary wings and airplanes.”
Of course we are always subject to federal law, assuming East Hampton does not secede from the union. But, as is the invariable practice of the aviation association, Mr. Boleis mis-cites that law. The rule that he describes regarding discrimination between categories of aircraft is in fact the language of the very F.A.A. grant assurance that expires on Dec. 31, 2014. It is not the rule that applies on Jan. 1, 2015, if we allow the assurances to expire.
In the absence of grant assurances, including after their expiration, the actual standard, repeatedly declared by the federal courts, is that airport access rules adopted by a municipal airport proprietor must be “reasonable, nonarbitrary, and non-discriminatory.” But don’t the courts also say “non-discriminatory?” Yes, but as used by the courts, the term refers to discrimination against interstate commerce, favoring local interests in some way, not discrimination amongst aircraft types. Aircraft type is not a protected class under federal law, except according to the F.A.A.’s rules.
What matters most, however, are not the words of the rule, but how the federal courts apply them in practice. In the case of National Helicopter v. City of New York, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the highest federal court in our jurisdiction other than the U.S. Supreme Court, gave us a concrete, definitive interpretation of what the words “reasonable, nonarbitrary and non-discriminatory” allow a municipal airport proprietor to do for the purpose of protecting the community from noise.
After invoking the rule, the court specifically allowed: 1. imposing curfews, 2. weekend closures, 3. limiting the number of aircraft operations in a given time period, and 4. excluding particular aircraft types based on how noisy they are.
No one claims the town can do whatever it wants. That is a straw man invented by Mr. Boleis to have something he can knock down. What I do say, repeatedly in these pages, is that when the assurances expire, East Hampton will be able to do exactly what the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, our circuit, has already said an airport proprietor can do — neither more nor less.
That is, however, more than enough effectively to control airport noise. But unless and until the assurances are permitted to expire, it is all but impossible for East Hampton to do these things. The F.A.A. will not permit it.
Mr. Boleis goes on to say that allowing the assurances to expire on schedule would be an “end-run around the F.A.A.” or “hostile to the F.A.A.” That’s silly. It is not a hostile act to allow expiration of the contract that gives the F.A.A. the power to supervise the town’s local airport regulations. It would merely bring to a close East Hampton’s debt to the F.A.A. Is it an end-run around or hostile to your bank to pay off your mortgage? Of course not. The bank will have received its due, as will the F.A.A.
Rather than recovering local authority on schedule, Mr. Boleis advocates instead “cooperation with the F.A.A.,” a euphemism by which he means taking more F.A.A. money and extending its authority over us for 20 more years. What Mr. Boleis does not tell you is that the F.A.A. has never willingly consented to airport access controls of the type permitted by the Second Circuit for an airport not subject to grant assurances. Only one airport, Naples, Fla., has successfully overcome the F.A.A. in litigation, at a reputed cost of $6 million.
Why would we subject ourselves to that cost and risk when we can simply let the grant assurances expire on Dec. 31, 2014, and no longer have the F.A.A. supervising the town’s exercise of its judicially recognized authority over its own airport?
Finally, Mr. Boleis says, “If they (the people he calls airport opponents) are serious about reducing helicopter noise . . . they should urge the town board to finish the noise studies already begun.” Mr. Boleis thus tries to make it appear that those who have been fighting airport noise for decades are resisting such studies.
Is this a joke? Surely Mr. Boleis is well aware that the Committee to Stop Airport Expansion has not only urged the town to complete those studies, but sued the town for failing to include such studies — showing the regulatory alternatives available to the town and their beneficial effects in reducing noise — in its environmental impact statement for the airport.
That litigation is still before the New York State courts, where the current town board has wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend the proposition that it can adopt an airport master plan based on an E.I.S. that fails to include such noise studies (and also fails to include the financial and cost/benefit analysis specifically required by our town code).
Instead of defending at huge cost its claim that it can go forward without such noise and financial analysis, what the town board should do is withdraw the contested E.I.S. and the airport master plan and airport layout plan adopted in reliance upon it, complete the required noise and financial studies (so that we know how much airport we can afford without F.A.A. or taxpayer subsidies), and issue a revised E.I.S. that clearly shows the people of the town what can be achieved, for both noise reduction and airport infrastructure, both with and without F.A.A. money.
If Mr. Boleis and the East Hampton Aviation Association are serious about reducing aircraft noise in our neighborhoods and not simply trying to mislead the town into taking more F.A.A. money prematurely, they should urge the town to do just that.
Committee to Stop Airport Expansion
A Very Good Store
August 10, 2013
Gino Fava’s Aug. 1 letter to the editor regarding the Montauk I.G.A. is wrong. This is a very good store. Yes, if they could expand the store, the aisles would be wider, the deli could have greater display area with room for two meat-slicers, and the produce department would be larger than a walk-in closet.
However, the employees are nice, cooperative, and knowledgeable. Their circulars offer more useful discounts than the larger, fancier supermarkets. Their Wednesday 10 percent senior discount is spectacular! They aren’t able to display all the items I want all the time, but they do seem to rotate them. Therefore I buy more than one when I see my favorite displayed.
Humane Step Forward
August 12, 2013
To the Editor:
I would like to add my congratulations to all involved in the July 27-28 Shark’s Eye tournament, Montauk’s first no-kill contest. Although I wish people respected animals sufficiently to refrain from shark tournaments altogether, and just let the fish be, the Shark’s Eye event was a large, humane step forward. Hopefully other tournaments will follow its lead.
Meanwhile, on Aug. 3, six of us demonstrated with signs against the Mako/Thresher Mania Tournament, which glorifies the killing of sharks. Several passing motorists shouted out their thanks to us.
East Hampton Group for Wildlife
Health Care Problem
August 11, 2013
To the Editor:
The New York Times article about the guy who went to Belgium for a hip replacement that cost him $13,000, including airfare, that would have been billed at $130,000 in the United States, tells the essential conundrum of our health care system. The U.S. company that makes the product charges six times more in the U.S. than in Europe??
In 2009 everyone agreed that health care costs were rising rapidly and needed to be controlled. No one talked about the quality of care, only the costs. Did the American people deserve a system that was so expensive, and who was the system designed to benefit the most? Congress said we didn’t deserve it or couldn’t afford it, and the second question was never posed.
Clearly the system benefited Big Pharma, health care providers, and the medical professions before the other 328 million Americans.
Obama had four options. 1. Copy Europe or Japan. Single-payer, equal or better care, half the cost. 2. Pray that seniors would die sooner (75 percent of the cost accrued to them). 3. Cut a deal with the drug industry, providers, etc., add a modicum of competition, and rework the system to save money. 4. Create a hybrid system that would morph into a single-payer system.
Obama chose number 3; the Tea Party Republicans number 2.
The new law, over 2,000 pages, was going to require substantial tweaking. The miracle that this group of incompetent cretins could craft anything of substance compares to the Virgin Birth. The response has been one of undiluted negativity. Yet, if the Affordable Care Act was repealed, where would we be? Health care costs rising unsustainably and the quality of care getting worse. In a deeper hole than where we were before.
To better understand our health care problem, the breast-feeding analogy works best. When one nipple is empty the baby goes to the other one. Since Obama and the Democrats redesigned health care the Republican nipple has no milk. The industry doesn’t need them, and won’t until they have reasserted themselves. Repeal, not improve, is their only alternative. Saving money was the surface issue so it could be transferred to the 1 percent, but owning the industry and its billions of donations was far more important. With the Democrats in control, the Republicans go asshole negative. Not the healthiest atmosphere for a health care debate.
So the economy, immigration, health care, it’s all the same bag. Squeezing money and screwing people is the headline for our political system. Every subtext reads money. How about no solutions, no pay? Personal responsibility? If we offer them enough, will they go away?
August 6, 2013
I have a question to ask those who are prone to continually misstate the facts surrounding President Obama and his presidency.
Other than your own obviously poorly understood and barely digested understanding of political, social, and economic realities and issues, do you ever bother to check the facts that you set forth in your letters to the editor? Or, do you just make facts up as you go along?
For instance, a confused letter writer, who is a frequent visitor to these columns, tells us all that in the 2012 election President Obama said he had saved Detroit — wow, what a blooper!
Obama never said such a thing about the City of Detroit. He spoke of the auto industry (sometimes referred to as Detroit) that had been saved, and now prospers and has repaid, with interest, the federal help given over Republican opposition.
This same confused and disoriented writer tried to equate our local Waldbaum’s reduction of its work force as being the result of the provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act! This guy is off the chart!
What hogwash, to put it mildly! Everyone in town knows that the East Hampton Waldbaum’s is among the poorest managed supermarkets in Suffolk County. It is dirty, ill-stocked, poorly staffed, and its merchandising doesn’t hold a candle to I.G.A. or King Kullen — properly run supermarkets which serve the community well.
Continuing to deny the obvious benefits of the Affordable Health Care Act through a constant regurgitation of wildly untrue allegations is just another attempt to undermine and destroy the Obama presidency.
Scurrilous personal attacks over and over, family degradation, spousal embarrassment, intellectual aspersions, educational putdowns and denials, degraded birth status — all are of the same ilk, all calculated to reduce the stature of the president.
Well, it is five years now, with three more to go, and my 401K looks good, my house has regained its value, my stock portfolio is puffing along, there are no wars with our youngsters dying or wounded — so live with it!
And by the way, the unemployment rate is down to 7.4 percent, best in four years and not “historically high,”(another misstated fact), and the stock market is at an all-time high, and no taxes were raised in the five years of the Obama presidency. Man, where did you get that one?
Lastly, the president was elected by a large majority in overwhelming fashion, not just “enough fools” to get him a second term, as stated in this ill-conceived letter.
The only fool I see around here is anyone associating himself with the anti-woman, anti-immigration, pro voter suppression, and pro government shutdown group of Republican jerkoffs, who may never again see a return to power in this country!
RICHARD P. HIGER