Two Caring Souls
August 29, 2013
As my Jeep’s rear left tire shredded and fumed to the tune of the Montauk-bound L.I.R.R. cars noisily parallel to Montauk Highway along the Napeague strip — or were they? — my scarlet vehicle, and speaking engagement, came to an abrupt halt.
Among the endless stream of careening cars heading east last Wednesday, first to stop to help was:
1. The greatest Good Samaritan of them all, Bulgarian Vinny the personal trainer! He not only stopped to help, but diligently changed the tire, expertly handled with every conceivable tool he carried in the trunk of his car. With sturdy strength, stamina, smarts, and good humor, he did a fabulous job.
2. The second greatest Good Samaritan, the Jeremy of Guild Hall theater’s excellent production team, came bicycling along, stopped, and provided light from his own sleek wheels as dusk dimmed to darkness and the endless stream of careening cars continued on.
All my sincerest thanks and gratitude a-plenty to these two ever-so-caring souls, working summer residents both, kind, smart, handsome, fit, and fun.
What a “God Shot”! Talk about getting lucky. Thank you, Vinny. Thank you, Jeremy. The summer season’s best!
‘Remedies’ Pose Risks
August 26, 2013
Thank you for your continued coverage of the increasing Lyme and tick problem in the East End. Only more awareness will lead to better measures of prevention and treatment of this serious and sometimes fatal disease.
Many chronic sufferers, myself included, have lost the quality of life we once had due to the limitations of testing, treatment, politics, and information. Many of us have also turned to unconventional therapies as a last resort after years of illness. Yes, years.
The letter posted by Jerry Simons (Aug. 18) of his “Lyme Tonic” (Enjoy! he adds cheerfully at the end) diminishes the gravity of this disease. He states that it is “designed to . . . address many of the stubborn symptoms brought on by tick bites. . . .”
Perhaps Mr. Simons should clarify what these symptoms are? Is it that pesky brain inflammation that causes severe vertigo and short-term memory loss, convulsions, or maybe the sudden paralyzing nerve pain in the joints and ears; or did he mean merely the daily fever, diarrhea, and sensitivity to sunlight, or was it just those face-swelling hives?
More important, Jerry Simons does not identify himself as a P.A. involved with the Morrison Center as well as in East Hampton’s Urgent Care. I would think he would emphasize that it is paramount to seek medical attention first before enjoying his beverage. A few other “stubborn symptoms” that involve the heart, the liver, and the kidneys could be signs of Lyme disease or even some other very serious condition. The time lost on digging up some Teasel root could be crucial.
I do not want to imply that Mr. Simon’s intentions are anything but good. We are all looking for the panacea, especially an inexpensive, nonpharmaceutical one. I’ve found great comfort in watching “Avatar.” But again, “natural remedies” pose many risks, as I can attest to as far as my dallying into Chinese herbs, medical doctors with “antennas,” shamans, healing priests, rife machines, and vitamin IVs, etc.
There is not a cure right now for Lyme. But there are many who will provide one or the next best thing. That said, would you be interested in my Relaxing Parkinson gazpacho recipe, or even my West Nile biscotti?
September 2, 2013
To the Editor,
What a beautiful display of Durell Godfrey’s photographic wit, page after page in Section B of the Aug. 29 Star. Titles good, too. Made me smile. Rare gift.
Let’s have more.
SUSAN WOOD RICHARDSON
Blue Pencil Club
August 28, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
There is much to deplore about the lengthy “party” held a few weeks ago in Sagaponack by Ivy Connect, not the least of which was the cheeky dishonesty of the promoter. But I was also struck by the badly mangled, Orwellian nature of the language by which the group characterizes its activities as “curated social impact opportunities.” I don’t think that I’ve encountered an uglier phrase in my life.
Years ago Bill Henderson, working near Sagaponack, started the Lead Pencil Club to thwart such lazy, obfuscating writing and thinking. Perhaps a Blue Pencil Club should be started as well.
Faceless and Careless
September 2, 2013
In an e-mail sent out by the East Hampton Business Alliance detailing a recent East Hampton Town Board meeting regarding town-owned property at the airport, Councilwoman Theresa Quigley is reported to have stated that rent at East Hampton Studios was raised from $2,000 to $50,000 because of Federal Aviation Administration rulings that require airport land to be rented at fair market value. Needless to say, that kind of increase will put the tenant out of business. It was also mentioned that as other leases come due all airport land tenants will be charged market-value rents.
Would that include ARF? Would that include successful, locally owned and run businesses like a day care facility and a garden business? Would the F.A.A. care? Do our local leaders?
Who might be able to afford such steep rents? Certainly not a local home service business with two or three trucks and a dozen local employees. More likely it would be a helicopter or seaplane commuter outfit from elsewhere looking to set up shop here. After all, it is the F.A.A.’s job to promote air traffic, not local business.
What we have developing here is a repeat of what’s happened on Main Street! Astronomical rents price out the little local folk and we end up with tenants, shops, and businesses with little if any value to the local community.
The alternative is far more beneficial to all the people of East Hampton.
Consider the former Shaw Aero property, which has been replaced by a viable and vibrant service commercial business center. A public-private venture, it houses dozens of small local concerns. With proper political will this model could be repeated 10 times over until every service truck in Springs has a proper and affordable home.
The F.A.A. is no friend of local small business. In fact, unless our local government representatives take strong and reasoned action regarding nonrenewal of all F.A.A. grant assurances, from today through 2021, many local businesses will be denied an opportunity to flourish in coming years. They will have been sold out by our own elected officials.
Let’s review: We have unbearable noise, pollution, a decline in property values, skies out of control, and the lack and loss of affordable workspace, which will result in even more service vehicles parked on our residential streets in years to come. The reason: We remain beholden to the F.A.A.
It makes no sense that a faceless and careless federal bureaucracy should dictate the future of the Town of East Hampton. Ask the local candidates now: Are you going to do right by East Hampton going forward or are you just going to roll over and play dead because it’s easier?
Very Rusty Looking
September 2, 2013
To the Editor:
I read with great interest the red alert for rust tide mentioned in the trustees article last week, because a few weeks ago I happened to be up at Lazy Point with my dog.
I was surprised to see that the water there was brownish and very rusty looking. Had I known about this potentially dangerous Rust Tide, I would not have allowed my dog near the water, and would have alerted the two jolly men heading out in it to go clamming.
Fortunately, my dog didn’t have too much interest in the water that day — but I worry for the clammers!
P.S. I am hoping that like this dangerous and unwelcome stuff in our water, the “Hamptons Waitress” column goes away with summer season too.
View on Wastewater
September 2, 2013
I just finished reading Joanne Pilgrim’s article “Taking Long View on Wastewater” management. In it I was quoted as saying: “We have a collective problem of protecting our groundwater . . . and the town as a whole is going to bear that cost. We all benefit from solving that problem.” What I meant by that statement is that we all bear the environmental cost of allowing our groundwater and surface water to deteriorate, i.e., the cost of doing nothing.
I started my remarks by saying, “I think you’re scaring people by citing costs for individual homes,” in response to Mr. Lombardo’s estimate that some septic systems could cost $30,000 to $40,000 but less than $75,000 per home. I went on to say, perhaps less than clearly, that if the costs of a few homeowners were spread over the entire taxpayer base, and financed, for example, with 20-year bonds, the annual cost per homeowner could fall to a few hundred dollars per year. And if debt issued by the town replaced existing debt, which is being paid down each year, the tax impact could be zero.
But only our elected officials can decide whether the town should bear the entire cost of remediation. Any decision would be premature until we know the scope of remediation needed, the alternatives available to us, and the cost of each. I do anticipate, however, as discussed by the East Hampton Budget and Financial Advisory Committee, that the town would consider measures to mitigate the financial impact of remediation on individual homeowners, especially those with limited means.
Finally, I wish to commend Dominick Stanzione for looking beyond the scavenger waste plant controversy and initiating a much needed townwide wastewater management study; Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc for supporting it, and Lombardo Associates for making a clear presentation at this early stage of the work. The transparency inherent in monthly progress reports to the public represents a welcome contrast to the way business has often been conducted at Town Hall by administrations past.
PETER A. WADSWORTH
The Party’s Over!
August 29, 2013
Recently there has been discussion about a rental registry which would require a person to obtain a permit before renting their property. This would send a clear message to greedy landlords who violate our town housing codes and laws. The message would be: The party’s over!
The usual suspects argue, with faulty logic, against this. A serious forum on the issue would reveal that the benefits of the registry would far outweigh the negatives.
Here are just some of the benefits:
Discourage landlord rent gouging, house packing, and tenant abuse.
Improve safety for tenants, as well as for first responders, should they be called in an emergency.
Identify problem properties.
Establish a landlord database with current contact information, hence identifying absentee landlords.
Improve the quality of life for neighbors of tenant-occupied properties.
Begin to raise property values and decrease school taxes by deterring overcrowding.
Offer greater protection for water quality, threatened by overtaxed septic systems.
Deter realtor rental abuse.
Ensure compliance with town and state codes and occupancy restrictions by supplying landlords with details for acceptable performance. Landlords would be required to sign a notarized letter agreeing to all safety and occupancy requirements.
Assist with the enforcement of standards for construction, heating, plumbing, and sanitary equipment.
Protect the character and stability of our residential neighborhoods.
A rental registry would provide a revenue stream generated by fees and fines that would more than offset any administrative costs. Let’s not let the it’s-too-difficult argument deflect us from realizing the better good.
East Hampton has a talented and capable work force which would embrace the concept and execute it effectively.
FRED J. WEINBERG
Stop and Shut It Down
August 30, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray:
I just finished reading the letters in this week’s paper. Richard Zimmerman makes some good points in his letter dated Aug. 25. The New York Times article was quite clear in stating that continued external noise can lead to health risks.
Right now, today, there are no existing rules to support and enforce in order to make East Hampton Town livable in the sense that it was when we moved here in 1972. Quiet, serene, beautiful, polite, lovely, are words used to describe East Hampton before the growth period which helped to cultivate a new group. Ordinance control doesn’t exist, and in order to make a complaint we are forced to call the authorities, the police! We never thought we would need to call the authorities on neighbors.
We are desperately waiting for the town to do something. Whether it be excessive noise from music, leaf blowers, volleyball games, or small, medium, and large gatherings with outside speakers and uncontrolled volume, we need rules. Boundaries are necessary in all walks of life. Homeowners, taxpayers, are begging the Town of East Hampton to do something now.
Let’s enable our families to live in peace, and know that at a certain decibel level after a certain time of day, you need to stop and shut it down. Let’s eat out of doors again, without leaf blowers, amps with reverb, and loud raucous volleyball games.
Nothing can be accomplished without the town taking the reins and making it happen. Please.
Gas Leaf Blowers
August 30, 2013
In their Aug. 29 letters to the editor, David J. Weinstein (“Electric Blowers”) and Richard Zimmerman (“Noise Pollution”) raise excellent points about the deteriorating quality of life in East Hampton, suffering due to noise and air pollution from the airport, loud neighbors, and especially the jarring and unnerving gas leaf blowers that leave a trail of carbon in their wake. Electric blowers work just fine.
Yesterday, a landscaper used a gas blower and gas trimmer for two hours on a property smaller than one-quarter of an acre. It’s not even leaf raking season yet.
We support Mr. Weinstein’s call to elect candidates to examine this issue and develop a plan to reduce the noise and air pollution in our community.
Torture and Torment
September 2, 2013
Dirty, noisy helicopters can fly as many passengers as they have capacity, flying to and from the Hamptons without disrupting, torturing, and tormenting residential property owners. In fact, they don’t have to fly over one residential property. This is very important, so let me state this again. Helicopters can fly to and from the Hamptons without flying over a single residential property. This is an excellent solution for the number one problem we face in East Hampton and the entire Peconic region.
Dirty, noisy helicopters don’t need to fly into East Hampton Airport to fly into the Hamptons. There are two reasonable alternatives:
The first is Montauk Airport. The northern route follows the northern Long Island shoreline about three miles offshore. The northern helicopter route can simply be extended past Plum Island with a transition south into Montauk Airport. Montauk Airport is situated directly on Block Island Sound, thereby eliminating dirty, noisy helicopters from flying over residential properties.
The second alternative is Southampton Heliport at the end of Meadow Lane. The southern helicopter route follows the southern Long Island shoreline about three miles offshore. Helicopters need only to simply turn north into the Southampton Heliport, which is situated directly on the ocean, again eliminating dirty, noisy helicopters from flying over residential properties.
It’s so silly that dirty, noisy helicopters are permitted to fly into East Hampton Airport, because it’s surrounded by thousands of residential properties. When dirty, noisy helicopters fly into East Hampton Airport thousands of residential property owners are rudely disrupted, tortured, and tormented, only to have one or two passengers disembark from the helicopter. It is not silly anymore. It really is crazy. It is also crazy that our elected town officials have allowed this torturous activity to continue for as long as they have.
All good solutions require compromise. It will take a little bit longer for the owners and passengers of dirty, noisy helicopters to arrive at their homes. That small imposition surely pales to the tremendous relief given to thousands of folks on the ground who simply wish to have their right for peaceful enjoyment of their properties, guaranteed to them by local municipalities through their zoning laws, returned to them.
Also consider the hundreds of local jobs that may be created by this solution as taxi and limousine drivers pick up the passengers. Possibly a shuttle service can be considered. What is interesting to note, the time of day passengers of these helicopters that arrive and leave the Hamptons is always opposite the traffic flow of vehicular traffic from Montauk. This is why this solution is such a small imposition.
It is easy for East Hampton Town Board members to stick their heads in the sand and ignore the dirty, noisy helicopters. Or as Councilman Dominick Stanzione advocates, to “spread the pain,” so everyone suffers the disruption, torture, and torment of dirty, noisy helicopters. It is hard work to find a solution and then implement it. We desperately need hard-working town board members with backbone to stand up to the helicopter interests who can finally end this nightmare. This year we have the opportunity to vote out those who have no interest in solving this massive problem.
It’s not silly anymore. It is literally crazy to make so many people suffer.
August 30, 2013
To the Editor:
I read Ira Barocas’s and Deborah Klughers’s letters to the editor in favor of County Legislator Schneiderman’s resolution to restrict methoprene in our estuaries.
I’m opposed to the resolution. My eading of the research is that warming waters and decreasing oxygen are the likely cause of the decrease in local lobster catches. The vast majority of the literature suggests lobsters are not threatened by methoprene as currently used.
What is abundantly clear is that mosquito-borne illnesses do cause sickness and death and the toll has been rising. Suffolk County Vector Control, charged with protecting our safety, continues to believe the use of methoprene is in our best interests.
If Mr. Schneiderman’s resolution does pass, I would hope that follow-up studies would be set up so that if either the lobster population doesn’t increase or if disease and death do increase (one death would be too much), methoprene can be resumed.
I agree with Ms. Klughers that the town of East Hampton can do more to control mosquitoes. Although I disagree with Ms. Klughers re methoprene, I love her passion and the energy with which she fights for East Hampton. She is an excellent trustee who should be re-elected.
August 30, 2013
At this year’s Duck Creek Farm Association’s annual meeting, the one topic of agreement among attendees was that taxes, and especially school taxes, for Springs residents are unfairly high.
The meeting was a forum for town board members and candidates who typically remark that they are sympathetic but cannot do anything about the severe and difficult-to-solve problem of school taxes. I feel that the town board has some historical responsibility for the unfair distribution of school taxes, and thus they have some responsibility to help, but I will save that discussion for a future letter. This letter discusses how the town board can directly help a majority of homeowners, not just in Springs, through a townwide property tax reassessment.
In 2009, I did a small statistical study of 99 properties that extended a more basic study by the town assessor’s office (who worked with the New York State Office of Real Property Services). My study indicates that, on average, a townwide tax reassessment would lower the town taxes of Springs residents.
The reason is that the townwide errors of assessment are not random; higher-value houses are, on average, more favorably assessed than lower-value ones. A large number of underassessed high-value properties are located in East Hampton Village and south of highway in East Hampton, Amagansett, and Wainscott. Correcting these multimillion-dollar undervaluations, and there are many to correct, would go a long way to lowering the taxes of the majority of taxpayers.
A review of the six houses in my study that would receive the largest reassessments shows the severe unfairness of the current assessment. The sale prices of these six houses ranged from $3.2 million to $6 million, and the combined total of sale prices for the six was $25.8 million. The combined assessed market value of these houses was only $9.8 million, or an underassessment of $16 million! These homeowners were paying only 38 percent of their fair share of taxes. Unfortunately, our property tax system does not allow for values to be reset on sale, so these underassessments can continue for decades.
Because of the skewed distribution of under and overassessment, in the sample which I analyzed, 61 properties would receive a reduction in their General Fund town taxes against 38 properties whose taxes would increase. Of the 38 that would increase, 20 of these went up less than $166.
While a property tax reassessment will not on average lower school taxes for Springs residents (since it only redistributes them more fairly among the same group), it will likely lower the taxes for the majority of homeowners for all the town taxes, including taxes for the highway, sanitation, and town (outside East Hampton Village) funds.
There are impediments to doing a full reassessment. One important problem is that some low income and/or elderly residents might be forced to sell their houses because of a reassessment. There are remedies, but we would need the New York State Assembly to pass a law to allow for some system of deferral or partial exoneration in these cases.
Another problem is that our current system grossly underassesses unimproved land. The immediate doubling or more of taxes on these properties could lead to an undesirable spurt in development. There is also an issue of the $4 million to $5 million expense for a reassessment that will be spread over three to five years. But the current property tax assessment is so unfair to the average taxpayer, that I believe we have a moral obligation to correct it.
The next steps to a reassessment are preliminary, important, and will take about two years to do. First, we need to extend the statistical study to at least 1,000 random but representative sales. Then, after analysis defines the problems, we have to get the solutions in place, including any legal help we need from Albany.
If we do not begin these preliminary steps, we will either never do the needed reassessment, or if we do, we will hit surprises that we were not prepared for. The next steps are inexpensive and could begin soon. I am confident that a full study will show that it is imperative that we go forth with tax reassessment as soon as we can do it well.
Beach Parking Permits
August 30, 2013
Job Potter, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, and I have not proposed charging residents for beach parking permits, as was rumored by Beverly Bond in last week’s Star. It hasn’t been said or written, nor have or would we even consider it.
We have said that taxes make up 68 percent of the town budget and we believe this is a high proportion of total revenue. We have also said we would perform a thorough review of all non-property tax revenue in order to determine if the amount raised in property taxes can be reduced. For example, it caught my eye in reviewing the budget that the town collects about $400,000 in nonresident parking permits while the village collects over $1 million. Nonresident permits, Bev.
The town collects revenue from many sources, including real estate leases to private individuals and businesses, sanitation fees, recycled material sales, federal, state, and county grants and aid, aviation fuel sales, cell tower leases, daily nonresident parking lot fees, justice fees and fines, street-opening permits, and building and review fees, to name a few. It is good business practice to review internal controls on the receipt of all money in order to assure the town is receiving the funds it has authorized be collected.
With a 2-percent tax cap, it is simply good budget management to review other sources of revenue to fund the budget. Who knows? Maybe we can collect more revenue from the cellphone companies who rent space from the town, sell more recycled material instead of burying it, find a way to sell more nonresident parking permits to out-of-town beachgoers, or ask commercial event operators to pay a substantial permit fee to defray the costs for police services they use instead of the taxpayers paying for it.
It is all to be considered. The one thing that will not be considered by any of us is charging residents to park at their own beaches.
Mr. Cantwell is a candidate for town supervisor on the Democratic, Independence, and Working Families tickets. Ed.
Wants an Opponent
September 2, 2013
I was astonished to see Republican Party Vice Chairman Tom Knobel’s quote, “I don’t know of any politician who honestly seeks to have an opponent to discuss the issues,” in your article on the upcoming primary election.
In the East Hampton supervisor’s contest Larry Cantwell honestly wants an opponent to discuss the issues with. Honestly!
Mr. Cantwell does not want to run on the Republican line, he wants to run against it. He is, I believe, displeased with the way the town has been run by the Republicans and is running to effect change. Larry is endorsing and supporting his running mates on the Democratic ticket as the best way to accomplish a positive change in governance.
One would think that Republican voters would want to choose as their candidate someone who would stand up and defend their record of the last four years. Someone to articulate their point of view in the upcoming debate. If Supervisor Wilkinson doesn’t wish to run again the Republicans should consider drafting Councilwoman Quigley or, hey why not, Tom Knobel.
Trustee Candidate (D)
September 2, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray:
I was happy to read that Diana Walker got her fine sense of humor back in last week’s paper. Of course, I’m also pleased with her compliment about “knowing my stuff” about the trustee’s role, since anyone running for nine offices, as I, and 17 others are, including of course the seven overworked, underpaid, and diligent incumbents, likes a plug. But I have to correct a couple of misconceptions.
First of all, having attended quite a few trustee meetings over the last couple of years, I only learned about the bay constables from their discussions about some of the enforcement issues that vex their efforts to do an effective job on our behalf. I can’t take credit for their expressed concerns, no matter how much I share in them as a full-time resident burdened with the all-too-well-documented issues facing our town, its beaches, waterways, and bottomlands. Concerned members of the freeholders and commonalty, homeowners, and residents, know that these include environmental degradation approaching what may be a tipping point concerning viable shell and fin-fisheries and ongoing shoreline and other development and resulting waste and groundwater-quality effects, at least.
Jay Schneiderman’s bill to regulate methoprene is seeking to address at least one part of the marine environment’s issues, as Trustee Deb Klughers pointed out in considerable detail last week. (By the time you read this, we should know whether it made it to the Suffolk County Health Committee, a first step.) The town is also trying to at least assess the extent of our ground and surface-water issues, and whether there are, in fact, existing problems that need immediate intervention, what our future problems might be, and what that might mean to us all financially and otherwise.
These environmental concerns are integral to the traditional and vital job of your town trustees, as I have learned, and we should all know and respect. But you should also know that their concerns also extend to our town’s thus far relatively weak medium and long-range planning in light of evident macroclimate cycles — and the town’s currently anemic enforcement regarding permits and codes affecting our beaches, shore-side building and restoration, and erosion.
Beach driving, an unquestioned, long-settled access issue, and questionable beach parking that may be selfish or just plain lazy, are popular gripes, but other issues loom larger, in my opinion as a resident and trustee candidate. Why isn’t there a public discussion about why our town allows for-profit use of our beaches that does little to increase our town’s overall financial health, or the bifurcated process of wholesale granting of mass gathering permits for our trustee beaches under questionable circumstances, and the negative effects in terms of crowding and cleanup after uncaring visitors, and some of us, too, leave trash, fire debris, and damage with which our town’s employees struggle?
Every local publication can add to the list — and does each week. Airport to zoning, there’s an awful lot going on, and many feel going wrong. The trustees, with their knowledge of town history, tradition, and the essence of original local, democratic representative government, can and should lead such conversations.
Your trustees work long and hard for you and represent the conscience and tradition of East Hampton, all for about twenty bucks a day! There’s a serious disconnect when we freely acknowledge that the environment is why we live here (all of us local by choice), but we don’t feel it’s an important enough priority to pay them (and maybe me) even a sweatshop wage for their time, let alone to properly fund their activities, use them as the valuable public resource they are, and encourage their efforts to preserve and protect what we collectively own and profess to love. Longer discussions for other times.
Secondly, as for Ms. Walker’s suggestion about trustee towels for topless beachgoers: another bit of misinformation. From what I’ve learned, the only people who want to cover up others, restrict their dogs, or prevent enjoying adult beverages at the beach (albeit not in glass containers) are on the payroll of the other town and village governments. Thanks again for the laughs. I hope I still get your vote — and everyone else’s.
CAPT. IRA BAROCAS
The letter writer is a Democratic candidate for East Hampton Town trustee. Ed.
Top of the Ticket
September 1, 2013
To the Editor:
Reminder to all Republican voters: Go to the polls on Sept. 10 and vote in the Republican primary. The primary is held to give us an opportunity to place the name of a supervisor candidate at the top of the currently blank Republican ticket.
This primary is a write-in election and very easy for the voter. All East Hampton Town registered Republicans need do is go to their polling place on Sept. 10 and write in the name of any person they want as the Republican supervisor candidate, at the top of the ticket in November.
This is a chance for all grassroots Republican voters to participate firsthand in the process of picking a Republican supervisor candidate. This decision is not a determination to be made for us by others. We must make our choice known through the ballot box.
See you at the polls on Sept. 10.
September 1, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray:
If a town board majority led by Wilkinson and Quigley had committed $200,000 of our money to Lombardo Associates Inc., whose ultimate recommendations could cost taxpayers on the lower end $60 million to $80 million and on the high end $600 million to $800 million, would your editorial malign town residents who expressed legitimate concerns with such a contract? I think not. So why did you do just that in your editorial of Aug. 29‚ “Water-Quality Plan Needed and Overdue”? Is it because the majority in this case was led by Overby and Van Scoyoc, with Stanzione assenting? In the same issue, the reporter Joanne Pilgrim wrote a somewhat bizarre article, “Taking the Long View on Wastewater‚” that had a number of errors.
Errors aside, I was stunned to read Ms. Pilgrim quoting Glenn Beck, whose magazine accurately is titled The Blaze, not Blaze. Saints alive! Shall we look forward to quotes from Rush Limbaugh in subsequent articles? As to another inaccuracy, Glenn Beck did not originate the phrase “Agenda 21.” That phrase was invented in 1992, at a United Nations conference in Rio de Janeiro that introduced the economic and environmental movement that U.N. officials called “an agenda for the 21st Century‚” thus the phrase. In addition, as journalistic integrity goes, I wonder why in a news story Ms. Pilgrim would reference a Glenn Beck novel, fiction to be sure, to try to make a point about — what? Novels? Thrillers? Beach reading?
Unfortunately, though, where facts are important, Ms. Pilgrim continues to fall short. Lombardo and his subcontractor F.P.M. did not “develop” Nitrex as she writes. Dr. John Cherry and Dr. William Robertson, professors working at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, invented the patent-protected Nitrex system. According to Water World, a trade publication, in 2006 Lombardo and Robertson “joined to form Nutrient Removal Technologies Inc. to exclusively commercialize the patented Nitrex passive nitrogen removal system and PhosRID the passive phosphorus removal system in the United States.” Nitrex and PhosRID are patented in Canada as well. The U.S. patent is licensed exclusively to N.R.T.I., represented by its agent Lombardo Associates Inc. For those interested, the U.S. patent number is 5,318,699. Interestingly, there is no record I can find on who or what N.R.T.I. exactly is or what it does, beyond the entry in Water World. But, curiously, other public records show its address as one that is also listed as Mr. Lombardo’s home in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Ms. Pilgrim quotes Lombardo as saying Lombardo Associates will only benefit from the “current agreement” with the town. That is correct, since L.A.I. has no other contract with the town —- yet. Lombardo further assures Pilgrim that if East Hampton has a need for solutions involving Nitrex capabilities, Lombardo Associates would receive “no royalties.” He has even given the town a letter testifying to that effect. But, now we know about N.R.T.I. As N.R.T.I.’s exclusive agent, can we conclude Mr. Lombardo or L.A.I. receive some kind of compensation for such service? Reporters and town8 officials need to ask Mr. Lombardo about N.R.T.I. and perhaps to amend his conflict letter to include this company and any other of his affiliates. And just for fun ask him, just who will benefit from the sale of Nitrex solutions? No one?
Lombardo admits that a Nitrex system costs $30,000 to $40,000 per household. With about 20,000 septic systems in East Hampton, total costs for system fixes using Nitrex would range from $600 million to $800 million. Lombardo does acknowledge, however, that not all 20,000 septic systems may need treatment. But even if only 10 percent of homeowners need new or upgraded septic systems —- and Nitrex is the recommended replacement for them —- those 2,000 upgrades will cost a tidy sum of $60 to $80 million.
Furthermore, some in our community question whether herbicides and fertilizers are the real culprits to water quality problems in our waterways, and not septic systems. Others question negative assertions made about our drinking water. Regardless, these are the issues that must be debated publicly and honestly. East Hampton residents and taxpayers must be assured that the conclusions Lombardo reaches, and the solutions L.A.I. recommends, have resulted from an intensely professional, rigorous, and unbiased process.
Given the potential staggering price tags that homeowners may have to bear individually, or all taxpayers collectively through tax increases or bond issues, our elected officials, especially Overby, Van Scoyoc, and Stanzione, as well as Lombardo Associates Inc., better get it right.
September 2, 2013
A few days ago, I met Carl Irace, candidate for East Hampton justice, near Gosman’s. He asked for a moment to talk about his vision for our justice court. What an open-minded and interesting guy.
After speaking with him for a while and taking a look at his blog on East Hampton Patch and his Web site, I realized he is exactly what this town needs. He is a new kind of candidate for East Hampton, one who wants to enter the job at the peak of his career in public service, rather than at the end as some sort of political reward for party service. He’s been a courtroom trial attorney for 13 years and has experience before many, many judges in 19 different jurisdictions. His plan is to bring the best practices from all of his experience to our court to make it a better resource for our community.
Then I got home and picked up The Star. As I was reading it, I saw all the political ads, letters, and coverage and thought to myself how dirty and petty East Hampton politics can be. We need a new approach. Carl is a different kind of candidate. Here is someone who is running because he believes he can improve the court and, in turn, improve our community.
Check him out for yourself, but I know I will be voting for someone who has committed his career to real public service.
‘A Truly Good Man’
September 1, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
I had the pleasure of accompanying Carl Irace this past weekend to the Montauk Fire Department pancake breakfast, and afterwards on a tour of my neighborhood in Culloden.
Spending this time with him confirmed some things I already suspected that will make him a fine Justice:
1. Carl makes time for everyone. I heard him listen to countless stories from people and he listened and responded to each one with interest and helpful advice.
2. Carl treats everyone with respect. We encountered people of every race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, and walk of life, and he treated each one with absolute respect. This is not because he is campaigning. Carl has always been that way. He is a truly good man.
3. He is absolutely tireless. No matter how much he campaigns he is still ready for more because he loves meeting people and hearing what they have to say.
I hope you all have the pleasure of meeting Carl on the campaign trail and I hope you will join me in voting for him on Nov. 5 for East Hampton Town Justice.
Very truly yours,
BOBBIE GAIL COOLEY
September 1, 2013
I think it is only appropriate that your readers and East Hampton voters have the opportunity to consider the qualifications of both candidates for the position of East Hampton Town Justice.
The Judicial Screening Committee of the Suffolk County Bar Association has found me “qualified” for the position of town justice, which is their highest rating. That determination was based on their review of a detailed questionnaire and a personal interview. The committee considers the following criteria in reaching a determination: temperament, character and integrity, legal scholarship, and professional ability and reputation.
The screening committee considered my legal experience, which consists of more than 35 years as a practicing attorney: four years as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan, nearly seven years as a trial attorney in a civil law firm in New York City, and 25 years and counting with my own general practice in East Hampton. That is nearly three times the legal experience of my opponent.
They also discussed my community involvement in the 25 years that I have lived and worked in East Hampton, including: 25-year member of the East Hampton Fire Department and former chief of the department; pro bono representation of Citizens for Access Rights, East Hampton Sportsmen’s Alliance, and the Pediatric Dental Fund; member of the East Hampton Town Board of Assessment Review. I have been giving back to East Hampton for 25 years, which is at least five times that of my opponent.
On Nov. 5, please remember that local experience counts. I look forward to the opportunity to serve East Hampton residents as their next East Hampton Town Justice.
Very truly yours,
Tekulsky for Justice
August 26, 2013
In a recent letter to The Star, Ms. Ann Cantley characterizes arguments on behalf of issues that East Hampton Town Democrats care about as “White Whine.” I would characterize East Hampton Town Democrats as being of all hues. I am, currently, sort of beige.
In the same letter, Ms. Cantley, who is not registered to vote in Suffolk County, implied that my support of Steven Tekulsky for town justice is because I am a family friend. I am not.
My support of Steven Tekulsky for East Hampton Town Justice is because he is a skilled lawyer, an effective mediator, a person of pragmatic and effective judgment.
I am registered to vote in Suffolk County. I will join a majority of registered voters in East Hampton Town, of all hues, and elect Steven Tekulsky town justice.
All good things,
Our Only Response?
September 1, 2013
To the Editor,
If the U.S. has assembled an impeccable case against the government of Syria in terms of the use of poisonous gas upon its own people, rather than attacking a country which has not made any genuine aggressive moves against the U.S. itself, would it not be better to present the case in the World Court (the International Court of Justice in The Hague)?
It is very hard to imagine any beneficial results from a military attack on Syria. Why is bombing and killing our only response to what we perceive as evil behavior?
This is not a call for justice, it is a call for vengeance. Our country seems to have forgotten the distinction. In the last 50 years the only country to which we seem to have brought genuine peace after our military adventures is Vietnam, where we lost the battle ignominiously.
Must Not Intervene
September 1, 2013
To the Editor;
Once more our nation stands on the precipice of another Mideast war as the president of the United States stands ready to unleash the fury of our military might on a country already beset by the ravages of a brutal civil war. As terrible as the conflict is, the United States must not intervene; it is not this nation’s place to take any one side.
There are allegations that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, allegations that cannot be proven beyond a doubt. There is also the revolting prospect that the jihadist rebels may have used these terrible weapons on themselves in order to gain sympathy and draw the greater powers into the conflict on their side. After over a decade of nonstop war in the Middle East Americans are war-weary, and our military is in desperate need of time to recoup from conflict.
We have just concluded our activities in Iraq, our troops should be leaving Afghanistan next year, yet already Barack Obama, the man who received the Nobel Peace Prize for the promise of peace, is ready to commit us to another war. He speaks of a limited action; he speaks of no boots on the ground; he speaks of “punishing” a people already punishing themselves.
Who is he going to punish exactly? He cannot attack the chemical stockpiles and risk killing tens of thousands, and the Syrians have already moved vital assets, such as command and control operations and communications, into schools and mosques so he cannot attack them. One has to ask exactly what will be accomplished by these attacks — helping the rebels?
These rebels are no better than the Assad regime; they have committed terrible acts as well. Many have ties to radical Islam, some are even affiliated with Al Qaeda. Remember them, the people who blew up the Twin Towers, and now they are going to receive de facto aid from us, from the United States of America. The timing is such that these attacks may coincide with the 12th anniversary of 9/11 and the Al Qaeda attack on Benghazi of last year, and that it just not acceptable.
But that does not have to happen; Barack Obama blinked. At the last moment, in the face of mounting criticism, he blinked and now wants Congressional approval for an open-ended commitment for military action in Syria. Here is where you, the people of East Hampton, can join the American people and tell him no. Contact Representative Tim Bishop, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and tell them to vote no when asked to approve military action in Syria.
The president said there will be no boots on the ground, but I am sorry, I just don’t believe him. We have all had enough of war, we have had enough of seeing our young men and women sent into combat and seeing their flag-draped coffins returning home. We have had enough of the pain brought to families and loved ones touched by wars on foreign soil, we have seen enough blood and treasure wasted in the sands of the Middle East. It matters not, Republican or Democrat; tell them no!
MICHAEL D. BOUKER
Shouldn’t Repeal It
August 28, 2013
From the political right we hear scripted, unified calls to kill “Obamacare”: Don’t fund it. Obamacare will ruin the country. Shut down the government if they fund it. Obamacare will kill people. Obamacare will cost us more. Obamacare will ruin our health system. And on and on, ad nauseam.
Bad points, particularly? None. Though, of course, like any first edition, there are changes necessary as practice dictates.
Not any? No, not any! Just kill it off!
What about young singles being able to be insured under their parents’ policy? Okay, so one benefit.
What about eliminating women’s higher premiums just based on their gender? Oh, all right, another small benefit.
How come opponents don’t talk about getting insured even with prior existing conditions? I guess they forget!
How about four million Americans getting health insurance they never had and thus reducing the costs to hospitals of burdens of emergency care? It does? We won’t talk about that; it is non-productive!
Why don’t we know about the help available for payment for coverage from the government if the costs are more than scheduled payments? Really?
What about shopping several insurance companies to get the best cost, called exchanges? No, that can’t be right! But it is!
What about saving the government billions over the next 10 years? It does that? Wow, and it ends spiraling medical costs to boot!
Maybe we shouldn’t repeal it, you think?
After all, everyone wanted such legislation except insurance companies. So just maybe we should work together to make it even better? Ya think maybe?
Nah, can’t do it. It was proposed and passed under a president who was elected by mistake. (Two times.) A communist. A Muslim operative, a Manchurian candidate. It must be bad.
Yes sir, it is bad. Bad for Aetna, Traveler’s, Blue Cross/Shield, United Health Care, and all the other health care companies that fund political candidates.
Stick around, folks. People are already waking up, maybe the rest will also, even the few in East Hampton who, I bet, have never read the bill.
RICHARD P. HIGER
Fill in the Blanks
September 2, 2013
The red line has been drawn again and again, so now we’re up to hurry up and wait. Why does this president constantly open up his mouth showing no leadership? He should have kept quiet, brought back Congress, and had bipartisan talks.
No, not this man. He shows his arrogance, and now he will go it alone or drop it all in Congress’s lap so the outcome can be its fault. Our allies don’t trust us, and the adversaries don’t need us. President Obama makes public statements and leaves it up to the staff to fill in the blanks.
When George W. Bush was the president, Foot-in-His-Mouth Biden threatened impeachment over Mr. Bush’s decision to go alone without Congressional approval, but now because Mr. Obama wants to do it it’s a-okay. All of a sudden everything the Democrats knocked Mr. Bush for, Mr. Obama can do without a word, no problems, just do whatever you want, Mr. President, we are there to back you.
President Obama has now given Bashar al-Assad all the time in the world to move his artillery, arms, tanks, gas, chemicals, and, probably, his aircraft by warning him we may be coming in nine days, just like he told Afghanistan when we would be leaving so Al-Qaeda could sit back and wait to go in when we have vacated.
It’s been months for this president to make a decision. On Sept. 1 the president had a media-rant photo-op, call it what you want, and after his rant he went to play golf, heaven help the country if he can’t play a round of golf. This president had diminished our military, the condition of our military is degrading and not ready. We can’t afford another war.
Bets are being taken on Hillary running, because it sure looks like Bill wants her to. Remember, when she ran for junior senator she promised to fulfill her term. As soon as she won, she started her campaign to run for president. Now she’s been saying, “No, not me. No more politics.” Let’s see if she is telling the truth this time. You see, the deal Bill made with Mr. Obama: “I’ll help you as long as you back my wife.”
There’s a doctor who helped us get Osama bin Laden in jail in Pakistan ordered to serve 33 years. This country has done nothing to help this man, this country is doing less and less for our own vets that fought for us and our freedom. Why, someone please tell me why, is there no help for this doctor and less services for our vets?
In God and love of country,
Cauldron of Chaos
September 1, 2013
To the Editor:
As of today we haven’t launched an attack against Syria. But the script is written, the language perfectly nuanced. Change the names and the dates and we are ready to go. Atrocities, killing of innocents, moral imperatives, red lines, green lines, our self-interest, security and prestige in the world. Somehow, it’s always about us. Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, with the same results.
Obama, elected to replace the village idiocy of the military puppet, was an antiwar guy. How did he morph into a Bush-like clone? True, he ruminates and meditates substantially more than the last guy, but something in the air of the White House clogs his brain and renders him self-righteously stupid. We are once again killing to make the world a better place, attacking an enemy that never attacked us. Making war without declaring it.
The point of an attack, the plan, the follow-up, the long-term objectives? What will Assad do next? So, we send a message that chemical weapons won’t be tolerated. We tell the world not to mess with us. And then what?
We go on about the Islamist element in the Syrian opposition who we are opposed to without considering how the Syrian people would react to them. No one should dictate what happens after Assad except the Syrians. Somehow we have elevated Al Qaeda to the same level as communism or fascism. The Red Menace or the Yellow Peril, minus armies, nuclear weapons. and ideology. The Islamic threat is a tiny peashooter compared to our recent enemies. Its real value is as the object of permanent war and the trillions we spend keeping us safe.
When someone dies they are not terribly concerned about what killed them. Punishing Assad for using chemical weapons but not for bombing villages seems oxymoronic. Clearly, we have not reached a point in our history where this kind of behavior is unacceptable.
The Middle East is a cauldron of boiling chaos. Almost every country is worthy of a revolution. There is no easy transition from dictatorships to something else. No rules define these transitions and only the most brain dead envision them as quick, nonviolent processes. Iran took 50 years from the Mossadegh election to its next round of free elections. What happens when Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, etc., begin their revolutions? What role does the U.S. play? Are we prescient enough to have a game plan? Have we ever had one?
If 29 percent of Louisiana Republicans believe that Obama was responsible for Katrina, can we, in all good conscience, think that we are up to the task of solving the rest of the world’s problems?
August 29, 2013
I was deeply disturbed by how our government has responded to Syria’s use of chemical weapons. Certainly I’m against using chemical weapons by any nation. Obviously, members of Obama’s administration and the American people are widely divided on the issue; apparently no one wants another war. According to Bishop Tutu, the world has never been more destabilized in its history. As we move closer to war, a new strategy has been planned called “deter and degrade” Assad’s regime. Punish him, but no war.
Let us take a look at our own track record on the topic. In the 1980s or before, 25,000 of our soldiers who were used as pawns to test the effects of nuclear weapons went to court for health reasons and won their case. However, the judge’s decision was never made public for fear of the psychological effects on other veterans. Early signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.
After the Persian Gulf war the rate of cancer for children went way up, due to our use of uranium-tipped missiles. Our veterans made the same complaint, but were ignored.
The chemical Agent Orange killed many Vietnam vets and one million Vietnam peasants we called communists. Just recently, after research, the government acknowledged heart attacks were caused by Agent Orange. We, too, were “deterred and degraded.”
In peace, not war,