Army of Caregivers
August 27, 2013
I am writing to express my gratitude to the East End community for the care and kind concern that was shown to my dad toward the end of his life. The last few years were challenging due to various factors — my being his only child and living in California was one, and his declining health and occasional confusion were others. It was important to him (and to me) that he live his final years at home, doing what he loved, which was basically going to the beach, picking up his mail, and making trips to the dump.
He was resistant to help at first, but eventually he softened and was more accepting. The transition from independent living to having companions was not always easy, and I came to rely upon my dad’s friends, neighbors, and the community in general to let me know what was going on with him and what needed attention. And let me tell you, they did not disappoint. I was and am astounded by the kindness shown to both of us, and how willing people were to reach out to let me know their concerns. So many people stayed in touch with me, and always from a kind and loving place.
I would like to acknowledge and thank the following for their kindness, sensitivity, and care: the East Hampton Town Police Department, the good people at LTV and Cook Maran Insurance, Gretchen and Meals on Wheels, the Jewish Center of the Hamptons, Hampton Health Care, Dr. Patel, Dr. Munkelwitz, Dr. Hoffert, Dr. Avvento, Peter Siefken, whose incredible care went above and beyond any medical provider I’ve ever known, Judy from East End Hospice, and the amazing army of caregivers who showed my dad such sensitivity and warmth and affection. I am grateful for all of you and thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Safe and Sound
September 9, 2013
My husband and I would like to express our deepest gratitude to all of you who helped in locating our lost pet yesterday. While my guests were getting ready to leave our Settlers Landing home to go back to New York City, their small dachshund, named Mazel, decided to take off. For five hours, we frantically looked for her by calling her and stopping anyone who passed on the road.
At last, at 8:30 p.m., someone called and announced that Mazel was sitting on their deck near Cedar Park, three miles from our home. They had heard on the radio that she was missing. We picked her up, and she is now safe and sound with her owners.
We would like to thank all of you as well as the East Hampton Town Police Department, Animal Control, and in particular, WLNG of Sag Harbor, who by announcing it on the radio made it possible for her to be returned.
There are no words to express our gratitude for the support and help we received.
JOSEPH and PATRICIA HABR
Proud to be Flaky
August 29, 2013
Two weeks ago I was reading “News for Foodies” in your arts and leisure section. The writer spoke about a class being offered by Leslie Dumont, who is “Proud to be flaky‚” in her Amagansett home.
I attended last night’s class. It was a wonderful evening, great instruction that was topped off with the most fabulous blackberry pie and rustic apple tart. I’m so glad Joanne Pilgrim included this treasure to write about. I would recommend this course to anyone who would like to learn how to bake a delicious pie.
September 7, 2013
The Ashawagh Hall Writers’ Workshop read at the East Hampton Library for another year. We look forward to this every summer. It helps us forget the traffic on the Montauk Highway and all the other little summer annoyances. We remember instead our gracious community, so welcoming to creativity of all kinds, and The East Hampton Star for helping us announce the events.
Thanks so much again!
Hundreds of Hours
September 9, 2013
Thank you for the Aug. 29 article “A Bold New Online Venture,” which detailed the East Hampton Library’s used-book sale efforts. We estimate that we will generate $30,000 in used-book sale income for the library in 2013. It is important to note that we would not be able to do this without the very generous residents that donate thousands of used books to the library each year. Library board members Debbie Walter and Gail Parker volunteer hundreds of hours each year sorting through these books and listing the books for sale on Amazon. Debbie and Gail also do a wonderful job maintaining the free-book area in the rear lobby of the library.
You can access the East Hampton Library Amazon storefront at easthamptonlibrary.org/amazon.
All of the proceeds of our Amazon used book sales are used to purchase new books for the Library.
Prohibitive Gas Prices
September 3, 2013
To the Editor:
I commend The Star for exposing the abuse foisted on the East End public by gas station owners via unreasonable and unwarranted prohibitive gas prices. In contrast, Newsday, a paper respected due to its willingness to expose situations such as the above, has taken the position of “not getting involved.” Shameful!
Kudos and bravo to The Star and for the sake of the public, please be unrelenting on this issue
Save East Hampton
September 2, 2013
I had the great fortune growing of up in East Hampton, moving out here in 1974 from New York City. There are many wonderful memories and stories I have shared with my husband, kids, family, and friends. We are one of the lucky families who can come out and spend quality time with my parents for the past 22 years. It’s a bittersweet feeling when Labor Day approaches. After vacationing out here we must head back to Massachusetts even before Mimosa Monday and Tumbleweed Tuesday.
This past August I noticed such a huge difference in this wonderful town and community. I felt compelled to write to The Star and ask, is it time to form a Committee to Save East Hampton? The traffic was crazy, the rise in accidents is alarming, as is the rudeness and the lack of appreciation for the beauty of this town is declining.
Growing up in East Hampton I had the pleasure of learning how to swim at Albert’s Landing, seeing movies at the drive-through in Bridgehampton, sunbathing and dreaming about future plans on Georgica Beach with great high school friends. In high school, I volunteered on the ambulance, first as a driver, then as an E.M.T. during my college years. I remember the adrenaline driving to the ambulance barn and the nerves driving to Southampton Hospital during the summer traffic. I can’t imagine being an E.M.T. driver today.
I have read article after article about wonderful benefit events, paddle races, runs, but most alarming are the increase in sirens, the unbelievable traffic around town and on Route 27, 114, Stephen Hand’s Path. I could go on, but you know if you live here or visit. I used to feel safe riding a bike or going for a jog, but people seem to be in a hurry to get somewhere‚ not sure where though. They don’t stop at the stop signs or yield at the yield signs or, worse, they don’t pay attention to the road while on their cellphone. I thought it was illegal to talk on your hand-held phone while driving in New York State?
I realize it’s important to have visitors and supporters for the wonderful farms, restaurants, and stores, but I wonder are the day trip vacationers or the overwhelming short-term renters really investing? I may be wrong, but it appears more folks are renting, and not for long periods as in the past.
It was sad to see the trash left behind on the beach when we went for an early morning walk. Will it take more people like Dell Cullum, who keeps track of the trash and careless actions around town? I am afraid as the real estate market gets hotter and the media publicizes the opportunity to see a celeb that folks don’t really care about the beauty of East Hampton, but just want to be seen and say they were in the “Hamptons.”
Is it time for a committee to be formed to save East Hampton? Folks used to come in the ’60s and ’70s to get away and come to a beautiful and tranquil setting, but now Newtown Lane is mini Madison Avenue and Main Street is mini Fifth Avenue. Folks don’t say thank you and are certainly lacking respect for folks who work so hard and welcome us vacationers to come on back. My hat goes off to the wonderful ambulance and firefighter volunteers and to the police trying to uphold the law both in the village and town. Thank you!
I hope as the town prepares for elections that folks question who is looking out for the good of the community. Have you forgotten why East Hampton is such a treasure? Let’s save this great town!
Class of E.H.H.S. 1983
Why the Difference?
August 30, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray:
Would it take several summer seasons to put an end to 3 a.m. “quality of life” issues were they happening, not on Main Street, Montauk, but on Newtown Lane, East Hampton?
Same town laws, different villages. Why the difference?
Very truly yours,
Illegal Party House
September 9, 2013
In response to Larry Cantwell’s letter to The Star on Sept. 5, I applaud Larry’s approach to looking at all sources of revenue for the town and for thinking creatively about ways to increase revenues. I’d like to propose an additional source of funding: raising fines significantly for breaking our laws.
I have endured the worst summer of my life, thanks to a new neighbor with no ties to the area who purchased the house next door and turned it into an illegal party house. He continues to advertise daily, weekly, and monthly year-round rentals on Vacation Rentals By Owner. Not only should the initial fine be significant and punitive, it should accrue daily until the situation is rectified. A lien should be placed on the property of a violating homeowner who currently operates with impunity.
Let’s face it — until there is a financial incentive to comply with our ordinances, the situation will continue to get worse. Imagine if every illegal rental out here generated the same income for the town as it does for the owner!
Beach Access Politics
September 9, 2013
The other day I attended one of those get-to-know-the-candidates affairs which are commonly held in East Hampton before election time. This gave me the perfect opportunity to vet a few candidates, to ascertain where they stood on the local issues that most matter to me. I was able to look them in the eye and see their reaction to my questions.
My thing happens to be the politics of beach access. For the last two decades I have been an avid beach user, mostly as a surfcaster and occasionally as a surfer and kayak enthusiast. As a family, my wife, daughter, and I count swimming, picnicking, and beach walking among our favorite pastimes.
The beaches drive our lifestyle and economy here in East Hampton. It’s so important, if we are to maintain the freedom to enjoy our beaches properly, that we let candidates know that we expect them to perpetuate those traditions that enable us to conveniently and safely access our beaches.
We take for granted being able to access our beaches. We just expect that is the way it will always be. That is, until some wiseguy tries to sue us off our beaches. But if you have been a beach activist for many years, as I have, you soon discover that the beaches we all love and cherish have to be ardently defended. We might at times forget that the bad guys are looking to stealthily erode our access by gradually taking away certain rights, sometimes right under our very noses, using the guise of protecting us. The majority of us are so busy working hard and living our lives that we may forget the only reason we still are blessed with public beaches is because some political leaders go out of their way to guarantee us all fair access.
There are some people here in East Hampton who would privatize our beaches in a heartbeat if they could! Some would do so inadvertently, by allowing bad precedents to be set that would affect future generations of beachgoers. Others will do so deliberately because they think their opinions and needs are more important or valid than ours. It’s up to the public to elect political leaders who have the savvy to balance the needs of user groups with the demands of environmentally sound beach usage.
Luckily we have dedicated trustees doing a very tough job, and doing it so well! That’s the only reason why most of our beaches, although constantly under siege, still remain public. The trustees do an amazing job, but without our support, they couldn’t function. We absolutely have to be sure that we elect trustees who are for total access and have the wisdom and strength of character to face down those intent on privatizing.
After reading all of the hubbub being discussed about Maidstone bay beach, I decided to visit the beach on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I wish the U.N. functioned as well as the 15 families harmoniously sharing the beach that day. There were seven vehicles parked on the sand; everyone was having a wonderful time. Four of the beach drivers were transporting extended families, their vehicles filled to the brim with what seemed to be six or seven passengers, all grateful for the utility that their S.U.V.s afforded them. Some carried heavy beach accessories, including paddleboards, fishing equipment, food and beverage containers, beach furniture, and basically all the unwieldy stuff that we take to the sand for family beach days.
There were 50 beach users sharing the beach with 10 sets of grandparents ages 65 and older. A man in his late 80s was actually hooked up to a respirator. His family originally hailed from Georgia, but they had invested in a home here back in the late ’70s. He had this to say about enjoying the privilege of beach driving and beach parking on the sand: “I am so thankful that my family is allowed to use our truck during the day to set up here on this beach. Otherwise, people like me with disabilities would never be able to enjoy a family outing like this!”
There were two brothers in their late 60s, hosting 10 family members for a picnic. One told me “I don’t drive on the beach, but I would if I had an S.U.V. here. We have been coming to this beach for 40 years. My brother is a beach driver out of necessity. He suffered a stroke a few years back and it’s very difficult for him to carry any heavy equipment. This is one of the few beaches left in East Hampton where he can park during the day and gather with his friends and family. All this nonsense about this beach only being a baby beach is just so crazy. This is the people’s beach and all of us have our own personal reasons for being here. We all have to share!
Then there was a fellow from Manhattan, in his early 30s, with twin 7-year-olds in tow. He gave me a reason to have faith in the future of our beach access: “I don’t live here full time. And while I’m not a big advocate of beach driving, who am I to impose my will or beliefs on others who have been enjoying that tradition for 70 years? I may not enjoy having to look at their vehicles, but likewise I am sure that many locals do not appreciate the nonstop traffic on the roads, which I contribute to, yet they welcome us as members of the community. I choose to be part of this community. I enjoy the traditions and hospitality. These people with the my way or highway mentality shouldn’t come out here. As long as beach drivers aren’t doing doughnuts in the sand, I think that this is all much ado about nothing.”
A year or so ago, I attended a Town Hall meeting where access at Maidstone was being discussed. I was shocked to see three of the town board people suggest at the time that they did not think parking on the sand there was a good idea. Yet, when I asked them if they understood that beach access was (thankfully) not under their purview, and that this was a trustee matter, you should have seen how quickly they back-pedaled. At least two of the three were careful to make the politically correct statement that they were locals and big fans of beach driving. I just wondered why they were meddling in what was clearly a trustee issue. I was very relieved to find out that I hadn’t slept through a coup d’etat or something like that.
I will say this, that any politicians who are not savvy enough to understand that part of beach driving happens to be beach parking, probably don’t have the common sense or empathy to value any of our traditions. Personally, I don’t want people who have no pride in the traditions that make East Hampton so special, being in charge and affecting other lifestyle decisions that determine our town’s character and its economy.
I want to thank Carl Irace for inviting me to his beach gathering and for also offering me his views on beach-related legal issues. I especially want to thank Diane McNally and Joe Bloecker, whom I visited there and were kind enough to further educate and update me about the latest beach issues affecting access. I don’t know all of our trustees personally, but I am going to make it my business to get to know them before election time. As we all should. I have only met Stephanie Forsberg, Deborah Klughers, Diane, and Joe, all brilliant and passionate defenders of public beach usage and access.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you, trustees, for all you do to balance the needs of beach user groups with those of the critters and plant life. To Mike Bottini, who is a trustee candidate, thank you for stating your views to me honestly. Although your initial viewpoints about what you referred to as “beach parking” were different than mine with regard to Maidstone, I have faith, as you suggested, that you are willing to see and consider other points of view. Hopefully you’ll respect what so many of your constituents are serious about if you want to run for trustee and truly represent all of the public, fairly. Maybe even step back and pause to reflect on why so many hundreds of your local constituents have joined or shown support for CfAR recently and are so passionate about supporting the rustees. Ask them how they feel about Maidstone and other beaches?
Beach access to many is a careful and delicate balancing act, with humans deserving at least as much consideration as plovers and other species are afforded, before access precedents are discussed and voted into practice. Thankfully, thus far we have been privileged to have trustees who have always done what’s best for the majority of the beach-using public. We voters need to make sure that things always stay that way!
Mostly, though, I want to commend our trustees in general for having the wisdom to decide beach access issues in a manner that gives everyone a fair opportunity to access our beaches. Thanks for being wise enough to give us all options to use the beaches that best suit our personal needs. For those people who do not like the sight of beach vehicles at Maidstone, they can all rejoice about having the option to go to beaches that are not vehicle-access friendly at certain hours, or to walk or be dropped off just 40 yards up the beach, situated far enough away from the mouth of the Maidstone channel, where they don’t have to be concerned about having boats coming close to their babies, or seeing even one beach driver.
And they don’t have to feel badly about trying to impose their will on those of us who occasionally want to use one of the last remaining all-day-accessible beaches to transport our families and heavy beach accessories safely, conveniently, and with utility. You don’t even have to worry about those of us who are frail, disabled, or just too old to navigate safely by foot and must use a vehicle to enjoy the day, because you have plenty of other beaches to choose from. You do your thing! And, if you allow us to, we will do ours.
Let’s keep Maidstone a traditional family beach for future generations. As long as we all are watching out for each other and practicing careful, safe, and empathetic beach usage together, there is no need for any of us to usurp another user group. The careful and environmentally conscious beach driving practiced by those who access Maidstone is a nonissue to the vast majority of beach-goers in East Hampton. The majority of sportspeople and family off-roaders‚ locals and visitors alike, even those who don’t beach drive, know how to have a good time and respect the rights of others to do their thing. A little live and let live is all that’s required to live together in perfect beach-access harmony.
Montauk Surfcasters Association,
N.Y. Coalition for Recreational
September 9, 2013
On Aug. 26 we had the kick-off public meeting for the development of a long-term economically and environmentally sustainable wastewater management plan. The town comprehensive plan focused attention on the importance of dealing with our water issues.
The need now to comprehensively address these issues is apparent from the destruction of over 90 percent of our shellfish population in our bays and estuaries, the periodic closings of swimming areas because of bacterial contamination, and the increasing amounts of pollutants in our drinking water aquifers.
While agricultural chemicals and rainwater runoff are contributors to this problem, scientific studies of the Peconic Sound over the last decade have shown that the major culprit in East Hampton is our 20,000 privately owned residential and commercial septic systems.
The job of the consultants the town recently hired is not to impose a plan to control these systems but to give the town board the scientific evidence, through testing and analysis of where the major problems are, and a range of remedies for the board to consider.
Some public comments at the meeting suggested that the board was going to mandate that every resident immediately install a new nitrogen-reduction septic system at a cost of $30,000 to $40,000 a household. This is ludicrous, since very few residents could afford such an expense and the board members who mandated it would never get re-elected.
Some others said that they had the constitutional right to do whatever they want on their own property and did not want interference from the town. This may be true unless it affects the health and safety of others outside their own property. When substances I put into my ground are migrating into the drinking water of the whole community, polluting swimming areas or killing the town’s shellfish, the town has a right and a duty to limit what I do on my own property.
Still others said that the “newcomers” have caused the problem. But the shellfish population has been shrinking for at least 30 years, and it took 10 to 25 years before that for the household wastewater to leach through the groundwater into the bays and estuaries. So this has been a problem people have not wanted to deal with for at least 50 years.
Another group said taxes should not increase. Cleaning up this wastewater mess that took decades to create will not be cheap and will, because of economic restraints, not happen overnight. Any plan that is economically and environmentally sustainable will be implemented in steps over many years. However, doing nothing to protect our water resources will ultimately destroy the value of our homes.
Rather than trying to divide the community, let’s recognize that whether long-term Bonackers, full-time residents, or second-home owners, we all choose to be here, pay taxes, and need to support the consultants in gathering scientific data so we can better understand the problems and the range and costs of solutions.
The people we elect to the town board will then have to make the hard policy decisions of how to effect the cleanup, over what period of time, and how to pay for it. The current study, through reviewing existing data and supplemental field testing, will give the board and the town the scientific and cost data to make the best decision.
Town of East Hampton Budget and
Financial Advisory Committee
Protecting Our Water
September 9, 2013
What could be more important than protecting our water? The detection of algal blooms and shellfish disease signifying high levels of nitrogen in local waterways should be a call to action. Rather than take steps to address this problem, the supervisor and his deputy vehemently oppose the implementation of a wastewater management plan.
Common sense dictates that if we have a problem we need to identify the cause in order to determine the remedy. Mr. Wilkinson’s and Ms. Quigley’s refusal to support a scientific study to answer those questions is like saying, don’t confuse me with the facts. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away — it’ll only get worse.
There has been a good deal of fear-mongering about the cost to the town and individual homeowners of upgrading septic systems and improving our waste management program. We don’t know yet what those costs will be and what monies might be available through grants or bonding. We do know that protecting our surface waters and groundwater is of prime importance. To do this we must get our head out of the sand and face reality.
Not a Drop to Drink
September 9, 2013
It is hard to believe that there is any adult alive in East Hampton who does not know by now that potable water — the water you drink, cook with, and use to keep clean — is the new gold‚ maybe even more precious than gold or oil in this world we find ourselves in. No water, no life. Potable water is scarce and it will only get worse. The more people, the closer they live, the worse our water problems are. Every time you pee, to put it bluntly, you are contributing to the problem of nitrogen in our water. Thank God East Hampton is finally taking steps to address the problem.
I attended the last forum as I have attended all meetings dealing with water, because I know without clean water my property will have no value. It will be worthless. I will have to bring in water to drink and cook with. Who will buy my house then?
I will watch carefully what happens in East Hampton. If this town doesn’t do the right thing, I will be out of here before you all realize there is no turning back. My house will be the first one on the market. Remember what the wise man said, “Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.”
Don’t be foolish and listen to the rabble rousers! Listen to the experts.
Political Red Herring
September 9, 2013
To the Editor:
Supervisor candidate Larry Cantwell stuck his finger in the eye of every registered Republican in East Hampton when, on Aug. 27, in a pre-emptive strike on the Sept. 10 Republican write-in primary, he announced that if elected to run at the head of their November ticket, he would decline. Yet he claims he will be a supervisor for all the people. How do you refuse a potential nomination from Republican voters, while simultaneously telling them that you want to represent them only if elected on the three other party tickets whose endorsements you have accepted?
Mr. Cantwell’s premature announcement is the ultimate proof that he is under the thumb of the Democrat party hierarchy. He has revealed that he has no say in the matter. What is East Hampton’s future — politics over people with a continuation of political expediency?
His announcement and convoluted reasoning insults the intelligence of the electorate. Only a fool would not want the backing of all political parties and Mr. Cantwell is no fool. He decries universal endorsement as a muzzle on his views, but he and his running mates are always free to argue their positions on all issues and to debate the other candidates on the Republican, Independence, and Conservative lines. He has used his bully pulpit well thus far, with nary an opponent in sight. It is a political red herring to say that he would not be free to state his preference and support for his fellow Democratic candidates and to continue campaigning on their behalf.
The fallacy of his statement is highlighted by the fact that he is already running with Republican, Independence, and Conservative-endorsed candidates, including Fred Overton and Dominick Stanzione, on the Independence line. What candidate accepts endorsement from a party of 37 registered voters (Working Families Party), while offering a slap in the face to 4,073 registered Republicans? Republicans outnumber W.F.P. voters 110 to 1!
His reasons (excuses?) are nonsensical. His promises of unity and inclusiveness ring hollow and are an affront to intelligent thought. Why are his handlers — the Democratic elite — afraid to let him accept a Republican nomination? A nomination which I know first-hand, despite inaccurate reports in the media, results from a grassroots attempt by the citizens of East Hampton who happen to be Republicans, to show their desire to place him at the top of their ticket. Unfortunately for town residents, this tactic by the Democratic Party may reveal their true intention to conduct business as usual — party politics — allowing no deviation by its candidates (elected officials?). Mr. Cantwell’s eager acquiescence to his handlers’ marching orders is disappointing.
His actions have given us a peek behind the curtain, revealing the emptiness of his words. Unity was my goal when I started this process in July. I believe in people over politics, but its arrival in the supervisor’s office apparently will be delayed.
September 9, 2013
I have been baffled by the peculiar theory that I’ve heard locally, that East Hamptonites should not vote for all the Democratic candidates as that would unbalance the town board.
If the Republicans can’t field topnotch candidates, wouldn’t we rather have a board comprised of really competent people, albeit Democrats, than one with a few mediocre Republicans slowing down the work we need to do to restore our quality of life and to protect our environment?
Beach Sticker Fees
September 8, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
As much as I hate to disagree with my friend Larry Cantwell, he is wrong about what he calls Beverly Bond’s “rumor” regarding the Democrats‚ and in particular Kathee Burke-Gonzalez’s statement about raising beach sticker fees. Ms. Bond was right on the money and it was no rumor. I know this because at the annual meeting of the Duck Creek Farm Association, at which the town board candidates were present, I asked Ms. Burke-Gonzalez to cite some examples of what she described as “non-property-tax revenue‚” and the first thing that rolled off her tongue was beach fees.
Mr. Cantwell did not refute Ms. Burke-Gonzalez’s answer. However, Fred Overton gave an accurate description of what fees really are, a tax by another name or a hidden tax. Mr. Overton also described in detail and even tried to warn the Democratic candidates, in particular Mr. Cantwell (with whom he shares the Independence Party line on the general election ballot) and Mr. Potter and Ms. Burke-Gonzalez, that raising fees, especially beach fees, was something that East Hampton residents would not and should not tolerate.
Needing to do damage control on Ms. Burke-Gonzalez’s unguarded response and recognizing Mr. Overton was absolutely correct about the folly of raising beach parking fees, likely got Mr. Cantwell and his handler, Chris Kelley, thinking that this issue was a big fat red flag and they now needed to camouflage their tax-and-spend intent. So, Mr. Cantwell in his letter makes what I call a Jesuitical distinction of amending Ms. Burke-Gonzalez’s statement by intimating he is “studying” raising beach fees on nonresidents. I am sure full-time residents of East Hampton breathed a sigh of relief when they read that. I know I did. (Sarcasm on.)
Now, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez cannot be blamed for her knee-jerk response of raising taxes, fees, or whatever you want to call taking the taxpayers’ money, for in her tenure as the Springs School Board president, Springs residents saw their property taxes rise every single year, even as East Hampton Town taxes were reduced. Ms. Burke-Gonzalez never met a tax increase she didn’t like. I know, because I am a 22-year resident of Springs. But, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez’s actions are consistent with Mr. Cantwell’s letter. Nowhere in Cantwell’s letter or in any statement made by any Democratic candidate, has the idea of reducing expenditures been discussed. Heck, it hasn’t even been whispered.
In his 2009 campaign for supervisor, Bill Wilkinson promised to cut expenses and taxes even as he was looking down the barrel of financial ruin left to him by the last Democratic administration. When elected, Bill kept every one of his promises to the voters. He not only balanced the budget, he reduced the size of East Hampton’s bloated government and institutionalized management efficiencies while simultaneously reducing taxes.
Wilkinson’s administration has been so successful that this year Governor Andrew Cuomo, a hyper-partisan Democrat, awarded East Hampton Town more than $500,000 to recognize publicly the extraordinary achievements of the last three and a half years. Just last week, New York Secretary of State Cesar Perales, another hyper-partisan Democrat, at a press conference at Town Hall, said he is citing Wilkinson’s government as he travels around the state as a model for all municipalities to follow.
Wall Street too, has recognized the success of Wilkinson’s policies. Moody’s Investor’s Service recently upgraded the town’s bond rating, and that should reduce debt service costs for the next administration’s borrowing, thus saving taxpayers even more money.
Larry Cantwell, the next East Hampton supervisor, will inherit a town in great financial shape. So, why are he and his Democratic running mates campaigning to increase fees and taxes? What do they intend to do with more of our money? It sounds to me like they intend to start increasing the size of town government and drag us all right back to the fiscal follies of the last Democratic administration.
Voters must demand that every candidate running for office in November pledge they will continue the Wilkinson policies touted by Governor Cuomo and Secretary Perales. Larry Cantwell and all the candidates must promise first to reduce expenditures and continue to increase management efficiencies before they dare to ask us to reach into our pockets and give them even more money.
Carole Campolo is a member of the East Hampton Republican Committee.
Resident Beach Permits
September 8, 2013
At a candidates’ event at the Duck Creek Association on Aug. 24, the town board candidate Kathee Burke-Gonzalez said that a way to create new revenues for the town would be through increasing beach parking fees. In a letter to The Star dated Aug. 29, Beverly Bond took issue with the idea.
Larry Cantwell in his own letter to The Star, Sept. 5, responded to Ms. Bond’s letter, saying that neither he nor his running mates, Job Potter or Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, “have . . . proposed charging residents for beach parking permits.” His statement left me speechless. Larry, did we attend the same candidates’ event?
My distinct recollection is that in response to a question from the audience, asking for an example of non-property tax revenue, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez responded with beach parking permits.
I remember her comment clearly because I then stood up and insisted that those kinds of “fees” needed to be called what they really are: taxes. I reminded Larry and his running mates that when a $25 beach parking permit for town residents was initiated under the Democratic administration, there was a huge backlash from the residents. I know this for a fact, because my office as town clerk had to deal with collecting the fees and issuing the permits to a very unhappy public.
When I finished stating my opposition to Ms. Burke-Gonzalez’s remarks, there was total silence from Larry, Job, and Kathee. I did not hear one of them say that Kathee was not referring to “resident” beach parking permits; or that they would never consider a beach parking permit for residents.
Another matter of fact is that Resolution #2009-245, initiating fees for residential beach parking permits, was not rescinded until the passage of Resolution #2010-80, adopted Jan. 7, 2010, by the Wilkinson administration.
I stand by what I heard at Duck Creek that day.
Republican, Independence and
Conservative East Hampton
Town Board Candidate
Tightrope of Abstention
September 9, 2013
On the chance that some readers of The Star have not yet seen this brief gem, let me call attention to the YouTube video “Dominick Stanzione Abstains,” a funny glimpse of Dominick teetering over the political abyss on the tightrope of abstention.
Work With Stanzione
September 9, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray:
As a 29-year resident of Springs, not aligned with any political party, I write to say that I am appalled by the political theater acting of our elected town officials while our community degrades at a geometric pace. As I view their performance, it is with a sense that I have followed Alice down the rabbit hole into a dimension of absurdity.
Supervisor Wilkinson and Councilwoman Quigley obviously are only biding time until they depart from office, so it appears that little if anything might be expected of them before the forthcoming elections. Councilman Van Scoyoc and Councilwoman Overby appear to be stricken with a paralysis of analysis that restricts their inclination to take any positive action that might curtail deterioration in Springs. As a consequence, we are experiencing government functioning within the principle of four I’s: inaction, indifference, inability, and ineptness.
The one elected official willing to offer any initiatives to extract us from this morass is Councilman Stanzione. His proposal regarding parking of commercial vehicles in residential neighborhoods deserves discussion as a step in reducing the abuses foisted on the community by commercial enterprises functioning illegally throughout Springs. His proposition for a rental registry also has merit as a means to curtail the illegal housing causing a plethora of problems in Springs related to taxes, reduced property values, safety, and quality of life. Other Suffolk County townships have effectively introduced such legislation, along with other measures to alleviate illegal housing. The emphasis on the part of our elected officials should not focus on what we can’t do but rather on what we can do.
I urge all elected members of the East Hampton Town government to work with Councilman Stanzione to advance his proposals regardless of their tenure in office. For those who take comfort in not running for office this year, be assured that I, and my neighbors, have long memories. They will carry over to the polling places in subsequent years. For those seeking elected public office for the first time, I trust you will be mindful of the concerns expressed in this letter.
Pleased to Support
September 9, 2013
I have known Steven Tekulsky for as long as he has lived in East Hampton and am pleased to support him.
Since 1995, when I founded the Pediatric Dental Fund of the Hamptons to provide dental care to needy children, Steven has generously donated his services to it, assisting us with the legal issues and any other questions regarding the operation of the P.D.F.
I have also had occasion to use Steven as my personal attorney. In all of my dealings with him, Steven has exhibited the intelligence, common sense, and demeanor that would make him an excellent town justice.
I look forward to voting for Steven Tekulsky for Town Justice.
East End Pediatrics
For Town Justice
September 5, 3013
This is my enthusiastic endorsement of Steven Tekulsky for East Hampton Town justice.
Steven is a longtime resident of East Hampton and deeply committed to the life, economics, ecology, and politics of our village and town.
His 35-year legal career is well respected by his colleagues as well as our local citizens.
I place the highest value on the importance of electing Steven Tekulsky. East Hampton needs his ethical strength of character, his erudite knowledge of law, and his consistent fair judgment.
He certainly has my vote and that of my many friends and acquaintances, who know Steven Tekulsky to be the only true choice.
CARROLL WEST JONES
Local as Can Be
September 5, 2013
The most important qualification for someone to be a justice in our town’s court is his knowledge of the people in this town and his ability to follow the law with understanding. Steve Tekulsky is a local — as local as one can be. He has raised his family here, practices law here, and has served our community for years.
As a volunteer fireman Steve has earned the respect of those who have known him best. The other firemen have seen his character, ability, and commitment, and elected him to be their chief. He should be our next town justice.
Former Town Attorney
Support for Tekulsky
September 8, 2013
I am writing to you today to express my support for Steven Tekulsky for East Hampton Town justice. I have had the pleasure of working with Steven as an East Hampton fire chief and as a local attorney. Over the years, I have watched his involvement in our community grow along with his wonderful family.
Steven has the experience and knowledge to get the job done.
September 6, 2013
I think that it would be enormously helpful to the East Hampton Town voter to attend a public forum hosted by the local East Hampton Town trustee candidates. I would ask:
1. You get paid $20 — a day. Are you nuts? No raise since 1686?
2. Why do you get snarky with other environmental advocates (East Hampton Town Natural Resources Department, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, United States Fish and Wildlife Service)? Turf war?
3. Why do you place nonbiodegradable cautionary tags on dune-holding sand fences (see New York State Sea Grant Extension Program) and condone damaging vehicles within 20 feet of dune-holding beach grass? (See State Sea Grant Extension Program.)
4. Where are the bay constables? I suggest trustee redeployment, a salary increase (they have some lovely money in the trustee account), and spiffy uniforms.
All good things,
September 9, 2013
Watching the dialogue unfold between Diana Walker and trustee candidate Capt. Ira Barocas in the letters section of this newspaper has been entertaining and informative. A recent letter from Ms. Walker cites Captain Barocas with the “splendid idea” of bringing back a modern version of our bay constables. Although Ms. Walker may have first read of the concept in a letter to The Star written by the good captain, rest assured the idea has been discussed at length during many trustee meetings, and has been actively pursued by Trustee Nathaniel Miller and myself, with the advice and assistance of other sitting trustees, our counselor, and state assemblyman.
Ms. Walker certainly has a variety of questions and advice for the Board of Trustees. To enhance communication and dialogue, I welcome her, and anyone else for that matter, to attend a trustee meeting, which are held on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. at our offices on Bluff Road in Amagansett, to witness nine fabulous trustees in action. Ms. Walker may be able to find answers to her query of what the trustees really do, really. Our meetings typically last about four hours and are as civil as they are diverse. We encourage public interaction as we move through lengthy agendas while accomplishing a great deal of work on behalf of our community.
Our meetings cover a variety of topics, including the enforcement of trustee rules and regulations. Currently, under town code, any duly constituted law enforcement officer, Town of East Hampton code enforcement officer, harbormaster of the Town of East Hampton, or bay constable of the Town of East Hampton may enforce our laws. In addition to the creation of 12 trustees, the Dongan Patent of 1686 also named two constables to be chosen yearly by “the majority of the voices of the freeholders and freemen of the town of Easthampton.”
The Bay Constable Act of 1875 allowed for the election of bay constables, who were charged with marine and conservation law enforcement, with specific attention to the protection of marine resources including commercially important fisheries and shellfisheries, and related matters involving public health and safety, such as boater safety and marine navigation. The bay constables were granted the authority to board and search vessels for violations of fishing and shellfishing laws, as well as arresting and confining violators.
The last election for a bay constable in New York was held in East Hampton in the early 1980s. The elected position was abolished in East Hampton by public referendum, and I assume it would require the same to bring it back. I embrace the Dongan Patent and would like to have back all that it historically provided, including 12 elected trustees. (The downsizing of the board of trustees from 12 to 9 occurred under an act of the New York State Legislature almost 50 years ago.)
I would also like a few “trustee constables‚” whose sole responsibility would be enforcement of trustee rules and regulations, as outlined under town and trustee code and to be amended for the fulfillment of this new position. Under the direction of the trustees, trustee constables would monitor ground and surface water quality, enforce our commercially important fishery and shellfish regulations, protect our trustee-created scallop and eelgrass sanctuaries, maintain navigational waters through oversight of dredging and excavation activities, and oversee stormwater runoff management. They would monitor trustee roads and mooring fields in our waterways and be sure that compliance to trustee-permitted activities was met.
They would also be charged with permit compliance for all mass gatherings issued on trustee property. Basically, the trustee constable would help educate the public as they monitor and protect all our marine and aquatic-related resources and other matters related to public and environmental health and safety within trustee jurisdiction.
In order to bring back this elected position, I believe it would require a referendum with town board approval. There may be an additional cost to the freeholders and commonality of East Hampton. Should the trustee constables be elected civilians or sworn peace officers? If they were to be elected, would any formal training or experience be mandated in order to seek election? The position should require experience in law enforcement, fisheries and marine conservation, seamanship, reading land survey plats, personnel management, and some general biology or ecology experience as well. Another solution may be for the town to hire additional code enforcement or marine patrol officers charged with the exclusive task of enforcement of trustee-related matters as outlined above.
Why the discussion on enforcement anyway? Our Marine Patrol and code enforcement personnel do a very good job and have written numerous tickets to violators of trustee code, but unfortunately, the trustees still need more enforcement! This is a big town with limited personnel, and too many people choose to not follow the rules. Increasing enforcement of trustee rules and regulations is about posterity consciousness — proactively maintaining public property, managing our public resources, fierce protection of natural resources, and preserving access to all these resources for the benefit of us today, and for future generations. In the early days of our town, those who violated trustee codes were sometimes banished. Other offenders were visited by the common whipper (and they actually paid for the service!). I’m not sure if these options are viable today, but perhaps it will be discussed at the next trustee meeting. Hope to see you there!
East Hampton Town Trustee
September 4, 2013
To the Editor:
New Jersey Governor Christie appears to be already campaigning for his political aspirations to become president in 2016. There was a fund-raiser for him at the Apollo in the Hamptons this summer. If you care about the environment, the school system, etc., I would not vote for this man should he run for office in 2016.
Christie vetoed a bill that would stop fracking in New Jersey. These headlines say it all: “Overturn Christie Veto, Environmentalists Urge, Keep N.J. Free of Fracking Waste.”
I do not want our country to become an environmental disaster and hope you feel the same way.
Support the President
September 9, 2013
Some of my fellow East Hamptonites will be demonstrating against the president’s plan for a strike against Syrian military assets, the objective of which is to disable the Assad regime’s means to deliver chemical weapons by missiles and airplanes. I believe those against the president’s plan are missing the forest for the trees. If nothing is done, this war will go on interminably and hundreds of thousands more people will die. If Assad’s military capacity is diminished it may force him to the bargaining table.
As I began to write this letter I heard on CNN that the Russians are proposing that the chemical weapons be placed under international control. Certainly this would not have come about without the president’s proposal.
President Roosevelt knew of the gassing and refused to bomb the railroad lines that the Germans used to bring the Jewish people to the camps. We know of Assad’s use of gas and should not shrink from our moral responsibility to enforce the Geneva Convention which makes the use of gas illegal.
This action is not a repeat of Iraq or Afghanistan, from which this president has extricated us. There will be no American “boots on the ground.”
Peace at any price is not always the best policy. In fact, the president’s plans may lead to a negotiated settlement between the rebels and the Syrian government either before or after an attack is carried out. This is precisely what happened in Kosovo after President Clinton took action by bombing the Serbs, which led to the Dayton accords.
East Hamptonites should be urging Congressman Bishop to support the President.
DAVID J. WEINSTEIN
Really Old Folks
August 27, 2013
To the Editor,
Re: Minor novels summer reading
Dear student of Zane Grey’s “The Shepherd of Guadaloupe.”
Film noir — when the get up and go has got up and went.
“In Spain they say si, si. In France you hear we, we. Every little Dutch girl say ya, ya.”
“Far across the deep blue water lived old German’s daughter on the banks of the old river Rhine.”
The really old folks and their stuff.