Letters to the Editor: 01.30.14

Our readers' comments

Thank You, Steve
    East Hampton
    January 21, 2014

Dear David,
    A public “can’t thank you enough” to Steve Lynch, our highway superintendent, for caring for our town and its people and to your dedicated crew — all of you getting the job done for us no matter what.
    Leadership and service, yet another one of East Hampton’s finest kind.


On Town Pond
    East Hampton
    January 26, 2014

To the Editor:
    What happened to all those ice skaters we used to see on Town Pond in the cold of winter?


Keeping Stores Open
    January 26, 2014

Dear Editor:
    Reading last week’s Star about the financial problem of keeping stores open through the winter reminded me of what happened a few Sundays ago. I told my friend Jenny that after our book club meeting we would have coffee at the new diner in Wainscott. After all, it was a diner on the highway, so there was no reason it would be closed. But it was. See you in the spring, the sign said.
     I am writing this letter to ask that we year-rounders, whenever practical, minimize online shopping, driving to Riverhead for bargains, and using New York City medical services. If we “buy local” we will obviously increase the probability of having the luxury of year-round shopping and dining. It’s worth it.


Positive Beginning
    East Hampton
    January 27, 2014

Dear David,
    Not withstanding the bitter cold, winds, and snow, January 2014 has been a very good month for East Hampton: the new town administration has already made good on its campaign promise to restore civility to Town Hall.
    January’s town board meetings have been remarkable for their temperate tone and good manners. The business of government is being conducted with respect and maturity. And, not surprisingly, working in the absence of negativism and nastiness, the new board has been able to complete the meetings’ agendas more efficiently and on time.
    The town board has much hard work ahead, but this positive beginning deserves enthusiastic notice and appreciation.


Two Tools Stolen
    East Hampton
    January 20, 2014

Dear Editor,
    Our national culture is being compromised year by year, if what I learn from the media is accurate. I thought that out here, in the beautiful South Fork of eastern Long Island, that we might not experience the sickness of the human mind-heart evidenced elsewhere.
    Then, when I returned to my modest abode in the Northwest section of East Hampton, I found that some sick, weak, greedy, lazy, dishonest, self-entitled, naive, impatient, arrogant man or woman had stolen two tools off my front deck. I had just returned from the post office.
    Well, just how important are two brooms? The size-social image is of no significance; the act is!
    Referring to my word “arrogant” in the above paragraph, I am explaining that when I left the house, I left the radio inside on at high volume, and all the lights on, suggesting somebody was there. In other words, why would somebody steal from my house, when a dozen houses up and down my street had no loud music and lights on, suggesting nobody was there, so just go ahead and steal anything you want to. This was midweek, in January.
    Lest we get all riled up about brooms, know that they were not only expensive but of a particular design-consist that I use for very specific reasons. In case nobody knows, the building profession is not just some mere craft, but indeed, it is a science, where there are reasons for everything not only done, but used. But even how much they cost me (now to buy again) is not the point. It is the principle that counts.
    Oh, I get it, principle is no longer important. I guess I forgot. But I can tell you this, and that is, if I have the opportunity to retrieve my brooms from the thief, I guess I could just use these two tools to sweep up his remains, being as neat and tidy as I am.

    Best regards,

God’s Creatures
    East Moriches
    January 22, 2014

To the Editor,
    Animal lovers, everywhere, are appalled by this deplorable act, the slaughter of thousands of God’s creatures because of a few inconveniences. Some local vets believe that the cull would make Lyme disease worse, as the ticks would then host on dogs and cats and children. Maybe we should let the deer be and instead tear down the overabundance of some of our abandoned shopping centers, give back some of the land where the poor animals graze for food. They were here first.

    It’s the humans who have made Long Island ugly, not these beautiful creatures. Is it too much of a sacrifice to slow down in certain areas when on the road? Hey, I have an idea, maybe get off the damn cellphone/texting when driving.

    Give me a break with some of the excuses for killing — the nonscientific hearsay, misinformation, and exaggeration. For man to carry out this horrific execution makes me disillusioned with society. People need to re-evaluate and do some soul-searching now and save what’s “deer” to our hearts. Sometimes we must find humanity through nonhumans.


A Personal Statement
    East Hampton
    January 21, 2014

To the Editor,
    Well, on to the topic of the day: the planned deer cull. I’m going to metaphorically put my money where my mouth is, or rather my vote. I want to pledge publicly, here and now, that I will never again vote for any town or county official who favors the deer cull or takes any part in approving it. I will not merely abstain; rather, I will vote for your opponent no matter his or her party or politics!
    I invite others to join me in this pledge. We don’t need to meet, or to march, or to raise a cup, we just need to make a personal statement and vow to adhere to it, which I hereby do. And I look to the Wildlife Preservation Coalition to inform all of us where each and every involved official stood or stands on this issue.


Unspeakable Decision
    Sag Harbor
    January 21, 2014

To the Editor:
    How have we become so barbaric? Exterminate those beautiful animals, 3,000, I hear. It is totally disgusting and I can’t believe you, our town officials, are so without compassion.
    How should you do it? Maybe you should hire the vets from Afghanistan, already besieged by post-traumatic stress disease, to just go and blow the deers’ heads off. And then what? What about the field mice? They carry ticks. Shall we blow them away with sharpshooters, too? And after that, what about the gophers? They eat uppity bulbs. How about the dogs? They leave droppings on expensively cut lawns. Blow them away too?
    How have we gotten where we are willing to destroy the magnificent creatures that live here. It reminds me of the thousands of bison who once roamed the plains, before the sharpshooters and bow-and-arrow boys. Maybe the deer are a bit of a nuisance. I suspect we are, too, with all the fences and deer sprays and high-pitched deterrents.
    But c’mon. Where is our humanity, our respect, I actually think awe, for these beautiful, harmless animals. Why not just live in the city if you don’t want them around?
    The cull is disgusting, barbaric, cruel. What about those sharpshooting guys who miss and just mortally wound the deer to die a hideously painful death.
    Please. There is still time to reverse this unspeakable decision. Mahatma Gandhi once said a society is judged by the way it treats its animals. How are we doing?


What a Country
    January 26, 2014

To the Editor,
    Kill the deer. Kill the swans. Kill the wolves. Kill the wild horses and burros. Execute the prisoners. But keep alive the unviable fetus of a dead woman. What a country!


Swan Amnesty
    January 27, 2014

Dear Helen,
    What is one to think? Who will speak for the mute swan? When it speaks for itself, it is the so-called swan song, and it is too late.
    “These are demented people, and what’s disturbing is that these acts are premeditated.” So opined Roy Gross, Suffolk County S.P.C.A. chief, interviewed for an article which appeared in The New York Daily News on July 28, 2011. A swan, with an arrow through it, had been rescued at the park near Riverhead. The community was outraged. The swan, interestingly, survived, due no doubt to the intensive care provided by volunteers who were uniform in their condemnation of this invidious act.
    Well, who would have thought that the morals of a nation could erode so rapidly? Here we are, a scant two and a half years down the road, and today The Star tells us that the state is about to initiate a program of total liquidation concerning the swans of Long Island. Quite apart from the disturbing Stalinist implications of such a policy, it seems that these faceless policy makers openly embrace a vile nativism. We are told that the swans are “nonnative” and “invasive.” It makes one think of Martin Niemoller. “First, they came for the swans, and I did not speak out, for I was not a swan. . . .”
    We are also reminded that these dangerous creatures will “displace native wildlife species, such as the indigenous [emphasis mine] tundra swan and other waterfowl.” What sort of willful ignorance might this be? Have these people never heard of Darwin? Events such as these lend legitimacy to the conspiracy theorists among us.
    Additionally, we are informed that mute swans pose “potential hazards to aviation.” Well, now you’re talking! We all remember when Captain Sullenberger had to land — no, wait‚ that was geese. You know, the geese found on page D8 of the very same issue of The Star that calls for the death of the swans. There’s even a color photograph. According to the caption, there are 9,000 geese just between Bridgehampton and East Hampton. Quick, somebody call the D.E.C.! We can kill the geese, too.
    Never underestimate the power of government. Moreover, if a swan somehow got to East Hampton Airport and was sucked into the turbines of a departing Gulfstream, isn’t it likely that local noise-abatement advocates would marshal their forces to build a memorial to the swan that had nobly sacrificed its own life for the betterment of the environment?
    If I remember correctly, last summer at Town Pond every hatched cygnet failed to survive. This left two adult mute swans vs. 9,000 geese, yet we learn from self-defined environmental experts that the swans’ fecal matter will result in the pollution of our waters. Could this be an example of the “big lie”?        
    Let’s allow science to do the talking. What weighs more? The aggregate defecation of a. the entire East End deer herd, b. 9,000 geese, or c. two swans. You decide.
    Call your congressman. Tell Tim Bishop that you want swan amnesty. Never forget that in order for evil to triumph, it is only necessary that good people do nothing.


Plan Unacceptable
    January 27, 2014

Dear David,
    “Mute Swan Targeted by D.E.C.,” last week’s front-page headline, introduced a plan by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation — a misnomer if ever there was one — that is as preposterous as it is repulsive. The agency released its proposed 10-year management plan, which seeks complete and total decimation of this species by 2025.
    Why are our taxpayer dollars going to be used to eliminate swans? One reason the agency gives is that mute swans “exhibit aggressive behavior towards people.” (Be afraid, be very afraid of the hoards of rampaging swans flapping through our tranquil East Hampton neighborhoods!) Another justification for eradicating these creatures is because the “mute swan is a nonnative invasive species brought to North America . . . for ornamental purposes in the late 1800s.” (Kill the swans because we no longer think that they’re ornamental and because they are not indigenous? That opens up a long list of nonnative birds to be bumped off. After all, they infest our backyard feeders and provide enjoyment to foolish wildlife enthusiasts.)
    The Star’s editorial about the D.E.C. raises some serious questions and mentions that New York’s reputation as an environmental leader has slipped. No wonder! Anyone who is revolted by this so-called management plan must act quickly to let the D.E.C know your opinion. Comments must be sent immediately to fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny. us and type “Swan Plan” in the subject line).
    And call East Hampton’s state representatives, Ken LaValle and Fred Thiele, and let them know that the swan plan is completely unacceptable.


More Appropriate Name
    January 25, 2014

To the Editor
    May I suggest renaming the Department of Environmental Conservation to a more appropriate name such as the Department of Environmental Killing.

    Yours truly,

Twelve Tall Antennas
    East Hampton
    January 27, 2014

Dear David,
    I was at the East Hampton Village Zoning Board meeting on Jan. 24 and was taken with how many people representing AT&T attended. A full-court press, they were outfitted with display charts, computers, thick file folders, and bulging briefcases. They want to put up 12 tall antennas against the Schenck fuel tank with equipment that generates heat, noise, and radio frequency energy fields. There were unanswered questions and health and safety concerns expressed by the audience and the board.
    My thought is why not some other location. One that is not next to the middle school, close to shops and surrounding homes on Barnes Lane, Huntting Avenue, and Osborne Lane. What about Railroad Avenue, where a large tank was recently removed. What about in the industrial park, with warehouses and open land. As the lead proponent from AT&T said, “There is always a need for a new site due to the growing demands of the customers.” I say, let’s get it done right the first time, before it’s too late.


Water Is Gold
    East Hampton
    January 27, 2014

To the Editor,
    The Maidstone Golf Club is requesting the installation of a third well to pump out more millions of gallons of water. Water is gold, it should be for human life!

    Our climate is changing — for example, California is having a huge drought. The aquifer, reservoirs are down, crops are lying fallow. This can happen here, as it did in the 1960s.

    The golf course as far back as I can remember has been fine. This idea is completely frivolous and unnecessary.


The Budget Officer
    January 27, 2014

Dear David,
    In your editorial last week “Budget Anomalies Were Left Behind,” you indirectly shed light on a structural problem inherent to our town government, namely that the budget officer is appointed by and works for the supervisor.

    This is a compromised situation from the start, because the budget officer’s job depends upon satisfying his boss (the supervisor). Objective monetary decisions can change into political ones. Budgets in election years can be even more problematic. As you pointed out, the departing supervisor’s budget “was not one he would have left for himself.”

    Although I am not a close reader of town budgets, I recall that every town budget in the past 10 or 12 years has revealed items of creative accounting, or items that were carefully hidden. Even for a town as small as ours, the annual budget is a dense, complex, and broad document. The state comptroller’s office and our town’s outside auditors have missed details before. And while the town board as a whole takes a final vote on the proposed budget, it can also be politically difficult for them to challenge budget items that the supervisor and his budget officer are presenting.

    In 2009, the town board hired a certified public accountant, Janet Verneuille, who carried out the duties of a comptroller and who served the entire town board. The results were very good, but short-lived, as Bill Wilkinson reverted back to the norm.

    If our town wishes to continue with a politically appointed budget officer, then we should have an audit committee with real teeth, just as our school districts have. Such an action will drastically reduce the kinds of flaws that you referred to in your editorial.


Falsehood and Insults
    New York
    January 16, 2014

Dear David,
    My busy career has made it impossible to reply to the many letters I find in your newspaper of dubious quality. However, I could not help but reply to the letter from Diana Walker of Jan. 3. I find it scurrilous, false in every respect, and certainly of such a low quality as to make its appearance in your fine newspaper questionable.
    Ms. Walker starts out by suggesting people of Italian descent have a tenuous relation to the truth. This ethnic slur is reprehensible. She then goes on to suggest that somehow this ethnic slur explains Perry Duryea III’s statement in his recent letter to The Star. How these two thoughts are connected is absolutely mind-boggling.
    In any event, I have been a resident of Montauk for almost 85 years and have known three generations of the Duryea family that entire period. They have been close social as well as political and business friends. No family has contributed more to the welfare of Montauk than the Duryea family. Perry Duryea III’s grandfather served the town, our Senate district, and the state in successive senior positions. His son, Perry Duryea Jr. (“Junie,” as many of us knew him) was an assemblyman, speaker of the State Assembly, and a commissioner of the Long Island Parks Commission, among many of his public service positions. I dare say we would not have an airport, and our wonderful golf course would have been a housing development, if it had not been for him. I mention two of his countless contributions to Montauk and to our state.
    His son Chip has continued this family tradition. In addition to public service positions, he has done a great deal of important, compassionate work among people with cancer.
    Furthermore, all four of the Duryeas’ wives have contributed a great deal to Montauk.
    Ms. Walker continues her letter by insulting our former supervisor, suggesting that he was like her grandmother who, according to her statement, ended up in an institution. Our former supervisor rescued this town from a horrible financial situation that required many tough and unpopular decisions. His rescue of the town’s financial plight was spectacular, but, as most reformers, for example Savonarola in Renaissance Florence, the tough acts required by reform are unpopular with many people. In the case of Savonarola, his cleaning up of Florence resulted in his execution. At least Bill Wilkinson got the job done without losing his life.
    I join Perry Duryea III in reiterating his statement that time and events will prove our former town supervisor to be one of the best supervisors East Hampton has ever had.
    I would suggest that your paper should have an ombudsman who reviews letters, and those that reach a level of falsehood, insults, and vituperation, as Ms. Walker’s did, should be placed in the circular file.


The Rights of Others
    East Hampton
    January 26, 2014

To the Editor,
    Can there be any reason the chief executive of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, would say there is no room in his state for those Republicans and Conservatives who do not think like him? In public statements on Friday, Jan. 17, “our” governor opined that those who held views differing from his on gun control, abortion, or gay rights are not legitimate New Yorkers. 
    We know that there is an enormous range of views on the issues mentioned, and varied reasons to hold them. It is wrong and irresponsible of the governor to demonize any segment of the population for holding and expressing opinions on their concerns. He certainly was not elected to be the arbiter of the legitimacy of his opposition.
    As governor of New York State his focus should be on enabling people to live and work in his state and to reverse the outflow of population to more inviting places. Since Andrew Cuomo is a professional politician, up for re-election this year, one can only think that his calculated remarks were intended to show solidarity with oft-chanted liberal mantras and thus increase his ability to deflect the crazy Democratic politicians in New York City who want to increase taxes needlessly.
    Governor Cuomo should have found a better way to build credibility with the zealots of his own party than by attacking the rights of others.


What It Means
    East Hampton
    January 23, 2014

To the Editor:
    Here’s what Chris Christie said: “I, Chris Christie, elected governor of the State of New Jersey, do solemnly promise and swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of New Jersey and that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same and to the governments established in the United States and in this State under the authority of the people [and that] I will diligently, faithfully, impartially, justly, and to the best of my knowledge and ability execute the said office in conformity with the powers delegated to me and that I will to the utmost of my skill and ability promote the peace and prosperity and maintain the lawful rights of the said State, so help me God.”
    Here’s what it means: Nothing.


Supply-Side Economics
    East Hampton
    January 26, 2014

To the Editor:
     In 1980 at the beginning of the Reagan presidency, an economic guru, David Stockman, created a concept known as supply-side economics to legitimize the fantasy of “trickle-down growth.” Supply side, simply, shifted the concept of economic growth from demand and consumer-generated to production-generated.  Make a product and someone will buy it. Stockman’s theory was not an economic concept, despite the terminology, but a political one. It redirected the focus of the economy away from the principle of purchasing what you could afford to purchasing what you want.
    Supply side worked for a while, as most everything does in a rising market, but at a significant price. Two major bank failures, enormous personal debt (see credit cards and home equity loans), the collapse of our middle class, and the bleakest future we have imagined since the Depression.
    Stockman repudiated the supply-side doctrine several years ago in a tell-all economic treatise. It had no basis in reality, with no statistical or historical support. Completely fraudulent. Yet it took on a life of its own, and supply-siders are a force in our economic community. Just because it’s bullshit doesn’t mean we can’t say it isn’t.
    The minimum wage has been one of the major supply-side victims. Raising it will hurt businesses by cutting into their profits and limit their ability to create jobs. Except that the private sector has created a minuscule number of jobs in the past 14 years despite record levels of profits and productivity increases. By paring down costs in the form of wages and benefits, companies have increased their profits without significant increases in demand for their products. (Excluding the financial sector, which shuffles wealth as a means of creating profit.)
    Yet historically, the minimum wage sets the standard for all wages, and the higher it is the more the economy grows. So the fantasy of supply side incorporates the fantasy of the private sector as the job creators and the need to keep the minimum wage as low as possible.
    We return to the logic of Henry Ford, who raised the wages of his workers so that they would become the market for his automobiles. A bizarre, un-American idea that we are all in this together. Thirty-three years of supply side has put us deep in the crapper. Our problem is that the reality our nation is living is couched in the fantasy of an economic theory that has no basis in reality. Confusing reality and fantasy allows for the egregious absurdity of the 1 percent.


Laughter, Not Anger
    East Hampton
    January 24, 2014

Dear Editor,
    Pardon me while I spend some time researching who the hell Chris Hahn is. His name is mentioned in another hopeless letter from our local coterie of misinformed, misled right-wing supporters, and I never heard of him.
    Oh, he’s a Democratic “strategist” regularly appearing on Fox News! Never saw the man or wasted my time viewing the channel espousing the “White Santa Claus” and the selective reportage of news events. I know of the convoluted Krauthammer, the pitiful Hannity, the anti-pope Limbaugh, Congressmen and empty-headed Gomert of Texas and King of Iowa. But I never heard of Chris Hahn.
    My bad. One cannot fail to know these other paragons of the right since they represent prime examples of what makes me laugh in politics. I never get angry when derision is available, and it is readably available in the letters of one who would repeat, as gospel, the opinion of a pharmacist when he is apologizing for the cost of a prescription.
    Now take the newly acclaimed Megyn Kelly at Fox (please take her). I am told that while she reported on the Chris Christie investigations and the allegations made by the mayor of Hoboken, she never mentioned that those allegations were repeated to the U.S. attorney, which would make any fabrication thereof a federal crime, or that there were contemporaneous notes of her threatening meeting with Christie’s lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno, and witnesses she named with whom she discussed the matter at the time. No, Kelly didn’t mention those facts — they would bolster the credibility of the mayor and undermine the running TV banner on the station: “Mayor won’t answer Fox’s questions.”
    Bashing one of the world’s great influential newspapers, The New York Times, is also a repetitious joke, formulated because the right wing has no equivalent media of The Times’s national and international stature.
    Anyway, I just wanted to advise all who read letters to the editor that laughter, not anger, is my total reaction to the supercilious, ridiculous sources used by spacy, silly emptyheads to write letters solely containing fabrications and party-line reports on the events of the day in politics.


My Golden Years
    January 27, 2014

To the Editor,
    Doughnuts with my son!
    Hey, Bill. I guess I should have never said I could go for a doughnut at Hess in Wainscott. You never did get me a Boston creme, you owe me. Doing doughnuts in Reutershan’s parking lot at the age of 55 is worrisome. Storm of the century, 3:30 a.m., village snowplower calling village police, and you wheeling out of it. Yes, it was fun and funny but you need to see a “good” doctor.
    Bill, I’m 89, going deaf, and have been senile since your birth, please let me enjoy my golden years. I regret to inform you I will not be out to see you anytime soon. I think you bent one of my three stents when we banged into the pile of snow during our East Hampton tour. It sure seemed as if the town highway department did a much more thorough job than the village.
    Tell your friends Jay Jay and Luis to keep up the good work. Glad you’re having fun, be well.

    Sincerely, love ya,