Letters to the Editor: 02.06.14

Our readers' comments

Bunyonesque
    Montauk
    February 3, 2014

Dear David:
    Despicable and deplorable aren’t strong enough to describe the arrogant act of Public Service Enterprise Group Long Island, an unbridled bureaucracy, that as a new kid on the block took it upon itself to chop down our trees without asking the taxpayers whether we liked the idea and whether there might be other less-severe solutions to make their job for us easier for them.
    A bit of trivia that makes this matter so ludicrous is that we people who live here and love our natural surroundings are paying P.S.E.G. for this horrible act. If it’s true, shame on the town’s department that gave P.S.E.G. the green light to carry out this Bunyonesque act without disclosure to the public.
    Maybe if someone had opened a book he or she would have found a similar situation about 15 or 20 years ago. At that time, Suffolk County Water Authority wanted to sink one or two additional wells in Hither Woods. If I remember, S.C.W.A.’s claim was that the additional pumping capability would be beneficial for the growing community.
    Fortunately, that utility was headed by Michael Lo Grande. Not only did he respect the communities that his authority served but he was a listener. With several town board meetings and with community presentations that brought the public further into the discussions. S.C.W.A. withdrew that proposal. Community input, perhaps, showed them that they could effectively serve their publics without possibly endangering the environment, particularly our precious aquifer.
    Thanks to the gutsy reporting of Janis Hewitt and the lonely voice of a shocked Montauk resident, Sue Farnham, we have been made aware of a questionable project currently being carried out by P.S.E.G. Maybe enough voices can bring the issue to a “wait and see”?

HY BRODSKY

Loss to Our Town
    Amagansett
    February 3, 2014

Dear David,
    East Hampton suffered a loss in the passing of Dick Madan last week and his wife, Phyllis, two months ago. Residents of our town since the ’70s, they were in love with our landscape, our beaches, and our people. Long-time members of the Democratic town committee, they worked cheerfully and tirelessly to elect people they hoped  would  protect and preserve the town’s  glories.
    On the committee as in life, they were a team. When in town, they never missed a committee meeting. In the days when mail was king, they wrote, stuffed, stamped, and posted endless letters. They made phone calls! As they got older, they drove each other to canvass their respective election district constituencies. There was no task too menial, no occasion too modest to call upon their help, even as their leadership in the party grew and Dick was pressed to become co-chairman.
    The Madans were fun. They loved art, music, and travel. Gracious and hospitable, they welcomed fellow workers into their spacious, comfortable living room with its odd, wonderful collection of souvenirs from all over the world. Phyllis loved Champagne; every event was celebrated with bubbly.
    It’s easy to forget amidst the town’s political battles that people who serve on all the front lines are friends and neighbors, motivated by love for our community and a wish to make life better for everyone. Phyllis and Dick were such people. The loss to the Democrats is a loss to our town.

    Sincerely,
    JEANNE FRANKL

Beyond Words
    Springs
    January 31, 2014

Dear David,
    I was touched beyond words about the column (Jan. 30) where you mention my darling wife, Yolanda. She read your paper every week for 27 years, and somewhere she has a big smile on her face.
    Thanks again.

RICHARD GROSS

Very Bad Idea
    Amagansett
    February 3, 2014

Dear David,
    At the East Hampton Town Board meeting tonight, concerned citizens can help put to its final rest the ill-conceived proposal to spot-zone Balasses House, a historic building on Amagansett’s Main Street.
    The owners of this property had prevailed on the Wilkinson majority to hold a public hearing for a zone change, but because of errors in notice procedure, the hearing was postponed to tonight.
    The request is to change the zoning from B residential with a limited-business overlay to central business. This is a very bad idea for several reasons.
    First, central business would allow for smaller setbacks on the property, which has a residential setting now. C.B. would allow for business with a much higher volume, such as a restaurant or drug store. The result: a more dense property with more of the lot covered, increased traffic on that corner, and additional parking problems to add to what is currently the case.
    Down-zoning this property is against the design of East Hampton’s 2005 comprehensive plan, the carefully studied, vast community effort, which includes goals such as “protecting historic buildings, hamlets, neighborhoods . . . from incompatible development” and “maintaining and restoring East Hampton’s rural and semirural character and unique qualities of each . . . historic community” and “no additional land adjacent to the historic district should be rezoned for commercial development unless pursuant to the findings of a commercial needs study.”
    Another important reason to vigorously deny this request to bring central business zoning to Balasses House is that this will set a dangerous precedent, encouraging adjacent limited businesses to do the same, imperiling the essential charm and character of Amagansett’s Main Street.
    This is a seriously harmful rezoning proposal which must be firmly denied.

    Sincerely,
    BETTY MAZUR

Our Water
    Springs
    February 2, 2014

Dear David,
    Water is the new gold, more precious in this dramatically changing planet than anything else. We only need to look west to California, where there is the worst drought in 500 years and south to West Virginia suffering from industrial pollution that has created a dangerous situation for the people of the Charleston area. Our Earth is called the blue planet, and all life is based upon the water that covers the planet.
    Here on Long Island, our water is very special because we don’t get it from anyplace but under our very feet and we can’t afford to squander it or abuse it by using pollutants, including all those chemicals people use to have something as unnecessary as a lawn. And golf courses are certainly not important in the scheme of things either, as a matter of fact where water is concerned, golf courses are quite trivial. Sorry, I know that sounds like I harbor prejudices against golf courses and green lawns, and you’re right, I do. Such frivolity!
    Our future here in East Hampton depends upon everyone becoming more cognizant of protecting our aquifer, whether by the choosing products to use that are not harmful, taking stronger steps to reduce overcrowding of the densely populated areas like Springs, or insisting our town government be more vigilant in monitoring and taking steps to ensure the quality of our groundwater. The soon-to-be released Waste Water Management Study conducted by Pio Lombardo and spearheaded by Councilwoman Sylvia Overby is a step in the right direction.
    Water is valuable and cannot be wasted — it’s for drinking, growing food, and sustaining life. It is imperative that we on Long Island realize that when the water system has been corrupted, then the entire economical system will collapse and this place will no longer have any value to anyone, rich, poor, or middle class. This is the issue of our times.

    Respectively submitted,
    PHYLLIS ITALIANO

Working Together
    Amagansett
    February 2, 2014

Dear Editor,
    Over the years, many of us have heard or read that the role of the East Hampton Town Trustees to protect, for example, our beaches, was established way back in 1686 by the Dongan Patent. Also, over the recent past there have been occasional but important battles between the trustees and various parts of our town government. The yet-to-be resolved plan to protect our beaches, predominantly Montauk and Ditch Plain, is a recent example of the lack of working together effectively.
    In last week’s Star it was noted that, following a request by Trustee Deborah Klughers, a trustee position on an important water issue was transmitted to the East Hampton Village Zoning Board. Clearly if the individual roles of the various parts of our town apparatus communicated in a timely fashion this last-minute effort would not have been needed.
    So it was with pleasure that I read that the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals would henceforth automatically notify the trustees when pending actions within their domain are up for discussion. We have a complex series of parts in our town government and it is important that clear jurisdictional boundaries be defined and, more important, be respected. This decision by the Town Z.B.A. is, I hope, a harbinger of similar constructive actions in the future.

IRVING HIRSCHBERG

A Lot of Damage
    East Hampton
    January 25, 2014

To the Editor,
    Someone did a lot of damage to my lawn by taking a vehicle and driving and turning around on it when the soil was very soft. The ruts and loss of grass will cost me at least $1,000, as topsoil is also needed.

RALPH C. GEORGE

Concern for the Deer
    Montauk
    February 3, 2014

To the Editor,
    On behalf of the East Hampton Group for Wildlife, I would like to thank all who worked to halt the deer cull in our town. Large numbers of residents participated in the Jan. 18 rally, posted flyers, signed petitions, and wrote letters to newspapers and public officials — all out of heartfelt concern for the deer. I believe this compassion speaks to the quality of our community.
    In order to withdraw from the cull, several village and town officials had to change their position. This required mature flexibility on their part, and they deserve credit.
    The proposed deer cull stimulated wide-ranging discussions, many of which referred to scientific findings. For example, several people observed that researchers have found no statistical association between Lyme disease and deer population size, probably because the disease-carrying ticks also feed on other animals. I hope such discussions will continue, so communities will have solid information on which to base decisions.
    Although the village and town have called off the deer cull, at least for now, animals continue to be in urgent need of protection. Southold still plans a cull, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation wants to kill or capture every mute swan in our state. These are only two examples of animals’ extreme vulnerability. I urge all residents to do what they can to defend the animals, who are so often at our mercy.

    BILL CRAIN
    President
    East Hampton Group for Wildlife

Gone Mad
    Noyac
    February 3, 2014

Dear Editor,
    Stop the direction of killing our animals. Co-exist! Figure out how to do that in an urban environment. Killing is in no way a solution. It’s so barbaric that it is incomprehensible that it’s suggested as a solution. Teach people respect of animal life. Slow down — that certainly includes all the elected officials who are endorsing these outrageous killing solutions. Humans have no right to take away the existence of the animals that naturally live where humans live.
    Yes, I think you have gone mad! You are elected officials to listen to the people. Please open your minds, your hearts, and listen. Do not kill all animal life because of gardens, people speeding and hitting animals, etc. Nature, beautiful landscapes, and animals feed our spirit.
    You will for sure lose my vote.

DOROTHY FRANKEL

Save and Respect
    Wainscott
    February 1, 2014

Dear David,
    I was shocked and appalled as I read Helen Searing’s letter. She expresses such outrage at killing the animals (I could even agree with that sentiment) but not a scintilla of compassion for an unborn human life because it is “presumably” unviable. I am certain that untold numbers of parents, whose “unviable” children are born with disabilities and grow up to be productive and successful members of society would disagree wholeheartedly. Talk about barbarism!
    And I absolutely agree with her exclamatory pronouncement: “What a country!” Maybe that is the problem.
    We should try to save and respect all life.

DIANA WEIR

Pleased and Happy
    East Hampton
    February 3, 2014

Dear David:
    I was so pleased and happy to read in today’s (Friday, Jan. 30) East Hampton Patch alert, sent to me via email, regarding the reconsideration of deer culling in the town of East Hampton, for this year.
    God bless Larry Cantwell and our new board for finally being able to act with rational and clear heads and take the time to fully consider all the information we need to come to a clear and correct direction and hopefully a more human answer to our deer population. I was horrified to feel that there would be mass murder going on in my town of East Hampton and the village.

ARLINE GIDION

In Lieu of Culling
    East Hampton
    February 3, 2014

To the Editor,
    If anyone has reason to want to address wildlife issues in East Hampton, it’s me. After all, I’m in the agricultural business and my livelihood has been compromised by deer-trampling, and what some might call destruction, season after season for decades now. It’s a significant amount of damage from a business bottom-line perspective, but thank goodness my morals outweigh my desire for financial gain.
    As a businessman, I would certainly like to see a solution. However, I’m not prepared to have these innocent animals lured and killed any more than I would be prepared to take out a gun and shoot down my neighbor’s dog who may wander into my nursery and trample my beautiful flowers.
    While I agree we need to do something, please take careful notice that I’m not calling it a “deer problem,” because the deer are not the problem. The problem is our inability to arrive at a workable way to live among them. And yes, we’re supposed to be the intelligent beings in this equation.
    Let’s not forget that wildlife was here before we were. It’s not a question of deer invading our space, it’s the other way around. There is a global mentality of simply bulldozing wildlife out of their habitats to promote industrial and residential development, while the animals continue to mean us no harm. They are innocent, doing the best they can to survive amidst circumstances they did not create. They should be punishing us, not the other way around.
    As a civilized society breeding excellent parents and the best educators, we’ve put great focus on teaching our children all about the wildlife of the world from a very young age. We’re rightfully teaching children to love and respect all life forms. Our Native American history studies, lest we forget, teach us to respect Mother Earth and all her creatures, to take only what we need, and leave the land as we found it, and let’s not forget that it is mandated by the New York State Board of Education that all fifth graders are to be taught “The Great Law of Peace.” At what point in the education curriculum do we shift gears so swiftly and start teaching our youth to barbarically assault any living thing that poses a perceived threat to them or their precious inanimate belongings?
    We’ve completely lost sight of what and why we educate in the first place, because it seems that as soon as they enter the “real world,” even our most highly educated members of society can simply forget everything they learned. That’s a real shame, and I feel sad for those who didn’t see past the pretty pictures and understand the fundamental story-book lessons. Instead, they try to condescend to us with sarcastic comments about Bambi that only serve to reveal that it is they who truly missed the point. Are our leaders so detached that they really believe these stories from our youth were meant purely as amusement, and not as a means of educating us on the life forms we share this planet with? Is that why we’ve become a society that blatantly contradicts everything we learned at school? Is that why we’ve become a society that defaces the most basic moralistic values of living, because most of our leaders in fact should have flunked the first grade for failing to understand the most rudimentary of life lessons: share earth and love all living things?
    It seems to me there should be a vast emotional and intellectual distance between wanting to put a stop to something and wanting to kill it. Those two outcomes should never have become one and the same, but more and more in this society, those mentalities have merged. If something’s in your way, take out your gun and shoot it dead. Don’t bother with alternative possibilities to address the situation. Much of America has embraced this easy-way-out mentality, and we’re becoming disturbingly comfortable with senseless killing. If you believe I’m exaggerating, I invite you to step outside our borders, as I have done many times, and learn how our neighbors and friends in other civilized nations view us Americans. It’s shameful.
    I’m not a tree-hugger, and I’m not an extremist of any belief. I’m also very aware of some of the potential problems that may exist by virtue of sharing land with wildlife. In fact I don’t think anyone is denying there are potential risks.
    I’ve been a proud resident of East Hampton my entire life. I know and appreciate all there is to love here, and I feel very fortunate that we have the strong leadership that has kept us in the ranks of most-desirable destinations, a cut above the average American village, a place to be truly envied by the rest of the nation. I always believed that a large part of that appeal wasn’t just our pristine beauty, but our truth, our values, our way of life as a people. It seems to me now that we are behaving no better than some of the least desirable neighborhoods in this country. We are making headlines for all the wrong reasons. As a taxpaying lifelong resident here, I have to ask my leaders why. Why are we stooping so low? Why are we taking the easy way out? Why are you, as human beings, okay with this?
    There is a better way, and we in East Hampton are not only worthy of it, we owe it to our community to live up to our reputation, to continue to earn our elevated cost of living, and set a better example that shows the country why we are envied. If we don’t, we risk lowering ourselves to just another status-quo American small town, only worse because our poor moral choices will stand out and make the news for the dichotomy of what we once were vs. what we’ve become.
    I know you’re placing the health and safety of our residents and tourists above all else and for that you must be rightfully commended. I conclude this to be the driving force behind these actions, because nothing else makes sense. It’s not like we have hundreds of acres of farmland to protect. Here in the Village of East Hampton, we have a total of fewer than five acres of currently active farmland, hardly enough to warrant the excessive measures and cost of bringing in sharpshooters from the United States Department of Agriculture.
    But I ask you again, dear leaders, in lieu of culling: Have we discussed posting warning signs along the highways to keep drivers aware of wildlife, and perhaps make them a bit more cautious? Have we discussed using advertising to remind people of the presence of wildlife, just as we do to remind people to slow down when back-to-school season arrives, or to use more caution when the roads are icy? Have we discussed the possibility of using targeted contraception to limit the growth of the deer population? Have we discussed working with the licensed hunters to arrive at an alternate solution? Regarding the specific issue of ticks and Lyme disease, which cannot and should not be attributed solely to deer, have we discussed addressing the problem via any one of the effective methods utilized by less fortunate communities? If ticks are really the problem we should be having this conservation, because we all know ticks aren’t transferred solely from deer. There are natural, harmless ways to address a tick problem, and finally, I would respectfully ask why there is no discussion of simply relocating the deer to a safe habitat where they can carry out their natural lives with less interference from us?
    And if despite our sincere pleas and best efforts, the culling is to go forward, who may I ask is policing this process? Who is keeping you, our leaders, honest and accountable for what you do and how you do it? In fact, I’d like to know where in the United States Constitution it is stated that as an elected community leader, you have the legal right to kill at your discretion? Where in our constitution does it say community leaders have the right to arbitrarily decide to take the life of a given species? Hunting is strictly regulated and closely monitored, and hunting outside of the stated season and parameters carries lawful penalties, so how on earth is culling not illegal?
    On Jan. 18, I attended a peaceful rally coordinated by the East Hampton Group for Wildlife. There was vast support for an alternate method of handling ourselves among the wildlife. We were not just exercising our right to protest, and there are in fact legal avenues being pursued to put a stop to the culling before it is executed. While I feel it shouldn’t have come to this, I support the effort. I wish common sense would have led to an acceptable course of action sooner.
    Drastic measures have become so commonplace around us that they aren’t even viewed as drastic anymore. It’s not the deer that are devaluing us or spoiling our appeal, it’s our behavior as a society. If we adopt the barbaric mentality that is poisoning the rest of this country, we’re defeating the very qualities that made us different, unique, leaders. We could lose our status as the exclusive destination we once were.
    East Hampton is better than this. Let’s work together and prove it.

ROBERT LIMONIUS

God’s Wolves
    East Hampton
    February 1, 2014

To the Editor:
    By now, it is clear that East Hampton town officials have caved in like a snowdrift in April to the blaze of emotion and righteous moralizing from the anti-deer-cull camp. There is the temporary restraining order, of course, but that is like a fly in the kitchen — there always seems to be at least one. More seriously, Larry Cantwell and Fred Overton discovered this week, after months of debating and planning the cull, that an environmental impact statement may be required and can’t be prepared this year. Mr. Cantwell has discovered just this week that there are “more questions than answers” about the cull. Busy and enlightening week. Cull next year? Dubious.
    Ordinarily, we do encourage our politicians to show courage in the face of mere public emotion (e.g., charges of murder for supporting abortions) that is unsupported by reason. That’s except when the emotions are ours, and then we try to foment an emotional uprising to make politicians cave in.
    But so it is, and there are compensating benefits.
    Now, the culling of the deer can be left to private enterprise, voluntary action, and that always is better than permitting government to interfere in another area of our lives, right? Who needs President Obama’s Department of Agriculture genocidal sharpshooters?
    Still more to the point, private action will save the expense of the cull, a big objection of protesters. We are Americans and can do things for ourselves. We don’t need President Obama’s silent night-time killers.
    It is time for those who favored the cull, and those who protested ‘leave it to the hunters,’ to swing into action, united, to kill deer. Privately, locally, naturally‚ above all, ethically.
    One simple approach, requiring no equipment or expense, is the dead-fall. If you have woods near you, all you need is two thick logs about 15 feet long. One log is on the ground, the other on top of it. One end of the top log is held in place, atop the other, by stakes driven in on either side. The other end is raised about two feet and supported by a carved ‘trigger’ (just Google “dead-fall, deer, bear” for details) with a protruding stick to which an apple is firmly attached. As the deer tries to pull the apple off the stick, it “pulls” the trigger and the top log chops down on its neck. It may not break the deer’s neck, but, in time, the deer will suffocate, or, given more time, starve to death.
    More ambitious homeowners can purchase a crossbow; many excellent, powerful models are available. This enables the homeowner, come 3 or 4 a.m., to sit comfortably at an open upstairs window, even in the bedroom, and nail the deer when they come for another breakfast of his shrubs. There is no sound to disturb the neighbors or even wake the wife (or husband, girls). It is true that many new hunters will fail to hit the deer in a fatal spot, but an arrow solidly lodged in a deer’s rump has real benefits. The deer may eventually bleed to death, but, worst case, with enough crossbow hunters, eventually enough arrows will finish it off.
    A final home remedy‚ and I list only three of many imaginative approaches‚ is an ingenious device inserted inside a large, split apple. This is a brass ball with many holes, and, inside, spring-loaded spikes. The ball is put inside and the apple closed and tied. (Don’t worry, the deer will still eat it. They strip spiked holly leaves the way you used to eat candy dots.) When the deer is eating the apple, it eventually triggers the device, which shoots out brass spikes in all directions, piercing the deer’s mouth. This doesn’t kill it, but makes it impossible for it to eat, so your shrubs are saved, and, eventually, the deer starves to death. If it is a nursing doe, you might starve the fawn, too.
    Although our politicians can’t stomach the cull (this week), they still can be creatively involved, leading a united citizenry. Remember the posters “Leave it to the hunters”? It is time, now, to get behind that slogan; the town can help. Within limits set by the state, hunting season might be extended‚ if possible, all year long. The town’s ample woodlands should all be open to hunters, all the time. That will help established hunters. But new hunters often are deterred by the expense of purchasing a rifle. Why should not the town rent rifles, for a minimal fee, to all licensed hunters of legal age and let them bang away in the public interest? Advertising the town’s open-arms welcome to hunters could pull in talent from all across the state. I’ve never hunted, but if I could get a free gun and ammo, I’d do my part.
    One crucial step, I think, is to eliminate regulations restricting use of guns near a residence. Many hunters who might not tramp the snowy woods before dawn would be happy to leave a loaded rifle in the upstairs bathroom, so if they get up to relieve themselves and spot a deer in the yard, they can toss up the window and start firing. A man’s home is his castle.
    Admittedly, the cull plan did have the perverse, heartless advantage of using trained hunters, shooting from stationary positions, so that deer would be killed certainly and instantly, without even being startled. But systematic, barbaric, inhumanely efficient slaughter now can be superseded by people enjoying hunting, a few hours in the woods. Again, with extended hunting, and many new hunters, there are likely to be many wounded deer, but the problem is self-correcting. With so many hunters banging away, even the staunchest buck eventually will be hit often enough to collapse.
    While this local, non-governmental, natural control of our deer population is shooting ahead, there is the problem of the soaring incidence of Lyme disease. In a letter last week, I cited the Centers for Disease Control’s new estimate that Lyme disease may be 10 times as frequent as estimated based on reports by doctors. This would make it one of the country’s top infectious diseases. That it was grossly under-reported on the basis of doctor visits suggests that most people aren’t treated in the first stage‚ discovering their illness only later when it is chronic, untreatable, and ultimately fatal.
    Until the deer cull came along, I had spent 20 years in East Hampton during which everyone blithely assumed that deer were the pivotal “vector” in the spread of the disease. Everyone. I never even heard the issue discussed.
    Since the cull controversy arose, it has been discovered that we were dead wrong. Deer have virtually nothing to do with Lyme disease. Somehow, it had been assumed that since Lyme disease is closely correlated with the increase in the deer population‚ 90 percent occurring in states centering on New England, where deer populations have burgeoned‚ that deer were the problem. I suppose that is why the particular tick that carries the disease has everywhere been dubbed a “deer tick.”
    But no. In the last couple months, it has become common knowledge (well, in East Hampton) that squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, and voles are crawling with, excuse me, so-called “deer” ticks. The controlled experiments on several islands where the deer population was exterminated and Lyme disease disappeared completely have no relevance to East Hampton’s problem. No scientific basis, none. We had drifted along for decades thinking there was, until the cull furor‚ so it did have one benefit.
    But what to do about East Hampton’s share of the 250,000 to 300,000 folks infected each year with Lyme disease? Well, if they are among the few who still think that the problem is deer, they damn well can stay out of their yards during the summer months; besides, why are they worrying, they already have the disease. And if they decide to take a drive to the beach, they can damn well, as cullists impatiently urge, drive no faster than a deer can walk. What’s the rush, anyway?
    If you are have not been careful in your reading of the arguments against the cull, you might say, well, if all our furry little friends carry Lyme disease, the town might undertake spraying the ticks. To raise the idea is to have missed the entire force of the ethical, cosmological, historical, and theological case against the cull. Let me merely summarize. Ticks are living beings, and living beings have a right to live. They are God’s creatures; only God has a right to spray them. Also, ticks were here before us; we have taken over their habitat. If that doesn’t stir your heart to rage and mutiny against spraying ticks for our selfish human convenience, consider that spraying is systematic, barbaric, heinous, ruthless slaughter (some will say “murder”). Did I mention that ticks were here before us?
    Don’t be confused. We still can, as many protestors urged, have hunters kill the deer. Think of East Hampton hunters as natural predators, like God’s wolves, and the problem that all the ethical/theological arguments against the cull also apply to hunting and fishing slip away like a fawn in a dappled glade. To eliminate the same ethical problems as applied to trapping rats and mice, get yourself a cat. It has no soul and can’t go to hell for harming God’s creatures; you can. If you aren’t vegan, start going to weekly confession, pronto. If you aren’t Catholic? What can I say? It looks really bad for you.
    Much more could be said (and much less). Here, I have tried to emphasize the opportunity that our politicians — only belatedly recalling that barbaric genocide requires an E.I.S. — have opened to us. Please, view my modest suggestions for private action as no more than an inspiration. We all can help to balance nature in the course of our daily lives.

WALTER DONWAY

A Vocal Minority
    East Hampton
    February 2, 2014

To the Editor:
    I was disappointed to read in Saturday’s New York Times that East Hampton Village and Town had withdrawn from the federal and regional deer culling program that has long been supported by a majority of homeowners.
    A vocal minority held a rally that received front-page coverage in The Star and a rock concert promoter hired a law firm to file suit. To allow such tactics to intimidate elected officials sends the wrong message: If you don’t like what elected officials are doing, hire a lawyer, sue and get some media placements.
    The Times article stated that the interest from property owners was minimal. On the contrary, many homeowners are very supportive. Is it necessary, when elected officials make a good decision after lengthy discussion, to hold rallies in favor of agreed-upon action? Those in office need to be able to handle dissent, especially from a small vocal group.
    I am a homeowner in East Hampton, and I have six deer resident on my property. The deer are destructive, and the culling plan is a good one which has my full support. Each year many thousands of dollars are wasted on dealing with deer damage, including landscaping, car repair, hospital bills, and fencing.
    I call upon Larry Cantwell and Paul Rickenbach to exercise leadership on this issue. When your partners are the Long Island Farm Bureau and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and your proposal is to cull the deer herd by 10 percent, it is unacceptable to back down when a small group sues and generates some media coverage.

JEREMIAH T. MULLIGAN

Haven’t Heard
    East Hampton
    January 28, 2014

Dear David,
    According to  the National Geographic website, whitetail deer have a life expectancy of from 6 to 14 years.
    Now, many of the people who are against hunting deer suggest applying birth control injections to the deer. Which will limit future births, but do nothing to lessen the current deer population for many years to come.
    In fact, the only lessening of the deer population will come from old age and/or getting hit by a car. Which could also lessen the human population.
    So right now, as far as I can tell, the people who are against culling the deer population have no realistic suggestions for lessening the deer population at all in the foreseeable future.
    There are people on both sides of this problem. But at some point, somebody has to make a decision, put that decision into effect, and see how it does. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, try something else.
    People against deer culling describe the killing of deer in terms used for human beings. Such as calling the village mayor, the “ murdering mayor” and calling the proposed baiting stations “the killing fields,” a phrase describing the killing of millions of Cambodian human beings by their government.
    Also, people arguing against culling the deer use the lower deer population figure from the aerial deer survey as proof that the deer population is going down. But think about how hard it is to see anything  with an aerial survey. What you mostly see are treetops and houses, not people, not deer. I’ve lived in East Hampton Town since 1983 and I have never seen more deer than this past year. That’s a personal, on-the-ground and on-the-road, experience.
    One of the objections to culling that  people have is they don’t like bait stations and would rather use amateur hunters than professionals. The advantage to bait stations is that it would bring the deer to a spot away from houses and people, so that accidents would be minimized. And hopefully professional hunters would cause less “collateral damage,” i.e., people getting shot by amateur hunters who might miss the deer and hit something else by mistake.
    In last week’s Star, it was reported that an ambulance rushing to a hospital struck a deer. The details weren’t mentioned, but it had to slow down, at the very least, the ride to the hospital, possibly jeopardizing the patient.
    I don’t like killing deer, I don’t think anybody does, but I haven’t heard any better ideas which would keep deer off the roads. Some people have suggested driving slower on our roads as a  way of avoiding deer. That may work on small roads, but can you imagine going 30 m.p.h. on roads like Route 114 or Montauk Highway, when other cars in back of you are going 50 or 60? That would cause more accidents than deer.

    Sincerely,
    LARRY SPECTOR

All-Invasive Species
    Springs
    February 1, 2014

Dear David,
    We saved the deer!
    Now about those pesky invasive, non-native swans on the town pond.
    That’s a tough one.
    Unless you were here 300 years ago, dear reader, and me too, we are all an invasive species.
    If the swans go, we go too.
    What to do! What to do!
    A pickle.

BILL HENDERSON

Coyote Urine
    Amagansett
    January 21, 2014

Dear David,
    If there is an East Hampton deer slaughter, my book club will take to the streets. My book club will be covered in flappy aluminum strips, carrying large vials of coyote urine to be projected by custom-made coyote-urine projectiles. Deer do not like the smell of coyote urine one bit.
    If there is an East Hampton deer slaughter some local leaders will be forced to exit. If there is an East Hampton deer slaughter the public dime will have been misspent. (One hundred fifty dollars per animal to slaughter. Sixty dollars per animal for birth control.)
    I encourage communication with the Tufts University Center of Animal Public Policy, Dr. Alan T. Rutberg, director; also Mayor Peter Swiderski of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.
    Trust me. My book club is committed to hurling the vial of coyote urine on behalf of doing what is just. Am I being perfectly clear?

    All good things,
    DIANA WALKER

Signs in Spanish
    Montauk
    February 1, 2014

Dear David,
    Recently new signs were put up at the recycling center in Spanish! One of the few things that hold this country together is our common language.
    Catholics speak out against the killing of abortion doctors. Jews speak up to defend hate speech. Where is the outcry from the many citizens of Hispanic heritage? They should be leading the fight for English as our national language. Not to do so encourages the belief that most speakers of Spanish are in this country illegally.
    The town of East Hampton should be trying to pull us together, not apart.
Mr. Cantwell, tear down those signs.

    Yours truly,
    DAN BRIGANTI

Double the Amount
    Amagansett
    February 2, 2014

To the Editor:
    I see that our new town board has just voted to nearly double the amount that can be spent on community preservation fund appraisals without prior approval (from $40,000 to $75,000). What is the justification for this?
    We have just dug ourselves out of the financial hole left to us by the McGintee administration, so I hope this is not a sign our new board is reverting to the big spending and lax oversight of those days.

LYNDA A.W. EDWARDS

Amnesia Has Set In
    East Hampton
    February 2, 2014

To the Editor:
    “The Wolf of Wall Street” was a beautifully crafted, wonderfully acted film. it was remarkable in that no male figures in the film had any redeeming social values. Every one was a repulsive slug. Could Wall Street be as grotesque as the film implied, or was it a gross exaggeration of a quasi-deranged life style?
    And then I picked up the business section of last Thursday’s New York Times and read about “The New Housing Bonanza,” a plan to purchase foreclosed properties and turn them into rental units. Sell securities based on the profits from the rentals that are purchased with low-cost loans. Estimated value $1.5 trillion. Allowing people who have lost their homes due to foreclosure to rent them back at market rates (if they are still in them or can be tracked down).
    A brilliant new scheme for banks and hedge funds to make tons of money while providing housing for millions of people. Or is it an old scheme that just crashed the economy and ruined the lives of millions of people who received loans they couldn’t afford to pay back and wound up losing them? Supporting the old adage that no matter how bad things get for people there is always someone who will find a way to make a profit on your misery. Who would willingly take your last nickel if that’s all you possessed.
    We are less than four years since the housing-mortgage collapse and amnesia has already set in. The millions of peoples whose lives have been destroyed or seriously damaged are barely a blip on the national radar. So let’s party, do some blow, and sell some newly packaged rental housing securities. (By the way, the bailouts never happened.)
    We sell bad loans, we package them and flood the market, we collapse, we foreclose, we buy back the foreclosed homes with low-interest loans, we repackage them as rental units, we make tons of money, we wait for the next crash.
    Even Marx couldn’t have imagined this process.
    “The Wolf of Wall Street” wasn’t really a parody. Not a fiction. Simply reality. We are so institutionally deranged that we don’t need Ronald Reagan to pretend it’s a good deal. We don’t need cocaine or quaaludes. We run on adrenaline, and a heavy dose of amnesia.

NEIL HAUSIG


 

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