Letters to the Editor: 02.20.14

Our readers' comments

Did the Beatles Proud
    February 11, 2014

To the Editor:
    In the early ’70s I was working for Channel 13 in New York. The late-night program “Free Time” asked if some staff would stick around to be an audience for one of their eclectic shows. I went over to Studio 55 (Ninth Avenue and 55th Street) around 11 p.m. and was asked to go up onstage.
    John and Yoko came out with a six-foot stepladder and asked us to climb the ladder, tuck our hands under our arms, and flap them as we jumped off the ladder shouting, “I’m free! Free as a bird!”
    The musicians performing Beatles songs at Bay Street Saturday night did John and the rest of the Beatles proud. Great show.


On Climate Change
    East Hampton
    February 14, 2014

Dear David
    While Peter C. Osborne’s opinions on climate change are, no doubt, sincerely held, they are far from universally accepted. If he were a student of science, he would know that his argument that CO2, being a trailing indicator, is therefore not capable of causing climate change, is rejected by the great majority of climate scientists. In declaring this to be an obvious fact, he contradicts the overwhelming majority of scientific opinion worldwide.
    When he writes that dividing the participants in the climate change debate into believers and deniers “is too close to the Koran’s writings” for his comfort, he is indulging, first, in bigotry, by implying that anyone who reads the Koran is beneath him. Second, it is an application of the ad hominem fallacy to attack the character of the opponent rather than focus on the argument.
    In fact, it is reasonable to observe that there are those who believe that anthropomorphic climate change is a very serious and urgent matter which society ignores at its great peril. I am one of these people. I have the comfort of knowing that 98 percent of the peer-reviewed papers published in scientific journals in recent years agree with me.
    There are also those who deny that climate change is real, and Mr. Osborne is clearly in that camp, despite the fact that a vanishingly small number of scientists agree with him. What language would make this distinction more clearly?
    For those interested in exploring the topic for themselves, books on the subject which address the science in language that a lay person can understand are Bill McKibben’s “Eaarth” and James Hansen’s “Storms of My Grandchildren.”

    Thank you.

Tipping Point
    February 16, 2014

Dear David,
    It is shocking to read another letter by a climate change naysayer. This person was talking about carbon dioxide having no measurable effect on climate. Unfortunately, he has no knowledge of the planet Venus, the hottest planet in the solar system with an atmosphere 96.5 percent carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide traps the heat of the sun, which is then unable to escape because of the density of the gas. It’s as simple as that. This is a drastic example of the greenhouse effect. It is no coincidence that the second planet from the sun is hotter than Mercury, which is the closest planet to the sun.
    What is really alarming is that the people who are willing to deny the receding ice caps, the advancing oceans, the extremes in weather, and massive storms want to take a chance with the future of the Earth. Has the fossil fuel industry convinced them we should sit on our hands and risk the future of our children and Earth? Why are they so willing to risk all life on this precious planet? If in 30 years I am proven wrong, I will eat crow, but if I and all those scientists are right and we save the Earth, won’t that be great?
    We are getting to the tipping point. We need to do all we can to stop the deterioration of atmosphere of the only place we know that supports life.


No to the Poles
    East Hampton
    February 15, 2014

Dear Editor:
    East Hampton Village and East Hampton Town are under siege by PSEG.
    It is urgent that all residents in both the village and the town contact Supervisor Larry Cantwell (Larry4EH@optonline.net) and all of our federal and state representatives — tell them no to the poles!
    We want a safe, responsible 21st-century upgrade. Put the poles underground. Our representatives need to hear from you. Make your voice be heard. It’s for our health and safety and vistas and environment and property values.


    February 17, 2014

Dear David,
    Forgive me for sounding immodest, but my reading comprehension is above average. That’s why I was so puzzled when I tried to read the letter from the new chair of East Hampton’s Republicans, Tom Knobel.
    He uses the word “complacence” to describe the current mood at Town Hall and implies that the delegation of responsibility is a bad thing. Well, from where I sit, “complacence” is the wrong word, unless by it Tom means that the new town board is self-satisfied with the positive, civil atmosphere it has created in its first month in office. And that the board is self-satisfied because East Hampton now has a mature and effective group of officials who actually believe in government and that collegiality and cooperation in the assigning of responsibilities is the most efficient way to get the job done. One example: the report on the airport so promptly presented by Councilwoman Burke-Gonzalez, the delegated liaison of the board.
    I wholeheartedly agree with Tom when he says that the people of East Hampton should expect hands-on government from their elected officials. And I respectfully suggest that, if he feels the need to stir up some controversy in his role as the chair of the minority party, he rethink his priorities and take a look at how constructively the representatives of both parties are now working on the board.


Coordinating the Work
    February 16, 2014

Dear David,
    The town Republican chairman has apparently noted the civil, businesslike atmosphere in Town Hall (he calls it “complacence”!). He claims that it signals a “new method” of “delegation of town responsibilities” away from the elected board. The examples he cites give the lie to this mysterious comment.
    The $75,000 budget for 2014 community preservation fund appraisals that Mr. Knobel terms “unexamined” work of a “department head” was the subject of two separate resolutions reviewed and passed by the Republican town board in 2013.
    The Division of Public Safety that Mr. Knobel calls an “amalgam” and “another level of bureaucracy” was created by the same Republican board, as part of its touted “reorganization” of government departments.
    In the campaign leading up to the November 2013 election, the Democratic candidates Cantwell and Burke-Gonzalez heard from citizens again and again about unaddressed code violations. As part of a strategy to address this issue, they committed to coordinating the work of all departments involved in code enforcement. The Southampton Town attorney’s office has said that strategy was at the heart of improved enforcement in their town. With our splendid new town attorney, I’m confident it will work for us as well.

    Sincerely yours,

    The writer is chairwoman of the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee. Ed.

Get Ready for What?
    East Hampton
    February 14, 2014

Dear David,
    Your editorial “Get Ready Now” is just another in a very long list supporting the irresponsible citidiot class.
    Why should the town’s taxpayers be responsible for a lack of due diligence on the part of those who fail to understand the implications of living next to a gin mill and buy anyway?
    This editorial follows a continuing pattern. A few weeks ago you strongly urged more government regulation of those taxicab companies serving the over-served in said Amagansett-Montauk gin mills. An actual free market depends on being able to charge whatever the traffic will bear.
    Don’t like the taxicab rates? Drink less or stay home. Isn’t that obvious?
    Frankly, you could not pay me enough to drive the narcissistic typical Hamptons wannabes sober, much less with more than a few alcoholic drinks in them. I cannot imagine what kind of abusive fun that is for the drivers.
    The Star’s continuing pattern becomes obvious when one considers the ongoing nonsense concerning airport noise. How many years and how much money has the town spent on the issue of airport noise? Does any current complaining homeowner predate the creation of the airport? I sincerely doubt it.
    Is it not common knowledge that airplanes make a great deal of noise during takeoff and landings? Due diligence? They certainly knew enough to know that they were getting a home below par value for the same thing in a quiet location.
    This is just another ongoing abuse of the town’s taxpayers, i.e., the forced funding of local crony capitalist law firms.
    The funny thing is that you consider yourselves to be liberal progressives. How can this be? That is what our Constitution’s framers were. It was a Columbia political science professor, William A. Dunning, who correctly labeled what passes for your brand of political thought: emotionalism. This is why Dr. Franklin et al. gave us a republic to cool the irrationality of the mob.
    The hysterically funny thing is that Professor Dunning was talking about the post-Civil War radical Republican reconstructionists and another tragic era. Try reading Todd S. Purdum’s Vanity Fair piece “The Big Flip.” Just because he is married to Clintonista Dee Dee Myers doesn’t mean that he is always wrong.
    Get ready for what?
    It is clear to me that McGinteeism has returned with all of its full-force idiocy. Just look at the new signs at the dump. If I was Hispanic I’d be insulted.


Seeing Good Things
    February 17, 2014

Dear David,
    I swore I would not pick up my pen and/or go to the computer for at least six months as we have a new administration, they have a lot on their plate, and I expect slowly, slowly, we shall get to some of the major issues plaguing East Hampton.
    I think I am beginning to smell some fresh air, I think I am seeing a town government responsive to its residents. I think I am hearing intelligent discussion and conversation. I think I am seeing different points of view expressed, expression encouraged, not diminished — no more theatrics, no more dismissing people, no more going for the jugular, no more not following proper procedure, and no more running roughshod over the law.
    This is what I think I am seeing. I am not from Missouri, but the act is the fact and I think I am seeing good things from this new town board. Let’s call it the East Hampton Spring, it’s coming. Maybe lots of people who have stayed away from town meetings due to the histrionics and the disrespect they were shown will again come and listen and learn and get involved in our town.
    I must, at this early point, congratulate Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for getting so many disparate voices together on the airport issue. Indeed, it’s worth the squeeze to get the juice. Her presentation last week was a knockout. It’s all part of the process of getting it all out there, discussing it and having the best information to make an informed decision. She is to be congratulated — our Kathee from Springs!


Report All Concerns
    East Hampton
    February 17, 2014

Dear Editor:
    I am delighted with the new town board and their commitment to putting some power back into code enforcement. Cleaning up housing violations is simple. Report what you see. Report that which is disturbing or dangerous. Quite often I spend time listening to neighbors or friends who express disturbing violations but are not comfortable reporting as they fear reprisal or bad blood with people involved in the illegal or inappropriate practices or dangerous situations.
    I recently spoke with Deb Foster regarding my own experiences with illegal clearing and my frustration with the Building Department and ordinance enforcement agency. Many will remember Deb as a local folk hero. She was a driv­ing force behind the massive restructuring and rezoning of building and clearing parcels for construction. Builders and the owners of substandard lots were subject to moratoriums on building and restructuring, making many lots unbuildable. It got very ugly. She battled government and private citizens, ensuring a conservation and rescue of our water aquifers and wildlife habitat. She fought to maintain the character of our town. In the end she was a hero who became the target of personal attacks, including lawsuits against the town and against her as an individual.
    I remember being astounded with the power behind the process and the power of each of us as citizens.
    Our conversation focused on our common concerns that those protections drafted and made law were being trampled on. I have recognized illegal over-clearing of woodlands, violations of construction, and the danger to our aquifer by huge tracts of land being decimated by developers who, undaunted by the pittances of our penalties for their abuses, continue to destroy aquifer recharge basins in what seems to be an acceleration of these practices.
    I encourage people in the community to report any and all concerns to the appropriate agencies. It can be frustrating, as often the enforcers do not get back to us. Don’t be afraid to send an e-mail to your town supervisor, Larry Cantwell. He is a nature lover and very approachable.
    If remaining virgin tracts and parcels are not given new attention and protection the next five years, this type of development will have done its permanent damage. The lifelong works of people like Deb Foster will have been in vain. We are at the very last point of no return.


Purchase and Preserve
    East Hampton
    February 15, 2014

Dear David,
    It is a new year and a new time to make community preservation fund purchases. While 143 Middle Highway in East Hampton may be a viable four-acre purchase, “high quality oak, pitch pines, white pine forest, with trails and a groundwater protection area,” I must once more point out that the eight-and-a-half-acre parcel on Middle Highway, at the other end of Middle, at the corner of Oakview Highway, has the same qualities worth saving for preservation and therefore purchase: the oak forest, the pines, the trails, and the special groundwater protection area, in addition to the Suffolk County Water Authority drinking-water wells.
    So consider this as a friendly reminder to our new town board to recommend, remind, put back on the agenda, or see to it that the C.P.F. has not dropped the ball on purchasing this land at Middle and Oakview Highways. We are still here, an entire neighborhood, known as the Freetown Neighborhood Advisory Committee. We are densely populated, our overtraveled roads are used as shortcuts to the village with disregard for walking residents and children and pets. And we do have that very sensitive groundwater issue, not to mention the forest and trails, birds and wildlife, and flora.
    It’s time to purchase and preserve this parcel. We have been very patient. Please don’t ignore us.


Shoreline Sweep
    East Hampton
    February 17, 2014

Dear David,
    Having been born and raised in Amagansett, I’m always most delighted to help the local organizations by donating my time and photographs for various projects, fund-raisers, and benefits. After all, these groups were responsible for some of my earliest memories growing up here. But now, I’m asking those organizations and those people to lend me a hand and come participate in the Shoreline Sweep this Saturday. In fact. I’m asking everyone.
    It doesn’t surprise me that I remember things that happened over four decades ago, but not something that happened yesterday. Those older memories were scribed into my life from the earliest years and represent to me my place of origin, my home, my safe zone. The windmills, Town Pond, the beaches, and the Nature Trail. These are places of great importance, not just for my memories but for the history of East Hampton, and what we call our place of origin.
    Things have changed quite a bit since those days. The village police station is Elie Tahari. The V.F.W., London Jewelers. Corner drugstore, a modern art gallery. New landmarks for a new generation. Good to see the movie theater is still in the same place. Although most associate it with the wonderful Hamptons Film Festival, I however hold it in great regard as the place I first saw “Billy Jack,” “Jaws,” “Star Wars,” “Rocky,” and “Saturday Night Fever,” on the really big screen.
    Town Pond was a place where I realized I couldn’t ice-skate. The Nature Trail was a place where I first fell in love with nature, and like many others had my very first connection with wildlife.
    Other things have changed as well. Our world is getting older and our resources more limited and more precious. Our fast-paced lifestyles have left some of us a bit less attentive to some very important issues. Right here at home, our beaches are being used every day for pet owners to allow their dogs to poop, and leaving it to spread disease. All of the beaches have Mutt Mitt dispensers, yet I see the same people, every day, doing it over and over. Apparently there is a law against this, and rightly so. After all, it’s a severe health hazard. A single gram of dog doo contains 23 million fecal coliform bacteria. Some of these bacteria and viruses can be fatal to both animal and human.
    All this danger acceptable in an area that you and your children relax and play in? I say acceptable because apparently the law governs a police officer to actually see the act in action before said offender can be addressed, and I don’t mean the dog. This leaves us with a problem, because last summer I inquired about this very issue and was told the police aren’t required to get out and check the actual beach during their routine patrol. Once again, the proverbial “that’s someone else’s job” came into play.
    So how is the law enforced? It’s not, that’s why I see the same people every day doing it over and over. It’s too bad, because my dog and many others with dogs do enjoy the beach and do pick up after their pets. You should no more expect a person littering or allowing their dog to defecate on the beaches than you would at Hook Mill, Town Pond, the Nature Trail, or Main Street.
    And this all-too-familiar phrase of “that’s someone else’s job” needs to stop. We’ve come to a point where nobody wants to do anything more than they have to. “If it’s not in my job description or if I don’t benefit then I don’t want to get involved.” “Somebody else will do it.” “There is a person whose job it is to do that.” This now-common idealism has broken down our community responsibility to ourselves and each other, but most of all to the future of our home, right down to something so simple as a litter issue.
    Although littering here is a big issue, and more than just a visual one. It becomes food for wildlife, particularly shorebirds, who not only risk their lives by eating trash but risk the lives of their young when they regurgitate the trash to feed to their babies. The common practice of taking out what you bring in has been lost and is in desperate need of a revival.
    Therefore, I have put together this Shoreline Sweep event, which, graciously and without hesitation, the Town of East Hampton embraced, along with the town trustees and the litter committee. If I can only get the weather to cooperate, me and several dozen volunteers will attempt to clean the shoreline and parking areas of all trash and dog doo from Montauk Point to Georgica Beach east. I wish to thank all those that are signed up as volunteers, who are hanging in there after two postponements due to the snow and ice. Thanks to Larry Cantwell and Deb Klughers for helping make this possible as well.
    I’m now making one more public plea for volunteers for the beach cleanup this Saturday. The bigger the ranks, the faster we can do this. Please, everyone come out and join us. Help make this event a success for the place you call home. Help send the message that trash and poop on our beaches is unacceptable. Let’s re-educate ourselves to make “not littering” a common practice again. It’ll only work if we do it together, otherwise it’s a losing battle.
    This is not a divided issue. Other issues that left us divided should be put aside, as this benefits all, with no discrimination of human, wildlife, or landscape. Although I am asking everyone to rally, it’s not in protest but rather to make a positive change right here in the place you call home all year long.
    Just bring yourself. All the supplies will be available at the meeting locations. A map can be found at ImaginationNature.com (click on Shoreline Sweep), or email me at Kachina35@ gmail.com.

    Thank you so much.

Lax Laws
    East Hampton
    February 13, 2014

Dear Editor,
    Governor Cuomo’s 2014-2015 budget includes important steps in the direction of campaign finance reform and the League of Women Voters calls upon the Legislature and governor to make comprehensive reform a reality with the passage of this budget. Our current campaign finance system erodes public trust and negatively effects democratic engagement.
    Lax laws create an environment in which influence of money and access are brought by wealthy individuals, corporations, lobbyists, and other organizations. This is why we cannot elect people who would represent the voters. Our elected officials spend more time raising money for their next campaign as soon as they take office. This has ruined my belief that our elected officials represent us.


Funny, Funny
    Sag Harbor
    February 17, 2014

Dear David,
    Caption on the front page of The New York Times, Feb. 13, read “G.O.P. Senate Leaders Avert Debt Crisis.” A bit of humor I couldn’t pass up. The following excerpted from the political controversy.
    Senator John McCain’s comment on Senator Ted Cruz, who failed an attempted filibuster. After the vote McCain joked that he was only talking about the winter weather. Then immediately afterward McCain said, “I’ve never been very good at twisting arms, which is one of the many reasons why I was never president of the United States.”
    What about Sarah Palin, his choice for vice president, another joke. If we add the Tea Party we can all celebrate. Have you ever wondered what was in the tea? Politicians can be humorous when their ego is exposed. Funny, funny.


So Much Confusion
    February 11, 2014

Dear David,
    Watching the interview with Bill O’Reilly just before the Superbowl, I still couldn’t believe my ears, the president of the United States continues to stare at the camera, filibuster his answers as to keep them on his side of the time limit, and lies. However on Monday he did a quick appearance with the press, did a small yelp of he “could have overstated” his health care plan and “maybe should not have” made statements of “if you like your plan you can keep your plan” etc.
    He is once again calling for delays in the mandate; how can he constantly change the law? All the news coming from the White House is so debunked, there is so much confusion, and it’s leaving families stuck in help-me land, I don’t know where to turn.
    Doesn’t he see what he has done? No one held accountable, still spending millions to fix the damn thing. If he has a phone and a pen, pick up the phone and cross the street sit down and work out a bipartisan deal, you obviously can’t do it on your own.
    I did hear the joking manner in which you stated “I am the president, I can do what I want.” Piece of advice, you serve the people, you are not a king. We have a Constitution and checks and balances.
    Mr. Gary Lauer (I did the research for you) is the C.E.O. of e-healthcare, a big Obama fan, had his heart set on the affordable plan to work. He has now offered to help and has been turned down. He is “no longer pushing” Obamacare, he claims it will fail. Someone needs to get through to this president, it could work if rewritten and made bipartisan.
    The Democratic incumbents are choosing to run their own campaigns and are hoping the president will stay away.

    In God and country,

Non-Union Status
    East Hampton
    February 15, 2014

To the Editor:
    Last year Volkswagen opened an auto plant in Tennessee, outsourcing the plant to the United States because our wages are so much lower than in Germany. But, unlike most U.S. companies, German companies have a commitment to the relationship between labor and ownership. Not one where workers are paid the lowest wages with the fewest benefits and no security, but a working partnership. An idea that once existed in this country.
    Volkswagen insisted on the workers’ right to unionize, even though Tennessee is a right-to-work anti-union state. The entire state political apparatus, led by Senator Bob Corker, came out against the unionization plan, even threatening to take away the tax benefits that were an inducement to come to the state.
    This week the plant workers voted not to permit a union. The non-union status meant no collective bargaining, no guaranteed benefits, no retirement, and no security, leaving the plant workers totally at the mercy of Volkswagen. Fortunately Volkswagen isn’t Walmart.
    The terms describing the vote range from demented, self-loathing, pathetic, and ignorant. But most of all sad. Sadness like lambs going to slaughter. Believing that the line they’re on will give them their morning meal, not to become someone else’s.


Benghazi Report
    East Hampton
    February 13, 2014

Dear Editor,
    No matter how many times there have been attempts to correct false impressions of the events that took place in Benghazi leading to the deaths of four Americans, including our ambassador, Chris Stevens, the attacks on Obama, Clinton, and Susan Rice have continued unabated from the right.
    Congressional reports, C.I.A. statements, General Petraeus’s sworn testimony, other testimony under oath, all have been ignored by those seeking political advantage against the president and Hillary Clinton.
    Even those midget minds who wrote letters to this paper, time and again making the same false allegations, would not change their irrational opinions when presented with the true facts.
    So, when Fox News and Megyn Kelly, its new star-power host of a TV show, finally admitted, on the air, that she and Fox were wrong and there was no culpability by the administration or Clinton or Susan Rice, it was a refreshing bit of news.
    On her program, on Fox, Kelly’s admission that the administration’s talking points were not manipulated for political reasons, and that Susan Rice was merely stating talking points originated by the C.I.A., it marked another Benghazi myth being destroyed and the mendacity of the right-wing media clearly shown.
    Earlier that same day, as Kelly stated her clarification and retraction of Fox’s criticism of Susan Rice, the Republican-controlled House issued its Benghazi report (which, of course, Fox largely ignored), finding that there was no stand-down order given to prevent military support from reaching Benghazi, another part of the hoax long touted by the network and its right-wing supporters, and that neither the secretary of state nor the president nor anyone else had utilized a political agenda in reporting the facts of the attack.
    So now the only continued use of Benghazi falsehoods are uttered by the
brainwashed, ludicrous, dumbheads on the right (of which there seems to be
an unlimited renewable supply).
    Stay tuned, they’ll come up with some other cock-and-bull story.