Letters to the Editor: 03.13.14

Our readers' comments

An Empty Seat
    Wainscott
    March 10, 2014

To the Editor,
    It’s funny how grown men get up in the wee hours of the morning, rain or shine, or, in the case of this winter, snow, to meet for coffee. One such group met at the Golden Pear in East Hampton. I’m sad to say there is an empty seat now. On Feb. 21, a good friend and member of this group passed away.
    His name was John Haessler, a former East Hampton teacher and owner of the Seafood Shop in Wainscott. John was a quiet man who would listen to the daily conversation and would always give some advice dealing with the discussion of the day. I know over time someone will take that empty seat, but the empty feeling we have in our hearts will never fully go away.

    Love you, John.
    TOM BUBKE and
    The guys from the Golden Pear

The Wry Trickster
    East Hampton
    March 10, 2014

Dear David,
    I would like to thank The Star for the wonderful job it did with John DePoo’s obituary last Thursday and Helen Rattray for her excellent column “Exit Laughing.” Both pieces magically captured John’s spirit, the spirit of the wry trickster, the spirit of the storyteller.
    As far back as I can remember, DePoo was an unending source of hilarity and amusement. Apart from his many-staged multilayered practical gags, John could elevate the mundane to the searingly hilarious. A story of a trip to the hardware store to shop for a low-angle block plane became in John’s hands an uproarious three-act stand-up routine replete with foreign accents, physical mimicry, and a witheringly self-deprecating punch line.
    John’s ear was genius. Mimicry was at the heart of his humor. He could tap into any accent convincingly at any time. There is the story of John in Paris conducting a five-minute conversation in French with a French policeman who understood him perfectly but had difficulty placing his dialect. John did not speak French.
    John was also a marvelous dancer. He moved with an ease and fluidity natural to certain comedians of the old school, reminding me as a child of a svelte Ralph Cramden.
    That said, I will never forget the look of stunned incredulity on John’s face the time he had a “dance-off” with Dorothy Stone, a highly accomplished and professional dancer, as Dorothy whipped about like a technically trained dervish, her spectacular dancer’s legs beating a Castilian rhythm into the dance floor around him. John graciously, if begrudgingly, conceded defeat.
    John loved to cook. He made a mean cabbage soup and a Cuban flan that ought to have changed history.
    The stories of John’s antics and his abilities, his comedic brilliance, his multifarious skills, and softly iconoclastic, rebellious spirit are the collection of us all who were blessed to be in his orbit. Viva, Juan, para siempre!

NISSE HOPE

Unlock the Mystery
    San Ramon, Costa Rica
    March 10, 2014

Dear East Hampton Star,
    My mysterious past has drawn me to this editorial column. I am currently one of far too many New Yorkers who are in the process of having their human rights trampled on. I am an adoptee who is in search of his biological parents, and by extension I am a young man who is desperately seeking to learn about the background, genealogy, and medical history of his blood relatives. I am engaged in the absurd struggle of trying to learn about myself.
    New York State has all of the information that is so very priceless to me, but in its infinite wisdom it will not share it. In this supposedly trend-setting state, neither the Assembly nor the Senate has passed either of the bills (S2490A and A909) circulating the Legislature that would open the sealed records and make us equals with our nonadopted brothers and sisters in the State of New York.
    If one of these bills would pass, then I would be free to know vital information about my own background. Then I would be allowed to know what potential medical pitfalls I should be vigilant and proactive about concerning myself and more importantly, my little girl.
    Since I cannot count on one of these basic human rights bills passing this time around (they have been in circulation in various forms for 20 years now), I turn to the logic, compassion, and memory of the people.
    My birth certificate states that I was born in East Hampton on Christmas Day in 1976 at 4:15 p.m., but my mother and her family lived in the Kingston, N.Y., area. Why did my birth mother travel so far to give birth?
    My guess is that she went there to surrender me in a private adoption, but then changed her mind (which was her right at the time).
    I am also guessing that I was born in Southampton Hospital, unless another existed back in 1976.
    My question is this: Is there anyone reading this letter that worked in the hospital at that time or who knows someone who may have a clue that may help me unlock the mystery of my origin?
    The documents that the state has deemed acceptable to pass on to me state that I was released from the hospital on Dec. 29 of the same year.
    Any and all suggestions, ideas, leads, help, and general positive energy are very welcome. I need to give my birth mom a huge hug and let her know that I appreciate her trying to do the right thing for me. I can be reached at puravidafrank@gmail.com. Thank you for your time.

    Best regards,
    FRANK GILLESPIE


    Mr. Gillespie’s mailing address is Paradise Management, Apartado 592-4250, San Ramon, Alajuela, Costa Rica.

Go, Alewives!
    Shutesbury, Mass.
    March 6, 2014

David,
    I enjoyed your article on the alewife restoration project into Scoy Pond in Northwest. I did my UMass graduate school work on alewives in Massachusetts’s Parker River and have had a soft spot for anadromous fish ever since, and particularly alewives. That was over 40 years ago and led to a career working on such species as Atlantic salmon and American shad in the Connecticut River and Pacific salmon in Alaska. With all of these species, there was an appreciation for their life histories encompassing the challenges of both fresh and saltwater and the major physiological requirements dictated by such contrasting environments.
    Their probabilities for survival from egg to adult are incredibly minute, and with the Pacific salmon destined to make that cycle only once, if at all, one had to sympathize with an animal so committed to its future generation that it was willing to struggle against all those odds just to have sex once and die!
    So, on behalf of one of their life history brethren, go alewives!
    I hope the culvert replacement is both timely and successful, though I would agree with Larry Penny believing the alewives would have preferred the larger culvert.

STEVE RIDEOUT

It Is Our Neighbors
    Philadelphia
    March 4, 2014

To the Editor:
    When I was younger there were two things that I remember very clearly loving: summer in the Hamptons and the Harper’s index, published at the front of their magazine each week. After reading Amanda Fairbanks’s brave article on Bridgehampton’s Head Start program, I immediately started to picture an index just like the one in Harper’s magazine; a list of numbers that would highlight, if not startle, the Hamptons community about the insane amount of paradox that our Long Island oasis sustains. Here is what I have come up with:
    The dollar amount of direct public support given to ARF (Animal Rescue Fund) in 2012: $1,465,104.
    The value of donated goods given to ARF in 2012: $366,966.
    The price of a ticket to the “Super Saturday” yard sale for ovarian cancer research in 2014: $850 (with V.I.P. preview).
    Lobster salad at Loaves and Fishes: $75 a pound.
    A sample rental from last week’s classified ads: Barnes Landing area. Sweet two-bedroom cottage, air-conditioning, washer-dryer, cable. Walk to beach. Memorial Day-Labor Day $22,000.
    Or less sweet, but bigger summer rental and south of the highway: 225K a month.
    Fay Teller eyelash extensions: $150.
    Main course at Topping Rose: Quinoa, walnuts, cauliflower and prosciutto, roasted monkfish: $38.
    A lifetime golf membership in Bridgehampton: 750K.
    Of course this list could go on. I don’t post it in an effort to sound judgmental or to shame. This is an effort to highlight and reflect. I have been coming to the Hamptons since I was born 37 years ago. My parents have been coming for 40 years. I now stay with them in their Bridgehampton home with my two sons over many long weekends. The Hamptons, in many ways, is the truest home I have after having moved many times throughout my life.
    I now travel to the Hamptons from Philadelphia. I am a social worker in Philadelphia. Not a day goes by when I am not shocked by some horrifying story of how poverty has robbed someone of their humanity, whether it is a 2-year-old testing positive for cocaine or the burned body of a 7-year-old, home alone trying to make himself Ramen noodles for dinner. These stories, which are actual truths, have complicated my time in the Hamptons tremendously. Our gorgeous landscape has provided a more essential relief than ever before in my life. However, the contradiction between all that I know, between my two “lives‚” makes true relaxation and surrender to what the Hamptons has to offer painfully complicated.
    It was reading Ms. Fairbanks’s article that truly jarred me into a gut check that led to writing this piece. From the perspective of someone who truly understands the obstacles that daily violence and structural inadequacy has brought to Philadelphia, the opportunity to create change in the Hamptons seems too good an opportunity to give up. The problem of hungry children, of underfunded Head Start programs, of inadequate affordable housing, can be fixed in the Hamptons. There is no major violence and no shortage of resources. This can stop. Children can be full all weekend long, not coming to school desperate for nourishment of all kinds on Monday morning.
    Given the containable nature of Hamptons poverty, it seems almost vicious not to act. The early-intervention services mentioned in the article serve 52 families, with dozens on a waiting list. That number is nominal when you think about the daunting steepness of this problem in other areas.
    The agency needs to come up with $37,700 annually. How is it even possible that this hasn’t been accomplished when you look at the numbers above? The article argues, rightfully so, that all parents want what is best for their children. This is to ameliorate the stress brought on by living on $23,850 a year, for a family of four, the exact poverty line.
    The price of a “sweet” summer rental is the same as an entire family’s annual salary. And the real pain of this is that these salaries are largely earned working for us, many of the readers of this newspaper. The readers who scour the classified ads look for yard sale bargains while paying the disenfranchised and hard-working members of our community to make our lawns pristine and keep our hedges perfectly manicured.
    We can do so much better than this. Hillary Clinton said, in describing her book “It Takes a Village,” “I’m obviously not talking just about or even primarily about geographical villages any longer, but about the network of relationships and values that do connect us and binds us together.”
    I believe the Hamptons community shares these values and that we are in fact connected by them. Ms. Fairbanks’s article gives us the opportunity to prove it. Our generosity to homeless pets, to cancer research (as demonstrated by the list of numbers above) proves it. We now have more on our radar to become generous and open to, to be kind to, to be giving to. It is the very children in our own communities, who probably lost heat a dozen times this winter and had no jacket to take warmth or comfort in. It is our neighbors.
    In the next week I am going to contact whoever I can to begin to right this wrong and I will create a website that helps to fund-raise for this exact cause, making sure that we don’t fall short next year on the pithy funding needed to keep this basic program running as it should, with a sense of abundance rather than scarcity.
    Please email me if you are interested in helping: dbodenheimer@gmail.com.

    Thank you,
    DANNA BODENHEIMER

Bug
There’s an itchy sensation
on my leg.
I look down.
It’s a little lazy black bug.
Now, it crawls up my leg.
I look for a stick
To kill it.
Oops! It’s flown
Away.
Good luck bug.
FLY!

MILLIARD BROWAR

What Will It Cost?
    Springs
    March 10, 2014

Dear David:
    Before the town dismisses the scavenger waste facility as a financial black hole, we must ask some critical questions. What will homeowners and businesses have to pay for septic pumping, if all operators must drive to Riverhead or Bergen Point? What will it cost in the future, when our town has no control over costs?
    A municipality ought to provide services necessary to our public health and safety. The report that Lombardo Associates presented to the town board referred to the costs of the scav waste facility as a “black hole‚” requiring “subsidies” of $500,000 a year, required during this period of inefficient operations. When did an operating budget turn into a “subsidy” and become a bad word? We could apply this “black hole” concept to the “subsidy” provided to the Town Sanitation Department (about $3.3 million this year), or for the Parks and Recreation Department’s activities “subsidy” (about $1.8 million this year). Imagine the hardship to most of the town’s population if these municipal services were fully privatized, with free-market pricing.
    In the last two years, the costs to local carters to use the scavenger waste facility as a transfer station rose 20 percent, to 13.5 cents a gallon. The Lombardo Associates report anticipates that after closing the facility, the costs will rise again to around 16 cents a gallon, a further 20 percent increase. These increases could become significantly higher.
    If the town shuts down our scavenger waste facility altogether, our municipal government has simply shifted the entire cost burden to individual citizens. This is a regressive form of taxation where, regardless of one’s ability to pay, the cost is the same for all. Our town will be stepping on the backs of those with limited financial means. A government that reduces services to reduce taxes is not necessarily providing better governance. This is especially true for a service that all property owners need.
    In regard to the processing of septic waste, our town board must use sound data to uncover the least expensive solution for its citizens. It must incorporate a combination of capital improvement, operational budget, and user-fee scenarios, for both a full processing plant and for a transfer station. Only then can the town board fairly evaluate the third option of shutting the plant entirely and using the facilities in Riverhead and Bergen Point.
    It is a critical decision, because there is a real risk to us all once the entire financial burden is shifted to individuals, who must now rely upon outside municipal facilities. At that point, the costs for the pumping of septic waste and its removal will be completely beyond the control of the town, and perhaps beyond the reach of many homeowners and businesses.

    Sincerely,
    PAMELA BICKET

Call the Governor
    East Hampton
    March 7, 2014

Dear Mr. Rattray,
    The Village Preservation Society of East Hampton urges all village and town residents to contact Governor Cuomo’s office to express their outrage at the utility pole replacement project now being conducted by PSEG Long Island. The potential risk to human health and the cruel butchering of our aged and beautiful street trees are just two dreadful byproducts of this ill-conceived plan, all for the sake of increased electrical capacity in East Hampton. 
    While we recognize that the utility is obliged to provide power to our area, these projects do not comport with the residential character of our village streets and town landscapes.
    Only the governor can stop the destruction of our ancient street trees. Only the governor can stop the construction of grossly oversized utility poles. Only the governor can stop the installation of transformers conducting high-voltage electricity, exposing our residents to high, potentially dangerous levels, of electromagnetism.
    A time-tested and well-reasoned approach to providing uninterrupted electrical service to East End communities would be to bury these electrical lines. Buried lines reduce potential electromagnetic exposure levels and obviously provide reliable protection from weather conditions common to our area, predominantly high wind and rain events. Communities all over Long Island, most notably our neighbors to the west in Southampton, have insisted on buried electric cables, which not only assure fewer weather-related service interruptions, but also enhance the visual landscape and increase property values. 
    The Long Island Power Authority and its predecessor, the Long Island Lighting Company, have always been behind the planning curve, forcing substandard equipment on the ratepayers of the service area precisely because they have a monopoly on service here. Power distribution and related infrastructure has always been second-rate. There has never been an effort to meet the real energy needs of our communities concurrent with our goals as rural, residential communities.
    Every citizen of East Hampton must call on the governor of our state to immediately halt this ill-conceived project: 518-474-8390.

    Sincerely,
    JOAN D. OSBORNE
    Chairwoman

Can Be Saved
    East Hampton
    March 8, 2014

Dear David,
    After seeing how the Long Island Power Authority and PSEG Long Island ravaged so many of our beautiful village trees by dismembering their limbs in order to hang overhead wires on high utility poles, I must share my anger and shock at the wreck they made of a once-exquisite tree landscape in our village and town.
    There is no doubt that the roots of these trees suffered serious injury when the poles were driven directly into them.
    The Ladies Village Improvement Society works extremely hard to support our East Hampton Village tree program, one that is considered unique to most communities across our country. It is a true model for them.
    To have our trees compromised in this way is disgraceful and unacceptable. It is also an insult to our efforts and progress during more than a century of tree cultivation.
    As chairwoman of the Ladies Village Improvement Society Tree Committee, I trust that we can reach a solution so our historic trees and scenic village streets can be saved from further attack and destruction.

    Sincerely yours,
    OLIVIA BROOKS

The Blackout Warriors
    East Hampton
    March 9, 2014

Dear David,
    Here we are only a few months into 2014 and PSEG Long Island has, after just taking over in January, developed a route to use as an electrical trunk on which to  run 33,000 volts. I do not believe for one minute that they did not have this in the hopper for over a year. They have been soft-pedaling this project all along. Then they say that we were not paying attention.
    I  do not trust this outfit, which was brought in from New Jersey by Governor Cuomo, any more than I trust Governor Cuomo. They can all go back to Newark.
    They have selected (sacrificed) 12 very residential roads to use as their high-voltage trunk line in order to spread out to feed all the rest of East Hampton. All of this because they say we have so many blackouts in the summer. Not to my knowledge. Do they think they are the blackout warriors coming to rescue East Hampton?
    We have 13,000 volts already, on top  of 40-foot poles. A metal rod held 10 feet from 13,000 volts will conduct electricity and blow equipment. Now they are almost tripling that voltage, and putting it on taller poles — much taller poles.
    I fear this 33,000-volt line more than anything I can imagine. I cannot find words to use to tell you how angry I am about this PSEG Long Island-Governor Cuomo move. Talk about violation! Twelve roads times how many homes with how many people? Exposure to this kind of voltage has been known to cause all kinds of cancers — horrible cancers. Haven’t we all had enough?
    If there were a  fire, how could  our firemen be expected to bring equipment into any of these yards under that kind of voltage? Do our emergency services not face enough hazards every day?
    Towns have all sorts of laws on the books to protect people from harm. You  know: health, safety, and welfare. We have no authority over this utility.  None! And PSEG Long Island-Governor Cuomo obviously has no consideration for any of East  Hampton.
    Let them put their wires below ground along the high-tension lines, and never mind putting any more voltage over our heads, even for a temporary length of time.

    Sincerely,
    PAT MANSIR

Power in the Summer
    East Hampton
    March 9, 2014

Dear Editor,
    It is clear from the PSEG Long Island meeting last week that the $7 million 33 kilovolt line they have put through East Hampton Village and Amagansett neighborhoods is ready to go. Work hasn’t stopped and the line is not coming down.
    The purpose of the line is not to supply electricity to those neighborhoods, nor is it to keep the power on during a hurricane. Take a look at the trees that hang over those wires. Those lines will never survive a hurricane. The sole purpose of the 33 kilovolt line as stated by PSEG  Long Island is to be able to send power from the East Hampton substation to the Amagansett substation during the summer, when load demands for electricity from points east might cause a brownout.
    Why didn’t any elected official in on the meetings with LIPA and PSEG Long Island ever ask whether this was the only solution to summer power demands?
    I have on my house 4.6 kilowatts worth of solar panels. That is about 24 panels. During the summer I generate back into the grid nearly 1,000 kilowatts worth of surplus power. Had LIPA and now PSEG Long Island aggressively promoted solar power in Amagansett and Montauk, we could have solved this potential problem of demand for excess power during the summer without a new power line.
    My house is small. The price of solar energy since I put in my panels in 2007 has gone down 70 percent. Both the town and PSEG Long Island should think through how, with targeted marketing, tax incentives, installation rebates, and zoning regulations we can cut the demand for energy during the summer using solar power.
    Are they doing this? They must.
    As they say in the computer industry, garbage in, garbage out.

PAUL FIONDELLA

PSEG/LIPAgate
    East Hampton
    March 6, 2014

Dear Editor:
    On Nov. 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered a speech that ended in the following: “. . . this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
    After yesterday’s Town Hall meeting with PSEG Long Island representatives, it became clear to me that our local and state governments are no longer governments “of the people, by the people, for the people.”
    We’ve been wronged by our local, state, and federal officials.
    I’ve coined this community travesty the PSEG/LIPAgate incident.
    First, it was Nixon and Watergate; then it was Christie and Bridgegate, and now it’s Cuomo and PSEG/LIPAgate.
    Our local officials got us into this mess by allowing PSEG Long Island to bulldoze their way through our village and town, butchering our trees, installing toxic 52-foot to 61-foot poles within 25 feet of our homes, polluting our scenic vistas, polluting our groundwater and soil, devaluing our property values, and stringing high-tension wires along quaint, narrow village streets 25 feet from our children’s bedrooms.
    Now that our local officials are experiencing the backlash from their local constituents, seeing in 3-D what they okayed, it’s our state and federal officials that have abandoned us. Yes, it is true that Senator Ken LaValle and Representative Fred Thiele are working on our behalf, but where were they yesterday when we needed them? Where was Governor Cuomo? At least Mr. Thiele and Mr. LaValle sent representatives in their place, but an actual appearance would have held a lot more weight. And where was Scott Martella, Mr. Cuomo’s Suffolk County regional representative? I’m sure Governor Cuomo will show his face when the summer rolls around and he needs to raise funds for his political campaign.
    When the Save East Hampton group asked David Daly, the chief operating officer for PSEG Long Island, if he had the power to stop this installation until a safer, more responsible solution could be found, he said that he did have the authority to stop the project, but that he wouldn’t. What’s up with that?
    Mr. Daly told us that his company signed a contractual agreement with the State of New York and that they must complete the project by the summer of 2014 or they will be fired. What that means to me is that East Hampton citizens need to contact the governor and let him know that he needs to let PSEG Long Island off the hook until a solution can be found.
    Let him know that if he doesn’t step in and right this wrong‚ he’s lost your vote.
    Last week, Governor Cuomo conducted a phone-Town Hall meeting where he asked residents in the State of New York to contact their local state representatives encouraging them to pass legislation he’s put before them. The legislation would reward local governments with a property tax freeze for one year if they lowered their overhead by 1 percent. So why then is the governor allowing this utility to keep running up a bill with regards to this horrific installation if in fact they are considering removing it once installed to then put it underground?
    None of this makes any sense. What he’s asking of local governments he’s not willing to do himself.
    Why do we have to pay for the installation, the removal, and the burying of these high-tension wires when we can stop the project today and reevaluate the situation so that we can create the best possible solution for a responsible, reliable, safe 21st-century electric upgrade?

    Sincerely,
    HELENE FORST

Stop the Project Now
    East Hampton
    March 10, 2014

Dear David Rattray,
    I am grateful for the actions of our town supervisor, Larry Cantwell, Mayor Rickenbach, legislative aides, and members of Save East Hampton, who met with the PSEG Long Island president, David Daly, and officers of PSEG Long Island in Town Hall on  March 5, asking that PSEG Long Island stop work on the current project and instead bury the new transmission line. Burying the new high-voltage transmission line and any future lines is the safest way to go. It is the only logical environmentally correct and esthetically correct for the preservation of the health and safety of our citizens and the beauty of our town. It is the most sensible way to install electric lines in the 21st century.
    PSEG Long Island agreed to reconsider the option to bury the transmission line but would not agree to stop the current project, which is due to be completed by Memorial Day.
    The town of East Hampton, at the present time, has adequate electric services. There is no immediate urgency to finish the new transmission line by Memorial Day. We need to stop the current dangerous project now and implement a better one for the future.
    PSEG Long Island must stop the current project now and not spend our money to complete it, only to take it all down with our money again and then spend more of our money to bury the line. This is illogical and an irresponsible and wasteful use by PSEG Long Island of ratepayers’ money.

    Sincerely,
    NAN FRENCH

A Lenten Observation
    Amagansett
    March 10, 2014

Dear Mr. Rattray,
    Like you, my assumption regarding the gigantic poles being erected along North Main Street, Cedar Street, and other roads in East Hampton Town was that they were simply part of a Lenten observation leading up to Easter Sunday. A cooperative installation among area Catholic and Protestant churches, and the town, symbolizing, if you will, the Stations of the Cross‚ the agonizing march along the route to Calvary, also known as Golgotha, the hill upon which Jesus was crucified. (A procession, on the Thursday before Easter (Maundy Thursday), beginning roughly at Gould Street and proceeding eastward along Cedar, pausing for a moment at each of the poles, would culminate at the I.G.A. on North Main with a silent meditation on the Last Supper.)
    Just as the Christmas trees are placed and lit along the streets of East Hampton and Amagansett after Thanksgiving, then removed after New Year’s, I assumed that these imposing, symbolic poles would be removed shortly after the Easter celebration, following the Feast of the Ascension. With their immense girth, towering height, and dark, forbidding visage, the ominous trunks would help tell the ancient tragic story in a way that no sermon could.
    How naive I was and how wrong we were, Mr. Rattray! It turns out that these hideous poles have been installed by New Jersey’s PSEG in cooperation with no one and in consultation with no one inside our community. Governor Cuomo brokered the deal to privatize LIPA and turn over operations to PSEG (which, for our billing pleasure, has been rebranded PSEG Long Island). And now East Hampton has been given a special gift from these Jersey boys: We get to have our streets look like New Jersey’s, for just a modest bump in our monthly bill!  
    Why, you ask, did this polar express start moving in the first place? Those who attended the shoot-first-apologize-later public hearing recently know the answer: So we’ll have enough power in the summertime! So our poles won’t blow down in a storm! 
    And why, you ask, couldn’t this New Jersey company bury the lines, as just about every resident of East Hampton would have supported? Too expensive! Far easier and more cost-effective to despoil the character of our community than find out what we’d be willing to sacrifice to save it.
    Nice work, Governor. Next time you’re out east for a fund-raiser think about this: According to research done by the University of Massachusetts Amherst, PSEG is the 48th-largest producer of air pollutants of any company in the U.S., with “roughly five million pounds of toxic chemicals released annually into the air” (thanks, Wikipedia).
    According to PSEG Long Island’s website, “It will take some time to make all the improvements we’re planning, but in the end, we will create a utility of which Long Islanders can be proud.” Allow us to help you achieve that goal: Remove these “improvements‚” from the streets of East Hampton; haul them back to the pole vaults; bury the lines. We’ll chip in.
    Finally, apologies to Jesus, whose permission I did not receive for use of His name in this epistle. Apologies as well to my dear Christian friends who may have been offended by all or part of this.

    God bless East Hampton,
    LYLE GREENFIELD

Plague of Poles
    East Hampton
    March 10, 2014

Dear David:
    I wonder if we are all thinking the same thing here in town: Will PSEG Long Island really keep their promise to us about burying the new high-voltage electrical lines? As it stands, they refuse to stop this unacceptable project of the big poles running high-tension electrical wires through our neighborhoods from East Hampton to Amagansett. They say they will work with our elected officials and the people of SAVE East Hampton to re-figure these lines underground or in some safe fashion in the future. But can we really trust them to keep their word?
    Based on their history, I think not. I am of the opinion that, bottom line, PSEG Long Island is in this for profit only and their commitment is to their shareholders and not to their customers. If the commitment is to their customers as they propose, then they would have not ever considered what exists today.
    Studies and reports show that electrical companies over the last few decades are reporting very low increases in growth, and the only way for them to create new business is to select perceived high-income areas and increase the wattage by increasing the amount of electricity to increase their profits.
    I believe it is time to call in the big guns to push Governor Cuomo to step up to stop this project now, before more of our money is spent in completing what will hopefully be revised. We have a past president and secretary of state that summer here, important politicians who campaign here, local residents who accommodate these people in their places of business and in their homes, important lawyers, environmentalists, and celebrities of all rank and file. We need their help to get our governor and senators’ support to stop this nightmare before it goes any further.
    To continue the project to completion is a serious waste of money and resources. Any power outages that have occurred in recent memory were wire problems, not pole problems. Burying the wires in a bucolic tree-lined-street town is the only smart and progressive action that should have been implemented.
    We need all the help we can get, because this is serious. This is our town, our home, our health, our children, our investments, our landscape, and our need to not waste our hard-earned money by paying for this insane plague of poles and high-voltage electrical wires that is continuing only to satisfy PSEG Long Island contracts with their contractors and suppliers, and to allow us, the payers, the opportunity to increase our electric rates this coming summer, much to the detriment of our community.
    Please, anyone: If you know someone (or that knows someone) that can help to stop the poles now and to bury the lines, please contact them. I assure you that East Hampton Town will be forever grateful.

BETSY PETROSKI

How Did They Do It?
    East Hampton
    March 7, 2014

To the Editor:
    The enormous PSEG Long Island power line being built through East Hampton is a terrible mistake. It will disfigure a beautiful historic area, as has been pointed out by others. A source of pride and pleasure is be destroyed so that PSEG Long Island can boost its profits. Clearly the agreement with PSEG Long Island should have covered this rape of our community so the destruction could not happen without any provision somehow for an alternate route underground.
    Further, most of us have already suffered when overhead lines have come down in storms. Result: Power outages endangering the many elderly citizens who have retired here.
    A year or two ago that power line a few miles west was supposed to be the same kind of hideous and dangerous overhead structure now being proposed for us. Activist neighbors got together and stopped it, so that today no one knows the replacement underground line even exists.
    How did they do it? More important, if they did it, why can’t we? Is there no one who can find out what the trick was so we can repeat it? Supervisor Cantwell, in your first crisis, we look to your leadership!

ALBERT Z.K. SANDERS

Pay PSEG in Pennies
    Amagansett
    March 7, 2014

Dear David,
    My father, the late George Walker, used to run the Electric Bond and Share Co., which, at one time, was the world’s largest industrial holding company. They owned utilities aplenty.
    My dad, a 30-year resident of East Hampton Village, hated LIPA. He disputed every bill.
    In my father’s memory, I will pay my PSEG Long Island bill in pennies until they decommission Polegate and bury electric lines.
    Fifteen thousand, eight hundred, and eighty-eight pennies will be delivered to PSEG Long Island by quivering-lipped toddlers. Chaperoned by the South Fork chapter of the “You did what?” biker association.
    My group is planning a sit-in (it will be noisy). We assume support from Governor Cuomo, Tim Bishop, Charles Schumer — or mommies will not vote.

    All good things,
    DIANA WALKER

No Fish Eggs!
    East Hampton
    March 7, 2014

Dear David,
    Alas poor Ukraine, so far from God and so near to Russia.
    The president should be congratulated for not punishing the para-Olympians because of Russian misdeeds. While a past president uttered “Ah, Putin, a man I can do business with,” the rest of us know better. The lead role in economic sanctions has to be taken by Germany and our NATO allies. Russia and its oligarchs will suffer mightily with a steady increase in trade sanctions, and it is equally imperative to move oil and gas to the nations who participate in boycotting all things Russian!
    I am not a vodka guy, but you have got to start somewhere. No fish eggs either! Would someone please tell me what Russia provides besides vodka, caviar, and the Russian mafia investing in Brighton Beach? Hitting Vladimir Putin in the head will not hurt him; however, hitting him in the wallet will. Boycott. As an individual, each of us can matter.
    With traditional enemies like Putin, and friends like Netanyahu, we all realize the world is difficult. Strange, though, at least Putin the enemy did not seek to interfere with our presidential campaign.
    Last but not least, everyone should remember the statement of the French when asked to invade Iraq. They advised that when everyone left there would be a civil war. Congress’s response at the time was time-worthy legislation creating “freedom fries.” Now the civil war is on in Iraq.
    Foreign policy ain’t beanbag, though the Congress could trivialize anything, including health care. Some have the gall to blame the president for Putin’s acts. What about Netanyahu’s acts?
    I do hold the president responsible for anything Senator Ted Cruz does. Is that unreasonable? So it goes.

    Very truly yours,
    WILLIAM J. FLEMING

Lies and Dead Issues
    Springs
    March 10, 2014

Dear Editor,
    It’s been five years since the Obama administration put forward a stimulus package for education, infrastructure, new roads — oh, wait — shovel-ready jobs to the tune of $830 billion. Appearing on TV, clueless V.P. Biden and the president laughing at the statement there are no shovel-ready jobs, they laughed at you and me. Instead, some of this money was strictly pork, and went to monkeys on coke, abandoned train stations, shrimp on a treadmill — this list is too long to remind us of the waste on how our politicians spend our taxpaying money.
    President Obama has now tweaked or delayed 30 mandates without Congress for his Obamacare. This is lawless, maybe he should watch the tapes of when he was a candidate for the presidency and the name-calling he used against Bush. The national debt is now $17 trillion and rising by the millions each day. Obama has added $6 trillion since he took office. The unemployment rate, of course anyone with a brain would well understand, is untrue. In these figures they are not counting those who gave up looking for work, those no longer entitled to unemployment as their time has run out.
    Now we are going to take away from the military food-stamp redemption, or lower it; raise prices on their living rents, drop the army to pre-war times and leave the U.S. wide open. Putin, a K.G.B. man, has outsmarted, outwitted, and made a fool out of President draw-the-line Obama. Now is the time for as much praying as possible, pray for the United States of America. The true heroes are being stripped down to practically nothing.
    Susan Rice is an ambitious person who will do anything for a high-up position, go on what TV station, what time do you want me there? Harry Reid has proven the war on women starts with him. How does Nevada keep electing this fool? When the union goes on strike there let’s see what hat he wears.
    I guess it’s okay for writers on the left to constantly use their freedom  to endorse every way possible their person, but you on the opposite side should shut up. I’m not a Christie fan, as I’ve said so before, but can’t find his guilt in the bridgegate. But go ahead, keep knocking him, he’s not a Democrat so he must be guilty. (Not a smidgeon of corruption at the I.R.S. — is the fix in? Put Ms. Lerner and her six-figure pension in jail.)
    So here’s to Trey Gowdy, I’m hoping you will get to the bottom of all the lies and dead issues, someone needs to get to the truth. Remember, elections are just around the corner, please get out and vote and get rid of the dead wood, users, and political cats that love spending and raising taxes. Please, Dr. Ben Carson, consider running for president of the U.S.A.

    In God and country,
    BEA DERRICO

The Political Process
    East Hampton
    March 9, 2014

To the Editor:
    Hookers and whores are the basic conflict that is bringing about the collapse of the American empire. Hookers being anyone who sells a product — goods, services, relationships. Dentists, prostitutes, farmers, grocers, etc. Whores are criminals who sell what they’ve been entrusted to preserve and protect — influence, position, access. Our political system is mostly made up of whores. The rest of us are the hookers.
    Democracy has a simple base before it becomes complicated. One person, one vote. The more people who vote, the better chance for the democracy to work. The primary objective of democracy is getting people to vote, not influencing who they vote for. The power of voters is their ability to elect and throw out political operatives. Otherwise, they are useless, pointless, unnecessary to the system.
    Democracy in a capitalist system adds the component of competition. Capitalism minus competition equals fascism, which cancels out democracy.
    The role of the politician, or political party, universally accepted as whores, is to control the electorate and the government. Whores by definition sell their butts for a price, as all our politicians do, rendering their election irrelevant to the democratic process.
    So, when districts are gerrymandered, voters are restricted by I.D.s., poll taxes, etc. Financial contributions are limitless and not controlled. The political process is distorted and manipulated, but only for the benefit of the politicians. None of the above do anything to promote democracy or help the electorate.
    Our entire political process is about making the electorate irrelevant and allowing politicians to exploit the system.
    Only about 10 percent of our Congress doesn’t get re-elected, and those that don’t are guaranteed positions as lobbyists with enormous benefits. We might be better off with the Mayan system, where failure to provide for the needs of the population was punishable by death. The fear of being identified as a whore through self-indulgence kept their politicians on the straight and narrow.
    We keep beating the dead horse of politicians regulating themselves. Self-regulating whores is oxymoronic. Take Citizens United. The obvious fault line of democratic systems is the flow of money in electoral politics. Ours, despite campaign financing reform, was already out of control. Yet our political whores craved even more financial idiocy to better trick the system.
    Recognizing that almost all of our politicians are whores makes it simpler to deal with them. Vote them all out of office and restart the system. None of them make enough difference that we would know they were missing.

NEIL HAUSIG

The Strategy Map
    East Hampton
    March 8, 2014

Dear Editor,
    So the conservatives are in their yearly conference to discuss their aims and goals and general philosophy. They listen to their heroes and leaders and bask in the echoes of the commentary designed to give them spirit and hope for a successful election year.
    And each night we, out here, listen to the news programs give us the highlights of the addresses of the right-wing oligarchs and politicians and shake our heads in dismay.
    Finally, after several days and nights of this, the planning of it all, the blueprint of the right to gain the White House and control Congress, becomes clearer than ever. Here is the strategy: Republicans, all of you, follow the strategy map, narrow the access to the ballot box of those you are about to bash, shorten their voter registration time, put obstacles in the path of their voting, create barriers to working people getting to vote, gerrymander the voting districts to ensure election of your own candidates, and you do everything necessary to reduce those votes you calculate may be opposed to you and maximize the others.
    Meanwhile, you concentrate on firing up the base. The Obama haters, the government bashers, the race baiters and haters, the gun lovers, the anti-science brigades, the anti-public school group, the for-profit and privatized Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security gang. Get ’em riled up and frothing to vote for you. You might even throw in some bait for the uncommitted — but not too much, gotta be careful there. They may wake up to the buying of America.
    Get Paul Ryan and his bud can quote fake stories about a poor kid who didn’t want his free lunch because those who brought theirs from home had someone who cared for them, then apologizing for the fabricated story after the lying story was spouted.
    They think, what the hell does it matter what we say?
    Keep pushing the killing of Obamacare, that gets prominence. Then women’s reproductive rights can be invaded, make them get vaginal scans, prohibit doctors from performing abortions without hospital affiliation, close every women’s health care clinic in every state you can. (Texas almost already done.) Cut food stamps because of alleged fraud, refuse to increase minimum wage or extend unemployed insurance, and on and on ad nauseam. What matter, it sounds good to the faithful.
    So bash the poor and minorities who can’t get to the ballot box so we’ve got them, and women? Women somehow get lost on the way to the ballot box, so keep denying a war on them.
    We’ll have plenty of money from the likes of the Koch brothers.
    And don’t forget to bash the attorney general along the way, he might try to enforce the law ensuring voting rights. But, you know, he’s black, like the guy in the White House, so we can Koch him to death or Issa him down. Scream scandal, prove nothing!
    Blacken President Jimmy Carter’s name whenever you can. It is slander and libel, but he won’t do anything about it.
    And our answer to the media is, we do this all not because we are racist, it’s just anti-socialism, anti-Obama dictatorship, to regain Congress and the White House.
    After the midterm elections we’ll see if all this works, and then we’ll turn our fabricating machine on Hillary and keep her out of the White House.

RICHARD P. HIGER