Letters to the Editor: 03.27.14

Our readers' comments

Parade Security
    March 24, 2014

Dear David,
    I would like to thank the East Hampton Town Police Department and the other law enforcement agencies for doing a wonderful, efficient job in the security of the parade. It was very family oriented and extremely peaceful.

    Many thanks.

L.V.I.S. Calls Out  
    East Hampton
    March 24, 2014

Dear David:
    The recent installation of the enormous poles for overhead power lines resulted in a devastating effect on our community. Now, there are new plans to trim yet more trees on Newtown Lane. It seems no area is immune. 
    The Ladies Village Improvement Society of East Hampton, founded in 1895
with a mission to maintain and preserve our historic village and its tree-lined streets, is very dismayed with the careless decision that was made without regard to our community’s environment, or respect for the work of our dedicated citizens to produce it. Through community donations, the L.V.I.S. has provided trees for the Village of East Hampton and nurtured them for more than 100 years. With hurricane speed, our village is now being destroyed in a matter of weeks.
    At this time there is a discussion of ways to bury these high-voltage lines. Not only would underground wires restore the gracious character of our streets, but they would afford needed protection during extreme coastal weather. As each day passes, this project becomes more expensive. An appropriation of Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to protect our vulnerable area would help defray costs. Our governor and elected officials need to support the concept of buried electric lines for safeguarding our shoreline and residents of this community and protecting our majestic tree-lined streets.
    The L.V.I.S. continues its commitment to the preservation of our village. We call out emphatically to decision makers: please get these new electrical lines buried! Replace our mutilated trees! Protect the scenic environment we have cultivated with great care and enormous volunteer work for more than a century. We support the efforts of Save East Hampton, which are consistent with the mission of L.V.I.S., for the future of our beautiful, beloved East Hampton.

    President, L.V.I.S.

The Devil You Know
    East Hampton
    March 18, 2014

To the Editor:
    No one should be shocked or surprised to find out that PSEG will, of course, bury the lines if the citizens of East Hampton Town and Village are willing to cough up $30 million. It was the implicit subtext of everything said at the public meeting and utterly clear in the reports of that meeting, but also clear that it was simply not what the community wished to hear, and so it seems that very few people actually heard it said.
    But it was said. Only the specific figure was new. The reason the whole of Long Island still has overhead power with just a few very local exceptions is because burying the lines is prohibitively expensive, particularly for a for-profit company.
    Appeals to Cuomo would of course be like spitting into the wind: PSEG was imposed upon us by Cuomo, and anyone who thought that a private business entity from New Jersey would be sensitive to certain cultural values on the South Fork of Long Island was simply dealing in fantasy.
    For years the citizens of Long Island had been piling onto LIPA, always in my view both somewhat unfairly and shortsightedly. A few years back a direct hit from a hurricane was seriously predicted, and LIPA brought in upstate equipment and workers to deal with it in great numbers (it’s called preparedness). When the storm veered away, out to sea if I recall, LIPA came under vicious criticism for spending “useless” money.
    If they had held back a bit when Sandy came along, one at least would understand why, though it is not clear that they did. During Sandy I was fully informed by phone messages on the situation of my power outage and when I could expect it back. People UpIsland whose houses were in six feet of water and had no phone service probably were not so informed.
    We have an antiquated and fragile power distribution system. By what factor does one have to multiply $30 million to get some idea of what modernizing and storm-proofing the system would cost?
    There is an old saying: If you have to go to bed with a devil, better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.


Shades of Shoreham
    East Hampton
    March 18, 2014

    Holy shades of Shoreham, Batman! These idiots are trying to pull a fast one on the innocent citizens of East Hampton.
    Am I the only one who remembers the battle to keep nuclear power plants out of Long Island and the Sound? The battle went the way of the citizen protestors and all looked rosy. The voice of the American people had been heard and their mandate to scrap the plant was assured.
    Then, suddenly and with no sane purpose, some moron in the government thought, “What a good idea I have. I think firing this thing up for just a few days is a really clever thing to do.”
    With that the clever folks fired her up, contaminating the plant and endangering the community. The proposed scrapping of the plant transpired with the cost of dismantling it doubled, because of the radioactive elements now in existence. The ratepayers are still paying for this monstrous act.
    The poles going in around town may not pose so great a danger to the environment and our human population, but the preposterous stance regarding the continuation of its project has PSEG once again creating an entire network which, according to them, will be dismantled after the underground lines are complete. Once again ratepayers will absorb and pay the cost of this stupid practice, just as they are still responsible to the debt incurred by Shoreham.
    Is there no power strong enough to put a stop-work order in place until we can sort this out and devise an alternative, intelligent, and safely functioning system? The poles are not being properly installed (rush job?) and will lead to a lot of trouble down the line. Safety is compromised at this level to begin with. Radiation is a concern once the lines are in place.
    Stop work does seem the intelligent decision here. After all, there’s always plenty of time to destroy the community’s safety and well-being anytime down the line.


Hill Street Blues
    March 23, 2014

To the Editor:
    I read your article “Hill Street Blues‚” where you report on the current controversy of the pending review by the Village of Southampton Architectural Review Board of the proposed 5,000-square-foot house to be built on 1.25 acres set back approximately 250 feet from Hill Street in the Village of Southampton. I along with four other neighbors live next to and immediately abut the property of the proposed house.
    The article attributes John Pyne, a New York City resident and owner of a summer home in Southampton, as saying that I was “the organizer of the letters in support of the house.” The article further says that “Mr. Pressman wrangled four letters.”
    Unfortunately, what the article fails to state was that the Architectural Review Board, early in the process, encouraged the immediate neighbors of the proposed house to meet with the builder of the house to reach some consensus. In that spirit, four of the five neighbors (and myself), who immediately abut the property of the proposed house, did reach consensus with the builder after considerable negotiation to improve on the size, scope, shape, height, location, materials, and landscaping.
    The four letters that the article refers to were not “wrangled” from anyone. In fact, these letters of support were from the four neighbors plus myself, who met with the builder, negotiated an acceptable understanding, and who are most immediately affected by the proposed house. The neighbors asked that I appear at the Architectural Review Board and submit on their behalf these letters.


Without the Character
    March 23, 2014

Dear Editor:
    If the Southampton Village Architectural Review Board wants to see what will happen if they allow that Hill Street house to go up, they should come walk the neighborhood along any of the Amagansett lanes.
    While these Farrell-built homes may be “within the dictates of the law,” they are clearly without the character of our hamlet. Be warned.


A Mash Note
    Los Gatos, Calif.
    March 17, 2014

Dear David,
    This is a mash note, an unabashed shout-out to what I have discovered to be the last real newspaper in captivity. For over 60 of my years (politely nudging 80), having been a reader, writer, editor, proofreader, volunteer dogsbody, and complainer about local newspapers and volunteer newsletters from New Jersey to Marblehead, Mass., and River Forest, Ill., to Los Gatos, Calif., I have yearned to encounter one that really gets it the way it should be done — and by courtesy of my friend at the Los Gatos Meadows, Rita Seldon, I have finally encountered it in your estimable product!
    When Rita releases each copy, I snatch it and usually spend most of the next few days devouring every word, including especially the letters, want ads, and legal notices, which really tell the story as a primary source. (I may add that I am currently music specialist and archivist for History San Jose, focusing on our untold music history, and regularly scan for revealing obits, columns, etc., to tell the current tale for the future.)
    For one thing, it is the only paper I handle that still is the right/generous size, most papers having kowtowed to the constraints of pusillanimous factors like cost. Your generosity of space makes the next grace possible: fullest inclusion of letters to the editor (with the grace bestowed by first-naming you). Even the most casual “casual” is rife with meaning, emotion, and a palpable sense of reality — I even perused a wonderful take on winter compost, though possessor of the original black thumb. Winter has always shriveled me, but I can rise to its aesthetics and its lessons through what I read here, and I definitely glory in the intelligence and culture revealed in your feature articles about almost anything, whether I am familiar with it or not.
    My historical bent really appreciates your 125 years ago, et al., because I have done the same sort of thing with San Jose’s untold music history over the last 150 years, and I think people today need that institutional memory to help them to some semblance of perspective. My current role in trying to further campus ministry at San Jose State University is encouraged by the wonderful color photo of the Ash Wednesday scene in glorious color, which may be a part of the current move to “Blessings to Go” (our Ashes to Go took place outdoors this year since the chapel was inaccessible because of surrounding construction), and promotes solidarity when we see others joining in.
    In short, you are an amazing and exhilarating phenomenon, and I wish you the continuing reward and success that you richly deserve!

    (Mrs. George W.)

For James Beres
    March 21, 2014

To the Editor:
    Mr. Beres did indeed suffer a tragic death, but his life was wonderful. I met Jim in 1966. He was my art teacher, having been hired fresh out of college at Seton Hall High School. It couldn’t have been easy — a tall, handsome blond man with a strong jaw among those starched black habits and stiff white wimples — but he taught with patience and kindness. Smile lines creased the planes of his face already.
    Our paths crossed again in 1990, when he turned up as a guest at my sister-in-law’s wedding. Following the ceremony he was heading off to Spain, he said, to open a hotel, a gorgeous blonde trailing in his wake. Those smile lines were etched on his face.
    I had not heard about him until last week, but I learned he is an accomplished artist with works exhibited at the Whitney Museum and other world venues. Clearly he lived his dream. God bless, Jim. Rest in peace.


Big Liz Memory
    East Hampton
    March 20, 2014

Dear Dave:
    It was with truly profound sadness that I heard only today about Liz McMillan’s death on March 18.
    The words “tireless advocate” are bandied about, but Liz was the Marlon Brando of causes. “Liz, what are you campaigning for?” Liz: “What have you got?”
    Back in the good old Hampton Day School days she was as involved a parent as possible, but also with that dynamic spirit and dry wit that accompanied her throughout her life.
    But this is my big Liz memory. In 2002, on a whim, we went together to a weight loss center in Durham, N.C., and were roomies for a fortnight. We talked about men, our children, sex, love, death, politics, religion, and the news. She was the first person I knew who read the online news magazine Slate.
    On our first day, subsisting on nothing but artificial sweeteners and air, she gazed wistfully at her yellow packet as she poured it into the iced tea.
    “Splenda in the Glass,” she said. The entire room broke out into laughter.
    We took tai chi together every day: her idea, not mine, never mine. We would “wash the clouds” and “serve the dragon tea” with Jay Dunbar of Magic Tortoise, and her smile and giddy laugh were a very different Liz, perhaps, than the one seen during times of political and medical advocacy.
    We had ephemeral plans to get together soon, when the weather was better. Then this.
    If there are saints marching somewhere, Liz is leading the charge.
    Miss you, Red.


Liz Hart McMillan
    March 24, 2014

Dear David,
    The cause of good government, locally and nationally, has lost an avid, able supporter in Liz Hart McMillan, who died suddenly and prematurely last Tuesday.
    Liz worked tirelessly, using her exceptional intelligence, energy, and imagination, to help get out the vote for President Obama, Congressman Bishop, and East Hampton’s Democratic town board majority last year. Warm-hearted and generous, she leaves myriad grieving friends and co-workers.
    Among them are East Hampton Democrats, who extend our heartfelt sympathy and affection to her family.


Community Effort!
    East Hampton
    March 17, 2014

Dear David,
    We have just completed another season of soup dinners for the entire community sponsored by the Clericus, the interfaith association of clergy covering the area from East Hampton eastward to Montauk. These soup dinners are filled with men, women, and children of every age group who in the colder, darker months come together as a community to have hot soup, artisanal breads, home-baked desserts, and fresh fruit. Our community churches and the Jewish Center of the Hamptons co-sponsor these dinners, which take place at Most Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church in the Village of East Hampton.
    Our guests come from all over the East End and are treated to soups made by the chefs of some of the finest restaurants under the inspired leadership of Joe Realmuto, executive chef of Nick & Toni’s. Local bakeries and volunteer bakers bake the breads, and volunteers bake the desserts. Volunteers (including all ages) from our religious institutions serve the guests, welcome them, and serenade them with music. Multilingual volunteers and professionals are there to answer questions they may have about services provided by the town and other providers (including the religious institutions).
    We wish to express our gratitude to all the volunteers of every faith group who give their time to set up, clean up, serve, and welcome all our guests. What community effort!
    These dinners are coordinated by Doreen Quaranto, outreach pastoral coordinator at Most Holy Trinity Church, and we benefit from the leadership of all our clergy in the area. We are grateful to all who assist, cook, and make these dinners a reality in our caring community.
    Thank you all so very much.

    The Jewish Center of the Hamptons

Feral Cat Poem #71
Squirrels with A.D.D.
pepper the hard pale green yard
with unsightly divots
searching for their nut stash.

stately feral cats
leaving nary a trace
come and go
speaking of Michelangelo.


Lucky to Have Him
    March 24, 2014

Dear David:
    Please allow me a few column inches to tell your readers a story involving a very professional, knowledgeable, and conscientious East Hampton Town employee.
    The story involves a lost dog and a happy ending, mostly due to the training and instinct of Max Luetters, a town animal control officer.
    This past Saturday morning when walking my dogs on the town’s trail system one of the two decided she liked chasing deer better than hanging out with me and bolted, dragging her six-foot leash behind her. Deep in a town preserve of more than 1,000 acres, the chances of finding her weren’t great. Coupled with the fact that the leash might snag and lessen the chances of her wandering to safety or finding her way home, the outlook wasn’t good for little Billie Jean.
    After searching on my own for awhile I called ARF to report the loss. They suggested I call animal control as well. I left a message and Max got back to me very quickly.
    I gave him the same information I gave ARF and then proceeded back out into the woods to continue searching.
    A few hours later as I was working the fringes of the reserve by car who should I find but Max. He was also out searching, working the areas near where I had originally lost her. We compared notes and went our separate ways.
    Just a short while later my cellphone rang. It was Max and he had located Billie Jean snagged on some decking on private property near the edge of the preserve.
    Just one problem: When he freed her she bolted again, this time free of leash and all identifying tags.
    “Don’t worry,” Max said, “she’s headed home. Just go home, she’ll be there.”
    As it was actually faster for me to cut through the woods than drive home, I began to take off running, taking a shortcut through the woods.
    “Don’t run and yell at the same time,” Max advised. “Stop first, and yell standing still.”
    So I cut through the woods and actually got ahead of Billie Jean, who was indeed working her way home on the approximately one mile of trail to our home.
    As I got on back on the trail I stopped and yelled her name. Lo and behold, a little head popped up out of the brush about 100 yards away. Then she ran as fast as she could right by me, toward home, where she waited at the back gate for me to catch up.
    Soon after, Max appeared at the front door with Billie Jean’s leash and tags. I can’t tell you how grateful we are to Max. The Town of East Hampton is lucky to have him.
    And while I’ve got you, David, a shout out to the Highway Department for their tireless snow removal effort this winter. They should all be sent to some warm beach and given a cold drink with an umbrella straw in it. They done good, too.

    Yours truly,

Seen and Counted
    March 18, 2014

To the Editor,
    I have a home in the Ditch Plain area and on Monday the 17th we found a dead deer under the back steps of our deck. The deer had been hit by a car and managed to make it to the back of the house seeking cover under our deck, where it expired. That same evening on our way back from dinner at O’Murphy’s we decided to take a ride in the area up and down the streets of Ditch (Caswell, Hoppin, Agnew, Benson, Ditch Plain Road, Duval, Brisbane, Prentice, Flagg, and a few others). From 6:30 to 7 p.m. we counted a total of 56 (that’s fifty-six) deer in the front and side yards of the residences in the area. How many were behind the residences you could only guess. The 56 were actually seen and counted.
    In a few weeks these same deer will be giving birth to one or two fawns. This past year, family members doing planting and lawn maintenance each experienced more than just a few tick bites and my son came down with a case of Lyme disease. This situation has gotten worse in recent years. Estimates of the deer population have been misconstrued by those who obviously have not been affected by this situation and want nothing done to right the situation.
    If you want an eye-opener, take a ride in the Ditch Plain area just after sunset or in the early morning hours.


A Say in Beach Rules
    March 23, 2014

Dear David,
    In the public portion of the March 20 town board meeting, Diane McNally, clerk of the East Hampton Town Trustees, stated her opposition to municipal home rule in Chapter 91. Home rule establishes local decision-making to protect the rights of the people. Communities, through their municipal home rule, have legitimate authority to make governing decisions about all issues affecting the community and enforcing the law.
    Councilwoman Sylvia Overby has worked very hard in trying to establish a safe and pleasant environment for our beachgoers by asking for a public hearing to limit the drinking of alcohol at Indian Wells and Atlantic Avenue Beaches. The town has been working on improving the safety of the people who frequent our beaches, as well as our lifeguards. For the past two years there have been comments made to the town board requesting the need to prohibit alcohol on these beaches. Many meetings have been held by Councilwoman Overby with local agencies to get input, including the police, the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee, Marine Patrol, code enforcement, and the trustees.
    Ms. McNally’s concerns were not in the spirit of cooperation with the town, but more of challenging the town’s rights to have a say in beach rules. When Diane McNally ran for office in November 2013, she promised to protect and represent her community and traditions. Listening to the community is as important for the trustees as for any other elected official. What was heard last Thursday from Ms. McNally was that behavior was the problem, not alcohol‚ and that the trustees will not support or cooperate with the town in having a public hearing. These thoughts did not involve the input from other trustees, just Ms. McNally’s seemingly misguided decision to disagree with town officials.
    It’s time for the trustees to cooperate and be interested in what town residents want. A decision to restrict alcohol on Indian Wells and Atlantic Avenue Beaches, only during lifeguard hours, will protect beachgoers and our lifeguards!


Restricting Franchises
    East Hampton
    March 24, 2014

Dear David:
    Our town board member Sylvia Overby is to be applauded for her work in trying to protect our community from the introduction of franchised restaurants and stores. This follows her recent work to preserve the experience of going to Indian Wells Beach; that is, before it became a destination for crowds of people with no links to this area or concern for its environment. Both of these efforts by her are for all our benefit, and represent government at its best.
    For years people have said that restricting franchises is impossible. I hope that those naysayers are wrong and that Sylvia and the other members of the town board will be able to pass regulations that preserve the local character of our businesses. Thank you for this.


Code Enforcers
    March 20, 2014

Dear David:
    Your editorial “Now’s the Time to Crimp Summer Crowds” correctly points out the importance of these online services that result in illegal rentals and shares. Hopefully our local officials will follow up on these leads to stop some of these illegal activities this season. Further, we expect that they will work out better solutions for subsequent years.
    I believe that our code enforcement officers work hard. However, we can’t  expect them to routinely work all night, especially on weekends. Obviously more officers would help, but that would also increase our taxes.
    Why not enlist residents as volunteers or dollar-a-year men and women to help? With proper training and in teams of two or more they could corroborate the work of the town’s code enforcement personnel. Using Montauk volunteers to check possible Springs housing violations should eliminate any conflict-of-interest charges.
    Sending a message this season will help enforcement next season.


The Bratty People
    March 16, 2014

Dear David,
    Oh, oh. Just a short time away from the onslaught of the bratty people: Memorial Day to “Tumbleweed Tuesday” brings, into my tiny part of East Hampton Town, a whole load of folk whose brains have not caught up.
    I try to shut up the bratty people by yelling over their Saturday night-early Sunday morning din that “the children have to serve Mass!” Nothing.
    I try to temper their inappropriate release of bodily fluids by always having a turned-on hose at the ready (that works).
    I plead for no drinking on East Hampton Town beaches.
    I plead for a rental registry (my dog needs a license)!
    Again, I remind that I am a volunteer flogger, as in the position of common whipper (the trustees’ enforcer a few centuries back).
    Bring on the miscreant brats. They will henceforth summer in Speonk.

    All good things,

Trucks in the Driveway
    March 24, 2014

Dear David,
    I attended the town board’s work session on March 18. I made it a point to attend because I saw on the clerk of the court’s agenda (which is online now for all residents to see!) that Fred Overton would be proposing the definition of a light truck. This is important (especially for Springs), as the current town code for vehicle parking shows two light trucks acceptable in a residential driveway. However, “light truck” had never been defined. Many legal and political minds in East Hampton have worked on and mulled over this definition and for years we have not been able to define the light truck. Thus no law enforcement.
    The new Overton proposal would allow two “light” trucks to be parked in a residential driveway. One light truck could have a weight as high as 14,000 pounds.
    In my neighborhood we are plagued with driveways that are parking lots, with multiple cars and trucks parked in the driveway, or maybe on the side of the house, and/or maybe a truck or two in the backyard, or on the front lawn. As it stands now, if you own your home you will be allowed to park on your property (if the Overton proposal is made law) up to two commercially registered trucks (one can be as heavy as 14,000 pounds — that is a seven-ton truck, no small banana), up to two boats, two unregistered cars (no license plates), and unlimited motor vehicles. If you rent your home, you are allowed four cars and two trucks (size to be determined), two unlicensed cars, and two boats.
    We are talking East Hampton here, not Appalachia, not the Deep South where front lawns become car and junk cemeteries. If you find yourself living next to this, and you well could, I would say your property value just dropped a whole lot.
    In Springs, many of us live on lots under half an acre. You don’t have an environment like that in Northwest, or any other hamlet in East Hampton Town. Springs has been zoned differently, and it is overpopulated.
    Many of the commercial vehicles are already parked in driveways by renters and owners. This proposed law just sets up one more complication. Garages or truck depots should be used, not family driveways, for parking commercial vehicles. One-size law does not fit all. Don’t residential property owners in Springs and elsewhere have any rights? Why are laws written that do not respect the private property and public property of residents and their neighborhood and their community? Why write laws that would perpetuate unsightly blight or eyesores in our neighborhoods?
    We have residential zones, commercial zones, and business zones with specific activities allowed in each zone, with some mixed zones. I would like some protection to our residential property zones. What is being proposed is too many vehicles allowed on single-family residential plots — period, full stop. Springs already is overcrowded, and now we are making it a dumping ground. We need some relief. It looks like Tobacco Road out there.
    Springs has had a population explosion in the last 10 years. No other hamlet has been so affected. No one can or will deny this. The census substantiates it, and we are a hamlet in crisis. We are a community of basically single-family residences, pretty modest — generally three bedrooms, one and a half baths, some larger, some smaller, and we are very north of the highway.
    The happy hamlet has exploded with people and trucks and cars and equipment and trash and you name it. You can find trash on the front lawn, or in the woods, or at a street corner. It’s there, and it’s not ticketed, and it proliferates. It is never-ending. Small and large quality-of-life violations that do not get cured, and/or when laws are not enforced, encourage larger violations. Based upon my experience and what I have seen, I don’t see much law enforcement.
    Families participate in the community. They buy or rent their homes, they maintain them, they work all of their life to pay off a mortgage if fortunate enough to own a home. For most people it is their biggest life investment. Homeowners contribute to the local economy also. The children go to the local school and participate in scholastic and social events. Our property taxes support our children and our school, our library, our fire department. Home is where we build the fire in winter, home is our refuge from the outside world, it is our island, it is our comfort zone — it’s where we live, play, laugh, and cry — it’s where we spend most of our time. Home is pretty emotional and home is sacred. It is home and hearth and dog — no other place quite captures our hearts and minds. Be it ever so humble.
    I have been speaking about my neighborhood passionately, and what I perceive as big problems, for years. I am very disturbed and becoming more distressed over what I see as deterioration. It’s complicated, but it is not a Gordian knot. It can be untangled. The longer our problems are ignored, the worse the situation becomes. Fifteen years ago we did not have this rapid deterioration. Springs was a little rough on the edges, kind of casual, and very natural, but nothing like it is now.
    Springs is suffering from unintended consequences. We have not put enough effort into trying to solve our problems, and I feel this truck proposal will exacerbate a festering and growing problem that is creating ghettos and blight. There is something really wrong here. It is like pouring fuel on the flame. It seems insane to me to allow so many vehicles inSprings.
     I hope other residents of Springs will speak up and out about this. It is only by dialogue and discussion that we can define our needs and wants. I hope this subject is discussed at the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee as well as other C.A.C.s.
    The Springs C.A.C. meets at Ashawagh Hall every fourth Monday at 7 p.m. Please come and join the dialogue. I hope when this is discussed at town board meetings, that people will get involved with the issue. More dialogue is needed. Not only residents from Springs, but residents from East Hampton Town. This affects us and it affects you. This proposed law is just more in our face than yours because we live very close to one another.
    Like they say, be it ever so humble there is no place like home — and Springs is humble, and filled with modest homes. Springs is a beautiful place, very unique. It’s where we choose to live, and it’s in trouble. Two “light” trucks per single-family residence is one light truck too many.
    Looks like Springs is being thrown under the bus again, or should I say truck? As a single-family homeowner, where are my rights? I would like some laws written that protect my home and my property and I would like some enforcement. I have lots of obligations, and I pay my taxes, and I am one unhappy Springs resident. And I have not even mentioned serious subjects like septic systems, water quality, school, rising property taxes, etc.

    Thank you,

Five New Appointees
    March 23, 2014

To the Editor:
    Phyllis Italiano’s letter in last week’s Star completely misrepresents both the interpersonal dynamics and the record of the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee. I have been a member of the committee for 15 years and have found it to be a politically diverse, cooperative, and effective group of citizens. I can’t think of anyone who has served on the committee over the years who would say otherwise.
    Currently the S.C.A.C. has 12 members — four Democrats, four Republicans, and four independents (no party affiliation). But apparently that’s not “balanced” enough for Supervisor Cantwell and his confreres on the town board. They have just stuffed the committee with five new appointees, including Mrs. Italiano. All are Democrats, though Mr. Cantwell says there’s no politics involved.
    Too bad Mrs. Italiano didn’t wait until she was actually seated on the committee before speaking out. Proof of the committee’s bipartisan nature was right there in The Star alongside her letter. There were four letters from committee members opposing the town board’s original proposal for the 115 Neck Path purchase. Two were written by registered Democrats, one by a registered independent, and one by a registered Republican (me).
    We can only hope that the other four new appointees will shun the divisiveness displayed in Mrs. Italiano’s letter and will instead help the committee to continue the traditions of honest discussion and community spirit that have characterized the committee in the past.


Examine Expenditures
    East Hampton
    March 22, 2014

To the Editor:
    The East Hampton Town Board at the meeting of March 20 passed a host of unannounced resolutions that authorized the spending of several hundred thousand dollars in a blink of time. Allowing the public to be aware in advance of these expenditures would have been a thoughtful gesture, considering it is their money.
    While wondering about the need for haste, or stealth, on the resolutions above, I noticed a most peculiar notice to bidders for the transfer and disposal of septic waste. As per the notice, public works in excess of $35,000 shall be formally bid, which the town board proceeded to do, noticing the bid on Thursday evening to be returned by 11 a.m. the following Friday.
    So a job worth over $35,000 was bid out over a period of a week. Municipal purchasing has never been known for lighting speed, so why the truncated time frame? Is the town actually seeking competitive bidders, or merely satisfying formalities?
    It is the job of the town board to step in and examine expenditures, not to merely watch the climbing process.


Airport ‘Noise Data’
    March 23, 2014

Dear David,
    Spending time measuring “noise data” based on complaints to a “hotline” run by the aviation industry is just silly (unless you’re the aviation industry, of course). If the noise problem is the fantasy of a “handful” of 10 uber-complaining households in East Hampton, why are federal elected officials involved? Why did Quiet Skies Coalition form with hundreds of members in a matter of weeks? Why do people from Southold and Shelter Island and Riverhead and Southampton and North Sea come all the way to the East Hampton Town airport noise hearings?
    The noise problem is actually the result of the actions of fewer than 10 aircraft business operators. That “handful” is bedeviling thousands of innocent people — not vice versa.
    Please, town officials, don’t allow the moneymakers to spew such nonsense by giving their “data” credence in the name of “objectivity.” Save time, save money, save argument: Get rid of commercial operations at East Hampton Airport. Or, better still, close the airport. It is an environmental, economic, and social abomination in our midst.


Will Use Every Means
    East Hampton
    March 24, 2014

Dear David,
    Contrary to the ill-conceived advice of the East Hampton Aviation Association’s attorney, David Schaffer, it is clear that the Federal Aviation Administration will use every means at its disposal to obstruct the Town of East Hampton from imposing noise restrictions if it remains grant-obligated by taking F.A.A. funding.
    Herein I quote from an aviation industry journal, the Airplane Noise Report of March 7, on the recent F.A.A. upgrade of helicopters from Stage 2 to Stage 3: “The rule will have little impact on helicopter noise levels but does provide F.A.A. with an efficient avenue to block looming efforts to restrict helicopter operations over Los Angeles and Long Island.” Note that East Hampton Town’s aviation attorney, Peter Kirsch, is an advisor to this organization. Questionable.
    The report goes on, “But the new rule does give helicopter manufacturers the
option to re-certificate their Stage 1 and 2 helicopters as Stage 3 aircraft, thereby giving F.A.A. the means it needs to block attempts to restrict helicopter operations.”
    “Issuance of F.A.A.’s final rule also coincides with the Town of East Hampton’s ongoing effort to restrict helicopter operations at East Hampton Airport on Long Island, which is moving forward. The town is assessing its options in light of the expiration of its grant obligations (and therefore the applicability of Part 161) at the end of this year. If it renews its grant obligations, the town will thereby remain subject to Part 161. The new helicopter rule would make it enormously difficult for the town both to remain grant obligated and to impose local restrictions on helicopters.”
    Further from Airplane Noise Report, “The Part 161 regulations require notice of proposed restrictions on Stage 1 and 2 aircraft and opportunity for public comment but not F.A.A. approval. So, when faced with a proposed restriction, helicopter operators can now ask manufacturers to re-certificate their Stage 1 or Stage 2 helicopter model as a Stage 3 aircraft, making the proposed restriction subject to F.A.A. approval once the re-certification is approved by agency. And then it’s game over for whoever is seeking to impose the helicopter restriction because, as one observer dryly noted, there is ‘zero probability’ F.A.A. will approve it.” This is the aviation industry’s position!
    Surely these rather harsh measures to thwart our efforts to reasonably control airport access demonstrate the true nature of the F.A.A., which is to promote aviation. There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself. However, promoting aviation is not the goal of the Town of East Hampton and it need not be beholden to the F.A.A.
    The ability to exert our right to home rule and our right to regulate air traffic at our airport has never been closer at hand. The work of the airport planning committees is demonstrating real potential for the airport to not only be financially self-sustaining, but to actually earn money.
    Why else would the F.A.A., and its local shill, the East Hampton Aviation Association, create regulations and block noise abatement efforts simply to thwart the ability of two airports — East Hampton and Los Angeles — to proceed with meaningful noise mitigation?
    We must be getting close.

    Quiet Skies Coalition

Freedom to Choose
    March 24, 2014

Dear David,
    A writer thinks all Democrats want $10.10 as a nationwide minimum wage. That seems inappropriate and arbitrary. Too high, likely, for a small town in southern Wyoming, too much for a completely unskilled semiliterate from South Chicago. Too little for the average New York City, Miami, Houston, Honolulu, or even quaint old East Hampton. Minimum wage is an entry-level pay that one works to pass through and earn more with acquired, saleable skills, not live a lifetime earning. It is not an entitlement.
    Some Democrats think Obamacare is swell. Others, and almost all Republicans, do not. A preposterous bit of legislation that presumes to tell everyone in the nation what, exactly, you may and may not have in your insurance. I prefer to choose the coverage I want, not to have coverage that I neither want or could ever possibly use. Freedom to choose is clearly a right.
    That 2,700-page law, which no one read and only Democrats voted for, has spawned over 30,000 pages of rules and regulations. There are more (and more and more) in the works. It includes a claim form that takes over a half-hour of a doctor’s time to complete. Not a good use of my doctor’s very limited time. It needs revision, reduction in scope, and reversal of the mindless flood of regulation. Void all 30,000-plus pages of the new regulations, restrict the regulating authority, restart with careful oversight from the Congress. Even then it may require a rewrite. The goal, to reduce the uninsured, has failed. It may be impossible to fix, and if not, it must be replaced.
    Democrats seem to want unending unemployment, making it a first cousin to welfare. Republicans want a healthy free economy where employment is available, from the high school student to the best professionals on earth. That means a growing job market. Growing small business. Innovation encouraged, not discouraged as every regulation, Affordable Health Act imposition, has done.
    Nice to see Democrats want edible school lunch programs too, with a balance of protein (including animal) as well. Not some vegan-imposed diet completely inappropriate for still-growing children. The rest of the list is equally preposterous, except its remarks about President Obama’s incredibly poor record on foreign relations.
    That brings us to the most out-of-touch part of the letter. War has increased since President Obama was elected. Putin has taken the Crimea by force. The Middle East is seeing expansion of fundamentalist Islam being spread by a strongly surging Al Qaeda. Over 100 murdered in Muslim violence the last 10 days and possibly 230 in the disappeared Boeing 777. Since 9/11/2001 there have been over 22,000 fundamentalist Muslim attacks worldwide, taking thousands of lives.
    Nuclear ambitions in the Middle East continue and centrifuges purify uranium to weapons grade despite this adminisministration has been blown off by the Islamists. This administration’s efforts to appear nice, to become nonthreatening, to pull the armed intervention card off the table, to ask for a tiny army, has created contempt among our enemies. If anyone out there thinks we don’t have enemies, you are utterly mistaken. President Obama has created concern about our reliability among our allies. Israel sees us as unable and unwilling to fulfill our obligations to them. They consider themselves on their own. The single pluralistic democracy in a sea of Muslim theocratic autocracies thinly disguised as republics.
    Suggested reading: “The Art of War” by Sun Tsu, written 2,500 years ago but with more insight than the Obama administration has been able to muster in six years. Islamists are at war with us, the Koran demands it. Think it is a religion of peace? It is not, it is a religion of submission, and is so stated in the Koran, Hadith, and Sunnah.
    So here we are, early 21st century, with a mainstream media with a seeming endless crush on President Obama, failing their job as critic keeping any administration open and honest. Pretending that weakness is strength, being laughed at is being laughed with, that a failing education system after billions and billions spent will get better with more money, and with an addiction to seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. That should scare everyone capable of rational thought.


The Madness of War
    Sag Harbor
    March 24, 2014

Dear David,
    Remember when those in power, the government, or the C.I.A., or the N.S.A., or corporate powers ordered the last surge in Iraq, a bloodbath, the same could be said of Afghanistan or Pakistan. The image of a baseball game came to mind, three strikes and you’re out. In war games it’s perpetual war with no exit. Also you may recall we have not won a war since World War II 70 years ago, but onward we march. The madness of war.
    Now let’s switch to the battlefield from the point of view of a marine, Phil Klay, who took part in the surge of Iraq. “You can’t describe it to one who wasn’t there. You can hardly remember how it was yourself because it makes so little sense. And act like somebody could live and fight for months and not go insane. Well that’s what’s really crazy.” The Iraq war has renewed itself, we called it a victory. The C.I.A. has been active in Pakistan for years, while Afghanistan is in the slow process of destroying another empire. Any superpower spread too thin around the world eventually destroys itself. None has survived historically. Exceptionalism and patriotism will not lead to victory. The madness of war.

    In peace,

Instant of Joy

Do not walk quickly by.
I have fought mightily to be able to look at the sun.
The winter was long and I felt constrained and frustrated and cramped and ever so bored.
It is hard to wait for spring and then there is much work to be done.
The soil does not move easily and pushing it aside is no mean task.
Moving a stone can put Sisyphus to shame and it takes all my energy.
I must rest before continuing my journey.
Finally I see light and with a last gallant effort push forth and stand.
Still I am captured in a pod and have to struggle to unfold my glory.
I am finally looking at the sun and we greet each other.
Do not walk quickly by.
I have the power to give an instant of joy.


Southwest Wind
    March 24, 2014

To the Editor,

Wind from the southwest
pushing the secret garden
in front of Hook Mill.