Letters to the Editor: 04.24.14

Our readers' comments

What Matters Most
    East Hampton
    April 20, 2014

Dear David,
    Last week while having dinner at a friend’s house, one of the guests suddenly keeled over and passed out. We called 911 and within minutes several police officers arrived with oxygen. A few minutes later E.M.S. appeared and brought our friend to Southampton Hospital, where he received a thorough cardiovascular workup. Fortunately, nothing warranting an overnight stay was found and he was able to leave. The reason he fainted remains a mystery that he will explore with his family physician.
    The emergency responders (police and E.M.S.) were highly professional, exhibiting sensitivity to and concern for both my friend and his wife. It is reassuring to know that in the event of an emergency, we in East Hampton can count on our emergency personnel to be there for us.


The Needs of Others
    East Hampton
    April 7, 2014

Dear Mr. Rattray,
    On behalf of our clients, all of us at East Hampton Meals on Wheels do heartily thank Boy Scout Troop 298, all the Scout leaders, and American Legion Post 419, who made possible the delicious spaghetti dinner on Sunday, March 30, 2014. Our volunteers delivered more than 50 dinners to our homebound clients, including family and caregivers. These meals were a very special treat, because our clients cannot shop, cook, or prepare their own meals.
    We are extremely grateful that the Scouts, while busy preparing to serve dinner guests at the American Legion, still had time to prepare takeout meals of the same quality for those unable to attend. It is heartwarming and comforting to know that so many individuals, especially young people, in the town of East Hampton care so deeply about the needs of others. We also thank the folks who purchased the tickets that were donated to our organization so that our homebound friends might be included in this wonderful affair.
    Finally, we thank our dedicated volunteers who helped deliver the spaghetti dinners on Sunday afternoon.
    Thank you again, Scouts, for making this a success for everyone.
    Good luck in all your endeavors!

    Very truly yours,

Transparency and Input
    April 20, 2014

Dear David:
    I am writing to express my heartfelt gratitude to our supervisor, Larry Cantwell, and all the members of the town board for the work they are doing for East Hampton. It is such a joy to read each week of the positive actions they are taking to respond to residents’ concerns, such as stopping the 555 proposal, fighting the PSEG telephone pole devastation, addressing the permit process for large gatherings, and using community preservation funds to preserve farmland and acquire more open space.
    I was delighted to watch on TV last Thursday the town board open hearings, which were conducted with such civility. Each speaker was treated with respect and actually listened to by the members of the board. Transparency and welcoming community input are such important concepts, in short supply in the recent past, that are being embraced by our current supervisor and the board members.
    To them I can only say thank you for restoring my respect for the work of the town government and for your hard work in attempting to keep East Hampton such a unique and wonderful place to live.


    East Hampton
    April 14, 2014

Dear David,
    It is disingenuous of PSEG to imply over and over that there are dire consequences for the East End of Long Island if we do not allow them to go ahead with their overhead transmission lines, in light of a key fact they fail to mention. Prior to the summer of 2013, in May 2013, the Long Island Power Authority dismantled three generators in Montauk that serviced 4,000 of 8,000 households. It did so without concern that there would be a lack of power for that summer, and in fact, everyone survived the summer just fine.
    Had LIPA been worried, it would not have chosen to dismantle those generators pre-summer without replacing them. It still has the option of replacing them, or of using alternative methods, such as the LIPA Edge program, to trim power costs. This would require that PSEG be proactive in getting thermostats into customers’ homes, considered one of the most effective energy efficiency tools out there.
    Why isn’t PSEG making this happen? The ball is in their court.

    Long Island Businesses for
    Responsible Energy

Offshore Generators
    East Hampton
    April 21, 2014

Dear David,
    For several years past I have been very ill, ending up in the hospital and in rehabilitation from the effects of that illness, chronic Lyme disease. It was a difficult time, life-threatening in fact. With the exception of my wife, I was rarely visited, as the Stony Brook-Medford ride is a long round trip. So at this time I would like to extend thanks to Jim Conklin and John Ely for seeing me while I was recovering.
    Now to offshore windmill generators. Not the best idea in the world. The problems are many and frequently glossed over. The arms are moving at quite a high speed, even though it looks slow at a distance. These strike birds and kill them. Out offshore they would kill ducks, geese, seagulls, terns, and more.
    Frankly, the Eastern Flyway for migratory waterfowl has not recovered from the damage caused by agriculture and market hunting in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Not killing the recovering bird populations is a good idea. Putting an obstacle course in their way, where death is the penalty for making an error, is not a good idea.
    These would also be hazards to navigation that, in very bad weather, might be unavoidable by small craft blown off course. They are not economical and generate electricity that is not saleable without federal subsidy. There will have to be a seabed cable linking the windmills together and from there to the shore. More potential for failure. From the shore to the nearest substation to be integrated into the electrical grid, more cables.
    These windmills require regular maintenance. They must be inspected regularly, too. If they are not, they can fail, catastrophically, tearing themselves apart and crashing down. The insurance issues would be very difficult to adequately address. All obstacles that will not be overcome for some time.
    Right now, the most economical way to generate is with natural gas-driven steam turbines. There is no alternative. So-called “green” energy fails from our inability to convert it into a reliable, adequate 24/7/365 energy. Nuclear, even the new, safe, micro and very small nuclear generators, would arouse a hue and cry worse than the loudest aircraft and tree-cutting utility combined times 10 in opposition.
    So we are left with fossil fuels. The cleanest is natural gas. New York State is fortunate to have the Marcellus and Utica shale deposits to draw from. If the pop media would stop spreading the science fantasy idea that carbon dioxide (now just called “carbon”) is a driver of climate change, everything would be ready to go.
    Remember, climate change is really driven by the sun’s cycles, the earth’s orbit shape, inclination, wobble, and continental drift. The heated atmosphere distributing the energy with substantial help from the ocean’s currents. All humanity contributes 28 percent of the warming effect or less. Termites affect climate more than we do. “Sequestering carbon,” really CO2, is counterproductive, as plants and blue-green algae need more CO2, not less, for better crops, less desertification, less water required for irrigation, fewer deaths by starvation and malnutrition, and so on.
    After all, even New York State has more natural gas and natural gas liquids that can run the state for longer than the U.S.A. has been an independent nation. However, the governor has stopped any economical recovery methods, needing time to think about it. He’s had a few years, and still no drilling allowed. The Marcellus shale deposit has been producing natural gas for energy since 1806 or so. The Utica is as yet untapped in this state, but has produced elsewhere very satisfactorily.
    Frankly, it is time that Governor Cuomo stepped up, did his job, and opened up these reserves. They will last New York longer than we have been a nation, reduce costs, create employment, generate tax income without increasing the individual burden. Other than the Luddite wing of the environmental movement, it is past time to enter the 21st century. Let us do what needs to be done, please.


‘Formula’ Businesses
    April 20, 2014

Dear Mr. Rattray,
    The other evening Mary and I were channel-surfing after a great dinner out at Bostwick’s. If you’d been there I would have offered you one of my fingerling potatoes. Still, I’m glad you weren’t there so I didn’t have to feel obligated to share.
    I don’t enjoy heavy televised drama following a satisfying meal, so you won’t find me watching murder, rape, kidnapping, drug-dealing, child predators, spousal abuse, scripted things whose titles start with CSI. Punching the channels northward in the direction of “House Hunters,” we came upon the public access channel that broadcasts the East Hampton Town Board meetings, and other town-related meetings, I’m sure. 
    But this was last Thursday night’s hearing, and the discussion in progress had to do with the new proposed legislation that would, if I understood correctly, attempt to ban “formula” businesses from East Hampton. Or from areas of East Hampton within close proximity to the village. In the case of my beloved hamlet, Amagansett, the discussion seemed to center specifically on the property now or formerly owned by Richard Principi immediately to the east of the I.G.A., Atlantic Wines, and the Amagansett Seafood Shop, and the horrifying possibility that this site might be turned into a 7-Eleven. A “formula” business if ever there was one!
    I don’t enjoy disagreeing with my friends and respected colleagues in our beautiful community, many of whom I saw take the podium to voice their support for this legislation while sternly warning of the social and economic impact that such a store would undoubtedly have upon our hamlet. I mean, what if they don’t invite me to join them for dinner any more. It’s unthinkable.
    But enough of my miserable selfishness. I do disagree with them in this instance. And with you as well, Mr. Rattray, which is far less surprising given our special history. The idea that a municipality, however large or small, can legislate the “type” of business that may or may not operate within its borders based upon its corporate identity or ownership I find troubling, both from an ethical and legal perspective. The cautionary rebuttal stated succinctly and convincingly that night by Tina Piette was something that the board should carefully consider.
    It felt as though there was a subtext in all of this, something beneath the hand-wringing. I’ll just call it a “We don’t want a 7-Eleven in this town” feeling I got — maybe especially when the wonderful Jean Frankl characterized Amagansett as “the jewel in East Hampton’s crown.”
    Ouch. Don’t want to tarnish our jewel now, do we? (I believe it would be reasonable, however, to ban Slurpees.)
    Was the Coach store in Amagansett (before it vacated) a “formula” store?  Is the Bass outlet, in Amagansett Square? What about Starbucks on Main Street in East Hampton? Think they’re serving Hampton Coffee? 
    I’m thinking also about East Hampton Grill, part of the Hillstone Restaurant Group — most of whose employees are trained in the corporate mother ship and brought in to work at this lovely joint. And across the street, Seraphina, one of 10 in the eastern U.S. And, of course, the Amagansett location in question is less than a stone’s throw from the I.G.A. — a formula store, right?
    It’s unclear to me what local businesses might be crushed by the presence of this proposed store. At the same time, it’s very clear what sort of clientele might appreciate having a long-hours convenience store nearby, from the tradespeople, local and commuter, to the second-home residents who arrived late at night and want some O.J. for the a.m.
    The tangential aspects of this hearing — the escalating commercial rents in East Hampton that have driven so many retailers out of town — I can’t imagine how one addresses that. We shake our heads, the storefronts stay empty, maybe the rents come down.
    What the town can and should consider doing is strengthening the architectural standards-and-review criteria; holding the line on existing zoning, and using its resources to protect and acquire land for the enjoyment of the community. Those are things whose benefits would endure for lifetimes.
    Now about those formula houses that are popping up all over our hamlet, driving the cost of real estate far beyond the means of the average working resident. . . .


Four Went to ARF
    April 21, 2014

Dear David,
    I wish to thank the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons for rescuing four cats that were part of a larger rescue effort from the home of a Vietnam veteran in Shirley.
    This disabled Vietnam vet was displaced from his home, and the housing he did find in Florida prohibited him from bringing all of his 11 indoor cats. At the end of December, early January, he contacted several agencies in order to find shelter for the cats and felt assured at that time that when he moved there would be a place for them at these other shelters. However, when the time came to surrender the cats none of the shelters had any room. This time of year is the high birthing season for kittens and many shelters find themselves at full capacity. He was desperate. Several people got involved and got the word out so that four went to ARF, I have one crated at my home, and two were adopted out by the veteran himself to neighbors. He took four with him to Florida.
    ARF is very tight for space right now, but made room for the four. They range from 5 to 11 years old. Two have made it into the adoption room with clean bills of health and updated shots, while two others are having adjustment problems. Cotton and Minnie-Me can be adopted immediately, but we are searching for foster homes that might give these other two cats, who are stressing a bit in adjusting to shelter life, a chance to calm down and become adoption-ready. We are on the lookout for anyone who might be willing to foster one of these adult cats. If interested please call ARF at 537-0400, extension 207 or 211, and ask for Michelle or Rita.
    Much appreciation is due to the Animal Rescue Fund for stepping up and quickly supporting this veteran when he was in need of help. Please call if you can assist with either the adoption of one of the adult cats or if you can foster one of the other adult cats in your home.


Monarchs and Milkweed
    April 16, 2014

To the Editor,
    I am very concerned about the sharp decline of the monarch butterfly population, butterflies and pollinators, and thought it would be helpful to make your readers aware of this fact by writing an editorial devoted to the beautiful monarch.
    The editorial would discuss drastic population declines and the importance of milkweed, a beautiful flower, for monarch survival. It would encourage homeowners with large lawns and gardens as well those with smaller areas to set aside portions to plant milkweed. It would encourage farmers to devote a small part of their farmland to growing milkweed. East End towns and villages could plant milkweed on vacant properties or along roadsides above areas that are mowed.
    There is a groundswell of concern all across the United States about butterfly and pollinator decline. With enough public awareness, we can create an environment and set an example on the East End to help save these beautiful creatures.

    Thank you,

Only Real Solution
    East Hampton
    April 15, 2014

Dear David,
    Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to attend a forum in Manhattan entitled “Law’s Imperative: A World Free of Nuclear Weapons‚” followed by a reception honoring the president emeritus of the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, our East Hampton neighbor Peter Weiss.
    I have to admit I have not spent a lot of time thinking about the threat of nuclear war since the end of the cold war; it really isn’t part of my job description as a real estate agent. Fortunately, Peter Weiss has been doing more than thinking about it. He and his colleagues in the lawyers committee have been diligent in their efforts to educate individuals and governments on the devastating consequences of any nuclear conflict. Peter and the other speakers at the forum were clear that the only real solution is a ban on these weapons and the materials that are used to create them.
    The ever-evolving world political climate seems to me to be a compelling enough reason for renewed and serious enthusiasm for a total ban on nuclear weapons, enforced by treaty and law.
    We are very fortunate to live on the beautiful East End, and we are fortunate to have neighbors like Peter and Cora Weiss who work so hard to create a safe and just world for the future.


No ‘The’ There
    April 14, 2014

Dear David,
    In reference to the Springs hamlet name debate that you recently wrote about, if I may, I have to go with “Springs” as the known and accepted name for our hamlet.
    I went to the Springs School. I played on the Springs School soccer team. The Springs Fire Department is the original Bonackers, and its baseball team had S.F.D. as its logo, for Springs Fire Department — no “the.”
    Springs is where I grew up. When I was in East Hampton Village and headed back home as a kid, it was, “I’m going to Springs to ride my dirt bike. Meet me at my house.”
    When telling someone where I lived, it was (and still is), “I’m a Springs boy.”
    If I was in Montauk, it was and still is “I’m going back to Springs.”
    I must admit already having a debate with our town engineer, Tom Talmage, who stayed with “The Springs” as correct when I called once to tell him the new “Welcome to the Springs” signs were wrong with the “the” added — even stating, “I don’t recall growing up in ‘the Springs’ — I grew up in Springs!”
    So, to recap my thinking, I did go to the “Springs School,” played against the “Springs Fire Department” baseball team — a powerhouse, by the way.
    I rode my motorcycle on the “Springs” trails and the (three) pits. I played on the all the “Springs School” sports teams. I ate pizza at the “Springs Pizza” place.
    The “Springs General Store” always was a second choice — I bought my stuff at “Barnes” (not “Barnes Country Market”).
    LOL. How things have changed to suit others’ perceptions of our great hamlet.
    I would tell friends, “Hey, man, meet you back in “Springs” and we’ll go motorcycling or jet skiing or waterskiing or BMX biking,” etc., or “Hey, man, let’s ride our dirt bikes on the trails from ‘Springs to Montauk’ today.”
    We know how that went, when they took over our back highway transportation system we partly had a hand in creating. Now we have become outlaws. So I guess as outsiders-newcomers they want to change everything to suit their way to only their lifestyle choices, without realizing or truly living Springs history, or for that matter anything East Hampton, or knowing Springs lifestyle choices and the history of its native folk. We have to wonder why it matters to them to have “the” last word as “the” first word that describes a life they never lived or even understand for that matter. Let alone respect, tolerate, accept, and, God forbid, assimilate themselves to the concept we have expectations in life, liberty, and the American Way!
    If you or your readers care to share further: TheSpringsCAC@gmail. com is the Springs Citizens Against Collusion, our new group effort for transparency in local government agendas. Find us on Facebook, the Springs C.A.C.
    All this “take over and deny the locals their own history” attitude baffles the “Springs” right out of me.

    Local since 1966

Are They Aware?
    East Rockaway
    April 16, 2014

Dear Editor,
    Were it not so tragic and sad an event, the irony of this moronic neo-Nazi killing three innocent bystanders in Kansas City would be laughable. This fool went out to kill Jews and he winds up killing three Christians.
    It probably never dawned on his warped brain that Jewish community centers are open to everyone, and all kinds of folks go there. Our local J.C.C. has what is probably the best equipped gym facility within 50 miles. Consider, a gym with over 50 pieces of equipment, an indoor track, an indoor pool, and trainers. Consider a preschool program where parents of every stripe and color drop off children. Consider Pilates, yoga, bridge clubs, current events discussion groups, mah-jongg, and programs for Alzheimer patients.
    Do these so-called red-blooded Americans know their history, the fact that over 250,000 young Americans were killed in World War II in just the European theater alone? Are they aware of the history of the Battle of the Bulge, when Nazi SS troops machine-gunned over 50 U.S. paratroopers who had been captured?
    Let them look in the faces of the grandchildren of those who gave their lives in World War II and still shout “Heil Hitler.” They’d be lucky to get out in one piece.


Scumbags and Pinheads
    East Hampton
    April 20, 2014

To the Editor:
    The rise of mediocrity and the debasement of excellence is the ultimate outcome of our incoherent political system. Time for a rant.
    Scumbags (for Republicans) and Pinheads (for Democrats) are the most appropriate terms to describe the system’s two primary components. Anything less would disrespect and demean the American people. What both parties share is a level of self-centered incompetence and a belief that we should replace “In God We Trust” with “Bend Over America.” While calling names is rarely an effective tool, in describing behavior it becomes the only realistic tool when faced with an endless stream of delusion, distortions, and nastiness.
    On every relevant issue facing the country — health care, the economy, foreign policy, education, and the military — the Scumbag M.O. is simply to demean and diminish. Find any means of abusing and disrespecting the bottom 80 percent of the population. The Pinhead M.O., while less repugnant on the surface, serves equally well to accomplish the same task
    Example 1: The Scumbags and Pinheads shared a common perception that health care was too expensive and needed to be reworked. The Affordable Care Act was a small step in the right direction but didn’t address the problem of cost. The Scumbags were pissed off because the law didn’t screw the bottom 80 percent and voted 48 times to repeal it without offering a single positive idea.
    The Pinheads came to the rescue by creating a half-assed mishmash of a plan and then screwed up the rollout, creating a level of chaos and dysfunction as only they can do. If 50 million people signed up for the program it wouldn’t negate how pathetically mediocre it really is.
    Example 2: Cheney and Rumsfeld redesigned and dismantled the military while expanding the budget, creating a volunteer Army that can no longer protect the country. We now get less security for more money. Both Scumbags and Pinheads understand that the soldiers returning from our wars are in a dreadful state and that the additional cost of care will be enormous. They would prefer the soldiers to disappear and keep the money for their own people. The future of our military is a mercenary Army whose soldiers won’t require any care or consideration and will have no problem dealing with internal issues. Everything that was special about our military is being stripped away. The Scumbags led the charge with the Pinheads in lockstep.
    Example 3: The new normal is the minimum wage for all. Corporations are only people when contributing to campaigns. No regulation equals no responsibility equals screw whoever you can. Scumbag heaven. Lower taxes for the wealthy and corporations (which pay the lowest rates in the West), cut all poverty programs, no job creation, no unemployment insurance for the slackers. So the Pinheads cut government jobs by 500,000, support bailing out the banks, (zero responsibility), and create laws like Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Protection Agency that they refuse to support seriously.
    After squeezing the last dime from the poor they went to work on the middle class. Hard to imagine the next step. Will they ever have enough gold in their pockets?
    Do we accept our politics as the new normal or do we define our politicians as criminals, miscreants, Scumbags and Pinheads? Is it necessary to pose the question?


About Counting Numbers
    Mount Sinai
    April 21, 2014

Dear Editor,
    Your letter-to-the-editor writers have been whining about conservatives lying. Who was it saying repeatedly that you could keep your health care plan and doctors? The president touts his health care numbers and ignores the millions who lost their policies or had their work hours cut. A year ago Ted Cruz was vilified for asking for delays. Meanwhile almost every week the president delays parts of the law until after the midterm elections. It doesn’t seem to matter what the new deductibles are, or what doctors and hospitals are participating, it’s just about counting numbers. It’s beginning to look like a monthly sales contest at a local car store.  
    It’s so predictable how the Democrats go after the Koch brothers, who own businesses that employ Americans. They have donated millions to charity, including a recent $100 million to the New York-Presbyterian Hospital. They are not running for office.
    What really gets under my skin is the old tactic of accusing conservatives of being racist, trying to suppress the vote by requiring some sort of voter ID. You need ID to buy alcohol, tobacco, Claritin D, and to get a library card. As we get closer to election time, no doubt many Democrats will go into low-income neighborhoods to get out the vote while their candidates give speeches at black churches. After the elections they leave until the next election cycle. That’s the bigotry of low expectations.