Letters to the Editor: 05.01.14

Our readers' comments

Dandelions and Bees
    April 10, 2014

Dear Editor,
    Hello, my name is Matthew Lester, and I am a ninth grader at East Hampton High School. I am also currently a Life Scout in B.S.A Troop 298.
    Spring has arrived, which means that the bees will be looking for food so they can make honey. Most people don’t know that one of the important springtime food sources for pollinating insects are dandelions. Many people think of dandelions as prolific pests, but they really do have an important function. When we poison the dandelions to make our lawns look better, we poison the bees. The bees bring the poison back to their hives, and end up poisoning the honey. The other bees and the young bees eat the honey and get poisoned as well.
    This cycle continues and ends up have lasting neurological effects on the bees, and can quite possibly cause the whole hive to collapse. And when there are no bees, there is no honey, but beyond that, there is no way to pollinate the plants that rely on the bees. That means no apples, or oranges, or tomatoes, or zucchini, or any other fruits for that matter.
    Therefore, I would like to challenge the people of East Hampton not to put herbicide and/or pesticides on their lawns. Let’s see who can have the most dandelions in their lawn this season. Perhaps dandelions could turn into a new fashion in lawns. Let’s help the pollinators, and in doing so, help ourselves.


Use Organic Products
    East Hampton
    April 24, 2014

Dear David,
    The water in our harbors and creeks carries a large load of pollutants, mostly from nitrates from lawn fertilizers and failed septic systems.
    The end result is algae blooms that deplete oxygen and leave large dead zones in our waters. You don’t have to be Einstein to know that a significant portion of our lawn fertilizer is making its way through the soil and water to our bays and harbors. I would strongly recommend to your readers that they use organic products, and water their trophy lawns less.

    Best regards,
    East Hampton Town Trustee

Poetry Affair
    April 28, 2014

Dear Editor:
    On Friday, April 25, LTV hosted our first annual Poetry Affair, in celebration of National Poetry Month. The event hosted 10 immensely talented poets: Fran Castan, Monique Enders, Lucas Hunt, Pamela Kallimaris, Janet Kaplan, Michelle Murphy, Joanne Pilgrim, Christina Rau, Michelle Whittaker, and Rosalind Brenner.
    I would like to note that without the hard work of Rosalind Brenner, this evening would not have been possible, and we are grateful for the time and effort that she put forth to help bring together so many talented individuals to showcase our local talent, and to collect food for the East Hampton Food Pantry.
    We look forward to bringing back this event next April. In the meantime, it will be aired on LTV Channel 20, and made available on our website.

    Executive Director
    Local TV Inc.

They Do Contribute
    April 24, 2014

Dear David,
    I think the Springs School teachers missed a good opportunity to teach a very useful concept to their students during the art sale last week.
    Integrity seems to be a commodity that is much lacking in many of the individuals with large businesses and corporations whose owners and workers spend such huge sums to be able to own a “house in the Hamptons.” It is an extremely important concept to teach youngsters as well.
    Many persons connected with the school went out of their way to suggest to prospective art show attendees, in front of their friends, and in an embarrassing manner, that those in line should be more than pleased to “contribute” to the school any unspent funds not used to purchase an artwork. It may have been because some of the teachers and students encouraging such behavior are too young yet to realize that there are many families in Springs who are just getting by financially. There are many Springs residents whose age and situation means that they have limited funds.
    They do contribute to the Springs School, through heavy taxation, already. Why embarrass them as they try to treat themselves to something special?


A Community Effort
    April 28, 2014

Dear David,
    Not that we are counting, but Aug. 2 will mark 23 years of building sand castles at the Atlantic Avenue Beach in Amagansett! It will also be 6 years on July 19 since we began hosting the 34-year tradition in Three Mile Harbor called the Great Bonac Fireworks Show (formerly the Boys Harbor Fireworks). While it’s all a lot of work, when it comes down to show time we forget about all of that and it’s actually a lot of fun. It couldn’t be done without all of our volunteers and donors. We are community-based, community-supported, we’re all volunteers, and 100 percent of all proceeds are granted back into this community.
    Another point we would like to make is that without the support of everyone in the community, individuals and businesses alike, not only wouldn’t we have sand castles and fireworks, but we wouldn’t be able to make all the grants that benefit the people, programs, and projects here on the East End. It truly is a community effort.
    We would like to urge all of your readers to visit our website, clamshellfoundation.org, to see what we’ve been up to, what grants we have made, and to make a tax-deductible donation. Here’s to great weather for both days, and we hope everyone has a great and safe summer!

    The Clamshell Foundation

Should Be Obvious
    May 1, 2014

Dear David,
    The greatest lesson I learned at the Army Corps of Engineers presentation last week was that the federal government is not going to rescue the existing Montauk.
    At a Concerned Citizens of Montauk conference last year, the presenters said that, ultimately, we will be of increasingly minor importance as all of the coastal cities begin vying for federal money. It should be obvious that, from a federal viewpoint, we are already not too important. Hopefully, the meager coastal project currently proposed for Montauk will buy some damage-free time to prepare for a more permanent future that we can effect.
    The drive to change downtown Montauk — and plans that call for the removal of the motels — has mainly been advanced by environmental groups. However, to successfully plan the future of Montauk we will need to create a plan that has long-term benefits for the businesses, as well as for full time residents and second-home owners. I think it is possible, but putting together a successful plan will require imagination coupled to land-use flexibility, and be followed by hard number crunching.
    It appears that the proposed project will receive grudging acceptance by a broad constituency. One positive benefit is to have brought together different Montauk groups with a shared concern. Maybe the reality of what this project will not do will be the proverbial wake-up call that keeps these groups working together to plan a future that is better for all.


An Indifferent Scheme
    April 28, 2014

To the Editor,
    The anxiously awaited protective plan for downtown Montauk was revealed last week, to a very muted reception. The amount of area to be protected is minimal and, it can well be argued, inequitable. The proposed plan, with implementation scheduled for late fall, is presented as a stand-alone stopgap by the Army Corps. There is a hope that a real protective scheme will begin in four years, upon the completion of the half-century-old Fire Island to Montauk plan and the mobilization of an offshore dredge to pump sand.
    It is impossible to refuse federal protection, even sloppy and inadequate protection, when there is no other choice. I advocate protection of the commercial heart of Montauk for the benefits it provides the entire town, but am struck by how secretive and insipid the proposal is. In the three-plus hours the stabilization plan saw the light of day, there were multiple logical improvements and clarifications suggested by interested members of the public. Unfortunately, the process of starting work is so lengthy that there is no time for a town review process.
    Why was the plan not revealed until there was no choice but to run with an indifferent scheme or wait another year for protection? While it is a federal project, town participation is mandated. Where is the proactive anticipation of problems and the driving spirit of the town board? A less passive approach to this situation could aim solutions more accurately and fairly. The Army Corps is not proposing this project in a vacuum, and it is the town’s responsibility to ensure that details are delineated and priorities satisfied.


    Tom  Knobel is a co-chairman of the East Hampton Republican Committee.

Taxi Amendment
    April 21, 2014

    If you happen to be either in downtown Montauk or Amagansett’s Main Street on a late Saturday night, you will see an army of taxis, mostly from out of town, waiting for passengers who are smart and rich enough to know that they can’t possibly drive home and can afford the outrageous fees to get there. We can’t do anything about the rates, but last year several laws were passed to get the situation improved: register drivers, set up zones, etc.
    There is still much that has to be done. One desired improvement is to encourage local business participation in this lucrative business by amending an existing zoning law to allow small taxi offices in single-family residences. They will not be used for dispatching or maintenance, but will be the contact for taxi service and will be the home for the taxi logs.
    This amendment has another feature, namely, several times last year, passengers with out-of-town drivers reported that even with a GPS, after a long time of getting nowhere, they were dropped off where they began. There are roads that are not on maps and need the knowledge of a local driver. A public hearing discussing this amendment will be held tonight at Town Hall at 6:30 p.m.
    Once again, as in the case of trying to preserve the nature of our town by restricting the introduction of formula stores and favor the local business community to be profitable and expand without the specter of rapidly rising rents associated with chain stores, this taxi amendment shows that the present administration is not anti-business but is clearly, where possible, pro-local business.


Trees and Utility Poles
    East Hampton
    April 24, 2014

Dear Editor,
    As described in The New York Times on April 22, 2014 (page A18), under the headline Poles Generate Residents’ Heat on Long Island, the residents of both Port Washington and East Hampton are in turmoil over the supersized utility poles currently being installed by PSEG. Now, as reported by The East Hampton Star, a new problem has surfaced with these utility poles; soil and groundwater contamination due to the wood preservative used on these poles.
    Members of the L.V.I.S., an organization that has been instrumental in protection and preservation of our beautiful trees for more than a century, have already pointed out the danger to tree roots posed by the installation of these utility poles, as well as the disfigurement of our trees by trimming their branches to provide clearance for the utility lines.
    Let me add to these arguments the following fact: Trees are among the most efficient forms of plant life on earth in absorbing carbon dioxide from the air and returning pure oxygen. Utility poles cannot perform this life-sustaining process. So poles may contaminate our soil and drinking water, while trees inarguably cleanse our atmosphere. Therefore, in the environmental battle between trees and utility poles, the poles have two strikes against them.
    But this is not just an issue of aesthetics or environmental protection. It is an issue of public safety and security. Every year major snow, ice, and wind storms bring down tree limbs and trees and knock out overhead power lines, as well as communication lines, to millions of people for periods of days and weeks. Sometimes lives are endangered or even lost due to live wires on the ground, loss of residential heat, and loss of power for life-support equipment. The cost of storm recovery can be in the billions of dollars. Underground utility services would effectively eliminate this problem.
    This is not just an East Hampton problem. It is not a Port Washington problem. It is not even a New York State problem. This is a national problem annually affecting the security and safety of millions of Americans.
    The solution to this problem is not supersized utility poles. Nor is it maiming trees to make room for the utility lines. Nor is it having the utility companies from unaffected areas travel to the aid of the affected ones. The solution is federal legislation and financial assistance to relocate utility services underground and eliminate the antiquated utility poles nationwide, or at least wherever it is feasible.
    I would urge those of your readers who are genuinely concerned about the supersized utility poles being installed by PSEG to write to our congressman, Timothy Bishop, and our two senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as I have done, and ask their intervention to halt further installation of supersized utility poles by PSEG anywhere on Long Island, and to initiate legislative action, including financial assistance, to make relocation of utility services underground and elimination of utility poles, wherever feasible, a national priority. Their mailing addresses are readily available online and from the League of Women Voters.
    A personal note from a constituent carries far more weight than a signature on a petition.


A Fine Event
    April 24, 2014

Dear David,
    It will be a fine event. Anyone complicit in the poisonous coating of penta (a toxic wood preservative) on the PSEG-LI utility poles, recently positioned in East Hampton Village and Town, must lose a head.
    Jail should not be an option for the perpetrators of the PSEG debacle. Jail costs us (the taxpayers); decapitation is much more cost-effective.
    PSEG-LI leadership is stupid. How does it serve the bottom line of PSEG to kill off workers and ratepayers?
    I suggest that while we are waiting for the mandated (careful) removal of the toxic poles, we arrange for Governor Cuomo and certain PSEG-LI execs to be dangled or bound to, face down, on their poles. It will be a fine event.

    All good things,

Leaching Penta
    April 28, 2014
    East Hampton

Dear David
    As most of us know, we live in a very sensitive environment with only one water source: our aquifers. Right now, PSEG has contaminated our drinking water and some of our food supply with its toxic poles. The poles are leaching penta and will do so for decades to come. Penta is banned in 26 countries and children’s playgrounds. On top of that, PSEG is pouring penta around the poles to help preserve them from rotting. Rotting poles are the least of our problems.    Contaminated water should be the top priority of all Long Islanders. We all get our water from an aquifer below us, including our public water, which pumps from deep wells, just as our private wells do. We are not like other places on the planet, and we need to be extra careful with how we do things so that we will have clean drinking water now and for generations to come.
    As per the report that Long Island Businesses for Responsible Energy got from one of its hired experts, the levels of penta are off the charts. We were told that the leaching process, which has already been happening for three months now, is moving at a rate of around several inches per day, roughly. At this rate, our water supply will be reached in about six more months, roughly. With that said, it is already too late.
    PSEG has contaminated our water supply, and I do not see how it will be able to rectify and clean it up properly at this point. There has been irreparable damage that money cannot fix.
    Our government needs to step up and stop this project now. Pull the poles as soon as possible and clean up this place before it goes any further. When LIPA handed in its environmental study review, or SEQRA, report to the village last year while seeking approval, it stated there would be no environmental impact — it lied! Our community’s environment and our health has been damaged.
    As it continues to put up more poles around the whole island, it continues to wreck our drinking supply. When will enough be enough? How many more violations need to happen before the governor steps in to help right this wrong?
    Governor Cuomo and the majority of the island recognize that taking care of our clean water is one of our biggest challenges that we face today. So why do we continue to put up caveman-style poles, instead of environmentally responsible poles? Burying the lines would even be better. Why do we continue to let PSEG lawlessly destroy our town’s water and the island’s water? It has destroyed our scenic vistas, and it has devalued our town.
    Stand with LIBFRE and help fund the litigation suit that is in the works. If we stand up together as a community we can right the wrong. It is not too late to stop them. Visit libfre.com for more information and how to get involved.
    Let’s not let PSEG bully us. PSEG should be paying for its mistakes — not the ratepayers. Do not let PSEG fool you and make ratepayers fight each other. It is in the wrong, and we should band together and not let it turn our home, which we love, into New Jersey. If I wanted to live in New Jersey, I would move to New Jersey. This is Long Island, and we need to protect what we love about this place, and what draws everyone here in the first place.
    Stand up with your neighbors and let’s have a say in how our town will be upgraded in a responsible way. We all believe that we need to upgrade our infrastructure, but not at the cost of people’s health and our drinking water supply. We can have reliable energy without damaging our environment. We need clean water more than we need redundant power. Stop the poles and bury the lines.
    To read the report, like us on facebook.com/libfreinc.
    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead


Shrieking and Silence
    April 28, 2014

To the Editor:
    For many months we have been subjected to Stalinist-style character assassination directed against the Koch brothers by the usual suspects on the left and their media toadies. Much anguished shrieking and a multitude of lies accompanied their claim that the Kochs were polluting politics and destroying democracy by exercising their First Amendment right to contribute to conservative causes. Chuck Schumer called them un-American. And Harry Reid mumbled something, unintelligible as usual, but clearly negative. Even the president took shots at them. Virtually gnored were the millions donated by the Kochs to hospitals and schools.
    By contrast, only silence emanated from the Obama peanut gallery when uber-hedgehog billionaire and environmental radical Thomas Steyer offered the Democrats $100 million in this election cycle alone if President Obama would stop the Keystone pipeline and other energy initiatives. Confronted by the choice of grabbing for the dough or creating many thousands of jobs while lowering energy costs and weaning the Europeans off their dependence on Russian energy, our fundraiser in chief not surprisingly chose the money.
    Even for this president, this is a stunning level of hypocrisy.


Wish Them Luck
    East Hampton
    April 27, 2014

Dear Editor:
    The League of Women Voters of the Hamptons congratulates Emma Newberger of East Hampton High School as the recipient of our $1,000 Betty Desch Scholarship.
    Elizabeth Desch was a physical education teacher at Southampton High School and a member of the league. Emma’s essay and letters of recommendation showed leadership, the ability to motivate others, and a maturity and daring to work on relationship issues in her school environment.
    Five league members reviewed all 32 applications, and we are, as last year, overwhelmed by the community service that is done by our East End students. The projects engaged in by our young people are so diverse and time consuming, and they do them while maintaining high academic standards and engaging in sports! The letters of recommendations from teachers, coaches, pastors, store owners, and even siblings attest to the excellent work ethic that these students have gained.
    We wish we could give a scholarship to every student applicant, and we thank them all for applying and wish them luck in their future education and careers.

    League of Women Voters
    Education Committee

Illusion or Reality?
    Sag Harbor
    April 28, 2014

Dear David,
    I’ve been mulling over these thoughts for weeks, never reaching for a pen. I suspect a bit of depression, living in a world of violence and killing. I don’t believe human beings are wired for perpetual war. Evidence being rising suicide in veterans returning from combat and those remaining in war, damaged souls. The question on my mind: Are the American people living out most of their lives in an illusion reinforced by corporate-controlled media and call the sham reality?
    A starting point might be the expansiveness the illusion has become. When I picked up the arts section of The New York Times and was confronted by a color photo of Oliver North and President Ronald Reagan standing side by side, I knew I had two perfect characters to construct my theme.
    Oliver North, the former Marine lieutenant colonel and National Security Council aide, the central figure involved in selling arms to Iran in a huge scandal in violation of an embargo by Congress. During the scandal North was convicted of shredding thousands of documents. Instead of going to prison he became a symbol of a patriotic celebrity, cheered by members of the same Congress. President Reagan was not then informed of the scandal, and the American people will never know.
    Today we do know the horrendous track record of the C.I.A. of torture, for a long history when they took over Abu Ghraib, Hussein’s torture chamber, and surpassed him, sending so-called suspects around the world to countries where torture was legal, called rendition. Despite the crimes against humanity, the C.I.A. still resists declassifying the worst of human behavior. Will we ever know?
    All this done in our name. The shadow of shame. Illusion or reality?