Letters to the Editor: 06.26.14

Our readers' comments

A Garbage Disposal
    June 22, 2014

To the Editor,
    I am happy to learn of the efforts to combat pollution in Lake Montauk. The problems attendant upon the alarmingly growing and increasingly chemically dependent population that inhabits Montauk need to be addressed. But there is a less insidious and dangerous form of pollution that should also be recognized: Apparently Lake Montauk is considered a garbage disposal area for many thoughtless visitors.
    I live on the eastern shore of the lake and find myself ever more frequently gathering plastic bottles and metal cans from the beach. This Sunday morning, as I piloted my kayak past the Lake Club, I retrieved three beer bottles — two Bud Lite and one Blue Moon — that were bobbing upright in the water. Sub specie eternitatis, not a great haul, admittedly, but this debris accumulates over the summer and eventually becomes alarming.
    Throughout the 60 years I have lived on the Lake, 2014 is already shaping up to be the worst for such inconsiderate and harmful dumping.


Needed Information
    June 20, 2014

Dear David:
    Your editorial of June 19, “The Same as Always,” regarding the lack of code enforcement, was correct and prescient. I would like to add two thoughts.
    Assuming that the town board is working on changing the codes and that their results will be helpful, they are missing a significant point. Many will sign up for illegal rental housing before the 2015 season. They will sign up early; since the board is taking no action in 2014 they will assume that their deposit will be safe for 2015. This will make enforcement of the new codes more difficult next season.
    Concerned residents of the town can help the Code Enforcement Department and supply needed information to the board by completing the appropriate form at: town.easthampton.ny.us/townclerk.


Good Work! Keep It Up!
    June 20, 2014

To the Editor,
    I am a recent addition to second-home ownership in Montauk, and learning the culture that accompanies the far East End.
    I’m also new to your paper, and was spectacularly impressed with your boldly expressed views on June 19 on the new challenges the East End faces, which I’ve also witnessed in my few years here, with code enforcement, beach drinking, and overflowing traffic. 
    You expressed the anger I’ve been feeling and made the demands on the town that I tried to express (including one very unsatisfying conversation with outgoing Supervisor Wilkinson).
    All this to say to you, good work! Keep it up! You’ve gained a fan (and a new subscriber).


Everyone’s Nightmare
    June 20, 2014

    This week’s editorial was spot on. I was beginning to think I was crazy. If you have not already seen it, please ask Joanne Pilgrim to show you the Adam Osterweil YouTube video of the construction company that moved in next door, Hampton Dwell — and it is still there!
    I have shown that video to the town board, Adam O. presented the supervisor with it personally, code enforcement has seen it, the Dem town committee has seen it, and everyone says, “I don’t understand. Why is this going on? How can this be?”
    This is everyone’s worst nightmare in Springs, and it is happening a lot in the hamlet I live in, and our town does not seem capable of stopping it. If anything, their failure is encouraging it to proliferate. 
    Thank you again.


Lighting Controls
    June 23, 2014

Dear David,
    Thank you for your continued support through editorials and good reporting to maintain our outdoor lighting codes. And, thanks to your readers in our community, The effort of former Councilwoman Theresa Quigley to repeal the outdoor lighting code only resulted in an increased awareness of the importance of the dark-sky issue to our health and well-being. More people now realize that outdoor lighting codes make us safer at night by reducing glare and adaptation issues.
    More good news: After a 10-year struggle by dark-sky advocates (without paid lobbyists), a law for New York State has been passed by the Assembly and the Senate to provide outdoor lighting controls for state facilities. Thank you to Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and Senator Kenneth P. LaValle for their continued support on this issue.
    There are no legitimate objections to enacting outdoor lighting regulations and plenty of reasons to adhere to them.

    New York Representative
    International Dark Sky Association

At the Accabonac Inlet
    June 23, 2014

To the Editor:
    We live in one of the most beautiful and friendly towns in this country. My hope is to keep it that way.
    When I first settled here in ’67, the vehicles on the beaches were there for business — haulseining. It was thrilling to watch them fish.
    It is not the case today. I live on Fireplace Road. My beach is Gerard Point, a small lovely spit of land at the inlet of Accabonac Harbor. At least, it use to be. It is currently filled with cars and trucks.
    There is absolutely no reason for any vehicles on this beach, as it is only a small, shallow piece of sand adjacent to a convenient parking lot only 100 or so feet to the water. For the trucks to reach to the beach they must traverse the narrowest portion of the beach, and are ruining it for all except for four-wheel-drive vehicles.
    To me, the waterfront is sacred and we must protect it from needless, self-serving destruction. As the East Hampton Town Trustees are the steward of the waterfront, I look to them to maintain the beaches for the residents, and I invite them to see what is happening. To see that any intelligent visitor should park the vehicle in the parking lot and walk a few feet to the waterfront — and allow the beach to be used by everyone and not as a parking lot.
    Trustees, please restrict vehicles from this beach and its needless destruction. We all look to you to keep East Hampton beautiful and friendly.


555 Property
    June 19, 2014

Dear David,
    It seems that the so-called 555 property in Amagansett is about to come back into the news. Unfortunately, it is possible that those of us who opposed its development into luxury housing could be dealt a sharp disappointment, even though the land is now owned by the Town of East Hampton.
    In an effort to find a suitable use for the property, the town intends to issue a request for proposals. So far, so good. But the terms of the R.F.P. have been rewritten to favor an application by a local country club that wants to turn this prime farmland into some sort of golf course or driving range.
    We cannot afford to lose any more farmland. At a time when there is great demand for fresh local produce, and a number of mostly young farmers in desperate need of affordable farmland‚ it would be a mistake if the opportunity to return this land to productive organic farm use is abandoned.
    A golf course has already been allowed to cover many acres of Amagansett’s prime farmland, and obliterate a lovely old road (Deep Lane) that once connected Town Lane with Main Street. The cynically labeled “agricultural reserve” (which is not available for farming) is that weed-covered square on Old Stone Highway.
    It would be a sad day if local farmers are forced to compete for land with a wealthy golf club that is not a good steward of the land it has already spoiled. The 555 property should return, once again, to its highest and best use — active farmland.


Environmental Mess
    June 20, 2014

Dear David:
    Hundreds of documented complaints from every sector of the region. Eight hundred seventy-three recorded operations at the airport over Memorial Day weekend — approximately one every four minutes during the peak period of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., all daylight hours, basically.
    Who signed up for this? How has our little municipal airport out in the woods become a major regional commercial hub? For as bad as helicopters are, 36 percent of this year’s Memorial Day complaints were for non-helicopter operations.
    And what of the air pollution generated by tons and tons of exhaust? Why do airport operators get a pass on this, when all reputable scientists agree that climate change is not to be ignored?
    Now, to garner UpIsland votes, the calculating politicians Schumer and Bishop, in league with the helicopter operators, are actually proposing an “all-water route” around Orient Point and over Gardiner’s Bay. There is no such thing as an “all-water route” to a landlocked airport.
    And there is no such thing as “mitigating” helicopter noise. It is even louder over nonabsorbent water than over land, and the route is only one mile offshore, not at all out of earshot. So we will ruin the beautiful and quiet bay experience for boaters and beachgoers and homeowners the length of Long Island? We will turn Gardiner’s Bay and our region’s nature-reserve woods and beaches into a helicopter flight path?
    Though the proposed path will greatly improve my family’s and neighbors’ horrific current experience, this is hardly a “solution.” No, the solution to this unwanted environmental mess is to eliminate helicopters (and other commercial traffic) from our airport — or close the airport and return our region to the pristine natural place that once made it special.


A Continuous Tour
    June 19, 2014

Dear Editor,
    Many of us want to extend ourselves to the artist Suse Lowenstein because of her great loss and the violence that led to it. However, and once again I respectfully submit, that particular desire is irrelevant in the decision to permanently install her sculpture “Dark Elegy” at Kirk Park.
    This is certainly a sensitive subject, as exhibited by the heated letters that have appeared in this paper, but I bet that Ms. Lowenstein herself understands that the decision to place or not place her work at the park has nothing to do with the value of the work, the measure of her loss or suffering (as if that could ever be measured), or how much she is admired.
    It is unfortunate that the discussion regarding placement of “Dark Elegy” at Kirk Park has apparently devolved into an irrelevant loyalists’ campaign for the artist and, quite frankly, a pointless and potentially hurtful forum for some letter writers’ suggestions of their superiority in matters of compassion, intellectualism, and heroism. Furthermore, there may be some conflict of interest and possible ulterior motives at play with some of the support. I certainly hope the East Hampton Town Board will stick to the real issues when making its decision whether to accept and place the work at the park.
    Simply, is “Dark Elegy” appropriate for permanent installation there or not?
    I appreciated the Bogdens’ gracious and informed letter regarding the “uncontroversial value, historical significance, and success” of Ms. Lowenstein’s powerful work. There were facts offered that I did not know and was happy to learn. The fact remains, however, that previous installations were on private property or of a temporary, touring nature and not a permanent installation in a public park setting. There is a significant difference, and it does matter.
    The points that some have made against permanent installation in Kirk Park, along with other considerations, were also closely considered by the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission in Washington, D.C., when its members unanimously rejected grant­ing “Dark Elegy” status as a national memorial for terrorism, the designation required for permanent placement anywhere in that area. According to reports thereafter, the artist’s next choice for permanent placement was in New York City. Apparently it was found inappropriate for permanent placement there as well.
    Based on its reportedly outstanding success as a touring exhibit and the artist’s previous failures in finding the work a permanent home, perhaps a continuous tour is the most logical alternative. In that way, it may succeed in touching the most viewers from the widest backgrounds and experiences.
    I’d like to reiterate to some of the letter-writing proponents in this matter that this important decision has nothing to do with (and shouldn’t have anything to do with) compassion, sympathy, support for the artist, anyone’s opinion of the actual work, the ability to remember tragedy, the type of tourists we get, the fact that death and sadness are a part of life, the fact that art is subjective, how we raise our children, terrorism or the awareness of it, patriotism, arrowheads, where we walk the dog, or whether we like to go to the beach and play in the sand. The decision should be unbiased.


Compartmentalizes Pain
    June 23, 2014

Dear Editor,
    I have affection and respect for Suse Lowenstein and her work. This letter is hard to write because of that, and even more difficult because I know the loss she portrays is a terrible one and do not wish to add to her pain. I know there are others in the community in the same difficult position I am in.
    I have many questions and problems with the proposal to put these statues in Kirk Park as a permanent installation. Will the natural hedge that keeps it out of sight from the road also mean that we will no longer be able to see the pond from the road? What will those of us who often walk through the park on our way to town see after the work is installed? Will it be privet or boxwood — those natural hedges that scream of the European tradition of private property? This is one of the few open spaces left in the Shepherds Neck part of town that I live in — trees have changed the vista. We have been inundated in the last several years by establishments that rob us of natural sounds in the evening; are we also to lose this bit of open space?
    And I have trouble understanding how that large number of sculptures can fit in this park. How much space will there be between them? If they are closed off and concentrated, doesn’t that negate the message that terror is a large problem that comes in many guises and brings unbearable pain in its wake? It seems to me that such an installation compartmentalizes the pain rather than inviting us to experience it with the artist.
    I hope the town has at least two more well-publicized meetings before making a decision on this. I know many people who had no idea it was in the works until the first letters about it were published in The Star. A permanent installation means that it will be very hard to change the decision.


The Montauk Cemetery
    June 21, 2014

To the Editor:
    Regarding the placement of “Dark Elegy” in Kirk Park: I would like to suggest the Montauk cemetery as a most appropriate context for the “Dark Elegy” installation.


Victims of Terrorism
    June 23, 2014

To the Editor,
    A person who hasn’t experienced the horrific tragedy of losing a child cannot begin to come close to imagining the parents’ agony, grief, and sorrow. My heart truly goes out to those who have suffered that tremendous loss.
    “Dark Elegy” is exactly what its name implies. If it has to go somewhere, it should be the Fort Hill Cemetery.
    If a memorial commemorating the victims of terrorism is needed next to the Indian Museum, it should be for all the Native Americans we butchered in our proud history.


Motorcycle Maniacs
    East Hampton
    June 21, 2014

Dear Editor,
    Twice in five years I was overtaken by groups of irresponsible and dangerous motorcycle maniacs on my way to my home in the woods of Northwest. They shot up on the rear end of my car at such speed that they had little choice but to plow past me, crossing a double yellow line in a speed zone which is mandated to 30 miles per hour.
    The first group (five years ago) numbered five, very colorful with metrosexually matched suits, helmets, and bikes. They approached at a speed which I estimated at 50 m.p.h. or so. This I calculated because, as they leap-frogged past me, they disappeared in a very short matter of seconds. The manner in which they played games as they sped into the forest roads was frightening. I envisioned, and still do, that one day they will kill themselves or someone else.
    The second incident (last Friday, the 20th) was the same scenario, different number of bikes.
    After a decade of this club, or these people, or those idiots, terrorizing the residential back roads of the Old Northwest with their shockingly early morning motorcycle races every Saturday and Sunday (after work on weekdays), we felt it was time for this to be addressed in a constructive manner. Police have been very careful to ensure the safety of these bikers with a very intelligent decision not to pursue violators, as the bikers run the risk of harming themselves and others at distracted high speeds. This leaves very little recourse for those of us with dogs and children who live here.
    After years of voicing concerns to police, and after this last incident, which endangered me and my dogs, who generally find the 30 m.p.h. limit our comfort zone, I was slapped in the face with a multitude of signs on my route from 114 and Stephen Hand’s Path through Swamp Road, along Old Northwest Landing Road, and back to Cedar Street via Old Northwest Road. I traveled no further, but suspect these bright blue, very professional signs are scattered along the rest of the bikers’ usual route, ending out in the Settlers Landing and Cedar Point area.
    This past Friday, the day of my second actual encounter, I noted these signs for the first time. They are a transparent manner in which to mark the route for bikers who want to join in the fun. They are written to tell those of us who dare to share the road with them that we better “look twice” for cyclists! The warning makes sense if cars are the offenders, but I do not know one person who is not aware of just how cavalier bikers tend to be when traffic snarls or they want to show of to a buddy or girlfriend.
    Cars are not the problem, irresponsible bikers are. Slow down and give me a chance to “look twice.” I never get the chance, because one never knows what the heck you are doing and why you are going so fast.
    The reason I note the signs is, their installation now opens the door to discussions about a very real issue affecting the quality of life and safety of the community. They are a bogus ploy. They have been hand-doctored with a black arrow directing bikers along the aforementioned route. They are a blight and an insult. Ten years of these dangerous back-road antics leads me to believe that it is time for these people to look twice at the danger and disquiet and anxiety for their neighbors.
    I did want to thank the East Hampton Town police for their efforts to find an answer to this problem. Despite my years-long history of calling them on weekend mornings, they have always been gracious and patient in our interactions. I did call the police after this latest incident, as the signs seem a warning shot, most likely defining what is a concerted effort to create a more aggressive attack by these bikers.
    I asked for some form of police presence on our road at the specific times the clubs come through. I was delighted to find that this morning (Saturday) the police had posted a speed-limit monitor.
    This, combined with the community’s decision to begin filming the bikers as they travel through, might make a difference. We look to change the lack of respect and the manner in which the bikes now come through.
    The police moved quickly, constructively, and rightfully with this. I personally feel their interest in this easily solved problem is going to make a positive change for all areas of town affected.
    I would like to suggest a summit for bikers, police, and citizens affected, which might educate these people about how their hobby is truly impacting us.

    Thank you,

Duck Tale No Fable
    June 20, 2014

To the Editor:
    Several years ago when I met Laura Donnelly at a dinner party, I did not know that she was the food and restaurant critic for The East Hampton Star. In the course of conversation that evening, the subject of restaurant critics surfaced. I offered that I didn’t bother to read the restaurant critics’ columns in small-town newspapers, contending that they never really gave the reader any criticism and tended to write a string of superlatives for the local dining spots.
    Laura took issue, as well she should have, and said that she worked hard to give fair and accurate reviews for the people who read The Star. After owning a house on the East End for 12 years, I have become a fan of Laura’s reporting. When she writes about a restaurant where I have eaten, I read her review with special interest. I can only say, she is always fair and accurate in her appraisals.
    Her review of Red Stix in The Star this week is spot on — an example of her fine writing. I ate there last week and know from experience that her duck tale is no fable. Laura deserves abundant kudos for telling it like it is.


Two Weeks’ Notice
    East Hampton
    June 18, 2014

To the Editor,
    I write this conscious that New York is a right-to-work state. My wife and I moved to East Hampton on military orders in January 2013. I am a military veteran of the Marines.
    I sent my résumé to all heating and air-conditioning companies within a 25-mile radius. Prior to us arriving in East Hampton, one company responded. I went to the interview. I gave full disclosure about military life as far as rotation time (four-year terms). I was hired as the installation manager and held that position for 17 months.
    I worked for Grant Heating and Cooling in East Hampton. I started to feel like I needed to make a change in companies. So I decided to submit my two weeks’ notice. When asked by the owner what was this all about, I simply stated, in short, “I need to make a change.” That was on June 11. On June 12, after all the guys I managed had left for the day, we had a weekly meeting to talk about all jobs which had been done weekly since I started. I was asked to clean out my desk and turn in all phone, passwords, etc.
    I then asked what is this about? I submitted a two weeks’ notice, I am not quitting. I was told that I was talking about wages on the job, which caused animosity among the mechanics. So I did as they asked. I still have no response if I will be paid until my two weeks is up.
    I had never experienced anything like this. I asked a lawyer from New York if this was legal. He said, “It’s a pretty common practice.” So there was nothing legally wrong with what was done.
    Professionally, there is a huge issue, though. In every single state I have submitted a two-weeks’ notice to I have been granted the time. But more importantly, what about all the other military spouses that move here (East Hampton) with the same ethically structured way to leave a job, and this happens again? Most families that live in my circle live on budgets that do not allot for a one or two-week gap in pay, mine included.
    I did what I was trained to do since I started working. If this is common practice, then what will résumés and referrals start looking like? What will teachers, mentors, and parents teach to the youth? With the Hamptons being a majority small business-run area, I feel that this should be considered at some level.


Every Week a New One
    June 20, 2014

Dear David,
    The failure of Obama’s second term is a measure of how he has fallen. The national NBC-Wall Street Journal poll revealed that haplessness abroad and ineffectiveness at home have demolished Obama’s stature by more than 54 percent. The citizens of the U.S.A. realize that he is not a leader. This poll claims the respondents judge Obama to offer less than the presidency demands. This failure list is to long to write but here is a synopsis. As we all know, the media is in his corner, therefore I guess when he states, “I learned it from the news,” it’s because he knows nothing about what’s going on in his administration.
    Iran will never be allowed to have nuclear weapons, but he drags his feet on sanctions. And Iran continues to build nukes.
    He calls for the ouster of Assad but balks at providing weapons to the insurgents.
    He draws red lines but then he doesn’t know what to do when the line is crossed. He backs down and lets Putin take control and make fools of America.
    He warns Putin not to invade Crimea. Putin invades, and gets sanctions that are not worthy of taking ice cream from a child.
    Despite being forewarned that it was coming, Obama’s preliminary responses to the ISIS invasion have been overly nonchalant (play golf, attend fund-raisers).
    Not a smidgen of corruption, Mr. President? Your entire five and a half years as president has been a great deal of corruption. You promised the most transparency — just another great big lie. F.Y.I., the scandals you are facing are not phony, they are real, and the country is as mad as hell. You are not above us and the law, you will have to answer for these scandals. Every week it’s a new one.
    Question: What are you doing to get Sgt. Andrew Todmooressi home? He served his country honorably. Was it your idea to let in all of these illegals; we have plenty of our own to take care of. We shouldn’t be downgrading pay of the armed forces, they serve us well. Raise taxes and put restrictions on the citizens — is this your answer to everything? Eventually you will bankrupt America.

    In God and country,

Thrown Under the Bus
    East Hampton
    June 21, 2014

To the Editor:
    It is rare these days that Republicans and Democrats agree on something. But screwing the vets from Afghanistan and Iraq has provided that bridge. The genesis of the process is simply the dehumanization of the American political process and the general population. How in less than 70 years, we went from the extraordinary adulatory treatment of World War II vets (see G.I. bill, etc.) to the desire to see our current group of vets disappear into the woodwork.
    It began with Vietnam vets being told that the sickness from Agent Orange poisoning would not be treated unless Dow and Monsanto chemical companies and the U.S. government were held harmless. Those vets were thrown under the bus, and 90,000 suicides later they remain there.
    The shift to a volunteer army, which included substantial benefits and higher salaries to induce people to enlist, blew the system apart. Government obligation to returning vets is estimated at almost $2 trillion beyond what it has already cost us. Post-traumatic stress disorder and the severity of injuries that would normally have killed people have driven up long and short-term care.
    Reality is that our soldiers make up a tiny segment of the population and have little or no weight in the political arena. It is not difficult to imagine a future army of private mercenaries to whom we have no long-term obligations. Both Afghanistan and Iraq were unfunded in the normal process. No one anticipated the real war cost, no less future care costs.
    Given the idiocy around deficit reduction and our economic anemia, the government would like our soldiers and their problems to go away.
    The scam is almost believable. Both houses of Congress, almost unanimously, pass bills to restructure the Veterans Administration and provide support for our vets. It requires only the tweaking of the bill to make it law. But to the rescue comes the Congressional Budget Office, explaining that the bill will cost $50 billion. Which, of course, requires a rethinking of the bill and how to pay for it. Which, of course, requires that other parts of the budget be cut. Which, of course, puts us back to square one, where Republicans and Democrats agree on nothing.
    In the end, our vets will have no care or crappy at best, minimum-wage jobs if any, and lots of suicides. Almost everyone who works at Walmart gets a government subsidy. No one can remember the last time General Electric paid taxes. Yet the people who risk their lives for their country get dissed in return. How did we fall so far in such a short period of time?


No No No
    June 18, 2014

To the Editor,
    Walking by Bucket’s to other things. That sign says no no no always.