Letters to the Editor: 07.17.14

Our readers' comments

Debt of Gratitude
    East Hampton
    July 14, 2014

Dear David,
    I would like to congratulate the Amagansett Fire Department on its 100th anniversary.
    I would also like to thank Chief Dwayne Denton and the anniversary committee for inviting me to participate in the parade and celebration on Saturday. It was an honor and a privilege to be involved in such an outstanding event.
    The day was a tremendous reminder of what community and civic pride are all about. The generations of volunteers, the support of the surrounding fire departments, and the crowds of citizens gathered to pay tribute to the department’s heritage was impressive.
    It is also an important time to remember how important these volunteers are to our community. Fire and ambulance personnel devote countless hours to training and give up much of their free time to respond to emergencies and help their neighbors. The dedication and commitment of all our volunteer firemen, ambulance, and fire police is essential to the public safety of our community. We owe them a debt of gratitude.
    As the summer season is in full swing, please don’t forget what these men and women do for us all, day in and day out: the fire calls in the middle of the night, the ambulance runs to Southampton Hospital during rush hour traffic, the vehicle accidents — all of which they rush off to, leaving their jobs or sleeping families. On behalf of the entire East Hampton Town Police Department, we thank them all for their service.
    Saturday was a great day for the town and a great reminder of the old feeling of community that makes this a special place to live.
    Congratulations to the Amagansett Fire Department on 100 years of volunteer service to our community.

    Sincerely,
    CHIEF MICHAEL D. SARLO
    East Hampton Town
    Police Department

Heroes Among Us
    Montauk
    July 14, 2014

To the Editor,
    There are heroes among us.
    In my mind anyone who volunteers their skill, time, and talent to help those in need is a hero. These include our volunteer firemen, their women’s auxiliary, and E.M.T.s. When a call comes in they drop whatever they’re doing to respond, regardless of time of day or type of weather. I’m aware of their sacrifices after spending more than 23 years in this nation’s volunteer Air Force. On their own time they train constantly to achieve peak proficiency to perform at the highest level when called upon to do so.
    Not to be overlooked are the doctors, nurses, and law officers who are here to protect our health and safety. They too must undergo extensive training and long hours in their occupational performance. Our police department stands ready to respond to all types of emergencies that require a variety of skills and abilities. Again, this is accomplished regardless of time of day or kind of weather and after extensive training.
    Let’s not forget those who give their time working at the food pantry and Meals on Wheels. Nor the ones who use their cars to take the elderly to medical appointments and grocery shopping. Then there are the scout leaders who mold our youth into upstanding citizens.
    Montauk has always been a neighbor-helping-neighbor community and hopefully it will always remain that way. They are what make this such a great place to live. I came here in the Air Force by chance, I stayed by choice!
    To me these are all unsung heroes for whom I have the deepest appreciation. I welcome this opportunity to say a heartfelt thank you to all!

GLYN ERWIN

A Shared Sacred Text
    East Hampton
    July 14, 2014

Dear David:
    A number of months ago, the Rev. Denis Brunelle and the Rev. Msgr. Don Hansen and I talked about extending the warm and respectful relationships we shared, as our faith communities share here in East Hampton. We discussed how we might create the possibility of study of a shared sacred text.
    Last Wednesday night, July 9, we gathered with our communities at St. Luke?s and learned with Mr. Brunelle about the Psalms. Over 120 people attended.
    On the last two Wednesday evenings in July, first at the Jewish Center of the Hamptons and then at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church, we shall continue our studies. This shared effort and learning is a first for the East End, and we hope that this beginning will blossom into further opportunities for sharing and deepening our relationships and that of all faith communities on the East End. What a wonderful beginning!

    RABBI SHELDON ZIMMERMAN
    The Jewish Center of the Hamptons

Trampling the Flats
    East Hampton
    July 6, 2014

To the Editor,
    Sunday. July 6. Springs: Eleven cars, S.U.V.s, and vans line either side of Gerard Drive near the culvert. All of the license plates are out-of-state. None of the 11 vehicles have East Hampton resident beach permits on their windows.
    On the Accabonac flats, more than 40 adults and scores of kids are digging clams and taking whatever size they pull out, even seeds. They are trampling the flats with total disregard.
    Since all of the cars were illegally parked, it is highly likely that not one person on the flats has a town shellfish permit. Moreover, after the torrential rain on July 4 the waters were closed due to runoff. I watched for almost an hour, yet not one Marine Patrol officer drove by. Just saying.

NANCY R. PEPPARD

Such a Sweetheart
    Springs
    July 14, 2014

To the Editor,
    The Daytons of Howard Street would like to let all of our neighbors, both nearby and farther afield, know that our wonderful Slipper is no longer with us, and we would like to thank you all for your kindness and affection to her over the years. We would also like to thank Dr. Andrew Pepper, Dr. Jennifer Katz, and Dr. Jonathan Turetsky for their help at the end.
    Slipper was a beautiful, sweet-tempered dog and a determined wanderer. We realized early on that there was no way of keeping her inside house or yard when she really wanted to get out, so we let her go — and she always came home.
    I will never forget taking a family walk around the block with her, maybe 10 years ago, when she suddenly ran across a yard and into an open door. I rushed after her, apologizing profusely to the owner, who responded very brightly, “Oh, Slipper’s been here many times before!”    Indeed, she knew everyone in the neighborhood, and more than once I introduced myself to a neighbor as “Slipper’s Mom,” which brought immediate recognition. We often wished we had a doggy-cam to see what really happened when we got reports of her swimming in Three Mile Harbor or needing a lift from the de Kooning property. Her roaming was recently closer to home, but she still took off someplace every day.
   We were lucky to have such a sweetheart that we could share with so many others.

BARBARA DAYTON

A Healing Place
    Montauk
    July 14, 2014

Dear Editor,
    I am very sorry that Suse Lowenstein’s sculpture “Dark Elegy” is not going to be put in Kirk Park. “Dark Elegy” represents loss of a loved one. I think that Montauk would have been a perfect place for it because Montauk is such a healing place. The water around Montauk can soothe a grieving soul. It has an ancient voice and wisdom that can comfort a broken heart. I have found solace here.
    Art can express emotions for which there are no words. I have needed art (paintings, literature, sculpture, etc.) at times of great turmoil and loss to support me in experiencing and transforming grief.
    There is great value in giving the public an enclosed (with vegetation) space in a public place to reflect on life and loss.

ELIZABETH WILLOUGHBY

‘Dark Elegy’
    Montauk
    July 11, 2014

To the Editor,
    I was disappointed to read that Suse Lowenstein decided to withdraw her request to gift “Dark Elegy” to Kirk Park. Larry Cantwell was quoted as saying, “It is clear to me, Montauk is split. To accept the gift and site it there would require much stronger support.”
    I agree. The “for” camp should have been more proactive. I myself didn’t realize it was such a controversy until a few weeks ago. People were uninformed. One guy told me he didn’t want to “drive into town and see all those dead bodies strewn around.”
    I think most humans in general when confronted with a new idea or change will have a knee-jerk negative reaction. It is, after all, a bold idea, putting something that powerful in a small and, let’s be honest, rather boring little park. Obviously, some people find “Dark Elegy” too disturbing, but I, like many others, find it inspirational. What a testament to the human spirit that an artist, who we are lucky to have as a resident of our town, took a personal tragedy and created something so monumental and profoundly moving. I think it would have been an asset to the town and a source of pride for generations and even centuries to come, not to mention an indication of where our values lie. Such a shame.
    Thank you, Suse, for your generous offer. I do hope “Dark Elegy” stays nearby and anyone who hasn’t seen it yet should make it a point to do so.

    MAURA DONOHUE

    P.S. Whatever the opposite of a “shout-out” is, to all you who wouldn’t even express your opinion: I know it was an emotional issue for many and people didn’t want to get involved, but you would have thought it was a disagreement between Mexican drug cartels. I can respect those with a different opinion from mine but have really lost all respect for so many. Fortunately, my magnanimous boss — although we may not be on the same page as far as location is concerned — is open-minded enough that I won’t be looking for another job.

Neighborhood Portrait
    Bridgehampton
    July 9, 2014

Dear Mr. Rattray,
    In June, I gave your reporter Debra Scott a driving tour of an area of Bridgehampton that is currently experiencing extensive new construction and a rise in real estate transactions. This area offers home buyers and real estate investors, particularly those looking to get into the Bridgehampton market, good value due to its location and the surrounding construction.
    I was stunned and troubled to read the article “Portrait of a Neighborhood‚” which ran the weekend of July 4. My family and I have happily called the Bridgehampton area home for many years and her story does not reflect the town where we proudly raise our family. In no way do I agree with the tone of the article. Had I known this was the attitude your reporter would take, I would obviously not have taken part.

    Sincerely,
    CHRIS BURNSIDE

Racist Subtext
    Sag Harbor
    July 13, 2014

Dear David,
    I was stunned to read the July 2 “Company Town” column, “Portrait of a Neighborhood.” It should more aptly be titled “Portrait of Unfettered Capitalism,” as it dehumanizes our neighbors on Huntington Crossway in Bridgehampton and treats their homes as commodities to be traded, not homes to be lived in, part of a larger, vibrant community.
    The article was disturbingly devoid of humanity, using coded language to betray its racist and classist subtext. More evidence that the real estate market in our area is dangerously off kilter.
    The neighbors of Huntington Crossway live here year round and contribute to our community in diverse ways. This article shows no understanding of the challenges faced by long-established communities in the face of aggressive gentrification. Huntington Crossway is a neighborhood, rich with “friendliness appropriate to a neighbor,” as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary. Anyone who makes the time to be present or to participate in this community for more than a drive through will immediately recognize this. For several years, I photographed residents and activities in the Bridgehampton Turnpike neighborhoods for the Bridgehampton Museum’s archives. This project was commissioned specifically because the museum recognized its archives needed to be more inclusive, and a more accurate reflection of the community it serves and celebrates.   
    The greatest asset of any community is the people within it. I learned many things during this project, but one standout was the strong sense of community pride and neighborly support — evident in homes, houses of worship, community centers, and street corners — that define this community. Time and again, I witnessed that care and concern, like the day I traveled with a church group in 90-degree heat to give elderly members communion and comfort in their own homes. Proof that a healthy community has an abundance of “sharing, participation, and fellowship” (American Heritage), and is not determined by the average house price per ZIP code. 
    I have long lamented the segregation by race, class, and geography of our East End communities, and have long advocated creating work force affordable housing in mixed-income, mixed-use developments. This disparaging article is further evidence of the East End’s need to come to grips with the growing disparity in our communities, and to call for development that encourages and celebrates our diversity. Further, I encourage the antibias task forces of both Southampton and East Hampton Towns to develop diversity awareness workshops to educate all of us, especially our real estate professionals.

    Sincerely,
    KATHRYN SZOKA

Condescension
    East Hampton
    July 7, 2014

Dear David,
    It was stunning and offensive to read Debra Scott’s article, which described the neighborhood only in terms of real estate exploitation. Never mind that it is one of the long-established black neighborhoods here on the East End. Residents must be surprised to hear their homes described as “disheveled,” when their hard-earned houses are in fact a huge triumph over the migrant labor camps that housed many in their first trips up from the South to run the potato-harvesting machines.
    Not one resident was interviewed, only real estate brokers, who can’t wait to buy and tear down, a process that will destroy and erase the history that is important to the economics of Bridgehampton farmland. The condescension and negative attitude really have no place in a newspaper read by everyone in this region.

    Best wishes,
    PEGGY HAMMOND

On the Block
    Bridgehampton
    July 9, 2014

To the Editor,
    In response to “Portrait of a Neighborhood” (“Company Town,” July 3), I would like to publicly apologize, on behalf of “Crack Alley,” or, as us hoodlum kids who actually live here refer to it, “the block,” to Ms. Debra Scott. I am so sorry our parents were not born into 1 percent families, and we cannot afford to have our lawns professionally landscaped weekly to satisfy your precious eyes.
    I’m assuming you have no idea about anything in Bridgehampton. I attended the Bridgehampton School for 15 years, including pre-K, 3, 4, and kindergarten. (By the way, every student in the Bridgehampton class of 2014 is going to college.) Anyway, Deb, during my 15 years at Bridgehampton, besides guys being guys in the halls, I have never been physically bullied.
    At Bridgehampton, students are allowed to participate in shared sports, sports teams at other schools, because B.H.S. just simply does not have the numbers to field its own teams. One day in ninth grade at the beginning of the East Hampton High School wrestling season, I was minding my own business, walking down the hall to the wrestling room, when a freakishly tall guy randomly ran up to me and practically threw me through the wall. You may have assumed he was black, but no, he was white. I did as any other kid would do and I sucked it up and went about my day. Besides a few friends, I never told anyone about this incident because one guy, one day, one incident, does not determine what I think of East Hampton High School.
    Your friend Mr. Burnside appears to tell his story about the snowballs to everyone he’s with while on the block. Mr. Burnside, suck it up. Your life could be a lot worse, your “incident” could have been much, much worse.
    Debra, I do not live on the block, but I live close enough to practically throw a rock onto the block from my back deck. I have been fortunate to live in a household with a stable income, and both parents in my life. Unfortunately for some of my friends and peers on the block, some of whom live in the basement of a three-family home, this is not the case. What? You thought these houses didn’t have basements? I have friends who wake up every day having no idea if they will get breakfast that morning, not to mention dinner, or any food for that matter, but, hey, they really should get outside to cut those lawns so the white folks don’t get scared!
    Instead of being human and saying, “Wow, these families and kids are living in a really bad situation, we should ask the people who live in the Hamptons to have a fund-raiser to do something,” you are literally saying, “Wow, that’s a nice piece of woods over there. Let’s cut down all those trees and take advantage of the people living in the Hamptons and make a bunch of huge mansions! And we can all get rich and complain about those poor people on the Crossway and neighboring streets.”
    Here’s an idea, write an article on one of the trailer parks in East Hampton. “What? There are trailer parks in East Hampton?” Deb confusedly asks herself before asking her girl Siri to search the web about this claim. Write an article about the Goldman Sachs banker who was arrested for raping a woman last year in East Hampton. Write an article about how we are running out of natural resources and why cutting down trees to build huge houses is a stupid idea. Just open any A.P. environmental science book, probably says it on page 6 or so.
    Deb, I invite you to come to my house for lunch any day of the week. Just call first, and you can meet some of the kids you have offended and hear their life stories. Just because we’re in the Hamptons does not mean everyone carries a black card by the age of 8.
    Finally, Deb, a close family friend who emigrated here from Mexico at the age of 14 for the possibility of a better future helped raised me. I grew up in a black neighborhood, and last, I am every other town out here, just with a lower percentage of year-round white residents. We are a diverse town with people from all walks of life, and we take pride in that. The Bridgehampton hamlet, school, and “Crack Alley” are all part of a tight-knit family, and we won’t break despite your attempt to put us down. You should really see a therapist about whatever personal problem you have that is making you take your anger out on us. It’s really not cool and it’s so 20th century to bully.
    Oh, and the photo used with your article. Yeah, I know for a fact that that house has not been lived in for over two years, but good try.

HENRY D. KOTZ

Race and Social Class
    Patchogue
    July 11, 2014

To the Editor:
    I am writing in regard to Debra Scott’s article “Portrait of a Neighborhood.” I am a lifelong resident of Bridgehampton, and this article is the single most offensive piece I have ever read in an East End publication. First of all, there is no attempt to provide a balanced perspective. It seems that we are somehow supposed to pity the unnamed “pioneering real estate agent” for only making a $675,000 return on her investment. No consideration was given to those living around her “dramatically nicer house.” In any sanely written piece, we would feel sympathy for those who can only afford more modest homes. In this one, we’re expected to feel bad for those homeowners whose houses are “devalued” by their more modest neighbors’.
    As for Chris Burnside, are we supposed to believe that he is unable to tell the difference between beer cans, rocks, and snowballs thrown at his automobile? Having been on the receiving end of all three items in my life, I can attest that each makes a distinctive sound quite unlike that of the others. While I do not condone throwing anything at a moving automobile, the relatively innocuous snowballs are not easily confused with more dangerous items. It seems that Mr. Burnside is interested only in stoking the flames of white fear by his description of events. Ms. Scott is a willing accomplice to this action by making no attempt to ascertain the perspectives of other neighborhood residents  
    I used the word “white” purposely, because even the most casual reader can easily discern that references to small homes, drug activity, disheveled landscaping, and so forth are merely euphemisms for “black” and/or “immigrant” residents. It is as if the author went out of her way to avoid making any reference to race by using every other possible term. But make no mistake; this article is about race, ethnicity, economics, and social class. With a balanced approach, such an article might trigger a welcome conversation about these issues that has often been sorely missing in our village’s 350-plus-year history. As it is, this is about one race, one economic strata, one social class. Such propaganda has no business poisoning our hometown.
    That the article got written is disappointing. That there appears to be no editorial oversight calling for a more balanced approach is distressing. That it got published is unacceptable.

EDWARD J. VINSKI

Trustees on Tape
    Springs
    July 14, 2014

Dear David,
    Although I have watched the town board and planning board meetings on TV and via the town website, I had not been aware that the trustees’ meetings were not taped until I read about this in the paper. Watching these other meetings has been quite informative, and having the trustees’ discussions available would provide a very important service to the community and the voters.
    I can appreciate that those being taped might feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but having this live and unedited information available would enable us to evaluate and better understand the trustees’ responses to the challenges ahead. Informed voters are the best for a democracy.
    I hope the town will find the monies to make this taping happen. Thank you, David, for your support on this important issue.

PEGGY BACKMAN

Trustees: A Connection
    Amagansett
    July 12, 2014

Dear David,
    Of course the East Hampton Town Trustees should be on local television — they manage our prime asset: the beach.
    The East Hampton Town Trustees raise awareness about vital environmental issues and are a needed voice for letting nature behave naturally.
     It is wondrous that the current crop of East Hampton Town trustees is dominated by a troika of women, who, in 1686 when they started, would have instead been bound, gagged, and tied to a nice trestle table.
    The trustees have neither legislative nor enforcement powers, but they have property-rights standing on the public’s behalf. And a budget for lawyers.
    I have a personal connection with the trustees, as the forebears of my late husband, Paul Nicholls, held the Nicholls Patent; the Nicholls Patent became the Dongan Patent, which created the trustees in 1686. I do not know what happened. I have my suspicions. Let us just say that I haven’t entirely retired the tiara.

    All good things,
    DIANA WALKER

Slaughter of Trees
    East Hampton
    July 14, 2014

Dear Editor:
    As a fellow Town Laner, I want to thank Alec Baldwin for his stand against PSEG and for the welfare of our area. I agree with everything he has written in his recent letter.
    In addition to the issues he mentioned, the slaughter of our trees is a major scar on our whole community. A previously healthy white pine on my property, taller than the poles, was so unprofessionally butchered that it is seriously weakened and will probably ultimately die.
    Damaged pines do not regenerate new growth as most trees do. I have already experienced this result with other pines. If or when this tree crashes it will do great damage to whatever is in its path, with the potential to kill because of its proximity to a road. (Not to mention the pole within striking distance of my small house.)
    Again, thank you, Mr. Baldwin, for publicly standing up for us and for your contributions to the life of East Hampton, most recently the children’s wing of the library.

    Sincerely,
    CARLA CACCAMISE ASH

Formula Stores
    East Hampton
    July 14, 2014

Dear David:
    In April I wrote to you in support of the East Hampton Town Board’s proposal to prohibit “formula” or chain stores in historic districts. There was a great deal of opposition to the absolute prohibition, and so the town board has modified the proposed law so that there will be no absolute prohibition; however there will be a requirement for all formula stores (stores that have more than 15 different locations) to apply to the town planning board for a permit.
    The whole purpose of the formula store legislation is to preserve the rural nature of our town in accordance with the comprehensive plan adopted by the Town of East Hampton.
    Although I believed that an absolute prohibition made sense, the town board is reacting to what it believes is a consensus of public opinion, and I respect its judgment. I do not want to kill the good with the perfect.
    I understand that there are people, particularly those representing real estate interests, who do not want any limitations on formula stores. I think this is shortsighted for the following reasons: Do we want the proverbial McDonald’s yellow arches on Main Street in Amagansett? I don’t think so.
    Yet the procedure of applying for a building permit to the Building Department would not prevent such a result because the Building Department has no authority to require an applicant to design a structure that is in conformity with the local architecture, whereas the planning board, charged, pursuant to the proposed law, with preserving the rural nature of our community, would prohibit such a result.
    Likewise, the Springs General Store could be rented by 7-Eleven and reconstructed to look like a 7-Eleven without the proposed formula law that would authorize the planning board to require any business premises to be constructed so as to conform with surrounding architecture.
    Also, the proposed new law would preserve the size of existing buildings thereby preventing sprawling business enterprises from being created: think T.J. Maxx.
    We need to show support for our town board, as I suspect that there will be people speaking at the town board meeting tonight against the adoption of the proposed law.
    I urge my fellow East Hampton Town residents to come to the town board meeting tonight at 7 and express support for the adoption of the proposed formula store law.
    Don’t kill the good with the perfect.

LENORE WEINSTEIN

Lesson of Long Lane
    East Hampton
    July 11, 2014

To the Editor:
    I couldn’t agree more with, and look forward more eagerly to, the 555 land at the eastern entrance to Amagansett being returned to agricultural use, and I hope a satisfactory proposal is forthcoming. But the lesson of Long Lane should be right at the front of the town’s considerations on this matter.  
    While I do understand that we can correctly refer to a “tree farm,” surely this use is counter to the whole idea of open space. What we have with the tree farms on Long Lane, within not all that many years of planting, are walls of foliage that completely block the views preserved to remain open. Also, every time a tree is removed for sale a few cubic feet or cubic yards, depending on the size of the tree, of precious East End topsoil are bagged with the root ball and removed from the preserved land.  
    I hope all the involved officials of the town will make this a paramount consideration.

    Many thanks,
    FRED KOLO

‘Truck’ Law
    Springs
    July 14, 2014

Dear David,
    The proposed “truck” law, which is set for a public hearing tonight, will have the propensity to affect Springs, where I live, more than any other area of East Hampton. Let’s face the truth, the tradespeople living in Amagansett or Wainscott are probably only a handful of very longtime residents. Even Montauk and other areas of the town don’t look anything like Springs, on its densely packed half and quarter-acre plots.
    This law is based upon a law on the books now that was written decades ago, which allows everything on your front lawn but the kitchen sink — though I have seen a few sinks and toilets as I drove by. Past administrations have allowed this town to be rampantly and almost savagely developed with only a rare eye for environmental impact. Now our present board is valiantly struggling to rectify their dangerous neglect, i.e., the infamous airport, an asset that has morphed into a liability.
    However, it is time for the town board to recognize this is not then, but now, 2014. The ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s are gone. What we were then, we are not now. Government needs to take care of the needs of the people; that is its primary function.
    Southampton, with a traditional history almost identical to our town’s, has on its books a succinctly written law that it rigorously has enforced, over the years. It has helped Hampton Bays to emerge as the damn good-looking town it is today. It is a work in progress that is progressing.
    We should be adopting a similar law and with a phase-in period in which East Hampton can find suitable free or low-cost parking for it tradespeople, who we all need and want to support. But, alas, we don’t want to see what I see in Springs, a hamlet that has gone so downhill that people can no longer have pride in being from Springs.
    And don’t know if you know about this, the latest assault on Springs. “This” is another Dunes medical clinic, as they do distribute drugs, on Fort Pond Boulevard, half a mile from Springs School and near the historic district of the Pollock-Krasner House and our beautiful Ashawagh Hall.
    Our children walk to school on that street, as do high school kids. It is no wonder Tina Piette made a presentation against the proposed formula store legislation at the last Springs Citizens Advisory Committee meeting, as she owns the building.

Sincerely,
    PHYLLIS ITALIANO

Share-House Renters
    Amagansett
    July 14, 2014

Dear David,
    At last Tuesday’s town board work session, Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc stated that many share-house renters use the town’s services and contribute nothing to the community. Peter is spot on in his comment. Last week we had a share house in Beach Hampton that has approximately 20 or more young people staying in it. The owner lives in Hawaii, so there is no concern about the house or the neighborhood.
    The town received a 911 call on a Saturday night at 9:30. A possible overdose? Needless to say it brought out two E.M.T.s, an ambulance, and two police cars. This substantiates Peter’s concerns and mine.
    On the positive side, I emailed a code enforcement complaint form to the town about this share house, as neighbors were complaining of taxis coming and going all night. I received an immediate response back with the name of the investigating inspector assigned to the case. I await the outcome and resolution. The positive response by the Code Enforcement Department was immediate and appreciated.

    RONA KLOPMAN
    President
    Amagansett East Association

The Deer Problem
    Montauk
    July 11, 2014

To the Editor:
    The Village Preservation Society of East Hampton has run an ad that asks for donations to “Help Solve the Deer Problem.” “Something must be done!” the ad proclaims. The goal is to sterilize 100 does.
    But what exactly is the problem? How many deer are actually in the village? Before subjecting deer to anything as major as sterilization, it is important to have a scientific assessment of the need for action. This information is missing. And even if a problem is at some point specified and documented, we need to know if there are alternative remedies that don’t require surgery.
    Last year, when local officials and organizations proposed a deer cull, there also was a sense of urgency. “Something must be done!” was the cry then, too. But many problems for which deer are blamed have multiple causes, and there may be solutions that are more effective than actions that focus only on deer.
    Consider Lyme disease. Deer are commonly believed to be the cause. But as R.S. Ostfeld observes in his book “Lyme Disease,” researchers haven’t found a clear association between deer population size and Lyme disease. This is because the ticks that carry the disease feed on many animals besides deer. Moreover, the focus on deer reduction is distracting our town from methods that directly target ticks, such as the Four Posters program, which may actually work.
    Surveys suggest that the deer population in the entire town declined between 2006 and 2013. Deer may be more visible in the village because they have learned to spend more time in the village to avoid hunters. But we need research, not subjective impressions, to assess the size of the village’s deer population, as well as problems it might be causing. If a remedy is needed, one possibility is the creation of sanctuaries where deer are safe from hunters far from the village. Deer may then spend more time outside the village.
    The Village Preservation Society is pursuing the sterilization plan in conjunction with the East Hampton Village Board. I appreciate the fact that both groups are focusing on a nonlethal method. But sterilization is aggressive. The White Buffalo firm, which the preservation society tentatively plans to hire, recently sterilized deer in the village of Cayuga Heights, N.Y., and partly relied on drop nets to capture the deer. Drop nets are traumatic to the animals. Moreover, the sterilization removes the animals’ ovaries and is permanent. An alternative, immunocontraception, is gentler. It uses a vaccine instead of surgery, and it prevents pregnancy for two or three years, after which does can have babies.
    Before taking any action, there is a need to step back and assess the problem. Quite possibly, it will turn out that nothing drastic needs to be done. Instead, our community’s task will be to learn to peacefully coexist with the wonderful wildlife in our midst.

    BILL CRAIN
    President
    East Hampton Group for Wildlife

Sweet Wine
    Patchogue
    July 6, 2014

Dear East Hampton Star:
    Crab salad sweet wine getting warm on table. Sweet potato moon song.

    Sincerely,
    FRED GASREL

Blame Goes Everywhere
    Springs
    July 14, 2014

Dear David,
    Washington, stop lying, please stop lying to the American people. Let’s start with the border, child trafficking, with absolutely no warning to any state official. Governors are up in arms: “How are we going to take care of these children?”
    Some have serious diseases, some belong to gangs, and where are they going? If children are coming, how did their parents pay the coyote and how far behind are the adults?
    Transparency. Someone should define the word to the president. This administration has caused chaos on the border and he won’t even visit his mess. He didn’t get his immigration bill so he picked up his marbles, left the game, and created a disaster, demanding $3.5 billion to fix his unlawful disaster.
    He doesn’t like photo ops, but loved them in the restaurant where he had beer and played pool, loved them in the restaurant with the college student, and don’t forget the barbecue. Great photo ops but can’t go to the border, also too busy doing Democratic fund-raising. Keep the money flowing into the Dems’ mighty chest. This is how he shows compassion for the children at the border — spends his time elsewhere.
    Blame goes everywhere with President Obama. He takes responsibility for nothing. He threw the ball into the Republicans’ court: If we want the border fixed Congress must pass my $3.5 billion request, of which very little is going to fix the border.
    Hillary Clinton best learn to investigate her subject before she speaks. She certainly misstated on the Hobby Lobby ruling. Tch, tch.
    And last but not least, goodbye, Eric Cantor. You received what you deserved.

    In God and country,
    BEA DERRICO

Hatred of the Usurper
    East Hampton
    July 10, 2014

Dear Editor,
    In an Oct. 16, 2013, letter to this newspaper, I wrote: “One may disagree with any president, his policies, his legislation, and his legacy, but do not disgrace the history of this great Republic with vile, meanspirited, racist, and almost seditionist comments . . . don’t weaken our voting rights, try to strengthen our democracy with thoughtful dissent but don’t weaken it with thoughtless ignorance and venom.”
    Unfortunately the climate that existed at the time I wrote that letter has only gotten worse. In fact, the horrible personal attacks on the president, his family, and the government in Washington have become more virulent and repetitive than ever, emanating first from right-wing politicians and the right-wing commentators and media led by the Fox network and the New York Post, in order to gain political advantage as well as to raise the fears of their pathetic followers. And these twisted facts are eagerly accepted by the 20 to 25 percent of far-right believers and become part of their mantra. They are, you see, basically afraid of those who are not just like them — minorities, immigrants, blacks, etc., and thus are receptive to the flat-out prevarications handed out to them in red, white, and blue-ribboned packages.
    Right-wing fanatics, hate groups, misogynists, antigay religious freaks, and others, having absorbed these stories of cries of alleged scandals and ingested them, turn these feelings into psychotic behavior and pararevolutionary activity, like flauting lawful court orders, accumulating weapons of all shapes and descriptions, and perpetrating violence against officials of lawful government, including murdering two police officers in cold blood.
    And not content with smearing the president and undermining the government he leads, these amalgamated sources have reached the point of calling for the suing or the impeaching of the president. And no calming, logical response is heard from rational right-wing elected officials. Instead we get silence.
    In fact, two United States senators participated in a rally at the Vietnam Memorial recently and stood by silently while the leader of the gathering called upon the president of the United States to leave the country, and cried out for a “nonviolent” revolution. 
    Even needed legislation to assist in job creation and infrastructure assistance proposed by the president is denigrated and blocked merely because it was proposed by him, and to deny him even the semblance of credit for any positive advance in the country. “The president has lost interest in his job” says the New York Post — and who is there to negate that garbage? Not even The Wall Street Journal’s putting this president at number three of all presidents in increasing the levels of value in the stock market, or the fantastic recovery in job growth or unemployment, means anything to those desperate to regain power.
    Of course racism runs rampant in all of this, though denied by those who use it and sponsor it, excused by the false cover of political verbosity, an obvious cover for the basic hatred of the usurper from a lesser class of people different from them.
    Right-wing media repeatedly misstates news, warps events and statements of the president, challenges the religious faith, educational accomplishments, and even the very birth of the president while trying to hide the answer to the question they ask: How did this inferior member of an inferior race become president? We must get rid of him any way we can.
    Our country faces unprecedented peril all over the world from violent religionists and terrorists, and while we need to stand together to resist our own destruction, these right-wing creatures use the very acts of terror to blame our own government.
    People in our very own community misstate and misunderstand Supreme Court decisions, don’t even know the difference between insurance policy coverage covering the cost of payments for Viagra, vasectomies, vacuum pumps for erectile dysfunction, and yet deny coverage for contraception and believe that employers can dictate the coverage of health policies they provide employees based upon their own personal religious beliefs.
    I was a New York baseball Giants fan back in the 1940s and ’50s while growing up in Brooklyn (and am so today) and I remain a fan and supporter of the underdog, but I had as much chance then to change the support of fans of the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees as I have now in trying to bring logic, truth, and some knowledge and good sense to the Bea Derricos of this era.
    So stick up for the underdog whose cause is just, and someday history will prove you right and the tables will be turned, just like they were for the New York baseball Giants in 1951.

RICHARD P. HIGER
 

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