Letters to the Editor: 07.24.14

Our readers' comments

Caught in a Rip Tide
    Shelter Island
    July 21, 2014

Dear Editor,
    I am a Shelter Island resident who had the pleasure of swimming at Indian Wells Beach last Thursday as the guest of an East Hampton friend. I grew up swimming in the ocean in Seabright, N.J., and consider myself a competent ocean swimmer, so, after checking with the lifeguards as to how long they were on duty, I plunged into the water.
    It was a perfect temperature, clear and clean, and with waves fun to dodge. I was having a marvelous time, though I noticed the current was a bit stronger than I remembered as the norm and that I could no longer touch the bottom. Then, suddenly, a head appeared out of the foam, right next to me, saying, “Ma’am, you are caught in a riptide. Take my hand and we’ll swim out of it.” Within about a minute, if not less, we were out of it, and then had a thoughtful, and, for me, educational discussion about riptides, how they knew I was in one, and why I did not.
    I write to commend the town on its training of the lifeguards. They are not only competent but gracious, respectful, and, in this case, gentlemanly. I was not afraid. I realized after how calm the lifeguard was when he spoke to me, so as not to frighten me.
    East Hampton residents are very fortunate.


With Gratitude
    Sag Harbor
    July 16, 2014

Dear David, 
    Busy running hither and yon this summer, even Pat and Mary’s high-octane coffee wasn’t enough to have me focus on my belongings, but luckily for me, their honest and fabulous staff —Debra, Liz, and crew — are on the ball. Thank you again for returning my wallet, cards, driver’s license, and money. I am so fortunate to live among such incredible people. 

    Yours, with gratitude,

An Important Package
    July 21, 2014

Dear David,
    An important birthday package for my nephew was lost, all ready to mail except for stamps. He’s a potter, and it was a book about mad potter George Ohr.
    I was distressed that it may have been thrown out at the newspaper bin at the dump. I called sanitation and got a sympathetic clerk, who called UpIsland about it, but was too late.
    Days later at the Amagansett Post Office, to mail a second birthday present, the clerk handed me the lost present! A person had given it to them with only a small note on the unopened package saying “Found on the street!”
    What a kind, thoughtful person to even bother returning the package not opened.
    We are blessed to have such a wonderful person here in the Hamptons.

    Best to you,

This Lovely Dog
    East Hampton
    July 16, 2014

To the Editor:
    I would like to express my heartfelt sorrow to the Dayton family (and all our neighbors) on the recent loss of their beloved Slipper. She was, indeed, a true sweetheart. My family and I had the great pleasure of having this lovely yellow Lab in our lives for the last 14 years. My two sons grew up with her. She is a huge part of their childhood. Her smiling face could always light up your day, no matter what.
    Seeing her dozing in our yard was always a precious sight. I still find myself looking for her at her favorite spot. I can’t believe I won’t hear her panting outside our screen door again. She was a welcome companion, and her serene presence gave me great comfort over the years.
    She aged gracefully and spread her love around. My oldest son just recently arrived home from college, and one of his first sentences was, “Slipper’s here!” He was so happy to see her.
    Thank you, Barbara, again, for sharing this lovely dog. You and your family raised a good girl and she will be sorely missed.


Wonderful Volunteers
    July 20, 2014

To the Editor:
    After 35 years, there are no new ways to say thank you to all the people who helped make the Friends of the Montauk Library’s annual book fair such a success:
    • Everyone who donated books and white elephants and jewelry and baked goods and plants and more books.
    • The local stores and restaurants who so generously gave gifts and gift certificates for our raffles.
    • The heavy lifters who helped load and unload the trucks and cars, especially the Montauk Mustangs and the honors kids from the Montauk School.
    And mostly our wonderful volunteers. Just as we could not have a book fair without books, we cannot continue without them, and more of them. Please consider joining the Friends and putting your name on our volunteer list. You can sign up at the library, with the newsletter, or through our website (click on the Friends’ page under library facilities and services at montauklibrary.org).
    Remember that every dollar of profit from the book fair stays right here in Montauk. We have already given the library $12,000 for programs that are free to everyone, and another $3,000 for new technologies from this year’s proceeds.
    Due to construction at the library (an emergency generator) we cannot accept books, etc., at this time, but thank you in advance, and thank you again for the 35 years of a great event.

    BOB-E (Barbara) METZGER
    Book Fair Chairwoman

Shark’s Eye Tournament
    July 21, 2014

To the Editor:
    The second annual Montauk Marine Basin Shark’s Eye fishing tournament is now in the books. Fifty-three sharks were caught and released. Six received satellite tags: two tigers, three short-fin makos, and one blue shark. That brings the total to 10 that have been fitted with these state-of-the-art tracking devices by Dr. Greg Skomal and his crew over the span of the two tournaments.
    Of the four fitted with satellite tags last year, the first, Princess, stopped signaling a few months after it was tagged, while the last stopped pinging in June 17. It was out in the Hudson Canyon. It had traveled 11,000 miles. Named April by the angler Joe Gaviola, after two Aprils — one important to him and one important to the event — it either perished, has remained submerged (the tags only transmit when they break the surface), or the battery died. We don’t know.
    What we do know is this: Our mako shark, Rizzilient, was caught and killed by a Portuguese long-liner in the middle of the Atlantic last winter. And the blue shark Beamer, named by the Montauk School’s sixth-grade class, was caught three times by commercial fishermen after last year’s tournament — once off Portland, Me., once off Norfolk, Va. (U.S. commercial fishermen immediately released the shark), and finally on a 60-mile fishing line off Costa Rica. Beamer had traveled 9,000 miles. Not edible, the fins on this 200-pound fish were removed for the Asian market. Every year, tens of millions of sharks suffer the same fate.
    The Montauk School children studied Beamer three times a week, according to their instructor, Todd Brunn. “The kids wanted to know exact longitude, latitude, water temperature, and depth.”
    Thanks to Shark’s Eye, they will get another chance. This time they will be able to follow a tiger shark they named Big Kahuna. And the Amagansett School children will be able to follow a blue shark they named Bonac. Everybody can track these apex predators, as well as a tiger named Jaimie and makos named ChrisNic, Cate Ells, and Isabella, on the OCEARCH.org website.
    I would like to thank all the vendors and volunteer observers for sponsoring and supporting this event. And above all, I would like to thank Carl Darenberg and the Montauk Marine Basin for making this possible. There is not another marina owner in the Northeast that would put on this all-release tournament!
    Whether this is the end or just the beginning of Shark’s Eye will depend on prize money. It will take a huge cash prize to catch the attention of the anglers and get them to enter a fishing tournament designed to save sharks.


Parked at the Beach
    July 16, 2014

Dear Editor,
    My heart goes out to the woman who reported to the police that her $1,200 Miu Miu handbag, containing her $1,500 Bottega Veneta wallet and $1,500 in cash, was stolen from under the driver’s seat of her BMW while it was parked at the beach.
    Heavens, what a relief to realize that she must have been wearing her Rolex watch, Cavalli shades, and Tiffany toe ring while the theft was taking place — otherwise the poor soul would now be down to her Missoni bikini bottom!
    I pray that she has learned her lesson and will stay locked indoors until her lease is up.


Tilted, Stooped, Angled
    East Hampton
    July 21, 2014

Dear David:
    The ugliness and toxicity of PSEG’s giant new utility poles is only half the story.
    Look carefully at all the “normal” poles throughout the region. Many are tilted, stooped, angled, and drooping — now burdened with extra, new, heavy wiring and equipment.
    It’s hard to believe the current above-ground utility structures will survive another major storm. Practically, and aesthetically, a better solution must be pursued.


Real Difference
    July 21, 2014

Dear David,
    I was mostly happy to read about the proposed affordable housing project in Wainscott. It is a wonderful resumption to an affordable housing program that has languished for many years. As our population of homeowners tips more toward second-home buyers, the disconnect between local earnings and local housing prices continues to deepen, making it increasingly difficult for our working-class and middle-class citizens to live here, either as renters or as homeowners.
    Forty-eight units of rental housing is a win for the town and will make a real difference to 48 individuals and families. I hope that the town purchases more land that is appropriate for affordable housing, because available land is rapidly disappearing.
    I am only mostly happy about the proposed housing project because of David Eagan’s chilly comments. It’s time for Wainscott, and Amagansett as well, to step up and welcome affordable housing into their school districts. We really are one community.


Wainscott School
    July 17, 2014

Dear David,
    A person named David Eagan pleaded this past Tuesday morning for keeping the minuscule Wainscott School minuscule. Person Eagan says that the Wainscott School is already at a tipping point (20).
    Confronted with the prospect of adding 20 students, residents of a soon-to-be-built affordable housing facility, person Eagan opined that it might result in a Wainscott tax increase “never before seen on Long Island.”
    The Wainscott School taxes are a fraction of what other hamlets pay.
    Does not your heart just bleed for person Eagan?
    All good things (to most),


Weekend Violations
    July 18, 2014

Dear David:
    Last week a letter to the editor highlighted a problem at Accabonac flats that occurred on July 6, a Sunday. Since many violations of code and law often happened on a weekend, there was no way to inform a Marine Patrol officer in a timely manner.
    Residents and voters have a similar problem on weekends informing town code enforcement of violations taking place in homes that are being illegally rented. Completing the online Town of East Hampton Ordinance Enforcement complaint form should result in future action. However, it doesn’t solve the here and now.
    We need a way to report these problems so that an officer in the field can act expeditiously. A phone number monitored by several departments or jurisdictions could alert appropriate on-duty officers during off hours. An online site might serve the same purpose.

    P.S. Thank you, Code Enforcement Officer Christian Sanchez, for letting me know of the department’s vigorous response to my concerns of my neighbor’s illegally rented home.

Chronic Complainers
    East Hampton
    July 21, 2014

To the Editor,
    Oh no! Is this the “Twilight Zone”?
    Aesthetics: A small gang of Springs chronic complainers have come before the town board to object to the shape of certain trucks, namely box trucks.
    They prefer the newer models with a front slant. Maybe in a year or so when newer models come out, a new group of complainers will then object to the slant front. Does this mean that periodically everyone should run out and buy new trucks?
    Springs has always been a workingman’s community. These are the people who take care of our properties. Springs has character and diversity. It’s colorful and unique. It is not Levittown.
    The town board should not even entertain listening to these absurdities.


They Are Our Base
    East Hampton
    July 20, 2014

Dear David,
    Workmen with equipment in their yards: This town runs on the services that they provide. If our community wants to experience the feel of competition by hiring from UpIsland, then the trade parade will bring someone else’s trucks out, trucks from their backyards. Our town is better off for our own people who provide the very services upon which we depend. Our people have to hustle to survive, and their work product is backed by the fact that they are our neighbors.
    Why would anyone put obstacles in their way? I understand that Springs, particularly, is very crowded and so does the town board understand that. There is a need to be able to handle serious overcrowding and illegal multi-rentals and the large numbers of cars which that creates. Our government is working to devise a law that can be used to site the real issues, but please, not on the backs of our skilled local labor force. If any of us think that making life more difficult for our local tradespeople will help anything, then think again. Don’t bite the hands that we rely on. Let them get their work done.
    Our town board is letting people be heard and they are listening. The board is understanding and compassionate, but they are also charged with fixing the problems that exist. They must separate the troublemakers from the problem-solvers.
    By the way, the Department of Motor Vehicles registers almost all trucks “commercial” and people cannot safely pull heavy loads with only one axle on a trailer. Why can’t our men have the best of equipment? We are a community!
    When I was a councilwoman, I put legislation on the books that enabled “commercial-service” areas for people to park their trucks and equipment. I also repeatedly asked to retrofit the compost building at the landfill to accommodate a secure home base for several small businesses. The land around the sewage treatment plant, next to the landfill, also provides opportunities. But the cost cannot be prohibitive nor the laws too demanding, or you drive people out of business or away. That is the last thing we need.
    We are putting the cart before the horse here. Provide and protect our contractors, they are our base. From there, address the illegal overcrowding, and things will smooth out.


Anywhere U.S.A.
    East Hampton
    July 21, 2014

Dear David:
    The East Hampton Town Board is preparing to vote on legislation regarding formula stores (a k a chain stores). As originally proposed by Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, these businesses would be permitted in the town’s central business districts but would be prohibited in historic districts (which includes Amagansett’s Main Street) and within a specified distance from historic buildings.
    The revised legislation would allow these businesses to be located anywhere within the town and would require a special permit from the planning board. That board would be charged with determining if the applicants comply with the preservation goals of a historic district. There are those who argue against any restrictions, even if they are significantly watered down.
    East Hampton attracts visitors from all over the world because of its beauty and rural character. All that could change if we fail to designate standards that would prevent East Hampton from becoming Anywhere U.S.A.


Formula Store Law
    July 21, 2014

Dear David,
    Except for the specific objection of Philip Young to a provision of the formula store legislation that he thought was unfair to him as compared with a neighbor, the orchestrated opposition to the proposed formula store law at the town board hearing the other night was unreasonable. It was also frequently ill-informed. It was perhaps appropriate that the board deferred voting on the measure until Mr. Young’s single concern about one subsection was examined. It’s to be hoped that the board will act quickly to determine whether that subsection should be changed, and then proceed swiftly to pass the legislation in every other respect in its present form.
    In their effort to make the law sound detrimental to their own interest and that of the community, the real estate owners and other businesspeople who opposed the law at the public hearing consistently mischaracterized it. The law does not prohibit formula stores in the districts where retail stores are currently allowed. It simply imposes the condition that chain stores that normally identify their brand in the public marketplace through logos, signs, building styles, building shape, and building sizes conform instead to the traditional aesthetics of our communities if they wish to own or rent here.
    The law does not impose burdensome conditions or encourage arbitrary rulings on prerequisites to opening formula stores here. The provision for obtaining a special permit for a formula store protects the owner and buyer or lessee as much as the public. The permit criteria are specific and reasonable. Compliance is decided in the first instance by the town planning board after public notice and a full public hearing. This is in contrast to the casual process of the architectural review board, which some speakers at the hearing termed a ready and adequate review agency.
    The town planning board’s experience, resources, and composition make it the ideal body to provide a fair and reasoned decision. Informed on the issues by our expert Planning Department, it is composed of individuals who have served from one to seven years. With one member elected each year, their combined service spans three or four different town board administrations, so the board tends to be apolitical. Moreover, as an administrative agency, the board is prohibited by law from rendering arbitrary decisions; the prospect of a decision being thrown out by the courts is a proven incentive to caution.
    More than one person at the hearing last Thursday noted the irony in the U.P.S. store owner’s opposition to the law. Her articulate description of the service she provides to everyone in the community, as well as the care she has taken to be a good neighbor, far from arguing against the formula store provisions, argues expressly for them. It would be bizarre to claim that many of the formula stores that now blot the landscape of East Hampton Village are comparable to her small business, which serves an important community need at a reasonable price, with ample parking, in a modest space and building compatible with its Newtown Lane neighborhood. It would be equally bizarre to expect that most chain businesses coming into town will adhere to such standards of aesthetics and convenience, even in the unlikely event that they provide services needed by all in the community, without the mandates provided in the proposed formula store law.
    Retaining our community’s historic small-town flavor is the best way to preserve its economic viability. Formula stores that serve us well will not give up on coming to this mecca for second homes and tourism because we ask them to conform to our traditional and aesthetic values. It’s much more than likely that the opposite is true: Many are the resort areas that have lost their attraction and economic viability when they became too common.
    Our streetscape is special. We let it go at our peril.

    Sincerely yours,

No Agenda
    East Hampton
    July 18, 2014

Dear Editor:
    I feel I must beg to differ (with the tacit consent of my associates on the East Hampton-Sag Harbor Citizens Advisory Committee) with a recent editorial regarding our citizens advisory councils, and your proffering their less-than-solid value as tools for our community benefit.
    In 2009, I ran for office as an independent on my own party line, the Bonac Beach Party. After a thoroughly enjoyable if not successful campaign, a friend suggested I might bring a useful perspective to the East Hampton-Sag Harbor C.A.C., so I started to attend. In the time I have been attending, we have never allowed politics to slant our actions. We have never taken policies that benefit any but our neighbors, friends, and family within our area.
    We have expressed group consensus to the town board, which has resulted in support for issues throughout the town. We have studied, researched, and acted on issues of great and small significance, all without political overtone, personal benefit, or private rancor or animosity. We have encouraged folks with personal experience of all kinds to join us, and we have listened to arguments, reports, and frustrations of all sorts in an attempt to suggest remedy.
    In my opinion, most of the C.A.C.s achieve a higher democratic ideal; that is, the process of interactive citizens with no agenda other than to make life better, to advise elected leaders in a regular, respected, and encouraging way.
    I understand that other C.A.C.s may have been laboring under different agendas, and I would strongly recommend that appointed town board liaisons express concern, and remind members of our mission frequently, if work seems to be off track. Ultimately the board approves members, and must have the wisdom and strength to redirect activity when necessary, or terminate cliques causing misguided or unseemly action.
    There is a fine line between listening to venting (an activity we have all enjoyed) and acting inappropriately. Leadership, in the form of the chair, and the town liaison, as well as the board, must define useful action, and redirect enthusiastic thought into appropriate channels. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater is not the answer.


Constantly Under Siege
    East Hampton
    July 18, 2014

Dear Editor,
    It is mid-July. My birthday was yesterday. A sunny, delightful day, except for the sound of helicopters, seaplanes, Pilatus aircraft, private jets, twin-engine aircraft, and the occasional, but not disruptive, single-engine recreational aircraft that I was taught to fly many years ago.  
    Aircraft fly so low we can clearly see the underside of them as they pass over our home. The noise of helicopters is heard from about two miles away, as the props thud repeatedly and move slowly. Jets and seaplanes have their own distinct noise and there is no escaping from the barrage. Not at our home, the village, where, on descent, the aircraft approach with such low altitude it is frightening, or even Georgica Beach, where my husband and I went last night to enjoy a quiet sunset. It is not only disruptive to be assaulted by the noise, but very sad to us as we witness our communities being ravaged by aircraft traffic.
    Last Tuesday I spoke at the work session of the town board meeting to voice my concern about the continued and increased aircraft that are plaguing our airport and neighbors here on the South Fork, Shelter Island, Southampton, and the North Fork. I am grateful to the new administration for their concern and activity to address the financial and safety aspects of East Hampton Airport. At last there are transparency and facts. I especially thank Kathy Burke-Gonzalez for her expeditious response to my email and call.
    The new town board members all understand there is a serious problem at hand, and it is hoped with the new committees formed, there will be some resolution to at least help abate the noise that is constant. I report the most egregious, but cannot report every disruptive aircraft or I would accomplish nothing but those reports. I work from home and hear and see each arrival and departure.
    There is no curfew in place. Our airport is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is wrong. We should set times of operation, and limit aircraft that are offensive to fewer hours of the day and, perhaps, fewer in number in total that may utilize the airport.
    Every few minutes another helicopter-jet-seaplane is either on approach or departing, at every hour of the day or night. It is disruptive to sleep and daily work. It affords no peace or quiet to be constantly under siege. I know I speak for many who are burdened by this ongoing problem.
    Please remember that Dec. 31 marks the last day the Town of East Hampton has grant assurances in place with the Federal Aviation Administration. Now that the town knows the airport can be self-sufficient, we hope the town board members will not contract with the F.A.A. for funding, and a curfew and limitations will be made official.
    East Hampton Airport is now a “regional” airport. This too is sad, as it was a lovely recreational airport that did not offend anyone before we let it become a “taxi” service airport for the rich and famous. With a new tower meant to help pilots in traffic, watch as we expand and become like Caldwell Airport or Barnstable-Hyannis. JetBlue commercial airlines now flies to New York City from Barnstable-Hyannis since they expanded their once small-town airport. Is that what we want for our town and neighbors? Should we continue to pay escalating taxes on our properties when our homes are diminished in value by aircraft noise pollution?
    As a licensed real estate broker, I wish to report that our customers ask not to view homes that are under siege. For many, renting their home allows people to continue to live and work in their hometown. For those who wish to sell their homes, this presents a huge encumbrance.
    As I type, a helicopter has just left the airport and it will fly over our home. Our dog is under the desk, because she is too afraid these days to venture out and sit on the lawn. All of us are impacted by the noise.
    For more information contact Quiet Skies Coalition, online or by email. Make your voices heard to the town board and our state representatives. The addresses are listed on the website for your convenience: quietskiescoalition. org.


Huntington Crossway
    July 15, 2014

Dear Editor,
    I have watched with interest all the commotion about the article on Huntington Crossway in Bridgehampton. I have been a homeowner in Springs for many years and would welcome someone from The Star or anywhere else writing about the unkempt properties near me. Perhaps then someone would do something to make improvements.
    Those Bridgehampton homeowners are fortunate that gentrification is taking place nearby and will raise their properties.


A Racist Thing?
    New York City
    July 16, 2014

Dear Editor,
    So Ms. Scott writes an article in which she cites local comments about “Crack Alley” — not her own — and suddenly she’s racist, as is the article? Why does the truth have to be racist?
    I’ve driven down that road and wondered why people can’t keep their property clean. Do you need to park your truck on the lawn? How about leaving your garbage can strewn all over the place? Is it that hard to pick up litter? Are the drug arrests a figment of the police’s imagination?
    What if Ms. Scott were black? Would that make it okay? Would it be racist then?
    Is quoting a local real estate agent with extensive knowledge of the area a racist thing to do these days? In this country, we shut down conversations simply by claiming something is racist.
    So instead of improving things for everyone, we simply excuse and enable poor behavior and everyone is more the worse off. What a damn shame Ms. Scott has a gutless editor.


Not Based on Race
    New York
    July 18, 2014

Dear East Hampton Star,
    I was outraged to read about the dismissal of writer Debra Scott. I am a journalist and have grown up spending time on the South Fork. Often the news to be reported is not pleasant. Often it does not reflect what we might like. That doesn’t mean we don’t report it.
    From what I read, Debra was merely reporting what is. If people want to blind themselves to what’s going on next to their manicured backyards, so be it.
    Your editorial team read the piece before it was published. They were not “offended.” It seems as if the venerable East Hampton Star is now blaming the messenger for reporting a situation that has existed for many years before the printing of this article.
    It is not a situation that is based on race. It is a situation that is occurring in many communities across the country. Is the South Fork immune? I would think not. Firing a journalist that commented on an unpleasant reality defies the very essence of what any respectable news organization seeks to achieve.


Accurate and Unbiased
    Sag Harbor
    July 21, 2014

Dear Mr. Rattray,
    One was rather dismayed to discover that you had suspended Debra Scott because of an article that appeared in your paper on real estate developments on Huntington Crossway.
    Having read the letters to the editor in your paper, one assumes that you agree with those readers who felt there was a racist tone to the piece. I did not.
    In any event, as editor of the paper, isn’t it normal for you to object to articles you find objectionable before they are printed, rather than after? For example, if some of your readers found the expression “Crack Alley” to be racist (not withstanding the fact that it has long been known as a location where one might purchase illicit drugs), would it not be your responsibility to remove the offending phrase prior to publication?
    Upon visiting the site subsequent to Ms. Scott’s article, I must say I was unable to find any fault with it. And the residents seem to have taken it to heart, as the yards and landscaping seem to be recently cared for.
    A recent rereading of the article shows no racial comments of any kind: this is an article in the real estate section that dealt entirely with a neighborhood in transition, in a way that one felt was accurate and unbiased. To now suspend a real estate writer for writing about real estate reminds one of Claude Rains complaining to Humphrey Bogart that he was “shocked, shocked” to find gambling going on in Rick’s Cafe.
    Every homeowner in the Hamptons is concerned with the fluctuations in the local real estate market, and Debra Scott’s weekly column was always a welcome reflection on that market, due to her experience as a broker and her skills as a writer.
    One hopes that she will soon return to page one, where she belongs.

    All the best,

Who Is the Racist?
    July 18, 2014

Dear Mr. Rattray,
    I have a biracial couple living next door, a multigenerational black family living across the street, two other black families that I know living down the block, and two Hispanic families that I’m aware of so far (one owns the landscaping business that cuts my lawn). Now if I say I live in a racially mixed neighborhood, am I simply describing my demographics, or am I being a racist?
    I am friendly with all these families and enjoy chatting with them as I walk to our beach. I would expect anyone describing my neighborhood to describe it as I have, and if someone took offense I would ask them just exactly what they were taking offense about.
    Who is the racist, me or them? The answer is quite clear, I think.
    Please un-suspend that reporter, whose work you should stand by.


Just Accurate
    July 16, 2014

Dear David,
    It didn’t sound racist to me, just accurate. The kind of negative reaction it’s been getting can only come from an older generation pretending to be sensitive.
    The president of this country is a black man in his second term. Racism has virtually evaporated in this polyglot nation.


Cowed and Confused
    East Hampton
    July 18, 2014

To the Editor:
    The financial news is all about U.S. company attempts to avoid U.S. taxes by purchasing affiliates abroad, which raises the question as to what our system has turned into. Somewhere between free lunch and Burroughs’s “Naked Lunch,” probably. A world where everyone lives subservient to corporate interests and feeds the junkie obsessions for wealth and power. (The big difference between heroin, Burroughs’s drug of choice, and cocaine, the modern darling, is that heroin has the capacity to sate and tranquilize while coke just increases appetites.)
    Before antitrust, workplace laws, and Henry Ford, U.S. corporations and businesses had free rein to do what they wanted. Regulation, competition, and a touch of humanism created a quasi-partnership between the business community and the rest of the country. The era of free lunch was replaced by a collective consciousness that distributed responsibility and wealth. But the memory of the free lunch period, fueled by the “Naked Lunch” mentality, has jettisoned the country back to the 19th century. Greed, rampant and violent, is the modern code word, supported by an ineffectual government of faux conservatives, waving the banner of deregulation and lower taxes for the elites.
    Fabricating the mythology of job producers needing lower taxes and fewer rules to rein in their ability to grow the economy. All of it degenerate drivel. Wolf papers, in the old vernacular, which, once exposed, demanded a violent response. But at every turn the Congress, the courts, half the media, and the threat of disenfranchisement if found out of line, the American people are cowed and confused. Battered into believing that the pain they are feeling was brought on themselves by their own actions.
    Yet in truth, our corporations pay the lowest tax rates in the West. Commit acts of outrageous illegality like the subprime disaster and the B.P. Gulf oil spill, and after a moment’s contrition resume the same activities, and search for any means of not paying taxes that everyone else would get jail time for avoiding.
    The other side of the corporate coin is that our companies enjoy all of the advantages of being American-based: police and legal protections, massive infrastructures, amazing technology, research grants and subsidies, government loans, and bailouts in difficult times. Right-to-work states, limited-benefit obligations, and minimal union interference, all of which are paid for in one form of another by the Americans who pay taxes.
    Still, it’s not enough.
    No one bitches about how much money anyone makes as long as we all participate and we all have the same obligations. Scamming the system by those who benefit the most from it is the atrocious junkie mentality of our corporate world. America will pretend it’s not a third-world country as the majority of its people slip deeper into poverty. When we are obligated to raise money for our soldiers because the government and its corporate masters refuse to honor their responsibilities, it becomes too obvious that the slippery slope we are on exists for almost all of us.


The Bizarro World
    East Hampton
    July 17, 2014

Dear Editor.
    Don’t you just love it?
    Congressman “Boogey Man” Darrell Issa, after having issued 99 subpoenas, more than the three previous chairmen of the House Oversight Committee combined, holding a multitude of press conferences portending horrendous White House transgressions, showing up at multiple Fox TV appearances discussing the alleged I.R.S. transgressions, over and over the Benghazi tragedy, abusing the attorney general with snide references to whatever he thinks of at the moment, referring a respected long-term federal employee to be held in contempt and forcing her to take the Fifth Amendment to avoid his vindictive pursuit of nonexistent transgressions, disparaging a long-serving, highly respected member of the Democratic opposition,
    Finally realizes his next set of witnesses will be just like the previous 50 or so and testify, under oath, that nothing illegal or immoral or malicious has transpired directed by the White House, and faced with White House opposition to his latest witch hunt subpoena, without warning or notice to witnesses waiting to testify, abruptly makes his opening statement, has the minority member do the same, and then cancels the hearing!
    And so another episode in the bizarro world of Congressman Darrell Issa comes to an end — with the taxpayers watching millions of dollars spent to feed the ego of a powerful Congressman with no moral compass.


Says It All
    July 17, 2014

To the Editor,
    Wow. I finally get it! After years of reading endless, irrational, and illogical ramblings at the end of all letters pages, I get it.
    Living in Brooklyn, as I did back then, and not only admitting it but bragging about rooting for the Giants. Wow, says it all!


No Friend to Israel
    East Hampton
    July 18, 2014

To the Editor:
    We don’t understand where the president and secretary of state are coming from regarding the Hamas and Israeli situation. They initially sound good, saying that Israel, our longtime ally and the only democracy in the Middle East, has a right to defend itself from the hundreds of long-range missiles Hamas has been hurtling into the populated cities of Israel intending to kill civilians. On the other hand, Obama and Kerry say to Israel, be careful not to harm the civilians the Hamas terrorists hide behind.
    Israel attempts to warn the civilians in Gaza when they’ll be attacking so they can leave the area. However, Hamas warns the civilians to stay put so the world can condemn Israel for murdering them, while the terrorists hide among them.
    It’s well known Iran supplied these long-range missiles to Hamas and Hezbollah, the two terrorist groups bent on destroying Israel. On that matter the president used all of his influence to lift sanctions off Iran that were working, in order to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. Of course Iran is also intent on the destruction of Israel.
    Bottom line: The administration is no friend to Israel, our only ally in a volatile region.


Now Please Explain
    East Hampton
    July 14, 2014

Dear Editor,
    A frequent contributor to your letters pages last week referred to the “Repuglicans’ ” fishing expeditions for an I.R.S. scandal and last month supported our president’s sudden decision to exchange five Taliban for a single American soldier thought to be a deserter. Often he will go on to extol President Obama and last month declared that his presidency will be remembered as being near the top, which I assume means as one of the best presidents, “black or not.”
    Why race needed to be proclaimed amongst those elite escapes me; either you deserve it or you don’t. Given his past sycophantic support, judging from his past screeds, and having now explained away the I.R.S. scandal last week, I wonder if he could now please explain the following and how President Obama might use these to fit into to the top 10:
    The destruction of the medical establishment and level of care in the U.S. through Obamacare — increased medical costs to average citizens with fewer choices of doctors, higher premiums with government control of what care you do receive, longer waiting lines for care. Veterans Administration-grade care for all, where only the very rich and politically connected will be able to buy the care they need. Six thousand dollars plus deductibles for Bronze Care premiums that are in no way practical or affordable to anyone who is required to buy such a policy under the mandates or because of financial inability to pay for a better policy. “If you like your current plan you can keep your plan” was known by the administration to be an outright lie even as it was continuously used to promote Obamacare.
    The flooding of southern borders with illegal aliens, courtesy of drug cartels who are recruiting and/or buying children and women to be smuggled into the U.S., thus contributing to the success of the drug cartel sex slave trade.
    The recent declaration of a new national monument in New Mexico along the Mexican border that now because of this designation cannot be patrolled by Border Patrol. The Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument effectively leaves another gate of illegal entry wide open to drug traffickers and illegal immigrants. By this declaration Obama has actually facilitated an illegal immigration express lane across the border. Once across, these illegals no longer run from Border Patrol in patrolled areas because they get free taxi service to detention centers, and after a few nights they are not deported but released and issued summonses to appear in court before a judge, but ICE readily admits the summonses are not enforced.
    Fast and furious: Providing automatic weapons to enemies of the U.S. while making numerous attempts to take away the legal firearms from law-abiding U.S. citizens.
    Disparate impact: Harassing and fining banks huge sums of money for perceived discrimination against minorities who were denied loans, with the sole burden of proof being the proportion of loans made to minorities compared to whites. The obvious factor of ability to pay for the loan has absolutely no bearing in Eric Holder’s witch hunt against banks for these perceived transgressions. This is about as racist a policy as you can possibly get, and it has been brought about by an Obama appointee and wholeheartedly condoned by our president’s statist agenda.
    Supporting or using thugs and Black Panthers to intimidate potential political adversaries from being able to vote and at the very least being unwilling to prosecute those that were accused.
    Failing to end the Patriot Act as promised and instead renewing it; he lied. Lying to the American people about Benghazi and failing to provide adequate security or even attempt a rescue mission.
    Failing to bring transparency to government as promised; he lied.
    Abandoning the European missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, effectively hanging U.S. promises of protection out to dry.  Incidentally, the Israelis have used their version of this defense system, which they call Iron Dome, with a better than 90-percent success in their present struggle against the Palestinians. President Reagan’s Star Wars defense became President Obama’s Ostrich Wars defense; quite a legacy.
    Drawing a red line in the sand that was construed as absolutely no threat whatsoever by Assad and Putin, please refer again to the previous item.
    An overall approval rating of just 41 percent by the most recent Wall Street Journal poll.
    I could go on but I won’t, but I do welcome any explanation of what has been listed in the coming weeks since this informed reader feels compelled to enlighten us on a frequent, sometimes weekly basis anyway. For the record, I am assuredly neither a Republican nor a Repuglican, just a humble citizen voter seeking answers.
    To close I would like to acknowledge that I am glad that this frequent contributor is satisfied with his stock brokerage account under this administration and I suggest that he pay tribute to President Obama and friends by redistributing, in true progressive fashion, some of the wealth he has accumulated during this presidency to those hard-working immigrant friends waiting for employment at the train station. I am sure they will be very appreciative.