Letters to the Editor: 08.21.14

Our readers' comments

Artifact #1042
    East Hampton
    August 16, 2014

Dear David,
    As of Aug. 13 at 9:45 a.m., as it left the hangar at J.F.K., the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 419 are the proud owners of artifact #1042 of the World Trade Center. It’s a 1,000-pound, 14-foot-long, 17-inch-high steel beam that is twisted, so from outside-to-outside measurement it’s 18 inches wide.
    As some of you know, collecting this artifact has been an uphill battle for a number of years due to a unique problem we had.
    I want to mention Cmdr. Fred Overton of American Legion Post 419, who was instrumental and responsible for coming up with the way to clear the final hurdle. Fred also brought in Tom Milne, the owner of Surfside Inn in Montauk. Tom, a retired lieutenant in the New York Fire Department, helped clear away the many other things that may have stopped us from receiving this.
    Tom, Jim Grimes of Fort Pond Native Plants, also from Montauk, along with Scott Snow, who works for Jim, all left Montauk at 5 a.m. in that storm that hit back west much harder than it did here at home. They made it to J.F.K. around 9 a.m. to pick up the artifact. After it was loaded onto the truck they left around 9:45 a.m. to make their way back through all the road closings.
    My brother Bob and I met them in Manorville at 12:35 with two East Hampton Village Police Department motorcycle cops, one member of the Legion Riders M.C., and two members of the Red Knights M.C. as an honor guard, and headed east. In Wainscott we were met by two East Hampton Town Police Department cruisers that joined in the honor guard. Together with this convoy both departments closed the intersections and we rode through them in grand style with the respect and honor due this artifact.
    We made it back to the post where we held a small ceremony, where the Rev. Steve Howarth of the Amagansett Presbyterian Church gave a blessing. There was a piper from the Eastern Long Island Pipes and Drums, whose playing made the day all the more poignant but lifted it up at the same time.
    If anyone took pictures as we made our way through the streets that day, please send them sto me at tonyganga@ymail.com so the record being kept can include as many pictures as possible.
    I will remember that day for the rest of my life, but it’s a new day today and now the real work begins. I will write from time to time and give you an update as we progress.
    On behalf of all of the officers and members of the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 419, I want to thank everyone responsible for making that day a reality.

    Best regards,

Extraordinary Event
    East Hampton
    August 18, 2014

To the Editor:
    First of all, I’d like to thank the East Hampton Police Department for excellent crowd control during Saturday’s book signing at BookHampton by Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton. They showed exceptional vigilance and care blended with humor and a light touch.
    Secondly, I’d like to thank Book­Hampton for hosting the extraordinary event.
    And, finally, I’d like to thank Secretary Clinton herself for supporting this wonderful, independent bookstore in our small village. There were hundreds of people in line, many of whom waited for well over an hour to have their books signed and to meet her. She was charming, funny, and patient as she signed every book placed in front of her.
    I thanked her for her service as secretary of state and said that I hoped she was up for more. I would very much like to think that she is.


Ordeal on the Beach
    East Hampton
    August 15, 2014

To the Editor,
    Dear Ms. Siska and Ms. Cantwell, on behalf of all the responsible dog owners who have been coming to Indian Wells Beach for years, I wish to apologize for your ordeal. It is unconscionable that someone fled the scene after your grandchild was injured. I would hope that the dog owner himself would come forward and apologize himself.
    At the risk of repeating myself, as I am a frequent contributor to The Star’s letters section (and especially with respect to our cherished privilege of being able to bring our dogs to the beach), I beg you to remember that a dog, when owned by people who respect them, is a child’s best friend and loyal companion. Please do not let this incident perpetrated by someone who did not fit the mold of responsible dog owner color your opinion of them.
    Our Ms. Lucie and Mr. Bodhi would be happy to help your grandchild recover from his ordeal.


    August 18, 2014

Dear David,
    It was a real thrill to meet Hillary Clinton (our next president) at BookHampton on Saturday. The book-signing event was well handled by Charline Spector and her staff.
    I wore my International Dark Sky Association embroidered shirt, and, when I introduced myself to Mrs. Clinton as a dark sky advocate, she asked, “What is that?”
    I asked if she and her husband had been enjoying our dark and star-filled night sky here in East Hampton. She replied with enthusiasm, “Why, yes!”
    I explained that East Hampton has a dark-sky policy and that our organization works to reduce light pollution. I also handed her staff a letter outlining our initiatives and our efforts for further actions.
    Since awareness often results in action, my fingers are crossed that this introduction may lead to something on a federal level.
    What a great summer!


Destructive Riots
    East Hampton
    August 16, 2014

To the Editor:
    I’m a former national guardsman who along with my peers was highly trained in the containment of unlawful street rioting. Unless I’m wrong, why hasn’t the Missouri governor called out the guard to assist in stopping the looting and anti-law enforcement activities that are usually the result of these “peaceful demonstrations”?
    Our president calls for transparency and directs authorities to divulge the name of the law enforcement officer who was involved in the shooting. What purpose did he think this would serve when there was an ongoing investigation to determine the chain of events in this incident? The hypocrisy of his request is that transparency has been minimally practiced during his reign.
    I’m sure the president truly has a desire of stopping not what he originally termed peaceful demonstrations, but the out-and-out reckless rioting and destruction that usually shortly follows these. Therefore he should align himself with Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, and the head of the American Civil Liberties Union and go to the front lines in Ferguson to quell these utterly destructive riots.


Please Test for Arsenic
    August 17, 2014

Dear David,
    The town’s quest for R.F.P.s for the Amagansett Farm property has brought some creative and different proposals for the 19 acres. Two of the six proposals were for the planting of aronia berries (row farming on 10 acres) and another for a horse rehabilitation center. Perhaps the town should reopen the competition to see what other creative ideas exist.
    Both of these proposals do not need fences surrounding the property. Aronia berries are native plants, which appear to be deer-proof. They require the berries to be planted in rows as low-planted fruit, allowing for the existence of the visual vista without fencing.
    While the town seeks other proposals (with many farm stands everywhere in town, do we need another one?), the soil should be tested for arsenic. That property, according to Herb Field, was once potato farms sprayed with arsenic. Even the horses will need protection if allowed to roam the field and nibble on the grass.
    Town board, keep up the good work of saving land and community space for future generations! Please test this soil for arsenic!


Bluff Road and Atlantic
    August 18, 2014

To the Editor:
    Toward the end of an article by Christopher Walsh covering a recent meeting of the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee, mention was made of a wish for an all-way stop at the intersection of Bluff Road and Atlantic Avenue. I would like to respectfully suggest that the problem of vehicles speeding on Bluff Road and nearby lanes can be more easily solved by enforcing the laws that already exist.
    As an Amagansett resident, I use these roads frequently and am astonished at how many drivers completely ignore both the speed limit and the stop signs on both sides of Atlantic Avenue.
    As I approached this intersection Friday afternoon, two cars pulled out in front of me, one right after another, after having “stopped” at the sign on the beach side of Atlantic. I guess they figure the sign means “stop, then go,” even if there’s traffic on Bluff.
    I think a traffic officer stationed in the area with a nice thick pad of tickets would do more good than yet another stop sign for drivers to ignore.


Cyril’s in the Sky
    East Hampton
    August 16, 2014

Dear Editor:
    The East Hampton Airport should be officially renamed Cyril’s in the Sky. When you think about it, the histories of the two very polarizing operations are quite similar.
    To many, Cyril’s was loud, offensive, dangerous, an environmental nightmare, and an arrogant flipper of the bird to authority. To others, it was simply a great place to get a frozen cocktail.
    Consider the East Hampton Airport. It’s loud, offensive to thousands of people on the East End, dangerous, an environmental disaster, and a flipper of the bird to those who would ask it to be a better neighbor. To others, it’s simply a convenience in getting back and forth from wherever.
    Not too many years ago Cyril’s was a small operation catering to locals and passers-by in season. Then things gradually escalated to where they are today. Nobody in town government blinked while use and footprint were expanded, until finally the resulting operation was so over the top it couldn’t be ignored. And still, even in the face of local attempts at bringing the rogue operation into compliance, Cyril’s lawyered up and continued to operate, much to the Town of East Hampton’s displeasure.
    Fifteen years ago, the busiest day at the East Hampton Airport was Open House Day, when local pilots showed off their small aircraft and even gave rides to kids. Then things gradually escalated. Nobody told the airport they wanted it changed from a small local airfield to a regional airport far busier than Islip-MacArthur. Nobody in town government decided that allowing jets, helicopters, and seaplanes to come and go 24 hours a day, 7 days a week was what the town wanted, or was a good idea. It just happened. And now, faced with the possibility of minimal noise-bating restrictions, those profiting from the chaos at the airport are lawyering up so that nobody rains on their profit parade.
    If Cyril’s applied to the town today for the kind of operation it has been running illegally for years, there is no way it would be allowed.
    Likewise, if there were no airport today and somebody came up with a proposal to build a large, unregulated, regional airport in our town, it would never happen.
    So now, Cyril’s can continue to operate as the restaurant it once was. Nobody shut it down. They simply have to follow some rules and be a good neighbor.
    Are you listening, Cyril’s in the Sky?


Airport Noise Plague
    East Hampton
    August 18, 2014

To the Editor,
    Your editorial “Airport Consensus May Yield Relief,” in the Aug. 14 issue of The Star, is worthy of great praise.
    You have called attention to the reality that shifting around aircraft routes does no good, only spreading or shifting the pain of aircraft noise. And you have made the point that the only solution to the increasing noise on the East End from increasing air traffic is the imposition of binding restrictions on the hours and numbers of landings and takeoffs at the East Hampton Airport.
    Also, you have noted the growing spirit of regional cooperation that other municipal governments are mounting for the East Hampton Town Board’s forthcoming efforts to impose those binding noise-limiting access restrictions at the airport.
    Finally, you have rightly praised the hard work of Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez as airport liaison for the town board in developing soon-to-be-effected safety improvements at the airport as well as preparation for the hoped-for noise-limiting enactments — all without Federal Aviation Administration subsidy.
    Unfortunately, however, your final comment in the editorial is badly mistaken and misleading — the notion that the F.A.A. can somehow participate in the airport access noise-limiting efforts. The F.A.A. has not cooperated and will not cooperate in those efforts. If the F.A.A. were of a mind to do so, the East End’s aircraft noise problem would have been solved long ago, because the F.A.A. has been in control for decades through past grants of subsidy money for capital improvements at the airport. More important, however, whether or not it would cooperate, the F.A.A. will have virtually no authority over airport access restriction for noise protection at the East Hampton Airport after the end of this year.
    As of Dec. 31 this year, the East Hampton Town Board will be free of the F.A.A. shackles; the F.A.A. control of noise control from past grants of subsidy money will expire on that date. The town board will be able to impose limits on the days and hours of airport operation, the numbers of landings and takeoffs in a given period of time, and the ban of the noisiest aircraft, all for the purpose of controlling the noise plaguing the East End.
    The town’s power thus to limit aircraft noise after Dec. 31 will be subject only to the law applied solely by the federal courts. The restrictions must be reasonable, nonarbitrary, and nondiscriminatory under the federal court rulings. The F.A.A. and its rules and policies will have no place in the process.
    Moreover, the town’s business and finance advisory committee’s subcommittee studying airport finances has determined that, if prudently managed, the airport can operate for the indefinite future with safety and efficiency and adequate capital investment without further F.A.A. subsidies and without burdening taxpayers. That is, East Hampton will not need to submit ever again to the F.A.A. shackles from which it will be freed at the end of this year.
    The town board can solve the East End’s airport noise plague and, together with its advisory committees, is hard at work in preparation for the end of the year and the beginning of 2015. With the growing regional support that you have reported, East Hampton will succeed.
    The F.A.A. has been the problem, and next year will be legally irrelevant.


Dodge City Airport
    August 17, 2014

Dear David,
    On Sunday morning at 10:15 a large jet rocketed over our home going west, as a huge helicopter lumbered over going north, with the jet crossing right in front of the helicopter at perhaps 800 feet of altitude. I have never seen two aircraft so dangerously close to each other.
    Krupinski-Tuma-Twomey Airport is a Dodge City free-for-all, with aircraft zooming all over the place day and night, simply seeking a gap in which to take off or land. Designated routes and runways are a joke. One has to see it to believe it. But Diamond Jim Brundige, former chopper jock and now E.H.A. “manager,” behaves as if everything is just fine, thank you.
    Perhaps it is mere coincidence that airport problems have expanded dramatically since his arrival. However, if I owned a business that generates over 1,000 (yes, 1,000) complaints in a four-day period each week (or one every five minutes, day and night), the first thing I would do is get a new manager.
    Oh, but as a resident taxpayer, I do own the airport. Adios, Diamond Jim. May you ride the Blade into the cacophonous, toxic sunset in the west — leaving East Hampton in tranquil prosperity once more.


Glad to Travel
    August 15, 2014

Dear David,
    I am so puzzled that there is controversy about having formula stores — big boxes, cut-rate outlets, whatever you call them — here in our town. As a customer who goes once in a while up to Riverhead for one of those things, and is glad to travel that far, because heaven forbid it should be any closer to here, I am quite satisfied with the arrangement we have.
    And as I look at the poor godforsaken wreck that Riverhead is now, how grateful I am that we never developed a terrible strip like theirs to gradually bleed the life out of our pleasant town!


An Important Precedent
    East Hampton
    August 18, 2014

Dear Editor,
    East Hampton’s newly stated commitment to meet 100 percent of its electricity needs from renewable energy by 2020 is great news for everyone, and affirms the growing consensus that we must transition away from the fossil fuels that are actively altering the global climate. As a community conspicuously surrounded by water, it is not only in our own best interest to address the climate problem proactively in this way, it would also set an example to other communities, coastal or otherwise.
    Transitioning to 100-percent renewable energy will not be seamless or without opposition, but I believe as a citizen of the 21st century that we are responsible to future generations to act as rapidly as possible on this issue. The new solar and wind contracts already in the works will provide new and generous income to the town, stimulate our local economy, provide jobs, and set an important precedent, establishing East Hampton as a forward-thinking government body.
    I urge the public to inform themselves thoroughly in the renewable energy field and support any and all proposals that further the production of necessary, clean power right here in our own backyard.


No More Fossil Fuels
    August 18, 2014

Dear Editor,
    I know folks are all riled up about PSEG-Long Island’s dastardly installation of the huge power poles that are marring our neighborhoods. And for their next act, they want to put unnecessary, polluting, oil-burning power plants on the East End. When will their folly cease?
    The stated goal of the Town of East Hampton is to meet 100 percent of its electricity needs with alternative energy by 2020. It expects to meet all of its energy needs, in transportation, electricity, and other sectors, with alternative energy sources including battery or other storage and equivalents, by 2050. So why would we consent to oil-burning power plants that will be obsolete in no time flat?
    I urge all to show up at the public meeting at the East Hampton Village Emergency Services Building on Aug. 26 at 5 p.m. All together now: No more fossil fuels!

    Best regards,

PSEG Energy Plan
    Barnes Landing
    August 17, 2014

Dear David,
    It was an impressively bold move when East Hampton Town passed the resolution committing to meet 100 percent of its electricity needs with renewable energy sources by 2020, and all of its energy needs by 2030. This bold step was taken in part because East Hampton knew that our local utility company, PSEG-Long Island, was currently reviewing several renewable energy projects. One proposal is for a large-scale offshore wind farm that would be hidden off Block Island. PSEG is also looking at several proposals for large-scale solar farms in East Hampton. The energy produced by these projects would immediately provide enough electricity to reach East Hampton’s 100-percent renewable goals.
    I am very concerned that PSEG will not step up and do the right thing with respect to East Hampton Town or the environment. They have spoken loudly about their new energy plan, which they call Utility 2.0. This will be the plan that guides PSEG into the future, and sadly it does not include enough clean renewable energy sources, relying instead on old fossil fuel-based plants to provide the electricity East Hampton and Long Island needs.
    It is very important that we are all aware of this energy plan, as it will have a significant impact on what life in East Hampton will be like in the future. There is a public hearing where PSEG will discuss the plan and also listen to your concerns. The meeting will be in the East Hampton Village Emergency Services Building, 1 Cedar Street, on Tuesday, Aug. 26, at 5 p.m. It’s time to tell PSEG that the residents of East Hampton are serious about renewable energy and they expect PSEG’s new energy plan to reflect this.


Tell PSEG No and Yes
    East Hampton
    August 18, 2014

Dear David,
    Earlier this year the Town of East Hampton established the historic goal of meeting 100 percent of our community’s electricity needs with renewable energy sources by 2020. This is a truly visionary step for our community, as it will diminish air pollution and mitigate climate change, keep money in our local economy, and serve as a source of inspiration and pride for our community and other towns.
    While East Hampton is working toward a sustainable energy future, PSEG-Long Island seems determined to drag us back into the fossil fuel past. According to PSEG’s Utility 2.0 plan, their vision for the future of the South Fork includes building 125 megawatts of fossil-fueled peak-power plants. Twenty-five MW are proposed for Montauk and an unspecified location and another 50 MW for the Buell substation in East Hampton. Southampton Town is slated for 50 MW.
    The truth is that we don’t need these facilities. There are multiple proposals on the table that would provide this electricity using only clean, carbon-free technologies. These proposals include more than 50 MW of large-scale solar arrays, a 210 MW offshore wind farm, and 25 MW of utility-scale battery storage.
    I encourage everyone to come to the public hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 26, at the East Hampton Village Emergency Services building, 1 Cedar Street, at 5 p.m. to tell PSEG no to more fossil fuel power plants and yes to renewable energy!

    Executive Director
    Renewable Energy Long Island

Emissions-Free Energy
    South Setauket
    August 18, 2014

To the Editor:
    PSEG’s plan to build new fossil fuel plants in East Hampton flies in the face of the township’s commitment to 100-percent renewable power in the next six years. Solar, offshore wind, and battery arrays could all provide clean, inexpensive peak power for East Hampton and all of Long Island.
    With national carbon pricing yet to materialize, East Hampton will have to spell out what dirty fuels will cost Long Islanders in health, extreme weather impacts, and lost revenue for generations. This decision affects us all.
    As a parent, I urge residents to attend the public hearing on Aug. 26 and demand that PSEG stop adding heat-trapping, climate-disrupting methane and carbon dioxide to our atmosphere. East Hampton wants to lead Long Island in improving our poor air quality, and lead the world in emissions-free energy. PSEG should help or get out of the way.


Devastating Destruction
    East Hampton
    August 18, 2014

To the Editor,
    It has now been eight months of devastating tree destruction and ugly wiring strung on our beautiful village lanes.
    King Street has been closed to traffic on and off all summer and has been potholed since January.
    Does no one have any say over PSEG?


Strong Presence Needed
    August 17, 2014

Dear David,
    Having just attended and volunteered at the first East End Climate Action Network Renewable Energy and Sustainability Fair this past Saturday in Amagansett, bringing awareness about alternatives to fossil fuels, I would like to share some pertinent information affecting our town.    
    On Tuesday, Aug. 26, at 5 p.m. a public hearing is going to be held by PSEG-Long Island. It will be at the East Hampton Village Emergency Services Building with the intent of discussing its long-range plan for our community. So far, all I have seen are unsightly and destructive tall poles being installed with little regard for residents. This, and the need for moving away from fossil fuels, indicates that a strong presence is needed at this meeting to represent concerned citizens who wish to see our utility company join forces in promoting alternative energy choices.
    The East Hampton Town Board, in fact, voted unanimously in May to meet 100 percent of communitywide needs with renewable energy sources by 2020. What a wonderful goal! East Hampton is sure to reap tremendous benefits economically and as a role model for other towns, not to mention the most important reason of all — helping our environment!


The Future for Power
    August 15, 2014

To the Editor:
    PSEG-LI’s Utility 2.0 plan is admirable for its intentions to expand solar PV power for Long Island customers. Using more clean energy technology to provide power to local customers means less fossil fuel emissions, at a time when the dangers from global warming are ever-growing.
    However, the plan also includes proposals for several peaking plants to be built in the South Fork. New natural gas plants would mean missing out on climate and air-quality benefits that renewable electricity provides. Additionally, this is exactly the wrong time, given that the Town of East Hampton has committed to generating all of its energy from renewables by 2020.
    At its hearing on Aug. 26, PSEG should consider large solar installations as the future for power in East Hampton, and look into the proposed battery-storage technology to meet peak power demand, rather than more fossil fuels.


Sustainability Goals
    East Hampton
    August 18, 2014

Dear Editor,
    Our town has made impressive strides of late on the path to true energy sustainability. We are proud that our representatives enacted the town’s new energy vision. Now we need to take action and make the investments to make it a reality. The solar park at our airport, the wind farm off Montauk Point — we are well along in the development of significant pieces of the puzzle.
    That the local utility would seek to undermine our town’s vision and place oil-burning peaker plants right in the heart of East Hampton Village is an affront to our self-determination, our energy vision, and a sustainable future. All our citizens should sit up and take notice — a significant decision will be made soon. We could be stuck with these dirty oil-fired plants for decades.
    There is a proposal for a battery energy storage facility that would cover the demands (we all can help to keep these manageable) to be met with the peaker combustion plants. Coupling this facility with the wind and solar projects, we can build what we need to reach our sustainability goals.


A Very Loud ‘No’
    East Hampton
    August 17, 2014

Dear David,
    Thank goodness, the age of climate change denial in East Hampton has ended. Our town administration has embraced the goal of renewable energy for all of our electricity by 2020, and for all of our energy needs by 2030. While this may seem like science fiction, it is actually doable, with plans in development now for a solar facility at the airport, wind farms offshore, and state-of-the-art energy storage facilities that can make these choices viable.
    We, therefore, want to be sure that PSEG executives who don’t live here don’t take us backward when we have a realistic plan for leaping forward. All concerned citizens should attend a meeting to be held Tuesday, Aug. 26, at 5 p.m. at the Emergency Services Building, 1 Cedar Street.
    One of their proposals is for fossil fuel burning peaker power plants in our town, which we would be asked to pay for through our electricity bills. PSEG needs to hear a very loud no from us — no more backward infrastructure — along with a resounding yes on taking us beyond climate disaster.
     Our town, our money. Please be there and be heard.


Bury the Lines
    East Hampton
    August 17, 2014

Dear David,
    It has been almost eight months since East Hampton was inundated with LIPA/PSEG’s race-against-time installation of massive utility poles with a high-tension transmission line that we were told was absolutely essential for the start of the summer season. Supposedly those living along the proposed line had an opportunity to let their voices be heard in September 2013, when only one public hearing was held at Village Hall, but somehow the meeting came and went with little fanfare, and the approvals were given without much, if any, due diligence into what the project exactly entailed.
    Sure, many of our electricity poles needed replacing, which was a good thing, but this wasn’t just replacing. It wasn’t until four months later, at the beginning of January, that we began to understand the depth of the issue at hand. Amid a snowstorm at the beginning of February, King Street’s towering trees had already been hacked down, and extremely wide, towering utility poles were being dropped in at a rapid pace. It was then, as a small group of concerned citizens, that we got together and began to talk and drum up noise about what was happening to our cherished streets.
    When we realized what the route was, we were speechless. Cove Hollow Road to Buell Lane Extension, north up Toilsome Lane and across the five corners to Gingerbread Lane, down King Street, hopping Newtown Lane to weave down McGuirk Street, then crossing over to Cooper Lane, venturing east down Cedar Street, cutting south onto North Main Street, cutting across to Collins Avenue, heading north down Accabonac Road, veering east all the way down Town Lane before finally turning south to Old Stone Highway, where the line would meet up with the Amagansett substation. That is the exact route — over six miles — where trees were butchered (by specific guidelines) or decimated so entirely that not even a stump remains today.
    Our village and town residential streets, small and winding, narrow in many places, were to be used for a redundant high-tension transmission line that would take power from the East Hampton substation on Cove Hollow Road to the Amagansett substation at the beginning of Old Stone Highway and Abram’s Landing Road — if the actual transmission line that runs along the railroad went down. We were appalled. How could this be happening? How could our elected officials have let this pass? We truly felt helpless by the decisions that had been made. However, we knew as a community, we could not sit by and just let it happen.
    That is exactly why the citizens’ group Save East Hampton was formed — a grassroots gathering of neighbors with big questions and concerns about what exactly was going on with the humongous utility poles and high-tension wires. Why were these poles going in at such a rapid speed? Why were trees being butchered in the process? What are the potential health and safety concerns of these poles and high wires?
    And we were not alone. It came to our attention that other similar communities, including Southampton and West Islip, had citizens who stepped forward and fought their own transmission line projects from LIPA in a major way, and successfully had those same poles removed and lines buried. That was good news for East Hampton — there is a precedent for such resolutions. Then why have we come up against such opposition, with an answer from LIPA/ PSEG that they’ll remove the poles and bury the line if “the citizens of East Hampton pay for it.”
    Simultaneously, Port Washington has been in a similar fight with PSEG. We are not alone, and we will not sit by while our town and village are run through by these unhealthy, unsightly poles and wires, poles that are 55 to 60 feet high, are not 100-percent confirmed to be “hurricane-proof,” and a high-tension transmission line that is running 20 feet from homes and bedrooms. There has to be a better solution.
    Our community was not presented with LIPA/PSEG’s big picture at the onset of this project, nor were the masses properly notified about this new project when the minimally attended meeting was held at East Hampton Village Hall last September. There have been meetings about tree lawns and the size of real estate-building-architectural signs on properties in the village that had a bigger audience. Why? Something is not right here. This is an issue that affects all of Long Island. We are all local residents who are working hard for our families. This is about our community as a whole, keeping its strong stance to do what is right for our people and our beautiful hometown. We need to band together and do what is best for our town.
    There is a difference between right and wrong, and this aboveground, redundant, high-tension transmission line is wrong. What we are fighting for is right, to bury the lines. It can be done.
    Next Tuesday, Aug. 26, at 5 p.m., there is an important meeting being held for East Hampton residents concerning the PSEG utility company and the aboveground high-tension transmission line. The meeting is open to the public and is being held at the East Hampton Village Emergency Services Building, 1 Cedar Street. Representatives from PSEG and the Department of Public Services Long Island will be there to state their long-range plan and listen to our concerns. Please attend! They need to see our faces, and hear our voices telling them to bury the lines.
    We need action now, before the next storm hits our town and we’re all really left in the dark.

    Kind regards,

Short-Term Rentals
    East Hampton
    August 18, 2014

Dear David:
    I was happy to read that something is finally being done about code violations regarding short-term rentals and excessive turnover (“Homeowners Charged in High Tenant Turnover”). The levying of stiff penalties and the online complaint forms should go a long way toward resolving this problem. Those raking in large sums of money at the expense of their neighbors need to be stopped.


Road Rage Incident
    Vancouver, B.C.
    August 13, 2014

Dear Sirs,
    I am writing in respect of your front-page story of the road rage incident involving Mr. Spoerl and Mr. Thomas J. McCabe. You report that Mr. Spoerl has been charged in this incident. Having read your April coverage of this story I am extremely surprised that Mr. McCabe has not been charged. Is this because he is a retired East Hampton police officer? I wonder if Mr. McCabe has been involved in any rage incidents in the past, perhaps when he was in uniform.


The Deer’s Troubles
    August 14, 2014

To the Editor:
    This is a bad time to be a deer.
    On July 3, the East Hampton Town Board added 294 acres for bow hunting. Bow hunting creates especially severe suffering for deer because a significant number are wounded and left to die slow, agonizing deaths.
    In addition, a new state law, sponsored by State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, could increase deer hunting during the January firearms season. Currently, the season is restricted to weekdays. The new law allows East Hampton and other Suffolk County towns to extend hunting to weekends as well. Where it is enacted, the deer will face a relentless threat to their lives. What’s more, the new state law gives towns the ability to add bow hunting to the January firearms season.  
    Nor do the deer’s troubles end here. The East Hampton Village Board and the Village Preservation Society want to hire the White Buffalo firm to capture and sterilize 100 does. The firm wants to supplement sterilization with even more hunting. According to the Aug. 14 issue of The Star, the preservation society hopes sterilization will be in conjunction with a cull.
In an Aug. 14 press release, Assemblyman Thiele says he advocates both lethal and nonlethal methods and his approach is therefore “balanced.”  Many officials make the same claim. But those of us who press for nonlethal methods want them to serve as alternatives to killing, not tacked on to increased killing.
Is all this killing necessary? Many officials say it is needed because the deer population is “exploding” and “out of control.” However, the two existing scientific surveys of our town’s deer population indicate that it declined significantly between 2006 and 2013. These findings are estimates, but they should cause officials to withdraw their hyperbole and reconsider their policies.
    On Aug. 14, the Village Preservation Society brought Thomas Rawinski of the U.S. Forest Service to a forum to present his view that deer are “decimating” our town’s woodlands. Larry Penny, the highly regarded local naturalist, disagrees. During his presentation, Mr. Rawinski also showed slides that suggest an association between deer population size and Lyme disease. But this association isn’t supported by research, so it’s difficult to know how much credibility to give to Mr. Rawinski’s other views.
    A wave of anti-deer hysteria is running through the East End. Some people are so eager to reduce the number of deer that they are even ignoring the human risks of their actions. They are allowing bow hunting to occur only 150 feet from residences and are threatening the safety of hikers on weekends.
    I urge local officials to slow down and look more closely at scientific information. They also should remember that deer, like us, have emotions, families, and want to live. Empathy and compassion are in order.

    East Hampton Group for Wildlife

Song of the Earth    
    August 15, 2014

To the Editor:
    An alarm call needs to be sounded, but not one that blasts the ears of whales to the point of death. The recent deaths of three whales in Hawaii were not due to parasites or pollution. They were caused by sonic blasts delivered by the United States Navy, which are costing the lives of hundreds of whales every year.
    In January 2009, 45 sperm whales were marooned off the coast of Tasmania. In January 2005, 33 pilot whales were beached on Oregon’s coast. In March 2009, 90 pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins were beached in Hamelin Bay, Australia. The world needs to condemn the Navy’s use of sonar. They need to alter their ways. The paranoia of the Cold War still haunts us. Our military acts of folly are destroying the largest beings on earth! We supposedly need to defend ourselves. From what? From an ocean that could become largely lifeless this century? Playing Cassandra is not fun, but we as a species have become deaf to the song of the earth.
    A few months ago, our son Lysander touched and kissed a gray whale on the head in Baja California. It was assuredly among the most sacred and ineffable exchanges between two species that can be had on this planet. What is remarkable is that the gray whales allow us to do this. It is as if a truce had been achieved. It is as if they knew that we are not all wanton killers. If is as if we had been forgiven. We almost exterminated them utterly from the face of the earth. It began in the 19th century. Tens of thousands were exterminated, and then in the early 20th century a moratorium on whaling was passed.
    We in essence are being asked to meet the whales halfway. When the gray whales of Baja urge their babies to touch us, the bond is an exchange, a communion of the most transcendent order. Their minds incarnate the purest example of the psyche of Creation and inhabit our subconscious like no other group of beings. For we all originally came from the sea.
    What would Cousteau say if he were alive? He is not, but I have heard Paul Watson speaking out like a depth charge of conscience against the violent insanity of human mindlessness. It was when a sperm whale was dying, in a maelstrom of blood. The whale looked at Paul and his crew, who could not save the great being from the Russian harpoon, two generations ago. It started to sink and in that act shot a terrifying look of pity — not for itself, but for the human race. And then Watson realized humans had gone completely mad.
    The Russians were using whale oil to lubricate I.C.B.M. nuclear missiles. Now is the time to awaken. There are stirrings that the Japanese would rather see whales in the wild than on their dinner plates. The Russians have ceased their slaughter. That leaves Iceland and Norway and the shenanigans of the U.S. Navy and its military inferiority complex as the main whale-destroyers. Who exactly is the enemy? Do we really need to knock out the life force while trying to preserve the American way of strife?
    In one of the “Star Trek” films, future earthlings come back to earth and communicate with the humpbacks. In Baja, the whales urge us to commune because they need to affirm their place in the world and they know we desperately, desperately need to make contact as well. This exchange is a baptism no religion can match. The whales are the monarchs of the oceans and they have been for tens of millions of years. We can search for life elsewhere but it is essentially a misguided endeavor. Life is here on earth like nowhere else. And even if those special someones exist out there, they will wonder what kind of creatures humans are, or were, to have dismantled a miracle called earth. We are exhibiting incredible ontological bipolarity. Do we want to cherish life to destroy it? Why? We have found life here on earth and it is irreplaceable.
    Roger Payne, the whale expert, reminded us in “Among Whales” that no Shakespeare, Van Gogh, or Beethoven could ever make amends for what we have done to the life force. Creation stares us in the face and asks to change course now. We are literally playing the violin while Rome burns, and Rome is not classical antiquity, it is the entire chalice and fabric of life. Roger reminds us that if earth should lose the life force because of humans, Creation might have to decide that humans are a species that should never have been! If we are so special, why are we knocking the life force senselessly? Everyone should do what he or she can to let the Navy know that a lifeless ocean is not in our best interest. Who indeed is the enemy? Maybe the enemy lies not outside the gates of Rome but within.
    If we should lose the whales and the elephants, who are being cruelly executed and butchered for trinkets and baubles, then this century, this decade in fact, represents our last chance at redeeming ourselves. In a purely manmade world, there is no room for man either, as the great French visionary writer Romain Gary once expressed.
    It is time humanity acted as an adult species, as opposed to the belligerent, war-mongering, desecrators of life we have become. The next five years are absolutely critical to the life force as we have known it. It is only a little more than a century and a half that Darwin marveled at life and evolution. And what on earth have we done in that time? Mommy, Daddy, what’s a whale? What’s an elephant? What’s a bee? Otherwise the children will never forgive us.


Bagel Combo
    East Hampton
    August 7, 2014

Dear Editor,
    The bagel store in Wainscott is named Twice Upon a Bagel. Its predecessor in Port Washington was named Once Upon a Bagel. I have shopped in both over the years, though during the last four years I have switched almost exclusively to the superior product and reasonable prices at Goldberg’s family bagel store on Route 27 in East Hampton. 
    The Wainscott version sells mediocre bagels and unfresh tuna fish at outrageous prices. It was convenient one day and we purchased two bagels with tuna. Cost? $11 each. Now that is out of all perspective, even for East Hampton, and especially if you have to throw away your purchase because it tastes awful, as we had to. But we were in a hurry and had no choice.
    We later found the bagel combo with tuna at Goldberg’s on a much better, properly made, bagel for $7.50 and it was, happily, edible.
    My prediction? Twice Upon a Bagel will soon be Once Upon a Time.


Discussion of Opinions
    East Hampton
    August 12, 2014

Dear Editor,
    It appears that “succinct, rational, and logical renditions of facts appearing in letters to the editor” do not apply the author Richard Higer when those facts do not agree with his own personal beliefs. I would like to clarify some facts that Mr. Higer surmised from his response to my dissent of Barack Obama’s presidency.
    I do not watch the news on television except News 12 for the weather, and I do not believe I have ever personally turned on “Fox Faux News.” I also do not listen to the “phony right-wing . . . talk radio hosts”; in fact, judging from comments and articles I read and the rare occasion of having listened to him, I consider Rush Limbaugh a drug-addled lunatic, and of any of the other talk radio hosts I have no opinion. In short, your comments are factually incorrect.
    I do read a lot, however, and among my daily list are financial newspapers and financial newsletters. One is not likely to read these unless heavily vested in the stock market, so I did not miss out on the rebounding economy as you incorrectly surmised. What this reading does tell me is, this has been the slowest recovery since World War II ended, almost 70 years ago. Our economy still suffers from weak investment, with modest productivity gains that measure G.D.P. growth consistently below 3 percent, with only last month ranking above 4 percent for the first time since the recession ended in 2009. Before the recession, G.D.P. was pegged at 5.6 percent, which is about double what we have averaged since then.
    Employment growth has been med­iocre, with the real unemployment rate pegged at 12.2 percent when you include the people who have stopped looking for work. In fact, the labor participation rate is about 62.8 percent, which means 37.2 percent of the eligible work force is not participating; this is a 36-year low, not seen since the Carter administration in 1978.
    Many of these new jobs are unskilled, low wage, and part time; less than 30 hours weekly to avoid Obamacare mandates. In fact, a new Wall Street Journal poll concludes that half of our country still thinks we are in a recession, and just this week the Fed’s No. 2, Stanley Fisch­er, called this economic recovery “disappointing.”
    It would seem that a very great number of Americans have not had the same experience and benefit from this economic recovery as your portfolio.
    The point of my letter was that the big picture under President Obama is not nearly as rosy as you would have us to believe in your almost weekly obsequious tributes. Dissent, support, and discussion of opinions are the purpose of any newspaper’s letters to the editor. I asked for factual support on a list of issues that this administration is reeling under, which you seem to either ignore or consider drivel unworthy of your thoughtful response. One “commenter doesn’t seem to have a clue,” another is “too far gone and misinformed” to be educated to your line of reasoning.
    Bea Derrico has voiced some very legitimate concerns on Russia, national defense, immigration, and border security, and yet you mock her-us dissenters as being unworthy of a response. Wow! Independent thought is not to be considered in the world of Richard Higer if it disagrees with his worldview or interferes with his golf game.
    As I stated in my letter that you disparage, I am neither a Republican nor a “Repuglican.” Though an infrequent contributor to these pages, during the Bush years I managed several letters objecting to his handling of the Iraq war, which I was dead set against from my first letter, about one week after the invasion. I also objected to his handling of the economy, where he squandered a $63 billion Clinton surplus into a Bush-years $3.29 trillion deficit. Now President Obama blows those fiscal numbers out of the water with a $5 trillion deficit in his first term alone!
    I am an equal-opportunity dissenter who relies on facts and not party affiliation or partisan blather. I am not registered with any political party. Though I vote every election, I do not vote a party line. I vote for the candidate who addresses the issues of current concern.
    What I do find repugnant is the partisan political divide that exists now, and absolutely nothing seems to get done any longer. Both Democrats and Republicans are guilty of this, and any meaningful discourse seems to get lost in the reflexive partisan knee-jerk along party lines. Politics has become infected with ideologues and no one is willing to listen any longer, consequently statesmanship is all but lost in our political process.
    People should be able to disagree about life’s choices and still be able to carry on a constructive discourse with those with whom they are of a different mind. A few facts to support one’s claims are helpful to the process, Mr. Higer. You might try it sometime.


The Killing Frenzy
    East Hampton
    August 16, 2014

To the Editor:
    There is something essentially deranged with the male species in today’s world. Men are essentially violent, but give them a dose of religion and they redefine the term barbaric. Their need to kill, especially women and children, seems to overwhelm all the societal prohibitions, moral disciplines, and masculine identification. In so many parts of the world — Ukraine, Gaza, Syria, Africa, and Iraq — the death tolls of women and children, mostly innocents, are worn like badges of courage by the men in those conflicts.
    In Gaza almost 85 percent of the population are children under the age of 15 and women. Any conflict in Gaza guarantees their deaths. Yet Hamas, in what has become the typical religious cowardice of Jihadist fighters, continually exposes these women and children to attacks from Israel and then asks them to accept the bombs and bullets and live as martyrs in another life.
    Israel, for its part, plays the game and exposes its women and children to a constant barrage of missiles, giving itself the excuse to attack and destroy Hamas one more time. Forty-seven years after the Six-Day War they still haven’t figured out how to make peace, and the only real change is the sophistication of their weapons and the misery of the people of Gaza.
    The question for both Hamas and Israel is, what’s wrong with you? How bloody stupid can you be and for how many more decades will you continue?
    The imbecilic belief that God gives us the right to kill each other is easily trumped by the idea that God’s existence is hardly a sure thing. The 21st century seems to belong to Islamic insanity, but one doesn’t have to look far to find similar behavior by Christians and Hindus, etc. etc. Nothing in Islam allows for the killing and violence of the Jihadists. It is as absurd as killing for Jesus.
    We feed the killing frenzy by supplying arms to everyone who can pay for them and providing credit to those who can’t. Obama trots out “protecting American interests” and he seems no different from Bush Jr. Clearly, the nuanced differences make little difference in their behavior. It’s the cycle of stupid that makes killing okay. It’s “for their own good,” or, “we are stopping the genocide.” Or, we know that 7,000 ISIS soldiers are too strong for the 400,000 Iraqi army and police force that we’ve trained for seven years.
    What most people want is a home, some food, a job, and a chance for their children to prosper. They don’t really care about politics or religion. Life is far simpler than historical and ideological claptrap. Let Israel share its wealth with Gaza and the West Bank. Take our $3 billion and create schools and industry and help people to have a better life. Bribe them into the good life and then battle out the territory as equals, where everyone has something to lose.
    Killing may make us feel more manly, more secure, in the intellectual rabbit holes of our lives. But killing, as history has shown us, only breeds more killing, not less.