Letters to the Editor: 07.09.15

Our readers' comments

This Town’s in Trouble


July 5, 2015

Dear David,

Just a few thoughts coming off the Fourth of July weekend:

Litter in our streets.

Disregard for our neighborhood’s peace and quiet.

Get out of my way.

Destruction to public and private property.

Road rage.

Plastic signs littering our roadways.

Music till all hours.

Overcrowded bars, clubs, and restaurants.

Disrespect for our police force.

Speeding, dirty taxicabs.

Ten weeks to “make it,” regardless of the impact.

Public drinking, everywhere.

Illegal rentals, thank you Airbnb and the like.

Loud, obnoxious idiots.

Yellow light means go faster. Red light means go even faster.

Public urination.

Yelling, screaming, and fighting.

Lewd, drunken behavior.

Discarded beach fires, garbage and all.

Me first.

Honking car horns.

Leave it worse than how I found it.

I can cross the street anywhere, any time.

Illegal fireworks everywhere.

Driving down parking lanes and shoulders.

I live here; you work here.

Petty emergency calls taxing our volunteers.

I can park anywhere.

Nonstop barking dogs.

Parking in front of fire hydrants, handicapped spots, and crosswalks is okay if flashers are on.

I will pay any price for anything.

Cellphones everywhere.

My party is bigger, louder, and lasts longer than yours.

Driving straight in turning lanes.

I want more. I deserve more. I can buy more; You can’t.

Disregard for our businesses’ employees.

Do not yield to anyone no matter what.

How much is the ticket? My daddy is a lawyer. He’ll take care of it.

Yield to me. I’m on my cellphone, and I’m important.

Bars stay open until 4 a.m. 7-Eleven sells beer 24/7, except for a few hours on Sunday morning. We can keep this party going, especially if we plan appropriately.

Partyers passed out on our streets and lawns.

Shoppers with rotten kids, kids with rotten parents.

So what?

Nothing to do but drink and party.

Hit me with your car, I dare you.

Blue lights, green lights, and red lights are emergency responders.

I don’t care about my neighbors as long as I have fun.

Right turns never require stopping, even at red lights.

Drinking on our beaches.

Do you know who I am?

Do you who my father is?

Do I care?

I can park in the fire lane. I’m special.

Open alcohol in cabs and cars.

Tables and chairs crowding our sidewalks.

I don’t have to be up early to go to work.

If I get behind the ambulance I can get to Southampton faster.

Nothing good happens after midnight.

No one in my neighborhood deserves peace and quiet.

You are here to serve me.

No meaningful employment for our young and elderly.

The summer of 2015 has begun.

This town’s in trouble.



‘We Have Had Enough’


July 6, 2015

To the Editor:

Over the last few weeks I have heard story after story from people who live, work, and raise families in Montauk about how out of control our town has become.

How they feel there is no one listening; a seemingly complete lack of attention to our many voices asking who do we turn to, what do we have to do to be heard?

It’s time we organize. I am asking all to please join a campaign that has just begun. Fight for Montauk.

How did it become permissible to allow clubs like Sloppy Tuna, the Montauk Beach House, Ruschmeyer’s, etc., to blare music so loud that it can be heard, almost perfectly, blocks and blocks away? These clubs are next to houses, in neighborhoods — how is this condoned?

I worked in the Sloppy Tuna in the ’70s. On those hot, still, summer evenings when the police came and said we had to turn the music down because of complaints, the owners complied. They did not want to be shut down. What’s changed? Who gave these people the right to disturb the peace for up to a mile or more in each direction? Who gave them the right? Our laws are supposed to support the local residents’ wishes. Who gave them the right to allow this to continue?

Our local government and, by proxy, our police department.

The trash, the drunken, obnoxious, loud, rude crowd. The aggressive taxi drivers. This permissive attitude our town leaders have allowed and accepted must stop!

Block Island, similar in size to Montauk with a huge influx of summer tourists, has set up five zones. Each taxi has a map showing the zones and set prices. Why can’t we? How much easier can it be? Take away the silly prices they are being allowed to charge, and they will go away.

Not enough police or enforcement? When Sturgis, S.D., has its huge motorcycle weeks, it advertises for and hires extra off-duty, vacationing, and retired police. Why can’t we?

Group rentals: Don’t we have laws? Some locals are telling horror stories of their peace and quiet ruined every weekend. Why? Where is the enforcement? We will support heavy-handed fines and policing to eliminate these problems.

We want a town attorney who knows we support strong action. We want a lion, not the Cowardly Lion.

We have been asking for years now for help. Where is it?

Talk of some form of acts of civil disobedience is being heard more and more often these days. Some interesting ideas; some just mean.

You can hear discussions of support for acts of local justice as we cannot get help.

We have had enough.

All those who feel similarly please sign onto the Fight for Montauk campaign started by a few local families.

We will be organizing a demonstration in the very near future to discuss our options. Together we can accomplish a few things. Together.

It’s time to stop talking, complaining, lying down and letting this happen to our town. It’s not too late, as I have heard some say. We need the leaders to hear us. Maybe they haven’t because the music is too damn loud.

I hope they start listening and changing. We are Montauk.

For a good season and a better town,


Illegal Visitors


July 3, 2015

Dear David:

In last week’s Star, Matt Harnick of East Hampton highlighted problems caused by too many visitors on weekends. Montauk has that problem all week! The cause is too many illegal visitors. How do I know they are illegal? These people don’t come for only a day; if they did there would be traffic jams westbound on Friday and Saturday nights.

Since these problems began, there have been few additional motel rooms built. Where are they staying? The problems exist because we have failed to stop illegal rentals, group homes, shares, etc. These illegals often make it dangerous to safely use the roads our taxes support. Our shallow water supply is being pushed to the limit, with no relief in sight. These are but a few of the unintended consequences of failing to enforce town codes.

Our board members and supervisor were elected to solve problems. They seem to listen well, but they have failed to act. Here are several cost-effective changes that they can make to mitigate this problem.

1. Change the code to prohibit three short-term rentals in 15 months, versus the current six-month limit.

2. Since it takes three violations before action is taken, the fines should be stiffer. Fines should be multiples of the accessed evaluation of the house. This helps keep the fine proportional to the offense.

3. Train volunteers to assist our overworked code enforcement officers and allow their testimony to be presented in court.

4. The town should place frequent notices in all the local papers and magazines. The notice should explain what constitutes a violation, also when and how to notify code enforcement that a possible housing violation exists.

`5. It wasn’t the town board’s fault, but fix the code enforcement form reporting system.


P.S. On this July Fourth, I want to thank my wife, Terry, for putting up with me for 45 years.

A Sense of Place


July 6, 2015

Dear David,

Those of us who fight to maintain a sense of place for Montauk that even vaguely recalls what has made this place so special are often accused of unreasonably trying to hold on to the past. Anti-development, afraid of change, elitists, obstructionists, and environmentalists (when did this become a pejorative term?) — this is how the new (and many of the old) breed casts us.

But I see it differently, more like trying to help an elegant lady who is suffering from cancer.


Under the Bus


July 6, 2015

Dear Editor,

Past East Hampton Town Boards have thrown areas of our town under the bus by allowing illegally overcrowded houses to exist in single-family residential neighborhoods.

Recent administrations kept us under the bus, and, left unattended, the situation spread and deteriorated further.

Our current board vowed, prior to their election, that they would do much more. We spoke; they listened. Some meager efforts were made and we believed they had good intentions. However, you don’t get the prize for good intentions. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

How about this? Before the next election and the next obligatory listening tour, get us out from under the bus and vigorously enforce our laws and initiate new legislation necessary to resolve a condition that has been festering and disregarded for far too long.

Think Springs!


‘I Know Where You Live’

East Hampton

July 3, 2015

To the Editor,

Getting back home from my morning rounds, I back into my driveway and hear someone screaming something that I can’t decipher. A bicyclist pulls into my driveway screaming every foul-mouthed epithet that a woefully immature misogynistic chauvinist bully could spew. His riding partner catches up and pulls in behind him; she tries to appease him but his tirade escalates as I open my door to escape the danger he threatens. He is completely out of control and in full-blown rage as I try to get away from him. Just as I’m getting into the house, she literally pulls him back on to the street. As she gets him to ride away, he yells, “I know where you live.”

And my security system has your outburst on video, I thought.

I don’t know what ignited this man-child, but I do know that he is dangerous and potentially deadly to women everywhere he goes, because clearly he has frightening psychological issues related to women. Rage is never in control. Tragically, he was removed from the situation by a woman who is as equally at risk as I feel myself to be now.

I called 911 to report the incident as a hate crime. The officer who took the report could not have been more reassuring or more professional. In these times of daily crimes due to hate and reports of officers responding inappropriately, it’s nice to know that our local police are there for us, even as we all have to contend with people from outside our community violating common decency and respect for one another.


The Green Betties

East Hampton

June 25, 2015

Dear East Hampton Star,

It’s me again. I just had a very odd experience on Main Street: I stopped to let a pedestrian cross in the crosswalk by the bank and he still had trouble. Maybe it was because he didn’t use the alert lights (which very few people use anyway) that no other cars stopped for him. What was puzzling was that there was one of those traffic people in the fluorescent green shirts who have appeared in our town for the past few summers.

I’ve been thinking of them as Green Betties, based on the slang term Brown Betty, which was applied to meter maids (for the very young, they wore brown uniforms and were almost always women). This particular Green Betty was standing not 10 feet away and watched the whole incident like a spectator. This really puzzled me because last year I had a very different experience with them. They were working in pairs and they actually made both driving and crossing the street more haphazard. On one particular occasion, there was no traffic and I started to cross — in the crosswalk — after having used the lights (we paid for them, we should use them), only to be stopped by a Green Betty.

I should note that I was in a bit of a hurry, but I could see there was no danger, so I simply ignored her. I’ve lived in this town for 47 years and have crossed Main Street thousands of times with no help from anyone and never even had a close call. What I really did not like was that she was incredibly bossy. Now, a year later, at the same crosswalk, a person who really needed help crossing got none whatsoever.

First of all, it disgusts me that I seem to be one of only a handful of drivers who actually stop for people in crosswalks without any prompting. This is a habit that was drilled into me by three separate driving instructors. Second, I would applaud the appearance of the signal lights if they worked, but drivers ignore them and pedestrians don’t use them (I don’t think they even realize they’re there or what they’re for). Instead, I call it an expensive mess. Third, I can’t understand the purpose of the Green Betties, other than to mark tires. They have no authority to dispense tickets, and when they do intervene it often simply makes a bad situation worse.

The bottom line is that we have a very serious and complex traffic problem in this town, much of which consists of the fact that pedestrians, bicycles, skateboarders, rollerbladers, and cars have all got it into their heads that rules don’t apply to them and/or that they should be allowed to do whatever they want, whenever they want.

In past letters I have remarked that not all roads are bicycle-friendly, and that includes the lion’s share of our local roads. The reason is not just that they were never designed to accommodate both cars and bicycles but that both drivers and cyclists completely ignore the regulations that would allow them to share such roads safely. The same applies to walking around East Hampton. Cyclists are allowed to ride on sidewalks despite a village ordinance to the contrary (there’s a small sign at the corner of Newtown Lane and Main Street if you don’t believe me). Pedestrians don’t use crosswalks. When they do, cars often refuse to stop for them — which is a state law, for crying out loud.

My point is that the Village of East Hampton is getting worse where traffic is concerned. And every summer, the visiting population rises and only exacerbates the problem. It’s time to look at the problem with some kind of logic and sanity, not through lenses colored by dollar signs. As I’ve said many times, I may live in East Hampton, but I don’t shop here much, mostly because it’s so dangerous to walk around the place. Even if you follow the rules, most others don’t, and that’s the problem.

As to the Green Betties, they seem to have been rendered pretty much impotent, and I’m not sure what their function is other than to get in the way. I wish I could be kinder about this, but after several years of having them around, I just don’t see the point of them. What we really need are more actual traffic cops. Our police know what they are doing when it comes to traffic control.

As for enforcement of certain village ordinances, I know for a fact that they have been told not to enforce them (e.g., stopping the riding of bicycles, rollerblades, and skateboards on our sidewalks). Thus the fault lies with the village board, not the police.

Once again, thanks for reading.



Jury Duty Summons

Sag Harbor

June 23, 2015

Dear Editor:

“Your failure to attend may subject you to a fine or imprisonment, or both.” This is the closing sentence on my jury duty summons for the East Hampton court. I get it, it is our civic responsibility to comply, but I am very unhappy with how it is being handled by our town.

First we are told to call after 4 p.m. the day before the court date to confirm attendance. When you call the number it is not working properly, and we are left with the concern and anxiety that we may have a problem.

Then, once you arrive at the courthouse and you find the entrance, you see a sign on the door that says the doors are closed at 3 p.m. Wow, what hours, how do I get a job like this? There is nothing on the doors that says when the courthouse is open for business. Why is that?

We all start showing up with the same concern about the telephone system. Most of us are over 60 years old; one woman was over 80. We are left to stand at the entrance and just wait and wonder. You would think with all the taxeswe pay, and all the money that is being collected by parking fee violations, the town could at least have the courtesy to place some benches outside the courthouse so people could sit and wait, but there is no place to sit other than on the curb.

When someone does open the doors around 8:30 a.m., she is surprised to see us waiting and says there is no need to be there as the trial has been delayed, and ‘Didn’t you get the message?’ What message? There was no message. To add insult to injury, apparently 150 people were called. Some of them gave up a day’s work and would lose pay.

This is no way to run an operation. Someone should be taken to task over this. Worst case, the town should at least place some benches outside the entrance so people can rest while they wait for the incompetence and inefficiency of the courthouse to improve. What a disgrace!



Quality-of-Life Issues

East Hampton

July 6, 2015

Dear David:

Last week brought some good news to East Hampton residents. The court’s decision to uphold the town’s newly imposed curfews at the East Hampton airport means that the community will no longer be disturbed by noisy aircraft during nighttime or early morning hours. My home is located quite close to the airport, and there was a dramatic change this past weekend, in that we were able to enjoy peace and quiet until after 9 a.m. This was a welcome change from the noise of helicopters and other loud aircraft that we’ve been subjected to on an ongoing basis.

The second bit of good news was in relation to local taxi service.  Cracking down on Uber, which was operating in violation of the town’s taxi legislation, inspired our local cab companies to create their own app-driven system providing enhanced service at reasonable rates.

The fact that the town stood tough on these quality-of-life issues (rather than being intimidated by large corporate entities) speaks well of our leaders.


Anti-Free Market

East Hampton

July 6, 2015

Dear Editor,

Your headline of July 2 “Optimism as Overnight Curfew Begins” would be better suited to your editorial page. The online headline, “Sweet Dreams as Overnight Curfew Begins,” is different from the one in print, causing me to wonder if the headline itself was given second thought.

Given that in the body of the article, your own reporting conveys, “The court recognizes that a large portion of these complaints came from a small number of households,” it occurs to me that the “Optimism” in your headline is either that of those few households or purely speculative.

On the same page A1, you chronicle the town’s most recent settlement in its battle with Uber. These two articles on  page A1 speak perfectly to the state of East Hampton Town government.

I feel that the town is increasingly becoming anti-free market. And in the case of Uber, protectionist at the expense of safety.

If The Star seeks to take this side of the argument, in cases like the airport battle, I would urge that this commentary be reserved for your editorial pages and that your headlines more accurately reflect the body of your stories and the facts.


A Safe Ride Home

East Hampton

July 2, 2015

Dear Editor,

I was dismayed to see that East Hampton banned Uber from our streets. One would think that past years have taught us that drunken driving is pervasive during the winter months and summer season. Between banning Uber because of what appears to be a myopic fear of change or extreme xenophobia, their total lack of regulation of the taxi industry, and their failure to provide basic public transportation, the East Hampton Town Board has single-handedly made it impossible to find or afford a safe ride home.

There is no rational reason to ban Uber. Taxis here are flooded with riders in the summer; just try to get a ride home past 10 p.m. this weekend and you’ll see what I mean. Worse, local taxi companies are completely unaffordable for locals. East Hampton makes no effort to regulate prices, and taxis won’t give a straight answer when you ask how much your ride will cost. In most other places with cab companies, a safe ride home costs about as much as a round of drinks.

If East Hampton wants to encourage our young residents to take cabs and be safe, it absolutely must either allow Uber or regulate the taxi industry by getting more cars on the road and requiring reasonable and predictable fares.



Lurking and Camping

East Hampton

July 5, 2015

Dear David,

Three cheers for Larry Cantwell for taking on Uber and not folding. We have an elected official who did the right thing and shut down a business that decided not to abide by our town code. Again, three cheers.

Now, I have been reading and there are people who disagree. They believe Uber should be allowed to operate because it provides a needed service. Seems like everyone and his brother is operating a cab, but still we need more? Uber chose to leave because it did not want the burden of an office here in town. These Uber people lurk in the shadows waiting for a pickup. I had several lurking around my own street and am glad they are gone. At least for now.

Did anyone look to see who was in favor of Uber? I did. Again, it was the “people from away.” People who clutch a smartphone as if it were an oxygen tank. One such person was Jerry Della Femina. He wrote a very negative article in his newspaper about Larry Cantwell, fueled by an incident that happened some 20 years ago. His rantings went on to the point that Uber and Uber alone would stop drunken driving. “Without Uber someone will try to drive when they’re in no condition to drive.” What a spin to put on the action of a local official enforcing our town code.

I’ll throw my own spin out there: If not for carpetbaggers like Jerry Della Femina and his gang of restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, and snake oil salesmen, we would still have a fairly quiet town. Remember the movie “Field of Dreams”? “If you build it, they will come.” Well, just look around and see what the carpetbaggers have accomplished!

Then we have Uber itself making the announcement that its riders “will be unable to get reliable safe rides in any part of East Hampton out to Montauk.” What a bunch of crap! And then there was you. You can’t compare Uber drivers to tradespeople. The tradespeople come, park on private property (mostly) do a job, and leave. The Uber drivers lurk around, adding to the traffic congestion and camping alongside the road! No comparison.

Thanks again, Larry Cantwell. Push back, push hard. May be our only way to survive.

Yours to command,


Francis Fleetwood


July 5, 2015

Dear Mr. Rattray,

I wanted to take the opportunity to remember Francis Fleetwood.

When I first came out to this community several years ago, with a mind to buy a home, I became aware that it was heavily influenced by conceptions of what is “best” and “preferred.” What’s the best beach? Lobster roll? Martini? Fishing boat? Golf course? Who’s the best builder? Car mechanic? Landscape designer? Private chef?

I bought a two-bedroom, 1,800-square-foot house on Old Montauk Highway in Amagansett in 1987 for $260,000. Whatever the best was, in any department, wasn’t really on my mind back then. But when I bought my current home and needed to find an architect to create a new and compatible addition to expand that old house, only one name was discussed. And thus my subsequent friendship with Francis and Stephanie (and their dogs) began.

Francis Fleetwood created my home. I wanted to tear it to the ground, thinking that historic preservation might best be left to governments and trusts. But Francis convinced me that we could marry an old farmhouse to an architecturally harmonious addition and create something desirable.

Francis, along with the builder, Jeffrey Colle, achieved something very special, as far as I am concerned. And although I am renovating again, to accommodate the needs of my two young children, we are managing to save a nice section of the old house as a, now that I think about it, form of tribute to Francis and his philosophy.

Francis was an elegant, soft-spoken gentleman. An old-school artist who created houses in this area that will outlive any hedge fund, any clothing store, the memory of any storm, or any of us and ours. Fleetwood is as synonymous with the East End as corn crops along roads with black-and-white signs that bear the number 27. As ice-filled, little plastic cups being sipped by a fire on the beach. As long lines for groceries. As sunsets collapsing over sea, sand, and yards  traversed by salty dogs and saltier kids.

My thoughts go out to Stephanie. I’m sad about her husband’s passing, a great man who made this community so special. 


Bulldozing a Dune


July 6, 2015

Dear Editor:

The town board held a hearing last week at which several proponents of parking on the fragile and precious South Flora dune ecosystem continued to use the phrases “right of way” or “unpaved eastern side” of Dolphin Drive to avoid acknowledging that what we are really talking about is bulldozing a dune.

Call it whatever you want, but the section where the proposed parking would be placed is sand, anchored by dune grass, harboring endangered species, and serving as the buffer protecting my neighborhood against severe storms. Please refer to the draft South Flora Management Plan for a description of how vegetation would be removed and “compressed stone dust made from local stones” is recommended as a paving material for 5,000 square feet of dune (page 13).

The nature preserve committee’s proposal to pave part of South Flora contradicts other admirable actions recently taken by the town to protect the dunes of East Hampton and of my area, Napeague, such as “participation in the Emergency Watershed Protection Program and the appointment of a Coastal Resiliency Project Advisory Committee.”

This is an ill-advised, environmentally destructive plan and should be rejected.


Step Into the Light

East Hampton

July 3, 2015

Dear David,

I am a local recreational fisherman and taxpayer. I attended the East Hampton Town Board meeting held right before the Fourth of July, where parking at Dolphin Drive was discussed. I was so moved by what was said there that I felt inspired to write this poem, best recited in the cadence of “The Night Before Christmas” — that will make up for some fudged rhymes along the way.

’Twas just before the Fourth, when elitists and activists did gather

Those representing fair access asking old town, what’s the matter?

Those against access, kindly spare us your blather.

Seeking only what’s fair, some came to make bargain

Activists begged in their unshakable jargon.

Come Larry, Come Peter, Kathy, Sylvia, and Fred —

Strike a blow for public access, not elitism instead!


Eight million in public monies spent for Dolphin Preserve

So the public’s right to access is what you must protect and serve

Forbidding us 12 parking spaces on Dolphin’s east side is feckless

When a fisher gets hit crossing the highway, they’ll sue you for being reckless!


What’s really the argument for banning these spots?

We can still keep paradise and have a small parking lot.

What we’re hearing is ludicrous, self-serving jive

Old guys like me, you can still keep alive. Walking 1,000 feet? No, thanks — most families prefer to drive!


Don’t ever be intimidated by a big, grouchy lawyer

Stick up for what’s right, strike a blow for convenient and safe public access, and all town will adore ya!


Come Larry, Come Peter, Kathy, Sylvia, and Fred,

The public’s hunger for a safe place to park needs to be fed!

Forget the campaign funds and golfing friendships some seek

Your betrayal of the public’s trust this election year would make you look ever so weak!


Don’t be led astray by forces of dark

Search your hearts and please find a way to let us park

We all beseech you, step into the light

Provide parking for seniors, families, sportspeople, and the disabled — it’s only right!


Hope this poem makes everyone think.


Why Are We Spraying?

East Hampton

June 20, 2015

Dear David,

Suffolk County Vector Control has one of the most aggressive mosquito-control programs in the Northeast and has routinely sprayed and applied a variety of chemicals throughout the county since 1934. Starting in the mid-’90s, vector control has sprayed the Accabonac and Napeague Harbor areas with the biopesticide methoprene, and the chemical pesticides resmethrin and sumithrin around Beach Hampton and Cedar Point.

In 1999, West Nile virus was identified in New York City, and today the virus has been reported in all 48 contiguous states. Alarming, but keep in mind that 70 to 80 percent of human West Nile infections present with no symptoms, meaning people don’t know they have it, and become immune to further infection. Less than 1 percent of infected persons develop serious complications, which are certainly problematic, but does it warrant the prophylactic spraying of our marshlands with questionable agents that pose health and environmental hazards under the guise of the protection of public health?

The New York State Department of Health tested 13,059 saltwater mosquito pools for the West Nile virus between 2000 and 2007 and found no incidence of diseased mosquitoes. While all mosquitoes are capable of transmitting disease, the primary West Nile vector in our area is Culex pipiens, the common house mosquito, which breeds in fresh water. Why are our saltwater marshlands being routinely sprayed with controversial materials that are banned or restricted in three nearby states?

The finding of methoprene and resmethrin in living, dead, and dying lobsters in 2012 may have been the catalyst that caused Connecticut to enact restrictions in 2013. Years ago, areas of Rhode Island and Maine also passed laws against the use of the same chemicals used by Suffolk County Vector Control. New York City banned the use of methoprene back in 2001. These chemicals pose broad non-target impacts and have a serious, negative effect on many species.

These chemicals kill stuff, yet vector control claims they are safe. Why does that agency stubbornly refuse to change its practices, and why aren’t our local leaders vehemently objecting and crafting a comprehensive plan to reduce mosquitoes through education, larval control, aggressive removal of standing water sources, monitoring and restoration of marsh hydrology, and enhancement of fish and wildlife habitat to provide effective biological mosquito control?

Where does the public stand on this issue? Can we all come together like the folks at Georgica Pond did, to help save our environment and reduce or eliminate the county’s use of toxic chemicals in our community, or do we allow this to continue?

Back in 2007, amid much controversy, the multimillion-dollar Suffolk County Mosquito Control Plan was adopted, and each fall, 18 county legislators review (and approve) Vector Control’s “Plan of Work” for the following year. The Council on Environmental Quality, a 10-member appointed board established in 1970 to advise the Suffolk County executive and Legislature on issues that impact the quality of the environment (among other things) recommended that the county deny the plan because of the high potential for negative consequences to our marine life and wetlands. The council studied the plan and its components for over two years, and along with other recommendations, urged that chemical pesticides and biopesticides should only be used for public health emergencies, but not routinely, nor for nuisance control. Our elected legislators ignored their advice and adopted the plan; subsequently four members of the council resigned in protest.

The plan seeks to control mosquito populations and includes public education, integrated marsh and water management, biological control, and the application of pesticides. An integrated approach to pest management is certainly the most effective and environmentally conscious way to control mosquitoes and protect public health, and public education and participation is an integral component to any plan.

Suffolk County Vector Control is not following the plan! The public is not being informed how to reduce mosquito populations around their home or how to avoid getting bit. There are no biological control efforts or marsh management projects planned for our community, even though the county received $1.3 million in Sandy funding for integrated marsh management work.

The Towns of Babylon, Islip, and Brookhaven will receive these funds, which makes no sense to me since East Hampton and Southampton are the most vocal opponents of vector control’s pesticides, and are home to the two largest commercial fishing ports in New York State. Our economy is driven by our estuarine and marine environments. Our quality of life, commercial and recreational fisheries, and tourism all depend on healthy, fully functioning marine ecosystems. There has been a steady decline in water quality both globally and locally, which affects us all.

Why is it okay for vector control to directly discharge toxic pollutants into fragile marshlands and water bodies? The marshlands (and the public) are routinely sprayed by their helicopters, with little to no notice, because by law, the county is not required to provide public notification for aerial larviciding. How is this protecting the public? Seems to me the only component of the plan that is being followed in our community is the application of pesticides to our most environmentally sensitive areas!

The 2007 plan states the goal of a 75- percent reduction of Vector Control’s use of pesticides over 10 years, yet larvicide treatments in 2014 were up 56 percent from 2013. As of June 9, 2015, there were no West Nile virus infections in mosquitoes, birds, sentinel animals, or veterinary animals reported in New York State, so the prophylactic application of larvicides each week by S.C.V.C. is nuisance control.

Have you heard of the evolution of pesticide resistance in mosquitoes? Vector Control has, and in order to combat this, they apply pesticides at the maximum label rate, as a way to avoid the development of pesticide resistance. This may help to explain why the county is not reducing its use of pesticides as per the plan. The thought that mosquito control is essential to holding down human cases of West Nile virus may be valid, but if there is no disease threat prior to any spraying, why are we spraying?

Environmental surveillance is a key component to identify any threats of disease, but environmental surveillance is also necessary to determine the short- term and long-term effects that these pesticides have on the environment in which they are sprayed. I am seeking scientific assistance to help the trustees identify if methoprene metabolites are building up in our marshlands and bottomlands.

The precautionary principal states that “if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is not harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action.” So why must we identify potential threats to out environment rather than vector control proving to us that it is safe? There is no scientific consensus on the safety of methoprene use in our marshlands.

Just so you know, resmethrin products will no longer be allowed to be purchased past Dec. 31, 2015, by the county for use in mosquito control, but I thought vector control said they were safe! The plan has been modified this year to include a prallethrin product called Duet for adult mosquito control, an oil-soluble synergized synthetic pyrethroid, with the active ingredient prallethrin being highly toxic to aquatic organisms including fish and aquatic invertebrates, and very toxic to bees.

Sumithrin, an endocrine disruptor, will also be used by vector control. It is extremely toxic to bees and aquatic life, and also poisonous to cats and dogs. All safe, according to vector control. The synergist piperonyl butoxide, which has no pesticidal activity of its own but enhances the potency of pesticides, and is also considered to be a possible carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency, will be mixed with the pesticides. Also in the mixture are petroleum distillates and the “other” manmade chemical compounds (trade secrets), which are of course, all safe according to Suffolk County Vector Control.

I beg to differ, and I beg our elected officials and the public to take action! This is not good for us or the planet. A new plan will require the cooperative efforts of all levels of government, but I wouldn’t count on our Department of Environmental Conservation for assistance, as it granted a 10-year permit to S.C.V.C. to apply these chemicals. There is little to no regulatory oversight by anyone other than S.C.V.C., and a yearly rubber-stamping of a “plan” by 18 elected legislators, with only 2 representing the East End.

In 2013, Jay Schneiderman proposed a bill to restrict the use of methoprene in Suffolk County. It was not supported. I asked him to resubmit it and to word it so that the restriction is only for the East End, or maybe just for his district, since it seems that the legislators up west really like their mosquito control pesticides. Their economy and environment is very different than ours, they do not have what we have. But I feel that we are losing the battle, that our environment and our health are in danger, and the powers that be do not seem to be aware, or they do not care.

Well, I care, and I will be circulating a petition against the use of methoprene in our marshlands as well as a call for action from our town board. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

Enjoy the summer, and stay away from the spray; at least you can hear it coming!



East Hampton

June 30, 2015

To the Editor,

Forgiveness should never be on the unemployment line.

Yours sincerely,


What a Swell Party

Sag Harbor

July 1, 2015

To the Editor:

Just a few years back to the 1970s and ’80s, it was not uncommon to see Confederate flags and decals festooned on vehicles here and around the New York region. Certainly, if it was considered outré by most, it was not shocking, as they were that commonly seen, even in these Yankee environs. You might be surprised that a Confederate flag had probably more currency among the disaffected, undereducated young men who had dropped out of high school or had been expelled, as an in-your-face symbol of their alienation rather than as an emblem of an aggressively racist white superiority we attribute to that flag of indisputable shame. It wasn’t that long ago that the K.K.K. marched under that besmirched, blood-dripping flag down the main streets of Hampton Bays.

During the civil rights struggles from the ’50s and ’60s, the Confederate flag was a rallying symbol of those who opposed advancement of minorities excluded from the mainstream of American life opportunities. That exlusion was enforced and maintained by violence. The flag was never seen as a philosophical abstraction of bow-tie conservative Republicanism championing states’ rights that some put forward as the flag’s enduring attraction and justification, as a shorthand opposition to “Big Government” in Washington.

It is and was a big lie, in an unabashed ideology of deception and cruelty. To keep the fading embers of a Confederate South glowing, it was said Big Government supplied the necessary foundation for a states’ rights resurgence, which could and did claim its authority to reject civil rights of minorities. Shootings, burnings, beatings, lynchings were not uncommon under the aegis of a pernicious Confederate flag. We have a big nation, with a big economy, the biggest on this blue planet, and a big population of 300 million people, necessitating a large bureaucracy for a large nation’s governance.

This mantra of Small Government we hear 70 times 7 night and day, is as self-serving as it is sheer nonsense. To plainly see through its nonsense is only to reflect back on conservative administrations — Nixon, Reagan, Bush 1, and Bush 2 — to see how Big Government spending and staffing went up year after successive year in each of their administrations. To hear this railing against Big Government by conservative candidates only underlines the hollowness of meaningless mantras that fuel foolish fantasies that costs of government will go down while prices of everything else steadily rise.

Lower taxes were always promised, but not delivered, by these Republican candidates. Except for the very wealthy and big businesses, the Republican candidates’ main funders, these promised rebates of lowered taxes and small government in exchange for voting in Republican candidates in our large nation have always been a sham, except for their Republican sponsors, who got real money. What a swell party.

For the middle class, though, the rebate on the conservative cost-containment of government was always issued on tissue paper that is best left behind in the smallest room in your house, flushed. The next time you hear some fine gentleman or woman conservative tell how they only want the hand of Big Government out of their pockets so they can keep her own hard-earned or inherited money, you might remind the dears just how debouched and underhanded could be the roaming hand of Big Government!

It is not unlike hearing the very rich preach how we must all sacrifice for the good of the country by tightening our collective belt, cutting social programs or ending them. Just think how much wealthier could they become if we only ended food stamps, universal free education, Social Security, Medicare, and the latest bee in their bonnet, Obamacare. They have historically opposed each and every one of those programs and have never stopped trying to get rid of them. What a swell political party!

Since the end of Teddy Roosevelt’s last term, Republicans have been bought lock, stock, and barrel, always doing what their sponsors required. Does anyone believe that if Republicans were somehow successful in ending any of these socially beneficial programs, any saved money would accrue to the middle class? Have you heard? It’s in the stars; next July (or November) we collide with Mars. Well, did you evah? What a swell party, a swell party, swellegant, elegant, party this is! What a swell party it is!


Against the Majority

East Hampton

July 6, 2015

To the Editor:

The flaming asshole salute goes to the three conservative justices who went against the majority decision in support of the Affordable Care Act. That three judges supported the case is really a screw-America moment in the conservative Hate Obama mantra. One could question the grammar of certain phrases, but never the intent of the legislation. That they would support this venal bizarre attempt to damage the millions of Americans who finally have health care is a prime example of how philosophically and practically conservatives have degenerated to small-minded villainy.

The U.S. health care system before A.C.A. was universally considered mediocre, ridiculously expensive, and unavailable to a large swath of the population. On an elite level, for the wealthy, it worked well. Everyone agreed that the cost of health care was out of control but the only solution was to cut service and benefits. Obama ran and was elected on a promise of more universal care for everyone.

Fixing a system for 300 million people was, obviously, beyond the capacity of our politicians. (Comparable to driving a stick shift without arms.) Even though a dozen examples of well-functioning systems existed, we refused to recognize these systems and utilize their methods. Rejecting the simplest alternative, like the Japanese or the French system, we plodded along in our blithering stupidity and created a million pages of complicated garble that will take another five years to sort out. But we did make some good changes and added 35 million people to the system.

Like the three justices, conservatives rejected the process and refused to participate, even though they screamed the loudest about the cost. They knew the Democrats couldn’t do it by themselves (they can barely walk and chew gum), yet they were willing to throw the country under the bus by not participating. Hoping that the new system would fail. Trying their best to make it fail.

Twisted patriotism emanates from the deranged psychosis that permeates conservative thought processes. How can it possibly be okay to abandon and derail our political system during a period of extreme economic and political upheaval? And believe they are doing the right thing by the country?

Why is our health care system, along with our military and education systems, in a state of dysfunction? We know that in the ever expanding rectums of our political parties there is always space for one more billionaire donor. But what about the remaining 300 million Americans who can’t pay admission to the party?

The three justices didn’t care about the intent of the law. Didn’t care about the harm and chaos that would be created if they won. Didn’t care about anything except their own provincial vision of a country under God with as little government as possible.


Warped and Strangled

East Hampton

July 2, 2015

Dear Editor:

How much of the public’s knowledge centers (their brains) are being warped, dismantled, and strangled by getting their news from Faux Fox News and The New York Post?

Wouldn’t it be better if readers of The Post started their readings of that drivel-laden publication on the back pages and turned pages from left to right until they got through the sports section and then threw the rag away? It does have a great sports section.

But of course there are those who lean heavily to the right and who like to be preached to by those who report all things right-wing and along the way denigrate the best paper in the world, also published in New York.

Before sending in letters to the editor of The Star with rants and misstatements of facts, the writer(s) should swallow some of these truths that follow, gathered from the pages of the mainstream media they so despise. These truths should also seep through to other, old-wing conservatives.

Sixty-seven billion dollars given to Israel to maintain and perfect the Iron Dome missile/rocket protection shield. Israel didn’t put the shield up by themselves — the U.S.A. designed it, built it, and maintained it. So much for Obama’s  “bad relationship with Israel.”

U.S. states that enlarged their Medicaid coverage and joined the federal Affordable Care Act and encouraged signups, had two times as much decrease in insurance premiums than those states that did not do so.

U.S. government combines with states to fight “dead zones” in their ocean waters, some as large as Connecticut.

May and June each showed more than 225,000 added private-sector jobs and 30,000 total in the public sector. It has been 64 straight months of added private-sector jobs, the best record since 1997.

The Dow Jones Industrial average reached a record 18,000 in April; the gross national product gained 4 percent. The unemployment rate dropped; at 5.3 percent, the best since 2008, with thousands of new job-seekers in the mix.

With the hard work and lead of Secretary of State Kerry, the U.S. and its allies got a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The Justice Department, citing insufficient evidence to indict Internal Revenue Service employee for contempt of Congress. No White House connection found by three Congressional committees and the I.R.S. inspector general.

The attack on our ambassador in Benghazi found to be by terrorists, with no criticism of White House or Secretary Clinton response.

“Fast & Furious” operation found to be a Bush administration effort, with no involvement of the Obama administration.

Obama administration deported more undocumented aliens than any other administration in history.

Illegal immigration into the United States was 407,000 in 2013, less than one half of what it was in 2007. Does Donald Trump even know this statistic? And only two were rapists (joke, son), although many of the women were raped. Get it straight, Trump.

The U.S. deficit is less than half of what it was in 2007. What in the world will Republicans talk about in the upcoming national election?

Same-sex marriage in all 50 states is now legal.

Congress approves fast-track authority for the president in trade agreements.

President’s approval ratings now over 50 percent, disapproval below 48 percent.

So, you right-wing dingbats (thanks, “All in the Family”), cancel your subscription to The New York Times, follow Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Rush Limbaugh, stick to reading all of The New York Post and listening to Faux Fox, but be sure to leave the operation of the country to the Democrats and progressives, who, as history shows, do it much better.


On the Tennis Courts


July 2, 2015

Dear Editor

My family will soon take me on the tennis courts locally to see if I can play tennis again. When I had my operation l often dreamed to play again. I took lessons from two great people, Eddie Moylan of the West Side Tennis Club and Vic Seixas. I’d watch for so long, more than a decade, where I learned tremendous tennis, enough he let me play, which amazed my friends, and I won a racket there!

I played out on the East End after the kids grew up and was stronger. My teacher was Jo Dubois, who was from Czechoslovakia and helped me amazingly; made services impossible to hit back. I was in a couple of games out here where I ate enormous breakfasts with candy for energy. One girl I played was Princess DuVall from England, out in Orient. Most of the time I played my husband, a painter.

Don’t play with discouragement when it is windy. When it is windy, you’re not playing your best. It is like being in heaven playing windless nights, sun going down so you don’t receive the glare among other players.

These heaven-on-earth times got me through hard times. Hope you play this summer and have fun, feel in paradise.