Letters to the Editor 05.26.16

Our readers comments

As We Remember

East Hampton

May 23, 2016

To the Editor:

On this day we honor our service members and remember the sacrifices they have made to protect our freedom.

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it, sometimes at the cost of their lives.

Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which honors the soldiers that fought so bravely for that flag. The fourth verse states:

 

O! thus be it ever, when free men shall stand

Between their loved home and the war’s desolation

Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven rescued land

Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation

Then conquer we must when our cause it is just

And this be our motto — ‘In God is our trust’

 

Our flag is truly a symbol of the freedoms that we fight so diligently to protect. The American flag is a symbol of freedom that we celebrate and hold sacred. Let us not forget that we will forever see it wave as a nation of free people because of the lives of those we honor today.

We honor these heroes on this day, to remember their achievements, their courage, and their dedication, and to say thank you for their sacrifices. We think of all who join us today and those who are with us only in spirit. A person can’t help but feel awed by the enormity of what we encounter. We give thanks to the patriots and the family and friends of those who have nobly served.

The service members we honor came from all walks of life, but they shared the same fundamental qualities. They possessed courage, pride, determination, selflessness, dedication to duty and integrity — all the qualities needed to serve a cause larger than oneself. They were men and women from all ethnic backgrounds, the biggest contribution being that they were all Americans.

They did not go to war because they loved fighting. They were called to be part of something bigger than themselves. They were ordinary people who responded in extraordinary ways in extreme times. They rose to the nation’s call because they wanted to protect a nation that had given them so much.

We have awarded medals to many of our service members, added their names to monuments, and named buildings for them to honor them for their bravery. But nothing can replace the hole left behind by a fallen service member. No number of medals and ribbons can comfort the ones left behind.

As we remember, along with people across America, it serves as a tribute to those lost troops and to their families. It is a way to say we remember the soldiers who shivered and starved through the winter at Valley Forge. We remember the doughboys crouched in muddy trenches in France, all those who fought the battles of the Korean War, the platoons who patrolled the hazy jungles of Vietnam, and the young men and women patrolling in Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan.

The men and women of today’s armed forces have responded bravely to this nation’s call to duty, both on the battlefield and in their assurance of readiness. Members of this nation’s military remain bound to their duty. For well over 200 years America’s armed forces have been the surest guarantee that freedom will continue to ring across this land.

So I ask everyone, as you drive down the roads of this great country and as you pass a cemetery, just stop for a minute and say thank you. “They will hear you.”

God bless you and your families, God bless our troops, and God bless America.

THOMAS BYRNE

A Fitting Legacy

Hampton Bays

May 21, 2016

Dear David,

Last week I was out at the Warhol Preserve with 75 Springs fifth graders as part of a workshop for the Anna Mirabai Lytton Foundation. We offered photography and art and poetry to the students after Paul D’Andrea of the Nature Conservancy told the “story” of the plants and land.

Anna was with me and our class at that very spot years ago when she was my student. I read an ode of hers Monday before inviting these lucky visitors to write their own. Kids spread out and hunkered down on or next to large glacial erratics. Though the wind was blowing hard and temperatures were chilly, the young writers found the words and were at one with nature. The results were amazing. 

One boy picked up a pale stick of driftwood and wrote this:

 

Ode to a Peg

I wonder

What you were

Once.

 

Maybe a pirate’s 

Lost leg

Taken by

A stray cannon shot?

 

Maybe a vast ship’s

Rusted rudder

Broken off

As the ship

Goes down.

 

Maybe a young boy’s

sword

Used to fight

Imaginary monsters.

 

Maybe a Native ballplayer’s

New bat

Used to hit

Their fashioned balls.

 

Maybe a tall flag

For a child’s sand castle

Symbolizing a new land.

 

But now

You remain still

On a huge pebble

Waiting to be carried away

By the wind.

 

Or —

By me.

Hunter Eberhart

Mrs. Frazier’s class

 

The amazing poems from that day are proof that our students should not always learn inside buildings. They need the outdoors to sharpen their observation skills, the necessary tools for writing. Integrating art with science makes sense. Springs students seem to be committed naturalists and writers. 

Along with Ramesh Das and Kate Rabinowitz, Anna’s parents, and her brother, James Lytton, I thank our guide, Paul, and the Nature Conservancy for sharing this special place with local students. And what a fitting legacy this was for Anna. 

Sincerely,

IRENE TULLY

Back Home 

Coral Gables, Fla.

May 18, 2016

Dear David,

Looking ahead to joining the class of 1966 for our 50th reunion in September, I feel fortunate to be among those who have known and loved East Hampton, whether for a short while or for a lifetime. I also appreciate that those of us who are away can come back home once a week through the pages of The Star.

Best regards,

KEN CLARK

Repairs to the Road

East Hampton

May 19, 2016

Hi, David,

I want to take this opportunity to compliment and thank the East Hampton Highway Department.

I called their office last week to report some very bad potholes on my street and was told they would get to it when the crew was in the area. Imagine my surprise when, at 8:15 the next morning, I came across a crew of two rendering the necessary repairs to the road. 

Thank you. Nice work.

BRUCE N. STEVENS

A Touchstone

Montauk

May 22, 2016

To the Editor:

As many of your readers probably know, Gosman’s Dock has been listed for sale. Many local people initially saw the reports on News 12 starting on May 10; those who missed the television spots likely saw the front page of the May 11 edition of Newsday. 

While the decision to sell is complex, and not one I support, I feel it’s important to share my feelings on what this means to me and to hopefully convey my deep appreciation for the support that residents and visitors of Montauk have shown us over the years. 

I have worked in a managerial role at Gosman’s for nearly 20 years. During that time, I have had the good fortune of serving many wonderful customers and working with a lot of great employees. As one of the last family-owned-and-operated businesses in Montauk, Gosman’s has been a touchstone for many people over the years. As I’ve gotten older, I have come to truly appreciate how fortunate we are to have the opportunity to provide special memories for friends and families, many of whom have been coming to Montauk for generations. 

Gosman’s has been a place of good times and good memories, and I have counted myself very lucky to have the opportunity to try and keep that tradition alive. So too with employees, be they college students from here or abroad (especially Irish and Czechs) to seasonal workers from Puerto Rico and beyond. Here again, I’ve had the great good fortune of doing what I can to provide a positive work environment for our employees. And I am grateful to have worked with a great group of management colleagues over the years, especially my good friend Richie Edwardes. I regret not having been given the opportunity to inform those long-term employees and retail tenants of the decision prior to the news becoming public. 

A family enterprise is by definition a complicated proposition. There are 12 of us across two generations involved in the business, and each of us has different priorities and perspectives. While I can only speak for myself, I know that all of us share a sense of gratitude to the Montauk community. Montauk’s exquisite beauty is matched by the depth of commitment that its residents have for one another. Through various family losses and illnesses, particularly the unexpected pass ing of my mother, Rita, in 2003, the support of the community has been truly gratifying. I have seen this same kind of generous spirit extended to many others over the years. Whether Gosman’s sells or not (and I hope it doesn’t), I will always feel fortunate to have had a job and a place in a community that I can be proud of. I look forward to a wonderful 2016 season and beyond!

CHRIS GOSMAN

Parking Spots Eliminated

East Hampton

May 21, 2016

To the Editor:

 Why did the Village of East Hampton take away so many parking spots? When they repaved Newtown Lane, someone decided to stripe the ground before and after every entrance-exit-crosswalk, thereby removing at least one and in many cases two parking spots. 

On the north side of Newtown, from the light at Main Street to the railroad tracks, 12 spots have been eliminated. On the south side of the street, eight are gone. Parking in the summer is so hard at best. Why make it harder?

JANE ADELMAN

Not a Freebie

East Hampton

May 23, 2016

Dear Editor Rattray,

In the interest of saving time and space, I would like to address two letters in last week’s edition at once: “The First Refuge” and “Subsidized Housing.” There seems to be a persistent assumption in the community that the proposal for Amagansett will bring in people from the outside to populate the affordable rental apartments. This is not so. In our existing properties, Accabonac, Avallone, and Springs Fireplace, the tenants in place are from East Hampton. They already lived and/or worked here when they initially applied. That is proof that the preference system works. We have many applications on file for all three properties from away, but as apartments become available we draw first from our residents’ list.

As for Mr. Eldi’s comments, I agree, there certainly is some confusion about the meaning of subsidized housing. Anyone with an F.H.A., Fannie, or Freddie mortgage is in housing subsidized by the government. Lazy Point is subsidized housing, though you wouldn’t know it. Some of the houses are grand. Lazy Point homeowners pay $0 in property and school taxes because the town trustees own the land. The Housing Authority, on the other hand, absolutely pays special district taxes and a substantial PILOT (voluntary payment in lieu of taxes) to the school districts. The apartments receive no ongoing financial support from the government. There is no reliance on taxpayers for “free stuff.”

Here is how the rent revenues are spent: operations and maintenance, utilities, insurances, administration, and $4 million debt service on the bonds. We are also required by law to put funds in reserve accounts for future operating and replacement expenses. The property has to be self-sustaining. The government does not and will not pay the Housing Authority’s bills. 

The property was designated for an affordable housing overlay in the 1985 Comprehensive Plan. We are not requesting increased density beyond what the property was designated for over 30 years ago. This is not a new idea. 

We could develop using conventional septic, but are committed to doing better. We chose this site to promote use of public transportation and pedestrian and bike traffic.

So again, we are not bringing in outsiders, this is not a freebie, and the taxpayers are not paying for it.

CATHERINE M. CASEY

Executive Director 

East Hampton Housing Authority

Network of Mutuality

Amagansett

May 21, 2016

To the Editor: 

In reply to Reg Cornelia’s letter in last week’s Star, in which he accused me of calling my neighbors racists at an Amagansett Citizens’ Advisory Committee meeting and characterized my comments as “Stalinist”: 

Mr. Cornelia was reacting to a statement I made regarding the proposed affordable housing project on Montauk Highway. After hearing several of my neighbors speak against the project, I stood up and said that I am a full-time resident of Amagansett and vote here, and that I welcome affordable housing in my town. I said that the project, to me, represents compassion, diversity, and equality. And then I read the following quote from Dr. King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail”: 

“In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be . . . This is the inter-related structure of reality.” 

 Dr. King’s words are among the most beautiful, truthful ones I know. I believe that even Mr. Cornelia and I, as co-citizens of East Hampton, the United States, and this troubled planet, are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. 

Sincerely yours,

JONATHAN WALLACE

Pre-K Program

Springs

May 23, 2016

Dear David,

It appears likely that New York State will eventually mandate prekindergarten programs in our public school system. Before that time comes, I would ask our school boards to come together and study the concept of providing townwide, universal pre-K through a shared services agreement between the districts. 

School districts are allowed to contract for the provision of pre-K education. The five local districts could contract with a single not-for-profit provider like the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center. The Eleanor Whitmore center has been in operation for almost 50 years, and its program is scalable. It is licensed by New York State to provide such services. Currently, the East Hampton School District holds a contract with the center for some (but not all) of its pre-K residents.

Instead of each district needing to provide appropriate pre-K space, efficiencies can be found in having just three pre-K locations: one in Montauk, one in Springs-Amagansett, and one in East Hampton-Wainscott. Parents could have the option of registering their child at the location closest to their place of work or at the location closest to their home. On the financial side, it is likely that each district’s cost per student would go down or stay the same when compared to current costs.

Will our town residents show the same interest in the future of our children that they have resoundingly demonstrated in open-space preservation, energy conservation, and water quality? The burden is on school administrators and school boards to evaluate a townwide program. But the responsibility ultimately rests with the citizens of our town, who must pressure their school districts to jointly conduct a thorough and transparent exploration of creating one townwide pre-K program. Our children deserve nothing less.

PAMELA BICKET

Passage of the Budget

Springs

May 19, 2016

Dear Editor:

It is with deep gratitude that the Springs School District offers its sincere thanks and appreciation to our community for supporting passage of the school budget on Tuesday, May 17.

This new budget will support an excellent education for all of our students. Please be assured our school district understands the significant tax burden that rests upon the shoulders of local property owners. We are determined to continue our ongoing effort to improve every aspect of the district and to protect the investment our community has so generously made through the years.

The Springs School District has a long and proud history. We invite all district residents to visit our school building, attend our events, and ask any questions you may have about your public school system.

JOHN J. FINELLO

Superintendent

Keep It as a School

Springs

May 23, 2016

Dear David,

Your editorial on the closing of C.D.C.H. and the suggestions for uses of the site in the future was interesting, but it is a school, designed to house children in the learning setting meeting all state regulations, and therefore its best use will be to keep it as a school. 

The land and building are owned by the town, I am told, which should make this the perfect place for Springs to rent and move classes there, thus alleviating the need for the Springs School Board to take any future steps like attempting to float a bond issue, which would, if passed (though I am sure it would fail), greatly increase the burdensome taxes shouldered by Springs residents and be a great way for the town to show Springs it earnestly understands our issues.

Look at a similar situation that happened with our neighbors in Sag Harbor, which went to great lengths to purchase the empty school building of the former Stella Maris School. I, as one who is familiar with the optimum learning experience, would be happy to work on a committee facilitating this opportunity to help our local district. Any costs regarding legal issues could be deducted from money languishing in the reserve fund. Let’s hope our school board in Springs can think as creatively as the Sag Harbor School Board did.

Sincerely,

PHYLLIS ITALIANO

C.D.C.H. Facility

Springs

May 22, 2016

Dear David

Your editorial of last week “Unexpected Opportunity” was interesting and  thought-provoking. My friend and neighbor, Phyllis Italiano, the outspoken, intrepid educator and administrator, suggested the C.D.C.H. facility should be considered by the Springs School to accommodate the current excess of students. This would save us all from building Springs School II for a gazillion and a half dollars.

This facility is owned by the town. It is school-ready. Perhaps renting this facility should be put under serious consideration. This alternative is heaven-sent. When one door closes, another door opens. It certainly is worth a look-see. Quite possibly the Springs School Board and the East Hampton Town Board might seriously consider this new development.

I would welcome the town getting involved a bit with a very controversial  and contentious issue that plagues the most populous hamlet in East Hampton. 

BETSY RUTH

On the Car Wash

Wainscott

May 19, 2016

Dear David,

Would you please forward your editorial on the proposed car wash to the clueless editors of The East Hampton Press, regarding the car wash, a disaster waiting to happen, a mind-boggling traffic increase to an already at times gridlock. Listening to what the developers propose on allowing egress to the clogged roadway. Making prisoners out of residents unable to get out of their own neighborhoods. God forbid emergency vehicles be delayed.

To top it off, they recommend “let the public decide the fate with their dollars, by using it or ignoring it.” Brilliant thinking on their part. Then we can look at another empty building next to Godzilla Home Goods, and maybe construct an amu As you wrote, “Save what’s left!” At least The Star is looking out for us against overdevelopment. We do not need or want Levittown here.

Yours truly,

ARTHUR J. FRENCH

White House Bathroom

Springs

May 23, 2016

To the Editor:

Last week’s editorial labeling Messrs. Trump, Zeldin, and King as racist demagogues, presumably because they seek to control our borders so that terrorists, communicable diseases, and drug dealers can’t enter the U.S. at will as they do now, is ludicrous.

And it indicates that The Star plans to endorse one of the Democrats’ two old, incompetent, and, in the case of Hillary Clinton, crooked career pols for president. Scary thought. But if rumors are true that Mrs. Clinton will name Bernie as vice president in order to maintain party unity, it opens up a unique opportunity for this dynamic duo to take advantage of one of Mr. Obama’s most progressive, though unconstitutional, executive orders.

Bernie, bored out of his socks as veep, could exercise his rights under the new transgender edict, choose to be a female for a day, and demand that Hillary share the White House bathroom with him. What a wonderful example they could set for all the schoolchildren and their parents now being subjected to this latest Obama fixation. An achievement any great nation should be proud of.

The Middle East on fire from Turkey to Tunisia, the Russians on the move, the Chinese buzzing our ships and planes, the economy floundering, cops under fire, yet the Democrats are focused (like a laser, as Mr. Obama puts it) on the bathroom predilections of .0001 percent of the U.S. population. Time for The Star, and the Democrats, to get serious.

Sincerely, 

REG CORNELIA

Zeldin’s Achievements

Springs

May 23, 2016

To the Editor:

The East Hampton Star should make up its mind. Is the local newspaper a supporter of Congressman Lee Zeldin, or does its staff find him to be a disappointment? We really cannot be sure with their recent flip-flop.

Just two days apart, the newspaper published both an article touting Zeldin’s accomplishments with his passed legislation to protect Plum Island and help secure jobs for Long Islanders, and an editorial stating that his recent endorsement of Donald Trump is “an insult to a large portion of the people he is supposed to represent.” The editorial goes on to state that Mr. Zeldin’s endorsement is “deeply disappointing,” without taking into account his achievements since being elected to Congress in 2014.

It seems that The East Hampton Star neglected to mention a few things that Mr. Zeldin’s constituents would find anything but disappointing. Did they forget about the Pfc. Joseph Dwyer program that was created on behalf of veterans with P.T.S.D. and T.B.I.? What about the passage of a five-year fully funded highway bill to repair roads and bridges, or the permanent reauthorization of the Zadroga Act for 9/11 first responders? Let’s not exclude the elimination of the Salt Water Fishing License Fee, the passage into law of Common Core legislation to allow states to opt out without penalty from the federal government, and the repeal of the M.T.A. Payroll Tax for 80 percent of employers. But, I guess a late endorsement of Donald Trump far overshadows all of the above, at least to a local newspaper.

The newspaper’s staff also seems to have little to no concept of time. The statement that “he jumped aboard the Donald Trump train so quickly” is off the mark, to say the least. Facts are no match for dramatic untruths used to boost readership numbers. For months, Mr. Zeldin said, time and time again in interviews on all platforms, that he did not make a decision to endorse a candidate, and that he was instead focusing on issues here at home. It seems as though his recent endorsement of Donald Trump was made in an effort to unite the Republican Party — an effort that should be applauded.

I believe I speak for myself and many other Long Island Republicans when I say I hope he sticks to his guns, and keeps fighting for all of us in NY-1. Endorsements aside, his record speaks for itself — a record that has brought many proud moments for the American political process and the First Congressional District.

STUART JONES

Support of Trump

East Hampton

May 23, 2016

To the Editor: 

Your editorial in the May 19 Star “Jumped for Trump” shines an important light on the values of our congressman, Lee Zeldin. It’s deeply disturbing, though not really surprising, that Mr. Zeldin joined the most reactionary wing of the Republican Party by backing Donald Trump, who spews hatred and bigotry appealing to man’s basest instincts. 

Among his reckless ideas is the notion of building a wall to keep Latinos out of the U.S. This is not only racist but completely unrealistic. A recent article in The New York Times spelled out why the cost and logistics of building this wall renders it impossible to do. But those who are guided by prejudice rather than logic and reason choose not to be confused by the facts and embrace the wall as a dandy idea.

Mr. Zeldin’s support of Trump speaks volumes about the importance of unseating him at the next election.

SUE AVEDON

Sound Familiar?

Sag Harbor

May 23, 2016

Dear David, 

Let us get the record straight on the most quoted author, general, and ex-president Dwight Eisenhower, who is back in the current news of our time. Prophetic voices live on because of their truth. Can we really listen to this book titled “The Declassified Eisenhower,” researched in the archives, pundits beg off, written by Blanche Wiesen Cook (before she excelled on women’s issues the rest of her life).

The opening quote in the book is “In the final analysis, public opinion wins most of the wars, wins the peace.” Peace will come when the masses of the people demand it.

Other highlights of the book: Eisenhower expressed his opposition to the use of the atom bomb against Japan. He believed it militarily unnecessary and morally unsound. Gen. Omar Bradley said that when we dropped the bomb we pushed aside the Sermon on the Mount, a quote from Scripture. And note, the excuse was to save lives. Could that have left us with pre-emptive wars in the future, as witnessed by President George W. Bush? When that war occurred huge demonstrations broke out around the world, even with all our allies. In my mind that speaks for humanity, most of whom are good people. The term used then was “evil empires,” which did not hold for long. The bottom line was kill them before they kill us. Fear is the root cause of all wars. 

Eisenhower was appalled. He was left out of the decision-making process of dropping the bomb. Absurd! Not one bomb but two? And none since. A miracle. 

Nobody in 1945 could have predicted the coming planetary epidemic of leukemia and cancer. Biologists were not consulted or didn’t care. Elements of strontium 90 in children’s bones, iodine 137 in their thyroids. Secretary of War Stimson really hit the ceiling. He knew from intelligence reports the Japanese were at that moment trying to surrender.

Eisenhower — I will give you first one figure. One single attack and it was not a surprise 25 million killed, 60 million had to go to hospitals, and there were not enough. When you begin to think of things like that you know there must not be war. Eisenhower walked through the concentration camp in Nazi Germany to absorb the suffering. Years later when films of the bombs were shown to the American people, we were horrified.

Eisenhower’s closing statement from the book, people on this planet do not want war and sacrifice. People everywhere under every system want food, drinkable water, clean air, education, work, pride, dignity, pleasure, and joy — in short, peace. Indeed, the people want that so much that one of these days governments and their financial directors had better get out of the way and let them have it. 

Sound familiar? But change has to come from the outside. The system is too corrupt. The whole world is watching. The evidence is crystal clear. To give our children more of the same might be a curse. Keep the faith. Something is happening?

LARRY DARCEY