Letters to the Editor: 07.21.16

Our readers comments

Fighting Chance Chorus

Sag Harbor

July 17, 2016

To the Editor,

Coverage of the Swim Across America event in last week’s Star (“Waves Were Made to Fight Cancer at Fresh Pond”) was incorrect in stating that “a chorus of women” sang at the fund-raising event. The chorus was comprised of both men and women, and is known as the Fighting Chance Chorus. Members present included Dominick Abbate, music director, Rebecca Lundahl and Linda Reiser of Sag Harbor’s Old Whalers Church Choir, and Dr. Bill DiScipio, Dr. Valerie King, and Ivy Miller of Fighting Chance Inc.

The Fighting Chance Chorus is currently seeking new singers. Applicants need only support the fight against cancer and have an appreciation of the therapeutic value of music. Interested persons should come to rehearsals, Tuesdays at 6 p.m. at the Old Whalers Church, 44 Union Street, Sag Harbor, or call Fighting Chance at 631-725-4646 for information.


Executive Director

Display of Color


July 17, 2016

To the Editor:

Once again, we were showered with a magnificent display of color over Three Mile Harbor! Thank you to all who made it possible, and especially to the anonymous donor who came through with the money at the last minute. It was a reaffirmation that we still, here in America, celebrate freedom and the pursuit of happiness.


Library Book Fair 


July 15, 2016

To the Editor:

It is the second year now that the Friends of the Montauk Library has held its book fair at the library. This is the 37th year of book fairs, including the 35 years we held them on the Green. We are pleased to report that this year we raised over $8,000 to support the programs of the Montauk Library.

We want to thank the many people who made this possible. We must thank our volunteers, who did anything and everything, from baking for our bake sale to spending the whole weekend at the library. 

We must thank the many people who donate quality books, yard sale items, and jewelry all year for us to sell and recycle, and the businesses that donate supplies for us to use and sell, and items to be part of our auction. 

Thanks also to the Town of East Hampton and the East Hampton Police Department for their help in facilitating our event. Also to Denise DiPaolo and the staff of the Montauk Library, who accept and sort through donations all year. Also, we cannot forget to thank the crowds that come to shop!

I would personally like to thank the executive board of the Friends of the Montauk Library, who, under the leadership of Bobbie Metzger, our book fair chairwoman, prepare for this all year.




Friends of the Montauk Library

A Very Big Thank-You

East Hampton

July 17, 2016

Dear David,

We at East Hampton Meals on Wheels would like to extend our thanks to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on James Lane, East Hampton. We were delighted to be included in a group of several local nonprofits that benefited from Sacred Threads, a first-time exhibition of an archival collection of ecclesiastical textile masterpieces. We are grateful for their generous donation, which will fund 550 hot meals for our clients. A very big thank-you to St. Luke’s, the Rev. Denis Brunelle, and the organizers of the event.

Meals on Wheels volunteers have been providing meals and daily visits to East Hampton’s homebound residents for over 30 years. Because of financial difficulties, we have had to make difficult decisions about how many clients we can serve and the frequency of deliveries. If your group or organization can help our local, privately funded Meals on Wheels, please call 631-329-1669 or visit ehmealsonwheels.org.



No Janitors on the Beach

East Hampton

July 18, 2016

To the Editor:

We live in a beautiful place in the Hamptons. We enjoy nature, pretty streets, interesting little villages, the waters, and the beaches.

I’m going to be very blunt here. I’m sure this happens all over the place. But specifically, not far from where I live, I really think it’s thoughtless of people who picnic with their families on the little beach at the end of Hand’s Creek Road, that they don’t pick up all their trash and discard it in the garbage can in the parking lot, or bring it home with them if the pail is full. I realize that they may think that watermelon rinds and charred wood from some sort of campfire are “natural” things and will eventually disintegrate — but that, along with rolled-up balls of tinfoil, dirty napkins, beer cans, and water and soda bottles, don’t. It all attracts bugs and is disgusting on the sand where people like to sit.

So to all beachgoers: Do like you were taught as children, pick up after yourself, please. There are no janitors or housekeepers on the beach. We all need to do our share to keep our homes and neighborhoods and parks wonderful for us to enjoy. Do it!


Lot Boundary Dispute


July 15, 2016

Dear David,

We were very pleased to read Christopher Walsh’s coverage of the July 11 meeting of the East Hampton Town Trustees, in which the trustees discussed our lot boundary dispute, as it is an issue very close to our hearts — we are residents of Driftwood Lane. 

We want to thank the trustees and Rick Whalen for investigating this problem. Despite Mr. Walsh’s not recognizing us as being in attendance at the meeting, we were there. It was out of respect for the trustees’ time that we did not sign in to speak and repeat our concerns. 

The trustees have given us their attention, and of that we are most appreciative. Seeking clarity on who owns the beaches is of vital importance to all the residents of the Town of East Hampton.


Please, Be Considerate

East Hampton

July 18, 2016

To the Editor:

A local year-round Dayton Lane resident was walking his little gray poodle (you and your son know who you are!) on Wednesday, July 13, when the dog took a sh-- on the grass right in front of the East Hampton Historical Society. There were about 15 of us right there waiting for a Jitney. Someone offered the elderly man a doggy poop bag, but he refused, and indignantly said he wished she’d step in it!

Well, any of us waiting for that bus might have stepped in it, and likely someone certainly did step in his “doo.” Why would anyone be that inconsiderate?

Please, dog owners, be considerate of others. Be respectful of others, and you’ll feel better about yourself. 


Deaths Have Resulted


July 11, 2016

To the Editor,

My understanding is that drunk driving laws of New York authorize jail sentences for up to 15 days for a first conviction, up to 30 days for a second conviction within five years, and up to 180 days for a third conviction within 10 years for driving while ability impaired offenses — and up to one year for a first conviction, up to four years for a second conviction within 10 years, and up to seven years for a third conviction within 10 years for driving while intoxicated offenses.

I read with dismay the many drunk driving offenses reported by The Star each week. Deaths have resulted and more will surely follow if this conduct is not punished.

I believe that if our judges would hand out jail sentences, drunk driving would be greatly reduced and lives saved. 

I would like to know why our local judges are so reluctant to take such action.


Further Reflections


July 18, 2016

Dear Mr. Rattray:

As we approach the celebration of my 828th month on earth (could you please remember for once? It’s July 30!), it is a time to reflect. And I will say right at the start, I’m not proud of everything I’ve done, nor certain things I continue to do in spite of “knowing better.” For that, and for this letter, I apologize.

Have you, for example, ever faked restless-leg syndrome, Mr. Rattray? I ask you to answer this question honestly, if possible. I have done it three times over the past several months, but for the sole purpose of getting a little more room on my side of the bed. I know it’s wrong to fake something terrible that actually afflicts thousands of people, perhaps millions, worldwide. But I was having trouble falling asleep on the very edge of the bed. I have terrible sleep issues as it is!

So when Mary woke up and said, “Is everything all right? You’re shaking!” I replied that I thought I might have restless-leg syndrome. She said, “I doubt it,” moved over, and went back to sleep. So, it worked! It worked three times. But then when she said I should see my doctor about the problem, I felt she needed to know the truth. “I was faking it, honey. I just needed a little more room on my side of the bed.” I won’t disclose her reaction to that, Mr. Rattray. I did apologize and was permitted back on our property within two days.

Further reflections on the eve of this auspicious occasion: My amazing grandson is visiting from Miami for a few weeks. Over the weekend he noticed I was sort of mumbling something and he said, “Are you talking to yourself, Grandpa?” And I said, “Oh, I might have been, Joseph.” 

“Well, you seemed upset,” he observed, “hope you’re not mad at me for something.” So once again, I apologized. “The thing is, Joseph, sometimes when I’m talking to myself I realize that I’m not even listening, which I consider so rude. So, yeah, I was talking to myself and making a pretty good point, in my opinion, but instead of paying attention I was thinking about whether I’d order the broiled flounder or the crab cakes at Bostwick’s tonight. Stupid, right?”

“Kind of, yeah.”

So first, Mr. Rattray, it’s probably impolite to talk to yourself in the company of other people. And then, if you do need to talk to yourself by all means pay attention, and don’t check your personal device for messages, don’t attempt even small tasks like washing the dishes or rinsing the sand off your feet. Just say what you have to say to yourself and at least pretend to be interested, as you would when someone you meet at a party is telling you what school Timmy got into and that he’s getting a wrestling scholarship. Just common courtesy!

Speaking of which, I really hope to put in check my propensity to blurt out a quick, smartass remark in certain social circumstances, which I realize I do solely for my own self-aggrandizement. At 828 months, enough is enough.

Earlier today Joseph and I went to the post office in Amagansett and encountered my neighbor Andy Sabin. Andy said hello, and I said, I didn’t agree with his politics? What kind of f-ed-up example is that to send?

So, Andy, I apologize. You’ve done many great things for our community and environment, and I applaud you for that. Meanwhile, I still hate the signs. They get me talking to myself.

Surprise me, Mr. Rattray. T-shirt size: medium.



Three Possible Solutions

East Hampton

July 18, 2016

Dear David, 

Last week I was listening to Bonnie Grice interview our county legislator, Bridget Fleming. Ms. Fleming was discussing the tick problem here on the East End of Long Island. I was flabbergasted to learn that each deer carries 500,000 or more ticks on its body. 

I know that Lyme disease has become very common and can have catastrophic impacts on the lives of people who contract it and who are unfortunate enough not to be diagnosed in a timely fashion so as to receive the appropriate regimen of antibiotics to prevent those impacts.

There are also other diseases, not as common but not uncommon either, one of which is called babesiosis, which can if contracted be fatal or at the very least severely disabling — again, if not diagnosed in a timely way.

In addition to these tick-borne illnesses, there is the ever-present risk of an automobile collision with a deer, which can have varying degrees of risk of bodily harm associated with it as well as the cost of expensive car repairs.

The town government has been unable to reach a consensus as to what to do about this very vexing problem. Part of the reason for this is the division within our community as to an appropriate solution.

I believe the time has come for the town board to declare that a referendum should be held this November affording the town residents a chance to vote for one of three possible solutions, with the understanding that the solution that gains the largest number of votes will be implemented. 

One, which I believe would be the most effective, is culling by professional sharpshooters. Second is the creation of a program established on Shelter Island, which I understand has had limited success, that involves the administration of permethrin to the bodies of deer as they feed upon corn provided in the apparatus that applies this chemical. 

Third would be sterilization, which is very expensive and has already been the subject of much outrage by people who are afraid of the results, one of which was famously disseminated, namely a stillbirth that caused much suffering to the doe.

I propose that the method that receives the most votes should be implemented. It is high time that this ongoing problem be affirmatively dealt with. 


Mohegan Sun Wainscott?


July 18, 2016

Dear David,

Woe is Wainscott. What was long a sleepy residential hamlet is morphing into the commercial dumping ground of East Hampton. In addition to the giant sand pit, we have new Industrial Road expansions, the town police station, HomeGoods, a group home, a rehab facility, proposed public housing, an ever-larger, more toxic, and noisy heliport-jetport, and now Scott Rubenstein’s entertainment mecca, Mohegan Sun Wainscott: more tennis courts, a bowling alley, miniature golf, a fire pit, a viewing pond, a 200-seat restaurant and bar, and parking for over 300 cars!

Even miles away (downwind) we will hear the loud, thumping music through the woods, potentially all day and night, from an outdoor bistro that will serve as a party haven for hundreds of people. There will be many more cars full of inebriates careening through our neighborhoods at all hours, and not just in summer. All of this in a residential zone, with a recreational overlay specifically prohibiting restaurants and bars. And right atop our sole-source aquifer, which is guaranteed to receive thousands and thousands of new gallons of sewage daily. 

The town chases Cyril’s off a commercial strip on Montauk Highway and then allows a far bigger and more invasive enterprise to be built in the Wainscott woods. This is planning? This is zoning? People say, “Scott is a good guy.” I agree. He is a good guy — with a terrible idea for the rest of us.


Airport Behemoth


July 18, 2016

Dear David,

On a really hot Sunday, it was thrilling to plunge into Gardiner’s Bay at Maidstone Park in Springs for a cooling swim and, once refreshed, chat on the beach with a few friends. But the conversation was halted, because swooping above our heads was a thunderous jet airplane that was leaving East Hampton Airport.

Returning home after a quick swim, I immediately fell to gardening, working till after sunset. In the three hours from the 6 p.m. swim till 9, 18 aircraft flew over my head — more jets, and helicopters and propeller aircraft. 

The peace of Springs is interrupted by people who want to be here but are too lazy or uncaring or just plain selfish to drive like the rest of us.   If driving bothers them, why don’t they fly into Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach and drive from there? Sometimes I stop what I am doing and make the call, but at 8 in the morning or a late-night buzz, it’s hard to jump out of bed to make.

This airport that used to be in the periphery of my consciousness has become a behemoth. When I am most annoyed by the sound, I ask myself, why do we have this airport? Do you too wonder why we have to put up with this thing that serves so few but hurts so many?


Support the C.P.F.


July 17, 2016

Dear David,

A good life begins with life itself. It is reported a human being can live for only three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food.

On the East End, water is our most important biological and economic resource. Our common underground aquifer provides us all with drinking water, whether we own a private well or are connected to Suffolk County Water Authority (a.k.a. town water). Our ocean waters similarly provide positive economic sustenance and life-giving qualities. Our waters are under biological attack, stressed and degrading.

Thankfully, the community preservation fund’s record of protecting our land’s rural character, our agricultural farmlands and forests, our bays, aquacultural harbors, ponds, magnificent beaches, and beautiful vistas is exemplary. The C.P.F. has super-served our common good since 1998, and it’s time to renew its term and expand its purpose.

Please support the C.P.F. at next month’s Town of East Hampton public hearing and support the proposed 20-percent budgetary allowance to address both our immediate and long-term needs for potable-water protection, wastewater treatment, and smart stewardship of our aquifer, ocean, bays, and harbors, too.


Use C.P.F. for Water

East Hampton

July 18, 2016

Dear David:

Water quality preservation must always be a major priority in protecting our quality of life here in East Hampton. Problems have started to surface, and our town leaders are wise in addressing them before they get worse. Use C.P.F. funds for water improvement projects to remediate the problems that now exist and prevent future problems.

Unintended consequences such as accommodating additional growth have also been addressed in the proposed plan, which will hopefully be supported in the November referendum.


So Many Stupids


July 15, 2016

Dear David,

I continue to ask why in America there are so many stupids.

Is it sloppy breeding? Tribalism? Education? Kale? Quinoa? High heels? Organized religion? Politics?

Fertilizer? Perfume? Wind chimes? Yappy dogs? 

We are a big country?


Four Pinocchios

East Hampton

July 17, 2016

To the Editor,

Dear Abe, I am sorry to report that a man by the name of Donald Trump has hijacked your Grand Old Party, dragged it through the mud, and is now throwing it into a gutter in Cleveland, Ohio. He is replacing it with a party some are calling the Trump Republican Party, but you would probably recognize it as the Know Nothing Party of the 1850s.

In the 1850s, the Know Nothing movement arose in response to an influx of migrants and promised to “purify” American politics by limiting the influence of Irish Catholics and other immigrants. It was empowered by popular fears that the country was being overwhelmed by German and Irish immigrants, whom they saw as hostile to republican values.

Substitute Muslims for Catholics and Mexicans for Germans and Irish, and — you get the picture. Unfortunately a political strategy that preys on ignorance, fear, and hate, targeting religious and ethnic groups, can be successful, as the world found out in the 1930s.

A few points about the Donald, as he is called. Winston Churchill’s statement that “some men occasionally stumble over the truth, but quickly pick themselves up and hurry on as if nothing happened,” could well apply to Mr. Trump. He has distinguished himself as a world-class liar, although the word “class” is not normally associated with him. In the world of politics, he may be the best of all time. 

PolitiFact, which awarded him the prestigious “2015 Liar of the Year,” has already labeled 34 of Mr. Trump’s assertions “pants on fire” lies. There is no better lie than a pants on fire lie. As of July 1, The Washington Post had fact-checked 46 statements by Mr. Trump and given 70 percent of them its worst rating, four Pinocchios — a record so abysmal that the newspaper recently compiled a video of what it called “Donald Trump’s most outrageous four-Pinocchio claims.” Factcheck.org declared that in the 12 years since its founding, “We have never seen his match.”

However, he is not lacking in stones, as they say. In winning the Republican nomination, he referred to his opponent as “Lyin’ Ted”!

Abe, there are many other examples of his fine character. I will spare you most, with the exception of a few gems:

• He founded Trump U, which turned out to be Scam U.

• He’s a rich guy who lies about how much money he has. What kind of a person does that?

• He thinks our veteran P.O.W.s are losers.

O Captain, my Captain, your G.O.P. has fallen cold and dead. We can only hope that the Abraham Lincoln rule will prevail. You can fool all of the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.


It’s About Institutions

East Hampton

July 17, 2016

To the Editor:

In the world of democratic delusion, we debate, grieve, argue, fight, andscream for togetherness over the racial disconnection that seems to paralyze our country. It’s mostly horseshit. Black Lives Don’t Matter. We make it sound like there’s something to discuss outside of the obvious, which no one wants to talk about. The racism that pervades every layer of our society and is deeply entrenched in all of our institutions is the point of discussion, the only one, the only real one.

Black lives mattered when they were slaves, chattel. They had a fixed dollar value, and people fought and died over that value. Since the Civil War, the rules of value changed. Blacks were no longer property, but remained as close to being property as the laws, constantly changing, permitted. Keeping blacks as an underclass didn’t have the same value as slavery, but it guaranteed that they would only minimally participate in the nation’s wealth.

The U.S. economy in its first 90 years used slavery as its primary engine. Both the North and the South accrued enormous benefits from slave labor. The transition after the Civil War to real freedom was a slow and torturous process based on simple economic principles. The need to keep the black population marginalized was simply a continuation of slavery, but in a different form.

Racism in the form of slavery was institutionalized in the American social fabric. Indians were mostly excluded as we killed them off. Immigrants from everywhere were treated as poorly as slaves, but were able to integrate without the color stigma. Italians, with darker skins, were unacceptable until the 1960s (see the Italian Anti-Defamation League marching up Fifth Avenue during that time). It’s what we did. An essential piece of our social fabric.

Racism isn’t about black kids being shot by white cops, white cops being shot by a black person, or even the huge percentage of young black men incarcerated. It’s about institutions that marginalize blacks, educationally, socially, and politically; institutions that are minimally conscious of discriminating because the patterns are deeply inculcated into their normal functioning. While 25 percent of black males under 35 having experienced prison scars an entire generation’s potential to grow and prosper, it is 400 years of institutional behavior that crushes black potential.

The other side of marginalizing people of color is white privilege, the normal, basic, day-to-day privileges that are available to white people because they are white; the unconscious acceptance of these privileges and the lack of awareness that they don’t exist for everyone.

The weight of institutional discrimination weighs heavily on all people of color. That weight is part of the normal functioning of our system. It’s like running a marathon with one-and-a-half legs, with no one understanding that the half a leg just weighs the runner down. We can’t heal the system, no matter our good intentions, if we don’t recognize that the system is the problem. 


No Basis in Reality

East Hampton

July 12, 2016

Dear Editor,

Enough already!

Hillary Clinton has been criticized, called arrogant, above the law, crooked, a liar, even a murderer, for years and years and years. She has been attacked by the political enemies of her husband and herself at will, over and over. The attacks and insults have been relentless, and have now come full cycle and resulted in destroying her reputation for truthfulness and honesty without one iota of evidence that any of these insults are factually based.

Now they continue, coming from the person who has much to gain if they are believed, Donald Trump. Trump, through his own remarks and out of his own mouth, has brought himself into ill repute.

But outside of code words like Benghazi, or emails, or other vague nomenclature, all of which have no basis in reality, I see nothing from Hillary Clinton or any of her actions that, when examined in the light of day, result in any of the charges being proven as remotely true.

So, wake up, America. Hillary Clinton would make a fine president. Donald Trump would be a disaster.


Suddenly, a Miracle!


July 17, 2016

Dear David:

I was playing on the United States Women’s Team (three women players) at the 1963 World Table Tennis Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia. We stopped in Frankfurt to give an exhibition before moving on to Prague. Had a very strict traveling schedule.

Separated because of a toothache, I was supposed to meet the team in the Frankfurt train station. Got lost, needed help, could not speak German to ask for directions.

Suddenly, a miracle! I saw an American. How did I know he was an American? No uniform, but I knew.

Yes, well, I had no German and Germany had no African-Americans at that time, so that was the tell — his color.

This was the time of Kennedy, Protestant-Catholic, racial, civil rights upheaval in the U.S. And I knew I had found an American, to whom I could speak English, because he was an African-American.

Thanks to him, the U.S. Table Tennis Team did not leave me in Frankfurt.