Letters to the Editor: 12.14.17

Our readers' comments

Amazing Experience

East Hampton

December 6, 2017

Dear Editor:

For the past 10 years I have often sent others to the First Presbyterian Church Community Thanksgiving dinner. However, this year I had a rare opportunity to volunteer and participate in this annual event. It was an amazing experience. Getting all those take-out meals done by 12 noon and then serving a complete turkey dinner to all those who chose to sit down and eat together at beautifully decorated tables. The food was delicious and the menu left nothing out including a choice of apple, pumpkin, or pecan pie, much to my delight because the latter is my all-time favorite! 

Families, college students, church members, and the community volunteers worked together under the leadership of Kristy LaMonda to make everyone feel the true holiday spirit of giving thanks.    

Respectfully yours,

DOREEN M. QUARANTO,

L.C.S.W., R.N.

Director of Outreach

Most Holy Trinity Church

Holiday Lights

Montauk

December 7, 2017

Dear David:

On behalf of the Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum Committee of the Montauk Historical Society I would like to thank the New York State Parks and Recreation Police, the East Hampton Town Police, the employees of Montauk Point’s New York State parks, the volunteers of the Montauk Fire Department, and the employees of Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum for the excellent job they did Saturday afternoon managing the thousands of spectators who enjoyed the holiday lighting of the Montauk Point Lighthouse.

The Lighthouse will be bathed in festive holiday lights every night until Jan. 6, except for the brief outages due to inclement weather. 

We are especially appreciative of those generous folks who helped us with their donations, big and small, to help pay the significant costs involved.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all.

Sincerely,

DICK WHITE JR.

Lighthouse Museum Committee

Overwhelming Support

East Hampton 

December 10, 2017

Dear Editor,

I am the varsity baseball coach at East Hampton High School. My players have been fund-raising for the past 10 months toward a spring training trip at which we will have the opportunity to practice and compete to help prepare us for our upcoming season. 

We have been extremely fortunate to have such overwhelming support from our community. Many local businesses, individuals, and the general public have supported us by donating or buying restaurant raffle tickets, participating in our 50/50 raffle, getting their car washed at one of our car washes, and attending or donating to our Casino Night. The list goes on and on. To all, we wish to take this opportunity to say thank you!

Through our fund-raising efforts, I am trying to instill in my players the importance of teamwork, responsibility, and accountability. However, there are a few more lessons that they have learned along the way that I may have underestimated. Today, at our pancake breakfast with Santa at the East Hampton Fire Department, the players also experienced the strength of community and generosity. The East Hampton Fire Department generously donated their facility, their time, and their experience to help us pull off a very successful fund-raising event. 

Chief Ken Wessberg, along with Chef Keith Payne and his crew, were instrumental to the success of our event. They prepped and cooked breakfast for almost 300 attendees — a task that required two days of their time. The great example these men set for my players is one of the life lessons I hope the boys can learn throughout our journey together as a team. To them, we wish to express our deepest gratitude. 

We would also like to thank John Hummel  and Associates, Mike DiSunno and Son, Wittendale’s Florist, One Stop Market, East Hampton I.G.A., Stop & Shop, Foster’s Farm, and the Golden Pear Cafe for their generous donations and support of the event. We couldn’t have done it without all of you!   

Sincerely,

COACH VINNY ALVERSA 

And the 2018 Varsity Baseball Athletes

Our Young People

Montauk

December 7, 2017

Dear David,

The article “Jones and Emptage: East Hampton High School Honorees” featured in your Nov. 23 issue highlights the talented scholar athletes who represent the best of the East End. Most incredibly, our young people have earned their place among the nation’s elite college athletes while contending with limited facilities.

With the Montauk Playhouse Foundation board approaching its fund-raising goal, the community will finally have the expanded facilities to support our young athletes and artists. The aquatic center will provide the training and instruction space needed for our youths to continue to develop water safety, fitness, and social engagement opportunities. The multi-use cultural arts space will offer educational opportunities for theater arts and musical performance.

We are proud to be among the supporters of this important community project and hope that our friends and neighbors will join us. Construction will begin this summer. Our talented young people will finally have the state-of-the-art facilities they need to develop their talents. We are grateful this much-needed communal space will be completed for all to enjoy.

Sincerely,

PERRY DURYEA III, 

Incoming President

MICHELE WALSH, 

Incoming Vice President

LISA DEVEGLIO, 

President Emeritus

KATHLEEN BECKMANN, 

Board Member

 

Dropping Quarters

Amagansett

December 2, 2017

To the Editor,

I went to the Amagansett laundromat to wash my summer quilt and encountered Reverend Romo from St. Thomas. He was dropping quarters in everyone’s washing machines. I was confused, so I asked. His explanation: “Many of them have no work in the winter.”

What an awesome hands-on program!

Certainly, if there were laundromats when Jesus walked the earth, he would have added, “Do their laundry” to his directive to feed the hungry and clothe the naked.

KATHLEEN McCORMACK

Lovely Article

Sag Harbor

December 11, 2017

To The Star:

Thanks for your lovely article on May Kelman. Yesterday’s opening at the Sag Harbor Temple Adas Israel went well. There were many people present who I did not know at all — and when I met them, they told me they had read it in The Star! One couple said they had lived in East Hampton for 36 years and never been to the Sag Harbor temple and came because of the article. 

Power of the press!

ANN CHWATSKY 

 

Thanks and Congrats

Los Angeles, Calif.

December 10, 2017

Dear Star,

I wanted to thank you all at The East Hampton Star for continuing to be a steadfast stalwart in the East End community for so long.

Also, thanks and congrats on the latest edition of EAST magazine. It’s so chock-full of interesting nuggets, great articles,moving stories, like Nina Channing’s, and it really, and I mean really, really looks fantastic. The cover/design/size/matte finish/Howard Kanovitz’s paintings, all so nice, and Bess’s letter had me W.O.L. (weeping out loud) with nostalgic pangs.

Love you guys, thanks again for always being there for everyone.

LYNN APPEL

Christmas Dinner

East Hampton

December 11, 2017

To the Editor,

I wish to thank the members of the Springs Fire Department for giving us a wonderful Christmas dinner on Sunday. They also delivered meals to members of the community who could not attend. We were one of those people. 

East Hampton is the place to live in as you age. This community has the best services for seniors. Try coming to the senior center to see for yourself.

JULIA KAYSER

Susan Vitale

Montauk

December 11, 2017

Dear David:

She was the steward of Gin Beach. Susan Vitale’s food wagon and store provided far more than eatables and drink. The nourishment came from a healer, a caregiver, a bit of a sorceress, a mother to many, and a child of the earth. Gin Beach is the last stop for all those who come from somewhere else. (Thanks to Joan Didion for those words.) The lucky travelers were the ones that met a woman who would be hard to forget. On many a summer morning there may have been a lifeguard truck parked at her store for a period of time.  No emergency, just good coffee and wonderful conversation.

I will have to get the name of the song the Unicorn performed at Susan’s memorial service. The beautiful lyrics spoke that when one is gone they will talk with us from the sky. I am sure many of us are looking forward to those unfinished conversations.

See you later, Susan,

JOHN MCGEEHAN

Better Not Bitter

East Hampton

December 8, 2017

Dear David,

Understanding is much deeper than knowledge. There are people who know us but few who understand us. Life is full of endings, but if you think about it every ending is a new beginning. Change is not merely necessary to life it is life. A lot of problems in the world would disappear if we talked to each other instead about each other. Being honest may not get you many friends. But it will always get you the right ones. Great minds discuss ideas, Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people. To be effective we complement each other without embarrassment and disagree without fear.

There are things known and things unknown. In between there are doors; make sure you choose the right one! The mind is a powerful thing when you fill it with positive thoughts. Treasure your ideas for they are like seeds that germinate in your mind. They root and shoot into concepts of creativity that are beyond imagination. The key to a positive life is will power. It makes you choose courage over fear, faith over doubt, and hope over despair.

The past cannot be changed, but the future is in your power. The difficulties in life are intended to make us better not bitter. In life things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that matters is what happens within us. Life may seem simple but it surely is not easy. If you want to be trusted be honest. The right train of thought can take you to a better station in life. Truth fears no questions. At times things can happen that you can’t solve; that’s not a problem, it’s reality. It’s not always important of how we understand life. But believing in the wonders of life. Judge your success in life by what you had to give up in order to get there. When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to the way you respond to what’s happening. That is where your power lies.

TOM BYRNE

Christmas With Cats

Southampton

December 5, 2017

To the Editor:

Just days before Christmas, the house is a mess,

and I’m feeling rattled with holiday stress.

My slim Christmas budget was spent weeks ago.

The weather’s prediction: rainstorms, but no snow.

A fine Christmas wreath, once up on the door,

lies coated with cat hair and crushed on the floor.

The Christmas tree’s wilting, tinsel’s shredded and torn, and all Christmas boxes are crumpled and worn.

Cards clutter the table, not written, not sent.

My energy’s lagging and almost’s been spent.

Cats, done wreaking havoc, are serenely napping,

but many a gift needs bows and re-wrapping.

I’m feeling defeated amidst the debris.

It’s time for a beer and a snack-attack spree.

As visions of Christmas tasks dance through the haze, “Next year I’ll go somewhere,” I say in a daze.

“Just think, no more shopping, no presents, no tree! I’ll celebrate Christmas in Aspen. I’ll ski!”

“Or perhaps someplace warm,” I continue to muse.

“Oahu or Maui! A Caribbean cruise!”

“But, wait! What’s to do with my kitties?” I say. “I can’t leave them alone, not on Christmas Day.”

“They need cuddles and snuggles, and T.L.C.

And when I return they’ll all ignore me!”

So, I take a deep breath and count up to ten.

Relaxed, I’m ready to dig in again.

I hang up the stockings with the usual flair.

I’ll fill them tomorrow with candy and care.

Soon, at the back door, there comes a fierce bang. My family! My friends! Some neighbors! A gang!

 

We settle in talking, laughing and drinking. I can’t dismiss Christmas. What was I thinking?

While the cats steal hors d’oeuvres and knock over wine, we order Chinese, then sit down to dine.

We share memories, we joke, we eat too much food, and all are enjoying this boisterous brood.

For, what is a Christmas without exceses? Friends, family, and cats? Stress es and messes?

So here’s to a season of love and good cheer! Let the madness resume in less than a year!

DIANNE MORITZ

Fossil-Fuel Addiction

Wainscott

December 9, 2017

Dear David,

What does the addiction to fossil fuels look like? Worse than drug addiction. Globally, over 24 times more people die from fossil fuels than from opioids. According to the World Health Organization 4.6-million people die every year from fossil fuels. This figure only includes deaths from vehicles, power plants, industry, and burning solid fossil fuel (coal) in their homes for heat. This figure does not include those who died from the results of climate change, such as more powerful and more frequent storms, fires, drought, tornados, and extreme weather patterns. Fossil fuels kill more people every year than wars, murderers, and traffic accidents combined.

What does withdrawal from fossil-fuel addiction look like? As with all addictions, denial is the number-one deterrent to ending the addiction. The first step is admitting there is a problem. The only solution is to rid oneself of the addictive substance. Ending the addiction usually involves both psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms. It starts with a priority and paradigm change, understanding that our present condition of addiction is not sustainable and the present course, if not changed, is certain disaster, even unto death. It is a life or death paradigm change. Transitioning from fossil fuels as an energy source to renewable energy has the potential to save millions of lives every year. That is a huge incentive; however, the psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms are manifest in the opposition to implement renewable-energy sources, both offshore wind and solar energies. 

Those in opposition are in denial, unwilling to understand the disastrous future of the status quo, continuing the destructive use of fossil fuels as a heroin addict would. Opposition to offshore wind arose based on fake news and unfounded fears, ranging from electric rate increases to the destruction of the fishing industry. 

Opposition to solar farms is based on personal aesthetic opinions, the unfounded fear that cutting down trees will negatively impact the aquifer. Science shows that keeping the understory and active soil layer intact, using proven technologies such as helical anchors to install solar panels, has a net positive impact on the aquifer by eliminating a major source for water released back into the atmosphere. This is exactly what the withdrawal symptoms from fossil fuels look like.

Withdrawal isn’t easy. It’s hard work, painful, and psychologically challenging. Behavioral change is difficult. For some, any type of change is difficult. After a near-death motorcycle accident and an extremely painful recovery, I was addicted to opiates. I went through several withdrawals since every surgical procedure required pain meds; they were instantly addictive. 

I am empathetic to the symptoms of withdrawal, understanding the challenges, the difficulties, especially setting priorities, making the paradigm change, and making the determination necessary to turn away from the certain path of destruction, toward a productive, sustainable, and hopeful future.

East Hampton’s community-wide goal to be 100 percent renewable energy in electricity, transportation, and heating fuels will be hard work and challenging. The technology exists, it’s feasible but we must embrace it. The fossil fuel withdrawal symptoms will be difficult to endure. The vast majority of folks are past the denial stage and understand our present addiction to fossil fuels has an unsustainable and disastrous future. 

The past election gave the town board a mandate to move forward to attain the goal. They have the political capital. They must take the next steps by changing our course, making the paradigm change, setting fossil fuel-free as a top priority, making the determination to withstand the difficulties of withdrawal symptoms. It is indisputable that taking these next steps and following through to meet our goal of 100 percent renewable energy will put us on a path toward a far more sustainable and hopeful future for generations to come. Let’s roll!

Sincerely,

FRANK DALENE

Welcome Home

East Hampton

December 10, 2017

Dear David,

In May 2014, the East Hampton Town Board was the first in New York State to set a 100 percent renewable energy goal replacing fossil fuels with renewable resources. In this historical great transformation, the board also included a goal of meeting the equivalent of 100 percent community-wide energy consumption in the heating and transportation sectors. So began an East Hampton Clean Energy Portfolio of renewable resources including wind power, solar, residential and commercial energy efficiencies, and peak load management. 

In 2017, LIPA awarded Deepwater Wind a 20-year contract to supply offshore wind power to East Hampton with enough power annually for 50,000 homes. This first New York State offshore wind farm removes the need for any further fossil-fuel generation in this coastal community. 

In October 2017, Gordian Raacke, executive director of Renewable Energy Long Island, began an analysis, still in progress, estimating the achievable potential of renewable energy and efficiency over the next five years. Each of the three scenarios, measuring potential from low to high, clearly demonstrate that without wind power, the East Hampton Town 100 percent goal is not attainable.

In the fall of 2016, the East Hampton Historical Society presented a lecture on “Returning Wind Power To Its 350 Years of East Hampton History.” The iconic East Hampton windmills that provided this power to the growing East Hampton community have now returned 30 miles over the Montauk horizon, the Deepwater Wind Off-Shore Farm’s 15 turbines. 

On Wednesday, Dec. 6, Deepwater Wind opened its offices in Amagansett. Welcome home, Deepwater Wind!

LINDA JAMES

Concerns and Thoughts

East Hampton

December 11, 2017

Dear David,

I would like to thank Alice Tepper Marlin of Springs for organizing last week’s visit by Catherine Bowes of the National Wildlife Federation to our home for an informal gathering of concerned citizens pertaining to the Deepwater Wind project. Ms. Bowes is a senior manager of the Climate and Energy Northeast Regional Center. 

One of the most important elements of the installation of the Deepwater Wind turbines is concern by our fishermen, both commercial and recreational, that the construction phase will serve to deplete marine life or even ruin the ability to fish as a result of noise caused from pile-driving. Other concerns involve possible migration of marine life to disperse elsewhere or that the turbines themselves will interrupt or destroy fishing opportunities. 

The concerns of our fishermen are real and as a newly elected East Hampton Town trustee, I share these concerns as I take my new responsibilities very seriously and am dedicated to the task of preserving and protecting our waterways and as such, our marine life and way of lifestyle.  

A person who vigorously advocates for marine and wildlife, I am also an advocate for learning as much as we can about any topic or issue beforehand. By taking the time to research issues, I firmly believe we are best suited to make sound decisions that are long lasting for the whole of the community based on our present and future needs. I believe it is incumbent upon all of us as concerned citizens to take every opportunity offered that will enhance our ability to use critical and fact based information wisely. 

The gathering at our home was plentiful of community members who shared their concerns and thoughts. After addressing issues of marine mammal life and wind turbine construction methodology, the attendees were engaged in a lively Q&A with Ms. Bowes. For those who missed this opportunity, there are tentative plans for Ms. Bowes to return in the spring of 2018 to meet again with members of our community. 

I encourage every member of our community to attend trustee and Town Hall meetings whenever possible to listen, ask questions, and engage. I have no doubt that we are all committed to doing what is right for our town. The most productive town governance is one where the people are involved. 

The National Wildlife Federation was founded in 1936 and is our country’s largest private, nonprofit conservation education and advocacy organization with 51 state and terrorial affiliated organizations. For more information contact Ms. Bowes at bowes@nwf.org. 

Sincerely,

SUSAN MCGRAW KEBER 

Not Keeping Up

East Hampton

December 8, 2017

Dear David,

I think the Democratic Party has done a superior job in office since taking over from the Republicans, although there are some areas that have to be addressed in the future that have not been solved.

The airport, the deer problem, safety on the roads, the condition of the roads, the lack of retail stores that are available to anyone below the billionaire class.

There is a sign on Cedar Street saying that there were 475 accidents last year on our roads involving deer. That means there were 475 deer injured or killed on our roads, plus damage to cars and trauma to the occupants in the cars and people witnessing the accidents. There is a map of the accidents involving deer made by East Hampton Department of Information Technology and it seems to happen all over the town and village. This is spite of years of discussing this problem in forums in the town.

There are many people who think any culling of the deer herds is inhumane. I am not one of them. I feel the injury to humans and the injuries to deer are worse than thinning the herds by culling. When the deer are severely injured they basically suffer on or next to a road until they die.

If the deer lovers want to protect the deer, maybe they could pay to relocate them to safe areas far from roads, where they can live in peace. 

On another subject, the town has been unsuccessful in regulating the airport even though the town owns the airport. Right now, there are massive private jets and noisy helicopters that have turned the airport into a busy commercial airport far busier than the size the town can handle.

Unless the town and airport management can come to an understanding about controlling noise, I would support closing the airport, or prohibiting the use of noisy helicopters.

The wealthy could find other high-speed ways to get to the Hamptons, possibly supporting trains that don’t have to take time to stop and transfer passengers at the Jamaica station and higher-speed trains with nicer accommodations and club cars.

The town has to do something about safety on the roads. Cars go way over the speed limits and tailgate. Some of the roads are under the control of the state, but more local supervision is required. Also jaywalking tickets should be given in the village and speeding tickets to cars that ignore people crossing Main Street and Newtown Lane. 

East Hampton is no longer a sleepy little town. Growth in population is going so fast that town and village management is not keeping up. Unless some things are done to solve the problems, people will start going someplace else.

LARRY SPECTOR

P.S. I’ve been reading that East Hampton Town officials will chop down pine trees at no cost but not cart the wood away because “the law does not allow it.” I’d like to see that law. It doesn’t make sense. If the wood is infected, it needs to be carted away and destroyed.

Hateful Attack

East Hampton

December 9, 2017

Dear David,

I was very upset by a letter to The Star by an apparent spokesperson for the Democratic Committee. This vituperative, relentless attack on Zack Cohen is making me reconsider my party affiliation.

I must truly ask in regard to this unwarranted attack, “Why?” He lost; let it go. Such nastiness echoes Mr. Trump’s approach toward anyone who disagrees with him. It is vindictive and childish. Anger and bitterness do not reflect well on the Democratic Committee. Where are the measured, thoughtful, ethical politicians that I, a lifelong Democrat, have always supported?

There is something inherently wrong with such an unnecessary, hateful attack; and, I am most concerned if the Democratic Committee supports such an approach to those who have ideas that are not conceived within or condoned by their committee.

Look what such an approach has done to our nation’s government. It is unconscionable that such behavior is rearing its ugly head in our town, and by Democrats no less. I appeal to the Democratic Committee members and their representatives to temper their words and at the very least speak respectfully of members of the community who have devoted hours, months, years of volunteer work to better their community, or don’t speak at all.

Zack Cohen deserves an apology and a thank-you.

Sincerely,

ANNE McCANN

Respected Man

Amagansett

December 8, 2017

Dear David,

According to one of our town’s Democratic Committee members, “Democrats often identify themselves when they are young.” (Letters, Dec. 7) And this writer goes on to say that she apparently knows that one of our town’s most-respected citizens is not a “true” Democrat. That writer has information, apparently, that this respected man did not come out as a Democrat in the bassinet.

I parse my own Democrat credentials: As a child I identified as loving horses. I have Republican friends. I would vote for Abraham Lincoln in a hot second. 

I would suggest that obsessively entrenched residents of overly partisan houses consider renovating.

All good things,

DIANA WALKER

Environmental Crimes

Springs

December 8, 2017

Dear David,

There is a big difference between an environmentalist and conservationist.

Environmentalism is the philosophy, ideology, and social movement that may or may not be based on scientific analysis regarding concerns for environmental protection and improvement of the health of the environment.

Conservationism is the application of scientific environmental analysis to promote preservation through the careful management of natural resources and of the environment.

Scientific analysis is based on logical thinking, observation, theory, experimentation, documentation, repeatability, and review.

I have over 33 years in the New York State Park Police as the police force’s first sergeant, which is the highest ranking supervisor responsible for all field operations. I also am the founding Police Benevolent Association president of New York State, the fifth biggest police union, representing not only state park police but state environmental conservation police, state Forest Rangers, and State University police. 

In short, I have a long career in environmental law enforcement. In law enforcement, as in scientific analysis, the cornerstone of every good investigation to ensure grand jury indictments and criminal convictions are logical thinking, observation, theory, experimentation, and documentation. 

The environment is a voiceless victim, and it is our responsibility to give a voice to the environment against the many types of criminal violators that perpetuate environmental crimes against society. Needless to say, myself and my P.B.A. members deal daily with many groups including environmentalist and conservationist.

For many years I believe, as do that of many conservationists, the commercial fishing industry has been painted in an unfavorable light with a broad brush and demonized by many politically motivated groups including environmentalist-pushing philosophical and ideological agendas. Because of this the concerns of our commercial fishing industry and conservationist alike are being brushed aside as “flat-earthers” and anti-environment. Further, the drivers for Deepwater Wind are politically driven by the presidential ambitions of Governor Cuomo, the potential profits of the financial investment firm D.E. Shaw, Citibank Bank, G.E. Financial, and a philosophical, ideological environmental-social movement. 

Environmental conservation should not and cannot be cast aside. Just as in environmental law enforcement, we the community must be the collective voice for our marine wildlife and ecosystem. We must not sacrifice our commercial fishing industry to the political ambitions of Governor Cuomo, the financial greed of big banks, and environmental philosophies not rooted in a sound scientific analysis for the sake of pursuing a political ideology.

We must be vigilant and demand full disclosure of LILCO–LIPA–PSEG agreements, true and accurate independent scientific analysis and safeguards to protect marine wildlife, the underwater ecosystem. By doing so, we will ensure the long-term economic viability of our commercial fishing industry. Casting aside sound environmental conservation policy is neither environmentally friendly nor sound judgment.

MANUEL M. VILAR

Zeldin’s Priorities

East Hampton

December 10, 2017

To the Editor:

The front-page article by Christopher Walsh is a very impressive professional presentation of an issue important to all of us in the First Congressional District.

We need our representative to represent his constituents before he votes his party line. To have Steve Bannon, who stands for all the wrong things, featured at Zeldin’s fund-raiser in Manhattan sends a loud and clear message: Zeldin’s priorities are with Bannon, Breitbart, Trump, and the big donors. Zeldin has not held town hall meetings other than with him responding to “pre-approved questions.” He is rarely available at his office; calls to his office usually end with a voice-mail message.

It is time for someone who represents the First Congressional District to spend time here and to listen to the concerns of his constituents.

JEREMIAH T. MULLIGAN

On a National Scale

East Hampton

December 11, 2017

Dear David,

I want to commend The Star and Christopher Walsh on the Lee Zeldin-Steve Bannon article. Covering him goes beyond local news, but his effect on our community as our congressman is on a national scale.

Associating with Steve Bannon at his upcoming fund-raiser, with his hateful rhetoric, exemplifies Mr. Zeldin’s policies and belief system, which run contrary to our local values.

I read The Star every week and was very impressed with this article. Keep them coming.

ROBERT BRODY

Prepared to Accept

Springs

December 11, 2017

To the Editor, 

What kind of a man is Congressman Lee Zeldin, a Jew who is prepared to accept the support of anti-Semite, neo-Nazi, white supremacist Stephen Bannon?

NIGEL NOBLE

Seized the Coattails

Springs

December 10, 2017

Dear David:

Journalism must be commended when it transcends conflict and instead teaches us about the attendant social issues and why they demand our utmost attention.

So is the case with Christopher Walsh’s reporting on Mr. Zeldin’s decision to cozy up with the fountainhead of the white supremacist alt-right platform, Stephen Bannon. Surely, some of The Star’s readership will assail Mr. Walsh’s column as just another indication of what they perceive to be a “liberal” slant of The Star.

However, Mr. Walsh’s article succeeds in transcending partisan politics in favor of reminding us of the basic tenets of human decency. His column maps the descent of our elected congressman, Lee Zeldin, from a perch from which he could have earned the respect of his entire constituency to the nadir of forsaking human decency for political gain. Casting aside his oath to protect the Constitution and serve his entire constituency, Mr. Zeldin has instead seized the coattails of one of the meanest, most bigoted, and destructive figures to have walked the trails of United States politics.

Mr. Bannon is, of course, the senior editor of Breitbart News, which he proudly touts as the premier “alt-right platform.” Under Bannon’s tutelage, Breitbart News has fomented white supremacist dogma, preached anti-Semitism, and has advocated for the destruction of the American democracy. His most recent embrace of these antisocial values has been the promotion of Judge Roy Moore as the G.O.P. candidate for the open Senate seat in Alabama.

Mr. Moore, the well-known accused pedophile and sexual predator, has yet more arrows in his quill of abhorrent values: Homosexuality should be criminalized, same-sex marriage should be outlawed, abortion should be illegal, women should not have the right either to vote or hold office, and no Christian should vote for a woman who does run. 

Astonishingly. he touted recently that the most family-friendly period of American history was when slavery acted as a family bond. Twice removed from his judgeship for misconduct, it is no exaggeration to anoint Mr. Moore as one of the most odious public figures in American history, and that is saying a lot. 

So by linking arms with Mr. Bannon, Mr. Zeldin embraces each of the tenets Mr. Bannon and his acolytes —- like Roy Moore — hold dear. It is sick that Mr. Zeldin would tell his constituency that he thinks Moore is “a creepy dude” but then embrace his politics through a throaty call-out to Mr. Bannon for campaign support. In doing so, he has abandoned any vestige of human decency. Mr. Walsh has reached to members of Mr. Zeldin’s religious community who, not surprisingly, confirmed this by explaining Mr. Zeldin’s embrace of Mr. Bannon as wholly inconsistent with Jewish teachings. 

As my mother told me long ago: You are measured by the company you keep. And were she alive, she would also tell you that the gutter is not down from where you are right now.

Mr. Walsh, the slings and arrows will undoubtedly come your way. Hold your head high. You’ve not only done well but have done good.

Sincerely,

BRUCE COLBATH

 

More Cash to Hoard

East Hampton

December 11, 2017

To the Editor,

The Republican tax plan cuts taxes for corporations by $1 trillion. Yes, the same mammoth, multinational businesses that have made news by raking in record profits will, if this bill gets passed, be gifted with even more cash to hoard.

But that’s not all. Under this plan, if you have high health care costs, you will no longer be able to deduct medical expenses from your taxes. Have cancer and your bills are mounting up? Suffer from a chronic medical condition? Sorry, tough luck, but no more deductions for you.

Add to this outrage any of the many other outrages this bill contains (taxing tuition waivers for graduate students, for example) and you’ve got the recipe for a middle class downward spiral for years to come.

Why these sudden draconian measures? Because President Trump and his cohorts have that well-known disease that often afflicts the very wealthy: the “I want more” disease, the “Whoever has the most toys when they die wins” disease. 

So, because the billionaire in the next town wants to be kicked up a few notches on the Forbes 400, the rest of us have to make up for the shortfall.

Please call Lee Zeldin and let him know that getting rid of the state and local tax deductions is not the only reason for fighting this tax plan.

And next year, when it’s time to elect a new congressional representative, remember it’s the Republican Party that has brought forth this monstrosity and respond in kind. Vote for a Democrat.

Sincerely,

CAROL DEISTLER

His Moral Compass

Amagansett

December 9, 2017

Dear David,

Thank you for printing the article “Bannon to Join Zeldin Fund-Raiser”  by Christopher Walsh on Dec. 7.

Who Representative Lee Zeldin is and what he represents is important for our readers to know as he prepares for his 2018 re-election campaign. 

We applaud you in giving us this new

worthy article. Seeing Zeldin’s ties to Bannon tells us more about his moral compass than his misleading press releases.

Actions speak louder than words! 

Respectfully,

TINA and MAX PLESSET

 

Absent Environmentalist

Springs

December 9, 2017 

Dear David: 

Our Congressman, Lee Zeldin, seems to be an absent environmentalist when it comes time to act against real threats to our environment. Two weeks ago, the Senate G.O.P. passed its version of a tax “reform” bill. The Senate bill included a provision that could open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration. The provision, added by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, would effectively repeal Alaska’s National Interest Lands Conservation Act and allow at least 800,000 acres in the 19 million-acre Arctic refuge to be drilled for oil and gas. 

A dozen Republican representatives, including representatives from New York and New Jersey, wrote to G.O.P. Congressional leadership expressing concern over exploration in the Alaskan Arctic reserve. Among other things, they argue that seismic testing — the practice of sending loud blasts from air guns through the ground at 10-second intervals, 24 hours a day, to locate buried oil and gas  — will threaten already at-risk species and the Arctic’s fragile habitat. 

Their letter points out “Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike have stood together to protect this unparalleled landscape. For decades, Congress has voted to prohibit oil and gas development in the refuge, with the overwhelming support of the American people.” Did Mr. Zeldin step up and join his colleagues? Well, he has disappointed us again. 

This is especially troubling because we face the same disastrous offshore oil and gas drilling that the Arctic does. In fact, the Trump administration has already applied for seismic blasting permits off our coastline. Each blast will produce up to 180 decibels of noise (about 1,000 times louder than fireworks). That kind of noise kills or stresses all manner of marine life. But the right whale, which is critically endangered, faces an existential threat. There are only 300 left, precariously balancing on extinction. Should this insane plan go through, we could lose this magnificent species. And the inevitable oil spills, should drilling happen, would destroy our fishing and tourism industries. 

Whether in the pristine Arctic or our own beloved Atlantic waters, Congressman Lee Zeldin needs to stop being an absent environmentalist. He needs to put his actions where his mouth is and protect our precious marine environments. 

FRANCESCA RHEANNON 

Birds of a Feather

Springs

December 6, 2017

To the Editor:

Steve Bannon praises Roy Moore in Alabama.

Steve Bannon praises Lee Zeldin in New York City.

Steve Bannon praises Don Trump, who praises Roy Moore, and Steve Bannon and Lee Zeldin: Birds of a feather. 

Sorry Lee, but you are judged by the

company you keep.

LARRY SMITH

Heinous Self-Interest

East Hampton

December 9, 2017

To the Editor,

On page two of the Dec. 8 New York Times article “The Egyptian Woman Who Dared” is the haunting story of the Arab Spring with all of its complications and ramifications for the present and future generations of people in the Middle East. The story of the Arab Spring, one of democratic uprising, needs to be viewed in the larger context of the world politic.

The Middle East, with countries like Iran and Egypt, has history that is 4,000 to 5,000 years old. We tend to think that the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, at the beginning of the 20th century, was the beginning of its entry into the world and ignore the previous 3,900 years. The United States, unlike European powers, was never interested in the Middle East and its growing interest in the 1950s centered around oil and Communism and then Israel and terrorism. America’s deeply-rooted anti-Semitism and the incompatibility of Communism and Islam left oil as our only real interest.

The collapse of the Middle East’s oil economy in 2016 has moved our focus entirely to terrorism. Yet terrorism, while being a problem, is absolutely no threat to our democracy in the way that Communism and fascism were. Still, we understand that controlling terrorism that emanates from the Middle East is more easily done by strong autocratic leaders (see dictators) than by fledgling democracies.

So, we have abandoned the Arab Spring participants in favor of the leaders that we exhorted them to get rid of. An act of heinous self-interest that has always been one of the earmarks of our foreign policy.

Realistically, countries that have lived a certain way for 4,000 years don’t become democracies overnight. The process is long and drawn out and filled with ups and downs that rattle the most fervent believers. That the U.S. provides no guidance beyond what serves our self-interests, while not surprising, is lamentable. It puts the world on notice that we are often full of crap about our beliefs in democracy for everyone. Too obvious to miss from a look at how we operate in our own country. 

So we have all but abandoned the pro- democracy movements in the Middle East. We have hung hundreds of thousands of young people out to dry with their hopes and aspirations turning to a battle to simply survive. This repugnant action can’t be blamed on the current administration even though its courtship of autocrats exacerbates the problem.

For the young woman and thousands like her who are hiding out from their repressive governments, they learn a lesson about the harsh reality of the world politic. Our democracy rhetoric is the psychobabble of deranged politicians pretending that we are something that we really aren’t. When we look to them for support of our anti-terror agenda they will tell us to get lost. Not our proudest moments in a history where they are few and far between.

 NEIL HAUSIG