Letters to the Editor: 12.21.17

Our readers' comments

Welcomed the Children

East Hampton

December 18, 2017

Dear David:

Last week the 80 students who attend the prekindergarten program at the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center, who are from the East Hampton, Wainscott, and Sagaponack School Districts, had an exciting experience visiting Guild Hall for a screening of “The Polar Express.”

We would like to thank everyone at Guild Hall for making this happen for our students. Not only did Guild Hall obtain a video of “The Polar Express” for the children to enjoy, but everyone there welcomed the children and even invited them back! 

Introducing early childhood students to the arts is a sure way to build their appreciation and interest. We’re so grateful to Guild Hall for helping us to provide rich and varied experiences for our youngsters. 

It’s a wonderful thing when community organizations can band together to provide the best for our youngest East Hamptoners. We look forward to partnering again with Guild Hall, and to forging new partnerships with other community groups.



Administrative Director


Program Director 

Please Return

East Hampton 

December 17, 2017


My wife and I just returned from Rincon, Puerto Rico, and if ever the spirit of a people were represented in an anthem, it would be, as it is the expression of all peoples’ struggles for dignity and self-reliance, “We Shall Overcome” I am so proud of my Puerto Rican brothers and sisters. 

Please return, we need your support in our continuing struggle for survival. The surf, sunsets, and people are the same as before Maria. Most services, in most places, are restored, but, yes, there are some places still in need of electricity and water, and that is being improved daily.

Your presence and support is vital, in many respects as important as is the electricity and water. Normalcy also requires that the Puertorriqueños know that their friends have not abandoned them. Bette and I look forward to seeing and being with ya’ll for sunset at the Calypso, Casa Verde, and/or Tamboo, and even “gringo” night at the Villa Confresi. By the way the farmers markets on Sunday mornings are back in business with local fare again in abundance. Come on down. You will not be disappointed.


The Bottom Line


December 18, 2017

Dear Sir:

The article on the PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) payment to the Amagansett School District by the East Hampton Housing Authority was really quite short on facts. The 4.6 acres would produce $13,000 in taxes if residentially developed, so the East Hampton Housing Authority is going to pony up a whopping $25,000 to help offset any additional students who might attend the school. 

Are we kidding here? The estimate is that the 531 project of 38 units will require funds for at least 37 more students. Just using the $25,000/student average cost for Suffolk means that at least $925,000/year more will be needed. Since this project will pay no property taxes, who funds the extra $900,000 (or more)? The answer is the Amagansett taxpayers. 

The East Hampton Housing Authority is already $4 million in the hole for the land purchase, with a bond. Just once I would like to see the East Hampton Housing Authority give the taxpayers the bottom line on this project. After the bond payments, construction costs of 38 units, school tax liability of $900,000/year, utility costs, maintenance, etc., what will this cost the taxpayers of East Hampton per year after the subsidized rents are applied? 

This “affordable” housing may be affordable for the residents, but it’s a subsidized drain for the rest of the town. And what are the guarantees that only East Hampton Town residents will rent these subsidized units? I thought that once outside money was accepted, anyone was eligible. A lot of answers are needed from the East Hampton Housing Authority, but I won’t hold my breath for an answer.



Autism Teachers

East Hampton

December 14, 2017

Dear David:

Our school districts should hire trained autism teachers in our local schools. We pay the Suffolk County Board of Cooperative Educational Services to send our children on a four-hour trip every day to Westhampton. It would most likely save us money to have our children in our local schools. My guess is that our schools get federal money to educate these children and send them off campus. They might have to create space in their school.


Obesity Epidemic

East Hampton

December 14, 2017

Dear Editor,

With the annual tax filing date just around the corner, pundits are searching for ways to make our tax code fairer and more reflective of our social incentives and burdens. In this regard, there is a growing interest in a tax on meat, eggs, and dairy products, designed to curb the self-destructive health impacts of their consumption and to effectively compensate society for the associated devastating environmental impacts. 

The concept is hardly radical. We already pay similar taxes on tobacco and alcohol products. A number of states have or are considering imposing taxes on soft drinks and other junk foods. New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to ban supersize sugary sodas has resurrected the age-old debate over the role of the state in protecting the public health. In recent years, this debate involved bicycle helmets, car seatbelts, tobacco, trans fats, saturated fats in meat and dairy products, and sugar (or more aptly, high-fructose corn syrup). Public subsidies for tobacco, meat, and dairy, and corn production added fuel to the debate.

I would argue that society has a right to regulate activities that impose a heavy burden on the public treasury. National medical costs of dealing with our obesity epidemic, associated with consumption of meat, dairy, and sugars, are estimated at $190 billion. Eliminating subsidies for these products, as well as judicious taxation to reduce their use and recoup public costs, should be supported by health advocates and fiscal conservatives alike.  

Benjamin Franklin claimed that “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Ironically, death can be deferred substantially by taxing products that make us sick.

The revenue would reimburse the Medicare and Medicaid programs for treating victims of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic killer diseases that have been linked conclusively with consumption of animal products. It would pay for restoration of waterways and wildlife habitats that have been devastated by production of these items.



Organic Label

East Hampton

December 18, 2017

Dear Editor,

The Trump administration ruled on Friday that animals raised for food under the U.S.D.A. organic label need not be treated any less cruelly than those in conventional farming. The decision reverses years of United States Department of Agriculture policy, which held that the organic label should impose minimal ethical, health, and environmental standards. For the animals, this included adequate space, light, and access to the outdoors.

Under the Trump administration, this will no longer be the case. “Organic” farm operations will be allowed to cram laying hens five to a small wire cage that tears out their feathers and to grind or suffocate millions of male chicks at birth because they don’t lay eggs. Mother pigs will spend their miserable lives in tight metal crates, as their babies are torn from them and mutilated with no anesthesia. And dairy cows will continue to cry for their babies torn from them at birth, so we can drink their milk.

Caring consumers opting for organic animal products, to reduce their role in subsidizing these abuses, will now have no choice but to switch to plant-based foods, including the widely available nut and grain-based meats, milks, cheeses, and ice creams.



Being Sacrificed

East Hampton

December 14, 2017

Dear David,

The airport issues continue to astound and infuriate me and the other residents of the Town of East Hampton and Wainscott.

1) Why is it that one member of the airport management advisory committee, a pilot with business interests in vintage aviation, questions a wind study that everyone, including the Federal Aviation Administration, deems reliable and the town goes forward and spends $52,000-plus to do another study which confirms the original study?   This pilot, who is not a resident of East Hampton, has previously attempted and is again attempting to have the town pay an exorbitant price to reopen this secondary runway, which was recommended to be closed by the F.A.A., is directly over a cluster of homes, is not a requirement of the F.A.A., and has no aviation justification. Why does the town not cease discussion on this issue once and for all? 

2) Why is a $2.1 million bond being voted on this Thursday, Dec. 21, to pay to increase taxiways at the airport? Are these increased taxiways necessary? Are they a requirement of the F.A.A.? Will they increase capacity, thereby increasing noise, pollution, etc.? Why is this being pushed through days before a new administration and new town board members take office? Is the present board pandering to the airport interests? These actions, taken days before the new town board takes office, has at the very least the appearance of impropriety. Isn’t it in the best interest of the residents of East Hampton to limit flights at the airport and not increase capacity in any way? 

3) Why is a new or expanded control tower being considered? Why would the town consider paying to correct a mistake by the F.A.A. and the engineering firm who recommended/approved the tower location and height? Will a new or expanded tower increase traffic? Again, isn’t it in the best interest of the residents to act in a way that limits helicopter flights and not increase capacity in any way? Wasn’t this the platform that our elected officials promised us when they ran for office?

4) Why isn’t anything being done about contaminated water in Wainscott? The State Department of Environmental Conservation, in its letter to the town, clearly stated that the town had to install point-of-entry treatment systems or other alternate water supply (waterline extension) to address the contaminated water supply wells in Wainscott. The D.E.C. identifies only one likely source of the contamination — the airport. 

Is the town giving deference to airport interests at the risk of the health and safety of its residents? Are the residents of Wainscott being sacrificed to appease the helicopter, jet plane, and seaplane interests? Being told that the contamination is a result of someone Scotch Guarding furniture or throwing a contaminant into the woods is ridiculous and an insult to our intelligence. 

These are pressing and important issues and nothing is being done or the wrong decision is being made. The taxpaying, working residents of the Town of East Hampton deserve better. Residents voted to utilize community preservation funds to provide clean water but nothing is being done. Residents have made it clear to our elected officials and newly elected officials that they wish to restrict airport capacity and traffic. The actions being taken are counter to this and illogical. Our elected officials, employees of this town [are] required to serve the residents and act in their best interest. Is that too much to ask for? I don’t believe so.

Very truly yours, 



Lessen Our Exposure


December 18, 2018

Dear David,

The East End economy is driven by our environment: the health and beauty of our beaches and bays, wetlands, woods, farms, and open spaces, not by transient visitors and a handful of locals using the airport. The latter is a myth, perpetuated by those with aviation interests.  

When the new airport fuel farm opens shortly, the town has an opportunity to take a small but important step toward extending protection of the environment and the community, by no longer making available at KHTO toxic leaded aviation fuel used by piston-driven planes and some helicopters. 

The town is not legally required to offer aviation fuel of any kind at KHTO, but unleaded fuel (UL94) is available, can be supplied immediately, and could be used by at least one-third of the fleet of small planes based at KHTO. But, it appears that the town will continue to be purveyor of toxic leaded fuel unless the public reacts.

 Although the amount of leaded fuel sold at KHTO is small compared to jet fuel sold for larger planes and helicopters, there is no safe level of lead. Lead is a human carcinogen, a neurotoxin, and a danger to all life. The less lead in the environment, the healthier our environment, and all of us, especially young children. 

At Friday’s airport management advisory committee cited reasons for the town to continue to offer leaded fuel at KHTO:

1) The “network” of Northeast airports offering new unleaded fuel (UL64) is not currently widespread. True but, as with everything, it is de mand that increases supply, and demand will grow the network, as occurred in Massachusetts, which now has two resort airports selling low-lead fuel (Berkshires and Cape Cod).  

2) If unleaded and leaded avgas were both available at KHTO, pilots may not know which to put in their airplane tanks and the town could be liable for damage to the aircraft! Automobile users are responsible for choosing the correct fuel when selecting from four fuel types regularly available at gas stations. Stickers are posted at every pump to alert consumers. Gas stations are not held liable if consumers err!

3) Planes unable to operate on unleaded fuel would have to fly to a nearby airport to refuel, and that would cause noise and pollution! Nearby airports, some within a few minutes’ flight, sell leaded avgas and are closer than the distance many locals drive to fuel automobiles! Small planes disperse leaded fuel year round over our communities, circling endlessly, apparently without destination, and when practicing takeoff and landings. They could practice by landing, refueling, and taking off from a nearby airport!

With environmental protections now jettisoned in Washington, D.C., in a nanosecond, the likelihood of unleaded aviation fuel becoming widely available by 2018, as proposed by the Federal Aviation Administration, without demand by users, seems a distant dream. Aviation is driven by profit, not by concerns about environmental or health impacts on those on the ground. 

The town has an opportunity now to take a first step to lessen our exposure to a deadly neurotoxin: lead. That step that would signal the board’s intention to prioritize the interests and well-being of the broader community, rather than continuing to supply toxic leaded fuel and pandering to a tiny group of aviation hobbyists, simply because they always have.  

Thank you,


From the Airport


December 18, 2017

Dear David,

The residents of Wainscott seem to suffer an attack on their well-being from two fronts. The contaminated wells of several hundreds of homes in the area from Town Line Road to Daniel’s Hole Road. The State Department of Environmental Conservation has taken over the investigation of the source and that will take several months. The town provided bottled water, but that is a temporary Band-Aid. The D.E.C. issued a warning that drinking the water is at one’s own risk. It is proven that any contact with the skin is absorbed into the blood stream in minutes. A good example are the patch medicines, to lessen chemo effects, nicotine, and others.

Public water is an immediate necessity, but there is an issue of funding. We have bonding programs for remedy of other issues. But the wheels of government are not on much speed and never have been. However, as a matter of fact, there are water lines on the triangle of Daniel’s Hole Road and Montauk Highway with backhoes at the ready. I was informed that these water lines are for the estate across the street. The question is simple: How long was this on the schedule, especially since the contamination alarm wasn’t sounded until this summer. 

Or is “how fast did this happen the real issue?” But the residents in the affected area are not even on the list? The two contaminants are cancer-causing compounds and more dangerous to those with compromised immune systems. Hopefully, the Town Board is going to be more proactive and aggressive in securing public water to protect the health of its residents. 

The source is not the issue, but the fact it is there and can only come from the airport or businesses associated. Degreasers have long been known to contain these compounds as well as non-stick cookware and a myriad of products.

The second is the airport, a bond for the fuel farm to avoid an ecological disaster was merited or the cleanup would have bankrupted the town. A change in the control tower, in that it has a 25 percent blind spot and rogue helicopters have violated the airspace unseen by the controllers. Yet no punitive action was taken against the pilot, despite the evidence. Now it is a question of raising the height at a million dollars.

Did the Federal Aviation Administration not know the trees grow and they signed off on the location? We all know what the then liaison made an unauthorized sneaky trip to Washington, D.C.

We have a member of the airport management advisory committee, a pilot, who doesn’t even live in East Hampton Town, make dismissive remarks about the residents’ complaints of the danger of the low-flying takeoffs and landings on a now abandoned runway that was used. His wave off with his arm and remark that it never happened even though he was not there. Unless he was trespassing in the bushes. Arrogance and immature facial expressions continue when any resident speaks. We are the important people, not those who live elsewhere. Get involved. Attend meetings so they know you care.

 Yours truly,


Free Speech


December 18, 2017

Dear David:

The East Hampton Democratic Committee heartily agrees with your correspondent Ann McCann that it’s time to move on from last September’s primary. We are all members of the Democratic Party pledged to the same basic values and commitment to our town. Our mutual priority is to put our beliefs to work in service to the community.

This may be the moment to mention that not every letter in The Star from a member of our Democratic Committee, or any political committee for that matter, can be presumed to speak for that committee’s priorities. Political committee members under our state law are independent elected officials. The committees have no control over their members’ personal communications. The members, of course, enjoy the American right of free speech even when we think them unwisely exercised.

Sincerely yours,



Democratic Party Co-Chairs

Scientific Reasoning

East Hampton

December 18, 2017

Dear David,

Manny Vilar’s letter last week, after an excellent if condescending disquisition on scientific method, goes on to murder the concept by leaping to the unsubstantiated conclusion that the wind farm off Montauk is not based on scientific reasoning. He attributes it to politics and greed.

For someone so quick to tout his scientific bona fides, I would think he has heard of the International Panel on Climate Change. This group, comprised of scientists representing every industrial nation on earth, after years of examination of all available science on the topic, has concluded that continuing to burn fossil fuels will result in catastrophic environmental degradation. Deepwater Wind’s turbines 30 miles off Montauk will displace with clean energy all of the fossil fuel used for electricity in the Town of East Hampton. Certainly, this must be done with every effort to minimize impact on local fisheries. Deepwater Wind, with the town’s oversight, is making admirable efforts toward that goal.

Thirty to 40 percent of the carbon released by burning fossil fuel actually ends up in the ocean. Combining with salt water, this becomes carbonic acid and raises the acidity of the water. This increasing acidity is already causing problems for marine life that relies on making a shell. The acid melts the shell. Unfortunately, this includes phytoplankton, the base of the marine food chain. If we don’t curtail our addiction to fossil fuel, and do so very soon, our fishermen will find no fish to catch.

Another marine issue of climate change is coral bleaching. Three-quarters of the coral reefs worldwide have been affected by bleaching in the last three years, which ultimately kills the coral. Scientists fear that this process unchecked could kill all the coral reefs worldwide. One-quarter of all fish in the sea rely on coral reefs for their habitat. And water temperature may be the reason the lobster fishery, long a staple here, is a vestige of what it once was, as the lobster are now farther north.

Mr. Vilar’s insinuations of profit motives related to this issue ignore the most obvious one: that being the profits being defended by the sellers of fossil fuels, major contributors to his party nationwide. If he is so concerned about the environment and a scientific approach to decision making, perhaps he should turn his attention to lobbying his own party to stop decimating the Environmental Protection Agency, the government agency responsible for providing that scientific oversight. He might also ask why they have relaxed numerous rules related to coal waste destroying ecosystems everywhere it is mined, why they are trying to open drilling in the Arctic Refuge, and why they want oil exploration to begin off our coast, where we prefer wind turbines.


Through Jesus


December 18, 2017 

Dear David,

Hanukkah and Christmas are a special time of year with each holiday delivering unique interconnecting messages that should inspire believers and nonbelievers alike. First, there is Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, which is a holiday based on the story and tradition of the Jewish people’s defeat of the Seleucid Empire (Syrian-Greeks) in the Holy Land. In the second century B.C. (165) a small army of Jews called the Maccabees staged a rebellion against the Seleucids during their attempts to Hellenize the Jewish people and land of Israel.

A Jewish tradition at the time was to light Hanukkah menorah in the holy temple in Jerusalem daily. When the Maccabees liberated the holy temple in Jerusalem, a miracle occurred as only one day’s worth of oil for lighting the menorah lasted for eight days.

Hence the tradition of eight days and nights, each night during the holiday one additional candle lit commemorating and remembering the strength of the Jewish people and God’s deliverance and salvation from their enemies.

For Christians, Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus (who was Jewish) and who came to rescue mankind from sin so that the price could be paid for the things we have done that are wrong, to give us hope and peace with God. The Christian Bible ,which is composed of the Jewish Old Testament and Christian New Testament, says through the sins of Adam and Eve we have all inherited that sin nature. We are all born with a sin nature, that all have sinned and will do things that do not please God. 

Prior to our passing from this world into the next, we need to have that sin removed, and the only way is through Jesus. Jesus came so He could die on the cross for all of our sins. If we believe that Jesus died for our sins, we can ask Him to come into our hearts and forgive us.

For the Jewish-Christian faiths, the message to everyone during this holiday season is of a spiritual journey of pain, joy, suffering, the celebration of rebirth through forgiveness, and salvation. Hanukkah and Christmas teach us that every person, regardless of who they are, is capable of incredible feats just as the same courageous spirit of the Maccabees who remained faithful to God during intense persecution was passed on to Jesus’s disciples, who would all face severe trials because of their faithfulness to Christ. 

And like the miracle of God’s presence expressed through the eternal flame of God burning for the Maccabees, Jesus became the incarnate, physical expression of God’s presence, the Light of the World who came to dwell among us and give us the eternal light of God’s life.

I would encourage everyone to volunteer to not only better our community but to help those less fortunate. Open your hearts to those different from you and try to place yourself in their shoes. Tolerance and faith in the goodness of all people’s hearts work a lot better than intolerance and hate. In a world filled with hatred, corruption, and selfishness, there is tremendous hope in knowing that God cares and everyone has the capacity to make meaningful change.

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas, 


Dream Again

East Hampton

December 18, 2017


We are at a critical turning point bordering on a critical tipping point. The challenges before us at this time are complicated and serious, calling forth for a completely new way not only of tackling them but a completely new way of seeing them. Buckminster Fuller so aptly put it when he said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality.”

To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. The thinking that brought us to this point in time cannot be the same thinking to move us forward in a coherent way. Life is pushing at us quickly now as the past and all it represents is fading and as the “new” is yet to be revealed and created in all its uncertainty. We are at a point requiring a complete redefining of who we are and that pursuit requires relentless faith, courage, and imagination. 

I believe it is time for us to dream again. I believe we have fallen into a dangerous slumber, precipitated by fear, apathy, and sheer exhaustion. This moment calls for deep contemplation and the willingness for all of us to really go within and not only answer some critical questions but more important, begin to imagine what might be possible. It’s time to rethink how we want to live in the short time we are given on this amazing planet. A meaningful life is not a popularity contest and the fact that we are upset is a very positive thing as it begs us to re-evaluate, ask questions, and create anew. I ask myself daily: Who says we can’t have affordable health care for all and why on earth do we not have the same access to health care as our representatives in Washington, D.C.? 

Who says it’s impossible for every individual to have work that he/she can be proud of, which contributes to any given community with a sense of pride and accomplishment? Who says it’s impossible for any one of us to have affordable housing (whether we rent or own) -- a home we look forward to returning to after a meaningful day’s work? Who says it’s impossible for every man and woman to be able to put a healthy meal on the table for his/her family? Who says that our time with family and/or friends comes second or third to a six-day workweek? 

Who says that a college education cannot be free and/or affordable to anyone who wants to rise up, contribute, and be something in this world? Who says that a five-six-day workweek is normal with the meager compensation of a week’s vacation after years at a job which many have little passion for? Let these questions begin as they usher in others. What in the world has happened to the notion of ? At what point did our elected “leaders” stop representing the needs and wants of their constituency and at what point did we give them permission to do so? There is something very wrong here. At what point did our representatives cease to “lead” without conscience and vision? And at what point did we lose sight of possibility and living fully?

The fact that we are waking up and yearning for something different is a good thing. If you’re not depressed something is very wrong with you. As we see in our own communities and across the world, the view of us and them, me or you, is not, nor has ever been, sustainable. We can only move forward together for divided we truly fall. And at the end of the day, when all is said and done, are our differences that much greater than what truly connects us to our humanity?

It’s time for a brand-new politics. A politics of you and me. Labels based on fear and separation are dangerous and this whole left and right vocabulary serves no one. No more red states vs. blue states. We need to grow up from our distractions, denial, and grandiosity. This is not who we are as a people. 

The voices of hate and despair are loud. The voices of love must get louder. We are one team with a shared unity that must transcend our differences. That is the American dream and it is time to dream again and we can do this one community at a time. Let our vision and actions be guided by wisdom as we realize a you-or-me community is not sustainable. And when we allow this transformation to occur a whole new world opens up for everyone. Suddenly everything is possible. We have something to wake up for in the morning. We are passionate again about life and living. Life takes on new meaning, and we are happy to be alive. We cannot change the entire world at the same time but we can begin one community at a time, and I say let’s be that beacon, that new beginning, for communities across the nation to follow suit, to remember that we together can accomplish anything, for ourselves, for our children, and for the planet. 

We are a stunning community of everyday people committed to making a difference — fishermen, farmers, doctors, teachers, policemen and women, firefighters, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, carpenters, builders, inventors, landscapers, lawyers, just to name a few, which makes up this astounding community of ours. 

Together, let’s come to the table, listen to one another like we’ve never done before, and with honesty and commitment define the wants and needs of this community, collectively coming up with solutions to issues that preserve quality of life for all. We are the leaders and the change makers who determine what we want our quality of life to look like. We can do this. We will do this. We are running for Congress this time. Taking it local to global one community at a time.


Join the N.R.A.


December 18, 2017 

Dear David:

In light of the despicable decision Representative Zeldin took regarding concealed-carry permits, there might be a way to deflect some of the power of the National Rifle Association. It is clear that this “citizens’ brigade” of Second Amendment supporters provides cover for the manufacturers and sellers of many types of firearms and accessories. 

I suggest that everyone in the country who objects to the proliferation of guns in our schools and on our streets and in our homes join the N.R.A. A one-year membership is a bit steep at $40 but compared to the lives we might save and the injuries we might prevent it is economical enough. At the very least, flooding the membership roll would provide some degree of clout in the organization. 

I read the Second Amendment as preventing the federal government from prohibiting a well-regulated militia from owning and keeping a firearm. Gun “enthusiasts” imagine it to mean every man, woman, or child who can afford one is legally permitted (pun intended) to own a bazooka.  

Back in 1791, as part of the Bill of Rights, the newly formed country had no standing army. The British had come into people’s homes and commandeered the long guns to disable a rebellion. Those guns were used for food acquisition. While many folks still use their guns to help feed themselves and their families, and they should retain that right, there are modern options to supplement your groceries. 

I do not hunt and would much prefer capturing a good photograph than a dead critter. I have a number of friends who do use their guns for target shooting and hunting. One friend has a replica long gun from the time East Hampton was settled. It hangs over his stand-up fireplace, which is also modeled after a historical variety. When asked, he acknowledges that he would have no problem registering or licensing himself or his weapons and would support gun-safety classes. He is a responsible gun owner and a sensible man.

Some other friends who are more or less collectors love to go to gun shows and shoot exotic weapons. They acknowledge that shooting is fun, that it provides a thrill. When asked if they know any people whom they don’t think should have a gun, they pause. Then finally admit that they know people who shouldn’t have access to firearms. Each of them has a military and police background and has grown accustomed to the gun culture. Each admits that someone, somehow, should be able to control guns but their fears have been inflamed by certain rhetoric.

Figuring out how to ensure that facts and calm thought replace the flame throwing of some radio talking heads remains outside the intent of this missive. 

Granted this is a small sample size. However, nothing changes because of the power of the N.R.A., which for all its Second Amendment pontificating acts as a trade group for manufacturers. If we could remove the misdirection by taking over the organization, maybe, just maybe we could enact sensible safety guidelines. We could remove the cover the amendment provides.

Make people like Lee Zeldin stand exposed as a lackey for a trade group. We have been told that you must be on the inside to change things. Might be worth $40 to try.



East Hampton

December 18, 2017

To the Editor: 

Recent editorials and letters to the editor that are anti-Congressman Zeldin appear to me to be a coordinated political attack in preparation for the 2018 elections. 

In my opinion, Lee Zeldin is a tremendous supporter of the working men and women of our community. This is especially true for the fishing industry, both commercial and recreational. He has done more in less time than any of his predecessors in this regard. 

The East Hampton Star’s editorials opposing Congressman Zeldin’s stand on gun control are erroneous. It is a fact that few, if any, licensed gun owners are involved in serious gun-related crimes. The idea of reciprocity is no different than allowing all of us to use our driver’s licenses to drive in other states. You probably have a better chance of being injured by a driver from another state that has liberal laws for its drivers than you do being injured by permitted gun owners.



Sorely Disappointed


December 12, 2017

Dear Editor,

Thank you, Christopher Walsh and The Star for the thoughtful report on Representative Zeldin and his invited fund-raising keynoter Stephen Bannon.

After the election last year, I was willing to give Representative Zeldin the benefit of the doubt and assume he would act in the best interest of his constituents. I’ve been sorely disappointed on many levels and, lacking any true engaged response, have stopped attempting to reach out to his office. 

There are three reasons I can think of for Mr. Zeldin embracing Bannon and Breitbart.

1) He is scared his constituency is getting tired of the G.O.P. agenda and his numerous votes against the best interests of the First Congressional District. He fears he’s going to need outside money from wherever he can get it to mount a fierce re-election campaign. 

2) He actually doesn’t care about what his constituents think. Someone has convinced him he’s meant for larger things, starting with statewide office. He’s willing to sign on with anybody who can fund his ambition. 

3) He truly believes in the divisive, hateful strategies of Bannon and the bagmen his keynote will attract and he’s willing to be their tool.

Or maybe Lee is just a kid from Brookhaven who has been roped in by the wrong gang. Let’s keep toxic gangs out of our communities.



Feeling Grateful 

East Hampton

December 18, 2017

Dear David:

Fear knocked on the door, faith answered and no one was there.

The acquisition of knowledge doesn’t mean you’re growing. Growing happens when what you know changes how you live. If you spend a day appreciating everything that comes your way, you will end the day feeling grateful for your life.

Open-minded people do not impose their will on others. They accept all of life’s perspectives and realities doing their own thing in peace. They embrace being wrong, are free from illusions, and question everything, even themselves.

A lie has speed; the truth has endurance. The greatest advantage of telling the truth is you never have to remember what you said. Confidence comes not from always being right, but not fearing to be wrong. A winner makes commitment, a loser makes promises.

The way people treat you is a statement about who they are as a human being. It’s not a statement about you. The only limits in life are those we set for ourselves. When the well is dry you know the value of water. Whether a glass is half empty or half full is the attitude of who’s looking at it. If you only look at what is, you might never attain what could be.

A vision with a task is the hope of the world.


Corporate Profit

East Hampton

December 17, 2017

To the Editor:

The Republican tax bill is analogous to wearing fake pearls at a ball. From a distance they look real. Up close, no longer the case. But it’s only when you take them to the pawnshop does their worthlessness become evident. Faking it at a party is no big deal, but faking it in government is more than a little scary.

There are two essentially fraudulent concepts that underlie the tax bill. First, government needs to be reduced in size for the economy to grow. Except, our history demonstrates that when government leads and functions properly the economy grows fairly and equally. The G.I. Bill, which spearheaded the creation of the American middle class, is the best example. The civil rights bill, the Medicare bill, etc., are examples of government actions that lifted the entire population, not just the most connected. Glass/Steagall is a great example of government screwing up and the results were catastrophic.

Second, there are free, well-functioning markets that create jobs and lower prices through competition. Almost all our markets are rigged or trying to be rigged. The net neutrality decision is the perfect example. It wipes out competition and puts consumers at the mercy of a few large companies. Government not thinking of the overall good but of a few large corporations whose nipples they are greedily tethered to.

There are some basic issues regarding our economy. It is mature and growing slowly with three major problems. Income inequality, minimal wage growth, and decaying infrastructure. Economic growth is not an exact science, but it is driven by data and performance. In mature economies, growth, as measured by the expansion of the middle and working classes, is a function of demand. Maybe in a third world or emerging economy supply and capital are the economic engines, but we are far beyond that stage.

So, it would seem logical to examine that part of the tax bill that will create demand and energize our economy. But to get there it is essential to examine the corporate tax cut, which is the largest part of the bill.

First, the corporate tax rate drops from 35 percent to 21 percent, is based on our tax rate being higher than the rates of our competitors. Which, like fake pearls, isn’t true when you get to the bottom line. The top 1,000 United States corporations on average pay a 16 percent rate. Also, European corporations pay significantly higher wages in the form of benefits and time off. The real tax cost is higher in Europe than in the U.S.

Second, corporate profits are at an all time high and capital for new investments is available at very low rates. The additional money gained from a lower tax rate will follow the trail of cheap labor and demand. Nowhere in this program is there any reason to think that the corporate windfalls will do anything to increase jobs and wages domestically.

Third, the concept of “supply side” or “trickle down” was fully discredited by liberals, conservatives, and its creators by 1990: A bad idea that simply didn’t work. There are no data anywhere in the past 100 years that supports these ideas.

So, if we go back to that part of the tax bill that provides real relief to middle and working-class people without the longer-term negative repercussions of deficit reductions and the fact that they expire in seven years, that’s great. If they don’t screw up health care, Medicaid, etc., they are a clever idea. They might increase demand for goods and services, which will increase investment, jobs, and wages. Except for the downward pressure and its opposition to increasing the minimum wage by Republicans, there is a small possibility of growing the economy in a fair and reasonable way.

The current bill exacerbates the inequality of wealth, depresses wages, and could possibly weaken our already weakened safety net. It is a pointless exercise designed to beat up the American people for what appears to be a twisted kind of political sadism.

Passage of this major piece of legislation through the process of reconciliation (50 votes instead of 60) is sick. Sick, deranged, pathetic, it is difficult to find the correct adjective to define this kind of behavior. We would have to search the dungeons of a 14th-century mental hospital to find a compatible group to our Republican politicians.

We are so in the crapper as a nation and this bill will make it that much harder to get out.