Letters to the Editor: 02.02.17

Our readers comments

Bridge Over the Dreen

East Hampton

January 19, 2017

Dear Editor:

I was delighted to read the stunning news that the Maidstone Club has withdrawn its application to the East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals to construct a bridge over the Hook Pond dreen. I am hoping that this decision was made for the right reasons — a sensitivity to the environmental impact and animal rights corrosion that this bridge would have caused.

During the quite vociferous period in which this proposal was debated by the zoning board, some new, fresh, well-thought-out, and innovative ideas were brought forth that would help to quell the safety issue.

Simple and good suggestions included:

Installing “Stop” or at least “Slow” signage at the intersections that traverse the course (Further, Dunemere, Egypt, Highway Behind the Pond). Although we still experience some speeding on David’s Lane, the “Slow” signs and the duck image signs are very effective at the Nature Trail. 

In those same areas, speed bumps or crossing guards could also be considered. Several other ideas, less invasive than the bridge, were also recommended.

Hip, hip, hooray, Maidstone Club — you did the right thing!

DIANE BENSON

Other Options

East Hampton

January 30, 2017

Dear Reader,

In August 2015 Rich Burns, superintendent of the East Hampton Union Free School District, was quoted in The East Hampton Star: “I think we have to look at what is the most efficient way of running the bus department. I think we need input from the community.” 

In response to Mr. Burns, the community has since given well-researched, objective, specific input that the district must pursue other options. Building a bus depot and fueling center on Cedar Street is simply not a viable option. 

The proposed depot site on Cedar Street will affect the school playing fields, impact the environment, destroy a residential neighborhood, and create a traffic nightmare on Cedar Street.

Further community response to Mr. Burns’s call for efficiency: Build your bus depot in an area zoned for an industrial business. East Hampton Town has land available for sale that is located in a commercially zoned area, which is already cleared, has utilities immediately available, and has been approved by regulatory agencies. 

The town would also allow the school district to join in and participate with the town-village fuel facility. 

The Town of East Hampton has shown its willingness to work with its neighbor, the East Hampton School District. The school district must take into consideration the community’s clear input and choose, in Mr. Burns’s words, an “efficient option” that makes sense for the entire community.

Sincerely, 

CHUCK COLLINS

Automotive Adventure

Springs

January 30, 2017

Dear David,

If the East Hampton School District places its bus depot on Cedar Street, there will be an increase in traffic as well as brief delays in the mornings and afternoons. However, the proposed solution of installing the bus depot at the former scavenger waste plant on Springs-Fireplace Road is a poor one for many residents of Springs.

For those of us who drive down Springs-Fireplace Road in the mornings and back home at the end of the day, we must first navigate the busy, staggered Abraham’s Path intersection. Then we contend with heavy traffic from the recycling center and the popular One Stop shopping center, in the midst of which sits this proposed bus depot site. Once we have escaped that traffic snarl, we confront traffic delays caused by heavy truck activity from the Highway Department and from private recycling, masonry, concrete, and gravel businesses. 

In other words, traffic on Springs-Fireplace Road is already an automotive adventure. It is also rife with ancillary vehicular distractions that I haven’t yet mentioned: sudden stops, inattentive bike commuters, people stepping into the roadway looking for the 10B bus; the 10B bus itself, vehicles parked on the shoulders, vehicles driving on the shoulders, and of course, heavy trucks as well as regular cars cutting into traffic with alarming impatience. 

We in Springs are known to be a tough and tolerant lot, but we don’t need to add to this excitement.

PAMELA BICKET

‘Dirtbag Beach’

Amagansett

January 27, 2017

Dear David,

President Trump vows to cut back on wasteful federal expenditures. Perhaps he’ll prioritize the $9 million federal “dirtbag beach” bailout of our downtown Montauk motels. 

As The Star reported on Jan. 12, it came in Number 17 on Republican Senator Jeff Flake’s list of most wasteful federal expenditures in the entire United States this past year. Will Trump supporter Congressman Lee Zeldin be principled enough to put a halt to this wasteful federal spending on Montauk beaches? Do we live by our principles and take ourselves off the federal dole? Or do we and Lee Zeldin continue our hypocrisy in allowing this subsidy to flow to Montauk motels?

BOB WICK

Green Resort

Montauk

January 29, 2017

Dear David:

Your recent editorial referring to Montauk as Dirtbag Beach reeks of East Hampton filthy rich.

The Army Corps beach project is a temporary solution to a global problem. At this time retreat seems the eventual solution, though other options have not been fully explored, such as arranging large natural boulders along the coastline, more in keeping with the existing geology, 

I propose developing Montauk as a world-class green resort. By creating a downtown water district, we could begin the process of funding a sewage system there and extend it to the dock area. Let’s improve local public transportation and expand alternative energy sources.

Apparently, it will take an environmental catastrophe before the moral and financial resources are realized. If East Hampton Town is unwilling to participate and contribute resources for this, then it may be time Montauk secedes.

Please join the conversation at MontaukVillage@Facebook.

LEWIS GROSS

TRACEY GARDELL

Amagansett Farmland

Amagansett

January 30, 2017 

Dear Mr. Rattray 

A significant misunderstanding of the facts currently threatens any proper consideration of a deal over the farmland north of Main Street discussed in your editorial “Amagansett Farmland: Going, Going, Gone?” The town and the seller are apparently $13 million apart in their assessed valuations of the land. The misunderstanding, which has contributed to the asking price, is at the center of the issue that controls the future of the character of Amagansett — the abandoned paper road. 

Three key considerations have been completely overlooked in discussions of this crucial issue, in our opinion. First, roads may only be commissioned, laid out, approved, built, and operated, solely by the government on behalf of the people they represent. Private citizens and corporations, no matter how powerful, cannot “own roads” or be “owed a road.” Second, our attorney’s review of the title of the piece of land that connects the abandoned paper road to Windmill Lane reveals that the Bistrians have never owned this land, nor can they find any recorded rights to it. Third, the sequence of land acquisitions make any unrecorded “deal” highly unlikely, given the records show that the piece of land off Windmill Lane was purchased by the town from the Schellinger family in 1972, a year after the town acquired the land for the car park extension from the Bistrians. 

The town agreed to purchase land for an extension of the parking lot from the Bistrians in 1970 with nothing we could find on the deed entitling the seller to any other land, certainly not to land then owned by another family. In 1972, the town purchased land from the Schel­lingers to lay out a paper road allowing the town the option to develop the middle of Amagansett (although the cost of any road was to be limited to $600,000). Again, there is no record we could find on the title for this Schellinger land of any obligation for the town to build such a road, nor to grant any right of way for the Bistrians to access Windmill Lane. 

Clearly, the hamlet has never thought this road was a good idea, and the town abandoned the paper road. For nearly half a century, the farmland has continued to use as its access point its legally designated right of way (recorded on the deed for their property) through the car park, and the land has continued to be productively farmed, including, it should be noted, the free use of the public land for the paper road owned by the town. 

We understand that the Bistrian Land Corporation has been offering the land for its developed value, contributing to a gap of $13 million that has prevented them and the town from reaching a deal to protect and preserve the land. However, it is crucial to understand that developing the land (and, therefore, increasing its assessed value) depends heavily on building the road, which the town is under no obligation to build, and which it has consistently indicated is not in the public’s interest. 

The impact of any development will affect the entire hamlet. Our group, Save Our Farmland Amagansett, a registered not-for-profit, has over 200 members of concerned citizens from across Amagansett and East Hampton. The abandoned paper road is likely a significant component of the $13 million difference between the town and the Bistrian Land Corporation, but any road can only be made by our government, if most people think it’s a good idea, and certainly not for the benefit of one party. 

If the people of East Hampton do in fact now — 45 years later — think it’s a good idea to spend millions of public dollars to construct a new highway that will likely suck traffic through the entire northwest and dump it into the car park and onto Main Street, then that’s a decision the people and our elected officials have the prerogative to make together. However, such a road didn’t make sense 45 years ago, and makes even less sense today. 

Once these issues are acknowledged by the parties — narrowing the gap between the town and the Bistrian Land Corporation — an obvious solution exists that would be in everyone’s benefit. Any remaining gap could then be reached through private capital stepping in, ensuring that this important piece of our heritage remains as agriculture. 

We only have one chance to get this right. 

SCOTT CROWE

Our Town Board

East Hampton

January 27, 2017

To the Editor:

We have been very fortunate to have had Mr. Cantwell as our town supervisor. He and his council people have brought our town back. We now have a high credit rating and are in the black. They have instituted new rules on house sizes, rental registration of houses, etc. 

I agree with David J. Weinstein’s letter in the Star of Jan. 26, for bringing our attention to our town board.

JULIA KAYSER

Masseur to the Stars

Bronx

January 25, 2017

To the Editor,

While sitting in Mary’s Marvelous coffee shop in East Hampton with a few friends who gather every day, in comes an old friend who was a longtime nurse at Gurney’s back when Nick Monte was active. She was with her husband, Rob McMahon, who I see every day in Gurney’s gym. Happy to see them both, I introduced him to my friend John DiPace.

The very next day I was in the gym and Rob said to me, “My wife told me about John DiPace, that back then he was the most popular and sought-after masseuse at Gurney’s for many years. Back then he had the title of ‘masseur to the stars.’ ”

Therein, I believe, lies a great story about a wonderful person I have known and admired for many years. John is a longtime resident of East Hampton and still has a massage practice. He has been a great tennis player for over 50 years and still plays three or four times a week with players half his age and holds his own.

John has four daughters and many grandchildren, and treasures his family. He attends every holiday gathering by going back to his old neighborhood in the Bronx on Arthur Avenue. He religiously shops at four or five stores for certain foods to share with his family at the events. He once told me he did a film with Cheryl Tiegs about his massage techniques. I’m sure he has many stories. I think your readers would enjoy his story. He is truly an East Hampton Star.

GINO FAVA

Satisfaction

East Hampton

January 25, 2017

Dear Editor,

Took the car in for its annual inspection, Toyota Camry 2012. The business card at East End Auto Repair on Montauk Highway in East Hampton advised, “Ask for Eddie,” but that turned out to be not such a good idea.

“Come back in two days at 10 a.m. I’ll call you when it’s ready.” By 5 p.m. still no call, so I went over to East End.

“Your car failed inspection. You need four new tires,” Eddie told me. “If you fix that, you won’t need a new inspection.” He then quoted me some prices for new tires he could get for me. 

As the inspection was about to expire, not wanting to wait, I paid for the inspection and oil change and left. The following day I went over to Costco Riverhead, where they are friendly and polite, and got new tires and had the wheels balanced. 

Back at East End Auto the next day, I presented the invoice. “Can I now have the inspection sticker I paid for?” 

“You need a new inspection, that will be $37.” 

Reminding Eddie of his previous words produced no change. A discussion ensued, with no results. “I am very busy,” Eddie said. “I don’t have any time for you. Get out of my shop.”

Feeling somewhat aggrieved and abused, I subsequently took the matter up with the local authorities. A month later, I received a check for $37, which I promptly cashed and turned the money over to the East Hampton Food Pantry. 

Who says you can’t get any satisfaction?

P. DAVID FREEDMAN

Watchful Every Day

Springs

January 29, 2017

Dear David,

How did the current one-party government come about? What has happened to checks and balances?

Slowly and efficiently, without the populace paying much attention or understanding the complicated maneuverings, the Republican Party has promoted legislation that allows corporations to donate huge sums to influence our elections (Citizens United); through gerrymandering they have changed the borders of election districts to capture and reassign voters to their advantage, and they continue to institute discriminatory voter I.D. laws, state by state, that make it hard for poorer Democratic voters to cast their votes. 

Laws are complicated, so people’s minds glaze over when details are discussed, and before you know it, someone has managed to create new ones or changed old ones, and we the people are left holding the bag. With all the chaos created by the new administration important issues end up on the back page or just forgotten.

Add on to this the Russian manipulation of our free press and the subsequent Russian interference with our elections — something that is very serious, yet seemingly embraced by many in the present-day Republican Party, since it worked to their advantage (as it was intended to do). This can happen again, and we have no legal way to rectify it.

What has happened to winning elections fair and square? We are callously waving goodbye to our freedoms, as we go along with life as usual. When will Americans wake up? 

We must be watchful every day to keep our democracy alive. We must find time to keep informed, donate, march, write letters — whatever we can do in our busy lives. And we must vote in every election, not just maybe every four years.

PEGGY BACKMAN

Zeldin Remains Silent

East Hampton

January 30, 2017

Mr. Editor: 

Your readers, you, and myself have one single person in government who is tasked with representing and standing up for our interests here on the East End and upholding our American values: Congressman Zeldin. There are several things that should be of particular concern to your readers, among them a threat to the health of East Enders and a Constitutional crisis for our nation. Congressman Zeldin was among the first on Capitol Hill to support a then-candidate Trump last May. He was vocal and endorsed and defended Trump on several news networks, but when the new administration issued a torrent of executive actions, Congressman Zeldin fell silent. 

A freeze on grants and a gag order on the employees of the Environmental Protection Agency and Zeldin was silent. 

On Sunday, Congressman Zeldin broke his silence to come out in support of the executive order colloquially referred to as the Muslim ban. He did this before even acknowledging a Stony Brook University graduate student, a permanent resident of the U.S. who had been detained at J.F.K. airport for approximately 24 hours at the time he released his initial statement. His support of the “Muslim ban,” like the order itself, was vague and issued hastily before consulting agencies that enforce them. 

More than the entry of individuals from these seven Muslim nations, I feel much more threatened that this administration which Congressman Zeldin has been so supportive of, has reorganized the National Security Council so that the N.S.C. can convene and take action without the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the joint chiefs. And on this very serious issue that potentially omits the national security expertise and perspective of these critical individuals, Congressman Zeldin remains silent.

When we see an executive action that retracts the promises of our founding principles, reneges us from our multinational treaties, pierces the heart of our American values, we must not be silent or complicit. I would encourage you, Mr. Editor, and all of us, to engage Congressman Zeldin. He is all that we have in Congress for the moment. We must work with him to make sure that we are in fact being represented. Republican or Democrat, we must consistently and vigilantly press to do the hard work of protecting our shared interests and values.

LOUIS MYRICK

Holocaust Remembrance

Amagansett

January 30, 2017

To the Editor:

On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Jan. 27, Congressman Lee Zeldin issued a press release that stated that “we still feel the effects of anti-Semitism and intolerance to this day. Israel, our greatest ally, and the Jewish people continue to be disparaged with anti-Semitic actions against its people.”

Mr. Zeldin is likely aware that President Trump, whom he endorsed, failed to mention the Jewish people or anti-Semitism in his own Holocaust Remembrance Day release. The Trump spokes­person Hope Hicks explained the omission as follows: “[W]e are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered.” Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, however, offers an alternative explanation: “This isn’t accidental. The new administration is riddled with anti-Semites and those who want to cater to anti-Semites.”

I am curious as to Congressman Zeldin’s personal views on this omission, which I believe is unprecedented. Silence is acquiescence, and if Congressman Zeldin does not speak out, he is making this administration’s morality his own.

JONATHAN WALLACE

Planned Parenthood

Springs

January 29, 2017

Dear David,

That people who profess to be against abortion are planning to defund Planned Parenthood befuddles me.

Even if you are pro-choice, which I am, why would people of the pro-life position whose main fight is to reduce abortions defund Planned Parenthood, which provides meaningful services and assistance that effectively prevents abortions?

Planned Parenthood provides contraception options for women who are trying to make responsible choices, but who often don’t have the means to go to a regular doctor. Why would foes of abortion be against that? Is it possible that they want to make it impossible for women to make responsible decisions as to whether they are ready to take on the serious decision of having a baby?

I am the proud mother of twins who are now in their 30s. When I was younger and just starting out, I went to Planned Parenthood — not for information about abortion services, which they do provide, but because I didn’t have enough money for a regular doctor. They helped me get contraceptive services so that I would never need to have an abortion.

As I say, I just don’t understand it.

MARY GRAVES

Great Country

Springs

January 30, 2017

To the Editor,

Immigration: Let me tell you something about this. I emigrated to this great country, the United States of America, in 1950. Brooklyn first, than Manhattan, Upper East Side. Great life since than, until now. 

Madison Avenue then, a two-way street, open, free parking on all the side streets, except for Wednesday street cleaning. Public Transpiration fare was 10 to 25 cents; telephone calls, 10 to 20 cents. Traffic? What is that? Bridge tolls 25 to 50 cents; a gallon of gas, 25 cents. Free college. Brooklyn, N.Y.C.

Duty tour in the U.S. Navy, great trip. Great nightclubbing in Harlem; me in my white skin and red hair. Manhattan deserted during the summer months. Multiple choices of apartments. In Manhattan, free rent for first 3 to 5 months. Cup of coffee, 25 to 40 cents.

Employed many people. Married my beautiful wife, The best medical coverage. Purchased land and a house in East Hampton (embarrassed to tell you the price).

Population: 150 million. In 2017, very curious: How it will be in 50 years from now? In 2017, 322 million, 2067, to 650 million? Good luck.

EDWARD A. WAGSCHAL