Letters to the Editor: 02.09.17

Our readers comments

Twenty Miles Per Hour

East Hampton

February 2, 2017

Dear David, 

Regarding the editorial in the Jan. 26 edition of The East Hampton Star, “20 M.P.H. May Backfire,” I take great issue with the sentence, “But on Mill Hill Lane, one of the streets the East Hampton Village Board voted on Friday to change to 20 miles per hour, it simply does not make sense.”

I am a 28-year resident of Mill Hill Lane and even with the present 25-miles-per-hour speed limit, drivers still speed in excess of 25 m.p.h. — especially between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Mill Hill Lane is a shortcut when traveling west to Montauk Highway. Instead of two traffic lights, there is only one to contend with, plus the drivers use Mill Hill Lane as an alternative to Woods Lane. In the summer Mill Hill Lane has even heavier traffic, whether drivers are traveling east or west, as it is a good route to avoid backed-up traffic on Woods Lane.

My street is a bucolic village lane with very large sycamore trees on either side of the lane, which create an arch along the entire lane from Main Street to Toilsome Lane. At some point within the last 10 years, Mill Hill Lane was voted “the prettiest street in East Hampton” by Dan’s Papers.

Many people who live on my street are dog owners, including myself, and walk their pets in the road, even though there is a sidewalk on one side from Toilsome Lane to Meadow Way. Walkers use the lane as well and prefer to use the road.

As a sometimes light sleeper, in the quiet of the night I often hear what you call a “hotshot” driver gunning his motor, shining his bright lights, which I see on my bedroom wall well before the vehicle passes my home — and going at least 80 miles per hour down Mill Hill Lane toward Main Street. This “hotshot” appears anywhere from 4 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. Sometimes this hotshot guns his motor so loudly that I can hear the racket he is making when he gets to the gas station on Montauk Highway at the traffic light and continues to Mill Hill Lane and turns right onto my street and continues toward Main Street at a very high rate of speed.

There are deer and other wildlife on my street that are around late at night and in the early morning hours, judging from the barking of my dog, Windsor, a rescue dog from the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons.

Even reducing the speed on Mill Hill Lane from 25 m.p.h. to 20 m.p.h. makes a lot of sense to me. Perhaps the hotshot driver will begin to show respect for the homeowners as well as the wildlife along the route of travel. 

I do agree with you that “more enforcement is the solution.” Thank the East Hampton Village Board of Trustees for taking this action on Mill Hill Lane. It may save a life.



Use Your Lights

East Hampton

February 4, 2017

To the Editor:

I drive around the East End every day, in all kinds of weather. That travel has made me aware of the large number of drivers who do not use the option of driving with their lights on.

Probably all cars built after 2006 have the option of having their lights permanently on when their car is running. It is a huge plus to not have to look twice or three times to see if traffic is coming. Even at dusk, when it is a law to use your lights, and in rain and snow as well.

Also, to have turn signals in use earlier  as you begin your turn is a huge help. As far from the turn as possible.


Fine Young Folks


February 2, 2017

To the Editor:

Great job, parents!

I just had the distinct pleasure of participating in the mock interview session with East Hampton High School juniors. This workshop was meant to prepare students for their future college/job interviews. I want to communicate how utterly impressed I was with the students that I met. With their great interpersonal skills, ambition, and drive, these kids are amazing. 

I would not hesitate to hire or recommend any of the seven fine young folks I had the pleasure to meet and speak with this morning. The parents and teachers of these kids should be very proud, and my hat comes off to them for a job very well done in raising them! Top that with the fact that, for the most part, the people who had the greatest influence on their lives were their own parents! 

As the parent of youngsters, I can only hope to have the same outcome with my kids. Best of luck to the students I met today, and all of the others as they pursue their futures. 


East Hampton Shellfish Hatchery

Reeds Are Better

New York City

February 5, 2017

To the Editor:

The common reed is indeed an invasive species in tidal marshes and is frequently removed during restoration projects. As described in the article, people generally don’t like it. While it does reduce diversity of certain other plants in the marsh, it supports diversity in the aquatic system and in terrestrial animals, and is responsible for other important ecosystem services.

Studies indicate that reed-dominated marshes have diverse and abundant invertebrate animals living in and on top of the mud. With some exceptions, the reeds are utilized by fishes and other swimming animals, comparable to cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) marshes. The detritus produced by decaying reeds provides food value comparable to that of Spartina in terms of supporting survival and growth of fiddler crabs and grass shrimp. 

Relative bird use of reeds is variable depending on the bird species, geographic location, and stand architecture. With regard to pollution, reeds are better than cordgrass at sequestering a variety of pollutants, including nitrogen (the nutrient that stimulates algal blooms and subsequent low oxygen in coastal waters); toxic metals, and carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas). 

At this time of accelerating sea level rise, reeds enable a marsh to increase its elevation much more rapidly than cordgrass. Think about a coastal storm coming. Tall, dense reeds will protect your home from storm surges better than shorter plants. Residents in the town of Piermont, N.Y., along the Hudson River, think that the reed marshes protected their neighborhood from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy. 

The general assumption that this plant degrades marshes should be re-thought at this time of concern for resilience and sustainability. 


Professor Emerita

Dept. of Biological Sciences

Rutgers University

A Kaleidoscope

East Hampton

February 2, 2017

To the Editor: 

It’s an ebullient landmark for the charming and revealing children’s art shows at Guild Hall (grades K-8 through Feb. 12, grades 9-12 from Feb. 25 to March 26). This is the 25th year of showing some really good work in the often-benighted schools. It deserves a celebration. 

I accidentally stumbled into the elementary part for the first time on a recent weekend and, at first, the more than 3,500 works, hung floor to ceiling in salon style, seemed little more than numbing products of multiple hives doing the same things in lockstep. However well intentioned, was this an inadvertent celebration of how schools actually squash creativity?

Soon, however, came satori. At the very least, the show demonstrates that uniformity arises from pedagogy. Each teacher wants every child in his or her classes to try each technique. Goal achieved. The techniques change over the course of a year from, say, linoleum- block printing to watercolor to collage to ceramics, large to small, painting to sculpture. Without counting, I’d guess that works in 20 or more variegated mediums are on display.

The exhibition also shows how our local art teachers are tapping the mature artists nearby to broaden the scope of their teaching, bringing in people like the metalsmith James DeMartis to get kids making such things as a tree of polished fish. 

Paddling through this vast, two-room sea of shapes and colors, I recalled that, as it is for poets who lock themselves into sonnets, the discipline of a pre-set format can be liberating. I am not connoisseur enough to judge whether some of the kids using assigned formats and techniques are transcending those limits, but some come close. 

A few teachers are having their students imitate outstanding works by adult artists. This is a classic teaching exercise for older art students, and for elementary-schoolers in the Springs classes of Alex de Havenon, for example, it obviously requires looking carefully enough at Byzantine icons to absorb something of how they are done before making a copy. A class elsewhere got mind-opening inspiration from the outsized Neo-Dada lipsticks of Claes Oldenburg. History of art by doing.

In short, the apparent similarities work against each other to create a two-room kaleidoscope. With this extension of its recognition of local talent (think the members’ and clothesline shows), Guild Hall is revealing — and encouraging — an impressive range of teachers’ creative impulses as well as those of their students. The crisp, fully professional hanging, lighting, and labeling elevate these works into a sparky, color-washed happening. 


The Conqueror


February 5, 2017

To the Editor:

One of the new amenities enriching life in East Hampton has been Guild Hall’s presentations of the Metropolitan Opera’s high-definition “Live at the Met” broadcasts. Although I could never be described as a true opera fan, I was exposed to it early in life as my Italian grandfather settled in by the radio on Saturday afternoons for the live broadcasts. His favorite operas were Verdi’s, of course, as Verdi was a national hero to him. He once described to me the pall of sadness that came over Italy on the day Verdi died. Grandpa was 6 at the time.

Last week’s presentation was Verdi’s “Nabucco,” his first opera, written at the age of 28. Placido Domingo was singing, and I wanted to see him, but to be honest I would go to a Verdi opera if Snoop Dogg was singing the lead.

I didn’t know much about the story line of “Nabucco” either, but if all you’re interested in is the wonderful voices, the preposterous story lines of most operas can be a distraction. But the “Nabucco” story, for many in the audience, turned out to be an exception.

The opera begins in Jerusalem as the Judeans await the invading army of the Assyrian king, Nebuchadnezzar (Na­buc­co). I’m kind of a soft-core history buff, so I began to pay attention to the English subtitles as the Judeans fearfully awaited the Baal-worshipping Babylonian tyrant who would make them slaves and destroy their temple. In one of the lines, Ismael, the Judean envoy to Babylon, had this to say as the subtitles moved across the scene: “Furiously the Assyrian king advances; It seems he defies the whole world in his haughty arrogance!”

“Haughty arrogance,” eh? That seemed quite apropos in the second week of the Trump transition. A few audience members murmured. The woman beside me suppressed a laugh. We were paying attention now. Then a Judean soldier added to the irony: “Behold the King! Upon his steed, he makes his way to the Temple, like a whirlwind that brings everywhere black ruin in its train.”

Whoa — black ruin. This was getting a little too real. Some snickers followed that line, the murmurs a little louder now.

The expectations of the Judeans were soon fulfilled as we met Nabucco, and he didn’t hesitate to let everyone know where he stood: “Down on your knees, defeated slaves! I am the conqueror. I challenged him in battle, but did your God come? He is afraid of me; who in the whole wide world, you fools, will be able to withstand.”

Hmmm. Sounds like a narcissistic megalomaniac to me. Ya gotta love irony. And in the back of my mind I’m thinking, perhaps there really are only six great plots.

Nabucco goes on: “My fury, no longer constrained, shall make a horrible massacre of the conquered. Plunder and burn the Temple; mercy will be a crime!”

Of course, things got better as the opera proceeded. Not to ruin the ending for anyone, but Nabucco is converted, the Judeans get to go home, the bad sister wises up, and love prevails. The music was wonderful, the singing was superb, and I left the theater so very happy to have heard those incredible voices. But it was also interesting to see how that ancient work found a resonance that Saturday afternoon.

It was not the first time that there was a subtext to this opera. Apparently, Verdi’s plot paralleled the situation in (what was to become) Italy in his day. At one level, it was about the Babylonian captivity; at another, about the occupation of Verdi’s homeland by the Austrians. 

The barbarians were at the gates. Perhaps they always will be.


Narcan Training


February 2, 2017

Dear David, 

I recently attended the free Narcan training class on Jan. 30 at Scoville Hall in Amagansett and wanted to let the community know how important these training classes are. Everyone hears about the heroin epidemic and how many of our citizens are dying daily due to opioid-based overdoses, but equally if not more newsworthy is the fact that there are people and organizations doing something about it. 

The trainers were excellent, explaining how to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose, administer Narcan, and what to do while waiting for emergency medical services. Everyone there received a Narcan resuscitation kit to take with them and had the opportunity to ask questions. The event was even catered, with gourmet sandwiches and drinks. 

Thank you to Suffolk County E.M.S. and Madeleine Narvilas of Origins Behavioral Healthcare! We appreciate your efforts to save one life at a time.


Thanks for Support

East Hampton

February 6, 2017

Dear David,

We would like to thank several local businesses for their support of East Hampton Meals on Wheels. 

Each year, Sag Harbor Florist donates a beautifully wrapped orchid to every one of our clients on their birthdays. Needless to say, these homebound folks, many of them without families, are thrilled with this gift and look forward to it each year as their birthdays approach. This year another Sag Harbor business, Provisions, donated to us a portion of all of their January bag sales and gave our staff the opportunity to provide their customers with information about the mission of our organization and how they might help.

And thank you to the East Hampton Rotary Club, who got the new year off to a great start for our clients by providing spaghetti and meatball dinners for them and their caregivers. This, too, is a yearly event that we greatly appreciate.

We wish the best to all of the folks involved in improving the quality of life for our homebound residents. If you would like to help, please call 631-329-1669 or visit ehmealsonwheels.org.

Very truly yours,


Airport Will Be Closed


February 2, 2017

Dear David, 

The Santa Monica, Calif., airport will be permanently closed on Dec. 31, 2028, according to an agreement reached by the city and the Federal Aviation Administration. 

This action, on Jan. 28, 2017, included the return of 227 acres of aviation land to Santa Monica. This land will be redeveloped into areas for parks, open space, recreation, and educational and cultural use.

The city of Santa Monica claimed that the airport was noisy, unsafe, and potentially harmful to its citizens because of exhaust fumes. The F.A.A. agreed that the current runway of almost 5,000 feet be reduced to 3,500 immediately, so that jet traffic will be reduced considerably.

For full details, Google “Santa Monica airport closing.”


For Montauk, Too

East Hampton

January 31, 2017

Dear David:

A recent letter to The Star by Tom Bogdan of Montauk United, and a subsequent fund-raising letter circulated by him, are filled with misinformation regarding the East Hampton Airport, Montauk Airport, and the problem of airport noise. I wish that Mr. Bogdan, whom I have never met and never spoken to, had reached out to me or the Quiet Skies Coalition, or indeed anyone involved with the effort to control East Hampton Airport noise, before distributing alarming and incendiary accusations (some of them directed at me personally).

The airport noise citizens advisory committee that I chair wrote to the town board this month with a number of recommendations, including that the town proceed with the steps necessary for the community preservation fund to buy Montauk Airport. Mr. Bogdan characterizes this as an effort to shift the problems of East Hampton Airport to Montauk. Absolutely nothing could be further from the truth. Just the opposite. 

Mr. Bogdan is apparently unaware that privately owned airports that are open for public use are eligible to receive airport improvement grants from the Federal Aviation Administration. When a private airport receives such a grant, it then becomes subject to F.A.A. control for 20 years, and there is nothing that local government can do about it. Local government can only exercise its authority over an airport that it owns. An F.A.A. grant to a private airport thus divests both the town and the airport owner of control. 

Montauk Airport has in fact been the recipient of an F.A.A. grant, and the grant agreement runs for several more years. Currently, therefore, neither the town nor the owner of Montauk Airport has any control whatsoever over activity at Montauk Airport. The F.A.A. does. The town is forbidden by federal law from legislating, and it cannot exercise the authority permitted to an airport proprietor to control its own property. Thus, even without any changes at East Hampton Airport, growing aviation market pressure puts Montauk at risk, not from residents at the west end of town who wish to be free of the scourge of airport noise, but from the F.A.A. We want to nip that in the bud.

The reason that we proposed that the town buy Montauk Airport is not so the town can shift the noise problem to Montauk, but so that Montauk Airport will never receive another F.A.A. grant, something the town cannot now prevent, and so that the town will be in a position to exercise the very same control over Montauk Airport, in the capacity of airport proprietor, that we seek to have it exercise over East Hampton Airport. We want to protect all the residents of East Hampton, east and west, from noxious airport noise.

We do not want to shift the problem to Montauk. Our purpose is to ensure that that does not happen, cannot happen, and that aviation development in Montauk does not create there the problems that have become a nightmare for people living to the west. Mr. Bogdan accuses us of having the goal of “anywhere, but not in my backyard.” No, sir. Our goal is to keep the pestilence of airport noise out of everyone’s backyard. Whether Mr. Bogdan appreciates it or not, as regards airport noise, we have been thoughtfully watching out for Montauk, too. 

Aviation law is an arcane subject. I would invite Mr. Bogdan and any of his members who would like to attend to meet with the airport noise citizens advisory committee so that we can all understand together. 

If Mr. Bogdan is concerned about the risk of airport noise becoming a serious problem in Montauk, his organization should join the Quiet Skies Coalition and work with his neighbors to the west to make sure that never happens. No one in East Hampton should have to suffer assault from the air. This is a principle that should unite all of us, not divide us. 


Important Referendum


February 6, 2017

To the Editor:

I write as a somewhat informed citizen who was unaware of an important referendum that will appear on the ballot this November: Shall there be a New York State Constitutional Convention, a question that is required to be asked in our state every 20 years. 

The answer that should be given by anyone concerned about voting fairness (as distinct from unsupported claims of voting fraud) is yes, because it will set in motion multistep proposals to amend the current State Constitution, none more pressing, arguably, than voting reform. 

Were policy and procedural reforms about voting to be enacted, New York State could join a growing list of states that permit early voting and absentee voting without excuse. Reforms would likely result in greater voter participation and more opportunity to debate and challenge proffered positions and ostensible facts. The time to start educating ourselves about the referendum and promoting its passage is now. 


We Will Not Go Back

February 6, 2017

East Hampton

To the Editor:

On Jan. 30, I traveled with Planned Parenthood to Albany for their Day of Action. Over 1,600 people from around New York gathered to show their support. Planned Parenthood has been under attack the past few years, and with the current administration it is apparent that they are in the crosshairs. 

State Senator Andrea Stuart-Cousins gave a rousing speech about knowing women’s history and a refusal to go back. Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, wanted everyone to know that we are all ready to stand up and fight back. Dr. Rachel Phelps acted as witness to the horrors of what happens when abortion access is denied, when women are forced to try and terminate on their own through alternative means and the deadly aftermath that can ensue. 

Finally, Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke straight to the point. Women’s rights are human rights, and it’s a woman’s legal right to choose. He is currently working to codify the protections of Roe v. Wade into New York State laws. This would protect New Yorkers against any possible overturning, should the Supreme Court get involved.

  The message is clear. We will not go back. Women will not go back, be it to back alleys or coat hangers. What was once thought to be a given by my generation is not so certain now. We were never exposed to the grisliness that preceded Roe. We have been fortunate that people fought before us so we did not have to. We cannot go back. What was once a surety is not so sure. It’s our turn to fight.

One of the meetings that I participated in for the day was with an aide on behalf of Senator Ken LaValle. Being from East Hampton, I am indeed a constituent of his, but being in that room you would not have known that. The fact that 7 out of 10 Americans support a woman’s right to choose, you wouldn’t have felt that was supported either. The unwillingness to support an issue that differed from party lines was apparent. What comes with that, you, my fellow constituents, need to know, is lack of support for all women’s health care. Whether you are pro-choice or anti-choice, to cut funding for Planned Parenthood and other family planning providers trickles down into indispensable basic primary and preventive care.

Planned Parenthood health centers around the United States have seen over 2.5 million patients. Around one in five women has relied on Planned Parenthood at one point for health care in their lifetime. The services they provide are crucial to the health and well-being for over 200,000 New Yorkers. They are not abortion providers primarily (that only accounts for 3 percent of their services nationally). They provide nonjudgmental quality care to everyone, regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, or income. They provided S.T.I. tests and treatments, breast exams, Pap tests, birth control, and education. 

Abortion rates are at a record low. Why? Education and access to birth control! The choice to have an abortion is just that, a choice made by the woman. It is not a politician’s choice to make. Ending access to safe abortions will not stop abortions. It will stop safe ones. 

I will continue to fight for Planned Parenthood and women’s rights. I hope some of you will join me! Because we will not go back.


Not An Immigrant


February 3, 2017

To the Editor: 

Regarding the ad on page A7 Feb. 2 edition of East Hampton Star (“We Are All Immigrants”), I for one would like an explanation!

I am not an immigrant, as I was born in the U.S.A. I am a full-fledged American, and proud of America. 

My father came over from Poland, and was registered at Ellis Island. He came by boat. He didn’t sneak in. My dad served in the Army and legally raised his family here.

Rudy, my husband, was also born here, he too served his country in the Army, and his dad came here from Germany and went through Ellis Island as well. America is a melting pot, and the people who live here mostly work hard and pay taxes.

If President Trump is trying to keep out freeloaders and people who want to stab us in the back, I support him.

If I were an immigrant, I’d want to live in America like my parents. I’d enter legally, and work hard to pay my dues. It’s okay to have different races in my backyard, but only if they are here legally, and honor our country. No riots, no guns, no hate.


Stop Crying


February 4, 2017

Dear David,

Every week you as the editor and writers are dumping on Congressman Lee Zeldin because he sides with President Trump. Congressman Zeldin has so far done an outstanding job, better than Ms. Throne-Holst would have done. Her problem was lying, making up fake stories about Zeldin. It’s time to give credit where credit is due. Because you don’t like the newly elected president it’s time to stop crying, stop manipulating. 

Look at the protest. They are all disgusting, paid for by George Soros, their faces hidden and actually causing monetary damage. If one person would have protested in this manner against President Obama, OMG the whole liberal country would be on that person, screaming for his/her death. Stop being so narrow-minded, give the newly elected a chance. Quoting Obama, “The election is over, we won.”

Some of the language by the last set of writers is unacceptable. Would they be the ones that were all over Trump in the Billy Bush item? Please, Ken Rafferty, calm it down. Neil Hausig, as you write your history lesson every week we don’t need a man’s view of dreams and a man’s way of self-satisfaction.

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France delivered in 1886, 10 years late, as a sign of freedom and liberty. She does not grant immigration from war-torn zones. So, Ms. Albright, you can stop crying, as the Statue of Liberty is a statue.

In God and country,