Time of Need
February 13, 2017
Last night on my way home from work my truck broke down on the Napeague stretch. Police officers James Stavola and Justin Solof came to my aid and helped me to get a tow truck.
We of East Hampton are fortunate to have these two young men and all the other police officers to serve us in our time of need. May God bless and protect the police officers in East Hampton and all the police officers in the United States of America.
Cedar Street Bus Depot
February 12, 2017
My name is Vito Brullo. I am part of the Cedar Street Committee, which is against the proposed Cedar Street bus depot
I live on Pine Street in East Hampton, a private, dead-end road off Cedar Street. My home is located approximately 200 feet from the proposed site of the bus depot. There are many reasons why the bus depot should not be placed in our quiet residential neighborhood. In this letter, I will touch generally upon the traffic ramifications.
The traffic congestion created by 35 additional daily buses merging with the existing heavy traffic on Cedar Street would be intolerable. Due to the recent tonnage limits placed on Newtown Lane, trucks have been rerouted to Cedar Street. Added congestion from buses increases the probability of traffic accidents and of breathing problems from fumes spewing out of idling buses. Also, the bus drivers will bring their cars in and out of the bus depot twice a day each. Each bus in and out twice a day and each driver’s car in and out twice a day equals 140 trips through that bus depot driveway per day, going up and down Cedar Street, not counting mechanics’ vehicles or special bus trips, for instance, to and from sporting events.
Traffic-counting stops were placed on Cedar Street in two locations on Dec. 13, 2016. Presuming that the school board had contracted for this “study,” a few things are worth mentioning. The time frames should have been April to June and May to November, during the very heavily congested traffic months. Also, the traffic cable leading to the electronic counter was ripped up by a snowplow on Dec. 12, less than 48 hours after it was laid down. And it was never replaced, assuming it was working at all.
In March 2005, the school board received the results of a draft environmental impact study for which the board had contracted Freudenthal & Elkowitz Consulting Group. That D.E.I.S. plus a SEQRA report were required prior to building a planned addition to the high school, and included 138 pages dedicated to studies of traffic on Long Lane. It concluded that installation of a traffic signal at the northernmost two-way high school driveway on Long Lane would be required. We must assume that a similar D.E.I.S. plus SEQRA study for the construction of a bus depot on Cedar Street would result in a similar requirement for a traffic signal at the two-way driveway proposed for the Cedar Street bus depot.
Save Our Aquifer
February 13, 2017
In 1950 the population of Suffolk County was 276,000. By 1960 there were 666,000, an increase of 142 percent. In 1970 there were 1.1 million, an increase of 84 percent. In 2012, 1,497,958 people lived in this county and a new census awaits us soon. While it will surely show another jump in population, we must also remember that it will not include the many folk who are under the radar. If you don’t believe that our ranks are swelling, just notice how you now must dial an area code to call your friend up the street.
During all this time, of the 3,143 counties in the country, Suffolk County had the least restrictive sanitary system. On any summer day the county’s Department of Health issues warnings about algae blooms, some highly toxic, in bodies of water; water you dare not enter. The number of bodies of water that become toxic in the summer is staggering. Beautiful Lake Ronkonkoma, which I used to pass on my way to Jamesport when I was a kid, fell prey to this plague. Even areas that one might think of as being pristine, like Mattituck, are in this category.
Fortunately, the community preservation fund water quality initiative has passed, and towns will soon be able to use that money to correct outdated septic systems, and use it all they must and as quickly as possible — as the money accumulates — to save our sole-source aquifer, as the layers of the aquifer contain deadly volatile organic compounds. The key is: If you can’t drink the water, what you have is worthless. Ask the people in Flint, Mich.
Everything Was Untrue
February 12, 2017
To the Editor:
Around a year ago, CBS and The New York Times published allegations about lavish spending and misuse of donor dollars by the Wounded Warrior Project. It was the source of endless talk in town and major stories in the national media and this newspaper. I wrote here then the allegations were completely false. They were.
This last week the truth started coming out. Charity Navigator retracted its assessment of the Wounded Warrior Project. They re-evaluated their initial erroneous determination, and determined that in 2015 over 75 percent of donations went to programs. That was the last year my friends ran the organization. They designated W.W.P. a four-star charity today.
The Better Business Bureau and a number of philanthropic journals reviewed the two independent evaluations conducted by a top law firm and Doug White, a nonprofit specialist, and concluded that CBS and The Times got it all wrong. The Washington Post reported it.
Three tidbits: 1. There was no expense at any W.W.P. event for alcohol. Over $200,000 in receipts were reviewed, $20 total costs for two beers. 2. There was virtually no first-class travel, less than 1 percent, much of it from airline upgrades and almost all for wounded soldiers traveling overseas. 3. CBS reported that W.W.P. spent $28 million on conferences. Wrong. Over 95 percent of travel went for Soldier Ride transportation, Project Odyssey (retreats for the wounded), and transport to hospitals for soldiers.
Everything was untrue. CBS and The Times excluded all interviews with staff who spoke positively about W.W.P., and there were many. They relied on a few disgruntled former employees, none of whom uttered a negative word while they were employed. I know five of them. Three were fired for misuse of donor dollars and one for sexual harassment. The fifth lied about everything to draw attention to himself. Yet no one in the press bothered to vet the sources for the stories.
Doug White pointed all this out in an 80-page independent report last September. It got very little press. The New York Times and CBS remain silent. No one is saying they are sorry. There wasn’t much talk around town. There were no stories in our local papers.
Thankfully, last week Bill O’Reilly and Eric Shawn confirmed all this, Shawn saying the CBS and Times allegation were “not true. There was no evidence of lavish spending. There’s no evidence in all those stories.” O’Reilly concluded that “your money is going where it should go — it’s going to help the vets.”
Two men were vilified who created the Wounded Warrior Project. Twenty percent of the people who worked tirelessly to help our wounded lost their jobs. And tens of thousands of our wounded warriors were hurt. Three hundred million dollars in donations went away. It was all untrue. But the truth doesn’t make headlines.
No Hidden Agenda
February, 13, 2017
I know its winter and it’s a terrible season for open houses, but one of your readers needs to make more cold calls and stop making black history in America sound like Jackie Collins dated Frederick Douglass and wrote an unpublished tell-all book on how racism really is the DNA of America, and then romanticize on how it has poisoned all our holiday traditions.
The United States was born 164 years after slavery came to our shores, and blacks were not the first choice for slaves, they were the third choice, after Native Indians, then Europeans, until the Spanish introduced the colonists to the African slave trade. Perhaps, you will likely find a living heir of one of these slave merchants having a Southside Johnny at the Maidstone Club and you can ask him or her all about it, instead of making it up.
But I digress, and would like to thank the founding fathers of our nation for having the wisdom and insight to lead a nation, and the world, in telling the story of a United States to be written over time by men and women just as courageous as the next, and be bigger than all of us.
The Declaration of Independence proclaimed that all men were created equal, and I would like to thank all the Southern slave owners who signed it, even when they didn’t realize what they were signing. Would like to thank Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence inspired by the Holy Bible, and Benjamin Franklin who convinced everyone Jefferson was the best choice to write it, and for being so cunning to present a timeless document that would be used by Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King so effectively.
I would also like to thank George Washington, my favorite president, and perhaps the first black president. After fighting for America’s freedom alongside free blacks, he had a change of heart toward slavery. That’s why, as president, he declared the Northwest Territory free land and withdrew the United States from the African slave trade. Thomas Jefferson would later make it illegal to import slaves from other countries, lowering the value of owning a slave and incentivizing slave owners to equip slaves with skills like carpentry, welding, medicine, law, and teaching, so they could be freed and live peacefully, albeit segregated.
As waves of European immigration populated the free states, the Southern slave owners’ 100-year control over federal legislation and the courts would cede to free-state legislation and lead to the Civil War.
So you see, some of the other founding fathers were not racist after all, with no hidden agenda against black people. In fact, slavery was not a racial institution but an economic institution. Slavery did not have a singular victim. I am not justifying slavery, but if the truth about our country has truly set you free to be proud to be an American, like it has for me, mission accomplished.
So, to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, happy birthday and happy Black History Month, because they have done more for black people than our other first black president, Barack Obama.
Bulletin to Protesters
February 12, 2017
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Lee Zeldin won the Nov. 8 election for the First Congressional District seat on Long Island.
Now, this may come as a surprise to some of your readers, and even perhaps to you, Mr. Rattray, but Congressman Zeldin not only won the election, his was a historic win. Congressman Zeldin made the record books by receiving the most votes of any First District congressional candidate in history. In history!
Congressman Zeldin’s victory came primarily from his tenacious work for his First District constituents. But President Donald J. Trump’s Suffolk County victory also helped the congressman’s victory.
News bulletin to all of the protesters trying to shut down Congressman Zedin’s events and their daily protests at his offices: He won because a majority of your friends and neighbors voted for a more secure country that will move rapidly toward full employment, less regulation, and more liberty for all. We all want to “Make America Great Again.” Asking the congressman to disavow President Trump is not what the majority of his voters want him to do.
Now, you guys, you demonstrators marching around in dizzying distress, may have a list of demands, but guess what? As Barack Obama would say, you lost!
President Donald J. Trump and Congressman Lee Zeldin, keep up the great work. The 60 percent of voters that brought you to victory are elated by your performance, and while many of us have better things to do, and are not being paid to “protest,” we support you 100 percent. We are here, and we ain’t goin’ nowhere!