What Guild Hall Means
February 26, 2017
To the Editor:
Regularly I receive suavely phrased emails from Guild Hall inviting me in the subject line to convey to them just what Guild Hall means to me. When I open these emails I typically discover a boilerplate hollow message larded up with vanity. If I proceed to the next page I discover a la-di-da prompt designed to provoke me to robotically utilize my credit card. Sadly, what is entirely missing in these emails from Guild Hall is a message box meant for me to define just what Guild Hall means to me.
In my modest opinion all theater since the dawn of time remains elemental to human individuality and social sanity: our human-being statoscope. The truth is told and the truth does not care if you like it.
As I reminiscence, I admit that I was a wholly naive, oversheltered young woman experiencing my first American play. I took the bus to the Westport Country Playhouse to see a romantic comedy. The two student actors that day were 19-year-old initiates named Ben Gazzara, who teamed up with a really pretty blond girl named Jane Fonda. The work itself was mediocre, but those two dazzlingly glowing stars together on that stage were miraculously transformative for me. I floated home to promptly inform my appalled parents that I intended to go to drama school. Something deep in me had become stirred that day by an urgent thirst to be of and on the stage.
I am of rich Irish ancestry, and some of you might already know that most Irish never require an actual physical stage upon which to create a personal comedy or tragedy; the kitchen works. My fully aghast drama-queen mom promptly tuned up her intense anger concerning my “entirely vulgar announcement,” and demonstrated her wrath by slamming her bedroom door. My dad laughed for one hour. The topic was not further entertained. I attended a proper, regular nice-girl college, got married, and had children like a normal person. “And just who did I think I was, Jane Fonda? Harrumph!”
My respect for all theater remains robust to this day, and I’ve come to grasp that I actually am of the stage by virtue of contributing my integral role as a member of the audience; for there is no play without its audience. I take my seat, the light dims, the curtain rises, it begins, and mystically the players become one with their audience, bursting into life, just as the match gives birth to the flame. And that is why it is called live theater. The yin and the yang, the action and reaction, proving Shakespeare correct: “The play’s the thing.” I thank Guild Hall and all the stages for displaying the truth of human life.
More Kid Space
February 21, 2017
Bring back the RECenter now!
Have you heard the news lately? Another teenager has overdosed in our town at a party house. Perhaps now is a good time to remind everyone of the $600,000-a-year for-profit gym the town is subsidizing instead of running a facility that gives young people a safe environment to go to after school and be with their friends. And that while the Y.M.C.A. claims to be running programs for young people, members of the RECenter’s own board of directors have said that they’ve “lost the kids.” Maybe now is an appropriate time to point out that according to experts in the fields of psychology and child development, a lack of free play is associated with a rise in mental disorders, including depression and anxiety — precursors to addiction — and yet, despite this, the Y.M.C.A. has declined to seriously pursue opening up more kid space inside the REC.
Maybe this is when we should decide not to renew the contract between the Y.M.C.A. and the Town of East Hampton.
A Meat-Free Diet
February 21, 2017
March 1 marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period preceding Easter, when many Christians abstain from animal foods in remembrance of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the wilderness before launching his ministry.
The call to refrain from eating animals is as old as the Bible. In Genesis 1:29, God commands humans to eat only plants; then Prophet Isaiah predicts that “none will hurt or destroy on God’s holy mountain.”
A number of Christian leaders have followed the call, including the Methodism founder John Wesley, the Salvation Army founders William and Catherine Booth, the Seventh-day Adventist Church founder Ellen G. White, and the prominent evangelical leader Franklin Graham.
A meat-free diet is not just about Christian devotion. Dozens of medical studies have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer, and other killer diseases. A United Nations report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented farm animals being caged, crowded, mutilated, beaten, and shocked.
Lent offers a superb opportunity to honor Christ’s powerful message of compassion, but also to protect the health of our family and our planet Earth by adopting a meat-free diet.
Not a Nuisance
February 27, 2017
To the Editor,
The board of Citizens for Access Rights has been asking our members and supporters their thoughts and opinions on the proposal to issue beach driving permits on an annual basis. Based on conversations and responses, we submit the following thoughts and questions from our members and supporters for the public’s consideration regarding the discussion of the annual issuance of beach driving permits.
The main question being asked is, why? Why do this now? What is the complaint? Who is complaining about the permit-issuing process, causing the town board and town trustees to consider an annual permit-renewal requirement? The plaintiffs trying to privatize the beach on Napeague made the complaint in a court of law that the town board and trustees were negligent in issuing the permits and in the permit process itself. The court found their claims to be a nonissue and the public’s use of the beaches not a nuisance. So why does the town want to “fix” what the court found is not a problem?
The reason being given for the annual reissuance of beach driving access permits is to eliminate the fraudulent use of these permits by people who buy a vehicle with a permit already on it, that these permits live on forever, and that there are currently 35,000 valid beach driving access permits for the Town of East Hampton.
Several members of the town board and the town trustees have stated publicly that beach driving access permits are open-ended and don’t expire, lasting the life of a vehicle. These statements are false. The permits do not last forever. The permits are issued to the registration of the vehicle, and the license plate number of that vehicle is put on the permit. A person desiring a beach driving permit must take the registration to the town clerk and sign the permit application.
If the vehicle changes ownership and the license plate of the new owner no longer matches the license plate number on the permit, the permit is invalid and the new owner is required to get a new permit, if eligible. Likewise, if the license plate number or permit number is no longer legible on the permit, the permit holder is required to get a new permit. If a law enforcement officer cannot read the permit, or if the license plate number does not match the plate number on the permit, a ticket should be written. Why does it matter that a few people do not understand the fact that the number on the permit is just that, a number? Permit number 35,000 does not mean that there are 35,000 active and valid beach driving permits. Why does the false perception of a few outweigh reality?
Another question to consider is, why is it that only beach driving permits and not beach parking permits are being considered for annual renewal. The town board and the town trustees do not seem concerned with the fraudulent use of beach parking permits, only beach driving permits. Why? How many beach parking permits have been issued? How many outstanding beach parking permits are there, hundreds of thousands maybe?
The fact of the matter is that beach parking permits are issued in an identical manner as the beach driving permits. Parking permits are not issued on an annual basis. The threat of misuse of these permits is the same as, if not greater than, beach driving permits. There are many more cars with beach parking permits that are bought and sold with the permit still affixed. Beach parking (access) is at a premium in the Town of East Hampton, yet the town board and the town trustees only seem concerned about beach driving. Why? Why not get the beach parking permits under control too, and prevent fraudulent use and free up more access (parking)?
Why is it important that the town know how many permits are issued in a year? The number of permits issued should not matter; it is the use of those permits that matters. Especially when the court has recently ruled the town has the right to issue the permits, and the current use of the beach comes nowhere near the level of a nuisance.
Every East Hampton resident has the right to a beach driving access permit. Why does someone want to count permits unless they want a hard number to tag to beach use access? Who is asking for these numbers and why? Why put a hard number to something unless you want to count the number of residents accessing the beach? What number will these boards or future boards find unacceptable? Why does it matter how many permits are perceived (erroneously) to be active?
It is not necessarily the current administration that may have a nefarious use for a permit count in mind, it may be future boards. Or perhaps the current town board and town trustees disagree with the court’s ruling and this is the first step in reining in what they feel are too many people using the public beaches. The question needs to be considered.
A question that was also frequently asked was how much will these permits end up costing residents? The town may say it will not cost the residents anything at the moment, but we all believe otherwise. How many permits issued on an annual basis are free? How much will the processing of these permits on an annual basis cost?
The town should be creating more access and making it easier for town residents to get to the beach. They should not be implementing more No Parking areas and creating more bureaucracy for residents to fund and wade through. If the town does not have accurate records and needs to get its record-keeping in order, then maybe the permits could be reissued once to reset the record-keeping. Maybe issue the permits without a number on them. However, there seems to be no need to issue residential beach driving permits on an annual or semiannual basis. As currently written, the permit standards pretty much already dictate that a permit holder needs to renew the permit every three to five years, with the requirements that the license plate match the permit and the permit be legible. Why does the town want to force someone to renew their permit unless the town wants to count the number of permits issued? Why count the number of permits unless the town wants to limit the number issued?
CfAR believes these questions and observations should be taken into consideration when discussing the issuance of beach driving permits on an annual basis. The Napeague homeowners’ complaints regarding the town’s issuance of beach driving permits were found to be baseless and were struck down in a court of law. Why does the town now feel the need to pander to those complainers by imposing additional burdens upon those who enjoy access to the beach by motor vehicle? The question needs to be repeated. Why?
The board of Citizens for Access Rights would like to invite the public to our annual trivia night tomorrow, March 3, at the American Legion in Amagansett. Doors open at 6:30 and trivia starts at 7. Visit our website or Facebook page for more information regarding trivia night or CfAR in general.
Citizens for Access Rights
Affordable Care Act
February 26, 2017
To the Editor,
The plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act is clear, but its replacement is far less clear, beyond some broad concepts with the intended purpose of lowering insurance premiums. Generally speaking, proposals would do away with the mandatory requirement that all individuals have health insurance. Health insurance plans would be offered with fewer baseline-covered benefits at higher deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs would be paid from self-funded Health Savings Accounts.
These high-deductible plans paired with H.S.A. favor those that are healthy and the wealthy. Their medical costs are low and could more easily be paid from H.S.A. These health savings accounts disproportionately favor those with greater discretionary income, enough to adequately fund these accounts. Contributions to these accounts are made with pre-taxed dollars, which make them appealing for the tax reduction benefits they offer. High-deductible plans supplemented by H.S.A. would be financially disastrous for the middle class and those who become seriously ill.
Those without health care insurance will be billed by health care providers at a substantially higher charge than those who are processed through insurance companies. It is shocking to see what doctors and hospitals accept from insurance companies as compared to the much higher charge to individuals who do not have health insurance. The individual and societal implication is important to recognize here, when 62 percent of all personal bankruptcies are caused by medical expenses.
Another “replacement” concept being offered is to put people with pre-existing conditions into an assigned risk pool rather than include them with the general population. This concept is identical to the one used by auto insurance companies. When a person has a history of accidents and/or driving dangerously, their premiums are much higher. Those drivers did something wrong; people with pre-existing medical conditions did nothing wrong. The health insurance for these already unfortunate individuals with pre-existing health conditions who will be placed in the “assigned risk pool” will be much higher than the general population, since insuring them will not include the lower cost of insuring healthier individuals. According to the Kaiser Foundation, 52 million Americans under the age of 65 have pre-existing health conditions, and putting them into an assigned risk pool is not fair to them nor is it good for the country.
Prior to the A.C.A., the cost of health care was rising beyond the cost of inflation, as it is now. Individuals with pre-existing conditions had difficulty in purchasing insurance, and lifetime benefit limits prevented some individuals from obtaining the care their conditions required. Many questions remain as to the replacement of the Affordable Care Act. Will parents still be able to keep their children on their plan until age 26? Will health care insurance still be available to all? Will no lifetime limits remain, and will the plans offered cover sufficiently the health care coverage individuals need and want?
The Affordable Care Act is far from perfect, but we should not replace it with an inferior plan. Republicans have some smart proposals, and we should begin there and determine the results: Open up insurance plans across state lines and negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. We could finesse our way forward rather throw the baby out with the bath water.
Whether or not we have A.C.A. or another plan has real consequences for all. Let’s stop and think before the Affordable Care Act is repealed and replaced by new legislation that fails to serve the needs of individuals, families, and our nation. Quality health insurance is important for the well-being of America, and now is the right time to let your congressperson and senator know what you want.
In God and Country
February 27, 2017
Ken Rafferty Sr., I’m so glad you replied to my letter, as I only referred to your vile language, that’s all, never mentioned Obama, but as you have shown, liberals have no intention of helping the country get on the right track.
Of course all these protesters paid for by George Soros that shows violence and total disrespect for the flag is the right way to go. No one protested Obama’s election in such a way, no cars blown up, no stores robbed, rioting, absolutely not. The only rioting we’ve seen is when Eric Holder and then President Obama allowed it, actually pushed for it.
As far as how I sign my letter is none of your business, I believe in God and I am a true patriot and believe in my country. I also believe in prayer before a town hall meeting and the Pledge of Alliance to be recited.
In God and country,
What’s Next Here?
February 27, 2017
I am puzzled at the opinions and editorial pages of The Star, which up until recently always rose to the top on community issues that are vital to us all. However, since just before the election and continuing afterward, I find them somewhat disturbing. The Jan. 19 editorial “Not a Role Model” bordered on being inflammatory. Some people who contemplated attending the Republican inauguration party at the American Legion Hall asked me if I felt there would be violence and vandalism to their cars. The mere thought of that happening here is shocking.
You talk about “American values.” Is that what caused the previous administration to lie about “Fast and Furious,” the I.R.S., I.N.S., “We depended on the stupidity of the American public to get the Affordable Care Act passed,” to fabricate the blatant lie about the Benghazi attack by blaming some video that they knew was a blatant lie? To perpetuate that lie by sending Susan Rice out on five Sunday news shows and even use it at the funeral ceremony, to the parents of the fallen heroes? The chronic lying of Hillary Clinton about many things, that ran the gamut from being shot at in Bosnia to the private server debacle, with the F.B.I. concluding she was untruthful. Her willful destruction of 30,000 sensitive emails using BleachBit.
These are your role models? The forming of O.F.A., which certainly, right out of the Saul Alinsky “Rules for Radicals,” is another attempt to shut down free speech (as it was in Berkeley)?
So, as the weeks went on, the letters to the editor contained such vitriol and hate. Last week’s letter from a woman who used a vulgar antiwoman phrase about a hat was very offensive! What’s next here? Berkeley East, Molotov cocktails? Maybe a separate page dedicated to anti-Trump attacks would be appropriate. Reasonable readers could use it to wrap fish.
The election is over and we have a system in place. If the president doesn’t perform, vote him out in 2020. However, the office of the president at least deserves a chance, just as the previous president did. Hopefully, The Star will return to the community issues you once championed!
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
Move to Tehran
February 17, 2017
The power of the pen is mightier than the sword. However, in the case of our great new President Trump, he is responding with it is new power that we the people elected him to do.
The liberal and fake media, and that includes this rag, are being shown the other side — yes, it appears there’s a real serious division in our beautiful country.
These mean-looking faces and mean rhetoric spilling forth from you people is sickening. I feel it’s almost un-American. If you people don’t like capitalism or common-sense values, then move to Tehran.
What is so difficult about standing up for the values we were taught? However, I realize our education system these days fails in many of the ways in promoting these values. It’s certainly quite obvious in our colleges.
I am sure in time at least some of you will see the light and support President Trump, and again embrace our beautiful “United” States of America.
In the meantime, boycott Nordstrom, Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx, and Burlington Coat!
God bless President Trump and his beautiful family.
February 27, 2017
I was saddened to read Reg Cornelia’s letter in last week’s Star.
We have been members of the East Hampton community for more than 30 years. (In fact, Mr. Cornelia cared for my first house, a tiny bungalow in the heart of Springs.) Respectful of the history and traditions that preceded us, I have always enjoyed reviewing the portraits of prior town supervisors displayed in the former Town Hall building. It honors community leaders, both Republican and Democrat, who have served this community without self-aggrandizement, earning its profound respect — and in the process creating a great community.
After reading Mr. Cornelia’s letter, I realized that the hall of portraits reflected headstones of the past Republican Party, which, with its Democratic counterparts, gave us strong, civic-minded, responsible, and respected leadership. Beset by the catastrophic failures during the Wilkinson years, corrupted by the lure of thousands of “helicopter” dollars, this once-proud party (with Mr. Overton excepted) has shrunk to little more than tiresome ranting and irrelevance.
The Republican community in this town deserves better — and should demand it.
Meaning of Protests
February 27, 2017
It’s regrettable that my counterpart, Reg Cornelia, is using the same bombastic, deceitful tactics of the president and his chief advisers to try to mislead the public about the meaning of protests against their words and policies that are occurring all over the county.
Smoke and mirrors! Call critics and the free press liars, and hope you’ve pulled the wool over a majority’s eyes.
I don’t think it will work. The activists protesting at Congressional offices aren’t all liberals and they certainly aren’t communists. They have a serious message the majority of the American public will rally around:
The plans of our president and our Congress are ungenerous and unfair. They will cripple our economy and hurt most of the president’s voters. Dismantling the Affordable Care Act will leave poor and middle-class people without insurance in times of need. Driving away immigrants will destroy our communities, hurt our neighbors, and poison the lives of innocent schoolchildren without generating better-paying jobs for struggling citizens. The daily shocks to our international alliances are making us less secure.
Most important, the attempts of the president and his advisers to silence his critics will eventually silence all of us, unless checked, leaving us hungry and helpless like the 20th-century majorities in Germany, Italy, Poland, etc., and in North Korea and Russia today.
East Hampton Democrats
Quo Vadis, America
February 27, 2017
To the Editor:
Bishop Fulton J. Sheen touched on a topic 40 or 50 years ago on his weekly TV program that is front and center today: “Quo vadis, America?” That is Latin for “Where are you going, America?” We all see the problems America is having, but so many people do not see the solutions. I would like to tell the story Bishop Sheen tells about the words “quo vadis.”
It begins at the time of the burning of Rome under the rule of Nero. Saint Peter is leading a group of Christians on the way back to Israel. On his way, Peter has a vision of our Lord. Our Lord says to Peter, “Quo vadis, Peter?” as our Lord is walking toward Rome. Peter says to our Lord, “Quo vadis, Domine?” (Where are you going, Lord?)
Our Lord turns to Peter and says, “I am going to Rome to be re-crucified.” Peter understands that he is the one who must return to Rome to be crucified, and so he goes back to Rome and is crucified. He asks to be crucified upside down, because he is not worthy to be crucified in the same manner as our Lord.
At this point Bishop Sheen turns his thoughts to America. It is a truly prophetic moment in the life of Bishop Sheen. If you are interested in one of Bishop Sheen’s solutions, you need to see his talk on “Quo vadis, America?”