Letters to the Editor: 03.16.17

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Spiritual Response

East Hampton

March 13, 2017

Dear Editor:

Thank you for sharing the heartfelt message of love, faith, and brotherhood that the Rev. Denis Brunelle delivered to the East Hampton Village Board about the appropriate human and spiritual response to the men, women, and children in our midst who, often through no fault of their own, are undocumented.

Father Brunelle summarized the grief and frustration that good people of every race, religion, national origin, and citizenship status are feeling about current efforts to identify and persecute “the other.” More important, he reminded us that acceptance of strangers is an integral tenet of faith in all religions and, indeed, in most civilized societies. (I’m thrilled that East Hampton, through the good offices of Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. and our police, is thus civilized.)

Why should you and I, with our U.S. passports, care? I care because my heart is breaking for the children who wonder whether their parents will return from work each night. I’m crying for those who work two or three jobs and are afraid to drive to those jobs. I’m crying for the victims of domestic violence who are afraid to reach out to the Retreat for help. Mostly, I’m crying that there are Americans who want to reverse the promises of the American dream and are dimming the beacon of hope that the U.S.A. represents worldwide. 

Yes, I’m crying for the America that I love and pray that we will all remember before it’s too late.

AYSE M. KENMORE

What Has He Done?

Springs

March 11, 2017

Dear David,

Educators and kids are doing what our leaders should be doing — implementing a hopeful worldview through example. Our Representative Lee Zeldin has talked about anti-Semitism, but what has he done? 

Recently, Cynthia Miller-Idriss, an associate professor of education and sociology at American University, writes that children of all ages are “experiencing extraordinarily high levels of stress about their safety and the well-being of their friends and families. Educators across the country have reported heightened anxiety and fear among their students.” Dr. Miller-Idriss says, “The rallying cries of the past few months have been about resistance and persistence,” and she writes that this movement has taught positive lessons in regard to social justice. 

However, the main point of her article is to say that while these protest actions teach a sense of agency and purpose, they don’t make children feel safe or hopeful. Her call to action is for parents and educators to help their children and students to be helpers, and to “reach out to offer support,” as evidenced by mosques and churches that have come to the aid of defaced cemeteries and communities that have had fund-raising campaigns to resettle refugees. 

While we haven’t experienced overt anti-Semitism in my neighborhood of East Hampton, we do have neighbors to protect in our community who are facing an inhumane deportation program. Fortunately, our town board has led the way with town meetings and issuing policies to protect our neighbors. This is responsible leadership. 

In the past month, members of New York’s First Congressional District have been looking for Representative Lee Zeldin through phone calls, letters, emails, and a FaceTime meeting, to take action on these issues. To his credit, he has issued a statement saying, “The recent threats and property crimes targeting institutions and symbols of Jewish faith demonstrate that the rising tide of anti-Semitism in the United States and globally must be combated forcefully and decisively.” 

Talk is cheap; what has he done? Has he visited a Jewish cemetery that has been defaced or a synagogue to express personally his support for the Jewish community? Has he spoken with immigrants to allay their fears? Has he visited schools, colleges, and universities to tell those who need to be protected that he is there for them? Has he come out and disavowed the biased right-wing news media that has been fueling the fires of anti-Semitism, bias, and hate?

However we slice and dice this issue, we come to an age-old principle, “Actions speak louder than words.” Given the recent actual violence and threats against the Jewish community, and the rampant fear among our immigrant neighbors, only positive actions by Lee Zeldin now will give us the hope needed to lift us from the hate we are witnessing. The right-wing media continues to spew hateful messages, perhaps to foment the violence we are seeing. It is time for Mr. Zeldin to commit to action. I hope Representative Lee Zeldin has the courage of leadership to show the way for all of us — his constituents and neighbors. Now is the time. He owes this to his children and ours.

Respectfully,

TINA PLESSET

Window on the Future

East Hampton

March 12, 2017

Dear David,

I want to thank the many from the East End community who visited the South Fork Wind Farm open house hosted by Deepwater Wind on March 9. The Deepwater Wind project team was on site to introduce the offshore wind farm 30 miles over the horizon from Montauk. It is New York State’s first offshore wind farm, contributing enough wind power to annually provide clean energy for 50,000 local homes. 

With the addition of wind power to the town’s portfolio of clean renewable resources, including solar, community efficiency initiatives, and reduced consumer consumption, East Hampton is in position to realize the town board’s goal of meeting 100 percent of its energy needs without fossil-fuel generation and CO2 emissions into the Earth’s challenged atmosphere. A first in New York State.

The open house was a one-of-a-kind East Hampton experience. Held in the East Hampton Historical Society’s Clinton Academy, and surrounded by the society’s archival collection of windmill drawings and photographs, the introduction of the Montauk wind farm turbines — today’s windmills — continues a 350-year history of East Hampton wind power. A screening of the Deepwater Block Island project and the Montauk project, defined through a series of poster boards, each addressed by a member of the project team, was a window on the future.

East Hampton Town is poised to demonstrate just how resilient a coastal community can be in its leadership, transforming fossil fuel-generated power to clean energy. East Hampton, yes we can!

LINDA JAMES

Acting Chairwoman

East Hampton Town

Energy Sustainability Committee

Deepwater Wind 

East Hampton

March 13, 2017

Dear Editor,

Last Thursday, many of us attended the Deepwater Wind open house at the Clinton Academy. The presentation raised far more concerns than I originally had when I wrote about it a year ago. Simply, here are some of the new concerns:

Clinton Plummer, the company’s vice president for development, would not reveal the actual cost for the transmission tie-in between the wind turbines and Buell Lane, where not only these first turbines will interconnect, but where up to 200 turbines could ultimately interconnect.

Absolutely nothing has been done, and nothing will be done, to assess environmental impacts from bird kills until after the project is underway. This though the Region 2 E.P.A. office has previously called out bird kill issues with wind turbine projects.

The site plan process seems very obtuse and does not really begin until there is a commitment of resources. Doesn’t this usually mean that it is hard to turn back or cut back such a project?

The project is scheduled to start in 2019, with completion around 2021, just about the same time that Governor Cuomo has forced the shutdown of Indian Point, which contributes 2,000 megawatts to the grid. This appears to make it very uncomfortable for moving back the schedule of this project. Is that intentional?

PSEG-LI has warned some in the know to expect brownouts this summer on the East End. This is apparently most related to grid upgrades needed to get the power to the East End, and not the actual lack of generating capacity. There are those at PSEG-LI who have indicated that the $500 million grid upgrade is not urgent to LIPA, and that brownouts this summer may make ratepayers more anxious for Deepwater Wind.

And why did nobody from Deepwater want to talk to me about the lawsuit (Fisheries Survival Fund et al v. the Hon. Sally Jewell and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management)?

Cost estimates and capacity estimates seem to be skewed in favor of wind turbines but do not account for the fact that both substations in our town have capacity to take in generating capacity now, such as from residential solar. I wonder what the numbers would have looked like if Governor Cuomo hadn’t killed fracking gas in New York State.

And then there is the big concern. Is Governor Cuomo trading in the East End for broader support in the Hudson Valley and the Marcellus shale areas of New York State for a look at 2020?

There are far too many concerns that need real answers before we all sign on to this project. Wind power is a wonderful thing. So is solar and so is energy conservation. But most importantly, knowing what is really needed in generating capacity and what will it do to the jobs of our fishermen and our natural environment comes first. Nobody has to be reminded of the deterioration of our water quality. 

Oh, and peak load is in August on hot 80-degree days. How much power does a wind turbine give when the blades aren’t moving? On a consulting trip to Kauai and Maui, I realized that they can contribute very little to the grid in such times, whereas solar was generating electricity.

Let’s get the answers and develop a coherent strategy that is good for East Hampton’s residents, its environment, and its jobs, and not for an opportunistic corporation and governor.

PAUL GIARDINA

Zihuatanejo

Sag Harbor

March 10, 2017

To the Editor,

I had to smile when I read the letter from Ward Freese, my old friend, about his trip to Zihuatanejo, Mexico. 

My wife and I flew into that little airport on our honeymoon in 1967. We flew down in my Cessna 140. I remember the approach around the mountains and gassing the plane with five-gallon cans through a big funnel, with felt to filter the fuel.

BOB MAEDER

Miss Reading Laura

East Hampton

March 13, 2017

Dear David,

I miss reading Laura Donnelly’s column. I find her writing informative, witty, and entertaining. I hope she is all right, because I am not!

Sincerely,

CLAUDE BEUDERT


Ms. Donnelly’s food and restaurant column is on winter break. Ed.

That Blue Mailbox

East Hampton

March 7, 2017

Dear Editor,

You know that blue snorkeler-diver mailbox on Accabonac Road, north of Abraham’s Path? It brought a smile to my face every time I passed it. Well, someone smashed it to bits last night.

TOM deVRIES

To Resolve Legal Issues

Amagansett

March 10, 2017

Dear David, 

Along with my goals of outliving the dog, but not my money, I would very much like to do my bit on behalf of my neighbors. I am therefore thrilled to become part of the formation of East End for Opportunity Inc.

East End for Opportunity serves East Hampton’s work-force community. We are available to evaluate and, hopefully, resolve legal issues in a cost-effective manner.

EEFO’s board of directors is North American, African-American, Irish-American, Latino-American, and others. EFFO’s board of advisers is spiritual, secular, Republican, and Democrat, lawyer, and not. 

In this time of crisis for opportunity, East End for Opportunity will attempt to be an antidote, whenever and wherever we can.

All good things, 

DIANA WALKER

PEER’s Broad Mission

Wainscott

March 13, 2017

Dear David,

After reading the “Guestwords” column of last Thursday, “Challenges for PEER,” I thought it might be helpful to share my experience with the Progressive East End Reformers. 

I joined PEER because the scope of its mission, “to advocate for social, racial, environmental, and economic justice for all through electoral politics and activist, issue-oriented engagements,” seemed broad enough to address the multiplicity of initiatives coming out of Washington. I was also encouraged by PEER’s independence, as it is not affiliated with a political party. 

As I learned at my first PEER meeting in early February, the organization’s structure is designed to further its broad mission. Breakout groups, representing a wide range (literally the B to Z) of issues, included Bridge Builders, education, environment, health care, housing, immigration, racial justice, Standing With Prayer (Native American issues), women’s issues, and Zeldin Watch, to name a few. Any attendee whose concern was not addressed was invited to create and facilitate another group. 

Of course, the proof of any organization’s efficacy is found not only in the quality of its mission and structure, but also and more importantly in its members’ actions. At last week’s meeting, it was clear that PEER members have been working hard. 

The Bridge Builders are organizing trainings to facilitate contact and communication between people with different political opinions. Education and racial justice members are creating material to help schools address the needs of minority students. Housing members (and PEER in general) are actively supporting the Speonk affordable housing proposal. A local attorney and resident of the Shinnecock Reservation announced that the next day she and others would be attending the Native Nations Rise March in Washington, D.C. Zeldin Watch members met with our congressman’s senior legislative aide to advocate for comprehensive and affordable health care. And, finally, many PEER members attended meetings of the East Hampton and Southampton Town Boards to urge our local governments to reject the role of acting as local immigration and customs enforcers. 

Based on my experience, I believe that PEER is already addressing many of the challenges enumerated in the “Guestwords” piece. Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement in any endeavor, and a newly formed organization should be allowed some time to find its way. I encourage my fellow East End residents to join us at our next meeting (April 4, 6:30 p.m., in the Bridgehampton National Bank’s community room in Bridgehampton) and help PEER more fully realize its mission.

Yours truly,

AMY TURNER

The Feeling of PEER

Sag Harbor

March 12, 2017

To the Editor:

I was delighted to read “Guestwords” in last week’s edition. As a member of Progressive East End Reformers, I am always happy for a larger audience to become aware of our work. 

I would like to clarify some misrepresentations of who we are. First, our description on our Facebook page is as follows: “PEER is a progressive grassroots organization committed to advocating for social, racial, environmental, and economic justice for all through electoral politics and activist, issue-oriented engagements. Our commitments and decision-making will be determined by our local group, and not by regional, state, or national organizations. We are not affiliated with any political party.”

Second, we are definitely a grassroots organization! We are ordinary folks who have decided that just being an angry or fearful observer of the political landscape facing us is not of benefit to anyone. We choose to be active participants in our democracy in order to effect positive change. Our numbers have grown through word of mouth, and many if not most of us are engaging politically for the first time in our lives. 

Our work is a labor of love; no one gets paid for his or her efforts. We volunteer our time, energy, passion, and expertise in order to bring our goals to fruition. It is gratifying to work with the new friends we meet in our nascent group, and I look forward to our membership expanding to include more people of diverse backgrounds, talents, and ideas. 

We don’t have a single leader or authority; we are moved to action by our individual callings and our heartfelt desire to work for the greater good. In my opinion, there is no greater antidote to the anxiety and negativity of these times than getting off the sofa and getting involved in positive action. We opened our last meeting by reading some text attributed to a Hopi elder. These excerpted lines, for me, capture the feeling of PEER:

 

Create your community.

Be good to each other.

And do not look outside yourself for the leader.

The time for the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

 

To get more information about PEER, you can find us on Facebook at PEER/NYPAN. Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question. Our next meeting is on Tuesday, April 4, at 6:30 p.m. in the community room of the Bridgehampton National Bank in Bridgehampton. All are welcome, and we look forward to working with you!

With kind regards,

LAURA LEEVER

For the Kids

East Hampton

March 9, 2017

To the Editor:

And to the friends and parents of East

Hampton: Join the East End New Leaders at tonight’s town board meeting to deliver a message to our leaders that we will no longer accept the youth not having a space to call their own in our town with drug use on the rise. We will meet at 6 outside the lobby, and walk in together with signs. 

The Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter was built for the kids and is still owned by the town. Nevertheless, the Y.M.C.A., which the town pays roughly $600,000 every year to run the facility, has turned it into a for-profit gym.

Despite our repeated efforts, the town board’s liaison to the Y, speaking on behalf of her colleagues, has refused to hold the Y to the contract it signed, in which it pledged to maintain the services the REC provided. Well, the biggest service the REC provided was kid space, which the Y is utterly devoid of.

Enough is enough. How many more young people will overdose before the town acts? 

They couldn’t hear us before. Maybe they’ll hear us now.

WALKER BRAGMAN

Mr. Cornelia’s Letter

East Hampton

March 8, 2017

Dear Mr. Rattray,

I was late in reading the Feb. 23 Star, so I just had the “pleasure” of seeing Mr. Cornelia’s letter/rant in that issue. 

I will not dignify it with a response. Instead, I address this comment to the local members of the Republican Party. Do you really want a man who uses such language, such falsehoods against your neighbors, to represent your party? Surely you can do better!

CARLA ASH

Overall Aesthetic

East Hampton

March 9, 2017

Dear David:

I think it is only fitting and right we consult the “village bard” in considering aesthetic improvements to Ron Perelman’s residential property. A little Whitman, perhaps posted in the trees or tall grasses, might enhance the overall aesthetic of the landscape, especially when read aloud.

WILLIAM RENFROW

In Real Time

East Hampton

March 13, 2017

To the Editor, 

My name is Vito Brullo, and I am a member of the Cedar Street Committee.

At the March 7 meeting of the East Hampton School Board, the superintendent announced that the public vote on the bond to build a bus depot on Cedar Street would not be held this May after all, as they had planned. The board moved the vote on the bond to the fall, sometime in October or November.

Evidently, the board has not yet completed the draft environmental impact statement or the State Environmental Quality Review Act report. These are documents required by New York State, which must be submitted, shared with the community, and approved before the state will permit the district to build its bus deport on Cedar Street. One of the key parts of their D.E.I.S. and SEQRA report must be a complete and reliable description and accurate analysis of the bus depot’s impact on traffic.

Earlier this winter, when the board still expected to hold a bond vote for the Cedar Street bus depot this May, they had traffic-counting strips placed on Cedar Street in mid-December for less than 48 hours. The intent of the board then was to “extrapolate” from that count to reflect what the Cedar Street traffic would be in May and June — obviously a flawed plan. If you use Cedar Street, you can imagine that less than 48 hours of traffic-counting in December to describe May traffic would produce disastrously unreliable data.

One particular conclusion that absolutely jumps out of moving the bond vote to the fall: In the face of this change in timing, the board now has another seven or eight months to study Cedar Street traffic in real time, in May and June, when the Cedar Street trade-and-visitor parade is in full swing. Moving the bond vote to the fall ensures a valid and reliable count of May and June traffic.

VITO BRULLO

The Talmage Sandpit

East Hampton

March 10, 2017

Dear David,

I watch the snow gently fall outside my kitchen window as I type this, and think how idyllic these woods are and how fortunate I am to live here. I cannot help thinking how those before me honored this very ground as Native Americans. I don’t forget the freed slaves who called this place home, men and women who lived in harmony with nature and one another. And then reality hits, and I am taken away from the snow-white purity on branches to the soiled news of drugs and addiction and carelessness and the very lack of humanity that has un-graced our town. Hopefully those who are in dire need get the help they have probably been crying out their whole lives to get and that justice is done where it has to be and people are held accountable for their actions. One wonders if there is accountability anymore.

Not far from my window is another story of man’s greed and departure from caring. A huge crater in the ground known ’round here as the Pit, a sandpit that has been mining sand since the ’60s — mining sand for sale on a parcel of land that is zoned and has always been zoned residential. 

Yes, you read that right. The Talmage sandpit, in East Hampton, on Middle Highway off Oakview Highway, is in the middle of a residential neighborhood. There were always houses here, just not as many, back when it was first dug. No one bothered to know or care that this land sits on the aquifer, and is a special groundwater protection area. Granted, the language and classification did not exist until the ’80s. Yet the sand-mining was allowed to continue, despite this important distinction in East Hampton Town’s own comprehensive plan. No one cared to do anything about it. And I don’t have to tell you that the good old boys can turn a blind eye to what they don’t want to see. 

The sandpit has been so overmined that it has hit water. We, as a neighborhood active group, Freetown Neighborhood Advisory Committee, have pointed this out to the powers that be, including the town board, the Department of Environmental Conservation that regulates and grants the permit to the sand-mining  pit, and all the way up to county and state legislators. So far, nothing has been done to put a stop to the mining. 

Last year the sandpit was supposedly bought from the Talmage brothers who own it by Steve Mezynieski, who had his enormous red trucks barreling down our small road here and in and out of that sandpit every day for months. There was no regard for people walking (we don’t have sidewalks), or for our quiet neighborhood of working-class families. The dust and noise were ridiculous. When Mezynieski was arrested on the North Fork, where he lives, for alleged continued rape of a minor, the operation stopped for a while. Then began again. One day his trucks were gone.

Now the sandpit is being sniffed around again for big business and more mining. Barry Bistrian, who owns the sandpit on Springs-Fireplace Road, likes it, we hear. The thing is, his operation on Springs-Fireplace Road is in a commercially zoned district. This sandpit is not. 

The fact remains that water has been hit, and this puts the aquifer, which lies beneath and runs to Soak Hides Dreen and Three Mile Harbor and farther east, in jeopardy. You may have heard us speak to this at countless Town Hall public meetings. The water is, and will be moving forward, our utmost concern out here. We asked the town to buy the property and reclaim and preserve the sandpit land. The Talmage brothers apparently were not interested in selling to the town for the greater good. We don’t know why. Money is money, yes? I must point out that none of the sandpit owners live in the neighborhoods of their sand-mining operations. So there is no real concern on their part to care about any of this, even though they drink the same water we do and swim in the same bays.

I am making a public plea, on the part of our local neighborhood group of 200 and more local voters in East Hampton, that somebody do something. While hats are being tossed into the political arena, will anyone step up and right a wrong? The damage is cumulative. Do we wait until the water is undrinkable? Do we let our pristine waterways go unchecked? Do we take all of the wildlife sanctuaries and turn this into a barren wasteland? Do we have total disregard for a neighborhood because it is not south of the highway? 

Yes, people have a right to make their living. They don’t have a right to ignore the facts and the environmental and quality-of-life issues here. Where are the environmental reviews? We are so tired of being shoved aside while the town and the community preservation fund chooses more desirable land to preserve. What about historic land? Sacred burial ground? Never mind one old house that was all over the news as a museum of Freetown. What about Freetown itself? Put your money where your mouth is, please. We are so over the song and dance. La La Land, this is not. More like Disregard for Life Land. This is the water we are talking about. Groundwater. Drinking water. The town’s drinking water wells right down the road. 

  While the sandpit is being looked at for future business, we implore Barry Bistrian to walk away. Continue with his thriving sand-mining operation on Springs-Fireplace Road and let it be. A community of people would be so very grateful. A neighborhood that has been overburdened with the sandpit action of the last year would salute you. Can you find it in your heart to put doing the right thing over making more money? Can you be the hero we have longed to admire but who has thus far not shown up? We could name the preserve after you. We need a prince of East Hampton. It could be you.

I am not a fool, I can assure you, though to some this letter may seem a waste of paper. I’ve done my homework, and we as a group will not let this go. I don’t want to fight, but my Irish is already up now, so don’t take me lightly. That’s a mistake. Enough is enough. Our election choices come November will reflect this. We are dizzy with the runaround. Time for action. Stop the sale of the Talmage sandpit to private investors and buyers. Turn that land back to residential use as it was before all the rules were ignored. Use power for good and put an end to the good old boys network. Show some respect for what came before you raped the land. We all have to live here. If this keeps up, there will be no pristine place out here anymore. 

Thank you for the space.

Sincerely, 

NANCI LaGARENNE

Montauk Airport

East Hampton

March 13, 2017

Dear David,

No doubt with the very best of intentions, Tom Bogdan, the head of Montauk United, is misleading the people of Montauk about the threat of aviation noise and what can be done about it.

In a recent letter to his membership, Mr. Bogdan writes of “our efforts and plans in defending Montauk in the coming months from what we believe to be the real threat of an intolerable increase in future air and helicopter traffic at the Montauk Airport.” The threat is real, and Mr. Bogdan and the residents of Montauk are right to be deeply concerned. Montauk, as we all know, has been discovered by the party set and jet set. Private helicopter and seaplane traffic is sure to follow, regardless of what happens at East Hampton Airport.

However, prominent among Mr. Bogdan’s plans is to “challenge and prevent any and all efforts of East Hampton citizen groups promoting the purchase of Montauk Airport.” This is completely backward, because literally the only way for Montauk to be protected is for the town to buy Montauk Airport.

As a matter of federal aviation law, state and local governments are absolutely and completely barred — “preempted,” in legal terminology — from using what is described in law as their “police powers” to control aviation use of an airport, even a privately owned airport. “Police powers” means the normal powers of government to adopt laws for the health, safety, and well-being of the public. When it comes to airports, local government is completely stripped of its authority. The East Hampton Town Board therefore cannot adopt so much as a single law to manage or control aviation use of Montauk Airport. Only the federal government can act, and it is notorious for its indifference to the scourge of aircraft noise (not to mention oblivious to the problems of small towns).

There is one exception to this rule of federal preemption, long recognized by both the United States Supreme Court and Congress. It is called the “proprietor’s exception.” It means that a municipal airport owner can control the use of its own airport, in its capacity as the owner rather than in its capacity as the local government, to protect the community from excessive noise.

It follows that the only means by which Montauk can be protected from the threat of aviation noise is for the town to buy Montauk Airport. At that point, the town would have the authority, in its capacity as airport proprietor, to control the use of Montauk Airport. If it does not own Montauk Airport, it has no authority.

Needless to say, there are many complications, as we have seen with East Hampton Airport. But without owning Montauk Airport, the town has no power at all to protect Montauk from aircraft noise. 

There is absolutely no downside to Montauk to the town owning its airport, because, whether or not it owns it, the town would still have no authority to direct traffic there. A locality can limit access to its own airport, but, under federal law, it has no power or authority to direct traffic elsewhere, as that would involve regulating aircraft in the air. That is strictly forbidden to local government. 

It is also the case that buying Montauk Airport would help protect the rest of the town, because once the town owns both airports, it would be able to regulate them in tandem, with the same authority to ensure that any measures taken to protect those on the west end of town from noise due to East Hampton Airport do not result in increased traffic and noise at Montauk.

I suppose Mr. Bogdan can simply resist any efforts to control East Hampton Airport noise, adversely affecting a much larger population than that of Montauk, as he proposes to his membership to do. But it is unrealistic for him to believe that he can condemn all of us to endless noise. And to what purpose? It is perfectly possible for Montauk and the rest of East Hampton both to be protected if the town acquires Montauk Airport.

There is no other way, for all of us. If beggaring his neighbors to the west would help him and Montauk, I could at least understand it. But in this case, due to the peculiarities of controlling federal law, it will not. Rather than opposing the purchase of Montauk Airport, Mr. Bogdan and Montauk United ought to be in the forefront of those demanding that the town acquire it, and as soon as possible. 

Sincerely,

DAVID GRUBER

Genetic Information

Springs

March 10, 2017

Dear David:

Privacy of your genetic information has been the law since the passage in 2008 of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. Under GINA, genetic information cannot be obtained from employees unless the employee voluntarily provides it. GINA also forbids businesses from requesting or requiring genetic information from current or potential employees, or purchasing such information from third parties.

A little-known bill (H.R. 1313, the “Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act”) is working its way through Congress that would turn GINA on its head and allow employers to require employees to undergo genetic testing and allow employers to see the results of that testing if the workers are part of “workplace wellness” programs. If employees refuse to submit their genes for testing, employers can penalize such reluctant workers financially, up to thousands of dollars a year. The bill would allow invasive inquiry into the genetic tests workers, their spouses, and their children may have undergone (GINA permitted the sharing of such information only with health care professionals).

Many people volunteer to submit to genetic testing for various research projects, and society benefits from genetics-based clinical advances derived from that research. This must be allowed to continue, without the fear of workplace discrimination based on the disclosure of individual findings.

Sound creepy? You bet. But believe it or not, the bill is headed for a full vote by the House membership. Should it pass the House and Senate, Mr. Trump will likely sign it, having already gone on record as believing in eugenics — the theory that people of certain genetic backgrounds are superior to others.

Sincerely,

BRUCE COLBATH

Gun Control Act

East Hampton

March 13, 2017

Dear David,

 Where did the idea come from that mentally ill persons could now just go around buying firearms because of something President Trump did? Some alt-left, no-facts website?

Fact is that the 1968 Gun Control Act has not been repealed, nor has the Brady Bill. The mentally ill remain unable to legally purchase firearms by law. It is unlikely that the House and Senate will pass any changes in the laws making the mentally ill eligible to make any such purchases. If they did, it is unlikely that President Trump would sign such changes in our laws. 

When these hysterical things pop up, possibly your able staff might consider researching the matter before recoiling in horror, so to speak.

Yours,

PETER C. OSBORNE