Letters to the Editor: 03.23.17

Our readers' comments

Will Not Be the Same


March 19, 2017

To the Editor:

East Hampton’s animal-loving community will not be the same without Sally McGraw, who passed away on March 13. 

In 2004, Sally helped create the East Hampton Group for Wildlife and participated energetically in all its activities. Sally also volunteered for the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons for many years. She was especially devoted to her many rescued cats. Several, who had survived the hardships of feral animals, were extremely wary of humans but came to trust Sally. 

Her husband, Bob, who also helped found the Group for Wildlife, will bravely carry on.



East Hampton Group for Wildlife

Wonderful Police

East Hampton

March 12, 2017

To the Editor, 

I fell three times in the last two months in the middle of the night and predawn. The police came quickly. They were helpful and arrived quickly. I am lucky we have a wonderful police department.


Delicious Memories

East Hampton

March 18, 2017

To the Editor,

To Ward and Bob: Thank you for stirring the embers of my most delicious memories of times past. Maybe 1970-ish.

We call it “Z.” That is, my sister Nina and I. 

We remember the many steps down to the glorious beach, the hammocks, the smiling food vendors, the beach huts, the harrowing walk to the town (of sorts), hitching a ride with trucks, a small ferry to a tiny offshore island haven. The Turtle restaurant. Our quaint and sparse beach shack with the sand and waves our neighbors.

Most of all, everyone happy!

Thanks for the memories.



We Are Watching


March 20, 2017

Dear David,

At the Springs School on Monday at 11 a.m. there will be a presentation of the proposed expansion plan, and I encourage your readers to attend because we need this school board to know that we are paying attention to this project. 

My main concern is that the previous school board signed a contract with the engineering firm that is developing the expansion that pays them a fee based on the size of the expansion. Because of this contract, the expansion may exceed the real needs of the school, as well as the ability of the school board to achieve a voter referendum to pay for it. This engineering firm already ignored the recommendations of the facilities committee as to what is actually needed for the students and teachers. 

We need to show the school board that we are watching this process, otherwise they may just go along with this firm’s expansion ideas, which, at this point, are excessive. 

If the plan is reasonable and takes the taxpayers into account, the students and teachers will have what is needed. We do not need another failed referendum, but that is what will happen if the plan exceeds real needs and the ability of us to pay for it.

Postscript: Over the past year, the Springs emergency medical technicians have taken me to the hospital three times. The 911 operators, police, and the volunteers were amazing: very professional, kind, and efficient, and I am so grateful to them. We are lucky to have these individuals in our community looking after us. 


Quite the Same


March 14, 2017

Dear Editor,

An observation from the Springs School Board of Education meeting of March 13: Mrs. Mendelman, you sure have not changed. Your need to expound still remains quite the same.

Just saying.


Y Supports the Youth


March 14, 2017

Dear David,

I am writing today in support of the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter, its executive director, Glenn Vickers, and all of the staff who make the Y a welcoming space for all East Hampton residents.

My name is Theresa Roden, and I am the founder and executive director of I-Tri, a grassroots empowerment program for adolescent girls on the East End. This year we are working with 100 girls ages 11-14 from Montauk, Springs, East Hampton Middle, Pierson Middle, and Southampton Intermediate Schools. We train these girls — mind, body, and spirit — to complete in the Hamptons Youth Triathlon, which will be held at Long Beach in Sag Harbor on July 13. 

The program started eight years ago with 10 girls from Springs School, and would not have been able to grow the way it has without the support and guidance of the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter. At that time, the Y’s former executive director, Juan Castro, opened his heart and the doors of the Y to us and saw the potential in what we were trying to do. Years later, when Mr. Vickers took over the leadership role, he met with us and not only agreed to continue the support that Juan had provided, but met with us multiple times to work on ways to strengthen our partnership, which has allowed us to grow to 100 girls and provide over 200 hours of education and coaching to our participants — at no charge.

I know that there are members of our community who are concerned that there is not more space at the Y devoted to youth “free-play” activities, but I for one am proud of the way the Y supports the youth of this community. I use the facility myself, and am there in the afternoon, evenings, and on Saturdays, and I often observe preteens and teenagers using the Y — not only to work out, but to hang out, on the basketball court, using the foosball table, and in the pool. 

I think that the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter is responsive to community concerns and is doing an amazing job within the tight space constraints to accommodate everyone in our community!


Town Board Candidate

East Hampton

March 19, 2017

Hi David, 

I am writing this letter to introduce myself to those of your readers who do not know me. My name is Gerard (better known as Jerry) Larsen. I have lived in East Hampton since I was a young child. I went through the East Hampton School system and graduated from high school in 1982. 

I started working for the East Hampton Village Police Department in 1983 as a traffic control officer and was hired as a seasonal police officer in 1984, then full time in 1986. As I rose through the ranks of the department — detective, sergeant, lieutenant, and chief of police in 2003 — I also earned my bachelor’s degree in public affairs from the State University of New York. 

I recently retired after 13 years as chief of police. During my tenure with the police department, the mayor and board of trustees entrusted me with other responsibilities, including managing the townwide 911 center, which handles all the emergency 911 calls from Montauk to Sag Harbor. This center also provides contracted dispatch services for five fire departments, five E.M.S. departments, and two police departments. 

Another responsibility I held was the position of emergency manager for the village. It was in this capacity that I coordinated police, fire, E.M.S., and the Department of Public Works during natural disasters and special events. Most recently I assisted with the creation of the village’s paid paramedic program. 

I believe that with my many years of management, leadership experience, my involvement with union issues, negotiating union contracts, and assisting with contracts for outside services will make me a well-qualified candidate for town board. My wife, Lisa, and I have raised six children, all of whom graduated from East Hampton High School, three are still attending college. Together we started a very successful security and property management business in 2005, which continues to grow. In 2006, I was elected president of the Police Association of Suffolk County, after holding various other elected positions in the association from 1995. The association has a membership of more than 2,000 officers. I am also a member of the Suffolk County Chiefs Association and the International Association of Police Chiefs, as well as the East End Police Chiefs Association.

I have always been very active and productive in our community. Besides my 32 years of public service as a police officer/police chief, I have organized numerous charity events, softball games, basketball games, even a Santa Claus landing by helicopter in Herrick Park, who then greeted children in the Middle School. I coached and served as the president of the East Hampton Little League for over 10 years. I have always enjoyed serving and making a difference in our community, and I would like to continue my service by being elected to the town board. 

I have always intentionally not registered in a political party, as I did not want to appear biased in any way when I was chief of police. However, two years ago I registered with the Independence Party to support my wife, who ran unsuccessfully for town board. I consider myself a moderate when it comes to politics. I am a fair, hard-working person, with a commonsense approach to every situation, and I am always willing to listen to all sides of an issue. I am not concerned about party affiliations and have a proven record of being able to work with and cooperate with everyone. 

I know East Hampton, and I know I can do a great job for the residents. I have been in contact with all three political parties asking for the opportunity to screen and hoping for their endorsement, but as of writing this letter I have not heard back from the Democratic committee. I have been given the endorsement of the Republican committee, and I am still waiting to screen with the Independence Party committee. 

If anyone would like to correspond with me or has any questions please email me: jerrylarsenfortownboard@ gmail.com.

Thank you.


Toward Healthy Eating

East Hampton

March 14, 2017

Dear Editor: 

Where is global warming when we need it? I do look forward to the first day of spring, balmy weather, and flowers in bloom. 

The first day of spring is actually a perfect opportunity to turn over a new leaf in our personal habits — to clean house, to jog outdoors, and to replace animal foods with healthy, delicious vegetables, legumes, grains, and fruits.

The shift toward healthy eating is everywhere. Fast-food chains like Chipotle, Quiznos, Starbucks, Subway, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s offer plant-based options. Parade, Better Homes and Gardens, and Eating Well are touting vegan recipes. 

Google C.E.O. Eric Schmidt views replacement of meat by plant protein as the world’s number-one technical trend. The financial investment community is betting on innovative startups like Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods, while warning clients about “death of meat.” Even Tyson Foods’ new C.E.O. sees plant protein as the meat industry’s future.

Indeed, Global Meat News reports that nearly half of consumers are reducing meat intake. Beef consumption has dropped by 43 percent in the past 40 years.

Each of us can celebrate spring by checking out the rich collection of plant-based dinners and desserts in our supermarket’s frozen food, dairy, and produce sections.


Oyster Farmers

East Hampton

March 20, 2017

Dear David,

I had the pleasure of going to my first class at the East Hampton Town Shellfish Hatchery on Saturday. Our class was taught by John “Barley” Dunne, the director of the shellfish hatchery. It was a standing-room-only event.

As first-time oyster farmers, the class listened to a lecture on the different types of shellfish in our local waters and how the hatchery implements their seeding program. We also got to hold live clams and scallops, which were passed around the class. 

Barley gave us a tour of the facility, and we were shown the broodstock tanks and then taken in to the algae room to see how the hatchery grows the food for the millions of seedlings they will spawn in the next several months. Some of the algae even come from Tahitian waters. Finally, we were shown 2-day-old oyster larvae under a microscope. This was by far one of the most interesting things that I have done in our town.

I am so proud that the East Hampton Town Board and the East Hampton Town Trustees have worked together to expand this program in our town. It shows that our two governing boards can work together for the best interest of our community.

I wanted to congratulate the East Hampton Town Shellfish Hatchery on this remarkable program and I cannot wait until the next meeting. 

Warmest regards,


Accabonac Dredging


March 19, 2017

Dear David,

Christopher Walsh’s Star coverage of the trustee meetings is valuable to the residents of East Hampton. His recent article captured the quick response of the trustees to the needs of the baymen. They certainly acted quickly to get the dredging of Accabonac Harbor done. I was at that meeting, and am quite impressed that within only six weeks the trustees hired an excavation contractor and the dredging has begun. The trustees, Natural Resources, and the town board evidently worked together to get this done. At the same time the trustees had the benefit of the withdrawal of a lawsuit by Louse Point Road property owners.

Maintenance dredging has been long overdue and needed for the harbor to recoup existing losses and increase its benefits. The toil of wrestling with the D.E.C. and Army Corps for permits and financing to complete essential dredging has been dealt with in house. Kudos to the trustee board for taking the lead!


The Talmage Sandpit

East Hampton

March 16, 2017

Dear David,

I stand corrected. Last week my letter had an incorrect fact. It is Pat Bistrian who is interested in the Talmage sandpit on Middle Highway. I apologize for saying it was Barry. I was misled and mistaken. Please accept my apology for any confusion and upset feelings. 



The Fowler Property

East Hampton

March 20, 2017

Dear David,

With regard to Nanci LaGarenne’s letter (“Talmage Sandpit,” March 16), I gather Ms. LaGarenne and many residents are under the impression that the Fowler home and house lot on Springs-Fireplace Road in Freetown is a community preservation fund purchase. It is not. That property was given to the town for no consideration (free) by Suffolk County through the 72H program, as a tax-defaulted property.

I could not agree more that community preservation must be more than environmental preservation. Community, first and foremost, is the inhabitants. That is precisely why the Fowler property is so important. It is intended to document the people who lived in Freetown, who they were, how they got there, and why it is significant. 

The Freetown Neighborhood Advisory Committee is welcome to join the East Hampton-Sag Harbor Citizens Advisory Committee. Freetown is included in our catchment area. We meet the first Monday of the month at 6 p.m. at Town Hall; our next meeting will be April 3. Anyone interested in community issues in East Hampton Village, the East Hampton side of Sag Harbor, Northwest Woods, East Hampton North, Freetown, Hardscrabble, and Hansom Hills is welcome to join.



East Hampton-Sag Harbor Citizens

Advisory Committee

For Clean Energy


March 16, 2017

To the Editor:

Let’s file this under the heading Department of Good News. It was gratifying to learn that the town has taken another important step in its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy. No, we’re not there yet, but we keep moving closer.

As reported in The Star (“100 Grand for Clean Energy,” March 16), the town is expected to receive a $100,000 grant from the state. Why did we get the grant? Because we have demonstrated our commitment and ability to become a “clean energy community.” Success breeds success. We’ve shown we know how. The town board still must give formal approval for how those grant dollars would be spent before the state releases those funds, but we’re fortunate that the board appears to be fully supportive.

So, kudos to the board, kudos to the terrific work already done by our Natural Resources Department, and kudos to the many citizens who have helped lead the way. It speaks volumes for what we are as a community.


Voted the Wrong Way

East Hampton

March 20, 2017

To the Editor:

I do not despise a denier of climate change who is, like most of us, working too hard to read and understand the science. It is understandable, with the millions of dollars spent on disinformation by fossil fuel advocates, that well-meaning people are misled.

The real deplorables are politicians talking out of both sides of their mouths — politicians who attempt to sound reasonable on climate change to dull the attacks of concerned Long Islanders surrounded by rising seas, but who fight every attempt to address it.

 In 2014, our congressman, Lee Zeldin, was at least open about his denial. He stated, “I’m not sold on the whole argument that we have as serious a problem with climate change as other people.” The “other people” he refers to, however, are 97 percent of the scientists publishing papers on the subject in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Now the “other people” are 195 countries who have agreed in Paris that we must stop burning fossil fuels or face dire disruptions in society. Just try to imagine how hard it is to get 195 countries to agree on anything, and you are magining how ironclad is the scientific consensus.

 So Mr. Zeldin, who is a smart man, has modified his rhetoric somewhat as public opinion and scientific consensus have solidified, so as not to lose votes. “While I support clean and renewable energy on Long Island, I am opposed to unfunded E.P.A. mandates that ignore the role of Congress and the Constitution.” (Long Island Press, Dec. 4, 2015.) Mr. Zeldin claimed to support “an all-of-the-above strategy that includes wind, solar, and other clean and green energy technology. . . .” (East Hampton Star, Sept. 24, 2016.) During the 2016 campaign, under attack from his Democratic opponent on climate, he hurriedly joined the Climate Solutions Caucus in the House, a group purporting to look for bipartisan solutions on climate, but which requires no real votes to achieve it.

 As to votes, he remains a Koch brothers’ dream. The League of Conservation Voters (http://scorecard.lcv.org/moc/lee-zeldin) gives Zeldin 8 percent on the environment in general.

Bill to recognize the cost of climate change: No.

Bill on carbon pollution: No.

Methane pollution from drilling: No.

Military Resilience to climate change: No. (Geez! I thought he loved the military.)

Air, dirty energy: No.

I could go on. On every vote related to climate change, Lee voted the wrong way.

 Last week, 17 courageous Republicans in the House stepped forward to acknowledge the danger of climate change and urge action. Not a peep from Lee Zeldin.

A couple weeks before that, the Conservative climate solution was put forward by a blue-ribbon group of conservatives, a plan that would add jobs, increase the G.N.P., and rapidly curtail the use of fossil fuels — a totally market-based plan requiring no government regulation or government spending. Silence from Lee Zeldin.

I understand a hard-working man whose radio in his pickup is tuned to Rush Limbaugh denying climate change, or a banker who reads only The Wall Street Journal. They have been deceived. But a politician who shrewdly pretends he recognizes the problem, but votes at every turn to keep the Koch brothers’ money in his coffers, instead of protecting his constituents? That is deplorable.


Check and Balance


March 15, 2017

To the Editor:

I received an interesting mailing from my congressman recently. Lee Zeldin included a survey postcard to be mailed back to his office, on which he presented a number of questions. 

Question #3: Do you agree Congress should be a check and balance on President Trump or help President Trump pass his agenda?

First of all, I believe he meant “check on President Trump.” The balance would be the response from the affected branch.

But more troubling: Is Congressman Zeldin suggesting that to support President Trump, Congress must abandon its constitutional responsibility of “checking” the executive branch? Does he understand how separation of powers works? Montesquieu must be turning in his grave!

Please, Congressman Zeldin, do your constituents a favor. In your travels through our congressional district, drop into an eighth-grade social studies class, take a seat, be quiet, and listen for a while.



Our First Concern


March 17, 2017

To the Editor:

We can never repay the debt we owe our veterans. The very least we should do for them is to ensure that the government does its job delivering the service and benefits that they earned and deserve. No one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, a roof over their head, or the care they need when they come home. Our job as citizens is to lift the fallen, restore the broken, and to heal all those veterans who are hurting. 

For over 230 years our veterans have made the world a better place, and America the great country we are today.

Just a reminder of a few things veterans have given us all. It is the veteran, not the preacher, who has given all of us freedom of religion. It is the veteran, not the reporter, who has given all of us freedom of the press. It is the veteran, not the poet, who has given all of us freedom of speech. It is the veteran, not the campus organizer, who gives us all the freedom to assemble. It is the veteran, not the lawyer, who gives us all the right to a fair trial. It is the veteran, not the politician, who gives us all the right to vote. It is the veteran who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag. 

Sherrie Ball said it best, and I quote: “I do not know your name, nor for which battle you died. I do not know your home, nor the tears that were cried. I do not know where you rest, nor the promises broken, I do not know your uniform, and your fears lie unspoken, But I know your spirit exists, that your courage is admired, and your sacrifice is honored by each soul that’s inspired. And I offer you from my heart, thank you, to guardians unknown for offering yourselves for us all, that we may keep our freedom our home.”

These are the men and women who take care of us. They should be our first concern, not immigration.

Our grandparents or parents immigrated to this country legally. They did not cross borders from another country, or go against the immigration laws of our country. The problem is not with the people who support legal immigration, but rather with those who refuse to accept and support the laws of our nation. Under the immigration and nationality act section 237 (a)(1)(b), which says any alien who is present in the United States in violation of this act or any other law of the United States is deportable.

We have to obey the laws. So should they. 

I have a question, as the supervisor and the chief of police have said they will not help the federal officers to pursue aliens who break our laws. Does that make East Hampton a sanctuary town?


Where Are We?

East Hampton

March 19, 2017

To the Editor:

“Speak softly and carry a big stick” was once a U.S. presidential trademark. “Put a sock in it and hide the stick where no one can see it” should be our new president’s.

With the increase of troops into Syria, the demand for more troops in Afghanistan, and the $54 billion requested infusion into the military bud­get, we seem headed down a path to increased military involvement and endless war.

Historically we have always had an enemy to focus on that helps to keep the focus away from internal problems. Japan and Germany for the ’30s and ’40s, and the U.S.S.R. until the 1990s. The search for a new bogeyman after the collapse of the U.S.S.R. ended on Sept. 11, 2001, with the anointing of Islamic terrorism.

Fascism and communism as they were represented were powerful political and military opponents that required a strong political posture and an even stronger military. They were real live enemies, identifiable and discernible. Islamic terrorism is an amorphous blob of real and perceived threats by a very small group of fanatical Muslims. The key word here is fanatical. The religion connection is irrelevant, and specious at best. Fanatical groups have attached themselves to every religion (including Buddhism) since religion was invented. Did anyone really believe that the Catholic/Protestant wars were about who Jesus loved more?

The need to analyze the current fanatic threat is critical to the U.S. position as a world leader. We have failed miserably in this analysis and seem to be dropping into an even deeper abyss.

Going to war was too easy, too vengeful and visceral. The game plans were flawed or missing. Sixteen years later, where are we?

There are about one billion Muslims in the world. As a group, they have the lowest G.D.P., the weakest militaries, the least stable governments, and few resources beyond oil and gas. Their primary connection to the U.S. was the sale of oil and financial investments. They pose no economic, political, or military threat to our existence. Theirs is not an alternative attractive lifestyle nor a viable philosophical alternative to ours. A fair comparison would be a battle between a saber-toothed tiger and a one-legged mouse. In its current form, a clash of our civilizations would be a massacre.

Islamic terrorism is a simple-minded concept proffered by either the most simpleminded or the evilest of our political world. For 16 years, neither Presidents Bush nor Obama would use the term. It was too simple and pointless from their perspective, especially since 99 percent of the victims of these fanatics were Muslims. One American doesn’t equal 10,000 Muslims. You don’t get a silver star for reading books about the military.

The real world demands a keen rational understanding of what’s happening out there, not a nation of bullies proving their manhood by beating up the most defenseless. We can’t tweet people into submission or tweet away our problems. Buffoonery and bullying may be okay in a basement boys club or a Trump hotel, but in the real world it resembles the crazed babbling of crackheads in search of a fix.