Letters to the Editor: 04.13.17

Our readers' comments

Two Men Stopped

Amagansett

April 4, 2017

To the Editor, 

On April 4 around noon, my beagle, Lady, chased a deer onto Route 27. The gate on the driveway was closed, but the deer hit it and forced it open.

As the beagle crossed Route 27, two men stopped their truck and stopped traffic in both directions, enabling my son to catch Lady. My son and I hope they read this.

Thank you so much.

KAY AND STEVE HICKEY

Rock the Retreat

East Hampton

April 4, 2017

Dear David,

Our community shows up when it is needed. That was clear last Thursday night with the turnout for the panel discussion “Is the South Fork a Pristine Paradise Lost?” at Mandala, followed by the Rock the Retreat event at the Stephen Talkhouse. (Thanks, David, for moderating the panel and then coming to our concert.)

Events like these bring the community together and highlight community support for our unique environment and for the services we provide.

The Retreat is the only agency that provides bilingual counseling, advocacy, shelter, and case management to all members of our community, regardless of gender preference or identity, immigration status, race, religion, or economic status. Abuse does not discriminate, and neither does the Retreat. 

We are profoundly grateful to everyone who made the Talkhouse event so successful, from Peter Honerkamp, G.E. Smith and Taylor, Brian Schopfer, Jack Luber, East Hampton Foodie, Andy Stern, Jen Brew, and to all of you who danced the night away.

Thank you all!

Rock the Retreat was a celebration of our incredibly supportive, engaged community. A major part of our outreach is to simply spread awareness that our services are free and that we can be reached on our bilingual hotline 24/7. We also go out into the community to understand what is needed, so that we can provide the lifesaving services that are essential in crisis situations. How do we do this? We go to community events, we have a presence in the schools, and we work with our town and village police. When it is not possible for individuals to come to us, we go to them.

Our decision to help children and adults in crisis is based on our mission and the need for our services. We will continue to maintain our integrity and uphold our responsibility to our donors by dedicating over 86 percent of our funding to our programs and to our children and adults by providing services to every individual who seeks our help. 

By joining us at the Stephen Talkhouse, you helped make it possible for us to provide these services.

LORETTA K. DAVIS

Executive Director

Thanks to the Troop

East Hampton

April 10, 2017

Dear David,

East Hampton Meals on Wheels is grateful to the local organizations that help us throughout the year. Recently, on April 2, East Hampton Boy Scout Troop 298, led by Paul Casciotta, prepared delicious spaghetti and meatball dinners for our clients. Many thanks to the troop and to our volunteer drivers for making the day special for our homebound residents. 

We’d also like to let the public know that on May 20 we will be participating with other nonprofit organizations in the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce’s spring festival on Newtown Lane. We’ll be there from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Please stop by and say hello.

To learn more about how you can help, call 631-329-1669 or visit ehmeals­onwheels.org.

COLLEEN RANDO

Community Gems

Montauk

April 6, 2017

Dear Editor, 

The Montauk Library is an Arcadia for young and old minds alike. I hope I may speak for the community when I say the development of the children’s program by Jacqueline Bitonti is truly a blessing. Needless to say, all of the staff at the desk are kind and knowledgeable and pure community gems. 

Thank you, Montauk Library, for all of the adult programs that are offered, as they too are wonderful. Thank you Brit, Carolyn, and Denise.

JULIA PRINCE

Our Lifeguards

Springs

April 10, 2017

Dear David,

Summer is quickly approaching, and with that comes the opening of pools and raising of the lifeguard stands. With this in mind, the Hampton Lifeguard Association would like to cordially invite the community to attend our 2017 summer kick-off benefit party, to be held at Westlake Fish House in Montauk on April 22 at 7 p.m.

The lifeguard association’s mission is to ensure that our beaches are protected, our children understand water safety, and our lifeguard stands are well staffed. In 2016 we certified 123 lifeguards. Our summer Junior Lifeguard Program had 323 children enrolled between the ages of 9 and 15. Our new Nipper Program, for children ages 6 through 8, was held at Albert’s Landing Beach in Amagansett. Thirty-two Nippers began the first leg of their lifeguard training.

Our volunteer Ocean Rescue Squad, which operates all year long, has 71 members. They respond to make ocean rescues at unprotected beaches, supervise open-water swims in the town of East Hampton, and promote water safety programs on the South Fork. Our junior lifeguards and ocean lifeguards compete locally and across the country with great success. In short, we work all year round to keep our beaches and pools safe for all. 

Please join us to celebrate all the fun we plan to have this summer at our beaches. There will be dancing, delicious food courtesy of the chefs at Westlake Fish House, a Chinese auction with incredible prizes donated by our generous local business owners, and a silent auction of, among other prizes, stays in fantastic vacation houses in Antigua, Costa Rica, and Killington, Vt. Tickets are available at the door for $35 per person or $50 per couple. We hope to see you there as we welcome the summer of 2017! 

And many thanks to all of our lifeguards for their commitment to keeping our residents and visitors safe in our waters.

With best regards,

CLAIRE CONDON

On Behalf of the Hampton 

Lifeguard Association

Mortality

Amagansett

April 7, 2017

Dear David, 

I received this week the March 23 East Hampton Star that contained the obituary of Kenneth Robbins. I recall a few years ago my wife and I visiting with Ken and Maria at a gallery in East Hampton and reintroducing myself to him. Ken and I are the same age (he was 71, I am 72). 

My father and Joe Robbins, Ken’s dad, were business associates in New Jersey in the 1950s. They would take Ken and me to Yankee games when we were kids. Reading of Ken’s passing brought home our mortality and reinforced the adage to take advantage of the time we all have on this planet. 

From enjoying Yankee games with our dads (in the early to mid-1950s), Ken thereafter went to Cornell and became an artist, whereas I went to University of Pennsylvania and became a lawyer. Our paths never crossed after attending those Yankee games with our dads until my wife and I met Ken and Maria at the gallery in East Hampton. Nonetheless, reading of Ken’s passing affected me as if I had lost a dear friend.

Thinking back over the last few years, I have written letters to the editor of The East Hampton Star on the deaths of a technician who worked for the company supplying me with propane gas at my home in Amagansett (whose name I do not recall), and of Frank Hollenbeck, the architect who designed my home in Amagansett. It underscores that when one was a child in the ’50s, one attended Yankee games with his dad and read the sports pages, and when one is in his 70s, one reads the obituaries and wishes he had taken his kids in the ’70s and early ’80s to Yankee games that he so enjoyed in the ’50s with his dad.

RICHARD PLOTKIN

Bring Back Her Column

East Hampton

April 5, 2017

Dear David, 

Bring back Laura Donnelly and her column, at whatever the cost. Where will people eat until then?

BILL FLEMING


She’ll be back. Just taking a break.  Ed.

Rain on the Road 

Sagaponack

April 8, 2017

To the Editor:

For several years I have written to Sagaponack Village about the dangerous condition on Hedges Lane caused by rain or other water on the road. Runners and bikers have to swerve to avoid the huge puddles, endangering themselves or traffic. I keep getting assurances that the condition will be addressed, but nothing is being done. 

One has to question: What is hampering the village? 

MARK KESSEL

Relocate T.J. Maxx

East Hampton

April 8, 2017

To the Editor:

Re “Bargain Store Coming?” (April 6 issue of The East Hampton Star).

Even Sears Holdings, the parent company of KMart, has acknowledged that “substantial doubt exists related to the company’s ability to continue as a going concern,” as reported in the March 30 issue of The New York Times.

Would it not make more sense for TJX Companies to bide its time until Edward Lampert pulls the plug on Kmart, and simply relocate T.J. Maxx into that space in Bridgehampton Commons, as opposed to building out its current footprint? There would be more than enough room to accommodate Marshalls as well in the Kmart space. 

The last thing the Hamptons needs is additional retail square footage. Too many stores are already on life support. 

KATHARINE PERSKY

Must Work Together

East Hampton

April 10, 2017

Dear David,

The Y is not the issue.

I have always been involved in fighting for our schools and our youth. I did it for my kids and for all the kids of this community for many years. I put in my time as PTA president, school board member, and, for nearly 10 years, I served as the president of the board of the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter. For the last month, I have noticed articles about the Y’s supposed lack of attention to youth programs, with a criticism that the Y has moved away from its original focus. 

As one of the early fund-raisers for the RECenter, I can tell you that while the original direction was to create a youth facility, our community would not support one designed to serve only youth. We could not raise the funds or the enthusiasm to move the project forward with a singular focus. Our community wanted a place that served seniors in high school, as well as senior citizens. 

Today’s Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter is a vibrant, successful family center offering diverse programs. It serves the entire community. It is unfair to say it does not address youth. There are many activities at the Y: Middle School Madness, swimming lessons and swim teams, summer camp with extended hours to serve working families, free membership for students who live in the town, dance, and theater programs. 

The issue of a safe and engaging place for teens to just hang out is an issue that has been around for years. It is difficult, because the request is really for a comfortable place, with minimal supervision or adult intervention. That is not easy to do. A successful teen center will have not only welcoming surroundings, but also great leadership and counseling services and resources for kids in trouble. You cannot just put a few couches and a coffee machine in a spare room and expect it to work. 

I applaud the East End New Leaders’ desire to take on a critical issue, especially as the world around teenagers often seems harsh and chaotic. Many kids feel hopeless, and drugs are often too easy to find. Tolerance for our differences, which should be celebrated, is often absent, leading to kids who feel marginalized. 

In a small community like ours, we must work together to find real solutions to these problems. This is not about the Y. Before the Y came in to help manage the RECenter, it was a disaster. The Y has provided stability, continuity, and a wealth of programs run by our own local professionals. 

The New Leaders are right to bring the teen issue to the forefront. But, let’s engage in a dialogue with all the critical town organizations, youth representatives, the New Leaders, and the Y, whose directors also have experience in dealing with our youth. Blame has no place in this discussion and it certainly does not produce positive results. Let us do something really unusual in today’s world: work together to solve the critical problem of protecting our teens and their bright futures. 

CLAUDIA PILATO MAIETTA

Affordable Housing

Water Mill

April 10, 2017

To the Editor: 

I read in Newsday the requirements for affordable housing in East Hampton and I almost had a heart attack. Ninety-six thousand dollars for a single person; $149,000 for a family of five, income for a year.

Do you have any idea what affordable housing is? Many families in town are barely making $60,000 a year and they are the people that need housing. These figures are way too high.

What a ploy. Teachers, police, and town workers are the only ones that could possible qualify.

If this town board calls this affordable housing they are way out of touch with reality in this town.

Plumbers’ helpers, mason laborers, electrician helpers, landscapers, they are the ones that need this housing, not people that are set for life, can’t be fired, have insurance and pensions.

Make no mistake, this is a big scam, very political. And those who push for this housing must be chasing votes.

J.B. SMIT

Student Debtors 

Springs

April 9, 2017

Dear David:

For the past nine years, I ran a nonprofit that taught financial literacy. One of the most gnawing problems facing our young is the burden of student debt. Mr. Trump has made escaping the grip of this debt even harder.

For years, student loan guaranty agencies regularly assessed a 16-percent penalty on defaulting student borrowers, even if the borrowers agreed within 60 days to make good on their bad debts. In July 2015, the Obama administration declared those penalties unlawful. Under the Obama plan, as long as troubled student debtors agreed to make good on their debt in two months’ time or less — and kept those promises — the students would not have to pay the penalty.

The Trump administration had no such patience. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recently rescinded the Obama grace period, instead ruling that those borrowers will be vulnerable to penalties if they defaulted on privately held, government-backed student loans, even if they pledge to make good on what they owe.

However, an interesting twist revealed the punitive nature of Secretary DeVos’s about-face. After an outcry ensued from consumer groups and Democratic lawmakers, the loan companies spoke out. All 26 loan companies that serve as middlemen for the federal student loan program announced, against their self-interest, that they would not charge the penalty despite permission from Secretary DeVos. 

Now, back to the swamp. The Obama plan prompted a lawsuit by United Student Aid Funds Inc., the nation’s largest guaranty agency. At the time, the company was led by Bill Hansen. The legal battle continued until Secretary DeVos’s department put the matter to rest with the new guidance. The next day, one of her top deputies, Taylor Hansen, the son of Bill Hansen, resigned from his job. He had joined the department just a few weeks earlier. 

Exactly who is draining what?

CAROL O’ROURKE

Choppers Came Flying

Mattituck

April 10, 2017

To the Editor:

One by one the choppers came flying over the beautiful North Fork on Palm Sunday, a religious holiday celebrated by many, as they “transitioned” to get to East Hampton Airport. 

With all the publicity that has surrounded the Federal Aviation Administration-mandated North Shore route in various news media over the years, Corcoran blatantly ignored this and continued on with their winner free helicopter promotion. By doing so, this mega real estate corporate agency opted to support noise and air pollution that affected thousands while en route to and from the airport. One would only hope that any home, business, or landowner would prefer to move their current listings to another local, compassionate, caring real estate agency that is also a good neighbor to others. 

TERESA McCASKIE

 

Noise Regulations

East Hampton

April 5, 2017

To the Editor:

Those of us who live outside East Hampton Village face different noise regulations than village residents. Construction and landscaping activities are restricted by eCode360 in the village, and I recommend consideration of parity by East Hampton Town. 

Currently, construction and landscaping are permitted from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. seven days per week. Many days it is not possible to enjoy a peaceful day at home or dinner outside on the deck. Often the crews work a little earlier or later than these hours. 

The village code permits these activities in the following manner: 

Leaf blowers: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday; 8 to 3 on Saturday, 9 to 3 on Sunday.

Construction: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

While village residents can enjoy quiet weekend mornings and dinner outside all week, this code also ensures that the crews who are working in the village will pack up and move to a job site in the town, where they can work for several more hours. 

Many people complain about the noise from planes and helicopters, but that noise is short-lived, as the planes travel. Construction and landscaping noise continues uninterrupted for 131/2 hours per day. 

I recommend parity with eCode360 for all residential areas in the Town of East Hampton.

SOPHIE FRENCH

Hard to Believe

Montauk

April 7, 2017

To the Editor:

I read with interest the political briefs column of April 6, “G.O.P. Candidates to Push Water Quality.”

Hard to believe. Since the inauguration, environmental protections have been slashed to ribbons by the Republican Party’s officeholders. First District Representative Lee Zeldin has stated, in his latest assault on such protections, support for H.R. 1431, which makes it much more difficult for scientists with academic credentials to serve on the Scientific Ad isory Board, which guides Environmental Policy Administration rule-making. This plan would make it easier to pack the board with industry mouthpieces. 

Mr. Zeldin has also supported the mine industry plan to dump mine trailings in streams, and given the green light to industry emissions. 

Then we have Scott “Screw-It” Pruitt, the new head of the Evironmental Protection Agency, the oil industry’s favorite son.

Truly, how can voters trust the Republican slate for East Hampton Town Board on environmental issues, which are all-important to the East End? Republicans are doing all they can on the national level to undo environmental protections.

PAT LUKASZEWSKA

Engagement in Syria

East Hampton

April 9, 2017

To the Editor:

As horrific as this use of illegal weapons (gas) is, we still are and must be a nation of laws both national and international. We must have congressional approval and/or the sanction of the world body (United Nations). 

Our president’s motives are far less humanitarian than they are personal and self-serving. With no end game to offer, his irresponsibility is consistent with the irrational and manipulative behavior that we have been witnessing since his inauguration.

Tell our congressional leaders, and especially Lee Zeldin, to rein in Donald Trump’s unauthorized military strikes and to hold immediate emergency deliberations on Trump’s illegal escalation of military engagement in Syria. 

Are you listening, Mr. Zeldin?

LARRY S. SMITH

Lightness and Liberty

East Hampton

March 30, 2017

To the Editor, 

It should be a federal offense, punishable by life in prison without parole, to help a butterfly out of its cocoon. The strength of a butterfly’s wings is held by the strength of itself in its struggle to free itself from that which is made by the caterpillar. 

Herein is the metaphor of lightness and liberty.

ANTHONY COLLETTI

Taxpayer Money

Springs

April 8, 2017

Dear David,

Now the Democrats have such a short memory on how the Obamas spent taxpayer money, they sure made the United States their piggy bank. Along with them, Nancy Pelosi ruled the aircraft, she took whatever plane she wanted, filled it with booze, the best price booze, and made it a family plane, everywhere and anywhere her daughters along with grandchildren wanted to go. The nonsense she traveled back and forth on weekends to San Francisco is just that, bull. Ms. Pelosi is a very rich woman due to contracts given to her husband by the government. Also, this includes Diane Feinstein, and Pelosi stated she was entitled to insider info. 

Barack Obama and Michele never traveled together, always two planes (some will say security reasons). In President Obama’s second term he was warned to halt her spending.

In its final year in office the Obama administration spent a record $36.2 billion on legal costs defending its refusal to turn over federal records under the Freedom of Information Act. For a second consecutive year the Obama administration set a record for times federal employees told citizens, journalists, and others that, despite searching, they couldn’t find a single page that was requested. Plenty of courtroom lawsuits filed by news organizations under the Freedom of Information Act. 

The Democrats don’t like Trump but he is using his own money, as are his children. Let’s wake up, find what’s best for the United States of America’s citizens, and work together, because the more you complain about President Donald Trump the more we can answer with what Obama did to this country, including the red line.

In God and country,

BEA DERRICO

The Nuclear Option

East Hampton

April 9, 2017

To the Editor:

Seventy-two years ago we dropped atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. It was the first time in our politics that we exercised the “nuclear option.” Arguments against using these weapons were substantial, but the desire to end the war more rapidly, possibly save U.S. lives, and the curiosity to see what these weapons could do won the day. We let the genie out of the bottle, and not a day passes that we don’t regret that incredible miscalculation.

When we dropped the bombs, we had little understanding of the ramifications. Didn’t think about future generations. Thought that the world was static and would remain the way it was. Never imagined an arms race with the U.S.S.R., or even its existence. The trillions of dollars spent around this race. The threat of nuclear annihilation. The present-day problems with North Korea and Iran.

Until the middle of the 20th century, the U.S. had mostly gone it alone. America first, and often only that. We were unprepared to lead the world in any real capacity. We were neophytes in an amazingly complex process. We seem to have blown it big time.

Yesterday we again resorted to the nuclear option, this time about the nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. This action may destroy the political system as we know it, and redefines the Constitution in ways that our founders would find difficult to stomach.

Authoritarianism always hovers over every political system. Our Constitution was designed to protect us from the tyranny of the majority. It mandated bi-partisan behavior, because politicians are always shortsighted and self-indulgent by nature. It mandated separation of powers with a system of checks and balances. McConnell decided that it was time to end these mandates. Redesign our political system over Neil Gorsuch?

Way more questions than answers. Is Gorsuch worth changing our system? Are there no other judges out there who might get more support? There was obviously little urgency to fill the seat (see Garland). Why after one try did the Republicans think that Gorsuch merited this cataclysmic action?

Do the Mitch McConnells and Paul Ryans of the world equate themselves with Jefferson and Franklin? Can they be that extraordinarily dumb not to understand their intellectual limitations?

So Gorsuch’s presence on the court is a black mark. His lack of legitimacy sullies the only hallowed piece of our government. We have had presidents who were psychotic and unhinged, congressmen and senators by the dozens who were deeply deranged and pathological, but the Supreme Court has managed to avoid the political retardation of our society. Gorsuch also redefines the court as a political tool of corporate interests, no longer there to defend the American people but to keep us in a stock pen, like lambs for the slaughter.

In our alternative universe, presided over by the spinmaster, we live only for instant gratification. Unlike in 1945, where we had little understanding and less experience in leading the world, we have had 220 years of political experience. Yet we pretend that our democracy was created last week and we are making it a better and more workable product. In the up-and-down war for the soul of the U.S., the arrogance of elite white trash rears its ugly head, and we are all the worse off for it.

NEIL HAUSIG