Letters to the Editor: 05.04.17

Our readers' comments

Gratitude

East Hampton

May 1, 2017

Dear David,

I’m writing this letter to thank all those individuals of our great community for participating in my fourth annual Shoreline Sweep, the weekend of the 22nd. My thanks also extend to those who took part in any of the other wonderful Earth Day cleanup events, particularly the Great Montauk Clean-Up. It was reported that the results were phenomenal, and in my opinion, everyone involved is a true environmental superhero. I’ll be leading many beach and roadside cleanups this summer and hope to see you all on board, in our overall effort to keep our town trash-free and beautiful.

I also want to thank this awesome community and all the folks whose overwhelming support and well-wishes helped me get through a difficult and unfortunate accident last weekend. While attempting to remove a trapped raccoon from a rooftop, prior to an oncoming storm, I slipped while stepping down on the ladder, fell about 10 feet, and broke my back. Thanks to the Amagansett Ambulance Squad, I’m still alive. Their response, actions, and care were extraordinary. Thanks to the doctors and nurses at Southampton Hospital for keeping me together, the surgeons and nurses at Stony Brook for putting me back together, and my wife for her care and love, and reminding me that I was going to be okay. I can’t thank enough all the folks, friends and family on social media, those who contributed to the GoFundMe campaign, and those who are putting together a local benefit. This has all been incredible and left me quite speechless. 

I just can’t seem to find the words to express the level of gratitude I’m feeling, so I will try in other ways. The experience has opened my eyes and left me with an aura of positivity and feeling like the luckiest person ever. I have never felt prouder to be Bonac than I do right now. I look forward to embracing this experience and paying it forward for as long as I’m able. Thanks, everyone. 

DELL CULLUM

Annoyance and Danger

Amagansett

April 29, 2017

Dear David,

Much has been made of the noise and disruption caused by the increased use of East Hampton Airport. So many people have been affected that the town board took the initiative and passed an ordinance to mitigate the noise. The industry has struck back with lawsuits challenging the town’s right to regulate airport use. Millions have now been spent on advertisements and legal action, not to mention the countless hours that have been expended on both sides of this explosive issue. 

Not much time or money, however, has been devoted to a problem that is much more serious, with far-reaching consequences. Alice Whitmore’s letter of April 23 highlights the noise and environmental pollution caused by leaf-blower two-stroke engines. These machines are an annoyance and a danger that has been largely ignored. Spring has arrived and they’re back in action. 

Some important points about these machines should be highlighted and brought to public attention: 

• Two-stroke gas-powered engines are so highly polluting that they have been banned in almost all applications except lawn equipment. Running a leaf blower for 30 minutes creates more emissions than driving the ubiquitous Ford F-150 truck for 3,800 miles. 

• About a third of the gasoline in this type of engine is spewed out through the exhaust, unburned, in an aerosol mixed with oil.

• Emissions from the engine combined with other fine particulate matter created by the high velocity (200 m.p.h.) wind from the blowers create public health issues for the community and the laborers. The pediatric medical staff of Mount Sinai Hospital wrote in 2010 in support of leaf-blower restrictions because of the damage done to children’s lungs. The American Lung Association has spoken in a similar vein.

• The greatest risks are to the workers who operate these machines. These are generally low-paid, non-English-speaking immigrant landscape laborers who have no power to change procedures or methods used in landscaping operations. Ignoring these issues is at the peril of the laborers, whose lung and hearing defects will show up years from now, perhaps disconnected to their current employers. 

• These engines have been banned in Jakarta, Manila, and Bangkok — places that one would think would be far behind American environmental regulations. 

• Rye, N.Y., Pelham Village, N.Y., Aspen, Colo., and Los Angeles have banned them. Other cities have limited their use.

East Hampton, which should be in the forefront of environmental regulation, has virtually ignored this issue while putting out small fires at Indian Wells Beach, Napeague beach parking, etc. 

Putting aside the obvious noise pollution and constant racket from April to October caused by these machines, the question remains, Is the Town of East Hampton willing to ignore this obvious health and environmental problem because it affects only the disenfranchised who have no real voice?

Also, the homeowner who pays the landscaper while turning a blind eye to the damage done to the laborers is at the heart of the problem. “I’m getting cheap clothing at Walmart, why should I care about the child labor conditions in Bangladesh?”

This is a problem whose solution is at hand. No one is likely to take up a rake in lieu of a leaf blower, certainly not the commercial landscapers. However, low-noise and low-pollution electric devices are here now and will only get better in the near future. Now is the time when we should all try to make a solution happen. Limiting their use to one or two days a week, as Alice Whitmore suggests, doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. It won’t happen by itself. 

RICHARD ZIMMERMAN

Garden Book 2017

East Hampton

April 30, 2017

Dear David,

No! This is not a letter about the East Hampton Town Clean Energy 2020 Mandate or the South Fork wind farm. It is to compliment The Star on your elegant Garden Book 2017. The section is as informative as the cover is sumptuous. 

Thank you, your staff writers, photographers, and advertisers who have jointly produced a valuable reference for us who garden. 

LINDA JAMES

Springs School Board

Springs

May 1, 2017

Dear David, 

I’m writing to announce my write-in candidacy for the Springs School Board of Education. As a write-in candidate, my name will not appear on the May 16 ballot, but will have to be written in by those who want to cast their vote for me. My reasons for running are simple: I want to make a meaningful contribution to my community, set an example of volunteerism for my 11-year-old son, and help make an already amazing school even better.

For several years now, I’ve attended school board meetings and occasionally daydreamed about serving on the school board, but I didn’t feel compelled to toss my name in the hat until this weekend when I learned that the position being vacated by Elizabeth Mendelman might go unfilled or be occupied by a write-in candidate who could impede the board’s progress in achieving goals that I believe are in the best interest of our students. 

I’ve been a year-round resident of Springs since 2002, am the parent of a Springs School fifth grader and the wife of a man whose family has resided in East Hampton for generations. I’ve worked as an insurance adviser at Amaden-Gay Agencies for seven years, held the position of office manager at several local businesses, served as director of public relations and marketing for Southampton Hospital, and worked as a public health program administrator in state government and the nonprofit sector.

There are several important challenges facing the Springs School that I would look forward to addressing with other members of the board in partnership with our new superintendent, Debra Winter. These include expanding our campus to meet the needs of our growing student population without placing undue financial burden on our largely working-class community, continuing to improve board transparency and communication with the community, growing parental and community involvement in school life, and continuous improvement of our curriculum to ensure that all students are eagerly engaged in learning and well prepared to succeed in high school and be productive, contributing citizens of our community. 

Whether Springs residents cast a write-in vote for me or not, I encourage them to show up at the polls on May 16 to support the school budget. Voting will take place on school grounds between 1 and 9 p.m.

Yours sincerely,

DONNA SUTTON

Taxpayer Dollars

Springs

May 1, 2017

Dear David,

I attended my first Amagansett School Board meetings recently, and, as a taxpayer, I am truly concerned about where our taxpayer dollars are going.

At the March 28 meeting, there were unanswered questions asked of the board. I went to the April 13 meeting to get those answers. 

To my surprise, it was not held in the evening as before, but at 7:30 a.m. I was told the next meeting was on April 25 at 6:30 p.m. At that time I was startled to see a sign on each of the front doors of the school saying the meeting was canceled and would be held on May 9 at 6:30 p.m. Talk about getting the runaround!

The following is the research I have done.

A freedom of information request for a copy of the original budget was received (nine pages of information); copies of the budget should be available in the office.

Salaries have been paid for three administrators for 103 students and tuition for 75 students attending East Hampton Middle and High Schools.

Expenditures on line two listed for administration 2016-17 is $338,271. Expenditure for 1917-18 is $337,656, claiming a $815 savings for the public.

Eleanor Tritt’s salary is $195,520, plus benefits (health insurance, etc.), plus free housing, cable TV, phone, internet, and $2,000 in expenses.

Maria Dorr, the principal’s, salary is $161,047, and Tom Lamorgese, another administrator’s, salary is not to be found. Simple math is two additional salaries besides Mrs. Lemogese’s are $356,567.

Many questions need answers. Why aren’t all salaries listed on the administrative line? Why is there more money listed in the budget than allowed by law?

An audit of the school done in 2014 stated district officials underestimated revenues for and overestimated appropriations for the 2009 through 2013 school years. This was brought up in previous elections and was not addressed.

New York State tax law states schools are only required to have a superintendent and a school board. Why do we need three administrators?

Why have we not eliminated two administrators from the budget? Why were they hired initially?

Please come to the school board meeting on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Taxpayers are entitled to know what they are paying for.

MARY EAMES

 

 Time for Review

Amagansett

May 1, 2017

Dear Editor,

Your editorial in last week’s Star “Time to Review the Trustees” was spot on. After watching the town trustee meeting last week, I was amazed when Frances Bock asked for someone on the trustee board to make a motion to accept Pat Mansir’s letter of resignation. No one spoke up until James Grimes stated, “I’ll make the motion.” Mr. Bock then asked for a second on the motion, and not one of the trustees would make the second. The trustee attorney then stated that it wouldn’t be necessary since Ms. Mansir would not be returning.

Harassment, intimidation, and bullying seem to be a way of life for Mr. Grimes. Stopping any progress of an effective member of an opposing party is an old political ploy. Emulating a person like this is not a smart move for Mr. Bock. Although it may be self-satisfying for Mr. Grimes, it is political suicide for Mr. Bock. I believe this all began when Pat Mansir called the police on Mr. Grimes to remove the huge duck blind that he had put on her property at her back door in the summer of 2016. Why?

I agree with your editorial last week and your suggestions that the trustees make a more “professional operating procedure, stick to agendas and empower the chosen clerk to rein in disruptive members in the interest of decorum and everyone’s time.” The meetings go on for hours.

When a smart, accomplishment-oriented person like Pat Mansir, who served the town planning board for 10 years and the town board for 12 years and was not a quitter, resigns from the town trustees because of, I feel, a lack of leadership of the board, it is time for review as your editorial last week suggested.

ELAINE JONES

Chairwoman

East Hampton 

Independence Party

An Uphill Struggle

East Hampton

April 30, 2017

Dear David,

Although East Hampton Town was denied the right to implement rules and regulations that included a curfew by a decision handed down by the Second Circuit of Appeals last November, there is renewed hope.   

We are very thankful to Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez and our town board members for their continued efforts to achieve the common interest goal of a peaceful environment for all residents of East Hampton Town, as well as for our Southampton, North Fork, and Shelter Island communities of the East End. The lawsuit has been an arduous and uphill struggle, yet the town board remains committed to fight.  

Enhancing the effort is Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell and the City of New York. Both recently submitted separate court filings, as did the Committee to Stop Airport Expansion. The importance of the City of New York supporting East Hampton Town is significant, and may well be the linchpin necessary to achieve success in the fight for control of our town-owned airport. 

No doubt this will be a tremendously noisy and difficult summer, due to unfettered access to the airport 24/7. Yet we have hope there may now be a light at the end of the runway after all, since the Supreme Court has responded to the town’s petition.  

SUSAN McGRAW KEBER

Time for a Referendum

Wainscott

May 1, 2017

Dear Editor,

The recent articles concerning the efforts of our town board to mitigate a horrendous disruption of daily lives has resulted in the lawsuit coming before the Supreme Court. Let me get this straight. The Friends of the East Hampton Airport are actually the enemies of the town, who just happens to be us, the taxpayers. First they tried to buy the last election. That flopped big time. They assumed we were stupid!

So they instituted a lawsuit to permit them to run amok at all hours of the day, costing us huge sums of money. We have a relatively few fat cats who seek to continue having the right to disrupt the lives of citizens, not only here but surrounding communities as far west as Nassau County, the North Fork, and Connecticut.

New York City and others have submitted briefs in support of the efforts of our town board. Add up the funds expended by the town to litigate this horror that only benefits a small number, who feel they are more important, compared to the multitudes, telling us that we have no right to a peaceful existence.  Arrogance exemplified. 

I have never advocated closing it, but now we have to hit back hard and put these so-called VIPs on notice. I think it is time for a referendum to allow us to regain a quality of life. Go to Westhampton and the only thing you will disrupt are the ticks and deer. It is time to use the acreage to benefit the taxpayers. Stand tall and tell them their playpen may not be there! If the numbers of the cost to the taxpayers were made public, the outrage would surface. We are not lemmings!

ARTHUR J. FRENCH

Placement of Turbines

Amagansett

May 1, 2017

Dear Editor:

Many of us living on the East End accept the notion that climate change and ocean level rise are real, and that the sooner citizens of the world reduce the amount of carbon we collectively allow into the atmosphere, the longer we world residents will have to enjoy the earth as we know it. Thus, we generally support solar and wind power as replacements for power created by the burning of carbon-based fuels. And for that reason, we applaud the development of the Deepwater Wind project to install wind turbines 30 miles offshore in the Atlantic to create significant new electric power for residents of the East End.

At the same time, we strongly support our local East End fishermen as they seek to ensure that the placement of turbines in the ocean to power the Deepwater project will not negatively affect their fishing livelihood. 

Thus, we call upon government oversight agencies at the local, state, and federal levels to ensure that every effort is made to site the Deepwater turbines so that they cause the least possible disturbance to fishing, both commercial and recreational, in the ocean off the shores of Long Island. In this way, we can make Deepwater a “win-win” project for the East End and for the world’s environment.

ARTHUR SCHIFF

Wind Turbines

Springs

May 1, 2017

Dear Mr. Rattray,

Our local fishing industry is besieged by crushing federal and state regulations. Fishermen suffer aggressive and frequent boardings by myriad govern ment entities demanding they prove they are not violating some existing law or regulation among the dizzying thousands on the books. Fishermen now must carry law licenses along with their fishing gear. (Sarcasm on.)

Piling on, Governor Cuomo has turned over one of the most productive local fishing grounds to a novice company, Deepwater Wind, to build hundreds of wind turbines 30 miles off our shore. Andrew Cuomo, already under investigation for corruption in his “Buffalo Billions” project, has received large campaign contributions from this hedge fund-backed company. 

And what does our local town board do? With not even a whimper of defense for our local fishermen, it jumped on the Hedge Fund Wind Express. Shameful.

At a trustee meeting last week, the spectacular Bonnie Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, brilliantly questioned a representative of Deepwater Wind on the numerous and complicated issues that will affect every East Hampton resident. Ms. Brady did the job that any concerned town board member should have done, but did not. 

How environmentally sound is it to blast the floor of Cox’s Ledge, disrupting codfish spawning grounds and creating only God knows what kind of mayhem for other aquatic life swarming the area? Already documented to decimate thousands of birds, these 600-plus-feet- high and 200-feet-long wind turbine blades will not work during the hottest part of summer when temperatures and humidity soar and wind on the Atlantic is dead calm. In fact, those wind turbines will use power. 

Residents wailed about those PSEG-LI poles. How will they feel about the 26 miles of power cables carrying thousands of volts under the ocean floor, running through the environmentally vital Peconic Estuary and crisscrossing under the streets in East Hampton Village? This is progress? No. It’s taxpayer-subsidized payoffs to special interest, campaign-contributing hedge-fund cro­nies!

There are voices defending our fishing industry, but they are not our elected officials. Along with Ms. Brady, there are everyday citizens speaking out, looking to preserve a very hard and honest way of life that has come to define East Hampton for hundreds of years. 

I am proud to say our experienced Republican candidates for town board and trustees are also among those voices. They are pointing out the Deepwater problems while knowledgeably presenting less invasive and destructive green alternatives. As with so many important projects, our future, and most importantly our kids’ future, is dependent upon policies and decisions being made by knowledgeable, experienced professionals.

Stay tuned!

Sincerely,

CAROLE CAMPOLO

About Zachary Cohen

Springs

April 30, 2017

Dear Editor,

It is my pleasure to support Zachary Cohen for the East Hampton Town Board.

I have interacted with Zachary many times over the past four years, in his role as chairman of the East Hampton Town Nature Preserve Committee, chairman of the East Hampton Town Deer Management Committee, and member of the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee, and my role as chairwoman of the East Hampton Wastewater Management Project Advisory Committee, member of the Accabonac protection steering committee, and a current member of the town water quality technical advisory committee.

Here is what I know about Zachary Cohen: He is fair, open-minded, inclusive, honest, and trustworthy. He listens, really listens. He tirelessly seeks to understand an issue in its entirety, regardless of its complexity. He is a problem-solver. He respects all opinions, and after careful deliberation is not afraid to offer his own. 

Zach’s skill set is invaluable, including his business experience and his educational background in the fields of economics, finance, and scientific methodology, as well as his leadership role in many town committees. He is forward-thinking, while respecting the traditions of the past. He has earned the respect of so many here in East Hampton.

Again, I offer my support for Zachary Cohen as a candidate for the East Hampton Town Board. I can think of no one better.

CHRISTINE GANITSCH

Suggestions

Montauk

April 28, 2017

Dear David:

During my lifetime, there have been times when the Democrats or the Republicans or a combination have controlled our federal government. It is therefore clear to me that eventually things will change. The following are suggestions that should help strengthen America regardless of who is in power.

Term limits on our senators and representatives would allow them to promote what they think is best for their constituents and the country instead of thinking about being re-elected. Yes, I know we can vote the bums out, but we don’t do so often enough. 

English should be our national language. If you can’t read English well enough to understand the issues, you shouldn’t vote. English is one of the few things that bind this nation.

If a citizen at age 18 does not possess the judgment to decide whether to smoke or to drink alcohol, they certainly don’t have the capacity to decide on the future of their country. The voting age should be 21 with exceptions. Those in the military or those who endanger their own lives, such as police, firefighters, etc., to protect us should vote at a younger age.

Supreme Court and federal judges should be required to retire after 24 years on the bench or when reaching 80 years of age. Yes, some have an agile mind at a more advanced age, but many more hang on who shouldn’t.

Require every voter to prove every election that they are eligible to vote.

Most of these suggestions require a constitutional amendment. Why not start now? 

DAN BRIGANTI

 

Time for Negotiation

Springs

April 28, 2017

To the Editor,

The United States of America. Fate whispers to the warrior, “You cannot withstand the storm!” The warrior whispers back, “I am the storm.” Armed with determination and perseverance, anyone can achieve their goals. The power of the human mind is the most powerful force in the world. We can accomplish anything with education, integrity, and hard work. We are Americans. We have been given so much — therefore, if you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. 

But if you are determined to learn, no one can stop you. If you do what you have always done, you will always have what you always had. (Nothing more.) Just remember, there are always different ways to climb a mountain. The hardest part of any journey is the first step. If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.

As a leader, and given control of a nation’s wealth, you must care for its laws. This is what the people of this country put you in office for. Life should have taught that when you focus on problems, you will have more problems, but when you focus on possibilities you will have more opportunities. It’s time for reconciliation; it’s now time for negotiation. There has to be compromise by both sides. The law of the land is our Constitution as it is written:

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” 

No big words, just simple words with meaning. There is no way to judge the future but by the past; life has no rehearsals, only performances. A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something. The essence of intelligence is skill in extracting meaning from everyday experience. The whole world will step aside for a man who knows where he is going. What you say may never change anyone, but what they understand will. 

Too many politicians run out of ideas before they run out of words. Honesty is a question of right or wrong, not a matter of policy. We have some problems to take care of, so let’s get it done! Illegal immigration, North Korea, Iran, health care. . . .

TOM BYRNE