Letters to the Editor: 05.18.17

Our readers' comments

You Saved My Life’

East Hampton

May 12, 2017

Dear Editor,

Early morning at the Golden Pear Cafe in East Hampton is not unlike Cheers, “where everybody knows your name.” Same people, in the same seats, reading the same newspapers, eating the same thing. We are creatures of habit. So, when Glynis, one of our regulars, approached a newcomer — a tall, good-looking, rather imposing man in the blue scrubs of Southampton Hospital — we all took notice.

“You saved my life,” said Glynis in her gentle British accent. “I wanted to thank you.” The man smiled warmly but showed no immediate signs of recognition. Glynis elaborated: “I was brought into your emergency room choking on an apple. You saved my life.” Ahhh, the bright light of recognition spread across Dr. Georgopoulos’s face. The doctor, a gastroenterologist, was on duty when Glynis was taken in by ambulance.

We all chatted briefly about the need to eat more slowly and chew well — the usual caution. Dr. G. shared the prediction that choking emergencies would rise as the season got into full swing with lots of barbecues and lots of drinking. There was a brief discussion of emergency rooms in New York City, referred to as “knife-and-gun clubs” — meaning that the stabbing and gunshot victims would get the quickest attention. Heart attacks had to wait.

Once again, Glynis quietly thanked Dr. Georgopoulos for saving her life. The discussion ended with all of us going back to our usual seats, reading our usual newspapers, eating our usual breakfasts. Smiling, Dr. G. lifted his eyes from his newspaper and commented to me how great it was to be in a small community where such a personal interaction could take place. With that, he returned to his breakfast, his newspaper, and his phone, which did not stop ringing.


All the Kind People


May 14, 2017

To the Editor:

My father’s obituary appeared two weeks ago. This past year he had been hospitalized many times during his lengthy illness. I write this letter to the editor to thank all the kind people we are fortunate to have in our community and for the most part take for granted. 

The Amagansett Fire Department’s E.M.T. ambulance crews and the Town of East Hampton police were so compassionate and timely the multiple times my dad had to be rushed to the emergency room, even when he was upset and perhaps not so kind because he was discouraged with his failing body. There are not enough words to say about Kathy and Brian at St. Michael’s Housing, who were always there for my dad, including shoveling feet of snow off his car and helping me lift him when he fell, to mention just a few kind things they did for him. 

If you attend church, even once in a while, you realize that your pastor has so many responsibilities. When your parent is trying to recover from major health issues and you need prayers and spiritual guidance and you text your minister and he shows up to be there with you, the lightbulb goes off and you are ever so thankful for his being in your life. That’s our minister, Father Denis Bru­nelle at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. 

As my father had many lengthy stays at Southampton Hospital this year, I got to know so many of its staff members, from the valet attendants to the cleaning staff in his room, to the cafeteria crew, to the desk attendants. One evening as I was leaving, the gift shop was closed, and I asked the security guard at the front desk for change of a $20 bill, as I had no money to tip the valet. He didn’t have enough to make the change but insisted that I take his dollar bill. 

I have to mention the nursing staff on 2 North and 3 North, as well as the I.C.U. nursing team and the hospitalists who always took the time to meet with me to discuss my dad’s status and who attended to his needs and showed him the utmost compassion. And then there is the palliative team, who at the worst phase of one’s life was there to help my dad be as pain free as possible and to help me and my family through the journey. One night I was so tired, as I had been there from early morning by my dad’s bedside, the palliative team came in to offer a volunteer to sit with my dad so I could go home and eat something and get a few hours of sleep. 

There was a very kind resident, Dr. Jeet, whose job was to bring up the concept of “comfort care” to me and guide me through the process. He was beyond compassionate and knowledgeable, and helped make the end of my dad’s life dignified. Even when he wasn’t on duty he’d answer my text questions no matter what time I reached out. 

We as a community are very fortunate to have these resources, especially for seniors. In my dad’s obituary our family requested that donations be made to Southampton Hospital and our church, St. Luke’s. I urge our local communities to donate to these resources that help make our lives better, day in and day out.


Nancy O’Brien


May 13, 2017

To the Editor:

On behalf of the East Hampton Republican Committee, I want to express our deepest condolences to the family of Nancy O’Brien on her passing. No matter what was asked of her, no matter how chaotic or impassioned the politics got, she always responded in her calm, kind, gentle, and yet committed and determined way.

All who worked with her will fondly remember Nancy’s contributions and her always gracious and thoughtful demeanor. May God grant her peace.




Insidious Poison


May 15, 2017

Dear David,

“County Offers Trial Ban on Mosquito Spray,” while the headline on The Star article on methoprene spraying sounds promising, the county’s approach to a no-spray trial is scientifically flawed. 

The notion that a limited area within the Accabonac marsh complex can serve as an isolated, methoprene-free test plot when it’s broadcast-sprayed by helicopter everywhere else defies common sense. Exclusion from aerial drift, rain runoff, and tidewater exchange is highly unlikely. And let’s be mindful of another test wrinkle: Assuming methoprene is successfully restricted from the test plot, what about the effects of Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, the alternative larvicide routinely broadcast sprayed? 

Rigorous field studies performed by independent scientists on the impacts to nontarget insects and crustaceans from methoprene exposure already exist. The collective findings of peer-reviewed studies are alarming, to say the least. This is why the State of Connecticut passed legislation in 2013 that prohibits the use of methoprene in all coastal areas. Recognizing Connecticut’s restriction is less effective if it doesn’t include the greater Long Island Sound watershed, Senator Christopher Murphy has asked Governor Cuomo to consider similar legislation for New York. 

Suffolk County, with all of its rhetoric about restoring water quality from excessive nitrogen loadings, fails to see the insult to injury this insidious poison has on thousands of acres of marshland — the breadbaskets of estuarine life. 

I’ve been challenging the county’s misguided ditching and spraying practices since 2002 and make no apologies for well-deserved skepticism. The “let’s study it” proposal is a destined-to-fail gesture intended to distract, delay, and dampen the mounting opposition to the spraying. 

Stop the prestense: End methoprene use now.

Kevin McAllister


Fear Is Unfounded


May 8, 2017

Dear David,

Fake news, misinformation, disinformation, fear-mongering, and paranoia seems to be how special interest groups attempt to draw attention to themselves and attempt to get their own agendas through. Then it won’t be surprising to hear the fishing industry also jumped onto the bandwagon. It is appalling the G.O.P. is now using this tactic as a political issue.

The fishing industry’s livelihood is in jeopardy due to acidification of the ocean, increasing ocean temperatures, and biodiversity degradation caused by burning fossil fuels. Huge schools of fish and the baitfish they feed on are being decimated in their wintering grounds by factory megaships, with no regard to sustainable fishery practices. I am very concerned by these issues. I absolutely respect the dedication and courage of men and women who tirelessly risk life and limb to eke out a living on the ocean, but the issues I just mentioned should make them scream — not opposing an alternative to fossil fuels. To my surprise, it has not.

Everything we do has an impact on the environment. When we flush the toilet, breathe in oxygen, and breathe out carbon dioxide — our very existence has an impact. How we evaluate and measure the impacts of our activity is important to maintain a balance between our existence and the environment we care for and rely on. What I am hearing and reading coming from leaders in the fishing industry is hysteria and hypocrisy at its best. For the fishing industry to exaggerate the disturbance of laying cable under the ocean floor and the disturbance of fish while building and operating offshore wind structures is disingenuous while trawlers continuously rake the ocean floors, indiscriminately killing every living sea creature in sight, also known as bycatch. The use of nets that kill all fish, not only the targeted fish, has a huge impact on the fishing industry, by far greater than anything that can be imagined by building and operating offshore wind turbines.

To measure the impact of the oil industry on the environment and on ocean waters, one doesn’t need to go further than the top historical oil spills of the world: Deepwater Horizon, 210 million gallons; Ixtoc Oil Well, 140 million gallons; Atlantic Empress, 88.3 million gallons; Fergana Valley, 87.7 million gallons; Nowruz Oil Field, 80 million gallons; ABT Summer, 80 million gallons; Castillo de Bellver, 78.5 million gallons; Amoco Cadiz 68.7 million gallons, Odyssey Oil Spill, 43 million gallons, just naming the top 10 (sourced from telegraph.co.uk). I don’t think we need to debate the huge environmental impact of taking billions of barrels of oil out of the ground, burning it, and spewing its particulate-laden exhaust into the atmosphere. 

Any honest, clear-thinking person knows we need to stop our dependence on fossil fuels. The withdrawal symptoms are clearly visible in the hysterical exaggerations of fishing industry leaders. They speak about the impacts of building offshore wind as if it’s some new technology or some new emerging industry we have no knowledge of, or we need to fear. But the fear is unfounded. All they need to do is look across the pond to dispel their fears. Europe has built offshore wind for over 25 years. As of Jan. 26, “Europe now has a total installed capacity of 12,631 MW from 3,589 grid-connected wind turbines in 10 countries.” Last summer, the country of Denmark on one particular day received 100 percent of its electricity from renewable offshore wind. 

We can now confidently project that East Hampton and Southampton will receive 100 percent of their electricity from renewable sources, including offshore wind, prior to 2025. There are five offshore wind leases — three offshore leases over 30 miles southeast of Montauk and two off Jones Beach. Two have already been awarded, one to Deepwater Wind and one to Statoil, a Norwegian offshore oil company spending oil revenues to develop offshore wind off Long Island. The train has already left the station. It won’t be long before all of Long Island receives 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, including offshore wind. Governor Cuomo, in his State of the State address on Long Island, is looking for the entire State of New York to receive 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.

With the present national administration touting “Drill, baby, drill,” by approving building pipelines and opening oil drilling everywhere, the fishing industry folks need to be careful what they wish for. The folks of East Hampton have a simple decision to make this November. Will it be Deepwater Horizon or Deepwater Wind? Will it be dirty fossil fuels or clean renewable energy? 

For me, it’s a no-brainer. I’ve done my homework. It’s clean renewable energy all the way.


Perpetual Construction

East Hampton

May 9, 2017

Dear Editor:

Well, the warm weather is back, sort of, and with the spring flowers and returning hummingbirds has come the all-too-familiar sound of destruction and construction. For the past week I have again had to endure the symphony of crashes, screeches, and buzzing, as yet another house in my immediate neighborhood comes down to make way for something new (probably another McMonster McMansion). 

What’s frustrating is that the house coming down currently has been rebuilt at least twice in the past 10 years. In contrast, my house (as readers of my past letters may remember) has been around for 50 years. In fact, it has been standing longer than almost every other house in the cul-de-sac. It seems that our end of the road is destined to be a perpetual construction zone for the foreseeable future. 

Other construction projects have not only caused noise, which is bad enough, but the sheer number of vehicles parked on the road has made for hazardous conditions. This hasn’t started yet, other than a trailer parked out in a particularly narrow part of the road, but it is probably inevitable.

To be blunt, I had hoped that it would be possible to have a few summers (can we shoot for 10) without the accompanying annoyance of constant crashing, hammering, buzz-sawing, and general construction. The noise associated with yard work is bad enough! 

But since the construction seems to be continuing endlessly, I would like to beg the village to consider year-round enforcement of noise ordinances and changing the existing one to an absolute cessation of construction from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. Monday to Thursday, and from 3 p.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Monday every week, year round. I’m a year-round resident and I have no intention of changing that. The only people who would be adversely affected by an ordinance such as the one I propose would be those who don’t remain in East Hampton in winter. Our winters are hard enough without having to deal with construction traffic and noise every day of the week. It’s bad enough we have to put up with it in summer. 

I admit that I’m writing this letter this time for mostly selfish reasons, but I’m tired of the noise, hyperlocal traffic, and even the hyperlocal air pollution associated with any construction in my immediate neighborhood. I also hate the fact that most workers associated with such projects simply don’t care about the effect they are having on those living near the construction site. They don’t live here, and so they believe it’s not their problem if people who do live here suffer from depression and even a kind of P.T.S.D. What is needed is a code of conduct for construction workers that makes life livable in our village and even the town. 

I remind everyone that I, at least, chose to live here for the quiet and what remains of nature. In the last 20 years or so I have had to put up with constantly increasing noise pollution as well as a constant loss of the nature I love to be near. And I cherish every moment that I’m not being assailed by machine noise and can hear birds singing and kids playing. I seriously need time both to work and play in peace. And I miss the bobwhites which used to live in the hedgerow before a nameless neighbor had it cut down. 

Thanks for reading. 


Slobs Who Dump

East Hampton

May 10, 2017

To the Editor:

How many times can I write to The Star complaining about slobs who dump their household trash in or near public pails? A recent disaster near the boat ramp at the end of Hand’s Creek Road was years of throwaway magazines and bags and bags of obvious pantry goods. I tried but could not fit another thing in the trash can. I didn’t have any big bags with me to take it home, yuck, to take to the dump tomorrow. I did send an email to the Town Department of Sanitation just to let them know, with a picture.

Who are these people who come out here to the Hamptons to enjoy the beauty and nature that we see all around us, and leave this mess behind? Probably the same people who leave boxes of empty beer bottles, bags of lunch stuff, and piles of empty shotgun casings on our beaches. Shame on them all. 


Stages Didn’t Disappoint

East Hampton

May 8, 2017

To the Editor:

The weekend of May 6 I experienced amazing theater right in Sag Harbor, at a reasonable price, with great seating. I saw Stages Children’s Theater Workshop production of “Grease,” and I enjoyed it enormously, as did the entire audience. 

The music, the choreography, the costumes, the enthusiasm of the cast, and the sheer talent of the cast made my weekend. I came from Westchester in terrible weather, primarily to see the show, not expecting a glorious Hamptons weekend. The weather was predicted to be crummy. We drove through flooding roads, to cold temperatures and angry surf. But Stages didn’t disappoint. The show was glorious!

So, as a grown-up, I recommend that you take your kids, grandkids, and even just your grown-up self to the productions. They never fail to amaze me, lift my spirits, and make me smile. They just keep getting better and better.


Cubs Versus Yankees


May 15, 2017

To the Editor, 

Show us your empty cup. And the last man, Brett Gardner, stood, watched, and waited for eight and two-thirds innings, not to mention two strikes and a two-run deficit, with two runners on, and took us down, down, down to the lowest rings and sap in a bat. The curse of the Babe slid out into the right field bleachers and gave a sweet 3-2 win for the champs! (The Yanks.)

Could you believe it, Cubs fans, 10th-inning Game Seven was gone, Cubs 1908, and that a 28 or 29-game season erased all those Yankee rookie feats from last year, sort of. Our depleted soul tried to explain that winning No. 28, the World Series, for the pinstripes, was as good as the teams of old, and that our youth movement already toed the line on the disabled list. Another great start, and nothing to show but a Saturday-night game on Fox at Wrigley Field. I hink the record, since the famed shot called by Ruth, stood 11-1.

Imagine these young bucks not gathering from Omaha, Minnesota, Rapid City, the Dominican Republic. They’ve only been together nearing a half season; maybe they all got lost on their way to the top. A few Hall of Fame moments and we lose it all. Back-to-back home runs your first at bat, Starling Castro watching his drive on one knee fly well into the left field bleachers, comebacks and a 21-9 record. Don’t think the Cubs are gonna stop us, and it sets up the Cubs-versus-Yankees dynasties and pinnacle like a Kirk Gibson miracle. 

This is maybe what heaven feels like in Yankeeville, or in the 18th inning.


School Bus Depot

East Hampton

May 11, 2017

To the Editor:

I continue reading with concern in The East Hampton Star the debate on where to locate the East Hampton High School bus depot and the proposal to consider the site of the old wastewater treatment center on Springs-Fireplace Road as a possible location.

As I wrote on Jan. 3, the industrial zone on Fireplace Road is already crowded with commercial enterprises, which produce a great deal of heavy truck traffic. Adding school buses to the mix would make traffic conditions intolerable. As it is near the border with Springs, locating the depot on Springs-Fireplace Road would again disadvantage Springs, which is already the least affluent part of the town.

While it is understandable that the residents on Cedar Street do not want the traffic on their street, why doesn’t the school board still locate the depot next to the high school, but make a drive-through to Long Lane, rather than having the buses come out on Cedar Street. Long Lane is much less residential and can easily handle the traffic.


The Country School

East Hampton

May 11, 2017

Dear Editor,

We are disheartened to learn that the East Hampton Town Board has chosen to evict the Country School from town-owned land that the school leases in Wainscott. It has been reported that the town board is raising her rent to $76,000 a year, a rate she cannot afford.

Both of our children attended the Country School a few years ago. The education they received to prepare them for kindergarten was the best! Our children received a solid foundation to build on. Early learning is paramount to future success in school.

The Country School employs two teachers per classroom. The cost of providing teachers a living salary by East End standards, along with benefits, is a tight balance to an affordable tuition that parents can pay. The Country School provides our town a service.

The Country School was built on the promise of an affordable land lease with an option to buy the land. Now our town board is claiming they need more revenue from airport land leases. They are forcing the Country School to pay for past mistakes of previous town boards as well as the current town board. After all of the owner’s sweat equity in building the school from the ground up, our town board is trying to pull the carpet out from underneath!

We strongly advise the East Hampton Town Board to rethink its position and to do what is right.


Stolen by the Town


May 12, 2017

To the Editor:

It was shocking to open the paper to see that the Country School has been served an eviction notice this week. Seems the town has taken on a presidential tone where it says one thing and does another. 

Who would create a business and build a $2 million structure to run that business, to have it stolen by the town? It seems unlikely this was what Ms. Zenger intended when she originally went into her agreement with the town.

The Star recently reported that the airport fund has a surplus of $1.8 million, $600,000 of which was gleaned in 2016 alone. So what gives?

This is unfair and just downright wrong for the town to renege on an original agreement. This clearly has been Ms. Zenger’s lifework, and to have it stolen out from under her is a heinous act on the part of the town. 

I hope this goes to a higher court and Ms. Zenger at least will be compensated for the hardship she’s endured as well as the current value of the structure she built in good faith, based on her original agreement with the Town of East Hampton. 

Shame on you, town board, for trying to destroy an individual’s hard work and hopes and plans for the future!


Illegally Installed?

Morrisville, N.C.

May 12, 2017

To the Editor:

I am an occasional visitor to East Hampton as I have family in the area. The last time I was there we managed to go through the East Hampton recycling center. As you enter there seems to be a Highway Department building on the right. They have a wonderful installation of new propane tanks there; however, with the naked eye, they seem to be illegally installed. And it doesn’t take a ruler to see that the tanks are too close together and likely too close to the building.

There was also a new generator, which didn’t look fully installed yet, but if it was in its final installation spot, it appeared to be too close to the tanks.

Not sure why everyone else needs to abide by federal codes on propane tanks. The town should get themselves a copy of National Fire Protection Association Code 58 and have a good read.


Keeping Its Commitment


May 4, 2017

Dear David:

Honoring commitments should be expected from one’s town government.

Recently, the town filed with the state its annual financial update. Keeping commitments made over the past four years, the town’s fiscal prowess has led to strong results for 2016. Indeed, the town has achieved its largest surplus ever and a strong financial position for the future.

The update provides a detailed picture of the town’s financial performance for the previous fiscal year, and for 2016 the town reported an overall surplus of $29 million, an increase of $6.7 million in 2016 alone. The surplus exceeds the town’s longstanding goal of achieving at least a 20 percent year-end balance in its various funds. Through these efforts, the town has again garnered the highest credit rating in its history.

The results also show that the town board is keeping its commitment “to maintaining a safe and economically viable airport without cost to taxpayers and without taking F.A.A. funds,” one goal of Town Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, the board’s airport liaison. As Ms. Burke-Gonzalez explained, the town’s “strong budget performance demonstrates that the town can invest in infrastructure and defend against litigation from the helicopter interests,” and still positively contribute to the airport’s fund balance. The town continues to fight the Friends of East Hampton Airport, a group comprised of various foreign aviation entities that seek to exploit the airport at the expense of town residents.

Moving from the fiscal to the societal context (especially as summer approaches), our town board has worked to markedly improve the congestion suffered by Montauk. Its efforts have also transformed Indian Wells Beach from what only a few years ago resembled something out of spring break into the family beach it once was.

My heartiest congratulations to the entire town board for their continued work to better our community. Actions do indeed speak louder than words.


NoMo? SoMo?


May 11, 2017

Dear David:

As Montauk continues to gentrify, I am fearful that in the future we might have to adjust to new names for our local neighborhoods. After all, our visitors from Manhattan are used to such acronyms as SoHo, NoMad, Nolita, and Tribeca (formerly TriBeCa) to designate areas in the borough that all have their own special and unique vibes. Brooklynites even have a DUMBO. 

Is it possible that the acronym NoMo will be used to designate all of the homes that are located north of Montauk Highway, while SoMo becomes the designation for residences south of Montauk Highway? Let’s face it, NoMo is already a term favored by many Montauk residents when Aug. 1 rolls around.

I realize that these two designations encompass huge areas, so a further delineation that employs cultural sensibilities instead of geography might be necessary. Perhaps the residential area just south and east of our two churches will be designated as NoHo, as it is self-evident that areas adjacent to churches should always be ho-free zones. Although there are few homes around the Sloppy Tuna, this area might well be designated as YoHo. This would be somewhat appropriate as ¨sloppy tuna¨ is a nautical term for a rather naughty woman. Those Montauk residents who are lucky enough to live within auditory range of the Surf Lodge and Ruschmeyer’s will be happy to hear that club patrons have been referring to this area as SoHip for several years.

I am also sure that many locals would feel fortunate if the dock area is designated as GosWat in honor of the two iconic, caring, civic-minded, and decent families who have helped to make Montauk all that is today. 


‘Progress’ Threatens


May 12, 2017

Dear David:

In a moment of unvarnished candor, the East Hampton Republicans have already given you information that should convince you to vote for the Democratic slate of candidates for the East Hampton Town Board.

On the East Hampton G.O.P.’s Facebook page, against the backdrop of dozens of laughing G.O.P. congressmen and with Mr. Trump (only one woman was permitted in the picture) celebrating the House G.O.P.’s passage of the American Health Care Act, the East Hampton G.O.P. makes its pledge: “If you want progress like what’s happening in Washington then you should vote for (the G.O.P. slate for town board).” 

Let that sink in for a moment. That “Washington” just took an ax to America’s health care system, slashing health coverage for most of us just to pay for a $1 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest Americans. This “progress” threatens children, the elderly (50+ years old), the poor, and nonwhite Americans with the loss of health care coverage. Indeed, more than 24 million Americans are predicted to lose health care coverage through this “progress,” and, for the elderly and the sick, costs will skyrocket. 

This “progress” will also punish women by depriving them of health care services (like routine examinations and cancer screening they previously obtained from Planned Parenthood). This “progress” slashes $880 million in funding for Medicaid, punishing the poor and elderly. Most perniciously, veterans are threatened with the loss of health care coverage under the “progress” offered by the G.O.P.’s health care act.

Washington’s idea of progress will next take an ax to make further cuts in Medicaid, and cuts are proposed for Medicare and Social Security. Our pristine beaches are threatened by offshore oil rigs. Our air and water will be fouled by noxious waste from reduced Clean Air and Water Act protection.

It’s hard to understand why the East Hampton Republicans are touting this as “progress” and promising to bring more of the same to East Hampton.

They have made one thing a lot easier — your choices for the town board this November. Manny, Jerry, and Paul do not deserve your vote.



Has What It Takes

East Hampton

May 13, 2017

Dear David:

It’s time to separate the wannabes from those who have proven their mettle in our town government. East Hampton voters, regardless of party affiliation, should be honored that Ms. Burke-Gonzalez, an incumbent town councilwoman, is running for re-election to the East Hampton Town Board. I have had the privilege of knowing Kathee for many years and urge voters to re-elect her to another term. 

Each would-be candidate makes promises they may or may not keep. As an incumbent town board member, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez has an actual track record that adheres to three tenets paramount for local governments to move forward: civil discourse, public participation, and transparency.  

As an example, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez volunteered to take on one of the most contentious assignments facing the town government, liaison to the airport.  Over the past four years, she pursued a thoughtful process that engaged community factions with deeply conflicting interests — the noise-affected community who were seeking meaningful relief from aircraft noise, and the local aviation community, who wanted a safe and properly maintained airport — and brought them together to find common ground on the issues of airport restrictions, capital improvements, and finances. These efforts have resulted in measures to secure local control of the airport to reduce the impact of aircraft noise. Although this result is mired in litigation brought by entities whose interests are antithetical to those of these community factions, the support from the coalition formed by Ms. Burke-Gonzalez is still largely intact.

Equally as important, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez deeply embraces values that our community views as core beliefs benefiting our residents. In this past year alone, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez has either initiated or supported funding for adolescent mental health services, realignment of town resources to provide transportation services for our veterans and senior citizens, funding for Meals on Wheels and for beach attendants in Amagansett and Montauk to help keep our beaches clean. 

During Ms. Burke-Gonzalez’s tenure, the town has balanced every budget; the town’s debt has been reduced by 20 percent, and it received a credit upgrade.

Ms. Burke-Gonzalez has also been a relentless protector of our fragile environment, supporting measures to protect our drinking water, groundwater, and surface waters. She strongly supports the initiative to mitigate the threats posed by substandard sanitary systems, which would minimize out-of-pocket costs for homeowners, in contrast to that offered by her opponents. She and her colleagues have used the town code to protect our neighborhoods and restore our quality of life. 

We all want to see that East Hampton remains a beautiful, healthy, and extraordinary place to live, work, and raise our families. We all desire a community in which people genuinely care for one another and share in the responsibility of caring for our community. 

For the past four years, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez has proven that she has what it takes to keep moving forward to achieve these goals. Actions speak louder than campaign promises.  Ms. Burke-Gonzalez has shown that she deserves your vote.  


They Will Do Well


May 8, 2017

To the Editor:

After much deliberation, and for many reasons, I’ve decided not to run for re-election as an East Hampton Town Trustee. I will, of course, be fulfilling my current term to the best of my ability. 

It’s extremely fulfilling helping the town I grew up in, but it can also be heavily stressful, and I feel it’s weighed on me to an unhealthy point.

I want to both thank, and apologize to, all of the good people who have supported me and encouraged me along the way. I know many people want to see me go on in local politics, and I may come back to it again in the future, but for now I have decided not to pursue another two-year term on the board of trustees. I want to give a candid glimpse into my feelings so far and how they have led up to my decision. 

I always try to be a positive person, to be optimistic and open-minded, and to get along with everyone, so it has hurt me that some in this town can be negative and calculating. I am not referring to any current board members. I realize that politics can be dirty and nasty, especially in an election year, and that is not my style. If people are going to attack me, make accusations against me, or use political leverage for personal agendas, I don’t want to be a part of it. I know I’m a good person and that’s what matters in the long run. Maybe I was naive to think that such negativity wouldn’t be present on the local level. I was certainly warned, but I felt called to action by the state of our environment. 

I came into this because some good people urged me to bring my science background to the trustees to help us deal with water quality issues. It was very positive and promising, and over all it has been, but there are also many other smart, capable people working on these issues already, and I can easily help all of them without the stress of being an elected official. There is an excellent environmental movement in this area, and I hope everyone involved knows how much good they have done so far, and how much more we can do.

I also can’t afford to live here forever. In the time I’ve grown up in this town it has become increasingly expensive to live here. I went through whatever savings I had when I first campaigned to maximize my time throughout the summer to focus on just getting elected. I don’t see how I can feasibly campaign all summer while also doing all my work with the trustees and working enough to survive here. I am not someone who values money very highly, and I can’t justify living long term in a place where so many people do, and where it takes so much of it just to survive.

Basically two more years is a lot to sign up for at this moment in my life. I need less stress and more freedom, and if I want to continue doing good things in these dire times our world is in, I need to look out for myself. We have many other excellent candidates willing to run for trustee, and other offices, on the Democratic ticket, and I trust they will do well in carrying on what we’ve accomplished. 

I want to reiterate that local politics really can be rewarding and challenging and fulfilling, but there can be a dark side to be aware of. 

I resolved to commit, at the very least, these two years of service to the community and I intend to finish my term with the passion, dedication, and candidness that those who support me value, and I will continue to openly represent all members of the community equally. It has been a valuable experience and I hope my concerns will not deter others from trying a similar path. I just feel it is a proper time for me to think further into my own future and explore more of the infinite avenues our beautiful world has to offer.

Thank you, East Hampton. 



East Hampton

May 14, 2017

Dear David,

Welcome to 2017 and Sandgate. What happened back in the 1970s in Washington under Nixon’s reign has got nothing on the drama and, dare I say, cover-up, in this town.

Why was it so difficult to obtain an applied-for freedom-of-information packet of sand-mine activity history from its beginning to present, in three town departments? Information about a commercial sand-mining operation in a residential neighborhood on top of the aquifer? Why the inappropriate phone call asking me why I want the information? Why the call in the first place telling me they have nothing — no files, no maps — of that property? In all three departments — building, planning, and natural resources — nothing? 

Would one department’s non-cooperation have anything to do with the fact that the town engineer in the Planning Department owns the sandpit, or at least did until he recently sold it to Red Bistrian? I mean, come on! I couldn’t write this script any better if I made it up. 

Why is the town lawyer now at all the meetings we ask for, with two town board members? We’re hardly a threat. Two women and a man, we were, not a fickle mob. The town lawyer wasn’t always there before. Why the eye rolling with our questions, fellas? They are legitimate and on point. But you don’t like them. We’re stepping on toes here. Old Boys Club toes. Local business in bed with the town toes, perhaps?

We are not the first neighborhood and community to be up in arms over wrongdoing to quality-of-life issues like the groundwater and drinking water. This is hardly a nonissue. We’re talking about the future of the town and land we live on. Water is the issue. The sole-source aquifer, running underneath this godforsaken sand-mining pit started in the ’60s, deserves our protection. Any impact to this area is bad. It is a water recharge area, a special groundwater protection area. Yes, that again. The mantra we hear in our sleep, we’ve said it so many times it’s like our heartbeat. Water is, after all, the lifeblood out here. Everyone with half a brain knows that. Ask a bayman, ask a fisherman, ask your mom, your grandma, your kids.

When will they stop this destructive behavior at these sandpits? Oh, when the sand stops giving back and the proverbial well runs dry. When they have enough money. Whichever comes first. “You can’t stop these people, they do whatever they want, they always have,” is what people tell me at least once a week. That’s not an answer. That’s okay with you? It is not with many of us. Who died and made them kings of the town? 

This is a reveal that needs to be brought out in the light of day. You can seemingly hide documents all you want and give us next to nothing in a Freedom of Information Law packet we waited weeks for. We are not fooled. The truth is coming out, and you can’t stop it. How dare town employees get ratty with us! We are citizens, and we pay taxes, and you work for us. Do your damn job. You have no right to ask me why I am foiling anything. I filled out the application correctly. 

The town clerk’s office was lovely, by the way. Every time. Nice as pie, those women. Professionals. Thank you. But the phone call from the Building Department was not right. Planning Department phone call: Crickets. Natural Resources responded with FOIL packet, but it’s skimpy, and things are not included that should be. Past “bad record-keeping” is no excuse. 

No matter, we have what we need. We will find more on our own, count on it, and we will move ahead to expose this sand-mining operation mishandling for what it is — a travesty.

The problem with business-as-usual is, people get lackadaisical. Indifferent. They don’t know what’s going on, so they have no opinion about it. Someone said to me the other night, “I read your letter, I read your posts, and it’s awful. But I don’t know what to say, or do.” 

I get that. Not everyone can write a letter. I mean, they can, of course, but maybe they aren’t comfortable doing so or having their name out there. But they vote. They can make a difference by putting people in our town governing body who will take groundwater protection seriously. What is more important? If we don’t have clean groundwater, and drinking water as a result, we have nothing here anymore. Do you get that? 

Oh, you drink bottled water? Save your money, unless you’re visiting a third-world country, that’s actually not better. By the way, and where does all the plastic go? Recycled? Want to bet? And what do you wash with? Cleopatra’s milk?  Where do you swim and surf and take your children? The nice beaches and pristine (so far) bays, yeah? Me, too. And so, groundwater, my friends, is what you need to protect. It ain’t rocket science. 

“The guy has a right to do what he is doing at that sandpit; he has a permit by the D.E.C.” Yes, he does, but are they regulating him? They sure don’t at his other crater-pit-dump, on Springs-Fireplace Road. Where was/is the study here, on Middle Highway, since this sandpit is in a special groundwater protection area? Nothing? 

“No impact to neighborhood, environment, water, air, noise, traffic.” Now that’s some good fiction, D.E.C. Where are the Guardians of the Galaxy when you need them? All we hear is the broken record of “pre-existing, non-conforming.”

You know, slavery was pre-existing, nonconforming. Should we bring that back under the guise of, well, the law abolishing it came later, when people knew better and said no, this is wrong? Maybe it should have been grandfathered in, too, because it was once acceptable to some people? Pass around the DDT while you’re at it. 

Let’s go back to the good old days of ignorance and bliss, why don’t we? Look the other way, mind your beeswax, close your eyes, close your door, and stay to yourself. You can raise another generation of ignoramuses and all drink the Kool-Aid you’re told to drink. But don’t drink the water, Bub. You just might choke on it. Don’t breathe too deeply; your lungs will be filled with sand dust.

I know, I know, it was so much better when no one asked questions and everyone got along and the little people stayed quiet and “them old sandpits were good stuff.”  Well, bonk, bonk to that. 



Takeoff at 4:50 a.m.


May 12, 2017

Dear David:

I am so glad we have “Friends of the Airport” in our community, especially the moron jackass whose self-importance caused him to take off at 4:50 a.m. on Tuesday, May 9. He was so considerate of the people that his prop pitch noise blew them out of their sleep, but his arrogance took precedence over their well-being.

Wonder what his reaction would be if someone started a leaf-blower up outside his bedroom at that hour?

This is a concrete example of why they instituted a lawsuit — to run amok and shatter the peace and quiet of people who are trying to sleep. It is time to put those inconsiderate morons on notice. Your playground should be closed, because you refuse to be good neighbors. The facility should be put to a better use, to benefit the residents of the entire town. 

Never try to sit outside on Sagg Road on a Friday or Saturday night or a Sunday afternoon!


Opioid Epidemic

East Hampton

May 10, 2017

Dear David:

On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump promised to “spend the money” necessary to address the opioid epidemic. In a stark betrayal of promises to the American public, his proposed budgets and policies thus far threaten the opposite. His budget drastically cuts funding for opioid-related programs.

The Trump budget calls for a 95-percent cut in funding for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the agency leading the charge against the country’s opioid epidemic. That agency is responsible for coordinating drug prevention programs across federal agencies, and was slated to fund President Donald Trump’s much-lauded opioid commission.

Trump’s budget would slash its $380 million budget to $24 million. It would eliminate the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, which coordinates local, state, and national efforts to reduce drug trafficking and has a $250 million annual budget. It would also cut the Drug-Free Communities Support Program, which funds community-based youth substance-abuse prevention programs.

Further debilitating opioid relief efforts, the Republican health care bill passed by the G.O.P. House last Thursday would cause an estimated three million people to lose some or all of their addiction treatment coverage.

It was not long ago that our congressman, Lee Zeldin, also promised to fight opioid addiction. He sought headlines by attending an East End conference intended to explore substance abuse issues, and specifically the opioid epidemic. His silence in the face of the Trump budget cuts and vote in favor of the American Health Care Act demonstrate that his promises were empty and his appearance here was nothing more than a publicity stunt. 

Thankfully, our town board is keeping its commitment to do its part to alleviate addiction problems in our community, while their G.O.P. challengers offer nothing.

Remember this next November. And then again in November 2018, when Mr. Zeldin makes more empty promises.


Don’t Repeal Obamacare


May 9, 2017

Dear David,

In a recent op-ed in an online newsletter, Congressman Lee Zeldin tries to answer what he calls lies about the work-in-progress commonly referred to as Trumpcare. However, he fails to mention that many of the problems he sees in the current Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) are the result of compromises the Democrats had to make with the Republicans and their lobbyists. Now they talk about these imperfections as if they in the Republican-heavy Congress had nothing to do with their enactment.

To rebut criticisms of the Republicans’ sorry offer of health care reform, we have Zeldin’s misleading, simplistic answers in his op-ed piece. For example, Mr. Zeldin says not to worry and mentions pre-existing conditions being protected in New York State. ’Tis true, and lucky us. But what about our fellow countrymen and women, who are not so fortunate as to live in a progressive blue state like New York, where state laws for many years have given state residents protection for pre-existing conditions?

The vast majority of Americans are not protected by progressive state laws such as those in New York. But, under Obamacare, they now have these protections for pre-existing conditions — thanks to Obama, et al. However, the complicated scheme the Republicans are proposing lessens such protections. Why weaken and complicate these protections — just because they came into being under a Democratic administration? That is small-minded, and too stressful for the people affected. We need to think about all of our countrymen and women, not just those in New York. What helps all citizens helps us all. Leave Obamacare alone. Strengthen it, but don’t repeal it.

And how does Mr. Zeldin think we will pay for his insurance plan, with all its tax breaks for the rich buried within? Giving more money to the zillionaires only makes their bank accounts swell; that game has been tried before and failed to help the rest of us. 

I say let’s chuck this Republican Trumpcare Act-of-Despair and provide the American people with single-payer insurance, i.e., Medicare for all. After all, even Mr. Trump admitted recently to Australia’s prime minister that, with their single-payer system, Australians have “better health care than we do.” Mr. Trump said that! And I must mention that the scam of a redo that is now being offered to the American public does not measure up at all to what other countries have. Is that our exceptionalism? God help us.


A Voting Problem

East Hampton

May 14, 2017

To the Editor:

There is a sanity in France around the presidential elections. The conversations are all about change and process. On the bullshit scale, there is a bare minimum. The French were upset that only 75 percent of the electorate turned out instead of the usual 85 percent (a non-vote protest by the left). We should observe and emulate their good points.

We have always had a voting problem. Americans don’t turn out like the rest of the world. In presidential years we hover around 60 percent, and in midterms around 25 percent. It’s possible that no president ever received a majority of the electorate. Voting has never been perceived as a constitutional or democratic obligation. It is often an afterthought, and the forces to obstruct overwhelm those to encourage.

Logically, the fewer the number of people in the process, the easier it is to manipulate and control the process.

Hillary Clinton received between four and six million votes more than Donald Trump in 2016. The difference between the reported number of three million votes is a function of the actual number of voters whose votes weren’t counted. 

Donald Trump never believed that millions of people voted twice for Clinton, but he knew that by raising the issue of voter fraud he would supply the necessary rationale for the continuance of an existing process of real voter fraud. 

“Crosscheck” is the database system that Republicans in 30 states use to purge voting rolls of potential double voters. Begun in 2013 by the Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, it provides lists of people with the same or similar names who live in different states who could conceivably vote in both of them. Based on absolutely no data, and with zero results in its first four years, the program is being touted by Donald Trump as a measure to keep our system honest.

Greg Palast, in a Nov. 11, 2016, Rolling Stone article (a must-read), lays it out perfectly. In Michigan and Arizona alone, the winning margins totaled 98,000 votes and the Crosscheck purge list was 720,000 voters. The total number of voters identified by Crosscheck was seven million, and more than a million voters were estimated to have lost their vote.

So in a democracy like France, there is consternation when only 75 percent of voters turn out. We, on the other hand, spend extraordinary energy making sure that voters don’t turn out. Democracy with a small “d.”