Letters to the Editor: 08.10.17

Our readers' comments

Part of the Community

East Hampton

August 2, 2017

To the Editor:

A few weeks ago I met Susan McGraw Keber at the evening farmers market at the Calvary Baptist Church. I want to say thank you to the East Hampton Democratic Party members and Susan for inviting me to become a part of the community. 

My native language is Spanish, and I am very happy to help invite Latinos who are qualified, to register to vote. I am explaining why it is important to vote and that every vote counts. Latinos are a big and important community, and we are hard-working. I am grateful to find a voice in my hometown, and want to thank everyone who has shown a great human quality of kindness. 

BEATRIZ RIVAS

Much Gratitude

Montauk

August 1, 2017

To the Editor,

Just want to give a shout-out to the women and men of the Montauk fire, ambulance, police, and the Southampton Hospital Emergency Unit for transforming a very upsetting senior home accident into an experience of medical expertise and kindness.

Much gratitude,

JACK EGAN

Racism and Hatred

Amagansett

August 7, 2017

Dear David:

This weekend, Ann Coulter, the darling of the right wing, is going to be one of the guests at the East Hampton Library Authors Night. This annual event brings together distinguished writers and well-heeled neighbors for an evening of literary adulation and fund-raising. The funds go to support our library.

I wonder if Ms. Coulter is troubled by the hypocrisy.

Our library provides books and events for the very immigrants she publicly harangues and disparages. The money she will help raise will benefit the very group that she has helped terrorize, the same immigrants that couldn’t come out of their homes for months this winter because our new president had called out the jackets and trucks.

I am familiar with the terror of jackets and trucks, as my parents experienced similar undeserved trauma, hiding by day, praying by night. I wonder if Ms. Coulter, who has also denounced my faith (“fucking Jews” in need of being “perfected”), is aware that we, too, use the library. Ah, well.

I was asked to keep quiet and told that my speaking up would be the real problem. Ms. Coulter’s hosts, library donors, are entitled to their point of view and to have a guest who represents their point of view. That’s true. Ah, well.

And yet all is not well.

I did, shamefully, debate writing this letter. I could not find the right words. I wrote pages of outrage and then rescinded a few. I couldn’t find my place between them and us, caring and not caring, speaking up or shutting up. And then I went back and looked at the invitation again: Ms. Coulter’s new book is about President Trump, it says he’s like a bull in a china shop and exactly what America needs. Suddenly, I saw our common ground. I, too, am like a bull in a china shop. I’m the other bull in the very same china shop, the one for whom the endorsement of racism and hatred is always a red flag.

With deep gratitude for those who protect our freedom of speech and our peaceful co-existence,

CHARLINE SPEKTOR

Offshore Wind Power

East Hampton

July 30, 2017

Dear David,

Our coastal community has, at hand, a historic opportunity to transform its fossil fuel-generated energy to renewable resources. As you state in last week’s editorial “Nonsense in the Wind,” offshore wind power is a “significant component” of the growing East Hampton Clean Energy portfolio to make this happen.

At the time the town board unanimously voted, in 2014, to establish this goal, Supervisor Larry Cantwell said, “Making this switch to clean energy is just the right thing to do, both for the environment and for keeping more money in the local economy.” Let’s not forget this.

I have been working closely with the DeepWater team for several years. I applaud their efforts and responsiveness to the community’s history, need for future energy security, and local industry in developing the Montauk offshore wind farm. Let’s not forget today’s turbines, while making their own history, are returning wind power to its 350-year history in East Hampton.

LINDA JAMES

What Got on the Air

Springs

August 7, 2017

Dear David,

On a sunny Sunday July 30 afternoon, my fellow trustee Francis Bock and I took a crew from CBS News down to the beach at Napeague to show them what a nice, safe, wholesome, family-oriented place it was. What they saw and filmed that perfect beach day were 53 families and groups of friends enjoying a day at their beach, accessible only by their four-wheel-drive vehicles.

What got on the air was a little different.

What precipitated this event was a call from the network informing the trustees that they were doing a story on the issue of trucks on the beach and asking us if we wanted our views to be included. We were on the beach with them for two hours, and what we all saw was a well-behaved bunch of beachgoers having a great time. The beach was clean and safe, the Marine Patrol stopped by making their normal rounds and checking beach permits.

In order to show an incident involving an injured child and a four-wheel-drive on the beach, the network had to use footage of an incident that happened in Florida, months ago and thousands of miles away from our beach. Additional video, supplied by the adjacent homeowners’ organization, purported to show dangerous activity, although it didn’t.

All these safety issues were thoroughly investigated and litigated, along with the question of ownership, at a trial before the New York Supreme Court, with the Hon. Ralph T. Gazzillo presiding. The court ruled for the trustees and against the adjacent property owners in a very solid decision. Having lost their case in court, the homeowners are once again trying to create the image of an out-of-control beach — and nothing could be further from the truth.

Yours Truly,

BILL TAYLOR

Stuck in the 1950s

Wainscott

August 4, 2017

Dear David:

Roundabouts, high-speed rail, protected bike lanes: Routine components of transportation systems all over the world. But on the East End we are stuck in the 1950s, with infinitely more vehicles.

The chronically stalled traffic is wasteful, inefficient, frustrating, and polluting — and dozens of once-quiet country roads are now also overrun because of the absurdity of our archaic Route 27 and Long Island Rail Road.

BARRY RAEBECK

Against the Use

Springs

August 7, 2017

Dear David,

In January, I warned in a letter to this paper that the sale of the former scavenger waste site on Springs-Fireplace Road exhibited flawed financial thinking (“Town Land Sale,” Jan. 5). Now the town has released planning studies that would caution against the use of the site for a bus depot and classrooms as proposed by the East Hampton School District.

The Springs draft hamlet study states what everyone knows: “Heavy traffic . . . is a significant concern for Springs hamlet. A significant amount of commercial traffic utilizes Springs-Fireplace Road.”

Though the primary burden of travel on the East Hampton portion of Springs-Fireplace Road falls upon Springs residents, the problem is analyzed in the East Hampton hamlet study, the hamlet in which it is located. The study says of this area:

“Springs Fireplace Road Corridor: Objective 7 — Springs-Fireplace Road, one of the most highly traveled roads in East Hampton. Characterized by multiple small lots each served by separate access driveways and parking lots, this haphazard pattern of development leads to excessive turning movements, truck maneuverability problems and traffic backups.”

To get to the East Hampton schools, the buses would also have to find a way to traverse the Three Mile Harbor-Springs-Fireplace intersection at North Main Street and then get through the light on Cedar Street. The East Hampton draft hamlet study examined this area as well:

“North Main Street: Objective 1 —Reduce traffic congestion and safety issues within the North Main Street business district. Reducing traffic congestion is a key issue for the North Main Street business area. Due to its geographic location, the North Main Street corridor is subject to a large volume of truck and automobile through traffic. The Y-shaped intersection of Three Mile Harbor and Springs-Fireplace roads, the two major routes to major commercial industrial areas and Springs residential neighborhoods, creates safety problems and long vehicular backups.”

The town should be complimented for hiring planners to look at these areas. But the town must be the catalyst for solutions and not increase the problems.

ZACHARY COHEN

Bus Depot’s Location

Springs

August 5, 2017

Dear Mr. Rattray

Last week’s letters included a letter by Jeffery Bragman expressing support for relocating the bus depot of the East Hampton School District to Springs-Fireplace Road (“Decision Was Sensible”). In my view, his letter only raises more questions about the decision and the process used to this point.

I understand that Mr. Bragman represents a group of Cedar Street neighbors who oppose the location of the bus depot on school district land that has access to Cedar Street in their neighborhood. While it is completely appropriate to raise concerns about possible groundwater contamination at the Cedar Street site, that concern will be true for any site that is finally selected. As an engineer, I know the solution to possible aquifer contamination lies in proper modern design, construction, and monitoring. Witness the construction of the fuel facility planned at the airport.

Old buried residential fuel oil tanks in the neighborhood probably pose a greater threat. If we accept the grave environmental threat from the bus depot, let’s make sure the environmental consequences for all proposed sites are understood and fully debated in public.

Mr. Bragman’s argument for the Springs-Fireplace site is not persuasive.  While “school buses are already traveling there,” locating the bus depot on the edge of the school district geography seems a poor choice from a logistical standpoint. Proximity to the schools seems more important. I would expect the best location for a school bus fleet would be near the center of the district and near the existing schools.

According to the school district’s transportation secretary, there will be 83 buses located at the facility! That’s a lot-ful! A study of the transportation impacts of an 83-bus fleet, and possibly an equal number of other vehicles at the facility, needs to be conducted.

The idea that the Springs-Fireplace site will be shared with the Springs School District is also not a compelling argument. The sharing of the facility does not depend on the Springs-Fireplace location, and the vocational training opportunities for Village and Springs high school students are best done at or near the existing high school these students attend daily.

Of greater concern is Mr. Bragman’s position as a candidate for town board. As the legal advocate for the Cedar Street Group, I understand his advocacy. As a candidate, does he have a different perspective on this matter?  Mr. Bragman is featured each week in campaign ads with two incumbent town board members and in ads featuring support from the supervisor who negotiated the “tentative deal.” These supporters of Mr. Bragman will vote on the sale of the town land. This creates an appearance of conflict of interest.  Would we expect those board members to recuse themselves?

We would like to see an open process, with a proper analysis of the transportation and other logistical issues relating to the depot’s location, conformance with the town’s comprehensive plan and recent hamlet study, and finally, a careful assessment of the wisdom of selling town land in a critical area of commercial and industrial development.

Politicians run on issues. Knowing where they stand on issues like the school bus depot is helpful for us voters. We hope all the candidates will make their positions clear.

Sincerely,

JOHN R. POTTER

Groundwater Pollution

Oyster Bay

August 6, 2017

Dear Editor,

I read John R. Potter’s letter concerning the school bus depot proposed for Springs-Fireplace Road in East Hampton. Mr. Potter correctly questions the use of this site, in part because of groundwater pollution issues caused by the malfunctioning scavenger waste facility that was previously on the site.

As the last U.S. Environmental Protection Agency inspector of that facility, I could not agree more with Mr. Potter’s concerns. That is why I am joining the Committee to Elect Paul Giardina as one of his environmental advisers.

PAUL ZAMBRATTO

Protect Our Water

East Hampton

August 3, 2017

Dear David,

How brilliantly put was Jeff Bragman’s letter last week (“Decision Was Sensible”).

The fact remains that further pollution of the Suffolk County Water Authority’s public drinking-water wells on Oakview Highway, so near Cedar Street, must be avoided above all politics and one’s druthers. It has zero to do with Nimby.

Groundwater and drinking water and the sole-source aquifer providing our tap water is of the utmost importance now and moving forward. There truly is no debate in my eyes as far as what is right environmentally and where quality of life and our town is concerned. No-brainer.

I understand people’s concern about the busy Springs-Fireplace commercial road. I do. I travel it all the time for one purpose or another. It’s a messy, stinky road, full of dust and dirt. One day perhaps, those sand and industrial pits causing such will be gone.

And the sand-mining commercial pit recently bought on Middle Highway off Oakview in a residential neighborhood should never have been permitted either. Big bad. For shame. But the old saw of “pre-existing non-conforming” held much weight, above the groundwater concern. We’re not done fighting that. Stay tuned. Again, not a Nimby a’tall, we are all locals and drink the public water from those county wells. The aquifer flows beneath to the harbors and bays and ocean. Again, a no-brainer.

I applaud men like Jeff Bragman who care enough to consider the consequences of polluting the groundwater and public drinking-water wells. This is the kind of person we need on the town board.

I also applaud Zach Cohen, for his steadfastness and effort to run again for a seat. Yes, I endorse him as well. Zach is logical, and goodness knows we could use some logic on the town board.

I like Manny for supe, as he cared enough to connect and meet our neighbors and listen to our real concerns. As did Jerry and Paul. Maybe we need a bigger board! Peter has always been approachable through the years. Maybe as supe he’d take a stronger lead. I don’t have a crystal ball. We need to get ’er done, as the saying goes. Talk is cheap and action is what is required. Not special favors and catering to the large purses. So over. We need people on our board to rev up the Natural Resources Department, and pay accordingly with experience and education. So important to have stewards with power behind them and knowledge behind to help us all and protect our water. Competence is the order of the day. We have someone who knows her stuff; let her do her job and get her real assistance. Lose the hangers-on who are there too long in all town jobs. Retirement is a good thing.

Proficiency is pertinent. Many are so. Thank you to all who serve our town well and deserve their paycheck and benefits. Hurrah.

We as the townspeople are the stewards of the land and water of this fine town. We in our group, for instance, are relentless fighters for clean water and a safe aquifer. Don’t take us lightly!

Godspeed, all you wonderful smart environmentally and “for the people” candidates. We are behind you. Trustees, too. You are very important to water health and safety and local beach rights. Claim your rights as you take good care of our beaches. Access. Power to the people.

The water belongs to us all. Respect it and our town.

NANCI LaGARENNE

A Tough Decision

East Hampton

August 5, 2017

Dear David,

Kudos to Debra Winter, the Springs School District’s superintendent, and Michael Henery, the district’s business administrator, for their position taken at the July 31 meeting covered by The Star on the front page of the Aug. 3 edition. The board, based on recommendations by Debra and Michael, will begin to excavate areas on the school’s grounds so that professionals can observe whether its septic system has failed, and if so, why. This will also allow for a decision to be made as to whether the system needs repair or replacement, and should provide great information as to a long-term strategy to assure that whatever septic system is ultimately used, it no longer fouls Accabonac Harbor. 

This was a tough decision. This means that a fix to the problem is unlikely to be finalized before school starts. It also means that in the short term the district may incur more charges for pump-outs. With all that in mind, I am reminded of Ms. Winter’s own words, “this is a matter of health and safety,” and “we need to be environmentally conscious.”  She gets it. Remember, Ms. Winter and Mr. Henery are new to their jobs, and they have walked into a position between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

If a new system is needed, the district is at best 40 weeks away from getting state approval due to the bureaucracy of the system. There is further uncertainty as to all of the permitting authorities, from the state to the county to the town. Sometimes you have to take one step back before you can move forward. It is sad that they walked into this very neglectful situation. 

The Springs residents should be thankful that this is being guided by clear-thinking professionals who understand the bottom line of environmental protection and the health and safety of their students and faculty. Don’t you wish this happened all the time in the Town of East Hamp­ton? Having spent over five decades protecting the public health, safety, and the environment myself, I believe we can all learn from Debra and Michael.

PAUL A. GIARDINA

Candidate

East Hampton Town Board

Septic System Plan

Springs

August 2, 2017

Dear David:

It is gratifying to see that Mr. Giardina (July 20 letter) has candidly admitted that the costs of implementing his sanitary septic system plan will be borne by homeowners. However, and contrary to his allusion, this is also true with respect to his so-called “sixth element,” which would defer the costs of a septic update to the time of a real estate transfer. This will simply lower the purchase price offered by the buyer by an amount sufficient to cover the upgrade cost. The homeowner still ends up paying.

As Mr. Giardina concedes, the plan of the standing town board imposes none of the costs on either the homeowner or future taxing.

The real question is: Why not be up front about the real impact of the G.O.P.’s plan in the first place? Why hide this from those whose votes he is looking for this fall? The answer is clear: If the voters knew, their votes (rightfully) would go to those having a better plan.

Mr. Giardina also demonstrates his lack of governmental awareness by insinuating that it will be the town government, rather than the homeowner, paying for the upgrade proposal. (Ironically, Mr. Giardina’s plan would have different governments, state and federal, footing the bill). His criticism conveniently ignores the fact that much of the funds will come from the Community Preservation Fund — funds drawn from real estate transactions that are dedicated to the preservation of our community. Instead, it returns this money to homeowners for the laudatory purpose of improving the town’s water quality.

All in all, Mr. Giardina’s proposal shows that he is an adherent to the current G.O.P. vision that victimizes, rather than serves, its constituency. This disqualifies him (and his other G.O.P. cohorts) from serving our community.

BRUCE COLBATH

Lapse in Meetings

Springs

August 7, 2017

Dear David,

Rameshwar Das’s letter in your Aug. 3 edition is quite misleading and somewhat delusionary, even though Mr. Das purports to correct “misstatements” in a letter published in The Star a week earlier from Mr. Paul Giardina. I ask Mr. Das, who is, in fact, the chairman of the town’s waterfront advisory committee, when was the last time his committee actually conducted local waterfront revitalization plan consistency review for any proposal in town?

By my count, it was more than 10 years ago.

As far as I can tell, his committee’s lapse in meetings spans many years, including the entire review period for the Montauk revetment proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers. Did the L.W.R.P. committee ever review the actual Montauk beach revetment and produce a report? There was certainly no indication in the administrative record that the committee ever did. Not one freedom of information response made by the town, the Department of State, the Department of Environmental Protection, or the Army Corps provided any documentation that there was any participation by the committee in the review of an ill-conceived (and impermissible) oceanfront revetment project.

Furthermore, Mr. Das also ignores the fact that a placement of any structure, as in a geotextile-filled bag, is inconsistent with the relevant policies of the L.W.R.P. Lastly, in his criticizing of Mr. Giardina, a candidate for town board, Mr. Das does correctly point out one thing; namely, that the town board did pass the L.W.R.P. legislation in 2006 (during the scandalized McGintee/Democrat tenure) — but then he fails to state that the town board did nothing to implement it.

Mr. Giardina’s letter clearly casts some aspersions on all three of the last administrations, Republican and Democratic, but you wouldn’t know it from Mr. Das’s diatribe and recreating of the truth. Now is the time for candidates who will uphold our laws and plans, not ignore them when politically or personally expedient.

As a former five-year member and two-year vice chairman of the town’s zoning board of appeals, which met regularly and made a good-faith effort to perform its mission, I find Mr. Das’s letter totally ridiculous. Perhaps his letter was motivated merely as a character assassination of someone who has substantial experience in the environmental field and who now poses a threat to his party in the upcoming election. I know I am voting for Paul Giardina for East Hampton Town Board on Nov. 7.

DON CIRILLO

Supporting Jeff’

Springs

August 7, 2017

Dear Mr. Rattray:

Jeff Bragman is my choice for town board. Jeff is one of my closest friends, and a professional colleague whose judgment I value. Supporting Jeff’s campaign for town board is so important to me that I changed my affiliation so I can be there to support him every step of the way. Few people I know better understand the true impact of the law on people.

Jeff Bragman, the endorsed candidate of the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee and the Independence and Working Families Parties, has my support in the September primary, the November election, and beyond.

Yours very truly,

CARL IRACE

Two Contenders

Springs

August 7, 2017

Dear David,

Reading every line of your newspaper as I do each week, I am always struck by how complex our town is, and I shake my head in amazement at the thorough job our elected town board does in dealing with one issue after another, diligently working to solve so many varied problems.

Led by Larry Cantwell, with Peter Van Scoyoc serving as deputy, Sylvia Overby, and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, these folks changed the tenor and tone of their meetings and constructed a vision for our town that puts the needs of the community first. Boy, that is no easy task when we are being constantly ravaged by forces from the outside and assaulted from within by those who do not value this place called East Hampton.

That is why it is so important for us all to get out on Sept. 12 to support, with our votes, those two contenders, Jeff Bragman and Kathee Burke-Gonzales, who have the passion to lead our town. These two are not dilettantes who just want to hold an elected position. They have experience that is relevant and comprehensive. Both know the legal issues of zoning and planning, having worked in paid positions where they were held accountable for every word they uttered and everything they did.

For the sake of our future, I put my trust in Jeff and Kathee. I urge you also to vote for them. You won’t regret it!

PHYLLIS ITALIANO

Pose a Threat

East Hampton

August 7, 2017

Dear David,

Children especially love them and adults use them frequently to celebrate festive occasions and even work-related events to catch your eye. But, everywhere you look, you can find deflated balloons snarled in trees, on our beaches and roadways, or abandoned at a picnic site. Balloons are hazardous to marine and wildlife and become unnecessary debris.

As a Professional Association of Diving Instructors rescue diver and first responder, I have seen all too often marine life wrapped in balloons. The colorful strings or ribbons of balloons are often found wrapped around the necks or feet of a bird or marine animal who has died as a result of strangulation. Even worse, too many birds or marine animals have mistaken balloons as food and perished.

It was recently reported that Southampton Village Mayor Michael Irving is considering banning Mylar balloons. I would like to suggest to our town and village residents that we urge the ban of all balloons to preserve and protect our environment and the lives of our marine and wildlife.

If our children are taught early that balloons pose a threat to all living creatures and our environment, I believe they will want to discontinue having them. Children are inspired and influenced by doing good things for living creatures when teachers and parents teach them. Perhaps this first step, of banning balloons, will encourage our children to become concerned and future adult environmentalists. 

Step by step, we all need to reconsider and change our habits to preserve and protect our environment.

Sincerely,

SUSAN McGRAW KEBER

Beaches and Their Use

Springs

August 7, 2017

Dear David,

Where I stand.

As candidate for East Hampton Town Supervisor, I am a proponent of beach access rights, and endorse increasing resident-beach access areas.

Over the years I worked closely with members of the East Hampton Baymen’s Association, the Committee for Access Rights, the Long Island Beach Buggy Association, Surfrider, Montauk Surfcasters, and other user groups. They are committed to the protection of our beaches and environmental preservation. In fact, these user groups are among our town’s greatest conservation-minded folks.

Our beaches are East Hampton’s crown jewels, enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. Growing up, I spent summer days enjoying our beaches, grilling burgers and hot dogs, swimming, with friends and neighbors. Later, as a family man, it was a regular summer outing with our children after a long work-week.

Recently, I watched TV coverage of the current controversy and objections some homeowners have as to four-wheel-drives on the beach. These objections were expressed in a beach-access lawsuit. Though the coverage was limited, to my mind it wrongly characterized four-wheel-drive access to the beach as reckless and dangerous.

As a law enforcement professional with a 33-year-career with the New York State Park Police, where environmental conservation law enforcement has always been a primary concern, I have logged well over 1,000 hours driving on some of the most densely populated beaches here in East Hampton and throughout Long Island. I supervise police officers patrolling the Napeague beachfront, as well as conducting patrols.

So where do I stand on this divisive us-versus-them issue?

More than happy to meet with all sides, I favor expanding beach access rights where prudent, and the creation of resident-only parking areas for those areas where four-wheel-drive beach access is not possible during times of heavy usage.

Furthermore, I would seek to better staff and to equip our harbormasters, Volunteer Ocean Rescue Squad, lifeguards, and town park employees to work closely with the many beach-access user groups to help develop an educational safe-beach-use program that will be available to the public. These professionals are our greatest defense in ensuring safe beach access and public safety.

Lastly, as to beaches and their use, I would support a program where every child has the opportunity to learn how to swim at no cost to their parents. I support a winter Junior Lifeguard/Ocean Rescue Squad program. I believe with town government and private donors sponsoring these critical programs, they will not only save lives but also build on the sense of community and volunteerism people have always enjoyed in our town.

Let’s never lose sight of what makes East Hampton Town, from Sag Harbor to Montauk, a special place indeed.

MANNY VILAR

Served Us Well

Springs

August 7, 2017

Dear David,

I am not a political person, but I am a concerned citizen and a consistent, thoughtful voter. I make it a point to avoid political fray. However, I find myself with many concerns having witnessed huge change since I arrived here in 1976.

Thirteen years ago, I had the good fortune to meet Zach Cohen. Since then, I’ve spent many hours with him discussing numerous issues that affect our community, among them: affordable housing, environmental issues that threaten our way of life, and town services that need upgrading, to name a few.

Zach has shown himself time and again to be a broadminded, solution-seeking activist who has spent countless hours researching and utilizing his financial expertise in seeking answers to the problems that we face. Zach is a listener. He is facile in his ability to tap into many perspectives, blending ideas and offering proposals that address community needs.

His ability to research and project outcomes ensures that decisions made in committees have taken into consideration their long-term impact.

Zach is the man for now because he has insight into the East Hampton of today and a vision of how to give us a strong, supportive, and environmentally sound tomorrow. He is a proven candidate who has served our community with fierce commitment as chairman, vice chairman, or vital member of numerous town committees. He has served us well. It is past time we allow his voice to be heard on the town board.

Sincerely,

ANNE McCANN

Why She Has My Vote

East Hampton

August 6, 2017

Dear David:

This fall, we have the privilege of re-electing Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez to the East Hampton Town Board. I have known Kathee for many years and want you to know why she has my vote.

For each of the past four years, the town board has balanced every budget. It has reduced the town’s debt, increased the town’s surplus, and received a credit upgrade. Managing the town’s budget not only demonstrates fiscal responsibility; it also reflects the board’s view of our community’s priorities. It shows what our board members value.

I am proud of the work Kathee has helped accomplish that has enriched our town. She secured funding for Meals on Wheels, which ensures that needy seniors will have a hot meal. She helped expand mental health services for adolescents and has spearheaded programs to educate our high school students about sexual abuse. The town has increased funding for the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center, a facility that Kathee takes particular pride in, as I witnessed personally when she read to the pre-K classes there. Kathee has also worked to expand transportation services for our veterans and seniors, helping them to get medical care, among other things.

Every local government would love to have a leader so dedicated to the social welfare of those she serves. We are fortunate to not have far to look for ours.

I am proud to support Kathee and hope that she will receive your support as well. You can vote for Kathee on Sept. 12 in the Democratic Party primary.

JOYCE McFADDEN

City Girl Look

Amagansett

August 3, 2017

Dear David,

About the cover of the East magazine.

More boobies and lose the city girl look, hometown girls are in, summer is almost over.

Yours in good sport,

HARVEY L. BENNETT

Disgusting Advertisement

Montauk

August 3, 2017

To the Editor:

On page A11 of this week’s Star is an obscene, offensive, evil “advertisement” portraying citizens now working as public servants, having been either legally elected or appointed by fellow citizens of the United States. It is appalling to me the amount of vitriol, insensitivity, and downright craziness the losers of this past election display.

I pray that despite the brick wall of negativity being built daily by these “losers,” our country can move forward positively with sensible government working together to improve defense, education, economic prosperity for all U.S. citizens, and for all those immigrants who come here legally to have a better life.

Unfortunately, I must cancel my weekly subscription to The Star, which chose to print this disgusting “advertisement.” If it’s a book, it should be shelved; if it’s a screenplay by the man mentioned in tiny print (I will not give him publicity by mentioning the name), it should be boycotted, and if it’s a work of art, it should be ignored by anyone who feels art should reflect creativity, not vulgarity.

Recycling this piece of junk with my East Hampton Star now, where they belong, in Montauk’s lovely dump.

VALERIE FLYNN

Against the Environment

Springs

August 7, 2017

Dear Mr. Rattray,

The Star’s article on Representative Lee Zeldin’s bill to study the future of Plum Island could leave the misleading impression that he is pro-environment. He is not.

Since he came to Washington, Zeldin’s votes have been approximately 10 to 1 against the environment, as measured by the nonpartisan League of Conservation Voters. Of 27 New York State members of Congress, he is among the three with the worst environmental record.

He is using the Plum Island bill to pose as environmentally friendly. But “his” bill was first introduced by the pro-environment former Representative Tim Bishop in 2013, when the threat that Plum Island could become a housing development or even a Trump resort was real.

Now the danger is much less. The Town of Southold put in place anti-development zoning changes; environmental groups with Morrison & Foerster have sued to prevent commercial development of Plum Island, and the federal budget includes the cost of moving the animal disease research facility to Manhattan, Kan., in 2022.

So Zeldin’s press release grandstanding is cynical misdirection. Instead of being fooled, folks at home should watch his misbehavior in Washington. All of his prior votes in 2017 were against our ecology, including one to delay implementing anti-smog standards.

Zeldin is no eco-hero. His eco-vote is close to zero.

JOHN TEPPER MARLIN

Two-Party System

Springs

August 7, 2017

Dear David:

Benjamin Franklin is quoted as asserting that democracy as a form of government is like two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for lunch. Perhaps it’s time to shore up the sheep’s position.

Nowhere in the Constitution do the venerable founding fathers mention a two-party system. As we move toward our third century, perhaps we would be well served by examining how other democracies decide what is “for lunch.”

According to Angloinfo’s website, there are 19 countries that are more democratic than the Unites States of America. I am not certain how this rating was measured, but the result makes me sad. When we combine this fact with our infant mortality rate, 42 percent higher than countries with similar economies according to the Peterson-Kaiser health system tracker, our academic achievement rating, 30th among 71 countries measured by Pew Research, and 48th among 146 countries in suicide rate as reported by the World Health Organization, and CBS News states that among the top 20 world economies U.S. citizens are 25 times more likely to die by gun violence.

These are not fake news or alternative facts. Something, or some things, is wrong. Perhaps we are “best” in one area: military strength, deadly weaponry. 

Although many of the people who loudly claim that “we are number one” or passionately insist that there is no better country on the planet, have never lived in another country, the evidence is clear that, regrettably, we are not in fact number one.

How can we fix these failures? Perhaps one step in the right direction is to abandon the two-party system. If a sheep, two cows, a turtle, a donkey, and an elephant are deciding what’s for lunch, we may end up with a more fulfilling meal.

Where did the wolves go? The money was removed from the two-party system by removing a set of self-serving laws invented to protect only those two parties, turning the wolves back into domesticated dogs.

PETER FITZGERALD

No Innocence There

Springs

August 6, 2017

Dear David,

It took eight months for the American public to get comfortable calling their president-elect a liar. But now that it is out there and so evident, people write the word and speak the word every day without hesitation or hyperbole when describing Donald Trump.

His recent performance in West Virginia and elsewhere in “rallies” has been astounding and disturbing. His railing about his recent opponent Hillary Clinton is last year’s news. He seems to need a scapegoat for his failures, so it is back to haranguing a Clinton and searching for Russians in West Virginia, bad-mouthing all who might be a threat to his existence. I wonder how long it will take to call him a demagogue.

His family now has been implicated — no longer can he hide behind his attractive and not-so-innocent kids. They are, after all, chips off the old block. Like father like son, and like complicit daughter. No innocence there, this family only operates for self-interest. It’s in the genes.

Robert Mueller III has convened a grand jury in D.C. He is investigating the Russian influence with Trump connections to the recent election.

Remember National Security Adviser “Lock Her Up” General Michael Flynn? The one with the crazy pizza-Hillary-trafficking-in-children fake news conspiracy theory? Well, he seems to have some major issues with the F.B.I. and the law dealing with the truth (all involving monies paid by foreign interests for services rendered). He is dirty. The law will take care of him.

We have not even gotten close to the money-laundering issue yet. It is coming, just a matter of time.

It is going to be a long four years, but maybe not. Lock him up.

BETSY RUTH

Someone Out There

Patchogue

August 3, 2017

To the Editor:

Being perspicacious, prognostications regarding the president-governor-protector of the populist elites, oracle of oxymoronica, chieftain of C.E.O., defender of the face, discipliner of Amazons, in the swirl of vegetarian panthers and carbon dioxide-breathing elephants: That’s all, folks!

No, this letter is about Rufus T. Firefly, of Freedonia. But someone out there may be so vain, they think this letter is about them.

FRED GASREL

Workers’ Rights

East Hampton

August 1, 2017

To the Editor:

From Paris there is trepidation that Macron likes the U.S. system a little too much. The simplicity of U.S. bureaucracies, in comparison to the French, allows for more freedom in creative business practices. But it also permits the abuse and debasement of workers’ rights and protections — labor’s right to bargain collectively, from wage increases to benefits including health care and overtime. (Essentially, the right to screw the middle class the way it was done in the U.S.)

Here, the debate on growing the economy is alive and searching. Growth in one sector that weakens another doesn’t improve the economy but shifts wealth around, which allows for the siphoning and redistribution, always to the detriment of workers, of huge amounts of wealth. Labor in France is much more powerful and vocal in protecting the middle class and the gains they have made. In the U.S., Americans’ stupidity marginalized unions, which found themselves unprotected and without a seat at the table.

Not understanding the historical struggle of labor in our country, the American people bought the mantra that corporate America was a better fit for them than the labor unions — the equivalent of asking Trump to babysit your teenage daughters.

The primary difference between French and American voters is that the French voters turn out en masse, and their political I.Q.s are at least 50 points higher. We are like a class of 15-year-olds who can’t read because they never made the effort to learn.

Sometimes, like health care, it’s not complicated, If we take our heads out of our butts we’d be amazed at what’s out there.

NEIL HAUSIG

The Political Beast

Springs

July 30, 2017

To the Editor,

Stand by for a repeat performance by the Theater of the Absurd. A tragic comedy of sinisterism, treason, collusion in the towers of Trumps. A classic example of fools not learning from experience.

On July 26, 2016, in the midst of a northerly gale, a twister, of Russians interfering with our election process, tinkering, sabotaging, altering election results, hacking the D.N.C., displaying accessibility control over our classified systems, threatening our very existence (so they say).

At the same time we are hit by a southerly overwhelming storm, Hillary Clinton’s mess, 30,000 missing emails, confidential and classified. Smashed and missing computers, her assistant’s private, confidential, classified emails mixed with child pornography, all over Queens. And there, our newly elected president, confident, grinning, smirking, blurts out — instinctively — “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re will able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you probably [will be] rewarded mightily by our press.”

That is all. He said nothing else, no follow-up, no further explanation, nothing. Give the man credit, Mark Twain or Bob Hope couldn’t top that.

Bombshell! Trump is in bed with the Russians! The rest is history. What a waste of precious time, energy, damage, and delay of urgent, critical plans, still reverberating to this day, with zero evidence. Vultures gnawing on a corpse.

Fast-forward to June 2017, Trump Towers, New York. A hotshot young Russian attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya (still in the U.S.A. on a dubious extended visa issued by Loretta Lynch) scans the field, seizes the opportunity, and arranges a meeting between confidants — advisers to President Trump and older, seasoned Russian veteran diplomats, probably at the suggestion, instruction, or order from the Kremlin.

Irrelevant. A natural function of the political beast, practiced for generations by all. Seek, search, learn, plan, get ahead. Note, none of the American attendees were elected ones at that time; also the cleverness of the Russians picking the winners. (Logically predictable?) The bait: Dirt on Hillary Clinton. Once in the trap, oooops, disappointment, letdown, no beef on Hillary, but instead — a request? A bid?, A favor? A possible deal? A plea to loosen, eliminate the hurting sanctions, the Magnitsky Act, adoptions? Jared Kushner, smart, departed after 10 minutes.

So? Do we have to go through this again!? The vultures are circling above. God bless and save America.

EDWARD A. WAGSCHAL