Letters to the Editor: 08.31.17

Our readers' comments

Care and Knowledge

Montauk

August 28, 2017

Dear Editor: 

Wow! The Montauk police, the Montauk firemen, and the E.M.T.s and their volunteers gathered to assist us in our emergency. The care and knowledge is formidable! 

We cannot thank them enough — attitude and empathy!

Hurrah! How lucky we are to have them.

MARVIN and CATHY HUNTER

Reached Our Goal

East Hampton

August 22, 2017

Dear Editor,

I want to say thank you to everyone who donated to the self-bailing dory on the GoFundMe page, especially John Tintle, who made an incredibly generous donation. 

We reached our goal of $6,000 in less than 10 days. This year we came in third in the Open Lifeguard Division at Nationals in Daytona, and hope to beat that next year! 

Thank you again!

KATIE OSIECKI

East Hampton Ocean Rescue

East Hampton Town Lifeguards

Multicultural

Amagansett

August 22, 2017

To the Editor:

Over the weekend I visited the urgent care center, where a white woman checked me, an Asian woman took my vitals, and a white male doctor told me I had to go to the E.R. My Puerto Rican brother-in-law drove me and my British husband stayed home with the kids. 

At the E.R. I was greeted by a Hispanic woman, who checked me in, and after a short wait I was taken to a room where a white woman introduced herself as my nurse. By then my discomfort had nearly disappeared, and I was feeling a bit silly for taking an E.R. room. My earth angels, Mom and Big Sis, were with me, and they suggested I relax and think of this visit as a quiet and relaxing time, like a mommy holiday. 

I do not recommend using the E.R. as a holiday! Shortly after, I was taken for a sonogram; my technician was a gentle white young woman. She kept a straight face, and when I asked what she saw, she smiled and said, “The doctor is better equipped to discuss this with you.” 

Well, that doesn’t sound good, I thought. I was wheeled back to the room and a white male resident doctor came to deliver the news: I needed surgery and it couldn’t wait. My bloodwork was troublesome, so I wasn’t going home anyway. Nevertheless, he said he would give me a few minutes and would be back with his superior and the surgical team. 

Mom and Sis did all they could to keep me calm and assured me all would be fine. The hubby, who I’m sure had a million questions, simply said, just relax, we love you. 

In walked my surgeon, an older Indian man, and his assistant, who was also Indian but a bit younger. Surgery was a go, they were just waiting to prep me and the O.R. The next 24 hours are a bit of a wash. My surgery was supposed to be about one hour but took four hours — they called it “a fishing expedition.” I was out on morphine and couldn’t feel any of my body parts. Mother held my hand as I asked her not to leave me, and I went out again. When I woke up I was in another room with several nurses and doctors talking to me and mother. I could feel my arms and legs and I was breathing. I thought, I’m alive. I’ll worry about them another day. And out again I went. 

My attending nurse now was Asian and the nurse assistants were black. The new resident doctor was a white woman and my dietitian was a very funny Filipino man. He spoiled me with extra ice cream and cranberry juice — he surely knows how to make patients happy!

I’m sharing my surgery story because while I was out on morphine and terrified, my multicultural family was looking after me and a multicultural medical staff was working together, making sure I would come home to my little ones. I was terrified, and they delivered. I am home and safe.

That diversity is what makes this a great country. The protests over the weekend are a shame. It’s turning back in time. It’s sad and painful, not the kind morphine can help with.

I have two kids. My oldest doesn’t know about race or hate, he knows about friends and playgrounds, he shares and holds doors (to the best of his ability), he plays with trains and babies. I want my kids to grow up loving every race, to meet different people and be interested and curious about their cultures. I want them to help someone up and hold someone’s hand without any regard to race or religion. I want them to feel loved and safe in any corner of the world, not just home. 

Ignoring what is happening in other parts of the country is almost as bad as being part of it. Please don’t let this be ignored — if we do, we will be lost. We cannot let history repeat itself. 

So hug a friend who looks different or worships differently. And please be kind to medical staff.

YESENIA G. QUICHIMBO

Wonderful Teamwork

East Hampton

August 28, 2017

Dear Editor, 

Kudos and thumbs up to our East Hampton Village police and East Hampton Fire Department, as well as all the municipalities that came in to help with the extremely organized entry and exit of the Main Beach fireworks on Saturday. Of course, the fireworks display was dazzling, and many long-term memories were formed by the groups of families — grandparents, parents, and kids with glowsticks and rings around their legs and necks, playing in the dark. What a great photo.

But the wonderful teamwork is what is applauded here — cars getting out of lots 1 and 2, people coming off the beach ushered safely across the lines of traffic, all of us being waved along down Ocean Avenue, with Dunemere being blocked off so we could just keep on going straight onto Main Street. This took tremendous planning and cooperation, bringing the perfect ending to a wonderful show. I got home in 10 minutes!

With sincere thanks and appreciation to all who helped out, including those that got to the beach at 7 a.m. the next day to clean up after us.

MAMALEE LAWLER and FAMILY

Character Education

East Hampton

August 28, 2017

Dear Mr. Rattray,

Two weeks ago, I posted a letter on Facebook about a memorable moment my husband and I experienced at the East Hampton High School track because of the East Hampton football team. After reading the post, a friend and former teacher of mine suggested I submit the letter to the paper. I was hesitant, but after reading last week that there would be no East Hampton football this year, my heart dropped and I felt I needed to share my experience. Football is more than building a strong team by teaching skills and plays. It is also about teaching character education. 

As posted on Facebook August 14, 2017: This evening I experienced another “It’s a Wonderful Life” moment. A part of the East Hampton school community showed me their true colors once again, sharing compassion and kindness. It moved me to tears, tears of heartwarming joy. It validated why East Hampton is a wonderful place to live.

Here’s my story: Lately, my husband and I have been walking the East Hampton High School track. It is a safe place for him to walk, faced with the physical challenges he has today. It is the same track we walked when we first moved back to East Hampton, 19 years ago. At that time, we would do a lap in four minutes. Today, just short of the one-year anniversary of his stroke, Aug. 28, 2016, he is able to do a lap in a respectable 7:20.87 minutes, with his walking cane. 

We arrived at the track just as the football team was heading to the field to practice. I asked Coach Dave Fioriello if it would be okay for us to do some laps while they practiced, and he welcomed us on. We had just finished our second lap and the team was well into its practice when, suddenly, Coach Joey McKee stopped the practice and said to his team, “Team, I want you to say hello to Mr. DeFronzo.” He was acknowledging my husband, and his efforts to push past his pain, not giving up. After the heartfelt hellos from these wonderful young people and their coaches they all started to applaud. That was the moment! The moment that brought me to tears.

Kudos to Coach Joey McKee. He taught these young people a lesson more important than how to throw a football, a lesson they can use for the rest of their lives. He taught them compassion and human kindness. It was character education at its best! Thank you. It is a moment I will forever hold dear.

It is a wonderful life!

KAREN RAFFEL DeFRONZO

What Is Left for Us?

Springs

August 28, 2017

Dear David,

I’m writing this because I’d really like to get some answers. Quite frankly, I find it a little strange that no one is discussing the airport in this election, and how the town board dropped the ball on regulation by retaining the attorney Peter Kirsch. 

From the start, Kirsch has shown that he was all for lax regulation of the airport. That being said, why was a lawyer who was never pro-regulation the one retained to defend the case? 

I’m particularly confused by Kathee Burke-Gonzales’s vote to retain this specific attorney, when she headed the effort to regulate the airport. Why would she undermine her own efforts? I was happy to see her taking a stand for the integrity of this area. Our skies are now filling with noise. 

The reason this concerns me is because I am a young person in this town. What kind of landscape is being left for us to inherit? Our most precious natural resources are the water and land — but also two things which are intangible: serenity and exclusivity. There will come a time when the younger generation — my generation — will inherit this area, and what exactly is being left for us? 

I can trace my family back to the very beginning of Springs and East Hampton, so I do not take lightly that my heritage is being played with. There is no long-term vision for the people in my generation, with these decisions being made which are taking away the very things that make this place as special as it is.

Sincerely, 

REBECKAH SULLIVAN

Creek at Fresh Pond

East Hampton

August 24, 2017

Dear Mr. Rattray,

I’d like to thank you for the coverage your newspaper has given the water quality report that the Eastern Long Island Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation released earlier this summer. 

The report presented an overview of the water quality data we’ve obtained over the last three years with our partners at the Concerned Citizens of Montauk. Surfrider and C.C.O.M. joined up to implement a volunteer water testing program in 2013 because we realized there were so many beaches and special recreational spots that no one else is monitoring, and as a community we didn’t really have the information we needed to know where it is safe to swim, surf, paddle, and otherwise have fun in the water. 

The analysis of our water quality data from 2013 and 2016 revealed three trends that make complete sense to most of us who live here:

1. Bacteria levels tend to be higher in creeks and closed, still bodies of water than at open ocean and bay beaches.

2. Bacteria levels are higher during summer months (June to September). 3. Higher bacteria levels are measured after rain events.

Your reporter also picked up on one of the more troubling spots we’ve been testing — the creek in Amagansett that connects Fresh Pond to the bay. Nearly 40 percent of the time this site is tested, the bacteria levels exceed the health standard. Bacteria levels seem particularly problematic during and just after rain events and when the creek does not flow open to the bay, so no good flushing of the creek water is happening.

But we all know why this is really alarming, and that is because this is where families with really small children, babies even, go to the beach to play in the shallow, calm waters of the creek. Even the local schools take their kindergarten classes there for their end-of-the-year beach days. So thank you for helping us bring attention to this important water quality problem.

We’re very happy, too, that East Hampton Town has responded so positively to the information we presented. Warning signs have been posted down at the beach and along the walkway to the creek at Fresh Pond, letting people know of the high bacterial levels that have been measured there. The Natural Resources Department and the water quality advisory committee tasked with recommending projects for spending community preservation fund revenues are also considering the next steps needed to figure out what is causing the high bacteria levels at this site so the problem can ultimately be fixed. Surfrider plans on speaking to town trustees about the issue as well.

Finally, we’d just like everyone to know that all of our weekly water testing results are posted online at go.surfrider.org/BWTF. Just click on the link to East Hampton, New York, before you head to the beach. 

Thanks again for your attention to this important local issue.

MARA DIAS

Water Quality Manager

Surfrider Foundation

Pussy’s Pond Pollution

East Hampton

August 26, 2017

Dear David,

I am a working Springs native, resident, and millennial. I am extremely concerned with the worsening quality of our water. As I am sure you are aware, Pussy’s Pond in Springs, right behind the school, is horribly polluted.

There are two candidates from Springs running for seats on the town board, and thus far I have heard nothing from them about water pollution in Springs. Since one of those, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, is currently in active office as a town board member, I would like to know what she is doing to remedy the situation.

CORY FRANCESCA MacNIVEN

Solid Science

Amagansett

August 23, 2017

To the Editor:

Whenever The Star announces an upcoming aerial spraying of Napeague and Accabonac Harbor to combat mosquito larvae, you invariably state that Suffolk County and vector control say no precautions need be taken as it’s safe for humans. You also invariably state that others see it differently.

It reminds me of President Trump putting the white nationalists and their protesters at equal responsibility for the violent tragedy at Charlottesville. Suffolk County and vector control give us accurate information on the dangers of methoprene based on solid science. Fortunately we don’t yet have the Zika virus in Suffolk County, but we do have West Nile, which can kill and severely damage us, particularly our young and elderly. I’ve seen the damage done when “others” spread false information about the dangers of childhood vaccinations, leading to many not vaccinating their children, causing unnecessary suffering. 

Please don’t feel the need to balance good science and good guidance with an opposing but uninformed opinion.

GERALD LUTZER

Let’s Not Fear Sharks

Springs

August 28, 2017

Dear David,

More than 40 years ago, the movie “Jaws” came out, based on a book whose main character was inspired by the Montauk shark hunter Frank Mundus. The film inspired a terror of the great white shark that is tragically undeserved, as I learned last week when I went with a few of my fellow candidates for town trustee to tour the Ocearch vessel parked in Montauk waters. 

Ocearch works with marine scientists, providing them with the tools and transport for research on the most feared — yet most important — top ocean predator, the great white shark. Ocearch’s brilliant social media campaign is beginning to turn the popular terror of sharks around, by allowing ordinary citizens to follow such shark stars as Mary Lee and Hilton as they travel our Atlantic region and elsewhere. 

The Ocearch vessel I toured was just back from tagging baby sharks in one of the most important shark nurseries recently discovered, right off East Hampton’s ocean shoreline. Those babies are not just important for scientists. They are crucial to the continued health of our ocean and our fish stocks. As I learned from Ocearch’s founder Chris Fischer, who spoke with the trustee candidates at length, the large sharks are for the ocean what the wolves are for Yellowstone: They keep the ecosystem in balance. 

But the sharks, and by implication our fisheries, are in peril. We lose 250,000 sharks a day, about 100 million per year. Most of them are slaughtered for the Asian shark-fin soup industry. Shark populations are down 91 percent. 

Mr. Fischer started out as a commercial fisherman. You’d think he would see sharks as competitors, but no. He told us, “If you remove the top of the food chain, the second tier explodes and wipes out the tier below it, and there’s no fish for us to eat. The squid explode and eat all the baby tuna, all the baby mahi, all the baby marlin. They eat everything we need to grow up for our recreational and commercial economy.” 

And it’s not just the fish of the open ocean. If sharks are removed from off our beaches, rays will explode and wipe out the shellfish. No more oysters; no more clams. Jellyfish, anyone?

That’s why Ocearch’s research is so important, and why it’s so important to support it. Check them out. You may even get to name one of those baby sharks born this season in the Hamptons.

I end this letter with a philosophical observation that is important to remember: When we allow ignorance to drive our fears, we often end up creating a far worse catastrophe. Let’s not fear sharks. Let’s celebrate them. 

(A shout-out and thanks to my fellow Democratic trustee candidate Susan McGraw Keber, who kindly arranged the Ocearch tour for us. She’s the voice of Peggy the Shark on Ocearch’s Twitter feed.)

FRANCESCA RHEANNON

In Her Memory

Douglaston

August 24, 2017

Dear Editor:

With much sadness, I read about the passing of Pat Arceri. She has certainly left a permanent imprint in the hearts of many. 

Pat taught me a lesson on how to gently coax an unwilling child into the water at Havens Beach by engaging him in skipping stones. This was our first meeting at the start of the Red Cross swim lessons conducted by the pretty East Hampton twins, Erin and Colleen. As a result, my son excelled and became an ocean lifeguard at the Maidstone Club during his teen years of summer in Wainscott. Her gesture of kindness resulted in a successful adolescence for him.

Before we moved away, Pat gave us a canister of smooth, white round skipping stones, and they will be treasured in her memory. My sincere sympathy to the lovely Arceri family — all genuinely social-minded people whose concern it has always been to improve the lives of folks in the community. 

Sincerely, 

MARY LICATA

Not Factual

Montauk

August 28, 2017

To the Editor:

As someone who was a member of the board of managers of Montauk Shores Condominium for 20 years, I would like to reply to an Aug. 24 letter to the editor from Bea Derrico pertaining to the Montauk Shores community, since it contains statements by her that are not factual.

Ms. Derrico stated the “campsite changed over around the early ’70s to co-op, which failed, it then was decided by the owners to purchase the land and create a condominium with a prospectus.” This is not correct.

The original two owners of the entire parcel defaulted, or declared bankruptcy, and lost ownership of the “campsite,” and it was purchased by a group of 152 owners — not 52 as Ms. Derrico states — who formed Montauk Shores Condominium. It was the first, and possibly still is, the only mobile-home condominium community in the State of New York. The condominium formed Montauk Shores Ltd. to facilitate the transfer of the individual deeded sites to the 152 purchasers. The community never consisted of “co-ops, which failed,” as stated by Ms. Derrico.

My wife and I purchased the first resale of a deeded site in 1978, prior to Ms. Derrico’s obtaining the lease on her site. Our purchase was from one of several sites available from people who were part of the original 152 owners. Before we purchased the site, the board of managers offered us a lease to one of the many vacant leasehold sites available. We decided that we wanted to own the land and therefore paid $12,500 for our site.

We then spent approximately another $15,000 to install a manufactured home and build a deck and shed. Total investment $27,500 for a plot of land 40 feet wide by 50 feet deep. While the investment seems small compared to today, it was a substantial amount of money for us in 1978. 

Many people could not understand why we would pay for the land when a lease was available without any cash outlay. To us, it was a business decision, knowing that certain rights come with land ownership that do not extend to a leaseholder. There are people who for many reasons choose to lease at Montauk Shores. While Ms. Derrico chose to lease, and is still a leaseholder, I do not believe she has actually lived in Montauk Shores Condominium for at least 20 years.

When it was formed, the original plan was for 152 owned (or deeded) sites and 100 land-lease sites. Believe it or not, there was difficulty getting 152 people to purchase a site in a community that had dirt roads and only the ocean as an amenity, and that is why several people purchased two or more sites. In the early 1980s, the owners decided to limit the number of lease sites to 48, so as to leave more open space.

When we purchased our site in 1978 there were other sites that were also available for sale. One friend questioned why I would spend $12,500 for such a small piece of land when lots in Ditch were selling for a couple of thousand dollars more. This friend, who obtained a leased site around 1980, told me, “It doesn’t make sense to buy, when the park will give me the lot to use and only charge me rent.” For my friend, it was also a business decision.

Just as property and home values have increased tremendously on the East End of Long Island since 1978, and in particular Montauk, so have they in Montauk Shores Condominium. Ms. Derrico’s statement that “the bulk of the fiscal responsibility falls on the backs of renters” is misleading. She is correct that there has not been an increase in owners’ maintenance fees in many years while her rent has increased substantially. What she does not say is that leases have been transferred to others, and the owners of the manufactured homes on leased sites have sold the homes — not the land — for hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Interestingly, insurance companies are known to depreciate the value of manufactured homes as they age. Some may even say that there are tenants who have enriched themselves on the value of the land here.

With the exception of a few tenants who walked away from their mobile homes mainly because they had become uninhabitable and therefore impossible to sell, I have never known of a tenant of Montauk Shores who did not recoup their entire investment and rent paid for the years they lived here. Clearly, residents of the community, owners and tenants alike, have profited from their initial investment.  

Ms. Derrico states she does not believe the newer and larger homes coming into the community should be permitted, stating they are “too large and make the park too crowded.” The homes are larger, and legally permitted, but the community is not more crowded, and in fact is less so than a “stick-built” condominium would be. Further, the increase in size has not led to an increase in the number of people occupying the homes. Also, it should be noted that Montauk Shores is, and has always been, a summer and weekend getaway community with fewer than 20 of the homes currently being occupied from November to May of each year, even though Ms. Derrico’s is used as a full-time residence.

I do agree with Ms. Derrico that “the park is well kept, and residents do take pride in their units and property.” I would like to add that it is also a safe, enjoyable, and fun-filled community made up of a great bunch of people consisting of both owners and tenants!

Sincerely,

HUGH T. HERBERT

False Notions

East Hampton

August 27, 2017

Dear David, 

I write to help your readers understand the policies of the current town board to bring relief to a large number of East End residents from health-threatening impacts of aircraft noise and emissions spewed around the community. Those town board policies are directly contrary to the perceptions that somehow, the Montauk airport is the intended destination for any diverted helicopter traffic — false notions promoted by an organization called Montauk United. 

The facts are these:

1. Montauk Airport is privately owned and encumbered by Federal Aviation Administration grant assurances until 2030. East Hampton Airport is owned by the Town of East Hampton; indeed, owned by the residents of this community, and is also encumbered by F.A.A. grant assurances, but only until 2021. The recent court ruling in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals directs the town to appeal to the F.A.A. via administrative action to reduce aircraft noise impacts on surrounding residents. 

2. The Supreme Court did not rule on East Hampton’s appeal. It declined to hear the appeal. To state that the town board’s efforts to seek legislative relief to anchor a settlement the F.A.A. entered into in a federal court of law, as an attempt to circumvent a “Supreme Court ruling” is pure propaganda. There was no Supreme Court ruling. Moreover, the town also is seeking legislative relief to reassert its right of home rule, one that was written into a legal contract with the F.A.A. as a result of a court settlement over 10 years ago. (Because the F.A.A. has not acted in good faith to defend that legal settlement, East Hampton is stripped of its rights to govern its property). 

3. As directed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the town will now engage in an F.A.A.-governed administrative proceeding called a Part 161 study. This is the process the F.A.A. requires airport proprietors to complete in order to address noise impacts at F.A.A.-funded facilities. The town board has instructed its professional staff to include Montauk residents and potential impacts to Montauk Airport in this study. We will all see what the data reveal. By the way, should aircraft noise impacts be disturbing there, Montauk Airport owners have the same opportunity.

4. East Hampton Airport is financially self-sustaining, with no taxpayer support. Landing fees, rental fees, and fuel flowage fees finance all airport maintenance, safety improvements, and legal and professional expenses. In fact, even with all these expenses, including high legal fees, the airport still generates an annual surplus. This money comes from airport users, not taxpayer money, as is often claimed. As a private airport, one cannot know if Montauk Airport is financially self-sustaining. However, contracting with the F.A.A. for funding, and abandoning any right to govern access to that airport, is an indication that this money may be necessary to operate the facility. That is a question for the owners and operators of that airport, and an extremely important one. How do they propose to control aircraft noise that may affect Montauk, whether or not East Hampton is successful in its Part 161 proceeding? 

It is disingenuous at best, and downright misleading at worst, to use scare tactics to rally the residents of different hamlets against one another, worse still gainst a governing body that has been profoundly sensitive to the serious issues facing Montauk. 

The upcoming town election is important, not only because it will direct airport policy in future, but also because it will direct coastal erosion policy, water quality issues, open-container laws, noise ordinances, and the sanctity of the homeowner’s right to the peaceful enjoyment of home and property, be that on the streets of downtown Montauk in summer, or at home on the porch in Wainscott.

Montauk is a part of this town. And, when the next northeaster or hurricane comes and once again washes away the sand at “Dirtbag Beach,” it will be the taxpayers of this entire community that will bear the burden of restoring those dunes. No landing, rental, or fuel flowage fees will be available for that purpose. I will be first in line to offer my support to my Montauk neighbors to do what needs to be done to address the dire coastal erosion threats to that community. And I hope they will be willing to help me and the many thousands of aircraft-noise sufferers in the western part of town, and all across the East End, limit the impacts of disturbing aircraft noise. 

Montauk United shouldn’t encourage Montaukers to cleave themselves from the whole on an issue that has no clear anchor in reality. After all, united we stand, divided we fall.

KATHLEEN CUNNINGHAM

Quiet Skies Coalition Ltd. 

Close the Airport

Sag Harbor

August 23, 2017

Dear David,

When we bought our house in Sag Harbor, we specifically chose its location for its quiet — just south of Mash­ashimuet Park, in the woods, on a pond, and far from any roads. It was also far from the airport, so aircraft noise was not a concern. Occasionally a small plane would fly over, but this was no bother.

As you know, for at least 10 years, noise emanating from the airport has skyrocketed, especially the dreaded wap-wap-wap of helicopters. It is now impossible in summer to enjoy the outdoors and nature, thanks to a small, wealthy group of individuals who feel free to pour noise pollution upon thousands.

I’ve been one of the many folks on the route of the aircraft from the East Hampton Airport complaining about the noise. Sometime late last summer, I stopped cold. This was not because I grew used to the ever-increasing noise levels. It is rather because, after many years of interrupting dinner parties or hikes in Barcelona Neck or lying in the no-longer-peaceful hammock to report noise incidents, I realized that I was totally wasting my time and that I was just aggravating myself. Not only has the situation not improved, it has gotten worse each year. No one is listening to our complaints.

Any yet I hear that “noise complaints have gone down,” as if this signifies our acceptance of the situation. To the contrary: It signals our exhaustion and sense of hopelessness.

Henceforth I have asked the airport to record any helicopter or seaplane or jet that flies to the west or northwest of the airport, coming or going, to be a noise complaint by me. They could easily do the same for my whole family and all our neighbors. This way they cannot use the excuse of lower complaints to justify acceptance.

I have also requested that the East Hampton Town Board implement the only solution: Start the process to close the airport. Imagine if you built a bus depot, then found that you could not control the buses that used it. They could have jet engines, run over your lawns, and charge thousands of dollars a passenger. If East Hampton cannot control the noise emanating from its own airport, then the huge environmental and social cost is simply not worth it. The hyper-wealthy will find other means to get here. Who knows? Maybe the train or sea routes will have a renaissance. Maybe the towns will finally invest in a rational transportation infrastructure.

We will look to our political leadership to start the process of closing the airport and seeking alternative, more universally profitable and environmentally sound uses for the property as soon as possible.

KEN DORPH

Yes, School Food

East Hampton

August 28, 2017

Dear Editor:

With the new school year upon us, parents turn their attention to school clothes, school supplies, and school food. Yes, school food!

More than 31 million children rely on school meals for their daily nutrition, which too often consists of highly processed food laden with saturated fat. Not surprisingly, one-third of our children have become overweight or obese. Their early dietary flaws become lifelong addictions, raising their risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

To compound the problem, the Trump administration has loosened Obama’s 2010 school lunch rules calling for whole grains, fat-free milk, and reduced salt content. The rules had an 86-percent approval rating.

Fortunately, many U.S. school districts now offer vegetarian options. More than 120 schools, including the entire school districts of Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Oakland, Philadelphia, and San Diego have implemented Meatless Monday.

As parents, we need to involve our own children and school cafeteria managers in promoting healthful, plant-based foods in our local schools. Entering “vegan options in schools” in a search engine provides lots of useful resources.

Sincerely, 

ELIJAH HANNESBURG

School Taxes

Amagansett

August 28, 2017

Dear David,

I am taping the Amagansett School Board meetings so the Amagansett year-round and second-home residents can be more informed as to how their tax dollars are being spent. You can view it on YouTube, labeled Amagansett School Board meeting August 22, 2017.                        

I personally feel the Amagansett School taxes are not being used wisely. The superintendent created two administration positions in salaries of approximately $250,000 for approximately 97 students in grades pre-K to 6 (and tuition for others).

The board accepted a signed petition of over 100 concerned Amagansett tax-paying residents opposed to the two unnecessary additional positions, requesting them to be eliminated and to have the school board meetings televised by LTV. They accepted the petitions, but obviously did not consider the requests, because they approved the same administrators for the new school year and gave them both salary raises. 

If you would like to ask questions, just two minutes are allotted to each taxpayer. The school board voted to give the power to the superintendent  to answer all the questions.

The meetings dates are on the website aufsd.org. The meetings are held bi-monthly, alternately at 7:30 a.m. or 6:30 p.m., at the Amagansett Grade School.

MARY EAMES

Milestone Bond Rating

Springs

August 27, 2017

Dear David,

Hats off to Larry Cantwell, the members of the town board, and the staff of town workers who contributed to the upgrading of the town’s financial status.  This advancement included choosing the right people to get our house in order. Their relevant experience and knowledge and their ability to work together produced this milestone of a Triple A bond rating after the fall from grace at the hands of the McGintee era. Bravo for East Hampton and us!

This is why we, the citizens of East Hampton, must be extra careful when casting our votes in the upcoming Democratic primary. There are those who call themselves Democrats who really don’t possess the heart and passion of a true Democrat. No real Democrat would ever accept a penny from the likes of Andy Sabin, a dyed-in-the-wool Trump supporter, let alone a thousand dollars. No real Democrat would ask people to sign their petitions without leveling with the signer that the candidate they were asking them to sign for was not the chosen candidate of the official East Hampton Democratic Committee. Many bystanders witnessed people being asked to sign for a Democratic candidate in some public place with no mention of the true facts. 

Running in this primary are two real lifelong Democrats — Democrats from the tip of their toes to the ends of their hair follicles, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, present town board member, and Jeff Bragman, a lawyer with an environmental background who has worked for the town during his many years in East Hampton. These are the kind of people who are equipped to safeguard our interests — intelligent, and steeped in the knowledge of how to run our town, and the complex problems that face the town. 

Supporting the other guy are people who have drunk the Kool-Aid!

PHYLLIS ITALIANO

The Widest List

Montauk

August 27, 2017

To the Editor:

As a Democratic Committeeman, I want to thank Zachary Cohen for running in the Democratic Party primary on Tuesday, Sept. 12.

While our Democratic Party has endorsed and supports its present slate for public office, i.e., Kathee Burke-Gonzalez and Jeff Bragman, there is the process of a primary, for the purpose of allowing a person other than the party choice to also run. 

The purpose of this is to democratize the opportunity for another to run with party endorsement for the office to which he or she aspires. It is not an easy process, and requires the candidate to get a significant number of petitions signed endorsing his or her right to qualify and run in the primary, and then the election if they win.

I personally welcome this process for our party, in the hope that it gives us the opportunity to hear and choose from the widest list of those candidates who will get our party’s endorsement for the election.

Whomever prevails in this primary, and then becomes our Democratic Party candidate for office, will be my candidate, with whom I will work to continue the excellent legacy of this present town board. I encourage all my colleagues to vote in the primary. Democracy with Democrats — it’s the name of our game. Leadership that unites.

LAWRENCE S. SMITH

Letters of Rebuke

Springs

August 26, 2017

Dear David,

So, let me see if I have this straight. Six years ago Zach Cohen was the standard-bearer for the local Democratic party. The pooh-bahs ran him for supervisor against an incumbent. Zach comported himself well then and handled the live debates with aplomb. At the time, the Democratic and Independence party leaders touted his overall intellect, business experience, and involvement in local issues. Why, even you guys at The Star gave him a ringing endorsement! 

I can still remember the witty bumper stickers: “Pro Zach” and “Zach Attack.” Now the former is “Smack Zach” while the latter has switched the positions of the verb and the proper noun. Last week in your paper, it was nonstop letters of rebuke, even questioning the very things once touted about the guy. Did the Democratic party lie to its voters back then — or are they lying to you now?  

What exactly happened in six short years? Did Zach walk through a magic X-ray machine that destroyed his talents, intelligence, and lifetime experience? If you all loved him then for the top position of supervisor in town government, you should love him now all the more for the lower position of councilman — but that isn’t the case, is it? Something more must be going on here, and it seems to be sinister. Perhaps Mr. Cohen just refuses to be a sock puppet to the high and mighty the same way his fellow office-seekers are willing to be. Thus, no one appears to like him for that.

My dog isn’t in this fight, we’ll take on the winner soon enough, but as Alice once cried, “Curiouser and curiouser!”

See you on Election Day, Nov. 7.

DON CIRILLO

Nasty Letters

Springs

August 27, 2017

Dear David:

Are some of our so-called Democrats intent on self-destruction?

I am referring to the nasty, ugly letters that appeared in The Star concerning the candidature of Zach Cohen to the town board. Not only are the allegations and innuendos without any merit, but their vicious tone reflects very badly on our party, which most of us like to consider the party of inclusiveness, regardless of race, sex, religious beliefs, station in life.

I am sure these letters have been greeted with glee by our local Republicans, as it gives them free ammunition to use in the November election!

We should all take example from President Obama, who, when running against Hillary Clinton, famously declared, “Hilary would be a great president. I am better.” In the same vein I’d like to declare: I am sure Mr. Bragman is a decent man. But Zach Cohen will be a much more effective member of the town board. Please vote for Zach!

As for the writers of these letters, let them look in the mirror and see reflected in their image the ugliness they spewed.

REDJEB JORDANIA

Actually, No

East Hampton

August 28, 2017

Dear David,

There is a primary election on Sept. 12 this year in the East Hampton Democratic Party, with three candidates vying for two nominations for town board in the general election this November.  

I received a curious piece of mail last week from the co-chairs of the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee, urging me to vote for the two of the three endorsed by the committee. It is curious because, at the end of the appeal, they declare that the two candidates selected by the Democratic Committee were endorsed by “the entire Democratic Party membership.” Actually, no. That’s the whole point of a primary election. The “entire Democratic Party membership” gets to have its say on primary day rather than leaving the choice to party insiders.

I don’t think the Democratic Committee was intentionally trying to mislead the party rank and file with this declaration. It’s just that the 38 insiders of the Democratic Committee tend to think of themselves as the whole party. They regard anyone who employs the democratic nominating process as written into state law, as an affront to their leadership and can too easily forget that the franchise belongs to the voters, not to them.

Although they clearly wish to believe so, nominating candidates for public office is not the prerogative of the Democratic leadership committee. Every party member who wishes to stand for office must gather the legally required number of signatures of party members to get on the primary ballot. If no one contests the committee’s proposed candidates, there is no need for a primary.  But the selections of the committee have no special claim or status whatsoever.

Regrettably, in their zeal to defend a prerogative that is not theirs in the first place, committee members have written a spate of letters to this page impugning the character of the candidate they did not choose, Zachary Cohen. In my view, this is uncalled for and completely unjustified. Rather, it speaks volumes about the pettiness and self-absorption of the committee members. I would discount them completely if I were you.

There are many causes of the disastrous outcome of the presidential election last November. Surely among them, however, is the tendency of an increasingly ingrown and insular Democratic Party leadership to confuse its own views with those of party members. As a stalwart Democrat, I like democracy with a small “d.” The voice of party members, a breath of fresh air, should be heard on the important question of who should be the party’s nominees for the East Hampton Town Board. 

The primary election is Sept. 12. Democrats who were registered by Aug. 18 can vote for any two of the three candidates. If you are not going to be in East Hampton that day, please get the absentee ballot you are entitled to and mail it in before the 12th. You can download an absentee ballot application at hsuffolkvotes.com/absenteevoting.asp.

All three candidates are Democrats. In a primary election, there is no issue concerning which party will form the majority on the town board. Hence, we can all afford to vote the person, not the party. I urge all of my fellow Democrats, every last one, to make this an exceptional year and vote in the primary election. Democracy works best when we all participate.

Sincerely,

DAVID GRUBER

For Jeffrey Bragman

Montauk

August 27, 2017

To the Editor:

I wish to express my personal support for Jeffrey Bragman’s election to the town board. Mr. Bragman has used his legal skills in exceptional efforts to protect the natural environment, often against powerful opposition. He understands what it is like to persevere for a good cause. 

Although I do not expect to agree with Mr. Bragman’s position on every issue, I know he will address all issues with a fresh and open mind and with respect for all the evidence he can gather. And I know he wants what is best for our entire community. 

BILL CRAIN

Deserves Votes

East Hampton

August 28, 2017

Dear David,

Jeffrey Bragman is a candidate for town board, and is a talented environmental lawyer who is dedicated to processes that can and will preserve East Hampton’s history and our precious resources, especially our water. 

Jeff Bragman will bring honesty, knowledge, experience, and hard work to his service for the town. He won’t bring bragging, bluster, empty promises, knee-jerk shallowness, or false pretenses. 

Jeff Bragman deserves our votes. 

Sincerely,

DELL CULLUM

 

 

One Word: Shadmoor

Montauk

August 27, 2017

Dear David:

With some bemusement, I have watched the Democratic Committee’s organized letter-writing campaign simultaneously maligning Zach Cohen’s good name and bemoaning the divisiveness of the Democratic primary battle for Fred Overton’s vacated town board seat between Zach and Jeff Bragman. Yes, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez is in a three-way race, but Zach’s campaign (I am on his campaign committee) has made a deliberate decision not to target Kathee, since many of us support her and want to do nothing to endanger her re-election.

I have one word for the Democratic Committee: Shadmoor.

Jeffrey Bragman was attempting to get a subdivision approved (he succeeded) that would have resulted in the removal of two historical bunkers and would have denied public access to the property in perpetuity. His method: character assassination. Lisa Liquori, the then-East Hampton Town Planning Director, said, “It’s not the first time that Jeffrey Bragman has used character assassination when he’s disagreed with the Planning Department.” (East Hampton Star, 4/22/1999)

Henry Clifford, the then-chairman of the planning board, reading from a prepared statement, said, “The presentation by Mr. Bragman last week was the most distasteful performance I have ever witnessed as a member of the Planning Board.” (East Hampton Star, April 28, 1999)

(In the end, Shadmoor State Park was created, by the town, the state, and the county, to preserve the property. Maps of it are one of the two most requested maps at the Montauk Chamber of Commerce.)

The Democratic Committee got this one very wrong. As to temperament and character, Zach Cohen is the better of the two candidates by far, and his positions are well known and given freely. In a pathetic attempt, the Democratic letter writers have attempted to tie Zach to the president through Andy Sabin.

Donald Trump engages in character assassination as a tactic to get what he wants and says whatever he needs to say when it suits him. Which primary candidate does that sound like?

Democrats, get out and vote. Primary day is Sept. 12. The choice is clear.

TOM RUHLE

 

A Pragmatic Person

 Montauk

 August 28, 2017

Dear Editor:

I have known Jeff Bragman for more than 20 years, from my days as a planning board member and, as well, as a friend. His heart is in the right place when it comes to protecting East Hampton. He knows what he is doing and would be a great asset on the town board. 

I also remember Jeff’s constructive work on the Shadmoor planning board application. He replaced another lawyer and changed course, presenting an environmentally sensitive plan for just four lots and a 50-acre reserve. He communicated with the Nature Conservancy and managed to work his way to an approval. That approval enabled the owners to set a market price, and public acquisition soon followed. 

Jeff is a pragmatic person who always sticks to the facts. Even in the middle of controversy, he tries to be constructive and find a way to get things done. 

Sincerely, 

ROBERTA GOSMAN DONOVAN

Town’s Best Interests

Springs

August 27, 2017

Dear David,

Every week there is an ad in The Star “Paid for by Jeff Bragman 4 Town Board.” In Mr. Bragman’s ad he is promoted as having the “town’s best interests at heart.” In a recent newsletter, the East Hampton Democrats state that “you can always find him fighting battles to protect the town he loves.” 

This is not true. There is a glaring and significant omission in Mr. Bragman’s resume that does not support that contention.

In 2003 the East Hampton Library applied to the East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals for a children’s library expansion. Mr. Bragman, as the Village Preservation Society attorney, aided and abetted the society in its opposition to the expansion. This battle cost and wasted many thousands of taxpayer dollars. After seven years of an unnecessary battle, in 2010 the library held a referendum. The town voters overwhelmingly supported the expansion, by 83 percent. Furthermore, in an Aug. 17, 2010, 27 East article, Mr. Bragman was quoted as saying, “If anything is exclusionary in this project, it’s this Taj Mahal in the center of the village. The parents of children in the Springs are not going to drive all the way to the village after a full workday to bring their kid to write his term paper in the library. It’s not going to happen.” This hyperbolic language was rejected by the voters. Even the Springs voters that he refers to also overwhelmingly supported the referendum, by over 90 percent.

This referendum ultimately led to a successful library lawsuit against the Z.B.A. in 2011 in the New York State Supreme Court, paid for by the library board, not the taxpayers. Now we have a beautiful children’s library seamlessly and tastefully added to the original library, enjoyed by all East Hampton families. Despite the spurious objections by Mr. Bragman, there has been no environmental, parking, or traffic impact. Has Mr. Bragman visited the library sometime after school or during the summer to see the Springs kids using all that the expansion has to offer?

It is ironic that Mr. Bragman is participating in the Democratic primary debate being held in, you guessed it, the children’s library extension that he fought so hard to oppose. So does he really always have the best interests of the town at heart? I think not.

Respectfully,

MAX PLESSET

Get Out and Vote

East Hampton

28 August 28, 2017

Hello, Dear David,

Although the march was short down Main Street last Thursday, the spirit of the women of East Hampton at the celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote was inspirational. And it is in this spirit that I want to urge every single person to get out and vote on Sept. 12.

Although you don’t feel it now in this crush of summer people, our voting population is not only small but often lazy, which means that every vote actually cast counts a millionfold.

Kathee Burke-Gonzales and Jeff Bragman stand for the right things — a clean environment, quality of life, fairness, a sustainable future, and the ethics we need to uphold in our historical town.

Kathee has already proven herself as our councilwoman, and, in the words of Larry Cantwell, one of the finest to ever hold an office. She “knows how to get things done.”

Jeff Bragman is interested in the welfare of the town, and I have it from inside sources that he is very smart.

And Dell Cullum as a town trustee is a no-brainer. This man has singly done more for our beaches and better understands the coexistence of our natural resources than anyone I have ever met.

These are great people. Please get out and vote for them,

DIANNE BENSON

True Independence

Springs

August 28, 2017

Dear Mr. Rattray,

Over the last two weeks it has become evident that the local Democratic Party machine has geared up to denigrate Zachary Cohen, perhaps because he was able to acquire well over the number of required registered Democratic voters’ signatures on his town board candidate- nominating petitions, supported by his friends and neighbors as opposed to the local Democratic Party. The fact that there may be a truly independent member of the town board is obviously alarming to the faithful. (For the record, I am a registered Democrat, though I was a blank when I was defeated for trustee, and gladly carried Zach’s current petition.)

This past week’s single-issue diatribe by Dell Cullum, who you failed to mention is a Democratic Party candidate for town trustee, and the other party-line opinion letter writers who were clearly out in full force, supporting the self-ap pointed party committee’s chosen candidates. Worse, last week’s letters of personal attack show that even among those on the right side of most issues, there are those whose character is clearly questionable except to stoop. But of course, we have a national government flouting and eroding social and ethical norms of acceptability on a daily basis. Arpaio, anyone?

Frankly, I almost don’t care what Dell says since I know he is completely sincere, and I am thrilled to be able to vote for him in the upcoming trustee election. He is a terrific choice regardless of his blindness to Zach’s long history of true voluntary public service, ironically reminiscent of Dell’s own well-organized beach cleanups and his daily service to our environment and its wildlife. 

Other party operatives opposing Zach’s candidacy have pointed out that he did not hew to the party line on some issues when he ran for trustee, after the squeaker loss to Wilkinson, subsequent to the malfeasant Democratic administration of Mr. McGintee. I believe Zach’s true independence, and utterly thoughtful and progressive approach to issues, alienated the dominant faction within the Dems that is so obviously in love with itself that it resists real change and seems to fear real debate within its midst. 

Zachary Cohen’s primary bid is a way to make the Democratic Party more democratic, but clearly they don’t see it that way. Top-down status quo leadership didn’t work last November, unfortunately. Doesn’t it make sense to change?

Over the past few years, the Dem letter machine’s self-congratulatory adulation has been in full support of the town board over its comity and courtesy, features lacking in the contentious Wilkinson years. But is conformity of thought the best way to govern us in times that are in such flux? I think not.

People going to Dirt Beach in Montauk might also think otherwise, as may many vexed by the burgeoning noise of the airport, let alone continuing with a clearly conflicted lead counsel in that matter, or subtle closure threats. 

Our town board has admirably shown strong environmental support in its acquisitions under the community preservation fund, and its current focus on water quality amelioration, its nascent septic replacement program, and its renewable energy commitment. Anyone who cares to look at Zach’s record at the nature preserve committee, and on the C.P.F. opinions bureau and other community service he does, would be greatly reassured that such vital initiatives would continue and expand upon his eventual election, if you, locally registered Democratic voters, give him the chance to run for the seat.

Zachary has his work cut out for him to win the upcoming primary. But when he does become the people’s candidate, I have no doubt of him prevailing in the general election, and I suspect that no one else does either, on either side of the political divide. I believe Zach Cohen will be the most valuable addition to our town’s government imaginable. He is progressive, truly independent, and has proven himself to be totally dedicated to unpaid public service to our town. No other candidate can match his record in that regard.

Every one of us can be confident he will work tirelessly and wisely to enhance the quality of life of all of our residents, no matter their circumstances or where they may live in our town. More, he will work well with anyone, regardless of faction or party, who truly has the welfare of our community, and our future well-being, as their central goal.

Focus on people, character, intelligence, and community service. Vote for Zach in the upcoming primary, and we will then all, friends and neighbors alike, no matter what party, have a chance to sweep him into office at Town Hall in November.

IRA BAROCAS

Zach Has My Vote

East Hampton

August 28, 2017

To the Editor:

Local politics are tricky, because even when your friends and choices win there is always some disappointment, always something that you are sure will transpire but doesn’t, for reasons that aren’t always clear.

I have known Zach Cohen for about 20 years and have often wondered what he was really up to. His attention, sometimes obsessive, to detail made me nervous. His intensity in pursuing the things he believed caused me to roll my eyes. I liked and kind of adored him as a person but was not sure as a politician. Yet, much to my surprise and delight, I came around to agree with him on almost everything that I questioned.

He was honest, straightforward, intense, and had a sense of humor. He had a screwy sincerity in a world where being sincere really means naïve. Yet he wasn’t naïve. He simply believed.

I trust him because he doesn’t need the job, doesn’t need to curry favor with the political parties. He seems capable of being in the fray and rising above it at the same time. He supports affordable housing, our biggest problem, which the Republicans, Democrats, and Independents don’t.

Knowing how someone really thinks, and that you can count on their support, is what politics is all about. Zach has my vote without reservations.

NEIL HAUSIG

Social Justice Concerns

Montauk

August 28, 2017

Dear Editor,

Two of the attributes I look for in a candidate for public office are demonstrated empathy and integrity — qualities that are especially evident in Zachary Cohen.  

As a 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer volunteer, educator, and someone still active in civil rights and immigrant rights issues, I find that these social justice concerns drive my choices at election time.

Zach has impressed me for many years, both because he has given his energy, time, and talents so generously to the community, but also because of issues like affordable housing that he has championed. I am particularly heartened by his commitment and work with the town’s Latino Advisory Committee and by the nonprofit 501(c)(3) he founded (East End for Opportunity Inc.) that brings legal services to underserved and often overlooked communities of our town.

Zachary has the character, courage, and demonstrated track record to make the Democratic Party proud. We need more like him.

MARK LEVY

A Vote for Zach

Amagansett

August 28, 2017

To the Editor:

For the past several years I have had the pleasure of working with Zachary Cohen, who is now a candidate for town board in the upcoming Democratic primary, on the town’s nature preserve committee. Zachary has served as chairman of the committee — a completely voluntary and unpaid position — for many years. During his chairmanship, Zach has shown an in-depth knowledge of town affairs and the ability to work with town officials and many other people to get things done.

Zach is committed to protecting East Hampton’s environment.  He has been stalwart in advocating for the protection of open space, groundwater, and scenic views. He has strongly supported public access to beaches and town-owned lands, even though this has not always made him popular with members of the town board.

Zachary can work with people on both sides of the political aisle. He has proved this throughout his tenure on the nature preserve committee. A vote for Zach will be a choice wisely made.

Sincerely,

RICHARD WHALEN

Campaign Contribution

Wainscott

August 27, 2017

Dear David,

I am troubled that Zach Cohen, while holding himself out to be a “progressive voice for the Democratic team,” recently accepted a significant campaign contribution from Andy Sabin, an unrepentant and very public Trump supporter. 

In his recent mailer, Zach appeals to Democrats by bemoaning the loss of “the Presidency to a dangerous demagogue” and yet he has accepted support from someone who helped make that possible. In that same mailer, Zach urges us to “uphold the core Democratic Party principles that have made us the party of the people.” It’s unfortunate he hasn’t followed his own advice. 

AMY TURNER

Keep Kathee Working

East Hampton

August 28, 2017

Dear David,

I am writing to support the incumbent Town Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez in the Democratic primary for town board, to be held on Sept. 12. 

Those who have closely followed town government can attest to Kathee’s many accomplishments in office. Springs residents, especially parents of schoolchildren, can talk about her successes on the Springs School Board. My experience with Kathee is very recent. As a new member of the Town Democratic Committee, I’ve had the opportunity to hear Kathee’s frequent updates on issues in town government. She is clearly knowledgeable about the inner workings of the town’s laws, actions, various departments, consultants, ongoing projects, and other governmental matters. 

Kathee feels strongly about environmental issues, including water quality, clean air, and clean and renewable energy; about education and activities for young people, about quality of life for seniors, about reduction of airport noise, and about fair and inclusive treatment for all citizens of our town. It’s clear she has a genuine interest in the town, an open mind, and a willingness to educate herself on issues that she may be unfamiliar with. 

I have seen her at public events, where she is cordial to everyone and will spend as much time as necessary speaking to citizens and answering questions. I have seen her keep calm when her opinion or authority might be questioned, continuing to stand up for what she believes to be the right course of action. Besides just being on what I consider to be the right side of issues, Kathee has the communication skills to bring ideas and plans to fruition. Additionally, she brings skills as a mother and businesswoman to the table. 

We all want the best for our town, but we don’t all have the time or energy to work full time to that effect. Thankfully, Kathee is willing to do that for us, and with your vote in the primary on Sept. 12, and again on Election Day, Nov. 7, we can keep Kathee working for us.

VICKI LURIA BLATT

She Has My Vote

Wainscott

August 24, 2017

To the Editor,

   I have observed Kathee Burke-Gonzalez in action. She is the liaison to the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee, meetings that I attend, and she has demonstrated herself to be conscientious, knowledgeable, and intelligent. She is an asset to the committee as well as to East Hampton Town as councilperson. 

She has earned our support, and she has my vote.

MICHAEL HANSEN

Conversation

Amagansett

August 22, 2017

Dear David, 

I share a summary of a political conversation with some that are running against others, in hot pursuit of local office:

Me: About affordable housing?

Them: There isn’t any.

Me: “Dirtbag Beach” in Montauk?

Them: A major screw-up, hell to pay.

Me: Airport noise?

Them: Fire the consultants.

Me: Water quality?

Them: Constipation.

Me: Deer management?

Them: Bang, bang!

Me: Political infighting?

Them: Thrive on it, reason for being. 

Me: But it’s not just about you!

Them: It’s not?

Vote!

DIANA WALKER

Bonac Schizophrenia

East Hampton

August 27, 2017

Dear David,

By the time this is published, “Tumbleweed Tuesday” will be in sight, a mere five days away. Many of us year-rounders will welcome the reduction in traffic and crowding and all the other ills that happen when the town expands to almost 80,000 people during the summer. There are some simple facts that we should not forget. 

About 80 percent of the town’s economic base comes from second-home owners, and Montauk’s alone is the biggest engine of tourism for our town and county and of major import to our state. However, all of this has created serious issues. Our environment, and in particular our water quality, is plummeting, which may begin to kill the goose laying the golden egg. Housing for those who are of modest means is virtually impossible to find, so that both our young and our seniors are being forced out. In many cases, those who have been the heart and soul of our community, such as our baymen, our fishermen, and our farmers, are being threatened or have actually been cast aside. Simply put, our paradise that has attracted our economic base has come into mortal conflict with our year-rounders and their way of life.

This has caused what I refer to as a Bonac schizophrenia, a polarizing of those who are year-rounders and those who aren’t. Those who are caught in the trap of “We need the high season, but hate what it is doing to our town.” I suggest we each take a few minutes out of our day on Tumbleweed Tuesday to realize that our biggest need is to cure this schizophrenia. 

Montauk, Amagansett, East Hampton, Springs, and Wainscott all need improvements to their waters, whether it is Fresh Pond, Fort Pond, or Georgica Pond. We need affordable housing in Montauk, Amagansett, East Hampton, Springs, and Wainscott. In short, we need to be tolerant of one another to find solutions, and we need the wisdom to know what is a solution and what is not. 

In my 41 years of government service, I have learned to trust our citizens and to listen. So as the frenetic pace of the summer begins to fade on Tumbleweed Tuesday, let us take a few minutes to unwind and rid ourselves of our Bonac schizophrenia and its polarizing influence. Let’s come together and face our future. My fellow residents, I trust you. Or, to paraphrase an old television show, “Hello, East Hampton, I’m listening.”

PAUL A. GIARDINA

Candidate for Town Board

Culpable Negligence

Springs

August 26, 2017

To the Editor:

Charlottesville rampage: Sing­er’s Folly. Yes, Michael Singer, the mayor. This sad, tragic eruption could and should have been easily avoided, if the poor people of that city were not punished with the nebbish of a mayor. 

One does not have to be a tactical military strategist to predict the consequences of allowing those two hostile, warring mobs to march and protest at the same time, in the same place, with minimum police presence. Any reform school principal, any kennel manager, could have prepared, and avoided that clash. 

Why not consult with a national expert on this matter, Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C., only 170 miles east. Inexcusable, causing tragic loss of life, beyond dereliction of duty. Criminal, culpable negligence. Sorry — no grounds or reason to blame President Trump for that one. 

EDWARD A. WAGSCHAL