Letters to the Editor: 09.21.17

Our readers' comments

Here to Help

East Hampton

Sepember 15, 2017

To the Editor,

I was disheartened to hear of the unfortunate and tragic deaths of Hallie Ulrich and Michael Goericke due to an opiate overdose. I commend the Ulrich family for hoping to provide greater resources for addiction education to families who are affected.

As the director of admissions at the Dunes in East Hampton, we are on the front line daily, offering help and guidance to those and the families of loved ones caught in the powerful grip of addiction. 

There is hope through effective treatment and the Dunes is able to provide a safe haven for those afflicted by this horrible disease. We have also been able to offer scholarships for many in the East End community, both through our inpatient treatment and our outpatient facility in Springs. We are here to help by providing a valuable resource to those seeking treatment whether it is at the Dunes or elsewhere.

As Drew Scott, Hallie’s grandfather and a News 12 Long Island anchor, stated, “It angered me that she was found dead on the side of the road. I hear about these heroin cases every day. You don’t know what it’s like until it happens to you.”

Unfortunately, many residents of East Hampton have been spending resources (theirs and ours) to prevent the treatment of these people so desperately in need of help. The Dunes offers no threat to the community. Rather, we are a tremendous resource for information and recovery and our efforts should not be thwarted by those uneducated about what is the real threat to our community: An opiate epidemic which is killing our residents, young and old, in epic proportions.  

I urge your readers to support our efforts and help raise awareness in our community. the Dunes is here to help. We urge you to reach out to our team for direction and guidance.


Atlantic Oil Exploration


September 13, 2017

Dear David:

Windmills or oil spills?

The East Hampton G.O.P. apparently has chosen the latter. In full-page ads in our local newspapers, it (and its candidates) have decried the Deepwater offshore wind farm, which would power thousands of homes. Its chief concern for opposing the project? The fishing industry. This, however, is nothing but a ruse.

In April, Mr. Trump issued an executive order that called for making millions of acres of federal coastal waters in the Atlantic available for oil and gas leasing, undoing a moratorium on the same implemented by the Obama administration. The Interior Department is now reviewing whether to allow the first-ever seismic (i.e., blasting) tests in the Atlantic, and whether to allow oil and natural gas leasing there as well. Many in the business and environmental communities along the Atlantic Coast expect Interior to quickly sign off on seismic testing now that the public comment period ended in July.

A surprisingly diverse collection of power players, members of Congress, dozens of lawmakers from both red and blue states, nine attorneys general, six governors, and thousands of business owners from Florida through the Carolinas and up to New Jersey, have joined to oppose Atlantic oil exploration.

Where is the East Hampton G.O.P. in this? Silent. So much for the pretense of being environmentalists.

Silent too is our representative, Lee Zeldin, who also wants to be seen as a protector of local fishing interests. It seems that pandering to Mr. Trump always comes before those local interests supposedly so dear to him.

Windmills or oil spills? The great thing about America is that you get to choose with your vote. Don’t let the G.O.P. ruin our beaches or our fishing industry.


To Die For

East Hampton

September 18, 2017

To the Editor:

Blue-ribbon winner Jim Lubetkin, congratulations. Your dinners and desserts are “to die for.”

Destination known! Amagansett, New York!


Selling My House


September 15, 2017

Dear David, 

My late mother, Elizabeth Walker, had a singular view of aging: She suggested to me and my brother that when she started “spitting down the radiator,” we should wheel her up to the top of a steep hill and push.

In anticipation of the same circumstance, I am selling my house.

Selling your house is humbling. I was not prepared for the convoys of black Land Rovers (was there a sale?) discharging ladies in nicely accessorized nighties, testy that my home is not their dream, at hundreds of thousands less. On the other hand, the dog is in heaven at her enhanced social life: She poses her large self for maximum pats. 

I will move to our only hamlet that could even be post-factually considered affordable. It’s vibrant and diverse.

Our local legislators must do more than drop in the bucket of affordable housing — they must get real. Nimby (not in my backyard) is economically passé. Perhaps I’ll pitch tents at the new place — all will be welcome.


Law and Disorder


September 10, 2017 


On Aug. 24, William E. Cuthbert was finally vindicated. The New York State Appellate Term reversed and dismissed his convictions in East Hampton Town Justice Court

Back on Oct. 16, 2014, he was convicted of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. The jury trial was before Justice Steven Tekulsky. Further, the appellate term ordered our Town Justice Court to remit to William Cuthbert all fines, surcharges, and fees paid by him. 

I was Mr. Cuthbert’s trial counsel. Patrick Gunn Esq. also represented him. Del Atwell Esq. was his appellate counsel. Mr. Atwell argued and won the appeal. 

All the above and below arose from a minor traffic accident on Jan. 23, 2014. Mr. Cuthbert was not at fault. Less than an hour after the accident, he was taken into custody. He was brutally abused, then falsely charged by East Hampton Town Police Officers Trotta and Johnson.

Mr. Gunn, well before trial, moved to dismiss the charges against Mr. Cuthbert. Justice Tekulsky denied his motion. Mr. Gunn argued the very same reason that the appellate court cited in dismissing the charges. Simply put, the charges as alleged were not criminal acts. 

I adopted Patrick Gunn’s motion and moved to dismiss the charges on several occasions. Again, again, and again, Justice Tekulsky refused to dismiss. 

We were right on the law. The judge was wrong. That wrong led to a serious injustice to William Cuthbert, a jury trial, presided over by Justice Tekulsky. At trial, four town police officers and one civilian testified for the prosecution. Mr. Cuthbert testified on his own behalf, and Jana Nishida, a friend of his, backed his word. He was convicted of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest; acquitted of harassment. 

William Cuthbert, because of these convictions, had to be interviewed by Suffolk County Probation. A probation officer was required to write a pre-sentence report for Justice Tekulsky. I went with Mr. Cuthbert for his interview. The probation officer’s interview was both in-depth and wide-ranging, lasting over one hour. Near the end, the probation officer said to Mr. Cuthbert, “I believe you were mistreated by the police officers and you are innocent.” Then added, “My recommendation to the court will be a conditional discharge,” meaning no jail or probation. 

On Dec. 4, 2014, William Cuthbert appeared in Justice Court for sentencing. He was asked by Justice Tekulsky if he wanted to say something before sentence was imposed. He replied, “Yes. I am innocent. I did not take a plea because I am innocent. I went to trial because I am innocent. I will appeal because I am innocent.” Judge Tekulsky then reminded Mr. Cuthbert that a jury of his peers had found him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Then the judge sentenced him to a conditional discharge and eight hours of anger-management counseling, to be completed in one year. 

The case, People of the State of New York against William E. Cuthbert, is a classic display of law and disorder. Police brutality, trumped-up charges, a judge that would not follow the law, a prosecution that went awry. Finally, a jury that rendered convictions based on false testimony that proved nothing. A perfect storm of criminal injustice.

On Dec. 14, 2014, after sentencing, I wrote a letter to the editor of The East Hampton Star. The editor chose the title, “He Will Be Vindicated.” As Mar­ines say, “There it is.”  

Note: William and I will soon return to East Hampton Justice Court, to get back all the money the court wrongfully took from him.

Semper fi,


To Their Better Natures

East Hampton

September 11, 2017

To the Editor, 

Do pilots who use East Hampton’s airport ever have a sense of shame? They must be aware of the community’s strong antipathy to the noise and disruption they produce, especially on weekends.

Sometimes an appeal to their better natures may have an effect, however small and transient.

In that spirit, I am producing a sign displayed at an airport in Santa Rosa, Calif., not expecting great results but some may get the message. How easy would it be to have several similar signs displayed in East Hampton?



Shell It Out


September 18, 2017

Dear Editor,

We would like to extend a heartfelt thank-you to all who hosted, helped organize, donated, purchased at silent auction, and attended the recent Shell It Out Hamptons benefit for the East Hampton Shellfish Hatchery! 

Special thanks to Jeff Ragovin and Kurt Giehl for organizing and hosting the event at their beautiful home, and even cooking some of the amazing food, including fluke ceviche and clams casino! 

Thanks to the host committee: Jessica, Josh, Thomas, Collette, Steven, Adrian, Daniel, Helaine, Annie, Melissa, Rick, Kirsten, Steven, Michael, and Wendy. Huge thank-you to all of the artists who donated some beautiful and cogent art pieces for the silent auction: Kurt Giehl, Richard Udice, Christopher Butler, Janet Jennings, Lindsay Morris, Laureen Velante, and Kirsten Benfield. Thanks to the gracious and generous wine sponsor, Chimene MacNaughton of Wainscott Wines.

Many thanks of course to the oyster and clam shuckers, who shucked a couple thousand clams and oysters, to everyone’s delight.

Everyone’s generous support will be put to great use as we continue to improve on our methods and infrastructure, expand community oyster-gardening opportunities and growing of millions of shellfish annually for the purposes of stock enhancement in East Hampton waters.

Any East Hampton residents who are interested in oyster gardening in the future please contact me (jdunne@ehamptonny.gov).

From the crew at the hatchery (Barley, Pete, Adam, Ashley), thanks again and have a great fall!



Growing Shellfish

East Hampton

September 16, 2017

Dear David,

Recently I had the privilege of visiting the East Hampton Shellfish Hatchery, thanks to my fellow candidate for trustee, John Aldred, its former director and founder, and John “Barley” Dunne, the current director.  

Learning how the process of growing the seeds that will ultimately become oysters, scallops, and clams was fascinating. The hatchery requires hard work and a deep dedication to preserve and protect the waters and fishing businesses that depend on having an abundance of healthy mollusks. 

Last week’s news announced that New York State has provided a $400,000 grant fund to help the East Hampton Shellfish Hatchery expand. I’m happy to know the grant will also provide for additional full-time staff members.  The state program is part of a water quality improvement initiative, and it is expected there will be a significant increase in healthy shellfish in our harbors and bays that will afford our commercial and recreational fishermen (women and men) a successful and meaningful livelihood or fruitful hobby.   

If you’ve not visited the shellfish hatchery, I highly recommend doing so. It’s a great education for people of all ages, especially our children, who may already have an interest in fishing and our marine life. My visit has given me a far greater respect and appreciation for the time and work involved in growing shellfish. 

I hope to join the next oyster-garden program to learn more about how to grow the seeds that will then be added to our harbors and bays, where they will mature for harvesting. In that way, I will be contributing to an important tradition and service to our community. 

Many thanks again to John and Barley for a day well spent learning! 



East Hampton

September 18, 2017

Dear David,

I’m a candidate for town trustee and I’d like to take this opportunity to acquaint voters in town with my background and the qualifications I feel I have for effectively serving, as well as my views on what I believe will make a successful board.

I’ve spent much of the past almost 45 years working in East Hampton waters, first as a research assistant at the New York Ocean Science Lab in Montauk, then helping start Multi Aquaculture Systems, the fish farm in Promised Land, later as a senior environmental analyst in the town’s Natural Resources Department, and finally as the first director of the East Hampton Town Shellfish Hatchery, designing and building it and, for over 20 years, operating it. I even spent a couple of years as a lifeguard on the ocean beach at Hither Hills State Park. I have interacted often with the trustees over the years and I am very familiar with town waters and the challenges they face.

Having worked in and around local government, the marine research, environmental, and aquaculture communities, and the fishing community, I have seen both how cooperative and not so cooperative relationships can affect a desired outcome. I see the current trustee board’s attempts to interact with other governmental, scientific, and industry-related entities, while firmly standing by its role as guardian of the public interest, as a positive development and one that can make the trustees stronger and more respected as a board and produce positive outcomes for the people of the town. 

Even though I am running on the Democratic line (as well as Independence and Working Families), and this reflects one of our platform planks, I see and have seen evidence of this feeling elsewhere, both now and in the past. I see this path as leading to a successful board of trustees and would like to have a chance to contribute to it.


Storm of Abuse

East Hampton

Sepember 17, 2017

To the Editor, 

For the past several years I have volunteered to be a poll watcher for the East Hampton Democratic Committee and gladly donate my time to the political chores that are essential to making American democracy work. I applaud the long hours and dedication of those who serve as paid inspectors in the town’s polling places. However, I find it inexcusable for some board workers to react with rudeness and inappropriate behavior toward volunteer poll watchers — of either political party — who also play a part in the election process. 

Every polling location is set up in the same predictable way, with a table for a representative of each party. These two people are given the responsibility of guiding voters to their proper election district table and to ensure the voting runs smoothly. 

At the election district tables, three election board workers sit with ledgers to check in voters, verify signatures, and hand out ballots. An additional worker stands by to process the completed voter’s ballot. Usually there is much good will and neighborliness throughout the procedure.

In past years, poll watchers appointed by their respective parties sat with the paid election workers and kept a tally of votes cast by members of their election districts. There was nothing subversive or illegal about this task. Before the days of technology, tallies were handwritten, but with the advent of smartphones, it is now easier to photograph them.

With a fellow volunteer, I visited Pierson High School, John M. Marshall Elementary School, and the East Hampton High School polling places without incident. In fact, our visits were cordial and pleasant. We next visited the Emergency Services Building on Cedar Street where we were informed that we were acting illegally, that we had to leave, and that we would be reported to the Suffolk County Board of Elections. We agreed that a call should be made. The inspector reluctantly made the call and was informed that our work was approved and my poll watcher’s certificate entitled me to do the work assigned.

After this unpleasantness, we continued to Springs Firehouse, our last destination. With credentials in hand, we introduced ourselves to the inspector. This produced a perfect storm of abuse and denial of our rights to be poll watchers. Words cannot describe the nastiness of the refusal to cooperate with us.   The major complaint seemed to be that I was not the owner of a cellphone, and that my friend was doing the photography. 

A ludicrous truce was drawn when it was decided that my friend could hold her phone while I pushed the button for the photo. Somehow, this legalized our job. 

In the meantime, a paid board worker snarled at us and declared that we were not taking any photos at “his” table. 

He took a completed tally sheet and shoved it into his briefcase so we could not see it. When reprimanded by a co-worker, he fished it out again. As we focused the camera on it, he suddenly hurled a hard-plasticized poster across the table at us. His intent was disturbing, but the bitterness and hatred displayed by board workers at the table gave us personal insight into the voting problems we read about in other parts of our country. 

No one can deny that emotions often get out of hand during election times, but hostile behavior will never get favorite candidates elected. Courtesy and kindness at the polls will accomplish far more for good returns. 

More inspectors should follow the example of Mr. and Mrs. Brown, two board workers in Sag Harbor; they offered us candy bars before we left.


Important Commitment

East Hampton

September 17, 2017

Dear Editor:

I am writing to thank everyone who came out to vote in the Democratic primary on Sept. 12. No matter which candidates you supported, making your voice heard was an important commitment to the process of local government.

I enjoyed meeting and speaking with residents who took the time to share their concerns about the future of our community. 

Even in the face of sharp political disagreements, I still believe that calm discussion and dialogue are the best tools to sort out the challenges ahead. 

I look forward to listening and learning more as we head into the general election.


To Get Noise Relief

East Hampton

September 17, 2017

Dear David:

Tom Bogdan’s letter in your Sept. 14 edition is spot-on. His words concerning the East Hampton Airport, that “the noise issues are enormously invasive and incredibly tragic, that no one should have to experience,” should resonate with all of us. What we also must pay attention to is his admonition calling “for a fair and honest solution, not a transfer, and certainly not a political strategy that aims to turn an East Hampton special-interest problem into a Montauk problem,” or for that matter any other town residents’ problem.

That is why I support the Federal Aviation Administration's Part 161 process for the purpose of getting local noise restrictions. I have recommended this for about a decade as a federal official. It is the best and perhaps the only way to get noise relief.  The process is essential to follow because closing East Hampton Airport will not stop the noise from helicopters and seaplanes. It will simply move it someplace else, be that Montauk or Sag Harbor. 

Closing the airport will rob the town of both the economic and emergency response benefits while simply shifting the noise problem. Let’s work together to get a solution through the F.A.A. Part 161 process, which is the most credible way to handle this matter. 

When elected to the town board I will support such an effort.  If we can commit to this, then we can focus on what really matters to all the East Hampton residents: water preservation, supporting our seniors, and our overall quality of life.


Who Paid for It

East Hampton

September 17, 2017

Dear David,

In the first week of advertising following the Democratic primary, the Republican Party, apparently full of cash from the helicopter industry, has purchased a full-page ad endorsing the airport’s unrestricted operation. The supervisor candidate Manny Vilar and the town board candidate Jerry Larsen, appearing in dark glasses in front of the airport sign, indicate their full support for unlimited and unrestricted services at the airport. The full-page ad is peculiarly absent of an acknowledgment of who paid for it. Democratic ads all indicate who had paid for them.

Similar to the Republican campaign in 2015 and its secret sources of dark money, this ad leaves the name of the sponsor to the imagination. You can bet that once again, it will be the helicopter industry.


Hillary, Go Away


September 15, 2017


“It Takes a Village” to conjure enough lame excuses for “What Happened.” My head hurts from the tortuous drone of incessant, accusatory bile slung by left-handed sycophants. 

Hillary, please go away. Let others tell us about their own conspiracy theories. Anyone? 

From the field, 




September 14, 2017

Dear David,

Ex-President Obama knew he shouldn’t put forward DACA, he was well aware that it was unconstitutional and illegal. He was told by a federal judge to remove all of it but Obama always did what he wanted to do, chose to go forward with it.

DACA is not President Trump’s problem, it was inherited, and its expiration date was up. Who was for and against it at the time of its inception has now turned around — yes today, no tomorrow. Can’t keep up with Republicans no more than keeping up with the Demo­crats. They’re all useless do-nothings, having made a lifetime job for themselves. Cleaning house is needed.

All of Congress needs to work hard and fast on DACA. Make the right decision, and don’t let it be amnesty. I understand it’s not their fault for their parents’ sins, but Obama let them in by the thousands. Solutions need to be found, and borders need to be closed for now, and a wall needs to be built.


Simply Black and White

East Hampton

September 10, 2017

To the Editor:

Watching the United States spinning out of control, we seem to be turning on ourselves and devolving into a lower species, led by conservative Republicans. The term “eating your own children” has become the rule of the land.

Conservatives were not always Republican, and Republicans were not always conservatives. They were once fact-based groups that saw the world through a prism of openness and clarity, not myopic stupidity. They were not philosophically limited or confined. They may have had a different approach than other groups in their vision of the world and to solving problems. Today, they eat their young.

There are three obvious indisputable issues which define and reinforce this perception.

1. Black lives matter. In a nation that has been and still is profoundly racist to its core, the B.L.M. movement is a small murmur of what should be a deafening scream to stop this behavior and confront our racism. Our racism is not about white supremacists, or white trash, or even Donald Trump. It’s our culture. Who we really are, who we pretend not to be.

There’s no debate, no nuance, no rationalization. It’s simply black and white. Denigrating B.L.M. and arming policemen in military gear, instead of addressing the issues head on, is just a continuation of the racist policies that are endemic to the American culture.

2. Climate change. Never in the history of the world did 75 percent of the countries agree on something. Eighty percent would be extraordinary; 95 percent, we start talking about Jesus. Yet, apart from the U.S., the rest of the world, all 95 percent of it, believes in climate change and the need to do something about it. But, like racism, we fabricate a scenario that questions the analysis and conclusions of 99 percent of the world’s scientists. Under the leadership of a pathological liar, who makes shit up because he doesn’t read, abetted by conservative Republicans who are offended that their assault on the middle class might be interrupted by real climate issues, the U.S. stands alone in its opposition to climate change, jettisoning science to the garbage heap. We know, because Paul Ryan told us, that he could see into the future and that God would never allow for a climate disaster (to happen to Americans).

3. Collapse of the Middle Class. The Republican conservative effort to convince middle-class Americans to buy into trickle-down theory required an elixir, a magic potion, proffered by a medicine man, a scam artist, or an actor. Ronald Reagan rose to the occasion. Was he too dumb to know what he unleashed, or a dark, evil, capitalist pig? Either way, he set in motion the undoing of the U.S. middle class, which by any standard except for conservative Republicans’ is the equivalent of violating a class of 8-year olds. The redistribution of wealth, the war against the unions and the right to collective bargaining, and the replacement of income with debt to continue spending were the cornerstones for the biggest scam in the country’s history. Thirty-seven years after the Reagan miracle (convincing 250 million people to believe his bullshit) the minimum wage has dropped. $3.10 in 1980 would be the equivalent of $8.79 in today’s dollars; to $7.25, $1.54 less than in 1980.The minimum wage is about dying, not living. It’s an imbecilic fantasy, or some idiot’s.

Thirty-seven years later and middle-class white men on the verge of suicide voted for Donald Trump. The child molesters and the cannibals are over the top. Republicans and conservatives taste middle-class blood like never before. If they are dumb enough to vote for Trump we can take away their health care, fleece the Social Security trust fund, and let the banks and Wall Street go bananas again. It’s a free-for-all. A bloodbath. A chance to steal more money that they can ever spend. We need to lower the minimum wage.