Letters to the Editor: 09.28.17

Our readers' comments

Moving Away

East Hampton

September 24, 2017

To the Editor, 

As a senior at East Hampton High School, I am finding more than the usual opportunity to hear classmates discuss how eager they are to move away and begin the next stage of their lives at college. I am aware that this theme of moving away, beyond the confines of the community of people who’ve known them since birth, is not new and probably has been around in some form as long as teenagers have roamed the earth, so it’s something that most of us can relate to. I’d guess that this is even more of a factor in a small (at least in the winter) town like East Hampton than it must be for people already living in a city, like Manhattan, but I’m sure that everywhere, people at a certain point feel a desire to see what’s going on elsewhere. And I am no exception; I am really looking forward to moving to a place that does not shut down at 9 or 10 at night and where there are more new people to meet, my own age, than there are in a community where, if you don’t know someone, you know someone who does.

But as a village lifeguard who spent most of this past summer in her dream job, I had more than the usual amount of time and opportunity to appreciate the ocean off our spectacular beaches and soak in the famous peach-colored light of our sunsets — that special lighting that provides artists the perspective that only a peach-colored glow can. And as I started to drive, I came to appreciate the open flatness of the farm fields, rolling out as far as the eye can see, and with an occasional farmer in the distance on his/her tractor plowing a field (sometimes in a machine so old it almost seems to be helping the viewer understand the timelessness of the activity) and the unruined piece of land unfolding — all of these details combine with the reality that it is often a good thing that we all know each other, or feel that we do. 

In fact, I can already imagine missing it all, and even though I am still here and knee-deep in the applications that will (hopefully!) enable me to move away and beyond for a while, I’m realizing that it won’t surprise me to look out my dorm window one afternoon at my new surroundings, and push beyond to find at least a patch of peach-colored light warming a field, and then farther, a lone farmer on a tractor enjoying his task and the scent of the ocean. 

MADISON JONES

Biggest Clam Contest

East Hampton

September 25, 2017

To the Editor:

Just an observation: I went to the annual East Hampton Town Trustees’ Biggest Clam Contest Sunday and noted that there were very few clam submissions in comparison to years past. Could submissions be down because of lack of interest? Were those few clams — some, huge old clunkers — really dug out for the first time last week in the unseasonably cold, windy weather, as the trustees’ rules set out? 

I’d won the contest a few times in the past, as had my father, a lifelong clammer. Due to an injury, this was the first year that I had not gone clamming in my life. That may seem like an exaggeration; however, when I was a baby my playpen was in the hold of the clam boat while dad tonged and mom sorted. My first venture as a clammer was treading clams. This, of course, was when the bays were fresh and clean and clams were naturally plentiful. 

Salt water is in my blood, and so are centuries-old traditions of eastern Long Island. As our lands are swallowed up by developers and our waters dangerously contaminated by far too many people, are traditions and nature being eradicated as well?

NANCY R. PEPPARD

Ugly Food Truck

Amagansett

September 24, 2017

Dear David 

I have wanted to write this all summer.

As a year-round resident who enjoys Indian Wells Beach daily, I am saddened and angry at the dilapidated, ugly food truck that has been parked for weeks at the edge of the beach. Why would it be allowed at this beautiful beach? They don’t sell a variety of healthy or even fun food choices. I am sure there is someone out there, including me, who could create an attractive, healthy, and fun food truck. 

Indian Wells deserves better.

JANE RIVKIN

Unsafe, Based on Speed

East Hampton

September 23, 2017

To the Editor:

I am certainly no driving prude, but the reduction of traffic following Labor Day has, once again, made the roads in town seem unsafe, based on speed instead of self-absorbed drivers.

In one morning I was confronted by two cars blasting down Cedar Street, making left turns a crapshoot for residents; a series of short-cut speeders racing across Old Orchard Lane; folks in town really rushing to get their fresh baked goods at Carissa’s but ignoring the fact that cars are exiting the supermarket across the street (and in their path), and finally, the crazy doctor in the white Mercedes-Benz with New York M.D. plates in the Stop and Shop parking lot, driving the wrong way at a high speed even though there are large freshly painted arrows all over the lot.

Folks, please enjoy the best months of the year. Don’t celebrate the lack of crowds by racing everywhere.

PETER WUNSCH

Letters to the Editor

Springs

September 25, 2017

Dear David:

The Star policy of publishing practically all letters to the editor is well known. I would, however, like to ask my fellow letter writers to rein in their inner Marcel Proust and keep their contributions to a reasonable length. 

When I see an overlong letter my eyes glaze over. I tend to look at the beginning and then skip to the end. I am sure this is the case for most readers. The Star is not the place for stream-of-consciousness outpourings. If you must, write a blog — but spare us!

I also would like to ask everybody to control their inner Trump and refrain from insults and nasty personal attacks. It is quite natural for people to have different opinions, but these can and should be expressed on their merits. Open discussions lead to better results, if not understandings, but nastiness leads to divisiveness. We have enough on the national level; we don’t need that here in our small community.

REDJEB JORDANIA

Law Must Be Rethought

Amagansett

September 20, 2017

Dear David,

The Social Host Law is intended to reduce the incidence of harm to teens from alcohol. But, based on my experience and other recent cases in the news, this law, as currently enforced, may have the opposite effect.

Last May, my son had an after-prom party at my house. A boy arrived late, uninvited, drunk, and brought alcohol. I first learned there was alcohol after my son came to tell me this boy was unconscious. I immediately ended the party and called an ambulance (fortunately, he was fine the next day). The police arrived shortly after and arrested me. 

Despite my two emails informing parents there would be no drinking allowed, and despite their best efforts, other kids obviously snuck some into the party as well. I had to pay thousands of dollars for a lawyer and go to court, wasting our tax dollars and having my name in this paper in a very unflattering light. 

I understand the good intentions of this law, but it must be rethought, or at the very least how it is enforced needs to be scrutinized. 

When you arrest parents who are responsibly trying to provide a place for the kids to have a safe, legal party, you aren’t stopping the kids from sneaking in alcohol and drinking. You are simply scaring off parents from hosting. That will force parties out of homes to places where there is no adult supervision. What if I hadn’t been there to call an ambulance? 

One of my emailed requirements was that no kids drive to or from the party. I did not do this because I knew there would be drinking but because I was afraid it might happen despite my e-mails and supervision.

Solutions? Good Samaritan rules should be put in place. Kids (and parents) should not be worried about consequences when calling for help. Moreover, the police need to be given tougher guidelines to be sure they aren’t applying this law excessively. There may be circumstances that require legal action, but arrests should be made only when facts are fully gathered and truly warrant that action. Not reflexively. 

Net net: Ways must be found to ensure parents are protected from the expense and embarrassment associated with an unnecessary arrest so they don’t fear trying to provide a safe place for kids to gather. 

As this law is currently enforced, it is likely to cause more harm than good. 

ARTHUR BIJUR

Blessings in a Backpack

Springs

September 25, 2017

Dear Editor,

As I finish my third month as superintendent of the Springs School I want to thank the community, parents, staff, and students for the warm welcome I received. I absolutely have enjoyed coming to work every day. Finding the right time to go home has been a challenge — who knew so many people worked on the East End and lived west? 

Little did I know when I accepted this position my first decision would be regarding a septic system. We completed the project on time and under budget, thanks to our board of education, BBS Architecture, H2M Engineers, and Laser Construction. It was all worth it when I saw 740-plus students enter the building on the first day of school. I have been in every classroom and have already attended my first Spirit Meet, as well as hosting a superintendent’s coffee hour. Every child and staff member truly appeared to be energized and happy to be back.

I want to thank The East Hampton Star for the outstanding article regarding Blessings in a Backpack. The community rallied, and donations were received from at least 20 individuals and businesses. Thank you to each one of you for your generous donation. 

The program required at least one volunteer to coordinate the Springs chapter. Stephany Gomez and Cindy Realmuto, both Springs School employees, have volunteered to serve as coordinators. Mrs. LaMonda’s Functional Academics class will pack the backpacks each week. The motto of Springs School is “Together We Make a Difference,” and it could not be more true, as the Springs Blessing in a Backpack Chapter would not have been possible without all of you. 

The Springs PTA is to be acknowledged and recognized along with their volunteers, including eighth-grade students who welcomed parents and students back with a barbecue, including carnival games, a dunk tank, and a movie — an incredible tradition that brings together a community. A special thank-you to all who made it look so easy.

I would like to remind everyone of our next community forum on Saturday, Oct. 7, beginning at 10 a.m. Child care will be available and the presentation will be in both English and Spanish. The plans for the proposed renovation and expansion will be on display, and you may take a tour of our buildings and grounds as well. The community’s opinion matters, so if you belong to a group or organization, we would be more than willing to present the information at your next meeting.

 As I have indicated, my door is always open. I prefer to meet in person, so feel free to call my office to set up an appointment, or simply stop by. I am available as early as 7 a.m. and will stay late to accommodate your schedule.

DEBRA WINTER

Springs School


A list of contributors to the Blessings in a Backpack program appears in the Card of Thanks category in this week’s classifieds. Ed.

‘The Affair’

Amagansett

September 21, 2017

To the Editor,

While food for crews may be catered by big trucks from UpIsland, how many local businesses are paid a nice sum for the use of their facility for the day?

Amagansett’s American Legion Hall, St. Michael’s Church, the Lobster Roll, or, in your case, the Fish Farm on Cranberry Hole Road. 

How many people stop at sights used in filming? I’m sure business at Lunch has tripled since “The Affair” started shooting there. 

Just another side of the story 

PETE HEINEN

Leaf Pickup Program

Wainscott

September 15, 2017

Dear David,

Both editorials last week were notable, and brought to the surface some things that affect all of us.

The suggested paper bag use is costly, and at almost $1 a bag, the cost could be quite expensive, considering that the bags only hold a minimal amount. That is for the homeowners doing it themselves. A suggestion I made at that meeting — a $50 surcharge for the pickups — was ignored, and I am sure every homeowner would have welcomed that. My own property would require over 200 bags.

At my age, it is hard enough to maintain, and landscapers’ costs are out of the budget of the average person, considering the time it takes for trees to defoliate. I suggest that the cost for the Highway Department to get new equipment be considered, as well as the surcharge to see if it is feasible, to benefit all property owners, townwide.

ARTHUR J. FRENCH

Against the Town

Montauk

September 21, 2017

Dear David,

Our Montauk organization, the Ditch Plains Association, has a somewhat different perspective on the East Hampton Airport noise issue than that expressed by Tom Bogdan of Montauk United. 

Initially, our organization was founded to address issues affecting the Ditch Plain beach community. Because of the broad community patronage of Ditch Plain Beach, our membership encompasses a broad geographic area of the town.  In time our members focused our attention on the fact that the same issues confronting our local beach community were present in other areas of Montauk and East Hampton. We quickly realized that in order to comprehensively achieve real, lasting solutions, we needed townwide cooperation and resources, and in some cases, even involving Suffolk County and New York State. 

While we appreciate Tom Bogdan’s strong advocacy of Montauk, we feel he has taken an isolationist position with respect to the East Hampton Airport noise issue. The following letter is in response to Mr. Bogdan’s letter to the editor published in last week’s Star:

Dear Tom,

Your approach to East Hampton Airport could lead one to conclude that this is exclusively the most critical issue confronting Montauk. We believe that you are doing a disservice to Montauk, and to Montauk United, by trying to sway votes in the upcoming town elections based on this singular issue, in which you present no reasonable solution and to which you may be overstating the hypothetical detrimental effect to Montauk. 

Do you really believe that our fellow town residents in East Hampton do not deserve some relief from the noise at East Hampton Airport? What do you propose should be done to protect Montauk, while commensurately offering relief to our western neighbors? Your approach thus far is squarely pitting Montauk against the rest of the town on this issue. Our experience dictates that this is exactly the opposite of what is needed on a townwide basis to address the many issues that require a unified vision and purpose. 

Given your concern about Montauk Airport, have you pursued some assurances from the current owners of the Montauk Airport, who also happen to be Montauk residents? Have you approached them on the possibility of restricting helicopter flights? Have you explored a possible purchase of helicopter landing rights after the Federal Aviation Administration grant period expires in 2019? By pursuing these type of actions you would be acting constructively, by exploring reasonable solutions to address this potential problem.

Instead, you seem intent on going after a town board that has successfully addressed some of the critical quality-of-life issues in Montauk and which seeks to do the same for our fellow town residents in East Hampton. You advocate for a single issue that quite possibly may not weigh as heavily as you believe on Montauk. By simply complaining about a hypothetical situation without advancing concrete solutions, you display insensitivity to the needs of our resident town neighbors to the west. We realize that your intentions have the best interest of Montauk in mind, but what will the rest of the town say when Montauk needs its help?

Impressively, you established Montauk United on the basis of improving Montauk’s quality-of-life issues. We feel there are more threatening and pressing concerns for Montauk, such as clean water, coastal erosion, and traffic. Montauk United can contribute toward education and possible solutions to these issues, but has remained uncharacteristically silent thus far. 

We appreciate Montauk United keeping a vigilant eye on helicopter flight diversions to Montauk, but we would encourage Montauk United to concurrently provide possible holistic solutions for all East Hampton residents to this current dilemma. We also hope that you will consider broadening Montauk United’s focus on the scope of issues confronting Montauk, in order to more comprehensively address the many concerns of its members.

Respectfully,

LAURA MICHAELS, President

LOUIS CORTESE, Vice President

Ditch Plains Association

Have to Pay

East Hampton

Sepember 25, 2017

Hi David,

The town board is being accused by the National Business Aviation Association of revenue diversion from the airport fund by using these funds to pay for a lawsuit that would restrict airport users.

If the F.A.A. finds that the town board did violate the F.A.A. statutes, all of the town taxpayers will have to pay millions of dollars plus interest and possible civil penalties back to the airport fund out of the general fund. The town board has been saying for years that this fight would not cost the taxpayer a dime. The town board has never announced this information at any of their meetings or press conferences — transparency?

On Sept. 19, during a town board work session (see LTV broadcast), the town board was asked about this by Manny Vilar, who is a candidate for town supervisor, and myself, a candidate for town board, and they admitted that this is a possibility but they feel confident that they will be successful in winning this determination. 

If they are being advised by the same lawyers that advised them to bypass federal regulations when the town passed the three pieces of legislation that were ultimately found unenforceable by the courts, I think we are in big trouble.

To make things worse, the town board announced on Sept. 19 that if they decide to pursue the Part 161 study (this will cost millions of dollars, and only one airport has been successful in obtaining a Part 161 since 1990), they will continue to use the airport fund and not the general fund. This continued possible violation of F.A.A. statutes could end up costing the taxpayers millions and millions of dollars. This is reckless politics at its worst. 

It seems that this town board refuses to follow the federal regulations and just refuses to learn their lessons. The courts have already found that they violated federal rules (the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990) when they created the three local laws without following federal statutes. 

On Nov. 7 stop all of this nonsense. We have a plan to keep the airport open, reduce noise, and stop wasting taxpayer money.

Thank you,

JERRY LARSEN

Save the Airport

Amagansett

September 25, 2017

To the Editor:

Gotta love the East Hampton Republican Committee, which spent a few thousand dollars on a full-page ad last week to “Save the Airport.” But save it from whom? Clearly not the Democrats. 

No, the Republicans are simply following the lead of local Democrats, who have long supported and acknowledged the airport’s benefits, while seeking better ways to have the airport live in harmony with and respectful of our citizens’ needs. 

And if the intent of the ad was to imply that Democrats oppose the airport, shame on you. That would be a divisive, glaring example of “alternative facts.” We get enough of that from the White House. You’re better than that. Let’s not see it here in East Hampton.

JIM LUBETKIN

Airport Challenge

Amagansett

September 24, 2017

Dear David,

The town board meeting last Tuesday was a three-hour airport challenge for residents. It gave the community a chance to listen to Bob O’Connor, an experienced pilot, and the board’s new attorney from the firm of Morrison Foerster, a nationwide firm in airport and aviation issues. The board gave the community a chance to ask questions and understand the complex airport issues before it. It was a truly comprehensive opportunity for understanding what’s at stake for getting airport restrictions necessary to lessen the helicopter and seaplane noise levels throughout the community. After all, as of the end of July, noise complaints are up 133 percent from last summer.

It was enlightening and an education to understand the ANCA law (Airport Noise and Capacity Act), approved by Congress in 1990. It is evident from this presentation that the town board has much to review before a final decision will be made. Our supervisor and town board members are to be commended for their transparency in presenting the case for reducing airport noise for the community. Procedures for reviewing and accessing restrictions are in good hands!

RONA KLOPMAN

Vote of Confidence

Montauk

September 24, 2017

Dear David,

Just a short note of thanks to the members of the East Hampton Independence Party.

Thank you all for the vote of confidence in the primary election held on Sept. 12.

I plan to campaign vigorously right up till Election Day, and with your continued support I will work tirelessly to achieve our common goals.

JOE BLOECKER                                                                                      

Emergency Preparedness

Springs

September 24, 2017

Dear David,

Emergency management is a serious business. In Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, proper planning and preparedness for natural disaster saved countless lives. Aggressive weather systems, however, continue to challenge our marine-bounded coastal community and populations.

We are fortunate to have dedicated professionals in our police and harbormaster departments. Our volunteer fire, ambulance, and ocean rescue are second to none and are an incredible asset. Lastly, our town and village public employees, including our critical Highway and Parks Departments staff and all the various support staff, are trained professionals as well, who remain at the ready to serve, protect, defend, and save.

With over 33 years of law enforcement experience in the New York State Park Police, I have been responsible for overseeing the development of event action plans, natural disaster response plans, and mass casualty response plans to protect upward of 150,000 daily visitors at a single state park venue. In the performance of these critical tasks, I have received extensive training by the Department of Homeland Security and the federal Emergency Management Agency in the National Incident Management System and emergency preparedness.

Should I be elected East Hampton Town supervisor, I am trained and prepared to not only understand these complex plans, but also to manage and coordinate the diverse government and nongovernment agencies that deal with these emergencies.

In closing, I ask you and your readers to keep those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in your thoughts and prayers. And for your readers’ information, to reach a relief agency of your choice visit National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster at nvoad.org (P.O. Box 26125, Alexandria, Va., 22314).

MANNY VILAR

He Has a Vision

Springs

September 24, 2017

Dear David,

The first time I met Peter Van Scoyoc I had just become a member of the East Hampton Democratic Committee’s screening committee. This group meets potential candidates and interviews them to decide on their qualifications and their validity to become a candidate. Mr. Van Scoyoc presented his background, including his work on the zoning and planning boards. He talked of his family roots in the early history of our town and how he came to East Hampton because his wife, Marilyn, was accepting a job at our high school as a teacher of music and band. He then built a business and raised two children here. 

He told of his feelings about our town; its rural character, the sweet but fragile environment — its open vistas, pristine beaches, farms, and expansive fields. After he had been grilled by the more seasoned members, I was so impressed, I said, “Bring that kid back” (my actual words).

In the years that followed, he served on the town board for two terms, once in a hostile setting and presently with a supervisor with a kindred soul. Now Mr. Van Scoyoc is running to become supervisor. I have heard him and know he has a vision for our town that I, for one, agree with. I am willing to put my trust and the town I love, with a deep passion, in his capable hands. I hope you will too. 

Sincerely,

PHYLLIS ITALIANO

Saving or Paving

Springs

September 25, 2017

Dear David,                                                                                                                                                                                       

As you may know, I have just published a book, “Saving East Hampton’s Soul — 1978 to 2017.” With over 168 wonderful photos from local photographers, the book is filled with real stories about real people who are meeting the challenges our community has faced from the constant pressures and consequences of harmful overdevelopment. From overcrowded roads filled with traffic, eroding shorelines, excessive noise, keeping our harbors and drinking water from filling with dangerous pollutants, East Hampton residents have consistently fought to seek a balance of sustainable growth without destroying our historical character and constrained fragile environment.

As the book chronicles this balancing act of saving or paving East Hampton, it asks the critical question: Are we losing what we love about our community? If we are, what are we going to do about it? 

That is the topic of the first important and timely discussion at the East Hampton Library this Saturday at 1 p.m. The book will be available for purchase at that time. Already, I have had to order more copies because our residents are feeling the pressures of teardowns and overcrowding that is tearing apart the fabric of our community. We must slow down and take the time for another critical look at where our wonderful town is headed.

Please make an effort to attend and join our pertinent discussions. 

DEBRA FOSTER

Cruelty-Free Diet

East Hampton

September 24, 2017

Dear Editor,

We are a nation of special observances. There is even a World Day for Farm Animals, observed on Oct. 2 (Gandhi’s birthday). Apparently it’s intended to memorialize the tens of billions of animals abused and killed for food. 

Like most others, I always thought of farm animals as “food on the hoof.” But when a friend sent me an amazing, endearing Facebook video, “Leo Junior Bulldog French,” it dawned on me that farm animals are much like our family dog, fully deserving of our compassion and respect. My internet search showed that they get neither. Male baby chicks are routinely suffocated in plastic garbage bags or ground up alive. Laying hens are crowded into small wire cages that tear out their feathers. Breeding sows are kept pregnant in tiny metal crates. Dairy cows have their babies snatched away immediately upon birth, so we can drink their milk. 

It was enough to drive someone to drink. Instead, it drove me to replace the animal products in my diet with a rich variety of plant-based meats and dairy items offered by my grocery store. I have since learned that a cruelty-free diet is also great for my health and for the health of our planet.

EDWIN HORATH

Anthem and Flag

East Hampton

September 25, 2017

Dear Editor,

Here’s Lee Zeldin (leezeldinforcongress.com) on the N.F.L. protest: “An entire N.F.L. football team (Pittsburgh Steelers) protesting the national anthem. These spoiled rich brats may think they are being cool and trendy, but they obviously have no true understanding what that anthem and flag mean to our service members, their families, and countless other Americans.” 

No, Lee, you’re the one who does not understand. The flag is a symbol of our country, a country that has been degraded and divided by the bully-in-chief just about every day since he took office. Most Americans are horrified by the ignorance and petty vindictiveness of the president. One of the glories of this country is the freedoms it provides us, freedoms that include peaceful protest. (Perhaps it would have been more palatable for you if the players had been holding tiki torches?)

Why are you supporting an authoritarian wannabe who doesn’t understand the most basic tenets of our great democracy, let alone what it means to be a decent human being?

Sincerely, 

CAROL DEISTLER

Tax Cuts for the Rich

Springs

September 24, 2017

Dear David,

There is so much in the news today about oligarchs. Do most readers know who or what they are? 

“Siri,” I asked into my iPhone, “what is the definition of oligarch?” Up popped the following screen:

1. a ruler in an oligarchy, and

2. (especially in Russia) a very rich businessman with a great deal of political influence.

Here in the U.S.A. we have our own oligarchs, such as the infamous Texas Koch brothers. And our oligarchs are not just businessmen, as the definition says, but women as well. Take Rebecca Mercer, who, with her extended Mercer family, contributes heavily to politicians, including our own congressman, Lee Zeldin.

How does it work here? To stay in their jobs, politicians have to spend an inordinate amount of time raising money — that’s our system. And what do these oligarchs get out of this; how do they rule? Well, for one, they get huge tax breaks.

I had to laugh when I got an email from Mr. Zeldin the other day, asking if I was in favor of tax reform. Who isn’t, but what kind? Giving tax breaks to the Mercers and their kind is not what I consider reform. 

Has Mr. Zeldin been hoodwinked, or are we being hoodwinked? We need to pay taxes; the government can’t run on wind. And the rich should pay their fair share — period. The goodies that are supposed to trickle down from rich people’s tax savings are such a small trickle, if at all, that “trickle down” is a joke, a joke played on us. 

I say no tax cuts for the rich, Mr. Zeldin; they are doing just fine. If you don’t believe me, ask Siri.

PEGGY BACKMAN