Letters to the Editor: 11.22.18

Our readers' comments

One More Loss

Amagansett

November 16, 2018

David: 

Saddened by the untimely death of Chuck Hitchcock. In my experience all losses are untimely when you care and respect someone, especially Chuck, who had shown me and my children so many unexpected kindnesses in the past.

My G-d rest his soul. Yet one more loss to our town.

LONA RUBENSTEIN

Incomprehensible

Springs

November 18, 2018

Dear Editor,

Having viewed the town board meeting during which the impact of the hamlet studies’ recommendations for the Springs-Fireplace corridor was emotionally addressed by Springs residents, I had to see for myself.

Unaware of the extent of the proposed new developments, I discovered that commercial sites were there that I never knew about. Aghast at what I saw, it seems incomprehensible that extensive new development is proposed and actually being considered.

As it stands, the corridor has already been carelessly, thoughtlessly, and recklessly developed without regard for the environment, the appearance of these commercial sites, or the impact on the Springs community. Considering any further development at this time, without first correcting the travesty that already exists, would be extremely imprudent, even foolish.

Stop! Think! And for God’s sake, plan! 

FRED WEINBERG 

Insider Control

East Hampton

November 19, 2018

Dear David:

Okay, the election is now behind us. If nothing else, it proves my point that the East Hampton Republican Party is now so moribund that unless there are contested primaries in the Democratic Party, we will have no meaningful elections at all in East Hampton, no actual democracy. 

A small group of Democratic Party insiders, led by Chris Kelley of the law firm of Twomey, Latham, Shea, Kelley, Dubin & Quartararo, will be choosing the members of the town board into the future and giving thumbs up and down on town board appointments. 

This situation is rife with the potential for corruption, and perhaps already affords evidence of actual corruption — the still ongoing and publicly reported scheme of Twomey, Latham, Shea, Kelley, Dubin & Quartararo for the unlawful abandonment of an in-use town road, for free, to increase the building lot of one of its demi-billionaire clients. With Chris Kelley exerting extraordinary influence over the renominations of sitting town board members, and those board members still unwilling or unable to say no to his law partner, Steve Latham, the appearance is, to say the least, unfortunate. 

Wikipedia has a concise definition that may or may not be relevant here, but certainly bears thinking about: “Influence peddling is the illegal practice of using one’s influence in government or connections with persons in authority to obtain favors or preferential treatment for another, usually in return for payment.” 

Maybe the newly seated Democratic Committee, of which I am now again an elected member, will see things differently and opt for real democracy rather than bossism and insider control. I hope so. But for now the entrenched leadership of Kelley, Jeanne Frankl, Betty Mazur, and Cate Rogers remains firmly in control of the Democratic Committee and hence who gets to sit on the town board. 

Local families pay the price for this, a Democratic Party that serves primarily the interests of money. When I became a “New Deal” and “Great Society” Democrat at the age of 12 more than 50 years ago, serving the interests of money was the special calling of the Republican Party. Not anymore.

Back in September 2017, five months before Kelley, Frankl, and Mazur, with the connivance of Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc and Councilwomen Sylvia Overby and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, began rigging the vote in the Democratic Committee to assure the election of Cate Rogers as chair, the nomination of David Lys to the town board, and their uninterrupted control of the Democratic party, I wrote privately to then-Demo­cratic Committee chair Jeanne Frankl, who at that time I still believed to be honest and of generally progressive views, to express my concern about the direction of the East Hampton Democratic Party. This is what I wrote, in part:

“Although inept and corrupt, the East Hampton Republican Party is more credibly populist than the East Hampton Democratic Party. Like Trump, they [local Republican leaders] do not and can never follow through on their rhetoric due to their corruption and incompetence, but I hear them, far more so than the Democrats, speak to the concerns of people who work for a living, run small businesses, struggle with costs, need accessible shopping and entertainment. It has long amazed me that so much in East Hampton is a microcosm of national politics. That the Democratic party in East Hampton has been occupied by Wall Street is just as true here as it is nationally.”  

A perfect example in the present is the continued willingness of Van Scoyoc, Overby, Burke-Gonzalez, and, at least until there is sufficient reason to believe otherwise, David Lys to sell out the welfare of our local fishing industry to the ownership of Deepwater Wind, a venture capital firm now replaced by a giant industrial company, for a handful of trinkets, so-called community benefits amounting to $25 per year per East Hampton household. Are these really Democrats, so indifferent are they to the welfare of local people who must work for a living?

The State of Rhode Island requires any offshore wind project to negotiate with representatives of its fishing community to assure mitigation of harm and compensation if there is harm. Rhode Island will not consider a wind project until agreement is reached. It is long past time for the Town of East Hampton to insist on exactly that on behalf of our fishermen. 

Let’s see if the politically triumphant Democrats actually know what it means to be a Democrat. 

Sincerely,

DAVID GRUBER

Global Warming

Springs

November 18, 2018

Dear David,

Fisheries in California and Oregon are being hammered by warming ocean waters due to fossil fuel-driven climate change. Warming has caused huge toxic algae blooms that have repeatedly closed fisheries since 2015, and the problem is expected to get worse.

Now the fishermen are fighting back. The biggest commercial fishing association on the West Coast is suing the fossil fuel industry for losses in the crab fishing industry due to global warming. The suit claims “these changes threaten both the productivity of commercial fisheries and safety of commercially harvested seafood products. In so doing, they also threaten those that rely on ocean fisheries and ecosystems for their livelihoods, by rendering it at times impossible to ply their trade.” Thousands of jobs in fishing and related industries are at stake.

The lawsuit charges the companies with failure to warn about the harmful impacts of their products on ocean ecosystems, despite knowing about them for decades. It also accuses the companies of negligence, defective product liability, and creating a nuisance. The suit is seeking damages from 30 fossil fuel companies, including ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, and BP, on behalf of the fishers, their families, and local communities in California and Oregon.

The changes in the ocean are plain for the fishermen to see. One crabber said, “We’re out fishing all the time, and it’s obvious the oceans are getting warmer. That’s bad for crabs and other fish, and it’s bad for those of us who make a living on the water.”

In East Hampton, the fishing community seems to be more afraid of clean energy solutions to global warming like offshore wind than threats from offshore oil and gas and warming waters from fossil fuel use. How long before it finds it should rather follow the example of its West Coast brothers and sisters in placing the blame on the real culprits?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says we have a decade to turn the tide on global warming. It will take an all-out effort to avert runaway climate change that will threaten organized society on earth. It’s time for all hands on deck to protect our fisheries, our homes, our communities, and our world.

FRANCESCA RHEANNON

 

Research on Deer

Montauk

November 18, 2018

To the Editor:

When people talk about deer, how much conventional wisdom is really accurate? We often hear that deer abundance is due to the absence of natural predators such as cougars and wolves.     

But when I recently mentioned this view to my wife, Ellen, she suggested that I take another look at Leonard Lee Rue’s book “The Deer of North America.” And, in fact, the first chapter strongly suggests that deer were highly abundant in pre-colonial times — when cougars, wolves, and other predators were plentiful as well. 

It would be good to know more about the precise role of predation in earlier times, but this is difficult because once the Europeans colonized North America, human interventions changed everything. By the late 19th century, human hunters had nearly annihilated the deer population. Then, with restrictions on hunting, deer populations started to recover. With the clearing of forests and the planting of fields and yards, deer populations rapidly grew. Predation does seem to play a role in some places, but the entire situation has become complex. The need for scientific study is great. 

I hope East Hampton residents will urge our town officials to commission scientific research on deer and wildlife. A first step, which our local officials resist, is simply an updated townwide deer count. 

BILL CRAIN

President

East Hampton Group for Wildlife

Today’s Drivers

East Hampton

November 18, 2018

To the Editor:

It took me five hours to drive from Huntington to East Hampton because of two inches of snow. While in college, I once drove from Endicott to Oswego, N.Y., through a whiteout in less time, with only a ’62 Buick having two non-studded snow tires. What happened since?

The evening was a display of extraordinary ignorance, resulting in a temporary psychosis rooted in fear. It was a display of various drivers who either didn’t understand basic inertia and lacked the physical dexterity to control their vehicles’ speed and direction, or a failure to understand their vehicles’ modern techno capabilities, or alarmingly overwhelmed by weather. The result had many clearly indecisive and worse, unable to act in any effort of consideration. The combination made for traffic’s catastrophic paralysis. It was a clear example of the broader effects of the dumbing down of America.

If ever you drove an old buggy, with a foot starter, a high-beam floor dimmer, high pressure clutch, and if really lucky vacuum windshield wipers, you learned to drive at the Harvard of all driving.

You certainly learned the importance of “the roll.” Clutch and brake pedals had to be moved 8 to 10 inches to engage and to sit at a light with a fully extended leg on the clutch, or to continually having to shift in stop-and-go traffic was a killer on the left leg. You learned to time a light and approximate distances to the moving traffic so you could use the roll and conveniently go for the next gear. You developed a sensitivity to control an accelerator that’s totally lacking today. Today? It’s either accelerator or brake. Nothing’s gray; it’s either all go or all stop. There’s no understanding of the concept to simply ease off. If ever today’s drivers had to learn to quickly switch pedals to go, when stopped on an uphill grade at a stop sign, they may appreciate the limitations of their perceived abilities. Dare to introduce to them vacuum windshield wipers that worked in inverse proportion to acceleration, and you’ll get blanked stared remarks like, “They only work best when the car is stopped?”

Now picture an old sports car having a pull choke and it tends to stall at low r.p.ms. Add to that a problem with the throttle linkage that suddenly locks up as you approach the skinny lanes of the Outerbridge Crossing from New Jersey. Add a raging icy snowfall and picture yourself as your right hand manually adjusts the choke to prevent a stall, and immediately shifts to second gear, while almost simultaneously extending your left foot to coincide with the manual shift on the floor, only to sense a need for a higher gear in order to pass a tractor trailer that’s blinding you with splashes of ice that overcome a leaky canvas convertible top. Today’s four wheel, all wheel, slip differential, all weather tire, anti-collision braking, alternative route mapping, multi-TVed driver would only manage to slow down to minus five m.p.h., put on their emergency flashers, and pray for their own selfish survival.

ALEX PICCIRILLO

Gratefulness

Springs

November 18, 2018

Dear Editor,

The first American Thanksgiving was held in Virginia around 1607. On Sept. 6, 1620, the Pilgrims headed for the new world seeking civil and religious freedom; 102 passengers crossing the Atlantic enduring storms and harsh conditions finally arriving at Plymouth Rock, Mass., on Dec. 11, 1620. Before disembarking, they signed the Mayflower Compact, America’s first document of civil self-government.

The Pilgrims were unprepared for the starvation and sickness of a harsh New England winter and nearly half died before spring. The following summer, with the help of local Native Americans, they reaped a bountiful harvest. On Dec. 13, 1621, the grateful Pilgrims then declared a three-day feast to thank God and to celebrate with their Indian friends.

Pilgrim Edward Winslow of the Massachusetts Colony described the Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving in these words: “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the company almost a week, at which time amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some 90 men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

Ingrained in the American culture and DNA is the original gratefulness to God just as the Pilgrims and founding fathers did. We owe those early and courageous Pilgrims not only the traditional Thanksgiving holiday but also the concepts of self-government, self-reliance, a “hard-work” ethic, and devout religious faith.

Lastly, on this past Nov. 11, we celebrated Veterans (Armistice) Day, the Armistice Day commemoration of the signing of the armistice between the allied powers and the central powers, effectively ending World War I hostilities. Armistice Day officially took effect at 11 o’clock in the morning, the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of 1918. Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

I want to thank our veterans and those currently serving for their services to protect and preserve our freedom. Our military and their families give unselfishly, and we all owe them a debt of gratitude.

On this Thanksgiving may the holiday find you and your family well. Please think of the downtrodden and less fortunate, donate to your favorite charity and our local food bank. Also, do not forget the annual Marine Corps Toys for Tots.

Happy Thanksgiving,

MANNY VILAR

Caravan of Refuges

East Hampton

November 18, 2018

Editor:

I am reading a passage from an evangelical pastor that describes the Central American caravan as an unwashed horde of criminals coming to take advantage of our goodness and charity. Using Trump’s language he seems not to understand that he is on a pathway to hell and that no amount of prayer or piety can save his wasted soul.

But, page three of the fascist handbook requires a scapegoat of significant differences from population norm. So he insists. Persists on his road to damnation because Jesus will always be there to forgive his descent into criminality. 

There are many ways to look at the caravan of refugees from Central America that provide alternative perspectives to the president’s narrative. There are a few factual inaccuracies. Caravans of this type have been happening for the past 20 years. Most of the people are families, 80 percent are women and children. There may be gang members and criminals in the mix, but no Arabs or known terrorists. Estimates of the number of people who will actually ask for asylum are 1.500 to 2,000. During the last years of the Obama administration more illegal immigrants were sent out of the country then entered it.

No one seems to mention the relationship between the U.S. and Central American countries. Many of the indigenous peoples are Mayan who have lived for 4,500 years in a cooperative social society. They are strongly appealed to by the communal aspects of communism and appalled by the inhumanity of capitalism in the form it was propagated in their countries. Consequently, the U.S., in its anti-Communist position and its desire for hegemony in the hemisphere, supported all of the right-wing dictatorships in these countries that oppressed the native populations. These policies also supported the United Fruit Company, which essentially utilized these peoples as slave laborers.

So the U.S. is directly responsible for most of the political and economic chaos in Central America. Iran/Contra, Noriega/cocaine distribution, endless civil wars, et al., and training militias that have been stamping out (we are also still arming) dissent. See School of the Americas. Our treatment of Central America has rarely been anything more than vile, disrespectful, and quasi-human.

That immigrants of all stripes and forms have been chosen as the Jews of Nazi Germany seems logical and obvious. Even if the issue is 95 percent bullshit, there is always the iota of truth that people can grab onto. Most of the country knows nothing about our immigrant population, has never interacted with them, has no immigrant friends or families.

So, when we set aside the Trump story we might see the caravan as desperate people trying to save themselves. Or perhaps people who have little hope of economic prosperity trying to make a better life. Or perhaps people who have believed all of our bullshit about being a country that actually helps rather than batters the most needy.

All the alternative visions of the caravan people require a sense of compassion, empathy, and love. But we are not those kinds of people. We listen to the loudest, most insistent voice that tells us to hate these immigrants because they will ruin our country (whiteness). They are simply victims of our great, newly minted fascism.

NEIL HAUSIG 

 

More Reasonable

Montauk

November 15, 2018

Dear David:

Nursing homes and rehab facilities are prohibited by New York State from placing rails on beds or other restrictions to prevent physically or mentally unstable patients from leaving a bed or wheelchair. My wife is in a fine local facility and has fallen out of her wheelchair three times and out of bed four times since March, twice necessitating a middle of the night visit to the E.R. 

Family and staff know more about the resident than any government agency. Would it not be more reasonable for family and staff to make those decisions for residents, especially if the resident is unable to fully participate in these discussions.

Yours truly,

DAN BRIGANTI

 

Pardoning a Turkey

East Hampton

November 15, 2018

Dear Editor:

While President Trump is pardoning two turkeys for Thanksgiving, every one of us can exercise that same presidential power by choosing a nonviolent Thanksgiving observance.

And here are some other good reasons:

You can brag about pardoning a turkey — like Trump (or not). You will stay awake for your entire favorite football game. Your sensible vegetarian kid won’t have to boycott the family dinner. 

Plant-based holiday roasts don’t have to carry government-warning labels. You won’t have to call Poultry Hotline to keep your family out of the hospital. Your body will appreciate a holiday from the fat, cholesterol, and hormones. You won’t sweat the environment and food resources devastation guilt trip. You won’t spend a sleepless night wondering how the turkey lived and died.

Seriously, this Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks for our good fortune, health, and happiness with a life-affirming, cruelty-free feast of plant-based holiday roast, vegetables, fruits, and grains. 

Our own dinner will feature a store-bought plant-based holiday roast, mashed potatoes, stuffed squash, candied yams, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. An internet search on “vegetarian Thanksgiving” is getting us more recipes than we could possibly use.

Sincerely,

ELIJAH HANNESBURG

 

Made of Sisal

East Hampton

November 17, 2018

To the Editor,

Regarding connections, I still have a mat purchased at T.J. Maxx in Bridgehampton more than 10 years ago and remains inside. (Actually, I have two.)

The “Bone-jour” one (as we have dogs and love them) is made of sisal and remains outside on our covered front porch and has been there for over 10 years (I am afraid that was a hand-me-down gift from a friend and had been in their possession for many years). 

Do not despair!

Good luck!

PATRICIA HABR