Letters to the Editor: 02.01.18

Our readers' comments

Consider Moving

East Hampton

January 29, 2018

To the Editor:

On Jan. 8, 2018, at 6 in the morning my wife had to call 911 because one of my lungs had collapsed and I was hardly able to breathe. The response was unbelievable. From the time she hung up the phone it was 3 to 5 minutes when the first police officer was next to me giving me oxygen. A second officer entered 2 minutes later to assist. Then the E.M.T.s arrived and got me ready to get to the hospital emergency room where the doctors were waiting for me. I estimate 35 to 45 minutes from my home to the hospital.

 I spent 13 days in the hospital. The operation on the lung was successful and with the great nursing care that I received I was sent home to recuperate. There is no way I can say enough about the whole staff at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital.

My thanks to the first responders for the job you do day in and day out. 

When I retired from the military in 1974 with 21 years’ service I thank God almighty for giving me the foresight to settle in East Hampton. Over the years we have developed a circle of caring friends who look out for each other and you know that you are loved.

I am a retired veteran with three combat tours in Vietnam. I served with the Seabee Battalions 7 and 1. Believe me when I say we need our airport for any evacuation, during natural disasters, auto accidents, lifesaving search for people lost at sea, and emergency supplies, food, medical supplies, and troops. My biggest concern at this time is terrorism and once again I cannot thank our first responders enough. For their lives are always on the line. Let’s not cut off a lifeline [for] our Noah’s Ark, the airport.

  I really don’t care that the engine noise disturbs your cocktail time or the leaf blowing noise a man must use to earn a living to feed his family. By the most part we are a simple people. We really don’t need J. Crew, Ralph Lauren, and others. For us, a pair of jeans, shirt, and jacket will do just fine. If we could go back I am sure most of us would love to buy our morning paper at Marley’s, or go to Eddie’s luncheonette for a cup of coffee with our friends. We do not need big-time moneymakers telling us how to live our lives. So if our lifestyle does not make everyone happy you have the option to move. 

The law of our land is the Constitution. It was written on Sept. 17, 1787, ratified in 1789. We elect a president every 4 years. We elect senators every 6 years, congressmen every 2 years. Donald Trump is our president. We are very blessed and it’s time to stop complaining, work together, show respect, or consider moving, if you know someplace better. Do you?

TOM BYRNE

For Moviegoers

East Hampton

January 29, 2018

To the Editor:

The average length of a movie at the East Hampton Cinema is one-and-a-half to two hours, sometimes longer. Why then are the parking spots on Main Street one hour and in the village parking lot only two hours? Why are there no spots for moviegoers? Has no one else thought of this problem? Received a ticket?

JEFFREY LAUTIN

 

Thank the Oyster

Amityville

January 28, 2018

Dear Editor,

Conditions in the waters surrounding Long Island are getting better! You can thank the oyster, oyster farmers, and oyster gardeners in your area. Yes, oyster farms and gardens! Among all shellfish, the oyster is a powerhouse when it comes to improving water quality.  One adult oyster can filter 50 gallons of water a day, restoring the health of the bay.    The equipment used to farm oysters creates habitat in the water and wetlands surrounding our island. This habitat has become an important nursery area and refuge for finfish species of all kinds, including some of our favorites: blackfish/tautog, black sea bass, and porgy/scup. Other forms of flora and fauna call oyster farms and gardens home as well.  This helps to complete the food web in an otherwise barren seascape devoid of habitat due to degraded conditions.

It’s no accident that “wild” oysters have returned around areas where oyster gardens and farms exist. These areas act as spawning sanctuaries and are reseeding oysters in Long Island waters in ever-increasing numbers. Wetland and water quality restoration is accelerated by the presence of oyster farms and gardens. With improved water quality, we see more aquatic species returning each year. So, this summer when you pass by an oyster farm or garden, know that things are getting better. 

Despite all of this we still need your help. Please assist oyster farmers and other forms of aquaculture by supporting the establishment of farm and garden areas. There is a vast resource out there that must be shared for recreational and commercial uses, especially those that are beneficial to our environment and economy. The best way you can help is to eat our local oysters, fresh from the waters of Long Island. This summer when you’re sailing our waters and spot some oyster farmers, heave to and say hello. You just might get some fresh oysters as a snack.

CHUCK WESTFALL

President, Long Island 

Oyster Growers Association

Flying Chickens

East Hampton 

January 28, 2018

Dear David:

I can understand the board’s reticence to mar our landscape with unsightly flat antennas. Let me suggest that AT&T has an artist design antennas in the shape of chickens and veggies! 

They could be lighted at night floating in the sky much as the peace sign that pops up at the holidays. Perhaps a design competition in our schools. 

Our flying chickens and veggies would not only provide much needed cellphone service but also become iconic figures of the East End along with the “Stargazer” that welcomes us home as we make the turn to 27.

Best wishes and with thanks for The East Hampton Star’s commitment to open public discourse.

JOSEPH BONGIORNO

Devastation

East Hampton

December 26, 2017

To the Editor,

Imagine a tornado rips through your community, yet somehow spares the houses. Deer Haven Court resembles a logging camp with 100-foot trees strewn about like Pick-Up Sticks. The town attorney suggested that the pitch pines should come down in order to arrest the beetle blight, and our sacrifice was required, more than requested.

We now face the not inconsiderable cost of chopping up scores of enormous tree trunks, chipping or hauling refuse to the dumps. New trees must be planted to restore some privacy.

Town board members should visit our neighborhood to view the devastation and come up with a plan for the reserve area adjacent to Route 114. Property assessments should definitely be revisited.

MARCIA LEWIS

MEL LEWIS

The Same Page

Montauk

January 28, 2018

Editor:

Near the very end of the article (Jan. 25) about David Lys’s appointment to the East Hampton Town Board, Jeffrey Bragman is quoted as saying that he and Lys “might not be on the same page” about immigration.

“Same page.” What does that mean? 

The protection of our immigrant friends and neighbors is too important to let that ambiguity remain. I’ve stood and marched around the federal building in Foley Square in protest of current government actions. I’ve watched federal agents destroy the lives of honest and hard-working immigrants and their families. I see these federal agents now target leaders of the anti-deportation and immigrant rights movement.

So, what is the difference that Bragman alludes to? What’s Bragman’s position? What’s Lys’s position? What have been their respective actions related to immigration? What can immigrants living in East Hampton expect from these new board members? How will such differences be reflected in Supervisor Van Scoyoc’s administration?

I can’t tell whether The Star just ran out of space or if there was a reason for Bragman’s vagueness. We really should know more.

MARK LEVY

Gender Equality

Amagansett

January 26, 2018

Dear David,

“At a time when gender equality and sexual harassment is at the top of the news, not seeking a woman for the post [vacant East Hampton Town Board seat] seems tone-deaf,” Star editorial, Jan. 25.

Are you nuts? As a woman, I rank my gender equality to any (perhaps not to the brilliant transgender candidate in Minnesota). Being sexually harassed has never improved my personal attempts at public service.

David Lys, the new East Hampton Town Board appointee, is not a woman. David Lys, the new East Hampton Town Board appointee, has four daughters. David Lys, the new East Hampton Town Board appointee, has always served causes larger than himself.

David Lys and I were part of Team Continuum. We raised money for cancer patients’ immediate needs. We were a charity partner of the New York Road Runners. We grew from 18 to hundreds. We received the New York governor’s medal. We carried the 2004 Olympic torch. And, one of David Lys’s fans, my late husband, a Brit, was honored by the queen.

David Lys doesn’t have to be a woman.

All good things.

DIANA WALKER

National Issues

East Hampton

January 29, 2018

Dear David,

When I was running for the town board last year, two principles I tried to follow were to be forward looking and to eschew any national political issue discussions.  Now that I am no longer running for office and have no intention to do so this year, I’d like to try to be forward looking and finally discuss some national issues. Three issues or events may be likely to dominate the East Hampton political and economic landscape over the next 12 months. Remembering that the economy of East Hampton is driven 80 percent by second-home owners versus the 20 percent of us who are year-rounders, let’s take a look at what is likely to move the political barometric needle here in East Hampton.

The first is the impact of the tax code changes on the East Hampton economy. It is clear that the new tax code is not “blue-state” friendly and Governor Cuomo has called it “a dagger at the heart of New York.” Yet there are provisions that should encourage investment but New York State’s record on stimulating investment isn’t so good under this governor.

While we have all seen the ads on television that trumpet the results of billions of dollars in New York subsidies, according to figures recently published in The Wall Street Journal, manufacturing G.D.P. [gross domestic product] has actually slipped by 0.3 percent since 2012 while there has been measurable growth between 0.7 percent and 3.8 percent depending on whether one looks at regional, national, or specific state statistics. Personal income from finance also declined in New York by 0.6 percent while it has increased by 1.5 percent nationwide and 5.1 percent and 6.2 percent in Florida and Utah, respectively, based on the same source as mentioned above.  

Now the Cuomo budget is predicting a 20 percent windfall increase largely through increased corporate earnings by banks. So the bottom line is whether the second homeowner-driven market will continue to flourish enough in East Hampton even without state and local tax deductions. By the end of the summer of 2018 we will begin to know the answers to this.

The second impact could come from any immigration reform that is enacted by Congress. The issue of immigration is political poison at any level.  When I went door to door last year, there was clear sentiment against any forms of immigration as well as clear sentiment for opening our doors to all, but perhaps in somebody else’s backyard. Here is my perspective on immigration. When I moved to East Hampton in 1978, all of those who provided me with services such as plumbing, heating, carpentry, auto repair, etc., were local. Now, because many of these original service providers have passed on or moved away about 50 percent of these services I now utilize are provided by businesses where the owner’s first language is not English, in all cases legal aliens or naturalized citizens.  

Perhaps Congress will actually deal with immigration constructively and assume their constitutional responsibilities to make paths for citizenship for those who will add to our society while protecting us from the lawless influx that categorized the period between 2008 and 2016 when neither our immigration laws were sensibly enforced nor when our legislative branch was not courageous enough to deal with the issue. It should be self-evident that many issues the town faces regarding affordable housing, schools, and property rights are driven in some substantial degree by immigration.

The third issue is water quality. At what point will the deterioration of our water quality be so bad that the costly solutions needed to reverse the trend will be commensurate with the problems and the priorities for solving those problems? The Star has run an editorial recently suggesting that spending $35 million on a septic system for the commerial district of Montauk may not address the highest priority water quality problems. There is much to agree on with this criticism. Accabonac Harbor for instance has rapidly deteriorated and so far no actual numerical goals for dissolved nitrogen and ammonia in that water body have been established. The Star is right in suggesting a prioritization of needs. 

On the other hand, a path forward for a clear and present problem in Montauk might do much to actually establish the budgetary discipline to set aside funding for water quality improvements. This may all be moot. Between 100 and 300 residents of Wainscott may be facing the fact that their real estate has taken a hit. The discovery of perfluorinated chemicals (P.F.C.) in well water in this area has greater implications than the current scenario of bottled water; then filtration and eventually Suffolk County Water.  If 25 percent of the homeowners in the area must rent their property during the summer to make their mortgages, then what will be the percentage of rentals in the area in 2018? A few residents have been articulate in voicing health concerns. At a recent Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee meeting one of the committee members stated that they all owned $10 million houses. I wonder if you still do. And what happens if the P.F.C.s migrate into Georgica Pond? I suspect that the solution to this particular water quality insult will not be fully dealt with by either the executive or legislative branches of any government.

These issues are prodigious and far reaching, yet very solvable and not catastrophic. Working through to the solutions needs foresight at all levels of government. The town board is one important level of government. It made me feel good when I learned that David Lys had been appointed to the board. My interactions with him lead me to believe he is a person who listens, who is open- minded, and who understands these issues and the logic for dealing with them.  While I am sure I may disagree with some of David’s positions, nobody will say that I have the exclusive answers to the issues I have mentioned. The voters told me that in November. 

In closing I want to express my thanks to David Rattray, who throughout the last year has written some very favorable things about me in The Star.  

Sincerely,

PAUL GIARDINA

 

Didn’t We Learn?

East Hampton

January 25, 2018

Dear David:

Hope all is well at The Star. Well, here we go again. What sparked my rant was the headline in the C section last week: “Welcome to the Springs.” As the steel for the new supersize Damark’s rises from the ground, I can’t help but wonder how this giant building got through the system, again! The result will be a monument to commercialism at the entrance of Three Mile Harbor and the Springs.

 I am wondering what kind of architectural review or planning could have possibly gone into the two or three-story building that appears to be rising. Everything in the immediate area is one story and country-like. we now have a dash of Levittown/Patchogue! This new supersize store will be the gateway to Three Mile Harbor and the west side of the Springs. 

Who are the people that approved this monstrosity? Didn’t we learn from the home goods store? Everyone complained about the size of the store and how could that happen in Wainscott? Well, it did. So, home goods is the gateway to Wainscott and the supersize Damark’s will be the gateway to the Springs. I guess all the big talk from politicians and the like about preserving the rural character of our town is just a line of bullshit to get them in the door. I have nothing against the Damark family, and I wish them the best of luck. I will and do hold a grudge against the powers-that-be who approved the supersize store. It’s time these folks started thinking with their heart instead of the wallet. Local culture is slipping away.                                                                            Yours to command,                                                                                                                                            JEFFREY PLITT                                                                                                                                                              

 

Disastrous Impact

Springs

January 28, 2018

To the Editor:

It appears evident that the hamlet study recognizes that the “sand pit” industrial site on Springs-Fireplace Road has a limited business life expectancy in its present form. It will ultimately be developed into an industrial and commercial center housing many businesses with additional possibilities for residential units and parking for commercial vehicles, all of which will have access into and onto Springs-Fireplace Road.

Separately, the study recognizes current traffic congestion that already exists on Springs-Fireplace Road. This will inevitably worsen with the recently added new school-bus depot next to the recycling center and close to the sand pit area. The depot will hold between 25 and 60 school buses, which will add 100 and 240 bus trips onto Springs-Fireplace Road with a corresponding increase of auto trips from the bus drivers.

When combined, these factors, with other existing and expanding commercial establishments in the same area, will have a disastrous impact on the residents of Springs, causing further traffic congestion and delays up and down Springs-Fireplace Road.

Furthermore, it is very likely that development at the sand pit area will raise concerns for its environmental impact and for creating unsightly conditions for those entering and leaving Springs. All of these factors must be considered and addressed before development is encouraged, as the current hamlet study does.

There is no doubt that the sand pit area will be developed. The hamlet study consultants have been discussing its development throughout the process, and it is well documented in their literature. But the hamlet of Springs will bear the burden of development without any benefit. No one hamlet should advance its own development at the expense of another hamlet. We are one town and the hamlet study must advocate for a more holistic approach in its proposal.

The people of Springs need the consultants and the town to address our concerns before advocating development of the sand pit area. A traffic flow study and a resulting plan should be developed that results in solutions that will ease the subsequent congestion on Springs-Fireplace Road.

• An environmental impact study to protect groundwater should be performed. The sand pit has open exposure to the water table. Industrial and construction activities pollute, and a safety plan needs to be established, supervised, and enforced rigorously.

• Roadside barriers should be built to buffer the noise and the visual damage that will result from development. An area should be designated within the complex for day workers to gather rather than having them line up on the roadway as they do by Riverhead Building Supply and the Long Island Rail Road. 

• Finally, there should be a financial benefit for Springs that would ease the property-tax burden, which is currently the highest rate in all of East Hampton and is twice as high as the school district that will gain property tax dollars from the sand pit development. This could be accomplished through a reduced cost for Springs’s secondary students attending East Hampton High School. 

Hopefully the town board, the hamlet study consultants, and the principals of the sand pit area will recognize the problems further development along the Springs-Fireplace corridor will cause for the Springs community and that a cooperative approach is taken that mitigates the negative impact development will result in.

FRANK RIINA

 

Board Took Action

Wainscott

January 28, 2018

Dear David,

On Jan. 25 there was a press release from Suffolk County, that there is “Water Quality Testing in the Area of Old Country Road, Westhampton.” The United States Environmental Protection Agency has detected P.F.O. and P.F.O.A. as emerging contaminants in the public water source. Exactly the same as in Wainscott private wells. As here, there is an airport nearby.

In October, the Department of Environmental Conservation designated East Hampton Airport as a potential state superfund site. According to the D.E.C., the airport is the likely source of the well contamination. In 2016 the D.E.C. sent out surveys to more than 2,500 potential users of the P.F.C.s, facilities like airports and military bases, to determine if they used or stored products that contained these P.F.C.s. They answered in the affirmative. East Hampton no longer uses or stores this compound. A recent editorial in another publication indicated that the Suffolk County Water Authority and Department of Health, as in Wainscott, had taken samples within a half-mile of Gabreski, the Suffolk County firematic facility in Yaphank, and the Hampton Bays Firehouse, “all three areas showed signs of contamination.” As I have mentioned, a friend’s family who lives near Gabreski suffers from some form of autoimmune syndrome.

At least our town board took action in providing bottled water as soon as possible to help, starting in October. Recently, I asked for a retest to determine if the contamination increased but was advised that since the testing area has been expanded to south of the highway that would not be possible at this time. The percolation rate is undetermined but it will increase in time.

Having a remote cabin in the woods and lugging water like Gunga Din to the rescue is one thing, but we also do not live in a third world country and have to demand that the state and county governments assist the town, immediately! Didn’t Nero fiddle while Rome burned?

Yours truly,

ARTHUR J. FRENCH

 

Public Disclosure

Springs

January 25, 2018

Dear David,

As the president of a statewide police union, I spend a great deal of time in Albany advocating, a nice word for lobbying, the members of the New York State Legislature and a multitude of state agencies. Just as the East Hampton Town Board is to the East Hampton town Police Benevolent Association, New York State government is to the Police Benevolent Association of New York State. Also, the P.B.A.N.Y.S. is at the forefront of any legislation that addresses crime, law enforcement, and social issues that impact every New Yorker.

Open and transparent government is not a catchphrase but rather the standard by which business is done and for a good reason. Former F.B.I. Director James Comey is quoted: “Public corruption is the F.B.I.’s top criminal priority. The threat — which involves the corruption of local, state, and federally elected, appointed, or contracted officials — strikes at the heart of government, eroding public confidence and undermining the strength of our democracy.”

Now it is not my intention to get into the weeds of national politics knowing that there is more than plenty of controversies currently surrounding the former director. Regardless, his quote is spot on.

East Hampton currently does not, despite being required to do so, abide by the New York State Lobbying Act, which was adopted and became law in 2001, and the relevant amendments enacted since. One has only to visit the Joint Commission on Public Ethics website to read the law.

I am not implying that there is corruption in East Hampton Town government. What I do firmly believe is that with a supermajority political party, Democratic, hold on town government (the same would be true if it were a Republican or Independence) no stone in public disclosure should be ignored. East Hampton Town government should mandate all persons/firms/organizations meeting the definition of a lobbyist as described in the New York State Lobbying Act register with the Joint Commission on Public Ethics. Further, East Hampton Town, for greater transparency, should provide easy access to the list of persons/firms/organizations and who they are lobbying in town government. Currently, town law does not contain any such provision.

The quote of the English member of Parliament Lord John Acton comes to mind: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

If you have any questions concerning local lobbying or the lobbying act, please contact the commission, at 518-408-3976. 

MANNY VILAR

The Latest Outrage

East Hampton

January 25, 2018

Dear David:

A recent study from the global financial consultant Lazard demonstrated that worldwide the leveled cost of wind and solar energy (unsubsidized) is now lower than the cost of coal, oil, and even gas. It is certainly not a coincidence that Trump has this week announced a new tariff on solar panels within two months of this study’s emergence. The fossil fuel industries that are the lifeblood of Republican campaigns are using their political lackeys to protect a 19th-century industry, and with the same stroke endangering the prosperity of a 21st-century industry that is essential to slowing the onslaught of climate change.

Ostensibly, this tariff is to protect American jobs. In fact, the solar power industry is the fastest growing job producer in our economy. The manufactured panels themselves are only a small part of this industry. But thousands of American jobs will be lost if that industry is stalled, so the net effect is expected to be a loss of American jobs, not to mention an increase in climate damage from perpetuation of CO2 emissions, which the entire world is working to eliminate. The Koch brothers must be giggling with delight.

On the heels of opening oil drilling off our coasts (putting the beaches and fishing of the Hamptons at risk of B.P. oil spills), eliminating environmental regulations for coal and gas industries, this is merely the latest outrage from this administration. One wonders how long it will take for the American people to realize that we, like Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern dictatorships, are being transformed away from a society based on science and the general well-being of our populace into a petro state preserving the ridiculous profits of a small, blood-sucking minority. Sad.

DON MATHESON

 

Go Elsewhere

East Hampton

January 29, 2018

Dear Mr. Rattray,

I have been reading with growing alarm about the plans for the Deepwater Wind installation of giant turbines off our beaches, and I am very concerned about this for a number of reasons.

First of all, the installation would entail moving gigantic infrastructure equipment into our waters, where we fish, where we swim, and it is all out of scale with our local and very beautiful environment.

Second, the installation would involve drilling deep into the ocean floor (how deep, where exactly, what would be disrupted, and for how long are among questions that have not been answered). The installation is further alarming as Deepwater developer Jeff Grybowski has stated that they will eventually install 200 wind turbines in the 256-square-mile leased area off Wainscott, and he mentions that there are plans for supplying power to not only Long Island but also New England and beyond. In other words, we would soon be faced with 200 turbines twice the height of the Statue of Liberty (600 feet tall) with a diameter wingspan of 538 feet off our shores which would be lit up at night by red lights that flash as the gigantic blades turn. This would have a jarring effect on the beautiful and starry moonlight skies we love out here. 

Of course, it is all worth it to have green power, free as the wind, right? But it is not all free as there is not only the tremendous cost of the installation of the turbines but there is also the maintenance cost which some estimate to be between 25 to 30 percent of the total project. That maintenance includes the addition of synthetic or mineral-based oil to be applied to the gearboxes of the turbines (each as big as a bus) and also the generators and even to the wing tips of the blades.  It would not be surprising to see oil slicks in the water and tar on our pristine beaches.

Third, after the vast wind farm is installed, we of East Hampton would have to recognize that this does not actually solve our power needs, despite all the millions or billions to put the wind farm there. This is because when hurricanes hit or winds exceed 55 miles per hour, the blades automatically stop turning, and thus stop producing power and this is key: There are no batteries yet in America that can store all the power needed to replace the wind power so we would still have to rely on fossil fuels or solar power as backup.  

Fourth, when the turbines get old or rusty and need to be replaced, what then? The life expectancy of the offshore windmills is 15 to 25 years. Sadly, after all that work and money spent and infrastructure built, the windmills do not actually last that long — less time in the ocean with corrosive saltwater and air and hurricanes and waves that can beat away at the structures. Some might suggest that within that time frame we will have superior power alternatives and storage solutions for energy from solar and technology that is now being developed.

So, respectfully, I would not choose to rely on Deepwater Wind to even be around when that time comes to replace the turbines.  

Fortunately, our fishermen, who know and love our ocean, and our trustees and village and town officials can step up to request that this company go elsewhere. LIPA and PSEG could spend that money elsewhere to improve our local energy sources and now is the time. 

In The East Hampton Star of Jan. 25, we have read that Mr. Gary Cobb had excellent questions about the project and suggested a number of alternatives to Deepwater Wind’s invasion. On the same page (A9) of The Star there is an article about our Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and Senator Kenneth P. LaValle that would require LIPA to “protect the economic interests of its ratepayers and the service area” when proposing rate increases. Ironically, Rhode Island rates have already risen due to the wind farm of five windmills off Block Island. This will happen to us, also; all this as LIPA expects a windfall in tax reduction as noted in the page A9 Star article of Jan. 25.

This is a historic time for East Hampton, and it is essential that we protect and preserve the beautiful and mighty Atlantic Ocean and our shores for now and for the future.  

Sincerely,

ALICE WAINWRIGHT

 

Pushing Back

East Hampton

January 29, 2018

To the Editor:

People of East Hampton: Kudos to our fishermen, well represented by Gary Cobb, and to Rick Drew and our trustees, for pushing back on the Deepwater project. 

The town board and trustees should not issue any kind of easement to the Deepwater corporation without at least a completed environmental impact statement. It is not incumbent on East Hampton to submit to the requirements of the Deepwater “schedule,” described by that company’s principals. 

Thank you to the trustees and the fishermen for holding fast.

Sincerely,

PATRICIA HOPE

 

‘O Canada’

Montauk

January 25, 2018

Dear David,

If President Trump gets his way a very, very, big wall will soon be built along our border with Mexico. No doubt, this will solve our problem with drugs and rapes. 

However, is it not time to look northward to address the huge problem we now face with illegal Canadian immigration, border smuggling, and cultural erosion? 

For the past 20 years, millions of undocumented Canadians have illegally crossed the border and moved into many of our northern cities — Detroit, Seattle, San Francisco, Grand Forks, Buffalo, and Plattsburgh. Northern Maine and northern Vermont are now almost entirely in the hands of well-armed (with huge axes) lumberjack gangs who specialize in smuggling Molson Ale, Seagram’s VO, Canadian Club, Crown Royal, Tim Horton’s coffee, and maple syrup in anticipation of the end to NAFTA and the imposition of onerous tariffs. Many innocent Americans have been run over and killed by snowmobiles driven by these Canadian thugs.

Many American school districts have been inundated with the children of these illegals, and this has resulted in higher taxes and larger class sizes. Many districts in relative proximity to the province of Quebec are now mandating the French language in their curriculum, and “O Canada” is sometimes sung after the American National Anthem at sporting events. Several districts have substituted ice hockey to replace football as a fall sport. 

It is, of course, easy to explain the factors behind the massive immigration of these losers. First and foremost, all Canadians hate their socialized medicine. They flock here because the American system of health care is much cheaper and far superior. In addition, food stamps and welfare are available for anybody who wants them. Weather is also an important factor. People living in the frigid air of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories would much prefer to live in the balmy environment of uffalo — or even Albany.

If we are able to solve this problem in a fair and equitable manner, we could move on to our next adventure — a naval blockade of Haiti.

Cheers, Eh?

BRIAN POPE

We Are Emerging

East Hampton

January 29, 2018

Dear David,

The definition of emergence — the process of coming into being, or of becoming important or prominent, the process of coming into view, or becoming exposed after being concealed — arising as a natural or logical consequence.

We have arrived at a place in this country, and across the globe for that matter, where “emergence” must become the model in moving forward. We, as citizens, must take a stand of being responsible and unless we do this, we cannot take a stand in making a difference. Perhaps that is the starting point. Unless we get that we each make a difference, nothing is changing. Nothing at all. Like it or not, we are the emerging leaders and each one of us needs to be the hero and heroine leading by example with one mind and one consciousness. Leading with love, not fear.

We are well aware that our current political system is self-destructing and both parties have ushered in this moment that is before us. If we are going to make any kind of breakthrough we are going to have to start thinking/leading with imagination and courage, and there are examples of such in other countries across the globe. To believe in ourselves is what will create possibility. We are emerging into a new destiny, defined by the future, not by the past, and the current paradigm will shift with or without us. These are the times and we are the people.

BARBARA LAYTON

 

Family Values

Springs

January 29, 2018 

Dear David:

This past week has brought a press obsession with an alleged extramarital affair between Mr. Trump and Stormy Daniels. Inexplicably, Republicans, and especially the religious right, have given him a “mulligan.” In doing so, the party has revealed the charade it has been playing for years.

For decades, Republicans have championed adherence to the nebulous concept they labeled family values. They anointed themselves with this mantle, claiming the higher ground on marital fidelity, heterosexuality, family unity, and Christian piety.  All we heard from the Republicans as they touted their purity was how the family and its conservative tenets formed the foundation of their principles.

How things have changed! Republicans have tossed away any pretense of embodying this mantle after, among other things, their hypocritical embrace of the adulterous Mr. Trump, then of Roy Moore (the accused pedophile), and their support for policies of questionable morality. Fundamentally, its purported embrace of family values has been nothing but a lie.

In truth, it has been the Democrats who have embraced and furthered family values. By advocating, and obtaining marriage equality, Democrats have moved the country closer and encouraged arrangements conservatives professed to extol. It has been Republicans who seek to denounce this family-friendly notion and even now fight it by denying legitimacy to children who are the product of these marriages.

Democrats have fought to provide security to families through the passage of protections like the Affordable Care Act, which have afforded health care to tens of millions of Americans and their children. Republicans have fought tooth and nail to undo this and other efforts to support the family’s existence.

Democrats have been fighting to maintain the sanctity of the undocumented families among us who came to America for no other reason than a better life, often escaping from intolerable economic, religious, or political oppression — exactly why our ancestors came here. Republicans relentlessly pursue policies that would tear these families apart. Using the euphemism of “chain migration,” Republicans would deny family members outside the United States the opportunity to join family members already here. Families with children who are DACA, Preferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, recipients risk these kids being deported — to a country the kids have never known. The pain these families feel is real, and its infliction is unconscionable: During a memorable town board meeting, a lawyer from Sag Harbor told of how he was preparing guardianship papers for children in the event they should return from school to a parentless home.

Under Mr. Trump’s spell, Republicans are watching the supposed pillars of its brand be exposed for the fiction they are. The Democratic Party should grab the family values banner and wave it proudly, for it long has been the true champion of real family values.

BRUCE COLBATH

 

Continued Defense

East Hampton

January 23, 2018

Dear David,

Lee Zeldin is shameful in his continued defense of Donald Trump’s repugnant behavior, most recently in response to the “shithole countries” comment. Mr. Zeldin supports the bully and cites anti-political correctness as the reason for the president’s jingoistic remark.

The whole politically correct backlash, which in part helped get Mr. Trump elected, is chilling. When people feel they can say or do whatever harmful thing they want no matter how abhorrent with no consequence, something is wrong. What kind of example is this setting? What kind of callous world is this modeling?

Mr. Trump clearly lacks any compassion. He has an almost pathological disdain for people and the natural world unless it benefits him or serves his agenda. “America first,” he says, but he really means, “me first.” Perhaps if he ate better, exercised more, and hung out with a more diverse group of people, he wouldn’t be so miserable.

And, Lee Zeldin, stop being such a sycophant.

Respectfully,

PATRICIA SANSONE

 

To Further Racism

East Hampton

January 22, 2018

Dear David,

When the United States used Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, what would normally be a violation of international laws relating to using gases in war, passed as a means of defoliating the dense jungles to enhance the war effort. The long-term effects of this product, which poisoned the water table, were deformed children, severe mental illness, and brain damage to U.S. soldiers. Vietnam vets suffering from the effects of the product were obligated to sign release forms, agreeing not to sue the chemical companies that manufactured the product or the U.S. government for exposing them to it, in order to obtain treatment for the problem.

The treatment of the vets was difficult to fathom. The use of Agent Orange on the Vietnamese less so. How the U.S. got to the comfort zone for using Agent Orange is rooted in the racism that has permeated our country since its inception. 

There has never been a year, a day, or a minute since the first settlers came to America and uttered the word “savages” that racism has not been part and parcel of the National DNA. So much so that we are incapable of differentiating between what is racist and what isn’t. So steeply rooted in the process of denial that sometimes we are taken to debate questions that the simplest minds, who have no inking of what racism is, would describe as racist.

Living a long time in France I’ve experienced the intense racism combined with the French sense of superiority, yet there is a difference between the racism of France and England and the U.S. The French and English suffer from a superiority complex but accept that there is significant racism in their cultures. Americans suffer from an inferiority complex and relentlessly deny our racism to the point of often claiming reverse racism. (Reverse racism can only be defined as the demented ravings that are usually the province of village idiots.)

What separates the U.S. from Europe is that we have had 400 years of practice and have perfected the process. We have institutionalized extraordinary racial discrimination and have found the rationale to not see ourselves as racist and to glorify the progress we have made as a nation. It’s analogous to segregated schools that now bus children instead of lifting the quality of education to some level of equality.

DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] is probably dead despite the deal in the Senate. If Trump wasn’t opposed to it he wouldn’t have ended the program. If the DACA kids were whiter there wouldn’t have been a problem. If the president and many Republicans weren’t racist pigs there wouldn’t be a problem.

Isn’t it odd that the Muslim ban, DACA, and El Salvador are all about non-white people and have no real relevance to any policies other than to continue to further racism?

Yet, the underbelly of racism is that it takes away people’s edge in a competitive world where there are limited resources and limited opportunities. Makes it easier for racists to succeed by diminishing others. Like Trump’s way of doing business. It’s a three-legged race and someone only has two. It’s a society rigged by white people in power to give them the edge, which helps them retain that power.

Barack Obama, interviewed by David Letterman, is what we all aspire for Americans to be. Smart, sensitive, funny, humble. Amazing that an extraordinary black guy was reviled for his blackness and his adversaries couldn’t get past it. 

NEIL HAUSIG 

 

Too Little, Too Late

Plainview  January 25, 2018

To the Editor:

1. It’s a shame that the symbolic, excessive years of Larry Nassar’s 175-plus year prison sentences — which no human being could ever live to serve —cannot be somehow transferred onto the shorter sentences of other vile convicted “monsters” whose inadequate sentences will allow them to one day again walk free and enjoy life, possibly harming new victims.

2. It’s also a shame that despite the horrible, unforgivable crimes he committed in the guise of “medical” treatment to more than 100 victims, he won’t be put to death or tortured, and thus will escape experiencing suffering equal to the combined suffering that he inflicted on his many victims.

3. And it’s a shame that prison officials will undoubtedly protect him from cellmates and other inmates who might otherwise provide him with some “street justice” in his cell, in the shower, or while he sleeps.

4. Additionally, it’s a shame that the well-paid, high status, adult officials from Michigan State University, U.S.A. Gymnastics, and the Karolyi Ranch, who knew, suspected, or should have known what this man was doing to young girls for up to two decades — and should have investigated his practices and stopped him many years ago — are likely to never be criminally prosecuted as “accessories,” who helped make his crimes possible.

5. Finally, it’s a shame that out of his 150-plus victims, none of the first 75 girls (or their parents) courageously stepped forward to speak out 5, 10, or 15 years ago — when they could have been true heroes who thus would have saved his final 75 victims from ever having been “treated” by this perverted pedophile. Better late than never, but their coming forward in 2016, 2017, and at his 2018 trial was too little/too late — a little like closing the barn door after the horses have already escaped.

RICHARD SIEGELMAN