Letters to the Editor: 04.12.18

Our readers' comments

Gigantic Tank

New York City April 9, 2018

To the Editor:

The installation of a “glass-fused bolted steel type storage tank with a painted aluminum dome will stand no more than approximately 30 feet high and just under 90 feet in diameter and will hold approximately 900,000 gallons of drinking water” was the news we received on Wednesday, March 28, in a letter sent to our New York City address from the Suffolk County Water Authority. 

When I spoke to the engineer who wrote the letter, Timothy J. Kilcommons, he answered all my questions, which only increased my concerns. No efforts have been put in place to conceal this gigantic tank: no landscaping, no appropriately clad surrounding structure, no additional fencing. He did offer that perhaps there would be plantings outside the fenced area (not on S.C.W.A.’s property) along the border of Cross Highway. He and I discussed the difficult soil conditions of that area and the limited amount of area under consideration.

Our home on Devonshire Lane in Amagansett will not be visually impacted by this structure but surely our very quiet residential community will be. The proposed site is on Cross Highway where it intersects with Cranberry Hole Road. The elevation of the site will only make it more visible to more drivers, bicyclists, and hikers. An access to the beautiful Paumanok Path is diagonally across the street from the site and the area is home to spectacular dunes and low-growing evergreens. These roads lead to both Devon, Little Albert’s Landing, Lazy Point, and Napeague Harbor, all of which are enjoyed by families and sports enthusiasts.

We did a small canvas by phone and visits to surrounding neighbors (some whose property will be impacted) and not a single resident received this letter with the proposal’s aerial and elevation plans. The S.C.W.A. states that there would be a meeting at the Amagansett Library on Wednesday, April 11, at 6:30.

When I asked Mr. Kilcommons why this meeting was scheduled for mid-week when S.C.W.A. surely knows that most community residents are not year-rounders he really had no adequate answer. His only response was that S.C.W.A. did their due diligence by sending the letter and posting a notice in The East Hampton Star in the public notices section.

The beautiful community of Devon and the surrounding area deserve consideration in the planning of what is taking place in their backyards.

Thank you,

JANE HERRICK

An Eyesore

New York City

April 9, 2018

To the Editor,

We just learned that Suffolk County Water Authority is planning to build an enormous water tower pumping station in our residential district of Amagansett.  

In my calls to Town Hall it appears that no one was aware of the installation and most of the residents in the immediate area surrounding the proposed tower were never informed either. 

There is likely to be an environmental impact as well as the creation of an eyesore that should be reviewed in an open forum.  Why is this major installation being kept secret from the community and not being reviewed by the town? 

ED WOLLMAN

Cutting Corners

East Hampton

April 6, 2018

Dear Mr. Rattray,

The East Hampton Town Board committee has been working on the design for the new senior center and senior day care facility for more than three years as the building crumbles around them. It would be nice to think that those using the building will be able to see a new facility. The town supervisor, Peter Van Scoyoc, and Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez are dragging their feet through ongoing senseless disputes and political pandering.

The building at 128 Springs-Fireplace Road is over 100 years old and was formerly used as a bar and restaurant fittingly called the Pipe Dream.

The Podell House, a building on Accabonac Road, was a generous donation to the town by a local resident (one of many generous local people who have given much to the town for the betterment of the community). It was formally used to house the town’s adult day care and in-home service programs, and held the offices for case managers and social workers, who have since been replaced by case managers.  

The plans for the new senior center building do not include a basement; the Human Services Department employees rely on the use of the basement in the building they now use. It is short- sightedness and irresponsible planning at best to forgo the extra money needed to include a basement. 

The senior center building also doubles as the town’s special needs shelter in the event of a town emergency. 

Not having enough space for all the town’s various programs has always been an ongoing problem from the beginning.

The basement provides storage for filing cabinets and office supplies, plastic utensils and paper goods for kitchen and bathroom necessities, and a washing machine and dryer unit, goods for reusable party ensembles, chairs and tables, and all holiday trimmings for the entire program.

The new building is also going to house the incoming food pantry, which will also require additional space and additional refrigeration units. The new building space will also be utilized for any additional new programs that may be started in the future. 

The town board keeps saying they want to look to the future and offer more for the people by expanding the programs. How can they do that when the building does not provide any room for expansion?

The Human Services employees are operating in cramped quarters and the basement is packed with all the necessities the nutrition program and A.D.C. programs need, they don’t have enough room for storage as it is. Without a basement in the new building all of these necessities will have to be stored upstairs, taking away precious space from public usage.    

The senior center building provides many services for all senior citizens and townspeople alike. It’s a gathering place for senior citizens to have a nutritious hot lunch and a place for social activities. 

It provides blood pressure screenings and counseling. meditation, Reiki, walking exercises, yoga for all, chair yoga, and a healing circle. Other activities include movies, a knitting group, coloring pages, bingo, cards, mah-jongg, and bridge games, opera, and poetry. 

The senior center also provides a place for vital community support groups to meet: Overeaters Anonymous and Debtors Anonymous and a Step/Self- Recovery group. Several Alcoholics Anonymous groups also meet there: A.A. for Beginners, Sober Woman’s Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, A.A. Back to Basics Group, A.A. Keep It Green, and the A.A. 12-Step Program. And the S.L.A. anonymous Group. 

The senior center also provides a place for a caregivers support group, Southampton Hospital wellness program, East End young people’s group, senior counseling (Family Service League), and the senior citizen advisory board meetings are held there.

In addition to all these groups, this building also provides services for the Senior Transportation Department (for essential services), in-home services, case management services, and the residential repair program.

This is a building that provides a lot of services. The new government building needs to have a basement. Why would the town board pass up an opportunity to have more space in this new building when there are so many people and groups clamoring to use it — and so many people who depend upon it. 

The town needs to think about the future of this building and not just replace the current building. Cutting corners to build a new facility without a basement is not thinking toward the future and takes the human element out of the Human Services Department. 

The town’s senior adult day care/social club is a wonderful program that provides a friendly, safe atmosphere for adults who need a little supervision. It’s a stimulating environment that provides important socialization through group activities. Anyone who has an elderly parent or loved one and is interested can call Lisa Charde at adult day care. The number can be found on the Town of East Hampton’s website: Department of Human Services.

DONNA BROWN 

Climate Crisis

East Hampton

April 8, 2018

Dear David,

Climate change has reared its head here in East Hampton. Warmer winters and higher average temperatures have also led to the Southern pine beetle infestations that are killing the pine forests we all love. The tick and white-footed mouse populations are growing to plague-like proportions. We see with our own eyes increasing coastal erosion, as well as an increase in the frequency and severity of storms. As a coastal town, we must pay attention to the devastating effects of climate change on our most precious resource, our ocean. Acidification caused by the absorption of carbon dioxide trapped in our atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels for electricity production is already causing severe damage to the ocean environment.

Raising Gerard Drive in Springs and the retreat of our most popular tourist areas are our new realities here in East Hampton. These are only Band-Aids. We must solve the problem.

Globally, we have witnessed 16 of the 17 hottest years on record this century. And science shows that the climate crisis is already posing multiple risks to our health and our economy.

The good news is that we know what it takes to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, and that means shifting to clean renewable electricity as soon as possible. There is a growing movement of communities across the country taking charge of their energy future and committing to 100 percent renewable electricity. We can do this right here in East Hampton, but it is imperative that our elected officials act as soon as possible. Together, we can solve the problem.

I urge our East Hampton Town Board to continue the 100-percent renewable electricity pledge they made to our community with the use of solar and wind and make East Hampton a national leader in the fight against the climate crisis. A bright, sustainable future for our planet and community is finally in sight and it is time to make it a reality.

Sincerely,

CATE ROGERS

Overflow Turnout

East Hampton

April 9, 2018

Dear David 

The East Hampton Group for Good Government was happily surprised by the overflow turnout at the library on Saturday for the Deepwater wind farm renewable energy community forum.

We try to limit our forums to an hour and a half, but after two hours almost everyone was still in their seats asking questions and listening to answers.

Deepwater has provided a lot of information to the town and trustees about its proposed operations and community benefit fund, but it seems that several important issues still need to be resolved:

1. In answer to a Freedom of Information request, the Long Island Power Authority is willing to make public the entire power purchase agreement with Deepwater — but Deepwater is still insisting that the financial terms be redacted. As a result, we are still relying on speculation rather than facts.

2. Fishermen have indicated that there should be one to two miles between fixed ocean obstacles. Yet the current plan is to locate turbines less than one mile apart, with concrete mattresses on certain portions of the underwater cable. Deepwater’s fisheries liaison, Rodney Avila, explained how the possibility for damage to fishermen was being minimized by avoiding trawling areas, etc. However, Dan Farnham, a local fisherman, described how damage could still arise from locating the turbines and the cable in traditional fishing grounds.  

There is still no fund being established by Deepwater to be administered by an independent arbitrator if a fisherman’s boat or gear is damaged. Relying on a lone fisherman trying to negotiate with a billion-dollar corporation after the fact will make a depressing movie.

3. Wind is needed as part of any plan for renewables since solar, batteries, and conservation alone will not solve the East End’s peak usage needs. Just making bigger an outmoded LIPA grid design and retaining needlessly restrictive rules for local co-generation, will not make the East End energy supply resilient and bring prices down. What assurances will LIPA and PSEG give about rescinding restrictive rules that will discourage local generation? 

G.G.G. expects to focus on these issues with its “G.G.G. Insights” LTV programs and another community forum on local electric generation and resilience. LTV will televise Saturday’s panel on channel 20 on Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m., Fridays at 1:30 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m., Sundays at 1 p.m., and Mondays at 10 p.m. through May 7.

ARTHUR MALMAN

Chairman

East Hampton Group 

for Good Government 

True Cost

Wainscott

April 9, 2018

Dear David

Last week’s edition contained a detailed graph by Simon Kinsella that leaves nothing to the imagination — that we will have our pockets picked, once again, with a possible monster rate increase. 

On Block Island, the cost was spread out to every ratepayer in Rhode Island, who were unaware. Is the company forthright on the true cost? 

Of course, they offered an incentive for approval. But if the deal sounds too good to be true, it isn’t.

Come on, Deepwater, open the truth spigot.

Yours truly,

ARTHUR J. FRENCH

Bad Acts

Noyac

April 2, 2018

Dear David:

Jim Henry’s recent trial identified a number of bad acts engaged in by East Hampton Town. At the November 2015 public hearing, the town board viewed a vote of 300 residents. By a 3-to-1 measure of raised hands, the vast majority of the town residents opposed the rental registry law. They did not trust local government to handle this responsibility correctly. They were more correct than they knew. 

Despite the general sentiment against the law, the town board voted the rental registry law into effect soon thereafter. The town began enforcement in May 2016. The first criminal summonses were given to a half-dozen Hispanic tenants for illegal “use” of a property where the property owner failed to register the property. Several hundred criminal summonses to Hispanic working-class and white and minority working-class tenants followed. The breakdown of those numbers may well interest the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Unit. 

As the Henry jury trial verdict underscored, if the town wanted to selectively prosecute only the working class, they need only follow the model they have instituted over the past two years. The town witnesses on the Henry case testified that owners of property who lived outside of East Hampton Town had been exempt from any criminal prosecution. The town made no effort to prosecute the owners of the properties who lived outside East Hampton Town. 

The fact that the town thereafter went ahead and prosecuted hundreds of tenants for the owners’ failing to register the properties violates every standard of conduct for government under the United States Constitution. 

LAWRENCE KELLY 

Purpose and Goal

Amagansett

April 2, 2018

Dear David, 

  Now that the Amagansett School Board has hired a search team, the process for hiring a superintendent should move quickly, taking approximately two months at the most to advertise, sort through the applications, interview, and have the school board approval. The new administrator should be in place to start the new school year, July 2018.

Being fiscally responsible to the community, having had a full year to find a replacement for the superintendent’s position, the school board should not continue to pay or house Mrs. Tritt after the end date of her contract on June 30. The new superintendent should begin his/her contract on July 1, 2018.     

As far as the two additional administrators, according to New York State school law (page 93 section 9:1), “Every school district in New York State may appoint a superintendent of schools. Every school district in New York State must appoint a full–time building principal for every school unless the commissioner of education approves an alternative mode of building administration after reviewing evidence submitted by the district.”

  The Amagansett School previously had a single principal from its start. In 1979 the school board approved having the title changed to principal/ superintendent. This was still held by only one administrator until Mrs. Tritt was hired. The school will need a part-time second administrator to do the annual evaluations on the staff, but for the 30 staff members, this would take approximately 40 days to complete.  

I have a unique idea: Let’s use the money that the Amagansett taxpayers are paying for the unnecessary, additional administrators on additional training for our teachers and for additional needs of our students! The school’s purpose and goal should always be to educate our children to the best of our ability.

Thank you to all the community members who supported me by signing my petition last Saturday to run for school board. I truly appreciate your support. Remember, the school board vote is Tuesday, May 15, at the Amagansett School from 2 to 8 p.m.  

Best regards,

MARY A. EAMES

Per the Master

New York City

April 9, 2018

To the Editor,

Why be afraid of my grandmother?

Ignorance and fear are the kindling that feeds the fires of bigotry. Throughout history, this kindling has fueled the destruction of democracies and the rise of repressive dictatorships. Hitler was the master. Unfortunately, the recipe for this weapon of mass destruction is simple and others have learned from the master. You start with targeting “those people,” using demonizing lies to fan the flames of fear. Upon this fire, apply the logs of democratic intuitions and you have a bonfire worthy of the Third Reich. For targets, you have a few good choices to pick from — Jews, Muslims, people of color, Hispanics. 

A good example is the “caravan” of migrants making their way north from Honduras. They, like my Irish grandmother, Julia, are coming to America seeking a new and better life. Julia, at age 17, shipped out from Ireland with $6 in her pocket to become a housekeeper here in America. Not much different from a Juanita, in today’s “caravan.” Fortunately for Julia, she did not have to deal with the likes of Donald Trump. 

So Donald Trump, ever the good student, executes per the master. He targets Hispanics and applies the demonizing lie: “Women in a caravan of migrants traveling through Central America to the United States are raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before.” (There is no evidence of a level of rape any more than might occur in Palm Beach.) Then he applies the logs to the fire he created, deploying troops, trashing the press (“the enemy of the people”) to suppress the truth and defiling the justice system (“a joke and laughingstock”) to discount the rule of law, while charging political opponents of treason. Add in some terror groups (Brown Shirts, neo-Nazi or the K.K.K.), who respond well to coded messages (Charlottesville, “There were some very fine people”) and you have the makings of dictator pie. 

When the “crisis” is under control, Donald will establish strict immigration rules on who is allowed into America. Possibly, like the membership at the Mar-a-Lago club, where the primary requirement for acceptance is money and the strong willingness to kiss Donald Trump’s ass. I am afraid my grandmother would not have been accepted to Donald’s America, as she only had $6 and was not very fond of pompous ass——.

JAY MCGLYNN

Zeldin Is Complicit

Springs

April 8, 2018

Dear David:

These are the only words that accurately describe “President Dennison’s” new position against the DACA recipients. Arguing that tough new immigration laws are necessary to prevent non-existent “caravans” of migrants from entering the United States and taking advantage of the protection offered under the DACA program, he evinces a profound ignorance of the laws he is charged with upholding. Most fundamentally, he ignores the fact that eligibility under the DACA program ended in 2007.

So, it can only be the function of incompetence or the deliberate use of a false argument to roil his G.O.P. cronies in Congress to come up with new punitive immigration laws designed to marginalize yet further those who came to this country seeking a new and better life, or just freedom itself.

Our representative, Lee Zeldin, is complicit in supporting measures that hide behind a superficial legitimacy but impermissibly and unfairly target those among us who are the least capable of protecting themselves.

Voters should have no tolerance for candidates, regardless of party, who have exemplified a tendency to pursue measures, however legitimate on their face, that unfairly impact the most vulnerable, whether racially, or the elderly, the poor, or our immigrant brethren.

BRUCE COLBATH

Political Crisis

East Hampton 

April 9, 2018

To the Editor:

It’s past time to end the scapegoating: Hillary was too unlikeable, Bernie was too far left, the pollsters made us think it was in the bag, the media gave Trump endless coverage, and on and on. 

While there’s plenty of blame to go around, let’s face facts: With the possibility of electing the most glaringly unfit, mentally unstable person ever to run for president, much of the electorate chose to quibble with the alternative or sulk that their preferred candidate wasn’t selected, or vote their resentments instead of their reason, or just be lazy and disengaged. The failure of the American public to take the responsibilities of citizenship seriously has plunged us into the ongoing political crisis that is the Trump presidency.

There may not be do-overs, but there are second chances. If we want to defend our democracy and protect this country, every one of us has to do our part and vote. In November, vote out Lee Zeldin, who supports and encourages a president run amok, and vote in a Democrat who will work to rein in a man whose dangerous ignorance knows no bounds.

Sincerely,

CAROL DEISTLER

Wealth Tax

Rochester 

March 29, 2018

To The Editor:

Politics in this country has reached the point where I would be shocked if any candidate for the United States House or Senate showed the courage to support a national-wealth tax of 25 percent on all individuals worth $10 million or more. Here’s what we could do with that revenue:

1. Eliminate the federal budget deficit and the national debt.

2. Pass a Canadian-style national health insurance program to cover all Americans.

3. Turn student loans into scholarships.

4. Make Social Security fully solvent beyond the current date of 2034.

5. Supplement the unequal pay for equal work that women do in this country to bring it up to what men get paid.

6. Help working families pay day-care expenses for their children and elderly family members.

7. Guarantee jobs to all Americans that will pay enough to lift them above the official poverty line and the official “near-poverty” line.

And, there would still be money left over!

This is how much wealth there is in this country. Eighty percent of all of the wealth in the U.S.A. was never earned by those who hold it — it was inherited. It grows and grows into tens of millions, hundreds of millions, and on into the billions.

No one could possibly ever need that much money. Yet, I can’t find one Democrat in either house of Congress who supports a national wealth tax.

Someone should write a book about the national Democrats and call it “Profiles in Cowardice.”

They’re supposed to care about the people more than they care about raising millions of dollars so that they can win re-election.

Sincerely,

STEWART B. EPSTEIN

In Sync

East Hampton

April 9, 2018

Dear Editor:

There has been a bizarre narrative forming around American evangelicals that is being beaten to death in the media. Based on the stupid assumption that all evangelicals are the same or are essentially identical, we can make general statements that have relevance and validity. The basic narrative is that evangelicals are good, God-fearing, Jesus-loving people who live by a set of principles enumerated in some religious book — that there is something consistently pure in their beliefs and consequently in their behavior. Fortunately, the weight of this belief does not fall too heavily on United States evangelicals because it is almost completely unsustainable.

When we break out those evangelicals who are Trump supporters, we have a different narrative. Trump as a racist, misogynist pig, devoid of empathy and basic human feelings, is not someone who conflicts with the basic values of this group. In truth, they are perfectly in sync with the president and have found their true natures in him. He is representative of who they are, what they believe, and how they behave. Heaven on earth (maybe the garden of earthly delights).

There is no reason for soul searching or hand-wringing from this group. They don’t need to overlook his behavior or give him a pass. Thinking that they need to do so is creating a false narrative that they are essentially something different. They aren’t, never have been, never will be.

The problem with playing the religion card is that all religions are the same and they almost always trend toward bullshit. What separates religions is only the behavior of people. Not what they think, where they pray, or how often they pray. Behavior is the only measure of value. The exaggerated fantasies of religious texts and the doctrines they claim to represent have historically proven to have little value in the way people interact with each other. The level of white supremacy and concurrent racism in the U.S. reinforces the idea that religion does little to foster a more human response from white Christians.

So we need to stop singling out Trump-supporting evangelical Christians for what appears to be un-Christian behavior. Stop giving credit where it hasn’t been earned. Recognize that white trash is white trash and that the president is a bag of garbage that belongs in a landfill rather then the White House. Understand that the last president was a true Christian, their dream come true, if only he weren’t black.

NEIL HAUSIG 

Finish the Job

Plainview

April 3, 2018

Dear Editor:

Seventeen-year-old Malala Yousafzai definitely deserved the Nobel Peace Prize she was awarded in 2014, and I think this year’s prize should be shared by the five equally-young Parkland School shooting activists who, on behalf of their 14 fallen classmates, are leading the current and continuing gun-control cause: Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Delaney Tarr, Cameron Kasky, and Jaclyn Corin. 

Nobel prizes are awarded to people who have made valuable contributions for the “good of humanity,” and their efforts to achieve lifesaving, common- sense reform of our inadequate gun laws is a most worthy goal. Hopefully, they will finish the job started by the parents of the even-younger, 6 and 7-year-old, first-grade victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting: Dylan Hockley, Daniel Barden, Jesse Lewis, Josephine Gay, Chase Kowalski, Grace McDonnell, Charlotte Bacon, Olivia Engel, Ana Marquez-Greene, Madeleine Hsu, Catherine Hubbard, James Mattioli, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Allison Wyatt, and Benjamin Wheeler. 

RICHARD SIEGELMAN