Letters to the Editor: 05.31.18

Our readers' comments

First

East Hampton

May 26, 2018

To the Editor:

Saw yesterday as I drove along the north side of Town Pond the distinctive shape of a cormorant or an anhinga standing on the south edge of the pond with its wings half-spread, drying in the sun. After a quick view of the ocean at Main Beach I drove back by the pond, this time on the south side, and there he was still, simply standing on the edge of the pond taking in the sun.

 I consulted the Peterson Field Guide on Eastern birds and it was clearly an American anhinga, which I had never seen except in Florida a few times. It was well out of its range, but Peterson notes, “Accidental wanderer North to L.I.” He may well not stay around but the pond is now pretty regularly graced with a great egret early in the day. I don’t know if the pair of blue herons which last summer spent time in an isolated corner of Hook Pond and made occasional visits to Town Pond will return. I have also seen twice this year a scarlet tanager, a first for me. How nice to have some accidental wanderers!

FRED KOLO

Corrosive Impacts

Amagansett

May 14, 2018

Dear Editor,

In your recent editorial, you concluded that the impact of short-term rentals is transformational and noted that local governments have made only halfhearted attempts to deal with the implications. Methinks the editor doth protest too little.

At a time when we are extremely sensitive to the threat of rising sea levels —measured in inches over decades — the impact of short-term rentals on the local economy, environment, and quality of life is that of a tsunami. The impacts are immediate, destructive, and irreversible.

The recently adopted rental registry is meant to control multiple short-term rentals and provide the town with a tool with which to enforce regulations. However, the registry is only useful only if it is energetically and equitably enforced. A recent judicial setback seems to have caused the town to become gun- shy and perhaps hesitant to actively enforce its own regulations. This would be catastrophic.

There is no way to turn the clock back and ignore the impact of digital rental formats. Yes, rental patterns and demographics may have changed forever. Traditional prices may be in a state of flux. We have no choice but to adapt.

But the highly corrosive impacts of the increasing number and frequency of short-term rentals cannot be ignored and can be countered.

If necessary, the town regulations should be upgraded. Enforcement should be vigorous and use digital means as part of its efforts. But failure to take effective action on this critical issue will completely undermine our way of life. 

DAVID GROSSMAN

 

Deteriorated

Amagansett

May 27, 2018

To the Editor

Thirty-five years ago I started my cycling journey in the Hamptons. Every weekend and many extended weeks, I ride with the same small group and we know every road, both main and side. We are getting slower each year, but are as determined as ever.

There have been several changes I have noticed only in the last few years. The drivers have become more courteous and have bought into the share-the-road concept. We cyclists have more work to do. We need to ride in single file, not blow through stop signs. It would be nice to give a car a friendly wave when they stop to let you cross the road. And texting while cycling is crazy.

The major change I have seen is the conditions of the roads, which have deteriorated more and more each year. They are the worst I have ever seen. Not just in some spots. They are extremely dangerous and disgraceful. One of my group hit a pothole and broke his collarbone on Further Lane. 

Please: In the interest of safety, the town should make road resurfacing a priority.

Thank you,

JERRY SLOANE

Disappointed

East Hampton

May 26, 2018

David:

I like your East, the East Hampton Star magazine. The articles in the current June issue have a real local quality to them with an emphasis on provenance of place.

It was with this in mind that I found myself searching through the cover artist’s biography hoping to discover her connection to the East End. Unfortunately, it did not appear. Unless I am missing something that went unmentioned, I am disappointed that you choose not to use one of the many, many artists who have lived or live and work here on the East End.

Everyone that does live here knows and appreciates the deeply embedded history of our past and the very much present artist community. I hope that you will draw from it for your future issues.

BETSY PETROSKI

Pick and Choose

Amagansett

May 28, 2018

Dear David,

One week after the new budget was approved, the Amagansett School Board approved the replacement for Roxanne Ecker’s account clerk position, from which she is retiring in September, without posting it to the public. 

This is the third time that the school has hired a replacement for a position of a retiring employee without posting the position to the public. They pick and choose their new employee six months to a year in advance so the new person can be trained. In tax dollars that means we were paying for two people to do the same job. Sounds familiar: paying for three administators to do one job.

At the board meeting, another member of the audience inquired about the posting and she stated she knew of a couple of people waiting for the posting, so they could apply. President Kristen Peterson replied that the person has been working for the auditing company hired by the school and is familiar with the books. In fact, the person was working with the auditing firm and the firm was hired by the school, so it would not be considered an internal hiring.

Ms. Peterson said the board met with him and offered him the position, and he accepted. The member of the audience suggested steps for hiring: First you post the position, interview all the candidates, then you select the best person for the job according to the interview.

I asked, when the new superintendent is hired, will Mrs. Tritt be a consultant (interim superintendent), and why wasn’t the account clerk position posted? You can hear the responses on YouTube for yourself under Amagansett School Board meeting 5-22-2018. My question to all of you is: Why should Mrs. Tritt remain in the house this summer rent-free?

Please come to the board meetings posted on aufsd.org to ask questions.

Best regards,

MARY A. EAMES

Summer School

Montauk

May 22, 2018

Dear David,

The Montauk School has in the past hired an unqualified “teacher” to “teach” summer school students. They tried it two years ago; I was tipped off that the school nurse was set to be instructing sixth-grade math. I was incredulous, so I called the school and asked who would be teaching math to my nephew. I was told a certified math teacher would be, but I did not trust the answer. The person who answered the phone had me on hold while she looked for the answer.

As it turned out, my nephew didn’t go to summer school. I instead paid a math teacher who was able to provide me with his certification.

I found out today that the same unqualified staff member of the school has been hired as a teacher for the summer school. My nephew doesn’t attend the school anymore, but I want the unsuspecting public to be aware that the individual who is meant to help their children might not even be a teacher!

I have always been under the impression that the local school here was exceptional. Ask for credentials, and beware of this scheme.

Families who live outside of Montauk proper are sending their children to this school tuition-free. When we were exploring the summer-school option, we were told proof of eligibility, i.e., owning property, would be necessary to use school services. Fair enough, but apparently not! The school required us to have credentials, but I suppose not everyone. I only have a summer house here now, but I do pay taxes, and I ask, is it too much to expect that the school spends funding in the manner it was meant to be spent?

BONNIE RASMUSSEN

 

Demand Better

Springs

May 21, 2018

Dear David,

On May 6, 2018, Deputy Sheriff William J. Gentry Jr. of the Highlands County (Fla.) sheriff’s office was shot while investigating an animal abuse case. As Deputy Gentry and another deputy made contact with the suspect, a convicted felon with a history of violence toward law enforcement, at the front door of his residence, the suspect opened fire, shooting Deputy Gentry in the head. The following day Deputy Gentry succumbed to his injuries. Deputy Gentry is the 28th law enforcement officer to be shot and killed this year, and the fourth officer fatality from the State of Florida in 2018.

On May 18, 2018, eight students and two teachers were fatally shot at a mass shooting incident at Santa Fe High School in Texas. Unlike most mass shooting incidents this one lasted for half an hour during which Texas deputies were in a 25-minute shootout with the gunman. What is unclear is whether the suspect shot all the victims, or whether deputies shot some during the crossfire. Over the next several weeks the investigation will conclusively determine the horrific facts.

And without fail the media went crazy, never missing a tragic incident to create sensational headlines. One has only to look at the headlines in The New York Daily News following the Texas shooting, “Trained by the N.R.A.,” “God Isn’t Fixing This,” and “With yesterday’s Texas massacre, there have now been more students or teachers killed by guns in United States schools than active-duty military deaths in 2018. No headline can do this justice.” 

Did The Daily News, as did every media outlet and political pundit, somehow overlook that firearm murders have declined from the high in 1993 of 18,253 and have been holding steady since 2009 to the present, in the range of 11,000 murders a year. In fact, in 2016 there were 16,459 murders and 44,193 suicides committed in the United States. Of these, guns were used in 11,961 or 73 percent of the murders and 22,018 or about 50 percent of the suicides.

As a community and nation, we must end this partisan resist and replace at all cost-politics of both political parties that has gripped our national institutions, media outlets, and local communities. We the people deserve better; we should demand better. I want our elected representatives to work together and stop the nonsense. 

Lastly, I would urge everyone to view this informative video: “RUN. HIDE. FIGHT — Surviving an Active Shooter Event.” (youtube.com)

This video created by the City of Houston, Tex., in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security, is an informative video that may save your life one day.

MANUEL M. VILAR

Let’s Stay Safe

East Hampton 

May 21, 2018

Dear Editor:

What ever happened to the good old days when the worst things we had to fear on Memorial Day were traffic jams and indigestion? 

Folks setting to break out their outdoor grill this Memorial Day face a nasty choice. If they undercook their hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets, their family and friends may face food poisoning by E. coli and salmonella bacteria. The United States meat and poultry hotline advises raising the temperature. 

But our own National Cancer Institute warns that high-temperature grilling of processed meats produces cancer-causing compounds. Do we really need to choose between food poisoning and cancer?

Luckily, a bunch of enterprising food processors have met this challenge head-on by developing a great variety of healthful, delicious, plant-based veggie burgers, veggie dogs, and soy nuggets. These products don’t harbor nasty bugs or cancer-causing compounds. They don’t even offer cholesterol, saturated fats, drugs, or pesticides like their animal-based alternatives. nd, they are waiting for us in the frozen food section of our neighborhood supermarket, along with nut-based milks, ice creams, and other dairy-free desserts.

This Memorial Day, let’s stay safe on the roads, but let’s extend the safety net to our family barbecue grill. 

Sincerely,

EDWIN HORATH

 

Fiscal Conservative

East Hampton

May 27, 2018

Dear David,

This past Friday I was stopped by a friend who had apparently read a quote attributed to me in Politico. The quote, “I am a fiscal conservative,” was made for my support for the recent tax code changes adopted by Congress and pushed by President Trump. My friend disagreed that these changes were fiscally conservative. I mentioned I believed that in the end the changes would pay for themselves. He disagreed. I think I am being proven correct.

In Saturday’s Wall Street Journal it was mentioned that tax revenues in the states of New York, California, and New Jersey were either higher, or forecast to be higher, by $315 million, $3.8 billion, and $1.3 billion, respectively. According to that article at least another six states are expecting increases because they link deductions and credits to the federal tax code, which will increase taxable earnings. That Journal article also mentioned post-code changes that have corporate tax revenues booming.

At the time of my conversation with this friend, I was unaware of the article that quoted me. I wish I had seen it only so I could have added that now that it is up to Democrat state governors like Andrew Cuomo to cut their own taxpayer-inflicted burdens instead of dreaming up ways to circumvent the effects of the state and local tax cap in the new code. The Politico article mentioned my 40-year career with the federal Environmental Protection Agency, but mistakenly identified me as a lifelong Republican. I distinctly remember mentioning to the author that for most of my E.P.A. career I was registered with no party affiliation. If I learned anything in my federal career it is that government at all levels wastes taxpayer dollars to a degree that is inversely proportional to the competence of the people who spend those tax dollar. Does that make me a fiscal conservative? I think so.

PAUL GIARDINA

Don’t Worry

Springs 

May 25, 2018

Dear Editor:

I attended the public meeting at LTV, last Thursday, concerning the Deepwater Wind proposal to use the town for its business. Because I was one of the last to speak I had the opportunity to hear everyone’s points of view and I came to the conclusion there are only two. If you’re a proponent, Deepwater will make everyone’s life greener, which will save the world and help ease any guilt for all the luxuries and big houses they have, while demonstrating how concerned for the planet they are, and all for only a few pennies. How could it possibly hurt anyone? 

Opponents have an opposite view. It can and will hurt someone. And those who will pay the most are fishermen. We are losing our fishing grounds and water, our livelihood, history, and heritage. 

Deepwater is asking us to pay the most extreme cost. We can’t pay more or compromise further. It’s our lives for your air-conditioning. 

But because of selfishness or misunderstanding people still insist we must give more to save the oceans. While you’re in your heated swimming pool you can’t conceive the real cost. So I tried to imagine a situation that people might be able to feel the cost of this. I’m not trying to be flippant, but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.

Try to imagine, in the near future, a knock on the town supervisor’s door. 

“Hello Mr. Supervisor. I’m John and I represent Deepwater Whirlybirds. I’m here to tell you we have an ocean lease of 1,500 feet off Georgica Pond for a heliport. The state and feds agree we’re a green project because we told them we can take thousands of polluting cars off the road, so it’s a done deal. We’re going to start with 15 acres on pilings and build from there. That’s all the details I can give you now, but don’t worry we’ll work it out as we go along. The only problem we have is a need for a causeway to come ashore. Those pesky trustees. We want to get along with everyone so we’ll start a propaganda campaign to promote this by appealing to their desire to “go green” for free; then we don’t need to tell the facts. Don’t worry, money is no object, so I’m sure the town can find a project we can support. 

Oh, by the way, I also represent Deepwater Motels. We know the plan for Montauk is to retreat away from the beach, but why would a motel want to move inland when they can move offshore?

Bye, we’ll talk again.” 

BRAD LOEWEN

Sound Energy Policy

East Quogue

May 26, 2018 

To the Editor: 

I was truly amazed to see so much opposition to wind farms, a necessary and desirable part of any renewable energy future.

Scientist Carl Safina questioned whether this is the right way to go. Well, there is a wrong way, which is to continue to allow unchecked development and construction and more people without planning a sane energy policy. 

If everyone now living here were paying the true costs of burning fossil-fuel energy, we might have already seen a serious effort to reduce energy consumption and encourage widespread installation of solar collectors and photovoltaics, in which case there would be less urgency in building a wind farm. 

A ride around the Hamptons reveals almost none. 

But no one, neither government, business, nor homeowners, has given even lip service to this approach, one which the environmentalists, by the way, have been pushing for decades. 

Now we face a continued influx of new residents and giant overconsuming energy behemoths called McMansions, all of which should not only be charged a premium for their large energy consumption but for being part of the energy anschluss of the past 40 years, which has, logically, made a wind farm absolutely necessary. 

Why are wind farms disliked more than gas stations, gasoline trucks, pollution-spewing buses, and hordes of private cars, all of which characterize our communities today? The old-fashioned windmills are now prized cultural relics of history; the new ones represent not filthy or monster reality but sane, safe, and sound energy policy. The alternatives are continued fossil fuel or dangerous nuclear power, or massive energy conservation and efficiency achieved only by severely limiting new construction, raising energy prices, mandating solar panels on all new homes, and refusing to accommodate additional population. 

Anyone who thinks there is a free lunch, and that overdevelopment can be accommodated without either stringent energy conservation measures or wind power, is misinformed and is misleading the public about what needs to be done. Wind energy should be embraced heartily; to fail to do so is in effect becoming a climate denier. 

Sincerely, 

LORNA SALZMAN 

 

Too Expensive

Springs

May 28, 2018

Dear David,

Deepwater Wind took a full-page advertisement in The Star last week that was defensive about the cost of the electricity they will sell to the Long Island Power Authority. They need to be defensive, especially because the truth does not serve them well.

The Deepwater ad repeated a claim that the cost would be “about 16 cents a kilowatt-hour.” That is true for one year, but is about as honest as a predatory bank that offers a first-year teaser-rate mortgage and which then becomes exorbitantly expensive. 

There is now enough financial data that originates from Deepwater and the New York State comptroller that I was able to reverse engineer a spreadsheet which gives the price per kilowatt-hour that LIPA will pay Deepwater for their first 20 years.

A version of my spreadsheet fits the reported facts with 99-plus-percent accuracy. It posits an initial purchase price of 16.34 cents per KWH, with an annual 3 percent increase. The average purchase price over the 20 years will be 22 cents, and the price in year 20 will be about 29 cents per KWH. 

This places the starting price at about 2.2 times the market rate paid by LIPA, the average price about three times today’s market rate, and the final price about four times the current market rate. 

While renewable energy now costs more per kilowatt-hour than electricity generated by older fossil fuel plants, it does not cost this much more for larger projects. Also, all signs point to steeply dropping prices for renewable energy. Recent contracts in Germany have wind farm energy priced at parity with other sources.

Also, prices are dropping by double digit percentages each year in the United States. Just a few days ago, Deepwater won an auction to install a 400-megawatt wind farm off Rhode Island. Its chief executive officer, Jeff Grybowski, reported that it could be in operation by 2023, which is only one year later than the soonest our South Fork project could start operations. Bloomberg News also quoted Mr. Grybowski, “The cost of Deepwater’s next project will be dramatically lower. People are going to be very pleasantly surprised.”

Even larger wind farm projects are close to being bid for areas south of Long Island. These projects will make our local Deepwater unnecessary, at dramatically lower costs for all Long Island, and have greater environmental oversight.

The Deepwater ad last week quotes a LIPA claim that the cost added to an average ratepayer’s bill will “only be $1.19 per month.” Even if this is accurate, it is reasonable to assume that this bill impact also rises at the rate of 3 percent per year. So, the average bill impact over the 20 years is about $1.60, becoming $2.11 in year 20. 

What is not well understood is that this rate impact will be paid by all the approximately one million ratepayers on Long Island (that is how the LIPA grid and financial structure works — the South Fork is not an isolated market with its own rates). When our leaders promote this local project, they are effectively asking 970,000 other ratepayers who live on Long Island, including tens of thousands of people living at the poverty level, to subsidize a project for our wealthy area and which our leaders will parade as a triumph for clean energy.

From a financial perspective, this project is too expensive, too small to be efficient in today’s market, terminates at a poor location for distribution, may have hidden costs that we are not allowed to ascertain, suffers in any comparison with recent and soon to be announced wind farm projects, does not lfill the oft-made claim of providing East Hampton with a stable supply of renewable energy so as to nearly eliminate fossil fuel energy (in this it fails miserably), is at least three times more expensive as a total package than the $1.19 supplemental cost it advertises (from LIPA’s own documents), and requires that all the one million ratepayers on Long Island pay the increased monthly cost for energy so that politicians and other official supporters can have, as Tom Brujlof, an energy economist and consultant, called it, a “hood ornament” for their political portfolio.

ZACHARY COHEN

 

Fighting Climate Change Long Beach

May 22, 2018

To the Editor:

The Deepwater Wind Farm hearing, Thursday, May 17, brings to mind the conflict between cowboys and farmers in the early West of this country. Like cattlemen, commercial fishermen fear damage to their industry. Like farmers, those who support offshore wind want to use what were previously open areas for new purposes.

Yet the differences between the two sides are not really so stark. There is evidence that an offshore wind farm, once established, could generate important marine habitats and help fishing to flourish. 

Governor Cuomo’s new regulations forcing coal-fired power plants to close make it clear that New York is serious about changing from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Offshore wind is key to meeting our goal of reaching 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. Remember: this is all about fighting climate change, an existential threat to every living thing on the planet.

If the European Union, which now meets 10.4 percent of its energy demands with wind power, can thread its way through the differences of all its members, surely the residents of East Hampton, who share the impacts of fossil-fuel-generated climate change, will figure out how to accommodate both sides in the debate, fishermen and wind farmers.

Sincerely,

JOANNE MOORE

CO2 Reduction

May 21, 2018

Amagansett

Dear David, 

There was a large turnout for the Town Board’s first public hearing on the proposed Deepwater Wind South Fork Wind Farm (SFWF) on the 17th. I hope it is the first of many more as the Town and Trustees evaluate in depth the economic, social, and environmental impacts of this complex project. I’d like to thank the high school students for making public statements. It is heartwarming to have the next generation of environmentalists contribute to the conversation. I hope the students carry forward that civic engagement and environmental awareness in their studies and careers. 

A frequent comment on Thursday and at last month’s Group for Good Governance event was speakers’ support for renewable energy, but not the SFWF. I echo this sentiment. Renewable energy experts and environmentalists are sharing that unreliable wind energy must be paired with fossil fuel power plants including a possible new plant in Brookhaven; the project is accompanied by hundreds of millions of dollars in transmission line and substation build-out that was not included in the “lowest price” bid response; and that this project provides East Hampton with a small amount of renewably-sourced renewable energy nowhere near the 100% goal. 

Most important, we must ask, is this wind farm the best solution for East Hampton’s design problem at hand? LIPA stated years ago it needed to supply East Hampton with energy during peak demand hours in the summer: primarily on Friday and Saturday nights in July and August when the East Hampton population and our “juice”-requiring activities surge. The rest of the year East Hampton’s electricity needs are met. It is the peak load over those few hours that is the foundation of the RFP issued about five years ago. But there are new data. The New York Independent Systems Operator that manages New York’s grid and energy markets states in its 2018 reports that energy use has declined on Long Island since 2013 for several reasons. Does this apply to our peak load design problem at hand as well? We must find out, and from someone other than LIPA.

This development project will have an extraordinarily large carbon footprint throughout the entire project life cycle. Let’s think it through: produce steel in Canada, China, or elsewhere; ship it to Europe to construct the turbine parts; transport them to a New York port on container ships; transfer the parts to smaller ships; ferry them out to Cox’s Ledge; drill into the sea floor to set foundations; plow at a depth of 6 to 30 feet over 60 miles under sea floor, East Hampton streets, and along railroad tracks. Phew. Then expand a substation at Cove Hollow; add on the CO2 emissions from the vehicles slowed down by this construction, and then possibly double the offshore component of this for DWW to conduct the obligatory removal of the 15 turbines once the project meets its 25-year life span. Is this the best solution to a peak demand issue on a 90-degree August weekend —when the wind isn’t blowing? 

 There are alternatives that we should be exploring: aggressive energy efficiency and peak shaving programs; Distributed Energy Resources (DERs); smart grid options and energy storage to better manage loads and more efficiently use electricity; Community Choice Aggregation; and policy changes to expand solar and wind on land where we can create more Long Island jobs and have lower maintenance costs and less development footprint. This is how we should problem-solve to achieve sustainability targets and actually reduce carbon emissions. 

As I wrote last week, we will have offshore wind on Long Island in coming years, hopefully plugging into the grid at the best-suited locations and with proper regulatory oversight. As one learns more on these regional plans, it becomes apparent that wind farms are a huge economic development project for the state and country to create jobs and U.S. manufacturing opportunities. These are great things, but still development with large carbon footprints.

Shall we continue to listen to LIPA and Deepwater Wind tell us our energy needs, or is time to solicit the input of third-party experts and collect independent data? Should our goal be finding new energy sources or working harder to reduce our carbon footprint on July evenings? Does East Hampton want to be a poster child for sustainability and actually reduce carbon emissions, or a pawn in New York State and LIPA’s economic development plans?  

Thank you for your time. 

RACHEL B. GRUZEN

Environmental Planner and Educator

 

Foregone Conclusion

East Hampton 

May 21, 2018

Dear David,

Residents of eastern Long Island treasure our historical and ongoing fishing industry, both commercial and sportfishing. So it is natural to defend it from any perceived threat. But there is a false expectation underlying the attacks on the introduction of wind turbines into our waters: that is, to expect fishing to remain the same as it has been if we do not access offshore wind.

Seventy-five percent of the world’s coral reefs have undergone some degree of bleaching in the last three years. Bleaching is the direct result of the warming of the ocean beyond historical temperatures, and it is a precursor to dead reefs worldwide. It will get worse as we continue to inject greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. 

This year we are at 405 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere, the highest concentration in six million years. Coral reefs are the largest incubator of seafood in the world. As reefs die off, and they will, so too will fish in the sea be depleted.

A third of the CO2 from burning fossil fuels ends up in the ocean, where it reacts with seawater to become carbonic acid. Already the sea is 30 percent more acidic than it has been during the time man evolved to walk the Earth, and it is affecting the ability of tiny marine creatures that are the bottom of the food chain to form their shells.

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, as a result of melting polar icecaps, is now 15 percent weaker than it was 100 years ago. (Complicated, but well documented, if you care to look it up.) That ocean current is a major factor in our coastal climate, marine and otherwise, and it is in danger of collapse as we continue to warm the world.

These processes, and others, are ongoing and will continue to gather momentum to the extent we continue to poison the atmosphere. Even if we are able to wrest control of public policy from the clutches of the fossil-fuel lobby and begin in earnest to drastically change the way we power the modern world, it will take 30 years to turn the corner and begin to draw down greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. So it is a foregone conclusion that the processes above will continue to accelerate, which leads to this conclusion: Fishing, as we know it today, will not be the same even 5 or 10 years from now. The only questions are how bad will it be, and how fast will it get that bad? Those who would resist the largest available step to reduce greenhouse gases — offshore wind — may ironically be the ones who will kill ocean fishing as a way of life in our lifetime.

Is offshore wind the only answer, or a complete answer? No, but it is the largest first step that can be implemented quickly. And in the long run, failing major energy breakthroughs, it is certain to be an essential part of the solution in the densely populated Northeast. Maybe we close the airport and make the whole thing a solar farm? Maybe we erect a land-based wind turbine every hundred yards in the median of the L.I.E.? Maybe we resurrect the nuclear industry (yikes)! None of these things will happen easily or soon. 

But, after years of lobbying against entrenched interests by those who understand the dire threat of climate change, LIPA has agreed to buy clean power now from Deepwater Wind. It will be built without tax dollars and will add only $1 or $2 a month to the average energy bill. It could be displacing fossil-fuel emissions by 2022. If we mess this up, we deserve to watch large chunks of Montauk disappear into a sea that is rising and dying at the same time.

DON MATHESON

Bribing the Electorate

Bridgewater, N.J. 

May 23, 2018

To the Editor,

Deepwater is in deep water. Please print the truth.

New York, New Jersey, both are politically corrupt. Spend someone else’s money. The political class has ruined this country, not least, the liberal coastal states, both East and West, as they have made a science out of bribing the electorate with their own money. There is never a more profligate spender than someone who spends other people’s money.

EUGENE J. KIRKWOOD

Luxury Car Tax

Amagansett

May 18, 2018

Dear David,

You raise the issue in a recent editorial that “There could be a positive environmental effect to higher prices for electricity” and point out that higher gas costs might translate into less driving. Maybe, but what about our work force in the near term? What about having to make the choice between gas and food? Gas and day care? Gas and rent? Gas and medicine?

You might want to support a luxury-car tax, tax deductible, to support a fuel credit subsidy fund to benefit those of us who barely heat our homes and pray the old car will make another round trip.

We all (excepting Agent Orange) want nonpolluting power, clean air, and clean water. We will get there. We have to. Do not lose sight of the immediate financial realities of the entire community.

All good things,

DIANA WALKER

Misconceptions

Springs

May 28, 2018

Dear Editor,

Neil Hausig’s letter in The Star of May 24 about the Middle East is full of misconceptions and gross oversimplifications with anti-Semitic undertones.

He calls the Trump decision to move the United States embassy to Jerusalem a “mindless political stunt that does nothing to improve the lives of Israelis or Palestinians.” He doesn’t acknowledge the 3,000 years of Jewish history in that land. Jerusalem is mentioned countless times in the Old Testament. Psalm 137 says, “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my greatest joy.” Jerusalem has always been the capital of the Jewish inhabitants.

Mr. Hausig also writes, “If Israel and Palestine disappeared tomorrow there would be a sigh of relief.” There is no country called Palestine nor has there ever been such a country. The Greeks called the area Judea Palestina in an attempt to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel. Actually, before the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, the Jews in that area were referred to as Palestinians. Arabs did not co-opt that name until the 1960s.

Jews around the world would not “breathe a sigh of relief,” to quote Mr. Hausig, because more than ever, with the ongoing anti-Semitism that exists around the world, Jews need a refuge.

Sincerely,

ELAINE EVANS

With Their Mothers

East Hampton

May 28, 2018

To the Editor,

I am ashamed of our government for taking children away from their mothers at the border. This is what the Germans did when they sent people to the concentration camps. Our attorney general, who is so religious, is carrying this out. 

Maybe we should set up refugee camps so the children can remain with their mothers. 

This is not what America does. Why are our elected representatives not speaking out over the treatment of these children?

JULIA KAYSER

Like ISIS

East Hampton

May 28, 2018

To the Editor,

Perhaps the most fraudulent pieces of our current world are the National Rifle Association and evangelical Christians. Both base their existence on interpretations of deeply flawed ideas that have little basis in reality. The evangelical interpretation of the Bible is too absurd to debate. Only in the broadest sense do Jews and Christians adhere to biblical concepts and only the most extreme and deranged operate on literal interpretations.

The Constitution was meant to be parsed and interpreted. It existed as a framework for making a democracy function. The framers understood history and change. They understood that the framework was to establish a government that provided the populace with the basic essentials for living: food, shelter, security, education, and health care. Guns don’t seem to fit into any of these categories in the modern world. Security might be applicable, except that we have the largest security apparatus ever assembled. 

Besides our military, we have the C.I.A., F.B.I., Homeland Security, federal, state, county, city, and local police forces in place. We employ millions of people and spend trillions of dollars keeping America secure. What’s the gun rationale?

There is no legitimate argument for owning guns except that it has been part of our culture and why shouldn’t we be allowed to have guns or cars, or cell- phones or television sets?

Everything that the N.R.A. puts out is a distortion and a fabrication. We need to pose the question of whether or not the N.R.A. is a terrorist organization and should be treated as one.

Religion and the separation of church and state have a more profound place in our constitutional framework. History is not on the side of religion. That it should be allowed at all is easily debatable. That religious institutions should not pay taxes seems bizarre. That religious groups should operate as political entities is and has always been a serious crime against humanity.

Evangelicals in the United States have certainly bridged the church-state line. They can preach whatever deviance and hatred they want in their churches but are prohibited from doing so in the secular world and receive the protections that are afforded religious institutions. Like ISIS or the Taliban, this perverse form of narcissistic extremism is a gateway to justify its anti-humanist behavior. Jesus was not a narcissistic fascist. He wasn’t asking for donations. 

Like the N.R.A., our evangelical churches are a black mark on our culture. It’s not so much that they shouldn’t exist. They just need to come out of the closet and let the world see who they really are.

NEIL HAUISG

We Did It Again

East Hampton

May 23 2018 

To the Editor,

  We did it again. On Aug. 1, 2017, letter titled “The Political Beast” (last letter) we predicted the outcome conclusion of the nonsense nuisance of the ongoing contention about the June 16, 2016, Trump Towers meeting-Ping-Ponging between the Democrats, the charlatan news media, and President Trump and the Republicans. (My letter of course.) 

Stand by for a repeat performance by the Theater of the Absurd, a tragic comedy of sinisterism treason “collusion” in the Trump Towers. A classic example of fools not learning from experience.

A hot shot young Russian attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya (still in the U.S.A. on a dubious extended visa issued by Loretta Lynch) scans the field, seizes the opportunity, and arranges a meeting between confidants — advisers to President Trump and older, seasoned Russian veteran diplomats (the cleverness picking the winners at that time). The bait: “Dirt on Hillary Clinton.” Once in the trap — oooops disappointment letdown — no beef on Hillary but instead: A request? A  bid? A favor? A possible deal? A plea to loosen eliminate the hurting sanctions, the Magnitsky Act adoptions? Jared Kushner, smart, departed after 10 Minutes. Mind you —Aug. 8, 2017. 

On May 16, 2018, The New York Times (again mind you) published revealed the conclusion of the Senate Judiciary Committee of that famous meeting: “Documents Show Promise and Letdown Around the Trump Towers Meeting” By Nicolas Fandos and Sharon LaFraniere. 

Mr. Trump Jr. expected a campaign- changing bombshell. He was quickly disappointed.

The disparaging information about Mrs. Clinton amounted to no more than allegations of fraud in Russia by several obscure Democratic donors. Both sides left disappointed. The chasm between expectations and reality surrounding the meeting was one of the dominant themes running through more than 2,500 pages of testimony and documents released by the committee. 

The most complete public picture that would allow Americans to determine what happened based on “unfiltered information.” Bupkis. Thousands of precious senators’ hours and taxpayers’ $$$$$$$$$$$ wasted.

Hope and pray a lesson was learned.

EDWARD A. WAGSCHAL