Letters to the Editor: 08.09.18

Our readers' comments

Ministering Angels

East Hampton

August 1, 2018

Dear Editor: 

This is a thank-you note to all the kind Ladies Village Improvement Society ladies who rescued me at the fair on Saturday, July 28. I had what one can only surmise was heat exhaustion. I can honestly say it seemed a great deal more dire to me at the time.

 I sat down in a large wing chair in the Bargain Box totally limp. Before I knew what was happening I was surrounded by ministering angels. There were ice packs, cups of cool water, and cloths applied to my neck, and a murmur of reassuring words that seemed to appear from above. They also went and asked the nurse in the ambulance outside to look at me. She took my pulse and when I had recovered she escorted me to my car. 

I have been thinking about becoming a volunteer at the Bargain Box. Now how can I not? 

Your appreciative friend, 

MICHAL H. RUSK, L.C.S.W.

Political Speech

Amagansett

August 4, 2018

Dear David:

Political signs are political speech protected under the First Amendment and the First Amendment has its “fullest and most complete application to political speech.” And political signs are a “decidedly unique and historical medium” for which there may be “no practical substitute.” So I read your editorial, “Signs in Crosshairs,” with much interest and concern. 

Most particularly your statement that, “Similarly, both Perry Gershon and Lee Zeldin supporters nearby have erected their own illegally sized placards, which one think would be a simple matter for town code enforcers to resolve.” Not so simple a matter as it turns out. 

There are Supreme Court rulings, and other court rulings — lots of them — that actually protect these signs that would require, based on my reading of the cases, any regulation of them to be subject to very “strict scrutiny” to prevent the restraint on free speech. And any particular attempt to regulate political signs (a content-based regulation) would be “presumptively invalid.”  

There is an important distinction between signs on private property and those on public property. But this requires equal enforcement of the laws on all signs and still the municipality must show a “significant governmental interest” in the body of such a law in order for it to be valid. In addition, in “City of Ladue,” the Supreme Court struck down a municipal law banning all signs. So that’s out. 

As for Jay Schneiderman’s elimination of signs on roads in Southampton, sign placement dependent on the “un-reviewed, unlimited, or discretionary approval of a municipal officer or body” is also the subject of court decisions, which means that any such arbitrary actions might easily be challenged successfully in court. 

As I rode through Amagansett yesterday, I noted all the signs that would have to be removed from public property, that were oversized and noncommercial. Political signs are temporary signs as are most of these other signs. But political signs are political speech with an extra layer of First Amendment constitutional protection. 

I was further perplexed by your singling out of an individual in your 

editorial. The reference was somewhat vague. I was merely surprised that you would do such a thing, but the person in question might find his inclusion potentially libelous. 

Yours, 

JIM DEVINE

P.S. I need to reference “Sign Wars: The First Amendment and Political Signs,” a presentation made by Douglas C. Haney in September of 2008. Though there is more case law after this regarding signs — in particular Reed et al. v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona et al. — Supreme Court, June 18, 2015 — Haney’s presentation summarizes many of the issues. 

Oakview Highway

East Hampton

August 3, 2018

Dear Editor,

In regard to the article written by Christopher Walsh — “32 in House, 18 Sleeping on Basement Floor” — we have the same problems here at the mobile home park on Oakview Highway. Code enforcement was called many times for people residing in the sheds and numerous people residing in the mobile homes. This has caused an overexertion on our electrical grid, which occurred this past week, as the electrical panel was smoking, causing loss of power to various homes. 

As this letter is written seven mobile homes are without power and a loud emergency generator is supplying power. The fire marshal is aware, as well as the code enforcer, the problem is directed with the out-of-state land owners, who have not updated this park in over 20 years. They have over 75 violations, which, according to the property management, is being taken care of. This is a dangerous situation that the Town of East Hampton must be more assertive toward the living conditions that persist in this park. 

Overcrowding, numerous cars parked that don’t belong to residents, and overburdened septic systems and falling tree limbs are a ticking bomb. The owners should be surveyed by the town on a yearly basis, which has not been done. It’s easier for these out-of-state land barons to collect the land rent, which is the highest in Suffolk County, pay the various fines without regard for the residents living here. The residents of this park are mostly hard-working people who deserve to live in a safe and healthy environment. Thank you.

Sincerely yours,

NANCY QUINN

Ghost Guns

Springs

August 2, 2018

Dear David: 

An anarchist champion of gun rights has for years striven to publish online blueprints for making guns on 3-D printers. These D.I.Y. guns, known as “ghost guns,” are made of plastic, and as such, are difficult to detect, impossible to trace, and would allow criminals or terrorists to evade detection.

The Obama administration successfully blocked publication of this anarchist’s blueprints. And then, the National Rifle Association-complicit Trump administration reversed course and struck a deal with the anarchist that would have ushered in the “age of the downloadable gun.” No explanation from the N.R.A.-backed Trump administration was offered to justify its reversal. The reaction to this turnabout has been almost universal condemnation.

Mr. Trump did admit to “checking in” with the N.R.A., but still was silent on what, if anything, he would do to stem the dissemination of ghost guns. Indeed, the response will likely be nothing. His closest master west of Moscow, the N.R.A., has already laid out its support for ghost guns, with Dana Loesch, the N.R.A. spokesperson, lauding the anarchist’s efforts as “what the rest of us call freedom and innovation.” 

Fortunately, several state attorneys general thought differently and stepped into the breach after the abdication of reason by the Trump administration, and have sued to stop the anarchist’s plans. Their efforts have had success, with a federal court preliminarily enjoining the upload of any plans for 3-D guns.

But what about our congressman, Lee Zeldin? The biggest beneficiary of N.R.A. dollars of anyone in New York has stuck his head in the sand. His lack of leadership on what could be the public safety epidemic of the moment is inexcusable. Surely, his silence has been the product of his fealty to the N.R.A.

Well, Mr. Zeldin’s time is up. Perry Gershon has shown the leadership our district has lacked on gun safety under Zeldin’s watch. Mr. Gershon was out ahead of the problem presented by ghost guns, and has called for action by our government to stop the madness presented by ghost guns.

Let’s send him there this November so he can take up this fight in person.

Sincerely,

BRUCE COLBATH

Undermine Democracy 

Springs

July 30, 2018

Dear David,

Top officials who abuse their positions of power sabotage the rule of  law and undermine democracy. They intended to clear Hillary Clinton even though she flagrantly violated criminal law. Comey absolving her (via TV), the F.B.I. secretly meeting with Chris Steele, who  hates Trump, authored the phony dossier. Steele is such an anti-Trump is also on Hillary’s payroll.

The F.B.I. and Department of Justice were more than aware how much Steele hated Trump  and how desperate he was  to stop  Trump from becoming the president of U.S.A. They used his fabricated information to do their best to frame Trump. The media has been endless on Russia, Russia, Russia. Driven by their own bias the media has been complicit in this over collusion, without ever defining  it.

Mueller was interviewed and offered a job to replace his friend,  partner, and colleague James Comey. He turned it down.  He then took the job to be head of  special counsel to investigate Russian collusion.  Mueller has ruined the integrity of the F.B.I. by his own investigation by partnering with only angry partisans . 

B.K. COSENZA

Tipping Point

New York City

August 1, 2018

To the Editor:

With the midterm elections less than 100 days away, it is time to be cognizant of the unprecedented consequences of this year’s congressional races. Demo­crats are well within reach to take over both the Senate and House of Representatives. The success of the “blue wave” washing over Capitol Hill would not only curtail the capricious agenda of demagogic President Trump, but would also determine the fate of current and future investigations into the Trump administration. 

New York Democrats must be strategic about their role in actualizing the House takeover. The congressional race in New York District 1, the district stretching from Smithtown to Montauk, is not currently on political pundits’ radars as a contested toss-up battle. However, I believe that Democratic nominee Perry Gershon could defeat Republican incumbent Lee Zeldin if progressive voters are tactical about November’s elections. 

The tipping point in this race could be second-home owners who normally vote in solidly blue districts in the city. Due to the strategic importance of these historic midterms, I urge all Trump dissenters who own second homes on the East End (or Fire Island) to change their voter registration addresses to help Gershon win the New York 1 congressional race. The right for New Yorkers to register in their second-home districts is authorized by the State of New York Election Law, and affirmed by the 1983 New York State Court of Appeals case Ferguson v. McNab. 

All it takes to change a voter’s registration address is to fill out and submit a standard New York State voter registration form. Voters may also request an absentee ballot by completing an additional application. Both forms are available on the New York State Board of Elections website. 

Let’s be smart about resisting the Trump regime. Let’s flip New York 1 this November!

TIM O’GRADY

The Incoming Route

Northville 

August 5, 2018

To the Star: 

Do helicopter pilots and helicopter companies really know how loud they sound over residential areas? My weekends on the North Fork are never quiet because of the variety of helicopters and seaplanes traveling from New York City to East Hampton Airport over my house and community. As expected, the air traffic increases during the summer, with holiday weekends unbearable if your home is located along the incoming route. 

The issue is the negligent practice of pilots ignoring Federal Aviation Administration altitude regulations and flying too low. I used a helpful website, Planefinder (www.planefinder.net), this past Memorial Day and was able to see from 10:30 a.m. till 6 p.m. the altitudes flown by helicopters over my community were from 425 feet when there were clouds to below 1,800 feet. These numbers are extremely low when compared to the 3,500-foot altitude these helicopter routinely fly on a clear day. 

I`m not sure if anyone has ever had a double engine helicopter fly less than 600 feet directly over their home, but it is louder than a train and they travel at 155 knots with a sound you wish to never hear again. Do the pilots know this? Do the owners of these helicopters understand this? I would seem to think they do but no matter how many meetings and complaints filed over the years it appears money over safety prevails and those on the 

The kicker is, I live in Northville over 20 miles away as the crow flies from the East Hampton Airport along with other North Fork communities of Jamesport, Mattituck, Laurel, Southold, and Cutchogue who endure the noise though the airport is nowhere near our homes. Noyac, North Sea, Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor, and all communities located below East Hampton Airport have to also deal with all the issues described above. If the F.A.A. enforced an all-water route around Orient Point to East Hampton Airport and two miles offshore, 90 percent fewer homes would be affected by these low-flying helicopters and seaplanes. No loopholes!

JOHN CULLEN

An Embarrassment

Springs

August 6, 2018

Dear Editor,

Last week’s letter by Rona Klopman, “Circle of Irony,” deserved more attention and reporting by this and other local papers. I commend Ms. Klopman for a well-written and informative letter full of facts. I would have called the letter “Drain the Swamp” because that is exactly what Ms. Klopman describes. 

The hiring of David Betts, the conditions of that hire, and the retention of Mr. Betts after he reportedly failed the required Civil Service exam should be seen as an embarrassment to this town board. The commitment of Supervisor Van Scoyoc’s board to retain this employee and to push out longtime employee Betsy Bambrick, a very high scorer on the same exam, should give all East Hampton voters pause. 

I had my own unpleasant interaction with the Ordinance Enforcement Department when an “undercover” citizen was sent to my art studio followed by Mr. Betts’s protégée Ms. Kampf and two other ordinance enforcement officers who were conducting a “sting” operation in conjunction with the town attorney Nancylynn Thiele. I was clearly treated differently than others, in violation of their own department guidelines and requirements. They refused to accept voluntary compliance, elected not to issue a notice of violation and instead immediately issued a court summons. When they realized that another neighboring artist was also participating in the same open studio invitation they were most apologetic to him. The $40 of taxpayer money they invested in buying books from each of us was meant to target only me, perhaps because of my husband’s active participation in local matters. What does it say about this town board that they installed Mr. Betts and replaced Patrick Gunn, an attorney, a gentleman, and our first really effective director of public safety?

Ms. Klopman describes a circle of troubling hiring and firing which certainly violates the spirit and intent of Civil Service law. These laws are there to protect the public by trying to ensure that hiring practices are fair and based on competence, not cronyism, nepotism, and the like. In fact, the Democratic town board circle seems to be quite small. How often do we see the same names recycled from one board to another? After an individual serves on several boards, each of which have a remuneration, they may return again to run for office.

East Hampton is surely in need of fresh blood. I believe term limits would be a good way to ensure that government be more open and responsive to the public. Far too often decisions are made behind closed doors and the public meetings are just for show. Powerful interests behind the scene are deeply involved in decision making and may benefit both politically and financially. The proposal discussed at a recent town board meeting to give away publicly owned real estate for free in order to further enrich a billionaire is troubling but appeared to be supported by Mr. Van Scoyoc and a majority of the board.

Robo-voters who blindly pull the lever for their party without doing their due diligence are harming our community. Citizens get the government they deserve. We need to work harder to elect people who have the integrity, competence, and requisite knowledge to work for the town, its citizens, and its future, not themselves or their party. The current division in the Democratic Party is good for the community if it exposes the behind-the-scenes players to public scrutiny.

Currently Mr. Bragman is a bright spot on the town board for his intellect, his erudition, and his independence. Perhaps he can raise the standards of the town board by insisting on adherence to law, proper legal procedures, and transparency.

CAROL BUDA 

Factions

Sebastian, Fla.

August 3, 2018

Dear David,

As one with a latent interest in East Hampton politics, and viewing the machinations of the local Democrats from afar, I have a bit of advice for the Gruber-Klopman factions. Bring back Andy Malone.

Best regards,

WARD A. FREESE

Infighting

East Hampton 

August 3, 2018

Dear David,

 First the encouraging news: I wrote to the East Hampton Highway Department about a dangerous condition at a roadway intersection. I received a very nice response that they were looking into ways to make it safer. It helps, therefore, to get involved in our community and to be supportive. Kudos to the Highway Department. 

 On the other hand, I am quite distressed that there is such angry political infighting, nationally and especially locally. This is irrational and hurtful to progressive political discourse. It’s time to bury hatchets, and not into each other. The Democrats need to stop fighting with each other, as it’s entirely self-defeating. I hope they will come together after the primary on the Sept. 13, and I hope that David Lys, a valuable addition to the town board, will be nominated and re-elected in November. 

 It’s such a small community here, very tightly woven, and the need for civility is imperative. Time to start is now. 

SUSAN HARDER

Reviving the Joust

East Hampton

July 30, 2018

Dear Editor: 

I’ve had a subscription to The East Hampton Star for over 30 years, but have never written a letter to the editor. I always read them, after the police logs and obituaries. I skip letters from people whose names foretell the content. My virgin letter appears forthwith! 

A joust is required to settle the raging discourse exploding in the Democratic Committee between the Reform Dems and the old guard. It will benefit the community and could become a popular event every two years. Jousting would provide a lucrative new economy and offer new employment opportunities. 

Reviving the joust will call for jousting equipment, jousting costumes, jousting literature (poems, prose, and cartoons), joust exercise D.V.D.s, joust teachers, joust personal trainers for people and horses, joust centers, joust stables, which need large spaces that would be found by realtors who specialize in joust sales and rentals. Special cameras capable of shooting far enough from the action to avoid physical danger and joust photographers to use them. 

Joust rules with corresponding punishments for failing to obey them would have to be printed under the supervision of the wise Ms. Walker, the town whipper. She would need assistants for the event. Joust classes would be taught by joust teachers with master’s degrees. Private joust tutors could be hired that would give private lessons. Joust referees and joust doctors would have to attend the jousts. Joust tickets and joust regalia could be sold locally in joust stores or online. 

The town board would provide a place for the event, perhaps 555 since jousting is recreation. Prize for the winners would be a joust team of bodyguards. Let the games begin! 

ELEANOR GOTTHARDT

Earth Is Changing

Springs

August 4, 2018

Dear Editor:

Either one believes that renewable energy is preferable to fossil fuel pollutants, coal, and petroleum, or whether one believes that our climate is changing exponentially, or even denies that climate is changing at all, one cannot deny that science and personal experiences demonstrate that the earth is warming. The ice caps, in both the Arctic and Antarctic, are melting, and the oceans are rising and the earth is changing in ways both predictable and unknown. It is also doing so at rates exceeding earlier estimates and predictions. We, who call ourselves environmentalists must keep our “eye on the prize” of carbon-free, nonpolluting energy with now as the time frame. 

The Deepwater Wind Project is offering us just that. Here and now. Not there and later. How fortunate to be offered that option for East Hampton.

For whatever reason, particular, political, and personally rationalized concerns delay seems to be the order of the shortsighted and politically motivated day.

Whatever these issues are, they can and will continue to be discussed, studied, and resolved, as has been, those problems, old and new and ongoing, as predicted, and those unexpected in the future. We do know the problems of fossil fuels and yet their continued use poisons our atmosphere and planet daily.

During World War II there was a saying, “Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead.” Lives depended on it then and lives depend on it now.. Let’s get the program back on track, eliminate the delays (well-meaning or not) and trust our town government to police and protect the process. This opportunity must not become a political football. It is too existential an issue.

LAWRENCE (LARRY) SMITH

Misinformation

East Hampton 

July 29, 2018

Dear David:

Something is deeply awry when the town board itself is disseminating misinformation about the Deepwater Wind project that it either knows or ought to know is untrue. Here’s the Q. and A.:

1. Does the decision of the town board whether to grant beach-crossing easements at Beach Lane, where Deepwater wants to land its cable, have any impact at all on whether, when, or where the project is built, as the town board has claimed?

No. The town board has nothing to say about whether, when, or where the project will be built. That decision is made by the State Public Service Commission. Localities are prohibited from interfering or adding any conditions of their own. They can participate as parties to the Public Service Commission hearing and voice their views and concerns, but have absolutely no say over the project. 

Therefore, the town board’s decision on easements will not have any effect whatsoever on carbon emissions. Not even a molecule. It will only affect how much money Deepwater makes. Unfortunately, all who are rightly concerned about climate change, as we must be if the planet is to remain habitable, are 

being misled to support premature granting of beach-crossing easements. 

2. Does Deepwater need to secure these easements to proceed with its application to the P.S.C., as Deepwater and the town board have claimed?

No. Councilman Jeff Bragman publicly reported that he called the general counsel to the P.S.C. who told him that not only is it not required that the applicant have secured rights, it is highly unusual. Councilman Bragman has a memo from the general counsel to that effect.

Under the Public Service Law, the 

applicant, Deepwater, is required to present alternative sites for the project. It could hardly buy up in advance all the alternatives and hardly needs additional financial incentive as it will earn hundreds of millions of dollars.

3. Does granting Deepwater easements now create standing for the town to participate in the P.S.C. Article Seven proceeding in which the P.S.C. considers the public need for, and environmental impacts of, the project?

No. Article Seven of the Public 

Service Law specifically provides that any municipality in which any portion of the transmission facility is proposed to be located can participate as of right as a party to the P.S.C. proceeding. This would be the case if Deepwater so much as proposes to land its cable anywhere in East Hampton, including state land in Hither Hills.

4. Will granting easements now enhance the town’s participation in the Article Seven proceeding?

No. It will materially hinder it. It will be very difficult for the town to make a case to the administrative law judge of possible harm to the town or its residents if the town itself has already agreed with Deepwater, in advance of any environmental analysis, to grant the easements and has bargained for payment. The judge will rightly conclude that the town has already evaluated its risk and been paid for it. 

5. Can the town grant the requested easements without compliance with State Environmental Quality Review Act?

No. There is a SEQRA exemption for “actions requiring a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need under Article Seven or Ten of the Public Service Law.” However, if the proposed easement required such a certificate, the town board cannot take the action in advance of the P.S.C. concluding its work and issuing the certificate. If the action does not require the P.S.C.’s certificate, there is no SEQRA exemption. There is no such thing as an action that can proceed in advance of both P.S.C. environmental review and SEQRA environmental review.

6. Is the town in any way prevented from bargaining with Deepwater for protection of the fishing industry from loss of catch or other damage due to the project?

No. Town board members have said publicly that they do not believe there will be any more than short-term losses to the fishing industry during the construction period. That optimism, on the basis of no public record whatsoever, including no professional review of the existing scientific literature, must be very cold comfort to fishermen whose livelihoods could be affected. 

Town board members have also said publicly that it would be too difficult to attribute any future reduction in the catch to the project given the myriad factors, including climate change itself, that could be responsible.

They have no relevant expertise upon which to base such a claim and have not consulted any marine biologist, ecologist, or other expert. That is why we have the legal requirement of environmental review under SEQRA. SEQRA requires a public record as a basis for decision, not the anecdotal and subjective impressions of town board members, however well meaning.

7. Will the town lose the promised $8.5 million of “community benefits” if it waits until the environmental and other work of the PSC is completed?

No. The offer Deepwater makes to pay for easements is because Beach Lane is close to the point at which Deepwater must tie into the electric grid. Deepwater stands to save millions, possibly tens of millions, if it gets the easements it wants, rather than having to take a longer route, and offers some fraction of the savings to the town as an inducement. This deal is not about climate change. It is just about money. 

The savings based on physical proximity to the tie-in point will be just as great after the P.S.C. proceeding. But by then the town will have real information about the size of the pot, the savings by Deepwater, and about possible adverse impacts on the fishing industry, the town, and its residents. By agreeing to a deal in advance, the town will have lost all of its bargaining leverage before it is even known whether there are losses that ought to be compensated. 

There is no justification whatsoever for making a real estate deal with Deepwater Wind prior to the conclusion of the P.S.C. Article Seven proceeding. It would be illegal to do so without SEQRA compliance. The town board has not even sought the advice of expert counsel on these matters. Instead, it has gone ahead and hired a lawyer to negotiate easements it cannot legally grant and should not grant if it is behaving responsibly.

Sincerely,

DAVID GRUBER

Hard-Earned Dollars

Wainscott

August 6, 2018

Dear David,

Thanks to Supervisor Van Scoyoc, Councilwoman Burke-Gonzalez and Councilwoman Overby, local ratepayers have to pay 3 ? - times the rate for the same offshore wind-generated electricity than the ratepayers of Massachusetts.  The new market price for offshore wind-generated electricity based on Vineyard Wind’s 800-megawatt project off the coast of Massachusetts (announced Aug. 1, 2018) is just 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour.

Vineyard Wind is not only a small fraction of the cost of Deepwater Wind, but it also is scheduled to commence operations on Jan. 15, 2022 — 11 months earlier than Deepwater Wind (which is not expected to commence operations until December 2022).

So why did Supervisor Van Scoyoc, Councilwoman Burke-Gonzalez, and Councilwoman Overby rush through a vote to commit our hard-earned dollars in support of Deepwater Wind’s proposed rate of 22.77 cents per kilowatt hour?

For whom are they working?

Sincerely yours,

SI KINSELLA

No Compliance

East Hampton 

August 6, 2018

Dear David:

Compliance by the town board with the State Environmental Quality Review Act is fast becoming the exception, rather than the inviolate rule that it is required to be by law. 

A couple of weeks ago, there was the decision to bond for higher communications towers with no SEQRA review. The board says it “will do SEQRA later.” But according to the law, SEQRA review is mandatory before the town board takes any action. Prior environmental review is the very essence of SEQRA: “No agency involved in an action may undertake, fund or approve the action until it has complied with the provisions of SEQR.” 

It doesn’t matter that bonding was only a first step and does not itself involve physical change. SEQRA says, “Actions commonly consist of a set of activities or steps. The entire set of activities or steps must be considered the action, whether the agency decision-making relates to the action as a whole or to only a part of it.”

Clear enough?

Just last week, there was a town board decision to seek and enter into a grant agreement for a multimillion dollar aquaculture facility on community preservation fund property on Gann Road. Again no SEQRA compliance. See above for the definition of action.

The looming third strike is that the town board majority has also made clear its intention to convey a beach-crossing easement at Beach Lane in Wainscott to Deepwater Wind, also without SEQRA compliance and without waiting for the environmental review by the Public Service Commission.

As town councilman in the 1980s, a member of an environmentally conscientious Democratic majority, I oversaw the adoption of an airport master plan only after a full environmental impact statement four years in the making. I know from bitter experience what happened when, in 1998, a Republican town board entered into a grant agreement and proceeded to widen the main runway without SEQRA compliance. It was built and the air traffic came; we are still suffering as a result. 

It used to be that Republican majorities on the town board evaded SEQRA to the intense criticism of Democrats. Punctilious environmental compliance was the standard for Democrats. I never thought I would see the day when evasion of SEQRA became the standard practice of Democrats in East Hampton. 

Democrats deplore the way Donald Trump trashes legal and customary norms of behavior. If Democrats do the same thing, what is going to be left of those norms that protect us from environmental error? Nothing, I fear. 

Sincerely,

PAT TRUNZO III

Very Skeptical

East Hampton

August 2, 2018

Dear David

There is a group of political actors warning us that we don’t know the cost that Deepwater Wind is charging LIPA for electrical power. They worry that Deepwater Wind is hiding the numbers in order to make huge profits selling us clean energy.

We do know that the Deepwater Wind contract stipulates the price for the life of the contract, something that no power supplier using fossil fuel will ever do. Whenever fossil fuel prices rise, LIPA/PSEG just charge us more, and there is nothing we can do to stop them. We do know that Deepwater Wind’s bid to LIPA was deemed the most economical proposal received in the request for proposals, and that estimates of potential rate increases are from .5 percent to 1.5 percent, less than the cost of a gallon of gasoline in most cases.

I cannot say for sure that the motivation of these men is their anger at being passed over for jobs by their own party. What makes me skeptical about their motivation is that there is no investigation or exposition from these quarters of what fossil-fuel companies charge LIPA for power. If we’re comparing prices of two options, shouldn’t we be looking at the cost of Deepwater Wind versus the status quo?

Oil and gas companies working in the United States and Canada made $271 billion in profits in 2012; $257 billion in 2014. That’s just the profit, not the cost to us, to sell back to us oil pumped from our own public lands. For some unknown reason, the U.S. government further subsidizes these companies to the tune of $20 billion per year. Do they really need our tax dollars? And, according to Forbes magazine (no naive environmentalists here!), this also ignores the $200 billion in external costs of burning fossil fuel that we all pay through 

taxes, health, and insurance costs: (forbes.com/sites/ucenergy). 

It also does not include the $306 billion in weather-related disasters in the U.S.A. last year, a 50 percent increase over any previous year, a cost escalation every science-based organization attributes to man-made climate change.

An analogy might be a person considering buying a car. He’s looking at two different cars. He’s very worried that car A is too expensive, but he has no idea what the cost is of car B. This makes me very skeptical of the motivations of those sowing doubt about the per kilowatt cost of Deepwater Wind. They are demanding to know the cost of only one car. They have a lot of work to do before we should take them seriously.

Meanwhile, read in The New York Times Magazine of Aug. 5 how this strategy, of sowing doubt without evidence to protect the profits of fossil fuel suppliers, has brought us to the brink of climate catastrophe. It is a stunning indictment of a generational crime against humanity that is ongoing in our town today.

DON MATHESON

Stop Using Roundup

Amagansett

August 2, 2018

Dear Editor,

In November of 2000 I wrote the following: “Chemicals in School Yards, Playing Field Had Died.” This was the headline in a local paper that went on explaining how a contractor had applied Monsanto’s Roundup to kill weeds prior to establishing new turf at the local grade school. Are we all losing our minds to allow poisons to be poured onto a grade school’s playing fields without any questions being raised? Who was responsible for allowing this to happen? As Pogo would say if he were here, “We have met the enemy and the enemy is all of us. . . .”

Eighteen years have gone by. Monsanto will make more than $2 billion dollars this year from sales of Roundup. This year a study by the World Health Organization states that there is a probable relationship between Roundup and cancer. In 2016 New York City banned the use of Roundup in any public right of way and specifically in playgrounds. The Netherlands has said no more Roundup. Independent scientific studies have linked exposure to glyphosate (Roundup) to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, brain cancer, breast cancer, and kidney disease. Studies show that it only takes one part per trillion to cause cellular changes when it comes to breast cancer.        

Childhood diseases and birth defects continue to rise. Roundup has been found in soybean baby infant formula at 170 parts per billion. Roundup residue in Cheerios was found to be 1,124 parts per billion. Oreo cookies had residue of Roundup at 400 parts per billion. Residues of Roundup are found in beer and wines. Wine had residue of Roundup at 23 parts per billion. How small is one part per billion? One part per billion is one second in one billion seconds. A billion seconds equals 32 years.

What can we do? Stop using Roundup. Stop consuming Roundup in our food and water and beverages. Ban the use of Roundup. Organic nontoxic methods of growing food and doing landscapes will not kill you with poisons like Roundup.

ARTHUR KALISKI 

Badgering

Springs

August 5, 2018

Dear David,

To set the record straight, I want it known that none of our very good neighbors complained to the town about 

the parking situation at the Pollock-Krasner House. It was the aggressive and persistent badgering of one Springs resident, Martin Drew, that caused the town to restrict the number of visitors we can allow on the property, and to require us to offer tours by reservation only. 

When Mr. Drew photographs and videos people coming and going at the museum, he parks at Springs Wines and Liquors, taking space reserved for legitimate customers of that business. To leave, he needs to pull out into traffic on Fort Pond Boulevard or Springs-Fireplace Road, which is what he objects to our visitors doing. 

Just so you know.

HELEN A. HARRISON

Director, Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center

One Manifestation

Montauk

August 6, 2018

To the Editor:

I am fortunate to live on Lake Montauk; have done since 1951. It is my greatest pleasure to swim in the lake, day or night. No longer. This morning, I went down to the shore to find the remains of someone’s dinner, and other filth, washed up there. I applaud the efforts of Concerned Citizens of Montauk to improve water quality by urging the reform of septic systems, and I have done my part there. But what about all the boats moored in the lake? I have never seen so many, strewn higgledy-piggledy across its waters. What agency determines who may establish a mooring? Who monitors these visitors to assure that they are all following appropriate practices?

Of course, the degradation of the lake/harbor is just one manifestation of the rapidly increasing deterioration of the environment of the East End, thanks to overdevelopment and the insatiable greed that marks the present era. Are we totally helpless to halt the looming disasters?

HELEN SEARING

Naive of Me

Montauk

July 30, 2018

Dear David, 

Back in May I wrote a letter to your paper. It was about what I consider gross mismanagement of public school funds, specifically Montauk’s school. I ended the letter by rhetorically asking if it would be too much to ask that our tax dollars be spent appropriately for education. You and your readers might like to know that I got an answer. It was a resounding, Yes, Mrs. Rasmussen, it is too much to ask. 

Obviously my letter made no impact, the school nurse is teaching summer school. That’s right, a person without a license to teach and without the same credentials real teachers must earn through education and testing is pretending to be a capable instructor to summer-school students. I assume as in all cases the children are in summer school because they need to work on academic skills to boost their learning. I would say it is reasonable to assume that this is a job for an experienced and seasoned veteran, not a novice.

This is the height of arrogance and this issue is disturbing to me and the others who have shared this story with me. I simply expect an exceptionally high level of honesty and integrity from our educational institutions. And allowing students who don’t actually live in the district to attend the school is unfair to the district’s taxpayers.

I learned that students were still coming from outside the district as recently as the last day of school. I learned that the person in charge of the school gathered teachers to a meeting and gave them a dressing down because of my letter. Why? 

All of this information about the management of a small-town school is incredibly disappointing and disheartening. When I tell an acquaintance or friend that I have a summer place in Montauk they are envious because, like me, they believe Montauk is magical and very unique. I suppose it is naive of me to think of this place as different, special, and free of corruption. 

Because I believe that the public sector should be held to the tenets of serving the public transparently and with integrity, I have contacted the New York State Department of Education to look into the hiring of unqualified people to teach and using education funding for children who do not live in the district. Since I haven’t been able to shame the shameless, I am hoping the State Education Department might help put an end to the decisions that appear to benefit a few while harming many. I encourage others who also know that these decisions are harmful to do the same. 

Sincerely Yours, 

BONNIE RASMUSSEN

Gang of Four

Amagansett

August 5, 2018

Dear David,   

With every passing day, it becomes more and more obvious that Peter Van Scoyoc, Sylvia Overby, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, and David Lys, the new councilman that the other three appointed, do not know how to govern the town. They are fast turning into “the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.” 

Last Thursday night, the Gang of Four was all set to approve an illegal gift of town-owned land, an unimproved road, to an adjacent property holder in exchange for an easement on the town-owned land allowing pedestrian passage during the day. Does that sound weird, that the town should first give away a town road and then take back a pedestrian right of way on its own road? It does, because it’s nuts. But Supervisor Van Scoyoc explained. “What difference does it make?” he said. Yeah, what difference does it make if the Gang of Four gives away town assets? The landowner, a multimillionaire, gets a bigger lot for free. The public gets nothing. 

And why might they be doing this? Perhaps because the landowner who wants to increase his lot size by adding town-owned land to it is represented before the town board by Steve Latham, the law partner of Chris Kelley, the fixer of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. A little cronyism anyone? 

Kelley did the Gang of Four a favor by rigging the Democratic Committee vote for the town board nomination to assure the nomination of David Lys. Now it’s the Gang of Four’s turn to do Kelley a favor. If you saw the meeting, it was obvious that Van Scoyoc couldn’t wait to get the giveaway over while Latham kept insisting that the hearing be closed at once.

The Gang of Four were only stopped in their tracks because David Buda showed up with real estate documents showing that the town had no idea what it actually owns or what it would be giving away. It seems the Gang of Four never requested the title work needed to ascertain what it owns. They were in too much of a hurry to give it away. Now they are reluctantly taking two weeks to find out before they again proceed to make an illegal gift of town property. 

Also last Thursday, the Gang of Four, again over Bragman’s objections, approved a project for an aquaculture plant on newly acquired community preservation fund property on Gann Road. The supervisor has been authorized to sign a contract even though there has been no planning at all, no consideration that this is in a residential zone, no nothing. 

Of course, no State Environmental Quality Review Act compliance, this time because they think most of the project will be funded with a grant. Once again, they are in a tearing hurry, although no one knows anything about the project, its total costs, whether it is needed at all to increase oyster stocks, whether it is a cost-effective water quality project, or indeed anything at all about it. It comes as a complete revelation to the public. 

What it is that the Gang of Four

doesn’t understand about the fundamental rule of SEQRA that, “No agency involved in an action may undertake, fund, or approve the action until it has complied with the provisions of SEQR.” Sounds like plain English to me.

And how did this multimillion dollar project spring to life full blown with no public discussion? Could the Gang of Four again have been violating the Open Meetings Law by discussing behind closed doors? I don’t know which would be worse for us, that they discuss these projects illegally in secret or that they don’t discuss them at all, but they certainly don’t do it in public as the law requires.

Finally, for the Thursday evening trifecta, there was the boondoggle of Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez’s insistence upon hiring her own legislative assistant, at a cost with salary and benefits in the neighborhood of $70,000. A total waste of taxpayer money. 

For years and years, the four council members have shared an assistant. Now, all of a sudden, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez needs her own. Perhaps this is due to her ill-concealed ambition, well known in Town Hall, to be the next supervisor. Is this empire building by Queen Kathee? Not a good start. And would it surprise you to learn that the Gang of Four, yet again over Bragman’s objections, approved the boondoggle?

Doesn’t surprise me a bit. 

RONA KLOPMAN

Vote for Us

East Hampton 

August 5, 2018

Dear Star:

On Sept. 13 there will be a primary held for the East Hampton Democratic candidate for town board as well as for committee members who serve all the election districts in our town. 

For several years, both of us have been proud East Hampton Town Democratic Committee members and representatives for Election District 7 in Wainscott. Over the years, we have come to know and built many relationships with you in District 7. We now humbly ask for your vote to continue to represent you within the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Your thoughts and concerns have always been and will continue to be of paramount importance to us. 

Last November, I (Susan) was honored to be elected an East Hampton Town Trustee, and I am deeply committed to my responsibilities. I serve on several trustee committees and take my responsibilities very seriously. Of greatest importance is my work to help clean our waterways and beaches. In addition to the trustee committees I serve on, I am the liaison to the Accabonac Protection Committee. I am an active and supportive member of the Ladies Village Improvement Society, the Nature Conservancy, and Surfrider Long Island chapter. 

I (Afton) have been a volunteer Sunday School teacher and youth group coordinator, member of the L.V.I.S. for 16 years, and I have served on the board of directors and chair of the annual fair. I have been an active member of the League of Women Voters of the Hamptons and am currently a member of its Adopt-A-Road committee. I am also a member of the East Hampton Town Recycling and Litter Committee. 

Both of us serve on the East Hampton Energy Sustainability Committee as we believe in protecting our natural resources. 

We both support Councilman David Lys for East Hampton Town Board, because like us he believes in giving back to his hometown and works tirelessly to protect and preserve our fragile environment and beautiful community for the future.   

Once again, we ask that you please cast your vote for us as we are sincerely devoted to all of Wainscott’s residents. We thank you in advance for your continued support and vote on Sept. 13. 

SUSAN MCGRAW KEBER

AFTON DISUNNO

Vote-Rigging

East Hampton

August 6, 2018

Dear David, 

The only reason Cate Rogers, presently the chair of the East Hampton Democratic Committee, thinks and writes as she did publicly last week, that lifelong Democrat and now town board candidate David Gruber has been absent from East Hampton for 14 years, is that she is so new to the Democratic Committee herself that she has no idea what has been going on before her own recent arrival on the scene. 

Indeed, until this past January, Rogers had never previously served on the Democratic Committee. In that month, she abruptly resigned the seat on the zoning board of appeals to which she had been appointed only the week before, declared that she would stand for chair of the Democratic Committee, and was then immediately appointed to a vacancy by chair Jeanne Frankl so she could run for chair. All part of a coup by Chris Kelley, Jeanne Frankl, and Betty Mazur to keep de facto control of the committee even after Frankl’s then imminent resignation as chair. 

Had Rogers been a committee member before, she would have known that David Gruber, Democratic supervisor candidate in 2001 and chair of the Demo­cratic Committee from 2002 through 2004, has served on every Democratic campaign committee from 2001 through 2015, authoring almost all of the Democrats’ campaign literature and strategy in that time. To comply with campaign finance laws, in 2017 he worked independently, particularly in support of the successful campaign of Jeff Bragman. 

In 2014 and 2015, Mr. Gruber served as chair of the town’s airport planning committee noise subcommittee. Since 2015, he has been a member of the town’s airport management advisory committee. All right here, in East Hampton. 

Rogers’s service to the Democratic Committee? On the 2017 campaign committee, she was assigned to keep track of the schedule. Because of her inexperience, including no prior experience at all as a Democratic Committee member, Rogers did not have sufficient support to be elected chair. And so, Kelley, Frankl, and Mazur embarked on a vote-rigging scheme to assure her election. 

First, without any legal authority whatsoever to do so, they tried to oust from their seats — all elective offices under the New York State Election Law — long-serving members who did not support Rogers. They hoped to do this simply by declaring those members to have been removed from their seats and then appointing other members to them. When that met with resistance from committee members, they went so far as to appoint two new members pledged to vote for Rogers to seats that were not vacant, because the incumbent members had never resigned, as legally required. 

Rogers publicly complains now of divisiveness. If there is division in the Democratic Committee, she has only herself and her fellow plotters, Kelley, Frankl, and Mazur, to blame. Vote-rigging, in all its forms, is unacceptable in the Democratic Party. 

A majority of the long-serving members of the Democratic Committee have organized the East Hampton Reform Democrats to rid our Democratic Party of these corrupt practices. 

ILISSA MEYER

Want to Know

New York City

August 6, 2018

Dear Editor,

I read your article “Gardiner’s Island: Arrest Prompts Question” with unique interest. I grew up coming to the East Hampton/Gardiner’s Island area for all 57 years of my life. As a kid, I probably went at least once a summer out to Cartwright Island, imagining that there was buried treasure and the like. I have taken my kids there as well.  Like many others, I too want to know the answer to the question, is Cartwright private and part of Gardiner’s Island or one of the many other public treasures that make Gardiner’s Bay so wonderful.  

The idea of this being part of some royal decree or royal privilege seems like a large overreach. Therefore, if this is public land, as it seems to be and in particular below the high tide mark, then I am in full support of complete public access. I am ashamed to hear about the public harassment that Mr. Richardson recently experienced. You have brought up an important issue that needs to be resolved so that harassment of this type does not occur again, nor are public funds being wasted defending bogus claims.

Sincerely,

SCOTT DELANY

Shoal and Tidal Zone

East Hampton

August 4, 2018

Dear David,

I believe the family that owns Gardiner’s Island is overreaching in their claim to Cartwright Island, which is mostly a migrating, ephemeral sandbar and not part of the island itself. They should not be allowed to harass people who respectfully use the shoal and tidal zone at the least. I support efforts to resist their dubious claims.

Thank you,

KRAE VAN SICKLE

Unfettered Access

East Hampton

August 6, 2018 

Dear Editor:

As an avid outdoor enthusiast, I find tremendous joy and peace spending time in the waters around the Town of East Hampton, especially Napeague and Gardiner’s Bay. The area that is located off the southern tip of Gardiner’s Island, often referred to as Cartwright Island, is a natural treasure.

 I have been frustrated by the enforcement of trespassing rules pertaining to those areas where land masses are perpetually in flux due to wind and tidal influence. I have paddled from the Accabonac inlet to Napeague Harbor, bypassing the shoals to the south of Gardiner’s Island. Recently, I noticed signs along that archipelago that are partially submerged in water, asserting no trespassing. Aside from the nuisance that submerged signage creates, it also drastically reduces public access to areas that are in the public interest to embrace and appreciate.

I encourage local officials to support the needs and interests of the public by allowing unfettered access to the foreshores of Cartwright Island. Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

BRUCE RUIZ

Entirely Accurate

New York City

August 6, 2018

To the Editor:

I was there and witnessed the entire Cartwright Island incident as per your article. I can confirm that Mr. Richardson’s account is entirely accurate, as I read it here.

The security forces were belligerent and intimidating — not only to Mr. Richardson, but to all parties who were in and around Cartwright Shoal that day.

Here is the real question that this arrest prompts: Doesn’t the Goelet family have anything better to do with their time and resources than to waste it on this foolishness?

Sincerely,

MAX ROSEN

Open to All?

New York City

August 4, 2018

To the Editor:

I took special interest in your story “Gardiner’s Island: Arrest Prompts Question.” I believe that there are many of your readers that would like to know the answer: Is Cartwright Island private land and part of Gardiner’s Island or is it a Gardiner’s Bay treasure open to all?

Like Mr. Richardson, I, too, grew up with summers that included trips to Cartwright Island. Like Mr. Richardson, I have many fond memories of sailing there, picnicking there, fishing there, and I have taken my own family there on several occasions.

I would like to avoid the horrible experience that Mr. Richardson has endured because of his recent visit. If, in fact, Cartwright is private land, then I will sadly avoid ever going there again. If it is public land, then I would like to know that I can visit without worry of harassment.

Thanks for reporting on this story. I believe that many of your readers would benefit from knowing the answer and I believe you would be providing a public service if you could help uncover the truth.

Sincerely,

JARRETT LILIEN

Can’t Understand

New York City

August 6, 2018

Dear Star,

I was disturbed to hear that a friend of mine, Rod Richardson, was arrested for visiting Cartwright Island with his young daughter and friends.

I used to go there when I was a child with my uncle on his boat and had so many good times playing on the quiet sandbar that it is. I feel it should be accessible to all and can’t understand why it’s not and why Rod was arrested for enjoying public land that’s not part of the private Gardiner’s Island.

Sincerely,

ANDREI PETROV

Deceptive Behavior

Amagansett

August 6, 2018

Dear David,

My father, Randy Richardson, used to take our family for picnics on Cartwright Island, an island south of and separate from Gardiner’s Island, going back to the 1960s. Many East Hampton families have done the same, for centuries.

Now, when boaters stop by the island and their children play on the shore, one or two military-style patrol craft, with the word “SECURITY” prominently displayed, swing by to intimidate these families, threatening to call Marine Patrol. These employees of the Goelet family trust tell these families they are trespassing to even anchor there, or walk on the shore, because “the Gardiners have a royal grant that gives them ownership of all of Cartwright Island into the water, as far as an ox can walk without getting its belly wet.” 

That is exactly what happened Saturday, the last day of June, to several families that were anchored on the foreshore in four boats, who were told their children could not play on the foreshore, and that Marine Patrol had been called.

In my opinion this is regrettable, deceptive behavior. I have visited the island at least once a year all my life. A few years back, I heard security told people the water had to hit “the belly of a horse, 14 hands high.” Now it’s an ox. So I say, “Show me the ox!”

I asked security in the past, and again now, to show me the deed that grants ownership of Cartwright Island, or any part of the foreshore of any island. But despite an investment in security personnel and boats, they can’t seem to afford to carry one piece of paper proving their ownership claim. 

I have read every one of the royal grants for Gardiner’s Island, and there is no ox or horse mentioned as a boundary marker. Nothing else in the grants gives them ownership of the foreshore either. 

The “beaches” are not granted to the Gardiners in their Dongan Patent or any other of several royal grants, confirming earlier grants. All such “beaches” are clearly marked as New York State property on the tax map, and all maps and charts show separate, distinct islands, separated by water, going back to the earliest 17th century charts. (Beaches are specifically mentioned in the Dongan Patent to the East Hampton Town Trustees, by contrast.) All the deeds refer only to Gardiner’s Island.

According to my research, Cartwright Island is not a private island owned by the Goelet family trust. I understand it to be owned by the people of New York, who have every right to visit and enjoy this local treasure. As with nearly every local beach foreshore not owned by 

the town trustees, the foreshore of Cartwright and Gardiner’s Islands is New York State land up to the high-water mark, often visible as a wrack line. The vast long, thin, low majority of the island, where I was at the end of June, has no wrack line at all, because it is all below the high-water mark, so low, in fact, that the center portion of the island, above where the alleged incident took place, is now underwater at high tide, a month later.

That Saturday, my young daughter and I and some friends were paddle-boarding around Cartwright, when we came across Goelet security demanding others to leave. I stopped as the families told me what had occurred, and my daughter and friends paddled ahead. I told the families what I knew, and they said they suspected as much, and were glad for the friendly support. 

A little way ahead, my daughter and her friend had landed on the shore. The patrol craft made a b-line for them. I did not want my daughter threatened, intimidated, or made to feel like she could never visit this beautiful shore. So I landed my paddleboard and sprinted over toward them. I asked the security guard to address me, not my young daughter. I asked him to explain himself. He offered the same tale of the ox. I asked him to show me the deed proving this ownership claim, as I had in past encounters. He said he was only doing his job, and pointed to the “Private Land” signs on the foreshore.

I examined the sign, as he suggested, which prohibited fishing, which is allowed from the public foreshore. From past research, I know that this kind of sign falsely claiming ownership of the public foreshore and attempting to discourage the public from enjoying their rights, is deemed a “public nuisance,” according to New York State Office of General Counsel enforcement guidance. I suspected it could also be considered unsightly litter, improperly abandoned and spoiling a natural area. So I took the sign down and departed, leaving it on the island, with the children now happily playing on the sand, very glad someone had stood up for them. 

In my opinion, the Goelets had me tracked down by Marine Patrol and filed trespass charges against me, only because I dared to question their security force regarding the basis for their claims since as far as I know not one of the other families I saw on the same area that day has been prosecuted. 

In my opinion, it is a waste of East Hampton Marine Patrol and judicial resources to have me arrested based on allegations that I was on what I understand is a public beach. This is especially so when A) I simply asked for proof of their claims that they own into the water. B) Their security guard invited me to examine the sign closely. And C) since such enforcement action is contrary to New York State enforcement policies, with respect to allegations of trespass on foreshore and intertidal land when proof of ownership is in doubt and not firmly established. Every town official, trustee, and public interest group concerned with civil rights and public access should denounce waste of taxpayer resources to enforce a complaint of trespass on the public foreshore and public land that is Cartwright Island. 

The Goelets insist on making this a public matter, despite the fact that I offered to resolve this privately, as reasonable folks should do, and as is recommended by Office of Government Commerce guidance. I reached out to them, via counsel, to say I would agree to never visit the Island again if they would simply show me clear proof of ownership, as claimed. They refused to do so.

Now that this is public, I don’t mind saying I suspect the reason they refuse to show me proof of ownership is simple:

The Lord of the Manor has no clothes. No ox either, for that matter.

The charges against me are without merit and contrary to the public’s basic rights of access to the beaches. 

In my opinion the island needs a better local steward or trustee of the public trust, for it has none; at present public rights and liberties are at issue. All stakeholders (town trustee and board, CfAR, Surfrider, East Hampton Trails Preservation Society, South Fork Natural History Museum, concerned local citizens, New York State, etc.) should be involved in the resolution of this public matter. But still, it should be done by conversations among reasonable people, with all facts on the table and available to the public. 

Sunshine is a wonderful disinfectant.

ROD RICHARDSON

Sexual Abuse

Amagansett

August 2, 2018

Dear David,

I write in support of Lance Corey’s Aug. 2 letter urging support of New York State’s adoption of a federal civil rights law to protect children from pedophiles. Currently in New York State, a victim must remember sexual abuse by age 18 and prosecute sexual abuse by age 23. Some of us remember later. Please share the link: Petitions.moveon.org/sign/use-federal-civil-rights. Please.

DIANA WALKER

Survivor

Workers’ Compensation

Springs

August 3, 2018

 

Dear David,

I will be the first person to admit I am a political policy wonk and am continually digging into the nitty-gritty of public policy changes. As the founding president of New York State’s fifth biggest police union, I am always skeptical of any executive branch (governor, county executive, town supervisor, or mayor) with professions of good intentions and good government. 

Recently the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board has as part of Governor Cuomo’s 2018 policy agenda released changes to New York State Workers’ Compensation Board behavioral health guidelines which will create a crisis in the Workers’ Compensation system by reducing the providers available to treat the psychological/behavioral consequences of workplace injuries.

The proposed regulations seek to limit the practitioners who can provide treatment to injured workers under the supervision of licensed psychologists. This includes other licensed mental-health professionals (social workers and licensed mental health counselors) as well as limiting the ability to use licensed New York State Education Department-licensed psychologists who have not yet received their Workers’ Compensation authorization numbers. It is important to note that it has taken over three years for some New York State-licensed psychologists to receive authorization numbers.

As a result, patient care in New York State for injured workers will become scarce, workers will no longer have access to quality behavioral treatment. Thousands of injured workers will be abandoned if these proposals are enacted.

The state has already identified a shortage of mental-health workers in the Workers’ Compensation system. These proposals will only exacerbate the situation and will create a backlog of patients requiring behavioral health care under the New York State Workers’ Compensation system.

The Workers’ Compensation Board has no answer how to replace this care that will be immediately eliminated if these proposed regulations are adopted.

If the above were not bad enough, the New York State Workers’ Compensation board proposals also do not take into account the termination process for thousands of patients who are currently in the middle of treatment. There are ethical considerations and mandates that make it impossible to terminate treatment for ongoing patients unless there is an alternative to refer them to. Based upon these proposed guidelines, not only will there be no alternative but the alternatives will be reduced significantly.

The proposed guidelines include changing the code that covers cognitive remediation for brain-injured patients; the existing law provides for 15-minute units of cognitive rehabilitation provided to patients on a clinically needed basis. The new law only allows one unit at a fixed and low rate. Even the Medicare system has disregarded this code and replaced it with a code (G0515), which enables treatment to be rendered in 15-minute increments as it had been in the past.

This particular fee schedule coding change will eliminate the ability of any traumatically brain-injured worker to receive care and rehabilitation, enabling him/her to develop the skills needed to return to premorbid levels of functioning.

Injured workers in New York State who suffer from any consequential or direct psychological/behavioral problems related to their injuries will no longer be able to receive care; the vast numbers of injured workers who require these services will be left untreated and will even more significantly impact the Workers’ Compensation health care system by relying upon other medical professionals for increased levels of medication. The initiative to reduce opioid dependency in New York State will be sabotaged; the providers who are the most skilled, experienced, and educated in behavioral pain-stress management will be eliminated, and the ability of injured workers to receive pain management treatment will be reduced significantly. Patients will then need to rely on medications (opioids) and other medications to cope with their suffering. The stress on the existing medical community will be intense, and the results will be devastating.

For these reasons, it is crucial that these proposed guidelines be altered significantly and drafted with the goal of enabling injured workers to receive the appropriate level of behavioral health care they require.

I urge your readers and our local elected officials, particularly in East Hampton Town government, to contact the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. The Workers’ Compensation Board is accepting comments right now. I, along with many others, think the best approach is to appeal to the governor’s office and point out that given the governor’s position on mental health such as gun violence, taxi driver suicide rate, etc., you are surprised on the administration’s position on mental health and compensation. Express in the strongest terms that the governor needs to rein in this out-of-control agency.

Sincerely,

MANNY VILAR

Rewarding Departures

East Hampton

August 6, 2018

To the Editor:

Readers who have not looked carefully at the two new magazines now being published by The East Hampton Star should look again, either at the copies recently distributed with the newspaper, or by picking up free copies at the Star office or in shops around town. Though I am married to the publisher, I am writing this on the shameless theory that if I, with magazine editing experience at Time and Psychology Today, don’t flout the modesty barrier, no one else might. Both magazines are rewarding departures from what might be called Hamptons Usual.

East, now in its third year and distributing the third of this year’s four issues (the fourth is coming in the fall), is a local insider’s mix of with-it culture, topical issues, crabbing (the nonpolitical kind), Latino food takeouts, local rhubarb liqueur, a droll cartoon, and witty selections of the best places to go, not for haute cuisine but for toys, retro candy, and to the potty. If the prose seems sparky it may be due to the editor’s previous power decade as an editor at Vogue magazine. 

End, a magazine touting local modern architecture as an alternative to shingled beach blah, has found its journalistic feet in the second issue of its second year by showing architecture students’ uninhibited dreams for erosion control on Montauk’s stupidly-sandbagged “Dirt Bag” beach, assessing the influential beach architecture of the late Charles Gwathmey, and explaining the “retail apocalypse” that has hollowed out East Hampton’s shopping district with glitzy shops that stay open only for the summer.

“East” “End,” get it? Get them and you will.

CHRISTOPHER T. CORY

Beloved Statues

East Hampton

August 6, 2018

Dear David:

To the horrible person or persons who stole our beloved Scottie dog statues Thursday night of last week: You must have injured yourself, as each weighs more then 50 pounds and you certainly needed some help to lift them off their stone bases in our driveway.,

Here is what you don’t know. Both Scottie statues were cherished by my family, as they represented our beloved Scottie dogs who passed away. They had beautiful ribbons tied in a bow, which people looked for as a marker for our home. That day the Scotties had been festively adorned with pink and green star balloons, indicating where a charity shopping event was taking place to benefit the children of the East Hampton community. The day was successful and fun and it wasn’t until the next morning that we discovered the theft of our beloved statues. 

We as a family are devastated at this loss. The police are investigating the theft and will find you, but our trust and pride in our beloved East Hampton community has been shattered.

Do the right thing and return them! 

Sincerely,

BARBARA L. EDWARDS

Hold Your Pee

Amagansett

August 4, 2018

Editor Dear,

Me too!

The woman who was scolded by a police officer for calling 911 when she found the train station bathroom locked (“Also on the Logs,” Aug. 2) is my new heroine. Is there a woman anywhere who hasn’t suffered silently from bursting bladder? That officer needs his consciousness raised by having his urinary privileges suspended for 12 hours.

Speak up, all my sisters, or forever hold your pee.

Sincerely,

PAULA DIAMOND