Letters to the Editor: 08.30.18

Our readers' comments

Perfect Alignment

Montauk

August 27, 2018

Dear David,

The evening of Aug. 25 was marked by a perfect alignment of planets, stars, the moon, the sky, and sea that helped to produce a beautiful event for those locals and visitors who attended the concert at the Montauk Point Lighthouse. The music of Tuatha Dea, Kate Usher and the Sturdy Souls, and Jessica Lynn and her band was high-energy contemporary Americana rock that appealed to both young and old. The surprise performance by Montauk local Paul Simon, one of the world’s greatest singer-songwriters, added greatly to the audience energy and spirit.

The concert was the result of much hard work and efforts of many people. Local volunteers who lend a crucial and critical help at big events are often overlooked. These will not. On behalf of the Montauk Point Lighthouse Committee, I would like to thank all of them for their help before, during, and after the concert.

Sincerely,

BRIAN POPE


A list of people who volunteered or helped in other ways at the Aug. 25 concert appears in the “Card of Thanks” section of this week’s classfieds. Ed.

The Best Vibes

East Hampton

August 27, 2018

To the Editor:

Yesterday evening I glimpsed a night of America before cellphones and technology ruled our lives and experiences. I sat with several friends and enjoyed a night of fireworks courtesy of the East Hampton Fire Department, and it was glorious. People all around us were talking and laughing to each other, not into cellphones. The air was clear and the moon was full, and the beach filled with blankets, food, camaraderie, and the sound of children’s laughter, as well as the frightened cries of one terrified toddler. 

We had a lovely dinner, desserts, and good cheer. If you weren’t there, and in a restaurant, or in front of TV, or on your computer, you missed the best meal with the best scenery and the best vibes of summer. If we are lucky enough to have this beautiful display next summer, come and get a glimpse of life when it was simpler, give up a bit of time to carry yourself onto the sand, schlep some food and blankets. Trust me, it will be worth the effort!

JACKIE FRIEDMAN

Robert Dash

Springs

August 21, 2018

Dear David,

I am one of the paper’s many long-time readers whose days were cheered by Robert Dash’s extraordinary column. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could collect and publish his beautiful essays? I’d be game to help “Kickstart” such a project.

His writing for the paper deserves a book and a new audience. In fact, I believe we could all benefit from rereading his Star work.

Best regards, 

RACHAEL HOROVITZ

A Prayer

Amagansett

August 27, 2018

Dear David,

The profound and unexpected losses of Ben and Bonnie Krupinski, Frances Ecker, and, earlier, of Tom Twomey, are so grave for our community here in East Hampton — each gave so much — it does haunt me that they are not around to guide us, help when needed. I knew them and they come to mind so very often.

Perhaps a prayer for each? And for Bonac as well, as we go into the next season to face whatever is out there waiting.

Sincerely,

LONA RUBENSTEIN

Roundabouts

Amagansett

August 23, 2018 

David:

I am driving around Wales this week and went through 20 roundabouts. They all worked well without delays or dangers.

Kudos for your article.

BLAKE FLEETWOOD 

Clearly Obvious

East Hampton

August 24, 2018

Dear David,

The title of your piece in the “Mast-Head” of The East Hampton Star edition of Aug. 23, entitled “Baffling Roundabouts” and particularly your conclusion, is “baffling” to me. How you could come to a positive conclusion to an obvious poorly designed, inappropriate, totally confusing, as you call it “oval,” is almost incomprehensible. 

It is clearly obvious to anyone who travels this route, particularly anyone who does not live in East Hampton or who has not traveled on Route 114 for their entire lives, is totally confused and most of the time has to stop or hesitate to figure out which turn to take. Moreover, as you point out, there is no bike lane, which in itself is a serious flaw. On top of it, it appears that the temporary construction signs, which divert trucks and large vehicles to another route, will inevitably become permanent because the short turns on the existing “oval” cannot possibly accommodate them.

As a result of the above, I must draw the obvious conclusion that A) there will be some serious accidents, even in the short term, and/or B) the whole “oval” will have to be totally excavated and a new approach taken, which may lead (whether we like it or not) to a series of alternative lights to feed the various lanes. Of course, alternatively, we can go back to where we were originally (which is not ideal) but at least for some streets will function.

Sincerely,

ALAN PATRICOF

Urban Louts

Amagansett

August 24, 2018

Sir:

Let me start by saying that the majority of out-of-towners who grace us with their presence and their dollars in the summer season are, to use Obama’s description of Hillary, “likable enough.”

There is, however, a sizable minority who, by their behavior, make themselves deeply unattractive. Among this minority would be those who:

Yell at each other from one side of the store to another;

Talk loudly on their cellphones;

Never make way for a supermarket trolley-pusher but, rather, elbow their way past without an apology;

Never say “thank you” when you defer to them at a door;

Overtake at speed on Bluff Road;

Roar down Mako Lane, Amagansett, where it debouches into the Dunes, without a thought for children, joggers, or bikers;

Stroll across Route 27 with an entitled air — again without acknowledgement — and without the benefit of a crosswalk;

Play music at 2 a.m. and talk loudly into the dawn, never accepting that they are renting in a residential area.

As a retiree, I don’t need these socially unacceptable people staining my life. I do understand, though, that local merchants have to tolerate them. But boy, I’m always glad to see the back of these urban louts — a fair trade for another nine months of civility and good living.

Sincerely,

BRIAN CLEWLY JOHNSON

Serious Danger

Amagansett 

August 27, 2018

To the Editor:

In recent years, I have discovered the beautiful Devon beach in Amagansett, a few minutes from my home. Weekends, my husband and I frequently spend afternoons there, swimming and relaxing.

I was recently swimming there and my husband screamed out to me, “Watch out.” I turned around and saw a seaplane coming right towards me. I began to swim feverishly towards the shore but was uncertain which direction the plane would go. Thankfully, I made it to the shore a few minutes before he taxied right up onto the beach and discharged his passengers. The pilot said nothing to me, and I’m not certain he even saw me. Needless to say, I was quite shaken. There are small children and families in the water at all times of day and when the plane comes they all have to flee the water quickly. What if I or a child were hit by the plane?

This year, the seaplanes land at least twice a weekend at varied hours, haphazardly, among the swimmers, causing us to desperately get out of their way. On Sunday, Aug. 26, a seaplane with tail number N828RN was parked, tail end first, against the beach. We took photographs, which we will be glad to provide to anyone who requests. Using this number, it is possible to look up the owner in public records. This seaplane belongs to Galaxy Lift II, L.L.C., headquartered on Grand Street in Manhattan.

Seaplane landings near Gardiner’s Bay beaches are governed by Section 246-6 of the East Hampton Town Code, which bars landing or taxiing “within 200 feet of any public or semi-public beach regularly used for bathing or swimming” nor “in excess of five miles per hour within 100 feet of any person bathing or swimming.” New York State General Business Law Section 245 also states: “No person shall operate an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of others.”

The serious danger of landing a seaplane among swimmers must be addressed by the town before there’s a serious accident.

MERI WALLACE

Close the Airport

Wainscott

August 27, 2018

Dear David,

The East Hampton Airport is a menace in more than one way. It not only pollutes our air and groundwater, disturbs our peace and tranquillity, but is dangerous. A review of the picture on Page 7 of last week’s Star shows aircraft dangerously close to a fuel truck on the ground. In addition, it is disturbing to see jets entering and leaving the airport that are too large to be landing or taking off from our runways. It appears that on July 11 at 8:10 a.m. a 21-seat Gulfstream jet #801AS, owned by Aspamia L.L.C., 1 Garside Way, Manchester, N.H., utilized a too-short runway. The specifications for this aircraft require a “balance field length of 6,170 feet.” 

Balanced field length is defined as the shortest runway length that complies with safety standards.

The longest runway at East Hampton Airport is 4,225 feet. Therefore, it appears that this aircraft used a runway that was 45 percent too short. By doing so the jet has to fly very low over adjoining residential properties. I assume this is not the first time this has occurred nor will it be the last.

Needless to say, this is dangerous to the public. Who is responsible for this activity? Is the airport manager turning a blind eye? Exactly who is the responsible party here?

The town owns the airport, but the Feratoderal Aviation Administration controls its operation. The F.A.A. is not interested in the residents on the ground, only maintaining optimum aircraft operations. With a 29-percent increase in helicopter traffic for 2017 and 20-percent increase for only half of 2018, we will shortly become LaGuardia by the sea. This is exactly what the (out-of-town) airport proponents desire. 

Our only remedy is becoming clearer every day — close the airport. We can legally close the airport in 2021 and town officials should be working toward that goal.

Sincerely,

LARAINE BELLINI HAYES 

For the Disabled

Amagansett

August 27, 2018

Dear David,

I would like to thank The Star for the excellent coverage of the town planning board and the Americans With Disabilities Act issue. I would also especially like to thank Rick Whalen, who represented the East End Disabilities Group pro bono when we had to get involved when the normal town processes didn’t work.

East End Disabilities Group has tried to be a voice for the disabled on the East End for over 25 years, and we are grateful for all the support we have received over the years. We have a website, eedginc.com, if anybody wants more information or needs any help.

Thank you again, David and The Star and Rick Whalen.

GLENN H. HALL

Chairman

The Damn Place

Wainscott

August 24, 2018

Dear David,

The photo printed on Page 7 (Aug. 23, 2018) was frightening, to say the least! Anyone who looks will notice the helicopter passing over a loaded fuel truck in what appears to be under 50 feet, just like their flights over homes at treetop level. I have viewed videos showing the same reckless low-level flying, which puts every one of us in peril!

Many times in passing, I have witnessed more than one loaded fuel truck dispensing fuel on a grass area, with no apparent fire suppressant vehicles in attendance. The fire truck is off Industrial Road. God forbid, had that pilot hit that truck, the catastrophe would be like  calamity finding Jane. 

The mere close proximity to the pictured fuel-laden jets and the adjoining fuel farm could have created such horror that one could not even fathom! It is not outside the realm of possibility.

No imagination could be defined as to the end result. The daily chaos, even when the tower is operational, intensifies as operations steadily increase. One only has to digest the recent comments from the tower chief.

Yes, folks, the facility remains an uncontrolled airport, half the time it is an accident waiting to happen, and it surely will. As per the photo, how many realize that that 50 percent of the time the planes enter or leave empty, but still pollute the air and ground. Of course, those who clamor for increasing the size by designating separate parking areas do not negate the risk. Remember, “build it, they will come” has already happened. How many Sikorsky S-76 twin engine, retrofitted to carry only five passengers and two pilots, will require huge parking spaces? The fee, only a mere $1,475, but the pollution remains the same. Close the damn place for the benefit of the residents whose safety and health far outweigh the convenience of a few fat cats. It is time to end the chaos and danger!

Yours truly

ARTHUR FRENCH

Public Access

Amagansett

August 23, 2018 

Dear Editors:

As a homeowner in Amagansett and a frequent user of the waters and beaches of Gardiner’s Bay, I am very much in favor of public access up to the high water mark of Cartwright Island. It is a travesty that the owners of Gardiner’s have expropriated public access to the related beaches. I urge the Town of East Hampton to carefully review the deeds and agreements related to Gardiner’s to determine the rights of its citizens, stop Marine Patrol from harassing beach users, and remove the illegal signage.

Sincerely,

MICHEL and CAROLINE ZALESKI

Continue The Fight

Wainscott

August 6, 2018

Dear Editor:

I attended the last Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee meeting on Saturday, Aug. 4.

Peter Van Scoyoc and Jeff Bagman also attended, representing the town board. For those who were not in attendance, please speak to the others for their thoughts, but as a member of the public and a 40-year-plus homeowner in Wainscott, please let me share mine.

Peter Van Scoyoc is no friend of Wainscott, as he stated a few times during his defensive, thin-skinned, rambling, gobbledygook defense of his vote to grant easements to Deepwater Wind before the State Environmental Quality Review Act environmental review.

Jeff Bragman spoke in a direct and frank manner about his decision to dissent. Jeff’s legal, environmental experience clearly showed, and the precedent is clear — environmental review comes first, then approval of the plan if the environmental impact review meets the requirements — not vice versa.

The board’s 3-to-2 vote is the proverbial “cart before the horse.” Furthermore, in this situation, when the Town of East Hampton is negotiating with a private company backed by D.E. Shaw, where profit motive is the number-one concern — not the public good, you don’t show your ace in the hole, you don’t give away your leverage before the negotiations have even started.

I thought Peter’s comments during the two-hour-plus meeting were disturbing to say the least. Perhaps it was a “slip of the tongue.” But he said, and I’m paraphrasing here: While attempting to defend his vote of granting the easement before the environmental review, he said he was concerned that Deepwater might not go forward with the project without getting the easement first. What? Did he really say that? Yes, he did. His concerns were for Deepwater Wind first:

Not the residents of Wainscott;

Not the residents of East Hampton;

Not our beach; 

Not our fragile eco-system; 

Not for our fishermen; 

Not our fish.

I would describe his performance as inept, ridiculous, inauthentic — clearly in over his head. The reasons why I get so upset are twofold. He is taking something away that is precious and is irreversible — Wainscott beach, and the adverse economic effect to our homes and businesses. And Van Scoyoc, Burke-Gonzalez, and Overby won’t even take the required step of the environmental review. 

How anyone with little or no technical background or knowledge makes such a controversial decision. This is especially hard to comprehend when the three of them did have a resource with knowledge and experience — Mr. Jeff Bragman — yet they ignored him. Why? I don’t have the foggiest idea.

And this hypocritical, 100 percent Democratic board, who all preach to be supporters of our democratic values, squelch our Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee’s greatest advocate — Si Kinsella — by not reappointing him. I do not know the background, but it seems to me that the W.C.A.C. represents us, the residents of Wainscott. Is the W.C.A.C. board a group of people from Wainscott handpicked by the town board? From afar this sounds terribly autocratic.

I know Si to be a tireless, analytical, intelligent, and logical advocate for “all things Wainscott” and W.C.A.C.

Peter and the board did not reappoint him last January because he makes them think and work? Perhaps the fight is already lost. But I would like to see W.C.A.C. continue the fight and at least raise awareness to our residents.

Where is the outrage? 

I think some think laying this cable will be similar to arthroscopic surgery. No, it will be open-heart surgery akin to getting your chest sawed open and rib cage pried open. The patient will be our beloved Wainscott beach. I hope it survives.

Respectfully submitted,

MICHAEL WOOTTON

Legal Point

East Hampton

August 26, 2018

Dear Editor, 

Mr. Trunzo’s letter to the editor of Aug. 23, responding to mine to The Star of the week before, misses the forest for the trees, while unfairly claiming others don’t care enough about environmental review. That point of view lacks common sense. After all, what use or value to Deepwater Wind, a private company, would easement rights be in a public utility’s right of way other than for Deepwater Wind’s cable landing? The easement rights, in short, would be of no use unless the environmental green light is given in the Article Seven proceeding.

Nonetheless, Mr. Trunzo presses the hyper-technical legal point, apparently made in a memorandum that no one on the town energy sustainability committee has seen, that the town can wait until after the “certificate of environmental compatibility and public need” is issued, if it is, in the Article Seven proceeding, before negotiating with Deepwater Wind over the final acquisition of easement rights under a Section 68 petition. Waiting, he argues, would allow the town to see if Deepwater Wind’s proposed cable landing site passes environmental review — before the town were to grant easement rights for the site.

Mr. Trunzo’s proposal is not grounded in reality. Why would Deepwater Wind, with a $1.65-billion contract in hand, enter into a two or three-year Article Seven proceeding to review its preferred “site” for landing the cable in Wainscott without having those landing rights in hand? If at the end of any Article Seven proceeding, the town and the trustees refused landing rights in Wainscott, Deepwater Wind would have wasted two or three years. In short, Deepwater Wind can only wait so long before it proceeds with an alternative site proceeding review. If forced to wait, as Mr. Trunzo suggests, Deepwater Wind can and likely will ask instead for state-owned Hither Hills as its landing site.

Indeed, Deepwater Wind has said so in a statement to both the town board and the trustees, dated June 13, 2018: “It is also important to note that regardless of the requirements of these state regulatory provisions, it is Deepwater Wind’s position that we can only proceed with identifying [Wainscott’s] Beach Lane as the cable route in our Article Seven filings if the necessary property rights at the beach are fully executed.” If the necessary rights for landing in Wainscott are not in place, then Hither Hills would become the logical, even if less preferable, alternative. If it does so, the prospect of receiving the $8.5-million in community benefits package will be lost.

This is why I encouraged the town, and the trustees, to negotiate the community benefits package that has been offered with Deepwater Wind in exchange for the landing rights in Wainscott. Instead of negotiating, the dialogue has become derailed over the timing of whether the easement rights should be granted before or after the Article Seven proceeding’s environmental review, and further afield arguments seeking a referendum on the ship that has sailed (i.e., PSEG-LI entered the state approved contract with Deepwater Wind last year).

The concern over the landing site passing environmental review could be handled as part of the negotiation. That is, the right to exercise the easement’s grant could be conditioned on receipt of a green light in the Article Seven proceeding. 

Thankfully, the town has retained counsel to negotiate as urged; hopefully, the trustees will follow suit.

Sincerely, 

JOAN MORGAN MCGIVERN, ESQ. 

How to Transition

Springs

August 27, 2018

Dear David

Lorna Salzman’s letter of last week to The Star raised some fantastic points. Ms. Salzman’s list of all the things we have and do that are unnecessarily and unconsciously wasteful was very instructive and should be taken to heart. To a greater or lesser extent, most of us who live in the Hamptons could rightly be accused of over-consumption and self-indulgence at the expense of future generations and those with less. Certainly, many of the worst consumption offenders in the world are right in our midst. 

I believe if we turned our attention primarily to how to reduce our use of energy rather than focusing on the manner in which it is produced we could get bigger reductions in emissions, faster and at greater savings. Our world and community would benefit greatly if we were to focus more on zoning, legislative strategies, and adopting ways to personally reduce our energy use.

However, “Are you for or against wind?” is, I suggest, not the right question in the discussion about Deepwater Wind. Wind is better than any fossil-fuel option, but if it is balanced by fossil fuels rather than by local renewable energy and energy storage, that reduces its benefits greatly. Wind is an intermittent source of energy and ramps down very fast when the wind suddenly drops. To rapidly serve energy demand when the wind drops, the utility either must keep the existing slow start, fossil-fuel power plants running redundantly in the background or they must build new fast-start power plants. They also must bring in more power lines to import that fossil-fuel energy, which increases our dependence on an inherently vulnerable single point of failure system that can fail in big storms and cyberattacks and that keep us economically dependent on the power companies. 

Local micro grids with battery storage and smart energy management software offer an alternative that could balance the wind, provide local resilience during grid failure, and could lead to local energy markets.

It seems we must have a more nuanced conversation about wind with regard to Deepwater. I submit that by reducing the conversation to, is wind good or bad, or are you for or against it, we are doing great harm to our hopes of achieving the desired outcome, which is to think clearly about how to transition to a non-fossil fuel based energy system that at its core is designed around energy efficiency. 

That involves proper system design. The first steps in reducing local energy demand should be each of us being mindful about how we consume it, reducing the allowable size of new home energy systems, making sure our homes and businesses are insulated and have energy-efficient systems and appliances. After that, local smart energy management systems, coupled with storage systems and attached to renewable energy generation like wind and solar, are necessary to phase out fossil fuels. 

Since decisions about energy made today will affect the South Fork far into the future, if we don’t discern when a system is designed with major problems relative to its objectives, we are indeed committing our children to a bleak future. The right question is not wind or no wind, it is about PSEG and LIPA’s plans to bring in new power lines, and the dirty energy they bring in and clean power they take away.

KRAE VAN SICKLE

Exposed to Risk

East Hampton

August 27, 2018

Dear David:

I went to the Springs Citizens Advisory  Committee meeting last week expecting to hear the Springs fire chiefs and commissioners speak to the problem of the two-year-old lawsuit by the Springs Fire District against the town’s zoning board of appeals. Since the suit has been pending, the fire district has been prevented from making use of the emergency services communications tower it built in April of 2015.

That is an absurd situation that the town board could have resolved legislatively at any time in the past three years. That it has failed to do so, allowing a lawsuit between two agencies that are both part of the town to grind on, is outrageous.

But what I learned when I got there is far worse. 

The problem is not limited to Springs, nor is it primarily a legal issue. Months ago, the town purchased a new emergency communications system that it has not installed because the entire project was never properly engineered. The existing communications towers are in some cases not designed to accommodate the equipment properly and/or are in such poor condition that the equipment cannot be installed.

The communications equipment, purchased at a cost in excess of $5 million, has therefore sat unused in boxes for so long that there is concern that the warranties may already have run out. But even that is not the worst of it.

According to the Springs fire chiefs and commissioners, the existing system is obsolete and could fail at any time. If it does, it cannot be repaired because parts are no longer available. The failure of the town board properly to engineer a new system means that the town as a whole is now exposed to the risk of catastrophic failure of its emergency communications. The chiefs and commissioners were absolutely blunt and unequivocal that lives, of both first responders and of the public, are at risk. 

From a promised installation date of this September, the people responsible for our safety are now being told by the town board that the earliest date is next Memorial Day or possibly a full year from now. We only learn of this dire situation from the Springs chiefs and commissioners. The public is being told nothing by the town board. 

This is hardly a problem that appeared overnight, although the general public is just now learning how bad it is. The town board majority of Van Scoyoc, Overby, and Burke-Gonzalez have been in office together for almost five years. While they may try to blame former Supervisor Larry Cantwell for this epic mess, the fact is that had they been doing their jobs all this time East Hampton would not now be staring at the real possibility of being without a working emergency communications system.

I have previously written that the board does not get the big things done, for water quality, coastal erosion, housing, and job opportunity, and quality of life issues, such as airport noise, because they did not know how. I had no idea that their incapacity extended even to timely maintenance and replacement of existing and critical town systems. Maintaining critical infrastructure requires no leaps of imagination or resolution of intense public conflicts. Everyone who lives here depends on and wants a functioning emergency communications system. 

Either these three board members knew about the extent of the problem and hid it from the public or they didn’t know, when it is their job to know and to see that any such critical safety project is properly designed, organized, and proceeding in a timely manner. That they have failed to do so bespeaks a lack of basic competence far beyond anything I had imagined or for which I have been criticizing them.

None of Van Scoyoc, Overby, and Burke-Gonzalez is on the ballot this November. They cannot be replaced immediately. Only Councilman Lys is running, against me, to retain the seat to which the other three appointed him in January. The question we all need to ask is whether Mr. Lys, for all his youth, likability, and devotion to family and community, has any ability to improve the performance of this town board until they can be held accountable by the voters.

I do not believe that he does. He has no relevant practical experience with complex technical problems and is politically inexperienced to boot. Even if his colleagues on the board had the time and opportunity to school him, it is now clear that they cannot teach what they do not know or understand themselves.

I bring to the table degrees in physics, law, and advanced economics. I have practiced law at a high level as an associate of one of the country’s pre-eminent law firms, Sullivan & Cromwell. 

I spent a decade in the business of analyzing and acquiring companies for investment and have supervised businesses in diverse fields — apparel, what was at the time the country’s third largest chain of movie theaters, animal feed manufacture, one of the country’s largest fleets of trucks hauling bulk materials such as fuel and chemicals, and a fleet of factory fishing trawlers in the Pacific Northwest.

Then I went into business for myself. My partner and I designed and successfully operated for two decades a fully automated statistical trading algorithm. I have two decades of local political experience.

Those are the facts of my career and education. I don’t need to puff them up in order to suggest that now would be a good time to bring real world experience to a floundering town board. My biggest concern as I write today is not losing this election, but what I will find in Town Hall if I should win.

Democrats will vote in the primary election on Thursday, Sept. 13.

Sincerely,

DAVID GRUBER

Law Was Passed

Springs

August 27, 2018

Dear David,

David Gruber’s letter last week said that as a town “we have no implementable plan to address coastal erosion.” That is not the case. The local erosion protection law was passed in 2006 under the McGintee administration and was the last building block of the local waterfront revitalization program required for New York State approval. The law implements the erosion protection policies of the L.W.R.P. and has since been the guide for planning and zoning. 

Sincerely,

RAMESHWAR DAS

This Fiasco

East Hampton

August 26, 2018

Dear David,

Just in case anyone wants to know, I do not ever remember being as angry — no, mad — as I am. During July Fourth weekend, during a heat wave, I traipsed up and down people’s lawns looking for the person named on my walking sheet from the board of elections as being in the Independence Party. I asked if the person was the named person, and if not, went to the person I was sent to. People were partying and probably not happy to sign petitions. I do not blame them.

I thought I would be clever and go to different places, then the regulars. I had all my sheets on a clipboard to keep organized, and people were nice enough to sign, some holding clipboard against a wall, some balanced on a knee. But I was proud of the names that I was able to bring back on my sweaty petition.

In Montauk, at times I wasn’t sure if I was in the right area, and at times was not. We do these things because we want to get our candidate on the ballot. I feel Mr. Gruber cannot be surpassed in his qualifications, and will bring back the town that we can be again. 

And the judge was mad because I was not in the courtroom. When I get very frustrated I cannot help it, I cry, and can’t stop. That would have been a nice courtroom scene. And they threw out two days of my life, discrepancies, and some other words. Carl Irace, thank you, for almost keeping me sane through this, but polite and legally proper.

I will never ever do any of this again, ever. If they want me to help petition to get our speed limit lowered, forget it. Thank you, David and Chris, for indulging me. For 12 years on the town board no matter what party was in, things were good, friendly, and honest, and a pleasure, and got so, so much done.

My son would come in during this fiasco and say, “Well, you didn’t just get put under the bus this time, both wheels are on you.” And all three sons asked, “Will you please get out of politics? It’s going to kill you.”

Yes, yes, now! I thank the people who signed. Thank you, David Rattray. 

PAT MANSIR

Petitions

Springs

August 27, 2018

Dear Editor,

There has been much to-do over the past several weeks regarding the Independence Party nomination petitions. There have also been subsequent claims made by the chairman of the Independence Party about the Republican Party nomination petitions.

This is not the first time, nor will it be the last. Interestingly enough, I have met with several members of the State Legislature in the past few weeks who agree with me that the process needs a fix. I will be joining with them during the 2019 legislative session to offer legislation to fix these longstanding problems memorialized in state election law.

Election law is very quirky and open to interpretation as it relates to nomination petitions, the information on them and signatures. So quirky, in fact, that last year Chris Kelley, an East Hampton Demcratic lawyer, on behalf of the Democratic Committee successfully challenged the wording of town board as opposed to town council on Jerry Larsen’s Independence Party nomination petition getting the challenged petition invalidated. This denied a Independence Party member the right to have a primary in his own party.

At the end of the day, political parties and their operatives, such as Chris Kelley, challenge petitions all the time. With that in mind, I feel it would be counterproductive to draw any negative inference toward the person (Pat Mansir) gathering signatures on the Independence Party nomination petitions.

Pat has dedicated her life to the improvement and enrichment of all our lives. Pat and her wonderful family are not only well-established members of our community but old family friends. From my standpoint, we all owe Pat many thanks for her years of dedication and service to our town. I am proud to call her and her family friends and will stand by her side any day.

MANNY VILAR


Mr. Vilar is the East Hampton Town Republican nominee for town board. Ed.

Trumpisms

Montauk

August 22, 2018

Dear David:   

Trickle-Down Trumpisms. We are all aware that Trump has unleashed all sorts of previously deemed inappropriate behavior in people. Trolling, bullying, and scurrilous name-calling are among the many invective assaults that have become a big part of social intercourse, if not for the majority of people, it has for a certain 35 to 40 percent of the electorate. Who would have ever thought that it would come to infect the partisan interaction, not only of our local party, political community, but those who have been lifelong progressive Democrats in our very own town? 

Just as Trump and his toady die-hard supporters have caused a schism in the Republican Party, there is a breakaway group calling themselves the East Hampton Reform Democrats who, because they were not able to gain a majority vote for their own people and agenda within the Democratic Party Committee, have decided to blow it up and start their own movement.

Their peremptory leader, David Gruber, claims that only he knows how to fix all of our town’s problems and/or he will hire all the necessary very smart people he knows to help him do it. He also denigrates the current members of the town board as inept, helpless, ignorant, and cowardly officials that hide behind closed-door meetings. People who know him tell me that he is arrogant, divisive, and domineering. He will flatter people as long as they are useful and loyal to him, but will turn on them as soon as they disagree with him. It’s interesting to note that the four members of the town board that he is now belittling as incompetent, he helped elect and support for many years, until recently when they ceased to further his agenda.

His most vocal minion, judging from the weekly letters that appear in this venue, is Rona Klopman. If you have had the displeasure of reading her letters to the editor, you might have noticed the shamelessly plagiaristic Trump-like tone that she has embraced. For instance, she has taken to calling the four town board members targeted by David Gruber “The Gang of Four.” She has repeated this epithet in all her letters, hoping it will stick despite its deceitful connotation. 

Her vituperative missives are not the only arrows in her quiver. She has taken to bludgeon her way out from the depths of being an insignificant party apparatchik to a high level official in the hierarchy of the revolution by allowing herself to be the plaintiff in a sophistical lawsuit that was ultimately judged to be meritless. She now spends her time attacking, prevaricating, and goading the hard-working town officials. I could see Rona dispatching daily derisive tweets if the audience was there.

Another Gruber crony is Phyllis Italiano. I’ve known Phyllis a bit and have always liked her. Like the others, notwithstanding their membership in their “reform” sect, we share many mutual political causes. She has an interview show on LTV, and I’ve seen several of the episodes. They have dealt with important and vital issues affecting our community, and Phyllis’s viewpoints have always been aligned with mine on issues such as the environment, water quality, and maintaining the character of the East Hampton community. 

This latest endeavor of hers, however, has divulged a side of Phyllis that I would have preferred had remained buried in the deep recessions of her consciousness as well as mine. Phyllis has fallen prey to using one of Trump’s most insidious tactics: tribalism. One of the seeds of this intra-party rift was the Democratic Committee’s support of David Lys as the Democratic candidate for town council. Phyllis and her minority band of cohorts objected vehemently to his selection because he was once a registered Republican and only recently switched his affiliation to the Democratic Party. Judging someone, not based on his personal credentials and individual character, but instead because he belongs to an outside group is not a value associated with Democrats. She also suppurates outlandish conspiracy theories about avaricious land barons being the “real” reason Lys was allowed to become the Democratic candidate.

It is unfortunate that Trump’s divisive, uncharitable, indecorous conduct has seeped deep into the interstices of our local political foundations. It is even more lamentable, and for me heart wrenching, that his pestilence has contaminated organizations and people who heretofore were on the side of righteousness and solidarity. Sad!

LOU CORTESE

Healthy Debate

Springs

August 27, 2018

Dear David,

I have been campaigning door-to-door for the Democratic Committee primary in Election District 4 and finding that some voters are confused by a situation that has not happened for several decades. So, consider this letter a somewhat biased, somewhat ironic, public service announcement.

First, a member on the local Dem­ocratic Committee is an elected official, and the election is governed by New York State election law. However, for several decades there were never more candidates than available committee seats so no election was held. This year there are three or four candidates for the two available positions from each of the 19 election districts in our town. In total, there are 71 candidates for the committee of whom 38 will be elected at the primary to be held on Sept. 13.

There are seemingly two camps, one that has called itself the Reform

Democrats, and their opponents that I will call the Establishment group. There are a lucky three or four candidates who appear to be endorsed, or at least accepted, by both camps. There are also a few people, such as me, who are running their own campaigns.

One important point is that the Reform Democrats are not particularly different in makeup than their opponents. Both the Reform Democrats and the Establishment group include candidates who are incumbents and people who have never run to be on the committee. To me, that is a sign of healthy debate.

The Reform Democrats have a tad fewer total number of incumbents but

a touch more total years of combined service compared to the Establishment group. The Reform Democrats include a former town board member and a former supervisor candidate. The Reform Democrats candidates include two former chairmen of the Democratic Committee and other former officers, including many of the most visible members who worked for last year’s sweep of the town board and majority win of the trustees.

The Establishment group includes the current chairman and the most recent past chairman of the committee, as well as the current vice-chairman and numerous other people who were instrumental in electing past and present town boards. Both groups have candidates who were elected last year to the trustees. Basically, there is not much difference between the two groups when measured by experience or service.

Another important point is that there is no such thing as a candidate for the committee that has been chosen or recommended by the local Democratic Committee. If that was legal, a sitting committee could basically self-perpetuate by only nominating its own members. So, it does not matter if a letter of endorsement is signed by a current or former town board member, or the current chairman of the party, or a leader of a self-described caucus. All those endorsements are strictly personal and have no force of any committee or party vote to support them.

Among the non-incumbent candidates (and I include those who were recently appointed but never elected) are those who were recruited for their expected allegiance and those who sincerely will vote for who and what they think is best (and the same two groups exist among incumbent candidates). 

Quality candidates can be found among both the Reform Democrat caucus and the Establishment group — if the candidates make themselves individually available and the voter makes some effort to be informed.

  A committee primary is the most local of all elections and voting on recommendations is rarely optimal.

ZACHARY COHEN

Primary Coming Up

Springs

August 26, 2018

Dear David,

As you know, there is an important Democratic primary coming up in two weeks on Thursday, Sept. 13. (Please mark that on your calendars.) Registered Democratic voters will be asked to choose a candidate for town board to run for the one-year term left by Peter Van Scoyoc when he was elected supervisor last year. 

You may vote for David Lys, who was appointed to serve on the town board for one year by the current town board members, or for David Gruber, who ran for town supervisor in 2001 and lost.

Mr. Gruber has split from the official Democratic Party and has started the Reform Party with Rona Klopman, who has run for election and lost. Although I applaud their interest in serving East Hampton, my concern is that they are attacking Democratic majority town board members who have won elections as “not delivering on their promises over decades.” (Quote from David Gruber mailing.)

This attack is simply not true. Let’s take a look at the facts.

In the 1980s, I saw Supervisor Judith Hope courageously lead her Democratic majority town board by standing up to the tsunami of overdevelopment poised to smother our dunes, fragile shorelines, rich farmland, and water recharge forests that protect our drinking water. Instead, over 1,100 acres were preserved as 

public open space instead of condos and McMansions. The Reform Party was nowhere to be seen.

During the subsequent years of Democratic majorities, over 600 affordable housing opportunities were provided to our local families. The Reform Party was nowhere to be seen.

The elected Democratic majorities also preserved over 2,000 acres of open space after adopting the effective community preservation program that continues to test and address water quality, reduce negative impacts to our diverse ecosystems, and reduce pressure to overdevelop our fragile environment.

Grants have been offered to residents and businesses to update their septic systems and single-walled, buried gas tanks to protect our harbors and our only source of drinking water in the aquifer beneath us. 

In fact, because of Democratic town board majorities, 50 percent of East Hampton has been saved from overdevelopment and destruction of our historic character. The Reform Party was nowhere to be seen.

A democratic town board addressed much-needed quality of life issues by adopting a stricter noise ordinance, a rental law that allows inspection of neighborhood dwellings that appear to be overcrowded, increased fines for violating our zoning code, and protecting our stunning star-filled dark sky. The Reform Party was nowhere to be found.

A Democratic supervisor, Larry Cant­well, recently oversaw our budget so well that East Hampton just received a AAA financial rating from Moody’s, the highest a town can receive.

There is much more, but please note that all these important and successful actions were promises met and completed without the Reform Party. 

It is easy to stand on the sidelines and attack town board members when you have just returned from years in France or lost elections so you did not sit through thousands of hours of public hearings, have meetings in each hamlet to explain issues, and listen to input from our residents even if they are shouting at you. 

There are still difficult issues ahead, but do the Democratic elected town board members sound like they have been “standing still”? (Quote from David Gruber of the Reform Party.)

Let’s let the voters decide on Thursday, Sept. 13.

Sincerely,

DEBRA FOSTER

This Special Place

Montauk

August 27, 2018

To the Editor,

Character and Community, these are the two words that define our town of East Hampton. To the people who make this place their home there is nothing more important than preserving what we have out here: the rural small-town charm we enjoy, the natural beauty we cherish, and the bonds between community members that we can rely on in times of need. Councilman David Lys has, and will continue to, protect this special place that we call home. 

Having grown up in this community, David knows people from all walks of life and uses this experience and local insight with the issues at hand. Councilman Lys has fought for years to defend public beach access with his work through Citizens for Access Rights. He supports renewable energy but stood by his convictions and asked the tough questions of Deepwater Wind about the environmental impacts of the project and how to protect our local fishing industry. 

David’s character and positive attitude is infectious, he never goes negative, and it is people like him who make East Hampton not just a town, but also a community.

Thank you,

DANIEL FARNHAM

Energy, Courage

Montauk

August 27, 2018

Dear East Hampton Star, 

I have been fortunate to have known David Lys for over 20 years, since we attended university together, and I know he is exactly the candidate we need at this time for the East Hampton Town Board. 

Prior to my gravitation to Montauk years ago, I knew David as a determined leader at Penn State University who gave so much of his time up for the school’s community and in particular for pediatric cancer research initiatives. I knew David as a young college student and cancer survivor who spoke eloquently at Penn State’s largest fund-raising event about his personal experience. He’s a person who hates to lose and never gives up even when things become deathly difficult. 

He earned my respect 20 years ago as I witnessed how he navigated his fight with cancer and has only continued to reinforce my respect of him to this day as councilman.

David is a young leader, respected throughout our community of East Hampton for his energy, courage, business skills, and service to the community both as a volunteer and as a public official on the zoning board of appeals and the town board. 

As an avid user of the Ditch Plain beach, I appreciate David’s recent efforts to increase safety in the parking lots there and also prioritize the town’s residents. It’s just another example of how he has already worked successfully for young families in our town.

With an enormous number of friends and colleagues, David Lys will bring great energy and more young people along with him. I am sure it was with that in mind that our town board members appointed him to fill a vacancy and are supporting his campaign to fill out his term. I hope Democrats will all vote for him starting with the primary Sept. 13. 

Sincerely, 

GABRIELLE LAWLOR

Newly Minted

Amagansett

August 26, 2018

Dear David,

The takeover of the East Hampton Democratic Committee by Republicans is now complete.

Republicans are willy-nilly being appointed by the erstwhile Democratic majority on the town board to various seats on key boards, such as planning, zoning, and the town board itself. The largest contributors by far to lifelong Republican David Lys’s election campaign as a newly minted Democrat are Republicans.

Mr. Lys declared this week that he has organized by petition a separate ballot line so that he can continue to run against the Democratic Party nominee for town board in November if he should lose the Democratic primary on Sept. 13. So much for his loyalty to his brand-new party.

In 27 East, Lys says it is someone else’s fault that he must run against the ultimate Democratic nominee (unless it should be he) on account of his “opponent creating the false narrative about me being a Republican.” In the next paragraph, 27 East describes him as a “lifelong Republican.”

So, Lys must run against the choice of Democrats in their primary election in order to prove that he really is a Democrat. Did you get that?

And the coup de grace? They are stealing the lawn signs of the East Hampton Reform Democrats! It used to be that the Democratic Committee mocked the Republicans for this childish behavior. 

Now, the Democratic Committee can look in the mirror and declare, along with the immortal Pogo, “We have met the enemy, and he is us!” 

RONA KLOPMAN

An Example

Springs

August 27, 2018

Dear David.

Jay Blatt, husband of Vicki Blatt, a Chris Kelley loyalist on the Democratic Committee, wrote last week praising David Lys by holding up Jay Schneiderman as an example of what we can expect from Lys. Is this supposed to commend Mr. Lys to Democrats? 

Those of us with some history in the East Hampton Democratic Party well recall that Schneiderman bolted the Democratic Party in 1999 to run as a Republican against Democratic Supervisor Cathy Lester, as devoted a public servant as East Hampton has seen in a lifetime. There is even a high school scholarship named in honor of Cathy Lester. 

The result was four years of Republican majority rule. Schneiderman has been a Democrat, a Green, a Repub­lican, an Independent, and is now a 

Democrat again, this time, thank God, in Southampton. Schneiderman is the veritable poster child for political opportunism, but Blatt calls him a “successful politician.” Yes, successful at getting himself elected and nimbly skipping from one party to the next to do it. Principled? Not so much. 

If that is what Blatt, a Lys supporter, expects from Lys, Democrats who actually believe in the Democratic principles of our party as something more than a way to gain political office, and don’t want their party exploited, Lys is a lifelong Republican. So who do you think he voted for in November 2016? Hillary Clinton? He won’t admit it, but as a lifelong Republican in 2016 Trump and Zeldin got his vote. Shame on those who support another opportunist.

Sincerely,

PHYLLIS ITALIANO

 


In the 2016 election David Lys wrote in his father, Hakim Lys’s, name for president and voted for Anna Throne-Holst for Congress. He did not vote for Donald J. Trump or Representative Lee Zeldin. Ed.

Taking a Chance

Amagansett

August 27, 2018

To the Editor,

Let’s keep this simple. There is a primary coming up for the Democratic Party on Sept. 13. The reason is that many long-term Democrats are unhappy with the back-door deals and decisions being made by the old, establishment Demo­crats. A recent victory by the New York anti-establishment candidate Ocasio-Cortez over the 10-term incumbent Crowley, an establishment Democrat, is a bell ringer for things to come. The time is now to restore fairness, honesty, and transparency back to the Democratic Committee, hence the Reform Democrats are born. 

This is a group of long-term Demo­crats willing to admit that there is a problem, and we are taking the first step in correcting it. As a long-term member and once the secretary of the East Hampton Democratic Committee, myself and others have been told to “suck it up” or “that’s the way of politics” whenever we questioned board appointments and the candidate selection process. 

We as Democrats find that hand picking candidates by party control bosses behind the scenes was not consistent with our principles. When we vote for candidates we expect them to continue with the same principles and beliefs in protecting our environment, quality of life, and property values but instead we are watching a secret agenda unfold without the benefit of valid explanations.

There were intelligent and available long-term Democrats ready to serve on town boards but instead Peter, Kathy, and Sylvia choose to go with a Republican for the town board position and another one on the zoning board. In addition, they have reappointed Republicans on various boards, who were placed there by the former Republican administration. You may say what’s wrong with having a mix? When Peter, Kathy, and Sylvia tell candidates to change their political affiliation to that of a Democrat so that they can sneak them into positions, then something is very wrong with that arrangement made behind closed doors. Yes there are amazing Democrats that started their lives as Republicans, but they changed their affiliations when they realized that unjust and unfair regulation changes would hurt the working classes. They did not change it when they were offered a job that required a party change.

To sum it up. Mr. Lys had to go on the internet to see if he could fit into a Democratic mold. One would think that being a son of an immigrant and seeing Donald Trump call them criminals and rapists would have been enough to say “that’s not me,” or just by knowing that Lee Zeldin has been funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, whose libertarian conservative agenda would remove or reduce our long-term safety nets such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, weaken unions and workers rights, remove a woman’s right to choose or earn equal pay for equal work. Those things were not enough to change his party affiliation then? So why now? 

In this crazy world of politics many look for consistency in a politician as a way to know how they will vote on the complex issues. We have so much going on in East Hampton right now where taking a chance with someone who flip-flops may not be in our best interests. The safe bet is with David Gruber, who has been a lifelong Democrat, is fully aware of the issues, and equipped with his legal expertise, he is fully prepared to examine and address the difficult changes facing East Hampton. 

Check out the Reform Democrats website to see his qualification, and I think you will agree. Vote David Gruber on Sept. 13.

JIM MACMILLAN

Dishonesty

Springs

August 27, 2018

Dear David,

I recently noticed the appearance of David Lys road signs around town and David Lys advertisements in The Star. These all claim that David Lys is a Democrat running for the town board.

David Lys is a fine person no matter what his party affiliation, but he is not a Democrat. David Lys is a Republican and will remain registered as a Republican until after the November elections.

When he was selected over several qualified Democratic candidates to fill Peter Van Scoyoc’s vacant seat, the inner circle of the East Hampton Democratic Committee fiercely defended its choice, fully admitting that he is now, and has been for many years, a registered Republican. Those who are running his campaign, the same group that selected him, ought to stick by their choice, and stick to the truth as well. Their dishonesty is misleading and undercuts the choice that they made.

Unfortunately, the “win at any cost” behavior of David Lys’s campaign committee tarnishes the good reputation of their candidate as well. 

Respectfully submitted,

PAMELA BICKET

Another Ballot Line

Amagansett

August 23, 2018

Dear David

Well, it didn’t take very long for Councilman David Lys’s Democratic Party mask to slip.

Lys, who claims he is now a Democrat, announced on Wednesday that he has organized by petition another ballot line for himself so that he can continue to run for town board even if he loses the Democratic primary. He declared to 27 East on Aug. 22, “I wanted to make sure I had ballot access in November, no matter what happens in the  primary.”

Lys has now unambiguously told all East Hampton Democrats that he intends to run against the Democratic Party’s nominee, chosen by the members of the party, unless he is it. So much for his Democratic Party loyalties. Not even skin deep.

Far and away, Lys’s major campaign contributors are also Republicans. What do they know that Democrats don’t?

JILL DANIS

A Falsehood

Sag Harbor

August 21, 2018

Dear David,

I am deeply troubled by the recent attacks by some of the old-timers of the East Hampton Democratic Committee against the recent leadership. The committee they describe, “bossed” by its leadership, is a falsehood being spread to score political points. I was a committee member from 2008 through 2017 and never once experienced the “bossed” leadership that they describe. 

Throughout my membership, the leadership regularly had to recruit new members to replenish a committee that had declined through age, exhaustion, and, on a positive note, election to town public offices. I and other committee members registered voters, made hundreds of phone calls, and went door to door getting out the vote in local and national campaigns. All the while, we were considering and settling policies about local issues at monthly meetings, as well as working through subcommittees to screen potential candidates, reach out to the community, and raise funds for campaigns. The process was always democratic and collaborative.

Our campaigns require effective leadership and tireless volunteerism. One member of our committee, Chris Kelley, has worked enthusiastically and without remuneration to secure a majority Democratic town board. Although experienced, efficient, and knowledgeable, he has always relied heavily and graciously on the expertise and opinion of the other members of the committee. As a result, a farsighted group of mostly Democrats has been preserving our local environment and bringing us into the modern world of energy conservation, conservative fiscal management, and forward-looking social programs since 2014.

Our Democratic community has never been run by “bosses,” as the disgruntled committee members now suggest. I can only surmise that those malcontents have an ax to grind. David Lys has already proven himself as an interim town board member. The newly active committee members have shown how effective they can be in the most recent primary. David Lys and those who support him for town board deserve the support of all Democrats in the upcoming primary on Thursday, Sept. 13.

Sincerely yours,

SARA GAGE

Vote-Rigging Scheme

East Hampton

August 27, 2018

Dear David,

Supervisor Van Scoyoc and Councilwomen Overby and Burke-Gonzalez all signed a letter sent to Democrats this week. In it, they made clear that they no longer have any use for actual democratic elections. 

They accused David Gruber, East Hampton Reform Democratic candidate for town board, and Rona Klopman, long-serving Democratic committeewoman and candidate for re-election on the East Hampton Reform Democratic slate, of trying to “take over” the Democratic Party.

And how might these two be doing this? By standing for election in the Democratic primary, Sept. 13. Good grief! The leadership of the East Hampton Democratic Party has now become so absolutely self-absorbed, so convinced of their own entitlement, that they think open, public elections, in which the voters get to decide, are a “take over.” 

That is exactly the problem, and the very reason why a majority of the long-serving members of the Democratic Committee organized the East Hampton Reform Democrats and have fielded a slate of candidates for town board and for Democratic Committee seats. We still believe that democracy needs elections. 

The only “take over” going on was the vote-rigging scheme by party boss Chris Kelley — in which these three town board members were fully involved — removing Democratic Committee members from their seats, with no legal authority to do so, and appointing others pledged to vote as Kelley, Van Scoyoc, Overby, and Burke-Gonzalez wanted. They even went so far as to appoint their puppets to seats on the committee that were not actually vacant. 

Why did they to this?  Because they are no longer threatened by a weak Republican Party and so want to make sure they do not face competitive elections within the Democratic Party. They want to be anointed, in just the manner in which Kelley and they anointed David Lys to the town board.

Democrats do not need permission from Kelley, Van Scoyoc, Overby, or Burke-Gonzalez to run for office. That’s why they call it democracy.

Sincerely,

ILISSA LOEWENSTEIN MEYER

Clear Message

Amagansett

August 27, 2018 

To the Editor:

Last week, town board member David Lys, who is the nominee of the East Hampton Town Democrats, formed a new political party, the Unity Party, to ensure that he is on the November ballot even if he loses the September Democratic primary. 

Was the Democratic Town Committee involved in, or does it endorse, this tactic? The party is supposed to put its time, resources, and money behind the winner of the primary, even if that person wasn’t its initial choice; that is, in fact, the purpose of holding a primary. Supporting a losing candidate on another line would send a clear message to Democratic primary voters that their voices don’t count.

There have been a number of signs recently that the town’s Democratic hierarchy is more interested in doing things its own way than in listening to the voices of its members. This is a good time for Democratic voters to learn as much as they can about their local party, watch it in action, and hold it to account for its choices. 

JONATHAN WALLACE

No Collusion

Springs

August 27, 2018

Dear David,

When you leave, fired, retire from political office, you should be nonpartisan. You should not be nitpicking on the newly elected officials, especially the president.

You do not accuse the president of treason. John Brennan has done this; he tried walking it back on the Maddow show, but he is now doubling down on his accusation.

Brennan on the Bill Maher show says, “We are in a crisis.” No, you are in a crisis, your security clearance has been removed with good reason and you want it back and what are you hiding? His remarks about spill into the streets. Brennan, don’t you know we live in a constitutional republic and we do our damage at the voting booths? 

John Brennan was the puppet master for the entire spying scandal on the Trump team. He exchanged information with foreign intelligence and then briefed Capitol Hill on some of that information, this initiated the F.B.I. to go after the entire Trump team. So far, after a year and half, no collusion found, Brennan is knee deep in the Russian hoax. He’s the one who hangs guilty on his name, he’s cheap and vindictive with no reason.

In God and country,

BEA DERRICO

Voting Record

Springs

August 27, 2018

Dear David: 

I have been barraged with emails from our congressman, Lee Zeldin, in which he brags about his self-proclaimed environmental achievements. His professed environmentalism is phony.

Mr. Zeldin continues to support the Trump administration’s destruction of our environmental protections. He has silently approved Trump’s plan to deregulate the coal industry, in total disregard for the serious health effects resulting from the toxic emissions deregulation will allow. Our fishing industry will bear the brunt of this for mercury is one of the principal pollutants from dirty coal. 

Most New Yorkers — but apparently not Donald Trump or Lee Zeldin — learned the lesson taught by dirty coal decades ago, when New York and neighboring states successfully joined forces to defeat the threat of acid rain.

Voters should disregard Zeldin’s environmental preening and focus on his environmental voting record. In his four years in the House, he has voted against the environment in 107 of 128 votes. He has opposed climate change protections in 22 of 23 votes. He is 7 for 7 supporting bills opposed to air quality protections and 9 for 9 in support of bills protecting dirty energy. 

On clean water, his votes are 100 percent opposed to protection on 19 different roll-call votes. He is 8 for 8 voting against protecting wildlife. In 2018 alone, there have been 22 roll-call votes in the House on environmental matters — Zeldin has voted with the polluters and against environmental protections on 21 of the 22 votes, hardly the mark of an environmentalist.

In November we voters get to call Mr. Zeldin on his phony environmentalism and his shameful environmental voting record. Perry Gershon has promised to work tirelessly to protect our environment, whether that be our clear air, clean water, clean energy production, or protecting wildlife. So, I hope you will join me and vote for Perry and replace Mr. Zeldin as the next House representative of New York District 1.

Sincerely,

CAROL O’ROURKE

Choice Is Clear

Springs

August 27, 2018

Dear David:

I had to chuckle while reading the letters from the so-called East Hampton Reformers which promise to return honesty to the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Really?

We have been witness to charges of apparent election fraud at the hands of these Reformers arising from the alleged submission of fraudulent candidate petitions. This has resulted in the State Supreme Court decision announced on Friday removing Mr. Gruber, the ringleader of the Reformers, from the Independence Party line. So much for the promise of honesty.

There is an election on Sept. 13 in which East Hampton voters will have the choice between Mr. Gruber and David Lys as the Democratic nominee for the East Hampton Town Board. For me, the choice is clear; Mr. Gruber’s antics disqualify him from deserving the trust of voters to serve our community as opposed to serving his own personal interests. I am an avid supporter of Mr. Lys.

In addition, voters also will get to vote for the members of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. Voters will choose candidates from among the slate proposed by the East Hampton Democratic Committee and a slate proposed or endorsed by Mr. Gruber’s Reform Committee. The antics of the Reformers provide voters ample reason to reject the Gruber slate of candidates as well.

The proper and principal role of the Democratic Committee should be to select and then work to elect candidates to the various elected positions in town government who reflect true principles of the Democratic Party. Then, as necessary, the committee plays a role in offering advice and guidance to the town government on issues of importance to the town. Its role is not, as Mr. Gruber and his sycophants would have it, to punish the elected officials if they do not heel to the wishes of members of the committee. In the last election cycle, Democratic candidates were overwhelmingly successful.

I have had the privilege of owning a home in Springs for more than 30 years and have worked to elect Democratic members of the town and federal government over much of that time. For the last year, I have worked with the Democratic Committee, including since November as one of the representatives of Election District 4 in Springs. My colleague, Bill Taylor, and I are on the ballot this September, opposed by two Gruber-endorsed candidates. Bill and I both ask for your vote so that we can continue the great work the committee has accomplished.

Sincerely,

BRUCE COLBATH

Pigs in a Pod

East Hampton

August 27, 2018

Editor:

This week the president quoted a story about land expropriation and killing of white farmers in South Africa. The source was not our intelligence service, nor any international service, nor the United States consulate and embassy in South Africa. The source was a Fox news story that was 99 percent false that derived from a white supremacist group connected to Fox.

The president didn’t verify the story. He went with it because it fit his 

basic racist, white supremacist program. Racist piggery is alive and well in the White House, with a large dose of stupidity. Trump wasn’t lying even though he wouldn’t know if he were. The pathology of the president is shared by his supporters in and out of government.

Is there any difference between Trump and Lee Zeldin? Who represents the U.S.? Who looks at us and doesn’t think that everything is B.S.? Are we all pigs in a pod?

NEIL HAUSIG 

Demoralized

East Hampton

August 27, 2018

Dear Editor, 

I am writing this letter knowing you might not notice it or even read it, but because I am so passionate about our country and love it so dearly, I must put it all down. 

As a little girl I remember crossing my heart and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance with glowing pride and honor. As I grow older my pride and love of country and who we were only grew bolder. In my heart I knew I could always count on whoever held the supreme office of the presidency. Wherever I went, being an American was something to be proud of that held honor and dignity. 

Today, as a mother and grandmother, all of these precious values I held so dear have vanished under this president. This president has disgraced and demoralized us unreputedly. I am ashamed and embarrassed! As an American my dream and heart are broken. 

I ask you loud and clear with all my love of country and passion, “Where have you been?” “Why are you silent?” “Weren’t you once a little boy or girl and so proud to be an American you could burst? Don’t you have little boys and girls at home and want to protect their safety and future at any cost? Have your values been so compromised that you have refused to stand up to this psychopathic madman who is unqualified and evil — and say ‘no more’?”

Do your cowardly actions, or lack of, embolden you? Well snap out of it, Congress, and be the strong soldiers we elected you to be to protect and care for this nation. Get your armor and Superman capes on and get back your dignity to do everything possible and return us to safety and security and let us believe in this country again. I beg you! Are you with America or with him? 

WENDY ISRAELITE

The Love of Money

East Hampton

August 26, 2018

Dear David

There were eight members of my family household: my parents, five kids, and my mother’s widowed, childless aunt, Hattie, who was born in 1886. Rare for a woman of her era, Hattie had a master’s in English literature, and had run her own kindergarten for many years. She knew countless nursery rhymes; would recite them from memory to our delight as children. She could with equal facility quote Shakespeare to us when we were headed off to college. But most of Hattie’s wisdom emerged in the form of old sayings calculated to turn us little heathens into civilized adults. 

I thought of Hattie last week when Manafort and Cohen became the fourth and fifth Trump associates to be convicted as self-interested liars and/or thieves. I knew what she would say: “Tell me who you go with, and I’ll tell you who you are.” 

Republicans in the House and Senate have, in the manner of monkeys, neither seen, heard, nor spoken anything bad about Trump. This is who they go with. This is who they are.

We don’t know what Mueller knows, but we have learned of many clandestine meetings during the campaign between Trump associates and Russians. Intelligence services here and abroad have confirmed beyond doubt that Putin perpetrated an attack on our democratic system. In rebuttal, Trump says Putin told him he didn’t do it. With this inane defense, all any defendant would have to say is, “I didn’t do it, judge,” and he would be set free. We now know Trump, the “baron of bankruptcy,” for years has relied on Russia for financing, and is the personification of the love of money. Do we need further explanation of why he defies our intelligence services and kowtows to Putin? Hattie would say, “Where there is smoke, there is fire.”

Elected Republicans keep their heads down, though many reporters tell us that behind the scenes they admit that Trump is a narcissistic fool who will tread on any person or principle to protect, flatter, and enrich himself. Today there is speculation from serious commentators that he may start a war to deflect attention from his self-inflicted chaos.

Optimists await November and hope a new Congress will be able to keep his damage to a minimum, or 2020, when he will fade into ignominious history, and America, if not great, will at least be less corrupt. Imagine the public reaction if an oil company knowingly allowed an unstable and incompetent captain of a tanker navigating rocky shores to keep his post. Incomprehensible that we, eyes wide open, have such a man at the helm of our ship of state, a man who turns allies into enemies, and dictators into friends.

In their wisdom, the founders put the unpleasant possibility of impeachment into the Constitution. They knew there would be times when a president would be too dangerous to wield power even for four years. So far, Congress is looking the other way and hoping Trump can’t unravel too much of what this country once aspired to be. 

To the extent that an old lady can jump, Hattie would jump from her chair to address any problem as soon as it became apparent. “A stitch in time saves nine,” she would say. Or, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

She would tell the story of Hamlet, who failed to act on the evidence before him, whose dithering and searching for further proof led to tragedy, blood, and death.

Something is rotten in America. Only 40 percent vote in midterm elections. We escape to our chosen worlds on TVs and computers. The circus of Rome has gone digital, and we are obese from an excess of delicacies. 

DON MATHESON