Letters to the Editor: 09.06.18

Our readers' comments

Tremendous Shame

North Haven

September 1, 2018

To the Editor,

Monday’s “Forum on Morality,” organized by East End houses of worship, was held at the Hampton United Methodist Church in Southampton. Designed as “A non-partisan forum for the two candidates running to represent New York District 1 in the House, intended to allow voters to hear from both candidates about their own moral and ethical convictions, as well as about the moral dimensions of public policies that are at issue in the election or may arise in the next two years.”

Current politics has become confrontational and even vulgar, leaving a void to be filled with rational and civil dialogue. Critically important issues and tragic situations are not being honestly considered and discussed with civility. To hear an inclusive panel of local clerical leaders ask thoughtful questions of the candidates sounded quite interesting. The questions were probing and meaningful and applied directly to local and national issues.

The moderator said that both candidates were invited, and the questions were published for them. I can’t imagine any forum that could be better designed, or more fair.

It was informative, especially from the standpoint of the issues that the clergy felt were important, and also from the answers from candidate Perry Gershon. It is a tremendous shame that candidate Lee Zeldin chose not to attend. I cannot understand why he declined this opportunity to give his constituents a better understanding of what his views are.

My compliments go to all of the people who organized this event. In today’s political environment it is important to have open and honest discussion of these important issues. 

ANTHONY CORON

Frankie Dill

Amagansett

August 31, 2018

David:

Last week we lost Frankie Dill, a better man I have never known! Here is something I like to share:

“A prayer for Frankie”

Why is it I feel God was needing a handyman in heaven.

I can see Frankie now sitting with St. Peter greeting people with a big warm smile, helping with their bags, or just giving the gates a fresh coat of pearl white paint,

And maybe sitting with God himself, telling him about the one that didn’t get away!

Lord, Frankie was a simple good man and he was my friend, take care of him!

Until we meet again Frankie.

“Vaya con Dios”

CAPT. HARVEY L. BENNETT

Main Beach

East Hampton 

September 3, 2018

To the Editor: 

Having enjoyed going to Main Beach for 49 summers, I’ve seen many management teams performing good jobs dealing with myriad tasks. However, the most recent management team, for the past several years, of Newt, Eddie, Bob, Jimmy, and Rose has been exceptional, as they treated all staff and beach goers with friendly respect while overseeing everything. 

Suddenly, on Labor Day weekend, there was a pervading sadness on the deck of the pavilion as some members of the team were no longer there. What happened? 

Sincerely, 

DON BROOKMAN 

Unfair

East Hampton

September 3, 2018

David Rattray,

Your scathing editorial “Cover Up or Cover-Up” from last week’s Star was unfair, dishonest, onesided, and extremely damaging.

There was no scandal, and there was no cover-up! You took a version of a story from a few angry young, aggrieved lifeguards as fact and did not even make an attempt to get the true story from beach managers. There is no evidence and there are no witnesses to their allegations. We have witnesses supporting the true story.

As a result, the five managers and their families are now damaged by your editorial. All but one of them are lifelong residents of East Hampton and all have long, respected histories of service to the community. They have unblemished records of services to the beaches, police department, and school systems. With no real evidence you have done damage to their reputations. Now, no matter what is said or done, some people will believe that the managers are somehow deviant. This will have a lingering effect upon us and our families. 

I challenge you publicly to show your concrete evidence showing that male managers forced female lifeguards to model suits and take photos. You will not do it because you can’t do it, as it never happened. 

In a nutshell, this is what actually happened:

A village board member came to the beach and decreed the current female bathing suits were no longer suitable, needing them to be replaced with more conservative ones for the rest of the season. He rejected the managers’ proposal to wait until the end of the current season. This would allow the guards to understand and make the choice of whether to accept the new bathing suits next summer. 

A new box of suits arrived to the beach office. The female manager asked one female guard if she would try one to see if it would be suitable for board approval. The lifeguard willingly did so and one photo, the only photo ever taken, was taken to send to the beach manager for his opinion. 

One suit, one willing guard, one photo by a female and three witnesses. End of story.

I repeat the challenge. Prove your allegations with actual witnesses or publicly apologize to the managers and their families for the damages you have done. You’ve taken a venerable and highly respected hometown paper to a new low. The East Hampton Star is not a sleazy tabloid. Bring a bit of honor back to yourself and your newspaper. 

ED McDONALD

 


Mr. McDonald is a former assistant beach manager for East Hampton Village. He resigned from that position on Friday. Ed.

Lack of Safety

East Hampton

August 28, 2018

To the Editor, 

I’m writing in regard to the dangerous intersection at Two Holes of Water and Stephen Hand’s Path.

To say this is an unsafe intersection is an understatement. I have personally waited as long as 10 minutes to cross safely and have witnessed, multiple times, the potential of a bad car accident.

If saving lives is as simple as adding a four-way stop sign or a traffic light, why hasn’t this been done?

It is my civic obligation as a homeowner in the area to express my deep concern for the lack of safety at this intersection.

Something must be done so we can avoid a tragic accident.

LAUREN S. MIDDLEBERG

With Disbelief

Montauk

September 1, 2018

Dear David,

First and foremost this letter expresses gratitude, and not for the first time, to the caring and courteous team of volunteer Montauk Fire Department members and the E.M.T., who responded so quickly and professionally when my husband, Philip Wiseman, urgently needed medical help. But also I want to take this occasion to register my outrage at the behavior of the many drivers who failed to give way to the ambulance. 

On my trips to Southampton I have long noted with surprise the callous reluctance of my fellow drivers to pull over so the ambulances can pass. But this Aug. 31 morning, sitting in the front seat of the vehicle so capably driven by Bob, I watched with disbelief as cars turned left, or entered from the right, immediately in front of the oncoming ambulance, or sped up to keep in front. 

The worst incident was on the Napeague stretch when a fuel truck (how I wish I had recorded the company’s name or the license plate) refused to drive on the ample shoulder until the ambulance, after sirens and klaxons produced no effect, blasted a locomotive-like hoot behind him.

Especially in the summer one grows accustomed to the atrocious driving habits of many self-indulgent visitors to the East End, although I suspect some regular residents are also guilty of dangerous maneuvers. One can but repeatedly if futilely remind drivers that speed in reaching the hospital is essential and the ambulance must be given right of way to accomplish that goal.

HELEN SEARING

Locals Complain

Montauk

September 3, 2018

Editor:

Help! We’re running out of crime-scene tape in Montauk.

While change is inevitable, the advent of the 7-Eleven in Montauk has done the most to change the character of our town. I suppose it’s nice to be able to pick up a quart of milk or diapers at 2 a.m. in an emergency, but now there’s a chance of being stabbed, involved in a riot, or an auto accident with a bunch of drug fiends.

The landlord doesn’t care; he’s pulling down a cool $11,000 per month. Southland Corporation is happy; I’m told the Montauk store is the highest grossing in the country.

I find it very sad that locals complain that our town has changed, and yet I see their cars in the 7-Eleven parking lot.

GEORGE WATSON

Wainscott’s Wounds

Wainscott

August 31, 2018

Dear David,

Wainscott is at crisis, a point where Wainscott residents’ private drinking-water wells have been poisoned by perfluorinated compound (P.F.C.) contamination which, for a long time, was ignored by the majority of the town board; Wainscott Pond and Georgica Pond frequently have been closed to fishing, crabbing, and swimming due to blue/green algal blooms and related cyanotoxic contamination; whooping helicopter blades and roaring seaplane engines emanating from the town-owned East Hampton Airport are unrelenting with increasing intensity; the industrial site known as the “Pit” has been permitted by the town to operate with apparent impunity despite being a known source of hexavalent chromium and other contaminants, and our beautiful rural landscapes and open spaces are fast disappearing for dubious reasons.

To rub salt into Wainscott’s wounds, the majority of the town board’s response is to worsen the crisis by turning Wainscott into an electrical complex of industrial scale designed to supply power to all Long Island and New York City. In other words, more road works, more closures, more construction, more traffic, more noise, and a greater risk of yet more damage to our local environment. Is there no end in sight?

Peter Van Scoyoc and Sylvia Overby have been in the majority on the town board for the past seven years and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for the past five years. During this time, they have willfully ignored all warnings of Wainscott’s impending crisis and only when forced, do the minimum required by law. Their record is one of neglect, obfuscation, incompetence, missed opportunities, and mismanagement. We need a change.

You can help protect Wainscott by voting in the upcoming Democratic primary on Sept. 13 for two people who have been strong advocates for Wainscott. I am asking you to vote for me, Si Kinsella, and for David Gruber, so that we may truly represent Wainscott on the local Democratic Committee.

David Gruber and Jeff Bragman will make a formidable team on the town board. I’m sure I speak for all Wainscott by saying how lucky we are to have found such a strong and intelligent supporter in Councilman Jeff Bragman, but Jeff has been strategically isolated by the majority of the town board and needs our help. That help can only come from David Gruber. (Although the other candidate is affable and shows potential, he lacks experience and is naturally beholden to those who appointed him.) David Gruber and Jeff Bragman both possess sharp analytical minds and the strength of character to stand up for what they believe in — science, ethics, due process, and the rule of law.

On Sept. 13, please vote for Si Kinsella and David Gruber to truly represent Wainscott on the East Hampton Democratic Committee and for David Gruber on the East Hampton Town Board.

Sincerely yours,

SI KINSELLA

Town Attorneys

Springs

August 27, 2018

Dear David,

For many years nearly all elected town officials have acknowledged that Springs requires housing density reduction and heightened water protection. This mandate is the proper response to our burgeoning school population, imperiled water bodies, the many unlawfully overcrowded houses occupied year round, and our taxpayers being burdened by a grossly disproportionate overall tax rate. The town board placed most of Springs in the water protection district and focuses its community preservation fund land acquisition efforts here, going so far as to demolish several substantial residences in excellent condition.

It has been distressing for me to observe actions taken by our town attorneys that run contrary to sound public policy and only serve to nullify the town board’s efforts to reduce housing density in Springs. Here are some of my observations:

It is the obligation of each member of the town board to carefully and critically evaluate the recommendations put forward by the town attorneys. We did not elect them to merely be bobble-head dolls. If they do not understand the legal and factual basis for a proposed action, and if they do not agree with a recommendation made by their attorneys, they must continue to ask appropriate questions. 

I acknowledge the job of a private attorney is to represent his or her client and to zealously seek to maximize the client’s benefit. We know that real estate is the number-one “competitive sport” in the Hamptons. It is waged “no-holds-barred.” In referring to the effect of a swarm of builders/developers/investors, one former town supervisor called East Hampton the “Wild, Wild East.” I overheard one former building inspector tell someone seeking a dubious permit, “You can get away with anything in Montauk, until you get caught.” In such a rabid atmosphere, the public must rely upon its town attorneys to always remember that the public at large is their only client, and they must work tirelessly to stave off avaricious property owners trying to make a quick buck.

I started watching our land use development boards and the town board out of self-interest back in 2003. I had learned a realtor working for a land speculator was trying to arrange the division of a 37,000-square-foot lot across the street from our home into two building lots, despite the zoning minimum lot area size being 20,000 square feet. His “trick” was going to seek the abandonment of portions of two adjacent roadways and then incorporate that additional landmass into the area to be developed. Nine years later, after fighting battles on numerous fronts, the war was lost. The speculator’s two-lot subdivision was finalized. 

An example of what I consider to be bad lawyering by the town attorneys is that a few years back they advised the town board to sell a 12,000-square-foot lot at 125 Harbor Boulevard that had been acquired by the town through condemnation. The purchase price was to be $80,500, way below current market value. There were alternative outcomes that the town board could have insisted upon to avoid privatizing a 12,000- square-foot lot and allowing it to become a new building lot. However, the town attorneys advised the board to proceed to enrich the private party, and they did so.

Occasionally my efforts pro bono publico have met with a measure of success. In 2012 a very talented private land use attorney, who later become a town board member, wrote to town attorney John Jilnicki to make an offer the town should have refused. For the sole benefit of his clients, the private attorney wanted the town to abandon a cul-de-sac portion of Waters Edge, a road in Barnes Landing, and to also issue a quitclaim deed.

 This was all to be done without payment of any consideration. Mr. Jilnicki prepared a resolution for the town board to adopt. I was present watching the board and nearly jumped out of my seat. After hearing from me, the matter was tabled. The town board eventually required the matter to be handled by the planning board as a minor subdivision. Then they ordered an appraisal to determine fair market value, which was done at the insistence of Supervisor Cantwell.

 The cul-de-sac was sold to the neighbors in September 2017. The town received $486,000 as payment for abandoning the public rights to that small portion of a dedicated and improved town highway.

Very recently another sweetheart deal was tentatively agreed to by now senior assistant town attorney Jilnicki. A private attorney’s client wanted to take ownership of a valuable portion of a town highway in Devon, Amagansett, that has been used by the public as part of the Paumanok Path. In exchange they were initially only offering a narrow, relocated trail easement. The result of this bold proposition would be a significant increase in the development capacity of a long and narrow five-acre lot.

 The property is so environmentally sensitive that it is actually on the community preservation fund project plan, the official list of properties the town desires to acquire for preservation of open space. The chair of the town assessors bravely balked at the attorneys’ request that she abandon that portion of a town highway without obtaining any other town approval other than from the highway superintendent. She insisted on prior review and consideration by the planning board.

 The planning board then cautiously determined they had no jurisdiction and insisted the matter be reviewed and decided by the town board. The final chapter of that saga has yet to be written. The protagonist’s attorney asked the town board to put the matter on hold until Sept. 6. Stay tuned.

Here is another example of what I consider to simply be bad lawyering on the part of one or more of the town attorneys. In derogation of public policy and well-established practice and procedure I understand that Mr. Jilnicki directed the Building Department to permit two undersized subdivision lots that had long ago “merged as a matter of law” to be effectively re-divided back into two separate building lots. I was just a little too late to try to stop this fiasco before the bulldozers starting clearing the second lot. Two large homes are being built with minimal side-yard setbacks, each on a lot that is undersized (18,500 square feet) by current Residence B zoning requirements.

 This debacle involves property at 120 and 124 Underwood Drive. The end result is the town has disregarded the 1984 zoning code change that set an end date for permitting two adjacent, undersized subdivision lots remaining in common ownership to be developed as separate building lots. 

The town attorneys should have enforced the zoning code provision that was intended to ensure reasonable compliance with the minimum lot area zoning requirement of 20,000 square feet. This current standard is applied to all lots that are not pre-existing nonconforming, i.e., lots that have not been continuously held in “single and separate” ownership throughout the applicable time period. 

Prior to 2013, the property owners, who are members of a family-owned UpIsland construction company, had been informed by the Building Department that only the granting of a minor subdivision by the planning board and two lot-area variances by the zoning board of appeals would allow the re-establishment of two separate building lots. The owners purported to implement a “self-help” remedy by simply recording a deed dividing the property without obtaining subdivision and lot-area variance approvals. The town properly continued to insist that the two “lots” had indeed merged into one building lot. 

The unauthorized deed had to be disregarded. The owners were directed to file applications with the town land use regulatory boards if they wanted two building lots. When filed in late 2014 and early 2015, the subdivision application was met with vigorous opposition from the Planning Department.

 The town planner’s review memo cited environmental reasons as well as prior legal practice and precedents in support of recommending against the granting of the requested relief. The two board applications were thereafter withdrawn and/or abandoned. Thereafter, the Building Department apparently simply had a change of heart. Any involvement by the town attorneys is undocumented. 

The first building permit was issued in July 2017 to construct a new residence on one-half of the merged lot. A building permit for a second new residence was issued in March 2018. When I belatedly discovered what was happening, I consulted with the principal building inspector. She at first acknowledged that an error or oversight had apparently been made. Within a matter of days Mr. Jilnicki, without town board action, granted approval of the owners’ unilateral redivision of the unified tract into two separate, undersized building lots. 

There is yet another pending matter, involving property at 45 Harbor Boulevard, that is of grave concern to me. It is a more egregious and pernicious proposal and has been favorably recommended by a town attorney. 

If granted by the town board on Sept. 20, it would in effect establish two new tax map lots, each only having a net area of less than 12,000 square feet, and permit the building of a new residence on each of these substantially undersized lots.

The proposed action put before the town board by the town attorneys would be made without benefit of any subdivision approval by the planning board or area variance approval by the zoning board of appeals.

It is high time for the town board to start doing a better job of being a fierce defender of our residential zoning laws. It is time to ask the right questions and not just sit there and acquiesce. As Emerson wrote in his 1841 essay “Self-Reliance,” “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

DAVID BUDA

Offshore Oil and Gas

Springs

September 2, 2018

Dear David,

During the controversy over offshore wind, which has been raging in our community for over a year now, the economic benefits for local communities and the state have rarely been mentioned. At the same time, the burdensome costs of the alternative energy strategy — offshore oil drilling pushed by the Trump administration — have also rarely been mentioned. 

Now, a report has been released that compares the economic benefits of offshore wind for coastal New York (and four other states) with the anticipated costs of a spill from offshore oil and gas production. The contrast is stark.

According to the report, “Offshore Wind: Generating Economic Benefits on the East Coast,” each average offshore wind farm (roughly 44 turbines) in New York would create 4,000 jobs and add $730 million to the economy. In fact, every dollar spent building offshore wind would generate $1.72 for New York’s economy.?

Building the average-sized wind farm would put $280 million into workers’ pockets. Once in operation, the wind farm would add nearly $30 million annually to the economy, with annual wages exceeding $12 million throughout its operational life.

In addition, over $63 million in local, state, and federal taxes would be generated during construction and nearly $3 million annually during operation. These taxes could go to improving the quality of life for all residents.

Then the report turns to the cost to New York of an oil spill — costs that would largely be borne by the local economy, including the fishing community. It found that just a single month of beach and fishing closures due to an oil spill would cost New York $1.8 billion in G.D.P. and $870 million in lost wages. The fishing industry would lose $5 million. That’s one month’s cost of an oil spill, and we know from the Deepwater Horizon disaster that a catastrophic oil spill could spew for far longer.

Of course, the costs of offshore oil and gas production are far greater than this: the plunge in coastal property values due to sea level rise with the attendant skyrocketing of insurance costs and loss of local tax revenues, the devastation of the shellfishing industry due to ocean acidification, and the loss of productivity and work time due to extreme heat events, to name just a few.

Those who oppose offshore wind and fail to target offshore oil simply have their heads in the sand. And the water is rising up the beach.

FRANCESCA RHEANNON,

Town Energy Sustainability Committee

Stop Salivating

Wainscott

September 1, 2018

Dear David,

 As everyone suspected, Deepwater has been scamming us all along. They recently admitted that they “may sell” excess energy produced by the disaster wind farm. What they presented in plans in 2015 to LIPA and the town board was based upon a different design. Apparently now we know why they were so secretive.

Are we in the old Times Square, watching a three-card monte game? They at least had to know technology would improve. Our town board majority nodded in approval recently, but the question was were they told of the truth?

The town hired a law firm, to examine just what? A contract that is not and has not been in place? The horse before the cart? Were they outfoxed by the sharpies for the investors? Does an owl roost in a tree? “LIPA allows for over-production” so then it could be sold to other jurisdictions? 

Shazzam!! That’s why they are clamoring for new substations twice the size of the Buell Lane plant? How convenient was that? So the investors dangled an $8.2 million carrot in front of the town board and trustees and sank the hook. The Massachusetts [wind] farm rate is reported to be 6.2 cents a kw. While this is 300 percent more for us? Well, it is the Hamptons after all, isn’t it?

The town board and the trustees should stop salivating over the $8.2 million, tell the hedge fund investors to shove it where the sun doesn’t shine! Stop this madness now. A resounding No! which is a complete sentence.

A better deal, for the so-called environmentalists, shut the damn airport before someone gets killed and put in a 625-acre solar farm, hide it from the road with hedges, supply the town with power, eliminate the constant threat of disruption from the ever-increasing flight operations, ensure that no jet, helicopter, or seaplane will ever crash into some town, home, and family. Eliminate the air and ground pollution from the millions of tons of carbon emissions. Return the peace and quiet to the people. Now that folks, is real clean energy and the fishermen will keep feeding us.

Yours truly,

ARTHUR J. FRENCH

Offshore Wind

Sag Harbor

August 29, 2018

To the Editor:

Re: “Climate Change Concerns Fuel Wind Farm Supporters,” Aug. 16.

I was struck by the following comment, which seemed to ask the existential question: What can one wind farm accomplish against climate change?

Christopher Carillo, the East Hampton Town Trustees’ attorney, asked that the speakers return in a few weeks to explain to the trustees how the South Fork Wind Farm can reverse the adverse impacts of climate change.

Is Mr. Carillo suggesting, “Why bother to do the right thing when one wind farm by itself can’t save the Earth?” It is only a step from there to asking, “Why does my vote matter? Why bother?”

This is the paradox of a democratic society: Alone, one individual action is not going to solve a large problem. But collectively, individual actions are essential.

Political leaders, including the trustees of the Town of East Hampton, should show courage and make decisions for the greater good in the long term, which means supporting the South Fork Wind Farm. At the state level, Gov. Cuomo, while not perfect by any means, has been promoting offshore wind as part of a very good overall policy on renewable energy and climate.

As we enter election season, I urge my fellow citizens to choose candidates who support the greater good on climate, whether at the local, state, or national level. Your votes matter.

KATHLEEN BOZIWICK

Cartwright Island

Amagansett

September 3, 2018

Dear David,

It’s been a month since Rod Richardson was arrested for trespassing on Cartwright Island. The town board said it would look into the ownership of the sandbar several weeks ago. What has been done? Should be a simple matter to resolve.

Certainly no one should disturb a delicate bird’s nesting area, but many of residents and visitors have been landing on this sandbar —- which is underwater often —- for decades; this right should not be taken away. I would not like people landing en masse on Gardiner’s Island, but the Cartwright sandbar is a different story.

Surely a compromise is in order, before some judge rules that all the beaches on Gardiner’s Island, below the high tide mark, are in the public domain. That would be horrible. After all, New York State law seems to state that all beaches below the high tide mark are public lands.

Let’s not test this now or else we will come up with a result nobody will like. The owners should deed the sandbar to the town trustees, so that they can best decide the question of public access.

BLAKE FLEETWOOD

Should Act Now

Amagansett

September 3, 2018 

To the Editor:

The town board can and should immediately end the Marine Patrol enforcement regime and signage, criminalizing our longstanding, ancient public access rights to Cartwright Island. 

As champions of both public access rights and conservation, the board can and should bring town enforcement, conservation management, and signage on Cartwright in line with best practices which conserve both nature and public access, as required by New York State agencies, state policies, and the Public Trust Doctrine. These best practices, “seasonal post and string fencing and signage that permit passage along the public foreshore, no trespass enforcement on the shore without clear, unambiguous, private title” are successfully used, and the rule, on every other East Hampton and New York State beach.

The town should act now because it is 100 percent certain that the public has well-established rights to access and enjoy the shore of Cartwright Island — whether or not the island is private or public. Centuries of continuous use by the public has firmly established those rights one way or the other. 

Most likely the island is entirely public because there is absolutely nothing in the public record that gives clear and unambiguous title to the Goelet family. But even if there is a secret, not yet revealed document that proves private ownership, that would still have to overcome normal public-access rights under the Public Trust Doctrine, and also centuries of continuous public usage for multiple purposes, that would have established a prescriptive right in favor of public access.

So the board, if they are in fact serious defenders of public access rights, should immediately acknowledge and re­cognize these pre-existing rights on Cartwright Island, and take immediate steps to end the illegal criminalization of those rights.

Since bird nesting season is now over and done, there is no reason for the town not to immediately at least suspend enforcement. Best practice state regulations say that all signs should come down at this point in time. Signs on the island, as written, are defined by New York State as a public nuisance, which should be removed. The signs, just two-inch posts in the sand, can be easily pulled and replaced without very much effort. The half-dozen signs standing well out in the water are also a navigation hazard, which should be removed immediately, of course. 

Recent town boards are no strangers to cleaning up the reckless financial and legal mess left behind by former town supervisor Bill McGintee. This is hopefully the last such mess that needs fixing. Right now, none of the board members are to blame for the 2005 McGintee/Goelet agreement that is driving the militarization of Gardiner’s Bay, the baseless prosecution of citizens, and 

the intimidation of families and nature lovers at the hands of Goelet security forces. 

But unless they immediately act to fix the baked-in illegal public access denial, they will own the McGintee/Goelet agreement and tarnish their reputations as champions of public access rights and the public trust.

Those agreements, along with my suggestions on how to fix them, press accounts of the June 30 incident, the royal grants, county records, and New York State policies, and much other historical information, which I have uncovered relating to Cartwright and Gardiner’s Islands, are now fully available and public, for all to see and understand on my website CartwrightIslandPublic­Access.com.

If we do not find the courage to stand up together, to defend our common rights and freedoms, we will not have them for long. 

Thank you, everyone, who has boldly spoken up, showed up, and written in, asking the trustees and the town board to do the right thing without further delay.

Respectfully,

ROD RICHARDSON

Besides the Point

Amagansett

September 3, 2018 

Dear Editor:

I am writing this letter in support of the public’s right to the free enjoyment of the shorelines of Cartwright Island. I have been sailing the waters of Napeague Bay for some 10 years and have often beached my Hobie Cat on this shoal for a much needed respite from the wind and weather so common here — or just to relish in a quiet and serene moment.

 I have never understood the “No Trespassing/Private Land” signs there, as I have always understood that, just as everywhere else in East Hampton, the shoreline cannot be owned privately and is for the peaceful and quiet use of all who wish to do so. I, and others that I’ve observed there from time to time over the years, have always been quite respectful to not disturb any bird or wildlife nesting that resides there nor have I ever left even a spot of trash; those things are just not the kind of things that we boaters around here tend to do.

I am not a historian nor an attorney and therefore I can’t say that I have a credible and resolute opinion as to the exact legal truths surrounding the recent and ongoing controversy around the island. But to me, this really is all besides the point. For the life of me, I can’t understand why the Gardiner/Goelet family wouldn’t want such a limited public access to this beautiful spot for all to enjoy. Perhaps they fear that giving even an inch on Cartwright, a shoal well beyond the corpus of their mainland, will inevitably cause many to question how/why they alone among waterfront owners in East Hampton are legally entitled down to the water itself on their Gardiner’s Island?

Respectfully,

RICHARD SILVER

An Exaggeration

East Hampton

September 3, 2018

Dear David,

The East Hampton Aviation Association has scheduled another “Just Plane Fun Day.” Last year, they claimed there were “thousands” in attendance. Someone I knew was there with his kids and said it was quite an exaggeration. More like a few hundred. Close our airport!

LENI SALZ

Independent Voice

Springs

September 2, 2018

Dear Editor,

Being a police officer comes with no guarantees, regardless of where you work. Despite the size of the Long Island police departments and numbers of police officers on Long Island, we remain a close professional community. On eastern Long Island the police community is more like a family, as we all support and assist one another regularly during the performance of our duties.

On Saturday night, East Hampton Town police had a police officer injured when he was dragged down a street in Montauk by a person suspected of selling drugs and D.W.I. Then in Riverhead, we suffered the tragic loss of Rocky, a Riverhead Town Police K9. K9 Rocky’s handler, a good friend, also suffered injuries, as well as another Riverhead Town police officer. 

As a 34-year police supervisor, P.B.A. president of New York State’s fifth biggest police union, and volunteer firefighter with both Springs and Montauk Fire Departments, I know a little about public safety. I have, when appropriate, gone toe to toe with the governor and his representatives to call it as I see it when politics eclipsed public safety, which brings me to East Hampton.

In 2011 state and local governments were advised by the federal government that major changes were coming to public safety communications. Governments were charged to have made the appropriate changes by 2018. State, county, and municipal governments had seven years to appropriately budget and make the switch to the new systems long before the deadlines to ensure the safety of both the citizenry and first responders.

East Hampton’s aged system is over 20 years old. Replacement parts are scarce and were designed for a few hundred users and not the current user load, which far exceeds the system capacity. Knowing this, the question begs to ask: Why with years of warning the East Hampton Town Board cannot get this accomplished?

I am reminded of the Korean War motto most recently adopted by the New York City Fire Department: “All Gave Some, Some Gave All.”

The Springs Fire Department communication tower is ready to go yet the town board chooses to hide behind litigation to not ruffle the feathers of some East Hampton Town Democratic Party supporters and connected individuals. This is just wrong.

Our first responders, police, marine patrol, code enforcement, fire, ambulance, lifeguards, and ocean rescue, risk their lives to protect and save ours yet the East Hampton Town Board has failed them and us by their inability to cast aside party politics.

East Hampton needs an independent voice on the town board. Someone that will do the right thing and put you first regardless of party politics. This is why I am asking for your vote this November.

Godspeed for a quick recovery to our injured police officers and deepest condolences to police K9 Rocky’s handler and his family.

MANNY VILAR

Led by Women

Springs

September 3, 2018

Dear David,

I have been mostly silent in this section of the paper, because I do not want to add to the cacophony of noise and the blatant attempts to divide our community. Nothing good ever came from those who sought division. But now I must write to you because of the insult to my colleagues on the committee and to every woman in this town in the latest lies promoted by Mr. Gruber and his slate.

The East Hampton Democratic Committee over the past seven years has been led by women. It is the height of misogyny to claim that the committee was run by a man behind the scenes. This lie suggests that strong, lifelong community activists are weak and will bow to the orders of any single member. 

Ironically, this strength of character is exactly why Mr. Gruber seeks to replace the majority of the committee; we would not bow to his will or the bullying of a minority of the committee who follow his every command. The same minority who were also stymied in their efforts to change the committee from a collaborating effective membership to one that excluded certain members from having an equal vote based on a random time constraint, thus trying to create two classes of membership. The majority of the committee said loud and clear that we believe in equality and refused to blindly follow their wishes to control the committee. We said no to that.

The East Hampton Democratic Party is made up of strong, compassionate, intelligent women and men. Anyone who implies anything else is attempting to distort reality for his or her self-serving purpose. The majority of the Democratic Committee are hard workers who have never sought recognition or personal power in exchange for the tremendous time and effort they put in to elect effective yet independent Democrats for the betterment of our community. We collaborate and refuse to capitulate.

Therefore, I ask your readers to vote for David Lys in the Democratic primary on Sept. 13, 2018, and our slate of hard-working Democrats. I do not ask this without cause.

I have had the pleasure of serving on the zoning board of appeals as a member for nine years and as vice chairwoman for seven years. I served with David Lys for the last four years, and I can testify that I never once doubted the respect he had for my opinion and any of my decisions even though we did not always agree. I believe that it is inherent in his ethics (but I will say that having a working professional wife and four daughters doesn’t hurt). 

I have confidence the Democrats of our town know the difference between those who wish to control and those who would collaborate as equals.

I believe in the future of our town with the continuance of electing Democrats who serve in government for our entire community. In this time in history, now more than ever, we need leaders who understand that our democracy depends on civil debate and respect and believe that every single member of our community deserves respect even in times of disagreement. It is clear to me that our democracy depends on these ideals.

Respectfully,

CATE ROGERS, Chairwoman

East Hampton Democratic Committee

Town Must Act

Springs

September 2, 2018

Dear Editor,

The Springs Citizens Advisory Committee, of which I am chair, met on Aug. 21 to discuss the deteriorated state of town-wide emergency services communications, with particular emphasis on Springs. All five Springs fire commissioners were there, along with two fire chiefs and numerous first responders. They were there to report to the town, through our liaison, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, and the community on the dangerously deteriorating emergency communications system in Springs. This was not the first time they have come to an S.C.A.C. meeting. 

Representatives of the fire district were present at a meeting less than six months ago, warning us of imminent collapse of this system. We were told to be patient by the town, that every effort was being made to find the optimal place for a communications tower, and that the district’s needs would be met as soon as possible. But that may not be soon enough. As the meeting progressed we were told of innumerable incidents where vital communication links failed. Many of us remember one such incident involving the Springs School. 

This is not a new problem. It’s a problem that has been intensifying for close to eight years. Something must be done. Emergency measures must be taken. A tower exists at the Springs fire station that hopefully could, with modification, be used to provide our community with the services we so desperately need. 

An engineer capable of making a comprehensive evaluation should be hired immediately by the town. If modifications can be made, making this tower capable of handling the new system, work should begin immediately. If not, a new tower fulfilling the requirements should be erected. We do not have the luxury of time to find the “perfect” site, satisfying everyone’s procedural demands or aesthetic sensibilities. This is a crisis. The town must act now.

LORING BOLGER

Apparently Forged

Amagansett

September 1, 2018 

Dear David: 

In David Gruber’s recent letter to the editor of this paper putting forth his qualifications to be elected to the East Hampton Town Board, the letter states: “I have practiced law at a high level as an associate . . . Sullivan and Cromwell.” I have no doubt that this is true but wonder how long he “practiced” at “the “high level” indicated when taking into consideration that he submitted petitions with apparently forged signatures in order to get on the ballot of the Independence Party line. 

It’s obvious that this, shall we say, “gambit” by Mr. Gruber and his staff, to put it mildly, brings into question his ability to convince the voters in the upcoming election of his integrity which in my humble opinion is obligatory to be elected. 

Sincerely,  

ALAN APPLEBAUM 

Legal Ethics

Amagansett

September 1, 2018 

Dear David: 

Setting aside the apparent illegality of submitting forged signatures to the board of elections, David Gruber purports to be a lawyer, admitted to practice law in New York State. 

How could that alleged submission of forged signatures be consistent with the code of legal ethics? Isn’t such activity grounds for disbarment? Who is enforcing our laws? 

MARILYN CHURCH 

Gruber Was Right

Amagansett

August 31, 2018 

Dear Editor

On Labor Day weekend there is no time to address the petition fiasco caused by the Independence and Republican Parties. The issue will be continued next week. 

I would like, however, to apologize to David Gruber. Mr. Gruber did absolutely nothing wrong in his request for the Independence Party nomination. We spoke to both David Lys and Mr. Gruber and committee members decided that David Gruber was right on all the issues that concern East Hampton, including housing for our young people, Wainscott water issues, and especially  the Deepwater Wind project.

Jeff Bragman also needs David Gruber on the town board, as I believe they will work together for the future. We need experience and maturity for the serious issues that face East Hampton. To be continued.

Sincerely yours,

ELAINE JONES, Chairwoman

East Hampton Independence Party

Choice and Change

East Hampton

September 3, 2018

Dear Reader, 

Our local Democratic Committee consists of election district leaders who do the hard campaigning required to elect Democrats to office. This year for the first time, there are contests in every district and many new faces.

There is also an engaging primary race between two Democratic town board candidates, offering different experience and views.  

These contests have stirred some to regret that the party is divided. Yet contested elections are the only way to introduce choice and change into local party politics.  

It is a mistake to try to choreograph party unity. Democracy flourishes as a contest of ideas. New voices and views challenge the status quo, air our differences, and invite public scrutiny of local government. We should applaud elections which offer voters real choices.

JEFF BRAGMAN 

Not Delivered

East Hampton

September 1, 2018

Dear David:

I am a Democrat running for the East Hampton Town Board in the Democratic primary on Thursday, Sept. 13. I am a lifelong Democrat. In 1964, at the age of 12, I campaigned for Lyndon Johnson, not because anyone told me to, but because I had been reading the newspaper cover to cover every day since the age of 10. I believed in Johnson’s civil rights agenda, in his promises of employment opportunity for all, universal access to education, widely shared prosperity, medical care, and a secure retirement for all Americans, and using the power of government to balance the power of money. It seemed to me then to be what justice required of us. It still does.

I was offended by Republican Barry Goldwater’s opposition to civil rights and at times barely-concealed racism, the dawn of the Republican “Southern strategy,” his opposition to collective solutions to social problems, such as medical care and retirement security that are beyond the reach of many, by his tribalism, the separation of Americans into “real” Americans and “others.” How little has changed in more than half a century.

Here in East Hampton, we cannot solve the broad economic problems, but we do have our role to play. Democrats, here too, have been promising more widely shared prosperity and a more secure retirement — affordable housing for young people, working families, and seniors, job opportunity for young people who grow up here and want to stay in their own town. We have promised to protect water quality, our fragile environment, and quality of life for all, not just the wealthy.

East Hampton Democrats have not delivered.  And I say that as former chair of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. At the present rate of construction, it will take more than 200 years to reach the affordable housing goal set in our own comprehensive plan. Nothing has been done for job opportunity. Our water quality is continually declining.  The most obvious response to coastal erosion are the giant sandbags still sitting on the beach in Montauk. The environmental injustice of oppressive airport noise only grows worse. The town board no longer complies with the State Environmental Quality Review Act or with the law governing the use of community preservation fund property.

We know today that a Democratic majority town board has for the past five years put at risk even the core governmental function of emergency response by allowing our emergency communications system to become obsolete, despite more than five years of warning. Our first responders say that it is on the verge of collapse and cannot be repaired if it fails.

The cynical response of the current leadership of the East Hampton Democratic Party to our own failure to deliver on Democratic promises is not to stand and deliver, as we should, but to invite the Republican Party into our house, to appoint and nominate Republicans to our highest offices in order to obtain “crossover votes.” Yes, they really said that. They cannot stand on their record of nonachievement, so they want to avoid competitive elections altogether. 

I believe in the mission of the Democratic Party. It is up to us to deliver on the Democratic Party’s promises to East Hampton, for housing and job opportunity and for environmental protection and justice. I am running for the town board to do just that. 

If you want to understand how we can achieve these things, I invite you to take a look at my interview on LTV video-on-demand. You can find it on the web at vod.ltveh.org. Search for “The Democratic View” with an air date of Aug. 3, 2018.

The Democratic primary is Thursday, Sept. 13. 

Sincerely,

DAVID GRUBER   

The Right Reason

East Hampton

August 31, 2018

Dear David,

I think the town board showed good judgment, even wisdom, in appointing David Lys to fill the vacancy on the board eight months ago.  David is a hard-working young family man who was born and grew up here and he quickly became a valuable asset on the board. 

His appointment reminded me that, many years ago, as the Democratic town supervisor, I had the benefit of working closely with the late Hugh King Sr., a much-loved local Republican councilman from whom I had much to learn. I thought also about how the late Bucket Daniels mentored a young Democrat named Debbie Foster on the town planning board. 

The Democratic Party in East Hampton works best when it recognizes and values the people who have been here all their lives, who raise their families here, struggle to make a living here, and know and understand its history in very personal ways. David Lys is under attack because he has not always been enrolled in the Democratic Party. I was chair of the New York State Democratic Party for seven years so I am unabashedly partisan, but I will be proud to vote for David Lys on Thursday, Sept. 13, in the Democratic primary. He is in it for the right reason: love of community.

Sincerely,

JUDITH HOPE

Grandiose Claims

Springs

September 3, 2018 

Dear David,

Rona Klopman’s letter of Aug. 26 breathlessly asserts that “the takeover of the East Hampton Democrats by Republicans is now complete.” If only!

I’ve heard this before. In addition to being the Republican chairman in this town, I’m also a member of a number of other groups who are the subject of wild conspiracy theories and claims of outsized influence. Sadly, I can report that such grandiose claims are utter nonsense; while it would be at times a welcome change to be pulling the levers of power, the reality is seldom as glamorous.

The Republicans may be a convenient bogeyman to blame for the ugly factionalism inside the ruling party in this town, but the belligerents ought to take responsibility for the conditions that led to this schism — poor governance and competition for the spoils — and not blame external forces for their internal failures. 

As much as the so-called Reform 

Democrats may wish to paint themselves as a distinct entity from the Democratic Committee, they are nothing more than an intra-party fund-raising vehicle. They are not a political party, as such a designation requires 50,000 votes in the gubernatorial election under New York law, nor are they even an independent body. Their promises of change from within is something worthy of some People’s Party Conference, not a democracy.

Change will come to East Hampton not through intra-party factionalism, but through the creation of a new political structure built around a transparent, 

bipartisan system of accountability, checks, and balances. Your Republican Party is fighting back years of entrenched Democratic mismanagement in East Hampton. Rest assured, Ms.

Klopman, we seek to take over Town Hall and the trustees, not the sclerotic Democratic Committee, and in that quest, we have much work yet to do.

AMOS GOODMAN, Chairman

East Hampton Town 

Republican Committee

Cynical Power Grab

Springs

September 3, 2018

Dear Mr. Rattray:

Last Monday, Aug. 27, a group calling itself East Hampton Reform Democrats sent an out an email to encourage voters to support David Gruber in the Democratic primary (to be held on Sept. 13) and not his opponent, David Lys. The winner will be the Democratic candidate to fill the vacant council seat on the town board in the general election to be held on Nov. 6. 

To promote his candidacy, in the email, Mr. Gruber accuses the town board and incumbent Democrats of “bossism and cronyism” and trading favors to promote personal agendas to the detriment of the citizens of East Hampton. Backing his claim, he cites as an example the lawsuit brought by the Springs Fire District against the town zoning board of appeals in New York State Supreme Court. The fire district filed the lawsuit (still pending) in 2015 in hopes of overturning the Z.B.A.’s revocation of the building permit it used to build a communication tower on their property. 

I am writing to rebut Mr. Gruber’s accusations because they are false, as is his argument that the failure of the town board to end the prolonged lawsuit is proof of their self-serving behavior. 

In short, Mr. Gruber claims that (1) the town board could have ended the lawsuit long ago by enacting “technical amendments” to the zoning ordinance and (2) the appeal heard by the Z.B.A. (which asserted the Building Department erred when it issued the permit on the theory that the fire district was exempt from the town zoning code) should not have been allowed because it was not timely filed. 

But Mr. Gruber’s argument is easily rebutted by these facts which are a matter of public record: (1) the Z.B.A. is the ultimate arbiter of zoning matters, and the town board does not have the authority to overrule the Z.B.A. even if it wished to do so (which is why the fire district took the challenge to the state courts in the first place) and (2) the Z.B.A. did not ignore the town attorney’s advice. 

The advice to which Mr. Gruber is referring is that reflected in a 2004 memo that the then-town attorney had issued in connection with the approval of the application of the Amagansett Fire Department’s application at that time to erect its own cell tower. However, after more than a decade, and as the law across the state developed, it was clear that the 2004 memo was clearly in error and out of date and the Z.B.A. properly concluded as much. 

Accordingly, the Z.B.A. ruled correctly that the fire district was not exempt from the town zoning code and was subject to the town’s planning board review process. Rather than subject itself to that review, however, the fire district chose to appeal the matter to State Supreme Court. As for the timeliness of the Z.B.A. action, the Z.B.A. heard the fire district’s attorney argue that the challenge was not filed timely, but then, following both its guidelines and precedent, determined that the deadline had in fact been met. 

David Gruber would be a very poor choice for town councilman because, as his hyperbole, misstatement of the facts, and false accusations demonstrate, he is an insincere opportunist who puts his own ambition above the truth and a genuine concern for the common good. While he sounds the alarm against behind-closed-doors meetings and hidden agendas, he attacks the town board for not circumventing the Z.B.A.’s ruling by making “technical amendments” to the zoning code despite the fact that the Z.B.A.’s decision was made with a full public hearing of the issues.

It must also be noted that David Gruber callously distorts the facts surrounding the dispute between the fire district and the Z.B.A. in order to curry favor with voters who support the fire district in its effort build the tower on its property. But here again he can be seen supporting behind-closed-door decision making that end runs due process and excludes the public. This is the case because the fire district (whose approach David Gruber sanctions) has done everything in its power to build the tower “behind closed doors.” It erected the tower without any public notice whatsoever, and when the Z.B.A. revoked its permit ruling that it did not enjoy automatic exemption, instead of following the Z.B.A.’s directive to file an application with the town planning board and seek through public hearings and with public input the exemptions they require, it took the Z.B.A. to court hoping to win the right to build the tower without public comment and input.

David Gruber’s cynical power grab is also evidenced by his disregard for the public safety issues triggered by the fire district building a tower in violation of town code. The tower stands 130 feet and more than a dozen families (including my own) live within the 260-foot fall zone, in flagrant violation of town code. Mr. Gruber argues the town board has endangered the public by not resolving the dispute, which has kept the fire district from making the necessary improvements to emergency communications. But the hole in Mr. Gruber’s argument is that the fire district itself could have expedited the completion of emergency communications improvements if only they had heeded the Z.B.A.’s directive to file the application for the tower with the town Planning Department some two years ago. Had the fire district done so when the Z.B.A. made its decision, the planning board would have by now either granted the exemption it sought or sanctioned an alternative location or communications technology — either of which outcomes could have been implemented by now.

Yours truly,

JONATHAN D. COVEN

Can Help Lead

Amagansett

August 31, 2018

Dear David,

The Reformed Democrats are exposing the multitude of problems that exist in East Hampton. These problems are not going to get resolved if the voters stick with the current town board choice for a councilman. The status quo will remain unless change is voted for on Sept. 13.

Yes, Lys is a nice guy and family man who has had very little experience in government. He has no idea of how to go about looking for solutions to the massive problems in the town. He is just not prepared to offer solutions.

David Gruber is the bright, experienced candidate with a business background and law degree that can help lead this town board in the right direction. He will be an asset in helping Jeff Bragman question the decisions of this board and lead board discussions in the right direction so that positive solutions are possible.

All one has to do is note the number of problems we have — water contaminant issues, communication system problems town wide, Deepwater Wind cables affecting our Wainscott beach, airport issues, community preservation fund code changes, giving town land easements to wealthy residents, and State Environmental Quality Review Act issues. The Reformed Democrats have exposed corruption and bossism in this town that has been under cover for many years.

If anything, despicable Trump brought out the best in us Reformed Democrats. The democratic process is alive and well in East Hampton town. We have the opportunity to change this town, for the good, on Sept. 13 by voting for experience, honesty, and truth in government.

Vote for the true lifelong Democrat David Gruber on Sept. 13. In your district, vote for Reformed Democrats as committee members.

RONA KLOPMAN

Democratic Candidates

East Hampton

August 31, 2018

Dear David,

I’m writing to introduce myself, Tim Garneau, and  my running mate, Marilyn Van Scoyoc, to our Northwest Woods neighbors. We are your Democratic candidates for Election District 16.

Marilyn is a retired local music teacher and former band director at East Hampton High School for 26 years. She is also the wife of East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc. She’s active in our community with the East Hampton Rotary Club and the Sag Harbor Community Band. As a teacher, Marilyn ran a community service club that raised money for Toys for Tots, the East Hampton food pantries, and the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Suffolk County.

I have been very involved in our local Little League as well as the PTA for years and have always been an active community member. My family has three children in the East Hampton School District, and I feel my continued public service is crucial for our family as well as our neighbors.

Last year our town board preserved over 300 acres of land with the community preservation fund. Marilyn and I would like to see this environmental approach to land preservation continue. We also strongly support the protection of our critical water resources.

Together, Marilyn and I would like to push for continued civility, dignity, and respect on the current Democratic Committee, as well as on the town board. 

Please get out to vote in the upcoming election on Thursday, Sept. 13. 

Please vote for us as well as for David Lys, the East Hampton Democratic Committee nominee for town board.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

TIM GARNEAU

Change the Makeup

East Hampton

September 1, 2018

Dear David,

The current town board, with the exception of Jeff Bragman, seems to have forgotten what integrity is. They have lost their way and we the people of East Hampton are suffering the consequences of their actions.

There are big issues that our little town faces, contamination, Montauk beach erosion, airport noise and traffic, lack of affordable housing, senior center and senior programs, jobs for the youth, the list is endless. These problems have been going on for a very long time and will continue until we can change the makeup of the town board.

It is time to get truth back into our local government and stop allowing pay-for-play to rule over us.

What concerns me most is the citizens of East Hampton that blindly follow their lead without any regard for the law and due process. Jeff Bragman seems to be the only town councilperson who is asking questions and explaining to the East Hampton residents the proper procedures, which are supposed to be followed, and that the other four current board members seem to blatantly ignore.

I, for one, do not want bullies on our town board telling us everything will be all right for the fifth year in a row with nothing changed but words on a card mailed to my house. Living here is not enough. We must have leaders that are willing to stand up when things are wrong.

David Gruber has fresh, new innovative ideas to help get our town back to where we should be. From using experts within our town and not allowing “insiders” to commandeer valuable committees, to strategic planning for affordable and senior housing, job creation, and water quality, Mr. Gruber is the right person to help the effort that Jeff Bragman has started.

David Gruber has also assembled a crackerjack team to run for the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee, myself included. Along with Sue Avedon, we have successfully represented Election District 8 for almost eight years and want to continue to do so.

I urge you to consider David Gruber for town board, and Sue Avedon and myself for E.D. 8 committeewomen.

Respectfully,

ILISSA LOEWENSTEIN MEYER

East Hampton Reform Democrats

Not Helpful

East Hampton

August 31, 2018 

Dear David,

My first reaction to last week’s letter “An Example,” from Phyllis Italiano, in which she accused my wife, Vicki Luria Blatt, of being a “Chris Kelley loyalist” and misinterpreted the meaning of my own letter supporting David Lys for town board, was to ignore it as nonsense. However, since the best way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them, I’ll respond.

In reaction to the national political climate and the disaster in the White House, I, as David Lys has done, have switched from Republican to Democrat. It is my understanding that the Democratic Party is looking to win a national majority, not only with strong party turnout, but also by attracting new voters, independents, and disgruntled Republicans. It only makes sense then, that the party should welcome new members with open arms — not with resentment and baseless insults. I say if Mr. Lys has chosen to throw in with the Democrats, more power to him and the party.

The strength of our democracy allows our citizens and political candidates to change affiliation. For example, two Democratic women held in high regard, both Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren were, at one time, Republicans who became Democrats. In my letter of Aug. 23, I mentioned that locally, Schneiderman and Thiele have changed party. At no point did I imply that Lys is the same as Schneiderman, the main contention of Italiano’s devious letter. Italiano relies on twisting words and lying in an attempt to make her point. Please note the editor’s notation at the end of Italiano’s letter, acknowledging that she fabricated Lys’s 2016 voting record. If you have to exaggerate and bully to make your point, what you are saying is probably rubbish. 

Again, as I said in my initial letter of support for David Lys and the present sitting town board, I urge all of my fishing buddies who can vote in the Sept 13 primary to vote for Lys, and in the general election. He’s the best person for the job. He’s honest, experienced, hard-working, a go-getter and we know that he’ll keep us on the beach. He’ll approach town issues with logic, fairness, and tenacity! There’s a lot to be said about a person like David, whose politics utilize civility and kindness to do good for their community. 

I also encourage registered Demo­crats in Election District 11 to vote for my better half, Vicki Luria Blatt, for Democratic committeeperson. She’ll do a great job of selecting candidates who will work hard for public beach access and for preserving our town’s time-honored tradition of inclusiveness for everyone.

I do not appreciate Ms. Italiano’s calling me out and attempting to belittle my point of view by going after me personally. I’ve had several phone calls from voters telling me they were offended by the bullying tone of her letter toward me and my wife. Those are votes her “tribalistic” tactics will not secure. Many readers of this letter section have seen enough aggressive, negative politicking by Italiano and her crew. By promoting nasty politics, all they are doing is opening the door for Republican opponents to say the Democrats are in disarray, and that is clearly not helpful now or in the long run.

I urge everyone to choose your candidate based on their character and platform, not necessarily because of party. Go with the candidate who best represents your views. For me, that’s David Lys. Our town board has done a good job so far, with plenty more work to do. Don’t be fooled by so-called reformers, whose first instinct is to implode the system instead of working from within to improve it. That kind of Trump-like thinking isn’t working on a national level, and it won’t work here. 

Thank you,

JAY BLATT

Please Vote

Amagansett

September 3, 2018

Dear David,

I plan to vote for David Lys for town board in the Democratic primary next Thursday. David Lys is the kind of young leader I hope will emerge again and again in our town. He is as local as local can get in his interests and in his commitments to family and community. 

I know him personally. I also know him as a smart, tireless worker who served for five years on the zoning board of appeals. He represents the town board as liaison to the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee. And he pulled the East Hampton community together to make the Amagansett Life-Saving Station the wonderful tribute to our history that it is today.

I also plan to vote for Arthur Schiff and Dave Hillman for Democratic Committee members for Election District 3, the election district in which I reside. I will strongly encourage my friends in our other Amagansett election district, E.D. 12, to vote for the Democratic Committee’s vice chairwoman, Betty Mazur, and Anna Skrenta, a newish resident, mother of three, and member of our local school board.

Fellow Democrats in Amagansett, I am asking you: Please vote on Sept. 13. Vote for Dave Hillman and Arthur Schiff if you vote in E.D. 3, Anna Skrenta and Betty Mazur if you vote in E.D. 12, and be sure to vote for David Lys for town board.

Thank you,

JOAN TULP

Legitimacy Problem

Amagansett

August 31, 2018

Dear David,

In the battle playing out in your letters column between the East Hampton Democratic Town Committee and the group trying to reform its ways, one assertion that has been made several times is that the committee won a litigation brought by one of the reformers. A writer representing the committee old guard has asserted that a “sophistical lawsuit was ultimately judged to be meritless,” and a member who is an attorney and should really know better wrote that “[a]ll voters were fully qualified as had been decided by a justice of the Supreme Court.” 

This is not correct. The committee did not win that litigation on the merits. I know this firsthand because I’m the lawyer who brought it. I represented a friend who is a committee member in bringing a lawsuit to challenge some actions by the then-chairperson, which clearly violated New York Election Law and county rules. The chair moved some members without their consent to less important districts, in order to replace them with handpicked supporters. In some cases, as if it were a game of musical chairs, there was no place to put the displaced person, who was told she would be “given” a district when one became available. In a couple of cases, the chairperson fired someone from the committee whom she did not like. 

These actions had no support in law or regulation. The chairperson of a town committee simply does not have the authority to move people around or to fire them. In answering our lawsuit, the committee never even claimed that any of these moves were legal. Instead, the committee, represented by Chris Kelley, made a motion to dismiss the case on a variety of technicalities, arguing, for example, that we should have sued each of the people that we argued were improperly appointed. 

What happened next was bizarre. The committee’s motion was set for June 14. I had until June 7 to answer it. On May 30, during an appearance to discuss a different aspect of the case, the judge unexpectedly granted the committee’s motion to dismiss, which was not even before him, and which I had had no opportunity to answer.

That never happens, and never should happen. Since I was admitted to the bar in 1981, I have handled untold hundreds of matters. I can remember just three others that ended with such unaccountable and unfair decisions. Each time, I suspected that someone knew someone, that the outcome had nothing to do with justice. 

 Maybe it was a wild coincidence and had nothing to do with Chris Kelley’s status and contacts in Suffolk County, or the political influence of the committee. However, Mr. Kelley and the committee have emphatically passed up their opportunity to address the underlying problems. Instead, every time they say they “won” the case, they are proudly owning the injustice.

Though I was a Democrat most of my life, for more than 10 years I have been registered in Amagansett with no party affiliation. I had no previous experience with the committee and no preconceptions. What I saw in the course of litigating the case is a classic Tammany-style political machine, including bosses, fixers, and ambitious adherents. Some of the most vituperative letters to The Star, attacking my friend/client and the reform group, are signed by someone the former chair appointed to a district that was not actually vacant. Individuals who were not legally appointed voted to elect the current chair and to nominate David Lys. Until the committee changes its ways (is reformed, in other words), it will have a serious legitimacy problem. 

I grew up in Brooklyn, where Tammany and successor machines have dominated for more than 200  years. Democratic organizations with the name “Reform” in the title represented the people who just didn’t want the machine to run their lives anymore. It’s no different here. 

JONATHAN WALLACE

David Understands

Montauk

September 3, 2018 

Dear David,

I’m writing today in support of David Gruber, who is running in the Democratic primary next Thursday, Sept. 13, for the town board as a member of the East Hampton Reform Democrats. I’ve known David for almost 20 years, when I was first a member of the Democratic Committee in East Hampton representing Montauk.

The fishing industry within the Town of East Hampton, including Montauk, has always been central to the Town of East Hampton’s coastal fabric since I moved here in the late 1980s from D.C. As the years have gone by though, time and time again, even as a year-round industry, fishermen have had to fight for support from within our own town’s leaders, including this most recent town board, which I find to be heartbreaking. Coming from a town with a historical base of farmers and fishermen, I cannot fathom why they would want to sell out the fishing industry, instead of working hard to support, promote, and protect our local fishermen and their communities.

As a former owner of a fleet of fishing trawlers in the Pacific Northwest, David understands the dizzying array of federal and state regulations we are subjected to and the pressure upon our industry as we maintain sustainability both of fish and fishermen, and the environment in which we fish. He is unwilling to sell our industry down the river for “30 pieces of silver.” I trust him to work with the fishing industry to make the right decisions to help fishermen here within the Town of East Hampton, both now and for the future.

I ask all Democrats to join me in voting for David Gruber in the primary next Thursday, Sept. 13. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely

BONNIE BRADY

Not a Leader

Amagansett

September 2, 2018

Dear David,

David Gruber is littering our town with a confetti of hoopla, unfounded claims of bossism and cronyism, disparagement of rivals, and even downright lies. His boasting and exaggeration are out of the Wild West. He did not, for example, bring Peter Van Scoyoc and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez into town government; he did not author the bulk of written work for Democratic campaigns. He was definitely not responsible for the campaign committee’s collaborative team process ably led by Chris Kelley with creative work from committee volunteers and the candidates themselves. 

Gruber is not a leader, nor a team player; his disregard for the contributions of the volunteers with whom he worked when he was party chairman was notorious. Nevertheless, he has now decided to “take over” the town Democrats and the town board. What a nightmare that would be!

Just moving into town full time after years in Paris and New York, Gruber is out of touch with the town’s issues and hustling to catch up. He has aligned himself uncritically with an angry and unrepresentative minority on the Democratic Committee, who like himself was previously disappointed of public office. Like them he has evidently decided that volunteer contributions to getting the town board elected merit personal rewards and a right to insist that the board do the bidding of volunteers. That is not the governing law or the committee’s abiding belief.

Contrary to the résumé he offers for town board membership, Gruber has no relevant managerial experience. What he cites as experience is babysitting corporations that have been bought up by hedge funds pending their dissolution or resale. Until now, he has shown no particular interest in local issues other than airport noise, a topic with which he has struggled for half a lifetime, so far to little avail. He has not worked on other town board committees or attended Democratic Committee meetings, and is relying heavily on second, third, or fourth-hand information about people and actions he derides.

Gruber maintains that our town board’s competent financial performance and forward looking initiatives are not big enough or fast enough, but has offered no ideas to accelerate progress, simply alleging that working with other smart people in town he could manage to resolve the complexities that have challenged the board. That his campaign chooses one side or another of a hot-button issue, like the Springs Fire Department cell tower or Deepwater Wind, shows that he has a political agenda, not that he is able to solve tough community problems.

Having already been turned down as the Democratic Party’s nominee for town board, Mr. Gruber should demonstrate a true connection and understanding of our community and the opportunities he is seeking before he runs again, emulating his well-prepared opponent for town board, David Lys.

Sincerely yours,

JEANNE FRANKL

Extremely Valuable

Montauk

August 31, 2018

To the Editor:

Government bodies can get caught up in a group process that promotes uniformity. Members find common cause with a leader and independent views are discouraged. I worry that this group process is beginning to occur within the East Hampton Town Board. 

Individually, all the board’s members are intelligent, caring, and dedicated to the community. But in the workings of the board, an extremely valuable voice, that of Jeffrey Bragman, is sometimes isolated and given less attention than it deserves. 

I believe the election of David Gruber would strengthen full and diverse discussions on the board. Mr. Gruber is an independent, fact-oriented thinker who always wants to hear all sides of an issue. 

I offer these thoughts on the town board and the upcoming elections not as a representative of an organization but as a private citizen.

BILL CRAIN

Primary Election

Amagansett

August 31, 2018

Dear David,

“Leadership that Unites” has been the banner under which the East Hampton Democratic Committee has been most successful. This slogan represents our belief in the value of community as we continue to participate as citizen-volunteers in and for our town.

As one of those citizen-volunteers for four decades as a committee person in Election District 12 in Amagansett, I am proud to be labeled an old-timer. My activities for the committee have included registering new voters, seeking out the most qualified candidates to run for local office, campaigning, getting out the vote, and educating residents.

On important issues, both local and national, contributing to public discourse with letters, at town meetings and hearings, among others. And I am proud to state that our East Hampton Democratic Committee has earned an admirable reputation in Suffolk County as the “go-to” party because of our effective leadership and collaborative, cohesive group efforts.

But East Hampton is not immune to the virus of discontent and discord now infecting the country. And as a result, our Democratic Committee, successful in winning elections and advancing the Democratic Party, is facing a primary election. The date is Thursday, Sept. 13. In addition to state and county candidates, the ballot will include our candidate for the East Hampton Town Board, David Lys, and candidates for the Democratic County Committee in all 19 election districts.

I am running for re-election to the position of committee person in Election District 12, and I am asking for your vote; Anna Skrenta, running with me in E.D. 12, deserves your support, as she is a passionate, involved member of our community and will bring a new generation of activists to our party and town.

Now more than ever, we, in East Hampton and every other town in the United States, need leadership that unites.

Most sincerely,

BETTY MAZUR, 

Vice chairwoman

East Hampton Democratic Committee

An Actual Democrat

Amagansett

September 3, 2018

Dear David:

It had not occurred to David Lys to change his lifelong registration from Republican to Democrat until he was offered an appointment to the East Hampton Town Board and had to change parties to get the job. Zeldin wasn’t enough for him to become a Democrat. Neither was Trump.

According to the Star, Lys says he didn’t vote for Trump for president, but didn’t vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton either. He says he voted for his father. Mr. Lys cannot legally vote for himself in the upcoming Democratic primary.  He remains a Republican until after the general election in November. For that reason, David Lys has taken to advertising that he has “Democratic values.”

On Thursday, Sept. 13, Democrats have the chance to vote for an actual Democrat for town board, David Gruber. David Gruber is a lifelong Dem-ocrat and a former chair of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. He wrote almost all of the East Hampton Democrats’ campaign literature and strategy in every election campaign from 2003 through 2015.  He is the largest financial contributor to the East Hampton Democrats over the last 20 years. 

If there is a Democratic majority on the town board today, there is no one in East Hampton who has done more to achieve that majority than David Gruber. His Democratic values are not even a question.

But his values and bona fides as a Democrat are not nearly the most important reason to vote for David Gruber. A seat on the town board is not a reward for being a good guy or for enthusiasm. It is a critical job that must be done well if the town is to move forward on all the things that Democrats care about — clean water, affordable housing, job creation, coastal erosion, renewable energy, quality of life, and public participation in government. 

David Gruber is educated in science, law, and economics. He has had a long, successful career in diverse businesses. There is no candidate in the last 30 years better qualified to serve on the town board and actually fulfill the promises made by the Democratic Party to the people of East Hampton.

In the age of Trump, when Demo­crats must demonstrate to the public that they govern well and effectively, we cannot afford to miss this chance to elect David Gruber as our candidate for town board. Primary day is Thursday, Sept. 13. 

JILL DANIS

Facts First

East Hampton

September 1, 2018

To the Editor:

David Gruber speaks out against granting Deepwater Wind beach-crossing easements prior to the Article Seven environmental review proceeding this past Monday, July 23, at the East Hampton Town Trustees meeting.

Watch now to understand why Deepwater Wind obtaining easements in advance of its application is inappropriate and will compromise the town’s standing.

We should not be granting any more rights before an environmental review, and we should not be swayed by Deepwater Wind’s offer of community benefits when we still have a responsibility to evaluate the environmental impacts beforehand.

In short, we need to first conduct an environmental review and then grant easements based on those findings. Facts first, then act!

These are the words I best like about David Gruber’s approach to governing. Look at the subjects that have been singled out by David.

Deepwater, the airport, drinking water safety on the East End, the Montauk waterfront, public housing, a much-needed cell tower for safety of all.

These are only six issues of the many that Gruber has spoken to now and in the future. David does not shy away from any subject but believes that both sides must meet to solve the problems, even if it takes both sides to sit, discuss, and come to a decision to sit again. Not hire an expert but based on what they know, to decide.

I like Peter, Sylvia, Kathee, and Jeff. All are good Democrats. But only the last has the gumption to speak against David Lys as a choice of the other because he will go along with them. Not make waves.

We need someone who will not just go along but will step forward and propose the tough questions and work to get reasonable answers.

Democrats are historically known for asking tough questions and getting things done. David Gruber is a true 

Democrat.

Thank you, 

TOM FRIEDMAN

Educated Democrat

Springs

Sept. 3, 2018

Dear David,

There are two Davids in the battle to be the Democratic candidate for the town board seat vacated by Peter Van Scoyoc when he ascended to supervisor. The problem is that while both men have qualifications, David Gruber’s are far superior to the other David’s. 

For one thing, and it is an important fact, Mr. Gruber is a lifelong Democrat who has given much to the Democrats of East Hampton over the years; the other David is a Republican and will be until after the November election. 

Mr. Gruber is a very educated Democrat who has degrees in law, physics, economics, and has been a very successful entrepreneur. Recently, when I interviewed him on my LTV show, “The Democratic View,” I was amazed at his creative ideas to seriously work and, eventually, solve the many issues our town faces. My vote must go to David Gruber. I am sure you will want to vote for Mr. Gruber also to help our town make progress in the many issues it faces.

Sincerely,

PHYLLIS ITALIANO

Party Unity

Amagansett

August 31, 2018

Dear David,

As a member of the East Hampton Democratic Committee for nine years and counting, I have witnessed some good things and some not so good things.

All in all, the Democrats are known for protecting our environment and improving our quality of life. They have been the ones to execute an affordable housing plan, provide programs for our seniors, and preserve open space. Sadly, the true Democratic principles have been diluted and neglected by the current majority of our town board by appointing the opposition party to important positions while turning their backs on their own party members. 

This why myself and so many others are very happy that David Gruber is running for the town board to restore party unity. No longer will the hard-working members of the committee be ignored and no longer shall the Democratic mission be derailed. 

It is amazing that a man of his education and his experience of years in politics is offering his knowledge for the betterment of our town. The benefit to all of us, as the recipients of his selfless talents, are numerous. Please remember to help East Hampton to stay on the right track by voting for David Gruber on Sept 13.

Thank you.

JAMES MACMILLAN 

Sells His Soul

East Hampton

September 1, 2018

Dear David:

In the Broadway musical “Damn Yankees,” the character Joe Boyd sells his soul to the devil to get to play on the Washington Senators in the World Series. This sounds like what David Gruber did when he tried to get on the Independence Party line. Apparently he wants to be on the town board so badly it didn’t matter that the people supposedly signing his petitions never signed them or were, in fact, deceased.

The problem is that this isn’t a Broadway musical. It’s real life and somebody should investigate. This type of criminal behavior should not be tolerated in anyone, let alone somebody seeking the public trust for elected office.

Sincerely,

JOYCE MCFADDEN

Natural Leader

East Hampton

August 31, 2018

Dear David,

One week from today the state Democratic primary election will be held 

to choose candidates for all contested elected positions, from governor right on down to committeeperson. I urge all enrolled Democrats to make the date and be sure to cast their ballots; it is a watershed election year for our country.

Locally, the races for committeeperson and for the Democratic nomination for town board are critically important to the future of our party and our beloved town.

For committeeperson, the grassroots of our representative democracy, I urge all conscientious Democrats committed to the principles of the Democratic Party and to the accomplishment of the local Democratic agenda to support the Reform Democrats candidates running in your election district. Jeanne Hutson and I are both Reform Democrats, and we are vying for the seats in Election District 16.

For town board, I give my highest recommendation and unreserved endorsement to David Gruber. David is an extraordinary human being, a man of exceptional intelligence and incisive insight, a holder of degrees in physics, law, and advanced economics, someone who has vast real world business and problem-solving experience, and a natural leader that concerned people seeking to solve serious challenges naturally gravitate to. His honesty and integrity are impeccable. And yet he is welcoming, down to earth, generous with both his time and his wallet. A better friend and neighbor, I have not found. He is completely worthy of your vote, and I urge you to support him for the sake of our party and the future of the town we all cherish.

Most sincerely,

PAT TRUNZO III

Longtime Democrat

Springs

September 3, 2018

Dear David, 

I will be voting for David Gruber because I know he’s a real Democrat who believes in important issues, not just permitting driving on the beach. He is a longtime Democrat who was the head of the East Hampton Democratic Party and has worked on its platforms, advertising, and radio spots for many years. He is highly intelligent and expresses ideas on some of the most flagrant problems in East Hampton, including the airport, water, and housing. He thinks ideas through, consults with experts, and finds ways to work problems out with community participation, and open meetings. I know he respects the history and programs of the Democratic Party and will continue to carry them out. He is not somebody who will turn his beliefs inside out for $75,000, like his opposition.

NAOMI SALZ

Tireless Service

Sag Harbor

September 3, 2018

To the Editor:

I am writing this in strong support of Arthur Schiff for the Democratic Committee in Election District 3 in the primary next Thursday.

I have known Arthur for 20 years and in all that time he has been extremely active in the Democratic Party, first in New York City as a Democratic district leader, and for the past three years with the East Hampton Democrats. 

He has years of tireless service applying his skill as an attorney to party issues and has been a voice of moderation and leadership in handling difficult and devisive concerns. He is fair and open-minded and a source of support for others he has worked with. The campaign slogan “Leadership that Unites” will be well served by his election to the Democratic Committee. Please give him your vote on September 13 in E.D. 3.

Sincerely,

BEVERLY SCHANZER

Wasteful of Time

Montauk

August 31, 2018

To the Editor:

My name is Larry Smith. I am a resident of the Town of East Hampton for over 45 years. I have been an active member of our Democratic Party as committee person in Montauk Election District 6 and Springs E.D. 17 for most all that time. I have never had to run for this or any other office before.

I have seen our Democratic Party grow from an ineffective, minor, and powerless group of citizens to the current majority party, effective, progressive, articulate, civil, and progressively fair. I have rarely experienced as accomplished a group of public-spirited men and women, party members, and board of supervisors and trustees alike, so dedicated to the public good as I have with our present members.

As long as we are a fallible and curious people, we will have differences of opinion on many political challenges facing us constantly. What great opportunities to discuss and develop, hopefully, solutions to these challenges in as honest, openly sharing, and transparent a way as possible. It takes a lot of intellect, respect, work, time, and effort to get things done in running a government as significant as ours, and still, maintain an A.A.A. Moody rating of our town’s financial health.

I now have to ask for your vote in a primary to determine if I am qualified to represent my neighbors in Montauk’s Election District 6. Why is our East Hampton Democratic Party so suddenly rife with the accusations, threats, and personal invectives? My objection to the so-called Reformed Democrats is mostly in the manner in which they have chosen to run. They and “he” are shameless in their arrogance, egocentric focus, power, driven with (money), entitlement, and what most of the time becomes subterfuge fueled by half-truths, or less.

By the way, my wife, Bette, is also running for committeeperson in the primary for E.D. 17 (Springs). She too would welcome your vote. Thanks.

Frankly, this entire exercise is wasteful of time, money, effort, and involvement. We should be focusing on getting the ultra-conservative Lee Zeldin out of representing Congressional District 1, along with his mentor and good friend Donald Trump. We have an excellent candidate in Perry Gershon who can, and with the right effort, defeat Lee Zeldin in this crucial race. Let’s get our true Democrats back on the job that we have been accomplishing for these many years.

Thanks for your support of Bette and me, and the real Democratic Party. We truly are the party that works to unite our community. We welcome all who wish to join us in that endeavor. But please leave divisiveness and derision at the door before entering.

LARRY SMITH

Vote for Us

East Hampton

August 31, 2018

Dear Editor:

With the Democratic primary election on Sept. 13 fast approaching, it is worth reminding Democrats in East Hampton of the importance of voting.

In East Hampton and throughout New York State, Democrats will be voting to choose candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. In East Hampton, Democrats will choose a candidate to complete Peter Van Scoyoc’s term on the town board, a position currently held by David Lys, who was appointed by the board in January. Additionally, Democrats in each of East Hampton’s 19 election districts will be choosing candidates for one or two seats on the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee to represent each individual district.

Arthur Schiff is currently a member of the East Hampton Democratic Committee and is running for re-election to represent Election District 3, a district in Amagansett where he lives with his wife, Susan, at 6 Eastwood Court. David Hillman of Canvasback Lane, Amagansett, is Arthur’s running mate in E.D. 3. David and Arthur are endorsed by the East Hampton Democratic Committee as well as by East Hampton town supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc and by town board members Sylvia Overby, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, and David Lys.

Arthur has lived in Amagansett since 1985 when he bought his home on Eastwood Court. David’s residence in Amagansett dates to 1978 when he and his wife, Arlene, built their house.

Arthur has been active in supporting Democratic candidates throughout his adult life in Manhattan and, since 2016, in East Hampton, when Jeanne Frankl encouraged him to join the East Hampton Democratic Committee. He’s proud of his role in helping to elect the five Democrats on the current town board. He and Dave Hillman look forward to supporting them in the days ahead.

After the primary election, on Sept. 13, our immediate and most important priority will be to support Perry Gershon in his effort to oust Lee Zeldin, President Trump’s surrogate on Long Island, from Congress.

We also support David Lys’s campaign to defeat David Gruber and win the Democratic ballot line for the position on the town board he currently holds. As a member of the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee, Arthur looks forward to working with David Lys, the liaison between the committee and the town board.

In sum, on Sept. 13, we ask readers who live in E.D. 3 to please vote for us, Arthur Schiff and David Hillman, to represent E.D. 3 on the East Hampton Democratic Committee.

Sincerely,

ARTHUR SCHIFF 

and DAVID HILLMAN

War of Words

Springs

August 31, 2018

Dear David:

I have been refraining from entering into the abyss of letters to the editor, but guess it is time to be vocal and not allow the discourse to be dominated by the so-called Reform Democrats.

Within the past few weeks, I have been reading the endless negative letter writing by this same group, attacking, complaining, and using half-truths and worse to describe the town board and the many other hard-working Demo­crats of this town. 

I find it also personally distressing and not at all helpful to disrespect the Democratic process. It pits neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend, and all people that have been working together for many years for the common good of the town. How and why has this happened? What has brought about this war of words and vicious attacks? How can we then work together after the election?

These same people, so-called Reform Democrats, chose and elected this same town board. So what is their problem? The crime, as I read and heard it, is that David Lys (by most everyone’s description) is a really nice guy. But his shortcoming is that he is a Republican who was chosen by the board to fill Peter Van Scoyoc’s term on the board until Peter wins his new job as the supervisor of this town. David Lys explained: Yes, I have been a Republican who has voted Democratic for the past eight years or more and who is now a registered Democrat.

Well, I wish that more ex-Republicans felt that way. Being a Democrat says a lot about people’s values. When I see people express their hostility and negativism I wonder what happened to those Democratic values.

The next step must be recovery. We have to stop this war of words and get back to our Democratic values. Our enemy is bigotry, hostility, incivility, and the insatiable lust for power of this present Republican regime in Washington. We must direct all our energy and support to Perry Gershon in his campaign to defeat Lee Zeldin for Congress in our Congressional District 1. Can we at least agree to that?

BETTE E. SMITH

Voting for Lee

East Hampton

September 1, 2018

To the Editor:

Democratic advertising can be described as the arresting of human intelligence. The most important thing in Democratic communication is hearing what isn’t being said. When we as citizens of the East End look reality in the eye and refuse to back down from our awareness, we are living courage. The difficulties we face always show the lessons we need most. We have to listen to life for it is the wisest teacher. Don’t cry over the past it’s gone, don’t stress about the future it hasn’t arrived yet, live in the present. Good judgment comes from experience. Congressman Lee Zeldin has that experience and judgment.

He grew up in Suffolk County. He was educated at the University of Albany  and the Albany Law School. He served four years in the United States Army in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. At the completion of his enlistment he transferred to the Army Reserve, where he attained the rank of major and continues to serve today.

In 2008 he opened a law practice in Smithtown, until elected to the New York Senate. His successful efforts in the Senate included repeal of the M.T.A. payroll tax and the P.F.C. Joseph Dwyer Program for veterans suffering from PTSD and traumatic brain injury. The program expanded across the state. Lee successfully fought for the saltwater fishing license fee to be repealed for the benefit of Long Island fishermen, new veterans health clinic in Riverhead to better serve veterans. Working with both sides of the aisle he has achieved in getting passed a proposal to save Plum Island, counterterrorism legislation, and more. He also obtained funding to dredge Lake Montauk. 

His priorities are for protecting our national security defeating ISIS and MS-13, securing our borders by cracking down on illegal immigration, the economy, veterans, education, improving health care in America. Lee Zeldin wants to secure our communities from dangerous individuals who traffic in narcotics. Never in the history of the world was there a great politician who was not hated by large numbers of inferior men. He is doing his job and doing it well.      

Now another one comes out of the concrete jungle, Perry Gershon. Spending his own money in the sum of $1.3 million to buy the nomination to run against Lee Zeldin for Congress. Arrogance knows everything, yet nothing. A man of words but without deeds to show is like a garden of weeds. Beware of the person who knows the answer before he understands the question. The tongue weighs practically nothing but so few people can hold it. 

Perry Gershon has his view on life, unfortunately it tends to be on what he doesn’t know as to what he does know. We have to be careful of false knowledge; it is more dangerous then ignorance. Integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain. People who know the least always argue the most. I’ll be voting for Lee Zeldin and urge my fellow veterans and every East Enders to do the same.

TOM BYRNE

Trust Perry

Springs

September 1, 2018

Dear David:

In a couple of recent local columns, our congressman, Lee Zeldin, would have us believe that he is fighting for those of us here in his district. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Mr. Zeldin was an architect of the American Health Care Act, the House’s effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. It would, among other unpleasant features, have deprived Americans with pre-existing conditions from protection against higher premiums. Fortunately, the Senate stood its ground and refused to undercut the protections of the A.C.A.

Not to be daunted, Mr. Zeldin played a pivotal role in orchestrating legislation that undermined key features of the A.C.A. and stood silently by as Mr. Trump sabotaged the A.C.A. as best he could. 

These efforts all threaten the protections for people with pre-existing conditions. That is not just a few of us. According to a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 23 per cent of Nassau and Suffolk residents are burdened with pre-existing conditions!

The efforts of Mr. Zeldin, and his failure to reject other actions of G.O.P. health care sabotage, have exposed these residents to substantially greater health care risk. 

It is simply unconscionable that our representative so crassly turned his back on his constituents solely for political gain. If this is Mr. Zeldin’s idea of fighting for us, we cannot afford two more years. The beauty of our democracy offers us a choice this November. Instead of fearing the future threats Mr. Zeldin might throw our way, we can elect a protector of our interests. 

Perry Gershon is that choice. His ideas on health care? Protect what we have under the A.C.A. and then work to improve it with the vision of health care for all. This is what fighting for us is all about. I hope you will join me and trust Perry with your vote this November.

ALICE TEPPER MARLIN

Dead of Night

Springs

September 3, 2018

Dear David,

Time magazine wrote an article on slick John Brennan in 2009. If anyone can find and read this article you will find out Brennan couldn’t even get security clearance from our government. It goes on to say what Obama concocted to make sure he was going to be on his staff one way or another.  Brennan ran his own security business. Interesting reading.

On “Meet the Press” along comes John Kerry, another Democratic gem. He states the United States paid a price for Obama not following through, or punishing Assad for totally ignoring the red line.

We all know Obama in the dead of night in an unmarked plane that held billions of dollars in different currencies to be paid to Iran without Congress approval, Kerry had nothing to say about this. Phony, hypocritical liars is what the Democrats stand for, and now John Kerry is contemplating running for president. God help us.

In God and country,

BEA DERRICO

Smoke and Mirrors

East Hampton

September 3, 2081

Editor:

History is a leveler. When it’s not adulterated and revised it is a scary representation of truth. That’s why we no longer teach history in school, except for the occasional heroic tales of great Americans doing amazing things.

At a Trump rally, while the crowd is screaming, “lock her up” there is a group of pickpockets working the crowd. Stealing dozens of wallets and making sure that some people are a little less wealthy then they were before the rally. An American metaphor.

For the white American working class (non-white working class people never had unrealistic expectations), dealing with the reality that they have been maliciously screwed is mind numbing. Screwed is putting it mildly when you look at the loss of income between 1980 and today and the quadrupling of the economy. Screwed without question? But why, how, and by whom?

Governance is all about filling people’s needs. Logically, that means, food, housing, work, security, and pleasure. A difficult task and almost an impossible task given that we all have agendas that aren’t in sync. So in place of the essential needs of life, governments substitute inexpensive fantasy for real things. Marie Antoinette fed them cake. Constantine said let them pray. Hitler said let them hate. Only the cake costs anything.

In our current world, history would tell us that the screwing of the white working class was designed and perpetuated by conservative Republicans in search of a bigger pot of gold. Understanding that non-white workers and immigrants didn’t have any wealth to take away is critical in understanding why white workers were targeted. If the current distribution of wealth in the country doesn’t explain what happened to the white working class then they can’t possibly participate in any solution.

Jobs, education, infrastructure, and health care are all expensive. Abortion, immigration, religion, and sexual preference cost almost nothing. When government gives us social issues instead of meat and potatoes they are picking our pockets. How do we have tax cuts and a new budget of almost $3 trillion and $850 billion for the military and no money for government workers’ 2.5 percent annual raise or for school lunches?

If we follow the money trail it becomes obvious that blacks, Latinos, and immigrants don’t have the missing trillions. They don’t own stock in corporate America. They don’t control our political system. They didn’t perpetuate the elaborate rip-off scheme.

It’s mostly smoke and mirrors with a large dose of bullshit. If all the immigrants were to leave the country today, wages wouldn’t increase. If everyone could have all the guns they wanted, schools wouldn’t teach any better. If no one was allowed to have an abortion, it would have no impact on the cost and quality of health care. You can’t eat bullshit.

Or can you?

NEIL HAUSIG