Letters to the Editor: 09.27.18

Our readers' comments

Write-In Controversy

Amagansett

September 20, 2018

Sir:

My interest in local politics is shamefully low but two things struck me about the election of Mr. David Lys to the town board. 

Firstly, why did both the officials at the board of elections interviewed by The Star (Sept. 13) in regard to the write-in controversy refuse to give their names to your reporter? I find it troubling that you would accept and publish accounts from two unattributed sources to support your editorial position. 

Secondly, we must assume from your report (Sept. 20) of his meanspirited remarks after the election — “the person who stays above the fray and does it for the whole town instead of themselves will always come up above” — that Mr. Lys has not heard of Churchill’s exhortation: “in victory: magnanimity.” As a new board member he might learn to be more gracious in future. 

As our dear leader might say: sad. 

Sincerely,

BRIAN JOHNSON

Aimlessness

East Hampton

September 19, 2018

Dear David:

I wish to congratulate David Lys on his primary victory and thank all those in town who supported the East Hampton Reform Democratic ticket. We are proud to have done the work to give the members of our party a meaningful choice rather than allowing a tiny handful of people to decide for thousands who will represent the party. 

Reform and change are not the work of a single election, as the Democratic Party should have learned after the election of Obama followed by the loss of the Congress only two years later. 

Despite being in the minority at present, there are a large number of Demo­crats who share our concerns about the direction of the town, or rather its aimlessness, on the long-term problems of water quality, affordable housing, coastal erosion, airport noise, and the recent, self-inflicted problems of Deepwater Wind’s demands, and a failing emergency communications system.

Things that had to be said were said. The wholly unprecedented turnout in this primary election means that many people paid attention. If party insiders do not get the message and continue to achieve little or nothing on the most important issues of the day, the public will remember what we said in the course of this election campaign. 

I am personally motivated by the many people who came up to me spontaneously on the street, including many who said they were not Democrats, and so could not vote in the primary, to say thank you for speaking up about the pressing problems of the town. The work will continue.

Sincerely,

DAVID GRUBER 

Newly Elected

East Hampton

September 16, 2018

Dear David,

We want to thank everyone who participated in the Democratic Party primary on Sept. 13 and to all of those voters who supported us and David Lys. 

As newly elected members of the Democratic Committee, we will be listening to and working for everyone who lives in Election District 8 and doing our best to represent your views and concerns to our town board. We encourage you to attend as many Democratic Committee meetings and town board meetings as you can and let us hear from you. 

Looking forward to seeing you soon, 

JERRY MULLIGAN 

MARY BUSCH

Positive Outcome

Springs

September 21, 2018

To the Editor:

I want to take this opportunity to thank the Democratic Party for giving me the opportunity to run for a place on the Democratic Committee. I also want to thank the voters in district 17 for their support and vote.

The renegade so-called Reform 

Democrats made this election happen, because they challenged the Democratic Party, so they could run their own slate of candidates. Even though this was a contentious contest it also had its positive outcome. Positive in that it has afforded me the opportunity to meet many of my neighbors and constituents in E.D. 17.

I look forward to serving and meeting many more people in E.D. 17, as their representative with the town board.

Thank you to those who voted for me. I appreciate your support. I will serve and represent all of Election District 17 to the very best of my ability.

BETTE SMITH

Your Liaison

Springs 

September 23, 2018

Dear David:

As a longtime Democratic committeeperson in Montauk’s Election District 6, I want to say thank you to all who voted for me to continue in that capacity. Along with my partner Sharon McCobb, we stand ready, willing, and hopefully able to be your liaison with our town Democratic Party and our East Hampton Town Board.

Sharon and I will be contacting you soon to personally thank you and renew and restate our commitment of service to our election district, and to you, our neighbors and, ideally, friends. If you have any particular concerns that you wish to share with Sharon and me, please write to us, for the moment in care of the Democratic Party of East Hampton at P.O. Box 2013, East Hampton 11937, marked to Sharon’s or my attention. Be well.

LARRY SMITH

Woefully Inadequate

East Hampton

September 24, 2018

To the Editor,

Consider the dilemma facing planning board members when a heretofore “good citizen” hotel owner solicits an approval for a reasonable restaurant addition purportedly to provide a customary amenity for their hotel guests. The board fears that the true purpose of the new hotel restaurant/bar is to attract crowds from the general public to wine, dine, and dance on the hotel’s property. The potential number of people drawn to the music/bar scene could potentially far exceed the number of in-house guests even at the hotel’s maximum occupancy.

If the hotel is permitted to build its restaurant/bar, the planning board says the hotel’s woefully inadequate parking will become even more spectacularly insufficient, so it asks the hotel owner to come up with a plan to increase its parking and/or make arrangements to accommodate all the extra cars coming to its property.

The hotel owner responds that the hotel is “grandfathered” for parking, precluding the board’s request for additional parking; even if the hotel has only 20 parking spaces where the code would require 45 just for its original, principal use.

The accessory use law that the planning board is citing to require more parking, unfortunately, is not clear on this issue. Faced with this ambiguous section of the accessory use law, the town board recently decided to add a clarifying amendment to the law. It states that once a hotel decides to add a restaurant/bar with the potential of significantly increasing its clientele, it loses its grandfathered parking status. But it still grants the planning board wide flexibility while determining the facts of each case to decide whether the hotel proposed parking is sufficient. 

Some in the business community are reacting to this proposed clarifying legislation with obfuscation and fearmongering. They are employing an old National Rifle Association tactic by warning that this law is only the first step in the town’s ultimate plan to take away all grandfathered statuses. That is patently false. 

A pre-existing, nonconforming hotel that continues to run within the parameters of its original, principal business will not be implicated at all and most certainly not lose any of its grandfathered rights. Those grandfathered rights are justly and enduringly protected, as long as the hotel stays within its original use. However, it only makes sense that if it intends to add a new use, one that would draw an increased number of people in addition to its original business, it should be subject to the current code parking regulations.

We have seen what could happen when certain establishments add on to their original uses in order to attract 

a wider patronage. A typically former sleepy hotel is transformed into an overcrowded, congested, out-of-control party central. That was the main reason the accessory use law was implemented a few years back. Unfortunately, a loophole has been exposed in it. We can’t let this loophole allow it to gut its original intent and purpose.

It is essential that this proposed amendment be allowed to pass into law so that we can turn control back to those charged with protecting our community’s character and not leave it to those few business owners who would negligently exploit Montauk’s popularity at the cost of the wider community. 

The town board is holding a public hearing on Oct. 4 at Town Hall to gather public opinion on the proposed amendment. I believe this proposed clarification of the law is reasonable, just, and necessary. If you feel the same, please show your support for this amendment to the accessory use law by either sending an email to the town board at soverby@EHamptonNY.gov or attending the hearing in person to have your views heard.

LOUIS CORTESE 

Affordable Housing

Springs

September 23, 2018

Dear David,

Getting out on the campaign trail I have been blessed to speak with so many East Hampton residents from Wainscott to Montauk, and one of the top topics that come up is affordable housing, which leads inevitably to a conversation on the cost of living in East Hampton. 

Affordable housing gets a lot of attention each election year but sadly little has been done over the past 12 years. The one thing that is never a part of the affordable housing conversation by politicians is the high cost of living in East Hampton. Politicians hate talking about complex or challenging problems. The high cost of living problem is an involved and complicated issue that will require lots of hard work.

As far back as the 1980s, affordable housing was a problem and every economist, housing advocate, and labor union leader will tell you the lack of affordable housing is symptomatic of a high cost of living environment. The warning signs were there, and our elected leaders failed unfortunately in those early days to recognize the problem and to put into place policies that would have helped mitigate the spiraling upward cost of living.

East Hampton has been blessed with a natural environment that songs and stories are written about, as well as vibrant and robust tourism and second-home owner economy. The problem herein is that in addition to all the pluses, and there are many, there is negative, a transposing of New York City high-income potential that far outpaces any viable income potential in East Hampton. In short, the East Hampton economy cannot generate jobs in mass that have six-figure salaries. This in turn not only increases the cost of property but of everything else from bread to services, everything is just more, a lot more.

In the 1980s town, county, and state government needed to work together to spur economic development. Elected town leaders need to think outside the box and take charge of economic policy, but they did not in any consequential way. Those failures of past boards, as well as the current board, have created a climate where traffic is worse 

now than ever, Long Island Rail Road service is nonexistent, big businesses have left town, and low-income housing is an acceptable permanent housing solution.

There does not exist a long-term economic policy, and the hamlet studies nibble on the edges through economic development on focused land usage and development. One must remember that economic growth is but one part of a larger economic policy, which East Hampton does not have.

We have two choices: Continue with more of the same, a town government that is hyperpartisan, answers to a few political party bosses and wealthy 1 percent, while ostracizing party reformers and working poor, or elect a fresh independent voice with a track record of bi-partisan progressive accomplishments, is not afraid to think outside the box, is not afraid to take on the tough issues. As a union organizer, longtime union leader, and a New York State government relations representative I know what it takes to get the job done. Please vote for me on Election Day. You deserve more than a lopsided town board that is 5-0.

MANNY VILAR

Gone Vegan

East Hampton

September 19, 2018 

Dear Editor,

As “The Big Bang Theory” CBS juggernaut rolls into a record 12th season on Sept. 24, most of the gang exploring mysteries of the universe have gone vegan, opting for plant-based eating. Leading actress Kaley Cuoco (Penny) also campaigns against Canadian slaughter of baby seals. Mayim Bialik (Amy) and Kunal Ayyar (Raj) are asking the United States to join the European Union in ending cruel cosmetic testing on animals. Johnny Galecki (Leonard) did it for personal health.

Dozens of other celebrity entertainers have gone vegan in recent years. They include Casey Affleck, Pamela Anderson, Alec Baldwin, Bob Barker, 

Beyoncé, James Cameron, Jessica Chastain, Miley Cyrus, Ellen DeGeneres, Emily Deschanel, Peter Dinklage, Sara Gilbert, Ariana Grande, Daryl Hannah, Woody Harrelson, Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Tobey Maguire, Demi Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Natalie Portman, Alicia Silverstone, and Stevie Wonder.

Most seek to avoid oppressing and killing animals. Some look to reduce their risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Still others care about the devastating impacts of animal agriculture on climate change, water quality, and wildlife habitats.

Compelling reasons for every one of us as we get ready for “The Big Bang Theory” #12!

Sincerely,

ELIJAH HANNESBURG

Conca D’Oro

Sag Harbor

September 19, 2018

Dear David,

Laura Donnelly’s recent review of Sag Pizza (in the Sept. 6 edition) is elitist and disrespectful to people for whom Conca D’Oro was an important center of village life. For Sag Harborites, Conca D’Oro was a place that not only provided nutrition, but it was a place that you went to see people you went to high school with, where you caught up with local news, where you went when you just wanted to feel a piece of the Sag Harbor you grew up in. As a friend of mine put it, “Conca D’Oro was the community.”

Conca D’Oro was a place where a teenager could go with a few dollars in pocket to get a slice and hang out with friends; where a parent could get a pie that could feed hungry mouths for days. It was an anchor for honest working people in a village that has been aggressively hyper-gentrified in recent decades. 

While the Range-Rover crowd will delight in Sag Pizza’s high ceilings and sophisticated aesthetics, for the working people of Sag Harbor it represents a 

significant habitat loss. Ms. Donnelly claims that the menu at Sag Pizza is “affordable.” While this is certainly true for those who earn six-plus figures, it is not for those with fewer financial resources.

Ms. Donnelly suggested that those who desire Italian food à la Conca D’Oro travel to Southampton, Hampton Bays, or Westhampton Beach. For Sag Harborites, this is a moot point. Luckily, the village still has a few businesses that bring the community together, where both working locals and wealthy arrivistes feel welcome. Perhaps the loss of Conca D’Oro can serve as a warning that these precious places need to be protected.

Sincerely,

JONAS HAGEN

A Good Deal

Springs

September 24, 2018

Dear Mr. Rattray,

It seems that at least one of our neighbors feels that making up numbers and name calling is better than doing the research to figure out in fact what health care might cost in a single-payer health care system, conveniently termed “Medicare For All.” To begin a rational discussion, we should remember that our current health care system gives us the worst “bang for the buck” of any comparably developed nation. With that in mind, change becomes imperative.

Right now, we are spending over $10,350 per person annually for health care. Under the Affordable Care Act, and despite the current Republican administration’s cynical sabotage, enrollment continues to grow. Americans fortunately know a good deal when they see one, despite the ranting from D.C. and the frankly unfortunate malarkey we got about keeping our doctors from the Obama administration.

Anyway, we spend about $3 trillion per year now. Almost half of that is already paid for by the government through Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration, tax breaks to employers who provide workers’ health care, etc. Over the 10-year period, even discounting inflation and ignoring accelerating costs of drugs and care, that would be $30 trillion. For that figure and no change, we keep our appalling ranking for child health and infant mortality according to our own Central Intelligence Agency, behind Cuba and the European Union, and just ahead of Croatia. Croatia?

Additionally, nonpartisan studies indicate that despite our high costs, our life span projections are at number 31 on the world chart, behind most of the European Union, (Canada is 12), but at least a couple of months ahead of Cuba. Cuba!

The trillions of dollars over 10 years that the Republican Congress has given to corporations, and the uber net worth donating class on both sides of the aisle, and shareholders (guilty, me) add enormously to our children’s lifetime debts. (Not a budget hawk in sight! But we no longer have an effective Environmental Protection Agency or a real Department of the Interior, so no surprise there.) 

Were our Republican Congress more interested in paying for health care for all than punishing the so-called high tax, generally Democratic, voting states like ours, they could. They would have to stop the giveaways to the generationally wealthy, and there’d be fewer share buybacks, but they could have universal health care, and money left over. Some analyses of health care costs indicate that over that decade, health care costs with a single-payer system would actually decrease! (See The Washington Post, Business Section, July 31, 2018.) 

Thinking about others, rather than abdicating global leadership, would certainly help to make America truly great, not “again,” because clearly we have always been great in aspiration, but also at caring for all of our population’s health, and being at the forefront of dealing with global and planetary issues. And most of us (remembering the 2016 popular vote) are confident we will be yet greater again, in spite of our (possibly) Russia created presidency and its perpetually whining Oval Office occupant, if we all vote. 

Our current congressman, Lee Zeldin   — generally invisible, except on TV — is in a tough spot running on his record of avoiding constituents, bashing immigrants, voting against health care and covering pre-existing conditions, increasing the cost of elder care, and so forth. No surprise, after receiving over a quarter million dollars in donations from insurers to gut health insurance and 

an A rating from the National Rifle Association. (See https://www.leezeldinrecord.com). His opponent is Perry Gershon, a progressive, thoughtful, and passionate Democrat who has Mr. Zeldin back on his heels.

I urge you to think of your children, their children, all of our children, and vote for Perry Gershon in November. Do this not just because of Zeldin’s voting record against the Affordable Care Act, or vilification of hard-working immigrant families whom most of us depend on one way or another, or even because of his venal support of Concealed Carry Reciprocity, a darling of the wing-nut branch of the N.R.A., or support for arming teachers and further indebting college students rather than improving educational outcomes.

Vote for Perry Gershon on Election Day because you love this country, and sincerely want it to be greater.

IRA BAROCAS 

Registration

Springs

September 24, 2018

Dear David,

For currently registered New York State voters who wish to make any changes to their political party registration, the Suffolk County Board of Elections must receive the request by Oct. 12. These changes are processed after the 2018 general election and are effective for primaries held in 2019. Any request received after Oct. 12 does not take effect until 2020!

This burdensome law only applies to people already registered to vote in New York. A new registrant can vote in the primary of their chosen party if they register at least 25 days before the primary.

For those requesting no party affiliation, remember that New York State does not have open primaries, so you would only be able to vote in the general elections. 

The regular registration form is also used to make political party or address changes. Simply check the appropriate box for the choice of party affiliation or no affiliation. These forms are available at post offices and the board of elections website.

ZACHARY COHEN

Zeldin Is the Man

East Hampton

September 23, 2018

To the Editor:

Our politicians, local as well as federal, have to think of the American people for a change. If politicians did not prefer reaping rather than sowing there would not be a hungry person in America. To change, we must learn how to distinguish our need from our greed. Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; we need to find solutions to immigration. Arguments are just an exchange of ignorance. You have to do what others won’t, to achieve what others don’t. Always set you goals high enough to inspire and low enough to encourage.

Solutions can be found to protect our economy from overboard activist uprisings regarding solutions to immigration. Character is always lost when a high ideal is sacrificed on the altar of conformity and popularity. Many talk like philosophers, yet live like fools. Change is the essence of life to surrender what you are for what you can become. Choice not circumstances determines your success. Intelligence is the only unlimited natural resource. You can’t plow a field turning it over in your mind. 

More powerful than the will to win, is the courage to begin. Action is character, you never know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Behavior is what a man does, not what he believes. There are four things that support the world — the learning of the wise, the justice of the great, the prayers of the good, and the valor of the brave. Freedom is the luxury of having self-discipline. Leadership that excels requires making hard choices. 

Lee Zeldin is the man for the job, as he has been for four years, Obtaining millions of dollars for his district and much more. On the other hand, Perry Gershon, no experience in politics. He would more than likely be just a puppet of Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Walters, and Chuck Schumer’s inactions.

There are only two things you have to do in life. You have to die and you have to live till you die. A good leader stands up to tough questions and issues while living. You make up the rest.

TOM BYRNE 

Lighten Up

Bridgehampton

September 24, 2018

Dear Editor,

This letter is in response to Mr. Lagarenne’s letter dubbed “Unfit to Serve” (Sept. 20, 2018). Mr. Lagarenne does a solid of job of name calling with respect to President Trump.

But he doesn’t identify one specific action by President Trump that has negatively or dangerously impacted the citizens of America to date.

No specific prejudice or injustice against a particular race, sexual orientation, or minority, no specific executive order or policy that threatens to destroy our democracy, no specific action by President Trump placing American citizens on the threshold of war or nuclear Armageddon. 

It’s understandable to dislike a president whose policies you don’t agree with and whose personality rubs you the wrong way. From the tone of his letter, it’s probable that Mr. Lagarenne did not vote for Donald J. Trump, and he pleads with those who did to stay away from the polls this November. Nearly two years into Donald J. Trump’s presidency, he is calling the president unfit and a menace to the world. Mr. Lagarenne expects the reader to believe him based on one fact alone: his hatred for a man he has never met.

President Trump was not the perfect political candidate, and he is not the perfect president. But the actions he has taken in the Oval Office serving as the commander in chief of the United States of America underscore his desire to keep his promises to the people who elected him and remain true to the guiding principles and fundamental purpose of the Constitution of the United States by the founding fathers. 

The first sentence of the preamble of the Constitution puts the burden on us to achieve the intent of the Constitution. It begins with: “We, the people. . . .” Our government is self-governing. The “we” in the sentence is the collective “we.” We, the American citizens, govern ourselves through leaders chosen through the democratic process. To hate a duly elected president with such vehemence is like hating your pilot flying through a hurricane. If the plane crashes and burns, so do you. Hoping a president fails may feel good to Mr. Lagarenne and many like him, but the only purpose it serves is to divide us as a nation, and weaken us in the eyes of the world. 

So lighten up, because the buck stops at “we,” the benefactors of our demo­cracy, the freedom and liberty to govern ourselves. I agree with Mr. Lagarenne that the most powerful tool we have, as citizens, is the privilege to vote. If all the haters had voted in the 2016 election, it’s conceivable that Donald J. Trump would be closing real estate deals and launching a new reality show. But nearly half of all eligible registered voters did not vote in the last presidential election. When a citizen does not exercise his privilege to vote, he or she cannot complain about the outcome. If you did vote, and your candidate lost, be happy. You didn’t lose a thing. You still have everything you need: freedom. And another opportunity to place the person you think best represents your beliefs and values in the Oval Office in four short years.

If you don’t like how things are going, take a positive approach. Be an active, productive participant in our democracy. Don’t waste your passion and emotions on negativity and hate. Don’t let someone tell you what to think. Don’t believe everything you read or hear. Get your feet wet and educate yourself about politically charged topics so that you can debate them in a logical, convincing manner without resorting to name calling and inciting mob mentality. 

Start on your local level and attend a town hall meeting. Vote and vote often. Run for office. Volunteer on a campaign and donate money to the political party of your choice. Use your head, not your potty mouth, to invoke a change. 

You’ll feel better about yourself and our country if you do. Hate is an ugly, wasteful emotion. I hate to stub my toe, but I wouldn’t cut off my foot to avoid it. I haven’t personally enjoyed or benefited from every aspect of Donald J. Trump’s presidency, but his failure is our failure. Don’t forget how he got to where he is. Hate had nothing to do with it.

CAROL DRAY

Striving to Win

Springs

September 24. 2018

Dear Editor:

I don’t understand why are people so surprised by what Trump does as president. Shouldn’t his last name have clued us in as to what to expect?

After all, most of us acquired those names from the trades our ancestors passed down from ancestor to ancestor in rigid class societies. And as the Donald’s people were believed to have been winemakers in Kallstadt, Germany, he should have come down to us as Donald Winzer. So why didn’t that happen? And why Trump? Why not something more practical?

I think it’s because Donald must have had a rebel ancestor who’d decided to break with tradition and to trumpet to the world how he now intended to earn his living. And isn’t that what it’s all about? Finding some way to earn the right to live? Striving to win first place in nature’s great marathon race for genetic survival? Isn’t that why so many of us have changed our names and our professions? Why the Donald’s father changed his nationality, calling himself Swedish in our new, less orderly world? To project what he hoped to one day become?

So who of us can blame that mutant Trump for weaponizing what may have been his one God-given gift — his ability to trump people to the max in any game in which he could manipulate the rules to his advantage? And who knows: He may have been the world’s first con man. The one who invented Liar’s Poker. Or the shell game, a game most likely developed so many eons ago that it was played with shells rather than our modern, more fragile currency, so much easier to steal or throw or blow away.

And what better name than Trump to trumpet an ability to stump any challengers to the games he played? And what place more likely to produce the first rebel Trump than Kallstadt, located in a region famous for its blowhards and braggarts? Which may explain why the Donald proclaimed himself so at home on his first visit there. Which would also explain why the Donald so assiduously avoided serving in our armed forces. He’d obviously recognized his ancestral obligation to fight only trumped-up battles in which he could trumpet himself the winner.

As for the Donald’s tendency to treat women, as well as the rest of us, as strumpets — that follows Trump family tradition. After all, it was his grandfather, said to be the original source of the Donald’s New World fortune, who was said to have had brothels attached to his Gold Rush restaurants.

So from Trump to trumpet to strumpet is the Donald’s natural progression.

LEAH LARSEN

Blatantly Partisan

East Hampton

September 24, 2018

To the Editor:

I agree with you that it should not have come as a surprise that some Republican senators wasted no time in dismissing Christine Blasey Ford’s account as fiction, and that this sort of victim bashing, especially of females, must end (Editorial, Sept. 20, 2018: “Echoes of Harassment”).

Unfortunately, it is equally unsurprising that as soon as the complaint became public, some, if not most, Democratic senators (including our Senator Kirsten Gillibrand) wasted no time in announcing that they believed Dr. Ford. I actually heard the senator state that she believed Dr. Ford because why would she say this if it weren’t true? Alas, so much for the search for the truth. 

Both sides of this fence were chosen without the benefit of any personal knowledge of the underlying facts and without the benefit of a hearing, investigation, or both. Both positions were blatantly partisan motivated reactions. 

Such disingenuous posturing to suit political ends does nothing for our society except to undermine the ability of the public to put any trust in its elected officials. 

This too must end.

PAUL GREENFIELD

Male Sexuality

East Hampton

September 24, 2018

Editor:

The real issue around the Kavanaugh sexual-abuse conundrum is that male sexuality in the United States is a complicated mess. For wealthy white males’ sexuality is essentially “Tits and Asses or Breasts and Backsides.” There is an almost complete disconnect from the woman’s sensuality and spirit and her body parts. Consequently, like the president, who chose him, and the senators, who have approved him, Kavanaugh’s behavior is nothing unusual.

Studies of United States male sexuality demonstrate that the rate of two-people participation is one of the lowest in the world. Pornography and masturbation are the most popular forms of sexuality with the focus on the individual rather than on the couple. Interest in the partner, especially the opposite sex, is relatively minimal.

So how do the 18 men on the judiciary committee, most of whom are at best sexually challenged, seriously interrogate a female about abuse? They shouldn’t be permitted to talk to their kids about sex no less make a decision about sexual abuse. Shouldn’t they all recuse themselves? 

But the real question for American women is whether or not sexual abuse is a problem, business as usual, or the best we can do given where we live?

NEIL HAUSIG 

Irreparable Harm

Springs

September 24, 2018

Dear David:

In case you missed this, the Trump administration has proposed pernicious changes to existing immigration rules applicable to immigrants here legally. 

Mr. Trump’s proposal would allow the federal government to deny permanent resident status to legal immigrants if they or their families have used, or may use, public assistance programs including the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Affordable Care Act, premium tax credits, the Women, Infant, and Children nutrition program, Section 8 housing vouchers, means-tested energy benefits, and even refundable tax credits. 

The Trump proposal could not be more punitive. First of all, it targets legal immigrants looking for legal residence. These immigrants pay billions of dollars in taxes to support the programs Trump would deny them. The programs at issue play a critical role in helping to keep children and their families from falling deep into poverty. By putting the chance of legal resident status at risk for these folks, it is likely that eligible individuals will stop using their benefits or not apply for benefits at all. This will undoubtedly lead to people across the nation going hungry, not accessing needed medical care, losing economic self-sufficiency, and even becoming homeless. This proposal will increase downstream costs on taxpayers, do irreparable harm to the productivity of our economy, and compromise the health and safety of our communities. 

For example, if pregnant women forgo prenatal care, it will lead to increased high-risk labor and deliveries. Children would likely be deprived of timely and regular health screenings, leading to lower detection of developmental delays, lower rates of vaccination, and poorer oral health. Delays or the failure to seek needed medical care will drive up avoidable emergency room costs, increase costly inpatient hospital stays, increase uncompensated care costs, and delay early diagnosis and treatment of serious medical conditions. All this will ultimately drive up health care costs for the rest of us.

The heartless animosity that the Trump administration has shown to immigrants seeking a better life here has been on display for almost two years. These folks are no different from our ancestors who sought refuge here and they deserve our support. We all expect our congressional representatives to stand for their constituents in the face of such discriminatory treatment. Yet, our congressman, Lee Zeldin, stands mute while Trump carries out his meanspirited agenda. 

Mr. Zeldin’s time as the chief Trump water carrier has come to an end. We should all give our support to — and vote — this November for Perry Gershon. Mr. Gershon has promised to represent the interests of all his future constituents. He deserves our vote.

Sincerely,

BRUCE COLBATH