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Letters to the Editor: 06.27.19

Wed, 06/26/2019 - 11:17

Box Turtles
June 21, 2019 

To the Editor:

Thank you for the “Guestwords” on box turtles. Box turtles inhabit my property on the northwest corner of the intersection of Wainscott Hollow Road and Wainscott Main Street. I have encountered three so far this year including the one that came by today. They range from eight inches to two feet.

Three weeks ago one laid eggs four feet from the edge of my patio. I live diagonally across the street from Wainscott Pond. If one is heading south I pick it up and carry it across the intersection to the pond, although with the toxicity being discovered I am not sure I am doing the turtles a favor.

The feral cats sat and stared in wonder as the two-footer ambled by.

Teachers have taken the Wainscott School’s children across to see the turtles in their habitat.


A Special Guy
June 19, 2019

To the Editor:

I have a new friend. His name is Mohamed.

Last week I took a taxi from La Guardia Airport to Fresh Meadows to get the Jitney back home to Montauk. My flight arrived at 3.30 p.m.; the Jitney was at 4.45. I thought no problem until I saw the taxi line had about 75 people waiting. I climbed into a taxi at 4.30. I said to the driver I have 15 minutes to make a bus.

He’d never heard of the Hampton Jitney or Montauk or Fresh Meadows but he wanted to get me there on time. I told him not to stress. If I didn’t make it I would just wait for the next bus that was at 6.45. He did not like that idea. We pulled up to the spot at 4.46. and saw people waiting. I could not believe it, and he was so happy, full of smiles. Lots of joy going around. 

He got my bag out of the trunk. I got out of the cab, he pulled away, and I felt so relieved for about two minutes until I got this awful sinking feeling when I realized I had left my large purse, which contained four checkbooks, three gift cards, and a box of jewelry which included sentimental pieces in the cab.

Then I thought no stress. I have a feeling this will work out. The cab driver was a special guy.

I was talking to a friend the next day. She entered “lost bag in taxi “ on her phone. I got a number. Do you know that because of GPS with information about time and place a cab and driver can be located. They gave me a number. I called it. Mohamed answered. He said, “Is this Susan? I mailed your bag to you yesterday.”

I knew he was special. I am so glad that he came to our country before there was any kind of Muslim ban. He has a family. I will invite him to Montauk to swim in the ocean. I feel that I will always know him.

The world can be such a good place.


Words Matter
East Hampton
June 22, 2019 

To the Editor:

Words matter! I know that language is a living thing and things evolve. But evolution should take place slowly, and words should not take on new meanings suddenly. There are two words that are being used incorrectly — and so frequently — that it is maddening. And the guilty parties include news anchors who are setting examples for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of viewers. The words are incredible and incredibly.

Incredibly is not a synonym for very. 

Incredible is not a synonym for extraordinary, good, great, marvelous, special, superior, terrific, wonderful. The list could go on and on. It means, simply, unbelievable. And most things described as incredible are actually believable. Think about it. Examples abound.

Somewhere between November 2016 and January 2017, when Donald Trump was the president-elect, he was interviewed by Leslie Stahl on “60 Minutes.” The subject of intelligence came up, and Trump apparently wanted to assure Leslie that he would get excellent intelligence briefings. “We’re going to have incredible intelligence,” he said.

How I wish Leslie had smiled and said, “You’d actually be better off with credible intelligence.” Ironically, or perhaps prophetically, he believes Vladimir Putin and not our intelligence community. But I digress.

While we’re at it, anxious is not a synonym for eager, and unless one is going to try and try again, the word that follows try is “to,” not “and.” Best not to try and (ugh!) remember this. Try to remember it. Would it kill almost every sportscaster, heard by millions of listeners and viewers, to say “try to” instead of “try and?”


Art Fairs
East Hampton
June 24, 2019 

Dear Editor:

I am a 31-year-old local resident with a small business of my own, and I find the article “Montauk and East Hampton Businesses Bemoan Street Fairs” very upsetting. I was born and raised in Sag Harbor then moved to East Hampton 10 years ago. I love the Hamptons and make it my priority to stay here, which is not very easy. Ever since I was a child I have wanted to open my own boutique, but the exorbitant cost of renting or purchasing commercial retail space make owning my own year-round store unaffordable.

My business, Jacqueline Rene Jewelry, relies on the very few local art fairs in Montauk and East Hampton each summer. Proudly, I have been making handcrafted jewelry for over 17 years and would be extremely let down if the Montauk Artists Association’s art fair could no longer take place. These two shows on Memorial Day weekend and in mid-August bring a significant amount of commerce to my company and to the other participating small business owners like myself. Without these fairs, I would have to close down. I do understand Ms. Allen’s concerns; however, I am a local family participating in a local art show. I am lucky enough to have friends and family who support me by traveling to see me at my fairs. Each time, they meander through the fair, enjoy the art, then proceed to walk through the town, shop at the local stores, and have lunch or dinner at the restaurants. 

Yes, people shop at the booths during the very few weekends the art fairs are in town, but these fairs also bring people into the town to look through the local boutiques and dine in the restaurants. By charging the artists a booth fee, these shows bring in a lot of income for the hosting organizations. For example, the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce makes over $25,000 on just one show. I hope the store owners in Montauk and East Hampton, as well as Town of East Hampton officials see there can be benefits of permitting the Montauk Artists Association’s art fair and East Hampton street fair to continue. 



Camera System
East Hampton
June 12, 2019 

Dear David:

I was attempting to walk across Newtown Lane in a specified crosswalk. The car to my left stopped, and I started crossing. The car behind the stopped car drove around the stopped car and at high speed almost hit me. No police to catch the driver.

I stopped my car on Stephen Hand’s Path at the intersection with Route 114 at a red light. A car at high speed whizzed around me on the right side going through the red light without stopping. No police to catch the driver.

I understand it is impossible to have police at every danger point but how about cameras?

I suspect the fines for violations would far exceed the cost of a security camera system but more important it would get unsafe drivers off the road.


A Roundabout
East Hampton
June 21, 2019 

To the Star:

Like Councilman Bragman I also cross Stephen Hand’s Path daily. While the scenery is nice, I spend more time looking for speeding cars on Stephen Hand’s Path while I’m trying to cross the intersection. I feel a roundabout can be designed that won’t destroy the view. The town has already done more to destroy the view by mowing all the wildflowers that used to grow on the roadsides in Northwest.

Perhaps a simple decision to try four-way stop signs first, and if that doesn’t work or causes worse traffic problems than already exist, a roundabout could be built. This could be done quickly and inexpensively. Dragging this decision out for another few years will only result in more accidents.


Win With Wind
June 16, 2019 

Dear Editor:

Here I am again reading about the wind farm in The Star. It seems it won’t ever end. It’s the same cast of characters saying the same things to a different bureaucrat all concerned about their own interests. As in Wainscott, now they’re going to be inconvenienced, by Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott, and I’m not sure for whom, by Win With Wind. 

Notably, all of them show sympathy toward the fishermen by telling us these 15 mills in only this place are the first step toward a better world for them and their grandchildren.

I read that two grandmothers stepped forward and explained how concerned they are about the fate of their grandchildren. I promise, others have grandchildren, even fishermen, and one of the most valuable possessions I have is the heritage and knowledge my grandfather left me, fishing, knowing I won’t be able to give it to my grandchildren. 

I was amused at the predictions of doom we are going to face. Though I’m a believer in global warming and expect drastic changes, what predictions next? Swarms of killer bees from Brazil? Boa constrictors and alligators migrating from Florida to swim in our heated pools?

But I wonder what Win With Wind is. Did some propaganda genius at Orsted think up that name? Kind of like the old Soviet newspaper Tass? Maybe if their real wish is to save the earth a name like We Will Win is better. Then they can be an advocate rather then a shill.

The membership has at least two skillful politicians so why not advocate for something that will work? Laws to make houses efficient. Code changes to make it easy to put a windmill on your own property. Advice about solar cells. Do energy audits. Tell people this is a shared burden we all must carry to save all our grandchildren. But how likely is that? 

Not once in all the time we’ve been discussing the wind farm has anyone volunteered to not use air-conditioning or the pool pump, or even pull a plug. 

Why should we be uncomfortable when we can lecture the fishermen. Too bad for us.


Vitriolic Falsehoods
June 16, 2019

Dear David,

It is heartening to see that there was a good turnout of interested residents at the recent Public Service Commission hearing concerning the cable that connects the South Fork Wind Farm’s 15 turbines to East Hampton.

Our community always takes a hard look at the impacts, both positive and negative, of a project that affects us all. I respect and admire their efforts to educate themselves. What I am disheartened with is the two self-appointed public spokesmen, David Gruber and Si Kinsella, who are against the cable going under the road right of way in Wainscott because they continue to throw misleading half-truths and downright falsehoods in public and on their petitions.

I respect our residents enough to correct those falsehoods.

David Gruber has spread verbose vitriolic falsehoods about wind power for months. Note the highlights from just his letter to last week’s Star.

Gruber fallacy: 99 percent of the power generated by the South Fork Wind Farm is going UpIsland.

Fact: Power is directed to 70,000 homes on the South Fork.

Gruber fallacy: Former Supervisors Larry Cantwell and Judith Hope are “shilling for” (being paid by) Orsted.

Fact: Simply not true. Larry Cantwell and Judith Hope are two of the best, most effective supervisors to ever serve East Hampton. They have successfully stopped unwise overdevelopment by following the goals of our nationally respected zoning code that they had updated and set the direction for the use of 100 percent renewable energy use in East Hampton.

Gruber fallacy: Residents who support the South Fork Wind Farm are “besotted with the belief that they personally are saving their grandchildren from climate change” and do not care if Orsted makes money.

Fact: David, wait until your two girls have children. Also, I thought you were a capitalist. Because they are a private company, ratepayers (us) do not have to pay for construction and maintenance. That is a good thing.

Gruber fallacy: The “Win with Winders” have not done their homework.

Fact: See Gruber fallacies above. There is more. Check out next week’s Star or go to for more real facts.



P.S. Si Kinsella fallacies are next. There are so many, they should be in a separate letter.

Hopeful News
East Hampton
June 24, 2019 

Dear Editor:

A recent news article about the exposure of the transmission cables serving the Block Island Wind Farm underscores the validity of opponents’ concerns about a local landing site for the proposed South Fork Wind Farm project.

But the construction design and the technology used by the Deepwater company on Block Island are significantly different from what is proposed for the South Fork Wind Farm. Both the East Hampton town trustees and town board, in draft easements, require the cable conduit to be set at least 30 feet below Wainscott beach, whereas the design depths for the Block Island cables were only 10 feet beneath the beach. The cable installation will be achieved by a more advanced technology: a “horizontal directional drilling method” and designed to protect the cable from erosion over the full life of the project.

The company that built the Block Island wind farm has subsequently been acquired by Orsted, a Danish company that pioneered offshore wind in 1991, in partnership with Eversource, a New England energy company with decades of experience in cable installation. 

Orsted is one of the most experienced offshore wind energy companies in the world. The company now supplies over 25 percent of all offshore wind in the world, with thousands of turbines, primarily in Europe.

I consider it hopeful news that the South Fork Wind project, if approved after numerous future regulatory reviews, will be built by a company with a great depth (no pun intended) of experience and a good track record.

It is clear that any South Fork Wind project, including the cable installation and maintenance, must be subject to the most rigorous environmental review and ongoing monitoring. East Hampton residents are right to insist on this.

It would be truly tragic, however, if the valid concerns for our unique environmental heritage are allowed to drown out the urgent need to transition away from the destructive effects of burning fossil fuel rather than toward clean, renewable wind for our growing electricity needs.



Win With Wind

June 24, 2019 

Dear David,

Some Wainscott residents who oppose the Beach Lane landing of the Deepwater power line diagnosed the vigorous challenge to their opposition as hysteria. I would suggest that what they were hearing was not hysteria, but rather frustration to the point of despair.

For 40 years, science has been telling us we are on a global path to catastrophe, and for 40 years, society, nowhere more than America, has ignored the warnings. 

The International Panel on Climate Change in November told us we have 11 years to reduce annual emissions worldwide by 45 percent or we will cross a threshold into chaos on a geopolitical scale. Please think about that. Does anyone really believe that we can disassemble the fossil fuel power supply of the industrial revolution, and replace it with clean energy in 11 years? Despite the many people who have embraced that challenge and worked for years to accomplish it, American emissions went up in 2018.

The National Climate Assessment, a periodic report from 13 agencies of the federal government, now predicts that climatic effects are already so advanced that the American G.N.P. will soon begin to shrink from year to year.

Unprecedented disasters of the last year, California fires, inundated farms in the Midwest shrinking the food supply, and local efforts to replace the disappearing Montauk beach are not one-off incidents, or even a static new normal. Rather they are mere harbingers of escalating disasters we strain to imagine. One can shrug and call that hysteria. But it is the sober assessment of cold-blooded science throughout the industrial world.

Those of us who have been actively involved in this issue for years know that there is always opposition to every effort to actually do something on climate. Yes, there would be some inconvenience in the four-mile Beach Lane route during the off-season installation phase of the project. But that disruption pales beside the disruption of a route that would be seven miles longer, snaking through Amagansett from Hither Hills to Buell Lane, and lasting two years instead of one.

We’ve already begun to hear the opposition from the other direction so if the Beach Lane opponents succeed, a new battle will ensue from those inconvenienced by the Hither Hills route. And if these misguided delaying efforts succeed in East Hampton, we will see them repeated for every other project along the Atlantic Coast. Do not doubt that the fossil fuel industry will spend billions fomenting and abetting these efforts to protect their profits.

A number of technical objections from the leaders of the opposition have already been convincingly dispelled by the actual engineers involved. There is no physical or legal capability for later expansion going forward. There is no subterfuge in the plan related to location of a transformer. And the effort to demonize the “foreign corporation” that purchased Deepwater Wind is in my view wrong-headed.

We now have in charge a company that has vast experience, having done similar or much larger projects hundreds of times in other locations. They have every motivation to assure that this first major effort in America is done seamlessly to protect their prospects for further projects on the near horizon.

Although the cost of the contract per kilowatt is hidden, which I do not defend, it is estimated at $1.58 per household on our bills, which is ludicrous to worry about in the context of the famine, border wars, and hundreds of millions of climate refugees we face with business as usual.

The example of cheaper rates at, for example, Martha’s Vineyard, has been made. Well, Martha’s Vineyard residents were having the discussions we are having now 15 years ago. Shame on us for coming late to the game. We can’t erase the past. But it is too late to stall the effort to add robust, clean energy to our grid for another year or five years in search of a perfect plan that offends nobody.

This offshore wind project will not save the world. Globally, it is a drop in the bucket. We also need vast changes in our grid, microgrids, vast energy storage, a carbon tax, and major expenditures in research to bring us solutions we’ve not yet imagined. But it represents an important beginning of a new chapter. At this point, there are those who are saying, based on thousands of community battles like ours, slowing progress worldwide, it is “game over.” Human beings are apparently too shortsighted to make the necessary sacrifices in time. Victory is not assured by the laws of science. 

There are others who say we have the technology to save much of the world we inherited, albeit in a much damaged state, since we have delayed for so long. We are playing a part in this drama. I hope we will rise to the occasion.


No Patent In Effect
East Hampton
June 24, 2019

To the Editor:

At the June 18 work session of the East Hampton Town Board, I made a statement in reference to your editorial of June 13, and I would like to share the same information with your readers about erroneous information in the editorial regarding statements in an affidavit by Marc Rowan, the owner of the former Duryea’s property in Montauk.

In his affidavit, Mr. Rowan talks about a Feb. 14, 2018, meeting in my office when he came, as he had during the previous administration, to discuss outstanding land use and zoning issues at his property, now the subject of litigation.

Nowhere in the affidavit does Mr. Rowan assert that I was “eager to see the issues with Duryea’s resolved in Mr. Rowan’s favor,” as was stated erroneously in your editorial. 

What I did convey at the meeting was that the town has procedures, through planning board and zoning board of appeals applications and review, to resolve land-use questions, and that the town maintains the position that there is no patent in effect that exempts the Duryea’s property from town review. If Mr. Rowan disagreed, I said, he was free to seek a judicial decision. Subsequently, he did file several lawsuits against the town. 

The affidavit you referenced, which was submitted to the court, is a matter of public record and is attached.

Your false statement in the editorial mischaracterizes the situation completely. Thank you for the opportunity to set the record straight.



Supervisor, East Hampton Town

Both a copy of Marc Rowan’s May 2 affidavit provided by Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc’s office and one obtained separately contain the following: 

“At that meeting, Mr. Van Scoyoc stated to me that he wanted to globally resolve the issues relating to the Premises, but that the Town Board did not feel that it could negotiate a resolution without judicial assistance because of Town politics and public pressure. Mr. Van Scoyoc accordingly asked Petitioner to file suit to provide the Town Board with political cover.” 

The nuance between “eager” and “wanted” is a matter of editorial opinion. In the foregoing, Mr. Van Scoyoc has not disputed the substance of that reported conversation. Ed.

Might Forget
June 22, 2019

To David:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every helicopter and seaplane pilot who includes my house on the North Fork in their flight pattern. If it weren’t for them I might forget how peaceful and quiet my environs would be, especially on the weekends in the summer. 

I’d also like to thank each and every passenger on those aircraft for inadvertently including me in their lifestyle. Most other people I talk to find these scenic tours over their houses annoying or obnoxious. I myself miss the days when the dishes in my kitchen would rattle. Maybe the forever ongoing discussions with the various legislators will bring back those good old days. I hear the back streets of the Hamptons are beautiful at 6 a.m. while riding a Harley.


Dangerous Daily
June 24, 2019

Dear Editor,

Four times the current rate of air traffic can be handled at the latest superfund site, East Hampton Airport. That assessment, according to the new chief air traffic controller at KHTO, was based on an analysis of air traffic on the busiest day in 2018, an indication that East Hampton Airport could, in future, handle four flights per minute: two arrivals, two departures.

The old tower chief said the mix of rotor and fixed-wing traffic funneled into narrow air corridors was dangerous, especially during rush hours; the new chief says, way to go. Who should we believe, the whistleblower or the new hire?

Density of air traffic above our homes is dangerous daily, worse on days of low visibility. Air traffic will worsen in the days before and after July 4. Ads for ride-sharing to the Hamptons pervade the internet. This past Sunday was a preview of the nightmare headed our way daily from early a.m. to late p.m. — jets large, medium, and small, huge twin-engine helicopters and low-flying seaplanes making money while making our lives totally miserable, impacting our health and scaring the living daylights out of many of us.

It’s time to end pernicious commuter flights above our homes. Reckless operators and thoughtless passengers have made our summers no longer something to look forward to, with each year a more hellacious summer than the last. Quality of life and our environment are impacted: tainted water at Wainscott (likely has tainted soil, too), particulate matter too fine to see dumped upon us from emissions from every flight. Imagine 27,664 flights in 2018 alone, and the possibility of that number multiplied by four, or even by two — over 55,000 annually! Simply unimaginable.

This pernicious, pollution-enabling facility sits above our sole source aquifer. Save our water, soil, air. Close East Hampton Airport in 2021 before any one of the possible tragic outcomes hits all of us.

Thank you,


Four Hours a Day
June 24, 2019

Dear David, 

Thank you so much for putting my letter about Mother Angelica and EWTN at the top of your editorial column last week. If she were alive today she would be giving you two thumbs up. I think it was back in 1981 that Mother Angelica pulled the switch that allowed her network to start transmitting four hours a day to a few thousand homes. Now EWTN is all over the world, in almost 300 million homes. Not bad for a cloistered nun. 


Joe Biden
June 23, 2019 

Dear David,

I was going to voice my opinion about Nancy Pelosi, who wants President Trump in jail. I changed my mind as I am too busy shaking my head with this crazed woman. She loves her gavel, loves her power, but can’t control the Muslims, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Try talking without the hand movements; let’s see if she can finish a sentence.

Now handsy, neck-smelling, plagiarism, and lying Joe Biden. I do not believe this person is a racist because racist is the word of the year. But this fool who believes that Obama started this good economic time, perhaps Trump’s first year, but get real, we are three years into  Trump’s, and all the good President Trump has done he has accomplished with no help from the Democrats. He does not belong in this race as can’t keep it together. Nor can he keep his hands off females.

In God and country,


East Hampton
June 24, 2019


When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the border shelters concentration camps her reference was both metaphorical and real. For the people who are held in these shelters, the children who are separated from their parents, and anyone seeking refuge in the United States, these shelters are an abomination and a message. For the American people this is a wake-up call to what our government is doing. 

Jews reference camps to the Holocaust, but the use of concentration camps has a long and sordid history in both the U.S. and the rest of the world. Arguing about the political correctness of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s statement deflects our focus from the real problem. Something we don’t really want to deal with. Heads in the sand until they go away.

The problem is a humanitarian crisis that we are dehumanizing. There are 73 million people in the world who are in similar situations. One percent of the world’s population. We need to put our sensitivities in a place that helps to resolve the problem. 


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