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Letters to the Editor: 08.15.19

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 10:31

Fireworks Show
East Hampton
August 10, 2019

To the Editor,

With yet another summer season coming to a close, it’s time to indulge in one of our community’s most beloved summer traditions — the East Hampton Fire Department’s annual Main Beach fireworks show. This year’s show will be held this Saturday, Aug. 17, with a rain date of Sunday, the 18th.

The annual Fire Department fireworks show was started over 91 years ago by Chief Felix Dominy and serves as the only fund-raiser for the East Hampton Fire Department and a great evening for the public. Funded entirely by donations from residents and visitors, this year’s show promises to be one of our best yet as it will cap off an exciting day of activities in the village. We invite you to come and spend the evening with us on any of our beautiful village beaches and revel in the tradition and grandeur of an amazing fireworks show.

Sincerely,

Gerard Turza Jr.

Chief

East Hampton Fire Department


Feel Blessed
East Hampton
August 12, 2019

To the Editor

We all are bothered by the summer sounds of sirens, but when it’s you who needs to call 911 because your outdoor grill is engulfed in flames that you can’t control, and the police and fire volunteers show up in droves to prevent your house from burning and also do whatever they can to find your missing dog, you feel blessed to have this amazing local community service!

Thanks to all, including the two young gentlemen who brought our dog home. Please come by so we may thank you in person!

Sincerely,

VIRGINIA and JOHN GRAY


Solve This Problem
New York City
August 6, 2019

Dear David,

I read the article last weekend about the Springs turning down again the application for a new cell tower in that area. I have been campaigning for years about the absurd situation in East Hampton that if you travel half a mile in almost any direction outside the village, you run into a dead spot where calls are disconnected or in the process fail to make connection at all.

I even spoke years ago to the C.E.O. of Verizon whom I know personally and appealed to him to solve the problem. He recounted to me the dilemma they have had with the communities surrounding the village who would not allow them to install a cell tower in any form or shape, and would have done anything to solve the problem if they were allowed.

The current rejection of the proposed tower at the campanile of a local church, which would be totally obscured, is another defeat in the journey to bring full cellphone coverage to areas surrounding East Hampton Village. In the year 2019, it is time to solve this problem so we don’t look like a third-rate country with no cellphone coverage outside the town. Perhaps the town itself should put up on its property a well-disguised tower in any form that would hide its contents but still give coverage.

With kindest regards,

ALAN PATRICOF


For Handicapped
Amagansett
August 6, 2019

Dear David:

It is incredibly sad that our neighbors with limited mobility or other conditions qualifying them for handicapped stickers are at the mercy of disappearing parking spots on our main streets. These residents deserve to be able to shop, dine, attend movies, visit art galleries, and participate in the many activities offered at the libraries in our villages.

That it was necessary to learn of the elimination of these parking places in a front-page article in this paper demonstrates a deaf ear by town and village officials, who should have been proactive in addressing this problem. Hopefully, this need will be addressed in short order.

SUSAN CRANDALL


More Seniors
East Hampton
August 12, 2019

To the Editor,

The senior center in East Hampton is housed in a 100-year-old building that can no longer be repaired. I would like to ask the wealthy people who generously raise funds for many things: Perhaps you could ask our town officials what they need to take care of the seniors. We have more seniors living here as the young people leave. They cannot buy a home in East Hampton or find a job here. The senior center is at 128 Springs-Fireplace Road. The Department of Human Services is located in the trailer.

JULIA KAYSER


About the Sign
East Hampton
August 12, 2019

To the Editor,

Like Anne Tobias, I was a regular customer at Cirillo’s I.G.A. Last month our household was up to 13 people and I was there every day. I love the store, the staff are great, and I am so grateful that it is there.

It really hurt my feelings to read about the sign and learn that my appreciation is not reciprocated. They don’t like me and they aren’t grateful that I am there. 

I am still mystified about two things. First: why pick a fight about Christmas greetings in August? Second, why would any business owner want to greet good customers at the door with a frown? It’s not about the politics, it’s about the unprovoked hostility. Whatever happened to “welcome”?

MARGARET DELACY


Paper Or Plastic
Rockville, Md.
August 7, 2019

Dear Mr. Rattray,

The Star’s May 30, 2019, editorial, “What You Can’t See,” talked about plastics in the environment and how “consumers can make informed choices about how much plastic they use every day.” Similarly, The Star’s July 25, 2019, editorial, “A Matter of Politics,” spoke to the use of plastic straws in restaurants and some alternatives to their use.

These editorials brought to mind my recent visit to Bonac, to participate in the memorial gathering and remembrance of a dear, departed bayman friend. While in town during mid-May this past spring, my wife and I had dinner one evening at a nice local seafood restaurant. We had a brief wait as the restaurant was doing a brisk business on the Saturday evening we were there. The seafood was quite good and the atmosphere and ambience were relaxing.

What disturbed me, however, was that everything was served in either paper or plastic. Drinks, water or brew, were in plastic cups. Flatware was all plastic. Chowder was in a stiff paper cup, and the main course was on a layer of paper laid in a red plastic basket-looking server. I saw no chinaware or glassware or stainless flatware in use that night.

I wondered how the after-meal paper and plastic wastes are handled by the restaurant. Are they recycled or handled as trash? Please do not misunderstand me here. I am not accusing the restaurant of doing anything improper, inappropriate, or unsavory. I just wondered how the meal wastes are handled, and where they go. Then, in thinking about how many meals must be served there during the prime season, for both lunch and dinner, this waste handling, however it is done, must be staggering.

So upon my return home, I communicated by email through the restaurant’s website and asked my questions about the use of so much plastic and paper. The owners’ email response was timely, very cordial, and explained their situation. In part, the reply stated: “I understand your concerns with our usage of plastic. I also wish we didn’t have to use single-service products; we are zoned through East Hampton Town as a fast-food restaurant and due to that zoning we are not permitted to use china, silverware, or glass. We are only allowed to use single service products. With that being said, we try to use bio-degradable plastics, paper, and paper plates as much as possible.

Another issue is the Suffolk County Health Department; if we were even able to switch to china, we would have to add a commercial dish-washing machine and that would be denied because we would need to increase our septic field but do not have enough property to meet today’s codes. I have looked into all of this since we opened at this location. I hope this shines some light on why we use single service products. We hope to see you next time you’re in town, hopefully under better circumstances.”

I understand that I am not a local resident anymore, and I’m not trying to cause a problem for that nice local restaurant. I am a “stakeholder” in what happens locally, however, even as an outsider, as my occasional presence in town can cause activities that can have environmental consequences. I am a stakeholder who values the local landscape, marine resources, and the local people. Assuming that the restaurant owner’s reply is accurate, it seems that this restaurant may be doing the best that it can, and what it must do. It also may be between a rock and a hard place.

I wonder, also, if other local restaurants are in this situation and operate like this. Two other restaurants we visited during our stay used traditional china, glass, and stainless, I am glad to say. The Airbnb where we stayed two nights in Springs did not recycle; all plastic and glass waste went into the trash, I am sorry to say. I am guessing that recycling may be extra work, requiring the transport of recyclable materials to a reception center. Or it may be costly to arrange for recycling pickup.

I am sympathetic to The Star’s editorial concerns about the plastic waste we humans generate, how we handle it, and the potential consequences to the marine environment. I hope that South Fork restaurants operate properly in terms of their waste generation and handling, as best they can. As a consumer, I am making an informed and unfortunate choice about how much plastic (and paper) I use, or cause to be used when I am in Bonac, by probably not returning to that nice restaurant, even though we had a good meal and a nice evening’s experience there. I am sorry for this.

I’d love to stand corrected as to what I have observed and written here. Thanks for listening.

Sincerely,

CLARENCE HICKEY


Animal Agriculture
East Hampton
August 8, 2019

Dear Star Editor,

“Climate Change Threatens World Food Supply” was the lead story in yesterday’s leading newspapers. It was prompted by the release of a summary report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (I.P.C.C.), staffed by more than 100 experts from 52 countries.

The report details how climate change is threatening our world’s food and water supplies — turning arable land to desert, degrading soil, and raising the frequency of devastating weather conditions. It concludes that avoiding wholesale starvation and mass migrations requires fundamental changes in current animal agriculture and land management practices, which account for 23 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

The conclusions of the I.P.C.C. report match closely those by Oxford University in 2017 and by Chatham House in 2015. A 2010 United Nations report blames animal agriculture for 19 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, 70 percent of freshwater use, and 38 percent of land use. All reports recommend a massive shift to plant-based eating.

In an environmentally sustainable world, meat and dairy products in our diet must be replaced by vegetables, fruits, and grains, just as fossil fuels are replaced by wind, solar, and other pollution-free energy sources. Our next visit to the supermarket provides a superb starting point.

Sincerely,

ELIJAH HANNESBURG


CO2 Issue
East Hampton
August 12, 2019

To the Editor:

Each day in the news we read about the dramatic effect of climate change. Temperatures are rising, glaciers are melting and disappearing. Montana’s Glacier National Park will soon need a new name when it is no longer the home to any glaciers. Floods and droughts in many areas around the world are becoming more common. Weather is becoming more violent, with stronger and bigger hurricanes and typhoons. Seas are rising, and we can see the effect locally as the Shelter Island ferry docks need to be raised so the ferries can safely off-load their cars.

The vast majority of scientists agree that the carbon dioxide (CO2) spewed into the air by vehicles and power plants burning fossil fuels is causing the earth’s temperature to rise. A rise in the earth’s temperature of just a few degrees will have serious consequences. CO2 is the problem because it prevents the sun’s rays, which naturally warm the earth, from being reflected into outer space by snow, oceans, lakes, and the earth itself. As CO2 levels in the atmosphere increase, the reflected rays are bounced back to earth by that CO2. It is simple: The more CO2 in the atmosphere the more the sun’s rays heat the earth.

The South Fork of Long Island continues to increase its demand for electricity, which is primarily provided by fossil fuel-burning power plants. The problem is that the power lines and towers bringing the electricity to the South Fork have reached their capacity and cannot handle any increase in power. To deal with the increased demand, diesel-powered generators have been brought to East Hampton and Montauk. Each day you can see them sending clouds of CO2-laden exhaust into the atmosphere.

In 2015 the Long Island Power Authority sought proposals to address this issue and Deepwater Wind’s South Fork Wind Farm (S.F.W.F.) proposal was judged to be the most cost-effective solution. No new power lines and towers would need to be built to bring the power from UpIsland and wind turbines would use renewable wind energy, which does not create any CO2.

The 15 S.F.W.F. wind turbines would be in the ocean 35 miles off Montauk and the power cable bringing the electricity ashore would plug into an upgraded Cove Hollow Road substation. The preferred landing site for the cable (about 10 inches in diameter) is Beach Lane in Wainscott. The cable would be brought to shore in a conduit which is 24 inches in diameter and would be buried not less than 30 feet beneath the beach at Wainscott. The use of horizontal directional drilling brings the cable in without disturbing the surface of the beach. The cable would then be buried about three to four feet under existing roads including Beach Lane. After the cable is installed, Beach Lane would be repaved and only manhole covers along the route would be visible.

S.F.W.F. will provide power for 70,000 typical South Fork households. This will eliminate the need for the diesel-powered generators and avoid the significant cost of replacing towers and power lines from UpIsland.

It is time for us to step up and address the CO2 issue. It is time for Wainscott to support the power cable coming ashore at Beach Lane. The cable will be installed under Beach Lane in the off-season. It is ironic that there is vocal objection to less than a mile of power cable underneath Beach Lane, which will provide power to 70,000 South Fork homes, but there was no objection to the installation in 2019 of 45,000 feet of new water mains in Wainscott (including Beach Lane) to bring safe public water to 520 Wainscott residents.

It is time for Wainscott residents to step up and join the rest of the South Fork community. We need the S.F.W.F. and Beach Lane is the most direct and cost-effective landing site for the power cable.

JERRY MULLIGAN


Pushing the Project
East Hampton
August 12, 2019

Dear David,

The town wants to improve water quality. So do I. The town wants to increase the number of filter feeders in our waters. So do I. The town wants to use a residentially zoned property and spend $5 million to save $23,000 a year for the shellfish hatchery in order to improve water quality. That I do not want.

Your editorial on Aug. 8 cited the mortality rate of scallops as being a big hit to the restocking effort. What is the scientific link between this restocking effort and water quality? I can tell you the area of the harbor is about 900 acres, or 39,204,000 feet square. At an average depth of only 5 feet, that yields a volume of 196,020,000; 3 feet, or 1,466,332,120 gallons. So figure 1.5-billion gallons roughly in Three Mile Harbor, which, if you consider the tidal range of 4 feet twice a day, about half of that gets exchanged with the bay every day, especially closest to the inlet (Gann Road).

An oyster filters 50 gallons a day. I don’t know how many a scallop filters, but 10,000 additional oysters is only 500,000 gallons a day, or 0.07% of the amount of water getting exchanged to the bay every day. I am curious how much water laden with nitrogen from septic systems enters the harbor, but all the studies show septic system nitrogen is the largest contributor to water quality issues and algae blooms. The hot spot of Three Mile Harbor is the southern end, where Soak Hides dreen flows in 24/7, as does groundwater through pipes through the town-owned dock’s bulkhead. So you tell me, how is this hatchery expansion project so great for water quality? The hatchery’s mission is to restock the waters and do research.

My opinion: The town’s shellfish hatchery expansion project at the corner of Gann Road and Babes Lane, on a residentially-zoned lot bought with community preservation funds, and currently designated with signs as a community preserve, is not the right way to accomplish the goal of improving water quality.

In your editorial, you said, “We are not entirely convinced they are correct in this assumption,” referring to the town spending money, committing to the project, and completing a negative declaration for the State Environmental Quality Review Act, to get it to the point where it can even be evaluated. Wow! Jeff Bragman is an expert. He should be heeded by the board, yet they dismiss him. How four-fifths of our town board is going about trying to do this, from pushing the project through artificially fast for grant, i.e., tax funding, to ignoring neighborhood concerns, and following a process that seems like a double standard compared to what a commercial development of the same size and scope would require, makes me very upset.

David, you said widespread town opinion supports aquaculture, but I can tell you the town government doesn’t support commercial aquaculture — look at Sunset Cove Marina. Gann Road is not the obvious place for a new “green” state-of-the-art facility. There is no obvious need for the facility in the first place! All of the neighborhood I live in, with both my house and my family’s business on Gann Road, are opposed to this project. We have started a petition online that explains our arguments in further detail and asks for support to stop this project.

In my opinion, the town should leave the hatchery doing what it’s doing, save the $5 million, direct their efforts to finishing the impactful projects, do what Pio Lombardo recommended in the town’s wastewater management study, and give us all a tax break for the town’s portion of the money for this project. Raising two kids in Springs (or The Springs, whatever suits you, talk to my mom about that one), I can tell you I want the government to stop spending my money on frivolous, no-impact projects.

Sincerely,

MARK MENDELMAN


Growing
East Hampton
August 11, 2019

To The Star:

In the Aug. 5, 2019, East Hampton Star, Ira Barocas offered a letter condemning the East Hampton shellfish hatchery program and its proposed expansion. In the letter, Barocas claims “the oyster raising operation is callously usurping public access, poisoning the water and eroding the beachfront and deeded public access to the Babes Lane Preserve.” This claim is absurd.

Any visitor to the hatchery will note that the facility stands on lands that have long belonged to the town and been shared by the public for use in boatbuilding, a Marine Patrol station, and as a shellfish hatchery. There is nothing eroding the beachfront. Floating in the water nearby this station are dozens of floating cage-like structures containing millions of oysters growing safely from the common predators.

Scientific studies have shown these shellfish, by their filtration processes, actually improve overall water quality and have been recommended nationwide and worldwide as mechanisms for improving water quality. The floating cages may not be so attractive to look at, but they are and will be feeding many more people healthy seafood and keeping our waters cleaner than they would be without them. 

WILLIAM FEIGELMAN


Completely Unaware
East Hampton
August 12, 2019

Dear David:

I have said it before, a number of times, but it is necessary to say it again: The problem with the town board’s woefully inadequate planning, of everything, is not that the members know so little  personally about the problems they must address. That is to be expected. Given the sheer range of issues, from traffic to water quality, housing to beach erosion, if any one of them actually had some relevant education or professional experience, it would be a fluke.

Rather, the problem is either that they do not understand how little they know, don’t know what to do about it, or consumed with childish vanity, they simply insist on doing themselves what they do not know how to do.

Exhibit one for today is the project to move the shellfish hatchery from Montauk to Gann Road in Springs. If you listen carefully to the presentation that Councilman Lys makes to the town board and the public, as I have a couple of times, you hear about the history of the hatchery, the virtues of shellfish for the marine ecosystem and clean water, all the meetings Mr. Lys held with this one or that one, how green the building is, and its “vernacular architecture.”

What you never hear is the impact that the project is expected to have on water quality, because the answer is none. This is not the building of a hatchery where none exists. It is moving the existing operation from one place to another, without a change in production capacity that currently already exceeds the need. The move will not result in a single additional clam, oyster, or scallop in our waters because the limitations on production at present are labor and habitat, not the capacity of the hatchery to produce shellfish seeds.

The project will cost $2.5 million of town money, including $1.5 million of community preservation fund money earmarked for water quality, and $2.7 million of New York State grant money. The justifications are to save $23,000 a year of hatchery operating costs and the convenience of employees, who will no longer have to travel between the shellfish hatchery in Montauk and the shellfish nursery off Gann Road.

This is an obvious waste of money that we need for actual water quality improvement and many other things. No one in their right mind would spend $2.5 million of their own money to save $23,000 a year, less than 1 percent, even to obtain the gift from the state of the other $2.7 million.

How did the town board manage to make such a simple mistake, a mistake that anyone who has made significant capital investment in a business would know to avoid? None of the town board members who voted for this project (Van Scoyoc, Overby, Lys, and Burke-Gonzalez) has such business experience. But we have a business and finance advisory committee with members who do. It was not consulted.

How did they not realize that this project will have no impact on water quality? We have a fisheries advisory committee of people knowledgeable about such matters. They weren’t consulted either. Needless to say, the town board did not consult the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee until the plan was largely complete, and then only two days before voting to approve it. They have yet to engage the planning board in a review.

In business school, and in business life, one learns that there are well-understood methods for strategic planning, questions that must be asked and answered. The town board bumps along on its behind, completely unaware of the discipline that exists for these purposes. Foolishly, they never ask. We cannot afford such wastefulness.

I am the EH Party candidate for East Hampton Town supervisor. I head a ticket of Democrats, Republicans, and independents working together across political party lines to solve local problems. Every one of us is committed to engaging the community deeply and directly in planning and problem solving with respect to every issue we face together in East Hampton. If you give us your vote on Election Day in November, you won’t have to ask us. We’ll find you.

Sincerely,

DAVID GRUBER


True Leadership
Amagansett,
East Hampton

August 12, 2019

Dear David,

There is a case for a fusion party and fusion voting in East Hampton. Back in the day Democratic or Republican candidates were always local. Campaign appearances revolved around community organizations such as fire departments, schools, police, and the like. Occasionally a neighbor would host a dinner party at their house. Those elected knew the issues and worked together, putting partisan politics aside. Although times have changed, local issues have not lost their importance and deserve our utmost attention.

Decisions made by our elected officials have long-lasting impacts on our environment, our waters, our farmlands, our businesses, and our families. As the demographics of our town have changed, we have become a community of one-party rule, and it has not served us well. After watching our town officials at the last board meeting, the situation is dismal. Specifically concerning were their exchange with Mark Mendelman, their exchange with Averill Geus, and the board members’ discussion with each other concerning the cover-crop law. The elected officials were defensive, condescending, and sarcastic. They appeared to be paying lip service to members of our community who attended the meeting to speak about important matters. Being a town board member is a hard job; there must be a certain level of frustration trying to move a project forward. Believe me, those in the building and fishing industries know what that frustration feels like. This year, we have a real chance to change this business as usual. The EH Fusion Party has endorsed Democratic, Republican, Independence, and non-affiliated candidates. Fusion candidates have agreed to abandon partisan political agendas to work together for the good of our community. No back-room deals, but real effort to solve our community’s issues and help those who reside in our town.

The reality is this: Five board members cannot have all the answers. That said, true leadership seeks out experts in our community who can help us problem solve. True leadership begins by involving community members from the beginning to the end. Furthermore, it is a silly, destructive idea that a well-qualified person must change their political party to serve our community. The Fusion Party represents great leadership, well-qualified candidates who propose to change the way that the East Hampton Town Board communicates with the community. The EH Fusion Party is not business as usual.

DAWN RANA BROPHY

ANNETTE RANA WEBB


Assigned Hamlet
Springs
August 11, 2019

Dear David:

It is widely accepted in business presentations that one leaves one’s phone turned off. It would be rude and unprofessional not to follow that advice. It would seem that one board member keeps their phone active throughout board meetings. Very rude.

It is known that the town board assigns each member to cover all pertinent matters in one hamlet. There was a closed-door meeting in Montauk about Duryea’s restaurant, with only Peter and David Lys representing the town. Why wasn’t Sylvia Overby included as Montauk is her assigned hamlet?

At present there is a proposal for a shellfish hatchery in a residential area in Springs, proposed by David Lys without Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, whose hamlet this is, having much voice in the very controversial and expensive plan. It appears that David is acting like he is the assistant supervisor.

David has minimal business experience and it shows during his presentations to the community. His presentations should show extensive research, merit, and meet all the governmental requirements. Right now the cart is coming before the horse.

NAOMI SALZ


Looks Abandoned
East Hampton
August 12, 2019

Dear David,

The village board (actually, trustee Rose Brown) has decided to improve Herrick Park. The Harriet F. Herrick Playground opened in 1914 and was later given to the village by James Ford after Mrs. Herrick died. Throughout the history of the park there have always been activities held there. The Ladies Village Improvement Society fair, weekly concerts, tennis tournaments, and even a pet show.

I am sure if Mrs. Herrick were to see the park now she would be very disappointed. The entrance to the park is a dirt path from Newtown Lane, the entrance from the Reutershan parking lot is accessible by walking past public bathrooms. The tennis courts have mold and weeds growing up through large cracks. The basketball courts are a complete mess. The grass on the baseball fields has grown into the base line and the dirt infield is all overgrown. It is disgraceful and actually looks abandoned.

The park has been in disrepair for many years. Quite some time ago, the village board made a decision to neglect the park, thereby ending activities that once took place. The women’s softball league once played there, as did rugby, ultimate Frisbee, peewee football, etc., etc. It was a park that brought our community members together. It is all gone, all removed by a village board that no longer wanted activities in the park.

Barbara Borsack, who is a candidate for village mayor and has been a village trustee for 20 years, is part of the village board that has for many years neglected the park. She is part of the village board that has allowed a wonderful gift to fall completely into disrepair.

This poor leadership and carelessness is exactly why I am calling for term limits for all elected officials in the Village of East Hampton. If I am elected mayor, I will enact a term limit for all village trustees and the mayor.

We should all thank trustee Rose Brown, who is in her first term on the village board, for taking the initiative to restore the Harriet F. Herrick Playground to the condition that is fit for America’s Most Beautiful Village.

Please see photos on my website: www.jerrylarsenformayor.com

JERRY LARSEN


Spread the Message
Montauk
August 12, 2019

To the Editor,

On Aug. 19, 1917, Lucia and Francisco were together at a place called Valinhos, near Aljustrel, when they recognized that the Lady was approaching, so they sent for Jacinta. The Lady spoke to Lucia: “I want you to continue going to the Cova da Iris on the 13th and to continue praying the Rosary every day. In the last month, I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.” The Lady asked that the money left by pilgrims be used to build a chapel there in her honor. Looking very sad, The Lady then said: “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them.” The Lady also reported that because of their imprisonment, “The promised miracle in October would not be as great.” With that the Lady rose into the air and moved towards the east before disappearing.

This information comes from the official publication of the World Apostolate of Fatima, U.S.A. The mission of this Apostolate is to help people learn, live, and spread the message of Our Lady of Fatima.

VINCENT BIONDO


On Santa’s Knee
Sag Harbor
August 9, 2019

To the Star:

Did your mom ever take you to see Santa Claus, and a photographer would take your picture for you to show your friends? In the process, while you were bouncing on Santa’s knee, you were expected to tell Santa your list of things that you wanted. No explanation as to why you wanted them, or why you deserved to have them. Just a list of things you wanted.

Kind of a silly Christmas ritual for children, but it was all in fun. I think even the children knew it was a deception, but worth it because it may result in getting some of their desired gifts.

The ugly, greedy political machine of today has gotten to the point of absolute absurdity. Santa Claus is now Donald J. Trump — and his “base,” the political and commercial sycophants that use the president for their own purposes, are now the children being bounced on Santa’s knee.

Today, Friday, Aug. 9, Santa will be in Water Mill and Bridgehampton to entertain those greedy children who have upward of $250,000, which will allow them to be bounced on his knee. They will ask D.J.T., in a very private setting, what they would like from him and the U.S. government.

These greedy children will ask for expensive things but will also get a photo of themselves with Santa for them to put on their wall, to show others how powerful they are. They will even get to talk to Santa personally to make sure that their Christmas list is heard.

This is so very different from my childhood recollection, and it is so sad, because the mythology of Santa Claus is what is driving our government today. For democracy today, we have to pay Santa handsomely for a photo with Santa, a knee bounce, and desired gifts.

ANTHONY CORON


Blistering
Springs
August 12, 2019

Dear David:

My heartfelt congratulations for your blistering editorial castigating all who blatantly support and encourage the catastrophic President Trump, be it for their own undisguised profit or out of their own stupidity.

You will no doubt receive howling letters, and to those writers I can only say: “The above applies to you!”

REDJEB JORDANIA


Very, Very Biased
Springs
August 12, 2019

Dear Editor,

I read with interest your editorial “Hosting a Demagogue.” I find it amazing that the liberals can call President Trump every kind of name that’s disgusting and get away with it. I found your article bullying, true bullying. You didn’t like that Trump was coming out east but try that name-calling on Obama, all hell would break loose. Did you call Clinton names, when he came here? Oh no, alleged accusations against him were okay.

Ex-antifa members have made known that this organized terrorist gang get their orders from the left. No articles on this. You want to talk about taking up arms against fellow citizens, investigate antifa; they wear dark clothes and hide their faces, do damage and beat people bloody.

There are many comparisons I could express but I don’t need to take up a page like some writers. I find your paper and editorials very, very biased. Praise always went to Clinton and Obama, they did nothing wrong, only Trump. Everything he does is wrong

Sincerely,

BEA DERRICO


Hate Talk
Rochester
August 8, 2019

To the Editor:

Up until now, I have believed that the best way to defeat Donald Trump in 2020 has been to focus on advocating for the federal government to do more to help the lower and middle classes with their economic and financial struggles to survive and to pay their bills. So I have largely ignored his hateful, dumb, stupid, and ignorant [rants], in which he demeans, insults, bullies, and disrespects all minority groups, women, and immigrants.

I have done this partly because I have believed from day one that this has all been a big act and that he is a master manipulator and con man who really doesn’t believe the ridiculous, idiotic, and moronic things that he says, but that he cleverly figured out that he could win the presidency by pretending that he actually believes in what he thinks — that 51 percent of the American people believe in hate. But his hate talk has now become too dangerous. He is playing with fire.

This big act and game has to stop. I call on all of the good-hearted conservative-Republicans in the U.S.A. who have a conscience to join Nikki Haley and to call out Trump on his hate talk. The people he has insulted and disrespected don’t deserve to hear any more of his nonsense. He might have already damaged our country beyond repair because sometimes there are things that can never be made right. I hope it is not too late.

Sincerely,

STEWART B. EPSTEIN


Rescind the Limits
East Hampton
August 9, 2019

To the Editor:

The New York Times has a dispiriting article today on the probable impossibility of actually limiting the presence of assault weapons in our country due to the already enormous proliferation of them, there now being an estimated 15 million assault rifles in the country.

The article goes on to detail some of the early activism of John Rosenthal, the founder of Stop Handgun Violence, who noted that it is not surprising that both the nuclear industry and the gun industry have “secured federal legislation to help limit their liability.” What strikes me is that if we were able to rescind the limits on the manufacturers’ liability it would put the necessity of limiting assault weapons in our culture onto the very companies that have made the weapons and made fortunes from their sales. This would take the task away from our government and would relieve our citizens of the attendant tax burden. If the companies were no longer protected from liability they would be forced to solve the problem, and who better to do it?

FRED KOLO


Stranger Than Fiction
East Hampton
August 11, 2019

Dear David,

I’d like to respond to two letters last week that made good sense. One was Lyle Greenfield’s “Like a Mild Spice.” Lyle’s letter was a validation that we are in a whirring blender of insanity in our leadership, spewing pieces of hate and ridiculous statements staining our land and minds and good patriotic hearts. What is he like, we wonder? We cannot believe such madness, even though we’ve studied mad kings and despots in history classes and books, and seen them acted out in movies. But this is real life and it cannot go on, can it?

Lyle’s letter clearly states all the reasons this presidency is not working. How refreshing to read it, instead of being aggressively confronted by people who support such a president and their demand to know why we do not. Tell me one thing he did wrong? Tell me why he is a racist? This is said very fast, in one breath. They appear impatient and aggressive, as the president himself has proven himself to be, a bully who speaks as if he has Tourette’s and acts before he thinks. The insistent supporters of the president would rather stay blind and fight than educate themselves it seems. If ignorance is bliss, they’re in nirvana. They won’t consider for a minute or admit they were wrong to have trusted this man to lead the country. It’s exhausting trying to talk sense to rhetoric. I surrender the argument, letting it go for sanity and stress’s sake.

I know the right way to behave and expect the same in return, especially from the leader of our country. I know how to be true and patriotic. It ain’t this we are witnessing. I grew up in the turbulent ’60s and ’70s, Vietnam for pete’s sake, civil rights, fighting for women’s rights, but even then we were not living this nightmare. This reality we are faced with is crazier than a bedbug. You don’t reach adulthood and then revert to being an adolescent. You become wiser and more educated, not necessarily by a formal degree, but anyone can read books and learn. Anyone with half a brain can separate propaganda from truth.

One could watch the Netflix show “The Loudest Voice in the Room” and see how Roger Ailes created the runaway train of Fox News. Holy Hannah, it’s diabolical. I dare you to watch it, a horror story that came to be the new reality. Stranger than fiction. Now we have a maelstrom of malicious, misguided, moronic mire.

The second letter was Russell Bennett’s “One Day?” His letter was a concise call for common sense regarding guns, assault weapons specifically. Who needs them? The military. The police? They never used to need them. Maybe it was a more level playing field back then. My dad was on the job 38 years in the Big City and never shot his gun once. Ban assault weapons and you don’t have a problem. You hunt? Use a bow and arrow like a real hunter, or if you must shoot for some primitive macho reason, you don’t need an assault weapon, as Russell states. It’s overkill. Where is the sport in that or the fair fight? No one is taking your right to bear arms away to protect your land and family, so don’t get your boxers in a bunch. But let’s get sensible, man. It’s time. The argument for these weapons of mass destruction is tiresome and uncivilized, and hasn’t a leg to stand on.

Anyway, good letters, guys. I will leave you with something I heard this past week that surprised me. Someone who voted for this president last time is disgusted now with her choice. She feels his unbalanced and erratic, dangerous behavior has to end. “He has to go,” she said. “I gave him a chance, he did nothing good and is a loose cannon. He is a disgrace to the country, hating everyone and inciting violence and acting like a juvenile tweeting buzzwords and nonsense and insults, instead of running the country like a true leader should. I miss Obama, he is such a smart man. He was a leader. His wife is also smart and classy; she could be president, I’d vote for her.”

I was pleasantly gob-smacked and so delighted to hear this from her. She could admit she had been wrong to choose this president last time. She won’t choose him again if he lasts in the race. God willing, he goes away sooner rather than later. I have hope. People can always admit they were wrong, but first they have to take responsibility for their actions and have the awareness to consider others. That takes empathy, something a leader of a great country like ours needs. True sensible leadership. I’m watching and waiting for the best one to come forward into the light. We’ve had enough darkness. Let freedom and integrity ring once again.

Thank you,

NANCI LAGARENNE


Violence Persists
East Hampton
August 11, 2019

Dear David,

Violence begets violence begets more violence. Not a brilliant intuitive observation. Most 10-year-olds with a history book would reach that conclusion. Violence persists until everyone is dead, blood thirst has been quenched, or we run out of ammo.

Ammo is not only the standard definition of guns and bullets but includes political, economic, and social devices that serve the same violent purposes. So we need to equate the clandestine governmental action of making someone disappear to the public action of putting someone in prison. Depriving people of their rights and opportunities is not as severe as killing them, but it is an extreme form of violence. Refusing to employ certain groups of people or depriving them of food stamps (for example) is an advanced form of economic violence (See England/Ireland 1850s genocide by starvation.)

The world is and has been an extremely violent place. America has more than held its own in this regard. We have never known a period in our history where extreme violence is not the norm. Even in World War II, when we fought to defeat fascism, racism, and anti-Semitism were as usual rampant and outrageous in our country. We finished the war by rationalizing the single most violent act ever recorded with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is the way of our world.

There is no reason to enumerate the physical violence upon which the country was founded. Economic and social violence, however, is less obvious but equally insidious. In the early 1960s my brother with a master’s business degree from Columbia in hand took a job with General Electric. Twenty years later he figured out that G.E. would never promote him beyond a certain level, despite his brilliance and acumen, because he was Jewish. G.E. was the norm. Faithfully anti-Semitic and racist while it polluted the Hudson River.

Economic and social opportunity is an arena, which has the most pervasive use of violence. Minority and lower-income school communities are grossly underfunded, understaffed, and over-policed. This combination creates an atmosphere where learning is difficult and staying out of prison is a full-time job. Over time the psycho/social weight of being treated as inferior permeates the community consciousness and lowers expectations. The constant battering forces people to live in the shadows and to avoid the mainstream of society. Living in a black-market system without protections, security, and looking at deep poverty, prison, or a death sentence. Is that not systemic violence?

Starve the beast. But who determines who the beast is? Destroying the Native American population was really horrific but slavery and its aftermath to the present day went one step further. Maybe not. The conditions under which those Native Americans who survived the genocide live today are hardly the American dream.

The violence of slavery, for 260 years, was so embedded in our way of life that we didn’t consider it violent. Half the country went to war to defend the right to perpetuate this violence. The war ended and slavery morphed into different form. Physical violence was replaced by systemic economic, political, and social violence; 155 years later we still haven’t come to terms with the inherent violence in racism. We deny it and defend our personal integrity. We can’t control the system.

After each new mass shooting, we go ballistic for a few days or weeks until the next one. We talk about mental health, gun controls, the N.R.A., politicians on the take. Our self-flagellation knows no limits. We’ve got it all down pat except for the most critical piece of the problem. Our violence is who we are. Who we have always been? Part of our DNA.Government’s role is to protect the overall well-being of the people. Yet, it refuses to deal with the systemic issues relating to this violence. In truth, it perpetuates and even encourages the violence by its acquiescence. Admitting that violence is part of our DNA raises questions about our narrative. Our exceptionalism. Our greatness. The victims, their families and friends, and shock waves that pass through our society are a small price to pay to maintain our image.

When our leaders actively promote ideas that encourage and excuse violence we turn on each other in the streets. Normally people are too ashamed to step outside the normative socioeconomic violence. But, when they are green-lighted to express what appears to be so American in its nature, they go ballistic. When our violence is no longer repressed by social mores, we need a war to relieve the pressure. Better to kill someone else than our own people.

Until this conversation happens, we will continue to randomly shoot each other in the streets and our kids in their classrooms. We remain silent and in denial at our own risk.

Violence begets violence.

NEIL HAUSIG


Could Shoot
Plainview
August 11, 2019

David:

Gun-loving, gun-control-hating Donald Trump once bragged that he “could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters,” so in light of all the money he raised in two Hamptons fund-raisers, I wonder if he also believes he could shoot someone on Newtown Lane in East Hampton and not lose any donors.

RICHARD SIEGELMAN

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