Meet Our Community
August 19, 2019
Another year and another chance to meet old friends and make new ones at the Amagansett Fire Department’s annual chicken barbecue. Thank you to all those from Amagansett and beyond who supported our annual fund-raising effort. This event is our chance to meet all of you in our home. Sunday’s barbecue, together with door-to-door ticket sales, provided a very useful way for our volunteers to meet our community in a nonemergency setting. Many thanks for your continued support.
At Its Best
August 19, 2019
To the Editor:
A young man visiting from Texas last week was bicycling eastbound on Montauk highway and cycled through the light at Brent’s in Amagansett. In a life-altering moment he was struck hard by an automobile coming from Cross Highway and was sent to the asphalt with great force. I happened to be driving the vehicle directly behind them and witnessed the entire event.
I, along with others, tried to help in the immediate aftermath to direct the heavy traffic and keep the bicyclist’s head up and stabilized so that he didn’t lose consciousness. There was a lot of trauma and emotion in those moments. I hope that he and the automobile driver are both on their way to recovery.
I have a couple of thoughts since this incident:
1. Everyone has to slow down and be patient. Both bicyclists and drivers have to always be aware and share the road.
2. Always wear a bike helmet.
3. Always pull over and yield way for the lights of first responders and emergency vehicles.
Thursday was another example of a reason why I work and fight so hard to raise my family in my hometown. Brent’s is always busy during that hour, and it was great to see other town staff on lunch and other bystanders step in to assist another human being in the time of crisis. It was an illustration of virtuous human nature and East Hampton at its best.
And lastly, the real heroes last week and every day, are our town’s volunteer first responders.
We are all fortunate to live out here.
East Hampton Town Councilman
To the Editor:
We at the Ladies Village Improvement Society were pleased to see our organization mentioned in your Aug. 15 editorial detailing the need to attract younger volunteers through social media. However, we were surprised by the statement that we do not have a presence on Instagram. In fact, L.V.I.S. posted on Instagram every day in July in preparation for our 123rd annual fair on July 27 this year. Before or after the fair, follow @theshopsatlvis to find numerous pictures of what L.V.I.S. has to offer, from books to bridal gowns.
There is also a picture of our latest scholarship winners. Some East Hampton High School students have fulfilled their community service requirement by volunteering at L.V.I.S. We would welcome more of these student volunteers. Nonetheless, we do think your point about reaching younger potential volunteers is well taken. YouTube is next!
Very truly yours,
ANN G. DAVIS
August 12, 2019
Dear David Rattray:
It’s a good thing that there is an East Hampton Star, otherwise I know not how this village might communicate.
Surprised to read the story in last week’s paper regarding fixing Hook Pond, especially our mayor’s feelings about the feeding of the waterfowl population at the beloved Nature Trail. I wish he, good Mayor Paul Rickenbach Jr., had been in touch with me, chair of the Nature Trail for the Ladies Village Improvement Society. I would like to explain that our dedicated committee takes its responsibility for feeding our domesticated duck, geese, and swan population very seriously, particularly in the winter and harshest weather.
I fear it is not the natural cycles of the animals that are contaminating our waters; but it is the runoff of the harsh chemicals and other unnatural pollutants used to keep lawns, rose gardens, and the like exaggeratedly green and artificially profuse. Maybe it’s also the fumes and noise from the diesel fuel leaf blowers that will soon no longer be allowed on our residential streets, but for some reason is still okay at the golf course. It’s not the sweet ducks and our posse of guard geese that are ruining the quality of life here.
August 18, 2019
As I gather works donated by area artists for yet another fund-raiser, I think about the continuous generosity of the artists in our midst, and wonder: What would we do without them?
For myself, it has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with them over many years. Their enthusiasm for contributing is, in itself, contagious.
These are dedicated artists, many of whom hold down full-time employment outside their creative pursuits. Yet they make a commitment to create for one important cause after another. Not only this, but many work as volunteers at these events, and often purchase works by fellow artists. They are truly one more fine example of community spirit and are so deserving of our recognition and gratitude for their contribution to the beauty we share within our little space on the planet.
Engraved on the grave marker of the perceptive, fine artist Jimmy Ernst is the following: “Artists and poets are the raw nerve ends of humanity. By themselves, they can do little to save humanity. Without them there would be little worth saving.”
Indeed, what would we do without them?
August 18, 2019
To the Editor:
On behalf of the East Hampton Fire Department, I would like to express our sincere thanks to the hundreds who came out to watch our annual fireworks show this past Saturday and acknowledge their gracious donations. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans for our evening and fog put a damper on the show. With an uncertain weather forecast for Sunday night, which included the possibility of thunderstorms, I made the decision to proceed with the scheduled show in less than optimal conditions. Despite the fog-shrouded show, many in attendance related to us that the evening gave them a pause from their hectic days and a time to come together with friends and family.
We would also like to thank the many other agencies that help us each year with the show: the East Hampton Village Police Department and various other law-enforcement agencies, the East Hampton Village Department of Public Works and village beach staff, and the East Hampton Village Volunteer Ambulance Association.
We thank you for your understanding of the circumstances and your continued support and hope to see you again on the beach in August 2020.
GERALD TURZA JR.
East Hampton Fire Department
In the Mist
August 19, 2019
I didn’t see anyone taking photos from my angle and thought this might be interesting. The fireworks viewing was the oddest I’ve ever seen. I think the question of whether they could be seen in the mist was soundly answered — no.
This photo captures the surreal nature of the show. It almost felt like a distant battle was raging, all sound and fury with occasional bursts of light. Hopefully there will be better weather next year; while interesting, I wouldn’t want a repeat of what felt like a military re-enactment.
Ups and Downs
August 16, 2019
On Aug. 7 my wife and I had a wonderful dinner at Rosie’s in Amagansett. Upon leaving the restaurant at 195 Main Street, around 8:30 p.m., I took a header when I missed a poorly designed sidewalk step.
The town can mitigate some of the problems of this walkway by adding lighting to the location. A railing would be very helpful in helping pedestrians navigate the ups and downs of this sidewalk.
My physical problems are substantial and would have been much worse had not the Amagansett ambulance squad shown up within a few minutes of the accident. They were helpful, efficient, compassionate, and courteous. Their dedication was apparent, and the Amagansett Fire Department deserves our full support.
August 13, 2019
To The East Hampton Star:
Most all cars and trucks on the roads today have the ability to make sure that the lights are on when the car keys are in the on position while driving. They go on and off while driving.
Forty percent or so of the vehicles on the road do not drive with the lights on.Since most cars today are not bright colors they are difficult to see at dawn, dusk, in the rain, and on sunny days when shadows on the road and rain tend to obstruct clear vision of the approaching traffic.
In my opinion most drivers would choose to drive with the lights-on option if they were aware of it. Then again some drivers figure they can see where they are going so what the hell. Of course, they are wrong.
Police don’t do anything unless a driving infraction causes them to stop a car. And even then I would bet that they do nothing about seeing to it that the driver is aware of the option to have them on at all times.
Consider my letter as a public service for everyone who has the ability to change the 40 percent to 0 percent: The police, auto dealers, fleet owners, company switch cars, and trucks on the road. All of these people can help to make the driving with lights on a necessity. To save lives and property.
The Minister’s Wife
August 7, 2019
To The Star:
There is a God and that God is lurking in the parking lot of the Grace Presbyterian church in Water Mill. On a steamy July 30 morning, as frustrated Hamptons drivers learned, a Jeep had slammed into a utility pole on Montauk Highway, closing traffic in both directions for the better part of the day.
While I’m guessing it was not a happy day for the Jeep’s driver, neither was it a happy day for the hundreds of other drivers heading west and east. Like them, I, too, was inching along the highway, but I had the added concern of staring at the “low tire” alert on my car’s dashboard. I could cope with missing the 10 o’clock “Shuffle and Deal” class at the Water Mill Bridge Center, and dutifully called their machine to report my failure to appear.
That done, I was weighing my options when a divine spirit must have whispered in my ear, “Turn here, turn here.” Although I am what a Minnesota friend calls a Chreaster, a Catholic who attends church on Christmas and Easter, I hung a right into the Presbyterian Church’s parking lot. I selected a space a good distance from the church entrance in deference to regular church members, or maybe traces of pre-ecumenical parochial school brainwashing.
The left front tire was completely flat. My phone calls began with my husband. “I’ll call you back in a minute.” When he called back 25 minutes later, I had called Sergio, my service rep, at the Bentley dealer in Florida and left a message. (Yes, it’s a Bentley. Sometimes depending on upsetting political discussions it is called the Dentley.) When Sergio did not pick up, I called the Long Island Bentley dealer, asked for service, and began what would be a series of phone calls with John.
Glancing at the line of cars and trucks, I watched a trio of young women running up the street waving their arms and handing out cans of LaCroix flavored water to parched drivers. I scored a pamplemousse. As I opened the can, a tall, lanky woman approached me from behind and asked, “Could I help you?”
“Prayer, maybe,” I said, pointing to the flat tire. She did not smile. “I can change it,” she offered calmly.
“I was on the phone with the Bentley service rep and he told me that having a spare tire is an option and the car may not have a spare and may just have a can of air,” I reported, as if I were a Formula One pit mechanic.
“Let’s have a look.” Although I could hear the complete confidence in her voice, I felt an unwanted macho streak creeping in me. Did we need a man? She was not on steroids and did not have the biceps of a bodybuilder. I grilled her a little and learned that her name was Lesley, she was the minister’s wife, and had relocated from St. Louis to start this church 12 years ago.
Wanting to contribute in some way, I pushed the button to open the trunk. Effortlessly, Lisa lifted the carpet and there sat a spare tire in a Ferrari-red color. My husband, a car guy, had sprung for a spare. Lesley pulled out the tire and the two sets of tools, opening them with the same ease that I open a bag of Pirate’s Booty. I couldn’t help myself but I was either curious or a tad suspicious.
“Lesley, how do you know how even to handle these tools?” I asked in disbelief.
“I took a basic automotive maintenance class in high school in St. Louis.” (The Midwest is different, I guess.)
“So you were taking something useful and I was taking Latin 3,” I sighed, recalling the first line of the Aeneid.
With a few more calls to the ever-patient John, I did get the car in jack mode which, I might add, differed from the Bentley manual. Now that we had the car elevated, Lesley took over and began placing the lug nuts, racket wrench, and the jack assembly, in order, on the pavement. Her ducks in a row, Lesley lay down on the hot asphalt and did whatever she had learned back in the halls of her St. Louis High School. We were having a few exchanges about how lucky the minister was, how he had been an atheist, how they had three daughters, 17, 15, and 13 (I have three daughters), when the minister came out.
Mark Middlekauff, the lucky husband, was in his late 40s, wearing a white crew neck T-shirt, and the expected black-rimmed glasses. After we introduced ourselves, he said, “I knew she could do it.”
By now, Lesley, face, hands, pants smudged with grease, was returning the tools and the flat Pirelli tire to the trunk. The minister handed me a copy of the book “The Prodigal God,” and in return I handed him and his wife a few crisp bills. In the words of Sister Patricia Smith, a Kenyan missionary and my high school classmate, “Praise be to God.”
CAROLE O’MALLEY GAUNT
August 19, 2019
Dear East Hampton Star,
Every day I drive by the North Main Street bridge, there is a new crew, another piece of equipment working on raising the bridge a few inches, causing a backlog all in the area.
Wouldn’t it have been easier and more cost-efficient to remove six inches of 100-year-old asphalt, lowering the street rather than raising the bridge?
August 19, 2019
I’m a big fan of your magazine East, but would like to offer a comment. The lovely Marilyn Monroe graces the last cover. I sometimes feel we continue to exploit her life. She was here in Amagansett, but not at Quail Hill (which I don’t believe existed as such until later).
She and Arthur Miller rented “the Hill House” on Stony Hill Farm. The Quail Hill mishistory began with a real estate ad, and then was picked up by the “free papers,” and is in danger of becoming a fact. It’s a small thing, except to those who were around and had the childhood pleasure of meeting her.
To not dismiss the women in our history, they rented from Penny and Jeffrey Potter, not solely my father. All the best, keep up the good work.
Long Story Short
August 16, 2019
Dear Mr. Rattray,
I wanted to take the opportunity to note the fact that I am the person who contacted the Peconic Land Trust a couple of weeks ago over what appeared to be a significant transformation of my neighbor’s property, land that was protected by a conservation easement overseen by the land trust.
What turned out to be a rather big deal actually began with the placement of a small piece of string.
Coming up my driveway, which I share with three other homes and which borders roughly the eastern elevation of Randy Lerner’s land, two men were engaged, string in hand, in what appeared to be a survey that crossed due north-northwest up into the former property of Bob Rosen.
To make a long story short, I contacted someone who works for Lerner. I asked if Lerner intended to unify the two properties or if he would connect them by road or path. He assured me that every appropriate zoning measurement had been taken and that “no decisions” had been made as to what plans were in the offing.
The following day, trucks from Marders and others were on the site, some of them true behemoths. A burlap wall was rigged to prevent anyone from scrutinizing the work area. The sound of lots of equipment roared for a full day, and at the end of that day the hastily assembled battalion had obliterated what was once a bucolic and protected piece of land.
If you know this area of Amagansett, you know that open land is its most distinguishing feature, much of that in the hands of the land trust. The gifts from Deborah Light and members of the de Cuevas family, as well as the Potters, have rendered the Stony Hill vicinity a little Eden of semirural beauty.
Lerner, however, arrived here with a different taste altogether. Where animal migration is considered not only wise, but necessary, Lerner fenced in his entire property, the grounds of which resemble a park in London or a magnificent estate from another, more manicured area. Lerner brought Lily Pond Lane to Town Lane.
The great issue is that many homeowners here have given tremendous human and financial resources in order to protect some of the last remaining farmland in East Hampton Town.
Detailed and carefully drawn covenants, agreements, and contracts have been drafted, approved, and passed on from seller to buyer that specifically prevent what has taken place here.
Some questions persist. Was the previous owner obligated to notify the land trust of any sale? Was the subsequent buyer obligated to notify the land trust of the purchase and/or, at the very least, make an inquiry of the land trust as to his rights and responsibilities? Did Marders have any obligation to examine tax maps, etc., to determine what was allowable, and obtain permits before they bulldozed many 100-year-old trees?
What can be done in order to send a signal to the entire land trust constituency, folks who have given countless hours and millions of dollars with the goal of protecting lands and enforcing those protections, that these rules are real, that they must be obeyed and that there are consequences if those rules are transgressed?
I have abided by every rule that the land trust, the town, and the covenants drafted by the Potters have handed me. Organic spraying only. Approvals for a solar array. Input from the Potter family about renovations to my home. (I can only imagine what might have been said if I were to completely devastate a large quadrant of protected land here.)
What was done here is wrong. Seriously wrong. If you buy property here that is governed by the land trust, you either abide by those rules or move.
I’m told there are several homes that resemble parks in London on the market now.
Just a suggestion.
August 19, 2019
The community preservation fund is pretty great, huh? We should create more revenue sources to help our town.
My mom had a method of discouraging bad language while also making a quick buck, and I’m feeling inspired. How about a tax requiring that every time someone says “the Hamptons” they put a quarter in a community jar? That would generate so much money and curb some unwanted behavior!
The proceeds could go toward replacing the word “Hamptons” wherever it’s found with “East End,” or “South Fork,” or maybe to run some ads reminding people of the original reasons to visit here, like our forests, trails, wildlife, ponds, bays, fresh air, and open skies (instead of celebrities, spas, fancy cars, and private parties) in order to correct the stereotypes some people spread about this area. We could call it the Community Reputation Fund.
Pleasure From Killing
August 12, 2019
To the Editor:
The East Hampton Town Board will meet on Tuesday, and after considerable delay the supervisor agreed to discuss a request made by over 600 East Hampton residents who signed a petition asking that during hunting season, one weekend day be free of the shattering sound of gunshots, free from the sight of wounded, dying, and dead animals, and free from the threat and risk of being injured or killed by a stray bullet or arrow, should they wish to hike the trails, walk in the woods with their dogs and kids, or wander through areas in which hunting is permitted. Just one day free of hunting and free from the bloodshed and slaughter of the innocent. Surely a reasonable request, and that the point even needs to be argued in this day and age is disheartening, shameful.
Hunting is not a sport: “Hunters represent approximately 6 percent of U.S. society. In some sparsely populated Western states they may account for over 20 percent of the population, but in more densely populated states like California and New Jersey, they number below 1 percent. Despite being a special interest group, for many decades they have enjoyed a grossly disproportionate influence over wildlife management decisions at the state and (for Canada) provincial level.”
More recently, however, this dominance of “consumptive users” has become increasingly unpopular with the general public, as attitudes toward animals continue to evolve, and people become aware of their legal rights as citizen-stakeholders.
Modern science, exemplified by the 2012 Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness, increasingly proves that animals are sentient individuals, with rich emotional lives much like our own and complex social relationships deserving of respect. Ecologists have come to understand that predators, long demonized by hunters as competitors for “their” game, are essential for the maintenance of balanced ecosystems. And legally wild animals in the United States and Canada belong to all the people, not just the minority who wish to kill them.
“The allocation of animal lives to hunters, particularly when decisions are made by agencies that do not represent other interests, has become offensive democratically as well as ethically.” oneprotest.org/open-letter-to-under-armour.
The Oxford Dictionary defines sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or a team competes against another or others for entertainment.” In hunting, the stalked animal is not an equal, nor a competitor, not a willing participant, and certainly not there for “entertainment.” Indeed, hunting by definition is not a “sport,” and those who participate are clearly not “sportsmen.” There’s no such thing as an ethical hunter! Forget hunters’ feeble rationalizations and trust your gut feelings: Making sport of killing is not healthy human behavior.
And what are we teaching our children when we ignore and/or attempt to suppress their innate compassion and love for animals and teach them instead that it is okay to kill defenseless wildlife? Violence and pathological behavior begin with the belief that you have the “right” to harm, maim, and in the case of hunting, take satisfaction and pleasure from killing innocent animals — living, breathing, sentient beings who want to live as much as we do.
Hunters are all too often narcissistic, insecure cowards, hiding in blinds, in camouflage, with high-powered rifles, and clearly lacking compassion or empathy for other living creatures; how else could they justify the taking of these beautiful, innocent lives? Every species values her/his life even if no one else does. That is what is meant by saying that the lives of all have inherent value. All sentient beings, human and nonhuman alike, are morally equal. And stealing the innocence of children, by shaming or coercing them into killing innocent animals, some of the same ones seen in their backyards, or as familiar faces on TV and movie screens, is nothing short of cruel abuse.
Thus, we should not be surprised when, as teenagers or young adults, some of them find killing cats, dogs, or people, so easy to do; they have been desensitized, consider them vermin, and do not value these precious lives.
Will the human animal ever get it? If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention! And after the recent horrific events in El Paso, in Dayton, in Gilroy, and all those mass killings that preceded them, it seems that we are at last at a moment in time when it all becomes clear and it all comes together! These are our kids that are killing and being killed! “It’s the guns, stupid!”
To the Editor,
I live in the Village of East Hampton and here the properties tend to be small. In other words, I live on a postage stamp. I bought myself a new rechargeable battery-operated lawnmower. It is quiet, and I enjoy cutting the grass. I daydream as I cut the grass and l play games on how many bags I will fill with the grass cuttings. Sometimes when I cut the grass, I use the same pattern as a Zamboni machine, resurfacing the ice for the next period of a hockey game. As I quietly mow, I solve the world’s problems and think about how wonderful my family is.
Sometimes I can hear my lovely bride of 34 years playing the piano. I purchased a green landscaper bucket for my grass cuttings, and I usually fill the landscaper’s bucket plus one additional can. I usually cut my grass on Wednesday, and of course, I have to wait till Thursday to take the cuttings to the recycling center. Thursday arrives, and I ask my wife to help me put the cans in the truck, and I hurry to the compost area before the grass starts to break down and a sour grass odor permeates the truck.
So I drive to the recycling center, separate my garbage, and place the garbage in the proper bins, paper, glass, plastic, and nonrecyclable. Then the fun begins! I must leave the recycling center and re-enter the property to dispose of the grass. I must wait in line for my turn, and I watch all the landscapers bringing in brush and disposing of grass, branches, and so forth. I drive up to the booth and tell the person that it is grass and branches from my property. I dump the grass and branches in the recommended place. I drive home and put the truck in the driveway. The next time I drive my truck, the truck tells me that I have a problem with one of my tires. You guessed correctly — a nail, screw, or even glass. So I have to go to my repair shop and spend $25 dollars plus tax. This happens at least once every six weeks.
August 12, 2019
To the Editor:
One morning I was jogging on the beach in Montauk during a rainstorm that was winding down. I was looking forward to finishing my workout and getting home when I saw a young woman standing near the cliffs. The woman’s face was tilted toward the sky in a fixed position. She held out her hands with open palms, as if she were receiving the rain and wind, and she was smiling in pure delight.
Next to the woman was an old man with a serious look. He seemed to be guarding her.
I was puzzled by the scene, until I guessed that the woman had a visual impairment, and the man had brought her to the beach so she could take in the storm with her other senses. I wondered why the storm gave her such pleasure, so I tried to experience it as I imagined she did. I was amazed. The wind and rain felt so fresh and soft! The surf and wind created a kind of music! The storm that I had been eager to leave became a joy.
How often do we fail to appreciate nature? In East Hampton, where nature’s beauty surrounds us, we probably enjoy nature more than most people do. But I believe we would value nature more highly if prevailing social attitudes didn’t get in our way.
Western society’s dominant attitude toward nature is quite hostile. We imprison chickens, pigs, and other animals in huge indoor factory farms. We cut down forests and poison the plants and insects, which we consider weeds and pests. We smother the earth with asphalt and other artificial surfaces. We manage wildlife with lethal weapons. In search of energy, we blast off mountaintops and drill into the earth’s ancient rock formations.
There is growing awareness of the damage we have caused. For example, people are learning how mining, deforestation, and factory farming have produced a planetary climate crisis.
I hope that as this environmental awareness spreads, our underlying attitude toward nature will change. Instead of viewing nature as something to control and attack, I hope we will see her as a bearer of gifts. Nature provides for our biological needs and supplies us with sunlight and wind for renewable energy. She enriches our lives with beauty and instills feelings of peace.
Can we develop greater appreciation of nature and treat her with the care she deserves? Can East Hampton, where nature is so close at hand, lead the way?
President, East Hampton Group for Wildlife
August 18, 2019
I’m writing to publicly thank Marguerite Wolffsohn for more than three decades of public service that she has given to the Town of East Hampton. Under Ms. Wolffsohn’s directorship, East Hampton Town was provided with an independent, highly qualified, professional Planning Department with a national reputation for excellence. Not everybody agreed with Ms. Wolffsohn on all issues. This was the case also for Thomas Thorsen, as well as for me when each of us served as planning directors before her. In fact, both Tom and I were fired by those with contrary positions on development in the early 1980s. But, even those with opposing views on an issue knew that Ms. Wolffson and the department were never influenced by outside bias. Marguerite and the entire Planning Department have worked tirelessly for what has often been a thankless job. We should all sleep well at night knowing the Planning Department works as a town watchdog.
I wish Marguerite good luck in her future ventures, and praise her for leaving the Planning Department in good shape under JoAnne Pawhul’s able leadership.
The Root Cause
August 19, 2019
To the Editor:
I read your Aug. 15 editorial titled “Help Needed to Enforce Rules” with great interest. When the second paragraph began with my name, I could see you were inviting me to weigh in and share my insight as to why our Code Enforcement Department is in such disarray and failing miserably. Yes: The department needs help. But the answer isn’t to hand over the reins to the private sector when the core of the problem is mismanagement and lack of oversight.
You rightly pointed out that I served as director of Code Enforcement from 2010 through 2017, and indeed I am running for a seat on the town board. But my experience in public service in town government began in 1989. I have worked closely and quite successfully with every administration, from Tony Bullock to Larry Cantwell.
In all that time, I have observed that no one is ever truly happy with code enforcement. Still, I can’t quite understand why this administration (and the last) has allowed their Public Safety Division to dissolve into the dysfunction we are now witnessing. Fish rot from the head down.
The root cause of this department’s failure to achieve its mission statement is poor leadership by the town board itself — plain and simple.
The town board created a patronage position, director of public safety, specifically for David Betts, while securing a pension waiver from New York State Civil Service that allows him to double- dip by collecting his pension and salary simultaneously. Why? Because Betts is married to Charlene Kagel, who is the town’s chief internal auditor and department head of Human Resources. (You might wonder why the town board is so anxious to keep its financial watchdog happy.) The director of public safety has oversight over fire safety, Code Enforcement, the Building Department, and animal control. When he failed the Civil Service test for this title, the board created a new one and appointed him to it with a fresh new waiver (with Charlene greasing the wheels with Civil Service).
The town board then ignored all the warning signs of mismanagement. They should be held accountable in that they have repeatedly raised his pay while his time on campus dwindles. What director can be on top of things from Key West? If David Betts were a top-notch (or even satisfactory) supervisor and manager of his division you wouldn’t be asking if it might be time to shop around for private-sector enforcers of the code.
Betts has created a work environment that is hostile and negative. Staff are not properly trained or supported and they’re left to fend for themselves as there are no supervisors working weekends. One cannot retain valuable, hard-working employees of integrity when you fail to nurture, support, and promote qualified individuals.
Further, Betts thumbs his nose at the citizens whose tax dollars pay his $90K- plus salary. He has been on the agenda at the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee to answer questions from the public for the past four months and has failed to appear. In fact, the last time he showed up for public discussion was when he was directed to suit up and sell the town’s Rental Registry Law at the American Legion in 2015!
Just this year, the town board showed Town Attorney Michael Sendlenski the door. They then had to hire outside counsel to clean up the mess left behind. I hope this isn’t going to become the trend: Pay someone an exorbitant amount of money to do mediocre work — then pay outside people to try to get it right. This is a shameful disservice to the taxpayers when considering both the cost and the pitiful results.
East Hampton Town Board candidate
July 28, 2019
To the Editor:
A recent letter to The Star discussed the virtues of the proposed wind farm off Montauk Point. In the words of the letter writer, “the choice between oil platforms and despoiled sea or wind turbines should be clear to us.” But is it so clear? Is this the only choice? Well, let’s look at another obvious alternative — solar power. Through solar power we might be able to avoid yet more industrialization of our ocean and its impact on local fishing grounds, migrating birds, and already endangered sea mammals.
Orsted, the current developer of the wind turbines, initially proposes to install 15 wind turbines. Orsted rates these turbines at 130 MW of electric power —enough for 70,000 homes. This sounds like marketing fiction. That wind turbine power will not go directly to homes but will be transmitted into the central utility’s electric grid where it will be dispatched, together with the utility’s other generating sources, to all consumers. What the wind turbines really provide is added capacity to the existing power supply.
We assume that when rating this new capacity Orsted has accounted for the losses in transmitting this wind-turbine power from 35 miles off the Point to a yet-to-be identified, much contested land distribution site somewhere on eastern Long Island. We also assume that it is taking into account the availability of the turbines to generate 130 MW after maintaining the equipment.
Now, let’s examine the new capacity possible by relying on solar power. For example, the typical home on Long Island currently using solar cells has 8 KW of electric power available to it for use when the sun is shining.
So to do an apples-to-apples comparison with wind-turbine power, we need to account for solar power’s not working when the sun goes down or when the sun is in short supply during the winter months. During these periods wind is usually available. But solar panels are always ready to function when the sun shines with little or no maintenance and transmission losses; and they enjoy a long, maintenance-free life cycle.
Let’s compare solar power’s potential by using the 70,000 homes that Orsted says equate to the capacity of its 15 wind turbines and let’s assume that we eventually could install solar panels on these 70,000 homes on Long Island. For reference, in Suffolk County alone there are more than 280,000 houses with a value (2015) of greater than $300,000. Let’s assume that we can get 25 percent of these Suffolk County homes, 70,000 homes, to install new solar panels with an average 8 KW capacity. When the average solar capacity of 8 KW per house is multiplied by 70,000 homes it becomes the equivalent of 560,000 KW or 560 MW of installed solar capacity. But, we know that solar power isn’t available as much as wind power.
Thus, on an annual basis solar power is rated at about 25 percent of the output of wind power. What’s 25 percent of 560 MW? 140 MW. So, annually, the 70,000 homes with solar power can easily provide the equivalent generating capacity of the 15 wind turbines. And that’s not marketing fiction. So, there may indeed be an alternative to wind power for Suffolk County. Solar power is decentralized, sustainable, resilient, locally installed, and locally controlled. And of utmost importance, it leaves ocean habitats alone. Why not?
JOSEPH FERRANTE JR.
August 19, 2019
Your article “Teens Mobilize for Climate” could have added the subtitle “With Adult Allies and a Comprehensive Plan.” As one of the Guild Hall speakers, scientist Michael Mann is a senior adviser to a comprehensive plan of 100 solutions, best practices and technologies, when scaled up, can reverse global warming. The plan is outlined in the best seller “Drawdown,” now being used as curriculums in colleges and high schools. You can find all the solutions on their website, ranked by gigatons of carbon emissions reduced, avoided, and sequestered.
One of the two teen speakers, Alexandria Villaseñor, 15, and her generation are uniting behind the science. Not yet old enough to vote but facing a future of disasters, we must all heed their truth-telling and clarion call to action. What can I do?
1) Unite behind the youth; their moral clarity is compelling. Give their voices and actions more power with your voice, involvement, vote. Follow and support @Alexandria2005, her organization Earth Uprising, @JeromeFosterII, and @Fridays4Future.
2) Use your influence — with your family, friends, churches, synagogues, schools, nonprofits, to enact both technical and nontech solutions: Reduce food waste (Drawdown solution #3), protect tropical forests (#5), install rooftop solar (#10), plant native trees (#15), eat plant-rich diet (#4), save water (#46), ride- share (#75), change all your lightbulbs to LEDs (#33).
3) Use democracy: Support local, state, and national policies like New York State’s bill to pay farmers to carbon farm (#11), protect coastal wetlands, huge carbon sinks (#53), demand walk-able towns (#54), change “best buy”/“sell by” dates to restrict what goes into the local landfill, change refrigeration laws as California has, prohibiting HFC refrigerants (Drawdown ranking #1), sign petitions, use your consumer power to boycott products, and buy eco-friendly ones.
Unite behind the science. Enjoy this new world of farmers markets, tree-planting events, local potlucks, clothes-swap parties, ride sharing, and so much more.
Join us at Drawdown East End, an Adult Ally of Earth Uprising, engaging our communities in solutions that draw down carbon and reverse global warming, email@example.com.
Meet our climate goals big time.
Support the bipartisan bill HR 763 Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. Write to your members of Congress.
Follow my blog Fish+Farmstand: resistancesuffolk.blog/author/mcfmmorgan/
Member, steering committee
Drawdown East End
Test the Water
August 17, 2019
Hey: Lay off Wainscott, Okay? It seems everyone but actual Wainscott residents want 11975 to take one for the team when it comes to wind-generated power. And everybody seems to have their reasons. Here’s a clue folks: It’s kind of like explaining the next beating you are about to give your pet. It’s not gonna help the poor beagle.
Consider this: Wainscott’s water south of the airport all the way to Wainscott Main Street and beyond has been fouled by nobody from Wainscott. Although I’ll credit one current town board member for his swift and reasonable solutions, what happened would not have if his predecessors had cared enough about 11975 to test the water around industrial operations once in a while.
The Wainscott “pit” contains operations similar to the much maligned, sued, and stigmatized Sandland operation off Millstone Road. Same owner, same attitude, too. Nobody from Wainscott asked for that.
Traffic from the Wainscott traffic light backs up traffic in both directions, often for miles, creating an invisible pea soup of emissions and some pretty nasty attitudes. This does not benefit Wainscott residents in any way.
The East Hampton international jetport and helicopter demolition derby pollutes everybody and everything below for miles. It also wakes the sleeping at all hours of the night, buzzes residents’ rooftops terrifying many, destroys quality of life, and presents perhaps the largest safety and security risk facing the town right now.
This does not benefit Wainscott residents in any way. It also bothers the crap out of neighboring communities halfway up the Island. There is no good neighbor award in East Hampton’s future regardless of how we get our power.
The Georgica and Wainscott ponds have killed pets, fish, shellfish, sickened bathers, and contributed to the pollution of our fragile ecology. The lack of oversight regarding road runoff, pesticide use, and fertilizers does not benefit Wainscott residents. It makes them sick.
The beach at Beach Lane is unreachable for a few months in the late winter and early spring, as a sand-mining operation gums up the road, the beach, and the neighborhood to benefit nobody from Wainscott. This does not benefit Wainscott residents in any way.
The rest of the year the narrow roads: Wainscott Main Street, Wainscott Harbor, and Wainscott Stone Roads, are darn near impassable as a procession of huge trucks headed to and from locations other than Wainscott bypasses the aforementioned Wainscott traffic fiasco. This does not benefit Wainscott in any way. Have I left anything out?
Town Board: Before you take another bow for the proposal of a small, insignificant pocket park whence one can admire most of the carnage previously listed here perhaps you should actually provide a plan for Wainscott’s future that addresses and reverses the continuing degradation of what was and can be one of the most beautiful places on earth. It’s East Hampton’s front door and right now it’s far from a welcoming one. Wainscott does not trust the town’s leaders when it comes to oversight. And why should they? Fix a few things and maybe that mistrust will erode a bit.
August 19, 2019
To the Editor,
Quiz on Proposed Wind Farm:
How far is Beach Lane to Montauk Lighthouse? Spoiler Alert — 24 miles.
How far is proposed wind farm from Montauk? Spoiler Alert — 35 miles.
So how far is Beach Lane from proposed wind farm? Spoiler Alert — 59 miles!
Test: Will any Beach Lane (or Wainscott) resident be able to see the wind farm from their backyard?
August 19, 2019
To the Editor:
The ugly specter of the Springs-Fireplace Road car wash raises its head again. On Aug. 14, the town planning board again discussed the application for a large car wash on Springs-Fireplace Road between the entrance and exit of the town recycling center. Nothing new was raised.
The applicant claimed that the traffic study it paid for raised no issues. However, the study did not include the impact on the intersection of Springs-Fireplace Road and Abraham’s Path or the impact on the exit from the recycling center from both its cars and the buses from the proposed East Hampton High School bus depot, both of which would use the exit for exiting their vehicles. Imagine the traffic jams.
The applicant also is requesting a variance of the required 50-foot green barrier along Springs-Fireplace. The town’s zoning board of appeals recently refused such a request for a project known as Below the Bridge, located at the corner of Springs-Fireplace and Queens Lane, in order not to set a precedent. This refusal should be respected for the car wash. Also, the property between the entrance and exit to the recycling center is the last untouched, native green space in the corridor.
No speakers opposing the application were allowed to speak, although in the past short comments were usually allowed. Only speakers for the applicant were permitted.
The Town of East Hampton is contemplating a full-blown traffic circulation study for the Springs-Fireplace Road commercial corridor between North Main Street and Abraham’s Path and Accabonac Road and Three Mile Harbor Road. At the very least, no further consideration of the car wash should be considered until completion of that study and the impact on what is already a very densely congested road even without the school buses.
August 18, 2019
I can’t believe it! How can it be that the car wash issue has yet again reared its ugly head. The applicant, who has difficulty accepting the reality that we don’t need a car wash, appeared before the planning board again, stating that the traffic study it paid for indicated a large car wash near the entrance to a place I am forced to go to every few days, “the dump,” would create no traffic problems.
Obviously, the applicant and the people who did the study are not aware that buses from our local high school will be also be using that short stretch of road on Springs-Fireplace Road. No traffic problems?
Since the car became a means of transportation, East Hampton has done without a car wash, and we have managed quite well. People wash their own cars or let the rain do it.
Must we continue to use and abuse our town by building one more unnecessary edifice, especially one that, no matter how much they claim it will not impact our sole source aquifer, you know it must. Water quality is the issue for Long Island. A car wash will not help.
We must all remember that when you can’t drink the water, what you own is worthless!
I suggest the applicant get his money back from the company that did the traffic study as they are dead wrong.
No Longer Welcome
August 19, 2019
Sometimes our local politics are confusing. Without being involved with the committees and the campaign process, it is difficult to know who stands for what or who to trust. Let me tell you a little bit about my experience.
I was a member of the East Hampton Democratic Committee for almost 10 years. For part of that time I was the secretary, and I attended the executive meetings as well as the full committee meetings to take the minutes. New to the interior workings of politics at the time, I didn’t quite realize that the executive meetings were where the back-room decisions were being incubated. This is where it was decided who would be appointed to the town planning and zoning boards, and who would run for town justice, town board, and town supervisor. This is also where it was decided how the rest of the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee would be manipulated into accepting and promoting their choices.
The candidates were often selected by the campaign manager and a close-knit group of former local Democratic leaders before they were ever proposed to the committee. Rather than give the committee members an opportunity to offer input, the campaign manager was able to induce the former chair, the co-chair, and the current chair of the Democratic Committee to endorse his agenda. It was made clear that those members who desired a more democratic process were no longer welcome on the committee.
The primary goal was to get as many votes as possible, even if a chosen candidate did not agree with party principles. For years, the Dems were okay with endorsing other party candidates, as they believed voters would continue voting straight across the Democratic line. For example, the Trump supporter who was endorsed for trustee was recently heard on tape advising an applicant to act against Department of Environmental Conservation laws since he himself had violated them. That kind of behavior seems to be okay with the Democratic Committee members and their campaign manager, as long as the candidate brings in the votes!
Another example is how they ran a candidate from the opposing party line as one of their own because they believed that a young man with children in the Springs School system would “bring in votes” even if he did not vote for the Democratic presidential candidate. This is what the supervisor told us at one of our committee meetings. There is no party loyalty or integrity left. There is only the desire to get re-elected, even if it means ignoring the very principles on which the party was built.
When seasoned Democrats voiced their concerns over the misguided direction of the Democratic Party, only to be shown the door, the idea of creating a bipartisan party called the Fusion Party was born. The existence of this new party is important, because without the Fusion Party keeping tabs on the questionable behavior of the “Democrats” on the town board, poor decision making will run rampant. You may recall an Amagansett land giveaway to a billionaire client of the campaign manager’s law firm, an anonymous undisclosed $300,000 donation, a back-room arrangement with another billionaire to bypass the zoning process on a waterfront restaurant in Montauk, as well as several other poor aesthetic and legal judgments. Concerns have been raised by both Democrats and Republicans alike. Therefore, voting straight down any party line will no longer provide the results previously expected.
The intent of this letter is to encourage every Democrat, Republican, and independent voter to read the papers and be informed! Don’t just read one paper; read several local newspapers to avoid the favoritism found in some reporting. What you will learn is that there is a bipartisan effort to make the government work for the people. The Fusion Party consists of local people from all party lines who are tired of back-room deals and the lack of transparency that is happening frequently at Town Hall these days. It is said that the first step in fixing a problem is to admit that there is a problem. Once we acknowledge that there is no longer a level playing field and that too many decisions are being made privately in executive sessions at Town Hall (a problem), then maybe we can begin to turn things around.
Everyone can do their own research and make their own decisions, but having been in the thick of things for so many years and knowing all the players, I feel obligated to inform you that we have another choice; a multi-party choice called the Fusion Party that stands for transparency, honesty, and the desire to protect East Hampton.
August 19, 2019
Your editorial a couple of weeks ago about the proposal to move the shellfish hatchery from Montauk to Gann Road at Three Mile Harbor completely misses the point, in common with the town board. You recite that the only issues are whether the planning is “moving too fast” and whether the site “is appropriate for something of this size.”
Not at all. The threshold questions are, what is the purpose of the project, will it be achieved, and why do we believe that is the case?
For this project, the answer is that nothing whatsoever will be achieved in terms of water quality or shellfish yield, because the project will not result in one single additional clam, oyster, or scallop in our waters. We have a shellfish hatchery. It produces millions of shellfish seeds a year. If the $400,000 planning grant, now wasted, had instead been used to upgrade the existing facility, we would probably already have a state-of-the-art hatchery in a fraction of the time, and at a fraction of the cost needed to relocate it.
The reason why this misbegotten project will not result in a single additional clam, oyster, or scallop being grown in our waters is neither the capacity of the hatchery nor its location. It’s a limitation on yield, either cultivated or in the wild. I have been talking with commercial shellfish farmers and they are all in agreement that the limitation on output is not seeds, those are readily commercially available, but labor, for cultivation, and habitat, both natural and artificial, in the form of floating upwelling systems (flupsies).
In his Nature Notes column last week in your paper, Larry Penny, discussing this project in a column he titled, “It’s the Water, Stupid,” explained far better than I possibly could that it is the condition of our bays that limits production, not hatchery output. He even suggested that “putting all our eggs in one basket” by consolidating the hatchery and nursery operations in Three Mile Harbor, would be foolhardy, risking catastrophic losses.
The claimed reasons for this project are not increased yield, but the convenience of hatchery employees, who would reduce their travel between Montauk and Springs at a savings of $13,000 a year, and $10,000 of savings from mortality of shellfish in transit. No one in their right mind would spend more than $5 million to save $23,000 per year.
The director of the hatchery was candid in stating to the town board that they do not have mortality problems moving clams and oysters from the hatchery. Those are hardy. The losses are all in scallops, claimed now to be up to 45 percent. However, the total annual value of scallop culls, the output of the hatchery, even in its best year, is less than $5,000. That means that even the $10,000 figure for scallop losses in transit is grossly overstated.
No commercial producer contemplating a $5 million expenditure to relocate her operation could possibly have made these amateurish mistakes, designing a commercial-industrial facility that serves no productive purpose. The ineptitude of the town board is due first and foremost to the insistence of town board members in acting as managers rather than doing the job they were elected to do as legislators. They have no professional or educational experience as managers. They are incompetent at such tasks, and should know it by now.
The second reason for their mismanagement is that they never consult people who do know what they don’t. They did not consult the Budget and Finance Advisory Committee or the Fisheries Advisory Committee or the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee. They just went out and blew $400,000 in planning, with the prospect of blowing millions more. It appears they do these things solely out of vanity, because it makes them feel like they are doing something and they want something to brag about. (“Look what I did!”) This project should simply be scrapped before another dollar is wasted, particularly the waste of community preservation fund money designated for water quality improvement. This project will have no effect at all on water quality. We cannot afford their vanity.
The candidates of the Fusion Party, myself for supervisor, Bonnie Brady and Betsy Bambrick for town board, Dell Cullum, Susan Vorpahl, Stephen Lester, David Talmage, Si Kinsella, Fallon Bloecker-Nigro, Rona Klopman, Michael Havens, and Rick Drew, are all do-ers, not “yakkers” or posers, people who know how to work, know both what they do know and what they don’t know, and are not embarrassed to ask.
If you want real solutions to our problems of affordable housing, water quality, emergency communications, senior services, code enforcement, beach erosion, beach access, and renewable energy, to name but a few, you will find us on the Libertarian and, for the registered Republican candidates, Republican lines on Election Day, Nov. 5.
August 19, 2019
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Thanks very much for writing in your editorial a couple of weeks ago about the ill-considered, frankly unnecessary, proposal to build an 8,000 square foot commercial facility on a 1.1-acre residential lot at 36 Gann Road without normal developmental review or real community notice. The oyster hatchery and harbor seeding program and aquaculture is not the issue. Public access and a fair and open process is the heart of our complaints.
Although our neighbors supported last year’s community preservation fund purchase of the 1.1-acre, 36 Gann, 2,500-square-foot home as the site for hatchery consolidation, we thought an informed decision was made.
Instead, alternative sites for the consolidation had hardly been considered. Among these are other town-owned properties, including the Montauk hatchery, as suggested by Larry Penny, Marina Lane, the former packing plants in Napeague, and elsewhere where the already burdened neighborhood would not be destroyed by the increased traffic and creep of a frankly unnecessary, largely ineffective vanity project.
There are far better ways to improve water quality over all than shellfishing, but traditional aquaculture and shellfisheries should be part of the mix. That said, destroying a hamlet’s character to “save” its water quality, slightly, if at all, has an eerie and uncomfortable ring to it.
East Hampton’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan specifically guarantees equal consideration for all user groups, swimmers, boaters, shellfishers, fishers in general, indeed anyone who wishes to use town-owned property on the water. It does not call for the highhanded change of zoning of residential properties without neighborhood involvement as this dictocratic board, save Mr. Bragman, are determined to do.
Last Thursday’s board meeting, available on LTV, clearly showed that the quest for a gilded name board, and the $7,500 annual revenue and happiness of the paying “oysterati,” including Supervisor Van Scoyoc, trumps the concerns of the local taxpayers and residents who actually live on Babe’s Lane, Gann Road, and Woodcrest, and the vast majority of the hamlet’s residents.
Our misplaced faith in David Lys’s repeated assurances to me personally and our community that we would be part of the planning process every step of the way over the past year was a lie. Last Thursday’s evening litany of publicly noticed meetings, repeating the supervisor’s talking points, was a continuing proof that this board has never had any intention of doing anything but what it feels like, the public be damned. It’s clear that for them, there is no difference between the letter of the law and its spirit, let alone honesty. So much for the former champion of public access. We still can’t access the preserve on Dolphin Drive, Mr. Lys.
Instead of keeping those repeated pledges, the original grant proposal was submitted with glowing letters from oyster growers and town residents, who had been sent form letters to submit to the state and were personally invited to that touted series of meetings as the overblown and overpriced “green” center was being developed. Nice model, bad policy. The promises for appropriate review and planning have been thrown out the window, as have an honest State Environmental Quality Review process, not the nonsense submitted. Note the mealy-mouthed explanation about why this was not a lie by Mr. Van Scoyoc on LTV. Not one neighborhood resident of the directly affected area was personally noticed or invited to any of these staged, insincere meetings, with the possible exception of one person.
Supporting the C.P.F. purchase of 36 Gann Road at the western corner of Babe’s Lane for water quality improvement was one thing, but as you pointed out, Mr. Rattray, this is not the place for an additional 5,000 square feet of unnecessary development, however green, without far more serious consideration.
Why is this board not indulging in the same kind of sober, informed, and lawfully mandated oversight that any such radical proposal would engender? Because as a municipality, it can? What happened to right and wrong? We have thus learned yet again that complacency leads to tyranny, and one-party rule is a significant step on that slope. Fellow Democrats, all of our residents, should read Timothy Snyder’s “On Tyranny: 20 Lessons from the 20th Century.”
Interestingly, when my neighbors and I decided recently to consult the Planning Department for the file, it had been pulled by David Lys, and I was informed that the Planning Department had no involvement in the project, that municipal development was exempt. What else is being hidden?
This consolidation of the Montauk and Gann Road operations may be a good idea, but a good project, oversized and in the wrong place, is a bad one, as is spending a lot of our money (these are all public funds; we fund the grants through our taxes) for too little return. The so-called green center is an unnecessary addition to a residential neighborhood that is critical to the established character of the dock, and to Springs, to its residents, to boaters, fishing families, really all of us who use and cherish this already preserved, and heavily burdened area.
There needs to be an honest evaluation of how best to improve water quality, by experts, not “shoot from the hip, gee whiz, we can get money, oh boy,” no matter how qualified or talented the architects.
Shellfish eat algae, but algae grow because of water temperature rise and excess nitrogen. How many septic systems could the town replace with that money? All of us in East Hampton would support a rationally derived plan for water quality improvement that would in fact include a real, cost-effective analysis of the best way to go about it, instead of a willy-nilly project that spends money just because it can.
We call on the town to at least move the additional 5,000 square feet elsewhere, or drop it entirely. Use the building you bought already, which your planning board said repeatedly is the largest one that could be built on that lot when it was sold to Mr. Wallace years ago. No building anywhere in this town should be built without an honest, lawful evaluation that any resident would be subject to, except Big Brother. It is an autocratic, anti-Democratic way to do business, and not what we elected this board to do.
This is no way to run an honest and open public government. Sign our petition on Change.org, as has every resident on Babe’s, Gann, and most of Woodcrest. There are about 100 signatures now, though we are less than 40 who live right there in our shared paradise.
Duck Creek Farm Association
August 12, 2019
It was another summer weekend assault by helicopters, seaplanes, and general aviation craft that chose to use the so-called North Fork transition zone and make living in Jamesport, Laurel, and Mattituck a virtual war zone. Between the ultra loud and low Textron seaplanes and the Sikorsky choppers that rattle my windows, it’s nothing less than an aerial Long Island Expressway of aviation over these neighborhoods. The craft are a hazard that is ruining our quality of life. It’s incredibly disrespectful.
There was no weather condition that necessitated flying this route. We had one plane crash this summer. The lack of concern for the safety of residents/taxpayers is appalling.
Why aren’t these pilots flying around to get to East Hampton? Why aren’t they taking an Atlantic route? Why isn’t the Federal Aeronautics Administration being responsive to the disrespectful business air traffic that’s changing the calm of a rural area and making it urban. Where are our elected officials on this issue?
Unless some respect is shown for our communities, it’s time to close KHTO.
August 13, 2019
Dear Mr. Rattray:
On behalf of the Greater Jamesport Civic Association, representing an area encompassing both the Long Island Sound and the Peconic Bay on the North Fork of Long Island, we would like to make your readers and legislators aware of the constant barrage of air traffic headed toward your airport that has changed our quality of life.
The North Shore route for helicopters has unfairly left our community subject to the noise and safety issues of the helicopters flying over our homes, schools, places of worship, and businesses. The helicopter pilots are using our boat marinas and fuel storage tanks as visual guides to fly. It is a serious safety issue that is endangering our residents and our tourists with their current routes. The noise from the helicopters prevents conversation and is disruptive to normal life.
There is no reason the pilots can’t use the Atlantic/South Shore route. The South Shore is the destination of the helicopters.
As your neighbors to the north, we ask you to help us maintain our rural community. We respectfully ask to have the North Shore routes curtailed and the use of our airways as helicopter routes stopped.
WILLIAM C. VAN HELMOND
Greater Jamesport Civic Association
August 19, 2019
To the Editor:
I just watched three great programs on EWTN. The first was about Michael Novak, one of the bright lights of the Catholic Church. He was a philosopher, journalist, and novelist. One of his great works is titled “The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism.” The second show was about Frances Hogan, explaining the miracle story in the Bible from the Book of St. Mark, Chapter 5, verses 21-43. The third show is titled G.K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense. We sure could use more common sense in our world. G.K. talks about the seven deadly sins. Whenever I see this much great programming my spirit is lifted so high. I’m hoping to do some real good today. God help me with this call.
Sick And Tired
August 19, 2019
Perry Gershon held an informal gathering on Saturday in East Hampton, obviously with Democrats only. Being the article is in the newspaper, this gives a chance to a conservative to reply to Mr. Gershon. The shootings have been tragic here, but how do you put blame on Lee Zeldin? How about Congress? What have they done in the past 20 years or more in regard to such shootings? The only thing they’ve done is run their mouths.
Racist is the word of the year, everything and everyone is racist, parrot talk. Mr. Gershon, have you sat down and watched the hearings on TV? I have, and Elijah Cummings is a screaming lunatic. He does not talk to people; he screams at people. Have you ever been in Baltimore? I have and couldn’t get out of there quick enough. It is a rat, rodent-infested, garbage-filled city.
Recently, not covered by local newspapers, Trump supporters came with rakes, brooms, and shovels cleaning up alleyways. Since this happened Mr. Cummings has quieted down. Baltimore has been ruled by Democrats forever. What have they done for the citizens and where is all the money given to Baltimore?
On the local front, to the writers complaining about a sign put up at Cirillo’s supermarket, I find this gutsy, because I am so sick and tired of political correctness. Do not tell me I cannot say “Merry Christmas.” Stop taking away my religious values, and stop telling me a person is offended.
In God and country,
August 19, 2019
It seems the First Amendment, guaranteeing free speech, is dead in this country. Express an opinion contrary to what “offenderazi” believe and you will be silenced, outed on social media, with calls to surround your home and death threats? Now we have the “Hunt,” a movie, where “elitist leftists” have a club that hunts down and murders — “Hildabeast” basket of deplorable, simply because they have different views. How long before this movie could spark real life copycats? It seems that the left is adding violence, as they wail about gun control.
Can anyone imagine, if the producer made a movie about conservatives doing the same to those who favor open borders, the free giveaways, reparations, and whatever fiscal devastation is proposed? The hypocrisy of the left knows no bounds.
They and the media favor and support antifa, a gang of masked thugs who cover their faces, assault, and beat innocent people such as that journalist who was doing nothing — kicked, punched, hit with weapons and such, sustaining serious head trauma. The student that was beaten on campus by another thug! The list is long. While the police were ordered to stand down.
One has to look at the mind-set and the fecal brain matter of who came up with this? What “enlightened” this producer and the “hollywierdos” to even produce and fund a film so demented and anarchistic as this?
Lest we forget the horrors of what started in Germany in the 1930s? To murder and enslave millions of innocent people just because of their religion?
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
August 19, 2019
Dear Mr. Rattray,
I’m sorry I was unable to make the submissions deadline and respond timely to the Star editorial of Aug. 8, “Hosting a Demagogue,” in which the paper expresses undisguised outrage that a fund-raiser for President Trump would be held at the mansion of local builder Joe Farrell. Especially in the aftermath of two mass shootings. “It is regrettable that any South Fork resident” could do such a thing, it is suggested in the piece.
While I might fully agree with the sentiments expressed in this editorial, I also believe that they leap to the bottom, the low ground, where the “demagogue” comfortably resides, attacking any and all who oppose his point of view, his behavior, his whatever.
There are millions of citizens in this country — on the left and on the right — whose views will not be moved by “new findings,” by debates, by editorials and/or opinion columns, or friendly campaign workers knocking on their doors. Those folks are entrenched in their beliefs, and I don’t hate them for that. I only hate the haters.
But there are also millions of citizens in this country whose doors and windows (and minds) are open. They’re watching the debates, responding to the news, forming their own opinions. I guess they’d be called the “undecideds.” For my purposes here, I’ll borrow a slogan from the State of Missouri: the “Show Me” state. (A phrase taken from one Congressman, Willard D. Vandiver, who famously said in an 1899 speech, “Frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I’m from Missouri. You’ve got to show me.” Nice. So those undecideds are the “Show Me” people.
For me, I hope there will be a Democrat who can make the case, perhaps most especially for a more just and civil union. I’ll hand out leaflets for that woman or man. But attacking Trump’s supporters, rich or poor, that’s not making the case for change. That’ s just digging deeper trenches. (Or building higher walls.) You should show me something better than that.
August 10, 2019
I would like to respond to last week’s editorial “Hosting a Demagogue.”
Although it seems crazy that life goes on after a tragedy like the shootings that occurred in recent weeks, it does. We all go on with our daily lives, even those of us who are heartbroken by what has happened. However, to imply that only the president goes on as if nothing has occurred is unfair.
It is easy to blame him for the shootings, even though any normal person knows they had nothing to do with him personally. No matter how you would like to place blame at his feet, he is not responsible. The president is not responsible. No more than Obama was responsible for the Connecticut tragedy. Twisting the president’s words and blaming him is a shallow attempt to justify your opinions.
Blame the real culprit: Congress. Its approval rating is lower than ever before. It does not want the laws that have been passed to be enforced, nor does it change them.
Blame the media for twisting every statement the president says or overanalyzing his tweets. I watch CNN and am totally amazed at the rhetoric that is stated as fact.
Sixty-three million people voted and made this man president. “The Deplorables,” false statements, and lies will not change anyone’s mind. Those millions who voted feel they have done the right thing. Maybe you should re-read your editorial, and perhaps you too will be enlightened by its one-sided nonsense.
Right to Vote
August 18, 2019
In a normal political world, if one ever existed, there is always an interaction between truth, partial truth, exageration, and outright lying. The president lies on an average of 13 times a day including days of silence. What we have become extraordinarily adept at is parsing, rationalizing, and fantasizing. There are no absolute truths. The sun neither rises nor sets at a particular time despite what the newspapers say. We are devoid of standards, bereft of values. Our only purity is that we are manipulators in search of a higher form of scamming. Deviance is our norm.
There is, however, something that is immutably undeniable in our political universe: Voting. In every democratic system the only salient and absolutely essential component is the right to vote. The second essential piece is the action of voting. Anything that interferes with the right to vote or impedes the process of voting is a deviant act of treason committed against the democracy. We have never elected a president with 50 percent of the electorate. The asterisk next to democracy means to be determined.
The right to vote is the basis for the legitimacy of any democratic government. No state, city, or township has any determining role other than carrying out the process. Voting isn’t an earned right. It requires only being born in the U.S. or becoming a naturalized citizen. There are no other legitimate or constitutional requirements (besides age) and no constitutional basis for taking away someone’s right to vote. (Except for high crimes and treason.)
There is nothing vague or unclear or disputable about a citizen’s right to vote. It’s not about policy or philosophy or devious interpretations like gun rights. If you are a citizen you have the right to vote. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments all mention this right. There is no question that the founders understood that without the right to vote there was no democracy, especially if majority rule was a democratic principle.
Conviction for a crime permits a state to not allow voting while serving a prison sentence, but upon release from prison that right is fully re-established. There is no legal basis for demanding released prisoners to have any limits or restrictions placed on their right to vote. Yet millions of felons who have served time, as much as 5 percemt of the electorate, are not permitted to vote. Extreme deviance.
Which brings us to Florida. Florida recently passed a law allowing 1.4 million ex-felons to vote. The law is an abomination in that it deprived felons of the right to vote in the first place, an anti-democracy neofascist action. Americans seem not to understand. Florida was momentarily applauded for being a pro-democracy state, but it immediately reverted back to form by demanding that all released felons make full restitution for the crimes they committed, including court costs, interest payments, etc.
Which brings us to the standard conservative Republican activity: “Scumbagery” (for lack of an appropriate, more politically correct yet accurate evaluation). Defined as a duplicitous, deviant action to undermine the democratic system under the guise of patriotism.
In Florida’s situation, the right to vote for all citizens, the most important part of our democratic system, is compromised by fabricating laws that are patently anti-democratic and designed to make it extremely difficult for felons to be allowed to vote.
Republicans talk about making restitution and paying their debts to society. Isn’t that what we do in prison? Democracy never enters into the conversation. Voter fraud is the manipulation of the voting process for political gain. Voting more than once almost never happens. Denying people the right to vote is endemic.
In a country where 40 percent of the electorate never votes we should be doing everything and anything we can to get people to vote. Offering them jobs, drugs, sex, trips to Disneyland, anything as long as they vote. Any individual or organization that impedes or prevents any citizen from voting should serve life in prison for treason. What Al Qaeda tried to do with 9/11 and Putin with the 2016 elections, tampering Florida politicians did with local law HB7066.Destroying the cornerstone of our democratic system by attacking its weakest link. Voting.
Is there a better way to describe the Florida Legislature than with an obscenity? Is their behavior something other than obscene?
So, for anyone who is offended by the language, be offended by what they are doing in Florida. Understand that your silence is equally obscene.
August 17, 2019
The very worst excuses for Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide is because two of his guards were on overtime shifts, one a fourth or fifth day. Not even “extreme” overtime shifts could, would, or should justify guards from not doing the jobs they’re being paid and directed to do, especially since workers and their unions often seek out such overtime for the Long Island Rail Road’s Thomas Caputo recently made $344,147 in overtime on top of his base salary of $117,499.
Interestingly, in medicine, the Epstein-Barr virus often causes fatigue, and I’m already tired of the lack of justice for Epstein’s victims and enablers. I hope Attorney General Barr will not tire until he achieves compensatory justice for Epstein’s victims, plus jail justice for his accomplices.