Letters to the Editor: 11.08.18

Our readers' comments

Recent Deaths

Amagansett

November 4, 2018

To the Editor:

Our little seaside community has suffered a great loss with the recent deaths of two extraordinary individuals, Fred A. “Carlos” Anduze and Sarah de Havenon Fowler, for whom memorial services were held on Saturday, Nov. 4, in East Hampton. 

Carlos, who passed away in October at 90 years of age, was a larger-than-life character who regaled everyone he met with fantastic stories (did he really drive a Cadillac across the ice to Gardiner’s Island?), hobnobbing with kings and world leaders (did he really go to school with Fidel Castro?), famous musicians and artists. 

He really did become a close friend to Willem de Kooning, and over the ensuing decades became a part of the family. Indeed, it was de Kooning’s three granddaughters who held Carlos’s memorial service at St. Luke’s, and a more lively celebration of life later that night at Stephen Talkhouse. Carlos was a global force, and made everyone from the top to the bottom feel like a friend.

Sarah de Havenon was also widely known and beloved, yet she succumbed in October at 58 after a brave but brief battle with brain cancer. Her most recent career endeavor was to open French Presse, the lush and lovely linen store that welcomes shoppers to Amagansett Square to browse for bedding and other home goods. 

She was the youngest of six children and the mother of three fine sons. She had a very big life on the inside and out. Remembrances of Sarah all focused on her concern for others, her wisdom and insight, kindness and helpfulness, creativity, superb listening, and an easy laugh. Many tears are being shed.

As I listened to the remarks made by friends and family at these two services, I began to wonder how the example of Sarah and Carlos could help me live better in my own life. At the end, does it really matter if the dishes aren’t done and the room is messy? Or that the report is late or never submitted? Or that grudge is still hanging around in my backpack? Or that I’m not a zillionaire? Or whatever else? In the end, not really. The summation of one’s life is measured on an entirely different scale.

Stephen Covey, author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” counts “Begin with the End in Mind” as one of these habits. It asks the reader to imagine what people would say about you at your funeral. As applied to Carlos and Sarah, both people would be tops. 

The lasting impressions are of love and joy. Of feelings. Of friendship. Of relationship.  To honor Carlos and Sarah would be to put these things first in order to create a life well lived.

ELIZABETH HALLIDAY

Sprayed the Yard

Springs

November 3, 2018

Dear Editor:

My name is Dana Miller Lester and I have been an amateur beekeeper for about five years. I live on Copeces Lane in Springs and I have two hives in my backyard. My immediate neighbors all know about them and don’t have any problems with their being there. This year they were doing well, and I was happy with their activity. To our delight, my family and I had also noticed an abundance of lightning bugs in our yard this year, many more than the last few years. Alas, that was not to last.

Across and down the street a bit, there is a house that has been renovated and is now for sale. The owner is the real estate agent and no one lives in the house. In their zealousness to sell, they have sprayed the yard for ticks not once but twice in the last four months. Now, anyone who has lived here for any amount of time knows that ticks live on the ground but these people were spraying up into the trees like they were fighting wildfires. The first time the property was sprayed, within two weeks the lightning bugs were gone and by the end of the month my first hive was gone. Then in late September they sprayed again and by the end of October my second hive was done for. What had been probably 25,000 bees in July are now all dead.

When the first spraying occurred, I could only speculate but now that this has happened twice with the same outcome I’m sure that this was no coincidence that both hives died within a month of someone spraying.

Now I don’t like ticks and mosquitoes any more than anybody else does, but we all have to realize how hurtful we are being to the environment when we do this kind of spraying. There are other ways of keeping the bad bugs at bay. Be more welcoming to the animals that eat ticks and mosquitoes. Be happy when you see a possum in your yard. They eat ticks, lots and lots of ticks. Put up a bat house. Plant some lavender, sage, and marigolds.

We are all complaining that we don’t see butterflies like we used to. Well guess what, you spray for the bad bugs you’re going to kill the good ones too! That is not even mentioning what it is doing to the water. The worst part is these bugs are very good at mutating so after a while they will change and it will be all the harder to kill them. Is it worth it? Not to me.

Sincerely,

DANA LESTER

Hit a Parked Van

East Hampton

November 5, 2018

Dear David,

Most of us use the Hampton Jitney. This morning, Nov. 5, an Ambassador, #160, pulled out and pushed into a solid line of traffic on Main Street in East Hampton with such speed and recklessness that it nearly caused a multiple car pileup. The bus driver continued to speed toward the light at the end of the pond and turned right at the red light. It was 6:16 a.m.

Had this been the first problem I witnessed with a Jitney recently I wouldn’t have written. However, last month I took the 4:45 a.m. Jitney into the city for a doctor’s appointment. The L.I.E. was moving but heavy in Queens. The driver decided to ride on the service road, which was clearly slower due to the lights. At one point he accelerated at an intersection, hit a parked van, which created a collective sound of surprise among the passengers, and kept right on going as if nothing had happened. When I got out at my stop I looked at the rear of the bus where he hit the truck. It was scraped but the new scrape joined many other such dents and marks.

In years gone by when Pete Garapy, Cookie, her husband, and other past drivers were shuttling us around I always felt safe in and around a Jitney. No longer. I realize the excuse given by all employers is that staff is hard to find. That’s a hollow excuse when lives are on the line.

NANCY R. PEPPARD

Positive Feeling

Amagansett

November 5, 2018

Dear David,

I attended the Amagansett School Board meeting on Oct. 23 to hear multiple items on the agenda, including the results of the internal audit.

To my delight the new superintendent, Seth Turner, was very active and knowledgeable, answering any questions posed to him.

I am looking closer into the audit and hopefully will have more information in next week’s letter. I already have a positive feeling with Mr. Turner at the helm. 

It would be nice to have the Amagansett residents and taxpayers given more consideration in the school finances verses the previous years of “spending at the hip” technique.  

The meeting was closed by a vote of the three board members in attendance, with Kristen Peterson, president of the board, stating there would be no executive session that night.

I noticed the reaction of the other two board members, which was a little surprised. In answer, Mrs. Peterson stated that the fourth board member was absent and they would wait until they had all four in attendance. From what I saw, it appeared that Mrs. Peterson made that decision, when in reality, there was a quorum of members to run the meeting, so there could have been an executive session despite the missing board member. 

Does this mean that Mrs. Peterson is making decisions without the vote of the other board members? Doesn’t this decision have to be voted on in front of the public? 

Best Regards,

MARY A. EAMES

We All Care

East Hampton

November 5, 2018

Dear David,

While we will all have voted by the time you read this, knowing this for your own information and for the next election, locally and nationally, too, will be educational. 

Right now, we have a huge local issue to address. No, it’s not opioid addiction and the untimely deaths of our young people, which is rampant and must stop. No, it’s not the lack of affordable housing on the East End for our local working families, which is a big problem and must be paid attention to. No, it is not beach erosion and the rising tides during northeasters and hurricanes, though that, of course, is a worry. No, my friends, it is the water: the groundwater, our sole source aquifer. All of our drinking water in East Hampton Town. 

You, me, our partners, kids, grandkids, and friends, from East Hampton to Montauk. Do you care? I sure do. I have cared since I arrived here in 1988 to live full time on Napeague, then to settle with the family and dig in in Whalebone Woods in East Hampton. You may know us, we’re “the Bone” residents, as the young ones named it when they were playing hockey, skateboarding, and cycling and playing, and growing up here and later working here. Now they have families of their own, and some live here in Whalebone still or in the extended neighborhood of East Hampton. Some left for away and returned. 

We all care about our neighborhood. We all care so very much about our drinking water — the groundwater safety and the aquifer. We all care that the Suffolk County Water Authority wells on Oakview Highway stay pristine. The water is underneath us all, the sole source aquifer, what lies beneath us, we must protect. Job one. Not later. It can’t be unpolluted once the damage is done. 

The sand mine here on Middle Highway must go bye bye, if we are to have safe drinking water, the “other” sand mine. We are right outside the village, in the woods. The owner/operator of this commercial business in a residential neighborhood must not be permitted by the Department of Environmental Conservation to dig another 100 feet down into our groundwater. Yep, you heard me right. It’s beyond the beyond to even consider such a thing. It’s enough digging, Bub. 

Reclaim the sand pit, fill it in, plant the trees you decimated to dig your crater in the earth for money, and sell to the town through the community preservation fund to preserve as open space, and the forest can return and the aquifer be protected. Now. Not in 10 years! No more digging. Are you kidding me? You think we’re going to sit down for this? You got another think coming. We’re mad as hell, and we won’t be ignored any longer. Hear us loud and clear. 

We’re sick of the bureaucracy, and we’re out of patience. The permit to dig another 100 feet down has to be denied, by the D.E.C. That’s it. The town said no. Our assemblyman said no. Both sent letters saying such. If this is rubber stamped again, by the D.E.C., then we know we have something underhanded going on at the D.E.C. and the sand-pit operation. And it will be exposed, count on it. We don’t threaten, we act. 

Now you know, too. What are you going to do about it? 

Sincerely,

NANCI LAGARENNE

Fourteenth Amendment

Springs

October 30, 2018

Dear David:

In 1856, the Supreme Court handed down what many think was its most controversial decision. In this infamous case, known as Dred Scott, the Supreme Court declared that all blacks — slaves as well as free — were not and could never become citizens of the United States. This decision contributed to the bonfire that resulted in the Civil War.

Following that conflict, in 1866, two-thirds of the states amended the United States Constitution to add the 14th Amendment, which, in pertinent part, reads: “all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the Untied States.” This amendment nullified the Dred Scott decision and for more than 150 years has guaranteed citizenship to anyone born, regardless of race, in this country.

Through its ratification, the 14th Amendment guarantees that citizenship would not become a political tool, capable of being taken away and granted at will in response to political winds. In blatant violation of this constitutional guarantee, Mr. Trump announced his intention to issue an executive order that would end the guarantee of citizenship to noncitizens born in the United States. In addition, our congressman, Lee Zeldin, believes that citizenship can be withheld or rescinded based on race and has sponsored several bills calling for the removal of citizenship of “alleged” gang members.

It is hard to know whether this is just the latest shiny object that Mr. Trump wants the media to chase in hopes that it will spur his adherents to the polls. That is wholly beside the point. That Mr. Trump and Mr. Zeldin believe that they can act outside constitutional strictures is the hallmark of tyranny, and it belies any notion that either of them has a moral core that embraces the fundamental principles that form the core of our democracy. Their shamelessness is beyond words.

Sincerely,

BRUCE COLBATH

Very Comforting

East Hampton

November 4, 2018

Dear David,

It was very comforting to attend the memorial service initiated by the Jewish Center of the Hamptons for the murdered Jewish victims of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. There was standing room only. Much to our surprise, at the beginning of the service, a line of pastors from a dozen churches, from Riverhead to East Hampton, marched in to sit behind the rabbi. Among the speakers were Mayor Rickenbach and the village police chief offering kind words. (It was a disappointment that no one attended to represent the Town of East Hampton.) 

Rabbi Joshua Franklin is to be commended for the tone and quality of the service. He ended the ceremony by standing 11 candles (for each victim killed) and had one of the Christian pastors light each candle and say which victim’s memory it was for. 

Let’s hope that we don’t have a future evening like this.

Yours truly,

NAOMI SALZ

Stand Up to It

East Hampton

November 5, 2018

Dear David,

The first sergeant of our engineer company had summoned a few of us privates to the orderly room to join a detail that was setting out to eliminate some rattlesnake nests from a part of the Texas desert we were about to bivouac in. I wasn’t happy to be a part of this, but no one in our outfit had ever been bitten and besides I enjoyed eating sautéed rattlesnake meat, which the sergeant had assured me was a delicacy fully appreciated by those other damn Jews up in f . . . n Jew York.

Recognition flowed through my still adolescent brain that if I just let this go, some deep law of human history would see to it that I did not survive this war. So, in a voice higher pitched than Gary Cooper’s would have been, I challenged him to remove his sergeant stripes, come with me outside the Camp Swift gate, and have it out. Fortunately, he declined. He was more than somewhat bigger and more committed to destruction than I, and I doubt I’d have regained my feet after his first punch.

But he never called me a damn Jew again.

Jews in the U.S.A during the ’30s and ’40s were what Muslims are today and African-Americans and Mexicans continually have been — objects of fear, insults, and sometimes murderous violence. Those of us who have lived long enough to have experienced this earlier period as well as its current, AR-15-accompanied comeback, are most likely to agree with me that one thing we must do is stand up to it, whether it comes at us in snarls or soft malice. It’s a matter of both survival and speaking out like a good American.

Sincerely,

RICHARD ROSENTHAL

Cowardly Congress

Plainview

November 1, 2018 

To the Editor:

If Robert Bowers’s Pittsburgh synagogue murders were hate crimes, were the all-too-similar Parkland, Sandy Hook, and Las Vegas shootings love crimes?

If no Saudi strangled Jamal Khashoggi inside their embassy, did New York Police Department officer Daniel Pantaleo, who choked Eric Garner to death, somehow sneak in and do it himself?

If State Senate majority leader John Flanagan calls the New York State Union of Teachers “a force of evil,” what does he call pipe-bomber Cesar Sayoc?

If Robert Bowers gets the death penalty, can it be the newly invented “Whitey Bulger Death Penalty?”

If the school shooting deaths of 20 6 and 7-year-old children at Sandy Hook didn’t move our cowardly Congress to pass any lifesaving, common-sense gun control laws, how can we expect the synagogue shooting deaths of 11 54-to-97-year-old Jews to do it?

If President Trump wouldn’t lose any voters even if he shot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue, would he lose any of his 63 million voters if he had been the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter?

RICHARD SIEGELMAN

Who We Are

East Hampton

November 4, 2018

To the Editor,

Yesterday is a dream, tomorrow is a vision, but only if each is well lived and we make every tomorrow a vision for hope. We as Americans must imagine with an open mind, believe with our hearts and achieve with all our might. Don’t let your ears witness what your eyes do not see. If only closed minds came with a closed mouth Nothing in life is about being the best. Actually being better than you were yesterday is good enough. Weak people seek revenge, strong people forgiveness, and intelligent people aloofness. Respect is earned, honesty is appreciated, trust is gained, and loyalty is returned. Evil spelled backward is live. Reality forms around commitment like dreams, small creeks grow into mighty rivers.

Racism is an “ism” to which everyone in the world is exposed to. We must defeat it, and the history of that decision will decide the future of the world. On this issue alone we all have to be positive not doubtful, too optimistic to be fearful and too determined to be defeated. Acceptance of others by their looks, their beliefs bring you an inner peace and tranquillity instead of anger and resentment. Fate can only take us just so far, the rest is up to us. Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace amid the storm. Albert Einstein once said two things are infinite. The universe and human stupidity. To be yourself you don’t need to be accepted by others you need to accept yourself. Since light travels faster than sound some people appear bright until you hear them speak. Such as Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, and Maxine Walters minds like parachutes only work when open. Lessons in life will always be repeated until they are learned. What consumes your mind controls your life. Choose your thoughts wisely for they are the energy that creates your life.

It’s always better to understand others than to be understood. Understanding does not necessarily mean agreement. It’s only during an eclipse that the man in the moon has a place in the sun. A civilized society that can no longer feel outrage can no longer be civilized. Life’s heaviest burden is to have nothing to carry. Confidence is something we create within ourselves by believing who we are. Sometimes you have to forget what’s gone, appreciate what remains to look forward to what’s coming next. Character is like the foundation of a house — it’s below the surface.

TOM BYRNE

Reckless Spending

Rochester

October 31, 2018

To The Editor:

I am writing to respond to the frequent claim made by Republicans that Democrats in the Congress and in the liberal part of the news media support reckless spending by the federal government on programs that help people. I want the conservatives to tell the country which ones they want to cut and reduce spending on. It certainly can’t be defense/military spending. So which ones do they want to cut?

 It has to be Social Security because the federal government spends 24 percent of all that it spends on Social Security alone. That’s what they want to cut. Which other programs are the ones where they imagine that there is much reckless spending on? Medicare. Medicaid. Food stamps. College student loans. Unemployment insurance benefits. Of course, they are not talking about doing something about how Medicare and Medicaid are defrauded of tens of billions of dollars by those in the health care/medical fields. They are not talking about reducing spending on these programs by lowering the exorbitant costs of prescription drugs/medications. 

Oh no, that would be taking away the precious “constitutional right” to make obscene and immoral profits off people’s illnesses and resultant misery and suffering. Their constitutional right to total individual liberty and freedom to rip off and hurt the American people must be protected by the conservative Republicans. Simply put, when they talk about cutting and reducing reckless spending, they are talking about wanting to cut Social Security retirement benefits of not only future retirees but of current retirees as well.

“Movement-Conservative” Paul Ryan warmheartedly suggests a cut of 23 percent to 25 percent (notice that he has already selected the amount of the cuts that he has dreamed of for years). When conservatives like Ryan talk about saving and reforming Social Security, other conservative Republicans know all too well that those are simply code words and buzz words that really mean cutting and then eventually abolishing/eliminating Social Security in its entirety.

So this is what you are all talking about when you say that you stand for “compassionate conservatism.”

We are all touched. You are all heart.

Sincerely,

STEWART B. EPSTEIN

Autocratic Fascism

East Hampton

November 4, 2018

Editor:

In the world of autocratic fascism the leadership is always right. No matter how vulgar, how inhuman, how repulsive the behavior, there is always a rationale. So imagine if Hillary Clinton appeared at a Trump rally where he is leading the crowd in the “lock her up” chant. Would they have beaten her up, torn her apart, subjected her to taunts and violence? Trump of course would not have been responsible for what happened. He didn’t beat her or inflict violence. He exercised his right to free speech. He defiled and disgraced the civility of our political system.

When a country is, in essence, delusional and denies its history there is only a fine layer of civility and respect that separates a democratic state from a fascist state. Breaching that layer unleashes a level of behavior that is often violent, hateful, and destructive to the society. In Germany the Jews were identified as a disgusting blemish on the Aryan perfection of the German people. Eliminating them was a no-brainer for a people who were nationalistic and unchained. Once the process got started almost everyone jumped on board.

Watching Lindsay Graham transition from a moderating voice of reason to a raging sociopath tells it all. The fear when one party controls all three pieces of the government. Winning at any price. Spineless scum, Republicans “uber alas.”

Trump, as chief fascist and autocrat, is clearly evident in the refugee march from Central America. Four thousand mostly women and children, fleeing the violence and poverty of their countries. (Conditions that can be traced back to our not-so-distant colonial past.) Desperate beyond reason, courageous beyond imagination, hopeful beyond logic. Who are these dark-skinned animals that are coming to contaminate our white purity, steal our values, rape our women, take advantage of our Christian charity? (Talking about fantasy.)

So while they are still two months away, Trump sends 15,000 soldiers to the border to help out the 15,000 existing border control and police that don’t need any help.

It’s all fabricated. There is no crisis, no threat. Just the deranged ramblings of a fascist leader jacking up his supporters who smell blood and love it. Replacing Jews with immigrants.

In the United States the voice of the president is the biggest and most forceful, like teachers talking to their students, union leaders talking to their workers, coaches talking to their players. We listen to them, absorb their messages, determine our thoughts and actions based on what they say.

When the president says it is okay to beat people up, disrespect their rights, and identifies them as evil, he is sending a message to the country. He is instigating, condoning, organizing behavior.

The genetic component to true fascism is the ability not to feel. The absence of empathy. The pathological transference of evil to good, lies to truth, and fantasy to reality. Trump embodies all of them. Yet, they would stay below the surface if not for the complicity of the Republican Party, the most offensive of all. Selling their souls and the country for a few more years in power and a chance to continue raping and pillaging the country.

Clinton’s description of these supporters as “deplorables” was spot on. Unfortunately, we were too politically correct and delusional not to recognize what was happening. In a flat world people fall off the edges.

NEIL HAUSIG