Summer Is Here
May 26, 2019
As the traffic thickened this past week it seemed like the normal rhythm of an East Hampton summer starting. However I sense something more pernicious in the air. The first hint was evident when I slowed down near Red Horse on Friday to let some poor soul make a left turn and suddenly I was barraged by a horn blaring from a car which went to my right to pass and came within inches of smashing into said poor soul. And they were mad? Shrugging, I looked at my wife and said “summer is here.”
Not so fast. Returning from Balsam Farms not a few hours later, my daughter recounted a story of a carload of people who apparently wanted to fight with her because she turned into the farm stand in front of them, problematic because they were going 70 miles per hour on Town Lane.
Really? Wait. There is more.
On Sunday afternoon my wife, daughter, her boyfriend, and I were returning from a nice boat cruise over to Sag Harbor, again heading home on Town Lane to avoid traffic when we saw two horses and riders at Stony Hill getting ready to cross. Being intelligent humans we thought it best to slow down so as not to spook the horses and young ladies riding and let them cross. This is where it gets pernicious.
Without warning, a car obviously with the pedal to the floor, apparently impatient with us slowing for the horses, jumped the double yellow line to the left speeding directly at the horses which were now halfway across Town Lane and almost forced us into the ditch on the side of the road as they had to sharply veer right to miss the horses. Luckily we were driving a truck. A horrible accident was somehow averted but it was close. Very close. The car sped off without so much as a tap on the brakes.
That was enough for me. As we approached the line of traffic blocked up at the train tracks a few minutes later the vehicle was blocked in. I thought I would ask the person driving just what the hell they were doing. Oops.
Expecting to see a few overenthusiastic teens, I was mildly surprised to find an older gentleman in the car. As we spoke, a heavily tattooed young man and woman jumped out of the car in front of this gentleman, reeking of booze (it was 2 p.m.), cursing my wife (who was driving) like gutter-mouthed urchins and threatening to kill me among other ugly violent language. I was appalled. Apparently it was a father-son duo out speeding with their ladies, drinking while driving recklessly and otherwise staining our beautiful town with scary, rude, criminal behavior. After a tense standoff we left, hearts pounding.
Whoever this new type of visitor is, they cannot, do not, live here.
Whoever these people are and wherever they are coming from, they seem intent on bringing the urban street thug movement here. Just my opinion, but go back home and stay there. We do not want or need this type of senseless culture in East Hampton. Based on this weekend, I fear it is already too late.
What Did We Gain?
May 26, 2019
The East Hampton Chamber of Commerce is not a volunteer organization; it is a business that coordinates and lobbies only on behalf of dues-paying member businesses. Is the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce a member or affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce? The U.S.C.C. is a conservative Republican lobbying group.
Steven Ringel, head of the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce, is no doubt a nice guy. He is also a paid professional fund-raiser and lobbyist. He had the same job at the chamber of commerce in Nashville. We’re not Nashville.
And the fair is not L.V.I.S.
The chamber fair was promoted as a “community” event. How did our community benefit? What did we gain from sunglasses and crafts “street-fair” stalls cluttering our village?
The participants in the Newtown Lane event paid the chamber of commerce for their booths. How much of the Saturday proceeds went to benefit our village and how much went to benefit the chamber of commerce?
East Hampton’s town and village boards must have signed off on this Saturday street rental and therefore evaluated the cost versus the benefit. Beyond any day tripper good will, please, we should be told exactly what dollar amount was given to our village and where it will be applied.
It would be fair to know how this superimposed fair benefits our own East Hampton shops and residents.
All good wishes,
May 27, 2019
To the Editor,
I have been a year-round resident of the Town of East Hampton for nearly 50 years. I grew up in Huntington and moved to East Hampton because Huntington was getting grossly over-developed and opportunities to enjoy open space, fishing, sport-shooting, hunting, shellfishing, and similar outdoor activities were rapidly disappearing.
I love East Hampton; I look at it as where my roots are. This is my hometown.
I accept that I will never be considered a “local” and that’s okay. I have made friendships here that I hold dear to me. I believe, out of respect and admiration, I have made a very concerted effort to assimilate myself with those who have grown up here and have many generations of family history here.
I had had the pleasure to develop friendships with some of the locals and they have expressed concern that the rapid influx of new residents seems to have brought significantly different priorities and perspectives about what our local environment should be like. Some of these are contrary to the traditions that have been a part of life here for centuries.
In particular focus right now is sport-shooting, hunting, and the fact that available natural browse, or food source, for the white-tailed deer has been dramatically reduced due to their overpopulation. Empirical evidence has clearly shown that the overbrowsing by deer, legal and illegal fencing, and land development has precipitated the destruction of the understory of our woods and forests.
It is widely recognized that deer are a huge blood meal for disease-carrying ticks. Also, documented deer interactions with vehicles precipitate catastrophic, crippling, horrific pain and death to both the deer and humans.
I was asked to join the East Hampton Town Deer Management Advisory Committee and am a charter member of what is now being called the wildlife management advisory committee. I take this position very seriously. I am a scientist, a conservationist, and want to see East Hampton retain a sensible balance among humans, other animals, and plants.
The various town boards in the past decade have put a lot of trust in the recommendations put forward by the afore- mentioned advisory committees, and I think the composition of these committees has had a reasonable balance of members who have made every effort to do the right thing. Not all members are in agreement with what is democratically decided but they move on.
The various town boards in the past decade have been receptive to increasing hunting opportunities, for deer in particular. The push to shut down some of our town lands to hunting one day each weekend during hunting season would be in total contradiction to what has been accomplished so far.
Earlier I mentioned that I strived to assimilate in with the local ways of living here, ways that have been in place for centuries. It seems that these efforts to ban some of the weekend hunting do not exhibit the willingness of some to assimilate. On the contrary, they look to dictate — not assimilate.
This past Sunday, a beautiful day, I am on my deck enjoying watching the trees sway in the wind and several motorcycles go by. Did they make noise? Yes, they did. Did they disturb my enjoyment of what was around me? No. I thought it was a great day to be on a bike.
Large and loud trucks went back and forth to the Recycling Center on the same road. What’s next — banning trucks and motorcycles on town roads one day a weekend because they bother me and it scares my dog?
This all brings to mind the Broadway play “I Love You. You’re Perfect. Now Change!”
I implore the town board not to approve any weekend hunting bans on town-owned lands. There is enough town land around to share, to be made for the exclusive use of a few.
The hikers and bikers have 365 days a year to use virtually all town wooded properties, while hunters have a small fraction of the year and not all wooded properties to hunt on.
It seems as if the proponents of such a hunting ban feel they have more entitlement to town lands than the rest of us.
A Day to Honor
May 25, 2019
Memorial Day — a day to honor and remember our fallen military is a day that the president of the United States, the commander in chief of our military, decided to take a trip to Japan, a country that is responsible for Pearl Harbor and the deaths of over 100,000 Americans.
Apparently trade with Japan and watching sumo wrestling bouts are more important than honoring our deceased veterans.
KENNETH R. DODGE
Nary a Word
May 24, 2019
In 1958 the Elegants sang a song, “Where are You Little Star?” On Sunday, May 19, a car show for veterans was held at the Amagansett American Legion Hall on Montauk Highway. I arrived at 7 a.m. for a 9 a.m. show and found a dozen local youngsters gathered to assist and display. Many others came from near and far. Many plain folks and some wealthy, who brought rare and stunning cars to display and honor our veterans.
The fire department, as usual, was there, and spectators galore wandered in. All had a fabulous time. Dave Samot and crew led the charge, so all could share the joy and benefit for those who served.
The most disappointment came in this week’s edition of The Star, our “local” hometown paper, which used to always let everyone see what was going on in our town. I did see a photographer for The Star taking pictures.
I opened my local “hometown” paper to find nary a word, no photographs of the stunning cars and “local” benefit event, that were on display!
I betcha if two protesters were there, complaining that the tires were crushing the grass and that plastic straws were destroying the earth, it would have had photographs and an article.
I went through the paper twice because I thought I missed it. A story about 432,000 bottles of wine was featured in Arts and Living, but zilch for those who came to honor our veterans a week before Memorial Day. Who is behind this snub? Come on, David, get back to really being one of our hometown papers. Kudos to The East Hampton Press, for its coverage and photos.
God bless our veterans for their service.
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
In Modern Wars
May 24, 2019
To the Editor,
“Thank you for your service.” The homage was offered to the Vietnam War vet who was standing at the podium, by a woman member of the audience who had come to hear him speak about his writings of his time fighting in that conflict. Her expression of gratitude is one you hear often when a member of the armed services is introduced, especially one who has fought in a war. It’s become commonplace and almost automatic whenever encountering a vet.
The response, however, by the ex-marine who was taking questions about his newly published book was unexpected. He excused himself first, if his forthcoming answer might appear impolite and then went into an impassioned riff about how he recoils every time he hears that expression. “I didn’t fight for high ideals,” he said, “we fought because we were Marines. We fought to protect each other from dying or being crippled.”
He went on to declare how he felt betrayed by the politicians who sent many of his fellow Marines and other armed services personnel to risk their lives for spurious reasons, not to defend his country or its values, but rather for furthering the politicians’ own personal power schemes. It was a disorienting moment, both disturbing and insightful.
For me it has remained a memorable moment because it resonated so deeply with my own feelings about that phrase, “Thank you for your service.” I’ve always felt conflicted about its suitability and legitimacy.
Of course, I can see why it is accepted as a tribute to those who serve and appreciation for their service to our country. And, if the sacrifice that they were asked to make was for a just cause, it would be perfectly acceptable to view them as heroes and it would go no further. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
It’s not that I don’t feel gratitude to those who serve in the military and fight in modern wars. It’s just that I feel a stronger emotion of sympathy for them because they are victims of a con. They’ve been duped into believing a false narrative that they’re fighting to defend our freedom and values against those who would subvert those principles.
In reality they are conscripted into an army whose purpose it is to supply the muscle for a relatively small group of power-hungry politicians at best and evil despots at worst. The real objective of armed conflict these days has little to do with defending our nation and more to do with the grab for power and political gamesmanship. The players are those few at the top and the losers are the fighters, those sustaining the casualties by putting their lives on the line.
This past Memorial Day I remembered those who died in military service for our country and felt sorrow and sympathy. I also felt anger for the phony national pride that the politicians spew in their demagoguery but ask young men and women to back it up with life and limb. Their counterfeit loyalty to the flag and their bogus pandering to patriotism and nationalism sicken me. All of it is calculated to bolster divisiveness among nations. They, having established an evil adversary, make it easier to rally everyone around our piece of earth to defend it in stupid wars.
War, in its many forms, is indeed formed and surrounded by deception. We cringe with disbelief that jihadists are brainwashed into becoming martyrs for Allah. How much different is it that we motivate our potential young soldiers by offering the opportunity to live a life of appreciation (“Thank you for your service”) and hero worshipping.
The irony is that those who fought and whose lives were decimated by post-traumatic stress disorder or became physically crippled will find it harder to accept the truth that they fought, not for the glory of a just fight but as pawns in a kind of societal exploitation.
It is all a deception: the flag, the patriotism, and the nationalism. All of it used as pretense to go willingly into war.
For those lucky enough to survive, this trickery is too hard to accept because it would be one more wound added to a soldier’s psyche in addition to their already heinous injuries. So I’ll continue to say, “Thank you for your service” and think to myself, “I’m sorry for your being conned.”
Out There First
May 27, 2019
My name is Susan Hanley and I am an East Hampton year-round resident. This area is so special, and we are all very fortunate to spend time here in this beautiful yet fragile place. One person who is constantly safeguarding this community on a round-the-clock basis is East Hampton Town Trustee Susan McGraw Keber.
I have watched her tirelessly work to ensure that our environment from the water to wildlife is being protected and preserved for the future. From the protection of our water to horseshoe crabs to a ban on balloon release to mosquito larvae water sampling in Accabonac Harbor, Susan is out there first educating herself and the community regarding what is in the best interest of East Hampton. She volunteers her time tirelessly to benefit others.
Susan also works very hard to pass her knowledge along to our children and recogizes that the future of this area and of the country lies in their hands. She shares her love of the environment with our children and educates them about how they can safeguard East Hampton now and when they become adults.
Susan also does fund-raising to support local scholarships for our youth and is a strong supporter of after-school enrichment and summer learning programs for our working families.
From water to wildlife to our children, Susan Keber McGraw is a powerful, dedicated indiviudal who we are very fortunate to have on our side. I fully endorse her re-election as town trustee.
Thank you for the opportunity to be heard.
Take a Look
May 27, 2019
Last week you graciously printed our letter, “We Are Fortunate.”
We would like to correct a misprint concerning the YouTube link to Justice Lisa Rana’s interview with Phyllis Italiano for “The Democratic View.” The correct link to view the interview is youtube.com/video/8TTTh2hBsoo.
Justice Rana speaks about her education and work as a caseworker and an attorney in the foster care system. She speaks about judging vs. being judgmental. We invite you to take a look.
DAWN RANA BROPHY
ANNETTE RANA WEBB
May 25, 2019
The article in last week’s Star about the exposure of the transmission cables serving the Block Island Wind Farm underscores the validity of Wainscott citizens’ concerns about a Beach Lane landing site for the proposed South Fork Wind Farm project. But the construction design and the technology used by the Deepwater Company at Block Island are significantly different from what is proposed for the South Fork Wind Farm.
Both the town trustees and the town board, in draft easements, require the cable conduit to be set at least 30 feet below Wainscott Beach, whereas the design depths for the Block Island cables were only 10 feet beneath the beach. The cable installation will be achieved by a more advanced technology: a horizontal directional drilling method and designed to protect the cable from erosion over the full life of the project.
The company that built the Block Island wind farm has subsequently been acquired by Orsted, a Danish company that pioneered offshore wind in 1991, in partnership with Eversource, a New England energy company with decades of experience in cable installation. Orsted is one of the most experienced offshore wind energy companies in the world. The company now supplies over 25 percent of all offshore wind in the world, with thousands of turbines primarily in Europe. I consider it hopeful news that the South Fork Wind project, if approved after numerous future regulatory reviews, will be built by a company with a great depth (no pun intended) of experience and a good track record.
It is clear that any South Fork wind project, including the cable’s installation and maintenance, must be subject to the most rigorous environmental review and ongoing monitoring. East Hampton residents are right to insist on this.
It would be truly tragic, however, if the valid concerns for our unique environmental heritage are allowed to drown out the urgent need to transition away from the destructive effects of burning fossil fuel and toward clean, renewable wind for our growing electricity needs.
Win With Wind
May 27, 2019
Your sound and succinct editorial and two full-page ads in your paper on wind this last week prompt me to add my nonpartisan voice.
Just to be clear: Having spent the last 17 months working on an ambitious climate change website, I am deeply aware of the critical nature of our global warming issue. I have become fairly uninterested in all discussions which center around what others should be doing. I am increasingly focused on what I should be doing, what my community should be doing, and what my country should be doing: nothing short of everything.
I am additionally aware that when someone begins to pay attention to the depth of this problem, it is only the beginning of the discussion. Most people then need time to think about what they can do and, then, what they will do.
So, now, here we are, in a country that desperately needs to electrify and fuel that electrification with renewables — solar, wind, hydropower, and, maybe, in the short term, God forbid, with nuclear. F.Y.I.: Indian Point provides more than 20 percent of New York State’s energy. When we retire that plant in 2021, where do we think that energy will come from if we haven’t developed the renewables by then?
East Hampton is a town where incredibly smart and insanely fortunate people live. Paradise, really, and we have an abundance of — something uniquely ours, something the Pacific Coast can’t compete with — the power of wind and the shallow waters that offshore wind turbines are dependent upon.
Returning from Sweden three weeks ago, I was on the train to Copenhagen watching hundreds of offshore wind turbines as I crossed the exquisite Danish Straits. They keep company with more than 4,000 offshore wind turbines around the European Union — pushing offshore wind to become the second-cheapest form of new power generation in Europe (only onshore wind is cheaper).
How many turbines do we have, as we are facing, for the first time in human history, a climatic crisis (what else to call it)? We have five, around Block Island built a few years ago by Deepwater Wind, before its purchase by the Danish wind developer Orsted (which just opened the world’s largest offshore wind farm in Northwest England). This is the same company that will build our South Fork Wind Farm.
Of course, I am a supporter of the most rapid possible implementation of the 15 offshore wind turbines proposed to make landfall in Wainscott — in order to make the most efficient underground interconnection with the power authority’s East Hampton substation.I am appalled by most everything that delays that implementation and more than a little startled to read the numerous false and-or misrepresentations of that project by the Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott. I am hoping your readers might want to settle some of that for themselves by checking in at the website dwwind.com/project/south-fork-wind-farm.
I recognize that no one wants construction done near their home. I recognize that fishermen have real concerns about the continuing disruption to their livelihoods (already exacerbated by the warming oceans and the resulting acidification). And, I recognize how abstract this global warming thing is, how difficult it is for anyone to wrap themselves around it in the here and now.
I deeply understand the opposition but it simply cannot stand in the way of this power that we so profoundly need if our children and grandchildren are going to have a life. We don’t have time for this now. We only have time to make every change in our lives that we can, swiftly. Time for us to get out of the way of this.
And, hoping you all come to the Eco Fair at Town Hall this weekend where a good deal of information resides.
May 25, 2019
To the Editor:
Thank you for supporting renewable offshore wind with reasoned argument and with the facts (“Cable Fight Obscures Greater Issue,” May 23).
This publication’s letters column has been a slugfest of petty interest groups holding up offshore wind as disastrous to their minute concerns, when climate change, which offshore wind power would mitigate, is our shared disaster.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s planned nine megawatts of offshore wind off our shores by 2035 is a goal we should not only support, but also of which we can, as Long Islanders, be proud.
To attempt to halt the cascading global ecological catastrophe that global warming is causing, including ocean acidification that harms fisheries, is worth some inconvenience, and even some risk.
May 22, 2019
To the Editor:
Regarding your story, “Support License Bill,” I have no problem with giving a license for undocumented workers. They need to speak English.
New York City
May 26, 2019
To the Editor,
Chutzpah, definition: “A person who kills his parents and pleads for the courts mercy on the grounds of being an orphan.”
On May 22 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi commendably, admirably, updated, modernized this definition and probably generated a contoured one to our ongoing politics.
Invigorated by a very recent amicable, successful, bipartisan meeting, she and Chuck Schumer planned and organized a follow-up conference to negotiate with the president and staffs on impending, essential, governmental, and national issues. However, in the a.m., prior to the conference, she met with the Democratic Caucus about impeachment.
On the way to the White House she aired her grievances, accusing the president of cover-up, corruption, criminality, broadcast nation and worldwide. When on arrival she promptly was told in no uncertain terms to “Fly off, and stay there,” she rushed out crying, wailing, and praying.
Yes, madam speaker, many thanks for exhilarating and jazzing up the definition of chutzpah.
EDWARD A. WAGSCHAL
Iraq With an N
May 26, 2019
To the Editor,
Iraq with an N
So, think of any film that has been remade and that you remember the original film. The script and the story are the same. The characters and the setting are different. The drama and the passion, the raging goodness against evil and the absolute rightness of our absolute wrongness (is that a word). Welcome to Iran.
Barely 16 years have passed since we attacked Iraq and destroyed most of the country and we are already doing a remake. Thinking that enough time has passed between wars, our government pulls out the old script and barely changes the title. Replacing Iraq with Iran is so amazingly easy. You only have to change one letter.
Iraq was really a no-brainer. After the Gulf War we dropped more bombs on Iraq then we did in all of World War II — a lot of bloody bombs. By 2003 Iraq had a ragtag army, no navy, no air force, a decimated infrastructure, and a poisoned water supply. It had no nuclear weapons and no weapons of mass destruction. (W.M.D.s came from a 1950s sci-fi film about aliens attacking the planet.) Iraq was essentially a pathetic defenseless state that threatened the greatest power ever on the earth. It was the battle of the four million-pound gorilla and the church mouse. Is it over yet?
Skip to the present but keep in mind that in 1954, just like in Guatemala, we overthrew the democratically elected president of Iran and replaced him with a dictator. Remember that during the Iran-Iraq War fiasco that was played to a draw, Iran was using slingshots and wooden swords against the mighty Saddam. Remember one of our inglorious moments: Iran-Contra? Have we done anything right with Iran, ever, in our history?
Iran may have some reason to distrust and even hate us. One could only imagine how we would feel if someone did to us what we did to them (except Russia).
So, when we skip to the present it is difficult not to think about “aluminum tubes.” They played a major role in the first film. What’s going to take their place? We are more sophisticated now than we were in 2003. We know the difference between Shia and Sunni. In 2003 we thought that they were Egyptian soft drinks.
Iran is a bad player in the region. Yes, a great pretext. But so is Saudi Arabia our main semifascist guys who chop off heads of nonbelievers. We are certainly in their class as bad guys. You don’t want to know how really bad we are.
Nuclear weapons seem like a pretty good reason. Is that why we dumped the nuke deal? To say we no longer monitor their nukes program and can’t be absolutely sure that 3,000 feet below ground that they haven’t constructed a nuclear arsenal that could blow up the world 17 times over. Just like ours, the Russians, the Israelis, et al.
How the about Arab terrorist scenario? (Even though 9/11 terrorists were our Saudi buddies.) This would require a bit of subterfuge, because Iranians aren’t Arabs. They are Persian, and they speak Farsi, not Arabic. Does it matter? They all look alike and sound strange. Their culture is 5,000 years old. Way too old to continue.
The Iranian Arabs have a death wish and know what will happen if we can accuse them of some kind of provocation. We will destroy the country and they will go to paradise where half-naked slaves will serve them nuts and dates and satisfy all of their needs.
The rhetoric is ramping up. They are evil; we are good. They are threatening our interests; we don’t want to go to war. They are forcing our hand, all seven of them. Pompeo says one thing, Trump another. They believe each other and take showers together. Talk about slippery soaps, slopes. Yet, no one is buying our story. Thank god for Israel and Hungary.
This can’t possibly end well. Not with an election on the horizon. The Republicans will lockstep into war. We will destroy Iraq with an N. The people will welcome us as liberators. Unfortunately they’ve read the script. They have nothing to lose. Doesn’t look like a candidate for an Academy Award?
Someone really stinks in this scenario? Who could it possibly be?