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Letters to the Editor: 08.16.18

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 22:34

Tribute to Ben

Springs

August 8, 2018

To the Editor:

In 2010, when I was renovating my cottage on Gerard Drive, my designer, Pierce Allen, suggested that we hire Ben Krupinski, “the builder to the stars.” Imagine my surprise when he agreed. Ben told me that he had spent many happy times on Gerard Drive as a young man, learning how to fish and hunt there, and that he would be pleased to work there now as an adult. The cottage he and his excellent team subsequently built is modest but beautiful and in total keeping with the feel of Gerard Drive. 

Since that time, Ben, Ray, Carlos, and others on his team maintained the cottage with exceptional care throughout all sorts of weather. The day after a recent hurricane, they were there pumping out the water and ensuring that the damage was minimal. The team’s care has always eased my mind . . . so much so, that I began to think they must think I was someone else. 

Ben’s untimely death this summer has caused me great sadness, but also reminded me of the gratitude we have felt for his many kindnesses. So when we needed a new sign for the property, my wife, Susan Davis, and I thought we would pay tribute to Ben with the following sign.

Sincerely,

CLAUDIA SLACIK

Consistently Impressed

Sag Harbor

August 11, 2018

Dear Editor,

I was so sorry to learn that Doreen Quaranto was leaving as administrator of the Outreach program at Most Holy Trinity Church. For three years I taught in the English as a Second Language program under her supervision, and I was consistently impressed by her knowledge of Outreach resources, and her generosity and compassion in fulfilling needs of the many who were recipients of Outreach services.

I think her leaving is a big loss for the East Hampton community and I’m sure I am joined by many who wish her much success with her new endeavor.

Sincerely,

BEVERLY SCHANZER

Dynamic Is Shifting

Sag Harbor

August 13, 2018

Dear Editor:

It is unfortunate that in the article on the lecture by Andrew Kahrl at Guild Hall there was a failure to acknowledge that the communities of Sag Harbor Hills, Azurest, and Ninevah, SANS, are under the very same threat of extinction described by Dr. Kahrl in his book “The Land Was Ours.” Starting in 2016, these neighborhoods have experienced the invasion of developers who hide their identity behind a series of L.L.C.’s. Most prominent among the developers is Robert Kapito, C.E.O. of BlackRock Investment, and his front man, attorney Bruce Bronster. They reportedly own 20 properties in the three communities. 

Since the late ’40s, the SANS communities have been a haven for African-American families. Clearly, change is bound to occur over time. Inevitably, the demographics of the community have shifted. What should not change is the family-centered focus of life in SANS — the connection between neighbors, the camaraderie of the annual Labor Day races, the movies on the beach, the July Fourth parties, the women’s circle on the beach.

The replacement of the modest homes of SANS with overscaled spec homes will lead to an increase in property taxes for everyone in the community. This increase in property taxes will force elderly occupants, living on fixed incomes, to sell their properties. This is precisely the technique used by developers and described by Dr. Kahrl in his talk on the loss of African-American beachfront communities along the Eastern Seaboard.

For 60 years, the people of SANS have valued community life. No one came here to buy and sell and make a buck. That dynamic is shifting. If the developers have their way, in a few years there will only be mansion-size homes, imposing and uninviting behind their walls of expensive landscaping.

Sincerely,

VICTORIA L. SHARP, M.D.

Wooden Kiosks

East Hampton

August 10, 2018

To the Editor:

The streets and storefronts in East Hampton are awash in free magazines. Some are worth a glimpse, others just countless ads. Most just blow in the wind or rot after the rain. It is a problem, but allowing stands or kiosks placed by the distributors will quickly result in street congestion like the corners in Manhattan. Instead, the town should place a few wooden kiosks in places that do not impede pedestrian or store traffic. Magazines for distribution will require a fee by the distributor paid to the town and unsanctioned magazines will be thrown away. Seems like everyone wins.

JEFFREY L. LAUTIN

Garbage Cans

East Hampton

August 10, 2018

Dear Editor,

How do you feel about those garbage cans on our beautiful beaches? I think they are not only ruining the breathtaking scenery, but also taking the serenity away from us.

One summer morning, I managed to get up early to meditate at the sunrise on the beach. There were a few young people silently sitting on the beach with the same idea. It was so peaceful and divine. Then, I heard a garbage truck coming down the beach to collect garbage from the cans. What a disappointment. I’ve heard trucks on the beach kill wildlife in the sand too.

Our local wildlife hero, and a member of the East Hampton Town Trustees, Mr. Dell Cullum, has warned the village that garbage can overflow out of the can. This is dangerous for wildlife as well, but they have no intention to remove them. I guess the village puts them so people will not leave their garbage on the beach. I’m sure some people find them convenient, but there are cans by the entrance already. Do we really need more on the beach?

Mr. Cullum is also a wonderful leader to organize his beach and roadside cleanup club. His devotion has inspired many. My 15-year-old daughter and her friends from East Hampton High School have cleaned most Sunday mornings at Indian Wells Beach, Bluff Road, and also Napeague stretch in cold winters. They get credit for community service also, but that is not why they pick up garbage whenever they see it. They simply love the beautiful beaches and they respect our environment and wildlife. I’m very proud of them.

My family and I just visited Yale University. It is in the city of New Haven, Conn. The magnificent Gothic buildings are surrounded by ugly modern buildings, and there were many people asking for change. A couple of people were sitting at a table outside of a fast-food restaurant, holding a plastic cup. A student stopped and gave some change. After they took the money out of the cup, they just threw the cup on the street and walked away. There were garbage bins right by them, but they didn’t care.

It made me think that no matter how many garbage cans they put on our beaches, some people will still leave them behind, because it is not a mind-set for them. People who care will take their garbage with them, even if there aren’t any places to throw it out. So why bother putting garbage cans on the beach, ruining our scenery and putting our wildlife in danger?

My family and I also visited Brown University, and I was amazed how they were separating the garbage into three bins. There was one for paper, one for plastic, and one for food. They even had items in a plastic case above to provide examples of what to put in each bin. I’m from Japan, and their garbage rules are even stricter. The garbage pickup is run by the government, and they wouldn’t take it if it weren’t separated. 

I know Europe’s recycling is better too. Many years ago, I saw a Frenchman laughing with disgust when he realized there were no recycling bins at the Starbucks in Bridgehampton. The world is watching us. The garbage cans by the entrance at the beaches always overflow, maybe because we are allowed to dump everything together, sometimes in a big bag, which fills the cans faster. I know there is one can that says “Recycle,” but it doesn’t seem to be working. They need clear signs on how to divide garbage, from the smallest items, such as condiment cups or packages, etc.

While I’m happy that more and more food shops and markets are using eco-friendly packages, cups, utensils, and charging for bags, most items that we pick up on the beaches are plastic utensils, straws, water bottles, caps, party balloons (with the strings attached). These all kill wildlife. It is time for us to make better choices for the environment. Go green and save wildlife and the Earth. If you agree, please speak up to the village and the town. Thank you.

Love and peace,

YUKA SILVERA

August Say Goodbye

East Hampton

August 10, 2018

August, say goodbye to them,

watch the lover flee in dawn

down the dewy mountain moor

to the life to which he’s sworn.

 

The stars’ silhouette fading,

so too, the kisses on her lips

he bestowed as God does rain.

On her skin they turn to mist.

 

She conjured his devotion

with hazel gaze transcending

past your brazen wet expanse:

trespassed on her own pretending.

 

Witness your own salient ending; 

new life destroyed in one season.

Her lover, never to return,

she fades without a reason.

DEE SLAVUTIN

Internet Went Out

Falls Church, Va.

August 9, 2018

Dear Editor,

I drove into Montauk Aug. 7 on a Tuesday night (after years away and not having lived here in decades). At 9:30 p.m. there were cars up and down the highway and 30 people lined up outside a standing room-only John’s Drive-In, 40 more on chairs outside near Shagwong’s, and clumps more crossing the street if they could catch a break in traffic.

 It was like Labor Day weekend in the middle of the afternoon. I told my kids the place was unusually hopping and maybe a festival had let out. Checking in at the hotel I learned the internet went out townwide at 4:30 p.m. and everyone was looking for alternative excitement. Desperate! My wife, a social media expert, noted the irony in a beach town of relying on technology for fun.

MATTHEW BEH

Perception

East Hampton

August 11, 2018

To the Editor:

To persist in anything undertaken is to maintain a purpose to persevere, in spite of obstacles, difficulty, or discouragement. Every story has three sides — your side, their side, and the truth. Before condemning anyone make sure you have all the facts. Only a fool opens their mouth before they know the whole story. People who spread stories about others are simply trying to distract from the truth about themselves. As for myself, I stopped explaining myself when I realized people only understand from their level of perception. People know you for what you have done, not what you plan to do.

You were given this life because you were strong enough to live it. “I am” are two of the most important words you will ever hear, for what you put after them shapes your reality. The body achieves what the mind believes. Our way is unplanned and our path is unknown. Our journey is made whole when we travel as one. Action proves who someone is. Words just prove who they want to be. 

It is possible to change your future by changing your attitude. Always surround yourself with people who see the positive things within you, especially when you don’t see them yourself. Leadership is an action not a position. A key to success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you don’t feel like doing it. 

Do the right thing even when no one is looking (it’s called integrity). Strive for integrity, which means to know your values in life. It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are. Everybody has a gift but few ever open the package. Confidence never comes from having all the answers, it comes from being open to all the questions. People know you for what you’ve done not what you plan to do. Life is made up of testing times we have to have the courage to withstand. 

Discussion is an exchange of knowledge. An argument is an exchange of ignorance. Be thankful for each challenge for it builds character. Adversity introduces a man or woman to themselves.

TOM BYRNE

Clearly Marked

Springs

August 13, 2018

Dear David,

On the afternoon of Saturday, Aug. 11, Martin Drew busied himself by taking video of visitors to the Pollock-Krasner House. He personally confronted some of those who were legally parked on the east side of Springs-Fireplace Road, called traffic control to have their cars moved, and videoed the cars parked on the museum property. To do all this, he parked on the west side of the road, in an area clearly marked no parking by East Hampton Town Police.

Just so you know,

HELEN A. HARRISON 

Director, Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center

Energy Portfolio

East Hampton

August 12, 2018

Dear David,

RE: Energy Savings

In his article, “Rebates for ‘Smart’ People,” Christopher Walsh reports on clean energy resources and town budgetary savings already realized with the replacement of LED lighting fixtures in municipal office buildings. With these installations the town has also demonstrated the availability of the same energy savings to homeowners and commercial businesses. It is another opportunity for the community to buy into the town’s 100 percent goal and at the same time begin to save money in doing so. In East Hampton, we continue to work together, engaged, in striving to replace the use of fossil fuels with new clean energy products, programs, and projects.

Supporting this effort, the East Hampton Energy Sustainability Committee continues to build a clean energy portfolio of available opportunities including those products reported in the Star article. “Smart” community members and businesses can now participate online at EnergizeEH.org for access to the town’s clean energy portfolio. 

Opportunities to reduce demand for fossil fuel resources, to save money, and to continue striving toward the town’s 100 percent clean energy goal are very much available. See for yourself. Join this effort to bring home a clean energy future at www.EnergizeEH.org.

LINDA JAMES

Chair

Energy Sustainability Committee

Wasteful Practice

East Hampton

August 13, 2018

To the Editor:

I applaud the Town of East Hampton’s efforts to reduce energy consumption. The electric grid on the South Fork is becoming strained beyond capacity.

This is the very reason PSEGLI, through Applied Energy Group, has incentivized homeowners and businesses to convert to “smart” thermostats and energy-saving LED fixtures.

It’s too bad the Village of East Hampton has not recognized the importance of reducing the need for more fossil-fuel power and more transmission lines. If you’ve ever walked on Newtown Lane on a hot summer day, you would experience a gust of cold air emanating from the open doors of most stores.

While the retail outlets only have their short-term goals in mind, the village should regulate this wasteful practice. 

New York City passed a law preventing retail stores from leaving their doors open when air-conditioning is on. If New York City can do it, what’s preventing the village?

DAVID GANZ

A Plant-Based Diet

East Hampton

August 9, 2018

Dear Editor,

With scorching heat and raging wildfires in the West and torrential downpours and massive flooding in the East, global warming is not just about a gentle sea rise any more. These tragic consequences of dumping greenhouse gases into our atmosphere call for drastic remedies.

For starters, we should rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and actually become a world leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. One of the most effective ways is by changing our diet. Yes, that. 

Last fall, Oxford University’s prestigious Food Climate Research Network concluded that solving the global warming catastrophe requires a massive shift to a plant-based diet. A 2010 United Nations report blamed animal agriculture for 19 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, 70 percent of freshwater use, and 38 percent of land use. 

Carbon dioxide is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by transporting animals. The more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively.

In an environmentally sustainable world, we must replace meat and dairy products in our diet by vegetables, fruits, and grains, just as we replace fossil fuels by wind, solar, and other pollution-free energy sources. 

Let’s start with our next supermarket visit.

Sincerely,

ELIJAH HANNESBURG

Erroneous Attack

East Hampton

August 12, 2018

To the Editor,

 In The Star’s letters of last week, we saw the latest and erroneous attack against the town board’s consideration of granting easement rights to the landing of Deepwater Wind’s cable in Wainscott. This recent objection posits that granting the easement before conducting a review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act would violate SEQRA. That is just plain wrong as a matter of law and common sense.

 The landing of the cable to carry the electricity generated by Deepwater Wind’s sea-based turbines will be reviewed under Article VII of New York State’s Public Service Law, a so-called Article Seven proceeding. Under SEQRA, the placement of an electrical transmission line of such power and length is expressly exempted from the type of governmental actions (Type II) otherwise requiring review. (See 6 NYCRR Part 617(c)(5).) Instead, a certificate of environmental compatibility needs to be obtained from the Public Service Commission under the Article Seven proceeding.

And, it makes sense that there is an exemption for the easement from SEQRA because the New York Public Service Commission’s Article Seven governs virtually all aspects of [electric] transmission line siting in New York. (S.M. Lanaido & T.W. Wolcott, “Siting Transmission Lines for New York Offshore Wind Projects,” Vol. 28:8 Environmental Law in New York (Aug. 2017) at 123.) 

The proceeding is, in effect, a one-stop shop for vetting all aspects of the transmission line’s siting, including the input from the myriad federal and state entities’ also doing reviews, among them environmental impact reviews. (See also the entities reviews listed in Appendix B to Deepwater Wind’s environmental and permitting assessment, http://dwwind.com/wp-content/uploads.

So why then does Deepwater Wind seek to have the easement granted now? Why has a certain person in his letter to The Star claimed it is not necessary to grant the easement now, and urges the town to wait until the Article Seven proceeding is over?

This claim is also wrong as a matter of law and common sense. While it is true that it would be rare for a public utility or a publicly regulated joint venture with access to public utility rights of way to seek prior approval from a municipality to use a public utility right of way, it is true because they don’t need permission to use such a right of way. (See Siting Transmission Lines at 126.) 

But Deepwater Wind is a private entity, not a public utility; it does not have access to a public utility right of way. In Article Seven [a] private applicant must secure those rights from the pertinent municipality if it will require crossing or occupying municipal property. A private applicant must also file a petition with the New York Public Service Commission under Section 68 of the Public Service Law seeking the P.S.C. permission to exercise the grants of those municipal rights.

Under Section 68 of New York’s Public Service Law, a petition shall be accompanied by a certified copy of the franchise [i.e., the easement] granted by the municipality or municipalities in which the construction is proposed or authority is to be exercised, with a verified statement by a responsible official of the petitioner that all municipal consents have been secured that are required by law. Sec. 21.2(b)(rules applicable to petitions).

So these two actions occur together: submission of proof by a private applicant, like Deepwater Wind, that it has secured the easement in the P.S.C. Article Seven proceeding occurs in tandem with submission of an application for permission from the P.S.C. to exercise those rights under a Section 68 petition.

In short, it is just irresponsible to assert that the town board is evading SEQRA. SEQRA is pre-empted, not evaded. Under the statutory scheme created, P.S.C. conducts its own SEQRA-like review within the scope of the Article Seven proceeding, which, as noted above, is supposed to be a one-stop process for vetting all aspects of the siting of an electrical transmission cable.

Sincerely,

JOAN MORGAN MCGIVERN

Undermining our Goals 

Springs

August 11, 2018

Dear David:

LIPA and PSEG are currently planning to spend more than $500 million to bring in new transmission lines to the South Fork of Long Island, to meet the increasing peak energy demands projected for the South Fork and to balance the new wind power that is planned to arrive in 2022 or 2023 in Wainscott. 

New transmission lines between the South Fork and UpIsland power plants will be seriously detrimental to the South Fork in the following ways: They will bring more dirty fossil fuel energy to the South Fork, in contradiction to the 100 percent renewable energy goals of both East Hampton and Southampton Towns and the governor of New York State’s Reforming the Energy Vision objectives. 

The new power lines will reinforce the South Fork’s dependence on an inherently vulnerable single point of failure transmission and distribution system, undermining our goals of resilience and energy self-reliance in the event of grid failure as climate conditions become more severe. They will perpetuate the obligation of residents of the South Fork to send hundreds of millions of dollars out of the community to procure the power they use; dollars that could otherwise be spent within the local economy.

There is a much better choice. So-called “non-transmission alternatives” exist in the form of local renewable energy resources like solar and battery storage, coupled with smart energy management software. These Distributed Energy Resources, or D.E.R., when assembled in a discrete mini energy system that can operate independently of the grid are frequently called microgrids. These systems offer a variety of very important benefits including energy price stability, resilience, and local economic development, which new power lines do not. I submit microgrids merit public and private support on the East End to meet our energy needs for peak power, to balance wind power, and provide self-reliant critical services infrastructure.

These systems are not experimental. They exist and are being put in place around the U.S. and the world. Energy storage, solar power, and smart energy management software has been demonstrated to serve as alternatives to peak power plants and new transmission lines in Oakland, Calif. Self-reliant microgrids at Princeton University and New York University remained functional during Superstorm Sandy, proving that such systems can remain operational and support vital critical services during emergencies.

A glaring example of the lack of planning for our energy future that does not take local needs into consideration is LIPA PSEG siting 5.2 megawatts of battery storage in a flood plain in Montauk that is connected to the grid, but not connected to any power source or any critical services facility that could use the stored energy in an emergency. If those same storage systems were moved less than a mile to the east, connected to the Montauk Fire Department and combined with Solar P.V. and energy management software, Montauk would have a very robust critical services microgrid that would be a lifeline in a grid failure during emergencies. 

As a beginning of a new network of local, clean, and resilient power systems we could build self-reliant energy systems at all our critical service facilities throughout the South Fork so we are proactively ready to have critical functions when the big storms or other emergencies that cause the grid to fail happen. This would be consistent with East Hampton and Southampton Towns’ 100 percent renewable energy goals, with New York State’s Reforming the Energy Vision goals, and would provide resilience and local economic development. 

Grid failure on the East End is inevitable from storms or even cyberattacks (the Department of Homeland Security recently confirmed Russia hacked into our electric grid). Every aspect of our lives and economy depends on energy. We should prepare. Placing energy assets in the community so the money South Fork residents spend on their energy stays in the community to the greatest extent possible would create jobs and advance a circular economy. 

Thank you,

KRAE VAN SICKLE

Requested Easement

East Hampton

August 12, 2018

Dear David:

At the last Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee meeting, attended by both Councilman Jeff Bragman, the town board liaison, and Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, residents were rightly concerned about the apparent intention of the town board to grant a beach-crossing easement at Beach Lane to Deepwater Wind prior to the Public Service Commission environmental review under the Public Service Law and the issuance of its “certificate of environment compatibility and public need.”

Councilman Bragman, who opposes the town board majority on this, stated that he would vote for a town board resolution expressing the sense of the town board —  that it is inclined to grant the 

requested easement, but not for a grant or binding agreement prior to environmental review and public explanation of the costs and benefits.

Supervisor Van Scoyoc stated that, so far, the town board has only voted to authorize counsel to negotiate the terms 

of the easement, “conditioned upon Deepwater receiving all required state and federal approvals.” He also said that the residents of East Hampton will be protected because state and federal agencies will not grant the approvals unless prospective harm is mitigated.   

Conditioning the easement on receipt of approvals protects Deepwater, not the people of East Hampton; if the approvals are not received, the project will not be built. I cannot imagine any basis for confidence that the state and federal governments will adequately protect East Hampton residents, particularly our fishing industry, if our own town board refuses to do so and has already negotiated to be paid off.

This prompted me publicly to ask the supervisor, both at the citizens advisory committee meeting and again at the town board meeting the following Tuesday, whether it is the intention of the town board majority to grant the requested easement at Beach Lane, or enter into a binding contract to do so, prior to the conclusion of the Public Service Commission proceeding. 

Contrary to past claims, the supervisor now acknowledges that there is no 

legal requirement that Deepwater obtain the right of passage before the P.S.C. does its work.  But, it is his view that Deepwater will not apply to the Public Service Commission, despite the prospect of hundreds of millions of dollars in profits, unless it has secured the Beach Lane easement in advance. Why does he believe such a silly thing? I have no idea. He explains this as a “chicken and egg” problem. 

Despite the obfuscation, there is neither chicken nor egg, it is crystal clear that the town board majority has every intention of giving Deepwater what it wants in advance of the P.S.C. proceeding and without any State Environmental Quality Review Act compliance. A terrible negotiating strategy no matter how foolish is not against the law. (Deepwater would pay much more for the easement once its P.S.C. permit is no longer contingent.) But if the town board can legally take action at all in advance of P.S.C. action, it cannot do so without the SEQRA compliance it refuses to undertake.

I also asked at the town board meeting whether the town board intends to negotiate with Deepwater Wind, while it can, mitigation and compensation for the fishing industry for harm it may suffer as a result of the project. Again, the answer is clearly no, although nothing in law or logic prevents the town board from doing so.   

The town board is being bought for a bag of shells, $8.5 million of “community benefits” worth $25 per year per East Hampton household.  The board, on the basis of no environmental review whatsoever, breezily expresses confidence that no harm will come to our fishermen and their livelihood from the project. However, due to the town board’s indifference to their concerns, commercial fishermen will get nothing if the town board turns out to be wrong.

Neither the Public Service Commission nor the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will protect East Hampton fishing or the residents of Wainscott or any other local interests that may be adversely affected if our own town board will not do so. What could possibly be wrong with making protection for the fishing industry, the livelihoods of local residents, and quality of life for all of us a higher priority than $25 per year per household in cash?

Contrary to the environmentalist hooey being peddled by the town board, its deal with Deepwater Wind has nothing at all to do with renewable energy.   Not one blessed thing. It is only about how much money the venture capitalists behind Deepwater will make and who in East Hampton may pay a price for it while the town board collects trinkets at their expense. 

Who could have imagined that garden-variety greed would masquerade as concern for our environment. 

Sincerely.

DAVID GRUBER

Patently Illegal

East Hampton

August 13, 2018

Dear Reader:

The town board recently revealed a plan to build a $4.75 million commercial aquaculture building and “learning center” complex on a Gann Road waterfront property, within a residential district. The project was announced, fully formed, at the same time that a funding application was made to move forward. 

Yet the public knows next to nothing about it. There is no site plan, no septic or parking analysis. Neither the Planning nor Natural Resources Department has examined zoning and regulatory issues. There has been no robust public discussion, and no consideration of alternatives.   

In fact, the town board is already purchasing the proposed site with community preservation fund funds, even as it applies for a grant to design and build the project. The grant resolution permits the supervisor to sign a contract to proceed without further consideration. 

The aquaculture project may be a good idea, but we do not know nearly enough to barrel in, full speed ahead. (Incidentally, I supported the land purchase because the property offers many different options to enhance water quality. I abstained from approving the latest grant application.) 

To any reasonable person, the town board’s actions signal its intent to move forward with the project. The problem is that the decision was made without any environmental review, which is patently illegal. 

The New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) creates a framework for systematic review. It requires review before an agency makes a funding decision or commits to a project. The reason, firmly established by law, is simple: We make better decisions when we examine environmental considerations while creating and shaping the project. Along the way, SEQRA also requires that we consider alternatives. 

Regrettably, the town board is ignoring SEQRA to speed this project through, anticipating a funding decision in early fall. Their only reassurance is “we will do SEQRA later.” 

“Doing SEQRA later” is a contradiction in terms. SEQRA is the process by which we decide, not a form or checklist we complete after we have decided.  Following the rules creates a record that shows that we have looked before we leaped, and considered the environment and alternatives along the way. 

I have repeatedly spoken out about the importance of SEQRA, not to obstruct, but because it is the law. And it is a good law. Shortcutting SEQRA is like choosing not to wear a seatbelt. At first, it may make us feel freer to move, but it won’t protect us against unforeseen hazards.  

There may be a combination of ideas that would be more effective or have less impact on the character of East Hampton. Maybe locating a commercial building on Gann Road is not the best approach. 

Some have asked, “But how do we start a project?” My answer: Before we speed forward, we obey the law. Start the SEQRA process. Develop a sketch plan. Discuss it publicly. Solicit ideas. When we think we have enough information to proceed, we use every available planning mechanism to shape the best possible project. 

We may not be able to move as fast as some would like, or to meet an arbitrary deadline. But there is simply no other way to ensure that our decisions will prove to be wise and in the long-term interest of the residents we serve. 

Thank you, 

JEFF BRAGMAN

Councilman

How Sad

Amagansett?

August 13, 2018

Dear David,

How sad that the East Hampton Town Planning Board apparently doesn’t care about disabled people in our town. On Aug. 8 they voted 5 to 2 to allow a new business in Montauk to violate the Americans With Disabilities Act, Section 206.3. This forces people who can’t walk up stairs to go down a long narrow alleyway and enter the business through the back of the store.

They voted to ignore the town Planning Department, the town engineer, the town fire marshal, and the town Disabilities Advisory Board, who all said that the law requires that disabled people have access through the front door the same as everybody else.

Twenty-five years ago the East End Disabilities Group was formed when United Artist Theater in East Hampton refused to comply with the A.D.A. and make our local movie theater accessible for the disabled. The East End Disabilities Group ended up getting all U.A. theaters in the country to comply with federal civil rights law for the disabled. The group was instrumental in getting Guild Hall, the Bridgehampton School, the Bank of New York, and others to comply with A.D.A.

How sad that 28 years after the passing of A.D.A., the East End Disabilities Group has to fight for disabled people’s rights with the East Hampton Town Planning Board. We ask all the people of East Hampton to reach out to the planning board (631-324-2696), and tell them that we care about the disabled and to obey the law.

Sincerely,

GLENN H. HALL

Chair

East End Disabilities Group

The Worst

Springs

August 11, 2018

Dear David,

This really has to stop. Last week I wrote that it was time to “bury the hatchet but not in each other” about the infighting in the Democratic Committee. This week I read two letters that are demonstrating the worst of human nature: poor losing. When a person running for an election loses, they graciously concede to the winner in order to move on and make the best of things. It’s the nature of running for office; the benefit of living in a civilized, democratic society.

If Al Gore and Hillary Clinton could concede (Herculean tasks by every measure), then so could the losers in elections here. Disagreements do not have to be disagreeable, nor vicious. 

And, by the way, do you want Bill Wilkinson and his crew to come back? Splitting the Democrats and vilifying fellow members will make that happen. 

SUSAN HARDER

Andy Malone

Amagansett

August 12, 2018

Dear David,

In a letter last week, Ward Freese wrote, “As one with a latent interest in East Hampton politics, and viewing the machinations of the local Democrats from afar, I have a bit of advice for the Gruber-Klopman factions. Bring back Andy Malone.”

We did!

When the East Hampton Reform Democrats discovered that Andy Malone had been dropped by the Democratic Committee machine from its slate for committee seats and deceived by them into carrying a useless nominating petition, we asked Steve Grossman to decline his nomination in Election District 2, Andy Malone’s election district, to make space for Andy.

We then appointed Andy to the vacancy, as permitted by law. Andy Malone is definitely on the primary ballot for E.D. 2. Its residents can vote for him in the primary election on Thursday, Sept. 13.

RONA KLOPMAN

Fully Answered

Amagansett

August 13, 2018

Dear David,

Wishing doesn’t make it so nor does lying.  

Witness Mr. Gruber allowing his followers in his war against local Democrats to repeat and repeat their charges against the Democratic Town Committee and its leaders that have been fully answered in these pages and litigated and dismissed by the State Supreme Court.

Taking their cue from the playbook of one Donald Trump, these self-proclaimed “Reform Democrats” persist in their accusations that vote-rigging was the reason their candidate, Rona Klopman, lost the election for chair of the Democratic Committee. Too bad that they can’t let their “moral compass” direct their energies beyond the scope of personal disappointments toward the positive goals of the East Hampton Democratic Committee, like campaigning for the election of Perry Gershon for Congress or increasing voter registration and participation.

Sincerely,

BETTY MAZUR

Tip of the Iceberg

East Hampton

August 13, 2018

Dear David:

The editor of one of your crosstown rivals wrote last week: “Chris Kelley’s name is synonymous with Democratic ‘Party Boss’ in East Hampton Town, those interviewed agreed. Just ask any of the insiders who have witnessed him rule for 30 years. It is Kelley who controls the Democratic Party’s purse strings and has the final word on appointees to the planning and zoning boards. And it is Kelley who usually has his way when it is time to choose who gets to run for the town board. . . .”

It was Kelley and Larry Cantwell who brought David Lys, a lifelong Republican, to the attention of Supervisor Van Scoyoc and Councilwomen Overby and Burke-Gonzalez, pushing him for the town board vacancy over a number of far better-qualified Democrats.

Why would they risk provoking a split in the party by appointing Lys, a Republican, to the town board? For a very simple reason. Kelley and Cantwell were looking for an automatic fourth vote on the board for Van Scoyoc, Overby, and Burke-Gonzalez in order to neutralize newly-elected Councilman Jeff Bragman. Bragman had quickly demonstrated that he is independent of mind, willing to disagree publicly with the majority, and asks all the tough questions that none of the others want aired in public. 

The one thing political bossism cannot tolerate is political independence. Lys, as a political neophyte with no roots in the Democratic Party, no political experience, and no independent support in the party, is totally dependent on the political patronage of Kelley and the three who appointed him (Bragman voted no). Hence, he is completely under their collective thumb.

Kelley had favored his protégée, Cate Rogers, for the seat eventually won by Bragman. The display of independence by the Democratic Committee in nominating Bragman over the objections of Kelley precipitated the slew of committee appointments by then committee chair Jeanne Frankl, to keep control of the committee for Kelley (and Van Scoyoc, Overby, and Burke-Gonzalez). 

Then, at the behest of Kelley and Frankl, Cate Rogers resigned from the seat on the zoning board, to which she had been appointed only a week earlier, to be appointed by Frankl to the Democratic Committee, on which Rogers had never served, and immediately stand for chair to succeed Frankl. 

When even that was not sufficient to ensure the nomination of the pliant Lys for town board, Kelley and Frankl embarked on a vote-rigging scheme, removing committee members from their seats without any legal authority to do so and even appointing new members, pledged to vote for Lys, to seats that were not vacant. 

What do bossism and cronyism cost the people of East Hampton? We got a glimpse just a few days ago when the town board attempted (illegally) to give away — for nothing — town-owned real estate, an unimproved road, to a client of Kelley’s law firm, a multimillionaire, who wants a bigger building lot. And they would have gotten away with it if David Buda had not showed up at the hearing with documents peeling the cover off the scheme. You can be sure that what is seen in public is just the tip of the iceberg.

The East Hampton Reform Demo­crats, including present and past Democratic Committee members, present and past elected officials, and a former committee chair, were organized to break the grip of bossism and cronyism on the Democratic Committee, party, and town Board. We cannot allow the Democratic Party to go backward when there is so much that needs to be done for East Hampton. 

In the Democratic primary election, Thursday, Sept. 13, Democrats who are committed to honest government and keeping the promises the Democratic Party has made to the people of East Hampton have the opportunity to vote for our slate of candidates for the Democratic Committee and our nominee for town board, David Gruber, all of whom are completely independent of Kelley and his hand-picked Democratic Committee and committee chair. 

Thank you for listening,

ILISSA LOEWENSTEIN MEYER

Appointing Republicans

Amagansett

August 6, 2018

To the Editor:

Last week’s letter from a relatively new member of the Democratic Committee showed his confusion about how democracy works in this country. When our political party selects a candidate for a position, we do so knowing they have the same mind-set, goals, and values of the party. This is not the case in East Hampton. What we have instead is a group of people determined to dilute and dissolve the East Hampton Democratic Party by masquerading Republicans as Democrats. Just because a Republican does not agree with the policies of Donald Trump, that does not make them a liberal or a democratic thinker on any of the other subjects. 

How are they doing this you may ask? When a board position becomes available, the powers that be bypass lifelong Democrats and appoint lifelong Republicans to the very positions that would benefit from a democratic mind-set. 

Our zoning board of appeals was designed to protect our code, our landscape, and our water from overdevelopment. That board is supposed to say no to applicants when appropriate or to give out minimal variances if something is truly a hardship and won’t hurt the environment. Rather than appoint an environmentally savvy Democrat to the position, our supervisor quietly asked another lifelong Republican, an executive director of a big insurance company, to change his party affiliation on paper and then appointed him to our zoning board. 

Why you ask? Much of the current board’s decisions are made behind closed doors so the rest of us are not privy to the secret agenda. If there weren’t anything suspect about this appointment then they would not have asked him to change his party registration. As if that were not enough, they did the same thing when a town board position became available. As nice of a guy as David Lys is, he still is a lifelong Republican instilled with Republican ideology. He just recently changed his party affiliation when he was told to do so as part of the job offer for a town board member. This also means that he can’t even vote for himself in the Demo­cratic primary because he is not officially a Democrat. 

Many of us long-term members of the East Hampton Democratic Party are true Democrats. We are not happy with the current practice of appointing Republicans to important positions while leaving Democrats behind. I have not seen the Republican Party ever do this. These decisions are being made with advice from outside parties who may or may not have something to gain from these Republican appointments. Either way, when we all work for a political party, we trust that they will appoint like-minded people to positions that affect our lives here in East Hampton. 

Because of this and other ambiguous behavior, many of us feel that it’s time to reform the party to where it honors true democratic principles and values without special interest influence. We also need to return to transparency with open public discussions on everything. That is not happening now.

I moved here by choice more than 30 years ago and anyone who knows me knows that I care deeply about our town and our hamlet. I feel it is in all of our best interests to protect it from overdevelopment or anything else that will diminish our quality of life. Our current board is not overly concerned with this, as you will see on Aug. 11 and 12. 

So why are the Democrats appointing Republicans in disguise to all of these positions? We will find out one day I suppose, but this is what’s confusing the newbie committee members of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. People like Arthur Shifty won’t question authority because it is easier to sit back and blindly accept the decisions of the board even when red flags are flying. 

His judgment is so off that he held a forum promoting the New York State constitutional convention in hopes of full endorsement from the East Hampton Democratic Committee. This could have resulted in an overhaul of our constitution, yielding a loss of collective bargaining rights and benefits such as free public education, etc., while making it vulnerable to back-room deals not to mention the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars for the process. Thankfully, 80 percent of voters were against it. Again, disoriented thinking which lacks long-term vision from that member. 

If you are a Republican, you must be thrilled that the Democrats are walking your people right into positions without any effort or cost from your own party. Pretty swift!

If you are a Democrat, perhaps you should be questioning authority before it’s too late and vote for David Gruber in this September’s primary.

Best,     

JAMES MACMILLAN

A Real Democrat

East Hampton

August 13, 2018

Dear David:

There is much confusion about the East Hampton primary for the town board seat now occupied by the lifelong Republican David Lys. He just converted to become eligible when the offer was made. I think his relationship with the Bistrian family, and their vast amount of property on Springs-Fireplace Road, may be the reason they offered him the position. I was confused when David showed up to the East Hampton hamlet study and brought over the head of the study to sit with Bonnie Bistrian for most of the meeting. 

Now some of the East Hampton Dems are writing letters as if they were the actual candidates and listing all their memberships and effort for the community. This is ridiculous and only meant to confuse Democratic voters about who it is they are really voting for! 

One Dem, Arthur Schiff, who is a relative newbie in East Hampton (two years?), says he was elected to the Democratic Committee. Some members of the committee say he was appointed by Jean Frankl; they were not given the opportunity to make the decision. He says we want to “give orders to our elected officials.” He is wrong, and his comments are arrogant. Arthur has no idea how hard we worked to get Dems elected to the board. He does not know how we got involved during the vicious Wilkinson/Quigley era, when Sylvia and Peter were often disregarded and ignored. 

We believe that we deserved the courtesy and respect of knowing what was going to happen before all the Republicans who filled up Town Hall the next evening. It was a total shock to us all, at least those of us who were not part of the closed-door meetings. 

East Hampton Democrats: Vote for David Gruber, a real Democrat who shares.

LENI SALZ

He Must Serve

Springs

August 6, 2018

Dear David, 

As hostess of a local television show, “The Democratic View,” which I have been doing for years, I invited David Gruber, the candidate for the Reform Democrats in the upcoming Democratic primary, to be a guest. It was then that I was truly able to understand why he must serve on our town board. His vision of governance is superior to what we are stuck with now. He believes in government by the people (heard that before) and as our town has grown, so have the issues we are faced with.  

Our problems are complex and have many facets to them. Gruber believes that within our community are many talented and interested people who could be called upon to give input and to contribute their expertise to work out solutions. Getting up and delivering a three-minute talk on some issues, like water quality or affordable housing, to name just a few of the many problems, is simply ridiculous and the reason we rarely come to resolutions that work.

I urge voters to recognize that to serve in these times one needs to have the qualities to do the job. These include intelligence, experience, education, an inquiring and innovative mind, and, for me, true, deep democratic values. Watch this week’s “The Democratic View.’

Sincerely,  

PHYLLIS ITALIANO

A Little Largess

Amagansett

August 13, 2018

Dear Editor,

I am writing in support of public access for Cartwright Island in response to the recent story of an arrest there. Cartwright Island is really no more than a sandbar. It has been shape-shifting for centuries and is occasionally even broken into multiple islands, depending on the time of year, the weather, and the tide. 

Since the story broke, I have conducted an informal survey of folks over the age of 30 on the beach from Napeague Bay to the Barnes Hole bluff. Nearly all of them mention visiting Cartwright on a Sunfish, kayak, or power boat many times. One woman recently at Fresh Pond beach said that her kids used to go to Cartwright in the 1980s, and one of those times even got a private tour by the Lord of the Manor himself.

This “Campaign Keep Out” seems contrary to the Gardiner family legacy. The family provided the land for Gardiner’s Park in Bay Shore to New York State, with trails among the wetlands leading down to the water. Before Robert Gardiner’s death, members of the public would visit the sandbar occasionally; the attitude was friendly and was without widespread environmental damage. Sadly, such community relations do not exist today.

Most people who have spent any time at a seaside community know that people can walk along the beach — any beach — up to the high tide line. And in cases of emergency, folks can seek shelter on a shore. So the controversy we have here is, what happens when the stopover on the beach is for recreation. Ask: Is it really necessary to send a patrol boat to scare a bunch of kids building sandcastles? Or to threaten a kayaker who stops to rest before resuming his voyage across the bay?

The hostile posture and actions of the security patrol, and the smoldering resentment of the citizens being buzzed off a sand spit they used to visit freely, is unnecessary. The current owners, who inherited Gardiner’s Island following Robert Gardiner’s death in 2004, could continue the tradition and give the people the right to roam. A little largess goes a long way.

Perhaps there is a sort of compromise here: a designated landing area along the southern portion of the island, leaving the remainder for conservation. Until then I’ll watch the amorphous shoreline from a safe distance.

ELIZABETH HALLIDAY

Should Be Accessible 

Amagansett

August 13, 2018 

To The Star:

I first sailed to Cartwright Island in 1957 in a small Sunfish, as a young boy for a special overnight trip with a group of my friends. It was a fantastic, unbelievable experience to spend the night in such a special and beautiful place, miles away from adult supervision. It is my deep belief that this sometime island (it is often under water during storms) should be accessible to the public, just as it always was, so that others can have unforgettable experiences like mine.

In the last 60 years I have sailed to this small island several times a year and never once was confronted by security guards. Lion Gardiner once told me that he considered the small shoal part of public land and everyone was free to go on it.

I believe that the privatization of Cartwright Shoal is in violation of citizens rights under the Public Trust Doctrine. I side with Roderic Richardson in his belief that since the Goelet family cannot present clear proof of ownership, this shoal belongs to the people of New York who have been visiting the island for decades.

I ask that the trustees and the town protect the legitimate public access of the Cartwright island.

Sincerely,

BLAKE FLEETWOOD

The Judicial Process

Amagansett

August 13, 2018

To the Editor:

When I was a kid at Devon Yacht Club I sailed to Cartwright many times in the 1980s. As a unique natural resource, I was always intrigued by the ephemeral nature of this land mass that doesn’t even exist during high tide.

When I read about Mr. Richardson’s endeavor to protect the land mass for public use, I was dismayed to learn that the family that maintains property rights to Gardiner’s, the Goelet family, has hired private security to bully people off what is probably public land.

What is most disturbing about Mr. Richardson’s story is that the contestation over the land use appears to be happening in the shadows, behind closed doors, and that a moneyed family can claim land that isn’t necessarily theirs using a private police force without any kind of judicial due process.

Whether or not Cartwright Island belongs to the family that owns Gardiner’s Island is not for me to determine, but I am absolutely without equivocation firmly in support of Mr. Richardson’s contention that it is for the rule of law to decide, not for the Goelet family, East Hampton Town, or Devon Yacht Club to decide. Rule of law is the fundamental tenet of our democracy, and we cannot allow bullies to intimidate us into giving away our public property if that is indeed what is happening. No township or one single family should be allowed to decide these things: We must place our trust in the judicial process.

If Mr. Richardson does not prevail in court so be it, but it would be a travesty of justice to allow this family to bypass our judicial process and claim land that is not theirs. I support Mr. Richardson’s intention that due process is the only right way forward and that the Goelet family’s alleged policing of property that is not theirs — which, if true, amounts to illegal harassment and intimidation under New York State law — must be stood up to.

The bay belongs to the people. To quote a great Disney song on this matter, “Every life, every rock, every creature has a name” and until you know this, you can “own the earth and still, all you will own is earth.” (Please forgive my minor rephrasing of that beautiful song, “Colors of the Wind.”)

Spirit moves within each thing in this life in its time, and people who think that we “own” this mother of us all are mistaken — we came from her— and it is to her we will all return, so in this time we must protect her and revere her great mystery.

Guardians of Mother Earth should be lauded.

JASON FLEETWOOD-BOLDT

Dismissive Editorial 

Amagansett

August 13, 2018

To David and Helen:

I love The Star. But some places, editorial writers should not go. This thought arose as I read The Star’s editorial “For the Birds,” attacking me for standing my ground in the face of the intimidation of families and children on Cartwright Island by Goelet security forces.  

It seems a mistake to attack the public right to beach access, so treasured in East Hampton. Worse, in my opinion, The Star should never offer a veiled defense for the “militarization” of Gardiner’s Bay by the security forces of the royally privileged. These folks, not satisfied with their vast Gardiner’s Island crown grant, claim, as I see it, fake royal privileges over the small public island nearly a mile distant via fairy tales of mythical oxen and warnings of police arrest, bullying, and scaring ordinary people away from their natural rights to enjoy nature.  To fail to even discuss these things, let alone fail to condemn them, strikes me as a most peculiar editorial decision.

“There is a kind of avaricious quality to human nature” sounds very eloquent, a great line. But then to suggest that the nature lovers who visit Cartwright are the truly avaricious ones — is just ludicrous.  Really?  While failing to bat an eyelash over the avarice of those claiming the entire island for themselves alone? This just seems like a huge editorial imbalance, and insult, that nature lovers will not appreciate.

Editorial imbalance we can fix.  Partly by running an opposing “Guestwords” opinion like this one, with equal weight, recognizing that the public loves to hear all sides, and controversy sells newspapers. [The Star has now told me they will not do so, but hopefully will publish this and other letters of support near the front of the letters section, to add some editorial balance via more prominent placement. If so, for that I applaud them.]

Just as troubling, however, is The Star’s dismissal last week of direct feedback from many engaged readers stating exactly what they want The Star to investigate. Despite the fact that The Star received so many letters in support of public access on Cartwright that they could not publish them all last week, despite the fact that several of the published letters explicitly called for The Star to investigate who truly owns Cartwright and the Gardiner’s shore, The Star felt free to dismiss this outcry to investigate as “not really the question.”  

But of course that is the question. Actual readers want to know. The Star, the trustees, the town should all investigate now, without delay, and end the misuse of public funds and police resources in denial of public access rights.  

The Star is now sitting on a concise, easily understandable sheaf of the relevant evidence documenting, in my view, the largest hoax, swindle, and illegal public beach privatization I know of (16.5 miles of beach!), and decided, apparently, to spike the story with this dismissive editorial.

Let’s pause to put 16.5 miles in perspective. That is approximately as if someone privatized the entire Atlantic beach from East Hampton Main Beach all the way to Ditch Plain Beach in Montauk. And The Star does not think the public might want to know about that?

While belittling the whistleblower, The Star dodges its investigative responsibility by claiming it is just too hard, that old documents are too difficult to parse, and a proper title search is just not within their grasp. Of course, none of this is anywhere near as difficult to grasp as The Star makes out. 

It is very simple really:  Is the language the Goelets need to support their claims in the royal grants or not?  It is clearly not, and that is very easy for anyone to see. It’s not rocket science, it’s all in plain English. The old deeds are easy to read. And of course, I already did a proper title search with the most rigorous local title company, and there is nothing in town or county records to support the Goelet claims.  

The Star could have done a feature exploring all of this in detail, publishing all the documents we have given them, on their website, just as they have published the Trustees Dongan Patent, a great public service. Until then, I will do so myself, on a new website, CartwrightIslandPublicAccess.com, presenting all relevant documents clearly and logically.  All can see for themselves whether the Lord of the Manor has an ox, or not.

Instead of investigating, The Star flies off in a birdbrained direction, asserting the real question is should people be allowed on Cartwright at all, ever? Their argument, that it should be reserved 100 percent for the birds, remains a longstanding favorite argument of billionaire beach privatizers. The Star position — abolishing all public access rights entirely and arbitrarily for some beaches — not only proposes bad policy, which is both extreme and unnecessary, it would also be illegal. 

First of all, the birds only nest few months of the year.  So for the vast majority of the year, from Aug. 15 to May, there would be no defensible reason to deny anyone public access. Second, when they nest, they only nest on about 20 percent at most of the total island length,10 percent of shoal. So it is easy for any visitor to avoid the two smallish grassy nesting areas. Which can be easily protected with the standard exclosure fencing and the usual signs above the high tide line, while allowing passage along the public foreshore.  (Birds do not nest on the foreshore . . . chicks would drown.) This standard conservation best practice works everywhere — common to state, federal, and local policy — and The Star offers zero evidence that denying public access works any better.

Third, we know reopening Cart­wright will not harm the birds, because it has been open to the public for centuries, with zero harm to the bird populations there. And since it is now revealed that, despite some misinformation, the Gardiner’s Island beaches have also always been public land. Nature lovers now have 16.5 miles of unexplored public beach and shoal to enjoy and steward with vigilance. With more options, fewer will be on Cartwright.

Fourth, abolishing public beach access would be simply illegal, a violation of both the public trust doctrine and New York State coastal policy, which is established law and policy for a reason.

Conservation protection works better joined with responsible public access. Nature lovers, including scientists, tend to be the ones to visit natural areas the most. They tend to clean up and spot and report problems — much faster than with no access.

Conservation divorced from public access is often a disaster. Look at what happened on Hicks Island. Some vigilante put up illegal no-access signs. For years people were fooled, felt intimidated, and didn’t go there. Piles of ocean trash and plastic waste accumulated all over the island. When the eastern cut closed in 2006, no one was there to see that foxes and raccoons were invading to eat all the birds, ruining Hicks Island as a bird sanctuary. If there had been eyes on the land, people who care would have spotted these problems, raised a hue and cry, and solved these problems much sooner. (Star coverage, plus trustee and Department of Environmental Concern response deserve our praise for restoring responsible public access to Hicks just this summer. Bravo!  Now let’s open the cut and restore the sanctuary!)

Most important, public access to nature builds political support for, and participation in conservation. How are we going to teach the children, or anyone, to love and steward our natural areas if they are banned from them, and exploring nature freely becomes a threatening, intimidating experience?

If ever an editorial deserved a do-over, “For the Birds” is it. The Star is better than that. Common decency, respect for the civil rights and intelligence of the people of East Hampton, as well as established law and policy, say conservation and public access work best together, in harmony and balance. All Gardiner’s Bay beaches should be preserved for the birds, the kids, and all nature lovers.  

ROD RICHARDSON

Along the Shores

Montauk

August 8, 2018

Dear Editor:

As a fellow water person, who enjoys the bounty of living here on the East End of Long Island, I agree with Mr. Richardson’s attempt to right the injustice that the Goelet family is causing by not allowing people to walk upon the shores below the high water mark. It has been going on too long and needs to be addressed. 

My family along with so many ply these waters either by sailing, paddling, or kite-boarding. The ability to land along the shores and play on the shallows is a fundamental right that has been part of our history here on the East End.

We implore the East Hampton municipalities to right this matter. Our shores belong to all the people, not just the very select few.

Sincerely 

LINDA SUND

To Be Investigated

East Hampton

August 7, 2018

Dear Editor,

I am writing to express my support for making Cartwright Island a public space for everyone to enjoy. I have been a resident of East Hampton for over 46 years and have been in and around Gardiner’s Bay my entire life. I believe that the public deserves to have access to the island as it is a beautiful resting place when one is in the bay.  

The fact that Gardiner’s Island is not public I believe is symptomatic of a class system held over from the colonial days and deserves to be investigated.   

I have known Rod Richardson for over 20 years and know that he is dedicated to enriching the public trust.  

Thank you,

ALEX GRANT

Ineligible

Amagansett

July 30, 2018 

Dear David:

In March 2018 rumor had it that Patrick Bistrian Jr. sold his home in Amagansett and was living in East Hampton. I went to visit the school superintendent, Eleanor Tritt, to confirm the information, and to ask her to open the school board election vote to two seats instead of the one being held by Ms. Rana-Brophy.

Mrs. Tritt stated that Mr. Bistrian would be remaining on the school board for the remainder of his term. I then went to the school board meeting on April 17, 2018, and asked Mr. Bistrian Jr. the same question. As you can see 

on the YouTube, “Amagansett School Board Meeting, April 17, 2018‚” Mr. Bistrian stated the same; he would be staying for the remainder of his term (which ends in 2020). The school only had the vote for one seat, which Ms. Rana-Brophy reclaimed by winning the election by 30 votes in May. 

The New York Education Law book on pages 48 to 50 states that if a board member leaves during his term the board has the decision to have a special election, fill the position with a candidate, or leave it open until the new election. 

So since May, less than six weeks after the election, Mr. Bistrian only attended one meeting which in New York Education Law states he either forfeits his seat or the board votes to put another member in his place. Attendance is mandatory without good reason. Also, the new talk around town is that 

Mr. Bistrian is moving into his East Hampton home just over the East Hampton-Amagansett border, which also makes him ineligible to keep his seat.

Since Mr. Bistrian is rumored to be leaving, then the school board should do the right thing and either open the vote up to the community to have a new election, or I should be able to fill the seat since I was the only other candidate in the election. 

I am not sure why Mr. Bistrian was so adamant that he was staying and less than six weeks later he doesn’t attend meetings and is moving into his new home after renting a home in Amagansett. Was he really intending to stay on the school board? Was the rental for show? And why wouldn’t they give the seat to me since I only lost by 30 votes? 

MARY A. EAMES

Laughing Over Cake

Springs

August 7, 2018

Dear David, 

It seems Schumer has decided to go against the oath he took to uphold the Constitution. He has decided to say no, no, and no to everything President Trump tries to install. Liberal judge Kagan was installed during a midterm election, but we cannot do the same with Kavanaugh. Why not sit down and talk to this judge; find out how good he could be for our country. Incidentally our country is the U.S.A.

Schumer has vowed to stop judge Kavanaugh but he needs his records to decide what he is going to do, needs more time to consider how he will ruin America and destroy life as we know it. The records are under a rush just for you. Why is it you, Schumer, have told all Democrats, senators and congresspeople to do nothing to help the president? Boy you are a piece of work, and why are there pictures of you and Putin laughing over cake going around? For you to be with Putin is okay and no one else is allowed.

In God and country,

BEA DERRICO

Billed Manafort

Carlsbad, Calif.

August 8, 2018

To the Editor: 

Today’s testimony in the Manafort trial was truly enlightening. So many in America trying to screw the tax system! Case in point: Scott L. Wilson Landscaping of Wainscott billed Manafort for less than half of what was actually paid to the landscaper (and maybe received?). I, myself, looked at an online projection of annual revenue for the landscaping company, and it says about $100,000. In testimony, the amount paid in just one Manafort foreign payment to Scott L. Wilson, was over $500,000. Did Wilson report the full amount? I hope so, but I am cynical about that prospect.  Taxpayers are right in asking “What type of people are or were in the orb of  Donald J. Trump?”  No wonder so many good citizens are cynical about our government, which seems to be getting “worser, faster.” This should also be a harbinger that we should be privy to what Donald Trump’s still hidden tax returns would reveal.

GERALD LANCE JOHANNSEN

Killing was Okay

East Hampton

August 13, 2018

To the Editor:

On Thursday night Guild Hall availed its services to Michael Clark who in conjunction with Moms Demand Action put on a program of speakers and young musicians demanding sane gun policies in our country. The venue, the speakers, the musicians, the volunteers, and Guild Hall were all terrific and deserve credit for putting on a great event.

A lot of people put a lot of time and sweat into making this program work, yet what struck me was the completely ludicrous nature of the problem and the near total lack of honesty and integrity on the gun proliferation side. There is no real anti-gun control position that is not garbage. Automatic weapons, made for war, made to kill as many people as quickly as possible, don’t belong in civil society. Basta.

Underlying the problem is that if 

the children killed in the last decade weren’t white there would be little or no uproar and the accompanying activity. When a young black woman spoke about Trayvon Martin she needed to know that killing black males for whatever reason was business as usual. When someone said that the proliferation of guns, not mental health, is the problem it seemed to obfuscate a much bigger problem. Our nation’s history of extreme violence without conscience and the reality that we have a national mental health issue that is part of our culture.

Do we have any idea how many indigenous people we killed? How many slaves we killed? How many people died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Et al.?

When we drag out the Constitution to support gun ownership it’s the way we drag out the Bible, but skipping “thou shalt not kill.” We gerry-pick our rules and laws to adapt them to our needs. We don’t know how many indigenous people or slaves we killed because they didn’t matter. Killing was okay. What we did. We are enabling our government and our churches to work in tandem to make as much money as possible.

The country was founded on violence and we have never moved far away from that base. Yet, our history books rarely mention the issue. We can pass new gun laws. We can stop proliferating the world with arms. We can even lower our bloated military budget. Yet, just as with racism, our progress is stunted and haphazard because we refuse to accept our history and recognize how frightening and debilitating our addiction to violence really is.

NEIL HAUSIG

Past Experience

East Hampton

July 31, 2018 

Editor:

Déjà vu is a word from the French language meaning already seen. It is known as the phenomenon of having the strong sensation that an event or the experience currently being experienced has been experienced in the past or is a vision that been seen of a currently happening experience or event. 

“Déjà vu is an indicator of an event place or experience that you have encountered in a past life,” Amanda Linette Meder, psychic writer naturalist. A challenging intriguing experience, yet frustrating and agonizing if the association connection is elusive. (“Where and when in hell did I see or experience this?”) 

Unfortunately, sadly, not the case 

in a transpiring experience epi­sode. “Robert Mueller’s melodramatic, wasteful, nauseating hoopla, which effortlessly, easily, triggers the realization the linkage to the imagined past experience. The period: 1943 8,300 miles away Thailand, bordering on today’s Myanmar formerly Burma location the River Kwai, the occurrence construction of a strategic important bridge by British American Dutch Australian prisoners of war for their Japanese captors resulting in some 13,000 P.O.W.s’ deaths. 

The matching leading persona, Col. Nicholson’s (Alec Guinness) haughty, diluted, distorted, obsessive flirting with madness disconnected, side-blinded, oblivious to the potential disastrous consequences if that fatuity is succeeded and accomplished. A classical example of “Intraoperative Death,” operation succeeded but patient died. Shears (William Holden) we’re with you! Our president needs you! We, U.S.A., need you! Robert Mueller, take note contrary to several interpretations of the above episode Col. Nicholson did not accidentally trip and stumble on the detonator. His final words, “What did I do?” He deliberately, intentionally activated. He blew up his bridge. Well, this encounter did not occur in another lifetime. I was already 10 years old in 1943 but thanks to the caliber, potency, of the film the impact was embedding. 

Thank you, David Lean and cast. 

EDWARD A. WAGSCHAL