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Letters to the Editor: 08.23.18

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 15:34

To Traffic Court

East Hampton

August 13, 2018

To the Editor: 

I suppose going to traffic court could be a hassle, but probably most traffic tickets given out in East Hampton are with cause. I don’t know why I thought my New York State safety inspection sticker expired in October. Oops no, July! I took care of it immediately at Buzz Chew, went to East Hampton Town Justice Court to pay a fine. It was suggested I make a plea if I had the time. I’m 83, I have lots of time. So I went to traffic court. 

All was really impressive throughout, when names read in the papers — Justice Rana, Justice Tekulsky, Officer McMann — attorneys, clerks, officers, and others suddenly had faces and were seen in action. Everything was efficient, there was no brisk “get ’em in, get ’em out, get it over with” or horsing around. I had the feeling people there really were interested in good government. 

At the front door Officer McMann was patient, knowledgeable, even soothing when the incoming were hassled, nervous, or bewildered. In court, all was fair, quick, rather pleasant, and not just because my case was dismissed. 

An easy target, any court system can take hits from a complaining public. What I witnessed last Monday seemed good local government working at its best. 


Lovely Lady

Naples, Fla.

August 20, 2018

Dear Editor,

Around 6:30 p.m. last Thursday I took my two great-nephews, Dylan, 9, and Alexander, 5, to their favorite ice-cream store, Scoop DuJour, only to be greeted at the front door with the notice of “cash only.” My nephews quickly said I could go directly across the street to the A.T.M. whereby I told them their aunt does not own an A.T.M. card and only uses checks as a means of getting cash. 

I guess we looked pretty disappointed when a lovely lady offered to help solve our dilemma by buying ice cream for the boys. I thanked her profusely but thought the offer too grand. She replied that it was no problem, that the store was empty, and she insisted. The boys quickly accepted this offer and went directly to the counter with their orders!  

I could only give my thanks and ask for details so I could repay her. As she put a $20 bill in my hand, she reluctantly said her name was Jane Robinson and that it was her pleasure to treat my nephews. I hope Ms. Robinson reads this and knows how very appreciative I am of her generous gesture. 

Even though East Hampton is the destination of many privileged individuals, it certainly has retained the treasured qualities of a small town. I will certainly be on the lookout to “pay it forward.” 

With sincere thanks,


Finest Kind


August 20, 2018 

To the Editor:

Sunday morning we lost yet one more of East Hampton’s “finest kind,”  Montauk’s Frances Ecker.

What an extraordinary family the Eckers have been to our town. 



With Me Still

East Hampton

August 15, 2018

To the Editor: 

“I am trying to be as good as my dog thinks I am!” is displayed on lovely porcelain soap dishes in people’s bathrooms everywhere.

I lost my 12-year-old German shepherd several weeks ago. I knew rationally that I had to let Molly go. She had advanced lung cancer, and we just wanted to keep her as comfortable as possible. And her veterinarian told me, “You will know when the time comes.” And it did come, on Aug. 1. But, emotionally, I could not bring myself to face it. On Aug. 2, my very competent and kind vet and his assistant had answered my call. The time had come. But I was still in denial. 

Had I fed her something which disagreed with her at night? How could I let her go now. Molly had been my husband’s “personal trainer”; they walked a great distance rain or shine to pick up The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal every morning! She was with us always, in the house, walking on the beach in the evening, even X-country with me when there was enough snow, sometimes deep enough that she had to leap at every step! To keep up! And greeted me enthusiastically at the Jitney when I was returning from time in New York City. 

Molly understood and valued me, so much more than many human beings in my life. Not only did she understand my tone of voice, but she knew actual words, and she continued to learn new ones even as she got older. She was a Floridian originally, owned by a friend whose family had owned shepherds for four generations. After he died, his widow, a prominent author, couldn’t keep Molly and hated to board her when she traveled. So, we and my extended family were the lucky second owners.

Molly was about 2 years old when I picked her up at LaGuardia Airport. Trained, but “full of beans” and strong, definitely not a city dog. She would pull on her leash and attack any other animal in sight! In the country here, she was able to jump over a double, 14-foot cattle guard with ease! A bit worrying to say the least!

Dogs are intuitive and so much smarter than people give them credit for being. I have had many as pets, starting at age 4 or 5. I went on to raise Labrador retrievers as a pre-teenager. And more recently cardigan corgis (different from Queen Elizabeth’s rather pesky Pembroke’s!).

Molly was special. And I still cry when I think of her. She is buried in her favorite spot on an in-land dune looking out over the fields by our old house. When she wasn’t with me, I always knew I could find her there, day or night! She is with me still.

I write this in the hope that dog owners, cat, horse, or bird owners, value all their animals. I’ve been told that there are people who discard their pets at the end of the summer or simply dump them out on the highway as they head back to New York City or elsewhere. So, again, try to be as good as the Mollys of this world think we are!


Need Our Help

East Hampton 

August 20, 2018


I’m reaching out to those of your readers who love wildlife and might consider joining our local team of wildlife rescue responders covering Montauk to  the aid of the all-new wildlife rescue responder app just released. 

Dr. Melissa Mitchel of Studio 6 Innovation and I got together to create this app in an effort to make the response to wildlife emergencies easier, while keeping other responders informed of each incident until they are completed. Both Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue and Rehab Center in Hampton Bays and Hampton Wildlife of East Hampton will be the dispatchers for calls of wildlife in distress. Reporting parties will simply call either 631-728-WILD or 631-377-6555 and the emergency will be sent out to all signed-up responders, much like a fire department alert pager.

Each responder who has installed the new app will then get an alert with detailed information on the animal, the incident, the location, and any suggestions or tips regarding the safest way to aid the distressed animal. Responders will also see a GPS trackable map, showing the exact location of the responder, the exact location of the animal, and the shortest route to the scene. It’ll also display how many responders are needed. Each available responder will then either “ignore” if not available or “confirm” if available to respond. Once this is done, all other responders can view the process of the rescue, all the way to the end, which in the best-case scenario is uninjured freedom or a transport to the vet clinic.

Now that the mobile application is complete, we need to build a small army of volunteers who can respond to these wildlife emergencies when available to do so. Both the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Center and I will offer free training in both basic rescue skills and transport for those who want to get involved. Contact either one of us for information on upcoming classes or ask me about training on request.

Meanwhile, those who are ready to jump on board are welcome to sign up at, or email me directly at [email protected] and include your full name, mobile number, and email. I will then send you a link to the new app and easy instructions on how to use it. 

Due to the ever-decreasing habitat of our abundant and beautiful wildlife, they need our help now more than ever. Please help us help them, and sign up as a wildlife rescue volunteer responder.

It’s very rewarding helping injured animals who cannot help themselves. It bridges the natural connection between man and beast. If you have questions, please call me any time. Thank you.




August 19, 2018


I would like to determine who to speak with about a very disturbing level of language, noise, related to the Surf Lodge in Montauk.

We are at 25 Industrial Road and for years been polluted by Surf Lodge’s nightly noise. This summer we have been patient and called the police only three times. Tonight being the third. Tonight, in addition to being very loud, the vocals were filled with obscenities.  F#$& the, F$&+ that, Bit$&@#, etc.

In addition to noise pollution, we can’t even have our kids outside due to the blaring of obscenities? This really takes the cake in terms of our patience.

Who can I further express our serious issues, continued issues with the Surf Lodge?





August 14, 2018

To the Editor,

Upon entering Montauk on the right side of the road there are 14 large signs advertising events in town. How can you drive safely without being distracted if you try to read any of these signs? I believe it’s tantamount to being on a cellphone or texting. If someone or a family is crossing the road they are in danger of being injured. If a car is stopped in front of a distracted driver this can lead to a serious injury and for what reason: advertising.

I hope someone in authority reads this and is able to remove these distractions as soon as possible. 


Failing Tower


August 6, 2018

Dear Editor,

After having watched the East Hampton Town Board meeting of Aug. 2, I was shocked at the response, or lack of response, the Montauk Fire Department received to the questions they posed about the emergency communications system and its poor state of affairs. The fact that the system was becoming obsolete and going to be put out of service by the government was known as far back as 2012. For those who don’t know, there are no parts available for this system.

Comments were made that the town is looking for a site for a tower in Springs. This is all well and good, but the rest of the town can’t wait for a site to be found to put a new system into service. The tower in Montauk is 154 percent filled, and the tower needs major repairs. I ask: Who allowed the tower to be filled above capacity with paying customers? Was there no one keeping track of the tower or was it an issue of making a profit on rentals at the emergency services’ expense?

We know the tower is filled above capacity, its legs are in poor shape, the support building is rotted out, air-conditioning units need repair, the generator is old and needs repair, the gas tank is too small to support running it for long periods of time, and the tower was originally placed at the point of a small triangle, so it must come down to be replaced.

There must be a temporary tower available that can be put up while this failing tower is replaced. Without this tower, Montauk is basically on radio silence. And yes, there are no readily available parts.

Another issue is the fact that hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars have been spent on new equipment that has been delivered and is sitting in boxes somewhere with their warrantees running out.

We who are in the business of supplying emergency services for fire and E.M.S. take our duties very seriously. We are expected to come to full capacity at any moment for anything that is thrown in front of us and to do this often-herculean job at the best of our abilities. Without a working radio system, this would be very hard, if not impossible. When I say impossible, I mean that the likelihood of major loss of property and lives is a true reality, but there does not seem to be any sense of urgency in any brief discussion that we hear.

It is also amazing that none of the other fire departments, police departments, ocean rescue, and lifeguards have not shown any interest at all in this disaster waiting to happen. On top of this, the town has no real contingency plan for when and if this system has a total failure.

The supervisor needs to do better by the people of Montauk and the rest of the Town of East Hampton and declare a state of emergency so the red tape can be cut and get boots on the ground to actually start installing new equipment.

Back in the 1960s, we got a daily body count on the radio from Vietnam; we don’t need to get a body count from East Hampton from the failure of our emergency radio system.

By the way, Eddie Schell should be commended on the way he has been able to keep this system running with scavenged parts. Please help him now to get this task completed in 2018, not 2019 or beyond. We have waited too long.



In Disrepair

East Hampton 

August 6, 2018

To the Editor:

This letter is being written in regards to the bus stop on Accabonac Road and the numerous illegal dumping being done in East Hampton.

The bus stop on Accabonac Road has been in disrepair for more than a year and four months. The Parks Department, which is responsible for this bus stop, has done little to nothing for a very long time. This lack of responsibility of the Parks Department is unacceptable. 

I have talked to the supervisor’s office as far back as four months ago on this bus stop issue and illegal dumping, which I reported to the Parks Department last year! some of the illegal dumping over at Fresh Pond has been there for two years.

I have spoken numerous times to the supervisor’s office and the Parks Department, and nothing has been done about the illegal dumping. The bus stop has had a little work done recently but still is in disrepair.

With all respect to the supervisor’s office and the Parks Department, how were these issues allowed to go on for so long and no one being held accountable?


Robert Hettiger

Remove the Cans

East Hampton

August 13, 2018

Dear East Hampton Star,

I have recently viewed a video of the litter left behind at the garbage cans installed on the beaches by the Village of East Hampton. Although I feel it was a well-intended idea, it is clear that what it does is encourage beach goers to leave their trash next to the can if it is full or knocked over.

At Settlers Landing, I have been on a mission to stop the unlawful dumping of household garbage in the town trash cans. The fact that the cans are there seems to indicate to people that it is okay for them to leave their stuff, and if it doesn’t fit, then leave it outside the cans. If the cans were not there, they would not leave their trash there but being that they are there, they feel like it will get picked up and so it is not considered littering. This is so on the beaches as well. Unfortunately, the animals get to it, before it gets picked up. 

At Settlers Landing the pickup is on Mondays only. I have rescued two raccoons who got stuck in the cans and couldn’t get out. I have found entire contents of someone’s cupboard there: full bottles of olive oil, spices, crackers. Some have emptied their garage of bottles of anti-freeze, old paint cans, bottles of bleach. I even found a five-pound bag of chopped pork meat! 

On the beach, the litter ends up in the water and strewn all over. When the town comes to clean up, it only takes the garbage in the cans and next to them. The entire beach is not cleaned up from the seagull party early in the morning. If the cans were at the parking area in abundance, people would indeed take their trash there. They feel vindicated of any guilt if they leave them next to and outside the cans if they are full. In their minds they made the effort! 

I want to support and commend East Hampton Town Trustee Dell Cullum’s mission to have the village remove the cans from the beach and move them to the parking lots. It is just sensible. Sometimes it is best to recognize when an experiment has gone awry. Trash cans on the beach is one of those experiments. And they spoil the view as well!

Christine Martin

Worse Every Day


August 11, 2018

Dear David,

There are shocking reports this past week about the change in the helicopter route. The tower head remarks, “The Sierra Route is dangerous?” Apparently now corrected? Or is it to chase away the noise from the “elites on the beach”? The low and dangerous flying is more than dangerous. See the videos of those cowboys as low as 25 feet above the treetops, endangering all who suffer the fear as they rattle windows and scare the hell out of people.

We were misled, or change that to an outright lie, on the installation of the tower itself, that it was needed to lessen and mitigate the destruction of any reasonable peace and quiet of life and property. Pure B.S.

The facility use allowed larger jets to come in where before they were reluctant. Take a look and see the mini LaGuardia tarmac, containing regional jets and other monsters that never would have come here. Then add the roar of helicopters and seaplanes that seem like Uber rides that clog the streets. So look back and thank Tom Noble and Dominic Stanzione and a host of others responsible for the extremely dangerous conditions that get worse every day. These helicopter pilots have been asked so many times to not fly so low, it has become a joke! A horror is coming!

Now we go to two other head-shaking items. First: The wind farm in Massachusetts will charge 6.2 cents a kilowatt, while the town board nods in tacit approval for Deepwater Wind, who will not release the actual charge, but it is reported to be 26.4 here, a 300-percent higher rate for us, for what reason? Investors?

Then there are plans for two larger substations somewhere in Wainscott, that is to send power westward to include possible New York and southern Westchester? What is in their mind?

Last but not least, the town was considering abandoning a never paved road adjacent to enhance a large parcel? Now that the light has been shown on that it is on hold?

This is not New York City whose famous giveaway raised eyebrows and the reason why? Head scratching will spread like poison ivy, so wake up people and get more involved!

Yours truly,

Arthur J. French

Seriously Flawed


August 19, 2018

Dear Editor:

The town board has decided that each hamlet should have its own public hearing to assess the hamlet study recommendations rather than a town-wide public session. This is a mistake. The concept of separate hamlets deals mainly with school districts and to a lesser extent fire districts and post offices. For this to be used as a basis for studying ways in which the town should be developed is seriously flawed.

There is so much that connects the various communities throughout our town: groundwater, use of shared spaces and venues, roadways, traffic congestion, hubs of economic opportunities, as well as the air space leading to and from the airport. What one hamlet decides to do will in no small way have serious implications for the other hamlets and in the worst-case scenario, be detrimental to the quality of life of another hamlet.

Some may advocate for a public hearing for each hamlet based on the logistical difficulties of having a town-wide public hearing. Although this concern has some merit it can be successfully dealt with by the selection of a space sized for a large number of participants as well as being centrally located. The American Legion Hall in Amagansett is well suited for a town-wide public hearing with the added advantage of having a large parking lot adjacent to it. Multiple dates and times should be part of the plan based on the scope of the presentation and discussions to be had. 

I recommend that the plan to have individual public hearings for each hamlet be scrapped and instead we should have a town-wide public hearing. We are one town and we deserve an integrated plan for our future rather than a piecemeal one. Having a town-wide public hearing dealing with the recommendations made by the consultants conducting the hamlet study is a better way to assure a better future.


Carbon Dioxide

Sag Harbor

August 20, 2018

To the Editor:

Not long ago Pennsylvania State Senator Scott Wagner claimed that global warming is caused by the body heat of the world’s people. A calculation that requires nothing more than simple arithmetic plus a few non-controversial items of data shows that this is ridiculous. 

The body heat emitted by the world’s 7.6-billion people in an entire year is equal to the solar energy that hits the earth in about three minutes. Even the total heat produced by burning fossil fuels is only as much as the earth receives from the sun in a little less than an hour. It’s not the heat emitted by human bodies or even by burning fossil fuels that causes global warming. It’s the carbon dioxide that is a necessary product of combustion that traps an ever-increasing portion of the much, much greater solar irradiance. Tracking down and refuting these intuitively plausible but scientifically ridiculous stories is like playing whack-a-mole, but it needs to be done. 


Cheap Energy

East Quogue

August 20, 2018

To the Editor

The media coverage of the Deepwater Wind farm is a disservice to the public. This is mostly because they are unable to ask the right questions, and because they completely ignore the environmental and social costs of fossil fuels, aside from climate change whose full impact we have yet to feel.

The opponents don’t like hedge funds? Well, that’s called capitalism, folks. Do you want socialism instead? Increased monthly electric costs? $2.50 a month? Don’t people know they have been paying through the nose for every problem and accident caused by fossil fuel use? 

Oil-tanker accidents? Destruction of land, homes, and habitat in Appalachia from mountaintop removal? Water contamination from fracking? Air pollution from trucks, cars, airplanes? Contamination of groundwater from sewage as a result of overdevelopment? Loss of marine species habitats due to filling of wetlands and estuary development? Water pollution from power boats? Highway congestion from private cars? Hurricanes and flooding of coastal cities and infrastructure due to construction in flood plains? Your tax dollars paid out repeatedly to people whose homes on Dune Road get damaged by storms and high tides?

All of this is without exception due to cheap energy. None of the real costs of fossil fuels are visible to us but they exist. We are paying for them in hospital bills, income taxes, cleanups, loss of open space, polluted water, depletion of ocean fisheries, cleanup and reconstruction after floods, etc., etc., etc.

The double standard is rampant when it comes to energy. All the questions being asked now about costs and environmental impact studies were never asked about all the other products of our industrial growth economy, and nary a word about overdevelopment. The Hamptons opened its doors to development and the wealthy residents who are the largest consumers of energy but who pay the least proportionately. The result is continued degradation of our natural areas and resources. Someone has to pay the price for all of this — and someone has to provide the energy. Any suggestions?

I haven’t seen any protests lately about gasoline trucks, huge power boats, air-conditioned McMansions with pools and tennis courts and home video rooms and Jacuzzis and three cars in the driveway. I haven’t seen anyone hesitant to turn on their a/c during the heat waves. I haven’t seen anyone car pool to go shopping. I haven’t seen any reluctance to spend megabucks on fancy fund-raisers for sick cats or overpriced stiletto shoes or facelifts for compulsive sun bathers. I haven’t seen any diminution in Caribbean vacations or foreign travel. I haven’t seen anyone hesitate to buy fruits in the winter that are imported from thousands of miles away. 

The half-brained opposition to wind farms is par for the course in this country. One would think, after the recent fire storms and heat waves, that nature’s message is getting through. We would be wrong. Deepwater doubters are the new climate deniers, and they are the same old ones who vilified environmentalists and now try to discredit scientists, or make demands for new scientific  studies that they never demanded for fossil fuels.

If these are the ones who take control of national energy policy, we are truly doomed to ecological collapse.




August 20, 2018

To the Editor:

Regarding Joan McGivern’s letter last week, which suggested the town can grant Deepwater Wind beach-crossing easements before any environmental review is conducted:

The town’s environmental responsibility to its citizens is not to offer these easements until an appropriate Part Seven review is being conducted by the Public Service Commission. If this does not happen, the town must conduct its own State Environmental Quality Review Act review. Granting the easements in advance of either would be inappropriate and even reckless.


Completely Backwards

East Hampton 

August 18, 2018

Dear David,

I have no doubt that the hearts of the members of the energy sustainability committee are all in the right place — deeply concerned about the existential threat of global warming and wanting East Hampton to be part of the solution before it’s too late. But it is very unfortunate that their zeal is clouding their thinking and that they continue to mislead the public about legal aspects of the Deepwater Wind project, even after these same erroneous claims have already been debunked.

Previously, Supervisor Van Scoyoc and other members of the town board majority (amateur lawyers all, opining without the benefit of legal counsel) had claimed that Deepwater Wind must obtain the beach crossing easements it wants at Beach Lane before commencing an Article Seven proceeding to obtain a mandatory “certificate of environmental compatibility and public need” from the New York State Public Service Commission.

Councilman Jeff Bragman (an actual lawyer) thought to discuss the matter with the general counsel to the Public Service Commission who said this is not the case, that an applicant need not have obtained necessary easements in advance and usually does not. The general counsel provided a memorandum to that effect to counsel to the town trustees and a copy has been provided to Councilman Bragman.

As a result, the supervisor now acknowledges, most recently at the last Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee meeting, that it is not a legal requirement that Deepwater have obtained easements prior to the Article Seven proceeding. Just why the town board majority was itself disseminating misinformation without so much as having consulted competent counsel (it still has none on these matters) is another question.

The energy sustainability committee seems not to have gotten the memo. Last week at the town trustees meeting, Joan McGivern, accompanied by Gordian Raacke, both of the committee, spoke to repeat again the same debunked legal claim that Deepwater must have the easements it wants in advance and that the granting of them by the town is exempt from SEQRA review. When counsel to the trustees called to her attention that hers is not a correct statement of the law, Ms. McGivern (a lawyer with expertise in intellectual property and copyright law) just carried on. She then wrote a letter to The Star repeating the same misinformation.

According to The Star article, and to Ms. McGivern in her letter, the incorrect claim being made by the energy sustainability committee is purportedly because, apart from an Article Seven certificate, Deepwater Wind must also obtain from the P.S.C. a separate certificate under Section 68 of the Public Service Law in order to exercise any franchise granted by the Town of East Hampton. 

Again according to The Star, Ms. McGivern and the energy committee purportedly rely on a legal newsletter article entitled “Siting Transmission Lines for New York Offshore Wind Project,” by Sam M. Laniado and Tyler W. Walcott. Laniado, who was a staff counsel to the P.S.C. from 1976 to 1983, now practices law representing applicants to the P.S.C. The energy committee needs to take that bias into account and read the article more carefully.

Here’s what Laniado actually said. “The New York Public Service Commission has taken the position that it does not have the authority to grant, at least in the first instance, rights to cross municipal real property such as roads. A private applicant [such as Deepwater Wind which is not a public utility] 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 N.Y.P.S.C. under Section 68 of the Public Service Law seeking the N.Y.P.S.C.’s permission to exercise the grants of those municipal rights. It is advisable to file this petition with sufficient time left (emphasis supplied) in the Article Seven process so that it may be decided at the same N.Y.P.S.C. session as the Article Seven application.”

It has long been obvious that it is to the financial advantage of Deepwater Wind to obtain a binding agreement from the town to convey beach-crossing easements in the event its application is granted. But “advisable” is self-evidently and quite clearly not mandatory, as Ms. McGivern continues to claim incorrectly. And while it is of greatest advantage to Deepwater to obtain the easements in advance of the Article Seven proceeding, it is not necessarily of advantage to the town and its residents and most definitely not legal without SEQRA review (presumably by the P.S.C. as lead agency) beforehand. 

To the contrary, for the town and its residents, it is advisable to wait until Deepwater has made full disclosure, environmental and otherwise, in the course of the Article Seven proceeding. In this manner, the East Hampton Town Board and public will be fully informed of all aspects of the project, including potential environmental consequences, and the town board can then negotiate a deal that protects us in general, and the commercial fishing industry in particular, from harm and/or provides compensation for harm suffered. 

If, on the basis of full disclosure, there is a deal with Deepwater that properly protects the town and it residents, then, as Laniado explains, easements can be granted “with sufficient time left in the Article Seven process so that it [the Section 68 certification] may be decided in the same N.Y.P.S.C. session.” The Section 68 application is made separately and acted upon subsequently. Again, as explained by Laniado, “The N.Y.P.S.C. will typically condition an Article Seven certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for a submarine transmission line on acquiring all required real property rights . . .”  And in fact the P.S.C.’s published Article Seven process flow chart outlining the four phases of an Article Seven certification application lists as the final step of phase four prior to construction beginning: “Final right-of-way acquisitions completed.” 

McGivern and the energy committee, and until recently the board majority of Van Scoyoc, Overby, and Burke-Gonzalez, thus have matters completely backwards. The easements are not a prerequisite, required in advance conditioned upon favorable P.S.C. action, but a post-requisite, the P.S.C. conditions its approval on the applicant subsequently obtaining the necessary easements.

The Deepwater Wind matter is plenty complicated enough without having to rebut, and rebut again, misinformation from the town board and energy sustainability committee. We used to have Democrats on the town board committed to scrupulous environmental compliance. With the exception of Jeff Bragman, we do not any longer. And we need a town board savvy enough not to negotiate any deal with Deepwater until the P.S.C. proceedings have forced full disclosure and the SEQRA mandated “hard look” at the potential environmental impacts has taken place.

Democrats have a chance to start setting things right in the Democratic primary on Thursday, Sept. 13, by voting for David Gruber for town board. He has the intelligence and experience we badly need and a 20-year history of fighting for the public interest and strict environmental compliance in East Hampton. We cannot afford to miss this chance to gain a reliable ally for Councilman Bragman on the town board. 




Public Participation

East Hampton

August 20, 2018

Dear David:

Democrats Peter Van Scoyoc, Sylvia Overby, and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez have been the majority on the East Hampton Town Board going on five years now.

At the rate they are going, it will take at least 200 years to meet the affordable housing goal, for young people, working families, and seniors, adopted 14 years ago in the comprehensive plan. 

Nothing has been done to create job opportunities for young people who grow up in East Hampton and want to stay. 

The “temporary” sandbags they put on the beach in Montauk three years ago are still sitting there. They have to keep recovering them with sand at a cost of millions and their “solution” is to make the Montauk business district pay for it. Now we know for certain that the Army Corps is not going to come to the rescue as they had claimed. 

Nineteen years after adoption of the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan, a policy guide, we have no implementable plan to address coastal erosion.

They have failed completely at 

controlling airport noise, squandering through sheer incompetence the opportunity achieved by a settlement agreement that I negotiated in 2005 between the Federal Aviation Administration and the Committee to Stop Airport Expansion to terminate F.A.A. grant assurances in 2014.

We have P.F.C.-contaminated water in Wainscott with a tab of $36 million to bring in public water as the solution. Months after they were told by the Department of Environmental Conservation to provide point-of-entry filtration systems to affected residents, they had to be publicly shamed into it by Councilman Jeff Bragman. There is no testing for other contaminants, such as hexavalent chromium. 

They have abandoned compliance with the State Environmental Quality Review Act and public participation — for Deepwater Wind, for the badly needed emergency services communications system, for the proposed senior center, and now for an aquaculture project on Gann Road that has had no public process at all. Councilman Bragman wrote last week to The Star that their approval of the aquaculture project is flatly illegal for lack of SEQRA compliance first.

They have presided while the Springs Fire District has been forced to sue their own zoning board of appeals for the right to use an idle but essential emergency communications tower, built more than three years ago under building permits issued by their own Building Department but then revoked by the Z.B.A. They could have amended the zoning code at any time to resolve this problem by clearly defining the authority of the Z.B.A. with respect to the fire district. They have done nothing, letting a lawsuit between these two public agencies grind on, with the taxpayers paying for the lawyers on both sides.

They meet in secret in defiance of the open meetings law, improperly discussing in executive sessions matters that the law requires to be discussed in public.

As East Hampton Democratic Committee chair from 2002 to 2004, I first recruited Van Scoyoc and Burke-Gonzalez to run for the town board. As a member of every Democratic campaign committee from 2001 to 2015, I authored the campaign strategy and literature for the election campaigns that first saw them elected to office, in 2011 for Van Scoyoc and Overby, and 2013 for Burke-Gonzalez, and then saw Van Scoyoc and Overby re-elected in 2015. I have been the largest single campaign contributor to all three of them.

I worked and donated to elect them to the town board because I believed, naively it seems, that they would do the things that they and the Democratic Party had long promised to do. Unlike some in the leadership of the Democratic Party, I have no business of any kind with the town from which I could benefit by their election. I did it because I believed in them and want the best for East Hampton, my home. 

I have tried for years now to cajole them, at times begging, into doing what is needed to fulfill the campaign promises that they and the Democratic Party have made to the people of East Hampton. Ultimately, sadly, I have reached the conclusion that they simply do not know how, and that they conduct critical business behind closed doors because they are too embarrassed to face a public that knows more than they do about pretty much everything, can spot the flaws in their thinking, and will criticize them for it.

I am running for the Democratic nomination for the town board now because the Democratic agenda is quietly going down the drain through their inertia and incapacity. But how am I going to go about solving the serious, long-term problems facing East Hampton if they can’t? The truth is that, alone, I cannot solve them either. I know a few things after a long career in law, business, and now as a student of advanced economics, but I don’t know everything I would need to know, not by a long shot.

I am not afraid to say I don’t know when I don’t. What I do know from long professional experience is how to gather evidence and marshal facts, how to supervise other professionals, how to identify the set of achievable solutions from which we must choose even if none is ideal, and how to negotiate resolutions to conflicts.

I also know that within our community we have extraordinary human resources — smart, educated, experienced people who know something about almost any issue facing our town, from fish ecology, to coastal geology, to resilient energy systems, to aviation, to wildlife management, to housing development, to finance and venture capital. You name it, in East Hampton there is someone who knows. And many such capable people, if invited to help their community, would be happy to do so, as long as their time is not being wasted.

If we are not going to sit by and watch the slow but inexorable erosion of our physical environment, of our social community, and of our quality of life, we must invite our talented neighbors to help us, to participate directly on committees to design the policies we need and real plans to implement them. We have a marvelous professional planning staff, but we would need a battalion of such planners to get the job done without the help of our fellow citizens.

We can succeed together on the basis of broad public participation, if we can change the town board culture so that it is no longer a politburo ruling over us with limited vision, but sees as its primary mission to assist the community to achieve the community’s own goals. 

We are in a rut. I do not see any other way forward out of that rut. To my fellow Democrats, if you agree, I ask for your vote in the Democratic primary on Thursday, Sept. 13, and in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 6. And, if you have a better idea, I will welcome you to a seat at the table of an open government, cooperating with its citizens, not ruling over them. 





August 17, 2018

To the Editor,

It is counterproductive poppycock to chastise East Hampton Town Council member David Lys for changing his registration from Republican to Democrat. David will represent all of his local constituents.

No one, excepting one really short, Anglican, right reverend, has ever waggled a finger at me, because I now mostly hang with Baptists. I attempt to be my best, wherever the pew. 


Vote for David

East Hampton

August 17, 2018

Dear David,

I’m supporting Councilman David Lys in the Democratic primary on Thursday, Sept. 13.

Like me, David Lys grew up in East Hampton, working hard to earn a living, and is raising his family here. David Lys shares my values, Democratic values, and most importantly the values of the people who live and work in our community. 

During his five years of service on the zoning board of appeals, David Lys safeguarded our natural resources by fighting to protect our beaches, wetlands, and shoreline. As chair of the Amagansett Life-Saving and Coast Guard Station Society, David Lys led the successful effort to preserve and restore the Amagansett Life-Saving Station. And as a founding member of Citizens for Access Rights (CfAR), David Lys protected beach access so your family, my family, and generations to come have full public access to our beaches.

You only need to spend a few minutes with David to know that he is a thoughtful leader who is compassionate about all the people he serves and is committed to bringing people together to address the serious issues we face as a community.

With your support, David Lys can continue to be a strong advocate for the democratic values we all share, fighting to protect pure drinking water, creating affordable housing, supporting our children, seniors, and hard-working families, and maintaining our quality of life.  

Join me, and vote for David Lys in the Democratic primary election on Thursday, Sept. 13. 



Has Done More

East Hampton

August 20, 3018

Dear David,

I’ve been asked why bother to support one candidate over another in a local election? Some folks view local politics as a sort of scam, believing that all local politicians are just in it for power and prestige. Fortunately, the majority of local politicians I’ve met are not in it for self-aggrandizement, but rather to truly do good for their community.

One of these people is a guy named David Lys. I’ve had the privilege of working with Lys on several beach-access issues over the years — he’s topnotch and very intelligent. You may have heard or read of some detractors who are insisting he lacks enough experience to do a good job. They feel by disparaging his reputation they can water down his accomplishments. I say these people are simply desperate and out of touch with what goes on right in front of their eyes.    

We are first and foremost a beach town that thrives on tourism, which is sand and water related. Lys has done more than almost anyone I know to preserve public beach access — that took smarts, chutzpah, and perseverance. As a founding member of CfAR, Citizens for Access Rights, he had to interact with town politicians and earned their respect. To hear his opponents question his political savvy is laughable. He has also served five years doing an excellent job on the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals. 

Let’s harness the power of a smart and energetic candidate for town board who won’t back down and does what he believes to be best for our community. Lys is smart, but not arrogant, ego-driven, or condescending. I’ve seen him go out of his way to make a point without disparaging someone who in a million years would never share his views. He uses intelligence, hard work, and fairness as a basis for his strategies when it comes to solving issues. You meet him for five minutes and his enthusiasm is electrifying.

If his political opponents want to knock him for making a decision to switch parties, that’s pretty myopic thinking; is that all they’ve got? Intelligent politicians can change when they see their party not doing the job — just think about some of the most successful political leaders on the East End, including Schneiderman and Thiele to name two. Haven’t they proven to be exceptionally talented and able to lead? 

David is young, bright, and brings a new and refreshing perspective to our town’s politics. We need his humanity, can-do attitude, and skillful leadership. He’ll make a difference, inspiring both the year-rounders and second-home owners to work together to improve the community. Lys has lived here full time and raised his family here. He knows that both locals and second-home owners have unique problems and looks for solutions that do not pit one against the other. He’s a uniter, and we need that! 

When some of the beach bullies tried to privatize our beaches, David and I worked diligently together to thwart them. It was, and is, still no easy task to beat bullies. Yet David hung in there. While my first instinct was to bully the privatizers back, David convinced me that diplomacy was the best tack. He and a few other very savvy young people decided to start Citizens for Access Rights. This was a way to work within the political system instead of going after the system! Kudos to David for protecting the public.  

East Hampton politics seems to attract political retreads that show up from time to time, trying to implode the current system. We don’t want to be led by a bunch of crybabies who view divisiveness as their best campaign strategy. Their party made the decision to not run them as candidates, so they decided to boycott their own party and come hell or high water they’ll do their best to make life miserable for our most accomplished political leaders. Sounds like sour grapes to me! 

Lys, on the other hand, brings fresh blood to our political community and the town board made a wise choice in appointing him. Given the chance, he’ll energize East Hampton’s younger adults and make them more involved in our town’s political process, something we need if we want to thrive. Importantly, David Lys knows a lot about stick-to-itiveness and that comes mostly from instinct. No matter how much of a political hack someone might be or how long they’ve been in the political saddle, longevity in politics doesn’t guarantee intelligence or know-how; often it just means that you’ve picked up enough bad habits and befriended enough ambitious politicians to gain their support. Attributes like heart, character, perseverance, and a willingness to fight for the good of others beats the pants off just hanging around politics for decades and playing political boss at the expense of others. Lys is someone to watch, he’s a mover and a shaker, with great intentions. 

I want to strongly urge the hundreds of fishermen who I have befriended over the years to please vote for David Lys. His views best mesh with ours. He’ll keep us on the beach and he’ll also do what has to be done to preserve public access to our beaches for everyone.

But he can’t support us, unless 

we support him. So please, if you are a Democrat be sure to vote for him in the Sept. 13 primary for town board, and regardless of your party registration, vote for him in November in the general election. When it comes to voting for tradition and beach access, David Lys is the best man for the job. Vote the man not the party.

Thank you, 


Election District 8

East Hampton

August 20, 2018

Dear David,

The Democratic primary will be held on Sept. 13 and we encourage all

Democrats to vote. Voting is more important than ever before.  

Mary Busch and I are candidates to represent the Election District 8 on the East Hampton Democratic Committee.

I, Jerry Mulligan, was introduced to East Hampton in 1972. My wife, Jennifer, and I built our home in 1978 and we are now full-time residents.  I practiced law in New York City for 47 years and advised public and private companies involved in manufacturing, retail, real estate, and health care.  I have participated in numerous negotiations, litigations, and board-of-director deliberations. These activities have taught me the art of careful listening to differing points of view with the goal of bringing parties together. 

I am a lifetime Democrat and am concerned with the current state of our democracy. I believe my skills and experience will be an asset to the East Hampton Democratic Committee in providing reasonable solutions to the issues facing the residents of our unique and beautiful East Hampton. Solving local issues requires that we listen and work together on behalf of the community as a whole. I ask that you cast your vote for me on Sept. 13 to represent your concerns and interests.

I, Mary Busch, have owned a home in East Hampton for nearly 25 years. When I retired from teaching, I moved to East Hampton as a full-time resident in 2001. Since then I have been actively involved in various civic organizations with the purpose of learning more about East Hampton and its history and culture. Working with the East Hampton Historical Society and Ladies Village Improvement Society has brought me opportunities to plan events to increase the public’s awareness of our rich heritage. I support and am an active member of the Village Preservation Society and Garden Club of East Hampton, both of which strive to maintain the beauty and environmental integrity of our community. 

I have seen many changes to our environment and community and recognize the challenges we need to solve.  Through education of our citizens and listening to their concerns I believe we will meet these challenges successfully. I humbly ask for your vote and will commit to use the experience and knowledge I have gained to work with our town board to preserve and protect our beautiful East End.

We both support the current town board and David Lys, who is a lifelong resident of East Hampton dedicated to our community. He is involved with the issues that East Hampton is addressing today, such as airport noise, pure drinking water, and affordable housing

To all Democrats in E.D. 8, please vote for us. We are making the rounds and listening to the concerns of the residents of E.D. 8. Our goal is to represent you. 




A True Democrat


August 20, 2018

Dear Editor, 

As I am a long-serving member of the East Hampton Democratic Committee, a letter in the mailbox this week from the town board majority of Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc and Councilwomen Sylvia Overby and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez on behalf of their town board appointee, David Lys, had me laughing. Oh what short memories they have!

They write that David Gruber is leading a small group,“seeking to take control of the Democratic Party. They want to displace those who worked hard to build such a strong successful organization, so strong that five out of five members of the town board are now Demo­crats.” Hogwash!

Forget the fact that while voting and supporting issues as a lifelong Republican, David Lys only changed his registration to Democrat on paper this January so that Van Scoyoc, Overby, and Burke-Gonzalez would appoint him to the vacancy on the town board while leaving their own party behind. Some Democrats they are. 

Meanwhile the “small group” they speak of includes a majority of the long-serving members of the Democratic Committee who have organized the East Hampton Reform Democrats to put a stop to bossism and cronyism in the Democratic Party.

The laugher is that it is David Gruber who, since Cathy Lester’s successful campaign to recover the majority in 1997, is overwhelmingly the largest single contributor to the East Hampton Democratic Party. It is David Gruber who, by hard work as a novice Dem­ocratic candidate for supervisor in 2001, came within a few votes of defeating renegade Democrat turned Republican Jay Schneiderman. It is David Gruber who, as Democratic Committee and campaign chair in 2003, oversaw the Democratic return to the board majority. 

It was also David Gruber who authored most of the Democratic campaign committee’s strategy and literature in each election campaign from 2003 through 2015. It is David Gruber who recruited both Van Scoyoc and Burke-Gonzalez to run for the town board in the first place. How quickly they forget.

What they may be remembering is that David worked on the independent campaign in 2017 that ensured Jeff Bragman wasn’t left behind by the controlling backroom players. Why might he be? Because Jeff is his own man and can’t be controlled by them.

If we now have four registered 

Democrats on the town board and one new appointee, Mr. Lys, who remains a registered Republican through November, there is no one to whom they owe greater thanks than David Gruber and the majority of the long-term Democratic Committee members now running on the East Hampton Reform Democratic ticket. It is they who created the “strong successful organization” that Van Scoyoc, Overby, and Burke-Gonzalez brag about.

The thing about David Gruber is that he is a true Democrat, who believes in the democratic process. Unlike the party bosses and insiders, David has never used the influence he has long had to try to control the Democratic Party or town board. I know, because I was there. He could have, but he didn’t. He isn’t doing so now.  

Rather, David Gruber is himself running for the Democratic nomination for town board, and Reform Democrats are running for seats on the Democratic Committee, in an open, public primary election. Isn’t that what democracy is supposed to be about? People hold themselves out for public office and let the voters decide. 

Unfortunately, the old guard of the tired, old Democratic Committee, along with the triad of impunity on the town board, cannot stand fair and open elections. They want to be the ones to decide who sits on the town board and the Democratic Committee. They think running for party position the old-fashioned way, with party members deciding by vote, is a “takeover.” 

Their disdain for elections, rather than coronations by party bosses and insiders (them), is the very reason why we Democrats need to elect David Gruber as our town board nominee and the Reform Democrats to the Democratic Committee in the primary election on Thursday, Sept. 13. 

Thank you,


Leadership Role


August 20, 2018

Dear Editor, 

Two weeks ago The Star published a letter I wrote pointing out that the proper role of a political committee like the East Hampton Democratic Committee was first to help choose and then help elect candidates to town board positions who reflect true Democratic Party principles and then, from time to time, to offer advice and guidance to those elected on policy issues of importance to the town. 

As I said in my earlier letter, the advice would come as “guidance on policy, not orders on how to vote” on the board. I was pointing out that several members of the committee had stated publicly that since the committee had helped the Democrats on the board get elected, the committee should then be in a position to direct the votes of those Democratic Party town board members. James MacMillan, whom I will oppose in the Sept. 13 Democratic primary, was one member of the committee who espoused that position.

Mr. MacMillan has since written to The Star (Aug. 16) noting that as chair of the Democratic Committee state/federal policy subcommittee, I had taken a leadership role in organizing a forum for East Hampton residents to hear pros and cons on proposals to amend the New York State Constitution in a number of controversial ways. Mr. MacMillan is correct in pointing out my leadership role in organizing the well-attended September 2017 Forum, but totally incorrect in suggesting that my purpose was to urge the Democratic Committee or residents of East Hampton to support a yes vote to establish a constitutional convention.

Instead, I and other leaders on the Democratic Committee believed it was the committee’s role to bring information on both sides of the issue to the attention of East Hampton residents so that they would be in a better position to vote on the constitutional convention question at the election in November 2017. If Mr. MacMillan had attended Democratic Committee meetings where the issue of whether to hold a forum was considered, he would have been aware of the reasoning behind holding the forum expressed by me and others.

If re-elected to the Democratic Committee again in the Democratic primary on Sept. 13, it is my hope to again serve on the committee’s state/federal policy subcommittee to help the committee and its members consider and perhaps take positions on issues of importance to East Hampton residents including health care, women’s rights, the environment, immigration, and others.

I hope readers in Election District 3 (Amagansett) will consider voting for me and my colleague, David Hillman, for positions on the town Democratic Committee, as well as for David Lys for town board, in the Democratic primary on Sept. 13.



Ridiculous Stories


August 19, 2018

Dear David,

Betty Mazur, vice chair of the 

Democratic Committee and a participant in Chris Kelley and Jeanne Frankl’s vote-rigging scheme, has a poor memory. Rona Klopman’s lawsuit to uphold the Election Law was dismissed for 

procedural reasons only. The court never determined the merits as she wrongly claims. 

By that time, Frankl had already admitted in sworn affidavits that she had previously appointed someone to a seat in E.D. 4 who had never resigned. Then she appointed a second member, who was without any need of approval at the county level. This makes that town committee chair a pretty powerful person.

As to the other non-vacant seat in E.D. 17 to which Frankl appointed a second member, admitting in her affidavit to the county there was no written resignation of that duly-elected sitting member. She claimed the member had resigned orally. But again the rules say a resignation must be in writing. Hence, the seat was not vacant when Frankl made a second appointment. Again, it would be someone already committed to vote for Rogers and Lys. 

They can make up whatever ridiculous stories they want. The facts of the vote-rigging scheme are in the judicial record. In spite of her own admissions of wrongdoing, Frankl had Kelley go to court to prevent the legitimate members of the committee from voting, as 

they were legally entitled to do. That 

is unacceptable in the Democratic Party. That they got away with it hardly makes it right. People with power who abuse it can get away with a lot, as we see so clearly at the national level.

The East Hampton Reform Dem­ocrats were formed by a majority of the long-serving members of the Democratic Committee to rid the committee of such corrupt behavior. I am proud to be a member of the Reform Democrats, who believe in the necessity of honest elections. Unlike some, we have not misplaced our moral compass.  

For the 38 seats on the Democratic Committee, we have 32 people on the Democratic primary ballot and five others, independent of Kelley, Frankl, and Mazur, whom we support. Enrolled

Democrats will shortly be receiving literature telling them who we are so that they can get to the polls on Thursday, Sept. 13, and restore honesty to the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee. 



Don’t Have Time


August 19, 2018

Dear David,

Since I have been active in the Democratic Party, Democrats on the town board were always scrupulous about observing the laws meant to protect our environment, the State Environmental Quality Review Act and the community preservation fund law in particular.

As editorials last week in both The Star and The East Hampton Press make clear, those days are shockingly behind us. We have left only one member on the town board, Jeff Bragman, with respect for proper environmental process and public participation. The rest, Van Scoyoc, Overby, Burke-Gonzalez, and Lys, the Gang of Four, think that whatever pops into their heads is good for us, without any need for environmental review or public participation. They think they just know.

The Gang of Four has the bizarre idea that it can “do SEQRA later” when the entire purpose of SEQRA is to require that the environmental analysis be done first. Councilman Bragman wrote to The Star last week to say that the aquaculture project approved for Gann Road is plainly illegal for lack of SEQRA compliance.

When David Lys, a lifelong Republican, announced that he would run in the Democratic primary to retain the seat on the board to which he was appointed last January, he was quoted in The Star. “When the opportunity to serve on the town board came up, ‘I went to the websites of both parties and found myself having to make a choice. The choice

 . . . was that I align myself more to Democratic values. And that was an easy decision for me.’ ”

Easy or not, I don’t have to go on the internet to figure out whether I am a 

Democrat, nor does anyone who is committed to the values of the Democratic Party. Although Lys changed his registration from Republican to Democrat a week before being appointed to the town board, he is still a registered Republican until after November and cannot even vote for himself in the Democratic primary on Sept. 13. 

We simply don’t have time for David Lys to learn how to be a Democrat on the job. Bragman needs our help right now. The lawlessness of the Gang of Four must stop. I have faith in Jeff Bragman to continue to fight the good fight, but he cannot do it alone, outnumbered four to one.

David Gruber, East Hampton Reform Democratic candidate for town board, is a lifelong Democrat. At the age of 12 he campaigned for Lyndon Johnson. He is former chair of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. He has fought publicly for decades for environmental justice in East Hampton and scrupulous observance of our environmental laws. 

We Democrats have the chance to choose him as our nominee for town board in the primary election on Thursday, Sept. 13. We should not allow this chance to go by.


Kelley’s People

East Hampton

August 20, 2018

Dear David,

Two weeks ago, an editorial in one of our local newspapers called out the chokehold of Democratic Party boss Chris Kelley on Democratic Party nominations and appointments to town boards, such as the planning board and zoning board. In response, a letter last week spoke about the unacceptable price the community pays for bossism and cronyism in the Democratic Party.

Just days ago, the town board majority, beholden to Kelley, proposed to give away, for absolutely nothing, valuable real estate, an unimproved road, to increase the size of a lot owned by a client of Kelley’s law firm, represented before the town board by Steve Latham, Kelley’s law partner. The scheme was stopped dead only because David Buda appeared at the town board meeting with documents showing what the board was up to. We owe Mr. Buda a debt of thanks for exposing what was going on.

But there is another, far more destructive example of Democratic Party cronyism at work, a danger to public safety in Springs, including in the Springs School.

Three years ago, the Springs Fire District erected a badly needed emergency communications tower. The Fire Department obtained the necessary building permits from the town building inspector. An outstanding opinion of the town attorney said that the Fire Department did not need to apply to the planning board.

After the tower was built, David Kelley, Chris Kelley’s brother, applied to the zoning board of appeals to have the building permits revoked. The communications tower is closer to Kelley’s property than he would like.

With then Z.B.A. members Cate Rogers, now Democratic Committee chair, and David Lys, now town councilman (appointed, not elected) and Democratic Committee machine nominee for town board, both voting in favor, the Z.B.A. revoked the Fire Department’s building permits after the fact! Both Rogers and Lys owe their current positions to Chris Kelley. Favor done, favor answered. Kelley’s people know what they have to do in return for his patronage.

Because of the Z.B.A. action in favor of David Kelley, the Fire Department’s emergency communications tower is still unused three years later. The Springs Fire District has had to sue the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals, a ridiculous state of affairs, and is still in court. There was a recent scare at the Springs School due to poor coverage by existing equipment.

The town board has had the power to resolve this matter at any time in the past three years by amending the zoning code to make clear the limits of the zoning board’s authority over independent government agencies such as a fire district or school district.  At the very least, the town board could have grandfathered in the Fire Department’s emergency communications tower, built in reliance upon building permits issued by the town itself.

The town board has done nothing, allowing an absurd and dangerous situation to go on and on, wasting public money, as the public pays for both sets of lawyers, and putting the Springs community at risk.  

This is inexcusable. But Councilman Lys, Supervisor Van Scoyoc, and Councilwomen Overby and Burke-Gonzalez all depend on the political patronage of Democratic Party boss Chris Kelley and his election machine. And so, a lawsuit by one public agency in our town against another public agency in our town grinds on needlessly. 

The East Hampton Reform Demo­crats were organized to rid the East Hampton Democratic Committee of machine politics, bossism, and cronyism. Our town board candidate, David Gruber, and our slate of candidates for Democratic Committee seats are completely independent of the Democratic Committee machine controlled by Kelley. We are committed to restoring honest government to East Hampton — to serve the public, not party insiders. 

There is a Democratic primary election on Thursday, Sept. 13. I urge all of my fellow Democrats who want a party and government we can be proud of to get to the polls and vote for East Hampton Reform Democratic candidates.  You will soon be getting literature so that you will each know the names of our candidates in your election district. 


Vote for Me

East Hampton 

August 20, 2018

Dear David,

I want to remind my fellow East Hampton Democrats of the importance of voting in the upcoming state and local primary election on Thursday, Sept. 13. Please make a note that voting day is on Thursday, not Tuesday, as usual.

The highly anticipated November midterms offer a chance to bring change on the national scene, but the September primary elections are significant in East Hampton. In addition to Democratic Party primaries for New York State governor, lieut. governor, and attorney general, we will be voting for a candidate to complete Peter Van Scoyoc’s term on the town board. Additionally, voters in each of East Hampton’s 19 election districts will be voting to fill one or two seats on the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee to represent each individual district.

For registered Democrats who live in Election District 11, (the area bordered by the intersections of the eastern side of Hand’s Creek Road, the southern side of Springy Banks, the western side of Three Mile Harbor/North Main Street, and the northern side of Cedar Street), I ask that you please vote and when you do, please vote for me, Vicki Luria Blatt, and for my district partner, Franaldo Hanna. We are the current district representatives. We are endorsed by the East Hampton Democratic leadership, and we are running to keep our seats on the town committee. 

I live on Shorewood Drive in Election District 11 and have resided in East Hampton for the last 22 years, the longest I’ve lived anywhere, including my New Jersey hometown, which I left at 17. I have a background in print and broadcast communications and run a small trade publishing and direct-mail company with my husband, Jay Blatt. Our one daughter is a graduate of East Hampton Middle School and High School.

My husband is an avid surfcaster and we are both strong supporters of public beach access. Like so many, I realize we can no longer leave the running of government to others. I want my voice heard and the opportunity to contribute on a hyper-local level through service on the town committee.

Franaldo Hanna grew up in East Hampton, graduating from East Hampton High School and the State University, Westbury. He runs his family’s cleaning and restoration business and still finds time to bring his youthful vitality to the committee. He is working to preserve the small-town feel of East Hampton and to find a way for young people to remain in the area in affordable homes of their own.

Franaldo and I both see our role on the committee as a way to express and balance the needs of all our citizens, making sure that local, working, middle-class residents receive fair representation. We understand that the town’s economy depends to a large extent on tourism and financial contributions of second homeowners, but town plans and actions must be based on what is good for the entire community. Clean air and water, renewable energy, beach preservation and public access, quiet, safe neighborhoods, uncongested roads, public transportation, good schools, low taxes, recreational facilities, youth and senior services are just a few of the issues we are dealing with on a local level.

When you go to vote, you will find four names on the ballot for the town Democratic Committee and these names will differ in each E.D. Two candidates are part of the Democratic Party slate and two are put forward by a small group that is challenging David Lys for town board and looking to totally replace the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee, which has been so successful in delivering democratic majorities and electing democrats to the town board. As part of the election process, all candidates are expected to carry a petition for themselves in their districts in order to get on the ballot, but for the most part, only a few individuals, rather than the candidates, carried petitions for the opposing slate.

Franaldo and I helped to elect the current Democratic town board, and we are proud and supportive of their accomplishments to date. We want to build on their successes, not deconstruct the good work that is in process. We support David Lys as the Democratic candidate for town board and Perry Gershon to replace Zeldin in Congress. And once the primary is over, defeating Zeldin must be our top local priority.

On Sept. 13, in E.D. 11, please vote for me, Vicki Luria Blatt, and for Franaldo Hanna. Check your mailbox for more information about us and our town board candidate, David Lys. For details on the full slate of candidates, visit the Facebook page for “East Hampton Demo­crats Campaign 2018.”



Cartwright Issues


August 17, 2018

To the Editor:

I sympathize with your letters section frustrations. I have a few of my own, but wish they would not add to yours. For I greatly respect you and David for your amazing professional abilities and stamina. Over all The Star is a great local paper, with a great editors and writers. Yay Star!

When The Star’s coverage and editorial professionalism on the Cartwright issue becomes excellent, you can certainly expect high praise from me, and many others, publicly. 

However, two weeks ago, The Star led their Opinion section with a front-page editorial dismissing my defense of public rights on Cartwright “without any examination of the facts,” instead championing total denial of public access without bothering to explain why that would be necessary or even legal. In the same issue, they shunted six letters calling for full investigation into the Cartwright ownership and public access rights to the end of the letters section, while simply not publishing several others. 

After our positive conversation last week, I felt editorial balance would improve. However, The Star’s coverage of Cartwright issues raised at last week’s trustees meeting appears inadequate, as anyone can see by watching the video of the meeting on the website, and comparing it to The Star article, with scant mention buried at the very end. All letters supporting public access again were relegated to the back of the bus. 

But I was most flabbergasted when a strong letter of support and general agreement from Tim Taylor, president of Citizens for Access Rights, written in good faith for exclusive publication in The Star, was spiked, for reasons that do not appear in, and seem to violate, The Star’s printed letters policy. I hope it will appear this week.

º I have made all the above mentioned documents, and much more, available for The Star and the public to 

examine on the CartwrightIsland website. By contrast, the Goelets have never made the actual basis and proof of their ownership claim to Cartwright available to the public to see and examine, and have refused to do so when asked. The town, if they have it, have not shared such proof with the public. What evidence or argument there may be, that they rest their ownership claim upon, however highly classified and ultra-secret, should now be put on the table for the public, trustees, town board, civic groups, courts, New York State, and all stakeholders to see, examine, and deliberate upon. Without further delay.

Any journalist worth their salt knows: There is a great story here. The Star should dig to get it. This letter is intended for exclusive publication in The Star. If you would rather, I would welcome the opportunity to write a “Guestwords” column for this week on the very under-reported McGintee/Goelet agreement, what it actually says, and what might be done about it. That would be a reporting first for The Star, and much better than discussing the meta-story of coverage. I am sure that will win The Star great praise for balanced coverage from myself and many others. Also, this letter would no longer be needed, as my concerns would be much resolved by any move towards better balance and coverage.

Ever more smart and careful folks who dig into the facts (Citizens for Access Rights (CfAR), David Buda, Blake Fleetwood, Michel Zaleski, Ray Hartjen, etc.) are coming to the same conclusion I reached: that Cartwright appears to be public land with pre-existing public rights well established there. 



Mr. Richardson circulated, via a Dropbox link contained in a group email, a letter from Tim Taylor of Citizens for Access Rights that had apparently been intended as a letter to the editor of this newspaper. Doing that violated The Star’s policy, which requires that letters to the editor appear here before they are circulated elsewhere. A letter from Mr. Richardson himself, which was also shared via a Dropbox link, appeared as a letter to the editor in last week’s Star in error. The Star does not ask much of its letter writers, but does ask that submissions be unique and original to this newspaper. The authors of letters to the editor should phone 631-324-0002 to make sure their submissions are received. Ed.



August 18, 2018

Dear David,

I have a suggestion for Governor Cuomo. Why doesn’t he find a country he believes is truly great and move there.

Best regards,


The Lobbyist


August 20, 2018

Dear David,

Claiming to support open transparent government is a great catchy campaign phrase. After all who doesn’t support an open transparent government. As the founding president of the fifth biggest police union in New York State, I have worked aggressively in the New York State Legislature lobbying on behalf of our members, their professional interests, and the communities they serve. Our efforts have ranged from environmental issues to social issues and everything in between.

As governmental affairs representatives, which is a kind way to describe lobbyists, we are all registered with the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE). New York State law is very specific as to who must register, registration, and filing requirements for a lobbyist. Public disclosure and financial filings are all there for the public to see.

To lobby local municipal governments, a progressive town board that is committed to an open transparent government should be asking the question. When is an individual who represents clients before a branch of town government required to register as a lobbyist?

The answer is direct and straightforward, why the town board seems unwilling to comply and demand compliance with New York State law is alarming. We all understand that attorney-client representation in a legal proceeding would be exempted. Outside the scope of that particular relationship what exactly would trigger a JCOPE registration requirement and filing? 

As we all know there are some very well paid individuals and firms such as the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee’s very own Chris Kelley of Twomey, Latham, Shea, Kelley, Dubin & Quartararo that lobbies the town board, town trustees, and the appointed boards such as planning, zoning board of appeals, and architecture review board, for example. Many of these boards will regulate, enact, recommend, interpret, and enforce laws that zone property and businesses that could be worth millions of dollars to their clients. 

What are the requirements you ask? One has only to look at the JCOPE “Guide to Lobbying,” which can be found on the JCOPE website. It very clearly answers the above in that it states: “The reporting requirements set forth in the Lobbying Act also apply to individuals and organizations who lobby municipalities. Thus, if a lobbyist incurs, expends, or receives, or anticipates incurring, expending, or receiving in excess of $5,000 annually in compensation and expenses for lobbying activities (cumulatively across all clients whether it be before the state and/or a municipality), the lobbyist and the client of the lobbyist are generally required to file disclosure reports with JCOPE, which in turn makes these filings publicly available on its website. Municipalities may have their own reporting requirements, separate and apart from state reporting requirements.”

JCOPE goes on to define who is a public official on the local level as: “Municipal officers and employees, including an officer or employee of a municipality, whether paid or unpaid, including members of any administrative board (other than an advisory board), commission or other agency of a municipality, and in the case of a county, an officer or employee paid from county funds.”

East Hampton Town Code Chapter 25, titled “Code of Ethics” is the closest the town has come to any type of public disclosure. Unfortunately it is not good for us but good for the lobbyists. It is wholly inadequate as to public disclosure and does not fulfill the requirements of the New York State Lobbying Act granted municipalities for the public to provide public disclosure. 

As a matter of fact, as best I can tell there is one person that lives in East Hampton that is registered with JCOPE — me!

East Hampton has an open government transparency problem. Last year during the campaign I brought this to light and yet the 2018 town board has done nothing. I believe to my core that governance can only happen when an engaged community and informative press such as The East Hampton Star has the resources to access a transparent government. The recent attempt by the town board to approve a land swap sweetheart deal represented by attorney Steven Latham of Twomey, Latham, Shea, Kelley, Dubin & Quartararo is endemic of the problem. 

For there to be a change, there must be the will and independence. The kind of independence that cannot come from a town board with allegiances to party bosses or the control of all five town board seats by one political party. I will, once elected to the town board, seek the enactment of right ethic and open transparent government revisions to the town code. 

An excellent open transparent government should be the norm and not the exception.



Has to be Great

East Hampton 

August 19, 2018

Dear Editor,

“We are not going to make America great again. It was never that great.” Those words were uttered by our not-so-esteemed governor, Andrew Cuomo, to a shocked audience. I wonder if Mr. Cuomo doesn’t think America was great when the original colonists fought for freedom of religion and the right to representative government. He probably doesn’t think it was great when over 600,000 gave their lives to preserve the Union and free an oppressed people.

Surely Dandy Andy must not think America was great when our doughboys stopped the Kaiser. America wasn’t great when we stormed the beaches at Normandy and freed an entire continent from oppression and horror, helped rebuild Europe after World War II, helped to found both the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. 

And America probably wasn’t that great when it shielded the world from the Soviet Union and the threat of worldwide oppression. He probably thinks America wasn’t great during the civil rights era when decades of Democrat-backed Jim Crow laws, Democrat oppression, and Democrat segregation were overturned. Putting a man on the moon must mean nothing to the likes of Andy Cuomo, not to mention the unending list of actions this nation has taken across the globe to help millions of people.

One has to wonder what his grandparents thought when they immigrated to this country legally, what were their dreams, what were they thinking when they saw the Statue of Liberty? If America wasn’t so great, then why the hell did they come here? Any country where the son of immigrants can rise to become governor of one its biggest states, and the grandson of those same immigrants does so as well, has to be great. I would ask Andrew Cuomo to try and name one other country where that could happen but it would be a waste of time; considering where he has his head shoved I doubt he could hear me.


No Dilemma


August 14, 2018 

To the Editor:

The East Hampton Star editorial about a “First District Dilemma for Democratic Voters” (July 5, 2018) asks whether one should give money and work for political causes nationally or locally. The question itself goes against the grain of my experience.

There is no dilemma. Giving money to national campaign groups is a good shortcut to supporting national efforts to get money to elections where the money will make the most difference. That doesn’t preclude giving to local candidates.

For people with the time and interest to investigate, and work on, local issues and candidates, the rewards are great. As a canvasser for many political campaigns for six decades, I can testify to its effectiveness and the satisfaction it brings. It’s like investing in companies. You are more likely to succeed, and take pleasure in succeeding, if you understand the product and the prospective buyer. Nothing replaces face-to-face contact.

A successful local political effort is enormously satisfying. You see results in the people you talk to and in the election results. In New York Congressional District 1, my wife, Alice, and I have been supporting Perry Gershon. We were pleased when he won the primary, and ecstatic when his issues-oriented campaign attracted the support after the election of all four of the non-winning candidates.


Shame On Trump

East Hampton

August 20, 2018

Dear David,

The United States doesn’t ask a lot of its citizens. There is no draft, no duty to volunteer. There is just one obligation: to be an engaged citizen who votes. Is that really too much to ask?

Apparently it is, because 40 percent of eligible voters neglected to cast a ballot in the 2016 election. If Trump’s performance as president for the past 18 months can’t jostle these political Rip Van Winkles out of their stupor, nothing can.

In November, if a blue wave does not materialize, Trump will see it as a mandate that his bullying, seat-of-the pants, who can I torture-tweet today histrionics are what Americans want. And he will become even more dangerous.

Shame on Trump for being such a reckless, ignorant, cruel president. Shame on us if we don’t elect Democratic representatives committed to checking his power.



Need to Unify


August 19, 2018

Dear Mr. Rattray,

First, I would like to express my appreciation for the thoughtful column (“Vox Populi”) written by your letters editor. I can only imagine the amount of work involved in reading 35 letters in any given week and, given the content of most, the challenge of just staying awake. Coffee? Pills? A sharp crack to the forehead with a rolled up East? What would it take?

I have been guilty of abusing your newspaper’s good will in the past, writing long letters with pointless digressions, just for the pleasure of knowing you’d probably print them. And you did. My apologies now for abusing your fine community service, for which we should all be grateful.

But I digress, Mr. Rattray, so let me get to it: For the 11th year in a row you have completely ignored my birthday (July 30 — not that you’ll enter that in your iCal). Eight-hundred fifty-two (852) months. That’s not worth a Star T-shirt? Medium. P.O. Box 440, Amagansett. Thanks.

Hmmm. Actually, that was a digression too, so I’ll have to double down on my apology. Sorry. (I still want the T-shirt.) I’m writing to end my silence on political matters in our community, state, and nation, and a little more specific to say I’m a “social and economic liberal.” First, I’ve offered my support for and made a modest contribution to the campaign of David Lys, Democratic candidate for East Hampton Town Board. Appealing to me is his history in our community, as a working person, family man, and participant in civic affairs, from the zoning board of appeals to the restoration of the Amagansett Life-Saving and Coast Guard Station. David Lys has the support of East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, past Supervisor Larry Cantwell, outgoing East Hampton Democratic chairwoman Jeanne Frankl, my activist neighbor and vice chair, Betty Mazur, to name a few of his endorsers whom I have deep respect for in this town.

Maybe I wish there was more unity among the Democrats locally. Mr. Lys will face a primary challenge for the seat he was appointed to when Mr. Van Scoyoc became supervisor. But challenges are a good way to put complacency in check and to articulate your case. I hope Mr. Lys will do that forcefully and successfully. 

Whatever the outcome of the September primary, the party will need to unify fully in its effort to unseat Representative Lee Zeldin in November and get behind the candidacy of Perry Gershon. There are few political slam-dunks in the volatile world we live in today. It will take money and work.

The bigger mission here is to provide some balance at the national level, some control over the most impulsive, often destructive, instincts of the president and his “people.” (It was disturbing to me when my Amagansett neighbor, Andy Sabin, an environmental activist, contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the Trump campaign. And his new president then wasted no time in withdrawing American support for the Paris (climate) Agreement, weakening the powers of the Environmental Protection Agency, and now is expected to roll back regulations on emissions for the coal industry. Andy! What the hell?!)

I don’t want to be the hater. I don’t tune in to the insult comics who hurl condescending venom at the “other side.” But it does seem we’re in a tribal moment around the globe, one in which the hope for consensus feels like wishful thinking rather than something achievable. But losing hope is a poor excuse for not taking part, not taking responsibility. Historically, voter turnout is always lower for the midterm elections. I hope we’ll see record high numbers this November. And, yes, I hope we’ll have a compelling, charismatic candidate who can articulate the best interests of “the middle” in 2020. 

And I still want a T-shirt!


Economic Boom


August 20, 2018

Dear David,

The single most important political story this year by far is the economic boom that virtually no one expected to happen except those outside the administration. The political story of the year is 4 percent growth on the economic boom and will continue through the midterm election.

This will have a huge impact on November midterm elections. There are a lot of issues out there but here is a fact: after tax, after inflation, pay-check income is key political economic indicator. When POTUS took office we had 1 percent G.D.P. It is now over 3 percent. Pay checks are rising and the economy is growing unexpectedly. The G.O.P. will keep the house. Rumor: Obama’s administration claimed repeatedly we could never grow faster than 2 percent; now we are at 4 percent and Obama and his cronies want the credit.

Let’s give President Trump credit for lowering tax rates, rolling back regulations, the kind that was strangling this country. Trade reform, consumer confidence, is record high and still rising, large business confidence is also very high.

In God and country, 


Drug Wars

East Hampton 

August 20, 2018


In 1968, as middle-class kids got involved in drugs, Richard Nixon began the War On Drugs. Responding to the mainstream call for action Nixon set in motion the longest running failed war in our history. The drug war served to punish the youth movement that was threatening to turn around the country and to isolate black and Latino drug users even more than they already were. Instead of dealing with the underlying causes and treating them, Nixon chose putting people in jail and marginalizing large swaths of the population.

Skip to the present and the opiate crisis is centered, but hardly completely, around the white working class. They are being maligned, isolated, and untreated. They are experiencing  what blacks and Latinos have exper­ienced forever. It is painful, hurtful, and really sucks. In the land where history is either denied (we never killed 15 million Indians) or distorted (slavery was great for the blacks) it is always easier to repeat what you’ve done before. Even if it didn’t work.

In the American drug world there is a constant and disturbing Republican presence. There is no acceptable term to describe people like Trump/Zeldin that explains their blind stupidity and total ignorance of this issue. Mention drugs and they genuflect and scream M.S. 13, a gang of diminutive Central Americans who deal drugs as part of their criminal activity. Get rid of M.S. 13 and the drug problem will disappear.

The oddest correlation to our ongoing drug idiocy is its relationship to the Republican Party. Every new crisis, deranged reaction, bizarre subterfuge, has an R imprint. The Republican drug connection makes little sense but seems impossible to deny. History tells us that each new crisis is ushered in during periods of Republican dominance. If we skip the early years and its connection to prohibition, the official War on Drugs (longest in our history and still ongoing) was the baby of Richard Nixon. Nelson Rockefeller’s drug laws established the process for the long-term incarceration. Reagan’s Iran/Contra dealings put the U.S. imprimatur on the cocaine market and implicated the C.I.A. as a major participant in the cocaine trade.

Manuel Noriega, Panama’s president, C.I.A. agent, and cocaine distributor, was a Reagan/Bush stooge. The crack epidemic flourished under Reagan who didn’t mind seeing black and Latino crack addicts destroying their lives and lowering the welfare roles. (Just say no.) Bush 2 introduced the great opioid epidemic by allowing pharmaceuticals free rein to poison the population with oxycodone and a wide variety of painkillers. They were so far up his butt that he resisted all efforts to try and negotiate better prices no less control their drug running programs.

Bill Bennett was elevated to Drug Tsar during the Bush 1 regime in 1990. Bennett may have had an I.Q. of 140 but his drug I.Q. was around 47. In the 50-year history of the War on Drugs, no one ever approached the level of blithering stupidity of Bill Bennett. He redefined the term imbecile. Any crack addict off the street could have done a better job. His no-tolerance approach disregarded all the reasons why people took drugs. His law enforcement/military program had zero impact. 

Today, faced with the horrors of Afghanistan and Iraq and the collapse of working-class America, the American Medical Association in conjunction with Big Pharma and the Republican Congress leads the new drug epidemic. Legally prescribed painkillers and then street-market heroine and fentanyl form a lethal combo that makes past epidemics seem almost benign: 72,000 O.D.s breaks the U.S. record.

It is easy to understand why the drug problem flourishes under buffoons like Trump/Zeldin, but the Republican connection is difficult to fathom. Republicans were not always shameless hucksters and criminals. They once had minimal intellect and a sense of right and wrong. Pig and Republican were not synonymous like they are now. Corporations are more important than people. Corporations don’t have drug problems.


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