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Letters to the Editor: 10.10.19

Wed, 10/09/2019 - 10:51

Intact Today
New York City
October 7, 2019

To the Editor:

My wife, Robin, and I had the great pleasure of getting to know Ronnie and Seymour Chalif when we bought their house on Terbell Lane in 1984. I would like to correct the obituary in The Star that says the house was subsequently demolished. In reality, several years later, expecting our first child, we hired the original architects, Julian and Barbara Neski, to design an addition, which they accomplished in an extraordinary manner given the very challenging geometry of the house.

The addition and the original house remain intact today, and of some historical note, the construction was the first major project for an up and coming young builder, Ben Krupinski.


October 1, 2019

Dear Sir,

I have been meaning to write to you in this topic for some years and have now been driven to do so.

Who devised, years ago I’m told, the ludicrous system of allowing one person to hoard cinema seats for others who have yet to arrive?

The other evening, intent on seeing a film at our local Regal multiplex, I arrived at 6.45 for a 7 p.m. screening. I spotted a row of four empty seats, but was prevented from taking one of them by a man who said “I’m keeping these for friends.” I found a less desirable seat nearby and for the next 15 minutes, I heard the same man declare, with some pride, I have to say, “Four of these are taken but one is open.” This mantra was repeated to other punctual customers until, one minute before 7 p.m. his friends, for whom he had “reserved” the seats, bustled in. I was lucky; on other occasions “friends” have arrived after the start of the movie.

Is this practice another of those Hamptons “entitlement” customs? Cinemas around the world are able to offer reserved seating. Is it beyond the capabilities of our local management and their Regal paymasters to end this invidious, self-serving custom?

I only ask because I want to know.



Can Order It
East Hampton
October 5, 2019

To the Editor,

In her very interesting piece on Truman Capote, writer Jennifer Landes, in references to Capote’s “Answered Prayers,” writes, “If the book was ever finished, it was never published.” Actually, it was never finished as he perhaps imagined it, but it was certainly published. It’s a wonderful read and it’s in stock at Amazon, or preferably you can order it at your local bookstore.


Stony Brook
October 3, 2019

To the Editor:

A tip of the hat to The East Hampton Star for supporting renewable energy in both word and deed. And a hearty round of applause for the publication’s recognition of transportation as a key contributor to the greenhouse gases fueling climate change, and for its promotion of increased electric vehicle charging infrastructure to help East Enders drive electric.

Transportation accounts for 36 percent of total greenhouse gases, and over 80 percent of that total is from passenger cars. The expansion of electric-vehicle use has been held up in large measure by a lack of charging infrastructure. New York State is beginning to offer grants to help businesses and municipalities address that lack. Still more needs to be done in that area.

Drivers need to know, too, as the editorial points out, that despite the higher current prices, driving an electric vehicle is cost-effective because of near-zero repair costs and electric power, not expensive gasoline. Implementing pollution fees on internal combustion vehicles would make electric vehicles an even more obvious choice.

If New York doesn’t get on track to reduce vehicle emissions, it won’t meet its 2050 goal of a net-zero carbon economy. We must shoot for an interim target of 55 percent reductions in on-road emissions by 2035 to make sure we succeed.


Go Electric
October 6. 2019

Dear David,

I applaud The Star for installing an electric vehicle charger at its office, putting your money where your message is on reducing transportation emissions. Your editorial also helpfully points out some of the incentives that make E.V.s more attractive for people and organizations.

As the happy owner of a battery electric car — meaning it runs only on electricity with no gas backup — I would add six personal reasons to go electric:

1. Driving a battery electric car is fun. Because it has an electric motor (or two), power goes directly to the wheels for instant torque. You get rocket-like acceleration and speed. Even hill climbing is effortless.

2. If you have a driveway, it’s a no-brainer to own an E.V. You just plug it in at night, unplug it in the morning, and go. You can charge it from a regular 110-volt household outlet and add 3 to 4 miles of range per hour of charging, or have an electrician install a 240-volt outlet and add 30 miles of range per hour.

3. Upfront cost of a battery E.V. is less than you may think: a Tesla Model 3 starts at $38,990 and a Chevy Bolt at $36,620 — prices comparable to a nicely loaded Toyota Camry. And those sticker prices come down by $2,000 with New York’s E.V. rebate. These models each have about 240 miles of range.

4. Battery E.V.s save you a lot of money in cost of ownership. For starters, electricity costs less than half what you would pay for gas. Battery E.V.s have far fewer moving parts than gas cars and require almost no maintenance. There is no oil to change, no engine parts to wear out, no exhaust system to replace.

5. Taking a trip? While you take a rest stop or grab lunch on the road, you can add dozens of miles of range in a matter of minutes by using a direct current fast charger. Apps tell you where to find them, as well as where to find regular charging stations at hotels, restaurants, and malls.

Tesla is far in the lead in fast charging, with an extensive nationwide and international network of its proprietary Superchargers — including four Supercharger arrays operating now on Long Island and more planned, including one in East Hampton. Other charging providers are building out their fast-charging infrastructure for other car brands — although they have a long way to go — with the aid of a New York State program of price discounts on electricity for new fast-charging installations.

6. Have climate anxiety? Driving an E.V. will make you feel better. It’s empowering just to know that your car does not contribute tailpipe emissions. And more and more, the electricity it runs on will come from the wind and sun.

Including plug-in hybrids, there are now 44,500 electric vehicles registered in New York State, according to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The goal of Gov. Cuomo’s Green New Deal is to have 850,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2025. How are we going to get there?

Governor Cuomo should step up with even more support for fast-charging infrastructure, increased cash incentives for E.V. buyers, and a campaign to educate the public about E.V.s. And as you suggest, we can each do our part.

Sooner rather than later, make your next car an electric vehicle.


An Insult
October 7, 2019

To The Star:

Words matter (Part II). The word republican serves as an adjective and a noun. One can be a republican (noun), and one can be a member of the Republican (adjective) Party. Two words are used on the other side of the aisle. One can be a democrat (noun) and one can be a member of the Democratic (adjective) Party.

Former president George W. Bush and President Trump like to use the noun as an adjective by referring to the “Democrat Party.” This usage, combined with the tone of voice, was, and is, clearly meant as an insult.


Unsolicited Support
October 7, 2019

Dear David,

Randy Lerner and his family have been friends with my family for over 20 years. One of my grandsons is best friends with Randy’s oldest son since pre-K to 3! They are still best friends and have graduated from college.

When I read the article about the tree removals and the “To Whom It May Concern” letter written by Randy Lerner and his manager, I knew Randy must have seriously investigated this before acting on it. Yes, Randy had hired an experienced land-use lawyer who had worked for the Town of East Hampton and Randy was assured the land was designated agricultural reserve and that the owner had the absolute right to clear for farming purposes.

People asked, “Really, does Randy Lerner farm?” Yes, is the answer. Randy has farmed for over 20-plus years at Stony Hill Farm and related parcels on Town Lane. Randy put a tractor on the sign at Amagansett Square because he is a farmer. Randy has done nothing illegal or immoral; he has every right to clear for farming purposes.

I write this letter because the local press intimated that Randy did not follow the rules.

Farming is Amagansett. Randy lives full time in Amagansett, and he loves it. He has helped innumerable organizations as Mr. Fine, principal of East Hampton High School, wrote in The Star on Aug. 22. Mr. Fine stated that the school wanted the public to be aware of Randy’s unwavering and unsolicited support during one of the darkest times in our school’s history.

Give a neighbor his due and know the facts, all of them, before you damage a person and his family’s reputation.

I’ve always found kindness and caring from my local neighbors and that’s why I decided to speak up on behalf of a friend and committed member of the community.


October 7, 2019

Dear David:

I have to take issue with your referring to residents use of the 24 parking spots in the Amagansett municipal lot as a “perk.” People from Napeague and Montauk also need use of the 24-hour facility and to suggest that they use taxis and friends to ferry them to the Jitney to catch a 4:35 or 5:25 a.m. bus is beyond ridiculous. Obviously, you are unaware of the exorbitant costs of taxi transportation out here.

Residents like myself are only concerned about the 24-hour spots. There is no need for weeklong parking in the Amagansett lot when there is plenty of space at the long-term lot in East Hampton. The 24-hour parking is what resident commuters need to conduct their city business, whether for work or pleasure or medical visits. And, as residents, we see no reason for having to pay a fee for this so called “perk” That’s why we pay taxes. We have no problem with ticketing those who abuse the 24-hour restriction. A hefty fine should be more than sufficient, provided there is regular supervision of the lot to spot and ticket offenders. That would be a lot more effective than going through the expense of ticket machines, which have to be maintained. The frequent breakdowns of these machines at the East Hampton lot should give pause to that suggestion for Amagansett. Think again.


Hospital Appointments
October 7, 2019

Dear Editor:

Regarding the editorial of Oct. 3‚ “Perk for the Jitney,” whereas I totally agree the parking lot should not be used free of charge for commuters, as in parking Monday morning through Friday night, those of us who use the Jitney for traveling to and from the city for regular and necessary hospital appointments, and there are many of us, should not be penalized. These trips are expensive enough without adding on the additional charges by for-profit taxis and ride-sharing services. While expanding the parking lot to accommodate the residents and workers of the business district is a good idea, the long-term section should remain, but possibly be curtailed to 24 hours.

Also I would like to point out that although you mention the Jitney is a for-profit company (as are all the businesses in Amagansett whose customers use the parking lot), they do in coordination with the Fighting Chance Cancer Center of Sag Harbor give out free tickets for hospital patients from the East End who otherwise could not afford the trip.



Been Complaining
East Hampton
October 7, 2019

Dear Star,

By now all of us have been inconvenienced in some way by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s project to raise the trestle that crosses both Town Lane and North Main Street. This is a project which has my support because it has been a hazard for decades. How many of us have seen an unfortunate (maybe stupid) truck driver looking sadly at his rig the roof of which has either accordioned or been peeled back like an old sardine can [Millennials probably won’t get this reference. Sorry.] because he or she ignored the warnings about maximum height? And how often do you wonder if the person coming through from the other side is going to give you room to go through as well?

What gets to me is that this is an old problem which should have been taken care of back in the 1970s or ’80s. People have been complaining about the underpass, particularly on Town Lane, since long before I lived here. What has happened as the various parties involved in the planning and execution of such projects kept putting it off, the world changed profoundly.

For one thing, there are more people — not just in the area but in the world. Our resident population, as I’ve written before, becomes swamped and in many cases disenfranchised by weekenders, visitors, and tourists and not just in summer anymore. As soon as the “tourist season” ends, we then have to contend with fall visitors, and this is when construction, demolition, and renovation projects begin in most cases.

My point is that closing down North Main Street this past week has been a nightmare. Traffic has been diverted down Town Lane and is causing problems at the light where Town Lane and Egypt Lane meet Pantigo Road. Three times I was forced to wait through two changes of the light before I could make a left turn off Egypt Lane.

It would be nice if someone thought to have an officer directing traffic so that

people who need to turn left can be assured of only having to wait a reasonable amount of time instead of two or more changes of the light.

The thing is that this hasn’t been the only project gumming up traffic. Highway and back-road roadwork has been causing problems for the last several weeks.

It’s not that they’re doing the work or even the inconvenience that I mind but the simple fact that they don’t warn us of road closures. Even a day or two notice would be nice so people know to plan a different route. I’m sick of seeing “Road Closed” signs popping up without warning, forcing me to take a much longer route than if I had been able to plan ahead. In past years, I’ve left home to go shopping only to discover that my dead-end street or the cross street that is the only access to it were being paved. In fact, I remember that this was happening on Sept. 11, 2001, which made the day even more memorable.

As a side note, I should add that the workers had not heard the news about the Twin Towers yet and when I told them, they thought I was joking and almost didn’t let me in, even on foot. It’s not that the one event has anything to do with the other, but it did add a lot of stress to the day.

My point is that taking the time to put up signs would actually relieve a lot of stress, which is part of what leads to the road-rage epidemic we can’t seem to get a handle on. And maybe planning to have someone direct traffic at difficult times would help as well.

Oh, and as a quick follow-up to my letter about the new traffic circle, people really need to learn how they work. For instance, just because you are coming off Route 114 doesn’t mean you have automatic right of way!

Well, that’s enough for now. Thanks for reading.



Commmon Agenda
October 7, 2019

Dear David,

As a supporter of the South Fork Wind Farm, I was glad to learn a week ago that Orsted had agreed with Inlet Seafood to base transport ships for the wind farm workers at Inlet’s docks. The fishermen and Orsted, I reasoned, have a common agenda, a long-term effort each in their own way to preserve our ocean and the creatures in it, undoing years of abuse by the fossil-fuel industry and others. As next door neighbors of the fishermen, Orsted’s team would have the fishermen’s practical concerns in their faces and be hard pressed to ignore them during the wind farm’s development and life span. An ongoing interaction could also influence Orsted and other developers as all go forward with already projected much larger wind farms.

I am not discouraged in this optimistic view by The Star’s report last Thursday that the Inlet managers do not currently consider the deal “a partnership.” The fishermen are still pressing for a more realistic package of compensation for possible damages, comparable to that provided by Orsted and the other companies for their new projects.

I too would like to be assured of fair compensation for our fishing industry if damages are sustained. I hope this deal will be a first start in bringing the parties together now and for the long term.



Top Priority
East Hampton
October 6, 2019

Dear Editor,

Over the years we have seen our beloved town go through many changes and the rapid development of farmland, the loss of wild places, wildlife, the overcrowded roads, and packed sidewalks in the summertime. Many of the old-fashioned cottages and homes have been torn down, to be replaced by oversized houses, and often the developers and homeowners clear their land of all living plants and tree life, and leave a big, gaping brown hole of dirt.

With no guidelines or restrictions by the town, they cut down giant, majestic white oaks like unwanted weeds. Under town guidelines they plant saplings from a local nursery and often plant the same small variety of garden plants over and over again.  It is not uncommon to see the same shrubs and pines used 30 or 40 times on the same property as borders to separate their property from their neighbors, to decorate the front of their homes and driveways or pools. Developers blithely go about largely unregulated, with vague, minimum guidelines, and change forever what so many of us so dearly treasure about this magical place.

It is not only the obligation of the East Hampton Zoning Board to protect the very special nature of our village from overdevelopment; it is also the obligation of every homeowner, winter and summer folk, who live in East Hampton and treasure our blessed and enchanted town, that I now raise a red flag of danger.

Not to protect a beautiful 100-year-old, tree-filled parcel of land that is in danger of the builders’ heavy machinery. Those warnings sadly fall on deaf ears.

It is the call to protect one of our precious nature preserves, and a unique parcel of wildness in Settlers Landing, on the pristine western shore of Three Mile Harbor, set in the hollow of a beach ravine that gently falls away from the road and connects the land with the sea. A natural drainage point for heavy rains to run off the land, and a point in the harbor where winter storm surges push the water 70 to 90 feet ashore and in a severe storm at high tide, the surge can travel over 150 feet and flatten all the sea grasses and small plants to the ground. On the south side of the preserve, and on the far side of the owner’s property, the land falls sharply from the bluff and on the north there is a more gentle, gradual slope that feeds the rainwater into the beach ravine.

The natural beauty of the preserve is inspirational and fills the heart with all the joys missing in so many of our lives. Seabirds dance on the wind, the crystal clear blue-green water sparkles, wild grasses and beach plants thrive in a peaceful, unspoiled natural wonderland. Over the years the preserve and pristine shoreline have been an all-year-round beloved refuge for children and their families, clam-diggers, solitary hikers, sunrise gazers, moonlight gazers, and a transcendental, bountiful haven for neighbors to walk their dogs in one of the most magical spots in all of East Hampton.

Since the early 1950s, a modest, yet handsome modern house has sat on the south side of the preserve. An old, broken-down two-rail split-rail fence divided the properties. That is about to change. The current owner wants to tear down the modest dwelling and construct a 4,500-square-foot house, with a pool house and pool on the property. It is also their intention to construct a large fence along the property line that separates their property from the nature preserve, divide the tidal basin, wetlands, and locate the pool house and pool just on the other side of the preserve.

The Settlers Landing Property Owners Association, which owns and controls the nature preserve, has made no objections to the overblown plan and the damage the development will cause to the integrity of the tidal basin, wetlands, and nature preserve. The association’s president did speak up in an open letter to his membership and their neighbors, and in fairness I can only hope his intention was not to mislead and deceive. My Irish great-grandmother often said, “God protect us from people with good intentions,” and I would add a sense of self-righteous entitlement. In the letter, he reminds everyone of the association’s bylaws that state it is the duty of the S.L.P.O.A. to “preserve the natural beauty of [the nature reserve] to the greatest extent possible in order to provide a continuing, natural habitat for local wildlife and birds of all kinds.”

Then the good man brings out some fairy dust to sugarcoat his sleight of hand and bespeaks as a lawyer would bespeak; as such, we requested that the Zoning Board specify that the owners’ landscaping plans include native plantings along the shared property line in order to screen the new structures and pool from the reserve (alternatively, a solid wood fence might be specified). Not a single word can be found in the letter concerned with the fact the overdevelopment will forever change the very nature of the tidal basin, wetlands, and the nature preserve. Then he gets to the point, the important point of his letter, when the guardian of the nature preserve declares; “IMPORTANT (his caps): The owners of the property have every right to build their dream home, as long as it adheres to East Hampton building codes.”

The letter sadly is a complete abdication of the association’s fiduciary obligation to protect the preserve under the terms and conditions of the original land grant. It will also be a complete abdication by the East Hampton Zoning Board to put on blinders and allow this highly sensitive, environmental and ecologically-balanced beach ravine,  tidal basin, wetlands, and nature preserve to be destroyed by overdevelopment. The beach ravine is an important natural water way conduit and safety valve, where rainwater flows from a large area of Settlers Landing  into the sand, and into the harbor, and protects the land from destructive, violent rainstorms and storm surges, and works as a natural safety valve that takes the heavy rain and sea pressure off the land and shoreline.

If the beach ravine, tidal basin, and wetlands are  compromised there is a strong possibility the land and shoreline will suffer serious erosion and damage to the wetlands. The tidal basin also plays a vital role in the protection of the harbor and Settlers Landing when a major hurricane arrives on our shores. To avoid the loss of this vital beach protection, the land should not be compromised and weakened. All the other homes along the shoreline in the area are set high on the bluffs, and set back hundreds of feet from the shoreline. This property is an exception, and highly environmentally unique. It needs special protection. Large septic tanks, a large gunite pool, and a pool house present real danger of leakage and overflow of human and household waste, toxic fertilizers, pest controls, chemicals, and pollutants, into a sand-based, highly porous soil that flows directly into the harbor. That overtime will destroy the pristine nature of the ravine, tidal basin, wetlands, and the nature preserve. The development will also divide and seriously weaken and permanently damage the natural filtering system of the beach ravine and its natural barriers to protect the harbor and the wetlands.

Simply stated, this is just not acceptable.

The owner’s plans have to be reconsidered and rejected and sent back to the drawing board. Then the natural ecosystem of the harbor and the nature preserve will be protected. The character and the natural filtering and land protection systems of the ravine, tidal basin, wetlands, and nature preserve cannot be destroyed. The size of the house has to be reduced to a far smaller size, based on environmental priorities, and if approved, the new structure must be closer to Three Mile Harbor Drive. The pool should be moved to the south side of the property, along with the pool house, or should be removed from the plans. A 200-foot setback should be enforced from the high-tide line from the harbor and the large volume of pebbles covering the sand on the property removed. Because of the nature of the land the tide moves higher on this stretch of the beach and needs to be carefully studied. The owner’s new landscaping has to conform to the natural plant life of a beach ravine. The fencing along the preserve should be a two-rail, split-rail fence, and no other fencing should be allowed along the beach setback, and along the setback from Three Mile Harbor drive. If the owner builds any fencing along the preserve it should be set back five feet and not in any way interfere with the beach ravine and tidal basin’s natural functions. There is no need for any special plantings by the association. Without interference or harmful cutting, Mother Nature has done a magnificent job in looking after and caring for the preserve; let all the natural plants and grasses grow and do their natural thing.

The nature preserve and ravine also face the challenge of another parcel of undeveloped land on its northern border. Bending to the will of an over-reaching owner, it will set an unfortunate precedent for the development of that site. Serious consideration by the Town of East Hampton should be given to purchase the land and incorporate it into the nature preserve.

The preservation and protection of this very special place has to be the top priority, and if the association or the East Hampton Town Zoning Board are unwilling to protect this important environmental site. Everyone interested in protecting our town’s wetlands, tidal basins, and nature preserves, and all like-minded organizations, should become involved in this worthy cause.

The Environmental Protection Agen­cy should be alerted to this danger, and all the state’s agencies as well, and legal action may be necessary to protect the harbor, tidal basin, wetlands, and the nature preserve, and if needed have the ownership of the preserve transferred to more trustworthy hands.



Judicial Demeanor
East Hampton
October 7, 2019

To the Editor:

Amazing, but our courthouse, the one with the “front door” in the back of the building, is home to the fourth highest revenue-producing Justice Court in the state. An important reason why we must have a judge who knows the town and is trained, experienced, and just plain old good at the job.

Fortunately, on Nov. 5, we can vote to keep Lisa Rana on the bench. Justice Rana, through her outstanding work these past 16 years as our town justice, has proven repeatedly that she is highly qualified to continue to dispense justice to our community — a community she and her family have been an active part of since 1915. Most of us will never venture into Justice Rana’s courtroom. However, if you (or anyone you hold near and dear) should have such an experience, wouldn’t you want your matter to be determined by a well-seasoned, knowledgeable, open-minded, and compassionate jurist, who has spent many years deciding our local issues? Wouldn’t you want to know that you and your rights will be treated fairly and with respect? Justice Rana’s numerous years of dispensing justice proves she meets those criteria.

As a longtime volunteer in the Justice Court, I have observed Justice Rana at work in the courtroom. She acquired vast knowledge of the law through multifaceted experience in private practice before taking the bench in East Hampton, and has expanded that knowledge while adjudicating cases for 16 years.

Knowledge of the law is of prime importance when doling out justice. However, to me, of equal importance is judicial demeanor and temperament. In my years of watching Justice Rana, I cannot recall a time when I felt she treated a litigant with anything other than respect, compassion, and fairness. I am referring to the relationship that develops between a party and the judge when they are communicating with each other.

 As an example, Justice Rana becomes super cautious and especially painstaking when persons appearing before her do not have sufficient knowledge of the English language. She insists on liberal use of the court’s interpreters, and never concludes a proceeding without first confirming that the party understands what is happening. If there is any doubt, Justice Rana will go back and repeat herself to the interpreter, and then wait patiently while the interpreter goes over the same ground until Justice Rana feels confident that the party has indicated that he or she understands what has transpired. I would characterize Justice Rana’s demeanor on the bench as tough when necessary, but always fair and impartial. Justice Rana has expressed the belief that judges should operate within a system where there is justice for all persons who appear in court. It is my belief that she tries her best to perpetuate just such an ideal system in her courtroom.

As the only candidate in the election with judicial experience (first as the chief administrative law judge for the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, currently as Sag Harbor Village justice, and for the past 16 years as East Hampton Town justice), Lisa Rana will continue to execute her judicial duties with experience and compassion when we re-elect her as East Hampton Town justice on Nov. 5.


Country Girl
October 5, 2019

Dear David,

Phyllis Italiano, the host of “The Democratic View,” previously interviewed Judge Lisa Rana. They were speaking to the fact that women in past years were not attorneys, nor were they encouraged to go to law school. Judge Rana shared that a colleague of hers who practices on Long Island recently noted that when she went into a courtroom, all the individuals were women: the judge, the court officers, and attorneys. What strikes a chord for me is that an all-female courtroom was so unique that the attorney took notice.

This story reminds me of Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s life. Top of her class at Harvard, there were many challenges for her as she broke the glass ceiling. New York City law firms would not even consider her simply because she was a woman. She ultimately taught law, as she was unable to practice it. Now, she is a respected Supreme Court justice. The gap has been bridged, and women built that bridge.

So who is Judge Lisa Rana? Raised in Amagansett, affectionately known as Lisa, she is a country girl at heart. Past board president of Project Most. Employed as a caseworker in New York City’s foster-care system and a volunteer counselor with St. Vincent Hospital’s Rape Crisis Center. These experiences led her to become an attorney. After graduating in the top five percent of her class from Touro Law Center, she maintained a law practice with an emphasis on representing children. Asked to join the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, she eventually served as the chief administrative law judge. She was responsible for the oversight of more than 60 administrative law judges who presided over nearly 100,000 cases annually. She later served as that agency’s chief of staff. For the past 16 years, she has served as an East Hampton Town justice, overseeing one of the busiest justice courts in New York.

Judge Rana celebrates with all women the accomplishments of women in the field of law and all other areas where women have made such strides. How wonderful that East Hampton Town has a dedicated, experienced female justice that is homegrown and understands the unique dynamics of our community. It’s something that we can all be proud of.



Took Action
October 2, 2019

Dear David,

Finally some action by the board on a complaint against a helicopter company flying into the airport. Although the penalty did not cause loss of income like it would in season, it is a start. That would have been a message to all who violate safety standards almost daily. The airport manager personally witnessed the “dangerous and reckless flying” and took action. Imagine how many incidents go unnoticed? Yet our complaints receive no action? Why?

We residents endure this on an almost daily basis where aircraft are barely 100 feet above the treetops. Resident pilots doing their touch and goes do this regularly and fly the same pattern over and over. The seaplanes, small jets, and the helicopters violate altitude restrictions continually.

My own experience several years ago was when a plane coming off 4/22 dropped a branch into my swimming pool. A house guest witnessed it and informed me on my return. I immediately called and spoke to the late Pat Ryan with the details and he said he would look into it. He never followed up. I brought it up at an Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee meeting many years later, and the president of the East Hampton Aviation Association waved me off and dismissed it. I didn’t know, he was invited to my party that day.

The reporting systems in place are faulty and if the numbers of tens of thousands of complaints over the past few years are correct, yielded no punitive action against the violators, who routinely place those on the ground in danger. Do we not have rights to live in safety and not have these arrogant pilots put us at risk?

We live in a tinder box and all it takes is one plane loaded with fuel to wreak havoc on neighborhoods if some error in judgment or malfunction occurs. The “reckless and dangerous” actions by that helicopter pilot are covered under the New York State  penal Code. Why wasn’t he arrested?

If it was a motorist whose reckless and dangerous “driving actions” put someone at risk, he or she could have been arrested and charged. This is not 1952 and vacant land is scarce. Homeowners and families take precedence and their safety is not up for disregard. Time to close the airport before someone gets killed. Put it to use. Install a solar farm or other renewable energy source that will benefit the taxpayers of this town. Not put them at risk!

Yours truly,


Fusion Candidates|
October 7, 2019

Dear Editor,

I attended the Group for Good Government debate this past weekend for the East Hampton Town Board candidates. Of particular interest was the issue of emergency communications for our police, fire, and emergency medical service.

For those who do not know, I am a veteran police supervisor for New York State and founding president of the fifth-biggest police union in New York State. I have also served as a local volunteer firefighter in the Springs and Montauk Fire Departments. Hence, I know a little something about emergency management and the need for properly equipping our first responders.

With regard to the issue of emergency communications, although interconnected, there are two blaring failures that stand out. First was the holdup of the Springs Fire Department communications tower by the zoning and town boards. Are all aware that neighbors opposed to the communications tower of the Springs Fire Department are well- connected supporters of the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee?

It is blatantly obvious the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee with its supermajority control of the town council and zoning board for the past three years has been purposely and willfully using the zoning process to prevent the Springs Fire Department turning on the emergency communications tower.

Second, the overall condition of an obsolete failing communications system. Many years ago state and local municipalities were instructed to begin the migration to a new bandwidth for emergency communications. There was for a while federal and state funding if the municipality made the move. Sadly East Hampton did not. Compounding the situation, since that time the cost has increased exponentially and faced with a failing system to which replacement parts are no longer available, chose at great expense to taxpayers to purchase equipment that was not engineered. Today the equipment sits in boxes collecting dust.

As I listened to the debate I was astonished to hear the town board members give excuse after excuse to explain their failure, then, without missing a beat, get into a conversation about visual aesthetics.

There is no single greater responsibility for an elected official other than public safety. Our first responders and community are one incident away from serious physical injury or fatality.

Over the years I have responded to more than my fair share of tragedies including the World Trade Center on 9/11. There can be no worse tragedy than the one that could have been prevented.

This election vote for a change, for the team that supports our first responders and will stop the delays to put your public safety ahead of party politics.

Our fusion candidates, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, will be on the Republican, Conservative, Independence, and Libertarian lines.


Time and Again
October 7, 2019

Dear David:

Back in July 2018, our congressman, Lee Zeldin, was confronted by the growing furor caused by the separation and inhumane detention of immigrant children. Reading the political winds and harsh criticism of these detention practices, Mr. Zeldin campaigned on the position that he was opposed to separating parents and children who are detained after entering the country illegally. Yet Mr. Zeldin was equally critical of the Flores settlement, reached by the Department of Justice, which restricted the government’s ability to detain children for lengthy periods of time, calling instead for a legislative fix.

So one would think that Mr. Zeldin would have voiced his opposition to the newly minted Trump regulations that would expand the government’s ability to detain children and circumvent the protections of the Flores settlement against abusive government detention practices. And, one would think that Mr. Zeldin would support legislation that would, among other things, establish additional oversight of the Department of Homeland Services and ban family separation, except in very limited circumstances.

And, you would be wrong. Ever the faithful cheerleader for everything branded Trump, regardless of the suffering caused by Trump’s policies, Mr. Zeldin was silent when Mr. Trump rolled out detention policies that clearly violated the legally binding settlement agreement.

And, Mr. Zeldin voted against the Homeland Security Improvement Act, which would have corrected many of the obviously cruel detention practices at the border. It would have mandated a tracking system for separated families; permitted familial separation only if parental or guardian rights were terminated by a state and separation is found to be in the child’s self-interest, or if an official qualified to do so found that separation was appropriate because the child would otherwise be in danger. The bill also established significant oversight procedures applicable to the various border agencies responsible for processing immigrants.

So yet again, Mr. Zeldin made campaign statements to his constituents that they wanted to hear but after being returned to Washington reneged upon the promises made to garner votes. And while Mr. Zeldin lacks the backbone to push back against abusive Trump policies, fortunately our judiciary again became our backstop. A federal court in California blocked Mr. Trump’s new detention policies, holding them inconsistent with the legally binding Flores settlement.

In one election time interview, Mr. Zeldin professed to having a strong sense of right and wrong. Given his work in Congress, what Mr. Zeldin most resembles is a tourist lost on the path between right and wrong, with only political expedience as his compass. Mr. Zeldin’s failure, time and again, to do what is right disqualifies him from the office he holds.



Loud and Clear
East Hampton
October 7, 2019

Dear David:

Based on what Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said at the Group for Good Government candidate debate last Saturday, we now know just why the current town board majority managed to build a mere 20 units of affordable housing in their six years of majority control. It is because

they don’t have the slightest intention of creating the affordable housing we need. They said so loud and clear, and Van Scoyoc himself told us just why not. According to him, building the affordable housing we need for local people would “destroy the character of the community.” In other words, if you are a town employee, a teacher, police, local volunteer, first responder, a retiring senior, a young adult who grew up in East Hampton and wants to stay, Van Scoyoc says there is no room left in East Hampton for you. According to him, you and your character don’t belong in our upscale community anymore. Leave.

To remind everyone, according to our comprehensive plan adopted 15 years ago, we need 1,300 units of affordable housing (not much compared to our housing stock of 22,000) of which only 150 will have been built. I have proposed that we build the housing we need in the only economically possible way to do it — densely, with three-story construction on only 80 total acres (a drop in the bucket out of our total land area of 45,000 acres!). The building footprint would be less than 1/3 of that, leaving plenty of room for on-site septic treatment, scenic buffers, and groundwater recharge.

We can build 1,200-square-foot apartments for less than $300,000 apiece, studios for young people and singles at half that, and rent them to our own local people at affordable prices. Critically important is that we do not want to be providing affordable second homes or affordable housing for UpIsland. Building affordably, rather than with subsidies, we can control that. Accessory apartments can contribute to supply but cannot meet the need.

There are very valuable three-story houses in the Village of East Hampton.

There are three-story buildings lining Main Street in Sag Harbor. Have they ruined the character of the community? Hardly. We can build beautiful affordable housing. But a community is not just buildings. It is people first and foremost. The “character of the community” is being destroyed before our eyes by the loss of its people who cannot afford second-home prices.

Van Scoyoc pretends that he can provide the affordable housing we need by

buying up existing housing stock. That would cost more than $700 million. It is a fantasy, a con job. Never going to happen. The reality is that he and Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, after eight years of keeping their seats warm, simply don’t have the political will. They are content to pretend.

The candidates of the EH Fusion Party, me for supervisor, Betsy Bambrick and Bonnie Brady for town board, are on the Independence and Libertarian Party ballot lines on Election Day, Nov. 5. We have the will, the brains, and the tools. Give us your votes and we will get it done.



Hopeful Sign
North Babylon
October 7, 2014

Dear Mr. Rattray,

Is it too much to hope that people representing the fishing industry and those representing offshore wind could ultimately come together?

The leasing agreement between Inlet Seafood and the South Fork Wind Farm for a wind operations and maintenance facility is a hopeful sign. Hardened hostility toward wind could have steered Inlet Seafood to lease to another party.

Offshore wind’s needs do not necessitate blowing fisheries off. New York energy officials announced in August that $2 million was being invested in working with the fishing industry on the potential impact of offshore wind.

Yet a true study of offshore wind’s impacts would include the effect of not building it, of continuing with our abuse of fossil fuels, which are warming and acidifying the oceans. Habitats are becoming endangered and species, like the lobster in New England, are moving north. How would that be mitigated?

Without offshore wind, a major source of renewable energy, we are not going to achieve the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s goal of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. The climate crisis is happening right now, and we have the means to combat it. Let’s agree on that, and take the necessary steps.


Supply Chain
East Hampton
October 7, 2019

Dear Editor,

It has been interesting to follow the local wind power discussions. Many of the discussion’s participants refer to wind power as a renewable and/or as a green/clean energy source. I have seen an extensive body of literature pertaining to the green-washing (referring to something as green when it isn’t necessarily) that is associated with not only wind power, but with most forms of alternative energy, partially because supply chain issues surrounding the sourcing of minerals used in the production of alternative technologies are largely ignored.

A 2013 article by the Northwest Mining Association stated that “two tons of rare earth elements” are needed to produce “a single 3-MW wind turbine.” Many of the necessary rare earth elements (conflict minerals) are sourced from countries dealing with political, economic, and social instabilities. For example, a 2018 article by Church and Crawford of the International Institute for Sustainable Development stated: “The Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, supplies more than 63 percent of the world’s cobalt. The mining of cobalt in the D.R.C. has so often been connected to violence that the mineral has been dubbed the “blood diamonds of this decade” by various news outlets.

The extraction of nickel, a mineral critical for both solar panels and energy storage, has been linked to murder, sexual violence. and forced displacement in Guatemala. Further, some rare earth mines have been called “sites of exploitation” due to incidents of child labor, high levels of exposure to toxic substances, and dangerous working conditions. And while supply chain governance for certain minerals, including tin, tungsten, tantalum, gold, and diamonds is improving, such initiatives have not yet been expanded to include most of the minerals and metals central to green energy technologies.”

Church and Crawford also stated: “However, the emergence or exacerbation of fragility, conflict, and violence along the supply chains of the minerals needed to produce these technologies could threaten the overall ‘green’ nature of this transition. There is a need to examine the supply chain of these minerals to understand whether increased demand for green energy technologies and the minerals and metals they require will have potential to exacerbate existing tensions, grievances, and conflicts relating to mineral extraction, and what can be done about it.” 

Gordian Raacke, a renewable energy advocate, was recently quoted as saying, “Renewable resources have two costs: the capital costs to install and the cost of not going with the renewables — which we call externalities.” What about the many costs/externalities that were mentioned by Church and Crawford? Also, for example, what about the externalities imposed upon ocean inhabitants?

The Northwest Mining Association article stated that a single wind turbine in addition to the two tons of rare earth elements also uses “335 tons of steel, 4.7 tons of copper, 1,200 tons of concrete, and 3 tons of aluminum.” Consider the energy (coal and fossil fuels) utilized to produce each wind turbine, and then ask what the monetary and environmental break-even point might be per wind turbine. Has this discussion taken place locally?

Has there been a local discussion regarding wind turbine disposals at the end of their useful lives?

There is also literature suggesting that some of the minerals used in the manufacture of alternative energies have limited supplies. Assuming such, is wind power really renewable? Has this discussion taken place locally?


Not Socialists
October 7, 2019

To the Editor:

With all due respect to my fellow Americans, most of us simply don’t know that a “liberal/progressive” is not the same thing as a “socialist.”

A true socialist is someone who wants all of the businesses and workplaces to be owned and controlled by the state or the government or the workers or the people, and not by individuals and groups of people who run them for profit as we have here in the U.S.A.

The overwhelming majority of Demo­crats want our federal government to spend more on social programs to help the lower and middle classes as they struggle to survive and pay their bills. They are not socialists. They are liberals/progressives who want our market-based capitalist economy to become more humane (and not replaced) by having our federal government spend more to help the lower and middle classes. They know all too well that there has never been a truly “socialist” society in which socialism produced enough wealth to meet people’s basic needs. It has never worked.

Thus, while most Americans seem to not be aware of this, and while conservative Republicans and the conservative news media do not want the American people to be aware of this, most Democrats want our federal government to be more like those of almost every one of our traditional allies, which spend more than we do, in proportion to their population sizes, on helping the lower and middle classes. None of our allies are socialist, and they know it.

To put this simply, President Trump and the conservative news media who are calling Democrats “socialists” are either lying to the people or are poorly informed and just plain wrong.



P.S. By way of background, I am a retired college professor of sociology, social work, and psychology who still very much enjoys helping people as well as informing, teaching, and educating people. That’s why I write these letters.

I am very proud to have taught at West Virginia University and Slippery Rock University.

In addition, I spent five years working as a New York State licensed social worker, providing therapy and counseling in the fields of alcoholism, drug addiction, mental health/illness, and marriage and family therapy.

East Hampton
October 7, 2019

Dear Editor,

I am a resident of 16 Berryman Street, East Hampton, which links directly onto Middle Highway. I am firmly opposed to any extension/expansion of the sand mine on 15 Middle Highway.

This is a residential neighborhood and the existing mine should never have been allowed to open at all. A bad situation is threatening to become a local catastrophe if expansion is allowed to go forth. The State Department of Environmental Conservation will be held responsible and accountable for the contamination of local wells and compromising an already stressed aquifer for generations to come. Creating a standing lake, as has been suggested, in an environment that is already struggling with tick and mosquito-borne illnesses is unconscionable.

The mosquito-borne virus E.E.E. has already claimed lives. A standing pond/ lake is not an option here. I am ashamed of Patrick Bistrian, who has shown little regard for his neighbors, friends, and family. This community has enabled the Bistrian family to prosper and flourish, but greed is overriding common sense. It is up to the D.E.C. to stop the continuation of mining here. Local municipalities must have a say in how their communities are used, and a project of this scope should never just be green- lighted.

Your help will be appreciated.


A Miracle
October 7, 2019


Oct. 13, 1917, promised to bring one of the greatest manifestations of God’s power in the history of the Catholic Church. Crowds of people had been coming for days to the Cova da Iria to witness a spectacular miracle. They would not be disappointed.

Estimates of the crowd ranged from 49,000 to 80,000 in the Cova itself. Another 20,000 were watching from about 25 miles around. The rain had been coming down for more than a day, and everyone was drenched. There was mud all over. The rain would continue right up to the moment the apparition began. Just before the apparition began, Lucia, the oldest of the three shepherd children, at 10 years old, moved by an interior impulse, asked the people to shut their umbrellas and say the rosary. Within a few minutes everyone was completely dry and so was the ground.

That was a miracle! At last the children saw the flash of light in the sky that always preceded the appearance of Our Lady. Lucia then began her conversation in this last apparition with Our Lady with her usual question: “What do you want of me? Our Lady’s response gave a couple of specific answers to questions Lucia had been asking all along: I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. (Today is Oct. 7, the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary.) Our Lady told Lucia to continue to always pray the rosary every day. Our Lady has asked for chapels before. She told St. Bernadette that she desired a chapel at Lourdes so that people could come and pray to her there, and also bathe in the miraculous waters.

Our Lady of Guadalupe told St. Juan Diego to give a message to his bishop about a chapel in her honor on Tepeyac Hill in Mexico City. During this apparition there were the blind who received their sight; the crippled who were able to walk, and many others who received blessings both physical and spiritual. The most obvious of the miracles was the way the sun zigzagged in the sky. It also appeared to the people that the sun was moving closer to the earth. People were so frightened they ran to places where they thought they might be safe. People also reported being able to look directly at the sun with no damage to their eyes. People cried out in fear that the world was coming to an end, and were praying “the Act of Contrition.” To get more information on the final apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, Oct. 13, 1917, please buy a copy of Father Andrew Apostoli book “Fatima For Today.”

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.


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