Serves as a Refuge
October 14, 2019
How fortunate for East Hampton Village that there is the unspoiled 24-acre Nature Trail at its heart. It hums at its own rhythm and to me represents a sort of God-given place, or natural wonder, that simply was meant to be.
Because the dreen never freezes, our domesticated ducks and geese are with us all year long, having been fed and cared for since the 1940s by well-meaning people of the village, the Garden Club, and by the Nature Trail Committee of the Ladies Village Improvement Society for many decades. The Nature Trail is monitored every day by the village and has its own dedicated L.V.I.S. committee.
The East Hampton Village Department of Public Works or the L.V.I.S. Nature Trail Committee must be contacted before any animal or bird is removed or maltreated in any way.
Life comes and goes at the Nature Trail, which serves as a refuge for our wildlife, even though not officially named a sanctuary.
Often we welcome new geese or ducks that somehow appear there, perhaps no longer fitting into the “lifestyle” of a family that may have bought them as pets, or who knows from whence they come. The important thing is that they have a home there and nature takes its course.
As chairwoman of the Nature Trail L.V.I.S. Committee, as well as its next-door neighbor, I am always watching.
For the Rich
New York City
October 14, 2019
To the Editor,
I am writing to let you know that the Hamptons Film Festival is unethical in the way it handles ticketholders for one of its most sought-after films, “The Irishman.”
I splurged and bought tickets for one film: “The Irishman.” I purchased a film membership and paid a premium for the ticket so I would be sure to have a ticket. My total cost was $141.
I traveled to East Hampton at great expense to see the film, but was turned away at the door. Why? I was told that more pass holders than expected showed up for the film. Unanticipated? How could that be? This is one of the most anticipated films of the festival. It was Friday night, the start of the weekend. I was among 50 people who were turned away. The explanation was that I was not on the line early enough. Newsflash: The weather was crummy. I was sitting in the car waiting to make a dash as the line started to move. While my tickets were refunded, the festival experience left a bad taste in my mouth.
Hamptons Film Festival, message received. If you are not an all-access pass holder (paying the big bucks), stay home. This is another Hamptons experience that is exclusively for the rich and famous.
ANDREA K. STIMMEL
October 10, 2019
To the Editor,
The most effective lies are those that begin with something that is true. The letter in the Oct. 3 Star by Mr. Walter Donway is a case in point. He states that the climate has changed in the past, before humans were emitting greenhouse gases. That’s true but the conclusions he draws are false. Past climate changes, obviously with natural causes, generally took many millenniums to play out, and they were often accompanied by mass extinctions.
In the present case, the scenario is playing out over decades — much shorter periods of time. And now we have more than seven billion human beings who have occupied every niche that the existing climate could support. Many of the most populated regions will become less able to support humans, and this will result in mass migrations that will make the refugee crises of this decade seem puny by comparison.
This is a big reason why our military is very concerned about climate change. It’s also why 66 Republicans joined the Democrats to defeat an amendment to the last defense appropriations bill that would have prevented the Pentagon from considering climate change in its strategic planning.
Mr. Donway also takes aim at climate models. Here again, he starts with the truth that models have shortcomings. If the only evidence for climate change came from models, I’d be a skeptic, too. Models are just one piece of the puzzle. The precisely measured increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, its correlation with the emissions from combustion of fossil fuels, the steady increase in global temperatures, and the shifting of the ranges of many species as they attempt to adjust to the changing climate, are solid pieces of evidence that have nothing to do with models.
What models contribute is an understanding of the complex mechanisms that together influence the climate. Models also tell us which uncertainties are most important and which ones can be safely ignored. The role of clouds in the climate system is one very important area where we need to refine the science, but the uncertainties here only lead to uncertainty about whether climate change will just be very bad or downright catastrophic.
It is quite possible that Mr. Donway really believes what he is writing week after week, just as many an isolationist in the 1930s really believed that Hitler was not a threat, but their beliefs didn’t change the reality. It’s probably too much to ask him to reconsider, but the rest of us don’t have to follow along.
Our young people have the most to lose, and they are beginning to lead the fight for sanity. Thank God for them.
October 14, 2019
To the Editor,
Over the past month I have watched as one of my role models and mentors has had to endure the wrath of a local bully, and an organization that has clearly gone astray from its stated purpose.
The bully, who I view as a sort of Trump of Amagansett figure, is, unsurprisingly, Alec Baldwin. The organization he has aligned himself with is the Peconic Land Trust. As a result of their baseless and purposefully hurtful attacks, I have begun to see certain locals, ignorant of the bigger picture, start to repeat the accusations Baldwin and his acolytes levied.
As a 22-year-old with aspirations of being a lawyer, I have taken it upon myself to get familiar with some of the more technical aspects of the issue at hand. Before I explain further what I have found, I want to state that it strikes me as unsettlingly malicious, something that media outlets such as 27 East seem to take such perverted pleasure in, the way the Peconic Land Trust has dealt with this dispute.
The team of Baldwin — whose lengthy history of abusiveness speaks for itself and who conducts himself precisely opposite to Mr. Lerner — and the Peconic Land Trust, led by John Halsey, are bullies. Rather than argue the merits, they take advantage of the local media bloodlust to embarrass a private person and his family. Baldwin even went so far as to suggest that Mr. Lerner and his family leave Amagansett.
For those of you not familiar with Mr. Lerner, he is the individual who rebuilt Amagansett Square, has contributed extremely generously to numerous school and community programs, and as was shown in another letter written by the East Hampton High School principal, Adam Fine, was the individual who secretly funded a program for kids who struggle with addiction and instability in their homes.
It doesn’t take much for a local kid, who attended East Hampton High School, to know that Stony Hill Farm is a farm and you have to clear trees if it’s an agricultural reserve to farm. The maps that we have all now seen make it clear that two things happened: 1. Mr. Lerner was advised by experienced counsel ahead of time, and 2. He cleared designated farmland, as all farmers do. It makes me wonder how a person without significant resources would defend themselves against the Peconic Land Trust. And even worse against the cruel and alarming behavior of Alec Baldwin.
After reading the second part of Mr. Lerner’s letter, “The Tree Forgives the Plough,” it became even more clear the town’s stance on farming. To see how intense the town’s support of farming is just read Section 193-2-70 of the town’s legislation pertaining to farming and you will see it states: “Because of the crucial importance of prime agricultural lands to the continued vitality of the town’s farming industries, as well as in defining East Hampton’s visual character and sense of place, special care must be taken to ensure that the provisions of this chapter which affect agricultural land are strictly and carefully implemented.”
The property in question is made up of prime agricultural soils, within a designated agricultural overlay district, and in an agricultural reserve. Mr. Lerner’s property achieves a trifecta of wants in the eyes of a farmer and does so perfectly in line with town codes.
Being a farmer himself, and after receiving counsel from a well-respected local lawyer, Mr. Lerner’s actions are not only justified but necessary to keep our town’s proud history of farming alive today. I am shocked, disappointed, and saddened to see what has unraveled in our town, and all at the expense of a generous, kind man and the farming community as a whole.
October 10, 2019
To the Editor:
Fact checking Peter Van Socyoc’s letter of July 22 to the Suffolk County Health Department shows the supervisor knows nothing about condominium ownership or Montauk Shores’ zoning class, or that the town recognizes individual separate ownership at the resort condominium. Without knowing how the town works, Peter compounds his errors by making false conclusions about expansion that plainly do not exist under Suffolk County Health Department regulations.
Peter’s primary falsehood is that the Health Department “should not entertain certain variances for individual units,” because Peter falsely asserts that condominium ownership “implies separate ownership,” and that “these units are not recognized as separate parcels by the town.” No, Peter, condominium ownership does not imply separate ownership, it is in fact legal proof of separate ownership.
The supervisor opposes variance applications that would allow a lessee to replace an existing unit of 565 square feet with a 600-square-foot unit for a net gain of 35 square feet, which is less than the size of a pantry in most homes of the Hamptons. Peter likewise objects to an owner seeking to replace a unit no longer on site that was 473 square feet with a new unit of 600 square feet for a net gain of 127 square feet, or the size of a modest walk-in closet with a shoe rack.
Neither constitutes an expansion under Suffolk County regulations, because the units would remain in the same classification regarding daily water usage. Nor would any impact result as the minuscule increase of 162 square feet is almost immeasurable compared to total allowed coverage which is presently 58.3 percent where 75 percent is allowed at the resort. The same is true regarding total building coverage — the combined impact of the units is virtually immeasurable. How the supervisor finds this to be an expansion worth opposing boggles the mind.
Black’s Law Dictionary, New York Article 9B Condominium Act, Wikipedia, town zoning code, and any local real estate agent would all confirm condominium ownership is single, separate, and individual.
A quick trip to the Suffolk County clerk and recorder’s office, East Hampton Town assessor’s office, Building Department, Planning Department, or zoning board shows that each of the 152 owners at Montauk Shores Condominium owns title in fee simply by separate deed with a 1/152 undivided interest in the common grounds. Each of the 152 owners has their very own certificate of occupancy. Each of the 152 owners receives their own tax bill from the town assessor’s office.
Each of the 152 owners has a separate building permit from the town Building Department. The town’s Planning Department and Zoning Board of Appeals administer applications separately whenever individual owners seek variances or special permits for their separate units or lots. How is it that the supervisor does not know how the town works?
Attempting to rationalize his errors, Peter makes the further mistake of quoting the definition of a mobile home park from Town Code 174-1-2: “An area of land under single ownership which has been planned and improved for the placement in designated spaces of two or more mobile homes for dwelling purposes and which includes appurtenant facilities and accessory services for residents only.” Montauk Shores Condominium is not a mobile home park, because the land under each unit is separately owned. Moreover, the homes in Montauk Shores are not mobile. The units are permanently affixed to concrete slab foundations. There is at least one A-frame and a few older stick-framed cottages, too.
The town code provides the following definition of a residential condominium: 255-1-20: “A type of resort or multiple residence in which persons have exclusive ownership of particular apartments (units) and, in addition, an interest in the common elements.” The town code clearly defines Montauk Shores Condominium as a “resort condominium” and not a “mobile home park.” In fact, the town code uses tables that show that Montauk Shores is zoned “resort.”
Peter makes reference to a certain site plan survey by G. Walbridge, and states “the actual sewage flow rate is over 45,000 gallons per day.” Failing to understand the basic workings of the town that he supposedly supervises, Peter doubles-down with more false assumptions. Peter has no basis to make any finding as to actual flow rates. First, the Walbridge survey shows no flow rates. Second, the actual data based on years of water consumption show that the actual daily flow rate has been within Montauk Shores’ permit.
During all of 2018, the average daily flow rate was approximately 7,040 gallons per day based on actual usage. The highest recorded month, June 2018, shows an average daily flow of 15,633 gallons, which is about 10,000 gallons below the current system’s design. Flow rates in 2019 show the condominium is operating well within its system design capacity with average flow rates under 7,000 gallons per day or approximately 30 percent or less than Montauk Shores’ permitted capacity.
These flow rates include incidental water usage, such as outdoor showers, washing surfboards and wetsuits, watering grass and gardens, and filling the resort’s swimming pools, activities which have no impact whatsoever on the septic system. In addition, the facilities manager and maintenance crew have recently fixed underground leaks in the main water supply line which would have skewed the data, and not had any impact on discharge into the septic system. Thus Montauk Shores should expect that the numbers will be lower in the future.
The property rights of the individual owner and lessee should not be at risk because of the supervisor’s unfounded, false, misrepresentations of law and fact. Modest upgrades of 127 and 35 square feet, respectively, will have no impact whatsoever, and do not constitute an expansion as per Suffolk County Health Department regulations.
Questions must be asked and answered whether the supervisor’s actions were authorized, and to what extent might Peter’s false publication constitute interference in government administration. Did the town council pass a resolution in support of Peter’s interference in two minor county Health Department variance applications? Did Peter seek the advice of the town attorney before exposing the town with numerous misrepresentations of fact and law?
In 2017, Montauk Shores’ board of managers voluntarily hired P.W. Grosser Engineers to design a multimillion dollar state-of-the-art sewer treatment plant to eliminate nitrates and pollutants to such a degree that the East Hampton Town Planning Department has asked Montauk Shores to extend its sewer treatment plant to neighboring parcel owners. The acting director of Suffolk County Health Department’s wastewater management told Montauk Shores, at the time, that permits for in-kind unit replacements or mods would continue to be issued based on Montauk Shores’s plans to voluntarily upgrade to a sewer treatment plant. However, like most things involving the resort condominium, the supervisor of East Hampton has no clue.
On Sept. 30, 1981, the Suffolk County Health Services Department Division of Environmental Quality board of review, issued a variance to the resort condominium on the basis of the community septic system. On Sept. 24, 2019, the county review board issued a determination reaffirming the 1981 variance determining that no individual variance is required, and that the expansion and replacement of unit 202 will have absolutely no impact on sanitary flow rates as the unit size/ classification will remain the same. The Sept. 24, 2019, determination was after a public hearing on June 20, 2019, that the supervisor apparently did not attend.
Finally, Peter steps completely out-of-bounds when he represents that “the Natural Resources Department informed the health department that the town will not issue building permits for either unit until the entire complex has a sewage treatment system.”
The town code authorizes the chief building inspector to administer and interpret the town code, issue building permits, authorize new construction, and issue certificates of occupancy. The Natural Resources Department has no authority whatsoever — zero, zilch — to inform anyone that the town will not issue building permits. Not even the supervisor or town council can make the determination to approve or disapprove the issuance of building permits, as that authority rests entirely with the chief building inspector — East Hampton Town Code 102-4. Again, the supervisor displays an arrogant disrespect or blatant ignorance for the town code, separation of powers, and rights of the individual property owners.
Anyone who unlawfully interferes in the administration of the Building Department’s duties or Suffolk County Health Department could be prosecuted for obstructing government operations in the second degree, which is a class A misdemeanor under New York Penal Law Section 195.05. The supervisor’s peremptory declaration that no building permits shall issue prior to applications being actually received and reviewed by the chief building inspector appears, at first blush, to be a violation of New York Penal Code Obstructing Government Operations Second Degree.
Montauk Shores’ board of managers takes very seriously the protection of the environment, and takes strong exception to the supervisor’s numerous, unfounded misrepresentations of law and fact. The supervisor’s ignorance of the town zoning code, or workings of the town as it applies to Montauk Shores, is inexcusable. Given the undisputed facts and the law, Montauk Shores’ vested property rights, and the 1981 variance from the Suffolk County board of review — the supervisor’s interference seems intentionally disingenuous for the purpose of harming the condominium while depriving owners of the most modest improvements to their units.
Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc’s many misrepresentations, erroneous, misleading statements, and blatant displays of ignorance regarding the town code, New York condominium law, and Suffolk County wastewater management regulations were quoted and published in the East Hampton Star article “Expansion of Montauk Shores Opposed by Town Hall” on Aug. 8, without any fact checking.
Montauk Shores Board of Managers
October 13, 2019
For the first time in history, New Yorkers have a choice on when to vote. There are now nine days of early voting, from Oct. 26 through Nov. 3. They can also vote on Election Day, Nov. 5.
Early voting for East Hampton Town is in only one place: Windmill Village at 219 Accabonac Road, community room 2. It is handicapped accessible and parking is available. The voting hours vary so please check the times for the day on which you vote:
Oct. 26, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oct. 27, 10 to 3, Oct. 28, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oct. 29, noon to 8 p.m., Oct. 30, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Oct. 31, 8 to 4, Nov. 1, 2 to 8, Nov. 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Nov. 3, 10 to 3.
Now, East Hampton voters have 10 days to choose from to exercise their constitutional right to vote.All of this information is available online at suffolkcountyny.gov.
October 14, 2019
Discrimination is the intentional treating of a person or a particular group of people differently, especially in a worse way from how you treat other people.
The recent condemnation of Ellen DeGeneres over her friendship with Republican President George Bush by partisan Democrats is an example of discrimination based on political ideologies.
Recently, right here in East Hampton, a local well-known Democratic activist was more than happy to advise me that as a white, male, police officer, and Republican Committee chairman, I was racist, and people like me should not be allowed to participate in government. After 35 years in the Police Department, I have been called worse. What is troubling is that this individual is not alone.
We, as Americans, are good people and come from a diverse swath of ethnic backgrounds — and East Hampton is no different. It is a mistake to think one political party has all the answers. It is even worse to be so closed-minded that partisan political ideologies are more important than our diverse mosaic of the people that make up our community.
One has only to look at the boondoggle of the town emergency communications system that has put every resident at risk. Just as Nero played the fiddle while Rome burned, the town board stood by as the Springs Fire Department communications tower sits idle, tied up in litigation. To appease a few politically East Hampton Town connected Democratic friends and family, town government has held up the Springs Fire Department in bureaucratic red tape placing public safety aside.
More issues that have remained unresolved are traffic, affordability, housing, senior citizens center, failed environmental protection policies that have polluted our groundwater, bays, and harbors, failed coastal erosion policies, biased governance in Montauk, Springs, and Wainscott, and the undervaluing of town employees that has created a retention crisis in the town work force, to name a few.
This election, we have a choice between the incumbents or a diverse group of candidates for town board and town trustees. The challengers have banded together under a Fusion banner, and are Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. They believe that big party politics have failed East Hampton. Political favoritism and rampant cronyism have created the most closed and untransparent government.
East Hampton Town Republican Committee
They Were Gone
October 14, 2019
I’m writing today regarding the placement of campaign signs, which I have been trying to do in Montauk for the last two days.
I put them on rights of way and public easements, not on personal property, without permission of course, on Saturday evening and by Sunday morning they were gone. Sunday morning I re-put them out and by Sunday evening they have been taken again.
I have done my best to place them in a way so that no other candidate is in any way encroached upon space-wise or covered up. I’ve taken a great deal of care to make sure, too, that they don’t impede anyone’s ability to see traffic coming from any direction. Yet for the last two days they haven’t even lasted 24 hours.
To those taking our EH Fusion candidate signs in Montauk and around East Hampton Town, I just want to ask them: What are they so afraid of?
Voting as we know is part of democracy in action, and yet it appears some apparatchiks are trying to silence and censor those of us running for elected positions. Not just in Montauk, it’s happened all over the town. Not just this year, but last year, too.
What are they afraid of? That voters might have a choice? So they must remove our signs out of fear of giving voters choices?
I’m sorry to have to take up the space in the paper to write about this, but I think that your readers should be made aware. And should anyone find a cache of stolen EH Fusion party signs, please let me know and I will come pick them up.
Ms. Brady is an EH Fusion and Independence Party candidate for East Hampton Town Board. Ed.
October 14, 2019
The election for town justice on Nov. 5 should be a no-brainer. However, in today’s world of politics, it would be naive to think that when it comes to casting ballots, voters actually focus on people (the candidates) before party. Voters lose when they ignore the qualifications of a candidate and vote only for party affiliation.
Lisa Rana, candidate for re-election as East Hampton Town justice after over 16 years of dedicated service, seeks to continue that service, for the next four years. Throughout her campaigns, at one time or another, she has been endorsed and/or cross-endorsed by all our major political parties, including the Democrats, in 2015.
Before voting know what a town justice does. She hears criminal, landlord-tenant, civil, small claims, local ordinance, and zoning cases, along with vehicle, traffic, and parking violation matters. The very busy criminal calendar is shared between our two justices and alternated with either one or the other on call every day of the week, including weekends and holidays. Arraignments are daily with the justice handling, from initiation through disposition, the prosecution of misdemeanors and violations committed within the town and village. When a misdemeanor goes to trial, a jury is empaneled. The justice also hears arraignments and preliminary hearings in felony matters, maintaining the docket until the felony case is brought up to a superior court or reduced to a misdemeanor. In domestic violence and other applicable cases, the justice is authorized to hear and issue orders of protection.
Since elected to the post in June 2015, Justice Rana also serves as the Sag Harbor Village justice. Prior to election, she served as the acting village justice, having been reappointed by the village trustees five consecutive years. Justice Rana assisted in opening the Sag Harbor Village Justice Court in 2010.
Besides the experience Justice Rana has gained from ably performing her duties these past 16 years, the voter should know what it is that prepared her to take the bench initially. That is, what background and experience should a candidate for town justice have to qualify for the position?
After college, Justice Rana worked as a caseworker in the foster-care system and volunteered as a rape crisis counselor. An unbelievable training ground for how to work with people at their most vulnerable. After law school, she applied her legal education and honed her skills by working in the family law area, where the legal issues and clients far outnumber the available legal representatives. Her time was spent representing and protecting children and youth in abuse, neglect, juvenile delinquency, custody, PINS, adoption, domestic violence, contested custody, and criminal cases. I know from firsthand experience, Justice Rana picked one of the most emotionally draining areas of the law, but an excellent place to learn compassion for those you represent.
Knowing Justice Rana’s background in family law makes it easier to better understand where her patience, compassion, and understanding come from when she is dealing with the litigants who appear before her. Being summoned to court, whether as a plaintiff or defendant, is not how one would choose to spend a day. Not only the unfamiliar surroundings of a courtroom, but the uncertainty of the outcome keep it from being a calming experience. However, when the justice who is running the courtroom has an understanding of what you may be going through and affirmatively works to make it a positive rather than negative experience, your discomfort may lessen and you will better be able to understand what is going on in the proceeding. I have seen this happen when Justice Rana is on the bench.
In 1998, Justice Rana left family law and went to work at the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, beginning a career that would give her excellent training in how to preside over administrative law proceedings and how to deal with budgets and run a large staff of employees. As the chief administrative law judge, she conducted administrative law proceedings involving enforcement of commission rules and regulations, civilian complaint proceedings and appeals. She oversaw hiring, training, management, and oversight of more than 60 other administrative law judges, who in total completed over 100,000 cases annually.
Later, as chief of staff at the commission, she served a 400-plus employee agency with a $22 million budget, as primary adviser to the commissioner/chair of the agency, with reporting responsibilities from heads of the Department of Budget and Finance, Human Resources Division, Disciplinary Unit, Investigations Unit, and Adjudications Tribunal, with oversight responsibilities from several additional agencies.
Doubtless Justice Rana’s background in family law and at the commission gave her the personal experience and temperament, along with the judicial and administrative knowledge and understanding she needed to run one of the busiest justice courts in the State of New York, which she has done with distinction.
There is no question that she is qualified and deserving of your support and vote on Nov. 5.
October 14, 2019
I learned a lot about those running for East Hampton Town Board at the candidates debate sponsored by the Group for Good Government at the East Hampton Library on Oct. 5.
Councilwoman Sylvia Overby stood out as soon as the introductions started, showing an astute grasp of the most important policy issues, sharing practical ideas on solutions for the long-term needs of the town’s taxpayers, and giving us a vision for how we can protect our environment and beaches and build affordable housing while preserving our beloved landscape. Councilwoman Overby deserves re-election.
In contrast, the entire slate of candidates from the so-called EH Fusion ticket showed a lot more pompous attitude and disagreeable animosity than they did any real ideas or solutions. They reminded me of the ill-tempered Wilkinson group, who got into office and then turned their endless sense of superiority and irritability onto the town’s taxpayers. Don’t want that again!
I don’t know why, but Betsy Bambrick seemed to have a chip on her shoulder whenever she spoke. I later heard that she is actually suing the town, which means to me at least she’d in essence be suing all of us taxpayers. She doesn’t bother to inform us voters about the suit in her bio or campaign materials, so I don’t know what the issue is. She does say that she was once the head of code enforcement for East Hampton Town, and that was back when Montauk was at its worst.
She was in charge when lots of residents were upset about how little code enforcement took place in Montauk. I guess she has the right to sue the very town she wants to work for again, but I did wonder if the people who live in Montauk shouldn’t be angry at her for so many sleepless nights they suffered. Bonnie Brady seemed less irate, but had weak, noncommittal answers, repeatedly admitting she didn’t have specific ideas on how to address many of the most important issues the town faces.
Sylvia Overby, now deputy town supervisor, whom I have known for nearly 20 years, has a wealth of knowledge, raised her children locally, and is a representative who is responsive to her constituents and a real leader who listens to all voices before making informed decisions. That is the kind of mature character and experience that we want on the town board.
October 14, 2019
I applaud the editorial in this week’s edition of The Star in voicing well-earned criticism of the representation of our congressman, Lee Zeldin. But more important to me is that in his fealty to Mr. Trump he has been dishonest to his constituents, and through his never-ending search for a camera, the American people.
We saw Mr. Zeldin’s duplicity on full display this week. As one of Mr. Trump’s background singers vocalizing their criticism of the impeachment inquiry, Mr. Zeldin dishonestly portrays the fully lawful impeachment process that is now underway. In crowing against the refusal by the lead investigators in the impeachment process to allow Trump’s supporters to present evidence or question witnesses in defense of Mr. Trump as unfair, Mr. Zeldin implies that the process is improper and unlawful.
Mr. Zeldin is wrong and he is simply trying to stoke anger over the process in his constituents and the American people. The function of the House of Representatives in the impeachment process is akin to that of a grand jury. Its task is to determine if there is sufficient evidence to support articles of impeachment against the target of the investigation; think of it as determining whether an indictment should be issued against a criminal suspect. In the grand jury process, neither the accused nor his/her lawyers has the right to even be present during the grand jury process, let alone participate in that process. There is no right to present evidence during that phase either.
In contrast, the function of the Senate is to be the trial court, at which Mr. Trump’s supporters and lawyers may present evidence, call witnesses, and cross-examine the prosecution’s witness, just as would be the case in a normal criminal trial. The trial would be presided over by the chief justice of the Supreme Court.
So for Mr. Zeldin (a former military judge advocate general lawyer often with prosecutorial responsibility) to stand before television cameras or in interview, and caterwaul about his perceived unfairness, he is disingenuously, and undoubtedly deliberately, misinforming listeners, essentially in an effort to poison the public mind-set to what is a very serious and entirely constitutional process. It is a shameful thing to watch.
BRUCE A. COLBATH
October 10, 2019
My wife is as American as apple pie, but, unlike Shakespeare, who was wise enough to recognize in his “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” that a name does not change the essence of a person or a thing, the New York State’s Department of Motor Vehicles has refused to issue my wife a real ID, a license, which will be necessary to board a plane as of Oct. 1, 2020.
Their main reason is that her married name, “Laura Siegelman,” is different from her maiden name, “Laura Diamant,” which is very different from her 1948 Green Card (Polish) name of “Laja Jochweta Diamant,” which is still different from her (German) birth-certificate name of “Laja Jochweta Wildenberg” (her mother’s maiden name).
Born in 1946 in postwar Germany to Polish-born Auschwitz concentration camp and Holocaust survivor parents, my wife came here as a 2-year-old immigrant in 1948. She still has her original Green Card, and she automatically and legally became a full-fledged U.S. citizen when her parents underwent naturalization ceremonies in 1955.
Over the next 50 weeks, how many other foreign-born East Hampton Star readers and subscribers will find themselves in the same boat as my wife (who, ironically, did come to the U.S on a very big ship)?
Seventy-three percent of Americans do not currently have real ID licenses (according to an NBC Nightly News report by Tom Costello last Tuesday) and might thus find themselves “grounded” as of Oct. 1, 2020.
October 11, 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 economic system 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 economy in which socialism produced enough wealth to meet people’s basic needs. It has never worked.
Thus, while most Americans seem not to be aware of this, and while conservative-Republican politicians 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 single one of our traditional allies (Canada and Western Europe), whose federal governments spend more than we do in proportion to their population sizes to help their lower and middle-class citizens. None of our allies are truly socialist, they know it, and they will tell you so.
To put this simply, President Trump and the conservative news media will most likely spend the next year calling all Democrats “crazy socialists,” and in doing so, will be either intentionally lying to the American people, or be very poorly informed and just plain wrong.
STEWART B. EPSTEIN
October 8, 2019
I chose to wait and get as much info on this so-called whistle-blower as possible. President Trump released the documents on the taped phone call immediately; however, that didn’t stop Adam Schiff. He has proof of everything including Russian collusion, swears he does. Rumor has it that Schiff colluded with the whistle-blower, he guided him on how to fulfill the instructions of being one.
Adam Schiff needs to be removed from this committee, I watched this lying fool try to project the president as a traitor, liar, and working foreign countries for his own benefit. All rules have been changed to suit the Democrats, firsthand info not needed, anything goes.
I watched the committee televise Schiff’s false statements as he paraphrased documents and distorted it completely. He was disgusting, as having previously listened to the tapes of the conversation with the U.S and Ukraine, where did he get his story from?
Democrats are glossing over their own shady history. There has been shady business in the Ukraine with the Bidens including the son Hunter. What about John Podesta’s brother Tony working on a government P.R. campaign. The Clinton foundation took more money from Ukraine than from any other country.
Nancy Pelosi’s son Paul Jr., also tied to Ukraine, served on a board energy company that did business in Ukraine. He traveled there in 2017 to promote youth soccer.
Washington: a swamp needs to be cleaned and sterilization is a must.
In God and country,
October 13, 2019
To the Editor,
It is never easy to explain to my European friends the workings of our often deranged country, the fantasies about democracy, equality, and so on, which perpetuate internal myths and are never realized.
This morning in a busy cafe I feel obligated to talk about “white trash,” a term that includes all colors and races but best explains Donald Trump and the G.O.P. White trash is simply the betrayal of the population and all its laws and value for personal gain.
Syria has no nuance. We simply betray an ally, whom we have often betrayed before, because Trump loves dictators, strongmen, and fascists; no concern for the impending massacre. The release of 11,000 ISIS prisoners and the destabilization of another piece of Syria?
Trump’s action is no surprise. He is a friendless egomaniac who feels nothing and is really stupid to boot. He wants to put the soldiers in Saudi Arabia (the creators and funders of Al Qaeda). The surprise is the G.O.P. remains mostly muted. Lindsey Graham took 20 minutes off Trump’s nipple to voice his opposition. Allowing Trump to disgrace who we are supposed to be?
However, this is who we really are. Unmasked, exposed, blindly acquiescing to the worst level of piggery in our history.
White trash seems to resonate. Can anyone make the case that it doesn’t?