October 19, 2019
To the Editor:
In 1916, my great-aunt Inez Milholland Boissevain died while campaigning for women to get the vote. In her honor, a mountain in Lewis, N.Y., was renamed by the Lewis town council as “Mount Inez.”
A century later, no maps showed the change. So the Lewis Town Council earlier this month voted once more to change the name. This time, fans of Inez are working with the 130-year-old U.S. Board on Geographic Names in the Department of the Interior to make the change stick.
There is a lesson for East Hampton. At the moment, the National Map (viewer.nationalmap.gov/advanced-viewer/) labels the community centered on Accabonac Harbor as “Springs.”
If the name is to be changed officially to “The Springs,” the Board on Geographic Names would do it. They would first follow procedure and consult the East Hampton Town Board. I have no strong view about how the board should vote, but meanwhile the official name, as far as Washington mapmakers are concerned, is Springs.
JOHN TEPPER MARLIN
P.S. I have been a seasonal resident of Springs since 1981.
October 16, 2019
To the Editor,
The tangible energy in the East Hampton movie theater was a refreshing lead into the wonderful film “Waterproof,” which premiered at the Hamptons International Film Festival. Even though I live in this community, I had no idea of the world behind the lifeguards on our ocean beaches. From peewee farm team, to boot camp, to a job in the lifeguard’s chair, it was a joy to see young children groomed for community service for a serious job while making it look like meaningful play. It came across with focused clarity that this is a life and death experience.
What was a revelation is that I know one of the Ryan daughters in another context and had no idea that the commitment to saving lives is a family tradition in which everyone participates.
Meeting Big John and knowing his daughter started to build out a picture of the year-round community that is the glue that holds the 1 percent invasion in check (police, rescue) and protects them as well.
It’s clear that this film is a model for other communities to emulate. The camaraderie and community spirit were contagious and inspirational to me, as they will be to others who have the opportunity to see this film. “Waterproof” will definitely stand out as a document of a time for which we all long. That this is a reality in East Hampton was a welcomed surprise and an even stronger assurance of values and humility that comes with dedication to others.
Watching the film made clear the effort it takes to bring all of this to the big screen. Tons of collaboration come together and “Waterproof” made the case for community service with a perfect pace and effective insights. Bravo to all who made this happen. That it took 10 years to complete this cinematic effort was worth the wait.
New York City
October 17, 2019
To the Editor,
I am happy to be a resident in the Village of East Hampton. However, I am outraged at the way our lovely village mishandles the film festival parking arrangements! The Hamptons International Film Festival brings in a lot of revenue to our town. Our guests and visitors spend a lot of money for four days in October. My guests and I spent over $500 to see several of the films. My guests are seniors and need easy access to the Regal theater venue.
The closest parking to the theater is in the Reutershan lot, but the restrictive two-hour parking until 6 p.m. prevents anyone seeing a three-hour film starting at 3:30 p.m. and ending at 6:30 p.m. from not getting an outrageous ticket! I found a ticket for $80 on my windshield! This is exorbitant!
Here are some suggested solutions to remedy this problem.
1. East Hampton Village needs to work out an arrangement with film festival management to perhaps have a nominal pre-paid parking sticker.
2. East Hampton Village should provide a timely shuttle service to movie venues free of these charges at designated locations.
3. Seniors can be given free parking for the duration of the film festival provided they show actual tickets to the theater venue.
I hope these matters can be discussed at the next open Village Town Hall meeting.
October 15, 2019
The ocean and beaches, the light, the historical charm and architecture, brought me to East Hampton 33 years ago. I am not alone. Full-time residents, second-home owners, tourists, hardworking service people, and shop owners are here for the same reason.
As citizens, we enjoy the benefits of a system of fair governance. Recently, I discovered firsthand just how caring and professional our East Hampton Village Police Department and emergency first responders are.
We also rely on our neighbors. Our decisions impact other members of our community. Without civil discourse and respect for process, our village suffers.
MARJORIE G. ROSEN
October 16, 2019
As a new resident of the Village of East Hampton, I was surprised to see that there was a fireworks display scheduled for Aug. 17, 2019, given what I know of the environmental pollution and the fears imposed upon domestic and wild animals as well as upon many of our veterans. I therefore felt that I had an obligation to question why the fireworks were being held and attended the June 21, 2019, meeting of the Village of East Hampton Board of Trustees. My intention at the meeting was to create a discussion regarding the issues prior to the approval of the August fireworks, which was on the board’s agenda.
After the public hearings that day, I positioned myself at the front of the room so that I could be seen. I raised my hand just prior to the fireworks agenda item. Trustee Lawler saw me and motioned to me to wait. I wasn’t provided an opportunity to create a village board discussion prior to the approval of the fireworks.
Yesterday, I received a letter from the East Hampton Fire Department soliciting funds for the Aug. 15, 2020, fireworks display at Main Beach. This letter was sent out even though the Village of East Hampton Board of Trustees hasn’t yet discussed or voted on next year’s fireworks.
It is my understanding and expectation that open board discussion and public input are required prior to any solicitation of funds for such an event. The board needs to inform the public when a public hearing will be held to discuss the fireworks and the Fire Department needs to send a letter retracting the request for funding until the hearing takes place.
October 14, 2019
To the Editor:
In response to Mr. Eggers’s letter to the editor, “Top Priority,” which appeared in The East Hampton Star Oct. 10 concerning construction adjacent to the Settlers Landing nature reserve: The protection of the nature reserve on Three Mile Harbor Drive is our shared goal and a primary mission of the Settlers Landing Property Owners Association: “to preserve the natural beauty of the nature reserve to the greatest extent possible.”
The Settlers Landing Property Owners Association board has proactively represented the community in its communications with the East Hampton Town Zoning Board, questioning the requested variances and enumerating our concerns how proposed new structures would adversely affect the nature reserve, We made specific requests of the zoning board in order to mitigate these adverse effects. Through our continued stewardship of the reserve, we will ensure that our association members continue to enjoy the beauty of the reserve for generations to come. We thank you for your interest, and we will share information and developments with the community as they arise.
Settlers Landing Property
October 21, 2019
I hope whoever is on the East Hampton Town Board after the upcoming election begins to take more seriously some of the safety issues facing Springs.
The problems with cell-tower coverage in our area for four years now is inexcusable. While having poor service or dropped calls is inconvenient, the problem really hit home to me almost two years ago when I had a car accident on Three Mile Harbor Road. I couldn’t call the police or a tow truck due to the bad service in this area. Considering I hit a patch of ice and skidded into oncoming traffic and just missed another car before hitting a telephone pole, the situation could have been much worse, and getting help quickly could have been a much bigger issue. Many in their own homes in our area may have problems making an emergency call if they don’t maintain a landline.
My second compliant is the poor drainage on roads like Springs-Fire- place and Gardiner Avenue, or Three Mile Harbor near Damark’s, where after every heavy rain there will be flooded road sections for as long as 50 yards that stay that way often for days and more dangerously many nights. Hopefully, someone at the roads department will fix the drainage issue at these and other locations that have been a problem for years now in our area.
Thirdly, while the town has taken some steps to address the local water quality issue in our bays, much more needs to be done. Planning to spend roughly $5 million between the town and the state for an improved shell hatchery would seem to be a misallocation of what I would like to think are limited funds. If the town only spent 1 percent of that money every year, it could buy from other hatcheries a larger number of more mature shellfish to seed our waterways, which would likely have a better chance of reaching maturity. Spending the other 99 percent of that money on fixing old septic systems in the most environmentally vulnerable areas would seem to make much more sense if we are truly going to improve our water quality. Perhaps new low-nitrogen septic systems should not be mandated just for new construction, but for any existing homes near our bays in Springs? Saving millions to help homeowners make that mandated upgrade should be the first step toward that goal.
Lastly, the deer problem would seem to be much more significant in Springs than other parts of town, partly due to our more rural setting. While I realize a small minority of people think the amount of deer we have in our area is normal, I can tell you that almost every guest we ever have to our home says they have never seen so many deer in their entire lives.
From a statistical standpoint, I doubt there is another town in New York State that could say they had 646 deer-related car accidents in one year as we just did — that is up eightfold from just 80 10 years ago. That multiple people aren’t dying in these types of accidents every year is not something I would continue to rely on, especially given the number of accidents is increasing by roughly 25 percent a year! When we get to 1,000 deer accidents a year in the not-too-distant future will a professionally managed deer cull finally be called for as other responsible towns have done? One upside of such an event would be the meat could be donated to various food banks in our area, or the county.
For those who believe the significant overpopulation of deer in our area is “natural,” or that it has always been that way, I would point out that I have several neighbors who have lived in the Clearwater area for 20 years who say there were never any deer when they moved here. Sadly, many of them have contracted Lyme at some point in the last few years and one of the few who hadn’t yet just moved due to the concern of contracting the disease.
Given the serious deer overpopulation problem, I would guess that the majority of my neighbors have put up deer fencing in the last five years with varying degrees of success in keeping them out. While having many of your plants or supposed deer-resistant trees and shrubs eaten each year is an annoyance, contracting one of the many life-altering forms of Lyme, which is exploding in our area like the deer population, is not!
Thanks for hearing me out, and I hope some of these issues will finally be addressed in 2020.
Benefit of All
October 21, 2019
In response to last week’s letter to the editor authored by Jim Graham, president of Montauk Shores Board of Managers, the Ditch Plains Association respectfully disagrees with the disparagement of our Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc.
In light of the ever-increasing incidence of waterborne illnesses experienced by surfing and swimming in proximity to Montauk Shores (Trailer Park) over the last four years, our supervisor and the town board, along with the East Hampton Town Natural Resources Department, have been working diligently to ensure the safety and welfare of the beachgoing community at Ditch Plains (and the town in general with the introduction of preservation fund funding for sanitary systems). With the closure of the East Deck Motel, it does not take a scientist to determine that the foul septic odor experienced earlier this year in proximity of Montauk Shores has a high likelihood of emanating from Montauk Shores, since that is the only high density use on the beach. The public bathroom at the main parking lot, though it should be upgraded, cannot be implicated since there has been no notice of the odor or illness on that part of the beach. Also, the ditch system in Ditch Plains flows to Lake Montauk. (It should be noted that D.P.A. advocates for the upgrade of all failing sanitary systems especially now that C.P.F. funding is available to cover as much as 100 percent of the septic upgrade cost.)
Surfrider-C.C.O.M. testing of the since covered outflow pipe at Montauk Shores had consistently showed extremely high levels of bacterial contamination. Interestingly, this pipe was covered by rock by Montauk Shores, thereby no longer leaving it visibly exposed after this information became known. Likewise, the foul septic odor repeatedly noticed earlier this summer disappeared after numerous articles appeared in the press citing this serious issue and the number of affected beachgoers who became ill. It would be interesting to see if the S.C.D.H.S. mandated septic pumping records show an increase in the frequency and volume of pumping — something the D.P.A. would commend until Montauk Shores installs a desperately needed new wastewater treatment plant.
Our supervisor’s terrible transgression appears to be that he objected to the modest enlargement of one trailer and the installation of another trailer that is not even on site at this time, until such time as Montauk Shores upgrades its antiquated and inadequate sanitary system for the benefit of all — including the residents of Montauk Shores. Under Town Code 180-7, the discharge of sewage into the air or water is illegal. Montauk Shores has been on notice that their sanitary system is inadequate since 2017.
What is currently known is worrisome, what is unknown even more so. The known is that the State Department of Environmental Conservation issued a permit to Montauk Shores to discharge 26,534 gallons of wastewater per day (SPEDES permit). We know from the Walbridge Survey of Montauk Shores, dated Jan. 10, 2017, that there are 199 units at Montauk Shores even though there are only 152 owners, as stated by Mr. Graham.
We also know that since the early 1990s when the Suffolk County Department of Health Services records show the installation of the existing sanitary system, Montauk Shores has had a significant increase in the size of the units and the potential occupancy of such units. We know that the Department of Health assigns a flow rate for each unit based on the size of the unit; a unit 600 square feet or less has an assigned flow rate of 150 gallons per day, mobile homes 601 to 1,200 square feet have a flow rate of 225 gpd. Any home larger than 1,200 square feet is rated at 300 gpd. (It should be noted that according to the Untied State Geological Survey, Department of the Interior, on average, each person uses between 80-100 gallons of water per day.) This means that S.C.D.H.S.’s highest rated occupancy for any unit at Montauk Shores is between three and four persons — even in summer!
The town, using Department of Health flow data based on unit size, has conservatively calculated that Montauk Shores flow rate is 43,425 gallons per day. This suggests that Montauk Shores is exceeding its state SPEDES permit by 16,901 gpd. Most importantly, we do not know if the existing system can even handle the permitted 26,534 gpd since in a letter dated Jan. 8, 1998, from Land Design Associates, Montauk Shores’ septic engineer, states, “The maximum design flow is 20,000 gal/day.” They also state that the septic system was rehabilitated four years earlier to address the fact that: “the leach pools were constantly pumped” — that was in 1994.
Unfortunately, Mr. Graham has chosen to highlight the relatively modest expansion of the two trailers who are relying on the flawed loophole of S.C.D.H.S. grandfathering of bad practices — something that is being phased out. This completely misses the point that the existing sanitary system is inadequate and that town objection to this expansion is strictly related to this inadequacy and the subsequent deterioration of water quality.
Mr. Graham also seeks to make a case that Montauk Shores is not a mobile home park and questions whether the town can classify it as such. Interestingly, within the Montauk Shores website, Montauk Shores is described as a “mobile home park condominium.” Mobile home parks, regardless of whether they are with a condominium ownership structure, a co-op, a corporation, etc., are regulated under town Code Section 174 that requires that the all mobile home parks need to be in compliance with all applicable codes and that an annual permit must be sought from the town.
Furthermore, under the zoning code, Mobile Home Park use is not permitted in a Resort Zone, which is the zoning designation of Montauk Shores. The significance of this is that any work that requires a building permit may also require a variance from the Town Zoning Board of Appeals. Finally, because the town does not recognize each unit as separate under the zoning code, the town does not insist on setback or pyramid requirements to be met, except for those units that are on the perimeter of the park. The point here is be careful what you wish for.
We call upon the board of Montauk Shores to work collaboratively with the town to upgrade the sanitary system for the benefit of all, rather than focus on the relative insignificance of whether it is justified to modestly enlarge an existing trailer in reliance on a 30-year-old variance using a grandfathering loophole that arguably contributes to deteriorating water quality.
Ditch Plains Association
October 15, 2019
Our town board needs to listen to the public! For six months, residents asked the town board to discuss a weekend day free of hunting. Finally, under Jeffrey Bragman’s urging, the board did discuss the issue, but except for Mr. Bragman, it didn’t give the proposal any serious consideration.
At the last minute, the board questioned whether it had the authority to limit hunting on town-owned land. A simple bit of research would have shown that it does, indeed, have the authority. The board seemed to prefer uncertainty as a way of hiding its unwillingness to consider the issue seriously.
The supervisor brought up a long-disputed argument in favor of hunting. He said that hunting will reduce tick-borne illnesses by reducing deer population sizes. Over the years, our group has repeatedly testified on the lack of a statistical association between deer abundance and the illnesses. The supervisor was a member of the town board when Ilissa Meyer gave each member a book by a well-known environmental researcher describing the relevant research. Residents might as well have been whistling in the dark.
The other argument the supervisor used was the notion, often repeated but supported only by anecdotes, that we can’t afford even a single day without killing some deer since they are ruining the understory. This argument is quite appealing since everyone worries about the woodlands in East Hampton, but a brief look back should easily refute this argument.
The supervisor has been a member of the town board for many years, during which hunting has expanded both geographically and in terms of days and seasons, yet the understory has continued to be threatened. Obviously, the argument that we need more hunting or can’t even lose a day each week during deer hunting season because we need to help the understory is false.
One board member said the reason she opposed the one weekend day free of hunting proposal was that hunting was an integral part of the rural character of an area, and that is what we are trying to preserve in East Hampton — a superficial and hastily conceived argument, certainly not based in reality. Should false or naive statements be used by any governmental body to turn down a petition by over 600 town voters who simply wanted one day to enjoy nature in peace and quiet?
The current town board also has proven unresponsive on other issues. When residents pointed to flaws in the Army Corps of Engineers plan for Montauk beach erosion, the board supported the engineers anyway. People continue to complain about airport noise, but the board doesn’t take any action or even respond to concerns. One resident noted that she had identified an environmental specialist who works nationally on the environmental impact of airports, happens to live in East Hampton, and was willing to help the town pro bono. She had written to the board but never got any response.
East Hampton needs a town board that listens to its residents, stops hiding their biases behind superficial arguments, uses its authority to act on the residents’ behalf, and starts turning to science and data to make their decisions.
ELLEN F. CRAIN
Slow the Growth
October 15, 2019
An argument that I keep hearing against the offshore wind farm makes me wonder if the people making it understand climate change at all. They seem to think it is somehow less valuable if the power generated by wind will be prevalent in the winter rather than the summer. Fossil fuel emissions stay in the atmosphere for a hundred years or more. So if less fossil fuel is burned in the winter, the atmosphere in summer is still cleaner, and climate change has been slowed incrementally for generations to come.
A related boneheaded complaint is that the power goes into the grid, so some of it might actually be used UpIsland. So what? Clean power that displaces burned fossil fuel from our grid, or for that matter, the grid in China or South America, benefits all of us, no matter where we live. It is one swirling atmosphere, and our survival as a modern society hangs on how fast we can develop and bring online alternative sources of power to provide the conveniences that we take for granted.
A third baffling argument is that the wind farm will not be sufficient, by itself, to solve the peak energy demand in summer, so we should rely only on solar. This is like saying wearing pants alone will not keep you warm in winter, so don’t bother wearing pants. Instead, wear a coat. In fact, solar won’t supply power at night or when panels are covered by snow.
As study after study over the last 30 years has shown, there is no one answer to the energy problem. Conservation, solar power, wind power, and energy storage are all parts of the portfolio the Town of East Hampton is pursuing now, and bless them for the courage to challenge the status quo. Dozens of other technologies not yet available but aggressively being developed worldwide are going to be necessary if we hope to slow climate change before it becomes an avalanche of tipping points beyond human capacity to stop.
Think of climate change as a mountain we have to cross. Every time a key is turned on in a gas-guzzling car anywhere, or coal is burned in a power plant in Ohio, or methane is leaked from a fracking well, the mountain gets higher. We have a chance to slow the growth of the mountain by an amount greater than all the electrical power used in our town, and do it now, by supporting this offshore wind farm.
There is no remotely comparable alternative at this time. That will move us a step or two up the mountain, but there is still a long climb ahead. And allowing private money to make this investment on our behalf does nothing to impede major efforts to also install solar power. As transportation goes electric, which is already happening, we’ll need a lot more of it, even in winter.
New York City
October 21, 2019
Dear Mr. Rattray,
The new 1.6 million kilowatt solar plant in East Hampton is indeed a reason to cheer! (“Celebrate New Solar Plant,” Oct. 10). Moving to an all-renewable municipal power supply has been the goal of towns and cities across the nation. East Hampton’s commitment to the renewable cause has made it a leader in substituting climate-fouling fossil fuels for solar power, and eventually, wind power as well.
Now New York State must follow suit on its own commitment codified in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, calling for a 70 percent electric grid by 2030, including six gigawatts of solar power, and a zero carbon economy by 2040. Here in 2019, the state hasn’t committed the funding, nor set up the political mechanism to achieve its stated goals, and its renewable future remains, pun intended, a pipe dream.
The state must look to the East End of Long Island for proactive solar use, and hopefully, soon, wind power as well. The state needs solar plants, and it needs businesses, residents, and municipalities to install solar panels as well. Keep fossil fuels in the ground, and look for power sources overhead.
LAURIE JOAN ARON
October 15, 2019
To the Editor:
This past weekend a number of relatively small signs appeared alongside some of our key roads in Montauk. Professionally produced in blue and white, the signs promote three “Fusion Party” candidates — Gruber, Bambrick, and Brady. The slogan above their names on the signs refers to their political opponents in the upcoming local election as “dirt bags.”
Gruber, Bambrick, and Brady (and the rest of our town’s residents) are hereby advised that this voter will not under any circumstances be casting his ballot for any Fusion Party candidate unless and until they have explicitly denounced and renounced these extremely offensive signs, and all traces of this type of Trumpian ad-hominem attack messaging has disappeared from our streets.
October 21, 2019
To the Editor:
The East Hampton ballot will be somewhat complex this year for local races. On the Democratic line there will be a full ballot of candidates running for all county offices and for all local offices, including supervisor, town council, town justice, trustee, highway superintendent, and town assessor.
The Republican ballot line will contain county candidates, and also those for all local offices — except those of supervisor or town council. This year, the East Hampton Town Republican Committee has chosen out of necessity to endorse candidates for the town board who have identified themselves as Fusion Party candidates. The Fusion Party candidates include all the local Republicans running for office, as well as candidates who are registered Democrats, Independence Party members, and blanks.
On Election Day, the Fusion Party will not have a dedicated line on the ballot. Instead, Fusion Party candidates will appear on the Independence, Libertarian, and Conservative lines, perhaps necessitating voters to split their tickets and search among a few party lines in order to cast votes for their preferred candidates.
I ask all voters to cast their ballot this year with care and caution.
As the East Hampton Town Republican Committee continues to evolve into a future that will make us more relevant, we are committed to ensuring that the voices of those not currently heard in Town Hall are represented. Please join me in paving a pathway that will create an East Hampton that is inclusive of everyone. Change is coming, and we will do this together.
East Hampton Town Republican
October 21, 2019
I have been blessed to serve my community as a trustee for the past two years and have been enriched by working on six committees: Education, Beaches, Aquaculture, Accabonac Harbor/Hog Creek, Northwest Creek, and Social Media (Website, and Records).
I am proud of my accomplishments as a trustee. Most notably after learning about how our waterways, aviary, and marine life are being harmed by single-use latex and Mylar debris, I spearheaded the ban on the intentional release of balloons.
I am pleased to report that beginning with the unanimous trustee vote, followed by the Towns of East Hampton and Southampton, and most recently the Suffolk County Legislature, the ban has become law countywide. I am now working with Assemblyman Fred Thiele who will present the ban legislation to the State Legislature next year. Combined with an education outreach, I feel good progress has been made.
Additional projects I work on include: mosquito water sampling of Accabonac Harbor and horseshoe crab monitoring. I serve as the liaison to the East Hampton Energy Sustainability and Resiliency Committee and to the Accabonac Protection Committee, and a member of the Suffolk County Single-Use Plastic Task Force.
As a trustee I have been, and will continue to be, fully engaged in my responsibilities.
It has been an honor to serve as an elected trustee. Once again, I humbly ask for your support and vote on Election Day, Nov. 5.
SUSAN MCGRAW KEBER
Best of Hands
October 20, 2019
To the Editor,
A trustee is someone entrusted to care for and protect what is of value and importance. Trustee incumbents Francis Bock, Jim Grimes, Bill Taylor, Susan McGraw Keber, Rick Drew, and John Aldred have been doing just that, watching over East Hampton’s natural resources with intelligence and dedication.
They have the experience and broad, ranging knowledge to meet the challenges nature presents. They are committed to serving the community and have expanded their role toward that end. Their opinions are respected and their help sought by individuals and community groups.
We have attended their meetings and seen how important these trustees are to East Hampton, how hard they work, and how much they are required to know. They welcome public input, listen, ask questions, discuss, and consider thoughtfully. They try to make accommodations when possible. Respect for the Dongan Patent and tradition is their anchor, but they recognize change is inevitable and see their obligation is to act in the present with an eye to the future. They are non-political, basing their decisions on sound judgment.
Under the continued stewardship of Francis Bock, Jim Grimes, Bill Taylor, Rick Drew, Susan McGraw Keber, and John Aldred, East Hampton’s valuable and important natural resources will be in the best of hands and the community will be well served. They embody the meaning of trustee and take their job very seriously. The three new candidates, Tim Garneau, Mike Martinsen, and Ben Dollinger, will contribute fresh ideas and perspectives while learning from the best. These nine candidates represent an outstanding slate for East Hampton’s trustee board. They deserve your vote.
JOAN and VINCENT PRIORE
October 21, 2019
To the Editor,
I wanted to express my gratitude for the article Campaign Diary: Bambrick Ready to “Change Things” that you published in last week’s Star. Your portrayal of the underdog candidate was a fair and positive assessment of my character. It is not easy to run for elected office as it puts a target on your back, especially when the incumbents are so firmly entrenched in the political machine.
I am self-aware enough to know that I am not everybody’s cup of tea. I am opinionated, I speak my truth, and can sometimes display a tough veneer. In my 30 years in town government, I have refused to compromise my principles. I have been a harsh critic when those in control are complicit in allowing for the ill treatment and disregard of those they are supposed to serve.
However, I am also both fair and ethical. I strive to be a thoughtful advocate for the forgotten and voiceless. I do my research and gather my evidence before weighing in on the issues. I listen to and respect the opinions of others, even when we disagree. I won’t sell my soul to a party boss or turn my back on the locals so I can become a career politician.
To your readers: I am asking for your votes on Election Day. If given the privilege to serve as your next councilperson, no one will work harder for you.
With warmest regards,
ELIZABETH (BETSY) BAMBRICK
October 21, 2019
What can one say about Democratic incumbents Peter Van Scoyoc and Sylvia Overby? They have been on the town board for eight years, the last six in the majority with Kathee Burke-Gonzalez. Two years ago they were joined by their own appointee, David Lys, giving them absolute control over the board. And what have they done with it?
It is 15 years since the comprehensive plan said we need 1,300 units of affordable housing. In their eight years, they have built only 20 units, a pace that would take hundreds of years to reach the goal.
Fifteen years ago, the same comp plan said that wireless communications and water quality were top priorities. We now have chemical contaminants in our drinking water and increasing toxic algae blooms in our surface waters. Nothing has been done to close the gaps in wireless communications.
Six years ago, they announced a goal of 100 percent renewable energy. This past March, Frank Dalene, former chair of the Energy Sustainability Committee, wrote, “After six years of doing nothing, the town board has no idea yet how to achieve the goal.”
Four years of 0 percent raises followed by five years of only 1 percent raises for town workers, who are falling further and further behind inflation. They cannot afford to live in East Hampton.
Four years ago, the town prevented the Springs Fire District from using its emergency communications tower. It is more than a year since the Springs fire chiefs said that gaps in emergency communications are life-threatening. Nothing.
Years since they bought the equipment to upgrade emergency communications to the modern standard. Because they failed to engineer the system before buying millions of dollars’ worth of equipment, they then discovered they couldn’t mount the equipment on the towers we have. It sits unused in the boxes it came in, the warranties already expired. They still haven’t engineered the system, but the cost has risen from $6 million to $11 million.
Four years ago, they dug up the primary dune and put sandbags on the beach in Montauk. Still sitting there, known to all as “Dirt Bag Beach.” They have to keep re-covering them with sand at a cost of $1 million a year. Their solution is a vague, unspecific “vision” of “retreat from the beach” that the Montauk community has resoundingly rejected. More nothing.
For more than two years, the town board has refused to negotiate with Deepwater Wind to protect our fishermen against loss or to hire anyone professionally competent to represent our interests before the Public Service Commission about the wind farm.
It was two years from when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation notified them of possible chemical contamination of Wainscott drinking water until they offered water filters to affected residents as required by the D.E.C., years of unnecessary toxic exposure for residents.
Two years ago, they first showed the community an over-large plan for a new senior center to replace the dilapidated one we have. Since then, only silence.
One year ago, the D.E.C. told the town of the plan to mine sand below the water table on Middle Highway. The town board failed then to assert its rightful authority as lead agency. Too late now.
What have they accomplished? A useless plan to spend $5 million, including the waste of community preservation funds critical for water quality, to move the shellfish hatchery from Montauk to Springs. That will do nothing for water quality, because the existing hatchery already produces an annual surplus of millions of shellfish seeds that we cannot use.
A widely reported, illegal back-room deal to allow the new owner of Duryea’s Lobster Deck to evade planning board review that is costing us hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to undo. Another illegal back-room deal trying to give away a town road to a billionaire client of Democratic Party boss Chris Kelley’s law firm. They are still trying to do that. A false, illegal application to the State of New York for grant money.
After eight years of this, is there any reason to believe that if the incumbents are returned to office their next terms will be any improvement? We should know better than that by now.
Monopoly, one-party control of government, the corruption and indifference that it breeds, are a danger everywhere and always. The EH Fusion Party, bringing together people from all political parties, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, was formed to give the voters a real choice, to make East Hampton elections competitive again. We are endorsed by the East Hampton Town Republican Committee, East Hampton Reform Democrats, Independence Party, and Libertarian Party.
Our candidates, Betsy Bambrick and Bonnie Brady for town board, and myself for supervisor, are vastly more professionally qualified than the incumbents. Unlike the incumbents, we are independent, owing nothing to political party committees and not under their control.
The voters have a simple and clear choice on Election Day, Nov. 5, and in the early voting starting Oct. 26 — more nothing from the incumbents or a fresh start with people who have the will, the energy, and the ability to get our long-term problems solved. Along with our trustee candidates, we are all found on the Independence Party and Libertarian Party ballot lines. Please vote.
Can Rely On
October 21, 2019
It has been an extraordinary experience to walk away from a group I had been a part of for eight years. I finally realized that the East Hampton Democratic Committee was controlled by a few individuals who were powerful, many serving for their own interests, and some for their pocketbooks. I could no longer be a party to such corruption.
Thus, I joined with David Gruber and became a Reform Democrat, which, when we realized what Tip O’Neill always said was true, that all politics is local, we morphed into the Fusion Party, consisting of Democrats, Republicans, independents, and all others who wanted a new strong voice, and, yes, more action responding to the needs of our community.
David Gruber emerged as our leader. The clear thinking, critical eye, and energy he has provided for us is a leadership we can rely on. We don’t have to be suspicious of his leadership, as he doesn’t need the role of supervisor for any substantial gain. It’s all about doing the right thing for the community and town he loves. I stand in favor of David Gruber, one of the smartest people I know, to become our town supervisor and get this town moving again on some of the issues that have haunted us.
October 21, 2019
I am shocked and dismayed for being chosen the poster boy for the EH Fusion Party, the party of malcontents. A quote from my letter to the editor in The East Hampton Star on March 25 appeared on the front of a direct mailing they sent out this week. The quote was taken out of context both in the context of my letter and historical context. The quote is irrelevant today based on actions the town board made this past May, unanimously passing four resolutions recommended by the East Hampton Town energy Sustainability and Resiliency Committee. Two months after I made the statement in my letter to the editor the town board passed a resolution to move forward with convening experts and consultants to craft a plan to attain the 100 percent equivalent renewable energy goal in transportation and heating fuels. Most of us believe we have several pathways in place to attain 100 percent renewable energy in electricity. The transportation and sectors are the heavy lift.
Ironically my letter to the editor on March 25 was written in support of the East Hampton Republican Party’s chairman’s statement to “not put political ideology in front of common sense.” Putting political ideology first and foremost is exactly what the EH Fusion Party is doing by quoting me out of context. I didn’t see this direct mailing before it went out, I didn’t approve being quoted out of context, and I don’t endorse the Fusion Party. My unapproved quote out of context in campaign literature is unethical at best.
I see the EH Fusion Party as an amateurish group of malcontents who constantly make nasty personal attacks on fine upstanding people in our community. The EH Fusion Party’s lead candidates don’t possess the temperament to be elected officials. In my opinion, they will be dangerous if elected. I say this partially based on their own website. On the page titled, “Principles” they have a list of 10 pledges they make if elected but not included in these principles are critical principles such as truthfulness, honesty, integrity, and ethics. Their principles are totally devoid of the kind of redeeming qualities we are all looking for in an elected official.
For those of us who accept the scientific fact we are in a climate crisis and accept the statement I made several times, “We need to act with the Fierce Urgency of Now”! I won’t let anyone off the hook. Everyone who knows me understands and knows how frustrated and impatient I am with the pace we are moving to mitigate and hopefully solve the climate crisis. Our federal, State, County, and local governments are moving far too slow on these issues. We are not acting like we are in a crisis. I don’t see the urgency. We will always need to do more, we will always need to do it faster. Time is gone, we can’t make up the time, it’s too late to prevent climate change, we can’t stop the effects of climate change, we can only mitigate the severity of how much the climate changes. The context of my letter was not to blame anyone but to challenge everyone to do more, without getting mired in political ideology.
I have two questions for David Gruber regarding my letter to the editor on March 25, now that he brought it up: First, what have you personally done to end your addiction to fossil fuels? If you want to be a leader, you must lead by example. We know our incumbent supervisor installed solar panels on his home. Second, setting aside a discussion on renewable electricity for now, we have several pathways underway to attain that part of the goal already, what is your plan to meet the 100 percent equivalent renewable energy goal for transportation and heating fuels, what technologies do you plan to use and what policies do you plan to implement? The second question will separate those who pretend to know from those who actually know. It is critical to find the person who can lead this town to attain the 100 percent renewable energy goal, 2030 is a little more than 10 years away. We have a lot of work to do in a short period of time. Tell me, how will we get this done?
Page One Story
October 21, 2019
It is surely poor journalistic judgment to stick with a story and run it on the front page when the premise of the story that made it of potential public interest fizzles. Such was the case with last week’s “Help from Judicious Editor.”
The Star admits that it knows the correspondence and the editorial suggestions it published to be private and that it only came into possession of it due to a “computer snafu.” There are no wholesale revisions to the letter or even additions, only suggested deletions. The letter is clearly David Gruber’s. So why exactly is this front-page news — because The Star wants us to believe that the correspondence is a breach of judicial ethics by a judicial candidate.
Flailing about, the Star article proceeds to cite by way of example all sorts of provisions of the Code of Judicial Ethics about things that clearly did not occur. The Star even got its own expert, a Hofstra law professor, and asked him if there was a violation. Quoted by The Star, the professor, to his credit, responded honestly and said, “To say it’s a violation, without more, would be, I think, irresponsible.”
Last May The Star missed a page 1-worthy story on a violation of judicial ethics. Democratic judicial candidate Andrew Strong mailed a letter to the public — public, not private — disparaging political candidates David Gruber and Rona Klopman. This is a blatant violation of the Code of Judicial Ethics, specifically the rule that a judicial candidate may not “publicly endorse or publicly oppose (other than by running against) another candidate for political office.”
At the time, The Star offered no report or comment about Mr. Strong’s clear violation of the Code of Judicial Ethics, although it was written about in a rival publication.
Today, Bruce Colbath, a former Democratic Committee member who was defeated in his bid for re-election to that committee, writes to The Star in a letter he first circulated widely. He maligns Lisa Rana on false pretenses (suits against the town are not brought in Justice Court), and urges that Andrew Strong, who did violate the code, be elected as our town justice.
Justice Rana’s fairness and impartiality have been on public display each time she has taken her seat on the bench over the last 16 years. And that’s the page 1 story you should have written.
PAT TRUNZO III
According to Microsoft Word document metadata for this letter as submitted, it originated on Mr. Gruber’s computer, not Mr. Trunzo’s. Mr. Trunzo explained that the first draft was written by Mr. Gruber and that he changed it substantially before submitting it for publication. In the first draft, which Mr. Trunzo provided, Mr. Gruber mischaracterized East Hampton Town Justice Lisa Rana’s contributions to an Aug. 5 letter to the editor, in that Ms. Rana made additions to the text, not just deletions. Mr. Gruber also mischaracterized the context of James Sample of Hofstra University’s comments; he was speaking generally, having not been provided with a copy of the letter. Ed.
October 21, 2019
To the Editor,
As a lifelong Democrat, I’m writing this in the hopes of calling attention to the local judicial race. In my 20 years on the bench here in East Hampton, I enjoyed broad bipartisan support. The same is true of Judge Rana, who we’ve been fortunate enough to have as a justice for the last 16 years. She was, in fact, cross-endorsed by the Democrats four years ago.
This year, with what is happening on a national level, there is a passionate effort underway to right the course that our nation seems to be on. However, I would encourage everyone to think long and hard before ushering in a change in our local justice court.
There has always been one standard of justice in Judge Rana’s courtroom, no matter what walk of life an individual hails from — and that is precisely the way it needs to be. If that were not the case, you can be very sure that you would have heard all about it by now.
Our courtroom is functioning exactly as it should be. It is not in need of an overhaul or even a tweaking. So, in your fervor to correct what is going so wrong on so many levels in our country, I would urge you to not throw the baby out with the bathwater!
In the Trenches
October 21, 2019
As you know I am and will always be a good progressive. However, in a small town, party identification does not play a large role. We judge one another by our actions locally, and we are loyal to those who serve us well.
I am sure Andrew Strong is a good guy and I welcome him to Springs. In time, he will come to fully understand our community. However, he has not been working in the trenches with the rest of us here — dealing with sex crimes, domestic violence, and severe alcohol, drug, and mental illness. I respect everyone here who has been in the trenches with me. Lisa Rana is one of those people.
I don’t care what “party” she is affiliated with. (A judgeship should not be a political appointment anyway, but that is another conversation.) We are an amazing town. We come together when there is crisis. Yes, I welcome Andrew and his young family to Springs; I am glad he has become an advocate for our Latino families. But Lisa Rana, over the years, has represented everyone. She knows our town and she knows the issues.
Pass the Test
October 21, 2019
My late husband, Stuart, would often ask the question, “Are you upholding our Constitution?” to judges he would interact with on any level, be they federal, state, or local. He would follow that up with a series of queries to test their knowledge and commitment. I have no doubt that if Stuart were here today to ask these questions of Andrew Strong, he would pass the test with flying colors.
Andrew has a formidable background that is diverse enough to adapt to an ever-evolving East Hampton. He has defended human rights in The Hague, taught law in Ukraine, is currently the general counsel for OLA of Eastern Long Island, and is a local, practicing attorney who has experience appearing in front of our zoning and planning boards.
Without uncertainty, I can say that Andrew is and will be committed to defending our local values, families, and traditions. Some have said it correctly: East Hampton is at a crossroads. We are stuck, and change is needed. Andrew Strong will be the town justice to lead us though the next chapter in East Hampton.
I ask you to join me on Nov. 5 in voting for our next town justice, Andrew Strong.
Lack of Judgment
October 18, 2019
After a 30-year career with a major United States law firm and serving for several years on its ethics committee, I was astonished to read the lead article in this week’s edition of The Star exposing the assistance by the judicial candidate the Hon. Lisa Rana with letters to the editor submitted by David Gruber.
One of the fundamental underpinnings of our judicial system is that each party in a judicial proceeding is guaranteed, to the extent practicable, a fair and impartial court. This is the reason underlying the ethical requirement prohibiting judicial candidates from participating or assisting in any way in the candidacies of others. Had Mr. Gruber not mistakenly submitted the draft letter to your paper, The Star could not have disclosed it to your readers, and we would never have known that Ms. Rana operated out of the public view to assist a fellow candidate, the would-be supervisor of the town board.
As we all know, the Town of East Hampton is regularly involved in litigation before local courts every year. Let us accept for the sake of argument that Mr. Gruber is successful in winning the election for supervisor. In subsequent litigation against the town, especially litigation against the town board, that is to be presided over by Ms. Rana, her assistance in the candidacy of Mr. Gruber creates an obvious appearance of impropriety that, in the absence of your exposé, would have been completely hidden from the public eye and, even worse, from the litigants proceeding against the town.
Even if Mr. Gruber’s candidacy is unsuccessful, a result I heartily endorse, Ms. Rana’s editorial assistance ratified positions by Mr. Gruber that opposed much of the activity of the sitting town board, in and of itself creating an equally toxic appearance of impropriety.
So, despite the pleas by the protagonists that there is nothing amiss in the Gruber-Rana saga, nothing could be further from the truth. In my view, Ms. Rana’s lack of judgment renders her unfit to sit on the bench of our court. And I say this despite having supported Judge Rana in each of her previous elections. I strongly urge voters to support Andrew Strong for town justice on Election Day. And it goes without saying that Mr. Gruber’s obvious incompetence in corrupting Ms. Rana’s candidacy demonstrates that he does not deserve to sit in Peter van Scoyoc’s seat.
And, as an author’s note, I understand that some have criticized my letters as akin to that addressed above. The difference is stark: Unlike Mr. Gruber, I am not running for office, nor am I a judge. Nor did I show this letter to anyone who, to my knowledge, is running for office.
October 21, 2019
To the Editor:
An important election is coming up on Tuesday, Nov. 5, and I encourage all registered voters to exercise their constitutional right to vote.
For 45-plus years I practiced law at a large international law firm based in New York City. Over the last few years I have had the opportunity to see the dedication and community involvement of Andrew Strong, a candidate for East Hampton Town justice. Andrew has wide and varied experience from having a local East Hampton law practice to his work appearing before the criminal courts in The Hague.
He is currently the general counsel to OLA — the organization for Latino Americans — representing and assisting an important part of the East Hampton community, and understands the fear and reluctance that many Latinos have about our court system. He is clearly prepared for the many different issues that will come before the town justice
Andrew and his wife and their three children live in Springs. Andrew is committed to East Hampton and his experience makes him the ideal candidate for town justice. I encourage everyone to vote for Andrew Strong for East Hampton Town justice.
In addition: A word about Lisa Rana. The recent East Hampton Star article disclosed that Justice Rana was assisting David Gruber in writing his many and long letters to The Star, in which he consistently attacked the members of the town board.
Under the New York State Rules of Judicial Conduct, a town justice is specifically prohibited from directly or indirectly engaging in partisan politics. If Gruber’s letters are anything, they are partisan.
Secondly, a judge must always avoid even the appearance of impropriety. A judge editing strongly partisan letters to the editor in my view is clearly improper.
We need a town justice who understands that he, too, needs to follow the rules.
JEREMIAH T. MULLIGAN
Insight and Compassion
October 21, 2019
After years of local elections, I can only conclude that campaigning is exhausting, mind numbing, frustrating, and exhilarating, all at the same time. Running for town justice must be all those things, and more, since the State Legislature further complicates the process by proclaiming that the candidate must run a campaign based only upon their qualifications for the job. If you have read any of Town Justice Lisa Rana’s campaign literature or spoken to her you know that she believes that it is important to focus on a justice candidate’s qualifications for office and their connection and service to the community. On Nov. 5 we can vote to keep Justice Lisa Rana on the bench so she can continue the outstanding work for our community that she has done these past 16 years.
Justice Rana was best at describing why she puts herself out there and through a grueling campaign for re-election when she “spoke” to voters in a recent letter: “I am an independent elected official. I am seeking re-election . . . because I love this community, I am committed to all of the people who reside here and to the welfare of the town that we call home, whether you have lived here for a day, a year, or a lifetime.”
The voters first elected Justice Rana in 2003, because they trusted her to hear and decide local cases. In her 16 years of service, she has continued to adjudicate justice to the people who come before her in a non-political, judicial manner. She adheres to the strong conviction that town policy is not to be created or debated in her courtroom. That is the work of the town board. She admits that she is tough when necessary, but fair. She believes in a system of justice for all individuals who appear in court, and always conducts her courtroom with that ideal in mind.
Justice Rana has said that a highlight of campaigning is the many people who approach her and remind her of their encounters in her courtroom. This past Saturday, she spent the day at the Village Fall Festival and although tired, and becoming “brain dead” by the end of the day, as she put it, she was encouraged by the incredibly positive feedback she received from people who spoke with her. Several people thanked her for helping their children by giving them a second chance. Another person said that she was very impressed with how fairly Justice Rana treated everyone. She also pointed out something that I myself have seen on many occasions, that Justice Rana takes significant measures to make sure Latino and Latina defendants understand the court proceedings and pleas. Someone else thanked her for how fairly she handled their parking ticket.
Justice Rana comes by her insight and compassion for the human condition through her early years of work representing children in abuse, neglect, domestic violence, custody, and delinquency cases, helping families in crisis, as a case worker in the New York City foster care system, and by volunteering as a rape crisis counselor at St. Vincent’s Hospital. Her unique knowledge and experience with domestic violence cases, and other issues such as substance abuse and acts of violence, unfortunately, are the very issues she must frequently deal with in her court.
It is important to know that Justice Rana is the only candidate for town justice with actual judicial experience: first as the chief administrative law judge for the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, overseeing 60 other administrative law judges, adjudicating over 100,000 cases yearly; currently as the sitting village justice in Sag Harbor, and for the past 16 years, as town justice for the Town of East Hampton.
It is rare that the voters have such a clear-cut, in-your-face decision for which candidate to choose for a position. In my opinion, this is one of those rare moments. As voters and people who care about what is happening to and in our community, we should take advantage of this opportunity and re-elect Justice Lisa Rana on Nov. 5.
October 18, 2019
To The Star:
Over the many years I have lived here in East Hampton I have come to know Lisa Rana and her family quite well, and I have also followed her career as a judge. Lisa is a woman of strength, good character, and compassion. She cares about the lives of her fellow residents and is deeply invested in the potential of everyone who comes before her in the courtroom.
We all know her wonderful accomplishments, but I feel it is important to also know her as a passionate advocate of addressing rights and wrongs through seasoned rationale and tough love if needed. That’s why I am voting for Lisa Rana for town justice.
October 18, 2019
I am proud to show my support for Judge Lisa Rana. She has been a fair and moral asset to the Town of East Hampton.
She will have my vote on Nov. 5. Good luck, and keep up the good work.
October 18, 2019
I am writing this letter in support of the re-election of our current East Hampton Town judge, Lisa Rana. Lisa has done an incredible job serving our town for the past 16 years and deserves your vote on Nov. 5.
You can also consider early voting this year from Saturday, Oct. 26, to Sunday, Nov. 3, at Windmill Village Community Room 2. Please visit www.friendsforjudgerana.com or Facebook for more information.
Join me in voting for Lisa Rana. Raised in East Hampton, dedicated to East Hampton, and the right choice for East Hampton!
The Current Site
October 17, 2019
To the Editor:
On Oct. 16, 2019, Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc and board member Jeff Bragman held an open meeting at the East Hampton Senior Center at the invitation of a few center members. The topic was the delayed development of the new “older adult” center, which has been in planning mode for over four years. Noticeably absent from the meeting was board member Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, who is the board’s liaison to the center.
I was a member of the original planning committee. The board secured an $8 million bond for the development of a new center more than three years ago. There has been no accounting of that money in the succeeding years. At our early meetings I recommended that if the center was going to stay on the existing site that the town should begin immediately to apply to the state for a traffic light due to the amount and speed of the traffic barreling down Springs-Fireplace Road. She said that wasn’t possible.
Moreover, despite recommendations to Ms. Burke-Gonzalez that she choose an architectural firm with solid experience in designing centers for people 60- plus, and those with dementia, she chose a totally inexperienced engineering firm to design and develop a new center at the existing site. While the initial engineering firm tried to come up to speed in a very specialized field of architecture, their final plans were rejected by members of the senior center, and finally the board. Those plans, now discarded, cost over $100,000 of your tax dollars.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Mr. Van Scoyoc and Mr. Bragman told those in attendance that a new center would not be developed in the existing location on Springs-Fireplace Road due to the fact that the thoroughfare had become a light-to-heavy industrial zone with a disproportionate number of heavily loaded trucks barreling down its corridor. Ironically, on the very same day as the meeting at the senior center, a news release by Kathee Burke-Gonzalez appeared in Newsday.
The title of the article in Newsday (10/16/19) was “East Hampton Town Senior Center Plans to be Revisited.” Quote: Town officials now say traffic in the area [Springs-Fireplace Road] and limitations of the current site do not make it a good candidate for reconstructing the center. The planning board is reviewing 20 applications for properties along the Springs-Fireplace Road corridor and a larger facility would likely add to congestion, Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez said in the news release. What?! As usual, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez’s statements leave one scratching their head.
Whoever is on their secret planning board is reviewing 20 applications for property on the very road that Councilwoman Burke-Gonzalez claims is “dangerous” and “congested.” Are any professionals in gerontology or people with solid experience in designing centers for people 60-plus on this mysterious board? Are there any regular members of the East Hampton Town senior center on the planning board?
Let’s have the town be open and transparent. That would be a welcome change. Ms. Burke-Gonzalez should announce clearly and straightforwardly in The Star who is on the planning board along with their credentials
in gerontological architectural design and/or their active engagement with the senior center.
At the meeting’s conclusion, with Mr. Van Scoyoc and Mr. Bragman on Oct. 16, many people who attended either left before the meeting concluded; others remained to the end, enjoyed snacks, and said that they didn’t learn anything new because their question(s) weren’t answered. Many wondered why their liaison, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez, was not in attendance.
My speculation is that the new center will be on existing town-owned property on Springs-Fireplace Road. The old and now defunct waste treatment plant stands on a vast expanse of vacant, contaminated ground. This current town board is grotesquely and blatantly ageist, despite the fact that they are all seniors themselves — with the exception of David Lys. Therefore, the old waste treatment grounds are the perfect location for the new senior center.
It would mirror the board’s lack of attention to issues related to the replacement of the shack they call a senior center. Putting town residents age 60-plus literally in the cesspool on contaminated town property would be more than apropos.
Think before you vote this year. You are not getting younger. Despite the fact that you are currently healthy and financially stable you may need a plethora of senior services sooner than you think. One fall, one financial mistake, one wrong vote, and you may regret the choices you make on Nov. 5 for a long time to come.
NANCY R. PEPPARD
October 21, 2019
As happy as I was to read about the town’s rejection of the State Department of Environmental Conservation’s decision regarding the Middle Highway sand mine, and the current board’s commitment to preserving neighborhoods as espoused by Supervisor Van Scoyoc, responding to Mr. Gruber’s proposal actually to create affordable housing rather than continuing to slow walk the process, I am amazed at the level of hypocrisy this board, or its handlers, are able to display without even trying.
Such vaunted concerns for neighborhood integrity and preservation, disagreements with other entities’ bogus State Environmental Quality Review Act negative declarations, as opposed to their own, coming out of this board obviously don’t include our neighborhood. Isn’t Gann Road and Babe’s Lane, and indeed, all of Springs being similarly victimized by this very group? The only real exception to the self-serving board’s bypass of planning, zoning, and the environmental impact was, so far, Councilman Bragman, our only elected expert land-use attorney at the moment who refused to go along with the likely illegal negative environmental declarations regarding the proposed hatchery project.
This “concerned” (sic) town board has submitted false documents to funding agencies in support of its grant applications, and continues to claim that consolidating the Gann Road and Montauk hatchery on an environmentally sensitive 1.1-acre residential lot is a necessary water quality improvement project, despite its minimal impact on water quality. If Pinocchio were on the current board, he’d be able to blow his nose at the back of the auditorium while sitting on the stage, if his arms grew along with his nose.
Worse than wasting over $5 million taxpayer dollars for virtually zero return, except their own vanity, they continue to cloak themselves in self-righteous environmentalism while quietly moving their renewable energy timeline back 10 years. Why not at least immediately propose to have a solar array over every town parking lot instead of taking away the ability of residents of Amagansett and Montauk to park, even overnight, for limited durations to get to necessary appointments via the Jitney?
Why not question Orsted Eversource about how Scandinavian fishing families were, and are, compensated for their losses as a result of the anticipated wind projects, including the sonic surveying work underway, or how about what will happen to our electric bills as a result of the as yet hidden cost of electricity we are slated to be charged?
This is the town board that would have given away acres of land to a billionaire for something the town already had were it not for the diligence of the Springs’s own David Buda. Given all we’ve learned about their true colors, their lies, is it really so incredible that the Duryea’s deal required political cover to let them bow down yet again at our legal expense, and another neighborhood’s peace and quiet?
Whatever your political persuasion, your hamlet, your interests, supporting lawless land use for an unnecessary, largely ineffective waste of taxpayer dollars, which will reduce public access to shared resources like the town dock and the adjacent preserved waterfront, you need to think carefully casting your next ballot. Arrogance and dissembling don’t deserve re-election.
IRA M. BAROCAS
Duck Creek Farm Association
October 21, 2091
Open, transparent government, especially on the local level, has to be one of the most crucial components of a good government. Public disclosure never gets old and should be readily accessible to the public, inquiring press, those that wonder.
Locally one of the most under-reported activities involving elected government officials is the public disclosure of lobbying activities. Now I know when you mention the word lobbyist and lobbying everyone immediately thinks of the reports of big bucks spent to sway federal and state governments. What you do not think about is the big bucks spent locally to influence our town government. Land use and zoning changes, which are regulated by our town board, town trustees, and appointed boards, can be worth millions of dollars.
The Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011 created the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics, JCOPE, to comprehensively reform, provide oversight, the regulation of ethics, and lobbying in New York State. To further strengthen the Public Integrity Reform Act, the Lobbying Act of 2015 was enacted. Under these laws, New York State now requires lobbyists and clients, to publicly disclose their identities, activities, and expenditures by filing reports at regular intervals with JCOPE if they either spend or anticipate spending more than the $5,000 annual lobbying threshold on reportable lobbying activities at the state and municipal levels.
In fact, under the Lobbying Act, a municipality is defined as “counties, cities, towns, villages, improvement districts, and special districts with a population of more than 5,000, and school districts of any size. Public officials on the municipal level are defined as:
• An officer or employee of a municipality, whether paid or unpaid
• Local elected officials
• Members of a board (other than an advisory board), commission, or other agency of a municipality.
Mandatory reporting is required when local lobbying includes attempts to Influence:
• The passage or defeat of any local law, ordinance, resolution, or regulation by any municipality or subdivision thereof;
• The adoption, issuance, rescission, modification, or terms of an executive order issued by the chief executive officer of a municipality;
• The approval or rejection of any rule, regulation, or resolution having the force and effect of local law, ordinance, resolution, or regulation;
• The outcome of any rate-making proceeding by any municipality or subdivision thereof; or
• Any determination related to a governmental procurement, including real property purchase, sale, or lease agreements, including purchase-lease back, lease, lease back, and other hybrid agreements.
I would say there is a whole lot of lobbying going on and a whole lot of money flying around to ensure the right decisions are made. Based on my interpretation of the Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011 and the Lobbying Act of 2015, there should be a whole lot of public disclosure going on as well. What I find disconcerting is that the current town board has had little to no interest in ensuring that all individuals and organizations complete their required public disclosure filing.
This election, transparency should be at the top of every voter’s mind. There are many decisions that our elected officials will make worth millions of dollars, and we have a right to know who and how much money is spent to influence their decisions. Even though concerns have been raised about transparency, the town board has failed to require disclosure of those lobbying town government. This fact alone should be more than enough to vote for the challengers on the Republican, Conservative, Libertarian, and Independence Party lines.
For full disclosure as the president of a statewide police union, I am a registered lobbyist with JCOPE and am very familiar with the JCOPE requirements.
East Hampton Town Republican Committee
October 16, 2019
To the Editor:
I would like to share two experiences relating to your Oct. 10 editorial regarding Lee Zeldin’s aversion to meeting openly with constituents.
Lee Zeldin, Republican representative of District 1, regularly emails constituents with reports of his public events after they occur, but rarely beforehand. This failure to fully engage with the public is consistent with his preferred one-on-one conversations and so-called town halls, where participants are not permitted to ask follow-up questions. In one egregious meeting at the Portuguese American Center in Farmingville before the last election, attendees were required to submit written questions, which were edited and soft-balled before being read aloud by an M.C. My question, when read, was not what I had written. I had to demand three times that it be read correctly. When it finally was, Zeldin declined to answer. He said he had already discussed it.
On Aug. 1, I received this email from Zeldin: “Year after year, Bellport Day never disappoints, and this year was no exception! I had a great time talking with local residents about the issues most important to them and local merchants about their incredible businesses and how we can continue to help them stay and grow locally.”
The email makes no mention as to which important issues he was referring, and how he plans on addressing them, so I sent an email asking for specifics. Zeldin’s response to me was an email regarding robocalls. On Aug. 5, I spoke with an aide, stating that I was interested in Representative Zeldin’s remarks in Bellport, and that I had emailed a request for specifics, but received an irrelevant reply. I was advised that a response would be forthcoming; It’s over two months, and I am still waiting.
Do you know who’s not waiting? Donors, that’s who. Zeldin joined Trump at a Hamptons fund-raiser on Aug. 9, with tickets starting at $2,800. He’s got plenty of time for donors; voters, don’t hold your breath.
RUTH A. COHEN
October 15, 2019
To The Star:
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 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 on a large scale that produced enough wealth to meet the basic needs of its citizens. It has never worked.
Thus, while most Americans don’t seem 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), which spend more than we do in proportion to their population sizes to help their lower class and middle-class citizens. None of our allies are socialist. They know it, and they will tell you so.
To put this simply, President Trump and the conservative news media will probably continue to call all Democrats “crazy socialists” for the next year. In doing so, they are either intentionally lying to the American people, or are very poorly informed and just plain wrong.
Lastly, if simply supporting a federal government social program like Social Security and Medicare makes someone a socialist, then that would make Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon “crazy socialists” because they both signed new federal social programs into existence and both supported Social Security.
STEWART B. EPSTEIN
New York City
October 9 2019
To the Editor:
Whenever a significant prickly happening is occurring, practically engulfing the entire nation, emanating a dilemma. a quandary to many, particularly to the grouping of the Democratic presidential contestants — the Biden family’s alleged schemes — I find it enticing to leap in and follow the glitter of pertinent proverbs/aphorisms.
“What has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” King Solomon.
History repeats itself so you might want to pay attention. Seek, search, for historical analogies, manifestations always challenging, and adventures. And here is one. This takes place in a land ruled by a semi-barbaric king. Some of the King’s ideas are progressive but others cause people to suffer.
One of the king’s innovations is the use of public Roman-like arenas, an agent of poetic justice with guilt or innocence decided by the result of chance. A person accused of a crime is brought out and must choose one of two doors. Behind one door is a lady whom the king has deemed an appropriate match for the accused; behind the other, a fierce hungry tiger. Both doors are heavily soundproofed to prevent the accused from hearing what is behind each one. If he chooses the door with the lady behind it, he is innocent and must immediately marry her; but if he chooses the door with the tiger behind it, he is deemed guilty and is immediately devoured by it.
The king learns that his daughter has a lover, a handsome and brave youth of lower status than the princess, and has him imprisoned to await trial. By the time the day comes the princess has used her influence to learn the positions of the lady and the tiger behind the two doors. She has also discovered that the lady is someone whom she hates, thinking her to be a rival for the affections of the accused. When he looks to the princess for help she discreetly indicates the door on his right, which he opens. The outcome of this choice is not revealed.
Fast-forward to us: U.S.A. to our lady, also a princess, Elizabeth Warren. Epitomizing, accentuating the dynamics of her contemporaneous perplexing dilemma. She appeared flustered, flabbergasted, when a reporter asked her if she would bar her vice president’s child from serving on the board of a foreign company. She fumbled with an answer. “No,” Warren said, before haltingly adding, “I don’t. I don’t know, I mean I would have to go back and look at the details of the plan, I don’t know.” On a follow-up question whether it would be a problem, Warren repeated she would have to go back and look. Obviously avoiding the issue. Also revealing is the conspicuous lack of inquisitiveness from all the other Democratic contestants. Yes, senator, my sympathy. However, appreciate that you are not alone.
EDWARD A. WAGSCHAL
October 21, 2019
To the Star:
We are sitting in a cafe in Grignan, France. A small 13th-century village with narrow winding stone block streets that is home to about 1,600 people. The streets lead up to the chateau, and in the old days everything visible from the chateau belonged to its owner. The mistral started this morning and there is only one cafe that provides protection from the heavy winds. We’ve done the market and have settled in, wearing T-shirts and sunglasses, to a breakfast of cafes au lait and croissants.
We are three to begin, V never comes to the cafe, and soon another four or five people will join our group. It would take pages to describe the participants, but they are all of some degree of substance. Being Americans, they are marginally curious about Trump, but after 10 minutes his name never comes up. Not having been here for 15 months, the subject is of changes in a place where change is a rare event.
The boulangerie has a new owner and his croissants are lacking the requisite amount of butter. The butcher shop is closed, and he now works in a big-box store on the road. The grocery store is now a real estate office. Grignan lives off tourism, but its world is inexorably, slowly changing.
Political conversations in France are pointed and reality based. Parsing of issues is not permitted. There isn’t enough news for it to be fraudulent. Maybe because the French have lived through wars and understand this reality, they have tried to take the bullshit out of their discourse? Not sure why, but it is significantly true.
We move from the changes in the village to the arrival of big-box stores to the question of consumption and the obsession with consuming. The big stores are killing the locals because the bread and meats are cheaper and often better. They don’t impact the local markets because they can’t compete with the freshness and the pleasure of going to the market.
Consumption as an economic phenomenon is an American product. We consume maddeningly, and our system is designed to keep us consuming beyond our needs and our means. (At the cafe, no one pays with a card. You might have a tab but plastic doesn’t exist. Eighty percent of Starbucks purchases are with cards.) In the U.S. everything is about consumption. Before plastic we were governed by what we had in our pockets, or in the bank. Before plastic the economy ran on real consumption needs. Wages and consumption actually interacted. In today’s world the combination of plastic, loans, Amazon, and instant obsolescence drives an uncontrollable consumption mania. Cellphones are made to die every 30 months. Cars lasting 8 to 10 years are a miracle.
Someone raises the question about the plastic miracle. Before plastic we used glass or metal or rubber or something that worked. Now we find plastic in our fish products and we consume this plastic, which is not biodegradable. Will plastic biologically degrade in our intestines or will it clog them up? With all our scientific brilliance we’ve never figured out how to make biodegradable plastics. Should we stop eating fish that isn’t farm raised?
The wind keeps blowing and people shuttle in and out. A mason who is a singer, a real estate broker writing his memoir, a clairvoyant who does your chart and tells you that your great-grandmother walked with a limp. Money, possessions, wealth never come up. Religion is zero, but spirituality gets high grades.
In France there is a calm sanity about most things, the “gilets jaunes” aside. Partisanship exists but is not deranged like ours. The French read. Television is not the source of their news. They talk, argue, and are acutely aware of their fascism.
Nothing is ever perfect, but not trying to be makes little sense