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Letters to the Editor: 11.14.19

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 11:43

Special Night
November 11, 2019

To the Star:

We would like to thank the East Hampton Police Department and the Springs and East Hampton Fire Departments for the fire truck escort that they provided on the way back from our cross-country county championship.

It was beyond exciting to get guided through town with the sirens blasting and the firemen supporting us. We very much appreciate all the firemen and police officers who supported us on our special night.

The escort made our win exponentially more exciting, and we are grateful for the support. We appreciate everything you do.










A Stalwart
East Hampton
November 9, 2019

To the Editor,

I read with sadness that Henry Haney had died. I had gotten to know him at the bar at Rowdy Hall back in the 1990s. With that green bottle of Heineken in front of him, he told me stories of his youthful years in Mississippi. He once told me he saw a very young Elvis Presley perform in a roadhouse.

I always intended to try to call him to ask if I could visit him at his home to ask more about something that few living could probably tell of. He was an excellent raconteur. I’d even gotten his phone number from a friendly relative and had asked my son to accompany me if Henry had said yes to my request. But I never called. I so regret dragging my feet. But I take solace in knowing I knew such a stalwart member of our community.


Ball Fields
November 11, 2019

Dear Editor,

I read with dismay the Star article “New Home for Ball fields” in the Oct. 17 edition.

The proposed construction of Little League baseball fields on Stephen Hand’s Path, to replace the Pantigo Place fields, is a bad idea.

The East Hampton Little League has nearly 350 participants ages 4 to 16, according to the Little League website.

The months of April, May, and June are several of the worst months for traffic on Stephen Hand’s Path, coinciding with the Little League Season.

Most of the participating children will likely be coming from the other side of town, Springs and East Hampton north, the most densely populated areas of town.

Hard-working parents will be forced to drive home from work, crossing town, navigating heavy springtime traffic, pick up their children and drive them back across town during peak traffic times to the fields on Stephen Hand’s Path after or during a hard workday.

Rush hour during spring on Stephen Hand’s Path and surrounding traffic arteries is difficult, time consuming, and intimidating to navigate with so many contractors and workers heading back out of town at the end of the day. Additionally, the bottleneck at the intersection with Montauk Highway backs up to the entrance of the park.

Adding even more vehicles to that intimidating traffic scenario is a bad idea from a planning standpoint, as well as an impediment to participation in the Little League programs and other baseball community activities.

The existing fields on Pantigo Place are excellent for numerous reasons. The fields are centrally located between Amagansett and East Hampton with easy access from Springs. They are on a cul-de-sac with no through-traffic, and with shops nearby in which children and parents can buy refreshments and food. It is easy for parents to run into the village to grab groceries or do a few errands while the children are playing baseball. The fields are also extremely safe due to their proximity to the town police station and medical facilities.

The very idea of moving these well-placed community fields to Stephen Hand’s Path and Montauk Highway makes little planning sense.

Stephen Hand’s Path is an inferior venue, especially for nondriving children dependent on their parents for transportation.

There are no amenities, it is choked with traffic during rush hours, and the fields are far from the neighborhoods they are intended to serve.

Keeping our children of hard-working families safe and in their communities for after-school and work recreational programs is just good planning.

The ball fields at Pantigo Place have served the Little League well for years.

Leave them where they are. Safe, sound, and nearby.


Go Vegan
November 11, 2019

To the Editor:

Congratulations to Randy Johnston for his excellent letter on food choices in the Nov. 7 issue of The Star. He spelled out nutritional, environmental, and ethical problems associated with the consumption of eggs, shrimp, chicken, bacon, and dairy products. Similar problems occur with respect to all animal products.

If you want to live healthier and do your part to defend the environment and lessen animal suffering, consider a vegan diet. It might be difficult to go vegan all at once, but any steps you take are meaningful.


Slap in the Face
East Hampton
November 8, 2019

Dear David:

Well, I see by your article “Z.B.A. Rebuffs Macklowe” that the rich and famous are up to it again. Do you remember the Creeks and all their improvements with no building permits? I wonder how that is going as far as compliance, and the “deal” cut with the village zoning board? Maybe you could do a follow-up and let us folks know.

What really is amazing is how these people get away with ignoring the rules and regulations the rest of us have to abide by. Could you explain that to me? I had to laugh at the lawyer’s quote, “They were built without the benefit of a building permit.”

Definition of benefit is “something that produces good or helpful results.” I don’t quite see the connection. So we have 4,000 square feet of improvements and extensive wetlands clearing, the wetlands cut down is a slap in the face, with all the problems in the pond with runoff and pollution.

I would say that makes Mr. Macklowe a poor steward of the pond. So as we read on there is flooding of the road and clearing of neighbors’ property. And of course, everybody has the “get tough” attitude for now, until Mr. Macklowe’s lawyer dangles some carrot in the face of government and some “deal” gets formulated.

So, case number two: Maybe you can keep us regular folks informed, as this case goes on. One other thing that has always puzzled me is what happens to the contractors who actually perform the illegal work? I would think they would be as guilty as Mr. Macklowe.                                                         
As always, yours to command,


An Insult
November 11, 2019

Dear Editor,

It is with amazement that Barbara Borsack and Rick Lawler would send an untruthful letter to your paper last week. This is the woman who is running for mayor and the man who is running for trustee of East Hampton Village?

First off, the excuses for the inevitable plan to deliberately put their people in place prior to the election in 2020 is underhanded and an insult to the intelligence of the voters.

Second, the claims that Jerry Larsen abused his authority while East Hampton Village chief of police is totally unsubstantiated, and I dare them to show proof!

Finally, this is a fact that can be confirmed: Mayor Rickenbach demoted Barbara Borsack after 16 years as the deputy mayor and appointed another board member to replace her. And yet, on July 3 Borsack stated that Mayor Rickenbach “was a great mentor and that his 27-year term will never be matched.”

Can’t make this up!



East Hampton
November 10, 2019

Dear David,

In response to Barbara Borsack and Rick Lawler’s letter last week, I agree that they are correct in one of their statements. New York State election law does allow the appointment of a trustee when someone who is currently on the board resigns.

Paul Rickenbach, who has been mayor of the Village of East Hampton since 1992, announced in October that he is intentionally resigning (not retiring) six months before the end of his term in order to create the vacancy on the board. He said he is doing this so others could be appointed to the board after January and before the election in June.

His quote from The East Hampton Press, Oct. 22: “I’m leaving early because I’d like to have village residents see others in play,” said Mr. Rickenbach, who has expressed support for Ms. Borsack’s candidacy. “The village residents might be interested in continuing that direction in office.”

This tactic has been used by other politicians on Long Island. It is considered dirty politics and gives an unfair advantage to candidates who will be viewed as incumbents.

This vacancy (intentionally caused by Paul Rickenbach quitting his job early to set the wheels in motion) will occur with less than six months until a known contested election. All candidates have announced their intention to seek office and have been campaigning since June 2019. By rights, the board should wait and let the voters decide who the next mayor and trustees will be.

As far as their allegations of abuse of my authority when I was chief of police, this is news to me. It is unfortunate that they are so desperate that they are running a smear campaign that started in April and now has been brought publicly.

I am very proud of my 34 years of service to the residents and visitors of this village. During my tenure I was awarded 15 police commendations, 9 police excellent duty awards, 2 top cop awards, 4 police officer of the year awards, and brought the police department up to New York State standards and obtained its first New York State accreditation status. I am also proud to have hired many local men and women who have become excellent police officers and 911 emergency communication operators.

I would like to let everyone know that my opponents cannot intimidate me or my family with their games. Whether it’s their lies in the newspaper, their whisper campaign, or their phone calls making false claims, it will not stop us from running an honest campaign and exposing unethical tactics. We will continue to do what is best for our residents, visitors, and businesses.  

We will remain positive and focused on the solutions to the problems that have plagued our village for years. It is important for voters to understand that most of the problems we face today have been caused by the inaction and overreaction of this board. Namely, Barbara Borsack (20 years as a trustee) and Rick Lawler (16 years as a trustee).



November 10, 2019

Dear David,

I met Jerry Larsen while I was a member of the East Hampton Little League board. Jerry eventually became president because of his leadership skills. We were a progressive board with new thoughts of how Little League should be structured. Our original ideas were inclusive, and we were able to integrate the hamlets, whereby kids from those hamlets got to know each other on a friendlier level. Jerry provided the energy and leadership to implement a new Little League experience. I am very proud of the work that we did under Jerry’s leadership.

My son, as a high school student, played on travel baseball teams. His baseball schedule changed weekly. During the summer months, my son, while playing summer travel ball, was employed by the East Hampton Village as a traffic control officer. Jerry, being an advocate of a good work ethic and a supporter of sports, agreed to be flexible with my son’s hectic summer schedule. Jerry, as the village chief of police, understood our community, knew when to be flexible, and again provided leadership that was tailored to a situation such as my son’s.

I have found that Jerry is a community-oriented person and has put his leadership skills to work positively for the good of the East Hampton community. Whether Jerry helped out quietly a community member, or helped out an East Hampton High School student, or provided leadership on a community board, I am confident that he has the character and leadership skills to serve the community well. 



Rental Issues
East Hampton
November 10, 2019


Just wanted to let you know your “Work-Force Housing Method at the Ready” was very good and I hope the town board gets to read it! Do they have a subscription or get a free copy? Not only read it, but act upon your suggestions for enforcement of the short-term rentals which are out of hand and getting worse each year. I previously spoke to you about this issue and another editorial, which the town never responded to per our discussion. I wonder if they will respond in some manner to you about your current editorial; please let me know if they do. I am very disappointed in how the current board handles the rental issues which are impacting the quality of life now and will in the future for full-time residents.

Thanks again for bringing issues affecting the town in a bad manner to the public’s attention. It is too bad that this issue was not a material part of the current debates prior to the elections just conducted. The board has really not done anything in this regard since Larry Cantwell retired!

Keep up the great job!


Party Monopoly
East Hampton
November 11, 2016

Dear David:

I want to take this opportunity to thank the many members of our community who supported, worked for, and voted for EH Fusion Party candidates. I believe that together we did very important work for our community, calling attention to persistent failures of town government.

The problems of lack of affordable housing, gaps in emergency and cell- phone communications, declining water quality, no executable response to coastal erosion, lack of senior services, and no plan to achieve the town’s renewable energy goal, among many other problems that have been with us for such a long time, remain unaddressed.

Although the incumbent Democrats were returned to office, which might seem on its face to be a vote for the status quo, the outcome that the editors of The Star certainly desire, I don’t think the ruling Democratic Party monopoly can any longer expect a free pass on its promises to the public. From here forward, many expectant eyes will be upon them.

And of course, we appreciate The Star for providing this important forum for public expression.



Extra Voters
November 11, 2019

Dear Editor,

The term value has many definitions, either as a noun, verb, or adjective. Assigning the value of local issues on the local level to voters is a complicated dance. New residents, we all know, bring their values with them from where they came. We also know as time marches on voters’ values change to reflect the new community where a voter resides. What was a critical local issue in one community is a non-issue in another. Voters in densely populated communities are less inclined to have one-on-one contact with their local government, as opposed to small-town communities where on any day you can run into government officials at the post office, deli, or grocery store.

Of East Hampton’s roughly 21,500 residents, 17,900, are registered to vote. Approximately 20 percent, or 4,300, are under the age of 18. Doing some quick math, we find that there are roughly 17,100 people who are eligible to vote, 700 fewer than the 17,900, or 105 percent of the current eligible voters who are currently registered. Under the state average of 55 percent, the voter enrollment should be 9,845, or in other words, East Hampton has roughly 8,100 extra voters.

This year there are roughly 8,700 Democrats, or 49 percent, of all registered voters in East Hampton.

What does all this mean? How does this impact local elections and the priority of issues that the town government addresses? Who are these extra voters and where do they come from? Most important, what are their priorities and values? How do their values mesh with the needs of the year-round local community? How informed are these voters, and do they care about local issues, the trials, and tribulations of the local working population? Does the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee have the wherewithal to stand up to such a large voting block within their ranks when the non-local registered Democrats have different priorities?

Amongst many in our community, town government already has a credibility problem. Lopsided political party control only exasperates the sense of a lack of fairness. One has only to look at the continued long-term mistreatment of town employees, the blocking of the Springs Fire Department emergency communications tower, failure to address affordability, lack of investment in economic development, the town’s inability to get the emergency communications system completed, along with a host of other issues, pollution of our drinking water, and the pitting of our communities against one another.

The East Hampton Town Republican Committee offers an open door policy and absolute commitment to all in East Hampton. We are the local political party of local values to address local issues. Come join us at our next meeting.



East Hampton Town

Republican Committee

East Hampton
November 11, 2019

Dear David,

I just wanted to reach out to thank everyone for their vote last week.

As a town trustee, I promise to represent you and everyone in our community well.

Warm regards,


Clean Energy
East Hampton
November 11, 2019

Dear David,

Given the growing worldwide climate change urgency, Christopher Walsh’s Nov. 7 article, “Bullish on Offshore Wind,” is very encouraging, as is East Hampton’s town board and trustee significant plurality in last week’s local election.

East Hampton is poised to replace fossil fuels with 100 percent renewable energy resources. Offshore wind power is a significant resource in reaching the town’s 100 percent clean energy goal. With the leading support of Win With Wind, the South Fork Wind Farm continues to move forward by meeting the arduous regulatory demands of developing the 15 turbines to deliver 130 MW of renewable energy to East Hampton. 

The 100 percent renewable energy goal the town board set for this coastal community in 2014 is also making encouraging progress. The Energy Sustainability Committee, as advisers to the town board, continues its work in striving toward the 100 percent goal.  The committee has developed a renewable energy portfolio, a “tool chest” of local energy technologies and opportunities ( Working with the East Hampton Town Department of Natural Resources, the committee continues to develop various clean energy products for homeowners, businesses, and municipal facilities. Currently, the committee is holding public informational forums on community choice aggregation, C.C.A., a local community energy supply model.  Pooling consumer demand, C.C.A. gives control of choosing energy supply to local hands. Think of it! Consumers would have the opportunity to choose their energy supplier.

East Hampton Town was, in 2014, the first in New York State to set 100 percent renewable energy goals initially targeting fossil-fuel emissions. It is encouraging to know the local community has continued to support the town board’s vision and leadership.


Directly Detrimental
East Hampton
November 11, 2019

To the Editor,

Is our congressman, Lee Zeldin, really a friend of the fishing industry?

Bay scallops — the catch that sustains many of our baymen over the winter months — suffered a massive and mysterious die-off that wiped out as much of 95 percent of this year’s potential harvest. The extent of the loss has scientists scratching their heads, with some wondering if the effects of climate change may have been a causative factor.

Scientists studying the scallop loss seem to have ruled out more common causes — brown tide and the more recent “rust tide.” Predation seems to be unlikely as well, because of the large number of intact shells left behind, indicating that the scallops died where they sat. The shells of scallops set upon by predators, such as cownose rays, would be crushed.

The elimination of the more common threats to the scallop population has led scientists to look to climate-related factors, most notably the warm water temperatures in Peconic Bay over the summer.

Water monitoring data revealed that water temperatures in areas of the Peconic remained at or above 84 degrees — a level lethal to scallops — for many weeks. Further complicating this threat were findings that levels of oxygen in the water were also very low — near zero at times — a result that can be fatal to most marine species. These factors, high temperatures of the bay water and the depletion of oxygen levels in the bay are symptoms of the climate crisis the world is struggling to address.

And that’s where Lee Zeldin comes onto the stage. We all regularly get mailings from him touting his support for the fishing industry. This support, however, deals with short-term issues, quotas and the like, which while undoubtedly beneficial to this industry, ignores longer-term issues that pose much graver threats to every facet of our fishing industries.

Mr. Zeldin has the worst environmental record of all New York members of Congress (now that Chris Collins has departed) and routinely allies with the Trump administration in siding with regulatory actions designed to benefit the fossil fuel interests, the effect of which will increase pollutants destined to damage our environment. But, we never read about his votes on these issues in his mailings. Why? Because they are directly detrimental to the fragile environmental ecosystem on the East End.

While it may be premature to ascribe climate issues as the cause of the scallop die-off, we can be reasonably certain they were likely contributive factors. All this should be a sufficiently serious clarion call for a change in our congressional leadership. Mr. Zeldin’s blind sycophancy to the Trump agenda poses a distinct threat to all of us and we need a leader who embraces our interests. That is not Mr. Zeldin.



Air Time
North Haven
November 5, 2019

To the Editor:

CBS is at it again, promoting Trump’s personal story and agenda, as if it is news. This time, under the guise of son Donald J. Trump Jr. promoting his new book, called “Triggered, How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us,” CBS gave the boy a tremendous amount of air time (11 minutes) to run his mouth defending his father’s many horrible acts. The boy has perfected his father’s technique of steamrolling right through all probing questions being asked of him, while ignoring the actual substantive questions. He, like his father and the usual right-wing zealots, ignore awkward questions and stick to promoting their own talking points. This is not news.

This is precisely the kind of free airtime that the media foolishly gave to Trump back in 2015 and 2016, which got him elected. I find it outrageous that public airwaves should be so abused. This kind of thing is not news, it is campaign rhetoric, and should be paid for by the campaign itself, not by the taxpayers by granting free time.

It kills me to see the media doing the same damn thing they did the last time around. They are either deliberately biased, or making the same stupid mistake of thinking this is “fair and equal time” and honest reportage. It definitely is not! It is promoting the dissemination of falsehoods and deception.

The Fox syndicate has traditionally been the official Trump propaganda network, but now it looks like CBS is trying to join the club.


Rabbit Hole
East Hampton
November 10, 2019

To the Star:

There is a strangely delusional sense that our economy is booming and that we are going in a positive direction. In truth, we are going nowhere except down a rabbit hole of debt.

Poverty in the U.S. is a complicated, misunderstood idea. On the edges of socialism and capitalism are minimal or no poverty and extreme poverty. Somewhere in the middle is a formula that alleviates the pain and enhances an optimistic future. Can poverty be minimalized in a capitalist system where the primary objective is to maximize profits?

In 1962 “The Other American” by Michael Harrington explains that the U.S. has 50 million people living below the poverty level. In the richest country in the world 20 percent of the population struggles to survive. Today the same percentage lives in poverty. One third of the population lives day to day with no savings and no fall back.

While F.D.R.’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty tried to lift the country to a higher level, we remain, 50 years later, in a similar situation.

Why we haven’t moved the poverty dial significantly comes down to putting a square peg in a round hole. Economically we are 19 times wealthier than 50 years ago. Counting for population growth we have enough wealth to enhance three times as many people into middle class existence. We have welfare, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, Head Start, and dozens of assistance programs, so why are we so stuck in poverty?

We talk about the 1 percent, corporate greed, and the rich not paying a fair share of taxes, but all of that doesn’t change the essential calculus. If the government collects higher taxes it can provide more programs to fight poverty but that alone doesn’t solve the problem.

The distribution of wealth has to start at the bottom, and that is the crux of our long-term endemic poverty. The bottom is the minimum wage. In 1960 it was $1 per hour; today it’s $7.25. In current value the minimum wage in 1960 was worth $8.55 an hour.

Somewhere in the American psyche, embedded in our subconscious, enhanced by our virulent racism and hatred of immigrants (self-loathing because we are all immigrants) is a fear that paying a living minimum wage will undo the established economic and social order. This idea is so deeply ingrained that when you tell politicians that the minimum wage in Botswana is higher than in the U.S. they don’t even blink.

The only argument is market based. Let the free market determine wages. Supply and demand, etc. Except there are no free markets in the U.S. Never have been, never will be. All of our markets are manipulated, contrived, hedged, and denigrated (because we lie about them).

The argument that if people are paid higher wages goods and services will cost more is only true if we insist that profit margins stay the same. With higher wages people can afford to pay more and allow for domestic production to compete with low cost or near slave labor. Our economy would grow on the backs of U.S. workers making real products as opposed to money invested for maximum profits. With more money in their hands, people buy and save more.

The debate centers around the returns for shareholders verses the quality of life of the general population. The idea of “trickle down” was a brilliant scam that was completely discredited but has been resurrected. It’s really about trust. Should the country invest in its people or in its corporations? If the only thing that matters is maximizing profits then it is logical to go with the corporate experts. If quality of life is the goal, the experts don’t have the solution. Unless, of course, they are tasked with a quality of life problem.

When we establish a minimum wage we are talking about the amount of money an individual must earn to enable him or her to live in the world without government assistance. Not everyone lives alone and not all places have the same cost of living but erring on the side of excess money in the hands of U.S. workers is a small problem. At the minimum wage level every dollar earned goes back into the economy.

If we begin with a high minimum wage the succeeding wage levels will rise accordingly. The only rational way to redistribute wealth in the country is through wages and benefits. If we look at our corporate leaders — Koch Industries, Facebook, Amazon, and G.E. — it is obvious that we don’t want them directing the economy. If trusting them is the option, we have no real options.

In business trust is only about power. In government it’s about scheming. For people who work for a living it’s knowing who is screwing you, who votes against health care, wage increases, employee benefits, union rights, and wears a MAGA hat. In the current political vernacular MAGA means bend over. One more time.


Would Vote
November 10, 2019

Dear David:

Even if “a million Frenchmen can’t be wrong,” I fear that the 63 million American voters who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 might still vote for him in 2020 even if he inexplicably decided to fulfill his boast and test his theory that he “could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters.”

 I say this because I just heard someone on the radio suggest that she still would vote for him under such circumstances. So I can’t help but wonder how many Republicans would vote for him even if he shot an additional 20 first graders inside the Sandy Hook School, plus 17 more students and teachers in Parkland, Fla., plus 58 more concertgoers in Las Vegas, etc. Of course, even Donald Trump would never do such a thing, but I sure worry about the values of his voters.


Coming Back
New York City
November 7, 2019

To the Editor,

 Let’s face it, short of the civil war, the current political, governmental tumults, confrontations, inundating all levels of our nation are the severest ever. Totally agreeing with one of the few forthright, down to earth newsmen, Michael Goodwin (New York Post Oct. 27): “With no end in sight of the madness, it is wise to seize on any possible sign of humor to brighten the day.” In this spirit I get to delve into one of my favorite adventurer’s avocations, searching, researching for precedents, anthologies, and parallels to occurring vital national actions, and attainments of the pre-eminent leaders, commensurate with axioms of King Solomon’s.

 “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done; and there is nothing new under the sun,” and Plutarch’s Parallel Lives.

 One of an ongoing, unfolding crucial episode immediately springs up, an analogue, momentous, consequential, historical event, that was elemental in conceiving, generating the evolution of our civilization. An optimal juxtapose.

In the 13 century B.C., in Egypt: The Hebrew people living in Egypt were suffering under the cruel rule of the pharaoh. Their leader, Moses, asked Pharaoh to let them return to their homelands in Canaan, but Pharaoh refused.

In response, God inflicted 10 plagues on the Egyptians in a demonstration of power, and displeasure designed to persuade Pharaoh to “let my people go.”

Ultimately, it took all 10 plagues to convince the unnamed pharaoh to free all of Egypt’s Hebrew slaves, who then started their exodus back to Canaan. However, once the Israelites have left, Pharaoh changes his mind and pursues the Israelites to the shore of the Red Sea. Moses uses his staff to part the sea, and the Israelites cross on dry ground, but the sea closes down on the pursuing Egyptians, drowning them all.

Now fast-forward, westward, to us, U.S.A., our emancipator. He decreed, “I have decided to bring our boys back home.” We are leaving these ancient bloody sands, and I am bringing our brave men and women back home. We have been there a very long time. We have done them a great service, a great job, and now we are getting out.”

The American forces vanquished 100 percent the Islamic caliphate. We have won against ISIS. The job of our military is not to police the world; other nations must step up and do their fair share. Our young women, our young men, they are all coming back home. Etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.

 A president — living up to historical, biblical feats, triumphs, and beyond. Keep it up, sir.


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