November 1, 2019
We have lost one more of East Hampton’s finest kind — all of us.
Something Is Wrong
November 4, 2019
To the Editor,
My beautiful hometown of Montauk — these words have been churning within me for some time, scattered, submerged. I’ve been making all the standard excuses for not getting around to this letter: I don’t have the time. I’m not sure anyone cares to hear this. There are already people in charge. The universe will work itself out.
But my heart is telling me that something is wrong, and I’m starting to realize that the only time we have is right now. So here it goes:
Montauk, we are in a state of emergency. Our waters are poisoned. Our fishermen are imprisoned on open seas. Our children are being fed a dystopian dream, and every year, more of us are forced to abandon the hamlet we grew up in in desperation for a life we can afford. Our psyche is damaged; our identity clouded by trends and dollar signs.
I believe we are suffering collectively, but like the rest of the world, we allow politics to further divide us.
One of the most precious, unique aspects of this town is our camaraderie. We watch each other’s kids without question, we fund-raise for the suffering, we speak (loudly!) when we believe there is injustice. But we are turning a blind eye to our own loss of quality of life, the drugs sneaking into the hands of the young and the compromised, the habit we have of tolerating being berated by strangers for less than five months, only to take it out on each other or ourselves, usually at a bar late at night or, more regrettably, on social media.
I am asking our leaders — more honestly, I’m begging them — to take their roles more seriously than they ever have before. It’s time to swallow our pride and our personal politics and remember that we are a town built on the good of the hive.
Montauk, when will you remember that the conveniences of today will not outweigh the generational consequences of tomorrow? Who are we trying to hold back the tide for? I can still see the opportunity for change before us, but I also see the window closing, and I can’t stand silently anymore.
My dream is to raise my own children there, to show them the same surf breaks and walk them through the same school halls. I am not naive to change. The world is ever expanding, and so too must Montauk. But we can retain the empathy, and the beauty that draws so many newcomers here like moths to the flame, who stand on our bluffs staring out at forever, who put their arms around us at closing time and say, “This place is truly special.”
Respectfully, and with hope,
November 4, 2019
There are many things the Town of East Hampton sorely needs, but I believe a studio art center is among the most important for many reasons. A building including individual rentable studios with shared amenities where local artists can create work in all its forms would be a great asset not only to the many creatives in town (some say we have the highest per capita in the country) who require affordable space, but also to the curious public hungry to engage with authentic creativity and its process.
We are a town obviously steeped in artistic heritage, beginning with Thomas Moran and the early artist summer colony, continuing with Jackson Pollock and the Abstract Expressionists, and today we are home to many notable contemporary artists. Despite this history, our many amazing institutions and museums, and the presence of many collectors and enthusiasts, we lack the kind of community center dedicated to creating art that is surprisingly common in many other towns and cities. Younger artists and those of lesser means simply can’t make the work for lack of dedicated space and nearly all move away to larger cities.
There is no future for an arts community in this current situation. Affordable studio space is nearly impossible to find, just as housing is, and is further complicated by the fact that the town outlaws stand-alone studios with a bathroom.
I want to emphasize that artists need special consideration because we aren’t like plumbers, lawyers, or carpenters who have a reliable income through a straightforward trade. The path of the creative is uncharted and unique in every situation, and cannot thrive without some support. Indeed, many studies show that a strong arts community is a huge economic driver for many communities and serves to strengthen social bonds while enriching people’s lives tremendously. I believe that the Town of East Hampton absolutely benefits from its artistic community and heritage and it’s time to give back to this underserved population.
The real estate prices are the biggest obstacle here, but many existing underutilized structures exist that would serve the purpose well. I point out the former C.D.C.H. School building in Wainscott, currently owned by the town and undergoing restoration. I also point out LTV Studios in the same neighborhood, also owned by the town, which has a whole floor of acutely underused space.
Some may remember the former Amagansett Applied Arts building, formerly a small art school with a darkroom, print studio, and computer lab. The building now houses Grain Surfboards and features a great little wood shop in the basement, and is up for sale again after years of near vacancy under the ownership of the infamous Sackler family. I believe this building above the others would serve the greater community as a dedicated art-making space, pairing nicely with an existing artisan workshop.
I write this because I want to get the ball rolling for those who feel the same, and to build support for this endeavor, wherever and however it may manifest.
November 4, 2019
As a summer resident of Gerard Drive from 1964, I have noticed since the culvert was built and continuously dredged a degradation of Accabonac Harbor.
Some of the issues for residents on Accabonac Harbor are interrelated: Accabonac shoreline flooding, caused by accelerated sand sedimentation from the bay entering through the culvert, raising water levels. This leads to shore erosion, which, along with sedimentation, blocks drainage of vector ditches. This increases the mosquito population, posing disease risks.
As far as most know, there has been no scientific research measuring any benefits to water quality from the culvert, in fact many sections of the harbor remained closed to shellfishing.
The real issue is cesspool leakage into the harbor from many of the houses near or on Accabonac.
My proposal is to require any Accabonac shoreline homes to convert to a low or no-nitrogen-emitting sewage system. This would minimize the single argument in favor of maintaining the culvert and would allow the harbor to return to its natural state.
Ebb and Flow
November 4, 2019
To the Editor,
Thank you for the editorial about the important work that the CARP team has started on looking at the problems of beach erosion in the bays from Gerard Drive to Lazy Point. One beach area that does not seem to be included in that group is Fresh Pond Beach, and this would be a great disservice.
As an almost 20-year resident several yards from Fresh Pond Park, I have seen this beautiful and important shoreline drastically recede, and watched the stream that keeps the pond viable open and close with each passing storm. When we moved there, the beach in high tide was out about three-quarters of the jetties. And the stream ran along the north jetty adjacent to Little Albert’s Landing. This provided a small beach perfect for the many families with young children who could wander into very shallow water safely. And the stream provided the ebb and flow into the pond that has kept it healthy.
Over the years the stream has migrated south, cutting the beach in half, and the beach has eroded so badly that it now only goes out about one-third of the jetty. This leaves very little space for families to sit and let the children roam.After a recent storm the stream completely closed and the town had to dredge it open.
Fresh Pond Park and beach are very popular with families for parties and swimming — and of course the July Fourth fireworks. So I hope that the members of CARP will also look at the problems at this beach that is so important to the residents of north Amagansett and Springs.
November 4, 2019
In response to recent statements that appeared in the local press regarding Mayor Rickenbach’s opinions about transition plans upon his retirement in December, we would like to make the following clear to the public:
We respect the mayor’s decision to announce his impending retirement in December, and we believe that any decision regarding how best to transition from the mayor’s retirement to the June election should be made openly and transparently.
There is no vacancy at this point and the mayor has indicated he won’t retire until Dec. 31. Should the mayor formally retire in December as he has indicated, we believe the board should have a public discussion at a public meeting before deciding on how best to facilitate the transition. The most important thing in our opinion is for the village to be efficiently and effectively managed during the transition period until the next mayor is elected in June and installed on July 1.
Jerry Larsen’s false allegation that the village board is being unethical by simply following New York State law after Mayor Rickenbach leaves office at the end of this year is offensive. The law provides that the deputy mayor shall assume the responsibility in the absence of the board appointing a mayor until the next election.
Mr. Larsen’s unethical assertion is unfortunately typical of his self-serving propensities, since it was his own lack of ethics and abuse of authority for his own personal gain during his tenure as village chief of police that precipitated the unanimous decision of the village board to refuse to renew his employment contract with the village in 2016.
November 4, 2019
Election day has come and gone, and we are all still here no worse for the wear. Hopefully, though, we all are better informed and more motivated to question the town’s elected officials moving forward.
The political demographics in East Hampton are unique. The truth of the matter is East Hampton registered Democrats (8,700) outnumber the combined total (4,900) of registered Republicans, Conservatives, Independents, and Libertarians. Only when you add (4,000) those not registered with a political party is the total of unregistered Democrats less than (200) the combined total. What makes this all interesting is the fact that East Hampton, with a year-round population of 21,000, has the highest percentage (85 percent) of registered voters in the nation. The New York State average is 55.3 percent, Suffolk County 53 percent, and the state with the highest total of registered voters is Maine, at 77.1 percent.
What I will tell you from the Republican camp despite the overwhelming enrollment edge, a bumpy start due to several factors outside of our control, and that some in the community that were professing the Republican Party in East Hampton to be defunct, our candidates (Republican, Democrats, and Independents) excelled. Our philosophy was to bring issues to the forefront, make our elected officials respond and articulate their decisions, to give a voice to the growing segment of our community that is increasingly feeling more ignored by the day. We believe that elected officials that represent a supermajority must not lose sight that whenever a political party dominates the government more often than not, segments of the community become disenfranchised and underrepresented, as is the case in East Hampton.
Congratulations to the winners from both camps and thank you to those who did not. Putting yourself out in the public eye for all to scrutinize and criticize is not an easy thing to do. The pressures to raise funds to run a campaign, win the favor of voters, and still maintain one’s interpersonal relationships with family and friends is a constant struggle in any campaign.
Now go forward and be the best you can be.
East Hampton Town
Find a Child
November 1, 2019
To the Editor,
After reading Russell Stein’s letter to the editor dated Oct. 15, I can only hope he is the stupidest person in town. I suggest he find a child to explain the signs to him.
November 1, 2019
Re: Laura Donnelly’s Oct. 31 “Seasons by the Sea”: Food cheating reflects the thinking of a lot of people who struggle to defend their eating choices despite having some awareness of their destructive nature. She questions her food lifestyle, which is a good thing, but I am disturbed by some of her thought processes and feel that she is misleading her readers by promoting her ambivalence. Making an informed food choice requires nutritional, environmental, and ethical considerations.
Ms. Donnelly stated that it would be daunting to give up yogurt, butter, milk, and cheese for breakfast. There is a massive volume of literature substantiating that dairy consumption is unhealthy and should definitely be avoided when recovering from a myriad of diseases. Canada recently removed dairy from its 2019 nutrition guide. The water use as well as air pollution associated with dairy farming is excessive and unnecessary, and is well documented in peer-reviewed journals worldwide. Dairy cows are forcibly inseminated until they can’t produce milk anymore, at which time they are sent to slaughter only five years into their 20-year life span. Their journey to the slaughterhouse is barbaric, as is their short time at the slaughterhouse. Their calves are almost immediately removed from them after birth so that we can have the milk that is designed and intended for the calves, not humans. Male calves are confined to a small area to prevent muscle development so that their flesh is tender for human consumption as veal. As the saying goes, there is a slice of veal in all dairy products. They are fed a non-iron formula, which makes them anemic so that their flesh has acceptable coloring for human consumption. The life that we impose upon dairy animals and the consequences imposed upon earth so that humans can consume dairy (an unhealthy product with respect to each of three aforementioned food choice considerations) is a daunting reality.
Ms. Donnelly implied that giving up bacon and ham would be too challenging. Again, there is a substantial volume of literature suggesting that pig consumption is unhealthy nutritionally and environmentally. The World Health Organization classifies bacon as a group one carcinogen. Hog agriculture is one of the worse environmental offenders. Pigs create a lot of manure. Where do you think the manure goes? It goes untreated into the air, soil, and water. Pigs are castrated and have their tails docked without the benefit of painkillers. The majority of pigs live in very small indoor spaces. They often don’t see the light of day until they are boarded to be transported for slaughter at very young ages. The average life span of a pig is approximately 11 years, yet meat pigs are slaughtered at approximately 6 months of age and breeding sows average 4 years of age. The U.S.D.A. recently eliminated slaughterhouse processing speeds for hogs. Apparently, the current slaughtering speed of approximately 1,100 hogs per hour was too slow and inefficient. The new legislation also reduces federal inspections by 40 percent, leaving the slaughterhouses to effectively monitor themselves. The slaughterhouse employee turnover rate is extremely high and there are psychological consequences associated with continuously killing sentient intelligent individual beings. Yet it is too much to ask humans to not consume pigs.
Ms. Donnelly stated, “Sometimes I want some shrimp for a cocktail appetizer.” The shrimping industry is recognized as a leader in fisheries bycatch, nothing for the industry to be proud of leading, or for individuals to be proud of eating. The shrimping industry creates approximately 30 percent of total bycatch or approximately 10 pounds of bycatch per pound of shrimp eaten. The bycatch includes endangered and threatened species such as sea turtles, which often are dead and thrown overboard. I am frustrated that shrimp bycatch statistics are so readily available and yet many people choose to eat shrimp. Are people not aware of shrimp bycatch or do they not care about all the individual sentient beings they kill to consume shrimp? In passing, it is important to mention that the worldwide commercial fishing industry is depleting our oceans at a rate that has led to a massive change in its fragile ecosystem.
I could comment on the nutritional, environmental, and ethical issues pertaining to all the animals and animal products mentioned in this article, but will comment on only one more, eggs. After having their very sensitive beaks cut back (debeaked) without pain medications, female chickens for the most part live their lives in a crate, which limits their movements; they can’t spread their wings. Their floor space is approximately 70 square inches. The female chicks each lay hundreds of eggs annually partially because of forced molting. Molting involves starving the female chickens to create stress, which somehow results in their laying eggs at much higher rates. A wild chicken would only produce about 20 eggs annually. When they can’t lay eggs anymore or at a fast-enough rate, they are sent to the slaughterhouse to face a barbaric ending to their lives. The approximately 300 million male chicks born into the egg industry are ground up, suffocated, or dumped into garbage cans to be starved immediately after birth. There is a substantial volume of literature pertaining to the significant environmental externalities associated with the chicken industry. Nutritionally, eat eggs and you will get plenty of fat and cholesterol.
Unrelated to this article, the European Union won’t allow chickens produced in the United States into their food supplies because they are dipped in chlorine and the E.U. people don’t want to eat chlorinated chicken. Can you blame the E.U. people for not wanting to eat chlorine? Animal agriculture in the United States utilizes approximately 80 percent of the antibiotics consumed in the country, which is a threat to the health of those people consuming animals and animal products. Space limitations prevent me from bringing forward so many more pertinent food-related issues.
I encourage everyone to think nutritionally, environmentally, and ethically when making food choices.
Makes No Sense
November 4, 2019
Your article of last week, “LIPA Airs Wind Farm Power Rates,” does not uncover an important fact in the LIPA publication, one that shows how improperly high is the price of the first 90 megawatts of the Deepwater Wind South Fork project.
Imagine an absurdity that matches what is happening with Deepwater: You go to a farmers market and on a small table is a small bucket of corn at the price of $1.60 per piece. On a very small table next to it sits an even smaller bucket of corn selling for 86 cents. The corn is the same quality, grown on the same farm, so the different price makes no sense. At an adjacent farm, the same farmer harvests six times the amount of the same quality of corn and sells them for 80 cents per piece. No corn lover would pay $1.60 per piece from the same farm area unless they were being forced to.
The corn metaphor shows that it is nonsensical to allow Deepwater to receive the proposed price per output for the 90 megawatts section. The recent LIPA article shows that the 90 megawatts section of the Deepwater project will receive an initial price of 16.0 cents per kilowatt (also shown as 16.3 cents on a graph). It states that the 40 megawatts section of the very same project would receive substantially less at 8.6 cents per kilowatt. Additionally, the report shows on the graph that the two large, accepted New York projects, Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind, are 816 megawatts at 8.7 cents per kilowatt and 880 megawatts at 8.0 cents per kilowatt, respectively. The 90 megawatts of Deepwater, if it were alone, should be evaluated as extremely high priced. Because the same project also has output that will be sold at only a little more than half the price, the price of 16 cents per kilowatt is absurd. That absurdity is increased by the fact that right next door in the ocean the same company will build Sunrise Wind at six times the output all at one-half the price per kilowatt.
In 2018, I did an Excel spreadsheet, which I shared with the public, that calculated almost all the Deepwater prices for the 90 megawatts. This included a first year cost between 16.0 cents to 16.34 cents. On Oct. 7, 2019, I submitted the spreadsheet to the legal case of Deepwater. Finally, LIPA published an update around Oct. 28, 2019, that showed that my calculations were correct. Unfortunately, the Town of East Hampton and many people in the public realm have not done any, or any adequate and good, financial analysis of the Deepwater project.
My recent calculation using New York State comptroller numbers shows that the monthly average client cost for the 90 megawatts output is predicted at $6.15 per month for each of the 1,100,000 Long Island customers. That is dramatically different from what supporters of Deepwater state as the monthly price — $1.19 or less they say? And they never discuss that all Long Island customers must pay. Constructing Deepwater as a new high-priced small 130 megawatts makes no financial sense.
I am a huge supporter of energy production that does not produce carbon or other environmental negatives. However, that does not mean that one should support all wind farms or solar farms. The very high price of the Deepwater 90 megawatts must be paid monthly by the 1,100,000 Long Island LIPA/PSEG customers. The price and electricity are not just for the East End. Publications by LIPA/PSEG from 2016 and 2017 show that major cable upgrades are being developed from Riverhead to the east. The upgrades will fully connect East Hampton and Southampton electrical needs to stations and substations west of Shinnecock Canal.
On Nov. 28, 2018, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority said that wind farms should ideally be 800 megawatts or larger and that they should never be below 400 megawatts in size. That would reject Deepwater but the construction of the 130 megawatts of turbines unfortunately does not require New York State approval. Deepwater has not yet received required approval from the United States or Rhode Island.
Landing Deepwater cable anywhere in East Hampton and the construction of a new substation next to houses near Cove Hollow are unnecessary and problematic if done. Long Island electricity goes everywhere and announcements from LIPA in 2016 and 2017 provide proof that transmission enhancements starting in Riverhead will allow the East End to receive full electrical needs for the future from western outputs of Long Island.
Deepwater Wind South Fork provides little energy compared to other new wind farms. What it provides is not needed because the other large wind farms will be built soon. The Deepwater electricity price is absurdly high. Its substation and cable installation in East Hampton have triggered strong opposition? Most of it correct.
My only solution is for Deepwater to combine with its nearby 880 megawatts project, Sunrise Wind. The price for the 90 megawatts portion can go down yet the company will still make good profits. The cables will all enter the LIPA substation at Holbrook on Long Island. If this cannot work, then reject the project.
November 4, 2019
To The Editor:
Sunday, Joe Ricketts, the founder, former C.E.O., and former chairman of TD Ameritrade (and with a net worth of $2.7 billion as of 2019 according to Forbes) was given a 10-minute segment on CBS Sunday Morning to flog his new book and expound on the goodness of free enterprise.
Joe, a billionaire Republican supporter, appeared with a backdrop of Wall Street graphics to acknowledge that he is the darling of conservatives with his statement: “Free enterprise has come to be seen as the province of the conservatives.”
Next he added that: “Liberals praise something more like socialism,” with a graphic background of a guy among a small group of youths holding a prominent sign stating: “Kill Capitalism Before It Kills Us!”
Joe then said: “My progressive liberal friends worry that free enterprise is unfair, producing inequality.” Although he acknowledges some inequalities, he continued to say, “These folks talk as if there will always be a big pot of money, and the only question is how to divide it. Where does that pot come from? It comes from free enterprise.”
To grab more attention, he stated that he is “100 percent certain there will be a recession,” hedging that he doesn’t know when. Thus rendering that threatening opinion useless. His dramatic false narrative sets up the misunderstanding that “liberals” are “so-called socialists,” and against free enterprise.
This is an unfortunate, narrow, and inaccurate portrayal of what is actually the Democratic and progressive view. There is actually a wide range of opinions held by Democrats that vary considerably about the economy. I have heard none that are against the freedom of enterprise. Mostly, progressive discussion is about the need for reasonable regulation to ensure fairness of product, employment, and compensation.
No progressives of any meaningful significance promote the abolition of capitalism, creativity, or the freedom of enterprise. Just a cautionary concern to avoid an absolute freedom, one entirely deregulated, as was first attempted during the Reagan era.
Joe lists his extremely profitable successes developing his company, and rightly is proud of how many well-compensated employees he has created. All good. But he means to leave us thinking liberals would deny him this success. “Free enterprise is the engine for us all” is his parting shot. Most of us agree about that, we need to maintain it and protect it from rampant greed and abusive disregard.
As recently as this February, USA Today reported: Ricketts, 77, apologized in a statement for the content of his emails that were published by the website Splinter News. His son, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, called the father’s emails “racially insensitive” and said “the language and views expressed in those emails have no place in our society.” He also sought to distance his father, a longtime backer of conservative politicians, from the baseball franchise, one of baseball’s most valuable and iconic Major League teams.
The meanness of his racial and religious bigotry is shocking if you choose to read press coverage of this situation. It is hard to understand why CBS, granting use of its public airwaves licenses, put on this obviously biased political promotion as if it were a balanced factual and fair opinion, especially without a corresponding opinion in support of fair regulation. In my opinion this is a blatant campaign pitch for Republican successes in upcoming elections.
Shame on CBS!
October 30, 2019
Immediately after announcing the death of a killer, rapist, kidnapper, and so much more, attempts were made to downplay this mission or find a negative angle on which to spin it.
For security reasons this mission was kept a secret, but the left, jumping up and down screaming, “I wasn’t told.” Ms. Rice hollering that Obama should have been advised, why, why, tell me why: So it could be leaked and become a failure?
President Trump destroyed a coward, as he blew up his own children. Now we have the left defending the leader of ISIS. Headlines: al-Baghdadi, a scholar, father, murdered. Jamie Lee Curtis added her two cents, and the left is screaming about what a great man this brutal murderer who has caused pain and death on so many was killed.
Unlike President Obama, who announced the beheading of the journalist, walked away and played golf, yes, remember, walked off the golf course and played golf, President Trump, after watching in real time the accomplishment of this mission, had a press conference and then called the parents of the young lady abducted, raped, and tortured by this so-called leader of ISIS.
In God and country,
Angry White Men
November 2, 2019
They bust through the doors of the secure meeting room. There are 20, maybe 30 of them. They are men, white men. Wearing blue suits, white shirts, blue ties, and black shoes. They have blue eyes, blond hair, and white faces. Red faces. Angry faces. Demanding their rights to know something. Cellphones in hand working to alert the world that they are a force to be reckoned with.
Here to protect their rights. Their privileged position in our universe. How brave and fearless they are. Abused, battered, deprived of their exalted status. God, how can we not feel for them? Are they the “human scum” that Trump assailed last week or are they just a bunch of scumbags?
The story, however, is about lies. Constant lies. Endless lies. Fourteen a day by lie counters’ estimates, 5,050 a year, 15,150 in three years. What is truth? Fact? Fantasy?
Except this story isn’t about lies, yet. Public knowledge. Real transcripts. Live testimonials. Fact, sans dispute. No amount of backtracking and bullshit can obfuscate the reality of spoken words. Too dumb not to know better. Too arrogant to really care. Too many white men in blue suits willing to deny the truth and cover their asses.
We dropped more bombs in Vietnam than we did in World War II. We dropped more bombs in Iraq than we did in Vietnam. Bombs and lies and white men in blue suits talking about Jesus.
What’s wrong with Vindman? Too Jewish (not his fault). Too honest (sworn oath). He’s white enough but not the right white. No blue suit. Has to be a closet commie (there aren’t any more left). We know that white men in blue suits (G.O.P.) have always had a problem with Jews and with soldiers who survive wars.
“Lock him up” — truth in sickness. What comes around takes us into the gutter. Too repugnant. How much lower can we go? Too “blanked” up.
Kelly was right. The genius screwed up. No place to go but down. All the angry white men in blue suits in the world can’t change the story. Even if they do a Nixon on the transcript. Oops! They will give it their best shot and should take the fall with their feckless leader.
November 4, 2019
While searching Donald Trump’s year 2000 book, “The America We Deserve” for his (false) claim that he therein presciently called for the killing of Osama bin Laden, I did come across these even more amazing claims:
“I would center my presidency on three principles: one term.” (Page 276)
“Jeb Bush is a good man, who’s exactly the kind of political leader this country needs now and will very much need in the future.” (Page 280)
“Hillary Clinton is definitively smart and resilient.” (Page 281)
“Bill Clinton could have gone down as a very good president. Instead he goes down as a guy they tried to impeach.” (Page 281)
“We need to come together as a people, and we will find the leader we need. Where? Maybe our next great leader is walking down Fifth Avenue.” (Page 286)
Oops! Trump just shot that leader dead, to test his “and not lose any voters” theory.