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Letters to the Editor: 05.23.19

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 15:34

Inappropriate Stuff


May 20, 2019

Dear Mr. Rattray,

What a delightful and unexpected surprise I had when I went to the Town Hall to renew my dump sticker and was met by several beautiful big photographs of the sea by the artist Jane Martin. I felt transformed. What a pleasant way to wait in line to get a permit, and I couldn’t help but make the connection that recycling, which goes on at the dump, helps keep the ocean beautiful and clean, as shown in the photographs. And I applaud the town for mounting such a beautiful exhibit in this public building.

But then the downside. 

I was dismayed when I went to the dump and saw so much inappropriate stuff put in the various bins. Big plastic bags, presumably filled with recyclables, thrown into the bins that clearly state, “glass bottles, plastic bottles or cans only,” all kinds of plastic and metal garbage thrown into the plastic bottle bin, cardboard boxes that folks can’t be bothered flattening, and lots of other inappropriate stuff put in the recycle bins. 

What does it take to educate the town’s people? An attendant heard me muttering about it and said, “I’m not a policeman.” 

I’ve been tempted to suggest volunteer monitors to help with this problem. In the long run it is a lot more costly when people don’t sort their recyclables appropriately. 

Let’s get with the program, folks, and be more attentive to the signs and put recyclables where they belong.

And everyone should take a trip to the Town Hall to experience the beautiful photographs by Jane Martin that are on display there. They will bring you joy!


Credit Is Due


May 7, 2019

To the Editor:

  In your March 28 issue on the front page you printed Isabel Carmichael’s story about me, “Maralyn Rittenour, A Passion for Polar Places.”

In all humility, I have been surprised, flattered, and quite overwhelmed by the response from friends and acquaintances who, several weeks later, are still expressing favorable comments. In addition to readers of your fine paper, this article has been forwarded and circulated widely, not only locally, but nationally and internationally. My life’s achievements do not deserve such acclaim, but somehow the story seems to have “grabbed” people, for want of a better word.

Credit is due to Isabel’s excellent writing as well as Carissa Katz’s editing and placement. My heartfelt thanks to The East Hampton Star.



Caring Help

East Hampton

May 20, 2019

Dear David,

How fortunate we are to have a superlative urgent care center peopled with caring help, caring physicians, and Mack, the wellness dog. 



Remarkable Man

East Hampton

May 20, 2019

To the Editor:

It is with great sadness that the world learned of the death of Jean Vanier on May 7. Vanier, a Canadian who lived in France for most of his adult life, was the founder of L’Arche, a worldwide movement that creates communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities share their lives together L’Arche means “ark” in French). In 1964, Vanier, a former Navy officer and university professor, wanted to live a life of service, so he bought a small house in France and invited two men with intellectual disabilities to share this home with him for the rest of their lives. From those humble beginnings, Vanier’s vision saw L’Arche grow to include 154 communities and 21 community projects, in 38 countries, on five continents, including over 10,000 people with and without disabilities working together to create “a more human future.” The newest of those community projects is L’Arche Long Island, located in downtown Riverhead.

That is why many of us on the East End of Long Island feel Vanier’s loss particularly deeply. His death follows on the death of two of our own local heroes, Jean Lanier and Michel Berty, who were the principal founders of L’Arche Long Island. Due in large part to the tireless efforts of Jean and Michel, our Riverhead home opened its doors in 2016 to four people with intellectual disabilities (called “core members”) and the assistants who share life with them. And now L’Arche is at home on Long Island, and is part of our wider community. 

L’Arche, grounded in the spiritual values of welcome, celebration, and forgiveness, is committed to recognizing the importance of every person and the gifts of friendship we can offer each other. Vanier believed that simple gestures — hearing each other’s stories, sharing a meal, laughing together — could bridge differences and help bring about a more inclusive and peaceful world. We are grateful and proud that two of our local leaders, Jean Lanier and Michel Berty, believed in this vision and made L’Arche a reality right here on Long Island. 

On On July 7 the L’Arche Long Island community will honor these two remarkable men at a wine reception at the Jackson Carriage House in Amagansett from 4 to 6 p.m. Proceeds from this event will go to support L’Arche Long Island and help us realize our vision of creating new homes and programs on the East End.


Such a Change

East Hampton

May 20, 2019

To the Editor,

Well, what’s happenin’?

Myself, an accomplished building professional, knocked on the front door of an interested second-home owner from New York City about my services.

It was Saturday morn in the summertime, Hamptons, 1997. He had said to come by at 10. I rapped on his door at 9:59. Within a minute, this door opened, revealing a fist-hand holding a ringful of keys. 

The homeowner smiled and said, “Here are the house keys. Would you like coffee or tea?”

Giving him my answer, he ushered me to a large couch in the living room and started a conversation, the purpose of which was to get better acquainted. He had called me at the suggestion of one of my past customers, who apparently thought well of my work.

No mention was made of the work he wanted done for half an hour. He simply wanted us to get to know each other better. He even offered me a second cup of coffee, which I took, along with an apple turnover, napkin, and plate. We exchanged pleasantries, boasts, and jokes, and once in sync, he showed me what he wanted done.

I went through the measurements, trips to the lumberyard and hardware store, home to type up a detailed estimate and then over to the library to make copies. After a trip to the post office to mail his estimate, I returned home.

After three days, to retrieve his signed estimate at the P.O., I put his advance check into a local bank. I then entered his mansion and for four weeks completed our project, stealing nothing from his drawers or food from his fridge. I did not sleep there or have parties there, either, using hours 3 to 5 on Friday afternoons to leave his domicile very much cleaner and neater than it was on the Monday I arrived on day one.

Halfway through a project like this, no matter its size, I would be invited over for a sit-down dinner on a Saturday night to enjoy supremely made food and the company of two other friends of a customer who had houses nearby. The purpose of their presence was to get to know me, which they did, and of course within a few days to several months, these people would contact me and have me come over to do work on their site.

This was the late ’90s through 2005, a period bereft of doubt, fear, suspicion, and self-entitlement. There was mutual trust, respect, and awareness that our services were not just a result of physical energy, but of cerebral energy, of course needed since this service was, in fact, a science, not just a craft.

Then came a more recent time, along with its curious character. Since 2005 there has been a growth of three things exuded by the average second-home owner:

1. Impatience

2. Self-entitlement

3. Increased naïveté concerning the three-dimensional construct

Here is just one of many examples: I had been asked over to estimate on a job, by, yes, one of those homeowners from N.Y.C. I knocked on his front door exactly at his requested time of 10 a.m. on a Saturday morn. 

He opened the door, standing erect and controlling, looking down at me and almost yelling, “Where did you park your truck!”

“Have you got contractor’s insurance? Show me your card!”

“How much do you charge per hour!”

Since I needed the business, was willing to give him a little more time to relax. So instead of walking away, I put up with his attitude, as we talked about what needed to be done.

Even before I had a chance to assemble my figures, he demanded to know what it would cost and how long it would take.

I got up into his face, not inches away, and told him, “You cannot stuff 10 pounds into a 9-pound bag.”

He winced as I walked out the front door, yelling at my back, “Just where do you think you are going!”

I answered with a smile, “As far away from you as I can get,” got in my car and drove away.

I later heard from the person who had given my name to him that he called her complaining of what a jerk I was.

Those kinds of experiences were never had up until 2005 for me and many other professional builders I’ve come to know well over the years.

If anyone reading this story thinks they have the answers why/how there has been such a change in the common culture over the previous decades, feel free to inform me as such. My name and phone number is in most yellow phone books, showing my location as East Hampton.

My own theory is how the mass media — Hollywood films, radio programs, TV programs, arcade games, etc. — have over time seduced the common brain, mostly young and evolving sectors, into thinking life is just a game and it’s all right to cheat, lie, steal as long as you don’t get caught, because then you are not guilty and you can relax.


All Locked

East Hampton

May 20, 2019

Hi, Editor David,

My four kids are certain my ’85 Classic 500 SEL is defective and will never, ever, ever buy a Benz. . . . The 12 pre-sets on the radio are all locked on 88.7, WEER.

Thank you,




May, 17, 2019

To the Editor,

Remembering all the heros who died protecting their friends in the school buildings, I thought of the Bridgehampton Killer Bees’ love for opponents, honor through victory, and joy in the game. (What’s in a name.)


Don’t Spray!

East Hampton

May 20, 2019

Dear David,

Don’t spray your yard, spray yourself! 

Too many people pay good money to have pesticides sprayed all over their property, seemingly to gain some piece of mind about ticks. If you do this, or are considering it, there are so many open questions: 

Does it even work, and if it does, is it worth it? Is it worth killing so many other animals that do you no harm, just to possibly kill some ticks? What are they even spraying, and how safe is it? Is it even worth the money? Is there a better way to prevent tick bites that is less expensive, doesn’t cause unintended casualties, and-or has fewer health risks than spraying synthetic chemicals around the place you live? Would you support poisoning a whole community to kill a target individual if it also meant killing 10 or more times as many innocent civilians? If you said no, how could you support that idea on your own property? 

If your goal is to protect yourself and others from tick bites, there are many better ways. Check yourself for ticks! You can often find them before they have a chance to bite. Use Frontline or a similar product on pets. Treat yourself and pets instead of gassing your whole environment. 

They sell cans of permethrin (the same chemical they use in yard spraying) for spraying clothing to repel ticks. The great thing is, you can spray pants or shoes or whatever one time, and the effect lasts for some six weeks, and you can even wash the garment seven times before it wears off. Ticks and mosquitoes will literally die on contact. Just don’t spray it on your skin, as it is a nerve toxin and skin irritant; spray it on clothing well before you actually wear it, and it soaks in and gives lasting protection. If you’re going to use a toxic chemical, wouldn’t you rather use far less of it and in a more targeted way, rather than subject a whole host of other living things to it? 

Alternatively, or along with this, you can make or buy an essential oil-based repellent spray with natural chemicals from plants like gardenia, rosemary, cedar, clove, or tea tree. This you can spray on skin for added protection, or as a safer alternative to petrochemicals or to avoid sending your money into the hands of chemical and pharmaceutical corporations. These types of essential oils (usually rosemary and/or cedar) are the same ones used for yard treatments if you hire the natural spray, which some companies offer for the same price as the synthetic permethrin spraying. The natural yard spray still kills tons of things besides what you want to get rid of, but it’s at least an arguably safer chemical for people, and you can avoid supporting petrochemical companies. 

We have far too much of this lawn spraying in town, as evidenced by the little yellow signs in front of so many driveways. This is a beautiful area known for its natural beauty, and insects are a crucial part of that. When you spray for ticks or mosquitoes, it kills every other insect and arthropod too, and many of them die way more easily than ticks do. Ticks are so resilient and do so well around people, deer, and mice, that they will come back easily before less common and beneficial insects will. This can actually lead to making the tick problem worse than before, as the amount of food is still present for ticks, so they will just keep thriving while other animals they compete with will be kept down by pesticides and a lack of insects for them to eat. 

Be aware that yard sprays can easily kill bees, and a lot of people keep bees in this town. Your spray could kill or damage your neighbor’s beehive or colony — especially since bees can travel up to five miles from the hive! We all know how important bees are. Other insects are important too, and they belong to no one, so think twice before you choose to do something that threatens beneficial animals like butterflies, ladybugs, fireflies, etc. 

Please, share information about why not to spray your lawn and teach people how to deal with ticks in better ways that can be cheaper, more effective, and less risky for the health of our environment and ourselves. Say it, don’t spray it!


Details Matter


May 16, 2019

To the Editor:

Your article about candidates for the Amagansett School Board election listed some candidates’ credentials but not others’. More significantly, it misrepresented my views on affordable housing.

For the record, I hold a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University. I was formerly a writer covering finance and economics on the staff of the Sydney Morning Herald, Time magazine, Fortune magazine, and then Newsweek. I wrote and coauthored two published books on economic subjects. In past years I was a regular contributor to The New York Times’s Economic View column. Currently I work as editor and thought partner at a leading international think tank. Both of my children attended the Amagansett School.

I am most decidedly not an opponent of affordable housing in Amagansett or anywhere else. We need affordable housing. When it comes to development though, details matter. Once the Amagansett affordable housing project is occupied it is expected that the number of students in the Amagansett School District will increase. No one, not the housing authority, the town board, or any other official, knows precisely how the student population will change. If the student population increases significantly, especially in the middle and high school years, the district will have to either cut back on services it currently provides or pierce the tax cap to cover costs. 

Faced with that choice, no one, not the housing authority, the town board, or any other official, can predict whether the necessary supermajority vote will be obtained to maintain current service levels. It is far better policy for our small school district to provide for incremental increases in its student population rather than a large jump in a single year. That was, and remains, my concern about the Amagansett affordable housing project. I want to remain on the Amagansett School Board to assist in making future budget decisions well.

Yours sincerely,


In Agreement


May 18, 2019

Dear David

Recently, when getting ready for the Easter Egg Hunt at Amagansett School, I was told that we were not allowed to decorate the front of the school due to complaints from the community. No other explanation was given, just to keep all the décor in the back, out of view. At the school, we usually decorate in the fall for Halloween, in the winter over the holiday season, and for one day during the egg hunt. I went to the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee meeting on Monday, May 13, to seek their support. All members were in agreement that the school should be decorated. I wish to thank the A.C.A.C. for standing behind me on this. 

Also at our last PTA meeting at the school, Catherine Casey was a guest speaker. Catherine is in charge of Gansett Meadow, and gave us an update of the affordable housing project. She helped answered members’ questions. PTA is very excited about this project, and are looking forward to welcoming the kids into the school. 


Amagansett PTA

The MedCat

East Hampton

May 15, 2019

Dear David,

Why Chief Michael Sarlo should have to justify the town’s acceptance of the generous gift of a MedCat is beyond me. We are fortunate beyond words to be donated such a valuable, sophisticated life-saving piece of equipment. 

When we worry about, plan, and prepare for our residents’ safety, this machine saves lives and is something that we could have only dreamed about. Our police are thoroughly trained, and have been for years. 

To whomever generously donated the MedCat, thank you, very, very much. 



On Their Own


May 20, 2019

To the Editor, 

In last week’s Star Edna Steck requested that I live up to a “free drinks” bet with the town board. I had challenged the board to become Montauk heroes by standing up to PSEG in their effort to purchase 6.7 acres of Montauk residential property to be used for a new industrial substation. After submitting a 2,500-plus citizen-signed petition against the purchase of the site, four separate meetings with the board, one of which was attended by more than 100 concerned citizens beseeching them to come to Montauk’s rescue, and a huge 500-plus citizen-attended demonstration rally the board failed to make a single solitary effort on behalf of Montauk’s plight. That’s right: nothing, zero, zilch,  de nada. The town board’s total contribution to Montauk’s effort was Supervisor Van Scoyoc’s remark after a town board meeting in which 100 percent of Montauk attendees begged for help, or at least some sort of encouragement. “You have to be open-minded about this whole thing.” 

Well, it turns out Montauk and its people didn’t need to be “open-minded” or require any town board help after all. The people of Montauk stopped PSEG all on our own. The victory was the citizens of Montauk and theirs only, although if the town board insists, I will be more than happy to buy them all a victory drink. 

God bless Montauk and all who love and care for it. 


Energy Policy


May 16, 2019

Dear David,

When I read Christopher Walsh’s 5/9 story Town Urged to Pursue New Energy Model, I experienced one aha! moment after another. The expansive and comprehensive vision laid out by the East Hampton Energy Sustainability and Resiliency Committee covers all the bases: energy conservation, production, distribution, and storage. These hard-charging committee members truly are taking our local energy plan into the 21st century.

Some folks argue against the offshore South Fork Wind Farm because they assert that the town is ignoring some renewable energy strategies in favor of this offshore wind facility only. This Star piece illustrates very clearly that wind is just a part — but a necessary part — of East Hampton Town’s overall energy policy. Without it, we cannot reach our town’s laudable and ambitious renewable energy goals.

With the energy committee’s proposals enacted, East Hampton will continue to lead the nation in sustainability goals that will include an all-of-the-above strategy for local production, distribution, and consumer choice.

Wow! I am so proud of my town.



Action Oriented


May 20, 2019

Dear David, 

Here is an opportunity to get into the streets to show our support for action and our determination to prevent climate chaos:

Rally at Southampton Town Hall, Friday, May 24. from noon to 1 p.m., to support the Strike for the Climate happening in more than 122 countries around the globe. This is a nonpartisan, non-ageist (is that a word?), nonsexist, all-inclusive encouragement and reminder that only we as individuals can do the job. 

I am going as a participant in Drawdown East End, a member of Adult Allies Coalition for Climate Change.

“Drawdown” is the project described by Paul Hawken in his book that provides “The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.” Anybody besides me old enough to remember that brilliant resource, Smith and Hawken? I got my tools from them forever. This is even better, because it is comprehensive, lucid, and action oriented.

Drawdown is the idea that even when (not if, because that is unthinkable) we peak in our carbon pollution of the oceans and the atmosphere, we will need to go further — we need to draw back from the amount of carbon, the heat-trapping carbon dioxide and methane that are causing global climate change.

The book is based on the research and thinking of leading scientists and even policy wonks from around the world.

So join us at the rally, and get in touch with [email protected]. The Towns of East Hampton and Southampton are leading the East End of Long Island in foresight and action to reduce our carbon footprint. Come out and share the glow.



Green New Deal


April 1, 2019

Dear David,

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the favorite punching bag of Trump TV and the G.O.P. They’ve called her an “architect of chaos” for promoting the Green New Deal’s shocking idea that we can address the existential threat of climate change while creating good, living wage jobs and protecting a just transition for people in the fossil-fuel industry. 

In a recent town hall about the Green New Deal, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez called for fully funding the pensions of coal miners in West Virginia, while transitioning the state to renewable energy, and rebuilding the Flint, Mich., auto industry by producing electric cars. She says you can’t tackle climate change without tackling economic injustice. 

Many people think that’s a moral issue: that climate change falls heaviest first on the poor, who are the most vulnerable, so we have a duty to protect them. But the connection goes the other way, too, and that should concern even the most selfish billionaire: Economic inequality makes climate change worse. Even billionaires live on Planet Earth, and making the climate hostile to living beings will eventually affect all of us, no matter how much money and wealth you have.

Take the recent unrest in France. President Macron ignited a firestorm when he tried to institute a higher gas tax to meet the Paris climate pact goals. It was the last straw for small town and rural French residents, who have suffered two decades of increasing austerity and disinvestment in their communities. Public transit has been slashed to the bone. Wages have not kept pace with inflation. When the only way to get around is with your car, adding a carbon tax to your fuel costs is a boneheaded recipe for creating hatred of climate-friendly policy. 

Macron rescinded the gas tax increase in the face of what was called the Yellow Vest rebellion. What if, instead, he had pledged to invest in a massive mass transit and jobs program that would bring good jobs and clean transportation to France’s rural and small town communities? That’s the kind of project that the Green New Deal would promote: a win-win-win for the climate, entrepreneurs, and the struggling poor and middle classes.

The Green New Deal aims to get everyone on board with a bold investment in all America’s communities — rural, urban, poor, middle class, and more. It will boost domestic entrepreneurship. It will boost jobs that can’t be easily exported to low-wage countries. It will spark huge innovation that could actually Make America Great Again. And it could just save our future.

Those who say that’s impossible are the real architects of chaos — climate chaos. We can’t afford not to do the Green New Deal. 

New York’s Climate and Community Protection Act is New York’s Green New Deal. It will be voted on in this legislative session. Please support it. 




May 20, 2019

Dear David

From a document discovered during the renovation of a local historic structure, “Report of the Common Whipper, March 1668”: 

“Called to the East Hampton Town Trustees to adjudicate a matter. Erastus Wiman had been caught eavesdrop­ping when it was discovered he had drop­ped through the eaves. There was evidence of a number of strategically placed ear trumpets.”

“I was witness to the following conversation. From Elisha, ‘Erastus Wiman, What the heck?’ From Erastus, ‘you people are in cahoots. I overheard evidence of missteps, missdeeds and general nincompoopery.’ From Elisha, ‘We are the powers that be!’ From Erastus, ‘You are the powers that should get the sack!’ From yours truly, the Common Whipper, ‘how are you planning to pay for this? Serious crimes need new whips.’ ” 

The rest of the document was torn off.

Respectfully submitted and all good things, 


Hidden Agenda


May 20, 2019

Dear David,

As I read the paper, I was bewildered by the fact that the “deep state” has surfaced here. The reported underhanded recording of a trustee meeting has reached a low point. Actually, I am astonished that someone could do that. The hidden agenda is obvious.

Considering this is a family newspaper, printing a “quote” verbatim of the four-letter word and others need not be done. There are other ways that a reader would know what the quote is, by disguising it as other papers do. In addition, there have been other disturbing letters such as the one a few weeks ago, whose paragraphs focus on “necrophilia.” I do not think that “print all’ is necessary if it borders on bizarre.

Yours truly,


Curse Words

East Hampton

May 18, 2019

Dear David,

I am upset that you chose to print the expletives when quoting Francis Bock in the article “Covert Recording Brings Tempest to Trustee Office.”

It would have been better to simply replace the curse words with [expletive] as most news outlets do.


Political Diatribe


May 18, 2019

Dear David:

Your editorial last week, “Recordings, Illegal and Dangerous,” was also jaw dropping but slanted in my belief to actually make accusations toward certain persons without allowing a proper investigation. It seems as if you are the judge and the jury and show your prejudice. Your accusation I did not go “immediately to the authorities” is a lie, as I told you and Christopher Walsh. That is the first thing I did. I also called the Department of Environmental Conservation and I had a conversation with Michael Sarlo. I later called you out of respect that you were on the tape and thought perhaps you could provide a time line as to when was it done. 

Actually, you did help with the time line: From Oct. 4 you said, when you visited the trustee building and someone else said the conversation about them was in February. So it would seem that someone recorded conversations in the trustee office from October into at least February. Around five months? October was certainly a long way away from the beginning of endorsing anyone for the 2019 election campaign, and whoever did the recording couldn’t have known anything about who the Independence Party was going to endorse. I didn’t know and nothing had even been discussed. I don’t think David Gruber knew any of the information until the whole town was talking about the subject, but then you seem to have a prejudice about David Gruber, so why not include him in your political diatribe editorial.

Whoever did do the recordings, I would think would have had to spend a lot of time in the trustee office. The fact that you suggest that the tapes only go after certain trustees instead of nine is perhaps because it is James Grimes, Bill Taylor, and Francis Bock who seem to be sitting around discussing what is best for East Hampton. The other six trustees are apparently not privy to these conversations. In fact is it true that Francis Bock and Bill Taylor use a private e-mail address to send information back and forth so the other six trustees don’t get all the information pertaining to trustee business? Could it really be true that Bill Taylor believes that those people in Wainscott and all others who don’t support the Deep Water project are a—holes? Do they really sit around and gossip about other town officials? Although you may think that James Grimes telling an applicant at the trustee office during business hours that it is okay to break the law when cutting phragmites, I don’t think the Department of Environmental Conservation would agree with you. In fact, is it possible that the applicant taped James Grimes? Anyone in the office could have done it. 

Does Francis Bock really believe that if Rick Drew doesn’t stay in line about the Deepwater project that he will never again be endorsed by the Democratic machine? I would think that Francis Bock and Bill Taylor, who both get two salaries each from the taxpayers of East Hampton Town, would have better things to do than sit around and gossip. 

In my opinion your editorial judgment has been clouded, perhaps by the thousands of dollars spent for advertising by the Democratic political machine of Chris Kelly. To imply in your editorial that perhaps David Gruber, Dell Cullum, and I were complicit in this matter is a big stretch, David, and I can’t wait to talk to the district attorney again. You owe all of us an apology.

Sincerely yours, 



East Hampton Independence Party

It Is The Star

East Hampton

May 17, 2019

 Dear David,

Under pressure of time and space, I have to break a personal rule and write about three distinct matters in one letter. First, I missed your deadline last week to say thank you to the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce for giving the East Hampton Fusion Party the chance to participate in its wonderful Spring Fair. The day was magnificent, hundreds of people stopped to chat at our booth, and more than 120 people took the opportunity to sign the nominating petition to get our slate of candidates for town offices on the ballot. That’s more than 20 percent of the signatures we need in a single day!

The second matter concerns your front-page story about an audio tape made of some town trustees and sent anonymously to several people in town. After choosing to publicize both the existence of this tape and its contents, you editorialize that the recording undermines the public’s “fragile trust in government.” Bizarrely, you then state that, “David Gruber (that’s me), Ms. Jones’s Independence Party’s choice for town supervisor, has been uncharacteristically silent.”

Obviously, you are trying to connect me to this matter by innuendo, although your own news story does not mention or so much as refer to me. Quite properly so, because I had nothing to do with this tape or with the decision of anyone who has it to give the material to the press. I am not among the people to whom the anonymous tape was sent, I have not heard it, and no one consulted me about sending it to the newspapers. I did not know about your story before it was published. 

As you must surely know, I could not comment (“uncharacteristically silent,” you say), because your reporter never called to tell me about the story he was writing and ask for my comment. It seems that to avoid being tarred by The Star, I now have to be psychic about what you are going to write and make sure to comment in advance.

I have since been told that the other newspapers in town were also sent this material yet did not choose to write about it. Indeed, as far as I know, the only one in town who has said anything publicly to disclose either the existence of this tape or its contents is The East Hampton Star itself. From your own article, it is clear that it is The Star that informed trustees heard on the tape that it exists and what they are heard to say. 

It is The East Hampton Star itself that created the “tempest” amongst the trustees that you then write about. While you are busy pointing fingers at various people about undermining public trust in government by publicizing this tape, perhaps you should stand in front of a mirror and point at the person you see there. Trust in government, as with trust in the press, is earned by behavior. It is not due as of right.

And now for the real news, far more worthy of a place on your front page than the tempest in a teapot about a tape. As correctly reported last week in The East Hampton Independent, according to letters from Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Management Council (RI-CRMC), Deepwater Wind’s review process, the so-called “federal consistency review,” has been suspended by Rhode Island while Deepwater seeks to address concerns of the State of Rhode Island about adverse impacts on commercial fishing, including threats to navigation of fishing boats, damage to fishing gear, and loss of catch. Among other things, according to a letter from the RI-CRMC directly to Deepwater, “the CRMC cannot conclude that the SFWF/SFEC (South Fork Wind Farm/South Fork Export Cable) project is not located within a moraine, an APC (Area of Particular Concern) or sensitive habitat areas.”

In a bit of role reversal, I called the East Hampton Independent to confirm that it has a copy of a letter on federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management letterhead saying that Deepwater’s coastal operations plan review is suspended at Deepwater’s request, the publicly available suspension agreement submitted by the RI-CRMC to the federal bureau, and that the plan will likely be resubmitted in the fall.

In sharp contrast to Rhode Island, here in East Hampton our town board does absolutely nothing — not one blessed thing — to champion our own local commercial fishing industry and see that it is protected from harm and loss due to the offshore wind farm. Quite the reverse, the town board shills for Deepwater Wind. Supervisor Van Scoyoc and Councilwoman Overby, while I was present in the room last year at a Democratic Committee meeting, publicly belittled the concerns of our own local fishermen. 

The town board says that it will participate in the New York State Public Service Commission review of the project, but it has done nothing, engaged no professional assistance, nor done anything else, to prepare for that review and make a case to protect the interests of East Hampton. Van Scoyoc, Overby, Burke-Gonzalez, and Lys insist on remaining absolutely ignorant about any and all of the local impacts of the project, including effects on our fishing community, beaches, and residents. They are derelict in their responsibilities to the people of East Hampton. That’s what ought to be front-page news.



Deepwater Fringe

East Hampton

May 20, 2019

Dear David,

Your editorial about the illegal and dangerous covert recordings is spot on as it goes, but the perpetrators could have been after much more important confidential information. It appears that the room that was targeted was the conference room, a room that is used for trustee conference calls with our special counsel, the attorney representing us in all aspects of the Deepwater Wind project.

In the event the perpetrators were intercepting and passing along confidential information to the anti-Deepwater fringe elements of the Republican, Independence, and Reform parties this could be a much more serious matter.

The room is also used to discuss other legal actions that the trustees are involved in along with confidential personnel and bidding issues.

We are asking the district attorney’s office to find out who did this, what information was compromised, and who received it and when. Thank you for your newspaper’s coverage of this outrageous criminal act.


In addition to being an East Hampton Town trustee, Mr. Taylor is a Natural Resources Department waterways management supervisor. Ed.



May 20, 2019

Dear Editor,

This weekend hundreds of residents and visitors each day will visit Wainscott Beach (Beach Lane). They will enjoy one of the most popular East End beaches — the heart of our small community. They will then happily stop at Lisa and Bill’s farm stand on their way ut to buy produce grown right there. We cannot allow Wainscott Beach and farms to be industrialized by Deepwater’s ill-conceived plan to land high-powered cables at our beach and in our community.

As Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. said to us in March: Never take a developer’s first few offers and suggestions. “Developers always insist on their preferred site until they are told they cannot have it.” Being pro-green should not mean acting blindly, nor following self-interested project developers like lemmings. Initial desktop analysis by outsiders unfamiliar with the East End might reveal Wainscott to be a conceptually interesting option. A small hamlet with few voters. Even better! While some members of the town board recognize the issue, the town supervisor and the rest of the East Hampton Town Board don’t live in Wainscott (and same for the Town Trustees). You can almost see the developers’ eyes go wide with excitement.

Fortunately everyone underestimated the dedication and passion of the Wainscott community to preserve the rural character we all cherish. No one believed that we could leverage the Article Seven process to force a proper review (not the town board’s rush to judgment, where the narrow majority nearly tripped over themselves at every turn to please Deepwater) of the other routes that Deepwater itself proposed as viable alternatives. Perhaps a closer review —not on their computers hundreds of miles away — would reveal even better alternatives that do not require tearing up a residential neighborhood and haven. 

We have not been lulled into thinking this fight is over, but we are encouraged that all parties have opened their ears and eyes to the notion that you don’t just take a developer’s word, and then blindly follow whatever they want. You can be pro-green energy and anti-residential routes.


Lazy Hypocrites


May 20, 2019

To the Editor:

To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, labeling the Wainscott residents who oppose Deepwater’s industrial electrification of Wainscott as Nimbys (not in my backyard) is the last refuge of intellectually lazy hypocrites. Intellectually lazy because rather than address the merits of the best available alternative for Deepwater’s proposed landing site, they resort to ad hominem arguments. Hypocritical, because most of those who support the Beach Lane site or write in to The East Hampton Star to attack the Wainscott residents don’t have to live with the consequences of their own actions.   Fortunately, despite the town supervisor having done no work on the Wainscott site other than realizing that there are more votes in other parts of East Hampton, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the New York State Public Service Commission will evaluate the landing site at Wainscott Beach on the merits relative to other viable alternatives.

Nimbyism, as written by Professor Willam Fischel (Economics) at Dartmouth, is a rational response to the risk of adverse neighborhood impacts and home ownership devaluation, particularly given that homes are such a large proportion of most residents’ net worth. Moreover, particularly with an offshore wind project that has no precedent in New York State and has had problems in Rhode Island (e.g., uncovered high-voltage cables on the beach), Wainscott residents are fairly concerned about risks that, while not necessarily likely, could still be realized and adversely affect their community. This is the reason prior landing sites proposed by Deepwater in other states (e.g., Rhode Island) were moved to nonresidential areas after community opposition. 

Of course, certain East Hampton residents who live far enough away from Beach Lane attack Wainscott residents as selfish and uncaring. They complain: “You don’t care about global warming. How selfish for you to worry about laying high-voltage cables and 20-foot vaults in front of your home when the planet is dying. Just accept what we are imposing on you and sacrifice for the common good. Someone has to do it, and we’ve chosen you.” 

Of course, they do so without considering any siting in their own neighborhoods or whether the Wainscott Beach is really (based on federal and state regulations) the best available landing site. As soon as they hear that the project is renewable, they are oblivious to the fact that this is an energy project involving the distribution of high levels of electricity and fail to consider facts pursuant to a rigorous, independent review which has not even been undertaken. This is reckless. 

Fortunately, the Nimbys in Wainscott will push for a decision based on the merits rather than ideology and emotion. As reported by The Guardian, academic case studies of opposition to development in Australia and Spain show that local protesters, while evidencing an element of self-interest, “were addressing real issues of bad planning, which were being ignored or discounted by the authorities and developers.” Moreover, regardless of the integrity of Deepwater, their interests, or others’, pushing wind power might not be fully aligned with the interests of the Wainscott community. 

As demonstrated by the East Hampton Town supervisor, public officials might choose to push a political agenda that does not fairly balance the local adverse impacts against broader needs, particularly in a low vote area such as Wainscott. To simply accept the Wainscott site because East Hampton needs to “go green” is facile. Accordingly, Wainscott residents are providing a worthy service to the East End by raising with regulators the issues presented by a Beach Lane landing site. For example, at the most basic level, why is the landing site in a residential community when Deepwater concedes that an alternative nonresidential landing site is viable?

So before wind power activists dismiss a Wainscott resident who opposes Deepwater as a NIMBY, they should spend the time to get informed about the best available sites, question the motives of those pushing the Wainscott site, and consider what their position would be if they personally had to live with the consequences of the policies they would impose on others. Indeed, if a better site were developed through the regulatory process, they might just want to thank a Wainscott NIMBY. If you are a NIMBY, stand your ground. You just might help your town do the right thing. 


Without KHTO

East Hampton

May 19, 2019

Dear Editor:

As Memorial Day weekend heralds the beginning of the summer season, residents of East Hampton and across Long Island will steel themselves for the onslaught of commuter helicopters and seaplanes, and corporate and personal jets. The endless daily trips, at all hours, to and from the East Hampton airport (KHTO), destroys the quality of life for persons living below the routes, especially those within close proximity to take-offs and landings. 

But it is not only our quality of life that is at stake, it is life itself — human health and the natural environment are threatened by the adverse effects of fossil-fuel emissions. Just this week, we learned that in all of human history, atmospheric CO2 levels have never been this high. East Hampton Town leadership has been proactive on energy sustainability. It is time to connect the dots and declare KHTO, the largest source of fossil fuel in our town, a hazard.

And what about the dangers of flying over populated residential areas? The unsafe conditions of the Sierra transition route, where helicopters mix dangerously with jets and other fixed-wing aircraft at low altitudes over village properties, still exist despite the alarm of “chaos” sounded last summer by the airport control tower chief. Why hasn’t Robinson Aviation or the town issued a report? Why aren’t helicopters flying the most direct route — over Georgica Pond — into the airport instead of flying farther east, then heading back west to approach the airport.

Southold Supervisor Scott Russell, for the first time, has publicly called for shutting down the airport. This is a sea change. Up until now, North Fork elected officials were demanding all helicopters fly over the Atlantic, essentially moving the problem from one area to another that is already experiencing, at drastically lower altitudes, the intolerable consequences of unrestricted air traffic. 

Three months ago, Bill O’Connor, the Town of East Hampton’s outside legal counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration Part 161 application to enact restrictions, advised the town board to begin the public visioning process for alternative uses of the 600 acres of town-owned property in preparation for when KHTO can be legally closed in 2021. “It is time to think about, and to present alternate options,” O’Connor said. Planning to close the airport, he said, “should be pursued parallel to Part 161.” 

Think of all the community benefits that could be derived by converting runways, parking, the terminal, and hangars into solar energy, recreation, parks, open spaces, nature trails, affordable housing, and low-impact small businesses, artist studios, and high-tech offices. At present, all revenues from KHTO operations, by law, must be spent on the airport. Taxpayers do not benefit at all. 

Let’s start the public discussion for a better future for residents, families, businesses, visitors, the environment, and the generations to come. A future without KHTO. 


We Are Fortunate


May 19, 2019

Dear David,

Growing up in East Hampton as the granddaughters of immigrant grandparents, we saw firsthand the challenges that come from immigrating from a more impoverished country, learning another language, and making it in the land of opportunity. 

We were taught that hard work and education were the key. Vacations were few and far between, and every penny was thoughtfully spent. 

My grandparents believed in our community. As a vital part of the East Hampton community, they served and supported our town and its hamlets. They did so through business, volunteering, and township positions, community organizations, but above all through strong community friendship. Mostly, they modeled this in everyday life for their children and grandchildren.

In this local election, ensuring that we have a Justice Court that recognizes and understands all aspects of our community is essential. Thankfully, we have a current town justice, Lisa Rana, who does just that! 

She has a reputation for being fair, impartial, and for treating all those who appear before her with dignity and respect. We are fortunate to have someone with her experience and judicial demeanor serve our community.

Recently, Justice Rana was interviewed on the local program “The Democratic View.” Here, she talks extensively about her background, our community, and how she conducts a fair and impartial court. I invite you to take a look:

Please support East Hampton —  and vote for Justice Lisa Rana on Tuesday, June 25, the Democratic primary.



City’s Energy

Massapequa Park

May 16, 2019

Dear David,

Ordinarily, Long Islanders would not care what New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio does unless it affected them in some way. Well, his decision with regard to where to purchase the city’s energy needs clearly impacts us here on Long Island.

Instead of investing in solar power and the offshore wind which will be generated locally, something that would assist in creating jobs here, the mayor wants to buy renewable energy for municipal use from Hydro Quebec, a Canadian hydroelectric company.

As Long Islanders, we ask the mayor to reconsider his decision and choose to buy the city’s renewable energy locally, and give its neighbors on Long Island the bonus of solid, long-term jobs.


The Garb

Too bad that togas

Are worn only at frat parties.

If they were still the garb of senators,

The purple stripes

Might redden some blood;

The shoulder-broadening,

Bowleg and belly hiding

Statuesque folds

Might stiffen some spine,

Might even embolden an oration:

“How long, O Donald. . . ?”



East Hampton

May 20, 2019

Dear David:

Now that the first year under Mr. Trump’s tax cut plan is behind us, we can begin to write its epilogue.

Remember in defending the huge tax cut for corporations, Trump promised that the huge corporate tax cut would result in job retention and growth in the United States. Instead, companies he visited for photo-ops and touted their obeisance to his scheme of “America First” closed plants here (Carrier), laid off workers and moved factories to foreign countries (Harley-Davidson).   Notably, AT&T, cheered for giving $1,000 bonuses after the tax cut, has quietly laid off more than 23,000 workers. Generally, instead of rewarding workers, the bulk of the corporate tax windfall went to stock buybacks and shareholder dividends — just 6 percent went to workers. So, rather than benefits inuring to the “forgotten,” whom Trump promised to protect, Trump’s plan worsened the plight of the “forgotten” and further enriched the wealthy.

Remember that Trump promised the tax cuts would create economic growth so fantastic that it itself would pay for the $2 trillion deficit experts projected. This boast, too, has fallen prey to reality. 

In fiscal 2018, Trump’s administration ran up a deficit of $779 billion; in the first six months of the 2019 fiscal year, the deficit is already almost $700 billion. The cause: lower tax revenues — the most profitable companies paid no income tax in the 2018 tax year. As salt in this wound, the interest payments on Trump’s economic irresponsibility will cost $600 billion over 10 years! And, if Trump has his way, it’s going to be we who will foot this bill.

It’s time to end Trump’s bankrupt economic policies and the lies he spins to camouflage his incompetence. Our presidential “Apprentice” should suffer the fate of his failed reality show contestants: This November, let’s tell him “You’re fired!”

The epilogue to Trump’s tax plan points to an even harsher impact closer to home. In contrast to the euphoria inside corporate boardrooms, New York taxpayers suffered. We lost deductions for state and local taxes. For many of us, this loss dwarfed the higher standard deduction. Now, in the throes of a re-election fight, Trump blames our lawmakers for not fighting hard enough to preserve these deductions. As a well-known sportscaster said: “Let’s go to the videotape.” 

The G.O.P. drafted the Trump tax plan (with White House input) behind closed doors, allowing no input from Democratic lawmakers. Ultimately, every Democratic New York lawmaker voted against the Trump tax bill, and it was only after passage was assured that our spineless congressman, Lee Zeldin, voted against the bill. So, as Trump now suggests, it was incumbent upon Mr. Zeldin (and his neighboring colleague, Peter King, among others) to have fought for their constituents, and according to him, they would have succeeded. 

For once, I agree with Trump: As he now makes clear, in failing to stand up for us, it was these guys who spit the bit. But Trump cannot escape blame. If he knew his tax plan would so hurt New Yorkers, why was he such a cheerleader?

The smokescreen that will undoubtedly descend upon us in the next election cycle should not dim the view that Mr. Trump and his sycophant, Lee Zeldin, cannot be trusted to protect our interests. We can’t afford any more of Trump’s increasingly dangerous G.O.P. circus.



To Constantly Smile


May 19, 2019

To The Editor: 

I am appalled by the sheer coldheartedness and cruelty of some conservative Republicans in forcing victims/survivors of incest to give birth to the child of their evil predator. I guess they feel that these women and girls have not suffered enough and have not been damaged enough. 

For five years, my heart ached as I listened to the most disgusting and despicable acts that were committed against them by the men in their lives, who should have loved them and protected them but instead made it impossible for them to ever trust a man. As one victim/survivor said to me, “If you can’t trust your own father, then how can you ever trust any man?”

I asked the therapists and counselors who had a lot more experience than the five years that I had as a therapist and counselor working in the field of alcoholism, drug addiction, and mental health, if they have ever heard of an incest victim-survivor who had a happy, successful, long-lasting romantic relationship. Every one of them said, “No. Never.”

There was a therapist who was an incest victim-survivor. A lot of the clients/pat­ients/consumers would ask me, “Why does she always smile even when there is nothing for her to smile about?” So I asked the more experienced therapists/counselors about this because I had noticed this myself and didn’t understand it. They told me that it is common for some victims/survivors to constantly smile, and that it is a way for them to try to hide and cover up how dirty they feel inside and how much they hate themselves and how unhappy and miserable that they feel inside.

These conservative Republicans who are doing this should be ashamed of themselves.



Church-State Dialogue

East Hampton

May 19, 2019

To the Star:

When the Constitution was being written, the debate over religion was intense and almost violent. Franklin and some others proposed that religion should not be mentioned anywhere in the writing. The compromise was the acceptance of people’s right to worship whatever they pleased (except for Native Americans and slaves) but without any right whatsoever to impose their religious beliefs on anyone else. God was not the issue. It was the interpretation and the distortion of the message that had always posed the problem.

The history of religion and the idea of the king being the head of the church were sufficient to make religion a bête noire for the founders. After all, Franklin correctly argued there is absolutely nothing in religious beliefs that doesn’t exist in the secular world. Karl Marx agreed and thought it should be prohibited.

There are two essential components in the church-state dialogue. One is the incompatibility of religion and democracy. In our situation, Christianity has a symbiotic relationship with fascism which demands unquestioned adherence. The deviance of our mercantile mentality was abetted by supposedly religious piety. The second is the role of the government in people’s lives. Governments may control the basic rules and regulations of our society, but it should not control our bodies and how we use them.

The obvious danger of American Christianity was the absence of Jesus. While individuals believed and lived with the word of Jesus, almost no Christian institutions gave him more than lip service. In a country of intense and constant violence, whose defining characteristics are revenge and punishment, our churches were mostly in lockstep. No wars or genocides were too horrific for their tastes. Hiroshima, slavery, 15 million dead Native Americans. A thousand years of penance wouldn’t be enough. 

So, abortion. There are legitimate personal reasons why people would be opposed to abortions. But based on historical performance there are no religious institutions that can legitimately oppose abortion based on their behavior. The right to life as a Christian idea is so absurd that only in our quasi-deranged universe do we attempt to make it legitimate. Furthermore, the founders never gave this right to any religious institutions. They have the right to worship. That’s it.

Criminalizing abortion is counterproductive to resolving the issue. If we were really concerned about the problem we would look to the sources. Men who create unwanted children, even if they didn’t intend to, could be sterilized or castrated. That would give them something to think about before they partake in frivolous sexual behavior. Pre-emptively, we could start by sterilizing all males in Alabama and eliminate the issue entirely. Just kidding?

There is a strange analogy between terrorists who use Islam to justify their behavior and pro-life adherents who use Jesus to support theirs. Cherry-picking abortion from the plate of our nation’s anti-life behavior seems disingenuous.

Maybe pro-life Christians need to search their souls and study their history, as they do with school killings and drug deaths. Do what you do best. Thoughts and prayers but no politics.


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