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Letters to the Editor: 07.11.19

Wed, 07/10/2019 - 10:59

Marvelous Job
July 5, 2019

Dear David

I want to offer my thanks and congratulations to the East Hampton Town Highway Department for the marvelous job they did renovating poor old weather-beaten Gerard Drive. Many months, many rocks, and many gigantic machines later, the town’s crew has thoughtfully engineered a new road that not only looks as if it will endure the gruffest northeaster, but also looks just plain great. With scores of precisely placed stones, the Highway Department has crafted a sturdy new road — and a beautiful one.


Library’s Service
July 8, 2019

Dear David,

I always knew I lived in a special community that boasts two institutions, located right across from each other, that admirably serve the community: Guild Hall and our East Hampton Library. I will give you an example of the library’s service.

A few years ago I went to the reference desk to request a movie I saw long ago, “Angel With a Trumpet.” It is the story of an Austrian family who manufactured pianos, the title being their insignia on each piano. Set in the ’30s, it features a brilliant Austrian actor, Oskar Werner, who toward the end of the film shouts from great heights the name “Hitler,” loud and clear. It was bone chilling. I never forgot that.

I went to the reference desk a few years ago and requested the film. Manning the desk that day was Steve Sparato. The film was not listed in any archives. A few days ago, I was in the library with my granddaughter, and that same gentleman, Mr. Sparato, handed me a disc, saying, “I found that film you wanted on YouTube, ‘Angel With a Trumpet,’ and recorded it for you. They almost had to pick me up from the floor. All I can say is bravo!



Salt of the Earth
East Hampton
July 1, 2019

Dear Editor,

I would like to express my gratitude to two local, homegrown individuals who have recently retired. Both of these men dutifully fulfilled the role of civil servants for multiple decades.

I first met Barry Johnson at local running and biking races. Since then, I have come to know him as a respected officer of the peace. It was an honor to be at his walking-out ceremony and see the respect given from his fellow first-responders for Barry. My family wishes his family enjoyment and success in their next chapter in life. 

Scott Fithian also has recently retired after nearly 30 years of working and running the Village of East Hampton’s Department of Public Works. Being myself a former resident of the village, Scott was the man behind the scenes who year after year kept Main Street one of the loveliest in America, and it was to my and all residents’ and visitors’ benefit that he cherished his job the way he did.

I want to personally thank both Barry and Scott for keeping my family safe, and my hometown beautiful, for more than the last two decades. They are both salt of the earth gentlemen.

With deepest respect,


Deeply Honored
July 1, 2019

Dear David,

I want to express my sincere gratitude and thanks to everyone who came out and voted on June 25 in the rain. As a candidate stepping into the public sphere for the first time, the support I felt in the primary election was inspiring and humbling. Thank you. The nomination I earned is a testament to an open and competitive democratic process.

I’m grateful to my opponent for testing this process in our primary race, and I am deeply honored to be the Democratic nominee for town justice. I look forward to meeting and speaking with all of the residents of our community in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 5 general election. For now, I hope we can all pause for a moment and spend some time with family and friends and enjoy this Fourth of July weekend. My sincere thanks again to the primary voters in last week’s election, and I look forward to running in the general election in November.



Again Grateful
East Hampton
July 8, 219

Dear Editor,

A huge thank-you to all the residents of East Hampton who came out for the June 25 Democratic primary and voted. As a result, I am once again grateful to be on the slate for the coming election in November.

I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of a team effort and collaborating on various trustee committees, and initiated projects in my first term.

All the East Hampton Democratic trustee candidates are dedicated to their commitment to preserve and protect our natural resources, the inherited responsibilities of the Dongan Patent, and all have the knowledge, eagerness, and innovative ideas that will invigorate our goals.  

I could not be more proud of our accomplishments to date and to once again join a great team of Democratic candidates. I’m looking forward to seeing you in the coming weeks and months, and thank you again for your support! It is truly an honor to help my community — it’s a meaningful way for me to give back to a town that has given me and my family so much. 

Kindest regards,


Marsh Madness
July 8, 2019

Dear David,

In March, basketball enthusiasts around the nation tune in for March Madness. But on July 17, Springs residents and visitors can tune in to the upcoming public forum, Marsh Madness — everything you wanted to know about critical issues affecting our own beautiful Accabonac Harbor marsh and what you can do to help keep it beautiful. It’s being put on by the Accabonac Protection Committee.

Want to know about the impact of sea level rise? Joyce Novak of the Peconic Estuary Program will talk about new maps P.E.P. has developed showing where losses to the marsh and surrounding land are likely under different sea level rise scenarios.

How about making the marsh more resilient or even restoring what has been lost? Acclaimed marsh scientist Nicole Maher from the Nature Conservancy will talk about marsh restoration efforts and what has been learned about the best way to do it.

Scared of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses? Don’t like spraying for mosquitoes? Want to know what to do about the conundrum of control? The inimitable Tamson Yeh, pest management specialist (and stand-up comic L.O.L.) from Cornell Cooperative Extension, will talk about mosquitoes — threats, controls, and what you can do to keep from getting bitten.

There will be ample time for questions from the audience, moderated by marsh scientist and professor emerita Judith Weis.

The forum will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on July 17, 2019, at Ashawagh Hall. Refreshments are included. Don’t miss it!



Accabonac Protection Committee

Increase Recycling
East Hampton
June 24, 2019

Dear David,

We should collect and sort all the recyclable materials we can, but if there’s one that’s most worthwhile, it’s aluminum. All aluminum is recyclable, not just cans, but to-go containers, foil, appliances, furniture, and tools. Aluminum is the most valuable material out of all the common recyclables, yet over $700 million worth is thrown into landfills each year in America, enough to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet four times a year. That aluminum could be easily recycled instead, and domestically too.

Simply taking stuff to the dump is not recycling. The material still has to be sold to a processing facility to be recycled, and these facilities only want what they can make money off. The collection facilities also want to keep cost down and make a profit off what they collect by ensuring it is already sorted and cleaned, as they may not even want to collect it if they can’t profit from selling it to processors. Processing does take energy and resources and money, but it actually requires 95 percent less energy to recycle aluminum than it does to refine new aluminum from ore.

Processing usually consists of melting down a material, separating out impurities, and re-forming the material into blocks or beads for sale. During processing, some material may be lost; this amount can be upward of 20 percent for many plastics, but is less than 4 percent for aluminum, if any is lost at all.

Plastic is a chain of molecules, which are compounds of elements, but aluminum is an element, so it is infinitely recyclable in theory. Unlike compounds, atoms are not easily destroyed on earth, so an element like aluminum can be melted, cleaned, and re-formed indefinitely. The same is true for virtually all metals. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t recycle plastic, too, but it is less profitable for resale, and must be properly cleaned and sorted to increase its value if we want to see more plastic recycled.

Since recent news about China accepting fewer recyclables from the U.S., I’ve heard some people express hopelessness with recycling. This news mostly relates to plastic being shipped to China where they have more processing facilities, but there are plenty of processing facilities in the U.S. too, especially for the more lucrative materials like aluminum and paper.

The way to increase recycling rates is to keep providing clean, well-sorted material on the consumer level so less energy and labor is required to process it on the industry side. Ensuring a steady stream of valuable materials will create business opportunities for domestic companies to open new processing plants, thus taking China out of the equation and solving the problem of us overloading their systems with poor-quality material.

Unfortunately, too many people in our town are either dissatisfied with the recycling system, don’t care or know enough to feel inclined to collect recyclables, take dirty or unacceptable materials to the recycling center, or are under the impression that their garbage gets sifted through for recyclables so they don’t need to sort it themselves.

Local carting services don’t separate the recyclables themselves, they ship your trash to sorting centers UpIsland. These centers have to pay for labor and energy to pick out the valuable material from literally tons of trash. If the consumer sorted and cleaned the valuable materials first, it would reduce the cost of sorting at a facility, which could allow them to squeeze out a profit on material like plastics that would otherwise be financially prohibitive to actually recycle.

Maybe it’s easier for some services to simply send the whole load to a sorting facility, but objectively the preferred system would be to have materials properly sorted by the consumer so that there is less cost along the journey back to market. This allows domestic facilities to turn a profit and creates financial incentive to process recyclable materials that might otherwise be thrown in a landfill.

This, of course, requires that consumers be both educated about what can and can’t be recycled, and inspired to properly recycle to make a difference. I very much want to see this happen, so I will continue to write in to help educate at least the people of East Hampton so that we might reduce our waste.

I’ll leave you with some final facts: Around 75 percent of America’s waste is recyclable, but our recycling rate is under 35 percent. If we could reach 75 percent it would reduce pollution by nearly the same amount as removing 50 million passenger cars from our roads.


Legal Procedure
East Hampton
July 7, 2019

Dear Editor,

On June 24, 2019, the East Hampton Town Trustees held their regular scheduled meeting. One of the items on their agenda was to set up a meeting with the East Hampton Village Board. The items that were mentioned to be discussed were the creating of laws on the beach, the brochures that the village distributes, and the information that appears on the village’s website. The town trustees’ concerns are twofold. The first is that the village is creating laws that affect people using the beach without having the agreement of the town trustees, who actually own the beaches. The second, is that the information that the village is distributing makes it appear that the village owns the beaches, when in fact it does not.

Article 77 of the East Hampton Village Code describes the legal relationship between the village and the East Hampton Town Trustees. To be clear, the village does not own any beaches, they only own the parking lots. The East Hampton Town Trustees own the beaches. Those beaches include Main Beach, Georgica Beach, Egypt Beach, Wiborg’s Beach, and Two Mile Hollow Beach.

Article 77 of the village code contains all of the laws that may be enforced on the beach, such as dogs on the beach, vehicles on the beach, and fires on the beach, etc. If the village desires to create a law that will regulate something on the beach, they must have the East Hampton Town Trustees’ approval. If the town trustees do not approve, the law cannot be enacted.

Village Code Article 211: The Village requested approval from the town trustees pursuant to Article 77 of the village code to enact a law prohibiting smoking on the beach. The East Hampton Town Trustees did not grant approval. The village board disagreed and enacted a law in another article of the village code which applies only to village-owned property. However, they included “Village Beaches.” One big problem: The village does not own any beaches! They even went further and had signs installed at all of the beach parking lots stating “No Smoking on Village Beaches.”

Village Code Article 139: The village enacted a law that requires gatherings of 50 or more people on the beach to acquire a permit from the village. This requirement has never been authorized by the East Hampton Town Trustees. In fact, the permit requires a town resident to pay $500 for the permit and village resident to pay only $100. None of this is authorized.

Please understand, it is not about whether you think smoking is okay or not okay or charging a fee to use the beach is okay or not okay. It is about government following a legal procedure to create valid laws that will be upheld if challenged.

These laws they have created cause a serious legal situation for the Police Department, code enforcement, the village prosecutor, and if not resolved, the village taxpayer. If in fact these laws continue to stay outside of Article 77 (Beaches) of the village code or the town trustees do not agree to defer to the village’s large-assemblage permit process and summonses/arrests occur, the village may find themselves liable. It is unfortunate that the village did not follow the correct procedures when creating these laws. Hopefully the upcoming meeting will help correct the problems.


Candidate for Mayor

East Hampton Village.

Railroad Trestles
East Hampton
July 3, 2019

To the Editor:

In view of the extremely costly and prolonged period of time projected for elevating the railroad trestles, for example, at the junction of Cove Hollow Road and Route 114, why not simply deepen (by a very few feet) and more broadly extend the current dip to minimize a slightly deeper dip in the road, thereby providing the needed 14-foot clearance at that railroad crossing and perhaps at other such sites with similar need for more clearance? Thanks in advance for your help in getting the answer.


Stop Signs
East Hampton
July 7, 2019

Dear Editor:

Traffic has increased through the entire area and needs to be dealt with. While the town planners peruse a large example of layouts for a roundabout, the Highway Department could be putting up stop signs at the corners of Long Lane/Two Holes of Water Road, and Stephen Hand’s Path. And maybe that would work to make the intersection safer (it has been tried and true in many cases) before tackling a project that would look like a miniature golf course (sans the lighthouse to drive through) like the one recently encompassing the intersection of Buell Lane (Route 114) and Toilsome Lane, a time-consuming, money-consuming hodgepodge of shapes, which are confusing and spread over a wide area. The Two Holes of Water intersection can be managed by four stop signs without building an amusement park for traffic management.

Please give a straightforward solution a chance, and put away all those suggested layouts for roundabouts. And we won’t have to yell “fore” each time we stop.

Save the wonderful space we have. Drivers will learn how and when to stop before driving through the intersection, maybe even learning to slow down a bit before it appears, and making our roads safer. Think about it. There are several miniature golf courses within driving distance of East Hampton.


Dangerous Situation
East Hampton
July 5, 2019


Firstly, thank you for bringing the public’s attention to this very dangerous intersection: For years the intersection of Long Lane/Two Holes of Water and Stephen Hand’s Path has been a dangerous situation. It is not uncommon to have two to three-car collisions at this intersection per summer. In the summer, entering from either Long Lane or Stephen Hand’s Path it’s not uncommon to have 5 to 10 cars waiting to get through the intersection, with drivers getting anxious and frustrated and trying to speed through before the next block of traffic cuts them off.

As you rightly noted, Steven Hand’s Path has become an alternate route from Route 27 to the Northwest Woods and the Springs, and nothing is going to really discourage that traffic as long as traffic through the village is so heavy and growth continues. That leaves us with the decision about how best to control the traffic and make it safe.

I don’t agree putting a four-way stop sign would help in any way, and, in fact, it would probably make it worse in the summer, as a lot of drivers don’t know the rules and etiquette when approaching a four-way stop; who has the right of way if cars reach the stop at the same time, how and when do you start alternating, etc. A roundabout has the advantage of keeping the traffic moving safely, while also creating a little bit of a slowdown. I would compare the intersection to the area where Scuttlehole Road meets Mitchell Lane, although there you only have traffic coming in three directions, not four. That roundabout seems to work very efficiently.

I’m glad that the town is finally addressing this very dangerous intersection. At the same time they should consider what to do about the rainwater run-off from the farm that causes continual flooding along Stephen Hand’s Path and the intersection of Route 114 where the guardrail on the southwest corner continually gets sideswiped because cars careen through the intersection making a left turn from Route 114.



Political Reasons
July 7, 2019

To The Editor: 

Springs needs and wants a cell tower. Springs Fire Department needs and wants a cell tower. About three years ago, the Springs F.D. built a cell tower at its Fort Pond Boulevard location. In doing so, they made a foolish and regrettable mistake in the way they went about the project.

Using this procedural error as an excuse, the East Hampton Town Board has kept the tower turned off and is now, for strictly political reasons, proposing other sites in Springs, sites which will lead to endless further studies and no doubt to contentious and rancorous public hearings. This constitutes a hazard for those who need the services of our Fire Department and our E.M.T.s and a huge inconvenience to many Springs residents, particularly in the northern reaches of Springs. I know, I live there.

Is it the town board’s proper function to punish the Fire Department for a foolish mistake or to assist in providing the services needed and wanted by Springs residents and to do so at the least possible cost in money and time, lots of time? The answer is obvious.

The Fire Department wants to build another, larger, and even more effective tower on their property, and Zach Cohen has suggested to them a site on their property which puts the tower as far away from existing homes as possible. This solution solves the problem quickly and puts the revenue derived where it belongs — in the hands of the Fire Department, not squandered on the fuss and feathers of continued bureaucratic squabbling.

The town board owes it to the Fire Department and to the citizens of Springs to end this prolonged, unnecessary, and costly mess without further delay.



Simple Equation
East Hampton
July 8, 2019

Dear East Hampton Star,

I’ll get right to the point. Has anyone noticed that in the last year or so our utilities have become quite erratic? I notice the problem mostly when I cook, but also in other places. For one thing, the lights over my stove used to be steady. Now they flicker at all times of the day. When I have the exhaust-hood running, I can hear the motor fluctuating regardless of how high or low I set it.

The same is true of the pool filter motor. I’ve also noticed that perishable stuff in my fridge has a tendency to go bad much too quickly. Yes, I have a reliable refrigerator thermometer and, yes, I have the thermostat set to keep everything under 40 degrees F. So answer me this: Why did meat and poultry known to be freshly butchered and purchased on Wednesday, July 3, properly stored in the coldest part of the fridge, go bad by Friday, July 5? I’ve previously had problems with milk going bad five days or more before the expiration date. This happened a lot last summer as well. And my dishwasher hardly washes dishes anymore. 

I’ve also noticed low water pressure. It manifests in our showers mostly, and it causes me to spend much more time (and water) getting soap and shampoo out of my hair. I also wonder if it’s not contributing to what killed the dishwasher. 

Several people I’ve spoken with have mentioned rumors (just rumors at this point) about cutbacks to do more than lip service to the environmental lobby. I have two big categories of problems, which can be summed up as follows: First, I have been a longstanding member of the environmental lobby, and I can tell you that the time to act on the science was 30 years ago. People say that the evidence supporting climate change at this time was not concrete. This is grade-A fertilizer.

I was in college around that time as a biology major. If you boil the facts down to one specific indicator, you find the simple equation that too much extra carbon in the atmosphere from any source causes temperatures to rise. This is a simple combination of the laws of chemistry and physics, provable in any laboratory. It’s just as elementary as 1+1=2. 

We actually knew this as far back as 1977 or so. I know because my science teacher around that time explained it to us. 

By the time the 1986 computer models appeared, and they painted a very dire picture, we also had conclusive proof that global warming had caused a major extinction event, one already in the past. It has been called the great dying because it killed off between 80 and 90 percent of life on earth. Briefly, it began with a volcanic eruption in the Dekkan Traps region of Siberia. This region had huge reserves of coal, which were set on fire by the eruptions. Over 6,000 years, this event continued, and the levels of just one greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, rose from 250 P.P.M. to 450 P.P.M. My sources list a possible global average temperature rise of more than 10 degrees at most and 6 degrees at least.

We may not have had all the information gathered since the 1990s, but we knew that the “Great Dying” had been catastrophic for the planet and had been caused, ultimately, by greenhouse gases. Today we know we have a similar problem because the global atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have passed 400 P.P.M., a rise of 150 P.P.M. from the norm of 250 measured circa 1850. And that’s only the carbon dioxide. Also, we’ve managed to do in 150 years what it took the Dekkan Traps 6,000 years to accomplish. Feel free to research the Great Dying on your own — but it’s not pretty.

Nobody listened. Not really. We were told we had 10 years in which to act — which is more grade-A manure. Those of us who could see the truth did our best to act as role models for the rest of the world. Despite our best efforts, and a lot of people who did get the message, the vast majority of the world was convinced by big fossil fuel that we were all kooks and fear-mongers. Now, when the global warming trend has become self-perpetuating, people think that the same conservation and recycling measures will fix it, which is simply insane. If PSEG or any of our utilities think they’re doing us a favor by trying to reduce output, they’re at least 20 years too late. In the case of Cablevision (which is now owned by Altice), they are actually trying to feed us too much information though a system which was not designed to handle this kind of traffic. Many of the cables in the ground in my area actually date back to the original installation days of the 1970s. And personally, I could care less about high definition programming. But I digress.

The second category is the simple fact that most home appliances, even those with those famous Energy-Star stickers, require a minimum amount of electricity to work properly. Often, if they go for long periods without proper power, their life span is drastically reduced and the appliance will need to be replaced more often, leading to more and more landfill waste. If you’ve tried to get anything repaired out here in the past 10 years, you know that between the cost and time lost it’s often prohibitive, and then the fix won’t last very long either because they don’t have exactly the original part and had to rig something up from a newer part. Often, they simply encourage you to buy a new appliance. 

I also wonder if they assume that most people are going to switch to LED lightbulbs. Personally, I can’t for medical reasons. The EM and RF they give off contributes to a larger problem I have which essentially means that I’ve been constantly “sea-sick” or worse since the cellular and Wi-Fi revolution. And I know I’m not the only one with this or similar problems. I also find LEDs, especially white and blue-white ones to be painful to look at or work with. 

The point is that well-intentioned as these measures may be, they are too little, too late, and actually have a negative effect on many people. The real root problem is overpopulation: We have too many people demanding too much electricity at a peak-usage time of year. Reducing the output is simply unacceptable and, ultimately, pointless. I’m not saying that we should not conserve resources. The point is to strike a proper balance. There was a time when this was possible without a lot of pain. Now, we might as well be as comfortable as possible. What we’ve experienced previously is nothing compared to what is coming in the very near future. And all because a bunch of businessmen (one of whom is now president) wanted to make gobs and gobs of money.  

I know I sound like one of those Doomsday people. Actually, I often wonder if they’re not the sane ones.

Even more than usual, thanks for reading. I know this is depressing, but it’s, sadly, true.



Robotic Future
East Hampton
July 4, 2019

Dear Editor,

As the tanks roll in Washington, anyone who wants to understand the robotic future, and possibly our country’s future, need only look at the two Boeing 737 airplane crashes caused by poorly written and tested computer code.

It now comes out that the Boeing bean counters decided to get rid of the high paid in-house software engineers with aeronautical expertise and out- source the writing of the code to a hack shop in India.

There, beginning programmers paid $9 an hour wrote the code that drove those airplanes into the ground. Beginning programmers can barely understand what a computer program does. They usually code line by line and are happy when the program does not crash because of their part of the program.

Think of it as a mechanic who knows how to change the oil in your car but who has no idea how a transmission works being given that task of repairing the transmission for the first time. Except that a computer program operating an airplane, unlike a leaking transmission, can go out of the shop looking like it will work. It must be tested for all of the conditions that can cause failure before it is allowed to operate. Obviously, something that the Boeing bean counters did not do.

Contrast this with the Tesla engineers who figured out how to bring a rocket back to earth, land it, and reuse it — something NASA could never figure out.

What does this have to do with East Hampton?

This newspaper editorialized against giving Tesla the ability to install electric car chargers in a public parking lot. Your theory apparently was that it gave Tesla an unfair advantage. Wise up. There is no future for America rewarding those “dumb and proud of it.”


Renewable Goal
July 2, 2019

Dear Mr. Rattray:

I want to commend the Town of East Hampton for all the hard work that’s gone into its ability to set a realistic goal of 2022 for a 100-percent clean electric grid (“A Step Toward Energy Sustainability,” June 27). They set an example for the State of New York, where the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, sponsored by Long Island legislators, Assemblyman Steve Englebright and Senator Todd Kaminsky, setting a 100-percent renewable goal by 2040 will soon be signed into law by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

East Hampton is not alone across the country, as towns and states from Pueblo, Colo., to the State of New Mexico, adopt renewable goals, but it’s in the forefront. Offshore wind, with sufficient battery storage, will get us there. Let’s not forget that necessity.

Thank you,


Proven Technology
Sag Harbor
July 8, 2019

Dear David,

As an environmental professional actively engaged in the public review process of the Deepwater Wind proposal, I’m moved to address a technical element that has generated a great deal of controversy and misinformation. Specifically, sea-floor burial and terrestrial landing of the transmission cable.

My academic training and professional experience in the biological sciences, coastal processes, and marine-construction permitting enables me to speak with some authority on the matter.

Installation of the 60-mile-long submarine cable extending from turbines to the near shore is accomplished by jet plowing. Jet plowing or hydro-jetting is a common technique used to bury transmission lines. This technique fluidizes bottom sediments in advance of a cutter blade trenching the sea floor.

Although hydro-jetting has its environmental impacts, namely increased turbidity and disturbance/burial of benthic life, the impacts are generally limited and short term. Sediments resettle, the trench fills in, and the benthic community re-establishes itself.

The cable landing is the aspect of the project that has caused much anxiety for the Wainscott community, and the focus of misinformation put forth by opponents of the project. Specifically, conflating the technical mistakes made at the Block Island landing (inadequate cable depth through the near shore/beach zone) to the proposed Beach Lane site.

Unlike the Block Island scenario, which utilized hydro-jetting with landing the cable, horizontal directional drilling (H.D.D.), a technique used throughout the world with pipeline and transmission cable installations, will be employed. H.D.D. is a proven technology capable of threading the cable deep underground and well below and beyond the influences of a dynamic coastal zone.

While community concerns about cable exposure are a legitimate point of inquiry, fears of the cable surfacing are misplaced. Placed at a depth of at least 30 feet and spanning roughly 1,750 feet offshore, there’s zero chance the cable will ever be exposed even with the most powerful, beach-altering storm events.

As I’ve stated publicly, it’s unsettling to think about the industrialization of our oceans in order to satisfy our energy needs. However, the choice between oil platforms and despoiled seas or wind turbines should be clear to us.



Defend H2O

Guiding Others
July 2, 2019

Dear David,

It has made me incredibly happy to hear about the progress the Hamptons have been making toward becoming truly sustainable places to live. Climate leadership is crucial for guiding others to follow suit, whether it be at the federal, state, or local level.

Just over a week ago, New York State passed the aptly-named Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, one of the most comprehensive and forward-thinking pieces of climate legislation in the country. We must act as environmental stewards locally, too.

I hope that the Hamptons’ commitment to renewable energy serves as an example for other towns in Suffolk County, like Islip, which is trailing far behind the rest of Suffolk. Part of this leadership means enthusiastic support for offshore wind. The winds off the coast of Long Island will help to make our communities sustainable and free from emissions. Climate change is an immediate threat, which we are far from solving fully, but with the leadership of key municipalities like these, we stand a chance to fight back and protect our planet.


In the Bag
East Hampton
July 8, 2019

Dear David,

The hallmark of our political era is the brazen falsehood. Now that the political class has discovered that you can get away with saying just about anything in public, local advocates for Deepwater Wind have seized upon this tactic with gusto.

I give you four town board members: Van Scoyoc, Overby, Burke-Gonzalez, and Lys, who made the back-room deal to sell Beach Lane to Deepwater Wind more than a year before environmental review began, their appointed energy sustainability committee, chaired by a member of the Democratic Committee and including three other members of the Democratic Committee, including its chair and secretary, and another member who resigned from the Democratic Committee a short time ago in order to accept a position at the county level, the four current Democratic Committee members, and one former Democratic Committee chair who are Democratic Committee candidates for town trustee, in the bag for Deepwater Wind, the various members of the Democratic Committee who rose, one after another, at the Public Service Commission hearing to insist that Deepwater’s proposal to bring its cable ashore at Beach Lane must be approved right now in order to save the world for their grandchildren, Win With Wind, the new propaganda venture created by Democratic Party mandarins Judith Hope, Larry Cantwell, Debra Foster, and Democratic Committee Chairwoman Cate Rogers to shill for Deepwater (while claiming laughably as its mission to correct everyone else’s misinformation!) — and a partridge in a pear tree.

The question for this politburo of the East Hampton Democratic Committee is not whether everything they say about Deepwater Wind is true, but whether anything they say about Deepwater Wind is true. I cannot think of a single thing. Not one.

That Deepwater must legally have easements across our beach to start the Public Service Commission review process. False. That Deepwater will not start the process unless it has the easements in advance. False. That granting the easements in advance allows East Hampton to participate in that process. False. That the Deepwater project addresses East Hampton or South Fork peak energy needs. False (as our peak is in the summer and summer winds are lighter and more variable, it exacerbates the problem). That Deepwater avoids the need for expansion of transmission facilities between the South Fork and the rest of the LIPA grid. False (the transmission facilities have to be upgraded so that Deepwater’s energy can be transported west). That the excessive cost for Deepwater’s energy is because “this is a first.” False (the technology is not at all new, this project is not a first in the U.S. or in local waters).

And now, here’s the latest whopper, from Win With Wind’s literature, a copy of which I collected at the East Hampton Eco Fair, handed out by Democratic Committee chairwoman Cate Rogers: “Will this hurt our fishermen? After listening to commercial fishermen, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management made sure that wind turbines and cable will avoid Cox’s Ledge, a valuable commercial fishing area.”

Not a shred of truth here. Quite to the contrary, Deepwater was just six months ago forced by the State of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council to suspend its federal review process because of Deepwater’s lack of compliance and its inability to satisfy Rhode Island whether “modifications to the proposed project” may be needed “to avoid potential significant impacts to Rhode Island-based commercial fishery operations.” B.O.E.M. has thus far made no adjustments to the project location.

Win With Wind and the leadership of the Democratic Committee (there is no real distinction, they are merely two sides of the same counterfeit coin) just make up on the spot whatever they think will win the argument at that moment. They don’t even make an effort to relate their claims to the facts. All balderdash, all the time.

And so, along comes Debra Foster, part of their little club and distinguished veteran of the “hotels on the beach wars of the 1980s,” purporting to correct what she calls my “vitriolic falsehoods about wind power.” Specifically, she wrote to The Star to say, “Gruber fallacy: 99 percent of the power generated by the South Fork Wind Farm is going UpIsland. Fact: Power is directed to 70,000 homes on the South Fork.”

Let me be blunt. Why not at this point? When it comes to electricity, Debra Foster has no clue as to what she is talking about. I hope she knows enough not to stick a fork in an electric socket.

The local grid is connected directly to the entire LIPA grid, as we are one service area. Whenever any generating source is connected to the grid, it charges the entire grid. The energy is consumed by every user plugged into the grid, the length of Long Island, at the speed of light.

There is no physical meaning at all to the idea that the power is “directed” to homes on the South Fork. Even Deepwater is not foolish enough to make this ridiculous claim. Rather, its literature carefully states that the energy “will be sufficient to power 70,000 homes.” It doesn’t make any claim about which homes. The energy will be purchased by LIPA and shared amongst all LIPA customers.

The published annual consumption of LIPA is more than 20 million mega-watt-hours per year. The published consumption of East Hampton is 300,000 megawatt-hours per year. That makes us slightly less than 1.5 percent of LIPA’s total, meaning that 98.5 percent of Deepwater’s energy will be consumed elsewhere than East Hampton. I think my 99 percent figure was quite close enough. It’s not all that hard to research the facts. The East Hampton Democratic Committee and its various mouthpieces, including the town board itself, will not do so.

The town board pretends that it will participate in the P.S.C. proceeding to protect the interests of East Hampton. But the town board does not know anything at all about the project. Along with Win With Wind, it just makes things up as convenient. After more than a year and a half, it has yet to retain any expert assistance to review Deepwater’s submission critically and present information about impacts on East Hampton, our residents, our beaches, and our fishermen. Its pretense of participation fits hand in glove with the endless baloney it spouts about the project.

The unanswered question is why the Democratic Committee and the town board it controls are so relentlessly determined both not to know anything about Deepwater and thereby to stick it to the residents of Beach Lane, the Montauk fishing community, and to the people of East Hampton as a whole. Perhaps you can tell me.



Around Reparations
East Hampton
July 8, 2019

To the Editor,

The conversation around reparations for slavery is so ridiculous it reaches the level of pointless drivel. Conceptually it’s a no-brainer. Anyone who has ever read anything about American history, even the most sanitized and redacted history, knows that slavery was an evil abomination without recourse. No matter what your situation, your motivation, or your background, slavery branded its supporters as subhuman racists, like our current president. (A grotesque WASP racist pig.) Yet, the idea that the U.S.A. would in its wildest imagination pay reparations for this atrocity and its continuation to the present day is absurd. It’s not who we are. Not who we have ever been. Unlikely that we will ever get there.

Conceptually, reparations are a means to assuage guilt for extreme antisocial behavior. Genocide, slavery, colonialism. It presumes an action of social, political, or economic violence committed by one group against another. It assumes that the behavior is so brutally, repugnantly destructive that the victims should be compensated. It assumes acceptance of guilt. It assumes a conscience.

The reparations idea anywhere else could have substantial merit. We committed a heinous crime by enslaving and killing millions of Africans. We then compounded the crime for another 154 years, Slavery migrated and morphed through reconstruction, Jim Crow, segregation, Citizens United, the voting rights act, etc., etc. We institutionalized our racism to the degree that something as simple and benign as Affirmative Action was viewed as a horrifically unconstitutional, unjustifiable action.

In Daniel Okrent’s new “The Guarded Gate,” he explains that the force behind our bigotry and racism are elite white Anglo Saxon Protestants who make our laws and own our corporations and who in their heart of hearts believe in the racial inferiority of nonwhite peoples. Elite pigs like Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell. (See the Central Park Five.)

We did this willfully and intentionally. It’s who we are. So why reparations?

We destroyed 15 million Native Americans and gave them nothing (casinos). We ravaged Central America and gave them nothing (cages). We never thought that we screwed up after we dropped the bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, creating a nuclear world and giving life considerably less meaning than it ever had. What can one say about Vietnam and Iraq?

So, what if we lose our collective minds and actually agree to redress this grotesque crime we committed? The law of transference then enters the equation. When one part of the population is deprived of their rights and that process is incorporated into the societal mainstream there is a tendency to transfer that behavior to other groups in the society. Does that mean for working and middle class Americans whose lives have been ruined by corporate America in tandem with our government for the sake of pure greed, have the right to reparations as well — especially since this process was based on fabricated economic theory and was intentionally designed and manipulated by the perpetrators?

There is no case against reparations. We did what we did, consciously, clearly, and viciously. Do we accept responsibility is the primary question. Have we ever?


Partisan Screed
July 7, 2019

Dear David,

July 4 was indeed a great opportunity to reflect on the meaning of Independence Day and the Declaration of Independence in 21st-century America. It would have been nice if you had taken the high road and written an editorial reaching out to all Americans on this national holiday as President Trump did in his speech on July 4. Unfortunately, you chose this holiday to write a partisan screed titled “Compromise and Freedom.”

You say President Trump is threatening American democracy. Admittedly, President Trump is a flawed character, but he is hardly a threat to democracy. Certainly not when compared to the Obama administration.

It is peculiar that you mention Senator Mitch McConnell’s refusal to allow a vote on an Obama administration choice to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. This occurred three years ago so why is this relevant now? You failed to note that in July 2007, more than a year prior to the presidential election, Senator Schumer said if a vacancy occurred on the Supreme Court while George W. Bush was president there should be no approval by the Senate until the next president took office and nominated a candidate for the vacant seat. Further, in June 1992, then- Senator Joe Biden said in a speech on the Senate floor, if a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court that President George H. W. Bush should delay filling the vacancy until after the election. A vacancy did not occur prior to either the 1992 or 2008 election, but two leading Democratic senators said any consideration to fill a vacancy should be postponed until after the election. 

Either you were unaware of the precedent of Senator McConnell’s refusal, or it was not convenient to your partisan story. Do you think Senators Biden and Schumer were a threat to democracy? If McConnell was a threat to democracy, then so were Biden and Schumer. The former is running for president, so I suppose we should be even more anxious.

I will not respond to your pointless comparison of loyalists at the time of the American Revolution to those crying for liberty today. Actually those who were clinging to English authority at the time of the American Revolution I would call Canadians today.


Forward Forever
July 1, 2019

Dear David,

What are the principles that allowed the United States of America to become the greatest free nation in the history of the world? W. Cleon Skousen’s book, “The 5,000 Year Leap,” lists the 28 principles the founders used to structure our government. As a result of these principles, the second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.

John Adams wrote this to his wife on July 3, 1776, the day after the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress. God has greatly blessed the United States of America, and we should give him thanks every day.


Last Names
July 7, 2019


Given our Constitution’s call for Congress to “make all laws which shall be necessary to insure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare,” I continue to be appalled by Congress still not having passed lifesaving gun control laws more than six years after 20 6 and 7-year-old first-grade girls and boys were shot to death inside Newtown, Conn.’s,  Sandy Hook Elementary School.

But I think I’ve finally figured out the reason for Congress’s inexcusable inaction: These kids had the “wrong” last names.

If only Grace McDonnell had been Grace McConnell (Senator Mitch McConnell’s’ daughter); Olivia Engel had been Olivia Schumer (Senator Chuck Schumer’s daughter); Daniel Barden had been Daniel Sanders (Senator Bernie Sanders’s son); Josephine Gay had been Josephine Warren (Senator Elizabeth Warren’s daughter); Charlotte Bacon had been Charlotte Harris (Senator Kamala Harris’s daughter); Chase Kowalski had been Chase Gillibrand (Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s son); Ana Marquez-Greene had been Ana Klobuchar (Senator Amy Klobuchar’s daughter); Dylan Hockley had been Dylan Booker (Senator Cory Booker’s son);

Madeleine Hsu had been Madeleine Bennet (Senator Michael Bennet’s daughter); Catherine Hubbard had been Catherine Collins (Senator Susan Collins’s daughter); Jesse Lewis had been Jesse Feinstein (Senator Dianne Feinstein’s son), and James Mattioli had been James Pelosi (House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s son).

Also: Emilie Parker had been Emilie Nadler (House Representative Jerrold Nadler’s daughter); Jack Pinto had been Jack King (House Representative Peter King’s son); Noah Pozner had been Noah Suozzi (House Representative Tom Suozzi’s son); Caroline Previdi had been Caroline Zeldin (House Representative Lee Zeldin’s daughter); Jessica Rekos had been Jessica Rice (House Representative Kathleen Rice’s daughter); Avielle Richman had been Avielle Swalwell (House Representative Eric Swalwell’s daughter); Benjamin Wheeler had been Benjamin Gabbard (House Representative Tulsi Gabbard’s son), and Allison Wyatt had been Allison Ryan (House Representative Tim Ryan’s daughter).

Then maybe these 20 Congress members would have convinced their other 515 Congressional colleagues to pass a whole host of common-sense gun control laws — if not for the nation’s other 75 million children (including 14 Parkland students), then at least in honor of their own 20 deceased children, forever deprived of 70, 80, or 90 more years of life.


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