August 26, 2019
I want to express my deepest gratitude to everyone in the community who turned out at the Stephen Talkhouse and donated to help raise money for me on Aug. 18. The funds will help me take care of medical bills and help me throughout my recovery.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.
August 23, 2019
To the Editor,
Thank you, Anne Tobias, for promoting such a great market in Amagansett!
Now we know why we are well taken care of by the employees who are unfailingly helpful and polite, as you said!
Sounds like a wonderful place to shop!
August 22, 2019
I am writing in response to Gerard Turza Jr.’s letter to the editor that was published Aug. 15. Mr. Turza is chief of the East Hampton Fire Department. Mr. Turza referred to the East Hampton Fire Department’s annual fireworks show as “grandeur” and “most beloved.”
There is literature that clearly establishes the air, water, and noise pollution externalities resulting from fireworks. How could unnecessarily polluting both the air and water while creating noise pollution that scares a variety of animals and humans be considered grandeur? Scaring those suffering from P.T.S.D., including veterans, is grandeur?
As the East Hampton Village Board needs to, the East Hampton Fire Department needs to become aware of the environmental consequences of fireworks shows before considering them in the future.
The environment as well as many people and animals don’t view the fireworks as grandeur and most beloved as the chief suggested.
Way Back When
August 26, 2019
To the Editor,
Where I’m from: The 50th year!
You can take a ferry from New London, Conn. We’re out on the eastern end of the southern fork of Long Island. If you’re driving out from the city, watch for the Manorville exit off the Long Island Expressway. It’s Route 27 all the way to Montauk.
It’s not too much, just a little beach house. Once you go down the hill after the Fire Department, it’s the second right after the 45-miles-per-hour sign. If you hit Lobster Roll, a.k.a. Lunch, you’ve gone too far. Like that impatient man who made an inappropriate gesture and had the waitress press charges against him.
Hampton Lane is a dirt road; we’re the second house past Central on the left. We call the ocean “the beach.” The cluster of little dirt roads with access to the sandy beaches is called the dunes of Napeague. We swim every day when in residence. It’s officially a wetland, and we take outdoor showers, accordingly.
It’s muggy around here. I’m from where haulseiners used to fish along that beach at dawn and now we rise early with dogs and chase deer and bunnies before it gets too hot. Recycling the little blue bags in the driveways. We carefully monitor rain where I’m from and complain about traffic in the busy months.
If you want to take the back way on Further Lane, past the golf club, you’ll come out near White’s Apothecary and the Ladies Village Improvement Society. If it’s knee high on the Fourth of July, our corn will be sweet in Amagansett. In August there’s a firehouse barbecue and every day at noon they blast a siren, in case you forget. We also hear trains rumble by, including at 3 a.m.
Every Thursday a local newspaper comes out and they let you fire back in a vibrant letters section, if you disagree.
Way back when, after a long day, we’d sneak in to Snugglers Cove for cocktails, or Stephen Talkhouse, next to the old hardware store. We’d dance all night and then stagger, flip flop, tank top down to Indian Wells for a sunburned night swim. You never knew who would walk up to a beach fire.
Mick Jagger had a place in Montauk, and Paul McCartney bought an empty lot on Marine, and my mother met the president at the East Hampton Airport. The locals know too many Ralph Laurens, when we see ’em.
The writers and the artists still put on an annual softball game, which we avoided this year on account of the shoulder. It ought to be to raise money for the dunes or the trees; it’s not.
I’m from a place where a rich guy from Canada had an old barn transported over and rebuilt on his property in Springs. Where I’m from you can walk or ride a bike down a nice little dirt road to a walkway through the dunes. The sand is hot, the ocean is inviting. In a way, we all come from the sea. You know, originally, before the Jitney.
August 25, 2019
Last week’s editorial on the proper use of waterfront assets was most welcome. These assets should be accessible to the public wherever possible.
But the Star editorial was strangely silent on the most egregious misuse or non use of waterfront space: Almost the entire stretch of oceanfront beach along the Napeague stretch, especially the South Flora Preserve along Dolphin Drive and the reserve areas of the Beach Plum development, which still have not been deeded over to the town as required by their permits. Several other areas along the stretch have also done their best to impede public use.
This town board and its predecessor have turned a blind eye to these abuses. CfAR (the Committee for Access Rights) has done an excellent study of this entire area, pointing out the many areas that should be available to the public but are not.
I hope The Star will take a close look at their report and apply the same zeal and cogent analysis evident in last week’s editorial in support of enhanced public access. These beaches were meant for all of us to enjoy, not just a few wealthy homeowners and the ever-elusive piping plover.
August 26, 2019
Dell Cullum has been tirelessly asking the village board to remove their garbage cans from the beaches — Two Mile Hollow, Egypt, Wiborg’s, Main, and Georgica. Please view his Facebook posts and you will see what a mess and how disgusting and harmful this condition is.
This battle between Dell and the village board has been going on for over eight years. In fact, when I was chief of police, I even suggested to at least empty the cans until midnight each day, but they did not. The ironic part of this entire battle is that the village does not own these beaches, the town trustees do.
Dell has put so much pressure on the village board, thereby causing them to do a pilot program this summer. The village then removed the garbage cans from Georgica Beach at the start of the summer and left the cans on the other beaches. They were hoping this comparison would help them determine if Dell is correct!
Dell, once again this summer, has posted numerous photos of village beaches with garbage cans overflowing and garbage all over the beach. In July, Wiborg’s Beach was the center of attention when Dell posted more photos of garbage all over.
Suddenly, without explanation from the village, the garbage cans were removed from Wiborg’s Beach and as of the writing of this letter they still have not been returned. However, they still remain on the other three beaches.
It seems that even when the village board knows what is best, they refuse to admit that they made a mistake. They dig their heels in and stick with a decision they know is completely wrong. I don’t understand this.
There are five people on the village board. I am hearing that at least three of the board members want the cans off the beaches. If this is true, stand up for what is right, stop taking baby steps, and remove the garbage cans from the beaches now. The summer is not over!
It’s really a simple decision! If I am elected mayor, the garbage cans on the beaches will be a thing of the past.
Please see my website for a video of Dell and me at Two Mile Hollow Beach, jerrylarsenformayor.org.
Integrity and Morals
August 23, 2019
I’m writing this letter because I am perplexed about the article that was on the front page of last week’s paper regarding Officer Bosco’s lawsuit against a local family.
First of all, I would like to make it perfectly clear that I have the utmost respect for both the East Hampton Town and Village Police Departments. I have known both chiefs since we were all in school and consider them friends. I feel they are men of integrity, and I know either one of them would be there to help my family at a moment’s notice.
I also have a huge amount of admiration for the respondents in this case. They are a same-sex couple that adopted four young children under enormous stress. All four have a number of learning disabilities and/or mental health issues. Yet they have done their best to raise them all with integrity and morals even though it has been a struggle. They both are volunteer members of the East Hampton Village Ambulance Association and, yes, they are both my friends.
I have known Ms. Grabowski since kindergarten and I met Ms. Weiss when our boys played PAL football together. I wonder if either of them has ever gotten injured while on an ambulance call. My guess is probably at least once or twice.
My point being how can a police officer, in good conscience, sue an upstanding citizen of the community because of an injury that was incurred on a call to their home? Isn’t the motto of the police “To Serve and Protect?” I don’t think that there is an addition of “unless I get hurt,” added in there. Isn’t that what workers’ compensation claims are for? Isn’t that partly what our taxes go toward?
What’s next? A woman who is being threatened with rape will not call police because she is afraid of what the perpetrator will do to the officer and she might get sued? Or maybe it is her husband with a gun threatening her. Give me a break, Officer Bosco! What kind of precedent are you setting? Oh yeah, and why is your wife being named as co-defendant? Because you don’t feel you will get enough money with just yourself being named? Shame on you both. Ann and Kathy don’t deserve this. They deserve a community that stands up for them and helps them when they need it, not adds to their stress.
August 26, 2019
I am writing in response to the East Hampton Town police officer suing a homeowner while doing his job. I am absolutely heartbroken for this family. I have known Ann for over 30 years, but would have been upset no matter who the family was. This should be illegal, that’s why there is workers comp, which is what the rest of us have to use. My husband had to go on disability from an injury that occurred at work. He did not sue the building owner where the injury happened; he didn’t even think of it. This family has spent years helping others and this officer should be ashamed of himself. My parents were volunteer E.M.T.s for both East Hampton and Springs ambulances and would never have thought to sue someone. They were there to help not hurt the family asking for help. I hope the judge throws this out as someone just looking to cash in on an insurance policy. I have to say that I will certainly think long and hard before calling for any emergency service department, police, fire, ambulance to come to my house, which is very sad.
TERESA LOPER SCHURR
August 25, 2019
To the Editor,
I write to you regarding the Aug. 22, 2019, article titled, “State Wants Input on Private School Curriculums.” The article left out critical context and information without which the issue cannot be fully understood.
The New York State Education Department and the Board of Regents are well aware that the Ross School and other New York State Association of Independent Schools-accredited schools already undergo a thorough review, which far exceeds any state standards. However, the reason the regulations have been proposed has nothing to do with such schools. They have been proposed because many Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox yeshivas, which tens of thousands of New York’s children attend, virtually and sometimes completely neglect all secular instruction. To be clear, this does not mean they are slacking in terms of advanced placement courses; they literally are not teaching even basic English and math.
In 2015, a letter of complaint was sent to New York City alleging that 39 yeshivas were neglecting to teach secular studies. As a result of this complaint and several hurdles over the last four years, New York State is proposing these regulations to make clear exactly what local school authorities and nonpublic schools must do to ensure that this floor of substantial equivalence is met.
It would be unconstitutional to create regulations only for specific religious schools, so they must apply to all nonpublic schools. Despite arguments to the contrary, these regulations will have virtually no impact on the administration or curriculums of schools that are already educating in line with state law. They provide no framework on curriculums or how subjects must be taught, and they specifically call for flexibility and cultural considerations.
They essentially require that the subjects already required by law be taught for roughly three and a half hours per day total. Any nonpublic school, religious or otherwise, far exceeds that standard if it is, in fact, educating its children. Readers should submit public comment in favor of the proposed regulations, not against them. The minor administrative inconveniences that this will cause compliant schools are well worth ensuring that all of New York’s children receive, at the minimum, a sound basic education.
August 15, 2019
To the Editor,
I support the non-science believers who want to opt out of protecting their children. Just keep them away from infecting our children. Then put the parents in jail for exposing their children and ours to otherwise preventable and deadly disease.
And please non-science people, stop convoluting religious persecution when there are 21st-century medical solutions to these ancient diseases. Yes, there is freedom of religion here (thank God), but you have no right to infect the rest of us under the guise of religion. Neither do you have the right to sacrifice your child on an altar. So far, there still remains the separation of church and state in our great country — at least for now.
For the parents thinking of sending their children to boarding school, etc.: What makes you think those schools or parents will want your unvaccinated kids?
I wholeheartedly support these parents keeping their potentially infected children away from our vaccinated children — far, far away.
ALLISON DREW KLEIN
On the ‘555’
August 22, 2019
Your editorial on the “555” property in Amagansett prompted a few thoughts.
I feel that we should always be looking for beneficial and varied public use of the few preservation fund properties that may be appropriate. Forests, wetlands, and prime agricultural soils within farmland blocks don’t qualify. “555” is somewhat different.
The parcel is centrally located on the highway and would be a perfect traditional fairgrounds! With a dog park, and walking and jogging trail (lightly improved for the disabled) around the border. Many communities around the country have a designated place for public events that sit idle most of the year and do no harm but are greatly enjoyed on a periodic basis.
Cows, as you suggest, would be good, too, what about a small farm designed for interactive engagement between the animals and visitors — “rescue cows”! Farming that does not require a deer fence would be great. As an aside, there are perhaps hundreds of acres of prime farmland not being farmed, and a town program to actively engage with the owners is needed.
Once upon a time, children were a part of farm life, and thank you to the community supported agriculture farms that are actively bringing in kids — Amber Waves and Quail Hill being two, just in Amagansett.
I’m fine with the town board taking its time to decide what to do with 555. Some of the C.P.F.’s greatest successes took years to find their identity, the Springs dog park and the old Edwards-Little property on Three Mile Harbor Road being examples.
August 26, 2019
A few weeks ago, The Star’s report of a discussion of the town board, “Debate Zoning Change for Hospital’s East Hampton Satellite,” showed that the town board did not properly evaluate changing the property zoning for the future Stony Brook Southampton Hospital building at 400 Pantigo Place. The property has two zonings and the town board acted as if it only had one.
The existing Park and Recreation zoning was discussed and the town board now recommends changing it to commercial-industrial. But for many years the property has also been zoned with an affordable housing overlay. That was never mentioned.
The large neighboring buildings are also on properties zoned additionally with an affordable housing overlay. Three hundred Pantigo Place is the medical center, and 200 Pantigo Place has many town offices, plus some commercial sites. Why were these built only as a one-floor level and without affordable housing?
The town board should be asking why affordable housing is not being built on that street even though it is an excellent location, especially for people who work in the area. One likely reason is that the law needs to be modified to work in many situations.
It is likely not legal to build the large single-story commercial buildings and have a good amount of affordable housing on the second floor. It is also likely too expensive to construct a two-story building unless some of the apartments could be rented at market price, because the construction cost in East Hampton is very high.
A stronger law is needed in East Hampton, though the law also needs to understand the economics of the builder, the owner, and the renter.
Many communities require that large commercial buildings add affordable housing there or at another location that is approved. If affordable housing were built on Pantigo Place, many of the people working in the neighborhood would be renters — sometimes in the building where they work.
Unfortunately, over the last decade, the town board has shown little interest in affordable housing. That needs to change if the town board wants to retain a balanced population.
August 23, 2019
To the Editor,
Your editorial of Aug. 15, 2019, about code enforcement raised a number of interesting points. First many thanks to the town board for raising concerns about insufficient resources available to enforce everything. They must now take action to increase resources.
Enforcement operates mostly upon complaints and not systematically except in cases such as artist workshops where they visit one a year to check off the list. However, more important, even when enforcement does intervene, penalties are so weak that any action is viewed as a cost of doing business. Examples are the property at 224-228 Springs-Fireplace Road and its next-door neighbor, the Below the Bridge project. The lot at 224-228 was recently cleared of all of its native green vegetation (on a weekend) without a required building permit. Code enforcement intervened the next day, Monday, and posted a stop-work order. This did not stop the lot
from being graded and a tiny cut-through
to Springs-Fireplace Road from being widened into a full-size driveway
entrance. In addition, large commercial trucks are being parked on the property. I was informed that the maximum fine could be $1,000, hardly dissuasive.
Below the Bridge has submitted a site plan, but has been operating a parking area for the last several years without an approved plan. No stop-work order has been issued and the ugly dust and mud-producing site continues to operate.
It is well and good to have more resources for code enforcement, but without real penalties, i.e.: starting at $10,000 per violation and including possible short-term jail sentences, owners will feel free to do what they wish.
Also, the site planning process needs to be speeded up and once approved, enforcement must follow up to ensure that the approved site plan is being implemented. A site on Queen’s Lane has an approved plan, but has cut down more vegetation (large oak trees) in spite of the approved plan requiring that they be preserved.
Now that the town has taken care of its financial difficulties, it is time to invest in better enforcement, faster planning approval, and stronger penalties.
Deserves a Response
August 22, 2019
To the Editor:
We feel compelled to write this letter based on what we are seeing in the news and on social media. We are in no way trying to interpret the law as it relates to land and trees in East Hampton Town (nor are we qualified to do that), but we do feel that what we have seen and read about Randy Lerner as a person deserves a response from us.
East Hampton High School has experienced terrible and tragic loss over the past decade. We have lost three students to death by suicide. Even though the loss was experienced several years ago, its impact is still palpable in our school community. We will leave out the details about the lack of mental health services and crisis response that previously existed on the East End of Long Island and simply point out the work Randy has done behind the scenes for the students of East Hampton High School without recognition (ever).
His heart made him feel compelled to reach out to this school and help create what we have, the mental health support systems we have in place today. A system where students who are at their lowest point can be helped and receive the care they need.
Randy did not hesitate to respond back in 2012-2013 when one of our first tragedies occurred (this was completely unsolicited). This was just the beginning of support for our school and for Randy’s generosity and support. To this day the relationship and support continue to help our neediest students and their families. Each year we continue to meet with his representatives to provide detailed reports on our student mental health initiative. Randy has been unwavering in this support and continues to assist our students.
Randy has always asked that we keep his contributions and commitments very private. Given what we have read recently and observed on social media about his character, we feel that this is one of those rare times when we at East Hampton High School feel compelled to go against his wishes and respond: It is our feeling that he simply does not deserve to be characterized in some of the ways we have read.
We know this letter might not mean much to many people. We realize people read articles and see posts on social media and attempt to discern who Randy Lerner is as a member of the community. We just felt people should be aware of his unwavering and unsolicited support during one of the darkest times in our school’s history.
East Hampton High School
Cannot Cut Limbs
August 27, 2019
I have been trying to get the East Hampton Town Highway Department to cut branches on town-owned trees at the edge of my yard for over two years. I have been to their office four times and I have spoken to Steve Lynch. The day I spoke to Lynch he was at a yard sale and he told me that he wasn’t working that day. He is never, ever in his office. As an elected official I understand that he is not required to be at the Highway Department. However, he is responsible to repair issues related to community safety.
The situation has now become critical. The branches that interfere with the electrical wires coming into my home have grown considerably, weighing heavily on the wires on a windless day. Recently we have had increasingly windy days as we go deeper into hurricane season. I fear that an inevitable windstorm will now be more than the wires can bear, and I will lose electricity.
I am an insulin-dependent diabetic. Insulin and a few of my other drugs require refrigeration. I spoke with a representative of PSEG. They have advised me that they cannot cut limbs without authorization from the town’s Highway Department. I am caught in a catch-22. Help!
NANCY R. PEPPARD
August 26, 2019
The recent slash and burn clear cutting of the Brazilian rain forest is truly horrifying. It is heart wrenching to watch our species literally self-destruct, with such ill-conceived initiatives.
Are these the actions of a madman or men? Why is it that the leaders of Europe once again had to step up and address this situation?
These acts ultimately may have the same negative impact on our planet as a nuclear engagement with Korea or Iran. It is hard not to realize that the anti-environmental position of our own president has not emboldened the Brazilian government. The lack of response by our president to this crisis is equally troubling. Why haven’t we sent resources to fight this planet-threatening situation?
I implore everyone in our community to contact your congressmen and senators to initiate discussions with the Brazilian government on this matter immediately.
Stop the fires, plant a tree.
East Hampton Town trustee
Loss of Forests
August 26, 2019
The magic of how trees use sunlight and photosynthesis to process CO2 and water to create a huge, dense mass while spinning off oxygen we breathe recently struck me as I contemplate the unraveling of the building blocks of our life-support systems. Something like 50 percent of the mass of a tree is carbon that came from the air. When trees burn or decay the opposite happens, of course, and CO2 is reconstituted and released. As the Amazon is on fire and forests are cut down around the world, we continue to have a global net loss of forests.
As we take stock of our vanishing safety window to reduce and reverse greenhouse gas emissions, we need to activate solutions immediately. Project Drawdown ranks tropical forest preservation number 5 and temperate forest preservation number 12 on its list of the top 100 opportunities to reduce and reverse global warming.
More recently, a study, “The Global Tree Restoration Potential,” looked at 78,000 distinct segments of earth surface to assess global afforestation and reforestation potential. It concluded that massive tree planting efforts on all available land could sequester enough CO2 to take out about two-thirds of what humans have caused since the Industrial Revolution.
How can we help? There are indirect actions like buying carbon credits from groups like cooleffect.org that “offset” emissions by funding forest projects. We can support groups like Rainforest Action Network and Rainforest Alliance, Sustainable Harvest, that do agro-forestry projects and education so local farmers don’t use slash and burn techniques.
The multitude of benefits tropical forests provide — habitat, biodiversity, cultural survival, plant-based medicines, rain/freshwater cycle, etc. — are massive. But there are many direct things we can do at home and locally. Using only high percent post-consumer paper products (toilet paper, print paper), eliminating junk mail, using only sustainably harvested wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, building smaller houses that use less wood and perhaps preserving as much of our local remaining forests and trees as possible.
There are a number of wooded parcels of land on the crown of the Stony Hill aquifer in Amagansett that are currently for sale. The Stony Hill aquifer is one of the last remaining clean sources of drinking water left on Long Island and serves Amagansett, Springs, and Montauk. The trees help with water recharge, and avoiding development avoids septic load and all the other poisonous things (chlorine, oil, pesticides) people use and let seep into our groundwater.
Urging the town to purchase forest lots for preservation and supporting groups like the Nature Conservancy to outright purchase land locally could help us save what forest is left on Stony Hill and throughout the East End. Being conscious of how valuable and beautiful our local beech, pine, oak, and shad forests are, and preserving the trees on our own land, are all things we can do that are right under our noses.
KRAE VAN SICKLE
August 25, 2019
This Sept. 1 will mark 80 years since Hitler invaded Poland and started World War II. Three years later, he launched the Holocaust, which murdered six million European Jews.
A key question facing historians is how could an enlightened society that produced our civilization’s greatest philosophers, poets, painters, and composers also produce its most notorious mass murderers, along with millions of ordinary upstanding citizens who just went along. Was the Holocaust a peculiarly German phenomenon, or are other enlightened societies capable? How about our own American society?
The Jewish Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer gave a clear answer when he wrote: “To the animals, all people are Nazis.” Singer’s message is that we are all capable of oppressing the more vulnerable sentient beings in our midst, frequently without even thinking about it.
Our own enlightened society has translated the arbitrary Nazi dictum “the Christian lives, the Jew dies” into an equally arbitrary “the dog lives, the pig dies.” Only the victims’ names have been changed. The blissful, self-serving ignorance of the death camps and slaughterhouses in our midst remains.
Our very first step on the long road to end all oppression should be to drop animals from our menus.
Blaming the Deer
August 26, 2019
I want to thank the great wildlife rescuer, amazing photographer (Imagination Nature), and East Hampton Town Trustee Dell Cullum’s bringing his rescued one-eyed owl, Athena, to the East Hampton Group for Wildlife’s tent at the summer festival on Aug. 17. Many families with small children stopped by, and many signed the petition to “One Weekend Day Free of Hunting.”
I’ve presented 688 signatures in total, 618 from East Hampton residents, at the work session at East Hampton Town Hall on Tuesday, Aug. 20. Thanks to our brilliant supporter, Councilman Jeff Bragman, the town board members finally stated their stances, but it was a big disappointment. After all the time that we spent and efforts we’ve made, we’ve learned that the town board members haven’t listened to us, just as our opponents hadn’t.
They still think we are asking to ban hunting altogether when we’re asking only one day a week during the hunting season. They’re still blaming the deer for what we, humans, have done: Destroying the forest by overdeveloping, contaminating the water with pesticides. We are also polluting the air with gas and oil, killing wildlife with plastic and toxic waste, and driving fast and causing deer and vehicle collisions!
Deer are not the main tick host, but white-footed mice are. Why does killing more deer have to be the only solution? Are we really just fighting against the local politics? Many people tell me the town board members won’t support the proposal due to the election coming in November. I hope that’s not true, and our representatives will remember why they wanted to be our representatives in the first place.
More than 10 percent of the people who voted last time complained about the sound of gunshots, the disturbing sight of animal carcasses, and not being able to enjoy a peaceful weekend day with their families and pets during the long six-month hunting season. If they keep ignoring us, the taxpayers, they may not get our vote this time. Certainly not mine.
When I was very upset after the work session, a wonderful friend of mine who has been following our efforts over the last five years sent me this message, and cheered me up.
“You all are doing such important work but change happens slowly. Think of how many years the civil rights movement went on, and still has to go on. I think we are at the very early stage of people waking up to the idea that non-humans have rights also. If humanity survives at all, it may be many, many more years before attitudes really change, but the work that you and the Group for Wildlife are doing is going to promote that change.”
I know what we’re doing is the right thing. I am proud of what we’ve been doing for our community and for all living things. We are currently researching about the jurisdiction of the hunting areas. It is not over yet. Never give up!
August 26, 2019
I was thrilled to see Christopher Walsh’s article titled, “Wind Cable’s Effect on Bony Fish ‘Negligible’,” especially the information in his first paragraph, “The exposure of bony fish including bluefish and striped bass to electromagnetic fields emanating from an offshore wind farm’s export cable would be rare and of negligible consequence, according to an evaluation by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.” This is a huge defeat to offshore wind’s opposition.
Ever since Orsted Deepwater Wind announced its cable landing at Beach Lane, Wainscott, there arose in our community charlatans, purveyors of false information, and fearmongers. The feverish pitch of exaggerated negative impacts of an electromagnetic field emanating from the submarine export cable reached a crescendo, perpetrated by leaders of the fishing industry in writing, at meetings with the East Hampton Town Trustees, and from leaders of Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott at meetings with the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee.
The shrill of over-exaggerated innuendos, baseless allegations, misrepresented facts, unsubstantiated claims, and fearmongering about EMFs was way over the top. The article states, the report was “an aggregation of existing studies.”
It is extremely important to point out this report didn’t consist of new information but existing information that both the leaders of the fishing industry and leaders of Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott knew or should have known about except it didn’t fit their narrative of false and baseless opposition. I have faith in the process, one by one the charlatans, purveyors of false information, and fearmongers will be defeated and shamed, as they should be.
When the cable is buried four to six feet below the ocean floor, EMF is negligible. Imagine how little EMF there will be when the cable is buried 30 feet below the beach as Orsted plans to do? This is astonishing!
It is important to understand that offshore wind is not a new technology; Europe has been installing offshore wind for over 25 years. Europe has much higher environmental standards than the U.S. by adopting the Kyoto Accord, banning genetically modified foods and Roundup (glyphosate), just to name a few. Not everyone in the U.S. understands there is a climate crisis. In Europe that’s a given.
Europe now has a total installed offshore wind capacity of 18,499 megawatts. This corresponds to 4,543 grid-connected wind turbines across 11 countries. Each wind turbine has a submarine export cable. This is a revealing fact!
Whatever information the opposition to offshore wind claims it doesn’t know is because it doesn’t want to know. The continuous, shameless dissemination of false information about offshore wind is futile. All the information we need to know is already known. Any interested stakeholder only needs to go across the pond to find the correct information or the truth. The opposition doesn’t do it; it’s either too lazy, or it doesn’t want to know, or it doesn’t fit their narrative. That’s shameful.
I hope the East Hampton Town Trustees see this charade for what it is. According to this article it appears they’re beginning to see the truth. The truth will set them free!
Kids Get It
August 24, 2019
Guild Hall is to be commended for its vision in organizing this season’s Hampton Institute programs, opening with “The Youth Climate Movement Could Save the Planet” and closing on “The Future of Women in Leadership: Youth Activists.” Both panels stressed the urgency of climate change challenging the planet’s viability, and their personal futures. This last year I worked with the East Hampton High School’s environmental science club, under the supervision of Aubrey Peterson. Our kids get it! And so does our town board.
In 2014 the East Hampton Town Board voted to replace fossil fuels with clean energy resources by 2020, the first in New York State to set 100 percent renewable energy goals. Looking into the future the town board also set a goal of meeting the equivalent of 100 percent of communitywide energy consumption in all sectors (electricity, heating, and transportation) by 2030.
In 2016 the East Hampton Historical Society presented a lecture on East Hampton historical “treasures,” our local windmills: “Wind Power: A Story of 350 years of Harnessing Mother Nature.” Today, the 2020 clock is ticking, as is the growing climate change urgency! East Hampton needs a return of this offshore wind power. Yesterday’s windmills have drifted out to sea, poised to anchor at the proposed South Fork Wind Farm.
In support of our local legacy, East Hampton needs offshore wind. Let’s make that happen as our investment in the youth climate movement; let’s make this happen as our investment in our town and kids’ future.
Obvious and Logical
August 26, 2019
To the Editor
The proposed construction of a wind farm off the coast of East Hampton Town can be reduced to two key issues: Is a wind farm safe and appropriate to the best interests of East Hampton and its citizens, and, if so, where should the cable physically emerge from offshore?
The overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens agree that offshore wind power is an essential component and key to future energy requirements. The majority of U.S. and European wind farm historical data indicates that agreement between conflicting parties regarding physical placement, construction, conservation, and financial mitigation have been successfully negotiated, allowing the vast majority of offshore projects to not only proceed but also to eventually succeed. Assuming this is to be the eventual case with the South Fork Wind Farm project, the second issue, in which the physical cable actually comes ashore, becomes the essential question.
Of the two landing locations proposed, Wainscott or Montauk, the Wainscott Beach Lane site is by far the obvious and logical choice as defined not only by the overall appropriateness of location, ease of access and overland distance to a substation, to name only a few of its many project attributes.
The obvious adverse effects of an alternate Montauk choice will not only create enormous ecological, social, and commercial problems to the many citizens and visitors of Montauk, but also to the thousands of East Hampton citizens residing in Napeague, Amagansett, and East Hampton. There are only 18 part or full-time properties on Beach Lane, Wainscott.
No matter how or in which manner the two locations are compared, ranked, or considered, Wainscott remains the obvious and logical choice, not only in terms of what is in the best interest of our collective future but what is best and just to “all” citizens of East Hampton Town.
Magical East Hampton
August 26, 2019
To the Editor:
As the summer ends we can begin to remember that East Hampton is a magical place — our beaches, our farms, our town give all of us and our families much pleasure and — our livelihood.
I am not a magician. I am a realist and a neighbor. Challenging changes are happening in our magical community. I am asking you to join me in taking a look.
The weather is warmer. The winters are shorter. What does that bring us? Southern pine beetles. They infested about 7,000 trees in Northwest in 2017 and 2018. These trees had to be cut down. The town paid to cut them, but the landowners had to pay for disposing of them. In addition to the loss of the trees the homeowners’ property values have been affected.
Increase in ticks and tick-borne diseases: Dr. Erin McGintee, a local allergist, has, in her practice alone, more than 500 cases of alpha-gal, a tick-borne allergy to red meat.
The water levels are higher. The sea is warmer. Due to sea level rise both here and at the Shelter Island Ferry docks we are raising docks and roads.
Montauk Beach project rebuilt some beach areas with geo-textile bags. These are stopgap measures, as Montauk may lose the battle with rising tides and storms. Hurricanes and storms will be more intense.
Algae blooms and warmer water affect our fragile fishing industry.
This is not a comprehensive list of what is happening in our own community. But is it too late for us to join together to do something?
There are things to be done. Stay tuned, in my next letter I will ask you to join me in considering where we can go from here and how we can help our magical community continue to flourish.
August 26, 2019
As this hot summer of 2019 winds down to its last big weekend, I’ve been thinking back to my earliest years here, the changes I’ve experienced in my small environment, and what those changes mean for the future of this beautiful coastal community and beyond.
My great love of the ocean brought me and my family here in ’63 and the beach is where we spent most of our time. In those years, August evenings were so very cool that I dressed my young children in woolen sweaters for our post-supper walks. When we returned to the house, we slept under woolen blankets — no air-conditioners, no fans. We even witnessed the aurora borealis on a few cold nights looking westward from the beach.
Winters then were intensely cold with whiteout snows blanketing the dune grass right down to the surf. I remember the East Hampton Highway Department trucks pushing great piles of snow into the center of Main Street Amagansett before taking it off the road.
All the ponds froze solid, and we fed as many waterfowl as we could. And we had more of our share of frozen pipes with cascades of water rushing down the walls when they thawed.
Each year we were more aware that the water table was rising, as the crawl space of our home in the dunes kept flooding after heavy rains, frequently disabling the boiler and well pump. Then came the great “Halloween” storm that completely overwhelmed the neighborhood, turning driveways into rivers and our crawl space into a lake. About a decade ago, this massive event was my wake-up call and warning: I abandoned the well, brought the boiler and water heater above ground into a hastily built shed, and hooked up with public water.
Fast-forward to another decade of continuing adjustment to milder winters, disappearing snow, hotter summers, more ticks, more Lyme disease, more erosion, still-rising water in that crawl space, and now across the world, more floods, fires, and famine. The biggest change in this decade, it seems, is the recognition that the change is worldwide. To me, on this Labor Day, the words “climate change” carry a new urgency and should be upgraded to “climate disruption”
Are we running out of decades?
August 23, 2019
I wish I could say I was surprised as large areas of New York continue to lose power, but it seems to be a new normal. The State of New York ranks third in the nation for the blackouts, and in 2018, 18.3 million New Yorkers were affected by power outages. Given the last few weeks, it seems likely we’ll beat that number in 2019.
That’s a big hit for our economy, our health, and our safety as a state. As legislators come together to investigate the causes of the latest outages in PSEG, I hope they will consider alternatives to the status quo. Rather than throwing more money at our current system, which relies on stringing long and spindly power lines over long distances, let’s consider investing in local clean power, like rooftop solar and batteries, that can provide backup power for New York families when the power grid fails, which it inevitably will.
Maximum 14 Percent
August 26, 2019
If you were enjoying a glorious ocean beach day or hoeing your garden in hot sun, you might think East Hampton could achieve energy sustainability just by exploiting solar power. You would be wrong.
Gordian Raacke, former executive director of the federal court-appointed Citizens Advisory Panel created in 1993 to represent Long Island’s electricity consumers, has been studying the options for the last 26 years. In 2014, Mr. Raacke advised East Hampton Supervisor Larry Cantwell and the town board that they could not reach their goal of full sustainability through solar power alone.
In 2018, Mr. Raacke updated his research in a highly technical study of the estimated achievable potential of renewable energy sources over five years within the geographical boundary of East Hampton Township. Using authoritative data sources, the study assumed solar panels of every known type covering every feasible site in East Hampton whether on rooftops or the ground. It estimated that solar could provide a maximum 14 percent of annual electricity consumption over the next five years. For full sustainability the bulk of our power would need to be generated by offshore wind.
The reasons are plain. Much of East Hampton, ground and rooftop, is covered by woods and forests. Most of the sunny open space that could support panels on the ground is protected by law from further development. The rest is privately owned property too expensive for the town to rent or buy.
Our town board faced hard facts when it decided in 2014 that the town would need a major infusion of wind power to meet its sustainability goal. The current town board is doing the same. So should members of our community, in order to resist the impacts of climate change on the extraordinary environment we share.
August 20, 2019
Dear East Hampton Star,
This letter is probably an exercise in preaching to the choir. If you find this is the case, you can stop wherever you like. But for those to whom this is all new (ish) information, I urge you to read to the end. You will have my thanks (as always) for doing so.
It has always amazed me that people are unwilling to listen to scientists when we tell them it’s going to be really bad. In the case of the global warming trend (which cannot be disputed because we see hard evidence of it every day), those in power claimed that there was no hard evidence that humans could cause such a disaster, let alone that it could happen at all.
However, what everyone overlooks is that there was hard evidence which the powers that were ignored. It was simple mathematics combined with a bit of basic chemistry, all irrefutable and provable in any laboratory. The chemistry: Burning fossil fuels produces lots of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is very good at holding heat. Plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen but at a reasonably static rate. The math: In a system without humans, the system remains stable and carbon dioxide is recycled. If the number of plants is reduced or the production of carbon dioxide goes up, the ability of the planet to recycle carbon dioxide is reduced proportionately and the result is an ecological nightmare.
If we needed real-world proof that this can happen, we need look no further than 220 million years ago to the paleontological event known as the Great Dying. I wrote about this a few weeks ago — a volcanic eruption in Siberia, which lasted nearly 6,000 years, produced enough carbon dioxide (as well as other greenhouse gases) to cause a worldwide extinction event, which resulted in the loss of an estimated 80 percent of all species on Earth. This is not the event that killed off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago but rather it was the event that paved the way for the dinosaurs to dominate the land.
The effects of carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) have been known since the early 19th century, possibly even longer. Various scientists did thought experiments based on known chemistry and realized that burning too much fossil fuel over a long period could raise temperatures worldwide, and this was accepted by climatologists in the 1890s, but most scientists were of the opinion that humans would never become so numerous that we would cause such a catastrophe.
And the public was still so steeped in religious tripe that they believed God would never let such a thing happen. It was also very well known at that time that plants and other photosynthetic organisms are essential to life on earth as we know it because they keep every living thing (with a very few exceptions) supplied with vital oxygen by recycling carbon dioxide.
To be very clear: All of this was known prior to 1900. Period.
Environmentalists in the 1960s and 1970s put all this together with revised estimates of current (to their time) world population, population growth, and basic trends in use of fossil fuels. No matter what they did, the math kept telling them that the world was headed for disaster. It was the powers that were who brought trees into the mix, claiming that there were enough trees and plants in the world to take care of the excess carbon dioxide. This was mathematically correct, but the formula was missing two variables. It assumed that world population and the amount of forested area of the planet would both remain constant. When the formula was adjusted for the fact that human population has been and would be growing exponentially (one billion in 1900, two billion in 1950, four billion in 1970, eight billion-plus today) and also that hundreds of acres of forest all over the world were being clear-cut and not replaced, the outcomes predicted were not just disastrous but disastrous on an epic scale.
This led environmentalists and scientists alike to try to sound the alarm. The evidence was all there in black and white. It didn’t need a fancy supercomputer to come along and prove the math right and confirm the catastrophic road humanity was walking (actually racing on in a runaway train).
This brings me to current events. Specifically the wildfires in the Amazon jungle. It has always been an odd contradiction that even though many of the most brilliant scientists I’ve ever met came from Brazil that they could elect a government which was so anti-ecological in its thinking. For more than 50 years now, it has been realized that virgin rain forests are some of the most vital ecological sites on the planet. As the largest rain forest on Earth, the Amazon is thus probably the single most important resource shared by the planet. For the purposes of this discussion, the important factor is that this region, which dominates most of South America from the Brazilian coast to the Peruvian Andes, represents 20 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide recycling capability. Even though this has been recognized for decades, many local governments have done little to stop the rape of the forest. Many of the trees produce rare hard woods, which are used to make luxury furniture. Much of the jungle is cleared as cropland or for cattle ranching (which produces tons of methane, which is 35 times more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide).
Let’s boil it down to simple math: We are putting more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every day and at the same time we are constantly reducing the planet’s ability to recycle that carbon dioxide into breathable oxygen. Think about this as you watch news footage of the Amazon burning away. It may seem half a world away, but we all rely on that land, which is now on fire.
I think this might be a good time for all of us to watch the film “Medicine Man,” which is based on a true story and explains exactly what we lose when any part of any rain forest burns.
Thanks for reading. Sorry for being a downer, but we need to face reality.
August 25, 2109
I recently noticed that New York State has designated the Town of East Hampton as a “Climate Smart Community.” Really? That same “Climate Smart Community” owns and operates an airport that subsidizes private jets and commuter helicopters, the types of aviation with the largest per-passenger carbon footprint this side of F-4 Phantom fighters.
To be sure, lawsuits funded by business-aviation lobbies have put KHTO under the thumb of the Federal Aeronautics Administration, forcing the town to run, yet not control, a facility that provides the town no revenue, while spreading noise, air, and carbon pollution all over the East End.
But that is no excuse for a “Climate Smart Community” to do nothing. In 2021, restrictions due to past federal grants will end, opening up the option of closing KHTO and repurposing hundreds of acres to tax-reducing, employment-producing, and carbon-avoiding uses. The one hope of ending the F.A.A. stranglehold is for the town right now to commit to and plan for that option, unless and until the town regains unfettered control of its airport.
The only alternative is for the town to hand back its designation as a supposedly “Climate Smart Community.”
August 26, 2019
I have always marveled at the drama that is the airport noise complaint system. Suppose you were a doctor and had a patient who was screaming in pain. For some reason, you are unable to treat the patient but eventually the patient stops screaming. What do you conclude? That the patient is now spontaneously better or that the patient’s condition has worsened to the point of interfering with vocalization, or that the patient has despaired of medical help and has reverted to inaudible whimpering?
Clearly the explanation could be any of the above, but for the doctor to assume without examination that the patient was quieted by a miraculous cure is certainly the least responsible medical conclusion. Yet it is exactly this conclusion that we accept with respect to the complaints of those affected by aircraft noise.
Have we not learned for a complete certainty that aircraft noise is very, very bothersome to those consistently exposed to it in their homes? Of course we have, so why don’t we stop demanding that those exposed to aircraft noise continue to compound their distress by filing complaints. And why don’t those responsible for our collective well-being get busy developing a solution strategy that includes not just a long-shot attempt to get the federal government to restrict the noise, but an exercise of our right to redeploy the extraordinary natural resource that the airport currently occupies?
The latter becomes possible in just two years, and I’d say that by then our government damn well ought to have selected plans for alternative uses of the airport space and put the options to the people for reflection. Much too much time has been spent by many too many people for our government not to be able to describe in detail what they might do when they have the option to thwart aircraft noise by alternative uses of that precious space.
So let’s tell the town board that this is no longer a time for complaints but a time for solutions, and it is up to them to provide an expert analysis of possibilities and an open discussion of public interests so that when the iron is finally hot, they can strike.
T. JAMES MATTHEWS
Find a Better Place
August 26, 2019
27East ran an article on Aug. 23 quoting Councilman David Lys saying the following during a town board work session on Tuesday, Aug. 20:
“We have engaged national award-winning architects and engineers to design a project that will be conforming and fit within the character of the neighborhood.”
I’d like Mr. Lys to explain how it is possible to conform to the character of the neighborhood when 90 percent of the characters in the neighborhood oppose the idea? The character of the neighborhood is residential, Councilman. And the residents don’t want the thing. The appraisal the town paid for to buy 36 Gann Road said that the property’s current use, residential, was the highest and best use. The town should find a better place, and not do the project at 36 Gann Road.
Our petition is on change.org: Search for “Hatchery Project.”
27East also quoted Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc as saying: “I think the board supports the idea of having it reviewed by the Planning Department and planning board ‘to create’ a hatchery.” The supervisor’s already made up his mind and is resolved to do the damn project. The only way out is to admit being wrong and undo the commitment resolution from July 18. Kathee Burke-Gonzalez wants to form a subcommittee of the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee to study this project. Will this subcommittee’s charter include looking at an alternative where the town doesn’t do this project? Will Kathee bring a resolution to this board saying stop the project? Will the Fabulous Four ever dissent and do what the people want?
August 23, 2019
I read last week’s nature column, “It’s the Water, Stupid!” written by Larry Penny, the former Natural Resources Department head for the town. How can the town rush with this Gann Road shellfish hatchery when questions abound as to whether this project will actually aid water quality? How can this board attack a fellow board member, Jeff Bragman, when he questions process?
Larry Penny, a longtime water expert, concludes his article with hard facts, which is more than this town board has done. The supervisor seems to blame everything on the political season. This must be what his campaign people are advising him to do because he shows no respect for professional advice. This is a large failure on his part and that of his three followers on the board — Overby, Lys, and Burke-Gonzalez.
The November election will have an impact on their failure to do what is right for our town. A commitment of $2.7 million will affect every resident’s taxes. This political season will show this town board that they are not serving the residents of this town well. My vote will not go to these candidates.
August 26, 2019
With respect to the feckless and pointless $5.2-million plan to relocate the town’s shellfish hatchery when we have an existing hatchery with unused space already producing more clam and oyster seeds than we can use, matters are going from bad to worse.
The town board majority of Van Scoyoc, Overby, Lys, and Burke-Gonzalez, in their zeal to produce something, anything, that they think they can brag about as “green” in the run-up to the election, are not only flagrantly violating the State Environmental Quality Review Act, but have filed a false application for an Empire State Development grant.
To be eligible for a grant, the applicant must commit to the project. But under SEQRA, it is specifically prohibited to “commit the agency to a definite course of future decisions” until environmental review is completed, either by issuance of a negative declaration, that there will not be any significant adverse environmental impact from the project, or the completion of an environmental impact statement and findings thereunder.
In its rush to meet the grant application deadline this year, the town board majority of four, with Councilman Bragman voting no, issued a negative declaration and formally committed to build the project. At the same time, they know that, for an admittedly general industrial facility in a residential A zone, exceeding the permitted lot coverage in a harbor protection overlay district, with inadequate setbacks for even a natural resources special permit variance, no design for a septic system, approvals required but not even yet applied for from Suffolk County for wastewater discharge and from the Department of Environmental Conservation for discharge into the harbor, and no review by the planning board even begun, it is impossible to issue a valid negative declaration at this time.
And so, at the last town board meeting, Supervisor Van Scoyoc publicly stated that all of this is fine because both the plans and environmental compliance are merely preliminary with additional environmental compliance to come as the plans become definite.
Unfortunately for our wayward town board, there is no such thing as a preliminary negative declaration. Environmental compliance must be completed, final, done before commitment to a project, and a negative declaration is the last step.
By declaring that environmental compliance will proceed in stages as plans are developed. Mr. Van Scoyoc was openly admitting that the town is in flagrant violation of SEQRA. The law expressly prohibits “segmentation,” defined as the “division of the environmental review of an action such that various activities or stages are addressed under this part as though they were independent, unrelated activities, needing individual determinations of significance.”
To the State of New York, the town board claims that environmental compliance is concluded with the issuance of a negative declaration and it commits to the project. To the residents of East Hampton, concerned about the lack of environmental review, the town board claims that that review has only just begun. Both of these things cannot be true at the same time.
Apparently, the town board majority thinks it is acceptable intentionally to file a false grant application with the State of New York. This town board violates open meetings laws, environmental laws, and makes improper deals behind closed doors with increasing abandon. It seems only a matter of time before the eyes of the attorney general and the Suffolk County district attorney are turned in their direction.
The candidates of the EH Fusion Party, myself as supervisor candidate and Bonnie Brady and Betsy Bambrick for town board, are committed to scrupulous observance of all laws.
August 27, 2019
Dear Mr. Rattray,
There are only two open and above-board things about the consolidated hatchery proposal at 36 Gann Road. The first is that no one in the neighborhood, with the possible exception of one person, knew anything for the last year about the “green” monster plan until its nifty, nearly half-million-dollar model was unveiled in Montauk. The second is that despite many public assertions of compliance with the town’s planning, Zoning, and Natural Resources Departments, the majority of the town board has refused to commit to following the rules apparently made for the rest of us, not them.
At our last Springs Citizens Advisory Committee meeting, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, our committee’s liaison, did say publicly that she was not convinced that this plan was appropriate for Springs, had not made up her mind as yet. This was new information for us, and I applaud her candor. That she did not express it when Councilman Bragman, the only attorney on our town board, who coincidentally specializes in land-use issues, was being savaged for his views by Mr. Lys and the supervisor is unfortunate, but going along to get along is sometimes a wise course.
We have heard nothing from Ms. Overby for or against, except for her pointing out at a public meeting that my friend and neighbor, Mark Mendelman, is a marina operator with a history on Gann Road from his beloved parents, Dick and Sylvia, that predates the existing hatchery by many years. If there were poster children for responsible, environmentally conscientious, local business owners, whose two generations of children were born and raised, and continue to excel in our community, the family portrait of the Mendelmans would suffice for the Wikipedia entry.
That aside, it’s time that this board, apparently led by the continually mendacious Mr. Lys, and Supervisor Van Scoyoc, whose personal involvement in the recreational oysterati program would force his recusal from discussions concerning same, got real. Ms. Overby, a former member of our now ignored planning board, and Ms. Burke-Gonzalez could, with courage, and Mr. Bragman represent the brakes on this train wreck in the making. Continual lying aside, this project’s chief outcome will be the destruction of our neighborhood, its peace and tranquillity.
Ignoring the rules the rest of us have to follow, and further, ignoring the project’s effects on the larger recreational boating and fishing community, and those whose memories include taking their children to the water without having to dodge the paying recreational oyster growers and their biweekly summer parties, is plainly wrong, however “legally” feasible.
Salting the public opinion cited in the grant application, and ignoring State Environmental Quality Review Act requirements, is in the first place immoral and the second possibly illegal, notwithstanding the mealy-mouthed explanations that without a plan there can’t be any effects. If there’s no plan, where did that model come from, and why are we down close to half a million dollars? Children making those assertions would head to timeout, at least.
At the same C.A.C. meeting where Ms. Burke-Gonzalez stated she had not made up her mind, there was a sop thrown to the neighborhood in the form of a committee to be part of the process, now when we are poised on wasting far more money for too little, if any, return. But, if that committee will ever meet is frankly in question if the only possible outcome is to rubber stamp a B.A.D. (Boondoggle And Destructive) idea. Since when is vain overdevelopment green?
Time for the women in charge to step up and cut bait. And those of you who are offended by autocracy, sign our petition on Facebook and Change.org. Preserve our community, and yours.
Duck Creek Farm Association
Forced to Shout
August 26, 2019
Dear David Rattray,
Americans have fought and died for democracy abroad for decades. What can citizens and editors do at home to make our governmental procedures democratic and just? Let’s start with the East Hampton Town Planning Board and the Springs-Fireplace Road car wash application. In “Questions and Pushback on Car Wash Plan,” The Star wrote, “Carolyn Zenk, a lawyer who represents another citizens group, also shouted at the board encouraging it to deny the application.” Exactly!
Why was I forced to stand at my seat and shout and insist that the board deny the application? Because the chairman denied me an opportunity to be heard in violation of the board’s policy for citizens to speak three minutes at work sessions and my clients’ constitutional right to due process.
Equal protection requires that citizens in similar classes be treated equally. Yet historically, developers’ attorneys and experts get hours and sometimes years speaking to the board while citizen group advocates only get to speak at public hearings for a brief few minutes. This is often long after critical questions have gone unanswered, and long after the most critical decision — namely whether to require an environmental impact statement — has passed. I was forced to make objections, called points of order, standing at my seat since I was denied my right to speak at the podium.
The board’s procedures resemble those of a Banana Republic, not a democracy. Developers’ attorneys and their experts, who make vast profits from their developments, can speak for hours. Yet, citizen attorneys, often representing not-for-profit organizations working in the public interest, are shouted down by the board’s chairman and denied a forum to be heard. The chairman instructed us to put our concerns in writing for the board to allegedly read later. Surprise! The entire board does not read its mail! Only a point person and staff do — another catch-22.
The chairman also told citizens the board won’t hear from them unless they put their comments in writing the Wednesday before the following Wednesday’s meeting. The only problem? The agenda sometimes comes out on Friday, so citizens won’t even know their application is on! Catch-22 again!
Now, a new and dangerous, illegal precedent rears its ugly head. The board is processing a “secret application,” for the Springs-Fireplace Road car wash with unknown technologies and poisons, based upon allegedly “proprietary” information the developer refuses to release to the board.
Yes, I was forced to shout over the chairman, who was shouting to shut me down to let board members know this is both outrageous and flatly illegal. It’s their legal duty to actually know the nature of the development and technologies involved in an application before them, so they can do their jobs and take the legally required hard look at the areas of environmental concern before they determine whether an environmental impact statement is required.
What’s next? Will the board blindly process hazardous waste sites, nuclear power plants, or chemical plants once developers simply claim their technologies are proprietary? Will the board actually blindly grant conditional approvals relying on other agencies to do the job they fail to do, without requiring the necessary environmental impact statements?
Members cannot make blind, magical determinations under the State Environmental Quality Review Act based upon secret applications. As the lead agency under SEQRA, neither can the planning board grant conditional approvals and pass the buck to other agencies like the Health Department and the Department of Environmental Conservation to do the board’s job of environmental review. Why will these agencies get to see the very technologies the developer currently denies and hides from our planning board? Why? “The emperor has no clothes!”
The board has set a precedent and acknowledged that car washes do in fact have a significant negative impact upon the environment, when it required an E.I.S. for the Golden Car Wash in Wainscott. It concluded Golden would negatively impact drinking water, surface water, and traffic. Springs-Fireplace Road Car Wash would have far greater impacts. It lies at the beginning of the drinking water system over the deepest part of the aquifer at the entrance to a historical neighborhood. Golden was on the outwash plain at the shallowest parts of the drinking water system.
The Springs site is currently wooded, with an important wooded buffer along the highway. The Golden site was already developed and mostly cleared. Not to mention that the developer and board wrongly concluded traffic would not worsen on Springs-Fireplace Road by comparing former summer traffic counts with projected winter-traffic counts there, which is comparing apples to oranges. Projected summer counts are needed to see if traffic will worsen. An environmental impact statement is clearly required in this case. Why, the board might even get to see the technology it’s been asked to blindly process!
Imagine how well the public interest would be served if we actually had a democratic system in East Hampton where citizen groups and advocates were given equal time to developers and the board actually followed the law, took the “hard look” at the “areas of environmental concern” legally required, and refused to accept secret applications? Now, that’s something worth fighting and shouting about!
August 26, 2019
This morning I read the Gospel for today: Matt. 23:13-22. As soon as I finished and saw the next verse I thought to myself I have to read this, too. It was the first of the woes that Jesus speaks about. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice, and mercy, and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!
At 10 a.m. on EWTN Mother Angelica comes on with a program that was recorded during the Advent season of 1997. As these things happen, Mother Angelica begins to talk about the straining of the gnat and the swallowing of the camel. Here is Mother Angelica’s interpretation of that verse.
“A husband comes home from work and finds out that his wife has burned the roast for dinner and gets so angry that he starts to yell at his wife. The husband gets up from the dinner table and storms out of the house and slams the door. What the wife does not know is that her husband was involved with another woman just before he came home from work. This man did strain the gnat and swallow the camel.
Down the Tubes
August 26, 2019
To the Star:
In Economics 101 we were all obligated to read Samuelson, the most basic introduction to economics on the college level. Supply and demand guns and butter. Simple, basic, but light- years beyond the grasp of our president. Republicans and Democrats all read Samuelson. Decades before the chicanery of supply side and globalization. We all knew that there were 12 two-cent stamps in a dozen. I think.
We also knew that each new administration lived for 18 months on the policies of the previous administration. So Obama had 18 months of hell. Saved the country by resetting the economy and got no help from the Republicans. O. never crowed about how bad Bush was or about how great he was. Trump inherited a steady rising tide and despite getting a $2 trillion infusion, is leading us up shit’s creek. All mouth, no production, and virtually no investment.
America first is the provenance of sexually challenged dimwits. Led by Don Quixote on steroids. When he showed up in China with one-third the normal summit meeting staff it was a red flag. When he hired his favorite TV guys to advise on the economy to support his other economic advisers who had zero government experience it was a sea of red flags. When he began negotiating by Tweet we fell into the abyss.
The economy is global. Alone we are lame and innocuous. In 30 months he imploded our relationships with Europe, Japan, China, Canada, and Mexico. The world looks at the strongest economy and cringes. Where is Sancho Panza when we need him most? Stability, consistency, and security all down the tubes.
China. In the face of Chinese aggression and expanding influence in Africa and South America we now roll over and raise tariffs. By rejecting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we ceded Asia to China. Going it alone meaning pulling out of a treaty that would have provided an enormous counterbalance to China was genuinely demented. Battling China alone with his reality-show economic advisers is a pathetic mismatch. We also betrayed the other 12 countries in the pact. America First is really about making America suck like it never did before.
China played him like a sophomoric neophyte. He had no details, no plans, no technical awareness. No one to tell him that the emperor’s new clothes don’t work in China. It’s not the China club or Chinatown. No takeout menus. Xi smiled and gave him nothing. When he was told the truth weeks later, he flipped.
The Trump history is one of abusing working class people of all stripes and colors. Of defaulting and screwing workers out of hundreds of millions of dollars. No health care, no benefits, and lots of illegals. Amazing. Isn’t that what’s happening today? Almost all of his ventures have failed. His strongest suit is licensing, which is about branding a product rather than creating one. He brings virtually no real business acumen to the table. His is an empty suit model of burning other people’s money.
Our economy is a major deal. There are no quick fixes. It’s not pornographic or masturbatory. We set in motion a multitude of plans that project 20 or 30 years into the future. It requires insight, foresight, and deep understanding of how things work. Our experts are often misguided and get it wrong. We are often conned into making the wealthy even wealthier. Slogans, banners, idiot box Tweets are all garbage. If you don’t understand the process you can’t solve the problem. Is the purpose to solve the problem? Or just get richer?
Bush’s people put us deep in the crapper. Obama’s saved our butts and set us on a good path. Trump has no people, no substance, no plans. We are left in perpetual suspension, one idiotic Tweet away from disaster.
A New Song
August 21, 2019
I have been informed by reliable sources that the Trump campaign will feature a new song for rally audiences to sing during the 2020 campaign. The lyrics are not entirely original:
America was having trouble.
What a sad, sad story,
Needed a new leader
To restore its former glory.
Where, oh where was he?
Where could that man be?
We looked around
And then we found
The man for you and me.
And now it’s
Springtime for Trump
The U.S.A. is happy and gay.
We’re marching to a faster pace.
Here comes the master race.
Springtime for Trump
Winter for Mexico and China.
Go into your dance.
Don’t be stupid; be a smarty.
Come and join the Nazi Party.
All credit with some exceptions to the great Mel Brooks.
August 22, 2019
Foul-mouthed, nastiest-ever U.S. President Donald Trump’s calling Denmark Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen “nasty” for merely calling his nutty proposal “absurd” is itself absurd. It might also be world history’s most egregious example of the pot calling the kettle black except that there’s nothing “black” (bad) about her.
Ironically, the likely main reason Trump wanted to buy Greenland is his ignorant belief that “Greenland” signifies a nation of green grass ideal for scores of Trump golf courses.
As for Trump’s complaint about the way the prime minister “blew me off,” how about the way he blew off his gun control promises to those Parkland kids and their parents?
I’d like to see how Trump reacts if Vladimir Putin calls him to say Russia will be giving us back the $7 million they paid us to “borrow” Alaska for the past 152 years.
August 26, 2019
To the Star:
Pragmatism, pragmatist. Definitions: “Guided more by practical considerations than by ideals and abstracts.” Approach: assess the truth, meaning beliefs in terms of success and practical application.
Aug. 1 marked the 75th anniversary of a cynical, treacherous, gory double-crossing in modern warfare and probably way back: the heroic Warsaw uprising against the German occupation forces, 1944 the Germans in full retreat before the massive Russian forces. In late July the Russian Army reached the banks of Vistula River right outside of Warsaw and stopped, halted. The Russians constantly broadcasting, agitating, encouraging Warsaw residents to rise up against the German occupation forces — a sneaky trick to flush out the Polish Home Army whose loyalty surely was with the exiled Polish government in London, a certain rival to postwar Communist rule. The uprising started, and the German slaughter followed. The Russians could have intervened but did not.
Can’t resist augmenting the significance of this calamitous episode fictitiously or perhaps real. Stalin connecting with Adolf Hitler via Switzerland “Hallow, Adolf! This is Joseph!” Hitler: “Yahaa ich weiss”(I know), Stalin.”
“Adolf, this call is about one matter only one.”
Hitler: “Was is es?”
Stalin: “It is about Warsaw. It is yours. It is all yours. Take your time”
Hitler: “Yahha ich faschstee.” (I understand.) Click.
The Germans killed executed as many as 16,000 alongside 20,000 civilians and put Warsaw to the torch saving Stalin the trouble. Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt fully aware of Stalin’s track record history of human Butchery. The 1940 Katyn Forest executions, massacre of 21,892 Polish war prisoners, officers, and generals, 20,000 Ukrainians and Russians starved to death. In 1942 Roosevelt signed the Land Lease Bill permitted, created the life-support line to Stalin and the anti-Hitler coalition allies.
“Americans gave us so much without which we wouldn’t have survived,” Soviet General Georgy Zhukov.
“The raw materials has been accepted by the Soviet Government with heartfelt gratitude,” Stalin wrote to Roosevelt. Yet so desperate to keep Stalin happy they, Churchill and Roosevelt, endorsed all his lies and even apologized when the mass graves were discovered in 1943. Not even an intend allusion of rebuke, reprove. Speaking of pragmatism, pragmatists, President Trump was invited and plans to visit Poland next month to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II and also visit Warsaw and take part in ceremonies there. His baggage, his track record, though short but numerous, of controversial contentious, decisions, actions involving, concerning pragmatism, rational vs. utopian emotional airy-fairy is more than befitting this remembrance.
Saudi Arabia, solidifying ties with a crucial, influential autocracy, currently arming, supplying updated modernized weapons, entertained by the royal family, danced the Ardah sword dance with Prince Mohamed bin Salaman, the alleged human decapitator.
North Korea, approximately 70 years in isolation, Kim Jung Un, a whimsical young adult, a family executioner, responded to President Trump’s undeviating outreach. Both developed an amiable relationship. First American president invited to cross the border. Calmed Kim down, stopped him playing with nuclear weapons, testing long-range ballistic missiles. Recently issued stamps of Donald Trump and Kim standing side-by-side commemorating their chat in Panmunjom. Unveiling Kim, the free west festive, sparkling Singapore (He will never be the same) and all this while the North Korean people are hungering, starving, emaciated.
Putin: Russia to date, 20 controversial journalists murdered and scores of defecting politicians, many more in jail. Recently started to arrest peaceful demonstrators. Needless to mention, the exposed meddling in our affairs. However all the sanctions are still in place, plus two additional this year.
Currently Russian military mixed, entangled with our troops in the Middle East. The second largest nuclear power (possibly equal by now), yet the president maintains a cordial empirical relationship, very recently strongly suggested to readmit Russia to the G7. Easier, safer to argue, fight across tables than continents. Classic pragmatism. Let’s face it, acknowledge it takes the making of a true patriot to fraternize and socialize with such an unsavory woeful, deplorable, aggregation for the sake of us, U.S.A. America first.
EDWARD A. WAGSCHAL