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Letters to the Editor: 09.19.19

Wed, 09/18/2019 - 12:07

Vote Early
East Hampton
September 12, 2019

Dear David,

Just a heads-up as we all start to plan our calendars: Starting this fall, New York voters will have the opportunity to vote early in New York’s general election.

Starting on Saturday, Oct. 26, and continuing every day through Sunday, Nov. 3, voters will get the chance to vote prior to Election Day at Windmill Village, 219 Accabonac Road, Community Room Number Two. This gives voters two full weekends before Election Day to vote early.

Turnout is always one of the most important parts of an election, so please make a plan to get out and vote anytime from Oct. 26 to Nov. 3, with regular Election Day being Tuesday, Nov. 5.

If you are going to be away, you can still request an absentee ballot as always.

Make a plan to vote.

Best,

TIM GARNEAU


Outstanding Place
Montauk
September 16, 2019

Dear Editor,

Last Sunday, Concerned Citizens of Montauk hosted a free family picnic for the community at Fort Pond House at Carol Morrison Park and in Montauk. The setting is spectacular, with graceful trees and a sloping lawn leading down to Fort Pond. People gathered at outdoor picnic tables to share food and talk, Bob Stern filled the air with his lively fiddle music, and kids dashed about playing games. This was an opportunity to celebrate the tremendous asset Carol Morrison Park and Fort Pond House are to the community, as well as to reflect on the water quality testing that C.C.O.M. performs regularly in Fort Pond to safeguard the pond and those who recreate in it. A huge thank-you to the many who came and to East Hampton Town, which manages the property, as well as those who helped save this outstanding place for us all to enjoy!

LAURA TOOMAN

President

Concerned Citizens of Montauk


Grandpa’s Tractor
Montauk
September 10, 2019

Dear Friends,

I was pleased to read the recent article on the purchase of “Grandpa’s Tractor” in the Sept. 5 issue of The East Hampton Star. It reflected memories that I had of my grandfather’s farm in Michigan, where I lived each summer as a child. Only then we didn’t have a tractor yet, but a team of horses.

Later, Grandpa bought a John Deere tractor. The tractor was also used in a day of thrashing — separating the grain and ending up with a large straw stack, standing by the windmill by the large barn.

Several farmers, who lived on surrounding farms, shared a team or wagon or a “hired man” to help, which was returned in kind later at their thrashing. Ah, yes, it was a heavenly time, which required work and engagement — and Grandpa, who worked and kept things running.

A magic time. Yes, a lot of work, but rewarding in a number of “community” ways that we don’t experience today.

Thank you for this memory of the John Deere tractor.

Sincerely,

PRISCILLA CICCARIELLO


Should Be Ashamed
Springs
September 16, 2019

To The Star:

I have held off composing this letter as I did not want to write it when I was angry, yet here we are, a few weeks later, and I am still angry and disgusted, so here it goes.

As a parent of a special needs child who has a history of aggression, as a member of this close-knit community where we always have each other’s backs, and simply as a human being with compassion, empathy, and common sense, I cannot comprehend what was going through Officer Anthony Bosco’s mind when he responded to a call for assistance. Was it a lack of critical training, an aggressive personality flaw, or just a bad day for the officer? Regardless, instead of defusing the situation, Officer Bosco’s actions only served to escalate such to the point that he sustained injury and, moreover, the family in need was left more exasperated than when they called for help.

I cannot even imagine the sheer shock Ann and Kathy felt as they watched the person who was supposed to help inexplicably escalate the matter. I know firsthand what it is like to watch your child struggle and melt down — it is one of the most painful things to witness. It is truly heartbreaking and I don’t know if, as a parent, you ever fully recover from it. It takes a lot for us to even think about asking for help, much less ask — and, justifiably so, Ann and Kathy asked for help. They got anything but. To add insult to injury, this “public servant” is now suing the family that he grossly failed to serve and protect.

Seriously? Are you kidding me? Mr. Bosco, your actions were not only so unfathomably poor, they are unforgivable. You provoked this! You instigated the easily anticipated reaction of a special needs child. And you received instant karma for such in your resultant injury. You should be ashamed of yourself — not only for abhorrently executing your duties as a police officer, but for having the audacity to sue the family for your poor decisions. The only honorable thing you can do is drop this ludicrous lawsuit and apologize to this family. It is the least you could do to redeem yourself.

While there are no words adequate enough to describe the disgust and outrage I have at your actions, I hold out hope that you will realize your culpability and make proper amends to this family and to the community you are supposed to serve. I also hope that our Police Department will immediately provide meaningful training to its personnel so that I, along with this family and countless others in our community, will not hesitate in seeking assistance when we and our family members need it the most.

Respectfully yours,

JENNIFER J. HAAGEN


At Rosie’s
Springs
September 15, 2019

David:

Re Laura Donnelly’s glowing review (Sept. 12) of the new restaurant Rosie’s in Amagansett, I’m in full agreement. It’s become my go-to spot this summer for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with top-notch food, cocktails, and, not least, appealing décor.

Donnelly describes the interior design at length, so why not give credit to the designer, who happens to be local? It’s the up-and-coming Elena Frampton, who has a Bridgehampton showroom as well as a Manhattan office. In a modestly sized space, Frampton has created no fewer than five different areas of ambience at Rosie’s — the bar, the front-window seating, the more formal, long banquette, the intimate back room, and a pleasant outdoor “alley,” any of them the perfect spot for a fresh radish cocktail or plate of orecchiette.

I often remember the design of a restaurant long after I’ve forgotten what I ate there. At Rosie’s, both are standouts.

CARA GREENBERG


Enthralled
Springs
September 16, 2019

Hello Helen:

I assume I am the Bill you refer to in your nostalgic column last week. I am reporting that I have slipped only a bit. This email is the example. For business reasons I fell into this nasty habit of emailing instead of talking on the phone.

All of us seem now to want to avoid talking with each other, reducing the other to brief snippets. The internet, too (alas, I have a Pushcart site), has reduced us to mere gadgets, packed with useless info and dead to thought. I mean who has the time to think in our super fast-paced, scatterbrained world? Thus we have a president who will not ponder, supported by voters who don’t know how to think and don’t want to, enthralled by technology like a mouse in front of a cobra.

BILL HENDERSON


Summer Strategy
Montauk
September 12, 2019

To the Editor:

I read to the end of the article over the uproar over the flashing lights, because it kind of made me shake my head that this is what upsets people, some of them the same people who boosted sandbags on the beaches and scorned long-range climate change planning for the hamlet.

If you want local businesses to prosper, encourage foot traffic. Fix the lights, lower them, but remember even the most aware motorist is not always deft enough to react to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. We need an additional warning system, I think, given sometimes dodgy driving habits (year round). Complaining about stopping your car because too many people are crossing the street makes about as much sense as a business complaining about too many customers.

I don’t think we need state troopers to help people cross the street — seems a bit extreme and costly. We do have local police. Everyone has a summer strategy to deal with more people in town. I am sure even those complaining have one of their own.

Remember, we can also put up traffic lights. How would that work for you?

PAT LUKASZEWSKA


The Seniors
East Hampton
September 10, 2019

Dear David:

An article in The East Hampton Press on Aug. 22, 2019, re repairs on the C.D.C.H. building, which was purchased by the town, voted to authorize a bond to make repairs, etc.

They have already approved $220,000 in May, now they earmarked another $90,000 more. The town can put the food pantry at this location now and have plenty of parking. Kathee Burke- Gonzalez went through a checklist of evaluation of inventory of furniture, records, etc., for disposal.

Kathee, what about the booklet presented to the seniors on July 13, 2018, by the architect who came with you to ask questions from the seniors about their needs in the hundred-year building they are in?

Did the town ever bond for the building? Adult day care for adults with special needs are in one room, in which all their activities take place. They also received a wholesome lunch. We have a great staff that takes care of us with good meals and activities. I am 91 years old and more people are aging in our community every day while the young people are leaving as they are unable to buy a home here or find a good job.

JULIA KAYSER


Proposed Tower
East Hampton
September 16, 2019

Dear David:

As anyone who was in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001, can tell you, the events of that day are marked indelibly in one’s memory, down to the smallest details. But time passes and, as your editorial “Due Respect” (Sept. 12, 2019) rightly notes, “many students entering college this year were just newborns when the attacks took place.” Thus, annual memorial ceremonies, such as those held at Hook Mill and throughout the nation on the anniversary of 9/11 are crucial, lest we forget all that was done that day, most especially by the first responders.

But your editorial’s reference to the planning board’s work session of Sept. 11, 2019, in which we took up the site plan application of the Springs Fire District and Elite Towers for an emergency services communications facility is mistaken in some important respects.

While it is true that “the scheduling conflict certainly wasn’t intentional,” when the planning board and its staff were made aware that there was a mis-perception among the public and members of the Springs Fire Department that a public hearing was scheduled for Sept. 11, 2019, a rescheduling was proposed immediately. However, co-counsel for the applicants advised staff by telephone and email that: “the Co-Applicants, Springs Fire District and Elite Towers, L.P., wish for their site plan application to remain on the work session portion of the planning board’s 9/11/19 agenda.”

Prior to the commencement of our meeting at 6:30 p.m., the planning board confirmed with the many members of the Springs Fire Department who were present in Town Hall that the Hook Mill ceremony had concluded. While we had many agenda items scheduled for that evening, including two public hearings on other matters, we adjusted our schedule to further ensure that no one who wished to attend the work session would miss the discussion of the emergency services communications facility later in the evening.

Finally, it is important to underscore that this was a work session and not a public hearing. Your editorial mistakenly uses the word “hearing” several times. While this may be mere verbiage to some, the difference is essential. Work sessions are a time when the planning board, the Planning Department, and the applicants, through their attorneys or representatives, work on the details of the application, including, in this case, the placement of the proposed tower. Public comment at work sessions is limited at the discretion of the chair. By contrast, public hearings are the time when members of the public are invited and encouraged to address the planning board directly. I think it safe to say that the planning board and its staff would have taken care not to schedule a public hearing for an application involving emergency services on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Very truly yours,

SAMUEL KRAMER,

Chairman

East Hampton Town Planning Board


Sand Mine
East Hampton
September 15, 2019

Dear David,

I’m old enough to know that life isn’t fair. But riddle me this: Why do the rules not apply to all? Why, if, let’s say, you put in a pool, you must comply by putting a fence around it, or at least a fence around your yard? Because that is the law in the town you live in. Same applies if you do just about anything to improve your property. For instance, one must not overclear, we understand that. You must apply as Joe or Josephine homeowner for permission to put up a structure such as a garage on your property. Often one feels they have jumped through numerous hoops, the process takes so long. But you follow the rules and hopefully, you build your garage. What if you want to do something on a much bigger scale? Like cut down every standing tree and dig a crater like something out of a science fiction movie in the middle of a neighborhood?

And when you have excavated and excavated until you reached rock bottom, will you stop? Well, no. Because the rules don’t apply to you. And the good, old-boy network that greases the wheels keeps turning. You even have the backing of a state-run agency that is not enforcing the environmental standards and laws they started with in the first place — standards, the very purpose of which are there to protect something as important as clean drinking water and groundwater, so crucial on this island where we all live.

What happens when you complain about this excavating to an operator’s heart’s content? Suddenly fences on small properties have to be taken down. People are accused of being troublemakers. Sticks and stones, we can handle the gnats. What we cannot abide is the fact that the gold rush of sand mining continues to the detriment of our water. Not my water, mind you, not one neighborhood’s water, all of our water.

The aquifer beneath serves us all. The interference to the groundwater by more invasive excavating is not only dangerous, it is prohibited in the state agency’s permit. But there can be exceptions apparently. One person in a state agency can decide it’s okay to muck up the groundwater even if it cannot be filtered enough or treated enough afterward to be acceptable for human consumption. That’s a lot of power to wield, man.

Is there resistance enough to fight this power? We shall see. We are asking for an environmental impact study on that sand mine on Middle Highway. That takes time, we realize. Where are we going? And while that is happening, we can think about what we value more, lining one person’s pockets with gold or keeping our drinking water protected.

Everyone has boundaries and has to follow rules. We learn that in the early years. Some take longer and do it the hard way, but eventually we all adapt. The dog doesn’t get to dig up the entire yard, right? Nor do the kids have free rein to turn the whole yard into a monster truck arena. There are limits. Where are the limits on this sand mine?

Patiently,

NANCI LAGARENNE


Massive Potential
East Hampton
September 16, 2019

To the Editor,

If you read this paper, I know you love this place. Don’t you want to leave it better than you found it?

I’d like to invite you to get behind offshore wind. Please put the conspiracies and the false information aside and hear me out.

We have a choice right now. We are addicted to fossil fuels — dirty-burning, climate crisis-causing fossil fuels. This addiction is unfairly causing harm to areas of the world that have little to no contribution to the problem itself. We also have a president who would like to open 90 percent of our coastlines for offshore oil drilling, to undergo seismic exploration, to ruthlessly drill for more dirty oil, and make us (and the entire Eastern Seaboard) vulnerable to the threat of a spill.

The good news is that right now, our local community literally holds the power to impact the fossil fuel industry — by supporting offshore wind.

The wind industry is booming. Whether or not we accept this project, wind will be coming to our nearshore waters, and in much larger numbers. There are currently many offshore wind lease areas in the Mid-Atlantic, some of which allow for up to 200 turbines. This industry provides massive potential for our local community — providing us with future local jobs and a reliable source of clean energy to stop our contribution to the climate crisis. But in order to do so, we need to also accept, support, and help push forward the onshore infrastructure needed to support this clean energy. We would then have the option to create battery storage facilities that would make our community less vulnerable in the case of a storm that that affects the entire grid. We hold the power to shake up the system.

Lastly, in regards to the landing cable. Beach Lane is undoubtedly the most logical landing location when being compared to Hither Hills. I will not let billionaires kick and scream Nimbyism so loud so they can “save the beach.” Supporting renewable energy to mitigate the climate crisis is what will save their beach, not denying it.

When our time on this earth is over, our legacy can be left in the form of a monumental switch to clean energy that sets the precedent for the East Coast and the rest of the country.

COLLEEN HENN


Disruption Variance
Montauk
September 14, 2019

To the Editor:

Climate injustice. I read recently that the poor people of the Bahamas are not only victims of the physical destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian but they are victims of climate injustice as well. The island archipelago has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world, and it has had to bear the greatest harmful consequences of those wealthy countries that contribute most to the effects of climate change. Climate injustice.

Here in East Hampton there is a similar injustice being perpetrated by those relatively few wealthy homeowners in an area of Wainscott surrounding Beach Lane. A recent New York Times article stated that the well-heeled resources of people like the cosmetics billionaire Ronald Lauder and Marci Klein, the daughter of Calvin Klein, have hired an army of lawyers, lobbyists, public relations experts, and engineers to fabricate a case against the wind farm cable being brought in on Beach Lane. Instead, they’ve put their money behind the lobbying efforts to support an alternate site at the state park in Montauk.

Keep in mind that the disruption variance between the two sites is enormous. In Wainscott it affects only two miles of residential properties, 18 homes in one off-season. In comparison, the Montauk landing site would require the disruption of thousands over a two-year span. Climate injustice.

Are you not angry enough yet? Let me expound a bit more about the Wainscott protest. Initially, part of their argument against having the cable land in Wainscott was to discredit the merits of the wind farm itself, that it would kill the fishing industry, decimate birds, give off dangerous radiation from the buried cable, and much more. These were all either absolute untruths or exaggerated or twisted propaganda points.

Once their efforts to convince the powers that be to consider an alternative site to Beach Lane took hold and the Montauk site became a more plausible substitute, they shifted away from denigrating the wind turbine project and concentrated on putting their full force to have the cable land in Montauk. Climate injustice.

Money wins most of the time, usually by committing injustices. Don’t let that happen this time. There is too much at stake. Don’t let the health of the planet be sacrificed in order to prevent one off-season inconvenience to 18 fat-cat homeowners in Wainscott. Let climate justice prevail this time around.

BENNY SORGIE


Switch to Electric
Floral Park
September 12, 2019

To the Editor:

Giant, stalled Hurricane Dorian is but one example of the terrible costs of our current climate emergency. Larger and slower storms are becoming more prevalent as the world warms from greenhouse gas emissions.

On Long Island, that sounds like a prelude to a pro-offshore wind argument, but there’s another factor to be concerned about: the enormous amount of greenhouse gases produced by internal combustion vehicles, which constitute 36 percent of the state’s emissions. Eighty percent of that is from private vehicles. If we’re going to get to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act mandates, we’ve got to set a doable interim goal to curb gasoline use. Getting people out of their cars will be a challenge on Long Island. Instead, a switch to electric cars is necessary.

Environmental groups are calling for 55 percent electric transit by 2035. Give rebates for electric cars. Charge pollution fees to make long-term ownership of them even more affordable. Vastly expand the charging infrastructure to take the hassle out. Improve public transit to get people out of their cars.

President Trump’s efforts to roll back tailpipe emission standards notwithstanding, these are policies we must implement for our future and the future of the planet.

PEGGY LYONS


Landing Site
Montauk
September 13, 2019

To the Editor,

The South Fork Wind Farm intends to construct 15 wind turbines 35 miles off the coast of Montauk. The preferred landing spot for the export cable to come ashore is Beach Lane in Wainscott. Now they are looking at landing in Hither Hills. Wainscott says “no” to the cable. (Nimby, Not in my backyard.)

Here are the plain and simple facts.Hither Hills vs. Beach Lane:

Above ground construction: 11.9 miles vs. 4.1 miles.

Estimated construction period: 2 years vs. 12 months.

Construction path: Old Montauk Highway, 27 (Napeague), Main Street (Amagansett and East Hampton) vs. 4 miles, two of which are residential roads.

Project oversight and control: State of New York vs. Town of East Hampton.Number impacted: Thousands vs. 18 homes.

Please join with the many local organizations urging both the developers and East Hampton Town officials to approve the preferred landing site in Wainscott.

Sign the petition at ipetitions.com.

Thank you,

CONNIE CORTESE


In the Dark
East Hampton
September 15, 2019

To the Editor:

Our local Green New Deal forces seem to be mustered to support the offshore wind turbine project — East Hampton’s contribution to saving the planet.

The planet does not need to be saved from global warming (now called “climate change” because global warming predictions kept failing). I have addressed that in many letters to The Star.

But East Hampton residents have been kept largely in the dark about the fatal drawbacks of wind power. Those who speak and write in favor of it are “greens,” and the greens are ardent salesmen for an ideology. (At its philosophical base, that ideology is anti-industrial and anti-modern. Another story.)

A few considerations about wind power: Wind turbines are grossly inefficient. The large industrial ones characteristically produce 2.5 megawatts of power. But only when wind speed is ideal (between 8 and 25 m.p.h.). Most of the time, even in the best locations, it is not.

Therefore, today’s wind farms have a “capacity factor” of about one-third: that is, one-third the output of their “nameplate” ideal capacity when the wind blows at the right speed 24/7 every day of the year.

Obviously, when the wind isn’t blowing, the electricity grid doesn’t provide the projected power. Today, fossil-fuel plants can step in. Under the “green new deal,” fossil-fuel plants would be eliminated. Then, to keep the lights on we will need nuclear power plants, which older greens cut their teeth on opposing — and still do oppose.

The state of South Australia’s government set out to be a leader in renewable energy. The state has extensive, installed wind generation capacity (not the same as power production, as we noted). But after repeated blackouts in 2016, Australian regulatory agencies set caps on solar and wind generation, ensuring enough fossil-fuel backup to prevent the blackouts.

There are areas along the West Coast and Midwest with steady wind, but three-quarters of our contiguous 48 states have half the wind. True, offshore areas have higher wind potential but are three times as expensive to develop.

The real drawback, vastly downplayed by the greens, is the land required for industrial wind turbines, placed far apart to avoid interfering with “wind capture area.” In a keynote address at an energy conference last year, Louisiana attorney general Jeff Landry pointed out that generating enough power for the Houston metropolitan area alone would require some 900 square miles of wind turbines —assuming operating at full capacity (which they don’t). That is 16 times the size of Washington, D.C.

Estimates of the cost of wind power are routinely grotesquely low-balled, including by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. These estimates assume a 30-year lifetime (but most wind turbines last 15, far less offshore). The estimates ignore the cost of backup power, do not include the cost of transmission lines of the kind East Hampton is debating.

A 2016 Utah University study showed that when you add back such costs, including the huge subsidies from the government, the real cost of wind power is an appalling 43 cents per kilowatt-hour. For perspective: That is seven times the cost of natural gas-generated electric power. Well, no one said that saving the planet would come cheap.

In fact, the methodology chiefly used to develop plans for New York State intends to become 50 percent “renewable” by 2030 (the same methodology used by the same scholars developing such plans for other states) and is turning out to be seriously flawed. (See “Are Studies of Penetrations of Wind Power Valid?” by Richard D. Patton.) Plans could fail badly and drive costs sky high. Experiences in Germany and South Australia suggest that is what will happen (www.wattsupwiththat.com/2019/01/26).

The Green New Deal foresees wind farms everywhere, but even environmentally friendly communities like East Hampton resist them (or just their transmission lines). One reason is that their grave environmental damage is now being understood.

How many birds do the turbines kill? Earlier estimates ran at perhaps 300,000 a year in the 48 states. The Audubon Society says that makes wind “the most threatening form of green energy.” Actually, other sources put the death tolls far higher.

There are more bird lovers in East Hampton than bat lovers, but those who understand the environment know the critical role of bats. And here we are talking about a worsening threat to human health and welfare. Industrial wind turbines are now slaughtering bats, with at least four million killed since 2012.

That could make life a lot less healthy and a lot less comfortable. Bats are our primary natural defense in keeping mosquitoes and crop-damaging insects in check. One bat can gobble down 1,000 mosquitoes and other insects an hour: That is 6,000 per night.

Fish and wildlife specialists are staggered by the heaps of dead bats found at industrial wind-turbine sites in the eastern United States. A bat does not have to be hit by a turbine blade; about half die of barotrauma — the pressure change near a spinning blade that bursts the blood vessels in the bat’s lungs.

An organization called Save the Eagles suggests that the loss of millions of bats has resulted in billions of more mosquitoes. Indeed, mosquito populations have increased up to tenfold in the past 50 years. For now, the chief causes are urbanization and reduced use of insecticides. But if wind power ever manages to become significant, bat slaughter will soar, and we might face a Stephen King insect horror story.

Not the least of the problems with wind turbines is their appalling noise, akin to that of a helicopter. Of course, East Hampton’s wind power at first will come from far offshore. That makes it even more extremely expensive, but, for now, puts at least some of the problems out to sea. But, across the world, governments have received tens of thousands of complaints about noise, and have no way to address them.

As wind turbines have proliferated in parts of Europe, serious accidents have increased, with 192 deaths over the past decade from massive failures of turbine blades. Countries are now requiring the vast, sprawling wind farms to locate several miles from human habitations.

In Germany, this year, greens lamented that the drive toward wind power had almost collapsed because national government subsidies were ending, and the power industry was swamped with legal challenges by environmental groups. The two chief types of lawsuits were over bird and bat deaths and noise.

In summary, as an excellent article on the site “What’s Up with That” concludes: “Many Americans think wind energy is cheap, eco-friendly, and wonderful. But that’s because few are ever exposed to the real human, animal, scenic, and environmental costs. Green New Deal supporters are counting on people to remain in the dark about these serious problems.”

We in East Hampton should grasp that to judge the wisdom of wind power we must look beyond our own town and region. And beyond the present. Wind power’s high-pressure salesmen take advantage of these very early days of wind power, when many problems (the land required, back-up fossil-fuel plants, bird and bat slaughter) are out of sight. How many of us ever will see the turbines somewhere in the Atlantic near Martha’s Vineyard?

And yet, the entire rationale for East Hampton wind power, and accepting the significantly higher costs, is that we lead New York State, the country, and the world in the great crusade to rescue the earth. Notice that that has meaning only if wind power becomes far more widespread. And when it does its huge problems will no longer be lost at sea. They will be in everyone’s backyard.

Given what “success” of the wind power movement would mean in terms of energy costs, the landscape, endless energy shortages, and blackouts, and damage to the balance of nature, the green dream of pervasive turbine farms may meet insurmountable resistance. (Actually, in my view, we have that it does.)

But then, the rationale for East Hampton’s great “progressive” sacrifice for planet earth will lose meaning. But our expensive, intermittent new wind-power system will still be with us.

For many facts and perspective, I have relied on work of Jay Lehr, senior policy analyst for the Ottawa-based International Climate Science Coalition. An excellent source for genuine science on the subject is “The Mythology of Global Warming” by Bruce Bunker, Ph.D. (Moonshine Cove, 2018).

WALTER DONWAY


Mischaracterized
East Hampton
September 16, 2019

Dear David,

Weeks after being interviewed by The New York Times regarding my views on Deepwater Wind, I was happy to read myself quoted correctly in its Sept. 14 article: “ ‘I’m skeptical of everything about it because I know it’s been sold on the basis of falsehoods,’ said Mr. Gruber, who is running [for East Hampton supervisor] on the Independence Party line.”

I have indeed written numerous times about the many falsehoods published in support of Deepwater Wind, regarding everything from the claim that the project will meet our 100 percent renewable energy goal (in reality only 1.5 percent of the energy will be used here in East Hampton to meet only 2.2 percent of our consumption), that it will address our peak summer demand (in reality grossly mismatched), the energy cost (in reality three to five times the going rate), and lack of impact on fisheries (not according to the environmental regulators in the States of New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and in Denmark, where Orsted, the owner, is from).

Unfortunately, The Times mischaracterized my position on the project, incorrectly stating that I am running on a “stop-the-wind-farm” platform. Alas, the perils of talking to the press! So this is a good opportunity to restate my position on Deepwater Wind, although it has been published any number of times before.

First, the wind farm should not be located in the midst of one of the most productive fishing grounds on the East Coast, Cox’s Ledge. In Denmark, where Orsted is from, they do not permit wind farms in active fishing grounds. And they do not allow fishing with mobile gear inside wind farms. If, however, a wind farm must be located on Cox’s Ledge (to be decided by the federal government, not by East Hampton), any harm to Montauk commercial fishing should be mitigated if possible, based on the best available science, and compensated otherwise. That is just what they do in Denmark. Our commercial fishermen deserve no less. In its negotiations with Deepwater, this should be the town’s highest priority

Second, the transmission should be bundled with that of the adjacent wind farms, including Orsted’s own Sunrise Wind Farm, and land mid-Island where required load-balancing is possible. According to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Deepwater is only one-third of the minimum size necessary for efficiency and far too small to justify its own 60-mile undersea transmission cable. That is at least part of the reason for its excessive cost, although the still secret power purchase agreement with LIPA is likely grossly overpriced as well. Balancing power production and consumption in real time (required for electricity) is impossible if the cable is landed east of the canal without major transmission upgrades that would eliminate any reason to land a cable here in the first place.

On Election Day, Nov. 5, the candidates of the EH Fusion Party, myself included, can be found on the Independence Party and Libertarian Party ballot lines.

Sincerely,

DAVID GRUBER


Exactly the Opposite
Springs
September 16, 2019

Dear David:

Our Jekyll and Hyde congressman, Lee Zeldin, puts on a show trying to convince his constituency that he is really an environmentalist. Through his photo-ops, Lee, the Jekyll, would have us believe he really cared about the fragile environment that is the East End. The trouble is that when the photo-ops end and he returns to Washington, Lee, as Hyde, shows up.

Last week, we again are reminded of the charlatan Lee Zeldin really is. The House voted on a bill that would ban oil and gas exploration in the Arctic Refuge, quite possibly the most important environmentally challenged land on the planet. The Trump administration was racing to auction exploration leases on an initial parcel of some 400,000 acres. The House majority introduced legislation to block the auction. What did Mr. Zeldin, the self-proclaimed environmentalist, do? He let Mr. Trump lead him by the nose and he sided with the fossil-fuel industry and voted against the ban. Fortunately, the ban was passed by the House despite Mr. Zeldin’s vote.

Again, last week, the House attempted to stop a similar environmental assault by the Trump administration. The Trump administration took steps to open the coastline of Florida to oil drilling. A large portion of Florida’s economy depends on a robust tourist business and the state voiced real concern that the sight of drilling rigs off Florida beaches or the threat of oil spills, such as the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, would threaten that economy.

The East End, as does much of the rest of Long Island, is also dependent upon a robust tourist trade at its beaches and other attractions. So, too, does the sight of oil rigs threaten that industry. An oil spill of the Deepwater Horizon magnitude would devastate the Long Island eco-structure, not to mention its robust fishing industries. To be fair to Mr. Zeldin, he has told local constituents what they want to hear. But can we trust Mr. Zeldin to put his vote where his mouth is if pressured by Mr. Trump to support oil and gas exploration off the Long Island coast? So often has Mr. Zeldin comforted constituents with promises to protect our environment, only then to go back to Congress and do exactly the opposite.

He has consistently voted in line with the interests of the fossil-fuel industries or against measures that would protect our environment. For his efforts, he has achieved the second-lowest rating on environmental issues of all New York congressional members.

So, the bottom line is that Mr. Zeldin’s actions belie his words and belie any notion that we should trust him to do the right thing for Suffolk County. Instead, we should worry that he will fail our environment in paying fealty to Mr. Trump. A congressional representative we cannot trust is a congressional representative we should not have.

Sincerely,

BRUCE COLBATH


One-Party Rule
Springs
September 16 2019

Dear David,

I’d like to make a few comments about your Sept. 12, 2019, editorial, “The Election Lacks Luster.”

Thank you for calling out that no single party or committee can have all the answers, and that we are faced with a looming governance crisis. I’d like to add a warning to be mindful of preventing groupthink and be extra diligent to include (and critically assess) opinions from other parties and schools of thought. The governance crisis from one-party rule is already upon us!

You noted some of the priorities you believe the government should be having a robust debate about, so I wanted to give you my opinions on some of the issues mentioned:

On sea level rise, the government needs to relax regulations by creating more commercially-zoned property in higher elevation areas to allow at-risk existing businesses to move if they choose to, and the government needs to make sure it allows those threatened by the sea to take measures to protect their property.

On work-force housing, while there is no way to make this area truly affordable due to real estate prices, the government could seriously think about how and where to allow higher-density development, which drives affordability of the units in the building, instead of building subsidized housing.

Our aging population will require more emergency services capabilities, like robust communications capabilities for our emergency response personnel. Our government must do what is necessary to put these capabilities in place.

On inadequate roads, please don’t forget about unsafe biking conditions, especially on the northern, town-owned portion of Three Mile Harbor Road.

On inadequate wastewater infrastructure, this is the key to having increased density and affordability, while at the same time improving water quality.

You’ve said the hatchery debate is a small-ball distraction, but if the hatchery debate is an unimportant squabble, then why should the town do the project? I completely agree that the town’s focus should be on wastewater infrastructure, and improving water quality. The hatchery won’t improve water quality and is therefore a high-cost distraction. The project should be canned, to allow the government to focus on more impactful water quality improvement projects.

Sincerely,

MARK MENDELMAN


Cannot Compare
East Hampton
September 15, 2019

Dear David,

Aquaculture is the only East Hampton Town department that people come from away to see and learn, touch, and explore. Just what goes on in their world?

I have toured facilities at Wood’s Hole and Bar Harbor and others along the coast and they cannot compare to what East Hampton is doing.

Why should these totally dedicated and hard-working people always feel like squatters, like they are going to be made to leave what they have created and find another place to set up? Give them a “home to call their own,” in the heart of their work area, and the equipment they need, with room enough.

John Aldred is a trustee, and we should be doing this at least while he is close at hand. He is the town father of aquaculture.

Town planners need to do their due diligence, apply to the State Environmental Quality Review Act, check drainage, traffic, parking, noise, lighting, and neighbors. Approvals are necessary. But I know from watching closely at hand with them, that aquaculture does their work quietly, quickly, cleanly, low, and close to the earth. They are not polluters; nor do they take from nature with no return.

Respectfully,

PAT MANSIR


Number of Attacks
East Hampton
September 16, 2019

Dear David:

Aquaculture consolidation is not strictly my area. Climate change is. But I am feeling a bit compelled to support Councilman David Lys in his desire to create a world-class hatchery and education aquaculture center in East Hampton, building upon existing efforts (and structures, which clearly need updating).

A few years ago, I took my grandson to see the shellfish hatchery in Montauk. I had heard about the efforts the town was making to bring back a population of oysters, scallops, and clams, which had suffered significant devastation from overfishing and damaging algae blooms in previous decades. As a result, I learned that millions of shellfish were now being returned to East Hampton waters each year, playing a meaningful role in providing seed stock for recreational and commercial harvest.

 It also mattered to the quality of our waters because of the incredible capacity of shellfish to clean water. Did you know that an adult oyster filters upward  of 50 gallons of water a day? And clams? Despite the sense that the building we were in was certainly not designed for the purpose it was serving, the morning was magical and our admiration for the effort being expended was boundless.

I was also reading a good deal about the damage to shellfish from acidification as the ocean warms. I was wondering how that was affecting those millions of little seedlings. I was also growing increasingly fascinated by the incredible success kelp farming was having off the coast of Connecticut, not just financially and environmentally, but also in providing a healthy environment for shellfish, which gravitated to its locations and thrived.

When I learned of the town’s efforts to build a world-class education center contiguous to their nursery on Gann Road, off Three Mile Harbor, I was thrilled.

Some weeks ago, as I was reading letters in The Star (I seem to be addicted to the fabulous quality of your letters), there were a number of attacks on the town’s effort to create this consolidated facility for both the Montauk hatchery and the current nursery on Gann Road. These letters focused their ire on Councilman Lys who had championed the town purchase of a piece of property adjacent to the Gann Road nursery. His plan is to use it as both office and educational facility (I am imagining something like the Natural History Museum in Bridgehampton), where families could come and learn about aquaculture.

In closing the Montauk facility, the town would also build a new facility to house both the nursery and the hatchery. This would decrease labor, fuel, and stress on shellfish that are currently being transported between the sites during the growing season (apparently a significant quantity of clams are lost as they are transported).

I gather that the project will be almost entirely funded through grants of one kind or another.

I recognize that more traffic will come into the area, which is primarily residential, but the parking area currently serving only the nursery certainly appears adequate for a large number of visiting families.

What is not to love?

LENA TABORI


Possibly Illegal
Springs
September 16, 2019

Dear Mr. Rattray,

Last week’s editorial was notable for recognizing that “corporate takeover of waterfront and wastewater infrastructure” requires “robust debate,” but minimizing one-party government overreach as a “distracting squabble” is contradictory. Substitute “government” for “corporate,” and you have the crux of the debate about the shellfish hatchery consolidation.

I think you would agree that when any government actions or proposals are based on dishonesty, obfuscation, and half-truths, and disregard for its own laws in favor of the few who pay for the privilege of using resources meant to serve the entire community, there’s something seriously rotten afoot.

The proposed 8,000-square-foot commercial facility on a 1.1- acre residential lot at the corner of Gann Road and Babe’s Lane has thus far been developed without regard, or even until recently notice, to those directly affected by its actions, area homeowners and residents of the Springs hamlet. Additionally, the spurious State Environmental Quality Review Act declaration submitted as part of the grant application, which declares that the grossly large, foolishly expensive project will have no environmental impact is possibly illegal, as was pointed out in Councilman Bragman’s abstention vote.

How can wasting taxpayer dollars set aside for water quality improvement be the subject of a “squabble” when we recognize that we, and most of Suffolk County, are literally drowning in our own waste?

This overblown, overpriced vanity proposal was hatched because state “grant money,” our tax dollars, are available to improve water quality. John Dunne, our shellfish hatchery program director, and Chris Pickerall of the Cornell Cooperative Extension both acknowledged at a recent Accabonac Protection Committee forum that the issues most affecting shellfish viability are harmful algal blooms fed by excess dissolved nitrogen, temperature rise, and ocean acidification. This project does nothing to address those issues, and in fact ignores them by overdeveloping a fragile waterfront lot — so far without community input.

Nobody who loves the environment is against aquaculture, but nobody with a brain can believe that growing oysters off the dock at Gann Road is seriously going to improve water quality when we are overfertilizing waterfront lawns and pumping sewage into our bays, creeks/cricks, and sounds with every flush. But acting as if it will, contrary to common sense, clearly pleases Councilman Lys’s ego, and evidently Supervisor Van Scoyoc, too, and potentially the architects chosen for the project. If Bates Masi worked as “volunteers,” and helped with the request for proposals, will they be able to bid on the project? And where is that initial $450,000? Who knows? We got a tabletop model.

Now, the board has allocated over $170,000 of our money to do engineering and site planning on a half-baked project that will cost another few million, but do little, if anything, to improve water quality. It may save three town employees $13,000 worth of driving, and perhaps increase bay scallop yields, which last year were worth even less than that. Is that a wise use of a water quality grant? The $5 million and $1.5 million of community preservation fund funding, and climbing, could replace a lot of septic systems. And further, this latest expenditure underscores the lie to Councilman Lys’s assertions that “this is just a proposal,” that the directly affected community will be part of the process “every step of the way.”

Supervisor Van Scoyoc, who presumably pays to grow oysters for his own consumption along the Babe’s Lane preserve front, along with the other 89 people, very few of whom call Springs their home, is too smart to believe that his recreational efforts to enjoy a few bivalves are saving the planet. Why then would he sign a bogus SEQRA declaration that there’s no environmental impact from this wildly inappropriate, “spend-it-’cause-we-can” project?

Worse, as has been widely questioned throughout the town and local press, why does our town board majority refuse to commit to follow the same rules and reviews that anyone else contemplating such a development project must?

Asking for open, honest government that behaves in a fiscally responsible manner, not autocratically shooting from the hip, is far more than a squabble. Someone at the local, state, and county level must be watching.

IRA BAROCAS

President

Duck Creek Farm Association


Track Record
Quogue
September 15, 2019

Dear David:

With local elections less than two months away, here are a few of the reasons why I’m running for the position of Suffolk County legislator.

Fiscal responsibility is the number-one issue in Suffolk County. The Bellone administration and rubber stamp county legislators (like incumbent Bridget Fleming) are continuing on a path of financial disaster. The operating deficit is nearly $900 million. Suffolk County’s bond rating is just one grade above junk-bond status, and a court recently ruled that Bellone’s raid on monies set aside for clean water programs to pay for day-to-day operating expenses is illegal. Yet, they claim to be protecting the taxpayer?

As former Southampton Town supervisor and councilwoman, I’ve made the difficult decisions necessary to balance the budget, cut wasteful spending, and put local government back on the right track for fiscal health. Our county government is at a crossroads and the path to a positive future is in your hands. We need to elect proven leaders who will bring fiscal solvency and results.

The facts do not lie. Suffolk County is broke, and yet:

Fleming has voted yes to redirecting county funds for “Public Financing of Political Campaigns.” Why should the taxpayers be forced to finance election expenses for politicians?

Fleming is one of two legislators (out of 18) who voted no to suspend an automatic cost-of-living pay raise for legislators and other county elected officials.

Fleming has voted no to accepting specialized public safety federal funding designed to combat gangs because she wanted to go on record against accepting any monies that may be associated with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Fleming is strongly in favor of wind turbines off the coast of East Hampton despite the economic and environmental concerns of our local commercial fishermen, town trustees, hamlet business owners, and longtime community residents, and without ensuring adequate studies to identify and mitigate impacts to the fisheries and marine wildlife, including whales, dolphins, and shorebirds.

Fleming is not conducting county business in an open, transparent manner. Fleming and her Democratic colleagues conduct closed meetings in the basement of the Legislature building to discuss the budget and Republican legislators are excluded and given short notice to review proposals. This is the arrogance of one-party rule, and it needs to end.

Citizens, taxpayers, and voters deserve more effective representation.

My record in local government is built on listening to the voices of the taxpayers and solving their problems in a way that is not only cost-effective, but without creating bureaucratic nightmares. I bring common sense and principled leadership to the table, with a proven track record in reaching across the aisle to work with others for the common good, regardless of political affiliation.

On Election Day, Nov. 5, you will have the opportunity to select your representatives for important elected positions at the county and town level. Respectfully, I ask for your vote for county legislator and urge you to vote for John Kennedy for county executive.

For more info, visit my campaign website: LindaKabotForSuffolk.com.

LINDA KABOT

Candidate

Suffolk Second Legislative District


Vaccinate or Leave
Sag Harbor
September 16, 2019

To the Editor:

I have read and followed all the news about the current mandated vaccination policies. I am personally not anti-vaccine. However, in my research as a certified natural consultant for more than 18 years, and the mother of four, I would like to point out a few things to consider:

1) A child’s immune system and brain are not fully developed until about age 5 (this is verifiable in scientific journals, should you care to research).

2) In the 1960s most children, including my own, received four vaccines prior to school by age 5; most measles, mumps, rubella, and polio were administered separately. My youngest son, born in 1968, exhibited delayed speech and focus issues, but there was no science to reveal whether vaccines might have been involved, and he received the triple M.M.R. that his older brothers did not.

 3) The increase in a child’s inabilities today to sit still and focus in school: I have had school psychologists tell me the increase is staggering. ADD/ADHD, and the rise in autism is painfully showing up everywhere across the globe.

Today, a child has received 69 injections of vaccines by age 2, starting at the moment of birth in conventional hospitals. The so-called “vaccine protectors” are carried in a variety of suspensions to enable injection into their bloodstreams and the sources of those suspensions are cleverly hidden by the drug manufacturers.

Aborted fetuses with no discretion if that fetus is male or female; monkey eyes, tissues, etc. Dig deeper if you want the full story.

Here is something to ponder, remembering the immune system and brain are not fully developed till about age 5. An adult is denied a flu and pneumonia shot at the same time because it could be fatal: but a newborn infant has no such protection. When an adult fills a prescription from a doctor at a drugstore, there is an insert in the bag detailing the possible side effects, but not so for infants being injected at birth or in a pediatrician’s office. There is no information about the suspensions used to carry these live or dead so-called “protections.”

As an informed parent, should you ask to spread these multiple injections over time, there is resistance and often time pressure if you wish to remain with that practice — vaccinate or leave. Mainly because the pediatrician is being threatened by the state to vaccinate or else!

After years of research, I am an advocate of informed consent, full disclosure of ingredients, all of them and where they came from, as well as possible side effects due to genetics and any predispositions.

That New York State mandates vaccines without any consideration for an individual child’s possible side effects is, in my opinion, another form of genocide, but then New York State government could care less about the unborn, newly born, or toddlers, who have no other protection than the parents that brought them into this world, who are now forbidden to protect them. Just look at the last law signed by Cuomo about late-term abortions. Do you think he cares about anything other than his own guaranteed income?

The money in vaccines is substantial. Those of us who want informed consent are not a major threat to the pharmaceutical industry, and believe me, folks, it is an industry based on monetary gains. But all we are asking for is published safety standards of ingredients, proven over a substantial amount of time, not quickly advocated, and monitored by independent studies, and not paid for or funded by the pharmaceutical industry!

Follow the money, see who paid for the safety studies, see how long the studies were implemented, and where the suspensions in these vaccines originated — monkey eyes, kidneys, aborted fetuses, etc.

Knowledge is power. Nobody in the state or federal government knows your child better than you do. The state and the federal government do not belong in bed with the pharmaceutical industry — but they are. Look at the folks on their boards, find out what they are being paid!

Your children need you to protect them. If you think for one minute the government gives a darn about you or your children, or they are truly interested in taking care of you, just take a look at what they did to the American Indian!!!

It is heartbreaking to learn about the increase of depression and suicides of our teens and young adults, and I cannot help but wonder if any of the poisons injected into them years ago might have altered their brains and immune systems. I am sure in this lifetime I will never know for sure, as I am not 25 anymore, but I am throwing down the gauntlet to those of you who are to do the work if not for your own children, then for the grands. We are all they have!

Research, seek, and you shall find! Truly caring for you and your family’s health and wellness,

SHARON BOTTO


A Big Favor
Rochester
September 1, 2019

To the Editor:

It is my expectation that President Trump is going to do all of us a big favor and decide sometime in early-to-mid-2020 not to run for re-election partly because of an economic slowdown. When that happens, I hope that the Republicans will nominate someone of good character, such as Nikki Haley or Carly Fiorina.

Personally, I don’t know what I find to be more despicable about the guy—the way that he makes fun of and insults people’s physical appearance, or the way that he views women as sex objects.

Sincerely,

STEWART B. EPSTEIN


Wishful Thinking
Plainview
September 12, 2109

Dear David,

Reading the Sept. 11 “reading of the names” TV screen ages (on Channels 2, 4, and 5; but why not on channel 5, Fox?) of the 3,000 victims, I relearned that while the youngest victim was only 2 years old, the oldest was 85. Mentally adding on the intervening 18 years tells me that the youngest should now be a 20-year-old college student, while the oldest should be a centenarian featured blowing out 100 nursing-home birthday cake candles in a heartwarming Steve Hartman CBS “On The Road” story.

The 22-year-olds should all be 40 years old; 32-year-old Flight 93 hero Todd (Let’s Roll) Beamer should be 50; the 42-year-olds should be 60; the 52- year-olds should be 70; the 62-year-olds should be 80, and the 72-year-olds should be 90.

My 23-year-old former “gifted” student, Brooke Jackman, should be 41, my former third grader, Chris Ciafardini, should be 48, and my former third grader, Chris Slattery, should be 49.

I once calculated that the 20 first graders murdered at ages 6 and 7 in Newtown’s Sandy Hook School had been cheated out of almost 2,000 years of life (based on my wishful thinking that they all would have lived to be 100); but these 3,000 Sept. 11 victims (more realistically assuming an average age of 40, and an average life span of 80 years) have been cheated of more than 100,000 years of life and love!

RICHARD SIEGELMAN


Guns/Violence
East Hampton
September 15, 2019

Editor:

If someone walked into the Senate with an automatic weapon and killed all 100 senators it would be considered a national disaster. We would cry, pray, and express outrage over the insanity of our gun culture and our violence. In a few hours we would increase security. More arms for the police, better cameras, full body checks, etc. In six months there would be 15 bills on gun control sent to the new Senate. In nine months the subject would be dead, along with the senators, with no new legislation enacted.

Guns/violence have been codified in the American culture as part of our DNA. Limiting it, controlling it, or taking it away would be un-American. We no longer need to take a historical perspective on the issue because we have almost daily reminders of its existence. Controlling our gun/violence problem would be an admission that something is wrong in the country.

Unlike climate change or health care, gun/violence is a freebie. Nothing out of pocket. No major financial burdens. No reason to beat up on the middle class or beg the wealthiest to give up some wealth to cover the cost. Freebees are political wet dreams. Nothing you say matters because nothing will ever happen and if by some freak of nature something did happen you can pretend it really didn’t happen.

Automatic weapons, missile launchers, bazookas, all the same. Even after President Reagan was shot and the Brady Bill was enacted we found a way to circumvent it and eventually do away with it. Even though virtually no one cared about the loss of automatic weapons, the congress saw to it that they would be back out on the street. DNA won out over everything else we stand for.

The real question is: “What do we stand for?”

NEIL HAUSIG

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