Flags Were Raised
August 28, 2019
To the Editor,
On Memorial Day weekend in the Town of East Hampton it was observed that the more than 75 American flags stayed raised throughout one or more nights without lighting, as is proper etiquette and respect for our nation. In the hamlet of Amagansett, this occurred throughout the entire weekend (May 24 to 27). In the Village of East Hampton, the flags were raised through the night of Monday, May 27, without proper lighting. A very similar string of events occurred for our nation’s Independence Day. It is a shame.
Please note both the town supervisor and village mayor have been amply advised in this matter, yet it remains the same.
I understand the concept of lighting temporary flags can be costly and time- consuming; however there are several simple solutions. These solutions include utilizing community service volunteers, Boy and Girl Scouts and numerous other organizations, to install temporary lighting or properly take down the flags each night.
These are just some ways we can show the proper respect that our flag so deeply deserves while providing community service, therefore benefiting our community in multiple ways. Thank you for reading.
August 31, 2019
A sincere thank-you to all who attended the “Gone Local” fund-raiser last Thursday evening at Rick’s Crabby Cowboy in support of the Montauk Playhouse Foundation. Our headliner, Nancy Atlas, delivered an outstanding performance, and the crowd was treated to delicious food and drink as well as an outstanding sunset over Montauk harbor.
This type of community-centered event inspires us to continue working to bring Montauk residents and visitors alike the envisioned aquatic and cultural center we all so richly deserve.
Montauk Playhouse Foundation
September 1, 2019
I recently had two occasions to call the town’s Highway Department to take care of a couple of issues on my street, Folkstone Road. They were very prompt in their response and took care of each situation in a very satisfactory manner. I want to extend my thanks to them for their excellent service and prompt response to my requests.
East Hampton Landings
Proud to Know Them
August 30, 2019
I read the letters to you from readers concerning the police officer who brought a civil lawsuit against a local family.
I don’t have much to add to what has been already said. However, I wanted to speak about the three children of Ms. Weiss and Ms. Grabowski, whom I know as my co-workers at the ocean beach where we lifeguard.
I am a huge fan of these three young adults. They are, to a T, kind, funny, smart, responsible, mature, and overall beautiful people. They are also outstanding athletes and I can see how well liked they are by their peers and adults alike. I am proud to know them and look forward to the good things they will do in the future and hope they continue to be a source of pride to their family and friends.
SPENCER L. SCHNEIDER
August 29, 2019
To the Star:
The entire Shapiro family, or as stated in the article, “Shipes family,” would love to thank Taylor Vecsey for her superb job in completely capturing the essence of Jonny Shipes, a.k.a. Jonathan Shapiro.
Thank you so much, Taylor. We have more goodies under our umbrella!
With love and respect,
LINDA B. SHAPIRO
(A.K.A. Mother Mayhem)
September 1, 2019
Dear Mr. Rattray,
We were disappointed that your fine paper did not cover the sighting of Sonny Silverman, son of Marcus and Esther Silverman of Brooklyn, at the wonderful East Hampton duck pond. He is quite a celebrity, and his photo and a report of his visit did appear in the Hudson Valley Daily Freeman, when Sonny, a.k.a. Nathan, made an appearance at Forsythe Park in Kingston, N.Y., the following week. It was an opportunity you really missed.
Next time I hear he will be in East Hampton, I will try to give you a heads up, so you won’t miss the exciting chance to photograph and interview him. On this trip to East Hampton, he didn’t have time to visit the beautiful LongHouse Reserve gardens. Maybe he will have a chance to visit it next time.
Hope you and your family had a wonderful Labor Day weekend, Mr. Rattray.
September 1, 2019
I don’t know about you, but this summer seems to have sped into the past swifter than ever before. We barely seem to have time to contemplate our present, much less our history. And the future seems full of dread.
Yet there is so much to celebrate and, yes, to be hopeful about. I’m thinking about our pearl of East Hampton, Accabonac Harbor, and the rich tapestry of landscape, water, and people that it weaves.
On Sept. 12 the Accabonac Protection Committee will present a public forum to celebrate this tapestry through time and place: “In and Around Accabonac: Past, Present and Future.” The forum will cover local history, ecological change, and the role shellfishing has and will have in the life of the Harbor.
Hugh King, East Hampton historian and town crier, will tell us stories about the “Families of Accabonac.” Christopher Pickerell, director of the Marine Division of Cornell Cooperative Extension will answer the puzzling question, “Eelgrass: What Happened to It and Can It Return?” And finally, John (Barley) Dunne, director of the East Hampton Town Aquaculture Department, will give us the lowdown on “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Shellfish Culture in a Changing Climate.”
The forum will be held at Ashawagh Hall on Sept. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. Delicious refreshments and wine will be served. We hope to see you there!
Accabonac Protection Committee
New York City
September 1, 2019
To the Editor:
I applaud you on your Travel section. As a journalist, I am loathe to nitpick another reporter’s stories, but as an intrepid safari-goer, who has traveled to Tanzania and the Ngorongoro Crater (and even camped in the crater back when it was permitted), I was stunned by some of the misinformation in Judy D’Mello’s article. Yes, jaguars are certainly “elusive” at Lake Manyara in Tanzania because there are none whatsoever; jaguars are a South American spotted cat (we once saw one in Venezuela) and do not exist in Africa. A leopard maybe? We saw two of those in trees at Lake Manyara. Also the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater is not 3,000 miles high — Everest is not even 6 miles high! Maybe 3,000 or so feet, or a mile high in some places? Do the math.
And there are definitely not 45,000 Masai living in the crater; no people live in the crater. When we were there in 1988 there were just four campsites, and we were lucky to have secured one of them and had lions wandering between the tents at night. Those campsites are now shut down. There may be 45,000 Masai living around the rim of the crater (a caldera, not a crater) but not in it.
The Ngorongoroa Crater is about 10 miles in diameter and filled with wildlife, not double the population of East Hampton. As for Ms. D’Mello’s advice about weather and when to go, I also disagree. It depends on the country and how close it is to the equator. Conditions in Botswana and Namibia, countries I have also visited on safari, are different seasonally from Kenya and Tanzania. A safari is an awesome experience, best accomplished when you have done your homework.
A Bygone Time
August 25, 2019
To the Editor:
While visiting family in Springs, I read your recent essay about the Long Island Rail Road train crews getting pails of beer from Trail’s End restaurant, your discovery of an old Long Island Rail Road pail, and the Hurricane of 1938.
Many people either take local history for granted or do not think it is important. But such history is fragile, especially because it is lost to dementia, Alzheimer’s, and death.
Your essay was delightful in they way you used an artifact, that pail, as a launching pad to explain how the railroad and Montauk were in a bygone time. It was also amazing how you were able to share all this information in such a short essay, proving again that, “brevity is the soul of wit.” Please submit this writing for a Pulitzer or some other newspaper award. It was a gem.
Mad as Hell
September 1, 2019
To the Editor:
Two Suffolk County brothers have just been charged with scamming $2.3 million from thousands of people in 2018. One of them had previously been charged in a Brooklyn health-care fraud case, but was free on $1.5 million bond when he (allegedly) committed these more recent crimes. His brother had just finished his probation in a 2015 fraud case when he “stole” this new money.
Yet even though prosecutors asked Central Islip’s U.S. District Court Judge Steven I. Locke to hold these men without bail because they might flee to Pakistan or China, he set them free on $750,000 bond — wearing electronic monitors.
While I’m mad as hell at these two (apparent) career criminals, I’m almost as mad at Judge Locke for setting them free, free to ruin other people’s lives or cut off their ankle monitors and flee. And our state legislators, whose sentencing laws make the maximum for these career criminals to only be “up to 20 years.”
And I’m also mad at (as well as sad for) the “victims,” who would not have fallen for these scams if they read newspapers like The East Hampton Star, which often report on similar scams, or if they exercised common sense and didn’t hand money over without first checking with the real agencies (I.R.S., D.E.A., S.S.A., local police departments) supposedly threatening to lock them up or at least spoke to friends, relatives, neighbors, or police before handing over their life savings.
The case I am writing about was in Newsday on Aug. 27.
Special Needs Trusts
To the Editor,
I am writing this letter in the hope that it will helpful to others, especially those hoping to provide for disabled family members. Although I’ve wanted to preserve my privacy, it seems time to tell my story. If I heard it from someone else, I would dismiss it as delusional. But, however unlikely, it is accurate in every detail and well documented.
Special needs trusts for physically and mentally disabled adults have financial advantages, at least in theory. They are not taxed, and the money in the accounts is not counted as income. The beneficiary can have her expenses paid privately, while receiving benefits like Medicaid and Social Security disability.
In 2010 I became the beneficiary of such a trust administered by an organization that I shall call the Alpha League. These trusts are supposed to be fully funded, irrevocable, and invested in a pooled trust to keep pace with inflation.
The trust has been a financial disaster. Funded several times a year in small amounts, it cannot be invested in the pooled trust for the long run to weather market fluctuations. Instead, it is constantly exposed to volatility; tiny gains have been offset by large losses and exorbitant fees. With time, the value of the distributions has been halved by inflation. Benefits have also been halved, and Medicaid coverage is inadequate.
After six years I was finally given sketchy quarterly accounts. Many of the charges were fraudulent. Unable to follow what was happening to my money, I occasionally recognized large disparities. Fifty thousand dollars disappeared in one year and, recently, $12,000 in a single day.
In 2010, when the trust was set up, I was not physically disabled. To open this account, it was decided to label me as mentally disabled. This was done secretly, without my knowledge or consent, without a diagnosis, medical records, or contact with doctors. My past — and with it my identity — vanished without a trace. I had lived for 30 years in London and Paris, writing and editing books on art history, scripts for the BBC, and art criticism for newspapers and magazines all over the world. I’d been a visiting scholar at Harvard and other universities. In the month after the trust began I wrote and directed a play. I still continue to edit, write, and publish. But when I’ve tried to mention my work, I’ve always been told that I was deranged.
Advocacy services and the appointment of a particular advocate to monitor all aspects of a beneficiary’s well-being is a special feature of this trust. I was immediately phoned by my advocate, Ellen, telling me I had no rights of any kind, not even to ask questions, as I wouldn’t be able to understand the answers. For months she phoned trying to convince me that I was losing my mind, only stopping when I revealed that I was taping her calls. She then began strenuous secret efforts have me evicted from my home. After that I was told that I was being transferred to an institution for the retarded and, when that didn’t work, I was advised that I would be taken to a homeless shelter, and if I resisted, the police would take me there by force. When protesting I was told that the trust worked for the sponsor, not for me, and was responsible for carrying out his wishes. When I tried to contact him, I found that he had gone into hiding.
In 2013 after a small operation, I was sent to Avalon Gardens nursing home in Smithtown, where I had a private room and physical therapy, expecting to go home in a week. But after Ellen secretly called the social workers insisting that I was never going home, I was transferred to the Long Stayers unit, a euphemism for the dementia ward. I spent the next two years there, again in a private room but one crammed with six overlapping beds. The filth, contagion, brutality, lack of medical care, and the annual mortality rate of 90 percent were not unlike a concentration camp. There was a brisk turnover in my roommates, who disappeared or died harrowing deaths. I was raped, beaten, and shacked to my bed. When I asked Ellen for help, she warned me never to mention this to anyone — I would never be believed. Fearing I was near death, I begged her to send me to a hospital. She refused.
I escaped because the home, after an unusual number of violations, was being closed by the state. Social workers sent me home with an aide. I was horrified to learn that they intended to do this from the beginning but that Ellen had opposed their plans.
My emotional and physical health were ruined. I had P.T.S.D. so severe that I lost the ability to speak. In the next year there were 14 more hospitals and nursing homes. I tried and failed to enter a hospice. Over time with the help of 18 specialists, clinics, a speech therapist and physical therapists, I improved. But my time is now taken up with doctors and treatments. The illnesses and injuries contracted at Avalon Gardens can be treated but not cured.
Apart from medical drama, the rest of my life was equally traumatic. Social services had been provided by Federation Employment and Guidance Service, an organization that went bankrupt in 2015, then by the Beta Society. A constant in both, Ellen rarely paid my bills, and I was harassed by debt collectors. Some doctors, unpaid for years, refused to see me. Forced to beg, I was reminded that I had no legal rights and was helpless.
Now the Alpha League has severed ties with the Beta Society; no doubt there is trouble brewing. Services have now been transferred to Delta Affiliates, an organization founded by a religious leader who many of his followers believe to be God. It has been described by some journalists as a repressive cult and criticized for favoring religious over secular law, especially in child sexual abuse cases. Three years ago women protesters demanding greater protection were physically attacked by its members. The trust is supposed to be nonsectarian, but as soon as I began reading about Delta I received emails from five holy men requesting money.
The C.E.O. has now become a proponent of working with the police and has distanced Delta from the anti-vaccination movement. But he also writes that change is difficult. Many in his community do not want reforms and regard them as intrusive.
I have no explanation for what happened to me and no interest in criminal- or psychopathology. I believe I was the only beneficiary of this trust able to try to protect myself. But I am not unique. It is not unreasonable to think that others have suffered.
I do not believe that these trusts are capable of change on their own. I hope that media, and organizations that defend civil rights and the rights of seniors and the disabled, will take an interest. Hopefully there will be investigations and legislation to make these trusts more accountable and transparent and to protect the rights and welfare of the beneficiaries. Fiduciary responsibilities should be codified.
August 29, 2019
Homeowners who decide to participate in the town’s septic upgrade rebate program should be aware that it has serious financial consequences attached to it. Monies (rebate) must be added to the homeowner’s taxable income. This may result in the loss of benefits such as Medicaid or credits for medical insurance under the Affordable Care Act because the increased income moves recipients into a higher tax bracket, disqualifying or limiting their participation in these federal programs. Early participants had to pay back credits they received, sometimes amounting to as much as $10,000.
The town should recognize this problem and make sure that homeowners who consider participating in the septic rebate offer are aware of the possible financial burdens. Better yet, the town should redesign the rebate program so that manufacturers and installers are paid directly, rather than through the homeowner.
Until then, I would caution homeowners considering the septic rebate program to carefully evaluate how this rebate will affect their benefits.
The Worst Day
August 25, 2019
Each time you publish an article on the traffic of the East Hampton Airport I rush to buy your newspaper and read the news.
Each time, it is about the growing air traffic, the growing nuisance, and the near-fatal accident in 1988. I never imagined myself living near a commercial heliport airport.
Today, August 25, has been the worst day of the year — nonstop air traffic since 7 a.m. What can be done for a little peace and quiet? The airport had a curfew from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., long time gone.
Part of the Problem
September 1, 2019
The Star over the years has recognized the KHTO noise issue. Now the problem is broadening to safety, air pollution, and climate change. Like the ever-growing list of “so-concerned” climate change phonies, the town is now not just not part of the solution, it is a big part of the problem.
Please consider adding The Star’s voice to exposing this painfully obvious dichotomy. Some ideas for The Star to consider:
• Why does the town not fund a study now of alternative uses, to include an analysis of potential tax reductions, employment gains, and carbon eliminations from closing the uncontrolled KHTO carbon footprint?
• Why does the town not downgrade KHTO “amenities”? Forget coffee, waiting rooms, and parking lots. One or two Port-O-Lets would do to keep aviation commuters from causing even more harm.
• Why does the town not post “Climate Smart Community” notices at KHTO, imploring aviation commuters to give up their selfish and destructive habits? In these days of social media, a bit of deserved shaming can go a long way.
Thanks for listening.
September 1, 2019
My son and his family were out for the Labor Day holiday. He and his wife went to Wainscott’s Beach Lane beach to enjoy the day and the ocean. On leaving the beach they were approached by a young woman wearing a “Save the Beach” T-shirt. She asked them to sign a petition to “Save the Beach.” My son asked what we were saving the beach from? She responded that the beach had to be saved from the windmills. He asked where the windmills would be located, and she said directly in front of the beach. She also said that the windmills would require the beach to be closed. When asked for more information about the petition and the windmills, she said she did not have any.
Beach Lane has less than two dozen houses. The cable would be buried under the road in the off-season. Beach Lane would then be repaved. The cable will bring enough power for 70,000 typical South Fork homes. The wind turbines will be about 60 miles east of Beach Lane and will not be visible from the beach. The beach will not be closed, and the public will have access to the beach throughout the process. The cable installation will not disturb the surface of the beach as it will be done using horizontal, directional drilling, so the cable will be at least 30 feet beneath the surface of the beach.
Climate change is real and is closing fast. We all, including Wainscott residents, need to join forces to deal with this existential problem.
Fulfill Its Goal
August 30, 2019
I am writing to voice strong support for the South Fork Wind Farm. Environmental studies continue to be done, safety concerns have been addressed, and given the climate crisis that exists, this project cannot start soon enough. I feel that it is all hands on deck in the sense that wind power, solar power, reforestation, and sustainability in the way we live, all must play a part to thwart the harm being done to our environment by the continued use of fossil fuels.
Energy from wind turbines, as has been shown in Europe, can move our community along to fulfill its goal of becoming 100 percent sustainable, make our town a role model for our country, and help on the overall path to a healthier planet.
NANCY S. KARLEBACH
The Final Inning
August 30, 2019
Baseball fans like to check the box scores. Unlike people, the numbers never lie. As a fan of the planet earth, I like to check out the NASA website Global Climate Change, climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/carbon-dioxide.
The June 2019 box score for earth is depressing: 412 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, three parts higher than one year ago. For those who may not be avid earth fans, CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas driving climate change. A graph on the NASA website shows that it never exceeded 300 parts per million in 400,000 years of earth’s history. Then we started pumping fossil fuel emissions (CO2) into the air, and it has been rising steadily since. If earth were a baseball team, fans would be clamoring for the manager’s head, lambasting the owner for being too cheap to pay for decent pitching.
The self-appointed manager of the Wainscott opponents of clean wind energy is Simon Kinsella, who claims to be an earth fan, but he thinks a buried cable in his neighborhood is too big a price to pay to improve our chances of winning against climate change. Winning is not guaranteed. In fact, all indications are that humanity is already assured a grim century.
Scientists now project that we must reduce fossil emissions by 45 percent in 11 years to avoid dire consequences. Generalize from resistance to clean energy, like what we see from Mr. Kinsella, and one must conclude that there is scant chance of reaching that goal. So it is bad news indeed that we are still turning earth’s thermostat up. And it is puzzling that Mr. Kinsella persists in telling his team they need not do anything different. They should not accept even a small inconvenience. And it is galling that some residents blithely follow this pied piper of petrochemicals.
Pay no attention to forest fires now raging north of the Arctic Circle in Alaska, Greenland, Siberia, and the Amazon, releasing an unexpected rush of additional CO2 that scientists didn’t count in their calculations. Simon says ignore the 197 billion tons of ice melted from Greenland in the month of July 2019. Ignore 109 degrees in Paris. Mr. Kinsella must feel that we have plenty of time to resist any local disruption and force others to bear the burden.
But the box score scrupulously kept by NASA scientists is crystal clear. We are in the final inning in which we can do anything to forestall the coming chaos. Pay attention, kids. You may be privileged to live at a great inflection point in planetary history, the point at which we humans, through scientific illiteracy, oblivious self-interest, and greed, doom ourselves to be just another dead end on the merciless map of evolution.
Simon might tell you it isn’t him; it’s Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell. But Trump and McConnell can’t do it alone. They need thousands of Si Kinsellas, whether paid lobbyists or useful idiots, on the front lines fighting every local effort to build the infrastructure for clean energy, saying, “Wait! Don’t be rash! WE don’t need to sacrifice even a little of our bubble of comfort.”
Recently Simon sent an email to 800 town residents, impugning the integrity of Gordian Raacke, a man who for 26 years has been fighting for renewable energy in all of its forms. This email was riddled with false statements. Suggesting that solar and microgrid can render Deepwater unnecessary, he appends a document called “Community Microgrid Project,” and suggests this was a town solution to climate change that was diverted by Mr. Raacke. In fact, Mr. Raacke fought hard for this type of project, but it failed for economic reasons to gain state approval. I suppose Kinsella figured nobody would read it, because it actually is an unsolicited study that calls for 15 megawatts of solar. Deepwater is for 130 megawatts. This is like suggesting the new batboy renders the home-run hitter unnecessary.
I don’t know anybody supporting the wind farm who is opposed to microgrids and solar. We are for both. If we are to achieve net zero, even the wind farm is not enough. But we are in the midst of a climate emergency. The wind farm is shovel ready, with private money willing and eager to build it at negligible cost to ratepayers. The microgrid and solar solution is at this point a flying-horse fantasy, unplanned, unsited, and unfunded, and is simply being used as a distraction by those, like Mr. Kinsella, who resist even the smallest inconvenience in their neighborhood in the town’s effort to reduce its carbon footprint.
I urge the signers of Kinsella’s petitions to visit the NASA website and read the box score. Tell him to find another hobby, if it is a hobby. Maybe it’s a profession. We don’t know who is paying for the phalanx of lawyers and engineers on his payroll. A suspicious sort might wonder if fossil-fuel money is involved, but I suppose it could be just homegrown ignorance.
Our planet is gasping for breath. Don’t be fooled by fantasies.
Can Say Yes
August 27, 2019
To the Editor:
Speak truth to lies and ignorance, Speak crisis to denial, and most of all speak responsibility to apathy. As Martin Luther King said, “It is easier to slay dragons in Mississippi than to swat flies in our own backyard.” Our backyard is East Hampton. We can say yes, here is where we must stand. If not here, where? And if not now, when, and if not you and I, who?
Our children and grandchildren are looking to us, will we fail them? Our fragile climate is existential and is too swiftly approaching the point of no return. Renewable (wind, solar) energy now, must be our answer and there is no time to lose. Act up and act now. Speak truth to fossil fuel “hot air.”
LARRY S. SMITH
On Middle Highway
August 29, 2019
I read Krae Van Sickle’s letter, “Loss of Forests,” today, which only reiterated what we here in these woods on Middle Highway in East Hampton have been saying all along.
Protect the drinking water and preserve the forests. We, too, love our sole source aquifer. We, too, are in a special groundwater protection area and the aquifer flows beneath. Why then would there be an application by the owner, up for consideration by the State Department of Environmental Conservation, to construct a six-acre lake in an already invasive sandpit, to dig 110 feet deeper into the groundwater?
This sandpit is surrounded by houses and families and children. Can you say insane? Seems an episode of “Stranger Things” afoot. Not wise in a town that professes to protect our environment and water above a singular person’s business. It cannot be approved. There is adamant opposition from the town board. There will be a public speak out at Town Hall, date to be announced. Enough is enough with the blatant disregard for a neighborhood’s quality of life and a community’s drinking water.
Every day someone else asks me what is going on in that sandpit? Madness seems an appropriate response.
August 22, 2019
East Hampton Star,
I just saw the Aug. 20 work session of the town board regarding the granting of one weekend day of no hunting for around 700 folks in this town who have signed a petition. The understory of the woods is not going to get worse for a one-day respite from hunting. The other six days the hunters can go out and hunt. The problem is not only the deer! It is the fencing off with illegal fencing disregarding easements, etc. The town should pay more attention to enforcement of these rules and alleviate some of the deer corridor issues they cause.
One elderly hunter at the meeting said that those of us who are advocating for the one-day ban are lying about deer carcasses found decapitated and left to rot. I personally found two carcasses at Settlers Landing while walking my dog. One was a fresh kill with its head cut off! The other was a decomposed carcass with its head missing. The recently decapitated deer was ignoble and outrageous. I called the police. So there is official proof at the town police that not all hunters eat the meat or donate it. Some hunters are coming and killing the deer for the trophy heads. I have been woken up at dawn with gunfire over Hand’s Creek during duck hunting season. I was walking my dog at Settlers Landing and someone was standing on the shore shooting over the water into Three Mile Harbor. I called the police. Could this be legal? They told me it was.
Most people, not only hunters, have off from work on the weekends. Isn’t it fair that on one day we could expect not to be startled by gunfire and repulsed by the gross discovery of headless deer? ONE day!
Yes, there is perhaps a deer problem with overpopulation. There should be a study that gives us the correct numbers as to how truly problematic this “over- population” really is, first and foremost. As to the understory, the town can offset the dire prediction that our forests will disappear in a few decades for lack of understory by starting a program of revegetating with deer-resistant native plants, shrubs, and trees. This would give the wildlife, small animals, snakes, lizards, ground birds, opossums, raccoons, etc., what they need and allow for the trees to grow. There are dozens of horticulturally savvy people in this town who could take on the challenge.
But still, all these talking points the board is offering right out of the hunters playbook, have nothing to do with just one day off from hunting. The southern pine beetle problem has nothing to do with one day a weekend of no hunting.
I feel those on the board resisting a one weekend day ban are giving the hunters’ talking points much too much weight and turning their backs on those who are asking for a break. My question: Are there 700 hunters actively hunting in this town? Town board! Let’s be fair to all your constituents!
The Complete Right
September 2, 2019
You ended your recent article “Bragman Bucks Board on Hunting” stating that The Star called the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation “seeking clarification of its position with respect to municipal authority to ban hunting,” but which “was not returned as of yesterday.” An important point that was discussed by the East Hampton Town board and reported in your article was whether the town has the right to ban hunting one day of the week.
Yes, the town has the complete right on property that it owns to ban hunting on any day that hunting could be legal. New York State law allows the owner of the property, whether that is the town or a private owner, to control hunting possibilities on the land they own. What may be confusing the discussion of the law is that no owner can expand without special permission the D.E.C.-specified legal times and days of hunting.
The most obvious town control is that the town does not allow hunting during hunting season on many thousands of properties where it could be legal. Included is that almost all town waterfront land does not allow duck hunting.
Gun-hunting sounds from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 are almost exclusively from duck hunting, as guns are not allowed to be used for deer hunting at that time. Also, almost all duck hunting is on trustee property or is done by people who walk into the water or are on a boat. The town can hardly eliminate any gun sounds for those three months.
Deer hunting is quiet and done only by bow and arrow from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31. There is huge use of many parcels by walkers and bicyclists who have no idea that hunting is also happening at the same property.
As another control of rules by the town, even in deer gun-hunting season in January, the town does not allow bow hunting for deer on a preserve if gun hunting is allowed. The town can make reductive rules.
The discussion by both the town board and the citizens who attended the Aug. 20 meeting did not well understand either what can be done and especially what should be done. The hunting laws in East Hampton can and should change because there are laws that could improve almost everyone’s use of the hunting areas. A more complex discussion of many areas could redesign our codes so that both hunting, fuller use of hunting parcels, and the results of tick management could improve.
I plan to provide that input as I have learned these potential answers as chairman of the nature preserve committee since 2008. The nature preserve committee has always made most of the recommendations of place and time for hunting. I was also the former chairman of the town’s deer committee, which discussed hunting, and I do much investigation of state laws.
I am also a member of the Suffolk County Tick Control Advisory Committee, where we frequently discuss all forms of deer management, and not just hunting. I wrote a semi-technical document on combining four-posters (tick management) with internal chemical deer management (deer management without deaths), which I hope the town will consider. I would like to give the town another discussion of the deer management, and provide some expertise on the situations.
August 30, 2019
In January of last year, I was driving home one night from Montauk after taking part in a group discussion on the community’s standing with suicide prevention and mental health. I and the car in front of me were the only cars on the road, and were going roughly 10 below the speed limit, because Napeague Stretch was especially icy. This precaution, though, was not taken by an oncoming work van heading eastbound, which slid into our lane, hitting the car in front of me, and then mine.
After my car had stopped doing full spins, I got out and realized I was in the bank of the other lane. The car in front of me had spun into the middle of the road, and the van that caused the accident was lodged in between trees in the woods. While beginning to see if everyone was all right, I proceeded to have one of the most spotty 911 calls I have ever experienced. I could barely understand and hear the questions the operator was trying to ask me, while at the same time trying to open the crammed passenger door of the van to help the driver out. During all of this, another car going eastbound somehow did not see the three-car accident, with the pieces of car spewed about, and slammed right into my already totaled car. It got to the point that I just had to yell into the phone to send help and hang up. Luckily, no one was greatly hurt, and ambulances/fire trucks ended up arriving.
If this is the emergency communications for Montauk, than I can’t imagine what the Springs emergency communications must be. One of the questions I was able to comprehend from the operator, after the repeating so three or four times, was, “Do you need me to send an ambulance?” What if someone was hurt, or worse, and my answer to that question could not go through? We need to elect a town board this November that will actually address these pressing issues, and not just when it’s convenient for them. That is why I am fully supporting the multi-party slate of candidates under the EH Fusion Party line.
Lives are at stake, and the EH Fusion Party recognizes that negligence on these matters cannot go on any longer. I was told that night by a person on the scene that if my car was hit at a slightly different angle, that the outcome of that accident could have been dramatically different. They said I was lucky to be alive. I am proud to be here today, and to stand up for what’s right.
September 2, 2019
False claims in support of the Deepwater Wind South Fork Wind Farm just keep piling up. First and foremost, the town board claims to be acting to protect the interests of East Hampton by participating as a party to the Public Service Commission Article Seven process. However, a year and half after it was first pointed out that the town board majority of Van Scoyoc, Overby, Lys, and Burke-Gonzalez were making claims about every aspect of the wind farm, from legal to technical, to marine biology, without any professional expertise whatsoever, the town board has still not retained a single expert to advise the board and the community.
Unlike a proceeding before our own planning board, in which the planning board itself represents the community, the P.S.C. process is a quasi-judicial, adversary proceeding in which interested parties are expected to protect their own interests by presenting evidence and, if necessary, contesting the evidence submitted by the applicant, Deepwater Wind.
There are by now well over 4,000 pages of technical documents submitted in the proceeding. There is no one representing East Hampton with the ability to read and understand them, let alone prepare a competent submission or controvert Deepwater’s claims. The town’s nominal participation as a party is therefore meaningless, a fake.
That the project addresses East Hampton energy needs. In fact, the power would be supplied to the entire Long Island Power Authority grid as to which East Hampton is only 11/2 percent of consumption.
That the project addresses our summer peak demand. In fact, wind speed can fall below the minimum needed to activate the turbines for well in excess of planned battery capacity of eight hours, even for days at a time, requiring the same full back-up capacity, from the grid and peaker plants, that we have now.
That the project avoids the need for transmission cable upgrades. In fact, the power generation in the winter, when our population is at low ebb, is so far in excess of local consumption that transmission upgrades are needed both to supply our power in the summer if the turbines are silent and to send the excess energy west the rest of the time.
That the project is an “economic” solution to local power needs. In fact, although the power purchase agreement is still hidden from view, the cost per kilowatt hour appears to be three to five times the going rate and more than double the current LIPA average cost of 9.6 cents. According to a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority report published last November, the project is only a third the size of the minimum necessary to be economic.
That the project poses no threat to commercial fishing and that all the information needed is already known, a falsehood repeated again in a letter last week from a former chairman of the energy sustainability Committee.
In fact, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, and, very recently, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation have all written to Deepwater citing the inadequacy of its science and methodology as regards impacts on fisheries, particularly on spawning and nursery habitat, as the project is located in the middle of Cox’s Ledge, one of the most fertile fishing grounds on the East Coast. Their specific questions have yet to be answered.
Just a month ago, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management delayed Vineyard Wind over concern about fisheries impacts. Why do the members of the energy sustainability, not one of them a marine biologist, think they know something that all of the regulators of the marine environment don’t?
Particularly pernicious is the repeated claim that in Europe there are no problems with adverse impacts on fishing. However, in Europe, with the exception of the U.K., where there have indeed been problems, commercial fishing with towed gear is generally excluded altogether from wind farms. No problem, because no fishing.
Notably, Orsted, now the owner of Deepwater Wind, is a majority Danish, state-owned company. As reported in Politico, “The Danish Fishermen’s Association says most Danish wind farms have been built in areas that don’t have much fishing activity. If fishing is disrupted or displaced because of a new offshore project, fishers are eligible for compensation.”
Orsted does not exercise the same care here that the Danish government, its owner, requires of it in Denmark. And there is no plan at all to compensate our fishermen in the event of disruption or displacement. When will the East Hampton Town Board stand up for East Hampton the way the Danish government, the owner of Orsted, does for its people?
September 1, 2019
To the Editor:
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, 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, 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 rooftop or 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 to resist the impacts of climate change on our beautiful environment.
August 30, 2019
To the Editor,
Everyone knows that shellfish filter water, and we commonly say things like a single oyster can filter 50 gallons of water a day. This is more or less true, for an adult oyster in optimal conditions of water temperature and salinity. But it takes around 18 months to two years, with relatively perfect water temperature and salinity, for an oyster to grow to an adult. Further, factors such as predation, freshwater intrusion, the health of the natural reef itself, and nutrient levels all affect the rate of growth and the filtration capacity of the developing oyster.
With this in mind, and given mortality rates of shellfish in the wild over the actual life cycle of the animal, aquaculture in and of itself is a dicey proposition if the goal is immediate improvement in water quality such as we find necessary in East Hampton and throughout the Peconic estuary. In the same way that we no longer use wampum for currency, depending on aquaculture to clean up the problems created by overdevelopment and the consequent septic pollution is frankly ludicrous.
Further, the ever approaching so-called tipping point of ocean acidification from the continued dependence on carbon fuels, let alone our moronic national government, the well-documented increasing rate of water level rise, and the obvious, and equally well-documented, perturbation of the climate evidenced by likely manmade fire starting in the lungs of the world, the Amazon basin, and the current burning in the Arctic, melting permafrost because of the warming cycle, and the like, why on earth are we intending to build a monster size shellfish hatchery waterside on a constrained residential lot without mandatory review by the various town boards from natural resources to zoning that everyone but our town board is wisely subject to in order to protect and preserve all of our quality of life and home values?
I and my neighbors certainly support aquaculture in its appropriate place in the solution matrix for water quality improvement, as we believe do most residents. But for the amount of money and time being spent on the ill-suited, overblown, and frankly unnecessary waste of our tax dollars that Councilman Lys and Supervisor Van Scoyoc are cadging from various sources, with misleading and bogus declarations of benefit and downright lies about community support, for this stupid idea, isn’t it about time for a realistic assessment by real experts rather than romantic notions of shell and fin fisheries gone by?
With all due respect, truly, to all who have made their living, supported their families, and risked their lives in traditional fisheries, it is madness to expect at this point in the life cycle of the earth we call home, and the oceans I revere, that this fey gesture will lead to the formerly robust job production and enduring lifestyle that fishing was once. Instead, it will further burden an already busy area, reduce public access to shared resources, the dock and the waterfront, and, maybe, win a few votes from people who don’t really understand the damage since it isn’t planned in their backyard, as it has been, largely in secret, in ours.
No government should ever be above the law of its people. Nor should any government ignore those most affected by its actions without effective and knowledgeable expert assessment by impartial persons, as this pair of elected officials is apparently not determined to do.
Our town board needs to perform appropriate assessment on the best ways to spend our money to achieve the desired water quality improvement, instead of continuing to ignore contradictory opinions about siting, scale, and cost effectiveness for their 36 Gann project. Planning should cease immediately, despite their possibly illegal, let alone grandiose, aspirations and the funding, our tax dollars, being there for the taking.
It’s well past the time to figure out the right thing to do without listening only to the opinions of those with a vested interest in the project, e.g., town employees of the hatchery operation, recreational oysterati, and others who were asked to write in support of seeking grant funding, submitting bogus environmental assessments, self-interested architects, and the like.
We all live in East Hampton, and those whose quality of life is most directly affected deserve to be considered first, rather than being sacrificed to vanity, ambition, and hubris. And while you’re at it, get rid of the illegal lawn and stop irrigating it. It wasn’t allowed before, as you’d know if you read the Planning Department’s original report.
Duck Creek Farm Association
September 1, 2019
The Gann Road shellfish hatchery and the fiasco at the Amagansett parking lot regarding the installation of six charging stations are related. It seems a bit ridiculous, but in actuality it is the way this town board has persisted in ignoring the community and the citizens advisory committees in doing things that result in failure to make things better in the town. There is much wide discontent with these projects all over East Hampton.
The town board “gang of four” — Van Scoyoc, Overby, Lys, and Burke-Gonzalez — fail to consult with stakeholders and knowledgeable people before making decisions that affect East Hampton. Councilman Lys seems to be leading the pack in being in the forefront of the latest two controversial issues — the Gann Road shellfish hatchery and the new six electric-charger installations in the Amagansett parking lot. In both cases, the community and the citizens advisory committee were ignored and Councilman Lys has been acting like a runaway train.
How long does it take for these board members to realize that the community is to be respected for its knowledge? It doesn’t look like there is a bright future for that advice from these four members.
September 1, 2019
I have been parking in the Amagansett parking lot all summer and noticed an unregistered rust-bucket of a van parked on the west side of the lot with a billboard sign advertising, “Weekend Warrior Kayak and Paddleboard” with a large phone number, 631-725-5950, on the van. In asking around, I was told this belonged to a town board member, David Lys, who owns some houses there.
New York State property code prohibits unregistered vehicles to be stored on residential properties. This van has no plates and is not registered. He can’t keep it in the lot or it would be ticketed — so it’s parked in the right of way between the sidewalk and his houses.
This is not legal no matter how you slice it. Do you think anyone else would get away with this in this town? Does being a town board member exclude you from the law?
Better Than That
August 27, 2019
To the Editor,
The United States is already the greatest country in the world. But some of the recent problems that plague us today are not in the dignity of America.
I can never forget Elijah Cummings’s shouts at Kevin McAleenan. On July 18, 2019, House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings brought down the hammer on Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan over his department’s cruel treatment of migrant children.
He erupted: “What does that mean when a child is sitting in their own feces. Can’t take a shower. Come on, man! What’s that about? None of us would have our children in that position. They are human beings. And I’m trying to figure out, and I get tired of folks saying, ‘Oh, oh, they’re just beating up the border patrol. Oh, they’re just beating up on Homeland Security.’ What I’m saying is I want to concentrate on these children. And I want to make sure that they’re okay. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. It’s not the deed that you do to a child, it’s the memory. It’s the memory!”
Mr. Cummings continued: “And so, and I told the head of border patrol the other day, I said I want to know what’s happening the meantime. We are the United States of America. We are the greatest country in the world. We are the ones who can go anywhere in the world and say to people: ‘make sure that they have diapers. Make sure that they have toothbrushes. Make sure that they’re not laying around defecating in some silver paper.’ Come on! We’re better than that!”
Just a few hours later many media outlets have chosen this headline: “We’re Better Than That!” I haven’t written this letter to say the United States shouldn’t have any problems! I just want to say some of the recent problems are not in the dignity of America. I believe Mr. Cummings is right: “We are the United States of America. We are the greatest country in the world. Come on! We’re better than that!”
Border crises and inhumane treatment with children, pulling out from international agreements and damaging U.S. reputation, mass shootings, trade war with China, Trump’s racist tweets and its consequences — are some clear examples of what I have referred to above.
These days many people, especially on social media, are criticizing such an inappropriate state of our country. They are saying that if it goes unchecked it could turn Trump into a one-term president.
Will Be Denied
September 1, 2019
It seems that every day the country wakes up to a new example of the intolerably cruel practices of the Trump administration. Last week, we learned that these practices have taken a most gruesome turn: consigning sick children to almost certain death.
For decades, the Citizenship and Immigration Service maintained a “medical deferred action” program, under which people were allowed to enter and remain in the United States for two-year periods if they proved extreme medical need.
Until last week.
The U.S.C.I.S. has issued letters to persons affected by the deferred-action program advising them that the agency will no longer consider most deferrals of deportation for people with serious medical conditions. Ironically, many of the people affected by this draconian change in policy came into the United States on a visa or other permitted status and are requesting extensions to remain in the United States to continue lifesaving medical treatment. Now these extensions will be denied, and they are being sent home to die.
The poster child evidencing the abject cruelty that will be the result of Trump’s policy change is Isabel Bueso. Ms. Bueso was 7 years old when she came to the U.S. from Guatemala at the invitation of pediatric doctors at University of California San Francisco, who were conducting a clinical trial of treatment for her rare, disfiguring genetic disease. Her participation was necessary because the rarity of the disease required doctors to look outside the U.S. for potential patients. The results of this clinical trial resulted in the approval by the Federal Drug Administration of medication that increased survival by more than a decade.
Ms. Bueso is now 24. Every week for 16 years, she has received IV infusions of the replacement enzyme naglazyme, which treats her disease, known as MPS-6, which causes dwarfism, vision problems, and spinal cord compression; without this treatment, her condition would relapse. During these 16 years Ms. Bueso has enjoyed a productive life. Last year she graduated summa cum laude from California State University, where she worked to establish a scholarship fund for students with rare diseases. She has won awards for her advocacy on behalf of patients with rare diseases. Her family lives in a house her parents bought and renovated to accommodate Ms. Bueso and has paid for Ms. Bueso’s treatment through private health insurance.
Last month, Ms. Bueso and her family were notified that an extension of permission to stay in the U.S. would be rescinded and they would be returned to Guatemala. Neither naglazyme nor the medical care Ms. Bueso requires are available in Guatemala. Without the drug, her condition is expected to rapidly deteriorate and doctors conclude that death would be the outcome.
The Trump administration apparently couldn’t care less as to whether Ms. Bueso lives or dies; it has given her and her family 33 days to leave the country. The travesty of this situation is that Ms. Bueso has lived the type of life that exemplifies the best of qualities we have come to expect from our citizens. Perseverance over life’s struggles has been the touchstone of this country since its founding. Ms. Bueso should be held up as an example of all that is great about this country, not expelled with little care about her survival.
This tragically sad episode provides convincing proof that there will be no effort at redemption by the Trump administration. Instead, it will continue to daily drag the legacy of this nation to ever lower lows. And what is even worse is that the people of this country will be the ones who will suffer from Trump’s peccadillos.
September 2, 2019
I was told growing up that there was something special about being Jewish. My mother’s take was about brilliance, beauty, and some faith. My father had no faith and emphasized being smart and trusting no one. Jews and freaks was the hardest lesson for me. I came to understand that the real freaks were those people who made too big a deal about Jews and Israel, and claimed some strange love and appreciation that gave them a special connection. He said, “Ignore history at your own risk.”
Reading “The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: A Jewish Family’s Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World,” a story about a Jewish family forced to leave Egypt after thousands of years, brings into focus that Israel exists for barely 75 years and the Jewish community in New York for 120 years. Perspective is often difficult when we live completely in the present.
Imagine being an Inca when the Spanish came to South America. What bizarre quirk of fate stopped the Incas from killing the Spanish and engendering the destruction of a 4,000-year-old culture? Could they ever have imagined that happening?
For Jews it’s a little different. Two thousand years without a country makes us willing to do whatever is necessary to keep what we have before someone comes to take it away. There is always a constant and present danger even when it seems like everything is okay. While there is no certainty who will come along, there is the certainty that someone will eventually come.
Skip to the female congresswomen who are Muslim. They don’t see Israel through the lens of most of the Christian world. They see it through the Palestinian people. Their support for the Palestinians is reasonable and justifiable. They don’t hate Jews but they are angry with Israel. There is a huge difference between hatred and socio/political disagreement.
On the other side the president and too many evangelical Americans have longtime manifested an enduring hatred for the Jewish people. For example: The crowd chanting, “Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville is clearly, dangerously moronic. No context, no reality. The real problem, however, is not the idiotic mindless chant, but the political acquiescence, the political silence, and the president. Trump doesn’t call it out for what it is. He tells us that of lots of good people were screaming, “Jews will not replace us, giving credence to the anti-Semitic behavior. Tacitly supporting the idea. Anti-Semitism always starts at the top. (Neo-fascist from birth, he is what he has always been.)
Evangelicals/Jews is so loony tunes that it merits nothing. In truth, our love for Israel is no more passionate than the next billion dollar arms sale to the Saudis. Or to the Israelis. It’s only geopolitical reality. As American fascism takes hold, our ties to Israel will soften and eventually unwind. Israelis seem to understand the situation better than we do. They know the fascist in Trump underlies everything he says. They know he is an egotistical cretin, genetically challenged. They play him for whatever they can. American Jews somehow think that the system is greater than Trump. They see his supporters as an aberration not a harsh reality. We are too insulated to get seriously battered. We are delusional.
I remember my father screaming at John Lindsay on the boardwalk in Far Rockaway. I didn’t understand that what pissed him off was Lindsay’s disregard for the people who lived in the community. Lindsay was cool, attractive, and slick. Impervious to the world around him. It wasn’t that he couldn’t feel, he just didn’t care to.
September 1, 2019
Hopefully, the end of summer and the hordes of “Range Roverazties” and “Porsche-Piggies” will disappear like fleas being sprayed. Hopefully, they will keep the vulgar language and rigid finger display manual that came with the lease. Is their “Dupuytrens Contractual Epidemic” limited to the middle finger, brought on by a total lack of manners? There should be a mass gathering on the Water Mill Green displaying the same symptom as they drive out.
A skywriter artfully writing “So called elitist, go way and forget to come back!” Isn’t the most commonly used four-letter word started with the letter “N” as in next? Not this side of the canal!
ARTHUR J. FRENCH