Letters to the Editor: 09.17.15

Our readers' comments

New Look


September 10, 2015

Dear Editor,

The Springs Improvement Society would like to thank Phyllis Kriegel, a Springs artist, for the “new look” her generous gift of landscaping has given to Ashawagh Hall.

Working with MaryBeth Lee, also a Springs resident, of LaPenna-Lee Gardens, Ms. Kriegel has surrounded the hall with an array of hardy, deer-resistant plantings for the community to enjoy throughout the year. Ashawagh Hall, a beloved community center in Springs, is now the deserving focal point of the historic district.

Many thanks to Phyllis Kriegel for making this happen.




Springs Improvement Society

A Wonderful Job


September 14, 2015

To the Editor,

As the season ends, I would like to acknowledge the wonderful job the lifeguards did this summer at Atlantic Avenue Beach.

Once again, I witnessed many rescues. The water this year was definitely a challenge for them. I feel very safe knowing they are there. They are always alert and just do a great job all around.

I just want to say thank you. I am looking forward to next year!


Wonderful Officer

East Hampton

September 14, 2015

To the Editor:

A big, grateful shout out to East Hampton Town Police Officer Lewis Palmer. I was so delighted to see a police vehicle appear — seemingly out of nowhere — as I stood locked out of my car on Louse Point Beach. We all do stupid things sometimes, but locking my purse, phone, and car keys in the trunk of my car while I went clamming was pretty high up there on the roster of dumb.

Lewis Palmer appeared, tried to unlock the car, then called AAA and waited — all of which took well over half an hour — and it was his lunch break, too — until AAA was en route. And he promised to drop by later to make sure the keys had been recovered. What makes all this more than routine was his incredible kindness and good humor.

East Hampton Town Police Department, you have a wonderful representative out there.



Art Series


September 14, 2015

Dear Editor:

Last Saturday evening, Amagansett Library started its Art Conversation series of lectures. This lecture was wonderful. It focused on Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner. The two authors, Helen Harrison and Gail Levin, and Joan Baum, the moderator, were fantastic. They knew their subjects, Jackson Pollock (Harrison) and Lee Krasner (Levin), so well. It was an intelligent, witty, and stimulating back-and-forth between all. Top notch!

I congratulate the library for thinking out of the box for spectacular out-of-season programming. I look forward to the rest of the series.


Joe Milo

East Hampton

September 14, 2015

Dear Editor,

Remembering Joe Milo. On Aug. 16, at 7:45 a.m., Joe Milo’s airplane crashed, killing Joe and injuring his passenger. As a fellow pilot and someone who flew with Joe many times, I know he was one of the most accomplished pilots I have ever flown with. He earned and deserved his stellar reputation in the flying community.

Joe was also the owner of Joe’s American Grill in Westhampton Beach, an avid golfer, a family man, and a great friend to all. He will be missed by many.


Many Assorted Ducks


September 12, 2015

Dear Star,

Is Lois Watts looking at the same Town Pond as I am? She, apparently, saw no bird life whatsoever there. I, on the other hand, saw, on Sept. 11, so very many assorted ducks, one could barely find the water! It was a very, very happy sight.



Do What Is Needed


September 14, 2015

To the Editor:

We attended the East Hampton Town Trustees meeting on Sept. 8 and were dismayed by the trustees’ refusal to promptly open Georgica Pond to the ocean to flush out a toxic blue-green algae bloom that seriously endangers the health of Georgica Pond, its ecosystem, and its community of users including boaters and baymen.

In 2012, following the death of Annie and John Hall’s Jack Russell from blue-green algae poisoning, the trustees retained Christopher Gobler of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook to advise them on the pond. This year, the newly formed Friends of Georgica Pond Foundation retained Dr. Gobler to perform a comprehensive and ongoing, in-depth study of the reasons for the declining health of the pond and to propose a remediation plan. The initial conclusions of that study were published on Aug. 1.

A key finding was the importance of regular openings of the cut to the ocean. Following the appearance of a toxic algae bloom in August, Dr. Gobler advised the town trustees that a prompt opening of the pond would remove that dangerous bloom, which cannot survive in saltwater. Although the town trustees closed the pond to crabbing and swimming on Aug. 11, they have so far taken no action that would directly address the current danger. (By way of contrast, the Southampton Town Trustees promptly opened Sagg Pond to the ocean in late August following evidence of an outbreak of blue-green algae.)

We have formed the Friends of Georgica Pond Foundation to facilitate a public-private partnership with the Town and the Village of East Hampton and the town trustees. If we collectively fail to act (and if there is no cooperation between the trustees and the Department of Environmental Conservation), Georgica Pond will be lost to recurring and dangerous algae blooms caused by excessive nutrients and accumulating sediments, and in 20 years there may no longer be an open body of water. Georgica Pond could simply become a phragmites-covered swamp. Is this what we want for our children and grandchildren?

Public-private cooperation is necessary, not only to preserve a treasured and impaired body of water, but also to assure the safety of the public. We ask all residents and users of the pond to urge the town trustees to do what is so obviously and urgently needed. Please open Georgica Pond to the ocean as soon as possible. There is no legitimate reason for the delay.






To Save Lives

East Hampton

 September 12, 2015                                                         

Dear David,

Many people in town remember the Bell Estate water tower and how it kept many boaters from landing on Cart­wright shoals in bad weather. I felt bad when it had to come down.

It is hard to accept change, especially a large tower, such as Springs Fire Department needs, in the midst of a neighborhood. Every fire department has a communication tower. In areas of Springs when you call 911, you reach Connecticut. Some areas have no communication at all.

Springs Fire Department is there for one reason and one reason only: to save lives and property. It is and has been my belief that when a fire department asks for something, the response should be yes and thank you. 

Springs Fire Department has a valid concern with the probability of a massive fire in an overcrowded house. They are the backbone of the community and cannot tolerate less than every advantage at their disposal in order to save you and the lands around you. They shouldn’t have to settle for less. Yes and thank you.

It is very true that no town board or government entity has authority over fire department land. That’s the law. 

Ask any old mariner how many times the Bell water tower saved their hides. This could be the next.

Thank you,


‘Special Friends’


September 13, 2015

To the Editor:

On Aug. 18 I attended the town board meeting at which the deer management committee gave its recommendation for the coming year. That committee should more aptly be named the hunters patronage committee.

At no time did the committee offer any estimate of the current deer population, which is noticeably smaller this summer following the harsh climate and the local contraception program of last winter.

What they did offer was a plan to give exclusive use and possession of our limited wooded areas, seven days a week for the better part of the winter, to their self-described “special friends,” who they claim are “skilled hunters.” The “skilled hunter” friends of the committee members would then be free to roam the wooded areas shooting at anything that moves, including the remaining 95 percent of the population who use the woods for hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing.

We were told that these “skilled hunters” would pose no danger to the general populace because they would not hunt in areas used for hiking, biking, etc. Presumably they can distinguish the sound of a deer from the sound of a hiker. Since our wooded areas are so limited in size, that assurance is absurd.

Additionally, be aware that the first injury to a human by one of these “skilled hunters,” operating under town sanction, will expose the town to major liability.

The plan proposed by the committee is ill-conceived, unfair to the majority of town residents, unnecessary, and probably illegal. It must be rejected.


Capricious Killings

Sag Harbor

September 13, 2015

To the Editor:

I recently attended a town board meeting (Aug. 18) where the deer management committee advanced a proposal for expanded deer hunting using “special friends and skilled marksmen” chosen by the committee, which, in my opinion, should better be called the deer annihilation committee.

Their proposal is to expand hunting in both time and area, using various places including the sanitation transfer station and a bunch of increased areas in assorted woodlands where people like to hike and bird-watch and find some peace and quiet when the commuter airplanes don’t thunder overhead.

This is an open letter to urge the board to look at the website of the Sportsmen’s Alliance from which these skilled hunters are to be chosen. Sportsmen’s Alliance is neither a state sponsored nor environmentally friendly group. This is a social group of gun lovers and wildlife killers who kill for sport, teach children how to kill for sport, maintaining that they are protecting hunting, fishing, and trapping rights to “save our heritage.”

Their philosophy includes a real animosity toward animal rights groups. Nowhere on their website did I see a state-sponsored examination for marksmanship or safety that these skilled hunters would have to pass. What I did notice was advertising for a national raffle where prizes included “dozens of quality guns” and the grand prize was a three-part ’gater, hog, and turkey hunt in Oscala, Fla., Not so nice for the ’gaters, hogs, and turkeys who basically are in Florida minding their own business, and certainly shouldn’t be targets for capricious sports killings.

Likewise the deer. The question of expanding the deer hunt here for both area and season is not an “animal rights” issue. We simply don’t need to do this. The deer population is down, and we deserve to give the 4-Poster program a chance.

Most important, fear of these skilled hunters roaming new areas of the woods for increased hours has an extraordinarily scary impact on the 95 percent of people here who want to feel safe on the trails and in the woods for hiking, bird-watching, biking, etc. We don’t want to be confined to our houses so people can shoot both guns and arrows to maim and kill our deer and, incidentally, what else they might hit if a person is unknowingly hoping to enjoy the nature many of us used to treasure here.


Rejected by Courts

East Hampton

September 13, 2015

Dear David,

In a Sept. 9 article (in another local paper) concerning the pleas of residents to the East Hampton Town Board for relief from airport noise, Mr. Loren Riegelhaupt, a paid mouthpiece for the commercial aircraft operators, who with no apparent sense of irony call themselves “Friends of East Hampton Airport,” is quoted saying, “We remain deeply committed to working with the local communities to find common- sense solutions that can better address their concerns and still keep the airport fully open and functional.”

The polite term for this is, “utter hogwash!”

Last October, Arthur Malman, then chairman of the town’s budget and finance advisory committee, airport finance subcommittee, hosted a luncheon in New York City to which he invited all of the commercial aircraft operators regularly using East Hampton Airport — jet, fixed-wing, and helicopter. I attended as a member of that subcommittee and in my then-role as chairman of the town’s airport advisory committee, noise subcommittee. Also in attendance from East Hampton were Peter Wadsworth, Bonnie Krupinski, and Michael Diesenhaus, all members of the finance subcommittee, and Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, town board liaison for the airport.

The purpose of the meeting was to solicit the views of the commercial aircraft operators as to how the community demand for noise relief could be met with the least burden upon and disruption to their operations. They declined to offer any suggestions at that time, stating that they would need time for study.

I personally urged them to submit for consideration as soon as possible their best suggestions together with whatever evidence they had to offer that their proposals would be effective in relieving noise.

Nothing whatsoever has ever been forthcoming from the Friends of East Hampton Airport. Not a proposal, not a suggestion for further study, not so much as a word. So where’s the beef, Mr. Riegelhaupt? The only thing that has been forthcoming has been a federal lawsuit by these operators to prevent the town from implementing the airport access restrictions it adopted last spring.

Fortunately, despite the imposition of a preliminary injunction, the commercial operators have suffered a major legal defeat. Their perennial claim that the town does not have authority under federal law to regulate access to its own airport has been rejected by the federal courts. If the courts do not sustain the particulars of the current rules, the town will be able to adopt other rules that meet the courts’ specifications.

We have not reached the goal, yet. But we will, as long as the town never again takes F.A.A. money, thereby again forfeiting local control — the proprietary power that the federal court recognized. The town has since hired one of the nation’s pre-eminent appellate lawyers, Kathleen Sullivan. I am highly confident that she will succeed in having the Second Circuit Court of Appeals uphold the town’s adopted rules.

As for the empty words of Mr. Riegelhaupt, I leave it to your imagination as to where they best belong.



A Good Start

East Hampton

September 11, 2015

Dear David:

I was very surprised to read that many local residents are complaining that aircraft noise has become worse since curfews were imposed upon the noisiest planes. I live quite close to the airport and have frequently been disturbed in the early morning hours (6 a.m. and earlier) by planes coming and going. There has been a huge improvement in that the skies are now quiet until 9 a.m. and my sleep is not interrupted.

Hopefully it is the first of many measures to mitigate aircraft noise but in my opinion it is a good start.



Receipt on the Beach


September 8, 2015

To the Editor:

I went to the Navy Road beach for a swim on the afternoon of Aug. 31, and saw supplies piled on a picnic table that indicated someone had planned a nice party. There was a bit of packing foam blowing around the beach, so I picked it up on my way past and put it back in its box. I also picked up a piece of paper as I was returning to my truck. It was a shipping receipt from one of the boxes that had been delivered to the beach for the party. I placed it in my car, I thought nothing of it.

Then on Sept. 2 I read about the disgraceful behavior of the Fabulous Sussman Brothers, Eli and Max. I remembered picking up the receipt on the beach, and it was still in my truck. The delivery was to a Max Sussman, 161 Second House Road, Montauk, N.Y. 11954. That happens to be the address to Ruschmeyer’s. These guys were littering even before the party started.

I dropped the receipt off at the Montauk police station. But now it’s time for the town attorney to get to work.

There are laws against littering and fines to deter it. Levy the highest possible fine for littering, and impose that fine for every single piece of trash that was left on the beach. Use the photos and video of the mess to count the number of infractions, and don’t forget the receipt that I picked up.

Prevent Max and Eli Sussman from ever obtaining a Town of East Hampon parking permit. I think they have demonstrated they clearly have abused that privilege.

Prevent Max and Eli Sussman from ever obtaining a mass gathering permit in the Town of East Hampton.

Five hundred hours of community service for the Fabulous Sussman Brothers. Town attorney, time to step up.


Dated Septic Systems


September 8, 2015

To the Editor,

The Sept. 3 issue of The East Hampton Star featured an enjoyable and interesting article by Carissa Katz about Sean MacPherson’s project to rebuild the original Montauk Association’s 10,000-square-foot clubhouse according to its original architecture. Mr. MacPherson and his advisers are going to great lengths to faithfully restore the clubhouse rather than reconstruct another home.

Along with some interesting Association historical facts, the article provides an opportunity for the McPhersons to provide background information and goes on to state that he and his wife are “emotionally invested in Montauk” and they “like the wildness of Montauk.” It mentions that when Mr. MacPherson bought and “repackaged” the Crow’s Nest restaurant, he made it a point to stay away from catering to the wild party scene so as not to be a political target. This is a commendable objective.

Being an admirer of Montauk’s natural beauty and a big fan of Mr. MacPherson’s aesthetics, I love the image that is portrayed. However, the one missing element to making this a truly enchanted story is the fact that Mr. McPherson’s increasing commercial holdings in Montauk always seem to enjoy a meaningful makeover but do not ever include an upgrade to dated septic systems that were not designed to handle the load that comes from the dramatic increase in capacity associated with the flocking of Mr. McPherson’s devoted fans. This runs counter to the preservation of Montauk’s most precious asset — its water quality. One can’t help asking why Mr. McPherson is intently ignoring such a vital aspect of the property’s total footprint, especially one that can cause such dire consequences to his and his children’s adopted environment.

One only has to look at the poor water quality at the water’s edge of two of Mr. McPherson’s properties, the Crow’s Nest and the David Pharaoh Cottages, both of which are located directly on the South Lake portion of Lake Montauk, to recognize the importance of addressing this critical issue. This is not to suggest that the Crow’s Nest or David Pharaoh alone are solely to blame for the degradation of the water quality in this area, but clearly no single entity has increased septic load in this area to the extent that Mr. McPherson’s commercial operation has. Strictly as a matter of environmental priority, this newly expanded commercial operation that is operating in a residential zone must immediately take precedence in terms of remediation, especially as the number of revelers at Crow’s Nest multiplies with each passing year.

Prior to Mr. McPherson’s ownership, the Crow’s Nest served roughly 100 patrons, whereas now it is likely well in excess of 1,000 each weekend without any corresponding increase in the capacity of the septic system to handle this load. The increase in occupancy comes from the introduction of multiple accessory structures that allow for far greater occupancy than that which is permitted for the restaurant and the 14 rental units. I am not opposed to the use of these accessory structures, such as the delightful outdoor bar at water’s edge and significantly greater outdoor seating, if the septic system and the parking were to be properly dealt with. This is the reason one must obtain town permits for such expansion of use, particularly when such use is in an environmentally sensitive area and within a residential zone.

Mr. McPherson also purchased and beautified the eight cottages, coupled with a single-family home, on South Lake, that he calls the David Pharaoh Cottages. There is no question that this property was aesthetically improved. However, once again the original old septic system located adjacent to Lake Montauk was left as is. It would be quite a feather in Mr. McPherson’s cap if he voluntarily upgraded the septic system instead of being mandated to do so through a site plan review.

A long-abandoned motel in the Ditch Plain community was purchased in 2014 and renovated by Mr. MacPherson and is now operating, despite the fact that its abandonment caused its commercial use as a motel to expire under the current residential zoning. Neighbors who purchased their property relying on town zoning prohibiting the resurrection of the motel use were completely disregarded. Notwithstanding the legal imbroglio currently under way, it is notable this property increased its septic flow from 2 bedrooms, 1 kitchen, 1 bath, to 10 bedrooms, 9 kitchens, 9 baths, all being serviced with a cesspool located in a high water table.

In the world of waste management, a cesspool such as this is like having an outhouse instead of modern toilets. It is also against federal law since April 5, 2000, to have a cesspool as the sole waste management system. And because of the direction of the groundwater flow, it unfortunately gets flushed into, you guessed it, Lake Montauk.

So, Mr. MacPherson, I want to believe that you will fight for the preservation of the wild and natural beauty of Montauk. I take at face value your quoted love of Montauk because I know how easy it is to fall in love with this magical place. I also admire your aesthetic sensibility. However, I can’t help asking why you are intent on doing either nothing, or the bare minimum, when it comes to our clean water.

I understand how others who simply clamor for profit may do so. I’m sure you have professional advisers providing you with the minimum legal requirements, but surely that cannot be the only yardstick you use. Please clarify this conundrum for me: Based on your expressed affection for the wildness of Montauk, why will you not upgrade the septic systems on your commercial properties so that Lake Montauk can be restored to the state it had during the time that the Association Houses were built, just as you plan to restore the clubhouse to its original design?


A Slippery Slope


September 13, 2015

To the Editor:

We’d like to thank the town for taking control of a situation that was very out of control. However, I feel we have gone a bit too far. Montauk has always been a resort town. We must somehow find a balance between the wants of the summer tourists and the quality of life of all residents. I strongly feel that a handful of people are ruining things for everyone.

Our initial complaint came to the town over Fourth of July weekend. It was of drunken people urinating everywhere and walking in the road, and about rogue cab companies from as far away as New York City that were speeding up and down Main Street, taking advantage of anyone they could get their hands on.

The results are new parking regulations, new laws regarding beach use, and the town working to shut certain businesses down. Keep in mind that summer is short and the winter is very long, and the economic impact from the summer is the livelihood for many of us who live here all year round. The problem arose from too many people here at one time, and not enough police to cover the whole situation.

One problem is the police are not able to act like policemen; they have to act like politically correct ambassadors of the town. I’m surprised that the town is trying to close down certain businesses because of parking or noise infractions. That seems like a slippery slope to me. Where do we draw the line? Whose business is next? What someone finds tolerable today could be what another finds unbearable in the future. When people complain, we don’t always have to jump to appease them, overreaching in the process.

 If we were able to prosecute a handful of bad individuals to full extent of the law, word would get around that you have to watch how you act. The paddy wagon on the green at night on the weekends sends the message that drunk and disorderly will not be tolerated. We also need to hire more temporary help in the summer to move the traffic along, and let the police maintain the respect they deserve by being able to do their job meaningfully.

People come to an ocean resort town to be outside, enjoy the beach and water, and relax after a long winter of being cooped up inside. Listening to music and enjoying the outdoors is a large part of that. The town is now giving tickets on the beach for reasons like lighting a fire, which has been occurring in this town for well over 100 years. This is an area where I think we have gone too far. Where is the balance?

If someone is abusing our natural resources, they should be reprimanded heavily. But to blanket everyone who uses the beach is absurd. Maybe we need to increase the amount of Marine Patrol and enforce the existing laws rather than create new laws and hand out additional tickets. Wouldn’t a $1,000 littering fine to each person be more effective against small groups leaving garbage on the beach than a ticket for having a fire that isn’t in a metal container?

As far as the nightclubs go, I would like to remind you all of what these old buildings used to look like. They were all in some form an eyesore, and they were all improved at great expense, with much time and effort. What I suggest is we sit down together, and find the balance, not try to close them down. Like it or not, they are a huge factor for our summer trade. Their existence brings a group of people to this town who spend nights in hotels, rent private homes, eat out for every meal, and patronize local businesses. They produce revenue and jobs for many local people, as well as producing large amounts of taxes that are shared by all. You can’t have the benefits without putting up with a bit of overcrowding.

Our town board does not have anyone on it from Montauk, thus our unique needs are not represented. We need a traffic solution at the 7-Eleven. Traffic leaving the I.G.A. can go only one way. The 7-Eleven traffic can make a left or right turn out, causing chaos at the I.G.A. entrance. Allow only right turns, and we will clear up a lot of that congestion.

I also feel the Chamber of Commerce can help. Maybe we could have a meeting at the end of the year to critique some of the problems that have snuck by. Like the Fourth of July fireworks happening the same night in every town, and allowing numerous bicycle races and walks for causes to have their race in Montauk. We have small roads; we need them for the cars. Why are the races routed down Main Street?

At no time do I want to have anything to do with a town that is trying to put businesses out because a few people are inconvenienced by their operations. As a longtime local business owner, this path scares me, for the future of our businesses and as a result our families and community. And while everyone is so busy complaining about how difficult it is to be here in the summer, when we don’t like to share our town, let’s remember September. The businesses and restaurants are still open, the weather is still amazing, the water is still warm, but the crowds die down. Traffic is minimal, you can get in to your favorite restaurant, and you can have the parking spot right up front at the I.G.A. Imagine if we could find this balance in season. We can do this. It is going to take cooperation, not working against each other.



Quality of Life


September 14, 2015

Dear David,

What a difference we’ve seen on Edgemere Street in Montauk! The proactive steps taken by the town board in expediting the parking ban on Edgemere Street through new legislation have demonstrated early success. Gaining the input and support of the town’s Police Department, Montauk Fire Department, and the community through the Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee, and a public hearing, we were able to make this happen prior to the conclusion of the summer season.

Stepping up enforcement and enforcing existing laws is always the priority, but to solve problems there may be times that changing the law has stronger results, such as the actions taken to improve safety concerns on Edgemere Street.

Similarly, the chaos and out-of-control drinking at Indian Wells Beach required town board action, supported by the community and the trustees. Restricting taxis and buses from the parking lot on weekends, restricting alcohol during lifeguarded hours, and checking for beach stickers on vehicles entering the parking lot has restored Indian Wells to a safe family-friendly local beach.

The town board will do what is needed by providing the necessary resources, but we are ready to change and improve the law if it is required. Both Edgemere Street and Indian Wells Beach are examples of improving the quality of life in East Hampton by updating and refining our code.



East Hampton Town Councilwoman



September 4, 2015

Dear David,

F.Y.I. From a recent conversation:

Me: “Hello?”

Her: “Diana!”

Me: “Goodness! Hi! How’s Bill?”

Her: “Bill, who’s this Tom Knobel who’s running against Larry Cantwell?”

Me: “Tall, he lives in Holbrook. You read The East Hampton Star!”

Her: “Love it like chocolate. Lisa Larsen?”

Me: “Great teeth”

Her: “The Republican think they can blame the Montauk mess on Democrats?”

Me: “That was a Republican-enabled initiative married to social media.”

Her: “What are the Democrats doing?”

Me: “Fixing it”

Her: “Margaret Turner?”

Me: “My friend. Great with animals. I want more Latinos in her business alliance.”

Her: “Good to know. Take care. Don’t email.”

Me: “No chance.”

All good things,


Good Name to Politics

Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

September 9, 2015

To the Editor:

I am not a resident of the East Hampton area; however, I have had the pleasure of visiting the area numerous times in the last 10-plus years. Each time I marvel and respect the beauty of the architecture, streetscapes, welcoming attitude of local merchants and staff, and experience of enjoying life in the Hamptons. The beaches are exceptional and, from what I have witnessed, the residents appreciate being there as much as those who spend time to visit.

I stay in Amagansett and have had the pleasure of being entertained by several local residents. As an outsider, I must say that your residents enjoy a quality of life sought after by many.

The benefits of such environs do not come by mere accident. It is the result of decisions and direction of elected officials and government management. Through the years I have had a few opportunities to meet Sylvia Overby. Although I, like many, have a general suspicion of elected officials, I have found Sylvia to be sincere in her beliefs that she is dedicated to the improvement of the Hamptons and the quality of life there. She has the experience of knowing how to get things accomplished, and the results seem to speak for themselves.

Having spent some time discussing local and national issues with her, it seems clear that she is dedicated to the community. Although I have no vote or say in your local politics, I was so impressed with her sincere belief that she can continue to make a favorable impact for life in the Hamptons, I wanted to express my thoughts in support of her election. She is the kind of person who gives a good name to politics — a task almost insurmountable.

I look forward to my return back to Amagansett, and hopefully she can continue to lead the future of your area. Sylvia is a proven success at the town board, and deserves to be re-elected.


Correcting the Record

East Hampton

September 9, 2015

Dear David,

A few days ago, a Republican campaign ad in your paper said this: “Hard to believe . . . a 47-percent reduction in enforcement,” comparing partial year-to-date 2014 to 2015 enforcement of the town code.

Cherry-picking the facts is a political sleight of hand and a slap in the face to town enforcement personnel who are making extraordinary efforts to keep our community safe.

From 2014 to 2015 year to date, town ordinance violations issued by the police department increased by 92 percent, nearly double, and the court fines collected for ordinance violations increased 285 percent. Apart from correcting the record, I want to make an even more important point. The purpose of law enforcement is not to generate statistics or to collect fines. It is to secure public compliance with the law.

In one area where the Republican ad complained of a significant decline in violations issued, it is because the town board adopted alcohol restrictions at Indian Wells Beach. Our purpose was to maintain a decent, family-friendly environment on the beach where alcohol-fueled behavior was out of control. Overall compliance with the new rules has been good, and the result has been much fewer violations issued at Indian Wells.

That is our goal, reasonable rules to protect everyone’s quality of life and public acceptance of and compliance with those rules.



Town Supervisor

Having Courage


September 14, 2015

Dear Editor,

As a year-round Montauk resident who enjoys our small-town atmosphere and appreciates the balance between maintaining our economy and preserving the qualities of life, what I am seeing this summer is a town board that gets it.

To take one example, the parking ban in front of Surf Lodge on Edgemere Street in Montauk. Following discussions over the past several months at our Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee and outreach to Suffolk County, the town board was able to quickly ensure that this parking ban supported by the C.A.C., the Montauk Fire Department, and police was quickly in place. Not only has this resulted in improved public safety of a street that is the main outletfor the Fire Department in an emergency, it was achieved in an open and transparent way, listening to the community and having the courage to enact new laws where necessary, both hallmarks of our current town board.

Thank you from Montauk.



Enforcement Focus


September 14, 2015

Dear David,

Despite the dramatic improvement in code enforcement action since the current administration was inaugurated in January of last year, recent Republican ads aim to distort the facts. The real truth is that in the last two years of the Wilkinson administration there was no improvement in Ordinance Department actions and for good reason: The department was understaffed and undertrained.

As soon as they were elected, the current administration began to focus on code enforcement. They immediately began to train, recruit, and institute new programs and identify department synergies that could have an immediate impact. The result was a 29-percent increase in code enforcement actions in 2014 versus 2013, which came from engaging the public in reporting issues through the new online complaint reporting system, enabling real-time notification of code enforcement officers and in-field deployment of these same officers 24/7 over the summer weekends.

Then, in 2015, recognizing the need for additional efforts, the same town board increased hiring of code enforcement officers for 2015 and began an active program of referrals to the State Liquor Authority regarding liquor licensing and referrals to the Suffolk County Department of Health Services for Sanitary Code violations. The result: a 73-percent increase in code enforcement activity in the first six months of 2015 compared to the prior year. And the record is similar in the Police Department, where there has been a 23-percent increase in parking and ordinance citations in 2015 so far and a 63-percent increase in court-collected fines from these actions.

To our town board, Ordinance Department, and Police Department: Keep up the good work. You are making a difference.



Vastly Improved

East Hampton

September 14, 2015

Dear David,

After reading letters from one of my Republican challengers for the town board about the taxi situation in Montauk, I am compelled to correct the record:

As far back as 2011, during the Republican Wilkinson administration, the excessive consumption of alcohol associated with the Montauk nightclub scene had created high demand for taxis on summer weekends. Hundreds of unregulated cabbies descended upon Montauk, using up much of the available public parking, sleeping in their cabs, and often exhibiting a lack of proper driving skills to the detriment, and even peril, of all. The Montauk community rightly demanded redress. Efforts by the last administration to bring order to the chaos were ineffective and half-hearted at best.

In January 2014, I was appointed town board liaison for Montauk by our newly elected supervisor, Larry Cantwell. I convened a committee of Montauk citizens and town officials to take on this difficult problem. The committee included the executive director of the Montauk Chamber of Commerce, the chairwoman of the Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee, our chief of police, an assistant town attorney, the director of code enforcement, members of the license review board, and also several owners of local and out-of-town cab companies.

The committee recommended many changes, among them annual, instead of biannual, license renewals, that all taxis must be registered directly to the business owner, that each car be licensed in addition to the business, that the parking of cabs be prohibited in municipal lots, increased fees, fines, and enforcement, requirement of inspection of vehicles at renewal for compliance with the town code (display of rate card, etc.), and a requirement for a local office — a local return address for the operator. After public hearings, the town board adopted these recommendations.

We have issued hundreds of summons and code violations through stepped-up enforcement and by sting operations to catch the unlicensed. Currently, there are 33 cab companies licensed to operate in town. Have all the problems associated with taxis been solved? No. But the residents of Montauk can readily observe that the situation is vastly improved. The town board on which I serve will keep at it until taxis are no longer an issue.

As for Uber, because the previous license was for two years, many companies had an additional year to comply with all of our newly adopted requirements. Uber was among this group. Rather than seeking to comply with our laws, Uber encouraged its drivers to disregard the laws, and offered to pay their fines, which they did to the tune of $9,000. Then, in a fit of pique at being unable to bend the Town of East Hampton to its will, Uber noisily canceled its service in and to our area and sent out messages to over 15,000 people in its database falsely stating that the town had banned Uber.

Nothing is further from the truth. Uber has several avenues to operate here within the law and we welcome it to do so! But Uber will not be permitted any exceptions. Nor will it be permitted to dictate terms to the town government. The town board works for the people of East Hampton, not for Uber.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3. If we are to continue the progress we have been making on all of the outstanding issues facing the town, I ask for your vote for myself and my colleagues, Supervisor Larry Cantwell and Town Councilwoman Sylvia Overby. Working together we’re getting good things done for East Hampton.



   East Hampton Town Councilman

    And Deputy Supervisor

Solving the Problems

East Hampton

September 14, 2015

Dear David,

Some Republican campaigners just can’t help themselves when it comes to belittling the current administration. Ms. Campolo comments on the town board’s apparel as if it is a problem, then implies that board members are speaking to “party bosses” and working behind closed doors. What is she talking about? Ms. Campolo, a reported Republican Committee member, cannot tell the difference between the belligerent, rude, and discourteous behavior of the Wilkinson town board and the civility displayed by this one.

Members of this town board are polite and respectful to each other — they are, after all, colleagues — and respectful to the public that speaks to them. All board members speak if they have something to say; I don’t need to listen to board members showboating. If they disagree or have a question, let’s hear it. We don’t need the querulous arguments and pet peeves of the prior administration. Even the Republican member, Fred Overton, doesn’t argue, focusing as all do on solving the problems that need to be solved. Kudos to the town board. You are efficient, courteous, knowledgeable, and a pleasure to watch on TV.

Ms. Campolo and her cohorts were part of the problem with the last town board. Why didn’t she address their rudeness, their name-calling, and their inability to control their anger, not to mention their outright distaste for the public? I guess she misses their wrangling!

Please, please, please. We in East Hampton do not want to go back to more years of outlandish behavior that complicated problems, ensuring that they would never be solved. The Wilkinson era created so many messes around town and this town board is dealing with them and getting the job done.

It appears that the Republicans’ 2015 campaign has the same leadership, the same supporters, and the same letter writers that created the Wilkinson disaster. Need I say more?



Out of the Bag


September 14, 2015

Dear David,

Looks like the cat is out of the bag. In reviewing the Republicans’ most recent financial filing with the state Board of Elections, it appears that someone named “Tom Knobel” of 323 Mohawk Street, Holbrook, gave $50.

Is that the same Tom Knobel running against Larry Cantwell for supervisor? You can bet it is, but why is he running for supervisor here when, by his own admission, he lives in Holbrook. Curious? And I also see that Cyril Fitzsimmons of the infamous Cyril’s Fish House (and dangerous Napeague parking quagmire), one of the town’s biggest zoning violators and enforcement renegades, has been the Republicans’ largest donor, $3,000.

Looks like the same old same old.



Indian Wells


September 14, 2015

Dear David,

Republicans don’t understand a success story when they see it. A recent Republican ad in our local newspapers seemed to cherry pick statistics concerning lack of enforcement for public urination and open alcohol. The decrease in writing tickets on these two types of violations corresponds nicely with new laws and restrictions that went into effect in 2014 at Indian Wells Beach. So, of course the numbers of tickets written and violations went down!

Voila, government solved a problem! Success! Thank you, town board and particularly Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, who took the lead on getting Indian Wells back to being local. I applaud her for this and many other things she has done to keep East Hampton (and Amagansett!) the place I love.

Sincerely yours,


Watching the Issues


September 9, 2015

Dear Mr. Rattray:

As a first-time candidate for public office, I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself to those who may not have met me yet. I am Joshua Davidson and I’m seeking the community’s support as an East Hampton Town trustee.

My association with the board began many years ago when I watched my cousins while my Aunt Diane (a.k.a. Diane McNally) attended meetings with then-Supervisor Tony Bullock and other town officials to discuss the beach vehicle issue and beach regulations. I also went with her to various areas of town to inspect beaches, launching ramps, etc. So, although this is my first time as a candidate, I have been watching and listening to the issues the trustees have dealt with for most of my life.

I currently work as a land surveyor, a position I’ve held for over 10 years. I am very familiar with our woodlands, meadows, beaches, and waterways, as well as the impact development has on them. I would like to bring this experience and my insights to the board. I believe my qualifications will also be beneficial in the review and understanding of the surveys and information contained within other agencies’ applications and to update the board’s requirements for permitting.

I live in Springs with my wife, Larissa, and our 3-year-old daughter, Harper. After becoming a parent, my appreciation of our ability to access public lands, to take her to the beach, boating, and fishing deepened. I would love for my daughter to enjoy the perks of what our town has to offer as I and many other locals growing up here did.

Therefore, for her, her cousins, and the friends she will make as she grows up in East Hampton, I would respectfully request support on Election Day, Nov. 3.





September 13, 2015

Dear David,

At the East Hampton Board of Trustees meeting of Sept. 8, six sets of minutes were presented to the board for adoption. These minutes dated back to meetings of Feb. 24, June’s two meetings, two meetings from July, and the meeting of Aug. 11.

However, New York State’s Open Meetings Law states clearly, “Minutes of meetings of all public bodies shall be available to the public in accordance with the . . . Freedom of Information Law within two weeks from the date of such meeting.”

This lack of transparency and adherence to the law and just plain inefficiency are reasons why we candidates are seeking this office. Surely it doesn’t require seven months for the trustee clerk, Diane McNally, to submit the secretary’s typed minutes to the trustee board.



Access and Egress


September 13, 2015

To the Editor,

I have been reading the numerous letters to the editor pertaining to parking on Dolphin Drive for the past few months. I have attended two town board meetings and listened to the various discussions.

I wonder how many advocates for providing parking to access the beach off Dolphin Drive have actually gone to the beach from Dolphin Drive. I strongly suggest they take the time to visit. When they do, they will find that they have to walk up a sandy hill — which takes at least 145 steps (in a size-10 shoe), approximately 220 feet, just to reach the beach. It is a difficult walk especially if you are carrying any beach equipment, i.e., chairs, umbrella, surfboard, etc. Many politicians are advocating for handicapped parking. I cannot imagine how a physically disabled person could possibly enter the beach via Dolphin Drive.

Additionally, access and egress to and from Dolphin Drive is via Montauk Highway in the 55 miles-per-hour speed zone. After viewing the difficult beach access, advocates will be required to make a left turn onto Montauk Highway. During the summer, it can take at least five minutes to safely accomplish this dangerous feat. Every year there is a fatality on this stretch of road. Adding to the number of cars making left-hand turns is not in the interest of public safety.

The previously mentioned issues are minor when one considers the consequences of increased foot traffic in this dune-based preserve area. More pedestrians walking on the narrow path will widen it, giving a stormy ocean greater access to Montauk Highway’s Napeague stretch. This fragile area is one of the narrowest parts of the South Shore. As in the past, the ocean can meet the bay. If the proposed access to the beach is established, there will be high traffic near the protected dunes and with the onset of a storm, it is quite conceivable that Montauk could become an island. Napeague Stretch might become the next Shinnecock Canal.

Increasing access to the beach via Dolphin Drive should not be a political pawn. It is a preservation issue, which is why the preserve was created in the first place.


Character Assassination


 September 7, 2015

To the Editor:

In 1996, Newt Gingrich distributed a memo titled “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control” to thousands of Republican candidates across the nation, recommending that they describe their political adversaries using the following vocabulary: “decay, failure (fail), collapse(ing) deeper, crisis, urgent(cy), destructive, destroy, sick, pathetic, lie.” In 1998, Gingrich’s party discovered that the politics of attack don’t always win elections, and Gingrich left the speakership.

The East Hampton Town Republican Party is still partying like it’s 1996. In last week’s letters column, party vice chair Reg Cornelia referred to members of the East End Dunes Residents Association as “rabid.” Some other samples of Cornelia’s political rhetoric about our neighborhood, which opposes the South Flora parking plan that Cornelia is championing:

“[The] homeowners . . . have, each and every one, illegally appropriated for themselves about 20 feet of town- owned right of way in front of their homes, complete with landscaping, planter boxes, etc.” (Star letters to the editor, July 30)

“I take strong exception to the outright lies about the [nature preserve] committee being put forth by Jonathan Wallace. Mr. Wallace is a lawyer for a group of wealthy property owners whose houses lie directly west of the South Flora Nature Preserve.” (June 25)

Other people have now jumped in like schoolchildren helping a bully beat his victim. Jay Blatt in the Sept. 3 Star leaves me simultaneously angry and laughing: “[S]eemingly teleported historical documents gone missing that may have shown Dolphin Drive was intended to have public parking. . . . Missing and reappearing signs.”

A Montauk weekly in an Aug. 19 editorial parroted this fascinating, false narrative: “Between the bogus signs and the usurped land, neighbors in the development have effectively made their quiet enclave even quieter.”

The South Flora parking dispute is being exploited as a Republican campaign issue. An ad in a local paper on Aug. 5 for Tom Knobel and the Republican town board slate taunted the “Democratic town board” for voting “to ban parking” on South Flora (something they haven’t yet done). The ad ends with one more childish swipe: “But . . . they are considering a bike rack.” The truth: One member of the public at a board meeting merely stood up and suggested a bike rack (and I imagine some Republican voters ride bikes, so what’s your point).

Cornelia and his political allies are trying to shift attention away from the grave demerits of the proposed parking plan by vilifying me and my neighbors. We are mainly retired and semiretired people ages 60 through 90, trying to live quietly in modest houses, baffled to find ourselves accused of being a gang of criminals, stealing land, forging signs, and even capable apparently of a Mission Impossible-style raid on Town Hall to steal documents.

Count Talleyrand, when he heard that Napoleon had assassinated the Duc D’Enghien, remarked, “That’s not only a crime, it is also a mistake.” The character assassination of our neighborhood gives a clear forecast of what to expect if the Republican slate wins the town board elections in November: mean, dishonest, and divisive government. The tactics of Cornelia and his allies are also amateurish: They seem to have forgotten that many of us vote here (and more are registering).


Right to Object


September 14, 2015

Dear David,

It might be said that this August was the cruelest month for the Hamptons. We’ve had Uber angst, airport rage, L.I.R.R. meltdowns, Montauk mayhem, and a surge in summer visitors that by your recent estimate was close to an increase of 30 percent compared to most recent summers. Having lived here for over 30 years, I can state, without fear of contradiction, that due to the spectacular run of great weather this summer, I have never seen so many people visiting, and enjoying, the Napeague beaches this summer.

Yet, despite the record demand, we had no legal parking issues in the East End Dune Residents Association development. The Atlantic Drive parking lot had no discernible trouble accommodating the record surge in visitors to the beaches here. Contrary to Mr. Cornelia’s ranting, we have had no instances of people suffering heart attacks walking 1,000 feet to the beach; there were no hordes of fishermen clamoring for access to the beaches, no onslaught of caravans of S.U.V.s craving access to the beach paths off Dolphin Drive. And now that the peak of summer is past there is absolutely no rationale for impinging upon a preserve on the basis of needed access when this stunning summer season showed no problem handling record crowds needing parking access to the beaches.

Despite the claims of a rabid “elite” group conspiring to deny the public access to the beaches here, pulling down and replacing no parking signs, “unlawfully usurping” town property, and other absurd and desperate charges, residents here have never had an issue with people wanting access to the beach — and this summer gave convincing proof that there was no problem doing so.

No, all along, the real issue is with a group associated with certain members of the nature preserve committee claiming the preserve area that happens to border this development as some sort of scheme foisted upon the town to prevent further “intrusion” upon our “usurped” properties. Claims that public money spent to acquire the preserve should entitle the committee to force a misguided plan to increase public access to the preserve area were funded by real estate taxes and fees collected from the sale of properties in East Hampton.

Just as the people fighting the airport issue, the PSEG pole issue, and those opposed to the current plan for repairing the Montauk dunes have a right to protest, so, too, EEDRA residents have a right to object to a patently useless and environmentally harmful plan proposed by the nature preserve committee for no good purpose other than to enhance their political résumés.


Obama and Netanyahu

East Hampton

September 10, 2015

Dear Editor,

Mr. Sheldon Palmer expects his recent support of the opinions of David Saxe, as expressed in The Star, will result in both of them being “bashed” and “damned” by those who disagree with them and support the president.

Well, I hate to disappoint Mr. Palmer, but neither Mr. Saxe’s opinions nor his own are accurate or important enough to create any great angst amongst those of us who see the breadth and cohesive strength of our president, as opposed to the weakness and limited intelligence of Mr. Netanyahu.

President Obama is a unique blend of vision and determination rarely seen in the White House. He carefully safeguards and refrains from the use of our armed forces in favor of negotiations, and he will not succumb to the mindless bleating of our homegrown neocons nor those of a warlike Netanyahu.

Israel is shattered into groups both pro and con a two-state solution, for and against plans to act violently against Iran, for and against their warlike prime minister, and 54 percent of the Israeli people believe an international agreement with Iran is better than bombing them, so long as there is a strong verification program.

But not Mr. Netanyahu. He continues to posture and rant against this carefully documented and agreed-to pact but presents no other solution for preventing Iran from having nuclear capabilities.

Comparing Barack Obama to Benjamin Netanyahu as Saxe does and Palmer agrees, is like comparing Einstein to Sarah Palin, ridiculous to a fault and more laughable than “bashable.”

And now the agreement is approved by the Congress. Another master stroke by the man history will call great.


Bernie Storming

Sag Harbor

September 8, 2015


Iowa, Tuesday, Sept. 1, a call to action in The New York Times. The first person Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont met when he climbed out of a Dodge Journey was Caleb Humphrey. It was for good reason.

Senator, this week alone Caleb made 2,016 calls, a campaign organizer said, introducing Mr. Humphrey.

“Oh my God,” Sanders said, looking shocked. “Thank you very much for that.”

As Sanders walked in the hall for another packed rally. Mr. Humphrey, a 30- year-old Army veteran, explained why he made so many calls urging Iowans to come to the event. “I haven’t felt anything like this in the three years I have been out of the Army. I feel part of something.”

Support for Sanders has surged around the country and has drawn crowds that are the envy of other candidates. Sanders now trails Hillary Clinton by seven points — at one time 40 points in Iowa. Sanders has hired an advance director with a history of student organizing. A field organizer came on next, followed by an administrator staff member.

It now has 53 people on staff with a robust hiring plan; 1,700 volunteers marched out of 15 campaign offices throughout the state. They call it Bernie Storming.

The key has been attracting more than 140,000 volunteers who have registered online. And the campaign has inherited some key operative who worked for President Obama, Scott Goodstein, the founder of Revolution Manager, and Obama videographer also on board. Seeing his momentum grow and grow makes it a lot easier to get commitments. Young supporters have found Sanders on Facebook. Another supporter, Aidan King, 23, co-founder of Reddit who works in a Vermont-based winery. They provided a forum to organize transportation. Sanders told supporters in Marion, I got your names. Something exciting here is taking place. We will rise from the ashes. Hang in there.