Letters to The Editor 10.01.15

Our readers comments

Goodbye, Yogi


September 23, 2015
Dear East Hampton Star:

No one goes there because Montauk is crowded. Goodbye, Yogi. Say hello to Casey and Mickey for me.

Sincerely, FRED GASREL


Man With the Horse

East Hampton September 25, 2015

Dear David: Many years ago, when East Hampton was still East Hampton, a man would ride up to my father’s store on Springs Road on a horse. The man would park his horse outside and go inside to buy something. When he came out, he would find us kids gathered around his horse waiting for him with a sense of wonder. He was a real live cowboy on his horse.

All we knew about the man was that his name was Harvey, and that he was a kind and caring man who would talk to us and let us each sit for a minute or so atop his horse. He didn’t come by that frequently, but when he did, he was the same funny and caring soul that we loved.

Years later, I worked with Howard Brown at Most Holy Trinity Church. Howard talked a lot about his son and his son’s love of animals, and especially horses. Somewhere along the way I told Howard about one of my most cherished childhood memories of Harvey, the man with the horse. Howard said, “That’s my son, Harvey Brown.” I told Howard to make sure Harvey knew how he had touched us children, and I hope Howard did.

Harvey Brown was a special person and a singular, and delightful, part of my East Hampton memories of days gone by.


Hamptons Marathon

September 28, 2015

To the Editor: Diane and I would like to thank this wonderful community for all of the support it showed our runners at the Hamptons Marathon this past Saturday. We would especially like to thank the East Hampton police, who did an incredible job as always; the fire departments of Springs, Amagansett, and East Hampton for being on alert all day and on call for us, and to the community of the Springs, which opened its roads to our runners and put up with the inconvenience all morning. Please know that everyone is uniformly impressed by the beauty of this place and by the members of the community who come out to volunteer or cheer the runners on.

An additional thanks go to the Boy Scouts (Eric Malecki’s boys), Girl Scouts (Linda Blowe’s girls), Southampton Hospital, Stony Brook University stu- dents, Kristi Hood at the Springs Gen- eral Store, the Pepperoni’s staff for the late-night pizza to keep us going, the Ben Krupinski crew, who worked tire- lessly through the night, Charlie Whit- more and his guys, Mickey’s Carting staff, and everyone else who may not be named here but who helped make this day as special as it was!

We look forward to being able to pres- ent our donations in November to Project MOST, Southampton Hospital, and to the Eleanor Whitmore Early Child- hood Center.


To Drivers and Cyclists

East Hampton
September 28, 2015

To the Editor:
As longtime East End drivers and cyclists, we applaud your recent editorials addressing safety on our roads and for pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists (“Cour-tesy Misfires,” “Cyclists Matter Too”).

It’s our perception that drivers on the East End are increasingly cautious and courteous when encountering cyclists. When we’re riding our bikes, despite the enormous increase in summer traffic and congestion, we find most drivers waiting until it’s safe to pass, giving us plenty of room when they do pass, and doing so in a safe way.

Unfortunately, this isn’t universal. For example, Bob was riding his bike this week when an SUV whizzed by him going well over the speed limit with only inches to spare — despite there being no traffic at all coming in the other direction. A near-miss, and a scary experience. We also have been passed too many times recently on blind curves, where a car coming in the other direction at the wrong moment would have resulted in tragedy.

We offer the following suggestions to our fellow drivers and cyclists in the spirit of making our roads safer for all:

Drivers: Be patient. You will be able to pass that bicycle rider before long. Why rush it? How much time will you really save? Whatever it is, it can wait — it’s not worth endangering the life of a fellow human being, or your own. Wait until it’s safe to pass, for both the cyclist and oncoming traffic, and ease past, don’t gun it.

Give them room. Allow at least a three-foot gap between your car and the cyclist. Many states have mandated three feet of clearance when passing a bicycle (unfortunately, New York is not yet among them). Passing too close not only destabilizes the bicycle rider, potentially causing a crash, it also doesn’t take into account the fact that cyclists sometimes need to maneuver to avoid obstacles at the edge of the road (e.g., potholes, cracks, roadkill).

Pay attention. Inattentiveness while driving — often caused by using electronic devices — is extremely dangerous in any situation, but even more so in our area where there are more and more cy- clists on the roads. Don’t be distracted while driving.

Be predictable. Signal before turning, so cyclists know what you’re going to do and can react accordingly.

Don’t turn in front of a bicycle. Don’t pass a bicycle and then immediately turn right. In our experience, this happens a lot. Let the bike clear the intersection before you turn. Same thing when turning left — let the bike go through before you turn.

Cyclists: Follow the rules of the road. Cyclists are subject to the same traffic rules as other vehicles. Stop at stop signs and red lights. Act predictably. Signal before turning.

Yield to pedestrians. Be courteous. Ride single file. Don’t hog the road by riding side-by-side. This frustrates drivers and leads to unsafe passing and road rage. Give cars enough room to pass.

Be visible. Make sure drivers can see you. Wear bright colors during the day; wear light colors and use front and rear lights at dusk and after dark.

Use a mirror. Don’t move left without knowing what’s behind you. Get a mir- ror. They’re cheap.



Springs Cell Tower

September 28, 2015

To the Editor: The building permit issued by the East Hampton Building Department granting approval for the Springs cell tower was a profound failure in our town government’s mandate to interpret and apply the law to protect the citizens of East Hampton.

We all regard emergency communications as essential and acknowledge the fire commissioners’ great contribution to our community. However, it is a conflict of interest for an entity that serves the public to be at once the applicant and declare itself as the entity that decides if they themselves are exempt from the town’s zoning laws, public comment, and an open review process. The process by which the tower was put up was antithetical to the structure of governance we have in America. I sincerely hope the Z.B.A. upholds the principle of open government, revokes the permit at the hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 6, and requires that the cell tower be subject to public review and town zoning.

What is especially upsetting and contradictory is that the tower, which is being put up to help protect people, directly endangers at least 10 families in its fall zone. The idea that some people have to be put directly in harm’s way in order to protect a larger constituency is not the kind of choice we should be making.

This project should go back to the beginning and proceed properly, with all the information presented to the public about requirements, budget concerns, alternatives, impacts, and benefits. The public should be given time to digest the information and respond, as in all other matters of similar importance. The town’s zoning law for cell towers is quite strict, because cell towers are extreme objects and need special consideration.

Laymen in the community should not be put in the position of having to provide viable alternatives either; we are not at that stage yet. There has been in- sufficient information disclosed to the public about the basic requirements and

other considerations related to the emergency communications needs, and those should be laid out in a thorough manner. It is the town’s and fire commissioners’ job to provide possible alternatives; however, the fire commissioners have said that no other alternatives have been considered.


Clean Water Rule

September 22, 2015

To the Editor: The editorial “Water Quality, Carefully,” published on Sept. 17, perfectly describes the issues clean water initiatives face and some effective and necessary actions to ensure the safety of New York’s drinking water.

The Clean Water Rule that went into effect by the E.P.A. in late August aims to do just this. Yet again big money and big business are trying to influence pub- lic affairs far more than is safe for the citizens of America. Since this rule has been established, businesses have been lobbying the senators and representatives of our Congress to have them overturn the rule. The Clean Water Rule is one of the biggest victories for clean water champions in decades. It protects drinking water for 11 million people in New York alone, and is a huge step in addressing the issues with clean water outlined in the editorial.

It’s already being fought in Congress. Iowa Senator Joni Ernst recently filed a Congressional Review Act in order to halt the effects of the Clean Water Rule and reverse one of the biggest steps for clean, safe drinking water in recent his- tory. New York is lucky to have Senator Schumer representing us in Congress, an official who supports the Clean Water Rule and therefore the well-being of the citizens of his state. Clean water is a basic necessity for survival, and Congress has no right to deny this to the citizens of the United States.

Hopefully soon more congressmen and women will see the extremely detrimental effects of overturning the rule and keep in mind their constituents, rather than the big business lobbyists, when making their final vote on the rule this fall.



East Hampton

September 28, 2015
Dear David Rattray,

I am sure many East Hamptoners are familiar with Rick Drew, the friendly, helpful fellow managing Main Beach Surf and Sport Shop who is running for trustee. Most of us probably aren’t familiar with his background and experience.

Rick is a lifelong clammer whose inspiration is his abiding love of the water, nature, and the outdoors. After graduation from Long Island University, Rick worked as an information technology

consultant in a challenging computer science environment. He and his wife raised their two children here, all of whom share the family value of respect for the natural world and the beings that inhabit it.

Rick is an active Citizens for Access Rights member and noted throughout the East End for his fund-raising efforts to benefit the East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue and the Peconic Bay- keeper program, among others. He is emotionally intelligent and committed to open government in the trustees’ future. Wouldn’t that be a breath of fresh air?

I urge the public to meet Rick Drew, to interact with Rick Drew, and to vote for Rick Drew on either the Democratic or Independence Party lines. He’ll represent all of us well. Thank you.



Lack of Leadership

East Hampton

September 26, 2015

Dear David,
The East Hampton Town Trustees are one of the oldest governing bodies on the East End and are the largest landowners in our beloved East Hampton Town. The trustees are a board en- acted to serve the public interests by overseeing our waters, beaches, bottomlands, and various holdings around town.

The trustees face many complex issues as development of our area continues. The environmental problems created by a growing population and climate change cannot be resolved by “doing things as they have historically been done.” Protecting our water, beach access, and our fragile ecosystem requires intelligent proactive leadership, open communication, and respect for other local and state governing entities.

The lack of leadership on townwide environmental issues by the current board majority is disturbing. Resentment, anger, and personal agendas have impacted the effectiveness of the cur- rent board. Why would a board member be spending time tagging garbage pails on Main Beach, one of the most beau- tiful beaches in the country, when most of our salt ponds, specifically Georgica Pond and related water bodies, are experiencing toxic algae blooms?

While there is no shortage of tough talk by the current trustee board, there is a real shortage of results. How is it that several trustees are rarely at the Tuesday-night trustee meetings when there is so much good work to be done? In addition, a lack of documentation is leading to more controversy regarding beach ownership and access rights. The latest issue is the land to the east of Two Mile Hollow Beach.

It is time for progressive, professional leadership on the trustee board. I am committed to developing and maintaining environmental leadership for our town and community. If we work together, we can protect our waters. We have a right to swimmable, fishable, drinkable water and access to our beach- es and bottomlands. It is the responsi- bility of the trustees to protect these rights.

Please come out on Election Day, Nov. 3, and vote for me for town trustee on the Democratic and Independence Party lines.


Recent Trustee Meeting

September 25, 2015

Dear David,
I went to a recent East Hampton Town Trustee meeting at the request of a candidate for trustee, who was in temple, and the pope, who in a recent homily said to get out of the house.

I departed the recent East Hampton trustee meeting after two hours because I needed a drink. I share some notes.

Beware of who you vote for; some of them are nuts.

Cronyism can lead to constipation.

Showing up is 90 percent of the job? (Four trustees missing.)

The presiding officer should not get hacked.

The Lazy Point lease situation is a mess — petulant, peevish posturing versus emotional exhaustion. (It was like listening to Congress.)

Trustee meeting room chairs should be detonated, in all their nonbiodegradable glory, and replaced by a nice driftwood bench.

Trustee revenues can be enhanced by renting out seat cushions and opening a bar.

All good things,


Cooperative Conservation

East Hampton
September 26, 2015

Dear David,
After witnessing some recent deer controversy, a thought came to mind. It’s strange how we pay so much attention to an animal which there may be too many of, while so little is given to the animals which may disappear. It’s like we’re more concerned with preventing nature from annoying us than assisting nature in providing for us. Deer may eat the forest understory, act as reservoirs for ticks, and collide with vehicles, but these issues are the result of land use patterns in this area, while many other species suffer ratherthan thrive. Box turtles continue a quiet disappearance, as their slow-and-steady lifestyle can’t compete with increasing traffic on our many forest roads. Salamanders, which control mosquitoes at their source, are now a rare find as surface waters shift and fade into “development.” Even the horseshoe crab, an incredibly resilient animal which long outlived the dinosaurs, has suffered a palpable decline.

These animals might seem unimportant to some people, but they are icons of the East End, part of the diversity that makes this place beautiful, integral pieces of our living puzzle, and if they are disappearing, it’s surely a sign that we can do things better.

Growing up in East Hampton inspired me to care for the unique landscape we all share. I pursued a degree in ecology and worked for years in lo- cal nature education. I’m happy to say I’ve recently joined the East Hampton Town Nature Preserve Committee to lend a viewpoint that cares for all living things, and takes a holistic and long-term approach to stewardship. I hope to offer the same to the town trustees, and I hope I have your vote.

Two major parts of our local economy, tourism and fishing, benefit from high biodiversity. It’s up to the people who live here, and know the area and its history the best, to be involved in protecting our resources and livelihood. We must keep our community intact to protect our environment. I think we do a better job than many towns, and because of that we have the opportunity to set an example.

A cooperative and considerate approach to conservation is the key to solving multifaceted problems like declining water quality, forest composition, and fish populations. If the people who live here don’t come together to protect our home, who will?

Our community depends on our environment, and our environment depends on our community. I want to be a voice for all those, big and small, young and old, that make up the community I know and love.

Trustee Candidate

Every Reason to Vote

East Hampton
September 28, 2015

Dear David,
Why on earth is anyone running to oust current the town board members Larry Cantwell, Peter Van Scoyoc, and Sylvia Overby? Code enforcement statistics in every part of town are up. There are major new initiatives in affordable housing. After a dearth of C.P.F. acquisitions in the prior administration, vast amounts of open space have been acquired, and more identified for acquisition.

In addition, plans are under way for interim and long-term resiliency initiatives to protect Montauk’s downtown and coastline. Recent discussions among the community and the board indicate that a rental registry law, which will dis- courage abuse of occupancy laws in all our hamlets, is on the way. The scavenger waste plant has been closed, and new studies chart next steps in wastewater management.

And the list goes on. There is no reason not to vote for this team on Nov. 3 and every reason to do so.

Sincerely yours, ELI DOWNS

Buy, Don’t Build

September 28, 2015

Dear David,

As to “affordable” housing: Every time a house is added, we are adding more people. And as a result, it makes it less affordable to live here for everyone.

Housing costs are only one part of why it’s expensive to live here. There is also the additional cost of goods, services, taxes, and impacts on the environment and our water quality.

The more people who live here, the higher our taxes, the greater stress on the town’s infrastructure, more traffic, more kids in the schools, more crowded beaches, more cars on the roads, more water pollution, overcrowded neighbor- hoods, parks, recreational facilities, et al.

And it does not serve the businesses well either, because as we add more peo- ple, more businesses come here, hence more competition for existing businesses. Witness how the influx of people in Montauk affected the majority of local businesses. In no time, we will look like Nassau County with their “unaffordable” problems.

The town could buy pre-existing houses, retrofit them (with energy conservation grants) to make them more affordable to live in, and sell just the house to people who work here, retaining ownership of the land. That would cost a whole lot less than building neighborhoods of new “affordable” houses, and would not add to the services, taxes, infrastructure, school population, traffic, et al.

If all the factors are included, I’ll bet that it would be cheaper overall to buy existing houses, and much more bene- ficial to the entire community, rather than to build more houses. It is always more expensive to build a new house than to buy an existing one. Besides, it would more fully integrate our neighborhoods with people of varying incomes, rather than creating enclaves.

P.S. I attended the Environmental Coalition Forum and found that the town board incumbents, Supervisor Cantwell and the board members Over- by and Van Scoyac, were knowledgeable and specific about their action plans to help preserve and protect our quality of life, water supply, ecosystem, dark sky, and overall environment. Their opponents (only Knobel and Turner showed up) were vague and noncommittal.


Housing With a History

East Hampton
September 26, 2015

Dear David,

The owners of the old hunting shacks in the Walking Dunes in the area of Napeague, were told to relocate to any lot they chose on Lazy Point when the early 1900s trustees found the Walking Dunes to be fragile. They were told just to pick a spot on Lazy Point. Some of the old fishing families were told to pick an area on Lazy Point to set up a place to live near their fishing grounds. The granddaughter of one of those fishing families still lives there and her family is a part of our history. Another small house was made of popsicle-stick boxes, three-quarter-inch plywood — not bad. And on it went.

Some of the families living on Lazy Point even now descend from the orig- inal people and have been there ever since. This is respected affordable housing with a history.

Maybe the circa-1915 trustees didn’t call it affordable housing, but they must have had a name for it, and I’d love to know what that name was.

The town has an entire housing de- partment dedicated to work such as establishing regulations necessary for keeping affordable areas livable and af- fordable.

Dem/Indy candidate for East Hampton Town Trustee

Largest Clam Contest

September 28, 2015

Dear David,

It’s that time of year, when the air cools and our waters are still nice and warm. Summer is a memory and fall is coming on strong. It’s also the time of year when the East Hampton Town Trustees hold their Largest Clam Con- test!

This Sunday, Oct. 4, starting at noon, marks the trustees’ 25th annual Largest Clam Contest, and this year will be bigger and better than ever. The first thing you must know is that it will be held at the American Legion Hall in Amagansett, across from Brent’s Deli. Residents have been clamming all week, and there is still time to search for the elusive largest clam to enter into the contest. Many great prizes will be awarded to each adult and child who harvests the first, second, and third-largest clam from trustee waters. Clams from Lake Mon- tauk are also eligible to enter.

As always, there will be a homemade clam chowder contest, with a $1 entry fee. So cook up your best red or white clam chowder, and bring it down for your chance to win the coveted honor of best red, best white, and best clam chowder overall. The trustees still need prizes for our fantastic clammers and chowder chefs, so if anyone has a gift certificate, or any useful item, please stop by the trustee office located on Bluff Road in Amagansett (today and to- morrow) to drop off your donations between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Everyone who attends will be treated to fresh local clams and delicious Bonac chowder cooked up by the true King of Chowder, Mr. Fred Overton. Light refreshments will be served, but feel free to bring your own water bottles. Speaking of bottles, the trustees will be recycling everything at the contest, just as we did last year. We will have special receptacles, clearly marked, for you to deposit your beverage containers, trash (bowls, plates, napkins), and even a place for the clam shells. Last year the public did an outstanding job of helping us to reduce our waste and collect all recyclable ma- terials, and I look forward to a 100-per- cent rate of recycling this year. October is Recycling Awareness Month in East Hampton, so it’s great to hold this event in October to help raise awareness of our need to increase our recycling.

Starting at 1 p.m., educators and scientists from the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s marine program will be presenting information on past, present, and future eelgrass and other restoration projects in and around East Hampton waters. They have done great work for our community over the years, and I can’t wait to learn the details of the status of eelgrass restorations in Napeague Harbor, Hog Creek, and Northwest Harbor, as well as the marsh grass, dune grass, and gracillaria restoration that Cornell can offer. We may even be treated to a marine meadows workshop, if Cornell has extra eelgrass shoots from their workshop they are holding this Saturday, Oct. 3, at the South Fork Natural History Museum.

For our benefit, I hope there are some leftover eelgrass shoots that need to be woven into the disks. It’s a fun, hands-on way to get up close and personal with eelgrass! We will also learn from our shellfish hatchery manager, Barley Dunne, about the status of our shellfish hatchery and shellfish seeding programs in East Hampton waters. These discussions will be held indoors, and we ask everyone to come inside and join us. There will be great information presented that you won’t want to miss.

The Largest Clam Contest takes a lot of effort, and all of your town trustees work hard to make this event a success. I’d especially like to thank Trustee Diane McNally, our clerk, who goes above and beyond as she takes on the lion’s share of the work, along with our administrative staff, Lori Miller Carr and Lorraine McKay (and also our past staffer Michelle Thompson). Many thanks go to American Legion Post 419 for gra- ciously allowing us to use their space for this milestone event.

And last, since I am running for re-election for a third term as your town trustee, I’d like to ask for your (and the voters’) support on Election Day. I am endorsed by the Democratic and Work- ing Family Parties and have worked hard since first elected in 2012. With the

public’s support, I will continue to serve our community, protect and promote public access to all of our common lands, enhance and restore marine habitat, monitor and improve water quality, and support vital fisheries.

My master’s degree in marine conservation and policy, and bachelor’s degree in environmental studies (with minors in both marine science and sustainability studies) from the Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, along with a good deal of common sense and strong advocacy skills, assist me to effectively and fairly manage, improve, and expand the public’s common lands. My knowledge, experience, and dedication make me a great trustee candidate and worthy of re-election as your town trustee for a third term.

Hope to see you all on Sunday!


Effective Enforcement

September 28, 2015

Dear David,

More good news on illegal housing code enforcement as seen on the front page of The East Hampton Star last week, Sept. 24. The owner of a share house in Hither Hills, Montauk, is being charged for illegal rentals during the summer. This action and the many others in Montauk and Springs this year demonstrate the results of the commitment made by our town board candidates running for re-election to focus on this issue in their first 18 months of office.

Better training, new technologies, community involvement, and the hiring of additional staff have resulted in a 36- percent increase in illegal housing violations in Montauk during the first seven months of 2015 compared to the same period last year, and an impressive 130- percent increase in Springs.

To Larry, Sylvia, Peter, and col- leagues, your forward planning and effective code enforcement is making a difference. Keep up the good work.



C.P.F. for Enforcement

East Hampton
September 28, 2015

Dear David,

At the recent Group for Good Government debate, a Republican candidate for town board, Lisa Mulhern-Larsen, responded to the question “How would you improve code enforcement and how would you pay for it?” She said, “I would increase the number of full-time and part-time police officers, code enforcement, and fire marshals, and cross-train them. I would pay for it — and this is probably not going to be popular — I would look into reducing the community preservation fund by a percentage and take part of that to pay for it.”

Was this political naiveté? Lisa Mulhern-Larsen has admitted that until she was tapped at the last minute to replace two earlier Republican candidates, “never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined myself writing a letter introducing myself as an Independence Party member running on the Republican ticket for town board.” Or is she just following her brand-new party’s line: consistent hostility to public investment in open space?


‘Hostility’ to C.P.F.

East Hampton
September 26, 2015

Dear David,

There can no longer be any doubt about Republican hostility to using the community preservation fund for its intended purpose, to preserve open space, farmland, and wetlands from development.

The approach of the Wilkinson administration was simply to refuse to spend the money. Wilkinson and Stanzione allowed the fund to build up to $55 million, sitting idle and useless while buying opportunities vanished. Down to its very last moments, the Wilkinson administration was still trying to downzone the 555 property in Amagansett, opposite the junction of old and new Montauk Highways, to enable the construction of 79 luxury condominiums there.

The Cantwell administration promptly used the C.P.F. to acquire the 555 property, a boon to the residents of Amagansett. Yet the Republican town board candidate Margaret Turner now com- plains that the property should not have been bought because there is a building on it. One building on 19 undeveloped acres. She even claims it was illegal to do so because of the building, although the enabling statute for the C.P.F. is quite clear that structures can be acquired if necessary to preserve open space.

Then, at the Group for Good Government candidate debate, the Republican town board candidate Lisa Mulhern- Larsen said the C.P.F. should be used for “code enforcement.” In a letter last week, she went further and urged that it be used “to provide town services.”

How could it be clearer? The Republicans want the C.P.F. to be used for anything but acquiring open space, or, failing that, not used at all. They are perfectly open about their desire always to maximize development and to heck with crowding, traffic, density, the character of the community, or the environment.

At the G.G.G. debate, Ms. Mulhern-Larsen and the Republican supervisor candidate Tom Knobel pulled back the curtain and perhaps told us just why it is that the Republicans are always trying to maximize development. They said that “local people” they know “cannot wait to retire, or their kids get out of school, so they can move south.”

Thankfully, I don’t know any of the “local people” they are talking about. The people I know, be they seasonal residents, year-round residents, born to East Hampton, or more recent arrivals, love our town and its special beauty. Perhaps Ms. Larsen and Mr. Knobel are revealing their own feelings about East Hampton — they cannot wait to leave.

Well, someone itching to go elsewhere, who thinks of East Hampton as nothing more than a strip mine, a place to make as much money as possible before moving south, might not care very much about what they leave behind and might very well oppose anything that limits development and reduces their chance to cash in. That would certainly explain Republican hostility to the C.P.F.

What is shocking is that anyone who feels the way they do would stand for public office in East Hampton. If they cannot wait to leave, why wait? They needn’t go far. There is a world of strip malls, high-rises, water pollution, and plenty of suburban sprawl to be found right upIsland.


Scheduling Oversight

September 28, 2015

Dear David,

Personally and on behalf of the East Hampton Democratic Town Committee, I do apologize for my oversight and that of the committee in scheduling one of our candidate events on Yom Kippur.

Democrats believe in respect and appreciation for all peoples and religions; that is why I am a Democrat. I am also Jewish, and truly abashed and sorry that I did not catch the error until too late to cancel.

Many Springs voters received the invitation to the conversation with candidates scheduled for Sept. 23. Two days before that date, aware of our error, we telephoned to invite them to the next such conversation, on Sept. 30 (last night), at the Session House of the East Hampton Presbyterian Church.

I am hoping your letter writer Dolores Weinberg, and other people who were unable to be with our candidates on the 23rd, joined us then.

Sincerely yours,


The Montauk Monster

Sag Harbor
September 26, 2015

Dear David,

With the arrival of October, the Montauk Monster II looms large. No, not the fictional sea creature that Dan Rattiner brought to life. This monster is for real. The 3,100-foot-long revetment comprised of 14,000 geobags, concrete-like building blocks that weigh 1.7 tons each, will have people quaking.

With the Army Corps of Engineers and town officials routinely referring to this structure as a dune, it’s difficult for people to grasp not only its physical appearance, but the damages it will cause to the community’s most cherished assets, its beaches and waters. I’m not sensationalizing the issue when I say this structure will transform the beach as we know it, forever.

I’ve addressed the environmental impacts of this project in previous letters. I will take this opportunity to speak to some misconceptions and misrepresen- tations that are currently in the public sphere. First and foremost, the term “re- inforced dune” is a deliberate deception. A dune is sand reservoir that is a critical sand source for beach replenishment during high wave energy. The three feet of sand that will cover the structure is pure cosmetics, and will be gone in short order. Then it’s all armor, spanning the beach into the sea.

Some officials like to express their concern about the color of the mined sand that will be in the bags. They say it appears orange and won’t match the native sands should the bags tear open. We shouldn’t care if it’s orange or even purple, the sum of the bags is a seawall that will destroy this beach and adverse- ly affect others downdrift.

Lastly, the recent design modification which incorporates a gap/sand plug in the revetment to prevent flooding from stormwater defies common sense. Re- leasing stormwater retained by the structure in the midst of storm surge — does the sand plug stay in or is it removed? Flooding from rain or the sea, choose your poison.

With construction scheduled to begin the Tuesday after Columbus Day, De- fend H2O and its partners are doing everything we can to stop this geo-de- bacle from happening. Because once the beach is bagged, there can only be re- gret.


Some Kind of Animus

September 26, 2015

Dear David,

I live on Napeague and frequently pass Cyril’s on the way to Montauk, and I can see the parking situation that has concerned the town board for some time. What I don’t understand is that the overcrowded parking situation is just as severe at the Lobster Roll (“Lunch”) restaurant and the Clam Bar, both locat- ed west of Cyril’s. Yet there is never a mention of attacking the problem at those locations.

Joanne Pilgrim’s article indicates that the town board is looking for approval to prohibit parking on the “south side of the Montauk Highway for a stretch in the Cyril’s area.” But no mention of any such plan to do the same at the Lunch and Clam Bar locations. Do the choke- points fronting those restaurants pose no similar concern to the police and fire departments? Why does it seem that only Cyril’s situation causes concern, but not the others?

To my knowledge, I have not read of any traffic incident affecting vehicles or pedestrians that have been directly re- lated to the Cyril’s location. Rather than harassing Cyril’s, even threatening to shut down this obviously popular restaurant over zoning and setback vio- lations citing a concern for wetlands (what wetlands?), maybe the town board and other town entities should consider a new approach. The Community Preservation Fund has been buying up lots of properties all over East Hampton. Why not purchase the parcels adjacent to the railroad tracks and zone for additional parking space, and lease to Cyril’s for their use during the summer season?

Granted, I know nothing about the complications about state and town lim- its of authority concerning that land- scape, and if my suggestion is naive, I would fully understand why this could not be done. But it seems unfair to me to see Cyril’s being the focus of all this safety concern, yet none at all focusing on the very same situation posed by the other restaurants along the stretch. The perception is that the town has some kind of animus concerning Cyril’s that goes deeper than this parking issue.


Tick Control

September 26, 2015

Dear David,

The statistical chance of being bitten by an infected mosquito around Accabonac Harbor or a similar site in East Hampton is exceedingly remote. But take even a short walk without wearing protective clothing through the sur- rounding wood and meadow, and you will almost surely come away as the next meal for ticks. The statistical possibility of one of those ticks passing on an infection to you is high, so high that tick- borne disease should be the East End’s number-one public health priority.

Vector Control of Suffolk County should greatly reduce their unwanted and unnecessary spraying of methoprene for control of infectious mosquitoes in East Hampton. Instead, the county should spend the money on tick control. Tick control is already part of the stated mission of Vector Control, yet there has not been any money allocated to this mis- sion in East Hampton. A change of focus and reallocation of money would greatly increase the public health per dollar spent of East Hampton residents. It would be politically popular. And there could be another great benefit if the elimination of methoprene spraying, along with new efforts in marsh management, brought back life to our dying harbors.

Tick-borne disease verifiably causes pain and suffering and even long-term disability to large numbers of people in East Hampton. Just this week, my wife was told that her mini-strokes of the last six weeks are actually neurological problems from later-stage Lyme disease. Medical costs for treatment of East Hampton residents and visitors is at least in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and possibly in the millions of dollars, per year.

The town and county spend tens of millions of dollars buying preserve land, but most people now refuse to even take a walk on their trails. At some point, tourism and the money that it raises for the county in sales and tourist taxes will be affected. One now finds ticks even in beach grass.

The simplest and most cost-effective way for the county to refocus its efforts is to partner with the newly formed East Hampton Deer and Tick Management Foundation to install 4-Poster stations that dispense tickicide directly onto deer. The foundation has modeled itself after the successful program on Shelter Island. In my capacity as the chair of both the nature preserve committee and the deer management committee, I have been working with this foundation and the town, especially the Depart- ment of Land Acquisition and Manage- ment, to find suitable locations for initial placements in 2016.

New York State, through Assemblyman Thiele and Senator LaValle, has made available $100,000 to each East End town for the purchase of the 4- Posters. What is needed is money for the operating expenses: about $4,000 per year for each 4-Poster for the first three- year phase. This cost would be reduced if the county (or town) had licensed em- ployees who could maintain the 4- Posters. Each 4-Poster is effective over an area of about 40 acres.

I recommend that the county partner with the town, the state, and this foun- dation, and that we place 4-Posters on preserves that are jointly owned by the town and the county. The preserve on the former Boys and Girls Harbor, lo- cated on Three Mile Harbor, would be one excellent location. It was purchased not only for environmental protection and open space but also for passive recreation. There are several co-owned properties along the western Accabonac Harbor marshland, such as the Barbara Hale and Filippelli preserves. These would be greatly enhanced through tick management, alongside a new effort at marsh management and the elimination of methoprene spraying. In Montauk, there are popular preserves owned by all three governments: town, county, and state. All of the users of these pre- serves would benefit from tick control.

Unfortunately, Suffolk County Vector Control spends its money on sending airplanes to East Hampton to indiscrim- inately spray the shorelines of our har- bors with methoprene, even when no in- fected mosquito has been found any- where near our region. The current town board, along with many organizations, has asked the county to stop spraying methoprene. There is a strongly held view among environmental organizations, local residents, and baymen, that methoprene spraying is a major reason that our harbors now appear “dead” — devoid of all insects, lacking fish that would normally eat the insects, and with an absence of lobsters and other crus- taceans which are known to be harmed by methoprene.

I urge the county to re-evaluate how it spends its public health dollars in East Hampton. I think the county will come to agree that the best investment would be to join our partnership that would place 4-Posters on land jointly owned by the town and county.


De Rigueur Hamptons?

September 24, 2015

Dear David:

My family has deep roots on Napeague, going back to the 1960s when Carl Yastrzemski’s Wainscott-based uncle built our first house on Osprey Road and our neighbors included Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. The Murphys of Point Lookout owned the White Sands Motel then, and I wrote about it back in the ’90s when your mother published my first piece, ‘Napeague of Summers Past’ (May 30, 1990).

Today when making reservations for a two-night stay at the White Sands, manager Omar quoted me a $115 nightly rate. By the time I received my email credit card authorization form, that rate had increased by over 20 percent to $140 nightly (this is exclusive of taxes). The woman who returned my call actually changed the rate from $130 to $140 while we were speaking, having spoken to Omar, who had already raised the originally quoted rate.

Is this de rigueur Hamptons behavior? Is this legal? I feel annoyed and disappointed.


A White Sands representative explained this week that the $115 rate was for a class of room that was different from the one Ms. Clark reserved. The rate for her “small efficiency” unit was $130, $140 on Friday and Saturday nights. Ed.

Perpetuation of Lawsuits

East Hampton
September 21, 2015

Dear David,

As the town continues to battle lawsuits brought by the Friends of East Hampton Airport on several legal fronts, aviation interests continue to circulate the rumor that the town is spending taxpayer dollars to defend its legal right and responsibility to protect the public from the harmful impacts of aircraft noise and emissions by implementing reasonable access limits to protect the health, safety, and welfare of East End residents and wildlife.

Airport users supply the money the town is using to defend itself in court against the legal challenges brought by this same user group. Counter-intuitively, aviation interests continue to insist that airport funds need to be spent on a variety of improvements, some necessary, and some wishful thinking. Which makes forcing the expenditure of airport surplus funds on legal expenses a rather curious way to invest money in the fu- ture of the airport.

If aviation interests are truly con- cerned about sufficient financial re- sources to maintain the airport, then one might rightly inquire why they continue to fight the town’s duly adopt- ed, reasonable aircraft access restric- tions to protect the public from noise, in court. A skeptic might suggest that the needless perpetuation of lawsuits could weaken the town’s financial po- sition to fund airport operations and maintenance with user fees, as a means to eventually force the town into taking F.A.A. funding for future safety im- provements. This would greatly please aviation interests, because along with F.A.A. money come F.A.A. grant obliga- tions, expressly forbidding any kind of access restrictions, including curfews, for another 20 years. Goodbye home rule, hello round-the-clock unrestricted airport access.

All this after a season of increased operations, record profits, and major investments in ever-increasing commuter airline operations to our airport creating more noise-disturbed residents for the East End than ever before.

Cynical? You have no idea. Sincerely,

Quiet Skies Coalition

Better Than Lawyers

East Hampton
September 28, 2015

To the Editor:

In response to my letter last week on the town blowing $1 million on airport litigation, you add the note to my letter: “Fees for airport litigation come out of airport revenues, which may not be used for anything other than airport-related costs. Ed.”

My response is simple, if the airport ran a surplus, do you really believe that the town would have no way to enact a simple amendment to use these funds for other purposes? This is the same town that has managed to use funds raised from the airport to attack the air- port. Suing the airport already stretches the very definition of “airport-related costs,” don’t you think? I think my argument stands intact. There are better ways to spend a million.

But let’s accept your argument that the definition is in fact very hard, and the town legislature is unable to move funds. How about a million-dollar endowment to build and operate an aeronautical and weather education program complete with museum, weather station, and free classes offered to all on the grounds of the airport? I think that fits “airport-related costs” better than lawyers to sue the airport, no?


F.A.A. Funding

East Hampton
September 26, 2015

Dear David,

I attended the East Hampton Environmental Coalition’s forum on sustainability at our Amagansett Library this past Saturday. Featured were the candidates for town board, and prepared- in-advance questions were asked by the moderator. Absent was Lisa Mulhern- Larsen, running on the Republican slate.

I would like to clarify facts, as the candidates Thomas Knobel and Margaret Turner spoke to the issues of the East Hampton Airport and both stated the current conditions at the airport remain unimproved or corrected.

At the last town board meeting, I learned the town has installed a new weather system, referred to as AWOS. The deer fencing is currently being fixed and expanded. The runway lights are being upgraded on the taxiway and the tarmac is being repaired. These are significant safety issues for the aviation community, and the current town board is acting responsibly to make certain all concerns are addressed as to improve- ment and repairs.

With regard to Federal Aviation As- sociation funding, I wish to note that while the Republican candidates said they did not see the immediate need for funding, they would, in the future, elect to receive it. By now we all know that would mean the town would relinquish its legal rights as proprietor to implement any rules or regulations.

The residents of the East End have voiced their concerns at two of the largest public meetings the town has ever had. As a result, the current town board decided this past December not to renew F.A.A. grant assurances, which permitted the town to pass and enact the current and much needed curfew. More, of course, must be done, and the town board is actively engaged to achieve other goals to help mitigate noise pollution, which negatively im- pacts our environment. (Fuel called AV- Gas is a known human carcinogen and contains lead.)

Accepting F.A.A. funding would commit the town to decades of its grip. The town would have no legal recourse. The current town board has made a clear decision to take back our local airport and support it as such. No one on the East End wants more noise and environmen- tal pollution. We must not elect to take F.A.A. funding ever again. Our current board members have worked tirelessly to achieve the progress we have made to bring order and safety to the airport.

To return to F.A.A. funding would doom our East End neighbors and communities to an increase of aircraft and the real possibility of an expansion that would permit commercial aircraft. We must maintain the current size and safe- ty of East Hampton Airporthout the sacrifice of ownership to the govern- ment agency of the F.A.A.

We cannot risk the frail chance of losing our legal right to peace and quiet. I encourage my friends and neighbors to vote for the current town board mem- bers who have proven themselves to be dedicated to this exceptional and im- portant effort.

As all the candidates stated, the East End, our Town of East Hampton, holds a beauty unparalleled. It is the very rea- son so many flock here to visit or make it their home. We all agree, we want to preserve the East End for decades to come. We can’t have it both ways: noise pollution from incessant aircraft or what nature has provided: peace and quiet in an exquisite environment.



Mitigate This Horror

September 26, 2015

Dear Editor, The recent debate shed light on some of the issues. We as town residents must support the Cantwell team and current town board, for obvious reasons. For the last 28 years the dog and pony show concerning the out-of-control conditions that resulted in a transformation of a small rural airport for a recreational facility for local pilots into the jet heli- copter and float plane horror. The resulting daily disruption of any quality of life was doomed by what happened. Oh no! Not the widening and load-bearing weight change that invited LaGuardia- size jets to come.

We all know how the then-town board and Tom Knobel snuck this little deal in. Today as I was listening to music, the Platters’s rendition of “The Great Pretender” played. It fit to a tee — “Oh-oh yes, I’m the great pretender, pretending that I’m doing well / My need is such, I pretend too much . . . Oh, yes, I’m the great pretender, adrift in a world of my own / I’ve played the game. . . .” Well, it ends with “I seem to be what I’m not, you see.” We are all familiar with the lyrics.

There is a saying that one cannot rub the spots off a leopard. Knobel will dance to the tune of the big donors from the “Friends of the Airport” and their deep-pocketed, out-of-state special interests, who are suing us to allow them to run amok.

The Cantwell team is the only administration to ever stand tall to attempt to mitigate this horror. They refused to take F.A.A. money and served the interests of not only this town but surrounding towns that are affected as well. The F.A.A.is like a streetwalker—come and get it. Even one measly dollar, and we will again become indentured servants for another 20 years.

When will the great pretender release his donors list to show what real tune he will dance to? So go back to your 47K patronage job at the Board of Elections and let us be the main focus of government support and vote only for those who have our well being at the forefront. The Cantwell team!


In Dark Times, a Light

Sag Harbor
September 28, 2015

Dear David,

Shocking headlines in The New York Times. Sept. 24: “Pope’s First Message Is Pastoral and Political: At White House, Francis addresses poverty, climate change and immigration. A challenge with hope.” Sept. 25, 2015: “Pope in Congress: Pleads for Unity on World’s Woes — lawmakers to harness power to solve issues on left and right.”

Times have changed for the good. My take on the above: religion and politics have always been linked, otherwise there would be no change.

Peace and justice have been my ministry in the Catholic Church for some 50 years. During that time social issues have been the best-kept secret in the church. An explosion has occurred! Thanks to Pope Francis, in dark times a light has appeared. I believe the pope’s message is basically mercy, mercy, mer- cy, and remember we’re all human and all sinners. Pray for me, who am I to judge?

Now what?

Elizabeth Warren, the dynamic senator from Massachusetts, has already appeared on the cover of Time magazine and wants to bust up corporate power. Who owns us? The 1-percenters.

As of this moment, Senator Bernie Sanders has been shown dressed up on the cover of Time magazine with a similar desire, along with a lot of other issues. Three popes have said that capitalism has destroyed our culture and people.

Senator Sanders is a progressive from Vermont who worked his way up a small ladder in a small state, who leads with his heart and sermons. He seeks conversions, not just votes, much like Pope Francis. And keep it simple, not drowned in complaints. Recently Sanders spoke in New Hampshire to a crowd of 35,000 while Hillary attracted 300. He also leads Hillary in Iowa.

Hillary Clinton is part of a family that once commissioned a poll to choose a family vacation that would endear them to voters. Hillary by way of Super Pacs has raised near $50 million but is having trouble with trust and starting to flounder.

Win or lose, Sanders talks of transforming his party and remaking American politics. Without a single TV ad or a single congressional endorsement, Sanders has exposed the weakness of the Democratic party supporting Clinton. Sanders tells Time, in this fight we are going to take on the greed of the billionaire class. And they are very, very powerful, and they’re going to fight back furiously. Obviously I’ll need your help to take on Wall Street.

Everywhere Sanders goes he’s attracting huge crowds other candidates envy. No one is even close. This is not just a campaign, said Sanders, it is a movement, a revolution to raise the political consciousness. Finally, Sanders understands what’s going on.

You might think I’m radical. You should read what Pope Francis has written on these topics and many others.

In peace,


Planned Parenthood

September 24, 2015

To the Editor:

Why are our legislators allowing the president to cower them with the threat to shut down the government over funding of a nonessential, non-govern- mental entity? The president wants to pass a budget that funds Planned Parenthood with $500,000 of our taxpayer money.

Planned Parenthood is a private business that is under investigation for the illegal selling of aborted babies’ organs and parts. This private business can then use much of these government funds to support politicians. Who are the politicians who receive the most money from Planned Parenthood?

First, the president received the greatest share of these bribes, $12 million just to re-elect him (not to care for women’s health issues), with ousted Tim Bishop of New York next in line last year, and the money trickles down to other Democrats.

A morally reprehensible arrangement any way you examine it.


James Stewart

September 21, 2015

Dear Editor,

I’ll never forget James Stewart. I wonder where he hangs out. Is he back, re- turned?

James Stewart was a friend of my mother, and model of her second cousin. We lived out of the Forest Hills Gardens, but in the late ’40s — long time. But to walk down our street, with the trees and brushes, it was so pretty. James Stewart, who had a nice big house near Forest Hills High, walked down the alley to our backyard. I was a bratty kid and would hold the kitchen door back so he couldn’t come in.

My mother was an apparition. She wore glamorous dresses with short sleeves, flowers all over. Her hair was like Veronica, a little, in the comic book, and very pretty! They would stand in the living room and just stare, and he’d call her Em. He often wore a blue baseball jacket, and blue hat to match.

Years before, around 1947, James Stewart took me for a ride over to Ozone Park. There were dozens of shacks among encumbering tall beachy shacks, lived in. There were people in the shacks that passed for dogs. At the age, I thought they were dogs. It was exciting, as the circus. A dog colony or human, I still can’t say. One looked like Fred MacMurray in “The Shaggy Dog,” holding a beer can.

I touched into Howard Beach 10 years later; I tried to find it on my bike. I think I found it, but no people were around.

James Stewart acted more tough-like in his home in Hollywood, in the 1960s, and was a friend of Meryl Streep, and more refined when the nuns came to visit. I wasn’t that much of a writer then, and James Stewart stayed in a house in Southold’s Harbor Lights, right near us.

Your friend,