Letters to the Editor: 05.12.16

Our readers comments

Earthquake Relief

East Hampton

May 6, 2016

Dear David, 

My family and I would like to thank everyone who came together for the newly formed East End for Ecuador Earthquake Relief’s fund-raising Music for Ecuador Earthquake Relief at the Stephen Talkhouse last week. 

There was a great turnout, in spite of the heavy rain, from a broad spectrum of our community. The musical acts Little Head Thinks, Whale Heart, Juliana Nash, Alfredo Merat, Luis Munoz, Mambo Loco, and DJ Chile were amazing. There was also delicious food donated by Indian Wells Tavern, Fierro’s Pizza, and Chicken Spot Latin Cuisine. Auction items were donated by Meeting House restaurant, Amagansett Wines and  Spirits, Bostwick’s Chowder House, Inter Deli, C. Whitmore Gardens, Pamela Greinke, Valeria Gomez, and Fabian Rodriguez. 

We would like to send out a special thank-you to our corporate sponsors, Stephen Talkhouse and Indian Wells Tavern, who enabled us to put 100 percent of the proceeds toward our goals. Our hope is to rebuild the school in our sister city, Pedernales, Ecuador, which has been completely leveled by the earthquake.

Thanks to the generosity of all, we raised over $5,000 in our first endeavor and are one step closer to building a school!

With much appreciation, 


Guys, Have Fun


May 4, 2016

Dear David,

I am a retired senior male who recently completed a five-week physical therapy session. My therapist recommended that I join a weekly exercise class running at the Montauk Library. My wife enjoys these classes and thought my joining was a great idea. 

I knew that while it’s currently attended only by women, it’s open to all seniors. But — horrors — how could I, a male, join such a group? However, my wife called some friends of our age and suggested that their husbands join me. That sounded reasonable to me, so the next Wednesday I joined the group at the library.

All women! Women I knew, but no husbands!

I didn’t have the nerve to walk out, so I prepared myself for some vigorous exercising. But, surprisingly, the exercises were gentle. I had no problem performing them, and I felt comfortable at the end of the session. I even had fun!

I thanked Lori Newell, the instructor, and told her I would try to bring in some men who would like to join a mixed group of healthy old folks. So come on, guys. Have some fun and stay healthy. 

Oh, I forgot to mention that the classes are free! Call the library for the schedule.


About the RECenter

East Hampton

May 3, 2016

Dear Editor,

We want to share some exciting information about our Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter. Since its inception in our town, the Y has strived to serve wide segments of our diverse population. We currently have more than 4,000 visits to our facility per week; more than 2,300 youngsters have received free memberships to the Y; we have created over 125 year-round and seasonal jobs; more than 2,100 youngsters participated in our School-to-Swim program last year, where children learn water skills, and almost 350 youngsters participate each year in our summer camp program, many of whom receive financial assistance through our philanthropic efforts. 

In addition, we are home to the Hurricane swim team and the East Hampton High School swim team. With the help and training of our coaches, teachers, and parents, members of these teams have excelled at swim meets throughout the state. 

We are also very proud that our seaworthy first responders can use our facility for their training, certifications, and programs, with participation by the East Hampton Junior Lifeguard Program, the Town of East Hampton lifeguards, the East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue program, and the Hampton Lifeguard Association. Additionally, the Y houses an active Livestrong program for cancer survivors and several programs for our senior citizens. 

Further, by partnering with local and regional businesses such as Starbucks, Gurney’s Montauk, Sweet’Tauk Lem­onade, Kona Ice, Whitmore’s Landscape Services, Bridgehampton National Bank, Southampton Hospital, Riverhead Building Supply, Sag Harbor Variety Store, and California Closets, we have expanded our services to our town youth by sponsoring an annual job fair and our Young Leaders Club programs. We also have an expanding schedule of classes and trainings for our senior and teen members.

Yes, we have growing pains. With the considerable use of our facilities these accomplishments have brought us, we also now face challenges with our building. To meet these challenges, we are reconfiguring our space to create better flow and bringing in all-new exercise equipment. With the considerable help of the Town of East Hampton, we are completely redesigning and constructing the heating and air ventilation in the building and bringing in additional pool water sanitation equipment. 

These improvements will take place over the next nine months, with work being scheduled to have the least impact on those who use the facilities. We look forward to continuing to provide these and other important services and opportunities to our community and to working with the village, town, and its residents and businesses in the many years ahead.


Chairman, Board of Managers

To Benefit the Retreat

East Hampton

May 9, 2016

Dear David,

With its spectacular beauty, special light, and closeness to the city, the East End has been the natural destination for many artists. Since its inception in 1987, the only domestic violence agency on the East End, the Retreat, has survived and thrived because of the support of this particular community of artists. Fortunately, some things never change.

The much loved Artists and Writers baseball game supports the Retreat. The first Artists Against Abuse event for the Retreat, 21 years ago, was a “rally ’round the art”party, where artists donated beautiful plates they created, which were then sold to benefit the Retreat.

Artists continue to contribute magnificent plates each year to our major fund-raiser, now titled All Against Abuse, since our entire community is supportive of our work. All Against Abuse will be held on June 25. Our honorary guest this year, Dr. Joseph O’Connell, will receive a plaque designed by Arlene Slavin, an artist and board director of the Retreat.

Performance artists like Fred Raimondo have held concerts for the benefit of the Retreat. Ruth Appelhof at Guild Hall is interested in including our children’s art in the Students’ Art Festival. Barbara Maslen donated a beautiful, uplifting mural for clients to view in our waiting area. The mural depicts farms, blooms, and fields in vibrant colors — a theme of rebirth for our survivors and a view of the agricultural nature of the East End.

Art therapy is offered at the shelter to the kids and adults through the generosity of many artists, including an artist staff member. Other artists donate funds to purchase art supplies.

On Saturday night, the opening night of the Hamptons Juried Art Show at RJD Gallery in Sag Harbor, the gallery will showcase the art of four artists who were chosen by a panel of art professionals. Over 120 artists, including many local artists, participated in this competition, and by doing so supported the Retreat. The opening night reception will be from 6 to 8 and is open to the public. 

We thank the entire community for its support. We especially hold sacred the commitment from artists who support the Retreat.

The survivors of relationship abuse have experienced circumstances that are hard to imagine. Thank you for helping us to provide services to these children and adults. Art helps, in many ways. For services call 329-2200.


Executive Director


Director of Development

Festival of the Arts


May 9, 2016

Dear Editor,

To show our appreciation for the community’s support of our visiting artist program, the Springs School is hosting a free festival of the arts at Ashawagh Hall on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. This year the Springs Mystery Art team will sponsor a mini mystery art silent auction featuring artwork by over 25 prominent artists. 

With the proceeds raised in the last two years from the mystery art sale, we have been able to bring over 20 artists into the school as well as provide field trips to the Museum of Moden Art and other art institutions. 

This year’s event is an “artastic” day celebrating the arts with the student art show to workshops led by 15 artists. The day of art, food, and entertainment includes drumming circles, ukulele lessons, acting classes, solar printmaking, painting lessons, and mural-making. The day begins with a planting in memory of Ralph Carpentier at 11:30, followed by music, art, and refreshments all day. 

We would like to thank the East Hampton Arts Council for its sponsorship of this event and our PTA for its commitment to our Unified Arts Program. The students and I are thrilled to offer the community this amazing experience and hope you will come out to join us. 



Unified Arts Coordinator

Springs School

Can’t Settle on Time

Port St Lucie, Fl.

May 9, 2016

Dear Editor,

I can’t remain silent any longer! Debra Foster’s letter to The Star inspired me. It seems that the Springs School Board is just as lousy as the Montauk School Board. I daresay that Montauk’s board is even worse! This board can’t seem to negotiate with the teachers. This is the third contract that I know of that they can’t settle on time. Money isn’t the problem; its dismal leadership and questionable practices are a problem. 

It’s secretive, it’s opaque, and it’s disrespectful to parents and teachers. Two members of this board have the same last name and both have spouses working at the school. The superintendent, who is also the principal, tried to get a relative a teaching position. It didn’t work, so now the public is not invited to be on the hiring committee. Just in case anyone else in his favor wants a job, he or she won’t have as many obstacles getting a position.

One member who doesn’t even want to be on the board was kept on, as Mr. Perna put it, “due to his knowledge and history of involvement with ongoing teacher contract negotiations.” The board by its own admission has never met with the teachers during this negotiation period. They pay their lawyer, Bill Cullen, to negotiate. This board member doesn’t even attend board meetings, while his wife was approved for a sub position. 

Now an election is coming up and two seats are up, Patti Leber’s and Jason Biondo’s, but two people are running for one position. Patti Leber is running unopposed. Did anyone tell her about the two people who want to run for the board? What exactly is this? This is odd, and it doesn’t make sense. I won’t hold my breath waiting for an explanation. 

Board minutes are not posted on the school’s website anymore; the budget isn’t shared online either. Has this board heard of the 21st century and online information? Look at other districts’ websites: The public is informed, as they should be. I can only assume that I, Mrs. Taxpayer, don’t deserve to know.

I am trying very hard not to use the word “corrupt” to describe this administration. What do you call leadership like this? Unprincipled could be used as a description. What exactly is going on here? I am a taxpayer in Montauk, and I think this crew of opportunists should be removed from their positions. I don’t like how they choose to use public funds to serve their own interests. I’m not alone in this thinking. They are not looking out for the community; they are not interested in the best education for the children they are supposed to serve. They serve their own interests first. Apparently some decisions are so quick and easily made and the funds to support these decisions and projects are, poof, right there. Salaries and a decent contract are too complicated, even if the district’s lawyer is doing the negotiating. 

This isn’t my first letter to this paper about this board. It has a history of controversy and what appears to be a disdain for its faculty. In an attempt to quell any opposition, the board has removed the privilege of the floor. Now the teachers may not speak at any board meeting. Is this the excellence, dignity, and pride the school website espouses? Shame on this board!

Respectfully yours,


More Effective Way


May 9, 2016

Dear David,

Educating our children is a serious business. After all, these young people represent the future of our country and our democracy. Here on Long Island, and particularly on the East End, it is a very expensive proposition. The cost of educating a child varies somewhat among the many separate but unequal districts — five in East Hampton alone. While across the United States the cost per pupil is roughly half (or less than half) of what it is in those five separate districts in the town of East Hampton. 

We all love our kids and take pride in our schools, but are we getting the best bang for our buck? Are our graduates receiving that first-rate quality education that we are spending so much money on? When you look at the salaries of the C.E.O.s of our schools, called administrators, one has to wonder if some of the money they garner could be used in a more effective way and spent on things and programs benefiting kids instead. 

I have the right to speak about administrators because I have been one, having worked in Yonkers Public Schools as an administrator before I retired. I have the same licenses, the same masters’ degrees, and I know the job, and, folks, you are being had. These people all make more than the people who run our town. 

How many kids are there in Wainscott and Amagansett, even Montauk? No wonder the guy who runs Springs and makes that whopping salary, plus his retirement money, has all those days off. His job is that easy servicing 1,000 students. The superintendent of the Yonkers public schools makes $240,000 with over 26,500 students, over 5,000 staff and 40 schools. Now that’s work! 

Our town board must deal with the needs of all full-time residents, plus the summer hoards. The town board handles complex, even threatening, issues like water quality (Flint) and the reality of climate change, and on and on. The administrators deal only with their schools. Yes, we know the administrators have the state’s demands to deal with, but does that qualify them to make such large salaries with perks like free housing?

Now budgets are due to be voted on. It’s a hard call. Do you say no and damn the kids? That’s kind of hard. But the time has come — it is here — for school boards to stop acting like they are some kind of royalty. They better start working together more to solve their issues. They should be sharing all kinds of services and, yes, even building space. 

Ever walk around the inside of that high school? That is one large building, no need to float any bonds or build any buildings. You have it all in your midst already. I know I will vote for Rivera for school board and only for her in the Springs election, called a bullet vote. She is someone who knows what the people of my hamlet are up against and will weigh alternatives before unnecessary expansion is undertaken.



Old Damaged Goods


May 9, 2016

To the Editor:

Hmmm, Tuckahoe, Southampton, and Springs, among others. Why do school districts choose to recycle old damaged goods (administrators) at the expense of the taxpayer? Whatever happened to the caring, innovative communicators with more youth and longevity?

Just saying.


Proven and Capable

East Hampton

May 9, 2016

Dear Editor:

Next Tuesday the voters of East Hampton will have the opportunity to elect three members of the East Hampton School Board. It is important that we elect candidates who have good and balanced judgment. In that regard Alison Anderson is the most proven and capable candidate.

Mrs. Anderson was elected to the school board at a time when the then-superintendent, Mr. Gualtieri, was completely out of control. He had run up a series of double digit tax-increase budgets, manipulated the board into hiring a Wall Street law firm to churn in excess of $300,000 in legal expenses a year on a lawsuit that could have been settled or avoided, and was increasing administrative expenses and noneducational expenses without any board restraint. Many of us thought that this would lead to massive layoffs of teachers if it continued.

Mrs. Anderson had the judgment and courage to force Gualtieri to change course. She forced him to redo the budget and eliminate over $2 million in non­educational expenses. There were no layoffs, and Mr. Gualtieri was eventually forced to resign. As a result, today the East Hampton School District has a superintendent whose first duty is your children’s education, not empire-building at everyone’s expense.

Mrs. Anderson was also there when the improvements to the Middle School failed to take account of the asbestos contamination in the areas being disrupted. She insisted on protecting the students against exposure.

Mrs. Anderson knows what it is like to be a parent with a child in this school system. She is a former head of the PTA, and she also understands what happewhen your child graduates from East Hampton and goes to a college or university. This experience of understanding how well the school system here prepares your child for college is directly relevant to curriculum and educational changes, which the board must also consider.

Among the current candidates for school board, she is your best first choice. I urge you to vote for her.


Shrouded in Secrecy


May 9, 2016 

Dear David,

The residents of Amagansett have a right to know the accurate facts that the Amagansett School District has shrouded in secrecy in its response plan to the New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s financial audit for 2014. 

We have received multiple press releases about voting to pierce the school’s tax cap by 3.74 percent, but nothing in response to the audit that was done for the fiscal years 2009-13 and Comptroller Di Napoli’s recommended fix by the district. According to the audit, “district officials underestimated revenues and overestimates expenditures for the fiscal years 2009-2013.”

As a result of this audit there appeared to be $1.7 million of surplus for subsequent years of operation for the school. The audit of 2014 stated that the school did not use any of the surplus money for the school budget, and it was almost two times the amount allowed by law. The money was placed in six reserves without a formal plan for its use. This is against the law! As a result, the “financial transparency to the taxpayers was diminished and real property tax levies have been greater than necessary to fund operations,” stated the audit. 

How can we trust the current school figures we were given? Where are the budget principles of the school and where is the school plan for the surplus money? The Amagansett School District needs to recognize its negligence in protecting the taxpayers. I look forward to seeing its plan and responding appropriately to the current budget vote on May 17.



To Live in Amagansett

East Hampton

May 9, 2016

To the Editor:

Just a note to say kudos to members of our town government, who, in their wisdom, remember the less fortunate of our citizens. And to remark, with dismay, on those citizens, fortunate enough to live in Amagansett, the community with the lowest taxes by far, to complain because a small affordable housing community is planned there.

Amagansett has an impressive school building and the smallest school population. Compare it to the one in Springs, the area with the largest school population and the smallest building to house it.

And compare the taxes in Springs, the highest, where the population with the lowest income lives.

And then read the letter to the editor in the paper last week, where a pair of Amagansett citizens moan and groan about the proposed affordable housing community there, and goodness, gracious, the increase in their taxes.

I am happy they are in the minority in a town where most of us care about each other.



Singularly Appropriate


May 9, 2016

Dear David,

There is a compelling need in our town for affordable rental housing that will accommodate local working people and families. That is the goal of the Housing Authority’s plan for 531 Montauk Highway, Amagansett. Designated for affordable housing decades ago, near shopping and transportation as well as preserved open space, the property strikes me as is singularly appropriate for its purpose.

A letter in your paper says, incorrectly, that this is a “federal project” in which “local community members will be competing with individuals far and wide to secure a spot . . . with no guarantee of success.” That is simply not the case. The plan is not a federal project. Local residents will have absolute priority for apartments.

Detractors have argued that the presence of families will create undue pressure on Amagansett’s school and our taxes. Neither claim has merit if one considers the facts. Our school has an average class size of seven and one of the highest expenditure rates per child in the nation. Our taxes are already the lowest in town next to Wainscott’s. A luxury housing construction boom is increasing the base that gets averaged to determine the rates. The additional tax burden, if any, will fall on those best able to pay.

I am a long-time Amagansett resident. I support this plan for our hamlet to share in an obligation of the whole East Hampton community.


On Affordable Housing


May 5, 2016

To the Editor:

Again, I say that I think the Konner project is and will be a plus for Bridgehampton. But, a comment on affordable housing.

We at Meisel Development have volunteered affordable housing in all our projects, not in exchange for anything, just to do it, and because we can.

At our Ateliers Project in Water Mill, we included six one-bedroom apartments. I think it was a mistake. We wanted these for teachers, police, firemen, municipal workers, and such. But it turned out that these tenants are the ones who have and want to have families. Unfortunately, one-bedroom apartments don’t work for a man and wife with even one kid. The apartments have been occupied by people who certainly qualified and needed them, but not by long-term families, who we need to support in the community.

Our next project, in planning now, will include two-bedroom apartments only, across from the Bridgehampton National Bank. To tweak the Konner project, look at far more two-bedroom units than ones. And if there is 5,000 more feet of retail, so be it.



Not a Workable System

East Hampton

May 8, 2016

To the Editor,

Fellow East Hampton locals, our town’s new rental registry is a well-intentioned but incomplete piece of legislation that will disproportionately impact our Latino community. We are already seeing this occur. On June 13, several Latino families will face charges from the town for violations under our new law.

The fact that the town would punish desperate people who cannot afford to live anywhere but in an overcrowded house or apartment is offensive. Charge slum landlords, but do not punch down at their tenants. Such action makes no consideration for the inherently unequal bargaining power that exists in these kinds of rental relationships.

The law should have also contained a grandfathering clause. That it did not is evidence of the fact that there is zero Latino representation on our town board. A grandfathering clause would have protected families currently living in rentals that do not meet current code requirements by allowing them to serve out the remainder of their leases. Without such a provision, these families — many with children in our schools — are entirely at the mercy of the good will of their neighbors. Our town has a history of racial problems, and what this legislation sets in place is not a workable system. 

Beyond a grandfathering clause, there should be support systems established for people evicted from their rentals who live here year-round.

What we really need is affordable housing (especially outside Springs), something this town board has shied away from (with the notable exception of Councilwoman Sylvia Overby). The lack of affordable living spaces is the single biggest reason so many people are crowding into single rentals.

There is nothing wrong with promoting public safety. Holding landlords accountable is necessary to crack down on summer visitors who flout our rules, but we need to make sure our efforts do not harm the year-round community. We cannot look at our town’s problems with blinders on. East Hampton is already being bought and sold by the rich and famous while locals are being forced out. We must come together as a community and demand a more comprehensive approach to the rental problem.


Public Safety Issue

East Hampton

May 9, 2016

To the Editor:

I am writing in reference to Scott Rubenstein’s tennis, bowling, mini-golf, restaurant, and sports bar project. 

I have nothing but respect for Scott, who I have known for decades. Many features of his plan are desirable and well thought out. He had very rough going getting his tennis facility approved, and it has been as asset to the community for many years. However, I do have several comments about the amount of additional traffic this expansion will generate, the routes this traffic will take, noise disruption in our neighborhood, and safety issues involved. I live at 20 South Breeze Drive.

This a well-used and well-littered cut-through between 114 and Daniel’s Hole Road. It would be an attractive choice from areas east of 114, i.e., Northwest Woods, via Whooping Hollow Road; coming across Swamp Road and south on 114 from Sag Harbor to avoid the extra driving on Daniel’s Hole Road, and, potentially, from East Hampton Village. I use all the available alternate routes to avoid 27 wherever possible. The Planning Department traffic considerations stopped at Cobber Lane, just south of South Breeze Drive by a few hundred feet.

I took a look at the traffic comments in the file at the planning board office. (Admittedly, I may have missed something.) I found traffic projections for tennis, bowling, and golf activities but none for the restaurant and bar. I would love to be wrong. 

A kitchen sketched in at approximately 25 by 50 feet would seem adequate to servicing a crowd, and I have little doubt that the mix of tennis, bowling, golf, games, and food and drink until 11 p.m. is going to be very appealing to many people and could become quite the event venue in the future.

There should be major concerns about noise from the outdoor dining and drinking area, and the hours of operation. The neighborhood is already burdened by airport noise and gunfire from the Maidstone Gun Club. It would be prudent to not allow the use of outdoor speakers and musical performance at the site and the containment of indoor music with sound-blocking doors and windows. These mitigating restrictions to the approved plan do not materially affect the viability of the project when balanced by the neighborhood’s protection.

Lastly, Wainscott Northwest Road-Daniel’s Hole Road is a dangerous road; there are several tight curves with limited visibility. The railway underpass north of 27 is dangerous. It has one of the heaviest deer populations in town. I believe that having a large bar operating on this country road is a public safety issue, and one that I am amazed was overlooked during the approval process.


At the Gateway

East Hampton

May 7, 2016

Dear Editor, 

Your editorial in The Star May 5 regarding the proposed car wash is right on the money. Traffic congestion is one of the biggest problems we struggle with here on the East End, and allowing a car wash to be located at the gateway to East Hampton will only exacerbate an already bad situation. Common sense dictates that this horse should be stopped before it ever leaves the gate. 

I strongly urge the planning board to reject this application before it gains any traction.


Haphazard Development


May 6, 2016 

Dear David;

Kudos on your editorial about the car wash. “Danger Ahead” doesn’t scratch the surface. “The gateway entrance to East Hampton Town,” as mentioned, is a joke, and the haphazard development that has gone on for years has transformed Wainscott into Wainsquat, a dumping ground.

Maybe they can get the dinosaur store on Route 39 to relocate and we can have the giant inflatable wiggleworm blowing in the wind. We desperately need a car wash, a potential ecological disaster, to totally clog the already impassible corridor. Left turns from any street to go east simulate a kamikaze attack.

Have the turbine blowers, way above the safe decibel levels, roar continuously, have traffic backed up from the stop sign on Cowhill all the way back to the exit as the cars trying to turn left make Eastgate impassible. Cars exiting the Godzilla HomeGoods, trying to turn left, stop traffic in both directions.

David, you raise a critical issue — save what we have left. Certainly not another 7-Eleven, McDonald’s, tattoo parlor, or anything else resembling the wasteland of western Suffolk County. Wake up. What we so treasure is almost gone.


Ample Funding Source

East Hampton

May 1, 2016

Dear David,

“Clean Water Is Next Great Battle” (April 28) reminded me of Eric Sevareid’s quote, “The cause of many problems is their solutions.” As I have previously written in letters to the editor, 45-plus years of working to preserve the environment, both in federal and state government and in the private sector, sometimes gives me pause when reading about solutions to environmental problems. 

There can be no doubt that septic waste issues have caused and will continue to cause stress on the East End’s water resources. Equally clear is that something needs to be done, otherwise the situation will get worse. However, if this is the next “great battle,” I think the county executive’s solution will be one of the problems. 

The proposal by County Executive Steve Bellone, supported by County Legislator Bridget Fleming, to impose a $1 per 1,000-gallon usage tax, seems like such a solution. Now if there wasn’t any mechanism to fund the upgrading of septic tanks, perhaps a tax might be reasonable. This is not the case. There already exists in New York State the Environmental Facilities Corporation, which, from its own website (ef.ny.gov), says: “The New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation . . . provides low-cost financing for local wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. E.F.C. invests more than $1 billion each year in water-quality improvements through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund — the largest and most active revolving loans funds in the nation — along with its award-winning Green Innovation Grant Program.” 

Both the Federal Clean Water Act and Federal Safe Drinking Water Act have state revolving funds that support these efforts. Should Mr. Bellone or Ms. Fleming consult the website, they would have known that there is substantially more money available than their tax would provide, and it would not put taxpayers who have adequate septic systems on the hook for those who don’t.

This also raises the question as to whether the Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund really needs to have 20 percent of its funds spent on efforts to maintain water quality when a $175 million pot of money already exists for this year alone. Again, the fund is a 2-percent tax on real estate transactions set up with the express purpose of land preservation. If there is not enough need for land preservation funds, then why not reduce or eliminate the tax, since the only reason to change what it funds has an ample nontaxpayer-funding source?

I think it is pretty easy to conclude that in the case of the water usage tax we have a county with very shaky finances looking for another revenue stream. In the case of the Peconic Bay C.P.F., we have a revenue stream that seems to have diminished purpose. And local political leadership wonders why we taxpayers scream “tax and spend!”

One could ask, maybe there is need for some further regulation. To answer this question, I’d call everybody’s attention to Appendix 75A of the New York State Health Code. This seems to be all you need to know about residential septic waste system rules and regulations. So maybe what we need is county and local government to do their job and enforce the code. When upgrades are needed, landowners with the problems can approach the county to set up the needed financing available through the Environmental Facilities Corporation. Isn’t this better than the Bellone solution, which seems to be a problem unto itself? 

Why, it reminds me of a tune from the Broadway hit show “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” sung by the governor: “Ooh I love to dance a little sidestep, now they see me now they don’t / I’ve come and gone and, ooh I love to sweep around the wide step / Cut a little swathe and lead the people on.”



Questions About Cyril’s


May 9, 2016

To the Editor:

A visitor has questions about Cyril’s Fish House:

How long has it been there? Answer: About 25 years.

How late is it open to? Answer: Weekdays before Memorial Day, between 8 and 9 p.m. unless the weather is bad. Weekends before Memorial Day, between 8 and 10 p.m. Weekdays from Memorial Day to Labor Day, between 10 and 11 p.m. Weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day, 10:30 to 11:30 p.m.

How many people work there? Thirty, give or take.

Where do I park? Parking is available on Cyril’s side of the highway, not on the south side.

Good food? Cyril’s prides itself on serving the freshest seafood available at better than competitive prices.

What’s with crowd scenes? Up to 2012-13, on Friday nights, Saturday late afternoons, crowds of young people gathered there. Many liked hanging out in front of the bar. Over the past three or four years, you can’t. There are guards who also assist in traffic control.

Is it safe? There have been virtually no serious incidents in the bar or on the highway in front of Cyril’s. Members of the police and fire departments frequent Cyril’s as customers. They have celebrated with him.

Who else might I see there? Families with members of three generations, celebrities, actors, musicians, athletes, artists, writers, fishermen, hard-working people of various occupations.

What about Cyril? Originally from Dublin, he enlisted in the Marines and served in Vietnam. He contributes to Wounded Warriors and other charities. He is a beloved figure who has been photographed as much as any celebrity. He has been a supportive father to two black kids from the Bronx. One, a talented vocalist, is in her last year at N.Y.U. as a mathematics major. The other was being groomed to take over Cyril’s. 

Won’t the place attract underage drinkers? Anyone who appears to be underage is asked for identification by Cyril’s bartenders. One teaches English in Southeast Asia, the other is due to give birth to her first child soon.

So what is Cyril’s guilty of? Being an outsider whose business became too successful, overgrown, without the need to advertise. 

Will he be able to reopen? That remains to be seen. If he does, it won’t be the same.


A Town With Problems


May 7, 2016

To the Editor,

Last Fourth of July, I wrote a letter about finding a balance in our summer season. After listening to people all winter long, we find ourselves in a new and different position in Montauk. Instead of the hot new thing, Montauk has now gotten itself a reputation as a town with problems, some place that is no longer well suited for families, and a place overrun by out-of-control drunken people. Those of us who live here know that is not the case. But between the rental registry and the news about overcrowding and disorderly tourists, Montauk is no longer quite as desirable as it once was. We have created a very negative view of our town.

Last year, residents and businesses complained to the town. We complained about rogue taxis, drunken kids, traffic and parking problems, and some very out-of-control rentals. The town’s approach to this has been to hire more people to enforce code violations, and to throw money, at overtime pay, to the police, who are asked to babysit kids in front of bars, but not able to do anything when they act out. I suggest we come up with a place where we can process individuals and ticket the people who are the ones causing all the problems. 

Again, I want to reiterate that the police should be able to do the job we have hired them to do. We saw a paddy wagon go up on the green, but a reluctance to use it. We saw a blanketing of new laws including a beach fire law, and the town seems to be on a roll, creating the rental registry over the winter after it was plainly obvious to anyone that a majority of concerned citizens strongly opposed it. The next issue up seems to be driving on the beach. How many of our treasured pastimes and means of income will be threatened in the near future with far-reaching laws that punish many instead of focusing on the few who cause the problem?

Being located right in the middle of town, I see first-hand what a lot of the problems are. My suggestions are to enforce a common-sense approach to the handful of people who cause the trouble and not blanket everyone with the solution. By this I mean very strictly and very forcefully allowing the police to arrest and heavily fine the handful of kids that are causing 95 percent of the trouble, urinating in town, drunkenly wandering into traffic, and getting into fights. And to enforce [the rules] heavily upon the taxis that don’t have offices here or care about the town, and that are hustling everyone trying to get around without drinking and driving. 

As far as the rentals go, again, we have a handful of people who take advantage of our town through their greed and lack of respect for their neighbors. Again, I feel we should heavily enforce the rules of renting to the few that abuse it, instead of blanketing the town with registrations and new requirements. The penalties should go to the renters who are out of control, and they should be very, very heavily fined. The town should have the right to remove the renters and go after the homeowner and the agent who was involved in the rental. 

The rental registry puts everyone who ever rents their house for any period of time on one big list. It raises suspicion where none is necessary. It creates a ton of paperwork, spends tax dollars, causes hassle for law-abiding homeowners, yet doesn’t even get the name of the tenant. If there is an unruly group of tenants in a rented home disrupting the neighbors, the town still has no way of knowing who the responsible party is to facilitate going after them.

One of our biggest concerns is a lack of housing for the summer help and for the local youth who want to live here but can’t afford a place to live. If they are lucky enough to find a fixer-upper they can afford, they are forced to rent it during the summer to help pay the bills. Without the youth having the ability to settle in town, we are going nowhere.

As far as the traffic goes, other towns have solved these problems by getting creative. Especially between the I.G.A. and the 7-Eleven, we need solutions. No left turns in town, one-way traffic around the circle, rethink the intersection at West Lake Drive and Flamingo. Let’s try something innovative first and see if it works before the cranes arrivwhen the only solution left is adding traffic lights. 

Montauk has always been and always will be a resort town. Many of the people here depend almost entirely on the revenue from the summer season. We offer beautiful beaches, lakes, boating, golf, walking trails, surfing, fishing, horseback riding, and fine restaurants. We need to create a positive and happy attitude about having people visit our town in the summer. We have to make it easy for them to park near a beach, to eat outside, to listen to music past 9 p.m., to rent a home without being worried that code enforcement will be dropping by, and to go on the beach and have a fire at night. 

Yes, they must do this in a respectful way, but we should be respectful of their rights. We should not forget what we are, which is a town that needs tourists, depends on the tourists’ money, and what we want to be, which is a town where young people can come, make a living, raise a family, and continue our heritage of a picturesque town by the water with a relaxed, country style of living, not overburdened with too many rules.


No Need for Labels 

East Hampton

May 4, 2016

To the Editor:

Like many others, I receive, unsolicited, from worthy charities sheets of mailing labels with my name and address on them, as well as a letter seeking a donation, with the assurance that the money will be wisely spent to benefit one or another group of indigents.

Individually, of course, I am sure these labels are rather inexpensive, but printed in the hundreds of thousands, as I am certain they must be, it all adds up to a pretty penny. 

I don’t know about you, but since the advent of email, the number of personal letters I have sent in recent years can be counted on one hand, and as for bill-paying, that too is done mostly on the computer. So can someone tell these worthy charities that they are wasting a lot of money on something I neither want nor need?


A New Trojan Horse

East Quogue

May 5, 2016

To the Editor:

Why is the U.S., or any country, required to accommodate refugees and migrants who, of their own accord and with sufficient money to travel, have just decided they want to live in Europe? Since when have all the nations of the world decided that no one needs passports, permission, or valid excuses to pick up and move anywhere they please, and then demand full welfare benefits, health care, and housing at the expense of the host country?

Germany long ago expiated its Nazi past; it is no longer required to pay off a moral debt. If any such debt is required, it should be imposed on the Arab and Muslim world, whose despotism, Islamofascism, and centuries-long ethnic and religious conflicts are responsible for the oppression and poverty of their religious cohorts.

The concept of humanitarianism is now being degraded and diluted. From its former commendable objective of helping victims of natural disasters, disease, and famine, it is now being expanded to include millions of Muslims who bring with them not gratitude but scorn for the civil liberties of the West, and doctrinally approved hatred for all other religions, with a firm refusal to assimilate into the secular society that they themselves chose freely.

Try this little experiment the next time you travel abroad: Refuse to provide your passport, identity, or financial information and demand the right to settle anywhere you please, at the state’s expense, with guaranteed welfare benefits and free housing. I highly recommend you choose France, because it has the best health care system in Europe, is a strong supporter of separation of religion and state, and also has the best food, if that is what you care about the most. Second best is Italy, because Italians are such wonderful people and there is a lot of great art, and most Italians never go to church anyway. 

No, none of this is a joke. And consider this: Your next trip to Europe could be your last, as Muslim cadres there are busy picking which airport to blow up, and it could be the one you plan to use. No one is required to like or put up with Muslims; our Constitution guarantees freedom of association. We don’t owe the refugees anything, nor are Europeans required to exterminate their culture and put their values in cold storage in order to appease Muslims with the hope that they will not plant bombs in schools and elsewhere. I believe this is called extortion.

Valid restrictions are often placed on visitors to the U.S.A. if there is a potentially global health crisis, such as Zika or tuberculosis or other highly communicable diseases. Such restrictions are equally justified in order to screen out those who pose similar security and safety risks, as well as those who explicitly reject the laws and constraints of Western secular society and publicly declare their hostility to the West and their fealty to quranic doctrines. These individuals are no less dangerous to society than carriers of actual disease. 

Today the whole fabric of Western secular democracy is threatened by Muslims, whose entry in a new Trojan horse is being justified by many so-called liberals. The same single standard for exclusion should apply to them as to health issues.



Appearances Matter

East Hampton

May 9, 2016

Dear David, 

So, Donald Trump’s latest epithet, now that “Lyin’ Ted” is gone, is “Crooked Hillary.” He’s going to stick with it. The scary thing is he has a good chance to make it stick and thereby make it to the White House.  

How sad. Hillary Clinton did not decide, at least not soon enough, that she’d rather be president than rich; she set out to hit it big on the speech trail between the time she resigned as Secretary of State and officially announced her candidacy for president, so she could claim she was doing nothing strictly illegal. She made $25 million on those speeches. 

Legal or not, whether she made provably corrupt decisions because of it or not, it just doesn’t pass the smell test. She can lose and leave us with President Trump because of it.

I hope she can do something serious about it — somehow, clean things up and reassure me. One step for sure is to concede that appearances matter, especially if you want to be our president. Another is to stop playing the victim. It’s unbecoming. That simple. Unbecoming. Her opponents have a perfect right to point out the potential conflicts of interest the acceptance of so much speech money creates and not be accused of unfair personal attacks. In fact, it is their job to make this an issue. A president must not only have integrity, but vigilantly guard her/his appearance of integrity. 

Old fashioned stuff that still applies.


Outrageous Statements

East Hampton

May 9, 2016

To the Editor:

In 30 years Stalin rounded up and killed or imprisoned 12 million people. Donald Trump says he will round up, house, feed, and ship 12 million illegal immigrants out of the country. Anyone who uses that foolhardy reasoning to further his own cause is a charlatan, and anyone who believes that statement is a fool.

Another of Trump’s outrageous, fraudulent statements about barring all Muslims from entering this country: As president, he wouldn’t have the power to carry it out and wouldn’t have the wherewithal to do it, anyway, and he knows it. Yet he uses it to gain favor from the conservative white male Republicans in the primaries, and has gotten many to believe he can. That is fraud, plain and simple.

Then he says he will build a wall on a border that for the past year has had zero illegal crossings. He just lies and lies. Do you believe he can pivot and become an acceptable president? 

Is the economy as bad as he says? No, it is the strongest in the world still.

Are our armed forces weak? No, they are the strongest in the world.

Are we disrespected around the world? Of course not. If we were, why would every nation come to us for help in the war on Muslim terrorists?

Is there a Trump University? Not according to the New York State Attorney General, who says it is a fraud as he sues Trump, and as do hundreds of duped “students.”

Where is the exact scrutiny of these ideas? Where are his standards? Where is the media? As President Obama said, “This is not a reality show!”

Do you trust this celebrity with the life of your family?

We must stop Trump and elect Hillary!


All That Is Good

Sag Harbor

April 20, 2016

To The Star: 

Greetings in the name of all that is good. 

The man who can laugh at his own foolishness and have mercy thereon will find himself at Heaven’s doorstep. 

Happiness rests in glorifying one’s mother and father, herein is the love of God made manifest. 

Wishing all the blessedness, goodness, kindness, and love.


P.S. “A wise son makes a glad father. A foolish son is a burden to his mother.” — Proverbs

What a Season of TV!


May 5, 2016

To the Editor:

It’s only May and it’s settled; it will be Voldemort versus Tracy Flick in a fight to the finish. And in about a month, buyer’s remorse will set in and we’ll wonder how, exactly, has this happened? Then will come denial, repression, perhaps closure. Quite a few Republicans say they will vote for the Democratic candidate, and quite a few Democrats don’t plan to get out of bed for the queen’s crowning either. The whole plot has this creepy inevitability, almost Shakespearean. Birnham Wood is marching toward Dunsinane, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Thanks a lot, Reince. Thanks, Debbie Wasserman. The two of you couldn’t run a high school play. 

Of course for the surrealists among us, it has been a festival, from Trump’s descent on his golden escalator into the world of reality below, to his final triumph, the defeat of the mountebank Cruz on the plains of Indiana. Just when we thought Carly Fiorina’s plunge into a mosh pit of Hoosiers just had to be the final act, Cruz topped it with an elbow shot to his wife’s head after announcing he’s leaving the race. Even in Indiana, that’s a two-shot foul, maybe a flagrant. 

Gracious in victory, Trump noted Cruz’s exit with a syrupy testimonial to Cruz and his fine family — yes, “Lyin’ Ted’s” family, that family. Oh, how we’re going to miss Cruz and his speeches, with their sonorous tone, wonderful ominous pauses, the seal-like hand movements, and that squinty stare. He was almost the last to fall in the Republicans’ “Game of Thrones” season. We couldn’t binge-watch it but had to suffer through the wait each week as the debates came and the apprentices went, eliminated week by week. None could believe it when the Bush prince fell, so early, with all the riches of the kingdom behind him. We’d expected he would be a continuing character, but this was only one of the surprises of this TV season. With the war chest of a Miami car dealer behind him, Little Prince Marco lasted many episodes, searching for a reason to be president. And searching for money. His prerecorded life quest led him west to the desert, to the Venetian shrine at Las Vegas, to convince the barons that he should bear their flag. But no, the movement to crown The Donald was too strong. It was huge.

We have forgotten the others who rose up against him, there were so many — minor earls and princes now forgotten. I wish they’d kept that Texas guy; the show needed something lighter, a Norton to his Kramden. Yeah, that guy with the horn-rimmed glasses that kept forgetting things. Him.

In every case, each competing suitor was cruelly named, branded, and marked for termination: Low Energy Jebbie, Little Marco, Lyin’ Ted, and who even remembers George Pataki, Jim Gilmore, and all the rest forced to leave the field, hardly mentioned as the ratings soared? What a season of TV. Can’t wait for the new season. 

But that’s not to say the other channel didn’t have its own new blockbuster of a show. I know, I know, everybody says it’s too highbrow, but I think “Trolling the Queen” is great television. First, you have to like that Tea Leoni/Helen Mirren lead character. Can’t think of her name. Steely, determined, wow! Some critics have called it a very subtle sex comedy, with the role-inversion thing going. You know, like most prime time sitcoms, the sensible woman versus the dreamer husband who may be lovable but can’t balance a checkbook. 

You know, the running joke in that show is how crazy the Troll is, with his weird ideas. Like with the free college thing. Hilarious! But she always tells him no, we can’t afford it, it’s not in the budget. And the Troll does that funny thing about how Europe does it. Same thing with the argument they have over how high the minimum wage ought to be. For three bucks difference they argue? That’s a little unbelievable. And she always scolds him for being too hard on their banker friends. Really, who would argue with people who give you free money? 

So, yes, there are holes in the script, but I never understand why the Queen character always acts so huffy and then finally agrees with the Troll character. That’s just not believable either.

I’ve watched this series for months now, and it’s amazing how many people in the audience have gotten hooked on the Troll character. It’s sort of an ego versus id thing, I guess. It will be interesting to see his role this season as this show develops. 

As far as she’s concerned, what more can you say? We’ve known her for so many roles in past productions, going back to that ’92 series about the hick couple from Arkansas who come to D.C. to make their fortune. Now that show was nothing to sneeze at. It ran eight years. And that second series she was in, “Other Woman,” while it didn’t go over so well, it did show her range. But she’s been a fixture in so many recent episodes of that new politico-military thriller, “Angel of Death,” that it’s hard to say there’s a role she can’t crush. 

Now that we’ve seen the coming attractions on the new season, let me be clear: It looks like she’s fully supporting the kinds of things you support, whatever they are. And her message is also clear: The future lies ahead.