Letters to the Editor 05.19.16

Our readers comments

All-Around Good Guy

East Hampton

May 10, 2016

Dear David, 

The passing of Rosetti Perchik, architect, altruist, and all-around good guy, is such a shock to all of us. Ross, you shared your joy, thoughtfulness, thankfulness, and your sense of giving with all of us. You kept your grief, your pain, and your sorrow to yourself. My tears fall oh so slowly.

My only regret is that I did not get a chance to say goodbye.

Goodbye, Ross, thanks again.


Oyster Gardening

East Hampton

May 16, 2016

Dear David,

I went to the kickoff reception for the town’s oyster-gardening program this past Saturday and was greatly impressed by the interest, enthusiasm, and overall level of good will present. 

I think the participating gardeners, the town shellfish hatchery, and the South Fork Natural History Museum, supported by the town trustees and the town board, deserve great credit for putting such a positive foot forward in what should prove to be a winning and inclusive community environmental initiative.



The writer is the director of the East Hampton Town Shellfish Hatchery.  Ed.

‘We Gather Together’

East Hampton

May 13, 2016

To the Editor:

I wanted to express my thanks for Thomas Bohlert’s very fine review of my book, “We Gather Together: The Religious Right and the Problem of Interfaith Politics,” published in The Star on May 12, 2016. Mr. Bohlert provides a thoughtful and engaging account of my book’s central argument and of several of its examples. 

Mr. Bohlert lamented that my deeply researched book lacked an index, but I believe he had a review copy rather than the final published version. That version, I’m happy to say, has a 20-page index that I hope readers will find of use.


A Way of Life

East Hampton

May 16, 2016

Dear David,

Your editorials are usually pretty good and geared toward the common man and his plight against the onslaught from the west. However, your editorial a few weeks ago condemning skeet shooting by the shoreline was a strike against the locals and a plus for the outsiders. 

What irks me the most is how you can condemn a perfectly fine activity enjoyed by many by the actions of a stupid few. On occasion I shoot from the shoreline and always pick up my shells and broken targets. Now you have mentioned it’s time to outlaw skeet shooting from the shoreline or anywhere else but the gun club. 

Now, I’m not a hunter, but what’s the difference if you’re shooting clay birds or real birds? And as far as your west end cronies not liking the sound of a shotgun blast, maybe they should move. 

Target-shooting and hunting are a way of life out here in the “country.” I look forward to every Thanksgiving to hear the sound of shots from the duck blinds around Three Mile Harbor. I hear a couple of pop pops around 6 a.m. and I nod off right back to sleep with the comfort of knowing there is someone out there doing what’s been done since colonial times. 

You really need to think about what you say. Outlawing target-shooting outside the gun club would be just one more turn of the faucet to outlaw hunting on the East End. I’m sure your westies would embrace that and run down the road, but guess what? This ain’t Manhattan yet! 



On Georgica Pond

East Hampton

May 16, 2016

Dear David,

The Friends of Georgica Pond Foundation would like to clarify and respond to concerns that were raised in the article “Trustees Fret About Blue Crabs.” The aquatic weed harvester that is now on Georgica Pond is designed to and will remove floating macroalgae from the surface of the pond. While the harvester will collect some algae growing below the surface, it will not touch the bottom of the pond. Therefore, it is not expected to disturb blue crabs and other marine life.

The harvester will move around the pond very slowly, covering about three acres per day of the 292-acre pond. The collected algae will be offloaded to several sites around the pond, where the town trustees will be able to inspect it before it is taken to the East Hampton Town compost facility. We will address any concerns they have. We hope to determine whether composted nutrient-rich macroalgae can be use for organic fertilizer in the future.

The project has been designed in collaboration with Dr. Christopher Gobler of Stony Brook University. It is a strategy to reduce the amount of nitrogen-rich macroalgae that would otherwise fall to the bottom of the pond, adding to the already overloaded sediments. Dr. Gobler reported at his May 8 East Hampton Library presentation that excess nitrogen and phosphorus are major contributors to the water quality problems of Georgica Pond. Dr. Gobler’s team will analyze a sampling of the collected macroalgae and report his findings to the public at the end of the summer.

The harvester has been used successfully on Nantucket, in Central Park, New York City, and many other places. We welcome the active involvement of the town trustees in this effort and look forward to sharing our results with them.


Executive Director

Kirk Park


May 10, 2016

To the Editor,

Kirk Park has become a backup location for Montauk’s recycling station. A park that is the gateway to Montauk and accents this town with its beauty and is the beginning of the Paumanok Path is seriously unkempt and neglected.

The reaction from various town agencies to these charges is confusion and denial, or, better yet, “Just where is this Kirk Park located?”

Of course the fact that the park has just one litter receptacle, where four were originally located, may account for some of the problem — but then it’s easier to pick up one garbage can than four. I wonder who made this decision to reduce this service. If we find the culprit, we may find the same reasoning that has allowed the park to be underwater along the trail aforementioned, and who is probably the culprit who has ignored the gazebo in need of repair. Oh, it goes on and on.

Wake up, Montauk. Don’t let this town ignore Kirk Park. The Kirk Park parking lot gets far more attention. 

And with regard to the parking lot, maybe it’s time to finance the needs at our beautiful park with revenue generated from those parking in the lot. How about a voluntary contribution solely to be used to keep our beautiful Kirk Park in a condition that would make General Kirk proud!


Put the Right Signs Up


May 13, 2016

To the Editor, 

Residing in Montauk for well over 20 years, I’d say Marshall Prado is a very well-known name. His letter to the editor “A Town With a Problem,” dated May 7, was a joy to read.

I’d say I agree with him 100 percent. Montauk is special and beautiful, and we need to welcome tourists young and old.

What sounds better, “Welcome to Montauk” or “Beware, Big Brother Is Watching”?

Come on. Put the right signs up before Montauk becomes a ghost town.


The First Refuge


May 16, 2016

Dear David,

Samuel Johnson once famously said that “patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” Some have claimed that it’s the first. And it’s frequently been misused to characterize all patriotism, not just the phony kind. But in our current politically correct world, the first refuge of scoundrels seems to be the charge of racism or bigotry against anyone who disagrees with their proposals.

Such a tactic was on display at the May 9 A.C.A.C. meeting on the proposed affordable housing project in Amagansett. Jonathan Wallace has previously displayed his disdain for the facts and for his fellow citizens in his ongoing efforts to turn the publicly purchased beach at South Flora into a private preserve for himself and his immediate neighbors. That night, he railed at those who opposed or merely questioned the project, insinuating that they did so out of racism and bigotry. Such Stalinist tactics are designed to silence opposition not by marshaling the facts but by attacking the character and motives of opponents.

We all recognize that we have a serious shortage of housing priced so that local citizens can afford to continue living and working here. But this current project, because it uses federal, state, or county money and guidelines, increases the supply of housing only a very little, while increasing the numbers of those eligible by a lot.

Instead of slandering his fellow townspeople, Mr. Wallace should explain to us how this will do anything to solve the problem. Posturing as morally superior to one’s neighbors is not a solution to our housing shortage. It’s just arrogance and demagoguery.


Subsidized Housing


May 16, 2016

Dear Editor:

I attended the East Hampton Housing Authority meeting on the 531 Project at the American Legion Hall on May 9. The presentation by Ms. Casey and the question-and-answer period proved very interesting. The big issue many of the people present had is, who will be eligible for the 40 apartments. 

Many East Hampton Town residents think an applicant must be a full-time East Hampton resident and work full time in the town. Ms. Casey talked about “preference lists,” but stated the requirements as “a resident of East Hampton” or “a full-time worker in East Hampton.” Notice the use of “or” instead of “and.” An applicant can live in Riverhead (locals only?), but work full time in East Hampton, or live in East Hampton and work in Riverhead (workforce housing), and still apply for residence in 531. 

There seems to be some confusion about the meaning of subsidized housing. This project will pay $0 in East Hampton town taxes and $0 in Amagansett school taxes. So, what will the residents pay? They’ll pay rent, although subsidized, and probably cable TV. Electricity seemed up in the air, since Ms. Casey seemed to imply that the solar grid would cover all needs. What they won’t pay for is heat, maintenance of the apartments and grounds, garbage pickup, Wi-Fi (should East Hampton Housing Authority also supply the computers and phones?), snow removal, and the resident manager’s salary. All of that is free. 

Where is the approximately $65,000 a month in rent going? Not to the schools, which will need to cover from $650,000 to $1.47 million extra, needed to educate from 36 to 72 new students. Let those numbers sink in: Even the East Hampton Housing Authority estimates 37 new students.

The incomes of the applicants are between 30 percent and 120 percent of the Amagansett median income, which is $106,000. That’s between $31,800 and $127,200. Really? An income over $127,000 needs subsidized housing? A median income needs subsidized housing? I just don’t think so. Maybe they can use the extra cash to buy the 3.25 cars per unit that the parking lot will hold.

There is also an issue of density in that area. Within 1,500 feet of this project there is 1. a Lutheran church; 2. a 40-unit senior citizens housing complex; 3. a medical and office center consisting of four buildings; 4. a longstanding plumbing business; 5. the Amagansett Supply Yard; 6. a laundry; 7. the Amagansett Post Office; 8. the I.G.A.; 9. a liquor store; 10. a seafood store; 11. a gas station; 12. a car wash, and, coming soon, 13. a 7-Eleven. Can you spell lots more traffic and traffic lights? Making a left onto Route 27 from the north or south will be extremely dangerous.

The Star, in its editorial last week, stated the housing shortage will not be solved by building more “rent-controlled units.” It can’t keep up. And, enforcing the rental registry is only going to add to the problem. A few weeks ago, nine adults and four children were found in an unregistered house. I can’t imagine what would happen if the town strictly enforced the rental registry and all building codes. 

What is needed is better mass transportation in and out of town, a better effort by businesses to house their own workers (the businesses are the ones making the money), and the end of the reliance on taxpayers for free stuff.


Commute for Workers


May 12, 2016

Dear David,

With the reduced availability of reasonably priced motel rooms and the reduced number of illegally rented houses, some problems have surfaced. We need workers, both seasonal and full time. Many are employed at wages that will not permit them to purchase a local home, and most rentals are priced beyond their means. 

One solution that should be looked into is improved transportation for these workers. Buses from areas where many of these people live (Riverhead, etc.), leading to a Long Island Rail Road station west of the Town of East Hampton, would avoid the long waits in “trade parade” traffic jams.  An L.I.R.R. train with stops at each station in the Hamptons should make for a quick commute for these workers.

Housing costs are less expensive outside the Hamptons. This will partially offset increased transportation costs. Assistance from their employers or even a subsidy from the town may be cheaper than erecting dormitory housing and dealing with the inherent problems that will arise. Further, this system could more easily adapt to the area’s future increasing or decreasing need for seasonal workers.


Fran Miller Silipo


May 10, 2016

Dear David,

It is with a sad heart that many people in the Springs community say farewell to such a dedicated employee and protector of the children, families, and taxpayers of Springs School. Mrs. Francis Miller Silipo resigned her position at the May 9 school board meeting. A more dedicated member of this community, serving five full and part-time committee-on-special-education chairs, six superintendents, and overseeing 16 school elections, Mrs. Silipo did every activity with professionalism, grace, and, always, a smile on her face. There was never a family that was concerned about their child’s bus issue, educational plan, or health issue that didn’t get clarity, assistance, and some satisfaction from her attention and support.

This present school board and its superintendent did not appreciate her honesty, integrity, and dedication. Their behavior over the last 16 months has been a waste of precious time, time that should have been directed to the school’s real problems: overcrowding, the tax base issue, and creating an atmosphere of trust and cooperation within the school building and with the community. 

The community has an opportunity to get new school board members, people who are reflective of the characteristics of Fran Miller Silipo. Maybe new leadership will steer this school board toward honesty, openness, and inclusiveness of the community’s input and concerns.

Fran Miller Silipo now has the opportunity to heal, both physically and emotionally, from the trauma that she endured as a employee of this administration and the board of education. She will come out of this stronger, and her next employer will benefit from the professionalism, integrity, and compassion that was not appreciated by this superintendent and the school board. 


Half the Amount

East Hampton

May 16, 2016

Dear Editor,

I am writing to report propane gas price-gouging by Suburban Gas.

I, and others in our community, have used Suburban Gas since they bought many of the smaller suppliers in our area and became a conglomerate. At first glance, we thought their prices were competitive, at least for the first year, but subsequently their price per gallon has skyrocketed. As the price of a barrel of oil has declined in the past year or so, the price charged by Suburban has, paradoxically, risen, disproportionate to reality. 

In our investigation, we contacted several of the smaller suppliers to East Hampton, and found to our surprise that the smaller suppliers were charging half the amount that Suburban is charging. In my recent bill from Suburban for May, they charged $3.60 per gallon, while the smaller suppliers are negotiating a contract for $1.80. 

I consider Suburban’s actions as price-gouging, and this contempt should be reported to the proper authorities. How long do they think they can get away with this chicanery and stealing? My advice is to support your local propane supplier and tell Suburban to stop robbing us.



A True Progressive

Water Mill

May 10, 2016

Dear Editor:

We know most people this year are caught up in one of the most exciting presidential electoral competitions in decades, but I am very concerned about our local battle for the First Congressional District seat, where the Dems are planning to unseat the incumbent, Lee Zeldin, a Republican who self-identifies as a member of the Tea Party and has come out in full support of Trump. 

This is a critical post that can eitherfurther consolidate the Republicans’ move to the far right, or reverse that trend by installing a progressive candidate who may help restructure a Democratic Party that works in the interests of the 99 percent without compromise. There are two Democratic candidates vying for the right to take on Zeldin this coming November; the decision will be made on June 28. 

Dave Calone is challenging our own Anna Throne-Holst, who stepped back from another term as Southampton Town supervisor in order to put us back on the path that Tim Bishop had blazed. While both candidates, in numerous one-on-one appearances, have described themselves as progressives, it is clear to me that Calone doesn’t qualify as one by almost anyone’s definition, in that he draws on his venture-capital background to offer positions on issues that reflect an individualist’s perspective — where decisions are made from the top down. Calone’s way forward is one of slow and incremental movement toward, perhaps, full opportunities for all, but at a pace and in a manner that doesn’t threaten to upset the apple carts of those on top. 

Anna is another person entirely. Her total work experience before plunging into Southampton Town government was spent in the nongovernmental organization sector — education and child care. Her perspective is heavily influenced by what her life is about: She’s a single mom raising a family of four kids. Throne-Holst’s methodology for getting results — and her 12-year gargantuan track record on the Southampton Town Board — is to call for all stakeholders to participate, with special efforts made so as to be certain that the disenfranchised and underserved who are traditionally left out of the decision-making process are now fully engaged. 

When sharp differences between party-bound members precluded resolution of difficult issues, Anna was able to get all parties re-engaged in productive civil discourse, which would always free up the logjam and allow for resolution acceptable to all parties. And while her management skills enable difficult problems to be successfully grappled with, it is her philosophical, humanist underpinnings, her dedication to bringing social justice to the traditionally underserved and disenfranchised as well as work-force and middle-class constituencies, that distinguish Anna as a true progressive, a person who recognizes that today’s crises in almost every sphere demand structural, not cosmetic or incremental, change. 


We Need New Leaders

Sag Harbor

May 16, 2016

Dear David,

I was missing in action due to a second attack of shingles in the head — the worst pain in my life until a lot of medication eventually helped. When I returned to writing letters I couldn’t believe the injustices that piled up. As Elizabeth Warren once said, our leaders wanted it that way. Oh my God, we need you, even if you profess to be an atheist or Bernie Sanders’s message is hard to believe. However, he is on the way. Hillary, a bit fearful, gave Sanders credit for Medicare for all, after years of resistance. Recently, Sanders said “Don’t moan to me about the Clintons, Hillary and Bill Clinton. I’m taking another path with my own problems.”

Sanders has signed up a couple of new or additional companies, with a new approach to dealing with California and thereafter his fight against Trump. And possibly building an independent organization. Obviously, we need new leaders. The status quo has failed us.

A moment to digress for a little humor. Have you ever heard so many Republicans explain why they are voting for Trump? Their answers could make up a Broadway comedy. Then add the Three Wise Men, the House majority leader, Kevin McCarthy; the speaker, Paul Ryan, and the majority whip, Steve Scalise. See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil. A valid question: Where are the leaders, absent for so long?

An adjacent article in The New York Times read, ex-Trump butler makes a vulgar anti-Obama comment calling for him to be killed. Crazy. Followed by, the government has secretly destroyed evidence that is relevant to the death penalty trial of the five Guantanamo Bay detainees. After the fiasco, what about the prisoners taken in the next wars on the horizon? Perpetual war, they defined for us, over oil.

What about the 28-year-old captain who is taking Obama to court for continuing an illegal war? At the time, Congress went to sleep too. Denial does not make any country great. Trump is dying to return to the great country we were — an illusion at best. The truth will make us free, even more important is honesty.

Noticed a column in The New York Times written by Mary Jo White, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Always suspect where she has been. Senator Elizabeth Warren investigated her thoroughly months ago and was forced to deal with her husband interfering with her job and asked her to get back to her relating to her findings. The last guy in that role moved to the hedge funds. Where does corruption end? This is our money they’re playing with.

Finally, those responsible for sending combat soldiers to a war zones again and again are guilty of crimes against humanity. Of late, their numbers of 300,000 were given personality conflicts discharge and fired from the military, our worst crime against vets.