Letters to the Editor 06.16.16

Our readers comments

Highway Haiku


June 13, 2016

To the Editor:

I’ve taken photos in Montauk of almost 175 local, vanity license plates, all related in one way or another to Montauk sports, locations, activities, stores, weather, etc. I’m looking for the people who can help me find some I’m missing.

Frustratingly, in addition to the 175 already in my collection, below are 15 terrific plates I know about that have so far eluded my picture-taking. Where art thou, oh missing ones: 


I don’t know who first coined the term “highway haiku” for vanity plates, but I think it is most appropriate. Lovers of Montauk are so clever in how they express themselves, even in such a brief way. 

The quest to find more is a hobby that has become a passion and obsession — maybe even an art form. I can’t ever go to town without my pocket camera. I think that Montauk may deserve the title Vanity Plate Capital of the World. 

Please help me find and/or get photos of these 15 additional plates. Send close-up images (jpegs) of the plates, or ways for me to find and take a picture, to mlevy697@earthlink.net.

Hoping you can help with the ones above, plus any others you know that are missing from the first 175 already online. To share the fun, I’ve made two collages from this ever-growing collection. With more, I can see doing a third version, down the road.


It Tells You About Time


June 7, 2016

To the Editor, 

A couple weeks ago the Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and when they won, it happened in somewhat historic fashion. Starling Castro hit a two-run home run and produced all of the Yankees’ runs on one hit. They won the game 2-1 with one hit; they say the last time they had done this was in 1914. 

I note this up here in the Hamptons (or the Point, because people call this the End, or was this new feat here in 2016 like saying to your locals, this is the Beginning?). It’s just a good reminder that there is still more to this game of baseball — it is a 102-year-old record that tells you about time. The End, the Beginning — how come the end is the beginning, and the beginning the end? 

Charlie Mullen won a game for the Yanks against the Cleveland Indians 1-0 in 1914 with a single. Imagine your pinstripes running on one hit. Not bad statistics for New York. Maybe the ’20s will bring a little more pop?


Remarkable School

East Hampton

June 13, 2016

Dear Mr. Rattray,

In the May 22 edition of the paper, an article was written by Christine Sampson titled “Money Woes, Fewer Students Shutter School.” Sadly, it stated that the Child Development Center of the Hamptons would be closing at the end of the school year.

As the former school building leader of C.D.C.H. from 2012 to 2015, I have witnessed the importance and benefit of this program for so many students of the East End. It was with deep regret that I left the school in August, when my position was eliminated due to the school’s finances, as mentioned in the article. It is my hope that similar inclusive programs will be developed that can continue to address the unique needs of our general and special education student population.

On a final note, my years as school building leader were truly rewarding. It was both an honor and a privilege to serve the extraordinary students and families of this remarkable school.

Thank you for your time and consideration regarding this correspondence.



Invasion of Metal


June 7, 2016

To the Editor:

I fully support the concerns expressed by Penny Helm and Susan Winkler about the excessive vehicles on the sands at the small crescent beach at Maidstone Park just inside Three Mile Harbor, and the follow-up comments by Constance Dondore. 

I am a senior citizen who has owned this house in the Springs for more than 40 years and I have seen many changes. Only a few years ago no vehicles were on this sandy beach. I even saw a small wedding performed at the point when there was a beached float at the site. 

This invasion of metal, erosion, and pollution should and can be reversed. Please consider banning all vehicles from this beach. There are plenty of parking spaces available at Maidstone. Thank you.


Sense of Community


June 13, 2016

Dear Editor,

I am on the board of Citizens for Access Rights, so all of last week and this past weekend, people keep asking me how the trial is going. The more that I answer and actually think about it, the sadder I become. 

I grew up in Springs and have been going to all of the beaches out here my entire life (bay, ocean, town, village). As anyone out here knows, everything out here has become so much more crowded than it used to be — including every beach. I don’t go to the grocery store on the weekends. I don’t go to C.V.S. I don’t even go out for dinner anymore. What I love to do on my day off on Sunday is wake up early, pack a cooler with food for the entire day and evening (that I purchased during the week), load up the truck with my chair, umbrella, cooler, games, my small grill, and my dog and head to Napeague beach. 

As I’m airing down my tires, I say hi to every truck that is driving on ahead of me — which most of the time someone will ask if I need help. As I drive down the beach to a spot, I wave to everyone who is already set up and they wave back at me. Once I’m set up and some of my friends arrive, we will take a walk down the beach and stop at all  the different groups of friends and families that have set up for the day. They all have pretty much the same stuff that I brought down, except for people with kids, who have so much more: playpens, tents (for when their kids take naps), boogie boards, and sand toys galore. People are happy, relaxed, and enjoying their day off.

If someone hasn’t aired down properly and gets stuck, you see about six guys running up to help them get out. If someone runs out of ketchup, they just walk over to the next group barbequing and borrow ketchup. People keep an eye on other people’s kids. It really is a great place to be, and I look forward to every Sunday. It is the only real sense of community that I still feel out here — even despite the craziness going on all over the rest of the town. 

It makes me sad that the people, who are so fortunate to live on that stretch of ocean, are suing to make this stop. First, they claimed that trucks driving on the beach is bad for the environment, until they realized that a house built in the dunes is far worse than tire tracks that will be erased by the night’s end. Rather than come down and enjoy this beautiful beach with everyone, they stayed up in their houses and took pictures and paid a guy to take video. Then they pulled the lowest of the low and claimed that they are worried for their children’s safety. 

There has never been any incident on this beach where a child was put in danger. The speed limit is 15 miles per hour, and most people don’t even go that fast. If there are kids playing closer to where the trucks drive, then the trucks slow down, and the kids move for a minute. If a kid is stuck in a seapoose or having a hard time getting past the break, you again see people running to his or her aid. I don’t have children, but I am insulted that they claim it is unsafe for kids.

It is sad to think that an entitled few will stop at nothing to stop such a tradition. It is sad that this has actually gone to trial and that there is a possibility that we will not be able to enjoy this beach, as we have for all of these years. It’s sad that this is what our town has become. 



Deceptive Ways

East Hampton

June 13, 2016

Dear Editor:

The May 26 editorial “Cynical Attempt to Fight Zoning” was right on the money.

Don’t be confused by the latest move of the Dunes seeking a United States Supreme Court ruling on its failed bid to avoid East Hampton planning review. This is an intimidation and stall tactic of the highest order.

The Dunes has been operating a high-end luxury drug rehab illegally in a single-family house in Northwest Woods for more than five years. After it failed to deceive officials on Shelter Island in its bid to take over the Ram’s Head by claiming no change of use as a hotel, it decided to turn its deceptive ways on East Hampton and pretend it operates as a family. 

With the help of a former East Hampton town attorney who soon became its executive director, the Dunes convinced the building inspector that it would be the “functional equivalent of a family.” This charade was quickly dispelled once the Dunes began to operate and the building inspector correctly reversed course in September 2011 and declared that the Dunes was a semi-public facility, which required a special permit from East Hampton Town Planning Board. 

After nearly five years of deceiving everyone — from various entities of the Town of East Hampton, the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, and its own clients — the Dunes finally appeared in front of the East Hampton Town Planning Board. The Dunes reverted to its broken record of living as a family, only five staff members, stays of two months or more, minimal clients, and no clinical services. So when the planning board was presented with some real facts refuting its claims, the Dunes decided to try and intimidate the Town of East Hampton by seeking review by the Supreme Court.

It also claims that those who oppose the Dunes are not-in-my-backyard types; yet we have substantial proof that the Dunes is running a large-scale high-impact drug rehab that is entirely inappropriate for the property it is renting. 

This week we submitted a package of financial and staffing information to the planning board. The information was obtained from OASAS through the Freedom of Information Act and was provided to OASAS directly by the Dunes in its original application and in subsequent required financial filings. 

The information reveals that the expense budget for the Dunes in 2014 was $3.6 million. This includes $1.2 million in salaries and fees for at least 30 employees plus six to seven contractors for ancillary services such as yoga, massage, and acupuncture, etc. This is a far cry from the five staff members that the Dunes has tried to claim to the Town of East Hampton.

It should also be noted that the Dunes is currently operating with an expired OASAS certificate. It was given a conditional six-month extension in October due to noncompliance with OASAS’s fiscal viability ratios. This extension expired on April 30 and has yet to be renewed.

The Dunes’ misrepresentations are not limited to the number of employees. We will be providing further evidence to the planning board to back up statements made by our attorney, Jeff Bragman, at the initial planning board meeting, regarding number of clients, average length of stay, parking, traffic, and septic issues.

In addition to all of the misleading statements made by the Dunes it also needs very large side-yard variances (approximately 40 feet in one instance) in order to comply with the doubled setbacks required when a property is reclassified as a semi-public facility. In addition, it has overcleared the property by no less than 21,000 square feet.

Despite the Dunes’ delusions, the F.H.A. mandate does not vacate long-standing zoning rules and certainly doesn’t give the Dunes license to misstate the facts about the true nature of its activities to skate through the planning process.


Citizens for the Preservation of

Northwest Woods

Water Quality Protection

East Hampton

June 13, 2016

Dear David:

It has been reported that East Hampton is planning to have a referendum on using community preservation fund money for water quality protection and improvement. If approved, money could be used for subsidies to upgrade septic systems, stormwater runoff abatement, and other projects geared toward water protection. 

Degradation of groundwater as well as surface water is one of the most serious environment threats we face, and the town is to be congratulated on taking steps to address and prevent problems before they happen.   


Indoor Tennis Spaces

East Hampton

June 10, 2016


I made an error in my letter last week regarding East Hampton Indoor Tennis. It appears they are proposing a total of 325 spaces for the site, with 114 new spaces.

I was incorrect to say they were adding 325 new spaces, and I apologize for my error.


Lighting Up Flags


June 11, 2016

Dear David,

  Contrary to what many people unfortunately still believe, it is not punishable by law to not light up a flag at night. It is much more respectful and traditional to raise and lower the flag and in fact it’s a time-tested honor to do so. Remember the lyrics to “O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light” that the “flag was still there”? Why not just follow that refrain and see your flag emerge by the dawn’s early light in the morning?

Besides, we burn oil and coal, which pollutes our air and water, to generate electricity in this country. And, besides that, there are stars in the flag that are obscured in the night sky by upwardly directed lighting such as is used for flag lighting (and which primarily light up the pole and not the flag). 

Let’s use common sense and not spout fake patriotism by lighting up flags. A patriotic person will use common sense and not waste time, money, and natural resources to express their patriotism.

Maybe Mr. Miller, in his letter last week asking the village mayor to light up the flag (the village already lights up a flag that’s so high up it’s hard to see, with huge floodlights mounted on the ground, aimed upward), was mistaken, and was referring to the Town Hall building — which does not light up its flag, out of respect. 


All Made in China


June 12, 2016

Dear David,

How can we trust anything said by Donald Trump, the “Lord of Lies”? The newspapers write about this, but I witnessed it directly when I shopped at my favorite store, T.J. Maxx in Bridgehampton.

Trump’s trade philosophy is a blistering critique of America’s trade policy. He has stated, on many occasions, the unbalanced trade of China with the United States as being “the greatest theft in the history of the world.” Yet, shopping in T.J. Maxx I found Ivanka Trump (Donald’s daughter) clothing, all made in China. Trump’s wife’s, Melania’s, jewelry line, selling on the QVC channel, is all made in China. Trump’s men’s clothing line is mostly all made in China.

As stated in Timothy Egan’s column in Saturday’s New York Times, “Some of Donald Trump’s lies are the everyday speech of a charlatan.” Fact checkers have given him a Four Pinocchio rating, lying 70 percent of the time. He even lies about his lies. Is this who we want for our president?


Crass as They Come


June 7, 2016

Dear David,

Donald Trump is full of malarkey, or whatever you want to call it. He is as crass as they come.

He is a habitual liar and/or he is suffering from early Alzheimer’s, because he cannot retain in his mind things he discussed a year ago. Is this his game plan, and he will only remember things that are not controversial? 

It looks like all the G.O.P. boys who endorsed him are now reneging, except for Congressman Lee Zeldin of Long Island, who stated on CNN that Donald Trump’s comment about a federal judge was not racist. Trump’s remarks were absolutely racist, disgusting, and not American. 

He is only concerned about himself and his personal business affairs. We do not need this buffoon in the White House.


See Through the Fog

East Hampton

June 13, 2016

Dear David:

As I write this letter, yet another tragedy has struck our nation, apparently the worst gun massacre in our history with 50 people dead. The shooter, himself dead in the police assault to end the carnage, is reported to be of Muslim descent. Whether he is a loner motivated by hatred of gays and lesbians, or was sponsored by a terrorist organization, or both, remains to be determined. 

Of present certainty is that this tragedy will be used by the hate and fearmongers now led by Donald Trump to further their effort to win the White House and retain control of both houses of Congress. 

Reg Cornelia’s letter to you of May 26 lambasting your editorial in the prior week’s edition of The Star for labeling Messrs. Trump, Zeldin, and King as racist demagogues, will gain credence in the eyes of those who are unable to see beyond and through the fog of emotion created by this tragedy, or be used by the demagogues to further their objectives.

I write this letter to persuade those who do not see through the fog to do so, and see the hatemongers for who they are and what their real purpose is. I have no hope of dissuading the demagogues not to use this tragedy for the purpose of furthering their agenda by stirring up fears that are fully understandable, or to demonstrate that the causes of the fears will not be eliminated by their impractical proposals. In fact, the policies promoted by them will increase the likelihood of more tragedies occurring in the future by accomplishing the following:

1. Ostracizing the vast majority of Muslim Americans who are peace-loving people who want the same things most Americans want (secure, peaceful, and prosperous lives) and driving them away from their ability and desire to root out terrorists in their midst.

2. Continuing the lock on Congress that prevents the adoption of meaningful gun control legislation to prevent guns from being possessed by those who should not have them. More than 80 percent of N.R.A. members are in favor of gun control legislation, and yet the gun and munitions manufacturers control the N.R.A., and through lobbying with big contributions to members of Congress dictate policy, causing the suppression of Congressional action to rein in the sale of guns and outlaw the AK-47s used in the recent mass murders.

 3. Race and gender-baiting to stir up hatred against minorities, gays and lesbians, and transgender people. In fact, it may well turn out that the perpetrator of today’s tragedy was motivated by gender hatred and not the cause of jihad. 

Whatever the motivation, the demagogues do not offer a solution. Rather, what they stand for contributes to the problems we face, for the reasons I offer above. 

Now back to Mr. Cornelia. As an East Hampton Town Democratic Committeeman, I was at Rowdy Hall the night of the last election to watch the results and ultimately to celebrate the victory of our town officials. After conceding victory to Larry Cantwell, Tom Knobel, the Republican candidate for supervisor and chairman of the East Hampton Republican Party, came into Rowdy Hall to congratulate Mr. Cantwell, and I watched them chat cordially for a good five minutes. I mention this because it is hard to envisage Mr. Cornelia, Mr. Knobel’s successor as chairman of the Republican Party in East Hampton, comporting himself similarly, given the vitriolic scenario he painted in his letter to you of Bernie Sanders and Hillary in the bathroom of Hillary’s home.

We in East Hampton, whether Republican or Democrat, deserve better than this.


Someone New


June 12, 2016

To the Editor:

 We must consider the plight of today’s unemployed. So many people 55 to 65 years old have lost their jobs to China, Vietnam, and other foreign countries. They are never going to find work again until the political environment in this country changes, and that means getting rid of the dead wood in Congress, both Republicans and Democrats.

 Hillary Clinton has proven by her past that her trustworthiness has been put to question. The failure to act on the Benghazi issue cost the lives of four Americans, top-secret emails on a private server, and the Clinton pay-to-play scheme are three of the issues that should decide if she is eligible to run for the highest office in the land. I wonder how she would handle it if her son-in-law, daughter, and grandchild were in Benghazi at the time of the attack and were hurt or killed. Would her answer still be as in the Congressional hearings: “What difference does it make?” Remember, truth fears no question.

Here are some thoughts about the 100 senators and the 465 representatives in the Congress. Anyone elected to office has a responsibility, not power. It is we the people who have the power. With your vote you can create change; if you don’t, change will create you.

• If “con” is the opposite of “pro,” is Congress the opposite of progress?

• No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.

• There are always too many Democratic congressmen and too many Republican congressmen — never enough United States congressmen, statesmen who put the country first before their political party. 

Regarding taking the oath as president of the United States — “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States” — now comes your choice — who do you believe will defend the Constitution? Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?

I believe it will take someone new and perhaps thought of as unlikely to protect us.


There Is Always Hope

Sag Harbor

June 13, 2016

Dear David, 

What have I learned from the chaos, lies, extensive political corruption, the truth compromised into fraud? Not everyone can vote. Money and power still control the way we think, the way we suffer. Senator Elizabeth Warren mentioned that Hillary Clinton should have spoken out stronger against corporate power. Senator Bernie Sanders got weary teaching the same message. Seems like almost everyone liked what he said. What were they afraid of? Change is more important than anything else. Why do we worship the Constitution? In summary, let me quote Thomas Jefferson: “The Constitution should be rewritten in every generation to avoid having society remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.” 

We at least thought they would steadily grow wiser.

Is peace possible? While President Eisenhower was in power we actually had light years of peace. Is it not strange that few of us are aware of this? Why is the glory of war fading into an era of diplomacy, thanks to the Vietnam vets who said that unless you were there you would never know the brutality. 

One more aside: The reason we gave for dropping two atomic bombs on Japan was to save lives. Almost everybody believes it. But did that open the door for a pre-emptive war by President George Bush? When Bush and the American people took that horrific action, peacemakers from all over the world demonstrated — even our closest allies. This largest demonstration ever restored my faith in humanity.

In essence, the theory is kill them before they kill us. What about the many wars we’re involved with now? Fear is the cost cause of war, which eventually leads to perpetual war. We are now bogged down in the cycle of violence, with no solution yet. But there is hope.

Finally: One of the pilots who dropped the atomic bomb gave his entire pension to Japan; another became an alcoholic. President Obama just recently placed a wreath on the monument representing those killed or burned in Japan. A silent cry, prayer speaks louder than words. Once again: There is always hope.

In peace,