Letters to the Editor: 10.12.17

Our readers' comments

With Gratitude


October 9, 2017

Dear David,

This year the Springs Food Pantry celebrates 25 years of uninterrupted operation. At this time we want to thank our wonderful local farmers who have once again joined us in our mission to feed the hungry. We received a bounty of produce from Share the Harvest, Amber Waves, Quail Hill, Balsam, and Three Sons Farms. They contributed fresh produce throughout the summer and will continue to do so until Thanksgiving. Their generosity and compassion expand our offerings and fill us with gratitude.

Just last Wednesday we provided three nutritious meals, healthy snacks, and household staples to 276 people, including 82 children and 10 seniors. Because of our hard-working farmers, families left the food pantry with a full bag of produce in addition to a bag of fresh dairy, canned, and packaged goods.

To learn more about our mission, visit us at www.springsfoodpantry.com. 



Springs Food Pantry Board

Not the Captain

East Hampton

September 28, 2017

To the Editor,

It is unfortunate that The Star, once again, has editorially attacked the Montauk sportfishing industry without contacting its association for the facts.

No fishery has been depleted by recreational rod-and-reel fishing. What you are referring to is a violation of the New York State recreational fishing regulations by individual anglers.

It is physically impossible for a party-boat captain to monitor up to 100 anglers on a boat. They post the regulations regarding the type of fishing that is occurring. It is up to the individuals fishing to obey the rules, and the great majority do.

If violations are occurring on boat A or B, they should be reported to the Department of Environmental Conservation enforcement authorities. They can place undercover officers on boats that have a problem. These officers have the authority to ticket violators, not the captain. This is probably the means that provided the tickets to the violators you mentioned. Most of the fishermen, even on the boats mentioned, obey the regulations.

Your attack on the sportfishing industry on our East End was both uninformed (not factually correct) and detrimental to the vast majority of fishermen on the East End.

Your thinly veiled attempt to create a division between commercial and recreational fishermen is not appreciated.



Montauk Boatmen and Captains 




October 6, 2017

To the Editor:

The East Hampton Town officials’ ploy to reinstitute its plan for leaf pickup is not an exciting prospect for town residents as stated by the Sept. 21 commentary “Thinking Again About Leaf Pickup.”

The current Republican administration put a permanent end to the leaf pickup program by knowingly letting expensive town highway equipment sit unused and go to waste. The article stated that the price of the equipment that was left to rust is thought to be too great to bring back the leaf pickup program. 

It is the town’s fiscal responsibility to keep the equipment in good working condition and not let it be destroyed. They owe it to the people of the town to fix or replace the damaged equipment. 

The biodegradable paper bags do not provide help for those who have a lot of trees and cannot bag all their leaves. The leaf pickup program was the only thing the town gave back to the people. Not only did it help citizens with the burden of cleaning up fall debris from their yard but it also provided part-time seasonal employment for local people. 

In the fall of 2016, I spent a three-day weekend asking the people of Springs to sign a petition to bring back the leaf pickup program. I contacted Mr. Van Scoyoc about the number of signatures I’d collected, and he acknowledged that although it wasn’t a large number of signatures, it was a large amount of support considering the short period of time I’d spent collecting them. I was told that I didn’t have signatures representing all the hamlets within the jurisdiction of East Hampton Town, which include Montauk, Amagansett, Springs, Wainscot, and parts of Sag Harbor. 

This new leaf pickup proposal using biodegradable paper bags is a disservice to the townspeople. It was easier for the town officials to lay waste to the Highway Department’s equipment and follow Southampton’s lead than to be leaders for helping the townspeople. 


Critical Aquifer


October 9, 2017

Dear Editor:

We all appreciate wholesome kid activities in town, like bowling and miniature golf. But there is more to the East Hampton Indoor Tennis plan. 

With little notice, the planning board approved a 200-seat bar/restaurant. This is not a recreational use for kids. It will be one of the largest bar/restaurants in East Hampton. It is already advertising for catering and events. (What were they thinking? Or were they thinking at all?)

The use is within a critical deep recharge aquifer, and is designated as a special groundwater protection area. It is so important that the county has purchased large tracts of open space to prevent contamination from water-intensive uses. Worse, groundwater flow heads straight to Georgica Pond

Protecting our kids includes ensuring clean water for generations. An oversize bar/restaurant may be good for business, but it is bad for our drinking water. Can this be stopped, because when you can’t drink the water what you have is worthless?



Elegant Turbines


October 9, 2017

To the Editor,

On Oct. 2, I joined a group of interested people from East Hampton Town on a boat trip to get a close-up view of the Block Island Wind Farm, as well as explore the island’s cable landing location at Fred Benson Town Beach.

What I discovered that morning off Block Island were five elegant turbines turning gently in the wind. And a fishing boat circling them.

What I learned was that, before the wind farm, Block Island had five large generators that provided their electricity needs and that they burned one million gallons of diesel fuel each year, every year. This is not hyperbole: one million gallons of fuel for electricity. Because of the wind farm, these generators were turned off in May.

At Fred Benson Town Beach on Block Island is where the cables from the wind farm enter the island. Except for a maintenance cover in the parking lot, there is no evidence of cables anywhere. They are buried at least 10 feet deep.

Up next for Deepwater Wind is the South Fork Wind Farm. A proposed cable landing location for this project is at Wainscott Beach, and Wainscott is where I live. I was comforted by reviewing Fred Benson Town Beach and getting an up-close look at the turbines. 

Finally, the Block Island Wind Farm is three miles from the coast; the South Fork Wind Farm will be 30 miles from the coast. We will never see them.


Focus on Facts


October 8, 2017

To the Editor,

As an architect and advocate of renewable energy concepts for many years now, I was delighted to be able to go on the excursion on Monday Oct. 4. My interest in renewable energy dates back to when designing my own first home in 1980 with a passive solar trombe wall including a solar domestic hot water system. Since 1995 I have lived in a second home on Napeague Harbor where I installed a solar voltaic system and a partial rooftop garden.

With my passion for renewable energy concepts, I found the experience of this trip exceptionally enlightening. I joined 70 South Fork residents on one of the Viking Fleet ships steaming from Montauk to the wind farm, located approximately 16 nautical miles away and only three nautical miles from Block Island’s Mohegan bluff. I was pleased to see many local government officials along on this trip, especially considering the importance of it. During the ride over and once arriving at the wind farm, Clint Plummer of Deepwater Wind (the project’s contractor) gave us an extremely comprehensive narrative informing us of the logistics involved with the process of actually getting the project built. The description included technical data, the construction process, where the various turbine components were manufactured, and the economics of the project.

Over the years in considering the various negative impacts of wind turbines, I have heard comments that aside from the visual, the problem of noise has always been a major problem. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the technology must have come a long way in that there was virtually no noticeable noise to be heard. Here we were cruising along at probably five knots with little engine noise from our boat, and we found the noise from the wind turbines blades to be whisper quiet.

After visiting the site, we traveled to go ashore, landing at New Harbor and then proceeded by bus to the Fred Benson Town Beach. I was somewhat surprised to realize that this location was chosen for the sea-to-shore cable location. This beach is the most popular beach on the entire island but was also determined to be the ideal location for the cable landing, given the need to connect to the island’s mainland grid. Bryan Wilson of Deepwater Wind, who also resides on the island, gave a detailed description of how the beach and dunescape were bored to allow for the installation. The cable work was done during the winter season without any damage at all to the natural beachside setting.

It was also reassuring to hear Mr. Wilson describe how there were extensive studies done with concerns of the commercial fishing industry. The concerns of the electromagnetic field emanating from the transmission cables is minimal since the cables are buried anywhere from four to six feet. Deepwater Wind has also been conducting post-installation surveys on the local fishery and initial reports indicate that there has been no harm to the fishery to date.

Finally, our group proceeded to the Southeast Lighthouse at the Mohegan bluff, to view the wind farm from shore. I found the view to be a wonderful bucolic setting and it seemed that most of our group agreed with that impression. Of particular interest was noticing five boats fishing near the turbines. I am a firm believer that the turbine foundations (piles) will certainly create a reef benefiting the fishing industry in the near future.

Something that should be considered as a concern, is the fact that a recent East Hampton Press newspaper article mentions that the New York State Wind Farm to be constructed to the west near the Hudson Canyon will not benefit the South Fork in any way. That being said, I encourage all of our community to follow the process involved in the proposed South Fork Wind Farm now being considered. It is so important to focus on the facts involved in the process, since there has been a lot of misinformation out there.

When considering the alternatives to wind power, which is building more fossil fuel-burning plants (contributing vastly to the problem of climate change) and drilling for oil in the North Atlantic as proposed by our current White House administration, there’s no question in my mind that the concept of offshore wind power is one of the only solutions that makes any sense.

After experiencing this fabulous trip to the Block Island Wind Farm, I am more convinced than ever that we need to move forward with the proposed South Fork Wind Farm. For any of you who consider yourselves a concerned, responsible citizen with an interest in renewable energy technology, I highly recommend going on any future trips planned for the existing Block Island Wind Farm. (See renewableenergylong island.org.)

In closing, I commend and applaud three local citizens who have been doing a terrific job in helping with their coordinating efforts in managing the process involved with the proposed South Fork Wind Farm. They are Gordian Raacke from Renewable Energy Long Island and both Deepwater Wind’s Jennifer Garvey, a native of Hampton Bays, and Julia Prince from Montauk.


A Yes Vote


October 8, 2017

Dear Editor,

On Nov. 7, the voters of New York State will decide whether to approve or reject a proposition on the ballot that is posed every 20 years according to the State Constitution. It reads: “Shall there be a convention to revise the Constitution and amend the same?” The League of Women Voters supports a yes vote. It believes that a convention will create a bold opportunity for reform in areas that include voting reforms (for example, same day registration), rooting out corruption (such as a mandate that the Legislature pass a public campaign finance law), fair legislative redistricting (i.e., a redistricting commission more independent of the Legislature), modernizing our court system (i.e., some consolidation of the current nine trial courts), and strengthening our Bill of Rights (i.e., by adding more labor protections).

This vote is important and the debate to date has been fierce. Two objections predominate: the concern that the delegates will not reflect the interests of the voters, and that the convention will recommend change with which the majority of voters do not agree. There is fear that amendments could abridge our current rights (such as the right that public pensions are not subject to diminution) or cause our taxes to increase.  

Safeguards are in place to help ensure that the people’s will prevails: Delegate campaigns will ensure that we the voters know what the delegates’ platforms are. Don’t vote for the ones you don’t agree with. And voters will have the opportunity in November of 2019 to reject the proposed amendments if they disagree with them. Your vote is your voice!

There is gridlock in Albany preventing any meaningful legislation being passed. A constitutional convention is the only other method to get the kind of reform so needed in New York State accomplished.

We ask you to explore lwvny.org to find more information and to watch a panel discussion on this topic on youtube.com (type in SEA-TV Southampton). And then join us in voting to hold a constitutional convention that could achieve lasting change in our state. The proposition is Proposal Number One and is on the back of the ballot.



Rona’s Watch


October 9, 2017

To the Editor,

Rona Klopman is my friend: Yes, but that is not why I am voting for Rona.

Rona’s training, experience, attention to details, and just plain hard work to achieve any of her long-term goals was never more apparent than during her 22-year service as the president of our Amagansett East Association. Rona’s inspiration and drive was motivated by her deep love for our community. Rona maintained our community walkways and roads with the utmost of efficiency and professionalism . Our pristine walkways and dirt roads never looked more beautiful than under Rona’s watch.

Rona will attack future long-neglected goals and projects with those same skills and tenacity she exerted on behalf of our Organization.

I know I can always count on Rona and these are the same qualities I would want in my East Hampton Town Trustee. Please vote Rona Klopman for East Hampton trustee on Nov. 7.



Working Together

East Hampton

October 8, 2017

Dear David,

My name is Bill Taylor, and I am asking for your vote for myself and for my Democratic running mates. 

I am seeking the honor of serving a third term as an East Hampton Town trustee. I have a long and strong knowledge of our local waters and beaches, having worked on them for the past 28 years. I, back in the day, while working as the town’s senior harbormaster, helped write the town’s beach driving regulations and the local waterfront revitalization plan, and I utilized this experience to provide expert testimony in the “truck beach” lawsuit, resulting in an overwhelming victory for the town, the town trustees, and the beach-going public. 

I have worked with all the trustee boards, starting in 1989, and I am familiar with the trustees’ history and the vital importance of their work. I am familiar with all the trustee properties and their histories. I have worked hard to protect the traditional rights of the freeholders and commonalty to hunt, fish, and to have access to their beaches and waters. I have interacted with many trustee boards over the years and served on the last two, and I have seen what’s effective and not.

I served on both the 2014-15 board with a Republican majority and the current board with a Democratic and Independence Party majority, and what a difference. The Republican board, clerked by Diane McNally, was basically a two-year argument with un-televised meetings held in a small room often overfilled with angry constituents that accomplished very little.

By contrast, the current board now meets in the town’s main meeting room, with the meetings televised live on LTV, and totally accessible to the public. 

The contentious atmosphere of prior boards is a thing of the past, and we are getting good things done. The current board changed the leadership structure to spread out responsibility to a clerk and two deputy clerks, saving the town money and providing more balanced leadership.

The new board has established, from a position of strength, working relationships with other governmental agencies that have enabled us to actually complete long-delayed projects, such as re-opening the clogged culvert under Gerard Drive. 

We are now also able to better deal with emergency situations, such as when winter storms nearly closed the Accabonac Harbor channel. The new board, within six weeks of receiving notification from the afflicted fishermen of the dangerous conditions in the vital channel, was able to have permits modified, restrictions lifted, contractors hired, and to get the job done before the spring fishing season. 

Working together with the town, the Village, neighborhood groups, and other stakeholders in a cooperative and coordinated manner, we are starting to make progress improving water quality in all our waters and to get vital dredging projects going.

Please vote to keep a Democratic majority on the trustees. Thank you.


Firsthand Knowledge


October 7, 2017

Dear Mr. Rattray, 

My name is Mike Havens. I am a life-long resident of East Hampton. I follow in the footsteps of many generations of my family as a bayman. I am seeking the support of the community in the upcoming election as an East Hampton Town Trustee.

This is my second time running for trustee and I have found the experience very educational. I have spoken with numerous members of my family, close associates among the working fishermen, and many members of the general public. They have convinced me that my firsthand knowledge of our harbors and fisheries would be a great asset while serving as a trustee.

I have over the years learned a great deal about how important it is to understand the maintenance and dredging of our harbors, maintaining our fish and shellfish stocks, the health of our waters and beaches, and the importance of our fishing community to the economy and to the character of our town. I have to know these things — I make my living at it.

Through my dad, Benny Havens, who later in life worked on a New York State research boat, I have developed working relationships with some of the folks who run the various state agencies. This will enable me to work with them in understanding the unique history and functions of the East Hampton Town Board of Trustees.

My goal is to bring this intimate knowledge of our waterways and fisheries, and my commitment to my community, to the board of trustees. I look forward to serving the town I love and to meeting with anyone to answer their concerns and questions.



My Priority


October 9, 2017

Dear David,

Sometimes, as in every worthwhile endeavor, my political activities can become frustrating. Family and friends often ask, “Why do you bother with all that nonsense.”

The answer is I would like the local children to be able to experience all the good things East Hampton has to offer. Without local leadership especially on the trustee level I’m afraid that may be impossible. This is one of my top reasons for running along with keeping our harbors, bays, and ponds clean and accessible. Cleanliness and accessibility need also apply to our beaches and trails.

A beautiful, clean East Hampton should be a priority for all candidates. It most certainly is my priority.

Yours for our environment,


Good for You


October 9, 2017

Dear Editor,

Hello all! My name is Fallon Bloecker, I was born and raised in Montauk by two of the most amazing parents I know, Cheryl and Joe Bloecker. I’m writing this letter to ask for your vote for my father, Joe Bloecker, for town trustee. My dad has been elected a few different times in the past and feels that it is important to get back into helping the community as soon as possible. 

Not only has my dad been helping the community on a political front during his residency in Montauk but on a philanthropic front as well. He served on the Anti-Cancer Task Force as a co-chairman. He has been the president of the Montauk Friends of Erin, which supplies comfort for families in need, an awesome St. Patrick’s Day parade, and does so much for our community. 

My dad loves this town and cares deeply about the environmental issues coming forth. My dad is a great delegator and he knows how to work with people. It would mean so much to me and my family if you would vote for him on the Republican or Independence line! Not only would it be good for him, but it would be good for you. It’s time to bring the politics back to the people. 

Thank you so much for your time and I hope you all have an amazing fall!




Vote Them Out


October 9, 2017

Dear David,

In the past few weeks it has become apparent that a trustee clerk and assistant clerk may be abusing their positions. It seems these gentlemen are doing their trustee work at the same time they are being paid to do their town job. They call this double dipping, and worse: This abuse also pads their pensions, which they will receive for their entire retired lives.

One of these people has already been suspended for doing side work while being signed in as a town employee. This was on a Sunday. Does this mean he was trying to collect overtime as well? 

We can teach them a lesson. Vote them out! Transparency and responsibility should be the primary goal for all public servants. All should be paid fairly, but no one should enter public office just to enrich themselves. 

The Republican Committee has filed four Freedom of Information Act requests to make this information available to the public. Hopefully, this Democratic board will come clean before Election Day.

Yours in transparency,


Trustee Leadership

East Hampton

October 3, 2017

Dear David,

Whenever I watch the trustees’ meetings on TV, which is regularly, Francis Bock and Rick Drew catch my attention. Francis runs everything in a cordial, orderly fashion and keeps on top of all. 

Rick began his term as a new trustee by paying close attention and gradually became more active in board discussions, eventually participating in a leadership role as a deputy clerk. He appears levelheaded, in command of the issues and with no personal agenda. He has my vote.


Core Values


October 9, 2017

Dear Editor:                                                

With Election Day less than a month away, it’s time to start thinking about the candidates for East Hampton Town Trustee. Two years ago, a divided board was transformed with a group of people who, with the exception of one or two, have worked together for the betterment of the town. Most of those running deserve re-election, particularly Rick Drew.

I have known Rick for over 25 years, and he brought his core values on environmental issues to the job of trustee in a big way. Rick always listens to all sides and makes educated decisions — he works to find solutions by discussion and compromise. I heartily endorse his re-election. I would hope that all voters ignore the “D,” “R,” or “other” on Election Day and vote for the people who have core values that will help protect the environment and serve the people of this terrific town we live in.



Perfect Candidate

Sag Harbor

October 9, 2017

Dear Editor, 

I have had the privilege of knowing Susan McGraw Keber for the last 20 years. I have worked with her as a real estate broker and can attest to her honesty, ethics, and moral compass. Susan is a tireless worker for what she believes in and she relies on research and facts when making decisions.

Susan’s love of her town and water make her the perfect candidate for town trustee. I know that if she is elected as a town trustee all her efforts would be directed to working as a team member to ensure that the responsibilities of protecting and preserving the harbors, estuaries, ponds, and beaches would be her top priority. Susan will give 100 percent to her work on behalf of the trustees and her community of East Hampton. 

I encourage you to vote for Susan McGraw Keber as town trustee on Nov. 7.



Love and Passion

East Hampton

October 9, 2017

Dear David,

In a few short weeks we will take to the voting booths to elect our local representatives. One such choice to be made will be to elect our town trustees. Those individuals who will protect the waters, the beaches, and all those of fin and feather that inhabit the waters and the adjacent dunes. 

Susan McGraw Keber is one such individual who will dedicate herself during her tenure as a trustee to protect and preserve the health and welfare of our waters.

Should you choose to read on, I will share why I think she will be one of the best candidates to do so.

I know Susan personally and professionally for several decades. During this time I have come to know and see demonstrated her incredible integrity, her innate curiosity, her passion for her family (raising a son as a single parent was no inconsequential task), her dedication to her community, and of significant noteworthiness, her love and passion for the sea and all creatures therein.

An accomplished rescue diver and water enthusiast, she will research for information both tried and true and innovative and new that will best serve our very precious water resources both below the ground and that which we see, be it harbor, lake, inlet, ocean, or bay.

In the weeks ahead take the time to meet Susan, whether in a forum, on the corner at the post office, or in front of the market. You will see for yourself a woman of intelligence, commitment, passion, sincerity, and authenticity.


Rabbi Hillel

East Hampton

October 9, 2017

To the Editor,

I was struck by two things this week. The first, the article about the finding of a bottle in Normandy, France, containing a note written by Eric Perez, then a Montauk grade school student, in 2008, that was thrown into the sea off Montauk. The second was the Jewish festival of Sukkot. These made me rethink of the words of Rabbi Hillel, who was born 110 B.C. in Babylon. I have often used a truncation of one of his teachings in my campaign, the full text being, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, who am I? And if not now when?” 

After a week of campaigning in which I went to over 400 homes, it became clear to me that the residents of our town are not only concerned about our town’s deteriorating water quality, its opioid drug crisis, and its housing issues, but that our residents want action. That was best put in perspective by one voter who commented she had watched the Thursday town board meeting where Dr. Dempsey gave an impassioned presentation about the opioid epidemic. When he finished, the four town board members in attendance simply closed up their notes and briefcases and left without a word other than to adjourn. Her disgust with the board was palpable.

I am campaigning on solutions to these issues and simply because “if I am not for others, who am I?” Eric is now a college student. I wonder if he were to author another note for a similar voyage would he mention our water quality, our drug issues, or the dearth of housing for those who toil in East Hampton. I wonder if that note were to be found in eight years, what progress we would have made. 

Rabbi Hillel was author of what we now refer to as the golden rule, “Do not do to others, what you would not have them do to you.” I ask, would the town board like to have others pack up and walk away from them? My take on this is another Rabbi Hillel quote, “He who refuses to learn deserves extinction.” This is very strident. But then again the issues that we consider serious are strident too. Shouldn’t we be listening, learning, and acting? If not now, when?


Mr. Giardina is a candidate for East Hampton Town Board. Ed. 

Uniquely Qualified


October 9, 2017

Dear Editor,

East Hampton is being given the rare opportunity to cast a vote, not one of popularity or one “for the team,” but one that provides a person who is uniquely qualified to deal with many of the issues our residents, land, and water all face. 

That person is Paul Giardina.

While my choice has always been between me and the voting booth, I feel it’s important to recognize this man has chosen to share his incredible knowledge for the sake of the town, its people, and those things that make the East End of Long Island what it is. A gem on our planet.

And so, I will cast my vote for Paul Giardina and encourage others to do the same. I’m confident the town will be well represented with his leadership and experience.


To ‘Save’ Montauk

East Hampton

October 9, 2017

Dear David:

No beach for Montauk!

That would be the eventual result if Paul Giardina is elected to the town board and gets to implement his plan to “save” Montauk and its beaches. 

Ignoring the almost universal opinion of ocean geologists, Mr. Giardina accused the town board of making a mistake in trying to solve the Montauk erosion problem. According to Mr. Giardina, a nuclear engineer, the right plan to save Montauk’s beaches would be to erect a hard barrier covered with sand — a seawall. The virtually unanimous opinion of ocean geologists is the exact opposite. Their conclusion is that armoring a beach to fix the shoreline as Mr. Giardina suggests will result in the narrowing and eventual loss of the adjoining beach. This means that if Mr. Giardina gets to build his wall, Montauk will lose its beach.

On the other hand the Democratic candidates were in sync with the prevailing science. During the Oct. 2 debate, where Mr. Giardina related his plan, Mr. Bragman gave a more enlightened view. Consistent with the existing science, he rejected the idea of armoring the beach, noting that it would likely result in eventual beach loss. Instead, he recommended sand replenishment and land conservation. 

His running mate, incumbent candidate Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, also favored protective measures consistent with the experts’ conclusions to protect Montauk’s beaches and its businesses. She has supported the temporary permeable reinforcement of the beaches, which does not have the destructive potential inherent in the G.O.P.’s plan.  Her long-term plan to protect Montauk’s beaches and the downtown area favors sand replenishment and the possible acquisition of land with the potential goal of rebuilding the protective dune structure lost in coastal construction done decades ago.

So, while “Save Our Beaches” might be a campaign slogan of the G.O.P. slate, its ideas would accomplish the opposite. As Mr. Bragman said during the debate, the town Democrats have long been recognized as more concerned with preserving our environment, and the Oct. 2 debate underscored the point. They deserve your vote this November.



Nothing Substantial


October 3, 2017 

Dear David, 

Your article on Paul Giardina (Sept. 28) made clear that he is reaching to distinguish himself from the Democratic candidates for East Hampton Town Board but has nothing substantial to add to the administration’s activities or their platforms. 

Mr. Giardina approves of the town’s commitment to septic system replacement. He then says we shouldn’t use the community preservation fund for this purpose. Why? Because there is not enough money. Of course there isn’t enough. But why not start by paying with money already approved by town voters — especially as waiting for federal revolving funding would delay action on an urgent problem and ultimately cost us money.

Mr. Giardina also boasts that he is prioritizing affordable housing, though he points out that Republican polls rank this issue as almost the last priority. Does he know that Democrats have created all the town’s affordable housing to date and are about to launch a new one? Or that they have made housing affordability a priority in the current campaign? 

On the airport, Mr. Giardina exposes a fundamental divergence between his and our candidates’ commitments. He stresses that only a little over a quarter of Republican poll respondents found airport noise a serious concern. What about the rest? Our people believe that they are responsible to the whole community. That’s why Jeff Bragman fought as a lawyer for reasonable airport rules and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez is negotiating for them with the Federal Aviation Administration. 

Mr. Giardina astonishingly claims that our town government lacks a “willingness to take a clear stand and use your powers of persuasion to bring the community around to your point of view.” Our board and candidates’ actions prove him wrong. 

Mr. Giardina’s comments in your article reveal no personal record of the “leadership” he calls for. 

Sincerely yours, 


East Hampton Town 

Democratic Committee

Never Gives Up


October 9, 2017

Dear David,

Jeff Bragman has a 30-year track record of standing up and speaking out for environmental protection of our town. He has faced down tough boards and strongly funded opposition. He has never given up or given in on standing strong for the preservation of our environment.

I have seen Jeff in action through the years as a neighborhood advocate, as well as an environmental activist. He has the values we need and the courage of his convictions.

Jeff Bragman will be an excellent member of the East Hampton Town Board.



Loves Our Community


October 9 2017

Dear David:

For the following reasons I urge the residents of this town to vote for Kathee Burke-Gonzalez on Nov. 7 so that she can continue to bring that same experience, energy, insight, and tireless work ethic to her service on the town board as a town councilwoman. Kathee’s re-election to the town board will enable her to continue to:

• Protect water quality for your family and mine

• Continue to help shape the future leaders of this community due to her nonstop dedication, devotion, and time to our children at the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter 

• Continue to mentor the youth of our town through her commitment to their mental health 

• Preserving open space 

• Keeping the airport under East Hampton control

• Designing a new senior center

• Promoting affordable housing

The biggest question Kathee is always asked is, “Why do you do it?” I believe she does it because she loves our community and she has a style of leadership that you do not often see. She is very inclusive, and cares deeply about residents’ thoughts and concerns. 

On Nov. 7, when you exercise your right to vote, I urge you to vote for Kathee Burke-Gonzalez and allow her to continue to do what she was born to do — lead — and together we can all preserve the community we love through her leadership. 




Peaceful Dissent


October 9, 2017

To the Editor,

I was a nightly viewer of the fine Ken Burns and Lynn Novick series about the war in Vietnam on P.B.S. On many levels, it was difficult to watch: painful, introspective, and at times quite unflattering toward this country’s leadership during the period.

An interesting backdrop for the series was provided by the National Football League and its players, who have been protesting racial inequality. The players kneeled or locked arms or simply stayed in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem before the games. Until recently, the protests were limited to a handful of players. Then Donald Trump became involved, taking on the entire N.F.L. and the protests grew to the vast majority of players in the league.

While I am generally not an advocate of demonstrations during the national anthem or toward our flag, I believe the players have the right guaranteed by our First Amendment to do so. Just as others have the right not to like it and express their opinion as well.

With this climate of protest I watched the Vietnam series. Aside from the pain, regret, and sadness it engendered, I felt a much stronger emotion as it proceeded: one of outrage.

Outrage that the American people were duped about how well the war was going when the truth was quite different. Outrage that so many young people were placed in harm’s way in a conflict that seemed to have no discernible objective. Anger that children (and they were children) were pilloried by many of their fellow countrymen upon returning to America and were ignored by the “establishment” types who would not hire these returning veterans who did their duty when called upon. And most of all, outrage for the Johnson and Nixon administrations, along with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, particularly Nixon and Kissinger. They trumpeted “peace with honor,” a smokescreen for sending another 20,000 young men and women to their deaths for a war they were privately recorded as saying was not winnable. Of course they didn’t say that in public. It amounted to a blood sacrifice of American youth for the purpose of public relations and political gain.

At home, there were many protests against the war, some peaceful, some violent. I do not condone the violence, but do condone the peaceful dissent. This brings me back to the N.F.L. players.

They were protesting peacefully about what they feel is social inequality. If we are to look in the mirror and be honest with ourselves, we know that we have never reached the ideals stated by the Declaration of Independence. But we have tried and it is important we continue to try. I think many Americans are not comfortable with dissent because it forces us all to glance into that mirror and what we see makes us uncomfortable. We like to do the easy politically correct thing and pat ourselves on the back, but when a group actually challenges the conscience of this nation, it makes us collectively nervous because we know there is much work to be done.

Many also do not like world reality invading their fantasy world of sports. They state that the players are poor representatives because they are millionaires who owe their livelihood to being in the good old U.S.A. Some of that has a ring of truth, but many of these men worked hard to get where they are, many are active in our communities and are highly visible. And dissent always works better with highly visible people. During Vietnam, many of the kids originally protesting were dismissed as dirty, cowardly, drug-addicted ingrates. It was only when members of Congress or some in the business community started protesting that many people sat up and took notice. It’s the way of the world.

Let’s never forget: This country was founded on dissent. Many of our founding fathers, such as John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and even Thomas Jefferson were dismissed as troublemakers and rabble, not just by the British but by many colonists as well. The result of this dissent is the great nation we love today, where any citizen’s right to speak or peacefully protest their government is protected by the First Amendment.

Today, however, our country is badly divided along social, economic, and philosophical lines. This seems to be encouraged by the present administration, which appears intent on dividing the nation into us vs. them. This has led us into much of the abyss we are suffering from today, domestically and internationally. In fairness, this didn’t start with Trump. I am 62, and it has been going on for much of my life. But Trump seems to revel in exacerbating it.

  One moving image remains in my mind during the N.F.L. controversy. The Pittsburgh Steelers decided to remain in their locker room during the playing of the anthem before their game two weeks ago, but one man, Alejandro Villanueva, an offensive tackle, came outside and stood in the entrance tunnel, hand over heart, while the anthem was played.  Mr. Villanueva, a former Army Ranger, Bronze Star winner, and West Point graduate, who served three tours of duty in Afghanistan, felt it was the right thing to do. Later, in an interview, he expressed some regret for not bonding with his teammates on the issue and showed compassion, empathy, and selflessness that is too often lacking in today’s America. He needn’t regret anything. Mr. Villanueva is a legitimate American hero who understands that he fought for the right of his teammates and others to have dissenting views. We should all be grateful for his service. He gets the bigger picture.

In a true democracy, we have respectful dissent. Without the respect, it morphs into anarchy. Without any dissent at all, it becomes a dictatorship. President Abraham Lincoln once said before the Civil War, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” But we can find a sense of unity through dissent. We need to reach out the way Mr. Villanueva did with his comments. If we don’t, we will become more divided and our democracy will be in peril.    


The National Anthem

East Hampton

October 5, 2017

To the Editor:

Wisdom is a principal! But in order to get wisdom you must have understanding. Have you ever said, “I wonder?” Well, when you think about wonder that’s the beginning of understanding. Wisdom is the right use of knowledge, but to know how to use knowledge, that is wisdom.

Our flag does not fly because of the wind moving it. It flies with the last breath of every soildier, sailor, marine, and airman whose life blood has bought the liberty of our nation. That life blood is not of one trait. It is made up of men, women, black, white, Hispanic, Indian, Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Muslim, and a 100 other variations. It is not a certain race, creed, color, or gender. It is America, our America, our unity.

These heroes’ blood has given us all freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, freedom to vote, freedom of religion, right to a fair trial, and freedom of the press. It was by their actions not by hollow words and empty promises of our politicians.

There is real magic in enthusiasm, which hopefully we can recover for our country as Americans. This spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment. As Americans it was our dream for unity that took us to levels beyond which others were afraid to stride.

We look to that flag that represents that unity. We respect the wisdom and understanding of that veteran who salutes that flag, serves under that flag, and whose coffin will be draped by that flag.

With knowledge we look on that flag and see the red stripes that symbolize the blood spilled in defense of this glorious nation.

We look at the white stripes that signify the burning tears shed by Americans who lost their sons and daughters in defense of this country.

We look to the blue field, which indicates God’s heaven in which the flag proudly flies.

We look at the stars, which symbolize 50 states united together for God and country.

Playing the national anthem is an honor. For those who deny that honor or disrespect that honor, just remember whose blood paid the price for you.


Unsettling Rhythm

East Hampton

October 6, 2017

To the Editor,

I was struck this week when I read through the always engaging “The Way It Was” column by the procession of dates. 1917 was of course the year that the U.S. entered World War I, while 1942 found us completely enmeshed in World War II. 1967 brought full engagement in the Vietnam War. 1992 was just after the conclusion of the Gulf War when we succeeded in expelling Iraqi forces from Kuwait. This caused me to go to the web and see if we were at war in 1892, which turned up something of which I had never heard called the Chilean-American War of 1892.

This 25-year rhythm is unsettling, particularly when one considers the rhetoric flying around in Washington and Pyongyang. And, of course, the war in Afghanistan can hardly be considered over. It’s certainly food for thought.


Bought and Paid For


October 9, 2017

To the Editor:

Lee Zeldin, Donald Trump’s puppet in New York’s First Congressional District, has accepted $14,850 in campaign contributions from the National Rifle ssociation, more than any other representative in New York State. He has a 100-percent approval rating from the N.R.A. and has voted against every piece of common-sense gun legislation to come before him. No doubt the events of Las Vegas will do nothing to change his mind. Congressional District 1  does not need a representative bought and paid for by the N.R.A. Lee Zeldin must go.


Judged by Our Character


October 8, 2017

Dear David,

How much will it cost? Where will the money come from? This is the battle cry of the bean counters.

Health care, education, affordable housing are not financial issues, but are moral imperatives announced in our Declaration of Independence by the expression of the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

There can be no life without proper health care for all, no liberty without education, and certainly no pursuit of happiness without an adequate roof over one’s head.

When war calls, no one asks, “Can we afford it?” We rally round the flag, we find the money to kill each other, or the enemy, and pursue spreading our form of morality to others, whether they want it or not. Yes, and some even profit by this fratricide.

Until the question of “How much does it cost?” gets replaced by “Are we doing the right thing?” We will be a nation ruled by those (who we elected) who count statistics, balance sheets, and “others” as the measure and worth of our nation, when our real worth can only be judged by our character, compassion, and concern for our brothers and sisters with whom we temporarily share this fragile planet.

Am I still a naive dreamer at 87? For all our sakes, I hope not.


Senator McCain


Ocober 5, 2017

To the Editor,

We need more politicians like John McCain, and I say this as a lifelong Democrat.

Considering that we have Democrats, Republicans, and independents in Congress, we have a wide range of opinions and priorities. This is true even within each group.

Producing legislation may be compared to manufacturing sausage, but to get things done in accordance with the best interests of this country, proposals require discussion, debate, research, consultation, and, perhaps most important, transparency.

There must be a willingness to exchange ideas despite all the differences, not obstructionism because of them. Senator McCain understands this and he is willing to spend political capital to stand up for these ideals — actually, they shouldn’t be ideals: They should routinely be part of the process.

Note to the president: You said you prefer people who didn’t get captured. John McCain was not captured because of any lack of competence. He agreed to fly an extremely dangerous mission, and — through no fault of his own — got shot down. The strength and courage he summoned during his captivity is nothing short of extraordinary. Perhaps superhuman is a better word.


Particularly American

East Hampton

October 8, 2017

To the Editor,

Las Vegas, once again, unleashed the debate over gun control and the American obsession with guns and killing. From the left: the call for background checks, limits on sales, better control of military style weaponry. On the right, the Second Amendment and the National Rifle Association, 18 inches into its lower intestine, advocating for fewer controls and more freedom. 

The right is correct when it says that nothing we do around guns will stop the mass killings. The left, and rightly so, says that anything we do is better than nothing.

The obvious and simplest question is why other nations with similar histories and lots of guns don’t experience the same problem. What makes this so particularly American and why?

The American DNA contains a mixture of the belief that people can and should do whatever they want and that violent solutions are as natural as peaceful ones. We resolved so many issues with Native Americans, slaves, the French, Spanish, and English, etc., through extreme violence. Our penchant for being at war is remarkable. We are a genetically modified people with a really bad gene.

Guns and freedom seem to be the primary reality malfunction, an unusual correlation that absolutely no one in the world, except Americans, accepts or understands. Guns and sex, guns and power, guns and virility all make sense, but guns and freedom borders on the fantastic. Freedom to do what? Kill people? We spend trillions on police and security, so it’s not about protections.

Freedom in a democracy is the freedom to vote and to alter political policy. Freedom in the old U.S.S.R. was the freedom to leave. Is freedom a woman’s right to chose? Or the right to pray or not pray as one likes? Guns are material foreign objects. It’s like freedom is a new suit.

Refusing to recognize and modify our cultural defects makes the problem of mass killings unsolvable. We should simply accept our fate and build more cemeteries.

Alternatively, we could try and modify the situations that allow for these horrors to take place. This would necessitate a small adjustment around the Constitution, for example, the Second Amendment.

While much of the Constitution is a body of ideas and laws that were designed as a framework for developing our country, the Second Amendment was a militia scam; it had nothing to do with individual protections or rights but everything to do with state and national militias and slavery. Nothing was written in stone. The world changed too quickly. So, for example, when we intoned that everyone was created equal, it didn’t include blacks, Indians, women, and most of the male population. Inequality is human nature. Equality was something to aspire to, not a given right.

So, when someone cites the Second Amendment as the basis for gun rights they are talking out of their butts. Every politician knows this to be self-evident. They use it, not as a real belief, but for political purposes. The founders’ vision was a population that could defend the country and not cost the government. They never imagined high-powered rifles, bazookas, or Glocks. They understood the violent nature of the population but believed they could control it.

Gun controls come into play when the cultural and psychosocial disconnect from peaceful interaction loses its edge. In a country of 330 million with 1 percent of the population potentially off-kilter, there is no monitoring mechanism that will guarantee that any one of them doesn’t go off the rails. Changing who we are is a worthy but daunting task and needs to happen. In the interim, we have little choice but to even the odds by limiting the possibilities of this behavior.

Gun controls, background checks, prohibiting enhancers, silencers, and all military-grade equipment would construct a small deterrent. They will not stop the lunatic behavior, but they could make an impact. Maybe only 20 people would have died in Vegas if rifle enhancers weren’t available.

If we have any desire to solve this problem, we need to revisit gun rights and understand that the Second Amendment is simply bullshit and that there are no proscribed rights in the Constitution. The argument would then be on the reasons why people should have guns and would make much more sense. This would bring gun rules into the real world and base them on the reality of our lives and not our fantasies.

The rhetoric around gun ownership is almost always fabricated. When have people been denied the right to own guns in this country? Where are the policies that take people’s guns away? It is all made up, just like the guns and freedom relationship is made up. The Second Amendment is antiquated and irrelevant because anyone who walks, talks, and chews gum at the same time can obtain any firearm he or she desires, legally or illegally. The issue is a total farce except for the dead bodies of innocent people that pile up as a result of some guns being used badly.