Letters to the Editor: 11.02.17

Our readers' comments

Positive Force

East Hampton

October 24, 2017

Dear Star Editor, 

The children of East Hampton need your help. For 17 years, Project Most, the East Hampton after-school program, has served our community at the John M. Marshall and Springs Schools, serving over 6,000 children and their families. Project Most has been reliant on New York State Advantage After School Funding for 43 percent of its budget, and unfortunately this money is slowly being eliminated due to administrative and policy changes on the state level. This amounts to an approximate budget reduction of $400,000 ($250,000 by June 2018 and $150,000 by August 2019). We need this community to step forward and help Project Most meet this challenge. 

Project Most is not just a place to do homework. They are the only year-round, licensed, affordable after-school program in this community Monday to Friday, 3 to 6 p.m. On a daily basis, the Most students, approximately 350, are engaged in enrichment activities that include art, gardening, dance, yoga, engineering, cooking, and much more! There are also family workshops that promote cooking and art making. Project Most also runs a summer program to ensure that working families have an affordable alternative during the busy summertime. 

Project Most supports the working families of East Hampton who are the backbone of this economy. This program is open to everyone who attends the John M. Marshall or Springs School. They serve a diverse community including children of Latino immigrants, low-to-middle income families, and children with various learning styles and challenges.

National statistics indicate that after-school programs that run from 3 to 6 p.m. are a powerful and positive force that reduces crime, opiate use, alcohol use, obesity, and teen pregnancy. 

When our students and families are supported by Project Most, the possibilities are endless and the community of East Hampton wins! This year, when you are selecting an organization to donate to, please donate to Project Most! Go to www.projectmost.com to learn more.




Fall Festival

East Hampton

October 27, 2017

Dear David:

On behalf of the village board of trustees, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Steve Ringel and the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce on a job well done on Oct. 21 at the fall festival.

It was heartening to see so many friends and family gather on that beautiful day and celebrate this time of the year. The support was wonderful to see, from the local vendors and not-for-profits, the Y.M.C.A., our volunteer emergency services personnel, and so many others who participated that day.

What a successful day, and congratulations once again!

Sincerely yours,




Magical Afternoon

East Hampton

October 24, 2017

Dear David:

The East Hampton Chamber of Commerce would like to thank everyone who participated and attended our first annual fall festival.

The mayor and trustees of East Hampton Village, our sponsors, the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter, all the wonderful nonprofit groups who gave their time and energy, the East Hampton High School Jazz Band, all our fantastic musicians who gave their talents to us all, our talented artisans who set up such beautiful booths, and most of all: We want to thank you, the community, for making the day such a magical afternoon.


Executive Director



Walking Around


Octiber 23, 2017

Dear Mr. Rattray,

As you know I’ve been walking around a lot lately, trying to understand what’s next. Not in circles (the Amagansett lanes pretty much run parallel to each other), so walking around in rectangles. 

I’ve covered many miles in recent weeks, lost in thought, trying to get an understanding. Occasionally, passing a new Farrell construction site, I’ll take a knee, a moment to show my support for the players and their message, and to say a quick prayer that the house is under 4,000 square feet. Multitasking.

About a week ago on one of these rectangular walks I encountered Matt Ward on Hand Lane. Matt is awesome. In his adulthood he made a career choice, went back to school, and became a teacher. We exchanged a friendly greeting, and Matt said, “When are you gonna write another letter? I need your letters!” 

Now, obviously, that felt good, because I need love and appreciation. Even though I have love and appreciation, but, you know, a little more would be great. 

Anyway, Matt, you have caused this letter and now must take at least partial responsibility for its contents, which I assure you will be slight. 

The “What’s next?” part of these long walks: It’s seldom been about the state of our nation, the disturbing tone of political discourse in our politics, even about the pain and suffering endured by millions here and around the world. I’ve tried not to write too much about my political views — they’re well known among my 54 readers. (Welcome, Matt!) And for those of a different faith, why would you need another rant from yours truly? I see your heads nodding. Perfect.

In the weeks following our president’s inauguration, I wrote five letters to Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior adviser to President Trump. Contrary to assumptions re my deeply rooted sarcasm, each letter was respectful of Mr. Kushner’s esteemed office and responsibilities. I encouraged him to counsel moderation in the president’s tone, reminding him that his campaign was run on a message of complete independence from the Washington “insiders,” etc. I thought, “This has to be a more useful thing to do than just sparring with the opposition at a bar.” 

No response to any of the letters, of course. And based on the president’s continued tweet-storms and plummeting “approval” ratings (now at a stunning 38 percent) I’m guessing my letters went directly into the circular file. Or rectangular file. Or paper shredder.

Which brings me back to these introspective walkabouts. If I’m being honest, they’re about me and what I’m to do next. Maybe brought on by that recent birthday, Mr. Rattray, the one you deliberately and selfishly ignored: my 70th. I’m calling it “the 70-year itch.” The tattoo I’d been thinking of getting for over 10 years? I went ahead and got it. Two sessions. Runs from the back of my hand, up the inside of my forearm and around the facing side of my bicep. Yes, it hurt. And the 1960 Nash Metropolitan convertible I’ve coveted? 

I found one online from a seller in Okemos, Mich., and bought it. It’s beautiful. And has virtually no purpose. Now I occasionally think about the number of bottles of water I could have personally sent to Puerto Rico instead of buying that car. I’m guessing about 50,000, including shipping. This line of thinking successfully negates the joy of classic car ownership, so I keep walking.

Damn it, Matt, look at the funk you’ve dragged me into. Now I’m pissed! Ok, sorry. You’re a teacher. What you do has value. Truly it does. Mary is a teacher, now a consultant in her dual-language field of expertise, co-writing a text book in Spanish. What she does has value. I’m walking around in rectangles, wondering what’s next. Maybe I’ll write a self-help book and buy it on Amazon. Maybe I’ll even read it. Wait, that’s it! It’s what I was born to do! Thanks, Matt, I owe you. Your signed copy’s on me.

Still walking,




There’s No Home


October 27, 2017

To The Editor:

Thank goodness someone with a wide audience (you) has the courage to come right out and say what many reasonable people have concluded: There are too many deer here.

I can remember when seeing a deer in one’s yard was such a rarity that we rushed to take a picture. Now, since ours is just about the only un-deer-fenced yard in the neighborhood, I have a gang of “regulars” who show up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Naps, too. It’s not unusual to see six to eight of the critters lying around in patches of sun and shade.

I can remember when I could hear bobolink and see quail and pheasant right in my yard. Not anymore. Since the deer have decimated the understory, there’s no home for them. And don’t tell me something else is the cause of my understory’s demise. I see the deer munching away at it with my own eyes every single day. There really isn’t much of it left, and with more people putting up fencing, I worry about what the deer will feast on come winter.

It seems to me that the only reasonable solution is to allow and encourage hunting. It seems perverse to “let nature take its course” out here, when the only “natural” enemies the deer have are cars — and starvation.




Rescue Calls

East Hampton

October 30, 2017

Dear David,

In response to the short piece you published about the six deer hit by speeding vehicles the prior week, might I add that during that same week, on those same roads, hundreds and hundreds of speeding vehicles did not hit any deer, but they were speeding. Let me also add that last week I got seven rescue calls after 9 p.m. regarding poached deer that escaped the hunters and died in the callers’ yards or property. 

Get out and vote, folks.


Mr. Cullum is a candidate for East Hampton Town Trustee. Ed.



Being Jeopardized


October 30, 2017

To the Editor:

I find it appalling that the East Hampton board is contemplating opening an abandoned and closed runway. The airport is directly responsible for our air and water pollution, stretching from Town Line Road to Stephen Hand’s Path.

I have lived in Wainscott for almost two decades. I have cancer, as do several of my neighbors. We use the well water for everything from bathing to brushing our teeth. Bottled water is simply a nice gesture, but far from solving the problem.

The leaded gas from the exhaust of the planes pollutes the air we breathe, as well as the fumes from the jets and helicopters.

Our children’s lives and those of all residents are being jeopardized for the minimal pleasure of a few self-serving pilots, none of whom live here. This must stop now! This all affects our health, has affected our health, and must stop now!




F.A.A.’s Poisoned Cake

East Hampton 

October 29, 2017

Dear David,

For those whose health, safety, or sanity is threatened by water pollution, air pollution, and noise pollution caused by East Hampton Airport, there is no greater threat than the Republican candidates for supervisor and town board this year. Why? Because by their responses to questions posed to all board candidates by the Quiet Skies Coalition, the Republican candidates have made clear that they are willing to take more airport grant money from the Federal Aviation Administration. They hem or they haw, but the bottom line is that they refuse to say no to the F.A.A.’s poisoned cake.

F.A.A. grant money threatens us because it comes with so-called “grant assurances” that give the F.A.A. control over any federally supported airport for 20 years. These grant assurances prevent the municipal airport owner, in our case the Town of East Hampton, from restricting airport use to control noise and can interfere with anything, whether it be measures to control air and water pollution or the way the airport spends its money, that even might have an impact on aviation. There is no means under federal law of canceling a grant agreement, even by repaying the money. Eat a piece of the poisoned F.A.A. cake, even for as little as $1, and the federal government owns you for 20 years.

During that 20-year period, the airport owner is prohibited by federal law from closing the airport no matter what it may be doing to local health, safety, and well being. Just ask the people of Santa Monica, Calif., who have been trying for years to close their municipally owned airport with the full support of their local elected officials. No dice. The democratic decision of the people of Santa Monica has been opposed every step of the way by the National Business Aviation Association, invoking every possible legal weapon. The N.B.A.A. even sues under federal law to prevent the F.A.A. itself from agreeing with the airport owner, as happened to us too in East Hampton.

That is actually the worst aspect of the grant assurances. They allow private parties, such as the N.B.A.A., to bring endless federal actions opposing local airport administration. Many localities are simply bludgeoned into submission by the legal onslaught.

At this very moment, airport businesses and out-of-state aviation companies are using the grant assurances, due to expire completely in 2021, to bully the Town of East Hampton. They have multiple actions against the town before the F.A.A., and the town, foolishly in my opinion, has actually significantly reduced landing fees on helicopters to try and escape the grip of out-of-state, mostly New Jersey, helicopter operators on our throats. 

The East Hampton Republican Committee openly trumpets on its social media feed that the Republican candidates, Vilar, Larsen, and Giardina, are supported by, and support, the Friends of East Hampton Airport. The self-proclaimed “Friends” is in reality the front organization for the New Jersey helicopters and other aviation companies that sued the town, joined in doing so by the N.B.A.A., to overturn our democratically adopted airport noise restrictions. The lawsuit against us was even titled, Friends of East Hampton Airport v. Town of East Hampton. 

What do the New Jersey helicopter companies want and expect from these Republicans? That, if elected, they would take more money from the F.A.A. and condemn us to perpetual federal and aviation company control of the East Hampton Airport, no matter how bad things may get there. 

How is it possible that people running for public office in East Hampton are willing, indeed seemingly eager, to surrender control of our airport, owned by the people of East Hampton for their collective benefit, to helicopter operators from New Jersey? 

Republicans Vilar, Larsen, and Giardina do not belong on the East Hampton Town Board, because they openly proclaim that they are working for out-of-state business interests, the so-called Friends of East Hampton Airport, to the detriment of the people of East Hampton. 

On Election Day, Nov. 7, these three should be shown straight to the political exit ramp by being defeated resoundingly at the polls and sent packing. Or maybe, in the case of Vilar, Larsen, and Giardina, they should be shown to the airport boarding ramp, so they can get right quickly to New Jersey, where they will be welcomed by their Friends.





Close the Airport


October 29, 2017

To the Editor:

Close the airport. The well water is contaminated with chemicals.  The municipality is giving us free water. I pay taxes. I don’t think anything in life is free.

Will there be endless testing and millions spent on free water? Everyone in the community is entitled to clean water. Fixing a problem is a solution. Have the water authority hook up the pipe immediately. Our health, safety, and freedom are the precious aspects of our lives that we protect through our government.

Our country, our state, our town, village, or hamlet are there to protect us as we should protect them with every cell of our moral fiber. I trust my votes in November will build up my faith in humanity rather than diminish it. Good luck to the candidates.




Trying to Hide


October 29, 2017

Dear David:

As the former treasurer for a local major party, as well as several individual candidates, I was quite concerned when I received an expensive-looking, multicolored mailer from the Quiet Skies Coalition under the guise of coming from a political action committee referred to as the “QSC PAC,” located in Wainscott. 

In my opinion, this flier (which mimicked ads in local newspapers, including your own) is rife with misrepresentations and erroneous assumptions. I went to the New York State Board of Elections website to see who would fund such nonsense. To my shock and amazement, this PAC (officially recorded at the B.O.E. as “Filer #A21200”) has claimed in all of their many financial disclosure filings that they have had “no activity” — ever. (In fact, the QSC PAC filed even this false statement well after B.O.E.’s mandatory deadline.)

This is stunning. How can the cost of producing the ads and the flier, the cost of placing full-page advertisements in The Star and elsewhere, as well as the postage needed to deliver this drivel to my mailbox, not be an expenditure as defined by the law? In addition, how was all of this activity paid for — and by whom? You certainly can’t tell from the B.O.E. filings! It is crystal clear that the QSC PAC is trying to hide from the public who are its contributors. 

Even if all the work involved with the QSC PAC was donated (which no one believes), those kinds of “donations” have to be listed as “in-kind contributions” on a separate schedule and then properly filed with the B.O.E. Furthermore, if the money to place the ads in several newspapers and to mail the flier was considered a loan, that too must be reported on the specific loan schedule and filed with the B.O.E. What’s going on here? 

The Star is quick to point out, on its front page no less, when a Republican political filing is merely a day or two late, but you have been strangely silent with regard to this illegal behavior. In fact, you haven’t once pointed out that Kathy Cunningham —- who proudly admits being associated with this fringe group —- currently sits on the East Hampton Town Planning Board as one of seven full voting members. She is clearly conflicted out on any issue involving airport usage. What prevents her now from seeking retribution against planning board applicants supporting the airport? Clearly, she is not an honest broker and yet you, again, have remained silent. I guess you only make use of The Star’s reporting and editorials when you don’t agree with the party in question.

In light of all the above, I wish to go on the public record that I will be filing a formal complaint with the B.O.E. against this flagrant abuse of campaign finance law and maybe their skilled investigators will be able to get to the bottom of it all. In addition, I will also be requesting (in a separate letter) that the town’s ethics committee look into this whole sordid affair and perhaps have Ms. Cunningham removed from her position on the planning board as it is just another example of abuse of delegated power. Her appointment, by the way, was made by the town board incumbents who claim to have more ethics than the rest of us.



A news article that reported the Quiet Skies Coalition’s failure to meet an Oct. 6 deadline for filing financial disclosures with the state board of elections appeared on page A1 of the Oct. 19 East Hampton Star. Ed.


Loud and Clear


October 30, 2017

Dear Sir:

Last Friday, Oct. 26, I attended a meeting of the airport advisory committee at Town Hall. It was my first meeting, and I was shocked at the proceedings. The committee came with a preconceived plan to vote on the resurfacing of one of the two abandoned runways at the airport. There had been no time set aside for the concerns of the residents of Wainscott as to noise, water pollution, or quality of life in the area. 

The committee has no Wainscott residents on it (but many pilots) and the arrogance of many members of the committee came across loud and clear. After being pounded by an observer many times, it came to light that there really is no need for a secondary runway — it’s just a pilot’s convenience. Here’s a unique idea: Shut the airport and use it as a solar farm — at least that way all the town residents benefit instead of just a handful of pilots pursuing a hobby and entitled elitists flying in on their jets and helicopters.



Tons of Asphalt


October 29, 2017

Dear David:

On Friday, the East Hampton Airport management advisory committee meeting was attended by the public concerning the pilots’ wish of reopening of a Federal Aviation Administration recommended abandoned runway 4/22 for their mere convenience.

What I witnessed was an appalling lack of respect toward the Wainscott residents who came to learn and inquire from one member of the committee. He is a pilot who lives in another town. He was so arrogant and contemptuous. His body language and facial expressions were like a petulant child. Argumentative with not only residents who spoke but also with other members of the committee. 

The others shook their heads quite often to citizens’ remarks and questions. “You knew an airport was there!” When the F.A.A. verbatim quote on the abandonment was read, he dismissed it with an arrogant wave of the hand and stated it was old news. What is he even doing on a committee whose recommendations could affect the health and safety of families and children, that the pilots’ actions affect daily and why? He made it quite clear what his sole agenda is.

One resident asked how many accidents or deaths occurred in the cross wind during the 10 years since the abandonment, repeating the question several times until one member said none. Why are we even discussing this, if there are zero? Why did the town entertain such a folly? 

The community members voiced major concerns for the pollution of the compounds in well water and then poisonous affects of the leaded gas that is used and stored in underground tanks over a sole source aquifer. Hardly addressed, despite the residents facts and figures. No answer on the vanished test wells. When one resident asked about the source of the pollutants in the well water, the pilot rebuked him. and  he was told not to interrupt.

It was obvious that the pilots only want 167,000 tons of asphalt that contain 32,000 gallons of oil to make it put down on an F.A.A. recommended abandoned runway, for their mere convenience or lack of skills. The resounding answer lies in the F.A.A. recommendation. No! Runway 4/22 was recommended to be and was abandoned and its “intersection with other runways are dangerous,” said the F.A.A., who will not share in the cost because it considers it unnecessary. Enough said. Go to Gabreski!

Yours truly



No Concern


October 29, 2017

Dear David:

After attending a meeting of the airport management committee on Friday, Oct. 27, at 9 a.m. (which was not advertised or publicized in any way) I feel compelled to bring to the attention of the public the following issues and facts:

There is not one member of this committee who resides in Wainscott. The sole agenda and single-minded purpose was to expand the airport by reinstalling abandoned runway 4-22.

There was no concern or interest in the fact that the reinstitution of runway 4-22 changes the direction of flights from over the Wainscott sandpit to directly over residential homes. These planes carry toxic lead-based fuel. When flying the fuel residue rains down on the residences under the flight path contaminating the very air we breathe. 

The airport is located over East Hampton’s sole source aquifer (which supplies water to all of East Hampton including Montauk) and is in a water recharge overlay district. Wells around numerous airports, including Gabreski in Westhampton, have been found to be contaminated. Wells around East Hampton Airport have been contaminated and the office of water resources is in process of testing more wells for contamination from toxic waste from the East Hampton Airport. 

The impact on the community from the noise, vibration, and low altitude of planes, jets, helicopters, and seaplanes is of no concern to the airport management committee. I find it appalling and disgraceful that the opening statement from the chairman of this committee is that the proposal to expand the runway is for the “convenience of pilots.” When asked what the committee was doing about contamination, the answer was “nothing.” 

It is obvious that public safety, health, and well-being is of no concern to the East Hampton Airport management committee nor is there any interest or responsibility for contamination to the public caused by the airport. This total and complete lack of interest in public safety and well-being and unwillingness to restrict airport use in any way leads to the most obvious of conclusions, and that is to close the airport. There are better alternative uses for this environmentally sensitive land that would benefit the public and not a few self-centered, self-interested individuals.

When mentioning the hazards and contamination caused by the airport I was told by the chairman of the committee that homeowners cannot sue for any damages because their deeds contain restrictions preventing homeowner lawsuits. That comment indicates the arrogance and audacity of the East Hampton Airport committee. So what the public is being told is: We can contaminate your water. We can contaminate your air. We can disrupt your peace and quiet. We can destroy the value of your homes. And there is nothing you can do about it!




Dominant Theme


October 29, 2017

To the Editor,

I went to the Oct. 27 meeting at East Hampton Town Hall that was hosted by the East Hampton Airport management committee. My objective was to observe and to gather information about the possibility of reopening abandoned runway 4-22 vs. the continued usage of the existing secondary runway. It was to my dismay that arrogance and deliberate lack of a genuine concern for human life from several members of this advisory committee was the dominant theme of the meeting. Overt issues regarding public health and safety from the use of private piston aircraft were dismissed and questions from the public intentionally left unanswered as people were spoken to in a hostile manner.

Runway 4-22, if rebuilt and utilized by small piston aircraft, will expel fumes from highly toxic leaded fuel directly onto petroleum-based asphalt and, while flying within close proximity to a highly dense residential neighborhood, will be responsible for blanketing both human life and the environment. Lead-based fuels are banned from ground transportation, from paint, and even from simple everyday consumer products such as lead sinkers, and why? Because lead is easily absorbed into the skin. Very young children are particularly at risk and this may result in development delays for children. Several members of the advisory committee did not accept the idea that leaded exhaust from their small aircraft are likely hazardous to our children and our families. Leaded fumes will land directly on the families below, into the only source of water that we have, our wells, and into our pools where people swim, all opportunities to be exposed to some form of lead.

I have worked as a special ed teacher in Harlem for years and I have observed children with developmental delays due to crack and from being exposed to lead paint. Education is an important tool in order for the public to be safe. This is not the message that I experienced from this meeting. A few members of the committee were not interested in safety and certainly not open to even the possibilities that leaded fumes may be a potential threat to human life due to the direct and uncontrolled exposure to lead.



Simply Self-Serving


October 30, 2017

Dear Editor:

Last Friday I attended an unannounced meeting of the East Hampton Airport advisory committee, which was also attended by local concerned residents. The subject was the reopening of an abandoned runway. The committee consisted of one pilot, from Southampton, and the rest all residents of Wainscott, the most affected community.

To keep it simple, I will simply state facts. A local resident repeatedly asked what the safety record was of the existing runway; had any accidents or deaths occurred over the past 10 years. Grudgingly one member finally answered that not one single problem had arisen.

The Southampton pilot was so surly when speaking to residents, contemptuous in his responses, that his presence was unwarranted. His body language and glare were absolutely uncalled for. In my opinion he does not belong on this committee. It was clear that his presence was simply self-serving, He was even nasty to other members of the committee.

With the fact established that there is no need for the runway, that the interest of the pilot was solely for his own personal gain, it is clear that further discussion of reopening this runway is completely and totally unwarranted. Adding to the lack of need is the use of massive amounts of oil and asphalt in an area where the water is already contaminated. Further, is the use of lead gasoline, the noise, and the health danger to our children and families and animals, both wild and domesticated.

This matter should be put to rest once and for all.



Montauk Aircraft


October 30, 2017

To the Editor

The results of the Montauk United 2017 town board candidate survey are a significant victory for the entire village of Montauk. The unanimous candidate “yes” vote for questions one, two, and three confirms that no matter what the election results may be, no matter who is elected, there will exist a majority of town councilpersons who have publicly stated and committed to a policy of attention, respect, and protection to Montauk in regard to all East Hampton Airport issues dealing with aviation noise and helicopter flight restriction. Additionally, the unanimous “yes” to question two promises no increase in Montauk aircraft traffic due to any future town board’s actions. 

The unanimous candidate commitments not only have assured Montauk of protection from any and all negative East Hampton aviation issues, they also represent the accomplishment of Montauk United’s mission through the awareness and unification of its citizens.

Of course, the question remains that if and when the time arrives for these promises and pledges to be tested, will these same elected officials fully stand by and live up to their campaign commitments? Only time will tell. However, Montauk United will continue its in-depth and ongoing attention to all East Hampton Town Board activity, especially in relation to the future Part 161 application process and any and all other matters concerning East Hampton Airport noise and flight restriction issues. 

In terms of the present election, Montauk United accepts the veracity of all candidate pledges relating to airport noise issues and takes each of the pledged replies at their word. While the Part 161 funding question must be seriously taken into consideration, the unanimous candidate commitment, as expressed in the first three questions ensures Montauk of future airport issue consideration and protection. As such, the  specific choice of any individual candidate is a decision best left to the individual Montauk voter in terms of other important Montauk-oriented issues. 

For a more in-depth questionnaire analysis please visit montaukunited.org.



Bumper Crop

East Hampton 

October 30, 2017

To the Editor,

Is there any more overvalued campaign tactic than the lawn sign? Our roadsides seem this year to have pushed up a bumper crop of them. On Sunday morning, I walked my dog around the triangle connecting Three Mile Harbor and Springs-Fireplace Roads. I counted 18 signs, for Democrats and Republicans, all engaged in the same pointless effort. 

A few local candidates swore off lawn signs this year. I share their opinions that the signs are unsightly, ineffective, and become roadside litter after the polls close. But most candidates and organizers instead chose to follow the herd; after all, as campaign expenses go, lawn signs are cheap, easy, and (almost) everyone else is using them.

Although haters of lawn signs might wish otherwise, no government agency should try to restrict them. To do so could violate the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. And so lawn signs proliferate, unchecked, like weeds.

They may engender name recognition, even as we fly by in our cars too quickly to read the finer print, but recognition and decision-making are independent brain functions; we don’t vote for a candidate because we’ve seen their surname sprout up in a neighbor’s yard or alongside every major road in town. Common sense and neuroscience notwithstanding, candidates assume name recognition yields up votes. 

And so residents plant them on their front lawns as expressions of self-identity or line the roadsides to recruit others into their partisan tribes. Few candidates or party faithful want to relinquish any fertile ground by allowing the opposition’s signs to go unchallenged. 

But do lawn signs really attract more votes? No reputable scholars had ever tried to test that assumption until last year. Then, a group of researchers led by Donald P. Green, a political scientist and methodologist at Columbia University, published in the scholarly journal Electoral Studies what its authors describe as “the first rigorous evaluation” of lawn signs.

Reporting on four randomized studies, they found at first that lawn signs led to an overall gain in votes of 1.7 percentage points. One might assume then that, in the 2015 East Hampton Town trustee race, where the difference between winning the ninth seat or losing altogether came down to 0.03 percentage points, lawn signs might have played a role in the outcome. But the Green report also found that any gain was dependent not only on pooling the data from the four studies but also on a good deal of statistical modeling. Individually, not one of the studies showed a statistically significant benefit.

Three were based on fairly high stakes, widely publicized races (for Congress, city mayor, and a negative attack on a gubernatorial candidate) where name recognition was already high. Less surprising, then, that lawn signs had no discernible effects there. But the fourth (for commissioner of a moderately populated county) might appear to be the sort where lawn signs could give a bump to little-known candidates. Just the opposite. The researchers instead calculated a 1.2-percentage point decrease there.

They concluded that lawn signs seem to have an effect that is “probably greater than zero but unlikely to be large enough to alter the outcome of a contest that would otherwise be decided by more than a few percentage points.” 

So we’re left with little reason to think any candidate (except, perhaps, in the rare case of a tie vote) will derive benefit from the 18 signs at the juncture of Three Mile Harbor and Springs-Fireplace Roads — or from the hundreds of lawn signs planted all over town.

Sincerely yours,





October 30, 2017

Dear David:

I write in support of re-electing Bridget Fleming to the Suffolk County Legislature. Ms. Fleming has an impressive track record for a freshman legislator, especially on issues important to the East End.

Earlier this year, Suffolk County announced a mosquito-control program designed to minimize the mosquito threat on the East End. This prompted significant concern among our community about the toxicity of the proposed pesticides. 

In response to these concerns, Ms. Fleming asked the county agency to meet with the East Hampton Town Trustees. She has urged the county to work together with the trustees to undertake educational efforts, and wetlands management measures, with a goal of reducing or eliminating the use of methoprene, one of the potentially toxic pesticides. As a result of her efforts, the county and town have developed a pilot program that would analyze the effectiveness and toxicity of methoprene, with the ultimate goal of eliminating its use. Ms. Fleming’s support for the town’s concerns tangibly demonstrates her dedication to her constituents. 

Similarly, Ms. Fleming has been on the forefront in the battle to contain tick-borne illnesses. She worked to obtain funding for the study of tick-borne diseases in Suffolk, something for which the county has never had the resources. Her work has provided the opportunity for a dedicated approach in Suffolk County and on the East End.

Ms. Fleming should also be recognized for her work to help fight opioid abuse in Suffolk County. She worked to train first responders to use Narcan and held town hall meetings in an effort to inform the community and bring awareness to the heroin and opioid epidemic. 

This is the type of leadership one should expect from their representatives. I am proud to support Bridget Fleming in her re-election campaign and urge you to do likewise. She has earned another term.




Her Accomplishments


October 30, 2017

To David:

Bridget Fleming has served as a Suffolk County legislator for the past two years, and in that time has distinguished herself as someone who gets results.

Her accomplishments include helping to secure more than $2.5 million in clean water and infrastructure funding for our district, as well as getting funding for a program to reduce the tick population and address the public health crisis of tick-borne diseases. Bridget has also been an outspoken critic against cuts to public bus service, traveling to Albany to advocate for Suffolk County receiving its fair share of the New York State budget.

Voting for Bridget Fleming on Nov. 7 will ensure that the East End continues to benefit from her outstanding work on many issues.




District Attorney

East Hampton

October. 30, 2017

Dear Dave:

I know a lot about Ray Perini, both as a prosecutor and a criminal defense lawyer. As far as I am concerned, he gets high marks for his work on both sides. I know little or nothing about Mr. Sini except for his advertising campaign and have some concern about his relationship with police departments and how it might play out if he is elected. Ray has earned my respect, and I have every confidence that he will do a great job as district attorney. Please vote.



Not Learned Overnight


October 30, 2017

Dear David,

My name is Eugene DePasquale and I’m running for re-election as one of East Hampton’s assessors.

I have been a member of the board of assessors for nearly 16 years and I am currently certified as an advanced assessor by the State of New York. I am a licensed New York State certified appraiser, which means I have completed the required coursework to do appraisals and market valuations for residential properties regardless of market value, and I am also a licensed New York State real estate broker.

I and the other two assessors work diligently to produce a fair and equitable roll. We review building permits throughout the year in order to pick up new assessments, which helps over all to keep tax rates in line. We also work throughout the year reviewing and negotiating small claims cases for the town, which further helps to keep tax rates as low as possible.

After graduating from Columbia University in 1981, I went to work as a commercial real estate broker in Manhattan where I completed two diploma programs, one in real estate finance and analysis and another in construction management, at the New York University School of Real Estate.

The courses I completed to receive my New York State advanced assessor certification include Fundamentals of Assessment Administration; Introduction to Real Estate Appraisal, Mass Appraisal, and the Re-Assessment Process, and Principles of Income Property Valuation, among others. It’s important to realize your tax dollars won’t have to pay for these courses again when I’m re-elected.

It is vital to understand that the position of assessor is not learned overnight. It takes years to develop a firm understanding of how assessments are equitably calculated, how exemptions are applied and maintained, and the many other functions and responsibilities for which this office is responsible. This is not an in-and-out job. Continuity of assessment knowledge and practice, ongoing continuing education, and years of experience uniquely qualify me for re-election.

The assessors office works hand-in-hand with the town’s Information Technology Department to constantly improve the way field work is accomplished. We use the most current Pictometry programs and G.I.S. mapping systems to streamline field inspections, roadway abandonments, lot-line modifications, parcel splits/merges, and valuation workups for the many hundreds of small claims assessment review cases the assessors personally negotiate on the town’s behalf annually.

Our staff works tirelessly to keep the office orderly and efficient. They are pleasant and knowledgeable. They are the backbone of the assessor’s office. It is a pleasure to work with them. Depending upon which part of the real estate tax cycle we’re in, the staff ensures exemption renewals are sent out, board of assessment review petitions are accepted and organized, and the countless questions and phone calls are answered courteously and understandably.

I like what I do. I enjoy being one of East Hampton’s assessors. It is intellectually stimulating. I enjoy meeting with people when they come to my office with questions. The relationships I have developed with the town’s other departments make a huge difference when working to complete my responsibilities.

I have lived in Montauk full time since 1987. My daughters, Sophia and Isabella, were born and raised here. They are two of the most amazing people I know. I am blessed.

I take great pride being a member of the East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue, volunteering my time with the town as a cardiopulmonary resuscitation instructor, and enjoying all that East Hampton has to offer.

When you see me out campaigning, please feel free to ask me questions while I’m handing out palm cards. Stop and chat, get to know me, and please vote for me on Election Day.



Incredible Community


October 30, 2017

Dear David,

Now that Tuesday is fast approaching, I would like to share my thoughts on the East Hampton 2017 election.

I always knew what an incredible community we had. The diversity of our residents and what they bring is nothing short of amazing. Our environment is like no other, and we are all fortunate at the level of commitment of all the candidates to protect and preserve. 

As candidates, we naturally have a difference of opinion on how best to address the issues facing our community moving forward. What I found so enlightening was the level of civility between the candidates. This is important because after the election as public servants we need to work together as one united by our desire to do what is best for East Hampton. I am looking forward to working alongside Peter Van Scoyoc and the rest of the elected town board, town trustees, other elected officials, and all our town employees.

Another enjoyable aspect of this election was getting to spend time catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. We had serious discussions, shared laughs, and learned a lot. The level of experience and dedication to make East Hampton a better place for all is an untapped resource that I plan on putting to work.

Lastly, I’d like to thank my wife, Christine Stark-Vilar, my six amazing kids: Matt and his wife, Lauren Moser-Vilar, Brendan and his girlfriend, Blair King, Catherine (Curti) Vilar, Jack, James, and Tommy. By extension, Melissa Meyer, Laura MacPherson, and Katie Overton, we think of them as our daughters. Also, my mom, Amelia, 84, and dad, Manny Sr. (the Fish Commander, who is 94 and goes fishing on Gardiner’s Bay every day, weather permitting). Then there are the lifelong friends and their extended families that no words can describe just how special they are. Lastly, there are those friends that transcend the years: Brian and Allison Bock-Anderson, Tom and Patty Ryder-Bock, Al and Shelly Snyder-Schafer, Denise Fenchel, and in our memories, Fred and Carol Bock, George Anderson, and Paul Fenchel.

East Hampton has provided me with a genuinely fantastic childhood and life. What a community: as a kid in Little League those that taught us respect and fair play, as a teen pin-hooking on Gardiner’s Bay and mating in Montauk, the baymen, captains, and commercial fishermen that taught us the wonders of the sea. As a young adult and volunteer firefighter in the Springs and Montauk Fire Departments, those that helped shape us to instill public service and, now, as a candidate for supervisor, to have the opportunity to give back.

Thank you, everyone, for your support on Election Day, and I can think of no greater honor than to serve you as the next East Hampton supervisor.




More Work to Do


October 29, 2017

Dear David,

For the last four years, I’ve had the honor and privilege of serving the people of East Hampton. And I am incredibly proud of all that we’ve accomplished. We have: funded Meals on Wheels to ensure needy seniors would have a hot meal, supported the Eleanor Whitmore Childhood Center, the Montauk Child Care Center, and Project Most, quality programs that serve as a lifeline for our working families, expanded mental health services for our youth struggling with anxiety and depression, sponsored suicide awareness training, funded outpatient alcohol and drug treatment services at Phoenix House; made capital improvements at the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter, where the in-school swim program “waterproofs” our kids, expanded transportation services for our veterans and our seniors in Montauk,  began designing a new senior community center, and  proposed a $2 million fund to help develop and build affordable housing. 

We have signed long-term leases with community-based organizations to operate East End Cooperative Farm, the Amagansett Life Saving Station, and the East Hampton Historical Farm Museum, for the benefit of all. And we have initiated professional community-based business and hamlet studies.

On the environmental front, we have made water quality our number-one priority. Recently, we adopted new septic legislation and a septic rebate program, and we have developed site-specific watershed plans for Pussy’s Pond, Accabonac, and Three Mile Harbor.

Through our work on coastal resiliency planning, we have mapped where we are vulnerable, and we will be identifying ways to reduce damages, maintain communities, and protect our natural resources.

I am asking for your vote, on Tuesday, Nov. 7, because there’s more work to do!



Democratic, Independence, and

Working Families Party 

Candidate for Town Board



Seen Him in Action


October 30, 2017

Dear David:

I endorse Peter Van Scoyoc to be the next East Hampton Town supervisor because of all his years of service as chairman of the zoning board of appeals, a member of the planning board, and as a town councilman. He brings to the table an understanding of how the town works and is qualified because of all his years of public service. 

Peter is not a newcomer, someone you do not know; we have all seen him in action for a very long time. He is always respectful to town employees and shows a deep respect for what we do every day servicing the community. He has an open-door policy and shows a deep commitment to the needs of his fellow citizens. 

On Tuesday vote for Peter Van Scoyoc as supervisor so he can continue to do what is in the best interests of our town. Peter is a man of integrity, respects seniors and working families, and will always do what is in the best interests of our community. 

Your vote is important. A vote for Peter is a vote for the future of this town.






Proven Record


     Oct. 26, 2017

Dear David,

     Jeff Bragman has spent 30 years right here in town, focusing on local environmental issues like water quality. He knows the ropes and understands planning and zoning. His record shows his commitment to controlling development that threatens our aquifers and natural landscape.

     Jeff has helped neighbors stop threats to groundwater, including recently, a shopping center in Bridgehampton. He is alert and energetic, and has spoken out for more than a year about the vulnerability of the critical aquifer near Daniel's Hole Road that filters our drinking water and feeds Georgica Pond.

     I believe a local lawyer with a proven record of getting things done is going to be a great addition to our town board.

     I urge you to vote for Jeff Bragman for town board.

     Respectfully yours,




The Party of Trump


October 25, 2017

Dear Editor, 

While walking our roads I saw a few election signs. I’m going to speak specifically about the two Republican candidates. Their slogan was something about transparency and putting politics aside for people. 

Now to me this seems sarcastic. The Republican Party is the party of Trump. And Trump has revealed very, very clearly what the Republican Party is for. The Republican Party is the champion of misogyny, the hate of brown and black people, the subjugation and punishment of poor people, the outright attack on the sick and disabled, war, complete protection of the top 1 percent who have most of the wealth in the country, the K.K.K. and its splinter groups that are veiled as nationalism, Christianity as interpreted by white men as the only religion that matters, the destruction of public schools, the persecution of L.G.B.Q.T. members of our society, and one other thing — a complete and utter attack and threat to the security and safety of all Americans and our allies. 

Look at what is happening in this country, this isn’t greatness. If you believe that this is the way a great leader governs, you need to read European and American history. Search for World War II and its causes: That is very basic and simple. I’m sure I forgot a few things, but these are the issues that pop into my mind when I think of the Republican Party. I’m not a fan and will never vote for a Republican candidate.





Need Serious Attention

East Hampton

October 25, 2017

Dear David,

Local elections are just around the corner and I have been paying attention to the candidates and their agendas. What seems obvious to me after having lived here year round for 30 years is that things have changed dramatically with respect to wildlife and the environment. 

Last Sunday I took part in the cleanup of the Napeague stretch organized and inspired by Dell Cullum. Susan Magraw Keber was there and a few others who are running for positions as trustees. I will vote for them both because their actions speak louder than words! They have a “just do it” approach, which is sorely needed in politics today.

Although there is much talk abut water quality, the airport, and updated sewage systems, I have not heard much about a few things that I feel really need serious attention: Noise, pesticides, and affordable housing. 

With regard to noise, I did speak with Sylvia Overby at one of the Democratic meetings about the noise factor regarding leaf blowers. There has been a lot of talk about the noise from helicopter and airplanes at the airport. I can relate, as they are taking routes over Three mile Harbor directly overhead, but this is a fraction of the assault I must bear from leaf blowers. 

Usually a crew of two or three show up and rev on and off for 30 minutes, while another mows the lawns. It seems overkill that in the summer when leaves are not falling there would be a need for three blowers to blow the grass clippings out. When the house to my left is done, the truck pulls in to the house on the right, subsequently the house behind me, to the right and left of them, and so on throughout our property association of 60 homes. This normally happens on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and sometimes Saturdays if the residents are away. 

My father, who lives in Hither Hills in Montauk, had his windows open in front and back of the house to get a cross breeze going. The blowers arrived at the neighbors to the rear and within a few minutes the gas exhaust pollution set off the fire alarm. So this is not only a noise pollution problem, it is an air pollution problem. Ms. Overby and I talked about the fact that electric blowers are less noisy and don’t produce air pollution. I hope that is a place to start the discussion.

As to the pesticides, this is a shameful and unhealthy thing not to try and control! My entomologist housemate has seen a serious decline in the insect population in our yard. 80 percent of my neighbors spray pesticides and fungicides. Although they are mostly spraying for ticks, most other insects are killed as well. 

In spite of the fact that I have a garden full of bee and butterfly friendly plants, this year I have seen two butterflies and a dozen bees. I stocked my garden with ladybugs. None were spotted. Despite the overhead mosquito spraying in my vicinity, what we do have in abundance are ticks, mosquitos, crickets, and stink bugs. The pesticide companies are supposed to alert the neighbors in advance. I have never been alerted. 

Once many years ago, I had my sheets drying on the line and heard a generator spraying and saw out my window jets of pesticides going into the trees above and a light mist settling down on my sheets. Had I not been home to see this, I would have slept in fresh pesticides that night. 

With this insect population decline comes also a decline in birds and bats. Bats eat hundreds of mosquitos a night. Why are we here on the East End of Long Island? It’s for the birds, wildlife, and clean beaches and flourishing environment. Why aren’t we concerned that at this rate, it will soon be dead?

As to affordable housing, I will not go into it this time around, however, it seems that 20 units here or there is just not enough. I think we need to think smaller! Cutting down on McMansion building is a good start but surely a new approach where the limits to how small a house can be is something that needs to be discussed and codes reconsidered. 




Are All Adrift

East Hampton

October 24, 2017

Dear David, 

Hope all is well at The Star. I’m going to ramble on like your other writers. Well, we made it through another film festival melee and it’s time to start thinking about the local election. It’s now the “vote for me” season. When we take a look at the candidates and all their promises, we need to look at the past to see what they have actually done or accomplished. 

I don’t see any milestone accomplishments by any of them. Housing, airport noise, excessive construction, pollution, lack of enforcement of local laws, excessive taxes, quality of life, noise, lights, etc., etc., are all adrift. When it comes to electing a politician, it’s like Nancy Pelosi and the Health Care Act. You have to vote yes to read the bill just as we have to put politicians in office to see what they will do. 

Do you go with the career politician who’s dug in like a tick or some fresh meat with new ideas? As the old East Hampton we know fades into history due to the “people from away,” it becomes even more pressing to get local folks in charge. Whether you want to try and turn back the hands of time, or as they say, “Save what’s left,” it’s all pretty much the same focus. 

Now what I mean by local folks is just that, someone with roots here. I’m not talking about people who have just parachuted into town, spent summers working here, or just happened to move here in the ’90s into Aunt Selma’s house and decided to stay. I’m talking about a person who has gauge, merit, and isn’t afraid to speak. Nice wish list, maybe hard to find in today’s society. But here is where I’m going to start. 

Does the candidate have a local high school diploma? How about a walk in the village and being able to name some of the old mom-and-pop stores? Walked on Gardiner’s Island or landed on the Ruins? Speared for eels at the head of Three Mile Harbor on the ice? Can go out into the woods and get you to the five corners? 

These are a mere sampling of the questions we should be asking ourselves about a local candidate. My idea of a stellar candidate may not be a doctor, lawyer, scientist, or a career politician, but he or she will know my town. 

Yours to command,



Antiquated Document


October 30, 2017

Dear David,

Your recent editorial (Oct. 12) was, for a journal of advocacy for the town and the East End, was shockingly cynical and disappointing. No, the ballot proposition to hold a convention to modernize the New York State Constitution, an opportunity that comes only every 20 years, is not a “question on Election Day . . .  whether Albany could get any worse” but whether the voters of New York will bring an antiquated document which reads more like the tax code than a constitution into the 21st century and allow for good, clean and honest state government. 

We need reform of the judicial system. New York now has 11 trial courts in addition to our appellate courts. These different trial courts need to be combined to eliminate waste, poor administration and discrimination against the poor and minorities in the administration of justice.

‘“Home rule” is a joke. The Legislature controls too much of the decision-making that should be made at the county and municipal level. Whether it is the structure of our local governments, rules about personnel management, how our local governments may operate and decision making about taxation, borrowing and budget making are in large part controlled by Albany. That means upstaters who usually control the State Senate control have effective control over East Enders — as well as city dwellers.

If home rule is a joke, the operation of the State Legislature is a crime. There is no strong code of ethics and that has led to corruption and frequent unethical behavior by legislators. And individual members of the Assembly or State Senate have little power to do anything but obey orders from the triumvirate of governor, Assembly leader and Senate majority leader. 

The current Constitution itself is a bloated, disorganized, 52,500-word behemoth characterized by detritus and disorder in need of some good housekeeping. Many provisions are outdated, have been superseded or ruled unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution or are misplaced or superfluous. For example, one provision states that the lieutenant governor shall act as governor when he or she is “out of state.” Huh? Bermuda, a two hour plane trip?  And on the more serious side, the local finance article limits the amount of debt local governments may incur. Daddy Albany is not always right (nor are local folks, but that is why we have elections).

Another example; the Constitution has a provision about employment of prisoners detailing the kinds of not-for-profit organizations that may benefit from such labor; it has had to be amended many times since 1894. This is just one example of the kind of detail that belongs in a regulation or administrative code adopted and modified from time to time by the legislature or an administrative body, not in a constitutional provision.

The opposition to a convention seems to be coming from those whose power may be threatened as well as some who fear that important provisions — such as the “forever wild” section could be weakened.  The opponents fail to point out that the documents the convention will propose needs to be approved by the people of the state who can reject it if it does not represent a step forward towards continuing and enhancing fundamental principles. Perhaps we could show the nation a better definition of “the right to bear arms” and include some new rights such as a statement that fundamental rights include health care or a reasonable minimum wage.

Excellent discussions of all the issues I have barely touched on can be read in the recent issue of the Journal of the New York State Bar Association, which can be viewed at nysba.org/NYSBAJournal.

I urge readers to vote “yes” on the referendum — and you may need to turn your ballot over! 




Coming Together

East Hampton

October 29, 2017

Dear David:

Over the past few months the issues we face here in East Hampton are clear: water quality deterioration, opioid abuse, affordable housing, jobs, and fairness. I have tried to address each of these. In a few short days the campaign will be over and the votes will be counted and it will be time to pick up those hateful lawn signs and move forward to come up with and implement solutions to the problems we face.

 I have tried to provide solutions to problems during the campaign but I also realize that most importantly we need to first come together so that we can come to develop the solutions that will work. On a local level we need to eschew the polarization that grips this country on a national level and embrace each other’s ideas and priorities.

I just returned from Encuentro de Culturas, a festival attended by hundreds at Most Holy Trinity Church. It was truly a meeting of cultures: Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, El Salvador, Peru, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, and, yes, Italia, all in the heart of East Hampton. I learned a valuable lesson, other than the food of preference for those under 12 is still that great American dish pizza. At this “meeting of cultures” respect and acceptance were the key attitudes. This was an example of coming together. My Spanish is embarrassingly poor but that seemed not to matter. In this meeting of cultures I could have been the outsider but I was treated as an insider. At one point during the festival in the midst of the dancing and the food — oh the food — a participant turned to me and said, “This must be the future.” Yes this must be the future. Whether you are from Cedar Street, East Hampton, or Cuenca, Ecuador, from Flamingo Road, Montauk, or Florencia, Colombia, we need to come together and put aside polarizing rhetoric to solve our problems with mutual respect. We should be passionate in our approach to driving toward solutions, but passion should not replace respect and civility.



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


All That Says


October 29, 2017

Dear David,

I just received a mailer from a Republican candidate for town board, who states the following as reasons to vote for him. Why would anyone vote for a candidate who gives as his qualifications for the job the following?

“As a former owner . . . I understand the small business owner’s dilemma.” (The town is anything but a small business, it’s a multimillion-dollar business, with all the fundamentals of a much larger city, i.e.: police, sanitation, parks, taxes, highways, budget, finance, human resources, etc.)

“As a senior.” (Me too. All that says is that we are both lucky enough to still be alive.) 

“As a member of our community.” (It’s nice to know that he lives here.)

After that impressive résumé, he advertises himself with signs the size of which are in violation of the town code. 

I suggest that this candidate looks up the term “vacuous” — it is certainly appropriate for his campaign.

I do like his pup, though.



The Right Examples


October 30, 2017


I have been following the editorials and the many letters to the editor leading up to the coming local election, and I have decided to support the Demo­cratic candidates for two main reasons. First, and of local interest, I believe they will best serve the needs of our community. Second, and of broader interest, I see a connection to the national political picture. 

I am enraged, embarrassed, and frightened by the politics of the current administration, and I believe it is important for us to send messages and set examples. Policies and decisions must be based on facts, and not the “alternative” kind. Compromise should not be regarded as treason, and obstructionism must come to an end.

I’m counting on local Democratic leadership to send the right messages and set the right examples. Members of the local Democratic administration, including candidates Peter Van Scoyoc now running for supervisor, and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, have been setting the right examples, and, with the addition of Jeff Bragman, I believe they will continue.



Political Machine


October 30, 2017

Dear Editor:

In a town where Democrats outnumber Republican voters by a ratio of 2 to 1 and local newspapers are notoriously left-leaning, I have to applaud the Republican candidates running for town board. It’s not easy to stand up against enormous odds and take on the East Hampton Democratic political machine. 

Of course, I like and respect all the candidates. They are good people and our neighbors. It’s not that my vote will be against an individual. My vote will be for a town board that represents more than one party in lockstep. Our town needs a healthy mix of new opinions and new credentials. There’s only one way to get that, and it begins at the voting booth on Tuesday.

Manny Vilar, Paul Giardina, and Jerry Larsen have stood up. Let’s take a hard look at them.



Great Candidate

East Hampton

October 23, 2017

To the Editor,

Gerard Larsen is a man of great intelligence, integrity, dedication, and honor. I have had the great pleasure of knowing Gerard in both a personal and professional capacity for over 30 years. 

My professional interactions with Gerard started back in 1985, when Gerard was a police officer (who later became the chief) of the East Hampton Village Police Department. I joined East Hampton Village Ambulance Association as a volunteer. Over the next 30 years, as a both a member of the public and a public safety professional, I witnessed Chief Larsen work alongside fire and ambulance personnel in a very professional manner. I can attest with firsthand knowledge as to Mr. Larsen’s understanding of the sensitivities and complexities of East Hampton, as well as his expertise in public safety.

He is a motivated community leader, and East Hampton is a great community. Gerard will make it even better and stronger than we are today.

Throughout his career in law enforcement, Mr. Larsen was a great public servant. Gerard’s experience and ethos makes him the most qualified person to be running for town council, and we should be proud to elect such a great candidate to represent our community. 

As further evidence of his forward thinking and leadership in public service, Chief Larsen ensured in-service training for his police personnel on the subject of consular notification and access for the arrests of foreign nationals. This instruction demonstrated a great responsiveness to the ever-changing demographics of persons his personnel encounter and for the community at large. He balanced public safety and the rights of the accused. 

Chief Larsen also ensured that community emergency response plans were always up to date and the village was prepared for any emergency conditions. As a certified emergency manager, I know the importance of the emergency response protocols. As chief, Gerard Larsen guaranteed they met or exceeded the needs of the jurisdiction and were consistent with national standards.  

Vote for Gerard Larsen on Nov. 7.

Respectfully submitted,



What Has He Done?

East Hampton

October 30, 2017

Dear Editor:

I am writing to support Jeff Bragman for town board. Jeff has focused on local environmental issues for the last 30 years. He has been an activist and advocate consistently opposing harmful over-development. He is a leader because he knows our town, our local boards, and our issues. 

Paul Giardina, one of the Republican candidates, calls himself an environmental leader. You can’t lead on East Hampton’s environment issues from an office in New Jersey. Also, his work as an engineer focused on radioactive waste. I think we need to ask: What he has done in East Hampton? 

Jeff is a knowledgeable expert on critical zoning and planning matters affecting us here. I think a local lawyer with a solid record of getting things done is a better fit.

Thank you,



Good Enough


October 28, 2017

Dear Editor:

I saw another letter from Pat Mansir supporting Jeff Bragman for town board. If it’s good enough for Pat, it’s good enough for me.




Listens to All Sides

East Hampton

October 30, 2017

Dear David:

The concluding sentence in Steven Gaines’s 1998 book about the Hamptons, “Philistines at the Hedgerow,” states, “As to why each generation of newcomers was drawn here in the first place, well there is little left to remind anyone.” I have had the pleasure of getting to know Jeff Bragman over the past year and it is obvious he wants us all to remember why we were drawn here in the first place. His passion for this community is palpable when you spend time in conversation with him. 

He is an attentive listener, contemplating your premises, measuring your argument, and then replying with thoughtful, intelligent insights, inevitably based on substantial evidence. It has become difficult to remember that time in our nation’s history when civility, grace, and intellectual curiosity were the rule in politics rather than loutishness and banalities hurled via social media. Jeff’s reflective, measured approach to decision making contrasts with the certitude based on anecdote and authoritarian righteousness we are witnessing with ever greater frequency. Most importantly, Jeff has fresh ideas and the determination to implement them.

One of the ideas that is dear to my heart is Jeff’s youth-mentoring program. I travel the community and regularly hear that local children can no longer afford to remain in their hometown due to a lack of jobs. Jeff has pointed out that our community is awash in talented people from diverse backgrounds with the real world experience and motivation to mentor young enthusiastic minds as they face the challenges of an ever-changing competitive economy. Data and knowledge are the currency of the new millennium, and we need to give our children the tools they need to succeed and thrive. A program of this kind will benefit both the mentored and the mentors, as well as having a positive ripple effect throughout the community.

Jeff Bragman does not offer the militaristic metaphors or finger wagging that may be emotionally appealing. He does offer over 30 years of thoughtful, considered solutions and resolutions to the pressing problems of our community. He is a compassionate pragmatist. He will listen to all sides of the argument, weigh the evidence, and combine that with our common values to lead us to an exciting future.




Support Jeff 


October 29, 2017

Dear Editor:

I am writing to urge you to support Jeff Bragman for town board. Jeff has lived and worked in East Hampton for 30 years and raised his son here. He believes in East Hampton as a real community, that must continue for the following generations. Over the years, he has worked hard to protect East Hampton’s rural character and vulnerable natural resources.

Whether it is protecting dunes and wetlands, maintaining safe drinking water, or defending historic sites, buildings, and neighborhoods, Jeff has always been on the right side.

Let’s put him on the town board.




From the Heart

East Hampton

October 30, 2017

Dear David,

Tom Byrne’s beautiful letter, “New Beginning,” was like a breath of fresh air between all the political bantering and positioning. He talked of many things that hit home for me as a cancer survivor, such as “fhe tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it,” and brought me a moment of sanity in this election frenzy. He also stated that “the difference between a lie and truth is endurance.” 

So, let’s put aside all the misinformation, putting words into each other’s mouths, hearsay, and outright lies, and look at the facts, accomplishments, and experience of each candidate before voting on Nov. 7. As Tom stated, “No one can go back and make a brand-new start. But anyone can start from now and make a brand-new beginning.” This is our opportunity to make that brand-new beginning. My vote is with Paul Giardina for town board. I know he will endure.

And thank you, Tom, for this beautiful letter about life. I don’t know what inspired you to write it, but I know it came from the heart.



Fix This Tragedy

East Hampton

October 30, 2017 

To the Editor,

Opioid addiction has arrived in our community. Happy, healthy, well-adjusted young people with promising futures are dying. Opioid overdoses are now the number-one cause of death in the U.S.A. under the age of 50. These deaths exceed automobile accidents, heart attacks, or cancer. Because of this epidemic, the average American life span has declined for the first time in our history. It is not just affecting low socioeconomic classes or those with poor mental health. We are slowly realizing how everyone is just as susceptible to the powerful neurobiology of opiates. Many of our presumed invulnerable populations are also experiencing unprecedented death rates.

The medical profession failed to recognize these implications during a misinformed movement in the 1990s, liberalizing prescribing guidelines in compassion for those with chronic pain. The guidelines were weak in the areas of patient selection, types of chronic pain to treat, and specific management protocols. There were no mandated patient education recommendations of the risk of addiction or what warning signs to look for or what to do if and when it happens. Pharmacists didn’t have any such requirements either. The pharmaceuticals, like cigarette companies, were too consumed by their own addiction to profit to take charge of the obvious reality reflected by soaring pill sales. I was there. I was part of it, and I saw it all.

An uninformed public overconfident from the information explosion of the internet took it from there. How often does the average American save excess pills to take when he wants on his own (“because I know my body”), give pills to a friend for whom he feels he has ability to diagnose and the judgment to decide how his friend’s pain should be managed? Feels he can without responsibility or liability give them with minimal instruction or education about side effects, etc.? We have inadvertently been the drug dealers ourselves with friends and family. I see this in my practice every day.

It is clear to me how we have arrived to this point. It is also clear how we have to fix this tragedy as soon as possible. Ironically, while being the most deadly, opioid dependence is more treatable than addiction to alcohol, tobacco dependence, or any other illicit substance. This makes it all the more frustrating for me to hear of what are preventable deaths. We could rein in this beast if our societal views changed while our fragmented mental health system became integrated with our medical system and the institutions of our communities. We need to organize our current resources now to produce a local solution instead of hoping for Washington to make a politically fragmented decision, if it makes one at all.

We must first recognize our afflicted have a disease and need our help and support, not blame, shame, or prosecution. With concerted local efforts they can have productive lives while they are being helped instead of extraditing them to artificial environments away from their homes, or worse, jail. Then we create a branch of local government dedicated to the coordination of our available institutions and community organizations under a framework designed by stakeholders who have the best understanding of our needs and resources. It’s that simple. And it would work quickly and efficiently if we made this decision tomorrow.

All that we need is a town board that has this vision, sees this as its highest priority, and has the political will to do so. I am concerned the current town board gave no indication of this after I made an impassioned speech to look at their priorities. The longer we postpone a concerted action this epidemic will spread further and be more difficult to eradicate. More families will continue to suffer unnecessarily as their loved ones die.

The Republican candidates for this election are much more reassuring to me. All three have the opioid crisis solidly on their campaign platform. Paul Giardina has the key elements of a comprehensive plan in place. I strongly encourage you to read his proposal. The others have extensive professional experience dealing with the problem. I feel we need these new people on our board to help our incumbents from being bogged down in the less easily fixable or life-threatening issues we face so they can move forward to save precious lives.




East Hampton

October 22, 2017

Dear David, 

My new favorite word is fingerspitzengefuhl, which is German for a “feeling in your fingertips.”

I have really good fingerspitzengefuhl for Paul Giardina as a member of East Hampton Town’s council, and I say that as not a Republican. We must not, in my view, have an all-Democratic town board; we need public debate and representation for our 1,700 registered Republicans and 5,000 blanks. 

Paul Giardina reminds me of my classy, smart, informed, gracious, centrist father, but with a more photogenic dog. I plan to vote for Paul Giardina.



Tax Burden


October 29, 2017

Dear David:

Mr. Giardina’s response this week to my letter (Oct. 17) just digs a deeper hole for his candidacy. He continues to extol the funds managed by the New York State Environmental Facilities Corp. and the Environmental Protection Agency Clean Water Act State Revolving Fund as the funding mechanisms for his septic upgrade program. It is plain from the website definitions of programs eligible for funding that single homeowners cannot seek funding from either program for any septic upgrade work done on their homes. Funding is available for municipal programs only.

 If Mr. Giardina proposes to use these funds for a municipally run project to effect septic remediation, the monies obtained from the funds would become a $150 million (his estimate) budget item that the town, meaning we taxpayers, would need to repay. One doesn’t need a calculator to understand that repaying this amount, plus interest, over 30 years would create an intolerable tax burden and would seriously compromise the town’s ability to pursue other initiatives, like budgeting for affordable housing.

Now as for the Montauk commercial septic plan, this would likely be a municipal project that would qualify for funds obtained from the E.P.A./State Revolving Fund. Community preservation fund monies would not be needed to complete that plan. In a recent debate, Mr. Van Scoyoc said that he would consider seeking such funding for that project. Of greater significance, Mr. Giardina’s explanation lays bare the fundamental flaw in his plan: The homeowner or Montauk business will be on the hook for paying back the costs of any septic remediation work they undertake. On the homeowner side, he trivializes the cost that his plan (the amount of one’s cable bill) would impose on owners, largely those in older homes in Springs, who will be unlikely to be able to pay that bill.

To this, Mr. Giardina states, “a property owner who cannot pay for an upgraded system or cannot afford to reimburse the town for the upgrade would not be required to go forward with an upgrade.” Well, either Mr. Giardina has developed a plan different than the one on the G.O.P. website that he keeps waving around or this is an outright lie. The sixth element of his plan provides that a homeowner who does not voluntarily choose to upgrade her system at her expense “must either allow their system to be upgraded . . . and shall be required to repay the upgrade. . . ,” or have their certificate of occupancy terminated for the property at the time of the next real estate transfer at which time the system must be upgraded. . . .” There is no payment relief afforded to homeowners under the Giardina plan: It’s either pay up now or pay up when you sell your house. This also puts the onus on town finances to cover the costs of a non-paying homeowner. 

The actual language of his plan also shows Mr. Giardina’s deceit (both in his letter and his recent debate criticism of Mr. Bragman) in claiming his plan makes no mention of the town’s ability to terminate a homeowner’s C. of O. All one has to do is be able to read to understand Mr. Giardina’s deliberate deception. The very language of his plan also puts the lie to Mr. Giardina’s claim that his plan requires the homeowner’s consent to a needed septic upgrade. His plan plainly states that the homeowner must allow their system to be upgraded. This doesn’t sound like consent to me.

Honestly, after reading Mr. Giardina’s letter, I wondered whether he has actually read the plan he posted on the East Hampton G.O.P. website. So, while he professes to be an environmental champion, he is really nothing but a charlatan. Finally, I found it pretty creepy that Mr. Giardina actually searched me out personally after my July letter. 




His Own Advice


October 30, 2017

Dear David:

Mr. Giardina presents an atrocious choice for our town board. He has voiced opinions on key issues facing our town, each of which is contradicted by prevailing science or wrongheaded, like his recommendation that a seawall be erected to protect Montauk’s beaches. Prevailing science would conclude that this would be the worst possible choice: Montauk’s beaches would disappear.

Wrongheadedly, Mr. Giardina has criticized the town’s septic upgrade program, which would involve little, if any, borrowing by the town in favor of his program, which would involve massive borrowing by the town (on the order of $150 to $200 million, depending upon the day of the week). Not only would his plan explode the town’s budget and involve huge tax increases to pay that debt, his plan forces town residents to shoulder this cost, trivializing what he has admitted would be an almost $22,000 bill for each homeowner forced to upgrade their system.

Hypocrisy also riddles Mr. Giardina’s campaign. In his campaign, Mr. Giardina continuously urged that community preservation funds be used for acquiring land to protect groundwater, and not be used to defray homeowners’ costs of the septic upgrade. Yet just last fall, Mr. Giardina actively urged the town board to oppose the extension of the C.P.F. program that also devoted a portion of those funds for water protection projects. Had his position been embraced, it would have ended the C.P.F. initiative in its entirety. There would be no further funds available for land acquisition.

All this demonstrates that 41 years in an office in New Jersey does not make one a local environmental leader. What does is front-line experience fighting to protect Kellis Pond from an ill-conceived development program, fighting to protect one of East Hampton’s most important aquifers from pollution from a 200-seat restaurant, and working to help preserve the Boys Harbor property from development. These are all environmental causes that Jeff Bragman has taken on in an effort to protect our environment. That is the trademark of an environmental leader.

In early 2016, Mr. Giardina gave an interview to someone at the Environmental Protection Agency that appeared on its website. When asked what profession he would not want to pursue, his response was, “Politics. Period.” I only wish he heeded his own advice.




Very Impressed

East Hampton

October 30, 2017

To the Editor,

To my fellow residents of East Hampton: I had the opportunity to speak with Paul Giardina (running for town board) on a number of occasions and I am very impressed with his credentials and commitment.

I believe he is very solution-oriented. He has lived here in East Hampton since the 1970s and is very familiar with the needs of this town.

What impressed me the most is his familiarity with the federal government, having worked with them for a number of years. He knows where the funds are, and he knows how to get them for the benefit of this town.

On the other hand, what disappoints me the most is the way his signs disappear from one day to the next. Come on, folks, we’re better than that.



Speaks Volumes


October 30, 2017

Dear David,

I first met Paul Giardina in the late 1970s, while he was working for the Environmental Protection Agency. In the last few months I have had the opportunity to get reacquainted with Paul, and I can tell you that over this 40-year span, Paul’s record of accomplishment in the fields of environmental protection and public health protection has been remarkable. Whether it was the many emergency actions he worked and managed, his effort to preserve Long Island groundwater at Brookhaven or his pioneering working in asthma risk reduction for disadvantaged children, his successes speak volumes about him.

We need successes now in East Hampton. The newest challenge, dangerous levels of chemicals in our waters, is being handled way too slowly by the town. The sitting town board wasted precious time waiting for community preservation fund money to be approved for water quality. What happened to the months and thousands of dollars spent on the Pio Lombardo water studies? Not much. We have seen what years of inaction can do to our water quality.

I proudly support Paul Giardina for the East Hampton Town Board because he has the knowledge and work ethic to correct the unfortunate trends we are seeing with our environment. We need Paul now. I know he will get the job done. I will also admit to another bias: If elected, I might get to spend a bit more time with his pup, Dozer.

Yours truly,





October 28, 2017

To the Editor:

If some of the letters in last week’s Star are to be believed, there are still some East Hampton residents who have not yet absorbed the fact that the upcoming election on Nov. 7 is about local issues.

Members of the Confraternity for the Beatification of Saint Hillary Clinton, the Anti-Trump Mourners’ Kaddish Minyan, the Rosie O’Donnell Fan Club, and the Maxine Waters for President Movement just can’t get the last election out of their heads. Apparently, they’ll be spending Election Day screaming at the sky.

Fortunately, the majority of my neighbors is fair-minded and has been following the issues that concern them the most. The campaign to elect Paul Giardina for town board has been consistent in offering ideas for East Hampton’s future that are progressive and innovative, even visionary.

Giardina favors solving East Hampton’s worsening water problems through a cost-effective plan that will get it done now and not delay matters further through some “free money” scheme. His extensive experience as an environmental engineer with numerous successes at defending water quality makes him the only logical choice for voters.

Giardina has made specific promises that will improve East Hampton’s community relations, particularly with regard to our Hispanic neighbors. He has assured our Spanish-speaking citizens that when he wins office there will be a sign saying, Traducción en español disponible aquí, or Spanish translation available here, at Town Hall.

Our neighbors told us that they were alarmed by the opioid epidemic that was reaching into East Hampton. Paul Giardina was the first and only candidate to issue a community-based plan for confronting this crisis through a combination of prevention, treatment of acute cases, and rehabilitation of victims of addiction.

Our neighbors also told us that they wished for housing solutions that assured local seniors, recent high school and college graduates, and members of our work force, such as teachers, first responders, and home contractors that they could continue living here. Paul Giardina has issued a concrete plan for a public-private housing partnership that will support the rapid deployment of entrepreneurial resources to develop affordable units in a decentralized and cost-effective manner.

Finally, we’ve made our cleanest break with the anti-business policies of the current Town Hall. The Paul Giardina campaign has issued a proposal for a new business incubator in East Hampton focusing on science and technology-based applications for new products. This is an idea that can bring together entrepreneurs and inventors in our local population with business leaders who are residents here seasonally and year-round. Our innovation center will invite participation from local, regional, and national high schools, colleges, and universities. It will serve as a jobs creation and career engine for a long time to come.

It’s time to stop indulging in disappointment about the outcomes of national elections. It’s time to stop letting deep-pocketed lobbyists in Washington and Albany and their local PACs delimit our local issues. Please don’t just scream at the sky on Election Day.

We need to make a positive choice — a vote for a future in East Hampton. We need to solve our problems with an experienced problem solver. We need to vote for Paul Giardina for town board on the Reform, Conservative, or the Republican line on Nov. 7. If you want to learn more, visit his website at paul4ehtb.com.



Unresolved Problems

East Hampton

October 26, 2017

To the Editor,

The upcoming election is not a popularity contest. It is a management hiring process for effective town managers with acute fiduciary skills. Each candidate should have a minimum of 10 years executive management experience to effectively run a multimillion-dollar, unionized organization — the Town of East Hampton. Board members each get paid more than $250,000 dollars in salary, benefits, and retirement contributions for a part-time job during their term. The supervisor commands almost double remuneration.

Over the last few weeks, the local newspaper has been flooded with contrived letters on behalf of each political faction, predominantly in support of the weaker candidates with emotional pleas to hire their “friend” regardless of qualifications. 

Enough please. Enough hollow endorsements. East Hampton’s environmental, housing, and human service problems have become exacerbated over the last four years, negatively affecting children, teens, older adults, town employees, and full-time residents due in large part to cuts in town personnel and their benefits in order to balance the budget. 

Read the “Guestwords” section (Oct. 19 Star), written by a 90-plus-year-old resident, Richard Rosenthal. Mr. Rosenthal addressed his column to the director of human services, Diane Patrizio, questioning her judgment and management. 

Kathee Burke-Gonzalez is responsible for human services as well as millions of dollars spent on dead-end airport legal battles. Ms. Burke-Gonzalez believes senior services are moving in a positive direction. Quite simply, they are not. Senior services are the disenfranchised orphans of the town’s priorities.

Ms. Burke-Gonzalez promises a new senior center, yet she haphazardly chose an engineering company with no prior experience in designing environments for older adults rather than an architectural firm specializing in environments that enhance older adult independence to construct a $6 million building that will house a daily nutrition program and an adult day care facility. We should be getting so much more for the cost of two East Hampton mansions.

Other unresolved problems by the board: the continued marginalization and lack of inclusion of our flourishing immigrant populations; beach erosion, specifically the costly mess created by the Army Corps of Engineers in Montauk, and septic-nitrogen runoff causing severe die-offs in our waters and threatening our health. This is the current board’s legacy. If we continue to hire and/or rehire people who aren’t qualified to manage our town’s outdated infrastructure, growth, and weakening public services, then voters fit the standard definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Moreover, we no longer have a tourist season. We now have crowd management from Memorial Day to the end of the international film festival. The town doesn’t benefit from this flood of people; tourist dollars go to publicly traded corporate stores, restaurants owned by out-of-towners, and city-styled pop-ups.

Speaking of benefits, consider one of the new candidate’s qualifications: Attorney Jeff Bragman continues to rack up countless billable hours working for private groups supposedly in the public interest. In his early ads Jeff proudly claims that he works alone and does his own typing. This is not a good recommendation for a candidate who wants a job that requires teamwork and the ability to manage staff. Board membership is not suitable for a self-described lone wolf. 

Finally, there is the community preservation fund. It is paying extraordinary prices for properties that are all but impossible to sell on the open market due to town-imposed restrictions on the land. It’s long past time to hold our public officials accountable and responsible.

Stop. Think. Choose wisely before you cast your vote for the future of East Hampton Town.



Zeldin’s Record


October 30, 2017

Dear David,

According to his Feb. 13 letter to the East Hampton Star, Paul Giardina is a “proud” and “unabashed supporter” of Congressman Lee Zeldin, who Giardina believes “stands up for core American values.” 

So what are the values reflected in Zeldin’s record? His 2016 environmental votes are so toxic he merited a rating of only 8 percent from the League of Conservation Voters. He voted for the American Health Care Act, which would have taken health care coverage away from millions; he’s expressed support for a budget that would blow up the deficit and slash Medicare and Social Security; he refused to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey; he opposes Planned Parenthood and has voted to limit reproductive choice; he supports allowing out-of-state gun owners to violate our state’s ban on concealed carry; his votes align with Trump’s agenda 92 percent of the time, and he believes Steve Bannon “got a bad rap.”

While Paul Giardina may find those positions admirable, I believe the voters of East Hampton do not. I urge you to vote for Jeff Bragman, who will make decisions for our town based on values we do respect, among them: protecting our environment, providing affordable housing, preserving our unique historical character, and promoting an economy that works for all. 

Thank you,



Refocus on Goals


October 28, 2017


In writing your Oct. 26 editorial “Difficult but Important Town Trustee Election,” you have assumed much insofar as the Deepwater Wind project is concerned. Opposition to this particular project, by any candidate regardless of political affiliation, should not be construed to indicate opposition to renewable energy or as negligence on their part in regard to addressing resiliency as your column suggests.

Opposition to this project, on my part at least, is based on the realities of how the project came to be, what it will actually accomplish, at what cost versus benefit, and more important, on where we should be investing as a community to actually make us more resilient. In our community’s thirst for all that is green, and therefore assumed to be good, we are in danger of naively embracing a key element (offshore wind) of a three-part project that fails to accomplish any of the goals of the Long Island Community Micro Grid Project which was supported by the town board, the sustainability committee, and New York State Renewable Energy and Development. It is as a proponent of the L.I.C.M.G.P. and as someone who is concerned for our marine and avian environments as well as for those who are engaged in our fishing industry that I in fact stand opposed to the South Fork wind project.

Furthermore, the willingness and ability of Deepwater Wind to “rapidly deploy” should be given little if any consideration at present as PSEG’s 2017 integrated resource plan clearly indicates that the projections utilized to issue the request for proposals that gave birth to Deepwater’s proposed project were inaccurate and that there is in fact no immediate need for additional generation to meet demand on the South Fork. 

Lacking an imminent threat of energy shortages we should not allow ourselves to become a target of opportunity for the only renewable energy developer currently available for rapid deployment and eager to gain a transmission landing site in New York and should instead refocus on the goals of the Long Island Community Micro Grid Project.


Mr. Cobb is a candidate for East Hampton Town Trustee, Ed.


Their Facts


October 30, 2017

Dear Editor:

Last week I attended the presentation of 8 of the Republican candidates for the East Hampton Town trustees. Each one spoke against the offshore wind farm, over which their jurisdiction has no control. In conversation after the event, I was told by one of the candidates, a previous member of the trustees, that the turbines only operated at winds from 10 m.p.h. to 30 m.p.h. This is incorrect. If you think about it, there would be little motivation to build a wind farm with such a small opportunity for success. The turbines rated wind tolerances are 3 to 25 milliseconds, which is 6.7 m.p.h. to 56 m.p.h. I really wish candidates would get their facts correct before they speak.



My Main Goal


October 29, 2017

Dear David,

This year may look like an off-year election, but only if you think that local elections don’t matter. They do! That is why the trustee election has been the focus of many candidate forums as it gives the candidates opportunities to make their issues known and have the people of the town judge their abilities. An informed voter is the best voter!

As a candidate for trustee on the Democratic and Working Families ballot lines, I am asking for your vote. I have dedicated myself to the service of the people of East Hampton by being an active member of the community, focusing on water quality, the expansion of the oyster seeding program, and our beautiful beaches. My main goal is to focus on getting the term of office for the trustees changed so there are not 18 candidates up for election every two years. My suggestion, which I will be happy to work on legislatively, is to have an election in two years. That election will determine who are the three highest candidates and they will get a four-year term, the next three candidates, a three-year term, and the bottom three candidates get a two-year term. That way you only have 6 candidates to really get to know every term. East Hampton deserves the best qualified trustees, not just those that are elected for their name recognition.

Vote for Rona Klopman on Nov. 7. I won’t let you down, but will work hard to listen to the community and make the right educated decisions!




Politics Will Stop


October 30, 2017

Dear David,

The campaign is about over now. In the last few weeks I’ve discussed where my positions differ from those of the Democratic majority on the trustees. In fairness, everything they’ve done has not been wrong. Two of their better accomplishments are negotiating a fair lease agreement with the Lazy Point leaseholders and opening a constructive dialogue with the membership of the Georgica Association. This was good work in my opinion. 

If elected I pledge to do my best to work together with whomever the public elects. We owe the voters no less. There will be no partisan bickering on my part, if I disagree with a proposal it will be on its substance not because the person who proposed it might be of another political persuasion. In other words politics will stop and good governing will commence.



Mr. Bloecker is a candidate for East Hampton Town trustee. Ed.


Leadership Roles


October 29, 2017 

Dear David, 

I would like to respond to the letter in last week’s East Hampton Star by Joe Bloecker. He was critical of the trustees working on a part-time basis, while blaming the current board for “worsening water quality” in East Hampton. The water quality problems in East Hampton have been decades in the making. Previous boards failed to act on it effectively. However, the current Democratic controlled board accepts the issues of declining water quality as our first priority. We are able to focus on this matter partially due to the reorganization of board leadership positions when we took office. 

The previous trustee board was led by a full-time clerk (chairperson) and a part-time assistant clerk; the expansion to full-time clerk occurred in 2007 and was funded by the town. The compensation included a full benefits package. Two years later, the Republican controlled trustee board agreed to subsidize the clerk directly from the trustees’ coffers. The trustee contribution effectively doubled the salary of the position. Upon taking office in 2016, the current Democratic controlled board elected a part-time clerk and two part-time deputy clerks to fill the leadership roles. The salary structure of these three positions is derived solely from the town portion of the previous arrangement and as these are part-time positions, the benefits package has been eliminated. Also, the town trustees no longer supplement the clerk’s salary, a savings of $35,000 plus payroll expenses. 

Trustee work committees are now assigned to a specific clerk. The workload is shared, allowing for leadership to be in three places at once. The clerks meet, confer via email or text, to address issues. This arrangement also allows for easier coverage if one needs time off. East Hampton is now getting three clerks for less than the price of two, and each clerk can focus on specific issues, making us much more effective. As for Joe Bloecker, is he suggesting he will forfeit working in the private sector if elected as town trustee? I think we got this one right. If you agree, please get out and vote for the Democratic trustee candidates on Nov. 7. Also, incumbent James Grimes deserves your serious consideration. 



Democratic Candidate for Re-election


Three Criteria

East Hampton

October 30, 2017

To the Editor,

With another election season upon us, we are faced with the important task of choosing nine trustees for two-year terms from a potential pool of 18 candidates comprised of 9 Republicans and 9 Democrats. The promise of staggered trustee terms could offer our community a better electoral process for this historical and important local board.

While it may be virtually impossible to thoroughly vet out all 18 candidates, one can vote on a standard evaluation criterion. First, where does a candidate stand on key trustee issues? What is their record in office or relative career experience? How do they respond to key issues, with negativity and personal attacks or with potential solutions? 

These three criteria clearly depict the potential for a candidate to be successful in office over the next two years. Important issues like access rights, clean water, Deepwater Wind, habitat restoration, and environmental dredging are front and center on the trustee docket.

My fellow Democratic board members and I have had a profound impact on the trustee board, beginning with moving the meetings to Town Hall to improve community participation and transparency. I have also enjoyed a very successful bipartisan working rapport with Jim Grimes. This is clearly apparent by the huge interest in this year’s trustee election. There is a new and powerful relevance and direction within the current trustee board.

Some Republican candidates are relying on negativity and reporting inaccurate information rather than articulating a clear agenda. Their statements show they haven’t done their research. We need to move beyond this unsubstantiated rhetoric and address the real issues. 

Professional, respectful Democratic leadership has delivered some great accomplishments for our East Hampton community. The portfolio of current trustee projects is impressive, and we are now working to establish standards, procedures, and protocols for various areas of trustee purview. Notable trustee projects range from navigational dredging on Accabonac Harbor to developing a watershed remediation plan for Georgica Pond. The Georgica Pond remediation plan looks to be the model for watershed planning throughout areas of Suffolk County.

The trustee office has evolved into a true community hub for great discussions on methoprene spraying, Deepwater Wind, and environmental dredging. The level of professionalism, participation, and pace of engagement has clearly challenged several longstanding members.

Regulatory permits are powerful, valuable, and important components of the trustee portfolio. Our core team of Francis Bock, Brian Byrnes, Bill Taylor, Jim rimes, and I recognized this opportunity and have made significant progress in this area. I ask that you, as caring residents of our beloved East Hampton, vote on issues, accomplishments, and demonstrated character for our East Hampton Town trustee candidates.

Respectfully submitted,



Clean Water


October 29, 2017

Dear David,

For the past few months, I’ve been knocking on doors, standing in front of grocery stores and post offices to meet and greet community members, and attending public events and meetings of engaged citizens. As a candidate for town trustee, I have heard over and over  from voters that the top trustee issue on their minds is clean water. The health of our fisheries is another important issue. As this campaign season draws to its close (remember to vote on Tuesday!), I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on the close relationship between the two: clean water and healthy fisheries. 

Finfish and shellfish are like the canaries in the coal mine: When they are healthy and abundant, it’s a sign that the environment is healthy for us, too. When nitrogen pollution from antiquated septic systems and over-applied lawn fertilizer mucks up the waters, it’s not healthy for us or for marine life. 

Likewise, when carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels turns the ocean into weak vinegar, thinning the shells of oysters, clams, and mussels, it’s a bad sign for the health of the food chain we all depend on. Already, shellfish in some areas have seen a 30 percent decrease in the thickness of their shells, slowing their growth and increasing their death rates. This will only get worse if we continue to use fossil fuels instead of clean energy like wind and solar power. 

Beach access is another concern of the voters. The trustees defend beach access for the public. But access also depends on making sure our beaches, in fact, exist! In the face of rising waters and fiercer storms, we need to work with nature, not against it, by planting beach grasses, protecting dunes with sand fencing, and using other soft approaches to coastal resilience. We need to discourage hard structures like bulkheads, groins, and “geo-bags.”

What this means is that in the 21st century, the trustees and the community they serve need to think locally and globally at the same time. To do that, we need all hands on deck: We need to work together as a community despite our differences. We all want the same thing: clean water, thriving fish, and a healthy environment. I humbly ask you for your vote so I can help make that happen.



Sincere Desire

East Hampton

October 30, 2017

Dear David,

I am humbly writing to ask for the members of our town to cast their vote for me for East Hampton trustee on Tuesday, Nov. 7. 

Over the course of the last several months I have had an extraordinary time, meeting and talking with friends and neighbors from Montauk to Wainscott as an East Hampton Democratic candidate. It has been a privilege to campaign with colleagues who are professional, knowledgeable, and dedicated incumbent trustees, all of whom have offered their time to educate and inform me of past, present, and future projects. 

I have learned much by attending the bimonthly trustee meetings, harbor management gatherings, and visiting numerous sites of projects completed or in the process of being worked on. I have listened and learned and researched data and information necessary to understand the important work of the trustees. The work to be done by the trustees is continual, as our waterways and landscape are constantly changing. Their continued success depends upon a cooperative board that is focused on achieving set goals. 

We have numerous challenges ahead but together we can solve them by utilizing evidence and data from scientific resources. As a trustee, I have a deep-rooted and sincere desire to work together as a team member. I believe a concerted team effort is necessary to accomplish the goals ahead of us. 

As your elected trustee I will dedicate myself to improving our fragile waterways, keep our beaches open to our public, work to help our fishermen and fisheries thrive, and to make certain our aquifer supplies clean and safe drinking water for all. I promise to work hard to preserve and protect all that a trustee is charged with in a responsible, transparent, and professional manner. 

As Jacques Cousteau, a scuba diver, innovator, and scientist said, “People protect what they love.” Like all of you, I love our hometown.  As a trustee, I will protect and give back to my community with all my heart. 

Thank you in advance,


Mr. Keber is a candidate for East Hampton Town trustee. Ed.


Three Centuries

East Hampton

October 30, 2017

To the Editor,

The two forums held at Clinton Academy a week or so ago to introduce those running for the office of town trustee were sparsely attended. This was a shame because the work of the trustees in East Hampton is as important as that of the town board, and candidates for the office should be recognized and heard. Their decisions often define the future of our community. Without once more belaboring the origins of the trustees and reviewing again the 1686 Dongan Patent we should be reminded of the three centuries of issues faced by earlier boards.

The earliest trustees did much of the work now done by the town board members today. Managing the town, common lands, and Montauk grazing rights in the 17th and 18th centuries gave trustees enormous importance. In addition to maintaining town affairs, the trustees were the counterpart of today’s social services. They found homes for orphans and widows, provided for the poor, and attempted to keep “undesirables” out of town.

The 19th century trustees for the most part can be described as real estate brokers. They bought and sold lands, sold their rights to seaweed on the beaches, and tried to settle questions of title. They sold Cedar Island in 1839 for a lighthouse site. 

Overcome by lawsuits, the trustees were forced to sell off many of the town’s common lands. Montauk was sold at a public action on Main Street when descendants of the original proprietors wanted a share of the money instead of a share of the land. The ocean dunes, considered worthless for farming, were sold to summer residents. Fish oil factories were built in Springs, Napeague, (Promised Land), and Northwest. Unprepared for the newcomers in town, social change, and unsettling development, the trustees floundered through their responsibilities  as the town was transformed from an agrarian society to a resort economy.

Trustees in the 20th century shared ownership of lands with both East Hampton Village and Town. Very little trustee land was left, thanks to the lack of foresight by their predecessors. In 1944, there was talk of abolishing the ancient office, but it was argued that the welfare of the town depended on trustee continuation. 

During the war years, the trustees had little control over their beaches, but slowly regained it in the postwar period. The shellfish industry became a major concern of the trustees at this time and they agreed that nonresidents had to be licensed or fined for taking clams without permission.

A shift in the concerns of the trustees is already evident in this century. No longer responsible for fixing schoolhouse doors or paying bounties on wildcats, future historians will note that the trustees in the 21st century wrestled with cleaning up polluted waters in bays and ponds, doing away with septic tanks,  the politics of wind farms, and re-establishing the shellfish industry. 

Just as social changes confounded the trustees of the 19th century, the needs of a new generation must not be allowed to muddle this work. The new board of trustees should include well-educated members and those who are unafraid to use technology and science when dealing with their problems. To continue the election of those with only “local” names to commend them, or those considered to be good guys, or legacy candidates clearly puts the trustees back into the previous century. These reasons dictate my choices for the next board of trustees. 

They include:

Francis Bock, who provides competent, mature leadership as the present chairman. 

John Aldred, with 45 years of experience as a research assistant at the ocean science lab in Montauk, the Promised Land fish farm, senior environmental analyst for the town’s Natural Resources Department, and first director of the town’s shellfish hatchery.

Bill Taylor, who served two extremely productive terms as a trustee and possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of trustee history, beaches, and properties from working as the town’s harbormaster.

Rick Drew, who has worked in marine management and as co-chair of the harbor management committee.

Francesca Rheannon, a lifelong environmentalist and journalist, and a national award-winner for her work in public health and safety. 

Rona Klopman, a resident of Beachampton, intrepid meeting attendee, a catalyst for change, and a strong proponent for staggered terms of office.

Jim Grimes, whose knowledge of local plants, invasive species, and horticulture is necessary for an informed board.

Brian Byrnes, who has served enthusiastically for one term already.

Susan McGraw Keber, who offers thoughtful consideration of the Deepwater project and its effect on the fishing industry.

It should be noted that their discussion at Clinton Academy, where they expressed their views and concerns, all agreed that the trustees were responsible for beach access to the public, that clean water was their biggest challenge, that revetments and bulkheads were not solutions for beach erosion, and that the trustees must work with other agencies and the town board to be effective.

The candidates for trustee agreed with a summary statement from Rick Drew, who said, “The new trustees need to have technology to cope with town problems. The trustees must lead from the patent, not hide behind it.”



Another Term


October 30, 2017

Dear David,

These incumbent town trustees have brought transparency, civility, and knowledge to the board. Much gratitude to Francis Bock (Democrat), Rick Drew (Democrat), Jim Grimes (Republican), and Bill Taylor (Democrat) for a job well done. They have proven their commitment to the environment and respect for the residents. The town is better off because of their service. I am pleased to see they are running for another term.



Making Progress

East Hampton

Octpber 30, 2017

Dear David,

I want to thank you for your endorsement. I and Francis Bock thought the trustees needed to move in a different, more-positive, and effective direction to deal with the growing problems of proper management and maintenance of our common lands and water quality, and I think the progress we as a board have made in the past two years proves us right.

We wound up with a board unafraid to interact with other levels of government as equals. We have been making solid progress on improving water quality, removing invasive plant species, dredging for both environmental and navigational safety, and beach re-nourishment. We successfully defended our beach driving and beach access rights, winning the Napeague Beach lawsuit. Georgica Pond is open and clean. All our meetings are shown live on LTV. Civility is back.

We are making progress, but there is a lot to do, so we are asking that you vote for the incumbents and new candidates that are committed to keeping this progress going. Please vote to keep the Democratic majority in place.

Thank you



Trustee Momentum

East Hampton

October 26, 2017

Dear David,

The current members of the trustee board have been dealing with compelling East Hampton issues in a cooperative spirit. Francis Bock, the clerk, runs an organized and open meeting. Anyone watching on LTV would not be able to know which members are Republican or which are Democrats.

However, the one exception is Diane McNally. At the Oct. 23 meeting she was contentious with James Grimes, her fellow Republican colleague. James Grimes was describing the opening of Georgica Pond and cooperating with the State Department of Environmental Conservation at a meeting, which had gone smoothly. You can watch this incident for yourself on LTV.org, on video on demand.

“Civility” takes hard work. Ms. McNally continues to be defensive and antagonistic. This kind of behavior disrupts and delays conversations needed with the D.E.C. Cooperation is the goal. The community needs to elect new trustee candidates, who will join the team with a positive attitude so progress is made to protect our water bodies and water quality.

Our East Hampton trustee board should work effectively for the entire community. Vote for positive candidates on Nov. 7 to keep the trustee momentum continuing.

Your truly,



Great Knowledge

East Hampton 

October 28, 2017

Dear Editor:

I would appreciate your voting for Joseph Bloecker for town trustee in the coming election. Joseph Bloecker has experience, having served in the past as a trustee. He has lived in our town for many years. He is an ardent fisherman for both shellfish and finfish. He is also a licensed sea captain.

Joe has served our community very well in the past. He has been president of the Friends of Erin. In this capacity he has worked with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other authorities, to make the Montauk St Patrick’s Day parade more enjoyable. He has also organized a family fishing tournament and the Montauk Seafood Festival.

Mainly he has great knowledge of our harbors, bays, and beaches.

Your vote will be Greatly Appreciated.




Dell Is ‘Everyman’

East Hampton 

October 29, 2017

Dear David,

My friend Dell Cullum: I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the upcoming election, especially the town trustee race. Dell is “everyman,” he only wants what is good for the Community he lives in. He was born and raised here and very early on decided he wanted to make a difference. 

Dell is not a Politician, per se, and has no aspirations of being a career politician. He is not left or right, he has to be convinced that a plan will work. He, just like you and me, only wants to help our town be the best it can be. A few facts about Dell:

Dell is compassionate about all the wildlife on the East End. Starting a wildlife rescue business almost three decades ago to humanely help relocate and remove animals, whether they be injured or a nuisance.

Dell is also a professional photographer and filmmaker, having hundreds of photos in all our local papers. He has also made several documentaries about wildlife, oceans, litter, and nature.

Dell is a very creative photographer not only using still photographs but film and a drone to get the greatest possible effects he can. He has also published several photo books including the very successful “Aquatic Ballet” series that seemed to disappear as soon as it was released. 

Dell also produces and hosts an educational TV show called “Imagination Nation” that is now in its fourth year.

He loves the beaches, creating Shoreline Sweep, an annual 50-mile beach cleanup, picking up litter and trash on our beaches, not only on the beaches from Wainscott to Montauk but the town roads, often times just doing it himself very early in the morning. There is so much more to say, but, enough. 

In my opinion, Dell will make a terrific and valuable town trustee. He is dedicated to the beaches and oceans, supporting our baymen, and our environment

Also, trying to eliminate the litter problem in East Hampton and educating our community on recycling. In addition, he continues to educate the people of the East End on wildlife rescue.

Dell Cullum knows more about our oceans and our bays, our beaches, and our roads and our wildlife than anyone I know.

I am proud to call Dell my friend and, with your vote, on Tuesday, Nov. 7, he will be one of our next new and valued trustees.




Broader Vision

East Hampton

October 30, 2017

Dear David,

I want to thank the East Hampton Historical Society for hosting the very interesting and helpful two evenings of discussion among the Democratic and Republican candidates for the town trustees. 

It was refreshing and community-building that, rather than a debate between the two slates, the same questions were posed on one evening to the Republican candidates and the next evening to the Democratic candidates. Each had plenty of time to thoughtfully answer the questions.

On the basis of what each group said, I saw a significant difference. Asked why we should vote for them, the Republicans simply cited how many generations their families had lived in East Hampton and their ties to the fishing industry. 

The Democrats, by contrast, cited their expertise on the complex issues that come before the trustees, such as water quality. They expressed a broader vision and concern, thinking about local issues within the context of national and global threats, like sea level rise and climate change.

They were also more flexible in their approach, emphasizing cooperation with other local, state, and federal agencies to achieve the best outcomes for the town. For example, when questioned about the proposed Deepwater Wind farm, the Democrats were focussed on getting the best deal for our fishing community and the town. The Republicans simply stonewalled: No offshore wind farm here! This, in spite of the fact that the project is almost certain to go through, as it will primarily be decided by federal review and environmental impact statement. 

Our town faces serious environmental challenges, from water pollution to coastal erosion. We need to have thoughtful, science-based, and expert management on our town trustee board. For that reason, my vote is going to the Democratic candidates.

Thank you,



Keep the Momentum


October 26, 2017

Dear Editor,

When your car breaks down, or you need to have a tooth extracted, or when your child needs tutoring in algebra, you try to find the best people for the job. When it comes to choosing people to run the government, especially in local elections, a lack of information makes many people vote strictly along party lines, vote for a friend or relative, or not vote at all. Is that how we find the best people for the job? Should we vote for a name we saw on a sign along the road? It requires investigation and thought to become an informed voter, but isn’t it worth the effort?

We decided to become informed about the candidates running for trustee. We attended the Republican and Democratic Meet the Candidates events sponsored by the East Hampton Historical Society. Sadly, there was not much of a turnout. That is too bad, because we did become informed. Both events were taped and hopefully will be aired on LTV before the election. If so, we suggest voters watch.

It was clear both sides are concerned about the same issues facing the town. Both sides were comprised of good, decent, and caring people. However, we found stark differences with regard to how best to deal with issues. In the case of some candidates there was an almost complete lack of knowledge. There were some differences in thinking about the role and functioning of the trustee board itself.

By ignoring party affiliation and focusing on the facts, we found there were five extremely knowledgeable, intelligent, experienced incumbent trustee candidates seeking re-election. Francis Bock, Rick Drew, Bill Taylor, Brian Byrnes, and Jim Grimes want to keep East Hampton moving forward. They have worked extremely hard and accomplished a great deal in just two years. They should be allowed to keep the momentum going.

They respect the spirit of the Dongan Patent, but unlike some other candidates, they understand the trustees cannot work alone. This is the 21st century, not 1686. The only way to accomplish what needs to be done is to listen and discuss, do the research, and when appropriate cooperate with other governing agencies and community groups to find solutions to problems. These incumbents have been consistently doing just that. They have been instrumental in fostering transparency and opening up communication with the community. Because of their actions, the role of the trustees has been strengthened and expanded. They have gained the respect and trust of other governing bodies and shown themselves to be smart, dedicated, deeply concerned, and reasonable.

For far too long the trustees had been a clandestine group whose main priority was to protect the autonomy granted them by the Dongan Patent. There was little, if any, transparency and no desire to work with other agencies. Because of this, little was accomplished and the power of the trustees was weakened. Some candidates seem to want to return to that status. 

Thanks to these five incumbents those days are over. Francis Bock, Rick Drew, Bill Taylor, Brian Byrnes, and Jim Grimes deserve your votes because they have earned your votes. They have proven themselves to be the best people for the job.

Rarely is there an opportunity to have all the planets align, so to speak. From what we gleaned by attending both events, that opportunity for the trustee board may very well be now. Should the following candidates, John Aldred, Rona Klopman, Francesca Rheannon and Susan McGraw Keber, also be elected, along with the five incumbents, East Hampton’s fragile and precious natural resources, and all East Hampton residents, will be the beneficiaries of the work of a truly outstanding, forward-thinking, action-oriented board of trustees will accomplish. This opportunity should not be passed up.



Valuable Asset


October 26, 2017

Dear David:

As the local election is upon us, I am writing to express my support for Diane McNally as a trustee candidate. 

I have known Diane for many years, both personally and professionally. For my friend Tim Miller she is a supportive and loving wife. She and Tim are fantastic parents, raising six children to become competent young professionals. She has also been an efficient and courteous colleague during my tenure with the Town of East Hampton, and her governmental knowledge is a valuable asset to the board of trustees.

I’m casting my vote for Diane, and urging others to do so. With her knowledge of local government and her years of experience, I feel a vote for Diane will go a long way in keeping our waterways and beaches accessible, and a viable resource for future generations in the Town of East Hampton.

And, as you so aptly stated in last week’s Star, “Joe Bloecker is a true man of the community.”

Joey has been a resident of Montauk for 42 years and has been a respected member of the Ecker family since marrying my sister, Cheryl, 27 years ago.

Joe’s passion, besides his love of family, God, and country, is keeping the waters and beaches in the Town of East Hampton pristine. To this end, I know that Joe will work tirelessly to ensure that this ongoing endeavor is met and sustained for our future generations. Having served as a trustee before, he has a firsthand knowledge of the trustees’ holdings and will be willing to work along with all other elected officials to achieve the goals established by them.

Please vote for Joe Bloecker on Tuesday. He is a man you can trust. 

Sincerely yours,



Bipartisan Backbone


October 30, 2017

Dear Editor David,

We support the candidacy of Rick Drew for a second term as trustee. The other four incumbent trustees who also deserve your vote are Francis Bock, Bill Taylor, Brian Byrnes, and Jim Grimes. For the past two years they have formed the strong bipartisan backbone of the trustee board. They made promises and have kept them. They have served East Hampton with distinction by working very hard and being dedicated to what is best for the town. Not only has their work been beneficial to the town’s natural resources, they have made the board of trustees itself more transparent and more accessible. Those are things past trustee boards have been very reluctant to do.

Experience, intelligence, and willingness to act are very important qualities to look for in a trustee candidate. In the past two years, Rick Drew has accomplished a lot. He has worked closely with Cornell Cooperative Extension to help them protect and restore local waters and make them more hospitable to sea life. He has supported the water testing program. Rick organized fund-raising events for these endeavors. 

He has been active in the expansion of the oyster gardens in Three Mile Harbor and Hog Creek. Rick has dedicated his efforts to the remediation of Georgica and Wainscott Ponds’ problems. He has worked alongside East Hampton Marine Patrol to develop safety training and protocols for the trustee harbor management commit tee’s fieldwork projects. 

Along with the United States Coast Guard he organized boating safety courses and courtesy vessel inspections. The new trustee website, which provides for open communication between the community and the trustees, was in large measure Rick’s idea and creation. In that same vein Rick understands the trustees cannot accomplish what has to be done by standing alone. They must be open to cooperating and working with other governing bodies and community groups to zero in on issues and find the best solutions for the problems which impact our environment. 

Rick has been a supporter of beach driving rights. With other board members he has worked on the difficult problem of removing phragmites. He and fellow trustees saw to the dredging of Accabonac Harbor to improve navigation. He has been involved with the reduction of methoprene spraying and has been diligent in studying all aspects of the impact of the proposed Deepwater Wind Farm.

Rick’s background is in marine science and information technology. He brings to his job intelligence, thoughtfulness, and analytical skills, as well as an abiding and longstanding love for East Hampton and its waters. As a trustee he will continue to dedicate his time to giving back. His best efforts will always go to protecting and improving East Hampton’s fragile and precious natural resources. 

Rick Drew and his fellow, like-minded and capable incumbents, Francis Bock, Bill Taylor, Brian Byrnes, and Jim Grimes, are trustees you can trust to do what is best for East Hampton. If re-elected they have promised to keep the momentum of the past two years going. And that is what they will do if you give them the opportunity to serve for another term. 



Lives His Philosophy


October 30, 2017

To the Editor,

Considering the ramifications of this year’s election cycle, the position of trustee may not seem important or noteworthy; however, water quality, beach erosion, and the environment loom larger than ever.

Fortunately, one of the candidates for trustee this year is James Grimes. He is a Republican (Full disclosure: This writer is a life-long Democrat.), but aside from party affiliation, James Grimes is a true conservationist, educated horticulturalist, land management expert, and exhibits a zealous concern for our healthy water supply.

James is a local Montauk man who truly lives his philosophy of protecting the environment and having him as a trustee will benefit all of us.

Respectfully submitted,



Trust Ms. Fleming


October 30, 2017

Dear David:

Bridget Fleming was elected to represent us in the County Legislature in 2015, winning more than 60 percent of the vote. She deserves another term.

During her first term in the Legislature, Ms. Fleming dedicated her work to many matters important to us on the East End, especially the protection of our water supply and the preservation of our natural environment. Importantly, she worked to secure $2.5 million in funding that will provide a county complement to the septic upgrade program being implemented by our town. This could provide additional rebate dollars to help cover upgrade expense incurred by eligible homeowners. This funding will also complement work by the town to minimize the environmental impact from stormwater drainage. These programs present a significant effort to revitalize our wetlands and protect our groundwater. There is much work to be done and we can trust Ms. Fleming to be an important voice for the East End.

Many of us have watched sadly as the iconic Cedar Point Lighthouse fell into disrepair. Recognizing its place in East End history, Ms. Fleming worked to get funding to help the restoration of the lighthouse. In what has become a public-private project, the lighthouse will be restored to its former glory and another important piece of East End history will be preserved. This and other infrastructure projects Ms. Fleming has supported not only help to preserve the East End, it has helped to bring jobs and helps boost the local economy.

Bridget Fleming has had an impressive record in her first term as a friend and staunch supporter of the East End. She deserves your support to continue her work for another term.

On Nov. 7, I hope you will give Ms. Fleming your vote. She’s earned it.




Guarantee the Future

North Haven

October 30, 2017

To the Editor:

Susan McGraw Keber is running for the position of East Hampton trustee in the coming election, and I am delighted at the news. I have known Susan for the past 15 years and during that period my admiration for her intelligence, awareness, open-heartedness, and sense of humor have steadily increased. Susan is an extraordinary person. 

In a world in which most people feel that they are incapable of effecting change for the better, Susan is a bright exception. A person of genuine good will, Susan passionately subscribes to the notion that not just East Hampton but all the communities of the East End can be made more prosperous, more humane, and in every way more livable, if every citizen will simply speak up and make his or her opinions known. 

She has told me that one of her goals, if elected as trustee, will be to draw a broader swath of the East Hampton community into the discussions on which its future depends. Susan believes in change, not for its own sake but simply because she is convinced that the world is moving so fast that careful analysis of the problems at hand and intelligent and humane responses to those problems are the only way to guarantee the future of the community and the welfare of our children. For Susan, it is the children who matter most because they are the future. I believe that if the voters of East Hampton choose to elect Susan McGraw Keber as a trustee, they will be very well served indeed.



More Qualifications


October 30, 2017

Dear Editor,

On Tuesday, Nov. 7, voters in East Hampton will have to choose 9 East Hampton Town trustees out of 18 candidates. There are many qualified candidates, but I do believe that there is one who has the knowledge of East Hampton Town in all levels of government. That candidate is Rona Klopman.

I believe that Rona Klopman has many more qualifications than many of the candidates. In the years that I have known Rona, I cannot believe the time that she spends on issues that concern our town. Rona attends or watches all the town board meetings, zoning board meetings, agriculture meetings, planning board meetings, architectural review board meetings, and trustee meetings and is secretary of the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee.

I also know that Rona is willing to listen and will investigate before making a decision on any issue. Rona also supports staggered term limits for the trustee elections so we will not have to choose 9 out of 18 every two years. On Nov. 7, please vote, and I am voting for Rona Klopman.

Sincerely yours,



East Hampton Independence Party


Wet and Sandy

East Hampton October 27, 2017

Dear David,                       

As a member of the town board of trustees, Rona Klopman will provide a clear knowledge of her responsibilities, fairness to other members, help, and guidance. She has a thorough knowledge of the ideals and intentions of all other boards, and can work with them. She’s ready to use her experience, a great sense of humor (necessary in government), kindness and an open mind, and a willingness to get wet and sandy, often.

For the next two years — Rona Klopman. 

Thank you for all of your patience with the election process.



New Faces


October 29, 2017

To the Editor,

Next Tuesday’s election will offer us a chance to repopulate the town board of trustees, and, fortunately for us, there are some new faces running.

The incumbents largely deserve re-election to various degrees, but it is time to get some really fresh blood to tackle issues that seem to forever be with us. I’m planning to vote first for newcomers (not all), and then fill out my elections with incumbents seeking re-election who seem to have done the most good.

At the top of my list is Francesca Rheannon, a longtime Springs resident, writer, and journalist, who has been at the forefront of environmental action. Her résumé for a trustee position is impressive. And her knowledge of environmental activities elsewhere can bring a maturity of vision to the board.

But see for yourself, check out all the candidates, irrespective of party, and vote in the best. East Hampton deserves it.



Simply Vitriol

East Hampton 

October 29, 2017

To the Editor:

History is often the great leveler in allowing us to understand current political trends and to fully grasp the implications of people’s behavior. In conversation with a 92-year-old World War II vet friend, he tells me that the anti-Semitism and racism in the military was the norm and was never questioned. He says that the political climate in 1930s Germany, Italy, and Spain were easily comparable to today’s in the United States. In truth, the world has witnessed hundreds of situations of political upheaval that resembles our own. We need only to open a history book.

The problem: Conceptually, it’s about inclusion and exclusion in a process that provides people with a minimal sense of self-esteem and spiritual uplifting if nothing more concrete. In Obama’s eight years he talked nonstop about inclusiveness. Something attained and gained by participating in a process that wasn’t always open and available to them. The separation between Obama and today is that Obama called for inclusion by uplifting economic and social value while today inclusion is about excluding other people from participation in the process. Gaining self-esteem by debasing and marginalizing others rather than through personnal accomplishments.

When Senator Jeff Flake calls out the president for behavior that is debasing and disrespectful, he is standing up for values that he believes represent the country. (He is only partly correct.) When Lazio soccer supporters littered Rome’s Olympiad stadium during a match with anti-Semitic literature featuring Anne Frank’s picture it reinforced the need for Flake to stand up and be heard.

Yet the Lazio fans and Trump supporters (80 percent  Republicans) are in lockstep regarding this behavior and are undeterred in expressing it. For those who felt excluded from the process these past 30 years they now have a platform to express their inclusion.

The relentless flow of meanspirited vitriol from the White House is a symbol of acceptable behavior. There are no policy issues involved. No disputes over the best way to make people’s lives better. No ideas about how to improve the economic and social conditions of those who have been excluded. There is simply vitriol and more of it. Immigrants, blacks, Puerto Ricans, Latinos, women, scientists, politicians, refugees, the disabled, soldiers, their families, football players. Chose anyone to degrade and suddenly you feel a lot better about yourself.

Your wages are dropping, health care disappearing, job prospects diminishing, and tax cuts that will leave you as broke as ever floating around. Pick out any one of the above and you are on the winning side. Scream it out, write about it, deface a synagogue, spit at a wetback. Feels empowering. You may still be in the crapper, but you are on the team and at the end of the next term you will proudly wear your letter jacket.

American fascism is no different from every other form of fascism. Different time, different language, the same playbook. Simple answers for complex problems. Inclusion by exclusion always works until it doesn’t. How many Jeff Flakes will it take to stand up and speak truth to power.





October 26, 2017 

To the Editor,

East Hampton Star, you did it again. On July 7, you published a letter (“Be Prepared”) warning, predicting a tempestuous eruption of major magnitude in the “terrain” of the Clinton Foundation acceptance of questionable donations, $150 million-plus. Sale of bomb making, uranium to Russia on Hillary’s watch, as secretary of state. Bill Clinton’s exorbitant speaking fees in Russia, approximately half a year ago. The revelation of these schemes and others are currently tumultuously transpiring. In these days of contentious, disputable reporting, you are rendering a commendable, award-winning service. Keep it up.