Letters to the Editor: 11.30.17

Our readers' comments

All Come Together


November 20, 2017

Dear Editor,

We had a phenomenal night at the Stephen Talkhouse this past Thursday night for the Neo-Political Cowgirls’ second annual Battle of the Fantasy Girl Bands, where we raised $8,000 to fund our two free educational workshops for local kids. The January Girls and our newest endeavor in partnership with the Hamptons International Film Festival, Dude’s Eye View, give girls a place to build friendship through art and high-school boys a place to share their views of their world through film. With both we hope to engage kids in the power of creativity while finding mentorship, friendship, and a place to feel heard. These are just two little nets we hope to cast to counter suicide, drug and alcohol addiction, and feelings of low self-esteem. 

As we all know, our community is a beautiful, rare bird of eternal generosity. So we thank all the businesses and individuals who donated to our silent raffle, which was tremendous fun and such a showcase of our incredible town! 

Thank you to our volunteers and my Neo-Political Cowgirls’ board, who did so much heavy lifting to make this night shine. 

Thank you to all who attended to cheer on our powerhouse performers. Once again, a packed house! 

Thank you, Peter Honerkamp and Tammi Gay, for your always incredible hospitality in hosting us. 

Thank you to the brave and committed women and girls who formed bands and worked so hard to bring us such exciting performances! You are the heartbeat of what N.P.C. stands for! 

Thank you, as always, to Holly Li and Christine Sciulli, my co-chairs, whom I admire for the superheroes they are. (And a pretty cool drummer and guitar player as well.) 

This event, to me, highlights just how wildly fun and rewarding it can be when we all come together to support those in need among us. 

We look forward to meeting all the kids who will join us in these programs in early 2018! If you’re interested in your child being part of either of these workshops, please contact us at npcowgirls@ gmail.com. 



Artistic Director

Neo-Political Cowgirls

Deeply Reassuring

East Hampton

November 22, 2017

Dear Editor

Early this morning, I happened to read Bess Rattray’s stunningly beautiful essay in East magazine. It filled my heart with gratitude that I have had the privilege to live in this special part of the world for over 50 years. It’s a rare thing to live in a community so blessed with natural beauty and extraordinary people. And in the midst of so much baffling change, how deeply reassuring it is to still have the gift of an unusually fine local newspaper still run, after all this time, by a talented family named “Rattray.”

Thank you for still being here.



A Seasonal Thing


November 24, 2017

Dear Mr. Rattray,

I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving. And I should have written that the way I felt it, with an exclamation point. A Happy Thanksgiving! Make that two: !!

You have much to be thankful for, sir, including the fact that this year, for the first time, you were able to eat an organic Butterball turkey (see article in fortune.com) while showing your support for the growing factory-to-table movement. Bravo! We, on the other hand, feasted on a locally raised, free range, privately schooled turkey that had not been injected with butter, nor with opiates. We are blessed.

I love this time of year. Especially this particular year. Think of the recent hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, fires, mass shootings, sexual abuses, protests, and political warfare we’ve had to endure, some of us directly, all of us emotionally. Overwhelming. When the death of Charles Manson seems like the “feel good” story of the day, you know it’s time to talk turkey.

I have so much to be grateful for, Mr. Rattray. And not just Sade or Chance the Rapper. Only last week my partner, Brian, who is very tall and from Wyoming, told me about the Greater Green River Intergalactic Spaceport in Green River, Wy. My first reaction was, “The what?” So he repeated it slowly. So I repeated “The what?” slowly. Touché.

Now here’s the story: In 1994 a report was sent to National Aeronautics and Space Administration about the possibility that fragments from the Shoemaker-Levy 9 Comet were potentially on a trajectory to crash into the rings of Jupiter. This information was brought to the attention of the city council of Green River by one of the councilpersons, who suggested that the town rename its sole landing strip, which for decades since World War II had simply been known as Green River 48U. His idea was to name the 5,000-foot-long dirt runway “Greater Green River Intergalactic Spaceport” as a way of providing fleeing beings from Jupiter (or elsewhere in the known and unknown universe) with a hospitable port of entry to our great planet Earth.

The resolution passed by unanimous vote of the council. Amazing. And what’s more amazing: The federal Aviation Administration approved the re-naming. In truth, the Town of Green River had hoped that this action might encourage more private air traffic to the newly named spaceport and also stimulate a bump in tourism to the region. Sadly, even 23 years after the official designation, this has not happened. The dirt landing strip still has a single windsock (which does not conform to F.A.A. regulations) and is marked only by the official green sign (which keeps getting stolen). There is no terminal at the Intergalactic Spaceport. No baggage claim. No restrooms.

So why, this Thanksgiving, am I thankful to have learned, belatedly, of the Greater Green River Intergalactic Spaceport? Duh. Because if Green River, Wy., can get the F.A.A. to approve that name for its airstrip, the Town of East Hampton can certainly be granted control of the ground rules (and above-ground rules) that apply to our own air strip. Could it mean that we will be required, as a condition of said control, to welcome visitors from other parts of the galaxy? That is possible, of course. But they would be informed that visiting hours are from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., E.D.T., no exceptions. You’re welcome!

I was even more thankful this season for the early arrival on the airwaves of holiday music. (For our purposes here, Mr. Rattray, let’s just call it Christmas music. I mean, it’s beginning to look a lot like what? And we’re rockin’ around the what? Case closed. But if it makes you feel any better, “White Christmas” was written by Irving Berlin, a Jew, and according to the Guinness Book of Records, it’s the best-selling song of all time. Mazel tov, Irving!)

Mary and I were driving back from Vermont two weeks ago, trying to get some radio reception in the mountains. Three choices: classic rock, bad country, or “Casey Kasem’s Countdown of the 40 Best-Selling Christmas Songs of All Time.” Now, Mary respects my historic wish to not start listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. However, for reasons previously noted I was very happy to get into the “spirit of the season” this year. 

So we went for the countdown. It was also an opportunity for us to rekindle the annual arguments: Is Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmas Time” a true “Christmas classic”? (I say yes; she says no.) What about George Michael’s “Last Christmas?” (I say yes; she says no.) You get the idea. And there we were, heading out of Manchester, singing those songs. It’s just not that heartwarming singing AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.” Don’t know why. I mean, I love “Highway to Hell!” Probably a seasonal thing. 

Anyway, as we got to number three on the countdown (let’s hear it for “Little Drummer Boy”!), I said to Mary, “I’m pretty sure Casey Kasem is dead.” (Not to be a downer on our listening experience.) And Mary said, “Are you sure? I mean, that’s him talking, right?” So she did the Google thing and sure enough, Casey passed in 2014. But they’ve digitally remastered all of his yearly “Countdowns,” which are presently in syndication everywhere. So I’m thankful that Mr. Kasem, like Mr. Crosby, will be with us forever and ever. Rock on, Casey!



On the Ball

East Hampton

November 22, 2017

Dear David, 

I’d like to publicly thank town Police Officer Nick Lloyd, who responded to my recent call for help when I fell on my kitchen floor and couldn’t get up. He has a strong hand and calm approach. The police operators were also on the ball. Did I “need an ambulance?” one asked. “Was my door unlocked?” I told them I was hard of hearing and they immediately passed on that information in their call to the police car. 

It’s good to know we have people and systems that work so well.


Control Your Life

East Hampton

November 22, 2017                     

To David:

There are many people in this world who continuously look for conflict — walk away from them. The battle they are fighting is within themselves, not with you.

To enjoy our life when we have problems, we must look at the positive side of the problem. Make sure what you do is a product of your own conclusion not someone else’s. In life success is not final and failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Every time you remove negativity from your life you make room for positivity.

The doors we open and close each and every day decide the way we will live our lives. Attitudes are contagious; make sure yours is worth catching. How we treat other people is a reflection on how they feel about themselves.

Do not fear the winds of adversity. Remember, a kite rises against the wind rather than with it. An elevator has many ups and downs, but you control your life and its ups and downs. 

Fear is our greatest enemy and hope is our greatest weapon against the disease we call racism. Prejudice is the reasoning of fools and pollutes the mind. People with vacant minds have their uses, yet it seems a pity to waste first-class bodies on them. Case in point in our Congress, and I mean what is happening in both parties, both Democrats and Republicans. Where we go and what we do advertises who we are.  I would ask for our nation that they clean up their house!

Maturity is not when we start speaking of big things, it is when we start to understand the small things. If everyone is thinking alike somebody is not thinking. Those who stare at the past have their backs to the wall. Remember when the caterpillar thought her life was over she began to fly.

Remember, 97 percent of Americans will wake up and enjoy freedom. Only 3 percent will defend it. It’s easy to take liberty for granted when you never had to defend it. Take a moment to remember the sacrifices of the men and women who have valiantly fought to make America the greatest nation on Earth.

So as you walk down the street and see that military person, police officer, fireman, emergency medical technician or first responder, just go up to them and say thank you. For their lives are on the line each and every day.

Today’s preparation determines tomorrow’s achievement.


Clean Energy

East Hampton

November 27, 2017

Dear David,

Thank you for your informative Nov. 23 article “Now, It Pays to Power Down” supported by the editorials “Help to Power Down.” 

This new demand-reduction program, South Fork Peak Savers, will make available, to residential and business, an opportunity to become more efficient in managing the use of energy consumption, saving money, and, at the same time reducing the demand for any further fossil fuel-generated resources to meet our coastal community’s power needs. The program, implemented by Allied Energy Group, is under contract to PSEG Long Island to reduce the South Fork peak load by spring 2019. On Dec. 1, A.E.G. will launch a website, southforkpeaksavers.com. South Fork Peak Savers becomes another clean energy program in the energy sustainability committee’s growing renewable energy portfolio. 

As sponsor of the Town Hall meeting, the energy sustainability committee is always focused on raising community awareness of opportunities to participate in meeting clean energy independence from fossil fuel energy generation. The Town Hall meeting agenda included, in addition to the A.E.G. introduction, a showcase of additional clean-energy programs striving to meet the town board’s 100-percent renewable energy goal. 

Gordian Raacke, executive director of Renewable Energy Long Island, walked the audience through an analysis of the “great transformation,” assessing the town’s renewable potential for energy efficiency, solar, and wind power. In addition to the new demand-reduction program and the home and business energy audits offered, there are new town building codes and battery storage programs. Kim Shaw of the Department of Natural Resources and Marguerite Wolffsohn of the Planning Department addressed town department initiatives leading to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation designation in 2014 of East Hampton as a Climate Smart Community and now recently the designation by the New York State Energy Research and Development Community Authority as a Clean Energy Community. 

LTV covered the meeting, including questions from a very aware audience that almost filled the house. Screenings of the meeting will be on LTV tomorrow at 9 a.m. and Saturday at 10 p.m., as well as on demand at Ltveh.org, more opportunities for the Energy Sustainability Committee to showcase its clean energy portfolio. 


Acting Chairwoman

East Hampton Town Energy

Sustainability Committee

East Hampton’s Soul


November 18, 2017

Dear David, 

Some of your readers may know that I have recently written and published a book called “Saving East Hampton’s Soul: 1978 to 2017.” The first printing has already sold out, so I have ordered more for the upcoming holidays at a special discount of $25. I would like to share some of the reviews that have beenmailed to me by readers.

“This book tells the story of an important East Hampton era in short chapters that is eminently readable and enjoyable.”

“Marvelous, funny, and sometimes unnerving.”

“Thank you for this big, amazing book!”

“I’ve read every word. The best compliment I can give is . . . I wish I wrote it.”

“A great piece of work!”

“Wow! . . . The photographs are wonderful.”

“Great idea for a gift.”

If you love East Hampton and are concerned that we are on the brink of losing our historical character and unique beauty to harmful overdevelopment, you should follow this amazing struggle to save East Hampton’s soul. Books can be purchased by emailing debbrodie@ optonline.net. We are living this struggle in real time as you read this book. There are more chapters to be written . . . maybe by you. 

Happy holidays,

DEBRA FOSTER          

Honored to Serve

East Hampton

November 27, 2017

Dear David,

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all the blessings we have received and focus on giving to others. I am humbled by the overwhelming support shown by the voters of East Hampton in electing me and thankful for this opportunity to serve as the next town supervisor. 

To the many people who contributed, worked on my campaign, to my running mates, and those who voted for me: I am grateful for your help and confidence in me. Whether you voted for me or not, I believe that elected officials must do their best to represent all residents, and I welcome your input toward the betterment of our community.

The campaign focused on many pressing issues that we face. Making progress on those issues requires commitment, dedication, engaging residents in constructive and open dialogue, and respect for differing points of view. 

I am so very thankful to live in East Hampton, a place like no other I know. I believe we can make a positive difference in our world and that everyone has something special to give toward that goal. I look forward to this amazing opportunity to lead our community, and I am truly honored to serve.


Major Decisions


November 19, 2017 

Dear David, 

On Nov. 7, the voters of East Hampton expressed their overwhelming confidence in the Democratic-controlled town trustee board. Thank you so much. Over the past two years, the trustees have steered toward a place feared by previous boards — engaging with regulatory agencies. We believe that in order to address our mounting environmental problems, we must act as any other responsible landowner. We are now building respectful working relationships with people who, in the end, have the same environmental goals. 

Deepwater Wind, having been chosen by LIPA through a “request for proposals” process, has proposed a large offshore wind turbine project to provide electricity to the Town of East Hampton. The original plan considered running the cable through Gardiner’s Bay, landing at Fresh Pond in Amagansett. Upon hearing the concerns of local baymen, the trustees contacted Deepwater Wind and have since hosted numerous public forums to allow the public and the developers to dialogue and exchange information. 

These forums have taken Gardiner’s Bay out of play, and it now appears the cable will likely land on our southern shore, minimizing any negative impact to our local baymen. We believe full engagement is the only way to move in positive directions. This is true of all major decisions the trustees will encounter.

Last year while I was speaking with recreational shell fishers it was pointed out that motorized harvesting is banned on Sundays and therefore opening scallop season a day earlier than traditionally would allow all those interested an equal opportunity to partake. This was the second year of the Sunday opening, and by all accounts a tremendous success. It was such a simple thing to do and an enjoyable benefit to so many. Again, I want to thank all who have supported this trustee board, and granted us an additional two years to continue our work. We promise to stay the course, listen to what you have to say, and together we will protect East Hampton’s precious waterfront environment and all that it provides. 




Winning Big

East Hampton

November 26, 2017

Dear David,

As the rest of the world seems to be scarily spinning out of control, our recent East Hampton Town Democratic landslide has been an uplifting and much-needed bright star on our local political horizon, I felt that a little more light should be shone upon the extremely restrained and sophisticated campaign waged by Dell Cullum for a position as town trustee. Without rhetoric, without harshness or deafening noise, without posters or endlessly annoying phone calls, or even a poster or two around town, he won. And I would say that coming in at number three in a field of nine is winning big. 

Even though the small piece of advice I gave him was not heeded, he seemed to humbly and innately know what to do.  He said to me, “I will not cut my hair or even put it in a ponytail.” He is who he is and he does what he does. 

To have received the third highest number of votes because he has demonstrated that he is the right man for the job is extremely gratifying. So, while the Thanksgiving spirit is still in the air, I would like to say thanks to Dell and all the people who voted for Dell. In these desensitizing times that we live in, it is important that occasionally someone is recognized for their good deeds with no hype attached.

Congratulations to Peter, to Kathee, to Jeff, and especially to Dell.


Unbiased Alternate


November 26, 2017

Dear David,

In your editorial of Nov. 9, titled “Democrats Deliver Resounding Rebuke,” there are errors I believe in your analysis. There is no doubt that the East Hampton Democratic candidates won not only the town board seats but the overwhelming majority of trustee seats as well, of which you make no mention. Further, support for or against President Trump aside, the elections of 2013 and 2015 were far different from that of 2017 in these ways. 

First and foremost you imply that there is some nexus between the candidates of 2013, 2015, and 2017 with regard to the East Hampton Airport. It is true as a career law enforcement professional I was opposed to closing the East Hampton Airport as were my running mates. We have been and remained committed to reaching a compromise between users and neighbors and supported the 161 process. 

Naturally, those who would like to see the airport remain open supported our candidacy. Let’s not lose sight that those who want the airport closed, such as the Quiet Skies Coalition and Just Say No to HTO, supported the East Hampton Democratic town board candidates. The questions I believe you should be asking are: If all the candidates support reasonable airport restrictions and the Part 161 process, why did Q.S.C. and J.S.N.HTO blanketly support only Democratic candidates for all town positions? What is the nexus between those groups and the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee? Clearly, their ads and support were anti-Republican!

Next, your assumption that “East Hampton voters have generally favored candidates who came up through the ranks of public service on the many appointed town boards or committees and do not favor candidates with experience outside of elected office.” I believe again is a reach to simplify the many dynamics that went into this particular election cycle. 

Let’s not lose sight that the majority party makes all appointments and traditionally appoints party members and supporters. Because of this, party loyalty weighs greater than public interest, particularly for a person who is looking for a career path that will provide a salary, government pension, and benefits. It is just this reason that I proposed the adoption of a good government act that configures all appointed boards be constituted of five members, two from the majority party, two from the minority party, and one agreed to by bipartisan vote.

Then there is your utterly wrong characterization of the Republican candidates when you wrote: “It is important that the G.O.P. rebound by recruiting popular centrist residents to carry its message forward.” The 2017 majority slate of G.O.P. candidates from supervisor to trustee could not have included more lifelong local residents, many with generational ties to East Hampton going back decades. Many of the G.O.P. candidates had strong proven track records of environmental conservation protection, commercial fishing experience, government management, and documented centrist values that span decades. This, in fact I believe, was more so than many of the Democratic candidates.

Where we do agree is your sentiment that you have expressed more than once, “monolithic government, even at this level, carries great risks.” Lord Acton, the 19th-century British statesman, scholar, and aristocrat, stated: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” 

I would encourage the 2018 East Hampton Town Board not to appoint  Democratic committee faithful whose allegiance is to the Democratic committee but rather a voice that is independently capable of civil dialogue and debate to bring an unbiased alternate view. My many years in Albany at the New York State have taught me that the best legislation is developed, debated, and supported with bipartisan approval.



Voting Here


November 26, 2017

Dear David: 

In response to Amos Goodman’s letter in the Nov. 23 issue, New York State law provides that people with two residences within the state can legally choose either one as their voting location. In the years my wife and I had an apartment in Astoria, we chose to vote here because our votes made more of a difference, and because local decisions sometimes had much more of a potential impact on us than much of what was legislated in New York City. 

Now, like many people who spend part of their life with two establishments, I have only one, in Amagansett. Voting here during prior years was an excellent education, as well as the initial making of a commitment, which has resulted in this becoming my full-time home. 

Mr. Goodman’s letter doesn’t disclose that he was a Republican candidate for County Legislature not long ago. I can’t speak for all the people Mr. Goodman calls “weekender(s),” but I, and most of my friends with two residences, voted to protect the town against the party that took helicopter money. Who does that make the outsider? 


Republican Leaders

East Hampton

November 20, 2017

Dear David,

There may be worse political hypocrites and purveyors of obvious falsehoods in East Hampton than Reg Cornelia and Rich Gherardi, the chair and treasurer of the East Hampton Town Republican Committee. If so, I cannot think who they might be.

In a letter to The Star dated Nov. 2, but published after the election, they complain bitterly about “baseless smears” in the election advertising campaign by the Quiet Skies Coalition PAC against the Republican committee and candidates. (Q.S.C. PAC is legally separate from the Quiet Skies Coalition, as it is required by law to be, although Cornelia and Gherardi make no distinction.) I cannot accuse these two of outright lying, because I do not know their state of mind. Maybe they believe the ridiculous falsehoods they publish. But, let the facts speak for themselves. Then your readers can decide.

The Republican leaders say in their letter, “First, neither the East Hampton Republican Committee nor any of its candidates have ever said, nor do we believe, that Friends of East Hampton Airport — or any airport interest — are our ‘most important supporter,’ as Q.S.C. claims. That is false.”

Oh, really? These two should try reading their own campaign literature. On the campaign Facebook page of Republican supervisor candidate Manny Vilar, on June 26, there appeared a post about the airport on behalf of all three Republican town board candidates, all mentioned there by name. Following the post, they list four, and only four, campaign supporters — or causes they support, take your pick. Among the only four they list, including the Republican committee itself, is “Friends of East Hampton Airport.” For those who don’t know, Friends of East Hampton Airport is the front organization for the New Jersey helicopter operators and other commuter aircraft operators that sued the Town of East Hampton in federal court to overturn its democratically adopted airport noise restrictions.

Oops! Cornelia and Gherardi’s claim is both a patent falsehood and smear of Quiet Skies. Are even the commas and periods in their sentences true? 

Then these two dissemblers-in-chief of the East Hampton Republican Party say this, “Second, as this paper noted, the out-of-state helicopter operators, who were very active two years ago, have played a minimal role at most in this year’s elections. Of course, the vast bulk of their activity in 2015 was done independently of our committee and candidates.”

In the very same issue of The Star to which they refer, you reported $75,000 of contributions, nearly five times the legal limit of $16,000, to the Republican campaign by, “a mystery group linked to the town airport” hidden behind a facade called G.N.Y.G. L.L.C. with no identifiable officers or members. The only point they are actually making is that, in contrast to 2015, this year the contributions of helicopter interests to their campaign were both direct and openly illegal. 

Despite the concealment, the identity of these airport interests was not a mystery to Republican campaign treasurer Gherardi. He is quoted by you saying that the mystery group consisted of “people from south of the highway, Lily Pond Lane and Further Lane, who do take helicopters out here.” These “airport interests” contributed nearly half of the entire Republican committee campaign fund. “Not important,” according to Cornelia and Gherardi.

It is illegal to conceal the names of campaign contributors. Mr. Cornelia has for years been an employee of the Suffolk County Board of Elections. Is he nonetheless claiming complete ignorance of the campaign finance laws? 

Despite the Republican committee’s own open and outrageous violations of the state campaign finance laws, Cornelia and Gherardi, in the very next breath, insist that they “follow the letter and spirit of the law.” Oh, please! To find falsehoods this obvious and ridiculous you would have to attend White House press conferences or read the Twitter feed of our so-called president. Apparently the Trumpist tactic of simply saying things that everyone in the room knows to be a ridiculous lie has infected the East Hampton Republican Committee. It is no wonder that part of their recently deceased election campaign was to offer East Hampton “progress like what’s happening in Washington.” Progress indeed.

And yet, it gets worse. Here’s where the Republicans’ hypocrisy becomes absolutely unbearable. They next accuse Quiet Skies of failing to follow campaign finance laws. They mention nothing specific, of course, make no factual claim of any kind, but appear to imply without actually saying so that Q.S.C. PAC failed to file campaign finance reports disclosing its contributors (even while these two Republicans conceal their known campaign contributors behind the facade of G.N.Y.G. L.L.C.). I just looked at the board of elections campaign finance database. Q.S.C. PAC is there as a 2017 campaign filer. This isn’t a case of the pot calling the kettle black. It is a case of the pot burning the house to ashes and then calling the kettle black. 

Cornelia and Gherardi next tell us that the Republicans do “appreciate the negative impact some airport users are having on the community. We support reasonable flight restrictions, noise abatement measures, and other strong and binding limits to mitigate the effect of airport noise on its neighbors. Period. Always have. Always will.”

That’s not a pot or a kettle. It’s a crock. I have been in the middle of the battle against airport noise for 20 years. The Republicans have always, ever, forever opposed any restrictions on the airport. The lone Republican member of the current town board voted against them, with the exception of a curfew of very limited effect. They have never, never, never supported binding restrictions on airport traffic to reduce noise. Never. 

Finally, Cornelia and Gherardi give us a mangled account of the federal litigation brought by their buddies, the helicopter companies, a.k.a. Friends of East Hampton Airport, against the people of East Hampton. They complain of the litigation costs that they falsely state are borne by East Hampton taxpayers. Did you ever hear the joke about the guy who murders his parents and then asks for mercy because he’s an orphan? Tell it to them.  

Contrary to their false claim, the litigation expenses caused by their helicopter supporters are paid by the airport fund, supported by airport user fees. The taxpayers are in fact prohibited by federal law from receiving any benefit from the airport fund or the airport, not so much as a dime. The airport litigation costs are thus borne by airport users. 

It is a pity we do not have two functioning political parties in East Hampton. But, as long as the East Hampton Republicans keep trying to play us for fools, we don’t and we won’t. As for Cornelia and Gherardi, Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame on you!



Far From Ideal


November 20, 2017

Dear Editor,

I attended a public meeting of the airport management advisory committee on Nov. 17 at Town Hall. The meetings are open to the public and provide a valuable view of current airport issues. Members of the committee are volunteers and give generously of their time and expertise to consider airport-related issues and make recommendations to the town board.  

About an hour into the meeting, a conversation began about the need to relocate and raise the height of the now “permanent” air traffic control tower. Bruce Miller, chief air traffic controller, commented via conference call. Having followed for years the saga of airport expansion and the aviation proponents’ demand for a permanent control tower, I was stunned and alarmed when I heard Mr. Miller explain difficulties the air traffic controllers experience now.  

Apparently, the site of the control tower is far from ideal and poses safety issues; it is too low to allow the air traffic controllers a full 360-degree view of the area and distant trees partially (about 25 percent) obscure their view of some incoming traffic. It was reported during an earlier meeting that during conditions of low ceilings, the controllers cannot see aircraft entering HTO airspace from the south. Whoever decided on the site for the tower apparently overlooked the obvious problems, including the fact that trees will grow higher!

The original demand for a tower was for a mobile tower but the demand for a permanently sited tower became a pet project of the fixed-base operators, local aviation association, and former Councilperson Stanzione, supported by then (and current) airport manager Brundige. Final costs related to the original project were above the original $300,000 estimate. To remedy the problem now and either relocate or raise the tower in its present position will have a financial impact.  

Unlike some costly red-herring projects proposed by aviation proponents (i.e., reopening a closed secondary runway that may support fewer than 35 additional landings per year), this one appears to pose real safety issues. But who will be held accountable for this misadventure? If the location and tower height were selected on the recommendation of the Federal Aviation Administration or other third party, shouldn’t they fund the cost of raising the height or relocating the tower? 

Surely no demand for more F.A.A. funding to correct the issue will be entertained by the town, and surely the town need not commit airport funds to correct the problem, if the town acted on the recommendations of third parties. 

Thank you,


Negative Impact


November 26, 2017

Dear David:

An article titled “Planners Review Affordable Housing” found in the Nov. 23 edition of The East Hampton Star summarized discussions before the East Hampton Town Planning Board of the affordable housing to be located adjacent to Montauk Highway in Amagansett. Along with several other people, I made brief remarks before the planning board concerning the affordable housing proposal. Your article attributes to me the following quote, “With this project, you’re dumping everything into Amagansett” (The Star’s quotes). 

The problem is I never said these words or anything remotely similar. I would not use these words in a public forum, and I am not sure what “dumping everything” means in the context of the discussion. It implies the person who spoke these words has additional concerns with town actions uniquely impacting Amagansett beyond affordable housing. 

I actually commented about the size and scope of the housing project compared to the size of the Amagansett School District. I said if the town of Oyster Bay placed a similar-size affordable housing project in Massapequa, where I grew up, the affordable housing project would have a negligible impact on the Massapequa School District due to the size of the district. The additional student burden on the Massapequa School District would be minor. On the other hand, the negative impact of the additional students from the housing project on the Amagansett School District could be overwhelming for the district. I would appreciate The Star being more accurate when attributing quotes to people in the future. 


During public comment at the Nov. 15 East Hampton Town Planning Board meeting, Mr. Jordan said, “The problem is, with this housing project, you’re dumping everything on Amagansett financially, with it, with the schoolchildren.” A video of the meeting can be seen on demand on LTV.org. Mr. Jordan’s comments appear at about 2 hours and 24 minutes. Ed.

Legal Issues


November 22, 2017

To The Star:

“The law is an ass.” Shakespeare, and then again, not always, at all. One year ago, I sat at a table to address why 80 percent of us don’t go for legal help. It’s too expensive, right? 

East End for Opportunity Inc. costs $30 per hour toward fixing legal issues. If needed E.E.F.O. will broker legal fees at a fraction of the usual cost. 

We are busy; I share a sampling of recent applications. 

The elderly gentleman who paid $300 for $80 worth of silver ingots (endorsed by a former treasury official)! The family, whose sister died without a will, leaving a valuable properly inhabited by a long-term adult squatter. The employee refused payment arguing his immigration status and because he left early to meet a rescheduled dialysis appointment. The retreat client, survivor of severe abuse, who will be provided the most robust advocacy E.E.F.O. can muster.

The fighting chance clients financially devastated by their cancer treatments. Tenants in East Hampton whose landlord’s property is in foreclosure (more than you think). In my view these people are the soul of our town.

Please call E.E.F.O. if you need us.


Executive Session


November 27, 2017 

Dear David,

The Amagansett School Board meetings are getting more secretive and less transparent.

At the last school board meeting, Tuesday, Nov. 21, it started as usual with the Pledge of Allegiance and then, without an explanation of the reason to the audience, the president of the board asked for a vote to go into executive session. The attendees of the meeting were asked to wait in an administrative area during this executive session. 

As far as I’m aware, executive sessions must be accompanied by a lawful reason. The items that were agreed to in the executive session were approved at the end of the meeting, and the revised agenda was said to be on the website for viewing. After a wait of 30 minutes I passed the time reviewing the agenda and these items caught my attention:

Resolution 37, 38, and 39, the listing of the qualifications of the three administrators, Mrs. Tritt, Ms. Dorr, and Dr. Lamorgese, in accordance with New York State qualifications for observing staff. The hiring of a “facilitator” for arts education for $400 per day and not to exceed 50 days for the 2017-2018 school year. The hiring of a teaching assistant at $45,000 for the 2017-2018 school year. 

The meeting resumed, and the floor was open to the community with questions about items on the agenda, with a two-minute time limit.

Question: “Looking at the three resolutions listed (37-39) are you planning to employ the three present administrators?” Response from Mrs. Tritt: “These are the requirements for the current administration training in 2017-2018 in order for them to observe. I then asked, “Will they be included in the 2017-18 school budget?” Mrs. Tritt responded, “The 2018-19 budget has not been developed.” I then asked if the three administrators would be considered in the 2018-2019 budget?” Mrs. Tritt then replied that the new budget has not been considered or developed. 

In the past, Mrs. Tritt reflected the administration was working under multiple hats. I find it difficult to understandhy Amagansett finds it necessary to hire yet another administrator labeled as “facilitator of arts and education” to the amount of $20,000. What is going on in our little elementary school? They are hiring another administrative position rather than hiring a Spanish teacher for the explicit education of the children. 

Note: This is what they did last year, hiring Dr. Lamorgese as an “evaluator” just to do observations for 30 teachers at $350 per day. Yet he was present every workday and for the entire year.

The school has 92 students in seven classrooms, kindergarten through sixth grade, a pre-K program along with an administrative wing containing three administrative offices and secretaries for each with a sign stating “Responsible Way.” Does this sound responsible for taxpayers?  

The school board is making these decisions because the community is not objecting to it. It is clear that they are trying to eliminate the surplus of finances when the 4-percent cap was pierced. Is this why the superintendent requested a transfer of approximately $300,000 in June? (Remember, the budget was just passed requesting an increase in taxes on May 16; then the transfer was six weeks later. Why? ) 

I hope all the residents think twice when voting for the school budget in May 2018. 



Deer Population 

East Hampton

November 20, 2017

Dear David,

In the editorial in last week’s Star “Culling Village Deer May Be Ahead,” you wrote, “Hunting is the only population-control method consistently shown to work,” in order to justify the need for a managed deer cull. I have written several letters in the past describing an effective, relatively inexpensive method of deer population control, using P.Z.P. vaccine, which is administered by darts. I am not the only one who has written letters to you about this method. I have written that you can learn more about this by going to www.humanesociety.org and typing “P.Z.P. deer control” in the search box at the top. After several successful experimental programs, the Environmental Protection Agency has now officially approved the use of this vaccine to manage deer population control.

Maybe you didn’t have to time to go to this website and look at the articles, so I’m going to write a quote from one of the articles, which is dated July 11. “Having treated many hundreds of deer with P.Z.P., Humane Society of the United States scientists and other researchers who have experience with the vaccine have abundant evidence to demonstrate that it’s safe for the animals, doesn’t pass through the food chain, and is effective in reducing reproductive success. When used properly, P.Z.P. reduces fawning rates by 85 to 90 percent. The E.P.A.’s approval of the vaccine affirms those conclusions, and I’m pleased to see this piece of good news for animals coming out of the Trump administration.”

I can understand your having an aversion to the deer sterilization surgery that was paid for by the village in the past, but to deny the existence of a viable nonlethal deer population control method such as this doesn’t seem to make sense.


Harm and Suffering


November 26, 2017

To the Editor:

Our society has aggressively attacked the natural environment. We have cut down forests, dammed rivers, and mined the earth with explosives. 

Our treatment of nonhuman animals has been equally aggressive. For example, United States factory farms annually force billions of animals to live in tight cages or pens until the day of their slaughter.  

Such practices have caused great harm and suffering, and have produced far-reaching side effects. For example, the gas emissions from the waste in factory farms are a leading cause of global warming.

The Star’s Nov. 16 editorial on deer notes that “humans have kicked the world out of balance,” but speaks favorably about the most aggressive means of controlling East Hampton’s deer population — hunting and a cull. (A cull would probably use sharpshooters to kill the animals.) 

It may be, as your editorial says, that deer are adversely affecting vegetation and other species. I’d like to see more scientific study of this issue. But as Allen T. Rutberg of Tufts University observes, decades of hunting have done nothing to reduce U.S. deer populations. Isn’t it time to explore less aggressive, more humane methods, such as contraception? 

Your editorial mentions other problems associated with deer, including vehicle-deer collisions and tick-borne illnesses. But we can address these problems without killing deer. We can reduce collisions by driving more slowly, and we can try methods that eliminate tick-borne bacteria without hurting deer.

Let’s see if we can interact with nature more gently, inflicting the least harm possible.



East Hampton Group for Wildlife

Dead On Arrival


November 27, 2017

Dear Editor,

A tragic story appeared in the news this weekend. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving a woman in upstate New York came home from work and took her dogs for a walk near a field behind their home around 5 p.m. A neighbor thought he saw a deer 200 yards away and fired a shot, hitting the woman, who subsequently was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital half an hour later. This man’s apparent passion for killing deer overcame reason and common sense and led to the death of an innocent 43-year-old woman and the destruction of a family.

To my mind, killing animals for any reason other than food is immoral and unethical. Controlling our deer population can be done effectively with humane contraceptive methods. Those who want to control our deer population need to think long and hard before they advocate kill, kill, kill!

A Thanksgiving guest told me that a neighbor in Vermont had recently taken a friend’s 12-year-old son hunting. They found a doe with two fawns and the boy shot and killed one of the fawns. Is this really the lesson we want to teach our youth?

Simply banning guns does not stop gun violence as can easily be seen in cities like Chicago which both ban guns and have the highest rates of gun violence. The real solution to gun violence is developing a culture that respects life and abhors blood sport; a culture that doesn’t present our children with endless options for violent participatory video games and violent movies, a culture that doesn’t rate violence P.G. and sex R. 

The shooting victim, Rosemary ­Billquist, was apparently a kind, caring individual, a dog lover, and someone I think I would have liked to have known. She worked at a hospital where she saw a need and had a bench installed outside. Rosemary had the bench inscribed with a quote that should give us all pause, “In a world where you can be anything . . . be kind.” 


Look Who Won


November 20, 2017

Dear Editor,

It turns out that Trump was correct in claiming the 2016 election was fixed. Look who won: Putin’s puppet!



‘Hunting Season’

East Hampton

November 26, 2017

Dear Editor:

When Donald Trump boasted on Access Hollywood about grabbing wo­men’s genitals with no contrition, apology, or concern for the sexual abuses he perpetrated, he sent a message to the country. When the 16 women came out and said Trump had abused them, they were called liars and threatened. The message was reinforced.

In Alabama an evangelical Trump supporter said that he would support Trump even if it put him in conflict with Jesus, while every evangelical pastor who responded to a Boston Globe inquiry expressed their support for Roy Moore and disparaged his accusers. (Do we need to reinstate voting literacy tests in the South?)

Trump’s message to his supporters and to females in general was “hunting season is now open.”

In the uproar around the sexual predatory behavior of Roy Moore, Charlie Rose, and Al Franken, there is a pathetic reminder that the American people have already voiced their opinions on the subject.

Yet, we are again focused on the wrong narratives. Is it really about the sexual abuses and indignities that women face in our culture? Is it about the Alabama evangelicals who seem all the worse from too much inbreeding giving credence to our parents’ lessons about the pitfalls of incest?

Set in the context of America’s psychosexual dysfunction, the treatment of women seems more normal than not. We shouldn’t believe for a second that calling out sexual predators (necessary) touches more than the tip of the iceberg. The root issue is the relationship of women to the society and whether the constitutional affirmation of equality with men is real or just a manuscript of dreamlike fantasies.

The depth to which inequality is ingrained in our society is underlined by the barrage of publicity saying that it isn’t. The ongoing war to achieve equality flows in fits and spurts but doesn’t stop. The anti-women agenda of one political party coupled with the lukewarm opposition of the other leaves women abandoned on a precipice with a lifeline of which they are holding both ends. 

The problem with equality for women is far more complicated than civil rights for minorities or gay rights. Women make up half the population, approximately 160 million people. If equality means sharing the pie, which is the ultimate definition of equality in a market economy, then the pie gets cut in half. In a country where income inequality is growing and is violently protected by the majority of our politicians, this becomes the greatest threat that our country has ever experienced.

Whatever gains women made in the past 100 years and especially the past 50 there is an even greater distance to travel before women will have real equality with men. As the economy matures, growth slows, and the pie gets smaller, the reluctance to share grows stronger. Having a racist misogynist pig as president appeals to the basest, most primitive instincts of the American people. It’s a full-scale war. No holds barred.