Letters to the Editor: 09.07.17

Our readers' comments

Beach Fire Ills

East Hampton

August 31, 2017

Hey, David: 

In your July 27 editorial “Beach Fire Ills,” you mention a few ways to curb the fires and debris short of banning fires. Well, unfortunately there is no way short of a ban. People are generally slobs and leave their charred wood and debris behind or bury it. Not good. 

I for one am not a beach fire fan — too many times looking at debris. I go to Indian Wells just about every weekend I can. The charcoal and burnt wood chips are unnecessary, and should not be the responsibility of the Parks Department to police. The garbage cans are enough.

So when you think about it, a ban is the only answer. Case in point: I frequent Napatree beach over in Watch Hill, R.I., several times a summer. It’s a long spit of sand that reaches out from Watch Hill. It’s the cleanest beach I have ever been on. You have Block Island Sound on one side and Little Narragansett Bay on the other. Breathtaking. And the rules: no fires, no vehicles, no dogs (May to September). It’s time for East Hampton to toughen up.

Also worth mentioning to the shoreline crybabies, Napatree beach was home to 44 cottages before the great Hurricane of 1938. The day after, they were all gone. The owners were not allowed to rebuild. Food for thought.


Second Career


August 26, 2017

Dear David,

Oh! The inhumanity of it all! Liberals are taking up arms to protest Colin Kapernick’s recent status change to unemployable pro quarterback. Boo, hoo, hoo. Oh, boo, hoo, hoo!

I am interested in starting a second career as a brain surgeon. My qualifications, you ask? I have probably opened up nearly 10,000 melons in my lifetime. Please, is anyone hiring?

From the field,


Valid Voter ID


August 28, 2017

To the Editor:

It’s almost obligatory now that when someone on the left disagrees with a policy of President Trump, or almost any Republican, the first and often the only recourse is to level the charge of racism or bigotry as the motive for that policy.

Such was the case in last week’s Star editorial claiming that Trump’s attempt to clean up the nation’s voter rolls was intended to suppress minority votes. Devoid of facts or even counterarguments, the editorial instead used a condescending, dismissive tone of voice to make its case, as if attitude were all that’s needed as proof. And the claim that minorities are somehow less able to acquire valid IDs is insulting to minorities.

The Star should instead do a little homework, like reading the books of John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky on the subject, or the decades-long research of Gregg Phillips and others. Voter fraud in the United States is a large and growing problem. The worst examples are in the big cities, the vast majority of which have for decades been run, not surprisingly, by left-wing Democrats. Might that be the reason the press so vehemently opposes valid voter ID, something essential in so many other areas of American life today?


‘The New Normal’


August 27, 2017

To the Editor:

During Guild Hall’s Hamptons Institute’s Aug. 21 panel discussion “The New Normal in News: Ideology vs. Fact,” the host, Alec Baldwin, praised The Los Angeles Times for managing to “do it all” with respect to covering both local and national issues. 

The irony, of course, is that on the same day Mr. Baldwin praised The L.A. Times, that paper’s entire leadership team was sacked by its parent company, Tronc.

What does Mr. Baldwin think of the shake-up? As fans of his work, we would sincerely like to know.



Political Programming


August 31, 2017

Dear David,

With election season upon us, now is the perfect time to reiterate the policies of LTV Channel 20 regarding airtime for candidates and political opinion.

Although the F.C.C. imposes several requirements for commercial and other licensees related to political broadcasting, including equal time for each political party, none of those requirements are applicable directly to public, educational, or government access channels such as LTV. The courts have determined that the opportunity for accessibility by any citizen supersedes the F.C.C. requirements on access channels.

Efforts to single out, or limit, political programming, no matter how well intentioned, are fraught with the risk of content-based regulation applying only to political programming rather than to all programming.

LTV provides airtime on Channel 20 to all in the community on a first-comefirst-served basis with no bias as to content or preferential scheduling. Political discussion is welcomed and encouraged; political programming is treated precisely the same as all other programing. LTV is a platform for free communication, and all parties and candidates, along with all citizens, have an equal opportunity to make use of it.

Producers from all political parties may have anyone they choose on their shows as guest, with no obligation to other points of view. In other words, Republicans can have shows with only Republicans on them, and Democrats can have shows with only Democrats. Again, scheduling is on a first-come-first-served basis, and as long as a producer has fulfilled all of the requirements established in our policies, LTV will never schedule with a bias to any political party or viewpoint.

Shows scheduled on Channel 22 are solely for the use of local and regional governments, elected officials, and educational organizations. This channel is not available for use as a public forum.

Our next producers’ orientation is Monday, at 7 p.m. at LTV in Wainscott. If you as a citizen or a political entity would like to create your own show for broadcast on Channel 20, call our development director to register for the orientation and learn how you can use our equipment and/or studio to make your own show. Shows filmed elsewhere may be submitted directly to our programming director provided that they meet LTV’s technical and submission standards. Contact information is available at ltveh.org or by calling 631-537-2777.

Please also visit our website for LTV’s policies and procedures, our producer’s manual, and other information about access stations and LTV, as well as information regarding New York State’s standards for public access.

There is no political censorship by LTV administrators, staff, board of directors, the town, village, or Cablevision (Altice). Editorial comment and responses are permitted and encouraged.


Executive Director

Independence Primary


August 29, 2017

Dear David,

With the Independence Party primary for East Hampton Trustee fast approaching on Tuesday, the Democratic candidates endorsed by the party want to thank the party chairwoman, Elaine Jones, and her Independence Party Committee, for their endorsement to be on the ballot. Rona Klopman, Bill Taylor, Rick Drew, and John Aldred are Democrats whose names will appear on the primary ballot, and we appreciate the support of the Independence Party.

Our views on water quality concerns, beach access, and support for our fishing industry, as trustee candidates, received the endorsement of the Independence Party for this primary. Now, two weeks before the primary, another person has filed a petition to run on the Independence Party line, so there will be 10 candidates for nine positions on the primary ballot. 

To all Independence Party voters: Please come on Tuesday, and cast your votes for the Democratic candidates endorsed by your party.





Support Julie Evans

East Hampton

September 1, 2017

Dear David,

I am writing this letter encouraging all Independence Party voters to support Julie Brumm Evans in the primary election on Tuesday for her bid as a trustee candidate on the Independence line. 

Julie Brumm Evans is a strong supporter of our fishermen’s rights, knowing firsthand the many challenges they face, as she ran a charter business with her late husband, Capt. Mike Brumm, for many years. Julie has also been involved in many local environmental issues, including the Lake Montauk watershed study and the water quality testing program in Montauk. Her education and experience in environmental science will very much serve as an asset to our board of trustees.

Julie Brumm Evans is a qualified candidate and deserving of everyone’s vote.


The Real Goal


September 1, 2017

Dear David,

People create their own trouble. There is the right way to do something and the wrong way. For Democrats, unseating a Republican congressman who is an avid Trump supporter should be the goal of every Democrat. A unified party that has enormous strength on the East End backing someone like a Fred Thiele is the Democrats’ only hope. Unfortunately, some who call themselves Democrats can’t understand this goal because they have been enticed by the siren’s song.

This primary has taken money, energy, and time from the real goal. This primary has been divisive and will get us nowhere. Watching some guy in the corner who is pouting, with tears in his eyes, because he thinks he has not been treated fairly, who created the game in the first place — one has to wonder about him. The claim that Andy Sabin of “Jail Her” fame gives money to lots of people so it’s okay to take it, is wrong. A Democrat wouldn’t accept it!

In politics the Democratic man said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” 


Progressive Democrat


September 1, 2017

Dear David,

I’m sorry supporters of Zach in the Democratic primary have cast the race as one between Jeff and Zach. It is actually a three-way race in which the two highest vote-getters claim two town board councilperson vacancies.

I am supporting Jeff because I believe he will be an invaluable addition to our town board. He has been a progressive Democrat forever. That includes being a fiscal progressive determined to find a way to pay for the affordable housing, resources for young people, and neighborhood and environmental protections about which he is passionate. He also knows how to cut the 8-inch pie 10 ways; that’s what he’s been doing as he brokers legal compromises between would-be gobblers and preservers of the landscape.

I like Jeff’s commitment to the community he has lived in and raised his kid in for many years, and his determination to protect its beauty, healthiness, safety, neighborliness, and diversity. The strange caller slamming Jeff on Zach’s behalf has it all wrong. As a lawyer, Jeff is an honest adversary and someone who can get people from conflict to “yes.” I know he is a delight to work with, efficient and effective, just what we need for our town board.

I am also voting for Kathee Burke-Gonzalez so she can continue her exceptional service on the board for the last four years; Kathee and Jeff will be a great team. 



The writer is co-chairwoman of the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee. Ed.

All Great People


August 31, 2017

Dear David:

The East Hampton Democrats have three fantastic candidates for town board. Why the heck can’t they just stand up, say that, and let primary voters decide which two will represent the party in November?

Zachary Cohen, Jeff Bragman, and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez are all great people, and eminently more qualified to lead the town than any offerings from the “helicopter party.”

To their credit, none of the candidates has engaged in the cheap and frankly quite amateur dirt-dusting that has taken place over the past couple of weeks. They are above that. Perhaps it will trickle down to the wonks. 

As for the aforementioned three Democratic candidates and the environmental and quality-of-life disaster that is East Hampton Airport, I would hope that our leaders for the next four years will show a little more moxie than is currently being exhibited, and put local homeowners before carpetbaggers. 

In the early 1990s, then-Supervisor Tony Bullock defied the State Department of Environmental Conservation by refusing to close the town’s landfill before alternate arrangements for the waste stream were in place. Tony “did the time” by taking the fine. It was a smart choice, given the circumstances. 

There are creative options available when it comes to local control. I’ll support those who seek them instead of simply kowtowing to the F.A.A.

Best regards,


Proud of My Involvement

August 31, 2017

East Hampton

Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to Tom Ruhle’s criticism of my role in the town’s acquisition of our Shadmoor State Park. As Tom was not present during the planning board review, it may be helpful to explain the facts and provide some context. 

My work on the application was constructive. It broke a logjam impeding approval, which was a necessary step toward public purchase. My efforts laid the groundwork for a voluntary public acquisition, making Shadmoor a reality. 

The owners had battled with the town for years, having presented at least two very large-scale subdivision plans for the 100-acre site. At the same time, they were willing to sell for public acquisition, but received very low offers, far below the $18 million which they believed was the true value. The owners knew that only by obtaining a subdivision approval could they market the property and confirm the price. With the planning process stalled, they decided on a new strategy. 

I was retained to submit an extremely low impact plan for the parcel, with just four lots and a 50-acre reserve area. Instead of battling, I reached out to the Nature Conservancy. I asked if they would agree to manage the reserve area, thus protecting half the property. The conservancy readily agreed, and supported the application from that point on. 

As an aside, before I was retained, the town and applicants both agreed that some of the bunkers which posed a hazard would be removed (but archived with special architectural photography), and some would remain. 

One disagreement later occurred. The owners requested approval to put four horses in the reserve area. In response, the Planning Department said a new environmental study would be required. The department asserted that orse droppings would introduce non-native species. It documented that claim with some unpublished Ph.D. papers, copies of which were not provided. 

In the early days of the internet, I had to use the local library and make phone calls to finally obtain mailed copies of the studies. Once in hand, it was immediately obvious that the horse manure claims involved untouched, pristine, wilderness areas in the western United States, totally different historically and ecologically from Montauk, which had a well-documented history of cattle raising and grazing over 150 years.

I want to be clear that I strongly disputed the use of some unpublished studies of horse manure in far-off wilderness areas in western states as appropriate to the habitat in Montauk. Also, I provided proof of Montauk’s history of cattle grazing. My disagreement with the Planning Department was strong, but it was not a personal attack. I questioned their science. 

Both the planning board attorney and the chairman mischaracterized my comments as a personal attack. They were wrong then, and are wrong today. A dispute over scientific evidence is not a personal attack, and I stand by the questions I raised. 

Ultimately, the owners withdrew the request for four horses, and the application was approved. The property was offered for sale, and the price of $18 million confirmed. The end result is our Shadmoor State Park, a precious resource which we all cherish today. I am proud of my involvement in the case. 


Democratic Party-endorsed 

Candidate for Town Board 

More Informed Choice


September 1, 2017

Dear David,

I want to thank the League of Women Voters, the Group for Good Government, and the East Hampton Library for sponsoring the debate between Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, Jeffrey Bragman, and me. Everyone agreed that the organization of the event was excellent.

The audience deserves recognition for spending a night in August listening to three Democrats seeking political office. Change requires participation. The quality of the debate and the overflow audience was an encouraging sign that we can work thoughtfully and forcefully from this year through the national elections in the upcoming years.

I also want to thank The East Hampton Star for their front-page coverage of the debate. Your coverage, and the LTV coverage, allows those who were not there to make a more informed choice on Tuesday.


For Jeff and Kathee

East Hampton

September 1, 2017

Dear David:

The Independence Party of the Town of East Hampton screened all people who were interested in being on our line for the position of councilperson. We had 10 people on our screening committee, and every person and issue were carefully vetted. We easily and overwhelmingly chose Jeffrey Bragman as a candidate, and also chose Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez to serve for another four years.

There will be an election on Tuesday, a primary vote. It will be between Jeff, Kathee, and Zach Cohen, who chose to create the primary. We continue to feel that the Town of East Hampton will be best served by a vote for Jeff and Kathee.

Pat Mansir, Vice Chairwoman

Elaine Jones, Chairwoman 

East Hampton Independence Party 



August 31, 2017

Dear David:

For those who attended the debate among the candidates for the Democratic Party ticket for town board, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez listed her impressive track record of accomplishments that deserve voters’ support for her in Tuesday’s primary.

For those who missed the debate, Kathee was elected to the town board following one of the most caustic town board administrations this town has witnessed. The Wilkinson administration spared no opportunity for nastiness aimed at those the three Republican board members supposedly served. It was an appalling display of bad leadership.

Kathee and her colleagues (led by Larry Cantwell) brought civility and respect back to town government. Theirs has been a truly representative government, one that has pursued interests important to those they represent. One cannot ask for more from one’s government.

As for her dedication to local town interests, Kathee has been the liaison on airport issues and has fought to combat the noise and pollution caused by foreign commercial interests bent on exploiting the town solely for profit. She has promised to continue that fight on our behalf.

She has worked to help balance budgets during her entire term, which has resulted in the town recently receiving the highest credit rating. This should help to lessen interest payments on the existing debt inherited by the standing board and seeking any new debt that might be necessary.

She and the board have pursued aggressive measures designed to protect our environment. The board has unveiled a revolutionary septic system upgrade program that will begin to improve our groundwater and local waterways. Community preservation funds have been used to acquire environmentally sensitive (and historical) parcels.

Her commitment to the future of our town is also evident in her tireless work on social issues. She has spearheaded efforts to educate our kids on a variety of issues, from sexual awareness and abuse issues to drug awareness.

East Hampton has been fortunate to have her on the town board and she deserves the vote of each Democrat to keep her there. Please support her on Tuesday and then again in November.


An Open Ear

East Hampton

August 29, 2017

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of our town board member Kathee Burke-Gonzalez. I am asking my friends and neighbors to re-elect Kathee Burke-Gonzalez to our town board on Tuesday for the primary, and on Election Day, Nov. 7. She is running on the Democratic, Independence, and Working Families lines. 

We need someone like Kathee on our side. She is one of the most caring people I know, caring about our Town of East Hampton and its hamlets and its people, doing what is necessary and right to make sure that our town has clean water, affordable housing, quiet skies, public access to all beaches, making them more accessible to people with disabilities, and more.

When I first met Kathee, it was at a rally at the Springs General Store almost four years ago. I approached her to introduce myself and say hello and she immediately recognized me with a warm hello and a very warm and kind conversation. Kathee, along with our current town board and Supervisor Larry Cantwell, have accomplished many great things for us here in East Hampton Town. Here are some of Kathee’s accomplishments for us.

Kathee in particular is for maintaining our environment. She has initiated C.P.F. acquisition programs in Montauk and Springs to protect our ground and surface waters, and continues to do so, with the septic system replacement option for keeping our water clean. She has restored civility, respect, and transparency to town government, reduced debt, increased surplus, and saved millions of dollars in taxes when the town’s credit rating was upgraded, and purchased iconic farmland in Amagansett and Wainscott with C.P.F. funds.

She has expanded transportation services for veterans, secured Community Development Block Grant monies for the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center and the Retreat, expanded mental health services for adolescents, promoted the new senior community enter, secured town funding for Meals on Wheels to ensure needy seniors would receive hot meals, and initiated a professional business and hamlet study.

To sum up, what I believe in is Kathee, in her own words: “I believe caring for our community starts with protecting our drinking water, surface waters, and harbors and bays. Whether we use C.P.F. monies to acquire wetland parcels around Lake Montauk, a rebate program to encourage our neighbors to replace failing septic systems with low nitrogen systems, or we install a permeable resistant barrier around Pussy’s Pond in Springs, protecting water quality is paramount.”

If someone who always has an open ear to the concerns of our citizens, and much, much more, vote to re-elect Kathee Burke-Gonzalez to our town board once again. We need her. 


Keep Her in Office

East Hampton

September 1, 2017

Dear David,

Our Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez lives in Springs with her husband, Joe, her 19-year-old son, Burke, and 17-year-old daughter, Nina. At the Democratic primary debate this week, I could relate to Kathee when I heard her say that as a mother, she is excited and fearful for the challenges that our kids face. Also, Kathee has a mom who just turned 95 years old, and as such, she is aware of the needs that our seniors face and the loved ones who care for them. 

I have seen Kathee bring her life experiences, as a working mother and caregiver for an aging parent, to her work that she does for our town. Her service to our town over the last four years as councilwoman, and to the Springs School Board for nine years before that, is invaluable, and I believe that we are fortunate to have her on the town board. She is one of the most dedicated people I know and understands the needs of our community. 

I have a son who will be going into his senior year at East Hampton High School, and for his future, and future generations to come, our town needs Kathee on the board to continue her good works. Kathee has worked hard to protect the quality of our drinking water, surface waters, and harbors and bays, and to address climate change and sea level rise. She has worked to encourage clean, renewable energy, and has fought hard for local control of East Hampton Airport. She has worked to provide affordable housing opportunities for local working families, to balance our budget, improve mental health services for our youth, and provide essential services for our seniors. 

It is important that we keep her in office to continue the fight for all citizens of East Hampton Town. While working to accomplish as much as she can for our town, Kathee has worked with her fellow colleagues to return civility, dignity, and respect to the business of the board. She encourages and welcomes public participation. Kathee has worked tirelessly as our town councilwoman this past four years. She has earned my respect and trust.

Please join me in voting for Kathee in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, and again in the general election on Nov. 7. I feel that we are fortunate that Kathee is ready, willing, and able to continue working as our town councilwoman. Please vote. Every one of our votes counts.  


In Very Good Hands


August 31, 2017

Dear David,

I am an 82-year-old longtime resident of East Hampton, and I have known Zachary Cohen for nearly 25 years. Two years ago, Zachary helped me go through the process of creating an affordable accessory apartment in my home. With income from the apartment, I can afford to continue to live in East Hampton on my fixed income as a former schoolteacher. I am happy that I can provide a year-round home to a resident who can both work and live in East Hampton and be a part of the community.

Because of the small size of my lot, I had to go through the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals. After that, there were many visits to the Building Department, the legal department, required surveys, many forms to fill out, inspection for a temporary certificate of occupancy, a visit to Riverhead to add covenants to my deed, and a final inspection in order to receive my permanent certificate of occupancy. 

At the same time, I had to fulfill various requirements of the town’s Department of Housing and Community Development. This would have been an impossible project if Zachary had not helped me every step of the way. He even appeared early one morning, ruler in hand, to make sure that I had properly lengthened my parking spaces to conform to the parking requirements.

I already knew how helpful and knowledgeable Zachary is when it comes to the town. He really knows how the town works and how to get things done. What I learned through this experience is that Zachary is well known, well liked, and highly regarded by every town employee I had contact with. Whenever I mentioned Zachary’s name, the staff person would give me a smile and tell me that I was in very good hands.

I will cast my vote for Zachary Cohen on Tuesday, and I urge you to do the same.




September 1, 2017

To the Editor:

I support Jeff Bragman for town board. Jeff strikes me as a compassionate person with strong values who has been consistent in his positions and truthful in his responses. 

I fault Zachary Cohen for putting the town’s stability in these very precarious times at risk by forcing a Democratic primary for no clear reason. Attacks on Mr. Bragman on the bus depot issue made on Mr. Cohen’s behalf seem like deceptive, manipulative politics of the very old school — the kind which have led inexorably to the appalling national mess, and which we must put aside to have any hope of restoring a democracy based on traditional democratic values. 

As a user of the town dump on Springs-Fireplace Road (half my library consists of books I took home from the home exchange — thank you, Democrats, for reopening it), I find it hard to believe that locating the depot there will cause any significant problems or greatly increased traffic. In any event, I believe that Mr. Bragman is being attacked on this issue more as a Breitbartesque ploy than out of any deep convictions on the part of the Zachary Cohen effort. Mr. Cohen is on record supporting the continuation of the notorious prior operation at the proposed bus depot site. In a 2011 campaign statement in his supervisor race, Mr. Cohen said, “Air quality for businesses neighboring the scavenger waste plant on Fireplace Road is an unpleasant fact of life,” and called vaguely for a “public process”to examine the plant’s operations, rather than its closure. (easthamptonstar.com/Politics/ 20111020/Zachary-Cohen)

Jeff Bragman is the more straightforward and highly qualified candidate for town board. I am registered as an independent and cannot vote for Mr. Bragman in the Democratic primary, but I hope you do. I look forward to voting for Jeff Bragman, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, and Peter Van Scoyoc in the general election. 


Courage and Candor


August 31, 2017

Dear Editor,

As surely as I admire people who admit when they’re wrong, so, too, do I admire a political candidate who, when asked a question at a debate, begins the answer by saying, “I don’t know.”

Jeff Bragman had the courage and candor to do that. And if he doesn’t know the answer to a question, he will consult experts (more than one) in the field, review the data, check the facts, and then answer the question, or, if appropriate, suggest a solution to a problem.

Notwithstanding an infinite number of lawyer jokes, it would be an asset to have the perspective of an attorney on the town board.


Long Track Record

East Hampton

September 1, 2017

Dear Editor:

Jeff Bragman is a talented and dedicated environmental attorney, with 30 years of experience in East Hampton. He is an ally that each and all of us in East Hampton need on our side to knowledgeably and ethically protect us and whatever neighborhood we live in. 

Mr. Bragman has a long and impressive track record of vigorous and masterful defense of environmental causes, high and low. Our beautiful but ecologically fragile surroundings here on the East End are the precious ground we all live on. He understands the issues of both people and property, and stands for every resident of the community. He has argued successfully for every hamlet, north or south, wealthy or modest, waterfront or forest, densely or sparsely populated. He has worked tirelessly to protect our water.

For 30 years, Jeff Bragman has worked with all of the town boards, and has been a winning catalyst in favor of many citizen groups, listening to and learning from them as he fights with them to maintain the rural character of the East End. He believes that the leaders of East Hampton must listen to the community and to science, and not let emotion be the guide in making decisions. He relies on process and research to inform his thinking.

The voters know that there is a difference between bombast and true experience, between juvenescent talk and mature accomplishment. Jeff Bragman deserves our votes in the primary election on Tuesday, and we deserve Jeff Bragman’s service on our town board.



East Hampton

August 29, 2017

Dear Editor:

I write to recommend Zach Cohen and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for the East Hampton Town Board, not because of their long community experience, their proven intellect, their stamina for struggle with the most difficult of issues, but for their sincere love and commitment for and to our town, and their abiding compulsion to step into the fray for our good. 

I am fortunate to work with these folks, and to admire their good humor and intense sense of integrity of purpose for my town and its future. Please consider voting in the Democratic primary on Tuesday for these strong-hearted candidates.



President, Board of Directors

East Hampton Historic 

Farm Museum

Persistent Efforts

East Hampton

September 1, 2017

Dear David,

I am grateful to have the opportunity to support Zach Cohen in his primary campaign for a seat on the town board. It is indeed time to ratchet up what has been the official position of the East Hampton Democratic Party of these past years, and to be more aggressive in our fight for housing and for a thorough and scientific defense of our natural environment. 

Proper and careful planning of both our built and unbuilt landscapes are essential now. The current trends that focus on the built and unbuilt environments as separate entities are detrimental to both. The widening gap between the apparently disparate interests of the year-round community and the seasonal community must be narrowed by promoting deeper understanding of how interconnected these two communities in fact are. 

We must recognize and preserve the history of how we got to where we are, but now is the time to look forward, and make use of the advantages that science, technology, and collective action offer us.

I have known Zach Cohen for many years and watched his painstaking and persistent efforts to do good for our community and the environment, both as an engaged citizen of East Hampton and a candidate. He is that rare combination of a person who combines excellent analytical thinking with a temperament that is compassionate, respectful, and ever curious. 

I will vote for Zach Cohen on Primary Day and I urge you to do the same.


Singularly Qualified


September 1, 2017

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Jeff Bragman for the Democratic nomination for East Hampton Town Board. I have known Jeff for many years, and he is singularly qualified to tackle the many problems facing our town. 

Jeff is not one for small talk, nor will he adopt politically convenient stances he has no intention of maintaining. Jeff has built a career on getting things done. He will always listen to your concerns, and he will tell you his opinion even if he knows you will disagree. 

Jeff’s honesty will be a refreshing addition to a town board that is too often devoid of it.


Zach Is Thorough

East Hampton

September 1, 2017

Dear David,

I have had the pleasure of serving our town on the nature preserve committee under the chairmanship of Zachary Cohen. As a professional in the field of ecological landscape design, I am impressed at how Zach and the committee approach the tasks.

For any preserve, there are never any automatic answers on how to balance environmental preservation with public use and enjoyment. Zach guides the meetings so that all opinions are not just heard but given considerate discussion. The committee includes professionals in landscape design and management as well as citizens who know the land intimately from walking it as children. Zach finds a way to synthesize each contribution to ensure that our recommendations to the town board are well supported. 

And, no surprise to those who know him, Zach is thorough. A week in advance, Zach prepares and sends us the entire agenda with maps, technical details, management plans, and anything else that we need to know. Somehow we get through almost all of it in a meeting that lasts just 90 minutes. 

Zach has done much for this town in his advisory role. I fully and enthusiastically support Zach for the town board. His skills, his integrity, and his work ethic will allow him to accomplish great things for us.


Does His Homework

East Hampton

September 1, 2017

Dear Editor:

I support Jeff Bragman for town board. He is one of the few lawyers who will go to bat for neighbors and ordinary residents who want to stop overdevelopment and protect our natural resources. As a dad, he is concerned about preserving our real community for the future. 

Jeff knows how to listen, and speak up effectively for neighborhood action. He has an unmatched record of fighting for environmental protection and getting it done. He’s not a self-promoter. He wins because he does his homework and lets the facts tell the story. 

Let’s put him on the town board. He will get things done.


He Perseveres

Sag Harbor

September 1, 2017

To the Editor:

I am a member of the deer management committee, whose chairman is Zach Cohen and whose members are basically several government officials and hunters who regularly propose ways of eliminating deer and expanding the hunting grounds and seasons, and who recently proposed to open up two preserves for lighted bow-and-arrow hunting at night. This is in addition to less well-received discussions of sterilization, and occasional thoughts of immunization, preparing an accurate deer count, or rethinking the ravages deer may cause and the harm that we inflict on them. There is little thought of living in harmony with our wildlife or consideration of the deer. It is a fractious committee; there are no vets or naturalists on it and I am usually alone in opposing the latest deer-killing proposals.

I am writing this because I have seen many hostile letters regarding Zach in his desire to be on the town board. I want to say that in my opinion he has done a good job as chairman of this very lopsided committee. He is patient, conscientious, and fair. He does his homework, is well prepared, and at least gives new ideas a chance to be heard. I have admired his preparation for meetings nd his knowledge of countless rules and regulations. For many years, he has served the community on several committees. He is knowledgeable about the way things work and get done.

I think he has a thankless job as the deer committee chairman. I don’t even know why he does it, but I do have high respect for the way he perseveres, and I think all this needs to be heard. 


Smart, Conscientious


September 1, 2017

Dear Editor,

Anyone who knows Jeff Bragman would agree that he is energetic and is committed to protect East Hampton. He routinely takes on environmental cases on behalf of neighborhoods and residents concerned about overdevelopment, which threatens to damage our rural character. Having raised a son here, he is deeply concerned that ordinary kids have the promise of a future living in our hamlet, and that we do not become a t 9ormed manner — based on facts, not fear. I urge you to support him in the Democratic primary on Tuesday.


Fine Addition


September 1, 2017

Dear David,

As a local educator, I feel very strongly about the future of our community. I have known Jeff Bragman since I was in grade school, having grown up with his son, Walker. 

I am writing you today to say that the Mr. Bragman I know is an honest and principled man who is fair and reasoned in his decision-making. Most of all, I know he is deeply committed to the future of our town and our community, having spent the last 30 years working to protect both.

He would make a fine addition to the East Hampton Town Board. It is my hope Democrats vote for him in the primary on Tuesday.


Land Use and Zoning


August 31, 2017

Dear Mr. Rattray:

Jeff Bragman is my choice for town board. I have consulted with him professionally on many matters, including coastal issues (including those I view as most important), environmental and land planning issues, and our local waterfront revitalization plan. With so much misinformation and wishful thinking on such matters, our town needs someone to eliminate the guesswork, apply the law, and avoid mistakes. 

An overwhelming proportion of the town board’s duties are land use and zoning related. Now is the time for a board member like Jeff Bragman.


Rightly Chosen

East Hampton

August 28, 2017

Dear David,

The East Hampton Library’s debate for the East Hampton Town Board Democratic primary candidates was well attended. Hosted by the East Hampton Group for Good Government and the League of Women Voters, each candidate was provided the opportunity to answer questions given prior to the commencement of the forum by a panel of members of both organizations.

I listened intently as each of the three candidates responded to the question posed. It soon became quite clear to me that the two candidates endorsed by the East Hampton Democratic Party were rightly chosen as they will offer and provide for a sound and successful government.  

Kathee Burke-Gonzalez brings her experience as an incumbent and member of the Springs School Board while Jeffrey Bragman offers his experience as an attorney who has worked tirelessly to protect and preserve our community from grand-scale and potentially harmful projects that would negatively impact our environment.  

Kathee’s answers were heartfelt, and she provided information about current and future efforts that we believe in and support. The new senior center is a project we look forward to for our elder community members, and she has been instrumental in coordinating that effort. 

Jeffrey was thoughtful, analytical, and reassuring when he stressed the need for calm and open dialogue with both sides of any issue presented so all will be heard. He stressed the need to make decisions based on facts and not fear. Over the last three decades, Jeffrey’s legal career has involved several environmentally sensitive cases. He has defended and protected numerous historical buildings and been instrumental in creating preserved lands throughout our town as well as Southampton township. We feel his extensive knowledge of  zoning and planning rules and regulations, as well as his familiarity with federal agencies in concert with coastal and wetlands issues, will prove to be an asset to our town board. 

In the current political landscape, I am gratified to see that we still have a democracy wherein a third candidate, seeking a seat on the town board, was provided an equal opportunity to be considered by our community members. Many thanks to the candidates for being candid and transparent in their responses to questions regarding matters that are extremely important to their voters. 

My husband and I believe the Dem- ocrats’ nominated candidates, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez and Jeffrey Bragman, will serve as effective and successful public servants we can trust with our town’s future when they are elected. Their combined experience and careful planning approach to solving problems for our community will greatly enhance our local government.   

Please remember to cast your vote in the Democratic primary on Tuesday. The polls are open at 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. Every vote counts! (Registration for the primary is for registered Democrats. The main election is Nov. 7. Download voter registration form at elections.ny.gov. 



Time for a New Story

East Hampton

September 1, 2017

To the Editor:

These are not ordinary times we find ourselves living in. Insurmountable challenges lie before us, both locally and nationally. The thinking which led us to this critical moment will not and cannot be the thinking which leads us instead to possibility, not only for a few, but for all. A new kind of leadership is being summoned, defined not only by courage and perseverance, but more important, by wisdom and vision. It is a leadership that is inclusive, thereby creating a seat at the table for opposing points of view, various ethnic backgrounds, younger and older, rich and poor, with the commitment to discover the common ground that makes us a community of “we” as opposed to “us and them.” 

Let’s face it, at the end of any given day our wants and needs are not all that different. The differences which separate us grow pale compared to what truly binds us. At the end of any given day, what is it that will truly matter? Work that we take pride in, having the resources needed to provide food and shelter for ourselves and our families, affordable health care, equal educational opportunities for our children, and, last but not least, a quality of life to be shared among friends and family. At the end of any day it is the simple and meaningful things that matter. It is the simple things that connect us and make for a truly strong and loving community.

The leadership required to guide us through these darker times must be one of character, fair-mindedness, kindness, and innate wisdom. Our humanity is at stake, and what is needed more than ever is leadership of intelligence, bold ideas, and heart. Fear and perceived differences cannot be allowed to divide us. The walls we have created between one another have left us a fearful and lonely bunch, blurring our ability to reason. It is time for a new story, guided by wisdom and intelligence, that ignites once again our confidence that as a community — our community — nothing is impossible.

Jeff Bragman has the qualities needed right now to move our great community forward: strength of character, clarity, reason, compassion, and wisdom. And he is counting on all of us to work side by side with him, exchanging new and bold ideas, discovering common ground, and together continuing to build this beloved community of ours as a model for communities across the country. Vote Bragman for town board on Tuesday.


Effective Advocate

Sag Harbor

September 1, 2017

Dear Editor:

I am supporting Jeff Bragman for town board. He has a notable record of success as a progressive Democrat and neighborhood activist. Jeff has shown real courage in opposing overdevelopment, which threatens to degrade our historical resources and the natural features that contribute to the rural character we all love. He has faced hostile boards and well-funded applicants armed with consultants. He has never backed down, and his attention to the facts and knowledge of the law make him a persuasive and effective advocate.

There is a big difference between discussing and defining issues in committee, and doing the hard work to turn issues into action. Jeff has proven to be a highly effective community leader who belongs on the town board. He will get things done and be a strong voice for the preservation of our community.  


Energy and Skills

East Hampton

September 1, 2017

Dear Editor:

I have watched Jeff Bragman at work before various town boards. He is invariably prepared, professional, tireless, and polite. Jeff is an outstanding advocate and has worked hard in favor of environmental protection and the strict enforcement of our zoning laws. He uses his energy and skills to champion causes that help protect the rural quality of our town.

I support him and know he will make a great addition to the town board. 


All That We Should Want

East Hampton

September 1, 2017

Dear Editor,

On Tuesday, we have an opportunity to secure the future of our town by re-electing Kathee Burke-Gonzalez to the town board. Kathee embodies all that we should want in an elected official. Kathee possesses a rare combination of intelligence, commitment, fiscal responsibility, practicality, and an open communication style, which she has put to use to achieve change and realize accomplishments. 

Notable among them have been consistent protection of our environment, with the implementation of the septic rebate plan and supporting the ban on offshore oil and gas exploration and development. Kathee has worked to stabilize our community through implementation of the rental registry and support of the senior center. She has expanded transportation services for veterans and improved mental health services for our youth. Kathee has the courage and ability to build consensus to address controversial topics such as the management of the airport. So I have no doubt that she will assume a leadership role guiding the community, through a transparent and inclusive process, to determine how we will adapt and plan for climate change and sea-level rise. 

Kathee is committed to East Hampton. She has raised her family here and served on the Springs School Board for nine years prior to being elected to the town board in 2013. During her term on the school board, Kathee helped save Springs taxpayers $4 million while delivering a quality education. The two budgets that she developed while board president were approved 3 to 1.

Please be sure to get out and vote in the Democratic primary. In our community every vote counts — small numbers can change outcomes. Your vote matters, so please go to the polls. 

Kathee has been endorsed by the Democratic, Independent, and Working Families Parties. For the betterment of our community, vote for Kathee on Tuesday.


To Safeguard the Core

East Hampton

September 1, 2017

Dear David,

When I entered politics several years ago, a longstanding member of the Democratic Committee told me, “Make sure that any decision you make, you will be able to sleep with.” As the new co-chair of the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee, I have heeded this advice. Now my decisions affect more than myself. They impact my community, the town I love, and the people that I call my friends.

Screening for our committee began in February, and for three months we interviewed 26 candidates for 16 positions. The heated race was for the two town board positions, with 10 potential candidates. 

I went through a list of qualifications that these two candidates must have to ensure that our town was protected from the host of worries that the residents encounter daily. Overdevelopment, Mother Nature, water quality issues, beach erosion, housing, jobs, zoning, planning, the list continues. 

What did all of these different problems have in common? The law. The idea that a candidate knew the town code became instrumental in who needed to be chosen to represent the Democratic party. Someone who has fought to safeguard the core of East Hampton appeal.

My first choice for the position was a no-brainer. Kathee Burke-Gonzalez was our sitting town board candidate. She was up for re-election and has excelled in her current position. The devoted mother of two has spent the last three and a half years fighting for our town.

The second position was just as easy. Jeff Bragman. Jeff knew the law. He had fought to protect the environment and old-world charm of our town. He had raised a child here, so he was familiar with the schools. He had served as the attorney for all the appointed boards. He knew the Town Code. He had worked on airport noise issues, helped protect public access on beaches, and is determined to keep our children in our town.

Selecting Jeff was one of the easiest decisions that I have made as a member of the Democratic committee. Contract negotiation, mediation, compromise, and seeking out expert opinions are a small part of Jeff’s consistent approach and unwavering dedication to defending our community from the steady stream of complications the Town of East Hampton encounters. He embraces a level of accountability I have not seen in a political candidate in a long time.

Jeff has fresh ideas of bringing mentoring into East Hampton. Faced with the real problem of losing our younger generation, Jeff wants to initiate a local jobs fair and begin an incubator for our young adults and small businesses. Jeff hopes to encourage technology jobs and bring innovative ideas to East Hampton. He wants to stop the depletion of youth from our community and sustain their lives here through affordable housing and professional employment.

The integrity Jeff has shown through this primary is unparalleled. His poise and straight-shooting approach has confirmed to me that I, the screening committee, and the Democratic Committee selected the right person to run.

On Tuesday, East Hampton will have a Democratic primary. Our town needs Jeff Bragman and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez to represent us. I will be voting for them to continue protecting our beloved East Hampton, and urge you to do the same.


Consensus Builder

Sag Harbor

August 28, 2017

Dear Mr. Rattray,

I am writing this letter in support of the candidacy of Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for East Hampton Town Board. Kathee served nine years on the Springs School Board prior to taking office in January 2014, and has used her extensive background in business and advertising to chair the communications, audit, and budget committees of the board. Kathee has proven her ability as a consensus builder, and she believes that all stakeholders’ opinions are important, should be heard, and should be included in the process. 

A vote for Jeff Bragman and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for town board, and Peter Van Scoyoc for supervisor, is a vote for experienced and responsive government in the Town of East Hampton.


Let’s Do It Again


August 28, 2017

Dear David:

It is not often that voters are presented with an opportunity to re-elect a candidate so deserving of another term as is Kathee Burke-Gonzalez.

On Tuesday, there will be a primary election in East Hampton for our Democratic town board candidates. I hope all Democrats will join me to vote enthusiastically to re-elect Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez.

As our town councilwoman for the past four years, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez embodies all the qualities one hopes for in an elected official. She has endeavored to preserve the interests of the entire East Hampton Town community. 

Kathee has worked to protect our water quality and natural resources for us and future generations. The town board team has used community preservation funds, with a focus on minimizing adverse impacts on our wetlands by acquiring land in environmentally sensitive areas. Now it has developed a groundbreaking program to upgrade residential septic systems in the more environmentally sensitive areas.

While everyone complains about the noise and intrusiveness of the traffic in and out of our airport, Kathee has sought, and continues to seek, a solution that would alleviate this divisive issue, while keeping the airport open and welcoming to those who seek to use it rather than greedily exploit it.

Kathee, with her husband, Joe, raised her family in our town. Her deep concern for our kids had prompted her to spearhead efforts to educate our young about the social issues they will face, from sexual abuse to drug awareness. Her compassion for the elderly is best exemplified in the picture of her in a recent edition of The Star in which she is leading birthday festivities at the senior center. 

East Hampton was fortunate to have had the vision to elect Kathee four years ago — let’s do it again. Please get out and vote for Kathee on Tuesday, and then again in November. 


One Consistent Message

September 1, 2017


Dear David,

I am writing this letter in my capacity as a volunteer for the East Hampton Democrats, and no other position. My letter reflects my own personal thoughts and is not representative of anyone else.

Pointing fingers without facts is one of the oldest political strategies in the book. Do not fall for strategies over facts; we have seen the outcome of that.

  Thankfully, East Hampton has smart voters, who can see nonsense a mile away. May I offer some facts up for the voters of East Hampton.

I choose to volunteer my personal time for the East Hampton Democratic Committee (who, by the way, are also unpaid volunteers), and I am continually awed by the commitment my neighbors have for our community. Please remember, even the incumbent councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez had to screen for her position on the ballot, as well as Jeff Bragman. The East Hampton Democratic Committee believes that no one has an entitlement to a candidacy. The issues here in East Hampton evolve, and therefore every election must be looked at through a fresh perspective. 

Since June, you have seen our candidates’ ads weekly in the papers, heard their radio ads. You have seen the public endorsements by esteemed leaders of government for Kathee and Jeff as well as from their neighbors. You have received, as some may say, endless mailings of supporting information, as well as daily phone calling by fellow volunteer Democrats with the same positive message, asking voters to please support Kathee and Jeff in the Democratic primary on Tuesday.

You have seen Kathee and Jeff out in the community attending community events, standing in front of the I.G.A.s and post offices with the same message as they ask you for your vote. Throughout all, there has been one consistent message: Here are our candidates’ credentials, town issues, and their vision for the future of East Hampton.

These are facts, not fiction, and you have witnessed this firsthand, so please do not fall for gossip and insinuations. All candidates have candidacy plans and campaign committees to coordinate these efforts. Who is expected to believe that this is something odd and abhorrent? Gossip perverts the process. Who gets hurt? Our community gets hurt!

Here is some unsolicited good advice from a volunteer. Please remember this: Leadership unites. Look carefully at those who attempt to divide.

Lastly, to all Democratic candidates, may I offer a reminder that running for public office allows members of the community to voice their opinion of you. Some do so courteously and some not so much. Signs have been getting messed up for decades. This is part of being a public figure. And please remember that the same people, the same volunteers, who are your neighbors will be spending countless hours supporting your election for councilperson in the general election. You will need, and I am sure will welcome, this support. 


What He Has Done

East Hampton

August 31, 2017

Dear David,

I am supporting and voting for Jeff Bragman for town board. Jeff is a refreshing candidate because he doesn’t just promise voters what he will do, he has a history in the community that tells us what he has done.

Amongst his achievements, he helped broker the preservation of 57 acres of open space at Boys Harbor and obtained approvals necessary for its protection. He led neighborhood groups to stop plans for two separate shopping centers in Bridgehampton. You may remember the brilliant idea of Bill Wilkinson to have a rock concert for as many as 10,000 attendees in Amagansett. Well, Jeff opposed and stopped this from happening. He has recently helped to protect the neighborhood character of Sag Harbor’s historical African-American neighborhoods. He has also fought for local airport control to reduce pollution and airplane/helicopter noise.

He has been endorsed by State Assemblyman Fred Thiele and by Larry Cantwell, our present supervisor. Jeff does not join groups and make promises. Rather, he fights for exactly what people in our communities want and need. He knows how to make that happen. He is personable, committed, and an attorney who can handle law! Consider voting for Jeff.


Can-Do Lawyer


September 1, 2017

Dear Editor:

Jeff Bragman, a Democratic candidate for the town board in the primary election on Tuesday, has been an attorney for more than 30 years. As a young lawyer he was a prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office. He moved to East Hampton to raise his son and currently he runs a small law firm specializing in  planning and environmental law. He has gained a solid reputation in East Hampton and all over the East End as a can-do lawyer who knows how to get things done for his clients.

In the years between his early career work in Manhattan and his current role as a noted environmental attorney, he served as the attorney to East Hampton’s architectural review board, its zoning board of appeals, and its planning board, guiding board members as they sought to enforce town zoning policies. 

To me, it is that experience in the ins and outs of zoning and environmental review that will make him an invaluable member of the East Hampton Town Board.

As an attorney myself with 50 years plus of law practice, I urge my fellow Democrats to turn out on Tuesday and vote in the Democratic primary for Jeff Bragman for town board.


A Proven Vote-Getter


August 28, 2017

Dear Editor:

Here are my reasons for endorsing Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for re-election to the East Hampton Town Board.

She received the most votes of all four of the previous candidates for the board; she is a proven vote-getter.

Her accomplishments serving on the board for the past four years are many. Just to highlight a few, the tougher ones, requiring the most imagination and courage and leadership, are:

Led the fight against airport noise and established the airport advisory committee.

Co-sponsored and implemented the rental registry.

Spearheaded the planning and design of the new senior community center.

One of the stalwarts of bringing more and better mental health services to East Hampton.

Sponsored suicide prevention training, an opiate summit, and opened the discussion of sexual assault on college campuses.

Kathee is the town’s advocate and coordinator with Stony Brook Southampton Hospital to locate and plan for a much-needed emergency room right here in our town. She participates with the airport management advisory committee, disabilities advisory committee, the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter board, senior community center planning, Montauk Playhouse board, mass-gathering and film permits, plus several important capital projects.

Kathee is a great mom. I have known her and her husband personally for almost 25 years, and am pleased to say how proud I am to call Kathee, Joe, Burke, and Nina really special as friends, neighbors, and certainly as a respected family in our community.

Kathee Burke-Gonzalez has it all and has done it all. We could not have a better candidate for re-election to our so- successful town board than to have Kathee continue doing her outstanding job. 

The Democratic primary voting date is Tuesday. Do the right thing and have your vote say “Welcome back, and thank you, Kathee. We appreciate all your good works.”