Letters to the Editor: 11.15.18

Our readers' comments

Wonderful Life

Glen Cove

November 11, 2018

When our parents decided to move “out east” to the Springs full time, both my sister and I were upset. Most parents move closer to the children as they age, but ours did the opposite, and not until these past few weeks did I truly understand why. 

My mother had been ill, but it didn’t stop my parents from making their rounds to their many doctors both UpIsland and out east. Again, my sister and I repeatedly asked them to move closer; we have better doctors, more friends who can help, and plenty of room, but they loved their little cottage in the Springs, and there they wanted to be. We accommodated their wishes but until my mother’s passing did I truly see why they wouldn’t leave.

My parents had created a wonderful life out east. Both had retired and would take on jobs or would volunteer, ensuring they were active members of this community. And always making time to go to the water’s edge and watch the sunsets together. 

During my mother’s last few weeks, the line of people who would visit their cottage was long. All showed concern, from the mail person, landscaper, computer repairman, contractors, church members, Ladies Village Improvement Society to their many friends and neighbors. The meals and cards continued to come, but the thing that struck me most were two local businesses that truly showed the kindness and compassion for my family. On behalf of our family I would like to thank the entire staff and owners of Indian Wells and Blends, who in our saddest time showed great love and kindness.

Kevin, Chris, Margaret, Ginny, and Louis: Thank you!



Del’s Husband

Sebastian, Fla.

November 9, 2018

Dear David,

Just got my Oct. 25 issue of The Star and noticed that your typesetter had me taking flying lessons from Del Lamb. My instructor was Mel Lamb, Del’s husband. Del ran the airport, made reservations for their air-taxi business, and kept things going. No biggie, but maybe some of your readers will catch it.

Best regards,


‘On’ Quiogue

Sag Harbor

November 9, 2018

To the Editor,

Your lead for this obituary is: “Sarah de Havenon-Fowler of Amagansett and New York City died on Oct. 26 at the Kanas Center for Hospice Care in Quiogue of brain cancer, her family said.”

Local historical practice there is to use the preposition “on” before Quiogue because that piece of land is a peninsula. Just as you would say that someone died on Lazy Point in Amagansett.

The Press uses the “on Quiogue” construction all the time, for what it’s worth.



Population Wave

East Hampton

November 10, 2018

Dear Editor,

I have a graph from the 2010 census, which I have shown around town. It shows this elderly population wave, the post-World War II baby boom, which is headed like a tsunami for the shores of East Hampton. My hope was that someone would notice.

In the 1950s everyone noticed. My parents’ generation built all the schools you see all over the U.S. to make sure the baby boomers got an education. When the Roosevelt administration passed Social Security they did so because old age meant poverty. Once you could not work you had no income.

Social Security allowed the elderly to continue to contribute to the family income of those who cared for them.

Many of those in local government who provide services for the elderly are aware of the significance of this population wave but many of the decision makers in government are not.

I want to give your readers some idea of what is happening from my own experience with some examples. 

An elderly person suffering from dementia acting under the influence of a friend sold her house, had $94,000 disappear from her bank account, and found herself penniless on the street. There was no place for her to live in East Hampton. No emergency housing. No income-qualified housing. The only place left for her was a distant shelter or Southampton Hospital. 

Had she gotten her name on the waiting list 10 years ago there might have been some locally available income-qualified housing. But there are 400 qualified applicants still waiting.

An elderly gentleman in his 90s did make it to income-qualified housing. But in your 90s it is difficult to clean your apartment, cook your own food, and even take care of yourself. Moreover if you suffer from senility or dementia you need someone looking over your shoulder, and a home health aide. He had none. Where will he go when he can no longer take care of himself? 

He has housing now but that housing assumes independent living. There are no assisted living facilities in East Hampton. No one is providing him with a home health aide.

An elderly woman also living in income-qualified housing in East Hampton stopped eating and no one immediately noticed. When they finally got her to the hospital, they discovered she had pancreatitis. She was told she couldn’t return to her East Hampton apartment and live on her own after she recovered but would have to go to a nursing home. The nearest one, in Westhampton, is full. Her nearest relatives are currently working in Georgia. How many of your readers would like to leave their life here in East Hampton behind and move to a strange place where you know no one to live in a nursing home?

Some people have said that the caregivers in East Hampton are not doing their job. I, with my background in technology, see a system that is broken and has significant gaps, which no amount of individual effort can fix. The system itself needs fixing. Is the elderly population wave that appears on the charts and is about to wash over East Hampton going to drown all of us in misery?

Only responsible government can solve this problem. But our great leaders on the town board sit idly by, collecting their paychecks, excellent benefits, and looking forward to their pensions and retirement.

Some four years after the senior services committee laid all the facts on the table they haven’t got a clue.

And guess what, you elected them.




November 8, 2018

Dear Dave,

On Oct. 29, I looked up to see the flag at half-staff and thought maybe we should just keep it there. I know it’s not the case but I feel like it’s at half-staff more often than not these days. Maybe we could put up one of those workplace safety boards. “America has gone ___ days without a mass shooting.”

Looks like we’re back to zero days.



Sense of Urgency


November 11, 2018

Dear David,

Thanks for your coverage of the very important Bureau of Ocean Energy Management meeting. I want to amplify the remarks I made in the time restricted Q. and A. session.

Within 10 or 11 years, unless we replace fossil fuels with renewable nonpolluting energy, Planet Earth will very probably have reached a point of no return. That is the recent news from the most peer-reviewed and highly qualified group of global climate scientists 

we have, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Another highly trained, respected group at Princeton University has just released a report that says that the oceans have absorbed 60 percent more heat from the atmosphere than previously calculated. I believe them.

I know and respect that fishing is not only a way to make a living, it is a way of life. The fishing community wants to stop Deepwater, and barring that, they want to be compensated for their losses. I wish to goodness that instead of fighting offshore wind, the fishermen and women would identify areas where wind farms would be acceptable to them. I wish they would acknowledge that ocean acidification and temperature rise are far, far more likely to destroy their industry than wind farms. 

Those of us who spend many, many hours a week investigating options for sustainable communities want them to join us, not fight us. If they have evidence that shows that wind farms should not be part of a renewable energy future, bring that information forward. If they have done the math on land-based solar energy as a sole and adequate source of power to run our community, share that with us at every public meeting place. Set forth the plan.

But until that happens, we must go forward with shovel-ready renewable energy with a wartime sense of urgency. And of course, reduce and conserve energy in every possible way.

Does any one of your readers not have a beloved child, grandchild, niece, or godchild? If she is now 2 or 3 years old, by the time that child enters high school, there could well be climate chaos if we do not act now.

My granddaughter just started college. By the time she completes her studies to be a doctor, emergency services will no doubt be her most important rotation. By the time my 23-year-old grandson decides to marry and perhaps have a child, he may have to conclude that it would be immoral to bring a child into a world that offers a bleak future. Your children and grandchildren face the same decisions.

Unless we, as individuals, as businesses, and as governments, change our behavior now, these children will not have a future before them that depends on their own industry and character. It will be their fate to cope with catastrophes not of their own making, but ours.



Out of Time

New York City

November 10, 2018

To the Editor:

Popular in Europe, offshore wind is new to the U.S., and the Eastern Seaboard is a perfect place to jump-start this industry. Deepwater Wind has been a good partner in implementing wind power for Rhode Island. The company studied fish migration patterns and environmental conditions to avoid detrimental impacts. It minimized disruptions during the construction period, and provided good local jobs. 

The primary cause of decreasing fish populations is pollution and climate change. Studies have shown that wind turbine bases create an artificial reef effect, which attracts fish and sea mammals. And wind energy does not come with toxic spills, leaks, and explosions (a cost of fossil fuel that is often ignored). Offshore wind will create a healthier environment for sea life and humans.

We’ve spent the past decade bickering about whether climate change is real and whether it’s caused by fossil fuel. We’ve wasted time with marketing slogans like “clean coal” and “bridge fuel.” Now we’re out of time. Governor Cuomo must stop approving dirty, fracked-gas pipelines and power plants, and support utility scale offshore wind and other technologies that will move New York State to 100 percent renewable energy.


Bait and Switch


November 10, 2018

Dear David,

Deepwater Wind’s revelation is that the plan is now to double the output of the wind farm from 90 to 180 megawatts and install infrastructure that had the capacity to deliver four times the electrical capacity. Sure sounds like a bait and switch. The recent sale, to a Dutch company, puts us at the mercy of a foreign company. No doubt, the excess will be sold west of here. Who knew it, and when did they know it? If they lied to the town board either outright or by omission, that is enough to pull the plug on this disaster!

The question is, when did they know this was the main objective and did they hide this from the town board, who gave tacit approval for the destruction of the area? Two: Did Deepwater ever have the funding for this project in the first place? Three: Why wasn’t the plan to sell to a foreign country not disclosed to the town board initially?

The dangling of $8.1 million for infrastructure improvements to gain approval doesn’t pass the smell test. Did they change the plans after meeting with town government and the trustees to get approval? That sounds as if the board was outfoxed. Our way of life can be destroyed by that?

The public may not be aware of the sheer size of the cable and the vaults, which can be as large as a shipping container. It is time to stop this dead in its tracks to prevent the destruction of Wainscott or any area here in town. Combine this with the “hamlet destruction” plans that will leave this place looking like Riverhead or western Suffolk. Amagansett has it right. “We like it the way it is!” 

So the town board and trustees shouldn’t allow our hamlet to be destroyed by a foreign company. Tell them to take the $8.1 million and shove it. We have a way of life here, and who the hell would allow it to be destroyed?

Green energy? Close the damn airport and build a solar farm and include the sand pit!

Yours truly,


Opened His Home

Water Mill’

November, 10, 2018

To The Editor:

At the end of a difficult and divisive midterm election we are reflecting back on what was a wonderful democratic experience for us, one that we wish could be replicated for all participants in our democracy. Beginning two years ago, Dr. David Posnett, a retired professor at New York Weill Cornell Medical Center, from Springs, opened his home every week to a group of often 25 people who care about democracy and the electoral process. Some of us traveled from Southampton or farther to be there.

Each week a different expert presented ideas on critical issues, from health care to the environment. Some speakers were candidates for office; most were caring citizens with expertise to share. I think it is the sort of experience that should be at the core of a complicated democratic process, and I want to acknowledge David’s commitment and recommend that others follow his lead. We need committed citizens like him more than ever in these difficult times.

Thank you David. 



East Hampton

November 12, 2018

Dear David,

I would like to clarify the record for your readers, or at least give my side of the story. I have known Mayor Paul Rickenbach since I was a young boy growing up on Buell Lane. In fact, I was his Newsday delivery boy when the newspaper was delivered by kids on bicycles. I even graduated from East Hampton High School in 1982 with his daughter. I knew his entire family, and one of my best friends was his nephew Michael.

I joined the East Hampton Village Police Department as a traffic control officer in 1983 shortly after Paul retired from the Police Department. In 1984, I attended the Suffolk County Police Academy and became a police officer for the Village of East Hampton. I don’t remember the year but sometime after that Paul Rickenbach became a village trustee. Over time he became mayor and we became friends, not go-out-to-dinner friends, but very good, working friends and even off-duty friends sharing side work. (A long time ago, many of us who were cops would drive people to New York City or the airports using their cars and then return.) Side work has always been something I have done. Being a police officer is a great job and working shift work affords you time to do other things. 

Some people have interests such as golf or softball, for me it was always work. I think it stems way back to my childhood. While a police officer I have worked for the Hampton Jitney, Bruce Siska at Bradford Oil, house watching and even taught the driver’s education course at the high school at night. I also obtained my four-year college degree by taking classes while working and raising my family. 

In 1990, I was promoted to detective, which was mostly a 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-to-Friday position. Most side jobs would no longer be possible for me except for house watching, making it practical to do before work or after work. In 1991, I opened a valet parking company providing restaurants and private events with valet parkers. Eventually I sold that business, in 2002. During that time period, I would travel together with Chief Randall Sarris and Mayor Paul Rickenbach every month to the Police Association meetings, which were held throughout Suffolk County. I considered the mayor a good friend (all three of us are past presidents of that organization). 

In 2003, Mayor Paul Rickenbach and the board of trustees promoted me to chief of police. This was the dream position I had always wanted. I had the most success in my career while chief of police. This position allowed me the ability to have a positive impact on people’s lives. Detective was the most interesting, but chief was clearly the most rewarding.

In 2005, I went to Mayor Paul Rickenbach and asked him permission to obtain my New York State private investigator’s license, which he approved and had to sign a letter for the state, so I could apply. I passed the written test, obtained the state license, and opened my security company. 

From 2005 to 2009 I operated my family-run security business unrestricted from the village. As my family business grew, we offered guard service, federally-mandated drug and alcohol testing for certain industries, property management, alarm systems, and camera system installs. 

I also continued my strong working relationship and friendship with Mayor Paul Rickenbach. Never did the mayor or the board of trustees receive any complaints about me or my security business, nor did it interfere with my duties as chief of police.

Then in 2009, SCAN Security made a complaint to Mayor Rickenbach that my company was taking over their alarm accounts in the Village of East Hampton. Shortly after, I received a letter requiring me to stop working all side work, everything. I met with Mayor Paul Rickenbach and village trustee Richard Lawler and asked them to reverse this decision. I brought up the fact that they both have property management businesses that operate in the Village of East Hampton and asked if this policy would include them since they were my superiors and village employees as well. I reminded them that written in the village code we are all considered employees of the village and if they were going to mandate this policy for employees then it must include them. 

Their answer was no. They said they are elected and if the voters don’t like what they do then they can vote us out. I continued my disagreement with this policy and was finally able to negotiate the ability to continue working outside of the village only and for only certain services. 

In 2010-2011, the mayor and board of trustees asked me to take over the town-wide 911 center after several very unfortunate mishaps had occurred, one ending in a death. I was happy to help and continued working hard for the village. And again, around 2014, the village asked me to create and oversee the paid paramedic program for the village, which I gladly did without any additional compensation. 

In 2015 or so, I applied for the position of police chief in Southampton Town. When I told Mayor Rickenbach about my decision to pursue the Southampton Town position he became very angry and our relationship has never been the same. I ultimately did not get that position, and working conditions at the village deteriorated. 

In the fall of 2016, I was offered a position as director of security for a local company and at the same time my family security business was growing rapidly. After 34 great years with the Village of East Hampton I decided to retire from the Police Department and take this new position and continue to work with my family.

I disagree with Mayor Paul Rickenbach’s comments in last week’s paper; they are the furthest thing from the truth. The litigation I brought against him was only dismissed because I waited too long to file the complaint. It was not dismissed on the merits as he stated. The judge in this case even gave me the ability to provide more information that would allow an extension of the time period. 

I am certainly not a disgruntled former employee as he is quoted. I enjoyed working for the Village of East Hampton, I enjoyed being chief of police, and the residents of the village are some of the finest people I know. His final comments about being litigious and spiteful are not true. This is the only time I have brought litigation against anyone, and standing up for what is right is not being spiteful.

The village’s Police Department was my career from the time I was 17 years old until I retired two years ago when I was 52 years old. I love East Hampton and the community that I grew up in, raised my children in, and served the community for many years. Bringing litigation is not an easy decision but sometimes it is the only way to bring transparency to inappropriate conduct.

 I have decided not to move forward with further litigation because of its expense and I believe the community is now seeing a host of terrible decisions that Mayor Paul Rickenbach and some of the trustees are making, that are just bad for our community. My case was just one. Recent legislation they have passed, and the handling of the longtime, respected employees of Main Beach are other examples of very poor decisions. 

I have seen many changes in our community during my tenure with the village. I think Mayor Paul Rickenbach during his many years has done a good job running the village. However, I am certainly disappointed in recent years by the way he and some of his trustees mistreat the employees, residents, and business owners of the village. There comes a time for change, and I think that time has come for the mayor and some of the trustees. In my opinion, they should not seek re-election in 2020. I think it’s time for fresh ideas, and the return of a friendly, helpful village.  The nickname, “The Village of No” is not something to be proud of. We can do better. 



My Crusade


November 8, 2018

Dear Editor,

The campaign is over. Congratulation to David Lys on his victory and the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee. The civility that I insist on as my campaign hallmark, and we (David Lys and I) brought to this campaign should be a model for all. I believe that there is no room in our community for hate, intolerance, and divisiveness.

Thank you to all those that believe in my crusade for transparent open balance government, the value of our town employees, needs of our first responders, good governance, equality, social justice, standing up to intolerance, environmental conservation, affordable housing, cost of living, and economic development. 

Your trust, encouragement, love, and support are without bounds. I am humbled and forever grateful. God bless you all. Thank you to my family for the continued support over my past 34 years of public service and whatever the future has in store to enable me to continue to serve our incredible community.

Being the alternative party candidate is hard. I also know firsthand how difficult it is to be an insurgent, championing the voices of the disenfranchised from within. Kudos to David Gruber and all the East Hampton Reform Democrats for their integrity and honesty. 

We now have a supermajority, 5-to-0, Democratic East Hampton Town Board monopoly. With absolute power comes great responsibility to ensure the voices of inquiry that ask why are not diminished or dismissed. Government should not be conducted behind closed doors, and the public must not be shut out. Access must not be prioritized by party loyalty, political standing, or campaign donation. The minority in East Hampton no longer has a voice, position, or platform in government to advocate from: Our disenfranchised and underpaid town employees, neglected first responders, those struggling to put food on the table, our senior residents, those that are physically or mentally challenged that urgently need services, the poor and downtrodden, and the voiceless environment no longer have an alternative voice to champion them to the majority establishment. Their faith now solely rests in the hands of the East Hampton Democratic Town Committee.

My appeal to the press is you alone have the resources to be at every meeting and report on every consideration and decision. Our local newspapers and media outlets now more than ever must shoulder the great trust given them in the Constitution. They now must be the conduit for unbiased journalism and discovery. Without a minority party to sit in behind closed doors, attend the closed executive session, and be an objective voice, every citizen regardless of political affiliation is at a disadvantage.

For now, I will continue on my 34 careers of public service and advocacy in the New York State Legislature and state government levels. I look forward to continuing to be an advocate for open transparent government, tolerance, the poor, the sick, seeking justice for victims, the downtrodden, the disenfranchised, the unrepresented, the undervalued, environmental protection, preservation of our community, our way of life, fiscal responsibility, reforms to safeguard against greed and corruption. I will as I have in the past continue to be a resource for our community.

Lastly, my advice for the East Hampton Town Board is: Merely an election victory won is not a mandate but rather a situation relative to a moment in time due to circumstances often out of the control of the alternative and which can change on a dime.

To David Lys and the entire East Hampton Town Board: Best wishes and God’s blessing for a successful and fruitful 2019. 




November 9, 2018

Dear David:

These are a few nonpartisan thoughts that I believe would make the U.S.A. even stronger.

Term limits for senators and representatives.

Limits of 20 years for Supreme Court justices.

Unions and publicly held corporations should be able to contribute to only one candidate in each election and in each party’s primary election. These contributions should be approved beforehand directly by the union members or stockholders.

If an 18-year-old is not mature enough to smoke or drink, how can they be considered wise enough to decide who should be our next president, senator, or representative? Only those who have decided to place their lives on the line for us, military, police, etc., should be able to vote at 18.

Yours truly,


Trumpian Nationalism

East Hampton

November 11, 2018


One of the earliest signs of a political system’s descent into fascism is the normalization of trauma. The transformation from normal reactions to pain or stress to the acceptance of pain and stress as normal, still feeling the effects but accepting them as part of one’s reality.

The transition to fascism in a society requires that the population accept the traumatic actions and events as nothing out of the ordinary. It’s like being kicked in the head every day for a month and while it still hurts you stop holding your head and taking pills. 

Once this condition is attained the population can accept the suppositions of the power source no matter how absurd, insane, horrific they might be. For example, the German population’s willingness to accept the extermination of the Jews or the United States population’s acceptance of the genocide against native Americans. (When Native Americans were refused the right to vote in the Dakotas this year it was an extension of previous genocidal policies.)

Trauma is often designated pain, both to hurt and obfuscate negative behavior. Immigrants are the Jews of Germany. What Trump does is to relentlessly vilify immigrants in this country to the point where segments of the population use his language and then behave in accordance. The denigration of immigrants provides certain groups with a scapegoat to blame for the conditions of their lives and simultaneously serves as lever for establishing self-esteem. Self-esteem through denigration of others is way easier than self esteem based on accomplishment.

The case that there is no real immigrant problem but that it is manufactured and exaggerated to energize and frighten people is easily made. The real problem lies almost entirely in the abuse of immigrants and the refusal (not failure) of conservative politicians to pass laws that will resolve or eliminate the problem. The level of dissonance from the problem far outweighs the desire for some kind of resolution. Trump would not only need to fabricate a new problem but his supporters would be left without their primary source of red meat.

As we slip a little deeper into the fascist mode of autocratic dictatorship, it becomes so absurdly obvious that not getting it is a clear sign of advanced dementia or genetic imbecility. Most of us have experienced the Soviet Union and read something about World War II. We are not known for our attention to history or any sense of philosophical determinism. In the simple-minded world of Trumpian nationalism we prefer to do as we’re told. Calling us tribal is another insult to Native Americans. No tribe would accept this behavior, and we should follow their lead (if we can remember).