Letters to the Editor: 11.29.18

Our readers' comments

An Honor

East Hampton

November 19, 2018

Dear David,

On election night 2018 I was not just humbled but also encouraged to see the tremendous number of voters from the Town of East Hampton that participated in the process of democracy. Since I was of voting age, my father and mother always expressed to me the importance of voting because it is where you could have your voice heard — at the ballot box. Also, my parents always expressed that not every person in the world has the opportunity to vote and we as Americans can’t take it for granted. So for the wonderful voter turnout on Nov. 6, 2018, I say thank you to all who voted.

I am grateful for the opportunity that the voters of East Hampton have presented to me to be part of the leadership for my hometown. It is an honor to be able to continue to lead and work for the residents of the Town of East Hampton in the capacity of town councilman and to be able to help shape East Hampton in a way in which my children would be proud to stay and live in.

I want to thank my wife and family, my friends and supporters, the Democratic Committee, and all of the residents of East Hampton for trusting in me to have the energy and expertise to be your town councilman. Without your support the outcome that I had in the election would not have been possible.

I promise to all the voters that I will work tirelessly on all of the issues that I brought up during my campaign. I will continue to work and engage the entire community in order to make the most informed decisions possible, and do it in a manner that is respectful of the traditions and uniqueness that East Hampton demands.

Respectfully yours,


Lighting the Light


November 26, 2018

Dear David,

It’s hard to believe this is the 10th anniversary of lighting the Montauk Lighthouse. What started as a “Hey, why don’t we try putting lights on the Lighthouse for the holidays” moment, has now truly become a wonderful family event attended by thousands. Many more thousands will travel to Montauk in the coming weeks to view George Washington’s beacon masterpiece.

Our special thanks go out to Tom Dess and New York State Parks. Also, the wonderful assistance of East Hampton Town Police and the Montauk Fire Department. We couldn’t manage this event without the great group of volunteers who graciously give their time and our amazing administration and staff at the Montauk Lighthouse. It was our pleasure to have our resident M.C. and lighthouse keeper, Joe Gaviola, honor one of Montauk’s founding families this year, the Eckers. And Governor Cuomo asked Wayne Horsley, regional director of Long Island State Parks, to convey his personal wishes at our evening. And the gathered throng enjoyed Sarah Conway’s Christmas group in singing Christmas carols. Also, as we returned home from the lighthouse, thanks to the Montauk Chamber of Commerce and the East Hampton Town Highway and Parks Departments, we enjoyed the village’s newly placed Christmas trees aglow with holiday lights. 

This was truly a special evening. Even the weather cooperated by holding off the predicted rain. During this past decade we have come to be known as Long Island’s Christmas Ornament. So, for those who missed the lighting, no worries. Until Jan. 4 we’ll leave the lights on for you. The Montauk Historical Society board of directors and the Montauk Point Lighthouse museum committee wish everyone a most joyous and festive holiday season.


Chair, Montauk Point 

Lighthouse Committee 

Montauk Historical Society

Their Dedication

East Hampton

November 26, 2018

Dear David,

I have been closely involved in both Windmills and the St. Michael’s affordable senior housing complexes for 15 of the last 18 years. I started as a board member and until 3 years ago I was the chairman for 12 years. I know these complexes, I’ve worked very closely with the board, the managers, staff, and tenants.  

Without a shadow of a doubt the management runs this complex in a heartfelt, caring way. As with any group of people there will be some that feel they should have more, or want it better, but it doesn’t get any better than Kathy Byrnes and Gerry Mooney as managers. Without the tremendous drive and energy from them and the board of directors there wouldn’t be a Windmill 2 or a St. Michael’s.  

The board is composed of people from our community, who volunteer their time and energy to provide and maintain housing for our seniors.

Our managers are there 24/7 to see that not only is the building maintained, but that the tenants are cared for, their basic needs are met, and emergencies are quickly handled. Most management companies are not on site and only make weekly or monthly visits. Our managers live there and are an integral part in the lives of the residents. This can make their jobs more difficult as they try to keep everyone there as long as possible by having a social-service coordinator and going way above and beyond their prescribed duties. 

For their dedication in getting these three projects up and running, to putting their hearts and souls into maintaining a safe environment for all tenants, the staff and board of directors need to be commended for establishing and providing this much-needed housing.



Chairman, 2003-2015

Windmill 1 & 2, 

and St. Michael’s

Hard Conclusions


November 25, 2018

Dear David,

The Fourth Climate Assessment, a quadrennial report combining input from 13 federal agencies, was issued on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday. Journalists are familiar with the government practice of releasing bad news when people are paying the least attention. This is no exception.

Beginning with the general rather than the specific, the projection is that climate induced disruptions already in progress will result in the American gross national product going down rather than up as we proceed through the present century. The report acknowledges the difficulty of precise projection based on a significant unknown: the inability to project how quickly we can curtail fossil fuel emissions by introducing alternative sources of energy like the much debated Deepwater Wind project 30 miles off our coast.

But the report does not mince words with respect to hard conclusions with a very high degree of certainty. For example: “While mitigation and adaptation efforts have expanded substantially in the last four years, they do not yet approach the scale considered necessary to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment, and human health over the coming decades.”

Local interest might quickly skip to chapter nine of the report, “Oceans and Marine Resources.” Its key message is “The nation’s valuable ocean ecosystems are being disrupted by increasing global temperatures through the loss of iconic and highly valued habitats and changes in species composition and food web structure. Ecosystem disruption will intensify as ocean warming, acidification, de-oxygenation, and other aspects of climate change increase. In the absence of significant reductions in carbon emissions, transformative impacts on ocean ecosystems cannot be avoided.”

If these statements are alarming, readers should be further aware that this study incorporates input from business and political sources on top of the most current scientific input. Since many of these government agencies are now led by appointees from fossil fuel industries, one can be confident that any shading within this report is in the direction of stifling alarm rather than stoking it. Interested readers can easily access the report by Googling “Fourth Climate Assessment.”

In light of these revelations, the news in last week’s East Hampton Star that improving technology will enable the Deepwater Wind farm to produce, with no expansion in footprint, 130 megawatts rather than the original estimate of 90 megawatts, is very good news. 

It is just a beginning, one piece among many society-wide that must evolve, but if we intensify pressure on politicians, businesses, and ourselves, we can change the answers to the following questions. How bad will it get? How fast will it get that bad? How much of our children’s prosperity have we already squandered on ourselves, and how much can we save?


Some Concerns


November 26, 2018


We strongly believe it’s our responsibility to protect the environment for our children and grandchildren. We hope that Deepwater Wind South Fork L.L.C. shares this responsibility. Although projects like Deepwater Wind are not the sole solution, when combined with other renewable energy and conservation efforts, we get closer to achieving this critically important goal so future generations are ensured clean air and water. However, we have some concerns about the proposed Deepwater Wind project.

Over the past few months, the scope of the project has been changing and it continues to change. The changes include the number of wind turbines, the number of electric cables to be buried under our beaches and roads. It is making it impossible for residents to understand the true scope and size of the project and to evaluate the potential environmental impacts. It is important for Deepwater Wind to come to a definitive decision on the scope of the project and to implement a communications strategy to inform and educate the community.

Because the environmental and health impacts of burying the power lines that transmit energy from the wind farm to the substation are not definitively known, we also believe that Deepwater Wind should explore options other than Beach Lane in Wainscott as the landing site to bring the power ashore. Beach Lane is in the heart of Wainscott and is unique to the East End. The land along Beach Lane is still farmed and has been for more than 300 years. The Peconic Land Trust, the Town of East Hampton, and friends of Wainscott donated many millions of dollars to preserve and protect this idyllic farmland.

We were also personally part of the efforts to preserve this beautiful part of Wainscott. Working with the Peconic Land Trust and the Town of East Hampton we decided it was more important to preserve our four acres at the corner of Main Street and Beach Lane rather than develop the property. Although it would have been extremely profitable for us to sell this property for development, preserving this land was our gift to the community and remembrance of the Osborn family who owned this land and farmed, fished, and whaled in this area since the 1600s.

We strongly support the use of renewable sources to meet our energy needs and to reduce the burning of fossil fuels. However, we need to do it responsibly to mitigate any unintended environmental and health consequences. We request that Deepwater Wind finalize the size and scope of the proposed wind farm project and inform and educate local residents and governmental leaders about the project and its potential consequences.

 In addition, Deepwater Wind must consider options other than Beach Lane as the landing site for the power lines. Although Deepwater Wind believes the Beach Lane approach may be the most cost effective, it may actually be the most costly when considering the threat to the uniqueness of Beach Lane in the beautiful hamlet of Wainscott.


Forgotten Its Roots

East Hampton

November 26, 2018

Dear David:

Last week you published a letter from me in which I wrote: “The State of Rhode Island requires any offshore wind project to negotiate with representatives of its fishing industry to assure mitigation of harm and compensation if there is harm. Rhode Island will not consider a wind project until agreement is reached. It is long past time for the Town of East Hampton to insist on exactly that on behalf of our fishermen.”

The letter immediately following mine said: “Fisheries in California and Oregon are being hammered by warming ocean waters due to fossil fuel-driven climate change. In East Hampton, the fishing community seems to be more afraid of clean energy solutions to global warming like offshore wind than threats from warming waters from fossil fuel use.”

Sadly, this letter displays the disdain for the intelligence of working people, in this case fishermen, that has become all too characteristic of the Demo­cra­tic Party establishment, including the writer, to the great harm of our civic and political life. Yes, global warming will wreak great harm, possibly fatal harm, to fisheries. But the Deepwater Wind project, for which this letter writer advocates, will have only an imperceptible, infinitesimal positive effect on global warming and the Montauk fisheries.

 That is not a reason not to build the wind farm. No single energy project will have more than a tiny effect, and it will take thousands of them to relieve us of dependence on fossil fuels. However, the harm that may be caused to Montauk fisheries by the project would in contrast be immediate, acute, and possibly ruin livelihoods that are critical to Montauk and its economy. If someone’s house were to be torn down to make way for an essential water treatment plant, would we expect the owner to walk away with nothing on the claim that, if groundwater becomes undrinkable, that house would be worthless anyway?

The claim that fisheries will be destroyed in any case if we do not successfully address global warming has been a consistent talking point of the majority Democrats on the town board who appear to accept uncritically every bit of Deepwater Wind’s corporate propaganda. I do not understand why they are so indifferent to the fate of working people in our community.

I can remember when the Democratic Party was the party of working people. That the Democratic Party has forgotten its roots and no longer seems to care about people who work for a living, particularly those who work with their hands, is shameful. It is a cause, if not the only cause, of Trump, who is as much a threat to our climate as any.

Weaning ourselves from fossil fuels is a collective responsibility. If there are losses incurred by our fishing industry as a result, then it is our collective responsibility first to mitigate the losses through intelligent planning, and then to compensate them if necessary. The local fishing industry should not be asked to bear a hugely disproportionate share of the cost of clean energy. Why is that not obvious?




East Hampton

November 13, 2018 

Dear Editor:

It is my understanding that the discovery deadline over whether or not Cartwright Island is owned by the Gardiner family has been extended to the end of this week, as the Gardiners have not yet been able to provide proof of ownership. I hope that whatever the final determination, the public will once again have access. I was a frequent sailor, first with my parents, then on my own, from the early ’60s through the ’90s. Cartwright was a favorite destination and landing spot for wandering around seeing what shells and other odd and interesting items might decorate the exploration, and even the occasional picnic. My parents regularly did so as well, in the 1950s.

For what it is worth, neither I nor they ever set foot on Gardiner’s Island, even though it was unpatrolled and no one was about to say otherwise. That was private property. Cartwright was understood to be different.

 Having Cartwright as a sailing destination enhances the sailing experience in Gardiner’s Bay. Access to the public would be welcome, whether because no one owns it, or because the Gardiner family chooses to make a gracious accommodation.



Fake Conservative


November 26, 2018

To the Editor:

A problem that affects and hurts a lot of American families is the high cost of a college education. I’d like to propose a change where we turn college student loans into college student scholarships so that one day every college graduate will not have to start their working lives deeply in debt.

With a nearly $1 trillion yearly federal government budget deficit, we’d have to come up with the revenue to pay for this. I propose the adoption of a national wealth tax of 10 percent on all those individuals with a net wealth and net worth of $10 million and higher. I believe that this would be more than enough to pay for this.

I would like to point out to my conservative friends out there that before he became a fake conservative, Donald Trump proposed a national wealth tax in 1999 of 14.25 percent on all those with a net worth of $10 million and higher. He wanted the money generated from it to go toward eliminating the national debt, with the remainder being put into the Social Security Trust Fund to make it more fully solvent for many additional years. The latter of the two expenditures is not exactly conservative. If anyone doubts that he made his proposal, it appears on several websites for anyone to see.



45th President


November 25, 2018

Dear Editor:

Donald Trump, our misnumbered 45th president, may give himself an A-plus as president, but this retired schoolteacher gives him an F. In fact, I give higher grades to the following 43 presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, 2 Roosevelts, 2 Adamses, 2 Harrisons, 2 Johnsons, 2 Bushes, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Van Buren, Tyler, Polk, Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland, McKinley, Taft, Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Obama.

These numbers might leave President Trump wondering who’s the one president I rated lower than him, but there isn’t any because, besides himself, there have only been 43 other men to hold this office he has stained.



East Hampton

November 26, 2018

To Editor:

Our immigration history is long and complicated. After all, except for Native Americans, we are all immigrants related. But the Muslim ban, pertaining to Syria, has a complicated nuance that seems unprecedented to past policies. The Syrian situation emanates from a failure of the international community to deal with the political upheaval in the country. Which led to the civil war that lead to the mass migration of millions of Syrians.

The reality of the Syrian immigration was minimal for the U.S. because we accepted only a very small number under the new, extremely stringent vetting system that had been developed since 9/11. Essentially, according to our Homeland Security and Customs agencies, there was no significant or imagined threat from this group (re: terrorism).

So in analyzing our actions there are significant questions about our motivation and the mental health of our government. Are they deranged? Depraved? Or both?

Few people in the political world don’t see Donald Trump as significantly deranged. It’s not really debatable. More worrisome is the concern that he is deeply depraved and genetically deficient (empathy, love, etc.), which leads to behavior that is mostly fabricated, absolutely unnecessary, and quasi-human. Inflicting pain on people for the sheer pleasure of hurting people.

The tragedy of Syria is profound and painful. That we are incapable of the smallest gesture defines us as a nation without a soul. We step back to 1940 when the world was devastated from the actions of the most depraved leaders of the century. We didn’t back off because Roosevelt was neither deranged nor depraved. Yet facing this minuscule human problem, our impotence is pathetic. Are we impotent or depraved? Is perverted a better terminology?

The Syrian situation required a world response to an impending disaster. Unfortunately, Syria has little that anyone wants or needs. Consequently, it became a Ping-Pong ball for influence in the Middle East with the U.S., Iran, Russia, Turkey, etc., as bad players. Moronic proxies with little understanding of consequences engendered a significant genocide, a massive refugee problem for Europe, and a destabilized Middle East with no hope of resolving any of the problems. The victims, there are always victims, were and are the Syrian people.

What Obama screwed up Trump worsened, if it’s possible to imagine how genocide by definition dehumanizes people. The travel ban codified it. When the only possible solution to the problem was a coming together of all the bad players, Trump instituted America first. Which translated to let them die and keep them away from us. Why won’t they disappear? Which sent a deranged message to the rest of the world. Are we not the leaders of the free world, the voice of freedom and democracy? Or are we out of the closet as a country that is simply full of shit, deranged, or depraved, or both?


American Worker


November 26, 2018

Dear Editor:

I believe there has been no greater asset politically exploited, universally manipulated, and utterly mistreated individual then the American worker. At the center of every achievement in the history of this great nation has been the American worker with their resourcefulness, ingeniousness, determination, and work ethic.

American workers, starting with the founding of our nation to the present day, from all ethnicities, walks of faith, and cultures are responsible for building and continually improving our society from the ground up. At home, the American worker has been at the forefront of improving the lives and economic empowerment of every American. The American worker has been the muscle behind uplifting countless Americans out of poverty, championing civil rights and numerous social issues. Abroad, the American worker has gone overseas to defend our nation, liberated foreign countries from tyranny, rebuilt nations devastated by war and natural disaster, and saved more human lives than any other group to this day.

Politicians regularly fall into the trap of believing they are the most important persons in government and without them the government will fail, and society will come unglued. Well, I have news for them, as elected officials they are the least important of any community. I am more than happy to take my lot with the real workers such as those of the highway department, our local building trades, teachers, social services aides, senior citizen bus drivers, farmers, and the commercial fishing industry, to name a few long before the politicians.

Without fail at election time politicians like to throw on a hard hat, stand with a farmer, visit a factory, show up at the fishing docks, visit seniors and profess they understand the needs of the American worker. Once Election Day is over, they quickly ditch the hard hat and are the first to abandon the hard-working American worker for special interest, political gain, and personal ambition.

It is sickening to watch as they quickly lose interest in the struggles of the American workers and their families. Routinely, we see politicians that declare with such vitriol solidarity with American workers but yet are the first to forgo their campaign promises as they pursue policies for special interest and political gain. 

Even worse is the sellout of the big unions to the national political parties (both Democrat and Republican). It is disheartening to watch as unions become extensions of a political party, adding insult to injury when with much fanfare unions support local, county, state, and federal politicians that abandon campaign promises to pursue policies that in many instances hurt the American worker.

Which sadly brings me to East Hampton. One has only to read the local papers to see town employees remain grossly underpaid, yet the town board unabashedly gives themselves raises while over 50 percent of the town work force are categorized as low income by HUD. Our commercial fishing industry teeters on the edge of extinction yet our town board sides with big business, a politically driven governor, and investment bankers in supporting an environmentally destructive and economically unviable offshore windmill project that will forever alter the communities of Wainscott and Montauk over communities’ objections. 

The town board has done little to help local businesses that struggle to find affordable workspace as many in our community find affordable housing unachievable. After a lifetime of hard work, our senior citizens must endure a substandard senior center. East Hampton Town has no economic development plan or policy, yet moves blindly forward with hamlet studies that will forever negatively impact the hamlets of Wainscott, Springs, and Montauk. And in the backdrop, we continue to pollute our harbors and bays with failing septic systems while the town board has no cohesive policy to address the billion-dollar cost to mitigate the pollution.

The East Hampton Town Board must reverse course and oppose Deepwater Wind offshore windmills, start advocating for our commercial fishing industry, commission a comprehensive townwide class and compensation review of town government employees, embark on real development of affordable housing and workspace, start the stalled senior citizens center, aggressively pursue a plan to mitigate septic pollution of our harbors and bays, stop the challenge to the Spring Fire Department emergency communication tower, and immediately get the townwide emergency communications system up and running after eight years of delays.

As a resident, a union organizer, union leader, and blue-collar worker, I cannot express strongly enough that the East Hampton Town Board needs to stop putting political ideology, the financial interests of a politically connected law firm, big business, investment bankers, and a politically motivated governor first, ahead of East Hampton residents and the American worker.


Oxford Experience

East Hampton

November 23, 2018

Dear David, 

I am grateful to John Tepper Marlin for his fine, affectionate “Guestwords” article on Oxford heraldry. Of course, it is important and fascinating. And it detracts not at all from his involvement or my Oxford experience (Keble College 1946-49) that I never once heard it mentioned – not by the “readers” of history or the proudly British ex-commandos of World War II, or the heroic Quaker conscientious-objector ambulance drivers in China who, during the war moved lifesaving drugs to communities in remote parts of that anarchy-ridden, war-devastated country.  

What I most connect with Oxford is an early experience I had there during an unusually warm, clear Sunday afternoon in October 1946. A flatbed truck pulled up on a road near Keble College, a few intense young men jumped out, set up a sound system atop the back, unfurled a British Union of Fascist banner, and started berating the crowd that was gathering that the wrong side had won the war. For two hours, clenched fists and insults ruled the scene as a lone, unarmed policeman stood placidly on the crowd’s fringes. 

World War II had ended barely a year before, but there never was a threat of violence. And I thought to myself, how wonderful this is how it has to be — to participate, to listen to what people have to say, and not succumb to violence or self-pity.