Letters to the Editor: 12.27.18

Our readers' comments

Finest Kind


December 24, 2018

Dear David,

A blessed Christmas and good upcoming year for you and yours.

To my mind, there are non-replaceables in our town, gone but not forgotten I hope, who did much for us all, even before it was popular to do so. I especially bring to your attention Ben (the kid from Fireplace) and Bonnie Bistrian Krupinski, Tom Twomey Esq., and the Honorable Perry B Duryea Jr.

Clearly among Bonac’s finest kind.


Holiday Spirit

East Hampton

December 21, 2018 

To the Editor:

Thank you so much for all of the art supply and monetary donations that I received from the community. It really goes to show that if we work together we can all better our community. I would like to thank the American Legion of Amagansett for allowing me to use their space. With the help of the community, I raised over $2,600 and tons of art supplies to donate to the Retreat, the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center, and the Senior Citizens Center. The holiday spirit is really expressed through this action.

Let me know if you would like any pictures. 




East Hampton High School

Lester Family

Fleming Island, Fla. 

December 17, 2018 

To the Editor:

 I’m not sure where, or to whom, to address this request so I’m trying a shot in the dark. If this is the wrong place, would anyone know who among the Lester family might have access to historical documents in the family’s possession? My name is Bill Kaelin, originally from Cutchogue, now in Florida. I am researching my ancestry for Mayflower genealogy reasons and have come to a stumbling block with Phebe Tillinghast of East Hampton, widow of Joseph Tillinghast. 

There is a proven record from the Mayflower down to Joseph Tillinghast’s mother. There is also a proven record from Phebe’s grandson forward to present day. What I’m trying to do is fill in the middle ground and make the connection from Phebe’s mother-in-law to Phebe’s grandson. Phebe and her family were refugees to Haddam, Conn., in 1776 and her husband, Joseph, died over there in 1777, shortly before her youngest child Lydia was born. 

I understand that Phebe returned, with her children, from Connecticut in 1780. Then, at some time, purchased the 10-acre home of Ludlam Parsons, which eventually was owned by Maurice and William Lester. In 1805, Phebe entered into an agreement with her daughter Lydia and son-in-law, William Bennett, in which she ceded all her worldly possessions to them in return for her care for the remainder of her life.

 This life estate agreement was co-signed by all her living children and their spouses. I understand that this life estate agreement is now included in the papers of the Lester family. Which brings me to my request. I would like to obtain a copy of that agreement. It does not need to be certified or anything like that, just a scan of the agreement would be great. If a charge is deemed necessary that is fine. This agreement provides proof that Phebe had a son, Joseph Tillinghast, who is in my ancestry. It is an important part of my lineage, and I would really appreciate having a copy of this precious document. 



Mr. Kaelin can be contacted at bnbk@comcast.net or 904-803-3480. Ed.

To Be Commended

East Hampton

December 18, 2018

Dear David,

The Star’s editorial page and the journalistic success of Christopher Walsh’s climate change reporting have been 

a major contributor to raising local climate change awareness. The Star’s glaring Dec. 13 headline: “Climate Change Looms Large in Montauk Future,” reporting on the Montauk hamlet study and public debate, brought home a climate change awareness not just for Montauk but for the East End’s entire coastline. 

At the national level, the article “A Legislative Leap on Carbon” addresses another congressional effort to tax carbon and carbon emissions. Locally, the energy sustainability committee advises the town board on issues promoting clean energy opportunities as the town strives for 100 percent elimination of fossil fuel emissions. 

The East Hampton Star is to be commended on well-informed national and local climate change reporting. It has been a very productive resource for the energy sustainability committee during 2018. The committee thanks you for your attention to the impacts this community is witnessing and the efforts being made to replace fossil fuel emissions.


Energy Sustainability Committee

Courageous Standoff


December 20, 2018

Dear David,

As we stumble into another year, there is a general feeling of good riddance to government officials. A deep breath is called for, and maybe a stiff drink if you are so inclined. Most important, we should take time to look back and get a perspective as to where we have come from and where we need to go.

Recently, there have been long negative letters to The Star that seem to be looking for a fight with town leaders. We need a perspective. Not too long ago, our beautiful historic town was being swept up by a tsunami of overdevelopment schemes. One thousand motels were allowed on the dunes along the Napeague stretch. A necklace of condos was ready to surround the calming shorelines of Three Mile Harbor and Northwest Harbor.

Our remaining bucolic farmland was being carved up by subdivision lines. East Hampton’s historic open woods were filled with meandering local trails accessing bays filled with shellfish and finfish supporting local fisherman who were in danger of being blocked with potential private gatehouses. A wall of 234 condominiums and an 800-car parking lot at the Grace Estate and a ring of McMansions along the shoreline of Barcelona Neck had received preliminary approval from the planning board.

Montauk was not spared: 1,200 acres of undisturbed Hither Woods, the largest maritime woods in New York, was to be covered with over 700 second homes — enough to require another elementary school. There was more. 

The only people who could halt this tsunami of unwise development, were our local, elected town board led by Judith Hope. What ensued was a tremendous battle between our community and outside big developers. The stories behind this courageous standoff are told in my book, “Saving East Hampton’s Soul.” (See ad in this Star edition.)

Curl up with this slice of our recent history and maybe, just maybe, you will begin to have faith again in the power of a united community that closes ranks to support real leaders who can be trusted to fight for what is right and just. 

Wouldn’t that be nice?


P.S. To purchase this uplifting story, email debbrodie@optonline.net. 

Turd Tossing


December 23, 2018

Dear David:

I hesitated pressing the send button on my email to The Star containing my Sh-t Stirrer letter. I was torn by two contradictory impulses. One compulsion was to call out two prime examples of the term and let them know why they are deserving of the epithet. But the force pulling me in the opposite direction was crying out not to do it because by doing so I would be engaging in sh-t stirring myself, and in effect playing right into the sh-t stirrers’ game. I pressed the send button and the letter appeared in the Dec. 13 edition of The Star.

As I had feared, the Pontifex Maximus of Sh-t Stirrers himself, David Gruber, responded with more turd tossing in his letter, appearing in last week’s edition of The Star. I am now responding to that letter, and I find myself in a battle royal of sh-t stirring, in what I assume to be to the delightful satisfaction of Mr. Gruber.

Note that unlike my previous letter, I am spelling out the term sh-t stirrer and not using the abbreviated initials SS, which I did for the sake of convenience and not as my sh-t stirring adversary intimated, as a subliminal reference to the Nazi SS troopers. I did, however, intentionally use the analogy of Darth Vader, but I thought it was in a sort of complimentary manner. I was emphasizing Gruber’s and Bonnie Brady’s above-average intelligence, which I implored them to utilize in favor of building something productive instead of engaging in mere fruitless castigation. 

Gruber carried on in his letter about how my invoking Bonnie Brady into the sh-t stirrers’ hall of fame was a smear on the sanctity of the fishing industry. I should be ashamed of myself, he implied, disparaging fishermen, the heart and soul of our little fishing village. My criticism of Bonnie Brady had nothing to do with her commendable cause; it has all to do with her methods. There’s a lot about her that I admire and like. I think she is charismatic, articulate, and incisive in assessing most situations. But she has a strong tendency, (one of her methods) to stir sh-t for the sole purpose to scold. Sometimes it’s even very humorous, but it’s not (at most times) helpful or productive.

In answering Gruber’s allegation that I evaded his list of objections to the current town’s administration, I purposely did so because my intent was to focus on his scandal mongering and hyperbolism. Going tit for tat on his town board allegations is for another occasion. Moreover, the assertions he listed were so inaccurate; anyone that has been paying any kind of attention to the town board’s proceedings knows that he’s way off base. 

I’ll just list the issues that Gruber claims the board has done nothing about. I don’t need to list the many remedies it has put in place or is working diligently to introduce for the sake of brevity. Most every in-tuned citizen is aware of them anyway: water quality, downtown Montauk coastal erosion, emergency services, fishing industry protections, energy sustainability, airport noise remediation, emergency services, affordable housing. East Hampton Town is ahead of the curve on many of these issues compared to the rest of the country. 

Still, I realize that some people aren’t happy with the direction or pace of progress on some or all of them. It’s not for lack of trying by the town board. The simple reality of living in a small town is that everyone at some point has to work together if they want anything to function properly. David Gruber prefers to create divisiveness instead of collaboration.

I need to refute two other points Gruber makes in his letter. I did not write my sh-t stirrer letter as a representative of the Democratic Committee of East Hampton to which I belong, just as Gruber did not write his letter as a representative of that same committee, to which he belongs as well. I wrote it as a concerned citizen. Gruber’s extrapolation of my criticisms to the East Hampton Democratic Party is founded in his overwhelmingly failed attempt to stage a coup in order to gain control of its leadership. 

Lastly, I did not write it with any hatred for anyone, only with my distinct displeasure of the tactic of sh-t stirring. David Gruber has been a major contributor over the years to this town, to its politics and to its sound government. I respect that about him, and as I’ve said, he possesses the acuity and perspicacious capacity to make vital contributions needed in crafting the resolutions to solve the town’s pressing needs. I hope that I am wrong in my suspicion that his thirst for power has been self-corruptive to the point of inextricably driving him to the dark side.

Come back to the Jedi side, David. The force (of good) needs you.


Bond Debt


December 23, 2018

To the Editor,

I found the article about the many potential uses for the C.D.H.C. building of interest. Of particular note was the statement, “Our 2016 engineering report said it was a perfect building for a senior center,” followed by the statement that the town was going to construct a new senior center instead, which if my memory is correct will cost over $10 million, much of which will have to be borrowed.

Given the purchase of this building, perhaps the town should save the local taxpayers the cost of that bond debt. Since we have just passed the 10-year anniversary of the last financial crisis, it would be wise not to add to future liabilities when they can easily be avoided.


State’s Audit


December 22, 2018

Dear David, 

The next two Amagansett School Board meetings will be on Tuesdays, Jan. 8 and Jan. 22, 2019, starting at 6:30 p.m. 

At the last Amagansett School Board meeting, on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, there was discussion of the upcoming 2019-20 budget for the school.

Handouts were available for explanations of the budget wording. The superintendent, Seth Turner, explained how the time line for the budget will progress over the next few months leading up to the budget vote in May 2020. Four items of interest come to mind about the meeting.

First Mr. Turner spoke of depleting excess money in some accounts. Second, he spoke of a possible 2 to 3 percent increase in taxes. Third, there is a response letter being drafted to send to the state comptroller’s office regarding the school’s corrective action plan regarding the state’s audit. And finally, the board approved two board members and one prior board member/president to be on the audit committee. 

The next few months are important to hear of the revenues and plans for the new budget, especially since the audit committee newly appointed will be the “judge and jury” of the finances. 

Happy holidays to all, 



East Hampton

December 21, 2018


Anyone who said they are not interested in politics is like a drowning man who said he is not interested in water. The Congress must learn we are not limited by our abilities but our vision. Adversity is a fact. It can’t be controlled, but we can control how we act to it. Motivation will always beat mere talent. 

Our nation grows when the Congress plants ideas and laws even if they know they will never live to see it working. Worry is not the dark room in which negatives are developed. Any men or women who think they know all the answers most likely misunderstood the questions. If you don’t know the answer there is no such thing as a stupid question. 

Think all you speak, but speak not all you think. Congress must remember thinking has been done all through the ages, knowing things needed to be done. Lies may take care of the present but have no future. A smart politician knows what to say. A wise politician knows when not to say it. Integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on values not personal gain. 

You cannot be fooled by anyone if you characterize them by their actions. As citizens we must remember when voting we are creating our own destiny for we are allowing others to decide for us. Actually we are making them masters of our destiny. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Politicians should learn to taste their words before they spit them out. They become wise when they shut their mouths. Arrogance leads to disaster. We need history not to fall back on, but to see if at times we can escape from it. Maybe it’s better not to think about the past, but to use it to create our future. Always be aware of the half-truths as you might get the wrong half. Replace fear with curiosity. To understand wisdom it takes wisdom. It means nothing if the audience is deaf.

Confused by the mind and defused by the senses we seek pleasure and lose the great treasure called life. Live life as a pair of walking feet. The forward foot has no pride, and the foot behind has no shame, because they know their situation will change. Trust and truth does not come with a refill. Knowledge comes from learning. Wisdom comes from living. Who we are today, and who we become as a nation in the future, is in our hands. The choice is ours. 


God’s Gift


December 20, 2018

Dear Editor:

Christmas is a special time of year for Christians. The birth of Jesus, as predicted in the Scriptures, has significant meaning. I have to start by saying I am by no means a Bible scholar, and the best I can lay claim to is I try my best to fly right and do the right thing. Above said, every Christmas the story of the conversation between Jesus and a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, written in Bible John 3 Chapter 13 to 16 comes to mind.

Chapter 13: And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man, which is in heaven. Chapter 14: And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up. Chapter 15: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. Chapter 16: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God’s gift to us was salvation from the eternal consequences of sin made possible through Jesus’s sacrifice for our sins. 

There are many messages in the above, but in particular, the message of giving. Giving to help those less fortunate, the downtrodden, the sick, the weak, the oppressed, and those that cannot help themselves are all things we should aspire to every day, not just on Christmas. 

With that thought, I would like to wish everyone a joyous, happy holiday season and happy new year, with much love, family, and friends old and new.


Should Get Out


December 21, 2018

To the Editor:

Trump is right to get out of Syria. As a progressive activist and member of local Democratic Party Committee, I am appalled the Trump-derangement syndrome I have witnessed in the last 24 hours. Getting U.S. troops out of Syria is 100 percent right, even if Trump is the one who said it. Sure, we can debate the wisdom of announcing it on Twitter without first telling our allies. I agree that that was incredibly foolish. And we can debate the best way to implement that withdrawal. But that does not change the underlying facts: The involvement of U.S. troops in Syria is illegal, immoral, counterproductive, and should end as soon as possible. 

We should get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, too. If you don’t see that after 17 years without meaningful success, you are blind to reality. Sadly, many liberal Democrats and news anchors are suffering from a similar ailment to Republicans during the Obama years, in which anything the president does is wrong, evil, and must be resisted. Just think of the way Republicans reacted when Obama took a Republican health-care plan (Romneycare) and slapped his name on it (Obamacare). Communism! Death panels! The sky was falling! 

Now, Trump wants to end an illegal war. That should be a position of the left. Instead, many who claim to be on the left are aggressively attacking the decision. Putin, Iran, Assad, Isis, oh, my! Let us hope that Trump doesn’t say he likes puppies; many would call for the immediate euthanizing of all those adorable “Putin Pups.”

 I dream of a day when we will be this oppositional and skeptical of the U.S. getting into a war as we are now at the prospect of getting out of one. 


About Votes


December 21, 2018

To The Editor:

The real and major reason why so many of my fellow Democrats (at the national level) seem to care so much about the plight of “illegal immigrants” is because they want to get their votes one day. This is all about votes. Once over 50 percent of the U.S.A. population becomes nonwhite, the Democrats know that they will win every presidential election and always be in control of both houses of Congress. I would love to see that day, but I don’t like how they are using these innocent people who are seeking a better life and how they are hoodwinking and playing the American people. On the other hand, Republicans don’t want to let them in because they know that this day is coming and they want to prevent it from happening.

Most of these national Democrats really don’t care at all about these people as human beings, just as they also don’t care at all about the rest of us, especially if we are poor, near-poor, lower middle-class, or middle-class.

There are a few exceptions to this.



The Preamble


December 23, 2018

Dear David,

Defense Secretary James Mattis’s resignation letter states that “we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense” — the last five-word phrase coming right out of our Constitution’s preamble. (“We the people, in order to insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense.”) 

Yet I doubt that President and Commander-in-Chief Donald Trump knows what the preamble is, and has ever read it (at least not in its 52-word entirety). He might even think that the “preamble” is simply the list of things an ordinary person does before taking a leisurely walk.