Letters to the Editor: 01.25.18

Our readers' comments

For the Betterment


January 22, 2018

Dear David;

I would like to thank my fellow Democratic town council members for appointing me to the East Hampton Town Council and the opportunity to work with them for the betterment of the community of my hometown, East Hampton. 

I also would like to thank my wife, Rachel, and our four daughters for their love and support, which means everything in the world to me.

Lastly, I would like to thank the residents of East Hampton, current and past, who have helped shape and mold me to become a lover and now, protector, of the values and traditions that make East Hampton unique and diversified.

Let’s work hard to keep East Hampton East Hampton.



View of Experts

East Hampton

January 21, 2018

Dear David,

I am glad to see East Hampton’s Town Board beginning to recognize the drug epidemic we face on Long Island. However, if we are truly to curb this problem, part of the solution must be providing young people with a safe, supervised, and most important, cost-free space where they can congregate and engage in “free play.” 

Child development experts agree that unorganized free play is an essential part of child development that helps teach independence, confidence, social interaction, and empathy. For decades, adult-organized activities have been replacing this kind of play, which has led to a rise in mental health disorders like generalized anxiety and depression in young people (well-established precursors to drug use).

This isn’t hyperbole. It is the view of experts like Peter Gray, Ph.D., of Boston College, and Kenneth R. Ginsburg, M.D., M.Ed., and the Committee on Communications and the Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health.

As it stands today, there is no accessible space for young people in our town where they can congregate when the weather gets cold (outside the library — the library). The RECenter, which we originally built for such a purpose, is a gym. It is utilized by a sliver of the town’s young people and only for a few hours a week. The town board has thus far been reluctant to do anything to remedy the situation. 

Happy as I am to hear that the town board is taking on opioid abuse, it is time to stop denying science and address the very real needs of our young people. As long as East Hampton has no kid space, there will always be more our community could be doing to prevent the rise of drug use. 




Emergency Facility

East Hampton

January 21, 2018

To the Editor:

Your editorial on the proposed medical emergency facility is very enlightening. We already have a medical building with a lab, X-ray, pharmacy, and doctors’ offices. There is also a medical emergency facility a few doors down on Pantigo Road. Yes it would cause a traffic problem in season.

You are right: Stephen Hand’s Path would be better for traffic flow. There is also a building that might be worked into the facility. People from Sag Harbor, Bridgehampton, etc., could get there instead of going to Southampton.

I hope the town board will look at this matter very closely. Stephen Hand’s Path land is town-owned.



If I Were King


January 22, 2018

To the Editor:

There are many important numbers in the world. I would like to present, for your consideration and edification, what I believe is the most important number in the history of life on planet Earth.

It is not the amount of money spent by the nations of the world on defense (approximately $1.7 trillion, the U.S.A. is number one on the list, spending more than the next 10 countries combined); it is not the amount of global coal consumption (over four billion tons annually) or the amount of global oil consumption (over 42 million gallons of oil daily); it is not the national debt of the United States; it is not the number of mass shootings or gun-related deaths; it is not the number of weapons in a nation’s nuclear arsenal or the size of their military; it is not — many things!

The most important number in the history of the world is 99.9 percent. (If you prefer decimals, .999; fractions, 999/1,000.)

This number is so significant and important for two reasons. First, it is the amount of DNA each human being has in common with every other human being on this planet. Scientists theorize this lack of genetic diversity is the result of a “bottleneck” sometime within the past 20,000 to 30,000 years when the total human population dwindled to as few as 10,000 people. 

The number is particularly stunning when you consider that two groups of chimpanzees (the closest extant genetic relative of humans) living just a few miles apart on opposite sides of the Congo River in Africa have greater genetic diversity than the entire human race (99.9 percent — 99.6 percent). Mitochondrial DNA studies suggest that all humans can trace their lineage to a single female in Africa some two million years ago — “Genetic Eve.” We are all related, very distant cousins.

The second reason for the importance of the number is truly a bit frightening to contemplate. 99.9 percent of every species to have ever lived on this planet is now extinct. In other words, 999 of every 1,000 species to ever swim, crawl, wiggle, hop, walk, or fly is gone. There have been five known “extinction events” in the 4.5-billion-year history of this planet. 

The End Permian event (about 250 million years ago) saw life nearly obliterated, with more than 90 percent of species alive at the time wiped out. (Many scientists believe we are in the midst of a sixth event, which has even been given a name — the Holocene Extinction. Thousands of species across the broad spectrum of life, plants, fish, insects, and animals, are going extinct each year and evidence suggests the primary cause is the destruction humans are perpetrating and perpetuating on planet Earth’s water, land, and air.) Clearly, the odds for the continued long-term existence of our species are not very good.

These two facts are amazing, illuminating, frightening, and, certainly, thought provoking. What should we do with the knowledge? Imagine, as John Lennon asked, what is possible if we can figure out a way to all live in harmony and work together. Imagine.

Borrowing from Albert Einstein, I have tried to work through my own “thought experiment.” I invite the reader to try it. Imagine you are the king or queen of the world. Here’s the scenario:

The human race has finally awakened to the oneness of our species and the need to end the devastation we are inflicting on each other and the only habitable place in the universe that we know of (so far!). They have decided to select a single leader to guide us through the changes (I personally think a ruling council would be better, but for now I think it would be more fun to be the supreme ruler). At your disposal are all of the monies (the $1.7 trillion being spent on national defenses noted above), the material resources, and the human ingenuity currently being used on weapons and the military.

As king or queen, you rule by edicts. Your word becomes law! What would you do?

Here are a few of the edicts I would issue if I were king of the world:

1. We will immediately establish multiple regional emergency response centers on every continent stocked with supplies (food, water, alternative housing, blankets, etc.) and permanently staffed with personnel trained to handle any calamity that strikes (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.). The responses to any disaster will be swift and global in scope. These centers will also serve as food distribution facilities to fulfill our humanitarian commitment that no child will go to bed hungry. Ever!

2. We begin the cleanup of the mess we’ve made, mostly in the past 200 years. Plants that can absorb heavy metals and radioactive particles are planted where needed, harvested, and disposed of safely. Technology needed to remove the debris and garbage in our oceans (e.g., Great Pacific Garbage Patch) is developed and deployed. Every man, woman, and child will plant 10 trees each year for the next 10 years. Every family will plant a garden.

3. We will immediately begin imagining, designing, and building the technologies we will need to get a significant number of volunteer pioneers off planet Earth. Bases will be established on the moon and Mars. I imagine space elevators will feed the personnel and materials for construction of fleets of spaceships ready to head to potentially habitable planets. Target planets will be identified by greatly enhancing the technologies presently being used to search the Milky Way galaxy for potentially life-supporting exoplanets. (Thousands of exoplanets have been spotted so far and a few of them might even be able to support life!)

4. We will immediately begin the rapid transition to sustainable and renewable energy sources — solar, wind, hydroelectric, hydrogen, and any other means we can identify.

(I have other more controversial edicts I would issue but in my “thought experiment” they would get me killed, or at least targeted for assassination.)

My final edict would establish the aforementioned ruling council, consisting of a majority of mothers, with the primary mandate that all decisions made must consider the effects on every child.

I would then abdicate my throne. Because, as Coldplay asked in “Viva La Vida,” Who would ever want to be king?

It is my sincere belief that doing everything in our power to ensure the survival of our children, and our children’s — the continued survival of our species — is the only thing that really matters. Acknowledging and accepting this responsibility is something that can give real meaning to every life. Recognizing that ensuring our collective long-term survival is our primary function, and acting accordingly, is mandatory if we want to truly consider ourselves intelligent, sentient beings in the vastness of this thing we call the universe.



Verbally Slammed

East Hampton

January 22, 2018

To the Editor:

In these times when bullies, sexual predators, and abusers of every stripe are being outed and reaping the legal consequences of their behaviors, I recently had my own shocking encounter.

It was the week before Christmas when I called into a local radio talk show on WLNG. I am 66 and for the last 16 months I have been disabled by a severe leg injury. The call-in show afforded me ease of access to the man who was being interviewed; a New York State powerbroker, influential in politics, and someone who is afforded the public’s trust solely based upon his public office.

As the show opened the moderator indulged the guest’s excessive good ’ole boy exuberance at the fact that the Islanders hockey team was finally “coming home” to Long Island. This seemed to be disarmingly important to the guest and fatuous at the same time. It was reminiscent of President Trump’s locker-room banter.

Finally, the moderator was able to shift gears and regain control of the microphone; he invited callers to phone in. I was the first caller on air. I introduced myself. Suddenly all hell broke loose. I was verbally slammed by an unprovoked, highly charged harangue, which first defamed me by calling me “a liar” without any substantiation and then he continued to verbally pummel and disparage me. 

The verbal bullying was live, on air, for all listeners to hear and witness. In retrospect, it is obvious that he is well versed in employing this kind of overpowering move, which rendered me speechless and helpless. Just as suddenly as it began I was summarily disconnected from the call. I was left in complete and utter shock.  

It should be noted that I had only met this man once in his office to ask for his assistance, which he promised to provide. Our encounter was brief and cordial. But I never heard from him or his staff again.

Verbal abuse is never anything but ugly, however; almost always it is done in private so that it can never be proven. My attacker apparently forgot that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people across the world witnessed his tirade thanks to WLNG being broadcast live on the web. Considering the number of phone calls that I received following the show from people who had been listening, his constituents were as shocked as I was by what they witnessed.

As the new year begins leaving behind a year when more and more abusers, sexual predators, and bullies’ closet doors are sprung open and exposed, those in our community who are unaware of this abuse of power need to be aware of this event because he continues to walk among us. He may have a title but he is not entitled.


Where Does This End

East Hampton

January 22, 2018

Dear Mr. Rattray,

I live adjacent to the Bistrian sand pit on Middle Highway. Last April, the permit for the sand mine was renewed. This allowed its new owner, Robert Bistrian, to begin mining 11.6 acres of the 14.2-acre lot. 

Within a matter of days, almost six acres of pristine woods were cut down and reduced to piles of logs. Large sand berms were created as barriers on the outside of the pit — within 25 feet of the surrounding residential areas.

What had taken literally a hundred years to grow was obliterated in a matter of days. All in the name of profit for one company. 

Over the course of the last 40 years, I have watched field after field turned into housing. Woods chopped up into buildable lots and so on and so on. My question is, where does this end?

When I reached out to Larry Cantwell’s office, I was told on several occasions that the permit for the mine was approved prior to zoning laws so it was exempt from all existing laws. Why should something, which is clearly not beneficial to the community as a whole, be the recipient of special treatment rather than being subject to he same regulations as the rest of the community? 

Were the zoning laws not created to protect the greater good and health of our town? Not to mention the potential health risks of contaminating the water supply, the impact of deforesting six pristine acres, or the sand dust that now covers the surrounding areas. (This is the first time the back of my property had tan snow.)

Even with all of this, it is not too late. East Hampton Town should acquire the 14.2-acre mine and rehabilitate it into a space that benefits the community. The recently cleared land could be replanted with native trees and the mined area could be planted with native vegetation. Instead of being a blight on East Hampton, the mine could become a community woods and garden — a testament to the town’s commitment to preserving this unique environment on the East End for future generations.

Given the vast resources and talented people who call East Hampton their home, we could accomplish something remarkable. My family would happily donate the first 20 trees to be planted, and I am sure that there are many more people in this community who would be happy to follow suit in rebuilding those lost woods and woodland.

Thank you for your time.






January 18, 2018

Dear David,

As you may be aware, I am the self-proclaimed, self-appointed East Hampton Town common whipper, a long mislaid local enforcement position I appropriated, lo these few years ago. No one has, so far, asked me to step aside. (I know this may be a factor of the number of bad shoulders out there as a call for service.)

As a volunteer in a few capacities, I am dismayed that there are local forces at play to dump some volunteers who attempt to help their fellow citizens, wildlife, etc., etc. Really?

Not all volunteers I have worked alongside are the easiest people to honor, but I do. Love is in spite of, right?

All good things,


The Climate Challenge

Vancouver, B.C.

January 22, 2018

To the Editor:

Regarding “States Now Skirting Feds on Climate Change” (Jan. 18): As legislators contemplate Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposal for a carbon tax in Washington, they should know this: Data soundly refute the misconception that a price on carbon pollution hurts economic competitiveness and growth.

Just look north of the border, where the four provinces with an effective carbon price outperformed the rest of Canada, and the country led the G7 in economic growth in 2017. British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec saw 3.2 percent, 4.1 percent, 2.9 percent, and 2.8 percent in real gross domestic product growth, respectively, according to preliminary numbers from RBC Economics Research.

Today, pricing carbon pollution is mainstream economic policy in Canada. Carbon pricing systems already cover 86 percent of the population, and this year will see carbon pricing come to all regions of Canada.

Acting on the climate challenge goes hand-in-hand with strong economic performance, and helps to future-proof the economy in the longer term.



B.C. Climate Policy Program

Pembina Institute

Despicable World View

East Hampton

January 22, 2018

To the Editor,

When President Trump denigrated Haiti and Africa with his comments, Lee Zeldin tweeted that the president “wasn’t elected for his ability to be politically correct,” and that, “I’m not here to call for the President’s mouth to be washed out with soap.” 

Once again, our representative misses the point entirely. It’s not the vulgarity of the comments that is so disturbing (although one hopes eventually we’ll have a president who respects the dignity of the office and acts accordingly), it’s the breathtaking, mind-numbing ignorance of such a despicable worldview.

I look forward to the day when America reclaims its sanity and becomes once more a country that, while not perfect, strives to be generous in spirit, steadfast in its freedoms, and secure in its role as the world’s moral leader.

That day will come only when Trump is voted out of office. In the meantime, let’s send an unmistakable message. In November, vote Lee Zeldin out of office. We deserve a representative who holds the president accountable for his words and actions, not one who makes excuses.



Fifty-Five Years 


January 15, 2018

Dear David,

 As I watch some of the history of how Americans have treated African-Americans on this Martin Luther King Day, I reflect upon Oprah Winfrey’s talking about the Academy Awards of 1963 at the 2018 Golden Globes awards, how as a kid, while she waited for her mother to come home after cleaning houses, Anne Bancroft, the presenter for that year’s best actor award because she had won best actress the year before, read the names of the nominees. 

Opening up the envelope, Ms. Bancroft said, “And the winner is Sidney Poitier for ‘Lilies of the Field.’ ” What a thrill for Ms. Bancroft to present a major award to the first black person to win it. She handed him the Oscar and gave him a kiss on the cheek, and for that kiss my beloved sister, Anne Bancroft, was soundly criticized — it was 1963 in America. I would be ashamed to tell her we haven’t really made as much progress as we should have and it’s now 2018, some 55 years later.



Leave the Country


January 22, 2018

Dear David,

  The liberals have one-stop words, everyone repeats the word of the week. Just listen to CNN, MSNBC, etc. Haters obstruct and resist rather than give President Trump credit for his transparency. De Niro and Chelsie Handler should leave the country, go live somewhere they can use their filthy, and I mean filthy, mouths. The wife beater Sean Penn, De Niro, Handler, and so many more Hollywood big mouths should know, who needs their opinions? Sean Penn used Chavez to borrow money to make a movie. Go live there, Sean.

Where was the outrage from hypocrites in Hollywood when Obama sent millions of dollars to Iran on unmarked pallets and unmarked planes for release of the worst of the worst terrorist? President Obama on his last day in office gave $221 million to the P.L.O. and $4 million to the Palestinians to study climate change. Is this a joke? Whose money was he spending? It was yours and mine.

Where was the outrage when this Obama administration’s U.S.A international drug operation P. Cassandra, where Hezbollah was engaging in drug trafficking to the United States and killing Americans so Obama could dance with the devil in Iran and send $150 billion. Where was the outrage when Obama allowed 20 percent sale of our uranium used to make nuclear bombs to the Russians. What was in this for Obama’s silence of millions and where was the outrage when Obama couldn’t stop apologizing for America’s sins?

In God and country,


My Location

Plainview, N.Y.

 January 19, 2018 

Dear David,

I greatly appreciate your having published my President Trump letter(s)— especially in their entirety — and only wish to point out to you the error of attributing my location as “PlainFIELD, N.J.” instead of my actual hometown of PlainVIEW, N.Y.

(Not that Plainfield, N.J., is not a wonderful place to live!)


Long Islander