Letters to the Editor: 03.29.18

Our readers' comments

First Aid

East Hampton

March 26, 2018

Dear Editor,

We wish to thank David Baumrind and Kathy Appleby of the Springs Fire Department for teaching first aid and basic first responder topics to the Cub Scouts of Pack 426.  This past Sunday the scouts learned about calling 911, what to do if they find someone not breathing, and they practiced chest compressions. They also discussed choking and the Heimlich maneuver, major bleeding, stroke assessment, and other first-aid items. They finished with a tour of an ambulance. 

We greatly appreciate David and Kathy spending time with the Cub Scouts, teaching them these valuable skills.




The Epilogue

East Hampton

March 25, 2018

Dear Mr. Rattray:

I’d always dreamed of being in The East Hampton Star. Maybe a “Guestwords,” or even a column. Or maybe we are interviewed by a Star reporter for a good deed or heroic act. So when our Star debut arrived last week in the article headlined “Couple’s Volvo Vanishes,” it was, let’s say, not what we’d had in mind.

Iris came home from yoga and errands on Saturday at 4 and parked our eight-year-old car in the little circular drive, as always. We cooked dinner at home, watched the N.C.A.A.s and went to sleep. 

In the morning when we went outside, the Volvo was missing. So implausible was a car thief in our quiet, out-of-the-way neighborhood with year-round residents everywhere, that I went looking on the vacant land next door, thinking it had rolled. Nothing. So for the first time in our lives, we called the East Hampton Town Police Department, and that is the occasion for this letter.

Officers arrived quickly and took our information. Naturally, I asked if there’d been auto thefts in the area. The officer mentioned a recent incident a couple of miles away involving theft of stuff from the console, but no cases where the whole car was gone. We exchanged contact information and each promised to be in touch with any developments. We went inside, did insurance, D.M.V., E-ZPass, etc., before getting in our truck and driving around all day to look for our Volvo. Nothing.

On Monday, we said if we couldn’t find it, the police probably won’t find it either, but maybe someone will report an abandoned car. On Tuesday, we said let’s face it, no one is looking for our Volvo. By Wednesday, we were using the words “totaled” and “chop shop” a lot, and pricing replacement options. On Thursday, we were reading about ourselves in The Star and fighting with insurance. On Friday we were fighting with each other, cursing the thieves, and wondering why the cops were doing nothing. That was when the detective called.

“We have your car, including the keys. You can come pick it up tomorrow.” Iris: “Wait, we gave you a stolen car report and zero clues and in less than a week you’re giving us back our car?” “Yep. Take a right at Goldberg’s bagels and we’re on the left after the railroad tracks.” Iris: “C’mon. Who is this really?”

We took the right at Goldberg’s, but at a speed that allowed us to grab a dozen assorted with fixings. It was our first business with law enforcement in our lives, and Iris, as a rule, never comes empty-handed. After expressing our thanks in every way we knew how and filling out the paperwork, I asked the detectives if they would take us through their entire process. 

It turns out that while we were busy being skeptical and worse, the East Hampton Police Department was running an exceedingly sophisticated investigation involving surveillance cameras, actual surveillance, fingerprint analysis, DNA testing, and diligent connect-the-dots police work. As it happened, another (much, much nicer) car was stolen during the week and it, too, was returned to its owner. So that’s the epilogue to your article on us from last week. 

But mostly we are writing to acknowledge the outstanding work of the East Hampton Police Department, to thank them for it from the bottom of our hearts, and to say how kind, professional, and skilled are the men and women of East Hampton law enforcement.



Better Policing

East Hampton 

March 23, 2018

To the Editor:

 Don’t ditch the Dirt Lot. I am a longtime resident, surfer, and frequent user of these lots. I watched the open public meeting on March 20 at East Hampton Town Hall. I must add my voice to those of us who use the facility, that the changes being contemplated are not the wish or desire of users. Paving the Dirt Lot will bring yet more traffic and ecological problems to an already fragile area. The natural limits as now configured are self-limiting and expansion would just bring more vehicles to the area. Besides parking their vehicles, the beach itself is now on summer weekends at capacity, not to mention the limited surfing zone. More parking will only exacerbate the experience of going to the beach. Our ocean access points are limited in capacity and fragile.

The Otis Road parking lot (ex East Deck) once had the opportunity for the town to act to increase the facility with parking and bathrooms, but the town was unable to acquire the property. The limits of only west side parking actually work out well. The Ditch Witch anchors the lot and the limits imposed on the space dictate a certain courtesy and recognition that early is the way to go. Summer weekends are difficult, but again expanding capacity is  not going to eliminate congestion as it will be even more cars fighting for spaces. A few more or even a dozen spots are not the answer.

The first lot, with bathrooms and lifeguard, should probably not become residents-only. Unlike Indian Wells, this lot will have two all-access lots next to a residents-only lot. The result will push the more limited parking in the other two beyond capacity and result in chaos, not to mention the cost of maintaining a manned booth to regulate traffic.

Therefore I support better policing of the existing rules and perhaps a seasonal shuttle from town to Ditch Plain on summer weekends would be a better solution and look to protect our ocean beaches from ourselves. Let us be good stewards of our resources, not “paving paradise to build a parking lot.”


Very Fortunate 


March 26, 2018

Dear David, 

I would like to thank the Amagansett School Board and the superintendent for extending an offer to ask the community for input in the search for the next superintendent. I can only imagine how many applicants will be applying for the position from all over Long Island and beyond. I know the board has hired a firm to help in this monumental process. 

My hopes are that local candidates are equally being considered, especially candidates that have knowledge in the budget process, vested interest in students’ successes, the local community, and plan to remain in the area long term. 

Amagansett is very fortunate to have a unique school, located in a beautiful area, with fabulous teaching staff, and the advantage of not exceeding 15 students in any grade level K to 6. The final candidate should be fully capable of achieving his/her duties and not need the assistance of two or three additional administrators, as we have seen in the present administration.

I will be in the Amagansett Post Office parking lot the next six weeks on different days and times with voter information and my petition to run for school board on May 15th. I look forward to introducing myself to you. 

Best regards, 



Assaulted on All Levels


March 24, 2018

Dear David;

Last week’s “Nature Notes” column by Larry Penny was imbued with such a profound sense of melancholy, loss, and yearning for a way of life that if not already extinct is rapidly vanishing.

I too feel the raw ache of wistfulness and nostalgia for a time when the South Fork was a slower paced, kinder, and gentler place to live.  Perhaps it is because Larry and I both share a passion for the natural world that we notice almost imperceptible changes.

We continue to be assaulted on every level, but incessant noise is particularly aggravating — leaf blowers, lawn mowers, the constant hum of traffic, planes towing ads grinding and lumbering across summer skies, radios blasting music at 7 a.m. from construction sites, hammering, sawing, back-up warnings from myriad trucks, the din is endless and life altering. Last month I was deep in the forest perched near a gurgling brook hoping for some peace and quiet when the serenity was broken by a half-hour invasion of heavy machinery rumbles and back-up beeps emanating from a new house site nearly a mile away.

It used to be that the off-season was a time to recoup, mentally recover from the hectic summer, and recharge one’s soul.  Now the winter is a full-bore onslaught of construction, traffic, upheaval, and disruption.  I recently took a ride to Sag Harbor and was stunned to find many side streets were nearly impassable, jammed with work vehicles as houses are being renovated.

There is a term “poetics of place,” which seeks to align architecture with nature.  I believe that the foundation of our memory has much to do with the natural world.  My thoughts continually return to events and wonders I’ve witnessed here in East Hampton.  A drive down a road or a walk on any trail will elicit memories; here is where I saw a great horned owl glide along a field at sunset or there is the yard I discovered a family of foxes playing in the spring sunshine. It is woven into my DNA.

I adore the writing of a Sagaponack author who was renowned for his insightful and poetic musings on the natural world. After his death the house was sold, and the property has lain dormant for a few years. Every time I’m in that area I detour off the main road to take a ride by to see what is going on.  I meander past what were once potato fields, great farms stretching to the sea, now filled with enormous second homes, unoccupied but for short bursts of frenetic activity in the summer. I pass along great rows of industrial deer fencing, reminiscent of concentration camps, until I turn the corner onto Bridge Lane, holding my breath, fearful of what I might encounter. 

 Although surrounded by mansions replete with costly but generic landscaping and fluttering, ubiquitous pesticide application notices, the author’s yard has yet to be touched. It remains an oasis, an overgrown jungle of twisted trees, vines, tangled understory, and patches of ancient daffodils. I can only imagine what marvelous beings call it home: screech owls, turtles, snakes, mice, raccoons, opossums, and surely woodcocks must sky dance there against the setting sun. It is a pocket Eden, a wondrous, wild, and unruly place. I know that one day, when the permits are in order, I will turn the corner and find the property ravaged, trees razed, and four or five huge houses will occupy the land. I’ll shed tears for the lives uprooted and for the end of an era. I not sure if many others will give much notice other than to the images added to glossy real estate ads.

Many years ago, the late John Cole wrote a magnificent essay for The East Hampton Star titled “My East Hampton.”  His prose resounded so profoundly with me I’ve keep a tattered copy of it in my wallet ever since.  One of his musings, as he was contemplating a move to Maine, pervades my thoughts as well, where “change is further in the future.”

I am grateful to have grown up in a town graced with open space, unobstructed vistas, and where I was encouraged to wander and explore: a town where I shopped in local stores and where its kind and generous people felt a kinship with the seasons, the land, and the sea.  We are still blessed with pockets of breathtaking beauty, but I worry that as pressure increases they too will be lost.



Ideologically Driven


March 23, 2018 

Dear David:

Throughout the history of humanity, governments have always been awkward social experiments. Some governments were benevolent while others were straight away evil. History has also shown us that politicians and political operatives come in all stripes, motivated from good intentions and a desire for change to financial greed and the quest for power.

In the governmental affairs field, there is a political theory that for the most part has stood the test of time; political ideology is never rooted in practicality. They may come close and in some instances run close parallel paths but seldom do they intersect and when they do you have open and transparent governance.

With the above said, a quote that comes to mind is “one man’s truth is another man’s lie.”

One such real-life example is climate change. For the most part, many including myself do believe in climate change. Where we all split hairs is the extent of climate change, its causes, impacts, and how to respond. Let’s look at the community of Montauk.

Deepwater Wind project: The town board, to be a leader in resiliency, renewable, and sustainable energy, has signed on to Governor Cuomo’s support for the proposed Deepwater Wind project. Unlike the town board, I believe the governor’s motivations are far less altruistic. Environmental conservationists, fishermen, and concerned citizens all raised some very sound ecological and economic concerns. The town board has chosen to brush aside those concerns whereas the town trustees have engaged opposing views and sought to address the concerns raised. Unfortunately, ideologically driven supporters, including The East Hampton Star, have pushed aside concerns as if they came from antienvironmentalists that were the equivalent of flat-earthers.

Montauk village relocation: Town government has bought into the current hamlet study that recommends the relocation of parts of the village away from the ocean due to rising sea levels and the potential for storm-related destruction. Naturally, this makes for good sound bites until some flat-earther asks who is going to pay for this proposed massive relocation?

Dirt Bag beach: In speaking of hamlet relocation, the town board defied the New York State coastal management plan and the local community by signing on to an Army Corps clandestine shoreline hardening project to save the very properties that the town government-sponsored hamlet study recommended be relocated. Further, the dirt bags as predicted have now exacerbated rather than helped diminish erosion and will now cost the town over a million dollars yearly in sand replenishment.

Montauk Village and Dock Area Septic Failure: For years we have known that these failed systems are contributing to the pollution of our waterways and drinking water. To rectify the problem town government seeks $35 million in state funding to install a new septic system and impose fees on community residents while promoting a hamlet study that recommends parts of the same village be relocated.

In all the above town boards have made short-term decisions that are in some instances in conflict with long-term state goals, have failed to acknowledge community concerns, will cost taxpayers millions of their hard-earned money and impact the economic livelihoods of many of our residents.   We deserve better, and in the instances above Montauk deserves better! There needs to be a clear and defined long-term strategy with short and long-term plans in place that does not conflict with the long-term strategy. There needs to be an honest discussion of the cost to taxpayers. There needs to be a long-term financial plan rather than making politically motivated spending decisions that will have potentially long-term devastating implications. We as a community need “electeds” to be practical and pragmatic, who value the opinions of the community they are elected to serve.


Waterfowl and Rodents

East Hampton

March 26, 2018

To the Editor:

Re “Blame the Dogs” (East Hampton Star, March 21). In addition to the wheel once again being reinvented, I suspect that our canine friends may have been inappropriately maligned.

A search of The Star’s files will reveal an editorial published in the Feb. 25, 1993, edition stating that “ . . . county scientists determined that the contamination [coliform bacteria] did not come from human waste but from waterfowl and rodents. . . .” The following week’s edition contains my letter reminding you that I had said that (and was myself maligned) a decade earlier.

As for doggie pets, the present article states: “The 67 percent attributed to dogs, according to the report, could include fecal bacteria from such species as cats and rodents.” Please note that rodents include rats, mice, voles, moles, squirrels, and muskrats, which, I suggest, may play a larger role than dogs.



Sand Land

Sandland, Sandland

Good old boys gone bad land

Such disregard for the water we drink

One would imagine they never did think


Sandland, Sandland

This is our water we drink, man

Can you fathom the damage you’ve done?

Once you taste greed you’ll never be done


Sandland, Sandland

You’re not the first to go down, man

Others are digging, expanding too much

Our Town Plan honestly never meant such 


Sandland, Sandland

The water is toxic that’s real bad

Why would you do this, you’re not Lucifer

Who is protecting our dear aquifer?


Sandland, Sandland

We’re drawing a line in the sand man

Contaminating  all of the water can’t last

Sand mines must become a thing of the past 


Sandland, Sandland

Go to sleep now you’re done man

Time to reclaim and preserve and protect

Water you’ve tainted deserves more respect


Sandland, Sandland

Let’s do what’s right for our town man

Once we don’t have our sole water then

We can never return again


Wake-Up Call

East Hampton

March 24, 2018

To the Editor,

The contamination of the wells around the Noyac sand mine should be a wake-up call to the Town of East Hampton to halt the further exploitation of the newly active Bistrian sand mine on Middle Highway.

Noyac sand mine, through mismanagement, has resulted in the contamination of residents’ wells. The sand mine on Middle Highway is surrounded exclusively by homes, homes with families that do not want to risk their groundwater so that one person can profit.

I implore the Town of East Hampton to revisit acquiring the sand mine and halt any further excavation that will only end ultimately in disaster for the families that live around the sand pit on Middle Highway.



‘How Come?’


March 25, 2018

Dear Editor:

Our nation needs the following: “Three Billboards Outside . . .” every one of our country’s 50 state capital cities:

Forty-six school kids killed (combined) by assault rifles, in Columbine (12), Newtown (20), and Parkland (14), and still no lifesaving legislation.

How come, Governor ________ ?


Second Amendment


March 23, 2018

Dear David,

Many gun owners fear their guns will be taken from them if they’re registered. Imagine the thousands of Wacos that would occur nationwide. Confiscation will never happen. Try taking them from my friends in Bushwick.

The National Rifle Association and many gun owners consider themselves conservatives yet their interpretation of the Second Amendment is more liberal than that of a liberal’s interpretation, which, in fact, tends toward a very conservative interpretation of the Second Amendment.

The key phrase in the Second Amendment has to do with the state maintaining “a well regulated militia.” We no longer have nor need state militias to defend us against tyranny by our own government though some gun owners will argue that they are a citizens militia because they’re armed. That’s nonsense! Without background checks into the criminal record and/or mental state of gun purchasers, without minimum age requirements, and regulations restricting the ownership of military assault weapons to zero, those citizens are far from regulated!



Counting On You


March 16, 2018

Dear David:

We write today to support our students across the country who had the courage and passion to honor their classmates (and teachers) who lost their lives tragically in the Parkland massacre by walking out of school and mourning a minute for each victim. We also write to support the students who are going to March For Their Lives on March 24. We will be marching with you.

All of these students should understand the collective power they have to effect change. Fifty-plus-years ago the youth of this country rose and made their voices heard. Profound change followed.

In the mid-1960s, the black youth of our nation would no longer tolerate racial injustice, school segregation, segregation of bathrooms and lunch counters, having to sit in the back of buses, and be denigrated to lesser jobs (and other abuses). They rose up and, together with civil rights leaders and supporters, effected the most significant civil rights reform we have seen. Many died or were beaten by racial oppressors. Their work and risk continue today, yet we persist in seeking further progress.

Also in the mid-1960s, students across the country (including us) rose up in protest to the carnage being suffered by our fellow youth in the jungles of Vietnam. The struggle against the war continued for almost 10 years. Students died or were seriously injured, yet they persisted. Slowly, our cause began to resonate. In 1975, the Vietnam War finally ended, largely because our leaders lost the support of the nation.

Your struggle will not be won overnight. But, like those before you, you are not alone — much of your nation has your back. So, like those before you, we’re counting on you to persist again — lead the way until the progress you seek is achieved. For those of you old enough to vote this November, your job is to exercise that right; it is no time to sit on the sidelines.



Cambridge Analytical


March 21, 2018

Dear David,

Big Brother is now firmly entrenched in his new capital in California. He knows your name, address, telephone number, cellphone number, and email address. He knows the names of all of your relatives, your friends, and your spouse. He knows if you are straight, bi, gay, or transgender. He knows if you are Caucasian, Asian, African-American, Native American or Latino. He knows your political views and knows if you are a communist, socialist, liberal, moderate, conservative, Independent, Democrat, Republican, or Nazi. He knows when and where you go on vacation. Most important, he knows what you like and what you hate.

One might ask how Big Brother was able to gain so much intimate knowledge of your private lives. The answer is very simple: You gave out all of this information to Mr. Mark Zuckerberg. When you joined Facebook, posted on Facebook, and linked numerous apps. 

Possessing information is not necessarily a problem unless the information is used for underhanded political machinations. It appears that Mr. Zuckerberg was not particularly vigilant when it came to preventing Cambridge Analytical from gaining access to 50 million accounts through use of a phony app. 

The company was founded by Steve Bannon (instantly recognized for his multilayered shirts contribution to men’s fashion) and the rather reclusive Republican donor Robert Mercer. According to Cambridge Analytical’s president, Alexander Nix, the company advised the Trump campaign, developed the “crooked Hillary” theme, and micro-targeted campaign messages through the use of fake news.

It is also apparent that Mr. Zuckerberg and his crew of technical wizards were woefully ignorant or intentionally apathetic about the manipulation of social media and the fake news that was posted by our good friend Vlad the Assassin and his internet research agency with the sole purpose of securing the election of Donald Trump.

Throughout the entire presidential election of 2016, Donald Trump made only one truthful statement. He said the election was rigged. It was.


Fox Has Ascended

East Hampton

 March 25, 2018 

To the Editor:

John Bolton’s arrival means an end to the president’s nightmarish wet dreams. Trump’s soul mate, brother-in-arms, evil twin, is now just a few doors down from his. No longer will he feel obligated to turn on Fox News. 

Fox has ascended to the White House. Bolton’s presence liberates Trump from being the only nonadult in the room. They can have fun together. Joke about prep school and hookers without fear of being exposed. They have so many shared values, including the secret of their cowardice, their lack of substance, their intellectual mediocrity. 

John Bolton was born at the wrong time. He was made to drive slaves on a plantation or run a manor house in British India or be an uber fuhrer in the Gestapo. He is a naturally born sadist, racist, misogynist — vindictive, and meanspirited. He is known as being relentlessly abusive and free from the smallest iota of empathy. He would be the president’s body double. 

Bolton was deemed to be too bellicose and warmongering to be confirmed by the Senate as United Nations ambassador. There were 75 senators who opposed his nomination (a near record). His affinity for war as a solution to problems has marked him as a bellicose bully. He has written an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on the legal basis for attacking North Korea; advocated for nuking Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Believes that no treaties that are not one-sided in favoring the United States should be entered: NATO, WTO, NAFTA, etc. He supports any leadership that is friendly to the United States no matter how vile and repugnant they may be.

Bolton is a truly genuine unquestioned pig. His presence in the White House will give comfort to those who think that two pigs in the sty are better than one.


Insane and Destructive


March 25, 2018

To the Editor:

The Washington-based nonpartisan, independent, and nonprofit research group the Center for Responsive Politics, which follows the money in politics, reports that between July 29, 2016, and Dec. 12, 2016, Donald Trump for President paid Cambridge Analytica $5,912,500, that between July 2, 2015, and June 6, 2016, Cruz for President paid them $5,805,551, that between Nov. 18, 2015, and Dec. 7, 2016, Make America Number One paid them $5,669,775.

 In the 2015-2016 election cycle smaller amounts were paid by John Bolton Super PAC, Carson PAC, and the Republican Party of North Carolina to a reported total of $19,945,827. These figures are insane and destructive and could be used for far more useful purposes. It is imperative that we get big money out of politics, and return elections to a level playing field.


Fundamental Values


March 25, 2018 

Dear David:

As a locally registered voter who belongs to no party, I have been following with great interest the debate about appointments by our town board of people who were recently Republicans. I don’t personally know any of them, so please take the following as an analysis of, and proposal for, the process of making these appointments. 

The characterization of the disagreement as being about party prerogative and tenure I think misses the real issue: that an appointee’s fundamental values are very important. This has been a very transformative year, which has included many revelations about the values of familiar public figures, and also of people I have known for a lifetime. Generally, everyone seems to turn out better or worse than I would have expected.

I think much less, for example, of people who find Donald Trump’s savaging of Judge Curiel for his Mexican heritage tolerable or are not highly concerned by the floods of photoshopped Auschwitz images received by Jewish journalists writing about the president. I think more of people who take a principled stand at some personal risk, even when their politics are quite alien to mine, for example, Ralph Peters, who resigned from Fox News last week.

In fact, all the most controversial political issues on which we may disagree seem to share a common question of equality. Abortion rights, though the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade characterized them as a privacy issue, pose the question whether women have the same control over their own bodies that men do. The gun-rights debate asks whether the lives of the teenagers at the Parkland school are worth as much as those of the people who want to own AR-15’s. The immigration controversy is about whether people from other countries and ethnicities can be as dedicated Americans as “we” are.

Another hidden but critical factor in our political disagreements today is compassion. Although someone without any could theoretically still endorse perfect equality in our political life, no one with true heart could stand for anything else. Conversely, anyone who would extend help only to her own ethnic group or some other restricted category is, in my view, not truly compassionate, because caring about others leads inevitably to an expanding circle of identification, and an understanding that none of us is a higher life form than anyone else.

 It took a lot of years of my life to figure out that compassion is the most important quality one can look for in others. If they have it, it drives a lot of other good qualities; if people lack it, it doesn’t matter how charming, intelligent, or talented they are.

So here’s what I care about when the town board makes an appointment: Is the individual compassionate to others, and does she believe we are all equal? These are the only important things, not party registration. If an appointment does not meet these criteria, it is fallacious to think these defaults are side issues that do not affect the way the individual will do her job; inevitably a lack of these values will become highly visible, and destructive, in town board operations or in the work of any town agency or entity.

There are two related issues I believe the board should consider in making appointments: Will the individual reciprocate the trust placed in her? Loyalty and reciprocity are most present in compassionate, egalitarian people, and least visible in those who lack these values. Finally, I think the board could have done a better job communicating to various stakeholders its reasoning in making these appointments. If you believe these individuals share your values and ours, help us to understand that they do.