Letters to the Editor: 01.10.19

Rose Tekulsky

East Hampton
January 7, 2019

To the Editor,

Rose Tekulsky was a member of the Accabonac Chapter of AARP. She enjoyed going on the many trips we made. She was very talented in making knitted items, photo albums, handbags, etc. We raffled off many of the articles at our special events.

Her son, Steven, was always there for her. I was glad to have known her.

JULIA KAYSER

Top 10

East Hampton
January 3, 2019

To the Editor:

My son Paul’s first semester at Stony Brook University was a blast, maybe for him, but much more for me, and so, I compiled a list for those thinking of sending their child to this college:

Top ten reasons to go to Stony Brook University:
 1. East Dining Hall
 2. Massive gymnasium
 3. West Dining Hall
 4. Port Jeff Village nightlife
 5. Awesome football stadium
 6. East Dining Hall open till 3 a.m.
 7. Walmart is close.
 8. West Dining Hall open till 3 a.m.
 9. My son invites me to his frat parties.
 10. Academics are cool.

FRANK VESPE

‘Me, too,’ She Said

East Hampton
January 7, 2019

Dear Mr. Rattray,

I called my great-aunt Filomina Tutti-lini and asked how she was feeling.

“Me, too,” she said.

“You, too what?” I asked

“Giuseppe, you know, me too.”

“Zia Filomina, are you telling me that the Donald, Harvey, Brett, or one of the other lecherous scalywags got to you?”

“No.”

“Well, who was it?”

“It was signor Luca Lackawanna, my high school music teacher.”

“Wow, Zia, that’s a long long time ago, You must have suppressed it. What happened?”

“Well, I go to music class and Signor Lackawanna say he going to fiddle with me while I toota the horn. When I find out what he means I give him some shot to the labonza. For three months he walk around like Quasimoto.”

“Oh Zia, I so do admire strong women; nobody horsed around with Catherine the Great, few, if any, could hold a candle to Joan of Arc, and if you messed with Elizabeth the First you’d soon be hanging out with Ichabod Crane.”

“Basta, Giuseppe, enough silly talk, this is serious.”

“Scusa Zia, I know this is very serious. What do you intend to do about it?”

“Ima glad you ask, I get together with Verona Wang fashion designer, and Elongo Muskotelli electric genius to help with my new invention. I call it FED, Filomina’s electric dress. You turn it on, and if piggy boy touch you, Zap! You knock him right on his cuolo, and of course if you wanna make nicey-nice you turn offa the dress. Giuseppe, the Feddie, she come in two colors, electric blue anda shocking pink. Whadda you think?”

“Zia Filomina I think you have a big winner here.”
 
Sincerely yours, 

JOE TOTO

Seismic Testing 

Springs
January 4, 2019

Dear David:

Each morning that weather permits, a friend of ours gets her morning cup of coffee and heads to Main Beach to look out over the ocean. Often, she is treated to the sight of whales moving along our beach, close enough to allow folks onshore to enjoy their majesty.

Now all that has been threatened by the Trump administration’s fealty to the fossil fuel industries. On Nov. 30, the Trump administration (by the National Marine Fisheries Service) issued five permits to exploration companies to conduct deafening seismic exploration surveys used to search for oil and gas deposits beneath the ocean floor. These permits allow an initial phase of exploration offshore from Delaware to Florida.

Seismic testing maps the ocean floor and estimates the whereabouts of oil and gas deposits. It involves sonic blasts of earsplitting acoustic waves sent through the water every 10 to 12 seconds. Earlier studies have predicted that these blasts would harass and possibly kill up to 2.5 million dolphins each year, and nearly a half million pilot whales would be similarly affected. The study extends to endangered species and predicts that 12 humpback whales could be killed each year.
Ironically, just two weeks ago the N.M.F.S. pleaded with commercial fishermen to be careful not to harm Atlantic right whales, of which there are now fewer than 400 survivors in the wild.
How will this affect the East End? The sonic disruption of marine life will upset traditional migratory paths of all marine life, and threatens to devastate our commercial and sportfishing industries.

Fortunately, in a lawsuit filed in South Carolina, several environmental groups, including the Surfrider Foundation, have recently sued to block the seismic sonic blasting.

We can help. Congressman Don Beyer of Virginia has introduced the Atlantic Seismic Airgun Protection Act, which, if passed, would put an end to the Trump administration’s folly. Send a copy of this letter, or call our congressman, Representative Lee Zeldin, and ask him to support the Beyer bill.

Sincerely,

BRUCE COLBATH

A Sampling

East Hampton
January 4, 2019

Dear David,

In a letter to The Star last week, Walter Donway complained that my response to his letters dismissing anthropogenic climate change did not contain any actual science. In fact, neither do his letters, even though he filled five-plus columns with disputed claims from the Heartland Institute and the Non-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (N.G.P.C.C.). It’s impossible to explain real scientific research in the small space of a letter to the editor.

What I can do is offer a sampling of reactions from actual science teachers who a year or so ago were recipients of a national mailing from Donway’s favorite source, the Heartland Institute, titled, “Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming.”

Rob Norwood, Glenwood Springs, Colo.: “No, I did not use the materials. They were misleading due to cherry-picking of evidence to support predetermined claims that ignored a massive body of evidence to the contrary.”

Dan Vandenberg, Springfield, Pa.: “I use the book as an example of the nonsense that is climate denial. I show my students how they make it look official, gave a good look to the materials, but the content is hogwash.”

Alex Black, Las Cruces, N.M.: “I don’t use the materials because they are not scientifically accurate.”

Mr. Donway’s letter itself provides an excellent insight into the half-
truth strategy employed by Heartland and N.G.P.C.C. He quotes “legendary physicist” Freeman Dyson expressing skepticism about climate models. He does not point out that Dyson’s “legendary” work, mostly in the 1940s, had nothing to do with climate. Dyson is a 95-year-old self-acknowledged contrarian who has said, “I like to express heretical opinions. Some of them might even turn out to be true.” Dyson has also said, “I know a lot about nuclear weapons and nothing about climate change.”

Mr. Donway is scraping the bottom of the barrel in his search for an eminent scientist who agrees with him on climate science. It is difficult. They are as rare as hen’s teeth.

DON MATHESON

Will Accelerate

East Hampton
January 5, 2019

To the Editor,

I wish to correct inaccurate sea level information given in the Jan. 1, 2019, letter written by Walter Donway.

Recent sea level information and its scientific references can be found at
columbia.edu/~mhs119/SeaLevel.

Global sea level rise was 0.6 mm/year from 1900 to 1930; 1.4 mm/year from 1930 to 1992, and 3.1 mm/year from 1993-2017.

Scientists predict that sea level rise will accelerate this century and beyond.

GARY L. RUSSELL

Climate Grief
 

East Hampton
January 3, 2019

To the Editor:

Happy Holidays! Tell your kids the planet is doomed.

I assume you are aware that the world is within a dozen years of irreversible catastrophe. At least you are if you read The New York Times, or actually pay much attention at all to the media. A Times editorial recently charged that President Donald Trump, responsible for United States failure to endorse the U.N. International Panel on Climate Change (U.N.I.P.C.C.) report, “imperils the planet.”

A new concept is being advanced by the American Psychological Association: Climate Grief.” It is depression, panic, rage, and a sense of powerlessness, especially, it seems, in children, experienced by those who take seriously claims of imminent irreversible “climate catastrophe.”
In short, it may seem as though the pitch of alarm over climate change, even as recently as the holidays, has soared. There is a specific cause. The recent international climate conference in Katowice, Poland, a holiday trip for some 60,000 delegates, reached a stalemate over U.N.I.P.C.C. “Special Report 15.” Delegates from most nations wished to welcome (endorse) the report. The United States was among the very few willing only to “note” it.

To endorse SR 15 would have been a step toward implementing its recommendations, an outcome for which not only environmentalists, but also political leftists, advocates of souped-up economic planning, and sundry anti-growth/and anti-development groups yearn.

The pull-out-the-stops panic in the media precisely reflected the overall conclusion of SR 15: That governments have only 12 years to avert climate catastrophe. Society must be fundamentally transformed within that period to end the use of fossil fuels. The sole alternative to drastic worldwide government-mandated change in every economy is doom.
Scary for kids, I guess. But SR 15 is not a scientific report. It is an ideological platform. Indeed, it does not attempt to document its conclusions about climate. For that, it refers to earlier reports. And so, the pealing midnight alarms are odd. There is nothing new in the weather prediction for the year 2100. What is new is the demand for revolutionizing the world economy to focus on controlling the planet’s long-term climate.

A few phrases quoted from the report will suggest both the drastic changes and requirement for a centralized-command economy: It calls for “rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban, and infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems”; “unprecedented in terms of scale”; “fundamental societal and systems transitions and transformations.”

You probably get the drift. It is the wish list of generations of government planners of the economy: overriding the free markets that they abhor, seizing the levers of power over major industries, and imposing their vision of “fundamental societal and systems transitions.”
Is this report really in the service of salvation from climate catastrophe? Of responding to realistic predictions of climate change affecting societies? In fact, the report does not even pretend that is true.

“Fundamental transitions?” Yes, to promote “social justice” and other U.N. “sustainable development goals.” The report’s summary says: “Social justice and equity are core aspects of climate-resilient development pathways for transformational social change.”

I am not here to argue with you about the validity or desirability of the concept and goal of “social justice.” The point is that the sweeping, emergency government powers advocated here, and the “transformations,” are not about climate. The report contends that we must “eradicate poverty” and reduce inequality across nations. We must transfer wealth from developed countries to less-developed countries. Closer to home, we must change our diets and “lifestyle choices.”

Got to be done, all done, in a decade or so. If not, our doom becomes irreversible. At a minimum, this would require global economic and social dictation by government on the scale of George Orwell’s “1984.”

But if the goal of controlling global temperature within a few degrees for the remainder of the century did require eliminating global poverty, then it would be crucial to acknowledge that the two goals are utterly incompatible. Socialists never have admitted it, of course, but the entire historical record demonstrates that wealth is created and poverty reduced exactly in proportion to a nation’s economic freedom.

The well-known annual Fraser Institute report has documented this tight correlation for decades. To eliminate poverty, people must be free to innovate, produce, save, and invest, exploit their natural resources, and opt for the most efficient systems of producing, above all, energy.
If, in fact, thoroughgoing, government-directed central-economic planning was essential for avoiding climate catastrophe, then every nation and population would have to take vows of steadily increasing poverty in the service of global climate. The United Nations has no clue how to reduce poverty anywhere; it has been striving to do so for decades. At best, it can redistribute goods from more productive (economically freer) nations to less productive ones.

SR 15 offers no documented case for either of the grand objectives that it attempts to bully and frighten nations into adopting. For example, it offers no cost-benefit analysis of the revolutionary economic changes it demands. It does not even discuss how they might succeed. Because they are not economic policies. They are political dictates for command economies.
And if there is no shred of evidence how these will work, then there is no solution to the climate problems the report purports to address.

On the basis of this report, but particularly the choice of the United States to ignore it, the media were kept working overtime during the holidays to paint a picture of a dark, disastrous future, take dozens of inventive headline swipes at President Trump, and, I suppose, increase the incidence of “climate grief” among those still listening to this stuff.

WALTER DONWAY

His Nasty Worst
 

East Hampton
January 7, 2018

Dear David:

Last week, in response to the insistence of Democratic Committee member Louis Cortese that my criticism of the town board and party leadership is “so inaccurate” and “way off base,” I promised a review of the facts “in exquisite detail.”

That is going to have to wait, because something extraordinary happened last week that should not go unremarked.

Several weeks ago, Mr. Cortese attacked both me and Bonnie Brady in these pages. She is a Montauk resident and executive director of the Long Island Fishing Association. Among other things, Bonnie ably represents our fishing industry in a multitude of government forums. Earlier in life, she was in the Peace Corps. How disreputable.

For myself, I don’t care what Mr. Cortese says about me. His malapropisms and strained effort to deploy big words in order to appear erudite are at times quite amusing. When he is at his nasty worst, it is about like being beaten around the ankles by an irate 2-year-old. However, Mr. Cortese’s opinions, even though crudely and poorly expressed, illustrate just how debased, how thoroughly “undemocratic,” indifferent to the well-being of all but the privileged, the East Hampton Democratic Party has become.

Mr. Cortese (a Democratic committeeman!) attacked Bonnie, calling her a “s—t stirrer” in these pages several weeks ago because she spoke up at the Montauk hamlet study hearing to say that those in Montauk who had to work for a living and then take care of family had not had sufficient opportunity to participate in the hamlet study, with the result that the study did not adequately reflect their concerns and problems. She asked that the hearing be held open for a few days for further comment. Peter Van Scoyoc and Sylvia Overby were falling all over themselves to close it immediately lest they hear from the public something they didn’t like.

Mr. Cortese described her comments as a “bloviated screed.” It does not appear that Mr. Cortese actually knows what either of his 10-dollar words means. Apart from his redundant usage, the town board’s three-minute time limit pretty much rules out either bloviation or a screed, let alone a bloviated screed. He was just trying to be nasty and look clever while doing it.

Bonnie’s comments were applauded by Montauk residents in the audience. This, Mr. Cortese wrote, was “the most distasteful part of it.” It is indeed terribly distasteful when a respected member of the community expresses the sentiments of many and they express their approval.

Just awful.

When called to account for his offensive behavior, Mr. Cortese wrote back to say that, “invoking Bonnie Brady into the sh—t stirrers hall of fame” was not a smear on the “sanctity of the fishing industry” or upon “her commendable cause,” but due to her “strong tendency (one of her methods) to stir sh—t for the sole purpose to scold.” (You misused the word “invoked” too, Lou. Perhaps you meant to say “inducted.” Don’t take any standardized tests without a lot of review first.)

Last week, I asked rhetorically, “Does Louis Mr. Cortese, with his evident contempt for working people in East Hampton (how dare they applaud Bonnie Brady?) belong on the Democratic Committee?” And I answered my own rhetorical question. “Sadly, he does, because he finds plenty of company for his views there. Any committee member who wishes to distance herself or himself from Mr. Cortese’s odious sentiments is welcome to do so.” Little did I know.

Last week, the town board appointed Louis Cortese to the planning board.

I should have thought that Mr. Van Scoyoc, Ms. Overby, and David Lys, all of them up for re-election this year, would have wanted to put as much distance between themselves and Louis Cortese as possible. Instead, they appointed him to one of the most important offices in our town’s government. That’s because Mr. Cortese’s views of working people do indeed find plenty of company within the leadership of the East Hampton Democratic Party.

Make no mistake about it: These Democrats are the very darlings of the 1 percent. If you are wealthy, or don’t have to worry about your income, a second-home owner, or earn your living somewhere else where the going rate is a lot higher than here, this board’s for you. They’ll even greenwash you free of charge to ensure your virtue is intact.

But, if you are a fisherman in Montauk, don’t expect them to protect your livelihood from damage due to Deepwater Wind. They don’t even pretend they want to. If you can’t afford the upfront costs of a public water hookup in Wainscott to protect you from poisoned well water, this town board is quite content for you to pay over time double or triple the real cost of the hookup.

You’re stuck.

If you are a first responder in Springs, don’t expect this town board to protect your safety or that of your family by assuring emergency communications, more than three years after the town itself prevented use of the Springs Fire Department’s emergency communications tower. If you are still working during the summer and want to come home to peace and quiet, don’t expect this town board to protect you from wealthy Democratic Party donors buzzing your house in helicopters.

However, if you want to attend a glamourous Democratic Party fund-raiser, adorned with movie stars, at a “wow” house on the beach that was rented by Bill and Hillary Clinton for $50,000 a week — and you can write the check — you are welcome to contribute to the party’s coffers.
This is the party of buck-raking on Wall Street. Not the party of F.D.R. If you work for a living in East Hampton and/or are trying to raise a family here, expect a very cold shoulder from these Democrats. And a Happy New Year to you.

Sincerely,

DAVID GRUBER

Downtown Montauk

Montauk
January 7, 2019

Dear David,

I am writing for the record to express my opinion that the town board should not adopt the Montauk hamlet plan, and I request that another public hearing regarding it be held in May, June, or September 2019, in our hamlet of Montauk when the majority of our residents are available (not two weeks before Christmas, during Yom Kippur and in East Hampton, as was done by this board).

After reading the plan, it is quite apparent to me that the consultants as well as the board members do not live in Montauk and do not understand what the 898 families or 3,326 year-round residents who live here want or need (these numbers are taken from the plan). The plan in my opinion should be called “How to Increase Development and Destroy Montauk.”

I suggest that the consultants and board members take a ride around Montauk (between November and May) and see all the 5 to 10 establishments that are open year round, with all the rest being closed for up to eight or nine months out of the year, and then convince all 898 year-round families that we need a downtown, Camp Hero, and harbor sewage treatment plant to be located by the firehouse. There were more establishments open year round 30 years ago then are today.

Currently, there are already two private sewage treatment plants in Montauk that to my knowledge have never worked sufficiently and do not receive the required effluent necessary to properly run. Therefore, outside effluent is required, such as dog food, to allow them to even function. Do you really think the 898 families who live here feel the need to pay for a sewage treatment plant that would get very little sewage for eight months out of the year and would probably have to be fed dog food in order to run properly? Also, it is my understanding that less than 30 percent of the actual establishments in the harbor and downtown are in favor of or even have a problem with their septic systems. Where are the numbers and the facts?

For the few establishments that do have septic issues, it would be easier and cheaper to require them to pay for their own upgrades and/or continue to pay for weekly pumpouts. I request that the board or consultants provide the residents of Montauk with the actual number of establishments that need a treatment plant, and who are in favor of paying for it. Word around town is that by installing a treatment plant it will allow for second stories to be added to buildings. This is not actually true as the Department of Health is the one that decides, and there are many factors they apply to their decision.

Regarding the three-phase relocation of the oceanfront hotels, co-ops, and condominiums the plan calls for, not only is the price of moving all of them into and around Main Street and Essex Street astronomical (in the billions), they wouldn’t fit, there is not enough parking, and the congestion in that five-block radius would be overwhelming. Please provide a cost estimate for the plan.

In addition, there are already businesses and/or residential houses located on the properties being identified as the relocation spots! For instance, Fort Pond Native Plants, Mickey’s Carting’s building, Montauk Brewery, the parking lot behind Herb’s Market, and part of the St. Therese Nursery School property are identified as being turned into “affordable housing.”

The plan also proposes several areas to “relocate resort use,” calling it “mixed-use infill.” This relocation of the resort use to mixed-use infill is to relocate all the exiting oceanfront resort units onto the entire existing Montauk Main Street, on both sides of the street, from Marshall & Sons east to just past St. Therese Church, and north and south two roads deep. The entirety of downtown Montauk. Imagine that!

Are we to agree that the resorts are going to move onto Main Street and into our existing downtown? What will happen to the establishments we rely on for year-round necessities and that are already there? What if these properties don’t agree to sell to the town? And where is the money coming from if they do?

The plan also proposes that all the establishments fronting on Fort Pond, from Second House Road to the Harvest restaurant, be purchased and then removed and turned into “green space” (the 7-Eleven, Puff ’n’ Putt, the Gas Station, etc., all the establishments on the north side of the pond).

On the south side, everything from the existing I.G.A., then east on South Elmwood is also recommended to be purchased and removed and those businesses relocated to the “mixed-use infill,” which is the already existing downtown buildings. These purchased properties will then be destroyed and turned into “green space” and possible parking areas.

All of this is just absurd! And the thought of the town buying all these properties and then shoving their uses into the existing Main Street area is surely poor planning. They propose to move the I.G.A. into the central Main Street area!

In addition, the plan calls for a major transportation hub focusing on “multi-modal service,” to be located by the train station, acquiring land from Rough Riders condos, the Arbor restaurant, as well as parts of Flamingo/Edgemere Street. Ironically, the plan incorrectly identifies Fort Pond Road (in front of the train station and Rough Riders condos) as Tuthill Road, and Edgemere Street as Manor Road. That is totally incorrect.

The plan recommends that in front of the train station the realignment of Fort Pond Road (which they identify as Tuthill Road) and recommends the erection of a taxi and bus station stand, a shared parking lot, and several additional two-story buildings to be located on land acquired from Rough Riders, the Arbor, Suffolk County, and others to create an additional new road with two-story shops and housing on both sides of the new one-way street to control the congestion that occurs, to my estimate, 60 days a year.

The plan also recommends erecting two roundabouts on Flamingo/Edgemere Road: One directly at the entrance and leading to the Montauk Firehouse and Playhouse entry and the other one at the entrance to the train station next to the Arbor restaurant (both within 100 feet of each other!).

Just imagine the chaos that would cause when the train arrives and the Fire Department has an emergency call! The entirety of the above-mentioned land for the transportation hub is located below sea level and in a 100-year flood plain, and no increased development should ever occur there. The train station property is owned by the M.T.A., and they should be responsible for providing a systematic entry-and-exit way as well as parking for their buses and for taxis, not the taxpayers of East Hampton.

Regarding the harbor area, I agree that a roundabout would improve the traffic flow in front of O’Murphy’s/Tipperary. I also agree that the harbor should have a walkway around the lake that connects and runs from Gosman’s to Darenberg’s. I do not agree that the West Lake loop road should be closed from the town- owned parking area aside Gosman’s leading to the old Blue Haven Motel.

I also have a big problem with the proposed “shared parking.” The proposed shared parking allows establishments that can’t handle their existing parking needs to be able to lease out other parking lots within Montauk (i.e., late night bars and restaurants), located away from their overcrowded property for their benefit to provide parking for their overflow of customers. Current zoning laws require on-site parking for patrons, and that should not be changed unless the objective is to allow overcrowding.

In my opinion, all the objectives that the town board is trying to achieve by retreating the existing structures can be accomplished, and I agree that we have to retreat. I just don’t agree that it is my problem, or that of anyone else except the property owners in peril. But the reconfiguration of our existing hamlet is not acceptable. We all love what we have and if Mother Nature works her hand, so be it.

In closing, I do believe that the town can accomplish a plan that encompasses the relocation of the imperiled waterfront establishments. The town owns the 30-acre landfill on Montauk Highway. This land can be reclaimed and reused to establish a brand-new planned community (it should have been reclaimed when Cathy Lester was supervisor, as she lobbied for but lost, for future town use). It is over 90 feet above sea level, offers panoramic views of Fort Pond Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, and downtown Montauk, can accommodate a transportation hub with a railroad spur, can provide investment opportunities for multiple dwellings, affordable housing, a supermarket, hotels, restaurants, a walkable downtown, a sewage treatment plan for the development, and much more.

The town can also offer the transfer of development rights to the retreating properties. Even if it cost a million dollars an acre to reclaim the 30 acres, the town, with proper and new zoning classifications for that area, would more than recoup its investment.
It’s way cheaper than the proposed plan currently presented to us, and we can get rid of Dirt Bag Beach once and forever. Every Montauk resident: Please visit ehamptonny.gov and search for Montauk Hamlet Plan and read it for yourself.

Thank you and Happy New Year!

LISA GRENCI

Excessive Litigation
 

Springs
December 31, 2018

Dear Editor,

As we begin the new year, I would encourage the East Hampton Town Board to think outside the box and learn from what other communities have accomplished.

Montauk:

Just after Labor Day the Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company began a $34.8-million Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, storm-damage reduction project to replenish approximately 1.4-million cubic yards of sand on approximately eight miles of Myrtle Beach, four miles of Surfside and Garden City Beach, and two miles of North Myrtle Beach oceanfront beaches. The storm-damage reduction project goes along with a regularly scheduled plan to place sand on the beach every eight years. The bid requires the contractor to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, during construction, usually completing up to 500 feet per day, barring mechanical or weather/sea condition delays.

Wainscott (the Environment and our Commercial Fishing Community):

The Deepwater Wind project has been proven to not be as good for the environment as the town board and supporters claimed. Universally, most of us believe in renewable clean energy for a lot of very diverse reasons; where the rubber meets the road is at what environmental and fiscal cost? To save one facet of our environment does not make it right to forever, severely, negatively alter sensitive underwater ecosystems nor does it mean to lay waste to our local commercial fishing industry.

Public Safety and Supporting our Community:

Excessive litigation at taxpayers’ expense that diminishes public safety is never reasonable. The town board has already taken a hostile stance toward the Springs Fire Department after a family member of Democratic Committee boss Chris Kelley complained that a much-needed emergency fire, police, and ambulance communications tower was to go online.

While the town litigates in court, residents and first responders remain at risk. Now we find out the town board in executive session behind the secrecy of closed doors has adopted a policy of suing our local volunteer fire departments and private entities after the discovery of groundwater contamination by a class of chemicals commonly called PFAs in Wainscott.

What makes this litigation so troubling is the source of the pollution has yet to be identified.

What we do know is if the East Hampton and Bridgehampton Fire Departments may have played a role, however small, in the spreading of contamination, it was not intentional or with the support of the town government. We also know the town board’s lawsuit will cost taxpayers much money and will cause the volunteer fire departments insurance to skyrocket. Sadly, the East Hampton Town Board, by bringing this lawsuit in an attempt to spread the town’s liability, is shortsighted and divisive.

MANNY VILAR

For President

Montauk
January 7, 2019

Dear David,

According to my sources in Washington, D.C., Jeff Spicoli will announce his candidacy for president of the United States next week in Venice, Calif. He has stated that his newly formed party will be known as the Stoner Dudes and Dudettes. It is well known that Spicoli has no interest in making America great again and that Americans should “feel fine with tasty waves and a cool buzz.” Those who sign up to help his campaign will be rewarded a half-ounce of marijuana and a Colt 45 Malt Liquor mug.

Fox News reporters have been pressing Mr. Spicoli to articulate his party’s program, and to date Spicoli has said that he has three main aims:

1. To stop undocumented immigration from Mexico. How? “We should start by dismantling all walls and wires that are in place. They would be replaced with very, very, very long surfboards standing next to each other and wrapped in very, very, very sharp barbed wire that would extend all across the Mexican border. Every 50 yards a super-high frequency speaker system will play ‘Wooly Bully’ by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs at decibel levels that will shatter any eardrums, even those with protective earphones. Super, super, super-sophisticated drones armed with small nuclear weapons will monitor the skies along the border looking for undocumented aliens, thousands of terrorists, and millions of rapists.”

2. Creating a program of Medicare for all citizens. Spicoli says this only seems fair as the president and Congress get cheap medical insurance. “Talk about socialism!” Spicoli exclaimed in a speech to the California Surfriders Association.

3. Launching an investigation to identify all members of the Deep State and awarding all with Presidential Medals of Freedom.

Recently, when he was asked by Anderson Cooper why he thought he coulddefeat Trump, Spicoli replied: “I think I would be the only candidate who is dumber than Trump, a better liar than Trump, and has worse hair than Trump. For some reason, voters seem to like these characteristics.”

BRIAN POPE

Undocumented Latinos

New York City
January 2, 2109

Dear David,

Latino immigrants have earned their path to U.S. citizenship and housing disgrace is not the proposed wall along our southern border. Disgrace is the walls within our borders. While America’s ridiculously porous southern border has earned the right to be secured, hard- working Latino immigrants who have settled in the U.S. during the past 40 years have since earned a path toward citizenship. No longer are they just migrant workers picking our crops. Today, generations of Latinos are dependable, skilled workers in every industry and brick and mortar business in America, and some even protect our borders. It’s a long overdue honor to bring them into our country’s fold and also create needed housing for them.

I focus this blog to New York City, New Jersey, and mostly Long Island, where illegal immigrants from south of the U.S. border have long come and settled. These are also areas where Latino populations have been under counted. The 2010 census statistics of Latinos living in these areas don’t support the number of Latino workers and Latino schoolchildren, most likely because landlords don’t reveal true numbers to census takers.

If undocumented Latinos start a process of becoming citizens, not only would New York and New Jersey gain additional seats in Congress, the areas would receive their fair share of money coming back from Washington, and the Latino community would be more proactive in stemming the MS-13 gangs that have gained the foothold of fear and murder. Also, the additional federal funds could go toward affordable housing and much needed sewage treatment plants on Long Island.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, 37 percent of construction workers in New York City’s annual $8-billion construction industry are nonnative. With so many skyscraper and construction projects being built, how could unions ever keep up with the number of needed workers? Unfortunately, while Latinos are doing much of the work, they’re building high-end housing for the rich, and little or no affordable housing for them. Where do all these Latinos live?

An eastern Long Island parent told me his daughter graduated from college with a degree in education, yet she couldn’t get a job because she wasn’t fluent in Spanish. My subsequent research found the 2017 percentage of Latino students numbered 39 percent in Southampton, 49 percent in East Hampton, 54 percent in Hampton Bays, and 57 percent in Springs. In Long Island areas closer to the city, Latinos numbered 83 percent in Brentwood, 64 percent in Freeport, 71 percent in Hempstead, 50 percent in Wyandanch, 42 percent in Huntington, and 41 percent in both Patchogue and Bay Shore. In Queens, closer to New York City, Latino students (27 percent) were outnumbered by Asians (29 percent), another group of immigrants.

One has to wonder about all those other Long Island towns between New York City and eastern Long Island where there are few or no Latino students. It seems Latinos can mow these towns’ lawns, pick up their garbage, re-roof and rehab their homes, and work with uplifting smiles in their hospitals and care centers, yet at the end of the day, these towns just want them to just go away and live somewhere else.

Are there walls surrounding these towns? Is there a concerted effort to discourage Latinos from settling in their communities by enforcing strict housing codes that designate homes for single-family use? Is there a judicial harassment in ordinances? Are there prevalent attitudes of “not in my neighborhood” and “not in my school?” Are these the walls that need to be defeated?
The New York Times quoted Dennis Michael Lynch, an East Hampton resident and filmmaker of an immigration documentary called “They Come to America.”

“When you tell people you live in East Hampton, the first words out of their mouth are usually, ‘Do you live next to P. Diddy or Alec Baldwin?’ ” Lynch said, adding, “People have a perception of the Hamptons. They don’t have an image of illegal immigrants packed like sardines into houses.”
Acknowledging the desperate need of housing for his South Fork workers, Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman is pushing for a plan to allow property owners of a half-acre or more to offer accessory apartments to area workers at capped affordable rents. Schneiderman’s solution not only pushes back the common rant “not in my neighborhood,” but also helps South Fork homeowners pay high local real estate taxes while softening a major affordable housing crisis that his township area and the rest of Long Island, New York City, and New Jersey are experiencing. He’s pushing forward a solution instead of kicking the problem down the road to another town.

DONATHAN SALKALN

U.N. Program

Springs
January 7, 2019

Dear David:

In the formation of the United Nations after World War II, one initiative was the formation of an international program designed to protect human rights among United Nations members. As part of this process, a network of U.N. investigators, called “special rapporteurs,” was established. These human rights experts act as global watchdogs, examining internal issues such as poverty, immigration, freedom of expression, and justice. Since the inception of this program, these investigators reviewed the human rights practices of all member countries, including the U.S.

That was until last May. Quietly and in a move that has gone unnoticed, the Trump administration has ceased to respond to complaints from these watchdogs. Additionally, since taking office in January 2017, the Trump administration has not invited U.N. monitors to investigate human rights practices within the U.S. Among the human rights complaints that have been ignored by the administration are, not surprisingly, the family separation practices and detention of children emigrating from Central America.

The timing of Trump’s break with the U.N. program coincides with the publication of findings by a U.N. visit to research poverty within the U.S. The U.N. report castigated the Trump administration for aggravating the levels of poverty and inequality in our country, which already are among the most glaring in the western world. The decision to shun U.N. monitoring puts the U.S. among a small group of countries, one of which is the repressive government of North Korea.

This break is symptomatic of the authoritarian governing of the Trump administration. It suggests that his administration will continue its systematic practice of whittling away at the most basic rights of those U.S. citizens most at risk and arrogance at the notion that such practices should be the subject of international monitoring and accountability.

One can only hope that the thrashing the Trump administration took in the 2018 elections will give backbones to our elected representatives and spur them to act to protect the rights of their constituents.

Sincerely,

CAROL O’ROURKE

Face Our Fears

East Hampton
January 1, 2019

Editor:

Democracy in a government to politicians says what you think even if you don’t think. One thing wrong with Congress in doing nothing is you never know when you’re finished. Nothing cures insomnia like the realization it’s time to wake up. Politicians are too busy mopping the floor when all they really have to do is turn off the faucet. When you lose a debate don’t lose the lesson.

The difficulties of life are to make us better. Congress’s job is not to make up anybody’s mind, but to just make any decision agonizing. We as a nation have to face our fears in order to gain strength, confidence, and courage to move forward. Logic will not change emotion but action will.

Action is character. Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often. The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has no limits. True change takes place in the imagination. A lot of pain we deal with is just thoughts. We never know what’s around the corner unless we look. If facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts. In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. Of all the things we require a photo ID for we do not require one to vote.

America must reject the bigotry of all politicians and activists who see communities of color as votes not as human beings worthy of a better life and future. We must oppose racism and follow the voice of humanity. Don’t wait for opportunity, create it. Politicians can run with a lie but cannot hide from the truth. In politics nothing happens by accident. When government grows beyond its constitutional boundaries it really does devour freedom. The best way to describe political advertising is as the science of arresting human intelligence. Follow the habit of asking politicians how do they know? Never accept opinions as facts, avoid following free advice.

We have a fascination with words. Words are strong and powerful, and they can build you up or tear you down. Artistically put-together words can make you stop and think. Everyone wants to be accepted by a world that is unacceptable. Achieving a certain level in life is only important if you can enjoy the level you reach. Politics in this country, and I mean local as well as national, make truth almost impossible. It is too easy to wish for something but hard to achieve it. As citizens we can’t wait for opportunity, we must create it.

TOM BYRNE

National Security

East Hampton
January 14, 2018

David:

In the world of wankers, whiners, wusses, and walls, cowardice, racism, and ignorance are the prime characteristics. It is for Americans above the age of 40 embarrassing to talk about national security and a wall. National security meant facing the most powerful army ever in 1940s Germany and Japan or the Soviet Union and 20,000 nuclear bombs capable of blowing half the world to crap, not a caravan of 5,000 unarmed mostly women and children seeking asylum. It’s really all bullshit.

Exemplifying our president, who has been full of crap since his father was forced to send him to prep school where he wouldn’t get beaten up every day. We whine, we wank, we chicken out of everything except for beating on the least powerful and the most vulnerable.

What happened to the most powerful country in the world? Shutting down the government over a fake wall to protect our national security when there’s no threat to our national security.
In truth the only real threat to our national security is our government. The threat existed long before Trump, but he has taken it to a new level. He is our first coward president. Ask any of the people he grew up with. Ask anyone who did business with him in New York.

We have always fabricated threats to our national security as a means of keeping the population on its toes and distracted. Democracy is an incredible, almost impossible form of government, where people have to believe that they are actually participating in government when they really aren’t.

Even with only two parties, who are clueless about how the world works, we hardly ever get anything done. Even with total control of the government, most Republicans spent most of their time in the bathtub playing with themselves, instead of passing laws that moved the country. Wanking and tweeting for the good of the country.

Yet, we are addicted to our democratic ideology. We don’t say a word when they shut the system down because we know that in a few weeks they will allow it to reopen. Let the public take one for the wall to make sure that another make- believe threat won’t take us down.

Perhaps the only way to keep our pols working is with a demerit system. For every day the government stays shut, they lose five days of pay and get one demerit. For every demerit, they spend one day in prison. Five demerits would be for behavior detrimental to the public good and require some form of restitution. Ten demerits would be considered treason.

When Trump was asked if he planned any financial support for the 800,000 workers who aren’t getting paid, he said, “Knowing the nation’s borders are secure is payment enough.” What else is there to say?

NEIL HAUSIG

‘Fake News’

Plainview
January 5, 2019

Dear David:

For President Donald Trump to pretend he “essentially fired” Defense Secretary James Mattis — who resigned — is “fake news” at its finest. Trump now criticizes Mattis by saying, “What’s he done for me? How has he done in Afghanistan? Not too good.” But that reflects worse on Trump than on Mattis. After all, Trump chose Mattis — even though President Obama had actually fired him — and kept him in office for almost two whole years (presumably after subjecting Mattis to his vaunted “extreme vetting”). If Mattis was as bad as Trump now claims, then it proves Trump himself to be the “moron” and “idiot” that Rex Tillerson and John Kelly have allegedly said he is.

RICHARD SIEGELMAN