Letters to the Editor: 01.17.19

Our readers' comments
“Zima!” — an outdoor theatrical scavenger hunt in Montauk put on by the Neo-Political Cowgirls on Saturday. Jane Bimson

A Love Ethic

East Hampton

January 8, 2019

To the Editor:

In our society today, we as a nation have lost sight of what Dr. Martin Luther King called “The Strength To Love” (A Love Ethic). There is no discourse on love emerging either from politically progressive radicals or from the left. The absence of a sustained focus on love in progressive circles arises from a collective failure to acknowledge the needs of the spirit, and an overdetermined emphasis on material concerns. Without love, our efforts to liberate ourselves and our world community from oppression and exploitation are doomed. As long as we refuse to address fully the place of love in struggles for liberation, we will not be able to create a culture of conversion where there is a mass turning away from an ethic of domination.

Without an ethic of love shaping the direction of our political vision and our radical aspirations, we are often seduced, in one way or the other, into continued allegiance to systems of domination — imperialism, sexism, racism, classism. This is why we desperately need an ethic of love to intervene in our self-centered longing for change. Fundamentally, if we are only committed to an improvement in that politics of domination that we feel leads directly to our individual exploitation or oppression, we not only remain attached to the status quo but act in complicity with it, nurturing and maintaining those very systems of domination. Until we are all able to accept the interlocking, interdependent nature of systems of domination and recognize specific ways each system is maintained, we will continue to act in ways that undermine our individual quest for freedom and collective liberation struggle.

REV. WALTER SILVA THOMPSON

Calvary Baptist Church 

Senior Pastor

Blustery Thanks

Springs

January 14, 2019

Dear David,

The Neo-Political Cowgirls wish to give a blustery thanks to all who helped create, produce, support, and came to our production of “Zima!” in Montauk on Saturday. Maureen and Dave Rutkowski and their delicious John’s Drive In helped sponsor the event, and Yoga Lila and the Montauk Library donated much-needed support through sharing their spaces. 

Our company of performers who stood out in the cold temps for two and a half hours are the superheroes in all of this. Die-hard commitment from them makes “Zima!” the possible magic it is. 

Big thanks to our stellar volunteers, as well as this year’s designers, who joined me in creating this wild vision. Dominique Pontecorvo and Nancy Cardoso were incredible forces of creativity in the costume build and implementation and put in endless hours of work. 

It takes a ferocious, fearless, and fabulous village to make “Zima!” happen each year, and we at N.P.C. are grateful for the entire team, supporters, and our brave audience. 

Check out what N.P.C. has coming up by visiting our website: npcowgirls.org.

In warm gratitude,

KATE MUETH

Neo-Political Cowgirls

Founder and artistic director 

Thank You

East Hampton

January 13, 2019

Dear David:

Making the front page of your great paper gives one a powerful glimpse into just how well read The Star actually is. Having received so many and varied remarks on last week’s article on Lys Marigold, the new “Madame Chair” of the East Hampton Village Zoning Board, shows that people in our town do read every word. Of course, Durell capturing our ARF rescue dog, Vita, in the picture was an extra, added bonus in our household. 

Thank you for the big part The Star plays in keeping our community well knit and alive.

Sincerely,

DIANNE BENSON

Done Wrong

East Hampton

January 10, 2019

To the Editor:

The East Hampton High School athletic department is in need of serious evaluation. I have heard far too many firsthand accounts of high school kids being done wrong by coaches, and it’s unfair to the kids. Some teachers who coach do a great job, and it seems as if others are there to collect a check without a care in the world of the kids. I go to a lot of high school games, baseball, softball, boys/girls soccer, boys volleyball, boys basketball, girls lacrosse, field hockey, I even go watch middle school games. I love sports and come from a place where sports is a way to college for a lot of kids, and it also brings the community together, and my old high school wins at everything because people care — five football championships in six years, soccer, basketball, swimming, tennis, etc., but I digress. 

There is a softball player I know who started on the varsity as a freshman. She started on J.V. but the coach (who should’ve never been let go) noticed her skills, called her up, and before long she was starting. Then they fired a great coach, and for the next two years she played J.V. and finally got a shot at varsity her senior year. She was a four-sport athlete whom they forgot to recognize at the senior banquet, and it crushed her.

There is a girls basketball player I know who started varsity as a freshman. The coach ridiculed her relentlessly, and from what I’ve heard, she was one of the best on the team, but didn’t feel like hearing how bad she was and quit. 

There are a few boys I know who have played basketball since they were knee high. They went to all the voluntary practices, summer runs, open gyms, etc., but they were run off the team by a coach who couldn’t understand that tough classes, sometimes you need after-school tutoring, one kid was injured and ridiculed for his injury, and the other just got fed up. It seems some of the starters get to play by a different set of rules, and they had enough.

There is a soccer player who played soccer since she was a toddler. She went to all the voluntary practices, beach runs, etc., made the J.V. team, played most of the games until the coach decided to let some girls from her class play without the required hours of practice, and this girl became a bench warmer. She was the only girl to score a goal that season, which was her last — from leading goal scorer to not good enough to play in a matter of days. I might add they lost every game in demoralizing fashion. 

There is also the matter of the boys lacrosse team. How in the world does a school on Long Island not have a lacrosse team? Now parents have to drive to Southampton in the trade parade to go watch their sons play a “home” game. It’s inconceivable to me. It would be like Tuscaloosa High in Alabama not having football, or Lexington High in Kentucky not having basketball. 

So is this what kids are stuck with? Being run out of sports they love because some people are just there to collect some extra money? If they ran the math department the same way there would be an uproar. Yes, I realize kids need to know math, but some kids need all the help they can get to go to college. Good grades are the most important thing, but some of these kids have the potential to get a free or reduced-price college education because of sports and it’s being robbed from them. I realize that Duke, Alabama, Kentucky, and Clemson aren’t coming to recruit these kids, but Hofstra, Long Island Post, Central Connecticut, etc., might. Shouldn’t we give them every chance they have at a good life? You’re only young once, and some of these kids are missing out due to no fault of their own. 

BRANDON GABBARD

Wind-Carried Dust

East Hampton

January 11, 2019

To the Editor,

I drove into Amagansett this morning to grab some breakfast at Organic Krush. On a bright, sharply clear, cold, and windy morning as I rounded the bend onto Main Street I was greeted by a wall of light brown wind-carried dust so thick that I could not see more than halfway down the street. It seems the strong north wind was picking up enormous amounts of dust (you could not call it dirt as it seemed to have no organic matter) and the town looked like it had been magically transported to someplace in the middle of the Sahara. 

Apart from the aesthetic incongruity, this was truly a hazard, both visually for drivers and a health hazard for anyone having to cross through it. I am still coughing from it, and my truck, which had been shiny clean now is filthy, and once done with breakfast I made my way speedily out of town. The dust was accumulating in the gutters and against buildings. 

It was, of course, all being stirred up from the farm fields north of Main Street. Clearly they had no cover crops, and the remains of what must once have been fine East End farm soil can clearly no longer hold moisture as we have had some recent heavy rain. The Town of East Hampton must quickly find a remedy in cooperation with the owners of the fields. This has become a nuisance to the town and a genuine public health hazard.

FRED KOLO

Never Been Easier

Montauk

January 11, 2019

To the Editor:

Montauk residents need to step up and stop blaming the next guy for not being aware of planning that affects them.

First, when the Army Corps showed up (as promised starting in the Supervisor Wilkinson administration, with business community support), there were howls of “when did we agree to this?”

Well, there were more than a few meetings, and many of us didn’t agree, but apparently not enough.

Now, after years of planning for the future of East Hampton Town, I hear the same song. There were walking tours with town board members and planners open to anyone who wanted to attend, and not in the dead of winter. And, of course, there were meetings. And it was possible to contact planners directly with any insights.

I don’t want to hear that you were gone or too busy. Letters to officials involved still get your voice out there. It has never been easier to keep informed via online local news. 

No excuses, really, if you care at all. 

PAT LUKASZEWSKA

Predetermined Result

Springs

January 14, 2019

Dear Editor,

If you are from Montauk, feel under-represented and misunderstood by the East Hampton Town Board, I completely understand. Unless you have lived and worked in Montauk, which I have, it is hard to understand the vibe that makes Montauk one of New York State’s unique hamlets. Many years ago when I worked at a marina in Montauk, I was told: “To love Montauk is to know Montauk.”

The fabric that binds Montauk’s community was very different from East Hampton’s humble beginnings in 1648. Montauk has charted a different course than that of East Hampton. Tourism, hospitalities, entrepreneurship, commercial fishing, ocean recreational activities, public service, and environmental conservation advocates are all part of Montauk’s DNA. 

Sadly, East Hampton’s elected leaders have failed to understand the Montauk community. Hamlet studies, unless properly charged, are nothing more than a blueprint to arrive at the predetermined outcome ruled by geopolitical ideology — a predetermined result that fails to understand the fabric of Montauk’s society, the desires and needs of the community. Hard structures on the beach that further exasperate beach erosion, offshore windmills to provide more magnificent Long Island with electricity at the expense of our underwater ecosystem, sea mammals, waterfowl, and Montauk’s commercial fishing community, failure to provide planning that will control groundwater septic contamination, failure to regulate out-of-control partygoers, misguided hospitality regulations that are counterproductive to maintaining a healthy tourist economy.

Montauk needs a voice. Unfortunately, an East Hampton Town Board controlled by a handful of Democratic Party insiders so restrictive that they rebuke the voices of reason from within their party is not what Montauk, or for that matter the rest of East Hampton, needs. 

MANNY VILAR

Paradigm Shift

Springs

January 14, 2019 

Hi David,

As I cannot attend the Jan. 17 public hearing on the proposed ban on polystyrene foam in the Town of East Hampton, Id like to fully endorse my support for the ban here. I applaud the town for taking the progressive stance in banning this nuisance material, which is a plague to waste system and ecosystem alike. 

As Styrofoam goes the way of the plastic bag, I believe so too does disposable culture‚ including single-use plastic cups, utensils, straws, lids, and so on. Better and friendlier alternatives now exist at near price parity, making this non-biodegradable material totally obsolete. A paradigm is happening, albeit in slow motion. I believe East Hampton is on the leading edge of this shift. 

This segues into the related topics of water remediation and renewable energy generation. We know that water is life, and to abuse and disrespect it is suicidal. I support the town’s initiatives in replacing failing septic systems but this is not a silver bullet. What is rarely talked about is the overuse of nitrogen-based fertilizers, which greatly add to the nitrogen loading of our local water bodies and create cyanobacteria blooms and oxygen deprivation.

There is a clear link between these fertilizers and water quality, and I think it’s time to ban those, too. What the lovers of perfectly manicured, boring, monoculture nonnative grass need to understand is that there is a heavy ecological price to pay for such an unnatural aberration. These include overuse of water, pesticide loading, and constant maintenance, which not only robs native species of space but limits biodiversity, while also creating everyone’s favorite disturbance of the peace — constant high-decibel mowing and leaf blowing. I think it’s all kind of insane. 

I’d like to also lend full support to a ban on methoprene, another techno-fix chemical creation aimed at killing mosquito larvae. We now know that spraying it in our salt marshes also kills other non-target larvae, such as crabs, lobsters, shellfish, and beneficial insects. It has been banned for many years in other states, such as Connecticut, and they do not report higher levels of mosquito-borne illness. I’d like to thank the [town] trustees for their pilot program in investigating the spraying issue and testing control areas to see if there is a difference. 

We need to stop polluting our lifegiving waters immediately, and realize that ecological imbalance stems from our meddling. We are simply throwing everything out of whack by eliminating environmental factors that keep the natural balance intact, and no chemical or technological “innovation” is going to improve this.

Finally, I’d like to raise awareness for Community Choice Aggregation (C.C.A.). This is a relatively new idea in the U.S. that serves to create an alternative to the investor-owned utility energy supply system (LIPA/PSEG) in which local organizations combine the buying power of individual customers within a defined jurisdiction in order to secure alternative energy supply contracts.

This idea translates to the ability for a town to choose its own energy portfolio, rather than be forced to accept whatever a monopolistic power utility’s choices are (which is currently the case with the town’s contract with LIPA and PSEG). The main goals of C.C.A.s have been to either lower costs for consumers or to allow consumers greater control of their energy mix, mainly by offering “greener” generation portfolios than local utilities.

Often, a town can choose a diversified approach to energy generation, including community solar farms (ours just opened recently on Accabonac Road), offshore wind, and microgrids. 

Southampton Town has taken the initial step to introduce enabling legislation to allow C.C.A. to take place. If adopted, an evaluation process will commence that will determine if it’s a good fit for community needs. The benefits are pretty amazing — Westchester has saved $15 million on electricity bills in aggregate over the last two years and 24 of 25 participating municipalities get their power from 100-percent renewable sources. 

Southampton estimates that its town and incorporated villages could save $12 million, or approximately 12 percent per ratepayer, per year, while eliminating one billion pounds of CO2 from the atmosphere per year. There is a public hearing on this issue on Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. at the Hampton Bays Senior Center. I think East Hampton should definitely apprise itself of this idea, and I fully support implementation of C.C.A. for our East End communities. I encourage anyone who thinks as I do to write a letter of support or speak at a town board meeting and hopefully this can become a reality. 

SCOTT BLUEDORN

Close KHTO

Noyac

January 18, 2019

Dear Editor:

Over the past five years, the Town of East Hampton has facilitated the sale of approximately 4,000,000 gallons of toxic Jet A and leaded fuel at its problem-plagued airport. In the three years until end 2021, when the Federal Aviation Administration will permit East Hampton to close KHTO, the town will likely sell an additional 2.5 million gallons of toxic fossil fuels. The town is thus enabling polluting, unnecessary private aviation for a handful of fat-cat users, primarily nonresidents, at a time when aviation carbon emissions are increasing worldwide, and all but climate change deniers agree that man-made greenhouse gases imperil our planet. 

Although the town operates KHTO’s aviation fuel farm, the town receives only a small fuel flowage fee per gallon ($0.30) from the fixed base operator who pumps and distributes the fuel to aviation users. Income raised from any activity at the airport goes to a dedicated fund for aviation use only; not one penny of any income from the 600-plus-acre airport property benefits taxpaying residents of East Hampton. The prime financial beneficiary of this toxic polluting fuel-sale business is the sole fixed base operator at KHTO, which will benefit to the tune of several million more dollars by end 2021. 

The mostly short-haul aviation charters to and from New York City and tri-state area result in approximately 38,000,000 pounds of carbon emissions per year (based on flights in 2016), likely minimum of 120,000,000 pounds by end 2021. Although only five categories of aircraft operate at KHTO (helicopters, jets, turboprops, propeller planes, and seaplanes), a jaw-dropping 125 different types of aircraft within those categories visited KHTO in August last year. Few, if any, general aviation airports in the U.S. or elsewhere would experience such traffic congestion and such an unsafe mix of rotor and fixed-wing traffic directed over narrow flight corridors, within one month! 

Concerned scientists who raised the alarm about our warming planet decades ago were ridiculed and largely ignored. Recently, they sent out the distress call, urging immediate action, at individual, local, state, national, and global levels, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2016, according to the recent Fourth National Climate Assessment, the transportation sector became the top contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, which are projected to have risen 2.5 percent in 2018.

The Town of East Hampton has set an admirable goal to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels through use of solar, wind, and other cleaner energy alternatives. The town even installed a charging station for electric automobiles at KHTO. That’s great, of course, but it also illuminates the illogical: that the town continues to be a major purveyor of toxic fossil fuels for aviation. When every aviation operation is polluting our environment and sickening those who live in it, it’s time to close the airport. 

Thank you,

PATRICIA CURRIE 

Most Competitive

East Hampton

January 9, 2019

Editor:

The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report once again has the U.S.A. ranked as the world’s most competitive economy. It is no accident that the trajectory of paychecks — and the rise in the working population in the U.S. — reflects this return to competitiveness. Long-term optimism is the only reality!

DAVE ASTORR

Taxpayer Money

East Hampton

January 14, 2019

To the Editor:

The president has just hired 17 new lawyers to defend him. They will be paid with taxpayer money — while he shut down the government. The government employees will not receive their salaries. He expects some employees to continue working in many agencies without income. If you are a working person who gets up every morning to go to a job could your employer not pay you? This is what our president is doing. Can you support his actions? 

Sincerely,

JULIA KAYSER

His Legacy

Montauk

January 10, 2019

To the Editor:

Trump’s wall? Why not!

The analysts, the media, politicians, left and right, et al., commentators, have it all wrong. The president, like all his predecessors, is thinking of his legacy.  Since his administration is likely to be remembered as chaotic and incoherent, it is doubtful the historians might be kind.

So let him build his wall that could be seen from outer space, spelling “TRUMP.” It might become a popular tourist attraction. China has one, not that it helped very much!

LOUIS C. MARTIN

The Fool’s Wall

East Hampton

January 13, 2019

Editor:

My 3-year-old grandson threw a hissy fit when he wasn’t allowed to take an antique boat into the bathtub. His reaction was the same as Trump with his wall, only he’s not the president of the U.S., and he quickly understood why he couldn’t do it.

The fool’s wall is a story of intellectual and moral devolution. It is not a story about a wall but the wall is symbolic of the fool’s desire to destroy the humane initiative begun after World Wars I and II, to end all war and to avoid nuclear destruction. It is an effort to destroy all of the world’s institutions, alliances, organizations, etc., that support the concept that we are one world and it belongs to all of us. The belief in “Deutschland Uber Alles,” or Make America Great Again, is a step back into the realm of profound and incurable human retardation. It is an incurable evil virus that will lead to an enormous catastrophe that we will certainly blame on someone else. The wall is evil personified, and everyone who enters into this moronic fantasy will reek of the stench.

The most obvious solution to the problem is to ask the world to pay for a wall that would entirely enclose the country. See China. The wall would not only keep everyone else out but would keep all the Americans in. It would allow the rest of the world to continue building a system that would eliminate war and create a collective consciousness for dealing with its problems, while making sure that the damage done by the U.S. is minimized.

Trump would have his dream wall and the fool would be encased within.

Internally, we would have to change the Republican Party to something more appropriate — like Hell’s Angels (sorry guys) or Demon Scum (too prosaic). Because it no longer bears any resemblance to previous parties called Republican. Its new symbol would be a picture of the leader pissing on a group of immigrant children or on himself.

There is no national security problem. We already know where the drugs enter the country, and we know that we are responsible for all the immigrants whose countries we have screwed over and for whom we take no responsibility

The world is a scary place but with the U.S. on the sidelines, we are finished as leaders for the short term; there is a chance that it can pull itself together and move in a positive direction. If we can keep our chaos and madness at home there’s a good chance, once our lunatic period is resolved, that we can play a constructive role in making the world a better place to live.

NEIL HAUSIG