Letters to the Editor 1.31.19

Generosity of Spirit
East Hampton
January 28, 2019

Dear Mr. Rattray

I hope you will find this letter worthy of printing in your paper.

My elderly mother and I were making our way to Guild Hall on Saturday night to see the movie “The Color of Everything” when she lost her footing and fell on the cold street. All I could do was comfort her and let her know help was on the way.

Complete strangers ran over to help, stopped to call 911, took off their coats to cover her and keep her warm, while another woman took off her jacket to put under her bleeding head.

I was amazed with the generosity of spirit and the generosity of our community to help my mother without a second thought. If I knew the name of each person, I would be sending each one a personal note of thanks, it touched me so much.

One person I would like to thank is Randy Hoffman on the ambulance squad that night, for talking to my mother and keeping her alert on the way to the hospital. He was very kind and shared personal stories with her, which kept her awake and held her attention.

I am happy to report she is recovering well and ended up with a few stiches in her forehead and a very sore body, as to be expected. People appeared silently as angels and disappeared the same way.

This experience gave new meaning to the price of everything — even though we did not get to see the movie.

With much gratitude and appreciation,

THERESA DAVIS


State Requirements
Montauk
January 25, 2019

Dear Editor,

The health and safety of my wife are in danger because of the rules promulgated by the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs. Unlike in hospitals, they forbid the use of patient restraints in nursing homes. Devices such as bed rails and loose wheelchair belts, which prevent a patient from standing, are not allowed. She is a resident at a local nursing home, is elderly, suffers from Parkinson’s disease and several other chronic conditions. Her Parkinson’s disease has caused dementia and she can no longer make informed decisions about her own safety. Nor can she effectively communicate her needs. 

Not allowing restraints makes it easy for her to fall from her wheelchair. In 2018 she often fell from her wheelchair, requiring four trips to the Stony Brook Southampton Hospital emergency room!

Despite these New York State requirements, I believe she has been cared for exceptionally well. She often sits a few feet from the nursing station where she is most easily seen by the staff.

When a patient can no longer make informed decisions about their own safety, these decisions should be the sole responsibility of a caring family and staff. No rule or law made in Albany or Washington, D.C., can maximize the safety of all patients in any large group. I am counting on those who represent us in Albany and Washington to act quickly to prevent a tragedy.

Yours truly,

DANIEL A. BRIGANTI


Dominy Shops
Hamden, Me.
January 27, 2019

David,

I really enjoyed Jamie Bufalino’s report about the Dominy shops being part of a new museum featuring a reconstructed Dominy house on North Main Street. The East Hampton Village Board is to be congratulated in re-establishing this important piece of village history. The Star’s front page of its Dec. 18, 1941, issue contains a plea by Jud Banister, village mayor, seeking community support to purchase the Dominy buildings and property for $6,000.

Though a number of residents, most notably Nelson Osborne, wrote letters of support for Jud’s idea, the declaration of war 10 days earlier refocused the public’s attention, as Charles Hummel noted in his preface to “With Hammer in Hand, the Dominy Craftsmen of East Hampton, New York.” Jud would be pleased with the village’s vision to create the museum.

STEVE RIDEOUT


Dust Storms
Springs
January 25, 2019

Dear David,

I feel for the residents of Amagansett who are suffering from wind-borne dust. On Thursday night, Jan. 10, I was on Amagansett Main Street when the mysterious billowing dust rolled down the street.

As a resident of Springs, and as one who travels several times a day on Springs-Fireplace Road, I can attest to the irritating discomfort of these dust storms. Between the Springs-Fireplace apartments all the way north to the town recycling center, windy days bring similar dust storms, though not as severe as the one I witnessed that Thursday night.

If I think quickly, I am able to close the vents on my car and keep the dirt and other particles from entering my car and lungs. However, for those who live and work along the Springs-Fireplace corridor, the dust has been and continues to be a chronic problem. In the midst of windy dust storms, I have seen schoolchildren getting off school buses and workers traveling on foot or by bicycle at the sides of the roadway, holding scarves over their mouths and noses. 

Since the town is willing to test the dust blowing down Amagansett Main Street, and has begun work with property owners to mitigate the problem, I hope that they will consider taking similar actions on Springs-Fireplace Road. For the many residents and workers along that corridor, the dust may be not just a nuisance but a serious health risk. It would be interesting to find out if children in that neighborhood have a higher incidence of respiratory ailments than in other areas of East Hampton. The dust certainly merits testing, and solutions ought to be proposed.

Respectfully submitted,

PAMELA BICKET


Riled Residents
East Hampton
January 28, 2019

Dear David,

Frank Dalene of Wainscott conjures up a horror in which the supporters of the Stephen Hand’s affordable apartments project were seeking a “Lefrak City”-type structure that would overwhelm the pastoral views of his hamlet and the exceptional education culture of its kindergarten through third grade school.

This is absurd. Lefrak City, in the New York City Borough of Queens, has 20 17-story apartment and two large office buildings. The Stephen Hand’s plan, which the town board has rejected, sought 49 modest-sized apartments, which were to be located north of the highway and remote from the hamlet’s rustic beauties.

Mr. Dalene also overlooks an East Hampton Town Planning Department study, which concluded that the housing’s presence was unlikely to have a significant impact on the Wainscott School.

And he promises more strife. Referring to the town board’s recently announced intention to build a smaller project near Sag Harbor and also in the Wainscott School District, he declares, “We have already fired a shot over the bow of the town board after their purchase of the property on Route 114.”

I do wonder whether Mr. Dalene or other riled residents of our wealthiest and lowest taxed hamlet has ever visited an affordable apartment project in the town. If he were to visit the Accabonac affordable apartments, for example, he might meet Dean Kirschner, a pillar of the local Lutheran church, who was severely paralyzed in a construction accident and has become an advocate for others who are disabled.

If he visits Whalebone Village he might meet members of the Gonzalez family, immigrants from Colombia, now U.S. citizens — honorable people, hard-working, smart, and skilled, who ask no more than a chance to earn a decent living. Without such places as Accabonac Apartments and Whalebone Village we would not have the good fortune to have them living among us.

I, too, am a beneficiary of East Hampton’s affordable housing efforts. Since 2002, I have lived in a 1,000-square-foot house in Whalebone Woods. I would welcome a visit from Mr. Dalene.

Sincerely,

RICHARD ROSENTHAL


Brother Eagan
Amagansett
January 18, 2019

Dear Editor, 

The public hearing regarding a plan for an affordable housing site on Route 114 reminded me of the following diary entry circa 1870: Three ladies clustered around a butter churn in Wainscott on a Sunday enjoying a post-pulpit glass of wild cherry wine: 

Annie Minnie Wiman: “Brother Eagan sounded upset about the prospect of adding students to our district school.” 

Maude Walker: “Brother Eagan loves that one room schoolhouse.”

Hope Pitou: “Brother Eagan will not go to hell for building another room.”

Annie Minnie Wiman: The neighborhood is growing; people need housing. They could have a bunch of one room schoolhouses!”

Maude Walker: “Brother Eagan needs to loosen his wig, children need to be educated!”

Hope Pitou: “Along with the occasional lashing!”

Annie Minnie Wiman: “No more wine for you, Hope!”

Maude Walker: I say that our entire sewing society votes to withhold any wifely duty until this matter is resolved.”

Hope Pitou: “A shutdown! I’m for it!”

Sound familiar? 

All good things, 

DIANA WALKER


Screening
Springs
January 27, 2019

Dear Editor,

The East Hampton Town Republican Committee is now screening candidates for town supervisor, town council, town trustee, town justice, and town assessor.

As a committee, we are committed to bringing candidates that strongly value the moral fabric that forms the bond of a close-knit community. We believe these values, local values, transcend national and state politics.

Ultimately, this election is about each hamlet of East Hampton and the need to provide a voice to all town residents.

We need elected leaders who believe in environmental conservation over radical environmentalism that puts the pursuit of global ideology, corporate profits, and a governor’s politic aspirations over the destruction of sensitive environmental ecosystems and forever cause irreparable harm to the very fabric of our communities.

We need elected leaders who are dedicated to preserving not just land but the local year-round people in our communities over the best interests over the desires of the uber-wealthy summer elite that would restrict our ability to live, work, to recreate on our own beaches, and thrive as families.

We need elected leaders who get jobs done correctly the first time. A senior center, a septic program that is affordable and really works, Montauk sewage system, protects our beaches rather than makes them worse, protects and helps alleviate the unbearable tax burden on Springs residents, brings relief to Wainscott residents afflicted by years of noise and groundwater pollution, affordable housing, and workspace.

We need elected leaders who support our first responders. That value the safety of all our citizens, will not put political favors ahead of the safety of our first responders and communities they serve, will not pursue legal strategies that push the town’s liability onto our volunteer fire districts for town government’s misdeeds, appreciates town employees and the vital roles and services they perform, and understands the critical needs of all our residents from lifelong residents to new arrivals.

We need elected leaders who understand economic policy, affordable housing policy, environmental conservation policy, community investment policy, public safety policy, and open transparent government are not dirty words. That together these policies can complement and coexist harmoniously to make our communities better.

This is why we consider it vital for the well-being of the community that town government not be controlled by a small group of insiders. For that reason, our screening process is open to all Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and nonparty members. 

If you believe in East Hampton and love our community, then we want you.

MANNY VILAR

Chairman

East Hampton town  

Republican Committee


Now Interviewing
Springs
January 28, 2019

Dear David,

The 2019 political calendar has been accelerated by election reforms passed by the newly convened Democratic majority of the State Legislature on their first day and many will be effective immediately. 

With that said, I am pleased to announce that the East Hampton Democratic Committee is now interviewing potential candidates for “Campaign 2019.”

We are screening for the following positions: town supervisor, town councilperson (two openings), town justice, highway superintendent, town assessor (two openings), and town trustee (nine openings).

As I announced at our last Democratic Committee meeting, our candidate screening interviews will be before the entire committee. 

The screening process will culminate at our nominating convention on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Amagansett. Soon after 

our nominating convention, registered Democrats will hear from our committee members, as petitioning in New York State will begin the last week of February. Duly elected East Hampton Democratic Committee members will once again be walking our neighborhoods, knocking on doors, to garner signatures. Please take care to know whose petitions you are signing.

The East Hampton Democratic Committee will, as always, invest the time and resources to give our members the education and support to properly petition. We are never haphazard with this task. Those carrying our petitions are never paid. They are your neighbors and friends, who have been elected to serve as Democratic Committee members, and they volunteer long hours contacting registered voters in support of Democratic candidates who are carefully chosen. 

Getting good things done for our community is the East Hampton Democratic Party’s golden rule, and I am proud to lead the Democratic Party here in East Hampton. Now, with the support of our New York State Democratic legislators, the new voter reforms will make it easier to vote. I am thrilled and applaud the changes. If you have any questions please contact me at caterogers.ehdems@gmail.com.

Sincerely,

CATE ROGERS

Chairwoman

East Hampton            

Democratic Committee


Carbon Dividend
Springs
January 28, 2019

Dear David,

Members of the United States House of Representatives and Senate from both parties recently introduced monumentally important climate change legislation.

The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act goes further than any national policy to date, levels the playing field for renewable energy investments compared to fossil fuel investments, incentivizes using less energy and creating fewer emissions while creating over two million new jobs, lowering health care costs, promoting clean energy systems and innovation.

It does so by applying a nationwide price on carbon emissions and returning the revenue to all U.S. citizens each month. This approach is a climate change solution long advocated by both economists and climate scientists as the simplest, most effective approach to solving climate change. This bill seeks to lower carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent in the first 12 years.

Please write to your senators and ask that they support S. 3791 and Congressman Zeldin and ask that he support H.R. 7173.

Until we recognize the $5.3 trillion the International Monetary Fund estimates the global use of fossil fuels costs that is not built into the price we pay for energy and petroleum, the cost of renewable energy is at a great disadvantage relative to fossil fuel energy.

KRAE VAN SICKLE


Wind Farm
New York City
January 25, 2019

To the Editor:

Re: Assemblyman Thiele Withdraws Support for Wind Farm Off Montauk 

Let me get this straight: Wind technology has improved since 2015, allowing us to have more clean energy at a lower price. So Assemblyman Thiele’s response is: No thanks, we’d rather keep our dirty, expensive energy!

Technological advancement is not a classic bait and switch. The ability to scale from 90 to 130 megawatts is a good thing. We have about a decade to replace fossil fuels with renewables, and New York State produces less than 5 percent of its electricity from wind and solar. The South Fork wind farm will be a step in the right direction, and will create jobs and boost the local economy.

Marine biodiversity is declining due to pollution and climate breakdown. To maintain healthy fish populations, we have to immediately shut down fossil fuel and increase renewable energy. 

I commend Governor Cuomo for supporting offshore wind and hope, going forward, he will reject all fossil-fuel projects and replace current dirty energy producers with renewable sources, like wind, sun, and geothermal. We need bold, forward momentum to move from 5 percent renewables to 100 percent, and we have no time to waste.

LISA HARRISON


Bait and Switch
Wainscott
January 28, 2019

Dear David,

I believe we owe Assemblyman Fred Thiele our sincere thanks for calling out Orsted/Deepwater on its “bait and switch.”

The “bait” was a promise of competitively priced 100 percent renewable energy from a 90-megawatt offshore wind farm that would be good for our environment.

 The “switch” is a wind farm of at least 130 megawatts with plans for as much as 800 megawatts, a new Wainscott substation and interconnection facility, a new Montauk substation and interconnection facility (off Flamingo Road), which all together poses an unmitigated risk of causing greater damage to our environment than it is designed to remedy, that is partially reliant on a new 600-megawatt fossil-fuel powered plant to be built in Yaphank (i.e., not 100 percent renewable), for which we will be paying three times the electricity rates than the ratepayers in Massachusetts will be paying for the same renewable electricity.

 Orsted/Deepwater is a wolf in green clothing. If it is permitted to bring its cables ashore onto our pristine beaches and through our parklands, it will continue to do so with more cables for more electricity from larger wind farms.

There is no doubt that Orsted/Deepwater willfully withheld material information in an effort to gain support for a project based on misrepresentations that beagan in early 2018 and continue through to now. Despite internally approving technical drawings specifying infrastructure designed to accommodate a much larger wind farm in April 

of 2018, Orsted/Deepwater remained silent about its plans even throughout the joint East Hampton Town and Trustees public hearing on May 17, 2018.

 How can we trust with our beaches, parkland, and valuable natural resources a company that is so well practiced in deceit?

The good news is that we have a few good elected officials like Assemblyman Fred Thiele and Councilman Jeff Bragman, who have the strength of character and intellect to ask questions. Thank you.

Sincerely yours,

SI KINSELLA 


Eyes Closed
Wainscott
January 25, 2019

Dear David;

Mr. Thiele, our Assembly representative, “yanks his support for offshore wind farm.” The “bait and switch,” was evident from the beginning. Deepwater Wind, seeking to gain access at Beach Lane, obviously withheld critical information when dealing with our town board, which gave tacit approval to come ashore there. They pulled a fast one on all. They never told anyone that negotiations were being conducted for the sale to a European company, which apparently lacks transparency. That was obvious and the three members of our town board were lied to by omission. What did they know and when? The sale of Deepwater Wind is not like a yard sale? How long and when did the negotiations begin? 

We have to ask why the people’s protestations are being ignored by a few board members, who keep eyes closed. Other venues at close-by localities also disregard the wish and protestations of the people as a few vote for disastrous projects. Why do they not listen to the people? This is Albany’s progressive wish list.

The 44 percent in size is not a mere pittance. Rhode Island put a “whoa,” not so fast, in their waters because the fish were affected? The green energy theory never mentions the energy used to make these behemoths. Electric car-charging stations do not get the power by rubbing sticks together. We have two huge areas for solar farms, our polluting airport and the Wainscott sand pit, which the State Department of Environmental Conservation is now investigating. Can they serve the locality? The wind farm is planning to sell excess to New York City and Westchester and build two large transfer stations, in the “dumping ground” of the Hamptons, Wainscott.

It is well past the time that the concerns of the residents take priority when decisions by elected officials are made!

Yours truly,

ARTHUR J. FRENCH


Greenhouse Gas
Springs
January 28, 2019        

Dear David,

In recent months, The Star has published articles, editorials, and letters on the urgent need for solutions to climate change. I concur with those sentiments, which is one reason why I have opposed the Deepwater Wind project. After much research and discussions with others, I felt that it would not significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions when evaluated as a part of the grid system and measured over its entire life cycle, and it was exorbitantly more expensive than better solutions. 

Fortunately, I have been able to work with knowledgeable people who also decided to oppose the proposal. Unfortunately, it has been difficult to work collegially with those who favored it. Without faulting any person or group, too much of an “us” and “them” attitude arose. The town trustees were one exception that allowed all people to speak in an open environment.

This raises a concern as it is going to take cooperation and an open exchange of ideas to determine how to produce Long Island’s energy needs at an affordable cost while also maximally reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We must recognize that people with shared goals but different views on how to achieve those goals should work together, or at least be in dialogue with each other. Assemblyman Thiele’s reversal of position on Deepwater Wind shows the correct attitude of a willingness to listen and study and then modify one’s views as new, important information is received.

Deepwater Wind is a very small part of the larger question of the optimal extent of the role of offshore wind power in the mix of all energy sources that will supply the Long Island grid. Any long-term plan of how to produce low-cost electricity with low emissions of greenhouse gases over a long time span will be complex. But we are not approaching this problem with good planning and methodology.

As examples, LIPA presents no cost-benefit analysis of its projects in sufficient detail to allow for independent review. There are resiliency issues and the necessary question, and answer, of how to factor in the cost of poorly predicted, future catastrophic storms. There is the question of the optimal energy mix given the seasonality of renewables. There is the question of when it is better to meet the goal of greenhouse gas reduction through the purchase of carbon offset credits while one waits for a “green” technology to be in a better position to replace fossil fuels. 

The proposals coming from LIPA are too politically motivated, not economically optimal, and are designed to strengthen an outdated model of large businesses supplying a centralized distribution grid. Ideally, we and our own experts will make the decisions for our future energy supply. Maybe Assemblyman Thiele’s and Senator Ken LaValle’s Peconic Institute should be revived for this needed research. Or, Bridget Fleming and the county could further the exploratory work of its Renewable Energy Task Force. 

Closer to home, East Hampton might team with Southampton to design and form a Community Choice Aggregation. The C.C.A. would become the purchaser of electricity for those towns’ residents. We could do the proper full system analysis removed from accounting tricks that have accompanied much renewable energy marketing. Those who embark on this research should be avid learners and cautious, science-based teachers. 

ZACHARY COHEN


Remaining Ignorant
East Hampton
January 28, 2019

Dear David:

Assemblyman Fred Thiele is to be congratulated for his willingness publicly to withdraw his previous support for Deepwater Wind. Sad to say, it is all too rare that a public official has the integrity to admit to error, even error without fault. Generally, public officials stick stubbornly to any previously held position even when new facts have emerged that render it absurd. They insist on pretending both to infallibility and to knowledge they do not have.

Which brings us to the East Hampton Town Board majority of Peter Van Scoyoc, Sylvia Overby, and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez. With respect to Deepwater Wind, they are not only ignorant about pretty much everything that one should want to know before making decisions, but insist upon remaining ignorant. That is not an aberration. It is their standard behavior on everything, from emergency communications to water quality, and the reason why Councilman Bragman must constantly, publicly, remind them, like errant children, that their job is “to know before we go.” 

Not only do Van Scoyoc, Overby, and Burke-Gonzalez know nothing at all from their own education and experience about offshore wind power, its environmental impacts, or its financial impacts, they have undertaken no investigation. After all this time, there is no public record at all upon which to base any action by the town board in support of Deepwater Wind. 

Worse, they ignore the voices in the community who speak with relevant professional expertise, people such as Thomas Bjurlof, Michael McDonald, Krae Van Sickle, Rachel Gruzen, and Bonnie Brady. 

Town trustee Rick Drew and Si Kinsella, although as far as I know not professionally trained in any directly related field, both deserve special mention for having done an extraordinary amount of homework so that they are both now fairly expert on the project. They demonstrate to all of us that the knowledge required is not so arcane as to be inaccessible to capable people who bring to bear professional habits of thought and are willing to invest the time and effort to educate themselves. Does that sound like Van Scoyoc, Overby, and Burke-Gonzalez? Nah.

Time and again these members of our community, and others who can speak from knowledge and experience, rise, or write, to call the attention of the town board and the public to the many significant concerns about Deepwater Wind that the town board overlooks, concerns that Assemblyman Thiele has now acknowledged. They might as well be talking to the dead. 

What is wrong with Van Scoyoc, Overby, and Burke-Gonzalez? Why does Bragman have to keep reminding them that their very job is “to know before you go”? They seem to believe that town board seats are a political perfor­mance opportunity for them rather than the responsibility to address difficult community problems based on solid information and fully-informed public participation. 

Difficult problems do not yield to political performance, as Trump demonstrates daily, and are often made worse. They yield only to solutions thoughtfully crafted based on thorough information and the advice and opinions of many knowledgeable people. That is not how this town board operates. It ignores and dismisses the knowledgeable and simply makes it up as it goes along. 

Van Scoyoc and Overby, both in their eighth year on the town board, are now asking the public to vote for them for another term in office. If they get it, should we not expect more of the same? Is that what our community needs and wants? Is that how we hope to make progress?

Sincerely,

DAVID GRUBER


Climate Catastrophe
East Hampton
January 10, 2019

To the Editor:

The Star greeted the new year with a front-page feature story with the theme “the reality of climate change.” Actually, do you know anyone who doesn’t believe climate change is real? Who, for example, debunks the idea of ice ages?

And man-made global warming is real. It is false, though, that “97 percent of scientists” (as President Obama wrote) “agree on man-made global warming.” (The president did not mean “scientists” by the way, but “climate scientists,” to which that statistic is applied.) Probably 100 percent of climate scientists, along with so-called “climate deniers,” agree man-made global warming is real.

Return to the article by Christopher Walsh, who has done a creditable job of reporting the dominant climate orthodoxy. Mr. Walsh quotes the East Hampton Town supervisor as saying that a 1979 report of the National Academy of Sciences officially confirmed (“put to bed”) global warming science.

If so, that scarcely was necessary. Life would not exist if earth’s atmosphere did not retain heat. 1. The gases in the atmosphere trap that heat. 2. Mankind and all animals contribute to those trace gases just by living (e.g., breathing out). 3. Since the industrial age such activities as burning fossil fuels have made humans much larger contributors to atmospheric carbon. 4. Since 1888, the first year for which adequate global temperature measurement records exist, human carbon production has steadily increased. And global average temperature has risen about eight-tenths of one degree Celsius.

That is what the National Academy of Sciences concluded. Those four propositions. Period. In the past few years, a couple of organizations have done surveys of hundreds, then thousands, of scientific papers on climate change. They asked of each paper: Does it agree with those four points? Conclusion: yes, about 97 percent agree. I think they are low-balling it. The remaining papers did not comment one way or the other; they were about something else.

And so, the N.A.S. put the subject to bed and now 97 percent of climate science papers agree. And I agree. 

That is why I say I am questioning “catastrophic global warming” and “climate catastrophe.” Nothing in the N.A.S. report and nothing in the 97 percent consensus addresses anything about 1. The rate of expected global warming. 2. The consequences today of global warming. 3. The long-term “catastrophic” effects of climate change. 4. The need to reduce use of fossil fuels or to substitute “clean” energy. Nothing.

The citing of the “97 percent” consensus, or the N.A.S. report, is totally irrelevant as evidence for alarming climate change.

Few people, I find, have a perspective on the climate change debate, or on carbon emissions. The earth’s entire atmosphere is more than 600,000 billion tons. The four-tenths of 1 percent (0.04) of the atmosphere that is carbon dioxide is less than 3,000 billion tons. The oceans contain 37,400 billion tons and land biomass 2,500 billion tons. Each year, human-generated carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere are about 35 billion tons; this is 3.4 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. Of that, 40 percent is believed to be absorbed back into the sea and land in the natural carbon cycle. The rest remains in the atmosphere, accumulating. That is seen to be “the problem.” The hypothesis is that it is causing the warming of the earth’s atmosphere to accelerate dangerously.

In percentage terms, the fossil fuel contribution of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere is vanishingly small. The argument is that this added amount forces global warming. That is based on the observation that since reliable global temperatures have been recorded (1888), the global temperature has increased about eight-tenths of a percent. During the same period, as the Industrial Revolution has accelerated and gone global, man-made carbon emissions have steadily increased.

Climate catastrophe skeptics argue that during long periods, atmospheric carbon has been much higher and life on earth has flourished. Until the global warming hypothesis was popularized, the dominant explanation of long-term climate change was in terms of the changing activity of the sun (e.g., sunspot activity) and its effect on the earth. Scientists advancing that theory today are ostracized, to say the least.

Predictions of the end of civilization as we know it, and the urgency of World War II-type total government control of the economy, all arise from (or orbit around) work of the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (U.N.I.P.C.C.). And all of that is based on complex computer models of climate change. About these, no consensus exists. They are debated literally daily by scientists. (It is useful to check in on the site “Watts Up with That?” to see what the dissenters are saying. It is the world’s most-viewed climate site.)

The real debate is about how much warming, how fast, how it will affect weather such as storms, how much it will raise sea levels. A few examples of dissent just in 2018 from the climate catastrophe orthodoxy:

In January 2018, the journal Nature published a study concluding that the earth’s surface will almost certainly not warm up four or five degrees Celsius by 2100. That voids the worst-case U.N. climate change predictions, reducing the range of possible end-of-century outcomes by more than half.

In June, National Aeronautic and Space Administration glaciologist Jay Zwally reported a new study showing, once again, the eastern Antarctic ice sheet is gaining enough ice to offset losses in the west. Losses in the Antarctic ice sheet are the dominant factor cited in U.N. reports predicting dangerous long-term sea level rise. 

In September, a study of the Australian great barrier reefs, published in Frontiers in Marine Science, reconstructed temperature-induced bleaching patterns over 381 years (1620-2001). The findings are at odds with claims that mass coral bleaching is a recent phenomenon related to climate change.

In November, a study published in the journal Nature concluded that the number and intensity of U.S. hurricanes have remained constant since 1900. There has been no trend in the number and intensity of hurricanes hitting the continental U.S., nor in the normalized damages caused by such storms over 

the past 117 years. In the article’s own language: “Consistent with observed trends in the frequency and intensity of hurricane landfalls along the continental United States since 1900, the updated normalized loss estimates also show no trend.”

In December, Judith Curry, Ph.D., an American climatologist and former chairwoman of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, released a report concluding that a catastrophic rise in sea levels is unlikely this century, with recent experience falling within the range of natural variability over the past several thousand years.

Do I hear readers muttering: “What? Are you making up all this? I read or hear about climate catastrophe almost every day: fearsome temperature change, sea level rise washing away towns and cities, unprecedented hurricanes, awful effects on coral reefs.”

It’s true. That is all that the mainstream media reports. With the relentless pressure of the $100 billion environmental movement, especially Greenpeace, and with government funding available only to climate scientists securely “on board” with catastrophic climate change, we are faced with a powerful self-perpetuating scientific orthodoxy.

As Mr. Walsh’s article noted, the new year saw a media milestone: “NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ devoted its entire program on Sunday to discussions about climate change, and pointedly did not include voices from the tiny minority of climate scientists who deny its existence.” (We have seen the provenance of that stuff about “a tiny minority of scientists who deny its existence.” No one denies that there are climate changes or that there is man-made global warming. What NBC is excluding is scientists who dispute the “climate catastrophe” party line.) 

Mr. Walsh’s article reports observations around East Hampton such as sea level, beach erosion, and tick infestation. Just be aware that none of these observations is evidence pro or con for global warming or climate change. Instead, observers of these phenomena turn to global warming and climate change for explanation — because those theories are on everyone’s mind. If global theories are true, then some of the observed phenomena may represent instances. But only existence of the theories causes us to project changes seen today over the long term and to worry about consequences.

For example, bites by ticks infected with Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain fever have increased with the population of deer and their proximity to densely settled areas. With environmentalism, hunting is declining; towns hysterically resist any culling of deer. But the incidence of tick problems is now confidently referred to a long-term climate hypothesis.

Yours,

WALTER DONWAY


‘Good People’
Montauk
January 17, 2019

The Editor:

Criminals are invading our country because we don’t have a wall or barrier on our southern border.

As a second-generation citizen (my grandparents came here legally), I hear all the talk about the drugs, gangs, and human trafficking crossing the southern border. Then they say that the “migrants” are good people. I am very sad to hear people saying that those coming across our border illegally are good people. 

Good people do not break into my house and when they are asked to leave, do not, and then tell me they are entitled to stay because I have more than them, and it is my fault they are in this situation. They are criminals; the moment they put one foot on American soil they are committing a crime. Every day they stay they are committing a crime. When they drive without a license or insurance, that’s another crime. Some even steal others’ identity, another crime.

These are the acts of people who have no respect for our laws. They feel they can decide which laws they should obey. I believe that these people are not the kind of people we want or need in our country. They are criminals. We have enough of our own homegrown criminals; we don’t have to import them.

The good people are those who obey our laws and come here legally. The ones who think they can pick and choose which of our laws apply to them are criminals and anarchists. A nation without borders is not a nation. Any politician who supports open borders should be recalled immediately.

Drones will not prevent entry into our country unless they are armed. Is Chuck suggesting we shoot the invaders? I don’t think that is what Chuck and Nancy are proposing. Once these “good people” put a foot on American soil, we can’t just throw them out. We have to spend a fortune to evict these criminals, when and if we catch them.

I suggest that the “journalists” look up the definitions of the words migrant and criminal; they are not words that are interchangeable.

Sincerely,

J. ALBANO


Teachings
Montauk
January 28, 2019

Dear Editor, 

In an open letter to Governor Cuomo published Jan, 19, 2019, by “The Evangelist,” the official publication of the Diocese of Albany, Bishop Edward B. Scharffenberger said in closing, “Let’s not bequeath to our children a culture of death, but together build a more humane society for the lives of all of our fellow citizens.”

As a Catholic I have been taught to pray for the conversion of Governor Cuomo. There is something else all people can do here. Tune in to the “Catholic View for Women” on EWTN, channel 135 in our area. This morning the show was on and the title of the show was “Letters From our Leaders: Encouraging Catholics (and I would say anyone else who wants to) to listen to the voices of our shepherds. (S8E19).” In this show, Janet Moreno, Teresa Tomeo, and Elena Rodriguez review letters from bishops and priests and share how their teachings can help Catholics (and everyone else) put their faith into practice. 

In God I trust, 

VINCENT BIONDO


A Glint
New York City
January 22, 2019 

To the Editor,

Having the advantage of biblical schooling, whenever a prodigious, tempestuous happening is occurring, a flare, a glint turns on, arousing King Solomon’s proverbial “What has been will be again. What has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun,” Ecclesiastes 1:9, evoking a query: Does President Donald Trump’s tenure have precedents in history? 

Alike episodes of disrupting, rattling, calcifying, suffocating ingrained norms, demeanors? Does it? Well, seek, search, and you shall find “on reaching Jerusalem, He triumphantly entered the Temple Courts, looked roundabout on all things there, the scene of traffic, and disorder. . . .” 

Does child abuse make you angry? Human trafficking? The chief priests and the teachers of law heard this and beagan looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teachings. Did he lose his cool? 

Some call it the “temple tantrum,” others refer to it as the “cleansing of the temple.” Both the Gospel of John and the Gospel of Mark depict, not a sudden rash outburst, but something carefully planned. The Gospel of John places this episode of his action in the temple toward the beginning of his public activity. Yes America, we are okay. We will be okay. We are not alone. 

EDWARD A. WAGSCHAL


Never Worked
Rochester
January 24, 2019

To The Editor:

I believe that the new “Democratic Socialist” members of the U.S. Congress have their hearts and souls in the right place, but not their heads and minds. Like them, I, too, believe that our federal government should do more and spend more to help make the lives of our citizens better just as our traditional allies do. However, there has never been a truly socialist economy in the history of the world, which was ever able to produce enough wealth to meet most of the survival needs of its citizens. It has never worked. So, it is foolish to call yourself a socialist. You are just giving conservatives a new insult and put-down to hurl at you.

A lot has been said about Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal to tax the income of those earning over $10 million a year by 70 percent. The problem with this is that we need to start taxing wealth because that’s where we can get enough revenue to pass a Canadian-style national health insurance program to cover and greatly help 99 percent of Americans (except for the richest 1 percent). That’s where we can get the revenue for our president and Congress to declare a war on cancer and begin to spend enough to find cures for all forms and kinds of cancer so we can put an end to all of this suffering once and for all one day.

It is possible that we might have a truly much more equal and socialist society one day, if that is their desire. But that day is at least 1,000 to 2,000 years away. We will have to evolve and transform spiritually, emotionally, and mentally into much more loving and caring human beings before we are ready for that. Right now, we are simply too individualistic, too selfish, too self-centered, too self-absorbed, too much “only into ourselves” and “full of ourselves” and into believing that we are “all that” for it to work.

Because, as the philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin observed, humankind is presently at the spiritual, emotional, and mental level of a 12-year-old child. Sometimes I think it is more like a 7-year-old child. And I include myself in that. I make mistakes every day of my life. So, I am not judging anyone else here.

Sincerely,

STEWART B. EPSTEIN