Letters to the Editor: 03.07.19

‘Les Misérables


March 4, 2019


Dear Dave, 

We went to see “Les Misérables” at the East Hampton High School on Sunday and Wow! We were completely blown away. It was an outstanding production from start to finish. The sheer enthusiasm of the cast was infectious and the level of performances was a delight. To borrow a saying from football (much to my wife’s disgust) I think some of these kids “will be playing on Sunday.” Bravo/brava to all of them.


Hearts and Souls


March 4, 2019


Congratulations to the cast of “Les Mis” who put their hearts and souls into a truly stellar performance! Their dedication was so evident and they accomplished it with great panache! They truly rivaled the theater production on the West End of London! (Been there.)

Kudos to directors, Debbie Mansir and Jayne Freedman, orchestral conductor, Troy Grindle and his talented musicians, and Troy Greene and his incredible choral ensemble. It never ceases to amaze me how talented our students are and are able to be so with the total support of the administration.

Go, Bonac!

Also, thanks to Springs Tavern for putting together an impromptu hosting of a cast party for the participants. Love their local commitment to Springs and they are consistently involved in our endeavors.

Thank you!


Outpouring of Love

East Hampton

March 4, 2019


Dear David,

Last month my wife of almost 30 years died after a long battle with cancer. If I am not mistaken an obituary for Kathleen Tobin Giardina will appear in this edition of The Star. The purpose of this letter is to thank the wonderful people of East Hampton who supported Kathy during her struggle. The outpouring of love and support was without precedent, coming from full-time residents, weekenders, part-timers, truly people of all walks of life. Those who knew Kathy realized that she was a unifying force, a person who endeavored to bring people together. It seems that in her final days she kept to that task.

Kathy and I decided to retire in East Hampton because of its great beauty. However, during Kathy’s struggles she marveled that what seemed to be the best part of East Hampton was the breadth and depth of the affection and support from the community. Kathy, a naturalist and environmentalist at heart, was actually overwhelmed by the human side of this community we call our home. Not long before her passing she told me that she wished there were some way she could show her appreciation and return the love shown to her and our family.

I can think of no better way than this simple letter in The Star to grant that request. To all from Kathy, thank you.



Always There


March 4, 2019


Dear David,

I would like to express, on behalf of myself and the East Hampton Democratic Committee, deep sadness at the passing of Edwin Geus.

Edwin will be remembered for his smile and graciousness. True to his sense of community, he was always there to quietly lend a helping hand to any neighbor or friend in need. Ed’s spirit of volunteerism is an inspiration to us all. He will be greatly missed.

I offer, on behalf of the East Hampton Democratic Committee, our sincere condolences to Averill, Jeanne, and Ed’s entire family. I hope you can take solace in knowing Edwin will always be in our hearts.


East Hampton 
Democratic Committee

Did it All!


March 1, 2019


‘Dear David:

The Recycling Center in Montauk is always well kept, but I don’t think that I fully appreciated the job that the staff does until last week. 

I slowly hobbled to the non-recycle bin with my first load. My cane was necessary, as the result of painful sciatica and another undiagnosed leg problem. Before I could return from dropping my first load, Roger (who always plays delightful music) was asking what had to be taken from the back of my S.U.V. to be recycled. He did it all for me! Thanks, Roger.


Should Be Shared


February 26, 2019


To the Editor,

I recently accompanied a friend to the East Hampton Town Justice Court. As a community advocate, I have had occasion to enter courthouses in Nassau, Suffolk, as well as the five boroughs. Every time I enter these establishments there is a feeling of dread. The reason that takes one to court is anxiety producing in itself, but it is compounded by the indifference and intimidating behavior of the officers at the gate. Those walls reek of cold, harsh, judgmental workers, who, when asked a question, respond like programmed robots.

It was refreshing to enter a courthouse that didn’t feel like doomsday. Officers McMahon, McKee, and Jahoda treat people with courtesy, dignity, and respect. Their cheerful demeanor puts one at ease in spite of the situation that brought you before the tribunal.

I don’t think that it is due to professional development. I don’t know if training focused on compassion and kindness is a precursor to humane treatment, but the communication skills that these officers have acquired should be shared and practiced by all court personnel everywhere.

Respectfully shared,




February 28, 2019


Dear David,

This August will make it exactly 50 years that I’ve been smoking grass daily since age 19. I self-medicate to treat my PTSD that originated in the Boy Scouts. It keeps me calm, rational, and nonviolent. You did not want to know me in my earlier alcohol-induced daze. The only drug it was a gateway to for me was nicotine, which I began smoking two years later. Nicotine’s a tough one to quit, though I have — twice! 

Have I been a threat to society? In my 16 years lifeguarding at Jones Beach I saved some 1,000-plus nonswimmers. I taught another 500-plus to swim in my backyard, some of whom saved drowning members of their families. I physically saved two of my New York City students from death, one from a stabbing and the other from a blood clot during my 22 years teaching. 

I kept countless students in school with my enthusiasm or with my afternoon boxing program; some of whom are now New York City teachers. I was awarded Fulbright Scholarships to study in Egypt and China. I was chosen to chaperone three New York City students to live with the Maasai for two weeks. I’ve earned degrees in communication arts from Notre Dame, philosophy and theology from Truman State, and a master’s in world history with a minor in international relations from Long Island University, and I have exhibited my art locally and in Paris. All in all, a contribution to society.

Suffolk County wants to rid us of dangerous substances? Start with nicotine, alcohol, salt, and sugar, and stay off my ass while I smoke my grass.

In peace,


Of Lent

East Hampton

February 28, 2019


Dear Editor:

March 6 marks the beginning of Lent, the period before Easter, when devout Christians abstain from animal foods in remembrance of Jesus’s 40 days of fasting in the wilderness. 

The call to abstain from eating animals is as traditional as Genesis 1:29, yet as current as the teaching of evangelical leader Franklin Graham. Methodist founder John Wesley, Salvation Army pioneers William and Catherine Booth, and Seventh-Day Adventist Church founder Ellen White all followed the divine call. Pope Francis has been offered a $1 million donation to a charity of his choice to go vegan for Lent.

A plant-based diet is not just about Christian devotion. Dozens of medical studies have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer, and other killer diseases. A United Nations report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented routine mutilation, deprivation, and beating of animals on factory farms.

Today’s supermarkets offer a rich array of plant-based meats, milks, cheeses, and ice creams, as well as traditional vegetables, fruits, and grains. Entering “vegan” in our favorite search engine provides lots of suitable products, recipes, and transition tips.



Great Ideas

Sarasota, Fla.

February 22, 2019


To the Editor:

Even down here in Florida, people are talking about East Hampton Town’s plans to move the entire Montauk business district over to Dog Shit Alley. When I first read the proposals, I thought maybe it was just another great piece of satire like the fake headlines that the great Dan Rattiner used to put on the cover of The Montauk Pioneer from time to time. But alas, no. Perhaps someone should call A.O.C. for her input. I hear that she has some great ideas for New York.

My condolences also to the people of Amagansett as they suffer through the Great Dustbowl of 2019. How sad I am as I envision the caravan of E classes and GL 63 S.U.V.s heading west, seeking a better life, with furniture piled high on top and pots and pans and wash basins hanging and clanging at the sides.


Coastal Retreat

Sag Harbor

March 3, 2019


Dear David,

With Montauk business owners’ recent resistance to concepts put forth in the Montauk hamlet study, namely coastal retreat, there’s growing concern that critical planning steps for climate change adaptation will be stalled.

The physical effects of a 2.5-foot rise in sea level over 40 years in downtown Montauk will be monumental, particularly being an isthmus straddled by pond and ocean. Sea level rise is an abstract concept for people to grasp, so the urgency to act has been slow to pervade public thinking. Shortcomings with community engagement and education has also contributed to the lack of understanding and misinformation concerning the hamlet study.

The need to consider the financial and economic impacts from relocation and extinguished use has appropriately been pointed out by the business community. However, rejecting planning concepts out of hand isn’t seeing the forest for the trees. Adoption of the study is, in fact, the commencement of planning steps to develop a plan. 

Some believe the solution is perpetual beach nourishment — dredging sand from an offshore source. With an average life span of three to four years for replenished beaches, indeterminate sand pumping is a financially prohibitive prospect. As coastal communities are recognizing, beach nourishment as a long-term management strategy is proving to be economically (and environmentally) unsustainable.

While an erosion control taxing district is being explored, and the potential for decades-long inertia to persist, critical planning steps which direct informed decisions must not languish. We trust the town board will move to adopt the hamlet study as informed facilitators of climate-change adaptation, and not capitulate because of election year politicking.

Defend H2O

David Buda

East Hampton

February 28, 2019


Dear David,

Kudos to David Buda! He is the East Hampton Town investigator who brings to the town board’s attention important details overlooked regarding legalities that pertain to some of the board’s actions. 

Michael Sendlenski, head of the town’s legal department, was furious when David’s information was presented at the town board meeting a few days ago. Obviously, the lawyers in the legal department are responsible for unearthing such matters, whether 5 or 25 years ago. Without David’s work, the community could be subject to major legal repercussions. 

The reaction of the other members of the board — total silence, even from Sylvia Overby, who is the board liaison to Montauk. The silence was deafening except for someone’s cellphone. (Probably a board member’s phone, as someone keeps their phone in hand and reads emails while the board is in session.)

The folks in Montauk had many comments and questions regarding the Montauk hamlet study and voiced concern about the right to review it before the study was enacted! Kudos also to Jeff Bragman! He is a town board member who always has the public’s interest at heart and always takes a stand. 

Yours truly, 


Money Will Do It


March 1, 2019


To the Editor,

A name has appeared quite frequently lately in several of the local publications. Apparently a man of great vision (not to mention great wealth) has great plans for our community of Montauk. And sure as hell, that money will do it! 

This has brought Carl Fisher to mind; as so many know, he was a man with vision. He brought to Montauk the Manor and the Tudor executive homes and the cottage homes for the workers and the golf course and the tower that would house his businesses. He had dreams of a stopping-off site for the wearied boat travelers, folks of wealth completing trans-Atlantic journeys — something to ease the burden of their returns, a commodious place to curtail the tedium of ocean travel. 

And now we have Marc Rowan! And his vision for Montauk! We don’t need a town planning board when a man with money and dreams of his own is plotting the future for us. Comfortable sites like Duryea’s are priced out of the past pleasant experiences of locals. He is planning more pricey elegance in this erstwhile little fishing village for us — or for whom?

Comfortable watering holes are closing as rents for them soar, as other “dreamers” want to jump on the bandwagon, perhaps seeking high-end moneymaking bistros. The Herb’s and the Ronnie’s and the O’Murphy’s and the former Duryea’s, the quiet and non-showy community sites of the past, are fading into memory. A few local spots, our local watering holes, remain — thank God! How I pray that they too do not get lured away by “community” planners like Mr. Rowan.


Signs of Trouble
March 3, 2019

Dear David: 

In last week’s editorial “Circuitous Campaign Coming” The Star made a statement which inspired me to write this letter: “Rona Klopman, a gadfly Amagansett resident, was a die-hard local Democrat until she was not.” 

This statement requires a lot of unpacking. I am sure you know the backstory perfectly well, but there are undoubtedly local Democrats at this late date who do not. (Full disclosure, Rona is a friend of mine and a sometime pro bono law client.)

At the last election for membership in the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee, the party ran a full slate of candidates against some of its own stalwarts, Rona and others who shared some qualities. They were smart, independent people, lifelong Democrats, loyal to the party, active in committee affairs, and had run in local elections. Some of the people the party opposed included a prior chairperson and another member who, not long ago, had been tapped to succeed to the chairperson position. 

The committee tried to eject all these folks (it failed to get rid of some of them) because they became restless in recent years under the “my way or the highway” governance of the then-chairperson, Jeanne Frankl. Every week in the local news, you can detect related signs of trouble, for example, in coverage of divisiveness on town board. By not showing flexibility, tolerance, and true leadership, the local Democrats, at a time when the national party is riding high, seem to be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. 

In an era when, energized by Donald Trump and national danger, the Democratic Party in many other places is opening its doors to new diversity and values, it is sad to witness the opposite taking place here. I don’t see much about the local Democrats which embodies even the values of the Barack Obama era, let alone those of the present-day party influenced by newer and younger voices. 

It should therefore be understandable that people like Rona are seeking other flexible affiliations locally, in order to continue their public service. The committee made a terrible strategic error kicking out Rona and the others, when it should have found a way to keep them. Chairperson Rogers: You should think about healing the rift and bringing them back in.

The Star’s effort, at the close of last week’s editorial, to tarnish Rona and the other ex-Democrats with “the baggage” of Donald Trump, was poorly taken. If the local Democrats are no longer the party of Barack Obama and the 2016 new faces, the local Republicans have an opportunity not to be the party of Trump. In any event, I dissent from the subtext of your editorial that registered Democrats owe blind loyalty to the local party, in the absence of proof that it functions democratically. I have voted almost straight Democratic since 1972, but will personally be voting for Rona and a number of other Republican candidates in the next election. 

Democrats don’t take my word for it: Attend some committee meetings (they are public) and watch the local party in action. Make up your own mind what you are witnessing, and what relationship it bears to your own values and hopes. 


Fusion Ticket


March 3, 2019


Dear David,

On the national level, Democrats complain constantly that Republicans continue to support the party’s leaders no matter what they do. Equally, they complain that politics have become so hyperpartisan, polarized, and tribal that there is no longer any opportunity for bi-partisan cooperation to address critical problems.

Here in East Hampton, the Republican Party, under the leadership of Manny Vilar, has generously reached across partisan lines, abandoned tribalism and partisanship, and nominated a slate of 13 candidates for contested local offices that includes seven Republicans, five Democrats, and a member from the Independence Party. They should be applauded for putting the community ahead of partisanship. The response of The Star in its editorial last week was to sneer at everyone involved.

The purpose of this fusion ticket is to address pressing local needs and rid town government of the cronyism, bossism, favoritism, and lawlessness that have infected the local Democratic Party, including last year’s vote rigging in the Democratic Committee. The idea that party members should put principle ahead of partisanship applies to Demo­crats too. I take that responsibility seriously. As well, our local election is not, as you say, about national politics. It is about local needs. 

The East Hampton Republican Party’s nominees, from all parties, share a longstanding devotion to the local community and the will to address the problems of water quality, failing emergency communications, the threat to our beaches and fishing industry posed by Deepwater Wind, and the glacial pace of construction of affordable housing for young people who want to stay in the town where they grew up, senior citizens who don’t want to leave, and families, many of them here for generations, who work in East Hampton but increasingly cannot afford to live here. 

Your editorial described me as “a die-hard local Democrat until she was not.” Although endorsed for town trustee by the Republican Party, I remain a Democrat and a proud founder of the East Hampton Reform Democrats, a caucus within the party committed to honesty in government. Unlike some people, I did not wake up one morning after being a lifelong member of one party and discover, when offered an endorsement, that I had been in the wrong party all along. 

No Democrat endorsed by the Republican Party was asked to change party registration and none has changed registration opportunistically. We remain who we have always been, Democrats who want to live in an economically, socially, and environmentally just community. We are joining together with people of good will, regardless of party affiliation, to do the work that the East Hampton community needs. 




March 3, 2019


To The Editor, 

The reasoning behind the snide, snarky tone of the Star editorial regarding the East Hampton Grand Old Party slate of candidates is somewhat hard to fathom. Liberals relentlessly hector us on the importance of diversity in all things. Yet when confronted with an example of almost promiscuous diversity on the newly announced Republican ticket for the coming local elections, diversity is impugned as suspect and devious.

The Republican slate, while diverse in its political demography, focuses on unity of purpose when it comes to local concerns such as Deepwater, public access to public spaces, effective dredging of the harbors so important to our local baymen, open and transparent governing processes, etc. 

It seems to bother The Star that some Democrats have abandoned the party line on such issues and thrown in their lot with the Republicans. Regarding Deepwater particularly, surely The Star does not prefer blind loyalty to party diktats meant to further the presidential fantasies of our governor over a concern for the interests of local citizens. Or does it?

It’s refreshing in these partisan times to see people willing to chuck party labels overboard and to focus instead on the best outcomes for East Hampton. Call it diversity or what you will, independence of thought and analysis is preferable to herd-think.



Led The Way


March 1, 2019


Dear Editor,

The East Hampton Town Republican Party strongly believes in the core founding values of the Grand Old Party, economic conservatism, environmental conservation, and individual liberty rights. The Republican Party was first formed in 1854 to combat the pro-slavery Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would have dissolved the terms of the Missouri Compromise and allowed slave or free status to be decided in the territories by popular sovereignty. The first Republicans were Abolitionists, Anti-slavery Conscience Whigs and Free Soil Democrats and elected the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, in 1860, who successfully guided the Union to victory in the American Civil War and abolished slavery.

Since its creation in 1855, the New York Republican Party has also led the way as reformers championing the environment, the disenfranchised, downtrodden, and the fight against corruption. One has only to look at President Teddy Roosevelt, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, Senator Jacob Javits, Mayor Fiorello Henry La Guardia, and Montauk’s own leader of the New York Assembly, Speaker Perry Duryea. What all these leaders have in common is they transcended the greed of a chosen few to ally with individuals from all political parties to be leaders and innovators to reform government. They all brought reform to root out corruption, address the concerns of the disenfranchised, and with compassion and empathy provide aid to the disadvantaged and downtrodden.

As a 35-year public servant as a police officer, volunteer firefighter, police union organizer and leader, and now as chairman of the East Hampton Republican Party, it will be our mission to bring the values of Lincoln, Roosevelt, Javits, Rockefeller, La Guardia, and Duryea back to East Hampton Town government. 

This year, just as Mayor La Guardia did, the town committee has assembled a fusion ticket of Republican and Dem­ocrats who all believe in and love East Hampton. The 2019 candidates of the town committee all believe in a single core principle best summarized in this statement, we believe in the inherent good of all our residents, and it is our mission to afford each resident honest, transparent, open government that is welcoming of public scrutiny and opinions. We believe in the importance of our community’s moral fabric and a long history of openness and independence. We believe in the internal bond between our community and environment to be stewards for future generations. We believe in you.

I would urge everyone to come out and meet our candidates and discuss your concerns, issues, and thoughts. I promise you will be pleasantly surprised.

East Hampton Town 
Republican Committee

Must Be Weighed

East Hampton

March 4, 2019


Dear David:

Your guest column last week by John Andrews of Sag Harbor caught my attention. According to the signature line, he is co-group leader of the Long Island East chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby.

Mr. Andrews states “a couple of basic principles that I’d hope most people of good will could accept: First, we have a moral obligation to reduce our carbon emissions, Second, if that entails costs, no particular group of Long Islanders should bear an unreasonable share of the burden.” He takes note that our local fisherman are concerned about the impact of Deepwater Wind on their livelihood and says that these concerns “need to be addressed.”

To my knowledge, this is absolutely the first time that any proponent of the Deepwater Wind project has acknowledged, either in print or in public, that there are any legitimate concerns that require consideration other than reducing carbon emissions. Quite to the contrary, proponents of the project have dismissed all concerns about adverse environmental, social, and economic impacts of the project as fanciful. The East Hampton Town Board, egged on constantly by the Energy Sustainability Committee, has refused to take any steps whatsoever — not a one — to evaluate environmental, social, and economic impacts.

In the very next breath, Mr. Andrews says, “Unfortunately, besides these legitimate concerns, there’s an awful lot of fake environmentalism that opposes anything that will have negative environmental effects. . . . Before they will accept any form of carbon-free energy, it must have no environmental impacts whatsoever. It must be perfect. Anything short of perfection is unacceptable.”

I don’t know who “they” are, these people who purportedly refuse to accept any adverse impacts and demand perfection. It is ironic that Mr. Andrews should raise the specter of “fake environmentalism,” as this is exactly the accusation so often directed by proponents of development against those who properly insist on environmental accountability.

Having observed this matter for a year now and participated in public discussion, I have no difficulty in saying that the absolutists are almost entirely on the side of the project’s advocates. Critics have not said that the project must be “perfect,” without any adverse impacts. They have said that, as with any large project, environmental, social, and economic impacts must be evaluated in public and on the record, alternatives must be weighed, adverse impacts must be mitigated, and those adverse impacts that cannot be mitigated may have to be compensated. Those with expert knowledge have tried to draw attention to a variety of technical problems.

Any such evaluation by our town government, with a unique responsibility to the livelihood and well-being of the East Hampton community, has been ferociously resisted by sustainable energy advocates, right up to the present, with every rhetorical tool at their disposal. 

In that light, I have to wonder aloud whether Mr. Andrews’s opening is sincere or merely a tactical ploy to discredit critics of Deepwater Wind while rhetorically conceding that they may have a point. 

There is an acid test. If Mr. Andrews is sincere, then he and his compatriot sustainable energy advocates need to demand, together with those who may be burdened by the project, that it receive a full environmental and economic evaluation and that the town must do its own work to the extent possible, not relying passively on the Public Service Commission.

It is not possible to share burdens fairly, or mitigate them, or if need be compensate for them in order to share them fairly, as Mr. Andrews urges, if our public officials and sustainable energy advocates continue to refuse to know what they are or to countenance any study. 

To date, Councilman Jeff Bragman has been a lone voice on the town board admonishing us all to “know before you go.” Good stewardship of the environment requires that all projects, both those “we” like and those “we” don’t, be thoroughly evaluated.



N.Y. Green New Deal


March 4, 2019


Dear David,

Sometimes you have to give a little to save your life. Last week’s “Guestwords” column “Fair Winds For All” by John Andrews made this point abundantly clear: if we don’t make a few sacrifices, we are going to lose the whole enchilada: our living oceans, a habitable planet. There’s no free lunch: There may be minor environmental costs to wind power — there are environmental costs to any kind of industrial production — but the environmental gains far outweigh them. Those gains may well mean the difference between survival and extinction.

But the gains are far more than just environmental: They are economic —  huge new opportunities for investment, good green jobs and revitalized communities. That’s what the “green New Deal” means. Right now, New Yorkers have a chance to get behind the most innovative and sweeping green New Deal legislation in the nation: the NY Climate and Community Protection Act. 

The C.C.A.P. would move New York State to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. It would create hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs. It would provide a “just transition” for workers in the fossil fuel industry. And it would support the communities most vulnerable to climate change and pollution.

The C.C.A.P. is not some kind of pie-in-the-sky fantasy. I interviewed economist Bob Pollin recently for Sustainable East End, the monthly radio program I co-produce for WPKN 89.5. Pollin was instrumental in showing Obama how the stimulus package of 2009 could create good green jobs (it did). Now he’s completed a study showing how the C.C.A.P. would boost New York’s economy. It would mean good jobs for workers in places like the East End. It would mean asthma rates would go down because our air would be cleaner. And it would put money in the pockets of state residents with a rebate that would help them pay for cleaner energy options.

The C.C.A.P is likely to pass the New York State Legislature this year. Our own Fred Thiele is behind it. But will Governor Cuomo sign it? That’s the question. If you want the win-win of good jobs and clean energy, let Cuomo know you want him to sign the Climate and Community Protection Act. And thank our state reps for voting for it. Your kids and grandkids will thank you.


Started to Wane


March 1 2019


Dear David:

That was an interesting comment in last week’s editorial concerning Mr. Richard Myers being “hard-nosed” as you described his service in several areas connected to this town shows he is community aligned. 

Actually I watch the architectural review board meetings and it is run like a fine watch. No nonsense and efficient! That is refreshing. Maybe others should pay attention. Who he contributed to or voted for in the past is not an issue. I am not a Democrat but crossed the line to support this current board. Now As Ricky Nelson sang, “I went to a garden party and nothing looked the same.” Maybe we need a “hard-nosed” advocate who listens to the residents and acts accordingly.

When the current board was elected there seemed to be changes in the air. Good things were there for all to see. However, as I now watch board meetings, I see the rolling of the eyes and smirks when Jeff Bragman, who stands tall and listens to the community, is treated as an enemy. I know how hard he worked on the water issue in Wainscott and was instrumental in getting point of entry systems installed. A hard-working councilman, however, gained the town eventually assisted the residents. However here is resistance to additional assistance.

Mr. Myers in his tenure on the Wainscott citizens advisory committee showed he listens to the people and acts decisively

Bonnie Brady is a fierce advocate for the fishing community and Montauk. Being a fierce advocate for their community is not being “hard-nosed” We now have to listen to the other candidates and make a decision. We also have to listen to the current board members who seek re-election.

If they continue to not put our wishes and well-being as the main priority then they will travel the “use to be” highway out the door.

Somehow the people who keep the town afloat as taxpaying priorities seem to have their voices hushed. In particular this wind turbine issue that is vehemently opposed to the destruction of Wainscott, which is often treated like a One thousand people signed a petition protesting the disaster headed for Beach Lane The troika on the town board has ignored their position and seems to favor hedge fund investors over the will of the people who know what is best for them. The same for the residents in Montauk.

Ms. Overby is quoted: “I identify problems that impact lives.” This new decision of support is contrary to the past where she did and took the right path. They continue to favor the company that will heap havoc on this community. The bait and switch boondoggle by Deepwater Wind, which never told the board they were in the process of selling to a foreign company and outfoxed them into supporting this calamity. Now enough power to support one million homes? Now a third part-owner surfaces.

I became disillusioned to open meetings where residents give up time to attend with the previous supervisor and others on the board one of whom, minutes before it commenced, lied right to my face. The packed room with others who attended overflowed into the parking lot. Their loud protests were the victim of the gavel. I soon came to the realization that it was already a done deal agreed upon at a sparsely attended Montauk meeting. A dog and pony show. The same happened with the current town board. On another issue, important to the residents, I watched them closely, and when the vote came I realized that it was déjà vu all over again, as Yogi often said. My support started to wane.

Apparently some unknown affliction takes over. They don’t get it and we need to elect those who will act solely in the best interest of the residents. Time will tell if these candidates will actually put us first and avoid that affliction.

Yours truly,


Reality Check


March 3, 2019


Dear David,

Recent letters concerning the South Fork Wind Farm are misleading and exaggerated. It is time for a reality check so our community may understand a somewhat complex but critical project.

As a former member and chairperson of the planning board for 15 years and elected member of the town board, I was the point person for updating our 1984 and 2005 comprehensive plans and zoning code. I have read and cross-examined hundreds of environmental impact studies for large projects that would affect East Hampton. I know it is important to encourage input from our residents and ensure that the public is getting the facts.

So I am correcting statements made publically by citizens who are not supporting this renewable energy project but are spinning hyperbole.

Fact: It is not true that the South Fork Wind Farm is building a much larger wind farm than previously presented. However, due to advanced improvements, the megawatts generated will increase from 90 mw to 130 mw. The good news is that increase should result in lower prices to East Hampton consumers. 

The windmills are still staying in the same place, except for larger blades on the turbines that will not be seen on the horizon. There are still only 15 windmills to be built 35 miles off Montauk and only one cable with the same 12-inch diameter that will be buried 30 feet below the glacial headland at Wainscott beach. 

Fact: It is not true that there will be a “major disruption” to Wainscott residents if the buried conduit that connects the wind-generated electrical power goes six feet under Wainscott roads to the existing substation at Cove Hollow. The current unsightly utility poles will also be placed underground for even better rural views of the preserved farmland. 

The project must receive a permit from the Public Service Commission by submitting a complete extensive Article 7 impact statement that requires test holes to be dug by hand, that are four feet deep and only 18 inches wide along the route, to ascertain water permeability and if any archaeological artifacts are present. The holes are due to be dug in the off-season so that there will be less traffic. A lane must be open for residential use and emergency passage. The small test holes will be covered by the same dirt that was shoveled out immediately after testing.

Fact: The test holes are not premature. All projects in Suffolk County (including applications for subdivisions and site plans) must check for water quality and permeability before they can get a final approval. So these results, by law, must be part of the final Article 7 report now in order to get the necessary review.

Fact: It is true, that the owners of the project have not communicated effectively with our decision makers and residents, causing confusion and some mistrust. However, Clint Plummer, director of new projects, has apologized, stating, “Our challenge is to make this renewable energy project fit into the context of the local community it is going to serve.” In addition, any time the town board will be discussing the South Fork Wind Farm,the project should be on their published agenda in advance of the meeting. 

In a professional poll, 76 percent of East Hampton residents support wind power as a viable energy source. Our community must be an equal partner in this project or else trust, cooperation, and support could be broken. The people in East Hampton care deeply about protecting our environment, beauty, and sense of place, so let’s not blow it! (Pardon the pun.)



Livable World

East Hampton

March 1, 2019


Dear David,

Reading recent letters to The Star opposing Deepwater Wind, one might conclude that this project serves no purpose but profit, or that there are some mythical shovel-ready alternatives, which can achieve the same reduction in carbon emissions with no inconvenience or cost to anybody. Or, in some cases, that our bubble of pastoral beauty should continue to be supported by industrial impacts in some other town, on some other waterfront. And some suggest that there is plenty of time to go back to the drawing board, no need to rush.

Wouldn’t that be lovely, if physics could be suspended in deference to our convenience so we could wait for the invention of free, clean energy produced by invisible machines?

Alas, a worldwide scientific consensus last year gave us 12 years to reduce emissions by 50 percent to be on track to avoid cataclysmic effects of climate change. Yeah, tick-tock-tick-tock; it’s now only 11 years. DeepwaterWind has been in the works for a couple years now, and is still, at best, a couple years from displacing one molecule of carbon dioxide. Change the plan now, and we can assume another two years of planning and a couple more years of fighting some other nexus of nimby. Or worse, like Cape Wind proposed in 2006 off Cape Cod, it will be killed after 10 years of nimby and Koch brothers’ opposition, and we will continue with business as usual until the cumulative financial impacts of climate devastation render dealing with it to be impossible. The forest fires in California last year are projected to cost $400 billion. As disaster costs rise, the pool of money for addressing climate shrinks.

Extrapolating from this local refusal to recognize the urgency of the problem and address our own emissions with the solution at hand, we can predict that the rest of the world will do the same. Our town, relative to the world in general, lives mostly (not all, but mostly) in a range from plenty to luxury, so if we whine about even a buried cable, why should we expect otherwise in towns and countries that don’t enjoy our good fortune?

Is it time to say, game over? Find a fiddle and play as the world burns? I don’t know. But I do know our town officials, while trying to preserve a livable world for our children, are being subjected to withering attack from a well-organized campaign of self-serving resistance. Raise your voice to support them. It is the right thing to do.



East Hampton

March 3, 2019


To the Editor,

Some thoughts for Congress: When politicians say nothing is impossible ask them to dribble a football. Whoever controls the media controls the people’s minds. Conversation is the slowest form of having communication. Success is determined not by what politicians have but by what they do with what they have. Force without wisdom in government falls in its own weight. Education is what survives when what has been learned is forgotten by Congress. All politicians should create a life that feels good on the inside not one that looks good on the outside. 

The reason politicians find it so hard to get along is they see the past better than it was, the present better than it is and the future less resolved than it will be. Good motivation comes from the heart. Ideals come from the brain. Achievement and success come from hard-working hands. Regardless of differences Democrats and Republicans must work together. Their work should be described only by five words, we believe in each other. Achievement and success in government come from hard-working hands and minds. There are four steps to obtain success: Think, believe, dream, and dare.

We have a new problem called misanthropy. Racism promotion brings ignorance, it seeks to divide and destroy. It is the enemy of freedom and it has no place in the Congress of the United States or anywhere else. Remember your body and government’s house should be like a temple. We must sweep our house clean of corruption and it’s time to redecorate and re-educate. The future depends on it.

A man went to a doctor who set a half a glass of water in front of him. Then he was asked if he was an optimist or a pessimist? He proceeded to drink the water and said, “I am neither. I am a problem solver.” 

There are 535 people in Congress. The Constitution is their guide and the law. Time to protect American citizens. Drink the water!


Voted Out

Sag Harbor

March 4, 2019


To the Editor,

Warning! History has a way of catching up with the facts.

Where will you be? And where will each of us be in the record of this nation when a full and accurate history of the present is written?

Will we be among those who feel nothing can be done, and do nothing? Will we not vote, thinking it doesn’t matter? Will we continue to bitch and moan and complain to our like-minded friends? Perhaps we still support those currently in power and actually think they are doing a good job for the country?

Or will we treat this time as the emergency that it is, and work effectively to promote ethical politicians and public investigations so that the dialogue in 2020 is fact based and honestly good for the country?

The Mueller investigation is important, but limited in scope. The report will not be the solution to the nation’s problem. Waiting for the results of this report is a distraction because it will be redacted and edited, and a good while before any substantial conclusions will see the public light. 

We must work diligently and effectively these short two years before the next presidential election to ensure Trump and Mitch McConnell, together with numerous other destructive politicians, get voted out of office. Waiting for Mueller, or wishing for impeachment, is not going to do it. 

We must focus on, and assist, the Southern District of New York investigations, as well as those investigations currently active within other legal jurisdictions. 

It will be hard work; however, a lot of the groundwork has now been done. Many criminal acts, as well as acts contrary to the best interests of the nation, have been alleged and partially documented. It is time to come forward to pursue these allegations through diligent and appropriate public investigation, so that the facts can finally be exposed.

When the nation’s voting public sees and understands well-documented charges exposing the horror of this administration, many will begin to realize the danger we are in. This will be the most effective way to have the next election steer us back onto a more healthy course.


Remain Ensconced

East Hampton

March 3, 2019


Dear David,

Concerns about Democratic socialism, building a safety net for the American people, are a function of illiteracy, stupidity, and fascism. What we are loath to do is to seriously analyze the fault lines in our system and make the necessary repairs. Our heads remain ensconced in the ground, in our pews, and in our butts. 

The struggle for the mass of the American people to attain some level of comfort and security in the world is the interplay of our own form of Christianity with capitalism and democracy. In the simplest terms, capitalism, as practiced in the U.S. is in constant conflict with democracy. The pursuit of profits by any means guarantees that someone will get the short end of the stick. How short the stick end is, is a function of what anyone can get away with. Genocide, slavery, low wages, no benefits, no health care, no comparative compensation. Are all on the capitalists’ menu until they aren’t? Democracy stands, conceptually, between the population and the capitalists. The more that Democracy prevails the more the population benefits and of course the contrary. Religion, or Christianity in our case, floats ethereally into the mix of the population and the capitalists. In truth, it functions as a palliative or an anesthetic to deaden the senses and when that doesn’t work as a hammer to deaden the body. 

In the U.S., limiting and distorting competition is a primary function of capitalists. They manipulate the markets, manipulate the workers, and manipulate the government. There are virtually no free markets in our system and the government is constructed to protect the limitations on freedom. Mind-altering illusions are created, see Citizens United, after the mandated punishments for abusing the system, Dodd-Frank, and are put in place. Citizens United is really a prophylactic with a hole in it. In truth, corporations are more like scumbags then people. Citizens United is not about freedom but about manipulation.

The less democratic we are as a government the easier it is to control and manipulate the economy. Capitalism in its most complete and effective state engenders the accumulation and distribution of wealth to those who are the most capable of gaming the system. 

The natural conflict between the working classes and the capitalists is the sharing of wealth. Capital needs only markets, freedom to invest, and protection. Labor needs life systems, basic necessities, and protection from manipulation.

Christianity plays a major role on the side of the capitalists. Aided by our tax codes and dozens of legal exceptions (pedophile priests might be excommunicated with a little luck but are rarely subject to civil penalties), it serves as a labor control mechanism in the market place. Whether it’s the Protestant work ethic, the accumulation of great wealth, or the evangelical antiunion policies it is intrinsically interconnected with the essential goals of capitalism. Making sure that the population acquiesces to the needs of capitalists. Its fundamental racism, sexism, homophobia, and misogyny are significant influences in suppressing and controlling huge masses of the population.

For example: It is rare to find a war that is not supported by our churches. When a million people marched in New York City against the Vietnam War only the Berrigan brothers (renowned outcasts) got up to speak. When we began the Iraq War those religious groups that weren’t counting the potential benefits of Iraqi oil remained silent. Wars always enrich the wealthy and harm the poor. The church always falls on the side of the wealthy.

What we need to do is to revisit our economic system in a way we’ve never done before. Decide if what we are producing is in the best interest of the entire population. Currently, we are a top to bottom system where wealth is generated from the top and passed down (trickle-down?). There are multiple alternatives. Obviously from the bottom up, but also from the middle outward where the goal is to attain and sustain a middle-class existence and not the accumulation of wealth.

If gross domestic product has risen sixfold in 30 years and 80 percent of the country has seen its wealth decline by 30 percent during that period, something is out of whack.

Could it possibly be the system?


SAT Score


March 1, 2019 


Dear David,

Now that Michael Cohen has disclosed Donald Trump’s threats to his high school, college, and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT score, we are forced to wonder if the president is even dumber than the “moron” and “idiot” which Rex Tillerson and John Kelly have previously said he is.