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Letter to the Editor: 05.02.19

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 15:34

From Members

East Hampton

April 29, 2019

To the Editor:

I went to the Jewish Center of the Hamptons for a wonderful Passover Seder! On this holiday there is great focus on the children. Rabbi Joshua Franklin and Cantor Debra Stein did a most excellent job! I don’t recall ever being so entertained at a religious ceremony.

Debra’s outfits were dazzling, while the rabbi (also adorned in garments of splendor) made the evening festive. Some of the highlights included elegant table settings, charming people, and of course, delicious food!

The telling of the story of Passover, and how the Jews were set free from slavery in Egypt, was beautifully described in the Haggadah —  a handbook of sorts used to outline the proceedings. One Haggadah was given to each service attendee. It was sprinkled with reproductions of paintings and anecdotes from members of the synagogue, both past and present.

I was so moved by it, I read it three times from cover to cover! If awards were given to such things, I’d be the first to nominate it for a Haggadah Pulitzer! I hope your readers get a chance to enjoy it as much as I did. 


Bird Sanctuary

East Hampton

April 27, 2019

To the Editor:

On Easter Sunday I joined many other people enjoying the late afternoon sunshine at Atlantic Avenue Beach. I’ve walked this beach many times and was so thrilled to see a handful of piping plovers scurrying across the sand into the dunes. They’re back! Soon the least terns will arrive as well, their “zwreep” calls and aggressive dive bomb attacks when one walks too close to their nests so wonderfully evocative of summer.

Since 2015, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has set up an 800-foot-long fence to protect the least terns and piping plovers that nest on the open sand at the Amagansett National Wildlife Refuge, a crowded beach in the summer. Vehicles driving on the beach, people recreating, and especially mesopredators — foxes, feral cats, and dogs — are major threats to these birds, who raised only two chicks to adulthood for the five years before the fence. 

The fence will be in place from April 1 to Aug. 31 to allow the birds time to nest and raise their young to maturity. Fish and Wildlife asks that the public respect closed areas of the beach, keep the beaches clean and free of trash, and avoid activities that disturb wildlife, such as landing watercraft on the beach. 

This last point is critical for the least terns and other birds that nest on Cartwright Island, among the few nesting areas left for these birds and almost the only one that doesn’t require a fence. The island is privately owned and maintained as a bird sanctuary with great care by the Goelet family.

My hope is that Cartwright Island will remain as is despite the best efforts of the Citizens for Access Rights, who want the public to have the right to use this beach at will. There are so many stories on the internet about these birds nests being destroyed by people arriving at remote beaches in boats to picnic, play volleyball, and sunbathe. The nests are inconspicuous, and I imagine people have no idea what they’re destroying. 

The East Hampton Town Trustees are supporting the position that Cart­wright Island is part of the shoal system and foreshore of Gardiner’s Island, based on a review by a consultant. It’s a win for the birds, and also for us.

Yours truly,


Nutrient Inputs


April 22, 2019

We are all increasingly concerned about environmental issues. Climate change with rising ocean levels seems to get the most attention, but you cannot pick up an issue of The Star without seeing an article about some water quality problem at a local water body. This includes both marine and freshwater water bodies.

As an environmental engineer for over 35 years, I know the causes and solutions for these problems are often complex. With that said, there is one straightforward aspect to the cause of these problems I would like to highlight: lawn fertilizer.

As it is spring and many of us are busy working on our properties and landscapes, I too often witness the overapplications of lawn fertilizer. I see homeowners and gardeners heavily applying the material on properties all over town, including harbor front and other waterfront properties. During heavy rainfall, a large percent of these soluble fertilizer runs off with the surface flow into the nearest water body resulting in excessive nutrient loading into these aquatic environments. These fertilizers also often contain herbicides and pesticides.

These nutrient inputs lead to some of the water quality problems, such as algae blooms and low dissolved oxygen concentrations we are experiencing and struggling to understand and correct. Often expensive solutions, such as advanced septic systems with nutrient removal technology, and in the case of downtown Montauk, the construction of a new multimillion-dollar sanitary sewer collection system have been proposed to treat some of the water quality problems. The limiting or banning the use of lawn fertilizer would have a positive impact and would also save homeowners money. The overuse of fertilizer also can impact the groundwater quality, which can contaminate public water supplies.

I don’t use any fertilizer on my own property and while my lawn does not look like a putting green at Montauk Downs, over all it looks pretty good.

Limiting or banning the use of lawn fertilizer is an easy change to implement and will certainly help the East End’s environment. As I write this letter on Earth Day, I think this is something we should all consider.

Yours truly,


Fascinating World

Sag Harbor

April 29, 2019

Dear Editor, 

I just want to congratulate you and Judy D’Mello for the wonderful new addition to your paper – the Travel Section! If anything, it reminds us that there is a big fascinating world out there. Especially after a long winter it’s great to fantasize about wonderful trips, different cultures, and beautiful environments that we normally don’t think about. 

Judy’s article about her trip to Bhutan sparked in me all the wonderful things that occur when you travel, and also reminds us about how beautiful the planet is and the urgent need to safeguard it as well as to contribute to economies of people who are less fortunate than we are. I will certainly look forward to seeing more travel issues! 

All the best, 


Founding Director

Wings Over Haiti

Fantasy Escape


April 23, 2019


Reading Judy D’Mello’s article “The Enchanted Kingdom” was like a much-needed tonic. In the midst of winter doldrums, with spring finally blooming, this article was a coveted, fantasy escape. Bhutan and its Gross National Happiness are on my bucket list.

If we are stuck here in the Hamptons with no foreign movies to see, at least we have Judy D’Mello to describe a life that I often seek out in the movies. I am so happy she has a dedicated travel section. I’ll go time traveling with her any day.


Unnecessary Dishes

East Hampton

April 26, 2019


Within the April 25, 2019, edition of The Star there was an article titled “Difficult Dishes.” The author implied that many recipes are difficult for humans to create. The author referred to a few difficult recipes and even provided a few of these recipes. 

What the author didn’t provide was a discussion as to how difficult it must be for the animals involved in the recipes to unwillingly provide themselves, their offspring, and their secretions to these Difficult Dishes. It seems fairly obvious that the farm animals involved in these dishes find their lives unnecessarily very difficult from a variety of perspectives relative to the insignificant difficulties incurred by the humans choosing to create these unnecessary dishes.

The recipes displayed prominently within the article recommended dairy products. Didn’t Health Canada recently almost entirely remove dairy products from their 2019 Nutrition Guide? Isn’t there an abundance of independent literature that suggests that dairy consumption is unhealthy for humans? 

How could Difficult Dishes possibly be included within The Star under the caption “Good Food”? How could good food cause difficulties nutritionally, environmentally, and for animals?



East Hampton

April 29, 2019

Dear David:

It is so rare for me to disagree with your editorials and equally rare for me to write. But, I need to say yes to Tesla (the company that, almost singlehandedly, brought electric cars to America)!

Here’s why: Of the 250 million cars in the U.S., only one million of them are electric. The cost of the vehicles and the lack of charging stations have been the deterrents (not to mention our current administration, which is doing everything in its power to support fossil fuels). As a population, it hasn’t helped that we don’t realize how critical the transition of all things fossil fuel to electric is. Transportation is a huge user and estimated to be responsible for 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. If we succeed in switching from gas to electric, we will have the opportunity to power that electric with renewable sources.

This is huge. Huge, because as we demand our electric to be fueled by renewables, we will generate more solar, more wind, maybe even more hydropower. We will accelerate our energy storage systems. It will be cleaner and, yes, it will all be cheaper. So if Tesla wants to give us a charging station — or in this case, eight — and the only cost to us is use of a public parking space and enduring the word Tesla on that station, why would we say no? Not to mention that in order to convince the town to accept this gift Tesla also brought Electrify America to the table, providing (also without cost to the town) four additional universal charging stations. You also failed to include in your editorial that these stations (which you decry as free advertising on town public land) are free to the town (at an estimated $50,000 per station). Tesla and Electricfy America are also covering the costs to connect to PSEG. 

This feels so ungrateful, and if the growing risks posed by climate change don’t encourage a little gratitude when a for-profit company gifts us something we would otherwise have to pay for, we are foolish indeed not to accept it. 

Furthermore, the Montauk stations are all Level 3 chargers unlike the cheaper Level 2 chargers (which take three to four hours). Of course, Level 2 works well for places of employment (perhaps the kind The Star has). And, if everyone traveling in an electric car to Montauk had a home there, they could plug into their own house and fill up their Level 1 battery overnight. My guess, however, is that many tourists visit Montauk, and I would additionally guess that Montauk wants their business. Having Level 3 charging stations, waiting for them, has got to be a plus, even if some of them are Tesla — goodness forbid.

And, if someone is offended by a Tesla sign or the disruption of bringing a wind farm transmission line under the ground in the neighborhood of their house, or for the fun of it breaks a solar panel at the town’s new solar farm, then I feel like saying, enough. 

It is time for us to realize that we have to do everything in our power to bring this stunning global warming problem under control — big and little things.

Personally, I am ashamed of myself for still driving a 2004 nonelectric car but that, too, shall change. On the other side of that coin, I live in a town which I am crazy proud of. It has, without East Hampton Town taxpayer money (including mine) and often with the advice of thoughtful and diligent volunteer advisory boards, purchased five electric vehicles, built a significant solar farm, and made other significant inroads pursuing the challenging goals of 100 percent renewable (particularly if the Deepwater Wind project can make its way through the bureaucracy). I surely will not agree with them on everything they decide to do, but they are only one of 90 U.S. cities to make this commitment and to act upon it. Bravo East Hampton and its board. 



Electric Charging

East Meadow

April 27, 2019

Dear David,

It’s wonderful news that the town of East Hampton has a solid proposal on the table from Tesla-Electrify America to bring electric vehicle charging stations to Montauk (“Tesla Wants Montauk,” April 18). 

East Hampton has been consistently progressive in demanding and procuring clean energy, with a goal of using 100 percent renewable energy across sectors by 2030. Electrifying transportation is a part of this goal. Transportation creates more greenhouse gases than electricity generation in New York, about a third of the total amount.

Electric charging infrastructure that can charge a vehicle in only 15 minutes will help the town of East Hampton to fully switch its own vehicles to electric, as well as providing an incentive for private motorists to make the change.

Individual steps against climate change, like retiring an internal combustion car, are only possible if government steps up with meaningful policies, like creating an electric charging infrastructure, to make those individual decisions possible.


Montauk Wants Tesla


April 23, 2019

To the Editor:

Your headline “Tesla Wants Montauk,” about the proposal to install fast charging stations for electric vehicles, might be more accurate as “Montauk Wants Tesla.” 

Montauk should want this anyway, as the proposal will add valuable infrastructure at no cost to the town. Tesla is the leader in fast charging with its proprietary Superchargers, but by partnering with Electrify America, it will help automotive competitors whose cars use a different charging interface. 

As a Tesla Model 3 owner, I want this. Fast charging at a Tesla Supercharger lets me add 50 miles of range in a few minutes. This would be especially valuable in a location as isolated as Montauk.

As a human being concerned about climate change, I want this. I want more people to drive electric vehicles, Teslas or not, but the lack of convenient fast charging away from home is a barrier to wider adoption. Generating electricity is already cheaper and less polluting than gasoline. And the electricity that powers E.V.s can be emissions-free, and it will be generated in future from Long Island’s plentiful offshore wind.

Finally, for any doubters about the aesthetics of charging stations, please visit the eight Tesla Superchargers located in the parking lot of Cafe Crust on the highway in Southampton, if you even notice them. They are elegant and inconspicuous. 

So does Montauk Want Tesla? I certainly hope so!


Town’s Initiatives

East Hampton

April 29, 2019

Dear David,

The Star’s April 25 editorial “Tell Tesla No,” however well intentioned, is misleading. Disappointingly so. East Hampton has been very fortunate having The East Hampton Star’s excellent news coverage and reasoned editorial page, covering the town’s transformation from fossil fuels to clean energy resources, all in pursuit of its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy. Follow the Tesla proposed project facts: 

As a designated clean energy community, East Hampton Town received a $100,000 award, which it used to purchase five Nissan electric vehicle “Leafs.” An electric vehicle town fleet (like the municipal buildings that will soon carry solar panels) are a great demonstration of the town’s commitment to its 100 percent goal. With the E.V. marketplace percolating, the newly acquired electric town fleet, and soon the summer crowds foraging for a place to charge their electric vehicles, East Hampton cannot afford to ignore the need to begin investing in a charging station infrastructure. But the harsh reality is the town cannot afford the substantial cost of installing electric vehicle infrastructure, either.

The true origin of the Tesla-East Hampton town connection follows: When faced with this funding dilemma, like so many “clean energy communities” around the country, East Hampton began to explore — over a year ago — private-public partnerships to fund the creation of electric-vehicle charging stations. Tesla’s present proposal — worth over $1 million — is for eight Tesla charging stations and four “universals” in the Montauk parking lot near the Post Office. Under the supervision of the Department of Natural Resources, the Tesla team worked assiduously to refine the conceptual drawings to best accommodate the aesthetics of this Montauk public parking lot. While I applaud the good news PSEG-LI is now offering a $500 rebate to electric vehicle owners who are able to install “smart” chargers at home, this does not solve the problem of needed, public fast-charging stations. 

The Tesla branding of a mere handful of these proposed electric vehicle stations on a public parking lot, where no trees are threatened or more cement rolled out, stands in stark contrast to the glaring branding of the community’s numerous gas stations delivering a fossil fuel whose emissions will then burn into the atmosphere. Availability of an additional charging station, 12 parking places in the Montauk public parking lot, serves to alert the community to the revolution beginning to take place in a growing electric vehicle automobile industry and to a growing East End market.

This is the type of initiative that our town has spearheaded over the past year in support of its 100 percent goal. Prior initiatives have included the formation of the town-appointed energy sustainability plus resiliency committee, which has developed a working “tool chest,” the Energize East Hampton Portfolio ( to assist the town in reaching its 100 percent goal. In addition to employing clean energy resource opportunities in solar, “Solarize East Hampton,” and planning for offshore wind power, the town board has designated programs in home retrofits, green building codes, and increasing battery storage. The launch of the South Fork Commuter Connection, connecting L.I.R.R. trains with shuttle services, is reducing the region’s traffic congestion and automobile fossil-fuel emissions.

The success of the East Hampton 100 percent goal depends on the community’s awareness and participation. With East Hampton, coping with rising sea levels, a warming ocean, receding coastlines, and more frequent and unpredictable weather events, The Star should be supporting the town’s initiatives for the 100 percent clean energy transformation. There is an urgency here as a challenged planet’s clock is ticking.

This type of municipal action is the innovation the East Hampton High School students from the environmental science club stressed in addressing the town board at its April 16 work session in support of the Tesla Montauk charging station project.

As so many clean energy communities have, to jump-start the installation of the millions of dollars of infrastructure needed for electric vehicle charging stations, forming a public-private partnership is one small step the town can take toward supporting its citizens and summer visitors who have boldly elected to forgo reliance on fossil fuels and “go electric.”

David, these are the facts why the town, and The Star, should welcome the 12 designated electric-vehicle charging stations in the Montauk parking lot.

Thank you,


Tuthill Pond


April 26, 2019

To David:

In reading Marc Rowan’s response to my letter to the editor of April 18, I am frustrated and concerned that he is claiming “no expansion.” Over the past two years, there has been an enlarged outdoor eating area, indoor seating has been added, and a “private dining deck” has materialized that never before existed. As I write this, there are two Dumpsters full of construction debris from further renovations. There has, therefore, been considerable expansion.

I applaud Mr. Rowan’s commitment to the environment by reducing the plastic waste, but he did not comment on the harm being done to Tuthill Pond due to his use of wetlands for a parking lot and excess storage.

It bears repeating that Mr. Rowan was aware of the fragile nature of the property before he purchased it.

I had mentioned Concerned Citizens of Montauk only to enlist their help in saving Tuthill Pond. Once it’s gone, there is no getting it back.


Stagger the Election

East Hampton

April 28, 2019

Dear David,

Speaking as the clerk of the East Hampton Town Trustees, as well as on behalf of the trustees’ Democratic candidates, I am in complete agreement with your April 25 editorial titled “Trustees Change Needed.” For several years, the Democratic trustees have been discussing how best to stagger the election of this large board. We applaud The Star for raising the profile of this issue for public debate.

Splitting the trustee elections into smaller groupings would allow the voters to better express their concerns to candidates and this in turn would bring forward candidates who are better known to voters. 

Our sensitive environment is currently experiencing severe stress. It is crucial that future town trustees understand the responsibilities of the position and are willing to make difficult decisions. I feel that understanding the responsibilities and duties has been lacking in the past, and can endanger our quality of beaches, bays, and bottomlands in the near future.

There are several possible ways to stagger the town trustee elections. We could move toward three terms of three years each. To sync the rotation, the initial election could award the three highest vote winners with a three-year term, the second highest with a one time, two-year term, and the next three with a one time one-year term. The following year, the winners receive a full three-year term, as would the following year’s election. This, however, will permanently create a local election every year. Is that something the constituency would look forward to?

Another approach could be to mirror the way we elect the town board. Every two years, four trustees win a four-year term. Every two years the voters would elect the position of trustee clerk, as we now elect our town supervisor. At present, the trustee board elects the positions of clerk as well as two deputy clerks at its organizational meeting each year. 

The final option that could be considered is to decrease the size of the board. Originally, the trustee board comprised 12 members, but was quickly dropped to 11 members and then its present 9 members. So there is precedence for a decrease. However, with the increased workload that the trustees have already experienced, this approach would most likely require the positions to become full time, and that comes with additional financial burdens to the taxpayers, such as major salary increases and benefits not currently offered with the position.

Any of these approaches would surely allow better opportunities to understand and choose the candidates. With no lack of great minds in East Hampton, I’m sure we will be offered other options to tame this rodeo. Again speaking for myself and my trustee Democratic candidates, we eagerly look forward to this discussion throughout the upcoming election season, beginning with the primary, Tuesday, June 25. 



Present trustee board


April 29, 2019

Dear Editor:

Your editorial last week, “Trustees Change Needed,” is definitely a good idea. The subject of staggered terms has actually been discussed over the years but has never been brought to fruition. I think it might be too late this year for a referendum, but perhaps the 2021 election might be the right time. 

It is my concern that the present trustee board is not serving East Hampton Town residents as they should. Are they really listening to the people? They gave away Lazy Point with 35-year leases and made the residents of Lazy Point millionaires. The letters of support were all from those who own houses at Lazy Point. 

Many of the trustees, I understand, support Deepwater and some think that 80 percent of East Hampton Town residents support Deepwater. I don’t believe that. We also worry that eventually the trustee board could give more power over to the East Hampton Town Board. The Towns of Brookhaven and Huntington trustees gave the power to their town boards years ago. We cannot let this happen in East Hampton.

Sincerely yours,



East Hampton Independence Party

Colossal Error

Sag Harbor

April 29, 2019

Dear David,

It was disappointing to learn of the East Hampton Town Trustees decision to extend land leasing at Lazy Point to 35 years. Memorializing long-term occupancy in an area highly vulnerable to accelerating sea level rise is shortsighted thinking. 

Decades-long land leases will be the catalyst for expanded development and the demand for infrastructure. Moreover, it will instill a notion of permanence while ignoring significant economic and environment ramifications — the financial burden of raising roads, delivering water, treating sewage, and storm recovery, not to mention the cumulative impacts from the incremental armoring of Lazy Point, inevitable issues of concern, with surging seas and coastal inundation.

As managers of coastal resources on behalf of the public interest, the decision to issue long-term leases was a colossal error in judgment. Political expedience trumped political courage. But this must change. Because today’s decisions have monumental implications for tomorrow’s environment. 


Founding President

Defend H2O 



April 29, 2019

Dear Mr. Rattray,

Perhaps Elaine Jones should rename her latest political party. I suggest the ConFusion Party.


Just Beginning

East Hampton

April 23, 2019

Dear Editor:

Many people have reached out to me with questions after news broke of the county Republican chair declining to file a Wilson Pakula on behalf of the slate the East Hampton G.O.P. put forth. Please allow me this opportunity to use your letters column to speak directly to the local electorate on this subject, as I am not a politician. I am a candidate.

First, I’d like to express my appreciation to the East Hampton G.O.P. for allowing me to screen and ultimately nominating me. Were it not for that, I would not have been on the radar at all as an aspirant for town board in November’s election. As it stands today, I am on the Independent and Conservative lines and anticipate picking up others. 

Second, I am grateful to all of the people who signed nominating positions on my behalf. I feel your frustration and can’t blame you for feeling betrayed. Your support and encouragement are meaningful. The conversations we’ve had in reference to the issues that are impacting you will not be forgotten or dismissed. 

Lastly, the campaign is not over. On the contrary, it is really just beginning. I am and always have been a completely independent public servant of integrity. Rather than sell my soul to any political party, I have remained steadfast in my allegiance to Team East Hampton. Having experienced firsthand the deterioration of trust in the leadership of our elected officials, it is time for me to step up and move us all forward.

Working for East Hampton,


Streaming Services

East Hampton

April 27, 2019

Dear East Hampton Star,

I have something to get off my chest but didn’t know where else to turn to vent. It concerns the modern move to join streaming services for video and gaming content rather than owning a hard copy of the product. I recognize that for many people this is a good choice, especially if you are trying to make the new microhome way of life work. The thing is that it doesn’t work for everyone, especially if you don’t live in an area with fiberoptic capability, such as most of our area. 

The biggest problem I have heard about is losing signal due to weather or some other disruption of the signal. My own experience extends primarily to On Demand service from Optimum and whenever there is inclement weather, such as last night, I tend to experience interference from lightning and sometimes even water seepage. 

Another major problem that I find with streaming services is that they often don’t have what I’m looking for, especially if it’s older or obscure. When I’ve directed my younger cousins, nieces, and nephews to find old films, like the old Ray Harryhausen classics or “This Island Earth,” they often complain that they can’t. I’d loan them my DVD, but they or their parents no longer have DVD or even Blu-ray players. 

As a fan of animation, there are also some very obscure films I have never been able to find on DVD at all, though I did at one time have them on VHS, long since degraded from overplaying. Even if you can find the content you are looking for, all too often there will also be a technical problem that is external and prevents you from seeing the content. 

In the realm of video games, I don’t like playing online mainly because I can’t see who or what I’m connected to. No, a camera will not help. I’m also not sold on multi-player online stuff. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t offer it; after all, Warhammer and Doom are two of the most lucrative online games of all time. By having a hard copy of the software, however, I don’t have to worry about technical problems or external incompatibilities. 

I tried a subscription to Steam in order to be able to play a few games that required it, but despite my system being more than adequate to play them, they never ran right and I was constantly losing my progress. I have other issues with newer platforms — primarily that they have gotten away from fun adventure games to feature mostly first-person shooters, which are so violent and bloody that I can barely watch the trailers. 

Getting back to my original subject of streaming, the latest problem I see on the horizon is the impending use of G5 technology to make wireless transfer even faster. The problem is that this wavelength is so weak that it only travels a few hundred feet before it becomes unusable. This would mean placing antennas everywhere on every street corner and, out here, on every telephone pole (as if what we have isn’t enough). 

The thing is that I have a problem with wireless technology, which transcends mere annoyance. I’ve written before that I’m one of a growing demographic of people who actually have a physical and neurological reaction to this technology. My version is that it makes me seasick, meaning that it is affecting the semicircular canals in my inner ear. Other people actually exhibit rashes or develop mild burns when there is no apparent allergen or other stimulus. Medical science just barely recognizes this as an actual phenomenon and has dubbed it “perceived electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome.” They call it “perceived” because they have never been able to simulate it in laboratory conditions and, therefore, have no way to quantify it. As a trained biologist, I understand their position — if I didn’t suffer from P.E.H.S., I would have a difficult time believing in it as well. The thing is that G5 signals are similar to signals that are used by police and the military for communication and the Emergency Broadcast Alert System. I know that I’m sensitive to those and so adoption of G5 will be disastrous for me, turning me into even more of a hermit than I’ve already become. 

As it is, I mostly only venture out to get food and necessities from the store. If they put antennas on every corner, I won’t even be able to deal with shopping for food, and I’ll be confined to my house by an invisible barrier. And no, there is no way to block the signal. 

To sum up, I find that the new modern model of enjoying video-based entertainment is becoming increasingly difficult for me and those like me. No one asked us if we wanted all this technology. No one warned us that we would be losing a way of entertaining ourselves that we found enjoyable. And in my case, no one stopped to wonder if the new technology would actually degrade certain people’s lives. It’s like Ian Malcolm says in “Jurassic Park”: “You’re so obsessed with whether you could that you never thought once about whether you should.”

I urge any board members reading this to really think twice before allowing Altice (the parent company of Optimum) or any other company to install G5 in our area. It really will destroy my life and probably harm the lives of others. And since the benefits are really just entertainment related, no one actually needs it — period. 

Thanks for reading.



Filled the Space


April 25, 2019

Dear Mr. Rattray,

Several weeks ago I encountered my friend Jack Emptage at Rowdy Hall, where he was hoisting a beer with his son John and John’s lovely wife, Britton. So very nice to see them all! Jack said to me, “I haven’t seen any letters in The Star from you in a long time, what’s the problem?” 

I apologized and said that I’d been really distracted with my company’s move in Manhattan from 18th Street to 35th Street, after 26 years in the same location. I also mentioned that, in fact, I was in the process of gathering and editing letters and stories I’d written over the past 20 years and would compile them in a collection, which I planned to publish this summer. Jack’s response: “Who on earth would read that, with the possible exception of me?” 

With that, I threw my glass of chardonnay in Jack’s face. He retaliated by throwing his beer in my face and punching me hard in the stomach. Joe saw this (Joe sees everything), jumped over the bar, grabbed both of us from behind the neck, and smashed our heads together. With blood gushing from a gash just above my right eye, I apologized to Joe, and to John, and said I’d like to buy a round for John and the kids. Joe dabbed the wound with a bar napkin and said, “Sure, Rowdy IPA?”

Just over a week ago I was out for a walk on Bluff Road in Amagansett and ran into my neighbor John Mannix, who said, I swear, “I miss your letters in the paper. They should give you a column!” Again, I gave John the honest explanation for my lack of productivity and thanked him for his kind words. In doing my research for this letter, Mr. Rattray, it appears that my last thoughtful contribution to The Star was actually in August of 2018. That is definitely a dearth of words, sentences, and paragraphs from yours truly. And yet I know you’ve filled the space where my letters might have been with important news and commentary, so maybe it’s been for the best.

I know also that you yourself are aware of the collection I’ve been assembling (including the letters) because I sent you a draft of the nearly completed volume and asked if you’d consider writing a “pithy or amusing” quote for the cover jacket! And you said, “Happy to!” Yay. Your jacket blurb arrived two days ago and began with: “Lyle puts the lip in solipsism.” I was pumped! So I looked up “solipsism” and discovered that it has a not-so-flattering meaning: the theory that only the self exists. Also: extreme egocentrism.” 

Now, to be honest, I do understand how a “tribute” like that might be the first thing that would come to your mind, given my consistent fixation on my own ideas and fantasies. Though I must admit, they are pretty unique and compelling. Still, Mr. Rattray, the jacket blurb is supposed to intrigue, even captivate, the casual bookstore browser. So I hope you won’t object, but I did make a slight adjustment to your endorsement. Let me know if you’re good with this: “Lyle puts the awe in awesome.” No? How about, “Lyle puts the pen in stupendous.” Or “Lyle puts the tic in fantastical.” “Lyle puts the cred in incredible?”

Okay, never mind. On reflection I’m just gonna stay with the solipsism thing, and hope nobody looks it up before paying for the book. And I do appreciate what you sent, Mr. Rattray. You put the cent in munificent!

Solipsistically yours,


A Haiku

“Why not a statue

of Rommel, the Desert Fox,

on the Mall, near mine?”


Hell Bent

Sag Harbor

April 18, 2019

Dear Editor,

I am so frustrated. I just cannot watch the news, even Fox, anymore. The democrats just make me sick and they get so much air time in all the media. Trump can do nothing right in their mind. It is so frustrating. I cannot wait to watch the comedy show of the Democratic debates, but other than that, all I can do is vote and make donations to Judicial Watch.

I do not understand why the democrats are so hell-bent on destroying the U.S.A. I do not understand why the Department of Justice is not investigating all the obvious crimes that the Clintons have committed. No one seems to care. I just have to get away from all the politics and the stupidity of the Democratic Party for a while. I know I am a lone wolf in the heart of liberal land, a.k.a. the Hamptons. There are so many intelligent people out here, I just do not understand why they are so biased against common sense and will not even try to work across the aisle. All these politicians work for us, but you would never know it!

A frustrated conservative,


Friendly Competition

East Hampton

April 30, 2019

Dear Mr. Rattray, 

As the 2020 race for the Democratic Party nomination for president heats up to about 20 people who have thrown their hats and bras into the ring, I could not help noticing the similarities with the process that is used by the TV shows The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Both have about 20 contestants going in, but only one can come out on top. One by one over a period of time they drop out or are voted out by their respective rules. The survivors during each selection period live to fight on, some by getting a rose, the others by getting votes during a caucus or by raising money.

To ease the pressure on the politicians I would like to suggest a sort of retreat for about a week on a Caribbean island as sort of a meet-and-greet. This will be hosted by Tom Perez, head of the Democratic National Committee, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for some fun in the sun and some friendly competition. There could be some nonstrenuous activities such as shuffleboard, darts, short-distance swims, and walking races, which would be less likely to injure the participants. 

This will be followed by some one-on-one time using a rotational method where each potential nominee could meet with the others. I believe this would lessen any hostility among the participants when the debates begin. It will allow all the remaining politicians to focus on their own qualifications and character rather than attacking their opponents, who have become their friends during their island retreat. I hope civility will prevail. What could possibly go wrong?


Your Own Container 

East Hampton

April 26, 2019


Republicans or Democrats who get the message, be who you are and not what the world wants you to be. One of the largest factors of being yourself is accepting who you are. Our history begins before we were born. We represent the hereditary influences of our race, and our ancestors virtually live in us, some good some bad. The major reward in a politician’s life is the reward they bring to others. You attract people by the qualities you display; you keep them by the qualities you possess. Having a positive mental attitude is saying something can be done, rather than saying it can’t be done.

Sadly, it seems Democrats will say anything to win an election. They have run out of ideas. They do not share in the dreams of our forefathers nor believe in them. They are a dying party and are dangerous, divisive, and disruptive. They want open borders, the Electoral College abolished, and to increase the Supreme Court justices from 9 to 15. They would like to abolish the First and Second Amendments of the Bill of Rights and set the voting age to 16-year- olds to vote. They want to allow convicts serving prison terms to vote, and free Social Security and Medicare for all. 

As of today they have 19 who want to be president. “Handy Hands” Joe Biden has made up his mind to run. That makes 20. Democrats are like a flat tire you can’t go anywhere till you change it. Leadership is an action not a position. Knowledge is free at the library; all you have to do is bring your own container. The Democratic brain is guaranteed to have a certain capacity, but often is running on empty. Democrats have to clean their own house before they clean any others. Racism has no place in the Congress of the United States. Al Sharpton can be seen a lot of the time with Bernie Sanders. Is he giving him advice like he did to Tawana Brawley? He and others like him keep racial tension fueled.

At times we Americans prefer listening to stories as opposed to listening to facts. You can ask the universe for all the signs you want. But ultimately we see what we want to see, when we are ready to see it. The more we know ourselves the more clarity there is.

Self-knowledge has no end. It is endless, there is no conclusion. A wise man never knows all; only fools know everything. The doors we open and close each day will decide the lives we live. When one bases his life on principle 99 percent of his decisions are already made.

The written word can be erased, not so with the spoken word. Too many speak twice before they think. Representative Adam Shift is one of those persons, as well as Representative Ilhan Omar. Unfortunately the mouth of a cannon is safer than the mouth of a Democratic politician.


The “Wins”


April 22, 2019

Dear David:

Now that it would like to put Mueller’s denunciations of the Trump administration behind it, the G.O.P. is embarking on a new campaign of dishonesty.

Recognizing that the destruction of the environment and the dismantling of environmental protections by his administration will be a battleground issue in the 2020 elections, Mr. Trump and the G.O.P. will embark on an entirely disingenuous campaign strategy: The G.O.P. is the real environmental champion. The G.O.P. is developing campaign talking points detailing its battle against climate change and environmental success stories. 

This is a tall order, given its sooty record. Let’s just catalog some of the “wins” the Trump administration, cheered on by the G.O.P., has chalked up. 

It has withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris accord on climate change; it has forbidden even the use of the words “climate change” in governmental communications; it has charged the Environmental Protection Agency with undoing the Clean Power Plan developed by the Obama administration, which would slash the greenhouse gas emissions from power plants; it rescinded Obama-era regulations prohibiting the dumping of mining waste into neighboring waters; it has opened millions of acres of federal parklands to coal mining; it has opened the Alaskan tundra to oil and gas exploration. And, closest to home, the Trump administration has opened virtually the entire Atlantic seaboard to oil and gas exploration. In his effort to demean renewable energy efforts, Trump reveals his willingness to tell any lie. Now the noise from wind turbines causes cancer. 

We live in one of the most environmentally sensitive (and challenged) areas in the country. Clean water (including our bays and ocean) and clean air are the lifeblood to our industries and lifestyles. I can recall from my youth walking along the beaches of the Jersey Shore and then needing turpentine to remove the tar residue from refinery waste. Fortunately, those days have been forgotten. And they should stay that way.

One would think our so-called congressman, Lee Zeldin, would be a champion of environmental protection. He would like us to believe that, too. But like the Trump administration, he has one of the worst environmental voting records in all of Congress. The League of Conservation Voters reported that Mr. Zeldin voted for pro-environmental legislation just 9 percent of the time in 2018 (his lifetime score stands at just 10 percent).

Given the fragility of our environment on the East End, and the dependence of our economy on a healthy environment, why should we entrust our future to either Mr. Trump or his environmental toady, Mr. Zeldin? The answer is self-evident: We shouldn’t.



Some Lies


April 29, 2019

Dear David,

It seems Dems want to call President Trump a liar. The Washington Post enjoys this name-calling. Listed are some lies by past presidents. 

L.B.J.: None of our boys will die on foreign soil.

Nixon: I’m not a crook.

George H.W. Bush: Read my lips; no new taxes.

Clinton: I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinski.

G.W. Bush: Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.

Obama: I will have the most transparent administration in history. The stimulus will fund shovel-ready jobs (as he and Vice President Joe Biden laughed a year later into the TV cameras at us, the citizens, joked jobs were not so shovel ready).

I am focused like a laser on creating jobs.

The I.R.S. is not targeting anyone.

It was a spontaneous riot about a movie.

I will put an end to the type of politics that “breeds division, conflict, and cynicism.”

Love this one; you didn’t build that.

I will restore trust in government.

If elected I promise not to renew the Patriot Act.

If elected, I will end the war in Iraq and Afghanistan within the first nine months of my term.

I will bridge the gap between America and other countries. (So he went on apology tour.) Biggest one: “I, Barack Hussein Obama, pledge to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.” 

In God and Country,


Lame Excuses


April 27, 2019

To the Editor:

I want to preface my letter by clearly stating that I consider myself to be “on the side” of minorities, as I happen to be one myself and have personally experienced some of the prejudice and discrimination that minorities (and women) face a great deal more of than I do on a daily basis.

I fear that Donald Trump will probably win re-election, and that we Demo- crats will win it for him because most of the national Democrats seem to believe that they always have to go overboard and to ridiculous lengths and extremes to defend and make excuses for all members of minority groups (and illegal immigrants), even when almost everyone can see that the particular individuals are obviously in the wrong, because they need their votes and want their votes one day. We look bad to many Americans when we make this mistake, and we lose their votes. Trump knows this and counts on this to win in 2020.

Take the recent example of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who happens to be a Muslim. For her to casually and flippantly dismiss the tragedy of 9/11 by saying that “some people did something” was totally morally wrong, insensitive, and disrespectful. It was wrong of her to trivialize and minimize the horror of what happened. Plain and simple. She came across as being unpatriotic and not loyal to the U.S.A. Why couldn’t my fellow Democrats admit that? Why did so many of them make lame excuses for her when she herself issued an apology for what she said?

If we Democrats would stop pandering and groveling for votes, and instead focus primarily on fighting for our federal government to do more to help the lower and middle classes with their economic and financial struggles and problems, as our allies do, we would easily defeat Trump and win the Congress in 2020.





April 25, 2019

Dear Editor,

Given the blistering controversy of these times (something which no self-respecting periodical should eschew), where applicable, why don’t you publish the undocumented status of lawbreakers? While I have no axe to grind in this matter, I say political correctness be damned and journalistic integrity be championed, for the news should be reported as it is.

Very truly yours,



East Hampton

April 28, 2019

Dear Editor,

I propose an amendment to the United States Constitution. There will always be political differences among our citizens and among the executive and legislative branches of our government, but we have elections to sort these things out, and although your candidate did not win, most people accept the results. 

The judicial branch of the government is different. We do not vote for judges, but we want a large fraction of our populace to recognize them as impartial referees. Chief Justice Roberts has said that he wishes every Supreme Court decision was 9-to-0, and I wish that were the case too. I dislike it when the president, members of Congress, or even the media criticize court decisions. I want judges to be non-political and I want everyone in this country to recognize them as non-political.

I propose an amendment that all federal judges be nominated by the president and confirmed by two-thirds of the Senate, and even a supermajority of the House of Representatives, perhaps two-thirds or three-fifths. And while we are at it, I recommend that the attorney general, the F.B.I. director, Federal Reserve Board members, Securities and Exchange commissioner, and their key subordinates be nominated by the president and confirmed by supermajorities of both Houses of Congress. The president should not be allowed to fire these people without permission from a majority of both Houses of Congress.

Adoption of this amendment will give much greater confidence in the impartiality of key government agencies. I know there is a surplus of good people to fill these positions, people who place the good of the country above their political preferences. I know; I am one of them, but I am too old to serve.


About Bananas

East Hampton

April 28, 2019


During the civil war in Guatemala, somewhere between 200,000 and 250,000 people lost their lives. Estimates by the U.N. indicate that more than 80 percent of those killed were by U.S.-backed right-wing groups that were armed and trained by the U.S. government. All about bananas and the company that distributes them, United Fruit Company.

During the 9/11 attacks 3,200 people lost their lives. We began two wars, killed 750,000 people, and turned an entire region of the world into chaos. Proportionally the Guatemalan disaster was 80 times greater than 9/11, yet nothing happened anywhere else but in Guatemala.

The question posed in this bizarre world of disproportional madness is who is bonkers and who isn’t? So what we did in Guatemala was to destroy its democracy, kill 2 percent of the population, ruin its economy, and eviscerate the social fabric of a culture that had existed for more than 10,000 years. Not because of its strategic or economic importance to the U.S., but to guarantee that the banana production of the United Fruit Company would continue without problems.

The Dulles brothers and the U.S. government had no second thoughts about what they were doing. Different, colored people who spoke different languages and came from a different culture didn’t count. They never did. Why should they count? It wasn’t “America First.” It was “Only America” counts.

So the real question is why would Guatemalans want to come to a soul-less country that destroyed theirs? Is there anything more grotesque than asking asylum/mercy from the people who ruined your lives for a bag of bananas?

Proportional context. No matter what we think of dark-skinned people speaking foreign languages, this is absurd. No? Is it possible that the level of their desperation is so great that they would make this incredibly dangerous trip? Uproot their lives and everything they know? To go to a place where they already know how they are going to be treated. (Cages and barbed wire?)

It makes no sense to think that they are coming here to get more of what we’ve already given them. Or that they are coming here seeking some kind of retribution for the destruction of their country. Does anyone in the world still think that all the rhetoric we spew about democracy and freedom goes beyond a banana tree?

We have no obligation to the Guatemalan refugees. We are not who we claim or used to be, if we ever really were. We confuse our fascism with our democracy. Our Christianity with Jesus’s teachings. We are full, says the president and his supporters. The real question is full of what.


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