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Letters to the Editor: 05.09.19

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 15:34

At Its Best

Amagansett

May 6, 2019

Dear David,

It was East Hampton at its best on Saturday night at the Neighborhood House where the community came together to celebrate Cinquo de Mayo. This was the second annual fest, hosted and organized by the East Hampton Democratic Committee for the benefit of Project Most.

And what a celebration it was: A full house, toddlers to seniors, from every neighborhood in town. Games for the children, including an Easter egg hunt (which had been rained out) and prizes galore. Fabulous food and drink — tacos, posole, flan, and more — prepared and donated by dozens of local residents. Music provided by three live bands, and a D.J. Dancers in authentic costume. And then, all the guests took over the dance floor and raised the temperature in the hall!

Yes, East Hampton is famous for its splendid beaches and the summer social scene. But what should be recognized as exceptional are the people who have been working together to make our town a true community for all.

Sincerely,

BETTY MAZUR



Only Fair

Amagansett

May 2, 2019

To the Star,

Being as Authors Night brings so much traffic into such a small area, I think it is only fair for Amagansett Library to receive a portion of the proceeds from the East Hampton Library fund-raiser. The community that must tolerate Authors Night — with all its noise and congestion — should also benefit from it.

BLAKE FLEETWOOD



Mother

M is for the million times you kissed me

O is for your open arms that held me

T is for your gentle touch when I cried

H is for all your help when I needed it

E is for how you encouraged me to go on

R is for the raillery that we shared and for your beautiful name, Rose

With love,

SUSAN FLAHERTY



In Harm’s Way

East Hampton

May 6, 2019

Dear David,

I am saddened to hear that the town trustees approved the lease renewal for Lazy Point. Such a decision clearly demonstrates a lack of vision and sound decision making based on science and logic. With sea level rise and extreme climate events on the rise, renewing these leases is not only futile, but can potentially place the lives of first responders in jeopardy, cause inadvertent flood insurance claims, and liability to the trustees for willingly approving people living in harm’s way.

This further goes against the town’s initiatives and goals for Lazy Point. The Town Natural Resources Department has been working hard to buy out homes to reduce future flood claims and restore the low-lying area to its natural state. I’m shocked that Bill Taylor did not recuse himself during the vote, being that he is an employee of the Natural Resources Department. How can a local government employee who directly works for the department trying to protect the town also be an elected official who is voting to do just the opposite? 

Mr. Taylor’s decision goes against, and I’d argue undermines, the hard work of Kim Shaw, Natural Resources director, the staff of the department, the project partners, and the town board. Further, this decision by the trustees de­monstrates a lack of understanding in sciences, sustainability, and resilience. Keeping the situation as it has been isn’t wise, but a foolish gamble that undermines the individuals and families who will reside in these homes and their neighbors. 

A town employee, who is also an elected official, has no business mixing the two responsibilities. This conflict of interest needs to be examined by someone more competent than I. In the meantime, it’s time the trustees think with their heads and not their desire to keep the world as it was years ago. 

Sincerely,

JOHN BOTOS

Mr. Botos is a former Natural Resources Department employee. Ed.



Budget Vote

Amagansett

May 6, 2019

Dear David,

It is the school board budget vote once again on Tuesday, May 21.

The Amagansett residents are urged to look on the Amagansett web- site, aufsd.org, and view the registration drive the school is having on  Wednesday, May 15. This is for residents who are not already registered with the Suffolk County Board of Elections or have not voted in a school election before or have not voted in the last four years in either a general election or school election. 

To be an eligible voter in the Amagansett School District you must be a U.S. citizen, 18 years of age, resident of the school district for at least 30 days prior to the vote, and not able to claim the right to vote in another school district. If you are unsure of whether you are properly registered, contact the Amagansett School at 631-267-3572, and ask to speak to Sandra Nuzzi, the district clerk, or you can email her at [email protected] for verification.

If you are not already registered, on Tuesday, May 21, go to the school with any of the following proof of residency between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The proof must show a street address within the Amagansett School District, New York State driver’s license indicating a physical street address, Department of Motor Vehicles photo ID for nondrivers indicating a physical street address; New York State tax return showing the street address, a deed or other indicia of real-property ownership indicating a physical street address in Amagansett School District; a lease or rental agreement; a utility bill; Suffolk County voter registration card; a current paycheck stub with your name and street address; documentation illustrating that you are receiving public assistance benefits at the physical address within the school district.

Absentee ballot applications are available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Amagansett School for any eligible voter who is unable to attend the vote on Tuesday, May 21. The deadline to bring or mail in the absentee ballots is Monday, May 20, at 4 p.m.

I hope you will find the time to come out and vote on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, for me, Mary A. Eames of Handy Lane. I have been a 45-year member of this community, 28-year member of the Amagansett emergency medical squad, started the PTO in the Amagansett School in 1987 with Lynn Dale and Alice Tillitson, a 10-year Little League softball coach, and work in a school district for 24 years.  I enjoy this town and would like the opportunity to sit on the school board to help represent and benefit the children, parents, staff, and the community of this fabulous town.

Thank you and hope to see you at the vote.

Best regards,

MARY A. EAMES



Had a Responsibility

East Hampton

May 6, 2019

Dear David,

I write in response to the article last week titled “Larsen Eyes Mayor’s Job,” in particular, the last paragraph where he questions “How can you shut Jerry’s business down and keep your own business open?”

It’s a fact that neither I, nor anyone else, tried to “shut Jerry’s business down.” The board of trustees unanimously decided to put reasonable restrictions on Chief Larsen, the highest-ranking law enforcement official in the village, in order to prevent any possibility that those inherent police powers would be used in any way other than in the proper performance of his duties. 

As chief, Mr. Larsen had a responsibility to avoid any appearance of impropriety. When it came to the board’s attention that he may not be adhering to that principle, we acted to ensure that he would. We simply said that he could not solicit his security business within the jurisdiction of the village. He was still free to conduct his business in any other area, provided he did so in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Mr. Larsen continues to suggest that his position as chief of police is comparable to my position as village trustee. That is just not the case, as I have no police powers and there are four other board members who serve as a check on my conduct. Further, I do not have the authority to make any decision affecting village government without the backing of the majority of the board. As chief of police, Mr. Larsen had the authority to make certain day-to-day decisions affecting residents’ lives, without ever consulting anyone. Therefore, the restrictions placed on him were appropriate and have been approved by the courts. Mr. Larsen should have been especially mindful not to overstep his authority by putting his personal interests ahead of the village. 

Lastly, I too look forward to debating ex-Chief Larsen on the issues important to village residents. Those will undoubtedly include the issues raised in his article last week, as well as his mishandling of the Police Department budget and the resulting consequences, and any other issues regarding his past performance that are related to his mayoral candidacy. 

Sincerely,

RICHARD LAWLER

East Hampton Village trustee



Why I Hunt

East Hampton

April 30, 2019

Dear David,

Regarding the current fashionable inquiry toward a hunting ban in any of the East Hampton Town properties, Georges Bernanos put it this way: “The worst, the most corrupting lies are problems poorly stated.” This is an apt statement in our current times. We experience this kind of nauseating corruption daily in the press from every side of an issue.

The East Hampton Group for Wild­life clearly states in a recent letter that they experience “fear and noise that hunting brings.” No facts are brought to bear, just conjecture. Sadly, that is all that is needed these days. How does the East Hampton Group for Wildlife even have the audacity to ask our East Hampton Town Board representatives to usurp federal and New York State law, based on conjecture? This ask of the town board may not be about fear and noise at all; perhaps it is about the abolition of all hunting, and yes, traditional outdoor pursuits in any form at any time. The East Hampton Group for Wildlife should clearly state their intention. 

By the way, many friends of mine don’t understand why I hunt and fish. I don’t understand why they don’t. The facts are that the vast majority of 

outdoorsmen/hunters/fishermen are the most responsible, safe, thoughtful members of our society, and stewards of our local resources. If there are facts that counter that statement, I am confident that the East Hampton Sportsman’s Alliance, and most East Hampton Town residents, would gladly support the town in addressing them when asked to do so!

The facts are that hunting/fishing options in the town have been strictly limited over the years. For the most part, this is not the town’s fault: more people, less space. There are few suitable areas left for the pursuit of game, just factual. Keep in mind that the seasons have been heavily regulated at the federal and state level. The outdoorsmen have not become noisier, less safe. Quite the contrary. What is the basis for the proposal? There is nothing harmonious about this pattern of fearmongering. We should not expect this pattern to go away, but it should not go unchallenged. The incessant call to the town board to change existing laws because a particular worldview is not adopted is not new, but we should ask to what end. The East Hampton Group for Wildlife will never accept that sportswomen and sportsmen are their biggest ally in advocating for wildlife in all its many forms. It should.

Laughably, and to add weight to the conjecture-only basis of the recent proposal, the letter goes on to talk about hunting pheasants. If only! It is extremely unlikely there has been a wild pheasant taken in East Hampton Town for three or four decades. This is due to overpopulations, crowding out, and lack of sufficient habitat. Where are the advocates for wildlife? When was the last time that the reader saw a pheasant, heard a quail coo in the morning? Yes, the deer population has exploded. What is proposed is not just about deer hunting in the woods a couple of weekends in the fall. Again, the proposal is about the abolition of all hunting. Period. The problem, poorly stated as noted above, has morphed. It will likely continue to if unchecked.

Also, castigating individual members of the community who care about these issues is not helpful and undermines any credibility. Comparing outdoorsmen/hunters/fishermen to slave owners is also counterproductive to any civilized conversation. Frankly, it is very offensive. Many of us live here because we love the outdoors, and like to enjoy all of creation in its many forms. The East Hampton Sportsman’s Alliance is chock-full of outdoor enthusiasts, and ardent wildlife advocates. 

We can empathize that some East Hampton Group for Wildlife members believe that all wildlife should experience peace, as people do from time to time. Many people believe that trees have souls too. Having experienced old-growth timber forests on long, deep woods hikes, I can understand the sentiment. However, thoughtfully cutting timber actually replenishes habitat for many of the wildlife for which the group supposedly advocates. Heaven forbid we talk about habitat improvement for wildlife. Now, we live in a time when a chain saw is started in our town the authorities are called. It can get, is, very silly.

If we legislate for one person’s fear, we may all be in trouble. It’s called chaos. That is what is proposed.

The East Hampton Group for Wildlife might invite some outdoorsmen to one of their meetings. A thoughtful conversation on what it means to be a proponent of the outdoors as a sportsman might prove helpful in understanding each other. The East Hampton Sportsmen’s Alliance invites all East Hampton Town residents to its monthly meeting. Please join us!

Long-term optimism is the only realism. I hope on this issue as well!

DAVID E. ASTORR

East Hampton Sportsmen’s Alliance



A Win-Win

Bridgehampton

May 6, 2019

Dear David: 

It was nice to meet you finally in person, at our mutual friends’ gathering two Sundays ago. 

As you already knew, I have spoken with many people in the community regarding the proposal to ban hunting one weekend day a week, which has been brought to the East Hampton Town Board to be discussed. As I said then, everyone had their stories to tell about hunting. 

What I’ve learned from the people I spoke with at the Springs park, at cafes, local shops, on the street, is that while many people believe hunting is necessary for the right reasons, almost 100 percent of them have agreed that the majority of the taxpayers in our community need one day of peace without the sounds of gunshots and this proposal is fair, reasonable, and can work for all.

I have read the editorial “Hunting Limits: Enough Already,” which you wrote last week, and learned that you disagree. But with all due respect, the proposal is not trying to make hunting illegal. The proposal is simply asking for only one weekend day, Saturday or Sunday, out of seven hunting days a week in hunting season, from September to March. 

Hunters can still hunt six days a week, dawn to dusk. Hunters may be working six days a week and may not be able to enjoy shooting animals as a sport on the town-owned land purchased with our tax money, but the majority of the taxpayers may be working six days a week also. My husband works Monday to Saturday, too, and the only day he can sleep in is Sunday. It is very upsetting to be awakened by gunshots at dawn on both Saturdays and Sundays. The gunshot sounds terrify our young children and pets. It’s traumatizing for all. 

You may be one of the lucky people to have a big fenced house that you don’t see hunters wandering right in front of your backyard, but watching hunters with guns or bow from your living room, 500 feet seems too close and most people would feel danger. When my family and I were renting a house on Three Mile Harbor, a group of hunters parked their jeep at the entrance of the backyard and began shooting from there. I called the State Department of Environmental Conservation but I was told it was legal, and that a small bullet wouldn’t kill me. I couldn’t believe it. I called the police, but they just told me not to go outside. It’s not fair. We couldn’t enjoy walking on the beautiful beach, and when we did at last, I found so many empty gun shells the hunters had left behind on the beach. It is littering. 

I hear many of the police officers and the firefighters are hunters. They are heroes, and I am grateful for their service. They must be very careful when they shoot animals. But my understanding is that most hunters come from other parts of New York, and my friend has witnessed some hunters drinking beer and they seemed drunk when they were in the woods with guns. We are afraid of getting shot by hunters by accident. We have not been able to enjoy our privilege to walk in the woods and also on the beaches. 

We are lucky that no hunting accidents have happened in East Hampton yet, but that is probably due to the fact that we remain indoors for fear of an accident. One accident is too many. 

Many people have thanked me for spending the time collecting signatures during this past one month. I have collected signatures from East Hampton, Sag Harbor, and Southampton residents, along with visitors from other parts of the country who come here specifically to enjoy the peace, quiet, and natural beauty of our woods. 

Probably only 1 or 2 percent of the people in this town enjoy hunting as a sport seven days a week, while many people have been disturbed. I believe weekend hunting was added about five years ago due to the proposal from the then deer management advisory committee that is biased in favor of hunting. The town voted without asking us, the other taxpayers and voters in the community. 

We are complaining about it. While many people do not want hunting at all, all we are asking for is one peaceful weekend day. What’s not fair about giving it back to us? 

As of May 6, 330 people have signed the petition to urge our representative leaders to ban just one weekend day a week from hunting. As members, taxpayers, and voters of this community, we and our families deserve to enjoy one peaceful weekend day together from the hectic lives we all live. During these stressful times of change, nature is the powerful healer that reminds us of our connection to all. Let’s create a win-win for us all. 

Love and peace, 

YUKA SILVERA



Ban On Hunting

Springs

April 22, 2019

To the Editor,

A proposal to have a one day per- weekend ban on hunting on East Hampton Town-owned properties was submitted to the town board several months ago. As a member of the town wildlife management committee I was present and participated in a recent meeting at which a resolution against that proposal was adopted by a vote of three-to-one. Councilman Lys stated that he and the town board rely heavily on such advisory committee resolutions. 

The wildlife management committee resolution should not be a determining factor in any decision the town board makes regarding this proposal. Three local hunters voted against the proposal, and the makeup of that committee has a strong pro-hunting bias. There are many more people on the committee than show up for meetings, so we should all be clear about the lack of representation behind the resolution.

Further, when the proposal was first brought to the committee in December of last year there was unanimous agreement that the decision was one for the town board to make. Councilman Lys instructed me to give him a written proposal to take to the town board. Instead of taking the proposal to a work session meeting for open discussion by the town board, the proposal was instead only brought up in two more wildlife management committee meetings. Eventually, Councilman Lys got a committee resolution against the proposal, which would then be taken to the board and used to either reject it or not even discuss it in public. 

The proposal for a one-weekend day ban on hunting is not radical. Shotgun deer hunting had been banned on weekends historically by the State of New York. Hunters did not have the ability to hunt deer on weekends in January. And there was a ban on bow hunting for the entire month of January. Five years ago when the state lifted the ban on weekend deer hunting, shotgun hunters gained eight days. Archers were also given permission to hunt in January, giving them an additional 31 days. Additionally, the Town of East Hampton added more town-owned land for hunting, taking away even more access for the general nonhunting public. 

Having one day free of hunting will still give hunters a net increase in access over what they had from 2002 to 2012. (Before 2002 the shotgun deer-hunting season was restricted to only three weeks in January minus weekends.) They would get four additional days of gun hunting instead of eight. Archers who had been given 31 days of additional hunting would still have an increase of 27 days. 

Much of the discussion has focused on deer hunting, but firearms hunting of other species is extensive. The season begins in early September, when Canada geese are shot, and doesn’t end until early March, when snow geese are killed. During this long span of time many other birds and mammals are hunted. So hunters, while losing a weekend day, would still have several months to use their firearms. 

No one at the wildlife management committee meeting offered any alternative suggestions to give safer, shared access to town-owned lands. We are willing to work to find a solution to this issue but we need a working partner. No alternatives were proposed by the hunters. There was no acknowledgement of the reality that residents have valid concerns about using town-owned land when hunting was in progress. Instead, such fears were dismissed summarily. No reason to reject our proposal that can stand up to scrutiny was offered. Hunting would still be available in town on other privately owned and state land. 

One hunter dismissed people’s concerns about sharing the woods while hunting with lethal weapons was in progress and stressed their excellent safety record in East Hampton. I commend them for that record. However, when I mentioned that I knew of at least one incident where a man was shot in the foot or leg, I was told it was “just an accident,” which is my point exactly. Accidents can and do happen. People have the right to choose the level of risk to which they feel comfortable exposing themselves, their children, and their pets. Although statistically most hunting accidents are among hunters themselves, there have been fatalities of both people and pets in the tristate area. That’s just a fact. And once it happens it’s too late.

As to the quality-of-life issue of gun noise that the proposal addresses, there was zero discussion at the meeting. The town board has so far also ignored this aspect of the proposal. The town has ordinances to regulate construction noise seven days per week. Gun noise is louder and carries farther than noise from a nail gun. We are asking that gun noise, which begins a half-hour before dawn, be ban­ned one weekend day per week.

Complaints that this proposal will ruin hunters’ ability to hunt and feed their families are just not accurate. On a hunt-free day large state properties such as Hither Hills would still be available, as would private lands like those owned by the Peconic Land Trust. The State of New York decided to lift the ban on weekend hunting and expand the hunting season ostensibly to “cull” or “harvest” more deer. That plan does not appear to be working in East Hampton. There are well-accepted studies of the “compensatory rebound effect” showing that when many deer are killed, the deer will then have more offspring to compensate. There is also anecdotal evidence that with more time and land given over to hunting, many deer have left the woods for the relative sanctuary of residential neighborhoods with one result possibly being an increase in deer-auto collisions. Additionally, humane contraceptive programs have been effective in built-up areas like East Hampton, and a contraceptive plan is part of the town’s deer management plan. We’re currently working toward a humane contraceptive program to help manage our deer population.

Supervisor Van Scoyoc made a comment at the last town board meeting that there are numerous town properties for people to hike where no hunting is allowed. I believe that to be inaccurate. I asked him to name some but he did not. I studied the town website hunting booklet and every place where I would normally hike had some form of hunting such as small-game hunting, large-game bow, or large-game gun, etc. Perhaps in addition to the online hunting booklet, the town can produce a booklet of town trails showing where and when no hunting is allowed, but right now I think that would be a very thin book!

Much of the wildlife management committee’s work is about hunters and for hunters. The committee is so biased on the subject of hunting that when no one on the committee even wanted to second my motion to adopt the proposal, one gentleman said he would second it just so we could “get the vote over with.” But hunters are not the voice of the entire community. The town board mem­bers are that voice. As the elected representatives of the town it is their responsibility to consider this proposal and balance the needs of all their constituents. Our community wants a public discussion of the proposed one-day hunting ban. There’s an election coming. People want to know, and have a right to know, where town board members stand on this issue.

We’re living in very divisive times. We need to respect people’s differing opinions and lifestyles and find ways to coexist peacefully and with mutual respect. This proposal is not a pro-hunting or anti-hunting issue. It’s a quality-of-life issue; a more fair use of town-owned properties that incorporates the needs of the entire community while leaving hunters with more land and days for hunting than they historically had before 2012. 

Passing this proposal would be a step toward accepting and honoring the diversity of our community and return some balance to the use of town-owned lands.

CAROL BUDA



We Care

Montauk

May 5, 2019

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to your May 2 editorial, in which you criticize our group’s proposal to halt hunting on Saturdays or Sundays. I will describe how our proposal came about and then say why your characterization of it is inaccurate.

Our group cares deeply about wildlife, and we wish wildlife could have some relief from the town’s ever-expanding hunting. In addition, many in our group find the sound of gunfire to be upsetting in more personal ways. They want to walk in the woods or enjoy waterfronts without the noise and fear that gunfire brings. They want to walk their dogs without worrying that their dogs might get shot. And many of their friends and neighbors share these feelings — and believe their concerns are being ignored. 

So we came up with a proposal that considers the feelings of both people and wildlife. As we said in our two ads in The Star, both human residents and wildlife deserve a weekend day to enjoy nature in peace, free from noise and fear.

Your editorial speculates that we are using people’s aversion to gunfire as a pretext, as part of an effort to incrementally end all hunting. This is wrong. For the last five years we have focused exclusively on fighting the relentless expansion of hunting. We have not thought about a plan to eliminate it. 

Moreover, our concern for the feelings of people isn’t a pretext for our concern for wildlife. We care about both. 

BILL CRAIN

President 

East Hampton Group for Wildlife



Gunshots

East Hampton

May 4, 2019

Dear Editor,

I am one who goes to Three Mile Harbor bay daily with my kids and dog. I find it very disturbing to hear gunshots while there, not to mention stray bullet  caps in the sand as we walk. I cannot help to think how close are those bullets to me and my family, and where the next one will come from. I wonder if you (who wrote the piece) will say the same should a stray bullet shoot an innocent person. This is not about one’s right to hunt. It is about keeping our community safe.

PATRICIA HABR

Bad For Us

Springs

May 5, 2019

Dear David,

Did you get one of those mailers in the mailbox? The one that trumpeted across the top “A Smart Homeowner is a Safe (from ticks) Homeowner?” It was an ad for a tick spraying service. 

Tick spray is made from permethrin. The mailer states that it is “similar to a natural substance found in the chrysanthemum flower” and “is safe to use.” Sounds great, right? Be safe from ticks while keeping the environment safe! 

Not! If you go online and look up permethrin and toxicity to wildlife, you will find that permethrin is “highly toxic to bees and remains a hazard to them for three days” after application. (It’s also very toxic to aquatic organisms and can remain so for up to a year in water.) Even birds can be affected if they come into contact with permethrin within a day of application.

I was prompted to look up the toxicity of permethrin because about a week before the mailer landed in my mailbox, a local beekeeper had told me that all her hives in one location were dead right after an adjacent homeowner had sprayed their yard with tick spray. 

Do you know that bee populations are way down? That’s not just bad for the bees; it’s bad for us. Bees not only make honey but are vital pollinators for many flowers and fruits that humans and other creatures use. 

There’s a better way to keep ticks from infecting you with Lyme or other bad diseases, while also keeping bees and other beneficial insects safe from permethrin. Use cedar oil repellents (apply every two hours). If that’s not enough for you, it would be better to apply permethrin to your shoes and socks once a season (it can endure through many washings) than to just liberally broadcast it through the environment. When you come in from a walk, throw your clothes in the dryer for 10 to 15 minutes on high heat. And get into the habit of checking your body all over at least once a day after you have come in from outside.

Bees are under attack by multiple environmental insults, which combine to make them less resistant to disease and pathogens. You and I can’t do anything about many of those dangers to bees. But we can refrain from spraying per­methrin to control ticks. 

Also, the more we spray, the more resistant ticks will become to pesticides. That’s just going down the devil’s highway to perdition. Let’s think about the harm we may do when we try to protect ourselves from harm and choose a truly safe path. And support our local honey producers, too!

FRANCESCA RHEANNON



Working Together

Amagansett

May 5, 2019

Dear Editor:

Gordon Ryan’s letter last week, suggesting I rename “my latest political party, the Confusion Party” deserves a response and clarification.

First, the East Hampton Fusion is not my party. My party is the Independence Party, of which I am the chairwoman. Second, as you have stated in your wonderful front-page article, the East Hampton Fusion Party is drawn from the unity of the East Hampton Reform Democrats, G.O.P., and Independence Party, residents of East Hampton who are backing a joint or fusion ticket for town office. We are all working together across party lines for the good of the community. Nothing is confusing about that.

I also want to let The Star know what a good journalist Christopher Walsh is, and how terrific his reporting of the news is in every article he writes. How refreshing it is to pick up The Star and know how fair its reporting really is.

Thank you for your accurate reporting of all of the news and your policy of publishing all the letters sent.

Sincerely yours, 

ELAINE JONES

Chairwoman

East Hampton Independence Party



Set Down Roots

Amagansett

May 5, 2019

Dear David,

I read Manny Vilar’s letter to the editor in the April 25 issue of The Star. Mr. Vilar took what I consider to be very unfair potshots at Andrew Strong, a Democratic candidate for town justice who formerly worked for me as an attorney.

Mr. Vilar denigrated Andrew’s knowledge of East Hampton and described him as “an out-of-towner.” I worked with Andrew Strong for almost three years. I know firsthand that Andrew knows the town and its people very well. It is true that he wasn’t born here, but he married a local girl with whom he is raising a family (three young children), and he has certainly set down roots in East Hampton.

Andrew’s background in the law is amazingly diverse. He has experience in local land use law, real estate law, criminal law, immigration law, and business law. He may be the only active attorney in East Hampton with three years’ experience at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. Andrew is certainly not lacking for qualifications.

Finally, when I created a charitable foundation in honor of my late wife, I trusted Andrew Strong’s character, heart, and intelligence enough to ask him to serve as one of the directors of the foundation. Andrew accepted, and he serves as a director today.

Sincerely,

RICK WHALEN



So Impressed

East Hampton

May 6, 2019

Dear David,

I have been doing a weekly show on LTV for the past eight years. In all that time I have interviewed literally hundreds of people, but never was I so impressed by anyone as when I recently interviewed Judge Lisa Rana. A born and raised Amagansett woman, which doesn’t always mean a lot to me, I was struck not only by her diverse and substantial experience and background, but by the depth of her understanding about her role as a judge. Just think of the word “judge.” Pretty heavy! Remember the line about casting the first stone.

Lisa knows that she holds the fate of people who come before her in her hands, be it for minor infractions or more serious deeds. Her decisions affect their lives and can have serious consequences. She respects that fact and deals with people with maturity, sensitivity, and level-headedness. As a matter of fact, I decided to interview her because a prominent lawyer in town advised me it would be worthwhile. He was so right.

Sincerely,

PHYLLIS ITALIANO



Respect for Andrew

Springs 

May 6, 2019

Dear Editor,

I’m writing to you in response to the letter published recently by Manny Vilar and also in support of the candidacy of Andrew Strong for East Hampton town justice. I have known Andrew Strong personally for seven years and I know him to be a kind, generous, and fair-minded person who lives his life with integrity. It is true that he is not a life-long resident of East Hampton (although he is married to one!), but that should hardly disqualify him from the position. He loves the East End, he is raising his young family here, and his commitment to the future of East Hampton in the coming years is more important to me than whether he was born at Southampton Hospital. 

Andrew is a naturally curious person who brings energy and enthusiasm to whatever he does. To know him is to know that he is extremely thoughtful and sincere in his actions and dedicated to helping the least fortunate members of this community. I have tremendous respect for Andrew. I know that he would make a wonderful judge and I hope that residents who are undecided will get a chance to meet and speak with him before the primary next month. 

Sincerely,

LINDSAY ALLEN



Experience

East Hampton

May 6, 2019

Dear Editor:

Judge Rana is clearly the best candidate to represent the Democratic voters in East Hampton. Her opponent in the Democratic primary has been described as a nice guy. I’m sure he is. However, his qualifications fall far short of Judge Rana’s, who was endorsed by the Democrats just four years ago! 

Like her opponent, Judge Rana also practiced in an area of law that advocated and sought to protect some of the least privileged and most vulnerable among us. After graduating from law school, Judge Rana started her own practice and represented children who were abused, neglected, charged with crimes, or who were caught in the middle of battling parents in contested divorce and custody litigation. She also volunteered as a rape crisis counselor at St. Vincent’s Hospital. Prior to law school, she was a caseworker in New York City’s foster- care system.

What Judge Rana has that her opponent lacks is experience. She has served this community as an East Hampton Town justice with honor and integrity for 16 years, treating those who appear before her fairly and impartially. Her opponent states that he has experience handling zoning and land-use matters. That’s fine, but it is only a small part of the cases heard in our local justice court, one of the busiest justice courts in New York State. More important, he primarily appears before administrative boards, not in the local courts. His experience handling criminal, vehicle and traffic, civil, or other matters is close to nonexistent. 

I do agree with her opponent’s statement that “at this moment in time, what we do on a local level is more critical than ever.” His conclusion, however, is off the mark. At this moment in time, we can ill afford to lose Judge Lisa Rana. People before politics. As a lifelong Democrat, I urge that you vote for Judge Rana on June 25, 2019, in the Democratic primary.

Sincerely, 

DEBBIE GEPPERT



Fusion Ticket

Amagansett

May 6, 2019

Dear David,

The Democrats, Independents, and Republicans are working together locally in order to start to heal our country. As a refreshing start, the Republican kick-off event was held last Saturday, April 27, at the Hedges Inn. Suffolk County new chair Jesse Garcia and County Comptroller John Kennedy Jr. came to celebrate the fusion ticket. As a longtime Democrat, I felt so welcomed, as did all the other candidates on the new East Hampton Fusion Party line. Praise and positive thoughts were the theme of the event.

Both Jesse Garcia and John Kennedy Jr. praised the willingness of the Republican Committee, Independence Party, and East Hampton Reformed Democrats to join together to get things done for this community. It’s time for East Hampton to have an inclusive party that will work on local issues affecting all residents of East Hampton. Change happens from the bottom up!

Hope you will support the East Hampton Fusion Party in this election. We will be on the ballot!

Sincerely,

RONA KLOPMAN



Unthinkable

East Hampton

May 6, 2019

Dear David:

For those who ask “why the East Hampton Fusion Party and why now?” the short answer is that with a Democratic Party monopoly in town government, unthinkable things are happening. At least things that to my mind ought to be unthinkable.

It is unthinkable to me that years after the town prevented the Springs Fire District from using its communications tower, the town has not put in place any solution to life-threatening gaps in emergency communications there.

It is unthinkable to me that last year this town board was trying to give away a town road, for nothing, to a demi-billionaire and client of Chris Kelley’s law firm who wants a larger building envelope for his mansion.  Worse, they were disguising the transaction to make it appear as a gift to the town of a trail easement on a road when the town already owns that road.

It is unthinkable to me that four of the town board members, excluding Jeff Bragman, “worked hard,” in the words of Supervisor Van Scoyoc himself, but in secret on a settlement of lawsuits by the billionaire owner of Duryea’s Lobster Deck that had the purpose and effect of evading our zoning and planning laws. Then the settlement was signed by the town attorney without any public action by the town board. Now no one knows anything.

It is unthinkable that the town board wants to land Deepwater Wind’s 130 megawatt cable at Beach Lane in Wainscott and run it down that residential street and several miles of other residential streets without undertaking any investigation whatsoever of the environmental impacts.

It is unthinkable that the town board proposes to accept “community benefits” from Deepwater Wind amounting to $25 per year per household but absolutely refuses to negotiate to protect our own Montauk fishermen against losses due to the wind farm, losses that in Rhode Island must be mitigated and compensated as a matter of law. Perhaps Montauk should accede to Rhode Island.

It is unthinkable that at a public meeting last week on water quality, the county representative spoke about the risk of contaminants in our groundwater other than nitrogen, including pharmaceuticals, but the town has done no testing to find out what chemicals are in our groundwater.

It is unthinkable that after years and who knows how much spent on “hamlet studies,” town planners are now telling the public that it is safe to adopt them because they aren’t really plans at all, merely “vision statements.”  If they are merely vision statements, there is no reason to adopt them. 

It is unthinkable that giant sandbags have been sitting on the beach in Montauk for years, periodically recovered with sand at a cost of millions, with no plan as to how to get rid of them.

The misbehavior and inertia of the town board are the all too inevitable result of political monopoly in which one party is in complete control of government. As a result, elected officials no longer feel themselves accountable to the voters.

The East Hampton Fusion Party, a joint undertaking of the Independence Party, East Hampton Reform Democrats, and the East Hampton Town Republican Committee, is necessary, and right now, so that voters have a real choice in November. Our candidates will be on the Independence Party and East Hampton Fusion Party lines.

Sincerely,

DAVID GRUBER



Treason

East Hampton

May 6, 2019

To The Star:

The most difficult part of politics is the heavy lifting required to get things done. Months and sometimes years of work go into a simple law that everyone agrees is worth passing. Unfortunately, a large majority of our elected officials don’t have the stamina for heavy lifting so they shortcut the process and revert to scamming. What makes it possible is the scamability of the population. Once you’ve been scammed, the red dot on your forehead lets the world know that you are an easy target.

Our recent history is filled with presidential decisions that required truth, awareness, and courage. We judge our politicians differently than we do everyone else. We don’t expect them to be infallible, but the latitude that they are given is ludicrous to the point of being criminal. The recent Russian investigation avoids the idea that we are dealing with treason. Treason is never mentioned by anyone. Yet if found guilty the parties would be facing a death penalty. Serious stuff, if we were even a little serious. It’s not about impeachment, it’s all about betraying the country and treason.

So we look at Clinton’s presidency, and it is marked by the repeal of Glass Steagall. Clinton, deranged by the glitter and the excessive wealth of his new Wall Street pals, was seduced into repealing this piece of legislation that protected the public from the dangers of banking madness. He lied about the negative effects of this action and when the financial world crashed in 2008, we all bit the bullet.

Bush almost did the right thing after 9/11, but he was clueless about Af­ghanistan and Al Qaeda, and didn’t have the awareness and the courage to get out right away. He lied about almost everything we did and wanted to do in Afghanistan. Nothing more to say.

Until he totally fabricated a story of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the threat to America. His nose grew six inches after he claimed our right to self-preservation, and then he launched the most imbecilic war of the 21st century.

Obama struggled with a national health care bill. He realized that all of the Republicans and too many Democrats didn’t believe in the concept until way late. So he forced it through and pretended it was cheaper and better instead of telling the truth. In truth, the Affordable Care Act was a first step — a work in progress. Something to make great if we were capable of making it great. We weren’t. We didn’t. It’s really a DNA issue. See Columbine, et al. Obama forgot he lived in a racist country. Mind-boggling.

So for a really long time the American people were scammed and screwed yet none of these presidents were real schemers. Trump was only that, and when he saw all those vulnerable, unprotected chickens in the hen house, he pounced.

Actions that were easily deemed to be racist, fascist, and treasonous were passed over by the Congress and the American people. That no Republicans stood up against his behavior, that our church leaders were almost muted as they have been on every important social issue in our history except abortion, that Trump’s base continued to scream “lock her up.” Bend over, America. We love you to death.

Truth, awareness, and courage have never been a political strong suit in the U.S. We have never more desperately needed these qualities and never found them more lacking.

NEIL HAUSIG



Seriously Flawed

Amagansett

May 6, 2019

To the editor,

Does The East Hampton Star deliberately slant its reporting against public access rights with respect to Cartwright Island and Shoal? 

For starters, let’s compare headlines in The Star and The Press, both reporting on the recent release of a report to the town trustees, by Steve Boerner, on Cartwright Island ownership and public access rights. The Star’s April 25 headline announces: “Sandy Spit Off Gardiner’s and Off Limits,” as if the report has settled the question once and for all. The Press’s April 30 headline, however, casts doubt on that spin, with a much more evenhanded headline: “Gardiner’s Island Rights Debate Continues.” 

The Star’s headline bias is clear in comparison. The question is, how far does that bias go? So far, perhaps, that The Star and a subset of the town trustees together orchestrated the release of a report that they knew was flawed and damaging to public access rights, deciding nevertheless on a series of steps to portray it as authoritative?

The trustees knew Mr. Boerner’s final report might be seriously flawed because they had been warned about it at least twice. As the citizen who had asked the trustees to defend public access rights with respect to the Cartwright foreshore, I had warned them about this in an email on Nov. 18, after reviewing the preliminary report submitted that week. I wrote: “I ask that you hold off on any public release of Mr. Boerner’s new preliminary report pending [expert review] . . . Serious problems exist with the report, which does not consider public access rights at all. With multiple errors, the not-fully-baked report could be damaging to actual existing public access rights under the Public Trust (or the public’s perception of their rights). As trustees of the Public Trust, you should not allow public access rights to be so damaged, and the public to be so misled by a supposed authority. I respectfully suggest you ask senior experts on local history, public trust, and land conservation issues. to take a hard look at this preliminary report before you [proceed further].” 

I went into detail on the errors, omissions, eccentric theories, and departures from established facts and law, and also did so in person at the trustees meeting on Dec. 10. The trustees, at that point, heeded my advice to not release the preliminary report and wrote to me: “The trustees have not released [the report] to any press or anyone other than you and Rona [Klopman].”

The other person to inform the trustees the report was seriously flawed was Christopher Carillo, the trustees’ attorney, who warned them in a Feb. 18 email that “publishing this product will open the doors to ridicule and hole poking.” 

A confidential source furnished Mr. Carillo’s letter to The Star . . . and also to me. But The Star did not publish that letter in full, only mentioning it briefly at the very end of their story, and effectively dismissing its significance by reporting comments from Messrs. Carrillo, Bock, and Boerner that Mr. Carillo’s email was “definitely not in reference to the final report.” The Star writes: “That was the first draft of the report,” Mr. Carillo said. Mr. Boerner “preliminarily sent it as the final report. We went back and said ‘We’d like you to take a look at the public trust doctrine more.’ He subsequently sent us a final draft.” 

However, Mr. Carillo was not commenting on that actual first draft, the preliminary report I critiqued in November, but on the second draft, what he and Mr. Boerner considered at the time his “final report” submitted in early February. Mr. Boerner had every chance to review my November/December critiques of his work and fix it by February. But he did not. We know that because Mr. Carillo’s critiques largely agree with my own.

Further, The Star takes no notice of the fact that many of the critiques in the Carillo letter remain unfixed in the final report released by the trustees on April 22.

It is worth excerpting a few passages by Mr. Carillo regarding problems that I noticed in November and that remained unfixed in February and even now: “After review of Mr. Boerner’s final report, I must say I am left very underwhelmed. Much of his analysis is based on comparisons to grants of Shelter Island and Fishers Island, thus making a big leap from there as to the ownership of Gardiner’s and Cartwright Islands. Mr. Boerner lists eight important legal documents, but then fails to meaningfully analyze them in any detail or order. Finally, rather than tying any analysis together in a meaningful way, his brief conclusion wanders so far from its purpose that it references the 10,000 islands of Indonesia.”

Importantly, Mr. Carillo points out: “This document is also completely void as to two vital analyses: 1. Public Trust Doctrine: The final document is completely void of this analysis. Alternatively . . . he analyzes the foreshore by embarking on a ‘comparative analysis of many other contemporary Indian purchases.’ 2. Goelet conveyance: This document concludes without ever analyzing the complete chain of title and the most recent conveyances to the Goelet family. Was the Goelet family granted title to Gardiner’s without referencing Cartwright Island? Did the conveyance reference the foreshore or the underwater tidelands? These and many other important questions are left unanswered.”

(It is worth noting here that the Goelet family is a regular advertiser with The Star, a fact that probably should be included as a disclaimer in any Star coverage or opinion piece with respect to Cartwright public access.)

Mr. Carillo concludes: “Unfortunately, I feel we have swung and missed on our attempt to help the public gain any clarity on this important public beach access topic. I do not mean to disparage Mr. Boerner, but I feel he lost his direction a bit on this project. If anything, publishing this product will open the doors to ridicule and hole poking. . . . . I do think we should meet to discuss how the trustees wish to proceed before publishing this report. I have also done some preliminary research on the Public Trust Doctrine I can share.”

While the purpose of my own letter here is not to offer a comprehensive critique of the final report — stay tuned for that — I will note that all of Mr. Carillo’s first paragraph still applies, months later, to the new final report, as does his point about the missing analysis and unanswered questions regarding the chain of title. The “comparative analysis of many other contemporary Indian purchases” still remains in place. It also appears very likely that at least some of the new discussion of the Public Trust Doctrine in the final report comes from Mr. Carillo himself, which is troubling, since the new report now appears to say that the Public Trust Doctrine does not apply to the foreshore, not just of Cartwright Island, not just of Gardiner’s Island, but to all of Long Island! Wow. Mr. Carillo should clarify whether that new eccentric conclusion is his own, or Mr. Boerner’s.

So The Star knew they were dealing with a report by an author that had been strongly criticized on his first two drafts, who had left problems uncorrected even in the final draft. They failed to report that fully, and instead led with a headline and story that would lead the public to believe the matter is now settled by an “expert,” and that Cartwright is “Off Limits.”

Not only that, it appears the release of the report may have been orchestrated by The Star and at least one or more trustees. 

Was it a coincidence that only four days before the report release, The Star ran another story about Mr. Boerner, burnishing his credentials? On April 19, The Star praised Mr. Boerner for writing a report that led the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to change the name of the bay in front of Promised Land from Napeague Bay to Gardiner’s Bay. This is legitimately good work for which Mr. Boerner deserves congratulations. I myself spoke to the trustees about this last fall, agreeing with Mr. Rattray, the leading champion on this point. 

Strange however, that the board informed Mr. Boerner of this newsworthy decision “at the end of February.” I understand he informed Mr. Rattray (The Star’s owner) and the trustees of this good news immediately . . . at roughly the same time as the trustees were being told by their own attorney they needed to discuss how to proceed on Boerner’s Cartwright report, because it was so inadequate.

Is it then a coincidence that The Star sat on this story favorable to Mr. Boerner’s reputation for nearly two months, finally publishing it just four days prior to the release of his Cartwright report? 

And that is not the only funny timing here.

I was told numerous times by the trustees’ office that I would be informed by the trustees if Mr. Boerner was to speak on his report. 

However, I was not so informed by the trustees. Another confidential source informed me around 6 p.m., April 22, that Mr. Boerner had been added to the agenda at the last minute, unannounced. The source later told me that this was done deliberately by Francis Bock to keep me or any other public access champion from attending the meeting and commenting on the Boerner report, saying “Francis was pissed you found out about Steve being at the meeting.”

The trustees had formerly agreed with my request to not release Mr. Boerner’s report in November. And they certainly did not release his final report in February, on advice of counsel. But on April 22, when I urged that they not release the final report until it had been fact checked and reviewed by an expert committee, at no additional cost to the trustees, I was scolded by trustee Jim Grimes, who said: “If a report has been prepared for this board, it is not exclusive to this board. We represent the public. The public will have access to it at or about the same time we do.” 

Of course that is not the way the trustees handled the preliminary report in November or the final report in February. So why the rush now?

In my opinion, the sudden, unannounced surprise release of a report with known flaws, the reportedly deliberate attempt to exclude public trust advocates from the meeting discussing the report release, the failure to run it by an expert committee volunteering such public service at no charge, was intentionally done in order to deliberately confuse the public as to their rights via a slanted Star headline announcing that an island visited by thousands of East Hampton residents over the centuries is now somehow “off limits.” 

I’ll do my best to evaluate the report itself in the coming weeks. I am sure some others will too, as time permits. But let’s be clear. No one has produced any deed that explicitly names Cartwright Island as the property of the Goelet family. So it is fair to conclude that the Cartwright sandbar island is public property, and the public have every right to visit and enjoy that local gem, as they have long done. As the Cartwright family did, long ago.

To live in harmony with their neighbors on the bay, the Goelet family might concede that simple point, count their many blessings, and welcome responsible public access on Cartwright — as did that happy gentleman, the late Robert Lion Gardiner, the previous owner of Gardiner’s Island — but not, according to himself, of Cartwright. 

Sincerely,

ROD RICHARDSON


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