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Letters to the Editor 12.15.11

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 15:48

Great Honor


    December 12, 2011

Dear David,

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Montauk Chamber of Commerce for selecting me for their person of the year. This has been a great honor to me and my family.

    I would further like to thank all the friends and family that attended the Chamber’s end-of-the-season dinner last Thursday at ENE. It was great to get together with everyone and be “roasted” by some of Montauk’s best.

    Sincerely yours,


Rise Above


    December 8, 2011

To The Editor,

    The Mulligan family would like to thank the entire Montauk and East Hampton community, the Montauk Public School and Teachers Association, and the East End Foundation during our time of need.

    We are overwhelmed with all of the compassion, love, and support we have received during this very difficult time for our family. You have re-instilled our faith and love for humanity, and we are forever grateful. You have given us the strength we need to rise above — and to love back.




Being a Doctor


    December 10, 2011

    My name is Juan Torres. I been living in East Hampton for the last 30 years. My occupation is residential homebuilder, however I haven’t built a house for the last three years due to the collapse of the housing and banking market.

    I was always able to keep my medical insurance, so my family and I went to see a doctor whenever necessary, including surgery a few times during our lives. The time came that I wasn’t able to keep paying for my insurance, so I was canceled and left to be living with a prayer not to get sick, have an accident, or be involved in a situation that required a doctor, a hospital, or medical treatment.

    In the business of building houses the physical work is unavoidable, cutting wood, lifting wooden beams, carrying tools, banging nails, walking in heavy brush is the order of the day. My spine was herniated, and I was living in pain for the last eight months, it was unbearable.

    Medical attention was denied for the reason that I have no insurance, and I unable to pay on my own. Then a miracle occurred, I obtained a referral for a Russian surgeon at the Nassau University Medical Center in Nassau County, his name was Dr. Karen Avanesov, I was told he will see me. 

    My appointment with Dr. Avanesov at the medical center was on Dec. 1. After my examination he decided that I needed spinal surgery. Immediately he scheduled my surgery for Dec. 6 at Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream. At this point he never asked if I was able to pay for the procedure, and knowing that I was uninsured, he told me it will be free of charge.

    My operation was successful. I stayed in the hospital for three days, and now I am home happily recovering myself.

    I like to pass the word about this beautiful person who believes in the high duty of being a doctor and curing human beings, disregarding the money issue, something hard to find in America.


Holiday Season

    East Hampton

    December 8, 2011

Dear David,

    The East Hampton Chamber of Commerce would like to thank the many marchers, bands, and floats for making our annual Santa parade a hugesuccess. Not only is this parade a great way to celebrate the holiday season but it also showcases our unique heritage and way of life here on our beautiful East End.


Parade Director

East Hampton Chamber of Commerce

Gordon Peavey

    East Hampton

    December 10, 2011

To the Editor:

    Decades ago, before there were gyms all over East Hampton, I suffered a four-month bout of Lyme disease which left me weak as a newborn kitten. I knew I had to get some exercise. I got out my bicycle and was wobbling down Newtown Lane, where I was spotted by my old friend Carroll West Jones who asked what I was up to. I explained, and she said, “Don’t be silly. Come to class!”

    I went (up a steep and narrow stairway at the Odd Fellows Hall) to a class that totally changed my life. Gordon Peavy’s combination of ballet, jazz, aerobics, and no-nonsense discipline (combined with a fine sense of humor) got me back into shape. And it was fun. I miss it. And I’ll miss Gordon.



Seemingly Innocuous


    December 12, 2011

Dear David,

    Many loud and enthusiastic thanks to David Buda for his thorough reading of The Star (see letter “Distinctly Malodorous” last Thursday) in which he shines a spotlight onto the background of a public hearing scheduled for this Thursday, one that might have otherwise been overlooked.

    All citizens of East Hampton who have recently been reminded of the importance of our ocean beaches and our public access to them should add their kudos for Mr. Buda for the meticulous research he pursued to clarify what is involved in this seemingly innocuous notice of public hearing to remove from town ownership three parcels of town nature preserve property.

    Now the East Hampton Town Board must act as quickly as possible to clarify ownership of these properties, which are held in trust for the benefit of all town residents.





    December 5, 2011

To the Editor,

    The lighting law that is being presented to the people in East Hampton

is not only unacceptable, it is taking us backward instead of forward.

    Why is the town not taking advantage of the intelligence and experience of lighting professionals like Susan Harder to write a law that would promote dark skies and allow enforcement to reduce dangerously glaring lights?

    Please turn out for the public hearing on Jan. 5 to let the town know how you feel.

    Thank you,


Conflict of Interest


    December 12, 2011

Dear David,

    Someone rightly brought up the potential of a conflict of interest for Councilwoman Theresa Quigley and her proposal for a replacement law for our current outdoor lighting code. If Councilwoman Quigley represents anyone or any business, or even a political donor, that would financially benefit in any way from her legislation, she should not only recuse herself from voting on such a law, but she should not have written it in the first place. Since she was on the Board of the East Hampton Business Alliance, it is a likely scenario.

    Who is charged with investigating a potential conflict of interest on the part of our town board members? If Supervisor Bill Wilkinson was aware that this could be an issue, he should not have given her permission to move forward with her legislation.

    There also are many significant technical issues with her legislation. She makes reference to certain terms that are commonly used by dark-sky advocates, however, she is misusing and distorting them — and for what purpose? For example, she makes reference to “lighting zones” from 1 to 4. Apparently she is not aware that East Hampton, by every professional definition, only qualifies for zones 1 and 2. Zone 3, which she defines for commercial uses in residential zones is the zone applicable for midtown New York City. Why?

    All this effort on her part to increase lighting simply wastes energy, providing no benefit to anyone, including the business owners.

    And, to Edward Nash, who wrote you last week referring to me as a “princess of darkness”: “Dark sky” does not mean “dark ground.” I am a professionally qualified lighting designer and am well aware of the how and why to illuminate the ground properly for good visibility at night.



    Dark Sky Society

Town We Love

    East Hampton

    December 11, 2011

Dear David:

    I recently ran into some people who informed me that they didn’t bother to vote in the past election because they did not like Bill Wilkinson and didn’t know Zach Cohen. Had they taken the time and trouble to learn more about Mr. Cohen’s background, philosophy, and vision for East Hampton they likely wouldn’t have stayed away from the polls and the outcome would have been different.

    This was a particularly important election because of the fact that seven seats on the planning board will become vacant, which will give the Republican majority the power to appoint replacements. We have already seen that Mr. Wilkinson’s most recent appointee to the zoning board of appeals started his term by attacking Marguerite Wolffson, the head of the Planning Department, for simply doing her job — namely assuring a careful and responsible planning process.

    Mr. Wilkinson and Town Councilwoman Theresa Quigley have made it clear that they aim to speed up site plan reviews, and there is little doubt that their appointees will reflect that goal. (Here come the big-box stores and strip malls!)

    East Hampton is the beautiful town we love because of careful planning, and that is now being threatened.

    This election has highlighted the fact that every vote counts, and exercising the right to vote is not only a privilege but a responsibility. I fear that we may all suffer the consequences of those who neglected this responsibility.


Honor the Conditions


    December 12, 2011

To the Editor:

    Thank you for your well-reported article. So that your readers are not left with the wrong impression, the following clarifications are noteworthy: First, of the five separate lots referred to by Rick Whalen, three of them are owned by Larry Gagosian, including the dune parcel fronting his house. He and the lot owner north of him are supposed to access the beach over this dune parcel.

    After the Town Natural Resources Department complained of the illegal boardwalk over the Nature Conservancy land, Mr. Gagosian voluntarily removed the boardwalk spur from the boardwalk to his property, and I applaud his prompt compliance.

    Windsor, the owner to the north of the illegal boardwalk, has a specifically defined beach-access easement outlined in your article. No one has the right to build and use the boardwalk over the two Nature Conservancy parcels in question. The Nature Conservancy should honor the conditions in the deceased donor’s deeds and not facilitate the requests of its neighbors. I urged the conservancy to stick to their declared mission of protecting the double dunes.

    Second, a reconstructed boardwalk must be “in-place,” not merely “in- kind,” and if extended, a boardwalk is not “in-place” under the town code. Also, it must be proved that the old boardwalk existed since 1984.

    Third, Brian Frank’s evaluation that the boardwalk did not negatively impact the dune vegetation boldly presupposed, contrary to Larry Penny’s inspection, that the new boardwalk was an identical replacement of the old one.

    Finally, under the code, if a permit for this boardwalk (and it would be the first legal boardwalk in the Amagansett double dunes) is merely likely to invite more boardwalks and the overall destruction would be more than minimal, then this boardwalk is ineligible for permit. Even Mr. Frank agreed that the possibility of multiple boardwalks would be a concern.


Vital Infrastructure


    December 12, 2011

Dear David,

    As a vice president of the East Hampton Aviation Association, a pilot, and life-long member of the East End community, I’d like to commend Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and town board members for their exceptional accomplishment of bipartisanship deliverance of a Federal Aviation Administration-approved airport master plan and accepting as a matter of policy F.A.A. funding that preserves one of East Hampton’s greatest assets that has served this entire community for 75 years and now many years to come. 

    As the town’s finance board [said], accepting F.A.A. funding was the fiscally responsible action to take for the good of the entire community. Supervisor Wilkinson and, in particular, Councilman Dominick Stanzione, the airport liaison, have proven exemplary leaders who meticulously analyzed the complexities and intricacies that such a vital infrastructure demands.


    Vice president

    East Hampton Aviation Association

Safety Improvements

    East Hampton

    December 1, 2011

Dear Editor,

     I would publicly like to thank the East Hampton Town Board on their recent vote to accept Federal Aviation Administration funding in order to make safety improvements to the airport.

    I’m sure with local control (via a control tower) a lot of the noise and thereby complaints will be lessened. I’m also sure it was politically turbulent to make that decision, but it was the right thing to do. Congratulations to all the town board members’ courageous vote.



Seen the Light


    December 12, 2011

Dear Editor,

    The bipartisan and unanimous vote in favor of federal airport funding indicates that the entire board has seen the light. The town has suffered through distraction, misinformation, and nuisance suits from airport opponents for too many years. The issue is clear enough, federal and state funding will not only save us 95 percent of needed repairs, but will help quiet the airport traffic by providing a seasonal control tower manned by local citizens.

    These things can begin now, rather than waiting 2 years or 10 years, as the airport opponents propose. Their method of achieving “local control” could only lead to continued noise, more taxpayer expense, nonsensical litigation, poor repair, unsafe conditions, and ultimately the airport’s closure.

    The reason that our federal and state governments are willing to offer funding is that the airport is an important part of our national infrastructure. Yet the airport already has one runway closed due to neglect. To give up such a resource by letting it fall into disrepair would have been short-sighted and irresponsible on the part of the board. Instead, they did the right thing.


Free and Unfettered


    December 12, 2011

To the Editor,

    How wonderful to live in a town where matters of serious dispute are resolved in a democratic process, where all sides have the opportunity for free and unfettered access to share their views. Kudos to our town board for their deft handling of the Federal Aviation Administration funding matter. Our D.C. pols could learn a lot from them.


Dangerous Bet

    East Hampton

    December 12, 2011

Dear Editor,

    I’d like to express a note of great satisfaction, and even admiration, that the East Hampton Town Board has finally called for a serious attempt to reduce airport noise in our town and keep it low. Supervisor Bill Wilkinson resisted his aviation advisor, Peter Kirsch’s, suggestion that new restrictions could be initiated in 180 days and instead suggested 60 to 90 days. It is a great comfort that they have heard the voices of tens of thousands of calls to 537-LOUD, at least five separate citizen groups, a couple of law suits, and an undercurrent of grumbling that in recent years has expanded individual annoyance into a virtual chorus of “knock off the noise.” This would surely be counted as an early triumph for the second term of the Republican majority if weren’t for what happened next.

    Next, they voted to apply for Federal Aviation Administration money to build a fence to keep deer and turkeys off the runways. Deer are a hazard on the runway, as they have been since the airport was opened, but consider what was given up in order to protect aircraft from deer (not turkeys; they can fly).

    The acceptance of grant money from the F.A.A. necessarily continues our present obligation to rules set up by the F.A.A. to assure full access to the airport by any type of aircraft at any time of day or night, on any day of the year. The key elements of those obligations would have expired in 2014, but by requesting more money now, we are accepting the extension of those obligations for another 20 years.

    So, why ever did the board run its plan for noise abatement headlong into a stone wall of F.A.A. obligations? It appears that they have been swayed by the testimony of Mr. Kirsch. Mr. Kirsch was hired to provide “impartial” advice on these issues but seems to have parlayed this role into a continuing representation of the town in all ensuing legal matters related to the airport. Whether he was providing objective advice or providing the board with a legal rationale for their preconceived solutions, he told them that if we establish a friendly relationship with the F.A.A., we’ll be able to impose whatever restrictions we like, as many as 41. He also told them that if we let the key grant obligations expire in 2014, we will actually be less likely to be able to impose significant restrictions.    Curiously, these arguments, which seem to contradict each other, are precisely the opposite of what has been put forward over 22 years of discussion by citizens groups and by other lawyers, some of them successfully defending their arguments in court. I’ll refer the reader to the abundance of careful and complete arguments that have been posed in these pages for all you will ever need to see that this issue is not sufficiently resolved to have allowed the very dangerous bet that the town board has made.

    To accelerate the financing of a deer fence, they have put their plan to reduce airport noise at lethal risk. If Mr. Kirsch has it backward, as so many are certain that he has, the town board will have converted their attempt to reduce airport noise into a dreadnaught program to undermine the quality of life, property values, preservation of wildlife, and sense of fair play for thousands of residents of East Hampton and thousands more in neighboring municipalities for 20 years to come.

    We were so close to a consensual solution to a problem that has approached the combustion point at several points over the years, and then it was taken away by an irrelevant move to secure funding for a deer fence which is neither an emergency nor a financial necessity. The monumental illogic of this misstep is simply unacceptable.

    Surely, in the calm and good spirits of the holiday season, the board will find a way to dodge this suicidal bullet. While they have authorized themselves to request funding from the F.A.A., they have given themselves no deadline for this initiative. Thus, they have the option of delaying the submission until Mr. Kirsh’s improbable scenario of amiable rapprochement with the F.A.A. can be tested.

    If he has spoken truly, we can all move together to build a sane, solvent, and socially responsible airport. But if Mr. Kirsch’s prediction fails, the board’s plans for noise abatement can resume in the absence of contractual constraints in 2014. Either way, I take the board at its word and expect that it will continue to pursue the promised noise abatement solutions for our town and our neighbors. To that end, and in light of the enormous political, social, administrative, legal, and technical complexity of this problem, we would strongly urge the board to follow the well-established practice of forming a citizens advisory committee to assist in shaping solutions and reviewing their implementation. This issue has created a far larger engagement of the community than in past years, and there is every sign that the willingness of the community to become actively involved is expanding by the day.

    In all, congratulations to the board for their finding and bravely confronting the demon in all this: excessive aircraft noise. I hope that they will recognize the hazard to the fulfillment of their intentions created by their simultaneous F.A.A. funding initiative. A suitable solution would appear to be no more than a matter of timing, and we wish them well in their quest and ours.



Shameful Board

    East Hampton

    December 4, 2011

To the Editor,

    The East Hampton Town Board put on its sham deer-fencing hearing for the airport on Dec. 1. Before the hearing, the board’s local trial lawyer revealed that the board would effectuate the application for Federal Aviation Administration deer-fencing money on Dec. 6, and their Washington lawyer had already asked the F.A.A. to act on the forthcoming application on the same day that the application is filed.

    The airport promotional lobby did its predictable part, stuffing the hearing room early with pilots, each armed with a sheet of talking points. The mantra expressed a group paranoid psychosis, perceiving airport noise abatement proponents as wanting to close the airport, obviously a falsehood.

    As the Town Hall hearing room filled to overflowing, probably in violation of the fire code, the supervisor refused the Quiet Skies Coalition request to adjourn the meeting to a larger arena, such as the middle school auditorium. For years, the board has so removed hearings in order to accommodate a larger public when necessary. But clearly this time any delay would have crimped the scenario outlined by the board’s lawyers. The hearing went on.

    The result was that many quiet skies supporters, ordinary citizens not herded in early with crib sheets, were barred from the hearing room and the speakers list.

    At the end of the evening, the board was moved to proceed further with a request for F.A.A. money not for fence construction but only for fence design. The F.A.A. will have to find only a few thousand dollars to lock in more years of grant assurance and lock out effective local noise control.

    It was another shameful board performance from start to finish.

    With their new 15-vote landslide majority, this town board carried out its scripted intention to seek F.A.A. money for fence design only. With the F.A.A. money’s grant assurance in hand, they will be able to continue hiding behind the federal pre-emption to avoid their own responsibility to the voters for airport noise control. Their airport interest political patrons will have free reign.



Pushed Out


    December 12, 2011

Dear David,

    Your banner headline citing a “unanimous vote” by our town board to accept Federal Aviation Administration money for the airport missed the irony that the vote was rushed through to avoid the likelihood of a split vote in January that  would better have reflected the views of the community. More reflective of the real story is the content of your other article noting that many who would have spoken against the measure were pushed out of the hearing.

    Also of note was the report that Peter Kirsch and the board plan to begin exploring with the F.A.A. new measures for controlling noise. Such explorations and the F.A.A.’s willingness to cooperate could clearly have been taken and tested without closing the door to home-grown measures.

    What more is needed to suggest that the immediate decision to act was motivated by other than community-wide interests?

    Sincerely yours,


Filled With Shills


    December 12, 2011

Dear David

    Sham, rigged, stacked deck is the only way to describe the meeting last week at Town Hall regarding the Federal Aviation Administration grants. They were orchestrated better than a symphony by the board and aviation association.

    I deliberately got there an hour early to confirm that it was the usual sham perpetrated upon the residents of this town by the autocratic, Taliban regime, which is the lackey of the aviation association.

    This was just like the sham leaf hearing to blow smoke in our faces when the deal was already done behind closed doors.

    Rows were filled with shills planted to deny the real residents the opportunity to be heard. Our own Slick Willie denied a motion to move the venue to a larger outlet — a loud and clear statement to keep the meeting domineered by outsiders brought in to stack the deck — a clear violation of occupancy rules. The real residents were kept out in the hall so they couldn’t be heard nor could they hear what was going on, so many left because they were deliberately shut out.

    The fire marshal clearly would have shut the meeting down due to overcrowding. This maneuver no doubt allowed Tom Twomey to reinforce talking points, yet I never heard one of the “pro” speakers mention that they lived here. This was carefully excluded and, of course, overlooked. They were brought in from out of town to foster the lies they tell.

    They kept the falsehood of the fence, and anyone with a scintilla of common sense knows what this is all about. Yet they sit up there and present this bald-faced lie. Yes, Dominick, a lie, and you know it.

    That fence has been there since Tony Bullock and never was an issue until now and suddenly it is a tantamount to a cataclysmic happening. Not even a mention during the failed MTK concert being moved there. Now a proposal to spend countless thousands to build a new one? Fix the old one first, and lower the costs, yet $300,000 was removed from the airport surplus in a smoke-and-mirror accounting trick.

    The control tower is not the next coming of Christ and may bring even more traffic. Not even a tryout to see if it works. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead as usual — this has been Bill Wilkinson’s mantra mentioned to me face-to-face in the beginning of his administration. His response to my question about local control was preceded with the F-bomb. “I’m taking the F.A.A. money.”

    They mention turkeys; well, they are birds and will fly. Three deer incidents over a 10-year period, yet only now it is a crisis?

    Thousands of residents both here and in surrounding communities do not count and a special-interest minority is favored. This leaves another stain that will last 20 more years.

    Go back to when this airport was mysteriously transformed into a jet and helicopter port. See the results we now suffer. The first stain.

    A 15-vote squeak-by has not taught him any lessons. He dances to the flute of special-interest groups as always. So when he won by a landslide, he rode into Town Hall aboard a white stallion. It has been reduced to a donkey or skateboard. You all should be ashamed.

    Yours truly,


Was Astonished


    December 11, 2011

Dear Editor;

    When I read the headline in The Star, “Larry Penny Suspended Without Pay,” I was astonished, to say the least. I also saw he was charged by the town board with 16 instances of misconduct, incompetence, and insubordination by a unanimous vote from Democrats and Republicans. This is serious and could carry criminal charges and penalties. I don’t know if any of these charges accrued before the present administration took office, but I suspect they did.

    As written briefly in your article, in 2008 I tried to move the Natural Resources Department and Mr. Penny to the Planning Department. It was my unsuccessful attempt to keep the department as a working and viable part of town government and save Mr. Penny’s job. Indeed, considering what he’s facing now, my actions were kind.

    As a result of that try I was attacked, derided, and shamed from every quarter. So a short three years later and with the same cast of characters in play it’s going to be curious and downright weird to see what principles and which person are sacrificed in defense of this darling of East Hampton.

    So to my friends in the Democratic Party, whose principles I upheld and defended for 37 years, who of your own will you savage for Mr. Penny?

    My colleagues on the town board, Pete Hammerle and Julia Prince, the recently honored heroes of the Democratic Party who abandoned me and ignored fact, what epiphany made them vote to remove Mr. Penny? Perhaps the knowledge they will soon be gone gave them spine.

    To the other political parties who bludgeoned me as a partisan political hack and used Mr. Penny as a rallying call in their campaign against the McGintee administration: With their promise to save him at all costs, how do they justify this vote? Even worse, do they admit I was right? Apologies accepted.

    The trustees attacked me because he was the front man who did everything they demanded in their refusal to deal with authority. If he goes, how do they stay aloof and maintain their fantasy of sovereignty over the state? Will they be able to accept reality?

    To our local environmental organizations, which in private supported me but in public were too cowardly to say the truth as they saw it: How do they rationalize the inaction perpetrated on our environment for the last three years? What grand scheme and empty praise for Mr. Penny will they spew to kiss up?

    The editors of our local newspapers,  blind to anything but their own propaganda and without the integrity to even call me for my thoughts, elevated Mr. Penny to the status of martyr: To what heights will he be spun and what depths the scapegoat?

    I find it beyond belief this has happened, and I thought perhaps I got less angry. I guess not. But as has been said, “the truth will prevail,” and I’m speaking the truth. No matter the outcome, I’m sure this will result in tragedy for someone, but for me, the unintended consequence of that headline is a degree of personal vindication at last.


    Mr. Loewen is a former East Hampton Town councilman. Ed.

The People Lose


    December 11, 2011

Dear David,

    One hoped that the supervisor would have been just a bit humbled by his scant win. After all, 15 votes out of thousands is no pat on the back — and against a man who was a complete unknown, unless you happen to be one of the 30 or so folks who go to board meetings regularly. Whoever heard of Zach Cohen before his candidacy was announced? But not our Bill.

    Two minutes after being pronounced the winner, he’s back in business — and I do mean in business. Every time he and his cronies dabble in some aspect of East Hampton, the people lose, and business and those behind business, affectionately known as the folks who give them the money to wage their campaigns, win.

    The airport and the Federal Aviation Administration is a shining example — a crowd that spilled out into the street — many people took one look at the crowd and turned around and left because the special interest group (the pilots) had arrived early and stayed late. (This was like a remake of the leaf fiasco.)

    Here’s what’s got to get ya: Had they been smart they could have pretended to listen to the people and concocted a wait-and-see tactic and voted to take the money in three or four months. They still have the majority to pin the townspeople to the wall and could have made it look like they cared about the people. But not our Bill. Then Theresa, the “I don’t give a crap” girl, gets it into her convoluted head to change the dark sky law. That’s right, I said law; not a proposal. Her business pals don’t like it. Birds, animals, and plant life do, but they really don’t count. They can’t even fill the boardroom.

    There is a controversy over some land in Amagansett and a boardwalk. Then there’s the man who guards the environment being put on suspension ’cause he is a scientist and acts like one, and the beat goes on and on until you feel your lunch creeping up your gullet. That’s alright. The way I look at it, in two years the whole town will want to be pro-Zach!



It’s a Mandate


    December 10, 2011

Dear David,

    Circumstance brought me to a corner booth, and nursing a “gripe” water I overheard the following:

    “We’re in.”

    “By 12 votes.”

    “We’re in. It’s a mandate, and here’s the plan: Montauk is the engine. It’s the Vegas for Generation Y.”

    “You mean clubs, neon lights, strip malls?”

    “And that entertainment venue and hotel at the airport!”

    “You’ll get killed. Susan Harder will laser your pupils.”

    “Randy Altschuler has my back. We’re moving all of the 99 percent to Springs.”

    “Hey, I live in Springs!”

    “A heliport in Amagansett . . . ”

    My fragile condition an afterthought, I rose from my sheltered spot, wishing I were wearing a wire. But they were gone.

    Good things,


Names on the Line

    East Hampton

    December 10, 2011

Dear David,

    I applaud your call to action on the local level regarding climate change, or global warming. While our own National Science Foundation has called this “settled science” and the science groups in 18 industrial nations have said the same, action on the national and international level is stymied by fierce lobbying and disinformation from fossil fuel companies and other vested interests.

    There is no silver bullet, but there are many significant strategies that could be implemented on the municipal level — if the public will were there. The tail might wag the dog; towns in America and around the globe have launched programs.

    The book “Climate Cover-Up” by James Hoggan reveals just how far Exxon Mobil and others will go to confuse the public on this issue. One is reminded of what Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his livelihood depends on his not understanding.” That quote makes me wonder how Otis A. Glazebrook IV makes his living. His attack on your article was scientific nonsense, but I must admit, he sounded sincere. It should be noted that while attacking you for spreading “left-wing propaganda”, he fails to mention his published enthusiasm for Sarah Palin and Herman Cain, right-wingers who have now been laughed off the electoral stage by their natural allies, the Republican base.

    When he calls climate science an “easily disprovable hoax,” Mr. Glazebrook betrays an utter lack of familiarity with science and money. Virtually all of the world’s climate scientists have put their good names on the line to the effect that we are rapidly approaching global cataclysm. And any scientist who could disprove that would be so richly rewarded by the fossil fuel industry that he could play high stakes bridge with Warren Buffet and Bill Gates and laugh if he lost. Instead they have to be satisfied with fake controversy.

    How many know that the accused miscreants of “climategate” were completely exonerated and are back at work in the same place they started? Millions of dollars are spent each year to assure that we remain confused.

    Fortunately, Mr. Glazebrook IV is swimming against the tide. Prominent skeptics about the danger of allowing CO2 to continue to accumulate in the atmosphere are changing their minds. Richard Muller, a physicist who, by virtue of his skepticism about climate change science, was funded by the billionaire Koch brothers to do his own study on the subject. Mr. Muller was honest enough, after actually studying the science, to admit that he was wrong and to conclude that greenhouse gases could have a disastrous effect on the world. Bjorn Lomborg, despite no credentials as a scientist, became a darling of the deniers of climate science with his 2001 book, “The Skeptical Environmentalist.” Today he is urging government spending of $100 billion per year to combat global warming.

    Anyone who has time to read some science on the subject might start with Bill McKibben’s book, “Earth,” or visit the Web site Egad! Read a book!? A science book!? Well, think of it as a horror story. It tells the story of what we are doing to the only habitable planet we know. Get the latest edition with the afterword. It only came out in 2010, but there was a lot more bad news by 2011.


Risked Their Lives

    East Hampton

    December 5, 2011

Dear Mr. Rattray:

    While browsing through some clippings and memorabilia, which I do when I can’t seem to get information from my memory, the good old East Hampton Star comes to my rescue. I am referring to an article by Russell Drumm concerning the wreck of the John Milton, which was first exposed after Hurricane Donna in 1961. John McMahon, a 40-year resident of Ditch Plain in Montauk, supplied a photograph. The John Milton had a tragic end on February 20, 1858, when it came ashore in a fierce blizzard west of the Montauk Point Lighthouse. All 31 of the men on board drowned in the freezing waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

    In 1938, when I was at assigned to the Ditch Plains U.S. Coast Guard Station, we would walk the east patrol, night and day, in any kind of weather to the Montauk Lighthouse. Along the edge of the cliffs a single-wire fence was installed to keep us from falling onto the rocky shoreline below. We would use a piece of old wooden broom handle, about two feet long, as a guide.

    At that time, it was a common occurrence to see shipwrecks which were exposed, as there were hundreds that came ashore in the most vulnerable part of the coastline where Long Island and Block Island intertwines 100 miles to the east off the shore of New York City into the Atlantic Ocean. It is the first part of land in sight coming to New York City from Europe.

    The most treacherous part of Long Island is the rocky coast of Montauk Point. From Ditch Plain the bottom is hard, and the shipwrecks never bury in the sand and move from place to place with the storm tides. On the west, the beach is walker, and there are only a few rocky areas. The sand will cover and bury shipwrecks for years. Then a storm, mostly a northeaster, will shift the sand and expose part of the bow and bottom of a shipwreck.

    All the fishermen know these wrecks by name and don’t get their nets hung up on them, as it could be the loss of a net, or cause a lot of damage. Today there are ways to determine the age of materials from a shipwreck. Although it would take some time to examine all the parts, it can be done.

    Unearthing such a wreck must lead the imagination to the past, revealing a once-beautiful sailing ship under full sail coming toward the beach carrying men, women, and children. Perhaps they were in fear for their lives, huddled together, praying they would be saved, not knowing where they were or if they place would be civilized or filled with savages. Then to look through the mist and rain to see several small hand-rowing fishermen’s boats coming to their rescue, must have been a relief.

    It was the local men using their own equipment without pay, before the first lifesaving station service was established. It was the first settlers who carved the township out of the wilderness. The rescuers took the survivors into their homes, gave them dry clothes, food, and a place to sleep until there was a way for them to continue on their journey.

    In 1858, a monument was placed in the south end of the old burial ground in memory of those who lost their lives in the wreck of the John Milton. Seven decades have gone by, and yet our town has never erected a monument in memory of John Cullen, who on June 13, 1942 (at the age of 21 years old) discovered the first invasion of the enemies of World War II while on beach patrol.

    Mr. Cullen foiled their plot to destroy New York City subways, railroads, bridges, and large buildings. If it had been carried out, it could have changed the outcome of the war.

    The Amagansett Life Saving Station and the U.S. Coast Guard Station, one of the six in our township, have been a shrine of the local people who risked their lives to save strangers and have taken part in every war to protect the land and its people.

    My family of 12 generations has served the call of our country in all wars. My great grandfather, Jonathan A. Miller, was the keeper of the Montauk Lighthouse for 16 years. My Grandmother Miller had a son, Frank Milton. My mother named me Milton after my Uncle Frank. The ship in the article was the John Milton.

    It seems to me I have been a one-man crusader to save the U.S. Lifesaving Station and the U.S. Coast Guard Station at Amagansett and erect a monument in memory of John Cullen. I would like to make a plea — in a distress call: S.O.S. (save our station).    Thank you.




    East Hampton

    December 7, 2011

Dear East Hampton Star,

    Diversity is the essence of democracy. Debate is its sustenance.



We Were Duped

    Sag Harbor

    December 7, 2011

To the Editor,

    I was listening to a lengthy interview on N.P.R. with Tim Orango, the bureau chief in Baghdad for The New York Times. I was shocked to hear him say every killing in Baghdad by insurgents was linked in some way to Americans. They hate us.

    Ten years later, over 1 million Iraqis have been killed, mostly innocent civilians and children just like us. These millions of Iraqi families have fled from their homes and homeland, destabilizing neighboring countries.

    Now the Middle East has exploded into flames. (We want your oil.) When we invaded Iraq a second time we destroyed their entire infrastructure, which has still not been restored. Clearly a superpower can raise havoc around the world.

    However, from the corporate-controlled media all we have heard was, “How could we leave? What would happen to the people?” That’s absurd! What disturbs me is I have never met anyone who has not accepted this question as an excuse for staying in Iraq and also Afghanistan. The perfect example of how easy it is to manipulate the way we think. After we were in the war with Iraq the majority of Americans realized we were duped.

    In peace,


Could Shrink

    East Hampton

    December 10, 2011

To the Editor,

    In searching for the proper vernacular, the correct language usage to describe our Congress, the terms American scum and white trash America seem most appropriate. How does one accurately portray a government that does its best to screw the population while providing trillions of dollars to banks and protecting the interests of only the rich? What else does one call a government that is composed of deficit freaks and obstructionists when the country is desperately in need of jobs programs and spending?

    Who are these creeps that sit by idly as the middle class slowly slinks into poverty and refuses to do anything about it because they signed some pledge to remain retarded for the rest of their lives?

    The economist Joseph Stiglitz doesn’t call people names because it is Un-American to be gross and crude even when its the truth. So he explains that we never really recovered from the recession of 2000 despite the tax cuts and the lack of government supervision and regulation. In 2007 we had fewer jobs than we did in 1999. We had huge public debts and we had declining wages. But since corporate America was rolling, nothing else mattered. George Bush and his Republican allies put their heads up their butts and let the country go down the crapper. The Dems twiddled their thumbs, and no one stood up for working-class Americans.

    The financial crisis took the recession to a near-depression level. The best analogy is between bankers and drug dealers: Smart drug dealers don’t use the products that they sell because they need every bit of clarity and lucidity to avoid getting their brains blown out or getting caught by the feds. Bankers, like stupid drug dealers, drank the Kool-Aid they were selling and took risks with their money because they envisioned bigger pots of gold at the other end. But instead of getting wiped out like the stupid drug dealers did they were saved by the government which they happened to own. If the drug dealers owned the cops they would still be dealing.

    So where is all the dumb dumb bravado about capitalism and free markets? People with bad loans went down the tubes but banks got their butts saved by the government. What happened to the free market mentality? Where’s the ethic that conservatives talk about? It and they are all full of crap.

    Mr. Stiglitz explains that our current situation is similar to the depression of 1929 in that the economy has been structurally damaged. Each time that the economy seemed to be moving forward deficit hawks pushed for spending cutbacks and the depression was prolonged. It took World War II with its massive government spending and extraordinary employment of workers and soldiers to end the Depression and restructure the economy. We are in almost the same situation today and require an economic restructuring.

    The private sector didn’t lead us out of the last recession and won’t lead us out of this one. It remains on the sidelines with its hands outstretched waiting for a government handout, like dropping the tax rate to 9 percent or lowering the minimum wage to $4 an hour. It sits there with trillions to invest if only the deals gave them a few extra points. Uber-patriotism.

    If the government doesn’t take action to restructure the economy we will be facing 5 to 10 more years of near-depression. The middle class could shrink to 40 percent while the poor will rise to almost 50 percent. Ten percent of the country will be in great shape, and conservatives will tell us that we are doing great.

    Fortunately, since the Tea Party turned to corporate crap, Occupy Wall Street exists to provide some direction and advocacy for the bottom 99 percent. If things get much worse the two coasts can secede from the country and use our tax monies to take care of ourselves instead of supporting the South Carolinas and Nebraskas of the world. We would be deficit-free and wouldn’t be subject to the tyranny and stupidity of the rest of the Congress.


Reckless Disregard

    East Hampton

    December 5, 2011

Dear Editor,

    Let’s go back to 1997 and the Newt Gingrich ethics violations hearings before the House Ethics Committee that seem to have been forgotten.

    A special prosecutor was appointed to investigate Mr. Gingrich’s illegal use of tax-deductible funds for political purposes and his supplying inaccuracies and lies to the committee investigating his conduct.

    He was charged with a reckless disregard of House rules and found guilty.

    The special counsel, James M. Cole, concluded that Mr. Gingrich had violated federal tax laws and lied to the ethics committee and disregarded House rules over a period of years, showing total disrespect and disregard for the law.

    So Mr. Gingrich made a deal. He would plead guilty if the committee would suppress the special counsel’s full report and limit his punishment to a $300,000 fine. And they did.

    Go to the Web and read the full special counsel’s report. This could be your president! Mr. Gingrich still stands as the first speaker to be reprimanded for his personal illegal conduct.

    Newt and his supporters say he has redeemed himself — hasn’t he become a Catholic? Hasn’t he elevated the “birther” expert, his new buddy, that lying fraud, Donald Trump, to the position of debate moderator? Hasn’t he solved the poverty pervading the country by firing school superintendents and hiring children at minimum wage to mop the bathrooms?

    Don’t worry, he’ll change further. He’ll adapt Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. We are fortunate! A man who claims millions paid to him by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were for being a “historian,” not for lobbying, and is in the shape of a disgraced, lying former House speaker, is the leading member of the circus of Republicans vying for the chance to be president of the United States. Yippee!

    Vote Republican and get just what you vote for.


But One Flag

    East Hampton

    December 5, 2011

Dear David,

    President Obama was to give a speech this week in Osawatomie, Kan., which he will use as a podium to quote from a speech made there by President Teddy Roosevelt on Aug. 31, 1910, as justification for his class warfare against, in his estimation, those of us make or have too much money. He was not declaring war against the upper income earners as O. and Co. are, nor did he declare he could add czars who with his cabinet members bypass Congress with a blizzard of new rules not properly submitted to Congress for approval. O.’s saying, “I can’t wait,” meaning for Congressional approval, flies in the face of our Constitution, you know, the one he swore to uphold.

    While he is referring to Teddy Roosevelt perhaps he might want to refer to his speech in 1907 when he said, “There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag. We have room for but one language  here and that is the English language. And we have room for one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”

    There are other speeches in which he said English should be required in our schools, immigrants be told not that they should learn English but be told they must. Those who refuse to should be returned to their country of origin, and not to be unmentioned, as his insisting that hyphenated names (black-American, Spanish-American, etc.) not be used as it is divisive, and for good measure all foreign newspapers here have English translations. So how many of Teddy Roosevelt’s thoughts does Mr. Obama embrace?



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