Myakka City, Fla.
November 18, 2019
Dear Mr. Rattray:
Here is my opinion on the Springs name controversy: If your name isn’t Bennett, Miller, or Talmage, et al., then shut up.
Not one of my bubbie friends has ever used the “The.” Those who do, do so in the hope that it will somehow increase property values.
There is only one “The” in the U.S.A. and that is The Bronx.
Lean Winter Months
November 18, 2019
Allow me to thank your readers for their support of the East Hampton Food Pantry’s Annual Harvest Food Drive, which was held Saturday.
Middle school students, girl scouts, and many others volunteered to help collect and sort donated items, which were taken to the pantry’s home at 159 Pantigo Place, behind East Hampton Town Hall.
The more community support we elicit, the better the lean winter months will be for the food pantry, which serves the least-fortunate residents in our towns. It’s easy to forget, in the joy of the holiday and in the year-round beauty of our community, that there are those for whom these winter months produce a significant hardship.
The East Hampton Food Pantry stands out for its dedication to fighting hunger for people from infancy to senior years. We welcome all donations of nonperishable food and/or funds.
REV. CONNIE JONES
East Hampton Food Pantry
November 18, 2019
On Saturday, Nov. 9, the Springs Food Pantry and Share the Harvest Farm produced our first “Chowdah Chowdown” fund-raiser at the Springs Tavern in order to sustain our joint mission of providing fresh, nutritious produce for our hungry neighbors.
We want to thank the Springs Tavern for so graciously hosting the event, the many talented chefs who took the time to prepare and serve some seriously delicious chowders, and the more than 200 people who purchased mugs and participated in the tasting and voting.
It was a successful event in every way, and most memorable for us was the atmosphere of real friendliness, fun, and laughter.
Springs Food Pantry
November 18, 2019
I swam out into East Hampton Town waters yesterday at mid-tide and filled my basket in an hour. There were bay scallops everywhere.
At dinner, with her mouth full of the seasonal delicacy, my mom-in-law, who lives in Greenport, reported what we all know: that everyone on the North Fork and on much of the rest of Long Island is lamenting a terrible and troubling season for bay scallops, the result of a die-off alternately blamed on warm waters this summer, various forms of pollution, or some other mysterious cause.
What seems clear is this: In state waters bay scallops suffered and died off; in East Hampton Town waters, seeded by the East Hampton Town Shellfish hatchery, scallops seem to have done reasonably well.
November 18, 2019
Regarding the piece on the scallop die-off and particularly to Stuart Heath’s quote, “Shellfish farms are taking food from the wild shellfish,” this die-off occurred when food abundance was particularly high.
Let us stress that the estuaries are vital to the life force. Every aspect of life as we know it is dependent on what happens in these environments. Essentially, the most important role our estuaries play is sustaining life itself. This goes way beyond livelihood. To bring the bays back to something close to a state that they would naturally be in will require a massive influx of aquaculture and an equal protection zone from wild harvest.
How many oysters and clams were in the bays and sounds in, say, 1869? Judging by the mountains of shells we see in old photos and the glimpses at decent sets I’ve seen in my lifetime, I’d guess in the trillions and more. Our practices and the resulting radical changes in our environment have created an imbalance that has changed dramatically the landscape of the bays. Shellfish populations are so low in the wild that the chances of successful reproduction and sustainable populations are kept on the brink of decimation, and there’s little hope for bringing back the bays.
In the slim chance that a natural set does occur, environmental conditions brought about by other human population density impacts limit greatly the chance of a mature shellfish set and threaten the mother stock. As a bayman and aquaculturist, I am concerned that collapse is always one micrometer away.
We all want abundance and healthy waters. Let’s identify the problems and come together to bring solutions to each one of them. This will require each of us to be open to truth — and transformation. Abundant bounty depends on how we define the bottom line.
Montauk Shellfish Company, and
East Hampton Town trustee-elect
November 17, 2019
Dear East Hampton Star,
I want to begin by stating that my family have been customers of the Hampton Jitney bus service since they were just a fleet of minivans in the 1970s. I used to love their service, and I remember when you could order simple meals and got complimentary wine with certain trips. I’ve also watched as the service has declined thanks to rising overhead costs, and the prices might still be seen by many as exorbitant. In the interests of full disclosure, I have not personally traveled on the Jitney since about 2002 or so, which is when they put in Wi-Fi — I have a medical condition that causes me to get sick around any cellular or wireless technology. However, my parents have continued to use the Jitney regularly and still do to this day.
A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in front of a Hampton Jitney bus as I was passing the Jewish Center moving toward Town Pond. The driver was two inches off my bumper flashing his lights and honking his horn. I admit that I was driving under the speed limit, but that was because not only were there leaves all over the road, but it was raining and wet leaves can be as dangerous as black ice. I thought he might rear-end me as I slowed to make my turn at the light. After the turn he continued harassing me with lights and horn and pulling ever closer — which seemed impossible. I thought he might actually rear-end me! It was a relief to get off 27 by Guild Hall. Still, he gunned his engine and roared off at what I estimate was nearly 50 miles per hour. As soon as I got home I reported this to the police. Not sure if they figured out who the driver was, but he was driving recklessly in a very large vehicle which might have hurt someone.
Over the years, I’ve witnessed some terrible driving from drivers in all the various bus services, especially the Luxury Liner. Yet I’ve never had an encounter with one of these buses that scared me anywhere near as much as that which I have just described. That driver deserves to be fired and have his license taken away!
On a different tack, just before beginning this letter, I dropped my parents off for their weekly commute home to Manhattan. I was shocked when I handed their luggage to the driver that he wrenched the bags out of my hands and simply threw them into the luggage compartment. I have never seen a Jitney driver treat baggage with such carelessness or seeming anger. And it wasn’t just my parents’ bags. I watched as he treated bag after bag as if it had not only personally offended him but with such violence that even fairly robust items might have suffered damage. I reflected that people often put electronics in those bags. Or they might be carrying something equally as fragile.
In any case, no one’s baggage deserves to be tossed around carelessly like a rag doll being savaged by a Rottweiler. And the Hampton Jitney used to pride itself on luxury. Luxury services would never treat pieces of luggage in even half as rough a manner! It reminds me of some of the summer employees at Citarella who seem to enjoy manhandling delicate produce. I’ll never forget watching as a young woman dropped my bag of Cherokee Purple Tomatoes (an heirloom variety well known for being delicate and soft) from three feet above the bag. Of course, they exploded and I refused to pay for them. I also made her zero out the rest of my stuff and, after replacing my lost tomatoes, I went to a cashier I knew well. I also had a word with management, something which rarely seems to work with Hampton Jitney.
Getting back to the Jitney, I keep hearing other people’s horror stories about lost or damaged baggage, and I often witness their drivers running stop signs or red lights and often exceeding the speed limit up to as much as 50 m.p.h. I once looked over a driver’s shoulder in the 1990s and noted we were hurtling along at 95 on the L.I.E. I remember driving home at 1 a.m. from visiting a friend in Centereach and passing a Jitney bus parked by Southampton College with a fleet of Southampton Police Department cars surrounding it. Wrapped around the front was what looked like the remains of a sedan which it had hit coming out of the college. I recognized the car and found out the next day that the owner, whom I only knew by sight, had been killed.
That memory was one of several which had been running through my mind during my harrowing experience described earlier.
Ever since the cellphone revolution, I’ve lost the ability to use public transportation, both here and especially in Manhattan. The Jitney used to be comfortable, hospitable, and even when it wasn’t posh, at least they had courtesy and provided a decent service. This has eroded it seems and between hiring questionable drivers and having quality-control problems, I have to say that even if I could travel with them today, I probably would not. Especially at the prices they charge.
Thanks for reading,
November 15, 2019
To the Editor:
The bottom line on offshore wind, lest anyone forget it, is that we need it to replace greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels. Arguments over where a transmission line should land are small in the light of this big picture.
The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo this summer, mandates 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035, clean, reliable power that can take optimal advantage of the relatively shallow sea floor and sea winds off our coast.
There is ample evidence that fisheries will not be adversely affected by offshore wind. The only offshore wind farm operating in the U.S. so far, off Block Island, has been free of environmental concerns. On the other hand, warming and deoxygenated waters caused by global warming may be a culprit in this year’s scallop die-off.
It’s time to stand down from petty concerns and embrace offshore wind. To be specific, Wainscott has the least to lose from hosting the cable landing, and the most to gain: work done during the winter when residents will be least affected, and a reputation as a progressive community facing the climate crisis with its crucial resource of quick access to the wind farm.
November 15, 2019
My company, Marders, was hired by Randy Lerner to clear the agricultural reserve that his L.L.C. owns at 341 Town Lane. Marders’ crew worked with Mr. Lerner to clear the trees on this property that prevented it from being farmed.
Randy was attacked in a way that not only misled people but was ugly. The attack generated a second wave of hateful comments that are wrong and unfair. I know Randy to be an avid farmer; I have no doubt that his intention is to farm the property.
The work we did was needed in order to return the land to its historical farm use. Although a court order forced us to stop in the middle of the work, the plan we were implementing would have established appropriate agricultural headlands and tillable areas so that the fanning options for the land were open. The plan included planting the perimeter with planting materials such as native holly and beech trees and compatible species.
I was surprised and saddened to see an old friend and dependable client dragged through awful media assaults when he took appropriate steps to use the land in a way that is consistent with the region’s farming heritage.
Tired of It
November 18, 2019
I am not one to write letters to The Star but after the constant articles on and letters from Jerry Larsen, I now feel compelled. Quite frankly, I, and many others, are tired of it and are more concerned in the affairs of this beautiful village. It is a shame how personal this has become for him, and none of this has to do with the issues, so I am going to be as quick and precise as possible.
It is a well-known fact that Mr. Larsen is renting a one-bedroom apartment in the Village of East Hampton. It is also very well known that he is not living there. Therefore, he is not paying village taxes — the village that he cares so much about.
Another fact is that apparently, his contract was not renewed as chief of police. While he received some awards and recognition, it is obvious that he abused his powers and responsibilities while being the chief. My question would be: What were those abuses?
I think the above says something about Mr. Larsen’s character and, quite frankly, I don’t think this is someone I would want making decisions regarding the village. Let’s stop the finger pointing and stating untruths.
I anticipate that next week Mr. Larsen will take this, twist it, turn it around, and try to defend himself, once again. That only serves for Mr. Larsen to get some self-satisfaction, nothing to do with his vision for this village, which makes me wonder what his real motives are.
I urge him to stick to the issues of the village and stay away from any further mud slinging. Enough is enough! Move on!
November 12, 2019
I am writing to give you some background on some recent disturbing events regarding the upcoming village election.
As stated in my letter to the editor of two weeks ago, Mr. Larsen and the village parted ways at the end of 2016. I will not get into the reasons for that here. I simply want to make it clear that what has happened since then goes beyond the bounds of what some would think is customarily part of a normal village election campaign.
As was reported in The Star, Mr. Larsen sued the village shortly after his separation, and in that suit alleged things about me that he knew were blatantly false. Why he targeted me in particular is anybody’s guess. I believe I know the reasons for it, but I will not speculate here. Fortunately, the lawsuit was dismissed, but not before great cost to the village taxpayer. To demonstrate the frivolousness of his suit, he proceeded to sue the village a second time, for not supplying him with requested information under the Freedom of Information Act for his first lawsuit. Curiously, he filed the second lawsuit even before the allotted time frame for supplying the originally requested information had elapsed. That suit also was dismissed, but, again, not before costing the village taxpayer thousands of dollars.
I mention the initial lawsuits as the precursor for what was to come. After the lawsuit dismissals, Mr. Larsen began a campaign of continuing FOIA requests to the village in the hopes of finding something that the village board, and in particular me, had done that could be construed as illegal or unethical.
In all, he has requested information from the village a total of at least 12 times since his separation. The bulk of those have been since he began his campaign for mayor. Most can be considered legitimate inquiries, with some exceptions. He always makes them very general in nature, and in many cases he singles me out when requesting information. This suggests that he is on a fishing expedition, rather than a legitimate effort to support a belief that he may uncover some wrongdoing. His requests range from his original lawsuit, having no merit, to the very mundane request for the Fire Department gym records. What information he hopes to glean from gym records one can only imagine. Again, these requests require a great deal of manpower and expense in order to fill. One such request took 30 employee hours to complete. He knows that if the village should innocently miss supplying him with just one piece of paper that pertains to his request, he could then sue us for not completely filling that request.
Most recently, his FOIA requests have taken on a more personal and perhaps sinister nature. In the last month, he has requested all information that the village has on two properties that I am associated with in the village, including my personal residence. I am not concerned with what is in those records. My concern is that he is using the guise of his campaign to intimidate me from exposing pertinent information about him. My concerns are supported by the fact that his latest FOIA request for my personal residence records occurred early Friday morning, Nov. 8, the day after my letter exposing his unethical issues appeared in your paper. To me, that is a clear effort to intimidate, since those records have nothing to do with the issues most important to village residents.
The other curious thing about all of this is that I am not even running against Mr. Larsen for mayor in this election. Therefore, there is no other reason for him to target me other than for personal reasons.Sadly, Mr. Larsen has opened the door to this unnecessary dialogue, and it is my sincere hope that moving forward we can all concentrate on those issues that will affect village residents in the future. Our continued existence as one of the “most beautiful villages” you will find anywhere is at stake.
November 11, 2019
I don’t know Jerry Larsen for long. But, I know him well. You see we ran a local political race together in 2017. We had to learn about local elections and how they are run. We spent some time at the Suffolk County Board of Elections and during that process I became gratified to know the quality of this candidate.
I want to tell you that I learned that Jerry Larsen is a man of intelligence and integrity. I do not say this lightly. And I do not live in the Village of East Hampton. I find most politics mostly self-serving. The letter recently submitted regarding Jerry is not factual. It was written by his opponent in order to manufacture a fake narrative. Voters deserve more respect than that.
As teammates, Jerry Larsen proved to me his ability to navigate the technical material on the fly while maintaining a clear view of what is right and what is wrong. He would be a welcome addition to any government where the rights of people and their property are to be upheld and protected.
So, if you are looking for someone to be truthful and stand on the side of the rights of the people, find out more about Jerry before election time rolls around next June.
A Fair Level
November 14, 2019
To The Star:
As a local musician I attended the Nov. 12 meeting in Montauk of the East Hampton Town Board. My concern and interest, as is that of many East End musicians, is a retooling of the archaic and one-sided noise ordinance currently on the books in East Hampton Town, an uninformed and ill-conceived ordinance that absolutely discriminates against musicians.
I was pleased to learn of the business committee’s hard work in adapting a new set of rules and the board’s willingness to hear us all and try to hammer out a new ordinance that will come close to appeasing both sides of the isle. In the meeting it was very sensibly suggested by more than one speaker that an ordinance based on a reasonable decibel level is the easiest and fairest method of enforcement. And I do not mean 50 DBs, which is the level of normal conversation, but a fair level that gives both sides an even playing field: 65 to 70 DB minimum. With this method of enforcement there is really no need for music permits that will tie up the town with paperwork, and no need to differentiate between amplified and unamplified, nightclub or yoga studio. Enforcement by a fair decibel level established by the town board with the input of a knowledgeable audio engineer is the way to go. If a band is too loud and the venue, after at least one warning, does not lower itself, well then a ticket is in order. For the same matter, if an annoyed resident complains and the decibel level is below the limit, well then no ticket is written. It’s the only fair way.
As one speaker mentioned, in the town of Montauk during the summer there are approximately 25,000 visitors who come to enjoy what the town has to offer, and music is a big part of it. The noise complaints are often filed by the same 6 or 8 people every weekend. Some of whom live a long distance from the source of the “noise.” They have a right to complain but if the level is below the limit, they will have to grin and bear it. There is no perfect ordinance; no ordinance that truly is in everyone’s best interest. But we can all hope for fairness and an ordinance that at least gives both sides an even, level playing field.
November 18, 2019
The East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals plays an essential and vital role in the standards they set to protect the very nature of the community we all so dearly love. The board is also the guardian for all property owners in the township, and ensures that all future generations share in the bountiful, majestic land and seascapes that make this such a magical place to live, raise a family, and share with many others in the celebration of the joyous days of summer.
East Hampton is also a town with a big heart, and over the years has created a first-rate infrastructure to support a vibrant, diversified community with a top-tier educational system, police department, volunteer fire department, and generous and highly supportive social services for members of the community in need, and a second-to-none senior citizens program.
I personally take great joy in the natural beauty of East Hampton, and over many years walked the lanes and beaches with my four-legged best friend. There is no one season I favor, and find the changing light over the year a deep spiritual gift. I also have a soft spot for nature, the wildlife, and their natural habitat. It is a bountiful treasure and we should all play our part in protecting these irreplaceable natural wonders.
My home is in Settlers Landing in the Northwest Woods, and just a short walk from Three Mile Harbor. Early in the morning I often walk down Harvest Lane to the nature preserve to watch the sunrise and meditate. The pristine shoreline has a special spot in my heart. That is why I raised a red flag of warning to the zoning board and the town’s trustees. The nature preserve is part of a large beach ravine aquafilter system for the northwest corner of the harbor and to urge the town officials to protect the wetlands and the tidal basins that run along the shoreline.
To get a full understanding of how essential this natural system is to the health of the harbor, you need to take the time to walk from Highpoint Road down the steep decline of Harvest Lane to Three Mile Harbor Drive, and fully study the topography along the way, to visualize how rainwater and snow melt flow yearly off the land down through the beach ravine and into the harbor.
If the zoning board approves all the building variances requested by the owner of the property on the southern side of the nature preserve, and their property is a large part of the beach ravine, this important and essential natural aqua-filter will be seriously compromised, forever damaged, and the harbor will have lost an essential filtering system to protect the water and the wildlife. The beach ravine is also just a part of a much larger ecosystem that runs to the far northwestern corner of the harbor.
When I wrote my letter to the town’s officials, I was optimistic the serious concerns raised would get a fair hearing. That began to change when many of my neighbors who had read my letter voiced their opinions that all my efforts were in vain. “It was a done deal” and the property owner would get the green light from the zoning board for most if not all their requests for the building variances to overbuild on the site guaranteeing their dream home of 4,500 square feet, with large pool and pool house, and turn the land into a suburban green-lawn wonderland.
I was upset, and to be honest got hot under the collar. How was this possible? Then I got the real dirt from a neighbor who had run for high office in East Hampton. The owners of the property were no fools, and were very clever. They also knew it would take a lot of political “juice” to build their new home on a highly sensitive, important ecological site. They poked, looked, and asked around to find the most powerful and influential law firm in East Hampton. They found their man, a partner and attorney Chris Kelley of Twomey, Latham, Shea, & Kelley, a big and highly influential law firm in East Hampton, and Mr. Kelley is also head of the Democratic Committee.
Is there a back door to the town’s zoning board for anyone willing to put big bucks on the table and hire the most powerful and influential law firm to get you what you want? I can’t say for sure, but it sure seems something’s rotten in Denmark. If there is a back door, it runs through the most influential law firm in town, and I think all homeowners in East Hampton should know about it. The town board members should be surveyed, and the zoning board’s records carefully studied to create a rating system of the most effective and influential lawyers who come before them. Yelp and Yellow pages should post the results on the internet, just like you find out the best pizza in town, and list and rate the top 20 lawyers to hire when you have to appear before the zoning board and get the results you want.
Isn’t that the democratic way?
W. KEVIN EGGERS
November 8, 2019
I am writing in response to “Work-Force Housing Method at the Ready,” which appeared in the Nov. 7 edition of The East Hampton Star.
The creation of the rental registry (“East Hampton’s only meaningful attempt to do something about short-term rentals was a mandatory registry”) did not add anything new regarding the length or number of home rentals as that code has existed for some time.
The rules regarding limits on rentals is also misrepresented in the article, (“than would be allowed under the town’s cap of not more than two tenants in a six-month period”). The town code actually says this: “A single-family residence which is rented to, or occupied by, a tenant or tenants for a term of not more than two weeks, on three or more occasions during any six-month period, shall be deemed to be unlawfully operating as a motel for all purposes under this chapter.”
The entire town code is available online for anyone to read at ecode360.com/EA0658, and the section referenced above is available in the definition for “motel” found at ecode360.com/10413796.
Denotes Her Intellect
November 18, 2019
Those of us who left the East Hampton Democratic Committee when the head of the party, Jeanne Frankl, appointed Cate Rogers as the chairwoman of the party upon Jeanne’s announcement of her retirement, even though Ms. Rogers had attended only a handful of regular meetings, realized we were completely justified in our actions as Ms. Rogers has proven her political ineptness.
While is true that the present town board won the last elections by a wide margin against the Fusion Party candidates, led by David Gruber, Betsy Bambrick, and Bonnie Brady, the stupidity displayed by Ms. Rogers in calling our group’s efforts “shenanigans” denotes her intellect.
I wonder how many of the multitude of Democrats were actually giving vent to their anti-Trump feelings. Don’t pat yourselves on the back too hard, you’re liable to fall over!
A Great Return
November 18, 2019
The votes in the general election had not even all been counted before the now re-elected supervisor and town board incumbents got back down to the business of cronyism, again using the community preservation fund to pay off personal friends, campaign donors, and political cronies. Hubris? The belief that they are now invulnerable and will never be held to account for their actions by the voters or law enforcement?
On Nov. 7, Councilman Lys introduced a resolution to buy from Britton Bistrian and Patrick Bistrian Jr. a lot, 33 Cross Highway, Amagansett, near but not on Fresh Pond, for $160,000. This lot is mostly under water. It was purchased by the Bistrians together with the adjoining 35 Cross Highway, which has a house on it, in a single transaction, although it is legally a separate lot. The board voted 4-1 to acquire the property, with Councilman Bragman voting no.
The marketing materials for the previous owner, prepared in 2015 by the firm Suffolk Environmental Disclosure, state the following:
“Lot 42 [33 Cross Highway] contains extensive freshwater wetlands and there is no conforming building envelope, septic envelope, or clearing envelope. . . . The purchaser of said property would likely be unsuccessful in establishing such building right having presumably purchased the parcel knowing that no building, septic, or clearing envelope could be established for such lot.”
It goes on to say, “Lot 42 provides the current and presumably future homeowner [of the adjoining 35 Cross Highway] with some degree of amenity and value. . . . I was advised that a broker had inquired as to the town’s interest in the purchase of lot 42. At that time, the town indicated they had no interest in purchasing lot 42.” (With thanks to the indefatigable town board watchdog David Buda for his research on these matters.)
So, what has changed? Why is the town now buying an unbuildable wetland that is functionally a part of the adjoining property with which it was purchased? Perhaps because the sellers are members of the Bistrian family who were pitching the sale to the C.P.F. before they had even bought the property. Various Bistrians and Bistrian-owned entities, including Patrick, contributed more than $10,000 to Mr. Lys’s campaign fund in 2018 and another $2,000 to the Democratic committee this year. Britton Bistrian is reputedly also a close personal friend of Councilman Lys.
That’s a great return on investment. Contribute $12,000 and get back $160,000 from the public till, retaining the adjacent property in the same condition as without the sale. After the $160,000 “rebate” from the public, the owners in effect acquired an acre-plus building lot in Amagansett with a protected view and an existing house for $700,000. Not a bad day’s work. (Notably, Councilwoman Overby had at one time proposed to purchase this same lot from these owners for $475,000, but that was simply too embarrassing.)
I recall that former Congressman Tim Bishop lost his job when tainted by far less: a $5,000 campaign contribution and the accusation that he had helped the donor obtain a permit for a fireworks display at a private party. True or not, that didn’t cost the public anything. The standards for cronyism seem to have gone down a lot in the intervening years.
This is hardly the first time the Democrats on the town board have abused the C.P.F. In one instance, they spent millions of dollars of preservation fund money to buy from a political crony a lot that had previously been stripped of development rights. Their uses of C.P.F. money demand a thorough investigation, the kind with a wallboard and pins and yarn detailing the connections between the sellers, their lawyers, and the members of the board.
November 18, 2019
Recently I had posted the below on Facebook: “Once again another stupendous breakfast at the Springs Fire Department. It is great to #supportourfirstresponders. It would be nice if East Hampton Town Hall and the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee would support public safety over political favors. Just saying!”
I then received this response from the East Hampton town Democratic Committee:
“Manny, it is unfortunate that you feel you must demean your neighbors. East Hampton Democratic Committee has no say over planning board decisions. This application is from that board. The public can write to the planning board to support the application. I encourage everyone to submit a letter of support for the Springs Fire Department tower. Wouldn’t that be a more productive advocacy than these lies and swipes on social media that are false and do nothing? Write a letter/email today!”
Now I have to admit that everything I wrote I believed to be correct, and I admittedly was a tad snarky, but the breakfast at the Springs Fire Department was, in fact, “stupendous.” I encourage everyone to go and support the Springs Fire Department Sunday breakfast. You will not be disappointed.
As for the rest, the existing tower sits idle after the certificate was revoked by the town, I believe, after neighbors with connections to the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee filed a lawsuit. For some reason, the Springs Fire Department putting up an emergency communications tower for urgent public safety needs must abide by every rule while the Town of East Hampton building a shellfish hatchery must not. The emergency communications tower fiasco has been going on for years while the lives of first responders and residents of Springs remain in danger.
The Democrat-controlled town board has proposed that a new tower be built on property belonging to the Nassau County Council of Girl Scouts. Apparently, the Girl Scouts of Nassau County need the revenue from cellular rental fees more than the taxpayers in Springs.
There is good news, it appears, from the response of the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee: They are supportive of the Springs Fire Department and encourage residents to “Write a letter/email today” to the East Hampton Town Planning Board.
I am going to do just that and will ask that the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee join the East Hampton Town Republican Committee in a show of bipartisan support for the Springs Fire Department. Our letter will be citing the urgency and paramount importance of public safety, and we will urge the town board to issue a resolution in support of the Springs Fire Department application before the town’s planning board.
I also encourage everyone to do the same.
East Hampton Town
November 17, 2019
During Thanksgiving we do not give much thought to the turkeys we eat. We spoil our pets and take delight in watching our bird feeders or the dolphins jumping. So why the disconnect? There is a hidden conspiracy regarding our food. We see packaging and advertisements with happy farm animals. Our parents, teachers, and most textbooks do not challenge these images. We seem indoctrinated to be complacent about our food sources. What really happens to a turkey before ending up on our plate?
Approximately 99 percent of the turkeys we buy were raised on a factory farm. A turkey’s life is challenging from the start. The literature consistently states that turkeys are de-beaked and de-toed shortly after birth without any medications. This eliminates the physical damage that occurs from fighting due to crowded and unnatural living conditions. Male turkeys have their snoods removed without medications. The living conditions are so stressful that cannibalism has been reported in factory turkey farms.
Recent articles state that antibiotics are given to turkeys because their living conditions are confined and unsanitary. Antibiotics also reduce the feed necessary to raise a turkey and promote rapid weight gain. Recent articles express concern regarding human antibiotic resistance resulting from consuming antibiotics via animal consumption.
The turkeys grow at very fast rates to weights that are more than twice what they were a few decades ago. Katie Rucke’s article states “the investigator said turkeys were bred to grow obese so quickly that the hens were no longer able to mate naturally, and had to be artificially inseminated, grabbing hens by their legs, shackling them upside down, and inserting a plastic tube into the bird. These hens will spend their lives being artificially inseminated over and over again to continually lay eggs that will hatch young turkeys to be raised and slaughtered for food.”
The Los Angeles Times editorial board stated: “Turkeys and so-called broiler chickens are genetically bred to grow fast (to satisfy our love for breast meat) and, typically, grow so big that they can barely walk by the time they are killed. The vast majority spend their short lives in artificially lit, windowless, barren warehouse barns.” They live that way until they are crammed onto trucks to be shipped to the slaughterhouse. Their journey without food and water often takes place in extreme weather conditions.
The article states: “When it’s time to slaughter them, the live birds are shackled upside down on a conveyor belt, paralyzed by electrified water and then dragged over mechanical throat-cutting blades. The birds are supposed to be stunned unconscious by the electrified water, but that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes the birds miss the blades and end up tumbling into the tanks of scalding water, where they drown.” Other articles confirm these findings.
We sit around the Thanksgiving table with our family and friends talking about what we are thankful for while consuming turkey. Turkeys have families and friends and are sentient, too. Shame on us for the disconnect.
November 17, 2019
Last week, the Trump administration argued before the Supreme Court that Mr. Trump’s decision to rescind the protections afforded under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program should be upheld. Under DACA, individuals unlawfully in the U.S. after being brought into the country as children, who qualify for such protection, may receive renewable two-year periods of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit.
The Trump administration has offered no alternative to DACA, leaving these “Dreamers” subject to deportation to a country they often have never known. Part of Mr. Trump’s reasoning is his accusation that many Dreamers are hardened criminals. Mr. Trump should know better: to qualify for DACA protection, any recipient of protection cannot have a serious felony or misdemeanor on their record. Yet, Mr. Trump resorts to a pernicious lie, with direct human consequences, in an effort to falsely shore up an undeniably inhumane policy.
Mr. Trump’s punitive position flies in the face of public opinion. More than 80 percent of Americans support the enactment of a proposal to make permanent DACA protection, including a proposal to extend to qualified DACA recipients the chance to become U.S. citizens. Estimates indicate that some 15,000 DACA recipients reside on Long Island, with some 1,500 living in our Congressional District.
In the face of such overwhelming public support for Dreamers, one would think that our congressman, Lee Zeldin, would use his position to propose a legislative fix that would give real protection to his DACA constituents threatened with deportation. But, and not surprisingly, Mr. Zeldin could care less for those so affected. Instead, he continues his role as chief toady to Mr. Trump, agreeing with Trump’s perverse decision to rescind DACA without offering an alternative. Turning his back on the Dreamers (who entered the country through no fault of their own), Mr. Zeldin’s stated priority is with those entering the U.S. legally.
Perry Gershon, who again is challenging Mr. Zeldin in 2020, has demonstrated what real leadership looks like. He has urged that Congress codify DACA protections and offer eligible recipients a path to citizenship. Mr. Gershon’s decision should not be surprising; the overwhelming public finds support in research that has shown that DACA has helped increase wages, enhance the employment statuses of recipients, and alleviate the number of immigrants living in poverty. And there is no evidence that DACA recipients have higher crime rates than other groups.
Out of touch with his constituency, not to mention the American public, Mr. Zeldin has squandered the public trust and should be fired. Let’s support Mr. Gershon next November.
Refuge of Liars
November 16, 2019
To The Star:
Imagine it is 10 years ago and we have a Democratic president, any Democrat. He’s alienated South Korea and embraced the murderous dictator of North Korea, stating he wrote him a beautiful letter about his beautiful vision for his country (starvation in a totalitarian state). He has insulted our NATO allies causing the president of France to declare the 75-year-old alliance that has protected the West “brain dead.”
His chief of staff and secretary of state have asked his U.N. ambassador to help undermine him in order to “save the country.” He has embraced our chief adversary, Russia, suggesting they be re-admitted to the G7, stating that he believes Vladimir Putin when he says he did not interfere in our presidential elections despite incontrovertible proof they did, according to all our intelligence agencies. He has abandoned our allies the Kurds to help the Syrian dictator Assad, a Russian proxy. He has announced he might attend the May Day celebrations in Moscow.
Now imagine that president is Donald Trump. The Republicans scurrying hither and thither to defend him would be screaming for the head of any Democrat who embraced his policies.
And now these Republicans must face a choice if they still decide to back him. Do they believe his lies? Trump told Mueller he didn’t recall discussing Wikileaks regarding Hillary Clinton and the D.N.C. with his longtime adviser Roger Stone. Does anyone in their right mind believe that?
The other excuse spoon fed to the Trump base is Trump was worried about corruption in Ukraine. Does anyone really believe that Donald Trump, the most corrupt president in our history, lay awake at night agonizing over corruption in the Ukraine? Even before we heard from multiple credible witnesses that this was all about subverting the interests of both the United States and Ukraine, it was obvious Rudy Giuliani, with the acquiescence of Secretary of State Pompeo and Chief of Staff Mulvaney, was illegally using their offices to attack a political opponent while Ukrainians died. We haven’t heard from those three lately. Their silence is deafening. Silence is the refuge of liars. If you believe them you are willfully blind.
Thus the second option. His supporters don’t care. They have abandoned a belief in the Constitution, in the separation of powers, because they are unable to face the reality of the malevolence they embraced. Thomas Jefferson once said of slavery that it was like holding a mad dog by the ears — you’re afraid to hold it but also afraid to let it go. The Republican Party has to let Trump go. Our freedom is at stake. It’s not Communism or radical Islam that I’m talking about. It’s Donald Trump — a thief, a liar, a sexual predator who doesn’t care about our freedom or our country. He cares only about himself. God save the Republic.
Oath of Omerta
November 14, 2019
To the Editor,
Remember the Mafia and their code of silence, “Loyalty to the oath of omerta”? We know from history what happens to people who break that oath of omerta! Elsewhere, in the United States and the civilized world, whistle-blower laws exist.
It may be of interest to refer to a resolution approved by the Continental Congress on July 30, 1778, with no recorded dissent:
“It is the duty of all persons in the service of the United States, as well as all other inhabitants thereof, to give the earliest information to Congress or any other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by any officers or persons in the service of these states, which may come to their knowledge”
More recently, the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 was enacted to protect federal employees who disclose “government illegality, waste, and corruption” from adverse consequences related to their employment.
In reliance upon this, the current whistle-blower brought a complaint to the inspector general of the intelligence community as a witness to questionable activities on the part of the president. Trump and the aggressive right wing of the Republican Party, are using every effort to breach the anonymity legally and reasonably allowed to this individual.
This is clearly intimidation and a very real threat to the safety of this individual and family members. Of course, this threat would establish a warning to any other lawful whistle-blowers in the future.
How is this not a return to the rule of omerta?
Spoke the Truth
November 17, 2019
Marie Yovanovitch sat in a room with dozens of mostly white men. Her problem was that she was far superior to all of them in every possible way. Intellectually, morally, courageously, and competently. She suffered their ignorance and obnoxious partisanship with her usual calm and intellect. She spoke truth, as she knew it, to power without flinching. Thirty-three years of exceptional service to the country, until the cretin in the White House trashed her in a tweet.
So, there is obviously something amiss with executive privilege. Supposedly a necessary right of the executive branch to protect itself in issues of national security. But nowadays it seems like a get out of jail card in a big-time Monopoly game. Not mentioned in the Constitution but approved by the Supreme Court, it is as mind-bogglingly stupid and destructive to our democracy as Citizens United.
If, in fact, there are national security issues to protect, executive privilege has a certain minimal relevance. However, when there are questions of criminality, treason, or personal conduct issues, using executive privilege abuses the constitution and the peoples trust.
We remember Nixon in Vietnam and Watergate, Reagan in Iran-Contra, Bush in the Iraq War. Talk about trust?
The core issue is not the separation of powers between the branches of government but the responsibility of elected and appointed officials to the American people. Somehow the idea that our politicians are hired and paid by us has gotten lost in translation. No one is forced to run for office or is forced to work for the government. Everyone enters government of their own volition and swears a variety of oaths to tell the truth, uphold the Constitution, etc.
Conceptually, elected officials on every level of government need to understand that they are giving up certain liberties and freedoms that they would enjoy in the private sector. They don’t get more privileges, they get many fewer. People don’t swear oaths in the private sector. They don’t have moral compasses that guide their behavior. Their decisions rarely, if ever, affect the entire country. They don’t carry the weight of running a 330 million people business.
So the interaction between executive privilege and congressional subpoenas is complete and total bullshit. People who work for our government are paid to represent us. Not themselves. Not each other. Not the president. If they are called to court or in front of Congress, they either show up or go to jail. By not showing up they violate their fiduciary responsibilities, their contracts, and their oaths of office.
If a kid selling a gram of crack gets five years in prison what is a fair sentence for someone who refuses to testify — 15 or 20 at hard labor? Of course crack is more important than corrupting our democracy, especially when the kids aren’t white.
At the root of our screwed-up system besides corruption and money is the idea that some people are above the law. When we accept this above the law concept we set a precedent for future politicians to behave the same way. We essentially kill the partial democracy that exists for some kind of autocracy, which we profess to abhor.
In truth, the impeachment process is a farce. The president violated the Constitution and put himself above the law. What he says has no relevance. He should either resign or change the Constitution.
Or use the Nikki Haley “failed assassination defense.” Just because he tried to kill someone doesn’t make him guilty if he missed.
Or the White Trash Scum Sucking Pig Defense. Since all of the participants are white and Trump’s foundation just accepted a $2 million fine for misappropriating funds raised for veterans (unbridled piggery), W.T.S.S.P. seems more than appropriate. If the president’s men were to testify before Congress, negating responsibilities and obstruction arguments, they could prove the president’s innocence and terminate the process or not?
If the president can determine who can or can’t be a witness against him there is no democratic process. Obstruction of justice is criminal. Scumbaggery is business as usual. All in a tweet.
November 17, 2019
Am I the only Never-Trumper who found (one part of) Ambassador William Taylor’s testimony fishy rather than credible?
If one of his staffers actually overheard President Trump talking to Gordon Sondland about Ukraine over the phone way back on July 26 (more than three months ago!), why would he have waited until just last week to first tell his boss about it?
And why wouldn’t Taylor have immediately fired that aide?
Now that a second United States embassy staffer has belatedly admitted overhearing President Trump’s July 25 phone call with Gordon Sondland, two things concern me:
1. Who else was listening in — Oprah? Cher? Billy Joel? Pope Francis? Hulk Hogan? Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman? Kim Jong Un?
2. What other important secrets are the staffers David Holmes (surely no Sherlock!) and Suriya Jayanti keeping to themselves — warnings about another Sept. 11-style terrorist attack against the United States?