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Letters to the Editor: 12.26.19

Mon, 12/23/2019 - 14:57

We Go Forward
East Hampton
December 20, 2019

Dear David,

In recent weeks, the village has received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback and some worthy suggestions relating to the Herrick Park concept design plan that LaGuardia Design Group presented to the public. We are very pleased that so many members of the community are sharing in this new vision for Herrick Park in the heart of our village. Certainly, our families, youth, and community members deserve a park that is a beautiful gathering place with well-maintained athletic and recreational fields. This is just one of the many steps toward the revitalization of our village’s commercial core.

One comment that has been repeated is: Why doesn’t the village put a road through the park from the Reutershan lot to the long-term lot? We asked this question ourselves. We wanted to respond publicly because the question has come up so many times, and to let the community know that the village has looked into this option.

In order for the village to put a road through the park, a process known as “park alienation” would have to occur. Park alienation would deem that portion of land dedicated specifically for a park purpose to now have an alternate use. To alienate a piece of land, an act of the New York State Legislature is required, and approval by the governor. There is great difficulty in seeking state legislative approval to alienate parkland unless there are extreme or extenuating circumstances. We were advised by counsel that it would be highly unlikely to have this occur.

We all realize the benefits of linking the Reutershan parking lot to the long-term lot with a roadway or pathway of some sort for the commercial core. It would provide easier and more convenient access to the parking lot for merchants, visitors, and the community. It would also be helpful for those who are unable to walk the distance between the parking lots and especially during inclement weather.

Please know that the village and the Herrick Park Committee are exploring alternative modes of transport that would be permissible in the park, such as golf-cart shuttles, as these do not legally travel the roadway. At the very least, we hope that by providing a more direct, wider, and well-lit pedestrian pathway more people will utilize it. As mentioned in the meeting, the Herrick Park design plan is in the conceptual stage, and we welcome your input and suggestions as we go forward. As we work our way through this process, we are looking into funding sources and will pursue private sources as well as any available grant opportunities.  Together, we can restore the park to be one of the many jewels of the village.

Best,

ROSE BROWN

TIGER GRAHAM

East Hampton Village trustees

Herrick Park Committee Co-Chairs


Common Sense
East Hampton
December 21, 2019

To the Editor:

A letter to the community: Having worked in the field of wildlife rescue, removal, rehab, and wildlife education for many years, I’d like to offer just a couple observations that I think would benefit us all in regard to our most talked-about wildlife issue. First, however, I’d like to ask a reasonable, simple, yet lifesaving favor, which would benefit both sides of the divide and the wildlife, a most glorious trifecta.

Every time I get a call to remove a deer from a barred entry gate, I promise myself I’m going to write this letter. After neglecting my promise for too long, I’d like to ask homeowners to consider the following. If you have a gate with bars, spaced apart to allow the partial passage of a deer, I ask that you please take my following advice, or seek your own, but correct the issue as to not allow one more deer to die in such a horrific manner.

Deer that get trapped inside gated properties often force their way through the gate bars. Even more often, their entrails, shoulders, or a single hipbone make it through but the rest does not. This immobilizes the deer who if not found in time often die in one of these three ways:

1) Slow death due to starvation.

2) Flies lay eggs all over the trapped deer and the maggots literally eat the animal alive.

3) They thrash about and break their own spine, then lie paralyzed and die, or they’re predicated while still alive. Either way, the homeowner still faces the task of removing the dead animal and cleaning the decomposed remains from the gate and the drive. And believe me, it’s not easy.

How can this be avoided? Might I suggest having gates installed with the bars closer together? Even better, install a skirt, either metal fencing or invisible Plexiglas, about four or five feet up from the bottom of the gate. Something to keep the animal from passing through at all. Problem solved.

And while we’re on the topic of solving problems, might I redundantly suggest another? I did suggest this to deer management, I mean the Wildlife Management Committee, years ago, but all I got was a blank stare.

I’m not being a smart-ass, but please let me explain the simple common- sense scenario that poor management and planning have created. Allowing properties to fence off their frontal boundaries from one side to the other, from property line to property line, creates a wall along the roadway that the houses use. This leaves only the shoulder area for the wildlife to congregate and use, and this is why we see so many live deer along our roadways, and dead deer in our roadways.

Add in the ever-shrinking habitat, and this creates pockets of large herds that create the facade of a population explosion. In fact, the population hasn’t changed much at all in deer, but we know for a fact that the human population has more than quadrupled, along with the number of homes built over the past 20 years.

So here is where the common sense comes in. If every block had a designated wildlife corridor (10 to 15 feet wide) that ran from one road to the other, the deer would use that pathway to traverse rather than travel along the road all the way around. And if the deer used these corridors, they would no longer be hanging around the roadway shoulders creating a hazard to both themselves and drivers. Everybody wins.

Then you can step it up a notch and create multiple corridors per block. Where each corridor crosses a road there could be a lighted crosswalk, a speed bump, or just a warning sign. The deer would maintain these corridors and actually hang within them. Folks wouldn’t see deer as much, that’s for sure.

We have a corridor on our property line and it is used quite a bit. No deer has ever been hit on our road, and they practically live in there. It’s a perfect example of how beneficial the corridors really are. Anyway, just thought I’d share that information for anyone interested.

Happy Holidays,

DELL CULLUM

Wildlife Rescue of East Hampton


Grant Money
Springs
December 17, 2019

Dear Editor:

You printed a report in your newspaper about a conference held to discuss the recent complete loss of scallops in Peconic Bay and Gardiner’s Bay.

It’s astonishing that scientists and managers would come together to discuss this issue so quickly, but on second thought a declaration of disaster opens the dam to a flood of grant money for research into this catastrophe and no doubt any money will go to those who live on grants rather then those who need it. As has happened before, like after Superstorm Sandy, few if any baymen will meet the criteria to qualify let alone have the wherewithal to comply with just the paperwork. Well, what the hey, give it to those who have the answers already and reading your story we know what those answers are.

It’s climate change that causes physiological stress, it’s high temperatures, high CO2 concentrations and acidification; hypoxia and predators, specifically cownose rays, a species lured here by global warming that no fishermen managed to catch this year. It could be pathogens. Maybe they caught the flu. Interestingly, nitrogen, the bogeyman of the bays, was barely mentioned. Huh!

Also of note, there isn’t anything anyone can do about it but ask why and seek research money and be paid to ask why. However the State Department of Environmental Conservation did offer to have a “selective breeding program” to improve scallops. A kind of G.M.O. for seafood?

The only thing for sure, these people say, is there’s absolutely no impact by the many millions of farm-raised oysters now in the bay. As reported by a different publication, it’s said the 11 million oysters taken from the bays recently could eat for years before there’s an impact on the food chain. Well they got us. Dead oysters must certainly eat a lot of plankton before there’s a problem.

This isn’t the answer we should get. All questions are valid, and this is the question those of us who work on the bay want answered. Do these animals have an adverse impact on the food chain killing scallops and forcing fish to leave the bays?

Not one person at this conference doesn’t have bias. All have a vested interest in oyster farming, either financial or reputationally. We hope those who pay for answers will ask questions and demand unbiased and truthful answers.

BRAD LOEWEN


Lease Sites
Springs
December 15, 2019

Hi David,

Sometimes a picture tells a thousand words. The Suffolk County Aq­ua­culture Lease Program has a map showing Pe­conic Bay, and a significant fraction of southern Gardiner’s Bay, carpeted with proposed lease sites. This map deserves to be published in The Star, and is available for public viewing at suffolkcountyny.gov.

Now imagine that all these proposed future lease sites use surface aquaculture gear. This would result in almost all of the public waters in the Peconics and southern Gardiner’s Bay becoming practically unusable for boating, sailing, fishing, scalloping, windsurfing, and kite boarding.

On the other hand, if the Suffolk County planners do the right thing, and make all future sites use only submerged aquaculture gear, which is daisy-chained to a limited number of surface buoys, then most of the conflicts would be resolved and aquaculture could co-exist with other users, and flourish, as it should.

The proposed maps for the next 10 years are only open for public written comment until the deadline of Dec. 27, 2019, at 5 p.m.

Comments can be made by emailing [email protected] or via a form on the Suffolk County website.

I encourage citizens and users of our public waters to provide their input.

Best regards,

PETER MENDELMAN


Negotiation
East Hampton
December 23, 2019

To the Editor:

Initially, Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott claimed that it supported the South Fork Wind Farm but did not want the cable buried under Beach Lane. Interesting, Wainscott made no objection earlier in the year to East Hampton Town and Suffolk County burying nine miles of water pipe in Wainscott roadways (including Beach Lane) when the water quality of Wainscott’s aquifer was called into question.

Next, C.P.W. argued that the cable should come ashore at Hither Hills. The plan was to bury it under Montauk Highway from Hither Hills through Amagansett and East Hampton Village and then up Route 114 to the Cove Hollow Road substation. This would be very disruptive to homes, businesses, and traffic along this 11-mile route. This would take two off-seasons to complete. When asked why this was preferable, Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott had no answer. F.Y.I., Beach Lane has six year-round residences.

Now, C.P.W. is opposed to the wind farm because the price negotiated with LIPA is too high. The agreement between Deepwater/Orsted and LIPA (which was approved by the New York State Public Service Commission) was the result of a public bid, which Deepwater/Orsted won because it provided electricity at the lowest cost. Now, four-plus years later, new wind farm bids are coming in even lower. Such prices will benefit South Fork residents since PSEG prices are based on a mix of all the prices it pays for the electricity it delivers. Lower prices for power from the newer wind farms will lower PSEG costs, and thus bills to consumers will go down.

Recently, C.P.W. claimed, without any supporting details, that within five years there would be more efficient and affordable ways to solve the power needs on the East End. Ninety-nine percent of scientists agree climate change is a current crisis. We need immediate action to address South Fork power needs, air pollution, health risks, sea level rise, as well as the existential crisis of climate change.

Finally, C.P.W. complains that Orsted is breaking its promise to explore the Hither Hills route in the Public Service Commission settlement negotiations, which are ongoing. Significant time was spent on the Hither Hills route during those negotiations, and on Jan. 8, at the request of C.P.W., an additional settlement negotiation will be held to allow C.P.W. to present its alternative route.

Orsted has gone out of its way to cooperate with C.P.W. The only deception has been on the part of C.P.W., which has little credibility. Clearly, C.P.W. is just a small, moneyed Nimby group who wants electricity for Wainscott without any involvement or inconvenience on their part.

It’s time for C.P.W. to get with the program and support the wind farm, which will provide electricity to 70,000 South Fork homes, including the 700 or so in Wainscott.

JERRY MULLIGAN


Rhetoric
Springs
December 21, 2019

Dear Editor,

I was appalled by your editorial “Tolerance at Hanukkah.” You have previously written some editorials spewing the national Democratic Party propaganda line, nasty name-calling rhetoric with no basis in fact. As an American Jew, I found your editorial particularly offensive.

The title and beginning of your editorial imply that you will be writing about acceptance and respect. However, you soon digress into divisive, hate-filled rhetoric toward the president of the United States.

Your accusation of Trump being an anti-Semite is not only ridiculous but reveals the depth, depravity, and lies of the Democratic Party propaganda you spew. Trump’s daughter, son-in-law, and three of his grandchildren are Jewish. President Trump is the American president who is the most supportive of Israel in our lifetime. Not only is President Trump very popular in Israel, his support from Orthodox American Jews has risen to almost 90 percent. People who care about the Jewish people and their homeland know and understand that Trump and his administration are great allies of the Jewish people.

Here’s a thought for you: Don’t fight divisive hate-filled propaganda with more divisive hate-filled propaganda. One could argue that your editorial is anti-Semitic as you smear the most pro-Israel president of our lifetime as a racist and anti-Semite. So I ask you, Mr. Rattray, who is the racist anti-Semite now?

CAROL BUDA


Price to Pay
East Hampton
December 22, 2019

Dear David:

Silent on her husband’s mocking of 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, Melania Trump, like other women in love, hoped to live happily ever after when she married Donald Trump. However, like many women, she soon learned (as did Hillary Clinton) that to remain in her marriage she would have to be willing to put up with her husband’s ongoing pattern of emotionally disrespectful and abusive behavior.

She obviously made a conscious deal with herself. Namely, she chose to live a life of riches and glamour, regardless of the humiliation and abuse that her husband has hurled at her and their son, Barron, at every turn.

I have treated hundreds of Melania Trumps over the years, from all socio-economic backgrounds in my private practice in Sarasota, New York City, and East Hampton. I can attest to one sad reality. There is always a price to pay, emotionally, psychologically, and physically, when one lives in an abusive relationship, regardless of whether one dines on caviar or McDonald’s chicken nuggets.

Melania Trump is no role model for anyone. Who could possibly take her seriously? Why would you think that she would defend Greta Thunberg when she is unable or unwilling to defend herself?

On a more compassionate note, one really has to wonder how she actually copes on a day-to-day basis (away from the cameras) with her sad reality. She is fortunate that her husband at least was able to help her sister and parents immigrate to the United States. Others are not so fortunate

BEATTY COHAN-VRETTOS


Expand and Embrace
Noyac
December 18, 2019

Dear David Rattray,

Let’s face it — many of us wished Trump was out of power over our lives even before he sat down in the Oval Office. Donald Trump represents the toxic masculinity that we need to dethrone. We have to stop feeding a tyrant lies about how perfect he is, though the energy he resonates with is devoid of all compassion and humanity.

We all need to move together and in the right direction to expand and embrace our community, our country, and what we want to become. Bless us all in this new decade ahead.

HEIDI RAIN OLESZCZUK


Dumb Mind Game
East Hampton
December 23, 2019

To the Editor,

What has always seemed to save our political system is its mediocrity. If Mickey Mouse ran for president he would get 45 percent of the vote. Something which we have always been roundly criticized for, but in truth has saved our butts from the extreme madness that we are experiencing today. For a democratic system not to be an interminable slog it needs politicians who are smart, courageous, and not too corrupt. Ours are often very smart, rarely courageous, and substantially corrupt. (They almost all become extremely wealthy.)

The greatness about mediocrity is that we don’t have to live under the pressure of being great. How does it matter if someone else makes better cars or has better health care? Saying we’re the greatest country in the world doesn’t get you a free ride on the subway or a burger at McDonald’s. It’s a really dumb mind game.

When our politicians expand the edges of acceptable corruption and push our system to its extremes, our under carriage gets really squishy. Rarely does this extremism take root. (See Barry Goldwater.) And so we are not well equipped to deal with it when it does. The Trump impeachment process unveils all of our systemic flaws and genuinely threatens to bring our democracy to its knees, the Constitution and the structure of the government.

The House impeached Trump as it’s supposed to do. The Senate will try him following the Constitution. It’s not rocket science as long as the rules are followed. Trump has been accused and found wanting. His right, or better his obligation, is to prove his innocence. If he doesn’t get a fair trial, our system is compromised. If the trial is rigged the system caves.

Because we are so mediocre, so totally lacking in courage and principles, no one comes out and says the president is a bag of shit. Dishonest, a lying, scheming jerk who would unquestionably do what he is accused of. Ask anyone who knows him. His screw-up is who he is. Not a single person stood up and defended his character, his honesty. It’s not that he didn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t scam Zelensky. It’s that the Dems are out to get him.

Until “Christianity Today,” rising from the muck of evangelical Christian mediocrity, calls Trump an immoral piece of garbage who should be impeached. It would be a “duh” moment if American evangelicals hadn’t already sold what’s left of their souls to Trump world. Locked into their capitalist/Jesudogma, they have anointed Trump as the second coming — the perfect nexus of the pathological, lying misanthrope and religious, faith-healing carnival barkers. What would Jesus think?

The response from Trump and evangelical leaders was expected. Communists, unpatriotic anti-Trumpers, anything but good Christians. Their arguments didn’t defend the president. Primarily, they asked if the magazine’s editors wanted Warren or Sanders or the members of the Squad to run their country as if no one but Trump would be okay for them. Essentially, exposing themselves as deranged quasi-Christian whack jobs. Evangelical Christianity without Jesus is pure fascism.

So we return to the certitude of our political and religious elites and take solace in their fraudulence, their ineptitude, and their mediocrity. We are often like hens in a yard surrounded by predators who are fortunately too rabid and crazed to finish us off. Every morning when the cock crows we thank God for the mediocrity that sustains our existence.

NEIL HAUSIG


Manslaughter
Plainview
December 20, 2019

To the Star:

Unlike most school (and other) mass shootings where one person kills many innocent victims, Erica Tishman was “killed” by many people. It wasn’t just the bricklike piece of terra-cotta falling from a tall building and hitting her in the head that caused her fully preventable and tragic death. I only wish that all of the following people who “contributed” to her death could be criminally prosecuted for involuntary manslaughter:

1). The top officers of the building owner, Himmel and Meringoff Ownership and Acquisitions, who (responsibly) obtained permits to repair 729 Seventh Avenue’s 17th-floor facade 14 months ago, but irresponsibly failed to do the public-safety repairs during the ensuing 400-plus days! Even after New York City’s Department of Buildings issued them violations for “failure to maintain the building’s facade” despite “dangerous terra-cotta at areas above the 15th floor in several locations, which pose a falling hazard for pedestrians” on April 29, 2019, H+M merely paid a meaningless $1,250 fine (anticipatory blood money?) and allowed the dangerous conditions to persist, not even installing protective scaffolding).

2). The city’s inspector who issued the April violation, his immediate supervisor, and all the higher-up, high-salaried. officers up to the (so far anonymous) commissioner. They took H+M’s $1,250 fine, but took no steps to get H+M to eliminate this “Class 1 violation” which “must be corrected immediately.” (Ironically, the Department of Buildings spokeswoman now says, apparently with no shame, “No pedestrian should be at risk from dangerous facade conditions.”)

3. Mayor Bill de Blasio, theoretically the city’s “Buck Stops Here” leader, who disingenuously and insincerely now says “We need to know how that happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Personally, I’d like to see all these people — who could have “saved” 60-year-old Erica Tishman from death — lose their freedom for the same number of years (20 to 30) of life that their unforgivable negligence took from her and her family.

RICHARD SIEGELMAN


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