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Letters to the Editor for October 15, 2020

Wed, 10/14/2020 - 10:20

Service With a Smile
Amagansett
October 10, 2020

Dear David,

I have been meaning to write this letter for several months but have been remiss in not doing so earlier. The reason for this note is to express thanks and appreciation for the continued hard work that our Amagansett postal employees and Amagansett I.G.A. workers exhibit every day.

When this pandemic first hit Suffolk County and the population of Amagansett probably doubled, the Amagansett Post Office was overwhelmed with both the requests for new mailboxes and the daily delivery of a number of mailed packages never before experienced in our small post office. The postmistress, Lashira, as well as Cindy, Vicki, and Terry, handled this onslaught of packages with a smile and efficiency, even though in the beginning it sometimes led to a long line to pick up a package in the office. I found it amusing that while sometimes waiting in line you could overhear other individuals relaying horror stories of the problems in the East Hampton Post Office and the Montauk Post Office. All four Amagansett P.O. employees are to be commended for their work during this period.

The other group of individuals who deserve our heartfelt thanks at this time are the employees at Cirillo’s Market Amagansett I.G.A. During the past few months every individual in this store has worked tirelessly to make shopping at the I.G.A. as normal as possible. The manager, Gustavo, has kept this store operating at full capacity and smoothly at all times. The butchers, Brian and Rich, as well as all the assistant managers and cashiers, always have a smile and a welcome hello when one shops there. 

This I.G.A. has senior hours from 9 to 10 a.m. every day, and there is always an employee at the front door checking your ID before allowing you to enter as a senior citizen. They also restrict the total number of customers to 30 individuals within the store at any one time, and this is strictly enforced by whoever is manning the entrance door. I have shopped at almost all the other markets in East Hampton and Bridgehampton during this pandemic, and several also boast of having senior citizen hours, but I have yet to see any individual checking IDs, or any restriction on the number allowed within the store in order to observe social distancing.

We are all facing our own problems every day during this period, but it is a tribute to the Amagansett Post Office and the Amagansett I.G.A. that we have individuals here willing to come to work every day and serve us with a smile. Maybe we should try to say thank you to them when they help us.

JEFF WEINLANDT

 

Led by C.C.O.M.
Montauk
October 9, 2020

Dear Editor,

October is a great month to get outside and safely enjoy Montauk’s beautiful natural beauty. And this October, while the Concerned Citizens of Montauk is celebrating its 50th anniversary, we are reminded of some of our past October efforts that have forever changed the Montauk landscape for the better.

In October 2000, after many years of dedicated advocacy led by C.C.O.M. and others, Montauk’s 99-acre Shadmoor State Park was created, ensuring the perpetual protection of and public access to this beautiful, unique place.

And then, 10 years later in 2010, C.C.O.M., the Third House Nature Center, and local citizens challenged the public sale of Montauk’s Fort Pond House in New York State Supreme Court in what became a successful effort to save Fort Pond House for the community. With funding provided by the Town of East Hampton, community contributions, and C.C.O.M. volunteers, the four-acre property was renovated and opened to the public in 2016, and named Carol Morrison Park in honor of our first president. This is now a delightful, peaceful public space on the shore of Fort Pond that can be used and appreciated by all.

C.C.O.M. encourages everyone to get out there safely and visit Shadmoor State Park and Carol Morrison Park this October and remember those who worked tirelessly to protect them!

LAURA TOOMAN

President

Concerned Citizens of Montauk

 

Above and Beyond
East Hampton
October 9, 2020

Dear Editor:

On the evening of Friday, Sept. 25, my husband, Sidney Reiter, injured himself in our apartment in East Hampton. We called the police, the E.M.T.s, and an ambulance. Everyone who responded was prompt, professional, helpful, and kept us calm. They drove him to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, where he was admitted with a hip fracture. This was obviously a very stressful and scary time for my husband and our family; however, the care we received was outstanding, and I wanted to write to express my heartfelt thanks.

Once at the hospital, our surgeon, Dr. Kristin Hopkins, took the time to explain the procedure, asked if I had any questions, and was thoughtful, professional, and comforting. When the surgery was over, she called and explained how things went and shared the next steps with me.

Throughout the week of recovery, the nursing staff and the doctors were available to my husband in the hospital as well as to me. They took the time to explain what was happening and how his recovery was proceeding. Even during some very challenging times, the overnight nursing staff of Ali and Lisa (there were others but I don’t recall all their names) reassured me and I knew he was getting the best care possible.

My husband is now in a rehabilitative facility so he can learn how to maneuver on his new hip and I look forward to having him back home soon.

It is amazing how quickly he has been able to progress, and it is all because of the care he received from the East Hampton police, E.M.T.s, and ambulance staff, as well as by the staff at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital. It is gratifying to know there is a prompt and helpful emergency response team in East Hampton as well as a high-quality medical facility in Southampton that is both professional and medically caring.

I wanted to write this letter to share our thanks from my husband and me for a job above and beyond! You have our thanks for a job well done! Thank you!

Sincerely,

SIDNEY and ROBERTA REITER

 

White’s
East Hampton
October 10, 2020

Dear David,

Did you know White’s provides flu shots, shingles shots, etc., all given in a safe and friendly manner? A valuable community service — we thank you!

MARY DAMASK

 

Exciting
East Hampton
October 11, 2020

Dear David,

Thank you for publishing my poem! It was so exciting for me and the best birthday gift ever!

I hope others found it uplifting during this time of sadness and loss.

SUE NORTH

 

Everyday Heroes
Sag Harbor
October 6, 2020

Dear David,

The East Hampton Village Volunteer Ambulance corps arrived minutes after I was struck by an S.U.V. while riding my bike on Stephen Hand’s Path on Sept. 27, a Sunday.

I was attended by the volunteers: Paul D’Andrea, Mary Ellen McGuire, and Tony Matos. They were extremely kind and professional. I extend my sincere thanks and heartfelt admiration to all members of the ambulance corps, who can think of nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon than scraping injured cyclists (or similar souls in need of medical attention) off the ground and taking them to the hospital.

These selfless volunteers are everyday heroes living in our midst and represent all that is good about humanity.

Best regards,

JONAS HAGEN

 

Racetrack on a Bypass
East Hampton
October 9, 2020 

Dear Mr. Rattray,

Bella Lewis’s column in this week’s Star only begins to tell the story! Stephen Hand’s Path is not only putting cyclists in danger, it is also rapidly emerging as a major danger spot both for those who travel along it, and especially for those seeking to traverse its intersections (like Two Holes of Water Road) that have no stoplight.

Roughly one year ago (Nov. 18,) I sent an email to both Mr. Van Scoyoc and Ms. Anne Bell asking them to take measures to slow down what has become a racetrack on a de facto East Hampton bypass. Since the cost of putting in traffic lights — even if triggered by the flow of traffic — is comparatively expensive, and might pose an undue burden on the town, I proposed that four-way stop signs be erected at each intersection. This would certainly be better (and less expensive) than the traffic circle originally proposed for the intersection in front of the new fire substation on Old Northwest Road at Cedar Street and Stephen Hand’s Path.

Their lack of response was defining!

Please. The volume of traffic in our village and town is exponentially higher because of the influx of transplanted N.Y.C. residents who have taken refuge in East Hampton. Must we endure their bad driving as well as their by-and-large rude manners?

Yours sincerely,

JAMES R. WELDON

 

For Those in Crisis
East Hampton
October 9, 2020

To the Editor:

We find ourselves in a very unusual time, when we are both forced and encouraged to stay in, to quarantine when possible with family and friends we know well, to stay away from large groups. We are physically together more than ever before. It is an opportunity to practice gratitude. How fortunate we are to have the time and space to cherish family and friends, to sit around a dinner table together, to walk or ride bikes to the beach or down a forest trail. It is indeed a gift living in this very special community. October is one of the most beautiful months of the year on the East End. The perfect light and cool evenings. The miracle of the changing colors around us.

But October is also a month to honor the survivors of domestic violence. For those people, this pandemic, which requires us to stay close, brings only fear and anxiety. For many, getting out of the house and away from potential violence to a job or outside activity is often, literally, a life saver. Consider for a moment what it would be like to shelter with someone whose actions are unpredictable. Perhaps they have lost a job, or are only working virtually. Stress is high, and relentless. Anything could spark an incident. And, because the victim is often under constant scrutiny, there is no escape.

Domestic violence is hard to spot. It hides itself well. Bruises may be emotional or physical. There is embarrassment, and fear that discovery will only make matters worse.

The moment when it’s all too much, the Retreat becomes an invaluable resource. For those in crisis, the Retreat emergency shelter is a respite. Families are provided counseling and support to get back on their feet. For those seeking guidance, direction, or next steps, The Retreat’s hot line is available 24/7 (631-329-2200). When a person is ready to make a call, there is always someone to hear their voice. And Retreat education programs at schools, community centers, and with high-risk groups of fathers and others, are delivered consistently, with the goal of breaking the cycle of violence.

I am a proud member of the Retreat’s board of directors. Many people have asked me how they can help. Here are a few thoughts. First, be aware that someone around you could be a victim of domestic violence.  If you suspect something, ask the question, offer the Retreat number — don’t stand by. Second, help us help families by shopping at the Retreat Boutique in Bridgehampton, joining our Adopt-a-Family program, which makes sure that no family is forgotten during the holidays, or offering to volunteer.

Stories of survivors are powerful. Hear more voices at www.allagainstabuse.org.

CLAUDIA PILATO

 

A Million, a Billion
Springs
October 11, 2020

Dear Editor:

We hear a lot of rhetoric, especially around an election, but one issue that no politician will touch or mention is the population problem. There are seven billion of us (that’s billion with a B) on the planet. Considering that we are using the earth’s nonrenewable resources at an alarming rate, it’s fair to ask if this is sustainable, and predictions are that there will be nine billion of us well before the end of the century. When a state or a nation observes a decrease in birth rate, it is often reported as a problem or a tragedy.

The difference between a million and a billion is not universally appreciated. A million dollars versus a billion dollars? A million years versus a billion years? There’s an easy way to appreciate the difference. Everyone knows what a second is. One, one thousand, two, one thousand, three, one thousand, and so on. A million seconds is eleven and a half days. A billion seconds is 31 years. (You can do the math. It’s basic arithmetic.) And while we’re at it, a trillion seconds is 31,000 years. With that, think in terms of dollars and people.

STEVE SOBEL

 

Time to Move
East Hampton
October 12, 2020

David,

The long-negotiated settlement agree­ment in the South Fork Wind application with the Public Service Commission is officially known as the joint proposal. Recently, the town trustees unanimously approved and signed on to the joint proposal and the town board has indicated its intention to do so. On Friday, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation after years of thorough and painstaking review issued a statement in support of the joint proposal.

While the statement is seven pages long, it can be summed up in the following excerpt: “Based on the administrative record and the Joint Proposal, including the proposed certificate conditions, the Department [DEC] is satisfied that environmental impacts will be minimal and primarily of a temporary nature provided that the PSC ultimately adopts the proposed certificate of conditions and other elements of the Joint Proposal in any Certificate issued for the Project.”

The conclusion in its entirety reads: “Based on the foregoing, the Department supports the Joint Proposal and respectfully requests the Commission adopt the Joint Proposal and associated settlement documents without modification, as agreed to by the signatory parties.”

It’s time to move this shovel-ready project forward.

JEREMIAH T. MULLIGAN

 

Studied the Issues
East Hampton
October 12, 2020

Dear David,

I think that an unbiased evaluation of the East Hampton Town Trustees’ efforts to facilitate the best plan for the cable landing should be positive. From the first day we learned of the proposed cable planned landing at Fresh Pond In Amagansett, we got involved and started asking questions. We studied the issues, visited the sites, and provided a platform for public input. Years of effort were involved.

The work, the research, the community outreach, the time spent listening thoughtfully to every point of view, and the head-banging has paid off with a plan that will be a model for future projects. Collectively, the trustees have done a great job.

The remaining opposition: the NIMBYs, who now propose Atlantic Avenue in Amagansett be used — the not-in-my-personal-ocean crews — and the Oil Tanker Tycoons must come to realize that global warming is real and must be addressed.

Our decision to spend time and effort seeking out excellent counsel with relevant experience was a wise one, and it has produced great results. The payments received for the benefit of the town are now comparable with the existing market rates and will be put to good use.

When the trustees did all the hard work negotiating this plan we were not being motivated by money, but by a desire to produce the best plan for the town. We did the heaviest of the lifting. We studied and produced a plan light-years better than Block Island’s, and we stand ready to see it done correctly. We deserve enough money out of this to fund the many good works we do.

I think our trustee board’s greatest reward will be the knowledge that we moved this project from the deep-six Deepwater days to a great plan that is moving forward.

BILL TAYLOR 

East Hampton Town Trustee

 

Doesn’t Fit
Wainscott
October 12, 2020

Dear David,

As reported in these pages last week, I was one of several members of Wainscott United who presented the case against the incorporation of Wainscott at the Oct. 3 meeting of the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee.

The bulk of the discussion before the W.C.A.C. was on why incorporation was not a good idea for Wainscott. We emphasized the advantages, past and future, of Wainscott’s status as a hamlet within the Town of East Hampton. We noted the substantial investments by the town in preserving farmland and other green spaces and providing safe drinking water. We pointed out that the proponents of incorporation had seriously understated the complexity and likely resulting expense of establishing and operating a functioning village. We brought attention to the fact that only one new village had been formed in the state during the last decade and that it had been dis-incorporated amidst undelivered promises of more responsive government and better services and the reality of higher than advertised expenses and taxes. We made clear that the $250,000 to $300,000 annual budget used by Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott to sell incorporation was a fantasy, if not an outright deception, and that the assurance of Wainscott’s being just like Sagaponack was a fairy tale.

A lively discussion of these issues followed our presentation. Several speakers pointed out that incorporation might not be as expensive as we had hypothesized and that, with more time and study by their consultants, C.P.W. might come up with something that might better approximate what a Wainscott village might cost. These apologies and pleas for more time for study are beside the point because, as we told the W.C.A.C. on the 3rd, incorporation of the hamlet is not possible. A number of those at the W.C.A.C. meeting seemed to find it difficult to accept that reality.

But it is clear that New York State law does not allow for Wainscott to be made into a village. The requirements of the village law are clear and unambiguous. Because Wainscott is more than five square miles in area, its territory could be incorporated only if it shared exact boundaries with a school or other municipal district. It doesn’t do that. The published map of the Wainscott School District makes clear that it doesn’t share exact borders with the hamlet, doesn’t fit within the hamlet, and includes territory within Sagaponack and East Hampton Village. The only open question is how C.P.W. and its legal advisers failed to spot this issue. Did they not look at the law or the school district map before they told Wainscott residents they should sign up for incorporation?

C.P.W.’s blatant failure to do the most rudimentary legal and financial homework before it went out to Wainscott residents with a petition for incorporation and then persisted in that effort even after undoubtedly realizing there were problems with its proposal is seriously troubling. It raises issues of both competence and candor that should concern us all, particularly the W.C.A.C. and those residents who were at least temporarily attracted by visions of effective home rule, local control.

But fooled once, I have confidence that we all will take with a grain of salt anything we hear from C.P.W. going forward.

Sincerely,

JOHN HALL

 

Credibility
Wainscott
October 11, 2020

David,

The group formerly known as Save Beach Lane then decided the phrase Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott could gain them more support, has been unveiled. Their credibility has fallen through the floor.

At the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee meeting last Saturday, Wainscott United, a group opposing incorporating Wainscott, disclosed to the public that the petition that S.B.L./C.P.W. has been circulating is, and has been all along, invalid. The Wainscott School District, which was the geographical boundary they were trying to incorporate, encroaches into both Sagaponack and East Hampton Villages.

They knew that their petition was flawed and invalid, yet they kept promising to do more studies by hired guns and spending more money on a flawed and invalid effort. I can’t imagine how they would ever run an incorporated village if this is how they run a process. Lying to the public and withholding truth is not what any citizen wants.

This is the most disorganized group. First they can’t decide what they are saving and now they seem not to know where they are. Why should Wainscott residents and taxpayers trust them for any real information, statistics, or financial numbers, if they knew all along that their petition was invalid?

What a shame they took advantage of the public who trusted them.

Sincerely,

DOREEN A. NIGGLES

 

Broken Calculator
Wainscott
October 12, 2020

Dear David,

The October Zoom meeting of the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee was supposed to be about a proposed incorporation of Wainscott. Well, after a short while, it was hijacked by the group Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott. Their real agenda was revealed and exposed by those involved in the discussion.

When the so-called petition was first announced, “Citizens United” requested copies to check the validity, on more than one occasion. I myself asked twice to see how many were actually registered to vote here?

One person told me that that wasn’t the issue. It was never produced? Lost in the mail — or did the dog eat it? Why?

As some people spoke, one requested the contaminated well back, complaining about the installation of public water. Another conducted a long discussion about road projects in New Jersey. It appeared to be a three-card monte game and we all know what that is.

It was astonishing that not one single word or concern about the effect of a huge tax increase on seniors living on fixed incomes and the hard-working families trying to enjoy living here. It apparently doesn’t dawn on them that we live here, too, and support the local economy while they are gone for the winter.

Some of my neighbors expressed fears that they may have to move and leave behind their medical support and much more. We have all experienced yearly tax increases and that will continue. A windfall of $15 a month in the cost of living adjustments will pay for some chopped meat twice a month, or a few gallons of gasoline.

The budget amount was mentioned of approximately $350,000. To staff one radio car requires five officers. That amount is near $1 million a year. So that will cover one-third of a police officer. It appears the so called-experts used a broken calculator.

We already have the best highway department on the entire eastern end of Long Island, thanks to the leadership of Stephen Lynch and a professionally trained police department, with multiple resources to respond to almost anything. We already pay for all town resources in our town taxes, which will remain.

So I want to say thank you for wanting to add another layer of government so we can pay twice the taxes and much more. We are facing huge school tax increases due to the relocation of those fleeing the city.

I want to thank you for not considering the long-term implications and the cost to undo the havoc you want to burden us with if it fails! See the list and burden put on the backs of taxpayers, as they did in those locales. The cost is enormous.

How many new classrooms and staff do we need to hire? Properties removed from the tax rolls are added to our bills. With the price of land, where would the village hall and staff be located?

Their mantra of “preserve the bucolic beauty of Wainscott,” is pure B.S. Is it that you favor incorporation to shift the litigation fees to the taxpayers?

Thank you for exposing your real agenda, in that is it to try to prevent the landing of the cable on Beach Lane or even to make that a private road and beach? Please excuse the proletariat, who just want to live and provide, while you bathe in your self-importance. Many cannot use the beach because of limited parking, especially for the handicapped. Too far to walk, and crossing the “kamikaze” alley of the highway can be deadly. There are more who live north of the highway who are denied.

Why don’t they secede from the town and become the Insensitive Village of South Wainscott?

As they so eloquently say in Brooklyn, “Youse got big ones!”

ARTHUR J. FRENCH

 

Still Swarming
Noyac
October 12, 2020

To the Editor,

This past Thursday and Friday, Say No to KHTO received as many complaints as we would during a “normal” summer holiday weekend, but we’re approaching mid-October and transient aircraft are still swarming — larger jets traveling longer distances, and more daily commuters commuting within the tristate area.

The South Fork is being hammered by nonessential air travel.

PATRICIA CURRIE

 

Sign Wars
Springs
October 12, 2020

Dear David,

Someone removed lawn signs from in front of where I live. Such signs have been around as long as people have voted. In the United States, these signs are protected by the First Amend­ment. They build name recognition for candidates and increase voter turnout, and in this way are a public good.

Sign wars are a lose-lose proposition, wasting scarce community time and resources. One remedy is to put signs out of reach. Best if we all just leave one another’s signs alone until after the election.

JOHN TEPPER MARLIN

 

Thousands of People
Montauk
October 10, 2020

To the Editor:

When I go to Southampton, and beyond UpIsland, I am amazed by the thousands of people who can pack into Pumpkintown. Both sides of Montauk Highway are packed with tightly parked cars. Traffic slows to a standstill. Most are masked and attempt social distancing, oftentimes poorly.

Yet how many of these people fear the idea of voting in person at their local polling place? Come on, man!

PAUL ROMAN

 

Your Ballot
East Hampton
October 12, 2020

To the Editor,

If you are considering mailing in your ballot, make sure that you hand it to your postman/woman, whom you know. Do not leave it in your box!

You can take it to Windmill Village at 219 Accabonac Road (631-324-2695). They will be open at different time spans from Oct. 24 through Oct. 31. You can call to verify the time you find most convenient for you.

Better safe than sorry.

LENI SALZ

 

Fact-Based Epiphany
Amagansett
October 12, 2020

Dear Mr. Rattray,

Thankfully, our president has made a very quick, very great recovery from his battle with Covid-19. It was even possible for him to deliver remarks before his followers from the balcony of the White House, which reminded me of the pope, raising one hand and waving to the gathered throngs in St. Peter’s Square, maybe on Easter Sunday. This is a very stirring experience, seeing the pope in person, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Thus, we were able to return our thoughts to other matters as Election Day draws near. You’ll recall that several weeks ago I provided additional analysis of President Trump’s 20,000-plus tweets, going somewhat beyond the facts presented in a highly detailed piece in The New York Times. I had said that I’d been hired as a consultant by the Brookings Institution for that purpose but it turned out to not be true. I mean, my analysis was correct, but the Brookings things, it’s just something I made up.

At any rate, somebody was apparently impressed with my deep-tweet perspective because following that letter I was contacted by Courtney Gross, a political reporter for NY1, seeking my opinion regarding the president’s taxes, specifically, The Times’s report that he had paid only $750 in federal income tax in the years 2016 and 2017. Now I want to make it clear, Mr. Rattray, that I have no relationship with Ms. Gross. We have never in fact met — only corresponded via email with regard to her question and my responses. I can’t flatter myself that I’m somehow “special” (although I don’t rule it out); local reporters contact dozens of citizens every day and on every topic to get a reading on what “the people” are thinking. So I took her question seriously and did my best to contribute a new insight into Mr. Trump’s remarkable tax payments for those two years. I will say that I paid close to that amount on the income I earned during my summer job with a landscaping outfit in Rochester in 1967. But that was 53 years ago, so it’s like apples and Orangina.

But after doing a little research of my own I had a fact-based epiphany: We know that Donald Trump paid $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford (a.k.a. Stormy Daniels) in 2016, apparently as hush money to prevent her from speaking publicly about the alleged affair she’d had with the president in 2006, the year our first lady gave birth to their son.

Turns out that Stephanie didn’t feel she had to honor the “hush” agreement, because he never signed it! But that’s not what I found interesting, Mr. Rattray, though it’s definitely tabloid-worthy. But let’s remind ourselves that The East Hampton Star is not a tabloid, so pretend you didn’t read that. Okay, what is compelling about this is that Donald Trump paid 175 times more to Ms. Clifford than he paid in federal taxes! And if that $130,000 was Stormy/Stephanie’s only income for the year, her payment to the I.R.S. would have been $22,303.50, or about 30 times what the president paid.

Now I certainly can’t speculate on what other income the charming porn star might have earned that year, or what expenses she may have been able to write off against her earnings: hair, makeup, wardrobe, that kind of thing. I mean, over a period of several years Our Leader was able to write off over $70,000 in hairstyling expenses during his time on “The Apprentice” though details are hazy on the funneling of said deductions (business entities, reimbursements, etc.). Still, in the category of fun facts, it’s right up there; wouldn’t you agree, Mr. Rattray? Mr. Rattray?

Finally, perhaps one or more readers of The Star will know NY1’s Courtney Gross personally. Maybe went to school with her, met her at a political reporters’ mixer, are her cousin who didn’t make it in television. And maybe that person will reach out to Courtney excitedly to tell her about his letter. To that person or persons I just want to say, “Stop!” She never contacted me, has never seen me unless she was watching me watching her on TV.

But everything else is pure fact and speculation, I swear.

Pay up!

LYLE GREENFIELD

 

Protect the Rights
Springs
October 9, 2020

Dear David:

As I wrote after Amy Coney Barrett was named to succeed Justice Ginsburg, any rights conferred under the penumbral right of privacy found in the Griswold decision are threatened. This week, one such attack became real.

Remember the former county clerk in Kentucky, Kim Davis, who refused to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples even though the Supreme Court, in Obergefell [v. Hodges], ruled that such couples had a constitutional right to marry? She argued that requiring her to do so violated her religious beliefs. Well, her case found its way to the Supreme Court last week. Although the court decided not to hear her appeal, Justices Alito and Thomas voiced their views about the viability of the court’s decision in Obergefell.

Justices Alito and Thomas reiterated that they found impermissible the reading into the Constitution of a right (here, same-sex marriage) that is found nowhere in its text. They maintain that the Obergefell decision threatened the liberty of Americans who believed that marriage is a sacred institution between one man and one woman. Further, they found valid the dissenters’ view that the decision would result in the vilification of those holding this view and see Ms. Davis as a victim of this vilification.

Although harshly portraying the social consequences of the Obergefell decision, Alito and Thomas nevertheless found that Ms. Davis’s case did not cleanly challenge the constitutional underpinnings of Obergefell. But the road sign they erected is clear: choosing to privilege, undemocratically, a novel constitutional right over constitutionally protected religious liberty interests creates a problem only the court can fix. And, with a six to three conservative majority, the court will undoubtedly take up that challenge. Their “fix” is not hard to discern.

Derailing the elevation of Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court may at this juncture be a bridge too far. But what is not too far a reach is federal (and state) legislation that would protect the rights conferred by Griswold (contraception), Roe (reproductive freedom), Obergefell (same-sex marriage), and Windsor (extension of federal protections to state-sanctioned same-sex marriages.

So, it is important to vote for and support House, Senate, and state representatives who are sympathetic to rights reviled by the far right. 

BRUCE A. COLBATH

 

Vote for Goroff
Southold
October 6, 2020

Editor:

I had a long letter breaking down all the ways Lee Zeldin betrayed his country and constituents. Instead, after three weeks of color mailers attacking a woman, mother, and teacher with lies, I will keep it short.

Vote this angry little man out. Vote for Nancy Goroff.

MARK GHUNEIM

 

Electoral Con-Job
East Hampton
October 12, 2020

Dear David:

The G.O.P. has a real problem. With the nation in the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic, the G.O.P. presents millions of Americans with an existential threat: the loss of the health care protection provided by the Affordable Care Act.

Mr. Trump has fought to kill this protection since his election. The G.O.P. House contingent passed a so-called health care bill that would eviscerate coverage, including that for pre-existing conditions for many. Luckily for us, Senator McCain gave a thumbs-down to this travesty when it reached the Senate.

In the intervening years, the G.O.P. has not even attempted to propose an alternative health care program to replace the A.C.A. And at the same time, the party has pushed litigation that, if successful, would kill the A.C.A. and its coverage. That case is now before the Supreme Court; Mr. Trump’s Department of Justice has argued in favor of striking the bill, and many G.O.P. congressional representatives have also urged the court to kill the A.C.A. as well. With the Supreme Court soon to have a 6-3 conservative supermajority, the future of the A.C.A.’s protection is in serious peril.

All this has created real political risk for the G.O.P. In the face of the pandemic, all of America fears the threat of illness and the horror of facing it without health care, in the event the G.O.P. strategy is successful. This fear has translated into atrocious poll numbers for Mr. Trump and many G.O.P. downstream candidates.

This plight has not gone unnoticed. So Mr. Trump and the G.O.P. have created a fiction: They claim to have a plan that would protect Americans with pre-existing conditions. The details? When asked, there is no meat to these bones. So, it is clear that “plan” is nothing but an electoral con job; no voter should be duped.

Our congressman, Lee Zeldin, has been at the forefront of this G.O.P. effort to eradicate the A.C.A., and was a chief architect of the ill-fated House health care plan. Voters should beware when he too joins the bandwagon promoting the fictitious G.O.P. health care plan, for it is nothing but a sham.

Sincerely,

CAROL O’ROURKE

 

They Let You Do It
Plainview
October 8, 2020

To the Editor:

Perhaps my memory is no better than Donald Trump’s, but didn’t he once brag that “I could infect someone in the middle of the White House — because when you’re a president they let you do it; you can do anything, and not lose any voters?”

RICHARD SIEGELMAN

 

He Did Nothing
Amagansett
October 10, 2020

Dear Editor:

Herd immunity: Over 200,000 Americans have already died from Covid-19. Our president admitted he knew about how deadly the virus was, yet he did nothing. Now, the president is following herd immunity: Let the virus spread out of control and it will end. Scientists calculate that two million to six million more Americans might die, and his approach is likely to fail.

If you re-elect this president, Americans will keep dying.

Our democracy: Our Constitution is essential to our democratic way of life and our civil liberties: free speech, free press, free expression of religion, equal rights, and the right to your own opinion. Our president has repeatedly disregarded and weakened the Constitution, believing he is above the law.

If he is re-elected he will have carte blanche to do anything he wants. You will be giving away your civil liberties.

Putin: The current president has allowed Putin, a foreign power, an enemy, to interfere with our elections in 2016 and now in 2020, and allowed him to ransom American soldiers to be killed by Afghan forces. This is tantamount to a foreign invasion of America, yet our president does nothing to stop this. The current president is modeling himself after Putin, a murderous dictator. He has stated he is seeking a lifetime presidency. Believe him.

Intolerance: Our president is fostering hate and violence in our society, and targeting one ethnic group after another. He is preventing Blacks and Hispanics from voting and wants to take away their health care. (Medicare is not safe.) Immigrant children have been separated from their parents and placed in cages. Don’t be comforted by the fact that other people are being targeted — the next target could be you.

The Jewish vote: Our current president says he’s a supporter of Israel because he badly wants the Jewish vote. He makes fake, showy gestures toward Israel to manipulate voters. Some of his supporters are neo-fascist, white supremacists, including Q-Anon and the Proud Boys, whom the president told to “Stand back. Stand by.” at the presidential debate. In North Carolina, white supremacists chanted, “The Jews will not replace us.”

Global warming: Fires are raging across America. The president is doing nothing to stop global warming, calling it a hoax. Fires, earthquakes, storms, starvation, homelessness, death, and destruction by climate change are increasing. You or I may not live to see the end, but our children or our children’s children may.

Vote for Biden to save our democracy.

MERI WALLACE

 

Provide and Protect
East Hampton
October 12, 2020

To the Editor:

It has taken me almost four years to understand the phenomenon of Donald Trump. Looking at his character, his incompetence, and his incoherence leaves me nothing but negativity. Yet, on a most important level, electing Trump could have been a step in the right direction for our country.

Government exists to provide and protect for the population. Everything else is secondary. Almost all of the political machinations that take place from voting laws to Supreme Court judges to gun ownership to abortion are forms of manipulation and distortion. None of them provide for or protect us. They don’t make us safer. Provide housing, food, work, health care. Zero. They are all contrived political tools to distract and distort reality.

Government is primarily about bureaucracy. Politicians don’t make things happen. They essentially oversee, from a distance, everyone else. They are the least important pieces of the provide-and-protect puzzle. Their primary purpose is to remain in power. The argument being that if they are not in power they can’t protect and provide for us.

The same argument our religious institutions use since forever. Self-perpetuation is really about universal actualization. I am more important than who I pretend to represent. Give God a break.

Rex Tillerson described being secretary of state as “a shitshow.” As the C.E.O. of ExxonMobil he ran a big company. Yet he said that he was absolutely clueless about how to run the Department of State. His job wasn’t to create brilliant policies or make deals but to manage an enormous bureaucracy that made sure that we were protected from every situation on every possible level. He said that all the bombastic bullshit in the world didn’t get anything done.

There are multiple philosophical arguments about the size of government. They are all categorically garbage. No one who argues the subject has ever actually worked in government and so it is always hypothetical and self-serving, designed not to be resolved but to animate people. It’s analogous to someone who thinks that watching lots of porn will make them a great sexual partner. Or virtual self-actualization, or something like that.

Trump made the case that the politicians weren’t taking care of the population. They were getting fat and rich and playing everyone for fools. Because we were or are fools. Unfortunately Trump had never actually done anything in his life that entailed taking care of and providing for people. He is a yapper, not a doer. He doesn’t understand bureaucracy or social well being or collective consciousness.

His problem was that he was completely unequipped to lead the largest bureaucracy in the world. He was a square peg in a round hole, or more fittingly, a pig in a poke. He could never succeed because he never wanted to. All he did was change the color of the shitshow.

So, we need to understand the difference between politicians and government. One works for the people because that’s why it exists. The other works for themselves for wealth and power. Government workers are the soul and the driving engine of the system. Everyone else is replaceable. For example, left to its own devices the Postal Service could handle everything that was thrown at it. Covid-19 would overload the system and make it really crazy during the election, but it would rise to the task. Give it a little more money because of the Covid-19 economic pain and it was no sweat. If the U.S.P.S. is a national service, like public schools, why does it have to make a profit?

But politicians and politics intervened, and turned it into a shitshow, people who never worked in government and lowlife white-trash politicians scheming the election.

Multiply the shitshow 20 times and almost every government agency was turned upside down. The government didn’t do it, the politicians did.

The Trump voters thought they were getting someone who understood the problem and could do something about it. Unfortunately, the fox turned the hen house into an A.T.M.

It is a simple calculus to understand what has happened to our country. With the Covid-19 economic crunch in full force, the chairman of the Fed begging for a stimulus, interest rates below 1 percent, the Democrats on board, and tens of millions of Americans and their businesses going down the tubes, Trump and the Republicans punted. No help, no protection, no provisions.

Provide and protect: an American pipe dream.

NEIL HAUSIG


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